The Project Gutenberg eBook, Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories, by Florence Finch Kelly, Illustrated by Stanley L. Wood

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Title: Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories

Emerson's Wife -- Colonel Kate's Protégée -- The Kid of Apache Teju -- A Blaze on Pard Huff -- How Colonel Kate Won Her Spurs -- Hollyhocks -- The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Johnson Sides -- A Piece of Wreckage -- The Story of a Chinee Kid -- Out of Sympathy -- An Old Roman of Mariposa -- Out of the Mouth of Babes -- Posey -- A Case of the Inner Imperative

Author: Florence Finch Kelly

Release Date: May 4, 2006 [eBook #18309]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Al Haines

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

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











Published September, 1911

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England

















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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What have they done?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Sure you 're sober, Nick?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"After the Dysert gang?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You know, without askin'!"

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

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

"All right, Tommy. I promise."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Where is my daughter?"

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Now you are my daughter. Come."

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

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

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

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

"Come!" called Ambrosio from the portal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Boss home yet from Deming?"

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

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

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

"Do you want to see Mr. Williams?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What do you know about it?"

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

"You! How did you dare?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How did you hurt yourself, Kid?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What are you doing, Kid?"

"Nothing much. Just digging a hole."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He's sure buffaloed!"

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

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

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

"Truly, Guy, are you going away?"

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

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

Silence for the space of ten seconds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"'Why,' says they, 'Pard Huff—'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And presently I remembered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Wing could jabber Chinese as shrilly and rapidly as any of his playmates of the Chinese quarter, and with his young friends of the white race he could reel off amazing vocabularies of American slang. And he could swear, and frequently did so, with all the nonchalance of a Chinaman and the intensity and picturesqueness of an American. He could, if the occasion seemed to demand it, drop his eyelids and "No sabe" as stupidly as any Celestial who ever entered the Golden Gate. But with any man, woman, or child whom he chose to favor with his conversation he could talk volubly in fairly good English. And his lungs were just as capable, and just as frequently put to the test, as those of any white boy in Tobin, of the ear-splitting shouts and yells without which boys' games cannot be played and boys' thoughts communicated to one another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the Chinee Kid cast one sober, stupid look at Ellison's sociable countenance, opened his mouth just wide enough to grunt "No sabe," and hurried on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wing looked up at him with an uncomprehending stare, wriggled from under his detaining hand, stopped long enough to shake his head with a stolid "No sabe," and then dodged away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

"Does he live all alone, then?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Do you? Why?"

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

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

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

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

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

"Why didn't you like him?"

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

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

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

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

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

"Did you love her all the time?"

Another decided head-shaking.

"You did n't? Why?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Lots of times!"

"What did you do?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You do not need to speak," he said, and she saw his countenance wince and change. "I have read my answer in your eyes." He rose as if to go.

"Wait a moment," she said hastily. "It is right that you should know how much I also cared until—" she broke off, hesitating, and then went on, slowly and thoughtfully, with a puzzled air, as though she herself did not quite understand. "When you came back to me, in that little summer-house, and I looked into your eyes, my heart told me that you were going to seize me in your arms; and I knew that if you did I was ready to sink into your embrace and to give up everything for your sake. For you had swept me clean off my feet and had made me not care for my career, or for anything but you. But when you did n't—believe me, I don't know how or why it was—somehow the shock of your not doing it, when I was so ready to give my love—well, the tide seemed to turn then and go back. And now—I 'm on my feet again, and care tremendously about my profession and my career."

He looked at her blankly, and as his lips twitched and moved she barely heard, "And I did n't—I barely kept myself from doing it, because it seemed unworthy—"

She shrugged her shoulders and interrupted him, in a tone as low as his. "We who are strong can be taken only by a strength that is greater than ours."

"Good-bye," he said, rising. "Either my love was not quite great enough, or my strength was too great. I will send the porter to carry your bags and help you to find your section in the other train. I shall stay here until to-morrow. Good-bye."

His voice was very tender as he spoke the last word. She held out her hand, and he touched it with his lips. She pressed both hands upon her heart, which seemed bursting with cross-currents of feeling and desire. He was halfway down the aisle when she sprang to her feet and called to him to stop, to come back. He turned and saw her slowly take a step or two toward him. The intent gaze which he bent upon her wavered for an instant, and then she saw his lips grow tense and white.

"No," he said deliberately, "I shall not come back. I do not want a wife who would bring to me any less than the greatest love of which she is capable. Good-bye, Dr. Black."

He was gone, and Elizabeth, sinking back into her seat, saw him walk away into the hills. The tears gathered in her eyes. She watched him as his figure disappeared among the twilight shadows.

"I wonder if it would have been different—it might have been different," she was thinking, "if he—he had been—as he was this afternoon." She mused a little longer and then her face brightened as she rose with a triumphant lifting of her head and a half-smile on her face. "And anyway," she said aloud, "he has my address!"


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