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Title: Frontier Boys on the Coast - or in the Pirate's Power
Author: Roosevelt, Wyn, 1870-
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 "Frontier Boys on the Coast - or in the Pirate's Power" ***

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_Frontier Boys on the Coast._]





          NEW YORK
          HURST & COMPANY



This series tells the adventures of Jim, Joe, and Tom Darlington, first
in their camp wagon as they follow the trail to the great West in the
early days. They are real American boys, resourceful, humorous, and--but
you must meet them. You will find them interesting company. They meet
with thrilling adventures and encounters, and stirring incidents are the
rule, not exception.

Historically, these books present a true picture of a period in our
history as important as it was picturesque, when the nation set its face
toward this vast unknown West, and conquered it.

           1. Frontier Boys on Overland Trail
           2. Frontier Boys in Colorado
           3. Frontier Boys in the Rockies
           4. Frontier Boys in the Grand Canyon
           5. Frontier Boys in Mexico
           6. Frontier Boys on the Coast
           7. Frontier Boys in Hawaii
           8. Frontier Boys in the Sierras
           9. Frontier Boys in the Saddle
          10. Frontier Boys in Frisco.
          11. Frontier Boys in the South Seas

          _Illustrated, 12mo, Cloth_
          _Price per Volume, 50 Cents_

          COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY
          THE PLATT & PECK CO.


  CHAPTER                            PAGE
       I. CAPTAIN BILL BROOM            9
      II. THE COVE AND THE CAVE        16
     III. THE BARBED WIRE              23
      IV. PETE'S YARN                  30
       V. THE FOUR BOYS                37
      VI. THE HUNCHBACK                45
     VII. FARMER BROOM                 53
      IX. THE ATTACK                   68
       X. "HAUL IN"                    76
      XI. MISSOURI'S MANOEUVRE         82
     XII. THE RANCHERO                 90
    XIII. A NEW FRIEND                100
     XIV. THE PURSUIT                 109
      XV. JIM AND THE SEA EAGLE       118
     XVI. THE BOYS PUT ON STYLE       127
   XVIII. A DAY AT SEA                144
     XIX. THE PASSENGER               152
      XX. TO THE RESCUE               161
     XXI. THE BANDITS                 169
    XXII. RACE WITH THE TIDE          177
    XXIV. IN THE WHITE BOAT           191
     XXV. IN PERIL                    198
    XXVI. TWO LASSOES                 206
   XXVII. ANOTHER FRIEND              214
  XXVIII. A TALE OF YORE              220
    XXIX. A WONDERFUL LEAP            232
     XXX. IN THE STRAIT               239
    XXXI. CONCLUSION                  246




"What devilment has old Bill got on for tonight, Pete?"

The speaker was seated on an old scarred sea chest in a dimly lighted

"I dunno," replied Pete, "maybe he's lookin' fer a wreck."

"I heard the mate say somethin' about a passel of four boys," put in a
third man who was laying back in his bunk, "that the skipper was
a-lookin' for."

"Kidnapping, eh?" said Cales, the first speaker. "Hold 'em for ransom, I
suppose. Well, the old man has been in worse games than that. I reckon
the kids' parents are rich and are willin' to pay a high price for their

"You're on the wrong tack, matey," said the man in the bunk. "Cap'n
Brinks, who landed in San Diego from a Mexican port put the old man
wise. He told him that those fellars had considerable money and a raft
of jewels with 'em that they picked up in Mexico."

"Ho, Ho, that's the game, is it," cried Cales, thumping his knee with a
gnarled fist, "that ought to be easy then."

"Looks so, but it ain't," replied the other, "those four boys have got
somethin' of a reputation in the southwest. Hard fighters and good shots
and their leader is a husky lad and about as crafty as a red Injun."

"He ain't met the Old Man yet," said Cales significantly.

"I don't see where you get all your news from, Jake," growled Pete from
his seat on the chest, "you ought to be a reporter."

"I keep my eyes open and my mouth shet," replied Jake, "any man can get
larned if he will do that."

"I'd like to have a picter of you with your mouth shet," remarked Pete.
"It's open even when you are asleep." He dodged just in time to avoid a
heavy shoe flung from Jake's ready hand that crashed against the wall.

"Don't do that agin," he warned, a red light showing in his eyes. "I'll
larn you boys that I ain't as old as I looks to be."

Jake laughed harshly.

"You mustn't keep your own mouth open so wide, Pop, cause you'll have to
swallow your own words if you do."

"I guess I'll never git choked," replied Pete, truculently. "Kin you
tell me what the skipper means snooping down this coast with no lights
showing when it's plumb dark? We are liable to sink ourselves or
Californey all of a suddint."

"Why don't you ask the Cap'n what he is up to?" inquired Cales, "that
is, if you want some real useful information, Pop."

Pop raised himself up and glared at the speaker.

"I ain't done living," he replied.

"We are navigating pretty careful," remarked Jake. "You can hardly feel
the Sea Eagle moving."

"Running for the cove, I reckon," suggested Cales, "I'm mighty pleased
not to be the man at the wheel. Well, I'm goin' to turn in for a

In a brief time the two men were snoring loudly, while old Pete sat
smoking his pipe, as stolid as a wooden Indian and the forecastle was
fogged with the smoke, through which the swinging lantern shone dimly.
The air is stifling so let us go up on deck where we can breathe the
salt ozone and incidentally get acquainted with Captain Bill Broom, who
is to occupy such a prominent place in this narrative.

He is well worth meeting, not only as the opponent of our old friend,
Jim Darlington, but because of his own unworthy but interesting
character. In those days Skipper Bill Broom was known all up and down
the coast and beyond. His fame, such as it was, comes down even to this
recent day.

On deck it is muffling dark, with the stars obscured in some dim way by
mist or fog. There is a breeze blowing steadily from the broad wastes of
the ocean. The bulk of the California coast looms dimly on the port bow.
Not more than a half mile distant can be seen the white rushing forward
of the breakers towards the rocky coast.

Dangerous work this, navigating the Sea Eagle through the thick gloom of
the night but the old man knew his business. He was on the bridge pacing
back and forth like some strange animal and giving hoarse directions to
the man at the wheel. He knew every inch of that coast, the sunken reefs
and dangerous rocks.

"Starboard your helm," he growled.

The sailor spun the wheel obediently. And the captain resumed his pacing
back and forth upon the bridge. Not much could be seen of him, except
that he was a powerful man, with a peculiar crouching stoop, as if he
and the sea were engaged in a mysterious game. One striving to get a
dangerous death-hold upon the other, both wary and using unceasing

There was a strange softness in Captain Broom's tread like that of a
padding panther, but his arms had the loose forward powerful swing of a
gorilla's. Once he stepped into the chart house to look at something and
the light of the lamp will give us a square look at him.

"That man a pirate!" you exclaim at the first glance; one who carried
the blackest name along the coast as a smuggler and wrecker, who had
brought cargoes of wretched slaves from Africa in the days before the
Civil War and who had had more marvelous escapes than any man in the
history of piracy with the exception of Black Jack Morgan! Impossible!

"Why that man is nothing but an old farmer," you exclaim in
disappointment, when you see him. "He ought to be peddling vegetables on
market day." But just wait.

True, Skipper Broom had come from a long line of New England farmers,
hard, close-fisted, close-mouthed men. Young Broom had broken away from
the farm and followed his bent for sea-faring, but to the end of his
days, he kept his farmerlike appearance and he affected many of the
traits of the yeoman which he found to be on more than one occasion a
most useful disguise.

Let's look at him. That heavy winter cap pulled down on his grizzled
head gives him a most "Reuben" like appearance. Jeans pants are thrust
into heavy cowhide boots. The deadly gray eyes soft as granite have
become red rimmed from fits of fury and hard through many scenes of
coldly calculated cruelty. A most dangerous customer and I for one, and
I ought to know, consider that he will have the better of Jim Darlington
in their approaching encounter--and yet Jim is never beaten until the
last shot is fired and so it is impossible for me to foretell how this
contest of wit and daring will come out.

After examining his chart closely, Captain Broom crouched out through
the door and on to the deck. He took one keen look towards the shore,
then he approached the helmsman. "Git below, Bill. I'll fetch her in."

The helmsman relinquished the wheel gladly enough and under the
Captain's masterful hand the Sea Eagle swung slowly around and pointed
in towards the curving shore.

The dark form of the mate could be seen on the deck below waiting for
the order that he knew must come soon. The crew of the Sea Eagle though
subordinate enough were necessarily partners in Captain Broom's wicked
enterprises so that the discipline was somewhat different than in
ordinary vessels.

"Call 'em up, Mr. Haffen," roared the skipper to the mate. "It's chore

"Aye, aye, sir," replied Mr. Haffen.

The watch was called on deck and the dark forms of the men could be seen
in the bow. The pulsing of the Sea Eagle had stopped and with scarcely a
sound the anchor was dropped into the water.



The starboard boat was lowered into the water. First the mate, then
Captain Broom and two men got in. The latter were Cales and Pete who
pulled noiselessly at the oars. The boat glided quietly through the
silent darkness towards the shore. The Captain was seated in the stern,
his great bulk crouched forward, but there was nothing inert in his
posture. His big hands clasped either side of the craft.

In a few minutes the boat grounded softly on the sand of the beach and
all hands got ashore. Scarcely a word was spoken, though the cove was so
hidden that there seemed to be no possible chance that the landing of
the free-booters would be observed. However, Captain Bill Broom took no
risk of being discovered. He had many enemies upon the coast and inland
as well. Besides, the State of California had set a price upon his head.

Two thousand dollars was the reward for his capture, and so profitable
an investment was apt to be realized on sooner or later by some
enterprising citizen. So Captain Broom took due care whenever he went
abroad not to attract undue attention.

This cove was a favorite lurking place of his when close pressed, where
he would take refuge after some daring adventure upon the high seas,
until such a time as the hubbub along the coast had died down. Sometimes
he lay in hiding there, with the Sea Eagle screened behind the
encircling cliffs, waiting like a black spider to rush out and capture
some unsuspecting craft.

"Pick her up, boys," said the Captain, "you know where she belongs,"
pointing to the boat.

"Aye, aye, sir," they replied, and putting it on their shoulders they
carried the boat along a narrow path that divided the thick undergrowth;
until, after going several hundred yards, they reached a thick screen of
brush through which they shoved, and came to a cave.

Although so well hidden, the entrance to the cavern was quite high, so
that the men gained admission without stooping, and going a short
distance into the dark interior, they placed the boat gently down
against the wall. There was a constant and heavy drip of water, so that
there was no chance for the boat to warp, as it would have surely done
if placed outside in the dry California air.

"I don't like this yere cave," remarked Pete, when left alone with

"What's the matter with it? It's dark and damp, but that is the nature
of caves."

"It makes me feel creepy, that's all," replied Pete, "and it takes
considerable to do that."

"Whatever happened?" inquired Cales, grinning, "something terrible, I
reckon, to make your thick hide chilly."

"It were before your time," replied Pete somewhat reluctantly, "we
raided a ranch back thar agin the mountings. Senor Sebastian owned it
and it was said that he could ride all day and never git off his place,
and that he had more sheep and cattle than thar is folks in Frisco."

"The Captain shanghied him, I reckon," cut in Cales.

"You hold your windlass," commanded the old man in a querulous tone,
"I'm telling this yarn."

"All right, Pop," said Cales in a conciliating manner, "have it yer own
way." He was really anxious to hear the story the old man had referred

"Young fry is always flapping," the older speaker mumbled,--then he
took up the course of his narrative. "Waal, as I was telling ye, this
Senor had lots of money and the Cap'n being short of funds thought that
he could use some of it. So one night we ran into the cove, it was
blacker even than this. I don't see how the old man ever got the craft
past the sharks' teeth at the entrance but he did."

"He could have brought her in with his eyes shut," declared Cales. "I
never have seen his equal for navigating."

"Waal, we made camp here that night, and the next day, the Cap'n with
some of the gang, left for the ranch and I stayed to look after things.
Nothing happened that day, and I was dozing by the fire about midnight
when I heard them coming back. They had the Senor, a fine-looking old
man with a gray mustache and as cold and proud-looking as they make

"The Cap'n was furious because he had not been able to lay his hand on
the coin, and he swore that he would make the old Senor tell where his
money was or there would be trouble. He took him into this cave and I
don't know what happened there, and I don't want to know. All I'm sure
of is that I never saw him come out.

"The Cap'n sent me to the ship to get some chains on the second day and
he took 'em into the cave. We sailed a couple of days later, but not a
sign did I see of the Senor. That's why this cave makes me creepy,

They were standing near the entrance, when there came a distinct low
moan from the interior. It was not a ghostly sound, either. There was no
mistaking it.

"Did you hear that, Cales?" asked old Pete in a quavering voice.

"Yes," replied Cales, "I heard it all right. It can't be the Senor?"

"No," replied Pete. "He has been dead these years."

"Let's find out," said his comrade.

"There's nothing in this world could make me go in thar," declared Pete
solemnly, "besides, it's agin the Captain's orders."

"Well, I'm going," said Cales either more brave or less experienced than
the other. "It sounds to me like a woman's voice."

"And I'm goin' to git," declared old Pete, tottering towards the path.

"You're a brave old pirate," said Cales contemptuously, and with that he
went slowly back into the cave. He had to go cautiously, for beyond a
certain point he was not acquainted with the interior. He could feel the
moist ground under foot and he kept his hand stretched out, not knowing
what he might run against in the dense damp darkness.

Then, suddenly, his hand struck a stone wall. Groping his way, he turned
a sharp corner and followed along a low narrow passageway that obliged
him to stoop. Then came the sound of the moaning just ahead. Jack Cales
was a brave man but it was all that he could do, to keep from turning
and running in panic for the mouth of the cave. But though his
determination had received a severe shock, it did not turn to flight.

He saw a faint light ahead, spreading a glow at the end of the passage
as he came nearer. Then he saw something that held him stone still with
a clutch of weird fear. He had reached the end of the narrow passage,
and dimly made out a domed room in the rock, white with translucent

He struck a match. About him, before, to the right and to the left he
could see forms all of ghostly white, some crouching, others standing.
Hardly had the light flared up than it sizzled out. Some drops of water
falling from the roof had extinguished the blaze. Then was repeated that
awful sound of distress.

Cales groped around almost in a frenzy of terror. Where was the exit
from that awful room? Round and round he went, and all the time there
were strange whisperings in his ears, and unseen hands seemed to clutch
his clothes. Once he slipped and was trembling so that he was hardly
able to get to his feet. Just as he did so, something swept past him
like a breath of wind. Rendered desperate he made another dash, and this
time if he had not found a passageway, he felt that he could have
knocked a hole through the wall. Then he stood at the mouth of the



Just at that moment was heard the hoarse voice of Captain Broom booming
through the darkness outside.

As Cales turned about, some furry animal sprang past him dashing between
his legs and nearly upsetting him.

"On deck, you scoundrel, come out of there," called the Captain.

"Aye, aye, sir," came the reply of Cales in a strangely weak tone,
though he was now more concerned by the possible penalty to be meted out
by the Captain for disobedience of orders, than by thought of the
undetermined occupants of the cave. If it were a cat it was certainly a
good joke on old Pete. This was, had they but known it, the swift
solution of the mystery.

Oddly enough the Captain said not another word, a fact suggestive to
Cales that there was something amiss in the cave and the little company
at once took up their line of march. Captain Broom was in the lead,
followed by the mate, then Cales, with old Pete bringing up the rear.
Just as they started Captain Broom extinguished the lantern and they
took up the trail in total darkness. Every precaution would now be
necessary for they would soon be in a region where the very name of
Broom was execrated with bitter hatred, and every bush would grow a
poniard if his whereabouts were known.

It was evident that the skipper was as good a guide on land as he was a
pilot at sea, for he led his little party at a steady gait by a winding
cow-path through the thick undergrowth. He doubtless knew this region
thoroughly, for he had made more than one raid in this locality.

It was soon to be determined, however, that they were not the only ones
abroad that night.

They had walked in silence for some time, well on to two hours, when
they came to an open space, with the irregular form of a live oak on the
southeast corner. Then Captain Broom stopped suddenly, his keen eyesight
which no darkness could baffle had discerned some object moving out from
the shelter of the oak tree.

It came slowly with uplifted black arms and white hair falling around
its face. There was a terrible intensity in its advance across the open
space, withal that it moved so slowly. The figure stopped directly in
front of Captain Broom.

"Get out of my way, you hag," he roared, but for the first time in his
life a certain tremor crept into his voice. Perhaps he was growing old.
He drew back his arm as though to strike the woman in his path.

As he did so Jack Cales stooped and picked up a round rock at his feet,
intending to hurl it, not at the woman but at the skipper, for he alone
of the party divined the possible cause of this poor woman's dementia.
But his interference was not necessary for it seemed as though the
Captain's arm was paralyzed. He declared afterwards that some invisible
hand had seized his arm.

Then, in a loud, wailing voice the woman put a curse upon the slayer of
her husband, for this spectre was none other than the Senora Sebastian.
It was terrible to hear her and it must have sent a shiver into the soul
of the hardy skipper.

When she had finished, the woman moved past them and vanished in the
direction of the ranch. For a full minute the line of men stood without
moving a step and in absolute silence, Captain Broom with his arm
upraised as he had lifted it to strike.

Then, without saying a word, he took the first forward step and the
others followed him through the darkness.

"Say, Cales," growled Pete in a low voice, "what was it you found in
that cave? My old timbers are shaking yet."

"Keep your old jaws shut," yelled the Captain, who had wonderfully keen
hearing, when anything was spoken that concerned him.

"How do you suppose the old man heard me?" mumbled Pete to himself. He
dropped back a pace or two, then whispered, "The old man must be crazy.
He is making direct for the Sebastian ranch."

"Do you reckon that these four boys he is looking after, are located
there?" asked Jack.

"I dunno," replied Pete, "you can calkerlate on one thing though and
that is that the skipper knows pretty nigh where those lads are. One of
his messengers, a one-eyed, twisted greaser, came aboard the other day,
and was gabbling in the Captain's cabin. Then the next thing I knew we
was under sail, and came kiting down to the cove."

Just then the party halted at the confines of a four strand barbed wire
fence. This was the first indication that they were entering the great
ranch property that formerly belonged to the Senor Sebastian, the
elderly man the Captain had made captive, and which was now the property
of his only son.

"Now, lads," said the leader of the expedition, "Here's a chance to make
yourself small. This yere barb is like a devil fish if it once gits a
holt of your panties--it won't let go."

"That's so, Captain," said the mate, a generally silent and saturnine

"I reckon you know, mate," said the Captain. "The last time we was
through these parts, and that some considerable years ago, this same
fence got a holt of yer pants and wouldn't let go. I never heard you
talk so much and so earnestly in my life before. You want to be more
keerful this time."

The mate simply grunted by way of reply and, lying close to the ground,
he very gingerly and carefully worked his way under the wire and thus
escaped his mentioned former unpleasant detention. He then held the
lower wire up as high as he could until his chief had wiggled under.

Pete was the only one of the party who was seriously detained, for Jack
Cales had slid under as slick as an eel. But Pete's joints were old and
rusty and the venomous wire got a clutch on his coat and his pants.

"What's keeping you back?" inquired the Captain, gruffly, as Cales and
his comrade did not put in an immediate appearance.

"Pete has got caught, sir," said Jack.

"What are you doing there, you old barnacle?" inquired the Captain as he
came back to the fence.

There was a certain odd comradeship between the skipper and the old salt
who had been with him since his African days. Both were New Englanders
and had come from neighboring homesteads.

"Just resting, sir," replied the captive.

It certainly did have something of that appearance, for Pete had kept a
decisive grip on his old black pipe with his stubby teeth and was
puffing at it in apparent peace and resignation.

"Want me to git you a piller?" inquired the skipper, sarcastically.

"Thank ye, sir," replied Pete imperturbably.

Meanwhile the mate had been at work with deft fingers and he finally
succeeded in extricating the old man and putting him upon his pins.

"Now if ye are sufficiently rested," proposed the skipper, "we will hike

This they did. Their way now lay between two stretches of fence that
enclosed a road not much traveled for there were only faint traces of
wheels in the turf. It was probably not a public highway but belonged to
the great ranch.

Everything seemed smooth sailing now, as there was no more barbed wire
to be immediately met but Pete soon made himself prominent again. He
was rolling along with that gait peculiar to a sailor when aboard land,
when he gave a sudden spring and clutched Cales convulsively in the
back, giving that individual a big scare.

"Dad burn it, boys. I've stepped on a rattler." An investigation was
made very carefully and Captain Broom quickly picked up a short piece of

"I'll rattle you," he cried, touching up the old man with the rope's



They went along steadily through the darkness in an almost directly
easterly direction. Being now clear of the brush they could make good
time on the springy turf.

"How far are we now from the ranch, Pete?" inquired Jack.

"Too durn close to suit me," replied Pete. "I can't tell exactly for
these ranches are as big as all outside creation, but I guess we must be
as close as a mile to the buildings."

"I reckon the Captain is going to walk up to the front door and ask for

"Wouldn't s'prise me a bit, if he done that," replied Pete querulously.
"The old man ain't lacking in nerve. Back thar was the first time I ever
seen him hang back in my long experience with him."

"When the old lady was speaking her piece? Suppose I ask him how much he
made when he captured the Senor," suggested Cales, who had recovered his
flippant humor.

"I wouldn't git gay, lad," said old Pete, warningly. "She is just as
liable to haunt you in your black spells."

"Don't have 'em, uncle," replied Cales.

"You collect the material for 'em when you are young," said the old man
wisely, "and they come out of your bones like rheumatiz when you git

"Somebody is coming back of us," suddenly whispered Cales.

"Take to cover, lads," ordered the skipper, who was as quick to hear as
the younger man. The only cover was a high and thick growth of wild
mustard growing alongside the fences.

Quickly they stepped from the open road into the shelter of the tall
mustard. They had not long to wait. There was the jingle of spurs and
the thud of horses' feet walking slowly along. Next came the voices of
men talking.

"It is useless, Senor, to try and find her, I fear," replied one man to
the other.

"It seems so," replied the other sadly. "My mother always seems to be
worse when the time of the year approaches that my father disappeared.
In spite of all our care she will escape."

They had now arrived at a point opposite where the free-booters were
hidden. The man who had last spoken struck a light and lit a cigarette;
the instantaneous glare showed the dark handsome face of the Spanish
type. There was the high-peaked sombrero, the striking clothes, the
intent face and then the light died suddenly out.

"Ah, Manuel," said the young man to his companion, "if I could only once
lay hands on that cursed Gringo," and he ground his teeth in fury,
unable to express himself.

"Humph, Gringo," grunted the Captain, disdainfully.

"Did you hear anything, Senor?" asked Manuel.


"I was sure I heard something," asserted his companion. They had reined
in their horses and sat listening quietly for a few seconds.

"It was probably nothing but a calf by the roadside," said the Senor.

The other shook his head doubtfully, then they turned and rode on
towards the rancho.

When they were safely out of range, the party of pirates took up their
line of march once more.

"So the greaser took me for a calf," remarked Captain Broom. "If it had
been you, Jack Cales, there might be some excuse fer such a mistake."

"Aye, sir," replied Cales, glumly.

"Getting kind of close to the ranch, ain't you, Cap'n?" ventured old

"I thought of leaving you there, Pete, while the rest of us corralled
those kids. You are getting too old for these long tramps."

No more remarks were heard coming from the direction of Pete, for he was
not at all sure but that the Captain might, in a moment of irresponsible
humor, do just as he threatened without regard to the consequences.

After they had gone on for a mile from the point where the two men had
overtaken them, Captain Broom led his party away from the road in a
southerly direction, once more undergoing the harrowing experience of
getting through the barbed wire fence. But this time Jack Cales was
especially detailed by the Captain to get old Pete through so there
would not be any unnecessary delay.

It was evident that they were getting into a different section, a short
time after they left the road, for they began going up and winding among
little rocky hills. At last they came to a stopping place. They climbed
up an elevation and sat on some rocks among a group of dark trees.

"Now, lads, take it easy," said the Captain, "ye have had quite a
footin' and when morning comes, there will be some more ahead and at a
faster gait."

"Gosh, Cap'n," declared old Pete, "It's the most walking we've done
together since the time we corralled the last bunch of niggers on the
west coast of Africa."

"We certainly made money that trip when we sold that cargo of coons to
the traders on that Palmetto Island below Charleston. But we will clean
up about as much money when we round up those four boys and twice as
easy. Tell the two lads about that trip, Pete."

The old sailor sat on a rock, and taking out his bag of tobacco filled
his short black pipe with one thorny thumb, then he commenced his
narrative, with the glow of his pipe lighting up his weatherbeaten face.

"Well, orders is orders, and the Cap'n wants me to tell this yarn. I
might just as well begin it, lads. I never knew any good to come to
sailormen cruising around on dry land any more than on this trip." He
cast a wary eye at Captain Broom, but that worthy merely grunted and
Pete resumed his story.

"Our clipper lay at anchor in a wide bay with only a couple of men on
board and the Captain, myself and six men trailing inland for to find a
village of naygurs that our guides had told us of.

"It certainly was hot and steamy going through the jungles and every
once in a while a big snake as large as my leg would crawl across our
path and rustle away into the undergrowth. Once I felt one of 'em
a-twisting and rolling under my foot like a big log that had came to
life. I guess I must have jumped twice as high as my own head and I lit
on the back of one of the naygurs that was guiding us.

"He didn't know what struck him; probably thought it was a tiger for I
sunk my hooks into his hide. He let out a yell and went ripping and
snorting through that jungle and me not having sense enough to let go,
until a grape vine about as thick as a manilla rope chucked me under the
chin and I fell flat on my back and I guess that naygur is still

Here the captain who was evidently enjoying the narrative hugely, burst
into a volcanic roar of laughter.

"I can see yer yet, Pete, on that bounding buck of a nigger, and him
a-hiking through the jungle and a-yelling like a wild Injun."

"I remember you got out of the way mighty quick," said Pete, "when you
heard us a-coming behind you."

"It certainly was a curious spectacle," said the Captain, "but go on
with your yarn, Pete."

"The further we went into the jungle the worse it got. The mosquitoes
fairly ate us alive and they wern't the only cannibals in those woods by
any means. There was a tribe of man-eaters beyond the Big River and we
didn't try to capture any of them. They wern't our stripe of bacon.

"We went on for six days, with the monkeys chattering over our heads all
day and the mosquitoes serenading us at night. Talk about birds, there
was a whole menagerie of them and their colors beat the handkerchiefs
that these greasers wear around their throats and you can't get ahead of
that for color.

"One night we got in range of the village we were after and there was a
great pow-wow going on. There was a big fire in the circle of the grass
huts and some big black bucks were doing a dance around it. Just then I

"Hold on, Pete," said the Captain in a low, gruff voice, "somebody is
coming our way."



"Hey, Jim, where are we going to make camp?" It was his brother Jo's
genial voice.

"Not until we can strike water," replied Jim. "No more dry camps for

"I don't think much of the coast range, or the Sierras, either." It was
Juarez Hoskins' well-remembered voice, with its rather low, deep tones.

"Give me the Rockies every time."

Juarez was nothing if not loyal to his mountains.

"I don't think any of the mountains are much to brag of."

It is hardly necessary to say that it is Tom Darlington who is now
speaking, for the discerning reader is pretty well acquainted with his
style by this time.

"There's always something to look out for," continued Tom, "if it isn't
Indians it's rattlesnakes, and you have got to choose between a
cloudburst or no water at all. Give me the East every time."

"You make me exhausted talking about the East," said Jim. "Why didn't
you stay there when you were there? I had just as soon take a chance
with a rattlesnake as with an ice cream soda."

"Tom would like to _play_ Indian," cut in Jo, "with turkey feathers
sticking up from a red flannel band around his head. And creeping upon a
flock of sheep pretending that they are antelope and that cows are real
live bears."

"Yes," said Jim, "you have lined it out all right, Jo. Then when they
were tired of playing Injun, Tom and his little playmates could pretend
that they were Daniel Boone's men with wildskin panties on."

"Shut up, boys," said Juarez, coming to Tom's rescue. "What's the use in
rubbing it in? The East is all right for some folks and if the boys back
there can't have real adventures they have to do the best they can.
After all, Jim, you are an Eastern boy. You can't get away from that."
Jim writhed under the implication but replied good humoredly.

"You're right, Juarez, old chap, but I can't help stirring up Tom once
in a while. It is good for him too. It keeps his liver active, so he
won't get bilious."

"Juarez has got more sense than you two put together," said Tom.

"Forget all about it now, Tommy," urged Juarez good-naturedly, getting
the aforesaid Tommy by the nape of the neck with one vigorous brown hand
and giving him a shake.

Thus under Juarez's straightforward management the family quarrel was

"We might just as well ride now, boys," said Jim. "The horses are good
and rested and we will soon be going down grade instead of up."

The horses had been following in single file back of the four boys. They
were to be trusted not to cut up any shindigs or to wander from the
narrow mountain trail. The boys had had them a long time and together
they had gone through the numerous hardships and adventures. They were
as perfectly trained as Uncle Sam's cavalry horses.

The horses halted as the boys dropped back to their sides, and they
swung into the saddle simultaneously. Jim rode in the lead on a splendid
gray, with a powerful arching neck, strong shoulders and hindquarters
made for speed. Him, he called Caliente. Next rode Tom on a pretty bay.
Then Jo on a black of medium size but finely built for speed and
endurance. Juarez brought up the rear on his roan, a sinewy animal with
a broncho strain in him which was liable to crop out at unexpected

It is to be noticed that there was a certain formation in the way the
column rode. Jim, the strong and resourceful in front, and Tom, the less
experienced and capable, following, forming the first division. The
second division was composed of Jo and Juarez.

Juarez having an equally important position with the leader, for he was
rear guard, a more trying position sometimes than being in front for in
their travels through dangerous regions, it was the man in the rear who
was more apt to be cut off by the wily Indians. But the cool and crafty
Juarez was not likely to be caught napping.

Even now you notice as they ride along through the comparatively safe
region of the coast range that Jim and Juarez are ever on the alert,
glancing this way and that, halting to examine some peculiar mark on the
trail, and not a motion of tree or bush upon either mountain slope
escapes their attention. They had lived too long in the midst of
treacherous enemies, Indians and outlaws, to be taken off their guard.
They had been in Mexico on a venture the outcome of which was all their
fondest dreams could wish for. Their expedition over, Tom was for going
home, to at least deposit the treasure they had gained, but the others
had outvoted him, and now the long pleasure trip to Hawaii was their

Now, if they but had known it, they were riding to meet the most deadly
danger that they had yet encountered. For as you know, Captain Broom and
his party were advancing to meet them. In an open or running fight, we
know perfectly well that the boys could take care of themselves, but in
the skipper of the Sea Eagle, they were to meet a far more dangerous
opponent than in Eagle Feather, described in "The Frontier Boys in
Colorado" or Cal Jenkins in Kansas and in Mexico as detailed in
"Overland Trail" and in "Mexico." In compliance with a determined plan,
they were now on their way to Hawaii.

Not only had Captain Broom the craftiness and cruelty of the Indian, but
the cool, hard judgment of the New England Yankee, coupled with a
knowledge of their possessions, supposedly limited to themselves alone.
The Mexican spy, who had reported the route the boys were going to take,
had given the game into his master's hands.

"I wonder what has become of our one-eyed greaser friend," said Jim, "we
haven't seen any sign of him since he gave us the shake a week ago at
the hunting camp. I kind of thought we might run across him again."

"It's good riddance to bad rubbish," said Juarez in a surly tone. "If I
had my way I'd hang him to the first oak tree on general principles and
on account of his personal appearance. I bet he is a treacherous little

"He isn't very pretty, that's a fact," admitted Jim, "but he is a useful
little beast about the camp and can do a lot of chores."

"I kind of like to hear him play his guitar," put in Jo, "and sing those
Mexican tunes. They certainly sound pretty."

"He's a picturesque beggar too," remarked Tom. "Just the kind that in
the old days would have been made a king's jester. They dressed 'em up
in a blazing bright style then. That hump would have made his fortune."

Tom, as you remember, was an authority on Romance, and as pertaining to
which he always carried two favorite volumes, much worn by hard travel
and frequent usage, but which no amount of ridicule by his brothers
could make him give up.

"Have it your own way," acceded Juarez, "but he is not the sort of
animal that I would recommend for a household pet."

"Well, he is gone," said Jim, "so we don't need to worry about him."

"I don't know but that I would a little rather have him in sight," said
Juarez. "Then you know where he is."

Jim laughed good-naturedly at the prejudice that Juarez showed against
the little greaser and put it down to his darkly suspicious nature
acquired by his life among the Indians. It would have been better if Jim
had taken more stock in his comrade's suspicions. Now, Jim was not to be
caught napping when once an enemy had declared himself, but it was his
nature to be open-minded and unsuspicious.

The four Frontier Boys were riding up a winding trail through a narrow
mountain valley, having reached a point almost level with the summits,
which rose several thousand feet above the eastern plain. It had been a
hard, all day climb, and the horses were tired and the gray dust was
caked upon their sweaty riders.

Let us take a look at our old acquaintances, Jim, Tom, Jo and Juarez, to
see if they have changed any since we saw them last. They are dressed
about as we have always known them. In gray flannel shirts and pants of
the same color, moccasins on their feet and on their heads battered
sombreros with the flaps turned back.

Their coats are tied back of the saddles, and their shirts open at the
throat for the air is hot and dry in that California mountain valley.
Their rifles are swung across their shoulders held by straps, revolvers
in the holsters at their hips.

Jim sits in the saddle tall and sinewy, grown somewhat thinner by
constant exercise and by the drying effect of the desert air. His skin
is baked to an absolute brown. Juarez, too, is black as an Indian and he
rather looks like one with his hair quite long and of a coarse black
fibre. The boys look a little fine-drawn but sinewy and strong and fit
for any adventure.



The shadows were already falling on that side of the range as the boys
rode slowly into a narrow pass. The shade was a decided relief from the
glare of the California sun that they had encountered all day.

"Gosh, but I should like to have a cool breath from the Rockies,"
declared Juarez with emphasis, "This sort of a climate makes me tired.
Nothing but the sun staring at you all the time. It goes down clear and
comes up with the same kind of a grin on its face."

"It will be cooler when we get on the other side," said Jim,
encouragingly, "and it won't be long now."

"I hope we will strike water on the other side," remarked Jo. "I'm tired
of looking at that bald-headed stream down there," indicating the dry
blistered bed of a former water-course.

Nothing more was said until of a sudden they rode to the top of the
Pass, and saw a new landscape spread out before them.

It was a broad and beautiful view, with the sun striking the wide
Pacific, with a blazing glare of silver and below the wooded slope of
the mountains, stretched an apparently level plain, where roamed
countless cattle, and innumerable sheep. It had all the breadth
characteristic of the Californian landscape.

"That's a pretty good looking view," remarked Jim admiringly. He would
have been still more interested if he could have seen a trim-looking
black vessel in a small cove directly west but a good many miles

"I wonder if it isn't going to rain," said Tom. "See those clouds
rolling in over the ocean."

"Rain!" ejaculated Jim with superior wisdom, a wisdom that appertains
particularly to older brothers, "I guess not. Those are fog clouds.
That's a sure sign in this country that it won't rain."

"Well, I'm glad to see them, anyway," said Juarez. "It looks sort of
stormy even if it isn't."

It was restful, there was no question about that, the change from the
constant glare of a white sun in a blue sky, to the soft damp grayness
of the fog. It was already rolling over the level plain towards the
mountains and, in a short time, a high fog was spread over the whole

The boys had ridden down the western side of the range for a distance of
a half mile, when Jim suddenly waved his hand backward in a sign of
caution for the column to halt. He leaned forward, looking intently in a
northwesterly direction to a point on the opposite side of the mountain
valley. Juarez followed the direction of the leader's look with a keen

"I was sure that I saw some one slipping through the undergrowth on the
opposite side over there," Jim finally said, "but I could not make sure
whether it was a man or some sort of animal."

"I noticed the bushes shaking," said Juarez, "but I did not see

"Might have been a brown bear," hazarded Jo.

"They do have them in this range," put in Tom.

"Perhaps it is the bear that we hunted for two days on the other slope,"
said Juarez, "and he has come to give himself up."

"We had better keep our eyes open," advised Jim, though he did not take
the trouble to unsling his rifle. "Jo, you and Tom watch the upper side,
Juarez will take care of the trail in front."

"All right, boss," said Juarez, cheerfully.

"How much reward, captain, for the first glimpse of the lost child?"
inquired Jo.

Jim paid no attention to this sally, but kept his eye on the trail
ahead. The trees were quite thick on either side of the trail and as
dusk was coming on, it was difficult to make out any object clearly.

Just as Jim rode around a turn in the trail, Caliente reared and leaped
to one side and a less skillful rider would have been thrown.

"Easy, old boy," said the rider, patting his horse's neck. Caliente
stood trembling and snorting and watching a curious object that was
struggling up the bank towards the trail.

It was hard to tell what it was, whether man or beast and the dusk only
served to make it more obscure. Then the object scrambled up on to the
trail and Jim at once recognized the dwarf Mexican with his high-crowned
sombrero and his velvet suit richly slashed. With his crooked back and
one eye, he was anything but a prepossessing-looking creature. Caliente,
when he, too, recognized who it was, put back his ears and rushed with
bared teeth for the Mexican.

Spitting out a curse, the greaser jumped to one side with a marked
agility, and Jim succeeded after a struggle in bringing his furious
steed to terms, but he had his hands full and there were not very many
men who could manage Caliente when he got into one of his rages.

"Hi! Manuel," (every Mexican was Manuel to the boys), cried Jim, "look
out for my Tiger, he wants to eat that velvet suit of yours."

"Si, Senor," called Manuel from a safe station on a granite rock. "He is
a tiger as your Honor says."

One would have expected to hear the crooked little greaser speak in a
harsh croaking voice, but instead it had a rich sonorous quality.

"Do you know where there is any water in this country?" asked Jo. "We
are as dry as a desert."

"Certainly, Senor, I will show you," replied Manuel. (It was true that
Manuel spoke in Spanish of which language the boys had a working
knowledge, due to their sojourn in the southwest. But I shall put his
words in English.) "Where is Senor Juarez?" inquired the dwarf. "I do
not see him."

"The Senor is still with us," replied Jim, gravely, "but you cannot see
him on account of the dusk, but you might hear him," he added in a lower

It was true that Juarez was growling to himself about the greaser for
whom you know he had a cordial antipathy, a feeling which was
reciprocated by the Mexican.

"Lead on, Manuel," urged Jim, "we want to make camp before morning."

"But, Senor, the tiger will eat me up," objected the Mexican.

"I will take care of Caliente. He won't bite you. Go ahead."

"Si, Senor," assented Manuel.

Then he jumped down from the rock and took the trail at a discreet
distance ahead of Jim's horse, who was held in check by his rider though
his temper seemed in no wise abated. There was something sinister in the
figure of the Mexican as he led the way down the trail.

All in black, except the gray of his hat with its golden cord and the
tinsel of his clothes. There was something malignant in his make-up and
even the unimaginative Jim was affected by the presence of the Mexican,
while Juarez was very uneasy, and asked Jo and Tom to allow him to move
up next to the Captain. This they did, though it left Jo as rear guard
on that rocky trail.

He seemed quite isolated but he had become sufficiently enured to danger
and though he kept a wary eye, he was not nervous. The boys had
unholstered their pistols and Juarez kept a straight eye on the moving
shadow in the darkness ahead. At the first sign of attack or treachery,
he was going to get that particular Manuel.

"I've got my eye on the little varmint," said Juarez in a low voice to
Jim. "He may be leading us into an ambush."

"Oh, I guess not," said Jim, with a note of hesitation in his voice. "We
have got to find water anyway. The horses are suffering for it, and this
beggar can show us where we can locate it."

Just then Manuel threw up his hand with a shrill whistle that had every
malignant intention in it. Juarez raised his pistol just ready to fire,
when the Mexican laughed shrilly.

"Senor Juarez very nervous. I just stretch and whistle a little and he
want to shoot."

A peculiar smile came over Juarez's face, but he said nothing. All the
stolid Indian in his nature came to the surface. He merely grunted
contemptuously at the Mexican's remark and this made the volatile Manuel
uneasy in his turn, for he wanted to realize that his malice had struck
home, but Juarez did not give him that satisfaction. There was a sort of
hidden duel between these two, the subtle Mexican and the crafty Indian
nature of Juarez. It remained to be seen who would win.

The four Frontier Boys went silently along down the dark canyon, each
one occupied with his own thoughts and the ill-omened Mexican guide in
the lead. Juarez kept a sharp lookout on either side of the trail
expecting an ambush. His horse seemed to feel something of the strain
his rider was under, as a horse will. Once he shied at something he saw
in a clump of bushes, and nearly went off the trail. It was only with
the aid of Juarez's horsemanship that he clawed his way back to safety.
The Mexican was much amused at this incident, and Jim gave him a sharp
call down.



We must now return to Captain Broom and his escort, whom we left sitting
on a hill covered with trees near the Sebastian rancho. Old Pete's story
had been interrupted by the skipper's warning,--"Somebody is coming our

There was no question about that, they could hear the someone coming
towards the hill whistling cheerfully. Then the form of a man could be
seen, coming up the slope of the elevation.

"I wonder where those altogether blessed cows are," he was heard saying
in Spanish, but of course, this is a free and not a literal translation.

"They are generally hiding under these trees," he continued. The sailors
kept absolutely still and old Pete covered the bowl of his pipe with his
hand so that its light might not discover them.

"Carambe!" cried the Mexican as he stopped about three feet from the
recumbent Captain, "I fear my good master's cows have been smoking, not
like nice Mexican cows, a cigarette, but a pipe like a vile gringo.
Come, get up, you black brute," noticing the big bulk of the Captain for
the first time, and he hauled off and gave the skipper a hearty kick on
the haunch.

Never was there a more surprised greaser in the whole ungainly length of
California for this apparently gentle cow that he kicked, (not for the
first time either) suddenly turned and grabbed him with a powerful hand
before he could yell, though he was so frightened that he probably could
not utter a squeak. Another hand got him by the throat.

"Take me for a cow, did you, you bespangled Manuello?" roared the
Captain, and he waved the aforesaid Manuello about in his great grip as
though he had been a rag.

"No use killing the beggar, Captain," said the mate. "Maybe he can tell
us something." The Captain let the Mexican drop and he lay on the ground
perfectly inert.

"He won't be able to say much right away," said the Skipper.

It was now getting light, the first signs of dawn showing above the
mountains. As the darkness was drawn away, they could see their position
more clearly and there came the sounds of the morning from the direction
of the ranch houses. The barking of dogs, the crowing of roosters, and
the call of human voices.

"I guess, lads, it's about time for us to have something to eat," said
the Captain, "because we have got to do some tall climbing today and I
want to get an early start."

An expression of disgust showed itself on old Pete's face at the idea of
more walking, which the Captain was quick to note.

"How would you like to stay here, Old Bones, and look after Manuello?"
said the skipper. But Pete shook his head.

"I'll stay by the ship, Cap'n," said the old fellow stoutly.

"Durn my buttons," said the Captain, whose oaths were as mild as his
actions were vicious, "if you ain't a good old barnacle, Pete. I
wouldn't think of leaving you in such company as this," and he gave the
prostrate Mexican a shove with his foot. Manuello looked up at the
Captain with an evil eye and a muttered curse.

This roused the fury of Captain Broom and he held him off from the
ground as if he had been a rat, his jaws working ominously and a look in
his eyes that made the Mexican shrivel.

Nothing was said, not even by the Skipper, and the others watched him
fascinated as he glared at his victim, and even the iron composure of
the saturnine mate seemed to be moved partially aside. The Mexican began
to whimper and moan as his eyes shifted to avoid the terrible ones of
the Captain. He was not suffering any special violence, but a strange
tremor filled the soul of the Mexican, in the grip of the grizzled

As the greaser began to cry, the Captain gave a roar of laughter and
threw him aside upon the ground, about all the humanity he had shriveled
out of him. He lay there absolutely without any power of motion in his

Just then the crew of the Sea Eagle became aware of the fact that a
horned animal with big brown eyes was looking at them. All the farmer in
the nature of Captain Broom came to the surface.

"By Gum," he exclaimed, "if here ain't a bovine cow looking at us. I
ain't milked one for forty years, but I'm not afeard to try. 'Member,
Pete, when we used to milk the cows back in old Connecticut on the farm.
After working in the hay all day, I'd go down in the side hill pasture,
that was so steep that you had to hold on with your toes and your teeth
to keep from sliding down to the brook."

"You bring it back to me just like it was a living picture," said Pete,
his hard face softening under the gentle showers of memory.

"Then I'd drive the black and white one that was breechy, and the red
mooley, the yaller and white that gave the richest milk. I'd drive them
into the stanchions in the old barn, with the ground floor stoned up on
the side, where it was sunk into the hill."

"But it was winter, Cap'n," said Pete, "that it was interesting doing
the chores," and he blew reminiscently on his fingers, "snow two feet on
the level and the sun a piece of blue ice in the sky. A condemned sight
better place than Californey, where you don't feel no more alive than a
enbalmed corpse."

The Captain began now a series of manoeuvres to get within range of
one of the cows so that they might have fresh milk for breakfast. He
managed it finally, and he certainly looked like a peaceful old farmer
as with his gray head against a fat red cow's flank, he milked into a
large tin cup. Pete selected a black mooley and soothed by the man's
persuasive manner, she consented finally to give down a thin blue
stream. But the saturnine mate was less successful as he knew much more
about navigating a ship than he did about cows.

Finally after much awkward manoeuvring, he got a cow cornered and
began operations upon the left side with the result that the cow landed
upon him with her hoof and sent him sprawling on his back to the great
delight of the Captain.

"Hurt bad, Bill?" inquired the Skipper with mock sympathy, "I'm afeard
that you will never make a farmer."

"I never calkerlated to," replied the mate. "It ain't my line of

"Don't tell me that," said the Captain, "I can see that for myself. Come
up here and I'll give you a drink."

They had scarcely finished their simple breakfast when Jack Cales gave a
sudden alarm.

"Cap'n," he cried, "I see two men legging it our way. They are making
straight for the hill."

"I guess they are coming to see why Manuello doesn't show up with the
cows," remarked the Captain, "we don't want to stir up this hen roost as
we've got other chicken to fry. So we'll git."

"Take the greaser?" inquired Jack.

"You and the mate fetch him," said the Captain.

Just as the two men were mounting the hill, the Captain and his crew
made a swift sneak down the opposite slope, and were soon making their
way through the bush towards the foot-hills. In a minute they heard the
cries of the two men as they drove the herd of cows towards the home
ranch for the morning milking. The sun had now risen above the eastern
range just in front of them and was blazing down upon the plain and the
sea beyond. There was something exhilarating in the air in spite of the

"We don't need the company of that greaser any further," said Captain
Broom, after they had made some headway up a canyon back of the ranch
buildings. So they took some rope grass, tough as manilla, and tied him
firmly, and, after having gagged him, they left him to be found later by
some of his countrymen.

Then they toiled steadily up the trail of the canyon, until about noon
they reached a pocket in the canyon where there was a pool of clear
water fed by an invisible spring. Coming to meet them were four boys
riding up the trail on the other side of the range.



Under the guidance of the Mexican dwarf, the four boys came at last to a
halt. It seemed as if the canyon down which they had been riding had
come to an end for there was a wall of rock directly in front of them.

"Down there, Senor, is a pool of clear water," announced the Mexican.

"Glad to hear it, Manuel," said Jim heartily.

"Did you ever see a picture, Jim," put in Juarez significantly, "of a
pool where the thirsty animals have to come to drink and before they get
their noses in the water the hunter shoots them?"

But nothing of this dire nature happened and in a few minutes the
famished animals were pumping the delicious water down their long, baked

"My Gracious, but that tastes good!" cried Tom, drawing in a long,
gasping breath, after he had been drinking steadily for about a minute.
"It makes my head swim."

"I should think it would," said Jo, sarcastically, "considering the
amount you have drunk."

"You weren't far behind," grumbled Tom. "I thought that you were not
going to leave enough for the horses."

"I don't especially like this place to camp in," said Jim. "We are not
accustomed to get in a pocket like this. But it is too late to pull out
tonight and the horses need a rest, so we will keep guard."

"Better drown the brown rat first," remarked Juarez to Jim. But the
latter only shook his head and laughed.

The camp was made about twenty feet east of the spring in a small grove
of slender trees backed by a high wall of steep granite, down which
poured a waterfall in the rainy season.

The fire was built upon a flat rock in the centre of the grove where
there was no danger of it catching in the grass and bushes which were
dry as tinder. If once a mountain fire was started at the end of the dry
season there would be no stopping it until it had devastated the whole

The light of the fire showed the usual cheery and active scene that goes
with making camp. How many times the Frontier Boys had gone through
these preparations it is impossible to say. They had camped on the
plains of Kansas, in the mountains of Colorado, on the Mesas of New
Mexico, the banks of the Colorado river, and the Pampas of Mexico. Now
we find them in the coast range of California.

It was not an especially dangerous country in which they were camped,
nothing to compare with parts of Colorado and Mexico, but never were
they in greater danger than at the present moment and this camp promised
to be their last together, except they had unusual luck.

There was a traitor in the company, and even now four pairs of hostile
eyes were watching them as they moved in the light of the fire. The
Captain of the Sea Eagle and his three trusty men were hidden in some
bushes at the top of the pocket on the western side.

Juarez and Jim busied themselves first in looking after their horses.
Removing the saddles they rubbed down each animal thoroughly, clear to
the fetlocks and then gave them a good feed of grain. Jo and Tom were on
the supper committee and busying themselves making preparations for a
square meal. Manuello, who had been with the boys on the other side of
the range and was accustomed to help in odd chores about camp, now
offered to aid in getting the supper.

"I will make the coffee with your permission, Senor Jo," he proposed.

"Do you savvy it all right, Manuello?" inquired Jo.

"Ah, yes, Senor. I can make such coffee as the Holy Father would be
pleased to drink," he replied with fervor.

"Not too strong because it keeps me awake," protested Tom.

"No, no, Senor Thomas," replied Manuello with a sweeping bow, "the
coffee I make is very soothing. It will give you a long, soft sleep."
There was an undertone of subtle irony that was entirely lost upon the
two straightforward boys.

"That's a good fellow, Manuello," said Jo, cordially, and he handed the
coffee pot filled with water to the Mexican, who went about the
preparation of it with a deftness that showed that he knew what he was
about. Not one of the boys saw him slip a white powder into the coffee
pot. It quickly dissolved and the coffee began to bubble innocently
enough under the eyes of the hunchback Manuello.

Juarez and Jim just then came back from looking after the horses which
were fastened near the wall of rock. As soon as Juarez saw the Mexican
watching over the coffee pot, his eyes narrowed with suspicion.

"Who made the coffee?" he asked Jo, bluntly.

"Manuello," replied Jo.

"The Senor will find the coffee truly delicious," said the hunchback
with a bow, "only the Mexican knows how to keep its aroma when boiling

"Humph," grunted Juarez, and he went deliberately to the fire and lifted
the coffee pot off and poured its contents on the ground.

"The American does not care for the aroma of your Mexican coffee," he
said coolly.

The Mexican merely gave a peculiar hitch to his shoulder, spat on the
ground and turned away apparently mortally offended as he, no doubt,
was. That part of his scheme had been blocked by the craftiness of
Juarez, but the Captain might make good where his spy had failed.

The Mexican sat back in the shadow on a rock smoking a cigarette, while
the boys ate their supper of beans, meat, bread and coffee. He was the
skeleton at the feast as it were, not only his malignant humor made
itself felt, but there was a sense of depression that they could not
shake off, try as they would.

This was so unusual that they could not account for it. As a rule, they
were jolly and even when danger was impending, they felt a certain
confidence and assurance, but not so tonight.

"What makes us feel so on the bum tonight, do you suppose?" asked Tom.

"Maybe this canyon is haunted," proposed Jo, who had an imaginative
streak in him.

"I tell you the way I figure it," said Jim. "We are not used to camping
in a hollow like this, for before this we have always selected a place
that we could defend, and though there is no particular danger from
outlaws or Indians in these mountains, we can't shake off our old

"I believe there is something in that," acquiesced Jo.

"It's that rat over there," said Juarez loudly.

The Mexican laughed coolly and insolently, and lighted another
cigarette. This would have maddened an excitable person, but Juarez was
in a stoical mood and he contented himself with flinging a bone that he
had been gnawing at, carelessly over his shoulder, almost striking the
Mexican in the face.

This set that peppery individual wild and he tore around considerably,
tearing his hair, stamping his feet and sputtering with maledictions at
the insult that had been offered him.

"I am no dog that you can throw a bone to," and he sizzled off into a
string of unpleasant remarks.

"Here you, Manuello," roared Jim, rising to his feet and standing over
the Mexican, "not another yelp out of you."

Manuello had a respect for this big American lad much as he despised his
simplicity and he sobered down. Besides he had not finished his work for
the night. He had failed to get the sleeping drug to the boys in the
coffee and now he must be ready to help his master, Captain Broom of the
Sea Eagle, in some other way.

There was a person whom he feared and admired absolutely and he had been
a most useful spy and agent for the Skipper in certain nefarious plots.
It was well for the little hunchback that no one knew of his share in
the betraying of old Juan Sebastian some years before.

"You will have the first watch, Jo," ordered Jim. "It is now nine
o'clock. I will relieve you at eleven and stand guard until two. Juarez
from two until five and Tom can have the short watch."

According to this arrangement, Jim and Juarez would be on guard during
the danger hours.

How many times in the past had the boys stood guard over their camp. Was
this to be the last guard? There were the old Kansas days, when they had
to be on the watch against horse thieves. Then came the dangerous crisis
in their Colorado experiences, when they had to guard against the wiles
of the Indians. And most exciting of all, perhaps, the night in old
Mexico when they camped on the trail of the outlaws. I wonder if Jo, the
first on duty, thought of these old times that night. Probably not, his
mind being fully occupied with the business in hand.



So the three boys rolled into their blankets with the saddles for
pillows and dropped immediately to sleep as they were very tired from
the long, hard ride. They lay at different points around the fire, which
was allowed to die down as the fog seemed like a warm gray blanket over
the whole landscape.

Jo sat on a log by the slowly dying fire, with his rifle on his knees
looking into the darkness and not far from him lay the Mexican a mere
dark lump on the ground, apparently asleep, but keeping a wary eye on
all around. Imperceptibly he crept nearer to where Jo was sitting, but
he did not have the weapon he would have preferred in his hand, the
stiletto, which was as natural to him as the fangs to a rattlesnake.

But it did not suit the long-headed Captain Broom to have the boys
killed. He wanted their life as well as their money, but in a different
sense than the adage has it. From what he had heard of them, they were
boys of unusual mettle and varied acquirements. If caught young, he
could train them to good purpose. If they proved worthless, he would
hold them for ransom.

So Captain Broom had told Manuello briefly and to the point that there
was to be no rib-sticking and the Mexican would have thought as soon of
disobeying the commands of the Evil One as of going contrary to the
instructions of the Captain. So as he crept towards Jo, he held not a
poniard in his clenched hand, but a heavy weapon like a black-jack, made
of leather with a weight at the end.

Jo, however, spoiled his first attempt, for when the greaser had got
within striking distance, Jo got up and went down to the pool to get a
drink. If it had not been so dark, when they arrived, the boys would
have seen tracks around the pool that would have aroused their
suspicions. But everything seemed to work against them this time.

Jo stooped down at the brink and scarcely put his thirsty lips to the
water when some instinct of warning made him look quickly around and he
saw a small dark object directly back of him.

"Pardon, Senor, for startling you;" it was the voice of the dwarf, "but
I, too, was very thirsty. It is in the air."

"You needn't have been so quiet about it," said Jo, crossly. This little
rat always had a way of baffling and irritating him, because he did not
have Jim's force, which could beat down the dwarf when occasion demanded
it, or the stoicism of Juarez, which blocked the hunchback.

"I came softly, Senor," said the Mexican, imperturbably, "because I did
not wish to disturb the slumbers of the Senors who are resting."

"Get down and drink, then," said Jo, who, though he realized that the
Mexican was up to some hidden deviltry, did not know how to meet him.
Jim and Juarez would have knocked him out of the camp if they had
discovered him trailing them, with a warning that he would be shot if he
put in an appearance again.

While the Mexican was pretending to drink, Jo satisfied his thirst at a
point of the pool where he would be safe from a sudden attack by the
hunchback. For Jo was not a fool by any means. Then he got to his feet
and with the Mexican ahead of him, he saw to that, he made his way back
to the camp.

Scarcely had Jo seated himself upon the rock again than he heard a stick
snap upon the mountain side above the horses, so he got to his feet to

"You can stay where you are, Manuello," said Jo. "I don't need your
company this time." The Mexican laughed softly to himself.

"I hope the Senor Americano will not get lonesome," he said.

Jo made a careful search in the direction of the sound but found no sign
of a human being lurking among the trees. Though he felt exceedingly
nervous, he was unable to account therefor or give a reason.

Very quietly he went the rounds, so as not to awake the boys, who,
however, were sleeping heavily. He found the horses all right standing
with drooping heads as though dozing, Jo's black with his neck over
Tom's bay, as these horses were great chums. But Caliente and Juarez's
roan were not sociable and kept strictly to themselves.

Then Jo returned to the rock where he had been sitting. He stirred the
dying fire so that it sent up a feeble spurt of flame by the aid of
which he looked at his watch. It lacked a few minutes of ten. The
Mexican had taken up his old place on the ground watching for his
chance. He was anxious that the attack should take place during Jo's
watch for he had his doubts in regard to Juarez or the redoubtable Jim
proving easy victims.

All this time, Captain Bill Broom and his crew had been keeping watch
upon their intended victims from the top of the cliff above the pool.
They could see every move from the time the Frontier Boys had arrived
until they lay down near the smouldering fire.

"They are a husky lot," was the Captain's first comment. "That tall
fellar, I guess, is a horse tamer and Injun fighter."

Some time later when the altercation occurred about the coffee and
Juarez expressed his opinion about the Mexican, the Captain could
scarcely keep from haw-hawing right out.

"Them fellars have got some dis'pline," commented the saturnine mate.

"You're right they hev," said the Captain.

"That lad don't know how to handle my pet rattlesnake," was the
Captain's comment when the Mexican trailed Jo to the drinking pool.
After Jo had returned from making his rounds and had resumed his guard
again, the Captain decided that the time had come for action.

"Now, lads," he ordered, "pull off your shoes and the first man that
makes a sound will get his neck cracked. Knock 'em out, if necessary,
but no killing this time."

Then they started, the Captain in the lead, and old Pete bringing up the
rear. They had had a good many hours in that vicinity and had made a
path from their hiding place to the soft dust trail. So they moved in
their sock feet without a sound. There was an oppressive stillness in
that dark canyon under the heavy blanket of fog.

Already it had began to lower and as the sailors advanced with
snail-like slowness the heavy white fog settled down, filling the canyon
with its white opaqueness. You could not see five feet in front, and the
moisture beaded itself upon the eyebrows and mustaches of the men.

This dense fog was a great help to the attacking party. They had now
crawled half way down the main trail, when Pete came near putting all
the fat in the fire, for his eyesight was not overly keen, and the fog
made it more difficult for him. He did not see a round stone poised on
the edge of the trail until it rolled down towards the pool.

Although every sound was deadened by the fog, still the watchful Jo
heard it distinctly. He got quickly to his feet and, with soft
moccasined tread he went in the direction of the sound, his pistol in
his hand.

No sooner had the stone fallen than the Captain motioned the mate to
halt. This signal was repeated to Jack Cales, who was so hidden by the
fog that he could not see the Captain. He stopped suddenly so that old
Pete tumbled over him, making some noise.

The Captain almost had a fit of apoplexy because he did not dare express
himself at this interesting juncture. Jo had heard the noise on the
trail and his suspicions centered in that direction. Noiselessly he went
up with slight footprints in the damp dust of the trail. The Captain
waited his coming, crouched behind a bend in the trail.

Then Jo saw a huge figure rising suddenly out of the fog in front of him
and, before he could fire, a great hand gripped for his throat, but if
he could not shoot in defense, at least he could give his comrades
warning. He fired one shot, and then he was overpowered.

Jim and Juarez heard it instantly. Then Manuello got in some of his
work. Before Juarez could rise, he struck him a vicious blow upon the
head that stunned him, rendering him unconscious. Cold with fury, Jim
picked up the rat of a Mexican before he could land a blow upon him,
whirled him over his head and dashed him upon the ground.

Then he sprang through the fog in the direction of the shot. He heard Jo
groan as the ruffians overpowered him and he leaped up the trail blind
with a fighting rage. The Captain had just got up from the struggle
with Jo, who lay as good as dead in the trail.

Then Jim hurled himself upon him. Powerful though he was, the Captain
could not withstand the sinewy lurch of that sudden attack and together
boy and man crashed from the trail over rocks and through brush until
with a fearful impact they struck the trunk of a pine tree.

The mate sprang swiftly down to the rescue of his fallen master. He was
a strong, sinewy man and knew how to act in an emergency.



The jar of the fall had knocked out the Captain partially and Jim had
risen to give him the coup de grace, when he heard the rush of the mate
coming down through the fog. It was a strange sensation hearing your
enemy but not able to see him.

Then the mate plunged into view, a dark ball through the opaqueness. He
could not have stopped if he had so desired and it was evident that he
did not wish to. For, with lowered head, he came for Jim as he would for
an ugly sailor.

Jim stopped him with his shoulder and ripped in a right uppercut with
his keen hard fist that would have stopped the heart action of an
ordinary man, and it sent the seasoned mate back upon his haunches,
partially dazed. Feeling the Captain squirming back to life, he planted
a back blow with his heel in the latter's stomach that took the wind out
of the Captain's sails for the time being. The mate, a really hardy
individual, had made good use of the brief respite and, picking up a
heavy stick, came for Jim with it.

The latter dodged the blow aimed at his head and it glanced off his
shoulder. Then he closed with the sailor, struggling to put him out.
Three seconds more and Jim would have landed the proper blow, had not
Jack Cales arrived upon the scene under cover of the mêlée. Before Jim
could turn to meet this new assailant, a stone crashed against his
head--and the frontier boys had lost.

The Captain had now recovered sufficiently to get on his feet, and the
fallen Jim was kicked until the Captain himself called a halt.

"Wait till we get him on board ship, lads," he said, "and we will finish
this job."

"Better get the other two, Cap'n," advised the mate.

So they dragged the prostrate Jim to the foot of the trail near where
the drinking pool was and went to look for Juarez and Tom. They saw a
small black object crawling towards them through the fog.

"What's this a coming?" asked Jack Cales.

"Why, it's my Mexican ferret," said the Captain. "What's the matter,
Manuello?" he asked as he turned him over none too gently with his foot.

"The big Senor throw me over his head and on the ground. I think I
crack the world open," he explained. The Captain roared with laughter.

"Where is the rest of this dangerous gang?" he asked.

"I will show you," he said, struggling to his feet. The presence of his
master gave him strength and confidence. "This way, Senor Captain."

He brought them to where Juarez lay upon the ground, partially held up
by Tom, who had been crying and endeavoring to bring his comrade back to
consciousness from the ugly blow that the Mexican had given him. I am
sure that none could blame Tom for tears upon this occasion for it was
calculated to try the heart of the stoutest.

"Why, this boy looks like an Indian," said the Captain regarding Juarez

"He lived with the Indians when a boy, Senor Captain," volunteered the
dwarf, who by subtle means of his own had become possessed of the
history of the four boys.

"He don't seem to be much more than a boy, now," said the Captain. They
had not paid much attention to Tom because he seemed a mere kid, but the
hunchback was not to be caught napping, for he had worked around back of
Tom, and as the latter aimed his revolver at the Captain, having worked
it cautiously out of his holster, the dwarf grabbed him in the nick of
time else the expedition would have lost its head.

Instead of being infuriated as one might have expected, the Captain was
decidedly amused at the temerity of the youngster, for that is all Tom
appeared to him, and, therefore, he did not hand him a beating.

"The nerve of the little rooster," guffawed the Captain. "I'll make a
real pirate out of you."

Tom struggled wildly, but it was no use, as Jack Cales and the mate
disarmed him. Just then there came a loud yell from up the trail.

"Haul in, Cap'n!" It was Old Pete's well known and melodious voice.

"Jack, go and see what the old cuss wants," ordered the Captain. "I
expect that the lad up there is trying to kidnap Pete."

When Jack arrived on the scene, he found that the Skipper had guessed
right. For Jo had been playing possum and was not nearly so badly hurt
as he had appeared to be.

He came near escaping from his keeper and it was only by a quick forward
lunge that Pete had grabbed him and then occurred a short struggle in
which Pete had called for help and just as Jo had wrestled himself
loose, Cales appeared and grabbed him. It took both Pete and Cales
quite a while to subdue him.

Finally it was accomplished and they made him go down the trail, one on
either side. At the foot of the incline he saw the bruised and battered
form of Jim lying on the ground and a big lump came into his throat.

"You fellows will pay for this," he said, rendered desperate by the
sight of Jim. But his captors only laughed, not realizing that the
Frontier Boys were apt to keep their word.

Then they joined the main gang and Jo saw to his dismay that Tom and
Juarez were in the coils as well as himself and that Juarez, too, had
been laid out and appeared dazed and only partially conscious of what
was going on. Thus there was little hope of escape with the two leaders,
Jim and Juarez, done for.

"Better search these beggars for their money, Captain," suggested the

"It hadn't slipped my mind," replied the Skipper.

Now the money and the jewels that the boys had found in Mexico were in
leather belts around their bodies. These were soon in the possession of
the Captain, but the crew knew full well that they would receive their
share and thus it was that the Skipper gave promise of living to a ripe
old age instead of being murdered for his money.

"It's about time to make a start, Cap'n," announced the mate, and the
Captain consulted his watch by the light of a lantern. He found that it
was half-past eleven.

"We won't be so long going back," he said. "We will use their horses."

This was easier said than done, for when any of the crew approached
Caliente, that noble animal became transformed into a tiger and as he
came for them with bared teeth or whirled and kicked out with his heels,
they decided that discretion was the better part of valor and they left
him alone. Sailors at best are not very clever horsemen.

"Let me have a chance and I'll quiet him for you," volunteered Jim
gruffly. "I don't want to see you poor fellows eaten alive."

"My lad," said the Skipper solemnly, "I'm no spring chicken and you
can't catch me with any such chaff."



The other three horses proved more tractable than Caliente, and after
some skirmishing they managed to get their new ships rigged up with the
saddles and other tackle. Now as soon as they got their cargo aboard,
they would be prepared to set sail and to cruise over the plains. (I
must use this nautical language out of respect for Captain Broom and his

As I have said before, sailors are poor horsemen and when it came to
making fast the double cinches, they were quite at sea, where sailors
should be, perhaps. Old Pete came near getting his head kicked off by
pulling the back cinch too tight, but he and Captain Broom profited by
their youthful experience on a New England farm, so the horses were
finally all saddled and bridled and ready for a flight--except Caliente.
He was to be left marooned in the lonely canyon.

It was surprising to Jim and his comrades how quietly Juarez's roan took
matters, but there is no relying on a broncho, because he always does
the unexpected, and the Captain was so pleased with his behavior that
he decided to ride the animal himself.

"Now, that's what I call a well broken hoss," he said. "I ain't so sure
of the black so I will let you cruise on him, Jack, being the most
active. I don't know what I shall do for Pete, unless I can find him a

"What are you going to do with the boys?" inquired the mate. "Have 'em

"They can ride their pack mule," said the Captain grimly.

So Jo, Juarez and Jim were securely fastened on the patient mule, while
Tom rode behind the mate upon his own horse, but no longer as master.
Then the queer procession started up the trail through the dense fog.
The Captain was in the lead, followed by the mate with Tom, then the
mule with Pete and the Mexican dwarf guarding the animal and its cargo,
while the active Jack Cales was the rear guard. It was exactly twelve
o'clock when they weighed anchor and sailed from the harbor or cove in
the mountain canyon.

The three boys said little to each other. They did not waste their
breath with threats of what they would do to their captors later on, but
accepted the situation with true western stoicism. But you may be sure
that their minds were active even if their tongues said little.

They were so securely tied that there was no chance for them to make a
move as their arms were corded tight to their bodies and their feet were
tied under the belly of the mule. Unless they had been experienced
riders they would have had a difficult time of it. But it was terribly
humiliating, especially under the insolence of the malignant Mexican.
But he did not dare do them any actual injury, because the Skipper had
given him a warning which he did not dare to disregard. Finally, old
Pete put an end to his slurring remarks to the prisoners, so he had to
content himself with ugly looks and frequent expectoration wherewith to
express his disgust.

Before they reached the foot of the trail, Jack Cales changed with Pete,
though the latter demurred at first, at boarding the strange black craft
with four legs, but finally consented under the urging of Jack and the
warm recommendation of the boys, who had taken somewhat of a fancy to
the old sailor, since he had shut up the Mexican in their behalf.

"He won't hurt you, Pop," said Jim, "he is a good horse. Any lady could
ride him."

"I ain't no lady," replied the old fellow suspiciously, as he slowly
and stiffly mounted, while Jack held his head, that is to say, the
horse's head, not Pete's.

"What did he do that for?" inquired Pete, anxiously, preparing to

"Stay on, you old Barnacle," roared the Captain from the head of the
procession, for though he could not see anything in the rear, still he
seemed able to keep an instinctive tab on his old comrade Pete.

"That horse is all right, Pop," said Jo, "and I ought to know. I've
ridden him a good many hundred miles. Don't tickle him with your heels,
that's all."

"I guess that's what I've done," admitted Pete.

Then the procession resumed its march with Pete as rear guard, riding
with due caution and circumspection as though his craft was loaded with
dynamite and liable to explode at any time. Jack Cales tried to quiz the
prisoners on the mule in a friendly way, but they would not relax in
their attitude of grim, if not sullen, defiance towards their captors.

Captain Broom need not think that his prisoners would ever accept any
conditions from him. Doubtless, he thought that these boys might be
trained to help him in his business for he appreciated their courage
and fighting ability, but he did not fully understand what stuff the
frontier boys were made of.

The procession of pirates and their prisoners had now reached the foot
of the range and were in close proximity to the ranch, but everything
favored the plans of the Skipper of the Sea Eagle. The fog became denser
when they reached the level plain so that it was scarcely possible for
the rider to see the ears of his horse.

Every sound was deadened, so that they could have gone directly past the
ranch houses and not even the dogs would have heard them. But the
Captain was determined to take no chances, and as soon as the party were
free of the canyon, he bore off toward the south, making quite a

Anybody but an experienced navigator would have been lost in the fog
upon the plain, but you could not lose Captain Broom either on the high
seas or the low plains. They passed between two wooded hills, which the
reader will have to take on faith as he cannot see them. Then across a
gully, on the other side of which they came to a barb wire fence.

This did not stop them long, as the Captain cut it and they rode
through. From the footing which was about all that could be observed,
they appeared to be in a pasture land with a gentle slope towards the
sea. The fog did not diminish in thickness and the boys determined to
escape. Here was their chance, if they could be said to have one.

"Here's where we make a break," said Jim to Juarez. "Guide the mule
alongside of Tom. Then we will run for it." Jim did not say this in so
many words, but he had ways and means of indicating to Juarez, who was
tied directly back of him, by a sign and poke language which Juarez was
quick to seize.

It seemed at every turn that his experience with the Indians was a help
to him. The mule was a protégé of Juarez and with a word he could guide
it in any direction that he wished it to go. The fog was one thing that
favored them. The Mexican could scarcely be seen and Jack Cales stalked
along looking like a giant through the mist.

He had grown somewhat lax through the long march. This was the time, if
ever. Jim gave Juarez the signal that all was ready. A quick word to the
mule and he trotted out from his place in the column, knocking over the
Mexican and before Cales was fairly awake to the situation, he was
obscured by the fog.

In about two seconds he had hove alongside of the horse that the mate
was on. Tom was foot-loose, and no sooner did he see Missouri's long
ears through the fog, than he was ready for action.

"Jump, Tom," urged Jim. It took only about two seconds for Tom to
execute the manoeuvre.

"Halt!" roared the Captain, and he tried to turn the roan to capture the
runaways, but right here, the broncho strain in the animal showed

He began to buck and never in all his experience had the redoubtable
Captain Broom ever been on so choppy a sea. It was hard to distinguish
fog from whiskers. At the second hunch upward, the Captain shot into
space. The boys did not tarry to watch for his descent. A word from
Juarez to the mule, and Missouri turned directly south just as Jack
Cales came rushing up.

"Touch him with your foot, Tom," said Juarez, meaning the mule, not
Cales. Tom's heel reached the right spot and up flew the mule's hind
feet with the rapidity of a rapid fire-gun.

One foot struck Cales on the shoulder with a sufficient impact to send
him down and out. The mate had been involved in the cyclone of which
Captain Broom was the centre. Tom's horse, considered the gentlest of
the four, had become infected with the roan's example and he started in
to do a little bucking on his own account. Never since the mate had
rounded Cape Horn, had he known so much action in so short a time.

The only one left was Old Pete and he came on right gallantly, but by
dodging and turning they got away in the fog. After putting what they
considered a safe distance between themselves and their former captors,
Juarez persuaded Missouri to halt, and Tom went to work and with great
difficulty first untied, then lifted, them to the ground for the boys
were as stiff as boards from being tied hard and fast for so long a

"My, but it certainly hurts," said Jo, stamping around in an endeavor to
get the blood to circulating again. "It's just like it used to be back
home in the winter when we would go skating and get our hands numb."

"What is the matter, Juarez?" asked Jim in alarm.

"Oh, I'm all right, I guess," he said in a voice that sounded faint to
the boys and far away to himself. Then, without warning, he fell over on
the ground and stiffened out.

"It's from the blow that the greaser gave him," said Tom. "It would have
killed him if it had struck him fair."

"Wait until I get my hands on him," cried Jim, significantly.

What should they do now? It was not an easy question to decide.



They could not desert Juarez and they could not get far with him. It was
enough to stagger them and it seemed that they had reached the end of
their resources.

"If it wasn't such an open country," said Jo, "we might hide until they
had got out of range and then get to the nearest ranch."

"If they overtake us we can stand them off," saying this Jim reached for
his revolver. To his astonishment it was gone. Then he remembered he had
been disarmed by Captain Broom, and they were absolutely defenseless
unless they could depend on Missouri's heels which had furnished them
such active protection.

Finally they brought Juarez around so that he was able to sit up.

"Where am I?" he asked in a sort of daze.

"You will be all right in a minute, old chap," encouraged Jim, speaking
cheerfully, but he did not feel so.

"You bet I will," he assented feebly, but with invincible determination.
"What are you holding me for, Jim? Let's get at those fellows." It was
evident that his mind was not exactly clear yet. They got him on his
feet and he seemed better, though still very wabbly.

"There come those fellows," cried Jim, suddenly, with more of despair in
his tone than he had ever spoken before, no matter how hard pressed they
had been. But before there had always been something to do, but now they
were helpless. Jim looked hastily around for some weapon. All he found
was a small round stone.

With a yell of exultation, Jack Cales and the mate dashed down upon
them, followed by the Captain and old Pete. They had been able to follow
the distinctive mark of the mule's shoes in the soft earth until they
came in hearing of the boys' voices. Then they jumped upon them. They
were out for blood this time, for they had the boys' revolvers in their
hands, probably because they were better than their own.

Missouri, finding himself free, made off. Tom halted when covered by one
of the sailor's revolvers, but Jim dodged as the mate fired at him. The
lug of lead spattered the mud between his feet, the next second he was
off full speed through the fog, followed by fleet Jo.

The sailors soon gave up the useless chase, for there was no trail to
guide them, so they had to content themselves with half of their
original capture and they started for the cove where the Sea Eagle was
anchored as fast as they could go, though they were hampered by Juarez.

"Better leave him, Captain," urged old Pete. "He is nothing but a

"I'll have use for that fellow yet," said the Captain. "As for the other
lad, he won't feel so lively after a few days on shipboard."

This did not have a very cheerful sound for Tom and he was in anything
but a happy frame of mind. Still he had great confidence in Jim and did
not give up hope of being rescued before the coast was reached. It was
now getting towards daybreak, and the fog began to lift somewhat so that
they could see a distance of thirty or forty yards.

Captain Broom's gang had now left the region of the level pasture and
were coming to the brush section, fringing the coast, and beyond that
they reached the sand dunes. The nearer they came to the sea the more
depressed Tom became. The only thing that encouraged him was the fact
that Juarez began to seem like himself.

Let us now return to Jo and Jim, who had been so fortunate as to make
their escape. As soon as they were sure that the pursuit was at an end,
they slowed down to a walk.

"Well, they didn't give us much of a chase," remarked Jim.

"Plenty to suit me. What are we going to do now?"

"This fog is beginning to lift," said Jim, "and then we can take our
bearings. I want to locate this ranch the first thing, and then we can
get help."

"Here's a wire fence," announced Jo, "I reckon it's the one the old
geser cut."

"It surely is and a straight course north is our direction," remarked

"Here are hills that look like those we rode through," said Jo.

"We will soon be there now," was Jim's cheerful comment "What's that? It
sounds like a dog barking." They stopped, listening intently, as the
sound came faint, but there was no mistaking it.

"I suppose it's some big hound, that they usually keep on these
ranches," said Jo, who was beginning to feel depressed from hunger and
fatigue, "and he will jump at us because we haven't any weapons."

But in spite of Jo's fear they hurried on in the direction of the sound.
In a short time, they came to a road between two barb wire fences, which
the reader will remember that the Captain and his crew took when they
were coming through the Sebastian ranch. But the boys struck it higher
up, and were soon in the pasture that sloped down from the ranch houses
toward the road.

Jim and Jo now heard the voices of men as well as the baying of the
dogs. The men were talking excitedly about the finding of one of their
number in the canyon tied and gagged, and it was evident that it was not
a good time for strangers to visit the ranch of the Sebastians.

But Jim and Jo were dulled to danger and did not care what risk they ran
and so they called to the men in a friendly Spanish greeting. There was
instantly a great hubbub, and two men charged down upon them, preceded
by a couple of fierce-looking mongrels. These came dashing for them with
red, gaping mouths. The boys defended themselves gallantly with two
stout sticks that they had picked up. Then the two Mexicans took a hand.

"Look out, Jo," cried Jim, who was ever on the alert. "That fellow is
going to throw his lasso." Jo dodged just in the nick of time, but this
gave one of the dogs a chance, and if Jim had not stunned him by a
resounding crack on the head it would have gone hard with his brother.

Just then another man appeared on the scene, attracted from the vicinity
of the house by the noise of the encounter. He came full speed on a
splendid sorrel. It was Juan Sebastian, a dark, handsome young man, a
true son of Spain.

"What's all this?" he cried as he rode up. "Here, Sancho, Jan, you
brutes, come off." The dogs slunk obediently to heel.

"We found those insolent Gringoes," said one of the men, "coming
straight for the Senor's house. We undertook to stop them."

"Senor," said Jim, bowing low and speaking in his best Spanish, "we are
sorry, my brother and I, to have caused this disturbance. We are
strangers and unfortunate, and we have heard of your hospitality,
Senor"--Jim bowed again. He was not so simple, after all.

The Senor Sebastian returned the bow with more grace than Jim could

"I regret, Senor--" he hesitated.

"Darlington," added Jim.

"Senor Darlington, that you have been attacked in this manner, but there
has been a party of desperadoes that have been overrunning this part of
the country for the past two days, and they took one of my men and bound
and gagged him and so you see, Senors," a smile and bow completed the
Spanish gentleman's apology perfectly.

"We have just escaped, not more than an hour ago, from these same
desperadoes," said Jim. "They have taken my brother and friend with them
towards the coast."

"We will saddle and overtake them," promised the Senor, "after we have
had breakfast."

Jim was stunned by this gentle sort of procrastination.

"But, Senor," he said gravely, "we will not be able to overtake them if
we do not start immediately. Pardon my abruptness, but I cannot rest
while there are two of my party prisoners in the hands of this gang of

"It is to be perfectly understood," replied the Spaniard with no less
gravity, "we will make haste, but first we will eat while the servants
are getting two of the horses ready for you and your brother."

This was not Jim's idea of making haste by a long shot, but he was
enough of a traveler to recognize that the ways of men and nations
differed and that nothing was to be gained by going against the grain
of a national characteristic. So while fuming inwardly, he was outwardly
quiet and composed. He argued, too, that it was not likely the pirate
gang would retain the captured prisoners. Later, when they were
themselves at a safe distance they would set free the others.

As they went towards the house, the Spaniard dismounted and walked with
them, giving his horse into the charge of one of the men, with
directions to bring two other horses to the house. There was an
unmistakable courtesy in doing this and the boys appreciated it. They
could not help but contrast their appearance with that of the Spaniard.
He was not gaudily dressed like a vaquero, but everything he wore was
possessed of a certain richness and was not lacking in color. He truly
was a Prince of the South in appearance as well as in courtesy.

Jim and Jo were disreputable beyond words. Their clothes were muddy,
torn and disheveled, their faces so grimed that it was hard to tell
their original color, and there were blotches of blood upon their
clothes as well as faces and hands. But, though they looked worse than
tramps, there was something straightforward in their manner and their
way of speech that the Spaniard was quick to recognize.

As they walked along the Spaniard explained that his household had been
unusually disturbed that morning. His mother, he said, was an invalid,
and had escaped from her attendant. Some mental trouble, he briefly
mentioned as the cause of the elderly lady's worriment. Evidently, he
did not connect the tragedy in his own life, in which his father's life
was sacrificed, with the boys' antagonist. His mother, he assured them,
had been found and was returned to her home.

The boys now had a good view of the house, as they approached it. The
fog having lifted, they could take in the whole situation. The structure
itself was of adobe, of the early California type, low, with broad
verandas, and built on four sides around a court with a fountain in the
centre, with fish in the basin, and grass around it. There were
beautiful rose-tree bushes with gold and red clusters growing over the
corners of the house.

From the verandah there was a beautiful view looking off over the
surrounding country. The house itself stood on a rise of ground that
sloped gently from the plain below. Back of it rose the mountains of the
coast range, while in the distance glittered the broad breadths of the
Pacific, shining like an azure floor. As far as eye could see was the
domain of this great ranch. It was, indeed, a princely estate, and one
of which the Senor Sebastian might well be proud. Those were the days of
romance and of charm in the land of Southern California.



The servants eyed the two boys curiously as they stepped upon the
verandah and the brothers were not reassured by any looks of
friendliness, though they were outwardly courteous. A withered looking
old woman, who looked to Jim as though she had Indian blood showed the
boys to a room, where they could wash up.

"Jove! Doesn't it dazzle your eyes, Jo?" exclaimed Jim, "to see a real
room, with a bed and a white spread, with those starched things where
the pillows ought to be."

"This room would certainly please Aunt Maria," remarked Jo. "That four
poster bed with the canopy over it, is an old timer, I'll warrant you."

"If I slept in this room," said Jim, "I would make a low bow to the bed
and then roll up in my blanket and go to sleep on the floor."

"How do I look?" asked Jo, after he had rubbed and scrubbed his face
for a long time.

"You have got off the first layer," replied Jim, "and look about the
color of a half-breed. Let me try my hand at polishing up."

"It will take you a week," remarked Jo discouragingly.

It cannot be truly said that they looked ornamental even when they were
clean, for Jim's face was badly torn, one side of it being scraped raw.
He got this memento when he tackled the Captain and fell down into the
canyon with him. One eye was blackened and the other cheek bruised.
These disadvantages were not to be overcome in a short time.

Jo was somewhat more presentable, but he, too, showed signs of the rough
time that they had had with the Captain and his "merry" crew. But in
spite of all this, there was something in their bearing, an honest
hardihood and manliness that could not be discounted by torn clothes and
bruised faces.

"This room looks dirty, now," said Jo, "I'm ashamed to leave it like

"We will go outside to brush off our clothes," proposed Jim, "and I'm
going to empty this dirty water myself." He started out with it when he
met one of the servants in the hall. With many explanations, numerous
gestures and much excitement, she took the pail from Jim and disappeared
with it.

"They won't let you do anything for yourself here, Jo," reported Jim,
returning to the room.

This was correct and the boys noticed afterwards that the servants
regarded them with odd expressions of amusement and it was evident to
the sensitive Jo that they were being "guyed" by them, to use a modern
expression. The boys being American lads, were self-reliant, and were
accustomed to do everything for themselves, and, unknowingly they had
gone counter to a custom of constant service of the Spaniards. It was to
demean oneself, according to their code, to do any menial work.

"Might as well start for the dining room," proposed Jo. "I hate leaving
Tom and Juarez to their fate this way."

"I more than hate it," protested Jim, "but as you can't hurry these
people, we will make the best time by falling in with their way of doing

Then they went out into a passageway and, taking the wrong turn, which
was quite easy in the rambling old house, they came to a door that
entered into the courtyard.

"My, but this is beautiful," exclaimed Jo. "It makes you appreciate
California better when you see a place like this."

"That hammock looks good to me," said Jim. "I would like to stretch out
in it right now."

Just then the door opened on the verandah and a really beautiful young
girl stepped out. She was probably seventeen years of age, dressed in
white, with a black mantilla over her equally black hair and her dark
cheeks glowed with color. A very romantic meeting, Messieurs, the
gallant young Americans at one end of the verandah and the Senorita at
the other. Then she saw Jim and Jo with their scarred and bruised faces.
With a little shriek, and clasping her hand to her eyes, she retreated
quickly to her room.

"What did you do to scare that girl, Jo?" inquired Jim severely of his

"Nothing," declared Jo, stoutly. "It was the sight of your face. It
would give a wooden Injun a chill." Jim felt of the said face

"I guess you are right, Jo," he admitted, "but you ain't so charming in
appearance that you would do any damage."

"Let's walk along this side," proposed Jo. "Perhaps we will locate the

"All right," agreed Jim.

So they stalked along, more or less conscious that a pair of dark blue
eyes were regarding them, and they thought they heard a trill of
laughter, but it might have been one of the maids. They need not have
felt embarrassed for there was the grace in their movements that goes
with strength and youth and suppleness.

They were walking under a perfect bower of flowers anyway. For this side
was beautifully latticed and over the lattice work grew vines with
purple and golden flowers, that would give a grateful shade when the
California sun would drive the fog away.

Under foot there was a double flagging of stone with trodden dirt on
either side.

"I don't see a broom anywhere," said Jo.

Just then they heard the voice of Senor Sebastian behind them and they
turned quickly.

"I had begun to fear, Senors, that you had become lost again."

"We were, partially, Senor."

"Our simple breakfast is ready now if you are," he said.

"We will have to brush the dirt off before we can go in," protested Jim.

"Antonio bring a brush," called the Senor. In a moment a gray-haired,
bent Mexican came with a big kitchen broom. Instantly the Senor flushed
with anger.

"Stupid one, my guests are not my horses. Have a care."

A suspicion flashed through Jim's mind that the ancient servitor had
brought the broom on purpose. It was clear that the servants did not
have a very high opinion of their American visitors. The next time he
returned he had gotten the right brush, and made a point of sneezing as
the dust flew from their mud-dried clothes. This made Jim laugh in spite
of himself.

"More dust than the Sirocco brings," said Jim. The old servitor regarded
him with a cunning eye.

"Si, Senor," he said, then he was seized with a perfect convulsion of
sneezing. This aroused his master's ire.

"No more of that, Antonio," he commanded, "or it will be the lash."
Antonio's cold was cured from that moment. Jim's mouth twitched at the
corners with the humor of it but he did not laugh now for that would be
discourteous to his host.

Finally the brushing was finished to the regret of the servants, who had
kept an amused eye on Antonio's performance, while pretending to be busy
on some trivial tasks near the Patio or court. In her own room, the
Senorita was faint with laughter as she watched Antonio dusting the two
American lads.

It was a simple breakfast that the boys found prepared for them in a
long, low dining-room, with its dark beams and white plastered walls.
The coffee was excellent, with a delicate aroma, and was probably the
best that Mexico could afford. There was a large plate of meat garnished
with peppers, and a mixed dish of vegetables that looked odd, but that
tasted deliciously. You may be sure that Jim and Jo appreciated their
meal, and they felt invigorated when it was finished, wishing all the
while, however, that they were on the trail of their captured comrades.

"Now, Senors, the horses are at the door. They are spirited, but I am
sure that you ride well."

This was a mere expression of courtesy on his part, for he did not
expect any such thing and thought to see his guests fall off if the
horses should rise on their hind legs, as they no doubt would, for there
was not a horse on the big rancho but what was peppery and spirited. No
sooner had the Senor spoke than Jim jumped to his feet, putting his hand
to his head.

"I have forgotten about Caliente!" he exclaimed. "It is my horse,
Senor," he explained to his host. "He is up the canyon because the gang
that attacked us last night were afraid of him."

"I will send for him," said the Senor.

"By the pool in the pocket," said Jim. "But I think I ought to get him
myself, though I appreciate your offer, but one's horse, you know--"

"I understand perfectly."

"I cannot leave him without food and water," said Jim.

"I will attend to that. I will send a trustworthy man," and he spoke to
the servant who was waiting on the table. In a short time he returned
with a tall, sinewy man, with straight black hair and dark skin. He gave
this man the necessary instructions and with a "Si, Senor," the man went

"A good reliable fellow," remarked Jim. "He looks like an Indian."

"He is an Indian," replied their host, "but of the right kind. Your
horse is in good hands."

"Tell him to bring him down to the ranch," said Jim. "I'll trust
Caliente with him." The Indian was called back and under his stolid
demeanor was an appreciation of Jim's confidence.

Breakfast over they went out on the verandah, where they could see the
horses. They were spirited looking beasts all right. One was a bay, the
two front legs white stockinged, very trimly built, with a flashing eye,
that he kept rolling around. The boy who was holding him had his hands
full, as the bay would rise on his hind legs and strike out viciously
with his forefeet.

The other animal was much heavier than the bay. A brilliant black, whose
coat fairly shone with careful grooming. He had been standing
comparatively quiet until the three appeared upon the verandah of the
house, then, with a sudden surge backward, he dragged the Mexican boy
off his feet, shaking his head viciously.

"We ought to be armed, Senor," advised Jim. "If we should overtake those
men, they will put up a desperate fight."

"Certainly, Senor," he answered. "Come into this room and select your

After both Jim and Jo were armed, they went out to the horses.



All the servants seemed just now to find duties of importance in front
of the house or near it. They had no idea of missing the chance of
seeing these Gringoes, whom they held in contempt, thrown from their

Jim took the black and Jo was left the red, the easiest to manage even
if he seemed the liveliest. Jo was too quick for his horse and before he
could whirl to one side, he was in the saddle. Then his animal reared
and plunged but Jo sat on him as easily as a cowboy does his steed.
There was no mistaking his horsemanship. The servants were duly and
deeply disappointed.

But their hopes revived when they saw Jim tackle the black. He began
that steady sideways movement which Jim knew so well, whenever he tried
to put his foot in the stirrup. The servants began to smile, here would
be some fun. The "Black Devil," as they called the horse, had been known
to kill men, so they had pleasant anticipations. When Jim found that he
could not mount by the stirrup, he made a quick, powerful leap and was
in the saddle.

"Bravo!" cried the Senor Sebastian, but he knew that the fight had just

Jo looked on with interest and perfect confidence in brother Jim's
ability. The black stood perfectly stunned for a moment or two at being
so suddenly mounted, then he sprang into action. With his back in a hump
he shot into the air and came down stiff-legged.

Without loss of a second he went into the air again, higher than before.
From the corral the Mexican cowboys were looking at the duel between the
horse and the boy with lively interest.

"The Diablo will kill him," said one nonchalantly, blowing a puff of
smoke from his cigarette.

"Five dollars that the Gringo stays on," said a second. The wager was
made and others followed, for the Mexicans are inveterate gamblers. The
third time the horse pitched into the air, Jim swaying with the animal's
every motion as the trained cowboy does. Finding that he could not
dislodge his rider that way, the black rose on his hind legs to a
perpendicular position.

Jim knew the trick of old, and was prepared for it. As the horse started
to fall backwards, Jim who had been sticking like a leech, leaped
lightly to the ground and with all his strength, pulling upon the
bridle, slammed him to the ground. No sooner was the horse upon his feet
again than Jim was in the saddle.

Once more he tried that falling back trick and this time Jim brought him
down upon the damp earth with a thud that jarred things. The black devil
had had enough. He stood quivering and sweating, but for the time being

"Bravo!" cried the Senor Sebastian again, and he shook his guest by the
hand warmly. "You are a true horseman. Now we shall go. We shall eat up
the miles."

The crowd of cowboys swung their hats in a salute to the Gringo, who
could conquer the black devil, while the house servants, disappointed at
the stranger's triumph, went back to their different tasks.

The three horsemen galloped away down the sloping pasture, the Spaniard
in advance as he knew the country and the most direct way to the coast.
His horse was a splendid sorrel, somewhat taller than the horse that Jim
rode. And he was a gallant figure in his leather riding suit and peaked
sombrero with a brilliant colored band around it.

Jim and Jo rode few yards behind the Spaniard and side by side. Jim felt
a certain exultation in his victory over the Black before people who
would have liked to have seen him defeated. It was exhilarating, too,
this plunging gallop ahead with a chance to rescue Tom and Juarez and to
get even with Captain Broom and his gang, who had taken away their
valuables and had given the boys such a cruel defeat.

"This is a fine horse," said Jim, "though he hasn't the stride of

"He is a beauty, when it comes to bucking," Jo commented. "There is
nothing the matter with this bay but my black can beat him for speed."

So they flew on, the speed of their steeds blowing back their horses'
manes, and the fresh air from the sea bringing a feeling of hope to
their hearts, that they would yet be able to overtake the pirates, and
rescue their comrades in distress. Their horses' feet were devouring the

"We stand a chance to get 'em at this rate," shouted Jim.

"Won't it be fine if we can all sit down to dinner tonight?" replied Jo.
"I bet that Tom and Juarez would enjoy a square meal with the Senor at
the ranch house. Ifs kind of nice to be civilized once in a while."

"You're right, it is," declared Jim emphatically.

"I wonder if there isn't a store around here where we could buy some
clothes," inquired Jo, anxiously. "We look too disreputable to appear in
polite society."

"Thinking about that girl, I suppose?" remarked Jim with brotherly

"I wouldn't be so sure if I were you," replied Jo evasively. "How about
the Senorita down in Mexico who threw you the rose at the castle?" This
reference to the Senorita Cordova whom the Frontier Boys had rescued in
Mexico, checked Jim from getting too gay for he still had a tender place
in his memory for her.

The fog by this time was entirely dissipated, and they could see by
certain white or rather light spots in the clouds where the sun was
going to break through and an absolutely clear day would result. The
three riders had now reached the brush region that began a few miles
from the coast and they were compelled to go more slowly.

But if they had only known what was going on not more than two miles
away from where they were, they would not have slackened speed no
matter what risk they ran. For Captain Broom and his crew with the two
captives had arrived at the cove and old Pete and Jack Cales were going
into the cave for the boat.

There was a chance, but the Senor and his companions must hurry. Some
mishap to the pirates' expedition just at this point and the frontier
boys would win. Tom and Juarez might have sung the tune that they had
often sung before in camp.

          "Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
            Cheer up, comrades, they will come,
          And beneath the starry flag
          We will breathe the air again
            Of freedom in our own beloved home."

But they did not know and they sat miserable and dejected upon the damp
sand of the beach, not knowing that Jim and Jo were coming nearer every
second. Then there came an accident, though a slight one, that gave the
pursuers a chance.

Old Pete was carrying one end of the boat. He was nervous, anyway, in
regard to the cave and its grewsome contents, thought he saw some dark
spectre coming for him out of the blackness of the cave and he dropped
his end of the boat and scudded for the beach.

The Captain was furious, giving him a blow that sent him spinning half
way down to the water, and he and the mate rushed back to see what
damage the boat had suffered. It was only slightly stove in, but every
second was precious. The pursuers were only a mile away.

Jim began to grow restless as they neared the coast. He seemed to feel
that they were nearing the enemy, and at his urging, the Spaniard, who
had an increased respect and liking for Jim ever since he had conquered
Black Diablo, put his horse to the gallop, and away they went along the
narrow winding path through the bushes.

The branches whipt them, but they paid no attention, but on they went;
it was evident that they made considerable racket and Captain Broom,
with a fierce burst of energy for which he was famous, got the boat
launched, the two prisoners in, and with himself and the mate at the
oars, made the boat leap forward over the lazy rolling swell towards the
graceful Sea Eagle.

When they had reached a point half-way to the vessel, the horsemen came
tearing through the last screen of brush onto the yellow sand. The enemy
had escaped by the skin of its teeth and it was heart-rending to see Tom
and Juarez being carried away from them at every stroke of the oars
towards their black prison. Jim put up his hands to his mouth and

"We will rescue you, boys. Don't give up. We'll get 'em yet."

A derisive yell greeted this challenge and one of the men in the boat
fired at the group on the shore, but the bullet fell harmlessly short.
They did not dare to fire in return lest they hit either Tom or Juarez.

"They have steam up on board," observed Jim. "But I see one chance to do
some execution."

It was this. The Sea Eagle was anchored close under a cliff on the
northern side of the cove. So Jim slipped off his horse, for the way on
that side was impracticable except on foot. It was hard going at that,
especially as there were a good many cacti with their wretched thorns.

Jim stepped gingerly along over the rocks, gliding through the bushes
until at last he reached a point above the vessel where he could almost
look down upon her decks. The boat from the shore had just come
alongside and the prisoners were hustled into the cabin and the door
locked. Tom and Juarez were a dejected-looking pair and it made Jim's
heart ache to see them.

The Captain went upon the quarter-deck and gave an order to the man at
the wheel. The anchor had already been weighed. Slowly and gracefully
the Sea Eagle turned, and there stood Captain Broom, as big as life upon
the bridge. Why did not Jim fire? Because he had come to a certain wise



As Jim had raised his revolver to fire, a sudden idea came to him. In
the first place he rebelled instinctively from shooting a man down in
cold blood from ambush, even if he was as desperate and crime-stained a
character as Captain Bill Broom, besides it would not save Tom and
Juarez and only make their captivity harder to endure, if any injury was
done the Captain.

Another thing, Jim was sure that if he began the attack that his two
comrades would be used as shields to protect the man at the wheel, so
that the Sea Eagle could be navigated safely out of the cove. He saw
with interest the narrow place between two lines of foam above hidden
ledges where the boat must pass in order to reach the open sea. He
marvelled at the temerity of Captain Broom in daring to bring his ship
through such a place.

Then a brilliant thought came to him, a sudden stroke that might turn
defeat into victory. The Sea Eagle was now making straight for the
narrow channel. Jim slipped back for a short distance an ran as rapidly
as he could to a point a little to the west of where he had first
hidden. He did not have long to wait. The Sea Eagle was almost directly
opposite his place of ambush, and was just sticking her nose into the
narrow passage.

Jim raised his revolver and took careful aim and fired. The man at the
wheel gave a yell and clapped his hand to the shoulder, letting go the
wheel and the nose of the little steamer swung toward the rock. A swell
lifted her bow clear by a few inches, and the Captain caught the steamer
by the wheel and brought her to a course.

"Bring those boys up on deck and shoot them if that black-haired devil,"
(meaning Jim) "fires another shot," he called to the mate.

That worthy was not slow to obey the order, he had them on deck in full
sight in a jiffy and held a pistol at Tom's head. Jim had raised his arm
to fire at the Captain when he heard his order and it was as if he had
been paralyzed. He knew that Tom and Juarez would have been killed to a
certainty if he fired another shot.

Luck had broken against him again, for that was all that had kept the
Sea Eagle from going on the reef, where if she had not been wrecked,
she and her crew would have been at the mercy of the men on shore. Just
the lifting of the wave had saved the vessel by a few inches, that, and
Captain Broom's quick and skillful action.

The second round of the contest had gone in favor of the pirate and his
crew, but only by a shade as it were. But it would not surprise me a bit
if Jim evened up matters in the third and final round. Let us hope so,
at least, for that will give a silver lining to the black cloud that had
rolled over the boys' fortunes at this particular time.

Jim made his way slowly back to where Jo and the Senor were waiting for
him on the beach. He was despondent over the failure of his plans by so
close a margin, and the sight of Tom and Juarez helpless on the deck in
the hands of these sea-coast pirates, was always before his eyes.

"What were you trying to do, Jim?" inquired Jo, "Sink the ship?" Before
Jim could reply, the Spaniard gave a cry of warning.

"Look out, they are going to shoot."

Glancing toward the Sea Eagle, which was now a half mile from shore,
they saw a puff of smoke, and then a shell struck into the beach below
them and exploding, sent a shower of sand over them and the horses. The
latter, frightened, reared and plunged, but the boys soon got their
animals under control, as they quickly tired of acting up in the heavy
sand. Jim shook his fist in the direction of the Sea Eagle.

"Curse your insolence!" he yelled. "I'll make every one of you eat crow,
you miserable hounds!"

Jim looked ugly, his eyes glared with concentrated fury and the veins on
his temple were swollen and throbbing. Unthinkingly, he pulled back hard
upon the bit, sending his horse up in the air.

"Easy, boy," he said, soothingly. "Easy. It was my fault for yanking

When the horse was quieted, Jim was cooled down to his normal
temperature, and he told his comrades of his attack upon the Sea Eagle
and how it had turned out.

"Senor Darlington," said the Spaniard impressively, "I will take off my
hat to you. You are a natural General. Take my advice, my friend, and go
to Spain. There you might head a revolution and in time rise to high

"I appreciate your praise deeply, Senor Sebastian," responded Jim, "but
my own country, Senor, I could not leave it for another."

"Right, Senor," replied the Spaniard, "you have the true spirit."

"Which way will she turn, do you suppose?" asked Jo, pointing to the
vessel that was moving steadily out on the Pacific in a straight line
from the shore.

"To the North, doubtless," replied the Spaniard.

"Wherever she goes we must find her out," said Jim, with grim

"I wish we could follow them," sighed Jo. "If we could only hire a

"They have our money," replied Jim, briefly.

"I had forgotten that," said Jo, and his face showed his disappointment.

"Permit me to help you," said the Spaniard, "I am to blame for detaining
you at breakfast."

"That is generous of you, Senor," replied Jim, "but I do not favor going
to the expense of chartering a steamer. Even if it were possible, my
plan would be to follow along the coast on horseback and see what can be
done when they make a landing."

"As you are the General," replied the Spaniard, "we will allow you to
make the plans."

"Look!" exclaimed Jo, "they are turning South instead of North."

"Impossible!" cried the Spaniard. "There is only one port within two
hundred miles. I do not understand. Yes, they are surely going South."

"Perhaps they have a secret landing place," hazarded Jim.

"Not so," replied the Spaniard. "Not a harbor where they could land save
one and there they would not dare to go."

The three watchers on horseback gazed until there was little to be seen
other than a smudge of smoke upon the horizon. It was no use, the Sea
Eagle was holding to her southerly course to some mysterious port. The
sun had now come out and was shining with sheer brilliance upon the
sparkling ocean.

"We must return now," said the Spaniard. "There is nothing more for us
to do at present."

"I think that my brother and I will start this afternoon and take the
trail to the south," announced Jim, "wherever those fellows set foot, I
want to be waiting for them."

"I fear it is impossible to start so soon," replied the Spaniard, "I
must go with you as I know the country to the South, every foot of it."

"The Senor is right, Jim," put in Jo, quickly, as he saw a frown on
Jim's face and was afraid that he was going to say something abruptly.
"You will want to give Caliente a good rest, so that when we start, we
will make the distance without delay. Then we have to make some
preparations ourselves."

Jim looked at his brother with a moment's dark suspicion, but it was
evident that Jo was perfectly sincere in what he said.

"I will promise, Senor," said the Spaniard with a peculiar smile, "that
when we start which will be early tomorrow morning, that we will travel
far and fast enough to suit you and your horse." There was a challenge
in his voice that Jim met smilingly.

"So be it, Senor," he said, "I will try to be in sight at the finish."

"My horse is a remarkable animal for speed and endurance, I must tell
you frankly," said the Senor gravely. "He has no equal in this country
of California. He has proved it more than once and against all comers."

"He is certainly a fine horse," admitted Jim, looking at the sorrel with
admiring eyes. "He has a splendid stride."

"Ah, no, Senor," laughed the Spaniard with a gleam of his white teeth,
"I did not mean him," patting the horse on the neck, "a good animal,
indeed, but more for my little sister to ride than for me. Wait, my
friend, until I introduce you to Don Fernando and then you will see a
horse for the first time."

"I should be very much pleased to see him," said Jim, frankly curious
and interested.

"Tomorrow," said the Spaniard.

They had now turned into the narrow trail among the bushes and had only
ridden a few steps when Jo called a sudden halt.

"What do you think, Jim, there's my horse and Tom's tied in that

Sure enough there they were, utterly worn out, but with spirit enough to
recognize their old comrades Jim and Jo, and if ever horses expressed a
welcome these two did when they first caught sight of their two friends.

"They have cut the saddles to pieces, the brutes," exclaimed Jo.

"I'm glad to get the horses," said Jim, "I am surprised that they didn't
cut their throats."

"They will follow us all right," said Jo, in reply to the Spaniard's
suggestion that they would have to be led, and they trotted along behind
Jo, who was the last one in line.

"Do you know of any place where we could buy things?" asked Jim. "We
need a new outfit."

"But we have no money," put in Jo quickly.

"I will get the money or its equivalent today," said Jim. "If there is a
store where the Senor can get me credit."

"Yes, there is a store where a Portugee sells about everything that we
need in this country," replied the Spaniard. "It is some distance to the
north. We will ride there before we return to the ranch. There will be
no difficulty about the credit," he concluded, with a bow to Jim.



"You do not know my ability to spend," said Jim, "I may have to plunge
to the extent of several hundred dollars. You see my brother has very
expensive tastes. It will cost quite a small fortune when I buy him a
complete trousseau including diamonds."

"I will pledge my lands if necessary to get the young Senor diamonds,"
said the Spaniard laughingly.

In about an hour's time they came to a large one story frame building
painted a rather light blue, which color had weathered a good deal. It
had a square, false front with a sign on it that read, "Mr. Gonsalves,
General Trader."

They hitched their horses to some well graveled posts, and went inside
leaving Jo's and Tom's horses free to graze at will around, or to stand
under the shelter of some drooping pepper tree across the road. The
proprietor, a short, thick-set Portugee with a close trimmed black
beard, and a gray slouch hat which he always wore, apparently, received
them graciously. The contents of the store were entirely at their
service,--if they paid for them.

"We will miss poor Tom here," said Jo, "he was always our purchasing

"And a mighty good one," added Jim. "Not even a Connecticut Yankee could
get the best of him in a bargain."

The Spaniard sat in a round armed wooden chair, gracefully smoking a
cigarette, while his guests busied themselves making purchases. First
the boys bought some new clothes, which they retired behind a counter to
put on, and emerged in proper apparel for the plains.

Blue flannel shirts, and pants of the same color, held up by leather
belts, with much glitter of silver on them, then they bought a sombrero
apiece, not after the Mexican style, but of the American type. Jim had a
red band around his and Jo had a blue.

"Now we want some handkerchiefs to tie around our necks," said Jo.

"Of course," remarked Jim with a wink, "something that will catch the
eyes of the ladies."

So M. Gonsalves brought out a brilliant assortment of handkerchiefs.

"Here's a very fine article, gents," he said holding out a red silk
handkerchief, clustered with white horseshoes.

"Nothing the matter with that," admitted Jim admiringly, with a droll
look at Jo. "But this plain red one will suit me. My brother would
probably like the horseshoe one." But Jo also declined.

"I will take the dark blue one," he said, "it matches my costume

"Gee! but you will look like a color scheme," laughed Jim, "blue eyes,
blue pants, shirt, tie and socks, and hat band, you ought to be a sailor
on the blue Pacific."

"The next things are boots," remarked Jo.

"Not for me," said Jim briefly, "I want moccasins. Worn 'em all my life,
and I am not going to change to boots now."

"Fine line of moccasins," said the accommodating Mr. Gonsalves in his
best trade manner. You see he had been in business in San Francisco and
knew something of the ways of customers.

"But it gives us more style to wear boots. You notice that all the
inhabitants wear them, we can buy moccasins too. You wear them all the
time and they will set you down for an Indian."

"When a fellow once gets the idea of style in his head," said Jim
resignedly, "nothing this side of matrimony is going to stop him. So lay
on MacDuff and cursed be he who first cries hold, enough."

"I feel like I was anchored," commented Jim, stepping across the floor
with heavy tread. "I should like to stalk a deer or an Indian in these
things. He could tell you were arriving before you got above the

"But you look fine in 'em," said Jo.

It was true that he made a striking figure in his blue togs. The lithe
powerful physique, and the strong, resolute face.

"Better look out, Jo," grinned Jim. "No Senorita would look at you, when
they see me dashing over the landscape."

"I'm a pretty stylish looking guy myself," responded Jo, confidently. He
did make a good appearance, there was no doubt of that. Though slighter
than his brother he was well set up, and his frame was well muscled. He
was handsomer than Jim. But there was no nonsense about either of the
two boys and they never gave an unnecessary thought to their appearance.

"Now, Mr. Gonsalves," said Jim, "we would like to look at some of your

"Revolvers?" he questioned, "just step this way. I can fit you out all

He did have a fine collection and Jim examined the different ones
carefully, noting their action and how easily they worked.

"I see you are no tenderfoot," complimented the proprietor. "You have
handled shooting irons before."

"I'll be a tenderfoot before long, if I wear these condemned boots you
sold me," said Jim gruffly ignoring the compliment. He did not care
especially for M. Gonsalves' style. "Now let's have a look at your
rifles." The proprietor actually took off his hat and bowed.

It was evident that the distinguished gentlemen from nowhere in
particular were going to buy out his entire stock.

"Would you be so gracious as to step this way?" he said, "I have the
rifles in the back of the store."

They were so gracious, and after due examination they selected a couple
of well balanced guns and purchased enough ammunition to stand off a few
Indian raids. All the stuff besides what they had on their backs they
packed upon Tom's horse, as Tom was not present to resent the indignity.

"Now the last things are some saddles," said Jim, "seeing that our kind
friends, the pirates, cut up those we owned."

"Senor Darlington," said the Spaniard coming forward and touching Jim
lightly on the arm, "Do not speak of buying saddles. I will see to
that." Jim did not know exactly what their host meant but he thanked him
and deferred to his request.

Now behold the frontier boys in complete costume, with glittering
revolvers at their hips and rifles swung across their backs, upon their
hands were fringed buckskin gloves. They had gone the whole hog as Jim

"I'll take the shine off this costume in about one day," said Jim
grimly, "when I get in the open, I would rather break a broncho, than a
new suit of clothes." There was no doubt about his impressive
appearance, as the sun flashed on the metal of the accoutrements and he
swung himself into the saddle. Even their host seemed to hold them in
higher regard. Different people, different manners.

When they reached the house ranch the first thing Jim did was to find
Caliente. He was in the long adobe stable that was a half-mile from the
house, at the beginning of a wide mountain valley, where the air drew
through from the sea.

"How are you, Caliente old fellow," cried Jim, as he opened the box
stall and went in to shake hands with his old comrade. But the horse
leaped to one side, and then reared up as if to strike Jim.

"He don't know you," cried Jo who was on the outside of the stall. "Take
off your hat."

Jim whirled it out of the stall, and a change came over Caliente. He
recognized his master, and nickering in recognition he rubbed his head
against Jim's shoulder, and took playful nips at his fine new shirt,
while Jim fairly hugged him, and gave him resounding whacks with his
open hand upon his splendid sides and shoulders.

"A magnificent animal, Senor Darlington," said Senor Sebastian to Jim,
"I congratulate you."

It was a true word. Caliente with his proud neck, small but shapely
head, powerful but not too heavy frame, and color of mottled gray was

All that afternoon Jim busied himself grooming his horse until his coat
fairly glistened. He looked carefully to his feed, and saw to his
watering. For Jim was determined that his horse should not be beaten by
the Spaniard's. He knew that the latter's horse must be an unusual
animal. It was not a short race, instead, one of two hundred miles that
lay before them on the morrow.

That evening the American boys presented a better appearance than they
did at breakfast. It was a pretty scene that evening in the long dining
room. The snowy table lit by light of candles and set with ancient
silver brought from Spain. The young Senorita was seated at her
brother's right, and on the other side were James Darlington and his
brother Joseph. As to the impression she made upon them, we will say
nothing, as this is not a romance, but they had a merry and delightful

Their host and the young Senorita were much interested in hearing of the
adventures of the boys in Mexico, especially that part that referred to
the rescue of the Senorita Cordova from the hands of Cal Jenkins and his
gang. I do not know that The Frontier Boys told it with any less fervor
because the eyes of the young girl, seated opposite, were fixed intently
upon them. It appeared that their host knew of the Senor Cordova, who
was a man of prominence in his country, though he had not actually met
him. So there was one more bond of sympathy between the Senor Sebastian
and James and Jo Darlington.



Let us now turn our interest and attention for a time to the cruise of
the Sea Eagle, under the guidance of that redoubtable free-booter,
Captain Broom. It was a mystery to the three who watched the ship turn
to the South, what her port could be. We will soon be in a position to
solve that problem.

No sooner had the Sea Eagle cleared the cove than Captain Broom went to
his cabin to go over his spoils which he had taken from the frontier
boys. He placed all the belts upon the table, took up one, and with a
keen knife slit the first pouch. A large heavy Spanish coin rolled out
and then clinked down upon the table.

The Captain's eyes glistened. "By Gosh!" he exclaimed, "it was worth
while rounding up those fellows. They must have struck it rich down in
Mexico. I bet the boys will be tickled to death to get their share." For
whatever crimes and shortcomings Captain Broom could be charged with,
at least he always divided fairly with his crew. Thereby he held their
loyalty. It was not all policy, either, for there was a sterling streak
in the bad old fellow.

Out of the next pouch there glittered upon the table several diamonds
and a small palm full of rubies, with their rich color and radiance.
"The boys will have enough to start a jewelry store," commented the
Captain. "But I am not surprised at this haul. I know something about
the hidden treasures myself, and they do say Mexico is the the place for

Out of another belt he got some ingots of gold and a girdle that caused
the Captain to open his eyes. At first he did not know what to make of
it. When he held it up he saw that it was formed of golden disks linked
with strings of rubies and sapphires. In the third belt was a necklace
that might have been worn by some Princess of the Incas. It was oddly,
almost weirdly beautiful.

The fourth belt that he picked up chanced to belong to Jim.

"This seems lighter than the others," remarked the Captain. "Three of
the pouches are empty." His face got black with rage. For instantly his
mind leaped to the suspicion that one of his men had rifled it. If such
had been the case, the guilty party would have got short shift at the
end of a rope from the yard arm.

But the second examination showed that the cut was an old one.

"So!" he cried, "one of the boys has cached part of his share. I bet it
was that long-legged, black-haired guy. That fellow would give the best
of us trouble. I wish I had him to train. Maybe, I can make something of
the Injun boy," meaning Juarez.

As to the belts, the shrewd old fellow, to make sure, measured them to
see where the worn holes of the leather came, and the partially empty
belt had been worn two inches longer than any of the others.

"It was the big fellow's," said the Captain.

Then he went upon deck and called the crew forward.

"Now, lads, choose your man to get your share of the goods," he said.

"It's Jack Cales, sir," they said, knowing that they would be called
upon to select a man to take their share.

"All right! Come, lad," said the Captain, and led the way to his cabin.
When Jack Cales saw the treasures on the table, he opened his eyes and
mouth in astonishment.

"Why, Sir," he exclaimed, "we haven't seen anything like this since the
day two years ago when--" he stopped suddenly, seeing from a look in the
Captain's eyes that no reminiscences were desired.

"This is your share, lad," said the Captain, gruffly.

"Thank you, sir," responded Cales, as he swept the small pile of gold
and jewels into the palm of his big hands.

"And mind ye, lad," warned the Captain, "I don't want any quarreling
among yourselves or ye will hear from me."

"Aye, aye, sir," replied the sailor and backed out of the cabin.

There was an interesting gathering in the forecastle when Jack Cales
deposited his handful of treasures on the top of a sea chest that had
been hauled out for the purpose.

For once it was not necessary to have the lantern lit, for a broad band
of sunshine shone down the steep ladder and cut a golden swath through
the dingy gloom and fell athwart the chest and illuminated the group:
the tall and swaggering Cales, the rugged, grizzled Pete, and the other
sailormen; a typical group and not to be matched for picturesqueness
anywhere; with their faces intent upon the center of the old black sea
chest, where glowed and glittered the gold and jewels in the band of
light that shone upon some of the faces of the intent group, while
others were in the shadow. It was a scene such as Rembrandt--pardon,
kind reader, I forgot for a moment, this is a simple narrative of

"Pete," said Cales, "how the ladies will love you when they see a chain
of glittering diamonds around your throat."

"One thing is certain, lad," replied the grizzled Pete, "I won't be
givin' none of my diamonds away to the ladies. I'll keep the stones safe
in my jeans."

"You'll have to be keerful, Pete," rallied another, "they'll be marrying
you for your ill-gotten wealth, when they find out that you are an
heiress. You can't help yourself, Pete. It won't make any difference
because you are a pirate, that won't scare 'em. Not when they see them

"What's the use of you boys a talkin' to me," he said with a wise wink,
"you're only kittens. I'm sixty year old and I'm a free man yit."

"Here's a pill for you, Pop," said Cales, dropping a diamond into his
horny hand.

"Gee! I'm just as well pleased to get this as I was to get a bunch of
popcorn when I was a kid back in New England, off the Christmas tree."

"Better have it sot in one of your front teeth, Pop," said Jack. This
produced a roar of laughter, for Pete's front teeth were conspicuous by
their absence.

So the distribution went on without any bickering at first, only jovial
jokes, but at last there came a bone of contention over the last
diamond. And in a jiffy Jack Cales and a short, stocky sailor were all
tangled up in a fierce encounter. Their comrades, none too gently,
hoisted them up on deck. There they continued their fight.

No sooner did Captain Broom see them than he cluttered down from the
bridge at a furious rate. The two combatants ought to have taken warning
but they were deaf to everything except their own struggle. He was livid
with anger, and his wrath was in a large measure justified.

"I'll larn you!" he yelled, grabbing each by the back of the neck. "You
won't fight any more this trip."

They were like children in his hands. He had not only the arms of a
gorilla, but the strength of one when he was aroused and it was a
caution the way he slammed them around, flaying the deck with them, and
dashing their heads together. It seemed as if every bone in their bodies
would be broken. Finally he flung them unconscious on the deck.

"Put them in the Sagenette," he ordered the mate.

"Aye, aye, sir," he replied, and with the aid of one of the sailors,
they were chained in a narrow cell.

Here was where Juarez and Tom came in. As the two fighters were knocked
out and locked up, it made the crew short and they were ordered out on
deck from the cabin where they had been kept. Almost famished though
they were, they had to jump in and work like nailers, not to say,

Fortunately for them, they had experienced a hard schooling in many
different ways since they came west and were practical masters of
several lines of industry, but this was their first experience
sailoring. It was a hard school, but they learned more in a few days,
than they would have under months of more gentle tuition. This was to
stand them in good stead when they started on their cruise to Hawaii.

"I'll get even with those fellows," growled Tom as he passed near Juarez
who was busy polishing some brass work. "Yes, if it takes the rest of my

"What do you mean, stopping and gabbing, you little shrimp?" roared the
mate who chanced to see Tom stop.

And he rushed up and grabbing Tom by the back of the neck, shook him
ferociously, landing him a couple of kicks at the same time. This was
too much for Juarez, who poised a stone that he was using and was about
to brain the mate with it when the Captain's iron grip fell on his arm.
He didn't throw that brick.

"Easy, lad," said the Captain. "No more fighting on board this ship, or
I'll take a hand again and don't you two lads pass the time of day
either. You won't be killed if you work hard and keep cheerful." Then he
gave the mate a look, which that worthy understood and Tom was allowed
to go about his work without further molestation.

But this was a new and hard doctrine that the Captain had laid down that
the boys had to take hard usage and unceasing work and keep cheerful
about it. They soon found that the Skipper meant what he said. It was a
bitter lesson, but perhaps they were the manlier for learning it so
young. For it's something that life hands out to everyone sooner or

Often the boys looked longingly over the rail towards the faint, far
outline of the California coast. The Skipper was keeping his ship far
out from the land for reasons best known to himself. One thing was
favorable in that the sea air had braced up Juarez so that he felt more
like himself though his head was queer at times. And no wonder for that
blow the Mexican dwarf had given him was sufficient to have stunned an



The Sea Eagle was steaming steadily South to her mysterious harbor. The
day was a brilliant one and as the afternoon wore on the wind from the
Northwest began to blow with fresher force and the white caps began to
jump, here, there and everywhere over the broad surface of the ocean,
and then slide down on the back of the waves.

There was a good deal of motion on the part of the Sea Eagle now, as she
plunged into the waves and threw the spray back over her decks. Both
Juarez and Tom proved themselves good sailors, which was just as well
for if they had been sea sick together with their other miseries they
might have succumbed.

Finally the long afternoon wore away and the time came for supper. The
boys being neither flesh, fish or fowl, were not allowed to eat with the
crew, and they did not mind in the least. When their rations did arrive,
or rather when they went to the ship's galley and got their share, they
found the fare not lacking in quality and abundance. There was a heaping
plate of Mexican beans, a big hunk of bread and a bowl of hot tea. After
the boys had stowed this below in their hatches they felt a hundred per
cent better and more fit to meet any fate that might await them.

An hour before sunset a heavy bank of fog began to roll up from the
West, soon covering the whole sky with its gracious softness, and
decided restfulness, after the glittering blue-diamond beauty of the

It is the fogs alone that make the climate of California, especially in
the Southern part endurable. Too much sunshine becomes as unbearable as
too much cloudiness.

The sea went down, when the fog came up and the waters took on a steely
color under their blanket of gray, rolling on, in that monotonous
meditation that holds the mystery of forgotten ages in its brooding.

"Here's where you will sleep, boys," said Old Pete, who had been
appointed by the Captain to have special charge over their education.
"The men won't have you in the fo'castle, and it's pretty crowded there

"This will suit us, sir," replied Juarez. He did not call him Pop, as
he would have on the land. This was the sea and had its own rules and
customs, therefore Old Pete received his due of respect. But in his
rough way he was not unfriendly towards the boys, for he remembered that
they had given him friendly advice, when he was aboard that strange
craft, a horse, the night before.

The place where the boys were to sleep was a sort of cubby hole in the
bow of the boat, that was roofed over and where anchor chains and other
junk was sometimes kept. It was not over four feet high, five in width
at the broadest and narrowing to the bow.

A rude place to sleep in, but what did the Frontier Boys care for that?
They could scarcely count the nights that they had slept out on the
ground, and in bad weather too. They had a blanket apiece, and a
tarpaulin to pull over them.

The blankets they had spread out on the floor of the cubby hole and they
found that the tarpaulin made a mighty warm protective covering, keeping
out the damp sea air in fine style.

"Where do you suppose we are heading for, Juarez?" inquired Tom.

"Maybe a port in Mexico or South America and then again we may head for
Hawaii before we intend to."

"We are going South now, though," said Tom.

"If we run in close to the coast, we'll jump overboard, and swim for
it," said Juarez.

"We could do it if we get within a mile," said Tom, "if it is not too

Just then Juarez put his hand over Tom's mouth, he felt sure that
someone was listening or was preparing to. Juarez ran his fingers
carefully over the boards until he found where a hole had been bored
through the planking a little back of their heads. It was just as he had
suspected, someone was listening to hear what plans they would make.

With the noiselessness characteristic of him when scouting, Juarez crept
out partially and cautiously raised his head until he caught sight of
the sole of a man's boot. Then he crept back to his place and gave Tom a
nudge. Forthwith they began talking in rather loud tones.

"Say Tom, do you know I rather like this ship. These fellows are rough
in their way but that is to be expected."

"Of course," said Tom, in an equally loud voice, "but we might as well
make the best of it. There is no chance for the boys to find us."

"You're right there, Tom."

Then in a short time they appeared to fall into a deep and sonorous
sleep. This was no fake on the part of Tom who was actually and
thoroughly tired. But Juarez was more of a veteran and he kept his eyes
open and he was rewarded in a few minutes by seeing a man's feet hanging
over the edge of their bunk house and then he saw the figure of the mate
slouch aft.

"You sly old rascal, you," remarked Juarez. "We will 'larn' you to try
and be too smart with the Frontier Boys. We may be young but we are not

Nothing happened for a while and the gentle plunge of the Sea Eagle into
the long rolling swell soon lulled the tired Juarez into a sound sleep,
so that neither he nor Tom were aware that the ship had suddenly changed
her course.

By and by however, Juarez waked with a start. Something had happened, he
knew not what. He sat up and struck his head upon the planking overhead.
Fortunately however he did not hit the place where the Mexican had
struck him but at the best his head was a tender place with him and the
blow stunned him, but as he was now more his rugged self, he soon

He found what had wakened him was the stopping of the ship. He saw
several dark forms moving aft and he crept out to see what was afoot. He
had to move very carefully but managed to reach the hood of the
forecastle, where he crouched looking and listening.

He saw that they were lying to, close in to shore and could see the
white splash of the breakers as they rolled towards the shore and could
hear their monotonous thunder upon the beach. Here perhaps was their
chance. Just then he heard the heavy voice of the Captain from the

"Lower away there." Then the starboard boat slid noiselessly down from
the davits into the water.

Juarez got up and glided back into the cubby hole to tell Tom the good
news. It was their opportunity to escape and seemingly a good one. The
sea was smooth and the night was dark. They could slip over the side of
the vessel and pull for the shore, and not a soul on the Sea Eagle would
be the wiser until they looked into their nest in the morning to find it

Once they got to the shore it would be an easy matter to make their way
North until they met Jim and Jo.

The anticipation of the escape had already thrilled through every nerve
in Juarez's body. But he had just started to wake Tom, when something
made him look down the deck. There was the tall figure of one of the
sailors coming directly towards the bow.

Juarez lay down quickly as though asleep. Then the man reached down and
caught hold of Tom's foot and Juarez's and gave them a rough yank. "So
you are here, you young brats. You had better make a move or the Cap'n
will finish you."

Juarez was fairly sizzling with rage especially as Tom was really
frightened by being wakened in such rough fashion and after all Tom was
but a boy and it pained Juarez to see him so scared, but he was
helpless, and all he could do was to add one more black mark to the
score he was charging up to the free-booters.

Instead of moving away, the man sat on a capstan a few feet distant from
the boys' den, watching for the slightest move on their part, a marlin
spike dangling playfully in his hands. Juarez had not taken the crafty
and keen sighted Captain Broom into account.

From the Bridge, that worthy, although he was watching the launching of
the boat, had chanced to catch sight out of the tail of his eye of a
dark shadow flitting back to the forecastle. He was not sure it was one
of the boys, but he was taking no chances, for he had a real respect for
their prowess and audacity as he might well have.

So he had sent one of his crew to guard this young lions' den, while the
ship was so close in shore. He did not intend to stay longer than was
necessary right at this point, and he waited with some anxiety for the
return of the mate and Pete in the boat.

It was now two o'clock in the morning and Captain Broom wanted to be out
at sea a good safe distance before the light broke. The mate's boat had
now been gone over a half-hour, and the Captain stood at the end of the
Bridge looking towards the shore. There was not a light upon the vessel
to show her position. She lay silent and black upon the dark waters.

Then the Captain straightened up. He saw a moving body approaching the
ship and heard the slight dip of oars. Then the boat was alongside and
instead of two men, there were three in the boat. The Captain went down
to the main deck to meet them.



They met without any formality. The new passenger was a tall, slightly
stooped man, with long hair falling down to his shoulders. Juarez was
exceedingly anxious to see him, but could make out only a dark form
moving along the deck.

"Come to the cabin, Jeems," called the Captain. "I've got something to
tell ye."

They were soon seated in the Captain's cabin. This was a good-sized
room, panelled in light wood and very neatly kept. There was quite a
broad table of the same wood as the walls and a swivel chair in front of
it. The Captain seated himself in this chair and whirled to talk to the
visitor from the shore.

It was evident that he was not a temporary visitor for scarcely had they
seated themselves in the cabin than the Sea Eagle slowly and gently
turned and they felt the pulsation of her engines as she headed once
more for sea. The man was seated on a sea chest opposite the Captain.

He wore long cowhide boots, with jeans pants thrust into their tops,
flannel shirt of a nondescript color and a corduroy jacket. His hat was
of a battered gray. The face was smooth-shaven, deeply lined and burnt
to a dull brown. The hair which came down to his shoulders had that
peculiar sun-burnt weathered tinge that comes from continual exposure to
the weather. He was not an old man, probably on the sunny side of forty.

"Well, Jeems, what is your news?" inquired the Captain.

"The government boat is in the harbor, that's all." The Captain gave a
low, peculiar whistle.

"When did she show up?" he asked.

"Two days ago, Cap'n," he replied.

"Come from the South?"

"Yes," replied the man. "Put in for coal, I reckon."

"Then put out for us," said the Captain briefly.

"Any 'baccy, Cap'n? Been out two days," remarked Jeems.

"Lift your lanky frame off that chest," replied the Captain, "and I'll
git you some."

The man sprang up with remarkable alacrity, and as he unfolded length
after length of his long figure, it seemed as if his head would touch
the ceiling of the cabin. In fact, he did not miss it by many inches.
It was a comical contrast between the short stooping figure of the
Captain and the tall stranger.

"Waal, Jeems, I wouldn't advise you to grow any more, or I'll have to
raise the roof of my cabin."

"That's what, Cap'n," replied Jeems imperturbably. "That's what happens
when you grow up in Californy. You grow all the year around, and not
like in New England where the winters makes you stubby."

Then the native philosopher seated himself on the chest again and took
long and delightful pulls at his recently staked pipe.

"Hum!" he said. "This tastes right. Did yer ever know what it war to be
starved for yer 'baccy, Cap'n?"

"No," replied the Captain, "I can't say that I ever did."

"Well, I want to tell you, Cap'n, that it is worse than going without
water and I know what that is. Been on a desert till my tongue was as
thick as a cow's, and hung out between my teeth, black."

"How long have you been away?" inquired the Captain.

"Three weeks, Cap'n."

"How are the sheep lookin'?"

"Pretty fair, Cap'n," he replied. "I think that they had a whiff of rain
over there a few days ago."

"It won't be long till we git the rains," suggested the Captain.

"I don't know, Cap'n," remarked the lanky one. "The climate of Californy
is a curious proposition. It's built on the bias down at this end."

"How's that?" asked the Captain curiously. He had a certain interest in
this particular courier's theories, however he might laugh at their
peculiarities. For there was apt to be a basis of reason in them.

"Well, it's this way, Cap'n," said James Howell, to give him his correct
name, thrusting one lanky hand deep into his jeans pocket and bending
forward awkwardly. "It's this way. You see the storms come down from the
North to the Tehatchipei mountains, where there isn't any way for them
to get through to the south. Then the clouds shift around to Arizony,
and if the wind is right they are blown through the passes of the Sierra
Madre into Southern Californy, then we get the rain. That's why I said,
Cap'n, that this dazzling climate is built on the bias."

"Waal, Jeems, as a weather prophet you can't be beat," said the

"In my business I get plenty of time to think, Cap'n," he remarked, "and
as they ain't much to see except climate I think about that."

"Waal, I have a good sight more than that to consider," replied the
Skipper. "I'm thinking right now about that government boat. I'm going
on deck. You can turn in."

The Captain showed him to an empty cabin and the lanky stranger
proceeded to make himself comfortable for the balance of the night,
while the Captain went up on the Bridge.

"Where are you heading this boat to?" he asked gruffly of the man at the

Then he took the helm himself and immediately the Sea Eagle's prow
pointed to the Westward as if she were heading directly for Japan.
However, she held this course for only an hour and a half when the
Skipper swung her bow once more to the South.

Long before the morning broke, Tom and Juarez, hauled out of their
resting place, were set to scrubbing the decks and rubbing them down
with holy-stone. They waited eagerly for the first break of day to see
where they were.

Then the light came slowly through the fog-covered sky, showing a glossy
sea with a slight swell and not a sign of land anywhere. The boys'
hearts sank within them and they felt sure that they would not see their
native land again.

Once in a while they would glance up at the Bridge where stood the
Captain with his powerful stooped figure. He was evidently on the
lookout, for with his eye at a long glass, he kept scanning the sky-line
to the east. What was he looking for? Juarez knew instinctively that he
was afraid of pursuit.

If only they could be overtaken and captured, his heart thrilled at the
thought and he watched the Captain eagerly for the first sign of
excitement. About ten o'clock he saw by the Skipper's actions that
something of interest had come under his observation.

There were a number of quick, sharp orders given and Juarez noticed the
increased volume of smoke pouring from the stack. The Sea Eagle began to
show the speed that was in her trim, black form. Juarez worked around
the port side of the boat as rapidly as he dared, and his heart leaped
with hope.

He saw low upon the eastern horizon a smudge of black smoke. If he only
had known what the Skipper knew, his hopes would have risen still
higher. Certain preparations were going on upon deck. The three cannon,
one in the stern, that had fired the salute to the group on the shore,
one on either side of the quarter-deck, were divested of their canvas

They certainly gleamed bravely in their polished brass. Then the
ammunition was got ready beside each separate gun. It begin to look like
business. The Sea Eagle began to justify her name and fly through the
water. Still the spot upon the horizon grew bigger.

Then Juarez began to have a paralyzing feeling of doubt. The steamer,
though coming up fast, did not seem to be steering the proper course to
head the Sea Eagle, bearing on her port-quarter instead of across her
bows as would have been the natural course if she wished to intercept

Then the doubt in his mind was changed to disappointed certainty for the
Skipper waved his hand to the mate, who was busy on the deck below. It
was after he had taken a pull at the spyglass, which this time seemed to
have an intoxicating effect upon the Captain.

"It's all right, Bill," he yelled, "It's nothing but a steamer bound for
'Frisco. It looks like the Panama."

Juarez and Tom resumed their work doggedly. That was all that was left
for them to do. They scarcely glanced at the big steamer as she
appeared, growing constantly larger above the horizon, and then
diminishing as she steamed North towards San Francisco.

Juarez was scrubbing the deck near a cabin door when it suddenly opened,
and a tall, long-legged figure stepped out and fairly over him. He came
to the conclusion that it was the man who had come aboard the night

He took in the tall, gaunt man with the smooth-shaven face and long hair
at two glances--one not being sufficient to his height.

"Well, who are you?" he inquired lounging on the rail and regarding
Juarez with mild-eyed interest.

"I'm Juarez Hopkins, deck scrubber. Who are you?"

"I'm James Howell, sheep farmer. I'll add you two lambs to my flock," he
replied, whimsically, glancing at Tom who was down the deck a way.

"You are more apt to find us wolves in lamb's hide," retorted Juarez.
"Where's your farm?"

"There," said the stranger, pointing with a long, bony finger on the
port-quarter, "that nigh island."

Then Juarez saw to his surprise, two islands that seemed to have sprung
like magic upon the South-eastern horizon. The further one lay long and
low and dark but distant beneath the fog-lined sky, the "nigh one" was
more short and dumpy in appearance.



During the afternoon, everything had been made ready for the journey of
the morrow. There was not a great deal to be done for the three rescuers
would travel light. There would be no need of a pack animal, because the
Senor had assured the boys that they would find hospitality on the way.

Jo however was in mourning because when he gave his black a trial
gallop, it was discovered that he was badly lamed in the right knee. It
would not have been safe for any of the pirate gang to come within range
of Jo's wrath.

"The cursed brutes stove him up for fair," he declared grinding his

"I'm afraid it will take a month's rest before he will be fit,"
determined Jim.

"Then I'm out of it," exclaimed Jo sorrowfully.

"Not so, my friend," interrupted the Spaniard. "Take the bay. He is not
as good a horse as yours, but he has great endurance. He is yours to use
as long as you wish."

Jo thanked the Spaniard heartily for his kindness and generosity. Then
he spoke in a low voice to his brother. "How about that money, Jim?
Don't forget to pay the Spaniard for those goods we bought at the
store." Jim spoke up.

"Senor, I wish to show you a little something of interest."

Then Jim got his heavy saddle, on which he had ridden so many hundred
miles. And the Senor regarded it with interest, because of the carved
leather workmanship which was of the finest and he was a connoisseur of
such matters.

"How much would you give for it, Senor Sebastian," inquired Jim, "if it
were put up for purchase?"

"It is a beautiful saddle. I would be willing to give a hundred dollars.
It is worth it."

"That saddle is worth several thousand, Senor," replied Jim confidently.

"I do not understand," replied the Spaniard. "It is the personal value,
I suppose."

"I will show you," said Jim.

Then he took from his hip pocket a heavy bone handled knife which he had
bought at the store and pulled back the hoof cleaner, an instrument
attached to the knife that was used to get a pebble or anything that had
got into the horse's hoof.

With this he worked at the leather that covered the high and rather
thick horn of the saddle. Finally he pried the top leather flap off.
There was a heavy piece fitted into the top of the horn. With some
difficulty Jim got this out disclosing a hollow, in which was concealed
most of the jewels he had found in Mexico.

"Hold your hands, Jo. Tight now." And with the word he emptied the
contents of the horn into Jo's palms. Diamonds, rubies, turquoises and
some heavy gold pieces.

"That is what you might call a horn of plenty," said Jim jocosely.

"But!" cried the Spaniard in amazement, "where did you get these?"

"In Mexico," replied Jim. "This was what the Pirates were after. And
they got all but this. Sometime I will tell you the story of its
discovery. Now take this to reimburse you, Senor, for the money we spent
at the store." And he held out the diamond.

"That is far too much. That stone is worth five hundred dollars at
least," said the Spaniard. "These three rubies would be more exact and I
will take them."

Jim, handing over the three stones selected, said, "Now, Senor, you
shall take the diamond as a token of good will from my brother and

"We insist upon it," chimed in Jo.

Finally the Spaniard accepted the gifts with many protestations of
obligation and appreciation. Jo was about to urge him to accept a jewel
for his sister, but Jim stopped him, knowing that the proud Spaniard
would not hear to such a present.

The next morning they were up an hour before daylight and ate a hearty
breakfast by the light of the candles. Veterans though they were, the
boys felt a thrill go through their pulses as they thought of the
expedition that lay before them. Outside they could hear the pawing of
the impatient horses.

"To the success of our expedition and the rescue of our friends!" was
the toast the Spaniard proposed as they rose from the table. The
Frontier Boys drank it, but not in wine. They felt just a little foolish
too, but such is the reward that often comes with doing what is right.
But they were sturdy in their determination to stick to their

If they had only known it, down in his heart the Spaniard respected them
the more, even though it seemed odd to him.

Then they went out on the verandah, fully armed and ready to take their
departure. Two oil lamps near the door and fastened to the wall, backed
by shining reflectors sent a strong light across the verandah and into
the darkness outside.

There stood the three horses, eager to be off, each one held by a
Mexican groom. Caliente we already know, and the horse that Jo is to
ride also. So let us take a glance at the third animal, Don Fernando. He
evidently justified all the enthusiasm of his master, a truly splendid

A dark chestnut, as large as Caliente and built on something the same
lines. They were beautifully matched except in color. It was with a
thrill of pleasure that Jim swung himself into the saddle. His mount was
in fine fettle and ready for the long pull ahead.

They started from the home ranch with a thunder of hoofs in unison, the
riders checking their horses to a slow gallop with a heavy hand.
Together they pressed through the waning darkness. There was a wonderful
exhilaration, as they leaped forward, the horses powerful and fresh.

Instead of following in the direction of the morning before, the
Spaniard turned to the East until they came near the foot of the range.
In a short time they came to a gate, which seemed to open mysteriously
as they approached, but the motive power proved to be a small Mexican
boy, whom the Senor had sent on ahead.

Now they were on a turf road with bushes on either side and down this
they thundered, Caliente the gray, and Don Fernando the dark, matching
stride for stride, with Jo well in the rear. For he found if he rode
close up he was blinded and stung by sods and stones thrown back from
the flying hoofs of the two horses in the front.

It was a bit lonely for Jo and he wished that one of the other boys was
here to keep him company. As they rode, the bushes seemed to fly by as
they do when you look from a railroad train and Jo was afraid lest his
horse would be unable to keep the pace indefinitely. One thing in Jo's
favor was that he was the lightest of the three and what is more to the
purpose a very light rider.

So like the good horseman he was, he determined to save his horse all he
could and make him last out. For eight miles or more they rode without a
stop until they came to another gate. This the Spaniard unfastened and
swung open without dismounting, then closed it after Jo.

The morning light was now distinct, although the fog was over the sky.
Before them stretched a long level plain that broke into sand dunes near
the sea. They could see the ocean lying dark in its monotonous level of
color, to the Western horizon.

"We have just left the Sebastian ranch," called the Spaniard.

"It is immense," commented Jim. "May I ask how many acres it embraces?"

"It was immense in the old days," replied the Spaniard. "Before your
people took possession of the land. It was held by no fences then. But
your laws were not ours and we lost many square miles. Now there are
fifty thousand acres under fence."

"Fifty thousand acres!" exclaimed Jo.

"Ah, but it was double that before the Americans came," replied the
Spaniard. Then he glanced critically at Caliente. "Your horse looks as
cool as though he had been standing in the stable. The pace does not
affect his wind either. Splendid condition!"

"Caliente is as hard as nails," said Jim proudly. "But your horse has
wonderful speed."

The chestnut seemed more on edge than the old warrior, Caliente, and
tossed the foam from his bit, until his dark coat was speckled with it.

"He is high strung," said the Spaniard, "but I would back him against
any horse flesh in California. We can let them out here for a half dozen

"Let her go, Senor. I won't let you lose me."

At the word the Spaniard gave his chafing horse his head and away the
chestnut sprang in the lead. It was slightly down grade for a mile,
then there was a gulch twelve feet wide and of considerable depth. It
was a good jump and to make it saved a little distance. Going at top
speed the chestnut took the jump in fine style. His rider half turned in
his saddle to watch Jim's effort. Caliente had faced worse leaps than
that, he rose to it and swept over it as gracefully as a bird.

"Good fellow!" exclaimed Jim patting him affectionately on the neck.



When Jo saw the gulch ahead, he decided that discretion was the better
part of valor as he did not know his mount well enough to risk the leap,
so he galloped a few hundred feet below, where the gulch narrowed and
then he took the jump nicely, and scampered after the other two riders
who were quite a way ahead.

Jim purposely held Caliente in check, keeping a hundred yards in the
rear of the Spaniard. Ahead a few miles, there was a perfect sea of
yellow where the tall mustard covered the plain for a great distance.
Into this they charged full tilt, the mustard reaching as high as their

There was a swish of its blossoms in their faces as the powerful horses
charged into it and in spite of their strength they began to tire after
going some distance.

"Where is Jo?" inquired Jim suddenly after they had slowed down, "I
don't see a sign of him." And he rose in his stirrups looking over the
level lake of mustard.

"Hello, Jo," he yelled at the top of his voice. No answer came. Could he
be drowned in this lake? There was not a motion to indicate his
whereabouts, no waving of the yellow tops.

"It is very strange," said the Spaniard. "Did he cross the gully all

"Yes, I saw him take the jump below us a ways." Then Jim raised his
revolver above his head and fired.

"That ought to fetch him," he said. Then they listened intently.
Suddenly about a quarter of a mile ahead of them they saw a sombrero
rise like a gray mushroom above the yellow surface of the mustard, and
Jo's voice came back to them.

They both gave their horses the rein, this time Jim did nothing to hold
Caliente back, and with their powerful speed the two great horses tore
forward, on even terms until in the last hundred yards Caliente forged
ahead by half a length.

"Hold on boys," yelled Jo in warning. There was Jo sitting quietly on
his horse.

"That's how you beat us," exclaimed Jim, pointing to a cow trail running
diagonally through the growth of mustard.

"Yes," laughed Jo, "I struck it further down after I jumped the gully.
Otherwise you fellows would have lost me."

"Good work, Jo," said Jim. "Now we will have it easier going."

So in single file they galloped along the path, until they found
themselves by noon, at the foot of a spur of mountains that extended
from the main coast range to the ocean. Jim regarded this barrier in
their way with a practised eye.

"This will slow us down, Senor," he said. "It looks like a pass below
there, about two miles."

"Yes," said the Senor, "we can get through there all right, but it is
pretty rough going."

They had to advance more slowly now, as the ground was broken into stony
ravines, and there was a good deal of brush. In this kind of country
Jo's horse more than held its own with the bigger animals, for he was as
nimble as a goat.

"I hope we will find water, Senor," remarked Jim. "Our horses are pretty
dry now."

"Yes," replied the Spaniard, "there is a good spring at the foot of the

They found it all right, in the entrance to the Pass, where there was a
small green cove, surrounded with bushes, and on one side was a sheep
herder's shanty. Jo investigated this immediately and found nothing in
it but the charred remnants of a fire and a pair of discarded overalls.

Jim, who had himself been looking around, made a more important find.

"There has been somebody here recently," he announced. "Here are some
tracks around the spring and not over twelve hours old."

"Yes, I have no doubt," said the Spaniard carelessly puffing at his
cigarette. "This Pass is used occasionally by ranchmen and herders."

"There have been five or six horses here," said Jim, whose experiences
had made him suspicious.

"There are no Indians," said Jo, "in this section, at least none who are
on the warpath."

"I suppose you do have cattle rustlers, Senor?" inquired Jim.

"Yes, there is a band of outlaws," replied the Spaniard, "that raids
from as far north as our ranch, south to San Diego, but we have seen no
trace of them for many months."

"Then, Senor," remarked Jim, "it is about time that they paid you
another visit."

"Ah, Senor Darlington," exclaimed the Spaniard. "We Castilians do not
reason so. We say that there is no trouble today, why worry about
tomorrow. Perhaps these bandits may have starved to death, or been hung,
or the good Padres may have persuaded them by the fear of Hell, to
become quiet, sheep raising citizens. God knows."

"I fear that they are raising sheep in their old style," grinned Jo. The
pun glanced off the Spaniard harmlessly.

"The theory that they may be hung, sounds plausible, Senor," admitted
Jim. "But before we advance into the Pass, I will scout a little."

"If the Senor pleases," responded the Spaniard courteously.

"Do you chance to know of a small, hunchbacked Mexican who is more or
less in this section of the country, Senor?" Jim suddenly inquired.

The Spaniard flushed with red anger and spit emphatically on the ground.

"You give him into my hands and I will reward you well," cried the

Jim made no immediate reply but gazed thoughtfully at the ground. He was
considering the case. This was not the time to turn aside in a chase for
even so desperate a criminal as the hunchbacked greaser. So he made no
definite reply to the Spaniard.

After the horses were fed, and watered, and while Jo was looking after
the coffee, Jim started off, to do a little scouting up the Pass. The
first thing that he did was to slip off his heavy riding boots, which
the stylish Jo had forced him to buy, and to put on his noiseless footed

Then with his revolver loaded and ready to his hand, he went swiftly and
silently up the trail that followed through thick brush, gradually
working up the side of the mountain. It was no difficult task to follow
the tracks of the horses. In a half hour's swift climbing he came to the
top of a stony ridge, over which the trail curved, and dipped down the
other side.

Jim now saw that the Pass was an irregular one with recurrent spurs,
thrusting out from the mountains on either side, at quite frequent
intervals. There were innumerable chances for ambuscades. Jim did not
stand in the trail but to one side partially hidden in a thicket.

All the time his keen eyes were taking in the canyon below, not however
admiring the scenery. In fact there was nothing particularly beautiful,
or interesting in the view. In the Rockies and further South too he had
seen canyons incomparable to the rather ordinary ones that he had seen
in California.

Jim was watching for some slight movement of a living creature in the
canyon. Finally he gave it up, and was about to turn away, then he gave
a start, he saw one, two, three, men crouch across the trail, a quarter
of a mile below, and disappear into the thick brush. He was almost
certain that the first one was the hunchback.

That was all that Jim wanted to see. He noiselessly took the back trail,
thinking over the best course to pursue. He would have liked nothing
better under ordinary circumstances than to fight it out with the
outlaws and to capture the hunchback. But their first object must be the
rescue of Tom and Juarez.

Was there not some way by which they could get to the South without
going through this bandit infested Pass?

"Well brother, what didst thou find?" inquired Jo, who was at times
pleased to be dramatic.

"Very few specimens in the way of bandits," replied Jim.

"As I said, Senor," remarked the Spaniard, "they have become good

"Not yet, I am sure, because they are alive."

"That is a good one, Jim," remarked Jo, appreciatively, but the Spaniard
was politely mystified. "Same as Indians."

"I found one thing out," said the diplomatic Jim, "and that is, that the
Pass is a hard one on horses. Are you sure, Senor, that there is no
easier way than this to get through?"

"Positive," briefly responded the Spaniard.

Jim who was seated on a rock digging his heel into the soft earth,
looked up as a sudden idea struck him,--but without knocking him out.

"How far is it from here to the sea, Senor?" he asked.

"Not over five miles."

"Can we not get around that way?" Jim inquired eagerly.

"Why, yes," replied the Spaniard slowly, "if the tide is not coming in.
In that case we should be drowned." Jim glanced hastily at his watch.

"We can try for it and make it, if we do not waste any time," he said.
"The horses have had a good rest."

"Very well, Senor," said the Spaniard resignedly. He regarded Jim as an
amiable hurricane whom it was not worth while battering to resist. Jim
hastily swallowed his coffee and a hunk of bread and in five minutes the
three musketeers were in the saddle again.



In spite of the rough going, they made good time for the five miles,
spurred on by the constant anxiety lest they should not reach the beach
before the tide began coming in. There were several gathered to see them
off when they left the mouth of the Pass, but not to give them a send

A short explanation will prove this. It is not to be supposed that the
hunchbacked Mexican and the bandits did not know that the three horsemen
were coming over the plain of the mustard growth. Indeed, their scout,
the Mexican dwarf, saw Jim, Jo and the Spaniard when they first landed
in the entrance to the canyon.

He had gone back to report to the bandits their coming, and after Jim
had returned, they had prepared the nicest trap imaginable near where
Jim had been hiding. They had had numerous experiences in that line and
were perfectly qualified experts. The spider and the fly was nothing to
the arrangements they had made to receive their supposably unsuspicious

You can imagine the surprise and disgust of the bandits and their scout
when they saw the three horsemen ride in an entirely different direction
than that they had looked for. Talk about convulsions, you should have
seen these desperadoes express their disappointment. It was terrific.
Not a saint in the long calendar was left unscathed.

How Jim would have enjoyed the performance. But entirely oblivious to
this, Jo, Jim and the Spaniard were riding rapidly towards the sea.
Before an hour had passed, they had ridden between the rounded sand
dunes and then out upon the hard, smooth sand of the beach.

"This is splendid going, Senor Sebastian," exclaimed Jim.

"It is all right," he replied, "if the sea does not get hungry too
soon." But the sea appeared to be in a very pleasant mood and the white
breakers had withdrawn as far out as it was possible to get. It was such
a smooth smiling sea with the laugh of its little sparkling waves that
it seemed that there could be no possible harm in it.

"I never saw a road that was better than this!" exclaimed Jo in
delight. "It is perfectly springy and no dust or mud."

It deserved all of Jo's praises, this broad, firm California beach. The
brown sand, that had been pounded down by the force of the great rollers
some hours before, showed scarcely a sign of the shoes of the horses.

There was plenty of width and the three horses pressed on abreast, the
powerful sweep of the gray Caliente and the chestnut Don Fernando, and
the snappy, nervous leaps of the little bay that Jo was riding. With the
bracing sea air and the exhilarating speed, the three musketeers were

The Spaniard hummed a gay ballad, while at times Jim's heavy bass and
Jo's lighter treble were joined in a rollicking American song. They
laughed without reason, for the simple joy of being alive and on the
move; but as pride sometimes goes before destruction, so happiness often
goes before disaster.

It was a small matter too, but it made for trouble. The Spaniard's horse
stepped between two small rocks that were close together and wrenched
one of his hind shoes nearly off. Jim and Senor Sebastian hastily
dismounted. Of course they carried with them the necessary things to
fix the shoe on again, but even then it was a question of a number of

"You had better ride ahead, Jo," urged Jim. "Your horse is beginning to
tire and we will overtake you, when we once get started."

"It is a good idea," joined in the Spaniard.

"All right," acquiesced Jo readily enough, and he gave his bay the rein,
riding slowly down the beach.

Then the two began operations on Don Fernando's hind foot. Here they
found their first real delay. At the point where the accident happened,
the mountains came down quite close to the sea, so that they were
crowded in much closer than they had been. The nearness of the water
made the big chestnut restless and hard to handle.

The Spaniard had great difficulty in getting near enough to his horse to
get hold of his hind foot. When he did succeed in doing this, and was
just starting to peg the shoe on, an extra big wave slapped down upon
the beach, though at a safe distance and caused the big chestnut to jump
and hurl his master to a distance of a dozen feet.

"This won't do," cried Jim. "I'll take my horse around to the sea side
of yours and close up. Perhaps that will give your animal confidence."

It worked like a charm, for though Caliente was high-spirited, he was
not flighty and he steadied his comrade so that the two workers were
able to fasten the shoe.

"We have lost a good half hour," said Jim, looking at his watch with a
grave face.

"Perhaps we shall have to turn back," remarked the Spaniard with
gravity. "We may not escape the incoming tide if we go on."

"Don't you believe it," cried Jim, impetuously. "I've got business ahead
and must go."

"Have it your way," said the Spaniard with a peculiar smile. He knew
what dangers lay ahead with a rising tide and Jim did not or he probably
would not have been so insistent.

"I see no sign of Jo," remarked Jim, as they swung into the saddles.

"Ah, we will not catch him. He is safe," replied the Spaniard.

Then with tremendous speed, they swept down the beach, the splendid
horses responding to the crisis. It was their fleetness against the
steadily rising rush of the inexorable sea. They actually gained ten
minutes on the first two miles and a half. Then Jim saw ahead the dark
form of a headland thrusting out towards the sea.

Already the rush of a long wave would send the water lapping around
their horses' feet. Jim recognized the danger. They must get around that
promontory or give up beaten. Then he gave Caliente a touch with a spur,
the first that day. With a snort, the spirited animal sprang forward
faster than before and at his shoulder was the chestnut with flaming

None too soon had they reached the headland, for the recurrent waves
were beginning to surge against it, with full force and gnawing foam. In
the fierce fury of their charge, they sent their horses against the sea.
It was at the long withdrawal that made bare the scattered black rocks,
that they rounded the headland.

But too soon a great thundering wave with the force of the Pacific
behind it came roaring in and swelled to the horses' throats, almost
submerging the riders. But the animals held against its withdrawing
power and before the ocean could return to the attack, they had got
beyond the headland to a safe place on the beach.

The horses were trembling and quivering with their exertions and with
the fear of the sea which is the most terrible and paralyzing of all
fears. Jim drew a long breath of relief and looked ahead to see if there
was any sign of Jo. Then to his consternation he saw that the beach
curved inland and at the further end of the curve was another frowning
headland thrusting itself out somewhat further than the one they had but
just rounded.



Let us now return to the Sea Eagle, and find out what is happening

You recollect that Juarez had just discovered two islands lying on the
South-eastern horizon, the one, long and low, the other comparatively
short and dumpy. He had been conversing with the tall shepherd of the
island, who seemed to take an interest in Juarez. But because of his
isolated life during a greater part of the year, he would have taken an
interest in a stone idol, if he had chanced to discover one.

"Which of these islands are we making for?" inquired Juarez.

"The one where we land," replied the sheep farmer oracularly. "I might
ask the Cap'n, only I never pester him with questions. You aren't a
Yankee, are you?"

"No," replied Juarez, "I'm not. My folks live in Western Kansas."

"I'm glad to hear it, son. But what are you doing here?" he asked.

"You aren't a Yankee, are you?" inquired Juarez, quizzically. The man
laughed softly to himself.

"You've got me there, lad," he said. "It looks to me," he continued,
"that the old man is going to steer for the further island."

"Then you will have to swim for your home," remarked Juarez.

"I can wade," he replied whimsically, looking down at his long legs.

"You are a humorist," said Juarez.

"No, you can put me down for a philosopher, that is to say, a man who
has much time to think and nothing to do."

"I should like to be one," said Juarez. "Suppose you holy-stone these
decks while I try it."

"No, my friend," replied the shepherd, "I am too much of a philosopher
to make any such swap."

"Is Captain Broom one?" asked Juarez.

"Well, he is a sort of a philosopher till he gets mad, then he becomes a
living active volcano, belching out a lava of hot language and scorching
things generally. I guess that I had better be moving along. I see that
he is eyeing me from the Bridge, and he is likely to get active any
moment if I keep you from working." With this the lanky shepherd
strolled forward and seating himself upon the top of the boys' sleeping
place in the bow, smoked his pipe in meditative comfort.

His estimate in regard to the destination of the Sea Eagle proved to be
correct. For in the early afternoon the ship passed under the lee of the
long island and was steaming up the channel between it and the mainland,
which was distant some thirty-five miles.

The fog had cleared by noon, and there was that complete transition to
brilliant, sunny weather. There was a sort of a white haze along the
distant coast and beyond far inland, rose the faint summits of the high

Fortunately Juarez and Tom had a chance to observe their new
surroundings for they had been set to work sewing on a small sail that
was to be used in one of the boats. They sat upon the top of one of the
hatches, under the watchful eyes of old Pete and the philosophic gaze of
the shepherd. Sewing was one of the accomplishments of the Frontier
Boys. They had been obliged to learn.

"What is that particular bronze looking weed, floating in these waters?"
asked Tom. It was as Tom phrased it, bronze and a most beautiful color.

It was indeed a giant among weeds; just such as the garden of the ocean
would grow. The stems were fifty to eighty feet long, with peculiar
colored leaves eight to ten inches in length, growing on little boughs
from the parent stem. The whole structure was held up by small bronze
buoys, of a round shape.

"Well as ye seem likely boys and want to learn, I'll tell you about this
plant," said the shepherd. "The scientific fellows call it Algae. When
the world was first made this algae covered the whole surface of the

"How did you learn this?" asked Juarez.

"You know that the Captain is quite a collector, and in his travels has
gotten together among many other things some interesting books. He gives
them to me when convenient." The face of the lanky shepherd was
perfectly grave when he spoke of Captain Broom as a collector.

"What makes the water so clear around here?" asked Juarez. "I never saw
anything like it."

"Well, you see," replied their mentor, "this island is placed
peculiarly, I mean this side of it. You see how quiet the water is?"

"It is certainly smooth and blue," said Juarez. "More like a lake than
the ocean."

"That's only true of this side," resumed the shepherd, "the other is
rough enough, but you see the prevailing winds are from the Northwest
and this shore is never disturbed. So on the beaches you will find not
sand, but smooth round pebbles, because there is no action of the water,
no breakers or waves to grind them into sand."

About four o'clock the Sea Eagle came into a perfectly beautiful little
harbor, at the South-eastern end of the island. There was a small level
plot back from the beach and on all sides rose steep hills and back of
them the mountains. It was the most picturesque scene the boys had ever
beheld in all their travels.

What would they not have given to have been free to roam that island,
hunting inland, or fishing or bathing along those quiet, enchanted
shores. But this was no pleasure excursion. Far from it. Captain Broom
had his own ideas, and he did not intend to make a landing at all.

"Get the whale boat ready, lads!" he ordered. "And put her over, we've
got no time to lose."

They lost no time either, under Captain Broom's commanding eye.

What was necessary for the cruise was already in the boat. Two casks of
water, several guns, and a lot of provisions. Then the boat was hove
overboard into the quiet bay. The captain was ready with a much battered
satchel in his hand. Not for one second did he entrust it to any one

"Now over with you, you two lads," he commanded and Juarez and Tom,
with a sinking of the heart, got into the boat. This was the last leg of
their mysterious journey, and it boded them no good they felt sure of
that. The mate they noticed stayed aboard in charge of the ship.

They were put in the stern where old Pete had the steering oar. Near
them sat the shepherd on one of the casks of water, his long legs
getting uncertain accommodation. The captain had his position in the bow
and two powerful sailors were at the oars, one on either side. They did
not sit down, but stood up to their work.

Without any loss of time the boat got under way proceeding seaward from
the shelter of the beautiful little harbor. In spite of their
depression, the two boys could not help being interested in the
absolutely clear water in which they could look down for eighty feet.

They could see the straight slender columns of the Algae rising to the
surface, starting from where they were rooted in the bottom of the bay
and swaying to the slow pulsation of the tide. These strange plants of
this marine garden were marvels indeed. Between their stalks and among
the encrusted rocks swam in absolute unconsciousness of being watched,
many beautiful, and strange fishes.

Some were small of golden hue, with little spots of a marvelous blue
(poetry) that flashed like keen electric dew, (that will do). Others
were like gold fishes, a foot in length and of corresponding breadth.
There were long mackerel, and innumerable minnows, and over the rocks a
peculiar little fish crawled or rather walked on thin rat-like feet.

Before they had time to observe further the boat had got out of the
harbor where the water sunk away to blue unfathomed depth. When clear of
the harbor, they turned to the South, passing near a cove with a
symmetrical pebbly beach, built up for five feet, above the level of the
water. The ocean was perfectly smooth, with not a ripple upon its
surface. They were evidently making to round the Southern extremity of
the Island.



Ahead of them was a rock rising fifty or sixty feet out of the water. It
was evident that the rock was inhabited for there could be seen dark
forms moving around upon it. Nothing had been said since they started,
for the Captain was not in a talkative mood. Jeems Howell, the shepherd,
had sat silently smoking his pipe in philosophic contentment.

"What are those things on that rock?" inquired Tom, his curiosity
getting the best of his reserve.

"Two yankees in this boat," commented the shepherd. "Those are seals,
son. Didn't you ever see any before?"

"No!" admitted Tom.

"You didn't know that seals, next to humans, are the smartest animals,
in the world."

"Is that so?" inquired Juarez. "They certainly are sleek."

"They have got the most brain room, that's a fact."

The boys regarded the seals with peculiar interest as the boat passed
near the rock. They were moving about awkwardly by means of their
flippers, moving their sinuous necks this way and that and regarding the
strange boat with their soft brown eyes. Then they dived headlong into
the sea, swimming about with a peculiar grace.

"Queer animals," remarked Tom, "belong half to the sea and half to the

"Something like sailors," remarked the shepherd.

"What's the Captain going to do with us?" asked Juarez in a low voice.
The shepherd's face took on a solemn expression, but before he could
reply the Captain's voice roared.

"None of that, you'll find out soon enough. You can talk about the flory
and fauny, with long shanks, but don't let me hear anything else out of
you," such was the Captain's ultimatum.

But soon matters grew so interesting that they lost all inclination for
talking. When they got near the Southern end of the island they began to
notice white caps to the Southward, dotting the darkness of the sea.

"You lads will have to hold tight now in a few minutes," remarked
Howell. "Do you get seasick?"

"No," replied the boys.

"Well, you will have a chance soon, and if it don't fetch you, nothing

So far they had been rowing under the sheltering lee of the island whose
huge rocky bulk had shouldered off the charge of the wind-driven seas.
Now before they had fairly rounded the island the character of the water
began to change. The boat began to toss on the great rollers. Then as
they cleared the land for good and were in the channel, a fresh gust of
wind struck them, drenching the occupants of the boat with spray.

The Captain stood up in the bow of the boat and steadying himself took
in the conditions of the sea and wind. There was nothing in his grim
weatherbeaten face to show what he felt. The men at the oars now made
hard work of it against the headwind and the running sea.

They would climb up a steep wave and then with a sickening slide, go
down into the hollow, then with a lusty pull the sailors would bring the
heavy boat over the toppling crest of wave to find another rushing to
meet them. No rest, this was what made it such heart breaking work.

The early fog had come, covering the sea with gloom, and the waves did
not go down perceptibly. At times, they shipped a good deal of water and
Tom and Juarez were kept busy bailing out. After an hour's hard
struggle the sailors were about all in and seemed hardly able to hold
their own against the sea and wind. The Captain was quick to notice

"Can you row, lad?" he inquired of Juarez. Now the latter's experience
had been confined to his work going down the Grand Canyon of Colorado,
on the raft-boat that the Frontier Boys had built.

Even the old ocean itself could not show anything worse than some of the
rapids that the boys had run. As for rocks, nothing could beat the
canyon for them.

"I'll try, sir," he replied, "I've never rowed on the ocean."

"Humph!" grunted the Captain, "take the starboard. And you, you lazy
long shanks, you take the other oar."

"All right, sir," replied cheerfully, the one addressed.

"Get out of here, Pete," he cried, giving that worthy a lift with his
foot that landed him on top of Tom, "I'll do the steering. You boys will
only have to pull, that's all. I'll keep her headed up right."

Fortunately Juarez was in fine condition, or he could never have stood
the gruelling work ahead. He weighed one hundred and sixty pounds and
there was not an ounce of fat on him. Likewise he had had a sound
night's sleep and three square meals so that he was fortified for what
was ahead.

Juarez buckled to the task with all his strength, and he was glad of the
chance to get his blood in circulation for he was chilled to the bone by
the flying spray, and then too, anything was better than thinking of the
fate ahead. He was surprised to find out that the shepherd who appeared
rather frail in physique was able to keep up the pace.

But he had that sinewy length of muscles that counts for more than mere
bunchy thickness. Juarez was crafty enough not to spend all of his
strength in the first fifteen minutes of work. He liked this, fighting
the sea and standing on his feet he was able to put the whole leverage
of his body into the stroke.

The change in speed was noticeable right away, and the boat began to
pull ahead steadily. The two sailors who had been laid off from
exhaustion, had watched Juarez with a sneering grin as he took the oar.
They were sure that the first wave that came along would wrench the oar
out of his hand. Great was their surprise when they saw him buckle to
the oar, rising and pulling at the right time to meet the toppling,
rustling seas.

"That little shrimp will last about ten minutes," said one of them to
his mate.

"Sure, Bill," replied the other.

Juarez choked back a hot reply, for he knew that it would not be good
for him to say anything to them. They were in the majority and would get
him if he did, besides making it bad for Tom. The ten minutes passed and
Juarez was just beginning to warm to his work. This took the wind out of
their sails completely.

The powerful hand of the Skipper at the steering oar was a great help,
for now all that the two men at the oars had to do was to pull and not
to worry about keeping her headed right. Juarez kept steadily at it for
an hour and then darkness began to fall over the channel but not until
the island that they were approaching had begun to loom up, dead ahead.

They were now getting in the lee of the strange island and the sea was
moderating perceptibly. At this juncture the two sailors who had become
thoroughly rested took the oars from Juarez and his co-worker and pulled
steadily through the gathering gloom. In a short time the bulk of the
island loomed above them in the darkness.

Not a word was said, only the swish of the sea was heard and the
groaning of the oars in the locks. Tom and Juarez were deeply depressed
and gloomy. They felt exactly as though they were being taken to prison
and could sympathize with sailors who had been marooned on lonely and
desolate islands.

"Easy now, lads," called the Captain, as he brought the boat's head
squarely around towards the shore.

"Two strokes," he yelled, "and let her run."

With great force they pulled the oars in succession, then they shipped
them in a hurry. Juarez could see the dashing of foam on either side of
the boat where the waves smote the rocks. There was a roar in his ears
as the boat rushed toward seeming sure destruction. It was going with
great speed from the impetus of the sailors' strokes.

The Captain was standing taut at the steering oars, his eyes piercing
the darkness ahead, then the foam of the breakers dashed in their faces,
there was a quick sliding past of dark rocks and before they could draw
breath again the boat was in quiet water, under some black cliffs. At
last they had reached the mysterious goal of their mysterious journey.



We must now go back in our narrative to where we left Jim Darlington and
the Spaniard, Senor Sebastian, in a position of extreme peril, between
the cliffs and the deep sea, with the white-fanged tide coming in like a
devouring monster eager for its prey.

"Is there a chance, Senor?" cried Jim as soon as his horse gained his

"It is the fatal day, I fear," replied the Spaniard with resigned
hopelessness. "The sea is hungry."

"As for that, so am I," declared Jim coolly. "So let us try to get
around the headland and after that, supper."

"As you please," acquiesced the Spaniard quietly.

Then Jim turned Caliente's head and with a quick touch of the spur sent
him full stride along the curving beach, followed closely by the
Spaniard. Already the heavy waves were licking far up the slant of the
sand. Even the veteran Caliente seemed nervous at its approach, while
Don Fernando would jump and shy as the hissing water crept around his

In about two minutes the two horsemen reached the base of the rocky
headland that barred their way. It was a desperate moment, there was but
one thing to do and that was to take the chance.

"Better be drowned quick, Caliente, old boy," cried Jim, "than slowly,
but we'll beat you yet," and he shook his clenched fist at the ocean,
and whirled his horse to meet a wave that struck Caliente breast high.
So for a moment, the two, boy and horse, stood facing their powerful
enemy, The Sea, that came with the recurring charge, its evenly
separated files robed in blue with white crests. Thus they stood getting
a full free breath before they leaped into the ranks of the foe.

Jim's strained, keen gaze took in every detail of the situation, noting
the position of the rocks that a receding wave left bare, so that he
might find a clear path or trail in his dash for life. Nor did his gaze
flinch as he saw the advancing wave break against the front of the

"Now, Caliente," yelled Jim, with a sense of fierce determination and
exultation that communicated itself to his horse, and lifting his feet
free from the stirrups so that he would not be entangled, if Caliente
should fall, he headed him seaward, galloping fast down the beach upon
the heels of the withdrawing wave.

Meeting a smaller inrush of water and dashing through its foaming crest,
his gallant horse swam until he got a foothold upon the rocks at the
base of the cliff. Now was the crucial moment. With absolute
recklessness, Jim urged his powerful horse over the foam-covered rocks,
striving to get around the prow of the headland before the charge of the
next wave. Not one look did Jim give seaward, all his energies were bent
upon using every precious second, and Caliente was filled with his
rider's indomitable spirit.

Then above them towered the fatal wave, and with a confused roar, it
broke over them in sweltering foam and they were swept towards the black
front of the cliff. Then came the impact against the rock and the next
moment, stunned and bruised, Jim holding to the pommel of the saddle,
with a death-grip, was carried out to sea with Caliente in the grasp of
the retreating wave.

It was all over, as like pieces of drift, horse and rider were swept
away, but fortune does sometime favor the brave and, being caught in a
powerful current, Caliente was carried South of the headland and his
progress towards the sea was stayed by a rock that rose high, an
outer-guard of the headland. So then the next great wave bore them
toward the beach, and once Caliente got his feet upon the sandy bottom
he braced himself against the fierce pull of the retreating sea,
striving to drag him back again.

Though almost unconscious, Jim clung to the saddle with his body
half-drooping over the pommel. Then Caliente plunged blindly forward
until he stood with head bent down and nose almost touching the sand,
his great sides heaving, but safe at last.

In the distance, a horseman could be seen coming at full gallop along
the straight line of the beach. It was Jo, who finally had become
frightened by the non-appearance of his two comrades and had turned
back. His fright had been increased by seeing a horse and rider coming
apparently out of the sea.

When he came up, he found his brother Jim sitting on the sand still half
dazed but slowly coming to himself.

"Where's the Senor, Jim?" cried Jo. This question served to bring Jim
completely to himself. He got up, looking pale, with one side of his
face bruised to a real blackness, and the flesh of his left hand badly
torn, where it had struck the cliff, but he was not thinking of these

"Why, Jo, the Senor came after me. Where is he?" Then it came over him
all at once, that his companion was even now caught between the jaws of
the black cliff.

"We must get to him, Jo," he cried.

"But how did you ever get around that cliff?" asked Jo.

Already it was an awesome sight as the waves crashed in foam against its
front and rushed shoreward along its black sides. It seemed impossible
that only fifteen minutes before Jim had actually come around that
foaming headland.

In reply to Jo's question, Jim threw his arms around Caliente's neck
with warm affection.

"This is the old fellow that pulled me through," he cried. "But we must
go to the help of our Spanish friend."

"How can we?" inquired Jo. "We can't get around the headland unless we
become fishes."

Jim considered the problem carefully. One thing he was determined on and
that was not to leave the Spaniard who had been so hospitable and
helpful to them.

"No, we can't go around by the headland," he determined, "but we might
be able to find a way over the rocks and down on the other side."

"All right, I'm ready."

"Let's find a place for Caliente first," advised his owner. Back a short
distance from the beach there were some trees on a lower spur of the
mountain. Here Jim brought Caliente and took off the saddle and bridle.

"Now make yourself comfortable," said Jim.

Caliente, in seeming recognition of what was said, took immediate
advantage of the invitation and rolled heartily in a dry and dusty spot.

"Get your lasso, Jo," urged Jim, "and we will start."

So together they made for the steep rock and soon reached the base of
it, and now began a hard climb, but no more difficult than they had
encountered before in their travels.

"Do you recollect, Jim," inquired Jo, "that day you got stalled in our
first canyon in Colorado, when you tried to imitate an eagle and fly up
a precipitous cliff and we had to get you down?"

"Oh, yes, I remember," replied Jim, "and how I scared you and Tom by
pretending that an Injun was after me, when I went down to the creek for

"Poor Tom," said Jo sadly, "I wonder when we will see him again."

"In a couple of days," stoutly declared the optimistic Jim.

They were now going up the face of the cliff, the lariats over their
shoulders, and searching with careful feet for a foothold, while their
hands clutched some piece of projecting rock.

"Lucky this rock isn't rotten," cried Jo, "or we would find ourselves
stuck headfirst in the sand below."

"Like an ostrich," said Jim. "We couldn't do much in a place like this
without our moccasins, that's certain."

The moccasins did make them nimble as goats, and they not only made
possible a secure hold, but they protected as well the feet. At first
they were not in any grave danger of a fall because the drifted sand at
the bottom of the cliff would have made a soft landing. But after a
while they were forced to work their way out over the rushing water,
then if they had slipped and fallen it would have been all up with them.

It seemed as if the sea, furious at having lost Jim a short while ago,
was making fierce efforts to get at them now. The great waves foamed
against the cliff and the spray dashed over the boys, making the
surface of the rock treacherous and slippery.

"I can't bear to look down," said Jo. "It makes me dizzy."

"Look up, then," Jim called back.

"That's almost as bad," replied Jo.

"Keep 'em shut then," was Jim's command.

Finally they came to a place that stopped Jo entirely. Jim was able to
get over it, because of his superior height and reach, and he attained a
point of safety above Jo.

"What am I going to do now?" cried Jo. "I can't go any higher and it is
impossible for me to go back."

"You wait," urged Jim, "till I get a secure foothold above here."

"Oh, I'll wait," said Jo grimly, "you don't observe any anxiety on my
part to move, do you?"



Finally Jim reached a broad ledge, that gave him an excellent foothold,
and he got his lariat ready and dangled the loop under Jo's nose.

"What are you going to hang me for?" inquired Jo.

"For a horse thief, I reckon," replied Jim, "that bay don't belong to
you does it, Mister?"

"Meaning this ocean bay?" queried Jo.

"I certainly will hang you for that," retorted Jim, "Now get the loop
under your armpits."

"All ready," cried Jo.

Then Jim, bracing himself, kept a taut line on his brother, and with
this help he was able quite easily to get over the slippery, bare belt
of rock, and in a few moments was safe with Jim on the ledge.

"It won't take us long now," said Jo, "to get to the other side."

"Let's give him a yell," suggested Jim, "to let him know that we are

Then Jim put his hands to his lips and cried:

"Senor, ahoy." They listened breathlessly and in a few moments came a
faint reply. This put renewed energy into the boys and as the way was
now easier, they leaped ahead, agile as goats, and had soon reached the
top of the cliff. They looked eagerly down.

There was the deep short semi-circle of the little bay with the waves
heaving in against the cliffs and at the point midway between the two
head-lands, where the beach was highest, they saw the Spaniard on Don
Fernando. Already the encroaching waves were gnawing at them.

It was only a question of minutes now, and horse and rider would be
carried out to sea. The Spaniard sat like a statute. It was seemingly
possible for him to have made his escape up the cliffs, which were not
overly precipitous, like those Jim and Jo had just scaled, but he was a
fatalist and believed that his day had come. Perhaps he did not want to
abandon his horse, in which his pride was centered.

"Cheer up, Senor, we'll be there," yelled Jim.

Then followed by Jo, he sprang forward, leaping from rock to rock, and
from jutting point to opportune foothold. It was dangerous and daring
work, but the life of their friend was at stake and the boys were not
the kind to consider their own safety at such a time.

It was only their sure-footedness and varied experience in climbing that
saved them from broken limbs or possible death. In a remarkably short
time, they stood upon a ledge above the Spaniard.

"Here, Senor," yelled Jim, "catch the rope."

He did as ordered but called up, "Is there no way to save my horse?"

Jim considered a moment, then shouted: "All right, yes, we will save
your horse, too. Tie the ends of the lasso to the iron rings at the ends
of the front cinch." This was a broad, strong band, which would furnish
a good purchase, when Jim tossed down the lariat. The Spaniard caught it
and made it fast as ordered.

"Now, fasten this under your arms," ordered Jim, as he cast down the
second lariat, which belonged to Jo. They then drew up the Spaniard to
safety and he appeared to be pleased in a quiet way but not at all

"I am your eternal debtor, Senors," he said with a courteous bow.

"How was it you did not follow me, Senor?" questioned Jim, "when I
sailed around the headland?"

"Don Fernando balked," replied the Senor. "I thought, too, that you had
been drowned."

"Came near it," replied Jim. "I would, too, if it had not been for

"But my poor Fernando, he will be drowned," cried the Spaniard, now much
more excited about the safety of his steed than he had been for his own.
It did look rather bad for the big chestnut, as a large wave swelling
in, almost took him off his feet. He began to neigh wildly.

"Don't worry, Don, old boy," cried Jim to the frightened horse. "If you
will help yourself." There was something in his voice that seemed to
reassure the animal.

"Now, Jo, we will let you down by the lariat and get the bridle reins
over his head and help him get a foothold on that ledge below us. He
will be safe enough there, even if he does get somewhat damp."

"Let me go. It is my risk for my horse," urged the Spaniard.

"It is no risk, Senor," replied Jim. "You are heavier than my brother
and stronger and can do more good on this ledge with me."

"The commands of the General!" said the Spaniard with a low bow. "I see
your plan is good."

"We will tie this end of the lasso to the tree," said Jim, "so you will
feel perfectly safe, Jo."

The tree referred to was a sturdy, gnarled cedar, growing on the ledge.
Then Jim swung his brother off and with every confidence in the strength
of the lariat to hold, Jo made his way quickly and safely down, while if
he had been without the rope he would have doubtless fallen into the
water below.

A wave surged in, submerging him, and then started triumphantly to carry
him out to sea, but when the lariat pulled taut Jo struggled safely back
on the rock, while the wave went grumbling back.

"Catch the bridle now, Jo," urged Jim. "Don't waste any more time

Thus adjured, Jo grabbed the bridle reins and pulled them over Don
Fernando's head, and braced himself on the rock above. All was ready
now, and the two above held the loop of the lasso that had been tied at
the cinch, with both hands, and they pulled together. Again a big wave
swelled in towards the cliff, which gave the frightened horse a big

Then, with Jim and the Spaniard pulling mightily from the ledge above,
and Jo giving the big chestnut a purchase by a steady pull upon his
bridle, the horse scrambled with a mighty clatter and all his frightened
energy up the sloping rock. The lariat and Jo's work helped a whole lot.
Without the three, he would never have made it.

Before the next wave swept in, Don Fernando stood, trembling and
dripping, but safe, upon the lower ledge. He seemed above the danger
point now, though an unusually big wave welled up around the horse's
fetlocks and the spray was continually dashing upwards.

"He is all right now," cried Jim, "better come up, Jo, where it is

"Haul in then," replied Jo, and then he was landed safely on the ledge.

"Caught a speckled trout," exclaimed Jim in happy humor again.

"Referring to my freckles, I suppose," grinned Jo. "If I'm a fish, I
reckon Don Fernando is a whale."

"Do you suppose he is safe?" inquired the Spaniard anxiously.

"Who, Jo?"

"Ah, no," said the Spaniard smilingly. "I mean the Don. The water seems
to be rising."

"You may rest assured that he is safe," replied Jim. "It is the turn of
the tide now, and it is only a westerly wind that makes it appear
higher. All we will have to do now is to wait."

"It is a great pity, this delay," said the Spaniard warmly. "You are
anxious to be on to the rescue of your brother and his friend. Anyway, I
hope you will succeed as well in their case as you did in mine."

"In another hour we will be able to start," said Jim, "the tide will
then commence to run out."

"Where shall we stop tonight?" inquired Jo.

"Camp in the open as usual," replied Jim.

"I hope we will get up above the sea so high that it won't come within a
mile of us," said Jo, fervently.

"As to a place to stop, I will see to that," said the Spaniard. "Do not
give yourselves any uneasiness on that score."

"It's getting kind of chilly roosting up here," remarked Jo,
plaintively, "especially as the fog is coming in."

"I'll warm you," said Jim. "Put up your Dukes."

"You'll take the counts if I put up my Dukes," said Jo, who was an
inveterate punnist.

"Shut up," yelled Jim, giving his brother a hearty chug in the chest.
Then they went at it hammer and tongs, giving and receiving good hard
blows, and after ten minutes of whaling at each other, both were plenty
warm. The Spaniard looked on in mild wonder.

"You Americans love the hard exercise," he said. "I should think you
would have great pleasure in resting awhile."

"I got the best of the bout," declared Jo. "See how black and blue your
face is on this side."

"You didn't do that," protested Jim. "That was a wallop that old Neptune
handed me when he bumped my head against yonder cliff."

"Neptune! Yonder cliff!" jeered Jo. "You ought to be a story writer and
use fine words."

"Me a story writer!" growled Jim. "I ain't got so low as that, not so
long as I have got two hands to steal chickens with."



"Do you not think, Senor Darlington, that it is now safe to start?"
inquired the Spaniard, who was fearful of bloodshed, not quite
understanding the boys.

"Certainly," responded Jim, "we will get Don Fernando down from his
perch and proceed."

This proved to be an easier task than getting him up. His master lowered
by the rope to his side, one scrambling leap and the horse was on the
firm wet sand of the beach, almost knocking his master over in his
eagerness to be on safe footing again. Don Sebastian now showed the gay
side of his nature, as he vaulted into the saddle.

He swung his hat wildly, the blood mounting to his face, and the horse
seemed to feel the sting and excitement of his master's mood, as he
pranced, danced and caracoled upon the sand and ended up by bowing in
unison with his master to the two American lads, who were looking on
with interest and amusement.

Then the party made their way quickly along the curve of the beach and
went around the fateful headland with perfect safety, while quite a
distance out among the hidden rocks snarled the defeated ocean. Then
Caliente heard them coming and he quickly raised his head, neighing in
welcome to Jim and his comrade, Don Fernando.

Jim gave him a vigorous hug for more than ever he was fond of his
faithful horse. In a few minutes he had him saddled and away the three
horsemen thudded in a swift gallop down the beach. The horses fairly
flew, the wind of their speed tossing their manes back. It was cool
beneath the fog laden sky and the refreshing sea air seemed to give the
horses tireless endurance.

Soon three miles had spun backwards under their hoofs and the boys were
filled with the joyous excitement of the run. It seemed now that every
stride of the horses was bringing them nearer to the hoped-for rescue of
Tom and Juarez. And this was an incentive to their energy.

"Here, friends, is where we branch off from the beach," cried the

Then he turned his horse to the left and headed straight for a wooded
spur that extended from the range to the shore. In a short time the
three came to a well-traveled trail and were soon riding through the
semi-dusk of the woods. For two miles they went up a steady grade.

Then they rounded the summit of the wooded ridge and saw stretching far
below them in the indistinct dusk, a wide plain bounded on the West by
the blue darkness of the level sea with its rim of yellow sand.

"We will soon be at the home of my friend, Senor Valdez," said the
Spaniard, "where we will spend the night."

"I'm a lovely looking object to present itself in a civilized home,"
protested Jim, "I look like a tough who has been in a bar-room rush."

"You are my brave friend," said Senor Sebastian, quietly, "and will be

Jim blushed, at least one side of his face did, the other was already
too deeply colored to show any emotion, and he grinned sheepishly.
Before he had time to reply they swept into an open driveway, carefully
sanded, and drew rein in front of a long, low white adobe house, that
from its mountain terrace looked over Plain and Sea.

Out came Senor Valdez to receive them, a stately Spaniard, who furnished
the boys with an ideal of perfect courtesy ever after. To the end of
their days they remembered their first visit to the home of Senor
Valdez. How they did enjoy their dinner that evening in the long,
pleasantly lighted dining-room.

It was an excellent meal, with delicious soup, a salad garnished with
peppers of the Spanish style, and garlic. Jim and Jo had never tasted
anything equal to it. Besides there were frijoles and lamb, while the
dessert was some slight and delicate confection of jelly and cream, made
by the hands of the Senora Valdez.

"I feel wicked sitting here and eating this fine meal," said Jo,
addressing Jim in a low voice, "when Tom and Juarez are being ill used
and probably starved."

"Well," replied Jim, who was always practical, "I think it is better to
eat, and to keep my strength up."

"I guess it won't fail," commented Jo slyly.

The boys bore themselves well, and without any diffidence though Jim had
a whimsical recollection of his bruised side face and blackened eye, and
he tried to keep it turned from the Senora Valdez, the fragile little
woman who sat at the end of the table opposite her husband. She had snow
white hair, parted low over her ears and the pallid face was lined with
years. Very gentle was the Senora Valdez, but she had in her time beheld
scenes of carnage and terror, so Jim need not have worried about his
bruised face. But the wise old lady noticed his solicitude and
understanding, was the more gracious to the young Americano because of

That evening they sat on the piazza, that looked out towards the sea,
the Spaniards smoking and Jim and Jo enjoying the music of a guitar
played by a Mexican in a dim corner of the verandah and the boys heard a
bit of important news.

"There was a mysterious ship put into shore several miles South of here,
late last night, Senor," said their host, "one of my shepherds brought
me word."

"The first scent of the trail," cried Jim eagerly. Then the Senor
Sebastian explained to his friend more fully the objects of their
search. Immediately the listener was deeply interested. Then he sent for
an Indian, one of his trusted men, to come to him, and gave him minute
instructions about some matters. Without a word the Indian turned and
disappeared in the darkness, and in a short time there came the sound of
a horse galloping full speed down the road.

"Tomorrow, Senor Darlington, this Indian will meet you at a point near
the Puebla de los Angeles, which my friend knows and he will have all
the information there is obtainable as to the location of this ship and
its crew," thus spoke the Senor Valdez. Jim thanked him with deep fervor
for his unusual kindness, but the Spaniard made light of it.



As they sat there in the dusk of the verandah, Jim would have liked to
ask his host to relate some of his experiences in southern California
for he felt sure that the Senor Valdez had known something of adventure
not only because those early days were full of marvels of interest, but
there was something in the bearing of the old Spaniard that spoke of
former days of romance and of stirring incidents.

Then, too, there was something in the after-dinner content and quiet,
following the perilous adventure which they had been through that
predisposed the boys to listen to a good story of adventure. Their
friend, the Senor Sebastian, seemed to divine what was passing through
Jim's mind, for he suddenly spoke, breaking the meditative spell that
had fallen upon the group on the piazza.

"It just occurred to me, Senor Valdez, that our friends here might like
to hear something of the early days in this part of the country, for you
of all men know it thoroughly and I am sure it would interest them."

"Indeed, it would, Senor," cried Jim enthusiastically, "it was in my
mind to ask Senor Valdez to tell us of the early days but I was afraid
to impose upon him."

"I feel greatly honored to think that you young men would care to hear
anything my poor tongue could relate. It would hardly be worth your
distinguished attention." Jim made due allowance for the courteous
exaggeration characteristic of the Spaniard.

"Try us, Senor," he said briefly, "we would want nothing better."

"I will have the coffee brought first," replied the Senor, "that may
serve to stimulate my dull imagination."

In a short time a softly moving servant brought out a tray of coffee
cups, and placed one before each guest on a small wicker table. Jim
noticed these cups with immediate interest. They were certainly
beautiful and he had never seen anything like them before. They were of
a wonderful blue, each one, and had a coat of arms in gold with raised
figures on it; a scroll above with a Latin motto, and beneath the
representation of a wild animal couchant. The Senor Valdez was quick to
see Jim's interest and respond to it. "That is the coat of arms of my
family," he explained.

"I am not a scholar, Senor," said Jim, "and all I can make of the motto
is that it has something to do with a lion."

"You are quite right," the ghost of a smile hovered around the
white-fringed lips of the Spaniard, at Jim's innate boyishness.

"That figure does not look exactly like a lion," remarked Jo frankly.

"Not like an African lion certainly," replied the Spaniard, "but a lion
nevertheless, such as one finds yet in the mountain fastnesses of Spain,
something like a panther only larger and much more fierce."

"The lion seems to have a rope or chain around his neck," commented Jim,
"and fastened to a collar."

"Quite so," responded the Spaniard, "likewise the motto translated
reads, 'Gentle as a Lion.'"

"Rather strange way of putting it," said Jim curiously.

"I will explain, for you would naturally be puzzled by the phrase,
'Gentle as a Lion,' as it seems to contradict common knowledge," said
Senor Valdez. "You see my family has the distinction, if such it can be
called, in these modern days, the distinction of being old. This
coat-of-arms dates back to the eleventh century."

Jo was about to give a prolonged whistle of surprise when Jim gripped
his knee to enforce silence, for though Jo might mean all right, the
Spaniard might not understand.

"The founder of the family who flourished at that time was a rather
rugged character, and I am afraid would regard the family
representatives of this day as very puny and unworthy specimens. This
Rodriquez de Valdez had his castle in a rugged mountainous part of
Spain, where there were plenty of wild animals and of wilder and fiercer
men, bandits and free-booters without number.

"His castle was a very powerful one, not only in construction but
likewise in location, as it was built on a shelf of rock above a deep
chasm, with precipitous cliffs behind it. However, Rodriquez de Valdez
spent but very little time behind the protection of its powerful walls.
It would take the forces of some strong Duke from the lowland to cause
him to seek the shelter of his castle and to raise his war banner of
crimson with a blue cross upon it, above the turret.

"He spent his days hunting among the mountains for wild beasts or for
marauding bands of lawless men. Rodriquez was a man of wonderful
strength, even for those days, when there were giants in the land. In
stature six feet five and powerful in proportion and likewise very fleet
of foot. If I should tell you of some of the legends of his strength and
swiftness, you would probably laugh.

"But the one that has to do with the coat-of-arms of my family I will
tell you. It chanced one day that he was out in the wilds of the
mountains and quite alone. Intent upon the trail of a deer that he was
following along a shelving mountain side, he did not see a lion half
grown, but nevertheless very dangerous, which was crouching on the
branch of a tree ready to spring upon him when he got beneath it.

"When he had passed by under the tree a pace or two, the lion sprang
with distended claws. Some instinct of danger made Rodriquez turn and he
was just in time to grapple with the brute, clutching it by the throat.
The lion had some advantage in weight but not a great deal, for my brave
ancestor was probably three hundred pounds of sinew, bone and muscle. So
that the struggle was not such an unequal one, but it was terrific while
it did last. Finally, though torn and bleeding, the man subdued the
beast, and had it in abject fear of him.

"Then instead of killing the lion as one would naturally expect,
Rodriquez took a strange humorous notion into his head. He would make a
pet of this same lion and it should be his dog to follow obediently at
its master's heels wherever he went. This idea he carried out and he
even had a heavy brass collar placed upon its neck, and it followed him
on all his trips, slouching with padded tread at his heel, or behind his
war horse as he rode abroad, like a powerful yellow dog.

"I do not imagine that the beast ever had any great amount of affection
for his master, but he no doubt was in great fear of him, which seemed
to answer the purpose quite as well. So, my friends, you have a full and
complete explanation of the coat-of-arms of my family. My only fear is
that I have wearied you with what could not have the same interest for
you as it does for me."

"Indeed, you have not wearied us, Senor," exclaimed Jo enthusiastically.

"That is one of the most interesting accounts that I have ever listened
to," said Jim. "I only wish I could have lived in those days when there
was plenty of adventure."

"I do not think that you have any reason to complain," remarked the
Spaniard laughingly. "Perhaps your descendants in future years will be
pointing out your daring deeds as emblazoned on their coat-of-arms."

"No danger of that, I guess," laughed Jim, "though they might have a
picture of Jo and me tied to a mule. That was the way old Captain Broom
treated us." The Spaniard joined in the merriment at this unheroic
representation of Jo and Jim.

"Now, Senor Valdez, you have told us a tale of old Spain, tell us
something of new Spain here in California," urged Jo.

"It seems to me that it is now someone else's turn," said the Senor. "I
would not do all the talking. A host should sometimes listen. Perhaps
Senor Darlington will tell us of some of his experiences. They will be
much more stirring than any musty tales of mine." But Jim shook his head
firmly, not to say obstinately.

"I would not think of telling our adventures," he replied. "Perhaps
after we have travelled more, we will have something worth while

"That's right," said Jo, "we would much rather listen to you, Senor."

The Senor Valdez sipped slowly at his coffee, looking out into the
semi-darkness beyond the verandah, where over the plain below stretched
the gray blanket of the fog-clouds. Then he rolled another cigarette,
lit it and took a few meditative puffs. The Senor now began his next
story at a peculiar angle, and did not commence with the stereotyped
form of "once upon a time," so dear to the days of one's childhood.

"I see you do not take cream in your coffee," he said addressing Jim.

"No, but I like some sugar, not too much."

"It has seemed to me," said the Spaniard, "that the seasoning of coffee
is in a way an indication of character."

"Where the party uses milk in his coffee that indicates weakness, does
it not, Senor?" inquired Jim with a sly look at Jo, but the subtle
Spaniard was not to be trapped.

"Not necessarily," he replied, "only mildness."

"And when it is taken straight and black that means a strong character,"
remarked Jo.

"You have stated it," replied the Spaniard.

"But I would like to know how I would be sized up?" questioned Jim, "you
see I use a little sugar."

"My friend," said the Spaniard with playful earnestness, putting his
hand lightly on Jim's knee, "that shows a character of great strength,
tempered with mercy and human kindness. All of which leads one to speak
of a man who was once famous in this part of the country, but not
popular. He always had the reputation for taking a strong liquor in his
coffee, Fernet, if I remember right. His name was Alverado, but I judge
that you are not acquainted with it."

"No," replied Jim, "but I should say that he was a very fierce

"He was. He was a bandit."

"I thought so," agreed Jim.

"This Don Alverado came from a well known Spanish family, of ancient
lineage, but impoverished fortune. He was such a wild and unruly blade
that his family were decidedly relieved when he left Spain and came to
the new world to mend his fortune, if not his ways. He landed first in
Mexico, and after a series of more or less remarkable adventures, he
came to this part of California. I knew him, or rather I knew of his
family in Spain, and for their sake I made him welcome here at my home.

"He was really a charming fellow in manner and appearance, tall, slight,
with dark eyes and hair, a typical cavalier. But the graces of his
manner did not reach down to his heart, and after a disagreeable episode
which I need not revive here, he left my rancho never to return except
as an enemy. I heard nothing further of him after his departure for
some six months. My next introduction to him was an unpleasant one.

"It consisted in the loss of a band of horses and a herd of cattle which
were driven off by a gang of raiders, thirteen in number, at the head of
which was this fellow Alverado. His depredations went on for years among
the ranchmen in this part of California. So resourceful and crafty was
this desperado that he evaded trap after trap laid for his capture.

"He had several very close calls and there were numerous battles between
the outlaws and the ranch owners, but though some of his men were shot,
he seemed to bear a charmed life. I remember one running fight over the
plain yonder, when, believing me to be absent from home, as I had been,
but returned unexpectedly from the north, this Alverado and his gang
made a bold dash to capture some horses from a field directly below the

"It did not take long to get my men together and I gave the bandits a
surprise indeed. Nothing but the speed of Alverado's horse, a splendid
black stallion, saved him from capture. We got several of his men
however. At last there came the turning of the lane. Through the
treachery of one of the band we found that their rendezvous was at the
head of a small canyon in a range of foot-hills several miles south of

"You will go through it tomorrow on your way south, if you carry out
your speed schedule, which with your remarkable horses you ought to be
able to. We came upon the gang about noon, where they were resting after
a long chase. In a corral near by were a number of stolen stock. They
were not expecting trouble of any kind. Some were playing cards, a few
cooking, most, however, were enjoying the siesta, their leader among the
number lay under the shadow of a tree, his head resting on a saddle,
sound asleep.

"There were fifty of us, and we had them surrounded, so that there was
no chance of escape. Alverado himself made a desperate dash, but the
cordon was too strong. The rest surrendered. That afternoon we took the
bunch to the lower end of the canyon, where there was a giant sycamore
tree. There we hanged the whole thirteen, and by them no more were
troubled not even by their ghosts."

Jim and Jo expressed their appreciation of their host's kindness in
entertaining them as he truly had done in relating his tales. Then they
said good night and went to their room.

That night the boys slept in a comfortable bed in a quaint old bedroom
with roses nodding in at the half open casement windows. By the light of
the candles they could see the strange old and carved furniture and
tired as they were how they did sleep.

The next morning they started hours before daylight. "I will be prepared
to welcome more of you in a few days," said the Senor Valdez, and the
boys thanked him heartily. Promising to return soon they galloped away
through the darkness.

All day they rode, hardly drawing rein at all. At first through the
foot-hills and then over the wide plains. Jo had a fresh horse, a
powerful black, as his other mount could not stand the strain of the
long trip that meant three score and ten of miles before evening.

Early in the afternoon they left the plain and rode into the deep and
rugged gorges of a mountain chain, running East and West. Thence into a
broad valley leading South-easterly, and about four P. M. they turned
directly South entering a Pass in the Southern side of the valley, from
which they emerged on a plain. Where the trail left the Pass stood a
large sycamore tree, when they reached it, the Indian messenger rose
from its shelter.



Now without hesitation we must take up the fortunes or rather
misfortunes of Tom and Juarez as they landed in the darkness upon the
mysterious island, for our narrative presses to its conclusion. Never
did they feel more hopeless than on this occasion, when they were going
to a dubious and uncertain fate.

"You boys come with me," called the Captain gruffly.

"How about me, Cap'n?" asked Jeems Howell, the lanky shepherd.

"What's your business?" inquired Captain Broom briefly.

"Looking after the sheeps."

"Then attend to it," said the Captain grimly.

"Certainly, Cap'n," replied the shepherd, who was incapable of taking

"You come, Jake," called the Captain, to one of the sailors, "and be
quick about it, we haven't much time." Tom shivered, for in the gloom
and tired as he was he felt that his time too was short.

Then with the Captain in the lead, carrying a lantern, which was muffled
in his great coat, they started, the sailor bringing up the rear.

"Look out sharp, that these lads don't spring something on you, Jake.
They are a bad lot."

"Aye, aye, sir," replied the sailor, "they'll have to be quick to get
the jump on me, sir."

"It's the Injun one's the worst. Don't let him scalp you," warned the
Captain jocosely.

"I'm no Indian," said Juarez, hoarsely and utterly reckless of his fate,
"I'm an American, and was proud of it, till I found you were one, you
cursed yankee barnacle."

"Ho, ho, lad!" roared the Captain, "you won't talk so tall in a few
minutes. Nothing like a slow fire for stewing the nonsense out of a
fresh kid."

"How far is this cave of yours, you are taking us to, old salt horse?"
said Juarez insolently, and utterly unwise.

This was too much for Captain Broom, and with an imprecation he turned
to strike Juarez. This was what Juarez was looking for and as the
furious Skipper whirled facing him, Juarez dodged his huge fist, and
sent a fierce hook to the Captain's jaw. There was anger, desperation
and strength behind that blow and the Captain fell, striking his head on
a rock. That time the Frontier Boys scored.

"Follow me, Tom," yelled Juarez, and he sprang away through the
darkness. It seemed like a hopeless undertaking to make an escape with
the sea on one side and the cliffs on the other, and a desperate enemy
near at hand. But Juarez thought it was best to take a chance. Anything
was better than captivity, that was seemingly just ahead of them.

One thing he was determined on and that was, that he would not be taken
alive. He ran splashing through the water, leaping rocks, with the two
sailors in fast pursuit. Not far ahead to the right was the white dash
of the breakers that shut off escape in that direction, to the left was
the cliffs.

Then before him rose a steep but not precipitous rock that had been
divided from the main cliff by the action of the water. Instantly Juarez
abandoned his desperate plan of plunging into the sea, and without
lessening his speed, he sprang up the rock, in his moccasined feet.

The sailor who was following most closely, got up ten feet when he
slipped and rolled violently to the bottom, knocking down the one who
came after. Once Juarez came near falling but he caught himself, and
kept going up, driven by a desperation that seemed to carry him over
every obstacle.

"We've got yer, ye little shrimp," exultantly cried the sailors at the
base of the rock, "Ye can't get away unless you fly."

"Shoot the blasted little varmint," roared the Captain, who, still
dizzy, had struggled to his feet. In obedience to the order a flash
punctured the darkness and there was a roar like artillery echoing among
the hollow cliffs. A slug of lead whistled past Juarez's head.

The boy had now reached the top of the rock and was at the crisis of his
fate, a distance of ten feet separated him from the main cliff, not an
impossible jump but the foothold was precarious and uncertain, and fifty
feet or more below were the jagged rocks, and enemies equally as hard,
but Juarez did not hesitate.

He dodged down just as the sailors fired another shot, then he sprang to
the narrow pinnacle of the rock and bending slightly forward with bent
knees and swinging hand, poised for the leap.

"The condemned fool is going to jump," roared the Captain. "Shoot him on
the wing."

But the sailors were not ready and the skipper ran between the rock and
the cliff to be at hand to stamp the life out of Juarez when he should
fall as he knew he would. Then he leaped, a dark object flying through
space, his hands caught the edge of the cliff, the roots of a small bush
held him for a moment, then he slipped. Below him was certain death.

Two strong hands caught his arms, and he was drawn in safety to the
cliff above. The Captain and the two sailors watched in open mouthed
wonder, all they could see was the dim figure of Juarez crawl in safety
over the top of the cliff, but they could not determine the means of his

It struck a superstitious chord in their natures and the skipper became
moody and silent.

Juarez breathlessly followed the lanky figure of the shepherd through
the darkness, for it was no other who had extended the rescuing hand.
Hardly a word was spoken, and they started off. After going a
considerable distance they came to a slab hut built at the foot of a
high range of hills that formed the backbone of the island.

Two shepherd dogs rushed forth and gave their master a boisterous
welcome, and were soon good friends with Juarez. Everything in the hut
was neat; with Indian rugs on the floor which gave a warm touch of
color to the interior and one side of the hut was lined with books.

"What am I thinking of," suddenly cried Juarez in dismay, "to leave Tom
in the hands of that crew? My head is wrong." With that, he grew pale
and slid unconscious to the floor. He had evidently not recovered from
the blow that the Mexican had dealt him a few days before, and the
strain he had been under brought on a relapse. The shepherd worked over
him a long time before he finally brought him around.

Meanwhile what had become of Tom? He had not been quick enough to make
his escape, and his fate was in the balance when the Skipper came up to
him just after Juarez had disappeared over the cliff.

"You don't get away, I promise you that, lad," growled the Captain.
Roughly seizing the boy by the shoulder he dragged him toward the cliff.
Then the two disappeared into the entrance of a cave, the Captain still
holding in one hand his battered leather satchel.

The sailor who stood on guard at the entrance, saw just then the lights
of a steamer that was just entering the channel and he rushed into the
cave, called to the Captain, and in a few minutes that worthy appeared.
If he felt any alarm he showed none, but without any loss of time he
assembled his crew, got his boat free of land and rowed silently out to
sea. Whatever he had intended to do with Tom, evidently passed from his
mind, now awakened to the solution of some other problem.



As Juarez and Tom were under the kindly escort of Captain Broom and his
sailors in the whale boat on their cruise to the mysterious island, Jo,
Jim and the Spaniard had stopped at an old sycamore tree, where, as had
been promised, the Indian messenger was awaiting their coming.

"What news, Yaquis?" asked the Spaniard, who knew the Indian well.

"I saw the boat by my own eyes," he replied, "heading for the Big
Island," pointing to the South. "By her smoke she stopped in the Bow
Harbor near the lower end." So spoke the Indian, standing straight and
tall. He was a picturesque sight with his coarse, black hair cut square
and long.

"The trail is getting warm," exclaimed Jim eagerly. "Where can we get a

"There is a small boat at the Harbor of San Pedro," replied the
Spaniard, "that is the property of a friend of mine. I doubt not we can
have the use of it."

"It is now a little after six," said Jim. "How far is it to the Harbor?"

"A dozen miles," replied the Indian.

"Is your horse too tired, Senor Sebastian, to make it by eight?" The
Spaniard's eyes flashed.

"Senor, Don Fernando is never tired. Let us start."

"We are ready," replied Jim. "Which is the shortest cut?"

"I will guide you," was the Indian's response.

"He knows this country like the foot does the shoe," assured the

Without more ado, the new guide took the lead and they rode at a rapid
gait in single file. At first they went down a gentle grade for several
miles until they came to a perfectly level plain that stretched in three
directions to the sea. At the end of the land was a perfectly rounded
rise like a huge long bolster.

The party of rescuers left the Puebla de los Angeles several miles to
the East, taking the shortest way to the harbor. There was no let-up to
the speed, if anything, they seemed to be going faster, with sweaty
sides and shoulders, but with unaffected stamina. The going was fine,
over a springy turf and sometimes they tore through wide belts of tall

Jo and Jim were in fine fettle as the end of the journey came in sight
and there was promise of their coming to close quarters with the pirates
and possibly rescuing their oppressed brothers from captivity. Then,
too, the passage of the strait in an open boat appealed to their sense
of adventure.

About eight o'clock, they came to a ranch two miles from the harbor,
where Senor Sebastian had a short talk with a man who owned the small
boat that had been referred to. He was perfectly willing to lend them
the boat and also sent a Mexican servant to bring back their horses and
put them up in his stables. Not forgetting to thank him for his great
kindness to them, the boys turned their horses' heads for the harbor,
the last lap of their long journey had begun.

In a half hour, they stood on the shore of a long, narrow inlet, at a
point where a craft was moored. From a small boat-house, they got the
oars, the mast and the sail to be used if the wind was right. Then they
were ready to get aboard. Jim looked at his watch. "It lacks ten minutes
of nine," he said.

Then they embarked. The boat was not a mere row-boat, but was found to
be of good size and about equal to a whale boat. It was staunch, too,
and sea worthy. The mooring was cast off. Jim was at the bow oar, and Jo
at the one back of him on the other side, while the Indian, Yaquis,
steered. The tide favored them as they glided quickly between the banks,
and they were not long in reaching the channel.

At first, there was a slow, heavy swell, while in the lee of the land,
that did not bother the boys but within a half hour they were in a
choppy sea with breaking crests, and now the real work for Jo and Jim
began. Fortunately, the Indian was a most skillful oar, and he kept them
from being swamped. As yet there was no breeze to help them.

"This is almost as good as running the Rapids in the Grand Canyon,"
cried Jim joyously.

The boys were in fine fettle for their work, notwithstanding their long
day in the saddle, and they buckled to it with a will, although wet
through with flying spray. They had enjoyed a good rest the night before
and after their long ride they were glad to get the kinks out of their
muscles. They really made remarkably good headway against the sea and
the stoical Indian grunted approval of their work. Ah, but it was fine,
battling with the waves through the darkness, while the boat thrashed
and beat its way ahead.

The boys stood to their oars and put all the strength of their lithe
young bodies into the stroke and they seemed tireless. The Spaniard had
made himself comfortable in the bow, where, sheltered by a short
overhead deck, he was soon fast asleep.

"Wake me when it is time to be drowned," he said. "I know it is my
fate." Jim remembered the Spaniard's melancholy of the day before, and
laughed heartily, as he promised.

"There are the lights of a vessel," cried Yaquis, who, though silent,
was ever on the watch. "Ahead of us to the Southwest."

"You are right," said Jim. The lights were like two faint, moving stars,
one aloft and the other below.

"That isn't the Pirate ship," declared Jo. "She wouldn't be showing any
light." After a while, the lights of the vessel were suddenly eclipsed,
but by the dull light of the moon, now risen, the vessel's bulk could
still be made out.

"She has gone into the further straits," said Yaquis, "between the two

A gentle breeze sprang up, but blowing directly toward them, it lent no
aid. Before midnight, the westerly breeze had died absolutely down, and
in a not very long time, the sea followed suit, leaving a long swell and
the rowing became much easier. Nothing occurred to break the monotony
for a while. There was the steady grinding of the oars in the row-locks
and the lapping of the waves in the gloom, for the moon was now obscured
by clouds. Then, of a sudden, the Indian called a halt.

"Do you hear footsteps?" inquired Jim, jocosely.

"A steamer coming, I hear her, no lights. Pull hard." In a minute, even
the boys could hear the beat of her engines and saw the occasional flare
from her stacks, then a dark form took shape through the night. They
pulled lustily for they knew their danger and who it was. How quickly
they would be run down, if discovered, and left to drown in the wide
strait, when Captain Broom found out their identity. No wonder they

"Stop now, draw in your oars. Lie down," warned the Indian.

Not a hundred yards to the Eastward came The Sea Eagle and she was on an
even line with the boat that lay a black patch on the dark water. If
Captain Broom was not on the Bridge they would be safe.

"Boat ahoy," boomed out his voice.

"Indian fishermen," cried Yaquis. "Stop, take me ashore."

With a growl, the Captain sent his ship ahead, paying no attention to
the "Indian fisherman" in distress. There was a gleam of white teeth as
the Indian smiled at the hearty congratulations of the boys and their
glee at his stratagem. Then the Spaniard and Yaquis took the oars while
Jim steered and Jo slept.



When morning came, they were but a few miles from the Northern end of
the longer Island and the fog was over the whole sky. The sea was glassy
with a sullen glaze. Nowhere was there sign of any steamer or ship. The
Sea Eagle had made good her escape.

"I wish we had a stiff breeze to help us along," said the Spaniard, who
loved not manual labor, as did the boys.

"It will come, the strong breeze, soon," said the Indian.

"When we make the Island, what are we to do?" asked Jo.

"Who can tell, maybe Tom and Juarez have been taken along with the
Skipper, instead of being marooned."

"That's so," replied Jo, and gloom settled down upon his spirits,
heavier than the fog upon the sea.

"We will keep after them," said the never despondent Jim, "even if we
have to chase them around the world."

The boat seemed to crawl so slowly along, and the boys began to fret in
their eagerness to find out whether their comrades were on the island or
not, but they were not yet close enough to make out any object upon its
surface. Then from the West there came a breeze rippling the glassy

"Up with the sail," cried Jim. "Here's where we fly."

As the breeze strengthened to a wind, they went towards the island at a
clipping gait. When they got within a half mile of the shore, they began
to look eagerly for some sign of a living being and they were
disappointed at first, but they drove their boat along as near the shore
as they dared.

"Say, did you hear that?" cried Jim in excitement. "That was a rifle
shot, or my name is Dennis."

"Three men on the shore," said the Indian, imperturbably.

"I see them," cried Jo, "on that beach yonder. I believe it is Tom and
Juarez. Hurrah for the Frontier Boys."

"It is they," declared Jim as they drew closer, "but how Tom has grown.
He looks over six feet."

"That isn't Tom," said Jo. "It's some one else. The short one is Tom."
Then he saw Jim grin and realized that he had been kidded.

"If this wasn't my busy day," said Jo, "I'd give you a punching for
being so smart."

Five minutes later, the boat had grounded on the pebbly beach and The
Frontier Boys were again united. There was a great jubilee for a while
with the Spaniard, the Indian, and the lanky shepherd on the outskirts
of the family celebration, but in a short time they were all good
friends, each according to his different nature; the Spaniard, suave and
courteous, the Indian stolid, but with his share in the general
good-will, and Jeems Howell, the shepherd, lankily humorous.

"We met our old friend Captain Broom in the channel, boys," said Jim,
"steaming along like the Devil was after him."

"I'll give him reason to think so," growled Juarez sullenly, "if I ever
get on his trail."

The Indian, Yaquis, grunted approval, for there seemed to be a bond of
sympathy between him and Juarez, as the reader can well understand.

"How far is that cave, Tom, where the old codger left you?" inquired

"Just around the bend," said Tom. "Here's the rock where Juarez made his
famous jump."

"How did you ever get up there?" asked Jo in wonder, looking up at the
pinnacle of rock.

"You'd a done the same if those fellows had been chasing you," replied
Juarez, "but if it hadn't been for Jeems here catching me when I jumped
they would have got me after all."

"I was afeard you might have fallen on the Skipper and a hurt him. He's
a kind of a tender plant you know." The Shepherd made this remark with a
perfectly sober face, in no wise disturbed by the hilarity of the boys,
over the idea of the tenderness of the Skipper.

"Here's the cave," said Juarez, and he led the way through an arched
opening in the wall of the cliff. Picking up a lantern, he went ahead as

"This is certainly a dry cave," said Jim.

"It ought to be," said Jeems Howell. "It don't rain on this Island more
than twice a year, but I feel it in my bones that it is coming on to
storm today."

"I hope you don't feel it in _all_ your bones," remarked Jim,
quizzically, "because it is liable to be a long drawn out storm if you

The lanky Shepherd gave himself over to spasms of silent mirth at Jim's
queer humor.

"Here's where we found Tom," said Juarez. "Just discovered him a couple
of hours before you discovered us."

When the Captain had made his sudden change of plans, Tom made himself
as comfortable as he could for the night, intending to search for Juarez
in the morning.

"Sometime I hope that this wretched Captain will be captured and
imprisoned right here," said the Spaniard with a cold, vindictiveness.

"If he comes snooping around here again, that is what will happen to
him," remarked Jim quietly. "I suppose, Tom, that he hid some of the
loot he took from us in this cave somewhere. I bet this is his safe
deposit vault, all right."

"He went back in there with his small satchel," said Tom, indicating the
depths of the cave as yet unexplored.

"It will keep," said Jim, "but before I leave this island for Hawaii, I
am going to search every corner of this cave and see if I cannot find
our property."

"We discovered it in a cave and perhaps we will lose our treasure in a
cave," said Juarez, who was something of a fatalist.

"Don't you believe that we won't find it," declared Jim stoutly, "but no
work for me for a while. I'm going to take a good rest."

"So say we all of us," chanted the boys.

"Gentlemen," said Jeems Howell oracularly, "If it pleases you, and
Christopher Columbus," with a wave of his hand toward Jim, "who
discovered this savage group, we will now adjourn to my castle on the
distant hillside."

"We are with you," declared those assembled in unison, and in a short
time they were making their way up the slope towards the "castle" on the
hillside, where they made themselves at home.

All the new arrivals at the island were soon fast asleep.

Later after several hours of rest, they occupied themselves according to
their different ideas of comfort.

The Spaniard amused himself thrumming on a guitar, that belonged to one
of the Mexican herders on the island. Tom got a book, and stretched out
on a rug forgetful of all his recent troubles, while Jim and Juarez
borrowed a couple of guns and went for an hour's hunting, in the woods
which at that time covered the mountain ridges of the island.

That evening they were all gathered in the cabin before the blazing fire
on the stone hearth, while outside raged the Easterly storm that Jeems
Howell had predicted, with rush of wind and sweep of rain. But the slab
cabin was storm proof and comfortable. It is a good place to leave the
boys after their days of trial and bitter hardship. In our next book we
will meet "The Frontier Boys in Hawaii, or The mystery of The Hollow
Mountain." There, I feel confident they will cope with adventures as
unusual and as remarkable as they have heretofore encountered. I am sure
that the Reader will be anxious to accompany them on their journey. But
we must permit the Frontier Boys to have the last word, in this volume.

"Do you think that Captain Broom, will return here, before we get away
for Hawaii, Jim?" inquired brother Jo.

"I certainly do," replied Jim, "and we will be right here, to give him a
warm and hearty Welcome, you can rest assured of that."

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 9, "hearn" changed to "heard" (I heard the mate)

Page 136, "wierdly" changed to "weirdly" (almost weirdly beautiful)

Page 148, "ever" changed to "over" (hanging over the)

Page 158, "besiide" changed to "beside" (got ready beside)

Page 170, text was both missing and repeated in the original. The
original read:

          on even terms until in the last hundred yards Cal-
          iente forged ahead by half a length.

          "Hold on boys," yelled Jo in warning. +"Don't
          on even terms until in the last hundred yards Cal-
          horses up.+ There was Jo sitting quietly on his horse.

The words between the ++ were removed to try to improve readability.

Page 172, "supose" changed to "suppose" (I suppose you do)

Page 213, "aint" changed to "ain't" (I ain't got)

Page 231, "scycamore" changed to "sycamore" (sycamore tree, when)

Page 232, "hestitation" changed to "hestitation" (without hesitation we)

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