Deadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adventure
A COMPACT WITH THE DEVIL'S OWN.
ABOUT sunset of that same day, in a lonely gulch leading off from
Death Notch, a young girl was wandering along with a basket upon her
arm, now and then plucking a wild flower, and singing the while in
spirit with the merry birds that warbled among the branches of the trees
She was at a glance an Indian, but lighter complexioned than the
average of her nation, betraying a mixture of white blood in her veins.
Attired in the picturesque garb of an Indian princess she looked
decidedly pretty, with her dusky skin, her eyes of midnight color, and
long sweeping wealth of wavy raven hair, which fell back below her
In keeping with the wild seene around her, was she, and yet happy
and free from care as the merry little chipmunk that darted across her
path and disappeared in the shrubbery.
"Pretty mountain doves a-cooing,
she sung, as she stopped to pluck a pretty blossom from its stalk.
Sturdy robins gone a-wooing-
Wonder what all birds are doing,
So happy, all, they seem."
by the way, little bird, suppose you tell us what you are doing," a
voice exclaimed, and the owner, a tall, well-dressed man of
prepossessing countenance, and the owner of a monstrous mustache,
stepped from a clump of bushes where he had hitherto been concealed.
Indian girl started violently, at sight of him, and would have run away,
but he stepped quickly forward and seized her by the arm.
"Hold on! pretty bird! Don't be scared, I will not harm you!" he
said, laughingly. "I simply want to have a talk with you."
"No! no! Siska does not know pale-face; he must let her go."
"But I can't do that just yet. Come to this log and sit down and
answer some questions which I shall ask you, and then I will let you
And still retaining a hold of her hand and arm, he forced her to
a seat upon a fallen tree, close by.
"There," he said, when they were both seated. "Now we are all
prepared for a nice little chat."
The girl did not reply.
She was evidently greatly frightened, for she was trembling like
The stranger noted the fact.
"Don't be afraid, my girl," he repeated, "I'll not hurt you. Now,
to begin with, I want you to tell me how far it is from here to a place
called Death Notch?"
"A couple of miles, or so."
"Ah! so near. Well, I'm in luck. Now, what is your name?"
"Siska, sir. Please let me go. Red Hatchet would be very angry if
he knew I spoke to a pale-face."
"Oh! he would, eh? So he's one of those rabid old bucks, who is
dead set on the white race?"
"Red Hatchet is a great warrior, and his anger is to be feared."
"Well, then, when you see him next, tell him to slice me a chunk
of it, weighing about half a pound, and send it down to Death Notch.
Now, Siska, you seem to be a pretty nice girl -- how'd you like to go
along with me to Death Notch, an' keep house fer me in a snug little ten
"No, no! Siska not like it. She must return to the wigwam of her
"Oh, don't be in a hurry. I'll give you a lot
of gold rings and other trinkets if you will go with me -- and
plenty of money."
"No, no!" the girl repeated, impatiently.
"Siska not like pale-face -- no go with pale-face. Let the Indian
girl loose, so that she can return to her father's lodge."
"Well, then you must give me a kiss, my bird of the wilderness,
and you can go."
"No, no! Siska not kiss pale-face," she answered, struggling to
release herself. "Paleface bad man, and Red Hatchet be angry at him."
"That don't matter to me. A kiss I'm going to have before you go,
or my name's not Carrol Carner. So pucker up those pretty lips, my
beauty, and submit to the inevitable."
"No, no! Help-help!" she screamed, struggling so violently that
he found it impossible to accomplish his design.
"Curse you! you are as strong as a young bear," he gritted,
"Aha! I have you now, though, and now for my kiss!"
"Not by a jugful, stranger!" a stern voice cried, accompanied by
rapidly approaching footsteps, and the next instant Carrol Carner found
himself lying at full length upon the ground while over him stood a
handsome fellow in sportish dress -- valiant Deadwood Dick.
"Ha! ha!" he laughed, sarcastically-- "what a figure you cut now,
don't you, my presuming pilgrim? You reckoned you had this little girl
dead to rights, didn't you, you infernal skunk, because she was alone
and unprotected? But, you see, all signs fail, when the wind blows me
"The devil take you," Carrol Carner cried, arising to a sitting
posture and rubbing his cheek where the imprint of Deadwood Dick's
knuckles were yet to be seen. "Who are you, that you have this
"A cuss from Custer -- a bulldog from Bozeman -- a diabolical devil
from Deadwood," Dick replied, dryly. "I don't carry any visiting cards
as I generally have a sheriff or marshal after me who carries them and
posts 'em up in every convenient place, viz.:- 'Five Hundred Dollars
reward for the capture of the notorious outlaw, Deadwood Dick, dead or
alive.' Seen any of them gentle little reminders up in this section?"
"If I had, I should use my own judgment about imparting the
information to you," Carrol growled, arising to a standing position. "I
want to know what business you had to strike me?"
"The business of being a consolidated protective association for
the protection of widders and orphans an' weak humans generally. I found
you an unscrupulous knave, attempting to kiss this girl against, her
will, and I very naturally lost control of my pugilistic members to that
extent that you immediately let her alone and set down."
"You shall answer for the insult, sir. I am going to Death Notch.
If you take pains to come there also, I'll punish you severely."
"Karect!" Deadwood Dick assented, with a taunting bow. "You may
look for me to-night Senator. Be kind enough to pedestrianize hence most
precipitately, now, will you, as your prescence is doubtless very
disagreeable to this young lady."
"Yes, I'll go, but remember, you shall yet repent your insult to
me!" Carner replied fiercely.
"For fear I may forget the admonition, perhaps I'd best write it
down in my diary, " was the sport's parting shot, as the stranger turned
and stalked down the gulch.
When he had gone from view, Dick turned to the Indian girl, who
stood a few paces away, regarding him with surprise in her big black
"There, miss, I've banished the snake, and you need have no fear
of his harming you," he said gallantly. "Luck always lets me happen
along to lay out such reptiles as he."
"Pale-face brave very good, and Siska is grateful to him for
driving off the bad pale-face," the girl replied, her eyes lighting up,
wonderfully. "Red Hatchet be very glad, when Siska tells him."
"Ah! so you are the daughter of the stern-handed chief, Red
Hatchet, are you?"
"I am. What does Deadwood Dick know of Red Hatchet?"
"Oh! So you infer that I am Deadwood Dick, eh? You are sharp! I
heard the history of Red Hatchet and Death Notch, before I came this
way. I allow Death Notch is a pretty tough town."
"Its lodges are filled with bad men, and Red Hatchet has placed a
curse upon their heads, and all who enter the town to stay. Surely you
are not going there?"
"Well, I reckon so. Thought I'd drop down that way, see if any
one was in trouble, and if so, help 'em out."
"Then, let Siska give you a token, to always shield you from the
vengeance of Red Hatchet or his agents," and she took a large tin star
from her pocket, with a ribbon attached to it, and pin it to Dick's
vest; then, turning, she waved her hand at him, and darted into the
forest with the speed of a young antelope.
Far up the mountain-side, not noticeable from Death Notch, yet
from where the town was plainly visible, nestling in the basin, was a
great projecting crag, the top of which was a plateau as level as a
floor. From the outer edge of the crag to the yawning abyss among the
mountains was a sheer descent of mayhap five hundred feet.
Death Notch was not at the foot of the mountain from which the
crag projected, a low range of hills intervening but was plainly visible
from the plateau with the naked eye, being over a mile distant on a bee-line.
Seated upon a camp-stool on this plateau, on the afternoon of the
day which opens our story, engaged in a survey of the town through a
powerful field-glass, was an old Indian of bent form and wrinkled
features -- the wreck of a once great warrior, now almost in his second
childhood from old age.
This was the father of the girl Siska -- Red Hatchet. For hours be
had sat there and studied the town through his glass, the varying
expressions of his countenance, and the glitter of his dark,
baleful eyes that a revengeful spirit yet rankled in his breast.
"The stage brings two new-comer," he muttered, in good English,
proving that he was not untutored, like many of his race. "One is a
young pale-face squaw-the other a son of the South. I wonder what
brings them? It cannot be that they know of the curse that rests upon
the place and all who enter it."
Then for a long time the outcast chief was silent, but watchful,
until a man sauntered along down the street whom he recognized through
the glass, though to the naked eye the man looked, but a pigmy from the
"That is Piute Dave-devil pale-face!" the chief gritted,
fiercely. "Red Hatchet hates him more than all the rest, and yet he
lives and enjoys Red Hatchet's possessions, heedless of warnings of
death and destruction. He knows Red Hatchet is too old and feeble to
take the warpath -- therefore -- he defies me. But he shall die -- they all
shall die, for Red Hatchet has sworn to add new notches to the
council-pole-records of the death of those who drove him and his tribe forth
from Sequoy even if he has to hire it done. Oh! how Red Hatchet hates
yonder settlement of pale-faces!"
"And why this hatred, red-man? Why this desire to exterminate the
people in yonder town?" a voice asked, so near to the old chief, that he
turned with a startled growl, and beheld Not what might have been
correctly termed a man, but more, appropriately a human wild beast, for
it had all the appearance of a wild animal, with the dwarfed shape of
man. The face was entirely covered with hair, the head was hatless, the
dwarfed, hump-backed figure was clad in ragged dirty garments; the nails
upon the fingers were long and like the talons of some wild bird.
In the eyes there burnt a wild unnatural fire, and the hair upon
the head stood in all directions, making the head appear double its real
Red Hatchet gave vent to a startled grunt at sight of this
strange being; indeed, who wouldn't for it was not an object calculated
to inspire any one with the bravest feelings.
"Ugh! debbil!" the chief uttered, for that was the nearest thing
he could compare the intruder to.
"Yes, devil!" the hairy being replied-- "Old Scavenger, the
devil-avenger -- the devil dwarf. But, the red chief need not fear. Scavenger
harms none but the treacherous whites-those of his own blood and color.
The red chief also hates the pale-faces?"
"Ugh! yes -- hate 'em because they drove the red-man from his
"I understand -- I understand," Old Scavenger assented. "They have
wronged me, too and I madly hate 'em all. I have registered an oath to
spare none-to cut out the hearts of every white devil I meet. Ha! ha!
they thought when they all united to strike me a last blow, that it
would kill me, but it only hardened my heart against 'em. Did the Red
Hatchet ever see the heart of a pale-face?"
And as he spoke the Demon Dwarf drew from his hunting sack a
bloody withered piece of human flesh -- a human heart, indeed -- and held it
aloft with a demoniac peal of laughter.
"That is the heart of the false woman who wedded me for my gold,
and deserted me and my kit, when she had secured it. Oho! but I hunted
her down to death, though, and after they had buried her, thinking to
cheat me out of my vengeance, I dug her up and secured my trophy. Ha!
ha! the Dwarf's enough for 'em - the Dwarf's enough for 'em!"
Red Hatchet's eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.
"Dwarf big heap brave," he said. "Red Hatchet once great brave,
but his limbs no longer strong for war-path. He can only meditate
vengeance upon his enemies, instead of performing it."
"Red Hatchet should get Old Scavenger to strike for him. When he
strikes he strikes to avenge."
"Red Hatchet has no gold, or he would readily pay the Dwarf
Avenger to add notches to his council-pole in yonder town."
"Ha! ha! it is not money I want. I have gold in plenty. But I saw
a jewel belonging to Red Hatchet that I would wade through fire or blood
to possess -- ay, I'd depopulate yonder town until not a pale-face dog
remained to usurp Red Hatchet's rights!"
"If the Devil Dwarf will do this, Red Hatchet will give him his
daughter-if it is to her the pale-face refers."
"To her and none other. Swear to give the girl to me to do with
as I please, and I will agree that for every person now in yonder town,
a death notch shall be made."
"Red Hatchet agrees. When he can count the death notches of all
his sworn enemies, and is free to go back to his once pretty village, he
will deliver Siska to the Devil Dwarf to do with as he pleases."
"Then call the girl. We will tap a vein in her arm, and seal this
compact with a draught of her blood!" the avenger said.
And an hour later the act was carried out to the letter.
Death Notch was doomed!