Deadwood Dick's Doom; or, Calamity Jane's Last Adventure
A VERY SINGULAR PERFORMANCE.
FEW there were in Death Notch who had not heard of the notorious
girl, and several among the lot had seen, and now recognized her, Poker
Jack among Deadwood, the rest, for Poker had formerly thrived in
Deadwood, before taking in Pioche and Death Notch.
Calamity had changed but little since the time when this pen last
introduced her: she was the same graceful, pretty girl-in-breeches that
she had always been, but if there was any change it was in the sterner
expression of her sad eyes.
A murmur of "Calamity Jane," ran through the bar-room as she
entered, proving that she was recognized by more than one.
"Yes Calamity Jane!" she retorted. "I see I am not unknown even
in this strange place. Better perhaps, is it so, for you'll have a
clearer idea of whom you have to deal with. I want to know where
Deadwood Dick is that's what I want. I allow ye'll say he ain't here,
but I won't swallow that. He told me held be here, over a week ago, an'
he allus keeps his dates."
"An' so you are wantin' him, eh?" Piute Dave grunted, from his
perch on one end of the bar. "S'pose likely you're a pard o' his'n eh?"
"I allow I've been his truest, pard for many a year," Calamity
replied, "but that's not what I was asking. Where is Deadwood Dick?"
"Well, gal, ef my memory serves me right, I allow the last I
see'd o' him he was a-sinkin' in a bed of quicksand, where I throwed
him. We had a tassel, an' ther best man was ter chuck t'other 'un in the
quicksand, an' ther honor fell onto me. He weakened and I give him a
boost, an' I presume ef he's kept right on sinkin' ever since he's
arriv' down ter ther maiden kentry o' the washee washee, by this time."
Calamity's heart sunk within her at this declaration but outwardly
she was very calm.
She had met Deadwood Dick in the lower mining districts, a few
weeks before, and he had said, as he took her hand in his, in parting:
"I'm going up to Death Notch, Janie, on my last adventuresome
trail, and after that I'm going to settle down for good, in some lonely
spot and see if the remainder of my life cannot be passed in more peace
and quiet than the past has been. Come to me, at Death Notch, Calamity
and the hand you have so long sought shall be yours. We will go hence
down the avenue of life, hand in hand together as man and wife."
And then he had kissed her good-by, and she had looked forward
eagerly for the appointed time to come when she should go to claim the
love and protection of the only man she had ever worshipped.
"I don't believe a word that you say," she said, in reply to
Piute's brag. "But if I learn
that what you have said is true look out for yourself, for, girl
though I am, I'll make you pay a bitter penalty for your deed."
Then she turned and left the Poker House, a feeling of sadness
stealing over her.
She soon by inquiry learned the location of the fatal quicksand,
and the incidents of the strange struggle between Piute Dave and
Deadwood Dick; then, leaving her horse to graze, she walked out to the
place where the pool of stagnant water covered the treacherous bogmire
"Oh! Dick! Dick!" she moaned, kneeling upon the ground, and
peering into the pool, as if to penetrate into the untold depths; " I
cannot -- will not believe that you have met your death in this awful
place. Somebody, perhaps, may have come along and rescued you, at the
last moment. God knows I wish I could credit that supposition. Dead-you
dead, my brave, true friend? No! no! no! I will never believe it-never,
until when my own life shall have ebbed out, and I find that my search
for you has been fruitless."
Tears were strange things in the eyes of Calamity Jane; it was
more in her nature to laugh at trouble than cry; but, now, everything
was changed. She had never quite given up the hope that Dick would, at
some distant day, recognize her devotion to him, and take her as a wife.
When he had told her to come to Death Notch to become his wife, all the
bitterness of her strange young life had seemingly melted into glorious
sunshine, and she was happy.
Little wonder, then, that bitter grief now returned to torture
her, when they told her that the famous brave-knight had met so terrible
a fate, after so many years of safe passage through constant peril.
For an hour she knelt by the dark pool. Her tears were now dried,
and a deadly glitter in her eyes, while a stern expression mantled her
"No! I will not be rash enough to kill myself," she murmured,
rising to her feet, "but will live on -- live to hope that he is not dead --
to wreak vengeance on those who, as a people, aimed to tread upon and
crush him, because -- because he was Deadwood Dick!"
"Ha! ha! ho! ho!" a voice laughed, just behind her, and she
wheeled to behold the dwarf avenger, Old Scavenger, standing near. Dick
had described him to her, and therefore she had no difficulty in
recognizing him -- for surely there were no two persons in the West whom
nature had made so hideous.
"Ho! Ho!" the dwarf chuckled, when she turned to gaze at him. "So
you came to look for the devilish road-agent in that pool, oh? You don't
find him, though-neither do I. Ho! ho! no; he cheated me out of my
sweetest morsel of vengeance, curse him!"
"How so?" Calamity asked, in surprise. "Was not Deadwood Dick a
friend to you and your daughter, Scavenger?"
"No! no! He was a traitor -- a devilish traitor -- the murderer of my
child, and when I found that, pinned to her dress as she lay in death
where he left her, I pronounced his doom, and that of every other white
traitor. D'ye see that?"
And he held up the note that he had found on Kentucky Kit's body.
(See HALF-DIME LIBRARY No. 201).
Calamity took it from his hands, and read it carefully.
"This is not Deadwood Dick's writing, nor his signature, old
man," she said decidedly. "It is a forgery, trumped up to throw the
suspicion on Deadwood Dick."
"Bah! you lie!" Scavenger roared, becoming suddenly furious. "You
lie like all the rest. They all lie, steal and murder, and I hate 'em
you- hate every man or woman whose face is white. Ha! ha! I kill 'em,
too. Each day have I sworn to add one new death notch to Red Hatchet's
council-pole, and you shall be my victim for to-day-you! you: Ha! ha! it
will be sweet vengeance to kill the girl who loved the devil road-
And, even while speaking, he drew a long, keen-bladed
butcher-knife from his belt, and bounded toward her, like some ferocious wild
beast rather than a human being.
Calamity sprung back a pace, and drew a revolver, for she saw
that the insane Dwarf was bent on her destruction.
"Stand back or I'll fire!" she cried, but he heeded her not, and
she was as good as her word -- fired, once! twice! thrice! full at Old
But without appearing to mind the shots, he came on, madly, with
upraised knife, and nothing was left for her to do but turn and run for
her life, as her strange foe was evidently bullet proof.
She didn't run toward the town, but up the gulch, and as fast as
her feet could carry her, for she was aware that it was now a matter of
life or death to her.
Once, and again, she turned half about, while running, and sent
an unerring shot at the avenger but they checked not his chase, and he
laughed in defiance, brandishing his knife threateningly.
And, too, he was a remarkably swift runner, and the Girl Sport
soon became aware that he was slowly but surely gaining on her.
In the start-off, she had got several rods away from him, but it
promised to be no great length of time ere he should overtake her.
Realizing this, Calamity began to wonder what she must do to
escape. Could it be that she, too, had come to this unlucky town, only
to meet her fate as Deadwood Dick had done?
Faster-faster grew the chase, both pursuer and pursued straining
every nerve to win; nearer and nearer to his victim did the Avenger
gain, a demoniac grin of triumph upon his features.
Suddenly, however, there was a change-a break in the monotony of
A man stepped suddenly from behind a point of rock into the
gulch, just after Calamity had passed, and stood with folded arms facing
the oncoming dwarf.
Not a weapon did he have in hand, nor seemed he prepared for
battle, yet faced the pursuing Avenger composedly. Wrapped from bead to
foot in a long black-cloak, and wearing a tremendous black beard,
which, with the addition of a mask, and
wide-rimmed black hat slouched down over his forehead, completely hid
his features from view, he was a dark and rather sinister individual to
behold-the same strange person who had ridden so mysteriously into Death
Notch the night previous.
Nearer and nearer Old Scavenger approached, flourishing his
knife, and making strange contortions, but not an inch did the move,
further than to raise his black gloved hand, and pointed one finger at
Had the stranger shown fight, there would have undoubtedly been
an immediate struggle, but his queer action seemed to puzzle the crazed
creature, and he came to a halt, a dozen yards away, seeming undecided
whether to advance further toward the cloaked customer or not.
Calamity had halted on the other side of him, not a little
surprised and curious.
The Black Unknown now turned toward her, and motioned her with
his outstretched hand to approach.
The girl I obeyed, keeping her weapon ready for instant use. When
within a few feet of him he motioned her to stop. Then turning to the
Dwarf, he motioned him to pass by on the left-hand side of the gulch.
At first Scavenger made no move to obey, but when the stranger
stamped his foot imperatively, the girl's pursuer did as he had been
motioned to do, nor paused until he stood where Calamity had first
Now turning to Calamity, the dark stranger pointed toward the
Death Notch, and said, in a deep tone of voice, the simple word:
"Kerect!" the Girl Sport replied, with a laugh,
"I'm much obliged to you, and don't need a second invitation."
And she went down the gulch, wondering who was this black
individual with the voice like a roll of midsummer thunder. She looked
around just before turning a slight bend that would bide them from view,
and saw that both the Black Unknown and the Dwarf yet retained their
same relative positions, except that the arm of the Unknown was leveled
at the Avenger commandingly.
As she looked, too, she saw the hand and arm fall to the
Unknown's side while Scavenger staggered back, turned and fled up the
gulch at the top of his speed.
Calamity went back to the town, and registered at the Poker
House, and was assigned the room from which Virgie Verner had been
"Jack," she said to Poker Jack, who had shown her to it--
"Jack, you were a hard fellow when I used to see you up in Deadwood and,
judging by our surroundings, I don't allow you're much saintlier now.
But thet won't hinder you from answering me a question."
"Certainly not, Calamity. Ask anything you choose."
"Well, I want to know whether or not you really believe that
Deadwood Dick sunk in that quicksand?"
"Why, I haven't any reason to believe that he did not. Piute Dave
threw him in, they say, and then he and the gang cum back here an' left
the poor cuss to sink."
"May the Almighty inflict some terrible penalty upon them if this
is true! But, try though I do to become resigned to this conclusion, I
do not believe that Deadwood Dick lies at the bottom of that bed of
Toward dusk that evening a woman on horseback, attended by two
mounted scouts, rode into Death Notch, and dismounted before the Poker
She was an elderly lady, say of fifty-five or sixty, well
dressed, and yet one whose face spoke of a life that had not been all
On dismounting she immediately entered the bar-room, and after a
searching glance around, approached Carrol Carner, who was engaged in
playing a game of cards with a miner.
Carner arose, with a flushed face, as he saw her approach, as if
it was his intention to attempt to escape, but he caught the gleam of
something concealed in the woman's hand as it hung by her side, and
desisted from any such action.
"I expected to find you, if I persevered," the woman said, with
sarcasm, as he arose and tipped his hat. "Please order a private
apartment where I can see you and talk business."