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L *■ 


Broadway, Ludgate Hill 























u Captain Mayne Reid's style is at once graceful and spirited. His 
descriptions of American tropical scenery arc drawn, not only with the 
hand of a master, but with a brilliancy and reality that prove them done 
from the life." — Athenattm* 

M 'lis stories glow \ad sparkle with poetic fancy."-^ Morning P&&. 













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Dee i* in the interior of the American Continent- 
more than a thousand miles from the shores of any sea 
— lies our scene. 

Climb Avith me yonder mountain, and let us look 
from its summit of snow. 

We have reached its highest ricV;e. What do we 
behold ? 

On the noAh a chaos of mountains, that continues 
on through thirty parallels to the shores of the Arctic 
Sea ! On the south, the same mountains, — here run- 
ing in separato sierras, and there knotting with each 
other. On the west, mountains igain, profiled along 
the sky, and alternating with broad tables that stretch 

between their bases. 

Now turn we around, and look eastward. Not a 
mountain to be seen ! Far as the eye can reach, and 
a thousand miles farther, not a mountain. Yonder 

dark line rising above the plain is but the rocky 
hrow of another plain— a steppe of higher elevation. 
Where are wo ? On what summit are we standing* 


On the Sierra Blanca, known to the hunter as the 
* Spanish Peaks.' AYo are upon the western rini of 
the Grand Prairie. 

Looking eastward, the eye discovers no signs of 
civilisation. There are none within a month's jour- 
neying. North, and south, — mountains, mountains. 

Westward, it is different. Through the telescope 
wo can see cultivated fields afar off, — a mere strip 
along the banks of a shining river. Those are the 
settlements of Nuevo Mexico, an oasis irrigated bv 
the Kio del Norte. The scene of our story lies not 

Face once more to the eastward, and you have it 
before you. The mountain upon which we stand has 
its base upon a level plain that expands far to the 
east. There are no foot-hills. The plain and the 
mountain i/mcn, and at a single step you pass from 

the naked turf of the one to the rocky and pine-clad 
declivities of the other. 

The aspect of the plain is varied. In some places 
it is green, where the gramma grass has formed a 
sward ; but in most parts it is sterile as the Saiira. 
Here it appears brown, where the sun-parched earth 
is bare ; there it is of a sandy, 3-ellowish hue ; and 
yonder the salt effervescence renders it as white as 
the snow upon which we stand. 

The scant vegetation clothes it not in a livery of 
verdure. The leaves of the agave are mottled with 
scarlet, and the dull green of the cactus is still further 
obscured by its thickly-set spines. The blades of the 
yuccas are dimmed by dust, and resemble clusters of 


naif-rusty bayonets ; and the low sc.oibby copses ol 
acacia scarce offer a shade to the dusky agama and the 
ground rattlesnake. Here and there a solitary pal- 
metto, with branchless stem and tufted crown, gives 
an African aspect to the scene. The eye soon tires 
of a landscape where every object appears angular and 
tnorny ; and upon this plain, not only are the trees 
of that character, but the plants, — even the very 
grass carries its thorns ! 

With what sensations of pleasure wo turn to gaze 
into a lovely valley, trending eastward from the base 
of the mountain ! "What a contrast to the arid plain ! 
Its surface is covered with a carpet of bright green, 
enamelled by flowers that gleam like many-coloured 
gems ; while the cotton-wood, the wild china-tree, 
the live-oak, and the willow, mingle their foliage in 

soft shady groves that seem to invite us. Let ua 
descend ! 

We have reached the plain, yet the valley is still 
far beneath us — a thousand feet at the least — but, 
from a promontory of the bluff projecting over it, we 

command a view of its entire surface to the distance 
of many miles. It is a level like the plain above ; 
and gazing down upon it, one might fancy it a por- 
tion of the latter that had sunk into the earth's crust, 
so as to come within the influence of a fertilizing 
power denied to the higher region. 

On both sides of it, far as the eye can reach, run 
th& bordering cliffs, stepping from one level to the 
other, by a thousand feet sheer, and only passable at 
certain points. There is a width of ten miles from 
cliff to cliff; and these, of eqtial height, seem the 
counterparts of each other. Their grim savage fronts, 


overhanging the soft bright landscape of the valley, 
suggest the idea of a beautiful picture framed in 
rough oak-work. 

A stream, like a silver serpent, bisects the valley. 
— not running in a straight course, but in luxuriarj 
■windings, as though it loved to tarry in the midst c\ 
that bright scene. Its frequent curves and gentle 
current show that it passes over a surface almost 
plane. Its banks are timbered, but not continuously. 

Here the timber forms a wide belt, there only a fringe 
scarce shadowing the stream, and yonder the grassy 
turf can be distinguished running in to the very 
water's edge. 

Copse-like groves are scattered over the ground. 
These are of varied forms ; some perfectly circular, 
others oblong or oval, and others curving like the 
cornucopias of our gardens. Detached trees meet the 
eye, whose full round tops show that Nature has had 
her will in their development. The whole scene sug- 
gests the idea of some noble park, planted by design, 
with just timber enough to adorn the picture without 
concealing its beauties. 

Is there no palace, no lordly mansion, to corre- 
spond ? No. Nor palace nor cottage sends up its 
smoke. No human form appears within this wild 
paradise. Herds of deer roam over its surface, the 
stately elk reposes within the shade of its leafy 
groves, but no human being is there. Perhaps the 
foot of man never 

Stay ! there is one by our side who tells a different 
tale. Hear him. 

' That is the valley of San Ildefonso. "Wild though 
it appears, it was once the abode of civilised man. 


Near its centre you may note some irregular masses 
scattered over the ground. But for the trees and 
rank weeds that cover them, you might there behold 
the ruins of a city. 

' Yes ! on that spot once stood a town, large and 
prosperous. There was a Presidio with the flag of 
Spain flying from its battlements ; there was a grand 
Mission-house of the Jesuit padres ; and dwellings of 
rich miners and "hacendados" studded the valley 
far above and below. A busy populace moved upon 
the scene ; and all the passions of love and hate, 
ambition, avarice, and revenge, have had existence 
there. The hearts stirred by them are long since 
cold, and the actions to which they gave birth are 
not chronicled by human pen. They live only in 
legends that sound more like romance than real 

' And yet these legends are less than a century 
old ! One century ago, from the summit of yonder 
mountain could have been seen, not only the settle- 
ment of San lldefonso, but a score of others — cities, 
and towrw, and villages — where to-day the eye can- 
not trace a vestige of civilisation. Even the names 
of these cities are forgotten, and their histories buried 
among their ruins ! 

* The Indian has reeked his revenge upon the mur- 
derers of Moctezuma ! Had the Saxon permitted 
him to continue his war of retaliation, in one century 
more — nay, in half that time — the descendants of 
Cortuz and his conquerors would have disappeared 
from the land of Anahuac ! 

' Listen to the " Legend of San lldefonso I 



Perhaps in no country has religion so many de^otel 
days as in Mexico. The ' fiestas ' are supposed i*} 
have a good effect in Christianizing the natives, and 
the saints' calendar has been considerably enlarged 
in that pseudo-holy land. Nearly every week sup- 
plies a festival, with all its mummery of banners, and 
processions, and priests dressed as if for the altar- 
scene in 4 Tizarro,' and squibs, and fireworks, and 
silly citizens kneeling in the dust, and hats off all 
round. Very much like a London Guy-Fawkes pro- 
cession is the whole affair, and of about like influence 
upon the morals of the community. 

Of course the padres do not get up these cere- 
monial exhibitions for mere amusement — not they. 
There are various little 'blessings/ and l indultos,' 
and sprinklings of sacred water, to be distributed on 
these occasions — not gratuitously — and the wretched 
believer is preciously 'plucked' while he is in the 
penitent mood -at the same time he is promised a 
short and easy route to heaven. 

As to any solemnity in the character of the cere- 
monials, there is nothing of the sort. They are in 
reality days of amusement ; and it is not uncommon 
to see the kneeling devotee struggling to keep down 


(he cackle of his fighting-cock, which, full-galvtd, 
he carries under the folds of his scrape! All this 
under the roof of the sacred temple of God ! 

On days of fiesta the church genuflexions are soon 
over ; and then the gambling-booth, the race-course, 
bull-baiting, the cock-pit, and various minor amuse- 
ments, come into full operation. In all these you 
may meet the robed priest of the morning, and stake 
your dollar or doubloon against his, if you feel so 

' San Juan ' is one of the ' fiestas principales ' — one of 
the most noted of Mexican ceremonials. On this day 
— particularly in a Nevo Mexican village — the houses 

are completely deserted. All people turn out, arvd 
proceed to some well-known locality, usually a neigh- 
bouring plain, to witness the sports — which consist 
of horse-racing, ' tailing the bull,' * running the 
cock,' and the like. The intervals are filled up by 
gambling, smoking, and flirtation. 

There is much of republican equality exhibited on 
these occasions. Rich and poor, high and low, min- 
gle in the throng, and take part in the amusements of 
the day. 


a * 

It is the day of San Juan. A broad grassy plain 
lies just outside the town cf San Ildefonso, and upon 
this the citizens are assembled. It is the scene of the 
festival, and the sports will soon begin. Before they 
do, let us stroll through the crowd, and note its com 
ponent parts 

All classes of the community — in fact, all the com- 
munity — appear to be present. There go the two 


stout padres of tho mission, bustling about in their 
long gowns of coarse serge, with bead-string and 
crucifix dangling to their knees, and scalp-lock close 
shaven. The Apache will find no trophy on their 

There is the cura of the town church, conspicuous 

in his long black cloak, shovel hat, black silk stock- 
ings, pumps, and buckles. Now smiling benignly 

upon the crowd, now darting quick Jesuitical glance* 
from his dark ill-meaning eyes, and now playing off 

his white jewelled fingers, as he assists some newly- 
arrived ' senora ' to climb to her seat. Great ' ladies* 
men ' are these same black-gowned bachelor-church- 
men of Mexico. 

We have arrived in front of several rows of seats 
raised above one another. Let us observe who oc- 
cupy them. At a glance it is apparent they are in 
possession of the ' familias principales,' the aristocracy 
of the settlement. Yes — there is the rich ' comcrci 
ante,' Don Jose Rincon, his fat wife, and four fat 
sleepy-looking daughters. There, too, is the wife 
and family of the 'Alcalde,' and this magistrate him- 
self with tasselled official staff; and the Echevarrias 

-pretty creatures that they think themselves — under 
care of their brother, tho beau, who has discarded 
the national costume for the mode de Paris ! There is 
vhe rich ' hacendado, Senor Gomez del Monte, the 
owner of countless flocks and broad acres in the 
valley ; and there are others of his class w, h their 
Benoras and senoritas. And there, too, observed of all, 
is the lovely Catalina de Cruces, the daughter of Don 
Ambrosio, the wealthy miner. He will, be a lueky 
fellow who wins the smiles of Catalina, or rather per 


naps the good graces of her father — for Don Arnbrosio 
will have much to say in the matter of her marriage. 
Indeed, it is rumoured that that matter is already 
arranged ; and that Captain Roblado, second in com- 
mand at the Presidio, is the successful suitor. Tiers 
stands he, in full moustache, covered with gold lace, 
back and front, and frowning fiercely on every one 
who dares to rest eye for a moment upon the fair 
Catalina. "With all his gold lace and gallant strut, 
Catalina displays no great taste in her choice; — but 
is he her choice ? Maybe not — maybe he is the choice 
of Don Arnbrosio ; who, himself of plebeian origin, is 
ambitious that his blood should be mingled with that 
of the military hidalgo. The soldier has no money — 
beyond his pay ; and that is mortgaged for months 
»n advance ; but he is a true Gachupino, of ' blue 
blood,' a genuine * hi jo de algo.' Not a singular 
ambition of the old miser, nor uncommon among 

Vizcarra, the Comandante, is on the ground— a 
tall colonel of forty — laced and plumed like a pea- 
cock. A lively bachelor is he ; and while chatting 
with padre, cura, or alcalde, his eye wanders to the 
faces of the pretty pohlanas that are passing the spot. 
These regard Lis splendid uniform with astonishment, 
which he, fancying himself ' Don Juan Tenorio/ mis- 
takes for admiration, and repa}'s with a bland smile. 

There, too, is the third officer — there are but the 
three — the teniente, Garcia by name. lie is better- 
looking, and conseqiiently more of a favourite with 
both poblanas and rich senoritas, than either of his 
superiors. I wonder the fair Catalina does not give 
her preference to him. AVho can tell that she does not ? 


A Mexican dan,e does not carry her soul upon hei 
sleeve, nor upon her tongue neither. 

It would be a task to toll of whom Catalina is 
thinking just now. It is not likely at her age — she 
is twenty — that her heart is still her own; but 
whose ? Koblado's ? I would wager, no. Gareia's ? 
That would be a fairer bet. After all, there are 
many others — young ' hacendados,' employes of the 
mines, and a few merchant dandies of the town. Her 
choice may be some one of these. Quien sale ? 
Let us on through the crowd ! 

"We see the soldiers of the garrison, with tinkling 
spurs and long trailing sabres, mingling fraternally 
with the serape-clad tradesmen, the gambucinos, and 
rancheros of the valley. They imitate their officers 
in strut and swagger — the very character of which 
enables one to tell that the military power is here 
in the ascendant. They are all dragoons— infantry 
would not avail against an Indian enemy — and they 
fancy that the loud clinking of their spurs, and (lie 
rattle of their steel scabbards, add greatly to their 
importance. They have their eyes after the poblanas, 
and the sweethearts of the poblanas keep their eyes 
after them in a constant vigil of jealousy. 

The ' poblanas ' are the pretty girls of the place ; 
but, pretty or plain, all the girls are out to-day in 
their best and gayest apparel. Some wear enagitas of 
blue — others of scarlet— others of purple ; and many 
i .f them tastefully flounced at the bottoms with a 
trimming of narrow lace. They wear tno embroi- 
dered chemisette, with its snow-white frills, and th« 
blueish reboso, gracefully arranged, so as to conceal 
neck, bosom, arms, and, in soma cases of coquetry, 


everi the face ! Ere night this jealous garment will 
have lost half its prudery. Already the prettier faces 
peep forth ; and you may see, from the softness oi 
the complexion, that they have been just washed free 
of the ' allegria ' that for the last two weeks has ren- 
dered them hideous. 

The ' rancheros ' are in their full and beautifu] 
costume — velveteen trousers, wide at the bottoms and 
open up the sides ; botas of unstained leather ; jackets 
of tanned sheepskin ; or velveteen richly embroidered ; 
fancy-worked shirts underneath; and scarfs of rich 
red silk around the waist. Over all the broad - 
brimmed sombrero, of black glaze, with silver or gold 
band, and tags of the same, screwed into the crown. 
Some have no jacket, but the serape, hanging negli- 
gently from their shoulders, serves in place of one. 
All of these men have horses with them ; and on their 
feet may be seen spurs full five pounds in weight, 
with rowels three, four, and even five inches in 
diameter I 

The ' gambucinos,' and young men of the town, tho 
smaller tradespeople, are very similarly attired ; hut 
those of higher class — the officials and 'comer- 
ciantes' — are clad in broad-cloth jackets and panta- 
loons, not exactly of European cut, but approaching 
it — a sort of compromise between Taris fashions and 
the native costume of the country. 

Another costume may be noticed, worn by many o* 
the crowd. This is the dress of the native * Pueblos, 
or Indios mansos — the poor labourers of the mines, and 
the of the mission. Jt is a simple dress, 
and consists of an upper garment, the tilma, a sort 
of coat without sleeves, A coffee-sack with a holt 


ripped in the bottom for the head to pass through, 
and a slit cut in each side for the arms, "would make 
the ' tilma.' It has no waist, and hangs nearly to the 
hips "without other fastening than the support at the 
shoulders. The tilma is usually a piece of coarse 
rug — a cheap woollen cloth of the country, called 
•gerga/ of a whitish colour, with a few dyed threads 
to give the semblance of a pattern. This with a pair 
of dressed sheepskin breeches and rude sandals — 
guaraches — constitutes the wear of most of the ' Indioa 
mansos' of Mexico. The head is bare ; and the legs, 
from the knee to the ankle, shine forth in all their 
copper-coloured nakedness. 

Of these dark aborigines — the 'peons' of the 
mission and the mines — there are hundreds stalking 
about, while their wives and daughters sit squatted 

upon the ground in rear of their petates; upon which 
are piled the fruits of the soil — the tunas, petahayas, 
plums, apricots, grapes, satidiaSj and other species of 
melons, with roasted nuts of the \ inon-tree, the pro- 
duce of the neighbouring mountains. Others keep 
stands of dukes and agua-miel or limonada ; while others 
sell small loaves — piloncillos — of cornstalk sugar, or 
baked roots of the agave. Some squat before fires, 
and prepare tortillas and chile Colorado ; or melt the 
sugared chocolate cake in their urn-like earthen ollas. 
From these humble ( hucksters/ a hot peppery stew, 
a dish of atole, or a bowl of 'piiiole, is to be had for a 
few clacos. There are other stands where you can 
buy cigarillos of punche, or a drink of the fiery agxiar- 
diente from Taos or El Paso ; and these stands arp 
favourite resorts of the thirsty miners and soldiers. 
There are no ' booths,' but most of the hucksters pro- 


tect themselves from the sun by a huge screen of 
palmetto mat (petate) placed umbrella-like over their 

There is one class of persons }'et to be spoken of — 
an important class at the festival of San Juan — they 
who are to be competitors in the sports — the real 
wrestlers in the games. 

These are young men of all grades in society, and 
all of them mounted — of course, each in the best way 
he can. There they go, prancing over the ground, 
causing their gaily caparisoned steeds to caper and 
curvet, especially in front of the tiers of seated 
senoritas. There are miners among them, and young 
hacendados, and rancheros, and vaqueros, and ciboleroSj 
and young merchants who ride well. Every one rides 
well in Mexico — even the dwellers in cities are good 

Nearly a hundred are there of these youths who 
intend to take part in the various trials of skill in 

Let the sports begin ! 


The first exhibition on the programme was to be the 
coleo de twos, which may be rendered in English as 
'tailing the bull/ It is only in the very larg4 
cities of Mexico where a regular plaza de toros, or 
arena for the bull-fight, is to be found ; but in every 


village, however insignificant, the sport of bull* 
tailing may be witnessed, as this only requires an 
open plain, and as wild a bull as can be procured. 
The sport is not quite so exciting as the bull-fignt, as 
it is less perilous to those engaged in it. Not unfre- 
quently, however, a gored horse or a mutilated rider 
is produced by the * coleo ; ' and fatal accidents have 
occurred at times. The horses, too, sometimes stum- 
ble, and both horse and rider are trampled by the 
others crowding from behind, so that in the pell- 
mell drive awkward accidents are anything but 
uncommon. The coleo is, therefore, a game of 
strength, courage, and skill ; and to excel in it is 
an object of high ambition among the youth of a 
New Mexican settlement. 

The arrangements having been completed, it waa 
announced by a herald that the coleo was about to 
begin. These arrangements were simple enough, 
and consisted in collecting the crowd to one side, so 
that the bull, when let loose, would have a cleai 
track before him in the direction of the open country. 
Should he not be allowed this favour he might head 
towards the crowd, — a thing to be apprehended. Io 
fear of this, most of the women were to be seen 
mounting into the rude carretas, scores of which were 
upon the ground, having carried their owners to the 
spectacle. Of course the sefioras and senoritas on 
the raised benches felt secure. 

The competitors were now drawn up in a line. 
There were a dozen detailed for this first race, — ■ 
young men of all classes, who were, or fancied them- 
selves, 4 crack ' riders. There were rancheros in 
their picturesque attiro, smart arrieros, mim?rs from 


the hills, townsmen, hacendados of the valley 
vaqueros from the grazing farms, and ciboleros^ 
whose home is for the most part on the wide prairies. 
Several dragoons, too, were arrayed with the rest, 
eager to prove their superiority in the manege of the 

At a given signal the bull was brought forth from 
Ji neighbouring corral. He was not led by men afoot, 
• — that would have been a dangerous undertaking. 
His conductors were well-mounted vaqueros, who, 
with their lazoes around his horns, were ready, in 
case of his showing symptoms of mutiny, to fling him 
to the earth by a jerk. 

A vicious-looking brute he appeared, with shaggy 
frontlet and scowling lurid eye. It was plain that it 
only needed a little goading to make him a still more 
terrible object ; for he already swept his tail angril}- 
against his flanks, tossed his long straight horns in 
the air, snorted sharply, and beat the turf at intervals 
with his hoofs. He was evidently one of the fiercest 
of a fierce race — the race of Spanish bulls. 

Every eye was fixed upon him with interest, and 
the spectators freely commented upon his qualities. 
Some thought him too fat, others alleged he was just 
in the condition to make a good run— as, in the coleo, 
speed, not courage, is the desirable quality. This 
difference of opinions led to the laying of numerous 
wagers on the result, — that is, the time that should 
elapse from the start until the bull should be ' tailed 
and ' thrown.' The throwing of the bull, of course 

ends the chase. 

When it is considered that the brute selected is. one 
of t'ie strongest, swiftest, and fiercest of his kind, and 



thai no weapon — not even the lazo — is allowed, it 
will be admitted this is a matter of no easy accom 
plishment. The animal goes at full run, almost as 
fast as the horse can gallop ; and to bring him to the 
ground under tnese circumstances requires the per- 
formance of a i'oat, and one that demands skill, 
strength, and the best of horsemanship. That feat is 
to seize the bull by the tail, and jerk the animal off 
his legs ! 

The bull was led out some two hundred yards 
beyond the line of horsemen, where he was halted, 
with his head turned to the open plain. The lazoes, 
that held him by a leash-knot, were then cautiously 
slipped, two or three fire-squibs, pointed and barbed, 
were shot into his hips, and away he went amidst 
the yells of the spectators ! 

Next moment the riders spurred after, each shout- 
ing in his own fashion. 

Soon the line was broken, and a confused spread 
of horsemen, like a * field ' of fox-hunters, was seen 
■scouring over the plain. Each moment the troop 
became elongated, until what had started in line was 
now strung out in double and single file to a length 
of several hundred yards. Still on they went, whip- 
ping, and spurring, and urging their steeds to the 

The bull, maddened by the arrowy squibs, and 
terrified by their hissing, ran at the top of his speed 
: n a nearly direct line. The start he had been allowed 
was not so easily taken up, even by fast riders, and 
he had got a full mile or more before any one neared 
him. Then a dragoon, mounted on a large bay horse, 
wa» «een pressing him closely, and at length laying 


nold of the tail. He was observed to give it a jerk 
or two, as though endeavouring to fling the brute b) 
sheer strength. It was a failure, however; for the 
next moment the bull shot out in a side direction, 
and left his pursuer behind. 

A young hacendado, splendidly horsed, was next 
upon his flanks ; but each time he reached forth to 
grasp the tail it was whisked beyond his reach. He. 
succeeded at length in seizing it ; but the bull, 
making a sudden lurch, whipped his tail from the 
/ider's hands, and left him also in the rear. 

One condition of the ' colco ' was, that each com- 
petitor, after having once failed, should retire from 
the ground ; so that the hacendaao and the dragoon 
were now actually hors de chassc. 

These were seen riding back, though not directly 

in front of the spectators. They preferred making 
roundabout thing of it, so that their fallen faces might 
not be too closely scanned on their return. 

On went the bull, and after him the eager and ex- 
cited horsemen. Another dragoon soon tried his 
* pluck,' and also failed; and then a vaquero, and 
another horseman, and another, with like success 
each failure being hailed by a groan from the crowd. 
There were several tumbles, too, at which the spec- 
tators laughed heartily ; and one horse was badly 
gored, having headed the bull and got entangled 
upon his horns. 

In less than ten minutes eleven out of the 
twelve competitors were seen returning from the 

Only one now remained to make his triaJ. The 
bull had proved a snlendid fellow, and was already 



in high favour, and loudly applauded by the spec- 

1 .Bravo, two! hravissimo ! ' was heard on all sides. 
All eyes were now turned upon the enraged anima^ 
and his one remaining pursuer. Both were still near 
enough to be well observed, for the chase had led 
•litherto, not in one line, but in different directions 
over the plain ; so that the bull was actually no far- 
ther from the crowd than when first overtaken by the 
dragoon. He was at this moment running in a cross 
course, so that every movement of both pursuer and 
pursued could be well observed from the stand. 

At the first glance it was plain that the bull had 
now behind him the handsomest horse and horseman 
upon the field— would they prove the best? That 
was to be tried. 

The horse was a large coal-black mustang, with a 
long full tail, pointed at the tip, and carried like the 
brush of a running fox. Even while in gallop, his 
neck slightly curved, and his proud figure, displayed 
against the smooth sward, called forth expressions of 

The rider was a young man of twenty or over ; and 
his light ciirling hair and white-red complexion dis- 
tinguished him from all his competitors — who were, 
without exception, dark-skinned men. He was 
dressed in full ranchero costume, with its rich 
broidery and trappings; and instead of tiie usuaj 
* scrape,' he wore a purple manga — a more gracefal, 
as well as costlier garment. The iong skirts of this 
he had flung behind him, in order to have his arms 
free; and its folds, opening to the breeze, added to 
"he gracefulness of his carriage in the saddle. 


The sudden appearance of this splendid horseman 
■for, hanging in the rear with folded manga, he 
ueemed not to have been noticed before, — caused un- 
usual attention, and many were heard inquiring hiC 


* Carlos the cibolero ! ' cried a voice, loud enough to 

satisfy all at once. 

Some evidently knew who ' Carlos the cibolero 

was, though by far the greater number on the ground 
did not. Of the former, one was heard inquiring, 

' "Why hasn't he come up before ? — He could have 
done so if he had wished/ 

' Carrambol yes,' added another. ' He might have 

done so. He only hung back to give the others a 

trial. He knew none of them could throw that bull. 

Mm ! ' 
The speaker's conjecture was. no doubt, correct. 

It was plain, at first sight, that this rider could 
easily overtake the bull. His horse was still in a 
gentle gallop, and, though his ears were set and his 
red nostrils staring open, it was only through the 
excitement of the chase, and chafing at being hitherto 
checked. The bridle-rein was, in fact, still tightly 

As the speaker uttered the cautionary phrase 
*Mira I ' a change was suddenly observed in the 
manner of the horseman. He was about twenty 
paces from the chase and directly in the rear. All 
at once his horse sprang forward at double his former 
speed, and in a few stretches laid himself alongside 
the bull. The rider was observed to grasp the long 
outstretched tail, and then lean forward and down- 
ward. The next moment he raised himself with & 


sudden jerk, and the huge horned creature turned 
sprawling upon his back. The whole thing seemed to 
cost him no more eifort than if the bull had been a 
tom-cat. Loud ' vivas P broke from the spectators, 
and the victorious horseman rode back in front of the 
stand, modestly bowed his thanks, and then retired 
into the depth of the crowd. 

There were not wanting those who fancied that in 
bowing the eyes of the cibolero were directed on the 
fair Catalina de Ciuces ; and some went so far as io 
assert that she smiled and looked content ; but that 
could not be. The heiress of the rich Don Ambrosio 
Biuilt> to a zompV.mertj from a cibolero ! 

There was one, however, who did smile. That was 
a fair-haired, fair-skinned girl, who stood upon one ot 
the carretas, bv the side of which the victor had 

* v 

placed himseF. Side by side those two faces seemed 
one. They were of one blood, — one colour, — one race : 
were they not brother and sister ? Yes, — the fair girl 
was the sister of the cibolevo. She was smiling from 
happiness at the thought of her brother's triumph. 

A strange-looking woman was seated in the bottom 
•of the carreta — an old woman, with long flowing hair, 
white as flax. She was silent, but her shaip eyes 
were bent upon the cibolero with a triumphant ex 
pression. Some regarded her with curiosity, but most 
with fear, akin to awe. These knew something of her, 
and whispered strange tales to one another. 

' Esta una brtixa 1 — una hechicera P (She is a witch ! 

a charmer I) said they. 

T\iis they muttered in low tones lest they might be 
heard by Carlos or the girL /She teas their mother 1 

TfiJfi WHITE CHIEF,, 21 


The sports continue. The bull thrown by the tibo- 
lerG, now cowed, walks moodily across the plain. He 
would not serve for a second run, so he is lazoed and 
led off, — to be delivered to the victor as his prize. 

A second is brought forth and started, with a fresh 
dozen oi horsemen at his heels. 

These seem to be better matched, or rather the bull 
has not run off so well, as all overtake him at once, 
riding past him in their headlong speed. Most un- 
expectedly the animal turns in his tracks, and runs 
back, heading directly for the stand ! 

Loud screams are heard from the poblanas in the 
carretas — from the scfioras and senoritas. No wonder. 
In ten seconds the enraged brute will be in their 
midst ! 

The pursuing horsemen are still far behind him. 
The sudden turning in their headlong race threw them 
out of distance. Even the foremost of them cannot 

come up in time. 

The other horsemen are all dismounted. i\o man 
on foot will dare to check the onward rush of a goaded 

Confusion and loud shouting among the men, 
terror and screaming among the women, are the 


character! sties of the scene. Liven will be lost— 
perhaps many. None know but that they themselves 
may bo the victims ! 

The strings of carretas filled with their terrified 
occupants flank the stand on each side ; but, running 
farther out into the plain, form wit'/, it a sort of semi- 
circle. The bull enters this semicircle, and guided 
by the carretas rushes down, heading directly for the 
benches, as though determined to break through in 
that direction. The ladies have risen to their feet, 
and, half-frantic, seem as though they would leap 
down upon the very horns of the monster they dread ! 
It is a fearful crisis for them. 

Just at this moment a man is seen advancing, lazo 
in hand, in front of the carretas. He is a-foot. As 
soon as he has detached himself from the crowd, he 
spins the lazo round his head, and the noose shooting 
out is seen to settle over the horns of the bull. 

Without losing a moment the man runs to a small 
tree that stands near the centre of the semicircle, and. 
hastily coils the other end of the lazo around its 
trunk. Another moment, and he would have been 
too late. 

The knot is scarcely tied, when a heavy pluck 
announces that the bull has reached the end of his 
rope, and the foiled brute is now seen thro"\vn back 
upon his hips, with the lazo tightly noosed over his 
horns. He has fallen at the very feet of the spec- 
tators ! 

' Bravo I viva ! ' cried a hundred voices, as soon as 
their owners had sufficiently recovered from their 
terror to call out. 

* Viva ! Viva I Carlos the cibolero ! ' 


it was he -who liad performed this second feat of 
skill and daring. 

The bull was not yet conquered, howev-:* He 
was only confined within a certain range — tlio circle 
of the lazo — and, rising to his feet, with a furious 
roar he rushed forward at the crowd. Fortunately 
the lazo was not long enough to enable him to reach 
the spectators on either side ; and again he tumbled 
back upon his haunches. There was a scattering on 
all sides, as it was feared he might still slip the 
noose ; but the horsemen had now come up. Fresh 
lazoes were wound about his neck, others tripped up 
his legs, and he was at length flung violently upon 
the ground and his quarters well stretched. 

He was now completely conquered, and would run 
no more ; and as but two bulls had been provided for 
the occasion, the ' coleo de toros' was for that day at 
an end. 

Several lesser feats of horsemanship were next- 
exhibited, while preparations were being made for 
another of the grand games of the day. These were 
by way of interlude, and were of various kinds. One 
was throwing the lazo upon the foot of a person 
running at full speed, noosing him around the ankle, 
and of course tripping him up. This was done by 
men both mounted and a-foot ; and so many accom- 
plished it, that it could hardly be deemed a ' feat ; ' 
nor was it regarded as such among the more bkilful, 
who disdained to take part in it. 

Picking up the hat was nexc exhibited. This con- 
sisted in the rider throwing his hat upon tho ground, 
and then recovering it from the saddle, while his horse 
swept past at full gallop. Nearly every rider on the 


epot was equal to this feat, and only the youngei 
ones looked upon it as a proof of skill. Of these some 
twenty could now he seen wheeling about at a gallop 
and ducking down for their sombreros, which they 
had previously dropped. 

But it is not so easy to pick tip smaller objects, and 
a piece of coin 1} ing flat upon the ground tries the 
skill of the best * cavallero.' 

The Comandanie Yizcarra now stepped forth and 
commanded silence. Placing a Spanish dollar upon 
the smooth turf, he called out, — 

1 This to the m:tn who can take it up at the first 
triaL "Fiv~ gel? onzas that Sergeant Gomez will 
perform the feat ! ' 

There was silence for a while. Five gold * onzas 
(doubloons) was a large sum of money. Only a 

' rico ' could afford to lose buch a sum. 

After a pause, however, there came a reply. A 
young ranchero stepped forth : — 

' Colonel Yizcarra,' said he, ' I will not bet that 
Sergeant Gomez cannot perform the feat ; but I'll 
wager there's another on the ground can do it aa 
well as he. Double the amount if you please." 

' Name } r our man ! ' said Vizcarra. 

4 Carlos the cibolero.' 

' Enough — I accept your wager. Any one else may 
have their trial,' continued Vizcarra, addressing the 
crowd. ' I shall replace the dollar whenever it iff 
taken up — only one attempt, remember ! ' 

Several made the attempt and failed. Some tf uched 
the coin, and even drew it from its position, but no 
one succeeded in lifting it. 

At length a dragoon mounted on a large bay aj>- 


peared in the list, who was recognised as the Ser- 
geant Gomez. He was the Same that had first come 
up with the bull, but failed to fling him ; and no 
doubt that failure dwelling still in his thoughts added 
to the natural gloom of his very sallow face. He was 
a man of large size, unquestionably a good rider, but 
he lacked that symmetrical shape that gives promise 
of sinewy activity. 

The feat required little preparation. The sergeant 
looked to his saddle-girths, disencumbered himself of 
his sabre and belts, and then set his steed in motion. 

In a few minutes he directed his horse so as to 
shave past the shining coin, and then, bending down, 
he tried to seize it. He succeeded in lifting it up 
from the ground ; but, owing to the slight hold he 
had taken, it dropped from his fingers before he had 
got it to the height of the stirrup. 

A shout, half of applause and half of disapprobation, 
came from the crowd. Most were disposed to favour 
him on Vizcarra's account. Not that they loved 
Colonel Vizcarra, but they feared him, and that made 

them loyal. 

The cibolero now rode forth upon his shining 
black. All eyes were turned upon him. His hand- 
some face would have won admiration, but for its 
very fairness. Therein lay a secret prejudice. They 
knew he was not of their race I 

Woman's heart has no prejudice, however ; and 
along that line of dark-eyed ' doncellas ' more than 
one pair of eyes were sparkling with admiration for 
the blond ' Americano,' for of such race was Carlos 
the cibolero. 

Other eyes than woman's looked favourably on the 


cibolero, and other lips murmured applause. Anion 
the half-brutalized Tagnos, with bent limbs and down- 
cast look, there were men who dreamt of days gone 
by ; who knew that their fathers were once free ; 
who in their secret assemblies in mountain cave, or 
in the deep darkness of the ' estufa,' still burned the 
' sacred fire ' of the god Quetzalcoatl — still talked 01 
Moctezuma and Freedom. 

These, though darker than all others, had no pre- 
judice against the fair skin of Carlos. Even over 
their benighted minds the future had cast some rays 
of its light. A sort of nrysterious presentiment, 
apparently instinctive, existed among them, that their 
deliverers from the } T oke of Spanish tyranny would yet 
come from the East — from beyond the great plains ! 

The cibolero scarce deigned to make any prepara- 
tion. He did not even divest himself of his manga, 
but only threw it carelessly back, and left its long 
skirt trailing over the hips of his horse. 

Obedient to the voice of his rider, the animal 
sprang into a gallop; and then, guided by the touch 
of the knees, he commenced circling round the plain, 
increasing his speed as he went. 

Having gained a wide reach, the rider directed his 
horse towards the glittering coin. When nearly over 
it he bent down from the saddle, caught the piece in 
his fingers, flung it up into the air, and then, suddenly 
checking his horse underneath, permitted it to drop 
into his outstretched palm ! 

All this was don-3 with the ease and liability of a 
Hindoo juggler. Even the prejudiced could not re- 
strain their applause ; and loud vivas for ' Carlos tha 
cibolero' again pealed upon the air. 


The sergeant was humiliated. He had for a long 
time been victor in these sports — for Carlos had not 
been present until this day, or had never before taken 
part in them. Yizcarra was little better pleased. 
His favourite humbled — himself tko loser of ten 
golden onzas— no small sum, even to the Coman- 
dante of a frontier Presidio. Moreover, to be jibed 
by the fair senoritas for losing a wager he had him- 
self challenged, and which, no doubt, he felt certain 
of winning. From that moment Vizcarra liked not 
' Carlos the cibolero.' 

The next exhibition consisted in riding at full gallop 
to the edge of a deep * zequia' which passed near the 
spot. The object of this was to show the courage 
and activity of tho rider as well as the high training 
of the steed. 

The zequia— a canal used for irrigation — was of 
such width that a horse could not well leap over it, 
and deeD enough to render it no verv pleasant matter 

_L *— ' iJ J- 

for a horseman to get into. It therefore required both 
skill and daring to accomplish the feat. The animal 
was to arrive upon the bank of tbe canal in full run, 
and to be drawn up suddenly, so that his four feet 
should rest upon the ground inside a certain line. 
This line was marked at less than two lengths of 
himself from the edge of tho drain. Of course the 
bank was quite firm, else the accomplishment of such 
a feat would have been impossible. 

Many succeeded in doing it to perfection ; and an 
admirable piece of horsemanship it was. The horse, 
suddenly checked in his impetuous gallop, upon the 
very brink of the zequia, and drawn back on his 
haunches, with head erect, starting eyeballs, and 


open smoking nostrils, formed a noble picture to look 
upon. Several, however, by "way of contrast, gave 
the crowd a ludicrous picture to laugh at. These 
were either faint-hearted riders, who stopped short 
before arriving near the bank, or bold but unskilful 
ones, who overshot the mark, and went plunge into 
the deep muddy water. Either class of failure was 
hailed by groans and laughter, which the appearance 
of the half-drowned and dripping cavaliers, as they 
sweltered out on the bank, rendered almost continu- 
ous. On the other hand, a w T ell-executed manoeuvre 
elicited vivas of applause. 

No wonder that, under such a system of training 
and emulation, these people are the finest riders in the 
world, and such they certainly are. 

It was observed that Carlos the cibolero took no 
part in this game. What could be the reason 1 His 
friends alleged that he looked upon it as unworthy of 
him. He had already exhibited a skill in horseman- 
ship of a superior kind, and to take part in this would 
be seeking a superfluous triumph. Such was in fact 
the feeling of Carlos. 

But the chagrined Comandante had other views. 
Captain Roblado as well — for the latter had seen, or 
fancied he had seen, a strange expression in the eyes 
of Catalina at each fresh triumph of the cibolero. 
The two * militarios ' had designs of their own. Base 
ones they were, and intended for the humiliation of 
Carlos. Approaching him, they inquired why he had 
yot attempted the last feat. 

' I did not think it worth while/ answered the cibo- 
lero, in a modest tone. 

• Ho ! ' cried Itoblado, tauntingly ; ' my good fellow. 


jrou must have other reasons than that. Ic is not so 
contemptible a feat to rein up on the edge of that 
" zanca." You fear a ducking, I fancy ? ' 

This was uttered in a tone of banter, loud enough 
for all to hear ; and Captain Roblado wound up his 
bj eech with a jeering laugh. 

Now, it was just this ducking that the militarios 
wished to see. They had conceived hopes, that, if 
Carlos attempted the feat, some accident, such as the 
slipping or stumbling of his horse, might lead to 
that result; which to them would have been as grate- 
ful as it would have been mortifying to the cibo- 
lero. A man floundering out of a muddy ditch, and 
drenched to the skin, however daring the attempt that 
led to it, would cut but a sorry figure in the eyes of a 
holiday crowd ; and in such a situation did they wish 

to see Carlos placed. 

Whether the cibolero suspected their object did 
not appear. His reply does not show. WTien it was 
heard, the ' zequia ' and its muddy water were at 
once forgotten. A feat of greater interest occupied 
the attention of the spectators. 


Carlos, seated in his saddle, was sileut for a while. 
He seemed puzzled for a reply. The manner of the 

tore officers, as well as Eoblado"s speech, stung him. 


To have proceeded to the porfonuanco of this very 
common feat after all others had given over, merely 
on the banter of Eoblado and the Comandante, 
would have been vexatious enough ; and yet to re- 
fuse it would lay him open to jeers and insinuations ; 
and, perhaps, this was their design. 

He had reason to suspect some sinister motive. 
He knew something of both the men — of their public 
character — he could not otherwise, as they were lords 
paramount of the place. But of their private charac- 
ter, too, he had some knowledge, and that was far 
from being to their credit. With regard to Eoblado, 
the cibolero had particular reasons for disliking him 
— very particular reasons ; and but that the former 
was still ignorant of a certain fact, he had quite as 
good a reason for reciprocating the dislike. Up to 
this moment Eoblado knew nothing of the cibolero, 

who for the most part of his time was absent from the 
valley. Perhaps the officer had never encountered 
him before, or at all events had never changed words 
with him. Carlos knew him better ; and long ere 
this encounter, for reasons already hinted at, had re- 
garded him with dislike. 

This feeling was not lessened by the conduct of 
the officer on the present occasion. On the contrary, 
the haughty jeering tones fell bitterly upon the ear 
of the cibolero. He replied, at length, * Captain Eo- 
blado, I have said it is not worth my while to perform 
what a muchacldto of ten years old would hardly deem 
a feat. I would not my horse's mouth for 
Buch a pitiful exhibition as running him up on ths 
dge of that harmless glitter; but if " 

* Well, if wb*»* Q ' eagerly inquired Eoblado, taking 


advantage of the pause, and half suspecting Carlos* 

* If y:iu feel disposed to risk a doubloon — I am but 
a poor hunter, and cannot place more- — I shall attempt 
what a muchachito of ten years would consider a feat 
perhaps. 1 

' And what may that be, Senor Cibolero ? ' asked 
the officer, sneeringly. 

' 1 will check my horse at full gallop on the brow of 
yonder cliff!' 

' Within two lengths from the brow ? ' 

' "Within two lengths — less — the same distance that 
is traced here on the banks of the zequia ! * 

The surprise created by this announcement held 
the bystanders for some moments in silence. It was 
a proposal of such wiid and reckless daring that it 
was difficult to believe that the maker of it was in 
earnest. Even the two officers were for a moment 
staggered by it, and inclined to fancy the cibolero 
was not serious but mocking them. 

The cliff to which Carlos had pointed was part of 
the bluff that hemmed in the valley. It was a sort of 
promontory, however, that jutted out from the gene- 
ral line, so as to be a conspicuous object from the 
plain below. Its brow was of equal height with the 
rest of the precipice, of which it was a part — a sort 
of buttress — and the grassy turf that appeared along 
its edge was but the continuation of the upper pla- 
teau. Its front to the valley was vertical, without 
terrace or ledge, although horizontal seams traversing 
: ts face showed a stratification of lime and sandstone 
alternating with each other. From the sward upon 
the valloy to the brow above the height was on» 


thousand feet sheer. To gaze up to it was a trial to 
delicate nerves — to look down put the stoutest to the 

Such was the cliff upon whose edge the cibolero 
proposed to rein up his steed. No wonder the pro- 
posal was received with a surprise that caused a mo- 
mentaiy silence in the crowd. When that passed, 
voices were heard exclaiming, — ' Impossible I ' ' He 
is mad ! ' ' Pah ! he's joking ! ' ' Esta burlando los 
militarios ! ' (He's mocking the military gents) ; and 
suchlike expressions. 

Cas los sat playing with his bridle-rein, and waiting 
for a reply. 

He had not long to wait* V izcarra and Eoblado 
muttered some hasty words between themselves ; and 
then, with an eagerness of manner, Eoblado cried 
out, — 

' I accept the wager ! ' 

' And I another onza ! ' added the Comandante. 

' Senores,' said Carlos, with an air of apparent re- 
gret, ' I am sorry I cannot take both. This doubloon 
is all I have in the world ; and it's not likely I could 
borrow another just now.' 

As he said this Carlos regarded the crowd with a 
smile, but many of these were in no humour for 
smiling. They were really awed by the terrible fate 
which they believed awaited the reckless cibolero, 

A voice, however, answered him ; — 

4 Twenty onzas, Carlos, for any other purpose. Bui 
J cannot encourage this mad project.' 

It was the young ranchero, his former backer, who 


Thank you, Don Juan/ replied the cibolero. ' I 


fcnow you would lend them. Thank you all thi 
same. Do not fear! I'll win the onza. Ha! ha! 
aa ! I haven't been twenty years in the saddle to bo 
bantered by a Gachupino.' 

' Sir ! ' thundered Yizcarraand Eoblado in a breath, 
at the same time grasping the hilts of their swords, 
4 \nd frowning in a fierce threatening manner. 

'Oh! gentlemen, don't be offended,' said Carlos, 
half sneeringly. ' It only slipped from my tongue. 
I meant no insult, I assure you.' 

' Then keep your tongue behind your teeth, my 
good fellow,' threatened Vizcarra. ' Another slip of 
the kind may cost you a fall.' 

( Thank you, Seflor Comandante,' replied Carlos, 
still laughing. ' Perhaps I'll take your advice.' 

The only rejoinder uttered by the Comandante 
was a fierce ' Carrajo ! ' which Carlos did not 
notice ; for at this moment his sister, having heard 
of his intention, sprang down from the carret£ 
and came running forward, evidently in great dis- 

* Oh, brother Carlos ! ' she cried, reaching out her 
arms, and grasping him by the knees, ' Is it true ? 
Surely it is not true ?' 

' What, hermanita ? ' (littlo sister), he asked with a 

< That you " 

She could utter no more, but turned her eyes, and 
pointed to the cliff. 

* Certainly, Eosita, and why not ? For shame, 
girl ! Don't be alarmed— there's nought to fear, I as- 
sure you— I've done the like before.' 

* Doar, dear Carlos, I know vou are a brave horse- 


man — none "braver — but oh ! think of tho danger- 

Dios de mi alma I think of * 

' Pshaw, sister ! don't shame mo "before the people 
— come to mother ! — hear what she will say. I war- 
rant she won't regard it.' And, so saying, the cibo 
lero rode np to the carreta, followed by his sister. 

Poor Eosita ! Eyes gleamed upon you at that mo- 
ment that saw yon for the first time — eyes in whose 
dark orbs lay an expression that boded you no good; 
Your fair form, the angelic beauty of your face — per- 
haps your very grief — awakened interest in a heart 
whose love never meant else than ruin to its object. 
It was the heart of Colonel Yizcarra. 

* Mira ! Eoblado ! ' muttered he to his subordinate 
and fellow-villain. ' See yonder ! Santisima Virgen . 
Saint Guadalupe ! Look, man ! Yenus, as I'm a 
Christian and a soldier! In the name of all the 
eaints, what sky has she fallen from ? * 

4 Por Dios ! I never saw her before,' replied the 
captain ; ' she must be the sister of this fellow : yes 
■hear them ! they address each other as brother and 
sister ! She is pretty ! ' 

'•Ay de raiV sighed the Comandante. 'What a 
godsend ! I was growing dull — very dull of this 
monotonous frontier life. With this new excitement, 
tternaps, I may kill another month. Will she last 
me that long, think you ? ' 

' Scarcely — if she come and go as easily as the rest. 
What I already tired of Inez ? ' 

' Poh ! poh ! loved me too much ; and that I can't 
bear. I would rather too little if anything.' 

* Perhaps this blonde may please you better in tha* 
respect. But, see ! they are off! ' 


As Koblado spoke, Carlos and his sister bad moved 
forward to the carreta which held their aged mother, 
and were soon in conversation with her. 

The Comandanto and his captain, as well as a 
large number of the spectators, followed, and crowded 
around to listen. 

* She wants to persuade me against it, mother,' 
Carlos was heard to say. He had already communi- 
cated his design. ' Without your consent, I will not. 
But hear me, dear mother; I have half pledged my- 
self, and I wish to make good my pledge. It is a 
point of honour, mother.' 

The last phrase was spoken loudly and emphatic- 
ally in the ear of the old woman, who appeared ta 
be a little deaf. 

1 Who wants to dissuade you ? ' she asked, raising 
her head, and glancing upon the circle of faces. 

' Eosita, mother.' 

'Let Eosita to her loom, and weave rebosos — that'" 
what she's fit for. You, my son, can do greats 
things — deeds, ay, deeds ; else have you not in your 
veins the blood of your father. He did deeds — he — 
ha! ha! ha!' 

The strange laugh caused the spectators to start, 
accompanied, as it was, with the wild look of her 

who uttered it. 

' Go ! ' cried she, tossing back her long flax-coloured 
locks, and waving her arms in the air — ' go, Carlos 
the cibolero, and show the tawny cowards — slaves 
that they are — what a free American can do. To the 
cliff! to the cliff!' 

As she uttered the awful command, she sank 


back into the carreta, and relapsed into her former 

Carlos interrogated her no further. The expres- 
sions she had let slip had rendered him somewhat 
eager to close the conversation ; for he noticed that 
they were not lost on several of the bystanders. The 
officers, as well as the priests and alcalde, exchanged 
significant glances while she was uttering them. 

Placing his sister once more in the carreta, and 
giving her a parting embrace, Carlos leaped tc the 
back of his steed, and rode forth upon the plain. 
When at some distance he reined in, and bent his 
jeyes for a moment upon the tiers of benches where 
•sat the senoras and sefioritas of the town. A commo- 
tion could be observed among them. They had heard 

of the intended feat, and many would have dissuaded 
the cibolero from the perilous attempt. 

There was one whose heart was full to bursting — 
full as that of Carlos' own sister ; and yet she dared 
not show it to those around. She was constrained tc 
sit in silent agony, and suffer. 

Carlos knew this. He drew a white handkerchief 
from his bosom, and waved it in the air, as though 
bidding seme one an adieu. "Whether he was 
answered could not be told ; but the next moment he 
wheeled his horse, and galloped off towards the cliffs. 

There were conjectures among the senoras and 
sefioritas, among the poblanas too, as to who was the 
recipient of that parting salute. Many guesses were 
aiade, many names mentioned, and scandal ran thb 
rounds. One only of all knew in her heart for whom 
ihe compliment was meant— in her haart overflowing 
*ith love and fear. 



All wio had horses followed the cibolero, who vxw 
directed himself towards a path that led from the 
valley to the table above. This path wound up ths 
cliffs by zigzag turnings, and was the only one by 
which the upper plain could be reached at that point, 
A corresponding road traversed the opposite bluff, so 
that the valley might he here crossed ; and this was 
the only practicable crossing for several miles up and 

Though but a thousand feet separated the valley 
and table-land, the path leading from one to the other 
was nearl} 7 a mile in length ; and as it was several 
miles from the scene of the festival to the bottom of 
the cliff, only those accompanied Carlos who were 
mounted, with a few others determined to witness 
every manoeuvre of this fearful attempt. Of course, 
the officers were of the party who went up. The rest 
of the people remained in the valley, but moved for- 
ward in the direction of the cliffs, so that they would 
be able to observe the more interesting and thrilling 
part of the spectacle. 

For more than an hour those on the plain were 
cept waiting ; but they did not allow the time to 
pass unimproved. A monte table had been spread out 


over which both gold and silver changed handa 
rapidly, the two padres of the mission being among 
the highest bettors ; and the senoras, among them- 
selves, had a quiet little game of their favourite chuza. 
A * main ' between a pair of sturdy chanticleers, one 
belonging to the alcalde and the other to the cum (!), 
furnished the interlude for another half-hour. In 
this contest the representative of the Church was 
triumphant. His grey cock ( i pardo ') killed the al- 
calde's red one at a single blow, by striking one 01 
his long steel galves through the latter's head. This 
was regarded as a very interesting and pleasant spec- 
tacle by all on the ground — ladies included, and al- 
calde excepted. 

By the time the cock-fight was finished, the atten- 
tion of the crowd became directed to the movements 
of the party who had gone up to the upper plain. 
These were now seen along the edge of the cliff, and 
by their manoeuvres it was evident they were engaged 
in arranging the preliminaries of the perilous adven- 
ture. Let us join them. 

The cibolero, on gaining the ground, pointed out 
the spot where he had proposed to execute his daring 
design. From the plain above the cliffs were not 
visible, and even the great abyss of the valley itself 
could not be seen a hundred paces back from the 
edge of the bluff. There was no escarpment or slope 
of any kind. The tuif ran in to the very edge of the 
precipice, and on the same level with the rest of the 
plain. It was smooth and firm — covered with a short 
sward of gramma grass. There was neither break nor 
pebble to endanger the hoof. No accident could arise 
from that cause. 


The spot chosen, as already stated, Mas a sort oi 
buttress-like promontory that stood out from the line 
of blufls. This formation was more conspicuous 
from below. Viewing it from above, it resembled a 
tongue-like continuation of the plain. 

Carlos first rode out to its extremity, and carefully 
examined the turf. It was just of the proper firm- 
ness to preclude the possibility of a horse's hoof either 
sliding or sinking into it. He was accompanied by 
Vizcarra, Eoblado, and others. Many approached tho 
spot, but kept at a safe distance from the edge of the 
horrid steep. Though denizens of this land of grand 
geological features, there were many present who 
dreaded to stand upon the brow of that fearful ledge 
and look below. 

The cibolero sat upon his horse, on its very edge, 
as calm as if he had been on the banks of the zequia, 
and directed the marking of tho line. His horse 
showed no symptoms of nervousness. It was evident 
he was well trained to such situations. Now and 
then he stretched out his neck, gazed down into the 
valley, and, recognising some of his kind below, 
uttered a shrill neigh. Carlos purposely kept him on 
the cliff, in order to accustom him to it before making 
the terrible trial. 

The line was soon traced, less than two lengths of 
the horse from the last grass on the turf. Vizcarra 
and Itoblad? • would have insisted upon short mea- 
sure ; but their proposal to curtail it was received 
with murmurs of disapprobation and mutterings of 
• Shame I ' 

What did these men want ? Though not evident 
to the crowd, they certainly desired the death of the 


cibolero. Both had their reasons- Both hated the 
Vian. The cause or causes of their hatred were ol 
late growth, — with Eoblado still later than his Co* 
mandante. He had observed something within the 
hour that had rendered him furious. He had ob- 
served the waving of that white kerchief ; and as he 
Btood by the stand he had seen to whom the * adios 
was addressed. It had filled him with astonishment 
and indignation ; and his language to Carlos had as- 
sumed a bullying and brutal tone. 

Horrible as such a supposition may seem, both ha 
and Vizcarra would have rejoiced to see the cibolero 
tumble over the bluff. Horrible indeed it seems; 
but such were the men, and the place, and the times, 
that there is nothing improbable in it. On the con- 
trary, cases of equal barbarity — wishes and acts still 
more inhuman — are by no means rare under the skies 
of * Nuevo Mexico.' 

The young ranchero, who had accompanied the 
party to the upper plain, insisted upon fair play. 
Though but a ranchero, he was classed among the 
*ricos,' and, being a fellow of spirit, urged Carlos' 
rights, even in the face of the moustached and scowl- 
ing militarios. 

' Here, Carlos ! ' cried he, while the arrangements 
were progressing; ( Isee you are bent on this mad- 
ness ; and since I cannot turn you from it, I shall 
not embarrass you. But you sha'n't risk yourself for 
such a trifle. My purse ! bet what sum you will.' 

As he said this, he held out a purse to the cibolero > 
which, from its bulk, evidently contained a largQ 

Carlos regarded the purse for a moment without 


making answer. He was evidently gratified by the 
noble offer. His countenance showed that he was 
deeply touched by the kindness of the youth. ' No/ 
said he, at length; 'no, Don Juan. I thank you 
with all my heart, but I cannot take your purse— one 
onza, nothing more. I should like to stake one 
against the Comandante.' 

' As many as you please,' urged the ranchero. 

* Thank you, Don Juan ! only one — that with my 
own will be two. — Two onzas ! — that, in faith, is the 
largest bet I have ever made. Vaya ! a poor cibolero 
staking a double onza ! ' 

' A Veil, then,' replied Don Juan, ' if you don't, I 
shall. Colonel Vizcarra ! ' said he aloud, addressing 
himself to the Comandante, ' I suppose you would 
like to win back your wager. Carlos will now take 

your bet for the onza, and I challenge you to place 

' Agreed ! ' said the Comandante, stiffly. 

* Dare you double it ? ' inquired the ranchero. 

' Dare I, sir ? ' echoed the Colonel, indignant at 
being thus challenged in the presence of the spec- 
tators. ' Quadruple it, if yon wish, sir.' 

' Quadruple then ! ' retorted the other, * Forty 
onzas that Carlos performs the feat ! ' 

* Enough ! deposit your stakes : ' 

The golden coins were counted out, and held bj 
one of the bystanders, and judges were appointed. 

The arrangements having been completed, the spec- 
tators drew back upon the plain, and left the cibolero 
in full possession of the promontory — alone with hi* 



All stood watching him with interested eyes. Evwy 
movemen; was noted. 

He first alighted from the saddle, stripped off his 
manga, had it carried back and placed out of the way. 
He next looked to his spurs, to see that the straps 
were properly buckled. After this he re-tied his 
sash, and placed the sombrero firmly on his head. 
He buttoned his velveteen calzoneros down nearly to 
his ankles, so that their leathern bottoms might not 
fiap open and discommode him. His hunting-knife 
along with his ' whip ' were sent back to the charge 
of Don Juan. 

His attention was next turned to his horse, that 
stood all this while curving his neck proudly as 
though he divined that he was to be called upon for 
some signal service. The bridle was first scrutinised. 
The great bit — a Mameluke — was carefully examined, 
lest there mi^ht be some flaw or crack in the steel. 
The head-strap was buckled to its proper tightness, 
and then the reins were minutely scanned. These 
were of the hair of wild horses' tails closely and 
neatly plaited. Leather might snap, there was nc 
fear of breaking such cords as these. 

The saddle now had its turn. Passing from side t<? 


tide, Carlos tried both stirrup-leathers, and examined 
the great -wooden blocks which formed the stirrups. 
The girth was the last as well as most important 
object of his solicitude. He loosed the buckles on 
both sides, and then tightened them, using his knees 
to effect his purpose. When drawn to his liking, the 
tip of the finger could not have been passed under the 
strong leathern band. 

No wonder he observed all this caution. The 
snapping of a strap, or the slipping of a buckle, might 
have hurled him into eternity. 

Having satisfied himself that all was right, ho 
gathered up the reins, and leaped lightly into the 


He first directed his horse at a walk along the cliff, 
and within a few feet of its edge. This was to 
strengthen the nerves both of himself and the animal. 
Presently the walk became a trot, and then a gentle 
canter. Even this was an exhibition fearful to behold. 
To those regarding it from below it was a beautiful 
but terrible spectacle. 

After a while he headed back towards the plain, 
and then stretching into a fair gallop — the gait in 
which he intended to approach the cliff — he suddenly 
reined up again, so as to throw his horse nearly on 
his flanks. Again he resumed the same gallop and 
again reined up ; and this manoeuvre he repeated at 
least a dozen times, now with his horse's head turned 
towards the cliffs, and now in the direction of the 
plain. Of course this gallop was far from being the 
full speed of the animal. That was not bargained 
for. To draw a horse up at race-course speed withia 
-wo lengths of himself would be an utter impossibility. 


even by sacrificing the life of the animal. A shot 
passing through his heart would not check a racer in 
so short a space. A fair gallop was all that could 
be expected under the circumstances, and the judges 
expressed themselves satisfied with that which was 
exhibited before them. Carlos had put the question. 
At length he was seen to turn his horse towards 
the cliff, and take his firmest seat in the saddle. The 
determined glance of his eyes showed that the mo- 
ment had come for the final trial. 

A slight touch of the spur set the noble brute in 
motion, and in another second he was in full gallop, 
and heading directly for the cliff ! 

The gaze of all was fixed with intense earnestness 
upon that reckless horseman. Every heart heaved 
with emotion ; and, beyond their quick breathing, 
not an utterance escaped from the spectators. The 
only sounds heard were the hoof-strokes of the horse 
as they rang back from the hard turf of the plain. 

The suspense was of short duration. Twenty 
strides brought horse and horseman close to the verge, 
within half-a-dozen lengths. The rein still hung 
loose — Carlos dared not tighten it — a touch he knew 
would bring his hoi'se to a halt, and that before he 
had crossed the line would only be a failure. 

Another leap,— another, — yet another ! Ho ! he in 
inside — Great God [ He will be over ! 

Such exclamations rose from the spectators as they 
saw the horseman cross the line, still in a gallop; 
out the next moment a loud cheer broke from both 
crowds, and the ' vivas ' of those in the valley wore 
answered by similar shouts from ttose who witnessed 
the feat from above. 


Just as the horse appeared about to spring over the 
horrid brink, the reins were observed suddenly to 

tighten, the fore-hoofs became fixed and spread, and 
the hips of the noble animal rested upon the plain. 
He was poised at scarce three feet distance from tho 
edge of the cliff] "While in this attitude the horse- 
man raised his right hand, lifted his sombrero, and 
after waving it round returned it to his head I 

A splendid picture from below. The dark forms 
of both horse and rider were perceived as they drew 
up on the clifF, and the imposing and graceful attitude 
was fully developed against the blue background of 
the sky. The arms, the limbs, the oval outlines of 
the steed, even the very trappings, could be seen dis- 
tinctly ; and for the short period in which they were 
poised and motionless, the spectator might have 
fancied an equestrian statue of bronze, its pedestal 
the pinnacle of the cliff ! 

This period was but of a moment's duration, but, 
during its continuance, the loud * vivas ' pealed upon 
the air. Those looking from below saw the horseman 
suddenly wheel, and disappear beyond the brow-line 
of the bluff. 

The daring feat was ended and over ; and hearts, 
but a moment ago throbbing wildly within tender 
yosoms, now returned to their soft and regular 





WaEx the cibolero returned to the plain, he waa 
received with a fresh burst of vivas, and kerchiefs 

were waved to greet him. One only caught his eye, 
• — but that was enough. lie saw not the rest, nor 
cared to see them. That little perfumed piece of 
cambric, with its lace border, was to him an ensign 
;)f hope — a banner that would have beckoned him on 
to achieve deeds of still higher daring. He saw it 
held aloft by a small jewelled hand, and waved in 
triumph for him. He was happy. 

He passed the stand, rode up to the carreta, and, 
dismounting, kissed his mother and sister. He was 
followed bj r Don Juan, his backer; — and there were 
those who noticed that the eyes of the blonde were 
not always upon her brother : there was another on 
the ground who shared their kind glances, and that 
other was the young ranchero. No one, not even the 
dullest, could fail to notice that theso kind glances 
were more than repaid. It was an affair of mutuaJ 
and understood love, beyond a doubt. 

Though Don Juan was a rich young farmer, and 
by courtesy a * Don,' yet in rank he was but a degree 
tbove the cibolero — the decree which wealth confers 


Ho was not one of the high aristocracy of the place, 

— about that he cared little ; but he had the character 
of being a brave, spirited young fellow ; and in time;, 
if he desired it. might mingle with the * sangre azul.* 
It was not likely he ever should — at least through the 
influence of marriage. Any one who was witness to 
the ardent glances exchanged between his eyes and 
those of the cibolero's sister, would prophesy with 
ease that Don Juan was not going to marry among 
the aristocracy. 

It was a happy little group around the carreta, and 
there was feasting, too, — dulses, and orgeat, and wine 
from El Taso of the best vintage. Don Juan was not 
afraid to ppend money, and he had no reason on that 
occasion, with fifty onzas of clear gain in his pocket 
■ — a fact that by no means sat easily on the mind 01 

the Comandante. 

The latter was observed, with a clouded counte- 
nance, strolling around, occasionally approaching the 
carreta, and glancing somewhat rudely towards the 
group. His glances were, in fact, directed on Eosita, 
and tne consciousness of his almost despotic power 
rendered him careless of concealing his designs. His 
admiration was expressed in such a manner that many 
could perceive it. The poor girl's eyes fell timidly 
when they encountered his, and Don Juan, having 
noticed it, was not without feelings of anger as well 
as uneasiness. He knew the character of the Co- 
mandante, as well as the dangerous power with which 
he* was armed. Liberty ! what a glorious thing 
art thou ! How many hopes are blighted, how many 
loves crossed, and hearts crushed, in a land where 
thou art not ! where the myrmidons of tyranny have 


power to thwart the purpose of a life, or arrest tha 
natural flow of its affections ! 

Several games were yet carried on upon the plain, 
but they were without general interest. The splendid 
feat of the cibolero had eclipsed all lesser exhibitions 
tor the time ; besides, a number of the head men were 
out of humour. Vizcarra was sad, and Eoblado savage 
— jealous of Catalina. The alcalde and his assistant 
were in a vexed state, as both had bet heavy sums on 
the red cock. Both the padres had lost at monte\ and 
they were no longer in a Christian spirit. The cum 
alone was in good spirits, and ready to back the 
'pardo' for another main. 

The concluding game was at length heralded. It 
was to be the ' Correr el gallo ' (ninning the cock). 
As this is rather an exciting sport, the monte tables 
and other minor amusements were once more put 
aside ; and all prepared to watch ' el gallo.' 

'Running the cock' is a New Mexican game in all 
its characteristics. It is easily described. Thus : A 
cock is suspended by the limbs to a horizontal branch, 
at just such a height that a mounted man may lay 
hold of his head and neck hanging downward. The 
bird is fastened in such a manner that a smart pluck 
will detach him from the tree ; while, to render this 
the more difficult, both head and neck are well 
*overed with soap. The horseman must be in full 
gallop while passing under the branch ; and he wno 
succeeds in plucking down the cock is pursued by all 
the others, who endeavour to rob him of the prize. 
He has a fixed point to run round, and his goal is the 
tree from which he started. Sometimes he is over- 
taken *bre reaching this, the cock snatched from 


him, — or, as not unfrequently happens, torn to pieces 
in the contest. Should he succeed in getting back — 
etill retaining the bird entire — he is then declared 
victor. The scene ends by his laying his prize at the 
feet of his mistress ; and she — usually some pretty 
poblana — appears that same evening at the fandango 
with the feathered trophy under her arm — thus sig- 
nifying her appreciation of the compliment paid her, 
as well as giving to the fandangueros ocular proof of 
the fact that some skilful horseman is her admirer. 
It is a cruel sport, for it must be remembered that 
the poor cock who undergoes all this plucking and 
mangling is a living bird! It is doubtful whether a 
thought of the cruelty ever entered the mind of a New 
Mexican. If so, it must have been a New Mexican 
woman; for the humanity of these is in an inverse 
ratio to that of their lords. For the women it may 
be urged that the sport is a cus'om of the country; 
and what country is without its cruel sports ? Is it 
rational or consistent to weep over the sufferings of 
Chanticleer, while wo ride gaily upon the heels of 
poor broken Reynard ? 

There are two modes of the ' Correr el gallo.' The 
first has been described. The second onlv differs from 
it in the fact that the cock, instead of being tied to a 
tree, is buried up to his shoulders in the earth. The 
horsemen, as before, pass in routine — each bending 
from his saddle, and striving to pluck the bird out of 
the ground. For the rest the conditions aie the same 

as before. 

The first cock was hung to a bran on ; and the com 
petitors having taken their places in a line, the game 


Several made the attempt, and actually seized the 
birds head, but the soap foiled them. 

The dragoon sergeant was once more a competitor ; 
but whether his colonel made any further bet upon 
him is not known. The Comandante had gambled 
enough for that day ; and but for a little peculation 
which he enjoyed upon the mining ' derechos,' and 
other little customs dues, he would have felt his losses 
still more severely. Out of the derechos, however, 
he knew he could square himself at the expense of 
the vice-regal government. 

The sergeant, who, as already stated, had the ad- 
vantage of a tall figure and a tall horse, was able to 
get a full grasp at the neck of the bird ; and being 
already provided, as was afterwards ascertained, with 
a fistful of sand, he took the prize with him, and 
galloped off. 

But there were swifter horses than his on the 
ground ; and before he could double the turning-post 
he was overtaken by an active vaquero, and lost a 
wing of his bird. Another wing was plucked from 
him by a second pursuer ; and he returned to the tree 
with nothing but a fragment left ! Of course he 
received neither vivas nor cheers. 

Carlos the cibolero took no part in this contest. 
Be knew that he had won glory enough, for that day 
— that he had made both friends and enemies, and he 
did not desire to swell the list of either. Some of 
the bystanders, however, began to banter him, wish- 
ing, no doubt, to see him again exhibit his fine horse- 
manship. He withstood this for some time, until 
two more cocks were plucked from the tree — the 
vacpiero already alluded to carrying one of them 


clear, and laying it at the feet of his smiling sweet- 

A new thought seemed now to have entered the 
mind of Carlos, and ho was seen riding into the lists, 
evidently about to take part in the next race. 

* It will bo some time before I can be present at 
another fiesta/ remarked he to Don Juan. * Day 
after to-morrow I start for the plains. So I'll take 
all the sport I can out of this one.' 

An innovation was now introduced in the game. 
The bird was buried in the ground ; and its long 
neck and sharp-pointed bill showed that it was no 
cock, but a snow-white ' gruya,' one of the beautiful 
species of herons common in these regions. Its fine 
tapering neck was not soiled with soap, but left in 
its natural state. In this case the chances of failure 
lay in the fact that, loosely buried as it was, the 
gruya would not allow its bead to be approached by 
a hand, but jerked it from side to side, thus render- 
ing it no easy matter to get hold of it. 

The signal being given, away went the string 
of horsemen ! Carlos was among the last, but on 
oming up he saw the white bending neck still there. 
His hand was too quick for the bird, and the next 
moment it was dragged from the yielding sand, and 
flapping its snowy wings over the withers of his 

It required not only speed on the part of Carlos, 
but great adroitness, to pass the crowd of horsemen, 
who now rushed from all points to intercept him. 
Here he dashed forward — there reined up — anon 
wheeled round a rider, and passed behind him ; and, 
after a dozen such manoeuvres, the black horse wai 


seen shooting off towards the turning-post alonei 
This passed, he galloped back to the goal, and hold- 
ing tip his prize, unstained and intact, received the 
applause of the spectators. 

There was a good deal of guessing and wondering 
& to who would be the recipient of the trophy. 
Some girl of his own rank, conjectured the crowd ; 
some poblana or ranchero's daughter. The cibolero- 
did not seem in haste to gratify their curiosity ; but, 
after a few minutes, he astonished them all, by fling- 
ing the gruya into the air, and suffering it to fly off. 
The bird rose majestically upward, and then, drawing 
in its long neck, was seen winging its way toward 
the lower end of the valley. 

It was observed that before parting with the bird 
Carlos had plucked from its shoulders the long 
gossamer-like feathers that distinguish the heron 
species. These he was tying into a plume. 

Having accomplished this, he put spurs to his 
horse, and, galloping up to the front of the stand, he 
bent gracefully forward, and deposited the trophy at 
the feet of Catalina de Cruces ! 

A murmur of surprise ran through the crowd, and 
sharp censure followed fast, ^hat ! a cibolero,' — a 
poor devil, of whom nothing was known, aspire to 
the smiles of a rico's daughter ? It was not a compli- 
ment. It was an insult ! Presumption intolerable I 

And these critiques were not confined to the 
senoras and senoritas. The pobianas and rancheras 
were as bitter as they. These felt themselves slighted 
■ — passed by — regularly jilted — by one of their own 
class. Catalina de Cruces, indeed ! 

Catalina — her situation was pleasant, yet painful 


•—painful, because embarrassing. She smiled, then 

blushed, uttered a soft * Graciasj cavallero I ' yet hesi- 
tated a moment whether to take up the trophy. A 
3cowling father had started to his feet on one side, on 
the other a scowling lover. The last was Eoblado. 

1 Insolent ! ' cried he, seizing the plume, and fling- 
ing it to the earth ; ' insolent ! ' 

Carlos bent down from his saddle, once more laid 
hold of the plume, and stuck it under the gold band 
of his hat. Then, turning a defiant glance upon the 
officer, he said, ' Don't lose your temper, Captain Eo- 
blado. A jealous lover makes but an indifferent 
Husband.' And transferring his look to Catalina, he 
added with a smile, and in a changed tone, ' Gracias, 
senorita ! ' 

As he said this he doffed his sombrero, and, waving 
it gracefully, turned his horse and rode off. 

Eoblado half drew his sword, and his loud ' Car- 
rajo ! ' along with the muttered imprecations of Don 
Ambrosio, reached the ears of the cibolero. But the 
captain was far from brave, with all his swagger ; and 
seeing the long machete of the horseman strapped 
over his hips, he vented his spite in threats only, and 
suffered Carlos to depart. 

The incident had created no small excitement, and 
a good deal of angry feeling. The cibolero had 
roused the indignation of the aristocracy, and the 
jealousy and envy of the democracy; so that, after all 
his brilliant performances, lie was likely to leave the 
field anything but a favourite. The wild words of 
his strange old mother had been widely reported, 
and national hatred was aroused, so that his skill 
called forth envy instead of admiration. An angeL 


indeed, should he have been to have won friendship 
there — he an Americano — a 'heretico' — for in thie 
for corner 01 the earth fanaticism was as Herce as in 
the Seven- hilled City itself during the gloomiest days 
of the Inquisition ! 

Mayhap it was as well for Carlos that the sports 
were now ended, and the fiesta about to close. 

In a few minutes the company began to move off 
The mules, oxen, and asses, were yoked to the car- 
retas — the rancheros and rancheras climbed inside 
the deep boxes ; and then, what with the cracking of 
quirts, the shouts of drivers, and tr. e hideous scream- 
ing of the ungreased axles, a concert of sounds arose 
that would have astonished any human being, except 
a born native of the soil. 

In half-an-hour the ground was clear, and the lean 
coyote might be seen skulking over the spot in search 
of a morsel for his hungry maw. 


Though the field-sports were over, the fiesta of Sac 
Juan was not yet ended. There were still x^any 
sights to be seen before the crowd scattered to their 
homes. There was to bo another turn at the church 
— another sale of 'indultos,' beads, and relics, — 
another sprinkling of sacred water, in order that the 
coffers of the padres might be replenished toward* 


ft fresh bout at the monte table. Tlien there was an 
evening procession of the Saint of the day (John), 
whoso image, set upon a platform, was carried about 
the town, until the five or six fellows who bore the 
load were seen to perspire freely under its weight. 

The Saint himself was a curiosity. A largo wax 
and plaster doll, dressed in faded silk that had once 
been yellow, and stuck all over with feathers and 
tinsel. A Catholic image Indianized, for the Mexican 
divinities as much Indian as Homa.ii. He ap- 
peared „ ed of the business, as, tho joinings between 
head and neck having partially given way, tho 
former drooped over and nodded to the crowd as the 
image was moved along. This nodding, however, 
which would have been laughed at as supremely ridi- 
culous in any other than a priest-ridden country, was 

hero regarded in a different light. The padres did 
not fail to put their interpretation upon it, pointing 
it out to their devout followers as a mark of conde- 
scension on the part of the Saint, who, in thus bowing 
to the crowd, was expressing his approbation of their 
proceedings. It was, in fact, a regular miracle. So 
alleged both padres and cura, and who was there to 
contradict them ? It would have been a dangerous 
matter to have said nay. In San Ildefonso no man 
dared to disbelieve the word of the Church. The 
miracle worked well. The religious enthusiasm 
ooiled up ; and when St. John was returned to his 
niche, and the little ' cofre ' placed in front of him, 
many a ' peseta,' ' real,' and ' cuartillo,' were dropped 
in, which would otherwise have been deposited that 
uight in the mont J hank. 
Nodding Saints and * winking Madonnas ' are by 


no means a novel contrivance of the Holy Church, 
The padres of its Mexican branch have had their 
wonderful saints too ; and even in the almost terra 
ignota of New Mexico can be found a few of them that 
have performed as smart miracles as any recorded in 
the whole jugglery of the race. 

A pyrotechnic display followed — and no mean ex ■ 
hibition of the sort neither — for in this ' art ' the New 
Mexicans are adepts- A fondness for ' fireworks ' is a 
singular but sure characteristic of a declining nation. 

Give me the statistics of pyrotechnic powder burnt 
by a people, and I shall tell you the standard mea- 
sure of their souls and bodies. If the figure be a 
maximum, then the physical and moral measure will 
be the minimum, for the ratio is inverse. 

I stood in the Place de Concorde, and saw a whole 
nation — its rich and its poor — gazing on one of these 
pitiful spectacles, got up for the purpose of duping 
them into contentment. It was the price paid them 
for parting with their liberty, as a child parts with 
a valuable gem for a few sugar-plums. They were 
gazing with a delight that seemed enthusiasm! I 
looked upon scrubby, stunted forms, a foot shorter 
than were their ancestors. I looked upon eyes that 
gleamed with demoralized thought. 

These were the representatives of a once great 
people, and who still deem themselves the first of 
mankind. I felt sure that this was an illusion. The 
pyro-spectacle and its reception convinced me that I 
saw before me a people who had passed the culminat- 
ing point of their greatness, and were now gliding 
rapidly down the declining slope that loads to anni- 
hilation and nothingness. 


After the fireworks came the l fandango. There 
ire meet the same faces, without much alteration in 
the costumes. The senoras and senoritas alone have 
doffed their morning dresses, and here and there a 
pretty poblana has changed her coarse woollen 
*i)agua' for a ga} r flounced muslin. 

The ball was held in the large saloon of the ' Casa 
de Cabildo,' which occupied one side of the * Plaza.' 
On this festival day there was no exclusiveness. In 
the frontier towns of Mexico not much at any time, 
for, notwithstanding the distinctions of class, and the 
domineering tyrannj' of the government authorities, 
in matters of mere amusement there is a sort of de- 
mocratic equality, a mingling of high and low, that 
in other countries is rare. English, and even Ameri 
can travellers, have observed this with astonishment. 

All were admitted to the ' Salon de baile ' who 
chose to pay for it ; and alongside the rico in fine 
broad-cloth you might see the ranchero in his 
leathern jacket and velveteen calzoneros ; while the 
daughter of the rich comerciante danced in the same 
eet with the ' aldeana/ whose time was taken up in 
kneading tortillas or weaving rebosos ! 

The Comandante with Boblado and the lieutenant 
figured at the fandango in full uniform. The alcalde 
■was there with his gold-headed cane and tassel ; the 
cura in his shovel hat ; the padres in their swinging 

robes ; and all the ' familias principales ' of the 

There was the rich comerciante, Don Jose Ein- 
*on, with his fat wife and four fat sleepy-looking 
daughters — there, too, the wife and family of the al- 
calde- -there the Echevarrias, with their brother the 


beau ' In full Paris costume, with dross coat and 
crush hat — the only one to be seen in the saloon. 
There, too, tlio rich hacendado, Senor Gomez del 
Mont6, with his lean wife and several rather leaa 
daughters — differing in that respect from the hun- 
dreds of kine that roam over the pastures of his 

ganada.' And there, too, obsei-ved of all, was the 
lovely Catalina de Graces, the daughter of the 
wealthy miner Don Ambrosio, who himself is by her 
side, keeping a watchful eye upon her. 

Besides these grand people there were employes of 
the mines of less note, clerks of the comerciantes, 
young farmers of the valley, gambucinos, vaqueros, 
ciboleros, and even ' leperos ' of the town, shrouded in 
their cheap serapes. A motley throng was the fan- 
The music consisted of a bandolon, a harp, ana 

fiddle, and the dances were the waltz, the bolero, and 
the coona. It is but just to say that finer dancing 
could not have been witnessed in the saloons of Paris, 
Even the peon, in his leathern spencer and caizo- 
neros, moved as gracefully as a professor of the art; 
and the poblanas, in their short skirts and gay 
coloured slippers, swept over the floor like so many 
coryphees of the ballet. 

Robladc, as usual, was pressing his attentions on 
Catalina, and danced almost every set with her ; but 
her eye wandered from his gold epaulettes and seem- 
ed to search the room for some otke^ object. She 
was evidently indifferent to the remark? *^£ her part- 
ner, and tired of his company. 

Vizcarra's eyes were also in search of some one that 
jd not appear to be present, for the Comandante 


strolled to and fro, peering into eveij' group and 
corner with a' dissatisfied look. 

If it was the fair blonde he was looking for . ho 
would be unsuccessful. She was not thore. Kosita 
and her mother had returned home after the exhibi- 
tion of the fireworks. Their house was far down the 
valley, and they had gone to it, accompanied by 
Carlos and the 3'oung ranchero. These, however, 
had returned to bo present at the fandango. It was 
late before they made their appearance, the road 
having detained them. This was why the eye of 
Catalina wandered. Unlike Vizcarra, however, she 
was not to meet with disappointment. 

While the dance was going on two young men en- 
tered the saloon, and soon mingled with the company. 
One of them was tho young ranchero, the other was 
Carlos. Tho latter might easily have been distin 
guished by the heron-plume that waved over his black 

The eye of Catalina was no longer restless. It was 
now directed upon an object, though its glances were 
not fixed, but quick and stolen — stolen, because of 
the observation of an angiy father and a jealous 

Carlos assumed indifference, though his heart was 
burning. What would he not have given to have 
danced with her? But he knew the situation toe 
well. He knew that the offer of such a thing would 
lead to a seen*. He dared not propose it. 

At times he fancied that she had ceased to regard 
him — that she even listened with interest to Eobladc 
1 — to the beau Echevarria — to others. This was but 
Cataiina's fine acting. It was meant for other eyes 


than those of Carlos, "but he knew not that, and be 
came piqued. 

Ho grew restless, and danced. He chose for nis 
partner a very pretty ' aldeana,' Inez Gonzales by 
name, who was delighted to dance with him. Cata- 
lina saw this, and became jealous in turn. 

This play continued for a length of time, but Car 
los at length grew tired of his partner, and sat down 
upon the banqueta alone. His eyes followed the move- 
ments of Catalina. He saw that hers were bent 
upon him with glances of love, — love that had been 
avowed in words, — yes, had already been plighted 
upon oath. AYhy should they suspect each other ? 

The confidence of both hearts was restored ; and 
now the excitement of the dance, and the less zealous 
guardianship of Don Ambrosio, half drunk with wine, 
gave confidence to their eyes, and they gazed more 
boldly and frequently at one another. 

The ring of dancers whirling round the room 
passed close to where Carlos sat. It was a waltz. 
Catalina was waltzing with the beau Echevarria. At 
each circle her face was towards Carlos, and then 
their eyes met. In these transient but oft-recurring 
glances the eyes of a Spanish maid will speak vo- 
lumes, and Carlos was reading in those of Catalina a 
pleasant tale. As she came round the room for the 
third time, he noticed something held between her 
fingers, which rested over the shoulder of her partner. 
It was a sprig with leaves of a dark greenish hue. 
"When passing close to him, the sprig, dexterously 
detached, fell upon his knees, while he could just 
bear, uttered in a soft whisper, the word — ■' Tuya I ' 

(.Carlos caught the sprig, which wae a branch o 


'tnya,' 01 cedar. He well understood its signifi- 
cance ; an I after pressing it to his lips, he passed it 
Jnough the button -hole of his embroidered 'jaqueta.* 
As Catalina came round again, the glances ex- 
changed between them were those of mutual and 
confiding love. 

The night wore on— Don Ambrosio at length be* 

came sleepy, and carried off his daughter, escorted by 


Soon after most of the ricos and fashionables left 
the saloon, but some tireless votaries of Terpsichore 
still lingered until the rosy Aurora peeped through 
the ' rejas ' of the Casa de Cabildo. 


The 'Llano Estacado/ or * Staked Plain* of the 
hunters, is one of the most singular formations of 
the Great American Prairie. It is a table-land, or 
'steppe/ rising above the regions around it to a 
height of nearly one thousand feet, and of an oblong 
or leg-of-mutton form, trending from north to south. 

It is four hundred miles in length, and at its 
widest part between two and three hundred. Its su- 
perficial area is about equal to the island of Ireland 
Tte surface aspect differs considerably from the rest 



of prairie-land, nor is it of uniform appearance in 
every part. Its northern division consists of an arid 
steppe, sometimes treeless, for an extent of fifty miles, 
and sometimes having a stunted covering of mezquite 
(acacia)) of which there are two distinct species. This 
steppe is in several places rent by chasms a thousand 
feet in depth, and walled in on both sides by rugged 
impassable precipices. Vast masses of shapeless 
rocks lie along the beds of these great clefts, and 
pools of water appear at long intervals, while stunted 
cedars grow among the rocks, or cling from the seams 
of the cliffs. 

Such chasms, called ' canons/ can only be crossed, 
or even entered, at certain points ; and these passes 
are frequently a score of miles distant from .each 

On the upper plain the surface is often a dead level 
for a hundred miles, and as firm as a macadamized 
road. There are spots covered with a turf of grass 
of the varieties known as gramma, buffalo, and mez- 
quite ; and sometimes the traveller encounters a re- 
gion where shallow ponds of different sizes stud the 
plain — a few being permanent, and surrounded by 
sedge. Most of these ponds are more or less brackish, 
some sulphurous, and others perfectly salt. After 
heavy rains such aqueous deposits are more numer- 
ous, and their waters sweeter; but rain seems to fall 
by accident over this desolate region, and after long 
spells of drought the greater number of these ponda 
disappear altogether. 

Towards the southern end of tho Llano Estacado 
the surface exhibits a very singular phenomenon — a 
belt of sand-hills, nearly twenty miles in breadth and 


fall fifty in length, stretching north and south upon 
the plain. These hills are of pure -white sand, 
thrown up in ridges, and sometimes in cones, to the 
height of a hundred feet, and without tree, bush, or 
shrub, to break their soft outlines, or the uniformity 
of their colour. But the greatest anomaly of this geo- 
logical puzzle is, that water-pcnds are found in their 
very midst — even among their highest ridges — and 
this water not occasional, as from rains, but lying 
in ' lagunas,' with reeds, rashes, and nymphce growing 
in them, to attest that the water is permanent ! The 
very last place where water might be expected to 
make a lodgment. 

Such formations of drift-sand are common upon the 
shores of the Mexican Gulf, as well as on European 
coasts, and there their existence is easily explained ; 

but here, in the very heart of a continent, it can- 
not be regarded as less than a singular phenomenon. 
This sand-belt is passable at one or two pointsi 
but horses sink to the knees at every step, and but 
for the water it would bo a perilous experiment to 
cross it. 

Where is the Llano Estacado ? Unroll your map 
of North America. You will perceive a large river 
called the Canadian rising in the Eocky Mountains, 
and running, first southerly, and theu east, until it 
becomes part of the Arkansas. As this river bends 
eastwardly, it brushes the northern end of the Llano 
Estacado, whose bluffs sometimes approach close to 
Its banks, and at other times are seen far off, resem- 
bling a range of mountains — for which they have 
been frequently mistaken by travellers. 

The boundary of the west side of the ' Staked 

E U 


Plain ' is more definite. Near the head-waters of 
the Canadian, another large river has its source. This 
*- the Pecos. Its course, yon will observe, is nearly 
south, "but your map is not correct, as for several 
hundred miles the Pecos runs within a few degrees 
of east. It afterwards takes a southerly direction, 
before it reaches its embouchure in the Rio Grande. 
Now the Tecos washes the whole western base of the 
Llano Estacado ; and it is this very plain, elevated aa 
it is, that turns the Pecos into its southerly course, 
instead of leaving it to flow eastward, like all tho 
other prairie -streams that head in the Eocky Moun- 

The eastern boundary of the Llano Estacado is not 
so definitely marked, but a line of some three hun- 
dred miles from the Pecos, and cutting the head- 
waters of the Wichita, the Louisiana Eed, the Brazos, 
and Colorado, will give some idea of its outline. 
These rivers, and their numerous tributaries, all head 
in. the eastern ' ceja ' (brow) of the Staked Plain, 
which is cut and channelled by their streams into 
traols of the most rugged and fantastic forms. 


At the south the Llano Estacado tapers to a point, 
declining into the mezquite plains and valleys of 
numerous small streams that debouch into the Lower 
Eio Grande. 

This singular tract is without one fixed dweller; 
even the Indian never makes abode upon it beyond 
the few hours necessary to rest from his journey, and 
there are parts where he — inured as he is to hunger 
and thirst — dare not venture to cross it. So perilous 
is the * Jornada/ or crossing of the Llano Estacado, 
that throughout all its length of four hundred miles 


taere are only two places where travellers can effect 
it in safety ! The danger springs from the want of 
water, for there are spots of grass in abundance ; but 
even on the well-known routes there are, at certain 
seasons, stretches of sixty and eighty miles where 
not a drop of water is to be procured ! 

In earlier times one of these routes was known as 
the * Spanish Trail,' from Santa Fe to San Antonio 
de Bexar, of Texas ; and lest travellers should lose 
their way, several points were marked with ' palos, 
or stakes. Hence the name it has received. 

The Llano Estacado is now rarely travelled, ex 
cept by the ciboleros, or Mexican buffalo-hunters, and 
Comancheros,' or Indian traders. Parties of these 
cross it from the settlements of New Mexico, for the 
purpose of hunting the buffalo, and trafficking with 
the Indian tribes that roam over the plains to the 
east. Neither the hunt nor the traffic is of any great 
importance, but it satisfies a singular race of men, 
whom chance or inclination has led to the adopting 
it as a means of subsistence. 

These men are to the Mexican frontier pretty much 
what the hunter and backwoodsman are upon the 
borders of the Anglo-American settlements. They 
are, however, in many respects different from thw 
latter — in arms and equipments, modes of hunting, 
and otherwise 

The outfit of a eibolero, who is usually also a cou- 
reur de bois, is very simple. For hunting, he id 
mounted on a tolerable — sometimes a fine— horse 
«r d armed with a bow and arrows, a hunting-knife, 
and a long lance. Of fire-arms he knows and cares 
nothing — though there are excepticnal cases A lazo 


is an important part of his equipment. For trading, 

his stock of goods is very limited — often not costing 
him twenty dollars ! A few bags of coarse bread (an 
article of food which the prairie Indians are fond 
of), a sack of ' pinole,' some baubles for Indian orna- 
ment, some coarse serapes, and pieces of high-cc* 
loured woollen stuffs, woven at heme : these consti» 
tuie his * invoice.' Hardware goods ho does noV 
furnish to any great extent. These stand him too 
high in his own market, as they reach it only after 
long carriage and scandalous imposts. Fire-arms ho 
has nothing to do with : such prairie Indians as use 
these are furnished from the eastern side ; but many 
Spanish pieces — fusils and escopettes — have got into 
the hands of the Comanches through their forays 
upon the Mexican towns of the south. 

In return for his outlay and perilous journey, the 
cibolero carries back dried buffalo-flesh and hides — ■ 
Borne the produce of his own hunting, some procured 
by barter from the Indians. 

Horses, mules, and asses, are also articles of ex- 
change. Of these the prairie Indians possess vast 
herds — some individuals owning hundreds ; and most 
of them with Mexican brands ! In other words, they 
have been stolen from the towns of the Lower Eio 
Grande, to bo sold to the towns of the Upper Eio 
Grande, and the trade is deemed perfectly legiti- 
mate, — at least, there is no help for it as the caso 

The cibolero goes forth on the plains with a rare 
escort. Sometimes a large number of these men, 
taking their wives and families with them, travel 
together just like a tribe of wild Indians. Generally, 


aowever, one or two leaders, with theii servants and 

equipage, form tlie expedition. They experience less 
molestation from the savages than ordinary travellers. 
The Oomanches and other tribes know their object, 
and rather encourage them to come amongst them. 
Notwithstanding, they are often cheated and ill-used 
by these double-faced dealers. Their mode of trans- 
port is the pack-mule, and the ' carreta' drawn by 
mules or oxen. The carreta is of itself a picture 
of primitive locomotion. A pair of block-wheels, cut 
out of a cotton-wood tree, are joined by a stout wooden 
axle. The wheels usually approach nearer to the 
oval, or square, than the circular form. A long 
tongue leads out from the axle-tree, and upon top of 
this a square, deep, box-like body is placed. To this 
two or more pairs of oxen are attached in the most 
fciinple manner — by lashing a cross-piece of wood to 
their horns which has already been made fast to the 
tongue. The animals have neither yoke nor harness, 
and the forward push of the head is the motive power 
by which the carreta is propelled. Once in motion, 
the noise of the wooden axle is such as to defy 
description. The cries of a whole family, with child- 
ren of all sizes, in bitter agony, can alone represent 
the concert of terrible sounds ; and we must go to 
South Mexico to find its hornd equal in a troop oi 
howling monkeys. 



About a week after tlie fiesta of St. John, a sxnall 

party of ciboleros was seen crossing the Pecos, at the 
ford of the 'Bosque Bedondo.' The party was only 
five in number, and consisted of a white man, a half- 
blood, and three pure-bred Indians, having with them 
a small atajo of pack-mules, and three ox-team car- 
retas. The crouching trot of the Indians, as well as 
their tilma dresses and sandalled feet, showed that 
they were * Indios manzos.' They were, in fact, the 
hired peons of Carlos the cibolero — the white man, 
and chief of the party. 

The half-blood — Antonio by name — was 'arriero 
of the mule-train, while the three Indians drove the 
ox-teams, guiding them across the ford with their 
long goads. Carlos himself was mounted upon his 
fine black horse, and, muffled in a strong serape, rode 
in front to pilot the way. His beautiful manga had 
been left behind, partly to save it from the rough 
wear of such an expedition, and also that it might 
not excite the cupidity of the prairie Indians, who, 
for such a brilliant mantle as it was, would not hesi- 
tate to take his scalp. Besides the manga, the em- 
bioidered jacket, the scarlet scarf, and velveteen 


calzoneros, had all been put off, and others of a 
coarser kind were now worn in their place. 

This was an important expedition for Carlos. lift 
carried with him the largest freight he had ever taken 
upon the prairies. Besides the three carretas with 
four oxen each, the atajo consisted of five pack-mules, 
all loaded with merchandise — the carretas with bread. 
pinole, Spanish beans, Chile peppers ; and the packs 
were made up of serape blankets, coarse woollen 
cloth, and a few showy trinkets, as also some Spanish 
knives, with their pointed triangular blades. It was 
his bold luck on the day of the fiesta that had enabled 
him to provide such a stock. In addition to his own 
original onza and the two he had won, the young 
ranchero, Don Juan, had insisted upon his accepting 
the loan of five others towards an outfit for this ex- 

The little troop, having safely forded the Pecos, 
headed towards the ' ceja ' of the Llano Estacado, 
that was not far distant from the crossing of Bosque 
Eedondo. A sloping ravine brought them to the top 
of the ' mesa,' where a firm level road lay before them 
■ — a smooth plain without break or bush to guide them 
on their course. 

But the cibolero needed no guide. Xo man knew 
the Staked Plain better than he ; and, setting his 
horse's head in a direction a little south of east, 
the train moved on. He was striking for one of the 
head branches of the Red River of Louisiana, where 
he had heard that for several seasons past the buffalo 
had appeared in great numbers. It was a new route 
for him — as most of his former expeditions had been 
made to the upper forks of the Texan rivers Brazos 


had Colorado . But the plains around tnese rivers 
were at this time in undisputed possession of the 
powerful tribe of Comanches, and their allies, the 
Kiawas, Lipans, and Tonkewas. Hence, these Indians, 
uninterrupted in their pursuit of the buffalo, had 
rendered the latter wild and difficult of approach, and 
had also thinned their numbers. On the waters ot 
She lied River the case was different. This was 
hostile ground. The Wacoes, Panes, Osages, and 
bands from the Cherokee, Kickapoo, and other nations 
to the east, occasionally hunted there, and sanguinary 
conflicts occurred among them ; so that one party or 
another often lost their season's hunt by the necessity 
of keeping out- of each other's range ; and the game 
was thus left undisturbed. It is a well-known fact 
that in a neutral or * hostile ground ' the buffalo, as 
well as other game, are found in greatest abundance, 
and are there more easily approached than elsewhere. 

With a knowledge of these facts, Carlos the cibo- 
lero had determined to risk an expedition to the Red 
River, whose head-waters have their source in the 
eastern ' ceja ' of the Llano Estacado, and not in tho 
Rocky Mountains as laid down upon maps, 

Carlos was well armed for hunting the buffalo — &o 
was the half-blood Antonio — and two of the three 
peons were also experienced hunters. Their arms 
consisted of the bow and lance, both weapons being 
preferable to fire-arms for buffalo-hunting. In one of 
the carretas, however, might be seen a weapon ot 
another kind — a long brown American rifle. This 
Carlos kept for other and higher game, and he well 
knew how to use it. But how came such a weapon 
into the hands of a Mexican cibolero? Remember 


Carlos wis not of Mexican origin. Tne weapon was 
a family relic. It had been his father's. 

"We shall not follow Carlos and his 4 caravan * 
through all the details of their weary ' jonrneyings 
across the desert plain. At one place they made a 
* Jornada ' of seventy miles without water. But the 
experienced Carlos knew how to accomplish this 
without the loss of a single animal. 

He travelled thus. Having given his cattle as 

much as they would drink at the last watering-place, 
he started in the afternoon, and travelled until neat 
daybreak. Then a I At of two hours was made, so 
that the animals should graze while the dew was still 
on the grass. Another long march followed, con 
turning until noon, then a rest of three or four hours 
brought the cool evening, when a fresh spell of march- 
ing brought the 'Jornada' to its end, far on in the 
following night. Such is the mode of travelling still 
practised on the desert steppes of Chihuahua, Sonora, 
and North Mexico. 

After several days 1 travelling the cibolero and his 
party descended from the high 'mesa,' and, passing 
down its eastern slope, arrived on a tributary of the 
Eed Eiver. Here the scenery assumed a new aspect 
■ — the aspect of the ' rolling ' prairie. Gentle declivi- 
ties, with soft rounded tops declining into smooth 
verdant vales, along which meandered streams of 
clear and sparkling water. Here and there along tho 
banks stood groves of trees, such as the evergreen 
live-oak, the beautiful * pecan * with its oblong edible 
nuts, '.he ' overcup ' with its odd-looking acorns, the 
hackberry with its nettle-shaped leaves and sweet 
fruits, and the silvery cotton-wood. Along the swells 


could "be seen large trees standing apart, and ai 
almost equal distances, as though planted for ar* 
orchard. Their full leafy tops gave them a fino 
appearance, and their light pinnate leaves, with the 
long brown legumes hanging from their branches, 
told they were the famous ' mezquite ' trees — the 
American acacia. The red mulberry could be .seen in 
the creek bottoms, and here and there the beautiful 
■wild-china tree with its pretty lilac flowers. The 
whole surface both of hill and valley was clad in a 
rich mantle of short buffalo grass, which gave it the 
aspect of a meadow lately mown, and springing into 
fresh verdure. It was a lovely landscape, and no 
wonder the wild bulls of the prairies chose it for their 
favourite range. 

The cibolero had not travelled far through thie 
favoured region until he came upon the buffalo sign 

' roads,' ' wallows,' and ' bois de vache ; ' and next 
morning he found himself in the midst of vast herds, 
roaming about like tame cattle,' and browsing at their 
leisure. So little shy were thej^, they scarce deigned 
to make off at his approach ! 

Of course he liad reached the end of his journey. 
This was his great stock-farm. These were his 
own cattle — as much his as any one else's ; and he 
had nothing more to do but set to killing and curing. 

As to his tiade with the Indians, that would take 
place whenever he should chance to fall in with a 
part3 T — which he would be certain to do in the coiirso 
of the season. 

Like all men of the. prairie, rude trappers as weJl 
as Indians, Carlos had an eye for the picturesque, and 
therefore chose a beautiful spot for his camp. It was 


a grassy bottom, through which ran a clear ( arroyo 
of sweet water, shaded by pecan, mulberry, and wild- 
china trees, and under the shadow of a mulberry grove 
his carretas were halted and his tent was pitched. " 


Carlos had commenced his hunt, and was making 
rapid progress. In the first tvro days he had slaugh- 
tered no less than twenty buffaloes, and had them all 
carried to camp. He and Antonio followed the 
buffalo and shot them down, while two of the peons 
skinned the animals, cut up the meat, and packed it 
to camp. There, under the hands of the third, it 
underwent the further process of being 'jerked,' thai 
is, cut into thin slices and dried in the sun. 

The hunt promised to be profitable. Carlos would 
no doubt obtain as much ' tasajo ' as he could carry 
home, besides a large supply of hides, both of which 
found readv sale in the towns of New Mexico. 

On the third day, however, the hunters noticed a 
change in the behaviour of the buffalo. They had 
suddenly grown wild and wary. Now and then vast 
gangs passed them, running at full speed, as if terrified 
and pursued! Jt was not Carlos and his companion 
that had so frighted them. AVhat then had set them 
a running ? 

Carlos conjectured that some Indian tribe was in 
iho neighbourhood engaged in hunting them. 


His conjecture proved correct. Ou ascending a 
ridge ■which, gave him a view of a beautiful valley 
beyond, his eye rested upon an Indian encampment. 

It consisted of about fifty lodges, standing like tents 
along the edge of the valley, and fronting towards the 
stream. They were of a conical form, constructed of 
a framework of poles set in a circle, drawn together 
at their tops, and then covered with skins of the 

* Waco lodges ! * said the cibolero, the moment his 
practised eye fell upon them. 

1 Master/ inquired Antonio, ' how do you tell 
that ? ' Antonio's experience fell far short of that 
of his master, who from childhood had spent his life 
on the prairies. 

* How ! ' replied Carlos, * by the lodges themselves.' 
' I should have taken it for a Comanche camp/ said 

the half-blood. ' I have seen just such lodges among 
the " Buffalo-eaters." ' 

' Not so, Anton/ rejoined his master. ' In the Co- 
manche lodge the poles meet at the top, and are 
covered over with the skins, leaving no outlet for 
smoke. You observe it is not so with these. They 
are lodges of the Wacoes, who, it is true, are allies of 
the Comanches.' 

Such was in reality the fact. The poles, though 
bent so as to approach each other at the top, did not 
qiiite meet, and an open hole remained for the passage 
of smoke. The lodge, therefore, was not a perfect 
cone, but the frustum of one ; and in this it differed 
from the lodge of the Comanches. 

' The Wacoes are not hostile/ remarked the cibolero. 
•I think we have nothing to fcai from them. No 


doubt they will trade with us. But where are they V 
This question was drawn forth by the cibolero ob- 
serving that not a creature was to be seeu about the 
lodges, — neither man, woman, child, nor animal ! 
And yet it could not bo a deserted camp. Indiana 
would not abandon suoh lodges as these— at least they 
would not leave behind the fine robes that covered 
them ! No, the owners must be near : no doubt, 
among the neighbouring hills, in pursuit of the buffalo 

The cibolero guessed aright. As he and his com- 
panion stood looking down upon the encampment, a 
loud shouting roached their ears, and the next mo- 
ment a body of several hundred horsemen was seen 
approaching over a swell of the prairie. They we*6 
riding slowly, but their panting foaming horses 
showed that they had just left off harder work. 
Presently another band, still more numerous, ap- 
peared in the rear. These were horses and mules 
laden with huge brown masses, the buffalo-meat 
packed up in the shaggy hides. This train was con- 
ducted by the women and boys, and followed by 
troops of dogs and screaming children. 

As they came toward the encampment from an 
opposite direction, Carlos and his companion were 
not for a while seen. 

The Indians, however, had not been long among 
the lodges before the quick eye of one caught sight of 
their two heads above the ridge. A warning cry was 
uttered, and in a moment everyone of the dismounted 
hunters was back in his saddle and ready for action. 
One or two galloped off towards the meat-train, whicn 
had not yet come in^p camp, while others rode to and 
fro, exhibiting symptoms of alarm. 

7b" THE WHITE CHlKt'. 

No doutt they were under apprehensions that 
the Panes, their mortal foes, had stolen a march 
upon them. 

Carlos soon relieved them from this apprehension. 
Spurring his horse to the crest of the ridge, he drew 
up in full view of the Indians. A few signs, which 
he well knew how to make, and the word ' amigo ! ' 
shouted at the top of his voice, restored their con- 
fidence ; then a young fellow now rode out in front, 
and advanced up the hill. "When sufficiently near to 
be heard, he halted; and a conversation, partly by 
* signs, and partly by means of a little Spanish, enabled 
him and Carlos to understand each other. The Indian 
then galloped back, and, after a short interval, re- 
turned again, and invited the cibolero and his com- 
panion to the encampment. 

Carlos of course accepted the courtesy, and a few 
minutes after he and Antonio were eating fresh buf- 
falo-beef, and chatting in perfect amity with theii 
new hosts. 

The chief, a fine-looking man, and evidently pos- 
sessing full authority, became particularly friendly 
with Carlos, and was much pleased at hearing that 
the latter had a stock of goods. He promised to visit 
his camp next morning and allow his tribe to trade. 
As the cibolero had conjectured, they were "Waco 
Indians, — a nob-lo race, one of the noblest of the 

prairie tribes. 

Carlos returned to his camp in high spirits. He 
would now have his goods exchanged for mules, — so 
the chief promised, — and these were the main objects 
Df his expedition. 

In the morning, according tG appointment, the 


Indians arrived, chief and all ; and the little valley 
where the cibolero had encamped was filled with 
men, women, and children. The packs were opened, 
the goods were set forth, and the whole day was 
spent in continuous trading. The cibolero found his 
customers perfectly honest; and when night came, 
and they took their departure, not a single item of 
Carlos' stock remained on his hands. In its place, 
however, a handsome mulada of no less than Ihirty 
mules was seen picketed in the bottom of the little 
valley. These were now the property of Carlos the 
cibolero. Not a bad outlay of his eight onzas ! 

Not only would they yield well on his return, but 
it was his intention that each of them should carry 

back its full load of buffalo -hides, or * tasajo.' 

It would be a successful expedition, indeed; and 
dreams of future wealth, with the hope of being some 
day in a condition to advance a legitimate claim 
to the hand of the fair Catalina, were already passing 
through the mind of Carlos. 

Once a 'rico,' reflected he, even Don Ambrosio 
might sanction his suit. On that night soft was the 
slumber and pleasant the dreams of Carlos the cibo- 


Nkxt day he followed his hunting with increased 
ardour. He was now provided with the means of 
transport to any amount. There was no tear he 


78 tiik warn: cuiEt: 

should have to leave either his robes or tasajo be 
hind. "With his own mules, he had now thirty-five; 
and that number, with the three carretas, would 
carry a splendid freight — of the value of hundreds 
of dollars. 

lie had already obtained some dressed robes from 
the Indians. For these he had parted with every- 
thing for which an Indian would trade. Even the 
buttons from off his jacket and those of his men, t he- 
bullion hands and shining tags of their sombreros— 
everything about them that glittered ! 

Their arms of course not. These the AVacoes did 
not want. They had similar ones themselves, and 
could manufacture them at will. They would have 
purchased the long brown rifle ; but that was a 
souvenir Carlos would not have parted with for a 
score of mules. 

For the next day or two the cibolero continued his 
hunting. He found the buffalo grow every hour more 
excited and wild. He noticed, too, that the * running' 
gangs came from the north, while the Wacoes were 
hunting to the southward of his camp! It could 
not be the latter that were disturbing them. Who 
then ? 

On the third night after his trade with the Indians, 
Carlos had retired to rest with his people. Antonio 
kept watch until .midnight, at which hour he war? 
to be relieved by one of the peons. 

Antonio had grown very sleepy. His hard riding 
after the buffalo had wearied him ; and he was doing 
nis best to keep awake for the last half- hour of H* 
vigil, when a snort readied his cars from U<e di- 
rection of the rmtlada. 


This brought him to himself. lie placed his ear 
to the ground and listened. Another snort loudei 
than the first came from the mulada — another — and 
another — quick in succession ! 

1 What can it mean ? Coyotes ? or, perhaps, a hear r 

I shall wake my master,' said Antonio to himself. 

Stealing gently to the side of Carlos, the half-blood 
shook the sleeper by the arm. A slight shake was 
enough, for in an instant the cibolero was upon his 
feet and handling his rifle. He always resorted tc 
this weapon in cases of danger, such as a hostile 
attack by Indians, using his bow only in the chase. 

After a word or two had passed between Carlos 
and Antonio the three peons were awaked, and all 
five stood to their arms. The little party remained 
m the midst of the carretas, which had been drawn 
up so as to form a small triangular corral. The high 
boxes of these would be an excellent protection 
against arrows ; and, as there was no fire in the camp 
to make a light, they could not be seen from without. 
The camp, moreover, was shadowed by the thick 
foliage of the mulberries, which rendered it still 
more obscure ; while its occupants commanded a 
view of the prairie in front. But for the wood 
copses which stood at intervals, they could have seen 
the whole ground both up and down the valley and 
along its sides. These copses, however, might have 
concealed any number of foes. 

The hunters remained silent, listening intently. 
At one time they fancied they could see a dark form 
crouching along the ground in the direction of the 
mulada, that was picketed not a hundred yards ofil 
The light, however, was so uncertain, not one of tbf 



five could be stL'e of this. "Whatever it was, it moved 

veiy slowly, for it appeared to remain near the sama 

CaMos at length set himself to observe it more 
closely. He stole out from the corral, and, followed 
by Antonio, crawled along the ground. When the 
two had got nearer the dark object, it was distinctly 
seen to move. 

1 There is something ! "whispered the cibolero. 

At that moment the mules again snorted, and one 
or two of tb^m struck the ground with their hoofs, as 
if startled. 

' It must be a bear, I fancy,' continued Carlos. * It 
has the appearance of one. It will stampede the ani 
mals — a shot will be less likely to do so.' 

As he said this he raised his rifle, and, taking aim 
as well as the darkness would allow him, pulled trig- 
ger and fired. 

It seemed as if the shot had invoked all the demons 
of the infernal regions. A hundred voices burst forth 
in one simultaneous yell, the hoofs of a hundred 
horses rang upon the turf, the mulada got into motion, 
the mules squealing and plunging violently, and the 
next moment every one of them had broken their 
lariats, and were running at a furious gallop out of 
the valley ! A dark band of yelling horsemen was 
seen closing in after and driving them off; and, 
before Carlos could recover from his surprise, both 
mules and Indians had disappeared out of sight and 
hearing ! 

Not a single one remained of the whole mulada. 
The ground upon which they had been picketed was 
swept perfectly clear ! 


' An estampeda ! ' said the cibolero, in a husky 
voice; 'my poor mules — all gone — every one cf 
them ! A curse upon Indian duplicity ! ' 

Carlos had not the slightest doubt but that the 
marauders were the Wacoes — the very same from 
whom he had purchased the mules. He knew that 
such an occurrence was by no means rare — that 
oftentimes the traders are robbed in this way ; and 
not unusual is it for them to purchase a second time 
the very animals thus carried off, and from the same 
Indians who have stolen them ! 

1 A curse upon Indian duplicity ! ' he repeated with 
indignant emphasis. ' K o wonder they were so free 
and generous in their barter ! It was but a plot on 
the part of the cowardly thieves to take from me my 
whole cargo, without daring to do so openly. Carajo I 
I am lost ! ' 

This last phrase was uttered in a tone that partook 
equally of anger and grief. 

The cibolero was certainly placed in an unpleasant 
situation. All his hopes — lately running so high — 
were crushed in a single moment. His whole pro- 
perty taken from him — the object of his enterprise 

lost — his long, perilous, and painful joumeyings made 
for nothing. He should return empty-handed, poorer 

than when he set out — for his own five pack-mules 
were gone among the rest, The oxen, and his faith- 
ful steed, tied to the carretas, alone remained. These 
would scarce serve to cany provision for himself and 
party on their journey home ; no cargo — not a bale 
of hides— not a ' bulta ' . of meat more than would be 
required for their own food ! 

These reflections all passed through the mind of 


the cibclero in the space of a few moments, as he 
stcod gazing in the direction in which the marauders 
had gone. He made no attempt to follow — that 
would have "been worse than useless. On his splen- 
did horso ho might have overtaken them — only to 
die on the points of their lances ! 

4 A curse upon Indian duplicity!' he once more 
repeated ; and then, rising to his feet, walked back 
to the corral, and gave orders for the oxen to be 
drawn close up and firmly fastened to the carretas. 
Another surprise might be attempted by some linger- 
ing party of the savages ; and, as it would be unsafe 
to go to sleep, the ciboloro and his four companions 
remained awake and on the alert for the remainder of 
the night. 


That was a noche triste to Carlos — a night of painful 
reflections. "Bereft of his property — in the midst of 
hostile Indians, who might change their minds, re- 
turn, and massacre him and his party — many hundred 
miles from hon-Q, or from any settlement of whites— 
a wide desert v» bo traversed — the further discou- 
ragement that there was no object for his going home, 
now that he was shipped of all his tividing-stock — 
perhaps to be laughe/1 at on his return — no prospect 

of satisfaction or indemnity, for he well knew that 
his government would send out no expedition to 
rcTenge so humble an individual as he was — he knew, 



in fact, that no expedition of Spanish soldiery could 
penetrate to the place, even if they had the will ; but 
vo fancy Vizcarra and Eoblado sending one on his 
account ! No, no ; there was no hope of his obtain 
mg satisfaction. He was cruelly robbed, and he 
knew that he must endure it ; but what a blighted 
prospect was before him ! 

As soon as day broke he would go to the AVaco 
camp— he would boldly upbraid them for their trea- 
chery. But what purpose would that serve ? Be- 
sides, would he find them still there ? No ; most 
likely they were moving off to some other part at the 
time they had planned the robbery ! 

Several times during the night a wild idea occurred 
to him. If he could not have indemnity he might 
obtain revenge. The Wacoes were not without ene- 
mies. Several bordering tribes were at Avar with 
them ; and Carlos knew they had a powerful foe in 
the Panes. 

'My fortune is bitter,' thought Carlos; ' biit re- 
venge is sweet! "What if I seek the Pane, — tell him 
my intention, — ofi'er him my lance, my bow, and my 
true rifle ? I have never met the Pane. I know him 
not ; but I am no weak hand, and now that I havo 
a cause for vengeance he will no 1 despise ni} r aid. 
My men will follow me — I know they will — any- 
where ; and, tame ' Tagnos ' though they be, they can . 
light when roused to revenge. I shall seek the Pane ! ' 

The last thought was uttered half aloud, and with 
emphasis that spoke determination. The cibolero 
was a man of quick resolves, and this resolve he had 
actually come to. It is not to be wondered at, His 
indignation at being treated in such a cruel and cow 


ardly manner — the poor prospect before him on re- 
turning to the settlement — his natural desire to 
punish those who had placed him in such a predica- 
ment — as well as some hope which he still entertained 
of recovering at least a part of hLi lost property, — all 
influenced him to this resolve. He had determined 
upon it, and was just on the point of communicating, 
his determination to his companions, when he wan 
interrupted by the half-blood Antonio. 

' Master/ said the latter, who appeared to have- 
been for some time busied with his own thoughts, 
4 did you notice nothing strange ? ' 

* When, Antonio ? ' 

1 During the estampeda. 

' What was there strange ? * 

' Why, there appeared to be a good number, full 
half, of the rascals a-foot/ 

4 True ; I observed that.' 

4 Now, master, I have seen a cavallada stampeded 
by the Comanches more than once — they were always 

4 What signifies that? These are Wacoes, not 

' True, master ; but I have heard that the Wacoes, 
like the Comanches, are true Aorse-Indians, and never 
go a-foot on any business.' 

* That is indeed so/ replied the cibolero in a re- 
flective mood. * Something strange, I confess.' 

* But, master/ continued the half-blood, did you 
notice nothing else strange during the stampede ? ' 

4 No/ answered Carlos ; * I was so annoyed — so 
put out by the loss — I scarce noticed anything, 
What else, Antonio ? ' 



' Why, in the midst of these yellings, did yen not 
hear a shrill whoop now and then — a whistle ? 

' Ha ! did you hear that ? ' 

1 More than once — distinctly. 1 

1 Where were my ears ? ' asked the cibolero of 
himself. ' You are sure, Antonio ? ' 

' Quite sure, master.' 

Carlos remained for a moment silent, evidently en- 
gaged in busy reflection. After a pause, he broke 
out in a half-soliloquy : 

' It may have been — it must have been — by Hea- 
vens ! it must ' 

4 What, master?' 

« The Pane whistle ! * 

* Just what I was thinking, master. The Coman • 
ches never whoop so — the Iviawa never. I have not 
heard that the Waeoes give such a signal. Why not 
Pane? Besides, their being afoot — that's like 
Pane ! ' 

A sudden revulsion had taken place in the mind of 
the cibolero. There was every probability that An- 
tonio's conjecture was correct. The ' whistle ' is u 
peculiar signal of the Pane tribes. Moreover, the 
fact of so many of the marauders being on foot — that 
was another peculiarity. Carlos knew that among 
the Southern Indians such a tactic is never resorted 
to. The rimes are /torse-Indians too, but on their 
marauding expeditions to the South they often go 
a-foot, trusting to return mounted — whi ch they almost 
invariably do. 


' After all,' thought Carlos, ' I have been wronging 

the Waeoes — the robbers are Panes ! ' 

* But now a new suspio*<>n entered his mind. It 


was still the Wacoes that had done it. They had 
adopted the Pane" whistle to deceive him ! A party 
of them might easily he a-foot^-it was not such a 
distance to their camp, — besides, after the estampeda 
ih.Gy had gone in that very direction ! 

No doubt, should he go there on the morrow, they 
would tell him that Panes were in the neighbourhood, 
that it was they who had stolen his mules — the mules 
of course he would not see, as these would be safely 
concealed among the hills. 

' No, Antonio,' he said, after making these reflec- 
tions, l our enemies are the Wacoes themselves.' 

' Master,' replied Antonio, ' I hope not.' 

' I hope not, too, camarado. I had taken a fancy 
to our friends of but yesterday : I should be sorry to 
find them our foes — but I fear it is even so.' 

With all, Carlos was not confident; and now that 
he reflected, another circumstance came to his mind 
in favour of the Wacoes. His companions had also 
noted it. 

That circumstance was the running of the buffa- 
loes observed during the past few da} r s. The gangs 
had passed from the north, going southward ; and 

their excited manner was almost a proof that they 
were pressed by a paiiy of hunters. The Wacoes 
were ail this time hunting to the south of the cibo- 
lero's camp ! This would seem to indicate that some 
other Indians were upon the north. What more likely 
Lhan a band of Panes ? 

Again Carlos reproached himself for his too hasty 
suspicions of his new friends. His mind was filled 
with doubts. Perhaps these would be resolved bj 
the lignt of the morningr. 


' As soon es day should arrive, ho had resolved to 
go to the Waco camp, and satisfy himself, cr at all 
events openly make his inquiries. 

* * * * K 

The first streaks of daylight were just falling upon 
the prairie, when the quick keen eye of the half-blood, 
ranging the ground in every direction, was arrested 
by the appearance of something odd upon the grass. 
It lay near the spot where the midada had been 
picketed. It wa3 a darkish object in a recumbent 
position. Was it bushes or gorse ? No. It could 
not be that. Its outlines were different. It was more 
like some animal lying down— perhaps a large wolf? 
It was near the place where they had fancied that 
they saw something in the darkness, and at which 
Carlos had fired. 

Antonio, on first perceiving the object, called his 
master's attention to it, and both now gazed over the 
box of the carreta, scanning it as well as the grey 
light would permit them. 

As this became brighter, the object was seen more 
distinctly, while at each moment the curiosity of the 
ciboleros increased. They would have long since 
gone out to examine it more closely; but they were 
not yet free from apprehensions of a second attack 
from the Indians ; and they prudently remained 

within the corral. 

At length, however, they could forego an examina- 
tion no longer. They had formed their suspicion of 
what the object was ; and Carlos and Antonio climbed 
over the carretas, and proceeded towards it. 

On arriving at the ej it they were not so much 


6Ui prised — for they had partially anticipated such a 
thing — at finding the body of a dead Indian. It was 
]ying flat upon the grass, face downwards; and, on 
c]oser examination, a wound, from which much blood 
had rim, was perceived in the side. There was the 
mark of a rifle bullet — Carlos had not fired in vain I 
They bent down, and turned over the body to 
examine it. The savage was in full war-costume — 
that is, naked to the waist, and painted over the 
breast and face so as to render him as frightful as 
possible : but what struck the ciboleros as most sig- 
nificant was the costume of his head! This was close 
6haven over the temples and behind the ears. A patch 
upon the top was clipped short, but in the centre of tho 
crown one long lock of hair remained uncut, and this 
lock was intermingled with plumes, and plaited so as 
to hang, queue-like, down the back. The naked 
temples were stained with vermilion, and the cheeks 
and boscm daubed in a similar manner. Thes^ 
brilliant spots contiasted with the colourless and 
deathly L ue of the ^kin, and, with the blanched lip$ 
and glazed eyeballs, gave to the corpse a hideous 
appearam e. 

Carlos, after gazing upon it for some moments, 
turned to his companion with a look of intelligence ; 
and, pointing to the shaved head, and then to th^ 
moccasins upon the Indian's feet, in a tone that ex - 
pressed the satisfaction he felt at tho discovery, pro- 
nounced the word, — 
'Pane! 1 




The dead Indian was a Pane beyond doubt. The 
ftonsure of his hair, the cut of his moccasins, his war 
paint, enabled Carlos to tell this. 

The cibolero was glad that he was a Pane\ He 
aad several reasons for being so. First, it gratified 
iiim to know that his Waco friends were still true ; 
secondly, that he had punished one of the robbers ; 
and, lastly, the knowledge that they were Panes gave 
him some hope that he might yet recover, by the help 
of the Wacoes, some of the stolen mules. 

This was not improbable. As already stated, the 
Wacoes and Panes were sworn foes ; and as soon as 
the former should hear that the latter were in the 
neighbourhood, Carlos felt sure they would go in 
pursuit of them. He would share in this pursuit 
with his little band, and, in the event of the Panes 
being defeated, might get back his mulada. 

His first impulse, therefore, was, to gallop to the 
Waco camp — apprise them of the fact that the Pane 
was on the war-trail, and then join them in search of 
the latter. 

Just then both he and Antonio remembered that 
the Panes had themselves gone in the direction of the 
Waco camp ! It was not two miles distant — they 


could hardly fail to find it, even in the night. "What 
if they had taken the Wacoes by surprise, and had 
already made their attack ! 

It was quite probable — more than probable. The 
time and the hour were just in keeping. The estam- 
peda had occurred before midnight. No doubt they 
were then on their way to the AVaco village. They 
would just be in time to make their attack, at the usual 
hour for such forays, between midnight and morning. 

Carlos feared he might be too late to give warning. 
His AVaco friends may have already perished ! AA'hc- 
thcr or no, he determined to proceed at once to their 

Leaving Antonio and the peons with directions to 
guard and defend his own camp to the last, he rode 
off, armed both with rifle and bow. It was yet but 
grey day, but he knew the trail leading to the AVaec 
village, and followed it without difficulty. He rode 
with caution, scanning the timber copses before ap- 
proaching them ; and running his eye along the crests 
of the ridges as he advanced. 

This caution was not unnecessary. The Panes 
could not be far off — the} 7 might still be in ambush 
between him and the AVaco camp, or halted among 
the hills. 

The cibolero had but little fear of meeting one or 
two of them. He rode a horse in which he had full 

onfidence ; and he knew that no Tane could over- 
take him ; but he might be surrounded by numbers. 
and intercepted before he could reach the AVacr. 

lodges. That was the reason why he advanced with 
so much caution. 

His ears were set to listen atteotivolv. Every 


lound was noted and weighed — the ( gobble l of the 
wild turkey from the branches of the oak ; the drum- 
ming of the ruffed grouse on some dry knoll ; the 
whistling of the fallow-deer; or tho liny bark of the 
prairie marmot. All these were well-known sounds ; 
and as each was littered, the cibolero stopped and 
listened attentively. Under other circumstances he 
would not have heeded them, but he knew that theso 
sounds could be imitated, and his ear was bent to de- 
tect any counterfeit. He could distinguish the Pane" 
trail of the previous night. A strong band thero 
must have been, by the numerous tracks on the grass. 
At the crossing of a stream Carlos could detect the 
prints of moccasins in the sand. There were still 
some of tho party a-foot then, though, no doubt, the 
stolen mulada had mounted a good many. 

Carlos rode on with more caution than ever. He 
was half-way to the Waco village, and still the Pane 
trail led in that direction. Surely these could not 
have passed without finding it? Such skilled war 
riors as the Panes would not. They would see the 
trail of the Wacoes leading to the cibolero's own 
camp — they would soon discover the lodges — perhaps 
they had already made their attack — perhaps 

The reflections of the cibolero were suddenlv inter- 


rupted ; distant sounds fell upon his ear — shouts and 
cries of fearful import — with that continued murmur 
that results from the mingling of many voices in loud 
ind confused clamour. Now and then was heard a 
whoop, or a cheer, or ;i shrill whistle, rising abovo 
the ordinary noises, and carrying far over the plain 
its tones of triumph or revenge. 

Carlos knew the import of those shouts and cries 


-they were the sounds of battle J — of terrible and 
deadly strife ! 

They came from behind the hill — the cibolero was 
just climbing it. 

He spurred his horse, and, galloping forward to its 
crest, looked down into the valley. The conflict was 

raging before him ! 

He had a full view of the dreadful scene. Six 
hundred dusky horsemen were riding about on the 
plain; some dashing it each other with couched 
lances — some twanging their bows from a distance ; 
and others close together in the hand-to-hand combat 
of the deadly tomahawk ! Some were charging in 
groups with their long spears — some wheeling into 
flight, and others, dismounted, were battling on foot ! 
Some took shelter among the timber islands, and 
sprang out again as they saw an opportunity of send- 
ing an arrow, or lancing a foeman in the back ; and 

bo the red contest continued. 

Not a shot was heard— neither bugle nor drum sent 
forth their inspiring notes — no cannon rolled its 
thunder — no rocket blazed — no smoke spread its sul- 
phury cloud upon the air ; but without these sights 
and sounds there was no fear of mistaking that con 
test for a mimic game — a tournament of the prairies. 
The wild war-whoop, and the wilder whistle — the 
earnest onslaught — the fierce charging cheer — the 
cries of triumph and vengeance— the neighing steeds 
without riders — here and there the prostrate savage, 
with skinless scalp, glaring red in the sun — the spears 
and hatchets crimsoned with blood, — all were evi- 
dence of real and deadly strife, and Carlos did not 
donbt for a moment the character of the scene. Be 


fore hiiu was an Indian fight— Waco and Pane en- 
gaged in the earnest struggle of life and death I 

All this ho comprehended at a glance, and, after 
regarding the fight for a moment, he could distin- 
guish the warriors of both tribes from one another. 
The Panes, in full war costume, were easily recog- 
nised by their tufted scalp-locks ; while the Wacoes, 
who had, no doubt, been taken by surprise, were 
many of them in hunting-shirts and leggings. Some, 
however, were nearly as naked as their adversaries ; 
but easily distinguished from them by their full flow- 
ing hair. 

The first impulse of the cibolero was to gallop for- 
ward and mingle in the fight, — of course, taking side 
with the Wacoes. The sound of the conflict roused 
his blood, and the sight of the robbers who had so 
lately ruined him rendered him eager for revenge. 
Many of them were mounted upon the very mules 
they had taken from him, and Carlos was determined 
to have some of them back again. 

He was about to put spurs to his horse, and dash 
forward, when a sudden change seemed to occur in 
the conflict that decided him to remain where he was. 
The Panes were giving way ! 

Many of them were seen wheeling out of the plain, 
and taking to flight. 

As Carlos looked down the hill, he saw three of the 
Pane warriors in full run, making up to the spot 
where he stood. Most of the band were still fighting, 
or had fled in a different direction ; but these, cut 
off from the rest, came directly up the hill at a 


The cibolero bad drawn his horse under the cover 



of some trees, and was not perceived by them until 
they were close to the spot. 

At this moment the war-cry of the Wacoes was 
heard directly in their rear, and Carlos saw that two 
mounted warriors of that tribe were in pursuit. The 
fugitives looked back, and, seeing only two adver 
saries after them, once more wheeled round and gave 

At their first charge one of the pursuers was killed, 
and the other — whom Carlos now recognised as the 
Waco chief — was left alone against three assailants. 

The whip-like crack of the cibolero's rifle sounded 
on the ail*, and one of the Panes dropped out of his 
saddle. The other two, ignorant of whence the shot 
had come, continued their onset on the Waco chief, 
who, dashing close up, split the skull of one of then? 

with his tomahawk. His horse, however, bore him 
rapidly past, and before he could wheel round, <ho 
remaining Pane — an active warrior — rushed after and 
thrust his long spear into the back of the chief. Its 
head passed clear through his body, completely im- 
paling him ; and with a death-whoop, the noble 
Indian fell from his horse to the ground. 

But his enemy fell at the same time. The arrow 
of the cibolero was too late to save, though not to 
avenge, the Waco's fall. It pierced the Pane just at 
the moment the latter had made his thrust, and ho 
fell to the ground simultaneously with his victim, 
still clutching the handle of the spear ! 

A fearful group lay dead upon the sward ; but 
Carlos did not stay to contemplate it. The tight still 
raged in another part of the field, and, putting spurs 
V> his horse he galloped off to take part in it. 


' But the Panes had now lost many of their bert 
warriors, and a general panic had seized upon them, 
ending in their full flight. Carlos followed along 
with tho victorious pursuers, now and then using his 
rifle upon the fleeing robbers. But fearing that s 
stray party of them might attack his own little camp 
lie turned from the line of pursuit, and galloped in 
that direction. On arriving, he found Antonio and 
the peons fortified within their corral, and all safe. 
Stray Indians had passed them, but all apparently too 
much frightened to have any desire for an attack 
upon the little party. 

As soon as the cibolero had ascertained these facts, 
he turned his horse and rode back toward the scent* 
of the late conflict. 

■ ■ i tt -4- 


As Carlos approached the spot where the chief had 
been slain he heard the death-wail chanted by a 
chorus of voices. 

On getting still nearer, he perceived a ring of war- 
riors dismounted and standing around a corpse. It 
was that of the fallen chief. Others, fresh from the 
pursuit, were gathering to the place ; each taking up 
the melancholy dirge as he drew nigh. 

The cibolero alighted, and walked forward to the 

ring. Some regarded him with looks of surprise, 

while others, who knew he had aided them in the 

o 2 


tight, stepped up and grasped him by the hand. One 

old warrior taking Carlos' arm in his, led him forward 
*o the ring, and silently pointed to the now ghastly 
features, as though he was imparting to the cibolero 
the news that their chief was dead ! 

Neither he nor any of the warriors knew what part 
Carlos had borne in the affair. No one, now alive,, 
had been witness to the conflict in which the chief 
had fallen. Around the spot were high copses that 
hid it from tb<& rest of the field, and, at the time this 
conflict occurred, the fight was raging in a different 
direction. The warrior, therefore, thought he was 
imparting to Carlos a piece of news, and the latter re- 
mained silent- 

But there was a mystery among the braves, and 
Carlos saw this by their manner. Five Indians lay 
dead upon the ground unscalped ! That was the mys- 
tery. They were the three Panes, and the chief with 
the other YVuco. They could not have slain each 
other, and all have fallen on the spot. That was not 
probable. The Waco and one of the Panes lay apart. 
The other three were close together, just as they had 
fallen, the chief impaled by the Pane spear, while his- 
slayer lay behind him still grasping the weapon ! 
The red tomahawk was clutched firmly in the hands 

of the chief, and the cleft skull of the second Pane 
showed where it had last fallen. 

So far the Indians translated the tableau, but th* 
mystery lay not there. Who had slain the slayer ci 
J.heir chief? That was the puzzle. Some one unsj 
have survived this deadly strife, where five warriors 
had died together ! 

Tf a Pane, surely he would not have gone off 


without that great trophy which would have ren 
dered him famous for life, — the scalp of the Waco 
chief? If a Waco, where and who was he ? 

These questions passed from lip to lip. No ons 
was found to answer them, but there were yet some 
warriors to return from the pursuit, and the inquiry 
was suspended, while the death-song was again 
■chanted over the fallen chief. 

At length all the braves had arrived on the spot, 
and stood in a circle around the body. One of the 
warriors stepped forward to the midst, and by a 
signal intimated that he wished to be heard. A 
breathless silence followed, and the warrior began : — 

' Wacoes ! our hearts are sad when they should 
otherwise rejoice. In the midst of victory a great 
calamity has fallen upon us. We have lost our 
father, — oui brother ! Our great chief — he whom we 
all loved — has fallen. Alas ! In the very hour of 
triumph, when his strong right hand had hewn down 
his enemy on the field — in that moment has he 
fallen ! 

' The hearts of his warriors are sad, the hearts of 
his people will long be sad ! 

4 Wacoes ! our chief has not fallen unrevenged. 
His slayer lies at his feet pierced with the deadly 
dart, and weltering in his blood. Who of you hath 
done this ? ' 

Here the speaker paused for a moment as if waiting 
for a reply. None was given. 

'Wacoes!' ho continued, 'our beloved chief has 
fallen, and our hearts are sad. But it glads them to 
know that his death has been avenged. There lies 
hiB slayer, still wearing his hated scalp. What brave 


warrior claims the trophy ? Let him step forth an& 
take it ! ' 


Here there was another pause, but neither voice 
nor movement answered the challenge. 

The cibolero was silent with the rest. He did not 
comprehend what was said, as the speech was in the 
Waco tongue, and he understood it not. lie guessed 
that it related to the fallen chief and his enemies, but 
its exact purport was unknown to him. 

' Brothers ! ' again resumed the orator, ' brave men 
are modest and silent about their deeds. None but a 
brave warrior could have done this. "We know that 
a brave warrior will avow it. Let him fear not to- 
speak. The Wacoes will be grateful to the warrior 
who has avenged the death of their beloved chief.' 

Still the silence was unbroken, except by the voice 

of the orator, 

' Brother warriors ! ' he continued, raising his voice 

and speaking in an earnest tone, ' I have said that the 
Wacoes will be grateful for this doed. I have a pro- 
posal to make. Hear me ! ' 

All signified assent by gestures. 

' It is our custom/ continued the speaker, ' to elect 
our chief from the braves of our tribe. I propose 
that we elect him noio and here — here ! on the red 
field where his predecessor has fallen. I propose for 
our chief the warrior icho has done this deed ! ' And the 
orator pointed to the fallen Bane. 

* My voice for the brave who has avenged our 
chief ! ' cried one. 

' And mine ! ' shouted another. 

* And mine ! and mine ! and mine ! ' exclaimed all 

€2ie warriors. 


* Then solemnly be it proclaimed,' said tlie orator, 
4 that he to whom "belongs this trophy,' he pointed to 
the scalp of the Pane, * shall be chief of the Waco 
nation ! ' 

* Solemnly we avow it ! ' cried all the warriors in 
the ring, each placing his hand over his heart as ho 

' Enough ! ' said the orator. * Who is chief of 
the Waco warriors? Let him declare Limself on the 

spot ! ' 

A dead silence ensued. Every eye was busy 
scanning the faces around the circle, every heart 
was beating to hail their new chief. 

Carlos, unconscious of the honour that was in store 
for him, was standing a little to one side, observing 
the movements of his dusky companions with interest. 
He had not the slightest idea of the question that had 
been put. Some one near him, however, who spoke 
Spanish, explained to him the subject of the inquiry, 
and he was about to make a modest avowal, when one 
of the braves in the circle exclaimed, — 


' Why be in doubt longer ? If modesty ties the 
tongue of the warrior, let his weapon speak. Be- 
hold ! his arrow still pierces the body of our foe. 
Perhaps it will declare its owner, — it is a marked one ! ' 

* True ! ' ejaculated the orator. ' Let us question 
the arrow ! ' 

And, stepping forward, he drew the shaft from the 
body of the Pane', and held it aloft. 

The moment the eyes of the warriors fell upon its 
barbed head, an exclamation of astonishment passed 
from their lips. The head was of iron ! No Waco 
ever used such a Weapon as that ! 


All eyes were instantly turned on Carlos the cibo 
lero, with looks of inquiry and admiration. All felt 
that it must be from his bow had sped thac deadly 
shaft ; and they were the more convinced of this 
because some who had noticed the third Pane pierced 
with a rifle bullet, had just declared the fact to the 

Yes, it must be so. The pale-face was the avenger 
of their chief! 


Carlos, who by this time had become aware of the 
nature of their inquiries, now stepped forward, and, 
in modest phrase, detailed through the interpreter 
how the chief had fallen, and what part he himself 
had borne in the conflict. 

A loud murmur of applause broke from the circle 
of warriors, and the more excited of the young men 
rushed forward and grasped the cibolero's hand, utter 
ing as they did so expressions of gratitude. Most of 
the warriors already kuew that to him they were 
indebted for their safety. It was the report of hia 
rifle, fired in the night, that had put them on their 
guard, and prevented tho Panes from surprising their 
encampment, else the day's history might have beeu 
very different. In fact, the Panes, through this very 
signal having been heard, had been themselves sur- 
prised, and that was the true secret of their disaster 
and sanguinary retreat. 


When, in addition to this service, it was saen how 
the cibolero had fought on their side, killing severa*. 
of their foes, the hearts of the Wacoes were filled 
with gratitude ; but now that it became known that 
the pale-faced warrior was the avenger of their be- 
loved chief, their gratitude swelled into enthusiasm, 
and for some minutes their loud expressions of it 
alone could be heard. 

When the excitement had to some extent subsided, 
the warrior who seemed to be recognised as the 
orator of the tribe, and who was regarded with great 
deference, again stood forth to speak. This time his 
speech was directed to Carlos alone. 

' White warrior ! ' he said. ' I have spoken with 
the braves of our nation. They all feel that they owe 
you deep gratitude, which words cannot repay. The 
purport of our recent deliberations has been explained 
to you. Upon this ground we vowed that the avenger 
of him who lies ccld should be our future chief. We 
thought not at the time that that brave warrior was 
our white brother. But now we know ; and should 
we for that be false to our vow— to our promised 
word? No ! — not even in thought; and here, with 
equal solemnity, we again repeat that oath.' 

' We repeat it ! ' echoed around the ring of warriors, 
while each with solemnity of manner placed his hand 
over his heart. 

* White warrior ! ' continued the speaker, ' our 
premise remains sacred. The honour we offer jom 
is the greatest that we can bestow. It has never 
been borne but by a true warrior of the Waco tribe, 
for no impotent descendant of even a favourite chief 
bas evci ruled over the braves of our nation. We do 


not fear to offer this honour to you. We would 
rejoice if you would accept it. Stranger! we will 
bo proud of a white chief when that chief is a warrior 
such as you ! "We know you better than you think. 
"We have heard of you from our allies the Comanche 
— we have heard of Carlos the Cibolero ! 

* "We know you are a great warrior ; and wc know, 
too, that in your own country, among your own 
people, j'ou are nothing. Excuse our freedom, but 
speak we not the truth ? AVe despise your people, who 
are only tyrants and slaves. All these things have 
our Comanche brothers told us, and much more of 
you We know who you are, then ; we knew you 
when you came amongst us, and were glad to see 
you. "We traded with you as a friend. 

' "We now hail you as a brother, and thus say, — If 
vou have no ties that bind you to your ungrateful 
nation, we can offer you one that will not be ungrate- 
ful. Live with us, — be our chief! ' 

As the speaker ended, his last words were bomo 
like an echo horn lip to lip until the} r had gone round 
the full circle of warriors, and then a breathless 
silence ensued. 

Carlos was so taken by surprise that for some mo- 
ments he was unable to make reply. He was not 
alone surprised bv the singular proposal thus singu- 
larly made to him ; but the knowledge which the 
speaker betrayed of his circumstances quite astonished 
him. True, he had traded much among the Coman- 
ches, and was on friendly terms with that tribe, 
some of whom, in times of peace, even visited the 
settlement of San Ildefonso ; but it seemed odd that 
£he?e savages should have noticed the fact- -for fad 


it was -that the cibolero was somewhat of an outcast 
among his own people. Just then he had no time to 
reflect upon the singularity of the circumstances, as 
the warmrs waited his reply. 

Tic scarcely knew what reply to make. Hopeless 
outcast that he was, for a moment the proposal seemed 
worthy of acceptance. At home 1 e was little better 
than a slave ; hero he would be ruler, the lord elect 
of all. 

'il'3 Wacocs, though savages by name, were war- 
riors, were men of hearts, human and humane. He 
had proofs of it before him. His mother and sister 
would share his destiny ; but Catalina, — ha! that 
one thought resolved him ; he reflected no further. 

4 Generous warriors ! ' he replied ; ' I feel from the 
bottom of my heart a full sense of the honour you 
have offered to confer upon me. I wish that by words 
1 could prove how much I thank you, but I cannot. 
My words, therefore, shall be few and frank. It is 
true that in my own land I am not honoured, — I am 
one of the poorest of its people ; but there is a tie that 
binds me to it — a tie of the heart that calls upon me 
to return. Wacoes, I have spoken ! ' 

' Enough ! ' said the orator ; * enough, brave stran- 
ger : it is not for us to inquire into the motives that 
guide your acts. If not our chief, you will remain 
our friend. We have yet a way — a poor one — left us 
to show our gratitude : you have suffered from our 
enemies ; yon have lost your property, but that has 
been recovered, and shall be yours again. Further 
we entreat you to remain with us for some days, and 
partake of our rude hospitality. You will stay with 


The cavitation was promptly echoed by all, and eus 

promptly accepted. 

# * * * ♦ 

About a week after tliis time an atajo of pack-mules 
■nearly fifty in number — loaded with buffalo-hides 
and tasajo, was seen struggling up the eastern ceja of 
the Llano Estacado, and heading in a north-west- 
erly direction over that desert plain. The arriero, 
mounted upon the mulera, was a half-blood Indian. 
Three carretas, drawn by oxen and driven by dusky 
peons, followed the mule-train, making noise enough 
to frighten even the coyotes that behind skulked 
through the coverts of mezquite. A dashing horse- 
man mounted upon a fine black steed rode in advance, 
who, ever and anon turning in his saddle, looked 
back with a satisfied glance upon the fine atajo. That 
horseman was Carlos. 

The Wacoes had not forgotten to be generous. 
That train of mules and those heavy packs were 
the gift of the tribe to the avenger of their chief. 
But that was not all. In the breast-pocket of the 
cibolero's jacket was a ' bolsa/ filled with rare stuff, 
also a present from the Wacoes, who promised some 
day that their guest should have more of the same. 
What did that bolsa contain? coin? money? jewels? 
No. It contained only dust ; but that dust waa 
yellow and glittering. It was gddl 



Ok the second day after the fiesta there was a small 

dining party at the Presidio. Merely a few bachelor 
friends of the Comandante — the beaux esprit s of the 
place — including the fashionable Echevarria. The 
cura was among the number, and also the mission 
padres, both of whom enjoyed the convivialities of 
the table equal to any ' friar of orders grey.' 

The company had gon e through the numerous 
courses of a Mexican meal — the ' pucheros,' * gui- 
sados,' and endless mixtures of * chile,' — and the 
dinner was at that stage when the cloth has been 
carried off, and the wine flows freely, ( Canario' 
and * Xeres,' ' Pedro de Ximenes,' ' Madeira,' and 
* Bordeos,' in bottles of different shapes, stood upon 
the table ; and for those who liked a stronger beve- 
rage there was a flask of golden ' Catalan,' with 
another of Maraschino. A well-stored cellar was 
that of the Comandante. In addition to his being 
military governor, he was, as already hinted, col- 
lector of the derechos de consume, or custom-house dues. 
Hence he was the recipient of many a little present, 
as now and then a basket of champagne or a dozen 
of Bordeaux. 

His company had got fairly into the wine. The 
sura had thrown aside his sanctity and become huma» 


like the rest ; the padres had forgotten their sack- 
cloth and bead-roll, and the senior of them, Padre 
Joaquin, entertained the table with spicy adven- 
tures which had occurred to him before he became a 
monk. Echevarria related anecdotes of Paris, witL 
many adventures he had encountered among the 

The Spanish officers being the hosts were, of course, 
least talkative, though the Comandante — vain as 
any young sub who wore his epaulettes for the first 
time — could not refrain from alluding occasionally to 
his terrible list of bonnes fortunes among the fair Se- 
villanas. He had long been stationed at the city of 
oranges, and * la gracia Andalusiana ' was ever his 
theme of admiration. 

Roblado believed in the belles of the Havannah, 
and descanted upon the plump, material beauty which 
is characteristic of the Quadroons ; while the lieu- 
tenant expressed his penchant for the small-footed 
Guadalaxarenas — not of old Spain, but of tho rich 
Mexican province Guadalaxara. He had been quar- 
tered there. 

So ran the talk — rough and ribald — upon that deli- 
cate theme — woman. The presence of the trio of 
churchmen was no restraint. On the contrary, both 
padres and cura boasted of their liaisons with as much 
bawd and brass as the others, for padres and curd 

were both as depraved as any of their dining com- 
panions. Any little reserve either might have shown 
upon ordinary occasions had disappeared after a few 
cups of wine ; and none of them feared the company, 
which, on its part, stood as little in awe of them. 
The affectation of sanctity and self-denial was meant 


onty for the simple poblanos and the simpler peons 

of the settlement. At the dinner-table it was occa- 
sionally assumed by one or the other, but only by 
way of joke, — to give point and piquancy to the re- 
lation of some adventure. In the midst of the con 
versation, which had grown somewhat general and 
confused, a name was pronounced which produced a 
momentary silence. That name was ' Carlos the 

At the mention of this name several countenances 
changed expression. Eoblado was seen to frown ; 
on Yizcarra's face were portayed mixed emotions ; 
and both padres and cura seemed to know the name 

It was the beau Eohevarria who had mentioned 

' 'Pon the honour of a cavallero ! the most im- 
pudent thing I ever witnessed in all my life, even in 
republican Paris ! A fellow, — a demned trader in 
hides and tasajo — in short, a butcher of demned 
buffaloes to aspire -Parbleu!' 

Echevarria, though talking Spanish, always sworo 
in French. It was more polite. 

* Most insolent — intolerable ! ' cried several voices, 

1 I don't think the lady seemed over angry withal, 
remaiked a blunt young fellow, who sat near the 
lower end of the table, 

A chorus of voices expressed dissent from this 
opinion. Roblado's was the loudest. 

' Don Ramon Diaz/ said he, addressing himself to 
the young fellow, ' you certainly could not have 
observed very carefully on that occasion. I who was 
besido the lady know that she was filled with iisgiurt 


-* (this was a lie, and Koblado knew if), ' and hei 
father ' 

* Oh, her father, yes! ' cried Don Ramon, laughing. 
*Any one could see that he was angry — that was 
natural enough. Ha ! ha ! ' 

1 But who is the fellow ? ' inquired one. 

' A splendid rider,' replied Don Bamon. * The 
Comandante will admit that.' And the free speaker 
looked at Vizcarra with a smile of intelligence. The 
latter frowned at the observation. 

' You lost a good sum, did you not ? ' inquired the 
cura of Vizcarra. 

6 Not to him/ replied the Comandante, * but to 
that vulgar fellow who seems his friend. The worst 

of it is, when one bc.ts with these low people there is 
no chance of getting a revanche at some other time. 
One cannot meet them in the ordinary way.' 

1 But who is the fellow ? ' again inquired one. 

' Who ? Why, a cibolero— that 's all.' 

* True, but is there nothing about his history ? 
He 's a guero, and that is odd for a native ! Is he a 

Criollo ? He might be a Biscayan.' 

' Neither one nor the other. 'Tis said he 's an 

4 Americano ! ' 

' Not exactly that — his father was ; but the padre 
here can tell all about him.' 

The priest thus appealed to entertained the com- 
pany with some facts in the history of the cibolero. 
His father had been an Americano, as it was supposed — 
some stray personage who had mysteriously found his 
way to the valley and settled in it long ago. Such 
instances wei e rare in the settlements of New Mexico; 


©Ut what was rarer still, in this case the ' Americano * 
was accompanied by an ' Americana ' — the mother of 

Oarios — and the same old woman who attracted so 
much attention on the day of San Juan. Ail the 
efforts of the padre's to christianize either one Gr the- 
other had been in vain. The old trapper — for such 
he was — died as he had lived — a blaspheming * he- 
retico ;' and there was a general belief in the settle- 
ment that his widow held converse with the devil. 

All this was a scandal to the Church, and the padres 
"would long since have expelled the giiero family, but 
that, for some reason or other, they were protected 
by the old Comandante — Vizcarra's predecessor 

who had restrained the zealous priests in their good 

* But, caballeros ! ' said the padre, glancing towards 
Yizcarra, ' such heretics arc dangerous citizens. In 
them lie the seeds of revolution and social disturb- 
ance ; and when this giiero is at home, he is seen 
only in the company of those we cannot watch too 
closely : he has been seen with some of the suspected 
Tagnos, several of whom are in his service.' 

' Ha ! with them, indeed ! ' exclaimed several. ' A 
dangerous fellow! — lie should be looked after.' 

The sister of the cibolero now became the subject of 
conversation ; and as remarks were made more or less 
complimentary to her beauty, the expression upon 
the face of Vizcarra kept constantly changing. That 
villain was more interested in the conversation 
than his guests were aware, and he had already 
formed his plans. Already his agents were out on 
tbo accomplishment of his atrocious designs. 

The transition from tho cibolero's sister to the 

110 rilK WHITE CHIEJ. 

...tIlci belles of the place, and to the subject of woman 
in general, was natural ; and the company were soon 
rugaged in their original conversation, which, under 
ihe influence of additional wine, grew more 'racy" 
than ever. 

The scene ended by several of the party becoming 
'boracho;' and the night being now far advanced, 
the guests took their leave, some of them requiring 
to be conducted to their homes. A soldier apiece 
accompanied the cura and padres, all three of whom 
were as ' drunk as lords ;' and it was no new thin 
for them. 



The Comandante, with his friend Eoblado, alone 
remained in the room, and continued the conversa- 
tion with a fresh glass and cigar. 

1 And you really think, Eoblado, that the fellow 
nad encouragement. I think so too, else he would 
never have dared to act as he did.' 

i I am quite sure of it now. That he saw her last 
aight, and alone, I am certain. As I approached the 
»ouse I saw a man standing before the reja, and 
eaning against the bars, as if conversing with 
,ome ono inside. Some friend of Don Ambrosio, 
Ji ought I. 

' As I drew nearer, Ino man, >vbo was muffled in a 
manga, walked off and leaped upon a horse. Judge* 
my surprise on recognising in the horse the black 
%tallion that was yesterday ridden by the eibolero! 


* When I en U red the house and made inquiries aa 
to who were at home, the servants informed me that 
master was at the mineria, and that the Senorita had 
retired, and could see no one that night I 

' By Heaven ! I was in such a passion, I hardly 
knew what I said at the moment. The thing's scarce 
credible ; but, that this low fellow is on secret terms 
with her, is as sure as I ana a soldier.' 

k It does seem incredible. "What do you mean to 
do, Roblado ? ' 

' Oh I I 'm safe enough about her. She shall be 
better watched for the future. I Ve had a hint given 
to Don Ambrosio. You know my secret well enough, 
colonel. Her mine is my loadstone ; but it is a cursed 
queer thing to have for one's rival such a fellow as 
this! Ha! ha! ha!' 

Eoblado's laugh w r as faint and unreal. ' Do you 
know/ continued he, striking on a new idea, ' the 
padre don't like the guero family. That 's evident 
from the hints he let drop to-night. We may get 
this fellow out cf the way without much scandal, if 
the Church will only interfere. The padres can expel 
him at once from the settlement if they can only 
satisfy themselves that he is a " heretico." Is it not so ?' 

1 It is,' coldly replied Vizcarra, sipping his wine ; 
* but to expel /iwn, my, dear Eoblado, some one else 
might be also driven off. The rose would be plucked 
along with the thorn. Yon understand ? ' 

i Perfectly.' 

' That, then, of course, 1 don 't wish — at least not 
foi the present. After some time we may be satisfied 
to part with rose, thorn, bush, roots, and all. Hal 
ha' ha!' 


* Ry the way, colonel/ asked the captain, 'have 
you made any progress yet ? — have you been to the 

house ? ' 

4 No, ray dear fellow ; I have not had time. It 'a 
some distance, remember. Besides, I intend to defer 
my visit until this fellow is out of the way. It will 
be more convenient to carry on my courtship in hia 

' Out of the way ! what do you mean ? ' 
' That the cibolero will shortly start for the Plains 
■to be gone, perhaps, for several months, cutting up 
buffalo beef, tricking the Indians, and such-like em- 

' Ho ! that 's not so bad/ 

* So you see, querido camarado, there 's no need 
for violence in the matter. Have patience — time 
enough for everything. Before my bold buffalo- 
hunter gets back, both our little affairs will be 
settled, I trust. You shall be the owner of rich 

mines, and I ' 

A slight knock at the door, and the voice of 

Sergeant Gomez was heard, asking to see the Co- 


' Come in, sergeant ! ' shouted the colonel. The 

brutal-looking trooper walked into the room, and, 
from his appearance, it was plain he had just dis- 
mounted from a ride. 

' Well, sergeant?' said Vizcarra, as the man drew 
near ; ' speak out ! Captain lioblado may know what 
you have to say. 5 

* The party, colonel, lives in the very last house 
down the valley, — full ten miles from here. Therti 

«•« but the three, mother, sister, and brother — the 



same vcm saw at the fiesta. There are three or four 
Tagno servants j who help the man in his business. 
He owns a few mules, oxen, and carts, that's all. 
These he makes use of in his expeditions, upon one 
<i f which he is about to Btart in three or four dav s at 
the furthest. It is to be a long one, I heard, as he 
is to take a new route over the Llano Estacado*' 

' Over the Llano Estacado ? * 

4 Such, I was told, was his intention.' 

' Anything else to say, sergeant : J 

* Nothing, colonel, except that the ghl has a sweet- 
heart — the same young fellow who bet so heavily 
against you at the fiesta.' 

4 The devil ! ' exclaimed Yizcarra, while a deep 
shadow crossed his forehead. 

1 He, indeed I I suspected that. "Where does he 
live? ' 

' Not far above them, colonel. He is the ownei 
of a rancho, and is reputed rich — that is for a ran- 

' Help yonrself to a glass of Catalan, sergeant/ 

The trooper stretched out his hand, laid hold of a 
bottle, and, having filled one of the glasses, bowed 
respectfully to the officers, and drank off the brandy 
at a draught. Seeing that he was not wanted further, 
lie touched his shako and withdrew, 

' So, camarado, you see it is right enough., so far as 
you are concerned.* 

* And for } r ou also ! ' replied Eoblado. 

* Not exactly.' 

* AYhv not ? ' 

' I don't like the story of this sweetheart — this 
rancherc The fellow possesses money — a spirit, too, 


that may be troublesome. Ho 's not the man one 
would be called upon to light — at leant not. one in 
my position ; but he is one of these people — what the 
cibolero is not— and has their sjinpathies with him. 
It would "be a very different thing to get involved 
with him in an affair. Bah ! what need I care ? I 
never yet failed. Good night, camarado ! ' 

' Buenos noches ! y replied lioblado ; and both, rising 
simultaneously from the table, retired to their re- 
Bpective sleeping-rooms. 


The ' ranchos ' and ' haciendas ' of tho valley extended 
nearly ten miles along the stream below San Ilde- 
fonso. Near the town they were studded more 
thickly; but, as you descended the stream, fewer 
were met with, and these of a poorer class. The fear 
of the ' Indlos bravos ' prevented those who were 
well off from building their establishments at any 
great distance from the Presidio. Poverty, how- 
ever, induced ethers to risk themselves nearer the 
frontier ; and, as for several years the settlement had 
not been disturbed, a number of small farmers and 
graziers had established themselves as far as eight or 
ten miles distance below the town. 

Half-a-mile beyond all these stood an isolated 
dwelling — the last to be seen in going down the 
valley. It seemed beyond the pale of protection — st 


far as the garrison was concerned — for no patrol ever 
extended its rounds to so distant a point. Its owner 
evidently trusted to fate, or to the clemency of the 
Apaches — the Indians who usually troubled the 
settlement, — for the house in question was in no other 
way fortified against them. Perhaps its obscure and 
retired situation contributed to its security. 

It stood somewhat off the road, not near the stream, 
but back under the shadow of the bluff; in fact, 
almost built against the cliff. 

It was but a poor rancho, like all the others in the 
valley, and, indeed, throughout most parts of Mexico, 
ouilt of large blocks of mud, squared in a mould and 
sun-dried. Many of the better class of such buildings 
showed white fronts, because near at hand gypsum 
was to be had for the digging. Some of greater pre- 
tension had windows that looked as though they 
were glazed. So they were, but not with glass. The 
shining plates that resembled it were but laminae of 
the aforesaid gypsum, which is used for that purpo? 
in several districts of New Mexico. 

The rancho in question was ornamented neitha ' 
with wash nor windows. It stood under the cliff, its 
brown mud walls scarce contrasting with the colour 
of the rock ; and, instead of windows, a pair of dark 
holes, with a few wooden bars across thein, gave light 
to the interior. 

This light, however, was only a supplement to that 
which entered by the door, habitually kept open. 

The front of the house was hardly visible from the 
valley road. A traveller would never have noticed 
it, and even the keen e}'e of an Indian might have 
Tailed to discover it. The singular fence that sur- 


rounded it Lid it from view, — singular to the eye ot 
one unaccustomed to the vegetation of this far land, 
[t was a fence of columnar cacti. The plants that 
formed it were regular fluted columns, six inches 
thick and from six to ten feet high. They stood side 
by side like pickets in a stockade, so close together 
that the eye could scarce see through the interstices, 
still further closed by the thick beard of thorns. 
Near their tops in the season these vegetable columns 
became loaded with beautiful wax-li^e flowers, which 
disappeared only to give way to bright and luscious 
fruits. It was only after passing through the opening 
in this fence that the little rancho could be seen; 
and although its walls were rude, the sweet little 
flower-gar den that bloomed within the en c] osu re 
told that the hand of care was not absent. 

Beyond the cactus-fence, and built against the cliff, 
was another enclosure — a mere wall of adobe of no 
great height. This was a * corral ' where cattle were 
kept, and at one corner was a sort of shed or stabio 
of small dimensions. Sometimes half-a-dozen mules 
and double the number of oxen might be seen in that 
corral, and in the stable as fine a horse as ever carried 
saddle. Both were empty now, for the animals that 
usually occupied them were out. Horse, mules, and 
oxen, as well as their owner, were far away upon the 

Their owner was Carlos the cibolero. Such was 
the home of the buffalo- hunter, the home of his aged 
mother and fair sister. Such had been their Lome 
since Carlos was a child. 

And yet they were not of the people of the valley 
nor the town. Neither race — Spanish nor Indian- 



'aimed them. They differed from both as widely as 
either did from the other. It was true what the 
padre had said. True that they were Americans ; 
that their father and mother had settled in the valley 
a long time ago ; that no one knew whence they had 
come, except that they had crossed the great plains 
r rom the eastward ; that they were hereticos, and that 
the padres could never succeed in bringing them into 
the fold of the Church ; that these would have ex 
pelled, or otherwise punished them, but for the 
interference of the military Comandante ; and 
furthermore, that both were always regarded by tho 
common people of the settlement with a feeling of 
superstitious dread. Latterly this feeling, concen- 
trated oii_ the mother of Carlos, had taken a new 
shape, and they looked upon her as a hechicera — a 

witch—and crossed themselves devoutly whenever 

she met them. This was not often, for it was raro 
that she made her appearance among the inhabitants 
of the valley. Her presence at the fiesta of San Juai. 
was the act of Carlos, who had been desirous oJ 
giving a day's amusement to the mother and sister he 
so much loved. 

Their American origin h&d much to do with the 
isolation in which they live I. Since a period long 
preceding that time, bitter Jealousy existed between 
the Spano-Mexican and Ang) >-American races. Thi» 
feeling had been planted bv national animosity, and 
nursed and fomented by priestcraft. Events that 
have since taken place had already cast their shadows 
over the Mexican frontier ; and Florida and Louisiana 
were regarded as but steps iu the ladder of American 
aggrandisement ; but the understanding of these 


aiatters was of course confined to the more in tell* 
gent ; but all were imbued with the bad passions ol 
international hate. 

The family of the cibolero suffered under tho 
common prejudice, and on that account lived almost 
wholly apart from the inhabitants of the valley. 
What intercourse they bad was mostly with the 
native Iudian population — the poor Tagnos, who felt 
but little of this anti- American feeling. 

If we enter the rancho of Carlos we shall see tho 
fair-haired Eosita seated upon a petate, and engaged 
in weaving rebosos. The piece of mechanism which, 
serves her for a loom consists of only a few pieces of 
wood rudely carved. So simple is it that it is hardly 
just to call it a machine. Yet those long bluish 
threads stretched in parallel lines, and vibrating to 
the touch of her nimble fingers, will soon be woven 
into a beautiful scarf to cover the head of some co- 
quettish poblana of the town. None in the valley can 
produce such rebosos as the cibolero's sister. So 
much as he can beat all the youth in feats of horse- 
manship, so much does she excel in the useful art 
which is her source of subsistence. 

There are but two rooms in the rancho, and that is 
one more than will be found io most of its fellows. 
But the delicate sentiment still exists in the Saxon 
mind. The family of the ciboloro are not jet 

The kitchen is the larger apartment and tho more 
cheerful, because lighted by the open door. In it you 

will see a small ' brazero,' or altar-like fireplace- 
half-a-dozen earthen * ollas/ shaped like urns — some 
jpurd-shell cups and bowls — a tortilla stone, with its 


ehort legs and inclined surface — some petals to sit 

upon — .some tuffalo- robes for a similar purpose — a 

bag of maize — some bunches of dried herbs, and 

strings of rod and green chil£ — but no pictures of 

saints ; and perhaps it is the only house in the whole 

valley where your eye will not be gratified by a 

sight of these. Truly the family of the cibolero are 

' hereticos.' 

Not last you will see an old woman seated near 

the fire, and smoking punche in a pipe ! A strange 
old woman is she, and strange no doubt her historj' • 
but that is revealed to no one. Her sharp, lank fea- 
tures ; her blanched, yet still luxuriant hair ; the 
wild gleam of her eyes ; all render her appearance 
singular. Others than the ignorant could not fail to 
fancy her a being different from the common order. 
No wonder, then, that these regard her as ' una 
hechicera ! ' 

X* ■ - 


Eosita knelt upon the floor, passing her little hand- 
shuttle through the cotton-woof. Now she sang 
and sweetly she sang — some merry air of the Ameri- 
can back-woods that had been taught her by her 
mother ; anon some romantic lay of Old Spain — 1ho 
' Troubadour,' perhaps- — a fine piece of music, that 
gives such happy expression to the modern song 
'Love not.' This 'Troubadour' was a favourite 


with Rosi& ; and when she took up her bandolc 
and accompanied herself with its guitar-like notes, 
the listener would be delighted. 

She was now singing to beguile the hours and 
lighten her task ; and although not accompanied by 
any music, her silvery voice sounded sweet and 

The mother had laid aside her pipe of punche, and 
was busy as Rosita herself. She spun the threads 
with which the rebosos -were woven. If the loom 
was a simple piece of mechanism, much more so was 
the spinning-machine — the ' huso,' or ' malacate ' 
which was nothing more or less than the ' whirligig 
spindle.' Yet with this primitive apparatus did the 
old dame draw out and twist as smooth a thread as 
ever issued from the * jenny.' 

' Poor dear Carlos ! One, two, three, four, five, 
six — six notches I have made — he is just in his sixth 
day. B} r this time he will be over the Llano, 
mother. I hope he will have good luck, and get well 
treated of the Indians.' 

'Never fear, nina— my brave boy has his father's 
rifle, and knows how to use it — well he does. Never 
fear for Carlos ! ' 

( But then, mother, he goes in a new direction I 
What if he fall in with a hostile tribe ? ' 

* Never fear, nina ! Worse enemies than Indians 
has Carlos — worse enemies neaier home — cowardly 
slaves ! they hate us — both Gachttpinos and C Hollos 
hate us — Spanish dogs ! they hate our Saxon blood ! ' 

1 Oh, mother, say not so ! They are not all our 
enemies. We have some friends.' 

Kosita was thinking of Don Juan. 


* Few — few — and far between ! What care I while 
toy brave son is there ? He is friend enough for us. 
Soft heart — brave heart — strong arm — who like my 
Carlos ? And the boy loves his old mother — his 
strange old mother, as these pelados think her. He 
etill loves his old mother. Ha ! ha ! ha ! What, 
then, cares she for friends ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' 

Her speech ended in a laugh of triumph, showing 
how much she exulted in the possession of such a 

' O my ! what a carga, mother ! He never had 
such a carga before ! I wonder where Carlos got all 

the monev ? ' 

Eosita did not know exact! y where ; but she had 

some fond suspicions as to who had stood her brother's 


1 Ay de mi ! ' she continued ; he will be very rich 
if he gets a good market for all those fine things — he 
will bring back troops of nules. How I shall long 
for his return! One — two —three — six — yes, there 
are but six notches in the w >od. Oh ! I wish it were 
full along both edges — I do ■ ' 

Kosita's eyes, us she said this, were bent upon a 
thin piece of cedar-wood th it hung against the wall, 
and upon which six little ; otches w r ere observable. 
That was her cl »ck and calendar, which was to re- 
ceive a fresh mark each day until the ciboloro's 
return — thus keeping her informed of the exact time 
that had elapsed since his departure. 

After gazing at the cedar -wood for a minute or 
two, and trying 10 make the six notches count seven, 
she gave it up, aad went on with her weaving. 

The old woman, laying down her spindle, raised 


the lid of an earthen ' olla ' that stood over a little 
£.Te upon the brazero. From the pot proceeded a 
savoury steam ; for it contained a stew of tasajo cut 
into small pieces, and highly seasoned with cebollas 
(Spanish onions) and chits Colorado (red capsicum). 

* Nina, the guisado is cooked,' said she, after lifting 
a portion of the stew on a wooden spoon, and ex- 
amining it ; i let us to dinner ! ' 

4 Very well, mother,' replied Eosita, rising from 
her loom ; * I shall make the tortillas at once/ 

Tortillas are only eaten warm — that is, are fit only 
for eating when warm — or fresh from the ' comaL* 
They are, therefore, to be baked immediately before 
the meal commences, or during its continuance. 

Eosita set the olla on one side, and placed the 
comal over the coals. Another olla, which contained 
maize— already boiled soft — was brought forward, 
and placed beside the ' metate,' or tortilla-stone ; and 
then, by the help of an oblong roller — also of stone— 
a portion of the boiled maize was soon reduced to 
enow-white paste. The metate and roller were now 
laid aside, and the pretty, rose-coloured fingers of 
Eosita were thrust into the paste. The proper quan- 
tity for a ' tortilla ' was taken up, first formed into a 
round ball, and then clapped oat between the palms 
until it was only a wafer's thickness. Nothing re~ 
rnained but to fUns? it on the hot surface of the comal, 
let it lie but for an instant, then turn it, and in a 
moment more it was ready for eating. 

These operations, which required no ordinary- 
adroitness, were performed by Eosita with a skill 
that showed she was a practised * tortillera.' 

When a sufficient number were piled upon the 


plate, Koeita desisted from her labour, and lier 
mother having already ' dished ' the guisado, both 
commenced their repast, eating without knife, fore, 
or spoon. The tortillas, being still warm, and there- 
fore capable of being twisted into any form, served 
as a substitute for all these contrivances of civilisa- 
tion, which in a Mexican rancho are considered 

/superfluous things. 

* * # # * 

Their simple- meal was hardly over when a very 
unusual sound fell upon their ears. 

' Ho ! what's that ? ' cried Rosita, starting to he * 
feet, and listening. 

The sound a second time came pealing through the 
open door and windows. 

* I declare it 's a bugle ! ' said the girl. ' There 
must be soldiers.' 

She ran first to the door, and then up to the cactus- 
fence. She peered through the interstices of the 
green columns. 

Sure enough there were soldiers. A troop oi 
lancers was marching by twos down the valley, and 
not far off. Their glittering armour, and the pennons 
of their lances, gave them a gay and attractive ap- 
pearance. As Eosita's eyes fell upon them, they 
were wheeling into line, halting, as they finished the 
movement, with their front to the rancho, and not a 
hundred paces from the fence. The house was evi- 
dently the object of their coming to a halt. 

What could soldiers want there ? This was Eosita's 
first reflection. A troop often passed Tip and down 
the valley, but never came near the rancho, which, 
as already stated, was far from the main road. "What 


ousiness could the soldiers be upon, to lead them ©rat 

cf their usual track ? 

Rosita asked herself these questions ; then ran 
into the house arid asked her mother. Neither could 
answer them ; and the girl turned to the fence, and 
again looked through. 

As she did so she saw one of the soldiers— from 
his finer dress evidently an officer — separate from 
the rest, and come galloping towards the house. In 
a few moments he drew near, and, reining his horse 

close up to the fence, looked over the tops of the 
cactus -plants. 

Rosita could just see his plumed hat, and below it 
his face, but she knew the face at once. It was that 
of the officer who on the day of San Juan had ogled 
her so rudely. She knew he was the Comandante 



The officer, from his position, had a full view of the 
girl as she stood in the little enclosure of fl iwers. 
She had retreated to the door, and would have gone 
inside, but she turned to call off Cibolo, a large wolf- 
dog, who was barking fiercely, and threatening the 

The dog, obedient to her voice, ran back i eo the 
house growling, but by no means satisfied . He 
evidently wanted to try his teeth on the shanks of the 
stranger's horse. 


< Thank you, fair Senorita,' said the officer. 6 It ia 
way kind of you to protect me from that fierce brute. 
J. would he were the only danger I had to fear in this 

4 What have you to fear, Sefior?' inquired Kosita, 
with some surprise. 

' Your eyes, sweet girl : moro dangerous than the 
sharp teeth of your dog, — they have already wounded 

* Cavallero,' replied Kosita, blushing and averting 
her face, ' you have not come here to jest with a poor 
girl. May I inquire what is your business ? ' 

' Business I have none, lovely Kosita, but to se© 
you, — nay, do not leave me !— I have business — that 
is, I am thirsty, and halted for a drink : you will not 
refuse me a cup of water, fair Senorita ? ' 

These last phrases, broken and hastily delivered, 
were meant to restrain the girl from cutting short the 
interview, which she was about to do by entering the 
nouse. Yizcarra was not thirsty, neither did he wish 
for water; but the laws of hospitality would compel 
the girl to bring it, and the act might further his 

She, without replying to his complimentary "ha- 
rangue, stepped into the house, and presently returned 
with a gourd-shell filled with water. Carrying it to 
the gato-like opening of the fences, she presented it 
to him, and stood waiting for the vessel. 

Yizcarra, to make his request look natural, forced 
down several gulps of" the fluid, and then, throwing 
away the rest, held out the gourd. The girl stretched 
forth her hand to receive it, but ho still held it fast, 
gazing intently and rudely upon her. 



* Lovely Senorita,' he said, 'may I not kiss that 
pretty hand that has been so kind to me ? ' 

1 Sir ! please return me the cup.' 

* Nay, not till I have paid for my drink. You will 
accept this ? ' 

He dropped a gold onza into the gourd. 

' No, Senor, I cannot accept payment for what is 
only an act of duty. I shall not take your gold/ she 
added, firmly. 

* Lovely Eosita ! you have already taken my heart, 
why not this ? ' 

' I do not understand you, Senor ; please put back 
vour money, and let me have the cup.' 

* I shall not deliver it up, unless you take it with 
its contents.' 

' Then you must keep it, Senor,' replied she, turn- 
ing away. ' I must to my work.' 

Nay, further, Senorita ! ' cried Vizcarra ; 4 1 have 
Another favour to ask, — a light for my cigar ? Here, 
take the cup ! See ! the coin is no longer in it ! You 
will pardon me for having offered it ? ' 

Vizcarra saw that she was oifended, and by this 
apology endeavoured to appease her. 

She received the gourd-shell from his hands, and 
then went back to the house to bring him the light 
he had asked for. 

Presently she reappeared with some red coals upon 
a small 'brazero.' 

On reaching tho gate she was surprised to see that 
bhe officer had dismounted, and was fastening his 
horse to a stake. 

As she offered him the brazero, he remarked, ' I 
am wearied with my ride ; may I beg, Senorita, 


you will allow me a few minutes' shelter from the 

hot sun ? ' 

Though annoyed at this request, the girl could 
only reply in the affirmative ; and the next moment, 
with clattering spur and clanking sabre, the Co- 
tnandante walked into the rancho. 

Eosita followed him in without a word, and without 
a word he was received by her mother, who, seated 
in the corner, took no notice of hi& entrance, not 
even by looking up at him. The dog made a circuit 
around him, growling angrily, but his young mistress 
chided him off; and the brute once more couched 
himself upon a petate, and lay with eyes gleaming 
fiercely at the intruder. 

Once in the house, Vizcarra did not feel easy. He 

saw he was not welcome. Not a word of welcome 

had been uttered by Eosita, and not a sign of it offered 

either by the old woman or the dog. The contrary 

symptoms were unmistakeable, and the grand officer 
felt he was an intruder. 

But Vizcarra was not accustomed to care much for 
the feelings of people like these. He paid but little 
regard to their likes or dislikes, especially where theso 
interfered with his pleasures ; and, after lighting his 
cigar, he sat down on a ' banquet a/ with as much 
nonchalance as if ho were in his own quarters. He 
6moked some time without breaking silence. 

Meanwhile Eosita had drawn out her loom, and, 
kneeling down in front of it, went on with her work 
as if no stranger were present. 

* Oh, indeed ! ' exclaimed the officer, feigning in- 
terest in the process, 'how very ingenious! 1 have 
often wished to eee this! a reboso it is? Upon my 


trord ! and that is how they are woven ? Can you 
linish one in a day, Scnorita ? ' 
1 Si, Senor,' was the curt reply. 

* And this thread, it is cotton ; is it not ? ' 

* Si, Senor.' 

'It is very prettily arranged indeed- Did y*?,; 
place it so yourself? ' 

< Si, Senor.' 

' Really it requires <*kill ! I should like much to 
learn how the threads are passed.' 

And as he said this he left his seat upon the 
banqueta, and, approaching the loom, knelt down 
beside it. 

' Indeed, very singular and ingenious. Ah, now, 
do you think, pretty Rosita, you could teach me ? ' 

The old woman, who was seated with her eyes bent 
upon the ground, started at hearing the stranger 
pronounce her daughter's name, and glanced around 
at him. 

' I am really serious,' continued he ; ' do you think 
you could teach me this useful art? ' 

' No, Senor ! ' was the laconic reply. 

1 Oh ! surely I am not so stupid ! I thine I could 
learn it — it seems only to hold this thing so,' — here 
he bent forward, and placed. his hand upon the shut- 
tle, so as to touch the fingers oi the girl, — 'and then 
put it between the threads in this manner ; is it 

not ? ' 

At this moment, as if carried away by his wild 
passions, he seemed to forget himself; and, turning 
nis eyes upon the blushing girl, he continued in an 
under tone, ' Sweetest Rosita ! .1 love you, — one kiss, 
fairest, — one kiss ! ' and before she could escape 

the white chief 12tt 

from Lis arms, wliicli had already encircled her, hi 
had imprinted a kiss upon her lips ! 

A scream escaped from the girl, but another, louder 
and wilder, answered it from the corner. The old 
woman sprang up from her crouching position, and 
running across the floor launched herself like a tigress 
upon the officer ! Tier long bony fingers flew out, 
and in an instant were clutching his throat ! 

'Off! beldame! off!' cried he, struggling to es- 
cape : * off I say ; or my sword shall cut short ycur 
wretched life, --off ! — off ! — I say ! ' 

Still the old woman clutched and screamed, tearing 
wildly at his throat, his epaulettes, or whatever she 
could lay hold of. 

But sharper than her nails were the teeth of the 
great wolf-dog that sprang almost simultaneously 
from his lair, and, seizing the soldier by the limbs, 
caused him to bellow out at the top of his voice, — 

' Without there ! Sergeant Gomez ! Ho ! treason ! 
to the rescue ! to the rescue ! ' 

' Ay ! dog of a Gachupino ! ' screamed the old 
woman, — ' dog of Spanish blood ! you may call youi 
cowardly myrmidons ! Oh ! that my brave son were 
here, or my husband alive ! If they were, 3-011 would 
not carry a drop of your villain blood be} ond the 
threshold you have insulted! — Go! — go to your 
poblanas — your margaritas I Go — begone ! ' 

' Hell and furies ! This dog — take him off! Ho, 
ihere ! Gomez ! your pistols. Here ! send a bullet 
through him ! Haste ! haste ! ' 

And battling with his sabre, the valiant Coman- 

dante at length effected a retreat to his horse. 

He was already well torn about the legs, but. 


covered by the sergeant, lie succeeded in getting into 
the saddle. 

The latter fired off both his pistols at the dog, but 
the bullets did not take effect ; and the animal, per 
ceiving that his enemies outnumbered him, turned 
and ran back into the house. 

The dog was now silent, but the Gomandante, as 
aq sat in his saddle, heard a derisive laugh within 
the rancho. In the clear soft tones of that jeering 
laughter he distinguished the voice of the beautiful 
j»uera ! 

Chagrined beyond measure, he would have be- 
sieged the rancho with his troop, and insisted on 
killing the dog, had he not feared that the cause of 
his ungraceful retreat might become known to his 
followers. That would be a mortification he did not 
desire to experience. 

He returned, therefore, to the troop, gave the word 
to march, and the cavalcade moved off, taking the 
backward road to the town. 

After riding at the head of his men for a short 
while, Vizcarra — whose heart was filled with anger 
and mortification — gave some orders to the sergeant, 
and then rode off in advance, and in full gallop. 

The sight of a horseman in bine manga, passing in 
the direction of the rancho — and whom he recognised 
as the young ranchero, Don Juan — did not do much 
towards soothing his angry spirit. He neither halted 
nor spoke, but, casting on the latter a malignant 
glance, kept en. 

He did not slacken his pace until he drew bridle 
in the saguan of the PresidiG. 

His panting horse had to pay for the bitter reflet « 
tions that tortured the soul of his master. 



The first thing which Kosita did, after the noise 

without had ceased, was to glide forth and peep 
through the cactus-fence. She had heard the bugle 
again, and she wished to he sure that the intruders 

were gone. 

To her joy, she beheld the troop some distance off, 
defiling up the valley. 

She ran back into the house and communicated the 
intelligence to her mother, who had again seated 
aerself, and was quietly smoking her pipe of punche 

' Dastardly ruffians !' exclaimed the latter. ' 1 
knew they would be gone. Even an old woman and 
a dog are enough. Oh, that my brave Carlos had 
Deen here ! lie would have taught that proud Gachu- 
pino we were not so helpless ! Ha ! that would 
Carlos !' 

' Do not think of it any more, dear mother ; I 
don't think thev will return. You have frightened 
them away, — you and our brave Cibolo. How well 
he behaved ! But I must see,' she added, hastily 
casting her eyes round the room ; 'he may be hurt. 
Cibolo! Cibolo! here, good fellow ! Come, I've got 
something for you. Ho, brave dog !' 

At the call of her well-known voice the dog came 
forth from his hiding-place, and bounded up, wagging 
his tail, and glancing kindly in her face. 


The girl stooped down, and, passing hei hands 
through his shaggy coat, examined every part of his 
body and limbs, in fear all the while of meeting with 
the red stain of a bullet. Fortunately the sergeant's 
aim had not been true. Neither wound nor scratch 
had Cibolo received; and as he sprang around his 
young mistress, he appeared in perfect health and 

A splendid animal he was, — one of those magni- 
ficent sheep-dogs of New Mexico, who, though half- 
wolf themselves, will successfully defend a flock of 
sheep from the attack of wolves, or even of the more 
savage bear. The finest sheep-dogs in the world are 
they, and one of the finest of his race was Cibolo. 

His mistress, having ascertained that he was un- 
injured, stepped upon the banqueta, and reached up 
towards a singular-looking object that hung over a 
peg in the wall. The object bore some resemblance 
to a string of ill-formed sausages. But it was not 
that, though it was something quite as good for 
Cibolo, who, by his sparkling eyes and short pleased 
whimpers, showed that he knew what it was. Yes, 
Cibolo had not to be initiated into the mysteries of 
a string of tasajo. Dried buffalo-meat was an old 
and tried favourite ; and the moment it reached his 
jaws, which it did immediately after, he gave proof 
of this by the earnest manner in which he set to 
work upon i t. 

The pretty Itosita, still a little apprehensive, once 
more peeped through the cactus-fence to assure her- 
self that no one was near. 

But this time some one was near, and the sight 
did not cause her any fear, — quite the contrary, 


The approach of a young man in a blue manga, 
mounted upon a richly- caparisoned horse, had a con* 
trary effect altogether, and Rosita's little heart now 
beat with confidence. 

This young horseman was Don Juan tho ranchero. 
He rode straight up to the opening, and seeing the 
guera cried out in a frank friendly voice, 'Buenos 

dias, JRosita V 

The reply was as frank and friendly — a simple 
return of the salutation,- 

' Buenos dias, Don Juan F 

* How is the Senora your mother to-day ?' 

1 Muchas gracias, Don Juai) ! as usual she is. Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ' 

i Hola. n exclaimed Don Juan. '"What are you 
laughing at, Rosita?' 

' Ha ! ha ! ha ! Saw you nothing of the fine 

' True, I did. I met the troop as I came down, 
going up the valley in a gallop, and the Coman- 
dante riding far ahead, as if the Apaches were after 
him. In truth, I thought they had met the Indios 
bravos — for I know that to be their usual style of 
riding after an interview with these gentry.' 

'Ha! ha! ha!' still laughed the little blonde 
* but did you notice nothing odd about the officer?' 

' I think I did. He looked as though he had 
ridden through the chapparal ; but I had scarce a 
glance at him, he passed so quickly. He gave me 
cue that was anything but friendly. No doubt he 
remembers the loss of his gold onzas at San Juan. 
Ha! ha! But, dear Rosita, what may you be laugh- 
ing at? Have the soldiers been here' Anything 


Eosita now gave an account of the Comandante's 
visit ; how ho had called to light his cigar and get 
a drink of water; how he had entered the house and 
been attacked by Cibolo, which caused the precipitate 
retreat to his horse, and his hasty departure from 
the place. She was silent, however, about the most 
important particulars. She said nothing of the insult- 
ing speeches which Vizcarra had made — nothing of 
the kiss. She feared the effect of such a communica- 
tion on Don Juan. She knew her lover was of a 
hot rash disposition. He would not hear these things 
quietly ; he would involve himself in some trouble 
on her account; and these considerations prompted 
her to conceal the cause that had led to the ' scene. 
She, therefore, disclosed only the more ludicrous 
effects, at which she laughed heartily. 

Don Juan, even knowing only so much, was in- 
clined to regard the affair more seriously. A visit 
from Vizcarra — a drink of water— light his cigar — 

enter the rancho — all very strange circumstances, 
out not at all laughable, thought Don Juan. And 
then to be attacked and torn by the dog — to be driven 
from the house in such a humiliating manner — in 
presence of his own troop, too ! — Vizcarra — the vain- 
glorious Vizcarra — the great militario of the place — 
the hero of a hundred Indian battles that never were 
fought — he to be conquered by a cur ! Seriously, 
thought Don Juan, it was not an affair to laugh at. 
Vizcarra would have revenge, or try hard to obtain it. 
The young ranchero had other unpleasant thoughts 
:a connexion with this affair. What could have 
brought the Oomandante to the rancho ? How had 
he found out that interesting abode, — that spot, 
sequestered as it was, that seemed to him (Don 

THE WHITE CniEr. 135 

Juan) to be the centre of the world ? "Who had 
directed him that way? "What brought the troop 
out of the main road, their usual route of march ? 

These were questions which Don Juan put to him- 
self. To have asked them of Eosita would have been 
to disclose the existence of a feeling he would rather 
keep concealed — jealousy. 

And jealous he was at the moment. The drink, 
she had served him of course, — the cigar, she had 
lit it for him— perhaps invited him in ! Even now 
she appeared in the highest spirits, and not at all 
angry at the visit that had been paid her ! 

Don Juan's reflections had suddenly grown bitter, 
and he did not join in the laugh which his sweet- 
heart was indulging in. 

When after a short while she invited him in, his 
feelings took a turn, and he became himself again. 
He dismounted from his horse, and followed Eosita 
through the garden into the house. 

The girl sat down by the loom and continued her 
work, while the young ranchero was allowed to 
kneel upon the petate beside her, and converse at 
will. There was no objection to his occasionally 
assisting her to straighten out the woof or untwist a 
fouled thread ; and, on these occasions, their fingers 
frequently met, and seemed to remain longer in 
contact than was necessary for the unravelling of the 

But no one noticed all this. Eosita's mother was 
indulging in a siesta ; and Cibolo, if he saw anything 
amiss, said nothing about it to any one, but wagged 
his tail, and looked good-humouredty at Don Juan* 
as it he entirely approved of the latter's conduct. 



When Vizcarra reached his sumptuous quarters, lh<* 
first thing he did was to call for wine. It was 
brought, and he drank freely and with fierce deter- 

He thought by that to drown his chagrin ; and for 
a while he succeeded. 

There is relief in wine, but it is only temporary : 
you may make jealousy drunk and oblivious, but you 
cannot keep it so. It will be sober as soon — ay, 
sooner than yourself. Not all the wine that was 
ever pressed from grapes can drown it into a com- 
plete oblivion. 

Vizcarra's heart was rilled by various passions, 
There was love — that is, such love as a libertine 
feels ; jealousy ; anger at the coarse handling he had 
experienced ; wounded self-love, for with his gold- 
lace and fine plumes he believed himself a conqueror 
at first sight ; and upon the top of all, bitter dis- 

This last was the greater that he did not see how 
his suit could be renewed. To attempt a similar 
visit would lead to similar chagrin, — perhaps worse. 

Jt was plain the girl did not care for him, with 
all his fine feathers and exalted position. Ho saw 
that she was very different from the others with 
whom he had had dealings — different from the dark- 


eyed doncellas of the valley, most of whom, if not 
all, would have taken his onza without a word or & 
blush ! 

It was plain to him he could go no more to the 
rancho. \Vhere, then, was he to meet her — to sco 
her ? He had ascertained that she seldom came to 
the town — never to the amusements, except when 
her brother was at home. How and where, then, 
was he to seo her? His was a hopeless case — no 
opportunity of mending his first faux pas — none, any 
more than if the object of his pursuit was shut up in 
the cloisters of a nunnery ! Hopeless, indeed ! Thus 
ran his reflections. 

Though uttering this phrase, he had no belief in 
its reality. He had no intention of ending the affair 
so easily. He — the lady-killer, Vizcarra — to fail in 
the conquest of a poor ranchera ! He had never 
failed, and would not now. His vanity alone would 
have urged him farther in the affair ; but he had a 
sufficient incentive to his strong passion, — for strong 
it had now grown. The opposition it had met — the 
very difficulty of the situation— only stimulated him 
to greater energy and earnestness. 

Besides, jealousy was there, and that was another 
spur to his excited pride. 

He was jealous of Hon Juan. He had noticed the 
latter on the day of the fiesta. He had observed 
him in the company of the cibolero and his sister. 
He saw them talking, drinking, feasting together. 
He was jealous then ; but that was light, for then he 
fitill anticipated his ' own easy and early triumph. 
That was quiet to the feeling that tortured him now 
• — now that he had failed— now that he had seeu in 


the very hour of his humiliation that same rival on 
his road to the rancho — welcome, no doubt — to be 
told of all that had happened — to join her in jeering 

laughter at his expense — to Furies ! the thought 

was intolerable. 

For all that the Comandante had no idea oi 
relinquishing his design. There were still means — 
foul, if not fair — if ho could only think of them. He 
wanted some head cooler than his own. "Where was 
Eoblado ? 

'Sergeant! tell Captain Eoblado I wish to speak 
with him.' 

Captain Eoblado was just the man to assist him in 
any scheme of the sort. They were equally villains 
as regarded women ; but Yizearra's metier was of a 
lighter sort — more of the genteel-comedy kind. His 

forte lay in the seductive process. He made love a 
la Don Giovanni> and carried hearts in what he deemed 
a legitimate manner; whereas Eoblado resorted to 
any means that would lead most directly to the 
object — force, if necessary and safe. Of the two 
Eoblado was the coarser villain. 

As the Comandante had failed in his way, he was 
determined to make trial of any other his captain 
might suggest ; and since the latter knew all the 
* love stratagems, 1 both of civilised and savage life, 
he was just the man to suggest something. 

It chanced that at this time Eoblado wanted counsel 
himself upon a somewhat similar subject. He had 
proposed for Catalina, and Don Ambrosio had con- 
sented ; but, to the surprise of all, the Senorita had 
rebelled ! She did not say she would not accept 
Captain Eoblado. That would have Veen too much 


of a defiance, and might have led to a summary inter- 
ference of paternal authority. But she had appealed 
to Don Ambrosio for time— she was not ready to be 
married ! Roblado could not think of time — he was 
too eager to be rich ; but Don Ambrosio had listened 
to his daughter's appeal, and there lay the cause of 
the capt^rn's trouble. 

Perhaps the Comandante's influence with Don 
Ambrosio might be the means of overruling this deci- 
sion and hastening the wished-for nuptials. Roblado 
was therefore but too eager to lay his superior under 
an obligation. 

Roblado having arrived, the Comandante explained 
his case, detailing every circumstance that had hap- 

'My dear colonel, you did not go properly to work. 
I am astonished at that, considering your skill and 
experience. You dropped like an eagle upon a dove- 
cot, frightening the birds into their inaccessible holes. 
You should not have gone to the rancho at all.' 

* And how was I to see her ? ' 

* In your own quarters ; or elsewhere, as you might 
have arranged it.' 

' Impossible ! — she would never have consented to 

* Not by your sending for her direct ; I know that.' 
'And how, then?' 

'Ha! ha! ha!' laughed Roblado; 'are you so 
Innocent as never to have heard of such a thing as 
an " ahahuete" ? " 

' Oh ! true — but by my faith I never found use 
for one.' 

' No ! — you in your fine style have deemed that a 


superfluity ; but you might find use for one now. A 
very advantageous character that, I assure you— 
eaves much time and trouble — diminishes the chances 
of failure too. It's not too late. I advise j'ou to 
try one. If that fails, you have still another string 
to your bow.' 

We shall not follow the conversation of these 
ruffians further. Enough to say that it led into 
details of their atrocious plans, which, fcr more than 
an hour, they sat concocting over their wine, until 
the whole scheme was set forth and placed in readi- 
ness to be carried out. 

It was carried out, in fine, but led to a different 
ending from what either anticipated. The ' lady' 
who acted as ' alcahuete ' soon placed herself en 
rapport with Kosita ; but her success was more equi- 
vocal than that of Vizcarra himself; in fact, I should 
rather say "unequivocal, for there was no ambiguity 

about it. 

As soon as her designs were made known to Eosita, 
the latter communicated them to her mother ; and 
the scratches which the Comandante had received 
were nothing to those which had fallen to the lot of 
his proxy. The 4 alcahuete ' had, in fact, to beg for 
her life before she was allowed to escape from the 
terrible Cibolo. 

She would have sought legal revenge, but that the 
nature of her business made it wiser for her to pocket 
the indignities, and v eraain silent 



Now, RoLIado,' asked the Comandante, 'what is 
the otlier string to my bow ? ' 

* Can't you guess, my dear colonel ? ' 

4 Not exactly,' replied Yizcarra, though he well 
knew that he could. It was not long since the other 
string had been before his mind. He had even 
thought of it upon the day of his first defeat, and 
while his anger was hot and revengeful. And since 
then, toe — often, often. His question was quite 
superfluous, for he well knew Boblado's answer would 
be ' force.' 

It was i force.' That was the very word. ' How ? ; 

" Take a few of your people, go by night, and cany 
her off. What can be more simple ? It would have 
been the proper way at first, with such a prude as 
she ! Don't fear the result. It's not so terrible to 
them. I've known it tried before. Long ere the 
cibolero can return, she'll be perfectly reconciled, I 
warrant you.' 

* And if not ? ' 

* If not, what have you to fear ? * 

* The talk, Koblado— the talk/ 

' Bah ! my dear colonel, you are timid in the 
matter. You have mismanaged it so far, but that's 
no reason you should not use tact for the future. It 


can bo done by night. You have chambers here 
where no one is allowed to enter — some without win- 
dows, if you need them. "Who's to be the wiser? 
Pick your men — those you can trust. You don't re- 
quire a whole troop, and half-a-dozen onzas will tie 
as many tongues. It's as easy as stealing a shirt* 
It is only stealing a chemisette. Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' and 
the ruffian laughed at his coarse simile and coarser 
jcke, in which laugh he was joined by the Coman- 

The latter still hesitated to adopt this extreme 
measure. Not from any fineness of feeling. Though 
scarce so rough a villain as his companion, it was 
not delicacy of sentiment that restrained him now. 
He had been accustomed all his life to regard with 
heartless indifference the feelings of those he had 
wronged ; and it was not out of any consideration 
for the future happiness or misery of the girl that 
he hesitated now. No, his motive was of a far dif- 
ferent character. Eoblado said true when he as 
cufeed him of being timid. He was. It was sheer 
cowardice that stayed him. 

Not that he feared any bodily punishment would 
ever reach him for the act. He was too powerful, 
and the relatives of his intended victim too weak, to 
give him any apprehensions on that* score. With a 
little policy he could administer death, — death to the 
most innocent of the people, — and give it a show of 
justice. Nothing was more easy than to cause sus- 
picion of treason, incarcerate, and slay— and particu- 
larly at that time, when both Pueblo revolt and Creole 
revolution threatened the Spanish rule in America. 

What Yizcarra feared was * talk.' Such an open 

the wiiii-e ciiiek. 143 

rape could not well be kept secret for long. It would 
leak out, and once out it was too piquant a piece of 
scandal not to have broad fame: all the town would 
soon enjoy it. But there was a still more unpleasant 
probability. It might travel beyond the confines of 
the settlement, perhaps to high quarters, even to the 
Viceregal ear ! There find we the socret of the Co- 
mandante's fears. 

Not indeed that the Viceregal court at the time 
was a model of morality. It would have been lenient 
enough to any act of despotism or debauchery done 
in a quiet way ; but such an open act of rapine as- 
that contemplated, on the score of policy, could hardly 
be overlooked. In truth, Vizcarra's prudence had 
reason. He could not believe that it would be pos- 
sible to keep the thing a secret. Some of the rascals 
employed might in the end prove traitors. True, 
they would bo his own soldiers, and he might punish 
them for it at his will, but what satisfaction would 
that give him ? It would be locking the stable after 
the steed had been stolen ! 

Even without their playing him false, how could 
he hope to keep the affair concealed ? First, there 
was an angry brother. True, he was out of the way; 
but there was a jealous lover on the ground, and the 
brother would return in time. The very act of the 
rape would point to him, Vizcarra. His visit, the 
attempt of the ' alcahuete,' and the carrying off of the 
girl, would all be pieced together, and put down to 
his credit ; and the brother — such a ono — and such a 
lover too— would not be sileni with their suspicions. 
He might take measures to get rid of both, but theso 
measures must needs be violent and dangerous. 


Thus reasoned Vizcarra with himself, and thus he 
argued with Eoblado. Not that he wished the latter 
to dissuade him — for the end' he desired with all his 
heart — hut in order that by their united wisdom some 
safer means of reaching it might be devised. 

And a safer plan was devised. Eoblado, deeper in 
head, as well as bolder in heart, conceived it. Bring- 
ing his glass to the table with a sudden stroke, ho ex- 
claimed, — 

' Vamos, Vizcarra ! By the Virgin, I have it ! ' 
' Bueno — bravo! ' 

* You may enjoy your sweetheart within twenty 
four hours, if you wish, and the sharpest scandal- 
monger in the settlement will be foiled ; at least, you 
will haA'e nothing to fear. What a devil of a lucky 
thought! — the very thing itself, ami go ! ' 

* Don't keep me in suspense, camarado ! your plan ! 
your plan ! ' 

' Stop till I've had a gulp of wine. The very 
thought of such a glorious trick makes me thirsty.' 

' Drink then, drink ! ' cried Vizcarra, filling out the 
wine, with a look of pleasant anticipation. 

Eoblado emptied the goblet at a draught, and then, 
leaning nearer to the Coniandante, he detailed what 
he had conceived in a low and confidential tone. 
It seemed to satisfy his listener, who, when the 
other had finished, uttered the word * Bravo ! ' and 
sprang to hia feet like one who had received some 
joyful news 

He walked L&ck and forth for some minutes in ai? 
excited manner, and then, bursting into a loud laugh, 
he cried out, ' Carramboj comrade ! you are a tactician ! 
The great Ccnde himself would not have hhown such 


atraiegy. Sanlisima Virgen ! it is the very master- 
stroke of design ; and I promise y>u, camarado, ii 
shall have speedy execution/ 

* Why delay ? Why not set about it at once ? * 

* True, — at once let us prepare for this pleasant 
masquerade ! 

* V 


Circumstances were arising that would be likely to 
interrupt the Comandanto and his captain in the 
execution of their design. At least so it might have 
been supposed. In less than twent3 T -four hours after 
the conversation described, a rumour of Indian in- 
cursions was carried to the town, and spread through 
every house in the valley. The rumour said that a 
baud of * Indios bravos,' — whether Apache, Yuta, or 
Comanche, was not stated, — had made their appear- 
ance near the settlement, in full icar-paint and costume ! 

This of course denoted hostile intentions, and an 
attack might be expected in some part of the settle- 
ment. The first rumour was followed by one still 
more substantial, — that the Indians had attacked 
some shepherds en the upper plain, not far from the 
town itself. The shepherds had escaped, but their 
dogs had been killed, and a large number of sheep 
driven off to the mountain fastnesses of trx ma- 
rauders ! 

This time the report was more definite. The 
Indians were Yutas, and belorged to a band of that 


tribe that had been hunting to the east of the Pecos^ 
and who had no doubt resolved upon this plundering 
expedition before returning to their homo near the 

heads of the Del Norte. The shepherds had seen 
ihem distinctly, and knew the Yuta, paint. 

That the Indians were Yutas was probable enough. 
The same tribe had lately made a foray upon the 
ee^tlements in the tine valley of Taos. They had 
iieard of the prosperous condition of San Ildefonso, 
and hence their hostile visit. Besides, both Apaches 
And Comanches were en paz with the settlement, and 
had for some years confined themselves to ravaging 
the provinces of Coahuila and Chihuahua. No pro- 
vocation had been given to these tribes to recom- 
mence hostilities, nor had they given any signs of 
such an intention. 

Up< m the night of the same day in which the sheep 
were carried off, a more important robbery was com- 
mitted. That took place in the settlement itself. A 
large number of cattle were driven off from a grazing- 
farm near the lower end of the valley. The Indians 
had been seen in the act, but the frightened vaqueros 
were but too glad to escape, and shut themselves up 
in the buildings of the farm. 

No murders had as yet been committed, but that 
was because no resistance had been made to the spo- 
liations. Nor had any houses been yet attacked. 
Perhaps the Indians were only a small band ; but 
there was nc knowing how soon their numbers might 
be increased, and greater outrages attempted. 

The people of the valley, as well as those in the 
towa, were now in a state of excitement. Cons tar- 


aation prevailed everywhere. Those who lived in 
the scattered ranchos forsook their homes during ihe 
flight, and betook themselves to the town and the 
-arger haciendas for shelter. These last were shut 
ap as soon as darkness approached, and regular 
gentries posted upon their azoteas, who kept watch 
until morning. The terror of the inhabitants was 
great, — the greater because for a long period they 
had lived on good terms with the Indios bravos, and 

visit from them was novel as unexpected. 

No wonder that they were alarmed. They had 
cause for it. They well knew that in these hostile 
incursions the savage enemy acts with the utmost 
barbarity, — murdering the men, and sparing only the 
younger women, whom they carry off to a cruel cap 
tivity. They well knew this, for at that very date 
there were "thousands of their countrywomen in the 
Hands of the wild Indians, lost to their families and 
friends for ever! No wonder that there was fear and 

The Comandanto seemed particularly on the alert. 
At the head of his troops he scoured the neighbouring 
plains, and made incursions towards the spurs of the 
mountains. At night his patrols were in constant 
motion up and down the valley. The people were 
admonished to keep within their houses, and barri- 
cade their doors in case of attack. All admired the 
zeal and activity of their military protectors. 

The Comandanto Avon golden opinions daily. This 
was the first real opportunity he had had of show- 
ing them his 'pluck,' for there had been no alarm 
of Indians since he arrived. In the time of his pre- 
decessor several had taken place, and on these occa- 


Bions it was remembered that the troopy, instead of 
going abroad to search for the ' barbaros,' shut them- 
selves up in the garrison till the latter were gone 
clear out of the valley, after having carried off all the 
cattle they could collect! What a contrast in the 
new Comandante ! What a brave officer was Colonel 
Vizcarra ! 

This excitement continued for several days. As 
yet no murders had been committed, nor any women. 
carried off ; and as the Indians had only appeared in 
the night, the probability was that they were in but 
small force, — some weak band of robbers. Had it 
been otherwise, they would have long since boldly 
shown themselves by daylight, and carried on their 
depredations on a much larger scale. 

During all this time the mother and sister of the 
cibolero lived in their lone rancho without any pro- 
tection, and were, perhaps, less in dread of the 
Indians than any other family in the whole valley. 
This was to be attributed to several causes. First,, 
their training, which had taught them to make light 
of dangers that terrified their less courageous neigh- 
bours. Secondly, their poor hnfc was not likely to- 
tempt "the cupidity of Indian robbers, whose design 
,vas evidently plunder. There were too many well- 
stocked ranchos a little farther up the valley. The 
Indians would not be likely to molest them. 

But there was still a better reason for this feeling. 
of confidence on their part, and that was somewhat 
of a family secret. Carlos, having traded with all the 
neighbouring tribes, was known to the Indians, and 
was on terms of friendship with nearly every one of 
their chiefs. One cause of this friendship was, that 


Carlos was known to them as an American. Such 
was their feeling in regard to Americans that, at this 
time, and fcr a long period after, both, the trappers 
and traders of that nation could pass through the 
whole Apache and Comanche range in the smallest 
parties without molestation, while large caravans of 
Mexicans would be attacked and robbed I It was 
only long after that these tribes assumed a fierce 
hostility against the Saxon whites ; and this was 
brought about by several acts of barbarism committed 
by parties of the whites themselves. 

In his dealings with the Indios bravos, then, the 
cibolero had not forgotten his little rancho at home ; 
and he had always counselled his mother and sister 
not to fear the Indians in his absence, assuring them 
that these would not molest them. 

The only tribe with which Carlos was not on 
friendly terms was the Jicarilla, a small and miserable 
band that lived among the mountains north-east of 
Santa Fe. They were a branch of the Apaches, but 
lived apart, and had little in common with the great 
freebooters of the south — the Mezcahros and Wolf -eaters. 

For these reasons, then, the little Eosita and her 
mother, though not entirely without apprehension,, 
were yet less frightened by the current rumours of 
the time than their neighbours. 

Every now and then Don Juan rode over to tho 
rancho, and advised them to come and stay at his. 
house — a large strong building well defended by 
himself and his numerous peons. But the mother of 
Eosita only laughed at the fears of Don Juan ; and 
Eosita he-self, from motives of delicacy, of course 
refused tu accede to his proposal. 



It was the third night from the time the Indian* 
had been first heard of. The mother and daughter 
had laid aside their spindle and loom, and were about 
to retire to their primitive couches on the earthen 
floor, when Cibolo was seen to spring from his petate, 
and rush towards the door, growling fiercely. 

His growl increased to a baik — so earnest, that it 
was evident some one was outside. The door waa 
(shut and barred ; but the old woman, without even 
inquiring who was there, pulled out the bar, and 
opened the door. 

She had scarcely shown herself when the wild 
whoop of Indians rang in her ears, and a blow from 
a heavy club prostrated her upon the threshold. 
Spite the terrible onset of the dog, several savages, 
in all the horrid glare of paint and feathers- rushed 
into the house yelling fearfully, and brandishing 
their weapons ; and in less than five minutes' time, 
the young girl, screaming with terror, was borne in 
their arms to the outside of the rancho, and there 
tied upon the back of a mule. 

The few articles which the Indians deemed of any 
value were carried away with them ; and the savages, 
after setting fire to the rancho, made off in haste. 

Eosita saw the blaze of the rancho as she sat tied 
upon the mule. She had seen her mother stretched 
upon the door-step, and was in fact dragged over her ap- 
parently lifeless form ; and the roof was now in flames ! 

* My poor mother ! ' she muttered in her agony 

* God! God! what will become of my poo* 

mother ? ' 

* # # # * 


Almost simultaneously -with this attack, or a little 
*fter it, the Indians appeared before the house ot the 
ranchero, Don Juan ; but, after 3 T elling around it and 
firing several arrows over the azotea and against the 
door, they retired. 

Don Juan was apprehensive for his friends at the 
rancho. As soon as the Indians had gone away from 
about his own premises, he stole out ; and, trusting to 
the darkness, made his way in that direction. 

He had not gone far before the blaze of the build- 
ing came under his eyes, causing the blood to rush 
C(Ad through his veins. 

lie did not stop. He was a-foot, but he was armed, 
and ne dashed madly forward, resolved to defend 
Eosita, or die ! 

In a few minutes he stood before the door of tho 
rancho ; and there, to his horror, lay the still sense- 
less form of the mother, her wild and ghastly features 
illuminated by the blaze from the roof. The fire had 
not yet reached her, though in a few moments more 
she would have been biiried in the flames ! 

Don Juan drew her forth into the garden, and 
then rushed frantically around calling on Eosita. 

But there was no reply. The crackling blaze — 
the sighing of the night wind — the hooting of the 
cliff owl, and the howling of the coyote, alone 
answered his anxious calls. 

After remaining until all hope had vanished, he 
turned towards the prostrate body, and knelt down 
to examine it. To his surprise there was still life, 
and, after her lips had been touched with water, the? 
old woman showed symptoms of recovery. She had 
only been stunned by the h^avy blow. 


Don Juan at length lifted her in his arms, and 

taking the well-known path returned with his burden, 

anc* with a heavy heart, to his own house. 

* * * # * 

•Next morning the news of the affair was carried 
through all the settlement, adding' to the terror of 
the inhabitants. The Comandante with a large 
troop galloped conspicuously through the town ; and 
after much loud talk and empty demonstrations, went 
off on the trail which the Indians were supposed to 
have taken. 

Long before night the troopers returned with their 
usual report, i los barbaros no pudimos ahanzar, (We 
could not overtake thesavages.) 

They said that they had followed the trail to the 
Pecos, where the Indians had crossed, and that the 
savages had continued on towards the Llano Estacado. 

This piece of news gave some relief, for it was 
conjectured, if the marauders had gone in that direc- 
tion, their plundering would end. They had probably 
proceeded to join the rest of their tribe, known to be 
somewhere in that quarter. 


Vizcalira and his gay lancers passed up the valley, 
on their return from the pursuit at an early hour of 

the evening. 

Scarcely had a short hour elapsed when anothef 


cavalcade, dusty and wayworn, was seen moving 
along the same road, and beading towards the settle- 
ments. It could hardly be termed a cavalcade, as it 
consisted of an atajo of pack-mules, with some carretas 
drawn by oxsn. One man only was on horseback, 
who, by his dress and manner, could be recognised 
as the owner of the atajo. 

Despite the fatigue of a long march, despite the 
coating of dust which covered both horse and rider, 
it was not difficult to tell who the horseman was. 
Carlos the cibolero ! 

Thus far had he reached on his homeward way. 
Another stretch of five miles along the dusty road, 
and l > would halt befor the door of his humble 
rancho. Another hour, and his aged mother, his 
fond sister, would fling themselves into his arms, and 
receive his aifectionate embrace ! 

What a surprise it would be ! They would not do 
expecting him for weeks — long weeks. 

And what a surprise he had for them in another 
way ! His wonderful luck ! " The superb mulada and 
cargo, — quite a little fortune indeed ! Eosita should 
have a new dress, — not a coarse woollen nagua, bu* 
one of silk, real foreign silk, and a manta, and tho 
prettiest pair of satin slippers — she should wear fine 
stockings on future fiesta days — she should be worthy 
of his friend Don Juan. His old mother, too — she 
should drink tea, coffee, or chocolate, which she pre- 
ferred — no more atole for her ! 

The rancho was rude and old — it should colic 
down, and another and better one go rip in its place 
— no — it would serve as a stable for the horse, and 
the new rancho should be built beside it. Id fact, 

1 64 the wiin e ciincr. 

the sale of his mulacla would enable him to buy a good 
strip of land, and stock it well too. 

"What "was to hinder him to turn ranchero, and 
farm or graze on his own account ? It would be far 
more respectable, and would give him a higher stand- 
ing in the settlement. Nothing to hinder him. He 
would do so ; but first one more journey to the plains 
— one more visit to his Waco friends, who had pro- 
mised him Ha! it was this very promise that 

was the keystone of all his hopes. 

The silk dress for Eosita, the luxuries for his old 
mother, the new house, the farm, were all pleasant 
dreams to Carlos ; but he indulged a dream of a still 
pleasanter nature — a dream that eclipsed them all ; 
and his hopes of its realisation lay in that one more 
visit to the country of the "Wacoes. 

Carlos believed that his poverty alone was the 
barrier that separated him irom Catalina. He knew 
that her father was not, properly speaking, one of the 
' rico* class. True, he was a rico now : but only a 
few years ago he had been a poor ' gambucino'' 
poor as Carlos himself. In fact, they had once been 
nearer neighbours ; and in his earlier days Don 
Ambrosio had esteemed the boy Carlos fit company 
for the little Catalina. 

What objection, then, could he have to the cibolero 
— provided the latter could match him in fortune? 
1 Certainly none,' thought Carlos. ' If I can prove to 
him that I, too, am a " rico," he will consent to my 
marrying Catalina. And why not ? The blood in 
my veins — so says my mother — is as good as that of 
any hidalgo. And, if the Wacoe3 have told me the 
troth, one more journey and Carlos the cibolero wili 


be ame to shew as much gold as Don Ambrosio the 
miner ! ' 

These thoughts had been running in his mind 
throughout the whole of his homeward journey. 
Every day — every hour — did he build his aery 
castles ; every hour did he buy the silk dress for 
.Rosita — the tea, coffee, and chocolate for his mother ; 
every hour did he erect the new rancho, buy the 
&rm, show a fortune in gold-dust, and demand 
Catalina from her father ! Chateaux en Espagne ! 

2s ow that he was close to his home, these pleasant 
visions grew brighter and seemed nearer ; and the 
countenance of the cibolero was radiant with joy. 
What a fearful change was soon to pass over it ! 

Several times he thought of spurring on in advance, 
the sooner to enjoy the luxury of his mother's and 
sister's welcome ; and then he changed his mind 

' No,' muttered he to himself; ' I will stay by the 
atajo. I will better enjoy the triumph. "We shall 
all march up in line, and halt in front of the rancho. 
They will think I have some stranger with me, to 
whom belong the mules ! A\ hen I announce them as 
toy own they will fancy that I have turned Indian, 
and made a raid on the southern provinces, with my 
stout retainers. Ha ! ha ! ha !' And Carlos laughed 
at the conceit. 

' Poor little Rosy !' he continued ; l she shall marry 
Don Juan tfJs time I I won't withhold my consent 
any longer i It would be better, too. He's a bold 
fellow, and can protect her while I'm off on the plains 
again ; though one more journey, and I have done 
with the plains. One more journey, and I shali 


change my title from Carlos the ciboloro to Sefio\ 
Don Carlos E , Ha ! ha ! ha !' 

Again he laughed at the prospect of becoming a 
* rioo,' and being addressed as ' Don Carlos/ 

'Very odd,' thought he, 'I don't meet an/ one \ 
I don't see a soul upon the road up or down. Yet 
it's not late — the sun's above the bluff still. "Where 
can the people be ? And yet the road's covered thick 
with fresh horse-tracks ! Ha ! the troops have been 
here ! they have just passed np ! But that's no 
reason why the people are not abroad ; and I don't 
see even a straggler ! Now I could have believed 
there was an alarm of Indians had I not seen these 
tracks ; but I know yery well that, were the Apaches 
on their war-trail, my Comandante and his AVhisker- 
andos would never have ventured so far from the 
Presidio — that I know. 

' Well, there's something extraordinary ! I can'1 
make it out. Perhaps they're all up to the town at 
some fiesta. Anton, my boy, you know all the feast- 
days ! Is this one ? ' 

' No, master.' 

' And where are all the folks ? ' 

' Can't guess, master ! Strange we don't see some '' 

* So I was thinking. You don't suppose there have 
been wild Indians in the neighbourhood ? ' 

' No, master — irdra ! They're the tracks of the 
"lanzeros" — only an hour ago. No Indians where 

they are ! 

As Anto~ -u ,..*iu this, both his accent and look had 
an expression which guided his master to the true 
meaning of his words, which might otherwise have 
Oeen ambiguous. He did not mean that the fact of 


the lancers having been on the ground would prevent 
the Indians from occupying it, but exactly the reverse. 
It was, not ' lancers no Indians/ but ' Indians no 
lancers,' that Antonio meant. 

Carlos understood him ; and, as this had boen his 
own interpretation of the tracks, he burst out into a 
Rt of laughter. 

Still no travellers appeared, and Carlos did not like 
it. As yet he had not thought of any misfortune to 
those he loved ; but the unpeopled road had an air of 
loneliness about it, and did not seem to welcome him. 
As he passed on a feeling of sadness came stealing- 
over him, which after it had fairly taken possession 
he could not get rid of. 

He had not yet passed a settlement. There were 
none before reaching his own rancho, which, as 
already stated, was the lowest in the valley. Still 
the inhabitants fed their flocks far below that ; and 
it was usual, at such an hour, to see them driving 
their cattle home. He neither saw cattle nor vaqueros. 
The meadows on both sides, where cattle used to 
graze, were empty ! What could it mean ? 

As he noticed these things an indefinite sense of 
uneasiness and alarm began to creep over him ; and 
this feeling increased until he had arrived at the 
turning which led to his own rancho. 

At length he headed around the forking angle of 
the road ; and having passed the little coppices of 
evergreen oaks, came within sight of the house. 
With a mechanical jerk he drew his horse upon his 
haunches, and sat in the saddle with open jaw and 
eyes glaring and protruded. 
The rancho he could not see — for the covering 


interpose! columns of the cacti — but through tht 
openings along their tops a black line was visible 
that had an unnatural look, and a strange film of 
smoke hung over the azotea ! 

* God of heaven ! what can it mean ? ' cried he, 
with a choking voice ; but, without waiting to answer 
himself, he lanced the flanks of his horse till the 
animal shot off like an arrow. 

The intervening ground was passed ; and, flinging 

himself from the saddle, the cibolero rushed through 

the cactus-fence. 


The atajo soon after came up. Antonio hurried 
through : and there, inside the hot, smoke-blackened 
walls, half-seated, half-lying on the banqueta, was his 
master, his head hanging forward upon his breast, 

and both hands nervously twisted in the long curls 

of his hair. 

Antonio's foot-fall caused him to look up — only for 
a moment. 

' God 1 My mother — my sister ! ' And, as he 
repeated the words, his head once more fell forward, 
while his broad breast rose and fell in convulsed 
heaving. It was an hcur of mortal agony ; for some 

secret iastinct had revealed to him the terrible truth. 



Foe some minutes Carlos remained stupefied with th« 
shock, and made no effort to rouse himself. 

A friendly hand laid upon his shoulder caused 
him to look up. Don Juan the ranchero was bending 
over him. 

Don Juan's face wore a look as wretched as his 
own. It gave him no hope; and it was almost me 
chanically the words escaped his lips, — 

' My mother ? my sister ? ' 

' Your mother is at my house,' replied Don Juan. 

( And Rosita ? ' 

Don Juan made no reply — the tears were rolling 
down his cheeks. 

* Come, man ! * said Carlos, seeing the other in as 
much need of consolation as himself; ' out with it- 
let me know the worst ! Is she dead ? ' 

' No, — no, — no ! — I hope not dead ' ' 

* Carried oft P* 

* Alas, yefe \ * 

* By whom ? ' 

* The Indians,' 

* You are sure "by Indians / ' 

As Carlos asked this question, a look of strange 
meaning glanced from his eyes. 
' Quite sure- saw them myself — jour mother ] ' 


* My mother ! What of her ? ' 

' She is safe. She met the savages in the doorway; 
was knocked senseless by a blow, and saw no more. 1 
- But Eosita ? ' 

* No one saw her ; but certainly sho was takei* 

away by the Indians.' 

1 You are sure they were Indians, Don Juan ? ' 

* Sure of it. They attacked my house almost at 
Jie same time. They had previously driven off my 
cattle, and for that, one of my people was on the- 
look-out. He saw them approach ; and, before they 
got near, we were snut up and ready to defend our- 
selves. Finding this, they soon went off. Fearing- 
tor your people, I stole out as soon as they were 
gone, and came here. When I arrived the roof was- 
blazing, and your mother lying senseless in the door- 
way. Eosita was gone ! Madre de Dios ! she wa» 
gone ! ' 

And the young ranchero wept afresh. 

' Don Juan ! * said Carlos, in a firm voice ; ' you* 
have been a friend — a brother — to me and mine. I 
know you suffer as much as I do. Let there be nc* 
tears ! See ! mine are dried up ! I weep no more 
perhaps sleep not — till Eosita is rescued or revenged.. 
Let us to business, then ! Tell me all that is known 
about these Indians— and quick, Don Juan ! I hava 
a keen appetite for your news ! ' 

The ranchero detailed the various rumours that 
had been afloat for the three or four days preceding 
—as well as the actual occurrences, — howtho Indians 
had been first seen upon the upper plain; their en- 
counter with the shepherds and the driving off of the 
sheep; their appearance in the valley, and their raid 


upon his own cattle — for it was his gmaderia that had 
■suffered — and then the after circumstances already 

tnown to Carlos. 

He also informed the latter of the activity shown 
by the troops ; how they had followed that morning 
upon the trail of the robbers ; how he had desired to 
accornpairy them with some of his people ; and how 
the request was refused by the Comandante. 

' Eefused ? ' exclaimed Carlos, interrogatively. 

' Yes/ replied Don Juan ; ' he said we would only 
'hinder the troops ! I fancy his motive was his cha- 
grin with me. lie does not like me ever since the 

' AYell ! what then ? ' 

* The troops returned but an hour ago. They 
report that they followed the trail as far as the Pecos, 
where it crossed, striking direct for the Llano Esta- 
■cado ; and, as the Indians had evidently gone off to 
the great plains, it would have been useless to attempt 
pursuing them farther. So they alleged. 

' The people,' continued Don Juan, ' will be only 
too glad that the savages have gone away, and will 
trouble themselves no farther about it. 1 have been 
trying to get up a party to follow them, but not on% 

-would venture. Hopeless as it was, I intended a 
pursuit with my own people ; but, thank God ! you 
have come ! ' 

' Ay, pray God it may not be too late to follow 
-their trail. But no; only last night at midnight, 
you say ? There's been neither rain nor high wind 

■it will be fresh as dew; and if ever hound ■ 

lla! Where's Cibolo ? ' 

* At my house the dog is. He was lost this morn* 


ing; we thought he had been killed cr carried oft; 
but at midday my people found him by the rancho 
here, covered with mud, and bleeding where he had 
received the prick of a spear. We think the Indiana 
*aust have taken him along, and that he escaped from 
tnem on the road.' 

'It is strange enough — Oh! my poor Kosita! 
poor lost sister! — where art thou at this moment ? — 
where? — where? — Shall I evor see you again: — My 
God! my God!' 

And Carlos once more sunk back into his attitude 
of despair. 

Then suddenly springing to his feet, with clenched 
fist and flashing eyes, he cried out, — 

* Wide though the prairie plains, and faint the trail 
of these dastardly robbers, yet keen is the eye 01 
Carlos the cibolero ! I shall find thee yet — I shall 
find thee, though it cost me the search of a life. Fear 
not, Eosita ! fear not, sweet sister ! I come to your 
rescue ! If thou art wronged, woe, woe, to the tribe 
that has done it ! ' Then turning to Don Juan, he 
continued, — ' The night is on — we can do notning 
to-night. Den Juan ! — ftiend, brother !— bring mo to 
her — to my mother.' 

There is a wild poetry in the language of grief, 
and there was poetry in the words of the cibolero ; 
but these bursts of poetic utterance were brief, and 
he again returned to the serious reality of his situa- 
tion. Every circumstunce that could aid him in his 
purposed pursuit was considered and arranged in a 
sober and practical manner. His arms and accoutre* 
ments, his horse, all were cared for, so as to bo ready 
by the earliest hour of light. His servants, and those 


«if Don Juan, were to accompany him, and for these 
horses were also prepared. 

Pack-mules, too, with provisions and other necessa- 
ries for a long journey — for Carlos had no intention 
of returning without the accomplishment of his sworn 
purpose — rescue or revenge. His was no pursuit to 
be baffled by slight obstacles. He was not going to 
bring back the report ' no los pudimos alcanzar.' Ho 
was resolved to trail the robbers to the farthest point 
of the prairies — to follow them to their fastn^s, 
wherever that might be. 

Don Juan was with him heart and soul, for the 
ranchero's interest in the result was equal to his own 
— his agony was the same. 

Their peons numbered a score — trusty Tagnos all, 
who loved their masters, and who, if not warriors by 

trade, were made so by sympathy and zeal. 

Should they overtake the robbers in time, there 
would be no fear of the result. From all circum- 
stances known, the latter formed but a weak band. 
Had this not been the case, they would never have 
left the valley with so trifling a booty. Could they 
be overtaken before joining their tribe, all might yet 
be well. They would be compelled to give up both 
their plunder and their captive, and, perhaps, pay 
dearly for the distress they had occasioned. Time, 
therefore, was a most important consideration, and 
the pursuers had resolved to take the trail with the 
earliest light of the morning. 

Carlos slept not — and Don Juan only in short and fe- 
verish intervals. Both sat up in their dresses, — Carlos 
by the bedside of his mother, who, still suffering from 
the effects of the blew appeared to rave in her sleep. 


The oibolero sat silent, and In deep thought. lis 
was busied with plans and conjectures — conjectures 
as to what tribe of Indians the marauders could be- 
long to. Apaches or Comanches they were not. 1I& 
had met parties of both on his return. They treated 
him in a friendly manner, and they said nothing of 
hostilities against the people of San Ildefonso. Be- 
sides, no bands of these would have been in such 
small force as the late robbers evidently were. Carlos 
wished it had been they. He knew that in such a 
ease, when it was known that the captive was his 
sister, she would be restored to him. But no ; they 
had nothing to do with it. AVho then? — the Yutas? 
Such was the belief among the people of the valley, 
as he had been told by Don Juan. If so, there was 
still a hope — Carlos had traded with a branch of this 

powerful and warlike tribe. He was also on friendly 
terms with some of its chiefs, though these were now 
at war with the more northern settlements. 

But the Jicarillas still returned to his mind. Theso 
were Indians of a cowardly, brutal disposition, and 
his mortal foes. They would have scalped him on 
sight. If his sister was their captive, her lot was 
hard indeed ; and the very thought of such a fate 
caused the cibolero to start up with a shudder, 
and clench his hands in a convulsive effort of 



It was near morning. The peons weio astir and 
armed. The horses and mules were saddled in the 
patio, and Don Juan had announced that all were 
ready. Carlos stood by the bedside of his mother to 
take leave She beckoned him near. She was stilJ 


weak, for blood had flown freely from her, and her 
voice was low and feeble. 

* My sen,' said she, as Carlos bent over her, ' kno-sv 
you what Indians you are going to pursue V ' 

' No, mother/ replied Carlos, ' but I fear they 
are our enemies the Jicarillas.' 

' Have the Jicarillas beards on their faces and jewels on 

their fingers ? ' 

*■ No mother ; why do you ask such a question ?- 
yen know they have no beards ! My poor mother ! ' 
added he, turning to Don Juan ; ' this terrible stroke 
has taken her senses ! ' 

' Follow the trail, then ! ' she continued, without 
noticing the last remark uttered by Carlos in a 
whisper ; ' follow the trail — perhaps it will guide 
thee to ' and she whispered the rest into his ear. 

* What, mother ? ' said he, starting, as if at some 
strange information. ' Dost thou think so ? ' 

* I have some suspicion — only suspicion — but follow 
the trail — it will guide thee — follow it, and be satis- 

* Do not doubt me, mother ; I shall be satisfied of 


1 One promise before you go. Be not Tswh — be 


' Fear not, mother ! 1 will.' 
< If it be so ' 

* If it be so, mother, you'll soon see me back. God 
bless you ! — My blood's on fire — I cannot stay ! — God 
bless 3*011, mother ! — Farewell ! ' 

Next minute the train of mounted men, wdth Don 
Juan and Carlos at its head, passed out of the great 
gate, and took the road that led out from the valley. 



It was not j'et daybreak when the parly left t*ae 

house, but they bad not started too early. Carlos 
knew that the}' - could follow the road so far as the 
lancers had gone, m the darkness; and ifc would be 
light enough by the time they had got to the point 
where these had turned back. 

Five miles below the house of Don Juan the road 
forked — one, leading southward, was that by which 

Carlos bad returned the evening before ; the other, or 
left fork, led nearly in a direct line towards the Pecos, 
where there was a ford. The left fork had been that 
taken by the troopers, as their horse-tracks showed. 

It was now day. They could have followed the 
trail at a gallop, as it was a much-travelled and well- 
known path. But the e}'o of the cibolero was not 
bent upon this plain trail, but upon the ground on 
each side of it, and this double scrutiny causod him to 
ride more slowly. 

On both sides were cattle-tracks. These were, no 
doubt, made by the cattle stolen from Don Juan — in 
all numbering about fifty. The cibolero said they 
must have passed over the ground two days before. 
That would correspond with the time when they bad 
been taken. 

The trackers soon passed the limits of the valley, 


and entered the plain through which runs the Pecos, 
They were about approaching that stream in a direct 
line, and were still two miles from its banks, when 
the dog Cibolo, who had been trotting in advance of 
the party, suddenly turned to tlio left, and ran on in 
that direction. The keen cjo of Carlos detected a 
new trail upon which the dog was running, and which 
parted from the track of the troopers. It ran in a 
direction due north. appeared singular both to Carlos and Don 
Juan v/as the fact of Cibolo having taken this new 
route, as it was not marked by a road or path of any 
kind, but merely by the footprints of some animals 
that had lately passed over it ! 

Had Cibolo gone that way before ? 

Carlos dismounted to examine the tracks. 

* Four horses and one mule ! ' he said, speaking to 
Don Juan. ' Two of the horses shod on the fore feet 
only ; the other two, with the mule, barefoot. All of 
them mounted — the mule led — perhaps with a pack. 
JSo ! ' he added, after a little further examination, 
* it's not a pack-mule ! ' 

It scarce cost tho cibolero five minutes to arrive at 
these conclusions. How ho did so was a mystery to 
most of his companions, — perhaps to all, except tho 
half-blood, AntonL\ And yet he was right in every 

He continued to scrutinise the new trail for some 
moments longer. 

' The time corresponds,' said he, still addressing 

Don Juan. ' They passed yesterday morning before 

the dew was dry. You are sure it was not midnight 
when they left your house ? ' 


'Quite sure,' replied the ranchero. 'It was stii! 
only midnight when I returned with your mother 
from the rancho. I am quite sure of that.' 

' One more question, Don Juan : How many 
Indiana, think you, were in the party that made 
their appearance at your house — few or many ? ' 

* Not many I think. Two or three only could he 
heard yelling at once ; but the trees prevented us 
from seeing them. I fanc} T , from their traces left, 
that the hand was a very small one. It inignt be the 
same that burned the rancho. They could have 
arrived at my house afterwards. There was time 

' I have reason to believe they were the same,' said 
Carlos, still bending over the hoof-prints, ' and this 

may be their trail.' 

' Think you so ? ' inquired Don Juan. 

4 1 do. — See — there ! Is this not strange ? ' 

The speaker pointed to the dog, who, meanwhile, 
had returned to the spot, and stood whimpering, and 
showing an evident desire to proceed by the trace 
newly discovered ! 

' Very strange,' replied Don Juan. ' Re must have 
travelled it before ! ' 

* Perhaps ao/ said Carlos. ' But it will not spoil 
by an hour's keeping. Let us first see where these 
valiant troopers have been to. I want to know that 
l:>efore I leave this main path. Let us on, and 
briskly ! ' 

All spurred their animals into a gentle gallop ihe 
*ubolero leading as before. As before, also, his eye* 
swept the ground on both sides in search of any trail 
that might diverge fivni that on v. Inch they travelled. 


Now and then cross paths appeared, but tlieso were 
old. No horses had passed recently upon them, and 
he did not slacken his pace to examine them. 

After a twenty minutes' gallop the party halted 
upon the bank of the Pecos, at the ford. It was plain 
*:hat the troopers had also halted there, and turned 
*iack without crossing ! But cattle had crossed two 
days before — so said the cibolero — and mounted 
drivers. The tracks of both were visible in the mud* 

Carlos rode through the shallow water to examine 
the other side. At a glance he saw that no troops 
had crossed, but some forty or fifty head of cattle. 

After a long and careful examination, not only of 
the muddy bank, but of the plain above, he beckoned 
to Don Juan and the rest to ford the stream and join 

When Don Juan came up, the cibolero said to him, 
in a tone full of intelligence, — 

* Amigo ! ' you stand a fair chance to recover your 

4 Why do you think so ? ' 

' Because their drivers, four in number, have been 
near this spot not much over twenty-four hours ago. 
The animals, therefore, cannot be far off.' 

1 But how know you this ? ' 

*Oh' that is plain enough/ coolly responded the 
cibolero. ' The men who drove j-our beasts were 
mounted on the same horses that made yonder trail.' 

The speaker indicated the trail which he had halted 
to examine, and continued, — ' Yery probably we'll 
find the herd among the spurs of the ceja yonder.' 

as Carlos said this, he pointed to a number of 
ragged ridges that from the brow of the Llano 


Estacado jutted out into the plain. They appeared 
to be at the distance of some ten miles from the 

* Shall we push on there ? ' asked Don Juan. 

The ciholero did not give an immediate answer. 
lie had evidently not decided yet, and was debating 

in his own mind what course to pursue. 

* Yes,' he replied, at length, in a solemn and 
deliberate voice. * It is better to be sure. With all 
my terrible suspicions, I may be wrong. She may be 
wrong. The two trails may yet come together.' 

The latter part of this was spoken in soliloquy, 
and, though it reached the ears of Don Juan, he did 
not comprehend its meaning. He was about to ask 
his companion for an explanation, when the latter, 
suddenly collecting his energies, struck the spurs 
into his horse, and, calling to them to follow, galloped 
off upon the cattle-track. 

After a run of ten miles, which was made in lesa 
than an liour, the party entered a large ravine or 
point of the plain that protruded, like a deep bay, 
into the mountain-like side of the high steppe. As 
they entered this, a singular spectacle came under 
their eyes. The ravine, near its bottom, was coverec 
with zopilotes, or black vultures. Hundreds of them 
were perched upon the rocks, or wheeling overhead 
in the aft" ; and hundreds of others hopped about upon 
ihe plain, flapping their broad wings as if in full enjoy- 
ment. The coyote, the larger wolf, and the grizzly 
bear, were seen moving over the ground, or quar- 
relling with each other, though they need not have 
quarrelled — the repast was plenteous for all. Betwoen 
forty and fifty carcases were strewed over the ground. 


which Don Juan and his vaqueros as they drew neai 
recognised as the carcases of his own cattle ' 

( I told you so, Don Juan,' said Carlos, in a voice 
now husky with emotion ; ' but I did not expect this 
What a deep-laid plan ! They might have strayed 

back ! and that oh ! horrible villain ! My mother 

was right — it is he ! it is he ! ' 

* "Who, Carlos ? What mean you ? ' inquired Don 
Juan, wondering at these strange and incongruous 

* Ask me not now, Don Juan ! Presently I shall 
tell you all — presently, but net now ; my brain's 
too hot — my heart is burning : presently— presently. 
The mystery is past — I know all — I had suspicion 
from the first — I saw him at the fiesta — I saw his bad 
ruffian gaze bent upon her. Oh, despot ! I'll tear 
your heart out! Come, Don Juan! — Antonio — ■ 
comrades ! — After me on the trail ! It's easily 
followed. I know where it itill lead — well I know. — On ! ' 

And driving the spur into the flanks of his horse, 
the cibolero galloped off in the direction of the 

The wondering troop — Don Juan among the rest — 
set their animals in motion, and galloped after. 

There was no halt made at the ford. Carlos dashed 
his horse through the water, and the rest imitated his 
example. There was no halt either on arriving at 
the trace that led northward. The dog scampered 
along it, yelping at intervals ; and the troop kept 
close after his heels. 

They had not followed it quite a mile when h 
suddenly turned at right angles, and took the direction 
tf the town ! 


Don Juan and the rest expressed surprise, but 
there was nothing in all this to surprise the cibolero. 
He was expecting that. The expression on his face 
was not that of astonishment. It was far different — 


far more terrible to behold ! 

His eyes were sunk in their sockets and gleaming 
with a lurid light, as if fire was burning within them. 
His teeth were firmly set — his lips white and tightly 
drawn, as if he was meditating, or had already made, 
some desperate resolve. He scarce looked at the 
tracks, he needed their guidance no longer. He knew 
chere he was going ! 

The trail crossed a muddy arroyo. The dog 
sweltered through, and the red clay adhered to his 
shaggy coat. It corresponded with that with which 
he had been already besmeared I 

Don Juan noticed the circumstance, and pointed 
ft out. 

' He has been here before ! ' said he. 

* I know it,' replied Carlos ; ' I know it all — all. 
There is no mystery now. Patience, amigo ! You 
shall know all, but now let me think. I have no time 
for aught else.' 

The trail still led in the direction of the town. It 
did not re-enter the valley, but passed over a sloping 
country to the upper plain, and then ran nearly 
parallel with the bluffs. 

1 Master ! ' said Antonio, riding up by the side of 
Carlos, ' these are not the tracks of Indian horses, 
unless they have stolen them. Two of them are 
troop horses. 1 know the herradura well. They are 
?{ji(%r£ horses, too — I can tell that from the shoeing.' 

The cibolero showed no signs of being astonished 


by this information, nor made he reply. He seemed 
engrossed with his thoughts. 

Antonio, thinking he had not Leon hoard or 
understood, repeated what he had said. 

* Good Antonio!' said the cibolero, turning hia 
eyes on his follower, ' do you think mo blind or 
stupid ? ' 

This was not said angrily. Antonio understood 
its meaning, and fell back among his companions. 

On moved the trackers — now at a gallop, now 
more slowly, for their animals were by this time 
somewhat jaded. On they moved, still keeping the 
trail, and still heading straight for the town ! 

At length they reached a point where a road from 
the upper plain led by a zigzag path to the valley 
below. It was the same by which Carlos had 

ascended to perform his great feat on the day of the 
fiesta. At the top of the descent Carlos ordered the 
party to halt, and with Don Juan rode forward to 
the edge of the projecting cliff — at tho very spot 
where he had exhibited his skill — the cliff of Xina 
Perdida . 

Both drew up when near the edge. They com- 
manded a full view of the valley and the town . 

' Do you see that building? ' inquired the cibolero, 
pointing to the detached pile which lay between 
them and the town. 

* The Presidio ? ' 

' The Presidio.' 

4 Yes — what of it? 

4 She is tliere ! ' 



At that moment upon the azotea a man was pacing to 

and fro. He was not a sentinel, though at opposite 
angles of the building two of these could be seen 
who carried carbines — their heads and shoulders just 
appearing above tho crenated top of the battlement 

The man en promenade was an officer, and the part 
of the azotea wpon which he moved was the roof of 
the officers' quarter, separated from the rest by a wall 
of equal height with the parapet. It was, moreover, 
a sacred precinct — not to be disturbed by the tread of 
common troopers on ordinary occasions. It was the 

1 quarterdeck ' of the Presidio. 

The officer was in full dress, though not on any 
duty; but a single glance at the style and cut of 
his uniform would convince any one that he was a 
* dandy soldier/ and loved to appear at all times in 
fine feathers. The gold laco and bright-coloured 
broad-cloth seemed to affect him as his rich plumage 
does the peacock. Every now and again he paused 
in his promenade, glanced down at his lacquered 
boots, examined the tournure of his limbs, or feasted 
his eyes upon the jewels that studded his delicate 
white fingers. 

He was no beauty withal nor hero either ; but that 

THE WHELK chief. 175 

did not prevent him from indulging in the fancy thai 
he was both — a combination of Mars and Apollo. 

He was a colonel in the Spanish army, however, 
ana Comandanto of the Presidio — for the promenade* 
in question was Yizcarra himself. 

Though satisfied with his own appearance, he was 
evidently not satisfied about something else. There 
was a cloud upon his features that not even the 
contemplation of the lacquered boots or lily-white 
hands could banish. Some disagreeable thought was 
pressing upon his mind, causing him at intervals 
to make fitful starts, and look nervously around 

* Bah ! 'twas but a dream ! ' he muttered to him- 
self. * Why should I think of it ? 'twas only a 
dream ! ' 

His eyes were bent downward as he gave expres- 
sion to these abrupt £>hrases, and as he raised them 
again chance guided his look in the direction of ' La 
Nina Perdida.' No, it was not chance, for La Nina 
had figured in his dream, and his eyes were but fol- 
lowing his thoughts. 

The moment they rested on the cliff he started 
back as if some terrible spectre were before him, and 
mechanically caught hold of the parapet. His cheeks 
suddenly blanched, his jaws fell, and his chest heaved 
in hurried and convulsive breathing! 

AVhat can caiv*? these symptoms of strong emotion ? 
Is it the sight o^ yonder horseman standing upon the 
very pinnacle ni the bluff, and outlined against the 
pale sky ? "What is there in such an appearance to 
terrify the Coma^ante — for terrified he is? Hear 
him 1 

17>> THE WIIlTh- CiLIKF. 

'My God! my God! — it is he! The form of his 
horse — of himself — just as he appeared — it is he ! I 
tear to look at him ! I cannot ' 

And the officer averted his fa»:o for a moment, 
covering it with his hands. 

It was but a moment, and again ho looked upwards. 
Not curiosity, but the fascination of fear, caused 
him to look again. The horseman had disappeared. 
Neither horse nor man — no object of any sort — broko 
the line of the bluffs ! 

' Surely I have been dreaming again ? * muttered 
the still trembling caitiff. ' Surely I have ? There 

was no one there, least of all . ITow could he? 

He is hundreds of miles off! It was an illusion! 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! What the devil is the matter with my 
senses, I wonder ? That horrid dream of last night 
has bewitched them ! Carrambo ! I '11 think no more 
of it?' 

As he said this he resumed his pace more briskly, 
believing that that might rid him of his unpleasant 
reflections. At every turn, however, his eyes again 
sought the bluff, and swept along its edge with a 
glance that betokened fear. But they saw no more 
of the spectre horseman, and their owner began to 
feel at ease again. 

A footstep was heard upon the stone steps of the 
4 cscalera.' Some one was ascending to the roof. 

The next moment the head and shoulders of a man 
were visible ; and Captain Koblado stepped out upon 
toe azotea. 

The ' buenos dias ' that passed between him and 
Vizcarra showed that it was their first meeting for 
that day. In fact, neither had been loug up ; for the 


hour was not yet too late for fashionable sleepers 
Koblado had just breakfasted, and come cut en the 
azotea to enjoy his Havannah. 

'Ha! ha! ha I' laughed he, a»s Me lighted the 
cigar, ' what a droll masquerade it has heen ! Tod 
my soul ! I can scarce get the paint off ; and my 
voice, after such yelling, won't recover for' a week ! 
Ha ! ha ! Never was maiden wooed and won in such 
a romantic, roundabout way. Shepherds attacked — 
sheep driven off and scattered to the winds — cattle 
carried away and killed in regular battue — old woman 
knocked over, and rancho given to the flames — be- 
sides three days of marching and countermarching, 
travestying Indian, and whooping till one is hoarse ; 
and all this trouble for a poor paisana — daughter of 
a reputed witch ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! It would read like 

a chapter in some Eastern romance — Aladdin, for in- 
stance — only that the maiden was not rescued by 
some process of magic or knight- errantry. Ha ! ha 

This speech of Eoblado will disclose what is, per- 
haps, guessed at already — that the ]ate incursion of 
4 los barbaros ' was neither more nor less than an 
affair got up by Vizcarra and himself to cover the 
abduction of the cibolero's sister. The Indians who 
bad harried the sheep and cattle — who had attacked 
the hacienda of Don Juan — who had fired the lancho 
and carried off Eosita — were Colonel Vizcarra, his 
officer Captain lioblado, his sergeant Gomez, and a 
soldier named Jose— another minion ci his confidenee- 
and will. 

There were but the four, as that number was 
deemed sufficient for the accomplishment of the 


atrocious deed ; and rumour, backed by fear, gav* 
them the strength of four hundred. Besides, the 
fewer in the secret the better. This was the pru- 
dence or cunning of lioblado. 

Moat cunningly, too, had they taken their mea- 
sures. The game, from beginning to end, was played 
with design and execution worthy of a better cause. 
The shepherds were first attacked on the upper plain, 
to give certainty to the report that hostile Indians 
were near. Tho scouting-parties were sent out from 
the Fresidio, and proclamations issued to the in- 
habitants to be on their guard — all for effect; and 
the further swoop upon the cattle was clear proof of 
the presence of * los barbaros ' in the valley. In this 
foray the fiendish masquers took an opportunity of 
4 killing two birds with one stone ;' for, in addition 
to carrying out their general design, they gratified 
the mean revenge which they held against the young 

rancher o. 

Their slaughtering his cattle in the ravine had a 
double object. First, the loss it would bo to him 
gave them satisfaction ; but their principal motive 
was that the animals might not stray back to the 
settlement. Ilad they done so, after having been 
captured by Indians, it would have looked suspicious. 
As it wao, they hoped that, long before any one 
should discover tho baiiad i tho wolvos and buzzard* 
ivouid qo their work ; and the bones would only 
supply food for conjecture. This was the more pro- 
bable, as it was not likely, while tho Indian alarm 
lasted, that any one would bo bold enough to venture 
that way. There was no settlement or road, exoepf 
Indian trails ; leading in that direction. 


Even when the final step was taken, and the a ictim 
carried off, she was not brought directly to the Pre- 
sidio ; for even she was to bo hoodwinked. On iha 
contrary, she was tied upon a mule, led by one of the 
ruffians, and permitted to see tlie way they were 
going, until they had reached the point whero their 
trail turned back. She was then blinded by a 
leathern ' tapado/ and in that state carried to the 
Presidio, and within its walls — utterly ignorant of 
tho distance she had travelled, and tic place where 
she was finally permitted to rest. 

Every act in the diabolical drama was conceived 
with astuteness, and enacted with a precision which 
must do credit to the head of Captain Poblado, if not to 
his heart. lie was the principal actor in the whole affair. 

Yizcarra had, at first, some scruples about the 
affair — not on the score of conscience, but of im- 
practicability and fear of detection. This would 
indeed have done him a serious injury. The "dis- 
covery of such a A'illanous scheme would have spread 
like wildfire over the whole country. It would have 
been ruin to him. 

Poblado's eloquence, combined with his own vile 
desires, overruled the slight opposition of his supe- 
rior; and, onco entered on the affair, the latter found 
himself highly amused in carrying it out. The 
burlesque proclamations, the exaggerated stories of 
Indians, the terror of the citizens, their encomiums 
on his own energetic and valorous conduct — ail these 
were a pleasant relief to the ennui of a barrack life 
and, during the several days' visit of * los barbaros, 
the Comandante and his captain were never with- 
out a theme for mirth and laughter. 


So adroitly had tliey managed the whole matter 
what, upon the morning after the final coup ol the 
robbers — the abduction of Eosita — there was not a 
eoul in the settlement, themselves and their two aids 
excepted, that had the slightest suspicion but that 
real hostile Indians were the actors ! 

Yes, there was one other who had a suspicion — 
only a suspicion — Eosita's mother. Even the girl 
believed herself in the hands of Indians — if belief she 


* Ha ! ha ! ha ! A capital joke, by my honour ! T con- 
tinued Eoblado, laughing as he puffed his cigar. 
4 It's the only piece of fun I've enjoyed since we 
came to this stupid place. Even in a frontier post 
I find that one may have a little amusement if he 
know how to make it. Ua! ha! ha! After all, 
there was a devilish deal of trouble. But come, tell 
me, my dear Comandante — for you know by this 
lime — in confidence, was it worth the trouble ? ' 

4 1 am sorry we have taken it,' was the reply, de- 
livered in a serious tone. 

Eoblado looked up in the other's face, and now 
for the first time noticed its gloomy expression. 
Busied with Lis cigar, ho had not observed this 

before . 

* Hola ! * exclaimed he ; * what's the matter, my 
•olonel ? This is not the look a man should wea* 


who lias spent the last twelve hours as pleasantly ^ 
you must have done. Something amiss?' 

' Everything amiss.' 

' Pray what ? Surely you were with her ? ' 

* But a moment, and that was enough.' 
4 Explain, my dear colonel.' 

* She is mad ! * 

* Mad ! ' 

1 Raving mad ! Her talk terrified me. I was but 
too glad to come a\vay, and leave her to the care of 
Jose, who waits upon her. I could not bear to listen 
to her strange jabberings. I assure you, camarado, 
it robbed me of all desire to remain.' 

* Oh,' said Roblado, * that 's nothing — she '11 get 
over it in a day or so. She still thinks herself in the 
nands of the savages who are going to murder and 
fscalp her ! It may be as well for you to undeceive 
her of this as soon as she comes to her senses. 1 
don't see any harm in letting her know. You must 
do so in the end, and the sooner the better— you 
will have the longer time to get her reconciled to it. 
Now that you have her snug within earless and eye- 
Less walls, you can manage the thing at your leisure. 
No one suspects — no one can suspect. They are full 
of the Indians to -day — ha ! ha ! ha ! and 't is said 
her inamorato, Don Juan, talks of getting up a party 
to pursue them ! Ha ! ha ! He 'II not do that — the 
fellow hasn't influence enough, and nobody cares 
either about his cattle or the witch's daughter. Had 
it been some one else the case might have been 
diifeient. As it is, there's no fear of discovery. 
ErcB were the ci bolero himself to make his appear- 
o;ioe ' 

I8& the wiii'ii-: cnn-K. 

* Boblauo ! ' cried tiie Comandante, interrupting 
him. and speaking in a deep earnest voice. 

4 Well ? ' inquired the captain, regarding Vizcarra 
with astonishment. 

■ I have had a dream — a fearful dream ; and that — 
not the ravings of the girl — it is that is now troubling 
me. IJiablos! a fearful dream! ' 

' You, Comandante — a valiant soldier — to let a 
silly droam trouble you! But come! what was it? 
I'm a good interpreter of dreams.. I warrant I read 
it to your better satisfaction.' 

' Simple enough it is, then. I thought myself upon 
the cliff of La Nina. I thought that I was alone with 
Carlos the cibolero ! I thought that he knew all, and 
that he had brought me there to punish me — to 
avenge her. I had no power to resist, but was led 
forward to the brink. I thought that we closed and 
struggled for a while ; but at length I was shaken 
from his grasp, and pushed over the precipice ! I 
felt myself falling — falling ! I could see above me 
the cibolero, with his sister by his side, and on the 
extremest point the hideous witch their mother, who 
laughed a wild maniac laugh, and clapped hor long 
bony hands ! 1 felt myself falling— falling — yet still 
not reaching the ground ; and this horrible feeling 
continued for a long, long time — in fact, until the 
fearful thought awoke me. Even then I could scarce 
believe 1 had been dreaming, so palpable was the im- 
pression that remained. Oh, comrade, it was a dread- 
ful dream ! ' 

* And but a dream ; and what signifies 

«■ » 

' fetay, Eoblado ! I have not told you all. Within 
the hour — ay, within the quarter of that time — while 


I was on this spot thinking over it, I chanced to look 
np to the cliff ; and yonder, upon the extreme point, 
was a horseman clearly outlined against the sky — and 
that horseman the very imago of the cibolero ! 1 
noted the horse and the seat of the rider, -which I 
well remember. I could not trust my eyes to look 
at him. I averted them for a moment— only a mo- 
ment ; and when I looked again he was gone ! So 
quickly had he retired, that I was inclined tc think it 
was only a fancy — that there had been none — and 
that my dream had produced the illusion ! ' 

' That is likely enough,' said Koblado, desirous of 
comforting his companion ; * likely enough — nothing 
more natural. In the first place, from where we 
stand to the top of La Nin\ .3 a good five thousand 
varas as the crow flies ; and for you, at that distance, 
to distinguish Carlos the cibolero from any other 
horseman is a plain impossibility. In the second 
place, Carlos the cibolerc is at this moment full five 
hundred miles from the tip of my cigar, risking his 
precious carcase for a cartload of stinking hides and 
a few bultos of dried buffalo-beef. Let us hope that 
some of his copper-coloured friends will raise his hay- 
coloured hair, which some of our poblanas so much 
admire. And now, my dear Comandante, as to your 
dream, that is as natural as may be. It could hardly 
be otherwise than that you should have such a dream. 
The remembrance of the cibolero's feat of horseman- 
enip on that very cliff, and the later affair with thn 
sister, together with the suspicion you may naturally 

entertain that Senor Carlos wouldn't be too kind to 
you if he. knew all and had you in hvs power — all 
these things, being in your thoughts at one time, must 


lome together incongruously in a dream. The old 
froman, too — if she wasn't in your thoughts, she has 
been in mine ever since T gave her that knock in the 
doorway. Who could forget such a picture as she 
then presented ? Ila ! ha ! ha ! ' 

The brutal villain laughed — not so much from any 
ludicrous recollection, as to make the whole thing 
appear light and trivial in the eyes of his companion. 

* What does it all amount to ? ' he continued. ( A 
dream ! a simple, everyday dream ! Come, my dear 
friend, don't let it remain on your mind for another 
instant ! ' 

' I cannot help it, Eoblado. It clings to me like 
my shadow. It feels like a presentiment. I wish I 
had left this paisana in her mud hut. By Heaven ! 1 
wish she were back there. I shall not be myself till 
I have got rid of her. I seem to loathe as much as I 
loved the jabbering idiot.' 

'Tut, tut, man! you'll soon change your way of 
thinking — you '11 soon take a fresh liking ' 

' Xo, Iloblado, no ! I 'm disgusted — I can't tell why 
but I am. Would to God she were off my hands ! ' 

1 Oh ! that 's easy enough, and without hurting 

anybody. She can go the way she came. It will 
only be another scene in the masquerade, and no one 

will be the wiser. If you are really in earnest ' 

'Eoblado!' cried the Comandante, grasping his 
captain by the arm, * I never was more in earnest in 
my life. Tell me the plan to get her back without 
making a noise about it. Tell nic quick, for I cannot 
bear this horrid feeling any longer.' 

' Why, then/ began Roblado, ' we must ha"r on 
other travestic of Indians — we must— 


lie was suddenly interrupted. A short, sharp groan 
escaped from Vizcarra. His eyes looked as though 
about to start from his head. His lips grew white, 
and the perspiration leaped into drops on his fore- 
head ! 

What could it mean ? Vizcarra stood by the outer 
edge of the azotea that commanded a view of the road 
leading up to the gate of the Presidio. He was 
gazing over the parapet, and pointing with out- 
stretched arm. 

Koblado was farther back, near the centre of the 
azotea. He sprang forward, and looked in the direc- 
tion indicated. A horseman, covered with sweat and 
dust, was galloping up the road. He was near enough 
for Eoblado to distinguish his features. Vizcarra 
had already distinguished them. It was Carlos the 
cibolero ! 



The announcement made by ihe cibolero on the bluff 
startled Don Juan, as if a shot had passed through 
him. Up to this time the simple ranchero had no 
thought but that they were on the trail of Indians. 
Even the singular fact of the trail leading back to the 
valley had not undeceived him. He supposed the 
Indians had made some other and later furay in that 
quarter, and that they would hear of them as soon as 
they should descend the cliffs. 

M'hen Carlos pointed to the rresidio, and said, 


* She is there ! ' he received the announcement at 
first with surprise, then with incredulity. 

Another word from the cibolero, and a few moments 
reflection, and his incredulity vanished. The terrible 
truth flashed upon his mind, for he, too, remembered 
the conduct of Vizcarra on the day of the fiesta. His 
visit to the rancho and other circumstances now 
rushed before him, aiding the conviction that Carlos 
spoke the truth. 

For some moments the lover could scarce give ut- 
terance to his thoughts, so painful were they. More 
painful than ever ! Even while under the belief that 
his mistress was in the hands of wild Indians he suf- 
fered less. There was still some hope that, by their 
strange code in relation to female captives, she might 
escape that dreaded fate, until he and Carlos might 
come up and rescue her. But now the time that had 
elapsed — Vizcarra's character — God! it was a 
terrible thought ; and the young man reeled in his 

saddle as it crossed his mind. 

He rode back a few paces, flung himself from his 
horse, and staggered to the ground in the bitterness 
of his anguish. 

Carlos remained on the bluff, still gazing down on 
the Presidio. He seemed to be maturing some plan. 
He could see the sentries on the battlements, the 
troopers lounging around the walls in their dark blue 
and crimson uniforms. He could even hear the call 
of the cavalry bugle, as its clear echoes came dancing 
alon"- the cliffs. He could sec the figure of a man— 
an officer — pacing to and fro on the azotea, and he 
could perceive that the latter had halted, and was 
observing him. 


It was at this very moment that Vizcarra had 

caught sight of the horseman on the bluff — the sight 
that had so terrified him, and which indeed was no 

'Can it bo that fiend himself?' thought Carlos, 
regarding tho officer for a moment. ' Quite likely it 
to he. Oh ! that he were within range of my rifle ! 
Patience — patience ! I will yet have my revenge ! ' 

And as the speaker muttered these words, he reined 
back from the bluff and rejoined his companion. 

A consultation was now held as to what would be 
the best mode of proceeding. Antonio was called to 
their council, and to him Carlos declared his belief 
that his sister was a captive within the Presidio. It 
was telling Antonio what he had already divined. 
The mestizo had been to the fiesta as well as his master, 
and his keen eyes had been busy on that day. He, 
too, had observed the conduct of Vizcarra ; and long 
before their halt he had arrived at an elucidation of 
the man}' mysteries that marked the late Indian 
incursion. I le kneiv all — his master might have 
saved words in telling him. 

Neither words nor time were wasted. The hearis 
of both brother and lover were beating too hurriedly 
for that. Perhaps at that moment the object of their 
affection was in peril, — perhaps struggling with her 
ruffian abductor ! Their timely arrival might save* 
her ! 

These considerations took precedence of all plans; 
hi fact, there was no plan they could adopt. To 
remain concealed — to skulk about the place — to wail, 
for opportunity — what opportunity ? They might 
spend days in fruitless waiting. Days ! -—hours 


even minutes would be too long. Not a moment wai 
to be lost before some action must be taken. 

And what action ? They could think of none — ■ 
none but open action. What ! dare a man not claim 
his own sister ? Demand her restoration ? 

But the thought of refusal — the thought of subter- 
fuge — in fact, the certainty that such would be the 
result — quite terrified them both. 

And yet how else could they act ? They would at 
least give publicity to the atrocious deed ; that might 
serve them. There would be sympathy in their 
favour- — perhaps more. Perhaps the people, slaves 
as they were, might surround the Presidio, and 
clamour loudly ; — in some way the captive might be 
lescued. Such were their hurried reflections. 

* If not rescued,' said Carlos, grinding his teeth 
together, ' she shall be revenged. Though the garroU 
press my throat, he shall not live if she be dis- 
Honoured. I swear it ! ' 

' 1 echo the oath ! ' cried Don Juan, grasping the 
hilt of his machete. 

' Masters ! dear masters ! ' said Antonio, ' you both 
know I am not a coward. I shall aid you with my 
arm or my life ; but it is a terrible business. Let us 
have caution, or we fail. Let us be prudent ! ' 

4 True, we must be prudent. I have already pro- 
mised that to my mother; but how, comrades? — ■ 
how! In what does prudence consist? — to wait and 
watch, while she-— -oh ! ' 

All three were silent for a while. None of them 
could think of a feasible plan to be pursued. 

Tho situation was, indeed, a most difficult one* 
There was the Presidio, and within its walls — per 

the white ci:ip;f. 18y 

haps in some duik chamber — the cibolero well knew 
his sister was a captive ; but undor such peculiar 
circumstances that her release would be a most 
difficult enterprise. 

In the first place, the villain who held her would 
assuredly Cany that she was there. To have released 
her would be an acknowledgment of his guilt. "What 
proof of it could Curios give ? Tho soldiers of the 
garrison, no doubt, were ignorant of the whole trans- 
action — with the exception of the two or three mis- 
creants who had acted as aids. Were the cibolero to 
assort such a thing in the town he would be laughed 
at — no doubt arrested and punished. Even could he 
offer proofs, what authority was there to help him to 
justice ? The military was the law of the place, and 
the little show of civic authority that existed would 
be more disposed to take sides against him than in 
his favour. He could expect no justice from any 
quarter. All the proof of his accusation would rest 
only on such facts as would neither be understood nor 
regarded by those to whom he might appeal. The 
return trail would be easily accounted for by Vizcarra 
• — if he should deign to take so much trouble— and 
the accusation of Carlos would be scouted as the fancy 
of a madman. !No one would give credence to it. 
The- very atrociousness of the deed rendered it in- 

("alios and his companions were aware cf all tiiesu 
things. They had no hope of help from any quarter. 
There was no authority that could give them aid or 

The ciboloro, who had remained for a while silent 
*j>A thoughtful, at length spoke out. His tone wa*» 



altered lie seemed to liave conceived some plaD 
that held out a hope. 

' Comrades ! ' lie said, ' I can think of nothing but 
an open demand, and that must ho made within the 
hour. I cannot live another hour without attempting 
her rescue — another hour, and what we dread — No ! 
within the hour it must be, I have formed a sort of 
plan — it may not be the most prudent — but there h 
no time for reflection. Hear it/ 

' Go on ! ' 

' It will be of no use our appearing before the gate 
of the Presidio in full force. There are hundreds of 
soldiers within the walls, and our twenty Tagnos, 
though brave as lions, would be of no service in such 
an unequal fight. I shall go alone.' 

* Alone ? ' 

1 Yes ; I trust to chance for an interview with him. 
If I can get that, it is all I want. He is her gaoler ; 
and when the gaoler sleeps, the captive may be freed. 
He shall sleep then ! ' 

The last words were littered in a significant tone, 
while the speaker placed his hand mechanically upon 
}he handle of a large knife that was stuck in his 

* He shall sleep then ! ' lie repeated ; l and soon, i} 
Fate favours me. For the rest I care not : I am to* 
desperate, tf sho be dishonoured 1 care not to live, 
but I shall have full revenge I ' 

' But how will you obtain an interview?' suggested 
Don Juan. * Ho will not give you one. Would it 
not be better to disguise yourself? There would be 
more chance of seeing him that way ? ' 

* No! I am not easily disguise 1, with my light hair 


and skin. Besides, it would cost too muck time. 
Trust me, 1 will not be rash. I have a plan by which 
I hope to get noar him — to see lrim, at all events. If 
it fail, I intend to make no demonstration for the 
present. None of the wretches shall know my real 
errand. Afterwards I may do as yon advise, but now 
I cannot wait. 1 must on to the work. I believe it 
is he that is at this moment pacing yonder azotea, 
and that is why I cannot wait, Don Juan. If it be 
ae ' 

1 But what shall wo do ? ' asked Don Juan. ' Can 
we not assist in any way ? ' 

*■ Yes, perhaps in my escape. Come on, I shall 

place you. Come on quickly. Moments are days. 
My brain 's on fire. Come on ! ' 

So saying, the cibolero leaped into his saddle and 
struck rapidly down the precipitous path that led to 
the valley. 

From the point where the road touched the valley 
bottom, for more than a mile in the direction of the 
Presidio, it ran through a thick growth of low trees 
&nd bushes forming a ' chapparal,' difficult to pass 
through, except by following the road itself. 

But there were several cattle-paths through the 
thicket, by which it might be traversed ; and these 
were known to Antonio the half-blood, who had for- 
merly lived in this neighbourhood. By one of ihoso 
a party of mounted men might approach within half- 
a-milo of the Presidio without attracting the observa- 
tion of the sentries upon the walls. To this point, 
then, Antonio was directed to guide the party; and 
in due time they arrived near the edge of the jungle, 
where, at the command of Carlos, all dismounted* 


looping themselves and their horses under cover of 
as bushes. 

* Now/ said the cibolero, speaking to Don Juan, 
' reu&ain here. If 1 escape, I shall gallop direct to 
this point. If I lose my horse, you shall see me 
a-foot all the same. For such a short stretch I can 
run like a deer : I shall not be overtaken When I 
return I shall tell you how to act. 

' See ! Don Juan ! ' he continued, grasping the 
ranchero by the arm, and drawing him forward td 
the edge of the chapparal. ' It is he ! by Heaven, it 
is he ! * 

Carlos pointed to the azotea of the Presidio, where 
the head and shoulders of a man were seen above the 
line of the parapet. 

' It is the Comandante himself!' said Don Juan, 
also recognising him. 

' Enough ! I have no time for more talk,' cried tht» 
cibolero. * Now or never! If I return, you shall 
know what to do. If not, I am taken or killed 
But stay here. Stay till late in the night; I may 
ntill escape. Their prisons are not too strong ; be- 
sides, I carry this gold. It may help me. No more. 
Adios ! true friend, adios ! ' 

With a grasp of the ranchero's hand, Carlos leaped 
back to his saddle, and rode off. 

He did not go in the direction of the Presidio, as 
that would have discovered him too soon. But a 
~,ath that led through the chapparal would bring him 
out on the main road that ran up to the front gate, 
and this path he took. Antonio guided him to the 
edge of the timber, and then returned to the rest;. 
: arlos, once on the road, spuired his horse into 



gallop, and dashed boldly forward to tho gieat gate 
of the Presidio. The dog Cibolo followed, keeping 
closo up to im beols of his horsa 

■« -hs 


Bv the Virgin, it is he! ' exclaimed Roblado, with 
a look of astonishment and alarm. ' The fellow him- 
self, as I live ! ' 

' I knew it ! — I knew it ! ' shrieked Vizcarra. * I 
saw him on the cliif : it was no vision ! ' 

* Where can he have come from ? In the name of 
all the saints, where has the fellow ■' 

* Roblado, I must go below ! I must go in, I will 
not stay to meet him ! I cannot ! ' 

* Nay, colonel, better let him speak with us. He 
has seen and recognised you already. If you appear 
to shun him, it will arouse suspicion. He has come 
to ask our help to pursue the Indians ; and that's 
his errand, 1 warrant you ! ' 

* Do you think so ? ' inquired Vizcarra, partially 
recovering his self-possession at this conjecture. 

* No doxibt of it! "What else? He can have no 
euspieion of the truth. How is it possible he could, 
unless he were a witch, like his mother ? Stay where 
you are, and let us hoar what he has got to say. 01 
course, you can talk to him from the azotea, while he 
remains below. Ii he show any signs oi being inso- 
lent, as ho lias already been to befh of us, let us have 


him arrested, and cojled a few Lours in the calabozo, 
I hope the fellow will give us an excuse for it, for 1 
haven't forgotten his impudence at the fiesta.' 

fi You are right, Boblado ; I shall stay and hear 
him. It will be better, I think, and will allay any 
suspicion. But, as you say, he can have none ! ' 

' On the contrary, by your giving him the aid he 
is about to ask you for, you may put him entirely off 
the scent — make him your friend, in fact. Ha ! ha ! * 

The idea was plausible, and pleased Vizcarra. Hg 
at once determined to act upon it. 

This conversation had been hurriedly carried on, 
and lasted but a few moments — from the time th;> 
approaching horseman had been first seen, until h<* 

drew up under the wall. 

For the last two hundred yards he had ridden 
slowly, and with an air of apparent respect — aa 
though he feared it might be deemed rude to ap- 
proach the place of power by any swaggering exhibi- 
tion of horsemanship. On his fine features traces of 
grief might be observed, but not one sign of the 
feeling that was at that moment uppermost in his* 

As he drew near, he raised his sombrero in a re- 
spectful salute to the two officers, whose heads and 
shoulders were just visible over the parapet ; and 
having arrived within a dozen paces of the wall, he 
reined up, and, taking off his hat again, waited to bo 

* AVhat is your business? ' demanded Eoblado. 

4 Cavalleros ! I wish to speak with the Coman- 


This was delivered in the tone of one who is noon* 


to ask a favour. It gave confidence to Vizcarra, as 
well as to the bolder villain — who, notwithstanding 
all his assurances to the contrary, had still some 
secret misgivings about the cibolero's errand, Now, 
however, it was clear that his first conjecture was 
correct ; Carlos had come to solicit their assistance. 

* I am he ! ' answered Vizcarra, now quite reco 
vered from his fright, ' I am the Comandante. 
"What have you to communicate, my man ? ' 

' Your excellency, I have a favour to ask ; ' and 
the cibolero again saluted with an humble bow. 
1 I told you so,' whispered Eoblado to his superior. 

* All safe, my colonel.' 

' Well, my good fellow,' replied Vizcarra, in his 
usual haughty and patronising manner, ' let me hear 
it. If net unreasonable ' 

' Your excellency, it is a very heavy favour I would 
ask, but I hope not unreasonable. I am sure that, if 
it do not interfere with your manifold duties, you 
will not refuse to grant it, as the interest and trouble 
you have already taken in the cause are but too well 

1 Told you so,' muttered Roblado a second time. 

* Speak out, man! ' said Vizcarra, encouragingly; 

* I can only give an answer when I have heard your 

' It is this, your excellency. I am but a poor 


' You are Carlos the cibolero ! I know you.' 

* Yes, your excellency, we have met — at the fiesta 

of San Juan ' 

, ' jfes, yes I I recollect your splendid horseman 



* Your excellency is kind to call it so. It d^es not 
avail ine now. I am in great trouble ! ' 
' What lias befallen? Speak out, man \ } 
Both Vizcarra and Roblado guessed the purport of 
the cibolero's request. They desired that it should 
be heard by the few soldiers lounging about the gate 
and for that reason they spoke in a loud tone them 
selves, anxious that their petitioner might do the 

Not to oblige them, but for reasons of his own, 
Carlos replied in a loud voice. He, too, wished the 
soldiers, but more particularly tho sentry at the gate, 
to hear what passed between himself and the officers. 
' Well, your excellency/ replied he, ' I live in a 
poor rancho, the last in the settlement, with my old 
mother and sister. The ni^ht before last it waa 
attacked by a party of Indians — ray mother left for 
dead— the rancho set on fire — and my sister carried 

' I have heard of all this, my friend, — nay, more, 1 
have myself been out in pursuit of the savages/ 

' I know it, your excellency. I was absent on the 
Plains, and only returned last night. I have heard 
that your excellency was prompt in pursuing the 
savages, and I feel grateful.' 

' No need of that ; I only performed my duty. J 
rosjret the occurrence, and sympathise with you ; 
out the villains have got clear off, and there is no 
hope of bringing them to punishment just now. 
perhaps some other time — when the garrison here is 
strengthened— I shall make an incursion into theii 
country, and then your sister may be recovered.' 
Be completely had Vizcarra been deceived by tho 


cmolero's manner, that Ms confidence and coolness 
had returned, and any one knowing nothing more of 
the affair than could be gathered from that conversa- 
tion would have certainly been deceived by him. 
This dissimulation both in speech and manner ap- 
peared perfect. ]\y the keen eye of Carlos, however 
— with his k uowledge of the true situation — the 
tremor of the speaker's lips, slight as it was— his 
uneasy glance — and an occasional hesitancy in his 
speech, were all observed. Though Carlos was de- 
ceiving him, he was not deceiving Carlos. 

' What favour were you going to ask ? ' he in- 
quired, after he had delivered his hopeful promise. 

' This, your excellency ; that you would allow 
your troops to go once more on the trail of the rob- 
bers, either under your own command — which x 

would much like — or one of your brave officers. 
Roblado felt flattered. ' I would act as guide, your 
excellency. There is not a spot within two hundred 
miles I am not acquainted wiili, as well as I am with 
this valley ; and though I should not say it, I assure 
your excellency, I can follow an Indian trail with any 
hunter on the Plains. If your excellency will but 
send the troop, I promise you I shall guide them to 
the robbers, or lose my reputation. I can follow their 
trail wherever it may lend ' 

1 Ohl you could, indeed?' said Yizcarra, exchang- 
ing a significant glance with Roblado, while both ex- 
hibited evident symptoms of uneasiness. 

( Yes, your excellency, anywhere.' 

' It would be impossible,' said Robiado. ' .u Is 
now two days oM; besides, we followed it beyond the 
Pecos, and we have no doubt the robbers are by this 


time far out of reach, of any pursuit. It would be 
quite useless to attempt such a thing.' 

' Cavalleros ! ' — Carlos addressed himself to both-~ 

* I assure you /could find them. They are not so 
far off.' 

Both the Comandante and his captain started, and 
visibly turned pale. The- cibolero did not affect to 
notice this. 

' Nonsense ! my good fellow ! ' stammered Roblado c 

* they are — at least — hundreds of miles off' by this— 
away over the Staked Plain — or tu — to the mountains. 

* Pardon me, captain, for differing with you ; but 
I believe I know these Indians — I know to v-'hat 
tribe they belong.* 

* What tribe ? ' simultaneously inquired the officers, 
both with an earnestness of manner and a slight tre- 
pidation in their voices ; ' what tribe ?— Were they 
not Yutas ? ' 

' No/ answered the cibolero, while he observed 
the continued confusion of his questioners. 

* Who, then ? ' 

' I believe,' replied Carlos, ' they were not Yutas 
— -more likely my sworn foes, the Jicarillas.' 

' Quite possible I * assented both in a breath, and 
evidently relieved at the enunciation. 

' Quito possible ! ' repeated Koblado. ' From the 
description given us by the people who saw them, 
we had fancied they wore the Yutas. It may be a 
mistake, however. The people were so affrighted, 
they could tell but little about them. Besides, the 
Indians were only seen in the night. 5 

' Why think you they are the Jicarillas?' asked 
the Comandante, ence more breathing freely. 


* Partly because there were so few of them,' re- 
plied Carlos. ' Had they been Yutas ' 

* But they were not so few. The shepherds report 
a large band. They have carried off immense num- 
bers of cattle. There must have been a considerable 
force of them, else they would not have ventured into 
the valley — that is certain.' 

' I am convinced, your excellency, there could not 
have been many. A small troop of your brave sol- 
diers would be enough to bring back both them and 
their booty.' 

Here the lounging lanzeros erected their dwarfish 
bodies, and endeavoured to look taller. 

4 If they were Jicarillas,' continued Cailos, * I 
should not need to follow their trail. They are not 
in the direction of the Llano. If they have gone that 
way, it was to mislead you in the pursuit. I know 
where they are at this moment — in the mountains.' 

' Ha ! you think they are in the mountains ? ' 

' I am sure of it ; and not fifty miles from here. 
If your excellency would but send a troop, I could 
guide it direct to the spot, and without following tke 
trail they have taken out of the valley — which I b> 
lievo was only a false one.' 

The Comandante and Roblado drew back from tho 
parapet, and for some minutes talked together in a 
low tone. 

* It would look well,' muttered Pioblado; ' in fact, 
the very thing you want. The trump cards seem to 
drop right into your hands. You send a force at the 
request of this felli; w, who is a nobody here. You do 
him a service, and yourself at the same time. It will 
tall well, I warrant you ' 


1 But for him to act as guide ? ' 

' Let him! So much the better — that will satisfy 
all parties. lie won't find his Jicarillas, — ha! ha 
ha ! — of course ; "but lot the fool have his whim ! ' 

* But suppose, caniarado, he falls upon our trail ? 
the cattl 

' He is not going in that direction; besides, if he 
did, we are not bound to follow such trails as he may 
choose for us ; but he has said he is not going that 
way — he don't intend to follow a trail. He knows 
some nest of these Jicarillas in the mountains,— like 
enough ; and to rout them — there's a bit of glory for 
some one. A few scalps would look well over the 
gate. Jt hasn't had a fresh ornament of that sort 
since we've been here ! "What say you ? It's but a 
fifty-mile ride.' 

' I have no objection to the thing —it would look 
well; but I shall not go myself. I don't like being 
along with the fellow out there or anywhere else — 
you can understand that feeling, 1 suppose ? ' 

Here the Comandante looked significantly at his 

"Oh! certainly — certainly,' replied the latter. 

' You may take the troop ; or, if you aro not in 
clined, send Garoia or the sergeant with them.' 

* I'll go myself,' replied Eoblado. ' It will be 
safer, fchould the cibolero incline to follow certain 
trails, 1 can lead him away from them, or refuso 
yes it will be better for me to go myself. By my 
soul ! I want to have a brush with these redskins. I 
hope to bring back some " hair," as (.hey spy. Ha 
ha! ha!' 

'TVhen would you start?* 


* Instantly — the sooner the better. That will be 
more agreeable to all parties, and will prove our 
promptitude and patriotism Ila ! ha ! ha ! 7 

i You had better give the sergeant his orders to get 
the men ready, while I make our cibolero happy.' 

Eoblado hastened down from the azotea, and the 
next moment tho bugle was heard «™jnding * boots 
and saddles.' 



During the conversation that had taken place the 
cibolero sat motionless upon his horse where he had 
first halted. The two officers we**e no longer in 
view, as they had stepped back upon the azotea, and 
the high parapet concealed them. But Carlos guessed 
the object of their temporary retirement, and waited 

The group of soldiers, lounging in the gateway, 
and scanning him and his horse, now amounted to 
thirty or forty men ; but the bugle, sounding the 
well known call, summoned them off to the stables, 
and the sentry alone remained by the gate. Both he 
and the soldiers, having overheard the Idtc conversa- 
tion, guessed the object of the summons. Oarios felt 
assured that hLs request was about to bo granted, 
thou h as yet the Comandante had not told him. 

Up to that moment the cibolero had conceived no 
fixed plan of action. How could ho, where so much 
do )t>rd3tl on chance ? 

202 TUK VYHITh Ci\\VA\ 

Only one idea was before his mind that could bo 
called definite — that was to get Vizcarra alone. If but 
for a single minute, it would suffice. 

Entreaty, ho felt, would be idle, and might waste 
time and end in his own defeat and death, A minute 
would be enough for vengeance ; and with the 
thoughts of his sister's ruin fresh on his mind, he 
was burning for this. To anything after he scarce 
gave a thought. For escape, he trusted to chance 
and his own superior energy. 

Up to that moment, then, lie had conceived no 
fixed plan of action. It had just occurred to him 
that the Comandante himself might lead the party 
going out. If so he would take no immediate step. 
While acting as guide, his opportunity would be ex- 
cellent — not only for destroying his enemy, but for 
his own escape. Once on the wide plains, he would 
have no fear of ten times the number of lancers. 
His true steed would cany him far beyond their 

The troop was going. The bugle told him so. 
^ ould Vizcarra go with it ? That was the question 
that now engrossed his thoughts, as he sat immobile 
on his horse, regarding with anxious look the -iiie of 
the jDarapet above. 

Once more the hated face appeared over the wall 
— this lime to announce what the Comandante be 
lieved would be glad news to his wretched petitioner. 
W ith all the pompous importance of one who grants 
a great favour he announced it. 

A gleam of joy shot over the features of the eibolero 
— •not at the announcement, though Yizc:irr,i thought 
so: but at Ids observation of the fact that the latter 


seemed to be now alone -upon the azotea, Kob] ado's 
face was not above the wall. 

* It is exceedingly gracious of your excellency to 
grant this favour to an humble individual like myself. 
I know not how to thank you/ 

' No thanks— no thanks : an officer of his Catholic 
Majesty wants no thanks for doing his duty.' 

As the Comandante said this, he waved his hand 
with proud dignity, and seemed about to retire back- 
ward. Carlos interrupted his intention by putting a 
question : ' Am I to have the honour of acting as 
guide to your excellency ? * 

1 No; I do not go myself on this expedition; but 

my best officer, Captain lioblado, will lead it. He is 
now getting ready. You may wait for him.' 

As Vizcarra said this, he turned abruptly away 
from the wall, and continued his promenade along 
the azotea. No doubt he felt ill at ease in a tete-a-tete 
with the cibolero, and was glad to end it. "Why he 
had condescended to give all this information need 
not be inquired into ; but it was just what the cibolero 
desired to know. 

The latter saw that the time was come — not a 
moment was to be lost, and, quick as thought, he re- 
solved himself for action. 

Up to this moment he had remained in his saddle. 
His rifle — its butt resting in the stirrup, its barrel 
extending up . L o his shoulder — had been seen by no 
one. The ( aronns de aqua'' covering his legs, and the 
serape his shoulders, had completely concealed it. Jn 
addition to this, his sharp hunting-knife, strapped along 
his left thigh, escaped observation under the hanging 
oorner of the serape. These were his only weapons. 


During the short conversation between the Coraan- 
dante and Koblado he had not been idle, though 
apparently so. He had made a full reconnaissance of 
the walla. lie saw that out of the saguan, or gateway, 
an escalera of stone steps led up to the azotea. This 
communication was intended for the soldiers, when 
any duty required them to mount to the roof; but 
Carlos knew that there was another escalera, by 
which the officers ascended : and although he had 
never been inside the Presidio, he rightly conjectured 
that this was at the adjacent end of the building. He 
had observed, too, that but one sentry was posted at 
the gate, and that the stone banquette, inside the 
saguan, used as a lounging-place by the guard, was 
at the moment unoccupied. The guard were either 
inside the house, or had strayed away to their quarters. 
In fact, the discipline of the place was of the loosest 
kind. Vizcarra, though a dandy himself*, was no 
martinet with his men. His time was too much taken 
up with his own pleasures to allow him to care for 
aught else. 

All these points had passed under the keen obser- 
vation of the cibolero before Vizcarra returned to 
announce his intention of sending the troop. He hack 

_ r _ _ 

scarce parted out of sight the second time ere the 
former had taken his measures. 

Silently dismounting from his horse, Carlos left Trie 
animal standing where he had halted him. He did 
not fasten him to either rail or post, but simply 
looked the bridle-iein over the * horn' of the saddle. 
He know that his well-trained steed would await biiz: 

His rifle he still carried under his serape, though 


the butt was now visible below tlie edge, pressed 
closely against the calf of bis leg. In this way he 
walked forward to the gate. 

One doubt troubled him — would the sentry permit 
him to pass in ? If not, the sentry must die ! 

This resolve was quickly made ; and the cibolero 
under his serape kept his grasp on the handle of his 
hunting-knife as he approached the gate. 

The attempt was made to pass through. Fortunately 
for Carlos, and for the sentry as well, it was successful. 
The latter — a slouching, careless fellow — had heart; 
the late conversation, and had no suspicion of the 
other's design. He made some feeble opposition, not- 
withstanding ; but Carlos hastily replied that he 
had something to say to the Comandante, who had 
beckoned him up to the azotea. This but half satisfied 
the fellow, who, however, reluctantly allowed him to 

Once inside, Carlos sprang to the steps, and glided 
up with the stealthy silent tread of a cat. So little 
noise had his moccasins made upon the stones, that, 
when he arrived upon the roof, its occupant — although 
standing but six feet from the head of the escalera — 
was not aware of his presence ! 

There was he — Vizcarra himself — the despot — the 
despoiler — the violator of a sister's innocence and 
honour — there was he within six feet of the avenging 
brother — six feet from the muzzle of his ready rifle, 
and still ignorant of the terrible situation ! His face 
was turned in an opposite direction— lie saw not his 

The glance of the cibolero rested upon him but an 
nstant, and then swept the walls to ascertain if any 


one was above. He knew there were two sentries 
on the towers. They were not visible — they were on 
the outer walls and could not be seen from Carlos'a 
position. So one else was above. His enemy alone 
was there, and his glance again rested upon him. 

Carlos oould have sent the bullet into his back, and 
6uch a thought crossed his mind, but was gone in an 
instant. He had come to take the man's life, but not 
in that manner. Even prudence suggested a better 
plan. His knife would be more silent, and afford 
him a safer chance of escape when the deed was done ! 

With this idea, he brought the butt of his riflo 
gently to the ground, and rested its barrel against 
the parapet* The iron coming in contact with the 
stone wall gave a tiny clink. Slight as it was, it 
reached the ear of the Cornandante, who wheeled 
suddenly round, and started at the sight of the in- 

At first he exhibited anger, but the countenance ol 
the cibolero, that had undergone a complete metamor- 
phosis during the short interval, soon changed his 
anger into alarm. 

* How dare you intrude, sir ? — how dare — — ' 

' Not so loud, colonel ! — not so loud — ycu will be 

heard I ' 

The low husky voice, and the firm tone of command, 
in which they were uttered, terrified the cowardly 
wretch to whom these words were addressed. He 
saw that the man who stood before him bore in his 
face and attitude the expression of desperate and irre- 
sistible resolve, that plainly said, ' Disobey, and you 
are a dead man ! ' 

This expression was heightened by the gleaming 


oiade of a long knife, whose haft "was firmly grasped 
by the hand of the cibolero. 

At sight of these demonstrations, Yizcarra turned 
white with terror. He now comprehended what way 
meant. The asking for the troop had been but a 

subterfuge to get near his own person ! The cibolero 
had tracked him ; his guilt was known , and the 
brother was now come to demand redress or have 
vengeance ! The horrors of his night-dream returned, 
now mingling with the horrers of the fearful reality 
before him. 

He scarce knew what to say — he could scarce 
speak. He looked wildly around in hopes of seeing 
some help. Not a face or form was in sight — nothing 
but the grey walls, and before him the frowning face 
of his terrible antagonist. He would have called for 
help ; but that face — that angry attitude — told him 
that the shout would be his last. He gasped out at 
length, — • 

* What want you ? ' 

1 / want my sister I * 

' Your sister ? ' 

' My sister ! ' 

6 Carlos — I know not — she is not here — 1 ' 

' Liar ! she is within these walls. See ! yonder the 
dog howls by the door. Why is that ? ' 

Carlos pointed to a door in the lower part of the 
building, where the dog Cibolo was at that moment 
seen, whining and making other demonstrations, as 
if he wanted to get inside ! A soldier "was endeavour- 
ing to drive him off. 

Yizcarra looked mechanically as directed. He saw 
the dog. He saw the soldier too ; but dared not 



make a signal to him. The keen blade was gleaming 
before his eyes. The question of the cibolero was 

* Why is that ? * 

* I — I — know not ' 

4 Liar again ! She has gone in by that door. Where 
is she now ? Quick, tell me ! ' 
' I declare, I know not. Believe 

* False villain ! she is here. I have tracked you 
through all your paths — your tricks have not served 
you. Deny her once more, and this to your heart. 
She is here ! — Where — where — I say ? ' 

1 Oh ! do not murder me. I shall tell all. She — 
she — is — here. I swear I have not wronged her ; I 
swear I have not ' 

' Here, ruffian — stand at this point — close to the 
wall here. — Quick ! ' 

The cibolero had indicated a spot from which part 
of the patio, or courtyard, was visible. His command 
was instantly obeyed, for the craven Comandante 
eaw that certain death was the alternative. 

* Now give orders that she be brought forth ! You 
know to whom she is intrusted. Be cool and calm, 
do you hear? Any sign to your minions, either word 
or gesture, and this knife will pass through your 
ribs ! Now ! ' 

* my God! — my God ! — it would ruin me — all 
would know — ruin — ruin — I pray you — have mercy 
— have patience! — She shall be restored to you — I 
iw ear it — this very night ! ' 

fc This very moment, villain ! Quick — proceed- 
those who know — let her be brought forth ! 
ck — I am on -fire —one moment more ' 


* Hea ren ! you will mmder me — a moment — 
Stay! Ha!' 

The last exclamation was in a different tone from 
the rest. It was a shout of exultation — of triumph ! 

The face of the Comandante was turned towards 
the escalera by which Carlos had ascended, while that 
of the latter looked in the opposite direction. Carlos, 
therefore, did not perceive that a third person had 
reached the roof, until he felt his upraised right 
arm grasped by a strong hand, and held back ! He 
wrenched his arm free — turning as he did so — when 
he found himself face to face with a man whom he 
recognised as the Lieutenant Garcia. 

' I have no quarrel with ywj cried the cibolero; 
' keep away from me.' 

The officer, without saying a word, had drawn a 

pistol, and was levelling it at his head. Carlos 
rushed upon him. 

The report rang, and for a moment the smoke 
shrouded both Garcia and the cibolero. One waa 
heard to fall heavii) on the tiles, and the next moment 
the other sprang from the cloud evidently unhurt. 

It was the cilWovo who came forth ; and his knife, 
still in his grasp, was reeking with blood ! 

He rushed forward towards the spot where he had 
parted wui vc t Comandante, but the latter was gone ! 
He was oi-jv distance off on the azofca, and running 

towards the private stairway. 

Carlos saw at a glance he could not overtake him 
before lie should reach the escalera, and make his 
descent; and to follow him below would now bo 

useless .' for the shot hud given the alarm. 

of despair,— a short moment ; for 


in the next a bright thought rushed into the mind of 
the cibolero — he remembered his rifle. There might 
be still irme to overtake the Comandante with that ' 

lie seized the weapon, and, springing beyond the 
circle of smoke, raised it to his shoulder. 

Vizcarra had reached the stairway, and was already 
sinking into its trap-like entrance. His head and 
shoulders alone appeared above the line of wall, when 
some half-involuntary thought induced him to stop 
and look back. The coward had partly got over his 
fright now that he had arrived within reach of 
isuccour, and he glanced back from a feeling of 
curiosity, to see if the struggle between Garcia and 
the cibolero was yet over. He meant to stop only 
for an instant, but just as he turned his head the 
rifle cracked, and the bullet sent him tumbling to the 

bottom of the escalera ! 

The cibolero saw that his shot had taken effect — ho 
saw, moreover, that the other was dead — he heard the 
wild shouts of vengeance from below ; and he knew 
that unless he could escape by flight he would be 
surrounded and pierced by an hundred lances. 

His first thought was to descend by the escalera, 

up which he had come. The other way only led into 
the patio, already filling with men. 
" He leaped over the body of Garcia, and ran toward 
the stairway. 

A crowd of armed men was coming up. His escape 
was cut off! 

Again he crossed the dead body, and, running along 
the azotea, sprang upon the outer parapet and looked 

It was a fearful leap to take, but there was no 


otlicr hope of escaping. Several lancers bad reached 
the roof, and were charging forward with their pointed 
weapons. Already carbines were ringing, and bullets 
whistling about his ears. It was no time to hesitate. 
His eye fell upon his brave horse, as he stood proudly 
curving his neck and champing the bit» ' Thank 
Heaven, he is yet alive ! ' 

> T erved by the sight, Carlos dropped down from 
the wall, and reached the ground without injury 

A shrill whistle brought his steed to his side, and 
the next moment the cibolero had sprung into the 
saddle, and was galloping out into the open plain ! 

Bullets hissed after, and men mounted in hot 
pursuit ; but before they could spur their horses out 
of the gateway, Carlos had reached the edge of the 
chapparal, and disappeared under the leafy screen of 
its thick foliage. 

A body of lancers, with Eoblado and Gomez at 
their head, rode after. As they approached the edge 

of the chapparal, to their astonishment a score oi 
heads appeared above the bushes, and a wild yell 
hailed their advance ! 

' Indios bravos ! los barbaros ! ' cried the lancers, 
halting, while some of them wheeled back in alarm. 

A general halt was made, and the pursuers waited 
until reinforcements should come up. The whole 
garrison turned, out, and the chapparal was surrounded, 
and at length entered. But no Indians could be 
found, though the tracks of their animals led through 
the thicket in every direction. 

After beating about for several hours, Rollado 
and his troopers returned to the Presidio. 



Garcia was dead. Vizcarra was not , though, when 
taken up from where he had fallen, he looked like 
one who had not long to live, and behaved like one 

who was afraid to die. His face was covered with 
blood, and his cheek showed the scar of a shot. He 
was alive however, — moaning and mumbling. Fine 
talking was out of the question, for several of his 
teeth had been carried away by the bullet. 

His wound was a mere face wound. There was not 
the slightest danger ; but the ' medico ' of the place, a 
young practitioner, was not sufficiently master of his 
art to give him that assurance, and for some hours 
Vizcarra remained in anything but blissful ignorance 
of his fate . 

The garrison doctor had died but a short time 
before, and his place was not yet supplied. 

A scene of excitement for the rest of that day was 
the Presidio — not less so the town. The whole settle- 
ment was roused by the astounding news, whiek 
spread like a prairie fire throughout the length and 
breadth of the valley. 

It travelled in two different shapes. One was, that the 
settlement was surrounded by ' los barbaros,' headed 
by Carlos the cibolero ; that they must be in great 
uumbers, since they had made an open attack upo» 


the military stronghold itself ; but tliat they had been 
beaten off by the valiant soldiers after a desperate 
conflict, in which many were lulled on both sides ; 
that the officers were all killed, including the Co- 
mandante ; and that another attack might be looked 
for that night, which would most likely be directed 
against the town ! This was the first shape of the 
* novedades.' 

Another rumour had it that the * Indios mansos * 
had revolted; that they were headed by Carlos the 
eibolero ; that they had made an unsuccessful attempt 
upon the Presidio, in which, as before, ihe valiant 
soldiers had repulsed them with great loss on both 
sides, including the Comandante and his officers : 
that this was but the first outbreak of a great con- 
spiracy, which extended to all the Tagnos of the 
settlement, and that no doubt the attack would be 
renewed that night ! 

To those who reflected, both forms of the rumour 
were incomprehensible. AYhy should * Indios bravos ' 
attack tne Presidio before proceeding against the 
more defenceless town as well as the several rich 
haciendas ? And how could Carlos the eibolero be 
their leader ? "Why should he of all men, — he who 
had just suffered at the hands of the savages ? It was 
well known through the settlement that it was the 
cibolero's sister who had been carried off. The idea 
of an Indian incursion, with him at the head of it, 
seemed too improbable. 

Then, again, as to the conspiracy and revolt, "Why 
the tame Indians were seen labouring quietly in the 
fields, and those belonging to the mission were 
working at their usual occupations ! News, too, hao 


come down from the mines — no symptoms of con- 
spiracy had been observed there ! A revolt of tha 
Tagnos, with the cibolero at 'their head, would, of 
the two rumours, have been the more likely to be 
true ; for it was well known to all that these were far 
from content with their lot — but at present there was 
no appearance of such a thing around. There were 
they all at their ordinary employments. Who, then, 
were the revolters? Both rumours, therefore, were 
highly improbable. 

Half the townpeople were soon gathered around 
the Presidio, and after stories of all shapes had been 
carried back and forward, the definite facts at length 
became known. 

These, however, were as mysterious and puzzling 
as the rumours. For what reason could the cibolero 
have attacked the officers of the garrison ? Who were 
the Indians that accompanied him? Were they 
' bravos * or * mansos ' ? — savages or rebels ? 

The most remarkable thing was, that the soldiers 
themselves who had taken part in the imaginaiy 
* fight ' could not answer these questions. Some said 
this, and some that. Many had heard the conversa- 
tion between Carlos and the officers ; but that portion 
of the affair, though perfectly natural in itself when 
taken in connexion with after circumstances, only 
rendered the whole more complicated and mysterious ! 
The soldiers could give no explanation ; and the people 
returned home, to canvass and discuss the affair 
among themselves. Various versions were in vogue, 
Soma believed that the cibolero had come with the 

land fide desire to obtain help against the Indians' 
that those who accompanied him were only a few 


Tagnos whom lie had collected to aid in the pursuit — ■ 
and that the Comandantc, having first promised to 
aid him, had afterwards refused, and that this had 
led to the strange conduct of the cibolero ! 

There was another hypothesis that gained more 
credit than this. It "was that Captain Eoblado was 
the man whom the cibolero had desired to make a 
victim ; that he was guided against him by n.otives 
of jealousy ; for the conduct of Carlos on the day 
of the fiesta was well known, and had been much 
ridiculed— that, in failing to reach Eoblado, he had 
quarrelled with the Comandante, and so forth. 

Improbable as was this conjecture, it had many 
supporters, in the absence of the true motive for the 
conduct of the cibolero. There were but four men 
within the Presidio to whom this was known, and 
only three outside of it. By the general public it 
was not even suspected. 

In one thing all agreed — in condemning Carlos the 
cibolero. The garotta was too good for him ; and 
when taken, they could all promise him ample punish- 
ment. The very ingratitude of the act was magnified. 
It was but the day before that these same officers had 
gone forth with their valiant soldiers to do him a 
service ! The man must haA r e been mad ! His mother 
had no doubt bewitched him. 

To have killed Lieutenant Garcia! — he who was 
euch a favourite ! Carrambo I 

This was true. Garcia was liked by the people of 
the settlement — perhaps not so much from the pos- 
session of any peculiar virtues, but in contrast with 
his superiors. He was an affable, harmless sort of 
person, and had won general esteem. 


That night the cibolero had not one friend in San 

Ildefonso. Nay, we speak wrongly. He had one. 
There was one heart beating for him as fondly as 
ever — Catalina's — but she, too, was ignorant of the 
motives which had led to his mysterious conduct. 

Whatever these motives were, she knew they could 
not be otherwise than just. What to her were the 
calumnies — the gibes — that were heaped upon him ? 
What to her if he had taken the life of a fellow- 
creature ? He had not done so without good cause — ■ 
without some fearful provocation. She believed that 
in her soul. She knew his noble nature too well to 
think otherwise. He was the lord of her heart, and 
could do no wrong ! 

Sorrowful, heart-breaking news was it to her. It 
boded long separation — perhaps for ever ! He dared 
no more visit the town — not even the settlement ! He 
would be driven to the wild plains — hunted like the 
wolf or the savage bison — perhaps taken and slain ! 
Bitter were her reflections. When should she see 
him again ? Maybe, never ! 



During all this time Vizcarra lay groaning upon his 
couch — not so much with pain as fear, for the fear of 
death still haunted him. Eut for that, his rage would 
have been boundless ; but this passion was in abey- 
ance—eclipsed by the terrors that flitted across hia 


en had he been assured of recovery he would 
have been in dread. His imagination was dis- 
eased by his dream and the after reality. Even sur- 
rounded by his soldiers, he feared the cibolero, who 
appeared able to accomplish any deed and escape its 
consequences. He did not even feel secure there in 
his chamber, with guards at the entrance, against 
that avenging arm ! 

Now, more than ever, he was desirous of getting 
rid of the cause — more than ever anxious that she 
should be got rid of; but he reflected that now more 
than ever was that a delicate and difficult matter. It 
would undoubtedly get abroad why the cibolero had 
m i d e such a desperate attempt upon his life — it 
would spread until it reached high quarters — such a 
report could not be passed over — an investigation 

might be ordered ; and that, unless he could destroy 
every trace of suspicion, might be his ruin. 

These were his reflections while in the belief that 
he was going to recover ; when a doubt of this crossed 
his mind, he grew still more anxious about the result. 

Eoblado had hinted at a way in which all might be 
arranged. He waited with impatience for the latter 
to make his appearance. The warlike captain was 
still engaged in beating the chapparal ; but Gomez 
had come in and reported that he was about to give 
up the search, and return to the Presidio. 

To Eoblado the occurrences of the day had been 
rather pleasant than otherwise ; and a close observer 
of his conduct could have told this. If there was 
anything in the whole business that really annoyed 
him, it was the wound of the Comandante— it was 

! Eoblado, more experienced than the 


surgeon, knew this well. The friendship that existed 
between the two was a fellow-feeling in wickedness 
— a sort of felon's bond — durable enough so long as 
there was no benefit to either in breaking it. But 
this fiiendship did not prevent Eoblado from re- 
gretting with all his heart that the bullet had not hit 
his friend a little higher up or a little lower down 
either in the skull or the throat ! He entertained 
this regret from no malice or ill-will towards the 
Comandante, but simply from a desire to benefit 
himself. It was long since Eoblado had been dream- 
ing of promotion. He was not too humble to hope 
he might one day command the Presidio himself. 
Yizcarra's death would have given him that station 
at once ; but Vizcarra was not to die just then, and 
this knowledge somewhat clouded the joy he was 
then experiencing. 

And it was joy. Garcia and he had been enemies. 
There had been jealousy and ill-will between them 
for long; therefore the lieutenant's death was no 
source of regret to him. But the joy of Eoblado owed 
partly its origin to another consequence of that day's 
drama — one that affected him more than any— one 
that was nearest his heart and his hopes. 

Absurd as appeared the pretensions of the cibolero 
in regard to Catalina, Eoblado had learned enough of 
late to make him jealous — ay, even to give him real 
uneasiness. She was a strange creature Catalina de 
Cruces — one who had shown proofs of a rare spirit — 
one not to be bought and sold like a bulto of goods. 
She had taught both her father and Eoblado a lesson 
of late. She had taught them that. She had struck 
the ground with her little foot, and threatened a con- 


vent — tho grave — if too rudely pressed ! Slie had 
not rejected Koblado — that is, in word; but she in- 
sisted on having her own time to make answer ; and Don 

Ambrosio was compelled to concede the point. 

Under such circumstances her suitor felt uneasy. 

Not so much that he was jealous — though he did love 
her after his own fashion, and was piqued at the 
thought of such a rival — but he feared that spirit oi 
hers, and dreaded that her splendid fortune might 
yet escape him. Such a woman was capable of the 
wildest resolve. She might take to a convent ; or 
maybe to the plains with this base-born cibolero ! Such 
an event in th« life of such a woman would be neither 
impossible nor -unlikely. In either case she could 
not take her fortune with her; but what mattered ? 
it would not remain with him, Koblado. 

The conduct of the cibolero had removed all ob 
stacles, so far as he was concerned. There was no 
longer any dread of rivalry from that source. His 
life was now forfeited. 2vot only would he be cut 
off from all communication with her, but he would 
not dare to show himself in the settlement. A con- 
stant vigilance would be kept on foot to guard against 
that, and Eoblado even promised himself the enjoy- 
ment of rare sport in hunting down his rival, and 
becoming at the same time his captor and executioner. 

These were the ideas that crossed the mind of the 
savage captain, and that made him feel satisfied at 
the events of the day. 

After scouring the chapparal, and following the 
track of the supposed Indians to the ceja of the table 
plain, he returned with his men to the Presidio, to 
make preparations for a more prolonged pursuit. 



Eoblado's arrival brought relief to Vizcarra, as he \%y 

chafing and fretting. 

Their conversation was, of course, upon the late 
occurrence, and Eoblado gave his account of the 

' And do you really think,' inquired the Cornan- 
dante, l that the fellow had a party of savages with 
him ? ' 

' No ! ' answered Eoblado. ' I did think so at first 
— that is, the men thought so, and I was deceived 
by their reports. I am now convinced they we>- 
*rfOt Indian bravos, but some of those Tagno friends 
of his ; for it appears the padre" was light — he haa 
a suspicious connexion. That of itself might have 
been sufficient cause for us to have arrested him long 
ago ; but now we need no cause. He is ours s wheo 
we can catch him/ 

' How do you propose to act ? * 

c Why, I have no doubt he will lead us a long 
chase. We must do the best we can to follow his 
trail. I came back to provisi m the men so that we 
can keep on for a sufficient time. The rascals have 
gone out of the valley by the upper pass, and perhaps 
have taken to the mountains. So thinks Gomez. 
We eliail have \o follow, and endeavour to overtake 


them. We must send express to the other settlements, 
bo that the cibolero may be captured if he make his 
appearance in any of them. I don't think he "will 
attempt that.' 
< Why ? ' 

4 Why I because it appears the old "witct* is still 
alive ! and, moreover, he will hang around here so 
long as he has any hopes of recovering the sister.' 
1 Ha ! you are right ; he will do so. He will never 

leave me till she ■' 

* So much the better ; we shall have all the finer 
opportunity of la}*ing hands on him, which, believe 
me, my dear colonel, will be no easy matter. The 
fellow will be watchful as a wolf, and on that superb 
horse of his can escape from our whole troop. We '11 
have to capture him by some stratagem.* 
4 Can you think of none ? ' 
4 1 have been thinking of one.' 
« What ? ' 

* Why, it is simply this — in the first place, for the 
reasons I have given, the fellow will hang around 
the settlement. He may visit now and then the old 
hechicera, but not often. The other would be a better 

4 You mean her ? ' Vizcarra indicated the direction 
of the room in which Bosita was confined. 

' 1 do. He is said to be foolishly fond of this sister* 
Now, were she in a place where he could visit her, 
I'll warrant he would come there ; and then we could 
trap him at our pleasure.' 

( In a place ! — where ? * eagerly demanded VizcarTa. 

* Why, back to her own neighbourhood. They 'II 

find some residence. If you will consent to let bei 


222 THE Wliri'E CIIIKF. 

go for a while, you can easily recover her — the mor* 
easily when we have settled with him ! ' 

1 Consent, Eoblado ! — it is the very thing 1 desire 
above all things. My mind will not he easy while 
she is here. We aro both in danger if such a report 
should get in circulation. If it should reach certain 
ears, we are ruined — are we not?' 

' Why, now there is some truth in what you say, 
Garcia's death must be reported, and the cause will 
be inquired into. We must have our story as plausible 
as it can be made. There must be no colour of a 
suspicion — no rumour ! It will be well to get her 
iff our hands for the present.' 

' But how — that it is that troubles me — how, with- 

mt increasing the chances of suspicion ? If we send 

her home, how is it to be explained? That would 

not be the act of Indians ? You said you had some 

plan ? ' 

' 1 think I have. But first tell me, colonel, what 
did you mean by saying she was mad ? ' 

' That she was so ; is so still, — so says Jose', — 
within the hour, muttering strange incongruities — 
knows not what is said to her. I tell you, Eoblado, 
it terrified me. 1 

* You are sure she knows not what is said to her ? * 
< Sure of it.' 

* So much the better. She will then not remember 

where she is or has been. Now I know that I have a 

plan — nothing easier than to get her off. She shall 

go back and tell — if she can tell anything — that she 

has been in the hands of the Indians! That will 

satisfy you ? ' 

' But how can it be arranged ? ' 


* My dear Comandante, no difficulty in it. Listen/ 
SVnight, or before day in the morning, Gomez and 
Jose, in Indian costume as before, can carry her off 
to some spot which I shall indicate. In the moun- 
tains be it. No matter how far off or how near. Sho 
*nay be tied, and found in their company in the mora 
ing in such a way as to appear their captive. So much 
the better if she has recovered her senses enough to* 
think so. Well ; I with the troopers, Id hunt after 
the cibolero, will come upon these Indians by acci- 
dent. A few shots may be fired at sufficient distance 
to do thorn no hurt. They will make off, leaving 
fheir captivo, whom we will rescue and bring bacs 
to the town, where she can be delivered out of our 
hands! Ha! ha! ha! What think you, Coman 
•dante, of my scheme ? ' 

1 Excellent !* replied Vizcarra, his mind seemingly 
relieved at the prospect of its execution. 

' Why, it would blind the very devil ! "We shall 
not only be free from suspicion, but we'll get credit 
by it. "What ! a successful affair with the savages ! 
■ — rescue of a female captive ! — restore her to her 
friends ! — she, too, the sister of the very man who 
has endeavoured to assassinate you ! I tell you, 
'Comandante, the cibolero himself, if that will be 
any comfort to you, will bo humbugged by it ! She 
will swear — if her word be worth anything — that she has 
t>een in the hands of los barbaros all the while ! She 
will give the lie even to her own brother ! 

4 The plan is excellent . It must be done to-night !* 

* To-night, of course. As soon as the men have 
gone to bed, Gomez can start with her. I must give 
over the idea of following the trail to-day * and, in 


truth, I regard that as idle. Our only chance for 
taking him will be to set our trap, with her for ita 
bait ; and that we can arrange hereafter. Give 

yourself no farther uneasiness about it. By late 
breakfast to-morrow I shall make my report to you, 

— Desperate affair with Jicarillas, or Yutas — several 
warriors killed — female captive rescued — valiant 
conduct of troops — recommend Corporal for pro- 
motion, <fcc. Ha ! ha ! ha !' 

The Comandante joined in this laugh, which, 
perhaps, he would not have done, \it that Koblado- 
had already assured him that his wc'uid was not of 
the slightest danger, and would heal in fc couple of 

Roblado had given him assurance of this by calling 
the doctor a fool, and heaping upon him other oppro- 
brious epithets. The delivery, therefore, from the 
fear of apprehended deaths as well as from the other 
thought that was torturing him, had restored Vizcarra 
to a composure he had not enjoyed for the twenty- 
four hours preceding ; and he now began to imbibe,, 
to its fall extent, another passion — that of vengeance 
against the cibolero. 

That night, after tattoo had sounded, anu tfie 
soldiers had retired to their respective quarters, a 
email mounted party was seen to issue from the 
gateway of the Presidio, and take a road that led in 
the direction of the mountains. The party consisted 
of three individuals. One, closely wrapped, and 
mounted upon a mule, appeared to be a female. The 
other two, oddly attired, and fantastically adorned 

WHITE ChiEF. £lh 

with paint and feathers, might have been taken for a 
brace of Indian warriors. But they were not Indians. 
They were Spanish soldiers in Indian disguise. They 
were Sergeant Gomez and the soldier Jos£ ip charge 
of the cibolero's sister. 


When Carlos reached the edge of the chapparal, his 
pursuers w T ere still only parting from the Avails of the 
Presidio. Of course none followed him on foot, and 
it had taken the men some time to get their arms and 
horses ready. So far as he was concerned, he no 
longer feared pursuit, and would have scorned to 
take a circuitous path. He had such confidence in 
the steed he bestrode, that he knew he could escape 
before the eyes of his pursuers, and need not have 
hidden himself in the chapparal. 

As he rode into the ambuscade he was thinking no 
longer of his own safety, but of that of Don Juan and 
his party. Their critical situation suddenly came 
Jbefore his mind. How were they to escape ? 

Even before he had half crossed the open ground 

this thought had troubled him more than his own 
peril, and a plan had been before him : — to make 
direct for the pass of La Nina, and shun the chapparal 
altogether. This would have drawn the dragoons in 

.the same direct course ; and Don Juan, with hU 
Tagnos, might have got off at their leisure 


Carlos would have put this plan in execution, 
could he have trusted to the prudence of Don Juan ; 
but he feared to do so. The latter was somewhat 
rash, and not over-sagacious. Seeing Carlos in the act 
of escape, lie might think it was his duty, as agreed 
upon, to show himself and his men on the edge of the 
thicket — the very thing Carlos now wished to pre- 
vent. For that reason the cibolero galloped direct 
to the place of ambuscade, where Don Juan and his 
men were waiting in their saddles. 

' Thank God you are safe ! ' cried Don Juan ; * but 
they are after yon. Yonder they come in scores ! J 

4 Yes!' replied Carlos, looking back ; * and a good 
start I've gained on them ! * 

' What's best to be done ? ' inquired Don Juan. 
* Shall we scatter through the chapparal, or keep 
together ? They'll be upon us soon ! ' 

Carlos hesitated a moment before making reply. 
Three plans of action were possible, offering more or 
less chance of safety. First, to scatter through the 
chapparal as Don Juan had suggested; second, to 
make off together and at onco without showing themselves, 
taking the back track, as they had come ; and, third, 
to show themselves in front to the pursuers, and then 
retire on the back path. Of course the idea of fight 
was not entertained for a moment. That would have 
been idle, even absurd, under the circumstances. 

The mind of the cibolero, used to quick action, 
examined these plans with the rapidity of thought 
itself. The first was rejected without a moment's 
consideration. To have scattered through the chap- 
paral wovid have resulted in certain capture. The 
jungle was too small, not over a couple of miles iu 


♦vidth, though extending to twice that length. There 
were soldiers enough to surround it, which they 
would do. They would beat it from side to side. 
They could not fail to capture half the party ; and 
though these had made no demonstration as yet, they 
would be connected with the affair at the Presidio, 
and would be severely punished, if not shot down on 
the spot. 

To attempt to get off through thechapparal without 
showing themselves at all would have been the plan 
that Carlos would have adopted, had he not feared 
that they would be overtaken before night. The 
Tagnos were mounted on mules, already jaded, while 
most of the troopers rode good and swift horses. But 
for that Carlos might have hoped that they would 
escape unseen, and thus neither Don Juan nor his 
people would have been suspected of having had any 
part in the affair. This would be an important con- 
sidei-ation for the future ; but the plan was not to be 
thought of. The third plan was adopted. 

The hesitation of the cibolero was not half so long; 
as the time you have occupied in reading of it. 
Scarce ton seconds elapsed ere he made reply, not to 
Don Juan alone, but to the whole band, in a voice 
loud enough for all to hear. The reply was in the 
form of a command. 

' Ride through the bush, all of you ! Show your- 
selves near the front ! your heads and shoulders only, 
with your bows ! GiTe your war-cry ! and then back 
till you are out of sight! Scatter right and left! — 
Follow me!' 

As Carlos delivered these hurried directions, he 
dashed forward through the underwood and soon 


appeared near its edge. The Tagnos, aarded by 
Don Juan on one side and Antonio on the her, 
Bhowed almost simultaneously in an irregular line 
along the margin of the thicket ; and flourishing their 
bows above their heads, they uttered a defiant war- 
whoop, as though they were a party of savage 

It would have required a practised eye to have 
told from a short distance that they were not. Most 
of them were bare-headed, with long flowing hair; 
and, in fact, differing very little in appearance from 
their brethren of the plains. They all had bows, a 
weapon still carried by the Indios mansos when en- 
gaged in any hostilities ; and their war-cry differed 
not at all from some tribes called ' bravos,' ' wild.' 
Many in the band had but a short time left aside the 
full practice of warfare. Many of them were but 
neophytes to the arts of peace. 

The effect of the demonstration was just what the 
cibolero had calculated on. The soldiers, who were 
galloping forward in straggling knots, and some of 
whom had got within three hundred paces of the 
chapparal, reined up in surprise. Several showed 
symptoms of a desire to gallop back again, but these 
were restrained at sight of a large body of their 
comrades now issuing from the Presidio. 

The whole of them were taken by surprise. They 
believed that the ' Indios bravos' were in the chap- 
paral, and no doubt in overwhelming numbers. 
Their belief was strengthened by the proceedings ot 

the previous days, in which they had done nought 
else, as they supposed, but ride scout after ' los 
barbaros.' The latter had now come after thwi I 


They halted, therefore, on the plains, and waited ior 
their fellows to come up. 

That this would be the effect of his ruse Carlr:- 
foresaw. He now directed his companions to reia 
gently back, until thej were once more under covei 
of the brush; and the whole party arrived at / „> 
Bpot where they had waited in ambush. 

Antonio then took the trail, and guided them 
through the chapparal ; not as they had come to La 
Nina, but b} r a path that led to the upper plain by 
another pass in the cliffs. From a point in this pass 
they obtained a distant view of the chapparal and 
the plain beyond. Though now full three miles from 
their place of ambush, they could see the valiant 
troopers still figuring on the open ground in front of 
it. They had not yet ventured to penetrate the danger 
ous underwood which they believed to be alive with 
ferocious savages ! 

Carlos, having reached the upper plain, struck off 
with his band in a direction nearly north. His 
object was to reach a ravine at some ten miles dis- 
tance across the plain, and this was gained without a 
single pursuer having appeared in the rear. 

This ravine led in an easterly direction as far as 
the Pecos bottom. It was the channel of a stream, in 
which water flowed in the rainy season, but was now 
quite dry. Its bed was covered with small pebbles, 
and a horse-trail upon these was scarcely to be 
followed, as the track only displaced the pebbles, 
leaving no * sign ' that could be ' /ead' to any advan 
tage. Old and new foot-marks were all the same. 

Into this ravine the party descended, and, aftel 
travelling down it for five or six miles, halted 

i'Si) THE WHITK chief. 

Carlos called the halt for a special object — to detail 
a plan for their future proceeding, which had been 
occupying his attention during the last hour or 


As jet, none of the party were compromised but 
himself. It would not advantage him that they 
should be, but the contrary. Neither Don Juan nor 
Antonio had shown themselves out of the thicket ; 
and the other dusky faces, seen but for an instant 
through the brambles, could not have been recognised 
by the frightened troopers. If, therefore, Don Juan 
and his peons could get back to their home without 
observation, for them all would still be well. 

This was a possible event. At starting Carlos had 
cautioned secresy as to the expedition. It had left 
at an early hour, before any one was abroad, and no 
one knew of it. Indeed, no one in the vallev was 
aware that the cibolero had returned before the news 
of the affair at the Presidio. His mules had been 
quietly unpacked, and were herded at a distance from 
the rancho by one of his men. If, then, the troopers 
should not visit that neighbourhood before the follow- 
ing day, Don Juan and his people could go back in 
the night and engage in their usual occupations 
without any suspicion. No doubt Roblado would be 
there in the morning, but not likely before. It was 
natural to suppose he would first endeavour to follow 
the route they had taken, and it led almost in tho 
opposite direction from the house of Don Juan. To 
track them along all the windings of that route would 
be the work of one day at least. Then their pursuers 
would be no wiser as to where they had betaken 
ibemselves, for Carlos, from the point of halting, 


intended to adopt a plan that would be certain to 
throw the troopers off the trail. 

It was decided, in fine, that Don Juan and his 
people should return home — that the peons of Carlos 
should also go back to the rancho; roof it on the 
following day — for it only wanted that ; and remain 
by it as if nothing had occurred. They could not be 
made answerable for the deeds of their master. 

As for the cibolero himself, his residence must 
remain unknown, except to one or two of his tried 
friends. He knew where he should find a shelter 
To him the open plain or the mountain cave was 
alike a home. He needed no roof. The starry 
canopy was as welcome as the gilded ceiling of a 

The Tagnos were enjoined to secresy. They were 
not sworn. A Tagno is not the man to talk ; besides, 
they all knew that their own safety, perhaps their 
lives, depended on their silence. 

All theso matters were at length arranged, but the 
party remained where they had halted till near sun- 
set. They then mounted, and continued on down 

the channel. 

AVhen they had gone a mile or so, one of them 
climbed out of the ravine, and, heading southward, 
rode off across the plain. This direction would 
bring him back to the valley, by a pass near the 
lower end of the settlement. It would be night by 
the time he could reach this pass, and he was net 
likely to encounter any one on the route — now that 
the ' wild' Indians were abroad! 

Shortly after, a second Tagno left the ravine, and 
rode off in a line nearly parallel to that taken by the 


first. Soon another imitated the example, and an* 
other and another, until all had forsaken the ravine 
except Don Juan, Antonio, and the cibolero himself. 
The Tagnos had been instructed to reach home by 
different passes, and some of them, more sagacious 
were sent by the most circuitous paths. There was 
no trooper belonging to the Presidio likely to follow 

that trail. 

Carlos and his two companions, after riding to the 
farthest end of the ravine, also turned to the right, 
and re-entered the valley of San Ildefonso at its 
lower extremity. It was quite dark, but all of them 
knew the road well, and about midnight they arrived 
near the house of the young ranchero. 

A reconnaissance was necessary before they dared 
approach. That was soon made, and the report 
brought back that all was right, and no troopers had 
yet made their appearance. 

Carlos once more embraced his mother hurriedly, 
related what had passed, gave some instructions to 
Don Juan, and then, mountiug his horse, rode off 
from the place. 

He was followed by Antonio and a pack-mule 
loaded with provisions. They passed down the 
valley, and struck out in the direction of the Llano 




On the following day a new incident created a fresi 
surprise among the inhabitants of San lid efonso, 

already excited by an unusual series of ' novedades.' 
About noon a party of lancers passed through the 
town on their way to the Presidio. They were re- 
turning from a scout in search of the ' assassin ' — • 
so Carlos was designated. Of him they had found 
no traces ; but they had fallen in with a large body 
of ' Indios bravos ' among the spurs of the monn 
tains, with whom they had had a terrific conflict! 

This had resulted in the loss of great numbers killed 
on the part of the Indians, who had contrived, aa 
usual, to carry off their dead — hence, the soldiers 
had returned without scalps ! They had brought, 
however, — a far more positive trophy of victory — 
a young girl belonging to the settlement, whom 
they had re-captured from the savages, and whom 
aptain Eoblado — the gallant leader of the expedition 
— supposed to be the same that had been carried off * 
few days before from a rancho at the lower end of 
the valley ! 

The captain halted in the plaza, with a few- men 
— those in charge of the recovered captive. The to 
mainder of the troop passed on to the Presidio. 

Eoblado's object in stopping in the town, or il 


Cuming that way — for it did not lie in Lis return 
route— was threefold. First, to deliver his charge 
into the hands of the civic authorities ; secondly, to 
make sure that everybody should witness the delivery, 
and be satisfied by this living evidence that a great 
feat had been performed ; and thirdly, that he might 
have the opportunity of a little swagger in front of 
a certain balcony. 

These three objects the captain attained, but the 
last of them did not turn out quite to his satisfaction. 
Although the bugle had played continuously, an 
nouncing the approach of a troop — although the 
recovered captive was placed conspicuously in the 
ranks — -and although his (Eoblado's) horse, under 
the influence of sharp spurs, pitched himself into the 
most superb attitudes, all went for nothing — Catalina 
did not show in the balcony ! Among the faces of 
' depend lentes' and ' criados,' hers was not to be 
seen ; and the triumphant look of the victorious 
leader, as soon as he had ridden past, changed to a 
gloomy expression of disappointment. 

A few minutes after he dismounted in front of the 
* Casa de Cabildo,' where he delivered the girl into 

the hands of the alcalde and other authorities oi 
the town. This ceremony was accompanied by a 
grandiloquent speech, in which an account of the 
recapture was given with some startling details; 
sympathy was expressed for the parents of the girl, 
whoever they might be ; and the speaker wound up by 
Expressing his opinion that the unfortunate captive 
could be no other than the young girl reported to 
have been carried off a few days before ! 

All this was very plausible and proper ; and Ro 


t)lado, having resigned his charge to the keeping 01 
the alcalde, mounted and rode off amidst a storm of 
complimentary phrases from the authorities, and 
' vivas ' of applause from the populace. 

' Bios lo pague, capitan I ' (God reward you, cap- 
tain!) was the prayer that reached his ears as he 

pushed through the crowd ! 

A keen physiognomist could at that moment have 
detected in the corner of Roblado's eye a very odd 
expression — a mingling of irony with a strong desire 
to laugh. In fact, the gallant captain could hardly 
keep from bursting out in the faces of his admirers, 
and was only restrained from doing so by the desire 
of keeping the joke bottled up till he could enjoy it 
in the company of the Comandante — to whom he was 
now hastening. 

Back to the captive. 

The crowd pressed around her, all eager to gratify 
their curiosity. Strange to say that this feeling pre- 
dominated. There was less appearance of sympathy 
than might have been looked for under the cir- 
cumstances. The number of those that uttered the 
' pobrecita ! ' — that tender expression of Mexican 
pity — was few ; and they were principally the poor 
dark-skinned native women. The well-dressed shop- 
keepers, both Gachupinos and Criollos, both nier 
and women, looked on with indifference, or with no 
other feeling than that of morbid curiosity. 

Such an indifference to suffering is by no means a 
characteristic of the New Mexican people — I should 
rather say of the females of that land— for the men 
are brutal enough. As regards the former, the very 
opposite character is theirs. 


Their conduct would be unaccountable, therefore, 
tmt for the knowledge of a fact which guided it on 
this occasion. They knew who the captive girl waa 
— they knew she was the sister of Carlos the cibolero 
—Carlos the murderer ! This it was that checked the 
flow of their better feelings. 

Against Carlos the popular indignation was strong. 
' Asesino,' ' ladron,' i ingrato/ were the terms used 
in speaking of him. A wretch ! to have murdered 
the good lieutenant — the favourite of the place ; and 
for what motive ? Some paltry quarrel or jealousy I 
"What motive, indeed ? There seemed no motive but 
a thirst of blood on the part of this ' demonio,' this 
1 guero heretico.' Ungrateful wretch, too, to have 

attempted the life of the valiant Comandante — he who 
had been striving all he could to recover the assassin's 

sister from the Indian savages ! 

And now he had actually succeeded ! Only think 

of it ! There she was, brought safe home again by 
the agency of this very Comandante, who had sent 
his captain and soldiers for her, — this very man 
whom he would have killed ! Demonio ! asesino I 
ladron I They would all be glad to see him seated 
in the chair of the ' garrote.' No ' buen Catolico * 
would have acted as he had done — no one but a 
sinful ' heretico ' — a blood-loving ' Americano ' ! 
How he would be punished when caught I 

Such were the feelings of all the populace, except, 
perhaps, the poor slaves — the mansos — and a very few 
Criollos, who, although not approving of the acts of 
Carlos, held revolutionary principles, and hated the 
Spanish regime with all their hearts. 

With such prejudice gainst the cibolero, no wonder 


that there was but little sympathy for the forlorn 
creature, his sister; 

That it was his sister no one doubted, although 
there were few on the spot who knew either. Up to 
the day of the fiesta her brother, now so notorious, 
was but little known to the inhabitants of the town, 
which he rarely visited — she less ; and there were 
but few in the place who had ever seen her before 
that hour. But the identity was unmistakeable. 
The fair, golden hair, the white skin, the glowing 
red of the cheeks, though common in other parts of 
the world, were rare characteristics in North Mexico. 
The proclamation upon the walls described the 
' asesino ' as possessing them. This could be no 
other than his sister. Besides, there were those who 
had seen her at the fiesta, where her beauty had not 
failed to attract both admiration and envy. 

She looked beautiful as ever, though the red was 
not so bright on her cheek, and a singular, wild ex 
pression appeared in her eyes. To the questions put 
co her she either answered not or returned vague re- 
plies. She sat in silence ; but several times brok^ forth 
into strange, unintelligible, exclamatory phrases, in 
which the words ' Indios ' and ' barbaros ' repeatedly 


* Esta loco ! ' (' She is mad ! ') muttered one .0 
another ; ' she fancies she is still with the savages ! ' 

Perhaps it was so. Certainly she was not amoug 

The alcalde inquired if there was any one present 
— relative or friend — to whom he could deliver 
her up. 

A young girl, a poblana, who had just arrived oa 



the spot, came forward. Slie knew tlie ' pobrecitaj 

She would take charge of her, and conduct her to hei 

A. half-Indian woman was in company with the 
poblana. It might have been her mother. Between 
the two the restored captive was led away ; and the 
crowd soon dispersed and returned to their various 

The girl and her conductors turned into a narrow 
street that led through the suburb where the poorest 
people lived. Passing this, they emerged into the 
open country; and then, following an unfrequented 
path through the chapparal, a few hundred yards 
brought them to a small mud rancho, which they 
entered. In a few minutes after a carreta, in which 
sat a peon, was driven up to the door, and stopped 

The poblana, leading the girl by the hand, came 
out of the house, and both mounted into the carreta. 

As soon as the two wore seated upon the bunches 
of dry ' zacate ' thrown into the carreta for this pur- 
pose, the driver goaded his oxen and moved off. 
The vehicle, after passing out of the chapparal path, 
took the main road leading to the lower settlements 
of the valley. 

As they moved on the poblana regarded her com 
panion with kind looks, and assisted her in arranging 
her seat, so as to defend her as much as possible 
against the joltings of the carreta. She added numer- 
ous expressions of a sympathizing and consolatory 

character, but none that oespoke recognition or old 
acquaintance. It was evident that the girl had nevei 
seen Kosita before. 


When they had got about a mile from the town, 
and were moving along an. unfrequented part of the 
road, a horseman was seen coming after, and at such 
A speed as to overtake them in a few minutes. He 
was mounted on a pretty mustang that bore the signs 
of being well cared for. Its flanks were rounded with 
fat, and it capered as it galloped along. 

As it came close to the carreta the rider called out 
tb the driver to stop ; and it then appeared that the 
horseman was a woman, as the soft sweet voice at once 
indicated. More than that, the rider was a senorita, 
as the soft cheek, the silky hair, and the delicate 
features, showed. At a distance it was natural enough 
to have taken her for one of the opposite sex. A 
common serape covered her shoulders ; a broad- 
brimmed sombrero concealed most of her black shin- 
ing hair ; and she rode according to the general 
custom of the country — the custom of its men. 

' Why, Senorita ! — is it you ? ' asked the poblana, 
in a tone of surprise, and with a gesture of respect. 

* Ha ! ha ! you did not know me, then, Josefa ? ' 
'No, Senorita; — ay de mi! how could I in that 

cLriguise ? ' 

* Disguise do you call it ? Why, it is the usual 
costume ! ' 

( True, Senorita ; but not for a grand senora like 
you. Carrambo ! ' 

* Well, I think I must be disguised, as I passed 
several acquaintances who would not bow to me ! 
Ha! ha!' 

' Pobrecita — ita — ital r continued she, suddenly 
ehanging her tone, and regarding Josefa's companion 
with a look of kind sympathy. ' How she rausi 


have suffered ! Poor dear girl ! I fear it is true 

what they have told me. Santisima Virgen ! how 


The phrase was left unfinished. The speaker had 
forgotten the presence of Josefa and the peon, and 
was delivering her thoughts in too loud a soliloquy. 
The unfinished sentence had involuntarily escaped 
from her lips. 

Suddenly checking herself, she looked sharply 
towards the two. The peon was busy with his 
oxen, but the poblana's face wore an expression of 

'Like whom, Senorita?' innocently inquired 

* One whom I know. No matter, Josefa.' And, 
as the lady said this, she raised her finger to her 
lips, and looked significantly towards the peon. 

Josefa, who knew her secret, and who guessed the 
* one * meant, remained silent. After a moment the 
lady drew her mustang nearer the carreta, upon the 
side on which Josefa sat, and, bending over, whis- 
pered to the latter : — 

' Remain below till the morning ; you will be too 
late to return to-night. Remain ! perhaps you may 
hear something. Come early — not to the house. Be 
in time for oracion. You will find me in the church. 
Perhaps you may see Antonio. If so, give him this.' 
A diamond set in a golden circlet sparkled a moment 
at the tips of the lady's fingers, and then lay hid in 
the shut fist of the poblana. * Tell him for whom — 
he need not knew who sent it. There is money for 
your expenses, and some to give her ; or give it to 
her mother, if they will accept it.' Here a purse fell in 


Josefa's lap. 'Bring me news! oh, bring ine news 

dear Josefa ! Adios ! actios ! ' 

The last salutation was uttered hurriedly ; and, as 
the lady pronounced it, she wheeled her glossy mus- 
tang and galloped back towards the town. 

She need not have doubted that Josefa would fulfil 
her instructions about ' remaining below until the 
morning ! ' for the poblana was nearly, if not quite, 
as much interested as herself in this journey. The 
rather pretty Josefa chanced to be the sweetheart of 
the half-blood Antonio ; and whether she saw Antonio 
or not, she was not likely to hurry back that night. 
If she did see him, so much the pleasanter to remain ; 
if not, she should remain in the hope of such an 

With a full purse of ' pesos ' — a sixth of which 
would pay all expenses — and the prospect of meeting 

with Antonio, the rough carreta seemed all at once 
transformed to an elegant coach, with springs and 
velvet cushions, — such as Josefa had heard of, but 
had never seen ! 

The kind-hearted girl readjusted the seats, placed 
the head of Eosita on her lap, spread her reboso over 
her to keep off the evening dew, and then told tho 
peon to move on. The latter uttered a loud ' ho-ha! * 
touched his oxen with the goad, and cnce more aet 
them in motior along the dusty road. 



Karlv morning prayer in the ' iglesia ' is a fashion* 
able custom among the sehoras of Mexico — particu- 
larly among those who dwoll in cities and towns. 
Close upon the heels of daybreak you may see them 
issuing from the great doors of their houses, and 
hurrying through the streets towards the chapel, 
where the bell has already begun its deafening ' ding- 
dong.' They are muffled beyond the possibility of 
lecognition— the richer in their silken shawls and 
mantas, the poorer in their slate-coloured rebosos ; 
under the folds of which each carries a little bound 

volume — the ' misa* 

Let us follow them into the sacred temple, and see 

what passes there. 

If we arrive late, and take station near the door 
we shall be presented with the spectacle of several 
hundred backs in a kneeling position — that is, Yhe 

individuals to whom the backs belong will bo found 

These backs are by no means alike — no more than 
faces are. They are of all shapes, and sizes, and 

colours, and classes in the social scale. You will see 
the backs of ladies in shawls — some of whom have 
permitted that elegant garment to fall to the shoulders, 
while others retain it over the crowns of their heads, 


thus creating two very distinct styles of back. You 
will see the backs of pretty poblanas, with the end 
of their rebosos hanging gracefully over them ; and 
the back of the poblana's mother with the reboso ill 
arranged, and not over clean. You will see the back 
of the merchant scarcely covered with a short cloth 
jacket, and the back of the ' aguador ' cased in well- 
worn leather ; the back of the * guapo ' muffled m a 
cloak of fine broad-cloth, and that of the ' lepero ' 
shrouded in a ragged scrape ; and then you will see 
broad backs and slender ones, straight backs and 
crooked ones ; and you run a good chance of behold- 
ing a hunch or two — especially if the church be in a 
large town. But wheresoever you enter a Mexican 
iglesia during prayer-time, I promise you the view 
of an extensive assortment of backs. Not classified, 
however. Quite the contrary. The back of the 
shawled lady may be inclusive between two greasy 
rebosos, and the striped or speckled back of the lepero 
may rise up alongside the shining broad-cloth of the 
dandy ! 1 do not answer for any classification of the 
backs ; I only g-^-^r.tce their extensive number and 
variety. The only face that is likely to confront you 
at this moment will be the shaven phiz of a fat priest, 
in full sacerdotal robes of linen, that were once, no 
doubt, clean and white, but that look now as if they 
had been sent to the buck-basket, and by some mis- 
take brought back before reaching the laundry. This 
individual, with a look as unlike heaven as the 
wickedest of his flock, will be seen stirring about on 
his little stage ; now carrying a wand — now a brazen 
pot of smoking ' incense/ and anon some waxen doll 
—the image of a saint; while in the midst of his 


manipulations you may hear him ' mumming ' a 
gibberish of ill- pronounced Latin. If you have wit- 
nessed the performance of M. Kobin, or the ' Great 
Wizard,' you cannot fail to be reminded of them at 
this moment. 

The tinkling of a little bell, which you will pre- 
sently hear, has a magical effect upon the backs. For 
a short while you may have observed them in an odd' 
attitude — not erect as backs ought to be, but slouch- 
ing and one-sided. During this interval, too, you 
may catch a glance of a face — merely the profile — and 
if it be pretty, you will forget the back ; but then the 
party is no longer a back in the proper sense. You 
won't be struck with the devotion of the profile, if 
you are with its prettiness. You may observe it 
wink or look cunningly, and, if your observation be 
good, you may note another profile, of coarser mould,, 
corresponding to that wink or cunning glance. This 
goes on while the backs are in their ' slouch ' or 

attitude of repose. How that attitude is produced 
will be to you a mystery, an anatomical puzzle ; but 

it may be explained. It is simple enough to those 
who know it. It is brought about by the back chang 
ing its base from the marrow-bones to the hips ; and 
this is done so adroitly, that, under cover of shawls, 
mantas, rebosos, and skirts, it is no wonder you are 
puzzled by it. 

The little bell, however, brings the backs all right 
again. It is to these devotees what the ' Attention ! * 
is to the rank and file of an army ; and the moment 
the first tinkle is heard, backs up is the movement, 
and all become suddenly elevated several inches abovo- 
their former standard. Thus they remain, stiff and 


ftrect, while the priest mumbles a fresh ' Ave Maria,' 
or 'Pater noster/ and goes through a fresh exhibition 
of pantomime. Then the backs are suddenly shortened 
again, the profiles appear as before — nods, and winks, 
and cunning glances, are exchanged — and that till 
the little bell sounds a second time. And then there 
will be a third course of this performance, and a 
fourth, and so on, till the worship (!) is ended. 

This ridiculous genuflexion and mummery you may 
eec repeated every morning in a Mexican ' iglesia,' 
long before the hour of breakfast. Both men and 
women engage in it, but by far the greater number of 
the devotees are of the gentler sex, and many of them 
the fashionable senoras of the place. 

One is inclined to inquire into the motives that 
draw so many people out of their beds, to shiver 
through the streets and in the cold church at such 
an early hour. Is it religion ? Is it superstition ? 
Is it penance ? Is it devotion ? No doubt many of 
these silly creatures really believe that the act is 
pleasing to God ; that these genuflexions and orisons, 
mechanically repeated, will give them grace in His 
eyes. But it is very certain that many of the most 
constant attendants on these morning prayers are ac- 
tuated by very different feelings. In a land of jealous 
men you will find the women peculiarly intelligent 
and cunning, and the matutinal hour is to them the 
* golden opportunity.' He is a very jealous guardian* 
indeed, whose vigil tempts him from his couch at so 
chill an hour ! 

Await the end of the performance by the door of 
the ' iglesia.' There stands a large vase filled with 
the consecrated water. Each, in passing out, takes 


a dip and a sprinkle. In tliis basin yon will see the 
small jewelled hand immerse its finger-tips, and the 
next moment adroitly deliver a carte d'amour to some 
cloaked cavallero. Perhaps you may sec the wealthy 
•senora, in the safe disguise of the serape, leave the 
church in a direction opposite to that by which she 
came. If you are curious enough to follow — which 
would be extremely ill-bred — ■ you may witness 
under the trees of the ' alameda,* or some unfre- 
quented quarter, the forbidden * entrevista. 1 

The morning, in a Mexican city, has its adventures 
as well as the night. 

* * # * * 

The bell of the church of San Ildefonso had just 
commenced to ring fur ' oracion,' when a female form 
was seen issuing from the gateway of one of the 
largest mansions of the town, and taking the direc- 
tion of the church. It was yet scarce daybreak, and 
the person thus observed was closely muffled ; but 
her tall upright form, the dignity and grace of her 
carriage, and the proud elastic step told that she was 
a grand senora. As she reached the portal of the 
church she stopped for some moments and looked 
around. Her face was not visible, as it was ' tapada ' 
under the folds of a closely-drawn manta; but her 
attitude, with her head occasionally moving around, 
showed that she was scanning the figures that, at the 
summons of the bell, approached like shadows through 
the grey light. She was evidently expecting some 
one ; and from the eager scrutiny with which she 
regarded each now form that entered the plaza, it 
was some one whose presence was much desired. 

The last of the devotees had arrived and entered 


the church. It would bo idle to remain longer ; and, 
turning on her heel with an air that betokened disap- 
pointment, the lady glided across the portal, and 
disappeared through the door. 

In another moment she was kneeling in front of 
the altar, repeating her orisons and telling over the 
beads of her rosary. 

She was not the last to enter the church ; still 
another devotee came later. About the time that she 
was leaving the portal a carreta drove into the plaza, 
and halted in a remote corner. A young girl leaped 
out of the carreta, tripped nimbly across the square, 
in the direction of the church, and passed within the 
nortal. The dress of this new-comer — a flaming red 
' nagua/ broidered chemisette, and reboso — showed 
that she belonged to the j^oorer class of citizens. She 
was a poblana. 

She entered the church, but before kneeling she 
threw an inquiring glance along the array of backs. 
Her eye became fixed upon one that was covered with 
a manta. It was that of the lady of whom we have 
spoken. This seemed to satisfy the poblana, who, 
gliding over the floor, knelt down in such a position 
that ner elbow almost rested against that of the lady. 

So silently had this movement been executed that 
the lady did not perceive her new neighbour until a 
slight * nudge ' upon the elbow caused her to start 
and look round. A gleam of satisfaction lit up her 
features, though her lips continued to repeat the 
prayer, as if nothing had happened. 

After a while came the cue for adopting the pose of 
rest, and then the two kneeling figures — senorita and 
poblana —dropped towards each other, so that their 


arms touched. A moment later and two hands be- 
came uncovered — one a little brown-skinned paw 
from under the reboso — the other, a delicate arrange- 
ment of white and jewelled fingers, from the manta. 

They came in contact as if by a mutual under- 
standing, and, though they were en rapport but a half- 
second, a close observer might have noticed a small 
roll of paper passed from one to the other — from the 
brown fingers to the white ones ! It would have 
, required a close observer to have noticed this ma- 
noeuvre, for so adroitly was it executed that none of 
those kneeling around, either in front or rear, saw 
anything amiss. 

The two hands again disappeared under their 
respective covers ; the little bell tinkled, and both 
sefiora and poblana once more shot into an upright 
position, and, with most devout looks, repeated the 
prayers of the niisa. 

"When the ' oracion' was over, and while sprinkling 
themselves at the sacred fount, a few hurried words 
passed between them ; but they went out of the 
church separately, and walked off in separate direc- 
tions. The poblana hastened across the square, and 
disappeared into a narrow street. The sefiora walked 
proudly back to the mansion whenoe sbe had come, 
ner countenance radiant with joyful anticipation. 

As soon as she had entered the house she proceeded 
directly to her own chamber, and, opening the little 
folded slip of paper, read : — 

' Querida Catalina ! — You have male me happy. 
But an hour ago I was the most wretched of men. I 
uaa lost my sister, and I feared your esteem. Both 
are restored to me. My sister is by my side, and the 


gem that sparkles on my finger tells me that even 
alumny has failed to rob me of your friendship— 
your love. You do not deem me an assassin. No ; 
nor am I one. I have been an avenger, but no 
assassin. You shall know all — the fearful plot of 
which I and mine have been the victims. It is scarce 
credible— so great is its atrocity! I am indeed its 
victim. I can no more show myself in the settle- 
ment. I am henceforth to be hunted like the wolf, 
and treated as one, if captured. I care not for 
that, so long as I know that you are not among my 

4 But for you I should go far hence. I cannot leave 
you. I would sooner risk life every hour in the day, 
than exile myself from the spot where you dwell 
you, the only being I can ever love. 

1 1 have kissed the gem a hundred times. In life, 
the sweet token can never part from me. 

' My foes are after me like bloodhounds, but I fear 
them not. My brave steed is never out of my sight, 
and with him I can scorn my cowardly pursuers. 
But I must venture one visit to the town. I must 
see you once, querida. I have words for you I can- 
not trust to paper. Do not refuse to see me, and I 
shall come to the old place of meeting. To-morrow 
^ight — midnight. Do not refuse me, dearest love. I 
have much to explain that I cannot without seeing 
you face to face. You shall know that I am not 
an assassin — that I am still worthy of being your 

1 Thanks ! — thanks for your kindness to my poor 
little wounded bird ! I trust to God she will soon ba 
well again. Mi querida. ndios ! * C. 


When the beautiful lady had finished reading tho 
note, she pressed it to her lips, and fervently kissed 

' Worthy of being my lover ! ' she murmured ; ' ay, 
worthy to be the lover of a queen ! Brave, noble 
Carlos ! ' 

Again she kissed the paper, and, thrusting it into 
her bosom, glided softly from the apartment. 


Vizcarra's desire for revenge grew stronger every 
hour. The almost joyful reaction he had experienced, 
when relieved from the fear of death, was short-lived. 
So, too, was that which followed his relief from the 
anxiet}^ about his captive. The thought that now 
tortured him was of a different character. The very 
breath of his existence — his personal appearance — 
was ruined for ever. He was disfigured for life ! 

When the mirror was passed before his face, it 
caused his heart to burn like a coal of fire. Coward 
though he was, he would almost as soon have been 
killed outright. 

Several of his teeth were gone. They might have 
been replaced ; but not so oould be restored the muti- 
lated cheek. A portion had been carried off by the 
* tear ' of the bullet. There would be a hideous scar 
never to be healed ! 

The sight was horrible. His thoughts wore hor- 


riblo. He groaned outright as he contemplated the 
countenance which the cibolero had given him. Ho 

swore vengeance. Death and torture if he could 

but capture Carlos — death to him and his ! 

At times ho even repented that he had sent away 
the sister. Why should he havo cared for con- 
sequences ? Why had he not revenged himself upon 
her? He no longer loved her. Her scornful laugh 
still rankled in his heart. She bad been the cause of 
all his sufferings— of sufferings that would never end 
but with his life — chagrin and mortification for the 
rest of his days ! "Why had he not taken her life ? 
That would have been sweet revenge upon the brother. 
It would almost have been satisfaction. 

He tossed upon his couch, tortured with these 
reflections, and giving utterance at intervals to groans 

of anguish and horrid imprecations. 

Carlos must be captured. No effort must be spared 
to ensure that event. And captured alive if possible. 
He should measure out the punishment. It should 
be death, but not sudden death. 'No; the savages of 
the plains should be his teachers. The cibolero 
should die like a captive Indian — by fire at the stake. 
Vizcarra swore this ! 

After him, the mother, too. She was deemed a 
witch. She should be punished as often witches have 
been. In this he would not have to act alone. He 
knew that the padres would endorse the act. They 
were well inclined to such fanatical cruelties. 

Then the sister, alone — un cared for by any one. 
She would be wholly in his power — to do with her 
us he would, and no ono to stay his "will. It was not 
love, but revenge. 


Such terrible resolves passed throng the mind o! 
the wretched caitiff. 

Eoblado was equally eager for the death of the cibo 
lero. His vanity had been scathed as well, for he was 
now satisfied that Catalina was deeply interested in the 
man, if not already on terms of intimacy — on terms oi 
love, mutually reciprocated and understood. He had 
visited her since the tragical occurrence at the Pre- 
sidio. He had observed a marked change in her 
manner. He had thought to triumph by the malig- 
nant abuse heaped on the assassin ; but she, although 
she said nothing in defence of the latter — of course 
she could not — was equally silent on the other side, 
and showed no symptoms of indignation at the deed. 
His (Eoblado's) abusive epithets, joined to those 
which her own father liberally heaped upon the man, 
seemed to give her pain. It was plain she would 
have defended him had sbe dared ! 

All this Eoblado had noticed during his morning 

But more still had he learnt, for he had a spy upon 
her acts. One of her maids, Vicenza, who for some 
reason had taken a dislike to her mistress, was false 
to her, and had, for a length of time, been the con- 
fidant of the military wooer. A little gold and 
flattery, and a soldier-sweetheart — who chanced to be 
Jose — had rendered Vicenza accessible. Eoblado was 
master of her thoughts, and through Jose he received 
information regarding Catalina, of which the latter 
never dreamt. This system of espionage bad been 

but lately established, but it had already produced 
fruits. Through it Eoblado had gained the know* 
ledge that he himself was hated by the object of his 


regard, and that she loved some other ! What other 
even Vioenza could not tell. That other Boblado 
could easily guess. 

It is not strange that he desired the capture and 
death of Carlos the cibolero. He was as eager for 
that event as Yizcarra himself. 

Both were making every exertion to bring it about. 
Already scouting parties had been sent out in different 
directions. A proclamation had been posted on the 
walls of the town, — the joint production of the Co- 
mandante and his captain, offering a high reward for 
the cibolero's head, and a still higher sum for the 
cibolero himself if captured alive ! 

The citizens, to show their zeal and loyalty, had 
also issued a proclamation to the same effect, heading 
it with a large sum subscribed among them — a very 
fortune to the man who should be so lucky as to be 
the captor of Carlos. This proclamation was signed 

by all the principal men of the place, and the name 
of Don Ambrosio figured high upon the list ! There 
was even some talk of getting up a volunteer company 
to assist the soldiers in the pursuit of the heretico- 
assassin, or rather to earn the golden price of his 

"With such a forfeit on his head, it was an enigma 
how Carlos should be long alive ! 

Eoblado sat in his quarters busy devising plans for 

the capture. He had already sent his trustiest spies 

to the lower end of the valley, and these were to 

hover clay and night in the neighbourhood. Any 

information of the haunts of the cibolero, or of those 

with whom he was formerly in correspondence, was 

Ui ho immediately brought to him, and would be wel 



paid for. A watch was placed on the Louse of tne 

young ranchero, Don Juan ; and though both Vizcarra 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ j 

and Hoblado had determined on special action with 
regard to him, they agreed upon leaving him undis- 
turbed for the present, as that might facilitate their 
plans. The spies who had been employed were not 
soldiers, but men of the town and poor rancheros. 
A military force appearing below would frustrate 
their design. That, however, was kept in readiness, 
but its continued presence near the raucho, thought 
Vizcarra and his captain, would only frighten the 
bird, and prevent it from returning to its nest. There 
was good logic in this. 

HobladOj as stated, was in his quarters, completing 
his arrangements. A knock aroused him from the 
contemplation of some documents. They were com- 
munications from his spies, which had just reached 
the Presidio, addressed both to himself and the 
Coinandante-, They were concerning the affair. 

' Who is it ? ' he asked, before giving the privilege 
to enter. 

' I, captain/ answered a sharp squeaky voice. 

Eoblado evidently knew the voice, for he called 

' Oh ! it is you ? Come in, then.' 

The door opened, and a small dark man, of sharj 
weasel-like aspect, entered the room. Ho had a 
skulking shuffling gait, and, notwithstanding hi? 
soldier's dress, his sabre and his spurs, the man 
looked mean. He spoke with a cringing accent, and 
saluted his officer with a cringing gesture. He was 
just the sort of person to be employed upon some 
equivocal service, and by such men a.s Yizcarra ainj 


Boblado ; and in that way lie had more than once 

Served them. It was the soldier Jose. 

* AVell ! what have you to say ? TEave you soer. 
Vicenza ? ' 

* I have, captain. Last night I met her out. 

I Any news ? ' 

I I don't know whether it jnsy bo news to the cap- 
tain ; but she has told me that it was the senorita 
who sent her home yesterday.' 

' Her ? ' 

* Yer, Captain, the giiera.' 

* Ha ! go on ! ' 

* Why, you know when you left her with the alcalde 
she was offered to whoever would take her. Well, a 
young girl came up and claimed to be an acquaint- 
ance, and a woman who was the girl's mother. She 
was given up to them without more ado, and they 
took her away to a house in the chapparal below the 
town . J 

' She did not stay there. I know she 's gone down, 
but I have not yet heard the particulars. How did 
she go ? ' 

'Well, captain; only very shortly after she ar- 
rived at the house of the woman, a carreta came up to 
the door, driven by a Tagno, and the girl — that is, 
the daughter, who is called Josefa— mounted into the 
carreta, taking the giiera along with her; and of} 
the}' went down below. 

* Now, neither this girl nor her mother ever saw 
the giiera before, and who does' captain think sent 
them, and the carreta too ? ' 

( Who says Yicenza ? ' 
'The eiiorita, captain.' 



* Ila ! ' sharply exclaimed Boblado. ' Vicenza i» 
sure of that.' 

' More than that, captain. About the time the 
carreta drove away, or a little after, the senorita left 
the house on her horse, and with a common serape 
over her, and a sombrero on her head, like any ran- 
chera ; and in this — which I take to be a disguise for 
a lady of quality like her — she rode off by the back 
L/oad. Yicenza, however, thinks that she turned into 
the camino abajo after she got past the houses, and 
overtook the carreta. She was gone long enough to 
have done so.' 

This communication seemed to make a deep im- 
pression upon the listener. Shadows flitted over his 
dark brow, and gleams of some new intelligence or 
design appeared in his e3 T es. He was silent for a 

moment, engaged in communicating with his thoughts. 
At length he inquired, — 

' Is that all your information, Jose ? ' 

' All, captain/ 

' There may be more from the same source. See 
Vicenza to-night again. 1VU her to keep a close 
watch. If she succeed in discovering that there is a 
correspondence going on, she shall be well rewarded, 
and ym shall not be forgotten. Find out more about 
this woman and her daughter. Know the Taguo 
who drove them. Lose no time about it. Go, Jose ! 

The minion returned his thanks in a cringing tone, 
made another cringing salute, and shuffled out of 

the room. 

As soon as he had left, Boblado sprang to his feet, 
and, walking about the room in an agitated manner. 
ottered his thoughts aloud :— 

the wi-in K chief. 2bl 

'By Heaven ! I had not thought of this. A corre- 
spondence, I have no doubt. Fiends ! such a woman! 
She must know all ere this — if the fellow himself is 
*iot deceived by us ! I must watch in that quarter 
*oo. "Who knows but that will be the trap in which 
we'll take him ? Love is even a stronger lure than 
brotherly affection. Ha ! senorita ; if this be true, 
I'll yet have a purchase upon you that you little 
expect. I'll bring you to terms without the aid of 

your stupid father ! * 

After figuring about for some minutes, indulging 

in these alternate dreams of vengeance and triumph, 
he left his room, and proceeded towards that of the 
Comandante, for the purpose of communicating to 
the latter his new-gotten knowledge, 


The house of Don Ambrosio de Cruces was not a 
town mansion. It was suburban — that is, it stood 
upon the outskirts of the village, some seven or eight- 
hundred yards from the Plaza. It was detached 
from the other buildings, and at some distance from 
any of them. It was neither a * villa' nor a 'cottage.' 
There are no such buildings in Mexico, nor anything 
at all resembling them. In fact, the architecture of 
that country is of unique and uniform style, from 
north to south, through some thousand miles of lati- 
tude ! The smaller kinds of houses,— the ranchos 


of the poorer classes, — show a variety corresponding 
to the three thermal divisions arising from different 
elevation — cdliente, templada, and fria. In the hot 
lands of the coast, and some low valleys in fne 
interior, the rancho i^ a frail structure of cane and 
poles with a thatch of palm-leaves. On the elevated 
'valles,' or table-plains — and here, be it observed, 
dwell most of the population — it is built of l adobes,' 
and this rale is universal. On the forest-covered 
sides of the more elevated mountains the rancho ia 
a house of logs, a ' log cabin,' with long hanging 
eaves and shingled roof, differing entirely from the 
Jog-cabin of the American backwoods, and far excel- 
ling the latter in neatness and picturesque appearance. 

So much for the ' ranchos.' About their there i° 
some variety of style. Not so with ' casas grandes/ 
or houses of the rich. A sameness characterises 
them through thirty degrees of latitude — from one 
extremity of Mexico to the other ; and, Ave might 
almost add, throughout all Spanish America. If now 
and then a ' whimsical' structure be observed, you 
may find, on inquiry, that the owner is some foreigner 
resident — an English miner, a Scotch manufacturer, 
or a German merchant. 

These remarks are meant only for the houses of 
the country. In small villages the same style as the 
country-house is observed, with very slight modifi- 
cations ; but in largo towns, although some of the 
characteristics are still retained, there is an approxi- 
mation to the architecture of European cities — more 
particularly, of course, to those of Spain. 

The house of Don Ambrosio differed very little 
troni the general fashion of ' ca«as grandes' of country 


style. It had the same aspect of gaol, fortress, con- 
vent, or workhouse — whichever you please ; but this 
aspect was considerably lightened by the peculiar 
colouring of the walls, which was done in broad 
vertical bands of red, white, and yellow, alternating 
with each other ! The effect produced by this arrange- 
ment of gay colours is quite Oriental, and is a decided 
relief to the otherwise heavy appearance of a Mexican 
dwelling. In some parts of the country this fashion 
is common. 

In shape there was no peculiarity. Standing upon 
the road in front you see a long wall, with a largo 
gateway near the middle, and three or four windows 
irregularly set. The windows are shielded with bars 
of wrought-iron standing vertically. That is the 
'reja.' Acne of them have either sash or glass. 
The gateway is c]osed by a heavy wooden door, 
strongly clasped and bolted with iron. This front 
wall is but one story high, but its top is continued 
so as to form a parapet, breast-high above the roof, 
and this gives it a loftier appearance. The roof 
being flat behind, the parapet is not visible from 
below. Look around the corner at either end of 
this front wall. You will see no gable— there is no 
such thing on a house of the kind we are describing. 
In its place you will see a dead wall of the same 
height as the parapet, running back for a long dis- 
tance ; and were you to go to the end of it, and again 
look around the corner, you would find a similar 
wall at the back closing in the parallelogram. 

In reality you have not yet seen the true front of 
Don Ambrosio's house, if we mean by that the part 
t embellished. A Mexican spends but little 


thought on the outside appearance of his mansion. 

It is only from the courtyard, or ' patio,' you cac 
get a view of the front upon, which the taste of the 
owner is displayed, and this often exhibits both 
grandeur and elegance. 

Let us pass through the gateway, and enter the 
* patio.' The ' portero,' when summoned by knock 
or bell, admits us by a small door, forming part of 
the great gate already mentioned. We traverse an 
arched way, the ' zaguan,' running through the 
breadth of the building, and then we are in the 
patio. From this we have a view of the real front 
of the house. 

The patio itself is paved with painted bricks — a 
tessellated pavement. A fountain, with jet and orna- 
mental basin, occupies its centre ; and several trees, 
well trimmed, stand in laige vessels, so that their 
roots may not injure the pavement. Around this 
court you see the doors of the different apartments, 
some of them glazed and tastefully curtained. Tk 2 
doors of the ' sala,' the ' cuarto,' and the sleepir^g- 
rooms, are on three sides, while the ' cocina ' 
(kitchen), the ' dispensa * (store-room), 'granero' 
(granary), with the ' caballeriza ' and coach-house, 
make up the remaining part of the square. 

There is still an important portion of the mansion 
to be spoken of — the ' azotea,' or roof. It is reached 
bv an ' escalera,' or stone staircase. It is flat and 
quite firm, being covered with a cement that is proof 
against rain. It is enclosed by a parapet running all 
round it — of such a height as not to hinder the view 
of the surrounding country, while it protects those 
occupying ii from the intrusive sjaze of persons pass- 


uag below. When the sun is down, or behind a cloud, 
the azotea i.s a most agreeable promenade ; and to 
render it still more so, that over the house of Don 
Ambrosio had been arranged so as to resemble a 
flower-garden. Richly japanned pots, containing rare 
flowers, were placed around, and green boughs and 
gay blossoms, rising above the top of the wall, pro- 
duced a fine effect on viewing the building from 

But this was not the only garden belonging to the 
mansion of the rich miner. Another, of oblong shape, 
extended from the rear of the house, enclosed by a 
high wall of adobes on either side. These, ending 
upon the bank of the stream, formed the boundary of 
the garden. Along the stream there was no fence, as 
it was here ' sufficient breadth and depth to form an 
enclosure ot itself. The garden was of large extent, 
including an orchard of fruit-trees at its lower part, 
and it was tastefully laid out in walks, flower-beds, 
and arbours of different shapes and sizes. Don Am- 
brosio, although but a rich parvenu, might have been 
supposed to be a man of refined taste by any one 
viewing this garden — the more so, as such delightful 
retreats are by no means common in that country. 
But it was to another mind than his that these 
shadowy trees and fragrant arbours owed their exist- 
ence. They were the ' ideas J of his fair daughter, 
many of whose hours were spent beneath their shade. 

To Don Ambrosio the sight of a great cavity in the 
earth, with huge quarries of quartz rock or scoria, and 
a rich ( veta ' at the back, was more agreeable than 
all the flowers in the world. A pile of * barras de 
l>lata * would be to his eyes more interesting than a 


whole country covered with black tulips and blu* 

Not so his fair daughter Catalina. Her taste was 
both elevated and refined. The thought of wealth, 
the pride of richos, never entered her mind. She 
would willingly have surrendered all her much- 

fcalked-of inheritance to have shared the humble 
rancho of him she loved. 


It was near sunset. The yellow orb was hastening 
to kiss the snowy stirsmit of the Sierra Blanca, that 
barred the western horizon. The whito mantle, that 
draped the shoulders of the mountain, reflected beau- 
tiful roseate tints deepening into red and purple in 
the hollows of the ravines, and seeming all the more 
lovely from the contrast of the dark forests that 
covered the Sierra farther down. 

It was a sunset more brilliant than common. The 
western sky was rilled with masses of coloured clouds, 
in which gold and purple and cerulean blue mingled 
together in gorgeous magnificence ; and in which the 
eye of the beholder could not fail to note the outlines 
of strange forms, and fancy them bright and glorious 
beings of another world. It was a picture to gladden 
the eye, to give joy to the heart that was sad, and 
make happier the happy. 

It was not unobserved. Eyes were dwelling upon 


at — beautiful eyes ; and yet there was a sadness in 
their look that ill accorded with the picture on which 
they were gazing. 

But those eyes were not drawing their inspiration 
from the sky-painting before them. Though appa- 
rently regarding it, the thoughts which gave them 
expression were drawn from a far different source. 
The heart witnin was dwelling upon another object. 

The owner of those eyes was a beautiful girl, or 
rather a fully developed woman still unmarried. She 
Vvas standing upon the azotea of a noble mansion, 
apparently regarding the rich sunset, while, in reality, 
her thoughts were busy with another theme, and one 
that was less pleasant to contemplate. Even the 
brilliant glow of the sky, reflected upon her counte- 
nance, did not dissipate the shadows that were passing 
over it. The clouds from within overcame the light 
from without. There were shadows flitting over her 
heart that corresponded to those that darkened her 
fair face. 

It was a beautiful face withal, and a beautiful form 
— tall, majestic, of soft graces and waving outlines. 
The lady was Catalina de Cruces. 

She was alone upon the azotea — surrounded only 
by the plants and flowers. Bending over the low 
parapet that overlooked tho garden to the rear, she 
at the same time faced toward the sinking orb, — for 
the garden extended westward. 

Now and then her eyes were lifted to the sky and 
the sun ; but oftener they sought the shaded coppice 
of wild china-trees at the bottom of the enclosure, 
through whose slender trunks gleamed the silvery 
irarface of the stream, "Upon this spot they rested 


from time to time, with, an expression of strange in- 
terest. No wonder that to those eyes that was an 
interesting spot — it was that where love's first vows 
had been uttered in her delighted ear — it had been 
consecrated by a kiss, and in her thoughts it was 
hallowed from tho ' earth's profound ' to the high 
heaven above hor. No wonder she regarded it as the 
fairest on earth. The most famed gardens of the 
world — even Paradise itself — in her imagination, had 
no spot so sweet, no nook so shady, as the little 
arbour she had herself trained amid the foliage of 
those wild china-trees. 

Why was she regarding it with a look of sadness ? 
In that very harbour, and on that very night, did she 
expect to meet him — the one who had rendered it 
sacred. Why then was she sad ? Such a prospect 
should have rendered her countenance radiant with 


And so was it, at intervals, when this thought came 
into her mind ; but there was another — some other 
thought — that brought those clouds upon her brow, 
and imparted that air of uneasy apprehension. "What 
was that thought ? 

In her hand she held a bandolon. She flung herself 
upon a bench, and began to play some old Spanish 
air. The effort was too much for her. Her thoughts 
wandered from the melody, and her fingers from the 

She laid down the instrument, and, again rising to 
her feet, paced backwards and forwards upon the 
azotea. Her walk was irregular. At intervals she 
stopped, and, lowering her eyes, seemed to think 
intently on something that was absent. Then sbe 


would start forward, and stop again in the same 
maimer as before. This she repeated several times, 
without uttering either word or exclamation. 

Once she continued her walk all around the azotea, 
casting a scrutinising look among the plants and 
flower-pots on both sides, as if in search of something ; 
but whatever it was, she was unsuccessful, as nothing 
appeared to arrest her attention. 

She returned once more, and took up the bandolon. 
But her fingers had hardly touched the strings before 
she laid the instrument down again, and rose from 
the bench, as if some sudden resolution had taken 
possession of her. 

4 1 never thought of that — I may have dropped it 
in the garden ! ' she muttered to herself, as she glided 
toward a small escalera that led down into the patio. 

From this point an avenue communicated with the 
garden ; and the next moment she had passed through 
this and was tripping over the sanded walks, bending 
from side to side, and peeping behind every plant 
and bush that could have concealed the object of her 

She explored every part of the enclosure, and 
lingered a moment in the arbour among the china- 
trees — as if she enjoyed that spot more than any 
other — but she came back at length with the same 
anxious expression, that told she was not rewarded 
by the recovery of whatever she had lost. 

The ladv once more returned to the azotea — once 


more took up the bra idol on ; but after a few touches 
of the strings, laid it down, and again rose to her 
feet. Again she soliloquised. 

* Carramho ! it is very strange ! — neither in my 


chamber — the sala, the ouarto , the azo tea, the 
garden ! — where can it be ? Dios ! if it should fall 
into the hands of papa ! It is too intelligible — it 
could not fail to be understood — no — no — no ! 
Dios ! if it should reach other hands ! — those of his 
enemies ! It names to-night — true, it does not tell 
the place, but the time is mentioned — the place 
would be easily discovered. Oh! that I knew where 
to communicate with him ! But I know not, and he 
will come. Ay de mi ! it cannot bo prevented now. I 
must hope no enemy has got it. But where can it 
be ? Madre de Dios ! where can it be ? ' 

All these phrases were uttered in a tone and 
emphasis that showed the concern of the speaker at 
the loss of some object that greatly interested her. 
That object was no other than the note brought by 

Josefa, and written by Carlos the cibolero, in which 
the assignation for that night had been appointed. 
No wonder she was uneasy at its loss ! The wording 
not only compromised herself, but placed the life of 
her lover in extreme peril. This it was that was 
casting the dark shadows over her countenance — this 
it was that was causing her to traverse the azotea and 
the garden in such anxious search. 

* I must ask Yicenza,' she continued. ' I like not 
to do it, for I have lost confidence in her of late. 
Something has changed this gird. She used to be 
frank and honest, but now she has grown false and 
hypocritical. Twice have I detected her in the act 
of deceiving me. "What does it mean ? ' 

She paused a moment as if in thought. I urast ask 
ber notwithstanding. She may have found the paper, 
and, not deeming it of any use may have thrown it 


in the fire. Fortunately sne does not re-id, but she 

has to do with others who can. Ha ! I forgot her 

soldier sweetheart ! It she should have found it, and 

shown it to him ! Dios de mi alma ! ' 

This supposition seemed a painful one, for it caused 

the lady's heart to beat louder, and her breathing 

became short and quick. 

4 That would be terrible ! ' she continued, — ' that 
would be the very worst thing that could happen. I 
do not like that soldier — he appears mean and cnnning 
and I have heard is a bad fellow, though favoured by 
the Comandante. God foifend he should have gotten 
this paper ! I shall lose no more time. I shall call 
Vicenza, and question her.' 

She stepped forward to the parapet that overlooked 
the patio. 

* Vicenza ! — Vicenza ! ' 

' Aqui, SenoritaJ answered a voice from the interior 
of the house. 

' Yen aca ! — Yen oca ! ' (Come hither.) 
' Si, SenoritaJ' 

* Anda I Anda I ' (Quickly.) 

A girl, in short bright- coloured nagua, and white 
chemisette without sleeves, came out into the patio, 
and climbed up the escalera that led to the roof. 

She was a mestiza, or half-blood, of Indian and 
Spanish mixture, as her brownish- white skin testified. 
She was not ill-looking ; but there was an expression 
upon her countenance that precluded the idea of 
either virtue, honesty, or amiability. It was a mixed 
expression of malice and cunning. Her manner, too, 
was bold and offensive, like that of one who had been 
guilty of some known ovime, and had become reckless. 


It was only of late she had assumed that tone, 
and her mistress had observed it among other 

4 Qui quiere V., Senorita ? (What want you, my 
lady ?) ' 

' Vicenza, I have lost a small piece of paper. It 
was folded in an oblong shape — not like a letter, but 

Here a piece of paper, similarly put up, was held 
out for the inspection of the girl. 

* Have you seen anything of it ? ' 

' No, Senorita,' was the prompt and ready answer. 

' Perhaps you may have swept it out, or thrown it 
into the fire? It looked insignificant, and, indeed, 
was not of much importance, but there were some 
patterns upon it I wished to copy. Do you think it 

has been destroyed ? ' 

' I know not that, Senorita. I know that / did not 
destroy it. I neither swept it out nor threw it into the 
pre. I should not do that with any paper, as I 
cannot read myself, and might destroy something 
that was valuable.' 

Whatever truth there was in the last part of her 
harangue, the mestiza knew that its earlier declara- 
tions were true enough. She had not destroyed it, 
either by sweeping out or burning. 

Her answer was delivered with an ingenuous naivete, 
accompanied with a slight accent of anger, as though 
plie was not overpleased at being suspected of negli 

Whether her mistress noticed the latter did not 
appear from her answer, but she "expressed herself 
bat is fied. 


* It is of no consequence, then,' said she. ' You 

BLay go, Vicenza.' 

The girl walked off, looking sulky. When her 
head was just disappearing below the top of the 
escalera, her face was towards her mistress, whose 
back was now turned to her. A scornful pouting of 
the lips, accompanied by a demoniac smile, was 
visible upon it. It was evident from that look that 
she knew something more of the lost paper than was 
admitted in her late declaration . 

Catalina's gaze was once more turned upon the 
setting sun. In a few minutes he would disappear 
behind the snowy ridge of the mountain. Then a 
few hours, and then moments of bliss ! 

Roblado was seated in his cuartel as before. As 
before, a tiny knock sounded upon the door. As 
before, he called out, ' Quien es ?' and was answered, 
1 Yo ! ' and, as before, he recognised the voice and 
gave the order for its owner to enter. As before, it 
was the soldier Jose, who, in a cringing voice and 
with a cringing salute, approached his officer. 

' Well, Jose, what news?' 

' Only this/ replied the soldier, holding out a slip 
of paper folded into an oblong shape. 

' What is it ? 3 demanded Koblado. ' iVfio is it 
from ? ' in the same breath* 

' The captain will understand it better than I can, 
as 1 can't read ; but it comes from, the Senorita, and 
looks inside like a letter. The Senorita got it from 
somebody at church yesterday morning : so thinks 
v icenza, for she saw her read it as soon as she #ot 



back from morning prayers. Vicenza thinks that the 
girl Josefa brought it up the valley, but the captain 
most likely can tell for himself.' 

Roblado had not listened to half of this talk ; but 
had instead been swallowing the contents of the 
paper. As soon as he had got to the end of it he 
sprang from his chair as if a needle had been stuck 
into him, and paced the room in great agitation. 

1 Quick! quick, Jose !' he exclaimed. 'Send Gomea 
here. Say nothing to any one. Hold yourself in 
readiness — I shall want you too. Send Gomez in- 
stantly. Vai/a ! ' 

The soldier made a salute less cringing because 
more hurried, and precipitately retired from the 

apartment. Roblado continued, 

c By Heaven! this is a piece of luck! Who ever 
failed to catch a fool when love was his lure ? This 
very night, too, and at midnight! I shall have time 
to prepare. Oh! if I but knew the place! 'Tis not 
given here,' 

Again he read over the note. 

' Carajo, no ! that is unfortunate. What's to be 
done ? I must not go guessing in the dark ! Ha ! I 
have it! She shall be watched! — watched to the very 
spot! Vicenza can do that while we lie somewhere 
in ambush. The girl can bring us to it. We shall 
have time to surround them. Their interview will 
last long enough, for that. We shall take them in the 
very moment of their bliss. Hell and furies ! to 
think of it — this low dog — this butcher of buffaloes 

■to thwart me in my purposes ! But patience, 
Roblado ! patience! to-night — to-night! 


A knocking at the door. Sergeant Gomez was 

' Gomez, get ready twenty of your men ! picked 
fellows, do you hear ? Be ready "by eleven o'clock 
You have ample time, but see that you be ready the 
moment I call you. Not a word to an}' one without. 
Let the men saddle up and be quiet about it. Load 
your carbines. There's work for you. You. shall 
know what it is by and by . Go! get ready ! ' 

Without saying a word, the sergeant went off to 
obey the order. 

1 Curses on the luck ! if I but knew the place, or 
anything near it. "Would it be about the house ? or 
in the garden? Maybe outside — -in the country 
somewhere ? That is not unlikely. He would hardly 
venture so near the town, lest some one might re- 
cognise him or his horse. Death to that horse I No, 
no ! I shall have that horse vet, or I much mistake 
Oh ! if I could find this place before the hour of 
meeting, then my game were sure. But no, nothing 
said of the place — yes, the old place. Hell and furies ! 
they have met before — often — often — oh ! ' 

A groan of agony broke from the spoaker, and he 
paced to and fro like one bereft of his senses. 

' Shall I tell Yizcarra now,' he continued, ' or wait 
till it is over ? I shall wait. It will be a dainty bit 
of news along with supper. Perhaps 1 may garnish 
the table with the ears of the cibolero. Ha ! ha ! ha ■ ! 

And uttering a diabolical laugh, the ruffian took 
down his sabre and buckled the belt around his waist. 
He then armed himself with a pair of heavy pistols; 
and, after looking to the straps of his spurs, strode 
out of the room. 



Ir wanted but an hour of midnight. There was ft 
moon in the sky, but so near the horizon, that the bluff 
bounding the southern side of the valley threw out a 
shadow to the distance of many yards upon the plain. 

Parallel to the line of the cliffs, and close in to 
their base, a horseman could be seen advancing up 
the valley from the lower end of the settlement. His 
cautious pace, and the anxious glances which he at 
intervals cast before him, showed that he was 
travelling with some apprehension, and was desirous 
of remaining unseen. It was evident, too, that this 
was his object hi keeping within the shadow of the 
cliff; for on arriving at certain points where the 
precipice became slanting and cast no shadow, he 
would halt for a while, and, after carefully recon- 
noitring the ground, pass rapidly over it. Conceal- 
ment could be his only object in thus closely hugging 
the bluffs, for a much better road could have been 
found at a little distance out from them. 

After travelling for many miles in this way, the 
horseman at length arrived opposite the town, which 
still, however, was three miles distant from the cliff. 
From this point a road led off to the town, communi- 
cating between it and a pass up the bluffs to the left. 

The horseman halted, and gazed awhile along the 

illh \VIIITE CIIIKF. 273 

road, as if undecided whether to take it or not 
Having resolved in the negative, lie moved on, and 
rode nearly a mile farther tinder the shadow of the 
bluffs. Again he halted, and scanned the country to 
his right. A bridle-path seemed to run in the di- 
rection of the town, or towards a point somewhat 
above it. After a short examination the horseman 
seemed to recognise this path as one he was in search 
of, and, heading his horse into it, he parted from the 
shadoAV of the bluffs, and rode out under the full 
moonlight. This, shining down upon him, showed a 
young man of fine proportions, dressed in ranchero 
costume, and mounted upon a noble steed, whose 
sleek black coat glittered under the silvery light. 
it was easy to know the rider. His bright com- 
plexion, and light-coloured hair curling thickly under 
the brim of his sombrero, were characteristics not to 
be mistaken in that land of dark faces. He was 
Carlos the cibolero. It could be seen now that a 
large wolf-like dog trotted near the heels of the horse 
That dog was Cibolo. 

Advancing in the direction of the town, the caution 
of the horseman seemed to increase. 

The country before him was not quite open. It 
was level ; but fortunately for him, its surface was 
studded with copse-like islands of timber, and hero 
and there straggling patches of chapparal through, 
which the paUi led. Before entering^these the dcg 
preceded him, but without noise or bark ; and when 
emerging into the open plain again, the horseman 
each time halted and scanned the ground that sepa- 
rated him from the next copse, before attempting to 

pass over it. 


Proceeding in this way, he arrived at lcngtn witmn 
several hundred yards of the outskirts of the town, 
and could see the walls, with the church cupola 
shining over the tops of the trees. One line of wall 
on which his eyes were fixed lay nearer than the rest. 
Ho recognised its outline. It was the parapet over 
the houso of Don Ambrosio — in the rear of which he 
had now arrived. 

He halted in a small copse of timber, the last upon 
the plain. Beyond, in the direction of Don Ani- 
brosio's house, the ground was open and level up to 
the bank of the stream already described as running 
along the bottom of the garden. The tract was a 
meadow belonging to Don Ambrosio, and used for 
pasturing the horses of his establishment. It was 
accessible to these by means of a rude bridge that 
crossed the stream outside the walls of the garden. 
Another bridge, however, joined the garden itself to 
the meadow. This was much slighter and of neatei' 
construction — intended only for foot-passengers. It 
was, in fact, a mere private bridge, by which the 
fair daughter of Don Ambrosio could cross to enjoy 
her walk in the pleasant meadow beyond. Upon this 
little bridge, at its middle part, was a gate with lock 
and key, to keep intruders from entering the pre- 
cincts of the garden. 

This bridge was not over three hundred yards from 
the copse in which Carlos had halted, and nothing 
intervened but the darkness to prevent him from 
having a view of it. However, as the mocn was still 
up, he could distinctly see the tall posterns, and 
light- coloured palings of the gate, glimmering in hef 
light. The stream he could not see— as at this point 


it ran between high banks — and the garden itself 
was hidden from view by the grove of cotton-woods 
and china-trees growing along its bottom. 

After arriving in the copse Carlos dismounted; 
and having led his horse into the darkest shadow ot 
the trees, there left him. He did not tie him to any- 
thing, but merely rested the bridle over the pommel 
of the saddle, so that it might not draggle upon the 
ground. He had long ago trained the noble animal 
to remain where he was placed without other fasten- 
ing than this. 

This arrangement completed, he walked forward 
to the edge of the underwood, and there stood with 
his eyes fixed upon the bridge and the dark grove 
beyond it. It was not the first time for him to gc 
through all the manoeuvres here described — no, not 
by many — but, perhaps, on no other occasion were his 
emotions so strong and strange as on the present. 

He had prepared himself for the interview he was 
now expecting — he had promised himself a frankness 
of speech his modesty had never before permitted 
him to indulge in — he had resolved on proposals' — 
the rejection or acceptance of which might determine 
his future fate. His heart beat within his breast so 
as to be audible to his own ears. 


Perfect stillness reigned through the town. The 
inhabitants had all retired to their beds, and not a 
tight appeared from door or window. All were close 
elvut and fast bolted. No one appeared in the streets, 
except the half-dozen ' serenos ' who formed the night- 
watch of the place. These could be seen muffled up 


in their dark cloaks, sitting half asleep en ihe ban 
quetas of houses, and grasping in one hand their 
huge halberds, while their lanterns rested upon the 
pavement at their feet. 

Perfect stillness reigned around the mansion of 
Don Ambrosio. The great gate of the zaguan was 
closed and barred, and the portero had retired within 
his ' lodge,' thus signifying that all the inmates of 
the dwelling had returned home. If silence denoted 
sleep, all were asleep ; but a ray of light escaping 
through the silken curtains of a glass door, and fall- 
ing dimly upon the pavement of the patio, showed 
that one at least still kept vigil. That light pro- 
ceeded from the chamber of Catalina. 

All at once the stillness of the night was broken 
by the loud tolling of a bell. It was the clock of the 

parroquia announcing the hour of midnight. 

The last stroke had not ceased to reverberate when 

the light in the chamber appeared to be suddenly 

extinguished — for it no longer glowed through the- 

Shortly after, the glass door was silently opened 
from the inside ; and a female form closely muffled 
came forth, and glided with stealthy and sinuous step 
around the shadowy side of the patio. The tall ele- 
gant figure could not be hidden by the disguise- of the 
ample cloak in which it was muffled, and the graceful 
gait appeared even when constrained and stealthy, 
It was the Senorita herself. 

Having passed round the patio, she entered the 
avenue that led to the garden. Here a heavy door 
barred the egress from th} house, and before this she 
(topped. Only a moment. A key appeared from 


under her cloak, nnd the large bolt with some diffi' 

culty yielded to her woman's strength. It did not yield 

silently. The rusty iron sounded as it sprang back 

into the lock, causing her to start and tremble. She 

even returned back through the avenue, to make sure 

whether any one had heard it; and, standing in the 

dark entrance, glanced round the patio. Had she 

not heard a door closing as she came back ? She 

fancied so ; and alarmed by it, she stood for soma 

time gazing upon the different doors that opened 

upon the court. They were all close shut, her own 

not excepted, for she had closed it on coming out. 

Still her fancy troubled her, and, but half satisfied, 

she returned to the gate. 
This she opened with caution, and, passing through, 

traversed the rest of the avenue, and came out in the 

open ground. Keeping under the shadow of the trees 

and shrubbery, she soon reached the grove at the 

bottom of the garden. Here she paused for a moment, 

and, looking through the stems of the trees, scanned 

the open surface in the direction of the copse where 

Carlos had halted. 

No object was visible but the outlines of the timbei 
island itself, under whose shadow a human form in 
dark clothing could not have been recognised at such 
a distance. 

After pausing a moment she glided among the 
trees of +he grove, and the next moment stood upon 
the centre and highest point cf the bridge in front of 
the little gate. Here she again stopped, drew from 
under her cloak a white cambric handkerchief, and, 

"uising herself to her full height, held it spread out 
Defcween her hands. 


The air was filled with fire-flies, whose light* 
sparkled thickly against the dark background of tho 
copsewood ; but these did not prevent her from dis- 
tinguishing a brighter flash, like the snapping of a 
lucifer-match, that appeared among them. Her signal 
was answered ! 

She lowered the handkerchief, and, taking out a 
small key, applied it to the lock of the gate. This 
was undone in a second, and, having thrown open the 
wicket, she retired within, the shadow of the grove, 
aud stood waiting. 

Even in that dark shadow her eyes sparkled with 
the light of love, as she saw a form — the form of a 
man on foot, parting from the copse, and coming in 
the direction of the bridge. It was to her the dearest 
on earth ; and she awaited the approach with a flushed 

cheek and a heart full of joyful emotion. 


It was no fancy of Catalina's that she heard the 
shutting of a door as she returned up the avenue. A 
door in reality had been closed at that moment, — the 
door that led to the sleeping apartments of the maid- 
servants. Had her steps been quicker, she might 
have seen some one rush across the patio and enter 
this door- But she arrived too late for this. The 
door was closed, and all was silent again. It might 
have been fancy, thought she. 


It was no fane} . From the hour when the family 
had retired to rest, the door of Catalina's chamber 
had been watched. An eye had been bent all the 
time npon that ray of light escaping through the 
curtained glass, — the eye of the girl Vicenza. 

During the early part of the evening the maid had 
asked leave to go out for a while. It had been 
granted. She had been gone for nearly an hour 
Conducted by the soldier Jose, she had had an inter 
view with Eoblado. At that interview all had beer 
arranged between them. 

She was to watch her mistress from the house, and 
follow her to the place of assignation. "When that 
should be determined she was to return with all haste 
to Eoblado — who appointed a place of meeting her — 
and then guide him and his troop to the lovers. This, 
thought Eoblado, would be the surest plan to proceed 
upon. He had taken his measures accordingly. 

The door of the maid's sleeping-room was just op- 
posite that of Catalina's chamber. Through the key 
feole the girl had seen the light go out, and the Senorita 
gliding around the patio. She had watched her into 
the avenue, and then gently opening her own door 
nad stolen after her. 

At the moment the Senorita had succeeded in un- 
locking the great gate of the garden, the mestiza was 
peeping around the wall at the entrance of the 
avenue ; but on hearing the other return, — for it was 
oy the sound of her footsteps she was warned, — the 
wily spy had darted back into her room, and closed 
the door behind her. 

It was some time before she dared venture out asrain. 
t& the keyhole no longer did her any service. Sho 


kept her eye to it, however, and, seeing that her 
mistress did not return to her chamber, she concluded 
that the latter had continued on into the garden- 
Again gently opening her door, she stole forth, and, 
on tiptoe approaching the avenue, peeped into it. It 
was no longer dark. The gate was open, and the 
moon shining in lit up the whole passage. It was 
evident, therefore, that the Senorita had gone through, 
and was now in the garden. 

"Was she in the garden ? The mestiza remembered 
the bridge, and knew that her mistress carried the 
key of the wicket, and often used it both by day and 
night. She might by this have crossed the bridge, 
and got far beyond into the open country. She — {he 
spj r — might not find the direction she had taken, and 
thus spoil the whole plan. 

With these thoughts passing through her mind, the 
girl hurried through the avenue, and, crouching down, 
hastened along the walk as fast as she was able. 

Seeing no one among the fruit-trees and flower- 
beds, she began to despair ; but the thick grove at 
the bottom of the garden gave her promise—that was 
a likely place of meeting — capital for such a purpose, 
as the mestiza, experienced in such matters, w T ell 

To approach the gicve, however, presented a dif- 
ficulty. There was a space of open ground — a green 
parterre— bot ween it and the flower-beds. Any one, 
already in the grove, could perceive the approach of 
another in that direction, and especially under a 
bright moonlight. This the mestiza saw, and it com- 
pelled her to pausB and reflect how she was to get 


But one r, ha nee seemed to offer. The high adobe 
wall threw a shadow of some feet along one side of 
the open ground. In this shadow it might be pos- 
sible to reach the timber unobserved. The girl re- 
solved to attempt it. 

Guided by the instinctive cunning of her race, she 
dropped down flat upon her breast ; and, dragging 

herself over the grass, she reached the selvedge of the 
grove, just in the rear of the arbour. There she 
paused, raised her head, and glanced through the 
leafy screen that encircled the arbour. She saw what 
she desired. 

Catalina was at this moment upon the bridge, and 
above the position of the niestiza— so that the latter 
could perceive her form outlined against the blue 
of the sky. She saw her hold aloft the white ker- 
chief. She guessed that it was a signal — she saw 
the flash in answer to it, and then observed her mis- 
tress undo the lock and fling the wicket open. 

The cunning spy was now sure that the place of 
meeting was to be the grove itself, and might have 
returned with that information ; but Eoblado had 
distinctly ordered her not to leave until she saw the 
meeting itself, and was certain of the spot. She there- 
fore remained where she was, and awaited the further 
proceedings of the lovers. 

Carlos, on perceiving the signal, had answered it 
by flashing seme powder already prepared. He lost 
no time in obeying the "well-known summons. A 
single moment by the side of his horse — a "whisper 
wliich the latter well understood — and he parted from 
,oe copse, Cibolo following at his heels. 

On reaching the end of the bridge he bent down ,' 


and, addressing somo words in a b>w nice to the dog, 
proceeded to cross over. The an'mal did not follow 
him, but lay down on the opposite bank of the 

The next moment the lovers were together. 

From the spot where she lay the mestiza witnessed 
their greeting. The moon shone upon their faces — 
the fair skin and curly locks of Carlos were distinctly 
visible under the light. The girl knew the cibolero 
- — it was he. 

She had seen all that was necessary for l\oblado to 
know. The grove was the place of meeting. It only 
remained for her to get back to the officer, and give 
tho information. 

She was about to crawl away, and had already half 
risen, when to her dismay, the lovers appeared coming 
through the grove, and towards the very arbour be- 
hind which she lay! 

Their faces were turned towards the spot where 
she was crouching. If she rose to her feet, or at- 
tempted to go off, she could not fail to be seen by one 
or other of them. 

She had no alternative but to remain where she 
was — at least until some better opportunity offered 
of getting away — and with this intention she again 
squatted down close under the shadow of the arbour. 

A moment after the lovers entered, and seated 
themselves upon the benches with which the little 
bower was provided. 



The hearts of both were so agitated that ibi some 
moments neither gave utterance to their thoughts. 
Catalina was the first to speak. 

* Your sister ? ' she inquired. 

* She is better. I have had the rancho restored. 
The} r have returned to it, and the old scenes seem to 
have worked a miracle upon her. Her senses came 
at once, and relapse only at long intervals. I have 
hopes it will be all well again.' 

' 1 am glad to hear this. Poor child ! she must have 
suffered sadly in the hands of these rude savages.' 

' Rude savages ! Ay, Catalina, you have styled 
them appropriately, though you little know of whom 
you are speaking.' 

* Of whom ? ' echoed the lady, in surprise. Up to 
this moment even she had no other than the popular 
and universal belief that Carlos' sister had been a 
captive in the hands of the Indians ! 

* It was partly for this that I have sought an inter- 
view to-night. I could not exist without explaining 
to you my late conduct, which must have appeared to 
you a mystery. It shall be so no longer. Hear me, 
Catalina ! ' 

Carlos revoalod the horrid plot, detailing every cii- 
cumstance, to the utter astonishment of his fair com- 


4 Oh ! fiends ! fiends ! ' she exclaimed ; ' who could 
have imagined such atrocity ? AVho would suppose 
that on the earth were wretches like these ? But 
that you, dear Carlos, have told me, I could not have 
believed in such villany ! I knew that both were 
bad ; I have heard many a tale of the vileness of these 
two men ; but this is wickedness beyond the power 
of fancy ! Santisima Madre I what men ! what mon- 
sters ! It is incredible ! ' 

' You know now with what justice I am called a 
murderer ? ' 

' Oh, dear Carlos ! think not of that. I never gave 
it a thought. I knew you had some cause just and 
good. Fear not ! The world shall yet know all ' 

* The world ! ' interrupted Carlos, with a sneer. 
1 For me there is no world. I have no home. Even 
among those with whom I have been brought up, I 
have been but a stranger — a heretic outcast. Now I 
am worse — a hunted outlaw with a price upon my 
nead, and a good large one too. In truth, I never 
thought I was worth so much before ! ' Here a laugh 
escaped from the speaker ; but his merriment was of 
short duration. He continued, — 

' No world have I but you, Catalina, — and }*ou no 
longer except in my heart. I must leave you and go 
far away. Death — worse than deatn — awaits me 
here. I must go hence. I must return to the people 
from whom my parents are sprung — to our long 
forgotten kindred. Perhaps there I may find a new 
home and new friends, but happiness I cannot without 
you — No, never ! ' 

Catalina was silent, with tearful eyes bent upon 
the ground. She trembled at the thought that was 


passing in her mind. She feared to give it fixpres- 
sion. But it was no time for the affectation of false 
modesty, for idle bashfulness; and neither were her 
characteristics. Upon a single word depended ths 
happiness of her life — of her lover's. Away with 
womanly coyness ! let the thought be spoken ! 

She turned toward her lover, took his hand in hers, 
leant forward till her lips were close to his, and, 
looking in his face, said in a soft, but firm voice, — 

' Carlos ! is it your wish that / go with you ? ' 

In a moment his arms were around her, and their 
lips had met. 

' Heavens ! ' he exclaimed ; ' n this possible ? do 
I hear aright ? Dearest Catalina ! was this I would 
have proposed, but I dared not do ii T feared to make 
the proposal, so wild does it seem. "What ! forsake 
all for me ? Oh, querida ! querida ! Tell me that this 
is what your words mean ! Say }^ou will go with me '; ' 

* / will ! ' was the short but firm reply. 

' O God ! I am too happy — a week of terrible suf- 
fering, asd I am again happy. But a week ago, Cata- 
lina, and I was happy. I had met with a strange 
adventure, one that promised fortune. I was full of 
hope — hope of winning you ; not 3 r ou, querida, but 
your father. Of winning him by gold. See ! ' Here 
the speaker held forth his hand filled with shining 
ore. ' It is gold. Of this I have discovered a mine, 
and I had hoped with it to have rivalled your father 
in his wealth, and then to have won his conseni. 
Alas ! alas ! that is now hopeless, but your words 
have given me new happiness. Think not of thfc 
fortune you leave behind. I know you do not, deai 
Catalina. I shall give you one equal to it — perhaps 


far greater. I know where this precious trash is to 
be procured, but I shall tell you all when we have 

time. To-uight ' 

He was interrupted by Catalina, Her quick ear 
had caught a sound that appeared odd to ner. It 
was but a slight rustling among the leaves near the 
back of the arbour, and might have been caused by 
the wind, had there been any. But not a breath was 
stirring. Something else had caused it. What coald 

it be? 

After a moment or two both stepped out, and exa- 
mined the bushes whence the sound was supposed to 
have proceeded ; but nothing was to be seen. They 
looked around and up towards the garden — there waft 
no appearance of anything that could have caused the 
noise ! It was now much darker than when ther 

had entered the arbour. The moon had gone down, 
and the silvery light had turned to grey ; but it was* 
still clear enough to have distinguished any large 
object at several yards distance. Catalina could not 
be mistaken. She had heard a rustling sound to a, 
eertainty. Could it have been the dog ? Carlos 
stepped forward on the bridge. It was not — ■ the 
animal still lay where he had been placed : it could 
not have been he ! What then? Some lizard? per- 
haps a dangerous serpent ? 

At all events they would not again enter the arbour 
but remained standing outside. Still Catalina was 
not without apprehensions, for she now remembered 
the loss of the note, and, later still, the shutting of 
the door, both of which she hastily communicated to 
her companion. 

Hitherto Carlos had paid but little attention to what 


he believed to be some natural occurrence — the flut 
taring of a bird which had been disturbed by them, 
or the gliding of a snake or lizard. But the informa- 
tion now given made a different impression upon him. 
Used to Indian wiles, he was a ready reasoner, and 
he perceived at once that there might be something 
sinister in the sound which had been heard. He re- 
solved, therefore, to examine the ground more care- 


Once more he proceeded to the back of the arbour, 
and, dropping to his knees, scanned the grass and 
bushes. In a moment he raised his head with an 
exclamation of surprise. 

' As I live, Catalina, you were right ! Some one 
has been here, beyond a doubt ! Some one has lain 
■on this very spot ! "Where can they have gone to ? 
By Heaven, it was a woman ! Here is the trail of her 
dress ! ' 

* Vicenza ! ' exclaimed the lady. ' It can be nc 
other — my maid, Yicenza ! Dios de mi alma! she has 
heard every word ! ' 

1 No doubt it was Vicenza. She has watched and 
followed you from the house "What could have 
•tempted her to such an act ? ' 

* Ay de mi ! Heaven only knows : her conduct has 
'been very strange of late. It is quite annoying ! 
Pear Carlos ! ' she continued, changing her tone of 
Regret to one of anxiety, ' you must stay no longer. 
Who knows what she may do ? Perhaps summon my 
father ! Perhaps still worse — Santisima Virgen ! may 
it not be ! ' 

Here Catalina hastily communicated the fact of 
Vicenza's intimacy with the soldier Jose, as well a& 

t * 


other circumstances relating to the girl, and urged 
upon _i ;r lover the necessity of instant departure. 

* I shall go then/ said he. * Not that I much fear 
them ; it is too dark for their carbines, and their 
sabres will never reach me, while my brave steed 
(stands yonder ready to obey my call. But it is better 
for me to go. There may be something in it. I can- 
not explain curiosity that attempts so much as this- 
girl. I shall go at once then.' 

And so Carlos had resolved. But much remained 
to be said : fresh vows of love to be pronounced ; an* 
hour to be fixed for a future meeting — perhaps the 
last before taking the final step — their flight across 
the great plains. 

More than once had Carlos placed his foot upon 
the bridge, and more than once had he returned to 
have another sweet word — another parting kiss. 

The final * adios ' had at length been exchanged ; 

the lovers had parted from each other ; Catalina had 

turned towards the house ; and Carlos was advancing 

to the bridge with the intention of crossing, when a 

growl from Cibolo caused him to halt and listen. 

Again the dog growled, this time more fiercely,, 
following with a series of earnest barks, that told his 

master some danger w r as nigh. 

The first thought of the latter was to rush across 
the bridge, and make towards his steed. Had he 
done so, he would have had time enough to escape ; 
but the desire to warn her, so that she might hasten 
to the house, impelled him to turn back through the 
grove. She had already reached the open parterre, 
ind was crossing it, when the barking of the dog 
uaused her to stop, and the moment after Carlos 


came up. But Le Lad not addressed a word tu her 
■before the trampling of horses sounded outside the 
adobe walls of the garden — horsemen galloped down 
on both sides, while the confused striking of hoo£s 
showed that some were halting outside, while others 
•deployed around the enclosure. The rattling of the 
timbers of the large bridge was heard almost at the 
same instant; then the dog breaking into a fierce 
attack ; and then, through the stems of the trees, the 
dark forms of horsemen became visible upon the op- 
posite bank of the stream. The garden was sur- 
rounded ! 


Long after the lovers had entered the arbour the 
;mestiza had remained in her squatting attitude, lis- 
tening to the conversation, of which not a word 
-escaped her. It was not, however, her interest in 
that which bound her to the spot, but her fear of 
being discovered should she attempt to leave it. She 
had reason while it was still moonlight, for the open 
ground she must pass over was distinctly visible from 
the arbour. It was only after the moon went down 
that she saw the prospect of retiring unseen ; and, 
choosing a moment when the lovers had their faces 
turned from her, she crawled a few yards back, rose 
to her feet, and ran nimbly off in the darkness. 

Strange to say, the rustling heard by the serlorita 
was not mado by the girl at the moment of her leav 


ing the arbour. It was caused by a twig which she 

had bent behind a branch, the better to conceal her- 
self, and this releasing itself had sprung back to its 
place. That was why no object was visible to the 
lovers, although coming hastily out of the arbour. 
The spy at that instant was beyond the reach of sight 
as well as hearing. She had got through the avenue 
before the twig moved. 

She did not stop for a moment. She did not return 

to her apartment, but crossing the patio hastil}' en- 
tered the zaguan. This she traversed with stealthy 
steps, as if afraid to awake the portero. 

On reaching the gate she drew from her pocket a 
hey. It was not the key of the main lock, but of the 
lesser one, belonging to the postern door which 
opened through the great gate. 

This key she had secured at an earlier hour of 
the evening, for the very use she was now about to 
make of it. 

She placed it in the lock, and then shot the bolt, 
using all the care she could to prevent it from 
making a noise. She raised the latch with like cau- 
tion ; and then, opening the door, stepped gently to 
the outside. She next closed the door after her, 
slowly and silently ; and this done, she ran with all 
her speed along the road towards some woods that 
were outside the town, and not far from the house of 
Don Ambrosio. 

It was in these woods that Roblado held his men 
in ambush. He had brought them thither at a late- 
hour, and by a circuitous route, so that no one 
ehould see them as they entered the timber, and 
tnus prevent the possibility of a frustration of 


his plans. Here lie was waiting the arrival of his 


The girl soon reached the spot, and in a few minutes 

detailed to the officer the whole of what she had wit- 
nessed. What she had heard there was no time to tell, 
for she communicated to Roblado how she had been de- 
tained, and the latter saw there was not a moment to 
be lost. The interview might end before he should be 
ready, and his prey might still escape him. 

Had Roblado felt more confidence as to time ho 
would now have acted differently. Pie would have 
sent some men by a lower crossing, and let them ap- 
proach the Bottom of the garden directly frcm the 
meadow ; he would, moreover, have spent more time 
and caution about the * surround. * 

But he saw he might be too late, should he adopt 
this surer course. A quicker one recommended itself, 
and he at once gave the orders to his followers. 
These were divided into two parties of different sizes. 
Each was to take a side of the garden, and deploy 
along the wall, but the larger party was to drop only 
a few of its men, while the rest were to ride hastily 
over the greater bridge, and gallop round to the bot- 
tom of the garden, Roblado himself was to lead this 
party, whose duty would likely be of most import- 
ance. As the leader well knew, the garden walls 
could not be scaled without a ladder, and the cibo- 
lero, if found within the garden, would attempt to 
escape by the bridge at the bottom. Lest he might 
endeavour to get through the avenue and off by the 
front of the house, the girl Vicenza was to conduct 
Gomez with several men on foot through the patio, 
and guide them to the avenue entrance. 

2D2 the ' nm: ciiiev: 

The plan was well enough conceived. Roblado knew 

the ground well. He had often strolled through 
that garden, and its walls and approaches were per- 
fectly familiar to him. Should he be enabled to sur- 
round it before the cibolero could get notice of their 
approach, ho was sure of his victim. The latter must 
either be killed or captured. 

In five minutes after the arrival of the spy he had 
communicated the whole of their duties to the men ; 
and in Hve minutes more they had ridden out of the 
woods, crossed the small tract that separated them 
from the house, and were in the act of surrounding 
the garden ! It was at this moment that the dog 
Cibolo first uttered his growl of alarm. 

'Fly -fly!' cried Catalina as she saw her lover 
approach. ' Oh! do not think of me ! They dare 
not take my life. I have committed no offence. Oh, 
Carlos, leave me ! fly ! Madre de .Dios ! they come 
this way ! ' 

As she spoke a number of dark forms were seen 
entering from the avenue, and coming down the gar- 
den. Their scabbards clanked among the bushes as 
they rushed through them. They were soldiers on 
foot ! Several remained by the entrance, while the 
rest ran forward. 

Carlos had for a moment contemplated escape in 
that direction. It occurred to him, if he could get 
up to the house and on the azotea, he might drop of! 
on either side, and, favoured by the darkness, return 
to the meadow at some distant point. This idea 
vanished the moment he saw that the entrance was 
occupied. He glanced to the walls. They were too 
high to be scaled He would be attacked while at- 


tempting it. No other chance offered but to cut his 
way through by the bridge, lie now saw the error 
he had committed in returning. She was in no dan- 
ger — at least in no peril of her life. Indeed her 
greater danger would arise from his remaining near 
her. He should Lave crossed the bridge at first. He 
was now separated from his horse. He might sum- 
mon the latter by his call — he knew that — but it 
would only bring the noble animal within reach ot 
his foes — perhaps to be captured. That would be as 
much as taking his own life. No; he could not summon 
his steed from where he was, and he did not utter the 
signal. AYhat was he to do? To remain by the 
side of Catalina, to be surrounded and captured, 
perhaps cut down like a dog ? To imperil her life as 
well ?-— No. He must make a desperate struggle to 
get out of the enclosure, to reach the open country if 
possible, and then ■ 

His thoughts went no farther. He cried out, 

4 Querida, farewell ! I must leave you — do not 
despair. If I die, I shall cany your love to heaven ! 
Farewell, farewell ! ' 

These words were uttered in the parting haste of 
the moment, and he had sprung away so suddenly 
that he did not hear the answering farewell. 

The moment he was gone the lady dropped to her 
knees, and with hands clasped, and eyes raised to 
heaven, offered her prayer for his safety. 

Hall--a-dozen springs brought Carlos once more 
under the shadow of the grove. He saw his foes on 
the opposite bank, and from their voices he could tell 
there were many of them. They were talking loud]y 
and shouting directions to one another. He could 


distinguish the voice of lioblado above the rest. He 
was calling upon some of the men to dismount and 
follow him over the bridge. He was himself on foot, 
for the purpose of crossing. 

Carlos saw no other prospect of escape than by 
making a quick rush across the bridge, and cutting 
his way through the crowd. By that means he 
might reach the open plain, and fight his way until 
his horse could come up. Once in the saddle he would 
have laughed at their attempts to take him. It was 
a desperate resolve, — a perilous running of the 
gauntlet, — almost certain death ; but still more cer- 
tain death was the alternative if he remained where 
he was. 

There was no time for hesitation. Already several 
men had dismounted, and were making towards the 
bridge. He must cross before they had reached it, 
one was already upon it. He must be beaten back. 

Carlos, cocking his pistol, rushed forward to the 
gate. The man had reached it from the other side. 
They met face to face, with the gate still shut be- 
tween them. Carlos saw that his antagonist was 

Eoblado himself ! 

Not a word was spoken between them. Eoblado 
also had his pistol in readiness and fired first, but 
missed his aim. He perceived this, and, dreading 
the fire from his adversary, he staggered back to the 
bank, shouting to his followers to discharge their 

Before they oould obey the order, the crack of the 
cibolero's pistol rang upon the air, and lioblado, 
with a loud oath, rolled down by the edge of the 
water. Carlos dashed open the gate, and was about 


to rush onward, when he perceived through the 
smoke and darkness several car Dines brought to the 
level, and aimed at him. A sudden thought came 
into his mind, and he changed his design of crossing 
the bridge. The time was but tho pulling of a trig- 
ger, but, short as it was, he effected his purpose. 
The carbines blazed and cracked, all nearly at the 

name instant, and when the smoke cleared away 
Carlos was no longer on the bridge ! Had he gone 
back into the garden? No — already half-a-dozen 
men had cut off his retreat in that direction ! 

' He is killed ! ' cried several voices, l Carajo! 

he has fallen into the river ! Mira ! ' 

All eves were turned upon the stream. Certainly 
a body had plunged into it, as the bubbles and cir- 
cling waves testified, but only these were to be seen ! 

' lie has sunk ! he's gone to the bottom ! ' criea 

' Be sure he hasn't swum away ! ' counselled a 
voice ; and several ran along the banks with their 
eyes searching the surface. 

' Impossible ! there are no waves.' 

' He could not have passed here/ said one who 
stood a little below the bridge. ' I have been watch- 
ing the water.' 

( So have 1/ cried another from above. ' He has 
not passed my position.' 

' Then he is dead and gone down ! ' 

4 Carajo ! let us fish him out ! ' 

And they were proceeding to put this idea into exe- 
cution, when Eoblado, who had now got to his feet, 
finding that a wounded arm was all he had suffered, 
ordered them to desist. 


' Up and down ! ' he thundered ; ' scatter both 
Ways — quick, or he may yet escape us. Go ! ' 

The men did as they were ordered, but the paity 
who turned down-stream halted through sheer sur- 
prise. The figure of a man was seen, in a bent atti- 
tude and crawling up the bank, at the distance of a 
hundred yards below. The next moment it rose into an 
wect position, and glided over the plain with light- 
ning speed, in the direction of the copse of timber ! 

' HolaV exclaimed several voices; ' yonder he 
goes ! For todos santos, it is lie ! ' 

Amidst the cracking of carbines that followed, a 
shrill whistle was heard ; and before any of the 
mounted men could ride forward, a horse was seen 
shooting out from the copse and meeting the man 
upon the open meadow! Quick as thought the latter 
vaulted into the saddle, and after uttering a wild and 
scornful laugh galloped off, and soon disappeared in 
the darkness ! 

Most of the dragoons sprang upon their horses and 
followed ; but after a short gallop over the plain they 
gave up the chase, and one by one returned to their 
wounded leader. 

To say that Koblado was furious would be to cha- 
racterise very faintly the state he was in. But he 
had still ore captive on which to vent his rage and 

Catalina had been captured in the garden, — taken 
while praying for the safe escape of her lover. Jose 
had remained in charge of her, while the rest rushed 
down to assist in the capture of Carlos, at which 
Jose, knowing the cibolero as he did, and not being 
«rver brave, evinced no det-iie to bo i>i*tt©nt. 

THE Will IE CHIEF. 29? 

Catalina hoard the shots and shouts that denoted 
the terrible struggle. She had heard, too, the shrill 
whistle and the scornful laugh that rang loudly 

above the din. She had heard the shouts of the pur- 
suers dying away in the distance. 

Her heait beat with joy. She knew that her lover 
was free ! 

She thought then, and then only, of herself. She 
thought, too, of escape. She knew the rude taunts 
she would have to listen to from the brutal leader of 
these miscreants. What could she do to avoid an 
encounter? She had but one to deal with — Jose. 
She knew the despicable character of the man. 
Would gold tempt him ? She would make the trial. 

It was made, and succeeded. The large sum 
offered was irresistible. The villain knew that there 
could be no great punishment for letting go a captive 
who could at any time be taken again. He would 
risk the chances of his captain's displeasure for such 
a sum. His captain might have reasons for not 
dealing too severely with him. The purse was paid, 
and the lady was allowed to go. 

She was to close the door, locking it from the in- 
side, as though she had escaped by flight ; and this 
direction of Jose was followed to the letter. 

As Boblado crossed the bridge he was met ry the 
soldier, who, bieathless and stammering, announced 
that the fair prisoner had got into the house. She 
had slipped from his side and ran off. Had it been 
an ordinary captive, he could have fired upon her, 
out he was unable to overtake her until the had 
passed the door, which was closed and locked before 
ae could get near ' 

298 rriE white chief. 

For a moment Eoblado hesitated whether to 
* storm the house/ His rage almost induced him to 
the act. He reflected, however, that the proceeding 
might appear somewhat ridiculous and could not 
much better his position ; besides, the pain of his 
wounded arm admonished him to retire from the 

He re-crossed the bridge, was helped upon his 
horse, and, summoning around him his valiant troop, 
he rode back to the Presidio — leaving the roused 
town to conjecture the cause of the alarm. 


Next morning the town was full of ' novedades'. At 
first it was supposed there had been an attack of In- 
dians repelled as usual by the troops. What valiant 
protectors the people had ! 

After a while it was rumoured that Carlos the mur- 
derer had been captured, and that was the cause of 
the firing, — that Captain Eoblado was killed in tho 
affair. Presently Carlos was not taken, but he had 
been chased and came very near being taken ! Eoblado 
had engaged him singly, hand to hand, and had 
wounded him, but in the darkness he had got off by 
diving down the river. In the encounter the outlaw 
had shot the captain through the arm, which pre* 
rented the latter from making him a prisoner. 

This rumour came direct from the Presidio, It 


was partly true. The wounding of Carlos by Koblad.) 
was an addition to the truth, intended to give a 
little eclat to the latter,, for it became known after- 
wards that the cibolero had. escaped without even u 

People wondered why the outlaw should have ven- 
tured to approach the town, knowing as he did that 
there was a price upon his head. Some very power- 
ful motive must have drawn him thither. The mo- 
tive soon became known, — the whole story leaked 
out ; and then, indeed, did scandal enjoy a feast. 
Catalina had been for some time the acknowledged 
belle of the place, and, what with envious women 
and jealous men, she was now treated with slight 
show of charity. The very blackest construction was 
put upon her ' compromisa.' It was worse even 
than a mesalliance. The ' society' were horrified at 
her conduct in stooping to intimacy with a * lepero ; ' 
while even the lepero class, itself fanatically reli- 
gious, condemned her for her association with * un 
asesino,' but, still worse, a ' heretico' ! 

The excitement produced by this new affair was 
great indeed, — a perfect panic. The cibolero's head 
rose in value, like the funds. The magistrates and 
principal men assembled in the Casa de Cabildo. A 
new proclamation was drawn out, A larger sum was 

offered for the capture of Carlos, and the document 
was rendered still stronger by a declaration of severe 
tnmishment to all who should give him food or pro- 
tection. If captured beneath the roof of any citizen 
who had voluntarily sheltered him, the latter was to 
suffer full confiscation of bis property, besides such 
further punishment as might be fixed upon 


The Church, was not silent. The padres prom ised ox 
communication and the wrath of Heaven against those 
who would stay justice from the heretic niurdeier ! 

These were terrible terms for the outlaw ! Fortu- 
nate for him, he knew how to live without a roof 
over his head. He could maintain existence where 
his enemies would have starved, and whore they 
were unable to follow him, — on the wide desert plain, 
or in the rocky ravines of the mountains. Had he 
depended for food or shelter on his fellow-citizens of 
the settlement he would soon have met with be- 
trayal and denouncement. But the cibolero was as 
independent of such a necessity as the wild savage of 
the prairies. He could sleep on the grassy sward or 

the naked rock, he could draw sustenance even from 
the arid surface of the Llano Estacado, and there he 

could bid defiance to a whole army of pursuers. 

At the council Don Ambrosio was not present. 
Grief and rage kept him within doors. A stormy 
scene had been enacted between him and his daugh- 
ter. Henceforth she was to be strictly guarded— to 
be kept a prisoner in her father's house — to be taught 
repentance by the exercise of penance. 

To describe the feelings of Eoblado and the Co- 
mandante would be impossible. These gentlemen 
were well-nigh at their wits' end with mortification. 
Disappointment, humiliation, physical and moral 
pain, had worked them into a frenzy of rage ; and 
they "were engaged together during all the day in 
plotting schemes and plans for the capture of their 
outlawed enemy. 

Eoblado was not less earnest than the Comandanre 
!ir the success of their endeavours. 


Carlos had now gi\en both of them good cause to 
hate him, and both hated him from tha bottom of 
their hearts. 

What vexed Roblado most was, that he was no 
longer able to take the field — nor was he likely to be 
for several weeks. His wound, though not danger- 
ous, would oblige him to sling his arm for some time, 
and to manage a horse would be out of the question. 
The strategetic designs of the Comandante and him- 
self would have to be carried out by those who felt 
far less interest in the capture of the outlaw than 
they did. Indeed, but for the arrival of a brace of 
lieutenants, sent from division head-quarters at Santa 
Fe, the garrison would have been without a commis- 
sioned officer fit for duty. These new-comers- 
Lieutenants Yariez and Ortiga — were neither of them 
the men to catch the cibolero. They were brave 
enough — Ortiga in particular — but both were late 
arrivals from Spain, and knew nothing whatever of 
border warfare. 

The soldiers were desirous of hunting the outlaw 
down, and acted with sufficient zeal. The stimulus 
of a large reward, which was promised to them, ren- 
dered them eager of effecting his capture ; and they 
went forth on each fresh scout with alacrity. But 
they were not likely to attack the cibolero unless a 
goodly number of them were together. No one or 
two of them — including the celebrated Sergeant Go- 
mez — would venture within range of his rifle, , nuch 
less go near enough to lay hands upon him. 

The actual experience of his prowess by some of 
them, and the exaggerated reports of it known to 
others, had made such an impression upon the ay hole 


8UU Titj-: white chh;k. 

troop, that the cibolcro could have put a considerable 
body of them to flight only by showing himself! 
But in addition to the skill, strength, and daring 
which he had in reality exhibited — in addition to the 
exaggeration of those qualities by the fancy — the 
soldiers as well as people bad become possessed with 
a strange belief — that was, that the cibolero was 
under the protection of his mother — under the pro 
tection of the ' diablo ' — in other words, that he was 
bewitched, and therefore invincible ! Some asserted 
that he was impervious to shot, spear, or sabre. 
Those who had fired their carbines at him. while on 
the bridge fully believed this. They were ready to 
swear — each one of them — that they had hit the cibo- 
lero, and must have killed him had he not been under 
supernatural protection ! 

Wonderful stories now circulated among the sol- 
diers and throughout the settlement. The cibolero 
was seen everywhere, and always mounted on his 
coal-black horse, who shared his supernatural fame. 
IFe had been seen riding along the top of the cliffs at 
full gallop, and so close to their edge that he might 
have blown the stump of his cigar into the valley 
below ! Others had met him in the night on lonely 
oaths amid the chapparal, and according to them his 
face and hands had appeared red and luminous as 
coals of fire ! He had been seen on the high plains 
by the hateros— on the cliff of 4 La Nina' — in inanv 
parts of the valley; but no one had ventured near 
enough to exchange words with him. Every one had 
fled or shunned him. It was even asserted that he 
had been seen crossing the little bridge that led out 
of Don Ambrosio's garden, and thus brought down a 


fresh shower of scandal on the devoted Lead ol ( 'ata- 
lina. The scandal-mongers, however, were sadly 
disappointed on hearing that this bridge no longer 
existed, but had been removed by Don Ambrosio on 
the day following the discovery of Lis daughter's 
misconduct ! 

In no part of the world is superstition stronge. 
than among the ignorant populace of the settlements 
of New Mexico. In fact, it may be regarded as form- 
ing part of their religion. The missionary padres, in 
grafting the religion of Kome upon the sun-worship 
of Quetzalcoatl, admitted for their own purposes i+ 
goodly string of superstitions. It would be strange 
if their people did not believe in others, however 
absurd. Witchcraft, therefore, and all like things, 
were among the New Mexicans as much matters of 
belief as the Deity himself. 

It is not then to be wondered at that Carlos tho 
cibolero became associated with the devil. His feat? 
of horsemanship and hair-breadth 'scapes from hf 
enemies were, to say the least, something wonderful 
and romantic, even when viewed in a natural sense. 
But the populace of San Ildefonso no longer regarded 
them in this light. With them his skill in tho 
' coleo de toros,' in ' ruxmiig the cock,' — his feat of 
horsemanship on the cliff — his singular escapes from 
carbine and lance, were no longer due to himself, 
but to the devil. The * diablo ' was at the bottom of 

If the outlaw appeared so often during the next 
few days to those who did not wish to see him, it 
was somewhat strange that those who were desirous 

of a sight and an interview could get neither one nor 

v 2 


the other. The lieutenants, Yanez and Ortiga, with 
their following of troopers, "were on the scout and 
look-out from morning till night, and from one day's 
end to the other. The spies that were thickly set in 
all parts where there was a probability he might ap- 
pear, could see nothing of Carlos ! To-day he was 
reported here, to-morrow there ; but on tracing these 
reports to their sources, it usually turned out that 
some ranchero with a black horse had been taken for 
him ; and thus the troopers were led from place to 
place, and misled by false reports, until both horses 
and men were nearly worn out in the hopeless pur- 
suit. This, however, had become the sole duty on 
which the soldiers were employed — as the Coman 
dante had no idea of giving up the chase so long as 
there was a trooper left to take the trail. 

One place was closely watched both by day and by 
night. It was watched by soldiers disguised, and 
also by spies employed for the purpose. This was 
the rancho of the cibolero himself. Tho disguised 
soldiers and spies were placed around it, in such po- 
sitions that they could see every movement that took 
place outside the walls without being themselves 
seen. . These positions they held during the day, 
taking others at night; and the surveillance was thus 
continual, by these secret sentries relieving one 
another. Should the cibolero appear, it was not the 
duty of the spies to attack him. They were only to 
communicate with a troop — kept in readiness not far 
off — that thus insured a sufficient force for the object. 

The mother and sister of the cibolero had returned 
to live in the rancho. The peons had re-roofed and 
repaired it — an ea&v task, as the walls had not beer 

nil-; white chief. 30S 

injured by the fire. It was now as comfortable a 
dwelling as ever. 

The mother and sister were not molested— -in fact, 
they were supposed to know nothing of the fact that 
eyes were continually upon them. But there was a 
design in this toleration. They were to be narrowly 
watched in their movements. They were never to 
leave the rancho without being closely followed, and 
the circumstance of their going out reported to the 
leader of the ambushed troop at the moment of its 
occurrence. These orders were of the strictest kind, 
and their disobedience threatened with severe punish- 

The reasons for all this were quite simple. Both 
Vizoarra and Roblado believed, or suspected, that 
Carlos might leave the settlement altogether — why 
should he not ? — and take both mother and sister along 
with him. Indeed, why shotild he not ? The place 
could be no more a home to him, and he would easily 
find another beyond the Great Plains. Ko time 
could ever release him from the ban that hung over 
him. He could never pay the forfeit of his life — but 
by that life. It was, therefore, perfectly natural in 
the two officers to suspect him of the intention ot 
moving elsewhere. 

But, reasoned they, so long as we hold the mother 
and sister as hostages, he will not leave them. Pe 
will still continue to lurk around the settlement, ana, 
if not now, some time shall the fox be caught and 

So reasoned the Comandante and his captain , and 
hence the strictness- of their orders about guarding 
the rancho. Its inmates were t^eally prisoners, 


thoagh — as Vizcarra and Koblado supposed — they 
were ignorant of the fact. 

Notwithstanding all their ingenious plans — not* 
withstanding all their spies, and scouts, and soldiers 
■ — notwithstanding their promises of reward and threats 

of punishment — day followed day, and still the out- 
law remained at lar£f>. 


For a long time Carlos had neither been seen nor 
heaid of except through reports that on being ex- 
amined turned out to be false. Both the Comandante 
and his confrere began to grow uneasy. They began 
to fear he had in reality left the settlement and gone 
elsewhere to live, and this they dreaded above all 
things, Beth had a reason for wishing him thus out 
of the place, and until late occurrences nothing would 
have pleased them better. But their feelings had 
undergone a change, and neither the intended se- 
ducer nor the fortune-hunter desired that things 
should end just in that way. The passion of revengtj 
had almost destroyed the ruffian love of the one, and 
the avarice of the other. The very sympathy whioh 
both received on account of their misfortunes whetted 
this passion to a continued keenness. There was m 
danger of its dying within the breast of either. The 
ic '^king-glass alone would ^keep it alive in Yizcarru's 
bosom for the rest of his life. 
Thcv were together on the azotea of the Presidio, 


talkiug the matter between them, and easting ove 
the probabilities of their late suspicion. 

* He Is fond of the sister,' remarked the Co2nan- 
dante ; * and mother too, for that matter, hag as sho 
is I Still, nr)- dear Itoblado, a man likes his own life 
better than anything else. Near is the shirt, &c. 
Tie knows well that to stay here is to get into our 

hands some time or other, and he knows what we'll 
do with him if he should. Though he has mado 
some clever escapes, 1 '11 admit, that may not always 
be his fortune. The pitcher may go to the well once 
too often. lie's a cunning rascal — no doubt knows 
this riddle — and therefore I begin to fear he hap 
taken himself off, — at least for a long while. He 
may return again, but how the deuce are we to sus- 
tain this constant espionage ? It would weary down 
the devil ! It will become as tiresome as the siege o c 
Granada was to the good king Fernando and his war- 
like spouse of the soiled chemise. Par Dios ! I'm 
sick of it already ! ' 

* Bather than let him escape us,' replied Eoblado, 
* I Yl wear out my life at it.' 

' So I — so I, capitan. Don't fear I have the 
slightest intention of dropping our system of vigilance. 
Zno — no — look in this face. Carajol ' 

And as the speaker reflected upon his spoiled fea- 
tures, the bitterest scowl passed over them, making 

them still more hideous. 

' And yet/ continued Vizcarra, following out the 
original theme, ' it does not seem natural that he 
should leave them behind him, even for a short 
period, after what has occurred, and after the risk he 
ran to recover her ; does it ? ' 


* No,' replied the other, thoughtfully, * no. What 
I most wonder at is his not setting off with them the 
night she got back,— that very night, — for by the 
letter he was there upon the spot ! Eut, true, ii 
takes some time to prepare for a journey across the 
orairies. He would never have gone to one of our 
own settlements — not like!}' — and to have travelled 
elsewhere would have required some preparation for 
the women at least; for himself, 1 believe he is as 
much at home in the desert as either the antelope or 
the prairie wolf. Still with an effort he might have 
gone away at that time and taken them along with 
hirn. It was bad management on our part not to 
send our men down that night.' 

' I had no fear of his going off, else I should have 
done so.' 

* How ? — no fear ? was it not highly probable ? ' 
' Not in the least/ replied Eoblado. 

* I cannot understand you , my dear capitan. Why 

' Because there is a magnet in this valley that held 
him tighter than either mother or sister could, and I 
knew that.' 

* Oh ! now I understand } r ou.' 

* Yes,' continued Roblado, grinding his teeth 
against each other, and speaking in a bitter tone ; 
4 that precious " margarita," that is yet to be my 
wife, — ha ! ha ! He was not likely to be off without 
having a talk with her. They have had it. God 
knows whether they agreed to make it their last, but 
I, with the help of Don Ambrosio, have arranged 
that for them. Carrai ! she '11 make no more mid- 
night sorties, I fancy. JST© — he's not gone. I cannot 



rriE WHITE CHIEF. 30$ 

fhink it, — for two reasons. First, on her account. 
Have you ever loved, Comandante ? 1 mean truly 
loved ! IJa ! ha ! ha ! ' 

4 Ha ! ha ! ha ! well I think I was caught once.' 

* Then you will know that when a man really 
loves — for I myself count that foolish act among my 

xperiences, — when a man really loves, there 's no 
rope strong enough to pull him away from the spot 
where the object of his love resides. No, I believe 
this fellow, low as he is, not only loves but worships 
this future wife of mine, — ha! ha! — and I believe 
also that no danger, not even the prospect of the 
garrote, will frighten him from the settlement so long 
as he has the hope of another clandestine tete-a-tete 
with her; and, knowing that she is ready to meet 
him half-way in such a matter, he wj 1 1 not have lost 
hope yet. 

' But my second reason for believing he is still 
lurking about is that which }*ou yourself have 
brought forward. He is not likely to leave them be- 
hind after what has happened. We have not blinded 
him; though — Graciasd Dios, or the devil — we have 
dusted the eyes of everybody besides ! He knows 
all, as the girl Yicenza can well testify. Now, I 
have no belief that, knowing all this, he would leave 
them for any lengthened period. What I do believe 
is that the fellow is as cunning as a coyote', sees our 
trap, knows the bait, and won't be caught if he 
can help it. He is not far off, and, through these 
accursed peons of his, communicates with the women 
regularly and continually.' 

' W hat can be done ? ' 

* I have been thinking/ 


* If we stop the peons from going back and forth 

they would be suro to know the trap that was set 

around them.' 

' Exactly so, Comandante. That would never do.' 
' Have you considered any other plan ? 5 

* Partly I have.' 

' Let ns hear it ! ' 

* It is this. Some of those peons regularly visit 
the fellow in his lair. I feel certain of it. Of course 
ihey have been followed, but only in daylight, and 
then they are found to be on their ordinary business. 
But there is one of them who goes abroad at night ; 
and all attempts at following him have proved abor- 
tive. He loses himself in the chapparal paths in 
spite of the spies. That is why I am certain he visits 
the cibolero.' 

' It seems highly probable.' 

' Now if we can find one who could e'ther follow 
this fellow or track him — but there's tho difficulty. 
We are badly off for a good tracker. There is not 

one in the whole troop.' 

' There are other ciboleros and hunters in the val- 
ley. Why not procure one of them ? ' 

' True, we might — there are none of them over 
well disposed to the outlaw — so it is said. But I fear 
there is none of them fit, that is, none who combines 
both the skill and the courage necessary for this pur- 
pose — for both are necessary. They hate the fellow 
enough, but they fear him as well. Thero is one 
whom I have heard of, — in fact know something of 
him, — who would be the very man for us. He not 
only would not fear an encounter with the cibolero, 
but would hardly shun one with the devil ; and, as 


for his skill in all sorts cf Indian craft, his reputa- 
tion among his kind is oven greater than f h*t of Carlog 
kinase If.' 

'Who is he?' 

* I should say there arc two of them, for the two 
always go together ; one is a mulatto, who has for- 
merly been a slave among the Americanos. lie is now 
a runaway, and therefore hates everything that re- 
minds him of his former masters. Among other 
souvenirs, as I am told, he hates our cibolero with a 
good stout hatred. This springs partly from the 
feeling already mentioned, and partly from the 
rivalry of hunter-fame. So much in our favour. The 
alter ego of the mulatto is a man of somewhat kindred 
race, a zambo from the coast near Matamoras or Tam- 
pico How he strayed this way no one knows, but it 
is a good while ago, and the mulatto and he have for 
long been shadows of each other ; live together, hunt 
together, and tight for one another. Both arc power- 
ful men, and cunning as strong; but the mulatto is 
the zambo's master in everything, villany not ex- 
cepted. Neither is troubled with scruples. They 
would be the very men for our purpose/ 

4 And why not get them at once? ' 

4 Therein lies the difficulty — unfortunately they 
are not here at present. They are off upon a hunt. 
They are hangers-on of the mission, occasionally em- 
ployed by the padres in procuring venison and other 

* Now it seems that the stomachs of our good ab- 
stemious fathers have lately taken a fancy to buffalo 
(ongue cured in a certain way, which can only be 
done when the animal is fresh killed. In order to 


procure this delicacy tliey have sent these hunters to 
the buffalo range.* 

4 How long have they been gone ?— can you tell ? ' 

' Several weeks — long before the return of our 

' It is possible they may be on the way back. Is it 

' I think it quite probable, but I shall ride over to 
the mission this very hour and inquire.' 

1 Do so ; it would be well if we could secure them. 
A brace of fellows, such as you describe these to be, 
would be worth our whole command. Lose no time/ 

* I shall not waste a minute,' Eoblado replied, and 
leaning over the wall he called out, ' Hola ! Jose ! 
my horse there ! ' 

Shortly after a messenger came up to say that his 
horse was saddled and ready. He was about to de- 
scend the escalera, when a large closely-cropped 
head — with a circular patch about the size of a blister 
shaven out of the crown — made its appearance over 
the stone-work at the top of the escalera. It was the 
head of the Padr6 Joaquin, and the next moment 
the owner, bland and smiling, appeared upon the 



The monk who presented himself was the same who 

had figured at the dinner-party. He was the senior 
'A the two that directed the mission, and in every 


respect the ruler of the establishment. He was known 
as the Padre Joaquin, while his junior was the Padre 
Jorge. The latter was a late additicn to the post, 
whereas Padre Joaquin had been its director almost 
since the time of its establishment. He was, there- 
fore, an old resident, and knew the history and cha- 
racter of every settler in the valley. For some reason 
or other he held an inveterate dislike to the family 


of the cibolero, to which he had given expression 
upon the evening of the dinner-party, — although he 
assigned no cause for his hostility. It could not have 
been because he regarded them as ' hereticos,' for, 
ibough the Padre Joaquin was loud in his denuncia- 
tions of all who were outside the pale of the Church, 
yet in his own heart he cared but little about such 
things. His zeal for religion was sheer hypocrisy 
and worldly cunning. There was no vice practised 
in the settlement in which Padre Joaquin did not 
take a leading part. An adroit monte player he was — • 
ready to do a little cheating upon occasions — a capital 
judge of game ' gallos/ ever ready to stake his onzas 
upon a ' main.' In addition to these accomplish- 
ments, the padre boasted of others. In his cups, — 
and this was nothing unusual, — he was in the habit 
of relating the liaisons and amourettes of his earlier life, 
and even some of later date. Although the neophytes 
of the mission were supposed to be all native Tagnoa 
with dark skins, yet there was to be seen upon the 
establishment quite a crowd of young mestizoes, both 
boys and girls, who were known as the ' sobrinos' 
and ' sobrinas' of Padre Joaquin. 

You cannot otherwise than deem this an exair- 
geration : you will imagine that no reverend father 


co iu J practise such conduct, and still be held in any 
sort of respect by the people among whom he dwelt? 
So should I have thought had I not witnessed with 
my own eyes and ears the 'priest-life' of Mexico. 
The immoralities here ascribed to Padre Joaquin can 
scarcely be called exceptional in his class. They are 
rather common than otherwise — some have oven said 

It was no zealous teeling of religion, then, that 
could have ' set ' the monk in such hostile attitude 
against the family of the poor cibolero. No. It was 
some old grudge against the deceased father, — some 
cross which the padre had experienced from him in 
the days of the former Comandante. 

As Padre Joaquin walked forward on the azotea, 
his busy bustling air showed that he was charged 
with some 'novedad;' and the triumphant smile 
upon his countenance told that he calculated upon 
its being of interest to those to whom he was about 
to communicate it. 

'Good day, father! — Good day, your reverence!' 
said the Comandante and Roblado speaking at the 
same time. 

' Buenos dias, cavdlleros I ' responded the padre. 

'Glad to see you, good father!' said Koblado. 
1 You have saved me a ride. I was just in the act of 
starting for the mission to wait upon your reverence.' 

' And if you had come, capitan, I could have given 
you a luxury to lunch upon. We have received our 

'Oh! you have!' cried Vizcarra and Eoblado in 
the same breath, and with an expression of in'.ereet 
that somewhat surprised the padre 


* fla ! you greedy ladrones ! I see what you would 
bo after. You would have me send you some o* 
them. You shan't have a slice though — that is, unless 
you can give ice something that will wash this dust 
out of my throat. I'm woeful thirsty this morning.' 

* Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' laughed the officers. * What shall 
it be, father?' 

'Well — let me see. — Ah! — a cup of " Bordeos" 
that you received by last arrival.' 

The claret was ordered and brought up ; and the 
padre, tossing off a glassful, smacked his lips aftei 
it with the air of one who well knew and appre- 
ciated the good quality of the wine. 

* Linda ! lindisima . n he exclaimed, rolling his eyes 
up to heaven, as if everything good should come and 
go in that direction. 

1 And so, padre,' said the impatient Roblado, ' you 
have got your buffalo -tongues ? Y r our hunters, then, 
have returned ? ' 

i They have ; that is the business that brought mo 

* Good ! that was the business that was about to 
take me to the mission.' 

4 An onza we were both on the same errand ! ' 
challenged the padre. 

' I won't bet, father ; you always win.' 

' Come ! you'd be glad to give an onza for my 

' What news ? — what news ? ' asked the officers at 
once, and with hurried impatience of manner. 

' Another cup of Bordeos, or I choke ! The dust 
of that road is worse than purgatory. Ah ! this is a 


And again the padre swallowed a large glassful of 

slaret, and smacked his lips as before. 

* Now your news, dear padr£'?' 

' Pues, cavalleros — our hunters have returned!' 

' YpuesV 

4 Pues que ! they have "brought news/ 

1 Of what ? ' 

* Of our friend the cibolero/ 
' Of Carlos ? ' 

( Precisely of that individual/ 

* What news ? Have they seen him ? ' 

4 No, not exactly him, hut his trail. They have dis- 
covered his lair, and know where he is at this 

' Good ! ' exclaimed A r iscarra and Roblado. 

' They can find him at any tune.' 

' Excellent ! ' 

' Pues, cavalleros; that is my news at your service. 
Use it to your advantage, if you can/ 

' Dear padre ! ' replied Yizcarra, ' yours is a wiser 
head than ours. You know the situation of affairs. 
Our troopers cannot catch this villain. How would 
you advise us to act ? ' 

The padre felt flattered by this confidence. 

' Amigos !' said he, drawing both of them together, 
I have been thinking of this ; and it is my opinion 
you will do just as well without the help of a single 
soldier. Take these two hunters into your con . 
fldence — so far as may be necessary — equip them for 
the work — set them on the trail ; and if they don't 
hunt down tho heretic rascal, then I, Padre* Joaquin, 
nave no knowledge of men/ 

* Why, padr ; ! ' said Koblado; 'it's the very thing 


we have been thinking about— the very business for 
which I was about to seek you.' 

* You had good reason, cavalleros. In my opinion, 
it's the best course to be followed.' 

' But ■will your hunters go willingly to work 1 
They are free men, and may not like to engage in so 
dangerous an enterprise.' 

'Dangerous!' repeated the padre. 'The danger 
will be no obstacle to them, I promise you. They 
have the courage of lions and the agility of tigers. 
You need not fear that danger will stand in the way.' 

' You think, then, they w T ill be disposed to it V 

' They are disposed — I have sounded them. They 
Lave some reasons of their own for not loving the 
cibolero too dearly ; and therefore, cavalleros, yott 
won't require to use much persuasion on that scor 
I fancy you'll find them ready enough, for they have- 
been reading the proclamation, and, if I mistake not,, 
have been turning over in their thoughts the fine' 
promises it holds out. Make it sure to them that 
they will be well rewarded, and they'll bring you 
the cibolero's ears, or his scalp, or his whole carcase, 
if you prefer it, in less than three days from the pre* 
sent time ! They'll track him down, I warrant.' 

' Should we send some troopers along with them ! 
The cibolero may not be alone. We have reason to 
believe he has a half-blood with him — a sort of right- 
hand man of his own — and with this help he may be 
quite a match for your hunters.' 

' Not likely — they are very demonios. But you can 
jonsult themselves about that. They will know best 
whether they need assistance. That is their own 
fcfTair, cavalleros. Let them decide/ 



4 Sliall we send for them ? or will you send them 
to us?' inquired Roblado. 

* Do you not think it would be better for one of 
you to go to them ? The matter should be managed 
privately. If they make their appearance here, and 
hold an interview with either of you, your business 
with them will be suspected, and perchance get 
known to Mm. If it should reach his ears that these 
fellows are after him, their chances of taking him 
would be greatly diminished.' 

' You are right, father, 1 said Roblado. ' How can 
*\ve communicate with these fellows privately?' 

'Nothing easier than that, capitan. Go to their 
house — I should rather say to their hut — for they 
live in a sort of hovel by the rocks. The place is 
altogether out of the common track. No one will be 
likely to see you on jour visit. You must pass 
through a , narrow road in the chapparal ; but I 
shall send you a guide who knows the spot, and he 
will conduct you. I think it like enough the fellows 
will be expecting you, as 1 hinted to them to stay at 
home — that possibly they might be wanted. No 
doubt you'll find them there at this moment.' 

' When can you send up the guide ? ' 

* He is here now — my own attendant will do. He 
is below in the court — you need lose no time.' 

' No. Eoblado,' added the Comandante, * your 
horse is ready — you cannot do better than go at 


* Then go I shall : your guide, padre ? ' 

1 Esteban ! Hola ! Esteban ! ' cried the t>adre t leaa 
jag over the wall. 

* Aquiy SeTior, answered a voice. 


* Subc ! sube ! anda ! * (Come up quickly.) 

The next moment an Indian boy appeared upon 
the azotea, and taking off his hat approached the 
padre with an air of reverence. 

' You will guide the capitan through the path in 
the chapparal to the hunters' hut.* 

1 Si, Scuor.' 

4 Don't tell any one you have done so." 

* No, Sefior.' 

* If you do you shall catch the " cuarto." Vaya I y 
Roblado, followed by the boy, descended the esca- 

lera ; and, after being helped on his horse, rode away 
from the gate. 

The padre, at the invitation of Vizcarra, emptied 
another cup of Bordeos; and then, telling his host 
that a luncheon of the new luxury awaited him at 
the mission, he bade him good day, and shuffled off 

Vizcarra remained alone upon the azotea. Had 
any one been there to watch him, they would have 
noticed that his countenance assumed a strange and 
troubled expression every time his eyes chanced to 
wander in the direction of La Nina. 


Roblado entered the chapparal, the boy Esteutn ma- 
ting a few paces in advance of his horse's head. For 
half-a-mile or so he traversed a leading road that rai? 

x 2 


between the town and one of the passes. He then 
struck into a narrow path, but little used except by 
hunters or vaqueros in search of their cattle. Thi» 
path conducted him, after a ride of two or three 
miles, to the base of the cliffs, and there was found 
the object of his journey — the dwelling-place of the 


It was a uiere hut— a few upright posts supporting 
a single roof, wkicn slanted up, with a very slight 
inclination, ao-ains.. th'~ face of the rock. The posts 
were trunks ot a species of arborescent yucca that 
grew plentifully around the spot, and the roof-thatch 
was the stiff leaves of the same, piled thickly over 
each other. There was a sort of rude door, made of 
boards split from the larger trunks of the yucca, and 
hung with strong straps of parjleche, or thick buffalo 

leather. Also a hole that served for a window, with 
a shutter of the same material, and similarly sus- 
pended. The walls were a wattle of vines and 
slender poles bent around the uprights, and daubed 
carelessly with a lining of mud. The smooth vertical 
rock served for one side of the house — so that so 
much labour had been spared in the building — and 
the chimney, which was nothing better than a hole 
in the roof, conducted the smoke in such a manner 
that a sooty streak marked its course up the face of 
the cliff. The door entered at one end. close in by 
the rock, but the window was in the side or front. 
Through the latter the inmates of the hut could corn 
mand a view of any one approaching by the regular 
path. This, however, was a rare occurrence, as the 
brace of rude hunters had but few acquaintances. 
Mid their dwelling was far removed from any &»■ 


4uected route. Indeed, the general track of travel 
that led along the bottom line of the bluffs did not 
approach within several hundred yards oH this point. 
in conseqiience of the indentation or bay in which 
the hut was placed. Moreover, the thick chapparal 
screened it from observation on one side, while the 
cliffs shut it in upon the other. 

Behind the house — that is, at tho hinder end of ir 
was a small corral, its walls rudely constructed 
with fragments of rock. In this stood three lean and 
sore-backed mules, and a brace of mustangs no better 
off. There was a field adjoining the corral, or what 
had once been a field, but from neglect had run into 

a bed of grass and weeds. A portion of it, however, 
showed signs of cultivation — a patch here and there 
— on which stood some maize-plants, irregularly set 
and badly hoed, and between their stems the trailing 
tendrils of the melon and calabash. It was a true 
squatter's plantation. 

Around the door lay half-a-dozen wolfish-looking 
dogs ; and under the shelter of the overhanging rock, 
two or three old pack-saddles rested upon the ground. 
Upon a horizontal pole two riding saddles were set 
ustride — old, worn, and torn — and from the same pole 
jung a pair of bridles, and Borne strings of jerked 
meat and pods of chile" pepper. 

Inside the house might have been seen a couple of 
Indian women, not over cleanly in their appearance, 
engaged in kneading coarse bread and stewing 
tasajo. A fire burnt against the rock, between two 
stones — earthen pots and gourd dishes lay littereC 
over the floor. 

The walls were garnished with l*>ws, qui verb, %ad 

322 niK white chikk. 

bkins of animals, and a pair of embankments of stones 
and mud, one at each corner of the room — there was 
but one room — served as "bedstead and beds. A brace 
of long spears rested in one corner, alongside a rifle 
and a Spanish escopeta ; and above hung a machete or 
sword-knife, with powder-horns, pouches, and other 
equipments necessary to a hunter of the Eocky Moun - 
tains. There were nets and other implements for 
fishing and taking small game, and these constituted 
the chief fumi1 'ire of the hovel. All these things 
Hoblado might have seen by entering the hut ; but he 
did not enter, as the men he was in search of chanced 
to be outside — the mulatto lying stretched along the 
ground, and the zambo swinging in a hammock 
between two trees, according to the custom of his 
native country — the coast-lands of the t terra caliente. 

The aspect of these men, that would have been 
displeasing to almost any one else, satisfied Eoblado. 
They were just the men for his work. Ho had seen 
both before, but had never scrutinised them till now ; 
and, as he glanced at their bold swarth faces and 
brawny muscular frames, he thought to himself, 
' These are just the fellows to deal with the cibolero.* 
A formidable pair they looked. Each one of them, 
so far as appearance went, might with safety assail an 
antagonist like the cibolero — for either of them was 
bigger and bulkier than he. 

The mulatto was the taller of the two. He was 
also superior in strength, courage, and sagacity. A 
more unamiable countenance it would have boon 
difficult to meet in all that land, without appealing to 
that of the zambo. There you found its parallel. 

The ekin of the former was dull yellow in colour, 


with a thin beard over the cheeks and around the 
lips. The lips were negro-like, thick, and purplish, 
and behind them appeared a double row of largo 
wolfish teeth. The eyes were sunken — their whites 
mottled with yellowish flakes. Heavy dark brows 
shadowed them, standing far apart, separated by the 
broad flatfish nose, the nostrils of which stood so 
widely open as tcs cause a protuberance on each side- 
Large ears were hidden under a thick frizzled shock 
that partook of the character both of hair and wool. 
Over this was bound, turban fashion, an old check 
Madras kerchief that had not come in contact with 
soap for many a day ; and from under its folds the 
woolly hair straggled down over the forehead so as to 
add to the wild and fierce expression of the face. It 
was a countenance that proclaimed ferocity, reckless 
daring, cunning, and an utter absence of all humane 

The dress of the man had little in it differing from 
others who lead the life of a prairie-hunter. It was 
a mixture of leather and blanket. The head-dress 
only was peculiar. That was an old souvenir of the 
Southern States and their nescro life. 

The zambo had a face as ferocious in its expression 
as that of his confrere. It differed in colour. It was 
a coppery black — combining the hues of both rac*s 
from whom he derived his origin. He had the thicK 
lips and retreating forehead of the negro, but the 
Indian showed itself in his hair, which scarcely waved, 
but hung in long snaky tresses about his neck and 
shoulders. He was altogether less distinguished- 
looking than his comrade the mulatto. His dress 
partook of the character of his tribe — wide trousers 

S21 THE WMiTK (.;;ilEF. 

of coarse cotton stufl, "with a sleeveless shirt of the 
Bamo material, — a waist scarf, and coarse serape. 
Half the uppci part of his body was nude, and hia 
thick copper-coloured arms were quite hare. 

Roblado arrived just in time to witness the finale of 
an incident that would serve to illustrate the cha- 
racter of the zambo. 

He was half sitting, half lying in his hammock, 
in the enjoyment of a husk cigar, and occasionally 
striking at the flies with his rawhide whip. He 
called out to one of the women — his wife for the 


' Nina ! I want to eat something — is the guisado 

ready ? ' 

1 Not yet,' answered a voice from the hut. 

* Bring me a tortilla then, with chile Colorado.' 

* Querido — } T ou know there is no chile Colorado in 
the house,' was the reply. 

' Nina ! come here ! I want you.* 

The woman came out, and approached the ham- 
mock, but evidently with some mistrust. 

The zambo sat perfectly silent until she was close 
enough for his purpose, and then, suddenly raising 
the rawhide, which he had hitherto held behind him, 
he laid it "with all his strength over her back and 
shoulders. A thin chemisette was all that intervened 
to hinder the full severity of the blows, and these fell 
thick end fast, until the sufferer took courage and re- 
treated out of reach ! 

' Now, Nina, dear love ! the next time I call for a 
tortilla with chile Colorado you'll have it — won't you, 
lear pet ? ' 

And then laying himself back in his hammoci:, the 


savage uttered a roar of laughter, in which he was 
joined by the mulatto, who would have done just tho 
Banie by his better half for a like provocation ! 

It was just at this crisis Roblado pulled up in front 

of the hovel. 

Both got to their feet to receive him, and both 
saluted him with a gesture of respect. They knew 
who he was. The mulatto, as the principal man, 
took the principal part in the conversation, while the 

zambo hung in the background. 

The dialogue was carried on m a low tone on 
account of the woman and the boy Esteban. It re- 
sulted, however, in the hunters being engaged, as the 
padre had suggested, to track and follow the cibolero 
Carlos to death or capture. If the former, a large 
sum was to be their reward — if the latter, a sum still 
larger — nearly double ! 

With regard to assistance from the troops, neither 
mulatto nor zambo wished for any. Quite the con- 
trary. They had no desire that the magnificent 
bounty should be diminished by subdivision. As it 
stood, it would be a small fortune to both of them, 
and the brilliant prospect whetted their appetite for 
the success of the job. 

His errand having been thus accomplished, the 
officer rode back to the Presidio ; while the man- 
hunters immediately set about making preparations 
for expedition. 



The mulatto and zambo — Manuel and Pepe wers 
their respective names — in half-an-hour after were 
ready for the road. Their preparations did not cost 
them half that time ; but a quarter of an hour was 
spent on the guisado, and each smoked a husk cigarrito, 
while their horses were grinding up the half-dozen 
heads of green maize that had been thrown them. 

Having finished their cigars, the hunters leaped 
into their saddles, and rode off. 

The mulatto was armed with a long rifle, of the 
kind used by American hunters, and a knife of the 
sort since known as a ' Bowie,' with a strong thick 
blade keenly pointed and double-edged for some 
inches from the point — a terrible weapon in close 
combat. These arms he had brought with him from 
the Mississippi valley, where he had learnt how to 
use them. 

The zambo carried an escopeta strapped in a slant- 
ing direction along the flap of his saddle, a * machete 
upon his thigh, and a bow with a quiver of arrows 
hung over his back. The last of these weapons — for 
certain purposes, puch as killing game, or when a 

silent shot may be desirable — is preferred to any sort 
of fire-arms. Arrows can be delivered more rapidly 
fchAn bullets, and. should the first shot fail, the in 


tended victim is less likely to be made aware of the 
presence of his enemy. 

In addition "to these weapons, both had pistols 
stuck in their belts, and lazos hanging coiled from 

their saddle-bows. 

Behind them on the croup each carried his pro- 
visions — a few strips of tasajo with some cold tor- 
tillas tied in a piece of buckskin. A double-headed 
calabash for water, with sundry horns, pouches, and 
bags, completed their equipment. A pair of huge 
gaunt dogs trotted behind their horses' heels, fierce 
and savage-looking as their masters. One was the 
wolf-dog of the country, the other a Spanish blood- 

1 What road, Man! ? ' inquired the zambo as they 
parted from the hut ; * straight down to the Pecos ? ' 

' No, Pepe boy : must climb, go round. Seei- 
making down valley, somebody guess what we're 
after — send him word we're coming. He suspect 
we not grow rich so easily. No — must get up by old 
track — cross to dry gully — down that to Pecos. Take 
longer — make things surer, boy Pepe/ 

' Carrambo ! ' exclaimed Pepe. 4 It's a murderous 
climb. My poor beast's so jaded with the buffalo 
running, that he'll scarce get up. Carrai! ' 

After a short ride through the thicket and along 
the bottom of the cliffs, they arrived at a point where 
a ravine sloped to the upper plain. Up the bottom 
of this ravine was a difficult pass — difficult on account 
of its steepness. Any other horses than mountain- 
reared mustangs would have refused it, but these 
can climb like cats. Even the dogs could scarcely 
crawl up thia ascent. In spite of its almost vertical 


rflope, tlie hunters dismounted, crawled up, &nd s 
polling their horses after them, soon reached thu 
table-land above. 

After breathing themselves and their animals, they 
once more got astride, and, heading northward, rode 
rapidly off over the plain. 

' Now, boy Pepe,' muttered the mulatto, ' chance 
meet any sheep-keepers, going after antelope ; you 
hear ? ' 

' Ay, Man'l ; I understand/ 

These were the last words exchanged between 
them for ten miles. They rode in file — the mulatto 
in the lead, the zarnbo in his tracks, and the dogs 
following in the rear. These two went also in file, 
the bloodhound heading tho wolf. 

At the end of ten miles they reached a dry river 
channel, that ran transversely across their route. It 
was the same which Carlos and his party had followed 
on the day of their escape after the affair at the Pre- 
sidio. The hunters entered it, and, turning downward, 
as Carlos had done, followed it to its mouth upon the 
banks of the Pecos. Here was a grove of timber, 
which they entered, and, having dismounted, tied 
their horses to the trees. These animals, though 
lately arrived from a long jourrey, and now having 
passed over more than thirty miles at a brisk rate, 
showed no symptoms of being done up. Lean though 
they were, they possessed the tough wiry strength 
of their race, and either of them could have gone 
another hundred miles without breaking down. 

This their masters well knew, else they would 
have gone upon their man-hunt with less confidence 
of success. 


* May gallop away on his fine black.' remarked 
the mulatto, as lie glanced at the mustangs. ' Soon 
overhaul him again— won't we, boy Pepe?' 

* Chinga! we will.' 

* Brace of hacks tire out racer, — won't they, boy 
Pepe ? ' 

4 Chingaral So they will, Maul.' 

* Don't want to try that game though — do the job 
easier ; won't we, boy Pepe ? ' 

' 1 hope so, Man'L' 

' Cibolero in the cave sure — stays there — no better 
place for him. "Won't be caught sleeping, — troopers 
neA T er follow him up the pass. Convenient to valley. 
Goes back and forward spite of spies. Tracks could 
lead nowhere else — sure in the cave, horse and all. 
When? that the trouble, boy Pepe." 

' Es verdad ! if we knew when he was in, or when 
he was out, either.' 

* Ay, knew that, no difficulty, — set our trap easy 
enough, boy Pepe.' 

1 He must surely be there in daytime ? ' 
'Just been thinking — goes to the settlements — 
must be by night, that 's clear — goes there, boy Pepe, 
maybe not to rancho, somewhere near. Must go to 
meet Anton. Not like Anton meet him at cave — 
guero too sharp for that — goes out to meet Anton, 
sure ! ' 

* Might wo not track Anton ? ' 

* Might track Anton — no good that — would have 
to deal with both together. Besides, don't want kill 
Anton — no ill-will to Anton — make things worse if 
find Anton with him. Never do, boy Pepe — -have 
hands full with guero himself— plenty do capture biac. 


Must rot forget capture - not kill— leave that to 
them. £s"o use track Anton — know where t'othei 
keeps. If didn't know that, then might track 

' Can't w© get near the cave in daylight, Man'l ? 
I don't have a good memory of the place.' 

4 Mile — no nearer — unless he sleep — when sleep ? 
Tell me that, boy Pepe ! ' 

* And suppose he be awake ? ' 

4 See us enter the canon, mile off — jump into saddle, 
pass up to plain above— maybe three days before find 
him again — maybe not find at all, boy Pepe.' 

* Well, brother Man'l — I have a plan. Let us get 
near the mouth of the canon, and hide outside of it 
till night — then as soon as it is dark creep into where 
it narrows. lie will come down that way to go out. 
What then ? we can have a shot at him as he passes ! ' 

' Pooh, boy Pepe ! ' Think lose chance of half 
reward — risk whole by shot in dark ? Dam ! no — 
have whole or none — set us up for life — take him 
alive, take him alive, sure.' 

* Well then/ rejoined the zambo, 'let him pass cut 
of the canon, and when he's gone clear out of reach 
we can go up, get into the cave, and wait his return. 
What say you to that ? ' 

' Talk sense now, boy Pepe — something like plan 
about that — what we do — but not go inside canon till 
giiero clear away. Only near enough see him go out, 
then for cave — right plan to take him. Sun near 
3 own, time we start — come ! ' 

1 Vamo* ' ' 

Both mounted, and rode forward to the bank of the 
liver. There was no ford at the spot, but what of 


that ? With scarce a moment's delay they plunged 
their horses into the stream and swam across. The 
dogs followed their example, and all came out drip- 
ping on the opposite bank. The evening was chill, 
but what was heat or cold to such men ? Nothing 
signified their wet clothes to them ; and without halt- 
ing they rode straight forward to the ceja of the 
Llano Estacado, and having reached it turned to the 
right, and rode along the base of the bluffs. 

After following the line of the ceja for two or three 
miles they approached a spiir of the cliff that ran out 
into the plain, and gradually tapered to a point, sink- 
ing lower as it receded from the Llano. It ended in 
a clump, or rather several clusters, of isolated rocks 
and boulders that stood near each other. The place 
was not timbered, but the dark rocks irregularly 

oiled upon each other gave it a shaggy appearance ; 
and among their crevices, and the spaces between 
them, was ample room for even a large party both of 
men and horses to lie concealed. 

The end of this rocky promontory was the point 
towards which the mulatto was steering. It formed 
one side of the ravine in which lay the cave, while 
another similar ridge bounded the ravine on its 
southern side. Between them a deep bay indented 
the cliff, from which a narrow difficult pass opened up 
to the high, "plain above. It was the same ravine in 
which the cattle of the young ranchero Don Juan 
had been slaughtered ! These were no longer to be 
seen, but their bones were still visible, scattered 
over the plain, and already bleached white. The 
wolves, vultures, and bears, had prepared them fo* 



The man-hunters at length reached their destination ; 
and, having led their horses in among the loose 
boulders, fastened them securely. They then crept up 
through crevices in the rocks, until they had reached 
the crest of the ridge. From this poiut they commanded 
a view of the whole mouth of the land-bay, about three 
hundred yards in width, so that no object, such as a 
man or horse, could pass out or in "without their 
observing it — unless the night should chance to be 
very dark indeed. But they expected moonlight, by 
the help of which not even a cat could enter the 
ravine without their seeing it. 

Having found a spot to their liking, they lay down, 
with their bodies concealed from any one who might 
be passing on the plain below either in front of or 

behind them. Their horses were already hidden 
among the large masses of rock. 

To the minds of both their purposed plan of action 
was clearly understood. They had their reasons for 
believing that the cibolero, during his period of out- 
lawry, was dwelling in a cave that opened into this 
ravine, and which was well known to the mulatto ; 
that Carlos came out in the night, and approached the 
settlements — the place was but ten miles from his 
own rancho — and that he was met somewhere by 
Antonio, who gave him information of what was 
going on, bringing him provisions at the same time. 

It was their intention to w T ait until Carlos should 
pass out, then occupy the cave themselves, and attack 
him on his return. True they might have waylaid him 
ou his going forth, hut that might result in a failure. 
Catch him they could not while mounted. They 
might have crept near enough to get a shot at h-itr > 


but, as the mulatto had said, that would have risked 
ftheir losing him altogether. 

Moreover, neither wanted to take only his scalp. 
The mulatto in particular had resolved on earning the 
double price by taking him alive. Even though it cost 
them some additional risk, his capture would doubly 
reward them, and for money these desperadoes were 
ready to venture anything. Withal, they were not so 
daring as to have cared for an open encounter. They 
knew something of the mettle of ' el giiero/ but they 
trusted to the advantage they should obtain over him 
by stratagem. On starting out they had resolved to 
follow him up, and steal upon him when asleep — and 
the plan -which they had now formed had been the 
result of cogitations by the way. In Manuel's mind 
it had been developed long before the suggestion of 
the zambo. 

They rested their hopes upon the belief that their 
victim would not know that they were after him — he 
could not have heard of their return from the buffalo- 
hunt, and therefore would be less on the alert. Thev 
knew if Carlos became aware that they were upon his 
trail he would pursue a very different course from that 
observed towards his soldier pursuers. From these he 
could easily hide at any time upon the Llano Estacado, 
but it was different with men like the hunters, who, 
though they might not overtake him at the first burst, 
could follow on and find him again wherever he should 
ride to. 

But both mulatto and zambo believed that their 
presence would be unsuspected by the giiero, until 
they had laid hands upon him. Hence their confident 
of success. y 

331 the white chief. 

They certainly Lad taken measures that promised 
it, supposing their hypothesis to be correct — that is. 
supposing the cibolero to be in the cave at that 
moment, and that during the night he should coma 
out of the ravine. 

They were soon to know — the sun had ab^ady 
gone down. They would not have long to watch. 


Carlos was in the cave, and at that very moment. 
Ever since the affair at the Presidio he had made it 
his dwelling, his ' lair,' and for reasons very similar 
to those which the mulatto had imparted to his com- 
panion. It afforded him a safe retreat, and at a con- 
venient distance from his friends in the valley. Out 
of the ravine he could pass with safety by night, re- 
turning before da} r . Diuing the day he slept. Ho 
had little fear of being tracked thither by the troopers ; 
but even had they done so, his cave entrance com- 
manded a full view of the ravine to its mouth at 
nearly a mile's distance, and any one approaching 
from that direction could be perceived long before 
they were near. If a force of troopers should enter 
by the mouth of the ravine, though both sides were 
inaccessible cliffs, the cibolero had his way of escape. 
As already stated, a narrow pass, steep and difficult, 
led from the upper end of the gully to tho plain 
above. Steep and difficult as it was, it could be 
scaled by the black horse ; and, one© on tho wida 


plain of the Llano Estacado, Carlos could laugh a* 
ixis soldier-pursuers. 

The only time his enemies could have reached him 
would be during his hours of sleep, or after darkness 
had fallen. But Carlos was not afraid even then. He 
went to sleep with as much unconcern as if he had 
been surrounded by a body-guard ! This is explained 
by a knowledge of the fact that he had his guard — t 
faithful guard — the dog Cibolo ; for although Ciboi 
had received some lance-thrusts in his last territ^ 
encounter, he had escaped without any fatal wounA. 
He was still by the side of his master. While the 
latter slept the sagacious animal sat upon the ledge, 
and watched the ravine below. The sight of a sol- 
dier's uniform would have raised the hair along 
■Cibolo's back and drawn from him the warning growl. 
Even in the darkness no one could have got within 
several hundred yards of the cave without attracting 
the notice of the dog, who would have given his 
master time to get off from the most rapid pursuers. 

The cave was a large one, large enough to hold 
both men and horses. Water, pure crystal water, 
dripped from the rocks near its inner end, and la} r 
collected in a tank, that from its round bowl-like 
shape seemed to have been fashioned by the hand of 
man. But it was not so. Katurc had formed this 
bowl and filled it with choicest water. Such a for- 
mation is by no means uncommon in that region. 
Caves containing similar tanks exist in the Waco and 
Guadalupe Mountains lying still farther to the south. 

It was just tin spot for a hiding-place — a refuge 

for either robber, outlaw, or other fugitive ; and cii 

cumstanced as Carlos was it was the verv Iwelling 

y 3 


for him. Re had long known of its existence, and k« 

shared that knowledge only with hunters like himseH 
and the wild Indians. No settlers of the vallev ever 


vantured up that dark and dismal ravine. 

In his lair Carlos had ample time for reflection, 
ard bitter often were his reflections. He had infor- 
mation of all that passed. Antonio managed that. 
Nightly did he meet Antonio at a point on the Pecos, 
and receive from him the ' novedades ' of the settle- 
ment. The cunning mulatto had guessed correctly. 
Had Antonio brought his news direct to the cave, he 
might have been followed, and the hiding-place of 
Carlos have been thus discovered. To prevent that 
the cibolero nightly went forth to meet him. 

Antonio, in collecting the news of the settlement, 
found in the young girl Josefa an able adjutant. 
Through her he learnt that Catalina de Cruces was 
Kept under lock and key— that Eoblado had only been 
wounded, and would recover — that new officers went 
out with the scouting parties — and that his master's 
head had risen in price. The shallow artifice of the 
spies around the rancho had long been known to 
Carlos. Shallow as it was, it greatly annoyed him, 
as by these he was prevented from visiting his mother 
and sister. Through Antonio, however, he kept up 
almost daily communication with them. He might 
have been apprehensive in regard to his sister after 
what had occurred, but the villain Vizcarra was an 
invalid, and Carlos rightly judged why Rosita was 
permitted to go unmolested. He had little fear for 
lier — at least for a time — and ere that time expired 
he should bear her away, far out of the reach of suci 
» danger. 


It was for that opportunity he was now waiting. 
With all the vigilance of his foes, he had no fear "but 
that he could steal his own mother and sister almost 
at any time. But another was to be the companion 
of their flight — another dear as thej', and far nioro 
closely guarded ! 

For her only did he risk life daily — for her only 
did he sit hour after hour in that lone cave brooding 
over plans, and forming schemes of desperate peril. 

Kept under lock and key — closely watched from 
morn to night, and night till morning — how was she 
to be rescued from such a situation ? This was the 
problem upon which his mind now dwelt. 

She had given him the assurance of her willingness 
-to go. Oh ! why had he not proposed instant flight ? 
Why did he neglect that golden moment ? Why 
should either have thought of delay? That delay 
had been fatal— might retard their purpose for months, 
for }*ears — perhaps for ever ! 

But little cared Carlos for the anger of his enemies 
•little for the contempt in which he was held 
throughout the settlement — she alone was his care — 

his constant solicitude. His waking hours were all 
given to that one thought — how he would rescue, not 
himself, but his mistress. 

No wonder he looked anxiously for the night — no 
•wonder he rode with impatient eagerness towards that 
lone rendezvous on the Pecos. 

Night had come again ; and, leading his horse 
down the slope in front of the cave, he mounted and 
•rode off toward the mouth of the canon. The dog 
€ibolo trotted in advance of him. 




Ihk man-hunters had not long to wait. They had 
anticipated this. There was a moon which they hat? 
also expected. It was a bright moon at intervals, and 
then obscured — for minutes at a time — by the passage? 
of dark clouds over the canopy. 

There was no wind, however, and the air was per- 
fectly still. The slightest noise could have been 
heard for a long distance in the atmosphere of that 
elevated region — so pure and light that it vibrated 
afar with the slightest concussion. 

Sounds were heard, but they were not made by 
either the dogs or horses of the hunters — well trained 
to silence — nor by the hunters themselves. Both lay 
stretched in silence ; or if they spoke, it was only i& 
whispers and low mutterings. 

The sounds were those of nature — such as it exists 
in that wild region. The ' snort' of the grizzly bear 
from the rocky ledge — the howling bark of the coyote 
— the ' hoo-hoop ' of the burrowing owl, and the shrill' 
periodical cries of the bull-bat and goat-sucker. For 
a while these were the only sounds that fell upon the 

ears of the ambushed hunters. 

Half-an-liour elapsed, and during all that time 
atVher permitted their eyes or ears to rest for a mo- 
iLciit. They gazed up the ravine, and at interval* 


glanced outwards upon the plain. There was a pro* 
hability that their victim might be abroad — even in 
the day — an d wi th such men no pr obabili ty was 
allowed to pass without examination. Should it 
prove to be so, and he were to return at that time, 
it would frustrate the plan the\ had arranged. But 
for such a contingency the mulatto had conceived an- 
other — that was, to steal during the night as near the 
cave as possible — within rifle-shot if he could — wait 
until the giiero should make his appearance in the 
morning, and icing him with a bullet from his rifle — 
in the use of which weapon the yellow hunter was 
well skilled. To shoot the horse was another design. 
The horse once killed or crippled, the cibolero would 

be captured to a certainty ; and both had made up 
their minds, in case a good opportunity offered, tc 
despatch the noble animal. 

These men knew a certain plan by which their 
victim could be killed or captured — that is, supposing 
they had been certain he was in the cave — a plan 
which could scarce have failed. But yet, for reasons 
of their own, they would not adopt it. 

It would have been simple enough to have con- 
ducted a party of dragoons to the head of the pass, 
and there have stationed them, while another party 
entered the canon from below. As the sides of tho 
ravine were impassable precipices, the retreat of the 
cibolero would have been thus cut off at both ends. 
True, tc have reached the upper plain, without going 
through the ravine itself — and that, as we have seen 
would have defeated such a plan — would have cost a 
journey to the troop to be stationed above. Bui 
neither Yiz^arra nor Eoblado would have grudged 


either the time or the men to have rendered success 
thus sure. The mulatto and his dusky camarado knew 
all this perfectly, but to have caused such a plan to 
be put in execution was the last thought in their minds. 
Such a course would have been attended with but 
little peril to thern, but it would have brought as little 
pay, for every trooper in the whole band would have 
claimed equal share in the promised reward. That 
would not be satisfactory to the hunters, whose heads 
and knowledge had furnished the means and the 


Neither entertained any idea of following such a 
course. Both were confident in their ability to effect 
their object without aid from any quarter. 

From the time they had taken their station on the 
rock, half-an-hour was all they had to wait. At the 
end of that period the quick ears of both caught the 
sound of some one coming from the direction of the 
ravine. They heard a horse's hoof striking upon loose 
shingle, and the rattling of the displaced pebbles. A 
debris of broken fragments filled the bottom of the 
ravine, brought there during rain-torrents. Over this 
ran the path. A horseman was coming down it. 

' The giiero !' muttered the mulatto ; ' be sure, boy 

' Trust you for a guess, brother Man'l : you were 
right about the tracks we first fell in with. The cave'a 
his hiding-place to a certainty. "We'll have him sure 
when he comes back. Carrai! yonder he comes !' 

As the zambo spake, a tall dark form was perceived 
approaching down the ravine. By the moon gleam- 


ing upon it, they could make out the figure of a horse 
and. rider. They had no longer any doubt it was 
their intended victim. 

' Brother Man'V whispered the zambo, ' suppose 
he passes near ! why not bring down the horse ? you 
can't miss in this fine light— both of us can aim at the 
horse ; if we stop him we'll easily overtake the giiero.' 

' Won't do, boy l*epe — not easily overtake giiero 
a-foot. Get off among rocks — hide for days — can't 
track him a-foot — be on his guard after— give ua 
trouble — old plan best— let pass — have him safe when 
he come back — have him sure. 

' But Man 1 ! ' 

' Dam ! no need for buts — always in a hurry, bo} 
Fepe — have patience — no buts, no fear. See, now ! ' 

This last exclamation was intended to point out to 
Pepe that his suggestion, even though a wise one, 
could not have been carried out, as the horseman was 
not going to pass within range of either rifle or 

It was plain he was heading down the middle of 
the caiion, keeping equally distant from the sides, 
and this course would carry him out into the open 
plain two hundred yards from the ambush of tho 

So did it, for in a few moments he was opposite the 
spot where they lay, and at full that distance from 
them. A shot from a hunter's rifle would not have 
reached him, and the bullet of an escopeta would 
Tiave been an uncertain messenger. Neither thought 
of firing, but lay in perfect silence, firmly holding 
their dogs down in the crevice of the rocks, and bj 
gestures enjoining them to be stilL 


The horseman advanced, guiding his horse at a 
slow pace, and evidently observing caution as La 
went. AVhile passing, the moon shone full upon hiit, 
and the bright points of his harness and arms were 
seen sparkling under her light. His fair complexion, 
too, could be distinguished easily, as also his fino 
erect figure, and the noble outlines of^iis horse. 

4 The giiero ! ' muttered Manuel ; ' all right, boy 

Pepe ! ' 

' What's yon ahead ?' inquired the zambo. 

' Ha ! didn't notice that. Dam ! a dog ! dog, sure.' 

' It is a dog. Malraya ! ' 

' Devil roast that dog ! — heard of him before — ■ 
splendid dog, boy Pepe. Dam ! that dog give us 
trouble. Lucky, wind t'other way. Safe enough 
now. Dam ! see ! ' 

At this moment the horseman suddenly stopped, 
looking suspiciously in the direction of the rocky 
spur where they lay. The dog had given some sign. 

' Dam ! ' again muttered the mulatto ; ' that dog 
give us trouble yet — thank our luck, wind t'other 


There was not much wind either way, but what 
there was was in the faces of the hunters, and blow- 
ing yrom the horseman. Fortunately for them it was 
so, elso Cibolo would have scented them to a cer- 

Even as things stood, their ambush was neai 
enough discovery. Some slight noise from that quar 
ter — perhaps the hoof of one- of their horses against 
the turf — had awakened tho dog's suspicions — though. 
nothing had been heard by his master. Keither wai 
the dog sure — for the next moment he threw dowr 


his head and trotted on. The horseman followed 
and in a few minutes both were out of sight, 

' Now, boy Pepe, for the cave I ' 

1 Vamos I y 

Both descended from the ridge, and, mounting thei? 
horses, rode through among the scattered rocks. They 
entered the ravine, and kept up its edge until the gra- 
dual narrowing brought them into the same path by 
which the horseman had lately descended. Up this 
they rode, keeping their eyes bent on the cliff to the 
right — for on that side was the cave. 

They had no fear of their tracks being discernible, 
even should the giiero return by daylight, for the 
path lay over hard rock already marked by the hoofs 
of his own horse. For all that the mulatto was un- 
easy ; and at intervals repeated half to himself, and 
half in the hearing of his companion, — ■ 

'Dam! dog give trouble, sure give trouble 


At length the mouth of the cave, like a dark spot 

upon the rock, appeared on one side. After silently 

dismounting, and leaving his horse with Pepe, the 

mulatto crawled up the ledge and reconnoitred the 

entrance. Even the probability that some one might 

nave been left there was not overlooked by this keen 

hunter, and every precaution was taken. 

After listening a moment at the entrance he sent 

in the dogs, and, as neither bark nor howl came out 

again, he was satisfied that all was safe. He then 

crawled in himself, keeping on the shadowy side of 

the rock. When he had got fairly within the cavern, 

he struck a light, at the same time shading it so that 

vte gleam might not fall on the outside. With this he 

344 niE WHITE CIIIEr. 

made a hurried examination of the interior ; and, 
now satisfied that the place was untenanted, he came 
out again, and beckoned his comrade to bring up the 

These were led into the cave. Another recon 
naissance was made, in which the few articles used 
by Carlos for eating and sleeping were discovered 
upon a dry ledge. A serape, a small hatchet for cut- 
ting firewood, an olla for cooking, two or three cups, 
some pieces of jerked meat and fragments of bread, 
were the contents of the cavern. 

The best of these were appropriated by the in- 
truders ; and then, after fastening their horses in a 
secure corner, and making themselves thoroughly 
acquainted with the shape and position of the rocky 
interior, the light was extinguished, and, like beasts 

of prey, they placed themselves in readiness to re 
ceive their unsuspecting victim. 


Carlos, en leaving his cave, proceeded with tiie 
caution natural to one circumstanced as he was. But 
this night he was more than usually careful. He 
6canned every bush and rock that stood near his path, 
and that might have sheltered an enemy. Why to 
night more cautious than before ? Because a sus- 
picion had crossed his mind— and that, too, having 
reference to the very men who wore at the niuimauf 
A ambush so near him ! 


At various times of late had his thoughts reverted 
to these men. He knew them well, and knew the 
hostile feelings with which both, but particularly 
tho mulatto, regarded him. He thought of the pro- 
bability of their being set upon his trail, and he knew 
their capability to follow it. This had made him 
more uneasy than all the scouting of the dragoons 
with their unpractised leaders. He was aware that, 
if the cunning mulatto and his scarce less sagacious 
comrade were sent after him, his cave would not 
shelter him long, and there would be an end to his 
easy communication with the settlement. 

These thoughts were sources of uneasiness ; and 
would have been still more so, had he not believed 
that the hunters were absent upon the plains. Under 
this belief ho had hopes of being able to settle his 
Affairs and get off before their return. That morning, 
nowever, his hopes had met with discouragement. 

It was a little after daylight when he returned to 
his hiding-place. Antonio, watched closely by the 
spies, had not been able to reach the rendezvous until 
a late hour, — hence the detention of Carlos. On 
going back to his cave he had crossed a fresh trail 
coming in from the northern end of the Llano Esta- 
cado. It was a trail of horses, mules, and dogs ; and 
Carlos, on scrutinising it, soon acquainted himself 
with the number of each that had passed. He knew 
it was tho exact number of these animals possessed 
by the yellow hunter and his comrade ; and tlnV 
startled him with the suspicion that it was the return 
trail of these men from their hunt upon the prairies I 

A further examination quite assured him of the 
trnth of this. The footprints of one of the dogs 


differed from the rest ; and although a large one, it 

was not the track of the common -wolf-dog of the 
country. He had heard that the yellow hunter had 

lately become possessed of a large bloodhound. These 

must be his tracks ! 

Carlos rode along the trail to a point where it had 
crossed an old path of his own leading to the ravine. 
To his astonishment he perceived that, from this 
point, one of the horsemen, with several of the dogs, 
had turned off and followed his own tracks in that 
direction ! No doubt the man had been trailing him. 
After going some distance, however, the latter had 
turned again and ridden back upon his former course. 

Carlos would have traced this party farther, as he 
knew they must have passed on the evening before. 
But as it was now quite day, and their trail evidently 
led to the settlements, he dared not ride in that direc- 
tion, and therefore returned to his hiding-place. 

The incident had rendered him thoughtful and 
apprehensive throughout the whole of that day; and 
as he rode forth his reflections were upon this very 
subject — hence the caution of his movements. 

As he emerged from the ravine, the dog, as stated, 
made a demonstration, by suddenly turning toward 
the rocks, and uttering a low growl. This caused 
Carlos to halt, and look carefully in that direction. 
But he could see nothing that appeared suspicious ; 
and the dog, after a moment's pause, appeared satisfied 
and trotted on again. 

' Some wild animal, perhaps,' thought Carlos, as 
he set his horse in motion, and continued on over the 

Mten fairly out into the open ground, he quickened 


his pace ; and after a ride of about six or seven miles 

arrived on the banks of the Pecos. Here he turned 

down-stream, and, once more riding with cauticn, 

approached a grove of low timber that grew upon the 

bank. This grove was the point of rendezvous. 

"When within a hundred yards of it, the cibolero 

a! ted upon the plain. The dog ran on before him, 

uartered the grove, and then returned to his master. 

The horseman then rode boldly in under the shadow 

of the trees, and, dismounting, took station upon one 
side of the timber, to watch for the coming of his 
expected messenger. 

His vigil was not of long duration. In a few 
minutes a man on foot, bent into a crouching attitude, 
was seen rapidly advancing over the plain. "When 
he had arrived within three hundred yards of the 
grove, he stopped in his tracks, and uttered a low 
whistle. To this signal the cibolero replied, and the 
man, again advancing as before, was soon within the 
shadow of the grove. It was Antonio. 

4 Were you followed, amigo ? ' asked Carlos. 

* As usual, master ; but I had no difficulty in 
throwing them off.' 

' Hereafter it may not be so easy/ 

' How, master ? ' 

1 I know your news — the yellow hunter has got 

back ? ' 

' Carrambo I it is oven so ! How did you hear it, 
master ? ' 

' This morning, after you had left me, I crossed a 
trail — I knew it must be theirs.' 

' It was theirs, master. They came in last evening 
but I have worse news than that.' 


: Worse ! — what ? 

* They're after you !' 

f Ha ! already 1 I guessed that they "would be, but 
not so soon. How know you, Anton !' 

' Josefa — she has a brother "who is a kind of errand- 
N>y to Padre Joaquin. This morning the Padre took 
hira over to the Presidio, and from there sent him to 
guide Captain Koblado to the yellow hunter's hut. 
The Padre threatened the boy if he should tell any 
one; but on his return to the mission he called on his 
mother; and Josefa, suspecting he had been on some 
strange errand — for he showed a piece of silver — got it 
all out of him. He couldn't tell what Roblado and 
i-.he hunters talked about, but he fancied the latter 
Tere preparing to go somewhere as he left them. 
Now, putting one thing with another, I'm of the mind, 
master, they're on your trail.' 

* No doubt of it, amigo — I haven't the slightest 
doubt of it. So — I'll be chased out of my cave — that's 
certain. I believe they have a suspicion of where I 
am already. "Well, I must try to find another resting- 
place. 'Tis well I have got the wind of these rascals 

they'll not catch me asleep, which no doubt they 
flatter themselves they're going to do. What other 


'Nothing particular. Josefa saw the girl Vicenza 

last night in company with Jose, but she has had no 

opportunity of getting a word with the senorita, who 

is watched closely. She has some business with the 

portero's wife to-morrow. She hopes to hear some- 
thing from her.' 

'Good Antonio,' said Carlos, dropping a piece of 
money into the other's hand, 'give this to Josefa 


tell her to be active. Our hopes rest entirely with 

' Don't fear, master! ' replied the half-blood. 

* Josefa will do her best, for the reason that,' smiling, 

* her hopes, I believe, rest entirely upon me/ 

Carlos laughed at the na'ice remark of his faithful 
companion, and then proceeded to inquire about 
other matters, — about his mother and sister, about the 
troopers, the spies, and Don Juan. 

About the last Antonio could give him no informa- 
tion that was new. Don Juan had been arrested the 
day after the affair at the Presidio, and ever since had 
been kept a close prisoner. The charge against him 
was his having been an accomplice of Carlos, and his 
trial would tako place whenever the latter should bo 
cap t Tired. 

Half-an-hour was spent in conversation, and then 
Carlos, having received from the half-blood the 
packages containing provisions, prepared to return to 
his hiding-place in the Llano Estacado. 

' You will meet me here to-morrow night again, 
Anton,' said he at parting. ' If anything should 
happen to prevent me coming, then look for me the 
night after, and the night after that. So buenas noches, 
amigo ! ' 

i Buenas noches, mi amo ! ' (' Good night, master 1 ') 

And with this salutation the friends — for they were 
go — turned their backs on each other and parted. 

Antonio went crouching back in the direction of 
the valley ; while the cibolero, springing to his saddle, 
node cff toward the frowning bluffs of the Llano. 




The * report * delivered by Antcnio was of a charactei 
to have caused serious apprehension to the cibolerc 
— fear, in fact, had he been the man to have such a 


feeling. It had the effect of still further increasing 
his caution, and his mind was now bent with all its 
energies upon the craft of taking care of himself. 

Had he contemplated an_ open fight, even with the 
two strong men who were seeking him, he would 
have been less uneasy about the result ; but he knew 
that, strong as they were, these ruffians would not 
attack him without some advantage. They would 
make every effort to surprise him asleep, or otherwise 
lake him unawares Against their wiles he had now 

to guard himself. 

He rode slowly back to the ravine, his thoughts all 
the while busied about the yellow hunter and his- 

1 They must know of the cave,' so ran his reflec- 
tions. ' Their following my trail yesterday is ar. 
evidence that they suspected something in the direc- 
tion of the ravine. Thev had no doubt heard of latw 
affairs before getting so far. Some hatero on the outer 
plains has told them all, very like ; well, what then ? 
They have hastened on to the mission. Ha ! the 
.Padre - Joaquin took the boy over to the Presidio. I 


Bee — 1 see — the Padre is the ' patron ' of these two 
ruffians. They have told him something, else why 

6hould he be off to the Presidio so early ? News 
from them--and then Iloblado starting directly after 
to seek them! Clear— clear— they have discovered 
my hiding-place ! ' 

After a pause : — 

4 What if they have reached the ravine in my 
absence ? Let me see. Yes, they've had time 
enough to get round ; that is, if they started soon 
after Boblado's interview. The boy thinks the} 7 did. 
By Heaven! it's not too soon for me to be on the 
alert. ' 

As this thought passed through the cibolero's mind, 
he reined up his horse ; and, lowering his head, 
glanced along the neck of the animal into the darkness 
before him. He had now arrived at the mouth of {he 
canon, and nearly on the same track by which he 
had ridden out of it ; but the moon was under thick 
clouds, and the gloom of the ravine was no longer 
relieved by her light. 

* It would be their trick,' reflected lie, ' to get 
inside the canon, at its narrow part, and wait for me 
to come out of the cave. They would waylay me 
pretty handy there. Now suppose they are up the 
canon at this moment! y 

For a moment he paused and dwelt upon this 
hypothesis. Pie proceeded again. 

* A Veil, let them ; I'll ride on. Cibolo can beat the 

rocks a shot's range ahead of me. If they're ambushed 

there without him finding them, they'll be sharper 

fellows than I take them to be ; and I don't consider 

them flats, either, the scoundrels! If be start them, 

z 2 


I can soon gallop back out of tLeir reach. Herei 
Cibolo ! ' 

The dog, that had stopped a few paces m front, 
now came running back, and looked up in his master's 
face. The latter gave him a sign, uttering the simple 
word ' Anda ! ' 

At the word the animal sprang off, and commenced 
quartering the ground for a couple of hundred yards 
in advance. 

Following him, the horseman moved forward. 

In this way he approached the point where the 
two walls converging narrowed the canon to a space 
of little more than a hundred yards. Along the bases 
of the cliffs, on both sides, lay large loose rocks, that 
would have given cover to men in ambush, and even 
horses might have been concealed behind them. 

' This/ thought Carlos, ' would be the place chosen 
for their cowardly attack. They might hit me from 
eilner side with hsM an aim. But Cibolo makes nc 
sign. — Ha ! ' 

The last exclamation was uttered in a short sharp 
tone. It had been called forth by a low yelp from 
the dog. The animal had struck the trail where the 
yellow hunter and his companion had crossed to the 
middle of the ravine. The moon had again emerged 
from the clouds, and Carlos could see the dog dashing 
swiftly along the pebbles and up the ravine towards 
the mouth of the cavern ! 

His roaster would have called him back, for he was 
leaving the loose rocks unsearched, and, without that 
being done, Carlos felt that it would be perilous to 
proceed farther ; but the swiftness with which the 
^og had gone forward showed that he was on a fresh 



trail; and it now oesurred to the cibolero tnat bis 

enemies might he within the cave itself! 

The thought had hardly crossed his mind when the 
dog uttered several successive yelps ! Although he 
had got out of sight, his master knew that he was at 
that moment approaching the mouth of trje cave, and 
running upon a fresh scent. 

Carlos drew up his horse and listened. Ke dare 
proceed no farther. He dared not recall the dog. 
His voice would have been heard if any one were 
near. He reflected that he could do no better than 
wait till the dog should return, or by his attack give 
some sign of what he was after. It might, after all, 
be the grizzly bear, or some other animal, he was 

The cibolero sat upon his horse in perfect silence 

■not unprepared though for any sudden attack. 
His true rifle lay across his thighs, and he had already 
looked to its flint and priming. He listened to every 
sound, while Jus eyes pierced the dark reeesst^ of the 
ravine before and around him. 

For only a few moments this uncertainty lasted, 
and then back down the chasm came a noise that 
caused the listener to start in his saddle. It re- 
sembled the worrying of dogs, and for a incment 
Carlos fancied that Cibolo had made his attack upoi 
a bear! Only a moment did this illusion last, for 
His quick ear soon detected the voices of more dogs* 
than one ; and in the fierce confusion he distinguished 
the deep-toned bark of a bloodhound! 

The whole situation became clear to him at once. 
His enemies ha I been awaiting him in the cave— tor 
from it he was certain that the sounds pvoceeded r 


8. 1 } 1 THE WHITE CHIEF, 

Ili.s first instiiict was to wheel his horse and gallop 
out of the caiion. He waited a moment, however, 
and listened. 

The worrying noise continued, hut, amid the roar 
and barking of the dogs, Carlos could distinguish the 
voices of men, uttered in low hurried tones, as li 
addressing the dogs and also one another. 

All at once the conflict appeared to cease, for the 
animals became silent, except the hound, who at 
intervals gave out his deep loud "fray. In a moment 
more he, too, was silent. 

Carlos knew by this silence that Cibolo had either 
been killed upon the spot, or, having been attacked 
by men, had sheered off. In either case it would be 
of no use waiting his return. If alive, he knew that 
the dog would follow and overtake him. Without 
further delay, therefore, he turned his horse's head, 
and galloped back down the ravine. 



On arriving at the month of the ravine he halted-- 
not in the middle of the plain, but under the shadow 
of the rocks — the same rocks where the hunters had 
placed themselves in ambush. Tie did not dismount, 
but sat in his saddle, gazing up the canon, and listen 
ing for some token of the expected pursuit. 

He had not been long in this spot when he pei 
eeived a dark object approaching him. It gave him 

THE wniTK cniEP. 35& 

joy, for he recognised Cibolo coming along his trail. 
The next moment the dog was by his stirrup. The 
cibolcro bent down in his saddle, and perceived that 
the poor brute was badty cut and bleeding profusely. 
Several gashes appeared along his side, and one near 
his shoulder exhibited a flap of hanging skin, over 
which the red stream was pouring. The animal waa 
evidently weak from loss of blood, and tottered in his 

* Amigo ! ' said Carlos, * you have saved my life to 
a certainty. It 's my turn to save yours — if I can.' 

As he said this he dismounted, and, taking the dog 
in his arms, climbed back into the saddle. 

For a while he sat reflecting what to do, with his 
eyes turned in the direction from which he expected 
the pursuit. 

He had now no doubt as to who w r cre the occupants 
of the cave. The bay of the hound was satisfactory 
evidence of the presence of the yellow hunter, and of 
course the zambo was along with him. Carlos knew 
of no other bloodhound in the settlement — the one 
heard must be that of the mulatto. 

For some minutes he remained by the rocks, con- 
sidering what course he had best take. 

' 1 11 ride on to the grove,' reflected he, ( and hide 
in it till Antonio comes. They can't track me this 
night — it will bo too dark. The whole sky is bo- 
coming clouded — there will be no more moon to-night 
I can lie hid all day to-morrow, if they don't follow 
If they do, why, I can see them far enough off to ride 
away. My poor Cibolo, how you bleed ! Heavens, 

what a gash ! Patience, brave friend ! "When we 
halt, y \ir wounds shall be looked to. Yes ! to the 


grove I '11 go. They won't suspect me of taking that 
direction, as it is towards the settlements. Besides 
they can't trail me i-n the darkness. Ha! what am 1 
thinking of ? — not trail me in the darkness ! What ! 
I had forgotten the bloodhound ! God, preserve 
me ! These fiends can follow me were it as dark as 
pitch ! God preserve me ! * 

An anxious expression came over his countenance, 
and partly from the burden he held in his arms, and 
partly from the weight of his thoughts, he dropped 
into an attitude that betokened deep depression. For 
the first time the hunted outlaw showed symptoms of 

For a long while he remained with his head lean 
ing forward, and his body bent over the neck of his 

But he had not yet yielded to despair. 

All at once he started up, as if some thought, sud- 
denly conceived, had given him hopes. A new reso- 
lution seemed to have been taken. 

* Yes ! ' he soliloquised, ' I shall go to the grove — 
direct to the grove. Ha! you bloodthirsty yellow- 
skin, I '11 try your boasted skill. We shall see — we 
shall see. Maybe you '11 get your reward, but not 
that you are counting up>n. You have yet some- 
thing to do before you take the scalp of Carlos the 

cibolero ! ' 

lluttering these words ho turned his horse's head, 

renewed his hold of the dog and the bridle, and set 
off across the plain. 

He rode at a rapid pace, and without casting a look 
behind him. He appeared to be in a hurry, though 
It could not be from fear of being overtaken. No one 


#ftb likely to come up with him, so long a& tie kept 
on at such a pace. 

He was silent, except now and then when he atl 
dressed some kind word to the dog Cibolo, whoso 
blood ran over his thighs, and down the flanks of the- 
horse. The poor brute was weak, and could no 
longer have kept his feet. 

* Patience, old friend ! — patience ! — you shall soon 
nave rest from this jolting/ 

In less than an hour he had reached the lone grove 
on the Pecos— the same where he had lately parted 
ivith Antonio. Here he halted. It was the goal of 
his journey. Within that grove he had resolved on 
passing the remainder of the night, and, if not dis 
turbed, the whole of the following da}% 

The Pecos at this point, and for many miles above 
and below, ran between low banks that rose vertically 
from the water. On both sides its ' bottom ' was a 
smooth plain, extending for miles back, whore it 
Btepped up to a higher level. It was nearly treeless. 
Scattered clumps grew at distant intervals, and along 
its margin a slight fringing of willows. This fringe 
was not continuous, but broken here and there by 
gaps, through which the water might be seen. The 
timber clumps were composed of cotton-wood trees 
and live-oak, with acaeias forming an underwood, and 
occasionally plants of cactus growing near. 

These groves were so small, and so distant from 
each other, that they did not intercept the general 
view of the surface, and a person occupying one of 
them could see a horseman, or other large object, at 
a great distance. A man concealed in them could 
not have been approached by his enemy in daylight, 


if awake and watching. At night, of tourie, it wa& 

different, and tho security then afforded depended 
upon the degreo of darkness. 

The ' motte' at which the cibolero had arrived was 
far apart from any of the others, and commanded a 
view of the river bottom on both sides tor more than 
a mile's distance. The grove itself was but a few 
acres in size, but the fringe of willows running along 
the stream at both ends gave it, when viewed from a 
distance, the appearance of a wood of larger dimen- 
sions. It stood upon the very bank of the stream, 
and the selvedge of willows looked like its prolonga- 
tion. These, however, reached but a few feet from 
the water's edge, while the grove timber ran out 
several hundred yards into the plain. 

About this grove there was a peculiarity. Its cen- 
tral part was not timbered, but open, and covered 
only with a smooth sward of gramma-grass. It was, 
in fact, a glade, nearly circular in shape, and about 
a hundred yards in diameter. On one side of this 
glade the river impinged, its bank being almost a. 
tangent line to it. Here there was a gap in tho 
timber, so that out of the glade could be obtained a 
view of the bottom on the other side of the stream. 
Diametrically opposite to this gap another opening, 
of an avenue-liko form, led out into the adjacent 
plain, so that the grove was in reality bisected by an 
open line, which separated it into two groves, nearly 
ei^ual in extent. This separation could only be ob- 
served from certain positions in the plain— one on 
each side of the river. 

The glade, the avenue of a dozen yards loading 
feom it to the outside plain, and the plain itself, were 


ftll perfect])' level, and covered with a smooth turf. 
Any object upon their surface would be easily per- 
ceptible at a distance. The grove was thickly stocked 
with underwood — principally the smaller species of 
* mezquitc.' There was also a network of vines and 
llianas that, stretching upward, twined around the 
limbs of the live oaks — the latter forming the highest 
and timber of all. The underwood was im- 
penetrable to the eye, though a hunter could have 
crept through it in pursuit of game. At night, how- 
ever, even under moonlight, it appeared a dark and 
impassable thicket. 

On one side of the glade, where the ground was 
dry and sandy, there stood a small clump of pitahaya 
cactus. There were not over a dozen plants in all, 
but two or three of them were large specimens, send- 
ing up their soft succulent limbs nearly as high as 
the live oaks. Standing by themselves in massive 
columns, and so unlike the trees that surrounded 
them, they gave a peculiar character to the scene ; 
and the eye, unaccustomed to these gigantic can 
delabra, would scarce have known to what kingdom 
of nature they belonged — so unlike were they to the 
ordinary forms of vegetation. 

Such were the features of the spot where tha 
huated outlaw sought shelter for the night. 



Carlos spoke the truth, when he gave his d >g the 
credit of having saved his life, or, at all events, hia 
liberty, which in the end amounted to the same 
thing. But for the sagacious brute having preceded 
him, he would certainly have entered the cave, and 
as certainly would he have been captured. 

His cunning adversaries had taken every step ne 
cessary for securing him. They had hidden their 

horses far back in the cavern. They had placed 
themselves behind the jutting rocks — one on each 
side of the entrance- -so that the moment he should 
have shown himself they were prepared to spring 
upon him like a brace of tigers. 

Their dogs, too, were there to aid them — crouched 
by the side of their masters, and along with them, 
ready to seize upon the unsuspecting victim. 

It was a well-planned ambuscade, and so far well 
executed. The secrecy with which the hunters had left 
the settlement, and made their roundabout journey — 
their adroit approach to the ravine — their patieni 
behaviour in watching till Carlos had ridden out of 
the way, and their then taking possession of the cave, 
were all admirably executed manoeuvres. 

How was it possible the cibolero could be aware of, 
»r even suspect, their presence? They did not for 


& moment fancy that lie knew of their return from 
their hunting expedition. It was quite dark the 
night before, when they had passed up the valley to 
the mission ; and after unpacking the produce of their 
hunt, which had been done without observation, the 
Padre Joaquin had enjoined on them not to show 
themselves in the town before he should send them 
word. But few of the mission servants, then, knew 
of their return ; and for the rest, no one knew any- 
thing who would or could have communicated it to 
Carlos. Therefore, reasoned they, he could have no 
suspicion of their being in the cave. As to their 
trail up the ravine, he would not notice it on his 
return. He would only strike it where it led over 
the shingle, and, of course, there it would not be 
visible even in daylight. 

Never was a trap better set. He would walk into 
the cave unsuspectingly, and perhaps leading his 
horse. They would spring upon him — dogs and all 
— and pinion him before he could draw either pistol 
or knife ! There seemed no chance for him. 

For all that there was a chance, as the yellow hun- 
ter well knew ; and it was that which caused him at 
intervals to mutter, — 

' Dam ! fear dog give us trouble, boy Pepe/ 

To this the zambo's only response was the bitter 
shibboleth — ' Carajo ! ' showing "that both were un- 
easy about the dog. Long before this time both had 
Heard of the fame of Cibolo, though neither had a full 
knowledge of the perfect training to which that saga- 
cious animal had attained. 

They reflected that, should the dog enter the cave 
first, they would be discovered by him, and warning 


given to his master. Should he enter it before the 
latter had got near, the chances were that their am- 
buscade would prove a failure. On the other hand, 
should the dog remain in the rear, all would go right. 
Even should he approach at the same time with his 
master, so that the latter might get near without 
being alarmed, there would still be a chance of their 
rushing out upon and shooting either horse or rider. 

Thus reasoned these two treacherous ruffians in the 
interim of the cibolero's absence. 

They had not yet seated themselves in the posi- 
tions they designed to take by the entrance of the 
cave. They could occupy these at a moment's warn- 
ing. They stood under the shadow of the rocks, 
keeping watch down the ravine. They knew they 
might be a long time on their vigil, and they made 
themselves as comfortable as possible by consuming 
the meagre stock of provisions which the cibolero 
had left in the cave. The mulatto, to keep out the 
cold, had thrown the newly appropriated blanket 
upon his shoulders. A gourd of chingarito, which 
they had taken care to bring with them, enabled 
them to pass the time cheerfully enough. The only 
drawback upon their mirth was the thought of the 
dog Cibolo, which ever}- now and again intruded 
itself upon the mind of the yellow hunter, as well as 
upon that of his darker confrere. 

Their vigil was shorter than either had anticipated, 
They fancied that their intended victim might make 
a long ride of it — perhaps to the borders of the settle 
ment — that he might have business that would detain 
him, and that it might bo near morning before h$ 
vould get back. 

Tllli WHITE CJUKi''. iKJb 

IB. the midst of these conjectures, and while it still 
JTanted some hours of midnight, the mulatto, whose 
eyes were bent down the r& vine, was seen suddenly 
to start, and grasp his companion by the sleeve. 

* Look ! — yonder, boy Fepe ! Yonder come gtiero ! ' 
The speaker pointed to a form approaching from 

the plain, and nearing the narrow part of the ravine. 
It was scarce visible by the uncertain light, and just 
possible to distinguish it as the form of a man on 

' Carr-rr-a-ai ! it is — carr-r-ai ! ' replied the zambo, 
after peering for some time through the darkness. 

4 Keep close in, boy Fcpe ! hwish ! Pull back dog ! 
take place — lie dose — I watch outside — hwish! ' 

The zambo took his station according to the plan 
they had agreed upon ; while the yellow hunter, 
bloodhound in hand, remained by the entrance of the 
cave. In a few moments the latter was seen to start 
up with a gesture of alarm. 

'Dam!' he exclaimed. 'Dam! told you so — fill 
lost — ready, boy Pepe — dog on our trail ! ' 

* Carajo, Man'l ! what's to be clone?' eagerly in- 
quired the zambo. 

' In — in — let come in — kill J im in cave — in I ' 

Both rushed inside and stood waiting. The}' had 
hastily formed the design of seizing the cibolero's 
dog the moment he should enter the cave, and stran 
giing him if possible. 

In this design they were disappointed; for the 
animal, on reaching the month of the cave, refused to 
enter, but stopped upon the ledge outside and com 
fenced barking loudly. 

The mul^o uttered a cry of disappointment, and. 


dropping the bloodhound, rushed forward, knife in 
hand, to attack Cibolo. At the same moment the 
hound sprang forward, and the two dogs became en- 
gaged in a desperate conflict. This would have ter- 
minated to the disadvantage of the hound, but, in 
another moment, all four — mulatto, zambo, hound, 
and wolf — were assailing Cibolo both with knives 
and teeth. The latter, seeing himself thus over- 
matched, and having already received several bad 
cuts, prudently retreated among the rocks. 

He was not followed, as the ruffians had still some 
hopes that the cibolero, not suspecting what it could 
mean, might yet advance towards the cave. But 
these hopes were of short duration. Next moment 
through the dim light they perceived the horseman 
wheel round, and gallop off towards the mouth of the 
ravine ! 

Exclamations of disappointment, profane ejacula 
tions, and wild oaths, echoed for some minutes 
through the vaulted cavern. 

The excited ruffians at length became more cool, 
and, groping about in the darkness, got hold of their 
norses, and led them out upon the ledge. Here they 
stopped to give further vent to their chagrin, and to 
deliberate on their future course. 

To attempt immediate pursuit would not avail 
them, as they well knew the cibolero would be many 
a mile out of their reach before they could descend 
to the plain. 

For a long time they continued to give utterance 
to expressions of chagrin, mingled with anathemas 
upon the head of the dog? Cibolo. At length becoming 
tired of this, they once more set their heads to business. 


The zambo was of opinion it would be useless to go 
farther that night — they had no chance of coming up 
with the ciholero before morning — in daylight thev 
would more easily make out his trail. 

* Boy Pepe, fool ! ' was the mulatto's reply to these 
observations. ' Track by daylight — be seen — spoil 
all, fool Pepe ! ' 

* Then what way, brother Man'l ? ' 

* Dam ! forgot bloodhound ? Trail by night fast as 
ride — soon overtake giiero.* 

* But, brother Man'l, he's not going to stop short; 
of ten leagues from here ! We can't come up with 
him to-night, can we ? ' 

4 Fool again, boy Pepe ! Stop within ten miles- 
stop because won't think of bloodhound — won't think 
can trail 'im — stop, sure. Dam! that dog played 
devil — thought he would — dam ! ' 

' Malraya ! he won't trouble us any more.' 

4 Why think that, boy Pepe ? ' 

* Why, brother Man'l ! because I had my blade 
into him. He'll not limp much farther, I warrant.' 

: Dam! wish could think so — if could think so, 
give double onza. But for dog have giiero now. 
But for dog, get giiero before sun up. Stop soon — 
don't suspect us yet — don't suspect hound— stop, 1 
Bay. By mighty God — sure ! ' 

'How, brother Man'l? you think he'll not go far 


' Sure of it. Giiero not ride far — nowhere tc go 
soon trail 'im — find 'im asleep — crawl on 'im but for 
dog— crawl on r im sure.' 

* If you think so, then I don't believe you need 
Uouble yourself about the dog, If he lives twenty 

9 A 


minutes after the slab I gave liha, he's a tough 
brute, that's all. You find the giiero, I promise 
you'll find no dog with him.' 

' Hope so, boy Pepe — try anyhow. Come ! ' 
Saying this, the yellow hunter straddled his horse, 
and followed by the zambo and the dogs commenced 
moving down the rocky channel of the ravine. 


Having arrived at the point where the horseman had 
been last seen, the mulatto dismounted, and called 
up the bloodhound. He addressed some words to tho 

dog, and by a sign set him on the trail. The animal 
understood what was wanted, and, laying his nose to 
the ground, ran forward silently. The hunter again 
climbed back to his saddle, and both he and his com- 
panion spurred their horses so as to keep pace with 

the bloodhound. 

This was easy enough, though the moon was no 
longer seen. The colour of the dog — a very light 
red — rendered him conspicuous against the dark 
greensward, and there were neither bushes nor long 
grass to hide him. Moreover, by the instruction of 
his master, he moved slowly along the trail — although 
the scent was still fresh, and he could have gone at a 
much faster rate. He had been trained to track 
slowly in the night, and also to be silent about it, so 
that the * bay ' peculiar to Ids race was not hoard. 


It was two hours, full time, befcre they came in 
sight of the grove where the cibolero had halted. 
The moment the mulatto saw the timber, he pointed 
to it, muttering to his companion : — 

* See, boy Pepe ! dog make for island — see ! Bet 
Dnza giiero there. Dam ! there sure ! ' 

When they had arrived within five or six hundred 
yards of the grove — it was still but dimly visible 
under the darkening sky — the yellow hunter called 
the dog off the trail, and ordered him to keep behind. 
He knew that the horseman must have passed either 
into the grove or close beside it. In either case his 
trail could be easily taken up again. If —as the mulatto 
from his excited manner evidently believed — their 
victim was still in the grove, then the dog's sagacity 
was no longer needed. The time was come for them 
to take other measures. 

Diverging from his forward course, the yellow 
tranter rode in a circle, keeping at about the same 
distance from the edge of the timber. He was fol- 
lowed by his companion and the dogs. 

When opposite the gap made by the avenue, a 
bright blaze struck suddenly upon their eyes, causing 
both to rein up with an exclamation of surprise. 
They had arrived at a point commanding a view of the 
glade, in the centre of which they perceived a large fire! 

4 Told so, boy Pope! fool's asleep yonder — never 
dream could trail him by night — don't like cold — 
good fire — believe safe enough. Know that glade — • 
cunning place — only see fire from two points, na ! 
yonder horse I ' 

The figure- of a horse standing near the fire was 
plainly discernible under the light. 


4 Dam ! ' continued the hunter ; * giiero bigger fool 
than thought 'im. Mighty God, see! believe *im 
sleep yonder ! him, sure ! ' 

As the mulatto uttered these words, he pointed to a 
dark form by the fire. It appeared to be the body of 
a man, prostrate and asleep. 

* Santisima, it is!' replied the zambo. ' Snug by 
the fire too. He is a fool ! but, sure enough, he- 
could have no thought of our following him in a 
night so dark as this.' 

* Hwish, dam ! dog not there, giiero ours ! No- 
more talk, boy Pepe ! follow me ! ' 

The mulatto headed his horse, not direct for the 
grove, but for a point on the bank of the river some 
distance below. The}' rode silently, but now with 
more rapidity. 

Their victim was just where ihey would have 
wished him, and they were in a hurry to take advan- 
tage of his situation. The nature of the ground was 
well known to both, for they had shot deer from the 
cover of that very copse. 

On arriving at the river bank, both dismounted; 
and having tied both their horses and dogs to the 
willows, they commenced moving forward in the 
direction of the grove. 

They observed less caution than they might other- 
wise have done. They felt certain their victim was 
asleep by the fire. Fool, they thought him! but 
then how was he to have suspected their presence? 
The most cunning might have deemed himself secure 
under such circumstances. It was natural enough 
tnat he had gone to sleep, wearied as no doubt he 
was. Natural, too, that he had kindled a fire. The 


»ight had become unpleasantly cold, and it would 
have been impossible to sleep without a fire. All 
that seemed natural enough. 

They reached the edge of the grove, and without 
hesitation crawled into the underwood. 

The night was still, the breeze scarce turned a 
leaf, and the slightest rustling among the bushes 
could have been heard in any part of the glade. A 
low murmur of water from a distant rapid, a light 
ripple in the nearer stream, the occasional howl of 
the prairie wolf, and the dismal w^ailing of night- 
birds, were the only sounds that fell upon the ear. 

But although the man-stalkers were making their 
way through thick underwood, not a sound betokened 
their advance. There was no rustling of leaves, n? 
snapping of twigs, no crackling of dead sticks unde» 

the pressure of hand or knee, no signs of human pre 
sence within that dark shrubbery. These men wel\ 
knew how to thread the thicket. Silent, as the 
snake glides through the grass, was their advance. 

In the glade reigned perfect silence. In its very 
centre blazed a large fire that lit up the whole surface 
with its brilliant flames. It was easy to distinguish 
the form of a fine steed — the steed of the cibolero— 
standing near the fire ; and, nearer still, the prostrate 
form of his master, who seemed asleep ! Yes, there 
were the manga, the sombrero, the botas and spurs. 
There was the lazo reaching from the neck of the 
ahorse, and, no doubt, wound around the arm of the 
rsleeper ! All points could be determined at a 

The horse started, struck the ground with his hoof 
■and then stood still again! 


What had ho heard? Some wild beast mewing 

No, not a wild beast — worse than that. 
Upon the southern edge of the glade a face looked 
out from the underwood — a human face ! It remained 
but a moment, and was then drawn back behind the 
leaves. That face could easily have been recognised. 
Its yellow complexion, conspicuous under the glare 
of the blazing wood, told to whom it belonged. It 
was the face of Manuel the mulatto. 

For some moments it remained behind the leafv 
screen. Then it was protruded as before, and close 
beside it another face of darker hue. Both were 
turned in the same direction. Both regarded the 
prostrate form by the fire, that still appeared to be 
sound asleep I The eyes of both were gleaming with 
malignant triumph. Success seemed certain — their 
victim was at length within their power ! 

The faces were again withdrawn, and for a minute 
neither sound nor sight gave any indication of their 
presence. At the end of that minute, however, the 
head of the mulatto was again protruded, but this 
time at a different point, close to the surface of the 
ground, and where there was an opening in the 

In a moment more his whole body was drawn 
through, and appeared in a recumbent position within 

the glade. 

The head and body of the zambo followed; and 
both now glided silently over the grass in the direc- 
tion of the sleeper. Flat upon their bellies, like a 
pair of huge lizards, they moved, one following in 
the other's trail ! 


The mulatto was in the advance. His right hand 
grasped a long-blade^ knife, while his gun was 
arried in the left. 

They moved slowly and with great caution — 
though ready at any moment to spring forward should 
*heir victim awake and become aware of their presence. 

The unconscious sleeper lay between them and the 
fire. His form, cast a shadow over. the sward. Into 
this they crept, with the view of better concealment, 
and proceeded on. 

At length the mulatto arrived within three feet of 
the prostrate body ; and gathering himself, he rose 
upon his knees with the intention of making a spring 
forward. The sudden erection of his body brought 
his face full into the light, and rendered it a conspi 
cuous object. His time was come. 

The whip-like crack of a rifle was heard, and at 
the same instant a stream of fire shot out from the 
leafy top of a live oak that stood near the entrance of 
the avenue. The mulatto suddenly sprang to his 
feet, threw out his arms with a wild cry, staggered a 
pace or two, and, dropping both knife and gun, fell 
forward into the fire ! 

The zambo also leaped to his feet ; and, believing 
the shot had come from the pretended sleeper, pre- 
cipitated himself upon the latter, knife in hand, and 
drove his blade with desperate earnestness into the 
side of the prostrate form. 

Almost on the instant he leaped back with a yell 
of terror ; and, without stopping to assist his fallen 
comrade, rushed off over the glade, and disappeared 
mto the underwood. The iigure by the fire remained 
prostrate and motionless ' 


But at this moment a dark form was seen tc 
descend through, the branches of the live oak whence 
the shot had come ; a shrill whistle rang through the 
glade ; and the steed, dragging his iazo, galloped up 
under the tree. 

A man, half-naked, and carrying a long rifle, 
dropped upon the horse's back ; and the next instant 
both horse and man disappeared through the avenue, 
having gone off at full speed in the direction of the 


Who was he then who lay by the fire ? Not Carlos 
the cibolero ! It was his manga — his botas— his hat 
and spurs — his complete habiliments ! 

True, but Carlos was not in them. He it was 
who, half-naked, had dropped from the tree, and 
galloped oft" upon the horse ! A mystery ! 

Less than two hours before we left him where he 
had arrived — upon the edge of the grove. How had 
he been employed since then ? A knowledge of that 
will explain the mystery. 

On reaching the grove he had ridden direct through 
the avenue and into the glade, where he reined up 
his horse and dismounted. Cibolo was gently laid 
upon the soft grass, with a kind expression ; but his 
ivounds remained undressed for the present. Hi» 


master had no time for that. He had other work tc 
do, which would occupy him for the next hour. 

With a .slack bridle his horse was left to refresh 
himself on the sward, while Carlos proceeded to the 
execution of a design that had been matured in his 
mind during his long gallop. 

His first act was to make a fire. The night had 
grown chill enough to give excuse for one. It was 
kindled near the centre of the glade. Dry logs and 
branches were found among the underwood, and these 
were brought forward and heaped upon the pile, until 
the flames blazed up, illuming the glade to its very 
circumference. The huge pitahayas, gleaming in the 
red light, looked like columns of stone ; and upon 
these the eyes of the cibolero were now turned. 

Proceeding towards them, knife in hand, he com- 
menced cutting through the stem of the largest, and 
its tall form was soon laid prostrate upon the grass. 
When down, he hewed both stem and branches into 
pieces of various length, and then dragged them up 
to the side of the fire. Surely he did not mean to 
add them to the pile ! These green succulent masses 
would be more likely to subdue the flame than contri- 
bute to its brilliancy. 

Carlos had no such intention. On the contrary, he 
placed the pieces several feet from the fire, arranging 
them in such a manner as to imitate, as nearly as 
possible, the form and dimensions of a human body. 
Two cylindrical pieces served for the thighs, and two 
more for the arms, and these were laid in the attitude 
that would naturally be adopted by a person in repose 
or asleep. The superior shoulder was represented by 
tiie ' elbow ' of the plant ; and when the whole struc- 


ture was covered over with the ample ' manga ' of th% 
cibolero, it assumed a striking resemblance to the 
body of a man lying upon his side ! 

The head, lower limbs, and feet, were yet wanting 
to complete the design — for it teas a design. These* 
were soon supplied. A round clow of grass was 
formed ; and this, placed at a small distance from the 
shoulders by means of a scarf and the cibolero's hat, 
was made to look like the thing for which it was 
intended — a human head. The hat was slouched 
over the hall of grass so as nearly to conceal it, and 
seemed as if so placed to keep the dew or the rnus- 
quitos from the face of the sleeper ! 

The lower limbs and feet only remained to be 
counterfeited. With these considerable pains had to 
be taken, since, being nearest to the fire — according 
to the way in which hunters habitually sleep — they 
would be more exposed to observation than any other 

All these points had been already considered by 
the cibolero ; and, therefore, without stopping for 
a moment he proceeded to finish his work. His 
leathern- ' botas ' were pulled off, and adjusted at 
a slight angle to the thighs of pitahaya, and in such 
a way that the rim of the ample cloak came down 
over their tops. The huge spurs were allowed to 
remain on the boots, and coulc re seen from a dis- 
tance gleaming in the blaze of the fire. 

A few more Touches and the counterfeit was com 

He that had made it now stepped back to the edg« 
of the glade, and, passing around, examined it from 
different points. He appeared satisfied. Indeed. i?;\- 

nrE white chief. 375 

one would have taken the figure for anything but that 
of a sleeping traveller who had lain down Avithout 
taking oft' his spurs. 

Carlos now returned to the fire, and uttering a low 
signal brought the horse up to his hand. He led the 
animal some paces out, and tightened the bridle-rein 
by knotting it over the horn of the saddle. This the 
well-trained steed knew to be a command for him to 
give over browsing, and stand still in that same place 
until released by the hand of his master, or by a well- 
known signal he had been taught to obey. The lazo 
fastened to the bit -ring was next uncoiled. One end 
of the rope was carried to the prostrate figure, and 
placed under the edge of the manga, as though the 
sleeper held it in his hand ! 

Onco more the cibolero passed round the circum- 
ference of the glade, and surveyed the grouping in the 
centre. Again he appeared satisfied ; and, re-entering 
the thicket, ho brought out a fresh armful of dry wood 
and flung it on the fire. 

He now raised his eyes, and appeared to scrutinise 
the trees that grew around the glade. His gaze 
rested upon a large live oak standing at the inner 
entrance of the avenue, and whose long horizontal 
limbs stretched over the open ground. The top 
branches of this tree were covered thickly with its 
evergreen frondage, and laced with vines and tillandsix 
formed a shady canopy. Besides being the tallest 
tree, it was the most ample and umbrageous — in fact, 
the patriarch of the grove. 

" 'Twill do," muttered Carlos, as he viewed it. 
il Thirty paces — about that — just the range. They'll 
not enter by the avenue. No — no danger of that; and 


if they did — but no — they'll come along the bank b^ 
the "willows — yes; sure to do so : — now for Cibolo.' 

He glanced for a moment at the dog, that was still 
lying where he had been placed. 

' Poor fellow ! he has had it in earnest. He'll carry 
the marks of their cowardly knives for the rest of hia 
days. "Well — he may live long enough to know that 
he has been avenged — yes ! that may he. But what 
shall I do with him V 

After considering a minute, he continued :■ 

' Carrambo ' ? lose time. There's a half-hour gone, 
and if they've iollowed at all they'll be near by this 
time. Follow they can with their long- eared brute, 
and I hope he'll guide them true. What can I do 
■with Cibolo % If I tie him at the root of the tree, he'll 

lie quiet enough, poor brute ! But then, suppose they 
should come this way ] I don't imagine they will. I 
shouldn't if I were in their place ; but suppose they 
should, the dog would be seen, and might lead them 
to suspect something wrong. They might take a fancy 

to glance up the tree, and then No, no, it won't 

do — something else must be done with Cibolo.' 

Here he approached the root of the live oak, and 
looked inquiringly up among its branches. 

After a moment he seemed to be satisfied with his 
scrutiny. He had formed a new resolution. 

' It will do/ he muttered. ' The dog can lie upon 
those vines. I'll plait them a little for him, and cover 
them with moss.' 

Saying this, he caught hold of the lower limbs, and 
spraug up into the tree. 


After dragging down some of the cieeping vines, he 
twined them between the forks of a branch, so as to 
form o little platform. He next tore off several 
bunches of the tillandsia, and placed it over the spot 
thus wattled. 

When the platform was completed to his satisfaction, 
he leaped down again ; and, taking the animal in hia 
arms, carried him up to the tree, and placed him gently 
Upon the moss, where the dog lay quietly down. 

To dispose of himself was the next consideration. 
That was a matter of easy accomplishment, and con- 
sisted in laying hold of his rifle, swinging his body 
back into the tree, and seating himself firmly among 
the branches. 

He now arranged himself with care upon his seat. 
One branch, a stout one, supported his body, his feet 
rested upon another, while a third formed a stay for 
his arms. In a fork lay the barrel of his long rifle, 
the stock firmly grasped in his hands. 

He looked with care to this weapon. Of course it 
■was already loaded, but, lest the night-dew might have 
damped the priming, he threw up the pan-cover, with 
liis thumb-nail scraped out the powder, and then 
poured in a fresh supply from his horn. This he 
adjusted with his picker, taking care that a portion of 

it should pass into the touch-hole, and communicate 
with the charge inside. The steel was then returned 
to its place, and the flint duly looked to. Its state of 
firmness was felt, its edge examined. Both appeared 
to be satisfactory, so the piece was once more brought 
to its rest in the fork of the branch. 

The cibolero was not the man to trust to blind 

51H THE wiimi; cillkf. 

cliance. Like all of his calling, he believed in tbe 
wisdom of precautions. No wpnder he adopted them 
so minutely in the present instance. The neglect of 
any one of them might be fatal to him. The flashing 
of that rifle might cost him his life ! No wonder he 
was particular about the set of his flint, and the dry- 
ness of his powder. 

The position he occupied was well chosen. It gave 
him a view of the whole glade, and no object as large 
as a cat could enter the opening without being seen 
by nim. 

Silently he sat gazing around the circle of green 
shrubbery — silently and anxiously — for the space of 
nearly an hour. 

His patient vigil was at length rewarded. He saw 
the yellow face as it peered from the underwood, and 
for a moment hesitated about firing at it then. He 
had even taken sight upon it, when it was drawn 

A little longer he waited — till the mulatto, rising 
to his knees, offered his face full in the Mazing light. 
At that moment his finger pressed the trigger, and his 
anerriiig bullet passed through the brain of hia 
fcreoab erous focman 1 



The zambo had disappeared in the underwood almost 
at the same instant that Carlos had mounted and 
galloped out through the avenue. Not a living crea- 
ture remained in the glade. 

The huge body lay with arms outstretched, one of 
them actually across the blazing pile ! Its weight, 
pressing down the faggots, half-obscured their light. 
Enough there was to exhibit the ghastly face mottled 
with washes of crimson. There was no motion in 
either body or limbs — no more than in that of the- 
counterfeit form that was near. Dead was the yellow 
hunter — dead ! The hot flame that licked his arm, 
preparing to devour it, gave him no pain. Fire stirs 
not the dead ! 

Where were tne others ? They had gone off in 
directions nearly opposite ! Were they flying from 
each other ? 

The zambo had gone back in the same direction 
whence he had come. ITe had gone in a very differ- 
ent manner though. After disappearing behind the 
leafy screen, he had not halted, but rushed on like one 
terrified beyond the power of controlling himself 
The cracking of dead sticks, and the loud rustling 
among the bushes, told that he was pressing through 


Hi© grove in headlong flight. These noises had ceased 
■so, too, the echo of hoofs which for a while came 

back from the galloping horse of the cibolero. 

Where were they now — zambo and cibolero ? Had 

they fled from each other ? It would have seemed 

bo from the relative directions in which they had 


It was not so in reality. Whatever desire the 
zambo might have felt to get away from that spot, his 
antagonist had no such design. The latter had 
galloped out of the glade, but not in flight. 

He knew the zambo well enough to tell that his 
courage was now gone. The sudden loss of his com- 
rade, and under such mysterious circumstances, had 
terrified the black, and would paralyse him almost 
beyond the power of resistance. He would think of 

nothing else but making his escape. Carlos knew 



The quick intellect of the latter had taught him 
whence his enemies tad come — from the lower at 
southern side of the grove. He had, indeed, been 
looKing for them in that direction, and, while scru- 
tinising the underwood, had given most attention to 
that edge of the glade lying to the south. He con- 
jectured that they would deem this the safest way to 
approach him, and his conjectures proved true. 

Their horses would be left at some distance off, lest 
the stroke of their hoofs might alarm him. This, too, 
was his conjecture, and a just one. Still another, 
also just, was that the zambo was now making for the 
horses ! This last occurred to Carlos as he saw the 
other rushing off into the underwood. 

Just what the zambo was doing. Seeing his leader 


fall so mysteriously, he thought no longer of an en- 
counter. Flight was his only impulse — to get hack 
to the horses, mount and ride off, his one purpose. 
He had hopes that Carlos would not hastily follow — 
that he might escape under cover of the darkness. 

He was mistaken. It was just to defeat this pur- 
pose that Carlos had galloped forth. He, too, was re- 
solved to make for the horses ! 

Once in the open plain, he wheeled to the right, 
and rode round the grove. On reaching a point 
where he could command a view of the river he 
reined up. His object in doing so was to reload his 

He threw the piece into a vertical position, at the 
■same time groping for his powder-horn. To his sur- 
prise he could not get his hands upon it, and on look- 
ing down he saw that it was gone ! The strap by 
which it had been suspended was no longer over his 
shoulders. It had been caught upon a branch, and 
lifted off as he had leaped from the tree ! 

Annoyed with this misfortune, he was about turn- 
ing his horse to hurry back to the live oak, when his 
eye fell upcn a dark figure gliding over the plain, 
and close in to the fringe of willows by the river. Of 
course it was the fleeing zambo — there could be no 
doubt of that. 

Carlos hesitated. Should he return for the powder- 
horn, and then waste time in reloading, the zambo 
might escape. He would soon reach the horses, and 
mount. Had it been day Carlos could easily havo 
overtaken him, but not so under the night darkness. 
Five hundred yards' start woild have carried him 
safe out of sight, 

2 fi 


The cibolero wau full of anxietv. Tie had ample 
reasons to wish that this man should die. Prudence 
as well as a natural feeling of revenge prompted this 
wish. The cowardly manner in which these hired 
ruffians had dogged him had awakened his vengeance. 
Besides, while either lived, the outlaw knew he 
would have a dangerous enemy. The zambo must 
not escape ! 

It was but for a moment that Carlos hesitated. 
Should he w^ait to reload his rifle the other would get 
off. This reflection decided him. He dropped the 
piece to the ground, turned Ins horse's head, and shot 
rapidly across the plain in the direction of the river. 
In a dozen seconds he reined up in front of his skulk- 
ing foe. 

The latter, seeing himself cut off from the horses, 
halted and stood at bay, as if determined to fight. 
Put before Carlos could dismount to close with him, 
his heart once more gave way ; and, breaking through 
*he willows, he plunged into the river. 

Carlos had not calculated upon this. He stood for 
Borne moments in a state of surprise and dismay. 
Would the fiend escape him? He had come to the 
ground. Whether should he mount again or follow 
on foot ? 

He was not long irresolute. He chose the lattei 
course, and, rushing through the willows where thft 
other had passed, he paused a moment on the edge of 
the stream. Just then his enemy emerged upon the 
opposite bank, and, without a moment's halt, started 
off in full run across the plain. Again Carlos thought 
of following on horseback, but the banks were high, 
— a horse might find it difficult to ford at such a 


place,— perhaps inii^ossible. There was no time to be 
lost in experiments. 

' Surely,' thought Carlos, ' 1 am swift as lie. For a 
trial then ! ' 

And as he uttered the words he flung himself 
broad upon the water. 

A few strokes carried him across the stream; and, 

climbing out on the opposite bank, he sprang after his 

retreating foe. 

The zambo had by this time got full two hundred 

yards in the advance, bvt before he had run two 
hundred more, there vus not half that distance be- 
tween them. There was no comparison in their 
speed. Carlos fairly doubled upon his terrified an- 
tagonist, although the latter was doing his utmost. 
He knew tb&t he was running for his life. 

Kot ten minutes did the chaso continue. 

Carlos drew near. The zambo heard his footsteps 
close behind. He felt it was idle to run any longer. 
He halted, and once more stood at bay. 

In another instant the two were face to face, withi* 
ten feet of each other ! 

Both were armed with large knives — their only 
weapons — and, dim as the light was, the blades of 
these could be seen glittering in the air. 

The foes scarce waited to breathe themselves. A 
few angry exclamations passed between them ; and 
then, rushing upon each other, they clutchea in 
earnest conflict ! 

It was a short conflict. A dozen seconds would 
have covered its whole duration. For a while, the 
bodies of the combatants seemed turned around each 
©iher, and one of them fell heavily upon the plain. A 

2 u 2 


groan was uttered. It was in the voice of the zamho. 
It was he who had fallen ! 

The prostrate form wriggled for a moment over the 
ground — it half rose and fell again — then writhed for 
a few seconds longer, and then lay still in death ! 

The cibolero bent over it to be assured of this. 
Death was written upon the hideous face. The marks 
were mrmistakeable. The victor no longer doubted ; 
and, turning away from the corpse, he walked back 
towards the river. 

Having regained his rifle and powder-horn, and re- 
loaded his gun, Carlos now proceeded to search for 
the horses. 

These were soon found. A bullet was sent through 
the head of the bloodhound, and another through that 
of his mare wolf-like companion, and the horses were 
t2>m untied and set free. 

This done, Carlos once more returned *q the glade, 
and, after lifting Cibolo down from. v is peioh, he ap- 
proached the fire, and gazed for 2 moment at the 
corpse of the yellow hunter. The fl$ ,ies were blazing 
more brightly than ever. These were fed "by human 

Turning in disgust from the sight, the & bolero col- 
lected his garments, and, once more mounting into the 

sad'-lle, rode off in the direction of the ra fine 



1'hxee days had elapsed from the time that the yellow 
hunter and his companion had started on their ex- 
pedition. Those who sent them were beginning to 
grow impatient for some news of them. They did 
not allow themselves to doubt of the zeal of their 
employes, — the reward would secure that, — and 
scarce did they doubt of their success. The latter 
seemed to all three — Roblado, Vizcarra, and the Padre 
—but a consequence of the former. Still they were 
impatient for some report from the hunters— if not of 
the actual capture, at least that the outlaw had been 
seen, or that they were upon his trail. 

On reflection, however, both Padre and officers saw 
that it would not be likely they should have any 
report before the hunters themselves came back, 
either with or without their captive. 

* No doubt,' suggested the monk, * they are after 
him every hour, and we shall hear nothing of them 
until they have laid hands upon the heretic rascal/ 

What a startling piece of news it was to this 
charming trio, when a hatero brought the information 
to the settlement that he had seen two dead bodies 
upon the plain, which he recognised as those of tha 
fclission hunters — Manuel and Pepe^ 


His report was that he had seen them near a grove 
upon the Pecos, — that they were torn by the wolves 
and vultures — but that what still remained of their 
dress and equipments enabled him to make out who 
they were — for the hatero had chanced to know these 
men personally. He was sure they were the mulatto 
and zambo, the hunters of the mission. 

At first this ' mysterious murder,* as it was termed, 
could not be explained — except upon the supposition 
that the ' Indios bravos ' had done it. The people 
knew nothing of the duty upon which the hunters 
had been lately employed. Both were well enough 
known, though but little notice was taken of their 
movements, which lay generally beyond the observa- 
tion of the citizen community. It was supposed they 
had been out upon one of their usual humts, and had 
fallen in with a roving band of savages. 

A party of d.agoons, guided by the hatero, pro- 
ceeded to the grove ; and these returned with a very 
different version of the story. 

They had ascertained be}"ond a doubt that both the 
hunters had been killed, not by Indian arrows, but by 
the weapons of a white man. Furthermore, their. 
horses had been left, while their dogs had been killed 
— the skeletons of the latter were found lying upon 
the bank of the river. 

It could not have been Indians, then. They would 
have carried off the animals, both dogs and horses, 
and, moreover, would have stripped the dead of their 
equipments, which wero of somo value. Indians ? 

There was not much difficulty in deciding who had 
committed this murder "Where the pkeletons of the 


dogs were found the ground was soft, and there were 
hoof-tracks that did not "belong to the horses of the 
hunters. These were recognised by several. They 
were the tracks of the well-known horse of Carlos the 

Beyond a doubt Carlos had done the deed. It was 
known that he and the yellow hunter had not l>een on 
friendly terms, but the contrary. They had met and 
■quarrelled, then ; or, what was more likely, Carlos 
had found the hunters asleep by their camp-fire, had 
-stolen upon them, and thus effected his purpose. The 
mulatto had been shot dead at once, and had fallen 
into the fire, for part of the body was consumed to a 
■cinder! His companion, attempting to make his 
escape, had been pursued and overtaken by the blood- 
thirsty outlaw ! 

New execrations were heaped upon the head of tho 
devoted Carlos. Men crossed themselves and uttered 
either a prayer or a curse at the mention of his name ; 
and mothers made use of it to fright their children 
into good behaviour. The name of Carlos the cibolero 
spread more terror than the rumour of an Indian in- 
vasion ! 

The belief in the supernatural became strengthened. 
8carce any one now doubted that the cibolero's mother 
was a witch, or that all these deeds performed by her 
son were the result of her aid and inspiration. 

There was not the slightest hope that he would 
either be captured or killed. How could he ? Who 
could bind the devil and bring him to punishment ? 
No one any longer believed that he could be caught. 

Some gravely proposed that his mother — the witch 
■ should be taken up and burnt. Until that waa 


done, argued they, he would set all pursuit at de» 
fiance; but if she were put out of the world, the 
murderer might then be brought to justice ! 

It is probable enough that the counsels of these^ 
and they were the majority of the inhabitants — would 
have prevailed ; especially as they were openly ap- 
proved of by the padres of the mission ; but before 
the public mind became quite ripe for such a violent 
sacrifice, an event occurred which completely changed 
the currant of affairs. 

It was on the morning of a Sunday, and the people 
were just coming out of the church, when a horseman, 
covered with sweat and dust, galloped into the Plaza. 
His habiliments were those of a sergeant of dragoons ; 
and all easily recognised the well-known lineaments 
of the sergeant Gomez. 

In a few minutes he was surrounded by a crowd of 
idlers, who, although it was Sunday, were heard a 
few moments after breaking out into loud acclamations 
of joy. Hats were uptossed and vivas rent the air! 

What news had Gomez announced ? A rare bit of 
aews — the capture of the outlaw! It was true. Carlos 
had been taken, and was now a prisoner in the hands 
of the soldiers. He had been captured neither by 
strength nor stratagem. Treacher*/ had done the 
work. He had been betrayed by one of his own 

It was thus his capture had been effected. Despair- 
ing for the present of being able to communicate with 
Catalina, he had formed the resolution to remove his 
mother and sister from the valley. He had prepared 


% temporary home for them far off in the wilderness, 
where they would be secure from his enemies, while 
he himself could return at a better opportunity. 

To effect their removal, watched as they were, he 
knew would be no easy matter. But he had taken 
his measures, and would have succeeded had it not 
been 'for treason. One of his own people — a peon 
who had accompanied him in his last expedition- 
betrayed him to his vigilant foes. 

Carlos was within the rancho making a few hasty 
preparations for the journey. He had left his horse 
hidden some distance off in the chapparal. Unfortu- 
nately for him Cibolo was not there. The faithful 
dog had been laid up since his late encounter at the 
cave. To a peon had been assigned the duty that 
would otherwise have been intrusted to him — that ot 
keeping watch without. 

This wretch had been previously bought by Koblado 
and Vizcarra. The resiilt was, that, instead of acting 
as sentinel for his master, he hastened to warn his 
enemies. The rancho was surrounded by a troop ; 
and, although several of his assailants were killed by 
the hand of Carlos, he himself was finally overpowered 
and taken. 

Gomez had not been five minutes in the Plaza 
when ti bugle was heard sounding the advance of a 
troop, which the next moment defiled into the open 
square. Near its middle was the prisoner, securely 
tied upon the back of a saddle-mule, and guarded by 
a double file of troopers. 

An arrival of such interest was soon known, and 
the Plaza became filled with a crowd eager to gratify 
its curiosity by a sight of the notorious cibolero. 


But lie was not the only one upon whom the people 
gazed with curiosity. There were two other prison- 
el's — one <,!' whom was regarded with an interest 
equal to that felt at the sight of the outlaw himself. 
This prisoner was his mother. Upon her the eyes 
of the multitude turned with an expression of awe 
mingled with indignation ; while jeering ar.d angry 
cries hailed her as she passed on her way to the 

1 Muera la hechicera! mitera!' (Death to the witch 
• — let her die ! ) broke from ruffian lips as she was 
carried along. 

Even the dishevelled hair and weeping eyes of her 
young companion — her daughter — failed to touch the 
hearts of that fanatical mob. and there were some who 
cried, * Mueran las dos! madre y liija I ' (Let both die 
— mother and daughter !) 

The guards had even to protect them from rude 
assault, as they were thrust hastily within the door of 
the prison ! 

Fortunately Carlos saw nought of this. He was not 
even avcare that they were prisoners! He thought, per- 
haps, they had been left unmolested in the rancho, 
and that the vengeance of his enemies extended no 
farther than to himself. Ho knew not tho fiendisfj 
design a of his persecutors. 



The female prisoners remained in the Calabozo. Car 
los, for better security, was carried on to the Presidio, 
and placed in tho prison of the guard-house. 

That night he received a "visit. The Comandante 
and Eoblado could not restrain their dastard spirits 
from indulging in the luxury of revenge. Having 
emptied their wine-cups, they, with a party of boon 
companions, entered the guard prison, and amused 
themselves by taunting the chained captive. Every 
insult was put upon him by his half-drunken visitors 
— every rudeness their ingenuity could devise. 

For long all this was submitted to in silence. A 
coarse jest from Vizcarra at length provoked reply. 
The reply alluded to the changed features of the latter, 
which so exasperated the brute, that he dashed, dag' 
ger in hand, upon the bound victim, and would have 
taken his life, but that Eoblado and others held him 
back! He was only prevented from killing Carlos 
by Ins companions declaring that such a proceeding 
would rob them of their anticipated sport I This 
consideration alone restrained him ; but he was not 
contented until with his fists he had inflicted several 
blows upon the face of the defenceless captive! 

* Let the wretch live ! ' said Eoblado. < To-morrow 
<ve shall have a line spectacle for him ! ' 


With tliis the inebriated gang staggered out, leaving 
the prisoner to reflect upon this promised * spectacle,* 

He did reflect upon it. That he was to be made 
a spectacle he understood well enough. He had no 
hopes of mercy, either from civil or military judges. 
His death was to be the spectacle. All night long his 
bouI was tortured with painful thoughts, not of him- 
self, but about those far dearer to him than his own 

Morning glanced through the narrow loophole of 
his gloomy cell. Nothing else — nought to eat, tt 
drink — no word of consolation — no kind look from his 
ruffian gaolers. No friend to make inquiry about 
him — no sign that a single heart on earth cared for 

Midday arrived. Ho was taken, or rather dragged, 
from his prison. Troops formed around, and carried 
him off. Where was he going? To execution? 

His eyes were free. He saw himself taken to the 
town, and through the Plaza. There was an unusual 
concourse of people. The square was nearly fiMed, 
and the azoteas that commanded a view of it. All 
the inhabitants of the settlement seemed to be present 
in the town. There were haciendados, rancheros, 
miners, and all. AVhy? Some grand event must 
have brought them together. They had the air of 
people who expected to witness an unusual scene 
Perhaps the ' spectacle ' promised by Eoblado ! But 
what could that be ? Did they intend to torture him 
in presence of the multitude ? Such was not im- 
probable . 

The crowd jeered him as he passed. He was carried 
through their midst, and thrust into the Calabozo. 


A rude banqiieta along one side of his cell offered a 
resting-place. On this the wretched man sank down 
into a lying posture. The fastenings on his arms 
and legs would not allow him to sit upright. 

He was left alone. The soldiers who had con- 
ducted him went out, turning the key behind them. 
Their voices and the clink of their scabbards told him 
that some of them still remained hj the door. Two 
of them had been left there as sentinels. The others 
sauntered off, and mingled with the crowd of civilian* 
that filled the Plaza. 

Carlos lay for some minutes without motion — almost 
without thought. His soul was overwhelmed with 
misery. For the first time in his life he felt himself 
yielding to despair. 

The feeling was evanescent; and once more he 
began to reflect — not to hope — no ! Hope, they say 
dies but with life : but that is a paradox. He still 
lived, but hope had died. Hope of escape there was 
none. He was too well guarded. His exasperated 
enemies, having experienced the difficulty of his 
capture, were not likely to leave him the slightest 
chance of escape. Hope of pardon — of mercy — it 
never entered his thoughts to entertain either. 

But reflection returned. 

It is natural for a captive to glance around the walls 
of his prison — to assure himself that he is really a 
prisoner. It is his first act when the bolt shoots from 
the lock, and he feels himself alone. Obedient to this 
impulse, the eye of Carlos was raised to the walla , 
His cell was not a dungeon — a small window, or em- 

394 the white chief. 

erasure, admitted light. It was liigli up, but Carlos 
saw that, by standing upon the banqueta, he could 
have looked out by it. He had no curiosity to do so, 
and he lay still. He saw that the walls of his prison 
were not of stone. They were adobe bricks, and the 
embrasure enabled him to tell their thickness. There 
was no great strength in them either. A determined 
man, with an edge-tool and time to spare, could make 
his way through them easily enough. So Carlos re- 
flected : but he reflected, as well, that he had neither 
the edge-tool nor the time. He was certain that in a 
few hours — perhaps minutes — he would be led from 
that prison to the scaffold. 

Oh ! he feared not death — not even torture, which 
he anticipated would be his lot. His torture was the 
thought of eternal separation from mother, sister, 
from the proud noble girl he loved — the thought that 
he would never again behold them — one or other 
of them — this was the torture that maddened his 

Could he not communicate with them ? Had he 
no friend to carry to them a last word? — to convey a 
dvinsr, thought ? None ! 

The sunbeam that slanted across the cell was cut 
off at intervals, and the room darkened. Something 
half covered the embrasure without. It was the face 
of some idle lepero, who, curious to catch a glimpse 
of the captive, had caused himself to be hoisted upon 
the shoulders of his fellows. The embrasure was 
above the heads of the crowd. Carlos could hear 
their brutal jests, directed not only against himself, 
hut against those dear to him — his mother and sister. 
While this pained him, he began to ^onder that they 

tiik tt'rnxE chief. 3Db 

should be so rnuch tlie subject of tlie conversation. 
He could not tell what was said of them, but in the 
hum of voices their names repeatedly reached his ear. 
He had lain about an hour on the banqueta, when 
the door opened, and the two officers, Yizcarra and 
Eoblado, stepped within the cell. They were ac- 
companied b} T Gomez. 

The prisoner believed that his hour was come. 
Thev were ffoing to lead him forth to execution. He 
was wrong. That was not their design. Far differ- 
ent. They had come to gloat over his misery. 
Their visit was to be a short one. 
* Now, my brave ! ' began Eoblado. ' We promised 
you a spectacle to-day. We are men of our word. 
"We come to admonish you that it is prepared, and 
about to come off. Mount upon that banqueta, and 
look out into the Plaza ; you will have an excellent 
view of it ; and as it is near you will need no glass! 
Up then ! and don't lose time. You will see what 
you will see. Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' 

And the speaker broke into a hoarse laugh, in 
which tlie Comandaute as well as the sergeant 
joined ; and then all three, without waiting for a 
reply, turned and went out, ordering the door to be 
locked behind them, 

The visit, as well as Eoblado's speech, astonished 
and puzzled Carlos. For some minutes he sat reflect- 
ing upon it. What could it mean ? A spectacle, and 
he to be a spectator ? What spectacle but that of his 
own execution ? What could it mean ? 

For a time he sat endeavouring to make out the 
sense of Eoblado's words. For a good while he 
pondered over the speech, until at length he had 


found, or thought he had found, the key to its 

* Ha ! ' muttered he ; ' Don Juan — it is he ! My 
poor friend ! They have condemned him, too ; and 
he is to die before me. That is what I am called 
upon to "witness. Fiends ! I shall not gratify them 
by looking at it. No ! I shall remain where I am.' 

He threw himself once more prostrate along the 
banqueta, determined to remain in that position. He 
muttered at intervals : — 

'Poor Don Juan! — a true friend — to death — ay, 
even to death, for it is for me he dies— for me, and 
oh ! love — love ■' 

His reflections w r ere brought to a sudden termina 
tion. The window was darkened by a face, and a 
rough voice called in ; — 

' Hola ! Carlos, you butcher of buffaloes ! look 
forth ! Carajo ! here's a sight for you ! Look at your 
old witch of a mother ! "What a figure she cuts ! 
Ha! ha!' 

The sting of a poisonous reptile — a blow from an 
enemy — could not have roused Carlos more rapidly 
from his prostrate attitude. As he sprang to an up- 
right position, the fastenings upon his ankles were 
forgotten; and, after staggering half across the floor, 
he came down upon his knees. 

A second effort was made with more caution, and 
this time he succeeded in keeping his feet. A few 
moments sufficed for him to work himself up to the 
banqueta ; and, having mounted this, he applied his 
face to the embrasure and looked forth. 

His eyes rested upon a scene that caused the blood 
to curdle in his veins, and started the sweat in bead- 


drops over liis forehead. A scene that iuled hie 
heart with horror, that caused him to feel as if some 

of iron ' 



The Plaza was partially cleared — the open space 
guarded by lines of soldiers. The crowds, closely 
packed, stood along the sides of the houses, or filled 
the balconies and azoteas. The officers, alcalde, 
magistrates, and principal men of the town, were 
grouped near the centre of the Plaza. Most of these 
wore official costumes, and, under other circumstances, 
the eyes of the crowd would have been upon them. 
Not so now. There was a group more attractive than 
they — a group upon which every eye was gazing with 
intense interest. 

This group occupied a corner of the Plaza in front 
of the Calabozo, directly in front of the window 
from which Carlos looked out. It was the first thing 
upon which his eyes rested. He saw no more — he 
saw not the crowd, nor the line of soldiers that penned 
it back — he saw not the gandy gentry in the square ; 
lie saw only that group of beings before him. That 
was enough to keep his eyes from wandering. 

The group was thus composed. There were two 
asses — small shaggy brown animals, — caparisoned in 
a covering of coarse black serge, that hung nearly to 

their feet. Each had a coarse hair halter held \u the 



hand of a Iepero driver, also fantastically dressed in 
the same black stuff. Behind each stood a Iepero 
similarly attired, and carrying 'cuartos' of buffalo - 
skin. By the side of each ass was one of the padres 
of the mission, and each of these held in his hand the 
implements of his trade — book, rosary, and crucifix. 
The priests wore an official look. They were in the 
act of officiating. At what ? Listen ! 

The asses were mounted. On the back of each was 
a form — a human form. These sat not freely, but in 
constrained attitudes. The feet were drawn under- 
neath by cords passed around the ankles ; and to a 
sort of wooden yoke around the necks of the animals 
the hands of the riders were tied — so as to bring their 
backs into a slanting position. In this way their 
heads hung down, and their faces, turned to the wall, 
could not yet be seen by the crowd. 

Both were nude to tho waist, and below it. The 
eye needed but one glance at those forms to tell they 
were women ! The long loose hair — in tho one grey, 
in the other golden — shrouding their cheeks, and 
hanging over the necks of the animals, was further 
proof of this. For one it was not needed. The out 
lines wore those of a Venus. A sculptor's eye could 
not have detected a fault. In the form of the other, 
age had traced its marks. It was furrowed, angled, 
lean, and harsh to the eye of the observer. 

Oh, God ! what a sight for the eye of Carlos the 
ci bolero ! Those involuntary riders irere his mother and 
sister ! 

And just at that moment his eye rested upon thein 
—ay, and recognised them at a glance. 

Ac arrow passing through his heart could not have 


inflicted keener pain. A sharp, half-stifled screair 
escaped his lips — the only sign of suffering the ear 
might detect. He was silent from that moment. His 
hard quick breathing alone told that he lived. He 
did not faint or fall. He did not retreat from the 
window. He stood like a statue in the position he 
nad first taken, hugging the wall with his breast, to 
steady himself. His eyes remained fixed on the 
group, and fixed too in their sockets, as if glued 
there ! 

Roblado and Vizcarra, in the centre of the square, 
enjoyed their triumph. They saw him at the em- 
brasure. He saw not them. He had for the moment 
forgotten that they existed. 

At a signal the "bell rang in the tower of the 
parroquia, and then ceased. This was the cue for 
commencing the horrid ceremony. 

The black drivers led their animals from the wall, 
and, heading them in a direction parallel to one side 
of the Plaza, stood still. The faces of the women 
were now turned partially to the crowd, but their 
dishevelled hair sufficiently concealed them. The 
padres approached. Each selected one. They mum- 
bled a few unintelligible phrases in the ears of their 
victims, flourished the crucifix before their faces, and 
then, retiring a step, muttered some directions to the 
two ruffians in the rear. 

These with ready alacrity took up their cue, 
gathered the thick ends of their cuartos around their 
wrists, and plied the lash upon the naked backs of 
the women. The strokes were deliberate and mea- 
sured — they were counted ! Each seemed to leave 
Us separate weal upon the skin. Upon the younge 

2c 2 


female they were more conspicuous — not that they 
had been delivered with greater severity, but upon 
the softer, whiter, and more tender skin, the purple 
[ines appeared plainer by contrast. 

Strange that neither cried out. The girl writhed, 
and uttered a low whimpering, but no scream escaped 
her lips. As for the old woman, she remained quite 
motionless — no sign told that she suffered ! 

When ten lashes each had been administered, a 
voice from the centre of the Plaza cried out, — ■ 

' Basta por la nina I ' (Enough for the girl.) 

The crowd echoed this ; and he, whose office it 
was to flog the younger female, rolled up his cuarto 
and desisted. The other went on until twenty-five 
lashes were told off. 

A band of music now struck up. The asses were 

<jd along the side of the square, and halted at the 
next corner. 

The music stopped. The padres again went 
through their mumbling ceremony. The executioners 
performed their part — only one of them this time — as 
by the voice of the crowd the younger female was 
spared the lash, though she was still kept in her de- 
graded and shameful position. 

The full measure of twenty-five stripes was ad 
ministered to the other, and then again the music., 
and the procession moved on to the third angle ^f the 


Here the horrid torture was repeated, and again at 
the fourth and last corner of the square, where the 
hundred lashes — the full number decreed as the 
punishment- -were completed. 


The ceremony was over. The crowd gathered 
around the victims — who, now released from official 
keeping, were left to themselves. 

The feeling of the crowd was curiosity, not sym- 
pathy. Notwithstanding all that had passed "before 
their eyes, there was but little sympathy in the hearts 
nf that rabble. 

Fanaticism is stronger than pity ; and who cared 
for the witch and the heretic ? 

Yes — there were some who cared yet. There were 
hands that unbound the cords, and chafed the brows 
of the sufferers, and flung rebosos over their shoulders 
ana poured water into the lips of those silent victims 
— silent, for both had fainted ! 

A rude carreta was there. How it came there no- 
one knew or cared. It was getting dusk, and people, 
having satisfied their curiosity, and hungry from long 
fasting, were falling off to their homes. The brawny 
driver of the carreta, directed by a young girl, and 
aided by two or three dusky Indians, lifted the suf- 
ferers into his vehicle, and then, mounting himself, 
drove off; while the young girl, and two or three 
who had assisted him, followed the vehicle. 

It cleared the suburbs, and, striking into a by- 
road that traversed the chapparal, arrived at a lone 
rancho, the same where Eosita had been taken 
before — for it was Josefa who again carried her 
away . 

The sufferers were taken iiiside the house. It was 
soon perceived that one no longer suffered. The 
daughter was restored to consciousness, only to see 
that that of her mother had for ever fled J 

Her temples were chafed — her lips moistened — her 

*02 ti:e white ch:ef. 

hand pressed in vain. The wild atteianco of a 
daughter's grief fell unheard upon her ears. Death 
had earned her spirit to another world. 


From the embrasure of his prison Cailos looked upon 
the terrible spectacle. AYe have said that he re- 
garded if in silence. Not exactly so. Now and then, 
as the blood-stained lash fell heavier than usual, a 
low groan escaped him — the involuntary utterance of 
agony extreme. 

His looks more than his voice betrayed the fearful 
fire that was burning within. Those who by chance 
or curiosity glanced into the embrasure were appalled 
by the expression of that face. Its muscles were rigid 
and swollen, the eyes were fixed and ringed with 
purple, the teeth firmly set, the lips drawn tight over 
them, and large sweat-drops glistened upon the fore- 
head. No red showed upon the cheeks, nor any part 
of the face — not a trace to tell that blood circulated 
there. Pale as death was that face, and motionless 
as marble. 

From his position Carlos could see but two angles 
of the Plaza — that where the cruel scene had its 
commencement, and that where the second portion 
was administered. The procession then passed out of 
light ; but though bis eyes were no longer tortured 


by the horrid spectacle, there was but little relief in 
that. He knew it continued all the same. 

IIo remained no longer by the window. A resolve 
carried him from it,- — the resolve of self-destruction ! 

His agony was complete. He could endure it no 
longer. Death would relieve him, and upon death he 
was determined. 

But how to die ? 

He had no weapon ; and even if he had, pinioned 
as he was, he could not have used it. 

But one mode seemed possible — to dash his head 


against the wall ! 

A glance at the soft mason-work of adobes convinced 
him that this would not effect his purpose. By such 
■an effort he might stun, but not kill himself. He 
would wake again to horrid life. 

His eyes swejJt the cell in search of some mode of 


A beam traversed the apartment. It was high 
enough to hang the tallest man. With his hands 
free, and a cord in them, it would do. There was 
cord enough on them for the purpose, for they were 
bound by several varas of a raw-hide thong. 

To the fastenings his attention was now directed; 
when, to his surprise and delight, he perceived that 
the thong had become felack and loose ! The hot 
sweat, pouring from his hands and wrists,* had satu. 
rated the raw-hide, causing it to melt and yield ; and 
nis desperate exertions, made mechanically under the 
influence of agony and half-madness, had stretched it 
for inches ! A slight examination of the fastenings 
convinced him of the possibility of his undoing them ; 
*nd to this he annlied himself with all the strength 


»md energy of a desperate man. Had his hands been 
tied in front, he might have used his teeth in the 
endeavour to set them free ; but they were bound fast 
together across his back. He pulled and wrenched 
them with all his strength. 

If there is a people in the world who understand 
better than any other the use of ropes or thongs, that 
people is the Spanish-American. The Indian must 
yield to them in this knowledge, and even the habile 
saiior makes but a clumsy knot in comparison. No 
people so well understand how to bind a captive 
without iron, and the captive outlaAV had been tied to 

But neither ropes of hemp nor hide will secure a 
man of superior strength and resolution. Give such 
an one but time to operate, and he will be certain to 
free himself. Carlos knew that he needed but time. 

The effect produced by the moistening of the raw- 
hide was such, that short time sufficed. In less than 
ten minutes it slipped from his wrists, and his hands 
were free ! 

He drew the thong through his fingers to clear it 
of loops and snarls. He fashioned one end into a 
noose ; and, mounting upon the banqueta, knotted the 
other over the beam, Ka then placed the noose 
around his naked threat — calculating the height at 
which it should hang when drawn taut by the 
weight of his body ! and, placing himself on the 
elevated edge of the banqueta, he was prepared to 
epring out 

'Let me look on them once more before I die — 
poor victims ! — once more J ' 

The position he occupied was nearly in front of the 


embrasure, and he had only to lean a little to one side 
to get a view of the Plaza. He did so. 

He could not see them ; but he saw that the atten- 
tion of the crowd was directed towards that angle d 
the square adjacent to the Calabozo. The horrid 
ceremony would soon be over. Perhaps they would 
then be carried within sight. He would wait for the 
moment, it would be his last 

1 Ha ! what is that ? Oh God : it is ' 

He heard the * weep ' of the keen cuarto as it cut 
the air. He thought, or fancied, he heard a low 
moan. The silence of tlie crowd enabled him to dis- 
tinguish the slightest sounds. 

* God of mercy, is there no mercy ? God of ven- 
geance, hear me ! Ha ! vengeance ! what am I 
dreaming of, suicidal fool ? What ! my hands free — 
tan I not break the door ? the lock ? I can but di& 
upon their weapons ! and maybe ' 

He had flung the noose from his neck, and was 
about to turn away from the window, when a heavy 
object struck him on the forehead, almost stunning 
him with the blow ! 

At first he thought it was a stone from the hand of 
some ruffian without ; but the object, in falling upon 
the banqueta, gave out u dull metallic clink. He 
looked down, and in the dim light could make out 
that the thing which had struck him was of an oblong 
shape. He bent hastily forward, and clutched it. 

It was a parcel, wrapped in a piece of silken scarf 
and tied securely. The string was soon unfastened, 
and the contents of the parcel held up to the light. 
These were a roleau of gold onzas, a long-bladed 
fcnifc, and a folded sheet of paper ! 


The last occupied his attention first. The sun was 
down, and the light declining, but in front of the 
window there was still enough to enable him to read. 
He opened the paper and read : 

4 Your time is fixed for to-morrow, 1 cannot learn 
whether you will be kept where you are all night, or be taken 
back to the Presidio. If you remain in the Calabozo, well, 
1 send you two weapons. Use which you please, or both. The 
walls can be pierced. There will be ow outside who will con- 
duct you safe. Should you be taken to the Presidio, you 
must endeavour to escape on the way, or there is no hope. 1 
need not recommend courage and resolution to you — the per- 
sonification of both. Make for the rancho of Josef a. There 
you will find one who is now ready to share your perils and 
your liberty. Adieu ! my soul's hero t adieu V 

Xo name appeared. But Carlos needed none — he 
well knew who was the writer of that note. 

( Brave, noble girl ! ' he muttered as he concealed 
ths paper under the breast of his hunting-shirt ; ' the 
thought of living for you fills me with fresh hope< 
gives me new nerve for the struggle. If I die, it will 
not be by the hands of the garrotero. No, my hands 
&re free. They shall not be bound again while life 
remains. I shall yield oi\\y to death itself.' 

As the captive muttered these thoughts he sat down 
upon the banqueta, and hurriedly untied the thongs 
that up to this time had remained upon his ankles. 
This done, he rose to his feet again; and, with the 
long knife firmly clutched, strode up and down the 
cell, glancing fiercely towards the door at each turn- 
ing. He had resolved to run the gauntlet of his guards, 
and by his manner it was evident he had made up hia 
mind to attack the first of them that entered. 


Foi several minutes ho paced his cell, like a tigee 
within its cage. 

At length a thought seemed to suggest itself that 
caused a change in his manner, sudden and decided. 
He gathered up the thongs just cast off; and seating 
himself upon the banqueta, once more wound them 
ground his ankles — hut this time in such a fashion, 
that a single jerk upon a cunningly-contrived knot 
would set all free. The knife was hidden under his 
hunting shirt, where the purse had been already de- 
posited. Last of all, he unloosed the raw-hide rope 
from the beam, and, meeting his hands behind him, 
whipped it around both wrists, until they had the 
appearance of being securely spliced. He then as- 
sumed a reclining attitude along the banqueta, with 
his face turned towards the door, and remained mo- 
tionless as though he were asleep ! 


In our land of cold impulses — of love calculating and 
interested — we cannot understand, and scarcely credit, 
the deeds of reckless daring that in other climes have 
their origin in that strong ])assion. 

Among Spanish women love often attains a strength 
and sublimity utterly unfelt and unknown to nations 
who mix it up with their merchandise. With those 
uighly-developed dames it often becomes a true pas- 


sion- -unselfish, headlong, intense — usurping the place 
of every other, and filling the measure of the soul. 
Filial affection — domestic ties — moral and social duty 
— must yield. Love triumphs over all. 

Of such a nature — of such intensity — was the love 
that burned in the heart of Catalina de Cruces. 

Filial affection had been weighed against it; rank, 
fortune, and many other considerations, had been 
thrown into the scale. Love outbalanced them all; 
and, obedient to its impulse, she had resolved to fling 
all the rest behind her. 

It was nearing the hour of midnight, and the man- 
sion of Don Ambrosio was dark and silent. Its master 
was not at home. A grand banquet had been provided 
at the Presidio by A^izcarra and Roblado, to which 
all the grandees of the settlement had been invited. 
Don Ambrosio was among the number. At this hour 
he was at the Presidio, feasting and making merry. 

It was not a ladies' festival, therefore Catalina was- 
not there. It was, indeed, rather an extemporised 
affair— a sort of jubilee to wind up the performances 
of the day. The officers and priests were in high 
spirits, and had put their heads together in getting up 
the improvised banquet. 

The town had become silent, and the mansion of 
Don Ambrosio showed not a sign of life. The porterc* 
still lingered by the great gate, waiting his master's 
return ; bu* ho sat inside upon the banqueta of the 
zaguan, and seemed to be asleep. 

He was watched by those who wished him to- 
sleep on. 

The large door of tne cahalleriza was open. Within- 
the framework of the posts and lintels the form of a 


man could be distinguished. It was the groom 

There was no light in the stable. Had there been 
■o, four horses might have been seen standing in 
their stalls, saddled and bridled. A still stranger 
circumstance might have been observed — around the 
hoofs of each horse were wrapped pieces of coarse 
woollen cloth, that were drawn up and fastened around 
the ankles ! There was some design in this. 

The door of the caballeriza was not visible from the 
zaguan ; but at intervals the figure within the stable 
came forth, and, skulking along, peeped around the 
angle of the wall. The portero was evidently the 
object of his scrutiny. Having listened a while, the 
figure again returned to its place in the dark door- 
way, and stood as before. 

Up to a certain time a tiny ray of light could be 
detected stealing through the curtains of a chamber- 
door — the chamber of the senorita. All at once the 
light silently disappeared ; but a few moments after, 
the door opened noiselessly. A female figure glided 
softly forth, and turned along under the shadow of the 
wall, in the direction of the caballeriza. On reaching 
the open doorway she stopped, and called in a low 
voice, — 

* Andres ! ' 

* Aqui, Senorita,'' answered the groom, stepping a 
little more into the light. 

1 All saddled ? ' 

* Si, Senorita.' 

* You have muffled their hoofs ? 
•Every one, Senorita.' 

"■Oh! what shall we do with him i continued tl»* 


lady in a tone of distress, and pointing toward the 
Kaguan. ' We shall not be able to pass out before 
papa returns, and then it may be too lato. San- 

tisima ! ' 

' Senorita, why not serve the portero as I have 
done the girl ? I'm strong enough for that.' 

' Oh, Vicenza ! how have you secured her ? ' 

* In the garden-house, — tied, gagged, and locked 
up. I warrant she'll not turn up till somebody finds 
her. No fear of her, Senorita. I'll do the same for 
the portero, if you but say the word.' 

* No — no — no ! who would open the gate for papa ? 
No — no — no! it would not do/ She reflected. 'And 
yet, if he gets out before the horses are ready, they 
will soon miss — -pursue — overtake him. He will get 
out, I am sure of it. How long would it occupy him :■* 
not long. He will easily undo his cord fastenings. I 
know that — he once said he could. Oh, holy Virgin' 
he may now be free, and waiting for me ! I must 

haste — the portero — -Ha ! ' 

As she uttered this exclamation she turned sud- 
denly to Andres. A new plan seemed to have sug- 
gested itself. 

' Andres ! good Andres ! listen ! We shall manage 
it yet ! ' 

( Si, Senorita.' 

' Thus, then. Lead the horses out the back way, 
through the garden — can you swim them across the 
stream ? ' 

* Nothing easier, my lady.' 

* Good ! Through the garden take them then. 

At this she cast her eyes toward the entrance of the 


long alley leading to the garden, which was directly 
opposite to, and visible from, the zaguan. Unless the 
portero were asleep, he could not fail to see four 
horses passing out in that way — dark as was the 
night. Here, then, a new difficulty presented itself. 

Suddenly starting, she seemed to have thought of a 
way to overcome it. 

' Andres, it will do. You go to the zaguan. See 
whether he be asleep. Go up boldly. If asleep,, 
well; if not enter into conversation with him. Get 
mm to open the little door and let you out. Wile 
him upon the street, and by some means keep him 
there. 1 shall lead out the horses.' 

This was plausible, and the groorn prepared him- 
self for a strategic encounter with the portero. 

4 AYhen sufficient time has elapsed, steal after me 
to the garden. See that you manage well, Andres. 
I shall double your reward. You go with me — you 
have nothing to fear.' 

' Senorita, I am ready to lay down my life for 

Gold is powerful. Gold had won the stout Andres 
to a fealty stronger tlun friendship. For gold he 
was ready to strangle the portero on the spot. 

The latter was not asleep — only dozing, as a 
Spanish portero knows how. Andres put the strata- 
gem in practice, he offered a cigar ; and in a few 
minutes' time his unsuspicious fellow-servant stepped 
with him through the gate, and both stood smoking 

Catalina judged their situation by the hum of their 
voices. She entered the dark stable ; and gliding to 
the head of one of the horses, caught the bridle, and 


led the animal forth. A few moments sufficed U 
conduct it to the garden, where she knotted the reina 

to a tree. 

She then returned for the second, and the third, 
And the fourth and last — all of which she secured as 
she had done the first. 

Once more she went hack to the patio. This time 
only to shut the stable-door, and lock that of her own 
■chamber; and, having secured both , she cast a look 
towards the zaguan, and then glided back into the 
garden. Here she mounted her own horse, took the 
bridle of another in her hand, and sat waiting. 

She had not long to wait. Andres had well cal- 
culated his time, for in a few minutes he appeared in 
the entrance ; and, having closed the gate behind 
him, joined his mistress. 

The ruse had succeeded admirably. The portero 
suspected nothing. Andres had bidden him ' buenas 
noches,' at the same time expressing his intention of 
going to bed. 

Don Ambrosio might now return when he pleased. 
He would retire to his sleeping-room as was his wont. 
He would not know before morning the loss he had 

The mumings were now removed from the feet ol 
the horses, and, plunging as silently as possible into 
the water, the four were guided across the stream. 
Having ascended the opposite bank, they were first 
headed towards the cliffs, but before they had pro- 
ceeded far in that direction they turned into a path 
of the chapparal leading downward. This path 
would conduct them to the rancho of Josefa. 



From the position he occupied, Carlos did not fail to 
observe the outlines of his prison, and search for that 
point that might be pierced with least trouble. He 
saw that the walls were of adobe bricks — strong, 
enough to shut in an ordinary malefactor, but easily 
cut through by a man armed with the proper tool, 
and the determination to set himself free. Two 
hours' work would suffice, but how to work that two 
hours without being interrupted and detected ? That, 
was the question that occupied the mind of the 

One thing was very evident j it would be unwise 
to commence operations before a late hour—until the 
relief of the guard. 

Carlos had well calculated his measures. He had 
determined to remain as he was, and keep up the 
counterfeit of his being fast bound until such time as 
the guard should be changed. He knew that it was 
the duty of the old guard to deliver him to the relief; 
and these would assure themselves of his being in the 
cell by ocular inspection. He guessed that the hour 
of guard-mounting must be near. He would, there- 
fore, not have long to wait before the new sentries 

should present themselves in his cell. 

2 u 


One thought troubled him. "Would they keep him 
in the Calabozo that night, or take him back to the 
Presidio for better security ? If the latter, his only 
chance would be — as she had suggested — to make a 
desperate effort, and escape on the route. Once 
lodged in the guard-house prison, he would be sur- 
rounded by walls of stone. There would be no hope 
of cutting his way through them. 

It was probable enough he should be taken there ; 
and yet why should they fear his escape from the 
Calabozo — fast bound as they believed him — un- 
armed, guarded by vigilant sentinels? No. They 
would not dream of his getting off. Besides, it 
would be more convenient to keep him all night in 
the latter prison. It was close to the place of his 
intended execution, which no doubt was to tako 
place on the morrow. The garrote had been already 
orected in front of his gaol ! 

Partly influenced by such considerations, and 

partly that they were occupied with pleasanter mat- 
ters, the authorities had resolved on leaving him. 
where he was for the night, though Carlos was 
ignorant of this. 

He had, however, pieparod himself for either con- 
tingency. Should they convey him back to the 
Presidio, ho would seek the best opportunity that 
offered, and risk his life in a bold effort to escape. 
8hould he bo permitted to remain in the Calabozo, he 
would wait till the guard had visited him — then set 
to work upon the wall after they had gone out. Jn 
the event of being detected while at work, but one 
course remained, — run the gauntlet of the guard, 
and cut his wav through their midst. 


His escape was not an affair of sucli improbability. 
A determined man with, a long kniie in his grasp — 
one who will yield only to death — is a difficult thing 
to secure under any circumstances. Such an one 
will often effect his freedom, even when hemmed in 
by a host of enemies. With Carlos, however, the 
probabilities of escape were much greater. lie w%- 
individually strong and brave, while most of his 
nemies were physically but pigmies in comparison. 

As to their courage, he knew that once they saw him 
with his hands free and armed, they would mako 
way for him on all sides. What he had most to fear 
was the bullets of their carbines ; but he had much 
to hope from their want of skill, and the darkness 
"vould favour him. 

For more than an hour he lay along the banqueta r 
turning over in his mind the chances of regaining his 
liberty. His reactions were interrupted by an un- 
usual stir outside his prison. A fresh batch of sol- 
'diers had arrived at the door. 

Carlos' heart beat anxiously. Was it a party come 
to conduct him to the Presidio? It might be so. 
He waited with painful impatience listening to every 

To his great joy it proved to be the arrival of the 
relief-guard; and he had the satisfaction of hearing, 
by their conversation, that they had been detailed to 
guard him all night m the Calabozo. This was just 
the very thing he desired to know. 

Presently the door was unlocked and opened, and 
several of the men entered. One bore a lantern. 
With this they examined him — uttering coarse and 

insulting remarks as they stood around. They saw 



that he was securly bound ! After a while all went 
out and left him to himself. The door was of course- 
re-locked, and the cell was again in perfect darkness. 

Carlos lay still for a few minutes, to assure himself 
they were not going to return. He heard them place 
the sentries by the door, and then the voices of the 
greater number seemed borne off to some distance. 

Now was the time to begin his work. He hastily~ 
cast the cords from his hands and feet, drew the long 
knife from his breast, and attacked the adobe wall. 

The spot he has chosen was at the corner farthest 
from the door, and at the back side of the cell. He 
knew not what was the nature of the ground on the 
other side, but it seemed most likely that which would. 
lie towards the open country. The Calabozo was no 
fortress-prison — a mere temporary affair, used by the- 
municipal authorities for malefactors of the smaller 
kind. So much the better for his chances of breaking 


The wall yielded easily to his knife. The adobe is 
but dry mud, toughened by an admixture of grass ;. 
and although the bricks were laid to the thickness of 
twenty inches or more, in the space of an hour 
Carlos succeeded in cutting a hole large enough to 
pass through. He could have accomplished this feat, 
in still shorter time, but he was compelled to work 
with caution, and as silently as possible. Twice he 
fancied that his guards were about to enter the cell> 
and both times he had sprung to his feet, and stood,, 
knife in hand, ready to assail them. Fortunately his, 
fancies were without foundation. No one entered 
until the hole was made, and the captive had the 


satisfaction to feel the ccid air rushing through the 
aperture ! 

He stopped his work and listened. There was no 

sound on that side of the prison. All was silence 

and darkness. He pressed his head forward, and 
peered through. The night was dark, but he could 
«ee weeds and wild cactus-plants growing close to 
»!he wall. Good ! There were no signs of life there. 

He widened the aperture to the size of his body, 
and crawled through, knife in hand. He raised him- 
self gradually and silently. Nothing but tall rank 
weeds, cactus-plants, and aloes. He was behind the 
range of the dwellings. He was in the common. 
He was free ! 

lie started towards the open country, skulking 
under the shadow of the brushwood. A form rose 
before him, as if out of the earth, and a voice 
6oftly pronounced his name. He recognised the girl 
Josefa. A word or two was exchanged, when the 
girl beckoned him to follow, and silently led the way. 

They entered the chapparal, and, following a nar- 
row path, succeeded in getting round the village. 

On the other side lay the ranchc, and in half-an- 
hour's time they arrived at and entered the humble 


In the next moment Carlos was bending over the 
corpse of his mother ! 

There was no shock in this encounter. He had 
been half prepared for such an event. Besides, hia 
nerves had been already strained to their utmost by 
the spectacle of the morning. Sorrow may some- 
times eclipse sorrow, and drive it from the heart; 
tut that agony which he haa already endured could 


not bo supplanted by a greater. The nerve of grief 
had been touched with such soverity that it could, 
vibrate no longer ! 

Beside him was one who offered consolation — she> 
his noble preserver. 

But it was no hour for idle grief. Carlos kissed 
the cold lips — hastily embraced his weeping sister — 
his love. 

4 The horses ? ' he inquired. 

* They are close at hand — among the trees ; ' 
'Come, then! we must not icse a moment — wo- 

must go hence. — Come! ' 

As he uttered these words, he wrapped the serape 
around the corpse, lifted it in his arms, and passed 
out of the rancho. 

The others had already preceded him to the spot; 

where the horses were concealed. 

Carlos saw that there were five of these animais. 
A gleam of joy shot from his eyes as he recognised 
his noble steed. Antonio had recovered him. An- 
tonio was there, on the spot. 

All were soon in the saddles. Two of the horses 
carried Rosita and Catalina ; the other two were 
ridden by Antonio and the groom Andres. The 
cibolero himself, carrying his strange burden, once 
more sprang upon the back of his faithful steed. 

* Down the valley, master?' inquired Antonio. 
Carlos hesitated a moment as if deliberating. 

* No,' replied he at length. * They would follow 
us that way. By the pass of La Nina. They wil* 
not suspect us of taking the cliff road. Lead on, 
Antonio : — the chapparal path — you know it best 



The cavalcade started, and in a few minutes had 
passed the borders of the town, and was winding its 
way through the devious path that led to the pass of 
La Nina. No words were exchanged, or only a 
whisper, as the horses in single file followed one an- 
other through the chapparal. 

An hour's silent travel brought them to the pass, up 
which they filed without halting till they had reached 
the top of the ravine. Here Carlos rode to the front, 

and, directing Antonio to guide the others straight 
across the table-land, remained himself behind. 

As soon as the rest were gone past, he wheeled 
his horse, and rode direct for the cliff of La Nina. 
Having reached the extremity of the bluff, he halted 
at a point that commanded a full view of San Ilde- 
fonso. In the sombre darkness of night the valley 
seemed but the vast crater of an extinct volcano ; 
and the lights, glittering in the town and the Pre- 
sidio, resembled the last sparks of flaming lava that 
had not yet died out ! 

The horse stood still. The rider raised the corpse 
upon his arm ; and, baring the pale face, turned it in 
the direction of the lights. 

' Mother ! mother ! ' he broke forth, in a voice 
hoarse with grief. ' Oh! that those eyes could see 
— that those ears could hear ! — if but for a moment 
— one short moment — that you might bear witness to 
my vow ! Here do I swear that you shall be re- 
venged ! From this hour I yield up my strength, 
my time, my soul and body, to the accomplishment 
of vengeance. Vengeance ! why do I use the word ? 
It is not vengeance, but justice — justice upon the 
perpetrators of the foulest murder the world has ever 

120 the white chief. 

recorded, But it shall not go unpunished. Spirit of 
my mother, hear me ! It shall not. Your death shall 
be avenged — your torture shall have full retribu- 
tion. Eejoicc, you ruffian crew ! feast, and be merry, 
for your time of sorrow will soon come — sooner 
'than you think for ! I go, but to return. Have 
patience — ■ you shall see me again. Yes ! once 
more you shall stand face to face with Carlos the 
cibolero ! ' 

He raised his right arm, and held it outstretched 
in a menacing attitude, while a gleam of vengeful 
tiiumph passed over his countenance. Ilis horse, as 
if actuated by a similar impulse, neighed wildly ; and 
then wheeling round at a signal from his rider, gal- 
loped away from the cliff! 



After having witnessed the disgusting ceremony m 
the Plaza, the officers returned to their quarters at 
»he Presidio. 

As already stated, they did not return alone. The 
principal men of the place had been invited to dine 
with them — cura, padres, alcalde, and all. The cap- 
ture of the outlaw was a theme of public gratula- 
tion and rejoicing ; and the Comandante and his 
captain — to whom was due the credit — were deter- 
mined to rejoice. To that end the banquet was spread 
if; the Presidio. 


It was not thought worth while to remove Carlos 
to the soldiers' prison. He could remain, all night in 
the Calahozo. Fast hound and well guarded as ho 
was, there was not the slightest danger of him making 
his escape. 

To-morrow would be the last day of Ids life. To- 
morrow his foes should have the pleasure of seeing 
him die — to-morrow the Comandante and Roblado 
would enjoy their full measure of vengeance. 

Even that day Yizcarra had enjoyed part of his. 
For the scorn with which he had been treated he had 
revenged himself — though it was he who from the 
centre of the Plaza had cried ' Basta V It was not 

mercy that had caused him to interfere. His words 
were not prompted by motives of humanity — far 

His designs were vile and brutal. To-morrow 
the brother would be put out of the way, and 


The wine — the music — the jest — the loud laugh— 
all could not drown some bitter reflections. Ever 
and anon the mirror upon the wall threw back his 
dark face spoiled and distorted. His success had 
been dearly purchased — his was a sorrv triumph. 

It prospered better with Koblado. Don Ambrosio 
was one of the guests, and sat beside him. 

The wine had loosened the heart-strings of the 
miner. He was communicative and liberal of his 
promises. His daughter, he said, had repented of her 
folly, and now looked with indifference upon the fate 
of Carlos. Roblado might hope. 

It is probable that Don Ambrosio had reasons for 
believing what he said It is probable that Catalina 


had tlirown out such hints, the better to conceal he* 
desperate design. 

The wine flowed freely, and the guests of the Co- 
raandante revelled under its influence. There were 
toasts, and songs, and patriotic speeches ; and the 
hour of midnight arrived before the company was 
half satiated with enjoyment. 

In the midst of their carousal, a proposal was 
volunteered by some one, that the outlaw Carlos 
should be brought in ! Odd as was this proposition, 
it exactly suited the half-drunken revellers. Many 
were curious to have a good sight of the cibolero — 
now so celebrated a personage. 

The proposal was backed by many voices, and the- 
omandante pressed to yield to it. 

Vizcarra had no objection to gratify his guests. 
Both he and Eoblado rather liked the idea. It 
would be a further humiliation of their hated 

Enough. Sergeant Gomez was summoned, the 
cibolero sent for, and the revelry went on. 

But that revelry was soon after brought to a sudden 
termination, when Sergeant Gomez burst into the 
saloon, and announced in a loud voice that — 

The prisoner had escaped I 

A shell dropping into the midst of that company 
could not have scattered it more completely. All 
sprang to their feet — chairs and tables went tumbling 
over — glasses and bottles were dashed to the floor, 
and the utmost confusion ensued. 

The guests soon cleared themselves ot the room. 
Some rail direct to their houses to see if ttieir families 
were safe ; while others made their way to the Cala- 


bozo to assure themselves of the truth of the ser- 
geant's report. 

Vizcarra and Eoblado were in a state bordering 
upon madness. Both stormed and swore, at the same 
time ordering the whole garrison under arms. 

In a few minutes nearly every soldier of the Pre- 
sidio had vaulted to his saddle, and was galloping in 
the direction of the town. 

The Calahozo was surrounded. 

There was the hole through which the captive had 
got off. How had he unbound his fastenings — who 
had furnished him with the knife ? 

The sentries were questioned and flogged — and 
flogged and questioned — but could tell nothing. 
They knew not that their prisoner was gone, until 
Gomez and his party came to demand him ! 

Scouring parties were sent out in every direction 
— but in the night what could they do ? The houses 
were all searched, but what was the use of that ? 
The cibolero was not likely to have remained within 
the town. No doubt he was off once more to the 
Plains ! 

The night search proved ineffectual ; and in the 
morning the party that had gone down the valley re- 
turned, having found no traces either of Carlos, his 
sister, or his mother. It was known that the hechicera 
had died on the previous night, but where had the 
body been taken to ? Had she come to life again, 
and aided the outlaw in his escape ? Such was the 
conjecture ! 

At a later hour in the morning some light was 
thrown on the mysterious affair. Don Arnbrosio* 
who had gone to rest without disturbing his daughter, 


was awaiting her presence in the breakfast- room. 
What detained her beyond .the usual hour? The 
father grew impatient — then anxious. A messenger 
■was at length sent to summon her — no reply to the 
knocking: at her chamber-door ! 

The door was burst open. The room was entered 
■it was found untenanted — the bed impressed — the 

senorita had fled ! 

She must be pursued ! Where is the groom ? — the 
horses ? She must be overtaken and brought back ! 

The stable is reached, and its door laid open. No 
groom ! no horse ! — they, too, were gone ! 

Heavens ! "what a fearful scandal ! The daughter 
■of Don Ambrosio had not only assisted the outlaw to 
escape, but she had shared his flight, and was now 
with him. 6 IhtyeronP was the universal cry. 

The trail of the horses was at length taken up, and 
followed by a large party, both of dragoons and 
mounted civilians. It led into the high plain, and 
then towards the Pecos, where they had crossed. 
Upon the other side the trail was lost. The horses 
had separated, and gone in different directions, and 
their tracks, passing over dry shingle, could no longer 
be followed. 

After several days' fruitless wandering, the pursuing 
party returned, and a fresh one started out; but this, 
after a while, came back to announce a similar want of 
success. Every haunt had been searched ; the old 
rancho — the groves on the Pecos — even the ravine 
and its cave had been visited, and examined carefully, 
No traces of the fugitives could be discovered ; and it 
was conjectured that they had gone clear off from tli» 
confines of the settlement. 


This conjecture proved correct, and guessing was 
at length set at rest. A party of friendly Comanches, 
who visited the settlement, brought in the report 
that they had met the ci bolero on their way across 
the Llano Estacado — that he was accompanied by 
two women and several men with pack-mules 
carrying provisions — that he had told them (the In- 
dians) he was on his way for a long journey — in fact, 
to the other side of the Great Plains. 

This information was definite, and no doubt cor- 
rect. Carlos had been often heard to express his in- 
tention of crossing over to the country of the Ameri- 
canos. He was now gone thither — most likely to 
settle npon the banks of the Mississippi. He was 
already far beyond the reach of pursuit. They would 
see him no more — as it was not likely he would ever 
again show his face in the settlements of New 


Months rolled past. Beyond the report of the 
Cornanches, nothing was heard of Carlos or his 
people. Although neither he nor his were forgotten, 
yet they had ceased to be generally talked of. Other 
affairs occupied the minds of the people of San Ilde- 
fonso ; and there had lately arisen one or two matters 
of high interest — almost sufficient to eclipse the me- 
mory of the noted outlaw. 

The settlement had been threatened by an invasion 
from the Yutas — which would have taken place, had 
not the Yutas, just at the time, been themselves at- 
tacked and beaten by another tribe of savages ! This 
defeat had prevented their invasion of the vallev 

426 tup: white chikp\ 

least for that season, but they had excited feara foi 
the future. 


Another terror had stirred San Tldefonso of late — a 
threatened revolt of the Tagnos, the Indios mansos, or 
tame Indians, "who formed the majority of the popula- 
tion. Their brethren in several other settlements 
had risen, and succeeded in casting off the Spanish 

It was natural that those of San Ildefonso should 
dream of similar action, and conspire. 

But their conspiracy was nipped in the bud by the 
vigilance of the authorities. The leaders wei»e ar- 
rested, tried, condemned, and shot. Their scalps 
were hung over the gateway of the Presidio, as a 
warning to their dusky compatriots, who were thus 
reduced to complete submission ! 

These tragic occurrences had done much to oblite- 
rate from the memory of all the cibolero and his 
deeds. True, there were some of San Ildefonso who, 
with good cause, still remembered both; but the 
crowd had ceased to think of either him or his. All 
had heard and believed that the outlaw had long ago 
crossed the Great Plains, and was now safe under the 

protection of those of his own race, upox. the hwaks sA 
the Mississippi. 



And what bad become of Carlos ? Was it true that 
ne bad crossed tho great plains? Did be never 
return ? What became of San Ildefonso ? 

These questions were asked, because he who nar- 
rated the legend bad remained for some time silent. 
His eyes wandered over the valley, now raised to the 
clitf of La Nina, and now resting upon the weed- 
covered ruin. Strong emotion was the cause of hig 

His auditoiy, already half guessing the fate of San 
Ildefonso, impatiently desired to know the end. 
After a while be continued. 

Carlos did return. "What became of San Ildefonso ? 
In yonder ruin you have your answer. San Ildefonso 
fell. But you would know how ? Oh ! it is a terrible 
tale — a tale of blood and vengeance, and Carlos was 
the avenger. 

Yes — the cibolero returned to the valley of San 
Ildefonso, but he came not alone. Five hundred 
warriors wore at his back — red warriors who acknow- 
ledged him as their leader — their " White Chief." 
They were the braves of the Waco band. The}' knew 
the story of his wrongs, and had sworn to avenge 

It was autumn — late autumn — that loveliest season 


of the American year, when the wild wood? appeal 
painted, and Nature seems to repose after her annua! 
toil— when all her creatures, having feasted at the 
full banquet she has so lavishly laid out for them,, 
appear content and happy. 

It was night, with an autumn il moon — that moon 
whose round orb and silvery beams have been cele- 
brated in the songs of many a harvest land. 

Not less brilliant fell those beams where no harvest 
was ever known — upon the wild plain of the Llano 
Estacado. The lone hatero, couched beside his silent 
flock, was awakened by a growl from his watchful 
sheep-dog. Eai sing himself, he looked cautiously 
around. Was it the wolf, the grizzly bear, or tho 
red puma ? None of these. A far different object 
was before his eyes, as he glanced over the level 
plain — an object whose presence caused him to 

A long line of dark forms was moving across the 
plain. They were the forms of horses with their 
riders. They were in single file — the muzzle of each 
horse close to the croup of the one that preceded him. 
From east to west they moved. The head of the line- 
was already near, but its rear extended beyond the 
reach of the hatero's vision. 

Presently the troop filed before him, and passed 
within two hundred paces of where he lay. Smoothly 

d silently it glided on. There was no chinking of 
bits, no jingling of spurs, no clanking of sabres 
Alone could be heard the dull stroke of the shoeless 
Hoof, or at intervals the neigh of an impatient steed, 
suddenly checked by a reproof from his rider. Silently 
they passed on— silent as spectres. The full uiooo 

IV 1 J. 


gleaming upon them added to their unearthly ap- 
pearance ! 

The watcher trembled where he lay — though he 
knew they were not spectres. He knew well what 
they were, and understood the meaning of that ex- 
tended deployment. They were Indian warriors 
upon the march. The bright moonlight enabled 
him to distinguish farther. He saw that they were 
all full-grown men — that they were nude to the 
waist, and below the thighs — that their breasts and 
arms were painted — that they carried nought but 
tneir bows, quivers, and spears — in short, that they 
were braves on the war-trail ! 

Strangest sight of all to the eyes of the hatero wai 
the leader who rode at the head of that silent band. 
He differed from all the rest in dress, in equipments, 
in the colour of his skin. The hatero saw that he was 
white ! 

Surprised was he at first on observing this, but 
not for long. This shepherd was one of the sharpest 
?f his tribe. It was he who had discovered the 
remains of the yellow hunter and his companion. 
He remembered the events of that time. He re 
fleeted ; and in a few moments arrived at the con 
elusion that the White Chief he now saw could be no 
other than Carlos the cibolero ! In that conjecture 
tie was right. 

The first thought of the hatero had been to yave 

his own life by remaining quiet. Before the line of 

warriors had quite passed him, other thoughts came 

into his mind. The Indians were on the war-trail! — ■ 

Lhey were marching direct for the settlement, — they 

were headed by Carlos the cibrl^r^i 

? is 


The history of Carlos the oudaw now came before 
his mind — ho remembered the "whole story ; beyond 
a doubt the cibolero was returning to the settlement 
to take vengeance upon his enemies ! 

Influenced partly by patriotism, and partly by the 
hope of reward, the hatero at once resolved to defeat 
this purpose. Ho would hasten to the valley and 
wam the garrison! 

As soon as the line had filed past he rose to his 
feet, and was about to start off upon his errand ; but 
he had miscalculated the intelligence of the white 
leader. Long before, the flap king scouts had enclosed 
both him and his charge, and the next moment ho 
was a captive ! Part of his flock served for the 
eupper of that band he would have betrayed. 

Up to the point where the hatero had been en- 
countered, the White Chief and his followers had 
travelled along a well-known path — the trail of the 
traders. Beyond this, the leader swerved from the 
track ; and without a word headed obliquely over the 
plain. The extended line followed silently after — as 
the body of a snake moves after its head. 

Another hour, and they had arrived at the ceja of 
the Great Plain — at a point well known to their chief. 
It was at the head of that ravine where he had so 
oft found shelter from his foes. The moon, though 
shining with splendid brilliance, was low in the sky, 
and her light did not penetrate the vast chasm. It 
lay buried in dark shade. The descent was a difficult 
one, though not to such men, and with such a guide. 

Muttering some words to his immediate follower, thfl 
V/hite Chief headed his horse into the cleft, and the ner; 
V.oment disappeared under the shadow of the rocks- 


The warrior that followed, passing the word behind 
liim, rode after, and likewise disappeared in tho dark- 
ness ; then another, and another, until live hundred 
mounted men were engulfed in that fearful-looking 
abysm. Not one remained upon the upper plain. 

For a while there struck upon the ear a continued 
pattering sound— the sound of a thousand hoofs as 
they fell upon rocks and loose shingle. But this 
noise gradually died away, and all was silence. 
Neither horses nor men gave any token of their 
presence in the ravine. The only sounds that fell 
upon the ears were the voices of nature's wild crea- 
tures whose haunts had been invaded. They were 
the wail of the goatsucker, the bay of the barking 
wolf, and the maniac scream of the eagle. 

* * * * 

Another da} T passes — another moon has arisen 
and the gigantic serpent, that had all day lain coiled 
in the ravine, is seen gliding silently out at its 
bottom, and stretching its long vertebrate form across 
the plain of the Pecos. 

The stream is reached and crossed ; amidst plash- 
ing spray, horse follows horse over the shallow ford , 
and then the glittering line glides on. 

Having passed the river lowlands, it ascends the 
high plains that overlook the valley of San Ildefonso. 

Here a halt is made — scouts are sent forward — and 
once more the line moves on. 

Its head reaches the cliff of La Nina inst as the 
moon has sunk behind the snowj- summit of the 
Sierra lilanca. For the last hour the leader has been 
marching slowly, as though he waited her going 


down, Hu* light is no longer desired. Darkness 
bet f *>r befits tlie deed that is to be done. 

A halt is made until the pass has been recon- 
noitred. That done, the White Chief guides his 
followers down the defile ; and in another half-hour 
the five hundred horsemen have silently disappeared 
within the mazes of the chapparal ! 

Under the guidance of the half-blood Antonio, an 
open glade is found near the centre of the thicket. 
Here the horsemen dismount and tie their horses to 
the trees. The attack is to be made on foot. 


It is now the hour after midnight. The moon has 
been down for some time ; and the cirrus clouds, 
that for a while had reflected her light, have been 

gradually growing darker. Objects can no longer be 

distinguished at the distance of twenty feet. The 
huge pile of the Presidio, looming against the leaden 
sky, looks black and gloomy. The sentinel cannot 
be seen upon the turrets, but at intervals his shril] 
voice uttering the ' Centinela alerte ! ' tells that he is 
at his post His call is answered by the sentinel at 
the gate below, and then all is silent. The garrison 
sleeps secure — even Lhe night-guard in the zaguan 
with their bodies extended along the stone banr aeta, 
are sleeping soundly. 

The Presidio dreads no sudden attack — there has 
been no rumour of Indian incursion — the neighbour 
Ing tribes are all en paz ; and the Tagno conspirators 
have been destroyed. Greater vigilance would be 
superfluous. A sentry upon the azotca, and another 
by the gate, are deemed sufficient for tbe ordinary 


guardianship of the garrison. Ha ! the inmates of 
the Presidio little dream of the enemy that is nigh : 

' Centinela alerte I ' once more screams the watcher 
upon the wall. ' Centinela alerte I ' answers the otlior 
by the gate. 

But neither is sufficiently on the alert to perceive 
the dark forms that, prostrate upon the ground, like 
huge lizards, are crawling forward to the very walls. 
Slowly and silently these forms are moving, amidst 
weeds and grass, gradually drawing nearer to the 
gateway of the Presidio. 

A lantern burns by the sentinel. Its light, ra- 
diating to some distance, does not avail him — he sees 
them not ! 

A rustling noise at length reaches his ear. The 
' quien viva ? ' is upon his lips ; but he lives not to 
litter the words. Half-a-dozen bowstrings twang 
simultaneously, and as many arrows bury themselves 
in his flesh. His heart is pierced, and he falls, 
almost without uttering a groan j 

A stream of dark forms pours into the open gate- 
way. The guard, but half awake, perish before they 
can lay hand upon their weapons ! 

And now the war-cry of the Wacoes peals out in 
earnest, and the hundreds of dark warriors rush like 
a torrent through the zaguan. 

They enter the patio. The doors of the cuartos are 
besieged — soldiers, terrified to confusion, come forth 
in their shirts, and fall under the spears of their 
dusky assailants. Carbines and pistols crack on all 
sides, but those who fire do not live to reload them. 


It was a slurt but terrible struggle— terrible while 
It lasted. There were shouts, and shots, and groans, 
mingling together — the deep voice of the vengeful 
leader, and the wild war-cry of his followers — the 
crashing of timber, as doors were broken through or 
forced from their hinges — the clashing of swords and 
spears, and the quick detonation of fire-arms. Oh ! 
it was a terrible conflict ! 

It ends at length. An almost total silence follows. 

The warriors no longer utter their dread cry. Their 
soldier-enemies are destroyed. Every cuarto has 
been cleared of its inmates, who lie in bleeding heaps 
over the patio and by the doors. No quarter has- 
been given. All have been killed on the spot. 

No — not all. There are two who survive — two 
whose lives have been spared. Yizcarra and Eoblada 

yet live ! 

Piles of wood are now heaped against the timber 

posterns of the building, and set on fire. Volumes of 
smoke roll to the sky, mingling with sheets of red 
flame. The huge pine-beams of the azotea catch the 
blaze, burn, crackle, and fall inwards, and in a short 
while the Presidio becomes a mass of smoking ruins ! 
But the red warriors have not waited for this. The 
revenge of their leader is not yet complete. It is not 
to the soldiers alono that he owes vengeance He 
has sworn it to the citizens as well. The vbole 
settlement is to be destroyed ! 


And well this oath was kept, for before the sun 
rose San Ildefonso was in flames. The arrow, and 
the spear, and the tomahawk, did their work ; and 


men, women, and children, perished in hundreds 
under the blazing roofs of their houses ! 

With the exception of the Tagno Indians, few sur- 
vived to tell of that horrid massacre. A fow whites 
only — the unhapp}* father of Catalina among the rest 
— were permitted to escape, and carry their broken 
fortunes to another settlement. 

That of San Ildefonso — town, Presidio, mission, 
haciendas, and ranchos — in the short space of twelve 
hours had ceased to exist. The dwellers of that 
lovely valley were no more ! 

It is yet but noon. The ruins of San Ildefonso are 
still smoking. Its former denizens are dead, but it 
is not yet unpeopled. In the Plaza stand hundreds 
of dusky warriors drawn up in hollow square, with 
their faces turned inward. They are witnessing a 
singular scene — another act in the drama of their 
leader's vengeance. 

Two men are mounted upon asses, and tied upon 
the backs of the animals. These men are stripped 
so that their own backs arc perfectly bare, avd ex- 
posed to the gaze of the silent spectators ! Though 
these men no longer wear their flowing robes, it is 
easy to distinguish them. Their close-cut hair and 
shaven crowns show who they are — the padres of tne 
mission ! 

Deep cuts tne cuarto into their naked skin, loudly 
do they groan, and fearfully writhe. Earnestly do 
they beg and pray their persecutors to stay the ter- 
rible lash. Their entreaties are unheeded. 

Two white men, standing near, overlook the exo- 


uution These are Carlos the cibolero and Don Juan 
the ranchero. 

The priests would move them to pity, but in vain. 

The hearts of those two men have been turned to 

' Kemember my mother — my sister I ' mutters 

' Yes, false priests — remember ! ' adds Don Juan. 

And again is plied the cutting lash, until each 
corner of the Plaza has witnessed a repetition of the 
punishment ! 

Then the asses are led up in front of the parroquia 
— now roofless and black ; their heads are fastened 
together, so that the backs 01 their riders are turned 
toward the spectators. 

A line of warriors forms at a distance off — their 
bows are bent, and at a signal a flight of arrows goes 
whistling through the air. 

The suffering of the padres is at an end. Both 
have ceased to exist I 

* * * ♦ * 

I have arrived at the last act of this terrible 
draina ; but words cannot describe it. In horror it 
eclipses all the rest. The scene is La Nina — the top 
of the cliff — the same spot where Carlos had per- 
formed his splendid feat on the day of San Juan. 

Another feat of horsemanship is now to be exhi- 
bited. How different the actors — how different the 
spectators ! 


Upv.ii the tongue that juts out two men are seated 
upon horseback. They are not free riders, for it may 
'pe noticed that they are tied upon their seats. Their 


hands do not grasp a bridle, but are bu^nd behind 
their backs ; and their feet, drawn together undei 
the bellies of their horses, are there spliced with raw- 
hide ropes. To prevent turning in the saddle, other 

thongs, extending from strong leathern waist-belts, 
stay them to croup and pommel, and hold their bodies 
firm. Under such a ligature no horse could dismount 
either without also flinging the saddle, and that is 

guarded against by the strongest girthing. T+ . is not 
intended that these horsemen shall lose then, seats 
until they have performed an extraordinary feat. 
It is no voluntary act. Their countenances plainly 

tell that. Upon the features of both are written the 
most terrible emotions — craven cowardice in all its 
misery — despair in its darkest shadows ! 

Both are men of nearly middle age — both are 
officers in full uniform. But it needs not that to re- 
cognise them as the deadly enemies of Carlos — Viz- 
carra and Eoblado. No longer now his enemies. 
They are his captives ! 

But for what purpose are they thus mounted ? 
What scene of mockery is to be enacted ? Scene of 
mockery ! Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Observe! the horses upon which they sit are wild mus- 
tangs ! Observe ! they are blinded with tapojos ! 

For what purpose ? Yo'i shall see. 

A Tagno stands at the head of each horse, and 
holds him with difficulty. The animals are kept 
fronting the cliff, with their heads directed to the 
jutting puint of La Nina. 

The Indians are drawn up in line also facing to tno 
cliff. There is no noise in their ranks. An ominous 
silence characterises the sfane. In front is their 

chief mount otl upon his coal-black steed; and upon 
him the eyes of all are iixed, us though they expected 
gome signal. His face is pale, but its expression is 
stern and immobile. He has not yet reached the 
completion of his vengeance. 

There are no words between him and his victims. 
All that has passed. They know their doom. 

Their backs are towards him, and they see him 
not ; but the Tagnos who stand by the horses' heads 
have their eyes fixed upon him with a singular ex- 
pression. AY hat do these expect? A signal. 

In awful silence was that signal given. To the 
right and left sprang the Tagnos, leaving free the 
heads of the mustangs. Another signal to the line of 
mounted warriors, who, on receiving it, spurred their 
horses forward with a wild yell. 

Their spears soon pricked the hips of the mus- 
tangs, and the blinded animals sprang towards the cliff I 

The groans of agonised terror that escaped from 
their riders were drowned by the yells of the pur- 
suing horsemen. 

In a moment all was over. 1 he terrified mustangs 
had sprung out from the cliff — had carried their 
riders into eternity ! 

The dusky warriors pulled up near the brink, and 
Bat gazing upon each other in silent awe. 

A horseman dashed to the front; and, poising his 
horse upon the very edge, looked dcnvn into the 
abysm. It was the White Chief. 

For some moments ho regarded the shapeless 
masses that lay below. Ho saw that they moved not, 
Men and horses wore all dead crushed, bruised, and 
shattered — a hideous sight to behold ! 


A deep sigh escaped liiin, as though some weight 
had been lifted from his heart, and, turning around 
he muttered to his friend, — ■ 

* Don Juan ! I have kept my oath — she is avenged! 

* * # # * 

The setting sun saw that long line of Indian war- 
riors filing from the valley, and heading for the plain 
of the Llano Estacado. But they went not as they 
had come. They returned to their country laden 
with the plunder of San Ildefonso — to them the le- 
gitimate spoils of war. 

The cibolero still rode at their head, and Don 
Juan the ranchero was by his side. The fearful 
scenes through which they had just passed shadowed 
the brows of both ; but these shadows became lighter 
as they dwelt on the prospect before them. Each 
looked forward to a happy greeting at the end of his 

Carlos did not remain long . among his Indian 
friends. Loaded with the treasure they had pro- 
mised, he proceeded farther east, and established a 
plantation upon the Eed River of Louisiana. Here, 
in the company of his beautiful wife, his sister, Don 
Juan, ar.d some of his old servants, he led in after 
years a life of peace and prosperity. 

Now and then u« made hunting excursions into 
Ihe country of his old friends the AVacoes — who were 
ever glad to see him again, and still hailed him as 
iheir chief. 

Of San Ildefonso there is no more heard since that 
time. No settlement was ever after made in that 
£>eautiful valley. The Taguos — released from the 


bondage which the padres had woven around them — 
were but too glad to give up the half- civilisation they 
had been taught. Some of them sought other settle 
ments, but most returned to their old habits, and 
once more became hunters of the plains. 

Perhaps the fate of San Ildefonso might have at- 
tracted more attention in other times ; but it occurred 
at a peculiar period in Spanish-American history. 
Just then the Spanish power, all over the American 
continent, was hastening to its decline ; and the fall 
of San Ildefonso was but one episode among many of 
a character equally dramatic. Near the same time 
fell Gran Qnivira, Abo, Chiiiii, and hundreds of other 
settlements of note. Each, has its story — each its red 
romance — perhaps far more interesting than that we 
have here recorded. 

Chance alone guided our steps to the fair valley of 
San Ildefonso, — chance threw in our way one who 
remembered its legend— the legend of the White Chief, 


* Sierra Blanca, 9 — Page 1.] The Sierra Blanca is so called 

because the tops of this range are usually covered with snow. 
The snow of the Sierra Blanca is not 'eternal. ' It only remains 
for about three parts of the year. Its highest peaks are below 
the snow-line of that latitude. Mountains that carry the 
eternal snow are by the Spanish Americans denominated 
' Nevada. ' 

* The Grand Prairie.'— Page 2.] This name is somewhat in- 
definite, being applied by some to particular portions of prairie 
land. Among the hunters it is the general name given to the 
vast treeless region lying to the west of the timbered country 
on the Mississippi. The whole longitudinal belt from the Lower 
Rio Grande to the Great Slave Lake is, properly speaking, the 
Grand Prairie; but the phrase has been used in a more re- 
stricted sense, to designate the larger tracts of open country, 
in contra-distinction to the smaller prairies, such as those of 
Illinois and Loiusiana, which last are separated from the true 
prairie country by wide tracts of timbered surface. 

'Settlements of Nuevo Mexico.' — Page 2.] The settlements 
of New Mexico covered at one time a much wider extent of 
country than they do now. The Indians have been constantly 
narrowing the boundaries for the last fifty years. At present 
these settlements are almost wholly restricted to the banks of 
the Del Norte and a few tributary streams. 

'Gramma grass.' — Page 2.] The Chondrosium, a beautiful 
and most nutritions herbage that covers many of the plains of 
Texas and North Mexico. There are several species of grass 
known among Mexicans as 'gramma;' one in particalar, the 
Chondrosiumfozneum, as a food for horses, is but little inferior 

to oats. 

* Cackle of his fighting-cock.' — Page 7.] There is no exaggera- 
tion in all this. Every traveller in Mexico has witnessed such 
Bcenes, and many have borne testimony to these and similar 
facts. I hare often seen the fighting chanticleer carried iusida 


the church under the arm of its owner, while the latter entered 
to pray ! 

' Fiestas principales/ — Page 7.] The more noted Saints' 
days, or religious festivals, as St. John's, Good-Friday, Guadalupe, 
&c, are so styled to distinguish them from the many others of 
lesser celebrity. 

* Tailing the bull.' — Page 7.] ' Hull-tailing ' (coleo de lord) 
and ' running the cock ' (cower el gallo) are favourite sports in 
most parts of Mexico, but particularly in the Northern provinces 
They were also Californian games while that country was Spano- 

4 Tlie Apaclte'.' — Page S.l One of the largest tribes of the 
1 Indios bravos ' or wild Indians, i.e. Indians who have never 
submitted to the Spanish yoke. Their country lies around the 
heads of the Gila, extending from that stream to the Del Norte, 
and down the latter to the range of another large and powerful 
tribe — the Comanches — also classed as ' Indios bravos.' 

' Familias principales.' — Page 8.] The 'first families,' a 

United States phrase, is the syuonyme of * familias principales ' 
of Mexico. 

1 ComercianteJ — Page 8.] Merchant or extensive trader 
Merchandise is not degrading in Mexico. The rich merchant 
may be one of the ' familias principales.' Although there is 
etill an old noblesse in the Mexican republic, the titles are merely 
given by courtesy, and those who hold them are often outranked 
and eclipsed in style by the prosperous parvenu. 

' Alcalde.' — Page 8.] Pronounced Alkalde. The duties of 
the Alcalde are very similar to those of a magistrate or justice 
of the peace. Every village has its Alcalde, who is known by 
his large gold or silver-headed cane and tassel. In villages where 
the population is purely Indian, the Alcalde is usually either of 
Indian or mixed descent — often pure Indian. 

* Mode de Paris I ' — Page 8.] The upper classes in Mexico, 
particularly those who reside in the large cities, have discarded 
the very picturesque national costume, and follow the fashions of 
Paris. In all the large towns, French tailors, modistes, jewellers, 
&c, may bo met with. The ladies wear French dresses, but 
without the bonnet. The shawl is drawn over the head when it 
Decomes necessary to cover it. The hideous bonnet is only seen 
upon foreign ladies residing in Mexico. The city gentleman of 
Irst-class wears a frock-coat, but the cloth jacket is the costuii' 
of the greater number. A long-tailed dress-coat is regarded 
tttf an outre' affair, and never appears upon the streets of a Mex- 
ican tov u. 

NOTES. 143 

Gachupino.' — Page 9.] A Spaniard of Old Spain. The 
term is used contemptuously by the natives, or Creoles {Criollos), 
of Mexico, who hate their Spanish cousins as the Americans hato 
Englishmen, and for a very similar reason. 

' Hijo de algo,' — Page 9.] Literally, 'son of somebody.' 
Hence the word hidalgo. The * blue blood ' (sangre azulj is the 
3erm for pure blood or high birth. 

'VoUanas.' — Pape 9.] A poblana is, literally, a village girl 
or woman, but in a more specific sense it signifies a village belle, 
or beauty. It is nearly a synonyme of the Spanish *maja.' 

'Don Juan Tenorio.' — Page 9.] Don Juan Tenorio — a 
Celebrated character of Spanish romance and drama. He is the 
original from which Byron drew his conception of Don Juan. 
He is the hero of a thousand love-scrapes and * desafios,' or duels. 
The drama of * Don Juan Tenorio ' still keeps the Spanish stage, 
and Spaniards can hardly find words to express their admiration 
of its poetry. It requires two nights to play this piece, which is 
about twice the length of a regular five-act play. 

* Teniente.' — Page 9,] ' Lugar-teniente ' is lieutenant in 
Spanish, but the ' lugar' is left out, and ' teniente ' stands for the 
title of the subaltern. 

* Quien safce?' — Page 10.] A noted phrase which figures 
largely in Spanish dialogue. Literally, 'Who knows?' 

* Gambucinos and rancfteros.' — Page 10. J Gambucino, a petty 
miner, who digs or washes gold on his own account. Jianchero, 
the dweller in a rancho, or country hut. The ranchero class 
corresponds pretty nearly to that known as ' smr.'.i farmers,' though 
in Mexico they are more often graziers than agriculturists. 

Enaguas'— Page 10.] Sometimes written ' nagua,'— the petti- 
coat, usually of coarse blue or red cotton stuff, with a list of white 
or some other colour forming the top part. 

' Reboso.' — Page 10.] The scarf of greyish or slaty blue, woro 
oy all women in Mexico, except the ladies of the Upper Ten 
Thousand, who use it only on occasions. 

( Allegria.' — Page 11.] A singular custom prevails among the 
vomen of New Mexico, of daubing their faces all over with the 
dice of a berry called by them the 'allegria,' which gives then) 
anything but a charming look. The juice is of a purplish red 
colour, somewhat like that ot blackberries. Some travellers 
allege that it is done for ornament, as the Indians use vermilion 
and other pigments. This is not a correct explanation. The 
'allegria' is used by the New Mexican belles to preserve the 
complexion, and get it up towards some special occasion, ?uch as 
i grand fiesta or * fandango,' when it is washed off, and the ski? 


eomes out clear and fret from ' tan.' The * allegria * is the well 
known ' poke- weed ' of the United States {Phytolacca decandra.) 

"'Sombrero.' — Page 11.] The black glaze hat with low crown 
and broad leaf is a universal favourite throughout Mexico. It is 
often worn several pounds in weight, and that, too, under a hot 
tropic sun. Some sort of gold or silver lace-band is common, but 
frequently this is of heavy bullion, and costly. 

4 Pueblos. ,' — Page 11.] There are many towns in New Mexico 
inhabited exclusively by ' Pueblos,' a name given to a large 
tribe of civilized Indians, — Indioa mansos (tame Indians) such 
tribes are called, to distinguish them from the Indios bravos, or 
savages, who never acknowledged the sway of the Spanish con- 

* Peons.' — Page 12.] The labouring serfs of the country are 
peons. They are not slaves by the wording of the political law, 
but most of them are in reality slaves by the law of debtor and 

* Petates,' &c. — Page 12.] A ' petate ' is a small mat about the 
size of a blanket, woven out of palm -strips, or bulrushes, accord- 
ing to the district ; it is the universal bed of the Mexican 
peasant. Tunas and pitahayas are fruits of different species of 
cactus. Sandias are water-melons. Dulce* y preserves. Agua* 
miel and limonada, refreshing drinks peculiar to Mexico. Pilon- 
cillos, loaves of coarse brown sugar, met with in all parts of Mex- 
ico, and very much like the maple-sugar of the States. Tortillas, 
the often-described daily bread of the Mexican people. Chile 
Colorado, red pepper. Ollas, earthen pots of all sizes — almost 
the only sort used in the Mexican kitchen. Atole, a thin gruel 
resembling flour and water, but in reality made out of the finer 
dust of the maize, boiled and sweetened. Pinole, parched maize 
mixed with water and sweetened. Clacos, copper cents, or half- 
pence, — the copper coin of Mexico. Punche, a species of native- 
grown tobacco. Aguardiente, whisky distilled from maize, or 
sometimes from the aloe — literally, agua ardiente, hot or fiery 
water. It is the common whisky of the country, and a vile stuS 
tn most cases. 


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