At ten o'clock on Sunday morning, the twenty-second of October, 1882, in an abandoned house in the West Bottom of Kansas City, just a stone's throw from the stockyards, a fellow named Jasper Harrison did not wake up. His inability to do was the result of his having had his throat cut sometime during the previous night. At the same time, in the same location, in the very same house, another fellow, by the name of Eddie Kepler did wake up. Now, it is trying enough to wake up on a Sunday morning after getting drunk on Saturday night in a saloon on the other side of the state line. However, it is downright disconcerting to wake up beside a dead man, who is staring at you with hollow eyes and a very ugly scarlet gash across his throat. Therefore, Eddie staggered out into the blinding daylight and started hollering very loudly for the police. I know these things because by noon on that same day, I was kneeling down on the floor beside my new partner, the Reverend Mister Ezekiel Amos Black, and together we were examining the body of Mr. Jasper Harrison. Three weeks and nearly three thousand miles later, the Rev, as I have become accustomed to calling the Reverend Mister Black, had not only brought the murderer to justice but had helped solve several other murders and some very nasty deeds that stretched back over fifteen years. This story of mine, written in a manner that is appropriate to all members of your family, about the brainiest and downright strangest preacher and part-time Deputy US Marshal, is going to tell you how that all came about. And I am not going to be at all surprised if, after reading it, you will agree with me that Reverend Ezekiel Black was certainly one very smart man but, my goodness, was he a strange bird. James Watson, MD.
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It was a white caravan that looked down from the crest of the mountains upon the green wilderness, called by the Indians, Kain-tuck-ee. The wagons, a score or so in number, were covered with arched canvas, bleached by the rains, and, as they stood there, side by side, they looked like a snowdrift against the emerald expanse of forest and foliage. The travelers saw the land of hope, outspread before them, a wide sweep of rolling country, covered with trees and canebrake, cut by streams of clear water, flowing here and there, and shining in the distance, amid the green, like threads of silver wire. All gazed, keen with interest and curiosity, because this unknown land was to be their home, but none was more eager than Henry Ware, a strong boy of fifteen who stood in front of the wagons beside the guide, Tom Ross, a tall, lean man the color of well-tanned leather, who would never let his rifle go out of his hand, and who had Henry's heartfelt admiration, because he knew so much about the woods and wild animals, and told such strange and absorbing tales of the great wilderness that now lay before them. But any close observer who noted Henry Ware would always have looked at him a second time. He was tall and muscled beyond his years, and when he walked his figure showed a certain litheness and power like that of the forest bred. His gaze was rapid, penetrating and inclusive, but never furtive. He seemed to fit into the picture of the wilderness, as if he had taken a space reserved there for him, and had put himself in complete harmony with all its details.
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