Read CHAPTER XI. IN THE WILDS of Wild Bill's Last Trail , free online book, by Ned Buntline, on ReadCentral.com.

If ever a man was astonished, when he responded to that after midnight signal at the mouth of Dead Man’s Hollow, it was the outlaw, Persimmon Bill. He came from his place of concealment expecting to meet the Texan with news, and found instead Addie Neidic, and with her, on a pack horse, all the wealth and apparel she had in the world.

“Addie, love, what does this mean?” he cried, as she sprang from the horse and threw herself into his arms.

“It means this, Bill. I have come to stay with you, go where you go, live as you live, and die where you die!”

“Addie, dearest, did I not tell you to wait till I could give you a home in peace and quietness!”

“Yes, Bill, but there were those that would not let me wait. To-night, had it not been for thy Texan friend, most likely I would have been murdered by a mob of drunken ruffians led on by Wild Bill. Warned in time, I escaped with all that I had worth saving, except my house and furniture. Those they burned; I saw the blaze from my stable, where I went to get my horses to come to you.”

“By all that’s fiendish, this is more than I can bear! I’ll ride in with my Sioux and burn the cursed town!”

“No, Bill; for my sake keep cool and hear me. I am glad it is done. I was wretched and lonely there how lonely no words may tell. I was in constant anxiety on your account. I trembled daily, hourly, lest I should hear of your death or capture. Now I shall be with you, know of your safety, or if you are in peril, share the danger with you.”

“But, Addie, you can never endure the privations and the fatigue of such a life as I must lead at present. Soon I must be on a bloody war-path. We will have regular troops to meet, great battles to fight.”

“And it will be my glory and pride to be with you in all your perils to show your red allies what a pale-faced woman dares and can do for him whom she loves.”

“Dearest, I see not how it can be helped. But I grieve to see you suffer.”

“Do not grieve, my love, while my face is bright with smiles. Do not let your heart be heavy while mine is full of joy. Think but this I am thine until death. We will never part while life thrills our veins. Your triumphs shall be mine; I will glory in your courage, and in your enterprise. I have arms and well know their use. No warrior in all your following can ride better than I. That I am fearless I really believe, for twice inside of ten hours have I defied Wild Bill in his anger, and laughed when his hand was on his pistol. But take me to your camp. I am tired, and the night air is chilly; and take care of the pack horse. My silver and over one hundred thousand dollars in money is on his back, and what clothing I shall need for a time.”

“You bring a rich dowry, Addie, but your love is worth more than all the treasures the world could show. Come, darling, I will take you as the most precious gift a wild, bad man ever received.”

“You are not bad, Bill. You are my hero and my love!”

Bill could only press his answer on her lips, and then with the bridle of her horses in his hand, and her arm linked in his, he walked back up the winding bed of the ravine for near a quarter of a mile.

Then he emerged into an open space where there were full a hundred Indian ponies staked out, with their owners lying in groups about near small smoldering camp-fires. A few only were on guard, and these on seeing their white chief appear paid no apparent attention to the companion, though they doubtless saw her. It is the Indian’s nature to be stoical and never to manifest surprise, no matter what occurs.

Inside the line where the ponies were staked was a small brush house, and in front of this Bill halted with his led horses, with his own hands unsaddled one and unpacked the other, leaving packs and saddles in front of the house.

Well he knew they were as safe there as they would have been behind bolts and bars in the settlements even more safe.

“Come in, my love,” he said. “The Sioux will care for the horses. Come in and receive the best a fond heart can give in the way of shelter and comfort.”

“It is all I ask,” she murmured, as with him she entered the “Outlaw’s Home.”