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Title: Overland Tales
Author: Clifford, Josephine
Language: English
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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.

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OVERLAND TALES

by

JOSEPHINE CLIFFORD.



[Illustration]

San Francisco:
A. L. Bancroft & Co.
1877.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by
Josephine Clifford,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

[Illustration: J. FAGAN & SON, STEREOTYPERS, PHILAD'A.]

COLLINS, PRINTER.



Dedicated

TO MY KINDEST

AND

_MOST CONSTANT READER_,

MOTHER.



PREFACE.


In the book I now lay before the reader, I have collected a series of
stories and sketches of journeyings through California, Arizona, and New
Mexico. There is little of fiction, even in the stories; and the
sketches, I flatter myself, are true to life--as I saw it, at the time I
visited the places.

A number of these stories first appeared in the OVERLAND MONTHLY, but
some of them are new, and have never been published. I bespeak for them
all the attentive perusal and undivided interest of the kind reader.

THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS.

                                         PAGE
_LA GRACIOSA_,                             13

_JUANITA_,                                 53

_HETTY'S HEROISM_,                         68

_A WOMAN'S TREACHERY_,                     87

_THE GENTLEMAN FROM SISKIYOU_,            101

_SOMETHING ABOUT MY PETS_,                119

_POKER-JIM_,                              137

_THE TRAGEDY AT MOHAWK STATION_,          153

_LONE LINDEN_,                            161

_MANUELA_,                                188

_THE ROMANCE OF GILA BEND_,               204

_A LADY IN CAMP_,                         219

_THE GOLDEN LAMB_,                        237

_IT OCCURRED AT TUCSON_,                  260

_A BIT OF "EARLY CALIFORNIA"_,            274

_HER NAME WAS SYLVIA_,                    282

_CROSSING THE ARIZONA DESERTS_,           296

_DOWN AMONG THE DEAD LETTERS_,            310

_MARCHING WITH A COMMAND_,                321

_TO TEXAS, AND BY THE WAY_,               354

_MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN NEW MEXICO_,      367



OVERLAND TALES.



_LA GRACIOSA._


It was a stolid Indian face, at the first casual glance, but lighting up
wonderfully with intelligence and a genial smile, when the little dark
man, with the Spanish bearing, was spoken to. Particularly when
addressed by one of the fairer sex, did a certain native grace of
demeanor, an air of chivalrous gallantry, distinguish him from the more
cold-blooded, though, perhaps, more fluent-spoken, Saxon people
surrounding him.

Among the many different eyes fixed upon him now and again, in the
crowded railroad-car, was one pair, of dark luminous gray, that dwelt
there longer, and returned oftener, than its owner chose to have the man
of the olive skin know. Still, he must have felt the magnetism of those
eyes; for, conversing with this, disputing with that, and greeting the
third man, he advanced, slowly but surely, to where a female figure,
shrouded in sombre black, sat close by the open window. There was
something touching in the young face that looked from out the heavy
widow's veil, which covered her small hat, and almost completely
enveloped the slender form. The face was transparently pale, the
faintest flush of pink tinging the cheeks when any emotion swayed the
breast; the lips were full, fresh, and cherry-red in color, and the
hair, dark-brown and wavy, was brushed lightly back from the temples.

The breeze at the open window was quite fresh, for the train in its
flight was nearing the spot where the chill air from the ocean draws
through the Salinos Valley. Vainly the slender fingers tried to move the
obstinate spring that held aloft the upper part of the window. The color
crept faintly into the lady's cheeks, for suddenly a hand, hardly larger
than her's, though looking brown beside it, gently displaced her fingers
and lowered the window without the least trouble. The lady's gloves had
dropped; her handkerchief had fluttered to the floor; a small basket was
displaced; all these things were remedied and attended to by the
Spaniard, who had surely well-earned the thanks she graciously bestowed.

"Excuse me," he said, with unmistakable Spanish pronunciation; "but you
do not live in our Valley--do you?"

"This is my first visit," she replied; "but I shall probably live here
for the future."

"Ah! that makes me so happy," he said, earnestly, laying his hand on his
heart.

The lady looked at him in silent astonishment. "Perhaps that is the way
of the Spanish people," she said to herself. "At any rate, he has very
fine eyes, and--it may be tedious living in Salinos."

Half an hour's conversation brought out the fact that a married sister's
house was to be the home of the lady for a while; that the sister did
not know of her coming just to-day, and that her ankle was so badly
sprained that walking was very painful to her.

From the other side it was shown that his home was in the neighborhood
of the town ("one of those wealthy Spanish rancheros," she thought);
that he was slightly acquainted with her brother-in-law; that he was a
widower, and that his two sons would be at the depôt to receive him.
These sons would bring with them, probably, a light spring-wagon from
the ranch, but could easily be sent back for the comfortable carriage,
if the lady would allow him the pleasure of seeing her safely under her
sister's roof. She said she would accept a seat in the spring-wagon, and
Senor Don Pedro Lopez withdrew, with a deep bow, to look after his
luggage.

"Poor lady!" he explained to a group of his inquiring friends, "poor
lady! She is deep in mourning, and she has much sorrow in her heart."
And he left them quickly, to assist his _protégé_ with her wraps. Then
the train came to a halt, and Don Pedro's new acquaintance, leaning on
his arm, approached the light vehicle, at either side of which stood the
two sons, bending courteously, in acknowledgment of the lady's greeting.
When Don Pedro himself was about to mount to the seat beside her, she
waved him back, with a charmingly impetuous motion of the hand. "I am
safe enough with your sons," she laughed, pleasantly. "Do you stop at my
brother-in-law's office, pray, and tell him I have come."

Sister Anna was well pleased to greet the new arrival--"without an
attachment." Her sister Nora's "unhappy marriage" had been a source of
constant trouble and worry to her; and here she came at last--alone.
Brother-in-law Ben soon joined them, and Nora's first evening passed
without her growing seriously lonesome or depressed. Sister Anna, to be
sure, dreaded the following days. Her sister's unhappy marriage, she
confided to her nearest neighbor, had so tried the poor girl's nerves,
that she should not wonder if she sank into a profound melancholy. She
did all she could to make the days pass pleasantly; but what can you do
in a small town when you have neither carriage nor horses?

Fortunately, Don Pedro came to the rescue. He owned many fine
horses and a number of vehicles--from an airy, open buggy to a
comfortably-cushioned carriage. He made his appearance a day or two
after Nora's arrival, mounted on a prancing black steed, to whose every
step jingled and clashed the heavy silver-mounted trappings, which the
older Spaniards are fond of decking out their horses with. He came
only, like a well-bred man, to inquire after the sprained ankle; but
before he left he had made an engagement to call the very next morning,
with his easiest carriage, to take both ladies out to drive.

And he appeared, punctual to the minute, sitting stiffly in the
barouche-built carriage, on the front seat beside the driver, who, to
Nora's unpractised eye, seemed a full Indian, though hardly darker than
his master. True, the people of pure Spanish descent did say that this
same master had a slight admixture of Indian blood in his veins, too;
but Don Pedro always denied it. He was from Mexico, he said, but his
parents had come from Spain. However this might be, Nora stood in mute
dismay a moment, when the outfit drew up at the door; and she cast a
questioning glance at her sister, even after they were seated in the
carriage; but Sister Anna's eyes seemed repeating an old admonition to
Nora--"Be patient, poor child; be still." And Nora, passing her hand
across her face, heeded the admonition, gathered courage, and gave
herself up to the perfect enjoyment of the scene and the novelty of the
expedition.

It was a late spring day--the Valley still verdant with the growing
grain, the mountains mottled with spots of brown where the rain of the
whole winter had failed to make good the ravages of thousands of sheep,
or where, perhaps, a streak of undiscovered mineral lay sleeping in the
earth. Scant groups of trees dotted the Valley at far intervals, ranged
themselves in rows where a little river ran at the foot of the Gabilan,
and stood in lonely grandeur on the highest ridge of the mountain. Where
the mountain sloped it grew covered with redwood, and where the hills
shrank away they left a wide gap for the ocean breeze and the ocean fog
to roll in.

Across the Valley was another mountain, dark and grand, with flecks of
black growing _chemasal_ in clefts and crevices, and sunny slopes and
green fields lying at its base. And oh! the charm of these mountains. In
the Valley there might be the fog and the chill of the North, but on the
mountains lay the warmth and the dreaminess of the South.

Keenly the dark eyes of the Spaniard studied the lovely face, flushed,
as it seemed, with the pleasure derived from the drive in the pure air
and the golden sunshine.

"You like our Valley?" he asked, as eagerly as though she were a
capitalist to whom he intended selling the most worthless portion of his
ranch at the highest possible figure.

"Not the Valley so much as the mountains," she returned. "We have had
fogs two days out of the week I have spent here, and I fancy I could
escape that if I could get to the top of the mountains."

"Ah! you like the sunshine and the warm air. You must go farther South
then--far South. I have thought a great deal of going there myself.
There is a beautiful rancho which I can buy--you would like it, I
know,--far down and close by the sea. And the sea is so blue there--just
like the heavens. Oh! you would like it, I know, if you could only see
it," he concluded, enthusiastically, as though this were another ranch
he was trying to sell her.

But the thought of traffic or gain was very far from his heart just
then, though Don Pedro was known to be an exceptionally good business
man and a close financier. Many of his Spanish compeers looked up to him
with a certain awe on this account. Most of them had parted with their
broad acres, their countless herds, all too easily, to gratify their
taste for lavish display and easy living, with its attendant cost under
the new American _régime_; or had lost them through confiding, with
their generous heart, their guileless nature, to the people whose
thoughts were bent on securing, by usury and knaves' tricks, the
possessions of the very men whose hospitable roof afforded them
shelter. "He can cope with any American," they would say, proudly,
speaking of Don Pedro; and Don Pedro would show his appreciation of the
compliment by exercising his business qualifications towards them, as
well as towards "los Americanos."

But the haughty Don was well-mannered and agreeable; and after securing
from Nora an indefinite promise that she would some time, when her ankle
got strong, ride his own saddle-horse, he left the ladies safely at
their door and retired, his heart and brain filled with a thousand happy
dreams. He had only once during the ride pointed carelessly across the
valley to where his ranch lay; but Nora had gained no definite idea of
its extent.

One pleasant afternoon the two sons of Don Pedro stopped at the door.
Their father had encouraged them to call, they said; perhaps the lady
and her sister would bestow upon them the honor of driving out with them
for an hour. Both lads spoke English with elegance and fluency (let the
good fathers of the Santa Clara College alone for that), but among
themselves their mother-tongue still asserted itself; and in their
behavior a touch of the Spanish punctilio distinguished them favorably
from the uncouth flippancy of some of their young American neighbors.

Nora cheerfully assented, and in a few minutes the whole party was
bowling along,--the eldest brother driving, the younger explaining and
describing the country and its peculiarities. Pablo and Roberto had both
been born on their ranch, though not in the large white house they saw
in the distance. That had been finished only a little while when their
mother died. The _adobe_ which had been their birthplace stood several
miles farther back, and could not be seen from here.

"It is not on this ranch, then?" queried Nora.

"Pardon, yes; on this ranch, but several miles nearer the foothills; in
that direction--there."

"And is the land we are passing over all one ranch?" Nora continued,
persistently.

"We have been driving over our own land almost since we left town,"
replied Pablo, a little proudly. "San Jacinto is one of the largest
ranchos in the county, and the Americans have not yet succeeded in
cutting it up into building-lots and homestead blocks," he added,
laughing a frank, boyish laugh, which seemed to say, "you are as one of
us, and will not take it amiss."

Sister Anna looked stealthily at Nora, but her eyes, with a strange
light in them, were fixed on the horizon, far off, where they seemed to
read something that made her brow contract and lower a little while, and
then clear off, as, with an effort, she turned to the boy and brought up
some other topic of conversation. But her heart was not in what she
said, and Sister Anna exerted herself to cover the deficiencies that
Nora's drooping spirits left in the entertainment.

It was sunset when they reached home, and standing on the rose-covered
veranda of the little cottage a moment, Nora looked across to where the
lingering gleams of the sun were kissing the black-looming crown of the
Loma Prieta, with floods of pink and soft violet, and covering all its
base with shades of dark purple and heavy gray. She raised her clasped
hands to the mountain top.

"How glad, how thankful I could be, if from the wreck and the ruins I
could gather light and warmth enough to cover my past life and its
miseries, as the pink and the purple of the sunset cover the black
dreariness of yon mountain."

"Come in, Nora, it is getting cold," interrupted Sister Anna; "or the
next thing after having your nerves wrought up so will be a fit of
hysterics."

"Which, you will say, is one more of the bad effects of Nora's unhappy
marriage."

If Nora's wilfulness and Nora's unhappy marriage had been ever so
deeply deplored by her, the loss of Sister Anna's love, or Anna's
sisterly kindness, could not be counted among its many bad effects.
Brother-in-law Ben, too, was whole-souled and affectionate; more
practical, and a trifle more far-seeing than Anna; but he never said, "I
told you so." He quietly did all he could to bind up bleeding wounds.

It soon came to be looked upon as quite a matter of course that Don
Pedro should be seen in his carriage with the two sisters; or, that his
black steed should be led up and down before the cottage door, by one of
his servants, dark of skin, fiery-eyed, and of quiet demeanor, like his
master. Then, again, the sons were seen at the cottage, always
courteous, attentive, and scrupulously polite. If in the privacy of
their most secret communings the "Gringa" was ever spoken of _as_ the
Gringa, it was only in the strictest privacy. Neither to Nora, nor to
any of their servants, did ever look or word betray but that in the fair
young American they saw all that their widowed father desired they
should see.

The retinue of the Whitehead family consisted of but a single Chinaman,
who was cook, laundress, maid-of-all-work; but during Nora's stay she
was never aware but that she had half-a-dozen slaves to do her bidding,
so careful, yet so delicate was Don Pedro in bestowing his attentions.
He soon hovered about the whole family like one of the _genii_. If Nora
just breathed to herself, "How pleasant the day is--if we only had
carriage and horses"--before the hour was over the Don, with his
carriage, or Don Pedro's boys, or an invitation to ride from the Don,
was at hand. Before she had quite concluded that fruits were not so
abundant or fine in the country as in the city markets, the Don had
contracted a pleasant habit of sending his servants with the choicest of
all his fields and store-houses contained to the little cottage in town.
Fish, fresh from the Bay of Monterey, and game, that plain and mountain
afforded, came in the run of time, quite as a matter of course, to the
kitchen and larder of Don Pedro's dear friend Whitehead. It was not to
be refused. Don Pedro had a hundred points of law that he wished
explained; had so much advice to ask in regard to some tracts of land he
meant to purchase, that Brother-in-law Ben always seemed the one
conferring the greatest favor.

It was a little singular, too, this friendship of the Don's for Lawyer
Whitehead. As a general thing, the Spanish population of California look
upon our lawyers with distrust, and have a wholesome horror of the law.
Don Pedro, though liberal-minded and enlightened, was not backward in
expressing the contempt he felt for many of our American views and
opinions; but above all he abominated our most popular institution--the
Divorce Court. Not as a Catholic only, was it an abomination to him, he
said. He had often declared to see a divorced woman gave him the same
shuddering sensation that was caused by looking upon a poisonous snake.

When her ankle had grown quite strong, Don Pedro solicited for Rosa the
honor of carrying Nora for a short ride through the country. And Nora,
mounted high on the shapely animal's back, had seemed in such pleasant
mood when they left her sister's door, that she quite bewildered her
escort by the sudden sharp tone with which she replied to the question
he asked: what feature she admired most in the landscape before them?

"Those many little lakes," she said. "They have an enticing look of
quiet and rest, and hold out a standing invitation to 'come and get
drowned,' to weary mortals like myself."

He was too delicate to allow his shocked glance to rise to her face, but
to himself he repeated, "Poor lady! she has much sorrow in her heart,"
and aloud he said:

"You are homesick, Leonora?" How much prettier it seemed to hear the
sonorous voice frame the word "Leonora," than the stiff appellation of
"Mrs. Rutherford," which the Don could hardly ever bring himself to
utter. It was so long, he excused himself, and not the custom of his
country--though, in direct contradiction to the first part of the
excuse, he would slyly smuggle in an addition--Blanca, Graciosa,
Querida--trusting for safety in her lack of acquaintance with the
Spanish tongue.

"No," she answered honestly to his question, "I have no place to be
homesick for. I am glad to be here; but--"

"Ah! but you must see the Southern country first," he interrupted,
eagerly. "I am going South this winter to purchase a ranch, on which I
shall make my home. I leave this ranch here to my two boys. Their mother
died here, and the ranch will be theirs. But my ranch in the South will
be very fine; the land is so fair--like a beautiful woman, almost."

"I shall miss you, if you leave us; particularly through the rainy
winter months," she said.

"How happy that makes me!" he exclaimed, as once before; and he did now
what had been in his heart to do then--he bent over her hand and kissed
it warmly, heedless of the swarthy Mexican who rode behind his master.

All through the summer, with its dust and its fog and its glaring sun,
did Don Pedro still find a pleasant hour, early after the fog had risen,
or late after the sun had set, to spend, on horseback or in carriage,
with "the one fair woman" who seemed to fill his whole heart. Sometimes,
when returning from an expedition on which Sister Anna had not
accompanied them, she would greet them on the veranda with uneasy,
furtive eyes; and the Don, blind to everything but his passion for Nora,
still did not observe the impatient answering glance.

Don Pedro was delicacy and chivalry itself. Bending low over her white
fingers one day, he asked, "And how long was Mr. Rutherford blessed
with the possession of this most sweet hand?"

"I was married but a year," she answered, with her teeth set, and
quickly drawing back her hand.

On reaching home she reported to her sister. "Aha," she commented, "he
wants to know how long you have been a widow, and whether it is too soon
to make more decided proposals."

Then came the early rains, and for Nora fits of passionate crying,
alternating with fits of gloomy depression. Don Pedro was in despair.
Her varying moods did not escape him, and when, to crown all, her ankle,
still weak from the sprain, began to swell with rheumatism, she took no
pains to hide her fretfulness or sadness either from her sister Anna or
the Don. In the midst of the gloom and the rain came Don Pedro one day
to announce that he was about to set out for the South, to conclude the
purchase of the ranch he had so long spoken of.

"And you are going, too?" she said, lugubriously.

"I beg you to give me permission to go. I am the slave of Leonora, La
Graciosa, and will return soon. I will not go, if you grant me not
permission; but I beg you let me go for a short time." He had sunk on
his knees by the couch on which she rested, and his eyes flashed fire
into hers for a brief moment; but he conquered himself, and veiled them
under their heavy lashes. "Let me go," he pleaded, humbly, "and give me
permission to return to you, Leonora. In my absence my sons will do all
your bidding. They know the will of their father."

Nora had extended her hand, and motioned him to a chair beside her
couch, and listened with a smile on her lips to all the arrangements he
had made for her comfort during his absence.

"Since I have allowed you your own way in everything, I must have mine
in one particular. Of course, you will take a saddle-horse for yourself
besides the spring-wagon. Now you shall not leave Rosa here for me, but
shall take her along for your own use. It is absurd for you to insist
that no one shall use her since I have ridden her; I shall not keep her
here while you are struggling over heavy roads, in the wagon, or on some
other horse."

It was, perhaps, the longest speech she had ever made to him, and it was
all about himself too, and full of consideration for him--oh! it was
delicious. With fervent gratitude he kissed her hand, called her
Preciosa, Banita, till she declared that he should not say hard things
of her in Spanish any more. He desisted for the time, on her promise
that she would try to be cheerful while he was away, and not get
homesick, unless it were for him; and they became quite gay and sociable
over a cup of tea which Sister Anna brought them into the
sitting-room--so sociable, that Nora said of the Don, after his
departure:

"If any one were to tell me that a church-steeple could unbend
sufficiently to roll ten-pins of a Sunday afternoon, I should believe it
after this."

But in a little while the fits of dejection and the fits of crying came
back again. Sister Anna did her best to break them up; she rallied her
on breaking her heart for the absent Don; she tried to interest her in
her surroundings, so that she should see the sungleams that flashed
through the winter's gloom.

"See this beautiful cala that has just opened in the garden," she would
say, with an abortive attempt at making her believe that her ankle was
strong and well.

"I cannot get up, miserable creature that I am," came back the dismal
response.

"Oh, that lovely cloth-of-gold has grown a shoot full half a yard long
since yesterday; come and see."

"I cannot."

"Yes, you can; come lean on me. Now, isn't this sunshine delightful for
December?"

Nora drew a deep breath; after a week's steady rain, the sky was clear
as crystal, and the sun laughed down on hill and valley, blossoming rose
and budding bush.

"See how the violets are covered with blue, and the honeysuckle has just
reached the farthest end of the porch. Oh, Nora, how can any one be
unhappy with flowers to tend, and a home to keep?"

"Ah! yes. You are right, sister; but it is your home--not mine."

Anna laid her arm around her as though to support her. She knew her
sister's proud spirit and yearning heart, and she only whispered, as she
had so often done, "Be patient, poor child; be still."

But that short, passionate plaint had lightened Nora's heart; after a
week's sunshine the roads were dry enough to ride out once more with Don
Pedro's sons, and when steady rain set in once more after that, she
tried to show her sister that she could take an interest in
"home"--though it was not her own.

A month had worn away, and as long as the weather permitted the regular
running of the mails, Pablo and Roberto brought greetings from their
father once a week; but when the roads grew impassable, they too were
left without news. Not an iota did they fail of their attention to Nora,
however; whatever dainties the ranch afforded were still laid at her
feet, or rather on her sister's kitchen table; and the roads were never
so bad but that they paid their respects at least twice a week.

"You have no cause to complain," said Sister Anna.

"No," replied Nora, with a yawn; "but I wish the Don would come back."

And he did come back.

"I am so glad you have come," she said, frankly, meeting him on the
threshold.

"I can read it in your eyes," he exclaimed, rapturously. "Oh, how happy
that makes me!" And if Sister Anna's head had not appeared behind Nora's
shoulder, there is no telling what might have happened.

He had brought the spring with him; mountain and valley both had clothed
itself in brightest green, in which the bare brown spots on the Gabilan
Range were really a relief to the satiated eye. In the deep clefts of
the Loma Prieta lay the blackish shade of the _chemasal_, and only one
degree less sombre appeared the foliage of the live-oak against the
tender green of the fresh grass. Again did Nora all day long watch the
sun lying on the mountains--a clear golden haze in the daytime; pink and
violet, and purplish gray in the evening mist.

"Is it not beautiful?" she asked of Brother-in-law Ben, one evening, as
he came up the street and entered the gate.

"You are just growing to like our Valley, I see; it is a pity that you
should now be 'borne away to foreign climes.'"

"And who's to bear me away?" she asked, laughing, as they entered the
house.

"Let me call Anna," he said; "we will have to hold family council over
this."

In council he commenced: "Don Pedro has this day requested that I, his
legal adviser, go South with him, to see that all papers are properly
made out, all preliminaries settled, before he fairly takes possession
of his land."

"Well?" queried Anna.

"Well, my dear, so much for his counsellor Whitehead. But to his friend
Benjamin's family he has extended an invitation to accompany us on this
trip, presuming that his friend's wife and sister-in-law would be
pleased to see this much-praised Southern country."

"We'll go, of course," assented Anna, artlessly.

"Certainly, my dear--of course;" affirmed easy-going Ben. "But, my dear,
I hope you both understand all the bearings of this case."

Nora's head drooped, and a flush of pain overspread her face, as she
answered, chokingly, "I do."

"Then, my dear, since Don Pedro has never mentioned Nora's name to me,
except to send message or remembrance, had I not better tell him--"

"No, no!" cried Nora, in sudden terror. "Oh, please not; leave it all to
me."

"Certainly, Mrs. Rutherford," he assented, still more slowly; "I am not
the man to meddle with other people's affairs--unasked," he added,
remembering, perhaps, his business and calling.

"Don't be angry with me, Ben," she pleaded; "you have always been so
kind to me. What should I have done without you two? But you know how I
feel about this--this miserable affair."

"All right, child," he said, pressing her hand. "I should like to
give you a piece of advice, but my lawyer's instinct tells me that
you will not take it, so that I am compelled to keep my mouth
shut--emphatically."

They set out on their Southern trip, a grand cavalcade; Don Pedro on a
charger a little taller, a little blacker than Nora's horse; in the
light wagon Anna and her husband, and behind them a heavier wagon
containing all that a leisurely journey through a thinly populated
country made desirable. For attendance they had Domingi, the Don's
favorite servant, two _vaqueros_, and an under-servant, all mounted on
hardy mustangs. Never did picnic party, intent on a day's pleasuring,
leave home in higher spirits. The fresh morning air brought the color to
Nora's cheeks, and her musical laugh rang out through the Valley; and
when they passed one of the little lakes, all placid and glistening in
the bright sun, Nora turned to her companion with a smile: "I don't
think those lakes were meant to drown one's self in, at all; they were
made to cast reflections. See?" and she pointed to herself, graceful and
erect, mirrored in the clear water.

"Oh, Graciosa," murmured the Spaniard.

How bright the world looked, to be sure; flowers covered the earth, not
scattered in niggardly manner, as in the older, colder Eastern States,
but covering the ground for miles, showing nothing but a sea of blue, an
ocean of crimson, or a wilderness of yellow. Then came patches where all
shades and colors were mixed; delicate tints of pink and mauve, of pure
white and deep red, and over all floated a fragrance that was never
equalled by garden-flowers or their distilled perfume.

When twilight fell, and Don Pedro informed them that they would spend
the night under the hospitable roof of his friend, Don Pamfilio
Rodriguez, Nora was almost sorry that, for the complete "romance of the
thing," they could not camp out.

"We will come to that, too," the Don consoled her, "before the journey
is over. But my friend would never forgive me, if I passed his door and
did not enter."

"But so many of us," urged Nora, regarding, if the truth must be told,
the small low-roofed _adobe_ house with considerable disfavor.

"There would be room in my friend's house for my friends and myself,
even though my friend himself should lie across the threshold."

Nora bowed her head. She knew of the proverbial hospitality of the
Spanish--a hospitality that led them to impoverish themselves for the
sake of becomingly entertaining their guests.

Of course, only Don Pedro could lift Nora from her horse; but Sister
Anna found herself in the hands of the host, who conducted her, with
the air of a prince escorting a duchess, to the threshold, where his
wife, Donna Carmel, and another aged lady, received them. Conversation
was necessarily limited--neither Don Pamfilio nor Donna Carmel speaking
English, and Brother Ben alone being conversant with Spanish.

The ladies were shown into a low, clean-swept room, in which a bed,
draped and trimmed with a profusion of Spanish needlework and soft red
calico, took up the most space. Chairs ranged along one wall, and a
gay-colored print of Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart, over the
fire-place, completed the furnishing. Nora pleasantly returned the
salutation of the black-bearded man who entered with coals of fire on a
big garden-spade. Directly after him came a woman, with a shawl over her
head and fire-wood in her arms. She, too, offered the respectful
"_buénos dias_," and she had hardly left when a small girl entered, with
a broken-nosed pitcher containing hot-water, and after her came another
dark-faced man, the _mayordomo_, with a tray of refreshments and
inquiries as to whether the ladies were comfortable.

Nora dropped her arms by her side. "I have counted four servants
now, and Don Pedro told me particularly that his friend,
Pam--what's-his-name--was very poor."

"Spanish style," answered Anna, with a shrug of the shoulder. "But it is
very comfortable. How cold it has grown out-doors, and how dark it is. I
wonder if we shall be afraid?"

"Hush! Don't make me nervous," cried Nora, sharply, shivering with the
sudden terror that sometimes came over her.

"Be still," said Anna, soothingly; "there is nothing to be afraid of
here."

After a while they were called to supper, where, to their surprise, they
found quite a little gathering. Neighbors who spoke English had been
summoned to entertain them, and after supper, which was a marvel of
dishes, in which onions, sugar, raisins, and red pepper were softly
blended, and which was served by three more servants, they got up an
_impromptu_ concert, on three guitars, and later an _impromptu_ ball, at
which Nora chiefly danced with the Don.

In spite of the biting cold next morning, all the male members of last
night's company insisted on escorting our friends over the first few
miles of the road. They came to a stream which they must cross, and of
which Don Pamfilio had warned them, and the Don insisted on Nora's
getting into the wagon with her sister. The _vaqueros_ with their horses
were brought into requisition, and Nora opened her eyes wide when,
dashing up, they fastened their long _riattas_ to the tongue of the
wagon, wound the end of the rope around the horn of the saddle, and with
this improvised four-horse team got up the steep bank on the other side
in the twinkling of an eye.

Reaching San Luis Obispo directly, they delayed one whole day, as Nora
expressed herself charmed with what she saw of the old mission church,
and what remained of the old mission garden. A group of fig-trees here
and there, a palm-tree sadly out of place, in a dirty, dusty yard, an
agave standing stiff and reserved among its upstart neighbors, the
pea-vine and potato.

"Oh! it is pitiful," cried Nora, hardly aware of the quotation. "Even
this proud avenue of olives, towering so high above all, has been cut up
and laid out in building-lots."

"The advance of civilization," Brother Ben informed her; and, in reply,
Nora pointed silently into a yard, where a half-grown palm-tree stood
among heaps of refuse cigar-ends and broken bottles. The house to which
the yard belonged was occupied as a bar-room, and one of its patrons, a
son of Old Erin, to all appearances, lay stretched near the palm,
sleeping off the fumes of the liquor imbibed at the bar.

They laughed at Nora's illustration, and decided to move from so
untoward a spot that very afternoon, even if they should have to use
their tent and camp out all night.

More flowers, and brighter they grew as our friend travelled farther
South. On the plain the meadow-lark sang its song in the dew and the
chill of the morning, and high on the mountain, in the still noonday,
the lone cry of the hawk came down from where the bird lived in solitary
grandeur. Wherever our friends went they were made welcome. Not a
Spanish house dare the Don pass without stopping, at least for
refreshments. He had _compadres_ and _comadres_ everywhere, and whether
they approved of his intimate relations with the "Gringas" or not, they
showed always the greatest respect, extended always the most cheerful
hospitality.

At last they approached Santa Barbara, its white, sun-kissed mission
gleaming below them in the valley as they descended the Santa Inez
Mountains. Stately business houses and lovely country-seats, hidden in
trees and vines--the wide sea guarding all. But they tarried not. Don
Pedro announced that he had promised to make a stay of several weeks at
his particular friend's, Don Enrico del Gada. He was proud to introduce
them to this family, he said. They would become acquainted with true
Castilians--would be witness to how Spanish people lived in the Southern
country; rich people--that is--. They had always been rich, but through
some mismanagement (through the knavery of some American, Nora
interpreted it), they were greatly in danger of losing their whole
estate. A small portion of their rancho had been sold to a company of
land-speculators, and now they were trying to float the title to this
portion over the whole of the Tappa Rancho.

"Pure Castilian blood," the Don affirmed; "fair of skin, hair lighter
than Nora's tresses, and eyes blue as the sky. Such the male part of the
family. The female portion--mother and daughter--were black-eyed, and
just a trifle darker; but beauties, both. The daughter, Narcissa (Nora
fancied that a sudden twinge distorted the Don's features as he spoke
the name), was lovely and an angel; not very strong, though--a little
weak in the chest."

All the evening the Del Gadas formed the subject of conversation, so
that it is hardly surprising that morning found Nora arrayed with more
care than usual, if possible, and looking handsome enough to gratify the
heart of the most fastidious lover.

A two hours' ride brought them to the immediate enclosure of the
comfortable ranch house, and with a sonorous "_buénos dias caballeros!_"
the Don had led his party into the midst of a ring formed by the host,
his son, and other invited guests. Some of them had just dismounted, and
the spurs were still on their boots; some had red silk scarfs tied
gracefully around the hips, and all were handsome, chivalrous,
picturesque-looking men. Don Enrico advanced to assist Anna, while Don
Manuel, his son, strode toward Leonora's horse and had lifted her from
the saddle before Don Pedro could tell what he was about. Such clear
blue eyes as he had! All the sunshine of his native Spain seemed caught
in them; and his hand was so white! Nora's own could hardly vie with it.

His head was uncovered when he conducted her to the veranda, where the
ladies were assembled. His mother, a beauty still, dark-eyed,
full-throated, and with the haughty look and turn of the head that is
found among the Spanish people; the sister a delicate, slender being,
large-eyed, with hectic roses on her cheeks. Nora detected a strange
glimmer in her eye and a convulsive movement of the lips as she
addressed a question in a low tone to her brother, after the formal
introduction was over.

"You must excuse my sister," he apologized to Nora, "she speaks no
English. She wanted to know whether you had ridden Rosa. Long ago she
tried to ride the horse, but could not, as she is not strong. When Don
Pedro was here last she wanted to try again; but he would not consent. I
suppose she is astonished at your prowess."

Nora watched the darkened, uneasy eyes of the girl; she thought she knew
better than the unsuspecting brother what had prompted the question.

The Del Gada family, their house, their style of living, was all the Don
had claimed for them. The first day or two were devoted mainly to
out-of-door entertainments; the orange-groves, the vineyards, the
almond-plantation on the ranch were visited, and a ride to the mission
of Santa Barbara, whose Moorish bell-towers haunted Nora's brain, was
planned and undertaken.

The warm light of the spring-day shed a soft glimmer over crumbling
remnants of the monuments that the patient labor of the mission fathers
have left behind them--monuments of rock and stone, shaped by the hands
of the docile aborigines into aqueducts and fountains, reservoirs and
mill-house; monuments, too, of living, thriving trees, swaying gently in
the March wind, many of them laden with promises of a harvest of
luscious apricot or honey-flavored pear. The hands that planted them
have long fallen to dust; the humble _adobe_ that gave shelter to the
patient toiler is empty and in ruins, but the trees he planted flourish,
and bear fruit, year after year; and from the shrine where he once knelt
to worship his new-found Saviour, there echoes still the Ave and the
Vesper-bell, though a different race now offers its devotion.

A day or two later, winter seemed to have returned in all its fury; the
rain poured ceaselessly, and swelled the creeks till their narrow banks
could hold the flood no longer; the wind tore at the roses, hanging in
clusters of creamy white and dark crimson, on trellises and high-growing
bush, and scattered showers of snow from almond and cherry trees. The
fireplaces in the Del Gada mansion were once more alive and cheerful
with a sparkling fire. It made little difference to the company
assembled at the ranch; it gave Nora and Sister Anna an opportunity of
seeing more of the home-life of the family, and impressed them with the
excellence of the haughty-looking woman at the head of the
establishment. No New England matron could be a more systematic
housekeeper, could be more religiously devoted to the welfare of her
family and servants. "And the romance of it all," Nora often repeated.
Night and morning the far-sounding bell on the little chapel in the
garden called the members of the house to worship; and Donna
Incarnacion, kneeling, surrounded by her family and servants, read in
clear tones the litanies and prayers. Once a week the priest from the
neighboring mission visited the house, and then the large drawing-room
was fitted up with altar and lights and flowers, and neighbors, high and
low, of all degrees, attended worship.

This, however, did not prevent the family from being as jolly as Spanish
people can well be, in this same drawing-room, when Mass was over, and
"the things cleared away." Of cold or rainy nights the company resorted
to this room, where they had music, conversation, refreshments. But
everything had a dash of romance to Nora's unbounded delight.
Refreshments were brought in on large trays, borne by dusk, dark-clad
women; trays loaded with oranges, pomegranates, figs, the product of the
orchards surrounding the house; and wine, sparkling red and clear amber,
pressed from grapes gathered in the vineyard that crept close up to the
door. It was not only California, but the South, of which Don Pedro had
always spoken with such enthusiasm.

"And how enthusiastic he does grow sometimes," said Nora one evening, in
the large drawing-room where they were all assembled.

Manuel, who performed on the piano as well as the flute, had just
finished a piece of music which Nora had taken from her trunk for him to
play, and she had insisted on turning the leaves for him. Don Pedro sat
near, and Nora looking up, had caught his eye. "See the enthusiasm in
his face," she said to Manuel. "How fond all of you Spaniards are of
music."

"You are mistaken in two points, Donna Leonora," the young man replied.
"Don Pedro is no Spaniard, he is a Mexican; and he has not grown
enthusiastic over the music--he has seen and has been thinking only of
you."

Nora's cheeks burned at something in Manuel's voice; but a grateful
feeling stole into her heart. To tell the truth, she had felt a pang of
something like jealousy of late, when Narcissa, who, from speaking no
English, was thrown on Don Pedro's hands, seemed to take up more of his
attention than necessary.

When the weather cleared off, our party began to talk of moving on; Don
Pedro's new possession was only one or two days' journey from here,
below San Buenaventura. There was to be a Rodeo on the Del Gada ranch,
not so much for the purpose of branding young cattle, as to give the
different rancheros an opportunity of selecting their own that might
have strayed into the mountains and found their way into the Del Gada
herds. Nora was for attending the Rodeo; she could hardly form an idea
of what it was; but she was sure, as usual, that it must be something
"highly romantic."

They were warned that they must get up early in the morning, and seven
o'clock found them already on the ground--a little valley, shut in by
mountains more or less steep. A small creek, made turbulent by the
rains, ran through the valley, where an ocean of stock seemed to roll in
uneasy billows. It was all as romantic as Nora's heart could wish. The
countless herds of cattle gathered together and kept from dispersing by
numbers of _vaqueros_, who darted here and there on their well-trained
horses, leaped ditches, flew up the steep mountain-sides after an
escaping steer, dashed through the foaming torrent to gather one more to
the fold, and seemed so perfectly one with their horse that from here
might have sprung the fable of the old Centaurs.

Eyes sharper than eagles had these people, master and man alike; out of
the thousands of that moving herd could they single the mighty steer
that bore their brand, or the wild-eyed cow whose yearling calf had not
yet felt the searing-iron. Into the very midst of the seething mass
would a _vaquero_ dart, single out his victim without a moment's halt,
drive the animal to the open space, and throw his lasso with unerring
aim, if a close inspection was desirable--a doubt as to the brand to be
set aside. If a steer proved fractious, two of the Centaurs would divide
the labor; and while one dexterously threw the rope around his horns,
the other's lasso had quickly caught the hind foot, and together they
brought him to the earth, that he had spurned in his strength and pride
but a moment before.

Manuel himself could not resist the temptation of exhibiting his skill;
and when his father and one of the neighbors--of about fifty miles
away--both claimed a large black bull, almost in the centre of the herd,
he dashed in among the cattle, drove his prey out on a gallop, flung his
lasso around the animal's hind feet, and brought him to the ground as
neatly as any _vaquero_ could have done.

He saw Nora clap her hands; he saw, too, how every ranchero of the
county had his eyes fixed on her, as she sat proudly, yet so lightly, on
the showy black horse; and sadly he owned to himself that he would risk
life and limb any time, to gain the little hand that wafted him a kiss.
But what was he? A beggar, perhaps, to-morrow, if the suit went against
them.

Meantime the sun grew hot, and they all dismounted and left the wagons,
and lunch was discussed; the _élite_, Americans and Spaniards alike,
assembling around the Del Gada provision wagon, while the _vaqueros_
were well satisfied with a chunk of bread, a handful of olives, and a
draught of wine, as they leisurely drove the cattle separated from the
Del Gada herd to their respective territory.

Then came the parting day. Donna Incarnacion stood on the veranda, as on
the day of their arrival, proudly erect, conscious of herself and the
dignity she must maintain. Beside her stood her daughter, the spots on
her cheeks larger and brighter, but a pained, restless expression in the
eager eyes, and printing itself sharply in the lines about the mouth.
Her mother seemed not to note the girl's evident distress.

Nora, Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead, and the Don had made their adieux; and
Manuel, mounted and ready to escort them, together with some half dozen
others, turned once more to the veranda to ask his sister some question.
Like a flash the truth broke on him as he caught the eager, straining
glance that followed Don Pedro's form, and with a little passionate cry
he urged his animal close to Nora's side.

"It is not my heart alone you have left desolate behind you, Leonora. My
sister's, too--oh! my poor Narcissa! Now I know why my mother said that
she would not live to see spring again; now I know why she prays to the
saints for a 'still heart,' night and morning. Oh, Leonora, think no
more of the dagger you have planted in my breast; think of poor
Narcissa, and pray for her as you would for one already dead--for the
love of a Spanish girl is deep and abiding, and cannot be outweighed by
gold and leagues of land and fine clothes."

It was well that Don Pedro came up; Nora was almost fainting in her
saddle. He did not catch the import of Don Manuel's words, but, if never
before, he recognized in him now a bold and dangerous rival. The
confusion attending a general breaking-up had covered this little
by-scene, and when the party escorting them turned back, it would have
been impossible to discover that one or two hearts throbbed wildly at
the parting words.

When they rode into San Buenaventura, with its dingy little mission
church fronting on the main street, Nora was not half so much interested
as she had been. They were right in the midst of the mission garden. The
obtrusive frame houses of the fast-crowding American population had been
set up in it; the streets had been laid out through it; the ugly,
brick-built court-house stood away down in the lower part of it, where
the blue ocean washed the shore, and murmured all day of times long past
to the tall-growing palms, that stood desolate and alone.

It made her sad, she said to the Don, when he expressed his surprise at
her silence, to see the stately olives of a century's growth spread
their great branches over flimsy little shops; to see the neglected
vines trailing their unpruned lengths over rubbish-piled open lots,
which a paper placard announced "for sale."

When night came, she retired to her up-stairs room at the hotel, put the
light out, and gazed long hours on the placid ocean.

"Let us get on as soon as possible," said Sister Anna, in confidence, to
her husband the next morning. "This place seems to have a singular
effect on Nora. She says she could not sleep last night, for thinking
whether she had a right to barter herself away, body and soul, truth and
honor, perhaps, for a grand home and a great deal of money."

So they "got on." Don Pedro was happy to gratify every wish of the
ladies, and very willing to enter upon his own territory, which lay so
near. The earth looked so smiling to Don Pedro when, together with Nora,
a little in advance of the wagons, he crossed the border of his own
domain. All the morning they had passed droves of cattle on the road,
and flocks of sheep, and the _vaqueros_ tending them had still saluted
Don Pedro as their master. Shortly they encountered the _mayordomo_ of
the new ranch, and after a short parley with him, the Don turned to Nora
with an apology for discussing business affairs in an unfamiliar tongue
in her presence.

"Let us make a compromise," suggested Nora; "do you take me down yonder
to that piece of white pebble-beach, by the gray rock, and you may come
back and talk to all the _vaqueros_ and _mayordomos_ in the land."

The _mayordomo_ wended his way to where he saw the wagons halting in a
grove, and Nora and the Don pursued their own way. It was quite a
distance before they had reached the exact spot that Nora said she had
meant--they were out of sight of the rest. The ocean, grand and solemn,
lay before them, grassy plains around them, groups of trees and sloping
hills in the near distance, and far off the mountains in their
never-changing rest.

Lightly Don Pedro sprang to the ground, and detaining Nora one moment in
her saddle, he said, impressively: "Now you set foot upon your own land,
a territory named after you, 'La Graciosa.'"

Then he lifted her tenderly to the ground, and she sprang lightly away
from him, and lavishly praised the beauty of his new possession.

"And it is all like this," he continued, "for miles and miles, good and
beautiful, like the one for whom I named it."

"What a flatterer you are," she said, forced at last to take notice of
the name. He clasped her hand, but she uttered a little shriek, "Oh!
that wicked horse of yours has bitten my poor Rosa." A snort from the
black mare seemed to corroborate the accusation, and Nora had gained
time--to fight her battle out, and make peace with herself.

"Please get rid of that tiresome _mayordomo_ of yours, and come back to
me. I want to stay here alone with Rosa and decide whether your ranch
has been well named." She could not prevent the kiss he imprinted on her
slender hand, but she drew it back impatiently.

"You will stay here till I return, Leonora?" he asked, earnestly.

"Yes, yes," she said, a little fretfully, and waved him off.

He had made fast her horse to the stump of a scrub-oak, that had lived
its short, mistaken life here close by the sea; and Nora, when the sound
of the other horse's hoofs had died away, stroked the animal's mane
approvingly, and patted her neck. Then she turned and walked slowly
around the abrupt gray crag, and stopped; she was alone at last. She
raised her hand, and looked from under it out on the sunlit sea. The
waves came up with a long, gentle swirl, till the light foam splashed
against the foot of the crag, then receded, leaving a strip of white,
glistening pebble exposed. She watched it silently, then turned her face
to let her eyes sweep the plain, the clumps of trees, and the rolling
hills.

"'For miles and miles,' he said," she soliloquized, "and that is not all
his fortune. And _he_ has nothing if the suit goes against them.
American cunning matched against Spanish recklessness. But what have I
to do with that boy? All I have wanted and prayed for is a home and an
honored name; it is within my reach now; why should I let an idle dream
stand in my way?"

She stood where the ocean washed up to her feet, and when she looked
down she thought she saw two deep-blue eyes, wild with suppressed
passion, flashing up from there. She turned, for she thought she heard
behind her, in the sighing of the wind and the shriek of the sea-mews,
the cry of a tortured heart. But she banished these fancies and forced
her thoughts into other channels. She thought of her past life, of the
wish she had had, even as a child, to travel--to see strange lands. She
thought of the Pyramids of Egypt, and that her wish to see them could
now, perhaps, be gratified--in his company. Well, was it not romantic,
after all, to marry the dark-eyed Don, with the haughty bearing and the
enormous wealth? She had a lady friend once, a city acquaintance, who
had married a wealthy Spaniard. But she had been divorced after a year's
time. Divorced! what an ugly sound the word had. Was Don Pedro near? Had
his ear caught the sound? No; thank God, she was alone.

And then her thoughts strayed again to the old Gada mansion, and the
broken-hearted girl she had left there. "She will die," he had said; and
she fell to wondering whether Father Moreno would anoint those wistful
eyes with the consecrated oil, in her last hour, and mutter that "they
had looked upon unholy things," and touch the little waxen ears "because
they had listened to unchaste speech." What a mockery it seemed, in the
case of the young innocent girl. "When _I_ die--" She stooped suddenly
to dip her hand into the water, and dashed it into her face and over her
hair. "_Mea culpa!_" she murmured, striking her breast, "_mea culpa! mea
maxima culpa!_"

And once more she pressed her hand across her face, for the gallop of
approaching hoofs fell on her ear, and directly "Leonora!" rang out in
sharp, uneasy tone.

She answered the call, and Don Pedro, panting, but with a happy smile,
reached out his hand to draw her away from the wet sand.

"I felt as though I had lost you. What would life be without you,
Graciosa?"

"You would have my god-child left," she replied, laughing.

"It would be worthless without the sponsor. I have acquired it for you.
Do you accept it?"

"With you into the bargain?" she smiled gayly as she said it. She hated
romance and sentimentality all at once, and when the Don kneeled at her
feet to kiss both her hands, she said, with a laugh:

"There will be but one Graciosa, after all, unless you take me to my
friends and the lunch-basket. I am almost starved."

"I am your slave," he avowed; "you have but to command."

He lifted her into the saddle, with trembling hands and beaming eyes.
"Oh, Graciosa! Rightly named," he cried.

"Meaning me or the ranch?" asked Nora, mischievously; and, with a touch
of the whip, she urged Rosa ahead, and threw a kiss over her shoulder to
the Don. His eyes followed her proudly awhile, ere he spurred his horse
to overtake her, and they joined Sister Anna laughing and happy as she
could wish to see them.

They camped out that night, as there was no house on that part of the
ranch, though there was one to be erected near the spot where they had
joined Sister Anna, for Nora said she liked the view there. Early next
morning they left camp, expecting to reach Los Angeles before sunset.

All day the road led along the mountain-chain, in the San Fernando
Valley--a soft, warm day, made to dream and reflect. The clear blue haze
hung, as ever, on the mountain-ridge, and the plain at the foot was
white and odorous with the wild "Forget-me-not" of California. They
looked to Nora as though passionate eyes had been raining tears on them
till the color had been blanched out; and when Don Pedro gathered a
handful and brought them to her, she said, "Don't, please; it hurts me
to see you break them off. Throw them away."

"How strange you are," he said, but he obeyed, and did not assert his
authority till some hours later, when they reached the crossing of the
Los Angeles River.--Had he not said he would be her slave?

The river rushed by them muddy and wild, spread far beyond its allotted
limits--an ugly, treacherous-looking piece of water. It was deep, too;
and while Don Pedro was giving orders in regard to arranging the
contents of the baggage wagon, Sister Anna was trying to persuade Nora
to come into their wagon while fording the stream. Nora demurred; but
the Don riding up decided the question at once.

"You must go in the wagon, Leonora," he announced, with somewhat pompous
authority. "I will not have you exposed to such danger. The river is
wide at present, and your head will get light. Mr. Whitehead and I will
go on horseback, but you must go in the wagon."

A rebellious gleam shot from Nora's eye, but Sister Anna listened with
flushed face, as to something new, but very pleasant to hear. It proved
an ugly crossing, and while the servants were rearranging the baggage,
the Don strayed a little apart with Nora, and found a seat under a clump
of willows.

"It _is_ hard to go down into the floods when there is so much of life
and sunshine all around," and with a little nervous shiver she nestled
closer to the Don's side. Impelled by a feeling of tenderness he could
not control, the stately Don threw his arms around the supple form and
pressed the first kiss on her pale lips.

She shrank from him; had any one seen them? There was no need to spring
up; she knew he would not attempt to repeat the caress.

The City of the Angels lay before them--a dream realized.

Whatever there was unlovely about the older, _adobe_ built portion of
the place was toned down by the foliage of waving trees, and warmed into
tropical beauty by the few isolated palms, which some blessed hand set
out long years ago. Our friends did not pass through the heart of the
city, but wended their way to the house of a wealthy Spanish family,
which lay among the gay villas and stately residences of the modern
portion of the city. Large gardens enclosed them, in many cases
surrounded by evergreen hedges of supple willow and bristly osage. Tall
spires arising from a sea of green, and imposing edifices, marked the
places where the Lord could be worshipped in style. The American element
is strong in Los Angeles.

Senor Don Jose Maria Carillo had been looking for his guests, and met
them with much state and ceremony on the highway, conducting them
grandly to the gate-posts of his garden, where they were received by
Donna Clotilda and a retinue of servants. Even the children, with their
governess, were summoned from the school-room to greet the guests, and
Spanish courtesy and Californian hospitality were never better
exemplified than in the case of our friends.

"Oh, Annie, only look!" exclaimed Nora, clasping her hands in
admiration, and pointing through the French window at the back of the
double parlors.

The house was an _adobe_, two stories high, which the father of the
present inmate had built, and of which the son was properly proud. He
would not have it torn down for the world, but it had been modernized to
such an extent as to rival in comfort and elegance any of the newer
American houses, though the Spanish features were still predominant. The
particular feature that had attracted Nora so strongly as to lead her
into making the hasty, unceremonious exclamation, was a _remada_, a kind
of open roof built of heavy timber beams, at the back of the house, and
extending over several hundred feet of the ground. It was covered with
the grape, among whose shading leaves and graceful tendrils the sunlight
glinted in and out, playing in a thousand colors on clustering vines
with bright flowers, that clung to the pillars supporting the roof.
Beyond stretched an orange-grove, where yellow fruit and snowy blossoms
glanced through the glossy leaves.

"It is beautiful, is it not?" asked a voice at her side. She had stepped
to the open French window, regardless of all etiquette, and Don Pedro
led her across the sill into the covered garden.

"Your own home shall be like this, Leonora, only finer and grander; you
shall have everything that your heart can wish."

"You are very good." It was not the conventional phrase with her; she
meant what she said, for her eyes were raised to his, and tears trembled
in the lashes.

It was a charming retreat. Donna Clotilda spoke English, though none of
the servants did, except a ten-year old Indian girl, who was detailed to
wait on the guests. There was a round of visiting and going through the
city, where every one admired Nora, and looked from her to the little
Don. And Don Pedro was proud and happy, and always sought new
opportunities of passing through the crowded thoroughfares, on foot, on
horseback, or in carriage.

"My dear," he said, one day, "I would know how handsome you are from
looking at the people who meet us, even though I had never seen your
face."

"Yes?" said Nora, a little absent and dispirited, as she sometimes was.

"Yes; one man, standing at the corner there, behind those boxes--you did
not see him--opened his eyes very wide and looked hard at you, and then
pushed his hat back till it fell to the ground. Then he saw me, and felt
ashamed, and turned quick to pick up his hat."

"What a striking appearance mine must be!" laughed Nora, restored to
good-humor, for the time.

It has often seemed to me that all Spanish people, of whatever degree,
throughout California, are either related or intimately acquainted with
each other. Thus Nora heard from the Del Gadas occasionally; nay, even
from the Rodriguez, away back in the Salinas Valley, did they hear news
and greeting once. Narcissa del Gada was dying, the Don told her; and
the twinge that had distorted his features when he first mentioned her
name again passed over them.

But all the time of our friends was not given to pleasuring; many a long
morning did Brother Ben and the Don pass together at the Court-House,
the Hall of Records, and other places where titles are examined and the
records kept. A ranch of twenty or thirty thousand acres is well worth
securing, so that through no loophole can adverse claimant creep, or
sharp-witted land-shark, with older title, spring on the unwary
purchaser.

In the meantime spring was growing into summer; the sun began to burn
more fierce, and Nora, always fond of out-doors, had made the _remada_
her special camping-ground. She sat there one morning, after having
declined to go on a shopping expedition with Sister Anna. It had seemed
rather ungracious, too; but Brother Ben had come to the rescue, as
usual, and had taken Nora's place. Now she sat here, pale and listless,
her hands idly folded, her eyes wandering among the shadows of the
orange grove.

There had been an arrival at the house, she thought, for she heard the
tramp of a horse as it was led around to the stables; but she took no
heed. After a while she heard the noise of one of the long windows
opening, and soon she heard steps behind her. Then a low voice said
"Leonora!" and Manuel, pale and haggard, stood before her.

All her listlessness vanished in an instant, and she would have flown
into his arms, but for something that seemed to make him unapproachable.

"Narcissa is dead," he said, monotonously, "and since coming to town I
have learned that I am a beggar; we are all homeless--outcasts."

"Oh, Manuel!" she cried, laying her hand on his arm, "my poor, poor boy.
Come with me into the open air--this place chokes me. And now tell me
about Narcissa." She drew him out into the sunshine, and back again to
the fragrant shadows of the orange grove. She sought a rustic seat for
them, but he threw himself on the sod beside it.

"Wrecked and lost and lonely," he groaned, "it is well that Narcissa is
dead; and yet she was our only comfort."

"Poor Manuel!" she repeated, softly; "my poor boy." Her fingers were
straying among the sunny waves of his hair, and he caught her hand
suddenly, and covered it with a frenzy of kisses.

"Leonora!" he cried, all the reckless fire of his nation breaking into
flames, "come with me, and we will be happy. You do not love your
wealthy affianced, you love me. Be mine; I will work and toil for you,
and you shall be my queen. Oh, Nora, I love you--I love you--I love
you."

Poor Nora! why should stern reality be so bitter? "Foolish boy," she
said, disengaging her hand, "you are mad. What if Don Pedro--"

"Ah, true; I had forgotten--you are an American. Go, then, be happy with
your wealthy husband; Manuel will never cross your path again."

"Manuel!" she cried, and she stretched out her arms towards the spot
where he had just stood, "come back, for I love you, and you alone." But
a rustling in the willow-hedge only answered to her passionate cry, and
she cowered on the garden-bench, sobbing and moaning out her helpless
grief.

The rustling in the willow-hedge behind her grew louder, so that even
she was startled by the noise.

"Ho, Nell!" The words fell on her ears like the crack of doom, her face
grew white to the very lips, and a great horror crept into her eyes. She
turned as if expecting to meet the engulfing jaws of some dread monster,
and her eyes fell upon the form of a man, whose slovenly dress and
bloated features spoke of a life of neglect and dissipation--perhaps
worse.

"Why, Nell, old girl," he continued, familiarly, "this is a pretty
reception to give your husband. I'm not a ghost; don't be afraid of me."

"Wretch!" she cried, trembling with fear and excitement. "How dare you
come here? Go at once, or I shall call for help."

"No, you won't. I'm not afraid. Come, you can get rid of me in a minute.
The truth is, I'm d----d hard up; got into two or three little
unpleasantnesses, and got out only by a scratch. I want to get away from
here--it's unhealthy here for me--but I've got no money. Saw you down
town with that pompous Greaser the other day; know him well; he's got
lots of money; and I thought that, for love and affection, as they say
in the law, and in consideration of our former relations, you might help
me to some of his spare coin."

"You miserable man," she cried, beside herself, "is it not enough that
you blasted my life's happiness? Must I be dragged down to the very
lowest degradation with you? Oh, Charlie," she added, in changed,
softened tones, "what would your mother say to all this?"

"And my daddy the parson," he laughed, hoarsely. "Yes, we know all that.
But here, Nell," he went on, while a last glimmer of shame or contrition
passed over his once handsome face, "I don't want to hurt you, my girl;
you've always been a trump, by G----; I am willing you should become the
respected wife of Don Pedro Lopez, but I must have money, or money's
worth. That cluster-diamond on your finger; tell the Greaser you lost
it. Or pull out your purse; I know it is full."

"Nothing," she said, slowly and determinedly, "nothing shall you have
from me--a woman you have so wronged and deceived--"

"Stop, Nell; I haven't time to wait for a sermon. Give me what you've
got-- Oh, here's h---- to pay and no pitch hot," he interrupted himself;
"there's the Don, and he's heard it all."

He spoke true; Don Pedro stood beside them, frozen into a statue. At
last he breathed.

"Yes, heard all. And I would have made you my wife--you a divorced
woman. Oh, Santa Maria! She divorced of such a man--for I know you,
Randal," he continued, lashing himself into a fury--"horse-thief,
stage-robber, gambler. It was you who killed my friend Mariano Anzar
after robbing him at cards--murderer! You shall not escape me as you
escaped the officers of the law. _Hombres!_ catch the murderer!" he
shouted towards the house, as he made a dart at the man, who turned at
bay, but halted when he saw that the Don was not armed.

"Stop your infernal shouting and don't touch me," he said, in a low,
threatening voice. But the Don was brave, and his blood was up; he
sprang upon the man, shouting again; they closed and struggled, and when
the man heard footsteps swiftly approaching, he drew back with an
effort, and hissing, "You _would_ have it so, idiot," he raised his
pistol and fired.

Before the smoke cleared away he had vanished, and the people who came
found Don Pedro stretched on the ground. His life was almost spent, but
his energy had not deserted him. He gave what information and directions
were necessary for the prosecution of his murderer, and Manuel, who was
among the excited throng, threw himself on his horse to head the
fugitive off. The others lifted the wounded man tenderly from the
ground, bore him gently into the house, and frowned with hostile eyes
upon Nora; it had taken possession of their minds at once that, in some
unexplained manner, the Gringa was the cause of all this woe.

Nora followed them like an automaton; she saw them carry him through
the open door-window into the back parlor, and lay the helpless figure
on a lounge. A messenger had already been despatched for priest and
doctor, and the servants, who were not admitted into the room, lay on
their knees outside.

Then the priest came, and Nora, in a strange, dazed way, could follow
all his movements after he went into the room. The odor of burning
incense crept faintly through the closed doors, and she wondered
again--did the priest touch the white lips and say, "for they have
uttered blasphemies." The fingers were stiffening, she thought; would
the priest murmur now--"for with their hands do men steal;" the eyelids
were fluttering over the glazed eyes; the cleansing oil was dropped upon
them, for "they had looked upon unholy things."

She saw it all before her, and heard it, though her eyes were fast
closed, and her ears were muffled, for she had fallen, face down, by one
of the pillars supporting the _remada_, and the thick-growing tropical
vine, with its bright, crimson flowers, had buried her head in its
luxuriant foliage, and seemed raining drops of blood upon the wavy dark
brown hair.

Thus Manuel found her when he returned from the pursuit of the fugitive.
He raised her head, and looked into large, bewildered eyes. "What is
it?" she asked; "have I been asleep? Oh, is he dead?"

"The wretched man I followed? Yes; but my hand did not lay him low. The
sheriff and his men had been hunting him; he attempted to swim the river
at the ford; the sheriff fired, and he went down into the flood."

Nora's eyes had closed again during the recital, and Manuel held a
lifeless form in his arms, when Sister Anna and her husband came at
last. They had heard of the shooting of Don Pedro in the city, and the
carriage they came in bore Nora away to the hotel. Manuel did not
relinquish his precious burden till he laid the drooping form gently on
the bed at the hotel. Then the doctor came, and said brain-fever was
imminent, and the room was darkened, and people went about on tip-toe.
And when the news of the death of Don Pedro Lopez was brought down to
the hotel, Nora was already raving in the wildest delirium of the fever.


Weeks have passed, and Nora has declared herself not only well, but able
to return home. Manuel has been an invaluable friend to them all, during
these weeks of trial, and Nora has learned to look for his coming as she
looks for the day and the sunshine.

To him, too, was allotted the task to impart to Nora what it was thought
necessary for her to know--the death of Don Pedro and the finding of the
body of the other, caught against the stump of an old willow, where the
water had washed it, covered with brush and floating _débris_. But he
had glad news to impart, too; the report of an adverse decision from
Washington on the Del Gada suit had been false, and circulated by the
opposing party in order to secure better terms for withdrawal.

One morning Nora expressed her wish to leave Los Angeles, and Mr.
Whitehead did not hesitate to gratify her wish. An easy conveyance was
secured, the trunks sent by stage, and a quick journey anticipated.
Manuel went with them only as far as San Buenaventura, he said, for it
was on his way home. But when they got there, he said he must go to
Santa Barbara, and no one objected. At Santa Barbara Nora held out her
hand to him, with a saucy smile:

"This is the place at which you were to leave us; good-by."

"Can you tolerate me no longer, Nora?"

"You said at San Buenaventura you would try my patience only till here.
How long do you want me to tolerate you, then?"

"As long as I live. Why should we ever part? Be my wife, Nora," and he
drew her close to him, pressing his lips on hers; and she did not shrink
away from him, but threw her arm around his neck, to bend his head down
for another kiss.

"But you would never have married me--a poor man," he says, bantering.

"Nor would you have married me--a divorced woman," she returns,
demurely.



_JUANITA._


"Every man in the settlement started out after him; but he got away, and
was never heard of again."

I had listened quietly to the end, though my eyes had wandered
impatiently from the face of the man to the region to which he pointed
with his finger. There was nothing to be seen out there but the hot air
vibrating over the torn, sandy plain, and the steep, ragged banks of the
river, without any water in it--as is frequently the case at this season
of the year. The man who had spoken--formerly a soldier, but, after his
discharge from the army, station-keeper at this point--had become so
thoroughly "Arizonified" that he thought he was well housed in this
structure, where the mud-walls rose some six feet from the ground, and
an old tent was hung over a few crooked _manzanita_ branches for a roof.
There was a wide aperture in the wall, answering the purpose of a door;
and a few boards laid on trestles, and filled in with straw, which he
called his bunk. He had raised it on these trestles, partly because the
snakes couldn't creep into the straw so "handy," and partly because the
_coyotes_, breaking down the barricade in the doorway one night, hunting
for his chickens, had brought their noses into unpleasant proximity with
his face while lying on the ground. He had confided these facts to me
early in the morning, shortly after my arrival, continuing his discourse
by a half-apology for his naked feet, to which he pointed with the
ingenuous confession that "he'd run barefooted till his shoes wouldn't
go on no more." He held them up for my inspection, to show that he had
them--the shoes, I mean, not the feet--a pair of No. 14's, entirely
new, army make.

We had arrived just before daybreak, my escort and I having made a "dry
march"--which would have been too severe on Uncle Sam's mules in the
scorching sun of a June day--during the night. The morning, flashing up
in the East with all the glorious colors that give token of the coming,
overpowering heat, brought with it also the faint, balmy breath of wind
in which to bathe one's limbs before the sun burst forth in its burning
majesty. Phil, the ambulance-driver, and my oracle, said I could wander
off as far as I wanted without fear of Indians; so I had ascended the
steep hill back of the station, and, spying what looked like a graveyard
at the foot of it, on the other side, I had immediately clambered down
in search of new discoveries. I knew that there had formerly been a
military post here: it is just so far from the Mexican border that
fugitives from the law of that country would instinctively fly this way
for refuge; and just near enough the line where the "friendly Indian"
ceases to be a pleasant delusion, to make the presence of a strong
military force at all times necessary for the protection of white
settlers. But there are none; and Uncle Sam, protecting his own property
"on the march" through here as well as possible, allows the citizen and
merchant to protect himself and his goods the best way he can. Why the
camp had been removed, I cannot tell--neither, perhaps, could those who
occupied it--but I am pretty sure they were all very willing to go. I've
never seen the soldier yet that wasn't glad of a change of post and
quarters.

There were quite a number of graves in this rude burying-ground (I don't
like that name, on the whole; but it seemed just the proper thing to
call this collection of graves), and among them were two that attracted
my attention particularly. The one was a large, high grave, with rather
a pretentious headstone, bearing the inscription:


     "TO THE MEMORY OF JAMES OWENS,
     Who came to his death May 20, 186-."


The other seemed smaller, though it was difficult to determine the exact
dimensions, on account of the rocks, bones, and dry brush piled on it.
It is the custom of the Mexicans in passing by a grave to throw on it a
stone, a clump of earth, or a piece of brush or bone, if they have
nothing else, as a mark of respect: so I concluded at once that some one
of that nationality lay buried here. One, too, who had some faithful
friend; for there was a look about the grave that spoke of constant
attention and frequent visits to it.

On my return, having done justice to the breakfast the station-keeper
had prepared (and for which he had killed one of his chickens, in order
to "entertain me in a lady-like manner," as he said to Phil), I
questioned him about the American whose grave I had seen out there.
Before he could answer, a shadow fell across the doorway, and I half
rose from the ambulance-cushion I was occupying, when I saw an Indian, a
young fellow of about twenty, stand still in front of it, half hiding
the form of an aged crone, on whose back was fastened a small bundle of
fire-wood, such as is laboriously gathered along the beds and banks of
water-courses, in this almost treeless country. The Indian stooped to
lift the load from the woman's back; and she turned to go, without even
having lifted her eyes, either to the ambulance that stood near the
doorway, the soldiers that lounged around it, or myself. The
station-keeper seized an old tin-cup, filled it with coffee, piled the
remains of the breakfast on a tin-plate, and disappeared in the doorway.
Returning, he answered me, at last:

"The grave you saw was dug for a man that lived here while I was yet a
soldier in the ---- Infantry at this camp. He had brought a Spanish
woman with him, his wife, with whom he lived in one of those houses,
right there, on the bank of the river. He had sold some horses to the
Government, at Drum Barracks, and was sent out here with them; and
seeing that it was quite a settlement, he thought he'd stay. _She_ was a
mighty fine-looking woman--a tall, stoutish figure, with as much pride
as if she had been a duchess. Among the Mexicans in the settlement was a
man who, they said, had been a brigand in Mexico, had broken jail, and
come here, first to hide, and then to live. It warn't long till he began
loafering about Owens' place; and one night, while Owens was standing in
his door, smoking, there was a shot fired from the direction of the
hill, behind this place, and Owens fell dead in his own doorway. There
was no doubt in anybody's mind who the murderer was, for his cabin was
empty, and he could be found nowhere about camp. The soldiers, as well
as the other fellows, were determined to lynch him, and every man in the
settlement started out after him; but he got away, and no one ever heard
of him again."

"And the woman?" I asked.

"Oh, nobody could hurt her; and she raved and ranted dreadful for
awhile. But she turned up absent one morning, about a week after we had
put him under the ground, and her husband's watch and money had gone
with her."

"But," said I, impatiently, "where is the settlement you speak of? I
have not found a trace of it yet."

"Well, you see, they were _adobe_-houses that they built, and the rains
were very heavy last year, and the Gila commenced washing out this way;
the banks caved in and carried the rubbish away. They hadn't been
occupied for some time; but the house where Owens lived is just right
across there--if you go near the bank you can see where he built a good,
solid chimbley, like they've got at home. The camp used to be down the
flat apiece. I had my house there last year; but it washed away with the
rain: so I built up here, where there's better shelter for my chickens.
They're my only friends, besides Bose, and I've got to be choice of 'em.
I don't see a white face for months, sometimes, since the war is over,
and it keeps me company kinder, to see the places where the houses used
to be."

"And the other grave--that with the bones and rocks piled on it?"

The man threw a look toward the doorway, and put his hands in his
pockets.

"That's Juanita's grave. She was an Indian girl."

He walked out of the door; and, as I had nothing better to do, I too
stepped out, thinking to go as far to look for the ruins of that
"chimbley" as the blazing sun would permit. The first I saw when I came
out of the doorway was the old Indian woman, sitting on the ground in
the shade of the house, her back against the wall, her knees drawn up,
her elbow resting on them, the doubled fist supporting the face, while
the other hand hung listlessly across them. The face was aged and
wrinkled, the hair a dirty gray, and the eyes seemed set--petrified, I
had almost said--with some great, deep sorrow. Beside her stood the
tin-cup, untouched and unnoticed; the tin-plate had been almost emptied
of its contents; but a drumstick in the hands of the young Indian, and a
suspicious glossiness about his mouth and chin, seemed to mark the road
the chicken had taken. The station-keeper stood by the woman, and said
something to her in a jargon I could not understand; but she took no
more notice of him or what he said than if it were a fly that had buzzed
up to her. She moved neither her eyes nor her head, looking out straight
before her. I walked as far as the banks of the river, failed to
discover the remains of the "chimbley," and turned back to the house.
The station-keeper was not to be seen; the Indian boy paused from his
labors to take a look at me; but the woman seemed to be a thousand miles
away, so little did she take heed of my presence.

It was nearly noon, and I concluded to pass the rest of the day in
sleep, as we were to leave the station at about ten in the night, when
the moon should be up. The "whole house" had been given up to me, and a
comfortable bed arranged out of mattress and wagon-seats, so that I felt
comparatively safe from prowling vermin, and soon went to sleep. I awoke
only once, late in the afternoon; the station-keeper was saying
something in a loud voice that I could not understand, and, directly, I
saw two pair of dusky feet passing by the space that the blanket, hung
up in the doorway, left near the ground. After awhile I raised the
blanket, and saw the Indians trudging along through the sandy plain, the
woman following the tall, athletic form of the man, the yellow sun
burning fiercely down on their bare heads, scorching the broad, prickly
leaves of the cactus, and withering its delicate, straw-colored, and
deep-crimson flowers. I dropped the curtain, panting for breath: it was
too hot to live while looking out into that glaring sunshine.

Later, when I could sleep no more, and had made my desert toilet, I
stood in the doorway, and saw the two Indians coming back as in the
morning: the woman with a bundle of fire-wood on her shoulders, the man
walking empty-handed and burdenless before her. I turned to the
station-keeper, and pointing to the bundle she had brought in the
morning, and which lay untouched by the wall, I said, indignantly:

"It seems to me you need not have sent the poor woman out in the blazing
sun to gather fire-wood, when you had not even used this. You might have
waited till now."

"She--she would have been somewhere else in the blazing sun; she was
just going--" And he stopped--as he had spoken--in haste, yet with some
confusion.

I cast a pitying look on the woman, which, however, she heeded no more
than the rose-pink and pale-gold sunset-clouds floating above her, and
then wandered slowly forth toward the hill, which I meant to climb
while the day was going down.

When I reached the top, the light, flying clouds had grown heavy and
sad, and their rose hue had turned into a dark, sullen red, with tongues
of burning gold shooting through it--the history of Arizona, pictured
fittingly in pools of blood and garbs of fire. But the fire died out,
and a dim gray crept over the angry clouds; and then, slowly, slowly,
the clouds weaved and worked together till they formed a single heavy
bank--black, dark, and impenetrable.

Just as I turned to retrace my steps, my eyes fell on a group of low
bushes, which would have taken the palm in any collection of those
horribly dead-looking things that ladies call phantom-flowers. So
pitilessly had the sun bleached and whitened the tiny branches, that not
a drop of life or substance seemed left; yet they were perfect, and
phantom-bushes, if ever I saw any. How well they would look on those
graves below, I thought, as I approached to break a twig in remembrance
of the strange sight. But how came the red berries on this one? I
stooped, and picked up--a rosary; the beads of red-stained wood, the
links and crucifix of some white metal, and inscribed on the cross the
words, "_Souvenir de la Mission_." How had it come there? Had ever the
foot of devout Catholic pressed this rocky, thorny ground? Of what
mission was it a gift of love and remembrance? Surely it had not lain
here a hundred years--the gift of love from one of the Spanish _padres_
of the Arizona Missions to an Indian child of the church! Or had it come
from one of those California Missions, where the priests to this day
read masses to the descendants of the Mission Indians? Yonder, in the
west, with the purplish mists deepening into darkness in its cleft
sides, was the mountain which to-morrow would show us "Montezuma's
face," and here lay the emblem of peace, of devotion to the one living
God. Perhaps the station-keeper could solve the mystery; so I hastened
back through the gloom that was settling on the earth, unbroken by any
sound save the distant yelping of a _coyote_, who had spied me out, and
followed me, as though to see if I were the only one of my kind who had
come to invade his dominion.

"See what I have found!" I cried exultingly, when barely within speaking
distance of the station-keeper, who stood within the doorway.

In a moment he was beside me, calling out something in his
Indian-Spanish, which seemed to electrify the woman, who still sat by
the _adobe_ wall. Springing up with the agility of a panther, she was by
my side, pointing eagerly to my hand holding the rosary.

"What does she want?" I asked, in utter consternation.

"The rosary; give her the rosary"--the barefooted man was speaking
almost imperiously--"it's hers; she has the best right to it."

"Gladly," I said; but she had already clutched it, and turned tottering
back to the mud-wall, against which she crouched, as though afraid of
being robbed of her new-found treasure.

The man turned to me in evident excitement: "And you found it! Where?
She has been hunting for it these years--day after day--in the blazing
sun and streaming rain; and _you_ found it. Well, old Screetah's eyes
are getting blind--she's old--old."

"But her son might have found it, if he had looked; for I found it just
up on the hill there," I suggested.

"He's not her son; only an Indian I kept to look after her, kinder; for
she's been brooding and moping till she don't seem to notice nothing no
more. But now she's found it, maybe she'll come round again, or go on to
Sonora, where, she says, her people are."

"How came she to lose it, then, if it was so precious?"

"She didn't lose it--but, I forget everything; supper's been waiting
on; if you'll eat hearty, I'll tell you about those beads after a while.
The moon won't rise till after ten, and you've good three hours yet."

I was so anxious to hear about the beads, that I would not give the man
time to wash dishes; though he insisted on putting away the china cup
and plate, which he kept for State occasions, when he saw my disposition
to let Bose make free with what was on the table--table being a
complimentary term for one of the ambulance-seats.

In the days when this had been a military post, garrisoned by but one
company of the ---- Infantry, the station-keeper had been an enlisted
man, and the servant of Captain Castleton, commanding the camp and
company. Young, handsome, and generous, the men were devoted to their
captain, though as strict a disciplinarian as ever left the military
school. The little settlement springing up around the camp was chiefly
peopled by Indians and Mexicans, and only two or three Americans. When
Captain Castleton had been here just long enough to get desperately
tired of the wearisome solitude and monotony of camp, and had put in
motion whatever influence his friends had with the authorities at
head-quarters to relieve him of the command of the post and the inactive
life he was leading, an Indian woman and her daughter came into the
settlement one evening, and found ready shelter with the hospitable
Mexicans. That she was an Indian was readily believed; but that the girl
with her belonged to the same people, was not received with any degree
of faith by those who saw her. She was on her way back to Sonora, she
said, to her own people, from whence she had come with her husband,
years ago, along with a pack-train of merchandise, for some point in
Lower California. From there she had gradually drifted, by way of San
Diego, into California, up to Los Angeles, and on to some Mission near
there, where she had lived among the Mission Indians, after her
husband's death, and where Juanita had been taught to read, write, and
sing by the Mission priests.

At last Screetah had concluded to go back to Sonora, and had drifted
downward again from Los Angeles, to Temescal, to Temacula, to Fort Yuma,
and through the desert, till, finally, some compassionate Mexicans had
carried her and the girl with them through the last waterless stretch to
this place. The girl, with her velvety eyes and delicately turned limbs,
soon became the favorite and the adored of every one in camp and
settlement; and, though that branch of her education to which her mother
pointed with the greatest pride--reading and writing--had never taken
very deep root in the girl's mind, she sang like an angel, and looked
"like one of them pictures where a woman's kneeling down, with a crown
around her head," while she was singing. Indeed, the religious teachings
of the good priests seemed to have sunk deeply into the gentle heart of
Juanita, and her greatest treasure--an object itself almost of
devotion--was a rosary the priest had given her on leaving the Mission.
It had been impressed on her, that "so long as these beads glided
through her fingers, while her lips murmured _Aves_ and _Pater-nosters_,
night and morning, so long were the angels with her. Did the angels take
the rosary from her--which would happen if Juanita forgot the teachings
of the priests, and no longer laid her heart's inmost thoughts before
the Blessed Mother--then would she lose her soul's peace and her hopes
of heaven; and she must guard the sacred beads as she would her own
life."

There was no point of resemblance between Juanita and the old Indian
woman; and the girl, though warmly attached to her, declared that she
was not her mother, only her nurse or servant. Her mother, she said, had
been a Spanish Doña, and her father a mighty chief of his tribe, whose
head had been displayed on the gate of some Mexican fortress for weeks
after it had been delivered to the Government by some treacherous Indian
of his band. Juanita's personal appearance, the fluency with which she
spoke Spanish, her very name even, seemed to confirm her accounts, dim
and confused as the recollections of her earliest childhood were;
nevertheless, she had "Indian in her," as the man said, for she proved
it before she died.

But to return to the time of their arrival in camp. Screetah seemed in
no hurry to resume her journey through the burning desert; and, as
Captain Castleton said, he would no doubt have retained her by force
rather than let her drag the poor child through the waterless wastes
into sure destruction. He had given them an old tent after they had been
with their Mexican friends for nearly a week; and when these same
Mexicans left the camp, the two women were given possession of their
house. Here it became a source of never-ending delight to the old Indian
that all the choice things by which she set such store, and which among
her "civilized" Indian friends had been so scarce, as coffee, sugar, and
bacon, were served out to her as though they rained down from the sky.
But to do Screetah justice, the sweetest side of bacon and the biggest
bagful of sugar never gave her half the pleasure that she felt when one
of the soldiers gave to Juanita a lank, ragged pony, which, on a scout,
he had bought, borrowed, or stolen from an Indian at the Maricopa Wells.
Her time was now pretty equally divided between the rosary and the pony,
which, in time, lost its ragged, starved appearance, under her
treatment, and retained only its untamable wildness, and the
unconquerable disposition to throw up its hindlegs when running at full
tilt, as though under apprehension that the simple act of running did
not give an adequate idea of its abilities. At first, Captain Castleton,
highly amused, would call for his horse when he saw Juanita battling
with her vicious steed on the plain near camp, in order to witness the
struggles of "the wild little Indian" near by. But, after awhile, they
would ride forth together, and dash over the level ground or climb up to
the highest point of the hill--Juanita's voice ringing back to the camp
almost as long as she was in sight, chanting some wild anthem, in which
seemed blended the joyous strains of the heavenly band and the wild song
of the savage when he flies like an arrow through his native plains.

Old Screetah's low-roofed _adobe_ had assumed quite an air of comfort
through the exertions of some good-natured soldiers, and more
particularly through the manifestations of Captain Castleton's favor.
From a passing pack-train, laden with Sonora merchandise, he had bought
the matting that covered the mud-floor; the sun-baked pottery-ware was
Screetah's greatest boast, as it came from the same province--her
birthplace; and the bright-colored Navajo blanket had been bought with
many a pound of bacon and of coffee--articles more precious far in this
country than the shining metal which men risk their lives to find here.
No wonder that the captain passed more of his time in Screetah's hut
than in his white wall-tent, where the sun, he said, blinded him,
beating on the fly all day long; and where the slightest breeze brought
drifts of sand with it. That Juanita seemed to live and breathe only for
him had come to be a matter of course. Among the Mexicans it was
accepted that at a certain phase or change of the moon there had been
some words spoken, or some rite performed, by old Screetah, which,
according to their belief, constituted Indian marriage; and both seemed
happy as the day is long.

Like a thunderbolt from the clear sky it struck him one day, when the
mail-rider brought official letters advising him of the change that had
been made in his favor. He was directed to proceed at once to Drum
Barracks, there to await further orders! It was, perhaps, the first time
that he experienced the curse of having his most ardent wishes
gratified. For days he wandered about like the shadow of an evil
deed--restless from the certainty of approaching judgment, and fainting
with the knowledge that he was powerless to ward off the coming blow. It
was hard to make Juanita understand the situation, and the necessity of
parting; but when she had once comprehended that she was to be
abandoned--a fate which, to her, meant simply to be thrust out on the
desert and left to die--the Indian blood flowed faster in her veins, and
rose tumultuously against the fair-faced image that her heart had
worshipped. What was life to her with the light and warmth gone out of
it? He was leaving her to die; and die she would.

When the little cavalcade, ready and equipped for the march, was about
to leave the camp, Juanita was nowhere to be found. For hours the
captain sought her in every nook they had explored together, and called
her by every endearing name his fancy had created for her. Juanita's
pony was gone from his accustomed place, and he knew it would be useless
to await her return. Captain Castleton was not a coward; the searching
glances he sent into every _cañon_ they passed, and among the sparse
trees on their road, were directed by the burning desire to meet the
dearly loved form once more; but they would not have quaked had the
arrow Juanita knew so well to speed, sank into his heart instead.

Days passed ere Juanita returned; and, though Screetah grovelled at her
feet with entreaties not to leave her again, and the soldiers showed
every possible kindness and attention to the girl, she was seldom seen
among them. Sometimes, at the close of day, she was seen suddenly rising
from some crevice in the hill, where she had clambered and climbed all
day; but oftener she was discovered mounted on her pony, her long, black
hair streaming, her horse in full gallop, as though riding in pursuit of
the setting sun. No word of complaint passed her lips; no one heard her
draw a sigh, or saw her shed a tear; and none dared to speak a word of
comfort. But when Screetah tried to cheer her, one day, she held out her
empty hands, saying, simply, "I have the rosary no more!" Then Screetah
knew that all hope was lost, and she pleaded no more, but broke the
beautiful, sun-baked pottery, tore the matting from the floor, and
crouched by the threshold from noon to night, and night till morning,
waiting quietly for the silent guest that she knew would some day, soon,
enter there with Juanita.

One day, she came slowly down from the hill and entered the dark
_adobe_, where Screetah sat silent by the door.

"A little cloud of dust is rising on the horizon," she said to the old
Indian, "and I must prepare;" and Screetah only wailed the death-song of
her race.

Though Juanita had returned on foot, she had ridden away on the pony the
day before, and the soldiers started out to look for the animal,
thinking it had escaped from her, or had been stolen by some marauding
Indian. But they found the carcass not far from camp--with Juanita's
dagger in the animal's heart. The next day she went to the top of the
hill again, and when night came, she said, "The cloud grows bigger." On
the third day, when Juanita lay stretched on the hard, uncomfortable
bed, denuded of all its gay robes and blankets, a sudden excitement
arose outside, such as the signs of anything approaching camp always
create. A hundred different opinions were expressed as to what and who
it could be. Nearer and nearer came the cloud of dust, and a cry of
surprise went up, as the horse fell from fatigue on the edge of the
camp, and the rider took his way to old Screetah's hut.

What passed within those dark, low walls--what passionate appeals for
forgiveness, what frantic remorse and bitter self-accusations they
echoed--only Screetah and the dying girl knew. The old Indian was
touched, and tried to plead for him; but Juanita seemed to heed neither
the man's presence nor the woman's entreaties. She died "with her face
to the wall," and the words of forgiveness, which he had staked life and
honor to hear, were never uttered by those firmly-closed lips.

With the day of Juanita's death commenced the old Indian woman's search
for the rosary, and she tore her hair in desperation when they laid the
girl in her narrow cell before she had found it. Day after day, the
search was continued. Was it not the peace of Juanita's soul she was
seeking to restore? After awhile the camp was broken up, by orders from
district head-quarters, and a forage-station established. Our friend,
whose term of service had expired, was made station-keeper, and, one by
one, the people from the settlement followed the military, till, at
last, only he and old Screetah were left of all the little band that
once had filled the dreary spot with the busy hum of life.



_HETTY'S HEROISM._


"But, father, you don't really mean to watch the old year out, do you?
It's only a waste of candles, and the boys won't want to get up in the
morning."

"Mebbee so, mother; but New Year's Eve don't come every day; so let's
have it out." And old man Sutton tipped back his chair, after filling
his pipe, and looked contentedly up at the white ceiling of the "best
room."

Johnny, the younger son of the family, whistled gleefully, threw more
wood on the blazing pile in the fire-place, and then, resuming his
oft-forbidden occupation of cracking walnuts in the best room, said:

"Don't the wind howl, though? Just drives the rain. Golly, ain't it nice
here?"

"You're not to say bad words," broke out his mother, sharply. "Father,
why don't you correct the boy? Such a night as this, too, when--"

"What's that?" interrupted the oldest son, springing from his seat, and
showing a straight, manly form and clear, deep eyes, as he stood by the
door in a listening attitude.

"Coyotes, brother Frank; the ghosts don't come round this early, do
they?" laughed the younger.

"Hush, Johnny! It's some one crying for help--a woman's voice!"

"Tut, tut! where would a woman come from this time o' night, and not a
house within miles of us?"

"A woman's voice, I'll stake my head," insisted Frank, after a moment's
silence in the room.

The mother had laid down her glasses. "Wonder if the boy thinks Lolita
is coming through the storm to watch the old year out with him?" She
laughed as at something that gave her much pleasure, though the rest did
not share her merriment.

They were all three listening at door and window now, and when Frank
threw the one nearest him quickly open, there came a sound through the
din and fury of the rain-storm that was neither the howling of the wind
nor the yelp of the coyote.

"Now what do you say?" asked Frank; and he had already passed through an
inner apartment, and in a moment stood on the porch again, swinging a
lantern and peering out into the dark and rain, listening for that cry
of distress. It came in a moment--nearer than they had expected it.

"Help! help! oh, please come and help!"

"The d--l!" was old man Sutton's exclamation; not that he really thought
the slender little figure perched on the back of the tall horse was the
personage mentioned--it was only a habit he had of apostrophizing.

The horse had stopped short and was breathing hard, and the prayer for
help was frantically repeated by the rider. "Come quick, and help the
poor fellow; I've been gone so long from him--oh! _do_ come!"

"What poor fellow--and where is he?" asked the old man, in bewilderment.

"The stage-driver--and he's lying near the old Mission, with his leg
broken. The horses shied in the storm and overturned the stage, and I
was the only passenger, and I crept out of it, and the driver couldn't
move any more, and told me to unhitch the horses and come this way for
help, and--oh! _do_ come now!" She ended her harangue, delivered with
flying breath and little attention to rhetoric or inter-punctuation.

"And you came those nine miles all alone, gal?" asked the old man.

"Oh, I think I must have come a hundred miles," she replied, with a wild
look at the faces on the porch and in the open doorway; "and it is so
cold!" She drew the dripping garments closer about her, while father and
son consulted together, with their eyes only, for a brief moment. Then
the old man said she must be taken in, and they must get the wagon
ready, and waken Pedro and Martin.

Without a word Frank gave a lantern to Johnny, lifted the girl from the
horse and carried her into the room, brushing the drenched hair back
from her face, when he sat her down, as he would have done a child's.
But she pleaded excitedly, "Indeed I cannot stay--let me go back, and
you can follow."

"So you shall go back, my gal," said Mr. Sutton, "as soon as the wagon
is ready. See how she's shivering, mother; get her some hot tea, and
give her your fur sack--for she'll go back with us or die."

"My fur sack?" repeated the old lady, incredulously; "my best sack--out
in this rain!"

"Best sack be ----," he shouted, angrily; "I'll throw it in the fire in
a minute!" And the best sack quickly made its appearance, in spite of
the threat of speedy cremation.

The tea was brought by Johnny, hastily drank, and then the girl repeated
her wish to move on. Frank's own cloak was thrown over "the best fur
sack"--not, I fear, so much from a desire to save this garment as from
the wish to keep the shrinking form in it from shivering so painfully.

It was New-Year's day--though the light had not yet dawned before the
sufferer was comfortably lodged at the Yedral Ranch, and Hetty, as well
as the Sutton family, slept later into the morning than usual. The sun
had risen as serenely cloudless as though no storm had passed through
the land but yesternight; and Father Sutton, thinking he was the first
one up, was surprised to encounter Hetty with Johnny, her new-found
cavalier. He hailed her in his unceremonious fashion: "I'm glad to see
you up bright and early, gal--make a good farmer's wife some day. Did
you come down this way to live on a ranch?"

"No, sir; I came to teach school. Your name is among those of the
gentlemen who engaged me."

"The ----! Are you the new school-marm? Then you're Miss----"

"Hetty Dunlap is my name."

He held out both hands. "A happy New-Year to ye, Hetty Dunlap--and happy
it'll be for all of us, I'm thinking; for a gal that's got so much pluck
as you is sure to know something about teachin' school. Here, Johnny,
how d'ye like your teacher?"

Now, Johnny had drawn back with some slight manifestation of disfavor
when Hetty's true character came to light. But she laid her hand on his
shoulder in her shy yet frank manner, and said quickly:

"I had already selected Johnny as a sort of assistant disciplinarian. I
am so little that I shall want some one who is tall and strong to give
me countenance;" which at once restored the harmony between them. They
went in to breakfast together, during which meal it was decided by
Father Sutton that Hetty was to live in his family, though "the Price's"
was the place where, until now, the teachers had made their home, being
nearest to the school.

"But then," said the old man, "if the Rancho Yedral can't afford a
mustang for such a brave little rider every day of the year, then I'll
give it up;" and he slapped his hat on and left the house.

"Yes," Frank commented rather timidly, "you are brave--a perfect
heroine. And yet you are so very small." She was standing in just the
spot where he had brushed the hair out of her face last night, and
perhaps his words were an apology.

"True," she assented, "I am small; not much taller than my sister's
oldest girl, and she is only twelve."

"You have a sister?"

"Yes, in the city; and she has six children." Her voice was raised a
little, her nut-brown eyes looked into his with an unconscious appeal
for sympathy, and her delicate nostrils quivered as in terror--which the
bare recollection of the little heathens seemed to inspire her with.

"And did you live at her house?--have you neither father nor mother
living?"

"Neither. How happy you must be--you have so kind a father and so good a
mother--"

The "good mother" came in just then, shaking her best sack vigorously,
and lamenting, in pointed words, the "ruination" of this expensive fur
robe--calling a painful blush to Hetty's cheek as well as Frank's. The
young man tried vainly to make it appear a pleasant joke. "Indeed,
mother, you ought to look upon that piece of fur as a handsome
New-Year's gift--you have my promise of a new fur sack as soon as I go
to the city. And isn't my word good for a fur sack?" he asked,
laughingly.

"Yes," said the good mother. "I know your extravagance well enough; but,
to my notion, you can afford such things better after you've married
Lolita, than before."

Frank bit his lips angrily, and turned away--but not before Hetty had
seen the hot red that flushed his cheek.

Toward noon there was loud rejoicing on the porch, and Hetty, looking
from her window, saw Mrs. Sutton welcoming a tall, dark-eyed girl of
about twenty, whose companion--her brother, to all appearance--seemed
several years her senior.

This girl, Lolita Selden, the daughter of an American father and a
wealthy Spanish mother, was a fair specimen of the large class
represented by her in California. Generous and impulsive, as all her
Spanish half-sisters are, neither her piecemeal education, nor the
foolish indulgence of the mother, had succeeded in making anything of
her but an impetuous, though really kind-hearted woman. In the brother's
darker, heavier face, there was less of candor and sympathy, and his
figure--though he had all the grace and dignity of the Spaniard--was
lacking in height and the breadth of shoulder that made Frank Sutton
look a giant beside him.

It was some time before our heroine was introduced to the pair; not,
indeed, till dinner was on the table, though Frank had repeatedly hinted
to his mother that Hetty might not feel at liberty to make her
appearance among them without being formally invited--to which he
received the cheering response that "he was always botherin'."

When they met, it was hard to say whether Hetty was more charmed with
Lolita's stately presence and simple kindness, or Lolita with Hetty's
heroism. The brother, too, seemed lost in admiration of Hetty's heroic
conduct or Hetty's pretty face--a fact which escaped neither Frank nor
his mother, for she commented on it days afterward. "What a chance it
would be for a poor girl like this 'ere one, if she could make a ketch
of young Selden, and he married her!"

"What! that black-faced Spaniard?" but Frank's generous heart reproached
him even while he spoke, and his mother took advantage of his penitence
and charged him with a message to Lolita, that needed to be delivered
the same day. When, therefore, after school-hours, Frank returned
bringing with him both Hetty and Lolita--the latter was visiting her new
friend at the school-house--the mother was well pleased, and spoke more
kindly than she had yet spoken to the new teacher.

"Old man" Sutton, too, had many a pleasant word for both young girls;
and altogether Hetty soon realized that home could be home away from her
sister's house and the six plagues it held.

Spring came into the land, dressing in glossier green the grayish limbs
of the white-oak in the valley, opening with balmy breath the blossoms
of the buckeye by the stream, and covering with gayest flowers the plain
and the hillside; while in some shady nook the laurel stood, shaking its
evergreen leaves in daily wonderment at the dress changes and the
youthful air all nature had put on. The wild rose creeping over the
veranda of the Yedral Ranch shed its perfume through the house, and cast
its bright sheen upon the very roof-tree, a passion-vine, in sombre
contrast, rearing its symbolic blossom cheek to cheek with the rosy
flower-face of the gay child of Castile.

Long since had the stage-driver left the Yedral Ranch, grateful for kind
treatment received, his head and heart full of a firm conviction on two
points: The first, that there was just one man good enough to be Hetty
Dunlap's husband, and that that man was Frank Sutton: the second, that
there was only one woman good enough to be Frank's wife, and she Hetty
Dunlap.

He had resumed his old post, and many a pleasant word and startling bit
of news did he call out to Hetty and her friends when they were down by
the "big gate," as he drove by very slowly, so as to enjoy conversation
as long as possible. George was a deal pleasanter when Hetty was there
by herself, or at least without Lolita; and once, when, by chance, Hetty
and Frank were there alone together, he called down, regardless of the
staring passengers in the coach, "That's the way I like to see things;
two's good company, and three's none. Don't see what you want to be
luggin' that Spanish gal round with you for, Frank; she ain't none o'
your'n nohow, and never will be, nuther."

Before the flush had died on her face, Hetty found her arm drawn
through Frank's, and as they slowly bent their steps homeward, the mind
of each seemed absorbed in the contemplation of some intricate puzzle,
on the solving of which depended their whole future welfare. Then Frank
raised his merry, twinkling eyes and charged her with being hopelessly
enamored of George, the stage-driver, defying her to say that she had
not just then been thinking of him, as he knew by her absent looks.

"I--I was only looking down that way, and thinking there is no lovelier
spot on earth than Yedral Ranch." She stopped abruptly; what she was
saying now to cover her confusion, she had said a few days ago, from the
fulness of her heart, to Lolita, strolling along this same road; and the
Spanish girl had answered impulsively, "Yes; and you shall always make
your home here when I--" Then she had stopped, crimson in the face, and
Hetty had not urged her to finish the sentence.

But Frank, with quickly altered tone, asked softly, "Do you like it so
well, Hetty--really and truly? And have you not wanted often to go back
to the city?"

"To the city?" she repeated, with a little shiver; "no--no!"

The call of a partridge from behind the nearest _manzanita_ bush warned
them that young Johnny was there, and the next moment he appeared before
them--his mother's ambassador to Hetty. "Would she be kind enough just
for once to help with the cake? His mother had burnt her right hand, and
she could not stir the batter with her left."

"And could not you have done it 'just for once' as well?" asked Frank,
impatiently; at which question Johnny opened his eyes wide.

"She didn't ask me," he said; and then they all went silently to the
house.

To do Mrs. Sutton justice, she was loud in her praises of Hetty's
obliging disposition, and Hetty's proficiency in cake-baking, that
evening at tea; and particularly to Julian Selden, who was there with
his sister, did she untiringly sing Hetty's perfections. This seemed to
have the effect of making the young Spaniard bolder and more desirous of
pushing his suit, for the very next evening they came home from Hetty's
school _a partie carrée_--Lolita, her brother, Hetty and Frank.

The facts of the case were that, following a suggestion of Frank's,
Johnny, on Julian's second attempt to escort Hetty home, had kept close
by her side during the whole ride, much more to Hetty's delight than
Julian's. In consequence, Julian had been wise enough to bring Lolita
with him; and Frank, though chagrined, was better pleased to find them
both at Hetty's school than one alone.

Through the spring and far into the summer they met almost daily in this
way; and sometimes, though Mother Sutton's invitations to Lolita and her
brother to "come every day--every day," were loud and vociferous, the
brother and sister would return to their own home after a protracted
ride, leaving Hetty and Frank to find their way back to Yedral Ranch
alone. Hetty thought she could see a cloud on Mrs. Sutton's brow
whenever this happened; and dear as those rides were to her, she avoided
them whenever she could. Unhappily (Frank did not consider it so), while
out alone together one day, Hetty's saddle-girth broke, and though she
sprang quickly to the ground, Frank's nerves were so unstrung, he
declared, that he could not at once repair the damage, but had to
convince himself, by slow degrees, that she really was not hurt or
frightened. Consequently, it was later than usual when they reached
home; and Mother Sutton, darting a quick look to see that the door had
closed behind Frank, who had explained the cause of delay, muttered
something about "cunning minxes, who had neither gratitude nor shame,"
and then tramped out of the room, leaving Hetty with cheeks burning and
eyes strangely bright under the tears rising in them.

Next morning she made much ado over a sprained ankle, which was not so
painful as to keep her at home, but just bad enough to cause her to ride
slowly to school with Johnny and home again before school-hours were
fairly over. I fear that she was a "designing minx," for, if she
managed, by keeping her room to evade Frank's questioning glance and
Mother Sutton's hostile looks, she managed no less to escape an honor
which, according to this good lady's statement, corroborated by Lolita's
more than usual tenderness, Julian Selden had meant to confer upon her.
But she could not stay in her room forever; and Father Sutton dragged
her out of it one day, challenging her to tell the truth ("and shame the
devil"), by acknowledging that something had hurt her beside the
sprained ankle. Had Mrs. Sutton shown no spite openly against "the gal"
before, it broke out now, in little sharp speeches against women "tryin'
to work on the sympathy of foolish young men. Her boys, she knew,
couldn't never be ketched that way by no white-faced--"

"Will yer be still now!" thundered the old man, taking the pipe from
between his lips and pointing with it to Hetty, who at this moment was
really the white-faced thing the old lady had meant to call her.

"Johnny," said Hetty, next morning, on their way to school, "I
think--I'll go home when vacation begins, and--"

"Why, what d'you mean?" asked the boy, startled out of all proper
respect.

"Just what I say;" and she enumerated her reasons for considering it her
duty to return to her lonely sister and the six pining children; and it
was a matter of doubt whether Johnny's lips quivered more during the
recital, or Hetty's. But when the school-house was reached, Johnny was a
man again; and if he did blubber out loud when he told his elder
brother of it, late in the evening, down by the big gate, nobody but
Frank heard him, and _his_ lips were rather white when next he spoke.

"You asked me for that Mexican saddle of mine some time ago, Johnny. You
are welcome to it."

"I don't want no Mexican saddle," replied Johnny, in a surly tone, and
without grammar; but looking into his brother's face, he said, "Thank
you, Frank. I'd say you're 'bully,' only Hetty said it wasn't a nice
word."

In the course of the week Father Sutton, in his character as such, and
as school director, was made acquainted with Hetty's intention. In both
characters he protested at first, but yielded at last. He walked out
with "the gal" one evening, as though to take her over the ranch for the
last time, and then artfully dodged away when Frank--by the merest
accident--came to join them. Left alone with this young man, Hetty
trembled, as she had learned to tremble under his mother's scowling
looks and half-spoken sentences. He spoke quietly, at first, of her
going away; but her very quietness seemed after a while to set him all
on fire.

"Hetty," he cried, "are you then so anxious to go--so unwilling to stay,
even for a day, after the school closes? Is there nothing--is there no
one here you regret to leave behind you?"

Poor little Hetty! How they had praised her for her heroism once. There
was no praise due her then, as she had protested again and again. Now
she was the heroine, when she answered, though with averted face and
smothered voice, "Nothing--no one;" adding, quickly, "you have all been
so kind to me that naturally I shall feel homesick for the Yedral Ranch,
and shall be so glad to see any of you when you come to the city."

Frank had heard "the tears in her voice," and though he turned from her
abruptly, it was not in anger, as she fancied.

"Father," he said, a day or two later, "I don't know but I'll take a run
over the mountains, now harvesting is over, and there seems nothing
particular for me to do."

"Please yourself and you'll please me, Frank," was the answer. "Got any
money? You kin git it when you want it."

Then there was nothing more said about the journey, and Frank, making no
further preparations, seemed to have forgotten all about it.

When Hetty was lifted into the little wagon that took herself and trunk
to the big gate, she repeated her hope of sooner or later greeting the
members of the Sutton family in San Francisco.

"Not soon, I'm afeard, Miss Hetty; me an' father and Johnny never goes
to the city, and as for Frank--I reckon he'll want to git married first,
and bring Lolita 'long with him."

Martin, who was driving, probably knew the meaning of the fire in the
old man's eye, for he whipped up the horse and drove off, as though
"fearing to miss the stage," as he explained at the turn of the road.

Altogether, George showed neither as much surprise nor pleasure as Hetty
had faintly expected him to evince. When they reached the first town he
came and stood by the open coach window, after the customary halt,
drawing on his gloves first, and then pointing out, with great
exactitude, where the old _adobe_ tavern had formerly stood, on the
opposite side of the street.

During this interesting conversation, some tardy passengers came out of
the hotel, with hasty steps, and mounted to the top of the stage with
much hurried scrambling. Then George left Hetty's window, mounted his
throne, and drove on.

We need not say how Hetty's heart sank with the sinking sun; and only
when George came out of the station-house where they had taken supper,
ready and equipped for the night's drive, did a light rise in her eyes.

"I thought you stopped at this station," she said, as he again leaned at
her window, while the same hasty steps and confused scrambling on the
top of the stage fell, half unconsciously, on her ear.

"Well--yes. As a general thing, I do. But me and Dick's changed off
to-night, so't I can see you into the cars to-morrow morning."

"How tired you will be," she remonstrated.

"Well--mebbe so. Howsomever, Miss Hetty, you didn't stop to think
whether you'd be tired when you started out to find help for me, last
New-Year's eve." And Hetty blushed, as she always did, when her heroism
was spoken of.

George's eyes did look heavy the next morning; but he still kept the
lines, lounging up to the coach-window about the time the stage was
ready to start, and always pointing out something of interest on these
occasions. Once, indeed, when she fancied that her ear caught the sound
of a familiar footfall on the porch of the tavern they were about to
leave, he was so anxious she should see the owl just vanishing into the
squirrel-hole, on the opposite side of the road, that he laid his hand
on her arm to insure her quick attention, just as she was about to turn
her head back in the direction of the porch. Then came the usual
climbing and scrambling overhead, and directly George mounted, too, and
drove on.

The shrill whistle of the locomotive seemed to cut right through Hetty's
heart; and the loneliness she had never felt away down the country, now
suddenly took possession of the girl's soul. No one could have been more
attentive than George; the best seat in the cars was picked out for her;
the daily papers laid beside her, and then--then she was left alone.
George only, of all her down-country friends, had made the unconditional
promise to visit her in San Francisco. She was thinking of this after he
had left her, and she sat watching the cars filling with passengers for
the city--travellers gathered together here from watering-place and
pleasure-resort, from dairy-ranch and cattle-range. Was there another
being among these all as lonely as she? And she turned her face to the
window, and looked steadily over toward the hills, yellow and parched
now, in the late summer--so fresh and green from the winter's rains when
she had last seen them. It looked as if her life, too, were in the "sere
and yellow;" the heavy, throbbing pain that was in her heart and rising
to her throat--would it ever give place again to the bright fancies she
had indulged in when coming this way--oh! how many weeks ago? She tried
to count; but counting the weeks brought the events of each in turn
before her, and she desisted; she must keep a calm face and a clear eye.

She heard the cry of the fruit-venders outside, and saw their baskets
laden with fruits, tempting and delicious, raised to the car-windows,
where passengers had signified their wish to purchase. Mechanically, her
eyes followed the movements of the young man in front of her. Grapes,
with the dew still on them; apples, with one red cheek, and peaches with
two; plums, larger than either, and far more luscious, were transferred
from the heavy basket into the lap of the lady beside him--evidently his
new-made wife--who said, "Thanks, dear," with such a happy, grateful
smile, that Hetty grew quite envious. She tried to think it was of the
fruit; but pending the decision she laid her head on the back of the
seat in front of her, and before she thought of what she was doing, the
tears were trickling down her cheeks. Then her shoulders began to jerk
quite ridiculously, and she was ready to die of shame, when a light hand
was laid on them, and her name was spoken.

"Hetty!" the voice said again; but she did not raise her head, only
answering, "Yes," as she would have done in a dream.

"Hetty!" once more, "see what I have brought you." Apples, and peaches,
and plums--all these things were showered into her lap, and when she
raised her head, she looked at them steadily a moment, and then said,
with a long breath, "Oh, Frank!" before she turned to where he sat. As
she stretched out both hands to meet his, the fruit, now forgotten, fell
plump, plump, to the floor, and rolled all over the cars; and when the
train moved slowly away from the depot a little later, Hetty, looking up
at the lady in front of her, said to herself, that she envied her no
longer--neither the apples nor--. She made a full stop here; perhaps
because of George's sudden appearance, and the hilarity in which he and
Frank indulged.

"Oh, Miss Hetty!" he laughed; "I couldn't make you see that owl this
morning, could I?"

"No; but I think I must have been as blind as an owl myself, not to have
seen whom you were hiding," she answered, taking the contagion.

Again shrieked the locomotive, but not with the "heart-rending" cry of a
while ago; and George, bringing their hands quickly together in his
parting clasp, sprang from the cars and left Frank and Hetty there.

Loud was the anger of good Mrs. Sutton on discovering that Frank had
accompanied Hetty to San Francisco. In vain Father Sutton disclaimed all
fore-knowledge of the young man's intention, and asserted that Frank had
never mentioned a tour to the city. Mrs. Sutton said she knew the old
man was in league with him. At the end of a week Frank returned without
so much as bringing the fur sack as a peace-offering. In course of time
he reconciled his mother to some extent by again carrying messages to
Lolita, and sometimes bringing Lolita herself in return, just as in
Hetty's time.

Autumn came; and still, to the determined schemer's dissatisfaction,
Frank had not yet secured the prize she so coveted for him. The season
brought with it many cares as well as pleasures to the ranchero. At a
_rodeo_, looked upon by the young people generally as a pleasant
entertainment, Frank was the admired of many eyes, as his lasso
unfailingly singled out the animal "in demand," among the dense herds
moving in a circle. The horse he rode was full of fire, and more
impetuous, if possible, than his rider; and Lolita, who was among the
guests at the Yedral Ranch, had never thought Frank so handsome and so
well worth winning before.

To Hetty the white walls and the spacious rooms of the grammar-school,
to which she had returned, seemed a prison and a wilderness in one. Her
sister's house, with the six young Tartars, was more like Bedlam than
ever; but Hetty had grown older and firmer, and she declared, to her
sister's amazement, that unless she could withdraw herself from the mob
unmolested, at her option, she should seek a home with more congenial
associates. The sister opened her eyes wide, as if only now discovering
that Hetty was full-grown; and she assented silently.

First, after her return, letters from Frank lighted up her life at
intervals. But when the early rains of autumn, after an Indian summer
full of sunny days and glorious memories of vanished springs, turned to
the settled melancholy of "a wet winter," these letters ceased, leaving
in Hetty's existence a blank that nothing else could fill. Christmas
came, with its vacations and merry-makings, and beside the dull, deep
pain in Hetty's heart, there was still the unselfish wish to give others
pleasure, though she herself could never again feel that glad emotion.
From morn to night her deft hands flew, sewing, stitching,
sketching--busy always, yet never for herself.

It was very near Christmas now--so near that Hetty, eager to have all
things ready for the joyous eve, had sat down to her work without the
usual care for neat appearance. Perhaps it was because her curls were a
little neglected, and her collar was not pinned on with the usual
precision, that her face looked worn this morning; her eyes were
languid, and the flush on her cheeks could not cover the deficiency of
flesh which became painfully visible.

Thus she sat, stitching, ever stitching. The silent parlor, with its
covered furniture and light carpeting, seemed the right place for ghosts
to flit through, and peer, mayhap, with dull, glazed eyes into the fire,
as Hetty caught herself just now. But she drove back the ghosts--are
they not always our own memories, woven out of unfulfilled wishes,
useless regrets, and profitless remorse?--and hastily resumed her work.
The ringing of the door-bell seemed so much the doing of one of these
ghosts, that she paid no attention to it, but kept on stitching, quietly
stitching. Directly the parlor-door was thrown open, and the Mongolian
servitor, looking with calm indifference on the little streams of muddy
water oozing at every step from the boots of the new-comer, returned to
the kitchen, heedless, to all appearances, of the scream with which
Hetty flew to meet the stranger.

"George!" she cried, "oh! George!" and she clasped the damp arm of the
man, gotten up on the grizzly-bear pattern, as though there could be no
pleasure greater than this in all the world.

Though a man, George was wise enough to know that he was not indebted to
his personal attractions for this affectionate greeting; but taking both
her hands in his, he said, "Yes, Miss Hetty, I've come to tell you all
about it."

At the fall _rodeo_ on the Yedral Ranch, Frank's horse had fallen,
covering its rider with its weighty body. He recovered from a death-like
swoon with wandering mind; and the spine being injured, according to
the doctor's statement, it seemed doubtful that he would ever leave his
bed, except as imbecile or cripple. Reason returning, Frank felt that
his friends' fears of his remaining a cripple were not without
foundation, and a hopeless gloom settled on his spirit. Many a time,
when George had made "fast time" and spent the half-hour gained at
Frank's bed, did Hetty's name rise to his lips; but it was never
pronounced. Only this: looking up out of deep sunken eyes, one day,
quite recently, Frank had said to him, "George, I shall get well, and
not be a cripple. If only--" "It's all right," had been George's answer;
and he had hurried from the house as though charged with the most urgent
commission.

After an hour's conversation, Hetty had only one question to ask.
Looking up with shy eagerness, she almost said below her breath, "And
Lolita?"

For answer, George took the flushed face between his hands.
"You've grown mighty thin, Miss Hetty," he simply said. Then he
continued, with great _nonchalance_, "Lolita got stuck after the new
schoolmaster--they've got a man in your place. But come, Miss Hetty, you
'peared to me last New-Year's eve like an angel, in my distress; suppose
you do as much now for Frank Sutton. We can get down there on New-Year's
eve, and give you lots of time to spend Christmas here first. What d'ye
say?"

No lover could have pleaded more earnestly. All her objections were
overruled, and when at last she said, almost breathlessly, "Oh, but his
_mother_, George!" he answered, with all his honest heart: "It's my firm
belief, Miss Hetty, that you were cut out for a real hero-ine; and a
hero-ine you've got to be to the end of the chapter--which I don't say
but the last trial of your hero-ism will be greater than the first."

And sure enough, on New-Year's eve, came the rumbling of wheels and the
tramp of horses' hoofs close up to the veranda of the ranch-house on the
Yedral. None of the inmates seemed startled, though none had expected
company. Without a word Father Sutton sprang to the door--alas! that the
old man was swifter of foot now than the young giant of a year
ago--caught the lithe figure that sprang from the stage in his arms and
set her down, as Frank had done, in the middle of the room. But she was
not cold, dripping wet now, only blinded by the light one moment, and
the next on her knees by the lounge, where a pale, haggard man lay
stretched. He half raised himself to catch her in his arms, and for a
wonder did not sink back with the moan that had become so painful to his
father's ears. For once Hetty had cast aside all timidity, and she
looked up brightly into Father Sutton's face, while one arm circled
Frank's neck and the other hand lay unresistingly in his.

"Hey!" shouted the old man; "now we know whose gal you are; I used to
call you mine once. Mother, get some supper; I reckon she is wellnigh
starved and perished with the cold. Lively, Johnny! bring some more
wood; Hetty'll stay for good, and you'll get time enough to hang 'round
the gal to-morrow."

And what a bright to-morrow it was! Such a New-Year's day had never
dawned on Yedral Ranch before. Every one seemed to have found a
treasure, even to Mrs. Sutton. Together with Hetty's trunk had come a
large, promising-looking box, and when Father Sutton presented this to
his better-half, she almost screamed--

"Oh, I know! it's my new fur sack!"



_A WOMAN'S TREACHERY._


"How much you resemble Mrs. Arnold!" exclaimed the Doctor's wife, after
an hour's acquaintance, the day we reached Fort ----. It was not the
first time I had heard of my resemblance to this, to me, unknown lady
remarked on. A portion of the regiment of colored troops to which Doctor
Kline belonged, and which we met on their way in to the States, as we
were coming out, had been camped near us one night; and a colored
laundress, who had good-naturedly come over to our tent to take the
place of my girl, who was sick, had broken into the same exclamation on
first beholding me. Captain Arnold belonged to the same regiment, and
was expecting, like all the volunteers then in the Territory, to be
ordered home and mustered out of service, as soon as the body of regular
troops, to which my husband belonged, could be assigned their respective
posts. Their expectations were not to be realized for some time yet; and
when I left the Territory, a year later, a part of these troops were
still on the frontier.

Fort ---- was not our destination; to reach it, we should be obliged to
pass through, and stop for a day or two at, the very post of which
Captain Arnold had command--which would afford me excellent and ample
opportunity for judging of the asserted likeness between this lady and
myself. I must explain why we were, in a measure, compelled to stop at
Fort Desolation (we will call it so). It was located in the midst of a
desert--the most desolate and inhospitable that can be imagined--in the
heart of an Indian country, and just so far removed from the direct
route across the desert as to make it impracticable to turn in there
with a command, or large number of soldiers; for which reason, troops
crossing here always carried water-barrels filled with them. A small
party, however, such as ours was then, could not with any safety camp
out the one night they must, despite the best ambulance-mules, pass on
the desert.

With most pardonable curiosity, I endeavored to learn something more of
the woman who was so much like me in appearance; and I began straightway
to question Mrs. Kline about her. The impression of a frank, open
character, which this lady had made on me at first, vanished at once
when she found that Mrs. Arnold was to be made the subject of
conversation between us.

"Is she pretty?"

"Yes--quite so." Ahem! and looked like me. But my mother's saying, that
there might be a striking resemblance between a very handsome and a very
plain person, presented itself to my memory like an uninvited guest, and
I concluded not to fall to imagining vain things on so slight a support.

"What kind of a man is Captain Arnold?"

"The most good-natured man in the world."

"Oh!" Something in the manner of her saying this in praise of Captain
Arnold made me think she wanted to say nothing further; so I stopped
questioning.

We left the Doctor and his wife early the next morning, and reached Fort
Desolation at night-fall. The orderly had preceded us a short distance,
and, when the ambulance stopped at the Captain's quarters, Mrs. Arnold
appeared on the threshold, holding a lantern in her hand. She raised it,
to let the light fall into the ambulance; and as the rays fell on her
own face, I could see that she looked like--a sister I had. The Captain
was absent, inspecting the picket-posts he had established along the
river, and would return by morning, Mrs. Arnold said; and she busied
herself with me in a pleasant, pretty manner. She could not resemble me
in height or figure, I said to myself, for she was smaller and more
delicately made; nor had any one in our family such deep-blue eyes, save
mother--we children had to content ourselves with gray ones.

The night outside was dark and chilly; but in the Captain's house there
were light and warmth, and it was bright with the fires that burned in
the fireplaces of the different rooms--all opening one into the other. I
was forcibly struck with the difference between the quarters at Fort
---- and Mrs. Arnold's home at Fort Desolation. Comforts (luxuries, in
this country) of all kinds made it attractive: bright carpets were on
the floors here; while at the Doctor's quarters at Fort ----, one was
always reminded of cold feet and centipedes, when looking at the naked
_adobe_ floors. Embroidered covers were spread on the tables and white
coverlets on the beds; while at the Doctor's all these things were made
hideous by hospital-linen and gray blankets. Easy-chairs and lounges,
manufactured from flour-barrels, saw-bucks, and candle-boxes, were made
gorgeous and comfortable with red calico and sheep's-wool; but the
crowning glory of parlor, bed-room, and sitting-room was a dazzling
toilet-set of china--gilt-edged, and sprinkled with delicate bouquets of
moss-roses and foliage.

"Where _did_ you get it?" I asked, in astonishment--_not_ envy.

"Isn't it pretty?" she asked, triumphantly. "The Captain's
quartermaster, Lieutenant Rockdale, brought it from Santa Fé for me, and
paid, a mint of money for it, no doubt."

At the supper-table I saw Lieutenant Rockdale, who commanded the post in
the Captain's absence, being the only officer there besides the Captain;
and, as he messed with them altogether, I need not say that the table
was well supplied with all the delicacies that New York and Baltimore
send out to less highly favored portions of the universe, in tin cans.
Lieutenant Rockdale was a handsome man--a trifle effeminate, perhaps,
with languishing, brown eyes, and a soft voice. He seemed delighted with
our visit, and took my husband off to his own quarters, while Mrs.
Arnold and I looked over pictures of her friends, over albums, and at
all the hundred little curiosities which she had accumulated while in
the Territory. The cares of the household seemed to sit very lightly on
her; a negro woman, Constantia, and a mulatto boy, of twelve or
thirteen, sharing the labor between them. The boy seemed to be a
favorite with Mrs. Arnold, though she tantalized and tormented him, as I
afterwards found she tormented and tantalized every living creature over
which she had the power.

I had noticed, while Constantia and Fred were clearing off the table,
that she had cut him a slice from a very choice cake, toward which the
child had cast longing looks. Placing it carefully on a plate, when he
had to leave it for a moment to do something his mistress had bidden
him, in the twinkling of an eye she had hidden it; and when the boy
missed it, she expressed her regret at his carelessness, and artfully
led his suspicions toward Constantia. Hearing him whimpering and
sniffling as he went back and forth between dining-room and kitchen, his
childish distress at losing the cake seemed to afford her the same
amusement that a stage-play would, and she laughed till the tears rolled
down her cheeks. Later, he was summoned to replenish the fire; and,
knowing the little darkey's aversion for going out of the house
bare-headed (he had an idea that his cap could prevent the Indian arrows
from penetrating his skull), she hid the cap he had left in the
adjoining room, and then laughed immoderately at his terror on leaving
the house without it. The next morning, she led me out to the stables to
show me her horse--a magnificent, black animal, wild-eyed, with a
restless, fretful air. Crossing the space in front of the house, she
called to a soldier with sergeant-chevrons on his arms--a man with just
enough of negro blood in his veins to stamp him with the curse of his
race.

"Harry!" she called to him, "Harry, come hold Black for me; I want to
give him a piece of sugar." She opened her hand to let him see the
pieces, and he touched his cap and followed us. He loosened the halter
and led the horse up to us, but the animal started back when he saw Mrs.
Arnold, and would not let her approach him. Harry patted his neck and
soothed him, and Mrs. Arnold holding the sugar up to his view, the horse
came to take it from her hand; but she quickly clutched his lip with her
fingers, and blew into his face till the horse reared and plunged so
that Harry could hold him no longer. Laughing like an imp, she called to
Harry:

"Get on him and hold him, if you cannot manage him in that way: get on
him anyhow, and let Mrs. ---- see him dance."

The mulatto's flashing black eyes were bent on her with a singularly
reproachful look; but the next moment he was on the horse's back, the
horse snorting and jumping in a perfectly frantic manner.

When Mrs. Arnold had sufficiently recovered from her merriment, she
explained that the horse had not been ridden for a month; the last time
she had ridden him he had thrown her--she had pricked him with a pin to
urge him on faster.

About noon the Captain arrived; and I found him, as Mrs. Kline had
described, "the most good-natured man in the world," and, to all
appearances, loving his wife with the whole of his big heart. He was big
in stature, too, with broad shoulders, pleasant face, and cheerful,
ringing voice. The shaggy dog, who had slunk away from Mrs. Arnold, came
leaping up on his master when he saw him; the horse he had ridden rubbed
his nose against his master's shoulder before turning to go into his
stable, and Constantia and Fred beamed on him with their white teeth and
laughing eyes from the kitchen-door. Later in the afternoon, he asked
what I thought of his quarters, and told me how hard his colored
soldiers had worked to build the really pretty _adobe_ house in strict
accordance with his wishes and directions. But I could not quite decide
whether he was more proud of the house or of the affection his men all
had for him. Then he told me the story of almost every piece of
furniture in the house; and, moving from room to room, we came to where
their bed stood. Resting beside it was his carbine, which the orderly
had brought in. Taking it in his hand to examine it, he pointed it at
his wife's head with the air of a brigand, and uttered, in unearthly
tones:

"Your money, or your life!"

With a quick, cat-like spring, she was by the bed, had thrust her hands
under the pillow, and the next instant was holding two Derringers close
to his breast. Throwing back her head, like a heroine in velvet trousers
on the stage, she returned, in the same strain:

"I can play a hand at that game, too, and go you one better!"

She laughed as she said it--the laugh that she laughed with her white
teeth clenched--but there was a "glint" in her eye that I had never seen
in a blue eye before.

When once more on the way, my husband asked me how I liked Mrs. Arnold.
"Very well," said I; "but--," and I did not hesitate to tell him of the
peculiarities I had noticed about her. He himself was charmed with her
sprightliness, so he only responded with, "Pshaw! woman!" after which I
maintained an offended (he said, offensive) silence on the subject.

Not quite four months later, my husband was recalled to Santa Fé, and we
again crossed the desert, with only three men as escort. I had heard
nothing from either Mrs. Arnold or the Captain in all this time, for our
post was farther out than theirs; indeed, so far out that nothing
belonging to the same military department passed by that way. It was
midsummer, and the dreary hills shutting in Fort Desolation, and running
down toward the river some distance back of the place, were baked hard
and black in the sun; the little stream that had meandered along through
the low inclosure of the fort in winter time was now a mere bed of
slime, and the plateaux, which had been levelled for the purpose of
erecting the Captain's house and the commissary buildings on them, could
not boast of a single spear of grass or any other sign of vegetation.
The Captain's house lay on the highest of these plateaux; lower down,
across the creek, were the quartermaster and commissary buildings (here,
too, were Lieutenant Rockdale's quarters); and to the left, on the other
side of the men's quarters, was the guard-house--part _jacal_, part
tent-cloth.

How _could_ any one live here and be happy? Black and bald the earth, as
far as the eye could reach; black and dingy the tents and the huts that
strewed the flat; murky and dark the ridge of fog that rose on the
unseen river; murky and silent the clefts in the rocks where the sun
left darkness forever.

It might have been the fading light of the waning day that cast the
peculiarly sombre shadow on the Captain's house as we drew up to it; but
I thought the same shadow must have fallen on the Captain's face, when
he appeared in the door to greet us. Presently Mrs. Arnold fluttered up
in white muslin and blue ribbons; and both did their best to make us
comfortable. How my husband felt, I don't know; but they did not succeed
in making me feel comfortable. Perhaps the absence of the bright fire
made the rooms look so dark, even after the lights had been brought
in--there was certainly a change. Supper was placed on the table, but I
missed Constantia's round face in the dining-room. In answer to my
question regarding her, I was told she had expressed so strong a desire
to return to the States that she had been sent to Fort ----, there to
await an opportunity to go in. Lieutenant Rockdale's absence I noticed
also. He did not mess with them any more, I was informed.

My attention was attracted to a conversation between Captain Arnold and
my husband. The guard-house, he told him, was at present occupied by two
individuals who had made their appearance at Fort Desolation several
days ago, and had tried to prevail on the Captain to sell them some of
the government horses, and arms and ammunition, offering liberal
payment, and promising secrecy. They were Americans; but as the number
of American settlers, or white settlers, in this country is so small, it
was easy for the Captain to determine that these were not of them, and
their dress and general appearance led him to suspect that they belonged
to that despicable class of white men who make common cause with the
Indian, in order to rob and plunder, and, if need be, murder, those of
their own race. Of course they had not made these proposals directly and
openly to the Captain--at first representing themselves as members of a
party of miners going to Pinos Altos; but they soon betrayed a
familiarity with the country which only years of roaming through it
could have given them. He had felt it his duty to arrest them at once,
but had handcuffed them only to-day, and meant to send them, under
strong escort, to Fort ----, where their regimental commander was
stationed, as soon as some of the men from the picket-posts could be
called in.

It was late when we arose from the supper-table, and the Captain and my
husband left us, to go down to the guard-house, while Mrs. Arnold led me
into the room where their bed stood. This room had but one window--of
which window the Captain was very proud. It was a _French_ window,
opening down to the ground. Throwing it open, Mrs. Arnold said:

"What a beautiful moon we have to-night; let us put out the candle and
enjoy the moonshine"--with which she laughingly extinguished the light,
and drew my chair to the window.

From where I sat I could just see the men's quarters and the
guard-house, though it might have been difficult from there to see the
window. We had not been seated long when I fancied I heard a noise, as
though of some one stealthily approaching from somewhere in the
direction to which my back was turned; then some one seemed to brush or
scrape against the outside wall of the house, behind me. "What's that?"
I asked in quick alarm. It had not remained a secret to Mrs. Arnold that
I was an unmitigated coward; so she arose, and saying, "How timid you
are!--it is the dog; but I will go and look," she stepped from the low
window to the ground outside, and vanished around the corner of the
house. Some time passed before she returned, and with a little shudder,
sprang to light the candle.

"How chilly it is getting," she exclaimed; and then continued, "it was
the dog we heard out there. Poor fellow; perhaps the cook had forgotten
him, so I gave him his supper."

Rising from my seat to close the window on her remark about the cold, I
stepped to the opposite side from where I had been sitting; and there,
crossing the planks that lay over the slimy creek, and going towards the
commissary buildings, was a man whose figure seemed familiar: I could
not be mistaken--it was Lieutenant Rockdale. No doubt the man had a
right to walk in any place he might choose; but, somehow, I could not
help bringing him in connection with "the dog, poor fellow," for whom
Mrs. Arnold had all at once felt such concern.

Soon the gentlemen returned, and we repaired to the parlor, where a
game of chess quickly made them inaccessible to our conversation. The
game was interrupted by a rap at the front door, and Harry, the sergeant
whom Mrs. Arnold had compelled to mount her black horse that day,
appeared on the threshold. In his face there was a change, too; his eyes
flashed with an unsteady light as he opened the door, and ever and
again, while addressing the Captain--whose thoughts were still half with
the game--his looks wandered over to where Mrs. Arnold sat. We were so
seated that the Captain's back was partly toward her when he turned to
the sergeant; and he could not see the quick gesture of impatience, or
interrogation, that Mrs. Arnold made as she caught the mulatto's eye.
Involuntarily, I glanced toward him--and saw the nod of assent, or
intelligence he gave in return.

The sergeant had come to report that the prisoners in the guard-house
had suddenly asked to see the Captain: they had disclosures to make to
him. When Captain Arnold returned, his face was flushed.

"The villains!" he burst out. "They had managed to hide about five
thousand dollars in United States bank-notes about them, when they were
searched for concealed weapons, and they just now offered it to me, if I
would let them escape. Not only that, but from something one of them
said, I have gained the certainty that they are implicated in the
massacre of the party of civilians that passed through here about two
months ago: you remember, the General ordered out a part of K company,
to rescue the one man who was supposed to have been taken prisoner. The
wretches! But I'll go myself, in the morning, to relieve the men from
picket-duty, and select the best from among them to take the scoundrels
to Santa Fé!"

When about to begin my toilet the next morning, I gave a start of
surprise. Was _that_ what had made the house look so dark and changed?
Before me stood a large tin wash-basin--of the kind that all common
mortals used out here--and the beautiful toilet-set of china, with its
splendors of gilt-edge and moss-roses, had all disappeared--all save the
soap-dish and hot-water pitcher, which were both defective, and looked
as though they had gone through a hard struggle for existence.

When our ambulance made the ascent of the little steep hill that hides
Fort Desolation from view, I saw three horses led from the stable to the
Captain's house--the Captain's horse and two others. He was as good as
his word, and before another day had passed, the two men penned up in
that tent there would be well on their way to meet justice and
retribution. A solitary guard, with ebony face and bayonet flashing in
the morning sun, was pacing back and forth by the tent; and walking
briskly from the commissary buildings toward the men's quarters, was
Harry, the mulatto sergeant.

From the first glance I had at Mrs. Kline's face, when we reached Fort
----, I knew that the mystery of the change at Fort Desolation would be
solved here. Constantia was there, and acting as cook in Dr. Kline's
family. She was an excellent cook, and we did ample justice to her skill
at suppertime. The gentlemen leaving the table to smoke their cigars,
Mrs. Kline and I settled down to another cup of tea and _médisance_.
From what Constantia had stated on coming to Fort ----, it would seem
that in some way Captain Arnold's suspicions had been aroused in regard
to the friendship of Lieutenant Rockdale for his wife. About two months
ago, he one day pretended to start off on a tour of inspection to the
picket-posts; but returned, late the same night, by a different road.
Stealing into the house through the kitchen, he had, rather
unceremoniously, entered the bed-room, where he found Lieutenant
Rockdale toasting his bare feet before the fire. Raising his carbine to
shoot the man, Mrs. Arnold had sprung forward, seized his arms and torn
the gun from him. In the confusion that followed, the toilet-set
referred to, and other articles of furniture, were demolished: but
Constantia, who had crept in after the Captain, to prevent mischief, if
possible, gave it as her opinion that Mrs. Arnold "had grit enough for
ten such men as him an' de leftenant."

"If you did but know the ingratitude of the creature," continued Mrs.
Kline, "and the devotion her husband has always shown her!" And she gave
me a brief sketch of her career: Married to Arnold just at the breaking
out of the war, and of poor parents, she had driven him almost to
distraction by her treatment, when thrown out of employment some time
after. At last he went into the Union forces as substitute--giving every
cent of the few hundred dollars he received to his wife, who spent it on
herself for finery. Later, when for bravery and good conduct he was made
lieutenant in a negro regiment, she joined her husband, and finally came
to the Territory with him. In their regiment, it was well known that he
had always blindly worshipped his wife; and that she had always ruled
him, his purse, and his company, with absolute power.

Before retiring for the night, we debated the question: Should we remain
the next day at Fort ----, or proceed on our journey? The mules needed
rest, as well as the horses, for the quartermaster could not furnish
fresh mules, which we had rather expected; still, my husband was anxious
to reach Santa Fé as soon as possible--and we left the question of our
departure where it was, to settle it the next morning at breakfast. The
news that came to Fort ----, before the next morning, made us forget our
journey--for that day, at least. Captain Arnold had been murdered! The
big, true-hearted man was lying at Fort Desolation--dead--with his
broken eyes staring up to the heaven that had not had pity on him--his
broad breast pierced with the bullet that a woman's treachery had sped!

Before daybreak, a detachment of six men had come in from Fort
Desolation to Fort ----, to report to the commander of their regiment
that Captain Arnold had been assassinated, and Sergeant Henry Tulliver
had deserted, taking with him one horse, two revolvers, and a carbine.
Captain Arnold had started out the morning before, with only two men, to
call in the picket-posts. An hour later, the two men had come dashing
back to the fort, stating that they had been attacked, and Captain
Arnold killed, by the two white men who had been confined in the
guard-house. It was ascertained then, for the first time, that the
prisoners had made their escape. A detachment of men was sent out with a
wagon, and the Captain's body brought in--the men, with their black
faces and simple hearts, gathered around it, with tears and
lamentations, heaping curses on the villains who had slain their kind
commander.

Suddenly a rumor had been spread among them that Harry, the sergeant,
had set the prisoners free; and instantly, a hundred hoarse voices were
shouting the mulatto's name--a hundred hands ready to take the traitor's
life. Vainly Lieutenant Rockdale--who, after the Captain's departure,
had at once repaired to his house--tried to check the confusion, that
was quickly ripening into mutiny: the excitement only increased, and
soon a crowd of black soldiers moved toward the men's quarters, with
anything but peaceful intentions. Perhaps Harry's conscience had warned
him of what would come, for while the mob were searching the quarters, a
lithe figure sprang over the planks across the creek, ran to the stables
below the Captain's house, and the next moment dashed over the road,
mounted on a wild-looking, black horse.

Could they but have reached him--the infuriated men, who sent yells and
carbine-balls after the fugitive--he would have been sacrificed by them
to the _manes_ of the murdered man; and perhaps this effect had been
calculated on, when the fact of his having liberated the prisoners had
been brought, to their ears.

"How did it come to their ears?" I asked of the Doctor, under whose care
one of the six men, overcome with fatigue and excitement, had been
placed. It seems that Mrs. Arnold had expressed her conviction of the
sergeant having liberated the prisoners to Lieutenant Rockdale in little
Fred's hearing, and the boy had innocently repeated the tale to the men.

In the afternoon of the same day, the detail had been made of the men
who brought the news to Fort ----; but when the detachment had been only
an hour or two on the way, they found the trail of the escaped
prisoners. The men could not withstand the temptation to make an effort,
at least, to recapture them. They knew them to be mounted, for the two
horses which Sergeant Tulliver had that morning separated from the herd
were missing; but the trail they followed showed the tracks of _three_
horses, which led them to suppose that Harry had found the men and
joined them.

But the trail led farther and farther from the road, and fearing to be
ambushed, they turned back, leaving the man who had been driven from the
companionship of his brethren by a woman's treachery, to become one of
the vultures that prey on their own kind.



_THE GENTLEMAN FROM SISKIYOU._


In Gilroy, when the sun lies hot and yellow on the roofs of the
frame-built houses and the wide meadows, waving with grain or cropped
short by herds of grazing cattle, the eye turns instinctively to the
mountains, where the dreamy mid-day atmosphere seems to gather coolness
from the dark woods that crown its summit.

"Over that way lie the Hot Springs," says one or the other, pointing out
the direction to the stranger who comes for the first time to Santa
Clara Valley.

If he wait till the early train of the Southern Pacific Railroad comes
in from San Francisco, he will see any number of passengers alighting at
the depot, whose dress and belongings speak of a residence in a place
somewhat larger and wealthier than the pretty little town of Gilroy.
After a comfortable dinner at either of the two hotels, carriages,
stages, and buggies are in readiness to convey those in search of either
health or pleasure on to the Springs.

It is too early in the season yet to feel much inconvenience from the
dust; and the drive through the precincts of what is called Old Gilroy
is a charming trip. The modest but cheerful houses are just within sight
of each other, separated by orchards, grainfields, vineyards; a grove of
white oaks here and there, a single live oak, and clumps of willow and
sycamore, make the landscape as pleasing as any in the country. Nearer
the first rise of the mountain, the view of grainfields, fenced in by
the same dry board fence, would become monotonous were it not for the
ever-fresh, ever-beautiful white oak that stands, sentinel-like,
scattered through the golden fields, its lower branches sometimes hidden
in the full-bearing garbs.

First we hardly notice that the road ascends; but soon, as the
foot-hills leave an open space, we can see a vast plain lying beneath
us, and then the climb begins in good earnest. "Round and round" the
hill it seems to go--a narrow road cut out of the long-resisting
rock--the wounds which the pick and shovel have made overgrown by
tender, pitying vines, that seek to hide the scars on the face of their
fostering mother. Trees high above us shake their leafy heads, and the
wild doves who have their nests in the green undergrowth, croon sadly
over the invasion of their quiet mountain home. Vain complainings of
tree and bird! When the eyes of man have once lighted on nature in her
wild, fresh beauty, they are never withdrawn, and they spare not the
bird on her nest, nor the tree in its pride.

Here opens a mountain valley before us, and, nestled in the shadow of
sycamore and alder, a cosy, home-like cot. The peach and grape-vine
cluster by the door; and where a rude tumble-down fence encloses the
fields, the Rose of Castile, the native child of California, creeps
picturesquely over the crumbling rails, and fills the air with its own
matchless fragrance. Bees are drawing honey from geranium and
gilli-pink, and the humming-bird, darting through space like a flash one
moment, hangs the next, with a quivering, rapturous kiss, in the petals
of the sweet-breathed honeysuckle.

Then the road winds higher, and the hills and rocks above grow steeper,
bearing aloft the laurel tree and manzanite bush, the madrone tree and
the poison ivy. There is not an inch of ground between the wheels of the
stage and the steep declivity; and once in a while a nervous passenger
of the male gender turns away with a shudder, while the female hides her
eyes in her veil or handkerchief, never heeding the sight of the bare,
bald crags, and the pine-covered heights far above and in the dreamy
distance.

As we enter the heart of the _cañon_, the rocky, vine-clad walls on
either side seem to reassure the nervous passenger and the half-fainting
lady; and the grade being very easy for quite a while, there is no more
lamentation heard till the horses dash full-speed through a laughing,
glittering mountain stream, the head-waters of the Cayote, throwing its
spray merrily in at the open window. Again and again the brook is
crossed, as it makes its quick, flashing way through blackberry clumps
and wild grape-vines, glancing up at sycamore and buckeye tree as it
hastens along. Suddenly the driver strikes one of the shining white
rocks on which the water breaks into foam, and then a general commotion
ensues in the stage, and before the passengers have settled back in
their original places, a soft, sad music seems to float toward us on the
air--the rustling of the gray-green pines that overhang the last rise in
the road, and shade so romantically the white cottages clinging to the
mountain-side, and built on the plateau that is crowned by the hotel and
gardens of the Gilroy Hot Springs.

The stage halts, and after shaking hands with the dozen friends one is
sure to find, and partaking of the dinner, which is consumed with
ravenous appetite after the drive of two or three hours, it is still
early enough for a walk to the Springs before the balmy moonlit night
sets in. The terrace-like walk, partly cut out, partly filled in on the
steep mountain-side, is overhung by hills rising again on hills; tiny
cottages peering out here, there, and everywhere, from out manzanite,
laurel and pine trees. Beneath, the mountain falls off into a deep,
narrow valley, clothed in luxuriant green, a towering mountain rising on
the other side.

There are thousands of silver trout in the streams in the valley; there
is an abundance of game in the wild, rugged, but beautiful mountains
back of and above the Springs. As in some cases, however, a horrid,
vicious-looking lamprey-eel has been found on the rod, instead of a
speckled-back trout, so in other cases have brave hunters returned from
the chase with blanched faces and reports of startling sights of huge
bears and California lions, instead of the tamer game they had expected
to bag.

"But it is delightful here for all that!" is the almost involuntary
exclamation of those who, on some bright June morning make their way
slowly, slowly--drinking their fill of nature, sunshine, and mountain
air--to the bubbling, hissing, seething Springs.

We hear this same remark just now from the midst of the group of ladies
who are making their way around the gentle curves of the terrace-walk to
the Springs; and as the words come from the lips of one who is to figure
as the heroine of our short but veracious story, we must take a closer
look at her, as she sweeps by, moving along with the rest, yet always a
little apart from them. She is carelessly swinging her hat by the
strings, and the sun, now and again, as they round some curve in the
road, kisses the auburn of her curls into ripples of golden bronze. The
_nonchalance_ expressed in air and carriage was affected, it was said,
and that she always knew what was going on around her, without ever
asking any questions.

"That gentleman has been devouring you with his eyes this last half
hour. I noticed him up at the house as we were getting ready to
start--and now he is here before us;" and fat, motherly Mrs. Bradshaw
laughed as only such large-framed, large-hearted people can laugh.

"I hope he finds me more palatable than the beefsteak we had this
morning--it was horribly tough."

"Are you speaking of the gentleman from Siskiyou?" asked the tall lady
with glasses, who was Miss Kingsley, and popularly supposed to be
getting up a book on "The Resources of California."

"No, of the beefsteak," quickly replied she of the auburn curls. Mrs.
Bradshaw nudged her very perceptibly, to which admonition she made
answer, _sotto voce_, "I hate old maids and blue-stockings."

Miss Kingsley had drawn herself up to her stateliest height: "I had
meant to inquire whether Mrs. Bradshaw was alluding to the gentleman
from Siskiyou?"

"Yes, dear; didn't you see how he kept his eyes fixed on Mrs. Clayton,
before he turned away when he saw us laughing?"

"I did not observe. My opinion, however, if I may venture to express it,
is that Mrs. Clayton, with all her talent for subjugating mankind, will
hardly succeed in bringing that gentleman to her feet. This piece of
rock, I think, could be inspired with the tender passion just as soon."

"Oh! did he refuse that valuable information in regard to the resources
of California?" asked Mrs. Clayton, with mingled indignation and
concern.

Mrs. Bradshaw was bubbling over with laughter, while the rest of the
ladies shared her mirth more or less openly, according to the degree of
friendship entertained for Miss Kingsley.

When the party rounded the last bend near the spring, a tall, spare man,
conspicuous in a generous expanse of white shirt-bosom, and low,
stiff-brimmed hat, hastily laid down the drinking-cup, and moved out of
sight, making the circuit of the bath-houses in his anxiety to avoid the
advancing column of fair ones. Uncle George was on hand, as usual,
smilingly filling glasses and dippers with the boiling waters, trying
between whiles to answer the numerous questions propounded, mostly in
regard to the retreating form disappearing among the manzanite on the
hillside.

"It's the gentleman from Siskiyou." The words were addressed to Mrs.
Clayton, who was blowing little puffs of wind into the glass in her
hand, and seemed to have no interest in common with the eager, laughing
crowd about. "He and his pardner are both here; they own placer-mines on
Yreka Flats, and came here because the gentleman's liver is affected.
They're a funny couple--never speak to no ladies, and ain't sociable
like, only among themselves. His pardner--there he is now, going up
after him," pointing to a low-built, square-shouldered man, with black,
bushy eyebrows--"waits on him like a woman, and no two brothers couldn't
be more affectionate. His pardner told me his own self that when they
first came together, eighteen years ago, he got into a row at
Placerville--used to be Hangtown, then--and they were firing into him
thick and fast after he was down, when Mr. Brodie stepped in, picked him
up and carried him to their cabin, and nussed him till he was well
again. You see he limps a little yet; but then Mr. Brodie was the only
doctor he had, and he says it's a wonder to him he has any legs left at
all, he was so riddled with shot."

Sufficient water having been drank, the ladies wended their way back,
scattering as they approached the hotel building--generally spoken of as
"the house"--which contained parlor, dining and assembly rooms. Some
sought their cottages, others climbed the hill-sides, while still others
visited the little stream rushing along through the green depths that
the stage-road overhung. Some had escorts, others went alone, or formed
groups of three or four; and all gave themselves up to the enjoyment of
that perfect freedom which makes the stay at these California
watering-places a recreation and a holiday.

As the heat of the sun became more oppressive, the stragglers returned;
and the closed window-blinds of the cottages spoke of an unusually warm
day for the season. This, however, did not forbid the ushering in of the
next day with an extra heavy fog, which dripped from the eaves like
rain, and made more penetrating the wind that came in surly gusts and
rudely swept back the end of the shawl thrown Spanish-fashion over Mrs.
Clayton's shoulder. Her right hand grasped a bottle filled with water
from the Springs; and the left, hidden until now under the shawl, was
bound up in a white cloth. The wind had carried her hat away, too; and
after looking helplessly around, she deposited the bottle on the bench
nearest her, and gave chase to the runaway. But the hat was suddenly
held up before her, and the bottle taken from the bench. It was the
gentleman from Siskiyou, who stammered something she did not understand,
and to which she replied sweetly and plaintively, "Thank you, ever so
much. I am so helpless with that hand. I sprained it some weeks ago,
falling from a carriage, and did not know how bad it was till the
doctors sent me here. I must have hurt it again yesterday; and now I've
got to go about like a cripple." The voice was like a child's; and a
half sob seemed to rise in her throat as she spoke the last words, and a
tell-tale moisture shone in her eyes.

He had awkwardly set the bottle back on the bench; and when she prepared
to move on, he bent over to seize the bottle and carry it for her. In
his nervousness he did not heed that she, too, was stooping forward; and
only when their heads came in contact did he realize how near he had
stood to her. A deep scarlet overspread his sallow face, while Mrs.
Clayton said, "Oh, will you carry the bottle for me? Thanks. I wanted to
bathe my hand, and was afraid to go more than once through the fog and
wind."

They reached the cottage, where he deposited the bottle on the
door-steps, and withdrew with a somewhat awkward, but perfectly
chivalrous bow.

After breakfast, when the ground was still too wet to walk out, Jenny,
sitting in the low rocking-chair by the open door, was startled by
footsteps crunching under the window; and a moment later Mr. Brodie
placed a bottle at her feet.

"I thought it might be better for your wrist to have the water hot to
bathe it in; that's just from the spring, and I walked fast." In spite
of the unvarnished speech, there was something about the man that made
it plain to her why people involuntarily spoke of him as "the
gentleman," when his partner was always spoken of merely as his partner.

It was only common politeness that she should allow him to sit on the
door-step, while she immersed the soft, white hand; and the bottle of
hot spring water was repeated, till she declared the ground dry enough
to walk down to the spring with him. Any number of necks were stretched
from parlor-doors and windows, when the shy, bashful gentleman from
Siskiyou was seen escorting Mrs. Clayton; but falling in with a train of
ladies at the Springs, they all walked back together. Mr. Brodie,
unnoticed apparently by Jenny, and uncomfortable among so many of the
"contrary sex," quietly slipped away under the shadow of a clump of
young trees, where he was joined directly by his partner, who had
watched him uneasily all the morning.

It was a warm, cloudless day, a few weeks later, and Mrs. Clayton had
not joined the picnic party--because, Ben. Brodie said to himself, with
a flutter of his unsophisticated heart, _he_ had felt too unwell in the
morning to go. Going down to the Springs alone, Jenny met his partner,
and asked pleasantly whether Mr. Brodie had yet recovered from his
attack of last night.

"Thank you, Miss, he's better; but it's my opinion as how he'd get well
much quicker if he left these Springs and went down to 'Frisco for a
spell."

"But, Mr. Perkins, his liver is affected; and these waters are said to
be very beneficial."

"Yes, Miss, it _was_ his liver; but I think as how it's in the chist
now; and"--doggedly aside--"mebbee the heart, too; and he'll never be
himself again while he's up here."

"Oh, you must not see things so black. See, there comes Mr. Brodie now."

"Yes--" something like an oath was smothered between the bearded lips,
and the shaggy eyebrows were lowered portentously--"so I see. Ben,
didn't I tell yer to stay in the house, and I'd fetch yer the water?"

Whenever Si Perkins addressed Jenny as "Miss"--which was almost
invariably his custom--it made her think of a short conversation between
Mr. Brodie and herself, soon after their first acquaintance. He had
asked her, with an assumed indifference, but a nervous tremor in his
voice, "And you are a widow, Mrs. Clayton?" upon which she had turned
sharply and said, snappishly, "Would I be away up here all alone if I
had a husband?" It flashed through her mind again, as she saw the
partner's darkened brow and working lips when Mr. Brodie answered, "It's
all right, Si; I wanted to come;" and he laughed a short, confused laugh
that stood for any number of unexpressed sentiments--particularly when
Jenny was by.

"Shall we walk up toward the garden?" he asked of Jenny.

"I think there is shade all the way up," she replied, throwing an uneasy
look on Si Perkins's scowling face. "You may light your cigar, if you
feel well enough to smoke." Mr. Brodie turned to his partner to ask for
a match, and the next moment left him standing alone in the sun, as
though he had no more existence for him.

They halted many times on their way to the garden. It was in an opposite
direction from the Springs; but here as there the road had been partly
cut out on the mountain-side--partly filled in--so that it formed a
terrace overhanging the dense forest-growth in the ravine below, while
on the banks and mountain-tops above grew pines and madrones, the
manzanite shrub and treacherous gloss of the poison-oak making the whole
look like a carefully planted park. The "garden" was a little mountain
valley, taking its name from an enclosed patch, where nothing was grown,
but where the neglected fields were kept fresh and green by the little
rivulet flowing from the cold spring at the foot of an immense sycamore.
Farther on were groups of young oaks, and under these were benches; but
Jenny preferred sitting in the shade of the pines on the clean, sweet
grass. The birds, never molested here, hovered fearlessly about them,
singing and chirping, the blue and yellow butterflies keeping time to
the music.

For quite a while Mr. Brodie had been watching Jenny's lithe figure
darting hither and thither, trying to take the butterflies prisoners
under her hat; her eyes sparkled, and she shouted merrily whenever she
had secured a prize, which, after a moment's triumph, she always set
free again.

"Come and sit down," called Mr. Brodie to her, "or you will hurt your
hand again, and all my three weeks' doctoring will be thrown away."

"It hurts me now," said Jenny, ruefully, "for I struck it against that
tree."

She held up the offending hand, and he inspected it narrowly, looking up
suddenly into her eyes, as though to read in them an answer to something
he had just thought. But it was hard to read anything there, though
Jenny had the sweetest eyes in the world--laughing and sad by turns, and
of warm liquid light. What their color was, it was hard to determine.
They had been called black, hazel, gray; never blue. Her smile was as
unfathomable as her eyes; and you could read nothing of her life, her
history, her character, from either brow or lip. Her hand alone--it was
the right one--as it rested on the sward beside her, might have told to
one better versed in such reading than Ben Brodie, how, like Theodore
Storm's "Elizabeth," it had, "through many a sleepless night, been
resting on a sore, sick heart."

He raised the hand tenderly, not understanding its secret, and asked,
stroking it as we do a child's, "What was my partner saying to you as I
came up a while ago?"

"He wants you to go to San Francisco, away from here. Would you go and
leave me here alone, when you know how lonesome I should be without
you?"

She heard his low, nervous laugh, as he moved uneasily, and held the
hand tighter; but when she looked up into his face, expecting an answer,
it came in his usual abrupt, or, as Jenny said, "jerky" style.

"No, of course I wouldn't go. I'll stay as long as you want me to.
I--I--like you--pretty well."

Jenny's paling cheek blazed up crimson, and she looked fairly aghast as
she repeated mechanically, "'Like you pretty well.' Thank you. _Like_
me, indeed!" She had drawn away her hand, like a pettish child, and she
muttered, a wicked smile breaking over her face, "I don't believe the
man _could_ love any one if he tried. But I'll find out;" and she turned
again to where he sat, disconsolate at the loss of her hand.

Her quicker ear caught the crackling of dry twigs before he could speak
again, and a shrill scream burst from her lips. He was on his feet in an
instant, and flung his arms about the trembling form before his eye
could follow the direction of hers.

"The bear!" she stammered; "the grizzly--there, there!" and the story of
the huge grizzly having been seen in the mountains those last weeks
flashed through his mind.

"Be still!" he said, as she glided from his arms to the ground; "he
cannot hurt you till he has killed me." He stooped to pick up a fallen
branch, and as he did so his eyes came on a level with a large black
calf, rolling over and over in the tall grass. He flung the stick from
him with a disgusted "Pshaw!" and Jenny dropped her hands from her eyes
when his laugh fell on her ear. She joined in the laugh, though hers
sounded a little hysterical; and then insisted on returning immediately,
and his promise to keep the tragi-comic _intermezzo_ a profound secret.

Days passed before Jenny would venture out again; and poor Mr. Brodie
wandered about like one lost, dreading to visit the cottage, because of
a sudden indescribable reserve of the fair tenant, yet held as by
invisible hands in the nearest neighborhood of the place. One day,
sitting with blinds closed and a headache, ready for an excuse to all
who should come to tempt her out, Jenny missed the tall form passing
shyly by the door half a dozen times per diem. The next morning she met
Si Perkins--by the merest accident, of course, on her part--coming from
the spring with a bottle of water.

"Is Mr. Brodie sick?" she asked, quickly.

"Yes, Miss; he was took bad night before last; but he's better," he
added, anxious to prevent--he hardly knew what.

"Very well; you may tell Mr. Brodie that I am coming to see him and read
to him this afternoon." She spoke determinedly, almost savagely, as
though she anticipated finding Si Perkins at the door with drawn sword,
ready to dispute the entrance.

She was shocked to find Mr. Brodie so pale and thin as he lay on the bed
that afternoon; and Si Perkins, in a tone that seemed to accuse her of
being the cause, said, "I told you it was his chist, Miss; he's getting
powerful weak up here in the mountains, and yit he won't go down."

She was an angel while he was too sick to leave his room, sitting by him
for hours, reading to him in her soft child's voice, and speaking to
him so gently and tenderly that he felt a better, and oh! so much
happier a man when he first walked out beside her again.

Then there came a day when Ben Brodie stopped at the cottage of his kind
nurse, and with the air of a culprit asked Jenny to come with him, "away
up into the mountains." The light that flashed in her eyes a moment was
quenched by something that looked strangely like a tear, as she turned
to reach for her hat. It was early afternoon, and most people were still
in their cottages, with blinds, and perhaps eyes too, closed. The two
walked slowly, or climbed rather, resting often and looking back to
where they could see the white cottages blinking through the trees. The
wind blew only enough to rustle the pine branches, without stirring the
sobs and wails that lay dormant in those trees. Jays and woodpeckers
went with them, and many a shining flower was broken by the way. At last
Jenny stopped and looked around.

"Don't let us go farther--who knows but what we may encounter another
bear?" she said roguishly; and he prepared a soft seat for her under the
pines, by pulling handfuls of grass and heaping it up in one place.

She smiled to herself as she watched him; his awkwardness had left him,
and for the comfort of one whom he only "liked pretty well," he was
taking a great deal of pains, she thought. When she was seated, and had
made him share the grass seat, the restraint suddenly returned, and he
fell to stroking her hand again, and stammered something about her wrist
being better.

"Yes," she affirmed, "and I mean to return to the city in a day or two."

He blushed like a girl. "May I go with you?" he asked; and then jumped
at once into the midst of a "declaration"--which had evidently been
gotten by heart--winding up by asking again, "and now may I go with you
to San Francisco, Jenny? and will you marry me?"

Her eyes had been fixed on the lone bare crag away off across the
valley; and the color in them had changed from light gray to deep black,
and had faded again to a dull heavy gray.

"You may go to San Francisco, of course, though I shall not see you
there. And 'I like you pretty well,' too; but you must not dare to dream
that I could ever marry you."

A little linnet in the tree above them had hopped from branch to branch,
and now sat on the lowest, almost facing them. When Jenny's voice,
stone-cold and harsh, had ceased, he broke into a surprised little
chirp, and then uttered quick, sharp notes of reproof or remonstrance.
Jenny understood either the language of the bird, or what the wild,
startled eyes looking into hers said, for the hand that had lain in his
was tightly clinched beside her, telling a tale she would not let her
face repeat.

When the lamp had been lighted in her cottage that night, she stood
irresolute by the window from where she could see the Brodie-Perkins
habitation. On her way to the dining-room she had come unawares on Si
Perkins instructing a waiter to bring tea to their cottage; and though
she had asked no question, her eyes had rested wistfully on the
partner's stern face. Now she paced the room, her face flushed, her
hands clasped above her aching head, then dropped again idle and
nerveless by her side.

"It is too late," she said, at last; "and it can never, never be. Then
why make myself wretched over it?" and with a sudden revulsion of
feeling she raised the curtain and looked steadily over to the other
cottage. "It is only the law of reprisals, after all, Ben Brodie! To be
sure _you_ did not break my heart--but--that other man--and--you are all
men." Her voice had died to a whisper; and, drawing writing material
toward her at the table, she was in the midst of her letter before the
vengeful light died out of her eyes. Once she laid her head on her arm
and sobbed bitterly; but she finished the letter, closed and directed
it, and turned down the light so that she could not be seen going from
the cottage. The night air was damp and chilly, and before descending
the three wooden steps that led from the little stoop to the ground, her
unsteady hand sought the dress-pocket to drop her letter in; and then
she drew the shawl and hood close about her.

She shuddered the next morning, as she threw a last look back into the
room from which her trunk and baggage had already been taken, and she
muttered something about the dreariness of an empty room and an empty
heart. But when her numerous dear friends came to the stage to bid a
last farewell, Jenny's face looked so radiant that many a one turned
with secret envy from the woman to whom life must seem like one
continuous holiday. Si Perkins, with eyebrows drawn deep down, was
attentively studying a newspaper by the open window of the reading-room;
and when Jenny threw a look back from the stage, she fancied that a
trembling hand was working at the blinds of the two partners' cottage;
and the sallow, ghastly face, and wild, startled eyes of yesterday, rose
up reproachfully before her.

The day dragged slowly on; "from heat to heat" the sun had kissed the
tree-tops with its drowsy warmth, hushing to sleep the countless birds
that make the mountain-side their home. With the cool of evening came
the low breeze that shook the sleepers from repose, and sighed sadly,
sadly through the pines.

"Has the stage come in?" asked Ben Brodie slowly, as he lay with closed
eyes and feverish brow on his bed in the cottage.

"Nearly an hour ago," answered Si Perkins, in his growling voice. He had
tried hard to maintain his usual key, but his eyes rested with deep
concern on his friend's face as he spoke.

"And was there any one in the stage whom you knew?"

"No one."

The sick man opened his eyes, and closed them again wearily. His lips
worked spasmodically for an instant; then he asked resolutely, but in an
almost inaudible tone, "Did not _she_ come back, Si? Are you sure? Did
you see all the passengers?"

"It's no use, Ben; she's gone, and she'll never come back."

"But, Si"--the quivering lips could hardly frame the words--"have you
been to her cottage? I had not asked you to look, you know; but will you
go to her room now, and see if she has not come back?"

Without a word Si took his hat, his lips twitching almost as perceptibly
as Ben Brodie's. When he had reached the door the sick man said, "You
are not mad, Si, are you? Have patience with me; I shall be better--so
much better--soon, and then you will forgive me."

Si turned and held the feverish hand a moment, muttering that he'd go
to--a very hot place if his partner bade him, and then left the room.

Though he knew the utter folly of such a proceeding, he went to the
vacant cottage, and peered through the open blind into the vacant room.
There was something so death-like and still about the place that he
turned with heavy heart and eyes bent down to the three steps that led
from the stoop to the ground. Something white shimmered up out of the
crevice between the stoop and the first step, and he bent down, saying
to himself, "If it's only a scrap of paper, Ben is spoony enough to want
it, and kiss it mebbee, because it was hers."

The dampness of the past night had saturated the paper, and drying again
in the sun, a portion of the letter--for such it proved to be--adhered
to the board as Si attempted to draw it out. The letter unfolded itself,
and fluttered lightly before Si's face, who bestowed a blessing on the
"cobweb" paper, and then doggedly sat down to read what was written on
it. His shaggy eyebrows seemed to grow heavier as he read, and his face
turned a livid brown and then red again. When he had finished, he threw
a hasty look over toward their cottage, and crushing the letter in
fierce but silent wrath, he dropped the wad into his pocket and slowly
retraced his steps.

"She hasn't come?"

If Ben had moved from his bed during Si's absence, the latter did not
notice any derangement of furniture or bed-clothes, and he now dropped
heavily into a chair beside his friend's bed.

"When you get well, old fellow, we must go."

"Where? To San Francisco?"

"San Francisco be ----. No; to Siskiyou."

There was no response. The fever had gone down, and Ben lay pale and
still, like a corpse almost, except that his fingers seemed striving to
touch something which evaded his grasp. The wind had grown stronger, and
on it came borne the notes of the grossbeak, who strays down from the
mountain-tops in the evening, and makes those who hear him think of
home, of absent friends, and of all we hold dearest, and all who have
gone from us farthest in this world.

"How mournfully the wind sings!" said Ben, softly. "It seems like her
voice calling to me. But I will never see her again--. She could not
think of me as I did of her. I would lay down my life for her; but she
could only like me a little. She was too good for me."

"Ben, Ben! I can't bear to hear you talk so. Oh! that wicked, wicked
woman!"

"Hush, Si; she was an angel; and when I was sick she taught me to pray."
The gaunt hand that had been raised as if to ward off the harsh words
his partner would say, fell back on his breast, where he laid it across
the other. "Our Father who art in heaven--" The fingers stiffened, and
the heavy lids sank over the weary eyes.

"Ben, old pard, look at me! Speak to me!" He bent over the motionless
form, and laid his hand caressingly on the wiry black hair. "Don't you
leave me alone in the world." The trembling hand glided down to his
friend's breast and laid itself over the heart. But the heart stood
still; and as he drew back his hand, it touched a cold, smooth object
that fell to the floor. He stooped, and lifted a small vial to the
light, and as he did so a great scalding tear fell on the label, just
where the word "Poison" was traced in large letters.


When Si Perkins returned to the Placer Mines, on Yreka Flats, he brought
with him only two articles which he seemed to consider of value. They
were always kept under lock and key. The one was a small vial, with the
word "Poison" on the label, blurred and blotted; the other a letter,
carefully smoothed out, after having been, to all appearances, cruelly
crushed and crumpled.

The letter ran thus:


     HOT SPRINGS, June 28.

     "DEAR JIM: I am coming home, and may be in San Francisco even
     before this reaches you, unless I should be seized with a notion to
     remain in San José, or visit the Warm Springs, or the Mission. My
     wrist is not strong yet; and to tell you the truth, only 'the
     persecutions of a man' are driving me away from here. I can see you
     laugh, and hear you saying, 'At your old tricks, Jenny.' But though
     I shall recount the whole affair to you when we meet, I shall not
     allow you to laugh at the discomfiture of the gentleman from
     Siskiyou. He is so terribly in earnest; and--oh! I remember but too
     well the blow you struck my heart when you first told me that you
     could never belong to me; that I could never be your lawful wife.
     But I don't mean to grow sentimental. You may please issue orders
     to Ah Sing and Chy Lun to 'set my house in order,' and look for me
     any time between this and the 'glorious Fourth.'

     JENNY."



_SOMETHING ABOUT MY PETS._


Many a bitter tear they have cost me--the different pets I have had: not
their possession, but their loss, which followed as inevitably as fate,
and as surely as day follows night. As far as my recollection goes back,
my four-footed friends have occupied prominent places in my affections,
and have eventually become the cause of great sorrow. The first doubt I
ever felt of the justice and humanity of the world in general, and my
kinsfolk in particular, was because of the cruel death of my favorite
dog, Arno, who had been given away after my older brother's death, to a
family who had more use and room for a large hunting-dog than my widowed
mother.

At first, he refused utterly to stay with his new master; but when he
found that the doors of his old home were steadfastly closed against
him, he would lie in wait for me as I went to school; and on my way home
in the afternoon, he would always follow me, drawing back his nose and
fore-paws only in time to prevent their being pinched in by the
sharp-shutting gate, and looking wistfully through the paling with his
big, honest eyes. Perhaps my elders did not understand "dog-language" as
I did; but I knew that Arno fully appreciated the feeling which led me
to throw my arms around his neck and weep bitter, childish tears on his
brown head; and he felt comforted by my sympathy, I am sure, for he
would lick my hands, and wag his long-haired tail with a little joyous
whine, before trotting back to the broad stone steps in front of his new
master's house. But night always found him under my chamber window,
which looked out on a narrow lane, used as a thoroughfare; and here I
could hear his deep-mouthed bark all night long, as he kept fancied
marauders and real dogs from encroaching on our premises and his
self-chosen battle-ground. For he met his death here, at last.

He had become quite aged; and the other dogs of the neighborhood had
frequently made common cause against him, for blocking up (to them) the
passage in the lane, but had never yet been able to rout him. One night,
however, they attacked him with overpowering numbers, and punished him
so severely that it was found to be necessary, or, at least, merciful,
the next morning, to send a bullet through his head and end his misery.
To me this all seemed terribly cruel, and I cried wildly, and sobbed out
my reproaches against everybody for having left him to lie out in the
street at night, instead of allowing him a safe shelter in the house. I
refused to be comforted, or adopt any other dog in his place; but
bestowed my affection and caresses impartially on all the stray dogs and
horses that happened to cross my path.

Some time after I was married, a little spotted dog, of no particular
breed, sought shelter from the rain on the basement-steps, one day, and
refused to "tramp" when the shower was over. She was a short-legged,
smooth-haired little thing, with the brightest eyes I ever saw in a
dog's head. Tiny soon became my pet, and amply repaid us for the food
and shelter we had given her. She learned everything, and with such
ease, that I sometimes suspected I had taken into my family one who had
formerly been a public circus performer. She could stand on her hind
legs and beg for an apple or a piece of sugar; she could find and fetch
a hidden handkerchief, glove, or cap; she could jump through a hoop, and
could pick out from among a lot of articles the shawls, comforters, or
hats belonging to myself, or any member of the family. On the approach
of a buggy to the house, she would rush to the window, and if she
recognized it as the captain's, would scratch and whine till I opened
the door for her, in sheer self-defence. Dashing up to the buggy, she
would wag her tail with such vehemence as threatened to upset her little
round body--begging in this way for a glove, or the long buggy-whip, to
drag into the house.

Tiny also knew the name of the different members of the family, whether
they occupied the same house with us, or only came on visits. If mother
came on a visit, for instance, I could send Tiny from the kitchen with a
key, a paper, or anything she could carry, and on my order, "Give it to
mother," she would carry it to the parlor, or wherever mother might be,
and lay it carefully in her lap, or on the sofa beside her. On the
order, "Kiss the captain," she would immediately dart at that gentleman,
and, if he ever so artfully avoided her little tongue for the time
being, she would watch the first opportunity to climb into his lap, or
jump on to a piece of furniture, to execute the command.

Soon after Tiny's advent, a young stag-hound was given to the captain,
and him she took under her wing, though in size he could boast of three
times her own volume. Dick, I am very sorry to own, was not so well
treated as Tiny; and I smite my breast even now, and say very
penitently, "_mea culpa_," when I think of how I hurt him, one day. I
was lying on the sofa, half asleep from the heat and the exertion of
cutting the leaves of a new magazine. Presently, Dick approached, and
before I could open my eyes, or ward him off, he had jumped on the sofa
and settled full on my head and face. Angry and half-stifled, I flung
the dog with all my might to the floor, where he set up such a pitiful
crying, that I knew he must be seriously hurt. Jumping up, I saw him,
quite a distance from the sofa, holding up his foreleg, on which his paw
was dangling in a loose, out-of-place manner. Comprehending what I had
done, I carried him into the next room, and poured the basin full of
water, in which I held his paw; and then bound rags on the dislocated
limb, steeping the paw into the water occasionally, to keep down the
swelling till the captain should come. Sorry as I felt for having
inflicted such pain on the poor animal, it was a perfect farce to watch
his proceedings, and I had laughed till my sides ached before the
captain got home. It so happened that mother and one or two other near
friends came in during the course of the day. As soon as any one entered
the room, Dick, who had been allowed to take up his quarters on a
blanket in the sitting-room, would hobble up, hold out his rag-wrapped
paw, and, elevating his nose, would utter heart-rending cries of pain,
thus "passing his hat for a pennyworth of sympathy," as unmistakably as
I have known human beings to do many a time before. Then, with cries and
grimaces, he would induce the beholder to follow him pityingly into the
next room, where he would immerse his foot in the water, as I had made
him do, once or twice. During this performance Tiny would keep close
behind him, and with little sympathetic whines, would echo all his cries
and complainings; and this show was repeated whenever they could get a
fresh spectator.

At the same time, we had in our possession a horse, which, for sagacity,
kindness, and docility, outshone all the horses I have ever had the
fortune to become acquainted with. Not the most partial admiration of
Kitty's many virtues could lead me into believing her to be beautiful,
though she was by no means an ugly horse. A bright bay, with well-shaped
head, she was too short-bodied, though the long legs seemed to lay claim
to an admixture of English blood. Kitty was a saddle-nag as well as
buggy-horse, and the captain always chose her when he had a fatiguing
ride to take; though, for my part, I should have scorned to be seen
mounted on an ugly, stump-tailed thing like her.

This is ingratitude, however; I have never had a more devoted friend
than Kitty. She was assigned to the duty of taking me out to "mother's
house," where she was always well pleased to go, for I used to take her
out of the harness and let her run loose under the orchard trees. I have
never met with a horse so expert at picking apples as she was; she never
injured the trees, and seemed always to know exactly which were the best
"eating apples." When the time came to go home, Kitty, like a sensible,
grateful horse, was always on hand; the only trouble was to get her back
into harness again--it generally being just milking-time then, and I
never liked to admit to any of the men that I could not harness a horse
as well as saddle it. So, it often happened that, after I got on the
road, Kitty would stop short and refuse to go a step farther. Whipping
would do no good on such occasions; she would only switch her tail,
stamp her foot impatiently, and turn her head around, as if to say:
"Don't you know that I have good reasons for acting so?" On throwing
down the lines, and examining the harness, I would be sure to find that
some buckle had been left unfastened, or some strap was dragging under
her feet. One day a soldier came to my assistance, and he said it was
the greatest wonder in the world that the horse had not kicked the buggy
to pieces, for I had fastened a buckle on the wrong side, and with every
step she took the buckle had pressed sorely into poor Kitty's flesh. I
could appreciate Kitty's good behavior all the more for having seen her
kick dashboard and shafts to splinters, one day, when the captain drove
her, and some part of the harness gave way.

The friendship, however, was reciprocal; for many a bucket of cool,
fresh water, many a tea-tray full of oats, and many an apple and lump of
sugar had Kitty received at my hands, when she stopped at the door, or
was taken into the back yard, to await her master's leisure to ride. The
saddle she liked best, for under it she could move about in the yard.
She would follow me like a dog, and tried to make her way into the
basement one day, where I had gone to get some grain for her. I always
kept a sack of oats in the house, as we had no stable, and the horses
were boarded at a stable down town; but Kitty would have gone without
her dinner many a time had it not been for the "private feeds" I gave
her, as the captain's opinion was that horses should not be "pampered
and spoiled." Kitty knew how much I thought of her, and sometimes
presumed on it, too. I have known her--at times, when the captain
brought her into the yard late at night, previously to sending her to
the stable--to set up such a whinnying, stamping, and snorting, that, to
the captain's infinite amusement, I was compelled to leave my bed and
take her a handful of oats or a piece of sugar. And on the street, if I
met the captain mounted on or riding behind Kitty, she would instantly
step on the sidewalk and make a dive for my pocket, to extract the apple
she fancied concealed there. Moreover, she would allow Tiny to climb all
over her back; but Dick she always greeted with a snort, and
occasionally with a kick.

One day the captain furnished a valuable addition to the "happy family,"
without, in the least, intending to do so. It seems that just as he was
leaving the house, he saw an open market-wagon, and on it two forlorn
chickens broiling in the July sun. The man offered to sell him the
chickens, so he bought them, threw them over the fence, and called to
the servant to unfasten the string fettering the feet of the poor
animals. His order was not heard; and I knew nothing of the existence of
the chickens till Tiny's barking attracted my attention. There lay the
two chickens, gasping and panting, and the dogs, like all little
natures, exhibited great delight at being able to worry and distress the
poor, defenceless creatures. I dragged the poor things into the shade,
cut their fetters, and gave them "food and drink." One of the chickens
was a gay-feathered rooster, the other, a plain-looking hen, who
exhibited, however, by far the best sense, in this, that she did not
struggle to get away from me as "fighting Billy" did, but allowed me to
pass my hand over her soft dress, accompanying each stroke with a low
crooning "craw-craw," as though wishing to express her satisfaction with
her present position. When I thought the chickens were both safe and
comfortable in the yard, I went back to my favorite resting-place--a
soft rug, in front of the sitting-room fireplace. The summer was
extraordinarily warm, and I had repeatedly wandered all over the house
in search of the "coolest place," but had always returned to this. Not
far from me was a window, from which the shutters were thrown back
directly after noon, as there was shade then on this side of the house,
and nearly opposite was a door leading to the vine-clad porch. Glad
enough to pass a part of the hot afternoon in a _siesta_, I was
surprised on waking, and stretching out my feet, to push against a soft,
round ball; and the slow "craw-craw" I heard, caused me to start to a
sitting posture. There, sure enough, was chicky, cuddled up close to my
feet, repeating her monotonous song every time I deigned to take notice
of her. I had never believed before that chickens had brains enough to
feel affection or gratitude towards anybody; but I wish to state as an
actual fact that chicky, as long as she was in my possession, never let
a day pass that she did not come fluttering up the low steps to the
porch and visit me in the sitting-room. During my regular _siesta_ she
was always beside me; and if I attempted to close the door against her,
she would fly up to the window and come in that way. Indeed, she wanted
to take up her roost there altogether; and it was only with great
difficulty I could persuade her to remove to the back-yard.

Fighting Billy proved by no means so companionable as chicky: within the
first week he had fought, single-handed, every rooster in the
neighborhood, and the second week he staggered about the yard with his
"peepers" closed, and showing general marks of severe punishment, from
the effects of which he died, in spite of aught we could do for his
relief.

But our "happy family" was broken up, after awhile: the captain was
"called to the wars," and, in spite of all I could say, took Kitty with
him, as the "most reliable horse." Kitty never returned; and I spent one
whole day, during the captain's first visit home, in saying: "I told you
so," and crying over Kitty's loss. Next, Tiny was stolen; and Dick went
the way of most all "good dogs"--with our servant-girl's
butcher-beau--at whose house I saw him, shortly after Babette's
marriage, together with sundry lace-collars, table-cloths, and
napkin-rings that had mysteriously left the house about the same time
with her. Chicky disappeared the night before Thanksgiving day: perhaps
they couldn't get any turkey to give thanks for, and contented
themselves with a chicken.

When the captain next came home, he found nothing but a squirrel--but
this squirrel was the greatest pet I had yet found. I came by it in this
way: two small, ragged boys pulled the bell one day, and, seeing a
little wooden cage in their hands, I went to the door immediately
myself. How the little wretches knew of my silly propensity for
collecting all vagabond, half-starved animals, I don't know; but they
showed me a scraggy little squirrel in the cage, and said, with the
utmost confidence, they wanted to sell it to me.

"How much do you want for it?" I asked.

"Two dollars," said the oldest, at a venture, and then opened his eyes
in astonishment, as much at his own audacity as at my silence--which
seemed to imply assent to his extortion.

You see, I had opened the cage, and bunny had slipped out, scrambled up
on my arm, and lodged himself close around my neck, where he lay with
his little head tucked under my chin. How could I let the little thing
go? So I gave the boy his two dollars, for which he generously offered
to leave the cage, which offer I declined, intending to make a
house-dog of bunny. The sagacity, gentleness, and playfulness of little
Fritz are beyond all description; though his bump of destructiveness, I
must acknowledge, was also very largely developed. He was still young,
and I could keep him on a window-sill quite safely, till I felt sure of
his attachment to me, and his disinclination to make his escape. The
window-sill and the open window remained his favorite post to the end of
his life; though when he grew older, he would occasionally jump from my
bed-room window, in the second story, to the grass and flower-beds
below. He had not been in the house more than a week before he followed
me about like a dog, and took his place close by me at the table, eating
and drinking anything I had a mind to offer him. He drank coffee out of
a cup, and ate the meat I gave him--holding it in his paws, as little
children hold a strip of meat in their hands--nibbling and sucking it,
with great gusto.

I cannot conceal that the wood work, the furniture, and all the books,
throughout the house, soon displayed ragged edges and torn surfaces; and
mother (who had taken up her abode with us), who punished Fritz for his
depredations sometimes, was held in high disfavor by him, in
consequence. When I was not at home, he would hardly allow her to touch
him, and would hide under the pillows on my bed, at her approach,
barking and scolding with great vehemence. To me he never said an
"unkind word;" on the contrary, I could hardly secure myself from his
caresses. Sometimes I would place him on the top of a tall cupboard, or
high wardrobe, to get him away from under my feet; but the moment I
passed anywhere within reaching-distance, he would fly down on me, and,
settling on my hand, face, or shoulder, would fall to licking my face,
and nibbling at my ears and nose, to assure me of his favor. I fear I
have slapped him more than once for marking my face with his little
sharp claws, when making one of these sudden descents. At night, he
slept under my pillow; and early in the morning he would creep out,
nibble at my eyelids, and switch me with his bushy tail. Without opening
my eyes, I would reach out for a handful of nuts--opened and placed
within reach the night before--and with these he would amuse himself for
a long while, always cleaning his face and paws after disposing of his
first breakfast. With sundown he went to sleep; but, of warm nights,
when I went to bed late, I would carry his little drinking-cup to him,
filled with ice-water. Half asleep, sometimes with his eyes closed, he
would take a long drink; but never once, of all those nights, did he
return to his pillow without first gratefully passing his little tongue
over the hand that held him. That he knew it was my hand, I am quite
certain; for if the captain ever attempted to touch him, in the middle
of the night, when Fritz was ever so sound asleep, he would immediately
start up with a snarl, and snap at the captain's fingers; whereas, if I
thrust my hand under the pillow, in the dead of night, he would lick it,
and rub his nose against it.

With nothing but a little basket to carry him in, I took him with me for
a journey, on a Mississippi steamer. I left him in the basket, while
looking after my baggage; but when I returned to my state-room, he
suddenly jumped on my head from above, having eaten his way out, through
the lid of the basket, and climbed to the top-berth. The stewardess on
the steamer tried to steal him, when near port, but Fritz had made such
good use of his sharp claws and teeth that she was fain to own: "She had
on'y wanted to _tech_ the lilly bunny--hadn't wanted to hurt'm, 'tall."

It makes me sad, even now, to think of the closing scene of Fritz's
short, but, let me hope, happy life. Once a lady, the mother of a
terrible little boy, had come to spend the day with us; and I soon
discovered that either Fritz or the little boy must be caged "up and
away." So, pretending to be afraid that the boy might get hurt, but in
reality fearing only for Fritz's welfare, I carried the squirrel up into
the lumber-room, where I brought to him nuts without number, apples,
sugar, crackers, and water to bathe in and drink from. There was a pane
broken out of the window-sash, but this I covered with a piece of
paste-board, and then went down to entertain the lady and her detestable
little boy. Seated at the window, not long after, I saw an urchin come
running around the next corner, and, when barely within speaking
distance, he shouted at the top of his voice: "Say, Missis, they's got
him, 'round here in the cooper-yard, and he's dead--the squirrel!" he
added, in explanation.

Though by no means in a toilet representing a "street-dress"--in fact,
with only one slipper on--I started off on a run, and never stopped till
my youthful mentor pointed to a circle of men and boys, gathered around
an object lying on the ground. It was Fritz, writhing in the last
agonies of death, while the boys were calling each other's attention to
the contortions of the poor little body. In a moment, I was among them,
had lifted Fritz in my arms, and held him to my face.

"Who did that?" I asked, with pain and anger struggling in my heart;
"which of you little brutes killed the poor, harmless thing?"

The little ragamuffin who had led me to the spot, pointed to two boys
making ineffectual attempts to hide a long stick, they were carrying,
behind them.

"They was a-hitting 'm like fury, and then I runned to tell you; please,
Missis, gimme a dime."

Poor little Fritz! He knew me, even in the death-struggle; for he passed
his tongue over my hand once more, just before the last convulsive
shudder ran through his body, and his little limbs grew stiff and cold.
I don't feel, in the least, ashamed to own that I cried--cried many
tears--cried bitterly; and I felt dreadfully lonesome when I woke up at
night, and, from the sheer force of habit, put my hand under my pillow
without finding Fritz there. I made a vow then never to have any more
pets; but it was a rash one.

Some years later, when the war was over, the "theatre of our life" was
to be shifted from the crowded, populous city to the lonely wilds of the
frontier country. When we reached Fort Leavenworth, the quarters in the
barracks were all occupied, and a number of our officers were assigned
quarters in the Attaché Barracks. The captain had decided to purchase a
horse from the government stables, and turn him over to me for
saddle-use, as I did not want to go to our frontier-post without a horse
of my own to depend on. It was in June; and the little square yards in
front of the Attaché Barracks were fresh and sweet with grass and
blossoming red clover. The door of our quarters stood open; the captain
had gone out, and I was startled by a knock on the door-post. Looking
up, I saw the head of an orderly appearing at the door; but, poking over
his head, I saw that of a horse evidently taking a strict inventory of
everything in the room. Of course, I was at the door, and on the horse's
neck, in the course of a very few seconds, for, from the orderly, I soon
understood that the captain had sent the horse for me to look at.
Colonel L----, with his two little girls, came up just then, and, as we
were all going in the same command, the acquisition of a horse for the
march had an interest for all parties. Together, we surrounded and
admired the beautiful white animal; and the two little girls and myself
were soon braiding clover-blossoms into Toby's tail, and trimming his
head and neck with garlands of butter-cups--operations which did not, in
the least, interfere with his good humor, or his appetite for the juicy
grass he was cropping. The captain, it seems, had already tried his
speed and mettle; he was not appraised at at any unreasonable figure,
and so Toby was mine before we took up the line of march for the Plains.

From the wagon-master I heard, later, that Toby had been captured in
Texas, during the war. He had been raised and trained by a woman who had
followed him around the country for some time, trying to get her pet
back again; but Uncle Sam, no doubt, had the best right to him, and he
was placed in the stables of the Fitting-out Depot. One thing certainly
spoke for the truth of the story: whenever Toby had been let loose and
refused to be tied up again, he would always allow me to come up to him,
when he would turn and throw up his heels at the approach of a man.

Toby was soon a universal favorite and proved himself worthy of the
preference, though he had one or two tricks about him that were by no
means commendable. First: he was an inveterate thief; and then--at times
when he was not ridden, but led along by the orderly--he had a mean way
of lying back and letting the other horse pull him along, that fairly
exasperated me. His thefts, however, were always carried out in such a
cunning manner that I readily forgave the sin for the sake of the skill.
We had not been long on the march when Toby perpetrated his first
robbery. The captain rode him, and when the command halted for lunch, he
would come up to our ambulance, dismount, and let Toby go perfectly
free--for we had soon found that he would not stray from the command.
Toby learned to know the contents and appliances of lunch-baskets very
soon, particularly as he received his portion from ours regularly every
day. One day, after having dispatched his bread-and-butter and lump of
sugar in the neighborhood of our ambulance, he walked over to Colonel
L----'s, and while Mrs. L---- was leaning out on the other side,
speaking to the colonel, Toby quietly lifted the lunch-basket from her
lap, deposited it on the grass, overturned it, and helped himself to the
contents. Unfortunately for Toby, Mrs. L---- had spread mustard on her
ham-sandwiches, and the sneezing and coughing of the erring horse first
called her attention to his presence, and the absence of her
lunch-basket.

Not long after, we made camp very early in the day, and the major's
folks came to fill a long-standing promise to take tea with us, and
spend the evening at our tent. The visit passed off very pleasantly, and
an engagement was made to return it at an early day. Toby, who was
prowling about the tent, no doubt overheard the conversation, and felt
it incumbent on him to fill the engagement as soon as possible.
Consequently, he stationed himself near the major's tent-fly the very
next morning, and paid close attention to the preparations going on for
tea; and just as the cook had put the finishing-touch to the table, and
had stepped back to call the family and set the tea and the meats on the
table, Toby gravely walked up, swallowed the butter with one gulp, upset
the sugar-bowl, gobbled up the contents, and proceeded leisurely to
investigate the inside of a tin jelly-can. The soldiers, who had watched
his manoeuvres from a distance, had been too much charmed with the
performance to give warning to the cook; but when he made his
appearance, meat-dish and tea-pot in hand, they gave such a shout as set
the whole camp in an uproar, and Toby was fairly worshipped by the
soldiers from that day out.

But the faithfulness and patience of the horse, in time of need, made me
forgive him all these tricks. Months later--when still on the march, in
the most desolate wilderness, in the midst of the pathless mountains,
when other horses "gave up the ghost," and were shot at the rate of a
dozen a day--Toby held out, carrying me on his back, day after day,
night after night, till his knees trembled with fatigue and faintness,
and he turned his head and took my foot between his teeth, at last, to
tell me he could carry me no farther! Not once, but a dozen times, has
he repeated this manoeuvre; once, too, when we were coming down a very
steep hill, he planted his forefeet down firmly, turned his head, and
softly bit the foot I held in the stirrup, to tell me that I must
dismount.

The most singular devotion of one horse to another, I witnessed while
out in New Mexico. The captain found it necessary to draw a saddle-horse
for his own use, and selected one from a number which the volunteers had
left behind. It had been half-starved latterly, and was vicious, more
from ill-treatment than by nature. The first evening when it was brought
to our stable, it kicked the orderly so that he could not attend to the
horses next morning, and the cook had to look after them. I went into
the stable to bring Toby a titbit of some kind, and here found that Copp
(the new horse) was deliberately eating the feed out of Toby's trough.
The cook called my attention to it, and explained that the horse had
done the same thing last night; and on interfering, the orderly had been
viciously kicked by the animal. I reached over to stroke the creature's
mane, but the cook called to me to stop, holding up his arm to show
where the horse had bitten him. I went quickly back into the tent, got a
large piece of bread, and held it out to Copp. In an instant he had
swallowed it, and had fallen back on Toby's feed again, without meeting
with the least opposition from that side. Toby evidently had better
sense, and more charity, than the men had shown; he knew that the horse
was half-starved, and wicked only from hunger.

If I had never believed before that horses were capable of reasoning,
and remembering kind actions, Copp's behavior toward Toby would have
converted me. Often, when out on timber-cutting or road-making
excursions, I accompanied the captain, and, mounted on Toby, would hold
Copp by the bridle or picket-rope, so as to allow the orderly to
participate in the pleasures of the day. The grass was rich up in the
mountains, and Toby would give many a tug at the bridle to get his head
down where he could crop it; this, however, had been forbidden by the
captain, once for all, and Toby was compelled to hold his head up in the
proper position. Copp, however, was allowed to crop the grass; but he
never ate a mouthful, of which he did not first give Toby half!
Sometimes he would go off as far as the bridle would reach, gather up a
large bunch in his mouth, and then step back to Toby and let him pull
his share of it out from between his teeth. But no other horse dare
approach Toby in Copp's sight. I have seen him jump quite across the
road for the purpose of biting a horse that was rubbing his nose against
Toby's mane in a friendly manner. One day we met a party of disappointed
gold-hunters, who were anxious to dispose of a little, light wagon they
had. The captain bought it, thinking to break Toby and Copp to harness.
Toby took to his new occupation kindly enough, but Copp could only be
made to move in his track when I stood at a distance and called to him.
He would work his way up to me with a wild, frightened air; but the
moment I was out of his sight, neither beating nor coaxing could induce
him to move a step.

But--dear me--those horses have taken up my thoughts so completely, that
I have almost exhausted this paper without speaking of the other pets I
have had. The horned toad could never make its way into my good graces;
nor the land-turtle, neither, after it had once "shut down" on my dog
Tom's tail. They were both abolished by simply leaving them on the road.
The prairie-dog refused to be tamed, but ran away, the ungrateful
wretch, with collar, chain, and all; a living wonder, no doubt, to his
brethren in the prairie-dog village, through which we were passing at
the time.

But my mink, Max, was a dear little pet. He was given me by a soldier at
Fort Union, and had been captured on the Pecos River, near Fort Sumner.
He was of a solid, dark-brown color, and the texture of his coat made it
clear at once why a set of mink-furs is so highly prized by the ladies.
His face was anything but intelligent; yet he was as frisky and active
as any young mink need be. It was while we were still on the march, that
Max took his place in the ambulance by me as regularly as day came. When
we made camp in the afternoon, he was allowed to run free, and when it
grew dark, I would step to the tent-door, call "Max! Max!" and
immediately he would come dashing up, uttering sounds half-chuckle,
half-bark, as if he were saying: "Well, well--ain't I coming as fast as
I can?"

On long days' marches he would lie so still in the ambulance, that I
often put out my hand to feel whether he was beside me; and wherever I
happened to thrust my fingers, his mouth would be wide open to receive
them, and a sharp bite would instantly apprise me of his whereabouts. He
had his faults, too--serious faults--and one of them, I fear, led to his
destruction. Travelling over the plains of New Mexico, in the middle of
summer, is no joking matter, for man or mink, and a supply of fresh,
cool water, after a hot day's march, is not only desirable, but
necessary. But it is not always an easy matter to get water; and I have
known the men to go two or three miles for a bucketful. Getting back to
camp weary and exhausted, they would naturally put the bucket in the
only available place--on the ground; and the next moment, Max, who was
always on hand for his share of it, would suddenly plunge in and swim
"'round and 'round" in pursuit of his tail--choosing to take his drink
of water in this manner, to the great disgust of the tired men.

Company "B" was still with us at this time, and the tent of the company
commander was pitched not far from ours. Sergeant Brown, of this
company, was in possession of a dozen or two of chickens; and these, I
suspect, were the cause of the mink's death. Like all animals out in the
wilderness, the chickens could be allowed to run free, without ever
straying away from their owner: there was thought to be no danger
lurking near for them; but suddenly one or two were found with their
throats torn open, and the blood sucked from their lifeless bodies. Max
was accused, with the greater show of truth, as the cook of the
lieutenant had caught him the next day rolling away an egg, which he had
purloined from the lieutenant's stock of provisions. The cook, following
Max, discovered that he had already three eggs hidden in the
neighborhood of our tent. I grew alarmed for the safety of my pet,
though I knew that the men of our company would not have harmed a hair
of his brown, bear-like head.

One night I stepped to the tent-door to call Max; but no Max answered.
The orderly was sent to look through the tents, as Max sometimes stopped
with the men who showed any disposition to play with him--but he could
not be found. I spent an uneasy night, calling "Max! Max!" whenever I
heard the least noise outside the tent. Next morning I got up betimes,
and as soon as I had swallowed my breakfast, went down toward the Rio
Grande. The ground grew broken and rocky near the banks of the river,
and I half thought he might have returned to his native element. I
climbed to a point where I could see the river, and called "Max! Max!"
but heard nothing in answer, save the rolling of a little stone I had
loosened with my foot. "Max! Max!" I called again; but the dull roar of
the water, where it surged lazily against the few exceptional rocks on
the bank, was all I could hear. Going back to camp, I found the tents
struck, the command moving, and the ambulance waiting for me. Wiping the
tears from my face, I climbed in--shaking the blankets for the fiftieth
time to see if Max had not mischievously hidden among them.

From a conversation I overheard long afterward, I concluded that Max had
fallen a victim to Sergeant Brown's revengeful spirit--in fact, had been
slaughtered in atonement for those assassinated chickens.



_POKER-JIM._


Two motherless girls, and only a brother a few years older left to
protect them.

When the father died, the mother had turned the old homestead--for there
_are_ houses in San Francisco fifteen and twenty years old--into a
source of revenue from which she provided for the children. The father
had left nothing save debts--gambling debts--and the fraternity had not
called on the widow to settle these. For her own existence she seemed to
need nothing--absolutely nothing--but the caresses of her children, and
the happiness and contentment mirrored in their eyes. When she died the
girls were old enough, and competent, to look after the house, which the
mother had made a pleasant home to many a "roomer" who had come a
stranger to the city, had been badgered and harassed by flint-eyed,
stony-hearted landladies, and had at last, by some good fortune, found
his way into the precincts of the widow's cozy, quiet walls. The son
had, through the influence of some of the roomers, obtained a position
in a wholesale liquor establishment, where the salary was high, and--the
temptation great.

That the two young girls should carry on the house just as their dying
mother had left it to them, was something no one in San Francisco would
think of commenting upon. And as the proverbial chivalry of the
Californian would prompt him to suffer inconvenience and loss rather
than to deprive women in any way thrown on his care or his protection,
they missed only their mother's love and presence in the home, which
remained home to them still. After a while the painful truth dawned on
them that their brother was being weaned away from it. His evenings were
now but seldom spent with them in the little sitting-room whose
ivy-mantled bay-window looked out on the garden, where the flower-beds
had moved closer up to the house as the lots became more valuable, and
the orchard had been cut down to a few trees on the grass-plot.

At first the excuse was, that customers from the country, buying heavily
of the firm, had a right to expect attentions not strictly of a business
nature from him, its chief representative. Then his absence from home
grew more protracted, and often midnight tolled from St. Mary's before
his unsteady feet mounted the door-steps. One night, a lady, attracted
to the balcony by an unusually brilliant moon, when she awoke from her
midnight slumbers, wonderingly saw a carriage drive up to the house
where the two sisters lay in peaceful sleep. She was too far off to see
whether there was a number on the carriage, or what the number was.
Neither could she distinguish the face of the driver, nor that of the
gentleman who assisted another, whom she rightly judged to be Edward
Ashburne, from the carriage into the house. That the face of the one who
supported, or rather carried, young Edward, was deadly white, framed in
by a heavy black beard, was all she could tell. "Poor girls!" she
soliloquized; "better that the boy was dead than turn drunkard, and
gamble, like his father."

The carriage drove off rapidly after the gentleman--who, as she thought,
had helped Ned to the door and rang the bell--had re-entered it; and
carriage-driver and ghostly-faced gentleman could never be found or
heard of afterward.

What the neighbor-lady heard still further that same night was, first,
the furious barking, then the doleful howling of the young Newfoundland
dog, which the Misses Ashburne had recently "adopted," and, soon after,
a wild, heart-rending cry.

"The horrid boy!" she continued, full of sympathy; "is he so beastly
drunk? Could he have struck one of his sisters?"

Aye, good woman; struck them both a terrible blow, but not with his
hand, for that lay powerless by his side. And the eyes were sightless
that stared vacantly into their own, as they bent over him where he lay
stretched out on the hall-floor--his coat folded under his head, his
latch-key close at hand. Only a painful gasp answered their pitiful
entreaties to "speak once more;" and before the sympathizing inmates of
the stricken house could remove him to his bed, he had breathed his
last.

"Beaten to a jelly," sententiously remarked one of the men, under his
breath, to another, as they left the chamber to the sisters and the more
intimate friends of the family.

"Some woman scrape--you can bet on that," was the response. And they
joined the others in their efforts to discover the perpetrators of the
dastard deed.

But no clue was found, and after a while San Francisco forgot the
sisters and their sorrow; and one day, when the neighbor-lady told her
ever-fresh story to a new-made acquaintance, she added: "And now they
have gone, the poor girls, and nobody knows where."


From the balcony of the two-story frame hotel-building a young girl was
watching the sunlight sinking behind the dimly-outlined range of the
Coast Mountains. Perhaps her eyes roved so far away because the
immediate surrounding of the hotel was not attractive; though the
streets devoted to private residences of this little city--to which the
railroad was fast making its way--were pleasing to the eye, and rather
Southern in their features. The orange, ripening in one cluster with the
fragrant blossom, as well as the tall-growing oleander, embowering
cottage alike with mansion, spoke of oppressive weather in the summer,
and promised glorious, balmy days during the short California winter.

Had the girl, at whose feet a large Newfoundland dog lay sleeping,
stepped to the end of the balcony which ran along the whole length of
the house, she could have followed the course of the Feather River,
which but a short distance away mingled its clear waters with the muddy
waves of the Yuba. But she was evidently not engaged in a study of the
"lay of the land," though her eyes seemed to follow with some interest
the direction of a particular road leading to the hotel. Directly she
spoke to the dog, touching him lightly with her toe: "Cruiser, old dog,
come, wake up, they are coming."

From out of the cloud of dust rolling up to the hotel emerged hacks and
stages well filled with passengers, whom the railroad had brought from
San Francisco to Yuba City, and who thus continued to this place and
onward. Partly sheltered from sight by the boughs of a tree shading the
balcony, the young girl leaned forward to scan the faces of the people
who left hacks and coaches and hastened into the house to brush and wash
off a little of the biting, yellowish dust clinging to them. It seemed
to be a sort of pastime with the girl and her four-footed companion,
this "seeing the people get in;" for she made remarks and observations
on the looks and manners of people which the dog seemed fully to
understand, for he would reply, sometimes with a wag of his bushy tail,
sometimes with a short, sharp bark, and then again with a long yawn of
_ennui_. Almost the last passenger who alighted was a gentleman whose
large black eyes and raven hair would have thrilled the bosom of any
miss of sixteen--as, indeed, they startled our young friend, although
she might have been two or three years above and beyond that interesting
age. The bough that she had drawn down to screen herself behind, sprang
up with a sudden snap, which caused the upturning of a pale and rather
severe face, from which looked those black eyes with a grave, rather
than sad, expression. A sudden thought or memory--she did not know
which--shot through her brain as her eyes looked down into his; it was
only a flash, but it made her think of her childhood, of her mother--she
hardly knew of what.

"Cruiser, old dog," she said; but the dog had squeezed his head under
the railing as far as he could get it, as if making a desperate attempt
to get a nearer look at the stranger. When he drew his head back he
raised himself, laid his forepaws on the railing, and looked hard into
the girl's face, with a low, questioning whine. "It's nothing, old boy;
you don't know him. Come, now, we'll see if we can help Julia about the
house."

Down at the bar, mine host of the "Eagle Exchange" was welcoming his
guests, nerving himself to this task with frequent libations, offered by
the fancy bartender, and paid for by such of his guests as had made the
"Exchange" their stopping-place before, and knew of the landlord's
weakness. Stepping from the bar-room into the reading-room, to look for
any stray guest who might have failed to offer at the shrine, he met the
dark-eyed stranger face to face, and recoiled, either from some sudden
surprise or the effects of deep potations, steadying himself against the
door-frame as he reeled. The stranger, continuing on his way to the
staircase, seemed hardly to notice him, involuntarily turning his head
away as if unwilling to view so fair-looking a specimen of humanity
degrading himself to the level of the brute.

Later at night we find our young friend, together with her older sister,
in the family sitting-room of the hotel. Annie, the younger, is softly
stroking the sister's hair as though she were the elder, endeavoring to
comfort a fretting, troubled child. No word was spoken until the
husband-landlord entered the room. Julia gave a nervous start, while
Annie touched her gently and soothingly on the shoulder. Mr. Davison
was a great deal soberer than could be expected; and his wife gave a
sigh of relief when she found that he was only maudlin drunk.

"Ah, there you are, both together again--as affectionate a pair of
sisters as ever I see. Well, well, Julia, girl, maybe I ain't made you
as good a husband as you deserve to have, but I'll see that our little
sister there is well provided for. By-the-by, Annie, when Tom Montrie
comes down from the mountains he'll find good sport: one of the nicest
fellows you ever saw has come down from San Francisco, and I'll try to
get him to spend at least part of the winter with us. Oh, he's on the
sport," in answer to an anxious look from Julia, "but he's a mighty
clever fellow--genteel, and all that sort of thing. Tom's made a pretty
good stake again this summer, I know; and it'll be a good plan to keep
him well entertained while Annie is away teaching the ragged young
one--for I suppose she'll insist on keeping on in that stupid school,
when she might just as well marry Tom at once and set herself and her
poor relations up in the world."

The girl had listened in silence to this long tirade, a burning spot on
each cheek alone showing that she heard at all what was said. It was
Julia's turn to be elder sister now.

"Annie," she said, "I forgot to tell Peter that he had better use more
yeast for the muffins he sets to-night; will you please to tell him so
as you go up-stairs?" Drawing her fingers through Annie's curly brown
hair, and looking affectionately into her deep hazel eyes, she kissed
her good-night; and the sister silently departed, followed up-stairs by
Cruiser, who kept watch through the night on his rug outside her door.

To discover the cause of Mr. Davison's unusual sobriety we must go back
for an hour or two. When night had set in, the stranger from San
Francisco, who had registered his name as J. B. Peyton, was promenading
on the porch in front of the hotel, quietly smoking his Havana and
thoughtfully regarding the stars. Presently the host opened the door of
the reading-room, stepped out on the porch, and closed it behind him
again, as though to keep the chilly autumn air from striking the inmates
of the room. Approaching the stranger, he eyed him as keenly as his
somewhat dimmed vision, aided by the sickly light of a pale young moon,
would permit, and then exclaimed, in a tone intended to be cordial:

"It's you, by ----, it is! Give us your hand, and tell us how you are
and how the rest of them have fared."

The stranger, in a voice which, like his eyes, was grave rather than
sad, replied, somewhat stiffly:

"I am quite well, as you see; whom else you are inquiring for, I don't
know." Then, warming up suddenly, he went on, in a tone of bitter
reproach: "And you have married one of these poor girls? You should not
have done it had I known of it, depend on it."

"Well, well, wasn't that the best I could do for them?" In his tone
bravado and reason were struggling for the mastery. "To be sure," he
continued, quailing before the flashing eye of his companion, "I have
not had much luck of late; everything seems going against me--I am
almost ruined."

"You have ruined yourself. Why should _you_ have luck?" He was silent a
moment, busying himself with his cigar; then he continued; "Where is
Celeste? What became of her?"

"Curse the ungrateful, perjured wretch!" answered the other, grinding
his teeth with sudden rage; "when my luck first turned she went off,
mind you, with a ship-captain, to China. She knew she could never live
where I was. I'd--"

"Do with her as you did with--"

"Hush!" whispered the shivering host; "don't speak so loud! Wasn't there
something stirring in the tree there?" And, like Macbeth seeing Banquo's
ghost, he started backward to the well-lit room.

It is generally accepted that life in California, particularly in
earlier days, was full of excitement and change, every day bringing with
it some horrible occurrence or startling event. Perhaps, at the date of
my story--about 1860--this excitement had somewhat cooled down; or
perhaps it was the life of our young friend only that had flowed along
so evenly while at this place. The "horrible occurrence" of her day was
the ever-recurring period of her brother-in-law's intoxication,
sometimes maudlin, sometimes violent, but always fraught with bitterness
and sorrow to her on account of her gentle, long-suffering sister. The
"startling event" was the coming in of the hacks and coaches from the
railroad terminus, which she watched, half-hidden by the tree, and
together with her almost inseparable companion, Cruiser, just as she had
done that day when Mr. Peyton made his first appearance at this place.
Perhaps her interest in the arrivals was even greater now than it had
been before. Often, when about to turn from her post of observation, a
pair of grave black eyes, upturned from the porch below, seemed asking a
question of her that she vainly puzzled her brain to understand. Once or
twice she had started to go to her sister's room at such times, trying
to frame the question she seemed to read in the stranger's eye. But the
question remained unframed and unanswered; and day after day Annie
taught her little pupils at school, came home and helped Julia about the
house, and in the evening encountered the sphinx that baffled all her
dreamy speculations.

It had been a matter of displeasure to her brother-in-law for some time
that the arrival of the stage from Laporte was not noticed by Annie with
the same degree of interest as the coming-in of the passengers from the
opposite direction.

"Tom'll be coming some day," he said, grumblingly, to his wife, "and
that fine sister of yours will take no more notice of his arrival than
if a Chinaman had come!"

And so it proved. One morning as Annie, followed by Cruiser with the
lunch-basket, was descending the front steps of the hotel porch, Mr.
Davison hastened to block up her road with his portly figure.

"Annie," he spoke majestically, "how often must I tell you that I cannot
allow my sister-in-law to plod over to that school-house and bother with
those dirty urchins any more? Let them find some one else, for you will
not teach there much longer. Come, Cruiser, give us the basket! Annie'll
stay at home to-day, at least."

"Don't trouble Cruiser unnecessarily," replied Annie, laughing
pleasantly; "I haven't fallen heir to any fortune of late, that I am
aware of, and until I do, I'm afraid that both I and Cruiser will have
to follow our old vocation."

"You know that a fortune awaits you, Annie," was the persuasive
response, "if you would only stretch out your hand for it. How will Tom
receive the information, when he gets up this morning, that you have not
paid him the attention to remain home for one day, at least?"

"I hope you will not conceal from Mr. Montrie that it is a matter of the
utmost indifference to me how he receives the information."

"Your sister will talk to you about this matter," blustered the man. "A
girl like you to throw away her chances!"

"I will listen patiently to anything my sister may have to say to me."
And Annie, turning, was almost confronted by Mr. Peyton, coming in from
an early walk. He lifted his hat with something like reverence, and drew
aside to let the girl and her four-footed companion pass.

She did listen patiently to what her sister said to her that evening in
the little family sitting-room just back of the ladies'-parlor, on the
ground floor. One door of this room opened out on a porch, on the other
side of which rose the blank wall of another apartment, built of frame,
with only one window looking out towards the street, and the door
opposite this window. Between this and the bar-room lay dining-room,
pantry, and kitchen; so that no one from the bar-room, which lay back of
the reading-room, on the other side of the entrance hall, could see this
room with the single door and window.

In California parlance, "the tiger" was kept in this room. If we could
have looked into this gaily-furnished apartment about the time Annie was
on her way to her room, having left her sister's presence with
tear-stained eyes, we should have beheld Mr. Peyton's pale, clear-cut
face bending over a table, around which a number of men were seated. The
various accoutrements of the game spread out before him, denoted that
this man, with the well-modulated musical voice, with the soft, grave
expression of countenance, with the quiet, gentlemanly bearing, was "the
owner of the tiger."

The individual occupying the seat just across from Mr. Peyton was his
opposite in every respect. A tall, broad-shouldered mountain-man, whose
rusty beard and careless dress showed that, while "making his stake" in
the mountains, he had bestowed but little attention on his personal
appearance. No one could have disputed his claims to good looks, though
his glittering eyes seemed small, and were certainly too deep-set; and
when he laughed, the long white teeth gave a kind of hyena-look to the
whole face. Large hands, always twitching, and clumsy feet, forever
shuffling, gave him the appearance of a bear restlessly walking the
length of his chain. Altogether, in looks and bearing, he contrasted
unfavorably with Mr. Peyton; the one, smooth and polished as ivory; the
other, rough and uncouth as the grizzly of his mountain home.

But Mr. Davison, who had softly opened the door, and stood silently
regarding him a moment, seemed fairly in love with Mr. Montrie's broad
shoulders and matted hair--so gently did he touch the one, and stroke
the other, as he whispered into the ample ear something which caused
the small eyes to flicker with satisfaction and delight. Then, moving
around the table to where Mr. Peyton sat, he laid his hand on this
gentleman's shoulder, but much more timidly, though the faro-dealer
looked delicate, almost effeminate, compared to the huge proportions of
the man from the mountains.

"Jim--" he said, but corrected himself--"Mr. Peyton!" in an audible
whisper, "I don't want you to be hard on that man yonder; he'll soon be
one of the family, you know."

The information was given with many winks and nods and leers, such as
men in the first stages of intoxication are generally prolific of.

A single keen glance from the eagle-eyes of the gambler was sent across
to where the man from the mountains sat; but it sank to the depths of
the man's heart, and went searching through every corner. The next
moment Mr. Peyton was deeply engrossed in the "lay-out" before him.

It was long after midnight before "the tiger" was left to darkness and
solitude in the little room at the rear of the "Eagle Exchange." In the
course of the following morning, when Mr. Davison's brain was pretty
well cleared of the fumes of last night's potations, and before the
early-morning drams had yet materially affected it, he was made uneasy
by the approach of Mr. Peyton, of whom he stood in unaccountable dread.

"Have a cigar, Henry?" Mr. Peyton extended one of the choice kind he
always smoked himself; and then, by a motion of the hand, commanded the
now thoroughly sobered man into a chair beside his own. The reading-room
was deserted, and the paper Mr. Peyton had picked up was carelessly held
so that the fancy bar-keeper, who was twirling his elegant black
moustache, could not see his lips move.

"Henry," Mr. Peyton began, without further preliminaries, "if you allow
that man from the mountains to press his attentions on your
sister-in-law against her wishes, I'll break every bone in your body."

The threat seemed almost ridiculous from the delicate, white-fingered
stranger to this burly, overgrown piece of humanity; yet Mr. Davison did
not consider it so, for he answered, with pleading voice and cringing
manner:

"But if he is to marry her--"

"Marry her!" repeated the gambler, while a flash, such as the gate of
hell might emit were it opened for a moment, shot from his eyes; "I
would kill him first; yes, and tell the girl who it was that--"

"And send them both out on the world again, to work hard for their
bread, as I found them?"

"Better that a thousand times than that Annie should be made miserable,
like her sister, by being tied to a worthless sot, or a heartless
desperado."

"You're hard on me, Jim," whined the other. "If the girl marries this
man, a part of his money will go towards paying off my debts, and
setting me straight again in this house. He'll be good to her; and
what's the harm to anybody? You don't want the girl--I know your queer
notions of honor."

"Hush!" He sprang to his feet, and for the first time his voice
thrilled, and a quick flush darkened his brow. "Not another word; but so
sure as you drive the girl to this step, so sure will I tell her sister
who you are." His figure appeared tall as he moved away, and his
shoulders looked broad and strong as those of the man whom he left
cowering in his chair behind him.

This interview over, Mr. Peyton seemed utterly oblivious of the
existence of the family at the "Eagle Exchange." Mr. Davison said to
himself, with an inward chuckle, that he had "gotten round Jim before,
in spite of his keen eyes, and was likely to do so again;" while Annie,
still and white, looked like a bird wearied out with being chased, and
ready to fall into the snarer's net. Once or twice, in meeting Mr.
Peyton, it seemed to him that her hazel eyes were raised to his, with a
mute appeal in them; and at such times he lifted his hand hastily to his
forehead, where a heavy strand of the raven hair fell rather low into
it, near the right temple, as if to assure himself of the perfect
arrangement of his hair.

But in spite of all of Mr. Davison's cunning and contriving, Mr. Montrie
evidently made slow progress in his suit; for his visits to "the tiger"
grew longer and more frequent; and soon it came to be the order of the
day that the afternoons, as well as the nights, were spent in the little
room across the porch. A number of new arrivals from the various
mining-camps in the mountains lent additional interest to the games; and
bets were higher, and sittings longer, day after day. It was impossible
to tell from Mr. Peyton's unchanging face whether luck had been with him
or against him; but Mr. Montrie seemed all of a sudden elated, either
with the winnings he had made off "the tiger," or the success he had met
with in another quarter. Whichever it might be, Mr. Peyton, coming
unexpectedly upon him, as he sat in close consultation with Mr. Davison
one morning, could not have heard the mountain-man's invitation to drink
to his luck, for he passed straight on without heeding the invitation.
Mr. Davison quaked a little before the sharp glance thrown over to him;
"but then," he consoled himself, "d---- it, Jim is such a curious
mortal, and, like as not, he's forgotten all about it; he don't care for
the girl, no how."

The afternoon saw them again gathered around "the tiger," the man from
the mountains betting with a kind of savage recklessness that boded no
good to those who knew him well. He had not forgotten the slight Mr.
Peyton had put on him in the morning, according to his code of honor,
but was casting about in his mind for some manner in which to express
his indignation.

"What do you want to be quarrelling to-day for, Tom?" asked a
lately-arrived mountain-friend of him. "I see that gal of your'n this
morning; took a good look at her when she went to school; and, bless my
stars, if you don't know better than to grumble all the while on the
very day when--"

"Your interest in the game seems to be flagging, gentlemen," came Mr.
Peyton's voice across the table, with a somewhat hasty utterance; "shall
we close?"

An energetic negative from the rest of the company decided the question;
but Mr. Montrie, determined to play marplot, said:

"For my part, I'm tired of buckin' agin 'the tiger.' 'Pears to me a game
of poker might be healthy for a change."

Without losing a word, Mr. Peyton gathered up the faro-kit before him,
and laid cards on the table. Mr. Montrie's friend, a slow-spoken,
easy-going man, called Nimble Bill, was seated at the right of this
gentleman, across from Mr. Peyton's accustomed seat at the table; while
beside Mr. Peyton sat two or three others, who had "come down in the
same batch" with Mr. Montrie's friend.

The game progressed quietly for some time, Mr. Montrie alone manifesting
uneasiness by frequently consulting his watch and casting longing
glances through the window.

"Tom, old fellow, I believe you're regularly 'struck' at last," laughed
his friend. "It's mighty nigh time for that school to let out, I know;
so we'll let you off easy, and say no more about it; ha, ha, ha!" and he
turned for approval to the snickering men at the table.

Just then Mr. Peyton raised his hand quickly to his head, and the light
from the diamond on his finger flashed directly into the man's eyes.

"By-the-by, that's a mighty fine diamond you've got; I shouldn't mind
getting one to present to Tom's wife when he gets married. Now, what
mought be about the price of one like that, Mr.--what did you say the
gentleman's name was?" and he turned to his friend's working face.

"'Poker-Jim,' I should say," shouted the angered man, "from the way he's
been handling them cards this afternoon."

There was a hasty movement among those present; the motion of Mr.
Peyton's hand, as he threw it quickly behind him, was but too well
understood by all, and hurried steps rushed toward the door. When the
smoke had almost cleared away he was almost alone with his victim; only
the friend, against whom the dying man had fallen, was in the room
beside him. But from the outside approached heavy steps, while a shrill
female voice sent shriek after shriek through the house. Mr. Davison's
ashy face appeared at the door:

"Oh, Jim! what have you done? Let's lay him down here easy, Bill; and
now run for the doctor, quick; and tell the other fellows to keep still,
if they can."

"Go to your wife, Henry," ordered Mr. Peyton, with extended hand; "the
poor thing is in hysterics."

A look into the gambler's face told the man he must obey; but in his
perturbation, he did not see the white figure that glided by him into
the room.

"Why did you do it?" asked the girl, wringing her hands, but looking
into _his_ eyes without a glance at the prostrate body.

"I had to kill the brute to keep him from marrying you, Annie. How could
I let you fall into his hands--you, the daughter of the woman who
sheltered me and gave me a home, when, a poor deserted boy, I lay
bleeding from a brutal blow on the street. Annie, do you not know me?"
He raised the strand of hair that always lay low on his forehead, and a
deep scar appeared under it.

"Jimmy!" she cried, between surprise and joy. "But, oh!" she continued,
sadly, "I have found you but to lose you again. You must go, quick,
before they can send the sheriff or the doctor."

"We must part; yes, and perhaps never meet again on earth. But, ere we
part, I must give your heart another wound. Your brother--it was I
who--"

"Murdered him!" shrieked the girl. "Cruiser!" she called, wildly; and
the faithful animal, as if knowing the import of the conversation in the
room, threw himself with a fierce, yelping bark against the door.

"Hold!" and he caught the girl as she sprang to open it. "Hear me out,
while I have yet time to speak. It was I who brought him home, so that
he might sleep quietly in the church-yard, instead of finding a grave at
the bottom of the Bay. Ask Henry who killed him; ask him whether
'Celeste' was worth the blood of the poor boy, and he will not refuse to
tell the truth."

At the door Cruiser was scratching and whining, accompanying the man's
hurried words with a weird, uncanny music; and now he howled again as he
had howled on the night of poor Ned's death.

"Farewell, Annie; your sister and that dog will soon be the only friends
you have. I can neither claim you nor protect you. Farewell; be happy if
you can, and--forget me."

"Never! never!" sobbed the girl.

A hand, softer even than her own, was passed tenderly through her hair
and over her brow; a single kiss was breathed on her lips, and the next
moment she was alone, the dog, her sole friend, crouching, with every
demonstration of devotion and affection, at her feet.



_THE TRAGEDY AT MOHAWK STATION._


We called it our noon-camp, though it was really not after ten o'clock
in the morning. Ours was the only ambulance in the "outfit," though
there were some three or four officers besides the captain. The captain
had been ordered to report at head-quarters in San Francisco before
going East, and was travelling through Arizona as fast as Uncle Sam's
mules could carry him, in order to catch the steamer that was to leave
the Pacific coast at the end of the month. It is just a year ago, and
the Pacific Railroad was not yet completed; which accounts for the
captain's haste to reach the steamer.

When we made noon-camp at the Government forage-station called
Stanwick's Ranch, we had already performed an ordinary day's march; but
we were to accomplish twenty-five miles more before pitching our tent
(literally) at Mohawk Station for the night. These "stations" are not
settlements, but only stopping-places, where Government teamsters draw
forage for their mules, and where water is to be had;--the
station-keepers sometimes seeing no one the whole year round except the
Government and merchant trains passing along _en route_ to Tucson or
other military posts.

Lunch had been despatched, and I was lounging, with a book in my hand,
on the seat of the ambulance,--one of those uncomfortable affairs called
"dead-carts," with two seats running the entire length of the
vehicle,--when the captain put his head in to say that there was an
American woman at the station. White representatives of my sex are "few
and far between" in Arizona, and I had made up my mind to go into the
house and speak to this one, even before the captain had added:

"It is the woman from Mohawk Station."

The captain assisted me out of the ambulance, and we walked toward the
house together. The front room of the flat _adobe_ building was
bar-room, store, office, parlor; the back room was kitchen, dining-room,
bed-room; and here we found "the woman of Mohawk Station." I entered the
back room, at the polite invitation of the station-keeper, with whom the
captain fell into conversation in the store or bar-room.

The woman was young--not over twenty-five--and had been on the way from
Texas to California, with her husband and an ox-team, when Mr.
Hendricks, the man who kept the forage-station at Mohawk, found them
camped near the house one day, and induced them to stop with him. The
woman took charge of the household, and the man worked at cutting
firewood on the Gila and hauling it up to the house with the
station-keeper's two horses, or at any other job which Mr. Hendricks
might require of him. She had been a healthy, hearty woman when they
left Texas; but laboring through the hot, sandy deserts, suffering often
for water and sometimes for food, had considerably "shaken her," and she
was glad and willing to stop here, where both she and her husband could
earn money, and they wanted for neither water nor food--such as it is in
Arizona. It was hard to believe she had ever been a robust, fearless
woman, as she sat there cowering and shivering, and looking up at me
with eyes that seemed ready to start from their sockets with terror.

"May I come in?" I asked, uncertain whether to venture closer to the
shrinking form.

"Yes, yes," she said, breathing hard, and speaking very slowly. "Come
in. It'll do me good. You're the first woman I've seen since--since--"

"Tell me all about it," I said, sitting down on the edge of the bed, as
familiarly as though I had been her intimate friend for years; "or will
it agitate you and make you sick?"

"No," she made answer; "I am dying now, and I have often and often
wished I could see some woman and tell her the whole story before I die.
It almost chokes me sometimes because I can't speak about it; and yet I
always, always, think about it. I haven't seen any one but my husband
and the station-keeper these last three weeks--there is so little travel
now.

"You see, one Saturday afternoon there were two Mexicans came up this
way from Sonora, and stopped at Mohawk Station to camp for the night. It
was a cold, rainy, blustering day, and the men tried to build their fire
against the wall of the house. It was the only way they could shelter
themselves from the wind and rain, as Mr. Hendricks would not allow them
to come into the house. Pretty soon Mr. Hendricks drove them off, though
they pleaded hard to stay; and Colonel B., who had arrived in the
meantime, on his way to Tucson, told Mr. Hendricks that, if he knew
anything about Mexicans, those two would come back to take revenge.
Perhaps Mr. Hendricks himself was afraid of it, as he picketed his two
horses out between the colonel's tent and the house, for fear the
Mexicans might come in the night to drive them off. But they did not
return till Sunday afternoon, when, after considerable wrangling, Mr.
Hendricks engaged them both to work for him. The colonel had pulled up
stakes and had gone on his way to Tucson Sunday morning, so that we were
alone with the Mexicans during the night. But they behaved themselves
like sober, steady men; and the next morning they and my husband went
down to the river, some three miles away, to cut wood, which they were
to haul up with the team later in the day. Have you been at Mohawk
Station, and do you know how the house is built?" she asked,
interrupting herself.

"We camped there on our way out," I said; "and I remember that an open
corridor runs through the whole length of the house, and some two or
three rooms open into each other on either side."

"Very well; you remember the kitchen is the last room on the left of the
corridor, while the store-room and bar is the first room to the right.
Back of this is the little room in which Mr. Hendricks's bed stood, just
under the window; and opposite to this room, next to the kitchen, is the
dining-room.

"It was still early in the day, and I was busy in the kitchen, when I
heard a shot fired in the front part of the house; but as it was nothing
unusual for Mr. Hendricks to fire at rabbits or _coyotes_ from the door
of the bar-room, I thought nothing of it, till I saw the two Mexicans,
some time after, mounted on Mr. Hendricks's horses, riding off over
toward the mountains. When I first saw them, I thought they might be
going to take the horses down to the river; but then, I said to myself,
the Gila don't run along by the mountains. All at once a dreadful
thought flashed through my head, and I began to tremble so that I could
hardly stand on my feet. I crept into the corridor on tip-toe, and went
into the bar-room from the outside. From the bar-room I could look on
Mr. Hendricks's bed. He was lying across the bed, with his head just
under the window. I wanted to wake him up, to tell him that the Mexicans
were making off with his horses, but somehow I was afraid to call out or
to go up to him; so I crept around to the outside of the house till I
got to the window, and then looked in. Oh, dear! oh, dear! I can't
forget the dreadful, stony eyes that glared at me from the bruised and
blood-stained face; and after one look, I turned and ran as fast as I
could. Perhaps I ought to have gone into the house, to see if he were
really dead, or if I could help him or do anything for him; but I could
not. I ran and ran, always in the direction my husband had taken in the
morning. At one time I thought I heard some one running behind me, and
when I turned to look, the slippery sand under foot gave way, and I fell
headlong into a bed of cactus, tearing and scratching my face and hands
and arms; and when I got up again I thought some one was jumping out
from the verde-bushes, but it was only a rabbit running along. Before I
got many steps farther I slipped again, and something rattled and
wriggled right close by me. It was a rattlesnake, on which I had stepped
in my blindness. I ran on until I could not get my breath any more, and
staggered at every step; and just when I thought I must fall down and
die, I saw my husband coming toward me. He was coming home to see what
was keeping the Mexicans so long in bringing the horses down to the
river; and when I could get my breath, I told him what had happened. We
went back together, but I would not go into the house with him; so he
hid me in a thick verde-bush, behind some prickly-pears, and went in
alone. Directly he came back to me. He had found the corpse just as I
had described it. To all appearances, Mr. Hendricks had thrown himself
on the bed for a short nap, as the morning was very warm. The Mexicans
must have crept in on him, shot him with his own revolver, and then
beaten him over the head and face with a short heavy club that was found
on the bed beside him, all smeared with blood.

"Then my husband said to me: 'Mary, you've got to stay here till I go to
Antelope Peak and bring up Johnson, the station-keeper. You can't go
with me, because it's full twenty-five miles, if not more, and you can't
walk twenty-five steps. But those Mexicans are going to come back while
I am gone--I know they are, because they haven't taken any plunder with
them yet. They'll hide the horses in the mountains, most likely, and
then go down to the river to look for me; and after that they'll come
back here, and they'll look for us high and low.'

"I knew that what he said was true, every word of it; and the only
thing he could do was to find me a good hiding-place a good ways off
from the house, but still near enough for me to see the house, and the
window where the dead man lay. Well, first I watched David till out of
sight, and then I watched the window, and then I watched and peered and
looked on every side of me, till my eyes grew blind from the glaring sun
and the shining sand.

"All at once I heard some voices; and I almost went into a fit when I
heard footsteps crunching nearer and nearer in the sand. They were the
Mexicans, sure enough, coming up from the river, and passing within a
few steps of my hiding-place. Both carried heavy cudgels, which they had
brought with them from where they had been cutting wood in the morning.
When they got near the house they stopped talking, and I saw them sneak
up to it, and then vanish around the corner, as though to visit the
kitchen first. A few minutes later I saw them come out of the bar-room,
and, oh, heavens! I saw they were trying to follow my husband's
footprints, that led directly to the verde-bush behind which I was
hiding; but the wind had been blowing, and it seemed hard for them to
follow the trail. Still they came nearer; and the terror and suspense,
and the sickening fear that came over me, when I saw them brandishing
their clubs and bringing them down occasionally on a clump of
verde-bushes, wellnigh took what little sense and breath I had left, and
I verily believe I should have screamed out in very horror, and so
brought their murderous clubs on my head at once, to make an end of my
misery, if I had had strength enough left to raise my voice. But I could
neither move nor utter a sound; I could only strain my eyes to look.
After a while they got tired of searching, and went back to the house,
where they stood at the window a moment to look in on the dead man, as
though to see if he had stirred; then they went in at the bar-room, and
came out directly, loaded with plunder.

"One of the men carried both Mr. Hendricks's and my husband's rifle,
and the other had buckled on Mr. Hendricks's revolver. They had thrown
aside their _ponchos_, and one had on my husband's best coat, while the
other wore Mr. Hendricks's soldier-overcoat. Even the hat off the dead
man's head they had taken, and also, as was afterwards found, the black
silk handkerchief he had on his neck when they killed him. Again they
took their way over toward the mountains, and then everything around me
was deadly still. Oh, how I wished for a living, breathing thing to
speak to, then! I should not be the poor, half-demented creature that I
am to-day, if only a dog could have looked up at me, with kind,
affectionate gaze. But the half-open eyes of the man seemed staring at
me from the window, and I kept watching it, half thinking that the
dreadful, mangled face would thrust itself out.

"By and by the _coyotes_, scenting the dead body in the house, came
stealthily from all sides, surrounding the house, and howling louder and
louder when they found that they were not received with their usual
greeting--a dose of powder and ball. At last one of them, bolder or
hungrier than the rest, made a leap to get up to the window; but just as
his fore-paw touched the window-sill something was hurled from the
window, which struck the wolf on the head and stampeded the whole
yelping pack. This was too much; and I must have fainted dead away, for
my husband said that when they found me I was as stiff and cold as the
corpse in the house. What I thought had been hurled from the window was
only a piece of a cracker-box, used as target, and put out of the way on
the broad _adobe_ window-sill, where the paw of the _coyote_ had touched
it and pulled it down over him. I would not go into the house, and as
Mr. Johnson thought it best to give information of what had happened at
Stanwick's Ranch, we all came down here together, and I have been here
ever since. My husband is waiting for a chance to go back to Texas. I
wish we could get back; for I don't want to be buried out here in the
sand, among the _coyotes_ and rattlesnakes, like poor Mr. Hendricks."

The ambulance had been waiting at the door for me quite a while; so I
thanked the woman for "telling me all about it," and tried to say
something cheering to her. When I turned to leave the room she clutched
at my dress.

"Stop," she said, nervously; "don't leave me here in the room alone;--I
can't bear to stay alone!"

She followed me slowly into the bar-room, and when the man there went to
the ambulance to speak to the captain, she crept out after him and stood
in the sun till he returned.

"The poor woman," said I, compassionately; "how I pity her!"

"The poor woman," echoed the station-keeper; "those two Greasers have
killed her just as dead as if they had beaten her brains out on the
spot."

The shades of night were already falling around Mohawk Station when we
reached it. It was quite a pretentious house, built of _adobe_, and
boasting of but one story, of course; but it is not every one in Arizona
who can build a house with four rooms,--if the doors _do_ consist of old
blankets, and the floor and ceiling, like the walls, of mud.

A discharged soldier kept the station now--a large yellow dog his sole
companion. The man slept on the same bed that had borne Hendricks's
corpse, and the cudgel, with the murdered man's blood dried on it, was
lying at the foot of it.

"And where is his grave?" I asked.

The man's eye travelled slowly over the desolate landscape before us.
There were sand, verde, and cactus, on one side of us, and there were
sand, verde, and cactus, on the other.

"Well, really now, I couldn't tell. You see, I wasn't here when they put
him in the ground, and I haven't thought of his grave since I come. Fact
is, I've got to keep my eyes open for live Greasers and Pache-Indians,
and don't get much time to hunt up dead folks's graves!"



_LONE LINDEN._


"It is just the place for you; Clara will find it sufficiently romantic,
Miss Barbara can have Snowball and Kickup both with her, and you, dear
friend, will be pleased because the rest of us are."

The letter was signed "Christine Ernst;" and Mrs. Wardor, when she had
finished reading, continued in her quiet, even tones:

"What an unaccountable being she is; I thought her cold and unfeeling,
because she dismissed that fine young fellow so unceremoniously, when we
all thought her heart was bound up in him."

"Ah, me!" sighed Clara, fair of face, blue-eyed, and with feathery curls
of the palest yellow. "How little we know of the sorrow that sits silent
in our neighbor's breast. The sentiment--"

"Oh, bother sentiment!" broke in Miss Barbara, impetuously, flinging
back the heavy braids of unquestionably red hair that had strayed over
her shoulder. "Daisy, my snowball, imagine, if you can, a large lot, a
meadow, or paddock, or something with grass, for Kickup, you and me! Oh,
won't it be jolly, though?" And seizing the sweet Daisy, a squat,
broad-faced Indian girl, whom Barbara's father, an army contractor, had
picked up somewhere around Fort Yuma, they executed a species of
war-dance that sent chairs, crickets, and bouquet-stands flying, and
caused Mrs. Wardor and her other companion to exchange significant
head-shakings.

Having suddenly loosed her hold of Daisy in the wildest of the dance,
and sent her spinning into the corner where her head struck the whatnot,
Miss Barbara approached the elder lady, panting, and with deep
contrition.

"Forgive me, Aunt Wardor; I shan't forget my young-lady manners again
for a whole week. But it did seem such a relief, just the thought of
getting away from this cramped little house, and into the open air
again, that I could not help being rude to Lady Clara." She seized the
slender fingers of the young lady, in spite of the little spasmodic
motion with which they seemed to shrink from the hearty grasp.

"But, Barbara," urged Mrs. Wardor, somewhat mollified by the
affectionate "Aunt," "when a girl of your age avers that she is a young
lady, how can she constantly forget herself, and act the child and the
romp again."

A flush passed over the girl's face, a handsome face, full of life and
animation, which a few little freckles seemed really to finish off, as
she turned sharply from both, and seated herself in the most stately
manner at the grand piano, the recent birthday gift of her father.

Barbara was his only daughter, "and he a widower," who was surprised one
day to find that she was receiving the marked attentions of a young
gentleman matrimonially inclined, at the springs where she was spending
her vacations, with all the assurance and matter-of-course air of a
"grown-up lady," when he had never dreamed but that she was only a
child. He thought to cut the matter short by returning her instantly to
the seminary; but soon learned from the conscientious lady at the head
of the establishment that the young gentleman was persistent in his
devotions, and Miss Barbara as persistent in breaking the rules of the
institution. Then he bethought him of a lady whose calm dignity and
quiet self-possession had always somewhat oppressed him when he had
occasionally met her in his wife's parlors, during that estimable
woman's life time. And recollecting how his wife had honestly lamented
that her daughter could not live under the influences of a cultivated
mind, and the refined manners which she, herself, did not possess, he
went boldly to Mrs. Wardor one day, and proposed that she should take
charge of the self-willed girl, who insisted on being treated with the
consideration due a young lady owning a declared, though forbidden
lover. To Mrs. Wardor the proposition was acceptable; some years before,
true to the "gambling instincts" of an old Californian, her husband had
staked his all on some favorite mining stock, and, after losing, had
taken his chances of striking something better in the next world, by
blowing his brains out when he found himself "on bedrock" in this. Like
a sensible woman, she had given up her elegant establishment without
grieving very much, had secured a smaller house, and thought herself
fortunate in finding a class of boarders who shocked neither her
sensitive nerves nor her fastidious taste.

Among the very limited number was a young girl who had left the
Fatherland when quite young, and had been educated by an older brother,
since dead. Her love and talent for music, together with what she called
her Deutsche Geduld, had stood her in good stead, and Miss Ernst was now
considered one of the best music teachers on the Coast.

When Barbara Farnsworth was placed in her charge, Mrs. Wardor felt
justified in restricting the number of her boarders to two, outside of
this young lady--so liberal were the terms Mr. Farnsworth urged upon
her. The one other boarder besides Miss Ernst, was the fair lady with
the golden curls, who had lost mother and husband within the year, but
found an ample fortune at her disposal on the death of the latter. The
mother had been Mrs. Wardor's most cherished friend, and the fittest
place for Lady Clare, as Miss Barbara called her, seemed Mrs. Wardor's
house. Here she had found already domiciled Miss Ernst, who, a few
months later, to the astonishment of everybody, left her home and the
city, in consequence of a quarrel with her betrothed, as he was
supposed to be by people who knew other people's business better than
their own. A close friendship had sprung up between the two young women,
and Clara, it was surmised, was the only one who knew of Miss Ernst's
reasons for the unlooked for departure, just as Miss Ernst was the only
one who knew much, or anything, of Clara Hildreth's "heart-sorrows."

That she had had such sorrows, no one could doubt who looked into the
large blue eyes, with their melancholy expression, or noticed the droop
of the small, gracefully-poised head. It was not surprising that this
tender, clinging creature should miss the prop and staff afforded by the
resolute yet sympathetic nature of her friend; and when the letter came
suggesting that Mrs. Wardor spend the summer in San Jose, where
Christine could be one of her family again, the idea was seized upon
with avidity by all, and in three days' time, Miss Barbara had convinced
her father, Clara, and Mrs. Wardor, that the place Christine Ernst had
described was just the place for them.

"Let's go at once," said Miss Barbara, late in the evening, with her
usual precipitation; but Mrs. Wardor quieted her by enumerating the
thousand and one things to be done before the removal could be
effected--first and foremost among which was the task of securing the
house before it could be moved into.

It was decided that Mrs. Wardor and Clara should go to San Jose on the
next morning's train and return at night, leaving Miss Barbara to the
care of her "Indian maid" and the servants in the house.

Arrived at the depot in San Jose, they found Christine, whose dark hair,
olive skin, and Roman features utterly belied her purely German descent.
She embraced Clara with the protecting air of an older sister; and
pressing Mrs. Wardor's hand, led them to the carriage awaiting them.

"You have worked too hard, I fear, Christine," said Mrs. Wardor. "You
look tired and thin."

"Not tired," was the answer, "but I am among strangers, and have so
missed my home. You know how we Germans cling to people we love."

"Yes?" Perhaps Mrs. Wardor was thinking of the lover, discarded, among
strangers in a strange land. Clara held her friend's hand, and asked how
far they would have to go--she felt that Christine was pained.

"Only a short way; but the owner of the place is a queer genius, a
German, like myself, with whom no one can live in peace, they say. But I
know we can, though he insists on occupying a little hut in one corner
of the grounds. Fifty people have wanted the place, but he has never
been in a humor to let it since the last occupant moved out. I mean to
bring the charms of his mother-tongue to bear upon him, though I know it
will make me hoarse for a week, more especially as he is slightly deaf."

The carriage had stopped at the gate, and the three women made their way
through a well-kept garden to a little shanty they espied at the
farthest end of it. The dwelling-house itself consisted of a one-story
_adobe_, to which had been added, much later, a frame building of two
stories. The _adobe_ part of the building contained kitchen, breakfast
and sitting-room, from which a low bay-window reached out into the
garden, where flowers stole up almost to within the room, and the ivy,
mingling with the bright green of the climbing rose, reached upward to
soften the abrupt joining of the gray _adobe_ with the glaring white of
the frame portion. This, though the more stately part of the building,
had not the home-look of the _adobe_, around the flat roof of which ran
a low railing, making a balcony of it for the service of the new wing.

"How happy we shall be here," exclaimed Clara, with genuine delight. At
this moment a strange figure, clad in loose garments, and with flowing
gray beard, deep-set eyes, and holding a long pipe in his mouth, came
into sight. Depositing the pipe carefully behind a garden vase, the man
advanced with dignified yet courteous bearing. He looked with the
questioning scrutiny peculiar to people hard of hearing, from one to the
other; but when Christine's words reached his dull ears at last, it was
to fair-faced Clara he turned inquiringly.

"Wie sagten Sie, Fräulein? Sprechen Sie Deutsch?"

Christine repeated her question, and he turned slowly toward her. "I
thought it was she who spoke the German," motioning toward Clara; "but I
like your looks, too," he continued, taking Christine's hand into his
with a sudden, fatherly impulse. "And you would come and live in my
house, lady," he said, addressing Mrs. Wardor in his German-English.
"Take care--I say it to you--take care. It is a lonely place, and makes
to be alone in the world every one who lives in it. See me, an old man,
alone--alone. It is a bad spell on the place; it will make you alone,
too."

The three women exchanged glances. Alone? Whom had they belonging to
them? It was only their friendship for each other that made their
"alone" different from that of the old man before them.

"And these flowers, so beautiful," he continued, "will you love them,
too? I will nurse them for you; but don't be afraid--the old man will
not be troublesome to you." He had misunderstood the movement among
them; they were only congratulating each other on having accomplished so
easily what Christine had been taught to look upon as a difficult task.
They hastened to assure him how glad they would always be to have him
with them; and he looked wistfully at Clara again, muttering, "Ah, I
thought she was the German."

"There it is again," said Christine, turning to her; "I never try for a
beau but you coax him away from me with your blue eyes and yellow curls.
I shall act out my character of a dark Spanish beauty some day, and
leave you with a jewel-hilted dagger in your heart for luring my own
true love from his faith to me."

They followed their guide to the other side of the house, where, near
his own cabin, arose a little knoll or mound, evidently artificial,
though not smoothly finished. A sparse growth of grass covered it, and
on one side there was a ragged depression, as though a tree might have
been torn from the soil at some past time. Just above this stood a
linden tree, lonely enough. There were no other trees on this side of
the house, though pepper, poplar, and cypress trees were distributed
with a good deal of taste through the rest of the grounds.

"Lone linden," mused Clara; and though the words were spoken low, the
old man seemed to have read it from her lips.

"The other people have called it so, and it seems right. The only one
left," he said, softly passing his hand over the bark of the tree. "You
would not think how many they were at one time; but they are all dead
and gone. My dear ones all lie buried here."

"Here?" echoed Clara, touching the mound.

"No, not the bodies, you know; es ist nur die Erinnerung," he turned to
Christine. She bowed her head silently, and with the deep
"verstandnissvolle" look of her honest eyes she had won the old man's
confidence forever.

They turned back to the more cheerful part of the garden, trying to
shake off the gloom the linden with its deep shadow had thrown on them,
and Clara railed at her friend for looking solemn as an owl. "Not a line
of poetry have you quoted to-day--not a note have you sung."

At the same time the old man was saying to Mrs. Wardor, "See, lady, all
these lilies, white as snow. At home, in Germany, they were my mother's
pet flowers, and I am keeping these to be planted on my grave." And
Christine stooping to break three of them, chanted dolefully--


     "'Drei Lilien, drei Lilien--
     Die pflanzt mir auf mein Grab.'"


"There"--she turned to Clara--"that's music for you."

Right here, let me confide to the reader Christine's great failing--the
weak point in this strong nature. She had a queer habit of keeping up a
sort of running comment on any conversation that took place in her
presence--any occurrence that came under her observation; comment in the
shape of bits of poetry or song, that she sang softly to herself. But
she _could_ not sing--and that was the great failing. Think of a
music-teacher who could not, if life depended on it, sing a dozen notes
in the same key, but would drop lower and lower, "till her voice fell
clear into the cellar"--according to the girl's own statement.

Mr. Muldweber seemed loath to part with his prospective tenants, but was
assured that the close of the week would find them at Lone Linden. When
they reached the depot, the train that was to take Mrs. Wardor and Clara
back to the city was ready, and Christine had only just time to
apostrophize Clara's eyes--


     "Lebt wohl ihr Augen, ihr schönen blauen,"


before it started.

On reaching home, Miss Barbara met them at the threshold, with flaming
cheeks and sparkling eyes. "Such a romp as I have had with Snowball,"
she explained; and the Indian girl laughed like an imp of the devil.
Mrs. Wardor chided the young lady for romping, but Clara drew back from
the girl with an uncomfortable feeling. Clara's cheeks boasted but a
delicate pink tinge at best, and to-night, in the glare of the gas,
after the day's fatigue, she looked almost haggard beside the robust,
health-glowing girl.

"How old are you, Lady Clare?" she asked in the course of the evening.

"Twenty-two. Why?"

"Oh, nothing; only when I get to be as old as you are I shall wear black
constantly, just as you do, particularly if I have lost all my color,
too."

"A wise resolution. I never had your color, though. Neither my face nor
my hair was ever red--nor my mother's, before me. Perhaps she did not
stand over the hot fire as much as your mother did."

"Yes--I know they say mother 'lived out' as cook when she first came to
California; but then--_she_ didn't have to marry to get a home."

It was all out now; though the girl sent the shaft almost at random, it
had struck the sore spot. Clara had married for a home. Her mother had
expended her meagre fortune on Clara's education, never doubting that
the girl's loveliness would attract a goodly number of suitors, from
whom the most suitable, that is, the wealthiest, could be chosen.
Whether Clara was less worldly or more romantic--at any rate she lost
her heart to a young man in society, who was considered an ornament of
that society--though it would have puzzled a common mortal to discover
why. His upper lip boasted a full, silken moustache, and he could turn
over the music sheets, standing beside the young lady performing on the
piano, with unequalled grace; he sang a languid tenor, and could fasten
his eyes on a lady with a melting, melancholy look, as if sighing in his
heart, "could I but die for thee."

It was what he spoke out aloud to Clara, when, after months of intimate
acquaintance, he understood that Clara's mother wanted to see her
daughter "settled." But he didn't die; he only bewailed his fate, his
inability to make her his cherished wife, and lay all the treasures of
the Golden State at her feet. To quote Christine's hard, unsympathetic
opinion, he was "a graceless monkey, a fortune hunter, without ambition
enough to try for a living for himself, let alone for the woman he
professed to adore." Amid tears and protestations of breaking hearts and
darkened lives they parted: Clara to give her hand, at her mother's
entreaties, to a man of great wealth and corresponding age and
respectability--her lover to continue his search for a wife who could
boast of money besides beauty and amiability.

Miss Barbara's heart was good in the main, and she would not have hurt
Clara as she did had she not been wild with an excitement for which
there seemed no cause. She was heedless, to be sure; and her
temper--well, she had red hair.

Only three days later, early in the morning, we see them all at the
depot, and comfortably seated in the cars--Mrs. Wardor, Clara, Barbara,
and Daisy--with Kickup aboard the train, but in a different car--Kickup
being only an Indian pony, and the shaggiest kind of one at that. Miss
Barbara and "her maid," as she grandly styled the moon-faced Indian
sometimes, sat behind Mrs. Wardor and Clara--Clara and Barbara each
sitting nearest the window. Clara in deepest black, with the delicate
flush on her face, looked, the most interesting of young widows, and
whenever she raised her dove-like eyes, was sure to encounter the gaze
of the many who stood outside. Just as the sharp click of the
starting-bell rang through the cars, Clara, looking up, caught sight of
a figure that caused her heart to beat full and fast. Yet her face grew
pale as she noted the form of which the words "an elegantly attired
gentleman" would, perhaps, give the best idea.

He leaned against one of the wooden pillars supporting the depot roof,
with a dejected, melancholy air. Almost involuntarily Clara leaned
forward, but sank back the next moment, her face ablaze, her lips
trembling. The impish laugh of the Indian girl that had struck her so
unpleasantly on the night of her return from San Jose, again fell on her
ear, and Miss Barbara's irrepressible "te-he" mingled with it. Had she
then betrayed her heart's secret to these two foolish, giggling things?
Her cheeks burned with mortification, but in her heart there was a
strange gleam of happiness. He knew, then, that she was free; he had
heard of her leaving the city, and chose this delicate way of intimating
to her that.--Ah! well; she was still in deepest mourning, and must not
think--anything--for a while yet, at least.

Mrs. Wardor, her mind filled with doubts and misgivings as to whether
she had brought just the things she wanted for the summer in San Jose,
had noticed nothing of the little episode, but catching sight of Clara's
face as they left the cars, she exclaimed, with genuine gladness in her
tone, "Why, Clara, I know this summer in the country will do you good;
your eyes are bright with anticipation!"

Christine met them at the depot, and as the carriage rolled smoothly
toward their new home, she told them of what other arrangements she had
made with old Mr. Muldweber. He owned a horse of venerable age, which
could be driven by the most timid lady, and the old gentleman was
willing that they should use the horse, but, as of the garden, so he
wanted to take care of the animal, too. This was cheerfully agreed to,
and when she went on to say that she had hired a phæton--really quite a
stylish affair--Miss Barbara almost smothered her with kisses, which
would not have happened, by the by, if there had been any place for
Christine to hide in.

At the gate stood Mr. Muldweber. "What a funny old man," laughed Miss
Barbara. "A patriarch," said Clara; but Christine declared, with more
than her usual energy, that no one should say anything disrespectful of
or to Mr. Muldweber in her presence.

With chivalrous bearing he welcomed Mrs. Wardor to her new home, and
his address, delivered with true German earnestness, would have checked
Miss Barbara's mirth, even without Christine's warning; and Christine
herself could only repeat, as she kissed Clara's fair head, "Der Herr
segne Deinen Einzug."

Then she led her up-stairs, where she had two rooms, opening into each
other, fitted up for Clara and herself, with windows reaching to the
floor leading to the balcony. The other window in Christine's room
looked toward the Coyote Hills, the corresponding window in Clara's room
disclosing a view of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

"Now tell me what you have on your mind, little one," she said, drawing
Clara down by the window, and looking off toward the cool, deep shadows
of the redwoods on the mountain, she listened to blushing Clara's
recital of the morning's occurrence, while she hummed softly (ending
full three notes lower than she had commenced):


     "I have gazed into the darkness--
     Seeking in the busy crowd
     For a form once--"


"Perhaps I have done him wrong after all," she interrupted herself; and
aloud she said, cheerfully: "The name of this place will be changed
before we leave it, I know. But down there is Mr. Muldweber; I mean to
ask him about Lone Linden, and his singular fancy for that tree." She
knew Clara would be happier left alone to dream over the vision of the
morning, and her heart really went out in sympathy to this lonely old
man, who had such a longing, hungry look in his eyes as he stood with
his arm thrown around the lone linden, his other hand shading his eyes
while he peered down the road toward the town.


     "No one hastens home at twilight,
     Waiting for my hand to wave."


Christine's dreary singing would hardly have enlivened Mr. Muldweber's
spirits if he had heard it; but it ceased ere she came close up to him.
With his usual gallantry the old man spread his handkerchief on the
grass covering the broken mound for Christine to rest on, and before
darkness had spread over the plain and crept up to the mountain-tops,
she knew more of the old man's history--which was the history of the
linden tree--than she had ever expected to learn. He had learned to love
the girl during the few days that the fitting-up of the house had thrown
them together; and he could speak his mother tongue to her--he never
would have said so much in English.

When he had left the mining-school at Freiberg in the Fatherland to come
to the great America, he had brought with him from the old _Edelhof_,
where he was born and raised, a handful of seed from the linden trees
that formed his favorite avenue. He meant to build up just such a place
in America, and he carried the linden seed with him through the United
States and then into Mexico, where his knowledge of scientific mining
was of more use at that time. Into Mexico he carried his bride, a young
German girl, whose parents had died on their way out from the
Fatherland, and who died herself of _Heimweh_, in the strange, wild land
to which her husband brought her. But she left him a son, to whom he
gave a new mother, a dark-eyed señorita from Durango. Then he drifted on
toward California, before it was California to us, and settled finally
in the Pueblo of San Jose, near the mission of Santa Clara, after it had
ceased to be a mission. Here he built the old _adobe_--a house quite
pretentious for those times, and he threw up the mound, smooth and
round, and discernible at some distance, and planted the linden seed he
had so carefully hoarded. But he did not sow the seed broadcast; it was
a tree for every member of the family--no more. As the señorita from
Durango had presented him with quite a little herd of Muldwebers,
however, he had begun to entertain hopes of growing something of a
forest in the valley, when the dark eyes of the señorita were closed one
dread night, and never opened again to the light of this world.

The wealth she had brought him had weighed but little in her husband's
estimation; he had learned to admire her goodness of heart and nobility
of character. It was a heavy blow; but, strange to say, his heart almost
turned from her children at that time and clung again to the child of
his first love, the German girl who had died of being homesick. He grew
intolerant of Spanish, would not even speak English, but shut himself up
with his oldest son to teach him the language he had neglected for so
long. Then died the two sons of his Spanish wife, and, though he mourned
their loss, he drew still closer to his first-born.

But he had conceived the singular fancy that the spirit of his dead
could not rest while their trees lived; and he cut them down, one by
one, with his own trembling hands, and, weeping, made a fire of their
straight trunks and graceful branches, and buried the ashes deep in the
earth. It was about this time that his German friends, of whom there
were now quite a number in San Jose, began to whisper among themselves
that Mr. Muldweber was getting very queer--eccentric, in fact--if not
worse than eccentric. His son, among the first pupils of Santa Clara
College, was brought home, and pursued his studies as mining engineer
under the guidance of his father, whose intellect and mental equilibrium
seemed perfectly restored, if they had ever been wavering.

Then death ruthlessly deprived him of the last remaining child of the
Spanish woman--a daughter with eyes as dark as her mother's, and cherry
lips and dimpled cheeks; and he turned from his first-born and only
child now, shunning and avoiding him, as he had neglected all his other
children at one time. The boy, or rather young man--for he had passed
the age of twenty-one--bore his father's whim like the sensible fellow
he was, understanding well the grief, perhaps self-reproach, that was
preying on his parent's heart; and they lived on, apart, though under
the same roof. When he could no longer bear his father's coldness,
amounting almost to aversion, he left home, hoping that absence would
work a change. No letter was ever returned for the kindly-meant missives
sent by him, and when the thought of his father's growing age and
loneliness overcame his pride, and he returned, he found the homestead
let to strangers, and his father established in his little hut, more
unreasonable than ever.

He tried by kindness to conquer the old man's injustice; but one day he
spoke such hard, cruel words to his son, that pride and manhood rebelled
against the indignity, and he left the old homestead forever, he said,
vowing to live, under a strange name, "where his father should never
hear of him again, living or dead."

A shiver ran through the old man's frame; the day had gone to rest, and
the wind blew coldly through the branches of the lone tree above them;
but he would not listen to the girl's suggestion, of coming into the
house with her.

"No!" he said, "I must speak of the wrong I did to the boy right here,
under his tree; he is not dead, I know--the spirit of his mother comes
here sometimes and tells me so. She had such blue eyes--like her that is
with you; but her heart was not strong like yours, either. You see," he
continued, "I was crazy then with grief and loneliness, and
self-reproaches, and I said to him, when he spoke kindly and cheerfully,
that he was the 'laughing heir,' waiting only for me to follow his
brothers, in order to lay claim to the riches that I hoped would be a
curse to him. Ah! I see his white face before me every night, and hear
his last words ringing through my head: 'So shall they be a curse to me
if ever thou seest me again. Leave thy wealth to strangers, old man,
thou hast no longer a son.'"

He had arisen and stood erect, unconsciously giving a dramatic
representation. The hand he extended had grown firm, but his face
gleamed white and ghastly, through the falling gloom. Then the hand sank
powerless as he complained, "And he will keep his word--though he was so
good--my Rudolph."

He looked up in sudden astonishment; Christine had laid her hand on his
shoulder and gazed eagerly into his face. "Rudolph," she repeated, and
her hands wrung wildly a moment, dropped by her side in a kind of quiet
despair. But the old man hardly noticed her. He stood on the mound
again, his form bent forward, as if to catch the first glimpse of any
who might be coming up the road, and he shook his head slowly as he
muttered to himself, "Er kommt nicht, er kommt noch immer nicht."
Christine held out her hand to him. "Come, let me lead you," she said;
but the old man did not understand all the words meant.

Late at night, sitting by the open window, from where she could see his
domicile, she caught herself humming,


     "'T is said that absence conquers love,
     But, oh! believe it not."


And she stopped. She _was_ thinking of Rudolph. Yes, but she had fancied
at first that she was "singing out of his father's heart," not her own.
Poor Rudolph! Now she knew what had exiled him from his father's home,
and she, alas! had driven him from the new home he had meant to build
for himself. And she had thought herself right. A bankrupt suicide's
daughter, how could she, a German, with all the deep religious
prejudices of that people burnt into her soul, dream of becoming
anything more than a friend to the man she honored above all others?

People said she had led him on, had jilted him, and he had left the
country. Could she recall him? And how? Yet she could not leave this
lonely old man to die, as he was surely dying, of the remorse in his
heart and the bitter regrets for his injustice to his son.

No one, coming upon the family at the Lone Linden the very day after
their advent to the place, would have suspected them of being strangers
there. It was home to them at once. The garden, with its "two ornamental
palms," as Christine called them, its wealth of flowers and sparkling
fountain, lay all day in the laughing sunshine, and the beams that crept
in through the bay-window of the sitting-room played hide-and-seek amid
the ivy trailing its glossy leaves across the opposite wall. It was here
that Christine's piano stood, and as Miss Barbara always sought the more
gayly-furnished parlor as soon as her music-lesson was ended, so Clara
learned to despise that apartment, and spend much of her time in this
room.

Toward sunset, when shadows grew heavier, and the evening breeze shook
the foliage, the broken mound with its single tree had always a dreary
look about it, and even Clara was moved into saying, "If Mr. Muldweber
should die, I would not dare come to this tree in the evening sun--it
would be haunted, I know. I should see the old gentleman or his wraith
standing there with his arm around the tree, and his other hand shading
his eye. How lonely he looks; is he waiting for any one, I wonder?"

"Poor old man," said Christine, evasively, and she repeated,


     "No one hastens home at twilight,
     Waiting for my hand to wave."


"Stop, or I shall get the blues, too." Clara raised her hands to her
ears in comical despair, and Christine laughed good-naturedly at the
effect of her singing.

So the pleasant, sunshiny days passed on, with no event more stirring
than an occasional letter from Miss Barbara's father to break the
monotony of life.

It was Mr. Farnsworth's desire that Miss Barbara should be treated and
looked upon as a child, and it would have gladdened his heart could he
have seen her, in the cool of the morning or late in the afternoon, with
Snowball and Kickup in the enclosed lot called the Meadow, behind the
house. Whether it had ever been the intention of Mr. Farnsworth to have
Miss Barbara use the four-footed thing called Kickup as a saddle-horse
is not known; it is a matter of doubt, however, whether any one had ever
been on its back long enough to discover what was its best gait. To be
sure, Miss Barbara made it a point to require her "maid" to "ride around
the ring;" and she would urge the pony close up to the fence for this
purpose, assist Daisy to mount, and then give a jump to get out of reach
of Kickup's heels, for he had never been known to have more than two
feet on the ground when any one was on his back; indeed, as a general
thing, he never touched the ground again till his burden lay there too.
There was no more danger of injuring Snowball's limbs than the pony's,
and as they were taken both from the same tribe, back in Arizona
somewhere, it is to be presumed that they knew each other. But Miss
Barbara was neither cruel nor a coward. She never failed to reach
Kickup's back, and from there the ground again, sometime during the
day's performance, to Snowball's unbounded delight; and at night she
always complained to Mrs. Wardor that "her pony wasn't fairly broken
yet," "Which is not so surprising as that your bones are unbroken yet,"
Christine would say sometimes; for which Miss Barbara would give her a
supercilious look out of her wide-open eyes, as though to say: "What do
you know about it? Your father was never an army contractor."

About this time Mr. Farnsworth, in his letter to Mrs. Wardor, commenced
to promise a visit he intended making them before the summer was over;
and Mrs. Wardor commenced saying to Barbara, when she proved
particularly unmanageable, "Do try to behave like a lady, so that your
father may see you are no longer a child." And the suggestion always had
the desired effect for the time being; but the sight of Snowball driving
Kickup into the meadow would as regularly upset all her good intentions.

One day Christine came into Clara's room, with a troubled look on her
face. "What is it?" asked Clara; "is your aged _protégé_ more depressed
than usual this morning? Has he refused to enjoy his long pipe, or has
he regaled you with a longer account than usual of his son--Hans, I
think, you said his name was?"

Christine laughed in spite of herself. Clara had heard something of Mr.
Muldweber's trouble with his son, and took it for granted that Christine
knew all about it, though she had not the remotest idea of how deeply
she was interested; and one of Clara's fancies was that Mr. Muldweber's
son was a tow-headed youth, and his name was Hans.

"Mrs. Wardor has had another letter from Mr. Farnsworth," said
Christine.

"Again threatening a visit? But why should that make you look so
serious? Are you thinking of his displeasure at not finding his Barbara
an Arabella Goddard?"

"Thank God, I never held out that prospect to him. No--" she continued,
absently; "I don't like his letters, and I fear Mrs. Wardor
misunderstands him--misunderstands him entirely. He inquires very
particularly for Lady Clare in his letters, too."

"And not for you? Ah! then the cat's out of the bag," she laughed; "you
are jealous of me again."

"The vanity of some people--" Christine joined in the laugh; but the
troubled look returned to her face as she went on. "That poor old man
troubles me too; he is failing fast, and his son must come soon, or I
fear he will never see him again."

"Then why not send for him?" asked Clara, innocently; "or does he not
know where to find him?"

"No," answered Christine, savagely, after a moment's hesitation.

"Poor old man," sighed Clara; and she was careful after this to meet the
forlorn figure wandering restlessly through the grounds with all the
sweet consideration it was her nature to show those who were in pain or
trouble.

Still the old man never spoke to her of his Rudolph as he did to
Christine; it was to the brave-hearted German girl he poured out his
long pent-up complaints and lamentations; it was only to her he revealed
how the yearning for his first-born was eating his heart away. Often she
was on the point of telling him all; he would say then, she thought,
that she had acted quite correctly; would commend her for not having
fastened herself with her accursed name upon a blameless man, with fame
and fortune before him. But he would still demand at her hands his
son--his son whom she, more than himself, had made an exile and a
wanderer.

So the day passed on, and the cloud on the horizon of Lone Linden grew
darker and heavier; but no one saw it gathering save Christine.
Instinctively she felt that their fair Paradise would be destroyed when
the storm should burst, but she knew not how to divert the threatened
deluge.

When Clara rushed into her arms one day, flushed and breathless, crying,
"Oh, I knew he loved me--I felt that he had never forgotten me," her
heart misgave her--the first harbinger of threatened desolation had
come. With difficulty she prevailed on Clara to tell her calmly what had
occurred, and, triumphant and happy, she explained that Mrs. Wardor had
received a letter from Mr. Farnsworth, to say that at the end of the
week he should visit Lone Linden, bringing with him young Mr. Heraclit
Gupton, nephew of General Gupton, commanding the Department of the
Pacific.

"Poor, blind Mrs. Wardor," Clara went on to say, "saw nothing in this
but Mr. Farnsworth's desire to entertain a young gentleman whose uncle
had it in his power to award heavy army contracts; indeed, how could she
know that Heraclit Gupton was--was--"


     "I have lived and loved--but that was to-day;
     Go bring me my grave clothes to-morrow."


Christine filled up the pause, her voice more dreary and inclined to
"drop into the cellar" than ever.

Clara looked sobered and disappointed at this unexpected comment, but
attributed it to a sudden recollection of Christine's own "what might
have been."

"What makes you so sad, Christine? Is Mr. Muldweber really sinking as
fast as Mrs. Wardor thinks?"

"Sinking fast, child; only the promise that his son shall be brought
here, if among the living, before the moon fades, has kept the old man
alive."

"Oh! Christine, stay and be glad with me now," pleaded Clara, "the time
for mourning will come soon enough."

But Christine could not be made to rejoice, and all the comment she made
on the other's enthusiasm was,


     "Oh! Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
     You put strange memories in my head."


And Clara flew up-stairs to dream over this broadening flood of sunshine
as she had dreamed over the first faint glinting.

Had not Miss Barbara been strangely absent-minded about this time, she
must have observed how the color in Clara's cheek grew brighter, and her
eyes held a deeper, richer light. And if any expression so soft as a
"dreamy look" could ever have stolen into this positive young lady's
face, one would certainly have said it was there now, though it vanished
like a dream, too, whenever the Indian girl's impish laugh fell on her
ears. The Indian girl herself seemed to be the only member of the family
that was not more or less _distrait_ after the arrival of Mr.
Farnsworth's last letter, for even Kickup showed resentment at Miss
Barbara's sudden neglect of her "saddle horse." It was only natural that
Mrs. Wardor's mind should be on hospitable cares intent, which accounted
for her being oblivious to a good many things going on around her.

Saturday had been named by Mr. Farnsworth as the day on which he was to
be expected, and as the members of the family arose from the
breakfast-table that morning, Miss Barbara astonished Mrs. Wardor by a
demand for her mother's diamonds, to wear in honor of her father's
coming.

"Nonsense, child," said Mrs. Wardor; "what would the young gentleman
coming with your father think, to see a school-girl loaded down with
diamonds? Leave them in my trunk; they are better there. You might take
a notion to have a romp with Kickup before taking them off, and they
would be scattered in the meadow."

But Miss Barbara was determined to carry her point, and broke out at
last, the rebellious blood rising to her head, "I think I should be
allowed to have them, at any rate; they are _my_ diamonds, and father
promised mother that they should never go to the second wife if he did
marry again."

Mrs. Wardor's face flushed as red as Barbara's, but Christine's remained
unmoved, calmly marking the notes on a sheet of music, while Clara gave
one startled look, as though she had just made a discovery.

Early in the afternoon Miss Barbara appeared in the garden, where the
hot sun blazed down on the fiery hair, the burning cheeks, and the
flashing jewels. Her eyes were hardly less sparkling than her diamonds,
and as she threw a searching look down the road and across the plain,
toward the town, they seemed to glitter and glint in all the colors of
the rainbow, just like the stones in her ears and at her throat. Later,
Clara came to the hall-door, but drew back when Barbara came to join
her; the girl's appearance gave her a "scorched" sensation, she said to
Christine, who seemed blind to the shadows that coming events were
casting before them. At least there was neither glad anticipation nor
nervous haste noticeable in her as in the rest, but her heart was very
heavy within her. Nevertheless she chided Clara for having dressed in
black after all, when she had firmly decided to wear white; and she
urged her back into the garden, for she knew her soul was flying across
the road to the city, to meet the form she had dreamed of day and night
since Mr. Farnsworth's announcement.

The afternoon breeze was gently stirring the fragrant flower heads when
she entered the garden again and approached Miss Barbara, who had taken
up her station by the low picket fence where the ground rose above the
level of the road. Clara, too, sent out a wistful look across the plain.
Perhaps she had sighed, for she felt the girl's eyes on her, and as she
looked up, it came back to her painfully what Barbara had once said
about her lack of color. Could her heart be growing envious of the girl?
She did not ask herself the question, but she felt the impulse to turn
and leave her, and would have done so had not a start and flutter on the
girl's part told her that a vehicle was in sight.

She did not look down the road; she would not betray her feelings to the
merciless eyes of this red-headed girl; but her own heart beat so that
Barbara's agitation entirely escaped her. She turned toward the house.
She _must_ press her hand to her heart to still the tumultuous beating.
On the balcony stood Christine, an affectionate smile lighting up the
dark features as she threw kisses to her and pointed to the light
carriage now quite near the gate. Then the color came back into Clara's
face, and, with a sudden joyous impulse, she fluttered her handkerchief
in the breeze, and laughed like a glad child reaching out its hand for
a long-coveted toy. Mrs. Wardor came to the door; the carriage stopped
at the gate that minute, and two gentlemen sprang to the ground.

Just how it all took place, perhaps none of them ever knew--not even
Christine, who had remained on the balcony, a deeply-interested, though
not indelicate, spectator. They lingered in the garden a little while,
and before they entered the house Mr. Farnsworth had pompously announced
to Mrs. Wardor that this was the young gentleman who had so faithfully
and persistently paid court and attention to his daughter Barbara; that
he had at last been touched by his unwavering devotion, and had decided
to make his only child happy--as happy as he himself hoped to be some
day in the not distant future.

"Bless your soul," he added, in an undertone, to Mrs. Wardor, who had
just had an unaccountable attack of heart-beating, "if I had known that
Barbara's 'young man' was General Gupton's nephew, she should have had
him six months ago, and welcome." He was interrupted by Barbara's asking
permission to go driving with her "young man," and, the father
consenting, they were soon speeding over the road in the light carriage
that had brought the gentlemen.

At her window up-stairs sat Christine, her hands folded idly in her lap,
her eyes absently following the couple in the carriage. But on the bed,
in her own room, lay Clara, her head buried deep in the pillows, her
slender hands covering the white face, sobbing as if her heart would
break. And through the half-open door came the saddening chant of
Christine:


     "I have just been learning the lesson of life,
     The sad, sad lesson of loving."


Could the words but have penetrated to the room below, they might have
been echoed there by another. Mr. Farnsworth was again making an
announcement to Mrs. Wardor--though in a manner not quite so
pompous--indeed, almost hesitating.

"Yes," he was saying, "my daughter cannot blame me, since I have made
her happy, that I too should look for a suitable companion. When I say
suitable, I mean one better fitted than the first Mrs. Farnsworth to
my--ahem!--to my--more advanced mental attainments. I have for some time
past observed the--ahem!--sweet disposition and--ahem!--amiable
character of your friend and _protégé_--Clara. Good gracious, madam, are
you sick? Can I do anything for you?"

"No, thanks; only a sudden dizziness that sometimes seizes me in warm
weather;" and, thanks to Mrs. Wardor's self-possession, it was over
directly. As Mr. Farnsworth took it for granted that it was quite
essential for a fine lady to have nerves, and even fainting-fits, he saw
nothing remarkable in Mrs. Wardor's sudden dizziness and pallor. Then
she said Clara was one of the sweetest-tempered women she had ever met
with, but she knew nothing of the state of her heart or affections; he
must lay the case before the lady herself. And here she suddenly
remembered not to have given full directions for supper to the Chinaman
in the kitchen, and left Mr. Farnsworth to his own meditations in the
parlor. Then the sun went down, and Christine, paying no heed to the
sound of carriage-wheels approaching--thinking the happy lovers had
returned--was startled by the sharp ring of the door-bell. She sprang to
her feet; she felt that the bell called to her, and she was at the door
before the servant could reach it. A tall, bearded man stood before her,
who, taking advantage of the girl's being utterly disconcerted, drew her
quickly to his breast. She rested there only a moment.

"Oh, Rudolph! your father," she said, with a tone of reproach in her
voice.

"Take me to him, Christine," and Mrs. Wardor, who had drawn her head
back discreetly a moment before, now came fully out of her sitting-room
to welcome Rudolph to his home.

"All the afternoon you left me by myself," said Mr. Muldweber,
querulously, as Christine softly entered his room. "Ah! if my boy would
only come, he would never let his old father lie here alone," and he
turned his head to the wall so as not to look at Christine.

"Forgive me," she said; "but poor Clara so needed me. And I have brought
news from your son--from Rudolph. He is coming soon--he will be here--"

"He is here now!" cried the old man, opening his arms, but turning his
eyes to the ceiling, as though he expected his Rudolph to flutter down
from there in the shape of a seraph or an angel.

A few hours later Mr. Muldweber's room, which had seemed so lonesome in
the afternoon, was filled to its full capacity. The old man sat in his
easy-chair, holding one hand each of Rudolph and Christine in his own,
and near them were Mrs. Wardor and Clara. Her friend's happiness was a
consolation to her, so much so that she could think, without breaking
into tears, of the trio in the parlor of the other house, talking over
their plans for the future, just as our friends were doing here.

Mr. Farnsworth intended going back to the city on the morrow, heavily
laden with "The Basket" (the German term for the mitten or the sack),
which Clara had given him.

In Mr. Muldweber's shanty reigned a soft, subdued happiness, like the
half-sad light of the moon flooding in through the window.

"It will be Lone Linden no longer," the old man said, "since I have so
large a family. See, I will not crowd you in the big house; I will stop
in my dear little hut. There will be only room enough in the other house
for Rudolph and his wife and her two sisters" (the old man was naturally
gallant), "whose knight I will be till some one worthier and better
shall fill my place. And the red-headed one will go next month?" he
asked, turning to Mrs. Wardor. With a sigh of relief he continued, "And
the black Kobold will go with her I hope, and the four-footed one too.
How they used to break my beautiful white lilies and throw them to that
animal. Ah! you cannot make me believe anything--if that horse were not
possessed by the evil one he never could have eaten those flowers--stem
and all." They could not help laughing, and parted almost merrily.

But out in the garden, in the tender white moonlight, Rudolph drew
Christine close to his heart and looked searchingly into her eyes.

"Are you at peace with yourself now, Christine, and satisfied to be
mine--satisfied and happy? Then why are those tears in your eyes?"

She struggled out of his arms, and passing her hand over her eyes, she
fell irresistibly into her old habit, and sang, soft and low,


     "Mag auch im Aug' die Thräne stehn--
     Das macht das frohe Wiedersehn."



_MANUELA._


"Poor Mrs. Kennerly" was more lachrymose than usual to-day; her eyes
paler, her hair more faded. Paul Kennerly, the keen-eyed, robust
counterpart and husband of the lady, was measuring the room with
impatient steps. When her pale-blue eyes shed tears and grew paler, his
flashed fire and grew deeper blue; when her light-yellow hair hung limp
and loose about her eyes, his darker, heavier locks rose obstinately
from his forehead, and were shaken back, now and again, as a lion shakes
his mane. While the profuse tears coursing over his wife's cheeks seemed
to bleach their original pink into vapid whiteness, his own flushed hot
and red with the quick blood mounting into them.

Yet, Mrs. Kennerly, of whom her friends spoke only with the adjective
"poor" prefixed, was not a martyr; on the contrary, to the unprejudiced
observer, the great tall man, in spite of flashing eye and reddened
cheek, appeared much more in that light and character.

"Laura, _will_ you stop crying just for two seconds, and listen to what
I have to say?"

"Oh, my poor sister! my poor sister! Coming home, and unwelcome in her
own dead father's house! unwelcome to her own brother-in-law, at the
house of her poor dead father--oh!"

Before she had finished her lamentation, Mr. Kennerly had left the room,
shutting the door behind him with a crash, and crossing the corridor
with long, heavy strides. Then his steps resounded on the veranda, where
the June sun threw deepening shadows of the old locusts that stood
sentinel in a half circle on the lawn. Pacing back and forth, with knit
brows and downcast eyes, the wooing beauties of the summer day were lost
on him, as they were without charm or joy to the weak-minded woman
fretting and complaining in her darkened room up-stairs.

Unnoticed by him was the short sweet grass on the lawn, and the rows of
blossoming lilacs and budding roses that hedged it in on either side,
down to the road; unheeded on his ear fell the gentle murmuring of the
wind in the cluster of poplar, beech, and elm that stood bowing and
swaying by the large old gate. Was it possible that he had ever pushed
through its portals (a wanderer returned to his early home), an
expectant bridegroom, to meet the meek-eyed bride whose phantom only
seemed now to haunt the old-fashioned, hospitable house? Again Paul
Kennerly threw back the hair from his forehead with the lion-like motion
that had grown more abrupt and hasty year after year. Then the footsteps
on the veranda ceased, and soon soft, full chords, such as a master-hand
only could strike on the piano, sounded through the wide corridor, and
floated up to the ears of the self-willed invalid. Louder and stronger
grew the strains; and the woman, in her feebleness, cowered on her
lounge up-stairs, and complained fretfully, "Now he storms again!" while
the man below seemed to have forgotten everything; his own existence,
perhaps--the existence of the woman, surely.

Yet she was present to the waking dreams he dreamed of his early
youth--they could not be dreamed without her. She had been his playmate,
his _protégé_; as her younger, stronger sister had been his natural
antagonist and aversion. The father had been his guardian. And when Paul
went as sutler and trader to New Mexico, just as Laura was budding into
girlhood, it was tacitly understood that on his return he would claim
her as his betrothed. Years passed, and when old Mr. Taylor felt his end
approaching, he begged Paul to return, and be to his two daughters the
protector that he had been to Paul's helpless childhood. Soon after
Laura's marriage, Mr. Taylor died, firm in the belief that he had made a
happy man of his favorite, Paul.

Before the mourning year was over, a schoolmate of Paul's, an army
officer, some years his senior, came to spend a month's furlough at the
old Taylor mansion. When he left, he was the willing slave and avowed
suitor of Regina, the queenly younger sister of Laura. If there were no
hearty congratulations from Paul's side, I doubt that either Colonel
Douglass, in his happiness, or Laura, in her self-absorption, felt the
withholding of his kind wishes; and Regina cared very little either for
his favor or his disapproval.

Even before they were married, Regina knew that after a few short weeks
spent in the home-like, elegant quarters at the arsenal, they must leave
the ease and luxuries of civilization for the wilds of some frontier
country. But Regina was content to reign over the limited number of
hearts to be found in a frontier's camp, as she had reigned over her
train of admirers in the ball-room and at the watering-places; and, to
the delight of her husband, she uttered no word of complaint when an
order from the War Department sent them to an adobe-built fort on the
Rio Pecos, in the most desolate part of all New Mexico.

"Now, I should like to go with you, Hal," had said his brother-in-law,
when he read him the order; and he raised his head and flung back his
hair, as though he felt the wild, free wind of the Plains tossing it.

Paul rode back from the arsenal slowly that evening; and the nearer home
he came, the lower drooped his head, the darker grew his brow. At home
he paced the floor uneasily, paying little heed to the feeble whimpering
of his wife, who had been frittering her life away between
camphor-bottles and sentimental novels since Regina had left the house.

The drawing-room, where the piano stood, and where the windows opened
out on the veranda and the lawn, was his harbor this night, as often
when either his own thoughts or the selfish complainings of his wife
drove him distractedly about the house. But this night there sounded a
single soft strain through his "storming,"--as his wife called it,--and
the strain grew wilder and sweeter, till suddenly lost, as the note of
some clear-voiced, frightened bird is lost in the howling of the
midnight storm.

Then had come days of calm, during which the piano remained closed, and
he sat meekly under the drivelling talk of his wife, and in the close,
dark atmosphere which alone, she insisted, suited the delicate
complexion of her face and of her mind.

After that, an occasional letter from his brother-in-law, now at his
station on the Rio Pecos, or an extra twist of the cord matrimonial,
which, since the day of his marriage, seemed literally to encircle his
neck, would set the lion to fuming in his cage; and, with the toss of
his hair from the forehead, would commence the wandering through the
house which always ended with "storming" the piano.

But the days are passing while we travel back into the past; and one,
not far distant, brings Regina, the unwelcome. Before she had been in
the house many days, she knew from her sister's rambling talk what Paul
had said of her coming before she came--knew that he did not believe
what the colonel had written about the disastrous effects of the New
Mexican climate on his wife's health; but believed, rather, the rumors
that had come to him from all sides, each varying a little from the rest
in detail, but all agreeing in the main. Regina's marble face, and
nervous, transparent fingers, might have confirmed the theory of failing
health; but there was something in the momentary flash of her dark
eyes, as she listened to her sister's quavering voice, that told of
energy or despair, such as woman gains and gathers only from a sudden
calling forth of all her passions and powers for the defence of her
life, her honor, or position, as the case may be. It may have been only
once, in the long past, that this power was called out; but, like the
heat-lightning at the close of a hot, murky day, it throws baleful
gleams on the cloud-darkened horizon of her life forever after.

"My sternly-virtuous moral brother-in-law," Regina said softly to
herself, seated on a low stool in the room where her cradle had stood,
"would fain drive me from my own father's house, for a fancied injury to
the fair name of the Kennerly-Taylor family. Ah, well! the end of all
days has not come yet."

Her head sank on her bosom, as she sat watching the shadows of the
tree-clump by the gate, growing longer and deeper in the fading light of
the western sun; and a tear stole into her eye and trickled slowly down
her pure white cheek. Her sister, creeping up to her, and looking into
her face with what affection she was capable of, shed more of her
easy-coming tears.

"I told him they were slandering you. Papa always said you were too
proud to do a wrong and not acknowledge it. And Paul was always hard on
you, I know; and it's all a lie and slander; for even if you were not my
sister, I could tell, as any one could, from your face, that you are
good and without sin. I know from the stories I have read--they all have
just such pale, faultless faces when they're persecuted; and afterwards
the misunderstanding is cleared up, and they get married. But then, you
_are_ married." She had gotten into deep water now; and thinking,
probably, that her younger, cleverer sister would solve this problem as
she had so many others, Laura picked up her camphor-bottle and returned
to her own room. Regina remained, her "pale, faultless face" turned to
the dying light, a pensive, half-pained, half-sad expression on her lips
and in her eye, looking almost like a saint striving to forgive and
bless her traducers.

Yet the woman was not without sin; though how much was to be laid at her
door none could tell.

Out in New Mexico, the rumor ran, at the lonely adobe-built post on the
Rio Pecos, where her husband, the colonel, was stationed, there was also
a post surgeon, a young, handsome man, of fascinating manners, of
unquestioned skill and bravery, and born of an Italian mother, from whom
he had inherited passion, temper, and disposition, together with
Southern eyes and curly, silken hair. His courage had probably come from
his American father; none but such could have a son who, in his
dare-devil bravery, would go so far as to capture and tame a young
panther, and chain him outside his door, to act as watch-dog and
protector. And so great was the love of this animal for his master, that
he was known to leap and roar for joy when seeing him approach after an
absence from home.

Of course, Regina was expected to visit and admire the panther as a
"natural curiosity;" and her hand, too, it was said, the beast would
lick with every sign of affection and submission. Rumor said, that in
the dead of night, when no one else could approach the doctor's quarters
within a hundred yards, she could pass by and into the doctor's rooms
without hindrance or opposition from Royal, the panther. And, moreover,
rumor went on to say, that whenever the colonel was away on duty,
looking after those troublesome Navajoes and uncertain Apaches, Regina's
white robe was frequently seen flitting past the uncanny keeper of the
doctor's door.

But there came a day--a night, rather--when Royal, after a short but
terrible conflict with a midnight invader, lay dead on his master's
doorsteps, and over the body strode the invader into the presence of the
young doctor, who, with an almost superhuman effort, tried to shield the
queenly, white-robed form that fell prone to the floor. To be sure, he
received a bullet in his temple; and the dark, silken curls were dank
and stiff with gore when the sun lighted up the low adobe room next
morning. However, he had saved _her_ life; for the colonel became cool
when he saw the destroyer of his peace and honor lying dead at his feet.

There was no public trial--not even a court-martial. The colonel had
killed the doctor in a duel; but nobody demanded a record of the event,
and the reprimand he received was not by sentence. But he was ordered to
Fort Marcy, near Santa Fé. The colonel had borne off a cut across the
forehead, extending upward till under the hair, in one of the pitched
battles with the Indians; and he was known to suffer from headache and
irritation of the wound to such a degree, at times, that
over-excitement, from anger or other cause, made him almost crazy. He
was an old, valiant, and valued officer; and the War Department, not
supposed to know any uninvestigated matter, would excuse many things in
such a one, even though it could not approve them.

Then it was that the colonel's wife had returned to the States "for her
health,"--as her husband was particular to write to his brother officers
stationed at the barracks and arsenal near to the western city where his
wife's home was.

Who can tell how rumor travels? When Regina made her appearance at the
arsenal, the very women who had once been proud of her notice seemed
hardly to remember a passing acquaintance with her; and, stung to the
quick, she had barely strength to control her face and hold high her
head till the door of her carriage had closed on her. She laid back her
head, throbbing and aching, yet filled with a thousand plans for
regaining her position and punishing those who had so humbled her.

It was one of Paul's restless days; and she heard him "storming" on the
piano as her carriage entered the gateway. With sudden interest she
raised her head, while her face grew animated with some struggling
thought.

When night had set in, and the broad hall-door was thrown open to admit
the soft breeze and the tender moonlight, Regina, for the first time
since her return to the home of her childhood, approached the piano in
the drawing-room and ran her fingers over the keys. The door stood open,
and from her seat she could see into the hall, and catch a glimpse of
Paul's shadow every time he passed the hall-door in his walk on the
moonlit veranda. Not a muscle of her face moved as she continued in her
play, striking chords and running _roulades_, without any apparent
purpose save that of touching once more the old familiar key-board.
Paul's shadow flitted by, regularly and restlessly, never varying an
inch in his distance from the door as he passed it. Suddenly the chords
melted into a melody low and sweet, yet swelling almost into wildness in
its yearning, longing tenderness.

Regina listened intently, and--surely Paul could not have paused
suddenly in his walk on the veranda! Directly his footsteps came again,
halting and uncertain, and Regina repeated the air, throwing into it
more intensity, even, than at first. She seemed absorbed in her playing,
though she knew full well when Paul's hesitating footsteps crossed the
threshold, and moved nearer the drawing-room entrance. When he stood in
the door, she looked up, as though unwilling to be disturbed in her
musical meditations. One look at the deathly-pale face, above which the
dark blonde hair rose like a lion's mane, assured her that she would
gain--_had_ gained--her end; and she played on, as though forgetting his
presence in an instant. Presently, a hoarse, unsteady voice reached her
ear:

"Where did you learn that air? Who taught you the song?"

She looked up unconcernedly.

"That air? Do you like it?"

He nodded his head impatiently.

"Where did you learn it? Who taught you?"

"That song? Oh, I learned that in New Mexico."

He looked at her wildly for a moment, but her gaze was so steady that he
dropped his eyes and moved slowly away.

Late in the night, when Regina awoke from a sleep sweeter and sounder
than any she had yet enjoyed, she heard Paul's steps in the hall-way, on
his way to bed.

"You have left me alone all night again," complained his wife, when he
entered the room; "and I have had one of my nervous spells."

"You keep the room so confoundedly hot and full of camphor that it
smothers me to stay here," was the crusty reply.

"Would you want me to keep the windows and shutters open, so as to let
the mosquitoes come in and devour us?"

"Why do you keep the light burning till twelve in the night, then?"

"But, Paul, I can't read in the dark, can I? And I want some pastime, I
am sure, so sick and feeble as I am," weeping for very pity of herself.

"Throw those foolish books out of the window; the camphor-bottle, too;
let air and daylight into your room, and you'll soon get well and
strong," he answered, willing to be kind and anxious to hush her
distracting sobs.

Regina, in her room, breathed a little sigh of satisfaction; for though
she could not hear the conversation, she could guess very nearly what
Paul's reception had been: "Ah! my clever brother-in-law, yours is not a
bed of roses, either;" and with this comforting reflection she dropped
off to sleep.

Next morning, at the breakfast-table, Regina watched with placid
interest the haggard face of Paul, and the furtive looks he threw over
to where she sat. During the morning his wife was attacked with sick
headache, "from reading those trashy novels," he said; and by night he
was wandering through the house again, groaning in very anguish of
spirit, and flying, at last, to his only refuge, the piano. Through the
loud clanging of the chords there breathed a strain, now and then, of
the song Regina had played; but in a moment it was drowned by the louder
crashes, which almost shook the house, and seemed the outpouring of some
wild spirit in its abject misery. Day followed day, and as the season
advanced, and autumn set in, with stormy days and long, moonless nights,
Paul grew more restless; and one night, when he had wandered through the
house all day--"as though driven by the Fury of Remorse," Regina
said--she went, unobserved, into the drawing-room, from where soon came
the strains of the song that had so agitated Paul. Again his heavy steps
approached the door, and, as he entered the room, Regina said to
herself, "He has grown ten years older since that evening last summer,
and he is ripe for my purpose now."

"You learned that song in New Mexico?" he asked, trying to speak in his
usual quiet tones. "I suppose it is a popular air among the Mexicans?"

"Not a common one, though it is a Spanish song;" and she softly sang the
refrain, "_Ela--Manuela!_"

Had she stabbed him to the heart he could not have turned paler, or
sprung forward quicker, than at the uttering of the words.

"She taught it you! Tell me quick, for God's sake!"

He had clutched her arm, and was shaking her without knowing it.

"Gently, my dear brother-in-law," she said, sneeringly; and he shook the
hair back from his forehead, and regained his self-possession by a
strong effort.

"You wanted to know who taught me the song? My information has a
price."

She had folded her hands in her lap, and was looking quietly into his
face.

"Name it!" he burst out impatiently.

"It is a high price; but I can give you _all_ the information you may
want in return. Here is a sample."

She had turned the music-stool on which she was seated, and while he
paced up and down the room to hide his agitation, she continued in the
tone of one holding easy converse with a good friend:

"I learned this little Spanish song from a very pretty girl in New
Mexico. She said she had once taught it to an American, a tall, handsome
man, with blue eyes and fair face, who must have been in love with her,
I think, for he had always substituted her name, in the refrain, for the
name which the author of the song had put into it. She, too, must have
been fond of this American with blue eyes and dark blonde hair; for,
though not in the least conceited, or aware of her own attractions, she
always sang the refrain with her own name, Manuela, instead of the
original name, Juanita, simply because this American had wished her so
to do. The air is beautiful, I think; and the words are very pretty
too." She turned to the keys again, as though to repeat the air.

"Stop!" he said hoarsely, arresting her hand; "you will kill me. What is
the price you ask?"

"The price is high," he groaned, when she had coolly and in unfaltering
tones stated her conditions to him. "But if you promise to keep to your
word, I will do my best."

"You will succeed, then," she said, holding out her hand, and speaking
almost cordially as they parted for the night.

When she reached her room she seemed for once to have fallen into Paul's
_rôle_ of Wandering Jew; but her steps were noiseless, though the
thoughts that danced and chased through her brain _would_ come to her
tongue, in quick, triumphant words.

"My upright, truthful judge and brother-in-law--to bring about a
reconciliation between his best friend, my husband, and his 'erring but
loving wife.'" A haughty look flashed in her eyes: "Regina--and pleading
for forgiveness! Ah, well--even a queen must sometimes stoop to
conquer!"

The weeks passed slowly on; and, absorbed though Laura was in her
camphor-bottle and her novels, she could not but notice that Paul had
altogether changed in his behavior toward her sister; and she rejoiced
over this in her own fashion:

"I always told Regina that her innocence would come to light, and she
would triumph over the machinations of her enemies, and get married to
a--But she _is_ married--I forget. Well, it will all come right, and
she'll be ever so happy, I know."

Poor thing! She could not live to see her so. The camphor-bottle, the
close, dark room, and the Frenchy novels were too much for her; and
before the spring had brought any flowers to strew on her grave, they
had laid her in a darker, closer room than she had yet been in. Her
husband and Regina followed the coffin, dressed in deep mourning; and
Regina's face, as well as Paul's, was paler and sadder by a good many
shades than usual.

Meanwhile, letters passed frequently between Paul and his friend and
brother-in-law; and one day, when the roses and lilacs that bordered the
lawn were shedding fragrance and beauty together over the old
homestead-grounds, Paul announced to his sister-in-law that he would
accompany her on her journey to New Mexico.

How the wind of the plains through Paul's hair made it look more than
ever like a lion's mane! and how like the Paul of long ago he looked,
mounted on his fiery black horse! Something like pity for him sometimes
stole into Regina's heart; but she would sneer at herself for the
feeling. "Did he pity me when I came home broken-hearted--repentant?"

The long hours of their rest--for the colonel had seen to it that his
wife had not to travel in the plebeian stage, but was furnished train
and escort at Fort Leavenworth--she beguiled with telling, bit by bit,
the story of her acquaintance with Manuela, who had found her way to the
fort on the Rio Pecos, one day, where they had been stationed. Regina
had been captivated at once by the girl's gentle face and soft black
eyes; and when, after an acquaintance of some weeks, she surmised that
the girl was looking for the man who had once loved and then,
unaccountably, deserted her, she felt only pity for one who could so
unselfishly and devotedly love any man as to give up home and friends,
and wander through what must seem the wide world to this poor girl, in
search of him. That the man was Paul, she felt quite sure; though she
had never expressed the least suspicion of this to the colonel.

This much only could Paul learn from his sister-in-law; and that she
knew, even now, where the girl could be found; further than this she
would not say; would not tell him that Manuela had lived in her own
household, half as domestic, half as companion; that she had been
induced to this by the vague hope that while with Americans she might
more easily learn of those who arrived, or returned, from the States to
the Territories; that on leaving Santa Fé she had exacted a promise from
the girl to remain in the colonel's quarters and employ until she should
send her permission to leave her post.

And so they reached Santa Fé--Paul hopeful and expectant as a young
bridegroom; Regina calm and thoughtful, but trying to look cheerful when
she knew of Paul's eyes resting on her; when unobserved, the dreary,
despairing look crept back into her eyes, and her face, white as marble,
grew rigid as the face of a statue. When the cluster of square,
low-built adobe houses, called Santa Fé, rose up before them, Paul
could hardly restrain his impatience; but he had promised to be guided
in all things by his sister-in-law, and he had now to abide by her
decisions. "It would be painful and embarrassing to have any one, even
her own brother-in-law, present at her first meeting with the colonel,"
she said, and therefore requested Paul to remain over night in Santa Fé,
and ride over in the morning to where Fort Marcy lay, on the low rise of
the hills bordering the plain.

Since Regina so wished it, let the meeting between herself and husband
be entirely private. We will not draw aside the veil till the next
morning, which came up with a blaze of broad, staring sunshine,
promising an unpleasantly hot day. The commanding officer's quarters,
though surrounded by a neat paling-fence, was as bare and innocent of
the least attempt at a garden as all the rest of the quarters were. The
red, hard earth alone stared up at the hard blue sky; outside the
fortress walls, ungainly cactus and stunted mesquit bushes made the
plain look only the more inhospitable and barren.

The quarters were low, but cool; and as the doorways were only hung with
curtains, the breeze that swept over the plain had free access to every
room in the house. The large sitting-room at the colonel's quarters had
been darkened since early morning, and the heat excluded as much as
possible, for the colonel was threatened with a severe attack of the
torturing headache that sprang from the badly-healed wound in his
forehead. As the sun rose higher, he succumbed to the pain; and as he
threw himself on the wide, low lounge, in intolerable suffering, Regina
stepped lightly to his side, to supply the usual remedies. But a cold
look and colder words drove her back from his couch; and as he called to
Manuela to bathe his head, in gentle, almost tender tones, she for the
first time felt a deadly hatred toward this girl, whom she knew still to
be an angel in virtue and purity.

Struck to the heart, she left the room, only to throw herself on the
hard floor of the next apartment, where she grovelled in an agony of
anger and pain. Suddenly the sound of horses' hoofs fell on her ear, and
she sprang up with one wild bound, and flew to the door, just in time to
motion Paul, who had already dismounted, into her presence.

"Now has my time come!" She could hardly restrain herself from crying it
out aloud to the frowning mountain and the arid plain. "Ricardo, thou
shalt be avenged! avenged thou, my poor heart, for the tears and the
blood wrung from thee for many, many bitter days!"

The light of the sun shining into Paul's eyes, blinded him; and though
he saw the finger laid on her lips, he could not see the dishevelled
hair and bloodshot eyes, and approached her, looking for some glad
surprise. He had donned a Mexican costume, and the little silver bells
on the outside seam of his pantaloons jingled musically at every step;
while the short jacket, showing the pistol-belt under the red sash, set
his figure off to full advantage.

He spoke laughingly: "You see I have turned Mexican, every inch of me!"
then he caught the wild eyes, with their frenzied look, and he grasped
her hand, exclaiming, "Good God! what has happened?"

"Happened?" she echoed with a demoniac laugh; "we have been
deceived--outraged--cheated out of our life's happiness--both you and I!
Behold the traitor and the serpent!"

Drawing aside the curtain that hung in the door-arch between the two
rooms, she beckoned him to approach, and pointed silently to the group
in the next room. Bending over the reclining form of the man on the
lounge stood a girl, whose face, of angel goodness, was turned in
profile to the two intruders at the doorway. The man's eyes were closed;
and as the girl stooped lower, his hand stole softly around her form,
and nestled there, lovingly, tenderly, as though it had found a
long-sought resting-place. Pliant braids of glossy black hair fell far
below the girl's waist; and her eyes were of the almond shape, that we
find in the faces of those descended from the people of Castile.

In a moment Paul's burning eyes had taken in the picture, and an
inarticulate sound came over his lips. The woman beside him watched him
with the eyes of a tigress; and he never knew--was it _her_ touch that
guided him, or did his own evil passions move his hand from his reeking
brow to the pistol in his belt? There was a sharp report, a shriek and a
groan, and the next minute Paul Kennerly was dashing over the plain,
mounted on his fleet black horse, the wind tossing through his hair, and
raising it from his bare brow, where it reared itself proudly, like the
mane of a lion when he flies from captivity and death.



_THE ROMANCE OF GILA BEND._


Travelling from Los Angeles to Tucson, you can, if you choose, sleep
under a roof almost every night, providing you have good teams. There
are Government forage stations along the whole route, where travellers
are "taken in" by the station-keepers, though not on Government account.
I do not say that it is pleasant at all these stations, particularly for
a woman, as she will seldom or never meet one of her own sex on the way.
When we left Fort Yuma, Sam, the driver, assured me that I would not see
a white woman's face between there and Tucson. He was mistaken. I met
not only one, but a whole family of them, one after another.

The day that brought us to Oatman's Flat was murky, dark, and gloomy--a
day in full harmony with the character of the country we were travelling
through. We descended into the Flat by an abrupt fall in the road that
landed us at once among a clump of scraggy, darkling willows, drooping
wearily over a sluggish little creek. In the distance we could see the
white sand of the bed of the Gila, and half-buried in it the ghastly,
water-bleached limbs of the trees that the river had uprooted year after
year in its annual frenzy. We could not go the upper road, on account of
the Gila's having washed out a portion of it, and the lower road seemed
to be regarded by Sam with all the disfavor it deserved. Verde or
grease-wood, as ragged and scraggy as the willows, covered the whole
Flat, except where, towards the centre, a dilapidated shanty stood on a
sandy, cheerless open space. Not far from it were the remains of a
fence, enclosing some six paces of uneven ground, and on the only upper
rail left of the inclosure sat a dismal-looking, solitary crow.

There was something so repulsively dreary about the whole place that it
made me shudder, and when Sam, pointing to it with his whip, said it was
the spot where the Oatman family had been murdered and lay buried, I was
not in the least surprised. Only one of the whole family had escaped--a
little chap who had crawled away after he had been left for dead, and
brought the white people from the next settlement to the scene of the
massacre. There was nothing to be done but to bury the mutilated
corpses; after this, the place had been deserted and shunned by the few
who lived here, though there had been no more Indian depredations
committed for years past.

I was glad that the road did not take us very near the shanty, though I
watched it with a strange fascination. Sam, too, had his eyes fixed on
something that might have been the shadow of one of the victims,
flitting by the black gap which had once been the door. The place was so
weird that the ghostly shadow seemed to belong there; it chimed in so
well with the rest, that I accepted it as a part of the uncanny whole.
We had been going along at the usual leisurely gait, but Sam whipped up
the mules all at once, and leaned out of the ambulance to speak to Phil,
who drove the army wagon containing our baggage. The road was good and
solid, so I took no alarm at first; but when the speed was continued,
and the baggage-wagon kept thundering close behind us, I ventured to
ask, "Is there danger from Indians here?"

"There hain't no Indians been seen around here for more'n three years,"
was the answer, which satisfied me at the time.

When we came to Burke's Station, where we were to pass the night, a
surprise awaited us. The house, a squalid _adobe_, was built in the
style common along the route--an open passage-way with rooms on either
side. The principal room to the left was bar-room and store-room; the
room to the right was reception-room, sitting-room, bed-room, and behind
it was the kitchen. The passage-way was dining-hall. When the tall young
Missourian, mine host, had ushered me into the room, he stepped to the
opening leading to the kitchen and called out:

"Here, Sis, come and speak to the lady."

Obedient to the call, a bashful, half-grown girl appeared, wiping her
hands on her apron, and looking up timidly from under her long
eyelashes. I took her by the hand. "How do you, child? How in the world
did you get here, and where is your mother?" I asked.

Sam and Phil stood in the hall-door nudging each other, until Sam could
restrain himself no longer.

"Why, that's his wife," pointing to the young Goliah from Missouri, "and
her dad and mam's living in the old shanty down on the Flat. I'll be
derned if they didn't give me the worst scare I had yet--thought they
was Indians, shore!"

I looked from one to the other. "And how old are you?" I asked the girl.

"Almost fifteen!" was the answer; and when the men withdrew she told me
about the rest of her family, whom I would probably find along the road.

Sis was badly dressed; a coarse cotton gown, made with a yoke about an
inch and a half in depth, was drawn up close around her neck, and hung
loosely about her slender, immature form; her naked feet were thrust
into coarse boots, and a large check apron completed her costume. But
there was a shy, daisy-like grace about her that made one forget the
dress and see only the dove-like eyes and half-pensive smile on her
face. Her husband treated her in all things like a child, and she obeyed
him without a murmur or a question. When we left he told us that we
would find Sis's aunt at Kenyon's Station, and charged us to say that
Sis was well, and not the least bit homesick.

We made Kenyon's Station early in the day, Sam and Phil greatly enjoying
the prospect of seeing another white woman here. She appeared on the
threshold, a brawny, coarse-handed woman of about forty, tidy-looking,
in spite of her bare feet and the short pipe in her mouth. By her side
appeared a shock-headed girl of twelve, with eyes agog and mouth open at
the strange apparition of a civilized-looking white woman. The husband
stood beside the ambulance--six feet and a half in his cowhide boots--a
good-humored smile on his leathery face, and lifted me to the ground as
though I had been a feather. Though the house, like that at Burke's
Station, was only _adobe_, there was an air of homely comfort about it,
inside and out, that made it much more cheerful than the other place.

Aunt Polly was an excellent housekeeper--as viewed from a Texan
standpoint--and after she had in the most _naïve_ manner satisfied her
curiosity in regard to my looks and general make-up, she commenced
preparations for dinner. Sarah Eliza Jane, sole daughter of the house
and race, stayed by me in the room. Sitting in a low, home-made chair,
she stared steadily at me, sitting on a taller home-made chair, till she
had comprehended that the bits of braid and lace in my lap were to be
manufactured into a collar similar to the one I wore in my dress. When
she learned that the collar was to be for her, she ran out to the
kitchen, shouting for her mother to come and see what I was doing. The
mother's delight was as frank and hearty as the daughter's, and all at
once the secret leaked out that the family was in possession of a fine
American cow. Never speak disparagingly to me of Pikes and Texans. The
least kindness shown to them is returned tenfold, and the smallest
advance of friendliness is met by them half-way. When dinner (or supper)
was placed on the table, there came with it the most delicious butter I
had eaten for many a long day, to say nothing of a glass of buttermilk,
the sweetest I ever tasted. But I must tell you how Aunt Polly made the
butter, in case you should emigrate to Arizona without a patent diamond
churn. The cream was put into a high tin quart cup, and beaten with a
spoon till the butter came--which it did in about fifteen minutes.

By the time dinner was over we had become quite intimate, and Aunt Polly
having resumed her pipe, gave me a short account of her history since
emigrating from Texas. The two most striking incidents were the loss of
her former husband by a stroke of lightning, about ten months ago, and
the acquisition of her present husband by a stroke of policy, about
three months ago. Though she did not show me the weeds she had worn on
becoming a widow, she exhibited the gorgeous "good clothes" she wore on
again becoming a wife. She stood at a little distance from me and spread
out the second-day dress, so that I could see the whole of the pattern,
consisting of detached bouquets--brilliantly variegated in color and
gigantic in size--scattered over a plain of light sky-blue. The dress
worn for "the occasion" was a gauzy white muslin, which must have had a
delicate effect--if she wore bare feet and a pipe in her mouth with it.
Her husband had proved kind and indulgent. Since their marriage he had
been at Maricopa Wells, and had bought at the store there another
beautiful dress of many colors--which, alas! had run out of his
saddle-bags, after a two hours' hard rain, on his way home. I saw the
dress pattern, and--oh, it was pitiful.

After this display of good-will and fine clothes on her part, she said
she had a favor to ask of me, too. She pointed to my trunk, and said her
husband was crazy to know whether there was a waterfall in it? He had
read so much about waterfalls in the stray papers that fell into his
hands that he had the greatest curiosity in the world to know what it
was, and to see one with his own eyes. He imagined it to be a kind of
box or bag that ladies wore on their heads to carry their hair in, and,
seeing no foreign matter on my head, he "reckoned that I packed it with
me in my trunk." Aunt Polly had shrewdly guessed it to be a new fashion
of "putting up" the hair; but they both had about as correct an idea of
it as a blind man has of colors. With deep regret I owned that there was
no waterfall in my trunk; but seeing their disappointment, I succeeded,
with the aid of a pair of stockings and a pin-cushion, in putting up my
hair into quite a little Niagara, to the great delight of these
fashion-worshipping people.

How charming the grove of trees looks, when you draw up under their
shadow at Gila Bend, after days of travel over tedious sand-plains or
through wildernesses of grease-wood and cactus. The whisper of the wind
in the trees, the bark of the dog that ran out to meet us, and the
cackle of the busy hens around the doorway, told us that we should find
good and happy people here. There was the solitary house as usual, but
it seemed more pretentious than those at the other stations. The
passage-way was higher and wider, the rooms more numerous, and finished
with whitewash and good glass windows. At the windows curtains; a
gay-colored counterpane on the bed, and wolf-skins in front of it and
the lounge.

The station-keeper was a black-bearded, good-looking man, and his name
was George Washington--(I won't give the rest of his name--it's too
long). I knew I should find Sis's elder sister here as Mrs. George W.
----, for she had been married on the same day with her Aunt Polly. The
blue eyes, under long, silken lashes, that met my gaze on the threshold
at Gila Bend were like Sis's, only these were the eyes of a woman; there
were the same pretty movements, too, only there was more of
self-assertion in them. She might have been eighteen; from out of the
muslin dress she wore shone the whitest shoulders that belle ever
exhibited in a ball-room. Her hands and feet were small, and her rich
brown hair, oddly, though not unbecomingly dressed, lay on a forehead
white and pure as that of a child.

No wonder George W. was proud of his wife, and had tried hard to win as
such the barefooted girl whom he found one day, with her family and some
sorry ox-teams, camped near his house, on their way from Texas to
California. It was quite a large family. There was the girl's mother,
her step-father, her sister, her brother, the aunt, and the aunt's
little girl. Aunt Polly seemed to be the leading man, for to her
belonged the two best ox-teams, one of which was driven by herself, the
other by the girl, Dorinda. She had hired or bought her niece from the
step-father for this purpose, after she had lost her husband by
lightning, and Dora had been faithful to her task, although pretty
nearly worn out crossing the Desert from Maricopa Wells to Gila Bend,
where George W. first found them. After he had taken a deep look into
the girl's eyes, he very disinterestedly invited the whole family to
come into his house--as far as they would go in--to rest there from the
long, hard journey. The family was treated to the best the house
afforded, and the oxen were fed on such hay as they had perhaps never
dreamed of before.

The Texans were in no hurry to move on, and George W. was in no hurry to
have them go; being a bachelor, he was naturally fond of ladies'
society. Dora, Sis, and the ten-year-old brother soon became warmly
attached to him, and they, with the big dog, Bose, would daily wander
off to the Gila to catch fish. When they got there the two barefooted
girls and the brother would wade into the stream with ever fresh zest,
as they recalled that dreadful drag across the waterless desert. Bose
always went into the water with them, George W. alone remaining on the
bank, fishing-line in hand.

One day, when Dora had watched the cool, clear water gliding swiftly
over her sun-browned feet in silence, she raised her eyes suddenly from
under the long, shading lashes:

"Why do you never come into the water? Don't you like to stand in it?"
she asked of George.

"Come and sit beside me here, and I will tell you!"

She nestled down beside him, and he called to Bose, who laid his head on
his master's knee and looked knowingly from one to the other.

"About three years ago, before I had built this house of mine, I lived
in a little shanty, about a mile from the river--just back here. The
summer was very hot. I had suffered much from the sun and the want of
water in crossing the country, and after the man who came out here with
me had gone on to Fort Yuma, I was left entirely alone. When I see you
over your ankles in the water now, I am often tempted to call you back,
only I know that you are young and strong, and I remember but too well
what pleasure there is in it. Besides, you do not remain in it as I did,
for long weary hours every day, standing in the shade of a willow
catching fish for my dinner. There was little else here to eat then, and
I never left off fishing till I was taken with rheumatism, from which I
had suffered years before. I was all alone and could not move, and had
nearly perished for want of water, because I could not walk down to the
river to get it. Nor could I cook anything, because beans require a
great deal of water, and I would have died alone in my shanty, if it had
not been for this dog." (Bose wagged his tail to indicate that he
understood what was being said.) "A dozen times a day Bose would trot
down to the river, dip up a small tin pailful of water, and bring it to
me where I stood or lay. Otherwise the faithful old fellow never left my
side, day or night, and though he would, no doubt, nurse me through
another spell of rheumatism, it would be dreadful to be sick and alone
here after you and your people have left me."

Dora was stroking the dog's rough coat. "It would be dreadful," she
repeated, absently, a tear rolling from her lashes to her cheek. Her
words and the look in her eyes thrilled the man to his inmost soul.

"Dora," he said, and arrested the hand travelling over Bose's head;
"Dora, I am old enough to be your father--"

"Yes," she replied, looking up artlessly--but there was something in his
face that made her eyes drop and the warm blood flush her cheeks.

When he spoke again it was of something quite different, and after
awhile the conversation turned to her family. Her stepfather did not
always treat her well; he had struck her cruelly once, and her mother
dared not interfere, she knowing his temper but too well. George could
hardly keep from putting his arms about her to shield her from the man's
rough ways, and in his heart he vowed that it should be different if
Dora did but will it so. The stepfather and aunt had spoken of pulling
up stakes soon, but what wonder that Dora was averse to going?

In the evening George W. proposed to the stepfather that he remain at
the station and "farm it" near the river, while the mother kept house
for them all and served meals to the travelling public of Arizona. From
sheer perverseness the stepfather refused, saying that he wanted to go
on to California, and George W. determined to hasten matters in another
direction. He hovered as much as possible about Dora, who, since the day
by the riverside, had taken Bose into her confidence and affection.
Wherever she went the dog went, too, and his master augured well for
himself from this, though Dora was shy and more distant than when she
first came to Gila Bend.

One day the Texans commenced gathering up their "tricks" and making
ready to go. Dora's eyes were red, and George W., to cheer her, perhaps,
proposed that she should go with him to where he suspected one of the
hens had made a nest in the bushes by the river bank. When they came
back she seemed even more shy, though she stole up to him in the
twilight, where he stood by the big mesquite tree, and hastily put her
hands into his. He drew her to him quickly, pressed her head to his
breast, and murmured: "Thanks, my little girl!" as he touched her hair
with his lips. An hour later there was clamor and confusion at Gila
Bend. George W. seemed to have caused it all, for to him the aunt
vehemently declared that she _would_ have the girl to drive her ox-team
into California--she had hired her and paid for her; and the step-father
shouted that he had control of the child, and go she should, whether or
no.

Poor George passed a sleepless night. The picture of Dora, barefooted
and weary, toiling hopelessly through the sand on the desert, was always
before him, and he swore to himself that she should not go from him;
that he would shelter her henceforth from the cruel, burning sun, and
the sharp words and sharper blows of her stepfather. In the morning,
after exacting a promise from the aunt and the stepfather to remain
until he returned, he started out alone on his trusty horse, Bose
running close by his side. When he had left the shelter of the trees, he
halted and looked keenly about him in every direction. A sharp bark from
Bose made him turn toward the river. Swift of foot as the antelope of
the plains, Dora was crossing the stretch of land between the road and
the river, and when she reached the lone horseman waiting for her, a
light bound brought her foot into the stirrup and her flushed face on a
level with his.

"Thanks, my little girl, I knew you would come," he said, as on the
night before; but this time he held her face between his hands and
looked searchingly into her eyes. "What if they should try to take my
little girl away before I come back--would she go off and leave me?"

She met his look fearlessly and confidingly. "Tell me what direction you
are going, and I will run away and follow you, if they break up before
your return."

"Toward Fort Yuma. I shall ride day and night, and return to you in ten
days. Good-bye; keep faith and keep courage."

"Good-bye!" for the first time the soft, bare arms were laid around his
neck, and the blushing, child-like face half-buried in his full black
beard. "Let me keep Bose here," she called after him, and at a word from
his master, the dog sped after her over the cactus-covered ground.

At Gila Bend, preparations for departure on George's return were kept on
foot--purposely, it seemed, to keep before Dora's eyes the fact that she
was expected to go with her people when they went. The days passed, one
like the other; there was no event to break the monotony of this
desert-life. Yes, there was a change; but none knew of it nor perceived
it, except, perhaps, Dora's mother. From a thoughtless, easily-guided
girl, Dora was changing into a self-reliant, strong-spirited woman. Her
mother knew of her resolve as well as though she had heard her utter it;
she looked upon her eldest-born with all the greater pride when she
discovered that "the gal had a heap of her dad's grit," as well as his
mild blue eyes.

When the morning of the tenth day dawned, Dora was up betimes, mending,
with deft fingers, all the little rents she could find, in her thin,
well-worn dress. Never before had she felt that she was poor, or that
she wanted more than the simple gown and the limp sun-bonnet making up
her attire.

"Moving" had been their permanent state and normal condition as long as
she could think back; and she had known mostly only those who lived in
the same condition. She had never seen town or city; yet, in the
settlements through which they had passed, she had seen enough of
backwoods finery to know that her wardrobe was scantily furnished. At
last, one by one, the tears gathered slowly in her eyes, and she leaned
her head on the edge of the bed where her sister lay still asleep, and
sobbed till Sis woke up and looked at her with wondering eyes.

In the course of the day, Dora went to the river two or three times,
Bose always close at her heels. Whatever may have been the character of
the mysterious consultations they held, in the afternoon the dog was
missing until near sundown, when he dashed into the station, panting and
with protruding tongue, his tail wagging excitedly while lapping up the
water Dora had filled his basin with. Unobserved she stole away, and
when quite a distance from the house, Bose came tearing through the
cactus after her, "pointing" in the direction from where a light dust
arose. The little cloud came nearer, and soon a horseman could be
discovered in it. A race began between Dora and the dog, and when the
different parties met, Bose was fain to leap up and salute the horse's
face, because the rider was otherwise engaged. When Dora was perched in
front of him, the horse continued the journey in a slow walk, while the
girl looked the question she was too timid to ask. George answered her
look: "Yes, darling, I think your aunt will be satisfied."

"Then you have brought a man?" Her curiosity had conquered, for she
could see no human being beside themselves.

"I have." His laugh made her shrink a little--like the _mimosa
sensitiva_, when touched by ever so dainty a finger--and, he added,
soberly, "Two of them. One is the station-keeper at Kenyon's Station.
Their wagon will come into sight directly; but I don't want them to see
my little girl out here with me."

An hour afterward a heavily laden wagon, drawn by two stout horses, was
rolling into Gila Bend, followed by Mr. George W., mounted on Bess. A
pleasant welcome was extended by all to the new arrivals; even Bose, the
hypocrite, barked and capered and flounced his tail as though he hadn't
greeted his master, two miles down the road, a little while ago. Supper
was served by the mother and aunt--this latter lady being narrowly but
furtively watched by the station-keeper of Kenyon's Station. All
thoughts of business or departure seemed banished for that night. The
aunt and the newly-come station-keeper enjoying their pipe in quiet
harmony, a little apart from the rest, so much taken up with each other
that the second man was left entirely to the family. The next morning
this second man was offered to the aunt by George W. as a substitute for
Dora; but, as the Kenyon's station-keeper had offered himself to her as
a husband, earlier in the day, the substitute was declined. Neither
George nor the second man, however, seemed put out about it. Indeed,
there was something suspicious about the readiness with which he went to
work on the half-finished corral building at the station. The aunt and
the stepfather did not seem to notice this. Only the mother thought her
own thoughts about it.

Later in the day, when the father and the brother were with the man at
the corral, the aunt with her station-keeper, and Sis thoughtfully kept
employed by her mother, Dora found a chance to steal out to the wagon,
where George was waiting for her. From under the wagon sheet he drew two
or three bundles, which, on being opened, contained what Dora thought
the finest display of dry-goods she had ever seen. Lost in admiration,
her face suddenly fell, and a queer, unexplained sense of something
painful or humiliating jarred on her feelings when several pairs of
ladies' shoes and numerous pairs of stockings made their appearance from
out of one of the bundles. She drew back, hurt and abashed, and when
George asked--

"But, Dora, don't you like your finery? I thought you liked pink. Isn't
this dress pretty?"

She answered confusedly, "I--I didn't know they were for me--and
besides--I can't take them. I know I am a poor--ignorant girl--but--" a
sob finished the sentence as she turned to go to the house.

But she did not go. I don't know what George W. said to her while he
held her close to him. It was something about his right to buy finery
for his little wife, and the like nonsense, which Dora did not repeat to
Sis when she presented to her a dress of the brightest possible scarlet.

That night they all sat out under the trees together. There was no more
reserve or secrecy maintained. A dozen papers of the choicest brands of
tobacco and half a dozen bottles of "Colorado river water," from Fort
Yuma, had wonderfully mollified the stepfather. The mother would have
been happy, even without the indigo-blue dress that fell to her share,
and Buddy was radiant in new suspenders and a white store shirt. As soon
as possible a Justice of the Peace was imported from Arizona City, to
which place he was faithfully returned, after having made two happy
couples at Gila Bend.


Many months after, on my way back from Tucson, we came quite
unexpectedly, between the latter place and Sacaton, on a new shanty. It
was built of unhewn logs of cottonwood and mesquite trees, the branches,
with their withered foliage, furnishing the roof. A certain cheerful,
home-like air about the place made me surmise the presence of a woman.

I was not mistaken; for though the only door of the hut was closed, and
I could see no window, a loud but pleasant treble voice rang out
directly: "Dad! Bud! come right h'yere to me. I know that's her comin'
thar--I jist know it is," and a little lithe body rushed out of the door
and up to the ambulance, as though she meant to take wagon, mules, and
all by storm. A rough-looking man came slowly from behind the house, and
Bud, with a selection of dogs at his heels, clambered over a piece of
fence--merely for the sake of climbing, as there was plenty of open
space to cross.

The delegation insisted on my alighting, which I did in consideration of
Dora's mother being at the head of it. The family had moved back here
from Oatman's Flat, where they had given Sam his Indian scare on our way
out. Once in the house I no longer wondered how she had discovered the
ambulance, with the door closed and no windows in the house. The walls
had not been "chinked," so that between the logs was admitted as much
light and air as the most fastidious could desire. All around were the
signs of busy preparation. It was near Christmas, and they were
expecting company for the holidays--a family moving from Texas to
California had sent word by some vehicle swifter than their ox-teams
that they would be with them by Christmas-day.

Though the house contained but this one airy room, it was neat and well
kept. Just outside the door there were two Dutch ovens, and this was the
kitchen. Beyond the half-fenced clearing the willows and cottonwoods
grew close by the river, and the mild December sun of Arizona lying on
the rude homestead seemed to give promise of future peace and well-doing
to these who had planted their roof-tree on the banks of the Gila.

The mother sent her love and a fresh-baked cake by us to her daughter. A
loaf of the same cake was given to me, and I can say that it tasted
better than what I have often eaten at well-set tables, though there was
no cow to furnish milk or butter, and only a few chickens to lay eggs.
At Gila Bend, you remember, they had chickens, too; and when I got out
of the ambulance there some days later, I stopped to admire a brood of
little chicks just out of the shell.

"How pretty they are," said I, looking up into George W.'s honest face.

"Ah!" he exclaimed, his eyes lighting up, "but go inside, to Dora."

He led the way to the room, and there, in a little cradle, lay a sweet,
pretty girl-baby--the first white child, so far as history records, that
was ever born at Gila Bend.



_A LADY IN CAMP._


Camp "Andrew Jackson," in the southern part of Arizona, had not always
been without that brightest star on the horizon of an army officer's
outpost life, "A lady in camp." If you happened to be of sufficiently
good social standing, and clever fellow enough to be received and
entertained by the officers of the One Hundred and First Cavalry--which
had long garrisoned Camp Andrew Jackson--one or the other of them might
tell you, confidentially, lounging in a quartermaster-made chair under
the _ramáda_ of the sutler-store, as far as he knew it, the story of
this lady.

Camp Andrew Jackson was a two-company post; and the officers of both
companies, or the number remaining--after a liberal deduction by
detached service, furlough, and sick-list--had congregated one day,
years ago, to discuss the chances of the major's arrival in the course
of the night or the following day. The place of congregating was the
sutler-store, or the _ramáda_ in front of it; time, between "stables"
and "retreat."

"Don't I tell you," asserted young Grumpet, in his most emphatic manner,
"don't I tell you that when I was in Tucson, the general told me that he
should not be able to let the major have more than five men and a
corporal for escort from Tucson out here; and do you think that Major
Stanford, with that young wife of his--a shining mark for Apache
arrows--would venture on the road, in broad daylight, with this small
number? No, indeed. I tell you he'll start out from Tucson about this
time, reach Davidson's Springs at midnight, and get in here toward
morning in good order and condition."

"Seems to me I shouldn't be afraid to start out from Tucson, and go
anywhere in broad daylight, with _my_ wife," said old Captain Manson,
the post-commander, grimly.

An amused expression passed over the faces of the younger officers;
everybody in camp knew, from hearsay, if not from personal observation,
that the captain and his wife lived like "cats and dogs" when they were
together, and that he would probably have let _her_ go out from Tucson
anywhere, in broad daylight and all alone, without the slightest fear or
compunction, had she been in Arizona.

"For my part," continued Mr. Grumpet, who had been assigned to the One
Hundred and First, and ordered to Arizona immediately after graduating
from West Point, one year ago, "I shall be rejoiced to welcome a lady to
the camp. One grows rusty at these outposts in the course of years,
without the refining influence of ladies' society--without opportunities
of any kind for cultivating and improving one's intellect and manners."

"The One Hundred and First has always had an excellent library,
embracing books suited to a wide range of capacities and intellect, from
a 'First Reader' to 'Corinne' and the 'Cosmos.' And, as far as
_tournure_ and manners are concerned," continued the gruff captain in a
lower tone, and turning to the post-adjutant beside him, "why, I'm sure
the doctor and I have made Chesterfieldian prodigies of Tom, the pup;
Bruin, the grizzly; and Chatter, the parrot!"

From the laugh that followed, the junior lieutenant of Company "F" knew
that something had been said to create this merriment at his expense;
but he consoled himself with the thought that "old Manson" felt sore
because Major Stanford would relieve him in the command of the post, and
probably make him (Grumpet) post-adjutant, as he belonged to the
major's company. Left in command of Company "F" by the senior
lieutenant's absence, and officer of the day at the same time, Mr.
Grumpet felt that he had no more time to devote to this class of
mortals; so, bidding them a disdainful "_Adieu_," he proceeded to his
own quarters, where he arranged sash, sabre, and belt to the greatest
advantage on his sprightly person, and then awaited the summons to the
parade-ground.

Whatever his meditations might have been, as his eyes wandered over the
interminable sand-waste before him, they were interrupted by the
spectacle of a cloud of dust arising in the distance. Quickly returning
to his brother officers, he called their attention to this phenomenon.

"If it is not a smoke that the Indians are raising for a signal, it must
be the major with his party," was Captain Manson's opinion.

To Mr. Grumpet's infinite disgust he could not find time to argue this
question with his superior officer, for the arbitrary tones of the bugle
called him to the parade-ground, and when he next found time to
contemplate the landscape, the major's outfit was already in sight and
slowly nearing the camp.

There is nothing martial in the appearance and progress of a military
"outfit," unless accompanied by a command: the rough, gaunt mules
drawing the dust-covered ambulance or carriage, followed, as the case
may be, by one, two, or three heavy army-wagons; the jaded, worn horses
of the escort, and the tired-looking, travel-stained men forming the
escort, make a decidedly demoralized and demoralizing impression toward
the close of a long journey.

The two occupants of the elegant travelling-carriage accompanying this
train were in a state of involuntary _déshabillé_, owing to the
sand-storm through which they had passed early that morning, during
which the major's hat and a number of Mrs. Stanford's veils and wraps
had taken to flight. Marcelita alone, seated beside the driver in the
front of the carriage, had sustained no losses; as her _rebozo_, the
only outside garment she possessed, had been so tightly wrapped around
her that the storm had vented its fury in vain on her belongings.

Marcelita was one of those moon-faced, good-natured Mexican women we
meet with in New Mexico and Arizona. She had probably decided in her own
mind--though it was not very deep--that it was just as easy to smoke her
_cigarritos_ lounging on the floor of the _adobe_ quarters of Camp
Andrew Jackson, earning thereby _dos reales_ per day, and a
never-failing supply of _frijoles con carne_, as it was to perform the
same amount of labor in Tucson, where nothing could be earned by it, and
the supplies of the dainties just mentioned were by no means certain or
unfailing. So Marcelita became Mrs. Stanford's maid. "Tiring-maid," I
should have said; only I am very certain Marcelita would have drawn Mrs.
Stanford's stockings on her arms, and one of the richly embroidered
petticoats _over_ the plainer-made dresses, had the attiring been left
to the taste and judgment of this dusky child of the soil.

Captain Manson alone greeted the major and his wife when the train drew
up at the commanding officer's quarters, the younger officers discreetly
awaiting the morrow to pay their respects. In accordance with true "army
spirit," Major Stanford's quarters had been furnished with the best Camp
Andrew Jackson could boast of, in the way of household goods and
furniture, when it had become known that he was to bring a young wife to
camp. Not the officers of the army alone possess this knightly spirit;
every soldier in the command is always ready and willing to part with
the best and dearest in his possession, to contribute to the comfort or
pleasure of "the lady in camp." Major Stanford had not been with his
company since the close of the war; still, when the captain courteously
inquired whether there was any particular individual in the company whom
he would prefer to take into his personal service, the major requested
that Holly--who had already been an old soldier, while the major was
cadet at West Point--might be sent him.

Holly demonstrated his joy at being thus distinguished by his "old
lieutenant;" and on returning to the men's quarters had so much to say
about the beauty, grace, and goodness of the major's wife, that the men
immediately grew enthusiastic, and before tattoo obtained the
sergeant-major's permission to serenade this first lady in Camp Andrew
Jackson, providing a sufficient number of instruments could be found.
And Mrs. Stanford was awakened from her early slumbers by "music," the
first night she spent in this camp.

There are always a number of tolerable musicians to be found among
almost any body of soldiers. The One Hundred and First had always been
celebrated for the musical talent in the rank and file of its members;
and though the Graces and the Muses had been somewhat neglected of late
years, they threatened now to take possession of every individual man,
with truly alarming fervor. Indeed, Mrs. Stanford's life was made very
pleasant at this dreaded outpost in Arizona--albeit in a little,
cheerless room, with mud walls and mud floor, carpeted half with soldier
blankets half with old tent-cloth. A washstand of painted pine-wood, and
a table of the same material in its native color; a bench to match; one
or two camp-chairs, and a camp-cot with red blanket--representing a
sofa--made up and completed the _ameublement_ of Mrs. Stanford's best
room. But there were red calico curtains at the little windows, and a
bright rug upon the table; and books, and the thousand little
_souvenirs_ and pretty trifles always to be found in a lady's
possession, were drawn out of trunks and boxes, and other hiding-places,
to give the room a civilized aspect.

Still, it was not pleasant in this close-built room, with the door
shut; and open, the sand and reptiles drifted in promiscuously. It
became one of Marcelita's chief duties, in time, to examine the nooks
and corners of the apartment before closing the door for the night, to
make sure that no intrusive rattlesnake had sought admittance, and to
shake up pillows and blankets before her mistress retired, to see that
neither centipede nor tarantula shared her couch. Otherwise it was
tolerable; even young Grumpet was agreeable, though he had not been made
post-adjutant, but he was Mrs. Stanford's most favored escort in her
rides, and that made up for all other losses and disappointments.

The country was not altogether a howling wilderness, either; though the
road that passed close by the major's quarters led into the most
desolate, the most Indian-ridden part of all Arizona, still, at a point
where the road made a sudden fall, a narrow path branched off, and ran
immediately into a little valley, where grass and wild flowers were kept
fresh and blooming, by the spring at the foot of the hill. It was an
oasis such as is frequently found in Arizona, more particularly at the
foot of the mountain ranges; and to this spot Mrs. Stanford, accompanied
by the major, Marcelita, or some one of the gentlemen, often bent her
steps, at times when no Indians were apprehended in the vicinity of the
post. The evenings at the garrison were dedicated to quiet games of
whist, or interchange of the various news of the day. On Tuesdays, these
conversations were liveliest; for the mail came in from Tucson on that
day, and letters from the different outposts and the East were received
and discussed.

One Tuesday there was, among the official papers laid on the
post-commander's desk, an order from Department Head-quarters directing
that provision be made for furnishing quarters to a company of infantry.
Camp Andrew Jackson was to be made a three-company post, on account of
the growing depredations of the hostile tribes of Indians. It was not
until weeks afterward that any speculations were indulged as to what
company, of what regiment, had been assigned to the post; but at the
hospitable board of the major's one evening, after a late tea, it was
the irrepressible Grumpet who proclaimed that he knew to a certainty all
about the matter in question. Company "H" of the Forty-third Infantry
was coming, and had already reached Fort Yuma, _en route_ to Camp Lowell
(Tucson).

"Then Crabtree is in command of the company; or has Captain Howell been
relieved? He was on detached service in Washington, the last I heard
from him," remarked Major Stanford. But Mr. Grumpet interrupted:

"There you are wrong, again; Crabtree is not with them at all."

"Why, how's that?" was asked from all sides; even Mrs. Stanford had
looked up.

Whenever Grumpet had a good thing he always made the most of it; and it
was irresistibly charming to let Mrs. Stanford see that he knew more
than all the rest put together.

"Ahem! Mr. Crabtree, senior lieutenant of Company 'H,' Forty-third
Infantry, has exchanged, with the sanction of the War Department, with
Mr. Addison--Charlie Addison, you know--of Company 'D,' Sixty-fifth
Infantry."

In an "aside" to himself, he continued: "Well, I declare! I've
astonished Mrs. Stanford by my superior knowledge. Why, she's actually
staring at me."

So she was; or, at least, her eyes were wide open, and her face was pale
as death.

"Are you sick, Eva, my child?" asked the major; "or do you see anything
that frightens you?"

"Neither," she answered, passing her hand over her face; "only tired a
little."

"There," put in the doctor, "I _thought_ Mrs. Stanford had baked those
tarts and prepared the salad, with her own hands, to-day, and now I am
certain of it; and I prescribe that the gentlemen immediately depart
from here, and leave Mrs. Stanford to rest, and her own reflections."

Her own reflections! They crowded on her fast and unbidden, when left
alone by her husband and the rest of the officers. Marcelita, after
having repeatedly assured her mistress that the house was free from
invading vermin, had settled down on the floor, with her back against
the wall, when she found that Eva paid no heed to what she said. After
awhile she grew bolder, and lighted and smoked _cigarritos_, enjoying
them to her heart's content, while Eva was enjoying "her own
reflections."

"My dear child, did I stay out late? We all went into the sutler's a
little while, after taps. Did you sit up to wait for me?" asked the
major, kindly, breaking in on Eva's reflections.

Marcelita had started up out of a sound sleep when the major had first
entered the room, and she rolled into her own little tent now, into her
bed, and back into the arms of the drowsy god, without once thinking of
scorpion or tarantula.

Weeks passed before any more tidings of the Forty-third were heard; then
they entered Camp Andrew Jackson one day--not with fife and drum, and
colors flying, but silently, quietly; with shoulders stooping under the
load of knapsack and musket--packed all day long through scorching sun
and ankle-deep sand. It was not till Eva saw the line of tents newly
pitched, on the following day, that she knew of the arrival.

"Yes," said the major, "they have come; but both Captain Howland and
Lieutenant Addison appear very reserved. I don't think either of them
will call till a formal invitation has been extended them. Perhaps we
had better invite them all to dinner some day--that will place them at
their ease to visit here, later."

Invitations, accordingly, were issued for a certain day; but the Fates
so willed it that the horses of Company "F" were stampeded from the
picket-line by a band of Apaches, during the night preceding; and
Arroyos, the guide, expressed his conviction that he could lead the
troops to the _rancheria_ of these Indians, and recover the horses
taken. Although Major Stanford's position as post-commander would have
justified him in sending some subaltern officer, he preferred to take
charge of the expedition in person, leaving the post in Captain Manson's
hands.

"You look pale, child," said Major Stanford, bidding Eva farewell, while
the orderly was holding his horse outside. "I am almost glad, on your
account, that the dinner-party could be put off. Your color has been
fading for weeks, and if you do not brighten up soon, I shall have to
send you back home, to your aunt." And tenderly smoothing the glossy
hair back from her face, he kissed it again and again, before vaulting
into the saddle.

Accompanied by Marcelita alone, Eva, toward evening, set out on her
usual ramble, following the road from which the path branched off,
leading into the valley. At the point where the road falls off toward
Tucson, she stopped before taking the path that led to the spring, and
cast a long, shivering look around her. Wearily her eyes roamed over the
desolate land; wearily they followed the road, with its countless
windings, far into the level country; wearily they watched the flight of
a solitary crow, flapping its wings as it hovered, with a doleful cry,
over the one, single tree on the plain, that held its ragged branches up
to the sky, as though pleading for the dews of heaven to nurture and
expand its stunted growth. An endless, dreary waste--an infinitude of
hopeless, changeless desert--a hard, yellow crust, where the wind had
left it bare from sand, above which the air was still vibrating from the
heat of the day, though the breeze that came with the sunset had
already sprung up; the only verdure an occasional bush of grease-wood,
or mesquite, with never a blade of grass, nor a bunch of weeds, in the
wide spaces between.

Farther on to her right, she could see the rough, frowning rocks in the
mountain yonder, looking as though evil spirits had piled them there, in
well-arranged confusion, to prevent the children of earth from taking
possession of its steep heights, and its jealously-hidden treasures.

Grand, and lonely, and desolate looked the mountain, and lonely and
desolate looked the plain, as Eva stood there, her hands folded and
drooping, the light wind tossing her hair, and fluttering and playing in
the folds of her dress. It was the picture of her own life unfolding
before her: lone, and drear, and barren; without change or relief,
without verdure, or blossom, or goodly springs of crystal water; the
arid desert--her life, dragging its slow length along; the frowning
mountain--her duties, and the unavoidable tasks that life imposed on
her.

With a sigh she turned from both. Before her lay the cool valley,
sheltered from careless eyes, and from the sand and dust of the road and
the country beyond. Very small was the valley of the spring, with its
laughing flowers and shady trees--like the one leaf from the volume of
her memory that was tinted with the color of the rose and the sunbeam.

"And up the valley came the swell of music on the wind"--bringing back
scenes on which the sun had thrown its glorious parting rays in times
past, when life had seemed bright, and full of promise and inexhaustible
joy. But she brought her face resolutely back to the desert and the
mountain.

She walked on rapidly toward the spring where Marcelita had spread her
_rebozo_ on the trunk of a fallen tree, before starting out to gather
the flowers that grew in the valley.

Almost exhausted, Eva had seated herself on the improvised couch, but
was startled by a step beside her. Was it a spirit conjured up by the
flood of memories surging through her breast that stood before her?

"Eva!"

"Charlie, oh, Charlie! have you come at last?" But already the spell was
broken.

"I cannot think why Lieutenant Addison should wish to surprise me here.
Would it not be more fitting to visit our quarters, if he felt
constrained to comply with the etiquette of the garrison?"

"For God's sake, Eva," he cried, passionately, "listen to me one moment;
grant that I may speak to you once more as Eva--not as the wife of Major
Stanford. Let me hear the truth from your own lips. Eva, I have come
here, to this horrible, horrible country, because I knew you were here.
I came here to see you--to learn from you why you were false to me; why
you spurned my love--the deepest and truest man ever felt for woman--and
then to die."

He had thrown his cap, marked with the insignia of his rank and calling,
into the grass at his feet; and the last rays of the sun, falling aslant
on his rich, brown hair, made it bright and golden again, as Eva so well
remembered it.

"False!" she repeated, slowly, as though her tongue refused to frame the
accusation against him; "_you_ were false--not I. Or was it not
deceiving me--to tell me of your love; to promise faith and constancy to
me while carrying on a flirtation--a correspondence with another woman?"

"You cannot believe that, Eva, any more than I could believe what Abby
Hamilton told me--that you had left your aunt's house without telling me
of it, purposely to avoid me and break every tie between us--till a
package, containing all my letters to you, was handed me the day we
marched from Fort Leavenworth."

"Those letters had been taken from my desk in my absence. But I had
intrusted Abby with a note for you, when I was called to my sister's
bedside. And, was it not Abby with whom you were seen riding?"

"Yes--to meet you at Mr. Redpath's farm; and I afterward sent you a
note, through her, to which there came no answer save that package of my
own letters."

"Why, then, did you go from me? Had you so little faith in me, so little
love for me, that you could make no effort to see me? Was it so great a
task to write me a few, short lines!"

"Then none of my letters have ever reached you? Oh, Eva, my darling--my
lost one--can you not feel how my heart was wrung, how every drop of
blood was turned into a scorching tear, searing my brain and eating my
life away, when day after day passed, and no tidings came from you? I
was on the point of deserting the command, of bringing ruin and disgrace
on myself, when a brain fever put an end to my misery for the time, and
I was carried to Fort Lyons, as they thought, only to be buried there.
When I returned to Leavenworth on sick-leave, I was told you were gone,
and your aunt took good care not to let me know where to find you. She
had never liked me; but I could forgive her cruelty to me, did not your
wan face and weary eyes tell me that my darling girl has not found the
happiness I should have sacrificed my own to have purchased for her."

Eva bowed her face in her hands, and deep sobs seemed to rend her very
soul, but no word passed her lips.

"Then your life has been made a wreck, as well as my own, Eva?" he
continued, wildly, almost fiercely. "Is it right that it should be so:
that we should be robbed of all that makes life sweet and desirable, by
the wicked acts of others? Must we submit? Is it too late--"

"Too late," echoed Eva; "you forget that I am the wife of another. We
must submit. Do not make the task harder for me than it is, Charlie;
promise never, never to come to me again."

"I promise," he said, kneeling beside her, and bending over her hand.
"Here at your feet ends my wasted life; for I swear to you that I will
never go back into the world that lies beyond this camp. But if you
believe now that I have been true to you and to my faith, then lay your
hand on my head once again, as you did years ago, before we part
forever."

"Forever." For an instant the hand he had reverently kissed was laid
lovingly on his soft, wavy hair; then Eva arose, leaving him with his
face buried in the damp grass, and the shades of night fast gathering
around him.

An orderly with a letter for Mrs. Stanford had been waiting for some
time at the quarters. It was from Major Stanford.

"You went out with the major this morning, did you not, Tarleton?" she
asked of the man.

"Yes, madame; and the major sent me back with dispatches for Captain
Manson, and this letter for you."

The major wrote: "Arroyos' opinion, after closely examining the tracks
of the absconding Indians, is, that we had better wait for
reinforcements before attacking their _rancheria_. Keep Marcelita in
your room. I know how timid you are. If you prefer to have a guard
nearer to your quarters, send your compliments to Captain Manson--he has
my instructions. We shall probably return to-morrow, by sundown. Till
then, 'be of good cheer.'"

"There are more men to be sent out to-night?" asked Eva of the
gray-headed soldier. She had always shown particular regard for this
man; so he answered more at length than he would have ventured to do
under other circumstances.

"Yes, madame; and I heard the men say down at the quarters, that the new
lieutenant who came with the infantry was to take charge of the scout."

"Very well; tell Holly to give you a cup of tea and something to eat.
Say to the major that I shall not be afraid to-night."

"Thank you, madame." And with a military salute, he retired.

Her husband's letter lay unheeded on the table, and Eva was still in the
dark when Captain Manson entered the room, some time later. Marcelita
brought candles; and the captain, pointing to the letter, said:

"The major is very anxious that you should not feel the slightest fear
to-night. I hope you have worded your answer so that he will not have
any uneasiness on your account."

"I sent word that I should not be afraid."

"Nevertheless, I shall place a sentinel near your quarters, if I
possibly can. To tell the truth, Major Stanford has ordered out more men
than _I_ should ever have sent away from the post. If Arroyos was not so
confident that _all_ the red devils are engaged in that one direction, I
should have advised the major to leave more men here. But you need have
no fears."

The sound of the bugle and the tramp of horses interrupted him.

"The command is going out; they will reach the major some
time during the night. Can't think what on earth brought that
youngster--Addison--out here. Been anxious to go on an Indian scout,
too, ever since he came: he'll cry 'enough' before he gets back, this
time, I'll warrant you. The clang of those cavalry trumpets is horrible,
isn't it; cuts right through your head, don't it?"

Eva had dropped her hands almost as quickly as she had raised them to
her temples; and with her face shaded from the light, she silently
looked on the cavalcade that passed along under the mellow light of the
new moon.

She sat there long after the captain had left her; she sat there still
when the early moon had gone down, and Marcelita had closed the door
before resorting to her favorite seat on the floor, with her back
against the wall, from where she watched her mistress with eyes growing
smaller and smaller, till they closed at last. The wind had risen again,
and was blowing fitfully around the corners of the _adobe_ buildings,
causing the sentinel on his lonely beat to draw his cap firmer down on
his head. It was just such a gusty, blustering wind as would make the
cry of the watchful guard appear to come from all sorts of impossible
directions, when "ten o'clock and all is well" was sung out. A dismal
howl, as though hundreds of _coyotes_ were taking up the refrain,
answered the cry; and then the clamoring and yelping always following
the first howl was carried farther and farther away till it died in the
distance.

Marcelita shook herself in her sleep. "Holy Virgin protect us, they are
the Indians," she muttered, with her eyes closed.

Eva had drawn her shawl closer around her; but neither the wild night
nor the doleful music had any terror for her; she only felt "her life
was dreary," while listening to "the shrill winds that were up and
away."

Silence and darkness had once more settled on the camp; but the silence
was suddenly rent by fierce, unearthly sounds: yells and shrieks, such
as only hell, or its legitimate child, the savage Indian, could give
utterance to; shouts of triumph and exultation that made Eva's blood run
cold with horror. Marcelita had started to her feet at the first sound,
and was tearing her hair wildly, as she repeated, in a paroxysm of
terror, "The Indians, the Indians! Oh, saints of heaven, protect us?"
The darkness was broken by little flashes of light, where the sentinels,
some of them already in the death-struggle, were firing their muskets in
warning or in self-defence. A sharp knocking on the door, and voices
outside, brought Eva there.

"Open, madame, quick: there is no time to be lost"--it was Holly's
voice--"they have attacked the men's quarters first, and we can reach
head-quarters and the adjutant's office from this side. It is the only
safe place; but quick, quick." And between them--the man who had been on
guard near the house and the faithful Holly--they almost dragged Eva
from the room, and hurried her into the darkness outside.

The elevation to which exalted rank of any kind raises us, is always
more or less isolation from our fellow-beings. Major Stanford's, as
commanding officer's quarters, were some distance from those of the
other officers, and the space that lay between them proved fatal to
Eva's safety.

Every single verde-bush seemed suddenly alive with yelling demons, when
the little party had fairly left the shelter of the house behind them.

Holly had no arms, and the other soldier had been lanced through the
body; still Eva pursued her way, and could already distinguish Mr.
Grumpet's voice cheering the small number of men on to resistance, when
a whizzing sound passed close by her ear, and the next moment she found
her arms pinioned to her body by the lariat thrown over her head, and
felt herself dragged rapidly over the ground, till dexter hands caught
and lifted her on the back of a horse. Here she was held as in a vice,
and carried away so swiftly that Marcelita's screams and Holly's
curses--heard for a moment above all the din and confusion of the
impromptu battle-field--soon died away in the distance, as her captor
urged his animal to its utmost speed.

On dashed the horse; the angry winds tore her hair, and the spiteful
thorns of the mesquite caught her flowing robes, and rudely tore her
flesh till she bled from a thousand little wounds, but not a moan or
murmur escaped her lips. A merciful fit of unconsciousness at last
overtook her; and, when she awoke, she found herself on the ground, her
wrists fettered by sharp thongs, that were cutting deep into the
tender, white flesh. The first faint glimmer of light was breaking in
the East; and Eva could see that quite a number of Indians had met here,
and were evidently in deep consultation on some subject of vast
importance; for even the savage who was cowering close beside her, as
though to watch her, was leaning forward to catch the conversation, with
an intent and absorbed air.

They had made their way into the mountains, as the Apaches always do
after a successful raid; for the less agile horses of our cavalry cannot
follow their goat-like ponies on paths and trails known only to the
Indians.

Perhaps Eva was even now lying among the rocks and bowlders that had
looked down on her so frowningly yesterday at sunset; perhaps, even then
had the foe into whose hands she had fallen marked her for his prey, as
he watched and counted--unobserved by the less keen eyes of his "white
brethren"--all the chances for and against the success of a sudden
onslaught.

From the little flat where they were halting, Eva could catch just one
glimpse of the country at the foot of the mountain; and from it she
could see--though the mist had not yet cleared away--that they must have
ascended to a considerable height. Broken, jagged rocks inclosed them on
all sides; a stunted tree or overgrown cactus, here and there, springing
into sight as the light grew in the east. A heavy dew had fallen, and
Eva was so chilled that she could not have made use of her hands, had
they been unfettered. The watchful Indian had noticed the shiver that
ran through her frame, and his eyes were fixed on her face, to discover
if consciousness had returned. But his eyes wandered from Eva's face
directly, and travelled in the direction of the narrow trail by which
they had come, winding around the wall of rock, behind which the
deliberating savages were seated in a circle, Indian fashion, their
legs crossed. At a little distance could be seen their horses, nibbling
the scant grass the mountain afforded--and one of these, perhaps, had
loosened the little stone that rolled down the side of the mountain.

So the Indian mounting guard over Eva appeared to think at least, for he
again turned his attention to the proceedings of the council, when
suddenly there came the warning of their sentinel on the rock above
them, and simultaneously the shout of "On them, my men! down with them!
She is here! she is safe!"

Eva's guard uttered one yell before Lieutenant Addison's ball laid him
in the dust; but a dozen arrows were already aimed at Charlie's heart.

"Eva!" he cried, "Eva, have courage; I am coming, I am near you!"

So near that she could see where the arrow had struck his side, and the
blue coat was fast growing purple from the blood that followed where the
arrow in its flight had made that ugly gash. So near that she could
realize how desperate was the struggle between him and the half-naked,
light-footed horde that disputed every step to Eva's side, literally at
the point of the lance.

But the soldiers were not far behind; and with the strength that comes
only of love or despair, the young man reached Eva's side at last. She
had not fainted--much as my lady readers may upbraid her for this
omission of the proprieties--but held up her poor, fettered hands to him
with a look for which he would have laid down his life a thousand times
over.

"You are free!" he cried, loosening her fetters with trembling hands;
"you are free! And if I have broken my promise--if I have come to you
again--I have come only to die at your feet."



_THE GOLDEN LAMB._


"Oh, dear! this is one of her tantrums again!"

"Well, she _is_ the funniest girl I ever _did_ see."

"And it is only because I laughed at the way the forlorn old maid, whom
she calls her dressmaker, had hunched that lovely lavender till it looks
like a fright."

"See how she's jerking it, to make it fit."

"Hush, girls," broke in the mother; "that is not the way to improve her
disposition. Don't be watching her; look out here at the window; see the
number of sails coming in through the Golden Gate this morning."

The view from the bay-window in the second story front, which was used
as a sitting-room for the ladies of the family, was certainly very grand
this bright December morning, when the sun, shining from an unclouded
sky, kissed the waters of the bay till they looked as clear as the
heavens above, with millions of little golden stars rippling and
flashing on the blue surface. But far more attractive to the two young
ladies, who pretended to be counting the vessels in sight, was the view
in the back-ground of the room, where a slender, _petite_ figure, with
head half-defiantly thrown back, was noting in the tall pier-glass the
effects of the changes her quick fingers made in the lavender robe,
whose silken folds were sweeping the carpet. The head was crowned with a
glory of the brightest, lightest golden hair, while the eyes, flashing
proudly from under the long silken lashes, were darker than midnight.
Yet the sparkle and the laughter of the noonday sun were in them, when
the cloud, just now resting on the child-like brow, was dispelled by a
kind word or a sympathetic touch.

"There, Lola--it is perfect now," said Mrs. Wheaton, turning to her
youngest daughter, and thus breaking the seal laid on the lips of her
two older ones.

Matilda, good-hearted, and really loving her sister, in spite of her
greater beauty and her "strange ways," meant to improve the opportunity.

"Yes, indeed, Lola; and I've a good mind to let Miss Myrick make up my
olive-green after New-Year's. I really think that if I take as much
pains as you do, and go there twice a day to show her, she will be able
to fit me splendidly. Don't you think so?"

Lola gave her sister a curious look while she spoke, her face flushed,
and after a disturbed expression had flitted over it the hardly banished
frown seemed ready to come back. "I don't know what Miss Myrick would
want with you twice a day; I don't go there twice a day, I'm sure."

"Oh, I was only thinking--well, you _are_ the strangest girl." Miss
Matilda would have been offended, probably, had her sister given her
time; but Lola's hands were already gliding over her hair, removing
hair-pins, switches, and other appendages from the elder young lady's
head.

"Let me show you how I mean to dress your hair on New-Year's eve," said
Lola, and peace was made. To have her hair done up by Lola was always an
object worth attaining--no one else could make Miss Matilda's angular
head appear so well-shaped as she.

Miss Fanny meanwhile had picked up a book and thrown herself on the
lounge to read, but combs and combing material having been brought in
from an adjoining room she soon became interested in the braids and
twists with which her sister's head was being adorned. During the
progress of the work, she, as well as the mother, threw in suggestions,
or made criticisms with a freedom which sometimes caused the short upper
lip of the fair hair-dresser to be drawn up until the milk-white teeth
shone out from under it, though she responded with the utmost amiability
to the hints thrown out and the advice so lavishly given. The mother had
never allowed an opportunity like this to pass without "improving her
daughters' disposition," as she termed it--striving honestly so to do by
trying the somewhat quick temper of the impulsive, affectionate child.
Because the girl's eyes flashed fire and her lips curled haughtily when
any fancied slight was put upon her, as she thought her shy but loving
advances were repulsed, the family had come to look upon the youngest
born as having a bad disposition, when really a more amiable child than
little Lola had never grown into womanhood.

"She's an odd one, and always has been ever since they gave her that
outlandish name," the father would say, stroking his slender stock of
reddish-white hair from his forehead till it stood straight up like a
sentinel guarding the bald pate just back of it; "she don't look like
the rest, and don't act like 'em, either, though I spent more money on
her education than both her sisters put together ever cost me."

What he said about Lola's looks was true; the other two daughters had
inherited from him their water-blue eyes and florid complexions, while
Lola had the eyes of her mother--so far as the color went. But could the
pale, quiet woman ever have known the deep, intense feeling, or the
heartfelt, open joyousness that spoke from her daughter's eyes? Who
could tell? She had come to California in early days a sad-eyed, lonely
woman, and--she had not married her first love.

Her name Lola owed to the only romantic notion her mother ever had, as
her father said. When the child had grown to be two or three years old,
and Mrs. Wheaton had noted but too often the dreary look that would
creep into her eyes, even at this tender age, she kissed the little one
tenderly one day and murmured, her sad eyes raised to heaven, "Dolores,
he called me, and if he be dead, it will seem like an atonement to give
the name to my pet child." Her husband, blustering and pompous in his
ways--meaning to be commanding and dignified--seldom opposed a wish his
wife decidedly expressed, never stopping to ask reason or motive; and
the Spanish children with whom Lola's nurse came in contact calling her
by this diminutive, the child had grown up rejoicing in her outlandish
name, and an unusually large allowance of good looks.

In the meantime Matilda's hair has been "done up" and duly admired, and
Miss Fanny, loath to abandon her comfortable position on the lounge, has
just requested Lola to bring for her inspection the list of invitations
made out for the New-Year ball to be given by Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton.

"Wonder what Angelina Stubbs will wear?" soliloquized Miss Fanny. "And
how she'll make that diamond glitter! Wonder if papa will ever give me
the solitaire he promised me?"--turning to her mother.

"No doubt of it, if he has promised it," was the quiet reply.

"Swampoodle was up to three hundred this morning. I should think he
could afford it." Then glancing at the list again, she continued:
"Here's young Somervale's name. I suppose Angelina will be hanging on
his arm all the evening."

"Charles Somervale?" asked Matilda. "Papa said we ought not to have him
come; he says his salary will no more than pay for the kid gloves and
cravats he's got to buy when he attends gatherings like these, and papa
thinks it is wrong to encourage a poor young man in acquiring a taste
for fashionable society."

"Poor or not," persisted Miss Fanny, "he's got to come, because he's a
splendid figure in a ball-room, and such a dancer! Poor, indeed! Why,
Angelina Stubbs would take him this moment, and her father would jump at
the chance."

"I should think he would--to get rid of her domineering," laughed Miss
Matilda. "But our papa isn't a widower, and I doubt that he would give
any man a fortune to have him marry one of his daughters."

Miss Fanny's face grew crimson with vexation. "You are very disagreeable
sometimes, Matilda. But I don't wonder at your fearing my getting
married before you, seeing that you are the oldest of the family."

It was now Matilda's turn to get angry, but the mother's quiet, even
voice broke in and calmed the rising storm before the oldest of the
family could frame an answer. The leading question--the dresses to be
worn the night of the ball--was brought up; and when the mother turned
to consult her youngest daughter on some point, she found her no longer
in the room.

"Where is Lola?" she wondered.

"Gone to the matinee, probably," yawned Fanny, composing herself for the
further perusal of her novel, "and I should have gone too, if it was not
too much trouble to dress so early in the day. Dear me, don't I pity
Tilly, though!"

"Why?" asked Mrs. Wheaton, regarding her eldest daughter.

"She will have to sit up straight all day long with that bunch of hair
on her head. She thinks old Toots is coming to-night, and she wouldn't
for the world lose her elegant _coiffure_ and the chance of looking
pretty in his eyes."

Before she had finished speaking her eyes were fastened on the book
again, and whatever Tilly replied about not wishing to receive a
solitaire as gift from her father fell unheeded, apparently, on the fair
Fanny's ears.

It was a mistake about Lola's having gone to the matinee. If we follow
her we shall see her ascending one of the streets in the same quarter of
the city in which the paternal mansion--as the novel-writers have
it--stood, though in a far less fashionable part. Indeed, there was no
fashion about; for a corner-grocery, or a retail fruit-shop occasionally
made its appearance among the ranks of the generally neat houses, each
of which was provided with a flower-covered veranda, or a trim front
yard. One of them boasted of a garden and veranda both--the former set
out with well-tended flowers, the latter almost hidden under creeping
roses and trailing fuchsias. Everything about the place looked prim and
neat; even the China boy, who opened the door for Lola, seemed to have
been infected by the spirit prevailing, and his snowy apron fairly
blinked in the rays of the sun falling through the curtain of the
foliage, thinned by the cold nights of the winter season.

Miss Myrick was in, sewing by the window, seated in her own chair, so
low that she could not see out into the garden, for fear of being
tempted to waste her time. The parlor was comfortably furnished,
homelike and tidy, though Miss Myrick occupied it most of the time with
her work. She did not often sit in the little room at the back of the
house, which really had a better light--the windows opening to the
ground--because there was another garden there, and Miss Myrick was so
passionately fond of her bright-hued pets that it once happened that the
sewing which had been entrusted to her by a cloaking establishment in
the city was found unfinished and she in the garden when the porter came
to take the garments home. Since that time she had been a great deal
stricter with herself--she never had been strict with anybody else, not
even with Charlie Somervale, when he had been left to her a romping,
frolicking boy of thirteen by his dying mother.

She was an old maid even then, dreadfully set in her ways, as people
said, and the twelve years which had passed since then had made her no
younger. Her ways, however set, must have been gentle and good, for they
had won the boy back from the almost hopeless despondency into which his
mother's death had thrown him, and she had made of him a man such as
few are met with in our time. His mother had left him nothing, his
father having died in the mines years before, poor and away from his
friends.

Dying his mother had said to her friend, "Find my brother; he will
provide for the boy for my sake." This, however, Miss Myrick had failed
to do for two reasons: she knew of the whereabouts of the brother only
that he was in the Indies; and had she known more she would not have
prosecuted the search, because--well, Charlie "didn't know exactly, but
he guessed that her mother had intended Miss Myrick for her brother's
wife, but the brother had declined taking stock in that mine." Charlie
was clerk in the bank, and we must forgive him some of his peculiar
expressions on the ground that "he heard nothing but stocks talked from
morning till night."

As we are aware that the banks close at twelve o'clock on Saturdays, we
need not be surprised to see Charlie coming down the street, on the way
to Aunt Myrick's house, his home. Lola seemed very much surprised, so
much so that her face flushed when he came in at the door, just as she
was about to leave the house. After a few moments' conversation about
"the delightful weather--and this time of the year, too--nearly
Christmas--" Charlie asked permission to escort Miss Wheaton down the
street, which permission was graciously given.

Though we should like much to remain with Miss Myrick in her cozy little
home, where nothing indicated that the mistress was compelled to earn
her bread with her needle, we have more interest in going with the
handsome young couple, moving along in front of us as if they were
treading on air. Though there is no lack of deference or respect in the
manner with which the young man leans over to whisper something into the
ear of the younger Miss Wheaton, he has yet dropped the formal address
and speech of which he made use at Miss Myrick's gate.

"Lola," and the little hand on his coat sleeve is surreptitiously
pressed as they turn the corner of a quiet street _not_ leading to the
paternal mansion, "how can I thank my angel for the unspeakable
happiness of this meeting? The bright sun would have been shrouded in
darkness to me if you had broken my heart by disappointing me. A
thousand, thousand thanks for your visit to--my Aunt Myrick's."

She caught the roguish twinkle in his merry blue eye, and the joyous
laugh that rang out on the air could not have offended Miss Myrick
herself, had she heard the conversation.

"What pretty speeches," Lola tossed her head mockingly; "did you learn
them from Miss Angelina Stubbs?" and another laugh spoke of the
lightness of heart which finds food for laughter and gladness in all
harmless things.

"I told her the other day when she joked me about my advancing
bachelorhood" (they were slowly ascending one of the hills overlooking
the bay, and it is impossible to talk fast at such a time, even for a
young man six feet tall, with black moustache and corresponding hair,
and a beautiful young lady leaning on his arm) "that I should have to
wait--till my uncle from the Indies came home; and what do you think she
said?"

They had come to a little nook high up, where the great bustling city
was almost hidden from sight, and the bay seemed stretching out at their
very feet; the houses below them concealed by the brow of the hill. To
the right, afar off, were peaceful homesteads and gardens filled with
shrubs and trees; and whatever might have been harsh or unromantic in
the view, was toned down by the distance and the softening lights of the
mild winter's sun.

"Well," asked Lola, seating herself on a little ledge of rock where
Charlie had spread his handkerchief.

"She intimated, with becomingly downcast eyes, that I might find a
fortune within my grasp any time I chose it. 'Oh, yes,' said I, 'Miss
Angelina, but then, you know, it's always a venture. And besides, I have
made a vow never to dabble in stocks.' She gave me rather a blank look
at first, but thought she wouldn't stop to explain."

Lola could only reach him with her parasol, and the blow she struck him
could not have been very severe, for they both laughed heartily the next
moment.

"But I have really heard from my uncle in India--it was a letter sent to
my poor mother--only I did not want to tell Aunt Myrick; she never likes
to hear the name mentioned."

"Tell me about that story," said Lola, her woman's interest in a woman's
heart-story aroused; "you once said that she had been disappointed."

"Not she so much as this uncle whom my mother wanted to marry Miss
Myrick. It seems that he was engaged to some other young lady--some
lovely maid--but a hard-hearted wretch of a brother, or cruel, unfeeling
parent interfered--"

"Don't speak so lightly, Charlie," pleaded Lola, her eyes filling with
tears; "it _is_ bad to have brother or parent come between yourself and
the one you love, is it not?"

"Why, Lola darling, what has happened? Does your heart fail? Do you
already doubt your love for me, or the strength to assert it?"

"No, no, Charlie--never fear. It is you or death; you know what I have
said," and her tiny fingers clasped his strong hand. "But you know as
well as I that papa will interfere when he discovers--"

"That you intend to become a poor man's wife. Lola, you know the law I
have made for you--the only command I would ever lay on you," and his
voice, though tender, was firm, "when you marry me you will be a poor
man's wife, not a rich man's daughter. Not a cent of your father's
money, good and kind man though he be, will ever be brought across my
threshold, even should he be willing to give you the fortune he holds in
store for some wealthy son-in-law. There, my angel, let us have done
with tragedy and care." It was easy to make an excuse for stooping, so
as to touch her fingers with his lips. "Who knows but I shall be a rich
man yet before I claim you? I have been sorely tempted to try my luck in
something new they have just struck."

"What? After you told Miss Angelina about your vow?"

"But it is something truly wonderful; I have it from old Bingham
himself. He cannot go into it--at least not under his own name--and
there are only two or three others to be initiated." He was gazing
meditatively at the roof of a house that peeped out from among a clump
of trees below and far to the right of him. "There's the money I laid by
for paying on the house, and Aunt Myrick, I know, has five hundred in
the bank; if I knew I could only double it within the year--"

"Don't touch anything belonging to Aunt Myrick, or she will instantly
conceive it to be her duty to work still harder, because you might be
unfortunate--and then what would become of the old blind woman and the
paralyzed man, and the sick family back of the grocery, and her old
gouty cat, and the boy with fits--"

"Hush, hush--I'll not touch a cent belonging to her," vowed Charlie,
with his hands to his ears.

The sun was sinking low, and after it had been agreed between them just
how many dances Lola was to give to strange gentlemen at the coming
ball, and how many Charlie was to claim, and how often Charlie in turn
was to dance with Miss Angelina, and how often with Fanny and Tilly, the
lovers descended the hill more slowly, if possible, than they had
climbed it, and finally parted within sight of Lola's home.

There was to be no New Year's party at the Wheaton mansion this year.
"No!" sneered Miss Angelina, "for they disposed of the oldest old maid
at the last, and probably expect to get rid of the second at somebody
else's ball this year."

I am sure Miss Angelina need not have sneered so, because she tried hard
enough to get old Toots herself. But that is neither here nor there;
Miss Tilly had received a proposal at that New Year's ball, and Miss
Fanny her solitaire--from her father, to be sure; but then that was
better than not to receive any. Old Toots, proud husband of the peerless
Tilly now for many months, was not old at all, and his name wasn't Toots
either. His name was Jacob Udderstrome; and in early days he had been
the proprietor of a milk ranch, and having used a tin trumpet for the
purpose of making known his coming to the more tardy of his customers,
he had been honored with the unromantic appellation without his
particular wish or consent. When the country had become more settled
Jacob sold out, and being possessed of a great deal of natural
shrewdness and a native talent for keeping his mouth shut, he had
doubled and trebled his money by simply buying up real estate and
selling at the right time.

Fanny was still languishing for the right one; she could never think of
entertaining less than a hundred thousand, when Tilly had gotten at
least three times that amount. Father and mother seldom interfered with
any of their daughters' plans or pleasures, and only once in the course
of the past year had Papa Wheaton been seriously displeased. On this
occasion he had Lola called into the room, and demanded sternly of her
why she had refused the hand and fortune of Hiram Watson? He looked
quite fierce and kept brushing up the ridge of hair on his head stiffer
and stiffer, till at last it stood alone. Then Lola ventured to ask,
"Are you speaking of Mr. Watson the tobacconist?"

"Tobacconist? To be sure I am; a tobacconist isn't to be sneezed at
when he's got a cool half million to back him."

"It was not that I spoke of; I have only to say that I could feel
nothing more than respect for him; and I will never marry where I cannot
give my heart with my hand."

"That's your notion of what's right, is it? What, do you tell me, when
I've spent more money on your education than both your sisters together
ever cost me, that you can't marry a worthy, solid man because he won't
write sentimental love-letters? I tell you--"

He was talking himself into a rage and turning purple in the face, when
his wife entered, and, like the good, quiet angel she always was, put an
end to the interview and the father's anger with her favorite child.

Lola told Charlie of the interview, and he thanked her for her devotion,
and strengthened her resolution by such words as only Charlie could
utter--so full of the heart's deep love and the warmth of a rich
chivalrous nature. "On Christmas day, my love," he said, "I shall be
able to step boldly before your father and claim you for my wife. I am
all but a rich man now, thanks to old Bingham's prompting and the
secrecy observed, which has left this thing entirely in our own hands. I
have the field almost to myself, and shall realize within the next three
months such a fortune as I had never dreamed of possessing."

"Not even if that mythical uncle in the Indies had come home?"

"Hang the uncle--no--I mean, I believe he is dead, poor fellow. I
answered his letter last year, but never heard from him again, though he
expressed the greatest longing to hear from or see some one who had ever
belonged to him. It was hard to tell him that even mother, his only
sister, was dead."

"Poor fellow!"

"Yes, mother used to say that he was heart-broken. Having come into the
world myself after he left it, for the Indies, I can't well remember
him; but I can feel for him now, because I know what I should do if you
could not be mine. I should break into your room at night, steal you,
and take you to the bottom of the sea with me."

Like a romantic young lady, Lola expressed her entire willingness to
visit such a place with him; and she said it so quietly that Charlie, at
least, believed what she said.

"Let us talk of life now, not of death," Charles went on. "If I obtain
your father's consent to our union at Christmas, will you become mine on
New-Year's day? I have a queer notion of wanting to celebrate my
marriage--to make it a feast or hold it on a feast day. I believe that
people who have determined to pass their days together should begin
their new married life with the beginning of the year. Will you assist
me in carrying out this romantic idea?"

She called him an enthusiast, a philosopher, and a thousand other
contradictory names, but the pressure of her hand gave him assurance of
her consent to his wish.

Christmas brought with it skies as blue and days as radiant as those for
which we sing songs of glory to Italy. The rains of the season so far
had fallen mostly at night, leaving the sun day by day to kiss the brown
hills into fresher green, after he had freed himself from the heavy fogs
of early morning.

The Wheatons were not a church-going people, though the costliest pew at
one of the largest churches was theirs; and while Mr. Wheaton was never
known to refuse heading a subscription list for any undertaking, the
benevolence of which had been duly proclaimed in the newspapers, Mrs.
Wheaton had taught her daughters to delight in unostentatious charity.
Presuming on her father's fondness for a late dressing-gown and
slippers, on days when the observance of a religious feast or popular
holiday required that he should not be seen on California street, Lola
had intimated to Charlie her opinion as to the time the old gentleman
would probably be in the most "malleable" humor. It was with some
trepidation, nevertheless, that Charlie ascended the steps leading up to
the wide hall-door of the Wheaton mansion, after having spent the
morning in his own room, shutting out Aunt Myrick, Orlando, the cat, the
morning papers, in fact the whole world from his sight.

It was probably owing to the unusually good humor in which Mr. Wheaton
found himself this morning, that Charlie was requested to walk into the
breakfast-room, where the flying robes adorning Miss Fanny's person were
seen whisking out at the other door, as the young man entered the
pleasant, sun-lighted room. The last glowing coals were falling to
ashes, in a grate, which at this hour of the day seemed an unnecessary
ornament for a California house.

"Come in, come in, young man. But where are the girls? Tom, go call Miss
Fanny and Miss Lola."

There was no necessity for calling Miss Lola--she was close at hand,
though becoming suddenly invisible; and as for Miss Fanny, she remained
invisible. She had no notion of taking her hair out of crimps just for
Charlie Somervale, when she expected to meet a far more interesting
person--Crown Point, Gould & Curry, Eureka Con., report said five
hundred thousand dollars--at the Wadsworth reception that night. Had Mr.
Wheaton not taken off his glasses when Charlie came in he might have
noticed an unusual flush on the young man's face; as it was he shook
hands with him so cordially that Charlie's color subsided somewhat, and
his heart beat less loud for a minute.

I doubt that either the old gentleman or the young one remember just how
the conversation was opened; but in less than fifteen minutes Mr.
Wheaton, with motions something like those of an enraged turkey-gobbler,
and a color darkening face and neck fully equal to the intensest shade
that bird can boast of on its gills, flew to the door, and called on
Lola to make her appearance, in no pleasant tones. Together with Lola,
as though divining the trouble drawing near, came Mrs. Wheaton, though
so noiselessly, through a side-door, that no one observed her at first.

"Lola," sputtered Mr. Wheaton, "I have spent more money on your
education than both your other sisters together ever cost me; and now
here comes this young fellow and tells me, as coolly as you please, that
you are engaged to him, and the like nonsense. Engaged, indeed; you are
not eighteen yet, and he hasn't got a cent to his name. I thought I had
brought up my children to love me at least, if I cannot compel them to
obedience; and if you, Lola, go off and leave me in my old age--go away
from my house with a beggar--you who have been petted and spoiled; you
on whom I had built the hopes of my declining years, you will never
darken my doors again, but live a beggar and an outcast forever away
from your parents' home."

Mrs. Wheaton had approached the group, and Charlie turned to her.

"It is not as a poor man that I claim your daughter for my bride; see, I
am rich--worth a hundred thousand this moment," he drew a package of
papers from his pocket; "and I have the ambition and the power to amass
a fortune, and place your daughter where she will never miss the
comforts and luxuries of her childhood's home."

He stepped over to where Mr. Wheaton stood listening in incredulous
silence to what the young man said.

"And may I ask from where this fabulous wealth springs so suddenly?" he
asked, breaking the silence.

"I own to having tried my luck, against the strict advice and wish of my
employers, in mining speculations. The venture has proved successful. I
say nothing in extenuation of the fault--if fault I have
committed--save that I wanted to offer to Lola a home which should not
be too great a contrast to her father's house. Old Bingham--"

"Old Bingham," interrupted Mr. Wheaton, purple in the face; "and the
name of the mine?"

"The Golden Lamp," answered Charlie, proudly, holding up for Mr.
Wheaton's inspection the papers he had drawn from his pocket.

"Lola!" shouted Mr. Wheaton in his shrillest tones, seizing the girl by
the arm and dragging her away from Charlie's side, as if the young man
had been afflicted with a sudden leprosy, "come to me, my child. He's a
beggar, I tell you--a beggar and worse; for all his friends will turn
from him for his indiscretion. The whole thing is a gull; there isn't
gold enough in the mine to show the color. Here's the paper. Where did
you have your eyes this morning?"

Charlie stood like one paralyzed; his fingers clutched tighter the roll
of papers in his hand, and he gazed with a strange, bewildered stare
into Lola's eyes, as though trying hard to understand what the dreadful
things he heard meant. Lola seemed to comprehend quicker, and the look
she bent on Charlie was full of tender pity, as she watched the lines
that black, hopeless despair was writing on his face. Mrs. Wheaton had
snatched the paper from her husband's hand and was reading:

"The chosen few who thought that for once they could fleece the golden
lamb driven quietly into a little corner for their own benefit, have
come out leaving their own wool behind. We are speaking of the Golden
Lamb Mine, which was to have been paraded in the market about the first
of January, to lead astray with its deceptive glitter all who were
foolish enough to believe without seeing. The few shares that had
already been disposed of 'to strictly confidential friends,' by the
shrewd managers of the concern, have gone down from five hundred dollars
to five dollars, at which figure they went begging late in the afternoon
yesterday, no one having confidence in a swindle so promptly and
completely exposed."

"Lola," it was Charles's voice, but so changed and broken that Mrs.
Wheaton dropped the paper to look into his face.

Lola sprang to his side, and he groped for her hand as though its
slender strength could uphold the man who but an hour before looked able
to move mountains from their place. Blindness seemed to have fallen on
his eyes, for he repeated the call when the girl stood close beside him.

"My darling," she murmured, seizing the hand that was still seeking
hers, and, heedless of her mother's presence or her father's wild
gestures, she pressed the icy fingers to her lips, breathing broken
words of love and comfort into Charlie's ear.

"Lola!" the name again rang through the room; it was her mother's cry,
and the sharp terror in it struck like a knife to the girl's heart,
"your father--quick! Would you kill him? Do you not see--he is dying!
Oh, my child, my child, cast off everything, but do not load your soul
with his death! God help me to guide you." There was something in the
woman's eye that spoke of more than alarm at the symptoms of an
approaching attack, such as she had always feared for the father of her
children.

She had never loved this man with the absorbing passion of which her
heart was capable; but as she knelt by his side, giving him every aid in
her power in a frenzied, hurried manner, so different from her usual
placid ways, her wide-opened eyes seemed to look back through the
shadows and mists of long, dreary years, and she spoke wildly and
rapidly to her child.

"Oh, Lola! don't blacken your soul with this crime--I too loaded the
curse on me; I have borne it for years--and all the useless remorse,
the vain, bitter regrets. Give up all you hold dear in life, but do not,
do not try to find your way to happiness over the stricken form of your
father!"

Lola shook like a reed in the storm, and breaking away from Charlie she
knelt by her mother's side.

"Father!" she pleaded, "father, speak to me--call me your pet
again--your dearest child; see me--I will never, never leave you,
father, only speak to me once again."

No one heeded Charlie, and he staggered from the house, muttering
between his clinched teeth:

"So they will all turn from me--and she was the first."

Hours passed ere the old man found speech and consciousness again; and
the physician who had been summoned shook his head warningly. "It was a
narrow escape," he said; "careful, old man, careful. What is it the
Bible, or some other good book says--'let not your angry passions rise?'
Who's been vexing you?"

Lola, his special favorite, whose eyes he had seen opening on the light
of this world, was not present, or her ghastly face might have prevented
him from asking the question.

Mrs. Wheaton was again the quiet, sad-faced woman, solicitous only for
the comfort and well-doing of the man who had been to her the most
indulgent of husbands. It was hard to say what was passing in her heart;
perhaps the crater had long since burned out, and the silver threads
running through her raven hair was the snow that had gathered on the
cold ashes. For Lola there was neither rest nor sleep, and she insisted
on watching through the night by her father's bedside, though assured
that there was no necessity for keeping watch.

Early the next morning she went out, not clandestinely, but with a
determined step and an expression in her eye than which nothing could be
more sad and hopeless. She returned after many hours, and though her
eyes had lost none of their dreary expression, there seemed to be some
purpose written in them that could also be traced in the lines drawn
since yesterday about the firmly closed mouth. Her mother, concealed by
the heavy curtains drawn back from the window, watched her gloomily as
she passed through the room gathering up some music that lay scattered
on the piano, as though she meant never to touch its ivory keys again.

"Ah, me!" she sighed, "she is young to learn the bitter lesson: that
those who have a heart must crush out its love before they can go
through life in peace! Dolores--it seemed like an atonement to call her
so; but would I had not given her the fatal name. God will help her to
forget--as He has given me peace."

The darkening eyes, straying far out over the waters, seemed for a
moment ready to belie the boast of her lips, so restless and uneasy was
their light; but the discipline of half a lifetime asserted its power,
and she went from the room, calm and self-possessed as ever.

Little did she dream of the cause of what she deemed Lola's
uncomplaining resignation. The girl had seen her lover, and, unspeakably
wretched as he was, she could say no word to comfort him, but held his
hand in hers, with all the love her heart contained beaming from her
glorious eyes. Only once did he clasp her to his heart in a passionate
embrace: she had sealed the promise to be his, with a kiss. They would
enter on their new life together at the beginning of the year. They
would be wedded to each other on New-Year day--but the priest who
received their vows should be Death, and their marriage-bed the bottom
of the bay.

Charlie's name was never mentioned in the Wheaton mansion; the events of
Christmas morning seemed banished from the memory of the three people
who had participated in them. There was nothing to indicate that a
change of any kind had taken place or was likely to take place. Once
only in the course of the week Miss Fanny remarked laughingly, that she
thought Lola was preparing to elope, because all her books, dresses, and
trinkets were so neatly packed together. But as no one seemed to join in
Miss Fanny's pleasantry, the young lady betook herself to her usual
pastime--the novel and the lounge.

During the week the weather changed, and heavy storms swept over land
and sea, stirring to the depths the waters on which Lola gazed for many
a half hour with a kind of stony satisfaction. She had not seen Charlie
since the first day of the week, and she often muttered to herself, "Far
better death than a life without my love."

At last New-Year's morning dawned clear and bright, like a morning in
early spring. At an early hour the Wheaton mansion became the scene of
great rejoicing. There was a vigorous pull at the bell, and when the
door was opened a robust young fellow made his way very unceremoniously
into the breakfast-room, and a fresh Irish voice with its rich brogue
burst out:

"Plaize, mam, and it's a splendid b'y; and nurse says I'm not to stay a
minit, but you're to come right aff."

Mr. Wheaton threatened to go off with joy this time, his face turned so
red.

"A boy, mother--think of that!" he shouted, forgetting for once in his
life what he deemed his dignity, and for the first time calling his wife
anything but Mrs. Wheaton in the presence of strangers or servants.
"Pat, my boy, here's something to drink his health [Thank'ee, sur;--and
it's a half aigle, shure], but not now; mind you, go right back and stay
there till I come, or I'll skin you alive."

After this unprecedentedly familiar and jocular speech, he turned Pat
out of doors, kissed his wife frantically and rushed up-stairs to dress,
as though the boy's life and safety depended on his taking immediate
charge of him. In the meantime the door-bell had been rung again, and
Mr. Wheaton stopped when halfway up the stairs, there was something so
frightened and excited in the manner of the lady who entered the
hall-door.

"Miss Lola is at home, I think," said the servant in answer to her
question; and Mrs. Wheaton, crossing the hall at this moment, turned to
look at the strange woman.

A little scream, and Miss Myrick--for it was she--asked of Lola, who
stood white and ghostly in the doorway, "Is that your mother, Lola? Oh,
then I understand it all. Poor Charlie? The woman who could--"

Mrs. Wheaton stepped quickly forward. "Stop, Augusta Myrick; not one
word more before my child."

Mr. Wheaton had descended the stairs, and sprung to his wife, who seemed
ready to sink, but Lola, unheeding both, clutched Miss Myrick's arm.

"Charlie?" she gasped.

"Oh, Lola! he's gone; his room is empty and all his papers have been
stolen or destroyed. My poor, poor boy."

"Gone--to his death without me! How cruel--but I am coming, Charlie; I
will follow you."

Her eyes were wandering, and she broke from Miss Myrick's grasp.

"Hold her," cried Miss Myrick, "hold her. Charlie is dead and she is
crazed. Help!"

Mr. Wheaton was beside himself, and Mrs. Wheaton flung her arms about
Lola, who was struggling to free herself. At last her father's strong
hands bore her to a sofa in the nearest room, and as he laid her down
the weary eyes closed and the fainting head drooped back.

"Not dead," he groaned. "Oh, God, not dead!" and as the mother and the
strange woman bent low over the prostrate girl, a tall, manly form broke
into the room, as though led there by an unerring instinct.

"Oh, my darling," and he knelt beside the sofa, chafing her hands and
kissing her cold brow; "wake up; you are mine, and we will not die, but
live together. Open your eyes, darling; nothing more will part us now.
See, I am rich once more, and no one shall come between us. Look up,
darling. Come back to me."

Slowly his kisses brought a faint color to her brow and cheek; and when
she opened her eyes and he pressed warm kisses on her lips, there was
none to say him nay. Papa Wheaton was occupied with his handkerchief--he
seemed suffering from a fresh-caught cold, and Mrs. Wheaton stood with
clasped hands watching her daughter's motionless form.

Miss Myrick alone had noticed the graybearded, sun-burned man who had
come into the house with Charlie. The stranger had gazed silently on
Mrs. Wheaton till a mist gathered in his eyes, and he said softly to
himself, "_Dolorosa!_" Then the name has been a prophecy, and my poor
Annie went through life--Dolores.

Lola moved at last, and as Charlie lifted her tenderly in his arms, no
one stepped forward to separate them.

"She is mine now!" he cried exultingly, and he held up to Mr. Wheaton's
view a morning paper. "It was false about the Golden Lamb, and I am
worth a hundred thousand to-day."

"And besides," the stranger introduced himself with a courteous bow to
Mr. Wheaton, "Charles Somervale is my nephew and will be my heir. I am a
total stranger to you, so I beg to refer you to the house of Daniel
Meyer & Co."

At the sound of the voice Mrs. Wheaton had hastily scanned his features;
then she staggered against the wall with a look on her face that spoke
so plainly of a life-long sorrow, of a pain for which there is no remedy
on earth, that Miss Myrick, forgetting all the hard feelings she had
shown at first, sprang forward and passed her arm around the falling
woman.

"The excitement has been too much for her," she said; "leave the room,
all of you, and I will bring her to herself."

But Mrs. Wheaton's was a strong nature.

"It is nothing," she said, and she turned slowly to the stranger. "Let
your coming to this house on a New-Year's morning--though you knew not
who its inmates were--be an earnest of your kind feeling for them, and
let us be united in the wish for the happiness of my child and the child
of your dead sister."

The stranger had advanced and raised Mrs. Wheaton's hand for a moment to
his lips.

"To-morrow I take ship to return to the far Indies; but my wishes and
prayers shall always be for the happiness of these children, and--the
peace of mind of Annie--my Dolores loved and lost."

The last words were spoken in a husky whisper, and none saw the tear
that fell on Mrs. Wheaton's ice-cold hand. Her own eyes were dry; and
though she had not lowered them, she _felt_ the tear burning its way
into her very soul.

Mr. Wheaton's cheery voice roused her.

"The boy, children--have you all forgotten about the boy? Matilda's son,
sir," shaking Charlie by the hand, "a fine, healthy boy. One of the
family now, Charlie--come and see."

But who can blame Charlie for declining to go? His uncle had left the
house, and Aunt Myrick had gone with Mrs. Wheaton up-stairs, there to
renew the friendship broken off years ago, because of the lonely man who
was standing at this moment, gazing far out on the restless,
ever-changing sea.

We could not be indiscreet enough to play eavesdropper after everybody
but Lola and Charlie had left the parlor, but we have it on good
authority that Uncle Barton is to be present at the wedding ceremony
before taking ship again for the far Indies.



_IT OCCURRED AT TUCSON._


Well, perhaps it isn't much of a place, after you get there, though
harder to describe than many a town of fifty times its size and
importance. But it is the capital of Arizona, and a fair representation
of the whole Territory. Could you be lifted from the midst of
civilization, and "let down" in Tucson over night, you would know at
once what the rest of Arizona is.

How like a _fata morgana_ it looks when you first see it in this
enchanted atmosphere: the intensely blue sky overhead, the plain about
it covered with sparse grass and fantastic cactus, that hide the sand
and make the earth look verdant; the low, white dome and the picturesque
buildings clustering about it; the _adobe_ garden-walls, with arched
gateways, sometimes whitened, sometimes left in their native mud color,
toned down by age and the glare of the sun; a tall mesquite-tree or a
group of cotton-woods striving heavenward from among the _adobe_ houses;
Saddle Mountain, with its ever-changing tints and its strong lights and
shades in the far distance, and Sugar-loaf or Sentinel Hill to the
immediate left. On the plain between town and the Sugar-loaf, the ruins
of what, in any other country, I should pronounce to have been a
monastery, lift themselves from the fresh, dewy green--venerable, gray,
and stately--some wild vine creeping stealthily in at the frameless
window, and out again at the roofless top.

Having purposely avoided a close inspection of this spot, for fear of
being compelled to see that the ruins were only coarse mud-walls,
standing in a wilderness of hideous sand and clay, flecked with stiff
bunch-grass, the contemplation of it, with my mind's eye, is one of the
pleasures of memory to me, even at this day. Could I have avoided
passing through the streets of Tucson, perhaps I could think of it, too,
as a charming and delightful place. There are gardens down on our left,
as we come in from this side, that "blossom as the rose," and are
overshadowed by just such beautiful, waving trees as we see in among the
houses yonder; and, from these "indications," we are justified in
supposing that we will find _parterres_ of flowers in the gardens
surrounded by those high walls. But we have forgotten to take into
account that a stream of water flows along those fields; that gardens
don't flourish here without water, and that water in the town can only
be had by digging deep down into the hard ground.

The _élite_ of the Spanish population pride themselves on their
gardens--flower-beds in the inclosed court-yards; flower-beds raised
some three or four feet from the ground and walled around with
stones--but if the flowers that grow on these elevations are "few and
far between," they make up in color and fragrance what they lack in
numbers. The court-yard is usually flagged, like the best room in the
house, and the whole is kept cool and fresh by continual sprinkling and
irrigating. This, however, is correct only of a very few houses; the
average Mexican, even though his family consist of twenty head, lives in
a single dark _adobe_ room, without window or fireplace--the hard, dry,
yellow clay within a continuation of the hard, dry, yellow clay
without--not divided even by a jealous door. In summer, the family live
inside the house, rolling around on the bare floor, or the straw matting
spread in one corner--careful not to venture into the sun that bakes the
barren ground by their _casa_ harder and harder every day. In winter,
the day is passed on the outside, the different members of the family
shifting their position with the sun--huddling together, flat on the
ground, with their backs against the wall that is warmest from its rays.
What they do for a living, I don't know: could they harvest nectar and
ambrosia, instead of wine and bread, from the land surrounding their
miserable houses, they could not be induced to till it; and, as for
trade or handicraft, they have never flourished in Tucson. The only
thing that swarthy, black-eyed lad there will ever learn, is to lasso
his starved _bronco_, or shoulder his lockless gun, and start out with
the pack-train, just loading for Sonora, in front of the largest store
in town. If he returns from there without losing his scalp, he will
never rest till the last _paso_ has been spent with his _compadres_, at
the _baila_, or the new American bar and billiard saloon at the corner.
Nor will he begrudge his sister, or any other lass to whom he is
attached, the many-colored shawl in the show-window of the American
dry-goods store at the other corner; and, should anything be left then,
he will conscientiously devote it toward promoting the bull-fight that
is to come off next Sunday.

"Miserable people, a miserable place, and a miserable life!" came from
between the set, white teeth of a little personage at the window of a
house lying on something of an eminence, in the "fashionable" quarter of
the town, as she absently gazed on the fields, bright and alive with the
stir and the sun of this pleasant July afternoon.

The fact of the house having windows, and the windows being set with
glass, marks it as one of the "aristocratic" houses, though the man who
built it, only two years ago, had come empty-handed and broken in heart
and spirit from scenes of desolation and wretchedness in the Southern
States. If ever a man buried hope, ambition, and life-energy with the
Lost Cause, that man was Oray Granville. Even before the rebellion broke
out, he had lost his all through the North (as he reasoned); for all
that life seemed worth living for, was the woman he had loved. A
wealthy Northern man had led to the altar the queenly form which to him
had been an embodiment of all that is graceful and divine. The form,
life, and soul seemed to have fled from the eyes into which he had gazed
just once after the binding words had been spoken.

When the war broke out, he was among the first in the field; and, though
fighting for what he deemed his rights, he asked, at the end of each
bloody affray--as did St. Arnaud at the Crimea--"And is there no bullet
for me?" And after each such day did the look he had caught from those
sad, black orbs settle down deeper into the shadows of his own gray
eyes. Returning to the home of his youth once more, before starting out
on his dangerous journey over the plains to Arizona--where he was to
join an older brother--he found domiciled at his father's house his
cousin, a young girl of eighteen.

In Miss Jenny's eyes, the vague rumor that Cousin Ray had been "crossed
in love" lent an additional charm to his handsome presence, and the
melancholy, half-reserved air that made him almost unapproachable.
Though there was apparently little in common between the world-weary,
disappointed man and the little elfish creature that looked so joyfully
out upon the world with her light-blue eyes, he unconsciously fell under
the influence of her restless, but most cheerful spirit. Not that her
temper was always sunny and even--far from it: but too often her eyes
would flash fire, and the quivering flanks of the fine-chiselled nose
distend and almost flatten in the hot, flushed face. Just so her Cousin
Ray's nostrils were wont to spread when angered or excited--only that
his face would grow white and more marble-like than usual.

On what ground these two spirits met, I cannot say; but when Oray
Granville finally left his southern home, it was in company with his
wife, Mrs. Jenny. Nor can I recount, at length, how love worked
wonders, and the petted, white-fingered little lady learned to take
thought for the morrow and the comfort of her lord and master; and
though often flying into one of her sudden fits of passion, when a batch
of "sad" bread was the reward for all her pains and patience, or a burn
on her wrist or fingers, she never once breathed a word of regret at
having come with her husband. Her husband never attempted to subdue her
temper or soothe her ruffled feelings; but if, when worn out with the
day's toil (of which he bore his honest share), she crept up beside him,
he had most always a kind word for her; or, if more chary of words than
usual, a soft pressure of the little hand that had stolen into his, told
her that her affection was felt and appreciated.

Shortly after their arrival in Tucson, he was prostrated by the horrible
fever which this place has in store for most strangers. The _petite_
frame of the wife resisted the enemy to whom the stalwart man was forced
to yield; and with untiring devotion she watched by him through the long
days and the lonely nights. He needed sleep, the doctor said; and she
crept about like a little mouse. But, hanging over him, and listening to
his low, irregular breathing, such a terror would seize her that,
bending close to his ear, she would plead, "Ray--Cousin Ray--are you
alive? Speak to me, please." Then the heavy eyes would open for a
moment, and she remain quiet, till her fears got the better of her
judgment again. But never a look of reproach came into the weary eyes,
and never a word from the white lips, though his life had nearly been a
forfeit to her loving, but impatient spirit.

Nor did she once fly into a passion during the long days of his
convalescence; but when he had quite recovered, she proved that she had
not left her temper behind her in the South, where he, according to her
accusation, had left his tongue. There were days in which he seemed to
live only in a dream, so silent were his lips; but the office which had
been bestowed upon him, almost against his will, was ably and faithfully
filled--though a bend of the head or a single terse sentence was given,
where other men would have deemed volumes of speech necessary. It was no
wonder that his wife flew into a rage, when, as sometimes happened, she
had recounted to him the troubles and trials of the day--which were not
few--and found, at the end of an hour's harangue, that he had neither
heard nor understood a word of what she had said, but seemed to waken
from a trance at the little pettish shake she gave his arm. Then she
would accuse him of not loving her, bewail her sad lot, and vow to grow
silent and unloving like himself. After a season of storming on her
part, and utter silence on his, she would creep back to her old place
beside him, to find her kiss returned, and any cunningly devised
question, calculated and shaped toward reconciliation, answered by him,
kindly and calmly as ever.

One afternoon, while Cousin Ray sat in his office--silent, preoccupied,
and moody as usual--the din and confusion of an extensive dog-fight
disturbed his reveries. A cloud of dust and dogs rolled up to the
office-door, and the next moment the attorney of the Territory stood in
the street, a club in one hand and a "rock" in the other. A few
well-aimed blows soon freed "the under-dog in the fight" from his
half-dozen assailants; and with a half-sneaking, half-confident air, the
little ugly thing--part cur, part _coyote_, with a slight tinge of
sheep-dog--followed his deliverer to the office. When evening came, the
dog shyly, but persistently, followed his newly-elected master home; and
Mrs. Jenny, after first bitterly railing both at her husband and the
dog, proceeded to set supper before them with equal care and
conscientiousness. Next morning she found occasion to anathematize
Arizona in general and Tucson in particular; and, her eye falling on the
new acquisition, she instantly attacked him.

"Get away with you! Of all things in creation you're the ugliest, and
_your_ name should be Tucson, too."

And Tucson it was, from that day out. The dog soon learned to understand
Mrs. Jenny as his master did, only he could not be brought to endure her
bursts of temper with the same gentlemanly calmness. His meals were as
well and regularly provided as though he had a well-founded claim to the
best of treatment; and of an evening, when Cousin Ray was absent, he was
left at home, and admitted to the sitting-room, where a small piece of
Mrs. Jenny's dress-skirt was tacitly admitted to be his privilege during
his master's absence. But only during his absence: as soon as his
footstep was heard approaching from the street, Mrs. Jenny seemed
suddenly to discover the dog's proximity, and with a threatening "You
get out!" the dress-skirt was quickly withdrawn, while Tucson, made wise
by experience, would spring to a safe distance, and there flash defiance
at her, with his white teeth and his glittering black eyes.

Last night, however, the edge of the dress-skirt had been carefully
gathered up from the floor, and Tucson, on growling his dissatisfaction,
had been turned into the cold, open hall, where he met his master with a
little whine when he came home, late, and more moody and buried in
thought than ever. Nevertheless, he stooped to pat the dog's shaggy
head, before entering the room, with a half-drawn sigh. Mrs. Jenny had
well merited the reproach she always flung at her husband, this night,
so silently and noiselessly she moved around the room. Cousin Ray cast
on her just one look--that said more than all the words she had spoken
for years; but she did not heed it, and, with another sigh, at the
remembrance of the letter signed "Margaret," which she had found in his
pocket that morning, he sought the couch where neither sleep nor peace
came to the two. Early the next morning he had gone to the office, but
returned before noon, and mounted his stout _bronco_, being accompanied
by a small number of Americans and an old Mexican guide.

It was not the first time Mrs. Jenny had helped equip and furnish a
cavalcade of this kind, for a prospecting or mining expedition; and,
unbidden, she brought out her husband's warmest wraps and her best
stores from the larder. For a moment her cheeks blanched, as, from a few
chance words she caught, she was led to believe that the object of the
journey was the finding of the firmly-believed-in Jesuit, or Hidden
Silver-mine. But her husband volunteered no explanation; and she would
show him, for once, that she could refrain from asking questions. As he
approached and bent over her to bid her good-by, the fatal white
envelope that had so angered her yesterday, again gleamed from an inside
pocket; and, hastily drawing back, she spoke sharply in answer to his
cordial words:

"You need _never_ come back to me with that letter in your pocket.
Never--never!"

And, passing in through the hall-door, she saw Tucson quenching his
thirst eagerly, as preparing for a long run, at his basin on the floor.
Quick as thought she had caught him up in her arms, and, carrying him to
the door, she flung him with all her force against Cortez, who was just
moving off, with his master on his back.

"Go along with your master, you ugly brute. _I_ never want to see you
again--never, never!" and the heavy door closed with a loud bang.

Then she went back to her household duties, never heeding that the sun
had reached the meridian, and never pausing till material and strength
together were thoroughly exhausted. At last, after obstinately brushing
down the curls that would as obstinately spring up again, she drew near
to the window. She never knew how long she stood there; but when the
women by the _acequia_, in the tree-bordered field, away down from the
house, packed the linen they had made a pretence of washing all day,
into their large, round baskets to carry home for the night, Mrs.
Jenny--uttering her verdict on the people and the place--turned sharply
on her heel, and opened the box containing her outdoor garments. Her hat
was soon tied on, and a heavy shawl thrown over her arm, to guard
against the cool of the night that might overtake her. Pleasantly
returning the greeting that all who met her offered, she went unmolested
on her way till she reached the last huts of the Papagoes--who burrow
here, half underground, at a respectable distance from the better class
of Mexicans. From the door of a stray _adobe_, that looked like an
advance-post of rude civilization among these wicker-huts, a female
voice, in the musical language that the roughest of these Mexicans use,
called after her:

"Holy Virgin, _señora_, are you not afraid of the Apaches?"

But, like the youth who bore "the banner with the strange device," she
passed on, heedless and silent, to all appearances, but saying, within
her stubborn little heart, "Indians or no Indians, _I'm_ going to Cousin
Will's."

In less than an hour's time, the barking of dogs fell on her ear, and,
though no trace of fence, orchard, or barn could be seen, she knew that
in and beyond that grove of mesquite-trees lay Cousin Will's
possessions--counted one of the finest farms in the Territory. Directly
she turned from the road into an open space, where a low, solid _adobe_
house and two or three dilapidated _jacales_ represented a comfortable
farm-house and extensive out-buildings, to the right of which a large
field of waving corn stretched downward to the river. Back of the house
blossomed a little garden, the scarlet geranium covering almost the
whole wall; from the garden the ground fell abruptly to the water, where
a clump of willows and cotton-woods shaded a large cool spring. But the
most surprising feature of this Arizona scene was a spring-house,
which, though built of _adobe_, looked just as natural, and held just as
rich, sweet milk as any spring-house found in the Western States.

Mrs. Jenny, however, had no time to advance to this spot, even had such
been her intention. The barking of the dogs had called a dozen or two of
swarthy little Cupids from the _jacales_ and other resorts of the
_peones_, who, with a simultaneous shout, had rushed in a body to the
house of the master, announcing the coming of the unexpected visitor.
Cousin Will and his wife--one of those grand, black-eyed women, with the
bearing of a princess, whom we find among the old Spanish families--met
the sister-in-law long before she reached the house. Cousin Will's wife
greeted her sister-in-law cordially as "Juana;" while Mrs. Jenny held to
the more formal "Doña Inez," which she had never yet dropped--perhaps on
account of a fancied likeness between her and Margaret, of whom she had
secretly begged a most minute description from one of the younger
brothers in her uncle's house, at home.

"Why did Brother Ray let you come out here alone?" asked the older
brother, almost indignantly.

Doña Inez, who understood English, smiled a good-humored, but expressive
smile; noticing which, Mrs. Jenny supplemented, without the least
resentment: "And, besides, he wasn't at home to try. He started out this
morning with Blake, and Goodwin, and old Pedrillo."

"To look for the Hidden Mine of the Padres? Oh, the foolish, foolish
boy! Had I known how determined he was to go, I should not have left him
last night. Will he never stop dreaming and chasing after shadows?"

Cousin Will was full twenty years his brother's senior; and it was,
perhaps, the recollection of the almost fatherly love he had always
shown for the younger brother that made Mrs. Jenny suddenly, when Doña
Inez had left the room, fling her hat on the floor, herself on the
lounge, and give way to the tears that had gathered in her heart all
day. Cousin Will knew her too well to offer a single word of comfort or
consolation; but when her convulsive sobs had ceased at last, he told
her, in answer to her quick, impatient questions, all he knew of the
letter, its contents and consequences.

In the old archives of Tucson, to which Ray, by virtue of his office,
had access, he thought he had found sufficient proof of the existence of
the old silver ledge, and sufficiently clear advices of its location, to
warrant him in making a search for it. Fully aware of the many dangers
to which any party he might organize for that purpose would be exposed,
he had long hesitated--hesitated, too, partly on account of his wife's
violent opposition, and partly because there were few, whom he would
select, willing to go with him, where hundreds had already perished from
the Indian's arrow and the want of food and water. Three days ago, the
letter from Margaret had found its way to him. She was not long for this
world, she said, and, poor and in distress--abandoned by her husband,
who had been beggared by the war--she pleaded that Ray should care for
the two children she must leave to the cold charity of strangers, if she
died.

"What will you do about it?" his brother had asked. And then Ray had
unfolded to him what the brother called one of his day-dreams. He would
find the mine, load Jenny with the treasures its discovery would bring,
and send her back to the States, to find Margaret, or the children (if
she were dead), while he remained behind to develop and finally dispose
of the mine, before joining his wife. He knew what Jenny had undergone
in this country, for his sake; he knew how well she loved him, and he
trusted that, with her noble instincts, she would aid him in carrying
out his projects in regard to Margaret and her children--neither of whom
he ever intended to see.

Since she had once given way to softer feelings, Jenny's better self
arose against the hard, cruel spirit that had prompted her to turn from
all of Ray's attempts at kindly explanation. Bitterly she regretted the
harsh words she had uttered when her eyes first fell on that miserable
letter; and, like serpent's fangs, the words she had called after him on
parting, struck again and again into her own bleeding heart. Restlessly
she tossed on her bed all night--the first to discover the approach of a
band of Apaches, from the uneasy stamping and the frightened wickering
of the mules--she was the only one who insisted that Tucson's bark could
be heard among the gang of _coyotes_ that made night hideous with their
howls. With the first gleam of the coming day she was up; and, in spite
of all her brother-in-law could say, in spite of the suspicious
footprints that marked the ground in the neighborhood of the
mule-_corral_, she started for home, alone and unprotected, as she had
come the night before.

The gorgeous sunrise had no charm for her; unheeding, her eye passed
over the landscape, that was like the smile of a fair, false woman--soft
and alluring to the eye--a bright mask only, veiling death and
destruction from those who were blinded by it. When near the town, a
small, ragged-looking object came ambling swiftly toward her.

"What--Tucson?" and then, apostrophizing the dog, who crouched in the
sand at her feet with a pitiful whine: "You mean little deserter!
Couldn't you hold out as long as your master? And I know your master has
not come back yet." Nor _had_ he--though she entered the house with an
insane hope that she might meet the grave eyes peering out from the
gloom of the darkened hall. After another sharp reprimand, she prepared
Tucson's breakfast from a part of her own; and then flew into a passion
and drove the dog from the house, because, instead of tasting a
mouthful, he insisted on dragging her to the door by the dress-skirt,
and barking and howling in turn, when she refused to come.

Later in the morning, when she had occasion to go "down town" for
something, she recounted how the dog had shrunk from the fatigues of the
prospecting-trip, and had returned to his comfortable quarters at home.
"But I drove him from the house; and I guess he has gone to overtake his
master now--I don't see him around any more."

He _had_ gone to overtake his master--but not alone. The dog's strange
bearing had excited suspicion--here, where people are always on the
alert for danger and evil of all kinds. Before the sun was well up, a
little band of well-armed citizens was on the trail that Oray Granville
and his friends had travelled but the day before.

Well for Jenny that her eye never caught the meaning of the looks thrown
on her as she passed through the straggling streets back to her own
home; well for her that the soft-voiced _señoras_, who came to her in
the dusk of the evening, could check the word of sympathy that rose from
the heart to the lip. Ah, me!

And in Jenny's voice there was a new tone; a new light was in her eye,
and--a new greeting in her heart for Cousin Ray. If he would only come
soon! Of course, he could not return for a day or two; perhaps not for a
week; but when he did come--

"Petra," said Jenny, "you must play me Oray's favorite air
to-night"--and she hastened to the corner where the harp of the girl,
who was a pet of Mrs. Jenny's, and Ray's too, was generally kept.

"No, _señora_--no; not this night," remonstrated the girl. "The wind
howls so dismally--and there is no moon in the sky; and then, you know,
I cannot sing."

Petra was whimsical, and what she said was true: the wind passed with a
low, sobbing sound through the bare, wide hall, and swept up to the
door, where it shook the lock as with living fingers.

Mrs. Jenny drew back the curtain and laughed.

"In our country, people don't like to own that they're moon-struck; but
you are right--the night is black as ink, and--why--there is quite a
company coming up the hill toward us, with lights and torches. Going to
the governor's house, probably; but who can they be?"

"We can slip out of the back-door, directly, and look over to the house:
then the men cannot say that we have undue curiosity," suggested Anita,
desperately; and Mrs. Jenny dropped the curtain.

Petra's blanched face drooped low, over a book she had snatched up from
the table; and Anita's hands were clasped in a silent prayer to the Holy
Virgin. But the train came nearer, and--"Hark! they stop here--at this
door--it is Ray--Cousin Ray!" And Jenny was on the threshold--where half
a dozen gloomy, earnest faces met her gaze.

There was a horse there, too--stamping with a half-frightened motion,
and a low, shivering neigh; and as she sprang forward with a shriek--a
terrified question rising unconsciously to her lips--a dog flew at her
with an angry howl, tearing at her garments, and making frantic efforts
to prevent her touching the motionless form on the back of the horse.

To Jenny's ear the dog's wild yells spoke terribly plain her own cruel
"Never--never--never!" but among the men there was a hasty murmur that
the beast had gone mad, from running so long without food and water.
There was a flash and a sharp report--Tucson's career had come to a
close. And Jenny lay fainting in the arms of the sobbing women.



_A BIT OF "EARLY CALIFORNIA."_


That many strange and wonderful things happened in early times in
California, is so trite a saying that I hardly dare repeat it. As my
story, however, is neither harrowing nor sentimental, I hope I may
venture to bring it before the reader.

Long before the great Overland Railroad was built, there entered one day
one of the largest mercantile establishments in San Francisco a
handsome, athletic man, whose fresh, kindly face showed a record of
barely five-and-twenty years, and whose slender fingers belied the iron
strength with which he could hold and tighten the threads forming the
net into which malefactors are said, sooner or later, always to run. If
he _was_ a detective officer, he had friends, because he had a warm
heart; and in spite of all the dark phases of life that were brought to
his notice every day, he had not learned to disbelieve in the bright
side, or the better instincts of humanity.

The chief clerk of this establishment was Captain Herbert's (the
detective officer's) most intimate friend, and he had come to bid him
good-bye--perchance to charge him to guard the "fatherless and the
widowed," should the trip on which he was about to start out end
disastrously to him. "Early Californians" realized, better than any
other class of people, the uncertainty of life--particularly with those
who had to cope with the desperadoes of that time; and the captain
intended to start out as usual--with the determination to do or to die.

"By-the-by," said young Taylor, laughing, to the senior partner of the
firm, studying the morning paper in the counting-room, "Mr. McDonald has
been silent for so long that I think it would be a good job, and an
economical one, to commission the captain to hunt up the junior partner
of this firm, at the same time, and bring him in with the absconding
cattle-agent."

The old gentleman took off his glasses, and folded the paper.

"Yes; it's time Harry was home. I'm really getting uneasy about him.
They may have tempted him with the prospect of a whole string of wives
as he passed through Salt Lake--whereas here he can have only one."

"Give me his _carte-de-visite_, or the color of his hair and eyes,
height, breadth, and weight, and I'll bring him, sure!" laughed the
captain.

"Thank you kindly, captain; but I don't know whether Mr. McDonald would
appreciate your kind attentions; particularly," continued the old
gentleman, "if enhanced by those little steel bracelets you bring into
requisition sometimes."

Twenty-four hours later the captain was hurrying, as fast as the
stage-horses could run, to Salt Lake City, where, it was surmised, the
dishonest cattle-agent would be found. A few hours' vigorous hunt
convinced the captain that the object of his search was not
there--circumstances pointing backward to one of the smaller places he
had passed on his journey thither;--and the next stage that left had the
captain for its occupant again. The only other passenger beside the
captain and his one man, was a rather slender, well-built person, who,
like himself and assistant, had both hands full, literally, to keep from
being buried by the sides of bacon with which the stage was filled
almost to overflowing.

When night set in, the coats of the captain and his man, and the
woollen shirt of their travelling companion, seemed all to have been
made of the same material, thanks to the equalizing gloss which the
tumbling sides of bacon had spread over everything; but they fought the
pork as valiantly as ever true-believing Israelite had done. There was
little rest for them through the night, and no sleep; the treacherous
bacon-sides, that had been closely packed to serve as pillows, would
unexpectedly slip away from under their weary heads; and the bacon
barricades, laboriously built, would descend like an avalanche of blows
and hard knocks, when left unguarded by the drowsy travellers.

Luckily the bacon was left, the next morning, at a little town where it
was wanted more than in the stage coach; and the captain, who had passed
nothing on the road without casting on it at least half of his keen,
official eye, gathered enough information here to feel confident of
finding his game in one of the little new places springing up on the
mail-line in Nevada. They reached the place next day at nightfall--it
was near the border of California--and the captain saw at a glance that
it would be warm work to cage any of the ill-favored birds who flocked
about this place. Warm work it would have been under any circumstances:
but made more difficult by the fact that the man in question had
absconded from his employers in British Columbia somewhere, had merely
passed through San Francisco with his plunder--some thirty-six thousand
dollars--and could have defied all the law officers in California, if
they came, as the captain did, with only the commission of the
victimized cattle-owner, but without the authority that the existing
relations between British Columbia and the United States made necessary.

Among the gamblers and roughs loafing about the hotel, the captain's
quick eye had soon lighted on the right man; and after quietly taking
his supper with his companions, he proceeded to arrest him. Of course
there was an outcry and a hubbub among the patrons of this hotel, and
the captain, who knew where his customer came from, gave the guilty man
to understand that lynching a man who was no better than a horse-thief,
was nothing unusual in California and Nevada; but that if he, the
prisoner, would promise to remain quietly up-stairs in the room with the
captain's man, he himself would go back into the bar-room and try to
persuade the people to desist from carrying out any horrible plans they
might have formed. The prisoner seemed to feel weak in the knees; asked
permission to lie down, and sadly but gently extended his hands to the
alluring steel wristlets which the captain persuasively held out.
Returning to the bar-room, the latter singled out the head bully,
approached him confidentially, and whispered that on him he must depend
for assistance in keeping his obstreperous prisoner from breaking away;
that he himself and his assistant were so tired out with a three-nights'
ride and the fruitless chase, that they could hardly keep their eyes
open; and that after seeing the landlord he would return and consult how
they had best manage to keep their man safe.

From there the captain went straight to the room of the stranger who had
come in the stage with him; to him he told all the circumstances of the
case, and asked for his help. He was not mistaken in the man; and the
stranger at once expressed his determination to aid the side of the law
and the right. Proceeding together to the room of the prisoner, the
captain's assistant was instructed to procure, as secretly as possible,
a conveyance for himself, the stranger, and the prisoner, to the next
town--already in California--some thirty miles away. Then there were
more dark fears expressed concerning mobs and lawless proceedings, and
hints thrown out, suggestive of the contempt in which horse-thieves and
the like were held, and a clump of trees was spoken of, that stood close
by the hotel and had been found convenient for hanging purposes before
this. The stranger was left to guard the prisoner, and the captain made
his way to the bar-room, where he was examined in the most friendly and
patronizing manner, concerning "that little affair;" how much money the
man had taken, whether the captain had yet recovered it, and what he
meant to do next. Not a cent of the money had been recovered as yet, the
captain said (with thirty-five thousand dollars neatly tucked away about
his person), but he hoped that with good help--winking at the most
ill-favored among them--he would get both the man and his money safely
into California. He was not sparing in treats, and had the crowd drink
the health and success of everybody and everything he could think of,
till at last, apparently overpowered with sleep, he beckoned the rowdy
he had spoken to before to one side. Familiarly tapping him on the
shoulder, he said, trustingly:

"Now, old fellow, remember, I depend on you, should any of these rascals
here make an attempt to assist my man in getting away from me. I'm tired
to death, and if you'd sit up for an hour or two longer, while I take a
short nap, I'd take it as a great kindness. At all events, I shall
handcuff my prisoner and myself together, so that he cannot leave the
bed without my knowledge."

The man swore a thousand oaths that he'd see the captain out of this,
and then returned to his companions--to plot the release of the thieving
cattle-agent, who, he felt certain, still had the stolen money about
him. Tired out and sleepy, the captain certainly was; and, after
barricading the door with as much noise as possible (having previously
nailed boards across the window with a great deal of hammering), he lay
down, and was soon in a sound sleep. Sometime after midnight he was
aroused by loud, heavy blows on the door. Of course, the captain knew
who was there, and what they wanted, just as well as though each member
of the rowdy delegation had sent in a card with name and object of the
visit engraved thereon. After considerable parleying, and some "bloody"
threats, the barricade was slowly removed, the door opened, and the
captain discovered, admiring a very handsome six-shooter in his hands.
His confidential friend, the bully from the bar-room, was spokesman of
the gang; and, after some hard staring and harder swearing, the truth
dawned on the minds of these worthies, and they withdrew from the room
to search the rest of the house before taking farther measures.

The captain resumed his broken slumbers, never dreaming that they would
carry proceedings any farther; but next morning, seated on the stage
beside the driver, he saw on the road the wreck of a turn-out, and
grouped about it a number of the would-be liberators of the night
before. They had "raised" a team somewhere, and had started in pursuit
of the fat prize, hoping to outwit and outride justice for once. The
night being dark and their heads very light, they had run full tilt
against a tree in the road, which had the effect of killing one horse,
stunning the other, and scattering the inmates of the wagon
indiscriminately over the ground. Bully No. 1, and two stars of lesser
magnitude, insisted on mounting the stage; and, on arriving at the next
town, the captain, fearing that the local authorities would interfere on
the representation of these men, had his prisoner on the road again
before they had time to take any steps, either legal or illegal.

The horror of the prisoner can be imagined when he learned that these
terrible men, who were trying to get him out of the captain's hands in
order to mete out justice on their own account, were actually pursuing
him--probably with a rope ready to slip around his neck at the first
opportunity. He earnestly besought his protectors not to abandon him;
for the captain had told him that he had no right to hold him as
prisoner, and should have none until certain formalities had been gone
through with in San Francisco.

On they flew--without rest--still pursued by the three roughs, who
seemed to have gotten their spunk up when they found that the captain
was determined to escape from them with the man and the money they
wanted so much. At last Sacramento was reached, and with it the highest
pitch of danger. The prisoner was informed that the men were still
following him, and that they would probably make an attempt to take him
on the way from the hotel to the boat that was to carry them to San
Francisco. All this was strictly true. Captain Herbert had only omitted
to mention the fact that there would be among the number of captors a
member of the Sacramento police, to which both the roughs had applied,
setting forth that the man was illegally restrained of his liberty, etc.
The prisoner shook in his boots, and probably wished in his heart that
he was safely back in British Columbia, with the cattle unsold, and his
employer unrobbed. What was to be done? Time was flying, and he _must_
be gotten on to that boat, or he might never see San Francisco; so
feared the captain as well as his prisoner.

Again it was the intrepid stranger and travelling companion who came to
the rescue. The captain's plan was "hatched" and carried out in a very
little while. With a pair of handcuffs clasped on his wrists, and his
arms securely tied behind, the obliging stranger was led to the boat by
the hard-hearted captain, who handled this free-will prisoner very
roughly--while the guilty cattle-agent was slinking along with
unfettered hands by the side of the captain's assistant, to whom he
"stuck closer than a brother." Just as the captain was hustling his
prisoner on to the gang-plank, a policeman stepped from the crowd, laid
his hand on the man's shoulder, and, amid the cheering of the roughs and
the angry protestations of the captain, led him to the office of the
nearest justice. The _bonâ fide_ prisoner in the meantime slipped
unnoticed on board, and was taken out of the cold, and kindly cared for
on reaching San Francisco, by the proper authorities, who had been
summoned to meet the boat, by a telegram from the captain.

An excited crowd had gathered around the door of the office into which
the stranger had been brought. The intense disgust of the roughs can be
better imagined than described when their eyes and ears convinced them,
very much against their will, that their benevolent purposes could not
be carried out, and that _this_ "prisoner at the bar" had never
absconded with anybody's money. They listened in dogged silence to the
man's declaration that, far from being restrained of his liberty, he had
come with the captain "just for fun," and had worn the handcuffs because
they were just an easy fit.

"And what is your name!" thundered the enraged justice.

"Henry Fitzpatrick," was the quiet reply, "merchant, from San Francisco.
I fell in with the captain at Salt Lake, where I was stopping on my way
home from the States; and as he's a mighty clever fellow, I thought I'd
go all the way with him. Sorry you detained us, gentlemen--we both had
urgent business in San Francisco."

He went his way in peace, though the real sinner--the thieving
cattle-agent--had never been in as much danger of coming to harm at the
hands of these men as was this inoffensive person.

The captain saw no more of him till a day or two after his return to San
Francisco. Entering the store of his friend Taylor, to tell him of his
safe return, he was surprised to see the stranger, Mr. Henry
Fitzpatrick, in the counting-room. The senior partner greeted him with:

"Well, well, captain, so you brought Harry home with a pair of handcuffs
on, after all! Allow me to introduce my partner, Mr. Henry Fitzpatrick
McDonald."

"Happy to meet you again, captain. It _was_ fun, wasn't it, though? But
I didn't think it was necessary to give those inquisitive chaps at
Sacramento the benefit of my full name. I did not want them to say, in
case I should ever run for office, that 'McDonald had been led through
the country with a pair of handcuffs on.'"



_HER NAME WAS SYLVIA._


"San Mateo! Stages for Pescadero and Half-Moon Bay!" shouted the
conductor, and a dozen or two of passengers left the uncomfortably
crowded car.

Some of them entered the handsome equipages in waiting, to carry them to
luxurious country residences; a few sought their cottage in the suburbs
on foot; others, armed with satchels, shawls, and field-glasses,
clambered into and on the stage. Among these, a young lady--whose glossy
braids and brilliant eyes were not altogether hidden by a light
veil--stood irresolute, when the polite agent addressed her, "Have a
seat outside, Miss--with the driver? Very gentlemanly person, Miss;
ladies mostly like to ride with him." Her indecision was abruptly ended
by the gloved hand of the driver, reaching down without more ado and
drawing her up, with the agent's assistance, gently, but irresistibly,
out of the crowd and confusion below.

For the first five miles the young girl saw nothing and knew nothing of
what was on or in the stage; her eyes were feasting on the scenery, new
to her, and fascinating in its beauty of park-like forest-strips and
flower-grown dells, where tiny brooks were overhung by tangled brush and
the fresh foliage of maple-tree and laurel-wood. The sunshine of a whole
San Francisco year seemed concentrated in the bright May morning; and
the breeze stirred just enough to turn to the sunlight, now the glossy
green side of the leaves on the live oaks, then the dull, grayish
side--a coquetry of nature making artistic effects.

At Crystal Springs our friend suddenly became aware that she had thrown
aside her veil, and a deep blush covered her features when she saw a
wonderfully white hand reaching up with a cluster of roses, evidently
meant for her acceptance. The rustling of the trees, the sound of water
splashing, the sight of birds, coming in flocks to drink at the
fountain, had so held her senses captive, that she did not even know how
long they had been stopping at this place; but the bunch of roses, and
the deep blue eyes looking up into hers, recalled her to reality. Had
she not looked into these eyes before? Had not the stage-driver just
such a long, tawny moustache? And was this he, offering the flowers with
all the courtliness and easy self-possession of the gentleman? All these
thoughts flashed through her brain in a second, and she shrank,
momentarily, from what seemed a piece of presumption on the part of the
man. But a glance at the sad eyes, and the barely perceptible play of
sarcasm around the firm-closed lips, induced her to bend forward and
accept the offering, with a grace peculiarly her own.

Not a word was exchanged after he had remounted his seat; but since her
veil was dropped she noticed that there were others on the outside of
the stage beside herself. There was a female with a brown _barège_ veil,
and a big lunch-basket on the seat back of her, who had been most intent
on studying how the young lady could possibly have fastened on those
heavy braids, that they looked so natural; whereas hers were always
coming apart, and showing the jute inside. And there were the two
tourists--English people probably. They had never disturbed her yet by a
word of conversation. Then her thoughts travelled to the inside of the
stage, and her eyes rested uneasily for a moment on her neighbor, the
driver. Had she only dreamed of the white, well-shaped hand? Large,
heavy gloves were on his fingers, and covered the wrist with a stiff
gauntlet. Just as stiff was the brim of the light-colored hat; and it
was so provokingly put on that nothing was visible from under it but the
end of the long moustache.

But she was soon lost in thought again, and in contemplation of the
placid blue ocean, that suddenly shone out beyond the low hills, away
off to the right.

"Das Meer erglänzte weit hinaus--"

She turned with a start, to see whether she had dreamed this too, or
whether a voice at her elbow had really hummed it--and was just in time
to see the driver gather up the lines of the six horses closer, while he
strove hard to banish the guilty color from his face.

A stage-driver, who offered her roses with the air of a cavalier of the
_ancien régime_, and sang snatches of German music. It made her more
thoughtful than ever; and when they reached Spanishtown, and had taken
dinner, she had decided on what course to pursue. The driver was on hand
to assist her back to her lofty perch, but she said, with perfect
_sang-froid_:

"I think I should prefer to ride inside for the rest of the way; the sun
is too hot outside."

Perhaps she had feared to see an expression of wounded feeling on the
bronzed face, but it was rather a quizzical look that shot from his eyes
as he answered:

"No sun after this; fog from here out--depend upon it."

Her face relaxed. "I don't know that I want to be enveloped in a
fog-cloud, either;" but she placed her foot on the wheel, and, without
another word, she was assisted back to her old seat. The ice was broken,
and the fog that soon rolled in on them did more to thaw it away between
them than the sunshine of the morning had been able to do.

After awhile she told him that she was on her way to visit an uncle and
aunt, who had taken up their residence at Pescadero, and that she meant
to make them many a visit, as she was fond of them, and they petted her
to her heart's content. And she liked the country, too. Then he told her
of the pebbles to be found on the beach near Pescadero, and of the
attractions of the sea-moss, at a point more distant; and he hoped that
he might always have the pleasure of carrying her through the country,
whenever she came this way.

"Uncle shall surely let you know when I am coming back, so that I may
come with you," she said; "but what is your name?--so that he can find
you out."

"Jim!" he replied, grimly, pulling his hat far down over his eyes,
apparently indifferent as to the impression his abbreviated appellation
might make on her. Then, with a touch of sarcasm in his voice, he asked,
"And yours?"

"Stella," she answered simply; and they both laughed, and she fastened
the roses in her hair before they came to the end of their journey,
which had on the whole passed off so pleasantly.

So pleasantly that Stella reverted to it when in Aunt Sarah's
comfortable sitting-room, where Uncle Herbert was allowed to smoke his
after-dinner cigar.

"I should like to go back with the same driver; his name is Jim. Do you
know him, uncle?" she continued, with the most innocent face, in which a
sharper eye than Uncle Herbert's would nevertheless have detected a
somewhat heightened color.

"They have nicknamed him 'The Duke,'" he replied, knocking the ashes off
his cigar with a thoughtful look, "and they say he is quite a character.
Proud and unapproachable, but the best driver on the road, and, so long
as no one interferes or asks questions about himself, perfectly
obliging, and courteous in his manners."

After the usual round of dissipations, consisting of a sea-bath for the
more venturesome, a visit to the pebble-beach, a more extended tour to
gather sea-moss, Stella was ready to return to San Francisco. To both
aunt and uncle she imparted her design of soon revisiting Pescadero, for
the purpose of exploring the distant hills, with their dark forests,
where the redwood was said to reach a circumference of sixteen feet,
which the wise little lady would not believe till her own eyes had
proved it. The old couple were without children, and nothing could be
more welcome than the niece's prospective visits.

Stella thought she could see a sudden light flash over the gloomy face
with the sunburnt moustache when she came out of the waiting-room to
mount the stage, for she naturally wished to view in the light of the
morning sun the scenery on which the evening shadows had lain when she
came. Not that she saw much of it, after all; the fog prevented her from
seeing what her veil did not shut out. But the sun breaking through the
fog suddenly and driving it back, the sky became clear, her companion
said, "heaven smiled once more;" and while he spoke he was careful to
manipulate the veil she had dropped, in such a manner that it found its
way into his coat-pocket, from where, he was determined, it was not to
be unearthed till the steeples of San Mateo should come into sight.

He listened with such an air of interest to Stella's recital of all she
had seen, that it did not strike her till after a long while that she
had really sustained conversation altogether on her side; and when she
grew quite still after this, he made no effort to draw her on or speak
himself. But when they approached the long, steep bridge across the
Toanitas, and rolled along close by the sea, where the waves dashed
against the crags with angry roar, through which there wept and moaned a
bitter grief and sighed a forlorn hope of peace to come, he pushed his
hat back with an impatient motion, and, gazing moodily into the waters,
he muttered:

"Bleib Du in Deinen Meerestiefen Wahnsinniger Traum."

"Do you really read Heine in the original?" she asked, quickly.

"And only a stage-driver," he returned, with the old sarcasm, seeing
that she hesitated. "Yes; I read Heine in German--or did. I read nothing
now. I drive stage."

There was painful silence; an apology would have made matters worse; but
seeing the grieved expression on her face, he continued, in his gentlest
voice, "You say you are coming this way again in the course of the
season--coming with me--in my stage? You wonder how I came to be
stage-driver; when we are better acquainted, and you think it worth
while to remind me of my promise, I will tell you my story."

"And forgive me now?" she asked, extending her hand. The glove came off
his right hand, and the fingers that clasped hers were not less white
and soft, but strong they looked--strong as iron. "Thanks," she said;
and he felt, somehow, that she wanted her veil just then, and he
pretended to discover it, by chance, on the seat.

In the course of the season she came again--more than once--coming
always when she knew she would meet his stage at the San Mateo depot.

One bright day in October, when, after the drought of the long summer,
the earth had been refreshed by generous autumn showers, Stella again
sat beside him, high up, on the driver's seat. The same azure was in the
sky, the same deep blue on the waters; it was all as it had been the day
she first saw the tangled wildwood by the brook, the spreading live-oak
by the roadside--only, the foliage on the brush had changed its colors
to deep-red and yellow.

"You once said," began Stella, timidly--for she had learned that his
temper was very uneven--"that if I reminded you of your promise when we
were better acquainted, you would tell me your story."

He turned and looked steadily into her faltering eyes a moment, then
drew his hat down over his brows, and commenced, without further
preliminaries:

"Her name was Sylvia--and her eyes were as deep as a well; so deep that
I don't think I ever quite fathomed them. When my mother died, she said
we were both young, and we must not be married until at least a year had
passed over my mother's grave. I was touched with the sympathy she
displayed on this sorrowful occasion; so was my father. I was his only
son, and would undoubtedly fall heir to his wealth--great wealth--after
his death. I had grown up as rich men's only sons generally grow up; had
visited schools, colleges, universities; was called good-looking, a
clever fellow generally, the best driver of a four-in-hand, the best
shot--in short, a great catch for any girl to make. Sylvia told me so
herself often. But, after all, I was only the son, you see, and my
father might live for twenty years longer, and if Sylvia married me, she
married only a prospect--whereas, if she married my father, she was the
wife of a wealthy man at once. I had not been brought up to business
habits, as Sylvia pointed out, and if my father ever became displeased
with me--of which he showed strong symptoms about this time--I should be
thrown on the world with a wife as helpless as myself, and as poor. For
Sylvia, though brought up among aristocratic relatives, was as poor as a
church mouse. What need to make many words? She married my father before
the year was out, and I left home secretly on the morning of their
wedding-day, with never a cent of the riches which had bought my
best-beloved to be my father's bride--never a dollar of all the wealth I
had been taught to look upon as my own.

"For years I read in every Eastern paper that happened to fall into my
hands the promises of reward to any who might bring tidings of me--dead
or alive--to my father; but I never could tell: Was it his own heart
that urged him to this long continued search, or was it she that felt
some slight compunction at having driven the son from the father's
house? There are officious people everywhere--greedy people--who will do
anything for money. One of these soul-sellers, worming himself into my
confidence when sick and broken from unaccustomed labor, strung together
what might have passed with others for the ravings of a delirious
patient, and wrote my father of my whereabouts and occupation. Before I
had recovered, my father was with me, urging me with much kindness, I
must say, to go with him, if not to his home, at least to the city,
where he proposed to set me up in business for myself, in case I was too
independent to live under his roof.

"His wife's health, delicate since her marriage, had been so much
benefited by the climate of California that she advocated their
remaining here, and he intended to settle in San Francisco. I thanked
him for all his kindness--I did, indeed; he is a weak old man, but he
had been an over-indulgent father to me in my boyhood, and why should I
harbor an unkind feeling against him? But I would not go with him. He
said I was taking a cruel revenge on him. That is not so, however--or do
you too blame me for being a stage-driver?" He bent down toward her
quickly and raised her face with his hand. There were tears in her eyes,
and his arm stole around her as gently as though he had forgotten about
the six horses he was guiding with his other hand.

Don't be shocked, reader; there was no one on the outside of the stage
but these two. And supposing even that he had pressed her head to his
breast and kissed her forehead; no one saw it, or made remarks about it,
except the sea waves, and they seemed rippling all over with good nature
and laughter, and rejoicings at the new light in the man's eyes, and the
tears and the smiles in the woman's.

For a long while neither spoke; but when the stage halted he lifted her
down so tenderly, and she looked up into his face so confidingly, that
words seemed unnecessary between them. Then he went his way, and Stella
knew that she must not expect to see him again till she should be ready
to return to the city; for neither Uncle Herbert nor any one else in the
place had ever succeeded in enticing him to visit their homes.

But when he assisted Stella into her usual place on the morning of her
departure for San Francisco, his eyes told her that his thoughts had
been with her all the days since relating to her "his story." He had not
encouraged any one else to ride on the outside; and once clear of the
town, he touched Stella's hand with his lips, drew it through his arm
and pressed it, very much, I am afraid, as any ordinary lover might have
done. But when the fog rolled away, he sent out his clear baritone to
greet the sun-kissed ocean, and the burden of his song was once more:

"Das Meer erglänzte weit hinaus!"

And the hat was not drawn down over his face when she turned to him, and
his eyes were like the ocean, dark-blue, and a sunny light laughing in
them.

"It is my farewell to the sea," he said, gayly. "I am never coming back
again. I am going to San Francisco, turn 'gentleman,' put on 'store
clothes,' and enter the ranks of respectable business men."

She laughed as he straightened himself and put on a severely sober face,
and he relaxed and urged his horses on with a smart cut of the whip, as
though he could not enter the state of a "respectable business man" soon
enough. When they came to Crystal Springs he brought a bunch of red
roses once more, and held them up to her with a roguish smile on his no
longer gloomy face. She took them with a little blush at the remembrance
of his first attempt at gallantry; and when he sat beside her again, he
fastened them with his own hands in her shining braids. They were as
merry as children out for a holiday; and only when they drove up to the
depot at San Mateo did the old gloom come back into his face as he
lifted her from her elevated position.

"After three days, if in the land of the living, I will come to claim
you for my bride"--what more he said was lost in the din and racket of
the approaching train.

She saw nothing of him after she had watched the supple figure at the
last moment springing lightly on the platform of the last car. But she
knew he was near and was happy.

Early the next forenoon, in the counting-room of a mercantile firm on
Front street, sat one of the principals, enjoying his Havana, when the
door was darkened by the shadow of a tall figure standing in it.

"Jim--old fellow!" he cried, seizing the newcomer by both hands.
"Welcome--thrice welcome! Have you come to stay, vagabond and rover? Say
at once--I read something in your face that tells me you are unbending
at last. Are you in love, my dear boy?--or what hath wrought this
change?"

"How you do run on, Luke. You have not changed, at least. Yes, I am the
prodigal son, returning to his father to be--set up in business.
And--no--I'm not in love; I have simply learned to worship the dearest,
noblest girl, and will make her mine--or die," he added, in a lower
tone.

"Why not accept my offer, Jim? The desk at my elbow is always kept
vacant for you. Your father, poor man, is not the only friend you have,
remember." He laid his hand impressively on his friend's arm, and looked
with frank affection into his face.

Their interview was a lengthy one: friend Luke seemed averse to parting
with his old chum, and the son seemed in no great haste to greet his
father. But as we need not intrude on their first meeting, we can rejoin
father and son as they ascend the broad stairs in front of the family
residence, whither the father has taken his son in the first flush of
happiness.

"You will love little Willie, I know; he is a brave boy, with long
flaxen ringlets just like my--like his mother." For the first time
something like hesitation came into his speech, and even the son's heart
beat faster for an instant as the door swung open in answer to the old
man's ring. He preceded him through the corridor, threw open a door and
called out, "Jim has come home, my dear; we are going into the library,
and will be ready for lunch after a while."

She had known of their coming just a moment before they entered; he felt
it, for she had snatched up the boy, and half hid her face in his dress.
Very faded she looked; her cheeks, softly rounded once, were thin, and
the pink and white of her complexion had grown sallow. The "long fair
ringlets," too, were but limp, stringy curls, that hung without grace or
fulness down her back. The eyes, pale blue, though radiant once with
health and happiness, were weak and expressionless--save that a dumb
terror was written in them now.

A smile, half contemptuous, half pitying, flitted over the young man's
face as he passed through the room, with only a silent bow to the woman.

When they had vanished she stood like a statue, till the prattling of
the boy on her arm recalled her to herself.

"He spoke not one word to me," she said, as she put the boy down, "not
one word. Oh, to hear the tone of his voice once more--only once more."
The door was open through which they had passed, and her burning eyes
seemed to pursue the form last vanished through it. She silently rose,
like one in a dream, and walked slowly, slowly along the corridor that
led to the library.

Little Willie pulled over mamma's willow work-stand first, and then
found harmless amusement in winding a spool of crimson embroidering-silk
around and around the legs of a convenient table.

What was it that turned his little beating heart and his puny white
face to stone all at once? Was this really a Medusa on which he looked?
The long ringlets seemed serpents, indeed; every one of them instinct
with the wild despair the bitter hatred pictured on the face that looked
so meek and inoffensive but a while ago. "His bride!"--the serpents
hissed it into her ears--"His bride! Never--never. She shall die--and
he? I will murder him with these hands, first. His bride--and I am to be
a friend to her--ha! ha! ha! The dotard." Every one of the serpents
echoed the mad laugh, as the woman threw back her head and clinched her
hands in wild defiance. The child broke out into shrill complaining
cries, and she sprang toward him, seized him and shook him by the
shoulders till his breath failed. But in the midst of her mad fury the
door opened, after a soft knock, and a female servant entered the room.

"Is Master Willie troublesome?" she asked. "Dear heart; let me take him,
mum."

"Leave the room instantly, nurse; Master Willie is naughty and will
remain with me."

Two little arms were stretched out imploringly; but nurse had to
withdraw--with her own opinion of Master Willie's naughtiness, and
"Missus' temper."

But the furies were banished, and when father and son entered the room
some time after to say that they would take lunch down town, "Sylvia,"
as the old man addressed her, came forward quietly, leading the child by
the hand, and spoke words of welcome to him, in his little brother's
name. And she gave him her hand as she said "good-by," to the old man's
unspeakable joy.

Poor old man! He fondly dreamed the gods were propitiated, the furies
appeased; that the son whom he really loved had been restored to his
rightful place, and would be guardian at some future day to the child
of his old age--the son his idolized young wife had given him.

Yet he had not strength to battle against the storm that the idolized
young wife called up--the storm that was to sweep from him again the
long-lost, bitterly mourned son. Ah! well; it is not hard to fancy how
she strained every nerve to wrest from another the happiness once within
her own reach. Had she not bartered away her peace when she ruthlessly
deserted the man she loved? And should some other woman be happier than
she? No! Let them all be wrecked together. What cared she? Her husband;
bah! Her child, yes; she strained him to her breast, and bemoaned him,
and caressed him, and said that he was to be robbed by that wicked,
wicked man, who had come to disturb their quiet happiness. That his
unnatural father was about to squander on his undutiful older son, who
had deserted him and disgraced him for years, the fortune she had been
so sparing of--knowing that she would be left alone in the world some
day, with no one to provide for herself and her child. And she would
take her child now--a fresh burst of hysterical grief--right now, and
start out into the cold world to earn her daily bread, or beg, for her
child--for it would come to that, now that this cruel, hard-hearted man
had undertaken to provide for his profligate, vagabond son.

And the child, little knowing how useful a tool he was in his mother's
hands, wept with her, and would not be comforted by the distracted
father, but clung to his mother's neck, crying, when she made a feint of
leaving the house at the dead of night. Then the old man in his anguish
promised to abandon his "vagabond" son, and was but too happy to have
peace restored to his troubled home at this price. After all, the boy
had lived away from him so many years; had never troubled himself about
him; then why should his father heap all this trouble on his own head
for what might be only a passing whim of the boy's?

The third day had dawned since the long-lost son's return. Friend Luke
again sat in his counting-room, in company with his early Havana, his
meditations were disturbed by a boy, who was shown in by one of the
clerks. "A note for you, sir," and he had vanished.

But the young merchant seized his hat when he had glanced at the
contents, and repaired, breathlessly, to his friend's hotel. Cold sweat
stood on his forehead when he knocked at the door, and it was opened by
a stranger. One glance at the bed and at those standing around it was
sufficient.

"I was his friend," he said, and they respectfully made room for him.

He touched the cold hand, and gently lifted the cloth that hid the rigid
face. His friend had always been a good shot, and Luke groaned as he
replaced the cloth.

"Poor girl, poor girl--and I am to break the news to her!"

The doctor who had been called in, a shock-headed, spectacled German,
looked at him, first from under his glasses, then over them, and at last
through them. "Aha!" he said, with evident satisfaction, catching at
Luke's words, "now we have it. It vas a voman who made dis misfortune,
after all."

"A woman"--Luke repeated, softly; "yes, but her name was Sylvia."



_CROSSING THE ARIZONA DESERTS._


HEAD-QUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF CALIFORNIA, }
    SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., March 11, 1868.}

MY DEAR MADAM:--The next steamer for Wilmington is advertised to sail on
the 14th, but as she is not yet in, her departure may be delayed a day
or two.

I enclose letters to the commanding officers of Drum Barracks and Fort
Yuma, and am,

My dear Madam,

Truly yours,

E. N. PLATT.


It was my intention to visit quite a remote part of Arizona; and,
although an officer's wife, having no personal acquaintance with any of
the officers stationed in the Territory, the letters the colonel gave me
to the commanding officers of both these posts, through which I should
have to pass, were very acceptable. As I was quite alone, the commanding
officer of Drum Barracks was particular to give me reliable people for
my long journey. Phil, the driver, was a model, and in many respects a
genius, while the two soldiers--who had been in the hospital when their
comrades had started for Arizona, two months before, and who were sent
by the post commander to protect "Government property" (the
ambulance)--were attentive and good-natured, as soldiers always are.

With so small an escort, it was possible--nay, expedient--to make the
journey very rapidly. We were unincumbered by tents or baggage--my only
trunk and what provisions we carried were all in the ambulance, which
was drawn by four large mules. I had decided, being alone, to stop at
the forage-stations, whenever we could reach them, expecting to take my
meals there and to find quarters for the night. Luckily, the
quartermaster and Phil had made arrangement and provision to have my
meals cooked by one of the soldiers, in case the "station-fare" should
not agree with me; and my ambulance was of such ample dimensions that it
was easily turned into a sleeping apartment for the night: so that Phil,
who had all the merits and demerits of such places by heart, had only to
give an additional nod of the head to induce me to say to the
station-keeper, who would always invite me to enter his "house" when
Phil drove up to the _corral_, "No, thank you: I can rest very well in
the ambulance." Then there were days' marches to be made when no station
could be reached, so that we were compelled to camp out; and on such
occasions Phil would appear in the full glory of his well-earned
reputation. He boasted that he had brought fully one-half the number of
officers' wives who ever visited Arizona to the Territory himself, and
that he had always made them comfortable. Knowing, of course, before,
whenever we should camp out, he would go to work systematically. His
carbine was always by his side, and early in the morning he would
commence his raid on the game and birds abounding, more or less,
throughout the Territory. Slaying sometimes five or six of the
beautifully crested quails at one shot without moving from his seat, he
would send one of the soldiers to gather up the spoils, and then set the
men, placed one on each side of him, to pick the birds. That this was
thoroughly done he was very sure of, for he watched the operation with a
stern eye. Not the smallest splinter of wood, or anything combustible,
was left ungleaned on the field over which he passed on such a day;
fifty, ay, a hundred times, he would turn to his right-hand man, or to
his left, with the admonition:

"Miller, we've six birds to cook, and bread to bake, to-night: pick up
that stick."

Down would jump Miller, trusting to his agility, and the gymnastics he
might have practised in younger days, for safety in vaulting over the
wheels; for never a moment would Phil allow the ambulance to halt while
this wayside gathering was going on.

I always preferred camping out to "bed and board" at the roadside hotels
of Arizona, for Phil, with all his sagacity, would sometimes go astray
in regard to the eligibility and comfort of the quarters furnished. As,
for instance, at Antelope Peak, where my mentor assured me I should find
a bedstead to place my bedding on, and a room all to myself. I _did_
find a bedstead; but after the family (consisting of an American
husband, a Spanish wife, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and three
children) had removed their bed-clothes from it, to make place for mine,
it looked so uninviting that I requested Phil to spread my bed on the
floor. I had a room all to myself, too; but, on retiring to rest, I
found that the whole family--again consisting of husband, wife,
sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and three children--had spread their bed
on the floor of the adjoining room, which, being separated from my
apartment only by an old blanket, coming short of the ground over a
foot, and hung up where the door ought to be, enabled, or rather
compelled me to look straight into the faces of the different members of
this interesting family. As it grew darker, and the danger of being
stared out of countenance passed over, another serious disturbance
presented itself to my senses. All my friends can bear witness to the
fact that I consider Mr. Charles Bergh the greatest public benefactor of
the present age (the woman who founded the hospital for aged and infirm
cats not excepted), and that, with me, it calls forth all the combative
qualities lately discovered to lie dormant in woman's nature, to see any
harmless, helpless animal cruelly treated; but if I could have caught
only half a dozen of the five hundred mice that nibbled at my nose, my
ears, and my feet that night, I should exultingly have dipped them in
camphene, applied a match, and sent them, as warning examples, back to
their tribe.

Only once after this, toward the close of the journey, did Phil entice
me to sleep under a roof. It was at Blue-water Station; and the man who
kept it turned himself out into the _corral_, and made my bed on the
floor of the only room the house contained. There was no bedstead there,
but the man gave his word that neither were there any mice; so I went to
sleep in perfect faith and security. When I woke up at midnight, I
thought the Indians must have surprised us, scalped me, and left me for
dead. Such a burning, gnawing sensation I experienced on the top of my
head that almost unconsciously I put up my hand to see if they had taken
_all_ my hair. But I brought it down rapidly, for all the horrid,
pinching, stinging bugs and ants that had ensconced themselves in my
hair, during my sleep, suddenly fastened to the intruding fingers, and
clung to them with a tenacity worthy of a better cause.

But these experiences were not made until I had crossed the greater part
of the Arizona deserts; and I considered them rather as pleasantly
varying the solemn, still monotony of the days passed, one after one, in
a solitude broken only, at long intervals, by those forlorn government
forage-stations.

The first desert we crossed was still in California--though why
California should feel any desire to claim the wilderness of sand and
rattlesnakes lying between Vallecito Mountain and Fort Yuma, I cannot
see. We had passed over the thriving country around San Bernardino, and
through the verdant valley of San Felipe; and striking the desert just
beyond Vallecito, it seemed like entering Arizona at once.

Could anything be more hopelessly endless--more discouragingly
boundless--than the sand-waste that lay before us the morning we left
the forage-station of Vallecito! For days before, Phil had been
entertaining me with stories and accounts of travellers who had been
lost in sand-storms on the deserts. Not a breath of air stirred--not a
cloud was to be seen in the sky on this particular morning;
nevertheless, I watched for the signs that precede the springing up of
the wind with a keen eye, as the ambulance rolled slowly and noiselessly
through the deep sand, and I listened attentively to Phil's stories. The
road we followed was but a wagon-track, at best, and I could well
believe that, in ten minutes from the time a storm sprang up, there
would be no trace of the road left. Then commence the blind wanderings,
the frenzied attempts to regain the friendly shelter of the station, on
the part of the inexperienced traveller--ending, but too often, in a
miserable death by famine and starvation. The sand, flying in clouds,
conceals the distant mountains, by which alone he could be piloted; and,
straying off, he finds himself bewildered among piles of sand and
tattered sage-brush, when the storm has blown over. The remains of human
beings found by parties going into the mountains have proved that such
poor wretches must have wandered for days without food, without water,
till they found their death, at last, on the wide, inhospitable plain.
Their death--but not their grave; for the _coyote_, with his jackal
instinct, surely finds the body of the lost one, under the sand-mound
mercifully covering it, and, feasting on the flesh, he leaves the bones
white and bleaching in the pitiless rays of the sun.

"Phil," said I, interrupting him, "you told me the mules would not get a
drop of water to-day: what is that lake before us, then?"

He looked up to where I pointed.

"It is _mirage_, madame. _You_ cannot be deceived by it; I am sure you
must have seen it on the plains, before this."

"Yes," I said, stoutly, "I have seen _mirage_; but this is water--not
_mirage_."

"We shall see," said Phil, equally determined to hold his ground.

But I was sure it could not be _mirage_--it must be water--for did I not
see each of the few scattering bushes of _verde_ and sage that grew on
the border, and farther out, all through the water, reflected in the
clear, slightly undulating flood? The bushes seemed larger here than any
of the stinted vegetation I had yet seen on the desert, and every bush
was clearly reflected in the water; but it was strange that as we
approached the water receded; and if I noted any particular bunch of
sage or weeds, I found that, as we neared, it grew smaller, and I could
no longer see its image in the water.

Phil was right--it was the _mirage_; and this _Fata Morgana_ of the
plains and deserts of our own country became a most curious and
interesting study to me. I could write a volume on the "dissolving
views" I have seen. Leaving camp one morning, I saw, on turning, that a
narrow strip of short, coarse grass had been suddenly transformed into a
tall, magnificent hedge; and a single, meagre stem of _verde_ would as
suddenly grow into a large, spreading tree. Out of the clouds, on the
horizon, would sometimes loom up, majestically, a tall spire, a heavy
dome, or a vessel under full sail; and changing into one fantastic shape
after another, the picture would slowly fade into vapor at last. Whole
cities have sprung up before my eyes: I could have pointed out which one
of the different cupolas I supposed to be the City Hall, and which
steeple, according to my estimation, belonged to the First Presbyterian
Church; and could have shown the exact locality of the harbor, from the
number of masts I saw across the roofs of the houses yonder. Even Phil
was deceived one morning. I asked him why he stopped the ambulance, and
allowed the mules to rest at so unusual an hour in the day? He pointed
to a mountain I had not noticed before, which stood almost in front of
us, and was steep and bare, of a light clay-color.

"There ain't a man driving government mules knows this road better'n I
do; but I'll be derned if ever I saw that mountain before."

He asked the men if they thought it could be _mirage_, but they hooted
at the idea--it was too substantial for that, altogether; it was a
mountain--nothing else. But while we were, all four, so intently gazing
at it, the scene was shifted; the mountain parted, leaving two steep
banks--the space between apparently spanned by a light bridge.

For days we continued our journey through the desert, making camp
generally near one of the numerous wells indiscriminately scattered
between Vallecito and Fort Yuma. There are Indian Wells, Sacket's Wells,
Seven Wells, Cook's Wells, which, on close inspection, prove to belong
to the dissolving views, of which Arizona possesses such a variety; an
old well-curb or muddy water-hole generally constituting all the claim
these places have to the distinction of being called wells. But no; at
Cook's Wells, we _did_ find a good, clear well of water; nor is this the
only object of interest connected in my mind with the place. The
station-keeper told me that a tribe of friendly Indians, not far from
here, the Deguines, were to celebrate the funeral rites of a departed
warrior the following day. The spirit of the "brave" was to find its way
up to the Happy Hunting Grounds from the funeral-pyre on which the body
was to pass through the process of incremation--this being their mode of
disposing of the remains of deceased friends. A novel spectacle it would
be, no doubt; but I decided not to witness it. I could already see
Castle Dome looming in the distance, and I knew that I should be able to
reach Fort Yuma in the course of the following day. So we left Cook's
Wells early in the morning, and reached the crossing of the Colorado
some time in the forenoon.

The Colorado river was "up," Phil said; and I was prepared to agree
with him when I saw an expanse of muddy water covering the flat, on the
other side, to a considerable distance. The old scow, or flat-boat,
manned by two dirty-looking Mexicans, had no difficulty in coming up
close to us, where we were waiting on the shore: the difficulty lay in
our getting on the crazy thing without breaking through the rotten
planks. Perhaps the two Mexicans looked so dirty because all their
"clean clothes" were hanging out to dry, on two lines of cowhide,
stretched on either side of the flat-boat, which the wind kept blowing
into the mules' faces, causing them to "back out" twice, after our
_entrée_ to the ferry had been almost effected. There was no railing
around the boat (the four posts from which the clothes-line was
stretched having evidently been erected at the four corners for that
purpose), and, as it was only just large enough to afford standing room
for the ambulance and the men, it was anything but soothing to a woman's
nerves to see the mules rear and plunge every time the wind flapped one
of the articles on the line into the animals' faces. I had remained in
the ambulance, and in my usual corner, but as the shore receded, and an
ocean seemed to stretch out on every side of me, I found it hard to stay
there. I had suggested to Phil, in the first place, to cut down those
miserable clothes-lines, if the Mexicans refused to gather in their
week's washing, but he had quieted me by saying that our men would hold
the mules. However, when the current grew swifter, and the Mexicans
found some difficulty in managing their craft, the men were directed to
take the long poles, of which there was an abundant supply, and help to
steer clear of the logs floating down the river.

Now came the difficulty; for the refractory mules would not listen to
the "Ho, there, Kate; be still--will you?" with which Phil admonished
the nigh leader, but persisted in rearing every time a piece of "linen"
struck them, till the old scow shook with their furious stamping, and I
grew desperate in my lone corner. "Phil," I cried at last, with the
energy of despair, brandishing an enormous knife I had drawn from the
mess-chest, "unless you come and quiet the mules immediately, I shall
get down, cut the harness, and let them jump into the river!"

An hour's drive brought us to Fort Yuma, where we rested a day or two,
before resuming our journey. The country here has been described again
and again; its dry, sterile plains and black, burnt-looking hills have
been sufficiently execrated--relieving me of the necessity of adding my
quota. Fort Yuma--grand in its desolateness, white and parched in the
midst of its two embracing rivers--needs but the Dantean inscription on
its gateway to make it resemble the entrance to the regions of the
eternally damned.

It was by no means my first glimpse of the "noble savage" that I got on
the banks of the Colorado, or I might have been appalled at the sight of
a dozen or two of barely-clothed, filthy-looking Indians, squatted in
rows wherever the sun could burn hottest on their clay-covered heads.
The specimens here seen were different from those that had come under my
observation on the Plains. That Indians can be civilized William Lloyd
Garrison would not doubt, could he but see with what native grace these
dusky belles wear their crinoline. Nor can they be accused of the
extravagance of their white sisters in matters pertaining to toilet and
dress: the crinoline (worn _over_ the short petticoat, constituting
their full and entire wardrobe, aside from it) apparently being the only
article of luxury they indulge in, except paint--and whiskey, when they
can get it. But grandest of all were the men--the warrior-like
Yumas--arrayed in the traditional strip of red flannel, an occasional
cast-off military garment, and the cap of hard-baked mud above alluded
to. I had never seen these before, and thought them very singular as
ornaments; but Phil soon explained their utility in destroying a certain
parasite by which the noble red man is afflicted. During the summer
months he seeks relief in an application of wet mud to the part
besieged--his head. The mud is allowed to bake hard, in the course of
weeks, under the broiling sun; and when quite certain that his enemy has
been slaughtered, he removes the clay until another application becomes
necessary.

Following the course of the Gila river for some time, we struck the
desert again, beyond Gila Bend. What struck me as very surprising was,
that the desert here did not look like a desert at all: the scattering
_verde_-bushes and growth of cactus hiding the sand from one's eyes,
always just a little distance ahead--the cacti growing so thickly in
some places that, when they are in blossom, their flowers form a mosaic
of brilliant hues. Some of them are very curious--particularly the
"monument cactus," a tall shaft, growing to a height of over thirty
feet, sometimes with arms branching out on either side, more generally a
simple obelisk, covered with thorns from three to four inches long.

We were now nearing Maricopa Wells and the Pimo villages. Phil was the
pearl of all drivers; and he recounted traditions and legends belonging
to the past of this country that even Prescott might have wished to
hear. Phil had studied the history of the country in his own way, and
had evidently not kept his eyes closed while travelling back and forth
through Arizona. Halting the ambulance one day, he assisted me to alight
near a pile of rocks the most wonderful it was ever my fortune to
behold. He called them Painted Rocks, or Sounding Rocks; and his theory
in regard to them was, that this had been a place where the Indians had
long ago met to perform their religious rites and ceremonies. Rocks of
different sizes--from those not above a foot high, to others that
reached almost to my shoulders--all rounded in shape, were here, in the
midst of the plain, gathered together within a space of twenty or thirty
feet. They were black--whether from the action of the weather merely, or
from some chemical process--and covered on all sides with
representations from the animal world of Arizona and Mexico. The
pictures had been engraved, in a rude manner, on the black ground, and
embraced, in their variety, snakes, lizards, toads; also, four-footed
animals, which I could conscientiously recognize neither as horses nor
antelopes. Were they horses, it would go to prove that these pictures
had been made by roving bands of Indians, any time after the conquest,
as it is held that horses were first brought to this country by Cortez.
Did the pictures represent antelopes, it would almost tempt me to
believe that it was a specimen of the picture-writing of the Aztecs. The
sun was also represented, with its circle of rays, which, in Phil's
estimation, was proof conclusive that the heathens had come here only to
worship, particularly as there was no water in the neighborhood, and
they could not have lived here for any length of time. What the
character of the rocks may be, I am not geologist enough to know; but
when struck they emit a peculiarly clear and ringing sound, like that
produced by striking against a bell or a glass. None of the tribes now
to be found in that part of the country appear to claim any knowledge of
the origin of these rocks.

If either the Pimos, Maricopas, or Yumas are descendants of the Aztecs,
they have most wofully degenerated. On one point their traditions all
agree: namely, that the three tribes were not always at peace with each
other, as they are now. Long, long ago, when the Pimos were sorely
pressed by the more powerful Yumas, they allied themselves with the
Maricopas; and when they still found themselves in the minority against
the common enemy, and had been almost exterminated, they flew to the
white man for assistance, and never broke the treaty made with him.

But the shimmer of romance and poetry one would willingly throw around
them, is so rudely dispelled by the sight of these lank, dirty,
half-nude creatures, with faces exhibiting no more intelligence than
(perhaps not so much as) the faces of their lean dogs, or shaggy horses.
Yet, again, I must confess that even these Indians are susceptible of a
high degree of refinement and cultivation. Two of them, mounted on a
horse whose diminutive size allowed their four feet to touch the ground
at every stride, dressed, or rather undressed, in a manner to strike
terror into the soul of any well brought-up female, rode close up to the
ambulance one day, as it passed through the Indian villages, one of them
shouting, "Bully for you!" at the top of his voice, while the other
whipped up the horse at the same time, as though anxious to retreat the
moment their stock of polite learning had been exhausted.

Meeting at Maricopa Wells with the captain of the infantry stationed at
La Paz, we visited the interior of the Pimo and Maricopa villages
together, on horseback. We rode through the field the Indians cultivate,
and irrigate from the Gila river, by means of _acequias_ dug through
their lands in all directions. Some of their huts on the roadside were
deserted by their owners, who had removed to very airy residences,
constructed of the branches of cotton-wood and willows, growing on the
banks of the Gila, located where they could overlook their possessions
on all sides. As these residences consisted simply of a roof, or shed,
it was no such very hard matter to keep a lookout on every side. That
they do not trust a great deal in each other's honesty, was evident from
the way in which they had fastened the doors of their city residences
when exchanging them for their country-seats: they had firmly walled up
the entrance with _adobe_ mud. However, they are quiet and peaceable, I
am told, unless, by any chance or mischance, they get whiskey--of which
they are as fond as all other Indians.

In the mountain around which we had passed on the last day's journey
from Gila Bend, is to be seen, plainly and distinctly, the face of a
man, reclining, with his eyes closed as though in sleep. Among the most
beautiful of all the legends told here, is that concerning this face. It
is Montezuma's face, so the Indians believe (even those in Mexico, who
have never seen the image), and he will awaken from his long sleep some
day, will gather all the brave and the faithful around him, raise and
uplift his down-trodden people, and restore to his kingdom the old power
and the old glory--as it was, before the Hidalgos invaded it. So strong
is this belief in some parts of Mexico, that people who passed through
that country years ago, tell me of some localities where fires were kept
constantly burning, in anticipation of Montezuma's early coming. It
looks as though the stern face up there was just a little softened in
its expression, by the deep slumber that holds the eyelids over the
commanding eye; and all nature seems hushed into death-like stillness.
Day after day, year after year, century after century, slumbers the man
up there on the height, and life and vegetation sleep on the arid plains
below--a slumber never disturbed--a sleep never broken; for the
battle-cry of Yuma, Pimo, and Maricopa that once rang at the foot of the
mountain, did not reach Montezuma's ear; and the dying shrieks of the
children of those who came far over the seas to rob him of his sceptre
and crown, fall unheeded on the rocks and the deserts that guard his
sleep.

Two days more, and Phil pointed out to me, at a distance of some two
miles away, the ruins of the Casas-Grandes, sole remnant of the Seven
Cities the adventurous _Padre_ had so enticingly described to the
Spaniards. I could not induce Phil to allow me a nearer view, as we were
in the Apache country, and had no escort save the two soldiers in the
ambulance with us. From this distance the houses looked to me like any
other good-sized, one-story, _adobe_ buildings; but the material must
have been better prepared, or differently chosen, from that which is now
used in erecting Mexican houses, or it could not have resisted the
ravages of Time so far.

On we journeyed, not without some dread on my part, and a great many
assurances on the part of Phil that I was a very courageous woman. But
nearing Tucson, where the danger was greatest, we were not always alone.
Mexican trains bound for, or coming from Sonora, sometimes fell in with
us, and I did not despise their company, for I knew that only "in
strength lay safety" for us. Some of these trains consisted of
pack-donkeys only, bearing on their bruised backs the linen and cambrics
which are so beautifully manufactured in Sonora and other Mexican
provinces; others consisted of wagons heavily laden, their drivers armed
to the teeth, and well prepared to defend them against attacks the
Apaches were sure to make on them, sometime and somewhere between Sonora
and Tucson.

One of these trains belonged to Leopoldo Carillo, a Mexican merchant of
Tucson, who paid his men one hundred and fifty dollars for every Indian
scalp they delivered to him. Phil asked one of the Mexicans, driving a
wagon drawn along by some twelve or sixteen horses, if he had taken any
scalps on the trip. The Mexican nodded his head in silence, and turned
away. The teamster belonging to the next wagon--an American--told us how
the Indians had "jumped them," just after crossing the border, and how
two of them had held the Mexican, just spoken to, at bay, while two
others killed and scalped his younger brother. They all together, some
seven or eight of them, had taken three scalps from the Indians on this
trip; but he was willing to lose his share of the prize-money, the man
said, if the "pesky devils hadn't taken the boy's scalp;" for the
brother, he averred, cried and "took on about it" _just like a white
man_.



_DOWN AMONG THE DEAD LETTERS._


Strangers visiting Washington, and admiring the style and architecture
of the General Post-Office building, would never know that there are
numbers of ladies seated behind the plate-glass of the second-story
windows. Indeed, few people residing in the capital are really aware in
what part of the building those female clerks are stowed away. I had
passed on every side of the building--morning, noon, and night--but
never had seen anybody that looked like a "female clerk," till I found
myself of their number, one morning; and then I discovered the right
entrance to the Dead Letter Office. It is on F street, so close to the
Ladies' Delivery that any person entering here would be supposed to be
inquiring for a letter at that delivery. There is another entrance on E
street, but it is not much patronized by the ladies until after fifteen
minutes past nine o'clock; for punctually at that time, the door-keeper
is instructed to lock the ladies' door on F street, and those who are
tardy are compelled to go up the gentlemen's staircase, or pass in at
the large public entrance on E street. Crowds of visitors walk through
the building, day after day, but not one of all the ladies employed here
do they see, unless they request to be shown the rooms of the female
_employés_.

In this department, working hours are from nine o'clock in the morning
till three o'clock in the afternoon. Ladies are not allowed to leave the
office for lunch, nor do they waste much time in discussing the lunch
they may have brought, as it is only in consideration of their industry
and close application that they are allowed to leave the office at
three o'clock, instead of four.

This Dead Letter Office is one of the most complicated pieces of
machinery in the "ship of state." I will try to explain and elucidate as
much of it as came under my observation. Letters left "uncalled for" at
the different post-offices throughout the country are sent to the Dead
Letter Office, after a certain length of time. Letters not prepaid, or
short-paid, through neglect or ignorance of the writer, also find their
way here; and so do foreign letters, from all parts of Europe, which
have been prepaid only in part, and therefore come here, instead of
reaching their destination. Sometimes mails are robbed, and the
mail-bags hidden or thrown away, but are afterwards searched for, and
their remaining contents brought to this office. Then again, a vessel at
sea, homeward-bound, brings letters from ships meeting it, of sailors
and passengers, who send their letters in firm faith that they will
reach their anxious friends at home; but if our Government happens to
have no treaty or contract with that particular government to which the
writer belongs, of course, the letters cannot be forwarded, but are laid
at rest here. These letters are carefully preserved for a number of
years. They are sometimes called for, and found, a long, long time after
they were written; in fact, only "dead" letters are destroyed.

Though I wish to speak more particularly of the duties and labor
performed by the ladies employed in this department, I must begin by
saying that all letters pass through the hands of, and are opened by, a
number of gentlemen--clerks in the department--whose room is on the
ground floor of the building. A great number of letters contain money,
valuable papers, and postage stamps. These are sent to the
superintendent's room. Letters without contents are folded, with the
envelope laid inside the letter, tied in bundles, and sent up-stairs
for directing. Money, drafts, and postage-stamps, however, are not the
only articles considered "mailable matter" by the public. One day I
looked over a box filled with such matter, taken from dead letters and
parcels in the opening room, and found in it one half-worn gaiter boot,
two hair-nets, a rag doll-baby, minus the head and one foot, a set of
cheap jewelry, a small-sized frying-pan, two ambrotypes, one pair of
white kid gloves, a nursing-bottle, a tooth-brush, a boot-jack, three
yards of lace, a box of Ayer's pills, a bunch of keys, six nutmegs, a
toddy-stick, and no end of dress samples. This matter is allowed to
accumulate for three months, and is then sold at auction; but a register
is so carefully kept, that the person mailing the doll-baby without
prepaying can follow its progress from the little country town where it
was mailed to the end of its career under the hammer at the Dead Letter
Office, and here can claim the amount it brought at auction.

Every clerk, male or female, has his or her letter, from A to Z, and
beginning again with A A, when the alphabet "runs out." Before the
ladies take their places at the desk in the morning, the messenger has
already placed there the number of envelopes each lady is expected to
direct in the course of the day; and large baskets filled with bundles
of letters, sent up from the opening room (the bundles marked with the
letter of the clerk through whose hands they have passed), are brought
into the rooms. The envelopes are stamped in one corner with the lady's
letter, in red; so that the ladies are spoken of, by the superintendent
or the messengers, as Miss A, B, C, D--not as Miss Miller, or Mrs.
Smith. Fifty of these envelopes are contained in one package, so that it
is easy to calculate whether any of them are wasted by misdirecting or
blotting. The work looks simple enough, when you see a number of ladies
seated at their desks, writing addresses on envelopes, with the greatest
apparent ease. "And then," as a gushing young lady said to me one day,
"how romantic it must be to listen to the outpourings of love and
affection that these letters must contain in many cases, and the dark
secrets that others disclose." She thought it rather a cruel restraint,
when I told her we were allowed to read only so much of a letter as was
necessary to discover the name of the writer, and to read no part of it,
if the name was signed clearly and distinctly at the end. Let the lady
reader pause a moment and ask herself, "Do I sign my letters so that one
of these clerks could return them from the Dead Letter Office, without
going over the whole of their contents?" By the time you have finished
reading this paper, I hope you will have formed the resolution to sign
your name "in full," and just as it is, to every letter you send by the
mail. Don't sign your name "Saida," when it is really Sarah Jones "in
full;" and if you call your father's brick house on Third street, "Pine
Grove," because there are two dry pine-trees in the front yard, don't
neglect to add "No. 24, Third Street, Cincinnati, Ohio." The greater
number of letters passing through this office are badly written and
uninteresting; many of them so perfectly unintelligible that no human
being can read or return them; not that the greater portion of our
community are uneducated or unintelligent people, but that they are
either reckless or careless. Letters directed with any kind of common
sense are most always sure of reaching their destination without
visiting the Dead Letter Office. Not only do people, in a number of
cases, neglect to prepay their letters, but frequently, letters without
direction or address of any kind are dropped into the letter-boxes. In
writing to individuals residing in the same city with them, people think
it is necessary only to mention the name of the individual; the
"post-office man" is expected to know that the letter is not to go out
of the city. The post-office people are, if not omniscient, at least
very obliging. I have found a letter directed to "Carrolton, in
America," and the letter had been forwarded to, and bore the post-mark
of every Carrolton in the United States before it was sent here.

The work of the ladies falls under two heads: "Common" and "Special." We
will get the best idea of what "Common" means, in contradistinction to
"Special," by watching Miss A, on "Common" work this morning. Taking one
of the bundles of letters from the basket, she opens it and takes up the
top letter; spreading it on the desk, she finds the envelope inside; it
is directed to "William Smith, Philadelphia, Penn.," and the words
"uncalled for," stamped on the envelope, show why it was sent here. Now,
the signature is to be looked for: it is here--"John Jones;" next, where
was it dated?--"Somerville, Ohio;" but does the post-mark on the
envelope correspond with that? Yes, it is post-marked from where it was
dated; so, "John Jones" will receive his letter back again: his friend,
"W. Smith," may have left Philadelphia, or may have died. "John Jones'"
letter is returned to him in a coarse, brown "P. O. D." envelope,
stamped with the letter A in one corner, and he pays three cents for the
privilege of knowing that his friend "Smith" never received his letter.
The next is a delicate pink affair, dated, "White Rose Bower"--signed,
"Ella;" "only this, and nothing more;" so the letter is hopelessly dead,
and thrown into the paper-basket at Miss A's side. The epistle following
this is signed, "Henry Foster," and could be returned if it had not been
dated at "White Hall" and post-marked "Harrisburg." On looking over the
Post-office Directory, we may or may not find a White Hall in
Pennsylvania, but there is nothing in the letter to show whether "Henry
Foster's" home is in Harrisburg or White Hall; consequently, that letter
is dead, too. Here is one, signed plainly and legibly, but the writer
has omitted to date it from any particular place. From the tone of the
letter, it is plainly to be seen that he lives where the letter was
mailed--but where was it mailed? The post-mark on the envelope is so
indistinct that any lady not employed in the Dead Letter Office would
throw it aside as "unreadable;" but ladies here learn to decipher what
to ordinary mortals would be hieroglyphic, or simply a blank. After
consulting the pages of the Post-office Directory beside her, Miss A
passes the envelope to Miss B. "Can you suggest any post-office in
Indiana beginning with M, ending with L, with about four letters
between?" Miss B scrutinizes the envelope closely. "The post-mark is not
from Ind. (Indiana), it is from Ioa" (Iowa), is her decision. Misses C,
D, and E, at work in the same room, differ in opinion, and at last Miss
A steps across the hall to the room of the lady superintendent, where a
"blue-book" is kept, and, with the assistance of this lady and the book,
Miss A discovers the place in Indiana, directs the letter, and continues
her work. When she has directed fifty letters, she ties them (with both
envelopes--the "P. O. D." and original one--inside each letter)
carefully together, and the messenger carries them into the
folding-room, where other ladies, employed in this branch, fold and seal
them. Of these "Common" letters, every lady is required to direct from
two hundred to three hundred a day--a task by no means easy to
accomplish.

"Special" work is generally disliked by the ladies, and is of a somewhat
"mixed" character. Letters held for postage--consequently not
"dead"--come under this head. They, too, are sent back to the writer, if
the signature can be found, and the place from which they are dated
corresponds with the post-mark; if not, they are assorted according to
letter and put away into "pigeon-holes," marked with the letter
corresponding. Foreign letters, such as I spoke of before, come under
this head, too. Then there are official letters--in relation to military
and judicial matters--short-paid, and, therefore, brought before this
tribunal. These require minute attention, as three and four documents
are inclosed in one envelope sometimes, making it difficult to discover
who is the proper person to return them to. Again, there are letters
with postage-stamps to be returned, and money letters containing not
over one dollar: those with larger amounts are directed in the
superintendent's room. Ladies directing stamp and money letters keep
account of them in a book, submitted, together with the letters, to the
superintendent, at the close of office hours, every day. Money letters
are marked with red stars, stamp letters with blue. Stamps taken from
dead letters are destroyed by the proper authorities. Then, there is
copying to do--orders and circulars, rules and regulations, to be
transmitted to the different local post-offices; and translations to be
made of communications received from foreign post departments. All this
is "Special" work. A large proportion of the letters passing through the
office are German letters--some French, Italian, Norwegian, and Spanish;
but two German clerks are constantly employed, while one clerk can
easily attend to the letters of all the other different nationalities
together.

Sometimes it comes to pass that the superintendent visits one room or
the other, with a number of letters in his hand; these have been
misdirected or badly written. The red letter stamped on each letter
guides him to the desk of the lady who has directed it; and very
sensitive is each and every lady to the slightest reproach or reprimand
received, because of the universal kindness and respect with which they
are treated by all the officials with whom they come in contact.

If the task of poring over these epistles of all kinds, day after day,
is, on the whole, tiresome and wearing, there are certainly many
incidents to relieve the tedium of the occupation. Incidents, I say;
letters, I should say. The deep respect we entertain for a well-known
army officer was justified to me by the insight his own letters gave me
into his character. It is against the rules of the post-office
department to read any part of a letter, unless it is necessary to do so
in order to discover the correct address of the writer; but, as the
general's handwriting is a little hasty and peculiar, and his military
honors and titles were not appended to these letters I speak of, it was
natural that they should be read by the clerks, in order to ascertain
whether they could be returned to the place they were written from. One
of these letters had been written to an old lady (I judged so from the
fact of his inquiring about her son and grand-children) somewhere in the
South, who, it appeared, had entertained the general at her house, one
day during the war, when the general was very much in want of a dinner
to eat. He had not forgotten her kindness and hospitality, though it was
now after the close of the war; but the old lady had probably removed
from the little village to which the letter was directed, or, perhaps,
she had died: so the letter came into our hands, and was returned to the
general. Another was to an old friend of the general's. They had played
together as boys, perhaps, but his friend had not risen to fame and
fortune, like himself; he was giving words to his deep sympathy with a
misfortune or bereavement that had befallen his friend--sympathy
expressed with such tender, true feeling, that we felt as though it were
another bereavement that he should have lost this letter of the
general's.

The remark was often made among us that the Dead Letter Office afforded
the very best opportunities for making collections of autographs of
celebrated people--only the authorities could not be made to see it in
that light. It was always with a sigh of regret, I must confess, that
letters signed by such names as Bancroft, Whittier, Beecher, Grant,
Greeley, were returned to their rightful owners. The most interesting
accounts of foreign travel were sometimes contained in the dead
letters--accounts more interesting than any book ever published. These
were, as a general thing, written by ladies--and that sealed their doom.
Gentlemen writing letters almost always sign their full name; but a lady
will write a dozen pages, telling her friends all about the Louvre and
the Tuileries, the Escurial and London Tower, in one long letter, and
then sign Kate, or Lillie, at the end, thus precluding all possibility
of having her letter returned, though we know from it that she has
returned to her home in Boston. It is almost incredible what a large
number of letters passing through our hands are "finished off" by that
classically beautiful verse--"My pen is bad, my ink is pale; my love for
you will never fail"--and it is impossible to believe in how many
different ways and styles these touching lines can be written and
spelled, till you find them dished up to you a dozen times a day, in
this office. Eastern people don't appreciate this "pome" as Western
farmers do. Missouri rustics are particularly addicted to it. What the
predilection of the Southern people might have been, I cannot say; it
was just after the close of the war, and their letters were pitiful
enough. Of course there was not a Federal postage-stamp to be had in any
of the Southern States; and no matter how deeply the contents of some of
these letters affected us, we could not forward them to the people they
were addressed to. These letters from the South portrayed so terribly
true the bitter, abject poverty of all classes, at that time, that the
Northerners to whom they were written would not have hesitated to assist
these friends of "better days," could they have received the letters;
but, even had we been allowed to forward them, the chances were
extremely slender that people were still in the same position and
location after the war as before the war.

Not these letters alone were sad; for sometimes a whole drama could be
read from one or two short letters. One day we found among the dead
letters a note written in a feeble, scrawling hand. It was by a boy, a
prisoner and sick, in one of the penal institutions of New York--sick,
poor fellow! and imploring his mother--oh, so piteously!--to come and
see him. He was in the sick ward, he said, and if he _had_ been wicked,
and had struck at his step-father when he saw him abuse his mother,
would she not come to see him, only once, for all that? She must not let
his step-father prevent her from coming; he was dreaming of his mother
and sister every night, and he knew his mother would come to him; but
she must come soon, for the doctor had said so. Perhaps the letter had
not reached the mother because the step-father had taken her out of the
son's reach; for, in the course of a day or two, we found another letter
addressed to the same woman, by one of the prison officials: the boy,
Charley, had died on such a date--about a week after his letter had been
written--and he had looked and asked for his mother to the last.

About letters written by German people I have noticed one peculiarity:
they never omit to write the number of the year in some part of the
letter, or on the envelope, outside. Sometimes it is written where the
name of the country or the State should be found on the envelope, so
that the direction would read, "Jacob Schmied, St. Louis, 1865;" or they
write it at the bottom of the letter, instead of signing their name, and
then write their name at the beginning of the letter, as though they
were writing the letter to themselves. Everything is heavy and clumsy
about their letters; they never indulge in joke or sentiment; and
through the negligence of one of the German clerks, the most serious
trouble had almost been brewed in a German brewer's family, at one time.
It happened in this way:

A substantial German brewer had written to Hans Biersöffel, dunning him
for money, owing on several barrels of _lager_. Hans must have left the
city--at any rate, the letter came to our office, and was returned to
the brewer; but, unfortunately, a very sentimental letter, containing a
copy of some love-sick verses, written by a German lady, and held in the
office as a curiosity for a little while, had (by mistake, of course)
found its way into this letter. The honest Dutchman had meant to return
this piece of property to our office at the first opportunity, and
therefore carried it in his pocket-book, where his wife discovered it,
seized it, and held it over his head, as the sword of Damocles, forever
after--as he could not prove to her satisfaction that the letter and
verses had _not_ been sent to _him_ by the writer.

At the time I belonged to the corps of dead letter clerks, there were
three rooms fronting on Seventh street, fitted up as offices for the
lady clerks, and one very large room on the other side of the hall. A
straw mat was spread on the stone floor in our room; one office-chair
was furnished for each lady, and desks barely large enough for two
ladies to work at, without elbowing each other; and in one corner,
wash-stand and water. In the large room some twenty ladies were writing,
while four or five folders had their desk in the same room. Of the other
rooms, one was occupied by the lady superintendent, together with whom
were from four to six ladies; the next room also accommodated six
ladies, and the last one, which had the look of a prison, from a high
grating running through it, afforded room for four others. There were
old Post-office Directories, boxes containing printed matter, and such
like valuables, kept behind this grating; and one day, when a party of
sightseers came unasked into our room, the youngest lady there--whose
spirit had not yet been broken by the weight of the responsibilities
resting on her shoulders--explained to the gaping crowd that behind this
grating were kept the silver and household furniture of General
----,--the assistant postmaster--boxed up, while he was recruiting in
the country. This was a twofold revenge, the young lady said to us: it
was punishing the visitors for their inquisitiveness, and "old ----" for
having the grating put up there. Several years have passed since I last
saw the post-office building; the ladies of room No. -- were then
petitioning to have this grating removed. Whether their petition was
granted, I have not learned.



_MARCHING WITH A COMMAND._


From Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, we were ordered to Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas, there to join General Sykes' command, then fitting
out for the march across the Plains. General Sykes commanded the Fifth
Infantry, while my husband belonged to the Third Cavalry; but as the
latter regiment was to take up the line of march from Little Rock,
Arkansas, through Texas, the lieutenant, as well as some three or four
other officers of the Third, were well satisfied to be assigned to the
infantry command, and sent in charge of recruits from Washington and
Carlisle, to join General Sykes at Fort Leavenworth.

The two regiments (Fifth Infantry and Third Cavalry) were to rendezvous
at Fort Union, New Mexico, where General Carleton was to meet the
troops, and assign them to the different forts, camps, and stations in
his department. This was immediately after the close of the war; and
these eight hundred men of the Fifth Infantry and the Third Cavalry,
under Colonel Howe, were the first regulars sent out to the Territories,
from whence they had been called in to do some of the hard fighting when
the rebellion broke out--volunteers and colored troops taking their
place on the frontiers.

It was early June--the sky radiant, the earth laughing. Birds of the
western prairies warbled their greeting from out the rose-trellises and
sweet-scented flowers of the little enclosures in front of the officers'
quarters, which, surrounding the well kept parade-ground, gave the place
the look of one large bright-blooming garden. For days there had been
at the fort signs and sounds as of a swarm of bees preparing to leave
the hive. The carriage of the general flew back and forth between the
town and the fort; the quartermaster dashed through the corrals, and by
the workshops on his handsome sorrel; females of all shades and colors
were interviewed and interrogated by officers' wives, who meant to
provide themselves with luxuries for the journey; and new faces were
seen and scanned in the mess-room every day.

The first day out from Fort Leavenworth we made but a few miles; the
general seemed bent only on getting his command away from the barracks,
for, though warned for weeks of the day of starting, there were those
who seemed as little prepared for the march now as they had been two
weeks ago. Well I remember the camp we made that first day--amid grass
so high that we felt and looked like ants moving among the blades--and
the confusion in our own establishment and that of our neighbors. The
advantages of having secured the services of an old army-woman became
apparent at this early stage. Without having at all consulted me, Mrs.
Melville had boiled a ham, and stowed bread, cheese, and sardines, where
she could readily lay hands on the articles, in the mess-chest. Coffee
was quickly cooked, and we could sit down to our meal and invite others
to it, before we had fairly realized the discomforts of a first night in
camp.

A good woman was Mrs. Melville, but dreadfully tyrannical--domineering
ruthlessly over myself and her husband, and only in awe of the
lieutenant when he insisted on having his own way. They had always
served in the cavalry, and had now again enlisted (I mean the husband,
who drove our carriage, had enlisted) in the Third; and as Melville was
the only cavalry recruit with the command, it had been a matter of some
difficulty to appropriate him and his wife. It was not till the second
day, when we made camp, that I saw how large the command was; and I
remember thinking that it had taken since yesterday for the "tail-end"
of the train of wagons, mules, and horses to leave the corrals and get
into camp. When we left our camping-ground in the morning and returned
to the highway, there was a broad road with deep ruts behind us, and
hundreds of acres of prairie-land made bare and torn up, as though a
city had been swept away, where the day before no sign of human life had
been and the tall grass had waved untouched over the soft, black soil.
Fancy the tramp of eight hundred men, the keen, light-turning wheels of
a dozen or two of carriages, and the heavy, crunching weight of two
hundred army-wagons, drawn each by six stout mules! No wonder the grass
never grew again where General Sykes's command had passed!

Besides the twelve hundred mules in the wagons, there were some two
hundred head extra, and a number of horses for the officers. All of
these animals had been drawn from the government corrals at Fort
Leavenworth; but I never realized how many there were, till one evening
about four days out from the fort.

Elsewhere I have spoken of my white horse, Toby, who had so quickly
become domesticated that he _would_ insist on returning to our tent, no
matter how emphatically he was told that he must be turned out, and stay
with the rest of the herd. The mules had been accustomed to follow the
lead of a white "bell-mare" in the corrals; and as Toby was the only
white horse in the outfit, they became greatly attached to him, and
would follow him in his vagaries wherever he led. Unfortunately, when he
took his way back to the camp and to our tent this evening, the herders
were not on the alert as usual, and before they could turn the tide
there was a stampede, and a perfect overflow of mules in the camp. Such
yelling and bellowing as those animals set up, when they found
themselves floundering among the tents, and belabored with clubs, ropes,
and picket-pins by the enraged soldiers, was never heard before nor
since. Even Toby's serenity was disturbed, and he stood half-way in the
tent, trembling, and looking as though he knew that the wagon-master was
making his way to our settlement. Though I could forgive the man's rage,
as he pushed the horse to one side and passed into the tent, neither the
lieutenant nor myself took kindly to his offer to "shoot the horse the
next time he undertook to stampede the herd;" and I held close on to
Toby till the mules were driven back, and the wagon-master's wrath had
cooled.

Truth to tell, before the next forty-eight hours were over, I was
wellnigh converted to the belief that we had drawn the meanest stock the
government-stables had ever contained. I forgot to say that each of the
officers had been assigned a company of the recruits, and as they
marched with them, we ladies were left in our carriages alone. No sooner
was the command fairly on the road this morning than Molly and Jenny, a
pair of green mules drawing our carriage, fell to jumping and kicking on
a rough piece of ground, and a moment later the carriage was laid prone
on one side, while I quietly clambered out on the other. A chorus of
little screams went up from the rest of the carriages--expressing more
horror, I think, at my getting up without the assistance of the doctor,
who came flying up on his square-headed bay, than at the accident
itself.

This was not enough of evil for the day. We made camp early (the general
made not over fifteen miles a day when first starting out with the
recruits), and Molly and Jenny, fastened to each other by a light chain
around the neck, followed Toby through the camp, where they had come to
be accepted as standing nuisances. Away up near the general's tent, Toby
must have fancied there was good grazing, for he went there, the two
mules _en train_. What followed I learned from the grinning orderly, who
rapped at our tent soon after, holding the mules by the chain, and
saying that "the general sent his compliments to the lieutenant, and
he'd shoot the mules, and the white horse too, the next time they pulled
the tent-fly down over him."

I looked stealthily out, and saw Toby in the distance, contemplatively
switching his tail, and half a dozen men at work re-erecting the
general's tent. The story was too good to keep; and the general himself
told how, lying asleep on his cot, under the tent-fly, where it was
cool, he had been waked up by Toby's nose brushing his face. Raising
himself, and hurling one boot and an invective at the horse, he was
surprised at seeing the two mules trying to stare him out of countenance
at the open end of the fly. The other boot was shied at them, but there
was no time to send anything else. The chain fastening the mules
together had become twisted around, the pole holding up the fly, and the
precipitate retreat of the long-eared pair brought the heavy canvas down
on the general's face.

Would I could end my "tale of woe" right here; but a love of truth
compels me to say that the meanness of that horse seemed endless, and
his capacity for wickedness was such that portions of it fell on Molly
and Jenny, when a particularly rich harvest rewarded his efforts at
deviltry. When Toby came to the tent-door, early next morning, I noticed
a strangely bright polish on his fore-hoofs, and a suspicious greasiness
about his nose and face. Molly and Jenny had greasy streaks running all
over them, and seemed so well fed that I wondered to myself which of the
officers' horses had to suffer last night, and go supperless to bed.
Toby sniffed disdainfully at the bread I offered him, and turned to walk
off very suddenly when he saw Melville coming toward the tent. I must
explain that the tents were always pitched in the same order--the
lieutenant's on one side of us; Captain Newbold's on the other; the
baggage-wagon assigned to each officer drawn up behind the tent; the
mules, of course, turned out with the rest of the herd. Melville
pointed to the wagon behind Captain Newbold's tent, where a knot of men
were gathered, bending to the ground; but he seemed too full for
utterance. Almost instinctively I knew what he wanted to tell me.
Newbold had brought two large jars of butter with him from Leavenworth,
and Toby had encountered them last night, wiping his mouth on Molly and
Jenny when he found the butter not to his taste. Over and above that, he
had hauled six or eight grain-sacks out of the wagon, opened the sacks
with his teeth, and scattered the grain for the two mules to eat.

I wanted to kill Toby on the spot; for the Newbolds were the best of
neighbors, sharing with us, through the whole of that journey, the milk
their cow (the only one with the whole train) was pleased to give. Not a
word of complaint was heard from the captain or his little wife; but I
did hope honestly that the miserable white horse might die of his extra
feed of butter and oats.

In the evening Colonel Lane gathered the ladies together, led us to the
top of a hill, and pointed out where Fort Riley lay, like a grand
fortress, with long, white walls, rising on a green eminence. We reached
it next day by night-fall, and though camped several miles outside of
it, there were so many things which we found we actually needed, and
which could only be had at this, the last post of any importance, that
the greater number of officers were constantly to be seen between the
sutler-store and the saddler-shop, the quartermaster's office and the
corrals.

After a rest of three days, we took up the line of march again through
prairie-land, dotted with farms and broken by forests and streams,
through which (after having crossed the Kansas river at Manhattan, on a
pontoon-bridge, before reaching Fort Riley) the soldiers seemed to think
it rare sport to wade, barefooted, carrying shoes and stockings in their
hands.

The country grew wilder and more desolate; and passing a farm-house one
day, near which there were buffaloes grazing in the pasture with oxen
and cows, it seemed nothing extraordinary, though, of course, we did not
see the buffalo in his native freedom till some time after. At Ellsworth
(now Fort Harker) we halted again for a day, and then gradually entered
the wilderness. Fort Zarah seems to have grown where it is, only to help
make the country look sadder and more desolate; but the well they have
is splendid. I think so at least, for I was _so_ thirsty when we turned
in there at noon, though we continued the march and did not make camp.
The general seemed to consider the feet of his men fully seasoned by
this time; and they certainly made some hard days' marches before they
reached Fort Union. The days' marches were harder for them than they
were for us, on the whole; though many a time, creeping slowly over the
tediously level ground, did I wish that I could march with them, or help
drive mules, or lead horses--anything rather than sit in the carriage
for hours, the sun beating down in just the same direction, the men in
front moving along in just the same measure. But there was something
grand about it at the same time--a forest of bayonets in front of us, an
endless train of wagons behind us, moving silently through the solemn
wilds; hosts of red-winged black-birds fluttering along with us, the
rarer blue-jay flying haughtily over their heads.

There was always something to see; the prairie-flowers were so
dazzlingly colored some days, or the rock lay in such odd strata; and in
one place we saw the remains of some rough fortifications built of the
rocks--thrown up hastily, perhaps, one day when the party of brave
emigrants spied "ye noble savage" bearing down on them. In camp
everything looked pleasant and cheerful. The general had traversed the
country more than once, knew every spring on the road, and had the
camping-ground kept so neat that we could have stopped in one place a
good many days without any discomfort. Beyond that, he was courteous and
thoughtful of our comfort, as only a soldier can be; and there was not a
lady "marching with the command" who would not have voted him a
major-general of the United States army, or into the Presidential chair,
if he had preferred it.

At Fort Dodge, where officers and men burrowed half under ground (at
that time), I had not the least desire to remain. However, a few miles
back, where the river makes the bend, there is a singular grandeur about
the country, with nothing to break the utter loneliness, save the sad,
heavy murmur of the water. And now we are out on the plains again; day
after day we travel over land that lies so level and so still that not a
being but the lark seems living here beside us. How hot and fierce the
sun glares down on the slowly-winding column--a serpent it seems, with
its length outstretched, as it moves over the bare, brown prairie. The
spirit grew oppressed, and the heart fainted in the noon-day sun; the
command to halt was always received with joy; and more than once we had
to make forced marches to reach water. Yet we lost but one man out of
the eight hundred, and he died the day we struck the Arkansas
again--died in the road almost--and we carried him with us to camp; and
at night, when the stars had come out and tear-drops hung in the eyes of
the flowers by the river-bank, they carried him to his lonely grave. I
went to the tent-door when I heard the muffled drums, and stood outside,
in the dark, where I could see the short procession passing. Lanterns
were carried in the train that moved ghostly away from the camp-fires
and the white-looming tents. The grave was not far, and when they had
lowered the coffin I saw the form of a man bowing over it, as though in
prayer, and then the earth was shovelled back. The soldiers returned
with measured tread, and left their comrade on the wide, lone prairie,
with only the Arkansas to sing his dirge.

I went to sleep with tears in my eyes; but we were to make an early
start in the morning, and before daybreak we were all awake and astir.
Sadness could not live in the heart those early mornings, and I thought
sometimes the general had _reveille_ sounded so early purposely, to show
us how beautiful Nature was at sunrise.

Sunrise on the plains! Is there anything in music, in painting, in
poetry, that can bring before eyes that have never beheld it, the
passing beauty of such a scene? There are strains in music which bring a
faint shadow of the picture back to me; no art can ever reproduce it.
How balmy the faint breath of wind that seems to lift upward the light,
gray clouds, to make way for the rosy tints creeping athwart the
horizon! Watch the clouds as they rise higher in the heavens; see how
the sun-god has kissed them into blushes as bright as the damask-rose,
sending a flood of yellow light to cover them with greater confusion.
Now they float gently upward till they reach the clear, blue sky, from
where the yellow light has faded; and, watching bevies of other clouds,
still dancing in the light above the first rays of the rising sun, the
color fades from them, and they waft hither and thither--white clouds on
deep blue ground--till the morning breeze bears them away from our
sight. But words are weak and tame; and the yellow-breasted prairie-lark
alone, rising high in the sun-bright air as the day begins, gives fit
expression to her thanks for the glories of creation, in the wordless
song she sings forever.

We were always far on the day's journey before the sun was fairly up; it
was very early, to be sure, and often as the tents were struck when the
_générale_ was sounded, the families occupying them could be seen
tumbling out, the children only half-dressed; and it happened sometimes
that carriages were left behind, when not ready to fall into line when
the march was beaten. In times of danger from Indians, of course, this
would not have happened; but at that time there was thought to be no
danger, except at night.

Mrs. Melville had developed into an unmitigated tyrant, and one of her
victims was an Englishman, a raw recruit, who had been given the
lieutenant as servant. His name was either Ackley or Hackley, Ockley or
Hockley. If he insisted it was one, Mrs. Melville said it was the other;
and so completely cowed was he at last that he no longer dared to assert
his right to any name. I often thought it was a national revenge she was
wreaking on the poor fellow (she and her husband had sprung from the
Emerald Isle). He had to do all the work that should have fallen to her
share, and he never had a moment to spare for the lieutenant or myself.
From the first day of starting, I had detected, among the detail of men
sent to pitch our tent, a countryman of mine, a poor Dutchman, the
greenest of his kind. I electrified him one day by speaking German to
him, and ever after his pale, worn face would brighten, and his eyes
light up, when I asked of him any little service or assistance. The
general, knowing me to be a German, allowed the man to wait on us; and
Mohrman was happy as a king when he could fondle Toby, or put our tent
to rights, and fix things comfortably for me in the carriage. He was a
cabinet-maker, and the camp-table he made for us was the envy of the
whole camp. The poor fellow was weak in the chest (something unusual for
one of his nationality), and a big Irish corporal, who was a good enough
fellow otherwise, had always imposed on Mohrman, because he was ignorant
of the language, and could make no complaint to his officer. He
continued to bear with Stebbins's petty persecutions like a saint, till
one morning he made his appearance at the tent-door, with tears in his
eyes, and complained that the corporal had deprived him of the last
thing he had left, coming from the "Fatherland"--his _Gesang-Buch_,
which his mother had given him on the day of confirmation.

I stepped outside, where Corporal Stebbins with his detail stood,
waiting to strike the tent at the sounding of the _générale_. There was
a lurking grin on the corporal's face, as he approached at my summons.

"Corporal," said I, "have you Mohrman's book?"

"Sure, ma'am, and is it his prayer-book the poor b'y wants? Ye see, he
complained yesterday that his knapsack was so heavy that he couldn't
pack me blankets; so I thought I'd carry this for him a while;" and,
amidst a half-suppressed snicker, he solemnly drew forth from his
capacious pocket a big black hymn-book, substantially German-looking,
about ten inches in length by five inches across.

"I'll take that book," said I, looking severe, and turning very quickly
to hide my face.

After this Mohrman seemed to have more peace; and we journeyed on
serenely till we reached Fort Lyon, Colorado, the first human habitation
we had laid eyes on for many weeks. Sterile and rock-strewn as the
country is, it was the boast of the post commander that he had as fine a
company-garden as could be seen, twenty miles away from here; to which
his wife added, "the only pity was that the vegetables should always be
dry and wilted before they reached the garrison."

I was well pleased to think that our destination lay beyond Fort Lyon;
though there were those among the ladies who so dreaded the crossing of
the Arkansas just before us, and the passage of the Raton Mountains
later, that they would have remained here, where no flower could be
coaxed into blossom, rather than have gone on. The Arkansas river was to
be crossed at Bent's old fort, where the overland mail-stage also had
its crossing. The carriages were discreetly sent a mile or two above the
fording-place, for the soldiers--poor fellows--had to swim across, their
clothes, knapsack, and gun in one hand, while with the other they held
to the stout ropes stretched from shore to shore. Not a man of the eight
hundred was lost. There were mounted men in the river, ready to lend a
helping hand at the first cry for aid, and they all crossed safely,
though many, I dare say, in fear and trembling. When the men were over,
the married officers were permitted to join the ladies, and we were
ferried across in the skiff belonging to the stage line, for which
little water-excursion we paid two dollars a head to the Overland Mail
Company. Carriages and wagons were brought over by the wagon-master and
teamsters; and when the whole train was on the other side, we thought we
had spent rather a pleasant day.

Like sailors scanning the edge of the horizon for land, so the soldiers
had for days been watching the nearer approach of the Spanish Peaks
looming faintly in the distance, and breaking the grand monotone of the
level, changeless plain, verging, where the eye could see no further,
into limitless space. Those who had been out this way before commenced
talking of the "Picketwire," and the beautiful valleys we should see,
and the big onions the Mexicans would bring to the camp to sell. After a
while I discovered that the "Picketwire" was a little river--the
"Purgatoir" or "Purgatory"--along whose banks the Mexican raised
vegetables and fruit, of which I saw specimens, later, in the big onion
spoken of. I had not been in California then, and the onions produced
there, of the size of a large saucer, certainly had a stunning effect on
me.

I am not prepared to say why the little river was called Purgatory. For
the most part the country was good enough--lovely, even; and sometimes
grand. One or two days seemed rather purgatorial though, come to think
of it. On one occasion we passed through steep, barren hills, strewn all
over with little cylindrical pieces of iron, that looked exactly as
though they had been melted in that place just below purgatory, and
thrown up here to cool. Another day we marched along the bed of a river,
over boulders from three to six feet high; if _we_ did not think it
purgatory, the horses and mules certainly did. But the worst day of all
remained.

It broke at last--the dreaded day in which the Raton Pass was to be
attempted. The horrors of the Pass, however, must have been less vivid
in the eyes of the general than in the minds of the ladies belonging to
his command; for, contrary to all hopes and expectations, he allowed
none of the married officers to remain with the carriages. It was a
"steep" pass, undeniably. To this day I have not forgotten the sound of
the grating of the wheels on the bare, unmitigated rock, as the carriage
made ascents and descents that were truly miraculous--one wheel pointing
heavenward sometimes, while the other three were wedged in below;
scraping along a rock wall, bounding from rock to rock, with the
pleasant prospect, on the other side, of a launch from a jagged,
well-deep precipice, into eternity.

The crowning point to our terror, and to the grandeur of the scene, was
a fearfully inclined plane of solid rock, with a frowning bank on one
side, a gaping drop-off on the other, and a dark, heavy wall rising
square in front of us; against which, to all appearances, the mules must
dash their brains out, for neither bit nor brake was of the least avail
on this road. Just where the crash against the wall seemed inevitable,
there was a narrow curve, and the road ran on in spite of the seeming
impossibility. True to the saying, that there is but a step from the
sublime to the ridiculous, I fell to laughing here, so that Melville
turned in surprise to see whether fear and terror had robbed me of my
sober senses; but I had seen in passing, painted on that dreadful wall
of frowning rock, the cabalistic words and signs: "Old Cabin Bitters;
S---- T---- 1860 ---- X----;" and below this, "Brandreth's Vegetable
Pills."

These horrors past, there lay before us valleys, hills, crags--that
formed as picturesque a landscape as tourist's eye was ever gladdened
by. At the foot of tall, straight pines, crowning the heights and
covering the sloping hill-sides, was a carpet of short, soft grass, out
of which laughed the merriest flower-eyes, and over which nodded the
slenderest stalks, bearing blossoms that seemed exotic in their
intensely bright hues. The balm-laden breath of the wind told enticing
tales of the untrod velvet on the heights above, where the pine-trees
bent and swayed in the passing breeze. We had come upon this all so
unexpectedly that the lieutenant insisted on my mounting Toby to obtain
a better view of the whole country. My saddle was in the wagon
somewhere, and there was no time to hunt it up; but as I had seen Mrs.
Lane start off on the colonel's horse and saddle sometime before, I
clambered on Toby's back at once, into the lieutenant's saddle. By
crossing some little low hills, which the command had to march around, I
found myself pretty soon ahead of the train. Not aware that we were to
pass any place where human beings dwelt, I kept bravely on--feeling all
the more safe from seeing Captain Newbold's cow, with her guardian, just
in front of me. When I saw a rude kind of gateway a little later, I
could not resist the promptings of my curiosity, and quite forgot the
command, which approached just then with beating drums and flying
colors. Had I realized how near they were upon me, I think my native
modesty would have prompted me to let General Sykes, with his command,
pass in front of me; but seeing Captain Newbold's cow march through the
gate, and an avenue of Mexican and Indian faces, I followed the lead,
barely escaping the feet of the drummer-boys, who were close on my
heels.

It was the residence of an old pioneer--old Wooten--a pioneer in the
boldest sense of the word. In conversation with one of the officers,
when Kit Carson was mentioned, he spoke of him as being a comparative
stranger in these parts, having been in the country only some
twenty-five or thirty years.

If, in the eyes of the straggling Mexicans gathered around, it was an
honor to ride in front of the command--next after Captain Newbold's
cow--that honor, and the privilege of riding in the lieutenant's saddle,
was dearly paid for before night. Determined not to have the
drummer-boys so close behind me again, I turned aside from the road,
lured on by the magnificent fresh, soft grass before me. Toby seemed
strangely averse to crushing the grass, for he stepped very gingerly,
and made two or three attempts to turn back. Sky-gazing, I urged him on,
till a sudden plunge he made had nearly thrown me out of the slippery
saddle, and for the first time I saw that the fresh, treacherous green
had only covered an ugly quagmire, in which Toby was wildly plunging
about, getting in deeper at every fresh effort to raise himself. The
command had nearly passed; only Colonel Bankhead lingered behind,
picking the rare flowers for his wife--gallant man!--and my wild shouts
caused him to look around. It was a slow job to rescue me; and by the
time I was on dry soil, the colonel's clothing was very much the color
of Toby's legs just then, for the frightened horse would not move a
step, and Colonel Bankhead--I repeat my thanks to him now--had made his
way into the horrible bog at the risk of his life almost. After this I
could let Toby have the reins, and go anywhere--he never got mired
again. But I took to the carriage that day, and never mounted Toby again
till we reached Fort Union, some time later.

They were building very comfortable quarters at Fort Union when we got
in, but that did us no good. General Sykes had his camping-ground
assigned by General Carleton a mile or two outside the post; and our
place was with the Fifth Infantry, until our regiment should get in. Now
we used to strain our eyes looking for signs of "our regiment;" not that
we were not well enough off where we were, but we used to congregate at
the tent of some officer of the Third, and feel clannish, and speak of
the delight we should feel when "old Howe" got in with the regiment--all
out of sheer contrariness, I suppose.

One day Melville rushed wildly into the tent, and announced a great dust
arising in the distance. We all rushed out, and a perfect fever took
possession of the camp--cavalry and infantry, officers and men. Tables
and mess-chests were brought out and spread; bottles were uncorked, and
fruit-cans opened; dried-apple pie (a great luxury, I assure you) and
salt pickles, raw sliced onions and raspberry jelly, were joyfully
placed side by side.

Nearer rolled the dust--slowly--slowly; a snail might have moved faster,
I thought, than this regiment, famed once as the Rifles, and blessed
with the reputation of being very unlike a snail in general character.
Mrs. Melville needed no stimulant to do her best; affection and ambition
prompted her alike--she had served with the Third before, and was now
again of them--and she worked like a beaver to have the table well
spread for the expected guests. The slow, heavy tramp of the approaching
troops shook the earth like far-off thunder; but the dust was so thick
that it was hard to tell where the soldiers left off and the wagons
commenced, while the train moved. At last there came the sudden clanging
of trumpets, so shrill and discordant that I put my hands up to my ears,
and then the command halted near our camp.

Let no one dream of a band of gay cavaliers riding grandly into the
garrison on prancing steeds, and with flying banners! Alas, for romance
and poetry! Gaunt, ragged-looking men, on bony, rough-coated
horses--sun-burned, dust-covered, travel-worn, man and beast. Was there
nothing left of the old material of the dashing, death-daring Rifles?
Ah, well! These men had seen nothing for long weeks but the red,
sun-heated soil of the Red River country; had drank nothing but the
thick, blood-red water of the river; had eaten nothing but the one dry,
hard cracker, dealt out to them each day; for they had been led wrong by
the guide, had been lost, so that they reached Fort Union long after,
instead of long before, the Fifth Infantry.

Their camping-ground was assigned them quite a distance from the Fifth,
and we rode over the next day to visit the ladies who had come with the
command. The difference between the two camps struck me all the more
forcibly, I presume, because General Sykes was famed for the order and
precision he enforced; and when we rode up to his tent two days later,
to bid him good-bye (the officers of the Third having received orders to
join their regiment), I exclaimed, in tones of mild despair:

"Oh, general, can you not come with us, and take command of the Third?"

He shook his head solemnly, looking over to the cavalry camp.

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure, madame, than to accede to your
wishes; but really in this instance I must decline. _There are too many
unruly horses for me in that camp._"

I hope the general meant only what he said; I hope too the Third will
forgive me, when I say that an old soldier in the ranks, a German, once
told me in confidence that every member of that regiment could pass
muster for the Wild Huntsman, so well known in the annals of terror in
German fable-history.


II.

It was a novel court-martial, whose last sitting was held at the dead of
night, between Fort Union and Los Vegas, in New Mexico. Let no one think
that a love of the romantic induced the general commanding to order this
assembling at the "witching hour, when church-yards yawn," but dire
necessity--"the exigencies of the service," as they have it. General
Sykes, who was president of the court, was under orders to take up the
line of march with his infantry, on the day following, for Fort Sumner,
while Colonel Howe, with five companies of cavalry, was to proceed to
Fort Craig; and as General Carleton understood no joking in regard to
orders once issued, and as the board had not been able to finish up the
business brought before it while convened at Fort Union, this midnight
session was agreed upon--the command to separate and march in opposite
directions, as soon as the court adjourned.

Of the prisoners at the bar, the lieutenant was one, though I have
forgotten for what heinous crime arraigned; doubtless the charges
against him and the other unfortunate wights were very grave and serious
in the eyes of their superior officers, though trivial they might be in
the estimation of civilians. Just as the gray dawn crept up the horizon,
the lieutenant entered the tent, where I was waiting, fully dressed for
the march, knowing that the tents would be struck as soon as the court
was over.

Slowly the long train arranged itself, and lumberingly it wound its way
out of the camp, entered only at a late hour the evening before. The
blast of the bugle seemed fairly to cut the crisp morning air, and the
horses neighed and stamped, while here and there a mule couple--part of
the six attached to each wagon--would begin frisking and jumping, till
called to order by the blacksnake of the irritable driver. As the
lieutenant was under arrest, he was relieved from duty; and as this
state of things was likely to continue until the proceedings and
findings of the court had been sent to Washington and returned, we set
out with the intention of enjoying the journey as well as was possible
under the circumstances. We were expected to march with the command, but
in the rear of the cavalry, and preceding the army-wagons. The dust,
however, was anything but pleasant here, and as, altogether, Uncle Sam
holds the lines of government somewhat slacker in these frontier
countries, the lieutenant was allowed to take his carriage, the orderly,
and the wagon containing our tent and camp furniture, to the end of the
entire train. In this way we could make a halt, or an excursion into the
neighboring country, whenever we felt inclined, and could catch up again
with the command by the time it went into camp--where I was an object of
envy to the other ladies, whose husbands were not under arrest.

Toward noon we reached Los Vegas, the first Mexican town I had
seen--Fort Union being but the entrance to New Mexico. The country
around Los Vegas is flat and uninteresting, but by no means barren,
though only a small portion of it is cultivated. A little stream, the
Gallinas, runs by the place, emptying later into the Rio Pecos; but the
Mexicans are not content with this water-course alone--they have dug
irrigating canals, which look again like little streams where grass and
wild flowers have sprung up on the banks. It is the only branch of art
or industry cultivated anywhere in New Mexico--this digging of
irrigating ditches--and in it the Mexicans surely excel. Wherever we see
a patch of green, we may be certain of finding canals on at least two
sides of it; and they can lead the water where a Yankee, with all his
ingenuity, would despair of bringing it.

The houses of Los Vegas, though looking very much so to me then, are not
so hopelessly Mexican as those I found later along the Rio Grande and
farther in the interior. The houses were one story high, the roofs of
mud, of which material were also mantle-shelves, window-sills, walls and
floors. But the little enclosed fire-places, with overarching mantle,
were smooth and white, as were the walls; and the more pretentious
houses, and where Americans lived, were set with glass. In the houses of
the Mexicans I noticed that a width of red or yellow calico was tacked
smoothly up around the wall, at a distance of three or four feet from
the ground. The use of this drapery is just as incomprehensible to me
as what benefit the trunks derive from being placed on two chairs, while
the members of the family and visitors are requested to be seated on the
floor. But then it is not every New Mexican family that can boast of
having a trunk; and those who have one, and no chairs, build a kind of
platform or pedestal for it to rest on.

The troops, while we were sight-seeing in Los Vegas, were not allowed to
halt at all, but marched on toward Puertocito, where camp was made. At
Fort Union a new driver had been assigned to our baggage-wagon--a little
monkey-faced old man, Manuel--who had addressed me in Spanish, early
that morning, praying that we should allow him to stop at Los Vegas,
where his wife and his "pretty little girls" were living. I understood
no Spanish, but his eyes looked so beseechingly when his request was
made known to me, that I was glad to tell him we should stop there. The
man was to go with us to the end of our journey, and it might be a long
time till he could see his people again.

When the lieutenant sent the orderly for Manuel, with directions to move
on and overtake the command, I saw the old man tumbling out of a little
low house near by, his faithful wife and "pretty little girls" tumbling
out after him--half a dozen of the scrawniest, most apish-looking
specimens I ever saw of Spanish or Mexican people. For miles the "pretty
little girls" followed the father and the army-wagon, and wherever we
passed a house on the road, one or more women would come to the
door--large-eyed and sweet-voiced--wishing good-day and good-journey to
old Manuel. As far as my Spanish goes, _Puertocito_ signifies little
gate, or entrance. It should be Grand Gate, so majestically do rocks and
boulders arise from out of green meadows and tree-covered hillocks.

Large flocks of sheep are herded here, and the whole is said to belong
to a Spanish widow lady, living either in Mexico or Spain. In the course
of my travels through the country, I met with accounts of this or some
other widow, owning fabulous stretches of land, mines, and treasures, so
often that I came to regard this widow-institution as a myth or a
humbug; but the people living here were always very earnest in their
assurances to the contrary. However this might be, it was a beautiful,
romantic spot, such as we came upon time and again in this strange
country. Well do I remember the succession of little narrow valleys on
the route between Fort Union and Santa Fé; the hard, smooth road, the
tall gramma-grass on each side of it, and the shapely-grown evergreens
bordering the lawn-like fields, till lines of taller trees, coming up
close to the road, seemed to divide off one little valley from the
other. Yet never a house did we see the whole of that day, though the
garden for many a one seemed ready planted by kind mother Nature's
hands. The land was but a desert, in spite of the waving grass and the
dark green trees. There was no water to be found for long, long weary
miles.

Before we had been long on our journey, an unfortunate circumstance
brought us to doubt the honesty of poor old Manuel so seriously that it
had almost resulted disastrously to him. We had made camp not far from
San Jose, a place consisting of two and a half houses, on the Pecos
river. We were to cross the river here; and in the morning, when the
tents were being struck, and we were already seated in the carriage,
waiting for the mules to be harnessed to it, these same mules were
reported missing. The command moved on, of course, leaving our
baggage-wagon, our cook, our orderly, and ourselves, behind; the old
colonel chuckling to himself that as we were in the habit of looking out
for ourselves, we might do so on this occasion too.

The mules were unharnessed from the wagon at once, Charley mounted on
one, Pinkan on the other, Manuel on the third, and the lieutenant on the
fourth, all starting off in different directions to search for the
truants, while I was left in charge of the other two mules and the rest
of our effects. A long time passed before any of them returned; and when
Charley came back, soon after the lieutenant, he said he had heard from
a Dutchman in San Jose that two mules answering the description had been
seen driven by a Mexican, just at daybreak, over the bridge near the
town; and the supposition now was that Manuel had sold them to some of
his countrymen, always going in gangs through the Territory. Manuel soon
came in, without the mules. When the lieutenant told him of his
suspicions his face fell; and when the vague threat of summary justice
to be executed was added, his shrivelled, monkeyish face grew livid, and
he turned to me trembling, and begging, for the sake of his "pretty
little girls," that I should intercede, and assure the lieutenant that
indeed, _indeed_, he hadn't stolen the mules. I felt sorry for the old
man; but just when things looked darkest for him, Pinkan was seen in the
distance driving up the runaways.

The reaction of the fright experienced by old Manuel had the effect of
making him drunk when we got to San Jose (perhaps the _aguardiente_
imbibed at the house of his _compadre_ had something to do with it,
too); and just as I was making my first trial of _chile-con-carne_ in
the low room of the Mexican inn, he came and spread before me, beside
the fiery dish which had already drawn tears from my eyes, papers
certifying that he had rendered good services as teamster in the Mexican
war, under General Zack Taylor, and could be trusted by Americans. If it
was laughable to see the air of pride with which he struck his breast,
declaring in Spanish that he was "a much honorable and brave man," there
was yet a touch of true dignity in the low bow he made while thanking me
for having called him an honest man, while the rest had taken him for a
horse-thief, a _ladrone_ and _picaro_.

We easily caught up with the command at night, and laid our plans while
in camp for the next few days to come. The troops were not to pass
through Santa Fé, and, though we could have made the detour without the
colonel's knowledge, it was not safe to run into the very jaws of
danger, as General Carleton's headquarters were at Fort Marcy, and he
had probably returned to Santa Fé from Fort Union long before this time,
travelling with only an escort and the best mules in the department. We
had letters to Doctor Steck, "running" a gold-mine about thirty miles
from Santa Fé; and as the command passed near by, we started off into
the mountains where the mine lay. Wild and rugged as the scenery was, it
was not so dreary as I had always fancied every part of the Territory
must be. In some places it seemed as if man had done a great deal to
make the face of nature hideous. Great unseemly holes were dug here,
there, and everywhere--the red, staring earth thrown up, and then left
in disgust at not finding the treasures looked for. The company of which
Doctor Steck was superintendent seemed to have found the treasures,
however, for in their mill half a dozen stamps were viciously crushing
and crunching the rock brought down from the mountains above on
mule-back.

The doctor is a Pennsylvanian, and he tried to have his ranch look as
much as possible like a Pennsylvania homestead. There were necessarily
slight deviations, more particularly in the furniture of the
dwelling-house, which here consisted mainly of double-barrelled
shot-guns and repeating rifles. These were merely a set-off, I presume,
to the chunks of gold he showed us (the size of a fist), each being a
week's "cleanup." There was quicksilver used in gaining the gold (what I
know about gaining gold is very little), and the doctor turned a stream
of water on the plates under the crushers, and then scraped up the gold
for me to look at.

I did not learn till months later--though I readily believed it--that
this man could travel alone and unarmed through the midst of the Apache
country; and did he ever miss his road or want assistance, he had but to
make a signal of distress, when the savages would fly to him from their
lurking-places, shelter him, and guide him safely back to his white
brethren. This I learned first from an old Mexican guide at our camp,
who said that the Indians stood in awe of him as a great medicine-man,
and loved him for his uniform kindness to them.

Santa Fé Mountain behind us, there were no more hills save the
sand-hills, that seem shifting and changing from day to day, so that
very often in the neighborhood of the Rio Grande, the river itself is
followed as a landmark, the land being more unreliable than the water.
The big sand-hill opposite Albuquerque, however, seems to be stationary;
people who had been here twenty years before remembered the location.

There is something singular about these Mexican towns or cities. You
hear them spoken of as important places, where the law-givers and the
dignitaries of the American _régime_ reside, and where renowned families
of the Spanish period had their homes; where large commercial interests
lie, and where things flourish generally. When you approach them, a
collection of what seem only mud hovels lie scattered before you. You
look for order and regularity of streets, and you find yourself running
up against square mud-piles at every other step; you look for doors and
windows in these structures, and find a narrow opening, reaching to the
ground, on one side, and high up in the wall a little square hole
without glass or shutter. This is the first impression. But you are
compelled to remain at such a place; and as the eye grows to shrink less
from the sight of the hard clay and cheerless sand, you discover the
tips of the pomegranate tree peering curiously over the high mud wall
enclosing a neat _adobe_ with well-cultivated garden. In astonishment
you press your face to the railing of the rude gate, and directly the
soft voice of a dark-faced woman calls to you from within: "Enter,
_señora_; you are welcome!"

When you leave the garden, where peaches, grapes, and pomegranates have
been showered on you, together with assurances of the kindest feelings
on the part of your hostess, the whole place somehow looks different.
There are streets and lanes which you did not notice before, where the
broad, double doors of the houses stand hospitably open, and the large
square windows, if not provided with sash and glass, are latticed in
fanciful designs, as we see them in old Spanish and Italian paintings.
And there is such a dreamy languor in the air; such a soft tint in the
blue of the heavens; such a wooing, balmy breeze, that seems to float
down from the mountain yonder. There is no necessity for keeping one's
eyes fixed on the sand-hill that hid Albuquerque from us at first. Look
over again to the mountain. Could artist with brush and pencil create
anything more perfect than the gentle rise away off there, over which
houses and vineyards are scattered, and which climbs up steeper and
higher, till the faintest shadow of a passing cloud seems resting on the
blue-green peak? And winding its way slowly from the foot of the
mountain, comes a train of black-eyed, barefooted Pueblo Indian women,
bearing on their heads home-made baskets filled to overflowing with
well-displayed fruit--melons, peaches, grapes--in such perfection, and
with such rich, ripe coloring, as are seldom found away from Mexico.

Of historical interest, too, there is much in Albuquerque. The daughter
of a Spanish lady belonging to the old family of the Bacas, was married
to an officer in our army, and with her I visited the house of General
Armijo. The younger daughters alone received us, the older married
sister being sick or absent. The house was furnished with elegant
material--the heavy Brussels carpet spread out on the mud floor,
flowers and figures running up and down, just as the carpet had been cut
off at the length of the room, and then rolled back again and cut off at
the other end. The breadths were laid side by side, but not a stitch had
been taken to hold them together. Cushioned chairs were ranged along the
walls of the room, the line broken only where marble-top tables,
what-nots, and a Chickering piano were introduced among them--all set
against the wall without symmetry or taste. On the walls hung pictures,
in embroidery, water-colors, and oil, executed by the young ladies while
in a convent school; but in vain I looked for a picture of General
Armijo among them. It was here at Albuquerque that I saw for the first
time--and alas! the last--Kit Carson, and the less renowned but equally
brave Colonel Pfeiffer.

Beyond Albuquerque the road lies again over the sand-hills and through
the valleys of the Rio Grande; and we lost our way among the hills one
day, when the command had passed but a short distance in advance of us.
For hours we toiled through the shifting sand, hoping that each mound we
climbed might bring the marching column to our view. Fortunately,
Manuel, with the wagon, had fallen in line with the train that morning,
and only Pinkan, riding the lieutenant's horse and leading mine, was
with us. The lieutenant was driving, and I could see from the way his
eyes wandered over the interminable range of low sand-hills that he was
completely bewildered. All at once we came on a house, which, from a
distance, we had taken to be another sand-pile; and the Mexicans living
here, after treating us to the best their house afforded--eggs, and the
sweet, unsalted goat-milk cheese--piloted us to Los Pinos, where we were
to camp for the night. Here the command crossed the Rio Grande--forded
it, bag and baggage--and the next day remained in camp below Peralta,
where the tents were pitched in a delightful grove of cottonwood trees.

It has been said that a Mexican is born with a lasso in his hand. The
feat old Manuel performed with his was quite new to me. Wood was so
scarce that not the smallest bit of a dry limb or broken twig could be
found under the trees. The lower branches having been lopped off, and
the soldiers forbidden to cut down any trees, our old Mexican at once
went to work with his rope, throwing it so dexterously over the brittle
limbs that a snap and a crash followed every excursion of the rope.

We made a flying trip to Peralta the next morning, while the command was
marching in the opposite direction. The place, with its pretty church
and scattered houses, surrounded by walled-in gardens, made quite a
pleasing impression. Then we turned back and joined the command.

The road now was one continuous level, with hills, uniformly bare and
brown, in the distance. Bare and brown as they look, thousands of goats
are herded on them, and, to judge from the milk and cheese we got on the
road, find pretty good picking till such time as "Lo! the poor Indians"
think proper to drive off the herds for their own use, when they are in
most cases generous enough to leave the herders behind--dead. And the
sun, smiling down so placidly on the river and the little towns lying
near its banks, seems never to heed the death-cry of the helpless _peon_
or the lonely wayfarer laid low in the dust by the prowling savage, but
goes on lighting up the cloudless sky-dome, and bringing into strong
relief the different features of scenery, life, and customs, that make a
journey through New Mexico resemble a sojourn in the Holy Land. Through
all those towns along the Rio Grande do we see the daughters of the
land, barefooted, their faces half hidden by the oriental-looking
_rebozo_, the earthen _olla_ poised gracefully on the head, going at
eventide to the well for water. Belen, Sabinal, Polvedaro--here are the
low-built houses, the flat roofs, the gray-green olive here and there;
even the wheaten cake, the _tortilla_, is set before the stranger when
he comes. Then this dead, dead silence! The barking of the dogs as we
come through the villages, the drawling sing-song of the children,
calling to each other at the unusual spectacle we present, seem hardly
to break the slumber of the mid-day air.

So wearying as the one color--clay--grows to the eye! the ground, the
houses, the fence-walls, the bake-ovens, all, all the same color. Even
where there are gardens, with the enclosing wall seems to terminate
vegetation; never a vagabond grass-blade or a straggling vine can find
its way outside. Bake-ovens are an institution and a marked feature in
the landscape; every house has one, and as they are built with a
dome-like top, they are more pleasing to the eye than the houses, and
very often nearly as large. I remember seeing one day a dog and a little
naked child (clothing is considered superfluous on children) mount from
the mud fence to the top of the bake-oven, and from there to the house
roof, with no more difficulty than we would experience in going up a
flight of easy stairs. The bread that the Mexicans bake in these ovens
is the sweetest and whitest that can be found.

Then came Socarro, where most of the officers spent the day, while the
command went into camp some miles below. An English family kept a very
pleasant house there, whose good cheer the old colonel had not forgotten
from long ago. The garden back of the neatly-built house I thought one
of the loveliest spots on earth; not from the fact alone that it
contained flowers and some few tall trees, but from the view it afforded
of the far-off mountain--probably of the Sierra Maddalena chain, but
called Socarro Mountain here. There was the same dreamy haze that hung
over the mountain near Albuquerque, and the same bluish-green tint that
made it appear wooded to the top. A hot spring takes its rise in the
mountain somewhere, and the tiny stream at my feet seemed hardly cold
yet, though its waters had travelled many miles from its source.

Fort Craig, though an important military post, is not celebrated for the
beauties or grandeur of the country surrounding. We crossed the Rio
Grande here again--two companies only, the colonel, with the other
three, having been assigned to Fort Craig. Toward the Jornada del Muerto
we journeyed, making camp before entering the desert at Parajo, the Fra
Cristobal of the Texan Santa Fé prisoners who were driven through here
in 1842, on their long, weary journey to the city of Mexico. They had
been captured, or rather tricked into a surrender, near Anton Chico,
and, from Albuquerque down, I traced them all along the Rio Grande. They
had been marched on the opposite side of the river, taking in their way
Sandia, Valencia, Tome, Casa Colorada, and La Joya, crossing the river
at Socarro, and recrossing probably near where Fort Craig now stands.

Such heart-rending tales as were told us of the sufferings and the
diabolical treatment of these helpless men--mere youths, some of them,
the sight of whom brought out all the native tenderness, the true
charity there is in the heart of every Mexican woman! As in Albuquerque,
the shadow of Governor Armijo--tall and stately, though with something
of a braggart in his carriage, and the glare of a hyena in his eye--was
ever rising before me, so in this wretched place did I seem always to
hear the gentle, pitying "_Pobrecitos!_" of the kind-hearted women, who
brought the last bit of _tornale_, the last scrap of _tortilla_ that
their miserable homes afforded, to these men who were so soon to be
driven like cattle, and shot down like dogs, when their bleeding feet
refused to carry them further on their thorny path. Had the horrible
stretch of ninety-five miles of desert-land now before us not been
christened "Dead Man's Journey" before these unfortunates passed over
it, the baptism of the blood of those wantonly slaughtered there would
have fastened on it that name forever.

Two companies of United States cavalry are not hastily attacked by ye
noble red man, and we slept peacefully on the Jornada--though close to
our tent, the first night, were two graves, dug for their murdered
comrades years ago by some of the men now in the company.

A number of wagons had been loaded with water-casks, filled before
entering the Jornada, so that we did not suffer; yet we were all glad
when, on the third day, Fort Seldon was reached. After a rest of two
days, we once more crossed the river, on a ferry-boat moved with a rope,
leaving the other company at Fort Seldon, and proceeding alone, with the
last company, to the farthest out-post of the department. At this place
we disposed of our carriage to the post surgeon, as we were told that
among the mountains in the vicinity of Pinos Altos we should have no use
for it, while the officers of this garrison could make excursions to
Donna Ana, Los Cruces, and even La Messilla, over the level and rather
pleasant country.

The first day out, a heavy rain-storm came on, and I was glad enough to
leave the saddle and seek shelter in the linen-covered army-wagon, where
Manuel arranged quite a comfortable bed for me--seat it could not be
called. And here let me say that, with bedding and blankets, spread over
boxes and bundles underneath, there is more comfort to be found in one
of these big wagons, where you can recline at full length, than in the
most elegant travelling-carriage, where you have always to maintain the
same position.

The stretch between Fort Seldon and Fort Cummings proved harder for us
than the Jornada del Muerto. It was reported that large bands of Indians
were hovering round us, and we could make no fires to cook by, but were
hurried on as fast as possible. Many of the horses gave out and had to
be shot; and my poor Toby was sometimes so tired from carrying me over
the rough country, and up and down the rocky hills, that more then once
he stopped and nibbled at my stirrup-foot--asking me in this peculiar
language to dismount.

The soldiers were better off than we were, for they had their rations of
hard-tack and salt bacon, which needed no cooking; while the dressed
chickens and tender-steaks we had providently brought from Fort Seldon
with us, uncooked, were going to decay in the provision-box, and we
might have gone hungry had not the men divided with us. No one can think
how sweet a bit of bacon tastes with a piece of hard-tack, when offered
by a soldier whose eyes are shining with honest delight at being able to
repay some trifling kindness shown him on the march.

The rock-strewn mountains of Cook's cañon frowned darkly on us as we
made our way into Fort Cummings. The sable garrison, it is said, never
ventured beyond the high mud walls with less than twenty-five in the
party, were it only to bring a load of wood from the nearest grove of
scanty timber.

At no post, I am fain to confess, have I seen a larger number of
mementos of Indian hostility than at this fort. And the negroes had all
the more cause to dread attacks from the Indians, as they had been
accosted the first time they went out--a fatigue-party, to cut wood--by
an Indian chief, who told them that he was their brother, and that it
was their duty to come and join his band against their common enemy, the
white man. The black braves refused, returning to the post without their
load of wood; and since that time no fatigue-party ever returned that
did not bring back at least one of their number dead or wounded.

The last thing we did before leaving this post was to stop at the large
basin of water, Cook's Spring, there to drink, and let the animals
drink, a last draught of the pure, clear flood. How many a heart had
this spring gladdened, when its sight broke on the longing eyes of the
emigrant, before human habitations were ever to be found here! Just at
the foot of the rough, endless mountain, the men who had come under
protection of our train from Fort Cummings pointed out where the two
mail-riders coming from Camp Bayard--our destination--had been ambushed
and killed by the Indians only the week before. I had heard of these two
men while at the Fort, one of whom, a young man hardly twenty, seemed to
have an unusually large number of friends among men of all classes and
grades. When smoking his farewell pipe before mounting his mule for the
trip to Camp Bayard, he said: "Boys, this is my last trip. Mother writes
that she is getting old and feeble; she wants me to come home; so I've
thrown up my contract with Uncle Sam, and I'm going back to Booneville
just as straight as God will let me, when I get back from Bayard. It's
hard work and small pay, anyhow--sixty dollars a month, and your scalp
at the mercy of the red devils every time you come out." The letter was
found in the boy's pocket when the mutilated body was brought in.

It was no idle fancy when I thought I could see the ground torn up in
one place as from the sudden striking out of horses' hoofs. One of the
men confirmed the idea that it was not far from the place where the body
had been found. The mule had probably taken the first fright just there,
where the rider had evidently received the first arrow, aimed with such
deadly skill that he fell in less than two minutes after it struck him.

This gloomy spot passed, the country opened far and wide before us;
level and rather monotonous, but with nothing of the parched, sterile
appearance that makes New Mexico so dreaded by most people. Trees were
few and far between; but later, where the Mimbres river rolls its placid
waters by, there are willows, and ash even, as I have heard people
affirm. But I must not forget the hot spring we camped by for an hour
or two, the _Aqua Caliente_ of the Mexicans. A square pond, to approach
which you must clamber up a natural mud wall some two feet high, lay
bubbling and steaming near the shade of some half dozen wide-spreading
trees. That corner of the pond where the water boils out of the earth
had once been tapped, apparently, and the water led to the primitive
bath-tubs, made by digging down into the hard, clayey ground. A
dismantled building showed that the place had at some time been
permanently occupied, which was said to be the case by the Mexican
family living under one of the trees, and who were sojourning here for
the purpose of having life restored to the paralyzed limbs of one of the
children. The people who had lived here were driven off by Indians, but
I have heard since that the place had been rebuilt.

The second day after leaving Fort Cummings we came in sight of a lovely
valley, enclosed on all sides by low wooded hills, with bold,
picturesque mountains rising to the sky beyond. A clear brook--so clear
that it was rightly baptized Minne-ha-ha--gambolled and leaped and
flashed among the green trees and the white tents they overhung; and in
their midst a flag-staff, at whose head the stars and stripes were
flying, told me that we had reached our journey's end.



_TO TEXAS, AND BY THE WAY._


I had not seen New Orleans since I was eight years of age, and to Texas
I had never been; so I was well pleased with the prospect of visiting
the southern country. To one coming direct from California, overland by
rail, it seems like entering a different world--a world that has been
lying asleep for half a century--when the great "pan-handle" route is
left to one side, and Louisville once passed. Though we know that the
country was not asleep--only held in fetters by the hideous nightmare,
Civil War--I doubt if the general condition of things would have been in
a more advanced state of prosperity if the old order of affairs had
remained unchanged, as the march of improvement seems naturally to lag
in these languid, dreamy-looking southern lands.

The line between the North and the South seems very sharply drawn in
more respects than one. We were scarcely well out of Louisville before
delays and stoppages commenced; and though the country was pleasant
enough to look at in the bright, fall days, it was not necessary to stop
from noon till nightfall in one place, to fully enjoy the pleasure.
Another drawback to this pleasure was the reliance we had placed on the
statement of the railroad agent, who told us it was quite unnecessary to
carry a lunch-basket "on this route." Since we had found a lunch-basket,
if not really cumbersome, at least not at all indispensable, from
Sacramento to Omaha, we saw no reason why we should drag it with us
through a civilized country, and consequently suffered the penalty of
believing what a railroad ticket-agent said. In another section of the
same sleeping-car with us was a party who had been wiser than we, and
had brought loads of provisions with them. No wonder: they were
Southerners, and had learned not to depend on the infallibility of their
peculiar institutions.

The head of the party was a little lady of twenty-five or thirty years,
with pale, colorless face, and perfectly bloodless lips. I should have
gone into all sorts of wild speculations about her--should have fancied
how a sudden, dread fright had chased all the rosy tints from her lips
back to her heart, during some terrible incident of the war; or how the
news, too rashly told, of some near, dear friend stricken down by the
fatal bullet, had curdled the red blood in her veins, and turned it to
ice before it reached her cheeks--had she not been so vigorous and
incessant a scold. Now it was the French waiting-maid to whom she
administered a long, bitter string of cutting rebukes, while the
unfortunate girl was lacing up my lady's boots; next it was her younger
sister--whom she was evidently bringing home from school--whose lips she
made to quiver with her sharp words; and then, for a change, the mulatto
servant was summoned, by the well-scolded waiting-maid, to receive his
portion of the sweets meted out. An ugly thing she was, and so different
from the Southern lady I had met in the hotel at Louisville--one of the
most beautiful women I have ever seen--whose grace nothing could exceed
as she handed me a basket of fruit across the table, when one glance had
told her that I was a stranger and tired out with the heat and travel.

But, in spite of what I have said, I must confess that I accepted the
sandwiches the little scold sent us, for the supper-station was not
reached till eleven o'clock at night. As the conductor promised us
another good, long rest here, the gentlemen left the ladies in the cars,
and returned after some time, followed by a number of negroes, who
carried a variety of provisions and divers cups of coffee. I thought,
of course, that it was luncheon brought from some house established at
the station for that purpose; but was told that the chicken the mulatto
boy was spreading before us had been abstracted from his massa's
hen-yard, and that the eggs the old negro was selling us had not by any
means grown in his garden. Only the coffee, which was sold at
twenty-five cents a cup, was a legitimate speculation on the part of
some white man (I am sure his forefathers were from the State of Maine),
who went shares with the negro peddling it, and charged him a dollar for
every cup that was broken or carried off on the cars, which accounted
for the sable Argus' reluctance to leave our party till we had all
swallowed the black decoction and returned the cups.

We were to take dinner at Holly Springs, some time next day; and it
_was_ "some time" before we got there, sure enough. We had picked up an
early breakfast somewhere on the road, and when the dinner-bell rang at
the hotel as the cars stopped, we did not lose much time in making our
way to the dining-room. The door, however, was locked, and we stood
before it like a drove of sheep, some hundred or two people. Through the
window we could see mine host, in shirt-sleeves and with dirty, matted
beard, leisurely surveying the crowd outside; in the yard, and on the
porch near us, stood some barefooted negroes, with dish-cloth and napkin
in hand, staring with all their might at train and passengers, as though
they were lost in speechless wonder that they should really have come.
In the party with us was a Californian, some six feet high, who, though
a Southerner by birth, had lived too long in California to submit
patiently to the delay and inconvenience caused by the "shiftlessness"
of the people hereabouts.

"Now, you lazy lopers," he called to the darkies, swinging the huge
white-oak stick he carried for a cane, "get inside to your work. And if
that door ain't opened in five seconds from now, I'll break it down with
my stick."

He drew his watch; and, either because of his determined voice, or his
towering figure, the darkies flew into the kitchen, and the landlord
sprang to open the door, while the crowd gave a hearty cheer for the big
Californian.

New Orleans seemed familiar to me; I thought I could remember whole
streets there that I had passed through, as a little child, clinging to
the hand of my father--himself an emigrant, and looking on all the
strange things around him with as much wonder as the two little girls he
was leading through the town. How it came back to me! the slave-market,
and the bright-faced mulatto girl, hardly bigger than myself, who so
begged of my father to buy her and take her home with him, so that she
could play with and wait on us. There was nothing shocking to me, I
regret to say, in seeing this laughing, chattering lot of black humanity
exposed for sale, though my good father doubtlessly turned away with a
groan, when he reflected on what he had left behind him, in the old
fatherland, to come to a country where there were liberty and equal
rights for all. I can fancy now what he must have felt when he spoke to
the little woolly-head, in his sharp, accentuated dialect, which his
admirers called "perfect English," as he passed his hand over her cheek
and looked into her face with his great, kind eyes. He said he had
brought his children to a free country, where they could learn to work
for themselves, and carve out their own fortunes; and where they must
learn to govern themselves, and not govern others.

Day after day, on foot or in carriage, we rambled through the streets,
and I never addressed a single question to the driver or any of the
party, satisfied with what information accidentally fell on my
half-closed ear. I was living over again one of the dreams of my early
days: the dream I had dreamed over again so often, among the snows of
the biting, cold Missouri winter, and on the hot, dusty plains of
Arizona, amid the curses of those famishing with thirst and the groans
of the strong men dying from the fierce stroke of the unrelenting sun.
Passing through the parks and by the marketplaces, I saw again the negro
women, with yellow turbans and white aprons, offering for sale all the
tempting tropical fruits which foreigners so crave, and still dread. And
I thought I saw again the white, untutored hands of my father, as he
laboriously prepared seats for us in the deepest shade of the park, and
dealt out to us the coveted orange and banana. The cool, delicious
fruit, and the picture of flowers and trees in the park; the black,
kindly faces of the negro servants, and the laughing, white-clad
children at play--how often I had seen them again in my dreams on the
desert!

Canal street looked lonely and deserted, as did the stores and shops
lining either side of the broad, aristocratic street. The material for a
gay, fashionable promenade was all there; only the people were wanting
to make it such. True, there were groups occasionally to be seen at the
counters of the shops, but in most such cases a black, shining face
protruded from under the jaunty little bonnet, perched on a mass of
wool, augmented and enlarged by additional sheep's-wool, dyed black. One
of these groups dispersed suddenly one day, vacating the store with all
the signs of the highest, strongest indignation. The tactless
storekeeper, who had not yet quite comprehended the importance and
standing of these useful members of society, had unwittingly offended an
ancient, black dame. She had asked to see some silks, and the shopkeeper
had very innocently remarked, "Here, aunty, is something very nice for
you."

"I wish to deform you, sir," replied Aunt Ebony, bridling, "that my name
is Miss Johnson." With this she seized her parasol and marched out of
the store, followed by her whole retinue, rustling their silks, in
highest dudgeon.

On my way to the ferry, when leaving New Orleans for Texas, I saw
something that roused all the "Southern" feeling in me. Two colored
policemen were bullying a white drayman, near the Custom-house. I must
confess I wanted to jump out, shake them well, take their clubs from
them, and throw them into the Mississippi (the clubs, I mean, not the
precious "niggers"). What my father would have said, could he have seen
it, I don't know; the grass had long grown over his grave, and covered
with pitying mantle the scars that disappointments and a hopeless
struggle to accomplish purposes, aimed all too high, leave on every
heart.

As the cars carried us away from the city, and gave us glimpses of the
calm water, and the villas, and orange-groves beyond, there came to me,
once more,


     "The tender grace of a day that is dead."


It was just a soft, balmy day as this, years ago, when we lay all day
long in a bayou, where the water was smooth and clear as a mirror, and
the rich grass came down to the water's edge; and through the grove of
orange and magnolia, the golden sunlight sifted down on the white walls
and slender pillars of the planter's cottage. Stalwart negroes sang
their plaintive melodies as they leisurely pursued their occupation, and
birds, brighter in plumage than our cold, German fatherland could ever
show us, were hovering around the field and fluttering among the growing
cotton.

The graceful villa was still there, and the glassy waters still as
death; but the villa was deserted, and the rose running wild over
magnolia-tree and garden-path; the cotton-field lay waste, and the
negro's cabin was empty, while the shrill cry of the gay-feathered birds
alone broke the silence that had hopelessly settled on the plantation.
Farther on, I saw the cypress-forests and the swamps, and I fancied that
the trees had donned their gray-green shrouds of moss because of the
deep mourning that had come over the land. The numberless little bayous
we crossed were black as night, as though the towering trees and the
tangled greenwood, under which they crawled along, had filled them with
their bitter tears. But the sun shone so brightly overhead, that I shook
off my dark fancies, particularly when my eyes fell on the plump, white
neck and rounded cheeks of the lady in the seat before me. I had noticed
her at the hotel in New Orleans, where I recognized her at once as a
bride, though she had abstained, with singularly good taste, from
wearing any of the articles of dress outwardly marking the character. I
hoped, secretly, that I might become acquainted with her before the
journey ended, for there was something irresistibly charming to me in
her pleasant face and unaffected manner. My wish was soon gratified; for
the very first alligator that came lazily swimming along in the next
bayou so filled her with wonder, that she quickly turned in her seat and
called my attention to it. Soon came another alligator, and another; and
some distance below was a string of huge turtles, ranged, according to
size, on an old log. As something gave way about the engine at this
time, we could make comments on the turtle family at our leisure; and
when the cars moved on again, we felt as though we had known each other
for the last ten years.

I cannot think of a day's travel I have ever enjoyed better than the
ride from New Orleans to Brashear. The dry, dusty roads and withered
vegetation I had left behind me in California, made the trees and green
undergrowth look so much more pleasant to me. The ugly swamp was hidden
by the bright, often poisonous, flowers it produces; and though the
dilapidated houses and ragged people we saw were not a cheerful relief
to the landscape, it was not so gloomy as it would have been under a
lowering sky or on a barren plain.

A steamer of the Morgan line, comfortable and pleasant as ever a steamer
can be, carried us to Galveston--a place I had pictured to myself as
much larger and grander. But the hotel--though my room did happen to
look out on the county jail--was well kept; and some of the streets
looked like gardens, from the oleander-trees lining them on either side.
The trees were in full blossom, and they gave a very pleasant appearance
to the houses, in front of which they stood. Some few of these houses
looked like a piece of fairyland: nothing could have been built in
better taste, nothing could be kept in more perfect order. Too many of
them, however, showed the signs of decay and ruin, that speak to us with
the mute pathos of nerveless despair from almost every object in the
South. We planned a ride on the beach for the next day, which we all
enjoyed, in spite of the somewhat fresh breeze that sprung up. The bride
was anxious to gather up and carry home a lot of "relics"--a wish the
bridegroom endeavored to gratify by hunting up on the strand a dead
crab, a piece of ship-timber, and the wreck of a fisherman's net.
Discovering that the driver was a German, I held converse with him in
his native tongue, which had the pleasing effect of his bringing to
light, from under the sand, a lot of pretty shells, which the delighted
little bride carried home with her.

The following day we started for Houston. Eight o'clock had been
mentioned as the starting hour of the train for that locality, but the
landlord seemed to think we were hurrying unnecessarily when we entered
the carriage at half-past seven. There was no waiting-room at the
starting-point that I could see, and we entered the cars, which stood in
a very quiet part of the town (not that there was the least noise or
bustle in any part of it), and seemed to serve as sitting and
dining-rooms for passengers, who seemed to act generally as if they
expected to stay there for the day. But we left Galveston somewhere
toward noon, and since we were all good-natured people, and had become
pretty well accustomed to the speed of the Southern railroads, we
really, in a measure, enjoyed the trip. The people in the cars--many of
the women with calico sun-bonnets on their heads, and the men in coarse
butternut cloth--reminded me of the Texan emigrants one meets with in
New Mexico and Arizona, where they drag their "weary length" along
through the sandy plains with the same stolid patience the passengers
exhibited here, listlessly counting the heads of cattle that our train
picked up at the different stations on the road. The wide, green plains
looked pleasant enough, but I wanted to stop at the little badly-built
houses, and earnestly advise the inhabitants to plant trees on their
homesteads, as the best means of imparting to them the air of "home,"
which they were all so sadly lacking. The cattle roaming through the
country looked gaunt and comfortless--like the people and their
habitations.

Night crept on apace; and though I have forgotten (if I ever knew) what
the cause of delay happened to be, I know that we did not reach Houston
till some five or six hours later than the train was due. I was
agreeably surprised to find vehicles at the depot, waiting to carry
passengers to the different hotels. Our hotel-carriage was an old
omnibus, with every pane of glass broken out; and the opposition hotel
was represented by a calash, with the top torn off and the dashboard
left out. Still more agreeable was the surprise I met with in the hotel
itself--a large, handsome, well-furnished house, giving evidence in
every department of what it had been in former days. Before the war, the
step of the legislator had resounded in the lofty corridor, and the
planter and statesman had met in the wide halls, bringing with them
life, and wealth, and social enjoyment to the proud little city. Now,
alas! the corridors were cheerless in their desolation, and the grand
parlors looked down coldly on the few people gathered there. The
proprietor had years ago lived in California; and of this he seemed
unreasonably proud, as something that everybody could not accomplish.
His wife was a Southern woman, and had not yet learned to look with
equanimity upon the undeniable fact that her husband was keeping a
hotel. I am sure that she had no reason to deplore the loss of her
husband's wealth and slaves on that account; for both she and her
husband were people who would have been respected in any part of the
world, even if they had _not_ kept hotel.

In the midst of a hot, sultry day, a fierce norther sprang up, chilling
us to the bone, and causing us to change our original intention of
remaining here for some time. The bride, too, and her husband, were
willing to return to a more civilized country at an early day. Together
we went back, and were greeted at the hotel we had stopped in, and by
people on the steamer, as pleasantly as though we were in the habit of
passing that way at least once a month. At New Orleans we parted, the
new husband and wife returning to St. Louis, while I retraced my steps
to Louisville, _en route_ to New York.

In the cars I was soon attracted by the appearance of a lady and
gentleman--evidently brother and sister--accompanied by an elderly negro
woman. The gentleman seemed in great distress of mind, and the lady was
trying to speak comfort to his troubled spirits. The negro woman would
gaze longingly out of the window, shading her eyes with her hand, and
then stealthily draw her apron over her cheeks, as though the heat
annoyed her. But I knew she was crying, and the sobs she tried to
repress would sometimes almost choke the honest old negro. The train
went so slow--so slow; and the gentleman paced nervously up and down,
whenever the cars stopped on the way.

Great sorrow, like great joy, always seeks for sympathy; and in a short
time I knew the agony of the father, who was counting every second that
must pass before he could reach the bedside of his dying child. A
young, strong maiden, she had been sent by the widowed father to a
convent, in the neighborhood of Louisville, there to receive the
excellent training of the sisters of the school. Stricken down suddenly
with some disease, they had immediately informed the father by
telegraph; and he, with his sister, and Phrony, the old nurse of the
girl, had taken the next train that left New Orleans. Both he and his
father had been prominent secessionists, had been wellnigh ruined by the
war, and had hoarded what little they could save from the common wreck,
only for this daughter--and now she was dying. So slowly moved the
train! Hour after hour the brother paced up and down the narrow space in
the cars, while the sister poured into my ears the tale of his hopes and
fears, their wretchedness and their perseverance during the war, and
how, in all they had done and left undone, the best interests of Eugenia
had been consulted and considered. The negro woman had crouched down at
our feet, and was swaying back and forth with the slow motion of the
cars, giving vent to her long pent up grief, and sobbing in bitterness
of heart: "Oh, Miss Anne! Miss Anne! why didn't you let me go with my
chile?"

To make full the cup of misery, we were informed next morning that our
train would stop just where it was till six o'clock in the evening, when
some other train would come along and carry us on. I don't think that
the colonel (the father) did any swearing, but I fear that some of the
Californians who were of our party did more than their share. Going to
the nearest station, he telegraphed the cause of his delay to the
sisters of the convent, and then waited through the intolerably long
day. At nightfall the train moved on, slowly, slowly, creeping into
Louisville at last, in the dull, cold, dismal day. Snow-flakes were
falling in the gray atmosphere, settling for a moment on the ragged,
shivering trees, ere they fluttered, half dissolved, to the muddy
ground. The wind rose in angry gusts now and again, whirling about the
flakes, and trying to rend the murky clouds asunder, as though jealous
of the drizzling fog that attempted to take possession of the earth.

Breathlessly the colonel inquired for dispatches at the hotel. Yes; his
child still lived! A buggy was ready, awaiting them at the door, and the
brother and sister drove off, leaving Phrony to take possession of their
rooms. I can never forget the heart-broken look of Phrony when the buggy
vanished from sight.

"You see," said I, "there was no room in the buggy for you. If they had
waited to engage a carriage, they might have been too late."

"Yes, Miss," said Phrony, absently, and turned away.

Toward the close of the day, when already hooded and cloaked for the
onward journey, I was informed that Eugenia was dead: her father had
received but her parting breath. The dispatch was sent for the
information of those who had shown such sympathy for the grief-stricken
father. I stepped over to the colonel's rooms, where I knew Phrony was.
She was sitting on a little trunk by the fire, with her apron over her
head, and her body bent forward.

"Then you know it, Phrony?" I asked.

"Yes, yes; knowed it all along, Miss. Hadn't never no one to take care
of her but her old mammy! Oh, my chile! my chile! my little chile! And
she's done gone died, without her mammy! Oh, my chile! my chile!"

I tried to speak kindly to her, but my sobs choked me. I looked out of
the window, but there was no light there. The snow was falling to the
ground in dogged, sullen silence, and the wind, as though tired out with
long, useless resistance, only moaned fitfully at times, when clamoring
vainly for admission at the closed windows.

Was it not well with the soul just gone to rest? Was it not better with
her than with us--with me--who must still wander forth again, out into
the snow, and the cold, and the night?

"Oh, my chile! my chile!" sobbed the woman, so black of face, but true
of heart; "if I could only have died, and gone to heaven, and left you
with Massa Harry! Oh, Miss Anne! Miss Anne! what made you take my chile
away from me?"

"It is only for a little while that you will be parted from her,
Phrony," I said.

"Bress de Lord! Yes, I'll soon be with my little chile again. But she's
dead now, and I can't never see her no more. Oh, my chile! my chile!"

I closed the door softly, for I heard the warning cry of the coachman
who was to take us to the outgoing train.



_MY FIRST EXPERIENCE IN NEW MEXICO._


On a warm, pleasant afternoon in the latter part of August, 1866, our
command reached the post to which it had been assigned--Fort Bayard, New
Mexico. Our ambulance was driven to the top of a little hill, where I
had leisure to admire the singular beauty of the surrounding country,
while my husband was superintending the pitching of the tent.

The command to which we belonged was the first body of Regulars that had
been sent across the Plains since the close of the war. Fort Bayard had
been garrisoned by a company of colored troops, who were now under
marching orders, and our soldiers were to build the fort, which, as yet,
existed only in the general's active brain. The Pinos Altos gold mines
were only twelve miles distant from here, and all the other
mines--copper and gold--lying within a range of fifteen miles, had been
prosperously and profitably worked, by Mexicans and Americans; but after
the breaking out of the war, when the troops had been withdrawn from the
Territory, bands of roving, hostile Indians had visited one mine after
another, leaving in their wake mutilated corpses and blackened ruins.
The news of the soldiery coming to this rich mining country was drawing
miners and adventurers from far and near, and Pinos Altos promised to
become a mining district once more.

Looking around me, I saw a number of officers approaching from where the
One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Infantry was camped. They came to welcome
us to the camp, and I should have liked to receive them "in style;" but
all I could do was to smooth my hair with my hand. The tent was not yet
pitched, and I certainly should not leave the ambulance, for I had
observed hosts of centipedes crawling out from under the rocks that had
been removed to make room for the tent-poles. The officers grouped
themselves around the ambulance, and after congratulating us on our safe
arrival, wondered how I had ever found courage to come to this place.
"Did it not seem an age since I had parted with the last lady, at Fort
Selden?" and "How would I like living here--the only lady in this
wilderness--without quarters, without comforts of any kind?"

"Oh, I shall do nicely," I said. "I have not slept under a roof since
leaving Fort Leavenworth, five months ago, and all the comforts we are
in want of are commissaries; which of you, gentlemen, is quarter-master,
by the way? I should like to send to the commissary to-day, though it is
after issuing hours."

"Yes, certainly," said the quarter-master; "but our supply is limited
just now. What do you wish for?"

"Sugar, coffee, tea," I enumerated; "canned fruit, rice--"

"Stop! stop!" hurriedly exclaimed the quarter-master; "all in the world
we have in the commissary is soap, salt, and beans. We have taken our
coffee without sugar since the Apaches captured the last train, and we
rather hoped to get commissaries from your train."

Accustomed as I had become to live on "hard tack" and bacon
occasionally, when it was dangerous to light fires, on account of
"drawing" the Indians, this piece of information did not dampen my
spirits in the least; but at night, while the cook was preparing our
supper of coffee, bacon, and soda-biscuits, the orderly sergeant of the
company made his appearance at the entrance of our tent, and, after the
usual military salute, presented a large tin-pan filled with sugar, and
a bag with coffee. "The men," he said, "had requested that their
rations of coffee and sugar be delivered to the lieutenant's wife, till
the next train should bring fresh supplies." The men had styled me "the
mother of the company;" and this was only one of the many proofs of
good-will and devotion I was constantly receiving, in return for some
little trifling kindnesses I had shown one or the other, while crossing
the plains and deserts of Kansas and New Mexico. A little piece of
linen, to tie up a bruised finger; a cup of vinegar, a lump of white
sugar, to change the taste of the wretched drinking-water, to some poor
invalid, were held in sacred remembrance by these men; and some of them
had risked their lives, in turn, to procure for me a drink of fresh
water, when sick and faint, crossing Jornada del Muerto, that terrible
Journey of Death.

Our tent looked cozy enough, when finished and furnished. A piece of
brilliant red carpeting was spread on the ground; the bedding was laid
on planks, resting on trestles; the coverlet was a red blanket; the
camp-chairs were covered with bright cloth, and the supper--served on
the lid of the mess-chest--looked clean and inviting. The kitchen, just
back of the tent, was rather a primitive institution: a hole dug into
the ground, two feet long, a foot wide, with two flat, iron bars laid
over it, was all there was to be seen. Two or three mess-pans, a spider,
and a Dutch-oven constituted our kitchen furniture; and with these
limited means, an old soldier will accomplish wonders in the way of
cooking. Before enlisting, one of our servants had been a baker; the
other, a waiter at a hotel; and, between them, they managed the task of
waiting on us very creditably. To be sure, my husband's rank entitled
him to but one servant from the company; but then I was the only lady
with the command, and our company commander was considerate of my
comfort.

Reveille always comes early; but that first morning in Fort Bayard it
came _very_ early. The knowledge that we had reached "our haven of
rest," after a five months' journey, made me want to sleep. I wished to
feel sure that our tent was not to be struck directly after
breakfast--that the bed would not be rolled up and tumbled into the
army-wagon--that I should not have to creep into the ambulance, and
ride, ride, ride, all that day again. But we had agreed to visit the
great Santa Rita copper mines that day, in company with all the
officers; and Charley was rapping at the tent, to say that breakfast was
almost ready. We started directly after guard-mount: five officers, six
men--who had been detailed as escort--and myself. We were all well
mounted. My own horse, Toby--the swiftest and strongest of them all--was
snow-white, with delicate, slender limbs, and tall, even for a cavalry
horse. The camp was located in a valley, some four miles square; gently
rising hills inclosed it on every side; beyond these, on one side, rose
the San José Mountains, and, in an almost opposite direction, the Pinos
Altos Range. All these hills and mountains were said to contain metal;
copper and gold, and even cinnabar, could be found. And we were now
making our way to the foot-hills, where the officers had promised to
show us some rich leads they had discovered. We dismounted when we had
reached the place; and some of the escort acting as guard against Indian
"surprises," the rest were set to work, with picks and hatchets, to dig
up specimens. They had not long to dig, for every rock they struck
contained copper; and frequently the little specks of gold in it could
be seen with the naked eye.

But it must not be supposed that these hills were barren, or destitute
of verdure. On the contrary, as far as the eye could reach, even the
highest mountains were covered with grass, scrub-oaks, and cedars; while
in the valley, and on the hills, there was one bright carpet of grass
and wild flowers. The white tents in the valley, with the flag-staff in
the centre, and the flag just moving in the morning breeze, the
dark-green trees shading the tents, the stream of water (called by the
captain Minne-ha-ha) running around the camp--all this looked so
refreshing, so beautiful, after those long day's marches among the
sand-hills of the Rio Grande, and the weary tramps over the burning
deserts we had lately left behind us, that my enthusiasm rose to the
highest pitch.

"Why don't somebody claim this delightful country?--why don't people in
the army resign, and own mines, and settle down here to live?" I
asked--very irrationally, I am afraid.

"My dear madam," said the captain, leading me to the edge of the hill,
and pointing downward, where, amid the long, waving grass and bright,
laughing flowers, I discovered the charred logs of what had once been a
miner's cabin, "neither the beauty of the country, nor the wealth of its
minerals, has been overlooked; and hundreds of men have lost their
lives, in trying to wrest from the Indian's grasp what would be a
benefit and blessing to civilization."

I wanted to go near enough to touch with my hand two graves that were
close by the burnt logs, but the captain refused to let me go. It was
about fifty yards from where the guard was placed; and that, he said,
was almost certain death. He promised, that as soon as the Mexican guide
should return from Fort Craig, he would place him, with a sufficiently
large escort, at my command, to visit the whole of the surrounding
country. The guide--old Cecilio--had lived in this country before it had
come into Uncle Sam's possession; had had many a narrow escape from the
Indians, and knew the history of every mine and shaft in all that
region. Pointing to the San José Mountain Range, the captain said there
was a wagon-road leading along its foot to the Santa Rita mines, but
that he knew of an Indian trail, which would take us there much quicker.
Remounting, we resumed our journey.

New beauty surprised us every little while: sometimes it was a little
silver rivulet, running over the most beautiful ferns; then a group of
trees and red-berried shrubs; and again, a clump of rare flowers. But
one thing weighed down the spirit like lead, in these wild regions: it
was the death-like, uninterrupted silence that reigned over all. There
was nothing of life to be seen or heard--no bird, no butterfly. The
lizard slipped noiselessly over the rocks at your feet, and the
tarantula gaped at you with wide-open eyes, before retreating to the
shelter of her nest in the ground. But even the carrion-crow, following
wherever human beings lead the way, never left the limits of the camp.

We had now reached a deep ravine. A shallow creek was running at our
feet; dark, frowning mountains seemed to hem us in on every side; our
horses looked tired, and the captain very unexpectedly announced that he
had lost his way! He said he felt sure that this creek was to be crossed
_somewhere_, but not here where our horses were drinking now. Old
Cecilio had always accompanied him before this, and--and--in short, we
were lost! Just then one of the men rode up to the lieutenant's side,
and said something to him in a low tone. "Where?" asked he. The man
pointed down the creek. The officers dismounted to examine the ground,
and found the fresh tracks of eight or nine Apache Indians. To be sure,
there were eleven men and officers on our side; but our horses were
pretty well worn, and the camp twenty miles away, for aught we knew. The
men looked to their fire-arms, while the officers consulted. If we were
attacked here, the Indians, even if they could not take us, could starve
us out before any party sent out from the fort could find us. Therefore,
to proceed was our only chance. Perhaps, if we could succeed in reaching
the top of the next mountain, we might discover some landmark showing us
our way back to camp. Some one proposed to search again for the trail
to the copper-mine; but the captain told us it was one of the favorite
haunts of the Indians when in this part of the country, and this party
had probably gone there now. At last we moved on, the escort so disposed
that I was covered on every side. The mountain was steep, and covered
with sharp rocks, cactus, and _chaparral_, which appeared to me moving
and peopled with hideous forms. Every moment I expected to hear a savage
yell, and see a shower of arrows flying around our devoted heads. Many a
time a finger was raised and pointed silently, so as not to frighten me,
to some suspicious-looking object; but all remained quiet, and we
reached the summit at last, only to see that we were surrounded by
mountains still higher and steeper than the one we had climbed. Giving
our horses but short breathing-time, we made the next ascent, hoping
then to see our way clear; but again we were disappointed. Never before,
perhaps, had the foot of the white man left its impress on these
solitary heights. There was untold wealth hidden under these sharp
rocks, and in the crevices and clefts that looked so dark and
treacherous in the afternoon sun; but even the mines of Golconda would
have had but little interest for us just then.

We had now come to a mountain that we must descend some five hundred
feet before we could make the ascent of the next. With trembling legs,
the horses began the steep descent; the first horse stumbled and fell,
and then the men were ordered to dismount and lead their horses. I
wanted to do the same, but was told to remain in the saddle, as I could
not mount quick enough, should the Indians attack us. When the horses
found foothold at last, it was almost impossible to urge them on; so
some of the men volunteered to reconnoitre in different directions,
while the officers remained with me. At last, one of the men, having
reached the summit, telegraphed to us that he had discovered some
friendly post, and made signs how we were to travel round the mountain.
Sundown saw us in camp again, worn out and hungry, but by no means
daunted or discouraged. Santa Rita was to be abandoned until the old
guide returned; but Pinos Altos was to be visited without him, in a day
or two.

Poor Toby was tired and jaded after this exploit, so he was allowed to
roam through camp, at his "own sweet will," without lariat or
picket-rope; he could always pick out our tent from the rest, and he
came to look into it, one morning, just as the cook had laid a
freshly-baked loaf of bread on the mess-chest to cool. I had been in the
habit of giving Toby a bite of our lunch whenever the command halted,
and I could reach the lunch-basket; he was satisfied with anything I
gave him--a bit of bacon, a piece of "hard-tack," a lump of sugar--and
thinking now, I suppose, that he was being neglected, when I did not
look up from my sewing, he quietly withdrew. The next moment I heard the
men outside shouting, "Thief! you thief!" Stepping to the entrance of
the tent, I saw Toby, the loaf of bread firmly between his teeth, making
his way, at a two-forty gait, across the parade-ground. This made our
bill of fare rather meagre for that day--"slap-jacks" taking the place
of the bread. But, then, we would soon have eggs, the cook said; and he
could do so many things with eggs. Now, these eggs were some that we
expected certain chickens, then _en route_ from Fort Cummings, to lay
for us. An officer there had had some chickens brought up from El Paso,
at great expense and greater trouble; of these, he had promised us three
dozen, and they were now coming to Fort Bayard under escort of ten
cavalrymen. I had made Charley promise, on honor, never to ask to kill
one of these for the table, but to content himself with using the eggs
they would, should, and ought to lay. Toward evening the escort with the
wagon came in sight; all the men rushed down the road to meet it; and
when the box containing the chickens was opened and the flock let loose,
the whole company gave three cheers, and, for days afterward, the men
could be heard, all over camp, crowing like roosters. They never seemed
to get tired of feeding the chickens extra handfuls of corn, religiously
bringing to our kitchen any stray egg a gadding hen had laid in the
company hay.

The morning was cool and bright, when Copp and Toby, capering and
dancing, as though we had never been lost in the mountains, were led up
to the tent. The escort was already mounted, and every man of the twelve
looked upon this as a holiday. They all had their curiosity to see Pinos
Altos; but the clean gauntlets and white shirts had been donned in honor
of this--to them--great event: escorting the first white lady, an
officer's wife, into Pinos Altos. I can never tire of speaking of the
magnificent scenery in this part of New Mexico. It was not New
Mexico--it was a small piece of the Garden of Eden, thrown in by
Providence, from above, in sheer pity for the Americans, when Uncle Sam
made that Ten Million Purchase, known as the Gadsden. We galloped along
a smooth road, made by the men for hauling fire-wood over, for a mile or
two, till we crossed the Minne-ha-ha, and shortly after struck the Pinos
Altos road. It had been a well travelled road at one time, though the
Indian only had crossed it, in his wanderings, these three or four years
past. Scrub-oak, and shrubs for which I knew no name, by the wayside;
the aloe plant and cactus, _grama_ grass and wild flowers, peeping out
from under fragments of moss-covered rock; here and there a cedar, or
pine, made the impression that we were inspecting extensive
pleasure-grounds; the little stream--Whiskey Creek--that found its
winding way down from Pinos Altos, was bordered by willows, and, though
shallow, afforded us all a cool drink. The road rises almost from the
time of leaving the fort, but so gently at first as to be hardly
noticed. Part of the escort rode before us, for those romantic-looking
hills, springing up here and there on our way, had many a time served
as ambush for the savage hordes that infest all this country; and more
than one grave by the road-side spoke of sudden attack, of sharp
contest, and final defeat.

An officer alone would have thought it unnecessary to take so large an
escort as ours, but the commanding officer had stipulated that the
lieutenant must not undertake these rides with me unless he took twelve
men. The Indians would risk any number of their braves, he said, to get
an officer's wife into their possession; and then he would have to turn
out his whole command to rescue me. So, to save him this trouble, we
promised to obey orders.

There was one curious hill, that I never passed without counting from
six to twelve rattlesnakes wriggling up the side of it. This rattlesnake
hill was about half-way between camp and Pinos Altos; and a mile or two
beyond, I saw the first tall pines, from which this region takes its
name. They were giants, in fact; it made me dizzy to look up to the
tallest point I could see, as the tree swayed gently to and fro against
the deep-blue sky.

Our horses were walking now; the hills grew into mountains, and came
closer around us; the road was hardly a road any more--I doubt that
anything but Indian ponies or pack-trains had ever gone over it, till
the "boys in blue" came here--and the inconsiderate thorns caught and
tore my "best" riding-habit at every step. We could now see the red
earth the miners in this section liked so well to find; they had been
prospecting all along Whiskey Creek, but had gone higher and higher,
till settling in Pinos Altos proper, at last. Up, up, we went, till I
thought we must be nearing the clouds. The air felt sharp and cool, even
in the midday sun, but we had not yet reached the summit.

At last the advance-guard halted, and one of the men, turning, uttered
an exclamation of wonder and surprise. The Pinos Altos people had cut
down the tall pines as much as possible on this side, because the
Indians had always approached under cover of them when they had made
their attacks on the place; and now, without hindrance or obstruction,
we had a view, such as I have never enjoyed since. All the mountains I
had thought so immensely high lay at our feet, and away beyond them I
could see far into the country--for hundreds of miles, it seemed to me.
To the right of us, we could peer into Old Mexico; the Three
Brothers--three peaks very similar in appearance and close
together--were pointed out to me; and over that way was Janos, they
said--the first town after crossing the border--the place our deserters
and fugitives from justice always tried to reach. Five minutes' ride now
brought us in sight of Pinos Altos--a few straggling shanties, built of
logs, brush, or _adobe_, just as it happened to suit the builder. Beyond
Pinos Altos the world seemed literally shut in, or shut out, by
mountains; there was snow on the highest peaks nine months of the year;
no one had felt inclined to explore them as yet--indeed, it was all
people could do to draw their breath comfortably here, I thought. The
streets in this city had not yet been thoroughly regulated, as some of
the inhabitants had found it convenient to commence mining operations
in, or immediately outside, their houses; and, following a good lead
they had struck, had sometimes continued these operations till some
other miner, with six-shooter in hand, had declared no man had a right
to dig "round his shanty." Some other miner had coaxed the waters of
Whiskey Creek on to his "claim," situated on the other side of town,
having dug for this purpose a ditch some five or six feet deep. Still
another had sunk a shaft twenty feet deep, at his front door, so as to
"hold that mine" for two years. But mining was not confined to the
streets of the city, by any means; companies of five, six, or twenty men
had ventured out as far as their number would permit. It would not have
been a very safe occupation at the best; for even our men, when sent to
cut hay within sight of the fort, had to work with their revolvers
buckled on, and their carbines within reach. How much more, then, did
these men risk, in lonely, out-of-the-way places, where no succor could
reach them--where only the serene sky overhead, and the red demon
inflicting the torture, could hear the last agonized cry that escaped
the blanched lips of his writhing, helpless victim.

As we approached, the miners laid down their picks, and stared at us.
Here and there a Mexican woman, who had followed the fortunes of her
lord and master into the wilderness, appeared at the door of some
shanty, her head covered with the inevitable _rebozo_; and, taking a
quick survey of our party, would vanish the next moment to communicate
the news of our arrival to her _amigos_ and _compadres_. "Taking" the
ditches, but carefully avoiding the shafts, we came to a house rather
larger and better-appearing than the rest, and were invited by a
mannerly Spaniard to alight and rest in his "house." His wife waited on
us in the pleasantest manner; but the building we had entered consisted
of only one room, which was store, sitting-room, kitchen, and all. The
news of our arrival spread like wild-fire; miners from far and near
hurried to Rodriguez' store; and the place being small, the circle
around us was soon as close as good manners would allow of--and good
manners they all had, Mexicans and Americans. Those who could not find
room inside, were out by the door, patting Toby, examining my
side-saddle, and asking questions of the escort. Señor Rodriguez was in
the habit of weighing the gold the miners found in the course of the
day, and buying it for greenbacks, or exchanging for it such provisions
as he had on hand. A huge, bearded Mexican stepped up to the little
counter now, and emptying his leather bag of its shining contents,
selected the largest piece--the size of a hazel-nut--and presented it
to me, with an air of such genuine honesty, such chivalric grace, that I
felt I could not refuse the gift without wounding the man's feelings. I
could only say, "Thank you," in English; but having accepted this first
offering, I could not refuse to accept from the rest the largest piece
of gold each miner had found that day. The first piece had been the
largest found.

Taking our departure when the sun was almost hidden behind the
mountains, we could not shake off a nervous feeling as we picked our way
through the labyrinth of rocks, trees, and shrubs, for this was the
favorite hour for Indian attacks. They hardly ever attack a train or
camp after night; their chosen time is just before dark, or early in the
morning, before sunrise; of course, they are not particular as to what
hour of the day they can appropriate your scalp, but they have seldom or
never been known to attack the whites at night.

We could already see the camp-fires in the distance, when a number of
stealthily moving objects in the road attracted my attention. Toby
snorted as though an Indian were already clutching at the bridle; but a
most discordant yelping, barking, and howling struck my ear just then
like the sweetest of music: a pack of _coyotes_ only had gathered around
us. They followed us all the way to camp, and, surrounding our quarters,
kept up their serenade till broad daylight. A band of equally musical
wild-cats had chosen the infantry camp as the theatre for their
performances; and an occasional roar from one of those long-built,
panther-like animals called California lions taught me that there was
life and animation in Nature here at night, if not in the daytime.

Old Cecilio having returned during our absence, we started out, the next
morning, after guard-mount, on another exploring expedition. When the
hills, shutting in the valley with the fort, had closed behind us, we
halted for a moment to look down the road by which we had first
approached Fort Bayard. There, before us to the left, lay the San José
Mountain Range, grand and stately, partly covered with cedars, pines,
and firs. Winding along the foot of the range, the eye could follow the
course of the beautiful, silver-clear White Water, bordered by willows,
ash, and poplars. The most fantastic rocks rose abruptly out of the
water, here and there, covered with moss and vines; an aloe plant or
cactus generally adorning the highest point--growing where not a handful
of earth could be seen, from which they might draw life and sustenance.
To the right of us--ah! there was New Mexico, its barren hills, its
monotonous plains, "the trail of the serpent" lying over all; for the
Indians had only lately set fire to the grass, and it had consumed the
scant vegetation.

An hour's ride brought us in sight of the ruins of the San José copper
mines, on the side of the mountain. It was rather steep climbing to
reach it; but the plateau, on which the works lay, must have been a
quarter of a mile across. Placing sentinels, we inspected the old mill.
Everything was rude and primitive, but huge in dimensions; and the
different _jacals_ that surrounded the _adobe_ building corroborated the
guide's statement that some fifty men had been employed here, "and they
had fought bravely and sold their lives dearly," he said, "the day they
were attacked by the Indians, three or four years ago."

"A white man," Cecilio continued, "a rebel, had led this band of
Indians, and, adding his knowledge of the habits of the white man to the
cunning of the savages, but few Americans or Mexicans could escape these
fiends. This wretch never erred in the aim he took--a ball through the
neck always sending his victim to his last account--but here, on this
spot, he had found his match. Some American, whose name the guide had
forgotten, had sent a bullet through his traitor's heart, at last; and
the Indians, never resting until the brave man had been laid in the
dust, then left this region, because, possibly, there was nothing more
to destroy." Clearing away the brush and rubbish at our feet, the guide
held up his hand--"And here, _señora_," he said,--pointing to two sunken
graves marked by pieces of smoothed plank,--"here they are buried side
by side: the rebel who led the Indians, and the white man who killed
him." It was nothing uncommon to meet with nameless graves in this
country; but a thrill passed through my heart, as I looked at these two
mounds, where friend and foe slumbered so peacefully, "side by side."

It was dangerous to tarry long in one spot, the guide reminded us. The
orderly brought Copp and Toby, and we pursued our way through the
laughing, blooming valley. Nuts, grapes, and hops grew wild here; and
peaches, Cecilio said, grew near the Santa Rita mines, but they had been
planted there by the former inhabitants and employés of the mines. The
mines originally belonged to a Spanish lady, to whose ancestors seven
leagues of the country surrounding them had been granted by the Spanish
Government, long before the territory belonged to Uncle Sam. Her
representatives had worked the mines with a force of some two hundred
men, till the Indians had overpowered them, and destroyed the works. The
immense piles of copper-ore, on either side of the road, told us that we
were nearing Santa Rita, at last; and there, just at the point of the
San José Range, lay a large, strongly-built _adobe_ fort. Buildings of
different sizes and kinds lay clustered around this, which appeared to
be furnace and fastness at once. Placing sentinels, we commenced
exploring above ground; under-ground I refused to venture, in my
cowardice. We found works of considerable magnitude; I counted twelve
bellows, in a kind of hall, that must have been sixty feet high, but the
rafters and beams overhead had rotted, and the weight of the mud, with
which all roofs are covered in this country, had borne down the roof,
and half covered an enormous wheel, some forty feet in diameter.
Everything about this wheel that was not wood, was copper; not a vestige
of iron, steel, or stone, was to be seen around here: it was copper,
wood, and _adobe_. But copper was everywhere--copper-ore, so rich that
the veins running through it could be scraped out with a penknife;
copper just smelted; copper beaten into fantastic shapes, as though the
workmen, in their despair, had meant to use these as weapons against the
Indians, when attacked here, years ago. For the same band, with the
white leader, had attacked these works; and Cecilio showed us the dents
the Indian arrows had made in the little wooden door the men had
succeeded in closing, when first attacked. But the families of these men
had lived in the buildings outside the fort; and to rescue wife and
children from death, and worse than death, they had abandoned their
place of safety in the fort, and, with the superintendent leading them,
they had fought the savages bravely, but had been defeated and
slaughtered, at last. Leaving nine men with me, the lieutenant, guide,
and three men descended into the shaft, went some five hundred yards,
and, on their return, reported that everything looked as though deserted
only yesterday.

Having confidence in old Cecilio, we now took the trail we had missed
the other day, as this would enable us to visit the San José gold mine
on our way back to camp. We could ride only "Indian file," but soon came
to a mountain composed entirely of white flint. Sand and earth, carried
here by the wind, and bearing grass and flowers, could be scraped aside
anywhere, discovering underneath the same semi-transparent rock. Again
we took the narrow trail, which brought us to what appeared to be the
entrance to a cave, in the side of a hill; a wooden cross was fastened
over it, and a road, built entirely by hand, led to the half-consumed
remains of a number of buildings, on the banks of a creek. The guide
and lieutenant entered the mine alone, leaving the men for my
protection, but soon returned, as fallen earth blocked up the passage
near the entrance.

"But oh, _señora_, the gold taken from this mine was something
wonderful," the guide said, enthusiastically; "and there is still a
whole 'cow-skin' full of it, buried in one of these holes"--pointing to
different shafts we were passing on our way to the burnt cottages. "When
the Indians came here the white men tried to take it with them, but were
so closely pursued that they threw it into one of these places,
intending to come back for it; but all they could do, later, was to bury
their people decently, and the gold is still there--left for some
stranger to find."

The eyes of the soldiers--gathered around the graves we had dismounted
to see--glittered at the old guide's tale; but the sight of these
lonely, forgotten graves could awaken but one thought in my breast: How
long would it be before another group might bend over our graves and
say, "I wonder who lies buried here!"





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