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Title: Where Strongest Tide Winds Blew
Author: McReynolds, Robert, -1928
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 "Where Strongest Tide Winds Blew" ***

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WHERE STRONGEST TIDE WINDS BLEW

by

ROBERT McREYNOLDS

Author of

"Thirty Years on the Frontier," "Rodney Wilkes,"
"The Luxury of Poverty," "A Modern Jean Valjean,"
"Facts and Fancies," Etc.



Gowdy-Simmons Publishing Co.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
1907

Copyright 1907
By Robert McReynolds.



 To
 Honorable John B. Stephen
 and
 his estimable wife,
 from the romantic story of whose
 lives, the principal incidents
 of this work are taken.

 Colorado City, Colorado
 1907



ILLUSTRATIONS

  SOUNDING THE DEPTHS                                               24
  WRECK OF THE SPANISH SLOOP SEVILLE.                               36
  THE EARTH BEGAN TO ROCK AND REEL.                                 84
  THE HOME VOYAGE OF THE AVEN WAS FRAUGHT WITH ALL THE DANGERS OF
      THE SEA.                                                     148
  FLIGHT OF THE TORPEDO BOAT.                                      166
  THE AREGUIPENA.                                                  212



CONTENTS

       I UNDER THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES                                 9
      II IN DAYS OF INNOCENCE                                       24
     III THROUGH MISTS OF THE SEA                                   31
      IV GRAVES GAVE UP THEIR DEAD                                  41
       V FAIREST FLOWER OF THE CORDILLERAS                          50
      VI A HUMILIATING INCIDENT                                     56
     VII IN THE THROES OF REVOLUTION                                64
    VIII VIVA GENERALISSIMO PIEROLA                                 72
      IX AMID THE DIN OF BATTLE                                     80
       X WE MEET AGAIN, FELICITA                                    90
      XI THE MASQUE BALL AT TIRAVAYA                                98
     XII COWARDLY ACT OF A VILLAIN                                 107
    XIII MURDEROUS PLAN OF THE INSURGENTS                          115
     XIV FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY                                  125
      XV IN DESPERATE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE                            135
     XVI THE SCREAMING WINDS OF NIGHT                              143
    XVII THE BARBARIAN MEETS HIS INGOMAR                           151
   XVIII ON SUNNY SEAS BOUND NORTH                                 159
     XIX DEATH SHIPS OF THE SEA                                    167
      XX A DAUGHTER OF THE CHEROKEES                               176
     XXI CARSON'S BLANK PAGES IN LIFE                              185
    XXII A VOICE FROM CENTURIES PAST                               195
   XXIII THE TWO OLD BLACK CROWS                                   205
    XXIV THE RECKLESS HAND OF FATE                                 214
     XXV CORDS OF LOVE ARE STRONG                                  223
    XXVI WHEN THE DEATH GLOOM GATHERS                              231
   XXVII A NIGHT OF TRAGEDIES                                      240
  XXVIII FROM OUT THE SHADOWY PAST                                 249



WHERE STRONGEST TIDE WINDS BLEW

I.

UNDER THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES.


We built our cabin high on the slopes of the Sangre de Christo range,
overlooking the broad, level San Luis Valley, in Colorado. At the rear
of the cabin rose a towering cliff or rather a huge slab of rock
standing edgewise more than two hundred feet high, apparently the
upheaval of some mighty convulsion of nature in ages gone. Near the
base of this cliff flowed a clear crystal spring.

Some hundred yards west of the cabin was the mouth of a tunnel into
which we had drifted with pick, shovel and giant powder, a distance of
300 feet in five months of hard toil. A trail led from the tunnel to
the cabin along the mountain side, which was thickly studded with tall
pines. Another trail led down the mountain slopes in a winding way to
the valley, almost a mile below. Above, reaching far into the blue
dome of the sky, rose the peaks of the snow-capped Sangre de Christo,
glistening in the morning sunlight, which threw gaunt, fantastic
shadows in cañon and deep ravine.

It was a wild, weird scene, where man, in strength and vigor, seems to
imbibe a portion of the divine essence that lives, and moves, and has
its being in the vast solitudes.

We struck pay rock at the first thirty feet of tunneling, so Amos'
assay showed, and the rock had gradually increased in value, week by
week. Buchan would take samples of the ore every week or ten days and
walk a distance of twenty-five miles to Saguache, where old man Amos,
expert geologist and assayer, would for two dollars and fifty cents
make out a clean printed slip with figures in red ink, showing so
many ounces of lead, copper, silver and gold to the ton.

The ore had not yet reached a value which would pay to ship it, but
the increase of values was so steady, and Amos was so extravagantly
encouraging, that we were always in buoyant expectation of rich ore.
He would say, "You boys have a wonderful prospect. Keep right on with
your work; it is getting richer with every stroke of your pick and you
are likely to uncover a million dollar drift any day."

Buchan would bring the assay certificate back to the cabin, where we
would sit late by the light of the pine knots in the fire place and
talk of the golden millions which capitalists would yet gladly pay for
a half interest in the "Aberdeen."

That was the name Buchan had given the mine, after his home town in
Scotland, of which he always spoke with a fond tenderness.

Winter had come and we, John Buchan, Will Carson, and myself, had
chipped in almost our last dollar and brought a wagon load of flour,
bacon and canned goods from Saguache to the foot of the mountains,
then carried them on our backs to the cabin. We quit work on the mine
for ten days and chopped firewood, which we corded at the rear of our
house. All hands felt that we were as snugly housed for the winter as
the big grizzly bears in their lairs among the rocks.

Snow had been falling for several days and it lay deep on the mountain
slopes and in the wide expanse of the valley below. We had not had an
assay for two weeks and all were anxious for another report from Amos.
Buchan wanted his mail also, and he took a small bag of the rock and
tramped the twenty-five miles to Saguache. It was a three days' trip
wading through the unbroken snow drifts, and it was night when he
returned, weary, footsore and angry.

I can see him yet, tears trickling down his honest face, as he tried
to tell something about Amos. He spoke of "the scamp, the villain, and
robber," and then choked with rage. Like all Scotchmen, the more he
thought of the wrong done him, the angrier he became; he would be more
angry tomorrow and it would be the day after that his anger would
reach the climax, and begin to subside. This was not a peculiarity of
Buchan. It is a characteristic of the Scotch.

We made him a cup of coffee and seated him comfortably before the
fire. When he calmed down somewhat, he explained.

"The first thing I did the next morning after reaching Saguache, was
to eat breakfast, and then I took the samples of ore to Amos' assay
office. He was garrulous as usual, and said to come in two hours and
he would have the certificate of the assay ready for me. When I again
called he handed me the certificate and I paid him the usual two
dollars and fifty cents. It showed nine dollars and ninety cents to
the ton. The usual increase of ten per cent. over the last assay.

"I crossed over to the postoffice, and while waiting for my mail, I
noticed the snow standing ten inches high on the cap of the flue of
Amos' assay furnace. I thought, how in the deuce did he assay our ore
without melting the snow on the cap of the flue? The more I thought
about it the more I was mystified. I went across to his office and
said, 'Amos, I suppose you gave us the usual fire test on this ore?'
'Yep,' he answered. 'Then tell me,' I cried, 'how in the devil did you
make the fire test without melting the snow off the cap of your
furnace flue?' 'Too cold to melt,' he replied.

"Then I rushed past him into the back room. The furnace was cold and
the frost had gathered on the iron door. I don't suppose there had
been a fire in it for a week. I took Amos by the whiskers and told him
to own up that he had not made a fire test of our ore. Then he
acknowledged that he had been guessing at it all along."

"You don't mean there is a doubt about us having pay rock?" we yelled
in a chorus.

"All kinds of doubt," said Buchan. "I am told there is a suspicion
that Amos gives everybody an assay showing values, where there are no
values--this for the purpose of keeping up work in the district--and
to those who have found values, he gives them an assay showing
nothing. At the same time he gives Rayder, the Denver capitalist, a
tip and he buys up the property for a song, giving Amos a fat
commission for his part in the deal. The chances are that we have no
more gold in our rock than there is in that jug handle."

The news was astounding. We sat for a while by the fire like men
stricken dumb. There was no doubting Buchan's statement. Deception was
no part of his nature. He was nearly twenty-six years of age,
athletic, strong and quick of perception. He had seen much of the
world and knew men. No, there could be no doubt; he was not mistaken.

We were heartsick. Almost our last dollar had gone to pay for the
bogus assay. Our golden dream of months was vanishing. Carson broke
the silence.

"I will go to Saguache tomorrow. I shall pulverize that jug handle and
take it to Amos; he does not know me; I shall have him assay it, and
if he gives me gold values there will be trouble!"

I was awakened the next morning by the sound of a hammer. Carson was
pulverizing the jug handle. After a hasty breakfast, he buckled on his
cartridge belt with a Colt 44-six shooter in his holster, and was soon
wading through the snow-drifts down the trail towards Saguache. I
watched him through the window until he was lost to view.

The sun rose in a clear sky; the glistening peaks of the Sangre de
Christo shone white against a turquoise blue; clumps of snow melted
from the branches of the pines and made hollows in the smooth banks of
white where they fell.

I turned to Buchan. He was tossing restlessly in his bunk.

"I would hate to be Amos if he gives Carson an assay of values from
that jug handle.

"Yes, yes," he muttered incoherently. "The day of reckoning comes to
all. I have seen it. I have seen the sky turn black, the waves rise
mountain-high out of the sea, the earth rock and reel, the dead roll
out of their coffins in the cerements of their graves, the living fall
upon their faces to hide from the wrath of Almighty God! I have seen
it just as Paul tells about it. I have heard the roar of the winds,
seen palaces crumble and fall--like John of Patmos, I lift up my
voice--I, John."

I was at his side in a moment, and saw that he was delirious. The
exertion through the snow the day before, the loss of sleep and
intense anger, had made him ill. I knew of a few simple remedies at
hand, and in a little while I had him sleeping soundly.

The sun became warmer as the day advanced. The snow melted on the
cabin roof and froze in drooping icicles at the eaves. All day I went
noiselessly about the cabin, letting Buchan sleep. A premonition of
impending danger crept over me. I tried to throw off the dread feeling
by reading, but I could not concentrate my thoughts on the pages of
the book. Strange thoughts came like they did to the man who was being
taken to the guillotine and begged time of his captors to put his
thoughts on paper. I thought I would write mine that day, or remember
them at least, but I cannot recall them. I only know they were strange
and fascinating, as if I was living another life, on another planet.

I brought in wood and water for the night. The sound of the door
slamming awoke Buchan. He arose and sat by the fire, which blazed up
brightly from its fresh supply of pine logs.

"Better, I see," I observed, "but heavens you were locoed this
morning! talking about the resurrection, the quaking earth, and the
dead rolling out from their graves!"

"All true," he said, quietly. "I have seen those things, and what has
happened once may happen again."

I was standing by the window, looking out over the snow covered San
Luis valley, when even as he spoke I felt the ground tremble. There
was a rush of air and the cabin became filled with a fine snow that
was stifling, then a thunderous roar, and all was utter darkness.

I was choking with the snow particles. I groped to the door and opened
it and felt a solid bank of snow.

I realized then that we were buried beneath a snow slide.

We worked for hours, in silence and darkness, digging our way through
the snow and shoveling it back into the cabin as we tunneled toward
the cliff. It was early morning when we saw the light of day.

Once in the open where we could breathe the pure air we beheld a sight
that would appall the strongest heart. The great flat rock, that had
stood on edge at the back of the cabin, was now slanting at a sharp
angle above our heads. The avalanche from near the summit of the
Sangre de Christo had struck the cliff and with its incalculable tons
tilted it, piling itself hundreds of feet in the depth about us. The
cliff might fall at any moment and blot us out of existence.

Reaching a point of sight near the open space at the edge of the base
of the cliff we could see something of the awful havoc wrought by the
avalanche. Huge rocks had been loosened from their foundations and
with the speed of a meteor dashed to the valley below. Great pines one
hundred feet in height had been torn up by their roots and hurled down
the mountain side by the tremendous weight of the avalanche.

The cliff had sheltered our cabin and saved our lives.

We cleared the snow away from the chimney and out of the cabin. Our
wood was dry and we soon had a cheerful fire blazing and the tea
kettle boiling. But living under that slanting cliff, from which we
could not escape, we felt, indeed that the sword of Damocles hung by a
spider web above our heads.

When we had rested some and refreshed ourselves with coffee, we
tunneled from the open space under the cliff to near the entrance of
the mine, intending to live in the tunnel until the melting snows of
the spring released us from our prison. But when we had tunneled
through the snow to near the entrance of the mine, we found our way
blocked by a debris of rock and trees which would require weeks of
labor to remove. Tunnels in other directions gave us no better
results, and we became resigned to our fate, returning to the cabin to
while away the dreary hours until the hanging cliff above should
become our grave stone.

Days of gloom and monotony came and went. We dug the snow away from
our windows and tunneled a hole to the top which gave us a glare of
reflected light.

Buchan had hitherto been silent as to his past life. By a few stray
remarks we had caught glimpses of his romantic career, but now he
began relating in detail incidents of his early life in Scotland, or
on the high seas, and later in Peru. His stories were so full of human
interest and replete with love and romance, that I became more than
ever interested in him. But my hearing was bad, and it had been
getting worse since the day of the avalanche, so I prevailed upon him
to write. I could read better than listen, besides he would write his
better thoughts and nobler sentiments when he would not speak them.

It was writing these memoirs of his eventful life that furnished him
pastime and I was employed in reading them, during the two months of
our imprisonment in our snow bound cabin.

By the dim light of the window by day and the blaze of a pine log at
night, he wrote upon the scraps of paper found about the cabin. As I
now review the pile I find it made up of paper bags, margins of
newspapers, fly leaves from a few old books, and much of it on strips
of a yellow window shade, also on the backs of fancy calendars with
which Carson had adorned our cabin, and almost a whole chapter I find
penciled finely on a pair of lady's cuffs that were strangely out of
place in a miner's hut.

Buchan does not know that I am going to give his story to the public
and I shall have to take chances and risk his displeasure. In that
event I have the defence of pleading that no man has the right to
withhold so good a tale from the world.



II.

IN DAYS OF INNOCENCE.


As I peer into the dim past that haunts the scenes of my childhood in
Aberdeen, Scotland, a thousand memories troop by like the scenes of a
panorama with the footlights turned low; and when I contemplate them
in a meditative hour it leaves me with as lonesome a feeling as if I
had listened to the old time song, "Home Sweet Home," which I have
heard a thousand times in distant climes, sometimes sung to crowded
audiences at the opera, and again by the pioneer as he rattled his
prairie schooner over the plains.

It is a song that never grows old and never will so long as men leave
the home of their childhood, around whose hearthstones still play
ghost-like, the recollections of bye-gone years, tenderly touching
their sympathies as they pause for a moment in their monied pursuits
in other lands.

[Illustration: SOUNDING THE DEPTHS]

The old red school house on Princeton street, with the tall lank
figure of Ellwood for its presiding master and who believed in and
practiced the command of the Holy Writ: "Spare the rod and spoil
the child," was to me in those years of tenderness, a dismal
contemplation. But Sundays had a brighter hue when Mother would
dress me in full Highland suit of tartan, and adorn my cap with an
eagle feather, surmounted with a brooch of the design of an arm
with a dagger, bearing the motto, "We fear nae fae." With my small
claymore and buckled shoes and plaid, how proudly I would walk up
to the barracks at Castle Gate, where the sentry would salute me,
and give me permission to enter.

But those days had their troubles as well as pleasures. The West North
street boys had a grievance against those of the East North street and
one Saturday both sides met in battle array, armed with wooden
swords, near the North church at Queen street. After a determined
resistance West North street was victorious, when someone presented us
with a flag. It was a common piece of bunting, but to our young heroes
it was something to be looked up to and defended with our lives before
the honor of West North street should be sullied.

That banner cost us many a headache, and many a soiled suit of clothes
after the usual Saturday battle. On one occasion we sallied forth as
usual to the battlefield, carrying our banner, and shouting derisively
at our foe. The enemy had been reinforced and after a hard struggle,
they captured our flag and carried it off in triumph to East North
street.

Our fellows were a crest-fallen lot, as we sat on the steps of the
church looking the picture of dejection. However, a few days later, I
summoned the boys to meet in an old building in Ferrier's Lane. There
were fifteen of us and we came armed with our wooden swords. After
much debate over the loss of our flag, a committee was appointed to
notify the East North street fellows, that we were ready to offer
battle, and dared them to meet us the following Saturday and bring the
captured flag. They accepted the challenge. When we met again in the
old building by the hazy and flickering light of a tallow candle, with
upraised swords we swore to re-capture our flag, uphold the honor of
our street or die in the attempt. I was chosen captain on this
occasion, and never did a general rack his brain more for a plan of
success than I did to win this battle. Finally I hit upon a stratagem
and after school submitted it to all. It was to proceed to the usual
place of battle, but at the corner of Queen street five boys were to
be stationed out of sight, and when both armies met they were to rush
in on their standard bearer and capture the flag. We met, and even to
this day I shudder at the ferocity of that battle. Twice I was knocked
down; several times our street was on the retreat when someone
shouted--"Remember our oath!" and then another desperate rush, and
along with the charge of the five secreted ones which so surprised the
East North street boys that they finally yielded, and we carried off
our flag in triumph. John Taylor's head was cut, John Ingerham's eyes
were black, my right knee cap was out of place and six or eight others
were more or less wounded. The boys of East North street fared about
the same. Good old Doctor Ellis living in King street witnessed the
fight, but he kept my secret, for I told Mother that I was hurt in
running a race.

And so those delightful days of early boyhood passed like one long
summer day. But a change came. My father died and in a few months
more, my loving Mother, after a lingering illness, passed away. I then
left the home of my childhood to live with my older brother, James.

Although every possible kindness was shown me, there was lacking a
mother's love, a mother's sympathy and cheering words, things that
touch the tender chords of a boy's heart. At that time I was sent to
the Ledingham Academy, but it was useless. The golden veil through
which I had looked out on the world was lifted, the chain of love and
affection broken. I saw the great ships come with their strange men
from other ports of the world. I saw them unfurl their snowy sails and
speed over the blue waters bound for the shores of other climes. I
watched them until they were but a speck of white down on the blue
horizon, and I longed to be on board--to feel the ship roll upon the
billows and hear the wind whistling through the rigging, to climb
aloft and view the limitless expanse of ocean and feel that I was a
part of these white specters of the sea.

One day I saw in the windows of Knox & Co., a sign which read:

"Two apprentices wanted for the sea."

I went in and told them I wanted to become a sailor. About this time
another lad about one year older than myself came in on the same
errand. An old gentleman, after surveying us both for some moments,
remarked that in his opinion we were too young, but told us to wait a
few minutes as Captain McKenzie would be in soon.

When Captain McKenzie came in he asked us if it was with the consent
of our parents that we made application. Being answered in the
affirmative by James Mitchell, the other boy, I answered that my
father and mother were dead, but my brother would sign the necessary
papers.



III.

THROUGH MISTS OF THE SEA.


Captain McKenzie sprang from his berth in the wildest excitement. A
moment before a low voice called "Captain," at his state room door.
"Who is there?" he asked. "Donovan," came the guarded reply. "Captain,
the mate has conspired with the crew to mutiny and your throat will be
cut in an hour."

James Mitchell and I were apprentices on board the bark "Aven of
Aberdeen." My brother James having reluctantly consented that I should
follow the fortunes of the sea, signed the indenture papers.

The brig was bound for Archangel, Russia, and we had on board a large
amount of specie and plate, the private fortunes of a Russian Jew
returning to his native land after many years of success as a merchant
in Alexandria. Our berth was near the captain's, and Mitchell had
heard the warning given by Donovan. He was out of his berth in an
instant and gave me to understand there was mutiny aboard. Together we
entered the captain's cabin.

The Jew was apprised of the situation. It was the intention of the
mate and crew to murder him and the Captain and put the vessel about
for a piratical cruise in the Indian Ocean. They were a motley gang of
foreigners, low bred and capable of any crime when led by a man like
the mate, fresh from a career of lawlessness on the China coast.

The Jew was the most abject picture of terror I ever saw. His hands
trembled and he shook like a man in a chill. He wanted to hide, but
that was useless. Captain McKenzie armed himself with a belaying pin.
He placed one in the hands of each of us boys and bade us follow him
in silence. We cautiously went on deck and we found the helm deserted,
and the mate and the entire crew sitting together and drinking in the
fore part of the ship.

Captain McKenzie sprang into their midst and with one blow from the
pin killed the mate. This subdued the others and they slunk away to
their duties. The captain then called the men in front of him and
after ordering Donovan to the helm, told them he was done with them
and that their future conduct would determine their fate. At the same
time he threatened to kill the first man that manifested a mutinous
disposition, or dared to cross a given line on the deck without his
permission. He then ordered the mate's body overboard and told the men
to return to their duties.

The Captain and Donovan took turns at the helm, while Mitchell or I
was stationed as a lookout to give instant warning of any suspicious
movements on the part of the crew. For more than a week we stood to
our posts of duty, when one morning we sailed into the smooth waters
of the port of Archangel, weary and exhausted from the intense nervous
strain and loss of sleep.

The Captain notified the British consul and a file of soldiers came
on board and arrested the crew. Six of them were afterwards sent to
prison for life.

The home voyage of the Aven was fraught with all the dangers of the
sea. We had secured another crew in Archangel but their seamanship was
bad. When a sudden storm would strike us it required herculean efforts
on the part of the captain and Donovan to prevent the ship from being
driven ashore on the rocks.

Snow was falling and a wintry wind dashed the waves over our decks and
coated the bulwarks with a mail of ice. Sleet and snow clung to the
rigging, making every effort to handle the ship a hazardous one. For
three days we battled against the elements and then we came in contact
with ice floes. Once our position was so perilous that the Captain
ordered the boats provisioned and ready to be lowered when the vessel
should be crushed in the ice. By skillful maneuvering we escaped from
the ice floes and had a pleasant day or two in smoother seas.

It was night and I was standing by the taffrail, when suddenly a giant
specter seemed to come up from out of the sea, bearing directly down
upon us. Her great lantern swung in a glow in a fog, by which I
discerned moving objects.

"Collision! Collision!" I shouted at the top of my voice. The cry was
taken up by the sailors, and ere it had died away there was the
crashing of timbers, falling spars and the shouts of men.

We had been struck a glancing blow abaft midships but the damage was
not serious enough to sink us. The other vessel, which proved to be
the brig "Rapid," belonging to the same company at Aberdeen, stood off
until its crew ascertained the extent of our damage, then sailed away
in the darkness.

A month's delay on the docks at Aberdeen repairing damages, and we
were again on the high seas bound for the ports of South America.

When off the West Indies the sky suddenly became overcast, and we were
soon overtaken by a hurricane. The captain saw it coming and prepared
for it, yet when it took the ship it roared and laid her down so that
I thought she would never get up again. All that day and night we had
heavy squalls, and by morning the gale was still increasing. Birds of
sea and land came on board. Driven by the winds, they dashed
themselves down upon the deck without offering to stir until picked
up, and when let go they would not leave the ship, but endeavored to
hide from the wind. By ten o'clock at night the storm had spent its
fury, and when I went to my bunk I found it full of water. With the
straining of the ship, the seams had begun to leak. I was surprised to
note among the ship's crew that the most swaggering, swearing bullies
in fine weather were now the most meek and mild-mannered of men when
death was staring them in the face.

[Illustration: WRECK OF THE SPANISH SLOOP SEVILLE. (Page 30)]

Then followed days when the sea was smooth as glass. Our white sails
hung idly beneath the scorching skies. Sea weed floated on the oily
surface, as, day by day, we lay seemingly motionless on the bosom of
the deep. The moon rose out of a phosphorescent sea and cast its long
golden gleams on the azure blue, while the stars shone like isles of
light in the sky. There was a dread in the infinite spaces about.
Again, there was scurrying, fleecy clouds and our ship was scudding
before the breeze.

When I awoke one morning, we were lying at anchor in the harbor of
Buenos Ayres. While unloading cargo, the Captain desiring to go
ashore, I was taken in the boat along with two of the seamen. After
getting to the wharf, the Captain said: "I expect you fellows to
employ your time cleaning that boat; it will be five o'clock before I
return." After he had gone, one of the sailors said to his mate, "We
will leave Spriggings (meaning me) to clean the boat, and we will go
to shore." After they were gone, I concluded that I had been imposed
upon and I left the boat and went into the city, having no intention
of deserting the vessel at that time. In my wanderings in the strange
city, and not knowing a word of Spanish, I lost my way. Finally, when
I returned to the wharf, the boat was gone. It was late when I was
picked up by a policeman and turned over to an Englishman, who kindly
took me to his home for the night. The next morning I returned to the
Aven and received a reprimand.

A few days later we weighed anchor for Valparaiso. The sky was
overcast and the sea was rolling high off the Patagonian coast, when
we heard signal guns of distress. Captain McKenzie changed the course
of the ship and we soon came in view of the Spanish sloop Seville
going to pieces on the rocks. Her bow was lifted high, while the waves
were breaking over her stern. Her sails were in shreds, and a dozen
sailors clung to the rigging. We lowered the life-boat, and after
hours of battle with wind and wave, rescued the crew. They were in an
exhausted and famished condition, having been for almost three days
without food or water. They were given every kindly attention by our
officers and crew.

We saw the dark, jagged, rugged bluffs and steeps of Staten and Terra
del Fuego. We rounded Cape St. John, amid tempestuous gales and giant
seas of the polar regions. We lost sight of the land, reefed the sails
close down and then bid defiance to the storm. Strange sea birds
shrieked their dismal cries, while dull leaden skies added to the
gloom. We cleared Cape Horn in safety and were soon sailing over the
smooth seas of the south Pacific Ocean beneath the Southern Cross.

"Sail ho!" cried the lookout. All eyes were turned to the leeward. A
stately ship, under full sail, had suddenly appeared, bearing down
upon us. She came silently, the water splitting in foam at her bows.
We could see the crew working about her decks, but no sound came from
the spectre. All at once we noticed her hull and sails were
transparent. We could see through them to the ocean beyond.

It was only a mirage of the sea, but to our crew it was the spectre
of the Flying Dutchman--a phantom ship had crossed our bow.

Once in port, no more would we walk the deck of the Aven of Aberdeen.
She had seen a ghost.



IV.

GRAVES GAVE UP THEIR DEAD.


I was in the streets of Arica, Peru, when the earth began to rock and
reel. Buildings surged and fell, with a crashing noise. The dust rose
dense, and darkened the sky. The earth gaped and swallowed up many of
the people fleeing to the hills back of the town. I followed to an
elevation where an awful sight met the terror-stricken populace. The
hills of Arica had for centuries been the burying grounds of the
ancient Agmaras, a race of Indians who ages ago it seems were
fishermen. The convulsions of the earth threw to the surface hundreds
of the dried bodies of the Indians, still wrapped in their coarse
garments, the nature of the soil had prevented decay. When the people
beheld this they believed the world had come to an end, and they threw
themselves on their faces praying for mercy.

There was a thunderous roar from the sea, growing louder and louder as
each moment of terror sped on, and then, with one mighty crash, a
tidal wave fifty feet high,--the aftermath of the earthquake--struck
the shore, bearing upon its crest the U. S. Battleship Wateree, one
German and two British vessels, leaving them stranded far inland. A
sailor from the Wateree was in a boat, and as he was swept past his
vessel he waved the Stars and Stripes in farewell to his comrades on
board.

The shocks had ceased and the storm that followed had spent its fury,
when the pall of night came over the stricken city. Human wolves crept
from their hiding places and began their work of prowling amid the
ruins and robbing the dead. All night long they held high carnival
amid the scenes of terror and desolation.

Through it all I had been a silent, bewildered spectator. I had fled
to the hills only because others did, for I could speak but little of
the language of the country. I was among the graves when morning
dawned and I heard a voice in my own language. Going to the spot I
found a man with a sprained ankle fighting away a thief. I seized a
rock and he ran. I aided the injured man to a place of safety, where
we remained for several days until a conveyance took us back to town.

The man whom I had helped was John L. Thorndike, an American, well
known in Peru and all over South America, as having built the highest
standard-gauge railway in the world, and a man who at once became my
warmest friend.

But to return to my ship. When the Aven of Aberdeen reached
Valparaiso, the mate and a number of sailors immediately deserted the
vessel in a boat. The Captain saw them leaving but was powerless to
stop them. That night John Mitchell and I stood watch alone. There
being no boat it did not occur to them that we would attempt to
escape, but about midnight Mitchell said to me, "Spriggings, I dare
you to run away."

"I'll take the dare," I said, "but how will we get ashore?"

"We'll launch one of the hatches," he replied.

It was no sooner said than we tied a rope around one of the heavy
hatches, and bearing it to the side of the ship, we lowered it
noiselessly into the water, then let ourselves down the rope and by
holding to the hatch, one on either side, we safely swam ashore.

We avoided the business streets of Valparaiso and made our way to the
country, where we hid in a grove until night. We were without money,
our clothes were such as we wore at sea, night was coming on, we were
hungry and with no place to sleep. Our only thought had been to escape
from the Aven, for we had imbibed the superstition of sailors, and
nothing could induce us to remain aboard that vessel since the phantom
ship had crossed our bow.

I saw a light in a farmhouse in the distance and on our approach the
inmates were aroused by the barking of their dog. The man was a
typical Chilean, short and stout. He looked curiously at us and by
signs Mitchell made him understand that we were hungry. He entered the
house and returned with his wife and two children. Mitchell repeated
his signs and the woman went inside and returned with a cup of milk,
which we drank greedily. The man then beckoned us inside where we had
a supper of meat, bread and coffee. They collected a number of sheep
skins, gave us two mats for covering, and we slept soundly.

The next morning we helped the man in his garden, drew water for the
cattle and made ourselves useful in other ways. I went almost every
day for two weeks to the summit of the hill where I had seen a
splendid view of the bay, to see if the Aven was still in port. One
day I saw her spread her sails and I watched her until she was but a
speck on the horizon.

Our host by this time, I think, knew we had run away, for on one
occasion he followed me when I making my observation, but if he
suspected anything he never took any steps to have us arrested, and in
fact treated us with great kindness. When we left he gave us a large
package of food and some clean stockings and shirts which his wife had
made for us.

It was nightfall when we entered Valparaiso. Near the plaza Victoria
we paused before an English boarding house sign. As we stood looking,
a middle-aged man came out and asked us our business. Before we could
reply he said: "I bet you are the two boys from the Aven." Our
frightened looks told him we were. He invited us in and gave us
supper.

We soon learned to our dismay that this man was the notorious Cockney
Spider, keeper of a runaway sailor's boarding house. At night Cockney
would start out to some vessel in the bay of Valparaiso, everything
having been pre-arranged, take off those sailors desiring to runaway,
secrete them in the house and when opportunity offered, ship them
again. The amount of bounty paid by ships short of men was often
large, and as Cockney always arranged to have poor runaways deep in
debt for board and lodging, the sailor on being re-shipped was worse
off, and Cockney the gainer. He often took desperate chances in
stealing sailors, as the coast guard and other officials were sharp.
Many in that traffic were captured, but Cockney always escaped.

After we spent the night in his home he asked me if I could write.
Replying in the affirmative, I was installed as chief book-keeper of
the notorious runaway sailor boarding house. My duties were to
register the sailors brought to the house, keep a record of their
meals, charge so much a night for lodging, and present their bill when
they were ready to leave. I held the position for two weeks, when one
night Cockney came home intoxicated and told me that he had shipped
Mitchell that night on a French bark. A sailor gave me a sly wink and
whispered, "Your turn will come next, he intends to ship you on a
whaler." My experience with the ice on the Aven had given me a horror
of frozen seas, and that night I stole away from the boarding house.

I was in dread of Cockney Spider, and, in my determination to escape,
I became a stowaway on a coast steamer and landed at Arica, with a few
dollars in my pocket, paid to me by Spider.

When I arrived at Mollendo in company with Mr. John L. Thorndike, he
introduced me to Mr. Hill, his general manager, as his "boy protector"
and told him to give me employment and see that I was well provided
for.

In a short while I was in the railway shops, learning the trade of
machinist, and later I was engineer on the railroad running from the
sea port of Mollendo to Arequipa, more than one hundred miles in the
interior. The city is situated in a beautiful and fertile valley in
the heart of the Andes. The majestic volcanic mountain Misti some
miles away rises nearly four miles above the sea and smoke still
issues from its crater.

I had lately been transferred from the shops in Mollendo to Arequipa,
when, hearing fabulous stories of rich gold finds in the Andes, and
being imbued with an adventurous spirit, I resolved to try my fortune
in the new El Dorado.



V.

FAIREST FLOWER OF THE CORDILLERAS.


I was in the heart of the Cordilleras, weary, footsore and alone. I
was descending a rocky cliff a few hundred feet from a plateau, while
the thunders roared with terrific crash. The rain fell in sheets,
plunging in wild fury in cataracts down the mountain side. There was
desolation and terror unutterable. I leaned close to a shelving rock,
and as I thought of once happy days in Aberdeen, of the love bestowed
upon me by my dear mother--gone forever from this world--my own
condition, now a homeless wanderer in a foreign land, perhaps to soon
meet death and my body be devoured by condors, I laid my head on my
arms and wept bitterly.

I am not superstitious, neither do I believe that my condition at that
time caused my mind to wander; a peaceful calm came over me; it
seemed as if some loving one was near, fear vanished, and I looked up
but beheld nothing. The storm raged with even greater fury. I walked
and even began to sing the "Garb of Old Gaul." I ignored the elements
in their war and had almost reached the plateau when the storm ceased
and the sun suddenly appeared. Calm and warmth came from what a few
minutes before had seemed death and destruction.

A sudden turn in the trail and I beheld a child seated beneath the
thick, spreading branches of a tree, her white apron filled with
alpine flowers. "How came she here," I wondered. Her dark bright eyes
gazed questioningly into mine, eyes through which one could see the
childish spirit and feel the witchery of her magic look; her raven
locks fell in clusters over her fair temples and ended in ringlets
about her shoulders; on her cheeks were the glowing tints of youth and
health. As I spoke she rose and handed me a flower of delicate tint. I
gallantly pinned it on the lapel of my coat, which won from her a
pleasing look and smile. I could speak a little Spanish and she seemed
to understand that I was going her way. Together we walked along the
trail. Her childish grace appealed to me. A spirit of infinite
goodness seemed to radiate from within and stirred my noblest
impulses. A feeling of content settled upon me.

Near by, I saw some Indian huts and the tambo or tavern where Frank
Dunn and I had stopped on our way to Puno. The child ran ahead,
leaving me to follow.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The first sight of Puno had satisfied me that we had come to the most
desolate spot in the world, Nature's remains seemed to have been
brought there and left without burial. The ground was thickly covered
with a short, wild grass and appeared to be the natural dwelling place
of the alpacas and wild vicunas.

I had been in Puno but a few days when I was offered work on board one
of the steamers, but I longed again for Arequipa and friends. Dunn
had secured work on one of the steamers and refused to return. I
thought this was hard, as it was my money that had helped him from the
time he left Arequipa until he secured employment. My money was almost
gone, but I had gone to the Amaras market and bought what edibles I
needed, and without hesitation had started alone to return to
Arequipa, over those fearful heights and dread solitudes of the
Cordilleras, when I found her.

When we were entering the tambo an elderly gentleman and the Indian
host were speaking in Spanish, and even from my limited knowledge of
the language I knew they were talking about me.

No doubt but my appearance in the heart of the Cordilleras wet,
forlorn looking and alone aroused his sympathy. After a difficult
attempt at opening a conversation, the beautiful child I had met
looking on all the time, I was given to understand that he desired me
to eat with them. Of course I consented, but I did not do justice to
the meal as the dark eyes of the young girl were constantly upon me.

The gentleman gave me his name, Julian Maldonado, and that of his
daughter, Felicita Maldonado. He was a well-to-do merchant of elderly
years. I learned that his wife was dead and that their home was in
Lima. The servants made me a bed in the room adjacent to my host. The
next morning I was aroused by one of them who said his master wanted
to see me. I went to him and after telling him I was on my way to
Arequipa, and when there I would be among my friends, he offered to
purchase a mule for me, but the only one to be had was lame. However,
I told him I was young and would soon reach my destination. Felicita
then came in and announced breakfast, after which the mules were
packed and, everything being in readiness, we bade each other
good-bye. Felicita came toward me, and as she extended her hand in her
childish fashion, she placed in my own a Peruvian twenty-dollar gold
piece, saying: "Adios mi amigo."

I was almost speechless. I started forward to return the money, but I
had to retain it, as they quickly mounted and were gone before I could
master my feelings.

Roll on, relentless Time. Felicita, fairest flower of the Cordilleras,
we shall meet again, when love's young dream shall awaken amid the
clash of arms and tragedies!

Nine days later I arrived in Arequipa, sick, footsore and weary. My
friends had sent out searching parties believing that I had been
murdered. Their astonishment was great when they found where I had
been and that I had spent many nights alone amid the dangers of the
mountains. Many were the admonitions I received from older heads.

I laughed at their words, and when I thought of the beautiful
Felicita, I dreamed of love and felt an indescribable content with my
surroundings and all the world.



VI.

A HUMILIATING INCIDENT.


There was a night riot in the streets of Ilo, knives gleamed in
ruffian hands, curses and blasphemy fell from sodden lips. Shots were
fired in the thick of the struggling mass, as the mob crowded in
frenzy about some central figure. The crowd from behind pressed
forward and Thompson and I were carried along by the crush of
humanity, until of necessity we began to fight our way out. We had
partially succeeded, when we were surrounded by soldiers. At sight of
the soldiers the crowd began to disperse, but unfortunately for us it
was too late, besides we had nothing to do with the riot, and thought
we had nothing to fear.

The officer stepped up and placed Thompson and I under arrest. We were
searched, but no arms were found on us. However, we were marched away
to jail and our feet placed in iron bars, fastened with a heavy lock,
which compelled us to lie on our backs.

The next morning an officer appeared and I notified him that I was a
British subject, and resented such treatment. He told me that I was
held for attempted murder. Thompson was also under the same charge. An
Italian had been shot and would probably die. I demanded an immediate
trial. Several officers of the railway came and endeavored to set us
free, but their efforts were of no avail. There was no British consul
nearer than Arica, about two days travel by steamer, and no means for
communicating with him until the steamer arrived from the north.

Our prison was an old wooden structure, and only one guard was over
us. The officer and his men had quarters some distance away. It was
our intention to ask the soldier on guard for a drink of water about
midnight, when Thompson would overpower him and take his keys. A
small boat was to be in readiness at a certain place. Our plan was,
after obtaining the keys, to put the soldier in the stocks and walk
out, all of which could easily have been accomplished, as the soldier
was but a small ignorant half-breed Indian. It was Sunday night and we
had decided to put our plan in operation, when--imagine our
surprise--an officer informed us to get ready to take the train for
Moquequa.

We were accompanied by an officer and six men. I asked the officer
what the removal was for, and he said our trial was to be held and it
was necessary for us to be present. I asked permission to speak with
the engineer, which was given. I told him I dreaded being taken into
the interior, as we would be away from our friends, and begged him
when we came to a certain grade along the line to increase the speed
and I would jump off. I was familiar with that part of the country,
knew I could secure a horse and go to Mollendo or Arequipa. I knew
also that the officer and his men had never been on a train, and it
would be impossible for them to give chase.

But we were again doomed to disappointment. The engineer feared to
carry out the plan and instead of increasing speed, went slower than
usual.

On our arrival at Moquequa we were marched through the streets, to my
great humiliation, as I knew many people in the town. Numbers of them
came and offered their sympathy. To our great indignation we were
thrown into a cell with six other prisoners convicted of murder, and a
more ugly, villainous and desperate-looking lot of characters would
have been hard to find anywhere. No attention had been paid to my
remonstrance, when an hour later a gentleman, whom I had favored,
presented himself. After I told him the circumstances of our detention
he said he would send a lawyer to defend us. In the meantime he
arranged with a hotel keeper to send us regular meals, also mattresses
and blankets.

The day following I had many visitors, some drawn by curiosity and
others by sympathy and good will. The latter were profuse in their
attentions. When a lawyer appeared, I related to him the details of
our arrest. I did the talking, as Thompson could not speak the
language, while I was becoming quite proficient in it. Upon leaving,
the lawyer promised to have us free in eight days at most.

I passed away the dreary time pacing that prison cell. It was about
twenty feet long and twelve feet wide, and contained nothing but stone
walls and floor, with a heavy iron-grated window which looked out on
the plaza. A bottle of wine came with each meal, instead of coffee,
and I shared it with the criminals in our cell. In this way I soon won
their good will, and as they had all been convicted of murder, they
did not hesitate to tell me of their horrible crimes.

There is no capital punishment in Peru. Sentence for life, in that
country, means about fifteen years, and seldom do they serve that
length of time. Usually a revolution releases them. At such times
insurgents invariably break open the prisons and liberate the
convicts, which happened to these prisoners a few months later. We
were visited daily by my lawyer and finally were told that four
hundred dollars would be required for our liberation.

"Liberate us and I will give you the money," was my answer.

Next day I bid adieu to my undesirable residence and companions;
Thompson had no money and I paid all. After purchasing new clothes and
receiving the congratulations of friends, we boarded the train for
Ilo. Mr. Hill returned from Lima that day and after learning of the
indignities inflicted upon me, told his officials that they should
have notified the British consul and compelled the Peruvian
authorities to pay, instead of taking my money.

I returned to work in the shops, and three weeks afterward one of the
office clerks came in breathless and told me I was to be arrested
again along with Thompson. The papers would be down from Moquequa
that night and tomorrow morning they would come for us.

I was furious when I realized that we were again facing punishment for
a crime of which we were innocent and I determined to resist arrest,
and leave Ilo.

I went to the office of the secretary of the railroad, and after a
long consultation, it was agreed to have three of Mr. Hill's best
horses in readiness at midnight. One of the hostlers was to accompany
us and when we reached Tambo, Thompson and I would take the train for
Arequipa.

I went to my room, packed my clothes, carefully loaded two revolvers
and placed my trunk and other articles of value in the hands of my
friends, with orders to send them to Arequipa after the sensation of
my escape was over. After supper, to allay any suspicion the
authorities might have, I strolled along the wharf, went into a
billiard hall and actually played a game of billiards with the captain
of the guard, who I have no doubt had the order to arrest me in his
pocket. Thompson had gone to his room. I followed thirty minutes
later, and at precisely twelve o'clock, I sallied out of the house by
the rear, and met Thompson at the agreed place on the beach.

The night was dark, and everything being in readiness, we mounted and
rode through the town dressed like natives. We soon gained the highway
leading to Tambo and after being well clear of Ilo, we put our horses
to their best. We rode the fifty-five miles to Tambo, over a rugged
and mountainous country and caught the train for Arequipa, arriving
that night after an absence for me of two years.



VII.

IN THE THROES OF REVOLUTION.


The railroad had now been extended from Arequipa to Puno. A revolution
had broken out and insurgents were cutting the telegraph wires.

I was engineer on a combination locomotive and coach and as this
locomotive will be in the scene of more than one tragedy, I will
describe it. It was specially designed for the president and officers
of the road, weighing only eight tons. On the same frame with the
engine, in fact, a part of it, was built a beautiful black walnut
coach, with a seating capacity of from twelve to eighteen persons. It
had two side doors and one in front, which, when opened, communicated
with the engineer. There were windows hung with beautiful damask
curtains, the carpets were of rich velvet, and a center table and
several cupboards under the seats completed the furnishings. It was
in reality a palace on wheels, named The Arequipena, meaning a native
of Arequipa. I mention the design of the combination engine-car for
the reason that, on a duplicate of The Arequipena, later occurred one
of the most perilous and tragic events of my life.

The stretch of road from Julica to Cabanillas was level and straight,
except about two miles from Cabanillas station, where a heavy side cut
and sharp curve was the only obstruction to the view for miles. I was
going at the rate of forty miles an hour, when, on nearing this curve,
I beheld a large Rogers locomotive with a train of coaches coming
toward me. I cannot describe the thoughts that went through my
brain--there was a terrific crash--flying debris--a hissing of
steam--mingled with the groans of the wounded and dying.

I was thrown out of the way of the wreck and near the edge of a river,
and when I regained my senses a priest was bending over me, bathing my
forehead. I gradually realized what had happened and went to my
engine. There was scarcely a vestige left of The Little Arequipena,
only a piece of the boiler and two pairs of driving wheels. The shock
was so great that the little coach was hurled over the other engine,
which was not damaged much.

I saw several persons bending over some one, and, on going closer,
found William Cuthbert, our traveling engineer, stretched on the
ground dying. Five soldiers were dead beneath the ruins. One officer,
with his legs broken in two places, begged that others be cared for
first. The road-master was in agony, his lower limbs frightfully
burned by escaping steam; all the others were more or less seriously
injured, except myself. When relief came our dead and wounded were
taken to Arequipa.

We had been sent out to repair the wires, and orders had come to me
that we should be given the right of way. The engineer who collided
with me told me that the commander of the government forces had
ordered our superintendent to furnish transportation for his troops
to Puno at once, and when informed that it would be impossible to send
a train until we were heard from, he threatened to place the
superintendent in jail unless his orders were complied with. No one on
the other train was hurt. They had six coaches full of soldiers, the
priest who assisted me being among them.

The day after our arrival at Arequipa the funeral of William Cuthbert
took place. The procession was the largest that I had ever witnessed
at any funeral in Arequipa, natives as well as foreigners taking
part.

It was a long time before I recovered from the shock, not alone of the
collision, but the death of William Cuthbert who always had been ready
to befriend me and who had given me much valuable information. He lies
buried in the cemetery at Arequipa, in a vault. A marble slab was
erected to his memory.

The general manager sent for me one day to come to his office in
Arequipa, and after talking over the cause of the collision, I told
him that I considered him to blame for allowing any engine and train
to go out without knowing first where we were, and that it would have
been better to have gone to prison, that if he had been sent there the
American government would have demanded his freedom, and he would have
been honored. As it stood, he was to a certain extent responsible for
that dreadful affair. After some more words I left the office,
realizing that I had incurred the displeasure of the head officer. I
concluded to leave, which I was sorry to do, as I looked upon Arequipa
as my only home.

I visited Valparaiso and again met Cockney Spider. He was still at his
old business, conducting a runaway sailors' boarding house. A few
weeks later found me in Panama, an engineer on the Panama and
Aspinwall railroad. The climate, I believe, is the most wretched in
the world, and tropical vegetation grows the rankest. In a few months
I was stricken with the yellow fever, but thanks to my robust
constitution I soon recovered. About this time I met an official of
the government railway at Ilo, who desired me to return and accept a
position as engineer on the road. I told him of my troubles in that
town with the officials. He met me soon afterwards, with a contract
duly drawn up for eighteen months' service and a guarantee that I
should not be molested by any petty official.

When I arrived at Ilo, imagine my surprise to find that the man who
rowed me ashore was the Italian who caused my arrest. He offered to
shake hands but I refused. When I went to the hotel many of my old
native friends came to see me, and informed me that after I had left
they discovered the person who did the shooting. It was done by one of
their own number, who managed to get away.

It was very gratifying to thus have my innocence established, but it
did not recompense for the time I had spent in jail and the loss of
money.

I had been running a train out of Ilo about a month, when one night I
was invited to a "wake." Having never attended one, I accepted the
invitation. At one end of the room stood a large table, and upon it
the body of a child two years old. On its head was a wreath of
flowers. The child was dressed in white; in its tiny hands was a
bouquet of flowers; the feet were encased in small white slippers;
lighted candles surrounded the body. At either end of the table were
several old women, who were employed by the family as mourners, and
they kept up a continual low moaning sound. Occasionally they would
stop to partake of wine, and start again, more dismal than ever. The
room was large and on each side were seated ladies and gentlemen
talking and laughing and seemingly enjoying themselves. The parents of
the dead child appeared to have surpassed the expectations of their
friends and made a great success of the "wake."

There is a custom in Peru that when several persons are gathered
together there is constant drinking. A large bottle of wine or
whiskey is placed on the table with one glass. A lady or gentleman
will fill the glass and drink to the health of some one present. It is
bad form to leave any liquor in the glass, so it is always drained,
refilled and presented to the one whose health has been drunk. It is
an insult to refuse to drink, after one has drank to your health and
the person accepting the glass drinks to the health of some one else.
In this manner the glass is constantly on the move. On this occasion,
the wine was on the table with the corpse.

About one o'clock in the morning not seeing any disposition on the
part of the guests to retire, I bade our friends good night.

I had barely reached the street when I heard firing and saw people
running. Suddenly there came a volley of musketry, and a woman dropped
dead a few feet in front of me. Almost immediately the streets were
deserted, but I could hear the cries of "Vivia Pierola," and I knew
another revolution had broken out.



VIII.

VIVA GENERALISSIMO PIEROLA.


I did not do anything for the woman. Shot through the heart, she was
past all aid. I made a dash into a by-street, intending to reach the
station, get my engine ready and go to Ilo to prevent the insurgents
from using the road to transport their troops. But I ran into an
officer's arms before I had gone a block. He had been looking for me
all night, and told me I was his prisoner. I was to be taken before
Senor Pierola. Meantime I was to be treated with every consideration,
the officer paying for breakfast and cigars, and insisting on my
drinking some ale which he had taken as a contraband of war.

It was some time before we could get near the great leader of the
revolution, the approaches to his house being crowded with people.
Ladies were prominent among the crowd, carrying flowers and declaring
their deliverer had come to make Peru the greatest nation on the
Pacific.

After the officer presented me Pierola asked me if I spoke Spanish.
Upon being answered in the affirmative, he asked my name, nationality
and how long I had been employed by the Peruvian government; all of
which being answered to his satisfaction, he asked me if I would work
for him, and if I would, in the event of his being victorious, I
should be appointed to take charge of the Ilo and Moquequa railways.
He only wanted me to convey troops down the valley, take up some of
the rails to prevent the government troops from using the line, and
then before he retreated to another position which he would fortify,
to dismantle the engine and hide the parts, so that in case the
government troops should come to Moquequa the engine would be of no
service to them.

I replied that I was a British subject, and that if I were to do what
he requested of me, and should be taken prisoner by the government,
and the fact became known that I had taken part, I would be unable to
claim the protection of my government. He agreed that that was true,
but he would insure against that by sending a few troops with me, and
it would look as if force was compelling me to do what, which without
force, I would not have done.

I finally agreed, and after giving my word that I would not attempt to
escape, received orders to take the engine, as a squad of soldiers
would accompany me, and at a certain place along the line which they
would designate, the rails would be torn up. We started that
afternoon.

We carried two flat cars to load the rails on. About forty miles from
Moquequa we discovered another train coming toward us, but upon our
nearer approach they backed off rapidly. It was a party of government
troops sent out to ascertain whether the road was clear in order to
bring up their main body. Our company then took up rails and made the
road dangerous in ten different places. We blew up a small wooden
bridge with giant powder.

The officer in charge made frequent stops in the valley and levied a
tribute of money on all the wine merchants he could find. They usually
gave, as they knew too well the consequence of refusing. Those who hid
away found, on their return, their wine presses and vaults in ruins.

On our return to Moquequa, I was ordered to disable the engine, which
I did by taking off both valve stems and driving rods. The officer hid
them and that was the last I ever saw of them. We attended a dance
which lasted all night, and drank much wine in anticipation of the
success of the revolution. It was a gala night. There was dancing and
music in nearly all the houses.

In the early morning bugles, drums and other instruments began making
a hideous noise, officers were commanding men to form ranks, horses,
mules and donkeys were running hither and thither, and dogs were
barking. Here and there were groups of men learning to load their
rifles, others endeavoring to parry and thrust with cutlasses and
making fierce swings at an imaginary government soldier. Louder and
hoarser came the call of the officers, but their commands were lost on
the motley crowd. After several hours the officers succeeded in
getting the men into some kind of marching order.

I turned to a store to buy some cigars, when I heard someone calling,
and turning I beheld three of my fellow prisoners that a few months
before were in jail convicted of murder. One straightened out his hand
to me, but I did not take it. I asked them how they escaped; it was
the old story. The insurgents needed recruits and they were liberated
on condition that they fight for Pierola.

Such was Peru, and such it is today. Instead of the people supporting
the government, the government supports the people, and when all its
favors become exhausted, then some one arises and proclaims himself
president, organizes a band of thieves and murderers, and endeavors
to gain control.

There have been exceptions, when an indignant people, who have been
trodden to such an extent that it seems a revolution is the only means
of righting their wrongs; but nine out of ten are the work of an
ambitious man who wants to become ruler.

I asked the ex-convicts where the other three were who had been
confined with them. Two had died and the other was with the troops.
They begged for money and I gave them a dollar each, and after
profusely thanking me they left to follow the rear guard of Pierola's
scoundrels.

After purchasing my cigars, I followed the main body of troops with my
escort of twenty soldiers, to keep guard over me, as arranged with
General Pierola. Our destination was Torato, thirty miles from
Moquequa. The road led over passes and wound around mountain sides,
and from several points of vantage I could see the army on the march,
with General Pierola and a priest by his side in the lead. The priest
was there to inspire courage in those who might waver. The army
numbered six hundred infantry and two hundred cavalry, many of whom
did not know the duties of a soldier.

On arriving at Torato, I secured quarters for myself and escort at the
expense of the insurgent general. A month passed in wine drinking and
dancing. There were gay festivities every night, lasting sometimes
until late the next morning, the officers seldom seeing their men.
Instead of drilling them, they spent their time telling how they were
going to annihilate the government troops. Some little fortifying had
been done, but the natural surroundings were sufficient to prevent a
prudent attack. One day the news came that the government troops were
advancing and then some little work was done to prepare for battle.

The day before the battle, I told General Pierola I had no objections
to following him to the battlefield, but in consideration of being a
non-combatant, I asked the privilege of selecting my own course,
giving him my word of honor that I would not make any attempt to
escape. He was satisfied and gave me a pass allowing the freedom I
desired. The next day the cry arose that the government troops were
only six miles away. There was hurrying to and fro with no discipline.
The priest accomplished more by his cross than all the officers. There
was a babel of voices. All were trying to give commands. Suddenly
heavy firing was heard, the outpost had become engaged at last.



IX.

AMID THE DIN OF BATTLE.


The main body of the insurgent troops began to move to the front,
headed by General Pierola and the priest marching to the most
unearthly music I ever heard. Women were conspicuous and cheered as
the men marched past. "Viva Pierola!" was heard on all sides.

Then came an order to double quick. The outposts were driven in a
short distance, and the enemy was in a valley, surrounded on both
sides by a chain of hills with a huge mountain in the background. When
I saw the position of the government troops, I was satisfied they
would be defeated and the battle become a rout. There were two
regiments of infantry and one of cavalry in the valley. Pierola
stationed his troops on each side of the pass and in front, reserving
his cavalry. In a short time the engagement became general. The
priest encouraged the insurgents by displaying the cross. He was a
courageous fellow, always to be found in places of danger. I mounted a
huge boulder and could easily see all that was going on. The
government troops would waver and fall back, and again they would
renew the attempt to scale the hillsides, which was impossible as long
as the insurgents held their position.

There was a strange happening just when success seemed assured. The
insurgent cavalry had taken no part up to this time, as both sides of
the valley had been actively engaged. The insurgents along the pass
were running short of ammunition. An order was sent to the captain of
the cavalry to send a company back to Torato and assist in hurrying up
supplies. There was a brief cessation of hostilities. I could plainly
see the government troops carrying their dead and wounded to the rear,
but still holding their position. When another charge was made to take
the heights, the firing again became general. Suddenly arose the cry,
"They come! They come!" Firing along the sides of the pass ceased, and
I looked in amazement. Evidently, something was wrong. The insurgents
were throwing away their arms and running. There was a cloud of dust
in the direction of Torato, and I could easily distinguish a company
of cavalry, which I knew was the company sent to hurry up the
ammunition. The insurgents saw them and imagined that the government
cavalry had succeeded in getting to their rear. The panic became a
rout. In vain did Pierola plead, as he threw himself in front of his
demoralized men, in vain did the priest hold his crucifix on high,
threatening and pleading, but no persuasion could stop those runaway
cowards. The government troops realized something was wrong, and began
to scale the heights. Still, if the cavalry which had done no
fighting, could have been led to the side of the pass, the day would
still have been with Pierola, and probably the stampede would have
been checked. But unfortunately for the would-be president, there was
no one in command capable of meeting the emergency.

I became excited, and snatching a cutlass from the hand of a
retreating soldier, threw myself in front of a column in a vain
endeavor to stop them, but they ran over me like so many sheep. Terror
had lent them wings of flight and deprived them of reason. By this
time the government infantry had reached the plateau and was forming
into companies. Their cavalry had seized the heights and the day was
lost.

I saw General Pierola shake hands with the priest and leave the field.
The priest mounted and he, too, was gone. The ground was strewn with
arms; even the discordant musical instruments were discarded.

Thus an army of revolutionists, who, a few hours before paraded
through the streets of Torato, cheered by fair women, and shouting
"Viva Pierola," had won a battle by natural surroundings and lost it
by their cowardice. I, too, thought it was time to retreat, as my
escort of twenty soldiers had long since disappeared. I rode to
Torato.

Along the way I overtook straggling bands of insurgents going into
town to hide, while others were scaling the tallest mountains. I went
to my quarters, and soon the town was surrounded.

The next morning about two hundred insurgents were captured. The
others were hid in some mysterious way and the commanding officer of
the government troops was made to believe that the main body of the
insurgents was in the mountains.

I sought the general of the government troops to inform him of my
presence. He replied that he knew of my being a prisoner, and asked me
to return to Moquequa at once and help to get the railway in operation
to convey his troops and prisoners.

I was glad no other questions were put to me, and after pleading with
the general for my kind host who had treated me with great kindness in
Torato, and who was not in sympathy with the revolutionists, he agreed
to exempt him from the payment of money levied on nearly all the
inhabitants.

[Illustration: THE EARTH BEGAN TO ROCK AND REEL. (Page 33)]

Soon after this a troop ship arrived in Ilo to convey prisoners and
escort to Lima. I felt sorry for the prisoners. Many of them
recognized me and kept calling, "Don Juan, please try and help us,"
but of course I was powerless to do anything for them. I was glad when
they were aboard the transport for I felt miserable in the midst of so
much suffering. But I knew they would not suffer long. Another
revolution would set them free.

The railroad was again in running order and everything progressing
smoothly when one morning at breakfast I was informed that Pierola had
broken out again. This time his party had, by means unknown, captured
the Peruvian ironclad ram, Huascar. He must have been aided by the
officers, or at least one of them who declared in his favor. Howbeit,
he had possession. The Peruvian fleet was sent in pursuit, but as the
Huascar was the most powerful vessel of the fleet, they had to give
her up.

The fortunes of Pierola were brighter now than ever. He could, with
the exception of Callao, have entire command and control of all the
sea ports along the coast. But unfortunately for him, he began to stop
the British mail, and later the French mail on the high seas, his
object being to intercept mail for the Peruvian government.

The British government dispatched H. M. S. Amythist and the Shah to
compel him to surrender, the Huascar having had full sway along the
coast for a month.

The Huascar finally made her appearance in the port of Ilo, and almost
immediately the Amythist and Shah hove in sight. I had a good view
from the beach and saw a boat lowered from the Shah and pull directly
to the Huascar, I supposed for the purpose of demanding her surrender.
However, if that was the object, it failed, for upon the return of the
boat to the Shah, the Amythist cleared for action.

The afternoon was calm; not a ripple on the ocean. The Huascar was
nearest the shore, less than a mile from where I stood. The Shah was
over a mile distant seaward. A signal flashed from the Shah and the
Amythist steamed toward the Huascar. The Amythist was a wooden
corvette, equipped with twin screws. The Shah was a commerce
destroyer. Neither vessel was a match for the modern ironclad
Huascar.

Suddenly a shot came from the Shah. The flag and pole at the stern of
the Huascar dropped overboard. The Huascar, equipped with a revolving
turret, sent a shot at the Amythist, but it went wide of its mark. The
Amythist circled and sent a broadside full on the Huascar, every shot
taking effect. With the aid of a glass I could see the decks of the
Amythist plainly from my position on a huge rock. The British sailors,
stripped to the waist, cutlass in hand, stood eagerly awaiting orders.
The gunners' crews were engaged in firing rapidly. The Huascar replied
by slow but heavy reports from her turret. The object of the British
was to disable the Huascar's turret, and they succeeded by directing
all shots against it.

The Huascar, finding she could not effect the enemy by shots, turned
to ram her. The Amythist, being equipped with twin screws, awaited the
Huascar and when within a short distance ran alongside and poured her
whole broadside on the rebel. That was the last act before the Huascar
surrendered.

I was aboard the Huascar a few months afterward at Mollendo and she
presented a most dilapidated appearance.

Thus again was General Pierola frustrated, and by a British wooden
vessel against a crack ironclad of Peru. Pierola escaped as usual, and
the Huascar was turned over to the Peruvian government.

A few days after the Amythist-Huascar battle I discovered the people
of Ilo were cold and distant towards me, and I soon learned the cause.
Although they were in favor of the existing government, they did not
relish the idea of their people being beaten by the British. I could
not condemn the acts of my own country and I felt it would be better
to leave Ilo, which I did, little dreaming of the exciting events
which were soon to follow.



X.

WE MEET AGAIN, FELICITA.


The theater of Arequipa was ablaze with lights. The youth and beauty
had assembled to follow the fortunes of the Count de Monte Christo. I
was seated in the dress circle listening to the weird warlike strains
of Spanish music, when my eyes fell upon the occupants of a box. A
beautiful girl, half hidden by the rich draperies, was talking with an
aristocratic looking old gentleman, while by their side sat a young
man, dark-browed and sinister looking. I arose and entered the box
from the side door. "Don Julian Maldonado, I am delighted to meet
you," I said, "I am the boy you befriended some years ago in the
Cordilleras."

He took my hand delightedly and bade me be seated, offering me a chair
between himself and daughter. Don Julian whispered to me not to make
myself known to Felicita to see if she would recognize me. All this
was amusing to Don Julian, but somewhat embarrassing to me, seated, as
I was, between them, and trying to carry on a conversation with him.
The expression of wonderment in Felicita's beautiful eyes was
disconcerting to say the least. It was evident she did not remember
me. And yet how could she be expected to. She was a child of only nine
years when we first met, and who now, seven years later found me
unexpected and unannounced sitting beside her in a theater.

Laughingly I turned to her and asked if she did not recognize me,
explaining that the reason her father had not presented me was that we
had met seven years ago.

While I was speaking she was looking earnestly at me, but when I
recalled their journey to La Paz she appeared dubious and asked if I
was the young lad she met near Puno and if it was possible that I had
grown to manhood and learned to speak Spanish? When I reassured her,
the look of astonishment gave way to an exclamation of joy.

The play was forgotten. We only talked of our first meeting. She
asked if I was staying in Arequipa and on learning that I was,
promised that we should meet again, as her father had decided to
remain there for some time. I was delighted but felt somewhat
disturbed because of the young man in the box with her. When I began
to talk to Felicita he moved his seat farther away. The Peruvians are
the acme of politeness.

The play being over, I assisted Felicita with her wraps. Her father
then introduced me to Don Rodrigo Garcia, a fellow traveller whom they
had met on their journey from Cusco to Arequipa.

I was not particularly well pleased with the young man. First
impressions sometimes give rise to doubt and distrust. It was so with
me in this instance. Don Julian insisted on my going home with them. I
walked with Felicita on one side and Don Julian on the other, Don
Rodrigo walking just ahead of me. Their home was on Calle Mercaderes,
one of the prettiest squares of the city. Like most Peruvian homes,
the house was of adobe with flat roof and partitions of plastered
cane. It contained six rooms. In the windows were heavy iron bars,
like all houses of the better class. They were very serviceable, for
Spanish lovers do their courting between the window bars. The girl
sits beside the window and her wooer stands in the street; the parents
sometimes invite him in. Should he request the company of the girl to
the play or to any entertainment, the invitation must include the
whole family. This custom in the larger cities is dying out, but in
the inland cities it is still adhered to.

Arriving at the door, I bade Felicita and her father good night with
the assurance that I would dine with them the next day. Don Rodrigo
also was invited. His hotel was on my way and I accompanied him. He
was splendid company, and after reaching his hotel I accepted his
invitation to a light lunch. Afterwards we enjoyed a cigar and some
rich old wine, but still I could not overcome the aversion I first
formed for him.

The following day, long before the appointed time for dinner, I was
dressed and ready. Chico, a half-breed Indian, whom I had rendered a
service one time when he was being set upon by some of his own people,
and who afterwards slept in my passage way, had my boots polished and
horse carefully groomed. He was a faithful servant. He would find out
where I went and quietly follow, and after the manner of his race,
would lie down in some obscure place in perfect contentment and wait
for me. I arrived at the home of Don Julian at the appointed time, and
found the father and daughter awaiting me. A few moments later, Don
Rodrigo arrived and we were seated in the parlor facing the street. It
was splendidly appointed. Although the exterior of many Peruvian
residences appear shabby, the interior presents a far different
appearance.

I requested Felicita to play for us and time passed quickly. Dinner
being called I took the liberty of escorting Felicita to the table and
was given the place beside her. The Indian servants between courses,
kept our glasses filled. Felicita did not take wine, and when dinner
was over retired, leaving us to enjoy our cigars and liquor. We
afterwards adjourned to the parlor, where I gave my friends an account
of my life since our first meeting. I could see that Don Rodrigo took
every opportunity to make light of my narrative.

I did not allude to being in Ilo during the Amythist and Huascar
affair, but after I had given my friends a brief account of myself,
Don Rodrigo asked me my nationality. I told him I was Scottish. He
then asked me what I thought of the Huascar affair, hoping no doubt to
belittle my standing with Don Julian. I replied that I had given it
very little thought, and moreover considered it a question for both
governments to settle, and was satisfied that everything would be
adjusted amicably.

My reply seemed to annoy him, as he doubtless thought I would commit
myself, and take the part of the British. He arose, and pleading a
press of business, begged permission to retire. He shook hands with
Don Julian and daughter, but merely bowed to me. I was glad he was
gone.

Never before had I been so happy as now, in Felicita's presence. For
the first time since leaving home this was the only pleasure I had
known. Felicita sang some pretty Spanish ballads to the music of her
guitar and I went home that night with a lightness of heart I had not
experienced for a long time.

My duties not requiring me to be away from Arequipa often, much of my
time was spent with Felicita. Together we would ride horseback over
the picturesque valley, with its olive and orange groves and along
shaded avenues of palms, with pebbly brooks of crystal waters on
either side. The pure air and semi-tropical skies stimulated our
buoyant spirits, and made these the halcyon days of my existence. My
first dreams of love when we met in the Cordilleras were now a
blissful reality.

I saw little of Don Rodrigo in the weeks that followed and was seldom
in the company of my comrades. Once a week I would join them at the
club, but aside from that I was always to be found at Don Julian's
home.

Months sped by in sweet content as the world took on a more roseate
hue and the future presented an alluring picture.

I met Don Rodrigo on the street one day and as he nodded slightly I
noticed an evil look in his eyes. On returning to my room late that
night something glistened in the moonlight on my door. I struck a
match, a blood red heart was traced on the panel, and in the center
stuck a dagger. What did it mean?



XI.

THE MASQUE BALL AT TIRAVAYA.


It was the night of the annual masque ball at Tiravaya, a summer
resort a few miles from Arequipa. The hall was crowded with dancers;
many gentlemen were in Cavalier costume, with swords clanking at their
sides. Others were in helmets, gorglet and breastplate, to represent
Pizarro's conquerors of Peru. Many of the ladies wore quaint costumes
and rich attire of the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, while a few
were attired in grotesque costumes. Felicita was dressed as a princess
of the court of the ancient Incas, with a head dress of the rich
plumage of tropic birds. I was dressed in the Highland garb of
Scotland.

I soon discovered Felicita by the rosebud in her hair. We took part in
the grand march and in nearly all the dances. The soft strains of the
music and the gayety of the picturesque throng in the brilliantly
lighted room made the hours pass quickly and it was soon time for
unmasking. After the general greeting was over, we proceeded to the
dining room where an elegant repast was served. The supper being
finished, the music struck up again as the wine was being served. Just
then I observed Rodrigo for the first time, and noticed that he was
intently watching me. I called Felicita's attention to him and she
seemed to be frightened. She wanted to return home, but I assured her
there was no danger; we were among friends. She replied that I was not
familiar with Spanish hatred, and that he would sooner or later insult
me. I had known for more than three months, that he had proposed to
Felicita and been refused. I also knew he was a gambler and lived on
his chances at the faro table. Being an expert and without any sense
of honor, even to one of that profession, he was seldom unsuccessful.
I had never mentioned to Don Julian or Felicita his manner of life.

An American, who unfortunately got under the influence of wine,
proposed a toast to Peru, to which we all responded by raising our
glasses. Another toast was given to the United States which received a
similar response. Toast followed toast in quick succession. I merely
raised my glass as I had no desire to drink any more, and knowing the
long distance before me, I was on the point of calling for Chico to
have our horses in readiness, when I heard my name called and found
that I was requested to make a speech. I arose and congratulated the
company present for the pleasant time we had passed, and the happy
manner in which everything had been conducted by our host. All rose
and gave him three cheers.

Don Rodrigo then stepped to the center between both tables, and asked
everyone present who denounced the British government for its action
in the Huascar affair, to stand up. I knew the insult was meant for
me. I refused to stand, as also did two of my British friends. After
they were seated Felicita again pleaded with me to leave, but I could
not do so with honor then, and had I done so, I would have been held
in contempt afterwards. Don Rodrigo came to where I was seated and
addressing himself to me said:

"I observe that you refuse to condemn the action of the British
government. Of course you are a Britisher, but I must say that the
action of your government was of the most cowardly nature, and anyone
who upholds such actions deserves the name of coward; in fact, anyone
who allows himself to be ruled by the Queen of Great Britain must be
anything but a brave man."

I cannot describe the thoughts that ran through my brain. I stood like
one paralyzed. I could neither move nor speak, but I was conscious
that everyone was looking at me and seemed to enjoy my discomfiture.
Felicita placed both hands on my right arm and looked pleadingly in my
face. I could see everything quite plainly, but I was bereft of all
powers. Then by a valiant effort I recovered myself. Bending down, I
told Felicita to remain and not be alarmed.

I arose and went to where Don Rodrigo stood. I was calm and collected.
"Don Rodrigo," I said, "I came here by invitation, and when I accepted
had no thought of being insulted. Neither do I believe that our host
or the gentlemen present intended that I should be. You have without
provocation on my part, insulted my Queen and called her subjects
cowards. The country that gave me birth never produced cowards and I
want to convince you that I am not an exception." With this I dealt
him a terrific blow in the face.

He fell heavily to the floor and all was confusion. Men leaped on
tables and chairs. Cries of "Down with the foreigner!" were heard on
every side. Then my British friends came over to where I stood, one of
they saying, "Good, Jack, the coward deserved it! Let us stand side by
side and show them how the Queen's subjects can defend themselves!"

I can see him now, his auburn hair disarranged and partially hanging
over his forehead, his blue eyes sparkling with indignation, his right
hand holding a revolver. The other said, "There are only three of us
but we will show them how Britishers can fight," at the same time
drawing his Colt's. I had also pulled my gun, anticipating the worst,
when the American drew near and said: "Jack, I know nothing of your
Queen or country; I am an American, but you did right, and what I
would do under similar circumstances. I will stand by you, although we
have little chance against such odds."

By this time Don Rodrigo had been assisted to his feet, blood all over
his face. The uproar ceased for a few minutes, as the crowd was
without a leader. The blow had told with effect--two front teeth were
gone and both eyes were discolored, caused, I think, by him coming in
contact with the floor. In a few moments cries of "Down with the
foreigner," again commenced. We knew it threatened our lives, but when
they looked down the barrels of four revolvers they knew it also
threatened some of their lives.

Springing on a chair, I asked them to listen to me. I told them that
the quarrel they had witnessed had been sought by Don Rodrigo against
me; and I asked why others should suffer? Let him finish his quarrel
with me now or at any other time he chose--I would always meet him,
and surely gentlemen such as I knew them to be would not so far forget
themselves as to endeavor to overcome us, who had never done them
harm?

This appeal was effective. Don Rodrigo had been washed, and never did
I see a face with such devilish and malignant expression. I was young
and strong, with quite a knowledge of the art of self defense, and I
watched him very closely lest he should draw a knife.

Presently he said that he would be the judge of time and place and
manner of meeting me, and that I would yet remember Don Rodrigo
Garcia. I did not answer and he walked out of the hall. I drank
several glasses of wine with those who, but a few moments before, were
crying for revenge. I found Chico near me, and could hardly refrain
from laughing when I discovered that he had armed himself before
leaving Arequipa with a great navy revolver he found in my room. I am
satisfied had an attack been made on us, Chico would have done his
part, provided he had found a way to use the revolver. I am satisfied
he never saw one before he came to Arequipa.

I told him to get the horses ready and my friends remained near to
prevent any treachery. However, we were not molested on the way home.
Felicita begged me to watch Don Rodrigo. "I know," she said, "that
man's nature. He will watch you always, and while he will not attack
you alone, he will pay others to inflict some injury on you."

Don Julian was waiting and had hot cocoa ready for us. We both
concluded that we would better tell him what had happened lest he hear
a wrong version from others. They were determined that I should spend
the remainder of the night in their house, but I concluded it would
appear cowardly. So, I bade them good night and, with Chico following,
perfectly happy over the few dollars I had given him, I reached home
in safety.

I thought much about the affair at Tiravaya and determined to watch
Don Rodrigo closely. A week later Don Julian informed me he was going
to Aacna on business. He would be gone several days, but Felicita
would stay here. Fatal mistake.



XII.

COWARDLY ACT OF A VILLAIN.


"Don Juan! Ah, Don Juan! Something dreadful! Felicita!" cried Chico as
he burst into my room breathless near midnight.

"What is it?" I demanded, "quick, I say," but he could only gasp
"Felicita!"

I hurried to the stable and saddled my horse, Chico following. We
rode with all haste to the home of Don Julian. Everything was in
uproar. The Indian servants moaned and cried, and pointed in the
direction of the road leading to the cemetery. Thither I rode, fast
as my horse could run. It was a lonely road, with few houses by the
wayside and those were mostly Indian huts. It was nearly one
o'clock in the morning, no one to be seen--on and on I went. I could
see a dark outline of what I thought must be a vehicle of some kind.
As carriages are seldom used in Arequipa, I concluded that this
must be bearing Felicita away. I drove the spurs harder and leaned
forward, peering into the darkness. I was gaining rapidly. I was
certain now that it was Felicita, for they were driving at full
speed. I never thought how I was to rescue her, my whole purpose
being to catch up with that villain. Just then the moon shone bright
from behind a cloud and lighted up the scene. The occupants of the
carriage now knew they were being pursued, and they stopped. I could
plainly see two men unhitch two horses from behind the carriage. They
took Felicita from the carriage and were forcing her to mount when,
suddenly, her horse became unmanageable, and she fell to the
ground. By this time I was close upon them, and called to Felicita to
be brave, but the poor girl never heard me, for she was unconscious.
Don Rodrigo stopped, as if determined to resist me. Would to God
he had! But he put spurs to his horse and fled. I shot at him, but
as the distance was great, and the light uncertain, the bullet
went wide of the mark. I soon forgot him on reaching Felicita, as
she lay with an ugly cut on her head caused by striking the
carriage step when she fell. There lay my child-friend, unconscious.
She was dressed for retiring, her other clothes being in the
carriage. My first impulse was to pursue the accursed scoundrel
and avenge the insult to Felicita, but I could not leave her there.
I took her in my arms and carried her to a near-by Indian hut
where, after some parley with the poor, superstitious Indians, the
door was opened, and I laid my burden on some sheepskins on the
floor. Her hands were cold and she appeared to be dead.

By this time, Chico arrived and brought her clothes from the carriage.
I staunched the flow of blood with my handkerchief, while Chico
prepared some hot native liquor, which I put to her lips. After a
time, she opened her eyes, but did not know me. I called and called
her name, but it was long before consciousness returned. When she did
recognize me, a look of love and happiness passed over her face. I
would not let her speak, but told her that when she was taken home,
she could tell me all. The carriage driver had long since made his
escape, so I had sent to Arequipa and had a closed carriage brought,
in which I took her home.

Time dragged wearily until the return of her father. I remained by her
side and with the assistance of the Indian servants, made her as
comfortable as possible. I had been without sleep so long that I had
gone into the parlor and laid down. I had just awakened from a sleep
when Don Julian entered. Poor old man, he was overcome with grief. He
knew all, Felicita had told him. From him I learned how the abduction
had taken place. About 11 o'clock at night, Don Rodrigo had entered
the bedroom and before she realized what was being done, Felicita had
been carried to the carriage in waiting. Leaving her in charge of the
driver, Don Rodrigo returned for her clothes. No sooner was his back
turned than she screamed. This attracted the attention of Chico, who
had been enjoying a visit with Don Julian's Indian servants in the
kitchen. He had run at full speed to inform me.

It was the opinion of Don Julian that Don Rodrigo had intended taking
the child to some remote Indian habitation in the mountains, and
demanding a ransom for her.

This was a plausible theory, for besides getting revenge for Felicita
refusing his hand in marriage, he would be able to extort money from
Don Julian, and also avenge his fancied wrongs at my hands.

The following day Felicita was still weak and nervous. The doctor
advised that she be taken to the sea coast for a time. She protested,
saying she was getting stronger, but I knew she was only saying it to
cheer her father and myself. I could plainly see her condition was
precarious. After a long consultation with the doctors, Don Julian
decided he would take her to Truxillo, their former home. After
considerable pleading, she consented to go. I was to follow when she
recovered.

I accompanied them and their Indian servants aboard the steamer and
remained aboard the little ferry boat, waving my handkerchief until
they faded into the distance. I returned ashore, and although I had
not been in Mollendo for some time, I had no desire to see my friends.
I wanted to be alone.

Weeks of dreary waiting followed. I was not myself. Anxiously I looked
for a letter and with trembling hands I broke the seal. The letter was
dated Lima, and read: "Don Juan, I am crazy. Felicita is dead. Will
write you all, when I am composed. Julian."

Never was human being more distracted than I. Absenting myself from
everybody night after night in deep ravines and valleys, among the
lofty mountains that surrounded Arequipa, I wandered. Many an Indian
no doubt looked upon me with superstitious awe, walking without caring
whither I went, like one demented. A second letter came stating that
the death of Felicita was caused by a terrible cold she had
contracted and the nervous shock suffered on the night of the
abduction. Like his first, Don Julian's letter was brief. He said: "I
will let you know where she is buried in my next, and I think I will
not be long after her."

I concluded to go to Lima, but another letter, dated Truxillo, stated
that he had left Lima and would bury Felicita in Truxillo. I received
no more missives. To go to Lima was useless, to go to Truxillo and
perhaps not find him there, would not accomplish anything so I decided
to wait until I heard further news. I scarcely know how I passed my
time. Night after night I would go up town, play billiards and visit
the drinking places, always with the hope that I would meet Don
Rodrigo.

I intended, when I heard from Don Julian to make a trip to Truxillo,
visit the last resting place of Felicita, and perhaps remain in Lima,
away from scenes that reminded me of the only happy time in my
existence, and its tragic ending. But circumstances over which I had
no control changed my plans.

One night, as I was sitting alone in my room, a boy handed me a
telegram. It was from the general manager of the railroad, saying to
report at his office at once and bring all the engine runners with me,
and to enjoin absolute secrecy on the part of the men. I did as
requested, and now begins one of the most exciting adventures of my
life.



XIII.

MURDEROUS PLAN OF THE INSURGENTS.


On my arrival at the manager's office, I found him in consultation
with the Prefecto of Arequipa and the General in command of the
regular army. I was informed that another revolution was about to be
attempted in Peru in favor of General Pierola.

The General said he had a valuable package which must be delivered to
the Prefecto of Puno, that in the event the package was captured it
would ruin all their plans. Would I undertake to deliver it for the
government? I turned to the general manager and, speaking to him in
English, said: "There is some mystery connected with this. Before I
pledge myself to do this, it will be necessary to have a clear
understanding." He repeated my request to the General, who informed me
that a secret message had come over the wires that a revolution had
broken out again, and this time the insurgents had taken possession of
several points to prevent the government troops from reaching Puno;
that the package I was to take was a notice to the Prefecto of Puno,
for himself and those in favor of the government, to proceed to a
designated place, where the government troops would arrive, and march
by stages to Puno.

I realized the danger connected with this undertaking and accepted the
responsibility with some trepidation. A generous reward awaited me if
I succeeded, but it was understood in accepting the perilous message,
no instructions were to be given me; that I was to use my own judgment
and, if danger threatened the package, to destroy it before it should
be captured.

The little Arequipena had long since been rebuilt, and I at once
proceeded to put her in readiness for the journey. Manuel, my fireman,
was a native of Arequipa, a powerfully built and sturdy fellow. He
had been much among the British and American railway men and could
understand English.

After leaving orders as to the time of starting, I called on an
English friend and confided my mission. I asked him, in event of my
death, to write to my relatives in Scotland, giving the details. He
did everything in his power to dissuade me, but I told him his talk
was idle. No use, I had made up my mind. Upon seeing the Arequipena
ready, the men in the shops questioned me, but I evaded their
questions.

I went to the office of the general manager and he gave me the
package, unaddressed, done up securely, and sealed with red wax. I
placed it in the inside pocket of my vest. The manager asked me to be
careful with myself. He would much rather I should not go, but in my
state of mind, I was only too glad to get my thoughts off the sad
remembrance of Felicita's fate.

I left Arequipa at ten o'clock that night, cautiously and silently
leaving the station. I arrived at Puno the following evening and lay
over at Juliaca Junction a few hours. At this point the station master
asked me where I was going. I replied that I had orders for Puno.
Leaving Juliaca, I arrived at Puno at exactly five o'clock. I blew the
whistle for the station. I noticed that it was crowded with people,
but saw no one I would suspect of being a revolutionist. I put the
engine in the shed, and then went and washed up. I hid the package in
a secure place, where it was impossible for anyone to find it, as I
had planned to go to the hotel, eat supper and then learn my chances
for getting to the Prefecto, before I took the package from its hiding
place. The station of Puno, like all terminal stations of the Arequipa
railway, was fenced in by corrugated iron, about eight feet high, and
it was necessary to go through the station outlet, which was only
opened on the arrival and departure of trains, or another outlet
guarded by a dog and night watchman. I went out by the small gate,
familiarly bidding the watchman good evening. This gate only employes
had the right to use. I walked up town to the hotel Inca. I met
several gentlemen who knew me and asked one to play a game of
billiards before supper. No one seemed to think that my coming was
anything more than the usual routine of railway business.

After darkness, I lit a cigar and strolled down the street where the
Prefecto lived. I observed the sentry at the front entrance and upon
close observation, I found that the rear of the house could be
approached by a little back street connecting with a small alleyway by
means of which the house could be entered from the front.

I retraced my steps to the station but did not go near the gate. I
went around to the engine shed, where an opening had been made by the
boys so they could get to their rooms when out late nights and avoid
answering the questions of the watchman. When I reached the
Arequipena, the wipers were cleaning her. I spoke to the foreman, and
getting the package, went out the same way, no one noticing my
departure. Then going through, the narrow street I went up the small
alley and, seeing no one, presented myself at the main entrance of the
Prefecto's house. Here the sentry barred my passage and demanded the
password. I told him to call the officer of the guard, and when he
appeared I explained that I had important business with Senor
Prefecto, and desired to see him personally.

"Who are you?"

"The Senor Prefecto will answer that question," I replied.

I had folded the package and hid it in the lining of my overcoat which
I had thrown over my arm. The officer withdrew for a few minutes, but
soon returned and allowed me to pass the sentry. Halting in front of a
large door, a signal was given and it was opened by another officer. I
was ushered in, and from there into an adjoining room, where I was
told to wait.

Presently there came in a priest, then an officer with side arms, and
last Senor Prefecto, who asked me the nature of my business. I replied
that I had a message for the Prefecto, which could be imparted to him
alone. When my errand was communicated to him, he could do as he
chose.

There was much hesitation before my request for a private audience was
granted, but on being searched, overcoat and all, the Senor Prefecto
finally agreed to see me alone. When the others had retired, I took
the package from the lining of my overcoat and gave it to him.

I watched him closely as he read the contents. His face became
blanched, and his hands shook in abject fear, although nothing else
could have been expected from him, as he was an arrant coward.

After reading the document, he called the others. He handed it to the
priest, who asked where I came from. I told him. Then he wanted to
know if anyone had seen me enter here, and whether the arrival of the
Arequipena was known. I told him I thought no one would pay any
attention to the arrival of the train but would consider it the
ordinary routine railway business. A consultation was held, and after
they found that I knew the contents of the message I had brought, they
admitted me to their council. They asked me to get the Arequipena
ready, and they and the principal officers would flee to Arequipa. I
told them that such a course could not be pursued, as all the
telegraph offices were in the hands of the insurgents, and that our
departure would become known, the engine surrounded and all taken
prisoners. They agreed it would be impossible to escape that way, and
decided that about midnight they would escape on horseback. Just then
an officer arrived and reported that the insurgents had taken
possession of the station, and two engines, one being the regular
passenger. One of the engine runners had been taken prisoner. Their
spy had reported that it was their intention to take both engines and
several coaches loaded with soldiers and arms; also, large quantities
of powder had been put on the Arequipena for the purpose of destroying
Sumbay bridge--to prevent the passage of government troops.

I was forgotten for the time being, their fear for their own safety
outweighing all other considerations. Another officer came in and
breathlessly added the climax. The regiment of regulars had joined the
insurgents!

I was now doing some rapid thinking. If Sumbay bridge was destroyed
and the fact not known in Arequipa, the government troops would come
along and, with the engine crew, be hurled into eternity. The bridge
being about one hundred and seventy-five feet high and six hundred
feet long and on a curve with deep cuts on either side and a heavy
down grade, it would be impossible for any train to stop, unless
warned beforehand.

This was the murderous scheme of the insurgents.

I learned it was the intention of the insurgents to proceed to
Vincocaya in the morning, destroy as they went along, the telegraph
offices, wait at Vincocaya until the arrival of the regular passenger
train from Arequipa and then proceed to Sumbay bridge. They evidently
had calculated with a great deal of precision, and if their plans
carried, victory would certainly be theirs.

All these things were filling me with apprehension. I knew I would be
captured, but how could I save the bridge? I was determined to try at
all hazards.



XIV.

FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY.


"This document calls for the payment of $10,000, and guarantees you
life employment by the government of Peru, provided you save the
Sumbay bridge," said the prefecto as he handed me a paper duly
witnessed by the priest.

"No, Senor, I cannot accept it," I replied. "I will do my duty for the
sake of humanity. It is part of my plan to be captured by the
insurgents and should that paper be found on my person, I would be
shot as a spy. If I succeed you can reward me."

I left the Prefecto and his party, wishing them a safe journey, and
sauntered carelessly back to the Inca hotel. I entered smoking a cigar
and wearing a look of unconcern, pretended I was not aware of any
revolutionary movement. There were several men playing billiards in
the parlors. I took a chair and sat down to watch the players. About
11 o'clock I asked to be shown to my room, and retired, knowing full
well that I had been watched by a citizen of Puno since my entrance to
the hotel, and I was satisfied I would soon be taken prisoner.

About 2 o'clock in the morning, I was awakened from a restless sleep
by the entrance of twelve men armed with bare swords and revolvers.
They were all talking at once. I sat up in bed and appeared to be
amazed. The leader requested me to dress and accompany him. The
streets were lined with people shouting the old familiar cry, "Viva
Pierola," as I was marched in the center of this crowd. The cry
resounded down street after street. The city was wild with excitement.
The escape of the Prefecto was on every lip, as we turned at a street
corner and to the station. We had great difficulty in obtaining
entrance, but a passage was cleared and I was ushered into the
presence of the leader of the revolutionary forces. He was about
fifty years of age, some six feet in heighth, and powerfully built,
but with a countenance far from pleasing.

With little ceremony, I was notified to get the Arequipena ready to
depart from the station at 7 o'clock in the morning. The principal
officers would go with her, I was told, and the regular train would
follow with the troops.

I replied that as a British subject it would be impossible for me to
comply, unless force was used; that I protested against this
high-handed proceeding. I did this so that, in the future, no one
could accuse me of aiding the rebels willingly. He replied that he did
not care for the British government, that I would do as I was told or
suffer the consequences. They then escorted me to the engine house,
where I found my fireman Manuel already a prisoner; also Beaumont, the
other engineer, and his fireman.

After getting the engine ready, I requested the officer in charge to
allow us to procure something to eat. His permission was given, then
another procession marched through the streets to the hotel, where the
rebel guards stood over us at breakfast.

The Arequipena was ready. Behind were the passenger engine and five
coaches, which rebel troops were already entering. At breakfast I had
managed to get a few words with Beaumont.

As the Arequipena was to go ahead, I would endeavor to get the
officers out to eat at Vincocaya. I would give a signal for him to
uncouple his engine and follow at full speed. It would be impossible
to stop him and they would be at the mercy of the government troops,
which would leave that afternoon, according to the instructions given
the Prefecto of Puno from Arequipa.

The officers came aboard the little Arequipena and loaded on several
barrels of powder, picks and shovels to destroy the abutments of the
bridge.

There were eleven officers who came aboard the coach, when to my
surprise, I beheld along with three soldiers, Don Rodrigo Garcia, who
was to guard me. I cannot describe my feelings. I know I am not a
coward, but I was taken with a shock of nervousness. It was not of
long duration. Indignation took the place of fear, but I realized how
formidable a task I had undertaken to save Sumbay bridge. Howbeit, I
determined more than ever to succeed, and the knowledge of that man
being near me, gave me renewed courage.

Before starting he hissed to me: "Don Juan, we meet again."

I did not answer. It was all I could do to keep from attacking him
despite the disadvantage I was at. The thought of the bridge, however,
restrained any hasty action.

We left the station with the troop train closely following. According
to orders, our first stop would be at Juliaca station. I knew that
when we reached there the telegraph office would be destroyed.
Telegraph communication was cut off between Juliaca station and Puno.
Nearing the station, we stopped to take water from a tank. I asked
permission from the leader to allow my fireman to go and draw some
oil, explaining that I had none and it was necessary, that his going
there would not create suspicion, and it would save much time. I was
greatly surprised when he consented. I took a small piece of paper and
wrote the following in English: "Van Buren, I am coming with rebels to
destroy Sumbay bridge. Hurry up troops. Buchan." After writing, I read
aloud in Spanish: "Procure from Senor Southers, the station master,
two quarts of engine oil for the Arequipena." I handed it to Manuel
who understood my meaning. He took the engine cans and walked to the
office.

My heart beat rapidly. I fairly held my breath. Would he be able to
see Southers before I took water? Would Southers understand my meaning
and get the message off before we arrived at the platform and find the
office destroyed? I delayed taking water as long as possible, then
pulled slowly down the track to the platform. The moment we stopped,
the officers rushed in the telegraph office and disconnected the
instruments from the wires. Don Rodrigo and his three soldiers never
left me for a moment, which made me suspect that my every movement
would be closely watched.

The fireman came down the platform, both engine oil cans in his hands.
I asked him if he had seen Southers. He replied that he had and that
everything was all right. I received the oil and looked at him. His
look told plainly that the message was sent. I felt that a heavy load
had been lifted and breathed freer. I looked at Don Rodrigo. I was
satisfied that in a short time we would meet in a struggle that would
be the final one between us.

After the office had been destroyed we started again, the troop train
always close behind us. We stopped at Cabanillas, Maravillas and Santa
Lucia and carried away their telegraph instruments; then we ran direct
to Vincocaya. Arriving there the telegraph office suffered like the
others. I pulled down in front of the hotel, then told the officers
that the passenger train was due in an hour, and that it would be
impossible to proceed until its arrival. I showed him the time card to
satisfy him I was telling the truth, and remarked that advantage might
be taken of the time by having supper. Accordingly all of them, left
the Arequipena except Don Rodrigo and the three soldiers. The officers
left their arms in the little coach. Now was the time to act. Should I
fail now, no other chance would present itself, for, after the arrival
of the passenger train, the only stop would be at Sumbay bridge, when
it would be too late. I figured that, after Van Buren had received my
message from Juliaca the troops could not possibly arrive at Sumbay
bridge before eight o'clock that night. It was four o'clock when we
reached Vincocaya and the passenger would be leaving Sumbay station.
Pucacancha was another station between Sumbay and Vincocaya. The grade
being 160 feet to the mile, the train makes very slow time between
Sumbay and Pucacancha. It was my only hope to succeed in getting to
Pucacancha before the arrival of the passenger train.

I was nervous. I got off the engine, then called to Manuel to hand me
another oil can. I spoke to him in English to have everything ready. I
was going to run away with the engine--would he assist me? This I
asked while I was pretending to oil the engine, and I had to trust
largely to Manuel's intuition, as he knew but little English. He
returned to the engine and raised a full head of steam. I noticed Don
Rodrigo watching me from one of the side doors of the coach. I climbed
back on the engine and put away the oil can, when Rodrigo said with a
significant tone: "My time will soon come when I can avenge the insult
I received at Tiravaya."

I did not answer. I knew his meaning. When my services were no longer
required, he would, with his cowardly instinct, devise a means to kill
me. The three soldiers were a fair sample of the poor ignorant
Peruvians. They were armed with breech-loading rifles of French
pattern, bayonets fixed. After Rodrigo had muttered his threat, he
went into the little coach, sitting directly behind me, and could, by
his position, observe every move I made. Manuel was standing on the
left watching me. Although I had endeavored to make him understand, he
was not aware of my plans. I looked back and saw the troop train
taking water at the tank. I looked at Manuel, and he understood "the
time had come."

With my left hand, I threw the throttle wide open and with my right
blew the signal agreed upon. With a prayer to God I threw myself upon
the nearest soldier.



XV.

IN DESPERATE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE.


Don Rodrigo and his soldiers were surprised. I dealt the one nearest
me a terrific blow in the face. Don Rodrigo raised his hand to fire. I
knocked his gun from his hand. The other soldier thrust at me with his
bayonet, inflicting a severe scalp wound, which along with another
thrust at me with his bayonet in my left arm, gave him time to
recover. I struck the soldier in the face, and knocked him to the
floor. The other was coming at me, when Manuel, armed with a shovel,
brought it down with terrific force on his head.

By this time the engine was going at lightning speed, having reached a
down grade of 160 feet to the mile. The throttle was wide open. I knew
we would soon reach some sharp curves and if the speed was not
checked, the engine would jump the track. I called to Manuel to shut
off the steam, and apply the brakes. At this time I was struggling
with Don Rodrigo for life or death. We had clinched one another. I
spoke once.

"Recuerdo Felicita," I hissed in his ear.

He did not speak. He was never a physical match for me, but at this
moment he seemed endowed with superhuman strength. His face took on
the awful look of desperation, that comes to men when death seems near
at hand. His lithe body struggled to be free of my grasp. He tried to
trip me and just then the engine rounded a sharp curve causing him to
stagger. The side door of the coach was open. For a moment he vainly
tried to catch hold of something, and then, with a shriek upon his
lips, fell from the speeding coach.

The struggle had lasted but a short time, but it had seemed to me
hours. Manuel bandaged my head and arm. The two soldiers remained
perfectly passive, suffering from severe blows. The one felled by
Manuel was still unconscious.

We were within three miles of Pucacancha, rounding a sharp curve, when
I looked back and exclaimed: "My God, Manuel, the troop train is
coming!" My blood almost froze, but realizing that this was no time
for fright, I determined to master the situation.

I knew the two soldiers would not attempt to molest us. They had
learned a lesson. I looked at my watch. In five minutes the passenger,
if on time, would be at Pucacancha. The troop train could not reach
there for fifteen minutes, because at all obscure places it would have
to go slow for fear of meeting obstructions on the track.

I reached Pucacancha, stopping far enough back to allow the passenger
to pull up and back on the side track. The siding had only one switch,
chiefly used for ballast for the road bed. I looked anxiously for the
passenger. Seconds dragged like hours. Would she never come? There was
a curve not far from the station, and the passenger could not be seen
until it almost reached it. I listened. I could hear the low
tremulous noise of the rails, a puff of black smoke went up from
behind the curve--at last it was in view, engine No. 8. On seeing me
the engineer came to a sudden stop. I hurriedly told him what to do.
He was to back onto the siding and let me pass, then pull out and
follow me back to Pampa de Avieras, where I told him the government
troops would surely be. Our plans were quickly executed. I determined
that should the troop train come before I could get by the passenger,
Manuel and I would desert the Arequipena, start her back with a full
head of steam, and cause a collision. No doubt there would have been
loss of life, but it would have given an opportunity to escape by
going on the passenger train.

Dobbie, the engineer, succeeded well in backing into the clear. Not
seeing the troop train, I ran with a hammer and spike when he left the
switch with the Arequipena ahead of him and spiked the track. Just
then the troop train came in sight. I hurriedly boarded the
Arequipena and started, Dobbie backing up at fast as he could.

There were several officers on the engine of the troop train, and when
they saw us they compelled the engineer to increase his speed, with
the result he could not check his train in time to stop it from
running into the switch. His engine jumped the track half burying
itself in the ground.

We arrived at Pampa de Avieras and the government troops came thirty
minutes later. I was beginning to get weak from loss of blood. My left
arm seemed to be a dead weight, and the muscles were painful and
swollen. The people from the passenger train crowded about me and did
everything in their power to relieve my suffering. The soldier who had
been struck with the shovel came out of his stupor.

I was lying in the coach of the Arequipena, when the commanding
officer of the government troops came to see me. After detailing the
story to him, I turned over fourteen rifles, ten revolvers, and seven
swords, all the cartridges and barrels of powder, together with the
three soldiers whom I pleaded for, stating that compulsion was the
cause of their joining the insurgents. I insisted on their hurrying to
Sumbay bridge, although I told him they did not have anything now with
which to destroy the bridge. However, they could post their troops
should they arrive first and be in position to command the approaches.
After leaving me, he ordered his troops forward.

I was getting weaker and weaker. At last orders came to go to Arequipa
with the Arequipena. The station master telegraphed to have a doctor
ready for me on my arrival. It was nearly forty miles from Pampa de
Avieras to Arequipa, mostly down grade. I had to give the engine up to
Manuel, as the pain in my arm became so intense I had to lie down. The
station at Arequipa was crowded back to the street, the news having
been telegraphed by the officer in command of the government troops. I
could hear cries of "Viva Juancita!" that being my name in Spanish.

The people in Arequipa were loyal to the existing government. The
general manager met me with the doctor. His eyes were full of tears
when he saw me. I presented a horrible and bloody appearance, the
wound in my head still bleeding, my left arm in a sling and my clothes
almost in rags.

I was carried from the coach by four of my friends to my room where
the faithful Chico had everything prepared. Cries of "Viva Juancita!"
rent the air from the time I left the coach until the doctor requested
silence. Manuel was taken home by his friends. The poor people,
ignorant of the revolution, but knowing by the demonstration that
something unusual had happened, realized that he had done something
deserving recognition.

My friends grouped about with tear-dimmed eyes, and warmly pressed my
hand. Chico, looking at me with a most sympathetic expression on his
Indian features, did not restrain his tears. For days I tossed in
pain and delirium.

One day when the general manager came, he told me that another
engineer who had taken out the Arequipena to repair the telegraph,
came up with a body of the insurgents who were going to surrender, but
they intended to kill him first thinking he was I. Only the timely
interposition of one who knew him, saved his life. The insurgents had
got their engine back on the track after much time and labor, but it
was damaged and as they were out of water, they gave up hope of
winning their cause.

The train bearing the government troops stopped when within a few
miles of Vincocaya, where they picked up the body of Don Rodrigo
Garcia and buried it near the track. He would have exulted over my
death, but I cannot say that I felt any satisfaction because he was
dead. It only brought sad memories of the past.



XVI.

THE SCREAMING WINDS OF NIGHT.


I sat on the broad balcony of the British consulate at Mollendo,
looking out over the blue waters of the Pacific. The soft breeze from
the south seas imparted the glow of health. How proud I felt with the
knowledge that no one dared insult me beneath the blue and crimson
folds that waved above. Safe from the assassin's knife at the hands of
some of Pierola's men, of whom I had been warned, I felt a certain
refuge beneath the ensign of my country.

"Don Juan, does that make me a Britisher, too?" asked Manuel, pointing
to the flag above.

"Yes, it protects you too. Pierola's men do not dare to harm us
here."

"Praised be the Virgin," replied Manuel, crossing himself.

The great bells of the cathedral tolled out a funeral knell as a
solemn procession marched to a transport ship. They were dust covered,
haggard men, with a hunted look, chained in pairs. On either side
marched a file of soldiers with fixed bayonets. Pierola's men were
being taken to Lima.

I arose from the balcony and went inside. They had to pass under the
balcony of the British consulate to reach the wharf. I did not care to
witness their misery and so remained indoors until their departure.
The revolution over, there was nothing now to fear; Manuel packed my
belongings and we returned to Arequipa.

The general manager requested me to take care of the shops of
Vincocaya. It would enable me to be quiet and recover from my wounds,
as there was nothing to do but to see that the work was kept going.
Meanwhile the excitement of the revolution would die out.

Vincocaya is situated high in the Andes, above timber line, a desolate
and dreary waste of rock and crag, where wild winds scream among the
cliffs in the blackness of the night, as though a thousand imprisoned
Joshuas were reaching upward for that sun which will stand still no
more over the plains of Ajalon. Leaden clouds drift like winding
sheets among the peaks and hover like a pall over cañon and deep
ravine. The grave of Don Rodrigo was but a few miles distant, but I
never visited it. There have been times when I regretted not
stretching forth my hand to save him, but at the time, with a most
violent hatred of the man and the many injuries I had received from
him, and the attempt to save the bridge foremost in my mind, I found
excuse for lack of the finer feelings. And, too, what would it benefit
had he been saved? His life was spent in debauchery, the gambling
table and plots to overthrow any government where a leader in
opposition to the ruling power would promise him a political office.

Deep down in my heart I felt the weight of the past; those shrieking
winds of the night were the responsive echoes of my soul for the
loved and lost. Was it upon this planet or upon some distant sphere
that we two had met and loved and builded hopes as high as the lofty
peaks that now entombed me--hope and love that may have been breathed
in the morning of the world when the spirit of God dwelt within
us--hope that existed before the wrathful change that shattered all
and turned an Eden into blackness and despair?

Days, weeks and months passed. Often I would spend hours in the wild
solitudes hunting the vicuna and alpaca, or in some gloomy cañon
communing with myself. Within my spirit I could hear an undertone,
"Why cast thyself on waters wild, believing that God is gone, that
love is dead and Nature spurns her child?" So, from my grief, I arose
at length to feel new life returning. New hopes and ambitions sprang
forth in my soul that had so keenly felt God's chastening rod.

A year had passed. I was in Arequipa. Chico had my room ready and my
friends gave me a splendid banquet in one of the largest restaurants
in the city. In all ages the world has had two ways of doing honor to
a man. One is by parade, the other by setting him down to a banquet
table and making speeches about him until they overcrowd his emotions
and leave him limp and speechless. I had to pass through this ordeal.
The Prefectos of Arequipa and Puno, the Commanding General of the
Government troops, the manager and officials of the railway and a host
of friends of lesser note, but none the less loyal hearts, crowded the
banquet room. They feasted, drank wine, sang songs and made speeches
to me and about me that were enough to have satisfied the vanity of a
survivor of Thermopylae. At the close, the Prefecto of Puno arose, and
after saying things that were loudly applauded, presented me with ten
thousand dollars not as a gift, but as something I had justly earned.
He was followed by the general manager of the railroad, who said his
company desired to show their appreciation of my conduct in the Sumbay
bridge affair, and on their behalf he presented me with two thousand
dollars. Manuel, too, came in for his share of honors and praise. He
was presented with five hundred dollars by the Prefecto of Puno and
two hundred dollars by the company--more money than he had ever seen
in his life, or ever hoped to possess. Deserving fellow, his eyes
streamed with tears of joy and gratitude when he received the money
which would now enable him to own a comfortable home. His pleasure was
even greater the next day, when I gave him one thousand dollars.

[Illustration: THE HOME VOYAGE OF THE AVEN WAS FRAUGHT WITH ALL THE
DANGERS OF THE SEA. (Page 26)]

A month later, and Arequipa was wild with excitement. War had been
declared by Chile against allied Peru and Bolivia. It was a sad blow,
as Peru had been extremely prosperous and was rapidly forging ahead in
the commerce of the world. I had concluded to leave the country and
seek some other field, when a call was made to the railroad men to
assist the government to convey troops from the interior to the coast.
I responded and was sent to Santa Rosa on the proposed railway to
Cusco, the ancient capital of Peru. Here a great number of Indians
were huddled together to be sent to Arequipa, and drilled and sent to
the coast. They were abject and disconsolate. The priests were calling
on them to be brave and return victorious. These people had never seen
the ocean and had never lived in an altitude of less than two miles.
There was much suffering in store for them under the tropic sun of the
coast. I asked an officer if he thought these men would make good
soldiers. He replied with an air of great importance, and looking
quite serious, that he had received word that the Chilean navy was
coming to bombard Mollendo, and it was his intention to instruct the
Indians in the use of the rifle. When the ships came near enough, he
would station his men among the rocks and shoot the sailors off the
decks. This, too, with flint lock rifles--a sample of the calibre of
the Peruvian officer of the interior and his unfortunate Indian
soldiers.

After getting to the head of the Tambo valley, I proceeded to
Mollendo and found a terrible state of affairs. Everyone was expecting
the Chilean fleet; men and women were carrying their household goods
to the mountains. At sight of every ship on the horizon, whether
sailing vessel or steamer, a cry would go forth--"They come--they
come!" The greatest confusion prevailed. There was no organization, no
discipline; everybody for himself, and all running at the cry
of--"They come!"

One morning about ten o'clock the hostile fleet did come.



XVII.

THE BARBARIAN MEETS HIS INGOMAR.


A heavy fog was clearing from the sea, when from out of the mist rose
the black hull and conning tower of the Cochrane. The senior officers
of the flagship stood grouped on the starboard rail. The wind changed
suddenly to the west, and, as it changed, it rolled up patches of the
fog and revealed the black hull and conning tower of the Enlado. A
heavy cloud of smoke poured from their funnels; decks cleared for
action when they should put into practice the desperate objects of
their existence.

A boat was lowered from the flagship and rowed to the wharf of
Mollendo by sturdy Chileans, while an officer bore a message to the
Prefecto for all noncombatants to leave the city, as bombardment would
begin in an hour.

As the boat was leaving, it was fired upon. Then the ear-splitting
reports which followed showed how the flagship took this breach of the
rules of war. There was the rushing swishing sound, the terrifying
screech of projectiles passing through the air, followed by terrific
explosions and the crash of falling buildings.

In the city, pandemonium reigned. Men and women with blanched faces,
were fleeing to the hills. Others threw themselves upon the ground,
too terror-stricken to move. I heard a voice at my elbow calling in
English. It was the voice of a woman, young and fair. "This way," said
I, and we hurried toward the massive rock from whose summit I had
watched the battle of the Huascar and Amythist two years before.

"We are safe now," I said, as we stood behind the thousands of tons of
granite, "safe as if we were behind the rock of Gibraltar."

"Oh, mother, sister and Mr. Robinson--heaven help them at this hour!"
she exclaimed. A shell struck a stone building and exploded by
impact; fragments screamed like a panther in the air.

The young woman's face was blanched to a death-like pallor, but she
was calm, and, kneeling by my side, she asked God to help us. Aloud
she prayed, a beautiful, impressive prayer, one that must have gone
straight to the throne of heaven and received its answer, for soon the
wind shifted and those belching volcanoes of the sea were curtained by
the fog; the firing ceased.

We hurried to her home amid scenes of desolation and confusion. Her
family was safe and, to my surprise, the Mr. Robinson she had spoken
of was an employe of our railway, who had but lately arrived from the
United States and to whom I had been introduced a few days before.

The bombardment was now over, but the human wolves began to sack the
city. Fire was raging in some quarters and burned far into the night.
It lit the streets with a lurid glare; its red light fell upon
motionless figures in the dust, and scurrying forms, bent beneath
their weight of plunder.

Mr. Robinson was anxious to send his family to Arequipa, and I lent
them all possible assistance, receiving their heartfelt thanks. They
were in a strange land, not even knowing the language of the country.
Hattie, the young woman I had met, was the sister-in-law of Mr.
Robinson. Mrs. Robinson and her mother, an aged woman, were
disappointed with Peru and were glad to get away from the theatre of
war.

I met the Indian soldiers the next day, and the officer commanding was
very indignant at his superior for not allowing him to go to the rocks
at Mollendo and pick off the gunners from the battle ships, with flint
lock rifles.

I was a frequent visitor at the home of the Robinson family in
Arequipa, with whom I had now become well acquainted. It was strange
to my ears to hear them all talk English, for seldom had I heard my
own language spoken by women. The old lady was one of those quiet,
sweet, motherly women. Once introduced to her, it seemed one had
always known her. The whole family was the happiest and most cheerful
I had ever met. Hattie Judson became school teacher to the English and
American children in Arequipa, and her gentle ways soon won the hearts
of all. I enjoyed taking her to the theatre and other places of
amusement, because of her bright conversation and high ideals. From
her I began to catch a glimpse of the nobler things of life, things
that to me, being but poorly educated and in a foreign land, had been
denied. She was a sweet singer and an excellent performer on the
piano, and somehow when she sang I was able to understand the
soul-reaching depths of the melody.

There was company at the house one night, when I heard her sing for
the first time "Coming Thro' the Rye." My soul floated back to Bonnie
Scotland, as when a boy I saw the waving fields of grain, the cows in
the barnyard, and the lassies coming down the path from school; my
mother with the willow basket, bringing in the clothes from the line,
and father smoking his pipe by the well--scenes that nevermore would
return.

In our walks in the shaded dells of the mountains, she often told me
of the United States, the habits and customs of the people--how
ambitions and aspirations were rewarded when accompanied by virtue and
industry. Of the history of Peru she knew far more than I. It was
interesting to hear from her lips the strange stories of the
conquering Pizzaro hosts, whose mailed heels had once trod the ground
we walked, and clanked the knell of a fallen empire.

My school had been the school of adversity. I had grown up with men
who knew or cared little for the finer sensibilities. I felt that her
standards of life were superior to mine. Her loyalty to God and holy
charity toward the humblest soul, bent my spirit to profound respect.
She was one who could see all there was of good in mankind and could
measure the product of one's powers and give them impulse and
direction. In my soul I bowed to the fair graces of her character.
Each day we met I found in her some new wealth of noble thoughts that
created higher ideals in my own untutored mind.

As time went on, fiercer rose the maddening cries of war. I felt the
hot blood surge in my veins and I longed to be at the front, amid the
roar of cannon and the clash of arms.

We were walking in a grove beneath the swift glimmer of the tropical
twilight, when I told her that I felt it my duty to fight for the land
that had been the home of my youth for so many years, and showed her a
letter in which I was offered an officer's commission on the Huascar.
She laid her hand on my arm and said, "There are nobler things in life
than the shedding of the blood of fellow men. The youth of the world
goes out to fight for the empty glory of another's crown. It is not on
the field of carnage that greatest honors are won, but in the nobler,
more peaceful pursuits of life, doing good and becoming leaders of
men and preventing war, that one wins the royal diadem of him who
said, 'peace on earth, good will to men.'"

As she spoke in earnest eloquence, I could have knelt and worshipped
her. Her delicate cheeks were flushed, and her eyes were filled with
tears.

No words of love had yet been spoken, but the Barbarian knew and felt
that he had met his Ingomar.



XVIII.

ON SUNNY SEAS BOUND NORTH.


I met Mr. Robinson on the street one day, bleeding from a wound on his
face. He said that Mr. Wood, superintendent of our railway, had struck
him. Two of Mr. Wood's children were attending Miss Judson's school,
and on account of the official position of their father, behaved in an
ugly manner. Miss Judson made complaint to the school board, which
exasperated Mr. Wood and he demanded her resignation. This the board
would not permit. He called Mr. Robinson to his office and dismissed
him from the service of the company. Being requested by Mr. Robinson
to give his reasons for his dismissal, he struck him.

I was angry to think a young man would so brutally use a man of Mr.
Robinson's age, and, too, in a strange country. Before I could
restrain myself I demanded his reason for striking Mr. Robinson. Mr.
Wood replied in a haughty manner that he was not accustomed to account
for his acts. I replied: "Perhaps not, but when one of your position
and age so far forgets himself as to strike an old man, any respect
you may be entitled to is dispelled by your cowardly act."

For a moment it looked serious. He raised his hand as if to strike me.
I said: "Mr. Wood, if you attempt to go any farther I will certainly
be a far different antagonist than Mr. Robinson, and teach you that
some of your acts, at least, will be rewarded in a manner not to your
liking." He knew he had gone too far, and said in a quieter tone, that
he did not consider the affair any of my business.

"Mr. Robinson is an American; let his countrymen investigate this
matter. I will deal with them."

"Mr. Wood," I replied, "I hope the time will never come when a Briton
will so far forget his duty as not to go to the assistance of any
family, irrespective of nationality."

At this moment some other shop men came in, loud in their denunciation
of Mr. Wood. There is something that binds a Britisher and an American
when they are away from their respective countries, and among
strangers. On many occasions I have seen the Britisher and American
argue and even quarrel over the merits of their countries but when
serious trouble arose, all jealousies would be cast aside, and each
one would endeavor to outdo the other in kindness.

That night an indignation meeting was held in a large building
formerly used as a storeroom. The employes all knew the reason of Mr.
Wood's attack on Mr. Robinson. Although the majority of them were
working under Mr. Wood, they felt the indignity inflicted on Mr.
Robinson was an insult to them all, most of them having children
attending the school.

From the beginning of the school, Mr. Wood had tried to dominate it.
This was another reason for the employes' grievances and, chief of
all, they were now being paid in the depreciated currency of the
country. The meeting was conducted in a quiet business manner. The
sentiment was to strike until Mr. Wood was removed from office.

I told the men that that would be an injustice, as the general manager
was in Lima and we had no one to appeal to. Therefore we should
continue to work until we could communicate with him. This appeal had
the desired effect, as all could see the injury our strike would
inflict on the railway.

I was then selected as the representative of the employes to go to
Lima and lay the matter before the general manager. I was about to
start when I was handed a note from the superintendent, saying that my
services were no longer required. I replied that I would receive my
orders from his superior and proceeded on my journey.

At Lima I succeeded in reinstating Mr. Robinson, and shortly after my
return to Arequipa, Mrs. Robinson died. Grief at the injury inflicted
upon her husband and a feeling of friendlessness in a foreign land,
had hastened her end. Another indignation meeting was held and Mr.
Wood was dismissed from the service of the company. Mr. Robinson
became despondent and after a few months decided to leave the
country.

The war with Chile was still on. The Peruvian army suffered defeat
after defeat. Her navy had made some show of success at first, but not
after the terrible fight between the Huascar, and two Chile ironclads,
in which the Peruvians lost. The currency of the country became
practically worthless. My accumulation of years was almost swept
away.

Mr. Robinson decided to return to their home in San Louis Obispo,
California, and about this time I received an offer from the Peruvian
government to bring a torpedo boat from Panama to Mollendo. The
Robinson family were going north on the steamer which would carry me
to Panama. On leaving, our friends gave us a splendid banquet and
assembled at the station to bid us farewell. Poor Chico, I can see him
yet, waving his old red handkerchief with his right hand, his left
covering his eyes.

When the ship moved out of the port, I stood on the deck with Hattie.
Mr. Robinson and the aged mother stood near us looking upon the scene
amid a flood of tears. The memory of their dead they were leaving
behind, was no doubt uppermost in their minds.

I looked upon the mountains we were just leaving until they were a
mere speck. I intended to perform one last service for Peru, for,
however much I had suffered, it was my boyhood's home, the only home I
had had since leaving my native shores.

We were a week making the voyage from Mollendo to Panama. The weather
was fine and the sea was smooth. I was in company with Hattie much of
the time. In her gentle way, she sought to dissuade me from the
perilous undertaking with the torpedo boat. But when I reminded her of
my duty to Peru she said no more. I could see, however, she was
pained at the thought.

The north bound steamer had gone when we arrived at Panama and the
Robinsons would have to wait ten days, which compelled them to stay at
the hotel in that sultry city.

After visiting the Peruvian consul, who had been notified of my
mission by his government, I learned that a Chilean cruiser was
watching the torpedo boat and it was decided to await a dark night
when we could escape from Panama harbor. Meantime I stopped at the
same hotel with the Robinsons. I made several trips around the bay to
test the speed of the boat and was satisfied we could outrun the
cruiser, but somehow I began to dread the venture. The full force of
this feeling dawned on me when I realized I was in love with Hattie.

The day was drawing near for their departure, when Hattie and I were
seated on the veranda of the hotel, looking out over the Pacific. The
afternoon wore away, the sun began to set in the dense blue haze of
the tropic ocean, the great cathedral bells pealed out the hour of
eight, the night birds screeched from out the palms, and still we sat
in the glow of the twilight, talking of our past and future.

The streets became silent and even some stars had faded from the skies
and the ceaseless roar of the surf beating upon the sands was music,
when she promised to be my wife.

[Illustration: FLIGHT OF THE TORPEDO BOAT. (Page 158)]



XIX.

DEATH SHIPS OF THE SEA.


A thick fog rose from the sea, as we stole away in the darkness with
the torpedo boat. We had no distinguishing lights and every sound was
muffled. Even the funnels were protected against the tell-tale sparks
of soft coal. The spume of the sea fell over our forward deck in
flecks, and the waves splashed at our bow. The harbor lights of Panama
shone in a glow of sickly yellow.

An officer stood by the hooded binnacle, watching our course by the
faint glow of a tiny lamp. The bulldog engines, which I was working,
were speeding us at 17 knots an hour and we were headed for Mollendo.
We had no armament. That was sent to the Peruvian government by other
means and our only defense against the Chilean cruiser was a clean
pair of heels.

Suddenly, the eye of a search-light opened, and sent a long gleam of
yellow into the fog. It swung around and rested for a moment on the
column of smoke trailing from our funnels and changed its color from a
black to a fiery red. It rested there a moment, then closed and all
was darkness. The tumult was deafening. The hissing rush of
projectiles, as they struck the water and exploded by impact, or
shrieked in ricochet overhead.

The brave officer at the binnacle fell to the deck, his mangled body a
quivering mass. One funnel was struck midway and cut in twain as
though by a sharpened blade. Fire darted up from the half funnel, and
showed the cruiser's gunners the correctness of their aim. It lit our
deck with its glare and showed the bodies of two others on the forward
deck bathed in blood. Another officer coolly took his place at the
binnacle and directed a change in the course of the boat.

The spurting jets of fire from our broken funnel gleamed in the fog,
like a beacon light to those on board the gaunt black monster of the
seas, in pursuit of his prey. A hunted thing on the black waves, we
crowded on every ounce of steam throughout the watches of the night.

With the morning came the blaze of the tropic sun. It drove the fog
off the sea and showed us the hull of the cruiser, looming up out of
the purple mist. Steadily, we held our course, with steam up to the
danger line. By noon we had gained a little, and again, with the
approach of night, the fog began to rise and soon enveloped us in its
grey cloak. But that beacon light from our funnel shone hateful as its
spurting jets flashed signals to the enemy in pursuit.

Another night passed, and, when the fog lifted again, there was the
vampire even nearer than before.

The nervous strain was telling on our crew. The day before we joked
and laughed--we would outrun him yet in the night. We would have; but
for the glare from that funnel. We might have stolen into some cove
and let him pass us in the dark, but for that. He did not waste shot
anymore, we were going his way. He could afford to wait. The third day
the crew was worn and silent. They had the look of desperation in
their faces, as they threw furtive glances back at the spectre, the
Ship of Death--The Black Coffin--we called him now.

At high noon, we met an American warship. His crew crowded to his
decks and gave cheer after cheer in sympathy for our desperate plight.
The big greyhound of the sea was chasing the rabbit he had bitten and
maimed, and the sympathy was with the weak. By night the nervous
strain had become almost a frenzy. Then to add to our peril, the coal
in the bunkers was running low. Something must happen in our favor
soon. Our signal still flashed from the half funnel--our signal of
distress--and by midnight we called it our funeral candle. The sky was
clear now and the stars were shining. We could see lights flash now
and then through the haze of the sea. When morning came there he was
big, black, hideous--still in our wake.

Coal for eight more hours only. Surely something would happen; help
must come, out of the sea, out of the sky, out of somewhere, only it
must come. The sea was smooth; not a ship could be seen on the
horizon. All on board were in restless anxiety. Only coal for three
more hours.

We were now off Ecuador. The officer in command called the crew.

"We shall have to surrender the boat," he said.

The assistant engineer, two stokers and myself, all of us British,
shouted "Never! We are not here to lay in a Chilean prison and perhaps
be shot! We beach the boat!" Our emphasis was our drawn revolvers.

Without a word, the officer headed the boat for the shore. We gathered
up a few edibles and when we grounded the boat, swam to the beach. The
officer lingered for some time after all were ashore, then hurried
over her sides and made his escape. The Chilean cruiser launched her
boat, eight sailors to each side of rowlocks, an ensign and a party of
marines. They rowed rapidly to the torpedo boat and half of them
climbed on board, when her sides parted and a terrific flame shot
upward, bearing the bodies of a dozen men. The officer had lit the
fuse that did the work.

Ten days afterwards the two stokers, assistant engineer and myself,
footsore and ragged, went on board the British mail steamer at
Guayáquil and presented ourselves to the gruff old captain.

"Get below in the stoke-hole and black up," he said, "the Chilean
government offers five thousand dollars reward for each of you. If we
are searched you are stokers."

Meanwhile, on board another ship far to the north were aching hearts.
Hattie's aged mother fell ill when two days out from Panama and the
next day she passed away. Rules required that the body be buried at
sea. It was a solemn group that assembled at the ship's gangway, while
all that was mortal of the aged mother rested on a plank, one end of
which was held by a sailor. Slowly the chaplain read the beautiful
service. The ship was stopped. Not a sound was heard and the midnight
moon was hidden by clouds. "Therefore we commit this body to the
deep," was pronounced. The plank was raised and the body was swallowed
up in the cavernous depths of the ocean.

Hattie leaned upon the arm of Mr. Robinson, who tenderly escorted her
to the cabin when the rites were over. To her the world was gloomy and
desolate, her sister but recently buried in far away Arequipa and the
mother now in the sea. With a fortitude beyond her years the Christian
girl bore bravely her deep sorrows, trusting in Him "who doeth all
things well." When the ship reached the open roadstead of Port
Harford, and she again landed on the shores of her native California,
she went to her former home--a vine-clad cottage in San Louis Obispo.

It was here I found her some weeks after I assumed the role of stoker
on the British mail steamer. Mr. Robinson had gone to his former home
in Missouri, but Hattie was protected by relatives. We talked of our
coming marriage. It was not possible at that time. I had lost so much
money by exchange from the paper currency of Peru to the gold of
California, that I needed time to replenish my almost depleted purse.
We decided that we would wait one year, meanwhile I would go to
Arizona and run an engine on the railroad east of Tuscon.

It made my heart glad to be in a country once more where my own
language was spoken and among people whose customs were like unto that
of my native land. There was no prejudice toward me on account of my
foreign birth, such as I had often encountered in Peru. The hand of
fellowship was extended in this broad free land of the United States,
where the greatness of men is measured almost by merit alone.

What surprised me at first was the absence of soldiers until I came to
understand the peace-loving disposition of the people, and learned
that in the hour of the country's need, all men became her defenders.

It was one of those balmy afternoons, so characteristic of southern
California, when Hattie and I were seated in a park overlooking the
beautiful Los Ossis valley. Our plans were made for the future, and I
was to leave that night for Arizona. It was the tender parting of man
and woman whose lives had been seared by the hot irons of adversity,
and each felt that the other was the one and all upon this planet.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Here Buchan's narrative was broken short. He was writing the last
chapter on a pair of ladies' dainty cuffs, when he stopped and
listened. He arose to his feet. "Do you know," he said, "I thought a
moment ago I heard something--her voice."



XX.

A DAUGHTER OF THE CHEROKEES.


Mary Greenwater was not the ugly, coarse-featured woman that many
squaws are. She possessed many of the fine features of her white
sisters. She had been well educated at the Carlisle Indian school, and
had traveled much. While, with other Cherokee Indians, she drew her
annuities from the government, yet she was known to be the wealthiest
woman of the tribe. She was lavish in the expenditure of money. Her
home in the Cherokee hills was elaborately furnished with the richest
of carpets and furniture; even a grand piano adorned her parlor. But
with all its costly appointments, the house was a wilderness of
disorder. Like other of her race, she despised anything akin to
neatness. Her dresses were gaudy in color and extravagant in style.
Pearl necklaces, diamond brooches and rings were worn on all
occasions. She owned fine carriages and many spirited horses. As a
horsewoman, she was an expert and as a pistol shot she was accounted
the best in the Cherokee nation. Her servants were the half-breed
Indian Negroes to whom her word was as absolute a law as any Caliph
ever possessed over a tribe. She was accustomed to command, and if
disobeyed she enforced her orders at the point of the revolver she
always carried.

The source of Mary Greenwater's wealth was a mystery. Those of her
tribe gave themselves no concern about it, but the matter was a
subject of much comment among the few white men in the territory.
Mercer, a young man of adventurous spirit, hearing of her fabulous
wealth, sought her hand in marriage. After the wedding, he used all
his arts to wring from her the secret of her riches. Once when she
started on one of her lone journeys to the hills of the Grand River,
he attempted to follow and that was the last ever seen or heard of
him. That the woman possessed the secret of a vast amount of lost
treasure was evident, as she spent many Spanish gold coins of ancient
date as months rolled on, and this induced Grim, a farm hand, to marry
her. She elevated him from a menial position, to overseer of her
ranch. She gave him money, which he recklessly spent at the faro
tables at the Garrison. When she refused to further indulge him in his
reckless expenditures, he, like Mercer, attempted to follow her on her
journey to the Grand River hills one night. He was missed by his
companions who went in numbers to search for him, taking an Indian
guide. They were led in an opposite direction from the way he went and
his fate remained a mystery, until many months later his body was
found in the Grand River, with a bullet in the brain.

Two years after the death of Grim, Carson and a negro were hunting in
the Grand River country and were encamped one night in the hills.
While seated beside their campfire, they heard a cry of distress.
Upon going to the spot, they found a lone Indian woman pinioned
beneath her pony, which had stepped into a wolf hole and broke its
leg. The woman was badly injured and they carried her to their
campfire and made her comfortable. The next day they constructed a
rude litter and carried her twenty miles to a place where she could
receive medical attention.

The woman was Mary Greenwater, and this was, perhaps, the first act of
kindness she had ever received.

A certain escapade at the close of Carson's college days had caused
him to migrate to the West, where, like many others, he became a
soldier of fortune, drifting whither the strongest tide wind blew.
When Mary Greenwater recovered she sought him, and in her gratitude
made him the overseer of her ranch at a princely salary.

In course of time they were married by the ancient Indian ceremony of
the Fastest Horse. When the days of feasting were over, and Mary
Greenwater's relatives had returned to their cabins richer by a
number of ponies, Mary told Carson a wondrous story of how, many
summers ago, when her grandfather was a boy, a Spanish caravan came
from Santa Fe and was besieged in the Grand river hills for many days,
and of how, finding that they would eventually be starved to death if
they remained, the travelers had hidden their possessions among the
lime rocks and undertaken to cut their way through the Indian hordes
to a place of safety. Her grandfather had found the hiding place of
the treasure and had kept it a profound secret from all except
herself, to whom he told it only when he began to sing his death
song.

Mary Greenwater swore to Carson that the hiding place of the Spanish
treasure would never be known except to one other member of her tribe,
and then not until after her death. She told him there were valuable
papers which she knew none of her people could ever use, and which she
later gave to Carson.

The documents were discolored and the ink faded and this much Carson
was able to decipher: "Jean Maldonado visited a far distant country
north of Santa Fe--a wide valley through which flowed a stream, along
the banks were bushes that bore fruit like unto those of Spain--in the
valley were herds of oxen of the bigness and color of our bulls--their
horns are not so great--they have a great bunch upon their fore
shoulders and more hair on the forepart than on the hindpart; they
have a horse's mane upon their backbone and much hair and very long
from the knees downward--they have great tufts of hair hanging from
their foreheads and it seemeth they have beards--they push with their
horns--they overtake and kill a horse--finally it is a fierce beast of
countenance and form of body--we feared these beasts and stayed near
the mountains named the Sangre de Christo.... Climbed the mountain to
a great flat rock that stood on end like a platter.... Jean Maldonado,
commander of an expedition reached this place 1750.... The mine
yielded much gold in a rock like white china--Babtiste beat it out
with--Mattheo returned from Santa Fe with more donkeys--loaded donkeys
with much unbeaten rock--returned to Santa Fe"--

Here the ink was so faded that nothing more could be made of the
manuscript. The accompanying map was more perfect. The tracings showed
the mountain ranges. It had been drawn almost with the precision of an
engineer. The route from Santa Fe through the mountain passes was
clearly shown; there were marks of each day's stops. Where the map
showed the end of the journey there was the rude drawing of a cliff
set on edge and below it was marked "Gold."

Carson pondered over the quaint document for many days. The Indian
marriage with Mary Greenwater had become a matter of regret. While the
woman loved him, yet her love was like a new bowie knife, to be
handled with care. He decided to leave the Grand River country and
bide his time until Mary Greenwater should make one of her long visits
to the hills. One night he mounted the best horse on the ranch and
driving thirty others ahead of him, set out for Colorado. On the way
he sold most of the horses to ranchmen and cattlemen and netted a neat
sum.

When Mary Greenwater returned and found her spouse had vanished, her
fury knew no bounds. Ordinarily the Indian squaw might be deserted by
her lord and she would stoically accept her fate. Mary might have done
so had she not been spoiled by being educated at Carlisle. Her savage
blood grew hot for revenge. She made another trip to the Grand river
hills, presumably for a larger amount of money, placed her affairs in
the hands of her Indian-Negro servants, and started on the trail of
Carson, believing she would have no trouble in overtaking a man
driving that many head of horses. Meanwhile the fall rains set in and
the shallow rivers of the plains became raging torrents. But to a
woman of Mary Greenwater's determined character, these things were
obstacles only for the time being. Her heart was bad and her love of
revenge strong.



XXI.

CARSON'S BLANK PAGES IN LIFE.


When Carson left the cabin he followed the winding trail that led to
the valley below. The road to Saguache showed the hoofprints of a
prospector's outfit, and the marks of a sleigh leading to Del Norte.
The glare of the sun on the reflected snow was blinding and he drew
his hat down over his eyes. He was thinking of his worthless life
since leaving college. Once he had builded lofty hopes of future
doings in the world, but he had allowed himself to drift; his ship of
fate had gone wherever the strongest tide wind carried. He saw now
that he might have marked out some honorable career and piloted his
course toward it. Others of his class in college were in a fair way to
make their mark in the world. Why was it not so with him? It was born
in him, as it had been in his father, to choose the wild life of the
frontier in preference to holding the presidency of a bank in Atlanta.
He felt that the world in its wildest freedom was his for his
pleasure. The cords of restraint which society demanded were to him
the fetters of a tyrant ruler, and so, as Sampson broke the green
withes which bound him, Carson broke the laws of society--nay
civilization, and married a squaw according to the ceremony of her
people. He repented the act to some extent, and then cast his cares
aside, with the comforting knowledge that the world was too busy a
place for people to give themselves much concern over his affairs.
Long ago he realized that if he threw himself into the swirl of
humanity and allowed himself to become a part of its motives and its
emotions, that it would require a herculean effort to attain a
position where he could look over the heads of other men. That
position, he argued, was not worth the life-long effort required.
Withal, he could not bring himself to quite understand why he had
married Mary Greenwater, unless that she possessed some occult power
and gained control over forces of his nature which he did not
understand. True, there was but little or no obligation to the
ceremony. It held good in the Cherokee Indian nation, that government
within a government. Outside that limited space of ground it was null
and void. He was a free man under the laws of his own government. Yet
that act, of his own creation, somehow seemed to stand over him like a
Frankenstein with an uplifted axe.

The snow was deep, and as he plodded along with these thoughts running
through his mind, he heard a cry. Glancing backwards he saw a horse
drawing a sleigh, plunging madly down the road. The reins were held by
a woman, frantically urging the horse forward. Some distance behind
four huge mountain lions were in hot pursuit, their heavy bodies
crouching and springing forward many feet at a leap. Carson took in
the situation at a glance and, raising his hand as a signal to the
girl in the sleigh to rein in, he sprang into the vehicle as she
passed. The momentary pause had given the beasts a chance to gain,
when, drawing his revolver, he fired at the foremost and sent it
rolling in the snow. Another shot and a second lion paused with a
mighty roar. At this the other two turned and fled in the opposite
direction.

Carson now took the reins and stopped the horse. The animal was
trembling with fright, while the girl was calm but pale.

"Rather a close shave, eh, Sis?"

"Truly," she replied, "how fortunate you were here. I was driving
to Del Norte when I met the lions. They were gamboling in the
snow like kittens. When I turned Bess, they pursued. I want the
one you have just killed, I want to have him mounted to remember
today,--and--and--you."

"By all means, Miss, you shall have it, but where are you going now?"

"Back to Saguache after this fright. Poor Old Bess could not have
stood the race much farther. See how she trembles. I am the niece of
Mr. Amos. My name is Annie Amos. I have friends in Del Norte, whom I
intended to visit. I shall wait now until I have an escort."

"Ah--my name is Carson--Jack Carson. I was going to Saguache to see
Mr. Amos, the assayer, to have him test a jug handle,--er, that is, to
have the jug handle test him. I don't mean that; I mean our mine is
named the Jug Handle, I will get it right after awhile, and I want him
to make a test of the ore."

"Confound it," he thought as he turned the horse, "I haven't the sense
of a jackrabbit to make a break like that."

One of the lions lay pawing the snow in its death struggle and as
Carson came near, it reared itself as if to make one last leap. Its
eyes gleamed in savage yellow, foam fell in flecks from its mouth,
while a tiny stream of crimson stained the snow. Carson's weapon spit
fire and the creature rolled over motionless. He dragged the carcass
to the end of the sleigh and, lifting it upon the edge of the box,
made it fast.

"If you are going to Saguache to see my uncle, I fear you will be
disappointed as he left this morning for an absence of several days."

"That does not matter as I have other business anyway. Most any time
will do, as I am in town quite often. We would better not drive so
fast. Your horse is in a foam."

Carson was fast becoming interested in the girl at his side. Her calm
poise, after the exciting adventures with the mountain lions,
surprised him. Other women would have been hysterical, but here by his
side sat a girl not yet out of her teens, as calm and collected as a
veteran soldier after the battle. And Amos, the man he was going to
see and intended to kill if he proved to be the villain he suspected
him to be, was her uncle.

The white billows rose rank on rank on the distant mountains, while
the snow of the valley shrunk visibly away, leaving the grey rocks
naked and protuberant.

The newly-made acquaintances chatted gaily as the horse jogged along.

"I was thinking of your remark awhile ago," said Carson, "that you
would go to Del Norte tomorrow if you had an escort, and as I have
some time to idle away it would give me pleasure to drive you over."

"It would give me equal pleasure to have you do so," she replied with
admirable frankness, "that is, if you are going there anyway."

"I may need to purchase some new implements with which to work the
Aberdeen--I mean the Jug Handle mine," he explained. "I have heard of
a new drill they are working over there and it may be just the thing
for the formation we are now in."

"I see," said the girl, as a mischievous smile flitted about her lips,
"and I am very glad you will accompany me. I shall make you acquainted
with some of my very dear friends."

Carson was forgetting his millions in the mine and letting his mind
wander to the expected joys of entertaining and being entertained by
people of real worth once more. He felt returning pride, and then the
thought of the Frankenstein with the uplifted axe made him groan
inwardly. But pshaw! she did not know--never would know, and what
people do not know will not hurt them, he reasoned.

He felt an increasing admiration for the girl beside him. They were
alone in the wide expanse of valley and had known each other only an
hour, yet this girl was willing to trust to his honor and manhood. And
be it said for Carson, as it may be said for thousands of other men on
the American frontier, he would have yielded his life rather than
betray that sacred trust. Instances like this are common in the West.

As they drove down the main street of Saguache, the passers looked
curiously at the pair in the sleigh and at the dead lion strapped
behind. When they stopped in front of the postoffice, a crowd gathered
around the sleigh. A supple figure edged through the crowd and
addressed the girl:

"Kill it all by yourself, Annie?"

The familiarity with which he spoke nettled the girl, and she turned
her head without answering. The supple figure felt the rebuff and all
the more because others noticed it. He stood his ground, however,
until Carson returned and when he saw his face he quickly drew out of
sight.

"Tomorrow at seven," said Carson, as he bade her good-bye at her
house.

Carson went to his hotel with a lighter heart than he had had for
months. He lit a cigar and sat by the window, then felt for something
in his pocket, and threw it in the wood-box. "There are other jug
handles," he said to himself.

He walked the streets aimlessly until supper. He retired early and
tried to sleep, but his thoughts ran wild on the events of the day. He
could think of no one except Annie. It was still early in the night,
when he arose from a restless bed and went out on the streets. Lights
blazed from the Lone Tree saloon, and as he entered he saw a crowd
about the faro table. The sudden exclamations of many voices told
that some one was winning heavily. He pressed forward through the
crowd and saw the form of a woman. When she partially turned her face,
he felt his heart give a great throb, and he fled into the street.

The remainder of the night he walked through the crunching snow, while
the silent stars seemed to gaze with tearful eyes upon him in this,
the greatest misery he had ever known. He walked several miles out of
town to avoid meeting anyone he knew and then presented himself at the
Amos residence.

"I believe it is seven o'clock, Miss Annie," he said, when she
answered his call.

"Yes, and I am ready," was the cheerful answer.



XXII.

A VOICE FROM CENTURIES PAST.


Buchan was ready to throw the lever of his engine and roll out of
Tucson, when a messenger handed him a packet bearing the postmark of
Peru. The missive showed signs of age, and, having traveled much, had
reached its destination at last. He tossed it into his tool box and an
hour later when speeding over the scorched deserts of Arizona, he
opened the packet. The letter was dated at Truxillo and read:

  "Dear Don Juan--I have been ill for many months, and I feel that
  my end is drawing nigh, but before I go I want to do something for
  you. I have heard how Don Rodrigo so justly met his end, and with
  this knowledge I die easier. You are young and strong, with a long
  life of usefulness ahead, and I feel that in entrusting to you a
  family secret, I am only doing that which I would have done had
  Felicita lived. She was the last of our house and the heritage of
  our family belonged to her. As it is, I make you my heir to the
  valuable papers handed down to me from my ancestors. May they
  prove to you a blessing. Would that I had more to give you. May
  the blessings of the Virgin ever rest upon you.

                                                           "Julian."

Accompanying the letter was a parchment scroll, dated Lima, 1752. It
read:

"I, Jean Maldonado, do write of my extraordinary adventures in Nueva
Espanola, wherein I was duly appointed the Commander of an expedition
to the land of Quivera, in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, in
the service of his excellency, the viceroy of Santa Fe. A barbarian
told us he would lead us unto a land to the far north, where shops
blazed with jewels and common cooking vessels were made of gold; that
the metal was so common as to be of no value. The king of this city
took his noonday meals beneath a golden canopy, hung with tinkling
silver bells. There was a sea upon which this king rode in a canoe,
which would carry twenty horses. Upon its prow was an idol of beaten
gold. The canoe was fitted with sumptuous cushions, upon which the
monarch took his siestas, to the music made by dancing maidens with
bells and castanets. Fish as large as horses abounded, and sweet fruit
bigger than a soldier's helmet grew upon the trees. The monarch who
ruled over this land was long-bearded, white-haired, and wore robes of
bright-hued, rich stuffs, and slept in a garden where trees were hung
with a thousand bells, which made exquisite music when shaken by the
wind. And this king worshipped the golden image of a woman, the Queen
of Heaven, and ate from gold and silver bowls, of which the dais he
sat upon was made. He spoke with vast assurance and said he would
conduct us thither whenever we should follow.

"We journeyed northward many leagues over mountains and came to a wide
valley watered by a stream. Farther on were high mountains and we
named them Sangre de Christo and marked three mountains 'Spanish
Peaks' on our map, that we might not miss our way. One day a pious
soldier saw the barbarian with his face in a pool of water, talking
with the devil. After that we were suspicious. After many days'
journey we found the city, but alas, it was mud huts, and the only
metal was a copper plate around the old chief's neck and by which he
sat great store. There were no golden vessels, no image of the Virgin,
no golden dais and no silver bells.

"The wicked barbarian then said he had led us into the desert to die.
Our soldiers were wroth and I ordered him hanged on a considerable
tree, to let him know there was a God in heaven and a King in Spain.

"We turned our steps backward after we had set up a cross, and
journeyed into the valley. Now there were many oxen come into the
valley of the figure and color of our bulls, but their horns were not
so great. They had a great bunch upon their fore shoulders and more
hair upon their fore parts than on their hind parts. They had a
horse's mane upon their backbone and much hair from the knees
downward. They had great tufts of hair hanging from their foreheads
and it seemeth that they had beards, because of the great store of
hair at their chins and throats. In some respects they resembled a
lion, and in some others the camel. They pushed with their horns, and
they overtook and killed horses. Finally, it was a foul and fierce
beast of countenance.

"We have stayed close to the mountains where we could flee to the
rocks if they pursued us. We were crossing the mountain, when we came
upon a spring near unto a huge cliff that sat on the edge like a
platter. We camped here many days until the bulls left the valley.
Some distance from the rock like a platter, Casteanda found gold in a
white rock, which we did beat up and saved much pure gold. Casteanda
journeyed to Santa Fe and returned with more donkeys, and we loaded
upon them much unbeaten rock. We all then journeyed back to Santa Fe,
for the barbarians were angry at our intrusion and we went in haste,
leaving more gold in the white rock than would load a ship's boat. I
cut in the rock, high up, the words:

                           "'Jean Maldonado.
        "'Commander of an Expedition, reached this place, 1750.'

"All this, so that the subjects of Spain might know this country
belonged to His Majesty.

"We journeyed back to Santa Fe after many days of hardships and we
found a new Viceroy had been appointed and he demanded our gold. This
we were loath to give up, and after selling it to a trader for the
coin of the realm, we started across the country for New Orleans,
knowing well not to go south for the new Viceroy would pursue us and
take the gold.

"We journeyed along the banks of a considerable river by night and hid
ourselves by day. We saw many thousands of ferocious bulls grazing,
and when they ran the noise was like thunder and it made us afraid. We
crossed many rivers and finally came to a country of wooded hills
where the Barbarians were thick and ferocious.

"The Barbarians pursued us and we hid our gold and records in a cave
and rolled a stone over the hole and fled. They killed nearly all of
our expedition and our mules. Baptiste was sorely wounded in the
breast with an arrow and notwithstanding we bled him copiously, he
died.

"The treatment given us by the Barbarians irritated us exceedingly and
we fell upon them with swords when they were not in great numbers.

"We came to a river whose waters were red, like unto the color of the
tiles on the houses of Seville, and after journeying along its banks
for many nights, we came unto the River of the Holy Ghost, which
DeSoto discovered and here we found safety.

"While all these things were new in my mind I made another map in
order that I might take another expedition to the mine when the
Viceroy grew rich from the spoils of office and would trouble us no
more. But he did write unto the people of Spain that I would be hanged
upon my return to Santa Fe, therefore I desisted in returning. Being
extremely irritated at his conduct I sought my fortune in Peru, until
such time when he should be called to heaven, which call even now, in
my old age, has not yet been made, over which misfortune I have sorely
grieved."

Accompanying this document was a map with the Sangre de Christo range,
the Spanish Peaks, the River, Valley and flat cliff on edge, plainly
marked. The distance from Santa Fe and the mountain passes was clearly
indicated.

A month later Buchan was transferred on a run out of Santa Fe where
the hand of Fate and Chance again took part. He received a letter from
Mr. Robinson who had joined a surveying party and had fallen ill at
Saguache. The letter implored him to come, if he ever expected to see
him alive. True to his old time friendship, he lost no time in
reaching his bedside. Mr. Robinson lingered a few weeks and died. This
was more sad news for Hattie in her far-away home, amid the Santa
Lucia mountains. She alone remained of the happy family who had gone
to Arequipa with fond hopes for the future beneath those sunny skies.

I, the writer, had been with Carson a few days before prospecting in
the Sangre de Christo mountains, when by chance we rested at the
spring beside the peculiar shaped cliff. I noticed that Carson was
interested in the surroundings, but I thought nothing of it at the
time. The formation of the cliff appealed to my fancy, and I chanced
to mention it to Buchan one day when he became excited and asked to be
shown its whereabouts.

Together with Carson we visited the spot. Being an old prospector, I
soon discovered formations that looked like pay ore. My years of
experience in these mountains had taught me that a man might work a
lifetime and gain nothing, and again from the outcroppings of a stone
at grass roots he might develop a mine worth a million dollars.

Carson and Buchan were sanguine over our prospects, too much so, I
thought, for men who had no experience in mining.

I located the claim so as to include the cliff and spring and when I
made out the registration papers, I said: "Gentlemen, what shall we
call the mine?"

"Name it the Maldonado," said Carson.

"What!" exclaimed Buchan, turning an ashen paleness.

"The Major Domo," replied Carson, looking somewhat abashed.

"Name it the Aberdeen," said Buchan. "I like to hear that name spoken,
it was my old home in Scotland."



XXIII.

THE TWO OLD BLACK CROWS.


Amos sat in the little back room of Rayder's office in Denver. His
beady black eyes glistened beneath his beetle brows. A pleased
expression shone on his thin face, drawn in wrinkles like stained
parchment. Rayder was out, but had left instructions for him to wait.
As he sat there his eye caught sight of something interesting on
Rayder's desk. The door was closed and he was alone. He leaned forward
and took up some slips of paper for closer inspection. They were
certificates of assay from Pendleton. The pleased look vanished as he
noted Amos No. 1, Amos No. 2, Amos No. 3, and so on for a dozen or
more slips. Rayder did not trust him, and had had the sample of ore
assayed by Pendleton for corroboration.

"He does not even believe in honesty among thieves," he mused, as he
carefully replaced the papers. Then the pleased look came back to his
face.

"All the better," he thought. "He will deal now and it is my time to
strike before the iron cools."

He drew his chair further back from the desk, and pretended to be
reading a newspaper when he heard Rayder coming.

"Just the man I have been wanting to see," said Rayder, extending his
hand, "how is everything in Saguache and how is Annie?"

"Annie is handsome as ever, but there is a new assayer coming to town
next month and I understand he is on the dead square, and what we do
we have got to do all-fired quick. How is this for an eye-opener?" He
took from his pocket several lumps of shining ore.

"Sylvanite," exclaimed Rayder. "What does it run?"

"Eighty ounces to the ton. There is a quarter of a million dollars on
the dump and the fellows think it is copper and pyrites of iron."

"How would it do to contest the claim?"

"Dangerous business, they have taken to killing claim jumpers. One was
shot last week, and this outfit will shoot, no mistake. It is better
to buy them out for a song. They are about broke anyway. They believe
everything I tell them, have a child-like confidence in me, same as
everybody has. I tell you, Rayder, I stand at the top in the
estimation of everybody, and all we have got to do is to have the
buyer on the ground, and when they come in with their next samples I
will prove to them their values have run out, show them some rich
stuff from down the valley and like all others of their class, they
will stampede."

"That sounds good, but tell me more of Annie, did she appreciate the
cloak I sent her for a Christmas present?"

"Appreciate it! I should say she did. She just worships it because it
came from you, and say, she has your photograph on the wall where she
can see it all the time. She just dotes on that picture. I tell her
there is the chance of her life, a fine house, fine clothes, a chance
to go abroad and cultivate her musical talent, become a great singer
and meet dukes and lords and crowned heads. Why, the girl is just
crazy over you, and I believe she would marry you even if you did not
have a cent. It is like marrying December to May, you sixty and she
nineteen, pretty and vivacious--warm up your old bones, eh?"

Rayder's eyes shone and he stroked his beard with delight. "Charley,"
he called to his office boy, "bring up a quart of whisky, some lemons
and sugar."

"Sweet creature, I love thee," said Amos a few minutes later, holding
up a half goblet of whisky. "You do the proper thing in setting out
these kind of glasses; puts me in mind of my old home down in Texas,
where we never drink out of anything smaller than a tin cup or a
gourd."

"Here is to Annie and Rayder--may your posterity become presidents
and wives of presidents."

"Drink hearty," said Rayder, emptying his glass, which he had filled
to the fullness of Amos' out of compliment.

"Charley, bring up a box of perfectos," he shouted. "You may then lock
up and go home."

The glasses were again drained and the two black crows chattered until
the streets were growing quiet for the night. Supper was forgotten in
the love feast of Amos and Rayder.

"Do you know, Amos, I always did love you just like a brother?"

"Here, too, Rayder, you know the first time we saw each other, I sez
to myself--I sez--there is a man that would stick to a friend through
thick and thin."

"You are that kind of a man yourself, Amos, is the reason you have a
good opinion of me. I never had a friend in distress yet that I didn't
help him out."

"That's right, Rayder, that's right. Them's the qualities that go to
make up nature's noblemen. Lord, if I had a known you years ago we'd
a bin millionaires--my knowledge of mines and your sagacity. That's
what counts, and you never fail in your estimate of men, either. Lord,
you was born under lucky stars.

"Take another drink, Rayder, take a cistern full. 'Taint often we meet
on auspicious occasions like this, and we won't go home 'till mornin,'
and we won't go home 'till morning, hic--hurrah for Annie, Rayder, and
a million outer the mine."

"An' she shame short of share of prosperity to my brother Amos," and
Rayder took another drink.

"Shay, Rayder, you come and go home with me and hang around a day or
two until you buy the mine and play sweet with Annie, an' the night of
the weddin' we'll hev a dance and send you away on your bridal tour in
a blaze of glory."

"I'll do it, I'll do it, Amos, an' then we'll be almost brothers
'cordin' ter law, anyway."

"Shay, Rayder, did I tell ye I had a little mix up with a woman, an'
I'm scared to death 'fear old woman 'ill find it out. I got 'ter
square the deal or I'm a goner and stuff's all off, want yer to let me
take ten thousand fer few days, got ter blow a lot o' money on
weddin', too, yer see."

"All right, Amos, youse's square a man's ever met. I'll let ye hev
it."

"Good, thet's relief; sooner I get it easier mind'll be. Nuthin' like
'mediate action to relieve man's mind, you know. Let's take nuther
drink and ye can write th' check with steadier hand."

Rayder swallowed another drink while Amos fumbled about the desk until
he found Rayder's check book.

"Bet ye can't spell ten without making a crook. There now, if you can
write thousand as well you're a peachareno. Bully, now write Silas
Rayder at the bottom. You're a brother in fact, Rayder, an' I love ye
better as any brother. Shay, let's hev nuther bottle."

And Amos pocketed the check and quietly slipped down stairs, to the
saloon and was back with another quart before Rayder had roused from
his drunken stupor. He poured out another half goblet of whisky.

"Shay, Rayder, de ye know about story of Guvner of North Carolina sed
to Guvner of South Carolina, to effet an' words, it was long time
between drinks?"

"An' that was a damn shame Guvner hed to wait, ought to had you along
an' famous epigram ed never been born."

Half an hour later Rayder was stretched upon the lounge in the little
back office, dead to the world. Amos sat by the window sobering up
until the grey of the morning. The sleeping man roused, and Amos gave
him another half goblet of whisky followed by a sip of water. He had
drawn the blinds and left the coal-oil lamp burning when it grew
light, lest the sleeping man should arouse and discover it was
daylight.

When the office boy came, he cautioned him not to awaken Rayder. He
then crossed over to the bank, called for the face payment of the
check in gold coin. He took the money to the Wells Fargo Express
company's office and expressed it to his wife in Saguache.

[Illustration: THE AREGUIPENA. (Page 56)]

Rayder was sleeping when he returned. He placed the check book in its
accustomed place in the desk, destroyed all evidence of the night's
debauch and left a note on the desk saying: "My dear Rayder, I have
been suddenly called home by the illness of my wife. Come to Saguache
as soon as you can make it convenient. Amos."

When Rayder awoke it was four o'clock in the afternoon. His head was
in a whirl and every muscle was twitching. He called Charley and sent
for a doctor. The doctor saw the trouble at a glance. He called a hack
and accompanied Rayder to his home.

"This will never do, Mr. Rayder. You have drank much whisky in your
time and it has become a poison to your system. Do not look for me to
get you out of this in less time than four weeks."



XXIV.

THE RECKLESS HAND OF FATE.


The day was fair when Carson left Saguache with pretty Annie Amos
seated beside him in the sleigh. Although he had spent the night in
fearful anxiety, walking the streets, he now felt such a relief over
getting out of town, undiscovered by Mary Greenwater, that he was
bubbling over with high spirits. In the presence of Annie his better
nature stood outward and he even surprised himself with his quick
sallies of wit and repartee. Annie was charmed with his presence, and
as the two chatted gaily, they did not notice the lowering clouds
about the Spanish Peaks, until a strong wind began to raise and soon
one of those sudden storms so common to the region was coming in all
its fury. In a short while it became a raging blizzard. The snow
drifted in blinding swirls, so dense that the horse's head could not
be seen.

Carson had experienced the blizzard on the range and knew the only
safe course was to let the horse have the reins, and trust to its
animal instinct to find a shelter. He drew the robes securely about
Annie and endeavored to allay her fears, although conscious of the
peril they were in. The horse was plodding its way through the
snow-drifts and it was evident that the animal would soon become
exhausted. The blizzard might last all night, or it might continue for
three days. On those trackless wastes in such a storm death by
freezing was almost certain, unless they reached a place of shelter.
The hours dragged by. He kept up an incessant talking with Annie, lest
she should fall into the fatal sleep. The girl was quick to perceive
his tender care, and in full apprehension of their danger, felt a
growing confidence in the man beside her. She knew that he fully
realized their peril and admired him for his efforts to conceal his
fears from her.

It was growing darker and the horse was moving with feeble steps.
Carson was at the point of giving vent to his fears, when the animal
stopped. He left the sleigh, and upon going to the horse's head, found
they were beside a cabin. His heart gave a great leap of joy and he
called exultantly to Annie.

The cabin was deserted, but, praise Providence, it was shelter. The
door swung open on its hinges. There was a fireplace with some
half-burned logs in a heap of ashes. When Annie was securely inside,
he brought in the robes from the sleigh and next unhitched the horse
and brought the animal inside the cabin. This made Annie's heart leap
with joy; she had not considered how they would protect the horse, and
this humane act on the part of Carson gave her the most implicit
confidence in the man. There is nothing to fear from a man who is so
kind to animals, was her mental comment.

Soon there was a blazing fire on the hearth. Some poles were found by
the door. These Carson dug from the snow and brought inside. He had
no axe with which to cut them, and in the emergency, he laid the ends
together in the fire slantwise from the chimney, and as they burned
away, he shoved the logs forward. The wind screamed in wildest fury,
while the snow drifted in through the rough clapboard roof.

Until now no thought had been given to the lunch which Annie had
prepared for the trip. She brought it out from among the wraps and
when Carson gave the horse a buttered biscuit as his share of the
meal, she watched the act with a thrill of gladness. The blazing logs
gave warmth and light, and the man and woman sat and talked throughout
the long watches of the night, while the snow drifted and the wind
screamed and roared, making the loose clapboards of the roof creak and
groan.

There these two, thrown together by the reckless hand of fate, told
incidents of their lives and won the love and sympathy of each other.
A new song was born in Carson's breast. For a moment he seemed to
remember a former life; somewhere out in the wide, white waste and
hush of infinite space, where they had known each other and now their
souls imprisoned in forms of clay, they had met by chance and renewed
an old affinity.

As she told him the simple story of her life, he listened with
ever-increasing interest. An orphan at an early age, she had since
lived in the home of her Uncle Amos. Everything had gone well until
the last year, when her uncle brought Rayder to their home and
insisted that she should regard him as a suitor for her hand. Rayder,
old and grey, had dyed his whiskers and tried to appear boyish. His
intentions were well enough--he would give her all she would ask that
money could purchase--but she could not love the man and could never
think of becoming his wife. Amos, her uncle, was a man of avarice and
greed. He insisted that it was a duty she owed him for his fatherly
care in bringing her up. He dwelt on the advantages it would be to
him in his old age and that it would be only right for her to help him
in this way. He had appealed to her generous nature and sought to make
her believe this sacrifice on her part would be just and right. Amos'
wife had taken the same view of the matter and urged that the wedding
should be at an early date. Annie, alone in the world, had no one to
whom she could go for counsel. Some of the coarse women of the mining
camp who came to their home thought her the most fortunate of girls to
have a suitor as rich as Rayder, and ridiculed the idea of her
refusing to accept the greatest opportunity of her life. Some of their
husbands were rough, uncouth men, who cared nothing for the luxuries
of a home, spent most of their money and time drinking and gambling at
the Lone Tree, and they gauged conditions as they were with
themselves. They were honest-hearted women of the frontier who
believed they were doing the girl a kindness. It was not through
bravery that she was cool and collected, yesterday, in the presence
of death from the lions, she told him, but because she had almost made
up her mind that she did not care. Death had lost its terrors in the
contemplation of impending fate.

He did not tell her of the burden of his heart. He did not feel that
he dared to ask for sympathy. At that hour he would have given ten
years of his life to undo his marriage with Mary Greenwater by the
ancient custom of the Swiftest Horse. He knew the Indian woman and
knew that she intended to kill him and yet he felt helpless,
powerless. He did tell the girl beside him that he, too, was alone in
the world and hoped to merit the love of a good woman and that his
every act in life should go to prove his sincerity. And so, amid the
wild scenes of the night, they talked.

At noon the following day, the storm abated and when the flurries of
snow had ceased they saw the town of Del Norte well down on the
plain.

Annie was received at the home of her friends with delight and when
she told them of her recent adventures, they gave expression to
heartfelt joy for Annie's safety, and called Carson a hero.

Carson did not leave Del Norte for six weeks. Meanwhile, Annie visited
her friends. When the two were not together in the cozy parlor at
Annie's host's, Carson kept close in his room at the hotel. He wanted
to delay the meeting with Mary Greenwater as long as possible. If she
was only a man,--ah, that would be different! It would then be knife
to knife, or bullet to bullet--he would not shrink. But she was a
woman, an educated Indian woman upon whom society had some claim, and
she had some claim upon it.

Annie promised to become his wife and it was arranged that she should
return to her uncle's home, and as soon as he could arrange his
affairs at the mine they would go to an eastern state. He first
intended, however, to make a clean breast of the Mary Greenwater
affair, and trust his fate to her love for him.

When he reached the foot of the Sangre de Christo range, through the
great depths of snow, he saw the fearful havoc of the snow slide and
noted the slanting position of the edgewise cliff. Thinking it was of
but recent occurrence, he hurried to Saguache and gave the alarm that
two of his companions were buried beneath the mountain of snow.

In no place in the world does an appeal for help meet with a quicker
response than among the pioneers of the west. The news flew over the
town like wildfire that two miners were imprisoned in a snow slide. A
relief party was organized at once and Carson led them to the base of
the range.

Mary Greenwater saw Carson organizing the relief, she stood within a
few feet of him unobserved, and could have shot him, but she knew
better than shoot a man in the act of aiding the distressed. The crowd
would hang her, woman or no woman, and she knew it. Some other time
than this--she would wait.



XXV.

CORDS OF LOVE ARE STRONG.


Hattie Judson sat by the window overlooking the green wheat fields of
the Los Ossis valley. The bells in the old mission were calling the
humble worshippers of the valley, just as they had done for more than
one hundred and forty years. She watched the blue haze of the valley
growing denser in the shadows of the evening. She heard the low boom
of a signal gun roll up from the sea. It was from the coast steamer in
the open roadstead, the signal she was listening for in the hope that
it would bring her a letter--the letter for which she had been waiting
for six weeks.

The shadows from the coast hills crept up the valley, and the
stars shone, when the whistle of the little narrow-gauge engine
announced its arrival from the port. She put on her wraps and went
to the postoffice and waited a good long hour before the mail was
distributed. There was nothing in her box except the San Francisco
paper. And yet she felt intuitively there must be some news. She
returned to her home with a vague feeling of dread and lit the parlor
lamp. Mechanically she scanned the headlines of the paper when her
eye caught the line:

                   "Imprisoned Miners in Snow-slide;
                  Relief Party Working Night and Day."

"Saguache, Colo.--Word reached here last night that John Buchan and
James Winslow, miners working a claim on the Sangre de Christo range,
were buried in their cabin beneath a snow slide. It is believed the
men are alive although there seems to be small hope of rescuing them
on account of an overhanging cliff which may topple at any moment,
with the melting snows and crush them out of existence. Rescue parties
are at work night and day."

The room seemed to whirl and grow dark as she finished reading. Tears
came to her eyes and she cried aloud. The members of the family came
to find the cause of her outcry and found her in a flood of tears.
They read the dispatch and knew the cause. The paper was two days old
from San Francisco. What could she do? She must know at once. She went
to the telegraph office and sent a message of inquiry to the mayor of
Saguache. It was twelve o'clock when the message came: "Lines all down
in San Luis valley." There was a telegraph line to San Louis Obispo,
but no coast line railroad nearer than Paso Robles Hot Springs, sixty
miles inland. It would be three days before there was another steamer
for San Francisco. She felt that if she waited the suspense would kill
her. She must go to Saguache.

In the grey of the morning she was seated beside a driver in a light
running rig behind the swiftest pair of horses in the town. The
northern express was due at noon and the distance of sixty miles must
be made. The fleet animals climbed the mountain slopes and crossed the
divide of the Santa Lucia range, and went speeding through the
beautiful Santa Marguerite valley with its carpet of green, enlivened
with splashes of yellow from the wild mustard blossoms. Across the
swift flowing ford of the Salinis river, through deep ravines and
mountain gorges, and over miles and miles of sun-baked sand and dreary
waste of stunted cactus and sagebrush, the horses sped.

The scorched winds of the desert caught up the sands and hurled them
hot into their faces and stung them like tiny sparks.

Dripping with foam the horses were reined up at the depot platform in
just five hours and fifty minutes from the time of starting--a record
that stands in San Louis Obispo today as the best ever made, and that
too by a big-hearted western man who did it only to aid a woman in
distress.

The train sped over miles of brown and parched desert, studded with a
growth of palms that rattled in the sultry wind like dried sunflower
stalks. The scenes were scarcely noticed by Hattie as she sat in the
coach busied with her own thoughts. The train was an express but it
seemed to her to creep along. The rumble of the wheels clanking on
the iron rails seemed to say: "You'll be too late, you'll be too
late."

At Sacramento there was a wait of four hours for the east bound
express, and Hattie sat in the depot where she could watch the clock,
tick, tock, tick, tock--swinging the pendulum in these moments of
suspense and waiting. Those monotonous sounds persistently repeated
the single theme, seconds were born and ushered into eternity with the
slow swing of the pendulum; every tick brought the time of starting
nearer, but the pendulum swung so slow.

Those four hours watching the clock were the most tedious of her life.
When the time was drawing nigh and the waiting passengers were
stirring about, the man in the ticket office came out and wrote upon
the blackboard, "East bound Express two hours late."

Again the slow swinging pendulum sent a torrent of woe to the unhappy
girl, and when the train rolled into the yards she felt as though she
had lived within sound of that clock for a year.

The green valley changed to the red earth of the foothills, still
showing signs of the gold hunters of 1849. The puffing and wheezing of
the engine told they were climbing steep grades, and soon they were in
the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The train entered the
forty-two mile snow shed and when half way through struck a hand car,
derailing the engine.

It was day without, but dark within the sheds. A kindly woman with her
daughter occupied the berth opposite Hattie. She noticed the troubled
look on the girl's face and from that time on until they separated at
Cheyenne, did everything she could to make the journey pleasant. But
there was the ever present suspense and doubt.

It was ten hours before the train was again under way, but they had
lost the right of way on the road and were compelled to make frequent
stops on the sidings to allow other trains to pass.

As the train skirted the Great Salt Lake with its bleak and desolate
islands of rock rising in silhouette against the cold grey skies,
Hattie compared the scene to the feeling of utter desolation within
her soul.

A storm was raging on the Laramie plains and when the snow plow,
driven by the tremendous force of an extra engine in front, stuck fast
in the snow, she began to have some conception of the mighty force of
an avalanche, and the difficulty of reaching imprisoned men beneath
its weight.

The railroad ended at a little station in the San Luis valley and then
followed many miles of staging in a crowded coach. Everywhere the girl
met with the most profound respect and attention from fellow
passengers. She was always given the best seat in the coach, and
otherwise made as comfortable as circumstances would permit. Such was
the gallantry of these men of the frontier to the girl who was
traveling alone.

At the last stage station before reaching Saguache, she heard men
talking of the imprisoned miners in the Sangre de Christo mountains,
but she was unable to learn any of the particulars other than that
the relief party was still working. When, at last, she alighted at the
hotel in Saguache her first question was concerning the imprisoned
men. They will have them out in a few days if nothing happens was the
assurance given by the landlady. "They are alive, we know, for we can
see the smoke coming out from under the rock."

The two men under the snow slide had been the talk of the town for
days. Every day a new party went to the scene to relieve those who had
worked the day and night before, tunneling up the steep mountain side
through snow of an unknown depth.

When Hattie reached the tunnel she begged to be allowed to go to the
end of it where the men were working. She was assisted up the mountain
side by willing hands and when she reached the workers one of them
said: "The boys are all right for we can hear their voices."

It was then she gave an exclamation of joy, and when Buchan said to me
in the cabin, "It seems that I hear her voice," he was right.



XXVI.

WHEN THE DEATH GLOOM GATHERS.


Amos staggered out of the fog of powder smoke and groped his way to
the door. He took the center of the street reeling as he went, and
made his way to his home. The scenes at the Bucket of Blood were
magnified in his whisky-crazed brain. He raved in wild delirium,
fighting the demons that gathered around his bedside. The doctor came
and shook his head. "He has been drinking so long that my medicine
will not act," he said. Amos glared wildly from his bloodshot eyes
when a monkey seemed to leap on the footboard. He held a glass in his
hand. "Have a cocktail, Amos," said the monkey, as he tossed the
liquid into the air and caught it in another glass. Amos' throat was
parched and he wanted the cocktail, but the monkey did not give it to
him. A rhinoceros came creeping through the wall and looked at him
with its leaden eyes. The monkey tossed the cocktail into the wide
open mouth of the rhinoceros, who smacked his lips and said to the
monkey, "Let's play ante over."

"All right," replied the monkey, "what with?"

"Get his eye, get his eye," exclaimed the rhinoceros.

The monkey crept forward and plucked out one of Amos' eyes, as he
groaned and yelled. For awhile the rhinoceros was on one side of the
dresser and the monkey on the other, tossing his eye to and fro
between them. The scene changed. He was on a white horse, plunging
down a steep rocky road lined with trees on either side; pythons and
rattlesnakes reached out from among the branches striking their fangs
at his head. There was the form of a dead woman behind him on the
horse. Her cold arms clung about his neck as little devils came out
from behind the trees and shouted: "You did it; you did it." The horse
was now plunging over a snow-covered country. He felt the icy winds
chill his heart. He was trying to shake off the dead arms that clung
to his neck, when the horse stopped in a wild spot among the rocks. A
grave digger, with the flesh of face and arms dried to the bone,
appeared. "We will bury her here," he said as he sunk his spade into
the earth. As the grave digger threw up the clods they turned to
little devils, the size of frogs and yelped, "We are the sins of Amos
come out of the grave." The vision passed and another appeared. Three
Sisters of Charity stood at the footboard of his bed. They were
looking down on him with sorrowful eyes. One of them lifted her hand
and all was a livid flame. Amos raised his head and gave one prolonged
shriek. A shriek of death.

When Amos returned to Saguache after his spree with Rayder his first
act was to purchase a ranch in the San Luis valley and deed it to his
wife. He then went to his assay office and drew down the blinds and
sat in the shadows like a cunning old spider in hiding waiting for
the unwary fly for which he had wove his web. His life had been that
of the iconoclast who creates nothing to adorn the world's great
gallery of gods. But he was not philosophical enough to evolve an idea
that would disrupt existing beliefs.

It was some weeks after his arrival home, when he espied Rayder one
morning coming down the street towards his office. He cautiously
turned the key in his office and slipped over to the Bucket of Blood
and returned with some beer and two quart bottles of whisky. When
Rayder returned an hour later he was maudlin drunk.

Rayder was still pale from the effects of his recent debauch and when
he found Amos in an intoxicated condition he went away, not caring to
stay and talk with him on important business matters lest he should
get drawn into another spree. Meanwhile, Carson had arrived and spread
the news of the imprisoned miners under the snow slide. Rayder learned
that this was the mine he had come to purchase through the connivance
of Amos and concluded to wait and see what time would develop.

Day after day he sought Amos, but the latter was too drunk to talk
with any sense. He then sought Carson and offered financial assistance
in the rescue work, but the men spurned the offer. They felt they were
doing a God-given duty and to receive money for an act of that kind
would be debasing their manhood. Such was it then and such is now the
spirit of the West. He called at the Amos home, and while he was
received by the matron and failed to see Annie, he thought he detected
an air of distress in the surroundings, and attributed it to Amos'
condition. Feeling that he was at their home at an inopportune time,
he went away and started out to find Amos and if possible persuade him
to quit drinking. Not finding him at his office he took a nearer route
and entered the Bucket of Blood by the back door. He passed two or
three hoboes sitting on beer kegs on the outside. "Say, old timer,
can't I dig into ye for two bits?" asked one. The man was trembly and
his lips quivered as he spoke. Remembering his own recent condition
Rayder handed the fellow a dollar and motioning to the others, said:
"Divide up." The men jumped to their feet with alacrity and followed
the first man to the bar.

Rayder walked to the faro table where Amos sat with his back to him
putting down twenty dollar gold pieces on the money. "I never squeal,"
Amos was saying to another man who was drawing out the cards from the
box. "Bet yer life, man wins my money I never squeal," Amos was saying
to the dealer. "Got skads of it anyhow, and when that's gone I know
where to get a mine worth more an' a million." Rayder stood watching
the player tossing twenty after twenty in gold and tapping a tiny bell
now and then when a waiter came and took the orders from those seated
around the table watching the game. They all called for whisky except
the dealer, he took a cigar. It requires a clear head to deal faro.

Rayder grew tired of watching and sat down. He was thinking where did
Amos get so much money? He had not attended to the business of his
office since his recovery and had had no occasion to look into his
check book. After a certain period of the night with Amos in his back
office, everything was a blank. He remembered the conversation about
Annie and the mine but had no recollection about signing the check. To
see Amos sitting at that table losing money like a prince at Monte
Carlo, almost took his breath. He began to feel certain now as to the
fabulous riches of the mine, for he could conceive of no other way by
which Amos could get possession of so much money. He had learned of
Mrs. Amos purchasing the ranch and paying for it in gold, and wondered
at the time. Then he thought that perhaps Amos was trying to throw him
off the purchase of the mine in order to secure the property himself.
There was a mystery somewhere he could not fathom.

The board partition against which he sat was thin, and while he was
not playing eavesdropper, he could not help hearing: "The secret of
that mine has been known to me since I was a child," a woman was
saying, "but I never supposed Carson would locate it when I gave him
the papers." And then she recounted the story of the hidden Spanish
treasure in the Grand river hills and continued: "The two men they are
trying to rescue from under the snow slide are dead long ago and the
only one left that is interested is Carson. I will get him out of the
way, and you must file on the claim, I cannot, for I am an Indian, but
you can. Besides, I could never sing my death song in peace if he
lives."

"Tonight, then," her companion said. "You had better act before
matters go any farther."

Here was another revelation to Rayder, he saw coming through one
archway an Indian woman, and through the other, Coyote Jim who slowly
walked toward the faro table. Rayder's first and best impulse was to
see Carson and warn him of impending danger. His second thought was
that such a course would be bad financial policy. No, he would let the
woman kill him if she could and he would jump the claim himself. He
was certain now of its fabulous value and determined to have it at any
price.

And so the old black crow sat and waited and plotted, while the other
old black crow gambled away his money, and when the shooting was over,
and the coal oil lamps flickered their sickly flame through the
curling powder smoke, Rayder was raised from the floor where he had
flattened himself against the baseboard, trembling like a frightened
sheep about to be led to the slaughter.



XXVII.

A NIGHT OF TRAGEDIES.


The Lone Tree saloon and dance hall was ablaze with lights. Two
bar-keepers in white jackets were setting out the bottles over the
long, polished counter. There was the clink of glasses, as men stood
in rows drinking the amber-colored liquid. "Have another on me," was
frequently heard along the counter, as someone felt it was his turn to
set up the drinks to the crowd.

A brawny miner stepped up to the side of a sheep herder who had been
edging in all evening to get free drinks--and squirted a mouthful of
tobacco juice in his ear.

"If anybody else had done that but you, Bill, I'd be tempted to strike
him."

"Don't let your friendship for me spoil your notions," the miner said
with a contemptuous look.

The sheep herder made no reply, as he wiped his ear. The fire that
burned in his stomach demanded whiskey, and he would brook any insult
to get it. He had reached the level of the sodden, and others passed
him by. It was yet early in the night, and crowds were gathering in
the rear of the large room, about the roulette wheel, the crap tables
and faro layout, back of which the lookout was seated on a raised
platform. Stacks of coin in gold and silver were on the tables to
tempt the players. At other tables men were seated playing cards and
smoking. In an adjoining room, cut with archways, was the dance hall.
An orchestra on a platform played rag-time music, while painted women
in short dresses to give them a youthful appearance, sat on benches
against the wall, or danced with swaggering men to the calls of a
brawny bullet-headed floor manager. His bleared eyes and heavy swollen
jaw showed the effects of a recent debauch ending in a fist fight.

The women urged their partners to drink at the end of every dance.
While the men drank whiskey, they gave the bar-keepers a knowing
look, and a bottle like the others was set out containing ginger ale
which the women drank as whiskey, and were given a check, which they
afterwards cashed as their percentage.

While the sign on the windows read The Lone Tree Saloon and Dance
Hall, the place had earned the sobriquet of the Bucket of Blood, from
the many tragedies enacted therein. And this place was run by a woman,
Calamity Jane, famous in several mining camps. One fellow analyzed her
when he said: "She is a powerful good woman, except she hain't got no
moral character."

Coyote Jim, faro dealer, sauntered in and took his place at the table.
His eyes were a steel blue, the kind that men inured to the mining
camps of the early west had learned were dangerous. His face was thin
and white, hair of a black blue, like a raven's wing, hung half way to
his shoulders. His thin hands handled the pasteboards in the box with
a dexterity that marked him an expert. Supple in form, with quick,
cat-like motions, he made one think of a tiger.

A dark faced woman wearing a Spanish mantilla was winning at the
roulette wheel. The onlookers crowded about. She was winning almost
every bet. The interest grew intense, men crowded forward to catch a
glimpse of her whose marvelous luck surpassed anything in the history
of the Lone Tree. Her stack of chips of white, red and blue, grew
taller at every turn of the wheel. The face of the gambler at the
wheel grew vexed and then flushed with anger. The devil appeared to
have been turned loose and he was losing his stakes. The chips
vanished from his box in twenties, fifties and hundreds, and the group
of onlookers stared in astonishment. As he counted out his last
hundred he said: "If you win this you have broke the game."

The woman lost and the gambler began to have hope, when she won again,
and so the pendulum of chance swung to and fro over those last hundred
chips for an hour, when the gambler slammed the lid of his box with
the exclamation: "You have busted the game!"

The woman cashed in her checks. Over five thousand dollars was paid to
her. She walked up to the bar and threw down five hundred dollars on
the counter and said to a bar-tender:

"I pay for everybody's drinks here tonight. Take no money from any of
them and when this runs short, call on me."

The word was passed, "Free drinks at the bar," and the crowd surged
forward. A half-tipsy fellow raised his glass above the heads of
others. "Here's to Mary Greenwater, Queen of the Cherokee Indians!"

"Rah fer Mary Greenwater," chattered old Amos, holding his reeling
form up by the bar rail.

The invitation was even too much for Rayder, strong as had been his
resolution to let the stuff alone. The temptation of free drinks was
too great, he imagined he needed something and called for gin.

Just then, some one came in and announced that the two men had been
rescued from under the snow-slide. The games stopped and the men at
the tables ordered their drinks from the waiters. The dance in the
adjoining room stopped in the middle of a set, while men and women
crowded about the bar.

Only three in that room did not rejoice at the news--Mary Greenwater,
Coyote Jim and Rayder. Amos was too drunk to know whether he ought to
be sad or rejoice. He did neither, but gave another loud "Rah for Mary
Greenwater!" when a waiter led him to a seat. When the hubbub of
voices which the announcement of the rescue had created, had subsided
somewhat, the players resumed their games and amid the clink of chips
and glasses, could now and then be heard from some gamester, "Hold on
there, that's mine!"

Mary Greenwater went to the faro table. "Get up, Coyote," she said,
"I'm going to bust this bank, and you and I have been together so much
that they will think you have throwed the game. Let some one else
deal." Another dealer was called and Mary laid down a hundred on the
ace. Men crowded about as before, when she was at the roulette wheel.
There was a hush for a moment, when the clear tones of a man at the
door rang out.

"Hands up, everybody. Don't try to escape, the doors are guarded!"

All was confusion in an instant. Calamity Jane, eyes ablaze, strode
from behind the curtain in the dance hall. Quick of action, she fired
at the nearest hold-up in mask. The uproar was furious. The lamps were
shot out by confederates of the hold-ups. The ball room women screamed
with fright, while jets of fire spit from revolvers in different parts
of the room. Men were afraid to make an outcry, lest a bullet would
follow at the sound of their voice. Coyote Jim was crouching like a
tiger, beside the stacks of coin on the table. In his hand was a long,
keen blade. He felt a stealthy hand near his own and he lunged the
knife. A heavy groan and a few words in a language which only he
understood, and the body sank to the floor. The tiger's blood was now
afire and he leaped upon the faro table, revolver in hand. His form
was outlined in silhouette by a light across the street, when a spark
flashed in the darkness and he fell headlong to the floor. There was a
heavy roar of voices, as the men stampeded to the door.

When lights were brought from the outside, the masked men were gone
except one. He lay dead near the door, with a bullet from Calamity
Jane's revolver in his brain. Coyote Jim lay dead, and by his side,
Mary Greenwater, with her life's blood still ebbing from the knife
stab.

From this scene of tragedy, Amos made his escape to end with the
horrors of delirium at home. The Bucket of Blood had maintained its
reputation.

The excitement of the affair spread over the town, and among the
spectators who crowded in was a haggard man. His eyes were hollow and
deep-set, showing that he had undergone a severe mental strain for
weeks. He saw them lift the affrighted Rayder from his place of
safety at the baseboard, then his eyes rested on the dead woman at the
faro table. He threw a cloth over her face, and sat staring into
vacancy until the undertaker and assistants came. Then he took the
undertaker aside and said: "See to it that she has a Christian burial.
I will be responsible." When she was buried the next day, there was
one attendant beside the undertaker and his assistants, at the grave.

The tragedies of the night marked a new era in Saguache. The better
element arose in their might and demanded that the Bucket of Blood be
forever closed.



XXVIII.

FROM OUT THE SHADOWY PAST.


When Buchan arose in the cabin and said "I thought I heard a voice,
her voice," I was amazed. It did not occur to me that anyone would
attempt our rescue, else why had they not done it long ere this?

He opened the door and shouted, then turning to me, exclaimed: "They
are digging us out."

Our hearts leaped for joy. We shook hands in expression of delight and
Buchan danced a highland fling around the room. Two men, snow-covered,
entered and hailed us joyously. Then came a woman, followed by Carson.
She ran to Buchan and he caught her in his arms. I was deaf and could
not hear what they said or I would write it word for word, but he
kissed her and she cried, and he wiped away some tears, and I turned
my back and pretended to be talking to Carson.

The men gathered up our few belongings and we hurriedly left the
cabin. Sleds were waiting at the foot of the mountain, and we were
soon speeding toward Saguache. The air was crisp and the stars shone
like eyes of tender sympathy over the white plain. We were brought to
a stop at the hotel. Men and women whom we had never seen came and
joyfully shook us by the hands, and had much to say in congratulation.
The news of Hattie's arrival and her interest in Buchan had spread
over the camp, and many were the motherly old women who came to say
sympathetic things and invite her to their homes, so great was their
admiration for her loyalty and sacrifice for the man she loved.

The next day a mass meeting was called by the citizens. The Lone Tree
saloon and dance hall had to go. A railroad survey had been completed
through the town, and public works had been projected by the
newly-elected city council. A new era was dawning for Saguache. The
hall was crowded, as one citizen after another spoke of the future
possibilities of the town, and a good government that would no longer
tolerate a lawless element. When resolutions were passed and the
assembly was ready to adjourn, one speaker arose and said he heartily
endorsed everything that was said and done there that evening, but
there was another matter which should have attention: One of the men
rescued from under the snow-drift had just married the girl who had
arrived a few days before from California, and his partner who led the
rescue party had married an estimable young woman of the town. The
double wedding had occurred at the hotel an hour before, and he
thought it would be fitting to celebrate the event and the new era of
Saguache with a dance that night, in which everybody should be asked
to participate. A roar of approval greeted the speaker. There was no
resolution or motion. None was needed. Men instantly set to work
clearing the hall of chairs, while a committee was sent to the hotel
to announce to Buchan and Carson that a dance had been arranged that
night in their honor.

Men came with their wives and their sweethearts, dressed just as they
were from their work, and the women as they were in their homes.
Evening clothes would have been as much out of place in that ballroom,
as the garb of a workman would be out of place in the ballroom of the
Waldorf-Astoria. The orchestra struck up, and Buchan and Hattie were
given the place of honor in the dance. Carson and Annie, being better
known, felt that they should largely play the part of host and yielded
every honor to Buchan and Hattie. The music was good. Everybody joined
in the spirit of goodfellowship, and the dance continued until the
small hours of the morning.

It was toward the close that Rayder came upon the floor with a fat
widow milliner. He had taken a few drinks of gin and was trying to act
kittenish when, in the midst of a cotillion, the widow fell to the
floor in an epileptic fit. They bore the woman to an adjoining room,
where she soon recovered, but it was such a shock to Rayder's nerves
that he went out and braced up on a little more gin.

                  *       *       *       *       *

I was at the governor's reception in the state capitol of Colorado.
The rooms and corridors were brilliantly lighted. Men and women in
rich attire were there to do honor to the occasion. I was seated
behind a decoration of palms, when a prominent attorney and a
companion took seats near me.

A heavy set man with a woman leaning on his arm entered the corridor.
They were well, but modestly dressed. There were grey streaks in their
hair, but their steps were firm and, both were the picture of good
health, evidence of good and wholesome lives.

"Here comes Senator Buchan and lady," said the attorney to his
companion. "I knew those people twenty-five years ago. I was one of a
party to rescue Buchan and a companion from under a snow slide in the
Sangre de Christo mountains. The girl had come all the way from
California to help in the rescue. I don't believe she would have lived
two days longer if we had not got him out. Shows what the right sort
of love will do. It stands the test of time. There is no divorce
business in that. Buchan had an iron will, too. Somehow he and his
partners had discovered a lost Spanish mine and did not know its value
on account of some trickery of an assayer. But Silas Rayder did, so
Rayder hounded the boys to sell and finally when he offered a hundred
and fifty thousand dollars, they closed the deal. Carson had just
married, too. He took his money and invested it in a flouring mill. I
do not know what became of the other fellow, but Buchan put his money
in a bank and it failed in less than three months and he went to
running an engine on the Rocky Mountain railroads. It was a pretty
hard knock, but right there is where that girl came to the front like
a guardian angel. She told him that perhaps it was all for the best.
Riches do not always bring happiness. It is adversity that brings to
the surface our better natures and fires our ambitions to the nobler
and grander things of life.

"Buchan must have had this in mind, for while he was running his
engine he was always trying to help some poor fellow. He accepted his
lot in life and worked for years content with the love of that woman
and when people saw he was made of the right sort of stuff they
elected him to the legislature and his very first act was to put
through a bill making eight hours a legal day's work. That very act
took the yoke of bondage off more than half a million workers.

"It turned out just as the girl said. He has served the people three
terms and if he had not worked for their interests they would never
have sent him back the third time.

"Adversity, sir, is oftimes the making of us. I never thought so when
Bob Lee surrendered and our dreams of imperialism vanished and left
most of us without a dollar. But I can see now it is all for the
best. As a nation united we welcome all men regardless of their
nationality, and, in return, they give us the best thoughts the world
can produce."

"Rayder, what became of him?" asked his companion.

"When Rayder bought the mine he thought he had millions but he only
took out of it about enough to get even when the vein gave out between
two big slabs of granite that came together like the thin end of a
wedge. A widow who had fits sued him about this time for a breach of
promise, and either to get out of that or get square with some old
enemy, he married the widow Amos."

I arose and stood before the attorney and his companion. "I want to
shake hands with you, sir," I said. He arose, and in extending his
hand, said: "Your name, please?"

"I am the other fellow you rescued from the cabin," I replied.





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