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Title: The Golden Canyon - Contents: the Golden Canyon; the Stone Chest
Author: Henty, G. A. (George Alfred), 1832-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Golden Canyon - Contents: the Golden Canyon; the Stone Chest" ***

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The Golden Canyon

by

G.A. Henty



New York

Hurst & Company Publishers.

1899



Contents

The Golden Canyon.

Chapter

   I. A Run Ashore

  II. Dick's Escape

 III. The Gold-Seekers

  IV. More Plans

  V. The Search For The Canyon

  VI. The Map Again

 VII. The Scarcity Of Water

VIII. The Golden Valley

  IX. The Tree On The Peak

   X. Watched

  XI. Hard At Work

 XII. Retreat

XIII. The Redskin

 XIV. In The Ravine

  XV. Rifle-Shots

 XVI. On The Return

XVII. Conclusion


Contents

The Stone Chest.

Chapter

   I. A Mystery Of The Storm

  II. Off For Zaruth

 III. Among The Icebergs

  IV. The Escape From The Icebergs

   V. The Arctic Island

  VI. The Madman

 VII. A Fearful Fall

VIII. A Remarkable Story

  IX. The Volcano Of Ice

   X. The Escape Of The "Dart"

  XI. Among A Strange Foe

 XII. Bob's Discovery

XIII. The Big Polar Bear

 XIV. The Finding Of The Stone Chest

  XV. Bob Rescues His Father--Conclusion


Publishers' Introduction


George Alfred Henty has been called "The Prince of Story-Tellers." To
call him "The Boy's Own Historian" would perhaps be a more appropriate
title, for time has proved that he is more than a story-teller; he is a
preserver and propagator of history amongst boys.

How Mr. Henty has risen to be worthy of these enviable titles is a story
which will doubtless possess some amount of interest for all his
readers.

Henty may be said to have begun his preliminary training for his
life-work when a boy attending school at Westminster. Even then the germ
of his story-telling propensity seems to have evinced itself, for he was
always awarded the highest marks in English composition.

From Westminster he went to Cambridge, where he was enrolled as a
student at Caius College. It is a decided change of scenery and
circumstances from Cambridge to the Crimea, but such was the change
which took place in Mr. Henty's career at the age of twenty-one.

An appointment in connection with the commissariat department of the
British army, took him from the scenes of student life into the
excitement of the Muscovite war.

Previous to this, however, he had written his first novel, which he has
characterized as "Very bad, no doubt, and was, of course, never
published, but the plot was certainly a good one."

Whilst engaged with his duties at the Crimea he sent home several
descriptive letters of the places, people, and circumstances passing
under his notice. His father, thinking some of those letters were of
more than private interest, took a selection of them to the editor of
the _Morning Advertiser_, who, after perusal of them, was so well
pleased with their contents that he at once appointed young Henty as war
correspondent to the paper in the Crimea.

The ability with which he discharged his duties in the commissariat
department at that time soon found for him another sphere of similar
work in connection with the hospital of the Italian forces. After a
short time this was relinquished for engagement in mining work, which he
first entered into at Wales, and then in Italy.

Ten years after his Crimean correspondence to the _Morning Advertiser_
he again took to writing, and at this time obtained the position of
special correspondent to the _Standard_. While holding this post, he
contributed letters and articles on the wars in Italy and Abyssinia, and
on the expedition to Khiva. Two novels came from his pen during this
time, but his attention was mostly devoted to miscellaneous letters and
articles.

It is a specially interesting incident in the career of Mr. Henty how he
came to turn his attention to writing for boys. When at home, after
dinner, it was his habit to spend an hour or so with his children in
telling them stories, and generally amusing them. A story begun one day
would be so framed as "to be continued in the next," and so the same
story would run on for a few days, each day's portion forming a sort of
chapter, until the whole was completed. Some of the stories continued
for weeks. Mr. Henty, seeing the fascination and interest which these
stories had for his own children, bethought himself that others might
receive from them the same delight and interest if they were put into
book form. He at once acted upon the suggestion and wrote out a chapter
of his story for each day, and instead of telling it to his children in
an extempore fashion, read what he had written. When the story was
completed, the various chapters were placed together and dispatched to a
publisher, who at once accepted and published it. It was in this way the
long series of historical stories which has come from his powerful pen
was inaugurated, and G.A. Henty was awarded the title of "The Prince of
Story-Tellers."

There is in this incident a glimpse of the character of our author which
endears him to us all. The story of his kindly interest in his own
children surely creates a liking for him in the hearts of the children
of others. The man who can spend an hour in telling stories to his
little ones, and retain their attention and interest, has an evident
sympathy with, and power over, the youthful nature. Time has proved such
is the case with G.A. Henty, for up to the present he has written close
on fifty stories for boys, which have been received with unbounded joy
and satisfaction by all.

As an indication of the reception which his books have met with, the
following may be quoted from an English paper:

"G.A. Henty, the English writer of juveniles, is the most popular writer
in England to-day in point of sales. Over 150,000 copies of his books
are sold in a year, and in America he sells from 25,000 to 50,000 during
a year."

"All the world" is the sphere from which Mr. Henty draws his pictures
and characters for the pleasure of the young. Almost every country in
the world has been studied to do service in this way, with the result
that within the series of books which Mr. Henty has produced for the
young we find such places dealt with as Carthage, Egypt, Jerusalem,
Scotland, Spain, England, Afghanistan, Ashanti, Ireland, France, India,
Gibraltar, Waterloo, Alexandria, Venice, Mexico, Canada, Virginia, and
California. Doubtless what other countries remain untouched as yet are
but so many fields to be attacked, and which every lad hopes to see
conquered in the same masterly way in which the previous ones have been
handled.

As a rule much of what boys learn at school is left behind them when
classes are given up for the sterner work of the world. Unless there is
a special demand for a certain subject, that subject is apt to become a
thing of the past, both in theory and practice. This, however, is not
likely to be the case with history, so long as G.A. Henty writes books
for boys, and boys read them. History is his especial forte, and that he
is able to invest the dry facts of history with life, and make them
attractive to the modern schoolboy, says not a little for his power as a
story-teller for boys. It is questionable if history has any better
means of fixing itself in the minds of youthful readers than as it is
read in the pages of G.A. Henty's works. There is about it an attraction
which cannot be resisted; a most unusual circumstance in connection with
such a subject. All this of course means for Mr. Henty a vast amount of
research and study to substantiate his facts and make his situations,
characters, places, and points of time authentic. To the reader it means
a benefit which is incalculable, not only as a means of passing a
pleasant hour, but in reviving or imparting a general knowledge of the
history and geography, the manners and customs of our own and other
lands.

There is a noticeable element of "Freedom" which runs through Mr.
Henty's books, and in this may be said to lie their influence. From them
lads get an elevating sense of independence, and a stimulus to patriotic
and manly endeavor. His pages provide the purest form of intellectual
excitement which it is possible to put into the hands of lads. They are
always vigorous and healthy, and a power for the strengthening of the
moral as well as the intellectual life.

In the present work, "The Golden Canyon," a tale of the gold mines, Mr.
Henty has fully sustained his reputation, and we feel certain all boys
will read the book with keen interest.


The Golden Canyon



Chapter I.--A Run Ashore.


In the month of August, 1856, the bark _Northampton_ was lying in the
harbor of San Diego. In spite of the awning spread over her deck the
heat was almost unbearable. Not a breath of wind was stirring in the
land-locked harbor, and the bare and arid country round the town
afforded no relief to the eye. The town itself looked mean and
poverty-stricken, for it was of comparatively modern growth, and
contained but a few buildings of importance. Long low warehouses fringed
the shore, for here came for shipping vast quantities of hides; as San
Diego, which is situated within a few miles of the frontier between the
United States and Mexico, is the sole sheltered port available for
shipping between San Francisco and the mouth of the Gulf of California.
Two or three other ships which were, like the _Northampton_, engaged in
shipping hides, lay near her. A sickening odor rose from the half-cured
skins as they were swung up from boats alongside and lowered into the
hold, and in spite of the sharp orders of the mates, the crew worked
slowly and listlessly.

"This is awful, Tom," a lad of about sixteen, in the uniform of a
midshipman, said to another of about the same age as, after the last
boat had left the ship's sides, they leaned against the bulwarks; "what
with the heat, and what with the stench, and what with the captain and
the first mate, life is not worth living. However, only another two or
three days and we shall be full up, and once off we shall get rid of a
good deal of the heat and most of the smell."

"Yes, we shall be better off in those respects, Dick, but unfortunately
we shan't leave the captain and mate behind."

"No, I don't know which I like worst of them. It is a contrast to our
last sip, Tom. What a good time we had of it on board the _Zebra_! The
captain was a brick, and the mates were all good fellows. In fact, we
have always been fortunate since the day we first came on board together
up to now. I can't think how the owners ever appointed Collet to the
command; he is not one of their own officers. But when Halford was taken
suddenly ill I suppose they had no others at home to put in his place,
so had to go outside. My father said that Mr. Thompson had told him that
they heard that he was a capital sailor, and I have no doubt he is. He
certainly handled her splendidly in that big storm we had rounding the
Cape. I suppose they did not inquire much farther, as we took no
passengers out to San Francisco, and were coming out to pick up a cargo
of hides here for the return journey; but he is a tyrant on board, and
when I get back I will tell my father, and he will let Thompson know the
sort of fellow Collet is. It doesn't do one any good making complaints
of a captain, but my father is such friends with Thompson that I know he
will tell the other partners that he hears that Collet isn't the sort of
man they care about having commanding their ships, without my name
coming into it. If he does I can't help it. I know Thompson will see
that I don't sail with Collet again, anyhow, and will get you with me,
as he has often met you at my father's, and knows what chums we are.
Collet brought Williams with him, and they were a nice pair. I believe
the second and third are just as disgusted as we are, and as Allen is a
nephew of one of the partners he will put a spoke in their wheel too,
when he comes back."

"Well, we might be worse off in some respects, Dick. We have two good
officers out of the four, and we have a very fair crew, and we have good
grub; and the company always victual their ships well, and don't put the
officers' messing into the hands of the captain, as they do in some
ships."

Presently Mr. Allen, the second officer, came up with the two lads.

"I am going ashore in an hour, Preston," he said to Dick; "if you like,
you can come with me."

"Thank you, sir; I should like it very much."

"I wish you were coming too, Tom," he went on when the officer moved
away. "That is one of the nuisances, Collet never letting us go ashore
together."

"It is a nuisance," the other said, heartily. "Of course, Allen is a
very good fellow, but one can't have any larks as one could have if we
were together."

"Well, there are not many larks to be had here, at any rate, Tom. It is
about the dullest place I ever landed at. It is a regular Mexican town,
and except that they do have, I suppose, sometimes, dances and that sort
of thing, there is really nothing to be done when one does go ashore,
and the whole place stinks of hides. Even if one could get away for a
day there is no temptation to ride about that desert-looking country,
with the sun burning down on one; no one but a salamander could stand
it. They are about the roughest-looking lot I ever saw in the town.
Everyone has got something to do with hides one way or the other. They
have either come in with them from the country, or they pack them in the
warehouses, or they ship them. That and mining seem the only two things
going on, and the miners, with their red shirts and pistols and knives,
look even a rougher lot than the others. I took my pistol when last I
went ashore; I will lend it you this evening."

"Oh, I don't want a pistol, Tom; there is no chance of my getting into a
row."

"Oh, it is just as well to carry one, Dick, when you know that everyone
else has got one about him somewhere, and a considerable number of them
are drunk; it is just as well to take one. You know, it is small, and
goes in my breast pocket."

"I will take my stick, the one I bought at San Francisco; it has got an
ounce of lead in the knob. I would rather have that than a pistol any
day."

However, as Dick was standing with the second officer at the top of the
gangway, Tom Haldane, as he passed by, slipped the pistol into his hand
and then walked on. Dick thrust it into his pocket, and then descended
the ladder. It was almost dark now.

"I have two or three places to go to, Preston, and do not know how long
I shall be detained. It is just nine o'clock now. Suppose you meet me
here at the boat at half-past ten. It will be pleasanter for you to
stroll about by yourself than to be waiting about outside houses for
me."

"Very well, sir. I don't think there is much to see in the town, but I
will take a bit of a stroll outside. It is cool and pleasant after the
heat of the day."

They walked together to the first house that Mr. Allen had to visit;
then Dick strolled on by himself. The place abounded with wine-shops.
Through the open doors the sound of the strumming of mandolins, snatches
of Spanish song, and occasionally voices raised in dispute or anger,
came out. Dick felt no inclination to enter any of them. Had his chum
been with him he might have looked in for a few minutes for the fun of
the thing, but alone he would be the object of remark, and might perhaps
get involved in a quarrel. Besides the freshness of the air was so
pleasant that he felt disposed for a walk, for the moon was shining
brightly, the stars seemed to hang from the skies, and after having been
pent up in the ship for the last four days it was pleasant to stretch
the limbs in a brisk walk. In ten minutes he was outside the town, and
followed the road for half an hour.

"It is a comfort," he said to himself, "to have got rid of the smell of
hides. If ever cholera comes this way I should think it would make a
clean sweep of San Diego."

Turning, he walked leisurely back; he entered the town, and had gone but
a hundred yards or two when he heard a shout, followed by a pistol shot,
and then, in English, a cry for help.

He dashed down the street toward a group of people who, he could see in
the moonlight, were engaged in a sharp struggle. One man was defending
himself against four, and the oaths and exclamations of these showed
that they were Mexicans. Just as he reached them the man they were
attacking was struck down, and two of his assailants threw themselves
upon him.

Dick rushed upon the men, and felled one with a sweeping blow of his
stick. The other man who was standing up sprang at him, knife in hand,
with a savage oath.

So quick was the action that he was upon Dick before he had time to
strike a blow with his stick. He threw up his left arm to guard his
head, but received a severe gash on the shoulders. At the same moment he
struck out with his right, full into the face of the Mexican, who, as he
staggered back, fell across the three men on the ground. Dick seized the
opportunity to draw his pistol, dropping his stick as he did so, as his
left arm was disabled. It was a double-barreled pistol and as the three
natives rose and rushed at him, he shot the first. The other two sprang
at him and he received a blow that almost paralyzed him. He staggered
against the wall, but had strength to raise his arm and fire again, just
as the man was about to repeat his blow; he fell forward on his face,
and his other assailant took to his heels. A moment later Dick himself
sank to the ground.



Chapter II.--Dick's Escape.


When Dick opened his eyes it was broad daylight. He was lying in a
barely furnished room. A surgeon was leaning over him bandaging his
wounds, while on the other side of the bed stood three red-shirted men,
whose rough beards and belts with bowie knives and pistols showed them
to be miners. One of them had his face strapped up and his arm in a
sling. An exclamation of satisfaction burst from him as Dick's eyes
opened.

"That is right, lad. You will do now. It has been touch and go with you
all night. My life aint no pertik'lar value to nobody, but such as it is
you have saved it. But I won't talk of that now. Which ship do you
belong to? We will let them know at once."

"The _Northampton_," Dick said in a whisper.

"All right; don't you talk any more. We will get your friends here in no
time."

But when Mr. Allen came ashore Dick was again unconscious. The mate
fetched two more surgeons, who, after conferring with the first, were
all of opinion that although he might possibly recover from his wounds,
weeks would elapse before he would be convalescent. Before night fever
had set in, and it was a fortnight before he was again conscious of what
was passing round him. He looked feebly round the room. One of the
red-shirted men was attending to a pot over a charcoal fire. Turning his
head he saw, standing looking out of the window, his friend Tom Haldane.

"Halloa, Tom," he said, in a whisper, which, however, reached the
midshipman's ears. He turned sharply round, and hurried to the bedside.

"Thank God, Dick, you are conscious again. Don't try to talk, old
fellow; drink this lemonade, and then shut your eyes again."

Dick tried to raise his hand to take the glass, but, to his surprise,
found he was unable to do so. Tom, however, put it to his lips and
poured it down his throat. It was cool and pleasant, and with a sigh of
relief he again closed his eyes, and went off into a quiet sleep.

When he awoke it was evening; the window was open, and the fresh air
came in, making the lamp on the table flicker.

"How do you feel now, old man?" Tom asked.

"I feel all right," he said, "but I am wonderfully weak. I suppose I
must have lost a lot of blood. Has the skipper given you leave to stop
with me for the night?"

Tom nodded. "I will tell you all about it in the morning, Dick. There is
some chicken broth Dave has been cooking for you. You must try and drink
a bowl of it, and then by to-morrow morning you will be feeling like a
giant."

Dick laughed feebly. "It will be some time before there is much of a
giant about me. Tom; but I feel as if I could drink some broth."

The next morning Dick woke feeling decidedly stronger. "Raise me up and
put some pillows behind me, Tom. It is horrid being fed from a spoon,
lying on one's back."

The man called Dave, and Tom, lifted him up as he wished, and then the
latter fed him with the broth, in which some bread had been crumbled.

"Now, then," Dick said, when he had finished; "let us hear what the old
man said. I suppose he was in a tremendous rage?"

"That he was! a brute!"

"Why, there is my chest. What has he sent that ashore for? I should
think I could be taken on board again to-day."

"You won't be taken on board the _Northampton,_" Tom said, "for by this
time she is down somewhere near Cape Horn."

"Eh!" Dick exclaimed in astonishment. "Why, how long have I been here?"

"A fortnight to-day, Dick."

Dick was too surprised to make any remark for some time.

"But if the _Northampton_ has gone, how is it that you are here, Tom?"

"Simply because she has gone without me, Dick. The old man was in a
furious rage when he heard in the morning what had happened to you. Of
course, we were in a great stew--I mean the third mate and myself--when
Allen came off at twelve o'clock without you, after waiting an hour and
a half at the wharf for you to turn up. We all felt sure that something
must have happened, or you would never have been all that time late.
There was a row between Allen and the skipper the first thing in the
morning. Allen wanted to go ashore to make inquiries about you, and the
old man would not let him, and said that no doubt you had deserted, but
that if you came on board again he would have you put in irons.

"Well, there was a regular row going on when a boat came off with a man
in a red shirt, who I know now is one of Dave's partners, and said that
you were desperately wounded, and that the Spanish doctor they had
called in thought that you would die. So then the old man couldn't help
Allen's going ashore. Of course, he could do nothing, as you were
insensible, but he got two other surgeons. Their opinion was that you
would not get over it, but that if you did it would be a long time
first. When Allen got back there was another row. He wanted to have you
brought on board. The captain said that as you had chosen to mix
yourself up in a row on shore, you might die on shore for anything he
cared. Then I asked for leave to stay with you when the vessel sailed,
and got sworn at for my pains. In the afternoon I filled up your chest
chockfull with as many of my things as I could get into it, and sent it
ashore. By the next night we had got all the cargo on board, and were to
sail by the next morning, and I lowered myself down and swam ashore.

"Allen had told me exactly where you were lying, so I came here at once
and told Dave who I was, and why I had come ashore, and as soon as it
was light he took me round to the room the other two had. The captain
came ashore in the morning and stormed and raved at the Consul's, but he
had better have kept on board. I told our friends here all about it, and
as he went back to the boat again one of them pitched into him, and gave
him such a tremendous licking that I hear he had to be carried on board.
As soon as he got on board the _Northampton_ sailed, so you see here we
both are. I have written off to your father and mine, giving them a full
account of the whole affair, and saying what a brute Collet had been on
the whole voyage. They will be sure to lay the letters before the firm,
and as Allen and Smith will, when they are questioned, speak out pretty
straight, you may be sure the old man and his friend, the first mate,
will have to look for a berth somewhere else."

"It is awfully good of you to have come ashore to nurse me, Tom."

"Bosh! Why, I have got away from the _Northampton_. I found, too, that
as far as nursing was concerned I might as well have stayed on board,
for Dave here and his two mates have, one or other of them, been with
you night and day, and they could not have taken more care of you if
they had been women. Still I have been very glad to be here, though till
three days ago there seemed very little hope of your pulling through it.
Now you have talked enough, or rather, I have talked enough, Dick; and
you had better turn over and get another sleep."



Chapter III.--The Gold-Seekers.


Two days later the lad was able to sit up in bed and to enter upon a
discussion as to the future with Tom and the miner. It was begun by the
latter.

"I suppose you will be taking the first ship back as soon as you are
strong enough?" he said.

"I don't know, Dave; now I am here I should certainly like a run ashore
for a few weeks and to see something of the country. We have got twenty
pounds between us; that will last for some time. I should think we could
get a passage back without having to pay on this side for it, and if
there was any difficulty about it, we could work our way back; but Tom
agrees with me, we should like to see something of the country first.

"I suppose in another fortnight I shall be all right again; but there is
the doctor to pay. I don't know what their charges are here, but I
expect his bill will be a pretty long one. You had better tell him
to-day that we have not got a great deal of cash between us, and that as
I only want building up now, he need not come again."

"Don't you trouble yourself about that," Dave growled. "You don't
suppose that when you have got yourself cut and sliced about in helping
me you are going to have any trouble about doctors? We have got a tidy
lot at present amongst us, and what is ours is yourn. We were going
to set off among the hills a day or two after the time we had
that trouble; only, of course, that stopped it all."

"Please don't stop on my account," Dick said. "I shall get on very well
now, and I was saying to Tom, as soon as I can get about we will go off
somewhere among the hills; for one might just as well be lying in an
oven as here. If you will tell us where you and your mates are working,
we might find our way there, and get a job. We are both pretty strong,
you know--that is to say, when we are well--and we have often said that
we should like to try our luck gold-mining."

"We aint agoing till you are strong enough to get about," Dave said; "so
it is no use saying any more about that. Then, if you want to do some
mining, we will put you in the way of it; but we are going on a long
expedition, which may last months, and from which, as like as not, we
shall never come back again. However, we can easy enough take you with
us for a bit and drop you at one of the mining camps, and stop there
with you till you get accustomed to it, or work for a few months with
you if you like. Time is not of much consequence to us."

"That is awfully good of you, Dave," Tom said, "but as you have lost
more than a fortnight at present, and I suppose it will be another
fortnight before Dick is strong enough to travel, it isn't fair on you;
and perhaps you might be able to introduce us to some men going up to
the hills--that is, if you think that we could not go with you on this
expedition you talk of."

"That won't be a job for young hands," Dave said. "It will be a mighty
long journey over a terrible rough country, where one's life will be
always in one's hands, where one's eyes will always be on the lookout
for an enemy, and one will know that any moment, night or day, one may
hear the war yell of the Indians. We are going into the heart of
Arizona, to places where not half-a-dozen white men, even counting
Mexicans as white men, have ever set foot; at least, where not
half-a-dozen have ever come back alive from, though maybe there are
hundreds who have tried."

"Then I suppose you are going to look for some very rich mine, Dave?"

"That is so; I will tell you how it came about, and queerly enough, it
wur pretty well the same way as your friend and me came together. My
mates and me were coming down from the hills when we heard a shot fired
in a wood ahead of us. It wasn't none of our business, but we went on at
a trot, thinking as how some white men had been attacked by greasers."

"What are greasers?" Tom asked.

Dave laughed.

"A greaser is just a Mexican. Why they call them so I don't know; but
that has been their name always as long as I came in the country. Well,
we ran down and came sudden upon two greasers who were kneeling by a man
lying in the road, and seemed to be searching his pockets. We let fly
with our Colts; one of them was knocked over, and the other bolted. Then
we went to look at the man in the road; he wur a greaser too. He had
been shot dead. 'I wonder what they shot him for?' says I. 'Maybe it is
a private quarrel; maybe he had struck it rich, and has got a lot of
gold in his belt. We may as well look; it is no use leaving it for that
skunk that bolted to come back for.' He had got about twenty ounces in
his belt, and we shifted it into our bag, and were just going on when
'Zekel--that is one of my mates--said, 'I know this cuss, Dave; it's the
chap that lived in that village close to where we were working six
months ago; they said he had been fossicking all over Arizona, and that
he was the only one who ever came back out of a party who went to locate
a wonderful rich spot it was said he knew of.

"'He tried over and over again to get up another party, but no one would
try after that first failure. We may just as well search him all over;
it may be he has got a plan of the place somewhere about him, and it is
like enough those fellows have killed him on the chance of finding it.'

"So we searched him pretty thorough, and at last we found a paper sewn
up in the collar of his jacket. Sure enough it was a plan. We did not
examine it then, for someone might have come along, and we might have
been accused of the chap's murder; so I shoved it into the inside pocket
of my shirt, and we went on. We looked at it that night; there was
several marks on it and names, one of which we had heard of, though we
had never been so far in the Indian country. Well, as you may guess, we
had some big talks over it, and at last we reckoned we would have a try
to find it.

"We had been lucky, and had struck it rich at the last place we had been
at, and we agreed, instead of spending our money in a spree or at the
monte tables, we would fit out an expedition and try it. Now I believe
that attack was made on me to try and get that piece of paper. The chap
who bolted may like enough have hid himself and watched us, and may have
seen us find it and me take charge of it. We thought more than once
since we came down here that we were being dogged by a greaser, but we
never thought about the paper. That evening I had been out by myself,
which I did not often do, for we in general went about together, and was
going back along that street, and was pretty nigh home, when someone
said in Spanish, 'That is the fellow,' and then five men jumped out with
knives in their hands. I had just time to whip out my six-shooter and
fire once. One fellow went down, but at the same moment I got a clip
across my wrist with a knife, and down went the pistol. Then I got a
slice across the head, and another on the shoulder, and down I went. Two
of them threw themselves on me, and I shammed dead, knowing that if I
moved it was all over with me. One of them shoved his hand in my
trousers pockets, and the other tore my shirt open. I heard a sudden
row, a blow, and the fall of a body; then one of them came tumbling down
on the top of us and knocked the two fellows over, then they jumped up,
and I heard your pistol crack twice and two falls, and as I got up on to
my feet to lend a hand I saw one of the fellows bolting down the street,
running off in another direction. That was the one, I think, that came
down on the top of us.

"I have been wondering since then how it was that that fellow fell, for
you did not fire till they jumped up."

Dick explained that he had felled one with a blow from the stick, and
not having time to strike with it again, had sent the second staggering
over the group with a blow of his fist; "those are the two that got
away, I expect," he said.

"I expect so; there were four bodies on the ground--yours, the two
fellows you shot, and the one I wiped out to begin with."

"Has there been any row about it?" Dick asked.

"No; they take these things quietly. If it had been one of my mates and
me who had killed three Mexicans, our story that we had been attacked
might not have been believed, but as it was certain a young ship's
officer would not have joined me in falling foul of three natives, they
just took and buried them, and there was an end of it."



Chapter IV.--More Plans.


"I suppose this is Dave's room?" Dick Said when he and his friend were
alone.

"Yes, from what he said they lodged here together, but the other two
went somewhere else the day after you were brought in, so that the place
should be quiet, but they come in by turns to sit up with you at night.
I wish they would take us with them on this expedition, Dick."

"I wish they would; it would be a splendid adventure, and we might come
back with no end of gold. At any rate, after being four months under
Collet, I think we have a right to a holiday. I expect they will let us
go with them if you make a strong point of it, Dick."

"It shan't be for want of trying, Tom, anyhow."

The lads had their way. As soon as the three men saw that they
were really bent upon accompanying them, they raised no further
objections.

"We shall be glad enough to have you with us," Dave said, "and though
the work will be toilsome and hard, there is nothing in it that two
active young chaps like you need be afraid of. It is just the
Injuns--they are the worst kind, and have always set themselves against
gold-seekers. That is natural enough, for they know that if gold mines
were once opened in their country, the whites would pour in, and they
would soon be wiped out. Anyhow, everyone who goes prospecting in that
part of Arizona knows well enough that he takes his life in his hands.

"All along the country by the Gila River is the stronghold of the
Apaches, the terror of Northern Mexico. Many parties of miners have set
out, but very few have ever come back again; but those that have tell of
gold richer by a hundred times than ever was seen in California, and
have brought with them sacks of nuggets to prove it. These are men who
have had the luck to get in and out without ever having been seen by the
Injuns; the large parties have never succeeded. So you see, young
fellows, the odds are strongly agin you. Still, if you like to go with
us, you are welcome; but if the time comes when the redskins have got us
shut up in some place we can never get out of alive, remember that you
are there on your own choice, and that we had no hand in getting you
into the scrape."

"We will never blame you, whatever comes of it, Dave. If the risk is not
too great for you and your comrades, it is not too great for us. There
is nothing in the world we should like so much as such an adventure."

"Well, that is settled then, and no more words about it. We shall be
glad to have two more with us, and we intended to go alone only because
it is not everyone that can be trusted."

"What do we take with us?"

"We shall each take a horse, and a Mexican pony to carry our food and
traps. If everything goes right and we find a bonanza, we can load them
up on the way back. Twenty dollars will buy a pony here. Then you will
want a critter each to ride. We are not going to get first-rate ones,
for if the Indians come on us it is fighting that we shall have to do,
not riding. Among those mountains no shod horse of the plains has a
chance with those Indian ponies, which can climb like goats and go at a
gallop along places where a horse from the plains wouldn't dare move.
Then you will want rifles and six-shooters. That is about all; I am
afraid our stock of money will hardly run to it, and I think we had
better work for a while in one of the diggings to make up what we shall
want."

"We have twenty pounds between us," Dick said, "and we can draw on our
fathers for twenty-five pounds each. The Consul here has, of course,
heard of my being wounded and left behind, and I expect he won't mind
cashing our draft."

"There will be more than we want," the miner said. "Still, it is as well
to be on the right side. If we don't find any gold up there, we shall
want a little when we get back to keep us going until something turns
up."

Three days later Dick was strong enough to go with his friend to the
Consul's; they found that Mr. Allen had spoken about Dick, and told him
that should he recover from his wounds, he could cash a draft for him
without any fear. Therefore in half an hour the lads returned to their
lodgings with three hundred and fifty dollars, having changed their
English gold into the currency of the country.

"You have not got your horses yet, I suppose, Dave?"

"No, we shall go up the river about a hundred and twenty miles. There we
shall buy horses cheaper than we can get them here. We have got rifles
and colts; they are things one can't very well do without in knocking
about among the hills. I will go round the town, and I have no doubt I
shall be able to pick you up what you want cheap. There are so many men
get rubbed out one way or the other that such things are pretty often
for sale."

The other two miners, who during Dick's illness had nothing to do but to
stroll about the town, both knew of men who had rifles or revolvers to
dispose of, and in a couple of hours the purchases were completed and a
considerable stock of ammunition was also bought.

"I should recommend yer," the miner called 'Zekel said, as the party
were talking matters over that evening, "to rig yourselves out miner
fashion. Them uniforms looks very nice on board ship, but they aint much
good for knocking about in the mountains; and yer can leave them here,
and take to them again when yer gets back."

The lads thought the advice was good, and next day rigged themselves out
in red shirts and high boots, in which were tucked the bottom of the
thick moleskin trousers. They also bought jackets of the same material
as the troupers.

"You will be glad of them at night," Dave said; "it gets pretty cold up
in the mountains when the sun is down, and we shan't be lighting any
fires, you bet."

They also bought a couple of rough blankets each, a spare shirt, and two
or three pairs of stockings, a couple of long bowie knives, and two
broad-brimmed felt hats.



Chapter V.--The Search For The Canyon.


Ten days later the party took passage in a large boat going up the river
to Santa Fé. It had come down freighted with hides, and the odor still
hung about it. However, by this time they had become accustomed to the
smell, and scarcely noticed it. The boat was manned by six Mexicans, who
sometimes poled it along, sometimes, when the stream was rapid, got
ashore and towed from the bank.

It took them six days to arrive at Santa Fé. Although just inside the
United States frontier, the population was almost entirely Mexican.
There were, however, a few American stores, containing European goods of
all kinds, for the use of the natives, and such articles as miners or
prospectors going up among the hills would require. Here they had no
difficulty in purchasing horses. Five rough, serviceable ponies for the
carriage of the baggage were picked up at twenty dollars a piece, and
five well-made and wiry horses for their own riding. Mexican saddles,
with very high pommels and cantles, heavy and cumbersome to look at, but
very comfortable for long distances, were also obtained without
difficulty. At the stores were bought two sacks of flour and two sides
of bacon, a frying pan, saucepan, baking pot, and a good supply of tea
and sugar; four large water-skins, five small ones, completed their
purchases, with the exception of shovels, picks, and pails for washing
the gravel.

"Going up among the hills again, Dave?" remarked the store-keeper, with
whom the miners had often dealt before.

"Yes, we are going to try a new direction this time, and don't want to
have to come back directly we have struck anything. We have got enough
grub here for three or four months, reckoning as we shall occasionally
get hold of bear or deer meat."

"Well, you had better keep clear of the Indian country, Dave. They made
a raid down South, I hear, last month, and burnt half a dozen Mexican
villages, and they would make short work with you if they came across
you anywhere near their country. However, I suppose you aint going to be
fool enough to go that way, especially as I see you have got two green
hands with you."

"They are old enough to be useful," Dave said. "We can put them to cook
and look after the horses, if they can't do anything else. They are
Britishers, and one of them stood by me pluckily in a mess I got into in
San Diego; so as they had left their ship and were out of a berth, I
thought I would bring them with me, as they had a fancy for seeing a
little of mining life, before they shipped back again."

Two days after their arrival at Santa Fé they started.

"We will strike due south as if intending to enter Mexico; one never
knows who is watching one," Dave said the evening before. "There are
always some pretty hard men about these border towns--miners who are
down on their luck; men who have had to run from the northern diggings,
and such like. We may say what we like, but they will make a guess that
we have located something rich, and are going back to work it quietly
and keep it to ourselves, and like enough some of them will take it in
their heads to follow us. Anyhow, we will travel south for a day or two,
and then turn off sharp to the west. It aint as I should grudge anyone
else a share in the mine, but the more there are the more chance of the
Injuns finding us. Besides, some of these chaps are so reckless that
like as not they would light a big fire if they wanted to cook a loaf of
bread. We three have been up that way before, although not so far as we
are going now, and we know what we have got to expect, and that, if we
are going to bring our scalps out again, we have got to sleep with our
eyes open."

Another fortnight's traveling and they had passed the last settlements,
had left Fort Mason behind them, and had entered the country that the
Apaches and kindred tribes claimed as their own.

The two lads had enjoyed the journey immensely. They had traveled about
fifteen miles a day, their pace being regulated by that of the pack
animals. During the heat of the day they had all halted in the shade of
some clump of tree or bush. Here the horses had picked up their
sustenance, grass and leaves, while the men slept. At night they had
camped, when they could find such a spot, on the banks of a stream. Then
a big fire would be lighted, a dough of flour, water, and soda would be
mixed, and placed in the baking pot. This was put among the red embers,
which were drawn over the lid so as to bake it from above as well as
below. Then, if they had no other meat, rashers of bacon would be
grilled over the fire, and eaten with the hot bread. Generally, however,
they had been able to purchase a kid or some fowls at one or other of
the little villages through which they passed.

They always carried with them two of the large skins filled with water,
in case none should be met with at their halting places; this sufficed
for tea and for a good drink at night, and before starting in the
morning for the horses. The villages, however, had become fewer and
fewer, and at the last through which they had passed they had bought one
of the little bullocks of the country, cut the flesh into strips, and
hung it in the sun to dry, halting three days for the purpose.



Chapter VI.--The Map Again.


"Now," Dave said, as they finished their meal on the evening after
leaving Fort Mason, "we have got to consider which course we had better
take. First we will have another look at the map."

This was taken out from a wash-leather case, in which it had been sewn,
Dave carrying it under his shirt by a string that went round his neck.
It was the first time that the boys had seen it. As Dave opened it they
examined it with much curiosity. It was divided in two; the upper one
appeared to be a general map of the country, the lower one a plan of the
immediate locality of the spot.

"It looks very confusing," Dick said, as he examined it.

"You see the chap as made it did not do it for other people, but so that
he could find his way back by it. This line that runs along the bottom
of the other map I take to be the Gila, which is a big river which runs
right through the Indian country, and falls into the Rio Grande. I have
gone up it from that side two or three hundred miles. We were a strong
party, but we had to fight our way back again, and lost pretty near half
our number. You see by the map it lies on the north side of the Gila.
But as the Gila is eight or nine hundred miles long, that don't help us
a great deal, and the map wouldn't be any good to us if it was not for
this mark here up near the top. You see all these things are meant for
mountains, but as one mountain on a map is just like another, we should
be downright done if it was not for this mark. Do you see there are
three little jags here close together? Now I take it those three jags
are meant for a mountain the Indians call the Three Sisters, which is a
mountain with three peaks close together. I never saw it myself, but I
have spoken with miners who have seen it from the north. Now, here you
see, to the south of the Three Sisters, is a cross, and I take it that's
the mine. You see there is a black line waving about among the mountains
that stops at that point. I guess that is the line they traveled by."

"But there is nothing to tell us what scale the map is on, Dave," Tom
said; "it may mean five hundred miles from end to end, it may mean
fifty. If it is five hundred it must be seventy or eighty miles from
those peaks to the cross, if it is fifty it is only seven or eight."

"That is so," Dave agreed.

"Have you any idea how far it is from the three peaks to the river?"

"Yes, I have heard it is about fifty miles north of the Gila."

"Well, that would make this spot marked from fifteen to twenty miles
from them. The length of the map would be about two hundred miles, and
as the peaks are about a quarter of the distance from the right-hand
side, this map begins about a hundred and fifty miles to the west of the
peaks. I should think it would be at some well-known place that the
maker of this map began; some place that he knew he could find again
without difficulty."

"That is so; you will see the line begins at a stream running north and
south. There is a mark here each side of the path-line. Of course they
might mean anything; they might mean trees or rocks. Then look here;
there are two more dots out here, and if you were to draw a line
straight through them, it would come to the other dots. One must be
three or four miles off, and the other twelve or fifteen. The farthest
one may be a peak, and the one nearer some conspicuous tree or rock in a
line with it."

"Yes, that is what we make it out to be," Boston Joe said. "We have the
choice of either going up the Gila valley and mounting this side stream
till we come upon something that agrees with these four marks, or of
keeping along from the west by a valley about the right distance from
the Gila."

"I should not think we can trust much to distances," Dick said; "this
man was merely sketching out a plan to help him on his way up again,
should he ever make up a party to return to the mine, and, though
probably these bendings and turnings of the road are to be depended
upon, the map itself cannot be done to any scale. Here the peaks are
made twice as far from the left side as they are from the river, but
they may be really four times as far, or they may be only the same
distance; there is no saying at all; as he has drawn it, the point where
the road begins is a good deal more to the south than the peaks are. If
the scale is correct, it is not more than thirty miles at most north of
the Gila that the path begins. You see about halfway between this point
and the river are five or six little marks like a V upside down. I see
there are other marks like these at different places on the map. I
should say they were meant for Indian villages."

"That is so, no doubt," Dave agreed. "Here is another thing beside them;
what do you make that out to be, Dick?"

"It looks to me like a tiny bird; it is very small and very badly done,
but I am pretty sure that that is what is meant. What in the world can
he have put a bird there for? Let us look at the other villages." He
examined them carefully. "Two of them have got figures. This one looks
like a cat, and this is a snake--at least, I should think so."

"I have got it," Dave exclaimed. "Those are the names of the chiefs. I
know the names of a good many of their chiefs, and there's Rattlesnake
and the Mountain Lion among them."

"And there is the Crow, too, Dave," Boston Joe put in.

"So there is; I know he is the chief of the tribes whose country lies
this side of the Arizona. No doubt that is his village. Now we have it.
I know pretty well where his place is, for I have been further among the
hills than that. I can find my way there easy enough. When we get to the
stream his village is built on we have got to hunt along it till we find
these marks, and then follow on the line he took. The Crow's village is
about thirty miles north of the Gila. That will put these stops sixty
miles from the river. Yes, this straightens out the distances pretty
considerable, for I should say that from them to the three peaks it must
be nigh three hundred miles. I don't think it is more than a hundred
from here to the Crow's village. It should be an easy thing following
that marked line, but it won't matter if we miss it. Our course will be
pretty nigh due east, not, as he makes it, north, for we know the
Sisters are not more than eighty miles from the Gila. When we get near
them we can't help seeing them. Then we have only got to follow the
direction of this map below. There are the peaks. Well, right in front
of them is a lower hill with a tree on its top, and that tree exactly in
line with the middle peak gives us the line, and as the tree just
touches the bottom of the peak, it will give us the distance to within
half a mile. Here are two lines, one on each side of the line from the
peak through the trees. I don't know what they mean, but I guess they
mark a canyon, and when we go up that we can hardly help striking the
mine, wherever it is. I think we have got the thing pretty well down to
a point, and if we go wrong it is our own fault."

"Shall we have to come back this way?" Dick asked.

"That must depend upon circumstances," Dave replied. "We might make
straight north and come down on a pass that crosses the mountains about
a hundred and fifty miles north of the Sisters, but I reckon it would be
a terrible journey to undertake with loaded mules. Then again we might
strike east, and make either for Albuquerque or Socorro. Like enough we
may find that our best way."



Chapter VII.--The Scarcity Of Water.


Five days later they reached the stream. The miners had all recognized
points that they had passed on their former journey, and all agreed that
it was lower down on this stream that the Crow's village was situated.
For the moment this was a matter of inferior importance to them. It was
enough that they had reached water, for they had for the last four days
been traversing an arid waste of broken country, without as much as a
tree under which they could lie during the day. They had filled up all
their water skins before entering on this region, and these had sufficed
for them and their animals, but for the last two days they had been
obliged to husband it. What remained tasted so strongly of the skins
that at any other time the boys could not have drank it, but men and
horses were both filled with delight at the sight of the bright clear
water. The baggage and saddles were removed, and the animals were
allowed to drink their fill, and then to lie down in the stream while
their riders enjoyed the luxury of a bath.

They had done no cooking for the last four days, as no fuel of any sort
was to be obtained, and they lived upon the dried meat and a drink of
flour and water. The banks of the stream were well wooded, and the
animals, as soon as their thirst was quenched, fell to work upon the
grass that grew knee-deep near its banks.

"We must do some cooking to-day," Dave said, "and a good batch of it;
there is no saying when it will be safe to cook again. We must wait till
night, and then light the fire in the thickest part of these trees, and
fasten our blankets up round it to prevent its light being seen. We can
collect the firewood in readiness before it gets dark."

The spot was carefully chosen, the horseropes were fastened from tree to
tree around it, and all the blankets hung on them.

"We must take it by turns," Dave said, "to keep the fire up, and go on
baking. We will make a dozen loaves if we can."

As they sat round the fire later on they discussed their next move, and
agreed that as the river was shallow they would cross it at once, and
then follow it up stream. Should they find no landmarks answering to
those on the map, they would then return and go down the stream.

Next morning they started again, with fifteen loaves done up in a
blanket on one of the ponies. The journey was toilsome, for the river
ran in places through gorges where the rocks rose sheer from its edge,
and they were forced to make considerable detours, and to come down upon
it again. They had traveled, they calculated, but eight miles up the
stream, when they came upon a valley running east. A small stream ran
down it, and fell into the river they were following.

"This looks a likely sort of place," Dave said; "it is the sort of
valley a party exploring would be likely to follow. There is wood,
water, and grass. Now for the landmarks."

They went on until they reached the spot where the stream fell into the
river.

"We can't do better than camp here, Dave," 'Zekel said; "it has been a
rough journey for the ponies, and they will be all the better for
another good feed."

"All right," Dave agreed, "I don't see any signs of the landmarks, but
they may be somewhere about. We will unsaddle the ponies. Boys, you may
as well walk up the stream a bit. Keep your eyes open, but don't go very
far away. Keep your rifles ready for use; there is no saying but what
some prowling Indian may not have caught sight of us as we came along."

The boys unslung their rifles, which were strapped tightly to their
backs--they were already loaded--and started up the valley. In a quarter
of a mile they passed through the low wood which filled the bottom of
the valley. In front of them was an open space, bright with long grass
and flowers. In the center of this stood two large trees, one on either
side of the stream. They hurried on, and when they reached the trees
saw, to the northwest, two peaks, one nearer and lower than the other,
in an exact line. As the direction was exactly that of the two dots on
the map, they had no doubt whatever that they had hit the right spot.
They returned at once with the news to the men. Dave had already lighted
a fire, for in this sheltered valley there was little fear of the slight
smoke it made being seen, broken up as it was in its passage through the
leaves overhead.

"We have found the marks," Dick said, as they arrived. "We don't think
there can be any mistakes about them."

"Have you? That is good," and the three men at once went on to the two
trees.

"There is no doubt that is what was meant," Boston Joe said. "Wall, I am
glad to see them--it shows, anyhow, that we are right in our guess-work
as to the map, which we never felt quite sure of before, seeing them
three peaks war the only thing we had to go on, and the marks might not
have been meant for them arter all. Now the matter air clear and fixed,
and we have only got to go ahead."

"Yes, we will stick to the line they have traveled as shown in the map,
but if we miss it, it is no great odds; we know where we have got to go
to, and we can find our way there, I guess, anyhow. Still, their line
may be the best. They may have had some redskin as their guide, who knew
the country, and took them the best way. Anyhow, we can't do better than
try and follow it."



Chapter VIII.--The Golden Valley.


It was nearly a month later that the gold-seekers arrived at a point due
south of the three peaks. The journey had been a toilsome one. At times
they made their way through deep gorges. At others they had to climb
rocky hills, where the horses could scarce obtain a foothold. One of
their pack ponies had been lost, having slipped and fallen over a
precipice many hundreds of feet deep, and they had lost a day making a
long detour to reach the spot where he fell, in order to recover the
articles he had carried. For the first half of the distance they had,
they believed, followed the track marked on the map, but they then found
themselves at the head of a deep valley from which they could discover
no egress, and it was therefore clear that they must have misunderstood
the marks and have taken a wrong turning somewhere.

From this time they had put aside the map, and made their way as nearly
east as the inequalities of the ground permitted. They had no
difficulties as to forage for their horses. In many of the valleys there
was an abundance of coarse grass, and among the rocks the aloe and
cactus grew thickly, and when, as was sometimes the case, no water was
to be found, they peeled the thorny skin from the thick juicy leaves and
gave the pulp to the animals.

For themselves they shot three bears and several small mountain deer.
There was little fear of the sound of their rifles being heard in these
mountain gorges, and should the report have reached the ear of an Indian
he would have supposed that it was the gun of some red hunters. There
were indeed only two villages marked on the map anywhere near the line
they were following, as the great bulk of the Indians lived on the
slopes of the hills on either side of the Gila, whence they could make
their raids into Mexico to the south or to New Mexico to the east.

Here among the mountains they could subsist on the proceeds of the chase
and the little plantations tended by the women, but this offered small
attractions to the restless and warlike Indians, who preferred depending
upon the plunder that they could always gather by a raid upon the
defenseless Mexican villages. Thus during the whole journey they had not
once caught sight of an Indian, though they had two or three times made
out, with the aid of a telescope Tom had brought with him, little
clusters of wigwams far away among the hills.

"There will be more danger when we get near the place," 'Zekel said one
evening when they were talking it over. "The redskins know well enough
that it is gold the whites who come into their mountains are in search
of, and I guess they know every place where it is to be found. A redskin
always has his eyes open. A broken branch, a stone newly rolled down on
a path, the ashes of a fire, the slightest thing that is new, he is sure
to notice, and the glitter of gold, whether in a stream or in a vein,
would be certain to catch his eye, and if this place is specially rich
they are safe to know of it, and would keep some sort of watch to see
that it is not found out by the whites."

"That is so," Dave agreed; "of course we don't know how the party that
Mexican got the map from got wiped out. It may have been on their way
back, but it is more likely it was at the mine itself, and we may find
signs of them when we get there. I hope they had been at work some time
before they were attacked; if so we may like enough find a store of gold
without the trouble of working for it. It is no use to the redskins.
They don't do any trade with the whites, and they don't wear gold
ornaments. They are wise enough to know that if they were to show much
gold about them it would make the whites more eager than ever to come in
among their mountains in search of it, so if the Mexican party gathered
some up afore they went under, like enough we shall find it."

It was with deep satisfaction that they at last caught sight of the
mountain with three sharp peaks, but it was four days after they first
saw it that they reached a point due south of it. They were now in a
wide valley running east and west; to the south a wall of rock rose in a
seemingly unbroken line. On the northern side of the valley the hills
sloped away, rising one above another, with the peaks of the Sisters
visible above them all.

They had left their animals in charge of Boston Joe, in a clump of trees
four miles back, as the miners were of opinion that some Indian village
might lie somewhere in the neighborhood, and that it would be safer to
make their way on foot. One of the many branches of the Gila ran along
the center of the valley, but except in deep pools it was now dry.

"Now we must keep a sharp lookout for marks on the hills," Dave said;
"we know we are about right as to the line, but we may have to go two or
three miles north or as much south before we get a mark just bearing on
that middle peak. Stop," he broke off suddenly; "look up there just
beyond the shoulder of that hill; there are some wigwams, sure enough."

Tom brought his telescope to bear.

"Yes, there are about twenty of them, but they never can see us at this
distance."

"Don't you make any mistake, young fellow; there aint no saying what an
Indian can see and what he can't see. I reckon their eyes is as good as
that glass of yours, and I would not guarantee they could not see a
rabbit run at this distance. There, get among those rocks at the foot of
the cliff; we will make our way along them, hiding as much as we can. I
suppose those are horses away there on the hillside to the right of the
village; they can't be nothing else."

"Yes, they are horses, Dave."

For another half hour they made their way among the rocks, and then Dick
exclaimed suddenly:

"Look, Dave, there is a tree standing by itself at the top of that hill.
I believe in another fifty yards it will just be on the line of the
peaks."

"I think you are right, Dick, and we have hit the very point at the
first try; if it is right, there must be a break in this wall above us."



Chapter IX.--The Tree On The Peak.


They hastened on now with their eyes fixed on the tree. A minute later
an exclamation broke from Dave, who was ahead, and the others on joining
him saw that the great wall of rock had been split as if by an
earthquake. The opening was not more than ten yards wide, and on looking
up a narrow line of sky appeared between the walls of rock. Looking the
other way, they saw that the tree on the hill bore exactly on the middle
peak, the Indian village lying just in the same line halfway up the
hill.

"Here is the place, sure enough," Dave said; "there can't be no mistake
about it; it is just as the map made it, the tree on the middle peak and
the line from them going right into this Canyon. Look, boys, there is a
stream comes down here in the wet season, and runs into the one in the
middle of the valley. See, I can make out gold sparkling in the sand;
that is how it was the place was found; they were prospecting along the
valley, and they came upon gold, and traced it up to the mouth of this
Canyon."

"Shall we go in now, Dave?" Dick asked excitedly, for they were still
standing among the rocks, which broke off abruptly opposite the mouth of
the Canyon, those in front of it evidently having been swept away by the
torrents flowing down it.

"No, don't go a step forward, Dick. Don't let us risk nothing by showing
ourselves now. We will make our way back as we came to Boston, and bring
up the horses after dark. We have not got a chance to throw away, I can
tell you."

At night they returned with the horses; two blankets had been cut up,
and the feet of the animals muffled.

"If one of them redskins was to come upon our track and saw the print of
a horseshoe, it would be all up with us," Zeke said; "we had best do the
same ourselves; the heel of boot would be as ugly a mark as a horseshoe.
We must keep well along at the edge of these fallen rocks. Like enough
they come down here to fetch water up to their village, and the further
we keep away from the stream the better."

The moon was half full, which was fortunate, as they would otherwise
have had great difficulty in finding the narrow gap in the cliff. Its
light, too, enabled them to avoid rocks that had rolled out farther than
the rest; once inside the gorge it was pitch-dark, and they had to feel
their way along.

In about a hundred yards it began to widen, and they soon found
themselves in a narrow valley with perpendicular sides, which seemed to
widen farther up. The horses, were at once unloaded.

"Now do you lie down," Dave said. "I will keep watch at the mouth. I
don't think there is any danger; still, we may as well begin as we shall
have to go on."

"Well, call me up in a couple of hours, then," Zeke said; "it will begin
to get light in about four, and as soon as it does we will cover up the
tracks."

With the first dawn of light the three miners, taking their blankets,
went down to the mouth of the Canyon. The boys accompanied them to watch
their operations. It was only in the sand and gravel swept down by the
floods from the gorge that any footmarks could be seen; these were first
leveled, and then with the blankets the surface of the sand was
carefully swept so as to erase all signs of disturbance. Before the sun
was up the operation was completed, twenty or thirty yards up the Canyon.

"That is enough for the present," Dave said; "we are safe from anyone
passing. Now, let us have a look round up above."

"They must have been awful careless if they were surprised in here,"
Zeke said; "half a dozen men ought to hold this place against a hull
tribe of redskins."

"That is so," Boston Joe agreed, "but the greasers are mighty bad
watchmen, and no doubt they thought they were safe in here. That Indian
village could not have been over on the hill opposite then, or it would
have been put down on the map."

"Like enough they had been followed," Dave said. "If a redskin had
caught sight of them, he might have followed on their trail for weeks,
till he found where they were going, and then made off to bring his
tribe down on them. It may be that one has been hanging behind us just
in the same way."

"It is a very unpleasant idea," Tom said.

"The redskins' ways aint pleasant," Dave said. "Well, let us be moving
up. The first thing we have got to look for aint gold. There is no doubt
about that being here somewhere. What we have got to look for is if
there is any way out of this hole, because it is a regular trap, and if
we were caught here we might hold the gorge for a long time, but they
would have us at last certain; besides, they could shoot us down from
the top."

They proceeded a few hundred yards up the valley, and then stopped
suddenly on a cleared space of ground. In the center lay a score of
skeletons, some separately, some in groups of twos and threes. The
remnants of the rags that still hung on them showed that they had been
Mexicans. The two lads felt a thrill of horror at this proof of the fate
that had befallen their predecessors.

"Wall," Zeke exclaimed, "that was something like a surprise; there aint
no sign they made a fight of it; they were just caught in their sleep,
and never even gathered, for resistance. Well, well, what fools men are
to be sure. I shouldn't have believed as even Mexicans would have been
such fools as to sleep here without putting a guard at the entrance. I
reckon the redskins must have come down from above somewhere, and so
caught them unawares. Well, let us be moving on."



Chapter X.--Watched.


A little higher up the valley narrowed again, the sides came closer and
closer, until they closed in abruptly in a rounded precipice, down which
in the wet season it was evident that a waterfall leaped from a height
above.

"They didn't come down here," Dave said. "If it were anywhere it was
near where the attack was made; the sides slope away a bit there. Now
keep your eyes skinned, and see if you can make out any place where a
man might climb up or down. Our lives may depend on it."

Just as they reached the old encampment Dick said, "Look, Dave, there is
a ledge running up behind that bush; it seems to me that it joins
another ledge halfway up. Tom and I are accustomed to climbing; we will
go up a bit and see if it goes anywhere."

The two lads stopped as they got behind the bush.

"It looks like a path here, Dave; it has certainly been trodden."

The miners came to the spot.

"You are right," Dave said; "it is a path, sure enough. Animals of some
sort come up and down--bears, I should say; maybe goats, and lots of
them, like enough; it is the only way they can get down from the top
into the valley, and they come down to drink."

The ridge was wider than it looked, being, where it started, fully two
feet across. The boys at once set off up it; as Dick had supposed, it
met another ledge running along halfway up the face of the hill. From
below this ledge seemed a mere line, but it was really two feet wide in
most places, and even at the narrowest was not less than a foot. Two
hundred yards along, another ascent was met with, and after half an
hour's climbing they found themselves on a level plateau, from which
they could see across to the three peaks. The path was everywhere worn
smooth, showing that it had been used for ages by animals of some kind.

"One would almost think it had been cut by hand," Dick said; "who would
have thought from below that there was such a way as this out of the
valley? The best of it is, that it is good enough for the horses to get
up as well as us. Well, thank goodness, we have found a back door to
that place. It was not a pleasant idea that we might be shut up there
with the option of being either shot or starved."

"They would take some time to starve us, Dick; nine horses would last us
for a long time."

"Yes, but it would come sooner or later, Tom. Anyhow, I shall feel a
great deal more comfortable now I know that there is a way out."

"But the Indians know of it too, Dick, if, as Dave thinks, they came
down this way to attack the Mexicans."

"Yes, that is not such a comfortable idea."

"Well, lads, what do you make of it?" Dave shouted to them as they
approached the bottom.

"We have been right up to the top; the ponies could go anywhere. It is
narrow in places, but we have passed many worse on the way; the cliffs
never close up, so even at the worst places there is room for them to
get along with their loads."

"What is it like at the top?"

"Level ground along to the drop of the cliffs, hills behind it to the
south."

"Well, it is a comfort there is a way down into the valley. Anyhow,
since you have been gone, we have been fossicking about, and there is no
doubt about the gold; it is the richest place any of us have ever seed."

"Have you found water, Dave?"

"No, that is the one thing bad, we shall have to go out to fetch water,
but maybe if we dig in the center of the channel we shall find it. The
best place to try will be at the end, right under where the waterfall
comes down in winter. There is most always a deep hole in the rock
there, where the water and stones and so on have come down and pounded
away the bed rock. We found where the gold comes from too. There is a
big quartz vein running right up the face of the cliff there; it is just
full of gold. You can see it sparkle everywhere. Some day, when the
Indians is all wiped out, fellows will bring machinery and powder, and
will have one of the richest mines in the world. However, that don't
concern us. I reckon there is enough in this gravel under our feet to
make a hundred men rich. Now, Boston, what do you think is the best
thing to do first?"

"See if we can get water, Dave. If we were shut up here without water
they would have us in twelve hours, so we have got to get enough for
ourselves and the horses to drink if we can, even if we have to fetch up
what we want for the gravel. When we have got water, the next job will
be to make a cradle; there are plenty of trees here, and we have got our
hatchets, and we have brought the zinc screens, so we have got
everything we want. I don't say we mightn't pick up a lot in nuggets.
Still, I have got a dozen already, making, I should say, over an ounce
between them. Still, the others is the real thing to depend on."

"And there is another thing, Dave," Zeke put in; "we must have a watch.
We had intended that, but we thought we should have only one place to
watch; now we have found this track up the hill we have two."

"That is so, Dave, though it is pretty hard on us having two out of five
idle. Still, we have got a lesson there," Boston said, pointing to the
spot where they had found the skeletons.

"Aye, aye, it has got to be done," Dave said. "Well, lads, will you take
the watch to-day, one above and one at the mouth, and we will set to
work at the water hole?"

"We will toss up which goes up the hill again, Dick. You spin. Heads;
tails it is."

"Then I will choose the mouth here. You go up to the mouth's head."

"Don't you be walking about when you get to the top," Dave said. "Find
some place where you can get a clear view all round, and then lie down.
Choose a bit of shade, if you can find it. When we knock off work and
have had a bit of grub, I will come up and take your place."

It was just getting dusk when Dave came up and relieved Dick.

"Are you going to stay here all night, Dick?"

"Yes, we have agreed I shall keep watch here to-night, Boston to-morrow
night, and then I go on again. Zeke will take the watch below regular;
he sleeps like a dog, and the least noise in the world will wake him, so
he will do very well. Can you make out the Indian village across there
from here?"

"Yes, quite plainly."

"You have not been using your glass, I hope," Dave said in alarm.

"No, I forgot to bring it up with me. But why shouldn't I?"

"Because if the sun were to flash on the glass or brasswork, it would be
sartin to catch the eye of someone in the village, and if it did you may
be sure they would send up to see what it was. Still, if you can make
out the village, it will save us the need for keeping watch in the
daytime down below. It is from there we have got to expect an attack the
most, and if you saw them moving out strong, you could shout down to us
and we should be ready for them. At night, in course, we must watch both
places, for there may be, for anything we know, a big village half a
mile from here, and the attack might come from one way or the other. I
expect you would rather work than watch, Dick; so you had better arrange
to change places with Tom in the middle of the day, then you can each
work half a day. You will find that plenty, I warrant."

"Did you find water, Dave?"

"Yes, plenty of it, enough for the horses and the washing too."



Chapter XI.--Hard At Work.


Tom took the first watch in the morning. Dick rendered all the
assistance he could to the men, who cut down a couple of the trees that
stood in the gorge, chopped them into eight-feet lengths, and then with
wedges split them into boards, which they smoothed up with an adze. All
were accustomed to the work, and by nightfall a deep trough was
constructed, resting upon rockers like a cradle.

Next morning the work began; two men threw the gravel and sand into the
cradle, the third kept it in motion, while whichever of the boys was off
watch brought water in two of the pails from the hole.

The horses were no trouble, finding plenty of coarse grass among the
rocks, and only requiring watering night and morning. Thrice a day the
contents of the cradle were cleared entirely out, and the gold that had
sunk to the bottom collected. Much, of it was in fine dust, but there
was also a large number of nuggets, varying in size from a pea to a
marble. Each clear-up they obtained on an average eight or nine pounds
of gold.

The fourth day Tom had come down from above at twelve o'clock, and found
that the men had only just finished the clear-up, and had sat down to
have some food.

Having nothing to do, he strolled away to the spot where the Mexicans
had been massacred, a short distance away, on some ground at the side of
the valley. Some three or four feet above the ground level of the bottom
he saw a charred stump of a pole sticking up; he went across to it.

"I suppose this is where the leader of the party had a tent or rough
hut," he said.

He was confirmed in the belief by a number of bits of charred wood lying
round the pole.

"It was sort of arbor, I suppose," he said to himself.

There were several relics lying about: two boots shriveled by fire, a
tin cup flattened by some weight that had fallen on it, a pistol with
its stock blackened by fire. He called the men to the spot.

"Yes, like enough it is as you say, Dick, but it is scarcely worth
getting up to look at."

"No, there is not much to look at, Dave, but you have been wondering
ever since you came that you had not come upon any of the gold they must
have gathered, and you said you didn't believe the Indians had taken it
away. Now if this was the hut of the leader of the party, it struck me
that it would most likely be kept here, and that it may be buried
somewhere under this circle of ashes."

"Tom is right, mates," Dave said, "that is just where the gold would be
kept, and there aint much doubt that they would bury it as they got it,
so as to prevent anyone from taking any of it till it was divided up.
Let us fetch our picks, Boston, and we will soon see if it is here. Let
us try round the post first," he went on, when the three men fetched
their picks; "it will be either close to the middle of the hut, or else
on one side under where he made his bed."

The ground was sand, which had been washed up by an, eddy in one of the
floods, and they had struck but three or four blows with the pick, when
Dave exclaimed:

"Here is something, boys!"

They had brought a shovel with them, and throwing aside the sand, they
saw a piece of leather.

"It is a bag," Joe said; "this is their hoard, sure enough."

Going down on their hands and knees, they pulled up bag after bag, each
about fifty pounds in weight, until they had a pile on the surface of
eight bags.

"Eureka!" Dave exclaimed, as he lifted the last bag out of the hole.
"They had made something like a pile; no doubt they were a strong party,
but even with that they must have been here a couple of months to have
got this lot together. Well, Boston," and he held out his hand, "we can
go east again; we have struck it rich at last."

"You bet," Joe said briefly.

"How much is it?" Dick asked.

"Each of them bags weighs about fifty pounds, Dick."

Dick looked incredulous, and stooped to pick up one of the bags, and was
astonished at its weight.

"Fifty pounds if it weighs an ounce, and there are eight of them--four
hundred pounds of gold; think of that, lad; that is pretty nigh eighty
pounds apiece. I aint good at reckoning, but put it rough at two hundred
and fifty dollars a pound, that is somewhere like two hundred thousand
dollars each."

"Forty thousand pounds!" Dick exclaimed; "it does not seem possible."

"We aint got it to the settlements yet," Zeke said quietly; "them chaps
had it, and they lost it. Don't let us figure it up much till we get
beyond the sound of the Apache war-whoop."

"Well, I will go on watch at the mouth," Dick said, "and then you can
talk things over together."

"Do, Dick; there is a lot more to look after than there was before, and
it makes one feel one can't be too careful. Anyhow we won't stay a day
longer in this place. We will be off to-night."

Dick went nearly down to the mouth of the narrow gorge. He had expected
they would find a treasure, and although this far exceeded his
anticipations, he did not feel the excitement the men had shown at the
discovery of the treasure. He sat down on a rock, and amused himself
with the thought of the wonder there would be at home. Suddenly he heard
the sound of a horse's hoof, and grasping his rifle, stooped down behind
a fallen rock. A moment later a mounted Indian dashed past the mouth of
the rift. He was scarce twenty yards away, but Dick noticed the eagle
feathers of his head-dress, the rifle slung across his shoulder, and the
leggings decorated with tufts of hair. It was but a moment, and then he
was gone. Dick waited a minute or two, and then ran in to tell the
miners. They uttered an exclamation of alarm.

"He went right on," Dick said. "He didn't check the speed of his horse
or glance my way."

"That is no sign," Zeke said. "The chances are that fellow has happened
on our trail maybe a mile, maybe fifty, back and he has just been
following it. Why should he be riding so close to the cliffs if he was
not tracking us?"

"But he didn't look in," Dick persisted.

"He warn't such a fool, lad. He knew well enough that if he glanced
round, and there was anyone on watch there, he would have a bullet
through him sartin."

"What shall we do? Shall we saddle up at once, Dave?" Boston Joe asked.

"We may as well pack the horses anyhow, Boston, but we can't go till it
is dark. If a party like ours were to show up there, they would see us
from the village sure. Do you run up, Dick, and keep a lookout with Tom
at the village. You can crawl along, if you like, nearer to the edge,
and make out if that fellow is riding there. If you see him go there
come down with the news, and tell Tom to hurry down as quick as he can
if he sees a party setting out. We will have the horses saddled up by
the time you are down again."



Chapter XII.--Retreat.


Dick sprang up the hill, and, as soon as he joined Tom, astonished him
with the account of the discovery of the treasure collected by the other
party, and also by the news that it was probable that the Indians would
be speedily upon them. All this he told him as he was crawling forward
towards the edge of the cliff.

"There he goes!" he exclaimed, when they neared it. "Do you see him
going up the slope toward the village? How clear the air is. Dave says
it is six miles there if it is a foot; it does not look more than one.

"Well, I must go and tell them below. Mind, Tom, the moment you see a
party issue out from there you crawl back to the path, and then hurry
down as quick as you can, but mind you don't tumble in your haste."

"That settles it," Dave said, when he heard the news. "If he had been
going to that village he would have made for it straight, and not come
along under the cliffs until he was opposite to it. No; we have got to
fight, that's sartin."

"If we were to mount that path at once, Dave, we could keep them from
climbing up if there were hundreds of them."

"That is so, lad, but we could not stay there forever, and might be took
in the rear by another party. Besides, as soon as they find out that we
have left--they will do that pretty soon--they will be straight after
us. No, we have been talking it over while you have been away, and we
have agreed that we must hold the Canyon until it gets dark, and then
make off. No doubt they know of this path, but they won't think as we
have found it out, and they will fancy that they have got us sure. Like
enough, as soon as they find we are ready for them here, they will send
a messenger off to some village up behind us. There is one thing, he
will have a good way to go for we have seen no break in the cliffs for
the last twenty miles, and maybe they go much farther; anyhow, we have
got to risk it."

"I should think," Dick said, "that anyhow we might as well get the
horses up to the top of the path, ready to push on as soon as it gets
dark. They can do it easily enough in daylight, but it would be a very
awkward job at night."

"Right you are, lad, that is a capital plan. We will do it at once. We
have got everything wrapped up ready. One of us will stay up there with
Tom so as to guard the top of the path, in case any of the redskins
should come down before we are ready to go forward. Three will be enough
to hold the Canyon."

"I will undertake the horse job," Boston Joe said. "As you say, three is
enough here. They will think they are going to take us by surprise, and
as soon as they find we are ready for them they will draw off fast
enough. I reckon that fellow has counted our numbers, and no redskin
will try to force that pass with five Western rifles facing him."

Just as Joe began to mount the path, leading his horse, with the others
tied head to tail in a long line behind it, Tom appeared on the path
high up and shouted:

"Thirty or forty horsemen have just left the village, and are coming
this way."

"All right, Tom," Dick shouted back. "You are not to come down. Joe is
coming up with the horses."

"We have got plenty of time yet," Dave said, as soon as the string of
horses had started on their way up; "it aint much past two o'clock yet,
and it will be pretty nigh six hours afore we can make a start. There is
a good fire, and we have kept down thirty pounds of flour; we shall have
time to bake that into bread before we start. We shan't have much time
for baking when we are once off, you can bet your boots."

Dick looked on with some wonder at the quiet and deliberate manner in
which Dave mixed his dough.

"By the way, Dick," the latter said, looking up, "we have divided that
lot of gold we got here ourselves into five lots, and put one lot into
the blankets on each of our riding horses; it is like enough that if we
carry our own scalps back to the Settlements we shan't get any of the
four baggage ponies there with us. There is about twelve pound of gold
in each blanket, so suppose we have to let the other ponies go, we
shan't have made a bad job out of our journey after all."

"Have you filled the water-skins, Dave?"

"We filled the five small skins we carry ourselves, and one of the
others we daren't carry. Each of the horses has got two sacks of gold,
one of them has got the water-skin, two others have got twenty pounds of
flour each, which will be enough to last us with the loaf we are baking
here till we get out of the Indian country; the others have got the tea
and sugar. The one with the skin will be the heaviest load at first; but
the water will soon go, so that makes it even. Everything else we have
got to leave behind, except a kettle and this baking pan. We will take
them up as we go. Now that the loaf is fairly under way, we will get
ready for the redskins."



Chapter XIII.--The Redskin.


They took their post behind some rocks in front of them. The bottom was
composed of sand and gravel, the only rock being that behind which Dick
had crouched, close to the entrance.

"Mind, we mustn't all fire at once," Dave said; "one must always be
loading, and we will take it in turns to fire. Of course, if they make a
rush we must take to our six-shooters; but they aint likely to do that.
I will fire first, Zeke, you follow me; I reckon they aint likely to
miss either of us."

Another quarter of an hour passed, and then suddenly a mounted Indian
appeared at the mouth of the Canyon. He checked his horse and sat gazing
up it. Dave's rifle cracked, and the Indian fell backward from his
saddle; and a sudden yell of anger and surprise rose outside. Another
moment and a dozen figures appeared at the entrance. Zeke fired.

"Now, Dick!" Dave said a moment later, and the lad, whose rifle was
resting on the rock in front of him, pulled his trigger, and almost
immediately Dave fired again. Another moment and the mouth of the Canyon
was clear. Another Indian lay by the side of the first who had fallen.

"I reckon all the shots told," Dave said; "we could hardly miss that
clump. Now I don't think you will see any more of them; they know we are
here and they know we are ready for them, and it aint in Indian nature
to throw away their lives charging up a place like this. They had
reckoned the five first would go down anyhow. Then they will guess that
we have got pistols, and the redskins hate six-shooters like poison."

The time passed slowly, but the quiet in the Canyon remained undisturbed.

"I expect it is as I said, Zeke; they won't attack again by daylight,
though I don't say as they won't try and crawl up when it gets dark, but
I don't think as they will. If there is a village up in the hill behind
us they will send round to it, and wait here till they hear a fight
begin inside. If there aint no village, half of them will ride round to
come down on us. However, they won't set about that at once. Injuns are
never in a hurry, and they think that they have got us safe in here and
can take things easy. If it is a long way round and they aint quite sure
of the path, like enough they won't start until they calculate they will
get there at daybreak, when they will guess that we shall be all pretty
well worn out with keeping watch here."

"I guess that is about it, Dave. Anyhow, we can push out as soon as it
begins to get too dark for them to see us from the village across
there--that is, as soon as the sun has gone down behind the hills to the
south."

Dave had from time to time left his post and gone to keep up the fire
and to put a fresh batch of dough in the pan, and as soon as a shadow
fell across the valley he said, "Now we will be off. I reckon there is
no fear of the redskins getting round for a time; but I tell you that
gold makes one mighty fidgety."

Six loaves had been baked, and each taking two, while Dave, in addition,
took the pan and kettle, they mounted the path. When they reached the
tail of the string of horses Dave hailed Boston Joe, and a moment later
the miner's head appeared on the edge of the cliff above them.

"Is it all clear?"

"Aye. I have seen nothing of them--ne'er a thing moving."

"Well, we will go at once, Joe. Even a redskin's eyes could not make us
out from that village now."

The horses were at once set in motion. As soon as they had left the path
the cords were unfastened, and the five mounted.

"Which way, Dave?" Boston Joe asked.

"We had better make west. It is lucky we shall have the moon, for there
is no traveling over the hills in the dark if you don't know the way.
Anyhow, we will make straight back at present, or we may come upon those
fellows riding round. We will go in Indian file. I will go first, with a
pony tied to mine. The two lads will follow, then either you, Zeke, or
Joe, can take the last pony, and the other one ride in the rear, so that
you can keep us well in sight, and yet be far enough off to use your
ears."

For an hour they continued their course south, the ground rising as they
went. Then they reached a dip running west.

"We will follow this," Dave said; "it is the right direction anyhow, and
it is as likely to take us down into the valleys again in time."

As they proceeded, the dip became more decided, and after two hours'
riding the sides narrowed in.

"We shall strike a water-course soon," Dave said, turning round to speak
to Tom, who was riding next to him. "The water that falls here has got
to make its way out somewhere, and this is the only way as it can go.
Not that there is much water, for it is often months without rain."

Presently they found that the ground was covered with pebbles.

"There is the water-course, you see," Dave said.

The fall became steeper and steeper, and the ground more stony; low
trees and bushes rose on the slopes on either side.

"We had best dismount here," Dave said; "it is growing mighty steep, and
we may come upon a sudden fall anywhere, and it is mighty difficult to
judge about depth in the moonlight."

The lads were heartily glad at the order, for they had for some time
been momentarily expecting that their horses would come down over the
bowlders.

"I will go twenty yards ahead," Dave said. "You had better loose the
baggage-ponies and let them pick their own way. Throw your bridles on
your horses' necks: they will go a deal safer so than if you were
leading them; the critters can pick their way anywhere if they have got
time and can look about."

Luckily the moon was still high and shot full down upon the path they
were traveling. Even on foot the lads found it difficult to make their
way down. Sometimes they had to climb over heaps of bowlders, sometimes
to slide down smooth faces of rock so steep that they could not keep
their feet upon them, and often it seemed so perilous that they would
have hesitated to attempt it had they not seen that Dave with his two
horses kept steadily on below them.



Chapter XIV.--In The Ravine.


The lads were surprised at the way their own horses followed, sliding on
their haunches down the steepest places and picking their way among
rocks and bowlders. Six hours after starting they found themselves in a
deep ravine, whose sides were covered with trees. They had now lost the
moon, and it was far too dark for them to progress further.

"We will give them four hours' rest," Dave said; "that long halt on the
path was worse than traveling. We shall go three times as fast when we
get light to help us as in the dark; besides, we have got to look for
some place where we can double on them. We shan't find that till we are
out of this valley. We shall have to be pretty spry if we are going to
get away from them; they will come along fast when they once take up the
trail. It has taken us six hours to get down here; it won't take them
three. Well, I hope we shall get on the move an hour or two before they
do. If they wait until daylight before advancing there will be a lot of
hubbub and talk before they really make up their minds that we have
really slipped through their fingers, and arrange for a start. Still, by
midday we shall be having them behind us if we can't find the way to
throw them off."

"I'd willingly take twenty ounces for my share of that gold, to be paid
to me at Santa Fé," Boston Joe said.

"So would I, Joe; there ain't no denying it, we are in a tight place,
and unless we find some way out of it in the morning, my own opinion is
that we have only got one chance, and that is to leave all the horses
behind us and to take our rifles and a loaf of bread each, and to start
back on foot."

"I should not wonder if we came to that," Zeke said; "but we will hold
on for a few hours, and, anyhow, before we leave them we will hide them
bags. Possibly we might come back some day; anyhow, we could each tote
along what we have got in our blankets; it aint as if we were going to
run all the way from here to the settlements. Twelve pound weight aint
nothing one way or the other."

"No, nor twenty," Boston agreed. "I vote if we do have to leave the
horses we slip open one of the bags and take another eight pounds or so
each. Twenty pounds aint much for a man to carry besides his gun and
ammunition and a chunk of bread. Well, let the rest of you lie down and
get a couple of hours' sleep. I was off once last night."

"All right; wake us directly you see a change in the sky. We should give
the horses a chunk of bread and a drink each before we start."

It seemed to the lads that they had been asleep for five minutes only
when they were roused. It was but the work of a few minutes to adjust
the loads again and to give the horses the bread and water. It was still
hardly light in the ravine when they were ready to start, but all were
too anxious to get on to delay a moment. As soon as the day had
broadened a little they were able to pick their way along on the
comparatively level ground beyond the edge of the water-course, and the
horses were put into a trot.

"If we can keep on like this," Joe said, "the Apaches won't be up to us
before night. They will know that we have got nigh twelve hours' start
of them, and though they may start off fast at first, they will soon
settle down into a pace that they can keep up all day."

After journeying for three hours they came upon the spot where two other
ravines fell into that along which they were journeying.

"Let us hold a council," Dave said. "Now, what do you think had best be
done--push straight forward or take one of these other gulches?"

"They seem to run back almost the same line as that ye have been
following," Dick said.

"All the better, lad. They will be less inclined to think that we have
taken it. What do you say, Zeke?"

"I think we had better push straight on, Dave. If they were coming along
in the dark it would be a different thing; but they would not go a
horse's length afore they missed our tracks, and even if we muffle the
critters' feet, they are strong enough to send a party each way."

"So they are, Zeke; but it would be a sight better to fight a third of
them than the hull lot."

"I think that it would be better to push on, Dave," Boston Joe said.
"There ain't no saying where these narrow valleys lead, they wind and
double every way; besides, they are dry, so I says let us push on till
we get into one of the main valleys."

"Well, we will do it, Joe; anyhow, we may as well do as I say and muffle
their feet. The Injuns will know what we have done when they see the
tracks stop here, but, as you say, they won't know whether we have gone
straight on or turned up one side or the other. I guess most likely they
will think that we have turned up; anyhow, they are sure to divide."

No further talking was necessary. The blankets were all cut up, bunches
of dry grass were laced under the horses' feet to form a pad, and the
strips of blankets wound round and round and securely fastened.

"Now, on we go again, lads," Dave said, setting the example, and they
rode straight down the ravine ahead of them. Two hours later the
blankets were taken off and thrown among the bushes, the rocks having
cut through them, they were useless any longer to conceal the tracks,
and they incommoded the horses. A mouthful of water was given to the
animals, and they again started at a brisk pace. The sides of the valley
were now narrowing in again, and becoming much steeper; the trees had
ceased, and the bare rock rose in some places almost precipitously.

"The water rises high here when there is a storm," Zeke said. "You see,
it is pretty nigh closed up somewhere in front here."

"All the better," Dave said; "we can make a fight for it in a place like
that, and hold it till dark. They can't be far behind us now. Stop the
horses a moment and listen."

A faint sound was heard.

"That is them," Dave said; "they aint above a mile behind; push on till
we find a good place to make a stand."



Chapter XV.--Rifle-Shots.


Another five minutes they entered a gorge so blocked with rocks that had
fallen from above that they had the greatest difficulty in leading the
horses over them.

"It could not be better," Dave said. "We can stop them here. Zeke, do
you go on with Dick, see how far this goes, and what the chances are
when we get out of it. If you can see any way of climbing the side of
the valley come back and tell us. Then I reckon the best thing will be
for you to take the horses down and go straight up, leaving Dick to tell
us exactly where you have gone up; then, as soon as it is quite dark, we
will be off and follow you; they won't be able to pick up the trail and
will guess we have gone straight down the valley. Anyhow, it will give
us another twelve hours' start."

Zeke nodded. "We may as well take the critters down at once," he said;
"it may be two or three miles before we can find a place where we can
get out of this valley, and there aint no use making two journeys of
it."

Somewhat reluctantly Dick followed Zeke, driving the horses before them.

They had been gone but five minutes when he heard the crack of a rifle
behind them.

"Do you think they are sure to be able to hold that place?"

"They are safe for some time, anyhow," Zeke said. "As soon as the
redskins see they are brought to a stand they will draw off and wait
till the bands that have gone up the other valleys join them. No doubt,
as soon as they had made out our tracks again, they sent a kipple of men
off to fetch them back, but I reckon they wouldn't have seen them till
they got four or five miles down, and by that time the other bands would
have been as much farther up the side-valleys, and the messengers would
have a long ride before they overtook them--ten or twelve miles,
maybe--and they would have all that to come down again, so they would be
pretty well four hours before they had joined the first band, and in
four hours it will be dark enough for Dave to draw off."

"There they go again!"

Shot after shot echoed among the cliffs. The gorge extended for another
mile, and then widened rapidly. A mile and a half farther the sides were
clad with trees, and the slope, although still steep, was, Zeke said,
possible for horses to scramble up.

"They will go up there safe enough," he said, "five of them with nothing
to carry, and the other four ain't heavy loaded. You see them two trees
standing alone on the crest there?"

"I see them, Zeke."

"Well, that is to be your mark. You will make them out plainly enough in
the moonlight. I shall be just down beyond them. I need not tell you to
be keerful how you go when you get beyond the shelter of the trees
below. Dave will know all about that. Now you can be off back again."

Dick started back at a run, and in less than half an hour joined the
other three among the rocks.

"Found a place, lad?"

"Yes; they have started up."

"I am glad you are back. These fellows look as if they were going to
make an attack on us. They are about five-and-twenty of them, and I
guess they know as well as we do that it will be dark before their
friends join them. However, I don't think they will make a rush; they
will lose heart when three or four of their number get shot, and weaken
when it comes to climbing these rocks in face of our six-shooters. Now,
do you two lads keep below; get down right among the rocks, so that you
can fire out through some hole between them, and directly you have fired
get out of the line, for a stray bullet might come in."

Scarcely had the boys taken their position, and looked along their
barrels, when they saw a dozen dark figures spring up among the rocks
fifty yards away.

Two shots were fired by the miners, and two of the Indians fell forward;
then, one after another, the lads fired, as they felt sure of their aim,
while at the same moment two sharper cracks sounded close to them, for
the Colt at forty yards is as deadly a weapon as a rifle. Three more of
the Indians fell, and the rest sank down behind rocks and opened fire at
the position held by the whites. These reloaded rapidly.

"Now keep a sharp lookout," Dave said, "but don't fire unless they rise
again. Joe and I will make it hot for them as they raise their heads to
take aim."

The rifles were fired but twice, and then the fire of the Indians
ceased.

"I think we have accounted for two more," Joe said. "We shan't hear any
more of them. Seven out of twenty-five is a sharp lesson, and the first
man who fell was their chief, I reckon, and they will wait till the
sub-chiefs with the other bands come up. Now, the sooner the sun goes
down the better. There is one thing, it will be dark down here an hour
before it is on the hill-tops."

"Why shouldn't we fall back at once?" Tom asked.

"Because, like enough, they will open fire occasionally, and if we
didn't reply they would think we had made off, and would follow us, and
pick up the trail where the horses left the valley. We have got to wait
here until it is too dark for them to follow the trail. The moment it is
dark enough for that we are off."

It was just getting dusk, when Dave said, suddenly:

"There is one of the other bands coming up. They are a good bit away
yet, but I can hear them."

Dick could only make out a low, continuous murmur that sounded to him
like a distant waterfall.

"What do you think, Joe," Dave said; "would it be safe to make a run for
it? We might beat off the first attack, but some of us are safe either
to get killed or hurt too badly to travel. They will talk for a quarter
of an hour at least after they come up, and by the time they find we
have gone, and got their horses over these rocks, and got down to the
mouth of this gorge, it will be too dark for them to follow the tracks."

"I am with you, Dave," Joe said, as he discharged his rifle. "That is
one more wiped out. He was just going to fire to see whether we were
here still. That has answered the question; now let us be off. Go as
quiet as you can, lads, and don't make the slightest noise. Just creep
along until we are three or four hundred yards away. You may be sure
that they are listening."

For a quarter of a mile they moved very cautiously.

"Now I think we are safe," Dave said, breaking into a run.

At a steady trot they kept on down the gorge. Just as they reached its
mouth, they heard a faint yell in the distance.

"They have found we are off. They will be five minutes and more before
they have brought up their horses and got over the rocks, and they will
go pretty cautious, because they will be expecting to be ambushed. It is
getting pretty dark now; we shall be in among the trees before they are
out."



Chapter XVI.--On The Return.


The trees began fully half a mile above the point where Zeke had made
his way up with the horses, and, running now at the top of their speed,
they were among them before the Indians issued from the gorge.

The fugitives went on at a slower pace among the trees, until they heard
a war-whoop, and knew that the leading Indians had passed out.

"Now throw yourselves down," Dave said, "and just lie as still as
mice--the slightest noise would tell them we had taken to the wood. We
want them to go straight on for a bit."

In four or five minutes they heard the tramping of horses, and a party
of Indians rode down the valley.

"There are over fifty of them," Dave whispered. "I expect the other two
bands must have come up together. Now let us get up as high as we can.
As long as they are galloping they won't hear any little noise we may
make, but mind how you go, lads. Don't step on a twig, don't brush
against any dead wood that might crack, and mind you don't set a stone
rolling."

They climbed for ten minutes, and then came to a spot where they had a
view through the trees down the valley.

"There they are in a heap about a mile down," Joe said, and the boys in
the moonlight could see a dark mass gathered in the middle.

"They are having a talk over it," Dave said; "they know if we held on
down the valley they would have overtaken us by this time, and they know
we have taken to the wood one side or the other. I recken they won't
think it any use searching for us to-night, but maybe they will go
straight on for a bit. They won't know how long a start the horses may
have had, and will think we may have had them in the gorge, and have
mounted and ridden down. Yes; there they go. Now we can move on again
without fear of being heard."

Half an hour later they joined Zeke, who was with the horses a hundred
yards over the crest of the hill in a line with the two trees.

"No one hurt?" he asked, as they approached.

"Nary a scratch, Zeke. We have wiped out eight of them. The rest have
just gone tearing down the valley."

"Well, we had best be moving so as to get as far as we can before we
lose the moon."

"That won't be till within an hour of daylight," Zeke said. "Now, which
way shall we go?"

"I think we had better keep along the hillside, Zeke. We can travel fast
here, and can get so far that when they find the trail in the morning,
and follow us, we shall be too far away for them to overtake us before
nightfall."

So day after day they traveled, sometimes in deep ravines, sometimes
high up among the hills, sometimes coming upon a stream and taking in a
supply of water, and sometimes well-nigh mad with thirst. They had cut
up two of the empty water-skins and had made rough shoes for their
horses, and believed that they had entirely thrown their pursuers off
the trail, winding along on what was little more than a goat's track up
the steep face of a valley, the opposite side of which was a
perpendicular cliff. They had nearly gained the top when the crack of a
rifle was heard from the opposite cliff, which was not more than two
hundred yards away, although the depth of the gorge was fully a thousand
feet. Looking across they saw that nearly opposite to them stood an
Indian village, and that a number of redskins were running toward the
edge.

"Hurry up, hurry up!" Dave shouted. "It is too far for them to shoot
straight, but a stray bullet might hit us. Push on, lads, with the
ponies. We will give them a shot or two. Our rifles will carry that
distance easy enough."

The lads pushed on while the three miners opened fire. There was but
another fifty yards to climb. They could hear the sharp ping of the
bullets round them. One of the ponies gave a sudden start, stumbled
forward, and then rolled over the edge. In another minute the rest
gained the plateau.

"Oh, Dick, it is one of the treasure ponies," Tom exclaimed.

"That is a bad job, Tom; which is it?"

"The gray."

"Better him than the others. It was one of his bags that we took the
gold out of to make us up twenty pounds each, so there aint above
seventy pounds lost. Come on, let us get beyond range. We don't want to
lose any more." When they got two or three hundred yards further the
three men ran up.

"One pony has gone, I see," Dave said.

"Yes; it is the gray. He had only seventy pounds, you know, so if one
was to go it were best it should be him."

"Well, let us mount and be off, lads; like enough those Indians will
have to ride forty or fifty miles to get round this canyon, and come
here, but, anyhow, we may as well push on. It is lucky the horses have
done well the last day or two, and that we have got our water-skins
full."



Chapter XVII.--Conclusion.


Another ten days of arduous toil, and, in turning a sharp corner in a
defile, they saw a number of men at work. As these heard the sound of
the horses' feet they threw down their picks and shovels, and seized
their guns.

"Don't say anything about the gold," Dave exclaimed to the others. "It
is lucky it is all covered up."

As soon as the miners saw that the new-comers were whites they lowered
their guns.

"Why, where on earth have you come from?" one of them asked, as they
rode up.

"We have been making a prospecting tour among the hills."

"Have you found anything?"

"Yes; we have found a first-rate place, but the Apaches drove us off
from it when we had been at work only four days, and we have had hard
work to save our scalps. I have no objection to give you the
indications, for I will not go back again among them ramping Apaches not
to find solid gold. There is the map as I steered by. Them three points
are the Three Sisters, and that tree bears on the mouth of a narrow
canyon. There is gold there, you bet, and likewise the skeletons of about
thirty Mexicans who got killed there three or four years ago. Now, let
us have some grub; we finished our last ounce of flour yesterday, and
have been short for the last fortnight."

"You have had to leave everything behind, I see," the miner said,
looking at the eight horses.

"Yes; we had to make a clean bolt for it. However, in the four days we
were there we got about seventy pounds of gold, and we have stuck to
that. Now you know as much about it as we do. There is gold enough to
make you all rich, but you will have to fight, and fight hard, to get
there and come away again."

The horses were unsaddled and picketed, Dave and Joe taking care
themselves to unload the three packed ponies, and that the flat bags,
over which blankets had been stuffed, should not be noticed. They
stopped there for two days to rest the horses, and then proceeded on
their way, arriving at Pueblo a fortnight later. Thence they traveled
together to Santa Fé, and then hired a wagon and joined a large caravan
going across the plains east. When they reached St. Louis they
separated. A division was made of the gold, and the lads started by
train for New York, and the next day took their passages for England.

When Dick reached home he was received by his family as one from the
dead. The _Northampton_ had arrived three weeks before, and, from the
report Mr. Allen had given, they had slight hopes indeed that Dick would
recover from his wounds, although the letter that Tom had written three
days after he landed had given them some slight grounds for hope. The
letter had been shown to the owners of the _Northampton_, and as the
statements respecting the captain and the first mate were confirmed by
Mr. Allen and the third officer, the captain and first mate had been
summarily discharged from the service.

The astonishment of the lads' fathers when they found that each lad had
brought home a hundred pounds of gold, worth about five thousand pounds,
was great indeed. With it shares were bought in the ships of the
company, and when in time both attained the rank of master they had the
satisfaction of sailing in ships in which they held shares. Neither had
any inclination ever to embark again upon the operation of gold-mining.



The Stone Chest;


or,


The Secret Of Cedar Island.



The Stone Chest.



Chapter I.--A Mystery Of The Storm.


"What a fearful night, Bob!"

"Yes, mother; it's about the worst storm of the season," replied Bob
Cromwell, as he entered the seaside cottage and shook the water from his
cap. "It will go hard on any vessel near the coast. The wind is rising
to a perfect gale. Just listen to it sing."

There was no need to listen. The storm was so violent one could scarcely
hear aught else. The little cottage, standing so boldly out upon the sea
cliff, shook and rocked from end to end as if preparing to leave its
foundations.

"I see supper is ready," went on Bob. "By the way, was Mr. Vasty here?"

At once Mrs. Cromwell's face grew dark and troubled. It was an
aristocratic face, and plainly indicated that the lady had seen better
days.

"Yes, he was here, Bob."

"And what did he say?"

"We must leave on Monday. The cottage has been sold over our heads."

Tears stood in Mrs. Cromwell's eyes as she spoke.

"Sold!"

"Yes, my boy. He said he could wait no longer. He believes, as do all in
Sea Cove, that your father is dead."

"Perhaps he is," sighed Bob. "It is now over six months since the
_Bluebell_ went down. If he escaped in a small boat we should have heard
from him before this."

"Oh, I cannot believe your father dead, Bob," cried the mother, bursting
into tears. "If I thought that--" She did not finish.

Bob sat down to the supper table in silence. He had little heart to eat,
and swallowed the food mechanically.

Bob was seventeen years of age, bright, handsome, and fearless. He was
Mrs. Cromwell's only son and his father had been a sea captain.

We say, had been, for the _Bluebell_ had been wrecked some time before
and all in Sea Cove thought the captain dead--all saving Mrs. Cromwell,
who still hoped for his safe return--hoping, as it were, against hope.

Years before the Cromwells had been rich, owning four large trading
vessels. But bad luck had come and continued until the fortune dwindled
down to nothing but the ownership of the old _Bluebell_. It was then
that the captain had determined on a voyage to Alaska, taking with him a
party of men who wished to explore the new gold mines in that territory.

The _Bluebell_ was supposed to have gone down in sight of the coast and
only two of the survivors had thus far returned.

As time went by the little cottage, a poor affair at the best, was
mortgaged to pay outstanding debts. It was the last of the Cromwell
belongings.

Bob worked at the docks, handling freight. It was not what he had been
brought up to, but it was the best employment he could obtain in the
vicinity.

"I don't see what's to be done, Bob," said Mrs. Cromwell, during a lull
in the storm. "We must move and I have only three dollars in all."

"Oh, I forgot!" he suddenly exclaimed, and pulled a ten-dollar bill from
his pocket. "Here, mother, is a little to help us."

"Why, where in the world did you get that, Bob?" she ejaculated.

"A young gentleman gave it to me--insisted I should take it."

"What for?"

"He said I saved his life."

"And did you?"

"Well, I don't know--perhaps," mused Bob. "You see, it was Captain
Randolph Sumner, the gentleman who owns that splendid new yacht down to
Marcey's. He fell into the water right in front of the incoming steamer
_Flag_, and I fished him out just as he was on the point of being
struck. He was very grateful and made me keep the money, although I
didn't want it and told him so."

That was all Bob said. He was too modest to mention that Randolph Sumner
had called him a hero and that the crowd standing by had given him a
cheer for his bravery.

"Ten dollars is a windfall," began Mrs. Cromwell. "Now if we--Gracious,
the signal gun, Bob!"

Boom!

Bob sprang up from the table. He knew that sound only too well.

Boom!

"Ship has struck, mother!" he cried. "I must go down and see if I can
help in any way."

And waiting for no reply, the youth grabbed up his cap and storm coat
and rushed out into the storm.

Bob was right--a ship had struck. Away off through the mist and rain he
could see the colored lights and the flash of the gun, calling for help.

The lifeboat men were already out and getting ready to launch their
heavy craft.

"Look! look! The ship is going down!"

The cry thrilled everyone to the very heart. It was true. The stately
ship was sinking fast. Down she went and came up again, once, twice
--and then no more.

The lifeboat went out in a hurry, but it was of no avail. The storm had
done its work and all on board had perished.

No, not all. Walking at the foot of the cliff a little later, Bob heard
a low moan, and soon came upon the body of an aged seaman jammed in
between the rocks. The man was fearfully bruised and did nothing but
moan as the youth bore him up to the cottage.

Here he was made as comfortable as possible on a cot. It was an hour
before he was able to open his eyes.

"Where am I?" he asked faintly. "Oh, the storm. I was hit in the back--I
am dying; I know it. Take me to Mrs. Leon Cromwell."

At this utterance Mrs. Cromwell and Bob were both greatly astonished.

"I am Mrs. Cromwell, sir."

"You! It is not possible!"

"Mother tells the truth," put in Bob. "What do you want?"

"You are the wife of Leon Cromwell?"

"I am," said the woman.

"Heaven be praised! Who brought you to me?"

"I brought you to our cottage," returned Bob. "You lay unconscious on
the rocks."

"It is the work of Providence," murmured the sufferer. "I was on my way
hither when the storm overtook the _Mary Lee_. I--I--a drink--I am
fainting!"

Water with brandy was brought and the man revived a little. He glared
strangely at Mrs. Cromwell.

"I must speak quickly, for I am dying--I know it, feel it. I was sick on
board; that's why I know. The doctor said I couldn't live, and the storm
has only hastened matters. I want to talk to you about your husband."

"Is he alive?" came from mother and son simultaneously.

"He is--or was three months ago. At Zaruth, on the Siberian coast--where
the stone chest was left--we--more drink--quick!"

Again the sufferer had a relapse.

"The stone chest caused the trouble. There was gold and silver, and
after the wreck----"

"Never mind the gold and silver. Where is my husband?" interrupted Mrs.
Cromwell.

"I was going to tell you. We started for--for----" The man gasped for
breath. "It's my head. We started for the coast, when the people living
there who had seen the stone chest, got together and--oh!"

The sufferer fell back in a spasm of pain, from which it was almost
impossible to revive him. At last he spoke again.

"He was made a prisoner, and;--water, or I die--I can't drink--it is
growing dark--the papers in my pocket are for you--and may Heaven
forgive me!"

The man leaped almost to his feet, then fell back in another spasm. A
minute later he was dead. With tenderness mother and son cared for the
body. In one of the seaman's pockets was found a packet of papers yellow
with age.

Bob opened the packet and looked over the paper with interest. An hour
passed. Then the youth sprang to his feet.

"Mother, I am going to Cedar Island on the Siberian coast and to
father's rescue!" he cried, with sudden determination.



Chapter II.--Off For Zaruth.


"To Siberia--Cedar Island!"

"Yes, mother. From what I can make out, father is there, a prisoner of
some people called the Svlachkys, and all on account of a wonderful
stone chest, said to be filled with gold and silver."

"It cannot be true, Bob."

"I think it is. This dead sailor's name was Ruel Gross----"

"Ruel Gross!" Mrs. Cromwell started. "I heard of him before. Your father
said he possessed a wonderful secret."

"He did--about the stone chest. The whole truth is, so far as I can
understand, he got father to go up there in search of it. After it was
found they got into some trouble with the natives, and Ruel Gross
abandoned father to his fate. Here is a handmade map of the locality."

"Pray Heaven your father still lives," murmured Mrs. Cromwell. "But you
say you are going up there. How?"

"I don't know. But I'll find a way, even if I have to go up on a
whaler."

Mrs. Cromwell shook her head.

On the following morning the dead body of the sailor was turned over to
the village authorities.

Between them mother and son decided for the present to say nothing to
the simple fisher-folks concerning Ruel Gross' revelation.

"They'll sneer at us--that's all," said Bob.

But Bob confided in his chum, Jack Larmore, an orphan boy of his own
age. Jack was tremendously interested.

"Say, Bob, I'll go along, if you say the word," he said. "I'm sick of
Sea Cove and the mean folks living around here."

"All right."

That noon, when Bob returned home he found Captain Sumner present,
talking to his mother.

The captain had come to offer Bob a position on his yacht.

"I would like to go--if you're going up the coast," said Bob. "I want to
get to Alaska, and then to Cedar Island, off Siberia."

The rich yacht owner was much astonished. He proceeded to draw Bob out,
and an hour later had the youth's story in full. With Mrs. Cromwell he
looked over the papers and map.

Then he lit a cigar and began to pace up and down the parlor of the
cottage.

"I've half a mind to cruise up there," he said. "To me, one place is as
good as another. I love to roam the wide world over, and have already
been to the South Seas and to the coast of Africa. What if I should take
you up there, my boy?"

"Will you?" shouted Bob, in quick delight. "Do it, and you shall have
the contents of that stone chest--if we can get it."

"No, I'll only want my share of it," laughed Captain Sumner.

On the next day they talked the matter over once more. The captain was a
widower with one child, a girl of fifteen. The girl, whose name was
Viola, said she would like to go up the coast to new lands. But she
would like Mrs. Cromwell, or some other lady, to go along.

Persuaded by Bob, Mrs. Cromwell said she would undertake the trip, and
before they knew it, all arrangements were made.

The _Dart_, as the yacht was named, was sent to San Francisco for
stores, and three days later Bob and Mrs. Cromwell and Jack Larmore left
Sea Cove, and left it forever!

It is not the purpose of this tale to tell of all that happened ere the
_Dart_ put to sea on that memorable voyage up the coast to Alaska.

For awhile all went well on board. But one day there was trouble among
the crew. The trouble grew worse and three of the fellows had to be put
into irons.

They were let go later on, but ever after they showed their ugliness
only too plainly.

Bob and Jack were not idle while on board. Both did their full share of
work and both proved themselves good sailors.

A strong friendship sprang up between Mrs. Cromwell and Viola Sumner,
and the two became almost inseparable.

Bob found Captain Sumner a fine man to get along with, stern at times,
but always fair and square. He had, as he said, been a great rover, and
often told interesting stories of his adventures.

As days went by and they got further north it became colder. Then a
storm was encountered which took them many miles out of their course.

So suddenly did it fall upon them that the sails were blown to ribbons.

Viola Sumner, who was on deck, got drenched and nearly drowned. She was
saved by Bob only at peril of his life, and carried down into the cabin
nearly senseless.

And now we find the _Dart_ storm-beaten, but still water-tight, blown
far out to sea.

Bob, who had just come on deck, cast his eye first aloft, like the true
sailor he was becoming, and then around him.

Not more than half a mile distant towered an immense iceberg, its
topmost pinnacles glowing in the bright morning sun.

Other bergs floated to the southward, while to both east and west could
be seen long floes of rugged ice.

The yacht was trying to beat to the northward by making short tacks
through the ice-floes, but, as Bob could see, she made but little way.

"Have we done any good since I went below?" he asked Bok, a sailor who
was steering.

"No, faith, yer honor. The current sets so fast to the south that sorra
a bit more north do we make in an hour than I could throw a cat by her
tail. It's wearisome work, yer honor, and, be jabers! it's bitterly
cold."

Bob buttoned his pilot coat closer around him and shivered.

"You are right, Bok."

"Hullo, Bob!"

Our hero looked around and perceived Jack Larmore's head above the
companion.

"Come down to breakfast, before it's cold," cried Jack.

Our hero made a bolt down the ladder after his friend.

"What is your opinion, Bob, about the men?" asked Captain Sumner, as Bob
took his place at the table. "I mean the rascals I had to iron up last
week."

"Well, sir," replied our hero, "they seem to go about their duty all
right, but after our experience, we must never trust them."

"It's that scoundrel, Nockey, that I mistrust. The others are more fools
than knaves. He will never forgive that flogging I gave him."

"It served him all right," broke in Bob. "When we gave them the choice
of taking a couple of dozen or going ashore, not one hesitated."

"Well, even now, we have only eight hands and ourselves."

"What do you mean to do, papa?" broke in Viola. "Surely not go further
among these dreadful icebergs? I have read that ships are often crushed
by them."

"I should be only too glad to be out of these regions, dear; but, with
the wind and current against us, I don't know what to do."

As soon as breakfast was finished the captain went on deck. His eye
rested on the floe to the westward.

"Where are your eyes, you Irish lubber?" he shouted to the steersman.
"Don't you see yon ice closing in on us? You ought to have let me know
of this."

"Blest if I can see much change," muttered Bok.

"But I can. The channel is narrowed by half. We shall never get clear of
it before we are nipped. 'Bout ship, boys, and be smart!"

"All hands!" bellowed the mate.

In a couple of minutes the small crew were on deck, hauling in the ropes
and halyards.

The topsail-yards swung round, the helm was put hard down.

The sails shivered in the wind as the yacht came about.

"Put both the main- and fore-sails on her, Leeks. We must be out of this
trap as soon as possible," cried the captain.

It took some time to get full sail on the _Dart_.

Once done, however, she flew onward, with the wind on her quarter, at a
tremendous speed.

"Sixteen knots an hour! Bravo!" cried the captain. "Can't she move,
Bob?"

"That she can, sir. But I can't help dreading this still going through
the ice. There are few ships, except whalers, that have penetrated as
far as we, I should think."

"Right, sir. But desperate circumstances require desperate means. None
of us want to spend a winter here, and, though we happen to be fortunate
as to the time of year, another month or six weeks will see this sea
covered with ice."



Chapter III.--Among The Icebergs.


Bang! crash!

At that instant a shock nearly threw them off their feet.

Viola caught Bob's arm, and Mrs. Cromwell and the captain almost fell
together.

"We are foul of the ice!" shouted the mate, rushing forward.

"What!" roared the captain. "Where's that rascally lookout? Down with
helm! The sea is full of loose ice."

For the rest of the day the _Dart_ was dodging through hummocks of ice,
which looked as if a floe had been broken up by a storm.

When Bob came on deck for his watch at midnight, it was intensely dark.

A thin scud shut out the light of the stars and moon.

He was joined by Jack, for the two lads usually kept watch together.

"I am afraid we are in a tight fix," said the latter. "I doubt if we
shall ever again find our way home."

"Never say die," cried our hero. "But look! What's that yonder?"

The two chums peered into the darkness ahead.

"I think there is a blacker spot than the rest over the starboard bow,"
said Bob, after a while.

"There are some blue signal-lights here. I'll ignite one," suggested
Jack.

Retiring under shelter of the companionway he struck a light and ignited
the blue fire.

Clambering on to the bulwarks, and holding on to the forestay with one
hand, he held it above his head.

Right in front of them loomed two bergs, not a quarter of a mile apart,
the sea dashing in spray along their sides.

There was not a moment for hesitation.

"Port your helm!" sang out our hero. "Keep her so!" he added, as he saw
the bows of the schooner point for the narrow passage.

Jack lit another blue light, and thumped on the deck to wake those
below.

In half a minute Captain Sumner and the mate were beside them.

"The bergs are closing in on us," said the captain quietly. "Go to your
helm, Bok; it will be safer."

The bergs were more than a mile long, and the vessel, under easy sail,
was not making more than six knots an hour.

"Here, gentlemen, take the halyards, and rouse up the topgallant sails.
I won't trust the crew on deck till the last minute."

With the assistance of the man Bob had relieved at the wheel, they soon
had the topgallant sails, which had been furled, chock-a-block.

"It will be a narrow squeak," muttered the captain, as he glanced at the
icebergs, whose tops seemed quite close, though the bases were yet some
distance from the schooner.

"Is there any hope?" whispered a soft voice in our hero's ear.

"I trust so, Miss Viola," he answered. "See! yonder is the end of the
ice mountain on the starboard bow."

"But how close they are!"

"They look closer than they are in reality," he replied.

All the time he was wondering if their end had really come.

Suppose the wind were to fail!

Fortunately for them, however, caught between the two bergs, it rather
increased in force than diminished.

The icy tops seemed now ready to topple down on the deck.

The waves, running up the sides of the bergs, lifted the vessel on their
swell as they rebounded.

Fifty yards on either side towered the glittering mountains.

Thirty yards, twenty yards! and the salt spray of the billows, which
dashed on the icy cliffs, fell on deck.

Viola's hand was clasped in Bob's, and our hero felt some relief in
facing death with her and his mother.

"Call your comrades," cried Captain Sumner to the sailor. "Give them a
chance for life. Come, Mrs. Cromwell, Viola, Bob, Jack--all of you.
Prepare to jump for the ice, when we strike! It's our only hope!"



Chapter IV.--The Escape From The Icebergs.


To Captain Sumner it looked as if the _Dart_ would surely be crushed.

"Be prepared to jump!" he sang out again.

But even as he spoke a strong gust filled the yacht's topsails.

She plunged forward.

The starboard berg was left behind, and the sea on that bow was open.

Bok instantly shifted the helm.

The _Dart's_ head fell away from the danger on the port bow.

A few minutes passed.

Then, with a crash as if an earthquake had riven a mountain chain, the
two bergs met.

Our hero, who, with the others, was watching with breathless interest,
saw them rebound.

Huge blocks and pinnacles of ice, thousands of tons in weight, fell into
the gap between them.

Before these could rise to the surface the ice mountains had again
collided.

A crunching, rending sound struck the ears of our friends, as the two
monsters ground their sides against one another.

The rugged summits fell into the sea, and formed smaller bergs.

The yacht was lifted on to the top of the giant waves caused by the
concussion, then sank into the hollow, only to be caught up again by the
still higher swell.

But the danger was over!

After escaping so narrowly being crushed the _Dart_ found the sea free
from ice, and made good way to the southward.

However, about eight bells on the following day, a gale sprang up from
the northeast, which drove down the eastern floe in dangerous proximity.

The waves rose, and sheets of spray flew ever the fast-driven schooner.

It was so cold that, in spite of all the warm clothing they could find
on board, all hands felt numbed.

"Land ahead!" was an appalling cry which rang out suddenly.

Captain Sumner himself hurried forward.

A rough, rocky island, the waves dashing in foam against its low cliffs,
was discerned through the flying spray.

Already the edge of the eastern floe was crushing itself to pieces
against the projecting reefs.

On the right, or western side, was a lane of broken water.

To venture into it was very dangerous, but seemed their only chance.

Bok and another sailor were at the wheel.

Over it went, strained down by their united strength, and the _Dart_
dashed through the breaking water.

The western side of the island was about a mile long.

Twice, by porting the helm, the little vessel escaped clear of rocks,
over which the water spurted.

As she approached the southern end of the isle, Bok, who had been sent
into the foretop, shouted that again there was land ahead, and that the
passage between was full of ice.

The captain ascended the shrouds himself, halfway to the top.

"It's like a cauldron," he exclaimed on descending. "No ship, except
perhaps a very powerful steam whaler, could live in it.

"There is only one chance for us," he continued. "We must get under
shelter of this island."

As the south coast line opened, the helm was put down, and the vessel
was hove to under a high cliff and jutting cape, which protected her
from the rush of the ice-laden current.

Both anchors were at once let go.

Fortunately they found good holding ground.

All the rest of that day, and till dawn the next, did the gale rage; but
as the short night passed, the wind sank, and by midday it was but a
breeze.

The current running between the islands soon swept the ice away.

But before trusting himself in these strange waters the captain
determined to send a boat across to the greater island, on which rose a
rugged hill of considerable height.

Both Mrs. Cromwell and Viola begged for a run on shore, so the larger
boat was manned by Bok and three seamen, Bob and Jack each taking an
oar, while the captain and the women occupied the stern-sheets.



Chapter V.--The Arctic Island.


Once on the island, it was seen that the hill rose on its southernmost
point.

The ground was rocky, and covered with deep patches of snow in sheltered
places.

"I don't like the look of that," observed the captain. "That is this
year's snow. Once the frost sets in we are done."

Finding it hard work to traverse the direct route, they made for the
western shore.

Here, though they had to clamber over hillocks and steep rocks, they got
along quicker.

Suddenly Bok, who was in front, uttered a shout.

On the others hastening up they saw the cause of his astonishment.

Beached in a little bay, with her topmasts gone and the hulk lying over
on the port side, was a brig.

The water only washed her rudder-case, and the captain noticed, to his
dismay, a thin coating of ice fringing the shore of the inlet.

Not a sign of life was to be seen.

"We must examine her before we do anything else," exclaimed Bob.

Captain Sumner looked at his watch.

"We can spare an hour," he said, "but not more."

There was a rush down the steep rocks on to the sand.

Arriving alongside, for some time they could find no means of climbing
on board, till our hero found a rope hanging from the port-bow, which,
on being pulled, seemed strong and firm.

As soon as he, the captain, Bok, and one of the men were on deck, which
sloped acutely, Bob called to the ladies to say that he would fetch a
chair, or something to serve as one, and hoist them up.

To their surprise the companionway was not blocked with ice and the
doorway was shut.

It opened easily, and our hero was the first to descend.

An extraordinary scene presented itself to his eyes directly they got
accustomed to the gloom.

Seated at a table, some upright, others with their heads sunk in their
folded arms, which rested on the table, were the shrunken bodies of a
dozen or more men.

So life-like were they that not until he had summoned up courage to
touch one did Bob believe them dead.

Some empty bottles, and a cup or two, stood on the table.

They might have dropped to sleep after a carouse.

If they had it was the sleep of death.

Remembering his promise, Bob looked around for a chair.

Not seeing one unoccupied, he was obliged to lift up one of the bodies
and lay it on a locker.

Within another locker was found a length of stout rope, which seemed
uninjured, and, accompanied by Bok, he repaired on deck and hastened to
the side.

The chair was soon rigged, and Mrs. Cromwell and Viola were hauled on
board.

To prepare them for the ghastly sight, our hero told them and Jack what
they would see.

Opening a door at the bulkhead, Captain Sumner, closely followed by the
two lads and the others, stepped into a narrow passage, which had berths
on each side.

Passing through a second door they came into a square room, in which was
built a clay and stone fireplace.

The captain stopped short.

A fire smoldered on the hearth.

"Hullo!" cried the captain. "Someone still lives!"

"Yonder lies the body of a man!" exclaimed Viola, who had crept to Bob's
side and taken his arm between her hands.

"Don't be afraid," he whispered. "We must be glad that we have arrived
in time, if indeed we have."

The captain and Bob advanced to the prostrate man's side.

He was lying on a rug of seals' skins, with another pulled over him,
under which was a blanket.

"He lives!" cried the captain, placing his hand over the heart of the
unconscious man.

After a minute a faint color mantled his white cheek and he heaved a
long sigh.

Presently the eyelids trembled, and a moment later he opened them.

They rested on the captain, who was stooping over him.

A look of surprise came into them, but they almost immediately closed
again.

A dose of hot brandy was given.

This time he recovered considerably, and looked round him inquiringly.

"You will do now, my man," cried the captain encouragingly. "Try him
with the food," he added.

Mrs. Cromwell brought the roughly minced meat and soddened bread and
placed a spoonful in the sufferer's mouth.

He swallowed it eagerly.

After he had taken some half-dozen spoonfuls he turned his head on the
pillow and fell asleep.

"He will be all right now," whispered the captain. "But someone must
stay with him while we ransack the ship."

A second door led forward, and, leaving the watchers, the rest of the
party passed through it.

Forward was found a number of great casks, such as are used to receive
the blubber cut from the whale.

"She is a whaler, evidently," exclaimed the captain.

In the forecastle there was nothing except some hammocks and a chest or
two.

"We can get warmer clothing than what we possess, anyhow," remarked the
captain. "Now, what's the best thing to do?"

"We can carry the man back in a hammock," suggested one. "I doubt it,"
replied the captain. "What I propose is that some of us stay the night
with him, and we will return in the morning, by which time he will be
much stronger."

On their return to the square room, Bob and Jack volunteered to remain.

This done, Bok was delegated to bring them some supper.

On arriving Bok first fastened to the rope the package he had brought,
which was drawn on board, and then the rope was lowered again.

"Be jabers! but it's cold, it is," he cried. "If I might be so bold, I
would jist suggest that we should go down below. How is the dead man?"

"He isn't dead yet," replied Bob, laughing. "But he is sleeping still. I
hope you have brought something good for him."

"Good, is it? There's a tin of soup, and another of salmon, besides a
piece of seal, that Leeks shot while we were away.

"Then there is a bottle of wine--that's for yerselves and the sick
man--and half a bottle of good rum, which I hope I may have my share in.

"Faith, there is enough to make us as merry and comfortable as if we
were waking the dead man below there."



Chapter VI.--The Madman.


Taking the things with them, they hastily descended the companionway.

It was not without a shudder that they passed the many bodies.

As they were preparing supper they noticed the sick man stirring.

"Who are you?" he suddenly muttered.

"We are Americans, like yourself," replied Bob. "Here, have something to
eat?"

The man's eyes glistened.

"Give it me--quick!" he exclaimed, in a hoarse voice.

Jack, who had warmed some of the soup, brought it in a basin he had
found, with a spoon and a piece of bread.

Bob took it from him and fed the invalid slowly.

"More," cried the latter, when it was finished.

"Not yet," replied our hero. "Have a doze, and you shall have as much as
you want next time."

Giving him a glass of wine, they left him, and in a few minutes his
regular breathing showed that he slept again.

By this time the joint of seal was roasted, and the little party of
three sat down together.

"What can that noise come from?" exclaimed our hero, as he stayed his
fork halfway to his mouth to listen.

"I heard it once or twice before," returned Jack, "but thought it rats."

"Faith, but I hope there's no ghosts here," cried Bok. "Heaven stand
between us and harm."

"Bah! don't be foolish. It's rats, sure enough."

It was not long after this that the sick man sat up to partake of more
food.

This done, he told his story.

He said he belonged to the whaler, _Cross of Gold_, which had been
caught in a large icepack.

"This pack we attempted to cross," continued the sailor, "by dragging
our boats over rollers we had brought with us.

"On the third day, however, a snow-storm set in, and continued for
hours.

"Knowing as how time was valuable, after a rest, we tried to make our
way through the drifting snow.

"But, after toiling for a long while, we found ourselves back where we
started from.

"The captain, I and one or two others wanted to try again, but the rest
outvoted us.

"We, therefore, tried to turn the pack by coasting along it, but,
although we ran over a hundred miles along its edge, in a westerly
direction, never a lead did we come across which offered any hopes of
getting through.

"At length we came to the end, where it was joined on to another pack,
which extended to the south.

"This we ran along till we saw high land before us.

"But all the shore was a rampart of old ice, so that it was next to
impossible to approach.

"However, we killed quantities of seals and saw many whales floating in
the open water.

"We then determined to make once more for the brig and start anew,
taking an easterly route.

"But our luck was out. We lost many days in finding these islands, and
when we did get back to them, hardly had we got on board than the
weather broke up.

"For days the snow was driven in whirling clouds all around us.

"The decks were covered feet deep.

"It was impossible to get out in search of food, and we were almost
starved.

"At length the weather cleared up, and we, with difficulty, forced our
way on deck.

"The whole view was changed.

"A sharp frost had set in, and bound the snow-covered country with iron
bands.

"Fresh ice had formed round the brig.

"I don't want to tell of the horrors of that winter.

"Some of us were mad, I guess."

"But what of the men frozen to death in the cabin?" asked Bob.

"Well, sir, we had built this kitchen, and the fireplace, and most of us
in an evening would sit here and smoke.

"But dinner and supper was mostly taken in the cabin, where the big
table was.

"It was the very bitterest of weather.

"Food at last there was none, except a lump of seal.

"It had been so awfully cold that none had dared venture out hunting.

"It was my day for being cook, and as soon as the joint was done we
carried it into the cabin, which was warmed with a stove."

"Well, go on, man," exclaimed our hero, for the sailor had suddenly
stopped in his narrative, as if some distant sound had caught his ear.

"Beg pardon, sir. Well, in spite of the stove, the meat was no sooner
cut in slices than it was cold.

"I took mine back to the fire and rewarmed it.

"There was still a good supply of rum, and I took a swig at the bottle,
and then, whether because of the cold or the rum, I don't know, but I
fell sound asleep in front of the blaze.

"I woke up numbed with cold.

"The fire was nearly out, and the first thing I did was to make it up.

"Then, after heating myself a drop of grog, I fell to wondering what had
become of my comrades.

"I stumbled along the passage, which felt as cold as the grave, and
there, just as you see them now, sat our cap'n and his crew, frozen to
death.

"The fire in the stove was out, and the companion door open.

"I took up one of the bodies, after I had recovered my nerve a bit, and
dragged it along the passage into the kitchen.

"But I could not restore it to life, though I tried hard.

"So you see, sir, here have I been--Heaven in mercy! what's that?"

The sick sailor had risen to his feet.

Bob and Jack had done the same.

Bok crouched near the fire, with a horror-struck look in his eyes.

"It's the dead walking, maybe," he gasped.

A muffled thump, thump, thump! was again heard.

A minute or more passed.

Then our hero again seized a brand, and made a rush along the cabin
passage.

Jack followed, and after him Bok.

A glance sufficed.

The body from the head of the table had disappeared.

"What can it mean?" exclaimed Jack. "I don't think I am a coward, but
this is horrible."

"Something in that sick man's face tells me he has not spoken all the
truth. We must have it out of him," said our hero.

But at that moment a mournful howl came from above.

Rushing to where their arms were stacked, Bob and Jack seized each a
rifle and made their way on deck, not heeding, in their excitement, a
cry not to fire from Horton, the sick man.

On lifting their eyes aloft they beheld a singular-looking object gazing
at them over the edge of the foretop.

It appeared to be some huge animal, though of what kind they could not
make out.

Scarcely waiting to consider what they were doing, Bob and Jack prepared
to fire.

A wild shriek echoed along the deck.

"Stop that noise!" cried Bob, glancing round and seeing that Horton had
managed to ascend the companion ladder.

Bob had thrown up his rifle to his shoulder, when the weak voice of the
sailor arrested him in the act of firing.

"For heaven's sake, sir, don't fire! It's murder, nothing else."

As Horton spoke, the object of his solicitude, with incredible speed,
slid down the forestay and disappeared through the scuttle of the
forecastle.

"Please, sir, listen to me."

"All right; only be quick, and don't talk such nonsense about it's being
murder."

With their guns in their hands, and taking good care to shut the door
both at the top and bottom of the companionway, the two lads followed
Bok and Horton through the dark death-cabin and passage to the kitchen,
lit up by the cheerful firelight.

"Now, say what you have to, and be quick about it," cried our hero. "I
can't rest quiet when a huge wild animal is within a few yards of us,
though how it got there I can't imagine, for I thought there were no
such things in the polar regions."

"That animal, as you call him, is Charlow, one of our sailors. He has
gone mad."

No more was just then seen or heard of the crazy sailor, and the party
retired for the balance of the night.

When the captain came from the yacht he brought Mrs. Cromwell and Viola
with him, but left them in the small boat.

Bob quickly repeated Horton's tale.

"We must capture that madman and bind him with ropes," said Captain
Sumner.

To this all, including Horton, agreed.

The descent to where the madman had disappeared was quickly made, but he
could not be found.

"Hark!" cried Bob suddenly.

A wild cry of alarm arose on the cold air, coming from off the water.

"It's my mother and Miss Viola crying for help!" Bob went on.

"We must get to them at once!" returned Captain Sumner.

The party were quickly on the snow, running toward the small boat, Bob
and Jack leading.

When they came in sight of the craft a scene met their gaze which filled
them with horror.

The madman had boarded the boat and was in the act of shoving off.

Terror-stricken, Mrs. Cromwell and Viola shrank back on the stern
sheets.

"Stop! stop!" yelled Bob.

With a snarl the madman bent to his work. Soon the boat was in deep
water.

In desperation Bob leaped into the water after it.

Ere he could reach the craft the madman picked up the long ice pole and
aimed a vicious prod with it at our hero's breast.

Bob was struck squarely, and on the instant disappeared beneath the
surface with the shrill laugh of the crazy sailor ringing in his ears.



Chapter VII.--A Fearful Fall.


"Where am I? Where are mother and Miss Viola?"

It was Bob who spoke. Jack Larmore stood over him in the snow.

"You're all right--I got you out of the water," Jack made answer.

"And the others?"

"Gone."

"Gone! In the power of that madman?"

"Yes."

Bob gave a groan and leaped up. His breast hurt him not a little.

"Where is Captain Sumner?"

"The yacht has given chase. Look!"

Jack pointed up the coast. The yacht was disappearing around a distant
point.

But in a hour the vessel returned. The captain's sad face told his
story. He had been unable to catch the crazy fugitive and rescue his
daughter and Mrs. Cromwell.

What was to be done? Night came on rapidly, and they were compelled to
wait until morning.

At early dawn Bob and Jack commenced to climb a near-by hill of ice to
look for the small boat.

It was perilous work, but they did not falter.

At length they reached the level summit and glanced down.

The yacht looked beautiful as she lay to, with her topsails backed, and
every movement of the figures on deck could be distinctly seen.

Crossing some rough, porous ice, they came to the pinnacle.

This was rougher than it had looked from below, and they found not much
difficulty in mounting.

Soon they reached the summit, or, rather, within a few yards of it,
where there was a tolerably safe and level spot.

With anxious speed, Bob extended the telescope, which he had carried
slung over his shoulder.

For some time he swept the ocean in vain, but at length, far to the
westward, just on the edge of the horizon, he caught sight of a white
speck, which could be nothing but a sail.

"Look, Jack, and tell me what you think!" he exclaimed.

"I can see it!" cried the latter, after a lengthened search. "I agree
with you--it must be a boat-sail; anyway, it's too distant to be a
bird's wing. It must be many miles off."

"Let's make haste and descend!" cried our hero. "My chest, where the
fellow struck me, is getting stiff up here in this rare air."

Most haste less speed.

They had reached within twenty feet of the level portion of the berg
when our hero slipped.

His arm could not bear his weight, and he half fell, half slid rapidly
to the bottom of the peak.

"Are you much hurt, old fellow?" exclaimed Jack, as soon as he could
reach his friend's side.

"Only bruised, I think. Just help me up."

When assisted to his feet it was evident that Bob had twisted his ankle,
or slightly strained it.

"Misfortunes never come alone," he said, with a laugh. "We must get on.
If I find the descent difficult, you must help me."

A stream of water from the melting of the ice on the peak ran along in a
little channel it had worn, to where it came to the ravine.

Here it fell over in a cascade, and divided, one part, now joined by
other trickling streams, descended the gorge into the sea, the other
flowing into the mouth of an ice cavern.

The friends had crossed about half the summit of the berg when a sudden
gust of wind, forming an eddy, blew up a cloud of ice dust.

These tiny particles stung like needle points when carried by the breeze
against the faces of the two boys.

They had to stand still and cover their eyes with their hands.

When the dust subsided they again hurried forward.

At the edge of the ravine a fiercer gust than the first hurled up
millions of icy particles.

They glittered like a cloud of diamond dust in the sun's rays.

Wishing to escape, both the lads dropped on to the lower ledge.

"It's worse here than ever," exclaimed Bob, holding his rifle in one
hand and placing the other so as partly to protect his face. "Let's get
into yonder cave."

They both ran toward it--that is, Jack ran, and Bob hobbled after.

The former had only just time to see that the floor of the cavern sank
at a sharp angle, when he felt his feet fly from under him.

Our hero, arriving at the cave's mouth at the instant of his friend's
fall, was horror-struck to see him slide on his side toward the edge of
a dark abyss, over which the water trickled.

"Help, Bob!" cried Jack, in vain trying to regain his feet.

Our hero clearly saw the fearful danger of his comrade's position.

Jack's feet were already over the edge.

"I am gone! Help!" he gasped.

Then, with a stifled cry, he disappeared over verge of the abyss.



Chapter VIII.--A Remarkable Story.


"Jack! Jack!" shouted Bob.

A sound as of falling rocks or ice blocks reached his ears, but no
answering voice.

The echoes of the falling masses died away.

Bob was filled with dismay at the dreadful ending of his chum.

He had reached his gun to him, but Larmore had been unable to grasp it.

He shuddered as he thought of Jack's feelings as he felt himself
shooting over the precipice.

There was nothing to do but to return.

He found, lame as he was, the path extremely difficult.

But at length he reached the yacht and told his story.

"It's dreadful," said Captain Sumner. "First my daughter and your
mother, and now your friend, a young gentleman we all liked and I, for
one, looked on as a comrade, for we fought side by side against that
rascally crew of ours."

The captain was quite affected.

When the _Dart_ was once more going through the water in the direction
in which Bob had seen what he took for a boat sail, he came to the side
of our hero, who stood leaning on the after-bulwarks, gazing at the
berg, whose southern point they were now passing.

"He was a fine young fellow!" he exclaimed, "and would have made a good
officer.

"But what are you looking at?"

"A seal, sir," said Bob. "Don't you see it, lying in the shade of that
block of ice, on the ledge, lapped by the swell?"

"Seals don't lie in the shade--they bask in the sun. Give me the glass,
Bob."

But our hero was already drawing it out to his focus.

No sooner did he get it pointed correctly than he uttered a cry of
surprise.

"That's his body!" he exclaimed. "At all events, a man's body. How on
earth did it come there?"

A small boat was still towing astern.

Bob, forgetful of his sprain, lowered himself into her, and grasped the
oars, while the captain followed.

"Hold hard!" shouted the mate.

Our hero impatiently, though he never for a moment expected to find his
friend alive, complied.

In two minutes Leeks reappeared and let down a flask into the boat.

Our hero dashed the oars into the water, and the small boat moved faster
over the heaving face of the ocean than she had ever done before.

"Don't deceive yourself. If it is your friend, he can't be alive," said
the captain, as they approached the body of the ledge.

"It is Jack!" he added, a couple of minutes later. "But how on earth did
he come there?"

Another score of vigorous strokes brought the little boat alongside the
berg.

Hardly waiting to fasten the painter, they rushed to the body.

It was lying on its back, and as Bob bent over it he noticed a faint
tinge of color on the cheek.

"He's only stunned, I believe, after all," cried our hero.

The captain unscrewed the top of the flask and poured a mouthful of wine
between the teeth of the senseless lad.

In a minute it took effect.

Jack sighed and opened his eyes.

"Let's get him on board the yacht at once," exclaimed the captain.

First, however, he passed his hand along each limb, and then felt Jack's
ribs.

The patient winced at the last experiment and uttered a low cry.

"Legs and arms all right," muttered the captain, as he with our hero's
help carried the boy to the small boat; "so, if a rib's broken, he must
consider himself well out of a bad scrape."

Bob again pulled his hardest, and when alongside the yacht his comrade
with some difficulty was got on board.

It was not until late that evening that Jack was able to tell of his
wonderful escape.

"I don't know much about it," he said, "but never shall I forget the
awful feeling as I shot over the edge of the precipice.

"Of course I thought that I should fall down a well that penetrated
right through the berg into the sea.

"However, instead of that, I did not fall a great distance before I came
down feet first among a lot of pieces of loose ice, or, if not loose,
they gave way with me, and together we went clattering down a second
slope.

"All of a sudden I was pulled up by my rifle, which was slung round my
shoulders, getting jammed across the passage.

"I tried to gain my feet, but failed; the slope was too smooth and
steep.

"There was but one thing for it, and that was to go on.

"I slipped the sling over my head, and away I went again.

"Then came another fall.

"This nearly knocked me senseless.

"I just remember another slide, then daylight, then a last fall, and I
lost all consciousness, only coming to myself to find you leaning over
me."

"How is your side?" asked the captain. "Your escape was most wonderful.
Another foot farther, and you would have been drowned."

"It was, as you say, a narrow escape. As for my side, I must say it's
rather painful."

However, on the captain pressing it, he came to the conclusion that no
ribs were broken.

It was bandaged up, and Jack was able to walk about, thankful that
things were not worse.



Chapter IX.--The Volcano Of Ice.


For three long days the _Dart_ bore away northwest, the direction in
which the last had been seen of the missing boat.

"Luckily it's the right course to steer for the Siberian coast,"
remarked the captain, as he sat over his wine after midday dinner. "We
shall sight the high land to-morrow morning, if not before"

"Surely we shall come across the boat in time, captain?" remarked Bob.

"Well, we have had wonderfully fine weather," replied the captain. "But,
after all she was but a cutter, handled by a lunatic."

And he and Bob interchanged looks of despair as they ascended the
companion ladder.

"Bok, go to the foremast-head," ordered the captain. "Take the glass,
and have a look around."

The sailor slung the telescope over his shoulder and nimbly mounted the
rigging.

When he arrived at the topgallant-yard he passed his arm round the
skypole, and, adjusting the glass, swept the line of the horizon.

There was a long pause.

"Deck ahoy!"

"What is it?" bellowed the captain.

"Sure, there is a mist, or smoke right ahead, and above it I see what
looks like the top of a mountain," replied the Irishman.

"Nothing else?"

"There is a low, flat berg."

"Nothing more? No sign of a boat-sail?"

"Nothing the size of a pocket handkerchief, yer honor."

"Well, we must give up the search for the present and start for the
Siberian shore. But I give you my word, Bob, I shall not give up this
hunt for many a week."

The wind fell light, and the _Dart_ did not make more than three knots
an hour during that afternoon.

The strange misty appearance still hung over the water.

They were gradually approaching it, and it was not more than a couple of
miles ahead, when, as the sun set, the captain and the two boys went to
supper, leaving Leeks in charge of the deck.

They had just finished their meal when the latter shouted down the
companion for them to come up.

An extraordinary scene met their gaze when they reached the deck.

The yacht was still in moderately smooth water, but a quarter of a mile
before her the sea was covered with a thick mist, while it was tossed
hither and thither in tumbling waves, which met and crossed one another
in wild confusion.

As they looked a thick body of smoke was belched from the midst of the
turmoil.

"Port! hard aport!" shouted the captain. "Round with the yards! Flatten
in the jib! Be smart, there!"

Rushing forward, followed by Bok and Jack, the captain himself seized
the rope and aided the sailors to execute his orders, while Leeks
attended to the jib.

Bok was at the wheel.

When on the new tack the _Dart_ was not a cable's length from the
boiling water.

"It's a subterranean eruption!" exclaimed the captain. "Look--look
yonder!"

Where he pointed, from the midst of the curling waves, a great black
patch of what seemed to be mud rose above the surface.

Round it were thick columns of smoke, which instantly shut it out from
view.

The wind chopped round, and a fierce gust came, laden with steam and
smoke, from the north.

The yacht heeled over till her copper sheeting gleamed above the
water-line.

Gasping for breath, for a fearful stench accompanied the smoke, which
enveloped them, all on board could do nothing but hold on to whatever
was handiest.

A rushing, roaring sound filled their ears as the _Dart_ dashed onward,
throwing the boiling water in showers of spray over her bows.

The men forward were forced to stagger aft.

It looked as if the _Dart_ was doomed!



Chapter X.--The Escape Of The "Dart."


For fully ten minutes no one could tell whether the yacht would right
herself or not.

Captain Sumner, aided by our hero and Jack, at length found the
topgallant halyards, and lowered the sail in the peak.

We say found, for the darkness was intense.

Then the gallant little vessel, as if freed from an overpowering load,
came up to her bracings.

Once more she flew with increased speed through the water.

A few seconds and the star-lit sky again appeared overhead, and the
rolling smoke wreaths were left behind.

"Heavens!" cried the captain; "never in all my life have I seen the
like. What a death to have escaped!"

As if exhausted with its own fury, the squall subsided as suddenly as it
had sprung up. The smoke gradually blew away.

And there, over the starboard quarter, some two miles distant, lay a
long, low, black island.

"Look! look!" yelled Bob suddenly.

All eyes followed his outstretched hand.

There on the shore rested a familiar-looking boat, containing three
figures--Mrs. Cromwell, Viola, and the madman.

Mrs. Cromwell and Viola were waving their hands. Then, assured they were
seen, both fell back unconscious.

As for the mad sailor, he never stirred. He was dead.

It did not take the captain and Bob long to reach the women folks. They
were taken on board the _Dart_, and, after Bob had kissed his mother and
the captain had hugged his daughter, and both were given food, they told
their story.

"When the madman struck Bob I nearly fainted," said Mrs. Cromwell. "When
I came to he had hoisted the sail, and we were leaving the shore. The
crazy fellow was eating some ship biscuit, which lay in a basket.

"When the madman had appeased his hunger he looked at us for some
minutes without speaking.

"We were dreadfully frightened, but he never once came aft to annoy us.

"He placed some tinned meat and water near us, and then sat by the mast,
singing loudly and rocking himself backward and forward.

"Viola and myself slept in turn; but the madman sat in the bow, looking
out ahead, hour after hour.

"When the wind rose and the waves broke into the cutter he reefed the
sail, and managed her wonderfully well.

"Still he never spoke.

"A shower fell, and Viola and myself collected the water and had a good
drink.

"Another time snow fell.

"This also we collected and put into the barrel.

"Time after time a fresh can of meat was placed out for us.

"But we ate very sparingly.

"I think at this period the man's senses were returning to him, for soon
after he spoke.

"He told us he did not know where we were, but trusted it was off the
coast of Siberia, and that we had every chance of being picked up.

"He said that his name was Charlow, and that he had been mate of a brig
that had been wrecked, but he had gone mad through misery, loneliness,
and want.

"We had just sighted the coast, when first the smoke from your vessel
came into view.

"Charlow was very weak, but he altered the direction the boat was going,
and told us how to steer toward you.

"Presently the yacht came in sight, and we tried to get him to put us on
board; but he was too weak, and just before Bob saw us he breathed his
last."

Such was Mrs. Cromwell's narrative, and Viola corroborated it.

A happy day was spent on board of the _Dart_. "I trust we are never
separated again," said Bob to his mother.

"So do I, Bob," she returned fondly. Then she gave a sigh. "I wonder
when we will reach Cedar Island. I see nothing like cedar trees around
here."

"The map has but one cedar on it," he returned. "It must have floated up
here in the water and taken root in the ice. Even Captain Sumner can't
understand that part of it."

On the following day the _Dart_ again set sail for the coast of Siberia.

They were well into the sea of Kamtchatka, and felt that they must soon
strike the spot mentioned in Ruel Gross' memorandums, if the old sailor
had taken his observations correctly.

"If only we were sure father was alive!" Bob murmured more than once.

Three days passed, and Bob was one morning in the foretop when suddenly
he gave a wild shout.

"Land ahoy!"

"Where away?" asked Captain Sumner quickly.

For from the deck nothing but icebergs were to be seen.

"To the northwest, sir. Will you let me have the glass?"

The glass was quickly brought and adjusted. The captain gave one glance.

"Ah! Bob, look!"

The boy did so, and then gave a shout that brought everyone on board on
deck.

"Cedar Island!"



Chapter XI.--Among A Strange Foe.


It was true.

Far off to the northwest they could see the shore of a land that was
covered with ice and snow.

The snow was of a reddish color, and the ice a deep blue.

But this was not all, nor by far the strangest part of the picture.

On the top of a hill, amid the snow, there stood a large cedar tree.

Its heavy branches swayed in the breeze mournfully; for though standing
as if planted, the tree was dead.

For several minutes those on the _Dart_ viewed the scene.

Then Bob broke the spell.

"Do you know what I think?" he said.

"I think that dead cedar was stuck up on the hill for a guide."

"Perhaps you are right," returned Captain Sumner. "One thing is
certain--we have reached Cedar Island, as Gross called it. Probably the
ground has a Russian name a yard long."

"Let us waste no time in getting ashore," cried Bob. "My father may be
waiting for us!"

At this the captain said nothing, not wishing to hurt the boy's
feelings. But the _Dart_ continued on her course, and soon they dropped
anchor in deep water but a few rods from the edge of the land.

Bob was the first to enter the small boat. He was followed by the
captain and Jack and two sailors.

The shore of the land reached, they gazed around curiously.

"Looks deserted," said Bob, in a disappointed tone of voice. "But come
on up to the cedar. We may be able to discover something from the top of
the hill." The ascent was quickly made by Bob, but scarcely was the top
gained than a shout was heard from below.

"Savages!"

Bob was right. The sight that met his eyes startled him as he had never
been startled before.

Rushing forward, they perceived the yacht surrounded by a half-score of
canoes.

Two others were drawn up on the beach, and half a dozen or more
copper-colored savages were standing round the dingy.

"We must save our boat at any cost!" cried Captain Sumner.

As they dashed down the hill the savages turned, armed with clubs, to
face them.

One was bending a bow, but a shot from Bob's gun broke his arm.

Jack also fired, and the aborigines, all save one, took to flight,
jumping into one of the canoes.

This brave chief, for such he looked, wielding a heavy club with both
hands, rushed at our hero.

Bob threw up his gun to parry the blow.

The weapon was struck from his hand, but the blow fell harmless.

Before the tall savage could regain his balance Bob bounded on him,
clasping him round the body.

But if our hero was strong, the native was stronger.

Dropping his club, he seized his adversary's throat, and, forcing back
his head, made him relinquish his hold.

Then, seizing him round the waist, he flung him at the captain, whom he
upset, at the same instant springing into the sea and swimming after his
companions.

The whole affair did not last a minute.

Jack, who had reloaded, fired upon the overcrowded canoe.

Two paddles fell into the water and drifted away.

No sooner did they clamber on board than they were saluted with a score
of spears, which stuck in the masts and deck, one passing through the
fleshy part of a sailor's arm.

"Here, man, go below and bathe it in brandy," cried the captain. "Drink
some, too. The rest of you get under shelter of the bulwarks.

"I have heard that these fellows poison their spears and arrowheads," he
continued to our hero.

"Will they come back, do you think?" questioned Bob.

"Perhaps--we must remain on guard."

The next few hours were very anxious ones on board of the _Dart_.



Chapter XII.--Bob's Discovery.


Night came, and the hostile natives showed no sign of returning.

A strict watch was kept until morning, but nothing out of the ordinary
happened.

In the meantime Captain Sumner and Bob examined the map with great care
and also read and reread the papers Ruel Gross had left behind him.

"Let us go on another tour of exploration," said the captain, on the
following day. "If those natives come back Bok can fire a gun to warn
us."

The boy readily agreed and they set off without delay.

Once under the dead cedar tree they looked around them curiously.

A short distance further inland they saw a hollow, which had evidently
at one time been a camp.

Tin cans were strewn around, along with a number of fish and animal
bones.

"I wonder if father and Ruel Gross once encamped here?" thought Bob.

Hardly had the idea occurred to him than Captain Sumner set up a shout.

He was pointing to a post set up in the ice. To the top of the post was
attached a rude sign, which read:

"To the Svlachkys' Camp--One Mile."

"Hurrah! here's a discovery!" cried Bob. "Shall we go on?"

"Yes; but let us advance with extreme caution. These Svlachkys may be
very bad people."

"Undoubtedly there are, or they wouldn't keep my father a prisoner,"
rejoined Bob.

"That signpost must be the work of Ruel Gross," went on the captain.
"The savages haven't dared to touch it, thinking there was something
supernatural attached to it--something to injure them."

On went the captain and Bob, down one hill of ice and up another. It was
extremely cold, but neither minded that.

At last they reached a portion of the island that was very uneven. Great
chasms yawned to the right and left of them. It was with difficulty that
they pushed forward.

But they were bound to go on, and go they did, until at the mouth of
what looked like a cave of ice the captain called a halt.

"Listen!" he whispered. "I hear voices."

Bob listened. Captain Sumner was right. From the cavern came the sounds
of several human tongues.

"They are not speaking Russian," said the captain. "Perhaps we have
stumbled upon more savages."

Hardly had he spoken when three human beings came into view.

They were bundled up in furs, in strong contrast to the other natives,
who had scarcely any body-covering.

The new-comers were jabbering among themselves at a great rate.
Presently they came to a halt before a large slab of ice.

They tugged and pounded on this until the slab fell to one side,
revealing a strange-looking opening.

"What are they up to now?" whispered Bob.

"I don't know--wait."

They waited. Presently the three men disappeared within the opening.
Soon a smoke came out, and they saw that firebrands had been lit to
light up the scene.

"That may be the place where the stone chest is kept," said Bob.

"More likely it is a burial place," replied Captain Sumner. "I've seen
such spots before. Maybe they're preparing for a funeral."

"Can't we get a little closer to them?"

"It would not be safe. Hark!"

From a distance they heard the mournful toot of a large horn.

"That's a funeral horn, I'm sure," said the captain. "If they are coming
this way we had better--Hullo! look!"

The captain pointed to an opening to their left.

A band of men were advancing.

They were guarding a prisoner--a white man, who walked in their midst.

Bob gave the white man one swift look, and then shrieked out at the top
of his voice:

"It's my father!"



Chapter XIII.--The Big Polar Bear.


"Your father!" cried Captain Sumner.

"Yes, my father," repeated Bob, in high excitement. "What shall we do?"

He felt like rushing forward, but the captain restrained him.

"We can do nothing against such a force of men," he said. "Wait--or--"
He hesitated.

"What?"

"You or I might go back to the _Dart_ for help. Every man on board can
come heavily armed. When these people see our number they may be willing
to talk reasonably to us."

"That's so, but I hate to leave," returned Bob. "They may do some harm
to my father in the meantime."

"Then I will go, Bob. But mind, keep shady, unless they do something
very bad."

Bob promised, and without delay Captain Sumner started on the return to
the _Dart_.

With a wildly beating heart Bob watched the people who held his father a
captive.

They were marching along silently now and did not stop until the center
of the cave of ice was reached.

Here the party assembled in a circle at a point where there was a slight
elevation.

Two of the men had axes, and with these they began to chop at the
elevation, causing the pieces of ice to fly in all directions.

"Now what are they going to do?" thought our hero.

Presently he heard a slight noise behind him. Somewhat startled, he
turned around to find himself face to face with a monstrous polar bear!

The beast had just discovered Bob. For a moment he stood still.

Then with a growl he leaped directly for the astonished youth.

Had Bob not sprung out of the way the bear would have landed on his
head.

But Bob moved with the quickness of lightning, and this saved his life.

The bear, however, came down so close to the boy's side that our hero
had no time left to fire at him.

He struck the bear one hasty blow with his gun stock and then ran for
dear life.

Recovering, the huge beast came after him.

Although a heavyweight, the bear managed to cover the ground with
incredible swiftness.

Down the side of the icy hill went Bob, with the bear less than a dozen
feet in the rear.

The plain below reached, Bob scarcely knew which way to turn.

The bear uttered growl after growl, showing that he was working himself
up to a perfect fury.

"I must get to the yacht, if possible," thought Bob, and headed in the
direction without delay.

On and on came the polar bear.

He did not seem to gain, neither did he lose.

So far the race had been about even, but Bob felt he could not keep up
that terrific strain much longer.

As he ran he fingered his gun nervously.

Should he risk a shot?

"I must do something," he said to himself desperately.

And wheeling about he took hasty aim and blazed away.

The shot was not a bad one. The bullet struck the polar bear in the side
of the head, causing him to stagger back and halt.

On went Bob again, and by the time the bear recovered sufficiently to
continue the pursuit he was nearly fifty yards in advance.

But the bear was undaunted, and on he came as swiftly as before.

Once Bob stumbled and almost gave himself up for lost.

But he scrambled up quickly, and was relieved to see the bear stop, not
being able to make out what was about to happen.

Then on went again, until, with a cry of terror, Bob leaped back.

He had reached the edge of a swiftly flowing stream, which ran between
smooth banks of ice.

To attempt to leap that body of water would be highly dangerous, and to
enter it might cost him his life.

And now the polar bear was at his very heels.



Chapter XIV.--The Finding Of The Stone Chest.


"Help! help!"

Why he uttered the cry Bob could scarcely tell.

He did not imagine that any human beings were within sound of his voice.

Yet it is natural for a person in mortal peril to cry for assistance.

Luckily his cries were heard.

Captain Sumner was returning from the _Dart_, having hastily summoned
Bok, Leeks, and the others.

Glancing in the direction, he saw the polar bear and then Bob.

He did not stop to think, but, taking hasty aim, fired.

Bok also discharged his weapon, and, hit twice in the neck, the beast
staggered back.

Bob now saw his friends, and, running up the stream, joined them.

With so many against him the bear tried to flee, but a second bullet
from the captain's gun finished him.

"Oh, how thankful I am that you have come," cried Bob gratefully. "I
thought I was a goner."

"Don't waste time here," exclaimed Captain Sumner. "These shots will
alarm those people we left at the ice cave."

"That is true," said Bob. "Come on--we must rescue my father!"

And he led the way, with the captain at his side.

It was a rough journey up the side of the hill again, and more than once
they had to stop to catch their breath.

At the top a surprise awaited them.

The band of strange people had disappeared!

At first Bob could scarcely believe his eyes.

"Where are they?"

"Gone!"

"But to where? I can't see them anywhere."

Captain Sumner shook his head.

A telescope was brought into play, but it did no good.

Captors and captive had alike gone, no one could tell where.

A consultation was held, and it was decided to explore the cave before
going back to the _Dart_.

The descent into the cold spot was not easy, and more than once a member
of the party was in danger of breaking a leg.

The bottom reached they made their way to the place where the men had
been at work with their axes.

They had cut out a square hole two by three feet and six feet deep.

Gazing down into the bottom of the hole, Bob gave a shout:

"The stone chest, as sure as I live!"

"What!" cried the captain.

He too looked into the opening.

There rested what at first looked to the a square stone of a
whitish-blue color.

But a closer examination proved that it was really a stone chest, having
two immense hinges of iron. How had the object come there?

"I believe those people were going to dig it out when our firing
frightened them off," said Captain Sumner.

"Let us see what the chest contains," returned Bob, in high curiosity.

The others were willing, and by the united efforts of the sailors the
top of the chest was pried back.

A murmur of astonishment went up.

The chest contained three iron pots, one filled with silver and the
others filled with gold!

"The treasure, sure enough!" ejaculated Jack, who had come along with
the sailors.

"There are thousands of dollars there!" said Captain Sumner.

"We ought to take the stuff on board of the _Dart_," put in Bok. "'Taint
no use to leave it out here."

The others agreed with him.

In the chest were two fur-covered sacks, and these the party used,
filling them up to the top.

In the midst of the work a far-away shot was heard. Two more followed in
quick succession.

"'Tis an alarm from the yacht," cried the captain. "I told my daughter
and Mrs. Cromwell to fire in case anything turned up."

Without delay the sailors were sent off in advance.

Captain Sumner, Bob, and Jack started to follow with the treasure sacks,
when a shout went up and a band of the hostile savages appeared at the
far end of the ice cave.

"We must run for it!" yelled Bob. "Come on--for the ship!"

"Give them a volley first!" shouted the captain.

Six shots, poured into the advancing troop, threw them into confusion.

As the treasure-seekers turned to run a spear glanced over our hero's
shoulder and stuck quivering in the ground a dozen yards beyond.

At the top of their speed they rushed toward the shore.

At first they fancied they were not pursued.

After going a hundred yards, however, a wild yell and the patter of feet
told them they would have to do their best.

Encumbered as they were, with both the lads partly disabled and the
captain no speedy runner, the savages soon gained on them.

"We must give them another volley!" panted the captain.

Though the guns chosen were breech-loaders, it took some little time to
reload them whilst at a run.

Suddenly Bob felt a shock, which nearly made him fall.

However, he recovered himself with a stagger.

"The sack saved you," gasped Captain Sumner. "But for that the spear
would have pierced your back. Now wheel round and fire!"

As they fronted the natives they found that not thirty yards divided
them.

At that short range every bullet told.

Three men fell dead, and as many were wounded.

The captain gave them a couple of shots from his revolver before he once
more turned and ran for his life.

"That accounts for about half them," exclaimed our hero.

As they gained the head of the beach Jack stopped short.

"Go on!" he gasped. "My side! I am stuck!"

Bob put his arm through that of his friend, who had dropped his gun, and
dragged him onward.

The captain turned and fired the remaining chambers of his revolver
among the crowd, now within a score of yards.

The small boat was in waiting, and into it they tumbled, amid a storm of
spears.

Both the captain and Bok, who rowed, were stuck.

Our hero seized the oars from the hands of the latter and pulled with
all his strength for the yacht.

The gunwale of the little boat was almost level with the water.

It was slow work.

Luckily, nearly all the enemies' spears were exhausted.

An arrow pierced Bob's cap, and the last spear which was thrown again
wounded the captain, piercing his leg.

Fortunately the distance was so far that it only entered about an inch
and fell out from its own weight.

Our hero and the captain clambered on board the schooner.

Jack was exhausted, but still clung to his bag of silver.

Scarcely had they gained the deck when a yell broke from the dark waters
around them, and spears and arrows fell on all sides.

Every gun on board was now fired at the savages.

Yet they came on as if determined to kill every white person in sight.



Chapter XV.--Bob Rescues His Father--Conclusion.


The savages were pressing close upon the _Dart_. Something must be done.

"Slip the cable!" shouted the captain. "Up with the jib, topgallant
sails, and gaff!"

"We must trust to weathering the point," he added to the mate. "If we
do, we are safe. The current will carry us to sea."

His orders were executed.

The wind fortunately blew from the southward, and, filling the light
sails, carried the _Dart_ off the shore.

The yacht's head paid off, and, answering her helm, she, with the tide
in her favor, bore seaward.

A few parting shots, and the _Dart_, now feeling the full force of the
wind, left the fleet of canoes far behind.

The next few hours were employed in the dressing of wounds and making
things a little ship-shape.

It had been a hard-fought fight, and everyone was tired out.

Fortunately, neither Mrs. Cromwell nor Viola had suffered from the
attack.

Long before the crew were able to do anything more darkness set in.

Bob was very impatient to trace up his father, but just now that was
impossible.

Anxiously the boy waited for dawn, while his mother wept in silence,
thinking of her beloved husband.

Would they save him?

At the first signs of morning Bob was up and ready for the search.

Captain Sumner and Jack were not far behind.

The _Dart_ proceeded slowly toward land.

Satisfied that the savages had left the vicinity, the party went ashore,
and once more proceeded toward the cave of ice.

A light snow had fallen, and all former tracks had been obliterated.

In vain they looked about for some trace of the Svlachkys.

"Let us go on an exploring tour," suggested the captain, seeing how
badly Bob felt.

They started off first for the far end of the cavern.

They had gone scarcely a dozen rods when the captain called a halt.

"Someone is coming!" he whispered.

A crunching of snow and ice was now plainly to be heard.

The party ran for shelter behind a series of ice humps and waited.

Suddenly a man clad in furs dashed by them, running at top speed.

"Father!"

At that strange cry the man stopped as though shot.

"Who calls?" he asked, but instead of replying, Bob rushed from his
hiding place.

"My son! What does this mean? How came you here?"

"We came in search of you, father," replied Bob. Father and son embraced
warmly. Then Captain Cromwell turned swiftly.

"We must fly! The Svlachkys are coming! I just escaped from them."

He had just uttered the words when the crowd of strange people came down
upon them.

The leader started to throw a sharp spear at Captain Cromwell, when Bob
rushed in and, with one well-directed blow of his gun, laid the man on
his back.

A fierce shout went up and a struggle ensued.

But the fall of their leader had demoralized the Svlachkys, and
when half a dozen guns and pistols had been fired at them they
fled in dismay.

After this the party from the _Dart_ lost no time in returning to the
vessel.

Bob and his father walked side by side, and never were parent and child
happier.

When Mrs. Cromwell saw her husband alive and well, she cried for joy and
threw herself into his arms. It was a happy time all around.

Captain Cromwell's story was a long one. In brief, it was as follows:

When the _Bluebell_ went down, he and Ruel Gross escaped on a raft, and
after several days of suffering, reached the coast of Siberia.

From there they set out for Cedar Island.

The island gained, they found the stone chest, and then Captain Cromwell
was captured.

For a long while the Svlachkys held him, thinking he knew of more
treasures than those already discovered.

At last, however, they grew weary of waiting, and had resolved to put
him to death, when deliverance came as recorded.

That there was more treasures was proven later on.

The stone chest was taken up, and beneath was found a cross of gold that
was valued at fifteen thousand dollars.

With the treasure on board, the _Dart_ started southeastward for the
United States.

In due course of time San Francisco was reached, and here the treasure
was disposed of.

Each of the sailors belonging to the party was given five hundred
dollars, besides his pay.

Jack received five hundred dollars also.

The remainder of the money was divided equally between Captain Sumner
and Captain Cromwell.

With his portion of the treasure Captain Cromwell purchased an interest
in another ship, and to-day is fast regaining his lost financial
position.

Bob is with his father and Jack Larmore sticks to the pair.

Captain Sumner has given up his roving life and has settled down with
Viola as his housekeeper. His residence is but a short distance from
that occupied by Mrs. Cromwell, so the latter does not want for company
when her husband and son are on the ocean.

And here let us leave, satisfied that in the future all will be well
with those who have figured in the story of The Stone Chest.





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