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Title: Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories
Author: Kelly, Florence Finch, 1858-1939
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 "Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

STORIES***


EMERSON'S WIFE AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES

by

FLORENCE FINCH KELLY

Author of "With Hoops of Steel," "The Delafield Affair," Etc.

With Illustrations in Color by Stanley L. Wood



[Frontispiece: "Want my guns?" shouted Nick derisively.  "Then come and
take 'em!"]



Chicago
A. C. McClurg & Co.
1911
Copyright
A. C. McClurg & Co.
1911
Published September, 1911
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England



CONTENTS


   EMERSON'S WIFE

   COLONEL KATE'S _Protégée_

   THE KID OF APACHE TEJU

   A BLAZE ON PARD HUFF

   HOW COLONEL KATE WON HER SPURS

   HOLLYHOCKS

   THE RISE, FALL, AND REDEMPTION OF JOHNSON SIDES

   A PIECE OF WRECKAGE

   THE STORY OF A CHINEE KID

   OUT OF SYMPATHY

   AN OLD ROMAN OF MARIPOSA

   OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES

   POSEY

   A CASE OF THE INNER IMPERATIVE



ILLUSTRATIONS


   "Want my guns?" shouted Nick derisively.  "Then
     come and take 'em!" . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

   Wemple dug his spurs into its sweating side and
     the beast sprang forward at a faster gallop

   Out on the plain we saw the Kid yelling like a
     wild man, with Dynamite at his highest speed,
     chasing a jackrabbit

   "I'd hate to have to spile your hide, but I'll do
     it if you don't get out o' this trail"



EMERSON'S WIFE

AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES



EMERSON'S WIFE

Nick Ellhorn awoke and looked around the room with curiosity and
interest, but without surprise.  He had no recollection of having
entered it the night before, and he was lying across the bed fully
clothed.  But he had long ago ceased to feel surprise over a matter of
that sort.  His next movement was to reach for his revolver, and he
gave a grunt of satisfaction on finding that it hung, as usual, from
his cartridge belt.  He was aware of a deep, insistent thirst, and as
he sat up on the edge of the bed he announced aloud, in a tone of
conviction, "I sure need a cocktail!"

Glancing out of the window, he saw a little plaza, fresh in the morning
sunlight with its greening grass and budding trees, and beyond it the
pink walls and portalled front of a long adobe building.  He nodded
approvingly.

"I reckon I pulled my freight from Albuquerque all right.  And I had a
good load too," he reflected with a chuckle.  "And I reckon I sure
bunched myself all right into Santa Fe; for if this ain't the Plaza
Hotel, I 'm drunker 'n a feller has any right to be who 's been total
abstainin' ever since last night.  But I 've sure got to have a
cocktail now, if it busts a gallus!"

He stared wistfully at the door; but drunken lethargy was still upon
him, and his disinclination to move was stronger than his thirst.  His
eyes, roving along the wall, fell upon the electric call button.
Stretching a sinewy arm to its full length he made dumb show of
pressing it, as he said, "One push, one cocktail; two pushes, two
cocktails!"  Then he shook his head despairingly.  "Too far, can't
reach it," he muttered.  But his face brightened as his hand
accidentally touched his revolver.  Out it flashed, and there was no
tremor in the long brown hand that held it in position.  Bang!  Bang!
Bang! went the gun, three shots in quick succession, and then three
more.  "Six pushes, six cocktails!" he announced, triumphantly.

The button had been driven into the wall, and several holes hovered
close upon its wreck.  A clatter of hurrying feet on the stairway and
the din of excited voices told him that his summons had at least
attracted attention.  "Push button's a sure handy thing!" he exclaimed
aloud as he fell back on the bed, laughing drunkenly.

The footsteps halted outside and the voices sunk to whispers.
Presently Ellhorn, gazing expectantly at the door, saw a pair of
apprehensive eyes peering through the transom.  At sight of the face he
waved his hand, which still grasped the gun, and called out, "Say, you,
I want six cocktails!"  The face quickly dodged downward and the feet
and the whispering voices moved farther away.  Then came the sound of a
rapid stride down the hall and a deep voice bellowed, "Nick, let me in!"

Nick called out "Tommy Tuttle!" and in walked a big bulk of a man, six
feet and more tall, with shoulders broad and burly and legs like tree
trunks.  Ellhorn turned toward him a beaming face and broke into a
string of oaths.  But his profanity was cordial and joyous.  It bloomed
with glad welcome and was fragrant with good fellowship and brotherly
love.

"Nick, you 're drunk," said Tuttle reprovingly.

"You 're away off, Tom!  I was yesterday, but I 've been teetotallin'
ever since I came into this room last night, and the whole Arizona
desert ain't in it with my throat this mornin'!  I want six cocktails!"

"No, you don't," the other interrupted decisively.  "You-all can have
some coffee," and he stepped back to the door and gave the order.

Ellhorn sat up and looked with indignant surprise at his friend.  "Tom
Tuttle--" he began.

"Shut up!" Tuttle interrupted.  "Come and soak your head."

Ellhorn submitted to the head-soaking without protest, but drank his
coffee with grumblings that it was not coffee, but cocktails, that he
wanted.

"Nick, ain't you-all ashamed of yourself?" Tuttle asked severely.  But
it was anxiety rather than reproof that was evident in his large, round
face and blue eyes.  His fair skin was tanned and burned to a bright
red, and against its blazing color glowed softly a short, tawny
mustache.

"No, Tommy, not yet," Nick replied cheerfully.  "It's too soon.  It's
likely I will be to-morrow, or mebbe even this afternoon.  But not now.
You-all ought to be more reasonable."

"To think you 'd pile in here like this, when I 'm in a hole and need
you bad," Tuttle went on in a grieved tone.

The fogs had begun to clear out of Ellhorn's head, and he looked up
with quick concern.  "What's up, Tom?"

"The Dysert gang 's broke loose again, and Marshal Black 's in San
Francisco, and Sheriff Williamson 's gone to Chicago.  I 've got to
ride herd on 'em all by myself."

"What have they done?"

"Old man Paxton was found dead by his front gate yesterday morning.  He
'd been killed by a knife-thrower, and a boss one at that--cut right
across his jugular.  I went straight for Felipe Vigil, and last night I
got a clue from him, and he promised to tell me more to-day.  But this
morning he was found dead under the long bridge with his tongue cut
out.  That's enough for 'em; not another Greaser will dare open his
mouth now.  I wired you yesterday at Plumas to come as quick as you
could."

"Then what you gruntin' about, Tom?  I left Plumas before your wire got
there, and how could I be any quicker 'n that?"

"I wish Emerson was here.  I 'd like to have his judgment about this
business.  Emerson 's always got sure good judgment."

"Send for him, then," was Nick's prompt rejoinder.

Tuttle looked at him with surprise and disapproval.  "Nick, are you
drunker than you look?  You-all know he 's just got back from his
wedding trip."

"But he 's back, all right, ain't he!  Neither one of us has ever got
into a hole yet that Emerson did n't come a-runnin', and fixed for
whatever might happen.  And he's never needed us that we did n't get
there as quick as we could.  You-all don't reckon, Tom, that Emerson
Mead's liver 's turned white just because he 's got a wife!"

Tom Tuttle fidgeted his big bulk and cleared his throat.  Words did not
come so easily to him as deeds, but Ellhorn's way of putting it made
explanation necessary.  "I don't mean it that way, Tom.  Once, last
year, down in Plumas, when Emerson would n't let us shoot into that
crowd that wanted to hang him, I wondered for just a second if he was
afraid, and it made me plumb sick.  But I saw right away that it was
just Emerson's judgment that there ought n't to be any shootin' right
then, and he was plumb right about it.  No, Tom, I sure reckon there
ain't a drop of blood in Emerson's veins that would n't be ready for a
fight any minute, if 't was his judgment that there ought to be a
fight, even if he has got married.  But we-all must remember that he 's
got a wife now, and can't cut out from his family and go rushin' round
the country like a steer on the prod every time you get drunk and raise
hell, or every time I need help.  We 'll have to pull together after
this, Tom, and leave Emerson out.  It would be too much like stackin'
the cards against Mrs. Emerson if we didn't."

As Tuttle ended he saw a gleam in the other's eyes that caused him to
add with emphasis, "And I 'm not goin' to call him up here, and don't
you do it, either!"

Nick got up, shook himself, and winked at the hole in the wall where
had been the electric button.  He was a handsome man, as tall as
Tuttle, but more slenderly built, with clean-cut features, dancing
black eyes, and a black mustache that swept in an upward curve over his
tanned cheek.  His friend scrutinized him anxiously as he slid
cartridges into the empty chambers of his revolver.

"Sure you 're sober, Nick?"

Ellhorn laughed.  "How the devil can I tell?  I can walk straight and
see straight and shoot straight; and if that ain't sober enough to
tackle any four-spot Greaser, I might just as well get drunk again!"

"Well, I reckon you 're sober enough to jump into this job with me now;
and if you stay sober, it's all right.  But if I catch you drinkin'
another drop till we get through with this business, I 'll run you back
into this room and sit on your belly till you 're ready to holler
quits!"

It was a dangerous solidarity of crime and mutual protection against
which the two deputy marshals started out alone.  The Dysert gang had
been organized originally as a secret society to further the political
ambitions of men who were not overscrupulous as to instruments or
methods.  But gradually it had drifted into a means of wreaking private
revenge and compelling money tribute.  Those of its early members who
were of the law abiding sort had left it long before, and its
membership had dwindled to a handful of Mexicans of the recklessly
criminal sort.  They were credited, in the general belief, with thefts,
assaults, and murders; but so closely had they held together, so potent
was their influence with men in public station, and so general was the
fear of the bloody revenges they did not hesitate to take, that not one
of them had yet been convicted of crime.

Faustin Dysert, who had organized the society and was still its head,
combined in himself the worst tendencies of both Mexicans and
Americans, his mother having been of one race and his father of the
other, and both of the sort that reflect no credit upon their
offspring.  But he owned the house in which he lived and two or three
other adobes which he rented, and was therefore lifted above the
necessity of labor and held in much regard by his fellow Mexicans.  The
combination of that influence and the favor of the political boss of
his party, to whom he had been of use, had made him chief of police of
Santa Fé and had kept him in that office for several years.  And he had
been careful to recruit his force from the membership of his society.

Tuttle knew that he could not count on any open help or sympathy from
the public, for no one would dare to invite thus frankly the disfavor
of the gang.  And he knew, too, that he could expect to get no more
information from leaky members of the society or their friends, since
that swift punishment had been meted out to the wagging tongue of
Felipe Vigil.  He was well aware also that his chief, the United States
Marshal, had not been zealous in the pursuit of Dysert's criminals, and
that Black's friend, Congressman Dellmey Baxter, was known to have
under his protection several members of the society.  Therefore, if he
bungled the job, he was likely to lose his official head; and if he
were not swift and sure in his movements against the gang, his physical
head would not be worth the lead that would undoubtedly come crashing
into it from behind, before the end of the week.

"The thing for us to do, Tommy," advised Ellhorn, "is to take in all
the gang we can get hold of.  We 'll herd 'em all into jail first, and
get the evidence afterwards.  There 'll be some show to get it then,
and there ain't now.  We 'll load up with warrants, and arrest every
kiote that's thought to be a member of the gang; and we 'll start in
with Faustin Dysert himself!"

Tuttle looked perplexed.  He had in his veins a strain of German blood,
which showed in his frank, sincere, blonde countenance and in his
direct and unimaginative habit of mind.  But Ellhorn supplemented his
solidity and straightforwardness with an audacity of initiative and a
disregard of consequences that told of Celtic ancestry as plainly as
did the suggestion of a brogue that in moments of excitement touched
his soft Southern speech.

"Marshal Black would be dead agin goin' at it that way," said Tuttle
doubtfully.

"Of course he would!  But he ain't here, and we 'll run this round-up
to suit ourselves; and if we don't bunch more bad steers than was ever
got together in this town before, I 'll pull my freight for hell
without takin' another drink!"

"Mebbe you 're right," said Tuttle slowly, "and I think likely that
would be Emerson's judgment too.  If he hadn't got married we 'd be all
right.  Us three could go up agin the whole lot of 'em and win out in
three shakes!"

"Then let's send for him, and see if he 'll come!"

But Tuttle shook his head.  "No," he said positively, "that would n't
be a square deal for Mrs. Emerson, and we won't do it.  We 'll stack up
alone against this business, Nick.  We 'll put on all the guns we 've
got and keep together.  We might get Willoughby Simmons--he 's deputy
sheriff now; but he 's got no judgment, and he 's likely to get rattled
and shoot wild if things get excitin'.  We 'll get the warrants and
start out right away, for we 've got to keep the thing quiet and nab
'em before they find out we 're on the warpath.  You-all remember you
're sure goin' to keep sober!"

"Well," said Nick with a laugh, "I 'll be sober enough to stack up with
any measly kiote that's pirootin' around this town!"

Tuttle went for the warrants, and Ellhorn said he would get some
breakfast.  But first he waited until his friend was out of sight and
then paid a visit to the bar-room.  Next he went to the telegraph
office.  The message that he sent was addressed to Emerson Mead, Las
Plumas, New Mexico, and it read:

"Tommy and me are up against the Dysert gang alone, and I 'm drunk.
Nick."

He came out of the telegraph office smiling joyously and humming under
his breath the air of "Bonnie Dundee."  "I did n't ask him to come," he
said to himself, "and if he wants to now, that's his affair.  Well, I
reckon he ain't any more likely to have daylight let through him now
than he was before he got married; and nobody's gun has made holes in
him yet!"

It was early afternoon when the two friends started out on their
round-up of bad men.  To attract as little notice as possible they took
a closed hack and drove rapidly toward the Mexican quarter.  Nick's
manner showed such recklessness and high spirits that Tuttle regarded
him with anxiety and began to wonder if it would not be wiser to carry
out his threat of the morning before attempting anything else.  But he
caught sight of two Mexicans coming toward them, one handsome and well
built and the other slouching and ill-favored.

"There come two of 'em now!  Liberate Herrera and Pablo Gonzalez!" he
exclaimed, with sudden concentration of interest and attention.
"Liberate is a boss knife-thrower, and I think likely he 's the one
that did the business for old man Paxton.  Look out for 'im, Nick!"

The carriage came abreast of the two men and Tuttle jumped out, with
Ellhorn close behind him.  But quick as they were, Herrera, the
handsome one of the two, understood what was happening and leaped to
one side, a long knife flashing from his sleeve, before Tuttle's hand
could descend upon him.  The other was slower and Ellhorn had him by
the arm before he could thrust his hand into his pocket for his
revolver.  Herrera's knife slid into position against his wrist and
Tuttle's revolver clicked.  The Mexican looked dauntlessly into its
black muzzle, but saw that his companion was submitting, and that both
were covered by the guns of the officers.

"It's all right, Señor Tuttle," he said coolly.  "You 've got the best
of me.  I give up."

They drove back to the adobe jail; and while Tuttle was turning his
prisoners into the custody of Willoughby Simmons, the deputy sheriff,
Ellhorn slipped out, crossed the street, and went into a saloon.  The
men already there had watched the arrival of the hack and the two
prisoners at the jail, and two of them, when they saw Nick coming,
hurried into the back room, leaving the door open.

"What's up, Nick?" the proprietor asked as he poured the whiskey
Ellhorn had ordered.

"Tommy and me," answered Nick jauntily, pushing his glass across the
bar to be filled a second time.  "We 're on top now, and I sure reckon
we 're goin' to stay there!"

"After the Dysert gang?"

"You bet!  Hot and heavy!  We'll have 'em all bunched in the jail by
night!"

Ellhorn stood with his back toward the middle door; and the two men in
the rear room cautiously made their way into the front again, revolvers
in their hands.  Nick turned and found himself facing Faustin Dysert
and Hippolito Chavez, a policeman and member of Dysert's society.  His
two revolvers flashed out, the triggers clicked, and he stood waiting
for the next move of the others, for he saw at once that they did not
intend to shoot at that moment.

"You 'll have to give me your guns, Nick," said Dysert.  "You 're drunk
and disorderly, and I 'm going to arrest you."

"Want my guns?" shouted Nick derisively.  "Then come and take 'em!"

"I 'm going to take them, and I 'll give you two minutes in which to
decide whether or not you 'll give them up peaceably."

"You will, will you!  Let me tell you, it's yourself that's goin' to be
taken, dead or alive, and not for any common 'drunk and disorderly,'
either!  You-all are goin' to swing, you are!  Whoo-oo-ee-ee!"

Across the street, Tuttle had come out of the jail and was looking for
his friend.  Ellhorn's peculiar yell came bellowing from the saloon,
and he knew that trouble of some sort was brewing.  Dysert and Chavez
saw him leaping across the street, and rushed into the back room and
slammed the door as he entered at the front.  With a glance Tuttle took
in the group of men with tense, excited faces, gathered at one side of
the room, Ellhorn, with a revolver in each hand, at the other, and the
saloon-keeper emerging from underneath the bar.

"Nick, you 're drinkin' again!  Put up your guns!" Tom exclaimed
angrily.

"After 'em, Tommy!  They went in there!  Whoo-oo-ee-ee!" yelled Nick,
rushing toward the middle door.  It gave before his weight and he
dashed in.  Tuttle followed, not knowing what was happening, yet sure
that his friend was daring some danger.  But the room was empty.
Through the back door Dysert and his companion had gained a corral,
into which opened several other houses, and in some one of these had
disappeared and found concealment.

"Huh!" grunted Nick.  "Tom, if you'd only had sense enough to stay away
a minute longer I 'd have got both of 'em myself!"

They started forth on another raid, but the members of the Dysert gang
seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.  Neither in the
streets, the plaza, their homes, nor their usual haunts could the
officers of the law find one of those for whom they had warrants.

"It's what I was afraid of," said Tuttle.  "The hint got out too quick
for us, and now they 're all hiding."

"They've holed up somewhere, all in a bunch, and we 've got to smoke
'em out.  Whoo-oo-ee-ee!"

The several whiskies with which Nick had succeeded in eluding his
friend's vigilance were beginning to have manifest effect, and Tuttle
decided that, whatever became of the Dysert gang, there was only one
thing to do with Nick Ellhorn, and that would have to be done at once.
He drove back to the Plaza Hotel, took Nick to his room, locked the
door, and put the key in his pocket.

"Now, Nick, you-all don't get out of here till you 're plumb
sober--sober enough to be sorry!"

Nick protested, but Tuttle threw him down on the bed and then
deliberately sat down on his chest.  Ellhorn swore valiantly and
threatened many and dire revenges.  But Tom sat still, in unheeding
silence, and after a little Nick shut his mouth with a snap and gazed
sullenly at the ceiling.  He labored for breath for a while, and at
last broke the silence by asking impatiently: "Say, Tom, how long you
goin' to make an easy chair of me?"

"You know, without askin'!"

Nick relapsed into silence again until his face grew purple and his
breath came in gasps.  "Tom," he began, and there was no backbone left
in his voice, "what do you-all want me to promise?"

"Not to drink another drop of whiskey, beer, wine, brandy, or anything
intoxicatin', till we get the Dysert gang corralled--or they get us."

"All right, Tommy.  I promise."

Tattle got up and looked at his friend with an expression of mingled
apology and triumph on his big, red face.  "I 'm sorry I had to do it.
Nick.  You-all know that.  But I had to, and you know that, too.  We
can't do another thing now till to-morrow, and you 're sober again.  I
don't see," he went on grumblingly, "as long as they were goin' to kill
old man Paxton anyway, why they did n't do it before Emerson got
married!"

Nick had been soaking his head in the wash-bowl and he wheeled around
with the water streaming over his face.  "Tom, I sure reckon Emerson
would come if you 'd send for him!"

"Mebbe he would, Nick, but I ain't goin' to do it.  For he sure had n't
ought to go and get himself killed now, just on our account.  But if he
was here," Tommy went on wistfully, "we 'd wipe up the ground with that
Dysert gang too quick!"

Nick rolled over on the bed, sleep heavy on his eyelids.  "Well, I gave
Emerson the chance this mornin' to let us know whether he 's goin' to
keep on bein' one of us, or whether he 's goin' to bunch alone with
Mrs. Emerson after this!"

Tuttle gazed in open-mouthed and wide-eyed astonishment.
"What--what--do you mean, Nick?  You did n't wire him to come?"

"No, I did n't!  I told him you and me was up against the Dysert
gang--" Nick's voice trailed off into a sleepy murmur--"alone, and
I--was drunk--and likely to get--disorderly."

"You measly, ornery--" Tuttle began.  But he saw that Ellhorn was
already asleep and he would not abuse his friend unless Nick could hear
what he said.  So he shut his mouth and considered the situation.  He
knew well enough that in the days before Emerson's marriage any such
message would have brought Mead to their aid as fast as steam could
carry him.  But now, if he did not come--well, what Nick had said was
true, and they would know that the end of the old close friendship had
come.  But, for the young wife's sake, if he should come, he and Nick
must not let him do anything foolhardy and they must try to keep him
out of danger.

Tuttle waited up for the midnight train, on which, if Mead heeded
Nick's telegram, he would be likely to arrive.  In the meantime, he did
some spying out of the land and learned that Dysert and some of his
followers had hidden themselves, with arms, ammunition, and provisions,
in an empty adobe house belonging to the head of the band.  The deputy
marshal knew this meant that the criminals would resist to the last,
and that any attempt to take them would be as perilous an adventure as
he and his friends had ever faced.  If Emerson came and anything
happened to him--and it was very unlikely, if they carried the thing
through, that any one of them would come out of it without at least
serious injury--then he and Ellhorn would feel that they had been the
cause of the young wife's bereavement.  And yet, with Mead's help, they
might succeed.  And success in this enterprise would be the biggest,
the crowning achievement in all their experience as officers of the law.

As midnight approached, Tuttle scarcely knew whether he more hoped or
dreaded that Mead would come.  He had faced the muzzle of loaded guns
with less trepidation and anxiety than he felt as he stepped out on the
sidewalk when he heard the rattle of the omnibus.  A tall figure, big
and broad-shouldered, swung down from the vehicle.

"Emerson--Emerson--" Tuttle stammered, his voice shaking and dying in
his throat into something very like a sob.  Then he gripped Mead's hand
and said casually, "How 's Mrs. Emerson?"

Mead replied merely, "She's well"; but Tom caught an unwonted
intonation of tenderness in his voice and saw his face soften and glow
for an instant before he went on anxiously, "What's up?--and where 's
Nick?"

Tuttle wavered a little the next morning in his purpose of attacking
the Dysert retreat.  He took Ellhorn aside and asked his opinion about
letting the matter rest until the return of Marshal Black and Sheriff
Williamson.

Nick was quite sober again and looked back over his misdeeds of the day
before with a jaunty smile and a penitent shake of the head.  "Sure,
Tom," he said, and the Irish roll in his voice showed that his
contrition was sincere enough to move him deeply, "sure and I was a
measly, beastly, ornery kiote to go back on you like that, and you 'd
have served me right if you 'd set on me twice as long as you did!"

But against Tuttle's suggestion of postponing the conflict he presented
a surprised and combative front.  "What you-all thinkin' of, Tom?  Why,
we 've got 'em holed up now, and all that's to do is to smoke 'em out!"

"It's Emerson I 'm thinkin' of--and Mrs. Emerson.  He--he wrote her a
letter this mornin', and put it in his pocket, and asked me if anything
happened to him to see that she got it.  Nick, I--I don't like to think
about that!  If we put this thing off, he 'll go home, and then we-all
can fight it through without him, mebbe.  Nick, you was a sure kiote to
send for him yesterday."

"Yes, I sure was," said Nick with sorrowful conviction.  Then he added,
with an air of cheerful finality, "Well, I would n't 'a' done it if I
had n't been drunk!  But you 're right, Tommy.  It ain't the square
deal to Mrs. Emerson for us to take him into this business.  It 'll be
a fight to a finish, for one side or the other, and it's just as likely
to be us as them."

At that moment Mead came up, saying briskly, "Well, boys, had n't we
better be starting out?"

Like his two friends, Emerson Mead was Texan born and bred; but a New
England strain in his blood, with its potent strength and sanity, had
given him such poise and force of character as had made him the leader
of the three through their long and intimate friendship and strenuous
life.

"I 've just been sayin' to Nick," Tom replied, his eyes evading those
of his friend, "that mebbe we 'd better let this thing slide till Black
and Williamson get back."

"Well, Tom, this is your shindy, and whatever you say goes.  But I sure
think that if you really want to get this Dysert gang, the thing to do
is to trot in and get 'em, right now.  You know yourself that Black
ain't any too warm about it, and Williamson is so under Dell Baxter's
thumb that he 's more likely to trip you up, if he can, than he is to
help.  You-all won't get another chance as good as this!"

Ellhorn's martial ardor, and his buoyant belief that Mead's marriage
had in no wise lessened his immunity from bullets, obscured for the
moment his anxiety about Mrs. Mead.  He slapped his thigh, exclaiming,
"Them's my sentiments, boys!  Come on!  Let's pull our freight!"

Tuttle's manner still showed some reluctance, but he said no more, and
the three Texans, each of them six feet three or more in his stockings,
broad-shouldered, and straight as an arrow, swung into the street.

They took with them Willoughby Simmons, the deputy sheriff for whose
judgment Tom had so little esteem.  Tuttle sent him to guard the rear
of the house, a small, detached adobe, in which Dysert and an unknown
number of his followers had fortified themselves.  Some twenty feet in
front and toward one corner of the house grew a large old apple tree,
its leaves and pink-nosed buds just beginning to make themselves
manifest, and underneath it were some piles of wood.  It was the only
position that offered cover.  Tuttle asked Mead to station himself
there, where he could command one end of the house, a view toward the
rear, and the whole front.  Ellhorn he placed similarly at the other
front corner.  His own position he took midway between the two, facing
the door and two small windows that blinked beneath the narrow _portal_.

Mead saw that he was the only one for whom protection was possible, and
exclaimed, "Say, Tom, this ain't fair!"

But Tuttle paid no attention to his protest, and began to call loudly:

"Dysert!  Faustin Dysert!  We know you 're in there, you and your men,
and if you 'll give yourselves up you won't get hurt.  But we 're goin'
to take you, dead or alive!  If there 's anybody in there that don't
belong in your gang, send 'em out, and we 'll let 'em go away
peaceable!"

There was no reply from the house.  Evidently those within meant to
play a waiting game until they could get the officers of the law under
their hands, or perhaps take them unawares.  Tuttle glanced at Mead and
saw that he was standing apart from the tree and the piles of wood.
Tom thought of the letter in his friend's pocket and remembered the
look that had crossed his face at the mention of his wife.  Great beads
of sweat broke out on Tom's forehead.  With his lips set and his eyes
on those squinting front windows he walked across to his friend and
said in a low tone:

"I reckon, Emerson, we 'd better just stand here and guard the place
till they see they 'll starve to death if they don't give up."

Mead turned upon him a look of supreme astonishment.  "It's your fight,
Tom," he answered coolly, "and if you-all think that's the best way of
fightin' it, I 'll stand by and help as long as I 'm needed.  But I did
n't come up here expectin' to take part in any cold-feet show!"

Tuttle wiped his face vigorously and did not answer.  "I think there's
only one thing to do," Mead went on, "and that is to rush 'em and make
'em show their hand!"

Tuttle shook his head.  "No, no," he exclaimed hurriedly, "that
wouldn't do at all, Emerson!"

Mead left him and, keeping the front of the house in the tail of his
eye, hurried across the yard to Ellhorn.  "Nick," he demanded, "what's
the matter with Tommy?  Does he want to take these Greasers or not?"

"Well, Emerson," said Nick hesitatingly, "I sure reckon the truth is
that he's afraid you 'll get hurt!"

The ruddy tan of Mead's face deepened to purple, and a yellow light
blazed in his brown eyes.  He strode back to where Tuttle had resumed
his post, his fist shot out, and Tom went staggering backward.  "So
you-all think I 'm a coward, do you?" he shouted.  Then, wheeling, with
a revolver in each hand, he rushed toward the front door.  Nick saw
what he purposed to do, and dashed after him with a wild "Whoo-oo-ee!"

Tuttle was left without support.  For a moment he was so dazed by
Mead's blow that he stared about him bewilderedly.  The men inside the
house were quick to take advantage of so unexpected a situation.  The
windows flashed fire and Tom heard the thud of bullets against the
ground at his feet.  One bit his cheek.  With loud and angry oaths he
dropped to one knee, rifle in hand, and sent bullets and insults
hurtling together through the crashing windows.  Springing to his feet
he ran a few steps forward, dropped to his knee again, and with bullets
pattering all around him emptied the magazine of his rifle.

Mead and Ellhorn were trying to batter down the door, but it was
strongly built and had not yielded to their shoulders.  Throwing down
his empty rifle, Tuttle ran into the _portal_, thrust Ellhorn to one
side as if he had been a boy, and lunged against the door with all his
ox-like weight.  Mead threw himself against it at the same instant, and
it cracked, split, and flew into splinters.

The three big Texans, each with a revolver in either hand, surged
through the opening.  The Mexicans met them in mid-floor, and the room
was full of the whirr of flying bullets, the thud of bullets against
the walls, the spat of bullets upon human flesh.  The officers rushed
forward, their guns blazing streams of fire, and Dysert and his men
backed toward the corner.  Mead emptied both of his revolvers and,
pressing the leader closely, raised one of them to batter him over the
head.  Dysert threw up his hands, exclaiming, "We give up!" and the
battle was over.

On the floor were the bodies of four Mexicans, either dead or badly
wounded.  Dysert and three of his followers were still alive, although
each had been hurt.  Tuttle, besides the gash in his cheek, had a
bullet in his left arm, and Ellhorn a wound in his thigh.  Mead's hat
and clothing had been pierced, but his body was untouched.

They sent for physicians to attend to the wounded Mexicans and, having
handcuffed their prisoners, hurried them to the jail.  As Simmons led
the men from the sheriff's office and the three friends were left
alone, Mead turned to Tuttle.

"Tom," he said, "I 'm sure sorry I struck you just now.  I was so mad I
hardly knew what I was doing.  You 'd been acting queer, and when I
found it was because you thought I was afraid, I just boiled over.  I
had no business to do it, Tom, and I 'm sorry."

The red of Tom's face went a shade deeper, and he fidgeted uneasily.
"No, Emerson, you 're wrong," he protested.  "I did n't think you was
afraid.  You-all ought to know better than that.  But--well--the truth
is, Emerson, I could n't help thinkin' what hard lines it would be for
Mrs. Emerson if anything--should happen to you."

The tears came into Mead's eyes, and he turned away as Tuttle went on:
"I told Nick not to send for you, but the darned kiote went and done it
without me knowing it!"

"No, I didn't," Nick exclaimed.  "I just told him we was in a hole and
I was drunk!  And, anyway, it's a good thing I did; for now we 've got
the Dyserts, and Emerson did n't get a scratch!"

"Boys," said Mead, and his voice was thick in his throat, "you 're the
best friends any fellow ever had; but you-all don't know what a brick
Marguerite is!  She 'd rather die than come between us, I know she
would!  She would n't have any more use for me if she thought I 'd kept
a whole skin by going back on you!  It's the truth, boys, and don't you
forget it!"



COLONEL KATE'S _PROTÉGÉE_

"Colonel Kate," as both the Select and the Unassorted of Santa Fé society
were accustomed to speak of Mrs. Harrison Winthrop Coolidge, had long ago
proved her right to do whatever she chose, by always accomplishing
whatever she attempted.  She had done so many startling things, and
always with such dashing success, since Governor Coolidge had brought
her, a bride, to the old town, that people had become accustomed to her,
just as they had grown used to the climate, and expected her deeds of
daring as unthinkingly as they did cool breezes in summer, or sunshine in
winter.  Besides, everybody liked her; for she had both the charm which
makes new friends and the tact which holds them loyal.

When, finally, Colonel Kate brought an Indian girl from the pueblo of
Acoma and made it known that she intended her _protégée_ to grace the
innermost circles of Santa Fé society, it is possible that some of the
Select may have shrugged their shoulders a trifle; but, if they did, they
were careful to have no witnesses.  For Governor Coolidge was the
richest, the most influential, and the most prominent American in New
Mexico, and his wife could make and unmake social circles as she chose.
The Santa Fé _Blast_, which was the organ of the Governor's party,
announced the event as follows:

"Mrs. Governor Coolidge and guests returned yesterday from a trip to
Acoma.  As always, Mrs. Coolidge was the life of the party and charmed
all by her wit and beauty and vivacity. . . .  She even persuaded old
Ambrosio, the grizzled civil chief of the pueblo, to entrust to her care
his most precious treasure, his lovely and charming daughter, Miss
Barbara Koitza.  This beautiful and talented young lady, whom Mrs.
Coolidge has installed as a friend and guest in her hospitable and
interesting home, where she is soon to be introduced to Santa Fé society,
is as cultured as she is handsome.  She has spent a year in the Indian
school at Albuquerque and two years at Carlyle, and is well fitted to
adorn the choicest social circles in the land.  She will no doubt be
warmly welcomed by Santa Fé society and will at once take that position
in its midst to which her beauty, grace, and talents entitle her."

If she had known of it, poor little Barbara would have been overwhelmed
by this flourish of trumpets.  But Colonel Kate did not allow it to fall
under her eye.  And the girl did not even know that, whatever she was
not, she certainly was interesting and picturesque on the day when she
first entered her new friend's door.

She wore her Indian costume, and was neat and clean as any white maiden
with a heritage of bath-tubs.  Spotlessly white were her buckskin
moccasins and leggings, which encased a pair of tiny feet and then wound
round and round her sturdy legs until they looked as shapeless as
telegraph posts.  Her scant, red calico skirt met her leggings at the
knee; and her red mantle, of Navajo weave, fell back from her head, but
wrapped closely her waist and arms, and then dropped long ends down the
front of her dress.  Her coal-black hair, heavy and shining, was combed
smoothly back from her forehead and fastened in a _chongo_ behind.  Her
brown face was handsomer than that of most Indian maidens, being longer
in proportion to its width than is the pueblo type, the cheek bones less
prominent, the forehead broader, and the lips fuller and more delicately
chiselled.  It is possible that, far back in Barbara's ancestry, perhaps
even as far back as the times of the _Conquistadores_, there had been
some admixture of the white man's race which, after generations of
quiescence, in her had at last made its influence felt again.

As Mrs. Coolidge led the girl into her new home she looked down at her
with approving eye and inwardly exclaimed, the conqueror's joy already
filling her heart, "She 'll be a success!  A tremendous success!  The
Colonel's wife can do what she pleases now!"

For in the days of which this chronicle tells, Santa Fé was still a
military post, and the wife of the commanding officer had been all winter
a thorn in the flesh of Mrs. Coolidge.  The Colonel had been recently
transferred from an Eastern post; and his wife, who had never been West
before, had supposed that of course she would at once become the social
leader of Santa Fe.  Her disappointment was bitter when she found that
place already firmly held and learned that she, the wife of a colonel in
the army, and just from the East, would have to yield first place to the
wife of a mere civilian who had lived in the West for a dozen years.  She
rebelled and tried to start a clique of her own, and all winter she had
made trouble among the Select by getting up affairs which clashed with
Colonel Kate's plans, and by introducing innovations of which Colonel
Kate did not approve.  Mrs. Coolidge had no fears for her social
supremacy,--she had reigned too long for the thought of downfall to be
possible,--but she was tired of being crossed and annoyed, and she
purposed with one audacious blow to humble the Colonel's wife and put an
end to her pretensions.

The plan came to her suddenly while she talked with old Ambrosio's
daughter in the street at Acoma.  She saw that Barbara was discontented
and unhappy, and that she longed to return to even so much of the life of
the whites as she had found in the Indian schools.  Colonel Kate pitied
her and determined to help her.  She was saying to herself that the girl
was certainly intelligent and attractive, when she suddenly realized that
this Indian maid was gifted with that indefinable but most potent of
feminine attractions--personal charm.  And then, like an inspiration, the
idea took possession of her mind.  She turned impulsively to Barbara:

"Will you go home with me and be my guest for all this spring and summer?"

The joy that beamed in the girl's face told how gladly she would go.  But
it faded quickly and she shook her head sadly, as she answered:

"I can not.  My father would not allow it.  He will not even let me go
back to school.  He says that I am an Indian, and that I must stay in
Acoma and be an Indian."

When Mrs. Coolidge saw that look of eager desire leap into Barbara's eyes
she determined that the thing should be brought to pass and set herself
to the task of overcoming old Ambrosio's determination that his daughter
should never again leave Acoma.  It was not an easy thing to do, but
Colonel Kate finally accomplished it, on condition that Barbara should
return whenever he wished her to do so.

During the remaining days of Lent, dressmakers were busy with Barbara's
wardrobe; and Mrs. Coolidge carefully schooled her in a hundred little
particulars of manner and deportment.  And meanwhile the Select of Santa
Fé waited with impatience for a first view of the Indian girl.  For
Colonel Kate was too shrewd a manager to discount the sensation she
intended to produce, and so she kept Barbara at home, away from the front
doors and windows, and out of sight of curious callers.  In the meantime
she diplomatically helped on the growing interest and excitement, and
lost no opportunity of arousing curiosity about her _protégée_.

And at last, when Barbara had been three weeks in her home, and no one
outside her own household had even seen the girl's face; when the town
was full of rumors and chatter and all manner of romantic stories about
the Indian girl; when everybody was wondering what she could be like, and
why Colonel Kate had taken such a fancy to her, then Mrs. Coolidge gave
her a coming-out party which eclipsed everything in Santa Fe's social
annals.

All the Select were there, including the Colonel's wife, who had not even
thought of trying to have a card party the same night.  The doors had
been opened wide, also, for the Unassorted.  All the most eligible of
these had received invitations, and not one had sent regrets.  The editor
of _The Blast_, which was the mouthpiece of the Governor's party, and the
editor of _The Bugle_, the organ of the opposition, were both there; and
each of them published a glowing account of the occasion, the former
because he considered it his duty to "stand in" with whatever concerned
the Governor; and the latter because he hoped the Governor's wife would
make it possible for him to be transferred from the Unassorted to the
Select.

_The Blast_ said: "The Governor's palatial mansion was a dream of
Oriental magnificence, and the beautiful and artistic _placita_, lighted
by sparkling eyes of ladies fair and Japanese lanterns, was a vision of
fairy land."  _The Bugle_ declared: "No, not even in the marble
drawing-rooms of Fifth Avenue and adjoining streets, nor in the luxurious
mansions of Washington, could be gathered together a more cultured, a
more polished, a more interesting, a more _recherché_ assemblage than
that which filled the Governor's palatial residence and vied with one
another in doing homage to the winsome Indian maiden."

To call the Governor's residence "palatial" was part of the common law of
Santa Fé journalism.  In actual fact, it was a one-story, flat-roofed,
adobe house, enclosing a _placita_, or little court, and having a
_portal_, or roofed sidewalk, along its front.

When she first went to New Mexico, Mrs. Coolidge enjoyed transports of
enthusiasm over the quaintness and picturesqueness of its alien modes of
living.  So she hunted all over Santa Fé for a house of the requisite
age, dilapidation, and eventful history, to transform into her own home.
And when at last she found this one, with an authenticated age of two
hundred years, and a romance, a crime, or a startling event for almost
every year in its history; with rough, irregular walls four feet thick;
with tiny, unglazed, iron-barred windows,--then time stopped, it seemed
to her, until the deed was recorded in her name.

With much sadness of heart she made sentiment give way to civilization
and renovated the interior.  Wooden floors, instead of the packed earth,
hardened and glazed by the tread of many generations, plastered and
papered ceilings and walls and ample windows gave to the inside of the
house a modern air which its mistress deeply regretted, but accepted
mournfully as a necessary evil.  But she did not allow a weed or a blade
of grass to be plucked from its roof; and upon the suggestion that the
old brown adobe walls should be treated to a coat of gray plaster she
frowned as if it had been blasphemy.

Upon the _placita_, which had been given over to weeds, tin cans, rags,
and broken dishes, she lavished loving care and made it the blooming,
fragrant heart of her home.  In the centre was a locust tree of lusty
growth, plumy of foliage and brilliant of color; and underneath the tree
a little fountain shot upward a thin stream, which broke into a diamond
shower and fell plashing back into a pool whose rim was outlined by a
circle of purple-flowered iris.  Around this spread a velvet turf, dotted
with dandelions and English daisies.  An irregular, winding path inclosed
the tiny lawn, and all the space between the path and the narrow stone
walk that hugged the four sides of the house was rich with roses.  La
France and American Beauty and Jacqueminot and many others were there in
profusion and made the placita a thing of beauty from the time the frosts
ended until they came again.  A hand rail covered with climbing roses
guarded the stone walk on three sides of the court, while the fourth side
of the house was screened by a _portal_ over which roses and honeysuckles
clambered to the roof.  Facing the wide, roofed passage which gave
entrance from the street, stood an arch loaded with honeysuckle vines.

Mrs. Coolidge's enthusiasm over New Mexican history, and her admiration
for the heroic times of the _Conquistadores_, had caused her to make the
interior of her home almost a museum of antiquities.  On the floors
Navajo blankets--fifty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty years old, and
each one with its own dramatic tale--served as rugs.  Silken _rebozos_,
worn by high-hearted cavaliers riding in search of "_la gran Quivera_"
draped her windows.  Pueblo pottery, dug from villages that were in ruins
when the first white men saw them, filled cabinets and shelves.  Saddle
skirts of embroidered leather, which had pleased the fancy of some brave
_capitan_ leading a handful of men against a rebellious pueblo two
centuries ago, made a background for the huge silver spurs of cunning
workmanship with which some other daring _caballero_ had urged his horse
in search of adventures and of gold.  And beside them lay the stone axe
with which a courageous señora, a heroine of the Southwest, had cleft the
skull of a Navajo chief and saved her townspeople from falling into the
hands of the savage enemy.  On the walls were old, old paintings of
_Nuestra Señora de_ this and that, proud of neck and sad and sweet of
face, which had been brought from the City of Mexico on the backs of
burros, and adored in little adobe churches by generations of men, women,
and children, and pierced by the arrows of angry and revengeful Indians
during the pueblo rebellion, or scarred by fires of destruction, from
which they had been saved by brave and pious devotees.

Such things as these made a picturesque setting for the Indian maid on
the night of her début.  It might have been a painful ordeal for her had
she known that all these people were there mainly to satisfy their
curiosity concerning her.  But Mrs. Coolidge had carefully kept from her
the knowledge that she was of especial interest and was expected to
produce a sensation.  So she knew only that she was having a delightful
time and that everybody was so kind and cordial and took so much interest
in her that she did not have a minute during the whole evening in which
to think about herself.  Everybody was eager to dance, or talk, or stroll
in the _placita_ with her, and all who were not engaged with her were
talking enthusiastically in praise of her appearance, her manner, or her
conversation.

Colonel Kate moved about, proud and happy in the brilliant success of her
hazardous undertaking and serene in the confidence that the Colonel's
wife would not again attempt rebellion.  She was even more glad and happy
for Barbara's sake, for the two had grown very fond of each other and she
had begun to wonder if old Ambrosio could not be induced to let her adopt
the girl.  Already it made her heart ache to think she might have to give
up her _protégée_.  She cast a glance at Barbara, who was holding her
usual court, a circle of men about her, and thought:

"Nonsense!  Old Ambrosio is not so stupid as to refuse his daughter such
a chance as I can give her!"

For Colonel Kate, with all her cleverness, had never measured, or even
imagined, the world-wide difference between the view-points of a pueblo
chief and an ambitious white woman.  So she felt happy and secure, as she
smiled in response to one of Barbara's bright glances, and noticed that
Lieutenant Wemple was still dancing close attendance upon her young
friend.

Barbara was gowned very simply in white, and carried a bouquet of
Jacqueminot roses.  Her shining black hair was drawn back from her
forehead in loose, waving masses and filleted with bands of silver
filigree.  The brown-faced girl, in her white dress with the glowing
roses at her breast, made a pleasing picture as she stood beside a
cabinet of pueblo pottery, against a Navajo _portière_.  Lieutenant
Wemple, who stood nearest her, thought that, altogether, it made the most
striking and suggestive composition he had ever seen, and that he would
like to see her portrait painted just as she stood there; but that would
be impossible, for no artist could paint two girls into one figure.  And
she--at one moment she was a bronze figure, listening with drooped
eyelids, closed lips, and impassive face, and the next she was vibrant
with life; her big black eyes, which would have redeemed a countenance of
less attractiveness than hers, sparkled and glowed; her face was radiant
with eager interest; and the Lieutenant felt that beneath those rich red
roses must beat a heart as glowing with warm bright life as they.

Santa Fé might be, geographically, far in the deeps of the red and woolly
West, but the feminine portion of its social circles did not think that
any reason why they should relapse into barbarism.  And as one means of
preventing such a dire catastrophe, they made the law of party calls even
as the laws of the Medes and Persians.  Among themselves the men might
groan and swear and protest as much as they pleased, but if any one of
them neglected that duty the ladies forthwith hurled him from the circles
of the Select into the outer shades of the Unassorted.  After the night
of Barbara's success these calls did not lag as usual, and Lieutenant
Wemple, who was wont to be the last, was the very first to present
himself.

Then followed a series of gayeties in which Barbara was the central
figure, and Lieutenant Wemple her constant attendant.  Whether it was a
dinner, or a reception, or a picnic party up the canyon, or a horseback
excursion to the turquoise mines, he spent as much time by her side as
the other people allowed.  Barbara enjoyed it all with the zest of a
mortal let loose in wonderland, and thought that nowhere else in the
world could there be such delightful people as her new friends.  It
seemed to her that she had at last come into her own inheritance and
found the people among whom she really belonged.  But she liked best of
all the quiet afternoons at home, when she and Mrs. Coolidge sat in the
_placita_, and Lieutenant Wemple came, and they three read and talked
together.

The young officer thought her a more interesting companion than any white
girl he had ever met.  The world--his world--was all so new and
marvellous to her that it was like opening its doors to some visitor from
another planet.  He took great pleasure in doing that service and in
seeing how quickly and eagerly she absorbed everything she saw and heard
and read; and he found her fresh and constant interest entirely
delightful.  So it soon came about that the quiet afternoons at home grew
more and more frequent.

One day in early June they stood together in the _placita_ and agreed
that it was very beautiful.  The proposition was evident enough and
likely to cap forth enthusiastic assent from any one.  For the plumy
green branches of the locust tree were heavy with pendent clusters of
odorous white bloom; the iris that circled the fountain was glorious in
its purple raiment; the honeysuckle arch was a mass of red and white
blossoms trumpeting their fragrance; beside it a great spreading
rose-bush was yellow with golden treasure; the velvety, emerald turf was
dotted with white and gold; the rose-bushes were weighted with opening
buds or perfect flowers, and the warm, soft air was vivid with sunlight,
and sweet with mingled odors.

So they could hardly have done anything but agree upon the beauty of the
little court, even if they had wanted to quarrel.  But for the hundredth
time it struck him that it was very remarkable they should so often think
alike.  When he made mention of this remarkable fact, she flashed up at
him one of her eager, brilliant glances.  Then, meeting something more
than usual in his look, she quickly dropped her eyes again, and over her
manner there came that mystifying air of shyness and reserve, as if some
invisible attendant had wrapped about her an impenetrable veil.  In their
early acquaintance he had often noticed that quick and baffling change in
her manner, and had liked it, because it seemed to tell of a refined and
sensitive nature.  From their later frank and friendly intercourse it had
been absent, and now, when it appeared again and seemed to take her away
from him, his heart beat fast with the longing to tear the veil away.

For a moment she stood with her gaze resolutely upon the ground and her
expression and figure impassive.  But she felt his eyes upon her, and her
brown fingers trembled over the yellow rose in her hand.  Suddenly, as if
compelled, she lifted her face and the look in his eyes called all her
heart into hers.  For a second they stood so, revealing to each other
their inmost feeling, and then, covering her face with her hands, she ran
into the house.  The Lieutenant picked up the yellow rose she had dropped
and went out through the street entrance, a very thoughtful look upon his
countenance.

Wemple had not realized before what was happening to them both, although
all Santa Fé, except themselves, knew it very well.  But at last he
understood that he loved her and that she knew it, and that she also knew
she had confessed in her eyes her love for him.  What was he going to do
about it?  That was the question he had to face and to settle; and he
went out alone and tramped over the brown hills and across _arroyos_ and
through clumps of sage brush and juniper and cactus, and argued it out
with himself.

He loved her, and she loved him.  Yet--she was an Indian, and did he want
an Indian wife?  But after all that had passed between them, and the
silent, mutual confession of the afternoon, could he in honor do else
than marry her?  Ever since he had come West he had held the firm
conviction that an Indian can never be anything but an Indian, and that
to attempt to make anything else out of him is not only a sheer waste of
time, effort, and money, but is also an injury to the Indian himself,
because it gives him desires and ambitions that can do nothing but make
discord with his Indian nature.

But it seemed different with her.  In truth, he told himself, she seemed
more akin to the white than to the Indian race.  That age-long heritage
of religious belief and practice that has made a basis of character for
the pueblo Indian did not seem to have found expression in her.  But if
after years should bring it to the surface and she should prove to be
Indian at heart, would it raise a wall between them or would it drag him
down, because of his great love for her, to that same Indian level?  If
that Indian nature was there now, patched over and hidden by present
surroundings, would not happiness be impossible between them?  And if he
believed that unhappiness would be the sure result of their marriage
would it not be more dishonorable to marry her than to leave her at once?
But at the idea of leaving her a sharp pain pierced his heart.  He thrust
at it the thought that in the long run she would probably be happier if
she were never to see him again.  Then he ground his teeth together,
whirled about and started for the town.

Presently he put his hand in his pocket and his fingers closed over
Barbara's yellow rose.  He raised it to his lips and something very like
a sob trembled through his soldierly figure.  And then suddenly, in a
great wave, came the remembrance of her graces of mind and heart and
body, and of how frank and simple and sincere she was, how sweet and
gentle and womanly and winning.  At the same moment his own faults rose
up and upbraided him, and his heart cast away the arguments his brain had
been weaving, and cried out with all its strength, "Indian or not, she is
better than I!"  All his white-man's pride and prejudice of race fell
from him as he pressed her rose to his lips and kissed it again and again.

On the morrow it happened that Lieutenant Wemple was officer of the day
at the post and his duties kept him so closely confined in and about the
fort that he had not time to see Barbara.  But in the latter part of the
afternoon it became necessary for him to see the commanding officer.  The
Colonel had gone, he knew, on a business errand to the farther end of the
town, and the Lieutenant started out to find him.  His way back took him
past the Coolidge residence.  He was walking hurriedly down the street,
in haste to return to his duties, his blonde head erect, his cap at
right-eyed angle, his uniform buttoned tightly across his broad shoulders
and around his trim waist, his sword on hip, and his eyes straight in
front of him.  But his thoughts were inside the adobe walls of the
Governor's home and he was calculating how long it would be until,
released from duty, he could hasten back to pour into a little brown ear
the words of love of which his heart was full.

Across the street, in the shadow of a _portal_, an old Indian,
gray-haired and wrinkled, was curiously surveying the Coolidge house.

The heavy, double doors of the _placita_ entrance were open, and as
Lieutenant Wemple strode past he heard a sound from within, a half
suppressed exclamation in a voice that trembled with feeling.  It sent
through him a sudden shock, stopped him in mid-step, and swiftly turned
him to the _placita_ door.  Barbara, in a white muslin gown, stood under
the honeysuckle arch, her hands full of yellow roses which she had just
been plucking from the bush that glowed behind her.  She was looking at
him with soft and glowing eyes, her eager face radiant with love, her
lips still parted by the exclamation which sight of him had forced
through them.

The old Indian under the _portal_ considered him impassively for a moment
and then sauntered across the street.

An instant only the Lieutenant stood looking at her, spellbound by the
beauty and sweetness of the picture, and then he sprang to her side and
gathered her in his arms, forgetful alike of the open doors behind them
and of his duties at the fort.  It was only for a moment, and then he
took her hand and led her to Mrs. Coolidge.

But during that moment the Indian with the gray hair and the wrinkled
face stood in front of the _placita_ doors and looked at them with
evident interest.  When they went indoors he shut his thin lips close
together, crossed to the other side of the street, and leaned against the
column of a _portal_ while he watched the doors and windows of the
Governor's residence.

It was only a few minutes until Lieutenant Wemple appeared again and
walked rapidly away.  For army discipline must be remembered and
maintained, even in times of peace and days of love.  The old man gazed
at him until he disappeared around a corner, and then crossed the street
and knocked at the Coolidge door.  Colonel Kate herself opened it and at
once held out her hands in welcome, crying, "_Entra_!  _Entra_!"  She
seized his hands and drew him in, pouring forth a voluble welcome in
Spanish.  He did not give much heed to her words, but coldly asked, in
the same tongue:

"Where is my daughter?"

Barbara, in the next room, heard his voice, and her first unthinking
thrill of pleasure was quickly followed by a sinking of her heart which
chilled and saddened her happy face.  Intuitively she knew what would
happen.

"She is here," Mrs. Coolidge replied.  "She will be so glad!  Barbara!
Come quickly!  Here is some one very anxious to see you!"

The girl came slowly and stood before her father with downcast eyes.  His
piercing glance ran over her dress, and then he grunted in severe
disapproval.

"Go, put on your own clothing.  Then stand before your father."

"Yes, dear," chimed in Colonel Kate soothingly, "you must seem very
strange to him in that dress,--scarcely like his daughter.  Put on your
native costume and come back to us quickly."

Barbara went to her room and Mrs. Coolidge began to tell her visitor,
with her most charming enthusiasm and with all the delighted expletives
which her knowledge of Spanish made possible, of Barbara's success, of
her love affair, and of how very desirable the match would be.  The old
man listened quietly to the end, looked at her steadily for a moment in
silence, and then spoke:

"No!"

Colonel Kate's eyes opened wide in amazement at the word.  "What!  Don
Ambrosio!  Surely--"

"He wishes to marry her?" the old man broke in.

"Indeed he does!  He told me so scarcely ten minutes ago.  He is very
much in love with her and she with him!"

"No!" repeated the Indian emphatically.  "It cannot be!"

"Surely, señor, you do not understand!  You could not find a more
desirable husband for Barbara!  Why, he is a lieutenant in the army, a
first lieutenant, too, and his position will take her into any society
she wishes to enter.  He has money enough to keep her well, and he loves
her devotedly!"

"No!  He forgets she is an Indian!  He has seen her in all these clothes
of the white women in which you have tricked her out, and he thinks she
is the same as a white woman.  She is not.  She was born an Indian, and
an Indian she must be until she dies.  Never again shall she leave Acoma."

"Señor!  How can you be so blind to your daughter's interests?  You will
break her heart!  Surely you cannot be so cruel!"

But Mrs. Coolidge's protests were broken off by Barbara's return.  The
girl stood before her father with her eyes on the floor and her face cold
and impassive.  She was dressed again in the garments she had worn when
she first entered the house, three months before, and she seemed a far
different creature from the happy and radiant girl to whom her lover had
but just said good-bye.  Ambrosio looked her over approvingly.

"Now you are my daughter.  Come."

With the pueblo children centuries of training have caused unhesitating
obedience to parents to become an instinct.  So Barbara did not question,
but at once followed her father toward the door.  Mrs. Coolidge was
weeping.  Barbara threw both arms around her neck and kissed her again
and again.  The girl's face was expressionless and there were no tears in
her voice, but her wide, black eyes, paling now to brown, told the agony
that was in her heart.

"Tell him," she whispered in English, "that I must go back.  My father
bids me, and I must go.  My father will never again let me leave Acoma.
Tell him I shall never see him again, but I shall love him always."

"My poor child!" sobbed Mrs. Coolidge.  "We must find some way to bring
you back!"

"It is useless to try.  I know my father, and I know it will be
impossible for me ever again to leave the pueblo.  I must be an Indian
all the rest of my life.  But I shall love him always.  Tell him so."

"Come!" called Ambrosio from the _portal_.

Half an hour later the train was carrying them back to Acoma.  Colonel
Kate at once sent a note to Barbara's lover, telling him what had
happened.  But the messenger, being a small boy, met other small boys on
the way, and by the time the young officer read the news the Indian girl
was well on her way toward home.

Lieutenant Wemple applied for leave of absence, and as soon as possible
he followed old Ambrosio.  At Laguna, where he left the railroad, he
hired a horse and inquired the way to Acoma.  It was the middle of the
night, but he refused to wait for daylight, and started at once across
the plain, galloping as though life and death depended on his mission.
In the early morning he reached the great rock-island of Acoma, towering
four hundred feet above the plain, and climbed the steep ascent to the
village on its summit.  A file of maidens, and among them his lover's eye
quickly sought out Barbara, were coming from the pool far beyond,
carrying water jars upon their heads, graceful as a procession of
Caryatides.  Wemple found his way to Ambrosio's door, where the old chief
was sitting in the early sunlight.  As he stopped his horse Barbara came
up the street, her _tinaja_ poised on her head.  One swift and frightened
flash of her black eyes was all the recognition she gave him as she
hurried into the house.

Briefly the Lieutenant told the old man that he loved Barbara and wished
to marry her.  Inside the house the girl stood out of sight, listening
anxiously for her father's reply, although she well knew what it would be.

"The señor forgets that my daughter is an Indian and that he is a white
man."

"I do not care whether she is Indian or white.  I love her and I want her
to be my wife."

"You mean that you do not care what she is now.  But after she is your
wife you want her to be a white woman in her heart.  You want to take her
away from me, her father, and away from her mother, and her clan, and all
our people, and make her forget us and forget that she is an Indian.  No!"

"No, señor!" urged the Lieutenant, "I do not wish her to forget you.  She
shall come back to visit you whenever she wishes."

A crafty look came into Ambrosio's eyes.  "There is one way," he went on
quietly, not heeding Wemple's reply, "in which you may make her your
wife.  But there is only one."

The officer leaned eagerly forward in his saddle and the girl inside the
door clasped her hands and listened breathlessly.  The old Indian went
on, slowly and deliberately, as if to give his listener time to weigh his
words, while his keen eyes searched the white man's face.

"You think my daughter loves you well enough to forsake and forget her
people if I would let her.  Do you love her well enough to leave your
people and become one of us?  Do you love her well enough to be an Indian
all the rest of your life, wear your hair in side-locks, enter the clan
of the eagle, or the panther, become Koshare or Cuirana, dance at the
feasts, forget your people, and never again be other than an Indian?  If
you do, speak, and she shall be your wife."

Ambrosio shut his lips tightly and waited for the young man's answer.
And the young man stared back, his ruddy cheek paling under its sunburn,
and spoke not.  A whirling panorama of visions was filling his brain as
he realized what the old chief's words meant.  He saw himself living the
life of these people; renouncing everything that meant "the world" and
"life" to him--everything except Barbara; driving burros loaded with wood
to town and tramping about its streets with a basket of pottery at his
back; saw himself with painted face and nude, smeared body dancing the
clownish antics of the Koshare; planting prayer sticks; sprinkling the
sacred meal; taking part and pretending belief in all the heathen rites
of the pueblo secret religion--and then Barbara sprang out of the house,
crying to her father in the Indian tongue, "Wait!  Wait!"

Both men turned toward her inquiringly.  She stood before them,
hesitating, excited, her eyes on the ground, as if anxious but yet
unwilling to speak.

"Father," she began in Spanish, "it is useless for you and the señor to
speak longer about this.  For since I have returned to my home I do not
feel as I did before."  She stopped an instant and then went on
hurriedly, pouring out her words with now and then little, gasping stops
for breath.  "Now I do not wish to marry him.  I wish to marry one of my
own people.  He is not an Indian and never can become one.  I know now
that I can never be anything but an Indian and so it is better for me to
marry one of my own people.  I do not wish to marry the señor, even if he
should become one of us."

Wemple looked at her blankly, as if hardly comprehending her words, and
then cried out, "Barbara!  You cannot mean this!"

"You see, señor," said the old man, "there is nothing more to say."

"Is there nothing more to say, Barbara?" Wemple appealed to her in a
broken voice.

She did not look at him, but shook her head and went back into the house.

Lieutenant Wemple turned his horse and with head hanging on his breast
rode slowly, very slowly, back toward the long declivity leading to the
plain below.  If he had not ridden so slowly this tale might have had a
different ending.

Ambrosio went into the house and began telling his wife what had
happened.  Barbara took an empty _tinaja_ and said she would go for more
water.  When she stepped outside she could still see the forlorn figure
of her lover riding slowly down the trail.  Her heart yearned after him
as she bitterly thought:

"He will believe it!  I made him believe it!  And I can never tell him
that it is not true!"

Then something set her heart on fire and put into it the thought of
rebellion.  She looked around her at the village and thought of the life
it meant for her, as long as she should live; of the heartbreak she would
have to conceal from sneering eyes, of the obscene dances in which she
would soon be forced to take part, of the persecutions she would have to
suffer because she could no longer think as her people thought; and
hatred of it all filled her to the teeth.  Rebellion burned high in her
soul and with clenched fingers she said to herself, "I hate the Indians!
In my heart I am a white woman!"  She cast one more longing, loving
glance at the disappearing figure and resolution was born in her heart:
"And I will be a white woman, or die!"

She looked hastily about.  No one seemed to be watching her.  She dropped
the _tinaja_ beside the house and walked swiftly--she feared to run lest
she might attract attention--to the edge of the precipice.  There she
looked down over the flight of rude steps, hacked centuries ago in the
stone and worn smooth by many scores of generations of moccasined feet,
which was once the only approach to the fortress-pueblo.  It was three
hundred feet down that precipitous wall to where the steps joined the
trail, but from babyhood she had gone up and down, and she knew them
every one.  From one to another she fearlessly sprang, and over several
at a time she dropped herself, catching here by her hands and there by
her toes and finally landed, with a last long leap, on the trail.  One
glance told her that her lover had almost reached the road at the foot of
the cliff and that if he should then quicken his pace she could scarcely
hope to catch him.  But love and determination made steel springs of her
muscles, and she bent herself to the task.  For if she could not overtake
him there was no hope anywhere.

Lieutenant Wemple, with his head still hanging on his breast and his
horse creeping along at its own pace, turned from the declivity into the
road which would take him back to Laguna, to the railroad, and to his own
life.  There the horse decided to take a rest; and Wemple, aroused to
realization of his surroundings by the sudden stop, jerked himself
together again, straightened up, sent a keen glance across the plain and
over the road in front of him, and struck home his spurs for the gallop
to the railroad station.  As the horse leaped forward, he thought he
heard some one calling.  Turning in his saddle he saw Barbara running
toward him, her breast heaving, her arms outstretched.  She almost fell
against the horse's side, panting for breath.

"It was not true," she gasped, "what I said up there!  I wanted to save
you.  Take me with you if you still love me!  For I love you and I
hate--I hate all that--" turning her face for an instant toward the
heights above them--"and if you do not want me I must die, for I will not
go back."

For an instant their eyes read each other's souls, and then she hastily
put up her hand to stop him from leaping from his horse.

"No, no!  Do not get off!  They will be sure to follow us and we must
lose no time.  Take me up behind you and gallop for Laguna.  If we can
catch the next train we'll be all right!"

She seized his hand and sprang to her seat behind his saddle.  He turned
and kissed her.

"Put spurs to your horse," she said.  "They will be sure to follow us
soon."

There was need of haste, for scarcely had the horse pricked up his ears
and sprung into a long gallop when they heard loud shouts from the top of
the mesa.

"Hurry, hurry!" exclaimed Barbara.  "They have found me out and they will
follow us!"

Scarcely had she spoken when the sound of a rifle report came from the
top of the cliff, and Wemple's left arm dropped helpless beside him.

"They dare not shoot to kill," she said, "but they think they can
frighten you, and they may cripple the horse.  My darling, you will not
let them have me again?"  The terror in her voice told how intense was
her fear of capture.

"Sweetheart, they shall not have you again unless they kill me first!"

A dozen Indians were galloping recklessly down the steep trail.  "Promise
me," Barbara, pleaded, "if it comes to that, if you must die, you will
kill me first!  For it would be hell--it would be worse than hell--to go
back there now!"

Wemple did not answer.  "Promise me that you will," she begged.  "You do
not know what you would save me from; but believe me, and promise me that
you will not send me back to it!"

"I promise!" he answered as another shot whistled in front of them and
clipped the top of the horse's ear.  Wemple dug his spurs into its
sweating side and the beast sprang forward at a faster gallop.  The
Indians, shouting loudly, were urging their ponies across the plain at
breakneck speed.  Lieutenant Wemple glanced back again and a frown
wrinkled his forehead, as he said, "If our horse does not break down we
may keep ahead of them until we reach Laguna."

[Illustration: Wemple dug his spurs into its sweating side and the beast
sprang forward at a faster gallop.]

Barbara patted the horse and whispered soft words of encouragement and
then under her breath she sent up a fervent petition to the Virgin Mary
to protect them.  Looking back, she recognized their pursuers, and told
Wemple that one of them was her brother, and another was a young man whom
her parents wished her to marry.  This one had a faster horse than the
others and perceptibly gained upon the fugitives.  He left the road where
a turn in it seemed to offer an advantage and, galloping across the
plain, was presently parallel with them and not more than two hundred
yards away.  He raised his gun and Wemple, with quick perception noting
that his aim was toward their horse's neck, gave the bridle a jerk that
brought the animal to its hind feet as the bullet whistled barely in
front of them.  It would have been quickly followed by another, but the
Indian's pony stumbled, went down on its knees, and horse and rider
rolled over together.

The other Indians came trooping on in a cloud of dust, yelling and
shouting, and now and then firing a shot, apparently aimed at the good
horse that so steadily kept his pace.

"They only want me," said Barbara.  "If they can overtake us there are
enough of them to overpower you.  They will not try to do much harm to
you, for they would not dare.  But they will take me and carry me back
with them--if you let them."

"I will not let them," he replied between set teeth.

At last Wemple saw that their pursuers were slowly but surely gaining on
them.  Barbara saw it too, and she redoubled her prayers to the Virgin,
and both she and her lover with words and caresses strove to keep up the
courage in their horse's heart.  The good steed was of the sort whose
spirit does not falter until strength is gone, and he seemed to
understand that these people on his back were under some mighty need.
For with unwavering pace he kept up his long, swift gallop,
notwithstanding his double burden and the distance he had travelled
before the race began.

So they kept on, mile after mile, with their pursuers gaining, little by
little, upon them, and when at last they neared Laguna the Indians were
within a hundred yards.  A banner of smoke across the plain told them
that the east-bound train was approaching.

"I believe we can make it!" exclaimed Wemple, as they heard the engine's
announcing scream.  Apparently their pursuers guessed what the fugitives
would try to do, for as they saw the train they shouted and yelled louder
than before and urged their ponies to a still higher speed.  They gained
rapidly for a little while, for the Lieutenant's horse was beginning to
flag, and Wemple, leaning to one side, gave the bridle into Barbara's
hands and, with left arm dangling useless, reached for his revolver.  He
began to fear that they might yet head him off and surround him.  They
outnumbered him hopelessly, but he would try to fight his way through
them.  If worst came to worst,--he would save two shots out of the
six,--Barbara should not fall into their hands.

The train drew into the station and the Indians were not more than a
hundred feet behind him.  The horse's faltering gait and heaving sides
showed that he had reached almost his limit of strength.  Some dogs ran
out from a house, barking furiously.  But being in his rear they only
made Wemple's horse quicken his pace.  They darted at the heads of the
ponies, which shied and pranced about, and so lost to their riders some
valuable seconds.

The train was already moving as Wemple dashed up to its hindmost car, his
horse staggering and their pursuers almost upon them.

"Jump for the car-steps!" he shouted to Barbara.  She had not leaped and
clambered up and down the stair in the Acoma cliff all her life for
nothing, and her strength and agility stood her in good stead in this
moment of supreme necessity.  She leaped from the horse's back, landed
upon the upper step, and whirled about to assist her lover.

The train was moving faster, the Indians, with shouts and yells and
curses, were grasping at his bridle, and Wemple felt his horse giving way
beneath him.  With a last encouraging call to the poor beast he urged it
to one more leap, and as it brought him again even with the end of the
car he threw his leg over its neck and jumped.  The horse staggered and
fell as he left the saddle and caused him to lose his balance.  He went
down upon the car-steps, his wounded left arm beside him and his right
doubled beneath his body.  In another instant he would have rolled back
to the ground beneath the hoofs of the Indian ponies, but Barbara seized
him by the shoulders, and held him until he recovered his footing.

The Indians, seeing his predicament, whipped up their horses and galloped
beside the platform, reviling and jeering at him.  Wemple scrambled to
his feet and put his arm about Barbara, as though fearful they might yet
try to take her from him.  She leaned over the rail, laughed in their
faces, and called out, in the Indian tongue:

"Good-bye!  Good-bye, forever!  Now I shall be a white woman!"



THE KID OF APACHE TEJU

      Baby, my babe,
  What waits you yonder,
      Out in the world?
      Dear little feet,
  There must they wander,
      Out in the world?
      Soft little hands,
  What shall they do there,
      Out in the world?
      Baby, my babe,
  What fate must you dare,
      Out in the world?


All around Apache Teju for miles and miles lies the gray,
cactus-dotted, heat-devoured plain, weird and fascinating, with its
placid, tree-fringed lakes, that are not; its barren, jagged,
turquoise-tinted mountain-peaks, born here and there of the horizon and
the desert; its whirling, dancing columns of sand, which mount to
mid-sky; its lying distances and deceiving levels; its silence and its
fierce, white, unclouded sunshine.

And when you draw rein under the cottonwoods at Apache Teju, uncurl the
wrinkles of your eyelids in the welcome shade, and cool your eyes in
the vivid green of the alfalfa field, it suddenly comes to you that
never before did you understand what blessedness there is in a bit of
shadow and a patch of green things growing.

From the spring at the top of the slope behind the house a line of
noble old cottonwoods files along the _acequia_ halfway down the hill,
and there, where the ditch divides, forks into a spreading double row,
which incloses the house and stables and comes together again in a
little grove beyond the road, where the two ditches empty into a pond.
The house lies there in this circlet of trees, a low, whitewashed,
flat-roofed adobe, rambling along in apparent aimlessness from cosey
rooms through sheds and stables, until the whole connecting structure
incloses a large corral.

In front of the house is a tiny square of blue-grass, bordered by beds
of geraniums and larkspurs and hollyhocks, inclosed by a low adobe
wall, and shaded by a young cottonwood growing in the centre.  Beyond,
on the slope of the hill below the ditch, where its waters can be
spread over all the surface, is the rich, velvety emerald of the
alfalfa field.  And the fame of that little square of grass and of that
little field of alfalfa fills all the land from Deming to Silver City,
and from Separ to the Mimbres.

And that is Apache Teju, headquarters for the northern half of a ranch
that spreads over seven thousand square miles of the arid hills and
plains of southern New Mexico, where for hours and hours you may travel
toward a horizon swimming in heat, across the gray, hot, quivering
levels, broken only by clumps of gay-flowered cactus and the blanching
bones and sun-dried hides of cattle, dead of starvation and thirst.

The superintendent's wife and I sat in the tiny grass plat enjoying the
balmy breath that in the late afternoon steals over and cools this
strange, hot land.  Texas Bill had just galloped home from the nearest
railroad station with a big package of Eastern mail; and the combined
attractions of letters, late magazines, and a box of New York candy so
engrossed us that we did not see the Kid until the gate clicked and he
stood before us, asking,

"Is this the double A, quart circ., bar H outfit?"

"The what?" I gasped, looking at the queer little figure in
astonishment.  He was perhaps a dozen years old, though the slender,
childish figure and the experienced face belied each other and made
guessing difficult.  He wore a man's sombrero, old and dirty, which
came down to his ears and flopped a wide, unstiffened brim around his
face.  With tardy recollection of his manners,--learned who knows
where,--he doffed his head-gear after he had spoken, and stood with
serious face, but unable to repress a smile that twinkled in his great
blue child's eyes at my astonishment.  A big rent across one shoulder
of his shirt showed a strip of sunburned flesh beneath and sent one
sleeve dangling over his hand.  His baggy trousers--no, that is not the
word, they were "pants"--were held in place by a halter strap buckled
tightly about his waist, and his feet were concealed in shoes so much
too large for him that his toes were not visible in the mouths gaping
at their front ends.  And on one foot clanked and jingled the pride and
glory of his attire--a huge spur, three inches long, silver-plated and
highly polished, and so heavy that that foot dragged as he walked.

He repeated his question, and the superintendent's wife leaned forward,
with a laughing aside to me:

"You tenderfoot!  Haven't you learned our brand yet?"  And to the boy:
"Yes, this is Apache Teju.  Do you want to see any one?"

"Boss home yet from Deming?"

"Mr. Williams?  I expect him this evening."

The boy threw himself down full length upon the grass and pressed his
face against the cool, green blades.

"Well," he exclaimed, "it's pretty fine here, ain't it?  That green
down there is just out of sight.  I heard there was blue-grass and
alfalfa here, but who 'd have thought it would look so nice?"

"Do you want to see Mr. Williams?"

"I guess it ain't necessary," and he sat up again, pressing a handful
of grass upon each glowing cheek.

I handed him the candy box and he helped himself daintily with the
tongs, saying, "Thank you, ma'am," with a sidelong glance which let me
know that his heart was won to my service from that moment.  He put a
piece in his mouth, and his face beamed with pleasure.

"This just strikes my gait!  'T ain't much like Deming candy, is it?  I
saw the boss last night in Deming," he added, turning to Mrs. Williams.
"You're his wife, ain't you?  I thought so, soon as I saw you.  He was
kidding me about coming out here to be a cowboy, and I told him all
right, if he wasn't running a blaze, I 'd go him on that.  I was to
have rode out with him in his buggy, but I was up pretty late last
night with the boys, doing the town, and when I got up this morning he
was gone.  I was n't going to have him think I 'd backed out of the
bargain, so I says to the conductor, 'I got a job out at
Apache--cowboy--gimme a ride to Whitewater.'  And he says, 'All right,
jump on.  You 're welcome to a ride on my train whenever you want it.'
So I walked over from Whitewater, and I 'm ready to go to work to-night
if the boss says so.  He won't find me no tenderfoot, you hear me."

The naive bravado of the child's speech was irresistible.  It won my
heart as completely as I had won his, and I straightway emptied my
candy box into his hands.  "Oh!" he breathed, looking at the heap of
dainties with infantile delight.  And then he fell upon them with
avidity and did not speak another word until the last one had
disappeared down his throat.

So that was how the Kid came to live at Apache Teju.  He said his name
was Guy Silvestre Raymond.  But whether a mother's lips had really
bestowed that name upon him, or he had appropriated it to himself out
of some blood-and-thunder romance, whose hero he had decided to
imitate, name and all, is one of the things that nobody but the Kid
will ever know.  But it did n't matter much anyway, for he had always
been called Kid, and that name followed him to the ranch, much to his
disgust.  For he had decided, as he told me one day, that the ladies of
the household should call him Guy, and that among the men his name
should be "Broncho Bob."

He was a waif of the railroad.  All his life had been spent along its
line, blacking boots, selling nuts, candy, papers, on the trains or
around the depots of the frontier cities and towns.  And he had taken
care of himself ever since he could remember.  He had reached Deming a
few days before in a worse but less picturesque state of dilapidation
than that in which he presented himself at Apache Teju.  After deciding
that he would leave the railroad and become a cowboy, he had scraped
together, in Heaven knows what devious ways and by what lucky chances,
the apparel of state in which he set forth on his new life.

The next morning there was trouble in the corral.  Kid had been
directed to mount an old and gentle pony whose meek and humble
appearance did not at all agree with his ideas of the sort of steed
Broncho Bob should bestride.  There was in the corral a black horse
called Dynamite, a mettlesome young thing whose one specialty was
bucking.  And of this it never failed to give a continuous performance
from the time a rider mounted its back until he was dislodged.  Kid was
determined to ride Dynamite.  Texas Bill and Red Jack were trying to
persuade him out of his notion by telling him how dangerous the horse
was, and how he once landed Mr. Williams, the best rider on the whole
ranch, on top of the house.

"Suppose he did," blustered the Kid.  "He won't land me on top of the
house, nor on top of the ground, neither.  I tell you, I ain't afraid
to fork any horse that ever bucked!  I can ride anything that wears
hair!  You hear me shout?  Anything that wears hair!"

"See here, youngster," said Texas Bill, in his longest and most
indifferent drawl, "I 've been ridin' horses more years than you 've
been born, an' I 've tamed more pitchin' horses than you ever saw any
other kind, an' I ain't a little bit afraid of a pitchin' horse.  I 'm
a whole, big, blazin' lot afraid!"

"What if you are?" retorted Kid.  "I don't have to be a coward 'cause
you 're one!"

Texas Bill's eye glared, and his hand jerked toward his hip pocket.
Then he grunted and walked over to where I was feeding the two Angora
goats out of my hands.

"If he was a man--" he began in an angry voice, and then broke off.
"But I 'm not fightin' babies.  I thought I 'd keep him from breakin'
his durn fool neck, but he can go it now as fast as he wants to."

The superintendent came out and told Kid he would have to obey orders
or go back to Deming at once.  So he sullenly mounted the meek and
humble pony and cantered off.

About mid-forenoon, when there was no one at home but little Madge, the
ten-year-old daughter of the house, the cook, and myself, Kid galloped
back alone.  Madge came dancing from the corral to where I sat in the
front yard, her eyes blazing and her hands quivering with excitement.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, "He's going to ride Dynamite!  He 's run off from
them and come back to ride Dynamite!"

"He must not do it!  I must not let him!"  And I started for the
corral.  Madge grasped my skirt with both hands.

"Dynamite won't hurt him!  I know he won't!"

"What do you know about it?"

"I know he won't because--don't you tell mamma--I was on him myself one
day, and he never bucked a bit!"

"You!  How did you dare?"

"I wanted to see if I could, and there was nobody in the corral, and I
climbed on his back, and he was just lovely!"

And just then, with Kid astride him, Dynamite pranced and curveted down
the road.  With a beaming face Kid waved his hat at us and galloped
off.  Dynamite making not even the sign of a desire to buck.  After
that the boy could not be persuaded to ride any other horse.  And as
long as Kid bestrode him, or Madge, with Kid's connivance and help,
surreptitiously mounted him, Dynamite's behavior was perfect.  But he
worked woe upon any grown person that made the attempt.

The black horse's life was not an easy one under Kid's mastership.  The
boy never rode at a less pace than a gallop, and even in that dry, hot
air Dynamite was always reeking with sweat when they came home.

Just how the Kid put in his time out on the plains was a mystery.  The
cowboys with whom and for whose assistance he was sent out
good-naturedly swore that he was "not worth a whoop in h--l."  If they
needed him, he was nowhere in sight, and if they particularly did not
want him he was sure to come charging over the plain, straight upon the
cattle they had bunched, and scatter the frightened creatures to the
four winds.  But mostly they said he managed to get lost; which was
only their kindly way of putting the fact that he slipped away from
them and pursued his own amusements at a sufficient distance not to be
disturbed by their need of him.

What he did with himself all day long Mrs. Williams and I discovered
one day when driving to Whitewater.  Out on the plain we saw the Kid
yelling like a wild man, with Dynamite at his highest speed, chasing a
jack-rabbit.  That evening I heard him giving Madge a thrilling account
of how he had chased a gray wolf, which, after running many miles, had
turned on him and viciously sprung at his throat, and how he had made
Dynamite jump on the beast and trample its life out.  And I recognized
in the tale merely Kid's version for Madge's ears of his chase of the
jackrabbit.

[Illustration: Out on the plain we saw the Kid yelling like a wild man,
with Dynamite at his highest speed, chasing a jackrabbit.]

For by that time he had become, in her eyes, the exemplar of all that
is inspiringly bold and daring, and he felt it necessary to keep up his
reputation.  For her he was a knight of prowess who could do anything
he wished and against whom nothing could prevail.  So he told her
wonderful tales of what he had seen and done and been through, and of
his daily adventures, and brought to her the occasional results of his
single-handed combats with birds and beasts.  He offered to dig up a
tarantula's nest for her and to catch and tame for her pleasure a
side-winder rattlesnake, or, if she preferred, a golden oriole or a
mocking-bird.  It did n't make any difference to him whether she chose
a rattlesnake or an oriole; whatever she wanted him to do, he was ready
to attempt.  And Madge looked and listened and worshipped; and Kid,
basking in the warmth of her adoration, swaggered about in ever
increasing pride and importance.

One day, just after he had returned from a two days' trip out on the
range, I heard him telling her a blood-curdling tale of an adventure
with a mysterious and villainous looking Mexican, who, he said, had
shot off the end of one of his fingers.  Then, the Kid declared, he had
made Dynamite rear and strike the Mexican to the ground with his
forefeet and then trample him until he was so dead that he 'd never
shoot anybody else's finger off.

Madge was filled with horror and admiration and pity, and begged to be
allowed to see and bind up the mutilated finger.  But he refused with
superior indifference, clinched his bleeding finger in his fist and
said it was n't anything and did n't hurt, anyway.  Madge's mother
called her away, and straightway there appeared at my door a boy with
pale face, quivering lips, and tear-filled eyes, holding up a bloody
hand.  I bound up the wound, which was a clean cut chipping off the end
of one finger, and he buried his face in my lap and cried.  Soothing
and cuddling him, for somehow I felt that was what the child needed, I
asked:

"How did you hurt yourself, Kid?"

"I was making a peg to hang my saddle on, and I chopped my finger with
the hatchet."

I said nothing, but soothed and cuddled him the more, and he sobbed at
my knee in sheer enjoyment of the luxury of being babied.  After that I
think he took occasion to hurt himself upon every possible opportunity
in order that he might come to my room to be taken care of and petted
and comforted.  He left all his swagger and bluster and bravado
outside, and I babied him to his heart's content, feeling sure that it
was the first time in all his dozen years that this child's right had
come to him.  But he did not allow these private seasons of relaxation,
which he trusted me not to betray, to interfere with his double
character of knight of prowess with Madge, and of Broncho Bob with the
men.

Excitement did not lack at the ranch-house whenever Kid was at home.
If he was sent to help with the milking, one of the cows was sure to
kick over a full milk-pail, knock him over with her hoof, or break
loose from her restraining ropes, charge around the corral like a wild
beast, and crash through one of the house windows or plunge in at an
open door.  If he was told to house the geese and chickens for the
night, such a commotion ensued as brought the whole household to see if
coyotes had broken into the chicken yard.  At sight of him the pet
Angora goats fled on their swiftest legs, with a running leap mounted
one of the corral sheds, and then sped to what they had learned was the
only place of safety, the roof of the house.  And when he was not
stirring up the animals, he was playing jokes on the cowboys.  Holy
John, a middle-aged, thick-witted fellow, who never knew what had
happened to him until the rest were roaring with laughter, was the
special butt of his tricks.

One evening the boys were sitting around the kitchen door talking
quietly, for Kid was off with Madge, helping her to bury a dead kitten.
Holy John sat in a slouching attitude on the doorsteps, his new
sombrero, with a stiff, curled brim, tipped far back on his head.  Kid
came in through the corral and stood in the kitchen for a few minutes.
Then he seized the molasses jug and, tiptoeing very softly behind Holy
John, filled the brim of his brand-new sombrero with the sticky liquid.
It flowed out over his back and down into his trousers, and Holy John
lifted a wondering and bewildered face to see his companions breaking
into uproarious mirth.  Then his long-enduring patience was smothered
in wrath, and he laid violent hands upon Kid and spanked him before
Madge's eyes.

This was too much for a knight of prowess tamely to endure, and the boy
blustered around in his most vigorous impersonation of the character of
Broncho Bob.

"This ranch ain't big enough to hold Holy John and me too.  Him or me,
one or the other, has sure got to ask for his time, and it won't be me
either, you hear me shout.  I 'll get him sure buffaloed, and if he
don't pull his freight before he 's a day older, there 'll be the
biggest killing here that Apache Teju ever heard of."

It was very quiet the next day at the ranch.  Mr. and Mrs. Williams and
Madge had driven to Silver City, the cowboys were all on the range, and
I kept in my room with some work.  After a time I heard a noise at the
end of the house, just outside my room, and I went to see what it was.
Kid was there with a pick and shovel, toilsomely digging a hole in the
hard adobe soil.

"What are you doing, Kid?"

"Nothing much.  Just digging a hole."

"Isn't that where the old Apache chief is buried?"

He looked up with interest.  "Is this the place?  Do you know right
where it is?"

"They told me it is there where you are digging.  Those rocks that you
can barely see, outline his grave.  Are you going to dig him up?"

"Me?  What would I want to dig him up for?  I ain't lost no Injun!  I
'm just digging a hole--for Madge.  She wants to plant a tree.  What
did they bury him here for?  Did they kill him here on the ranch?"

"This was a fort once, before there was any ranch here, and there was a
war with the Apaches, and they were getting beaten, and so they sent
this old chief down to the fort to make terms for them.  The commander
received him and put him in a tent and set a guard over him.  In the
night the guard fell asleep, and when he wakened he was frightened lest
the Indian might have escaped.  So he punched into the tent with his
bayonet to see if he was still there, and hit the chief in the foot.
That made him angry and he came out and killed the guard.  The noise
roused the soldiers, and they killed the chief, and they buried him
here, inside the stockade, so that the Indians would n't suspect that
he was dead until they could get reinforcements."

"The Injun killed the guard, did he?  Good enough for him!  I wish it
had been Holy John!"

He fell to work again with more vigor than ever, but presently he
stopped and growled:

"I 'd like to run a blaze on that ornery galoot that he 'd remember all
the rest of his life!"

After a while I chanced to see Kid carrying a bundle done up in a gunny
sack down to the _acequia_ and hide it among the currant bushes.  I
noticed that he had carefully filled up the hole he had been digging,
and I asked,

"Aren't you going to plant the tree?"

"No," he replied carelessly, "it would n't grow there.  The soil's too
hard."

The cowboys spread their beds every night under the cottonwoods beside
the lower acequia, and that night we heard them in earnest discussion
long after they had gone to bed.  Mr. Williams was with them for a
short time and came back, saying that they were talking about ghosts,
and that Kid had declared emphatically that the old Apache chief walked
o' nights and that he had both seen and heard him.

"He gave a vivid description," Mr. Williams went on, "of waking up one
night and seeing the Indian's skeleton rise up out of the ground and
pounce on a soldier who stood near and kill him outright.  He will have
Holy John so terrified that the poor fellow will want his time at once.
For John believes everything that is impossible, and he will see ghosts
all night long and be afraid of his own shadow in the daytime."

That night, just as morning broke, the whole household was awakened by
a loud, piercing yell, followed by another and another, and all rushed
from their beds in time to see Holy John leap over the fence and dart
down the road, still shrieking as if fiends were after him.  And beside
his deserted bed under the cottonwoods lay some grisly thing, shining
in the gray light with streaks and patches of white.  Kid looked after
the flying figure and said, in a tone of extremest satisfaction,

"He's sure buffaloed!"

Holy John had awakened in the dim, early dawn and found the skeleton of
the Apache chief cuddling against him.

That morning, as I sat in the yard reading, the voices of Kid and Madge
came to me from around the corner of the house, and I heard a snatch of
their conversation.

"Madge, I 'm going to pull my freight.  I won't work on the same ranch
with such a coward as that Holy John."

"Truly, Guy, are you going away?"

"Yes, I am.  I ain't going to stop to ask for my time.  I 'm going
to-day, before the boss comes home."

"Well, then, what am I going to do?  You 're not going off to leave me?"

Silence for the space of ten seconds.

"Jiminy!  Tell you what, you come too!"

"I can't!  Mamma wouldn't let me!"

"Don't ask her.  Come right along with me!  We 'll elope!  That's more
fun than anything!  Girls that is anything always elopes!"

Then they wandered off to the alfalfa field, and soon I saw them
throwing stones at the prairie dogs with which it was infested.  So I
concluded that what I had heard was merely some of the Kid's
braggadocio, and, smiling at the sentimental turn he had taken, I went
on with my book and thought no more of it.

But when lunch time came neither Madge nor Kid appeared for the meal.
Much calling failed to bring a response.  Then I remembered and gave
account of the conversation I had heard.  It was found that Dynamite
was gone from the corral.  Evidently the little scapegrace had meant
what he said and had carried Madge off.  Mrs. Williams ordered the cart
and at once we started after the fugitives.

"He has most probably gone toward Deming," she said.  "I will send Red
Jack to Whitewater to stop them if they are there, but I think we had
better drive toward Deming as fast as possible."

About ten miles out we caught sight of the runaways.  They were mounted
on Dynamite, Madge holding fast behind.  Kid was urging the horse
furiously back and forth among a flock of carrion crows, and practising
with his lasso upon them as they rose and flapped about in short and
heavy flight.  They seemed to be having great sport, for Kid was
shouting and yelling at the birds, and Madge screaming with laughter at
their clumsy efforts to escape.  So absorbed were they in their play
that they did not see us until we were almost beside them.  At first
Kid made as if he would start Dynamite off on the gallop, but Mrs.
Williams called to him sternly, and he turned and trotted back to us,
smiling and looking amazingly innocent.

Madge sat still and stared at us with big, frightened eyes, until Mrs.
Williams had twice spoken to her, and then she slipped quickly down, to
be folded in her mother's arms and sob upon her bosom all the way home.
I persuaded the Kid to sit between us in the cart and drive us back,
tying Dynamite behind.

"He was awful mad at first," the boy confidingly said, "to have to
carry double.  But I made him sure hump himself right along."

At home we found the superintendent just returned.  He gave the Kid a
paternal lecture, which probably did him as much good as if it had been
in Chinese, and then, in cattle-ranch parlance, gave him his time--paid
him to date and discharged him.

And a few minutes later we saw the last of the Kid, as the forlorn
little figure, with the wide, flopping sombrero, and the big, dragging
spur, walked out of the gate and down the road toward Whitewater, and
was soon swallowed in the shimmering heat of the plain.



A BLAZE ON PARD HUFF

  "And I 'm free to say that the grand results
      of my explorations show
  That somehow paint gets redder the farther
      out West I go!"
          --EUGENE FIELD.


One summer night I was on a train that was speeding eastward across
southern New Mexico.  It was one of the white nights of that region,
when the full moon, shining like sun-lighted snow and hanging so low in
the sky that it seems to be dropping earthward, fills the clear, dry
air with a silvery radiance and floods the barren plain with a
transfiguring whiteness, in which the gray sands glimmer as if with
some unearthly light of their own.

The day had been long, wearisome, and unspeakably hot and dusty; and
with the coming of this beautiful night and its cool breezes most of
the passengers betook themselves to the car steps and platforms, where
they lingered until we reached the little town of Separ, late in the
evening.  As the train stopped, we saw that apparently the entire
population of the village was crowded inside the station house.  One
after another, men came cautiously out upon the platform, carrying guns
in their hands and casting long, anxious looks across the plain.  Their
set faces and ready revolvers and rifles showed that it was no ordinary
matter which had sent the whole town to find protection in the railroad
depot.

They told us that a man had come running into town a little while
before, and, falling headlong, exhausted, at the feet of the first
person he met, had cried out that the Apaches were coming.  Hastily
revived and cared for, he explained that the Indians had attacked the
cattle camp, ten or twelve miles south of Separ, where he and some
other cowboys had been making a round-up, and killed all but himself.
He had managed to creep out undiscovered and had run at the top of his
speed all the way to Separ to bring the warning.  He said that the
Apaches, in a large band, numbering at least a hundred, had surprised
the camp, killing the men as they lay in their blankets and committing
horrible atrocities upon the dead bodies, and had then fallen upon the
horses and cattle, killing and maiming the poor beasts in mere lust of
cruelty.  He was sure they were following him--he had heard their yells
several times during his desperate race, and each time he had redoubled
his speed.  His shoes were gone, his stockings hung in shreds from his
ankles, and his feet were a mass of raw and bleeding flesh, pierced by
hundreds of cactus thorns.  He had hurried away on an Eastern-bound
freight train to Deming, the next station, to rouse the citizens and
help to raise a militia company, whose coming was expected in a few
hours.  And telegrams had been sent to Fort Bayard giving news of the
outbreak and asking for a troop of cavalry.

Every soul in Separ--men, women, and children--with all the arms and
ammunition in the town, had huddled into the station house, where they
hoped they would be able to make a successful resistance, and, as one
man said, "make as many good Injuns as the Lord would let them."  For
in those days the hearts of the bravest in the Southwest knew terror,
and with good reason, when the Apache went on the war path.

The train sped on into the radiant white night, but the car steps and
platforms were deserted.  The passengers all sought their berths as
soon as possible, there to lie below the level of the windows and pile
all the pillows they could get between themselves and the side of the
car.  When we reached Deming we found the place in an uproar.  Every
bell in town, from the gong of the railroad restaurant to the church
bell, was ringing its loudest and wildest.  Men in varied degrees of
undress were running up and down the streets calling loudly upon all
citizens to come out at once.  The people were assembling at the depot,
where two or three of the cooler-headed had taken the place of leaders
and had begun to organize the excited mass into an armed and officered
company and get it ready to go quickly to the assistance of beleaguered
little Separ.

Then our train sped on again through the wondrous night, and I knew no
more about the Indian war at Separ until I sat on the kitchen doorstep
at Apache Teju, one evening some years later, and beguiled Texas Bill
into telling me yarns of his long and checkered experience as a cowboy.

The cool, soft breath of evening filled the air, the alfalfa field
glowed its most vivid emerald in the yellow rays of the setting sun,
and in the same rich light the gray, barren hillside beyond shone like
beaten gold.  And Texas Bill, just in from a week's trip on the range,
soothed and inspired by the civilizing influences of the ranch-house, a
shave, clean clothes, and his supper, unbent from his usual bashful
dignity and talked.

Texas Bill was tall and big and loose-jointed, and he spoke always in a
long, soft, indifferent drawl.  He held two articles of belief which no
man might dispute without getting sight of the knife in his bootleg or
the revolver on his hip.  One was that Texas was the biggest and best
State in the Union; and the other, that the cow business was no longer
fit for a gentleman to follow.  He lounged on a bench beside the door
and told me tales of the range and the round-up, of herds of cattle
stampeded by the smell of water, of long rides in blinding sand storms,
of the taking in of the tenderfoot, of centipedes and side-winders, of
Indian fights and narrow escapes.

"Were you ever in one of these Indian attacks yourself?" I asked, for
his Indian yarns had been about other men.

Texas Bill solemnly considered the heel of his boot a moment, and then
just as solemnly replied:

"Yes, I was killed by the Apaches oncet."

He turned a serious face off toward Cooke's Peak, which towered, a
mighty, sculptured mass of purest sapphire blue, against a turquoise
sky; and I, seeing that his countenance bore just such an expression of
inscrutable solemnity as it might have done had he been acting as chief
mourner at his own funeral, answered just as soberly:

"That must have been very interesting!  I wish you would tell me about
it."

His gaze returned to his feet, his face relaxed into a smile, a chuckle
began somewhere in his throat, wandered down his long frame and lost
itself in his boots, which were high-heeled and two sizes too small for
him.  Then he spoke again:

"That was the time we run a blaze on Pard Huff."

Then he relapsed into silence, contemplation of his boots, and several
successive and long-drawn chuckles.  But at last he began his story.

"You see, Pard Huff, he was a tenderfoot, and there was n't nothin' he
was n't afraid of a-tall.  You could n't convince him that coyotes
ain't dangerous; and he thought it was sure death if a tarantula looked
at him; and you could make him jump out of his boots any time by just
buzzin' your tongue behind his ear.  I reckon he 'd have sure died of
fright if he had ever seen a live rattlesnake spittin' its tongue at
him.

"And Injuns!  Well, he watched for Apaches all day long a durn sight
more 'n he did for cattle, and he could n't sleep nights for bein'
afraid they 'd catch him.  He did n't seem to think of anything but
Apaches, and he had n't been with us very long till the boys did n't
give him a chanst to think of anything else a-tall.

"We was makin' a round-up down below Separ then, and there was ten of
us and the chuck wagon when we made camp at night.  Well, one night,
Pard Huff, he was scareder than ever, and the boys struck his gait
right off and kep' him a-runnin'.  I did n't know they was goin' to
blaze him quite so bad or I 'd have done my best to stop the thing.
Well, and they would n't, either, if he had n't been the meanest sort
of a coward that ever laid awake nights.  He asked each of us separate,
and then all of us in a bunch at supper, if there was any danger of
Apaches down there, and we-all told him there was, lots of it.  One of
the boys said he 'd seen signs over toward Hatchet Mountain that very
day that sure meant Apaches, and another said he 'd heard that a little
ranch about forty mile away had lately been cleaned out by them and
everybody killed.  Then we-all talked about it and agreed that they
might come on us any minute, that most likely they 'd attack us that
very night and that we ought to be ready for them.

"Well, sir, that Pard Huff, he never said another word.  He just set
there with his eyes getting bigger and his face whiter every minute.
We kep' it up and told stories about the way them devils do--everything
we 'd ever heard of--how they hold you and pull out your tongue, or cut
off your ears, or run a stake through you and pin you to the ground, or
smash your face to a jelly with a rock, or burn you alive, till Pard
Huff did n't know which end he was a-standin' on a-tall.

"We got out our blankets and turned in, but just kep' a-talkin' about
the Apaches till that Pard Huff, he was shakin' as if he had a fit.
One of the boys said he 'd bet if the Apaches did come, Pard Huff would
get his ears cut off the first rattle, because they was so big the
Injuns could n't see nothin' else a-tall in camp till they got them out
of the way.  And then _bang! bang! bang!_ went some six-shooters, the
boys yelled 'Injuns!'--'Apaches!' as loud as they could, and the feller
on the other side of Pard Huff (Pard was layin' next to me) yelled out.
'Boys, I 'm killed!' says he, and he rolled over on his face and kicked
and yelled and groaned.  Then _bang! bang! bang!_ went the six-shooters
again; and then you ought to have seen that Pard Huff!  Well, sir, he
was sure buffaloed!  He jumped out of his blankets and let out one
yell.  The chuck wagon was right behind us, and he give one jump and
went clean over it and lit out across country like an antelope.
You-all just ought to 've seen that tenderfoot pull his freight!

"The boys come up a-laughin' and watched him run.  They was a-bettin'
he would n't stop till he got to Apache Teju, but I said it was n't
right to buffalo him that bad.  So we-all yelled and called him to come
back, but he only run the faster.  The durn fool tenderfoot thought it
was the Apaches chasin' him!  We-all thought he 'd soon find out there
was nothin' wrong a-tall and come back, and so we went to bed again.
But he did n't.

"The next day I had to come to Apache Teju and I found Pard Huff's
bloody tracks most all the way to Separ.  He 'd run right over stones
and cactus and prairie dog holes and everything else in his way.  And
them fool people at Separ was all huddled up in the depot, and a
company of men with Winchesters and six-shooters was there from Deming,
and everybody was watchin' the country all 'round with spyglasses, for
Injuns!  Well, sir, that durn fool tenderfoot, that Pard Huff, had told
them a fool yarn about the Apaches surprisin' our camp and killin'
everybody but him, and they was sure buffaloed!"

"Yes," I said, "I know they were."

"You!  How did you know anything about it?"

"Oh, I was there that night.  I passed through on the train, and Separ
and Deming were the worst scared towns I ever saw."

Texas Bill chuckled, pleased at this verification of his story, and
went on:

"Then you know what I 'm tellin' you is sure true!  I thought mebbe
you-all mightn't believe it, a-tall, for it sure don't look reasonable
that folks could get so buffaloed over a durn fool tenderfoot's yarn.
They looked at me with mighty big eyes when I rode into Separ.

"'Why,' says they, 'how did you-all get out alive?  We sure thought you
was dead!'

"'Well,' says I, 'as far as I know, I 'm sure alive; and I don't know
as I 've been into anything to get out of a-tall.'

"'Why,' says they, 'Pard Huff--'

"'Oh,' says I, 'damn Pard Huff!  He 's a tenderfoot and afraid of his
shadder!  He dreamed about Apaches and jumped up with a yell and lit
out for God's sake.  We tried to call him back, and he thought it was
the Apaches after him.  I reckon he 's scared you-all half to death
with his yarn.  You 're as bad as tenderfeet yourselves!'

"But they 'd got the notion scared into them so bad they could n't
believe anything else, and they sure thought there must be Injuns
around somewheres; and so I left 'em and rode on for Apache Teju.
Pretty soon I met a troop of cavalry from Fort Bayard on the trot for
Separ.  The captain rode up to me and says, 'Have you been near the
scene of the Indian depredations?'

"'No, sir,' says I, 'I hain't seen no Injun depredations, nor Injuns
neither, this summer.'

"'Humph!' says he, 'that's queer!'

"'Yes, sir,' says I, 'I think likely.  I _heard_ there was some trouble
with 'em last night down below Separ, but if there 's _been_ any Injun
depredations I hain't seen 'em a-tall.'  And then I rode on, for I had
n't time to be bothered with no more of his questions, and, too, I
reckoned likely him and his soldiers needed some exercise.

"And they got it, too.  They just kep' on the trot for the Mexican
line, and kep' a-goin' for three months.  They 'd started out for
Injuns, and Injuns they was bound to have.  They jest wound around
through all that country south of Separ, and over into old Mexico, and
back again, and up into the mountains and across the plains, and did
n't even see an Apache the whole three months.  And they did n't find
out it was all nothin' but a blaze on Pard Huff till after they 'd come
back.  I reckon about that time they concluded there ain't no bigger
fool on earth than a tenderfoot, a-tall.  And there ain't, neither.

"Well, I tell you, that Pard Huff was sure mad when he found out we-all
had been running a blaze on him!  I don't know as I blame him much, for
that ten-mile run of his to Separ in his sock feet over cactus and
stones was n't much of a joke, a-tall.  But he was an all-fireder fool
tenderfoot than we s'posed, or we would n't have done it."



HOW COLONEL KATE WON HER SPURS

Mrs. Harrison Winthrop Coolidge had long been the recognized leader of
Santa Fé society.  Her husband, who had twice been Governor of New
Mexico (this was long before the Territory had put on the garment of
Statehood), was the best known and most esteemed man in the Southwest.
He was rich, energetic, capable, and popular, and he came of the family
of the Massachusetts Coolidges; while his wife, who was just as capable
and as popular as he, sprang from the Adams family of the same State.
But, notwithstanding all this, to the Unassorted of Santa Fé society
she was always "Colonel Kate"; and the Select themselves, in moments of
sprightly intimacy, would sometimes refer to her or even address her by
that sobriquet.

The occasional new resident and the frequent health-seeker were sure to
hear of Colonel Kate before they had spent more than a day or two in
the ancient city; and if they had come from the strait-laced East they
were likely to be much scandalized when they learned the identity of
the lady spoken of thus disrespectfully, and would at once want to know
how and why such things could be.  Then they would be told that the
shocking appellation was only a good-natured and admiring recognition
of Mrs. Coolidge's general efficiency.  For it was the universal
opinion in Santa Fé that Colonel Kate would always accomplish whatever
she started out to do, and that nobody ever could guess what she would
start out to do next.

All this was quite true, but it was also true that the Governor's wife
had won her military title by the especial daring and efficiency which
she had once displayed on a particular occasion.  The facts in the case
are known only to some three or four people who have always kept them
very quiet.  It happened, however, when I asked for information about
Mrs. Coolidge's nickname, that the man with whom I was talking was the
very one who had first bestowed it upon her, and he told me the secret
truth about it.  Mrs. Coolidge had no stancher friend than he, nor any
who regarded her with greater respect and admiration, but he rarely
spoke of her or addressed her by any other name than "Colonel Kate."

It all happened a good many years ago, when Harrison Winthrop Coolidge,
then a comparatively young man and newly married, had just come out
from Massachusetts to be Governor of New Mexico.  His wife was a young
woman of tall and shapely figure, handsome face, and striking presence,
and possessed of such vivacity, vigor, health, and strength as few
women enjoy.  Her superabundant vitality found many emergencies upon
which to expend itself, but the man who told me this story declared
that she never found one that was too big for her.  She probably never
found a bigger or more important one than that which she faced on the
night when she won her spurs.  Governor and Mrs. Coolidge reached New
Mexico in the days of the first coming of the railroad, when the sleepy
old Territory woke to a brief season of active and hilarious life.  And
the Governor, fresh from New England reverence for law and legal forms
and accepted methods, was inexpressibly shocked by the low opinion in
which such things were held in his new bailiwick.  Especially was he
horrified by the frequent and brief proceedings which left men who had
been too free with their guns or with other people's property hanging
from trees, projecting beams, and other convenient places.  The usual
rough justice of the affair did not, in his eyes, mitigate the
offensiveness of its irregularity.

The Santa Fé _Bugle_ at once interviewed him about his plans and
intentions, and Governor Coolidge talked very strongly on the subject
of lynch law.  He said that it was entirely wrong, unworthy even of
barbarians, and was not to be endorsed or palliated in either principle
or practice.  He deplored the frequency of its operations in New
Mexico, and emphatically declared his intention of stamping it out.

And he took that opportunity to announce that all persons connected
with lynching affairs would be treated as murderers or accessories to
murder.

The editor of _The Bugle_, which was the organ of the opposition,
published every word the Governor said, and then gleefully waited for
something to happen.  He did not know what it would be, but he was
perfectly sure there would be something, and that it would be
interesting.

On the night after the interview was published Mrs. Coolidge awoke,
possessed by an uneasy feeling that something unusual was taking place.
They were living then in the ancient adobe "Governor's palace," with
its four-foot walls and its eventful history ante-dating the landing at
Plymouth Rock, and for a half-waking instant she wondered if some
unshriven victim of century-gone enmity and revenge still walked those
old halls or sought its mortal habiliments among the rotting bones in
the _placita_.  She listened and heard whispering voices and cautious
movements in the _portal_ that fronted the entire length of the
building.  Then she arose, wrapped a long, dark cloak about her, and
peeped out of the window.  Directly in front of their bedroom, in the
_portal_, were three or four men who bore among them some long and
heavy burden.  She drew her dark hair across her face, that there might
be no white gleam to attract their attention, and crouched beside the
window to watch.

One of the men, who was apparently a leader, mounted the shoulders of
two others and seemed to be feeling for something in the wall above the
window.  The dim rays of an old moon, which showed that the time must
be near morning, did not afford as much light as he needed, and he
fumbled for some time before he found the hook in the wall for which he
was looking.  Over it he passed the end of a rope and then jumped to
the ground.  They pulled together on the rope, and the long, dark
burden, which had been left lying on the ground, was drawn upward until
it hung in front of the window beside which Mrs. Coolidge was watching,
and she saw that it was a human body.  Then they fastened the rope to
one of the iron bars across the window and stood for a few moments
looking at the swaying body and chuckling together.  The one who seemed
to be the leader rolled a cigarette and lighted it, and by the glare of
the match she recognized him.  He was a man of prominence in Santa Fé
and the leader of the opposing party, not only locally but for the
whole Territory as well.

Mrs. Coolidge's first impulse was to awaken her husband, but a swift
intuition warned her that that would not be wise.  So she controlled
her horror and indignation, and, as she stared at the poor, lifeless
thing swaying outside, she did some very rapid thinking.  She
understood that there had been a lynching and that the corpse had been
brought there and hung in front of her husband's bedroom window, where
his first waking glance would fall upon it, as a sign of how public
opinion regarded his ideas and intentions on the subject of lynch law.
She saw that it was intended as a warning and a contemptuous defiance,
and her spirit rose high in righteous wrath.  She knew well that this
event presaged for the Governor trouble and humiliation, and probably,
if a conflict were precipitated at once, an early defeat, and she
quickly decided that he must not see the body or know what had
happened.  But what could she do with it?

Then an idea occurred to her and she smiled and said to herself that it
was impossible.  But it seemed such a good idea, and it pleased her so
much, that she kept on thinking about it.  Presently she assured
herself that her husband was still sleeping quietly; then she put on
some clothes, and, laughing softly, went out on the _portal_.

The man who had been the leader in the affair that night, and whom Mrs.
Coolidge had recognized, was awakened early the next morning by the
sound of voices in front of his house.  It was barely dawn, but already
a little group of Mexicans were staring at his door and talking with
much excitement.  Wondering what it could mean he hastily dressed
himself and went out.  As he opened the front door he ran into the body
of the man, swinging above his own threshold, which he had left a few
hours before hanging at the Governor's window.

"My jaw dropped and I shut the door mighty quick, when I saw that," he
told me, with a reminiscent, amused chuckle at himself.  "I knew in a
second that the Governor was onto us, that he must have seen us in
front of his window, and that it was up to me to do some lively pullin'
of freight.  As a matter of fact, I had n't had anything to do with the
lynching.  That had been done by some cowboys who were in town the day
before, and the fellow they 'd done for was an ornery cuss of a
half-breed Mexican, who was a whole lot better off dead than alive,
anyway.  He tried to play some low-down game on 'em at poker, and they
just strung him up and rode off.  Some of our fellows heard about it,
and three or four of us decided it would be a good thing to let
Coolidge know what our sentiments were.

"We were in dead earnest, and we meant to get his political scalp and
drive him out of the Territory with his tail between his hind legs,
before he knew what had happened to him.  I won't say," and the man
grinned and his eyes twinkled, "I was n't expecting to be appointed
Governor myself afterwards.  Anyway, I did n't care to be roped into a
trial for murder just then.  It would have interfered with my plans.
And if the Governor had seen us apparently lynching a man right under
his eyes, he could cinch us if he wanted to.

"I called the Mexicans up to the door, told them I didn't know how the
body got there (I didn't, either), but it must have been put there by
some of my enemies.  Then I gave them money to take charge of it, say
the dead man was a friend of theirs, and do the proper thing.  So the
poor cuss was in luck by the affair after all, for he got a mass said
over him.  Then I sent word to my friends who 'd been with me, and we
all just quietly skipped, on the minute.  At sun-up that morning there
was n't one of us in town.  I had urgent business in Texas for the next
week.

"You see, we 'd all of us thought our new Governor was just a
highfalutin' tenderfoot, and it would n't be any job at all to buffalo
him.  But this move of his gave us a suspicion that maybe we 'd sized
him up wrong.  It was just the kind of quiet warning that we 'd be
likely to give if we had cards up our sleeve that the other fellow did
n't know about.  It looked as if he really could and would strike back
good and plenty if we pushed him too hard.  So we sent word to our
crowd all over the Territory to keep quiet a while.  And let me tell
you, life in New Mexico was not nearly so exciting for the next few
weeks as some of us had planned it should be.

"Still, I was n't quite satisfied about it.  Somehow, the Governor did
n't seem to pan out to be just the kind of man who would give that kind
of a jolt to his enemies.  He was too Eastern.  I was still chawin' it
over in my mind, when one day I met Mrs. Coolidge, two or three weeks
after it happened and the first time I 'd seen her since.  She was
lively and cordial, as she always was, and is; but as I shook hands
with her and looked her in the eyes she suddenly dropped her eyelids,
and a queer expression crossed her face.  She had hold of herself again
in a second and was looking at me and smiling and talking.  But that
second was enough.  It flashed into my mind that she was the one who 'd
done it.  I reckon I would n't have dared to bone her about it if I 'd
waited two minutes.  But the impulse took me, and I just asked her
bluntly right then and there if it was she who had transferred that
Greaser from her husband's window to my door.

"She threw up her head and looked me square in the eyes--you know that
straight, frank gaze she has--frowned a little and said, 'Yes, I did
it.  I thought your doorway was the rightful place for that corpse to
be found in.'

"Well, the joke of it and the pluck of her just struck me right where I
lived, and I fairly roared.  'Put it there, Mrs. Coolidge,' I said, and
stuck out my hand, as soon as I could speak.  'You 're a regular
captain!  No, you 're bigger than that--you 're a colonel!  Shake, and
let's be friends!'

"Well, I just thought it would be a shame to drive a woman with as much
pluck and _sabe_ as that back East to live.  So I passed the word down
the line in our party that we 'd give the Governor a show--let him have
fair play anyhow, and, if he could make good, all right, the pot should
be his.  I was so tickled by Mrs. Coolidge's trick and the way she won
out on it that I never called her anything but 'Colonel' after that,
and, somehow, the title stuck.  Anyway, she deserves it."

For a long time after this affair, so I learned from Mrs. Coolidge when
I asked her about the story her friend had told me, the Governor
thought it was that interview and the stern spirit he displayed in it
that had made the change in the opposition's attitude toward him and
had seemed to affect the feeling of the whole Territory.  For his
official path became unexpectedly easy.  There were few attempts to
balk him in his administration of affairs and there was a general
manifestation of tolerance, and even of willingness to see how his
ideas would work out.

But the time came when, understanding better the people with whom he
had to deal, he knew that that interview ought to have had just the
opposite result.  One day he said to his wife how surprising it was
that it had not landed him in the hottest of hot water, and how puzzled
he was to account for what seemed to have been its effect.  Then she
confessed to him what had happened on that crucial night, how she had
taken the body away and hung it in front of the other house, and what
she partly knew and partly guessed about the results of the affair.  At
once he realized that her instant and audacious retaliation was what
had made possible his success and his growing popularity.
Nevertheless, he was shocked at first, for New England was still but a
little way behind him.  But amusement soon overcame every other
feeling, and he laughed heartily in admiration of her daring, just as
his opponent had done.  After that, he seemed to take particular pride
in her sobriquet, and himself often called her "Colonel Kate."



HOLLYHOCKS

Green and peaceful, the long, low undulations of the prairie sea of
southern Kansas spread away to the horizon in lines as graceful and
pleasing as those of a reclining Venus.  Here and there against a
hillside the emerald waves broke in a bright foam of many-colored
flowers.  In all that vast extent over which I could look, there was
visible no living creature save the tiny furred and feathered things
whose home it was.  The soft prairie wind blew caressingly against my
cheek and seemed to whisper in my ear: "Why do men cling to the
boisterous, cruel, lying sea as the emblem of freedom?  Is not here
beauty that allures with freedom's own charms?  Is not here freedom
herself, serene, smiling, constant, and blessed with a blessedness the
sea knows not?"

The prairie wind blew the freedom it sang of into my heart, and it
dwelt there with joy and exultation as I drove on and on over the waves
of that smiling emerald sea.  I salved my eyes, wearied and scorched by
brick walls and city pavements, with those long, swinging reaches of
green, and their silent benediction filled and soothed my very soul.

At last, when the low-lying hills began to cast cool shadows down their
eastern slopes, there appeared against the velvet green of the distance
the sprawling blotch of a little town, ugly, naked, and unashamed in
its bustling newness.  And nearer, by a mile or more, on a green slope
which caught the golden-red rays of the sinking sun, was a little
enclosure, naked and ugly as the town itself, but silent and
awe-inspiring with the silence and awe of death.  A barbed-wire fence
enclosed it, and the prairie turf still covered much of its space.
There were here no sunken mounds, no reeling headstones, no discolored
marbles.  The grave heaps were trimly rounded, the wooden crosses which
marked most of them grinned their newness, and the few headstones and
monuments shone upstartishly white in the sun.  Barren of that curtain
of verdure with which love strives to conceal the footprints of death,
the little cemetery lay there against the green hillside like some
fresh, gaping, ghastly wound in the face of a loved one.

One grave stood out startlingly from the rest.  On the others only an
infrequent trailing vine or a faded bunch of flowers told of loving
effort to cover death's nakedness.  But this one, which lay in the
centre of the enclosure, was covered from headstone to foot-cross with
a dense growth of hollyhocks.  Their tall shafts were clothed with a
luxuriance of vivid red bloom, as if they had sucked into their petals
the life blood of the sleeper below.  In the level red sun-rays they
glowed with lusty contempt of the silent impotence beneath them.

A woman in a white dress, with her hands full of the red hollyhock
blooms, walked between the graves down to the barred gate and came out
upon the road as I drove up.  I recognized her as the woman whose
acquaintance I had made in the train a few days previously, and in
whose company I had travelled from Chicago hither.  She had been a
pleasant chance acquaintance--intelligent, gentle, and refined.

"Will you ride back to town with me?" I said.

She accepted the offer of the seat beside me, carefully holding her
flowers.

"How odd that grave looks with its marshalled array of hollyhocks!" I
said, by way of opening conversation, for she sat there silent.  "What
a peculiar taste, to adorn a loved one's last resting-place in that
way!"

She looked up at me silently, and I noticed that her eyes were hollow,
and her face sad.  Then she turned toward the graveyard and the tall
red hollyhocks standing out so vividly in the sunset glow, and said
quietly:

"It is my mother's grave.  I planted the hollyhocks upon it."

She was silent again, looking sadly and tenderly at the flowers in her
lap, but presently she went on:

"I do not mind telling you why I did it.  Perhaps talking about it will
lessen the heaviness of my heart.  No one but my sister knows why I
planted them there, and she has never seen the grave, nor have I seen
her, since our mother died.  When we were young girls at home, our
mother loved hollyhocks.  She had the yard filled with great clumps of
them.  We were away at school for a few years and when we went home
again they quite horrified our advanced, young ladyish taste.  We
thought them vulgar, and between ourselves we fretted and scolded about
them and declared to each other that they were horrid, and that we were
ashamed to have any one visit us while those great, ugly, coarse things
filled the yard.  We apologized for them to visitors and said they were
mother's flowers, but we hated them.  And after a while we complained
about them to mother and said before her how common and coarse and
old-fashioned they were.  And she, dear, gentle soul, said not a word,
but looked sadly out at the flowers she loved so well and had cared for
so long and so tenderly.  And one day, after we had fretted and worried
her a long time about them, she said to us--I can see yet how she tried
to smile and disguise the sadness in her heart--that we might dig up
all the hollyhocks and plant other flowers in their places.  And we
did.  It stabs me to the heart now to think of it,--but we did it
joyfully.

"After we were married and went away from home--my sister to London and
I to Chicago--our mother came here to this town and soon died.  In the
sorrow of that time, when first I knew how much and how tenderly I
loved her, I remembered about the hollyhocks, and at last realized how
brutally thoughtless and unfeeling we had been.  So, in shame and
remorse, I did the one little thing that was all I could do, and
covered the grave of our dear, patient, gentle, saint-like mother with
the flowers she loved the best of all, but which we had not let her
gladden her life with.  I do not pretend to know whether or not there
is a hereafter, or whether there is anything more of her than what lies
under those red flowers back there.  But often I wish--oh, how I
wish!--that it may be so, and that from somewhere her spirit may look
down and see and be pleased by the atonement I have tried to make!

"I wrote to my sister what I had done, and I found that she also felt
as I did about it.  Every summer I come here and see that the
hollyhocks grow and flourish as we wish them to; and, at her request, I
gather and send to her some of the blooms.  These in my lap are for
that purpose, and two weeks from now she will be weeping over them in
her London home.  If we could only have known--then--how we should feel
about it now!"



THE RISE, FALL, AND REDEMPTION OF JOHNSON SIDES

The day was hot, and the wind was high, and the alkali dust from the
sagebrush plains sifted into the car, and whitened the stuffy
upholstering, and burrowed into the nerves of the passengers.
Everybody longed for the coming of night, and the relief of the climb
up the cool heights of the Sierras.

I looked out on the sun-flooded platform at Winnemucca and wondered,
with a feeling of irritation against all things earthly, what I should
do with myself during all the long, hot, and uncomfortable hours that
were still to be endured.  And then I saw the big, broad-shouldered
figure and the round, good-natured face of the Nevadan enter the car
and come straight toward my section.  At once I forgot the heat and the
alkali dust, and my heart sang with joy, for I knew the Nevadan of old,
and knew him for the prince of story tellers.  So there was content in
my soul and foreknowledge of delightful entertainment with tales new
and old.  For the Nevadan's old stories are just as interesting as his
new ones, because you never recognize them as anything you ever heard
before.  His store of yarns is limitless and needs only a listener to
set it unwinding, like an endless cable, warranted to run as long as
his audience laughs.

So the Nevadan talked, and I listened and felt at peace with the world.
And presently he began to tell me about Johnson Sides.

"Of course, you 've heard about him, have n't you?" he asked.
"Everybody who has lived on either slope of the Sierras must have heard
about Johnson.  Well, Johnson Sides is a whole lot of a man, even if he
is only a Piute Indian.  It ain't quite fair, though, to speak of him
as only an Indian, for he has developed into an individual and wears
store clothes.

"The first time I ever saw Johnson was away back, years ago, when I
first went to Virginia City.  Going down C Street one day I stopped to
look at some workmen who were excavating for the foundation of a house.
They had been blasting, and were working away like good fellows getting
the pieces of rock off the site.  On the south side of the biggest
stone they had removed, where the sun shone on him and he was sheltered
from the wind, a big Piute was lying on the ground and watching the
workmen as if he had been their boss.  He was wrapped in an army
blanket, new but dirty, and he wore a fairly good hat and a pair of
boots without holes.  His face and hands were dirty, and his hair hung
around his ears and neck and eyes in that fine disorder which the
Piutes admire.

"I wondered why he was watching the workmen, for it is little short of
a miracle for a Piute to take any interest whatever in manual labor.
So I spoke to him.  Without paying any attention to me or what I had
said, or even seeming to be conscious of my presence, he rose,
straightened himself up, threw his head back, and said, as if he were
addressing the world in general: 'White man work, white man eat; Injun
no work, Injun eat; white man damn fool.'

"I laughed and said, 'You 've struck it, right at the bottom.  Anybody
with as much wisdom as that deserves to be supported by the community.
Here 's a dollar for you.'

"He took the money as disdainfully as if he had been a prince and I a
subject paying back taxes, and without once looking at me stalked off
down the street.  An hour afterwards I ran across Johnson, two other
bucks, and a squaw, sitting on the ground in the sun behind a barn,
playing poker.  Johnson must have raked in everything the whole party
had, for that night the rest of them were sober and he was whooping
drunk.  In consequence, he got locked up for a while.  The police of
Virginia City always paid Johnson the compliment of locking him up when
he got drunk, for with whiskey inside of him he was more like a mad
devil than anything else.

"After he got out of jail I saw him standing around for several days
looking as lordly and unconscious as if he had been worth a million.
But the pangs of hunger must have set his wits to work.  For pretty
soon he appeared on the streets with a wrinkled, decrepit, old Piute
tied to a string.  He had fastened the string to the old fellow's arm
and he walked behind, holding the other end, but apparently as
unconscious of the whole business as if he 'd been the sole inhabitant
of Virginia City.  He stalked along with his head in the air, and the
old fellow trotted out in front until Johnson yanked the string.  Then
they stopped and the old man began to beg money of the passers-by, and
Johnson turned his back on his companion and looked off down the
street, proudly pretending that they weren't together.  If any one gave
the old man money Johnson took it at once and it disappeared somewhere
inside his blanket.  Johnson and his prime minister, we used to call
the combination.  But Johnson would n't beg for himself.  Oh, no!  He
was too proud.  It's a fact, I never knew or heard of Johnson Sides
himself asking for money.  But he kept his prime minister trotting
around for several weeks, and he never let go the string or let the old
fellow keep a two-bit piece.

"But Johnson was reformed at last; and it was the power of the press
that did it.  Talk about the press as a moral agent!  Why, bless your
soul, when one newspaper can reform a whole Piute Indian and make a man
of him--well, the question's settled, then and there, and the pulpit
and the platform ain't in it after that.

"We did n't try to reform him--in fact, we 'd rather have kept him as
he was at first.  He was more amusing.  But the aspirations of
Johnson's soul were too much for us.  I used to give him money
sometimes--he was sure to do something if he got drunk that was worth
writing up--and so he got into the habit of coming to our newspaper
office whenever he felt the need of more cash.  He did n't ask for
anything, and he always made you feel that he was doing you a great
favor in accepting any stray chicken-feed you might have about your
clothes.  He just sat around like a bronzed and blanketed statue of
Caesar, or Alexander, or Napoleon Bonaparte.  Not one of the whole lot
of them ever looked more as if he owned the whole earth than Johnson
did after he 'd sat there three hours waiting for somebody to give him
two bits or a chew of tobacco.

"I found out after a while that he could give me scraps of news about
the Indians over at Pyramid Lake or in the city that were worth making
into local items, and I always paid him for them.  Nobody ever saw a
prouder Indian than Johnson was the first day I did that.  I marked the
paragraphs with a blue pencil and gave him a copy of the paper, and he
carried it around with him until it was worn out.  The money I gave him
for them he kept in his pocket for two whole days.  But at last there
was a big poker game behind a barn--six bucks down from Pyramid Lake
with five dollars apiece, and it was too much for Johnson.  His proudly
earned silver went into the pot with the rest.

"Johnson brought up items every day after that, and soon began to feel
himself one of the profession and a man of consequence.  He always
brought two or three other bucks with him to see his importance and be
impressed by his superiority.  While they stood against the wall or
squatted in a corner Johnson would take a chair at a dignified distance
from me and begin, 'Now, you make 'um paper talk.'  And he always ended
his account with the emphatic command, 'Now, you make 'um paper talk
straight.'

"But his information was not always 'straight.'  He had all the
instincts of the modern and progressive journalist, and he did n't
hesitate to fake when news was scarce and he wanted money.  For after
he joined the newspaper profession he gave up begging by proxy and
allowed his prime minister to beg on his own account and keep his own
earnings.

"Well, it was n't long after Johnson's entrance into literature until
he discarded his blanket and appeared in a coat.  The other Indians
began to regard him with awe-struck admiration.  Every afternoon he
waited in the office until the paper came out, and then he marched off
with a copy in which his 'talk' was marked.  He showed this to every
Indian he saw, and together they admired it with the paper wrong side
up, sidewise, and every other way.  Johnson's special friends among the
whites were similarly favored.  He would hand the paper with a
magnificent air, point a dirty finger to a marked paragraph, and say,
'Make 'um paper talk--me!'

"The civilizing influence of literary pursuits and universal respect
soon told upon Johnson's personal appearance.  He began to wash his
face and hands.  His self-respect seemed to grow, like love, by what it
fed on; and the more he became respectable, the more his ambitions
spread out and flourished.  The next time he had big luck in a poker
game, instead of spending his money in a spree, he bought a brand-new
suit of store clothes.

"His new position in society by that time demanded more money to
support it properly than his literary efforts brought in; and as poker
games were not always on hand, and sometimes turned out the wrong way,
Johnson actually decided to work.  His free, proud soul had been so
effectually tamed by respectability and harnessed by civilization that
he accepted every odd job of work that came along by which he could
earn money.  He looked quite decent and respectable, and, by virtue of
really trying to do it, he managed to get a fairly good command of
English.

"The civilizing process had been going on two or three years when
Johnson's mind got an illumination as to the value of knowledge.  He
decided that the young Piutes ought to go to school, though Johnson
himself never had showed any great desire for knowledge.  He has since
learned to read a little, and can write his own name, but at that time
he was satisfied with 'making the paper talk' through my agency.
However, he set his heart on having a school for the young Indians.  I
suppose he realized that they could n't all achieve social position and
influence in the field of journalism, as he had done, but must be
provided with some of the implements of civilization to start with.

"There was some Government money with which the school could be run
after it was started, but there was no building in which it could be
held.  The thing lagged along for a while, and Johnson tried to set
several schemes going, without success.  Finally, one fine morning, the
proprietor of a lumber yard thought some of his piles of lumber had
been tampered with.  He saw some tracks, which he followed, and in the
outskirts of the town, near a bunch of wickiups, he came upon two other
lumber-yard men, also following tracks.  A little farther on they found
Johnson, even more important and dignified than usual, superintending
the construction of a schoolhouse.  Half a dozen Indians were at work,
and Johnson was bossing them as if he had been building schoolhouses
all his life.

"The men boned him about stealing the lumber, and he frankly said yes,
he had stolen it.  That is, he had bossed the job, and made the other
bucks do all the packing.  He explained that he had to steal it,
because he could n't buy it, and they would n't give it to him, and he
had to have that schoolhouse.  His frankness amused them, and they told
him, all right, go ahead, and if he needed any more lumber he might
have it.

"He finally got the schoolhouse finished, corralled the Indian brats,
and after the school was started visited it three times a week, when he
did n't go every day.  If any of the youngsters showed signs of mutiny,
all the teacher had to do was to threaten to call in Johnson Sides, and
immediately peace became profound.  For by that time he had more
influence among the Indians, big and little, than anybody else, white
or red.  They looked up to him with a veneration which he accepted as
his right as calmly as he had formerly taken the quarters and
half-dollars his prime minister had begged for him.

"That schoolhouse was the last stealing he ever did, even by proxy, and
pretty soon he quit getting drunk.  He has never given up poker
entirely but he has quit gambling away everything he gets, and only
joins in a social game now and then, when he is flush, as any gentleman
might.

"He was a good deal of a man, was Johnson, and everybody respected him
and was glad to help him along.  He worked and earned money, and saved
a little, and proved himself quite capable, and was clean and decent
and respectable.  People liked to employ him, for he was industrious
and sober.  That is, he was sober for a long time.  There must have
been five or six years in which Johnson was never even tipsy.  He was
mighty proud of himself and his good reputation, and when he did fall
it hurt him bad.

"For fall he did, at last, when a big enough temptation came along.
And then he got whizzing, whooping, roaring drunk.  It was a wilder,
madder, more devilish drunk than any he had ever taken in the old days
when he was only a dirty Piute buck, without ambitions or achievements.
It seemed as if he were making up for all the time he had lost while he
was respectable, and condensing into one all the drunks he might have
taken and had n't.

"He kept it up for three weeks.  Part of the time he was with the
Indians, part in Virginia City, and part in Carson.  How he managed to
escape arrest is more than I can tell, and how it happened that he did
n't massacre the whole population of Nevada is still more of a mystery.
He had fights with Indians and with whites, with men who were drunk and
men who were sober, and they drew guns, knives, and fists.  But Johnson
didn't get hurt, and nobody else got killed.

"After it was all over and he had sobered up, Johnson came to me and he
was so repentant and humiliated that, I declare, I never felt so sorry
for anybody in all my life.  He thought it was all up with him, that he
had ruined all his good repute and influence, that nobody would ever
believe him, or trust him, or respect him after that, and that it was
quite useless for him to try to be a good Indian again.  Of course he
did n't put it in so many words--he expressed more by gestures and
looks and grunts than by words--but that was the meaning of it all.

"I felt so sorry for him that I made up my mind I 'd give him a lift;
and as I began to talk and try to encourage him I had an inspiration
that was just the thing.

"'Don't you be so discouraged, Johnson,' I said.  'We can make things
all right again.  We 'll get the Legislature to repeal this drunk of
yours and that'll set you right up where you were before.  I 'm going
over to Carson to-morrow, and I 'll have the Legislature make a law
that will wipe out the whole business and fix everything for you as if
you had n't been drunk at all.'

"Johnson was delighted, but he did n't feel quite sure about it.  So I
had to make him understand that I knew what I was talking about.

"'It's all straight,' I said.  'They do that every session for
somebody.  Why, So-and-So'--and I mentioned the name of a prominent
citizen--'was on an awful drunk last winter; and just as soon as he
sobered up he went right over to Carson and had the Legislature pass a
bill repealing his spree, and you know that he is just as much
respected as he was before.  I'll attend to your business myself
to-morrow, and then I 'll publish the whole thing in the paper and
everybody will read it and know that you are all right again.  But you
must remember one thing, Johnson,' I said.  'You must remember that as
you are an Indian the Legislature can't do this for you more than once.
If you were a white man you could have as many drunks repealed as you
wanted.  But being an Indian this is your last chance, and you must
keep straight after this.'

"Well, the upshot of it was that Johnson put his trust in me; and I
flatter myself that I was just the man he needed in the emergency.  You
've lived in the West, and you know what the Nevada Legislature is, and
always has been.  There never was one that you couldn't count on to do
anything under the sun that tickled its sense of humor.  I thought that
bill about Johnson's drunk would strike 'em in just about the right
place, and it did.  They dropped everything else and sent it through
with a hurrah.

"There was a long preamble, telling about Johnson Sides's prominence
and influence and the great importance of his retaining the high
position in the respect of the community which he had won, and about
the misfortune into which he had fallen, and how it was the universal
wish that he should be reinstated in public esteem.  And then there was
a resolution which declared that Johnson Sides's drunk should be and
was thereby repealed, destroyed, wiped out, for ever and ever, and that
all statutes not in accordance with that act were thereby annulled from
that time forth.  They passed it through both houses unanimously, and
the next day I published the bill verbatim and all the proceedings in
our paper.

"Johnson's face fairly shone with joy when I read it to him.  It was
his patent of respectability, and he stowed it away in his breast
pocket as carefully as if it had been his passport to heaven.  He
carried it there until it was worn out, and then he came after another.
He's worn out three or four since then, but he always keeps one in his
pocket.

"The scheme worked like a charm; for his redemption has been complete,
and he 's been a good Indian, sober, industrious, and respectable--but
not nearly so interesting--ever since."



A PIECE OF WRECKAGE

  Delay not thy coming, my love, my own!
  Though patient I wait thee, my love unknown,
  Yet long I thy figure to see, and know
  What form thou wilt have, and what face be thine,
  And when thou wilt clasp me, dear love of mine;
  For all that is left me is thy cold breath,
  And wond'ring I wait thee, my sweetheart, Death!


It may be that the high tide of material development which in late
years has been sweeping over Southern California has penetrated even to
that isolated nook in the hills which, when I knew it, was the saddest
place I had ever seen.  It was a lonely region, miles and miles away
from railroads, telegraphs, newspapers--all the mighty, roaring music
of civilization.  Off toward the east the desert stretched its level
expanse of vague coloring, and westward the rounded hills, green in the
winter, yellow as ripe wheat fields through the long, rainless summer,
reared their mounds higher and higher until they stopped, as if cowed
and ashamed, at the flanks of Monte Pinos.  And the mountain, majestic
and vapor-veiled, seemed always to be watching them in their work of
protecting and comforting the wrecks that clung to their feet.

For that was why this region, despite its soft, reposeful beauty,
seemed so sad--because of the wrecks, the human wrecks, who dwelt
there, who had seized such fast hold of the sphinx-like hills that only
death could unloose their grasp.  Some of them were relics of
California's heyday, men who, when the waves of hope and adventure and
endeavor were rolling fast and high over the Golden State, were so
dashed about and bruised and beaten that at last they were glad to be
cast ashore among these hills.  Some had hidden themselves there
because they were weary of the world and all its works, and wished to
go where they could no longer hear even its heart-beats.  Others there
were who had fled thither to escape the scorn of men or the vengeance
of the law.  And there were a few who were staying on and on, and would
always stay, because those enchantresses that whisper in the evening
breezes of the mountains and the desert, that put forth caressing hands
in the balmy air that bathes the hills and canyons in the early
morning, whose wooing voices sing in the music of birds and chant in
the cries of wild things at night, had taken captive their wills, and
they could not go if they would.

Their cabins were scattered through the valleys, or on the sides of the
hills, or in the recesses of the canyons, miles apart.  Sometimes,
though rarely, there was a little family in one.  But usually the only
occupant was an elderly or middle-aged man, who spoke but little about
himself or his past, and was as destitute of curiosity as to what was
going on in the outside world as he was about the former lives and
affairs of his fellow wreckage.

Nevertheless, I had the good fortune to learn much of the story of one
of these men.  A member of our camping party chanced to make speaking
acquaintance with him at the quaint old adobe house under its huge,
spreading grapevine and waving cottonwoods, which served as stage
station and supply store--the centre of such civilization as there was
in all the region within a radius of thirty or forty miles.  Every one
in that country called him "Old Dan."  I found his name one day in the
Great Register--twin relic, with the shabby old stage, of the outer
world--which hung in the stage station.  But as it was not his real
name, nor probably any name by which he was ever known outside of those
hills, it will be of no use to mention it here.

Old Dan, learning that we were not pleased with our camping-place,
invited us to pitch our tents under some trees near his cabin.  And for
one delightful month of the southern summer we brought into his life
the strange sensation of voices fresh from the world he had discarded.
The unwonted influence unlocked his memories and sent his mind back to
dwell among the almost forgotten years when he, too, was of the world
and delighted in it.

We soon fell into the habit of sociability.  Every evening he would
come down to our camp, usually bringing his violin, and sit with us for
hours at our camp fire.  His cats--he had near a dozen of them--came
trailing after him, and his two dogs trotted by his side.  Two or three
of the cats sprang into his lap as soon as he sat down, and the rest
snarled at the dogs for appropriating the choice positions nearest him,
and then disposed themselves in an outer row.  The stable inclosure was
only a few rods distant, and the three burros it contained, as soon as
they heard his voice, ranged themselves in a solemn row at the nearest
point, looking as wise and mysterious as so many sphinxes.

Sometimes he played for us, with unexpected skill and feeling, on his
violin.  As the days went by and our acquaintance grew more intimate,
he gradually fell back into memories of the past and turned over for
us, now and then, the pages of his life's history.  But all these bits,
heard at many different times, and some things which were told me
afterwards by men who had known him in other years and places, I have
gathered into one continuous narrative.  For in my memory they are all
fused together, as if he had told us the whole of his story in one
evening--one special evening, of which remembrance is most vivid.

The moon was at its half, and showered down just enough of its silver
light to bring out sharply the darkling woods on the hill beyond the
little stream and to make his cabin under the trees, off in the
opposite direction, take on strange shapes, while it cut out, sharp and
distinct against the background of light, the silhouettes of the solemn
and unmoving burros, standing in a row behind the fence.  Our camp fire
blazed and crackled and the crimson and orange flames mounted high in
the air and showed our little party, sitting or half lying about it on
blankets.  Old Dan, sitting on a great chunk of wood, his lap full of
cats, his violin beside him, and his usual bodyguard of cats and dogs
around him, went far back into his youth and let us know--what probably
he had told no other being since he broke those ties--why he left the
home, the heritage, and the name of his ancestors.

He had been playing on his violin, and then, putting it down, had begun
to tell us about some hunting adventure.  The red light danced over his
wrinkled, weather-beaten face and scraggly, grizzled beard; and as I
considered his large, well-shaped head and strongly marked features, it
seemed to me there was something familiar in his countenance.  In his
voice a peculiar intonation--I had noticed it many times before--teased
me with suggestions of a voice heard somewhere else.

And presently I remembered.

He turned his face toward me, the firelight fell bright and strong upon
it, that peculiar tone in his voice sounded at just the same instant,
and there flashed upon me the memory of a scene in Boston two years
before.  It was in Faneuil Hall, and a great mass of eager,
enthusiastic faces was turned toward the platform, where stood a member
of one of Massachusetts' old and distinguished families.  His speech,
full of persuasive fire, had welded his whole audience into one
personality that, for the time being, at least, felt as he felt and
thought as he thought.  And the voice of the orator, which had
impressed me by reason of a certain peculiar intonation, was like this
man's voice, and his face had in it much that was like the face of Old
Dan.

I spoke of the resemblance, and Old Dan at first drew back within
himself.  Then he began to question me eagerly about the man.  And
presently he had let us know who he was.

"Yes," he said, "you are right.  There is a strong resemblance between
us, or there was when we were young.  I have not seen him for more than
forty years.  He is my brother--younger than I.  You know what the
family has been in New England.  There has not been a generation of it
for a hundred, yes, a hundred and fifty years, that has not made its
influence felt either in Massachusetts or the nation.  I cut loose from
it before I was twenty, and they have known nothing about me since.  In
fact, they think me dead--they thought I died then, and I do not intend
they shall ever know that I did not.  This is the first time since I
left that anybody has known my real name, and you 'll do me a favor if
you never speak of it to any one else, here or elsewhere.  I have not
always been known by the same name since then, but what difference does
that make?  When a man leads as many different lives as I have done, he
has a right to more names than one or two.

"I was in Harvard College and it was the summer vacation after my
junior year.  Every male member of our family"--Old Dan spoke that
"our" with timid and shame-faced, but very evident, pride--"for I don't
know how many generations, has gone to Harvard, and I suppose I am the
only one of the whole lot of them that didn't graduate.  I went to New
York that summer to transact some business for my father.  I succeeded
with it very well, but in the meantime I did n't neglect the
opportunities of enjoying myself with a good deal more freedom than I
would have dared to take at home.  I probably was n't born quite up to
the high standard of morality, dignity, and self-respect which my
ancestors had set; and if I had stayed there all my life I would
probably have found living up to it either very galling or quite
impossible.  I dare say it is just as well that I did break loose and
burn the bridge behind me, for if I had stayed in New England it's
likely I should have turned out a black sheep and brought shame and
disgrace upon my people.

"While I was in New York I fell in with a pleasant, companionable man,
some years older than myself.  He went around with me a good deal, took
me to his home, where I met his wife and sister, gave me sensible
advice about a number of things, and was altogether so entertaining and
so kind and such a good fellow that I thought myself fortunate in
having met him.

"One evening, when I was almost ready to return to Boston, I dined with
him at his home.  He had had me there to dinner several times, and the
evening had always passed off pleasantly.  But on this evening I drank
more wine than was good for me.  Probably it was doctored, but I don't
know.  All my life, whenever I have taken a glass too much, one sure
result has followed.  All the restraints of conduct which I ordinarily
feel drop away, and I become reckless.

"So this evening, when he brought out cards and we began to bet on the
game, both my moral sense and my prudence deserted me.  I drank more
and more, and bet higher and higher, and after a while I realized that
he had won from me quite a sum of money which I had neglected to send
to my father during the day.

"Then I drank more; and after that I do not know what happened until I
awoke with a dazed sense of having heard a woman scream and of being in
the midst of some confusion.  I felt a blow on my head and a grip on my
arm and heard a voice shouting in my ear, 'You scoundrel, I 'll kill
you!'  I was in another room, my friend's wife was sobbing hysterically
on a lounge, and he was gripping and shaking me and pointing a pistol
at my head.

"He said I had shamefully insulted his wife and that he was going to
kill me.  And I was drunk enough to believe him, and maudlin enough to
beg for my life and to accept with tears what terms he was willing to
offer.  It was finally settled that he should keep me under his
personal charge until I could get five thousand dollars from my father
to pay over to him.  Then he made me write a letter to my father which
he dictated.

"He locked me in a room with himself, put the key in his pocket, waited
until he thought I had gone to sleep, and then threw himself down on
the bed with the pistol in his hand and was soon fast asleep.

"But instead of going to sleep I was rapidly getting sober enough to
understand what a rat in a hole I had made of myself, and I was so
overcome with horror and shame that I felt I would rather die than face
my father again.  I put the letter, which he had left lying on a table,
in my pocket.  With my knife I took out the screws of the door lock and
was soon creeping stealthily downstairs.  As I turned the first street
corner I saw that my keeper was rushing after me in hot pursuit.  Day
was just breaking, and through the dim, deserted streets I ran at the
top of my speed, turning corners, dodging down side streets, trying my
best to get out of sight of my pursuer.  He kept close behind me, but
at last I reached the docks,--where I meant to drown myself,--just
enough ahead of him to dodge behind a pile of lumber.

"My sudden appearance startled some poor wretch, who was crouched
there, making his preparations for eternity, just as I myself was about
to do.  He gave me one scared look, as if he feared I was some one come
to stop him, and jumped into the water.  In his sudden leap one foot
dragged after him the little pile of clothing and the letter he had
been writing.

"I crouched down into a hiding-place, so startled by this sudden
apparition, in the very act of doing what I had made up my mind to do,
that I drew back from the deed with sudden awe and shrinking.  I had no
time to think before my pursuer dashed up, calling my name loudly.  He
had seen the suicide and thought it was I.  He waited about and watched
for the body a while and then went away, and that was the last I ever
saw of him.

"When I crawled out of my hiding-place I had no idea what I was going
to do.  The suicidal impulse had spent itself, and although I had
escaped from my pursuer for the moment I was so afraid of meeting him
again that I slunk along like a criminal.  But strong as that fear was,
I would rather have met him than faced my father.  Soon I came to a
wharf where a steamer was taking aboard passengers for California.  At
once my determination was made.  I hurried to a pawnbroker's shop, and
from my watch and what little jewelry I had I realized enough money to
buy a steerage ticket, and in a few hours was on my way, under a new
name.

"The Boston papers which the next San Francisco steamer brought told me
the story of my suicide, of the recovery of my body, and of its burial
in our family lot in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  I hope the poor wretch whose
bones are crumbling under the monument was more worthy of its praises
than I.

"After I read that, all thought of the possibility of returning, or of
letting them know that I was not dead, dropped from my mind.  I plunged
into the furious life of those days with such eagerness and enjoyment
that I lost all desire to go back,--would have had none, even if I had
not disgraced my name before I left.

"Of course, I soon understood that I had been caught in the simplest
sort of a blackmailer's trap.  But I had betrayed my father's trust in
me and had gambled away his money, and--what was as crushing to my
vanity as this other was to my sense of honor--I had been duped in a
way that any greenhorn ought to have seen through.  So I put it all
behind me and was glad to be alone among strangers.

"I rushed off to the mines, of course, as soon as I could get there,
and I made piles of money, especially at first.  And I was probably the
most hot-headed, reckless, devil-may-care young rascal on the whole
Coast.  I made many enemies and had many a narrow escape, as most
everybody did in those days.

"Perhaps the closest call I had was at Foley's Gulch.  A fellow had
lately come there who thought he could sing.  Op'ry Bill, we called
him.  We got him started to singing in a saloon one night, and I led
the boys on in making fun of him.  We got him wild, but he did n't
offer to shoot, not even when I sent a bullet spinning through his hat.
He knew I was the leader in it all, but he just waited for a good
chance before he hinted at revenge.  It was a week or two before the
chance came, and in the meantime he pretended to be friendly with me.

"One afternoon I was in a saloon, and the barkeeper had just told me
how Shirty Smith and Op'ry Bill had had a quarrel, and how Shirty was
tearing around like a mad bull and swearing he 'd shoot Bill on sight,
when in walked Op'ry himself.  He came up almost behind me, slapped me
on the shoulder with his left hand, asked me to take a drink with him,
slipped his hand down on my right arm and began feeling of it and
praising my muscle.  My eye happened to fall on a broken bit of a
mirror behind the bar, and I saw that his right hand was cocking a
pistol at the back of my head.  I called out loudly and angrily,
'Shirty, don't shoot him in the back!'

"Op'ry Bill was so taken aback by what he supposed to be his own danger
that he wheeled around and turned his pistol the other way.  Shirty was
n't there, but I had him covered when he turned back, red hot at having
been deceived.

"Did I kill him?  No, I thought I 'd give him a lecture first, as I had
him well covered, about being so ornery mean, and while I was talking
Shirty rushed in, hot on the trail, and swore he 'd let daylight
through me if I did n't give him first chance at the sneak.

"A good many of the young fellows, like me, for instance, and plenty of
the older ones, too, were utterly reckless about how much money we made
and how much we lost.  Everything went at a fast and furious rate, and
it was all the same to us whether we were raking in or pouring out the
dust.  It was many a year after those stirring days before I tried to
figure up how much I took out of the ground and might have got for my
mine locations if I had had a particle of thrift--such as I ought to
have had, considering my New England birth and ancestry.  It footed up
past the million mark, and, if I had had sense enough to handle it
properly, would have made me worth several times that amount by the
time I reached middle age.

"But I don't know that I regret it now.  I 'm as well off here with my
cats and dogs and burros as if they were so many mines and ranches and
railroads.

"I had a partner once, a fellow a little older than I, and not so
reckless and hare-brained, and together we had been sinking a prospect
hole that promised to be one of the best I ever struck.  We had been at
work two or three months, and I was just as sure there was a big
fortune in that hole as I could be of anything.  But I got tired of
staying in one place so long,--it was lonely and monotonous,--and I
wanted some excitement.  So one evening I challenged him to play
seven-up for the mine, the loser to take his outfit and walk.  He
refused and tried to argue me out of my crazy whim, but finally I
taunted him into it.  I lost, and the next morning I packed up my
blankets and walked away.  A month afterwards he sold the mine for a
hundred thousand dollars, and in less than a year its owners had
realized a round half million out of it.

"But the most exciting part of all those years was the time when I was
called 'Grizzly Dick.'  I ought to be ashamed to tell anything about
that portion of my history; but it is all so long ago, and things have
changed so much since then, that it almost seems as if I were talking
about some other man.

"It all began at Grizzly Gulch, where a man named Johnson had taken a
strong dislike to me.  I had played some joke on him which made him
ridiculous, and he hated me more than if I 'd tried to kill him.  He
started down to the city with his dust, and somebody robbed him, and
half killed him into the bargain.  He accused me of being the robber
and I had no witnesses to prove an alibi.  They had a trial and
convicted me of the crime, as Johnson swore that he recognized me.  I
knew that it was simply a scheme of his to get even with me, and I
didn't believe that he had been robbed at all.  But I was sentenced to
prison for two years and I had to go.

"When I got out my teeth were on edge for revenge on Johnson, the
lawyers, the judge, the jury, and the whole law-making system that had
made me, an innocent man, spend those two years fuming in a cell.  I
was ready to fight the whole organization of society and the whole
system of government, from President to jailer.  I swore the biggest,
hardest kind of an oath that I would give them a reason for being so
anxious to put people in prison.  Only, I didn't propose that they
should ever send me there again.

"Well, for two years Grizzly Dick was the terror of that county and all
the adjoining ones.  To take him, alive or dead, was the ambition of
half the sheriffs in California.  After my first few escapades I had
plenty of helpers.  Men as desperate and as dare-devil as I gathered
around me and we carried things with a high hand.  I cared nothing for
the profits of being an outlaw.  What I wanted was revenge on society,
and the excitement and risk of the game.  The greater part of whatever
we took went to my followers, and I never kept more than was necessary
for my immediate needs.

"We had many a desperate fight with sheriffs and their posses, many a
wild ride over the hills and through the pine woods on dark nights, and
many a day of lying hidden in the brush or in caves.

"I followed that sort of life for two years, and then, one day, I
suddenly felt a disgust for it all, and concluded I 'd had enough
revenge and was ready to be an honest man again.

"So I deliberately left that part of the State and everybody supposed
that Grizzly Dick had been killed and his body carried off and buried
by his gang.  But nothing of the sort had happened.  He reappeared
under another name a good many days' travel from that region.

"Five or six years afterwards I went back to that same county and was
elected sheriff.  Yes, I was recognized.  A good many people suspected
and two or three openly declared that I was Grizzly Dick.  But I made
the best sheriff they had ever had, and I did some work in the way of
catching a stage robber, cleaning out a nest of gamblers, and getting
rid of a couple of desperadoes, which they were so glad to have done
that they didn't care who or what I might have been.

"I served two terms and they wanted me to run again.  But by that time
I had come to realize that I had frittered away a big part of my life,
and I began to have some of the ambitions to accomplish something worth
while that I ought to have had a dozen years before.

"So I went down to San Francisco and raised a tidy sum of money to
begin on by going in with an acquaintance on a trip to Bering Sea to
catch otters.  We chartered a vessel, spent a whole summer up there,
and realized nearly ten thousand dollars apiece out of it.

"I had a pretty good practical knowledge of mining matters, and so my
operations in mines and mining stocks were generally successful.  It
was n't long until I was a rich, a very rich, man, and a prominent one,
too.  There is a street named for me in San Francisco.  That is, it
bears the name I was known by while I was sheriff and while I lived in
the city.  I married and built a fine residence, and altogether I was
as prosperous and had as bright a future as any man in California.

"But one day, after I had been living in San Francisco five or six
years, I made a deal that wasn't a success, and half my fortune went in
less than a week.  And at the same time I discovered that my wife was
not all I had thought her.  She had evil tendencies that I had not
suspected, and bad companions of whom I had known nothing; and together
they had taken her at a flying pace down the road to destruction.  And
when the end came, at the same time that I had my first financial blow,
the surprise was overwhelming.  It was an end so shameful and to me so
humiliating that I could not bear at first to go out among men and meet
my friends.  It was a critical time and my affairs needed my closest
attention.  But I was too broken down and overcome by the disgrace to
attempt to do anything.  And when I did go back everything was ruined.

"I did n't care very much, for my greatest desire just then was to get
away from everybody I had known.  I wanted to put behind me and forget
everything that would remind me of my wife, and her ruin, and my
disaster.

"So I started out alone with a prospector's outfit, and finally brought
up here.  I 've been here now, I guess, about ten years, and it's very
likely that I 'll stay here all the rest of my life.  I 've got a
prospect hole over on the other side of that hill that may amount to
something some time.  But I don't care whether it does or not.  I like
to work in it and think about whether or not I 'm going to strike
anything, but I don't care two bits one way or the other.

"No, I 'm not lonely.  My cats and dogs and burros are pretty good
company, and then I have my violin.  But just these hills, and the sky,
and the breezes, and the birds and beasts that come around, are as much
company as any man needs to wish for.

"When I came here I was tired of the world, dead tired of it.  And I
have n't got rested yet.  I shall not leave here until I do.  And I
don't suppose that will ever be.  For my time will soon come.  It's all
I have to look forward to, and I just sit here and wait for it and
wonder what shape Death will have when he does finally find me out.
That is the only thing in the world I have any curiosity about, now;
and I often think about it in much the same way that I used to wonder,
when I was a youth, what the woman would be like whom I was to love."

The next summer we camped at the mouth of a canyon near the foot of
Monte Pinos, but one day we drove across the hills to pay a visit to
Old Dan, and learned at the stage station that he was no more.  He had
sickened and died alone, in the early spring, and his body had been
found, after many days, in his cabin by his nearest "neighbor," another
lone man living ten miles away.  We drove on to his deserted little
ranch and found that they had made a grave for him on the side of the
hill above the cabin--a grave marked only by its settling mound of
earth and one poor piece of board, cracked, aslant, and weather-beaten,
and bearing neither name nor date.

Doubtless it is as well so.  For he that lies beneath was only a piece
of wreckage, with a past that was dead and a future that was empty.
The memory of all those turbulent years was heavy upon his gray head,
and he wished only that the hills might cover him and give him rest and
concealment.

And away on the other side of the continent there is a grave that has
known the tears of love and the hand of remembrance.  Its flowers are
bright and its shining marble is graven fair with name and date and
words of praise.



THE STORY, OF A CHINEE KID

      "Little Ah Sid
      Was a Chinee Kid,
  A cute little cuss, you 'd declare,
      With eyes full of fun
      And a nose that begun
  Right up at the roots of his hair."
      --M. C. SPEER.


This Chinee Kid was not Ah Sid, but another one whose name was Ah Wing.
He was a Chinee Kid only so far as he was n't a Boy, and just how much
of him was Chinee Kid and how much was Boy is difficult to say.
Sometimes he seemed to be mostly all one, and sometimes just as much
the other, and, again, he was a harmonized mixture of the two.

Wing's father and mother were both Chinese, but Wing had been born and
had lived all his nine years in the town of Tobin, which is in
California, on the overland road, far enough up the Sierra climb for
the east-bound trains to have always two engines when they pass its
depot.  He wore Chinese clothes, except upon his head, whereon
invariably reposed the time-honored hat of the American village boy,
that always looks the same whether it is one week or one year old--the
hat that is dirty gray in color, conical as to crown, sloping as to
brim, and dilapidated as to general appearance, the hat that is
irrefragable proof that its wearer is a Boy.  This head-gear he wore
over the queue of his forefathers, braided, ebony, shining, and hanging
half-way down his little legs.

Wing could jabber Chinese as shrilly and rapidly as any of his
playmates of the Chinese quarter, and with his young friends of the
white race he could reel off amazing vocabularies of American slang.
And he could swear, and frequently did so, with all the nonchalance of
a Chinaman and the intensity and picturesqueness of an American.  He
could, if the occasion seemed to demand it, drop his eyelids and "_No
sabe_" as stupidly as any Celestial who ever entered the Golden Gate.
But with any man, woman, or child whom he chose to favor with his
conversation he could talk volubly in fairly good English.  And his
lungs were just as capable, and just as frequently put to the test, as
those of any white boy in Tobin, of the ear-splitting shouts and yells
without which boys' games cannot be played and boys' thoughts
communicated to one another.

Wing had such an amazing ability to seem to be everywhere at the same
time that he was nicknamed "Wings."  But no one ever called him that to
his face who wanted him to answer a question or pay any attention to
what was said to him.  The first time it was tried he protested, with
all the dignity of George Washington insisting on his title of
President, that his name was Wing.  After that he merely met the
nickname with a blank, solemn, "_No sabe_" stare, as uncompromising and
as impenetrable as a stone wall.  It was impossible to look out of
doors at any time or in any part of Tobin without seeing Wing.  He was
always going somewhere and was always in a hurry, but he was always
ready to stop and chat for a moment with any one, large or small, who
addressed him without giving offence.

Everybody knew him, residents and summer visitors alike.  The men all
teased him and the women all petted him.  Nobody knew or cared in which
one of the dozen houses of the Chinese quarter Wing's father and mother
lived, nor whether his father had a laundry, a store, or a garden.
They were nobodies; but Wing was a public character.

Wing's chief daily function was to assist at the arrival of the
east-bound passenger train.  The west-bound, having only one engine,
was of less consequence.  But at the passing of the other he never
missed a day, Sundays, holidays, or rainy season.  He inspected the
engines, counted the wheels, considered the possibility of getting a
ride on the pilot of the second engine, dodged around through the
crowd, ran against people, had his toes trodden on, saw everybody who
went away, stared at all who came, capered up and down the car-steps,
put pins on the rail to be flattened by the wheels, stood with one foot
inside the track until the train started, and, after it was all over,
rode away triumphantly, hanging to the steps of the hotel omnibus.

After a while he began to thrill with the desire to know how it would
feel to run backward on the track in front of the moving engine.  He
had had a brief glimpse of the possibility of that bliss as he crossed
the track one day when the train was coming in; and the more he thought
about it, the surer he felt that some day he would have to do it.  He
was well acquainted by that time with the engines, and the engineers
too, and his trick of standing astride the rail and looking up with
sparkling, defiant eyes at the engine's noble front was only a sort of
preparation for other deeds.

One day he had assisted at the dismounting of the passengers, had seen
the last departing traveller disappear inside the cars, had had his
queue pulled by the news agent, and a narrow escape from being knocked
over by the baggage man's trunk van, when he started off at top speed
to get in front of the engine before the train should start.  A young
woman with a baggage check in her hand was standing near an omnibus
waiting for the driver to come.  Wing's headlong speed would have
carried him safely past her, but a big man with two suit-cases was
rushing toward him, and as he veered to one side he struck heavily
against the girl.  The blow knocked her against the steps of the
omnibus and sent Wing sprawling in the dust.

A slender, trim-looking young man, who had got off the train and was
about to enter the omnibus of another hotel, saw the collision and
sprang to her assistance.  Helping her to her feet, he asked anxiously
if she was hurt, and then seized Wing's arm and gave him a little
shaking.

"You young rascal!" he exclaimed.  "Why don't you look where you are
going?"

"Oh, don't scold him, please!" the girl pleaded.  "He did n't intend to
do it, and I 'm not hurt at all.  Wing, how do you do?  Did it hurt
you?"

Wing was indignantly tearing himself loose from the young man's hand
and was looking wishfully after the departing train and the lost
opportunity.

"Lemme go," he demanded.  "No, didn't hurt."

The young woman blushingly thanked the stranger as he helped her into
the vehicle.  Then, instead of returning to the other omnibus, which
was waiting for him, he shook his head at the driver and stepped in
after her.  As they rattled up the street he found it difficult to keep
his eyes off her slender, supple figure and the shining glory of
golden-red hair that aureoled the clear, soft brilliance of her pink
and white complexion.  When she looked up once and caught his look of
admiration she blushed deeply and endeavored to disguise her
embarrassment in lively talk with some people who sat near her.  The
newcomer saw that they were evidently old friends and inferred that she
was a resident of the town.  From scraps of their talk that reached his
ears he learned that her name was Annie Millner, and that she was a
physician's daughter.'

The young man inscribed his name on the hotel register, "Robert
Ellison, Worcester, Mass.," and then sauntered out to take a look at
the town.  He watched the omnibus from which he had just dismounted, as
it stopped in front of a pretty cottage set back in some pleasant
grounds on the slope of the opposite hill, until he saw Miss Millner
enter the gate.

"I guess I 'll like it better here than I expected to," was his thought
as his eye followed her figure.  "This air feels good, the sunshine is
fine, and that's a glorious blue sky.  They say I 'm likely to become
an invalid if I try to live East any longer, and so that's cut out.
Well, a fellow could have plenty of out-door life here, and enjoy it,
if there are many days like this.  It looks as if there 'd be money in
these orchards too.  I reckon Dr. Millner must live in that cottage.
What an inviting looking place it is!  I guess I 'd better go back to
the hotel and ask the clerk about the physicians here.  I might need
one sometime."

Discreet inquiry of the hotel clerk as to the population of the town,
resident and floating, its general healthfulness, the number of
health-seekers, their success, and the number and relative skill of the
physicians it supported finally elicited for Ellison all the
information his present interest desired concerning Dr. Millner and his
family.

He also learned much about the history of Tobin.  In its early days it
had been a mining camp and, as Tobin's Gulch, had been rich and famous.
Then, as the mines petered out, it had dwindled to poverty and two rows
of houses.  But, after a long while, new people had begun to come.
Some of them had planted miles upon miles of orchards and vineyards,
others had come to be cured of bodily ills by its climate, at once
bracing and caressing, and still others, there for a brief summer
sojourn, had spread the knowledge that it was a pleasant and
picturesque retreat.  So the town had dropped the plebeian "Gulch" from
its name and as "Tobin" counted with ever increasing pride the hundreds
of cars that carried its fruit from ocean to ocean and the growing
numbers of its health-seekers and summer visitors.

"It looks good to me," was Ellison's inward comment as he walked up the
street again.  "I think I 'll look into this fruit business.  That
would give me an out-door life, and there seems to be money in it.
That's a neat cottage of Dr. Millner's.  I 'll walk past and look at
the grounds.  Hello, here comes that Chinee Kid--what 'd she call him?
Wing, wasn't it?  Queer-looking little critter, but she seemed to like
him.  Hello, Wing!  Where are you flying to now?  Got over your bumps
yet?"

But the Chinee Kid cast one sober, stupid look at Ellison's sociable
countenance, opened his mouth just wide enough to grunt "_No sabe_,"
and hurried on.

Ellison looked after him with a foolish little smile and exclaimed
aloud, "Well, I 'll be hanged!  If that is n't a kid!"

He heard the sound of a girl's laugh, and turning quickly, saw a merry
face surrounded by golden-red hair disappearing from a window of the
Millner cottage.  He blushed furiously, frowned and muttered an angry
little word, as he thought, "That kid needs to be spanked."  But,
although he was smarting a little with the feeling that the boy had
made him seem ridiculous in her eyes, his glance covertly searched her
windows as he walked on, hoping for another glimpse of the girlish
figure and the glowing hair.

A year went by, and Ellison, brown and athletic-looking, was building a
pretty cottage on the crest of a gently sloping hill just outside the
town.  Annie Millner, wearing a new ring and carrying a great happiness
in her heart, went often to see how the cottage was progressing and how
the trees were growing.  For the hill-slope was covered with the
gray-green of young olive trees, the dense, dark foliage of young
oranges, and the stunted, scraggy boughs of the Japanese persimmon.
His fruit ranch promised well, the day for their bridal was set, and
they were hopeful, glad, and happy.

But Wing was the young man's implacable enemy.  He neither forgot nor
forgave the shaking he had received at their first meeting, and he
revenged himself for it as much as lay in his small power whenever he
found opportunity.  He succeeded occasionally in making Ellison look
foolish in his own eyes; and he, in consequence, disliked the child and
disapproved of the universal petting that was given him.  It
particularly annoyed him that Annie showed his small enemy so much
favor, and he would sometimes think angrily, when irritated by some
trick of the Chinee Kid, that if she had more regard for his feelings
she would not join in the general encouragement that was given to the
heathen brat in being a public nuisance.

As for Wing, if he had known, or could have understood what happiness
his childish sport had been instrumental in bringing to these two
people, it is probable that his antipathy to Ellison would have
extended even to Annie, whom, as it was, he considered one of his best
friends.  But he could not know, nor could they, that he was their
kismet and that his small brown hands wound and unwound, tangled and
straightened, the threads of their lives.

One day they were all three at the depot again.  Wing, of course, was
there in the discharge of his usual duties.  Annie had walked down to
welcome a friend whom she expected, and Ellison had come because it
gave him an opportunity to be with her.  As the railroad approached the
town from the west it passed through a deep cut, from which it came out
on a low embankment, and rounded a sharp curve before it reached the
station, a few yards beyond.  The roar of the oncoming train was borne
to them on the wind and before it emerged from the cut a ridiculous
little figure darted out of the crowd on the platform and raced down
the track to the curve.  It was dressed in a Chinese blouse and
trousers of faded and dirty blue denim, while a pair of old Chinese
slippers, partly covering the feet, left in full view two bare, brown
heels.

"There goes Wing!" exclaimed one man to another.  "That kid 's going to
get killed at this little trick of his some day."

The train rushed at the curve with a shout that was thrown back from
the hills, and the people on the platform held their breath--though to
many of them it was nothing new--as with flying feet and monkey-like
agility the Chinee Kid danced backward on the track.  There was a brief
vision of a pair of big, blue sleeves waving in the air, of a black,
flying queue, and of a pair of twinkling feet, and then with sparkling
eyes, a triumphant countenance and a loud "Ki-yi!" Wing leaped to the
platform, the engine scarcely a yard behind him.

"Is it lots of fun, Wing?" said Annie, smiling at him indulgently.

"Bet your boots it is!" he shouted as he darted off to inspect the
dismounting passengers.

"See here, Wing," said Ellison, putting his hand in a kindly way on the
boy's shoulder, "you mustn't do that!  You'll get killed at it some
day."

Wing looked up at him with an uncomprehending stare, wriggled from
under his detaining hand, stopped long enough to shake his head with a
stolid "_No sabe_," and then dodged away.

Annie had heard the little dialogue and now turned to Ellison with a
merry laugh.  Her friend had not come, and as they walked back together
she began to rally him about Wing's refusal to understand anything he
said.  It nettled him slightly and he replied that people made entirely
too much of the little ape, and that if they would teach him better
manners instead of petting him so much, it would be a good thing for
him as well as for the public comfort.

Then Annie took up his case rather warmly and declared that he was a
cute little thing, and that his manners were all right if he was
treated with good manners in the first place.  The consequence was that
by the time they reached her gate they were deep in the lurid
entanglements of a lovers' quarrel.

The previous day she had taken a horseback ride with a man of whom
Ellison strongly disapproved.  He had intended to explain the matter to
her calmly and tell her just what kind of man the other was, and why it
was unwise for her to accept his attentions.  But in the heat of temper
engendered by their quarrel about Wing, he lost his bearings, and what
he had meant should be a request for her not to show the man any favor
again became very like an explicit command.

Annie asked him sarcastically if he thought he had bought with his
engagement ring a slave who was never to open her mouth unless he gave
her leave.  Then, feeling a bit ashamed of his vehemence and mentally
fumbling for words of explanation, he began to say something about what
"self-respecting girls" should do.  Annie flashed a blazing look at
him, slammed the gate, and left him alone on the sidewalk.  A little
later he saw the objectionable man making a bargain with Wing about
carrying a note, and with a sore and angry heart he watched the shabby
hat and the long queue travel up the hill to the Millner home.

While he was at work among his trees that afternoon he saw them ride
past.  He noted the defiant poise of Annie's head, which did not turn
by so much as a hair's breadth toward the cottage and the trees and
him, but he was not near enough to see that her eyes were red and that
she bit her lip to control its trembling.  So he wrote a letter to her
that evening saying that evidently they had made a mistake; and an hour
later he had the engagement ring in his pocket and a great bitterness
in his heart.

Two days afterward, as Annie sat on the veranda of a friend's house
near the depot she saw the hotel omnibus coming down the street with
Ellison in it.  "Why, there's Robert!" she exclaimed.

"Yes," said her friend, looking at her curiously, "he 's going East.
Did n't you know it?"

Instantly all of Annie's pride gave way.  She was in the wrong, she
told herself, and she would ask him to forgive her.  She would send a
note to him at the station and ask him not to go away without seeing
her.

"I 'll have time," she thought, "for they said the train is a few
minutes late to-day and I 'll get Wing to carry it over to the station.
There he is now, waiting at the curve."

She hurriedly pencilled a few words upon a scrap of paper and, folding
it as she went, ran down the steps and up a side street parallel with
the railroad, and then climbed the low embankment upon which the boy
stood.

Wing was waiting in the middle of the track for the train and the
ecstasy of his daily performance.  In the meantime he was holding out
at arm's length and considering with proud and satisfied eyes a big,
artificial spider and web which had that morning been given to him by
one of the ladies at the hotel.

"Wing," she called, "I want you to run back to the station and give
this note to Mr. Ellison.  You 'll see him there on the platform, or,
perhaps, in the baggage room.  You 'll have plenty of time, for the
train 's late today.  Please go quickly, Wing, for I want him to have
the note at once."

The train was already rumbling in the deep cut just beyond the turn,
but the wind was blowing strongly toward it, and neither of them heard
the fateful sound.  The high wind caught her dress and blew it against
the spider in the boy's hand.  It tangled the toy in the folds and
wrenched it from his fingers and then caught the hem of her gown upon
the splitting edge of a worn rail.  As she stooped to loose it the
terrible front of the engine appeared, rounding the curve.

Wing looked in blank amazement at his empty fingers and then, as he saw
his plaything hanging to the folds of her dress, he sprang after it
exclaiming, "My bug!  My bug!"  As he seized it again he saw the
approaching train, and, his mind bent on what he was intending to do,
turned to begin his usual backward race.  Annie, stooping to loose her
dress, with her back to the approaching train, was not yet aware of the
oncoming doom.  Her gown blew again across his legs, and to free
himself he gave her a little push.  With the warning shriek of the
engine in her ears and darkness surging over her brain she fell just
outside the track and rolled down the sloping embankment as far as her
skirt, held beneath the wheels of the engine, allowed.

But for the Chinee Kid there was no such escape.  The iron hoof of the
engine was upon him as he made his first backward leap.  When they
picked up his little, mangled body the spider was still grasped in his
brown fist.

The crowd on the station platform had seen it all--had seen him, as the
engine rounded the curve, turn to Annie and push her off the track,
thus saving her life at the cost of his own.

The townspeople persuaded his parents to let them give him a public
funeral, to which all Tobin turned out, with tears and flowers and
resolutions praising the little boy in high-sounding words for his
heroic deed.  A public subscription was taken up for the benefit of
Wing's parents, to which Annie's father and lover and all her friends
and everybody who had liked and petted the child contributed so
liberally that his father and mother took his remains and sailed back
to China.

When Ellison, from the platform, saw Annie's danger everything left his
heart save absorbing love for her, and with a white face and
alarm-distended eyes he dashed across the track and had her in his arms
before the others had recovered from their brief paralysis of horror.

They were married as soon as Wing's obsequies were over.  And now, if
you ever pass through Tobin and will look for that sunny hillside with
the olive and orange trees climbing its slope and the pretty cottage on
its crest, you will see a home in which Wing's memory is enshrined with
all possible love and honor and gratitude.

You see, they do not know that it was all on account of his "bug."
Neither do they know that, small, brown, Chinee Kid though he was, he
had stood in their lives for Fate.



OUT OF SYMPATHY

"Sympathy with his kind and well-doing for its
welfare, direct or indirect, are the essential conditions of
the existence and development of the more complex
social organism; and no mortal can transcend these
conditions with any success."--HENRY MAUDSLEY.


Our party was going from the Yosemite Valley to Lake Tenaiya--that
beautiful bit of shining, liquid sapphire ringed by its mighty setting
of granite peaks and domes--by the long and roundabout way of Cloud's
Rest.  It would be an all-day trip, but we knew that at the end would
be the cabin of Henry Moulton, a lone mountaineer, to receive us, with
such comfort as it could give, and Henry Moulton himself to cook for
us a supper of fresh fish and game.  The thoughts of the whole party
began to turn longingly in that direction as the afternoon of the late
summer day waned, and in straggling, silent file we hurried our
horses, with such speed as was possible, over the blind trail.  The
Artist, who was next in front of me, turned in his saddle and said:

"We ought to get a warm welcome at Moulton's cabin.  For this is the
first party that has been up here for two months, and it's not likely
that he has seen another human being in all that time."

"Does he live all alone, then?"

"Absolutely alone.  He has a cabin on the banks of Lake Tenaiya--it
is only about three or four miles farther, now--and whenever parties
of tourists come up from the Valley to stay a day or two, he cooks
for them and lets them sleep in his shanty if they wish.  He is
a very strange man, and I hope you will be able to draw him into
conversation, for I 'm sure you would find him an interesting
character.  His life story is the queerest thing I 've run across on
the Pacific Coast, and if you won't give away to him that you know
anything about it, I 'll tell it to you."

At once I scented big game, for the Artist had spent many summers in
that region and knew all that was strange or weird or startling in its
history.  Already he had told me many tales, and if this was to be
the strangest of them all I wanted to hear it.  So I urged my horse
on and by dint of circling around trees and jumping over logs and
occasionally falling into single file, we managed to keep within
talking distance of each other while he told me this tale of the lone
man at Lake Tenaiya:

"I knew Moulton years ago--thirty, yes, thirty-five of them--in
Cambridge, where we were boys together.  He went to Harvard and was
graduated from both the academic and the law departments, and was
looked upon as a promising young man.  If any prophet had foretold to
me, in those days, that Henry Moulton would become a hermit in the
Sierras and do cooking for tourists, I would have told him he was the
father of lies, and had better retreat to his natural home.  Moulton
married a handsome young woman of an influential family--his own
people were poor--and all his friends were confident that a brilliant
future awaited him.

"A few years after his marriage he came West, intending to settle in
San Francisco and practise law.  His wife stayed behind until he
should get a start.  The gold fever was n't dead yet in those days,
and Moulton had a bad attack of it.  When I came to the Coast he was
working in some played-out placer mines, and feeling perfectly sure
that he was going to strike a fortune almost any day.  When a man has
once dug gold out of the ground with his own hands, he seems to be
unfitted for doing anything else.  It's as bad as the gambler's mania.
Well, the fever got into Moulton's blood, and he gave himself up to
it, drifting about, prospecting, and sometimes striking a good thing,
but often quite the contrary.

"Finally his wife came on, and she persuaded him to give up the gold
hunt and his roving life and settle down in San Francisco to the
practice of his profession.  He got on remarkably well, had all the
business he could attend to, and was making a heap more money than
there was the slightest probability of his ever digging out of the
ground.  But the fever of his vagrant, irresponsible life was still in
his veins, and with all that promise of a successful career before him
he was restless and unhappy.  He could not forget the camp fire in the
mountains and the whispering of the pine trees and the life of the
woods.  I don't know if you understand--" and the Artist hesitated,
turning upon me an uncertain, questioning glance.

"I know what you mean," I answered.  "Go on and say what you had in
mind.  It's a fascinating question."

"That it is," he replied, "and I never can decide whether it is
something fine and high in a man's nature which makes him want to
yield to that sort of a yearning, or whether it is mere latent
savagery, coming out all the stronger for having been long repressed.

"But what's the use of speculating?  The bald truth is that if a man
has a strong feeling for Nature and once knows the charm of wandering
alone in wild places, he 'll have a string tied to him forever after,
that will give him some mighty hard jerks.

"Moulton felt all that fascination very keenly, and the mountains and
the forests seemed to be always calling him and commanding him to
return to them.  The follies and the faults of men and the baseness of
human nature, of which, of course, the practice of his profession gave
him special knowledge, irritated him, and every new case made him more
impatient with civilization and more contemptuous of his fellow men.

"I was in the courtroom once when he won a big case which had been
bitterly contested.  A crowd of lawyers was there, and they were all
enthusiastic about the way he had conducted it and the brilliant
victory he had won.  They pressed around to congratulate him, but he
got away from them as soon as he could and went into the street with
me.  We walked a block or more before he spoke, and then he burst out
bitterly:

"'I 've won some thousands of dollars and a lot of prestige in this
case, but what is it all worth?  I 'd give it all to lie just one
night, perfectly free, under the pine trees in the mountains, beside a
worthless prospect hole, watching a bear shambling through the brush,
and listening to the coyotes yelping in the distance.  Even a coyote
is better than most men, and a bear is noble company beside them!'

"Moulton's wife was as dissatisfied as he, but in a different way.
She was of Puritan stock--and the sturdy moral sense of those old
fellows, their rock-ribbed principles, and their determination to make
other people think as they thought, came out strong in her character.

"Of course, that kind of a woman was bound to be shocked by the more
free and easy life of the Pacific Coast.  Her constant mental state
was one of stern disapproval.  And the gypsy outcropping in her
husband's nature filled her with anxiety.  It was quite impossible for
her to understand it or to sympathize with it in the least.

"Their marriage had been an ardent love match, and notwithstanding
the way their natures had been drifting apart they still loved each
other devotedly.  At home, where she had been in harmony with her
surroundings, she had been a very charming woman.  And so she was
still--only--well, I must admit that she did seem out of place here.
She was so uncompromising, you know.

"I did n't wonder, though, that she was amazed and confounded by the
change in her husband's character.  It would have shocked any of his
old friends and it must have been an awful blow to his wife, who was
still as ambitious for him as he had once been for himself.

"She had one general name for this unexpected development in him and
called it all his 'bearism.'  At first she applied it in fun, when he
told her how much he had enjoyed watching and hunting the wild animals
in the mountains, but she soon decided that it was a pretty good name
for his new characteristics.  And so his 'bearism' came to be more and
more of a division between them.  Not that they ever quarrelled--I am
sure they did not.  They just agonized over the hopeless state of
affairs, and each one seemed to be always pained and grieved because
it was impossible to come round to the other one's way of thinking.

"Finally, Dorothy--his wife--went home on a visit.  I think she did it
in a last desperate hope that she might induce him to follow her and
stay in the East.  For a little while after she left, Moulton braced
up and put more heart into his work.  He seemed to feel, at last, some
pride in his really splendid capacities, and to have some revival of
his old ambitions.

"I thought he had overcome the gypsy longing, and had buckled down to
work for good.  And so I was much surprised one day, when I found him
in an unusually gloomy mood, to see him take down both of his diplomas
and fling them into the fire.

"'Gewgaws!' he exclaimed, contemptuously.  'Trinkets!  No sensible man
ought to care a snap of his finger either for them or for what they
represent.'

"We had a long talk after that, and he told me fully what shape his
thoughts had been taking.  It was that same story, which so many
people have been telling of late years, of sneering pessimism as to
the human race and its possibilities, and of contempt for the labors
and rewards of life.  We argued the matter for hours, and each one of
us convinced himself that the other was entirely wrong.

"Moulton was then finishing up an important case, and as soon as it
was concluded, he and some friends went away to have a few days of
hunting in the mountains.  He did not return with the others, who said
that he had not quite finished his hunt, but that he expected to be
back within a week.  I went East just then and stayed a year, and when
I reached San Francisco again I found he had not yet returned.  And he
has not been back to this day.

"I heard of him occasionally, sometimes in one part of the State,
sometimes in another, prospecting, hunting, trapping, roaming about,
but always in the mountains, and always keeping pretty well away from
signs of civilization.

"Six years ago, when I first came to the Yosemite, I found Moulton
here, acting as a guide.  The loveliness and the majesty of the place
had entranced him, just as they have entranced many another, and he
stayed here, working as a guide, for several years.  But he let me
know at once that he did n't want me to speak about his past life,
either to him or to others, and so no one here ever knew that we were
anything more than the merest roadside acquaintances.

"Four or five years ago he tired of even the civilization of the
Valley, and built a cabin up here at Lake Tenaiya, so that he would
not see so many people.  He is willing to cook for the occasional
parties that go up to the lake, and very glad, I guess, when they
leave him alone again with the trees and the mountains.  When the snow
drives him out in the fall he goes down to the Valley and lives as
caretaker during the winter in one of the hotels--which is quite as
lonely as his summer life--until it is possible to come up to his
cabin again in the spring."

"And his wife?" I asked.  "What has become of her?"

"After she found that she could not induce him to return to
civilization she got a divorce; and the last I knew of her she was
devoting herself to the advancement--Whoa, there!  What's the matter
with you?"

Both his horse and mine gave a sudden snort and a bound, and started
to run.  We checked them at the second leap and peered through the
underbrush to see what had frightened them.  A dark object was
rustling the leaves on the ground beside a clump of bushes.

"It's a bear!" the Artist whispered excitedly, drawing his revolver.
"I know this is reckless, but--you are n't afraid, are you?--the
temptation is too much for my prudence.  If he comes for us we 'll
give our horses the rein and they 'll outrun him."

I leaned forward, trying to get a better view, and just as I heard the
click of the trigger I caught a glimpse of a white human foot.

"Stop!" I cried.  "It's a man!"

It was too late to stop the discharge, but a quick turn of his wrist
sent the bullet whistling harmlessly through the trees.  The creature
scrambled hurriedly away through the dead leaves, and our horses,
trembling and snorting, tried again to run.

"It is a bear!" he cried as we saw its shaggy bulk awkwardly climbing
the slope between two clumps of bushes.  "No, by Jove, it's got hands
and feet!  Now, what in the--"

Then the thing half turned toward us, and we saw that it had a man's
head and face, covered with hair and beard.

"Good God!  It's Henry Moulton!" cried the Artist.  "Moulton!
Moulton!  Come back here!  What's the matter with you!"

At the sound of his name the man sprang to his feet, facing us.  The
bearskin which wrapped his body slipped down and left him entirely
nude.  In an instant he dropped upon all fours again, drew the skin
over him and shambled away.

We turned our staring eyes upon each other, and there was no need to
speak the appalling thought that was in both our minds.  With one
accord we plied our whips and drove our unwilling and terrified horses
in the direction he had taken.  We came near enough to see that he was
digging among the dry leaves for acorns, and that his beard and mouth
were defiled with earth, and full of fragments of leaves and acorn
shells.  But as soon as he saw us he darted off into the thick
underbrush, whither we could not follow him.

We hurried on to his shack, where the rest of the party had already
arrived, and the men all started back at once with ropes and lariats
for Moulton's capture and garments for his covering.

The cabin was a rough affair, made of logs and chinked with fir
boughs, and having an earthen floor.  A bunk made of rough timbers
and mattressed with twigs of fur was covered with some blankets and
clothing, tossed into heaps.  Under the blankets at the head of the
bunk I found a little pile of books--a Shakespeare, a volume of
Emerson's essays, Thoreau's "Walden," and a well-worn "Iliad," in the
Greek text.

"How queer," said one of the women, as she looked curiously at the
volumes, "that an ignorant creature such as this crazy mountaineer
must be should have such books as these in his cabin!  They must have
been left here by some tourist, and he has put them away and kept
them.  It shows how much respect even the ignorant have for learning."

Some torn scraps of paper were scattered over the floor, and I picked
them all up and tried to piece them together.

When the men returned with the lunatic he was quiet and obedient,
except when they tried to substitute proper clothing for his bearskin.
Against this he fought with all his strength, striking, scratching,
and kicking with hands and feet, snapping and biting viciously, and
all the time either roaring with fury, or, when they succeeded in
pulling the hide a little away from him, groaning, shrieking, and
writhing as if he were being flayed.

So they desisted and left him wrapped in the skin and tied to a tree
near the cabin door.  There he constantly walked back and forth on all
fours, the length of his rope, restlessly and in silence, as caged
animals do.  If any one approached too near he sprang at the intruder
with a savage growl and a snap of his jaws.  But otherwise he paid
no attention to any of those who had expected to be his guests.  He
refused to eat, unless they offered him acorns or dry oak leaves.
These he devoured voraciously.

There was some scrawled writing on the scraps of paper I had pieced
together and the Artist and I made out some disjointed sentences.  We
agreed that the lunatic must have written them himself, in the first
beclouding of his mind, and we thought the words might have some
effect upon him.  So we went out to where the poor, crazed creature
was tied, and, looking him squarely in the eyes, the Artist spoke very
slowly:

"Dorothy.  Dorothy.  She said I am a bear.  Where is Dorothy?"

He stopped and stared and a puzzled, human look came into his eyes.
He rose slowly to his feet and stood upright, leaning against the
tree.  For the moment he forgot his bearskin covering and it half
fell off.  He stared at us, mumbling strange sounds, which presently
became incoherent words of human speech.  But he spoke thickly and
uncertainly, like one long unused to the sound of his voice:

"Where is--Dorothy?  I want--she said--Dorothy--Dorothy--she said--I
--a bear--I--I--am--a bear."

Then he dropped to all fours again and drew his bearskin closely
about him and that was the last flicker of human intelligence that he
showed.

The next morning the men made a small platform of some loose boards to
which they tied the lunatic.  He fought desperately against his bonds,
and it required the combined strength of all the men of the party to
fasten him securely to the platform.  Then the guide improvised a
harness of ropes and hitched to this primitive sled the horse which he
himself rode.  Watching the poor creature closely, our little party
went slowly back to the Valley, whence he was sent to an asylum.  The
Artist wrote to Mrs. Moulton an account of his condition, and told her
also its probable cause.

Some months afterward I went to the asylum, purposely to learn what
had become of him.  The physician said his mental condition was
steadily improving, that there was a pretty sure prospect of his
recovery, and that he would probably be sane all the rest of his
life, if--and the doctor put a significant emphasis upon that little
word--"if he lives as a sane man should, among men, and busies himself
as other men do."

Then the man of healing took from a shelf a book and read to me the
words which I have put at the beginning of this account.

He told me also that Mrs. Moulton was there, that she had been there
almost from the first, and that she spent all the time with the
unfortunate man that the physicians would allow.

"Her presence," the doctor added, "has had a singularly helpful effect
upon him."



AN OLD ROMAN OF MARIPOSA

  "I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul."
      --WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY.


Mariposa, in the days when I first knew it, was still a wreck of the
gold fever.  The merest skeleton of its former self, it lay there in
the gulch between the chaparral-covered foothills and hugged its
memories of the days when it was young and lusty and had a murder every
morning for breakfast.  All around it the gashed and seamed and scarred
and furrowed earth bore testimony to the labors of those stirring
times, when men dug a fortune out of the ground in a day--and spent it
in the town at night.

It was my first visit to the town, but I soon found that the people
still lived in the past.  The first man with whom I talked made vivid
for my eyes the placer mines down the bed of the creek, in his young
days as thronged as a city street, but now deserted and blistering in
the sun; made me hear the sounds of bar-room frolicking and fighting,
and the rolling chorus of "Forty-nine"; made me see, as he had seen,
the piles of gold-dust and nuggets upon the gaming tables, and the
hundreds of gold-weighted miners trooping into town on Saturday night.
And every man and woman with whom I talked did the same thing for me,
with new incidents and characters, until the hours became a fast-moving
panorama of the "days of gold," and I began to feel as if I myself were
living through their excitements and had drawn their delirium into my
veins.

My hostess, herself an old-timer, began the entertainment anew as we
sat on her porch in the early forenoon of the next day, breathing deep
draughts of the honey-scented air blowing down the hills from thousands
of pink-flowered manzanita bushes.  She told me how she and her sister
had alighted from the stage in Mariposa one evening, so many years
before, when they were both "just slips of girls."  They were the very
first white women there, and the men, hundreds of them, who had not
seen the form of woman, save Indian squaws, for many months, came to
their shanty, called their father outside and begged to be allowed just
to look at them.  So the two came shyly out, hand in hand, and the men
crowded around them with looks of respectful adoration, and then passed
on to make way for others.  One fell on his knees and kissed the hem of
her dress.  And presently a voice rose out of the throng, and the whole
great crowd quickly joined in the hymn, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."

As we talked, one or another old-timer stopped to greet us and to add
for my entertainment still more recollections of the days when they and
hope and Mariposa were young.  My pulses beat fast with the excitement
of that dead life which their stories called into being again and I
forgot that they and the century too had grown old since the times of
which they spoke--until the Newspaper Man came along, and the sight of
him brought me back to the present with a sudden jerk.  I had seen him
last in San Francisco, only a week previous, but he had been in
out-of-the-way, ghost-of-the-past Mariposa, he told me, for several
days, reporting a murder trial for his paper.

"Better come to this afternoon's session of the case," he said.  "The
prisoner is n't much, but his father 's the most interesting old chap I
've run across since I 've been on the Coast.  I 'll tell you about him
as we walk over."

So we sauntered up the hot, dusty street to the court-house, between
the rows of straggling, forlorn little houses, each one with its own
thrilling memory of the "days of Forty-nine"; and the Newspaper Man's
tale, like everything else in Mariposa, took its being and its
beginning from that same boisterous time.

"It's a brutal, ghastly case," he said, "and to my mind the only
mystery about it is the prisoner's father.  He is a fine-looking man,
with the manner and the head of an old Roman.  He has the reputation of
being the straightest and squarest man in the county; and how he ever
came to be the father of such a good-for-nothing scum-of-the-earth as
the prisoner I can explain only on the supposition that he is n't.

"The old man is one of the pioneers in Mariposa, and they tell me that
he was one of the nerviest men that ever drew a gun in this town.  He
killed his man in those days, just as lots of other good men did, but
it was in self-defence; and everybody was glad that the town was rid of
the man he dropped, and so nothing was said about it.  There was a
coroner's jury, which gave a verdict of suicide, and explained their
finding on the ground that it was suicidal for any man to draw on Dan
Hopkins and then give Dan the chance to shoot first.

"Along in the latter years of the gold excitement a woman came to the
town, who seems to have been part Portuguese, part Mexican, and all
bad.  She followed some man here from San Francisco, and lived as hard
a life as the times and place made possible.  And after a while she
went to Dan Hopkins and told him that he must marry her.  At first he
would n't consider seriously either her story or her proposition.  But
she kept at him, swore by all the saints in the calendar that the child
was his, and then swore them all over again that if he did not marry
her she would kill the child and herself too as soon as it was born,
and their blood would be on his head.  And finally he did marry her,
and made a home for her.

"Time and again during this trial I 've watched that man's fine, stern
old face and wondered what his motives and his feelings were when he
took that poor beast of a woman to be his wife--whether he really
believed her and thought it was his duty; or whether he feared that if
he did not, the blood of a woman and a child would haunt him all the
rest of his life; or whether the underside of his nature, under her
influence, rose up and dominated all that was best in him and made him
love her and be willing to marry her.

"Whatever it was, the deed was done, and the woman of the town became
Mrs. Hopkins, with Dan Hopkins's gun at her service, ready to take
revenge upon anybody who might offer her the least insult or whisper a
slighting word about the past.

"He did not try to crowd her down people's throats--they might let her
alone if they wished, and they mostly did, I believe--but they were
made to understand that they had to treat her and speak of her with
respect.

"He bought a big ranch a little way out of town, and there they lived
from that time on.  As far as I can find out, the woman lived a
straight, respectable kind of life for a dozen years or more, and then
she died.

"But all her badness seems to have descended to the boy.  It's one of
the oddest studies in heredity I ever came across.  The people here all
tell me that until he was thirteen or fourteen years old he was a manly
sort of a lad, and gave promise of being something like his father as
he grew up.  But about that time the evil in him began to show itself,
and the older he grew the less moral principle he seemed to possess.
He was courageous, they say, and that was the only good quality he had.
It was a sort of dare-devil bravery, and along with it he was cruel,
thieving, untruthful, and--well, about as near thoroughly bad as they
make 'em.  At least, that's the sum of the account of him the people
here have given me.

"The old man was universally known to be so honest and square in all
his dealings, and so upright and honorable in every way, that the son's
depravity seemed all the blacker by contrast.  He has stood by the
young fellow from the first of his wickedness, so everybody says, and
has always shown toward him not only steadfast affection, but just the
same sort of spirit that he did toward the boy's mother.

"He has never intimated even to his best friend that the young man was
anything but the best and most dutiful son that ever lived.  He has
kept him supplied with money, so that the fellow's only reason for the
petty thievery he did was pure love of stealing.  He has paid his fines
when he has been arrested, and shielded him from public contempt, and
done everything possible to make it easy for him to be honest and
respectable.

"But the boy has steadily gone on, they say, from bad to worse; and now
he has capped it all with this crime, which, in wilful and unprovoked
brutality, was worthy of a criminal hardened by twice his years and
experience.

"He and another young blade about as bad as he is (though this one
seems to have been the one who planned it and led in its execution),
went to the house of an old man, who lived alone a little farther up in
the foothills toward the Yosemite Valley, and asked to be allowed to
stay all night.  The old man took them in, got supper for them, and
made them as comfortable as he could.  In the night they got up and
murdered him, stole all his money--he had just sold some horses and
cattle to the prisoner's father--and were preparing to skip the country
and go to Australia, when they were arrested.

"The thing 's not been absolutely proved on young Hopkins yet, but the
circumstantial evidence is so plain that, even if there is nothing
else, I don't see how he 's going to escape the rope.  I 've just heard
a rumor, though, that there 's to be some new evidence this afternoon
that will settle the matter without a doubt."

The room rapidly filled up, and as we waited for court to open, the
Newspaper Man pointed out one and another hale old man whose clear eyes
and fresh skin belied his years, and told tales of his daring forty
years before, of the wealth he had dug from the earth, and of the
reckless ways in which he had lost it.  And at last came the prisoner
and his father.  The old man's figure was tall, erect, broad-chested,
and muscular, and his bearing proud and reserved.

"I 'm always half expecting to see that old man get up," the Newspaper
Man whispered to me, "fold his arms across that great chest of his, and
say '_Romanus sum_,' and then proudly lead his son away."

He must have been sixty-five years old or more, though he looked twenty
years younger.  His dark hair and beard were only sifted with gray, and
he held himself so erect and with such dignity, and all the lines of
his countenance expressed such force and nobleness of character, that
the suggestion of his appearance was of the strength of middle age.

But the boy was a painful contrast.  His eye was shifty, his expression
weak and sensual, and the hard lines of his face and the indifference
of his manner told the story of a man old in criminal thoughts if not
in years and deeds.  For he looked no more than twenty-five, and may
have been even younger.

The father sat near him, and although they seldom spoke together he
frequently by some small act or apparently unconscious movement showed
a tenderness and affection for the wayward son that seemed all the
greater by contrast with his own proud reserve and the boy's hardened
indifference.

The new testimony was brought in.  The sheriff had set a go-between at
work with the two prisoners, and with his aid had secured copies of all
the notes they had at once begun writing to each other.  In these
letters, which were all produced in court, they had freely discussed
their crime and argued about the points wherein they had made mistakes.
Young Hopkins had boasted to the other that they need not fear
conviction, because his father would certainly get them clear; and they
had planned what they would do after the trial was over, wallowing in
anticipations of a course of crime and debauchery.

When the sheriff began to give this testimony the old man's hand was
resting affectionately on his son's shoulder.  As it went on, laying
bare the depravity of the boy's soul, the muscles of his face quivered
a little, and presently, with just the suggestion of a flinching
shudder in face and figure, he took his hand away and shrank back a
little from the young man.  I wondered as I watched him whether he was
admitting to himself for the first time that this was the evil child of
an evil woman, for whom there was no hope, or whether it was a
revelation to him of a depth of depravity in his son's heart of which
he had not guessed.

Then the prosecution asked for a few minutes' recess, announcing that
it had a new witness to bring forward.  After much hurrying to and fro,
and whispering and consulting among lawyers and court and prison
officials, young Hopkins's accomplice appeared on the witness-stand and
turned State's evidence.  He had learned of the intercepted letters,
and, frightened by their probable result for himself, told the whole
story of the crime, from the time Hopkins had first broached it to him
until they were arrested in San Francisco.  And during the entire
narration of the cold-blooded, brutal, and cowardly deed, old Dan
Hopkins sat with his eyes on the witness, as steady and unflinching in
color and nerve and muscle as if he had been listening to a lecture or
a sermon.

I think he had decided, even then, what he would do, no matter what the
finding of the jury might be.

At last it was all over; the jury listened to the judge's charge, and
filed out.  "It's hanging, sure," said the Newspaper Man.  "After that
evidence and that charge there's only one verdict they can bring in.
It's a good thing as far as the boy's concerned, but I do feel sorry
for his governor."

Every one felt so sure that the jury would soon return that none left
their places, and a buzz of conversation soon filled the room.  Old Dan
Hopkins sat with his arms folded, his head erect, and his eyes, steady
and clear, upon the empty witness chair.  There were many sympathizing
glances sent toward him, though no one approached or spoke to him; for
it was evident from his compressed lips and frowning brow that he
preferred to be left alone.  He had moved a little away from his son,
and sat scarcely ten feet distant on my left.  When the jury returned,
in less than half an hour, he bent upon them the same abstracted gaze
and unmoved countenance.

The foreman stood up and glanced sadly toward the man who had been his
friend and neighbor for many years.  There were tears in his eyes, and
his voice broke and trembled as he gave their verdict, "Guilty of
murder in the first degree."

Not a sound broke the death-like stillness of the room as he sat down,
and I noticed that every face within my view was turned away from the
prisoner's chair and the old man who sat near it.  The tense strain of
the moment was broken by the prisoner's counsel, who arose and began a
motion for a new trial.

But the click of a revolver sharply halted his first sentence, as Dan
Hopkins jumped to his feet with a sudden, swift movement of his right
arm.  A dozen men leaped forward with outstretched arms crying, "Stop!
Stop!"

But even before they could reach him the report rang through the room,
and just as they seized the father's arms the son dropped to the floor,
dead.  He waved back the men who were pressing around him.

"Stop!" he cried.  "Stand back a minute!" And they fell back
instinctively.

He walked calmly to the judge's desk and laid down his smoking pistol.
Then he folded his arms and faced about, with head thrown back,
flashing eyes, and colorless face.  He looked at the sheriff, who, with
the sense of official duty strong upon him, had stepped out from the
huddled crowd and was coming toward him.

"Wait one minute, let me speak," he said.  "I believe you are all my
friends, for I have lived most of my life here, among you, and I hope I
have the respect and confidence and friendship of you all.  But that,"
and his flashing eyes rested for a moment upon the sheriff, the
lawyers, and then upon the judge, "must have no influence upon the
penalty I shall pay for what I have just done.  The knowledge has been
bitter enough to me this afternoon that that poor boy there deserved
death.  For the first time I have been convinced that he was bad from
the bottom of his heart, and that there was no hope for him.  But with
my own hand I have killed him, that he might be saved the last horror
and disgrace.  Let them, and the law's justice, be my portion, for I
deserve them for having given him life in the first place.  Mine was
the first sin, and it is right that I should suffer the disgrace and
the penalty."

He turned to the sheriff, holding out his arms for the handcuffs.
"Now, I am ready.  Arrest me."



OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES

Perhaps it was a mere matter of nerves, but it seemed to me that
morning that it was the cliffs of the Valley.  Those mighty,
overshadowing, everlasting walls and towers of the Yosemite seem to be
endowed with the power to produce numberless changes of feeling.

Sometimes you gaze at them, and they lift up your spirit and hold it
aloft in the free air, and send it up, and up, and up, until it reaches
the very blue of heaven, and you know that you are free and powerful
and ennobled, made one with the saints and mighty ones of earth.

The next morning you go forth and look up at those silent granite
heights, and expect them to repeat their miracle.  But they will not.
They frown upon you and crush you down into the earth you are made of.
Like an accusing conscience, they lift their stern, forbidding faces
above you on all sides and look you steadily in the eyes with their
insistence upon your unworthiness, until, in despair, you are ready to
shut yourself up to escape their persecutions.

Of course, as I said before, it may not be the cliffs at all.  It may
be nothing but nerves.  But I think it is the walls of the Valley.

On that particular morning they had made me bite the dust until I could
no longer endure the sight of them.  To escape their solemn,
contemptuous faces I ran down a little path which led into a dense
thicket of young pines and cedars.  The trees grew so close together
that they shut out all view of everything beyond a few feet on each
side of the path.  The ground was brown with their cast-off needles,
and the air was pungent with their fragrance.  Overhead there were
glimpses of a smiling blue sky, and the cool, fragrant shadows of the
thicket were brightened by patches of gleaming sunshine.  The friendly
sounds of woodpeckers hammering the trees, and of birds singing among
the branches, pleased my ears and diverted my thoughts.

The only reminder of those towering granite Preachers, with their
everlasting "All is vanity," was the roaring and crashing of the
Yosemite Falls, which filled the Valley with their thunder and made the
air tremble.

The sights, the sounds, the odors, enveloped my senses and filled me
with delighted, languorous content.  It was very comforting, and I sat
down on a log in the edge of a little opening, all pink and fragrant
with wild roses, to enjoy the sensuous delight of it all and so take
revenge upon the great stone Preachers waiting for me outside the
thicket.

Presently there came from beyond the glade a soft, crooning noise,
which in an instant more became that sweetest of sounds, the voice of a
happy child alone with nature.

A little girl, perhaps four or five years old, came slowly down the
path.  She was talking to herself and to the trees and birds and
squirrels, and even to the brown pine-needles under her feet.  Her hat,
which she had stuck full of wild roses, hung at the back of her head,
the ends of her brown curls just peeping below it.  Without the least
trace of childish shyness she came straight to where I sat, mounted the
log beside me, and asked me to take a thorn from her finger.

"Did it hurt you?" I asked, as I patted the chubby brown fist after the
operation.  "You are a very brave little girl not to cry."

"Yes, I know it," she replied, looking at me with big violet eyes,
frank and confiding.  She was a beautiful child, with a glorious
perfection of feature and complexion.  "I 'm always brave.  My papa
says so, and my new mamma says so, too.  I 've got two mammas--my new
mamma and my gone-away mamma.  But I like my new mamma best."

"Do you?  Why?"

"'Cause she's always and always dust as good as she can be.  And she
never and never says 'Stop this minute!' er 'at I make her head ache,
er 'at I 'm naughty, er anything.  She dust puts her arms all 'round me
and says, 'Dear little girl.'  An' 'en I 'm good.  And I love my new
mamma, I do, better than my gone-away mamma."  And she gave a decided
little nod, as if in defiance of some privately urged claim.

"Where has your other mamma gone?" I asked, expecting to hear but the
one answer.  She raised her long lashes and looked at me seriously.

"You 're a tourist lady, ain't you?  That's why you don't know.  Well,
it was a tourist man, 'at stayed a long time, who tooked my gone-away
mamma away."

"A tourist man?  Why did he do that?"

"'Cause he did n't want me 'round, I guess.  When the flowers was here
that other time he comed to the store where my mamma sold all the
pretty things my papa made dust every day an' every day.  An' I did n't
like him a bit, I did n't."

"Why didn't you like him?"

"'Cause he did n't like me, and did n't want me 'round.  When my mamma
was there and I was there, he would come and talk to my mamma, an' 'en
he would tell her to send me away.  An' 'en she would put me in the
back room; an' if I cried an' kicked the door, she would put me in the
closet.  If the tourist man wasn't there, she loved me most all the
time."

"Did n't she love you all the time, anyway?"

For answer the small maiden shut her eyes tightly and shook her head
rapidly and decidedly.

"Why do you think she did n't love you all the time?"

"'Cause sometimes she was n't good to me."

"Did you love her all the time?"

Another decided head-shaking.

"You did n't?  Why?"

"I did n't love her when she did n't love me.  But my new mamma loves
me all the time an' all day an' all night an' every day an' every night
an' always.  An' we dust have the bestest times togevver, an' I love
her dust all I can love anybody."  She hugged her chubby arms close up
to her breast as if she had them around the loved one's neck, screwed
up her pretty face, and gave the little grunt with which childhood
expresses the fulness of its affection.

"Did you see the tourist man take your gone-away mamma away?"

"No, I didn't see him, but he did, 'cause once she went to take a walk
an' 'en he never came back any more."

"And did n't she ever come back?"

"'Course not!"  She looked at me in wide-eyed amazement at my
ignorance.  "One day she said for me to stay there 'cause she was going
to take a walk.  An' I cried to go too, an' 'en she picked me up quick
an' hugged me tight an' kissed me.  An' 'en she put me down an' said
no, she was going too far.  An' she took off her ring, her pretty gold
ring, 'at she never let me have before, an' said to play wif it and
when papa come give it to him.  An' I did, an' papa readed a letter 'at
was on the table, an' 'en he fell down on the bed an' cried.  An' I put
my hand on his face an' said, 'Poor papa, what's 'e matter?'  An' 'en
he took me up in his arms, an' we bofe cried, an' cried, an' cried.
An' he said, 'Poor little girl!'"

She paused a moment, and then, with the air of one summing up a long
discourse, she exclaimed, "An' that's why I 've got a gone-away mamma!"

I stroked the little one's hand, which nestled confidingly in mine, and
said, half absently, "And she never came back?"

The child had fallen into a reverie, her big violet eyes fastened on
the ground at our feet, but my words roused her into sociability again
and she chattered on:

"No, 'course not, she never comed back.  But one day 'ere was a letter,
all alone dust for me, an' my papa called me an' said, 'Here is a
letter for my little girl; now, I wonder who it's from?'  She said this
with the quaintest imitation of grown-up condescension addressing a
child, waited a moment, as if to give to suspense its proper effect,
and then went on:

"He tored it open an' inside the en'lope was dust a tiny bit of a
letter wif just a little bit of reading and writing on it.  An' 'en my
papa dropped it 's if it was a yellow-jacket an' he said, great big an'
loud, 'Money!  from them!  Don't touch it, child!'  An' he frowed it in
the fire.  But I did n't see no money and I wanted to keep my letter,
'cause it was all mine.  But I had my new mamma then, an' when I cried
she writed me another letter."

"Yes," I said, "it's very queer to have two mammas, is n't it?  But
when did you get your new mamma?"

"Well, one day, after there was n't any more snow, we all went to
church.  And I had on my new white dress--it's awful pretty--and a new
ribbon on my hair, and a new hat--not this old one--prettier than this,
lots, with pretty flowers on it.  And papa and--and--_her_, they stood
up and talked wif the preacher, an' I would n't sit still.  I dust
runned right up side of my papa and held on to his leg all the time.
An' when the preacher did n't talk any more she picked me up an' hugged
me tight, an' kissed me an' said, 'I 'm going to be your mamma now,
darling.'

"An' she 's been my new mamma ever since, an' I 'm going to keep her
for my mamma always and always, and I don't want my gone-away mamma
ever to come back, 'cause I love my new mamma best."

Just then there burst upon the warm, soft air a babel of shouts and
yells and loud hurrahs.  The wee maiden turned a brightening face in
the direction of the uproar, and announced:

"That's wecess.  I must go now.  I 'spect my mamma will want me.  She
is n't dust my new mamma, she is n't.  She's the teacher, too.  An' I
go to school wif her every day.  But I don't have to stay in the
schoolhouse 'less I want to."

She slipped off the log and started down the path, and then came back
to kiss me good-bye.  The hurried tread of a woman rustled through the
thicket, and a Madonna-like face appeared between the branches.

"Come, dearie," she called, and the child ran across the glade, jumped
into her arms and nestled upon her neck with a cry of delight.

Months afterward, in a city on the other side of the continent, I met a
beautiful woman.  She was a little overdressed and over-jewelled, but I
thought as I talked with her that never before had I seen a woman of
such glorious perfection of features and complexion and figure.

My visit to the Yosemite, the previous summer, chanced to be mentioned,
and at once she began to ask me question after question about the
Valley, and about those who live in it and cater to the comfort of
travellers.  Her husband, tall, athletic-looking, and handsome, leaned
upon the back of her chair and made tactful efforts to divert the
conversation into other channels.  She yielded for the moment, but soon
managed to lead me away to a quiet nook where she at once re-commenced
her inquiries.  Her beautiful face haunted and teased me with
suggestions of previous sight.  But I could not recall any former
meeting, and so I decided that some chance street view of her
countenance had impressed its beauty upon my memory.

As she rapidly poured forth question after question, I could not help
noticing and wondering about the pathetic wistfulness in her eyes and
the nervous eagerness of her manner.  Presently she said she hoped to
visit the Yosemite herself some time, and then hurriedly asked if I had
seen any of the people who live there during the winter, and if any of
them had children, and if the little ones, too, were subjected to that
hardship.

There was intense longing in her lovely violet eyes as she asked these
questions, but she quickly dropped her lids, and only her hands,
trembling in her lap, betrayed that she felt more than casual interest.

I told her everything I could remember, facts, incidents, and
anecdotes, that I thought would interest her.  It did not occur to me
that her eagerness for information was anything more than an unusually
keen curiosity about a mode of life so different from her own.
Chancing to recall my adventure with the little maid I told her about
it.

I dwelt on the child's beauty and precocity, and repeated her account
of why she had two mammas.  The red blood was dyeing my listener's face
a deep crimson, but still I did not understand, and went on lightly--

"She was as charming a little thing as I ever saw, but she was not at
all complimentary to the 'gone-away mamma,' for she declared,
emphatically, that she loved her new mamma best, and meant to keep her
always, and did n't want her gone-away mamma ever to come back, because
the new mamma loved her so much, and they had such good times together."

The surging color flowed in a quick tide from her face and left there a
gray pallor, like that of granite cliffs when the sun goes down, and
her hands were so tightly locked that her fingers looked white and
ghastly.  I thought it was indignation against that distant and unknown
woman who had yielded to temptation that was moving her so strongly,
and expected to hear from her parted lips some sweeping sentence of
fiery feminine scorn and contempt.

But it was a low moan that came through their paling curves as she
swayed once in her chair and then fell to the floor.

The physician, who was hurriedly summoned, said that it was a case of
heart failure, and that she must have died instantly from some sudden
shock.

And then, looking again at the beautiful, cold face, I understood at
last.  For death had completed the likeness which life had only
suggested, and the faultless features, lying now in their eternal,
expressionless calm, were exactly those of the beautiful child.

Her friends wondered much at her strange and sudden death.  But I knew
that remorse had had its perfect work, and that the sudden vision of a
sweet child-face out of whose rosy lips came the accusing words, "I
love my new mamma best, and I don't want my gone-away mamma ever to
come back," had pierced her heart through and through.



POSEY

        "Since I breathed,
  A houseless head, beneath the sun and stars,
  The soul of the wood has stricken through my blood."
        --THE FORESTERS.


Everybody who has ever seen him knows him only as "Posey"--a name for
which he is indebted solely to the accident of birth.  For in that
Indiana county where he first saw the light, and when he went to
California, some forty years ago, that was the name at once bestowed
upon him, and by it he has been known ever since.  It is possible that
Posey has not forgotten what his name really is; but, if so, he is the
only person who has allowed his memory to be burdened with that useless
knowledge.

The traveller is likely to meet him striding along any one of the
forest roads or trails within forty miles of the Yosemite Valley, or
lounging around a stage station, or taking his ease in some
mountaineer's cabin.  And he will know at once that that is Posey, for
no one who has ever heard of him can mistake his identity at even the
first glance.  Moreover, Sunday is always with him, and Sunday is just
as unmistakable as Posey.  Sunday is a very small dog, of about the
bigness of your two fists, that carries within his small skin enough
courage, audacity, and dignity to befit the size of an elephant.  He is
also known as "Posey's bear dog"--a sobriquet bestowed upon him partly
in humor, because of his ridiculously small size, and partly in honor,
because of his utter fearlessness.

Posey is a sparely built, muscular man, of medium size, quick and jerky
in his movements, and springy in his gait.  His face is broad and
tanned, his cheek bones high, and his nose a snub.  His beard is short
and thin and grizzled, and his gray hair, curling at the ends, hangs
around his neck.  His shoulders are sloping, his chest deep but not
wide, his arms long, and his hips narrow.  He is always dressed in a
blue flannel shirt, blue overalls, hob-nailed shoes, and a gray slouch
hat; and the whole outfit is always very old and very dirty.  His
overalls, fastened upon him in some miraculous way, hang far below his
waist.  Why they stay in place suggests the goodness of God since it
passeth all understanding.

Nature made a great mistake when she caused Posey to be born a white
man, heir to all the white man's achievement.  For he is a child of
earth--a gentle, kindly savage, a white man with the soul of an Indian.
But Posey has done his best to correct nature's mistake, and has made
himself as much of an Indian as his white man's heritage will allow.
He is a nomad, as thorough a nomad as any barbarian who never heard of
those wondrous works of man called civilization.  In all that wide
stretch of country which he frequents and in which he has lived for
thirty years and better, there is not one spot which he can call home.
But that is nothing to Posey.  He would not know what to do with a home
if he had one.

His sole possessions are some blankets, a gun, and Sunday.  If he wants
to go anywhere, whether it be one mile or fifty miles away, he straps
his blankets on his back, whistles to Sunday, shoulders his gun, and
goes.  Sometimes he sleeps on the ground and sometimes he stops for a
night or for three months in the cabin of some lone mountaineer or in
an Indian _rancheria_.  It is doubtful if Posey himself knows how many
Indian wives and half-breed children he has in these Indian villages
scattered through the mountains.  He will drop in on one of them for a
day or a month, divide his possessions with her and her children,
provide lavishly for them with gun and fishing-tackle while he is
there, and when the desire fills him to be somewhere else he will leave
them with as little concern as he feels for the birds and squirrels in
the trees.

Save in the mirthfulness of which he is an ever-bubbling spring, Posey
has become, in looks and gestures, in mode of thought and manner of
expression, as much Indian as white.  Nevertheless, he prefers, very
greatly, the society of his own race, and likes best that of people of
superior mental qualities and force of character.  In Posey's creed
there is but one article, namely, that all men are eternally and
immutably equal--just as good as he is.  That is, that would be the
sole article in his creed if he had any creed and if he were conscious
that such is his belief.  For it is very certain that Posey never gave
thought, in all his life, to the question of human equality.  He simply
has an unconscious feeling about it which he has breathed into his
being from the mountain air around him and absorbed from the earth
which has been his bed for many and many a night.  It is there, just as
the dirt on his neck is there, and Posey is equally unconscious of them
both.

Formerly, for a good many years, he was a guide in the Yosemite Valley,
and once he had in his charge a woman who was a many times millionaire,
of social prestige throughout two continents, and known by name all
over her own land from the palaces of Newport to the huts in the
Sierras.  She found fault with many things, and finally insisted that
her stirrup was too small.  Posey, who had cheerfully endeavored to
satisfy all her complaints, examined it carefully and then told her, in
gentlest voice and politest manner: "The stirrup 's all right, madam.
It's your foot that 's too damn big."

Nobody ever saw Posey troubled in the least about anything in this
world or the next.  To him, mere existence is a pleasure, and the days
of his life have been a linked merriment long drawn out.  He is always
ready to listen to and laugh at and join in jokes and fun; and if
nothing new of that sort is at hand, old ones will answer the purpose
almost as well.  He is quick to repay such entertainment from his own
inexhaustible store, and he never fails to turn anything that happens,
no matter how serious it may be, into jest and farce.  He has even been
known to fling witticisms and ridicule at a bear that was coming at him
full speed.  But, no; that is not quite accurate.  Posey has been known
to say that he said these things to a charging bruin.  But Posey
usually hunts alone.

He is learned in the habits and secrets of the beasts and birds and
reptiles and insects of the mountain and the forest, and in the virtues
and malefactions of trees and flowers.  But he does not consider this
knowledge of any consequence, and sets far more store upon another
stock of learning, which he does not display upon ordinary occasions.
For such chance acquaintances among the tourists as he considers
unusual in mental attainments he rolls out the scientific names of
trees and plants with unction and delight.  Usually they are not
recognizable at first, because, having been learned by ear and
preserved by memory, their Latin has become somewhat Poseyized.

He can reel off yards upon yards of narrative about adventures in
mountain storms, exciting incidents in hunting, the people he has
guided in the Yosemite Valley and upon the mountains, and all the
strange things that could not but have happened to a merry
earth-spirit, living alternately among the denizens of the wilderness
and in the midst of a stream of people from all the four quarters of
the globe.  When he tells these tales he generally adopts the crescendo
method, being spurred on by the applause of his hearers to larger and
larger achievements as story succeeds story.

One autumn afternoon I sat on the veranda at Wawona and listened to the
tales of luck and pluck in forest and mountain that Posey, squatted on
the steps, poured forth for my entertainment and that of such others as
chose to stop and listen.  He talked in quick, jerky sentences,
constantly bobbing his head about and making little, angular gestures
with his hands and arms.

"Posey," I said, "did you ever meet a bear, face to face, when you did
n't have a gun?"

"Lots of times!"

"What did you do?"

"Pooh!  I don't care, if 't ain't a grizzly.  If I meet a grizzly on
the trail when I hain't no gun with me I don't tramp on his toes, you
bet.  I jest hide behind a bush and purtend I don't see him till he
gets out the way.  But any other kind of a bear 's got to give me right
o' way, gun or no gun.  Me get out of the way fer an ornery brown bear!
Huh!  Not much!  All you've got to do is jest to stand up and lay down
the law to 'em, and they 'll sneak out and into the bushes and leave
you the trail, 'fore you can get furder 'n 'Be it enacted.'  I 'll bet
I could talk any brown bear in the Sierras out o' the trail in five
minutes.

"Once I was comin' down Pinoche Mountain, windin' along a narrow trail
through some high bushes, when I seed a bear roundin' a turn not more
'n ten yards ahead of me.  I did n't have no gun, and it was n't much
of a trail, but I reckoned it was a heap sight better 'n scramblin'
through them bushes, and I jest thought I 'd let the bear do the
scramblin'.  Sunday, he rushed out between my legs and begun to
bow-wow, bold as if he 'd been John Sullivan.  'Hist, Sunday!' says I,
'I've got the floor!  Gimme the first chance; and if there 's any
talking to do after that, you can do it.'  So he come and squatted down
beside me; and the bear, he stood there lookin' at us.

"'Mr. Bear,' says I, 'I 'd hate to have to spile your hide, but I 'll
do it if you don't get out o' this trail.  I 've killed eighty bear in
these mountains, and I won't take no sass from you.  The climate in
this trail ain't what you need, an' I advise you to git out of it.  Off
into the bushes with you!  Whoop!  Git!'  An' off he went, just as if I
owned that trail an' he was trespassin'.

[Illustration: "I 'd hate to have to spile your hide, but I 'll do it
if you don't get out o' this trail."]

"That bear was as reasonable as any I ever see, but I had more trouble
with a big feller up toward Crescent Lake.  I got sleepy that
afternoon, for I 'd been settin' up watchin' fer bear the night before.
So I put my gun an' a snack I had on a stump and went to sleep.  When I
waked up there was a big brown bear nosin' my lunch and tryin' to open
the bundle with his paw.  I picked up some pine cones--_Pinus
pondyrosy_ it was I was sleepin' under" (he rolled this out with the
slyest glance at a professor from an Eastern college who had joined his
little audience)--"an' begun peltin' 'em at him just so's to tip his
ears and his tail.  Sunday, he 'd travelled off somewhere and missed
this fun.  Then I started in to abusin' that bear.  My!  I called him
everything I could lay my tongue to.  He 'd stop an' listen a minute,
cock up one ear and wink, and then he 'd go to work at that lunch
passel ag'in.  I jest kept on swearin' harder and harder at him till I
could taste brimstone.  And at last it got too much for 'im.  He took
his paws down off 'n that stump an' marched off as dignified as a woman
who 's heard you say somethin' you did n't mean her to.

"But the cheekiest thing I ever did with a bear was one night over in
Devil's Gulch.  A big storm come up just about dark an' I found a sort
o' cave to crawl into.  A big tree, a _Pinus Lamberteeny_" (another sly
glance at the professor), "had fell alongside o' some rocks an' made a
fine dry den.  A lot of dry leaves was made into a bed, an' I says to
Sunday: 'Reckon we 'll have company before long.  Wonder whether it 'll
be a brown or a grizzly.'  Sunday, he curled up an' went to sleep, an'
I was settin' down at the mouth of the den lookin' out into the dark
when up come a big, black thing.  I knew 't was the bear, an' it was
too dark to see if it was a grizzly.  But it just made me mad to think
of that bear comin' to turn me out into the rain, an' I up with my fist
an' give 'im a cuff.  'Git out o' this, you ole tramp,' says I.  'I was
here first, an' there ain't no room fer you.'  An' I belted him on the
other ear.  That bear jest turned tail an' walked off as meek as Moses,
an' me an' Sunday had the den to ourselves all night.

"Yes, sir," and he shook his head and chuckled in delighted remembrance
of his waggishness, "that was jest about the cheekiest joke I ever
played on a bear!"

Posey's mirthful spirits make him always a welcome visitor in the
cabins that, tucked away among trees and bowlders, shelter the lone
mountaineers.  But of all those who live within the circuit of his
peregrinations his particular chum is Win Davis--"J. Winthrop Davis" is
the name painted in big, black letters on a pine board nailed to his
cabin door, although nobody ever takes the trouble to call him anything
but "Win."  After seeing that doorplate, you will hardly need to hear
his nasal intonation to know that he came from the land of the tutelary
codfish.

That was nearly half a century ago and ever since he has been the child
of the mines, the forests, and the mountains.  And Nature, as if in
gratitude for his loving allegiance, seems to have taken him under her
protection and stayed the progress of years over his head.  For,
although he has almost reached the allotted three score and ten, his
big frame, his ruddy face, his shock of hair, his auburn beard that
flows to his waist, his actions, and his apparent feelings do not
indicate a day over forty.

When our buckboard stopped at his cabin door he rushed out, shouting
hospitable welcome in a tremendous voice.  If he ever spoke in anything
less than a roar he would make his Herculean body and Jovian head
ridiculous.  As he never does, he is grand.

Posey was there, and, while Win bustled about in the lean-to kitchen
making hot biscuits and coffee, he began to tell us entrancing yarns of
the adventures and successes they had enjoyed hunting and trapping
together during the previous winter.  Apparently neither had felt it
any hardship that for months they had been shut off entirely from all
companionship with their kind.  Nature is good to these lone men of the
mountains.  She gives them happiness and serenity in her arms, steeps
them in lore of all manner of wild things, and makes them simple and
honest of heart as a child.  But for what she gives she exacts an awful
price, for she cuts from their hearts the dearest ties of the race.  In
all those little cabins scattered along the slopes and through the
gorges of the Sierras there is scarcely one in which you will find wife
or child, or regret that there is none, or wish that such might yet be.

The talk drifted from one thing to another, and finally one of our
party told Mark Twain's yarn about "the meanest man on earth."  Our
host listened at the kitchen door, a streak of flour shining white
athwart the cataract of his auburn beard, and testified his amusement
by a delighted roar that was like unto the rejoicings of a bull of
Bashan.

"Posey," he exclaimed, "tell 'em about that stingy friend o' yours!"

Posey chuckled and pushed his old slouch hat to the back of his head.

"Well," he said, "I reckon that feller was jest about as stingy as the
feller you 've been tellin' about, and mebby stingier, 'cause he 'd
take more risks.  Anyway, he was as ornery stingy as he could be an'
live.  If he 'd been any wuss he 'd of died to save grub an' shoe
leather.  W'y, him and me was out huntin' together oncet, over toward
Mono.  But I oughter tell you fust it was a long time ago, 'way back in
the days when everybody had to carry powder-flasks, an' each of us had
one on a string 'round his neck.

"Well, 'long about noon we come to a clear, purty little lake and set
down to eat a snack.  I was stoopin' over the edge of the lake to get
some water in my hat an' my powder-flask slipped off an' went,
kersplash, down to the bottom!  The water was so clear I could see it
layin' down there, as plain as could be, fifty feet down, I reckon, fer
them mountain lakes is prodeejus deep.  Well, the other feller, he
could dive better 'n I could--he was a great one fer divin'--an' he
said he 'd go down after it.  So he stripped, but kep' his powder-flask
'round his neck.  That kinder riled me, fer it looked as if he was
afeared I 'd run off with it while he was gone.  I did n't say nothin',
though, an' down he went.

"Well, I set there an' waited, an' finished eatin' my snack, an' waited
an' waited for him to come up agin.  I reckon I must a' set there about
fifteen minutes, anyhow, and at last I begun to git so curious about
what he could be doin' all that time, that I up an' went over to the
edge of the bank an' peeked down into the water.  An' consarn my
soul!"--here Posey bristled up with as much excited interest in voice
and manner as if he were at that moment peering down into the depths of
the lake--"What do you s'pose he was a-doin' down there?"

"Drowning?" suggested one of our party in a tone that Posey must have
thought too flippant for the occasion, for he turned upon the speaker
with an indignation that could not all have been inspired by the memory
of his stingy friend's deed.

"Drownin'!  Him!  An' leave his duds up on the ground fer somebody else
to git the good of?  Huh!  Not much!  No, sir!  There he was, down
there at the bottom of the lake--an' I 'm a-tellin' you the Gospel
truth, an' you may take me out an' drown me in that there very lake if
I ain't--there was that ornery, stingy cuss down there takin' his time
to empty the powder out o' my flask into his'n!  I was so mad I felt
like heavin' a rock down on 'im!"

Like many a man in far less humble station, Posey has but to repeat an
idea or a statement a few times to convince himself of its absolute
truth, no matter how reckless may have been its first enunciation.  As
we talked, the sound and savor of frying venison came appetizingly from
the kitchen.  Posey sniffed it and straightened up, with childlike,
pleased expectancy.

"Venison 's a mighty healthy meat, ain't it, Doc?" he said, addressing
a physician who was with us.  The doctor gave assent, and Posey swelled
and beamed with pleasure that his opinion had won scientific approval.

"Yes, sir," he went on enthusiastically, "it's the healthiest meat
there is!  Wy, if a man would jest eat venison all the time, he 'd
never be sick, an'--an' he'd never die, neither!"  He paused a moment,
the least mite taken aback by the sweepingness of his proposition, then
glanced belligerently around his little circle of listeners and
repeated with emphasis: "No, sir!  he'd never die!"  He stopped again,
but this time with triumph shining in his face, as who would say.
Dispute it if you dare!  Evidently he was quite convinced by that time
of the truth of his statement, but still felt the need of making his
hearers believe.  He brought his fist down upon the table with a blow
that made the dishes Win Davis was placing thereon jump and rattle, and
exclaimed in tones of the most serious and heartfelt conviction:

"No, sir!  He'd live forever, he would!  He 'd never, _never_ die!"



A CASE OF THE INNER IMPERATIVE

"This is my section," said Dr. Elizabeth Black; and the three women who
were convoying her down the aisle crowded around her for a last
good-bye.  There was an excited flurry of talk as they hoped her
journey would be pleasant and wished they were going too; and she
heartily wished they were; and they wondered if she would find it
tiresome; and she assured them she was a good traveller; and they
charged her to write them a postal every day.  Then all four had to
press into the section to make room for two men to walk past them to
the next seat.

"But they did n't get on here--they 've only been out on the platform,"
said the youngest and prettiest of the three, lowering her voice and
casting a swift glance in their direction.  "They look interesting,
Doctor, and if they stay on long enough maybe you 'll scrape
acquaintance with them.  When I take a long journey I always know
everybody in the car by the end of the second day."

"We must go, girls," exclaimed another.  "It's time for the train to
start."  Then she produced a florist's parcel, which she had been
trying to conceal in the folds of her dress, and unrolled from it a
bunch of glowing roses.  Another pressed into Dr. Black's hands a book;
and the third, a box of candy.

"And here 's a magazine Dr. Wallace sent--you know she could n't
come--and we agreed not to give them to you till the very last
minute--for our last good-bye--"  Her voice wavered and Dr. Black broke
in with surprised and grateful exclamations.

"The book 's a love story," said the youngest one, an apologetic note
perceptible in her voice, "but it's a pretty story, and the treatment's
interesting, and I thought you might enjoy it, for railroad travelling
always makes one feel sentimental, anyway."

"Oh, the train 's moving!  Good-bye, dear!"  The one who was nearest to
Dr. Black left a hurried kiss upon her cheek, the others hastily
pressed her hands, and all three scurried toward the door.  Their
friend raised her window and looked out in time to wave a final
farewell as they landed safely upon the platform.  As she settled back
in her seat she saw that one of the men in the next section had also
been watching for their reappearance outside.  Their eyes met as she
turned from the window, relieved and smiling.

She admired her roses for a moment, tucked them into her belt, and then
opened her magazine.  But her expression was more pensive than
interested as she idled over its pages, looking now and then at a
picture and reading only a paragraph or a stanza here and there.  Her
thoughts were more with the scenes of the life she was leaving behind
her, or flying on, with inquiry and indecision, into that whither she
was bound.  Should she stay on the Pacific Coast where she was going to
visit her father and mother in their new home, open an office in some
city near them, and build up a practice there?  Or should she return to
take the position which had been offered her in the faculty of the
women's medical college from which she had been graduated with high
honors three years before?  After her graduation, a year's work as
interne in the women's hospital had heightened the expectations of her
friends; and the success with which she had then served as physician
and superintendent of a branch dispensary and hospital in the slum
district had made all who were watching her progress predict for her a
brilliant career.

She had accepted the appointment to the college corps of instructors
with the deepest gratification, and she looked forward longingly to the
opportunities it would give her for special work and to the surety of
advancement that would follow.  But her heart misgave her not a little
as she thought of the great joy it would give her father and mother
should she decide to stay near them in California, and of the grief
that her mother would try to dissemble if she should return to the East.

Well, she would not decide the question now, and she put it from her as
she cast a careless eye over her fellow travellers, let it rest for a
moment on the two men in the section in front of her own and then
turned to her book.  Alternately reading, looking at the passing
landscape, and now and then lapsing into reverie, her attention was so
withdrawn from her surroundings that she was not aware that one of the
men in front had turned several times and allowed a casual glance to
pass from her down the row of heads behind her.  Nor did she notice,
when they returned from an hour's absence in the smoker, that he sat
down in the front seat of their section.

"You don't mind riding backward?" commented his companion.

"I 'm not particularly stuck on it, but just now I want to look at that
girl in the section behind us.  It's good for the eyes to rest on such
a splendid creature as she is."

"I 'll come over there with you and we 'll study her together," the
other replied, as he changed his seat.

"Is n't she a fine specimen?" said the first.  "She 's five
feet nine if she 's an inch,--I noticed her when she got on at
Philadelphia,--broad-shouldered and deep-chested and clear-skinned.
And that glow in her cheeks rivals the roses her friends gave her.  How
old do you guess her, Wilson?"

"I 'd never try guessing such a problem as that!  She's evidently one
of the new women--you can tell that by her looks.  And they never show
their age, maybe because they don't think about it.  This girl might be
twenty, perhaps a year or two more, if you judge by her face.  But if
you take her expression into account--these women who do things always
look as if they 'd had an experience of life that in former days they
could n't acquire under forty.  Well, you might split the difference
and say she 's thirty."

"I don't think so.  I 'd guess her under twenty-five.  And she probably
won't look a day older than she does now for the next fifteen years."

"I don't know about that, Adams.  If she's a school-teacher she 'll get
more or less sharp-featured or anxious-faced and have wrinkles and
crow's-feet.  And those are things that do not aid and abet a woman in
forgetting her birthdays."

"But she is n't a school-teacher, Wilson.  She has n't got the
unmistakable school-ma'am look.  I 've been wondering what she is, and
I don't make it out.  I don't think she 's a doctor, because she has
n't got the professional cast of countenance, and she 's too carefully
dressed."

Wilson laughed and turned a bantering eye upon his companion.  "You
must be getting interested, Adams!  Is it a case of love at first
sight?"

"No, you know I 'm not given to that sort of thing.  But I don't read
much on the cars, on account of my eyes, and while you 've been reading
I 've spent the time looking at the passengers.  And I found that girl
and her roses by far the most pleasing items in the car."

"But she is n't beautiful," Wilson objected.  "Her face is not pretty,
and she 's inclined to be raw-boned."

"Yes, I 'll admit her features are irregular, and there 's fault to be
found with each one.  But that does n't matter.  No woman with that
live, creamy skin, that clear red in her cheeks, and that intelligent
expression, could be any less than handsome.  And she fairly glows with
health and vitality.  She has made me just curious enough about her
vocation to want to know what it is, and if she stays on the train long
enough to make an opening possible I intend to try to find out."

"Well," said Wilson, yawning, "you 're fortunate to be able to get up
so much interest in your fellow-passengers.  It is n't once in a dozen
journeys that I find anybody on a railroad train who does n't strike me
as being an entirely superfluous person."

"Oh, well," responded Adams good-naturedly, "you must remember that you
are ten years older than I am, and that you are married and settled
down, while I 'm not."

"It would be better for you if you were."

"Yes, I know you are always preaching at me the advantages of double
blessedness.  But I 'm not going to marry until I can't help it.  When
the girl comes along who can make me forget everything in the world but
herself, I 'll marry her, if she 'll have me."

"Which she probably won't, as things generally turn out in this world,"
the other rejoined, smiling.

In the meantime Dr. Black was dipping here and there into the pages of
her book, which had proved to be Mallock's "Human Document," more
interested in its speculations concerning human nature and human
nature's twin problems of life and love than in its slender thread of
story.  Gradually her interludes of meditation grew longer and more
frequent, until the book closed in her lap and she looked dreamily out
of the window, her thoughts busy with herself, her past, and her future.

Should she ever marry?  She thought it rather unlikely, but she had no
definite intentions on either side of the question.  She smiled as her
thoughts travelled back to her first engagement, in her high-school
days.  She admitted to herself that she had been rather a gay lassie
then, and had thought more about the boys than about her studies.  She
remembered, too, that she had been very popular among those same boys,
and that that very popularity had doomed the engagement to a brief but
exciting existence.

Then she recalled how she had passed, soon after this episode, under
the influence of an enthusiastic teacher who had wakened her ambitions
and led her to decide that she must make of herself something out of
the usual and go out into the world and take part in its work.  Then
succeeded a period of such close application to her books that her
parents and friends became alarmed lest she should injure herself.  She
ceased to smile upon her youthful admirers and treated them so curtly
or talked to them so toploftily that she got the reputation of having
become a man-hater.

"And I was n't anything of the sort," she said to herself, smiling and
smelling her roses.  "I simply did n't like that kind of young men any
more.  They bored me to death."

About that time, she remembered, she began to be much more interested
in older men, men of more knowledge and achievement, and that they also
began to show a liking for her.  The teachers in the high school seemed
to find it interesting to talk with her.  The district attorney, who
was their next door neighbor, seemed just as well satisfied, when he
strolled across the lawns for a chat with her father, if he found
Elizabeth alone on the veranda.  The family physician encouraged the
scientific trend of her reading, loaned her books by Maudsley and
Darwin and Havelock Ellis, and often dropped in to talk with her about
her studies, her reading, and her plans.  He applauded and encouraged
her first tentative notion that she would like to study medicine, and
it was his arguments and influence that overcame her mother's
objections and persuaded her father that it would be worth while to
spend upon her medical education the money it would demand.  And,
finally, came the doctor's wife, asking to see her alone.

"I am sure you do not realize what you are doing," the doctor's wife
said, "and so I want to put it frankly before you, as one woman to
another.  The truth is, my husband is falling in love with you; he is
fascinated by you.  And I want to ask you to save him from himself, and
me from no end of heartache and misery, I 'm fond of you, Elizabeth,
you know that, and I 'm proud of your abilities, and I want you to have
a great success, but I don't want you to trample down my happiness on
your way.  He and I have always been happy together until now; and it
all rests with you, Elizabeth,--as a woman you know that--whether we
keep our happiness and content with each other or go straight on into
such disaster and wretchedness as you cannot imagine.  And so I 've put
my pride in my pocket--it was no small thing to do, my girl,--and have
come to ask you not to take my husband's love away from me."

As Elizabeth looked back to that time she owned to herself that, deeply
moved as she had been by the appeal of the doctor's wife, her feelings
had not all been of the same sort.  In the depths of her soul there had
been no little pride and exultation that the doctor was being chained
to her chariot wheels, and she remembered quite distinctly that she had
had a strong desire to keep him there.  She herself had felt for him
nothing more than cordial friendship and gratitude; but, nevertheless,
there had been mingled with generous compassion some resentment against
the wife, whose appeal she could not disregard.

Two years after that episode, while at home on her summer vacation, she
met a lawyer, a man of high position, wide intellectual sympathies, and
much culture, who promptly fell in love with her and proposed marriage.
He interested her deeply and exercised over her a greater fascination
than any man she had met before, and she gave her promise to be his
wife, without thought as to its effect upon her future.  But when she
began to prepare for her return to the medical college he interposed an
amazed veto.  If she was to be his wife she must give up all
expectation of a career separate from their home.  She wavered and
hesitated for two days, and then packed her trunk and returned to her
studies.  Thinking of him, as she gazed at the picturesque, wooded
hills and valleys of Pennsylvania, she did not regret her action.  She
had never regretted it, she said to herself, but, nevertheless, she was
sorry, she had always felt a distinct sense of loss, that he had passed
out of her life.

Since then, the straight road to her medical degree and through her
subsequent labors had been undisturbed by emotional storms.  Twice she
had refused offers of marriage, but they had come from men for whom she
felt no more than the merest passing friendship.  She had worked hard,
and the farther she had progressed the more pleasure she had taken in
her work and the more absorbed she had become in her prospects and
ambitions.  Looking into the future, for which she had planned and
toward which she was working with all her powers, she said calmly to
herself that it was more attractive to her than any other.  And yet,
would she be tempted to give up her ambitions and hopes of achievement
if, for instance, she were to meet a man as well endowed in mind and
heart as the hero of the book she had just been reading,--with such
fineness of fibre and such power of loving?  She would not face the
question squarely, but told herself that she was not at all likely to
meet such a paragon.

"And, at any rate," she thought, as she was roused from her reverie by
the cry of "Dinner now ready in the dining-car," "of one thing I am
very sure, and that is that I shall never marry until I meet a man
strong enough in himself and in his love for me to make me forget
everything else and not care whether or not I go on with my profession."

The dining-car was so full that she was about to turn back, when the
waiter beckoned her to a table at which the two forward seats were
unoccupied.  She took one with some hesitation and turned her face
toward the window.

"I beg your pardon," said a voice from the other side of the table,
"but if you find it disagreeable to ride backward won't you take my
seat?  I do not mind it in the least."

She turned with a smiling and grateful refusal upon her tongue, saw
that her two neighbors across the table were the men from the section
in front of hers, and hesitated.  The other man quickly added his plea
to his companion's, and in a few moments they had changed seats.  The
one who had first spoken asked if her friends in Philadelphia got
safely off the car, and presently all three were chatting pleasantly
together.

When Elizabeth returned to the Pullman the one who had proposed
exchanging seats, and whom his friend called Adams, brought her some
evening papers.  She thanked him, and, seeing that he did not at once
turn away, asked him to sit down.  They talked about the news in the
papers, laughed over stories which one or the other told, branched off
upon books, and were pleased to find that they had some favorites in
common.  They spoke of the scenery through which they had passed during
the day and of the brilliant sunset into which the train seemed to be
plunging, and he told her of the gorgeous sunset panoramas of the Rocky
Mountains and of striking effects he had seen among the snow-clad peaks
of the Sierras.  He related adventures into which his profession, that
of mining engineer, had taken him; and Elizabeth listened with
interest, asked questions, made comments, and talked entertainingly,
but said nothing of her own walk in life.  When finally he said
good-night and went to rejoin his companion in the smoker, the evening
was so far gone that the busy porter had transformed the car into a
lane of tapestry.

As Elizabeth lay in her berth, musing pleasantly over the events of the
evening, it occurred to her that Mr. Adams had left a number of
openings into which it would have been easy for her to step with some
remark about herself or her work, which would have revealed her
vocation.  She had not done so merely because something else which she
wanted to say had happened, each time, to come into her mind.  Thinking
it over, she remembered so many such openings that it seemed as if they
must have been made with intent.  She wondered if he had been trying to
find out her occupation, and smiled gleefully.

"If that's what he wants to know," she thought, "I 'll give him an
interesting time to-morrow trying to find out.  I wonder if he and his
friend have made a wager about what my profession is.  Very likely.
Well, he 's a good talker and interesting enough to help pass the time;
and if he wants to try again to-morrow, I 'll be at home in this
section until we reach Chicago."

The next morning, with the excuse of some trivial attention to her
comfort, Adams came again to Elizabeth's seat and they were soon
talking as interestedly as on the previous evening.  A piece of news in
the morning paper gave him opportunity to turn the conversation upon
the profession of teaching for women and he talked of the noble work
for the public good which women do in that way.  Elizabeth listened
with a little gleam in the corner of her eye, agreed with him warmly
and spoke with enthusiasm of her own indebtedness to some of those
under whom she had studied.

Then Adams dwelt on the widening opportunities for work and
self-expression which women have nowadays, and said he thought that the
profession of medicine was one for which women were well fitted, and
that he was not surprised that so many women found in it congenial work
and marked success.  With some effort Elizabeth kept her face very
serious and doubted if the profession was one for which any but the
most exceptional women were suited, and, on the whole, was inclined to
think that if she were very ill she would rather call a man than a
woman physician.  He led the talk on to other occupations in which
women engage, and some Elizabeth praised and others deprecated as
vocations for her sex.  But not once did she give any indication that
they had touched upon her own kind of work.  Adams looked puzzled and
Elizabeth concealed behind her handkerchief a smile which she was not
able to repress.

"I wonder what it can be," he thought.  "She surely does something.
The expression of her face, her intelligence, and her interest in all
kinds of things tell that very plainly.  I wish Chicago were not so
near.  She 's an extremely interesting woman."

"I suppose I shall soon have to bid you good-bye," he said, as they
neared the station in Chicago.  "I have enjoyed our brief acquaintance
very much, and if I can be of any assistance to you in Chicago I shall
be glad to do so.  I am going farther west, to California, on the Santa
Fé line, but as my train does not leave at once I shall have some time
to spare."

"Why, what a jolly coincidence!" Elizabeth exclaimed.  "I also am going
to California on the Santa Fé line!"

"Indeed!  Then I am more fortunate than I expected to be!"  His
pleasure shone in his brightening face.  "My friend, Mr. Wilson, stops
in Chicago and I have been rather dreading the boredom of the rest of
the trip.  I don't read much on the cars, as I have to be careful of my
eyes, and the time is apt to hang heavily on my hands.  I have enjoyed
our talks so much that I shall be very grateful if you will let me pay
you an occasional visit during the rest of the journey."

Elizabeth cast him a sidewise glance and smile.  "I think the passing
acquaintances one makes now and then and the brief friendships with
people who merely cross one's path are among the most delightful of the
small things of life.  It often happens that they are more pleasant,
for the time, than the old friendships that have lasted so long they
have become commonplace."

"For my part," he answered, "I don't think a friendship is worth
continuing after it has become commonplace.  I think I 'd like to be
arbiter of manners and customs long enough to make it quite the proper
thing to march up to any one whose appearance you like and say, 'How do
you do?  Your face interests me and I 'd like to know you.  Here 's my
card.'"

"Oh, if you 'll do that," smiled Elizabeth, "I 'll do my best to help
make you dictator!  I've so often wished to do that very thing!  But of
course you don't dare.  And yet you see such interesting faces,
sometimes, faces of people you know you would like.  Sometimes a face
of that sort haunts me long afterward, and I almost wish I had had the
courage to speak."

"I am glad you understand," Adams replied with a little embarrassed
laugh, "because now I can confess that that very desire took possession
of me when I saw you come into the car yesterday."

Elizabeth bent a demure glance upon his feet.  "Shall I be very
gracious and make a reciprocal confession, or shall I be entirely
truthful and admit that I scarcely saw you yesterday until you offered
me your seat in the dining-car?"

The next day, as the train swept through the emerald levels of Iowa,
Adams spent most of the time at Elizabeth's side and they talked
together with constant interest and satisfaction, each feeling a
growing pleasure in the other's society, and an increasing sense of
consequence in whatever the other said.  When Elizabeth withdrew that
night behind the curtains of her berth she was possessed by such a
feeling of elation as she had not felt in a long time.  A smile was on
her lips, and a smile was in her heart.  Her pulse beat fast, her brain
was active, she could not sleep.  Her mind was full of the happenings
and the conversation of the last two days, and all that he had said to
her she went over again with vivid remembrance of the least details of
look and gesture.  And in the background of her consciousness a
triumphant refrain was keeping time with her thoughts.  "He loves me,"
it chanted, "already he loves me, more than he knows."

In the smoking-room Adams was making up for the cigars he had denied
himself during the day.  He moved about restlessly, possessed by an
intense desire to get out of doors and walk fast and far.  His mind was
filled by a galloping troop of vivid memories--a pair of bright,
dark-lashed gray eyes, the sound of a low, clear laugh, the turn of a
rosy cheek, an opinion which had interested him, a pretty thought, a
way she had of smiling appealingly after she had said something
whimsical or perverse.  And underlying and overlying and penetrating
through all these was an irritated consciousness of the fact that it
would be a long time until the next day.

Dr. Black looked out the next morning on the wide, forlorn plains of
western Kansas, with her heart as flooded with happiness as they were
with sunshine.  A luxurious sense of power throbbed in her veins as she
smiled a good-morning to Adams across the aisle.  He came at once to
ask how she had slept, and if she was beginning to feel the journey
wearisome.  Close upon the heels of her thrilling sense of gladness and
mastery came the feminine instinct of concealment, and presently Adams
began to notice in her manner a suggestion of reserve.  There was
certainly a difference, he said to himself, a little lessening of the
frank comradeship she had shown toward him the day before.  He wondered
if he bored her, if he had shown too much desire for her society.  He
went away to the smoking car, where he fidgeted about, began a cigar,
threw it out of the window, and in ten minutes was back again with a
book he had fished out of his travelling-bag, asking if Miss Black had
read it and, if not,--would she like to take it for a while?

It was Lubbock's "Pleasures of Life."  No, Elizabeth had not read it,
but she had read Lubbock's book on ants, bees, and wasps, and she began
to tell him about it, forgetting in the pleasure of companionship the
consciousness which a little while before had veiled her manner.  He
followed with some stories about the tarantula and tarantula hawk which
he had seen while on a professional trip in the Southwest.  And so they
wandered on, through talk about insects and animals, back to the book
which lay on Elizabeth's lap.  He took it up and read to her a page
here and there, and soon they were talking earnestly about the varied
ideals that are possible to the young and ambitious.

Adams had not tried again, since their second conversation, to find out
her vocation.  His pleasure in her society had driven all thought of it
from his mind.  He had even forgotten that he had ever supposed her to
have a profession.  Elizabeth had said nothing about her work, at first
from whimsical perversity.  But this morning, as they talked, a
definite desire crept into her mind that he should not know.

"I shall not tell him I am a physician," she thought.  "It's not much
longer, and for this little while I want to be just a mere woman."

And for the rest of that day it was only at rare intervals, and even
then with a little shock of surprise, like that with which one suddenly
comes upon some old picture of himself, that she remembered she was a
doctor of medicine.  The physician was submerged in the woman.  And the
woman was alive to her finger-tips with realization of her endowment of
the "eternal feminine."

Adams slept little that night, but lay with his head on his interlocked
hands, staring out of his window at the fleeting shadows of the summer
night, thinking of Elizabeth, remembering what Elizabeth had said
during the day, seeing Elizabeth's face and eyes and the bit of white
throat that showed above her collar, hearing Elizabeth's voice, and
longing to touch, with even a finger-tip, the sweep of soft brown hair
that rippled away from her neck.  It seemed to him that morning would
never come.  He looked at his watch a score of times, and, finally,
rose at the first flush of dawn.

For a while he moved restlessly back and forth between his section and
the smoking-room, like an uneasy ghost of murdered sleep.  But at last
it occurred to him that he ought to stay out until Miss Black was ready
for breakfast, lest he might embarrass her by being near when she
should emerge from behind her curtains in morning dishabille.  So he
retired to the smoker, gave the porter a goodly fee to tell him when
the lady in Number 8 arose, and sat down resolutely at the window with
his elbows on the sill and his chin in his hands.  He sat there
determinedly, not allowing himself even to turn around, through what
seemed hours and hours of time.  Now and then he dozed a little, and
awoke with a start, dreaming he had heard her voice beside him or had
felt the ripple of her dress against his hand.

When at last the porter brought the welcome news, he went back to his
seat and waited for Elizabeth to reappear from the dressing-room.  It
seemed to him that it must be near noon, although it was only eight
o'clock, when finally he saw her coming down the aisle.  He quickly
bent his head over some memoranda with which he had been trying to
occupy himself, and pretended to be writing very busily as she moved
toward her section.  But afterwards, when he looked at the paper he
found on it only some meaningless scrawls.  Elizabeth's color deepened
as she saw him and a dark crimson wave swept to his brow as he felt her
draw near.

That day Adams rarely left her side.  In his tones, his looks, his
manner, she was able to read his love as plainly as if it had been put
into words.  "And of course," she thought, with an inward smile, "he
thinks he is concealing it all from me, and he would be surprised to
find that I know anything about it."

Her own heart throbbed in response so exultantly and so gladly that it
carried her feeling beyond the doors of expression and transformed it
into irradiating feminine charm.  It sparkled in her eyes, gave a new
winsomeness to her smile, a softer grace to her movements, and a
penetrating sweetness to her voice.

Once, when Adams had gone to fetch her a glass of water, she leaned her
head upon her hand for a moment and was conscious of a little nervous
catch in her breath.  Something he had just said brought back to her
mind a memory of the lawyer to whom she had been engaged and of whom
she had been thinking--was it only three days ago?  It seemed as if she
had lived through many months since then.  "If I had felt like this
toward him," she thought, "I would not have gone back to college."

Adams gave her the water with adoration in his eyes.  For an instant
her glance met his and then quickly dropped.  He leaned forward with a
sudden start and barely checked the words of love that were ready to
rush from his tongue.  Then he left her for a little while and walked
about restlessly for the few paces that were possible in the end of the
car.

He must keep a closer watch on himself, he mused.  What would she think
of him if he dared to speak to her of love after a three days'
acquaintance?  By the merest scratch he had kept himself from clamoring
"I love you!  I love you!" in her ear.  And justly she might have
considered it an insult.  What was he to her but a mere car
acquaintance?  True, she had seemed to find his company pleasant and
congenial, and perhaps she would allow him to go to see her at her
home.  And then, after he had made himself known to her father and
mother and allowed them to find out who and what he was--then, he would
bring his fate to the test.

He went back with a tighter curb upon himself and a determination to
guard his tongue more closely.  Elizabeth felt at once the slight
change in his demeanor.  But she did not stop to reason about it or to
question herself as to its cause.  Conscious only of an instinctive,
imperious desire for him to be again just as he had been before, she
leaned toward him with a jesting remark, and the slow turn of her head,
the witchery of her smile, the way her eyes flashed and dropped,
strained his new resolution almost to the breaking-point.  He leaned
back in the seat with his arms rigid and his fists clenched until she,
noticing the tense muscles of his hand, laughingly told him he would
have nervous prostration if he did not learn to relax his nerves.

Presently the train switched and stopped at a small station, and Adams
learned from the conductor that they would wait there, perhaps fifteen
or twenty minutes, for an east-bound train to pass.  Most of the
passengers got out to walk up and down while they were waiting, and
when Adams and Elizabeth saw, across the road, beside a restaurant, a
little vine-covered arbor in which were tables and chairs, they decided
that it looked inviting, and went in to see if they could get some
lemonade.  It was quite deserted and after a few minutes Adams went out
to see if he could find a waiter.

When he returned, Elizabeth, sitting with her face toward the door,
looked up with a welcoming smile, their eyes met, and hers did not
drop.  He rushed toward her, his face shining with love.  Scarcely
knowing what she did, she sprang to her feet, all her consciousness
engrossed in the thrilling prescience that in another instant she would
sink into his arms.  But at her very side, as he seized her hand, he
stopped with a perceptible rigor of muscles and expression.  His
resolution of an hour before had flashed into his mind and he had
pulled himself together with a mighty effort.

A little tremor passed through Elizabeth's body and she drew back a
little as he dropped her hand.  "Oh, look!  The train is going!" she
exclaimed, and rushed for the door.

They ran at top speed across the road, he lifted her bodily to the
front steps of the last car, and swung himself upon the rear platform.
They gained their seats, flushed and panting, and the conductor, coming
to see if they had got on without injury, explained that the east-bound
train was late and he had been ordered to go on to the next siding and
wait there.  He lingered for a few minutes, chatting with them and
denying their charge that he had not rung the bell.  After he was gone,
Adams turned to Elizabeth with a paling face and said:

"I hope you will pardon me, Miss Black.  I can only throw myself on
your mercy.  My only excuse is that I--"

She stopped him with a gesture.  "Don't speak of it," she said, in a
low tone, her eyes on the floor, "and don't think of it again.  In such
an unusual friendship as ours, unusual incidents must be--"

A thumping jar broke her speech and a sudden stop threw them both
violently forward against the other seat.

"Are you hurt?" Adams asked anxiously as they scrambled to their feet.
"There must have been an accident," he went on, putting his head out of
the window.  He drew it back quickly, his face white.  "Don't look," he
exclaimed.  "There's been a collision!  It's horrible!  But don't be
alarmed.  There 's no more danger now.  I 'll go out and see just what
has happened."

"Wait a minute, please!  Perhaps you can help me," Elizabeth exclaimed,
reaching for her suit case.  "I'll be needed, and I 'll want help."
She was hurriedly opening the case and taking out articles and
packages.  With face intent and manner preoccupied she appeared a
different person.  The woman had sunk out of sight and the physician
was uppermost.

Adams looked on with an amazed face.  "Then you are a physician!" he
exclaimed.  "I did not know--"

She nodded, without looking up, absorbed in a search for something.
"That package of bandages," she murmured.  "Oh, here it is.  Yes, I 'm
a physician, and I 've had practice in surgery.  Come, let's get out
there at once.  If you will carry these packages I 'll take my surgical
case and my medicine bag.  I 'm so glad I put all these things in my
suit case."

It had been a head-on collision between the two trains.  In some way,
nobody knew how, there had been a misunderstanding of orders, and the
east-bound train, instead of waiting at the next switch, had come on
toward the usual passing place.  In the shock of meeting, its engine
had reared and ploughed its way over the other and the two monsters lay
upon the ground, a mass of twisted scraps of iron.  One engineer had
stuck to his post, the other had jumped, as had both the firemen.  One
was dead, the other three all severely injured.  Among the train crews
and the passengers of the day coaches there were a number of broken
limbs and many severe cuts, bruises, and shocks.

From the east-bound train another physician appeared, and he and
Elizabeth worked over the injured, sometimes together, sometimes
separately.  Adams was constantly beside her, ready to carry out her
directions.  He brought water, held bandages, helped her to put them
on, handed instruments, and kept her belongings close at hand.  She had
cast aside her hat and rolled her sleeves above her elbows, and as she
bent a flushed, perspiring, and absorbed face above her work, forgetful
alike of her own and of his personality, she seemed so utterly unlike
the woman he had known for the last three days that a feeling of
bewilderment and estrangement began to creep over him.  Once she
complimented him upon his watchfulness and dexterity, and the smile
with which she did it set his heart to throbbing again and bridged what
had seemed like a chasm between the two Elizabeths.

He watched her long, slender, strong hands as she deftly and rapidly
manipulated the bandages, felt for a broken bone, or used her
instruments, and a great, awed wonder, the homage of intelligence to
skilled capacity, mingled with the adoration that filled his soul.

He began to torture himself with doubts and questions.  Could such a
woman care for him?  What was there about him that could appeal to so
rare a prize?  What had he to offer in character, or personality, or
achievement, or promise?  And the more he doubted the more intense
became his desire to know.

Elizabeth rose from her knees beside a man whose crushed foot she had
been bandaging.  "Is there anybody else?" she said to Adams.  Her hands
and arms were smeared with blood stains, and upon her dress there were
smirches of earth and blood.  But Adams saw only that the red sunset
rays gilded her brown hair into a halo.

"No," he answered, "I think not.  The last bruise has been cared for
and the last hysterical woman has quit crying.  Now you must rest and
refresh yourself and have some dinner.  An engine is coming from the
west to take the cars of the east-bound train back to the next station
and all the passengers who wish can go there; and to-night another
train will continue on their way those for California.  It will be here
before long, but perhaps it will be possible to get something to eat
first."

They started toward their car and met the other physician.  "Will you
do me the honor of exchanging cards with me?" he said to Elizabeth.
"You have shown yourself so competent here this afternoon, and your
work has been so skilfully done that I want to compliment you upon it,
and to say that I am sure you have before you a promising future."

Dr. Black's face flushed and her eyes sparkled with pleasure, as she
read on the card the name of a famous surgeon.  "You are very kind,"
she replied, "and I thank you heartily.  Praise from one of your skill
and standing is more worth having than anything else I can think of."

Her words carried fresh doubt and despair to Adams's heart.  "It can't
be possible," he thought, "that such a woman would care, could care,
for me and my love.  And yet, I must know, I must know before this day
ends."

They returned to their car and found it deserted.  Adams waited while
Elizabeth went to the dressing-room to remove the stains of her
afternoon's work.

"It can't be possible," he kept saying to himself, "but I must know--I
must know, at once."

With a great effort he forced himself into an appearance of composure.
He feared that he might startle and offend her if he gave expression to
the ardors that throbbed in his heart and brain.  "She must be tired
and nervous," he thought, "and I will try to speak and act calmly.

"You would not let me finish my apology a few hours ago," he began, as
soon as she returned, "but now you must listen to the only excuse I
have for my fault--if it was a fault.  The only thing I can say for
myself is that I love you--love you so much that I almost forgot
myself.  I love you more than I had thought it would be possible to
love any woman--and back there, in the summer-house, when I went in and
saw you sitting there, my love broke from my control and swept over me
like a flood, and for a moment I scarcely knew what I did--I forgot
myself and the respect which was your due.  But it was all because I
love you so, and want you for my wife, my mate, more than I want
anything else in the world.  I know, we 've only known each other for
three days, but I had to speak to you, now, at once.  And if you care
enough for me even to think about it, I won't ask for anything more
until you 've had time, you and your family, to know me better and find
out who and what I am."

Elizabeth listened with her gaze on her lap.  She was conscious of a
feeling of resentment, that increased as he went on, because he could
speak so calmly and composedly.  It showed in her eyes as she lifted
them to his face, but quickly changed to compassion as she saw there
such suspense and longing as smote her heart with pain.

"You do not need to speak," he said, and she saw his countenance wince
and change.  "I have read my answer in your eyes."  He rose as if to go.

"Wait a moment," she said hastily.  "It is right that you should know
how much I also cared until--" she broke off, hesitating, and then went
on, slowly and thoughtfully, with a puzzled air, as though she herself
did not quite understand.  "When you came back to me, in that little
summer-house, and I looked into your eyes, my heart told me that you
were going to seize me in your arms; and I knew that if you did I was
ready to sink into your embrace and to give up everything for your
sake.  For you had swept me clean off my feet and had made me not care
for my career, or for anything but you.  But when you did n't--believe
me, I don't know how or why it was--somehow the shock of your not doing
it, when I was so ready to give my love--well, the tide seemed to turn
then and go back.  And now--I 'm on my feet again, and care
tremendously about my profession and my career."

He looked at her blankly, and as his lips twitched and moved she barely
heard, "And I did n't--I barely kept myself from doing it, because it
seemed unworthy--"

She shrugged her shoulders and interrupted him, in a tone as low as
his.  "We who are strong can be taken only by a strength that is
greater than ours."

"Good-bye," he said, rising.  "Either my love was not quite great
enough, or my strength was too great.  I will send the porter to carry
your bags and help you to find your section in the other train.  I
shall stay here until to-morrow.  Good-bye."

His voice was very tender as he spoke the last word.  She held out her
hand, and he touched it with his lips.  She pressed both hands upon her
heart, which seemed bursting with cross-currents of feeling and desire.
He was halfway down the aisle when she sprang to her feet and called to
him to stop, to come back.  He turned and saw her slowly take a step or
two toward him.  The intent gaze which he bent upon her wavered for an
instant, and then she saw his lips grow tense and white.

"No," he said deliberately, "I shall not come back.  I do not want a
wife who would bring to me any less than the greatest love of which she
is capable.  Good-bye, Dr. Black."

He was gone, and Elizabeth, sinking back into her seat, saw him walk
away into the hills.  The tears gathered in her eyes.  She watched him
as his figure disappeared among the twilight shadows.

"I wonder if it would have been different--it might have been
different," she was thinking, "if he--he had been--as he was this
afternoon."  She mused a little longer and then her face brightened as
she rose with a triumphant lifting of her head and a half-smile on her
face.  "And anyway," she said aloud, "he has my address!"





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