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LEX I HH I Sill 

" //e sa silent in front of the cabin-door, with his pipe in his 
mouth, and his hands folded, a picture of rest and contented 
meditation." THANKSGIVING JOE. 












it Cm r- 

Electrotyped and Printed 

By Rand, Avery, &> Company, 

117 Franklin Street, 


|HE sketches collected in this little volume 
have been printed in various periodicals 
within the last eight or nine years; and 
the reader will bear this in mind as an explanation 
of the fresh enthusiasm with which some of them 
speak of scenes not so unfamiliar to the reading pub 
lic now as when these papers were written. This is 
particularly true of the " Sketches of the Yellowstone 
Country," which it was rny privilege to traverse in 
1871, when few white men had seen its beauties and 

With the single exception of " The Widow Baker," 
the contents of the book are studies of character and 
scenery in the Far West. The only justification I 
can offer for including a New-England story in such 
a collection is the fact that the language and the 
influence of New England are found everywhere in 
the West, and that nobody objects to their com 

11. W. R. 
BROOKLYN, N.Y., Dec. 10, 1879. 



THANKSGIVING JOE . .... , . . . 7 

AGAMEMNON ... . . . . , . 47 

I. Young Bullion . . *.... . .47 

II. Further Acquaintance . . ... 60 

III. The Prodigal Father . .. . . .71 

I V. The School-Teacher . . . . . . 81 

V. Not Miss Mary but "quite Contrairy " . 91 

VI. Similia Similibus Curantur . . .99 

WIDOW BAKER . . . . . . . .104 

I. Squire and Deacon 104 

II. The Story of the Bakers 110 

III. Board and Lodging 117 

IV. Susan Peabody 124 

V. Jotham 129 

VI. How the Widow Interfered . ... 159 

I. An Exploring Party 153 

II. Up the Madison 162 

III. March and Camp 168 

IV. Hot-Springs and Geysers . . . .177 
V. The Lower Geyser-Basin of the Fire-Hole . 186 

VI. The Upper Geyser-Basin of the Fire-Hole . 193 

VII. Yellowstone Lake and River . . . .201 






llXACTLY whereabouts in the State of Ne 
vada lies the now depopulated and aban 
doned district once kno\vn to its numerous 
residents, and introduced by " The Reese 
River Reveille" to fame, as Silver Sheen, I shall not 
reveal, lest some enterprising person should start at 
once to find it, and to " relocate " - that is to say, 
"jump" the extremely valuable claims which some 
of my friends still own (and hope to sell) within its 
borders. Suffice it to say, therefore, that Silver Sheen 
was somewhere between Washoe and White Pine, and 
partook, in the opinion of its population, of the favora 
ble " indications" of both places. Certainly it looked 
quite as promising as did either of those famously pro 
ductive mining-fields before their treasures had been 
discovered. But, to be candid, so does any point you 



may please to choose in that vast desert basin known 
as " the sage-brush country." Everywhere there are 
the same broad, arid valleys, in which feeble moun 
tain streams lose themselves and disappear without 
gaining any goal ; the same bunch-grass, withered and 
unpromising, but in reality nutritious, a sort of 
standing hay, with seeds like kernels of grain held 
tightly in its driecl-up fingers ; the same bare, weather- 
beaten hills, cleft by precipitous canons in which are 
hidden stunted plantations of plnon and cottonwood, 
and along the sides of which, after snows melt in the 
early summer, innumerable flowers adorn the desola 
tion with a brief glory; the same dust-columns, mys 
teriously rising in hot afternoons from the surface of 
the plain, and whirling in slow dances like tall, slen 
der genii of the air; the same exquisite mirage, 
mocking the traveler with visions of rippling lakes 
and cool bowery islands, where in reality only the 
alkali flats stretch aw r ay, varied by an occasional clump 
of gray bushes ; the same inevitable, ubiquitous sage 
brush, always old, always dusty, always wasting its 
aromatic fragrance upon heedless breezes or scornful 
men; the white sage, small and silvery, beloved of 
cattle ; the soft blue sky, the transparent air that 
brings near the most distant horizon, and makes the 
day s long journey seem in prospect but an hour s 
walk ; the magical hues of brown and purple that 
clothe at sunrise and sunset the mountain-side, and 
the rich golden shade that rests upon the meadows 


and slopes of bunch-grass : these elements are found 
in so many localities, that I run no risk of exposing 
Silver Sheen to the invasion of "jumpers " when I 
say that it possessed them all. 

I am reasonably safe, moreover, in remarking that 
the district was richly endowed with mineral wealth. 
Who ever knew of a mining-district in the West that 
was not? Of course it had a "Mammoth " vein, and 
a " Eureka," and a " Crown Point No. 2," and a 
" Ruby," and numerous other promising deposits, 
carefully baptized with names of good augury. Of 
course, also, there was a grand tunnel scheme for pier 
cing through the whole mountain-range, and " devel 
oping its inexhaustible wealth ; " and a stamp-mill 
(an experimental five-stamp affair) for reducing ores; 
and of course the ores were refractory, and wouldn t 
be reduced without some patent process yet undis 
covered, but certain to be discovered if " capital " 
could be had; and of course there was a weekly 
paper, and a half-dozen bar-rooms, and talk of a 
church. So far, nobody can distinguish Silver Sheen 
from many another district in similar circumstances. 
The driver of a semi-weekly stage which carried the 
mail from Austin to all these districts in succession 
could scarcely have told the camps apart, but for his 
personal acquaintance with the bar-tenders and their 
beverages, and with the peculiar bad piece of road 
that each canon presented. 

But Silver Sheen possessed Thanksgiving Joe, and 


he was certainly unique. Individual character devel 
ops eccentricity much more easily in such rough 
societies than under the restraints and convention 
alities of polite life. All the citizens of Silver Sheen 
were peculiar, each in his way, and each without 
attracting special comment upon his oddity. Old 
Heinrich, who would wear a red bandana in place 
of a hat; Sam AVetherill, who regularly put on a 
white shirt and a blue swallow-tail coat with brass 
buttons -every Sunday morning; Redhead Pete, who 
spent all his earnings in bribing Shoshone Indians to 
show him the Lost Silver Mine, a mass of native 
silver, concerning which everybody knows that it 
exists, and nobody knows where, these gentlemen, 
and a host of others who squandered at poker and 
monte the proceeds of their labor or their speculations, 
were allowed to pursue their ways without ridicule, 
censure, or admiration. Then why should Thanks 
giving Joe be regarded as singular? 

This singularity could not consist, either, in the 
mystery that surrounded his previous life. As Col. 
Gore remarked in a quiet evening gathering at the 
International, " The past, gentlemen, I say it with 
out hesitation, and I think no person present will 
differ : if so, I would like to speak further with that 
person, the past belongs to the individooal ! It is 
sacred, gentlemen, sacred ! " 

A certain portion of the colonel s past had been 
spent in sacred seclusion between stone walls ; and 


there were not a few among his auditors who had their 
own reasons for guarding their own memories. So 
no questions were asked by anybody, for fear of ques 
tions in reply. Everty man s career was held to have 
begun when he first "struck into the sage-brush." 
For a new district must be populated by the overflow 
from older ones, and it is the scum which overflows; 
and if you keep stirring it up, why, nothing will ever 
settle. I fancy, moreover, that there is in this rude 
tolerance an element of noble feeling, a germ^f char 
ity, a recognition of the duty of giving another chance 
to those who, "the luck being against them," have 
fallen from respectability, even so far as the humili 
ation of public exposure. Certainly I have known 
some instances of lives once wrecked that were suc 
cessfully reconstructed, and launched again upon hon 
orable voyages, from the friendly oblivion of such 

Yet, after all, Thanksgiving Joe had appeared in 
Silver Sheen in a manner calculated to distinguish 
him, even in that adventurous and uninquisitive soci 
ety. For, as the colonel said to Mr. Pickens of Chi 
cago, when he pointed out to that gentleman, the morn 
ing after his arrival, the cabin of Thanksgiving Joe, 
high up the canon, half a mile beyond any other, " lie 
never came to Silver Sheen at all, sir: Silver Sheen 
came to him. When our hardy pioneers first entered 
this secluded but immensely endowed region, and 
penetrated to the heart of its argentiferous belt, there, 


sir, prostrate upon the outcrop of the biggest quartz- 
ledge in the camp, they found him lying, with a bullet 
in his shoulder, and and a fever in his brain," 
added the colonel, to satisfy his ear for rhetoric. 

This had, in truth, been the introduction of Joe s fel 
low-citizens to him. While he was still unconscious, 
oscillating between life and death, they had scoured 
the neighborhood to find the villain who had shot him. 
It must have been his "pardner ; " and the shot had 
been delivered from behind, two circumstances 
which would have secured short shrift for the culprit 
if he had been caught. But the search was fruitless ; 
and the boys returned from such trivial distractions 
to the serious work of life. The district had to be 
organized, and provided with a name. " Murder 
Canon" did duty for a few weeks; but when Col. 
Gore made his appearance it was changed, after an 
eloquent speech from him, to " Silver Sheen." Then 
"Veins had to be discovered, and claims " located," 
"recorded," and "prospected." Yet Joe was not 
entirely forgotten. A rough cabin was constructed 
over the very spot where he had beer found: in this 
the sick man was made rudely comfortable ; and, one 
at a time, the population took turns in watching with 
him. Moreover, they located in his name; and set 
apart for him, two hundred feet of the " ledge " on 
which he had fallen, and " which, gentlemen," said 
the colonel, "he had recorded with his blood." 

AH this had happened two years before the time 


at which my story is going by and by to begin. 
Joe recovered his consciousness after a week, and 
his strength in the course of two months. The man 
who was with him w r hen he first awoke in his right 
mind, from the critical sleep that denoted the turning 
of the fever, remarked in describing the scene that 
he " never see a feller so grateful for nothin at all. 
Thanked me for a drink o water s if it d been a 
barrel o whiskey. Asked me whar he was, n I told 
him ; n how he came thar, n I told him ; n whether 
anybody was with him, n I told him nary one ; n I 
jest informed him what a kiting old hunt we had for 
the feller as drawed on jhim f m behind, n how mad 
we was not to git a holt on him ; and says he, Thank 
God ! and goes to sleep again like a baby." 

The next man on watch had a few additional par 
ticulars to report. The patient had awaked again at 
midnight, and inquired after a buckskin money-belt, 
which, having been found by his side apparently 
empty when he was first discovered, had been kept 
rather by accident than design, and lay at that mo 
ment neglected on the floor in a corner of the cabin. 
The belt w r as brought to him ; and he lifted it feebly, 
without any expression of surprise at its lightness, ran 
his fingers along the pliant leather to the end, and 
then with a sudden smile said, " Thank God ! " and 
dropped to sleep again. The watcher, unaccustomed 
to hear such expressions of gratitude from men whose 
money-belts had been rifled (for this W 7 as the univer- 


sal verdict with regard to Joe s case), had subsequent 
ly examined the belt, and found in it d folded paper, 
bearing these words in a handwriting which might 
have been that of a woman, but on this point the 
witness, being no expert, and a little off practice be 
sides, could not be positive : 

" Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; " 

and below them a date (time but no place being 
given) and a single initial J. The date was five years 
old. lie had spelled out the motto, and returned the 
paper to its resting-place, with a half-superstitious 
feeling that it was an amulet of some sort. A simi 
lar impression prevailed among those who heard of 
it ; and from that day the convalescent was called 
Thanksgiving Joe, a title which he accepted without 
protest or inquiry. The " Joe " was a happy expan 
sion of the J in the secret paper; and, as the recipient 
of the name answered when thus addressed, it served 
all the purposes of a complete and perfect title. To 
a visitor who once asked him if that were his real 
name, he replied simply, " It is my given name ;" and 
curiosity received no further satisfaction. 

AVhen Joe got well enough to work, he began as a 
day-laborer for another miner ; for in all the new dis 
tricts there are almost from the beginning a few at 
least who bring some money with them, which they 
can employ in the more ra,pid development of the 
claims they select; and by working for these few at 


high rates of wages the others earn the funds neces 
sary for the purchase of food and clothing to supply 
them while they lay open their own selected ground. 
Like all the miners in Silver Sheen, Joe did a good 
day s work for a day s wages. Laziness was not the 
besetting sin of the boys, except, perhaps, on occa 
sions when they really laid themselves out to be lazy. 
Then even Broadway could not turn out an equal 
number of more perfectly listless and vacuous loafers. 
At other times that sort of thing was left mainly to 
Col. Gore, whose business was loafing as a sort of 
master of ceremonies to the bar-room of the Interna 
tional, in the profits of which he had a share. 

But Thanksgiving Joe had his own way of loafing. 
Nobody was more faithful than he with pick or sledge 
while the "shift" lasted; but when work was done 
he would go off up the canon alone to his solitary 
cabin, and presently would be seen the slender smoke 
of his fire as he fried his bacon and boiled his coffee. 
A little later Joe himself would be visible against the 
clear yellowing sky, as he sat silent in front of the 
cabin-door, with his pipe in his mouth, and his hands 
placidly folded, a picture of rest and contented medi 
tation. In any other state of society he would have 
been a strange figure. His hair and beard were long 
and snow-white, his form was slightly bent ; but those 
signs of age were merely the results of his fever, and 
were moreover contradicted by the brightness of his 
dark eyes, and the great strength which he occasion- 


ally exhibited. When the drift of the Desdemona 
caved in, and the day-shift were all caught in the 
timbers, it was Joe who held up the lagging in the 
broken ground till the boys got a stull wedged under 
it, and crawled out safe and sound. And when the 
memorable cloud-burst of G9 took place on the sum 
mit above Silver Sheen, and twenty feet of water 
came booming down the canon, it was Joe who waded 
in the nick of time to the shebang where Sam "VVeth- 
erill lay helpless with rheumatism (the result, by the 
way, of too much white shirt on an. inclement Sun 
day), and brought him bodily, mattress, vicuna blan 
ket, and all, to the dry bank. In short, Thanksgiving 
Joe was looked upon by his comrades as a sort of 
tutelary demi-god, a Hercules or Hiawatha, dwelling 
somewhat apart, but ready to descend at a moment s 
notice, and perform deeds of deliverance for the 
dwellers in the land below. 

As they had taken turns watching with him while 
he was ill, so now they took turns in visiting him ; for 
it was soon discovered that before two or three, listen 
ers he was prone to silence, but when a single friend 
approached him sympathetically he would talk with a 
simple, homely elevation of spirit that made him seem 
like a messenger from another country. " He ain t 
our kind exactly," the boys concluded; "but he s a 
better kind, and no shenannigan about him either." 
(" Shenannigan " is the miner s term for humbug.) 
So they fell into the habit of strolling up the canon, 
one at a time, to hear Joe talk. 


The nickname they had given him grew more and 
more appropriate as they learned to know him better ; 
for the characteristic feature of his moods and words 
was a marvelous perpetual gratitude. " No : he don t 
look on the bright side neither," replied Sam Wether- 
ill one day, to somebody s comment upon one of Joe s 
sayings : " things don t have nary bright side nor dark 
side to him. Told me that himself. Says he, * When 
things is transparent, it s bright o both sides/ says 
he, purvided there s a light on t other; " which 
somewhat distorted version of Joe s apothegm con 
veyed well enough the meaning that was meant to 
shine through it. 

With his first savings Joe had fitted -himself out for 
a period of labor on his own hook at the Mammoth 
vein, on which, by common consent, he held the cen 
tral claim. But the Mammoth, like many another 
huge quartz outcrop in that country, seemed to consist 
of a maximum of barren gangue and a minimum of 
valuable ore. Black specks thpre were through the 
mass, and now and then a considerable body of some 
unknown mineral, over which the most experienced 
miners shook their heads, and said it was " no doubt 
this yer base metal, and wouldn t amalgamate worth 
a red." Joe toiled patiently on, however, until he had 
sunk his prospecting shaft, without aid from any otlier 
person, to the depth of twelve feet, and had extracted 
from it a dozen tons of rock, out of which a couple of 
tons of ore were, with much hammering and overhaul- 


ing, selected. By this time the little five-stamp mill 
had been erected in the camp ; and to this establish 
ment Joe packed a ton of his selected ore, to have it 
" worked " as a test. In a few days a stylish certifi 
cate was returned to him, from which it appeared that 
his ore had yielded two dollars and fifty cents, while 
the charge for operating upon it was twenty-five dol 
lars. It took the last coin in his leather belt to pay 
the bill ; but he paid it like a man, and walked 
straight back to the Desdemona, where they were 
giad enough to take him again into the day-shift. 

That evening Sam Wetherill found him smoking 
his pipe as usual in front of the cabin. This edifice, 
by the way, deserves a brief description. It was con 
structed of piilon (nut-pine) stems, sharpened at the 
lower end, and driven into the rocky debris, which took, 
in that locality, the place of soil. Three sides of the 
single apartment constituting the dwelling were thus 
inclosed. In one of them a door was constructed by 
the simple process of leaving out three or four stakes. 
The fourth side, or back, was formed by the project 
ing outcrop of the " Mammoth Ledge," itself; and 
Joe, having more room than he needed for his bunk 
and stool, and the shelf which served him as a table, 
had carried on his mining operations in the place 
where he slept and ate, gradually accumulating a heap 
of waste rock, which he piled up into a heavy parti 
tion between the bedroom and the mine. In this way 
the mine, which began by being in doors, gradually 


found itself out doors, and caused no further inconven 
ience to the house than might result from the drop 
ping, after a blast, of a stray rock through the roof. 
But nobody was inside at such times ; and the damage 
was easily repaired with a little sage-brush and adobs 
clay, the latter being, in fact, the universally useful 
material with which all leaks in Silver Sheen were 
stopped against wind and weather. 

It was before this mud-and-stockade villa that Sam 
AVetherill found Thanksgiving Joe, after his first day 
of renewed experience in the Desdemona. Sam s 
way of meeting such a disappointment as he thought 
Joe had experienced would have been to put on that 
white shirt and that blue dress-coat, and drown his 
sorrows in a majestic spree at the International; but, 
feeling instinctively that this remedy would not suit 
his friend, he came up to show his sympathy in the 
way of words at least, not without a shade of secret 
satisfaction that Joe had finally struck a piece of ill 
fortune, over which even he could scarcely give 

" A little down on yer luck, old man? " was his con- 
dolorous greeting. " Wai now, it was too bad for 
th is yer Mammoth Ledge to go back on yer that way ! 
That thar base metal don t do nothin in the pans but 
jest flour the quick, n slum it all up. 1 But you jest 
hold up your head, old man, n get a pardner, n pros- 

1 Granulate the quicksilver used in amalgamation, and render it 


pect around a little. S no good, this yer coyotin 
alone, 1 n backin out o yer hole every time you -want 
a drink o water. F I hadn t gone in with Dutch 
Ileinrich, on the Bismarck Extension, almighty big 
thing too, I d like to be yer pardner myself: n 
thar s Redhead Pete, he s a good hand to work, s 
long s he does work ; but he s off agin arter that lost 
silver mine, somebody 11 find that thar mine some o 
these days; but it won t be Pete. Dutchy says there s 
no end o stories about sich mines in his country, and 
nobody finds em on purpose. Some galoot out after 
jackass-rabbits, or sage-hens, or mountain-sheep, jest 
accidentally pulls up a bush, or sets down on a rock, 
n happens to look between his boots, n thar s a 
chunk o the clear bullion 950 fine. But Pete 
he ll never find nothin but Injun wicky-ups. 2 How 
ever, you won t have no trouble about a pardner. 
Anybody ll be glad to get you, n set you up in 
bacon and beans to start on too. So you jest shake 
yourself, old man, n cheer up. It s all fer the best, 
you know f yer able to see it in that light." 

Sam was very well satisfied with the rate at which 
he was getting on in his new role of messenger of 
consolation ; but, as ho afterwards expressed it, his 
" idees all leaked out " of him when Thanksgiving 

1 Digging like a coyote, or prairie-fox. 

2 The slight temporary shelter of brush, under which the Nevada 
Indians sleep, not worthy to he compared with the wigwams and 
lodges of the stronger and richer tribes of the North. 


Joe took liis pipe from his mouth, and said reflec 

" There isn t any other light, is there? " 

"Wai, no," replied Sam in a dubious way, and 
added, with evident relief, as if he had found a solu 
tion, "not ef you see it in that light." 

"Exactly," continued Joe. "Light is light; and 
there s only one kind, thank God ! " 

16 An may I be if you ain t the " 

(These dashes are not my device for indicating 
Sam s ready profanity. They show where that fluent 
blasphemer actually paused and choked, leaving a 
significant silence. For Joe s thanksgiving carried a 
sort of echo, in the presence of which a man couldn t 
start right oft , and invoke heaven or hell as if nothing 
had happened. Moreover, Sam s choking attracted 
his own attention as a novel phenomenon. He 
stopped for a moment, pondered it, and broke out in 
a new spot " as follows) : 

"The boys in this yer camp mention Him, you 
know" here Sam took off his hat, and replaced it 
with the air of having done the handsome thing for 
once in his life " toPble frequent and free ; but I 
don t jest recall any onreas nable number of em as 
lays emselves out to thank him. They ain t heavy 
on the thank ! They jest let the parsons do that by 
contract, n they take it mighty easy, only one shift 
a week, n singlehand drillin at that. But you do 
the thankin fur the crowd. Not that anybody s got 


any Ijcction; only, when you take to thankin over 
them mill-returns, it might sort o seem to any feller 
that didn t know ycr ways, as if you was p raps rub- 
bin it in a trifle, playing off on us, you know. 
Now, you can t be glad o that thar base metal, you 
know: it s agin reason." 

; I didn t say I was glad," replied Joe imperturba- 
bly, watching the long shadows from the summit as 
they reached down like fingers, and clasped the settle 
ment in the canon. " I am thankful now ; and I expect 
to be glad." 

Sam seated himself by his paradoxical friend, like 
one who was bound to get to the bottom of a mystery. 

" Go easy," said he : " I ain t used to the road, 
but I m bound to know what you re drivin fur. Now, 
let s locate our discovery stake, n take our bearin s. 
You don t handle pick n sledge jest fur amusement, 
or yer shattered constitution. What do you figger on, 
-town-lots, or rich quartz, or what n thundery " 

" Patience ! " said Joe. 

Sam Wetherill swallowed the first word that came 
to his lips, and sat in silence for a while, trying to get 
up a substitute less objectionable, and equally expres 
sive of his feeling. But the vocabulary of ejacula 
tions is small at best, and the habit of profanity nar 
rows it still further. Nobody is so hopelessly stuck 
for a word as the man who suddenly suppresses a con 
venient oath. So Mr. Wetherill, in despair, whistled 
softly to himself a bar of "My name it is Joe Bowers," 


and then, looking up, remarked, " Thar s a good pros 
pect for that. Putty much every tiling that happens 11 
assay well enough, n yield rich in the pans too, ef all 
you want to git out of it is patience, and not bullion." 
u Yes," said Joe : "all things work together." 
"Well, I give it up," replied Sam. "All I got to 
say is, you do. as I tell you, n git yerself a pardner. 
When you n him work together, as you say, I hope 
you ll strike something that pays better n patience 
though I expect that pays too, in the long-run, when a 
fellow comes to the last big clean-up." And *he hon 
est miner, stepping down the zigzag trail to the canon, 
disappeared in the gathering shadows. , 

Thanksgiving Joe continued for a month his quiet 
and regular life ; then he took a partner after a fasli- 
ion which rendered this natural and advisable step 
one of the most surprising of the many unusual fea 
tures of his career in Silver Sheen. Everybody said 
he d " be blowed," when he first heard of it ; and about 
half the camp bet two to one with the other half that 
it wasn t true, the takers being secretly of that opin 
ion themselves, but accepting the odds just to make 
things lively. A very positive skeptic (no people are 
so positive, by the way, as those who assume the neg 
ative) went so far, on being assured of the circum 
stance by Joe himself, as to offer to put up five dollars 
that Joe was mistaken. And Col. Gore, scarcely ever 
at a loss for words, was fairly staggered to express 
what at last ho called the " preposterosity " of the 


story. For, according- to the statements of the par 
ties concerned, this meekest, mildest, quietest, and 
thankfullest of men had selected, out of a camp full 
of friends, the only man who was not his friend, 
Bill Hazard, the new hand on the night-shift at the 
Desdemona: a fellow who was set down as a "rough," 
and quietly let alone. If anybody even Joe had 
killed him, it would have been reckoned nothing as 
tonishing; and the presumption would have been 
strong, in the absence of evidence, that " Bill must 
a dra^d on the other feller first." But that any 
one not himself a "rough" should join hands with 
Bill for any honest purpose was amazing beyond 

Yet Mr. William Hazard bore an appearance which 
strangely belied his reputation. Ho was handsome 
almost to effeminacy, with a smooth, pale-dark beauty 
which neither sun nor wind seemed io affect. But 
the delicacy of his face was striking at a distance 
only : upon a closer view it was perceived to bear the 
nameless shadow of evil passions, a soft face grown 
hard. But some things distinguished Bill Hazard 
from his class. He did not drink, that was not so 
strange : many of these men are practically teetotal 
ers ; but they usually abstain from stimulants because 
they are gamblers, and wish to be, under all cir 
cumstances, masters of themselves ; whereas Hazard 
did not play cards, and, strangest of all, he never 
indulged in that cheap vice, which, since it affecte 


directly neither the personal efficiency of the individ 
ual, nor the property interests of the community, is 
apt to be universally allowed and practiced in rude 
settlements: I mean profanity, "the only thing," as 
Sam Wetherill once said (after he had given it up, 
by the way, "swore off"), "the only thing that a 
real poor sinner could git cheap." 

This freedom from all vices was one great element 
that helped to make Bill Hazard intolerable to his 
companions. Their instincts read clearly the princi 
ple which they could not have put in words, that true 
goodness of nature involves good nature. Perhaps 
Sam, after all, expressed it philosophically when he 
said, " These yer bad habits are the devil s contriv 
ances, you bet ; n he catches many a poor feller s soul 
that never meant no harm. But I ve knowed fellers 
to strike it rich, n make a home stake, n just take 
their Wells Fargo drafts, n git for the East, n. hunt 
up their old folks, or mebbe their wives ? n young uns, 
n. leave off their liquor, n never touch a card why, 
ef you d ask em to * ante up, they wouldn t know 
what you meant; 11 all these yer devil s traps was 
clean busted for them. But when you clap your eyes 
on one of them smooth fellers like Bill Hazard, s 
hard n s barren s cap-rock, you don t want no further 
news about him. The devil s in him: he don t go 
for to waste no bad habits on a sure thing like that." 

No, Sam was not quite correct. He overlooked a 
deeper-lying truth. The vices that brutalize men are 


dead weights that hang upon them for ever : no euro 
can enable him to walk in the full, erect stature of 
manhood who has bent earthward for years under 
such burdens. And, on the other hand, souls may 
be hardened by malign passion, which, nevertheless, 
being smitten aright, shall suddenly be transformed, 
and Lucifer become again the Son of the Morning. 
Hatred, akin to love, has somewhat of love s preserv 
ing power. Jt may ward off meaner fiends ; and 
though its condor talons, and dark, brooding wings 
are surely fatal in the end to its helpless captive, yet, 
if frightened from its nest in time, it may soar 
gloomily away, to return no more, and leave behind 
the rescued soul like a child unharmed. 

Thanksgiving Joe, replying to the remark of Sam 
Wetherill above quoted, put the argument in a home 
lier way : 

"I don t know about that, Sam: it is a good deal 
like sickness. When I had my fever, I should never 
have pulled through unless I had been helped by my 
good constitution. A man may have one thing pretty 
bad, and get over it ; but, if he has too many things 
ailing him at once, it s a poor show for the doctors. 
Now, if Will was only cured of the one thing that 
troubles him, I think he would be a pretty healthy 
man; whereas you boys, if you don t look out, will 
get yourselves tangled up with so many diseases, that 
your moral constitutions will be just disintegrated, 
like any old outcrop, and nothing will take hold of 


you. And thank God ! " added Joe softly, half to 
himself, " I believe I can cure him." 

Sam was surprised to hear the new partner called 
"Will," a form of his name which no one else in 
the camp employed. It argued even affection for 
him ; being as far removed from the ceremonious 
"Mr.," on one hand, as from the "BillV of mere ordi 
nary acquaintanceship, on the other. But he made 
no comment, and presently sauntered homeward, more 
than ever convinced that Thanksgiving Joe was "too 
good for this yer style o thing," and would certainly 
get into trouble with his kind heart and foggy head, 
if some friend without too tender a conscience did not 
stand between him and the perilous results of his 
unsuspicious kindness. The conclusion of this train 
of thought was a resolve to "keep an eye on that 
Hazard ; n if he tried any games on Joe, jest put a 
hole in him." 

This was the evening of the day on which the part 
nership had been formed. It had been negotiated at 
sunrise, as the clay-shift going into the Desdernona 
met the night-shift coming out. Bill Hazard, coming 
out of the mine, looked up, as if drawn by a strange, 
horrid fascination, to the long white outcrop of the 
Mammoth vein, that caught the first tints of day, and 
stood out clearly over the dimness of the deep canon. 
Then he turned away with set teeth, as if the sight 
both pained and angered him, and, as he turned, felt 
on his shoulder the hand of Thanksgiving Joe, whose 


face was moved as if with the emotion of a sudden 
recognition. Hazard glanced at him carelessly, and 
started to pass on. But Joe detained him, and said 

" I want a partner, and I must have you. There s 
my place, yonder, on the hill. Come up to-night, 
and talk it over." 

Something in the tone of Joe s voice startled the 
listener. It was like a voice, perhaps, that he had 
heard before ; but as he hurriedly glanced again at 
the speaker, who had partly turned from him to 
point out the cabin on the mountain, he saw only the 
white hair and beard and the stooping shoulders. It 
was certainly a stranger. Yet he could not command 
a perfect cynical indifference in replying to the 
stranger s words. There was a shade of sadness in 
his answer, 

"If you talk it over, you ll change your mind. 
You made some mistake in your man." 

" Then I won t talk it over," replied Joe. " Call it 
settled. No mistake, thank God ! on my part. I 
shall expect you. You know wheie to find me." 
And, with another gesture toward his cabin, he moved 

"No, not there," ejaculated Bill Hazard fiercely. 
The other was already some distance away; and his 
features were not distinctly seen as he paused at these 
words, and stood with his back to the morning; but 
his voice carried mingled compassion and command. 


"Yes, there!" said lie, and, swiftly striding to 
wards the mine, met the rest of the night-shift hast- 
iii2f homeward. At the same moment he overtook his 


own companions : the two parties were mingled. 

" My last day with you, boys," he remarked cheer 
fully. "Will Hazard and I are going to try our luck 
as partners." 

Thus the surprising news was conveyed in a trice 
to the two classes that composed the population of 
Silver Sheen, namely, those who worked by day, 
and those who worked by night. Before Joe came 
out of the Desdemona at the close of his shift, in the 
afternoon, everybody had heard of it. 

After Sam Wetherill s brief call that evening at 
the cabin, Thanksgiving Joe sat alone, waiting for 
the other visitor whom he expected. His usual calm 
demeanor seemed to have forsaken him. He piled 
brush on the smoldering fire where he had cooked 
his supper, until it flamed like the beacon that Hero 
S2t to guide the course of her coming lover. By its 
blazing light he strove to see down the path that led 
to the canon, but to his dazzled eyes the shadows 
were darker than before. Far below, like stars re 
flected, twinkled the candles in many a window ; but 
between them and him w r as a black gulf. Drawing 
from his pocket a worn newspaper, he began to read, 
by way of enforcing patience ; but nothing attracted 
his interest until his eye fell upon a bold head-line 
introducing the governor s proclamation of Thanks- 


giving Day. The name reminded him of his own 
sobriquet, and he glanced down the lines as if the 
announcement had some special meaning for him. 
The governor, not unwilling to combine business with 
worship, had painted in brilliant colors the produc 
tiveness of the mines of the State, and hinted, as 
additional cause for gratitude, that new discoveries 
well worthy of the attention of capitalists were daily 
made. That part Joe passed over with a smile, 
thinking, perhaps, of his Mammoth vein, and its per 
fidious "base metal." Over another paragraph he 
paused with brightening looks. It alluded to the cir 
cumstance that all the States now observed, in ac 
cordance with the President s recommendation, a 
simultaneous Thanksgiving Day. His thoughts wan 
dered far to the East, over deserts and mountains, 
and the great plains and the great rivers, to the 
Jersey village which he had not seen for five years ; 
from which, since his fever, two years ago, he had not 
heard. The memory was disquieting; for it was his 
own course alone that had thus cut him off from 
whom? Only one friend ; and she only a friend. It 
was Thanksgiving Day, too, when he saw her last. 
The parson s sermon he had forgotten it, all but 
the text : that Jenny had written out for him, to 
satisfy a whim of his ; and he had folded up the paper, 
and carried it night and "day ever since. If he had 
spoken plainly that night, would she have become 
more than a friend? Alas, perhaps ! yet no, no. 


A hundred times he had been thankful that she was 
ignorant of his love and his sacrifice ; that he had 
left her with a pleasant farewell, expecting to return, 
after two or three years, with money enough to justify 
him in asking for her hand ; that he had never be 
trayed his feelings in those friendly letters which ho 
had sent so regularly, and which were so regularly 
answered until ah ! he must not think of that. 
Her dear letters were all destroyed. He had burned 
them himself, keeping only the Thanksgiving text, 
and vowing, for her sake, and his own soul s sake, 
and the sake of him whom Jenny loved, to live 
apart from her, save in his secret thoughts, and, haply, 
in the life to come. To-morrow was Thanksgiving 
Day again, and he tried to think it a good omen. 
His sacrifice was not complete : to-night, he hoped, 
would happily perfect his \\ork. Yet the pain of loss 
was not wholly dead ; and even at this moment he 
would give worlds to undo utterly, so that it could be 
as if it had not been, the scheme which he was never 
theless ready to give his life, if need be, to consum 
mate. For a man is still a man; and Joe was only 
thirty, for all his white hairs. 

Absorbed in thought, he heeded not the sound of 
climbing feet, until a step close at hand aroused him. 
As he sprang up and stood erect, with the fire-light 
full upon him, William Hazard strode suddenly out 
of the darkness, looked for an instant with an intense, 
bewildered, frightened gaze, into his eyes, and stag- 


gered speechless back against tlie corner of the cabin, 
staring as at a ghost. The governor s proclamation 
fell from Joe s hands, which were stretched out in 
hearty welcome. 

" Don t look at me that way, Will," he said. " I 
see you know me now, though you did not this morn 
ing. I m changed since my fever, but not in my 
heart toward you." 

The stony look of fright passed from the pale, 
young face, the hard lines softened ; but Will Hazard 
still shrank from the clasp of Joe s welcoming hands. 
" Shoot," he said, folding his arms across his breast : 
" it s your turn, and I m glad of it ! " 

"Amen! " replied the deep voice of Thanksgiving 
Joe. " It is my turn : your life belongs to me. Is it 
not so?" 

His visitor nodded without speaking, and gloomily 
smiled his contempt for the worthless existence al 
luded to. 

"I suppose I may spare it, if I prefer that way," 
said Joe. 

" As you choose," replied Hazard. 

"As I was saying this morning," continued Joe, 
with a quiet consciousness of the power over a des 
perate soul which this strange interview had for a 
moment given him, " I want a partner, and you are 
the man. I told you to come here and talk it over; 
and you have come. Now, if I kill you, how can we 
talk it over? " he added slowly, and rubbed his hands 


together in mute applause at the triumphant argu 
ment. "There s some mistake, Will. You gave me 
no chance to explain, otherwise you could not have 
thought I was your enemy." Then, suddenly chan 
ging his manner, he asked, " Have you heard from 
Jenny Lockhart? " 

" What is the use of tormenting me with her 
name? " returned Will. " She is the cause of all the 
trouble. A woman is not worth a friend; and for 
that woman I threw my friend away. I loved you, 
George, till the devil of jealousy took possession of 
me. When I left the States, three years ago, she had 
promised to be my wife. You were her cousin and 
my friend. She wrote to you, and you read me her 
letters. They were pleasant, cousinly letters, and I 
liked to hear them. I did not tell you of the love- 
letters she wrote at the same time to me. I wanted 
to watch you. I suspected you of receiving others of 
which you said nothing. 

" You carried in your belt a paper which you never 
showed. I felt sure it contained your secret. I tried 
to get it without your knowledge; but you kept it 
always on your body, night and day. At last you 
did receive a letter a letter from her which you 
did not show to me. I saw you read it, at night, by 
the light of the camp-fire, when you thought I was 
asleep. You put your head in your hands, and sat a 
long time. Then you took from your bosom a pack 
age of letters, put them all in the fire with the one 


you had just read, and watched them till they were 
burned up. You took that paper from your belt, as 
if you would burn that too ; and, as you did so, I 
prepared to spring out of my blanket, and seize it. 
I was determined to know what was in it. But you 
read it through, shook your head, and put it back in 
your belt. 

" The next clay as we were exploring, two or three 
miles from our camp, we came over the summit to 
the head of this canon. You know well enough what 
happened. You sat down close by this spot, on the 
croppings of that ledge, and began to tell me that 
you had received a letter from Jenny. It was too 
much for me to bear : I had been cursing over it all 
night, anyhow. I hated her and you as a pair of 
double-dealing deceivers. I forgot that she only was 
deceiving me : you could not know that I was en 
gaged to her. I interrupted you fiercely, charged you 
with treachery, demanded the secret paper from you, 
and, without waiting for your answer, sprang upon 
you in a fury to snatch the belt from your waist. 

" We fell together. I swear to you, George Gra 
ham, that I did not draw my revolver. It went off 
by accident. But the rage of murder was in my 
heart; and it seemed to me as if my black thoughts 
had become hands, and fired the pistol. You fainted, 
I suppose. I thought I had killed you, and I fled like 
Cain. But I would have come back to you, only I 
saw from a distance a party approaching. They 


came, as if guided by a pointing hand, straight to the 
spot where you lay. I saw them take you up, and 
knew by their angry gestures, and their keen looks in 
every direction, that they were determined to hunt 
do\vn your murderer. At first I would have re 
turned, and surrendered myself; but, when some of 
them started in the direction where I crouched, the 
instinct of fear took hold on me, and I ran. They 
neither caught nor discovered me ; and I found my 
way to Austin, to Virginia City, to Unionville, to 
Boise, to Helena, to Salt Lake, to Denver, to Santa 
Fc, to Prescott and Tucson, to La Paz, and San 
Diego, to San Francisco, Sacramento, Yreka, every 
where, with the devil in my heart. 

" Two desires tortured me for ever. I could not de 
stroy them, and I dared not fulfill them. One was to 
return to this place, gain some news of you, and find 
at least your grave. The other was to go back to 
Jersey, meet Jenny Lockhart, tell her of the ruin she 
had brought on honest men, how one had lost his 
life, and the other his soul, by her faithlessness, and 
so make her taste a share of the bitterness that I felt. 
I couldn t do it I in short, I loved the girl yet, in 
spite of all she had done, and I despised myself for 
it. I m bad enough, too bad, in fact, to take any 
pleasure in the beastly sins of these low-lived Wretches. 
I don t like mankind well enough to drink or gamble 
with them. I don t fight them even, though they 
seem to think me a desperate fellow, who would as 


soon kill a dozen of them as not. Bah ! if a man 
simply despises them, they think he must want their 
blood. Sots, thieves, and murderers : that s their 
classification of society. They were right, so far as 
I am concerned. I was a murderer in passion, and I 
thought in deed; but the business had no such at 
tractions as to make me intend to carry it on whole 
sale and for life. 

" I ll not make a long story of it. But you wanted 
to talk it over, and you had better hear me out. 
When I am done, I am done. I don t play the re 
pentant sinner with you, George Graham. It seems 
to me there is no room and no use for repentance. I 
could love you if you could trust me again; but 
that s impossible. Your forgiveness I don t want. 
What I want is to pay my debt. I will not be your 
partner; but, if you will let me work for you, it will 
be a better reparation than I expected to make when 
I came up here to-night. I came here, as I came to 
this camp a fortnight ago, because I couldn t keep 
aw r ay. When they talked of Thanksgiving Joe, and 
showed me your cabin, on the very spot that was the 
most dreadful to me in all the w r orld, I knew in my 
soul that somehow my fate w r as fastened to yours. 
I thought you had my secret, and would be my judge. 
I wouldn t let anybody tell me the story of Thanks 
giving Joe the name was awful to me. And at 
last you found me, and called me and I came to my 
doom. It is better than I dreamed. Even I can 


give thanks to know that George Graham, hated and 
wronged, was not killed outright by the hand of his 
treacherous friend. 

" George, I will do for you what man may do. 
Perhaps you may some day begin to trust me over 
again, and lay the blame of my crime upon the 
woman w r ho betrayed us both." 

During this long, speech neither of the parties had 
moved. Will Hazard stood, at its conclusion, with 
his arms still folded, and looked into the fire. He 
had kept his eyes fixed on the glowing brands, speak 
ing in low, measured tones, as if another spoke 
through him. But George Graham had never re 
moved his keen gaze from the face of his friend; 
and now he stepped forward once more, laid his hand 
upon Will s shoulder, and said, 

" Thank God, you love her yet ! " 

The young man, taken by surprise at this sudden 
assault, started, and tried to speak. But George went 
on, with simple, quaint gravity, 

" No : it is my turn now. Come here and sit 
down. As I said before, I want a partner. Now 
we re going to talk it over. You re all wrong, Will. 
If you had seen the letter I burned, you would know 
that Jenny Lockhart was true as steel to you. She 
told me in that letter what you had not let me 
know. She begged me to be your friend always, as 
I had been hers. I I d rather not talk about that 
night. It s all past now, you know," said George, 


with a tremor of his voice. Will did not perceive it: 
he was too much absorbed in the effect of the dis 
covery upon his own feelings. 

" Then you didn t love her, after all ! " he cried : 
" you were only her cousin and friend ! " 

There was a moment s silence ; and then George 
answered, like an echo from afar, "Yes, her cousin 
and friend." 

" But you burned up her letters ? " pursued the 
young man, so eagerly following the clew of the 
riddle that seemed to hold his happiness as to forget 
entirely for the moment his recent attitude of con 
fessed culprit. " And you kept one? " 

Thanksgiving Joe, with slow and steady hand, un 
buckled his belt, took from it the folded paper, 
opened it, and handed it to him, saying, without 
further explanation, "We ll burn that too." 

Will read, bewildered, the words which seemed so 
far from being the shrine of any special secret. 
" Let us come before his presence with Thanksgiv 
ing. There is nothing in that ! " 

Thanksgiving Joe silently stretched out his hand, 
took back the paper, replaced it in his belt, and, with 
a simplicity that was more baffling than diplomacy, 
resumed the thread of his discourse. " As I was 
saying, I want a partner. To-morrow morning you ll 
write to Jenny; and we two will go to work in 
earnest. It won t be long before you can go back to 
her. We are wiser than we were. It isn t worth 


while to spend a lifetime trying to get ready to begin. 
Jenny don t want you to be rich. She said so in 
in that letter. When we get a good mine, you can 
go home, and leave me to work it. I am better off 
out here : I ve got used to the country. I mean to 
live and die out here somewhere. And if you and 
Jenny will write to me why, I won t burn your 
letters any more." 

This pleasantry had a mournful tone that would 
have revealed to any disinterested observer the sorrow 
that lurked beneath. But Will s thoughts were miles 
away; and, when he recalled them, it was only for 
self-reproach. He lamented gloomily his un worthi 
ness, and declared, that, though heaven now opened 
before him, he dared not set his foot upon the thresh 
old. "No, George," he said, "I owe the rest of my 
life to you. If we could go back together but what 
folly ! Here w r e sit, as poor as your old Mammoth 
vein there, and dream of happiness. I have earned 
and squandered money enough in these tw r o years 
past to make our dreams come true; but now I must 
reap what I have sown. It was almost better to be 
lieve her false." 

He rose gloomily as he spoke, and George did not 
detain him. His morbid mind could not be all at 
once restored to health. It was better to let him be 
alone for a while, and realize his new position. So 
George rose also, and the two men clasped hands for 
a brief farewell. An instant they stood thus, and 


then, by a common impulse, kissed each other. Ifc 
was the pledge of reconciliation and hope. The 
terms of their relation seemed to be settled by it ; for 
they parted with an air of familiarity, and with no 
more formal words than, " Well, good-night, old fel 
low. Take care of yourself. See you in the morn 
ing." Whereat Thanksgiving Joe went straightway 
into his cabin, and Will Hazard took the path down 
the canon. The former, exhausted by the interview, 
but at peace with himself, rolled into his bunk, and 
soon slept soundly ; but the latter stopped half way 
down the hill, seated himself on a rock, and gave 
himself up to wakeful meditation. 

All this time the governor s proclamation of 
Thanksgiving had lain unnoticed where it had fallen 
from Joe s hands. The fire had burned nearly out; 
but a few coals remained, to brighten occasionally as 
a puff of the night-wind touched them. At every 
puff, moreover, the newspaper with the governor s 
proclamation hitched a little nearer to the fire. Be 
tween times it paused, or seemed to retreat ; then, by 
rolling over, and sliding swiftly forward, it made up 
every loss of ground. It seemed to be alive, and 
hesitating, while it advanced, to carry out some plan 
of mischief. At last, with a leap of undisguised in 
tent, it fell upon the embers, swept across them, 
bursting into flame as it did so, and, flying over the 
short intervening space, clung like a fiery monster to 
the dry, resinous pinon-stems of the cabin, within 


which, unconscious of his peril, lay Thanksgiving 

A moment later Will Hazard was aware of a lurid 
light that threw his own shadow in front of him, and, 
starting from his revery, turned to see wrapped in 
flames the cabin he had recently left. His trumpet- 
call of "Fire! " brought the miners from their work 
or sleep ; and a dozen men were soon hastening up 
the hillside. But Will had the start of them by a 
long ascent; and with flying feet he sped to the 
cabin, shouting as he bounded up the rocky steep. 

Thanksgiving Joe was dreaming of a quiet Jersey 
village-church, and a sweet face therein, when he was 
aroused by the shouts, and sprang up bewildered to 
find himself surrounded with smoke and flame. A 
step through the scorching circle would have placed 
him in safety; but alas! in his confusion he rushed 
in the wrong direction, and, instead of escaping by 
the door in front, stumbled over the pile of rock and 
ore at the rear of his cabin, and fell headlong into 
the shaft of the Mammoth. A second after, Will 
Hazard leaped through the blazing ruins, calling his 
friend s name. The bed, the room, were empty; 
but a feeble voice replied from the depths to his 
frantic call, and by the light of the burning cabin 
he saw Thanksgiving Joe lying helpless, twelve feet 
below him, at the bottom of the shaft. 

The first miners that arrived met Will carrying in 
his arms a heavy burden, the body of his friend. 


Thanksgiving Joe (by this name he was best known 
to them and to us) had fainted away. Tenderly they 
carried him to the nearest cabin, and applied their 
simple means of restoration. But for hours they 
could not bring him back to consciousness. 

It was during this period that Sam Wetherill, who 
had been foremost in service by the bunk of the 
sufferer, stepped to where Will Hazard sat in a stupor 
of grief, touched him on the shoulder, and beckoned 
him to follow. lie was obeyed, and presently the 
two men stood together in the open air. The dawn 
was breaking. 

" Look here ! " said Sam quietly. " This yer busi 
ness has got to be explored. I was at Joe s cabin 
last night, and I know he was expectin you. If 
you ve got any remarks to make, you might as well 
make em to me -unless you prefer a committee." 

This allusion to lynch law did not move the nerves 
of the pale young man, whose reputation as a des 
perado seemed now likely to put him in peril. 

"If George Graham dies," said he, "I shall not 
want to live." 

Sam turned, with a quick revulsion of feeling. 

"You knowed him? you loved him?" said he. 
"He was the best man in the sage-brush. Thar 
warn t no discount on him." He warn t no slouch. 
He was a man Give us your hand!" And the 
discovery of a big burn, hitherto unheeded, on AVill 
Hazard s hand, furnished final testimony to his sin 
cere efforts for the rescue of Thanksgiving Joe. 


At tliis moment occurred another incident, for the 
preliminary explanation of which a few words are 

Redhead Pete, it will be remembered, has gone on 
one of his periodical hunts after the Lost Silver Mine. 
For many days, nothing has been heard from him. 
But now, in the cold, first light of the morning, he 
comes over the summit, ragged, hirsute, defeated, but 
not conquered. Once more his quest has failed, yet 
the hope which inspired it springs eternal in his 

He pauses at the sight of the smoldering ruins of 
Joe s cabin. No one is near to explain the mystery. 
Pete walks to the edge of the shaft, among the smok 
ing brands, and reflectively turns over with his booted 
foot the blackened fragments of Joe s pile of worth 
less ore. "This yer base metal," he mutters but 
suddenly he stoops, seizes a stone, rubs it up and 
down on his buckskin breeches to clean its surface, 
and eagerly examines a dozen little whitish pellets 
that seem to be clinging to it like drops of perspira 
tion. As a final test, he takes out his jack-knife, 
and cuts into one of them. It is pure silver ! 

Pete is no fool. His credulity towards Shoshones 
and their legends does not prevent him now from be 
having like a wise and prudent man. He walks to 
the end of Joe s claim on the Mammoth, and there 
erects one of the half-burnt poles of the cabin, on 
which he rudt ly carves the words, "Ex. No. 1, South, 


Peter Jackson." Then, and not before, he comes 
down into the quiet, solemn camp, leaping from rock 
to rock, with hair and arms flying abroad, and whoop 
ing and shouting: 

" Whar s Thanksgiving Joe? Whar is he? That 
thar ledge o his n s the clear bullion : the ore only 
wants to be burnt, n the silver jest biles out of it" 

And so, bestowing on the air and on the distant 
ears of men his reckless and fragmentary explana 
tions, he rushes dowitward to the spot where Sam 
and Will are standing. Their sad faces hush him at 
once. But Thanksgiving Joe, lying until now uncon 
scious within the cabin, has been roused by the shouts, 
has recognized his name, has opened his eyes, and 
looked around upon the sorrowful company, as for 
some missing face. Divining his mute request, the 
colonel steps to the door, and calls in the three who 
stand outside. As they enter, Joe looks inquiringly 
upon them. Sam takes his hand. 

" All right, old man ! " says Sam. " You jest shake 
yerself, 11 you ll git over this. Thr.r s good news at 
last. That thar Mammoth Ledge, as we all thought 
was base metal, was jest nothin but this yer roastin 
ore, like what they tell of up to Austin, base metal 
ef you try to work it wet, n putty nigh the clear 
spoon metal if you jest warm it up with fire afore- 

Candor compels me to state that several of the 
sympathetic audience glide quietly from the room 


during these brief remarks, and, on getting outside 
the house, begin a fierce race to the Mammoth claim, 
a proceeding which Redhead Pete, secure in the 
possession of Extension No. 1, South, regards with 
quiet amusement. 

Thanksgiving Joe listens intelligently. " Thank 
God ! " his faint voice murmurs, breaking into the 
familiar ascription for the last time. Then, gather 
ing his strength, he says with an effort, but dis 

" Gentlemen, my name is George Graham. This 
man, William Hazard, is my dear friend and partner. 
He is half-owner in the Mammoth claim; and the 
half-interest that belongs to me I hereby give 
and bequeath to him in trust for Miss Janet 
Lockhart he knows. Sam, you will see the papers 
straight ? " 

Sam nods. " Whatever you say, Joe, is better n 
law in this camp. There s nobody here that ll go 
back on your words." 

A murmur of subdued assent runs round the room. 
Will Hazard falls on his knees by the bunk, and 
buries his face in the blanket. Thanksgiving Joe, 
still holding Sam Wetherill s hand in one of his own, 
lays the other upon Will s clustering hair. 

" Give her my love, Will," he says, and closes his 
eyes for several minutes. The stillness is broken 
only by sobs from the kneeling figure of Hazard. 
At last the dying man looks up once more. 



"My belt," he says. They had taken it off \vhon 
they were hunting upon his body for the injuries, 
which, being, alas! internal, could neither be found 
nor cured. Now they bring it to him, and once more 
his fingers feebly seek the precious paper which it 
contains. He draws it forth, reads with fading sight 
the well-known lines. A wave of peace glides over 
his face, an expression of unutterable gratitude. 
Soundlessly his lips form the solemn " Amen." The 
hand falls lifeless Joe lias obeyed the summons of 
the Almighty Father, and entered into his presence 
with thanksgiving. 




OT? You bet it s hot! A cool one hundred 
and fifteen in the shade ! " So Stephen 
Moore, the stage-driver, paradoxically de 
scribed the weather, while he watered his 
horses from a rather slimy-looking spring by a soli 
tary cabin among the foot-hills. Before him were 
barren reaches of dusty white ascending road, their 
ridges dotted with black spots of scrub-oak, then be 
yond all the blue line of the High Sierra. Behind 
him the great plain of California, or rather that por 
tion of it which lies around and south of Tulare Lake, 
shimmered in the heat, and sent up little dust whirl 
winds that traveled hither and thither over its glow 
ing surface like slender pillars of cloud. In a few 
years the desert would blossom, and miles upon miles 



of golden harvest would wave where now the vrild oats 
and grasses, early browned by sultry summer, only 
mimicked the husbandry of man. A little later the 
locomotive would shoot and toot through these spa 
cious solitudes. But that time was not yet; and as it 
is said to be darkest just before daybreak, so it seemed 
most lonely in the land just before it was going to 
become most "lively." 

" Yes, sir" said Stephen, "one hundred and fifteen, 
if it s an inch! But you don t feel the heat here as 
you do in the States. Why, ninety on Broadway just 
knocks the people over right and left with sunstrokes. 
But there s Young Bullion there, a-sleeping on the 
coach, with his hat off, and his face to the sun, and 
not taking any harm, either." 

Stephen s remarks were addressed to the passenger 
who shared with him the driver s seat, a young man 
of whose personal appearance at that moment little 
can be said, since, like everybody else who had trav 
eled that day along the valley road, with the wind 
dead in the rear, he was so covered with dust as to be 
all of one color from head to foot, except where his 
eyes peeped out under their dusty lashes, like clean 
children at the window of an adobe cabin. It is not 
necessary to say much concerning this young man. 
He has little to . do with the story, except to tell it ; 
for the truth must out. It was the present narrator 
who sat as aforesaid on the clay above mentioned, 
while Stephen watered the horses, and Young Bullion 


slept sprawling on the top of the coach. Having 
confessed so much, it is hardly worth while to keep 
the traveler who tells this story in the chilly and 
unconfidential position of a third person any longer: 
and he will therefore, with the reader s permission, 
speak of himself, as folks usually do, in the first 
t person. 

I was going up into the mountains to visit a newly- 
discovered mining-district when Stephen first called 
my attention to Young Bullion, as narrated above. I 
had not noticed him before; but this was easily ex 
plained by the fact that I had only just got a chance 
to ride outside, the seat having been occupied from 
Stockton by an exasperating old cattle-breeder, who 
never wanted to change places with an inside passen 
ger. Heat, dust, night, sleep, wind, whatever usu 
ally disposes the outsider to make such a temporary 
exchange, had no effect upon him. But at last we 
came to a ranche where the cattle-breeder alighted 
for good, leaving my friend Stephen free to offer the 
seat by his side to me, whom he called "Professor," 
because I was going up to inspect mines. In the 
Middle West it is "Judge" or "Kernel:" in the Far 
West " Professor " has been added to the list of handy 
titles for strangers. 

Stephen and I w r ere not strangers, however. We 
had made many a trip together on the Wells-Fargo 
coaches in California, Oregon, and Nevada; and once 
we had started for a real vacation-spree, gone through 


the Yosomite, the Hetch-Hetchy, up to the headwaters 
of the Tuolumne, and so on through the High Sierra, 
away to the mighty canons of Kern and King Rivers, 
camping on the bare ground at night, wherever we 
could find water and grass for our horses. So we had 
plenty to talk about now that we had met again; 
and, when I climbed to my place by his side, I paid 
no attention to the form that lay stretched on the still 
higher seat, behind the, driver s. 

But at the next stopping-place, as I have already 
remarked, Stephen mentioned the sleeping passenger 
as "Young Bullion; " and this caused me to turn and 
inspect him. He was so short, that he lay at full- 
length upon the seat, without hanging over his feet, or 
doubling up his legs, as experience had taught me I 
must needs do when I tried to sleep in that situation. 
The freckled face, light yellow hair, and brown 
stubby hand, presented nothing extraordinary. It 
was evidently a mere boy, exposing his complexion 
in a way which his mother would have disapproved, 
had she known he was so emphatically "out." 

"What makes you call him Young Bullion ?" I 
asked, surveying his coarse, patched clothes, and fail 
ing to see any special indications of the precious 
metal about him. 

" Well," replied Stephen, as he swashed the horses 
legs with the water they had left in the pail, "it s a 
name the boys gave him, over at Pactolus district, 
lie discovered the district ; and he owns the best claim 


on the best mine there, the biggest thing on the 
coast, they say, next to the Comstock." 

As this was a statement which I had heard concern 
ing a score of mines at different times, I \vas not as 
deeply thrilled by it as a tyro might have been ; and 
it was with some indifference that I said, "Ah! 
what s the name of the mine? " 

"The Agamemnon," said Stephen. "It s named 
after him. Agamemnon s his real name." 

That did give me a little start; for the Agamemnon 
mine in Pactolus district was the very property I had 
been sent from San Francisco to^xamine. But I re 
flected that many claims might be located side by side 
on the same lode, and doubtless some other part than 
that which belonged to this boy had attracted the 
notice of my clients. At all events, I preserved a 
due professional reticence as to my own business, and 
remarked only, " Agamemnon is a queer name. Aga 
memnon what V " 

By this time the driver was mounting again ; and, 
before he could answer my question, he had to unwind 
the reins from the break-bar, arrange them properly 
in the gloved fingers of his left hand, pick up his 
long-lashed whip from the top of the coach, then take 
off the break, and tell the horses pithily to " Git ! " 
These operations were scarcely completed, when 
Young Bullion suddenly sat upright, and replied in 
person to my inquiry, which he must have overheard. 

" Agamemnon Atrides O Ballyhan," said he, with a 


twinkle in his shrewd gray eyes. " The boys call it 
Bullion when the old man ain t around. Twouldift 
suit the old man, you bet! " 

" Who is the old man V your father? " I said. 

" Oh, no ! " he replied gravely. " My son." 

Seeing my look of blank amazement, Stephen in 
terposed the explanation that this was the jocose way 
in which the camp chose to consider the relationship. 

"Well," said Agamemnon, "how s a feller to 
know, except by what folks say? And think I d let 
the old man play father around my place? He 
couldn t run the macBine a day." 

" I was somewhat displeased by this disrespectful 
tone; but I let it pass without comment, partly be 
cause the atmosphere w r as not favorable to lectures en 
filial piety, and partly because I was following in my 
mind a suggested coincidence. To make myself cer 
tain, I took out my note-book, and sought the address 
of the party to whom I was to apply for permission 
to inspect the Agamemnon mine. It was, as I had 
supposed, Mr. O Ballyhan. Turning +o the boy, who 
had watched my movements keenly, I said, " I think 
it must be your father with whom I have some 

" Who? The old man? Business? Not much ! If 
you ve got any business, it s with me: you just rest 
easy on that! Come up from the Bay to look at tho 
Agamemnon ledge, now, hain t you? Well, I m your 
man! Oh! you needn t go for to doubt my word. 


I m the only fust-class, responsible, business O Bally- 
lian on the Pacific coast. Bet ye what ye like. 
Put up yer money, 11 leave it to Steve. No, I won t ! 
Don t bet ; swore off. Never did, very heavy, any 
how. But Steve there, he ll tell yer it s all right. 
Go in, Steve ! If he won t believe yer, bet with him 
yerself, n leave it to the first bullwhacker ye meet." 

But I was ready to accept Steve s assurance that 
this premature young adventurer was actually the 
mine-owner with whom my clients were negotiating. 
A very little further conversation soon put this point 
beyond the shadow of a doubt. 

" You ve been pretty lively," said he. " Thought 
I d be one coach ahead o ye, and git a chance to 
open up the mine a little. But I had to stop over at 
Stockton to buy some powder and steel. Got a new 
kind o powder, this yer giant powder : made the 
feller show me how to use it. We went out o town 
half a mile, an couldn t find no rocks : so we blowed a 
scrub-oak all to sawdust. That s how I lost a day." 

"Have you been in San Francisco?" I inquired. 
"It is strange that my friends did not mention it." 

"Think I d let em know I was there?" he replied 
with a w y ink. " I ll tell ye jest what I did : went 
down to Stockton with twelve mules an a big load o 
fust-class Agamemnon ore, this yer black sulphuret, 
free gold sprinkled all through it, an put it in the 
fire, an the silver sw 7 eats out to boot, sent it down 
from Stockton by boat, an sot on the bags myself, 


you bet, all the way, with a six-shooter in my pocket. 
Soon s I d got it down thar all safe, n locked up in a 
warehouse, I went off to git some dinner. When the 
waiter fetched the pork n beans, I kind o liked his 
looks; n says I, I want a agent for a little bit o 
business here in town, n I guess you re my man. 
lie laughed at fust ; thought I was fool n him, or 
else was a fool myself. But I fixed that quick 
enough. Says I, Now don t go for to think you 
can take me in because I m small. Ye can t come 
110 tricks over me. I ve got fifteen tons o fust-class 
Agamemnon ore to sell, all picked and sacked. Here s 
a fair sample, n there s plenty more whar that came 
from. If you want to sell it for me, n earn a hun 
dred dollars easy, say so. 

"Well, his eyes stuck out so when he see my sam 
ple, that he looked half scared to death. But he was 
glad enough to be my agent. He was a big swell 
when he was dressed up, n he could make a power- 
fid impression, only not on me. I ain t what I was, 
says he, while we was a-talkin : I ve seen better 
days. Now you jest come down, says I: I don t 
want no more o that! Git enough f m in old man. 
As for you, ye re putty nigh what ye always was n 
always will be, n y hain t seen no better day n this 
one 11 be, if ye behave yerself. 

" Young man/ says he, you ought to be respeck- 
fnl to yer elders. 

" Elders ! says I, hollerin like mad, who d ye 


call elders? I was born in the year one, n I m eigh 
teen hundred n sixty-five years old, A.D., U.S. : d ye 
hear that? Then I laid my six-shooter alongside o 
my plate ; n says I, I ll be obliged to you if you ll 
call me Mr. O Ballyhan. 

" Well, that s the way I got my agent. He was 
the politest feller, after that, you ever see. When 
he went round to a big house in Market Street, 
where they was a-buyin ores to send to Europe, me 
n my six-shooter just went along. *No shenanni- 
gan, James/ says I. We ll just wait on the door 
step, n protect ye when ye come out. Well, after a 
few minutes he comes out, n says, If the rest o the 
lot is like the sample, they ll give a thousand dollars 
a ton for it. Not much, says I : they ll have it 
assayed, and they ll make a bid accordin , that s what 
they ll do. An that s what they did do, n gimme 
twenty thousand dollars for that lot of ore, rather n 
lemme go. Wouldn t a sold it for that, either, only 
they began to talk about the mine, n said they d 
probably like to buy her. When my agent told me 
that, I says, Well, I hain t no partic lar objection. 
She s a good mine, n I wouldn t retire from her for 
less n a hundred thousand dollars. If they wan t her 
at that price, they can take her or they can leave 
her. An if you sell her, James, says I, you ll get a 
thousand on top o your hundred. Well, there was 
big talk an lots of it for a couple o days; but I kept 
quiet n out o sight, n James he negotiated till you 


couldn t rest. Fust thing they wanted was a report, 
Sent em one that the old man wrote and printed in 
< The Pactolus Weekly Nozzle/ The old man is hefty 
on a report : he jist slings the ink, now, I tell ye ! 
About all he kin do." 

I remarked that I had seen the report. It was 
indeed an extraordinary sample, even of that extraor 
dinary kind of literature. It abounded in gorgeous 
descriptions of the beauty of the natural scenery, the 
immense display of geological phenomena, the un 
limited amount of " yet undiscovered " treasure slum 
bering beneath the rocky surface, the salubrious cli 
mate, the exactly central geographical position (proved 
by drawing a circle round it on any map), and the 
metropolitan future, of Pactolus district. I remem 
bered particularly the glowing conclusion : " The 
Gulch, to the golden sands of which this marvelous 
region owes its name, has long ceased to yield a suita 
ble auriferous return to the honest hand of labor. 
[Note by the editor of The Weekly Nozzle : " " But 
it will pay big to hydraulic."] But in the gold and 
silver veins which lie along certain magnetic lines in 
the rocks there are treasures surpassing those of the 
Lydian River, and which will be, in the words of the 
great Thucydides, Ktema es aei, a thing forever." 

Agamemnon continued, " They said that report 
wa n t enough : so I sent word to em to send up their 
own man; n I expect you re the feller." 

I replied that I was the feller. 


" Thought so the minute I laid eyes on yer. Well, 
now, we ll jest licv a few plain words about this busi 
ness, 11 perhaps they ll save you the trouble o goiu 
any farther. S pose yer know I ve got to pay yer fee. 
Left the money in bank down t the Bay." 

I nodded assent. 

" S pose y expect I ll give something ex try if you 
make a good report, n the mine gets sold hey? " 

"Well," I said gravely, "it would be reasonable, 
wouldn t it ? " 

" treasonable ? " said he, with a steady light in his 
gray eyes, as he turned, and looked me full in the 
face. "I don t know about that. But it s jest impos 
sible d ye hear that ? You can go back to Frisco, 
unless yer want to examine somebody else s mine : 
yer can t git into the Agamemnon. There s goin to 
be fair play with her, or nothin ." And with that he 
turned iiis back to me. 

After an embarrassing silence, I said, "But, Mr. 
O Ballyhan, you made the offer, didn t you ? " 

" Wanted to find ye out, n I found ye out," he 
replied curtly, without deigning to look at me. 

"Well," I rejoined, " I wanted to find you out, and 
I ve found you out. I m very glad you regard it as 
dishonorable to give a bribe. If you had really 
tendered me one, I should have reported it to my 
clients, and advised them to drop the business." 

" Too thin ! " was Agamemnon s sole reply ; and I 
saw on Steve s face a grin of intense amusement at 
my discomfiture. 


" Look here ! " said T as a last resort, " I ll leave ifc 
to Steve, lie knows rne ; and he ll tell you that J am 
an honest man." 

Steve could hardly resist the temptation to make 
matters worse by a dubious ans\ver ; but, seeing in 
my face that the trouble might be serious, he changed 
his tone, and gave to his remarks a satisfactory end. 

" Well," he said slowly, " I don t know : it s my 
impression that he stole my last pipeful of Lone Jack, 
and smoked it himself in camp on the Tuolunme; 
and a man that would do that hey, boys? No: 
he s all right, Young Bullion : he ll do the square 
thing by you. I know him." 

Young Bullion turned, and held out his hand. 
" Put it there ! " he said. And I " put it there," shak 
ing hands with him in token of good faith. " Yer 
see," he continued presently, u th ole man ll try it on. 
He s a disgrace to the family, he is. Don t you take 
nothin I mean no promises (he hain t got nothin 
else to give you) from th ole man. I m try in* to 
reform him, I am : swore oft lots c things on his 
account ( n for some other partic lar reasons). But 
soon s any stranger comes around, th ole man slumps 
back agin into th ole ways, goes to gamblin an 
drinkin . Ever play poker? " 

I said I had no knowledge of that accomplishment. 

"Well, I can play it with any man in Pactolus, or 
anyw r here else. Th ole man taught me himself. 
But I swore off f m gamblin, n I got all the boys to 


say they won t play with th olc man : so he nad to 
shut up. They wa n t very sorry to promise : lie used 
to clean em out every time. But it wasn t the 
square thing; n I I the name o the O Ballyhans 
is goin to be kept "clean after this, by !" Was I 
mistaken, or did I see this premature young person 
dash a tear from his eye? Instantly I heard him 
mutter, " Thar, now, I ve swore off swearin , n jist 
been n almost done it again ! " 

I need hardly say that by this time I was much 
interested in the strange character here presented 
for study. With mingled curiosity and respect I set 
myself to win his confidence, and extract an outline 
of his history. In spite of all his preternatural 
shrewdness and coolness, I found that he was at 
heart a boy, and required only the touch of sympathy 
and appreciation to make him talk freely. For more 
than an hour he ran on, with a queer mixture of 
simplicity and acuteness, narrating the experiences 
of an uneventful and yet heroic life; while Stephen 
and I listened without comment, except that the stage- 
driver nodded occasionally in confirmation of some 
statements that came within his own knowledge, or 
touched up his leaders with crackling emphasis when 
his feelings were particularly aroused. 




I LEARNED that Agamemnon Atrides O Ballyhan 
owed his classical name to the fancy of his father, 
a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a careless, 
jolly spendthrift, who, after running through his own 
inheritance and a small fortune brought him by his 
wife, had taken sudden leave of his creditors, and 
come to California in the early days, after the dis 
covery of gold. Plis scraps of classical and mathe 
matical learning found no market here. He had no 
solid attainments, no capacity for work, and no con 
science : so, without much resistance, he yielded to 
the downward current, and became a gambler, per 
haps worse. He was not fit to be an honest gambler, 
if I may use the paradox ; that is to say, he could 
not rely upon skill and coolness to guarantee him a 
living in that profession, without resort to cheating , 
for he speedily became a drunkard also; and no suc 
cessful gambler can afford to indulge that vice. The 
result was inevitable, a vagabond life, interspersed 
with scenes of exposure and disgrace. From one 
mining-camp to another he dragged his wife and the 
young Agamemnon, who, born in the midst of these 
debasing associations, grew up to a premature knowl 
edge of evil, and an utter ignorance of any higher 


code of ethics than the rude life of the minors 

Young Bullion was not explicit concerning these 
darker features of his experience. He seemed to 
avoid details with a sense of shame ; and I fancied 
that the shame was of recent origin, that something 
had lately aroused him to a perception of the disgrace, 
and to an odd resolution, not at all like the usual 
repentance of awakened sinners, to clean the name of 
the O Ballyhans. What this cause was I could not 
gather.. He was silent on that point. But, whatever 
it was, it had made a man of him before his time. 
He was sixteen years old, though he looked both 
older and. younger. He showed no trace of Irish 
origin in his talk, w r hich differed from the mixed 
lingo of the Pacific coast, only in a freedom from 
coarseness and profanity which evidently cost him 
some effort. I inferred that this also was a recent 
change, dating from the time when he had "swore 
off " from gambling and drinking, and had put his 
father in the strait- jacket of filial discipline. Of his 
mother he spoke with a queer, kindly indifference, 
saying that she "wasn t much account," had no " sa- 
vey;"but "th ole man s goin s-on had been rough 
on her." He regarded his father as an "enfant terri 
ble," an unwelcome responsibility, the management 
of whom, nevertheless, gave him a certain sense of 
pleasure in his own skill. "TV ole man s sharp," 
he said ; " but he ain t no match for me ! " 


A year before this, the O Ballyhans, with slender 
stock of household goods, had emigrated to Pactolus 
Gulch. It was not a promising field. The placer 
diggings were nearly exhausted, and the population 
had nearly all departed. But there was business 
enough still (there always is) for one liquor-saloon ; 
and in this establishment the elder O Ballyhan be 
came barkeeper. His taste for whiskey would have 
made him an unprofitable servant ; but his dexterity 
with cards made him useful to the proprietor, who 
pitted him against all comers in the fashionable 
operation of "playing for the drinks." Now that 
the claims in the Gulch paid so poorly, and dust was 
not plenty, the gambling of the Pactolus people sel 
dom went beyond these modest stakes ; and as O Bal 
lyhan was allowed to drink only what he could earn 
in this way, why, the more he drank, the better for 
the business. 

Meanwhile the boy, so far as T could make out, 
had turned his hand to whatever he could find in the 
way of occasional occupation. He had been a super 
numerary hostler to the stage; he had worked a while 
in a played-out placer-claim; he had caught trout in 
the North Fork, above the place where the tailings 
made it too muddy even for a sucker or an eel ; he 
had hunted quails, rabbits, and gophers, and some 
times deer ; once he had shot a grizzly bear. 

When he mentioned that experience, I interrupted 
him to ask for further particulars. " How did I do 


it? " said he. " I jist walked up within twenty yards 
of him, n shot him in the mouth. He rolled over 
quiet enough. Yer see, I had Jim Knowles s repeat- 
in rifle. A grizzly ain t nothin if yer have a repeatin 
rifle, n keep cool. T that shot hadn t fetched him, 
there was seven more ready for him ; n there never 
was a grizzly that could s waller seven ounce-balls at 
one mouthful." 

With the precarious proceeds of these industries, 
he had (as I managed to make him own) kept his 
mother from starvation ; and his quick wits and ready 
helpfulness had evidently moved all the Pactolians 
to admiration and friendship. He hfid never taken 
much to book-learning, having rebelled entirely at a 
languid attempt of the old man to educate him. 
" Educate ! " said he contemptuously, as he told us 
about it : " didn t want none o his kind. Two fellers 
in one family slingin Latin, n puttin on the heavy 
genteel, d a been too much gravy for the meat." 
But I gathered that there was a school now at Pacto- 
lus of which he had a very high opinion. 

" Do you go ? " I asked, forgetting, for the moment, 
that he was a capitalist, and man of business. 

" No," he replied gloomily : " hain t got time. But 
I walk over there afternoons to see the teacher." 

u ls he a very good teacher? " 

" It s a lady," he said shortly, and changed the 
subject, proceeding to tell of the great discovery 
which had in six months brought fresh life to Pac- 


tolus district, and changed the fate of more than one 
of its inhabitants ; namely, the discovery of the Aga 
memnon lode, and the inauguration thereby of a new 
era of prosperous activity. 

It was the old story, repeated in so many districts 
on the Pacific coast in early days. Young Bullion 
had found the outcrop of the lode far above the head 
of the Gulch, and had pounded up a sack-full of the 
strange, dark ore, and " panned " it in vain for gold. 
Disappointed but curious, he had carried a specimen 
of it to the saloon, and passed, it around among the 
loungers who sat sociably about the red-hot stove. 
They could mike nothing of it. But O Ballyhan, 
senior, who was mellow .with a day s professional 
work, had got possession of it, and with drunken elo 
quence pronounced it to be lapis philosophorum, the 
philosopher s stone (" with a lot of other Latin," 
added Agamemnon), and finally, seizing the poker 
for a wand, had opened the door of the stove, tossed 
the specimen into the blazing fire, and declared him 
self to be an alchemist engaged in the manufacture 
of aurum potabile. This, at least, is my version of it, 
based on Young Bullion s attempt to repeat the jar 
gon of his drunken dad. True, the ancient alchemist 
did not make aurum potabile in the fire, but over it; 
not by fusion, but by solution ; but O Ballyhan was 
drunk, and so may have departed from the prescrip 
tion. Nobody cared for his vagaries. Only his son, 
when tho others had departed, raked over the embers 


to recover his specimen, and found it studded with 
globules of exuded silver. 

lie was too shrewd to make immediate outcry over 
the discovery. For several days he kept it to him 
self, while he meditated thoroughly his plan of pro 
cedure. Then, taking into his counsel a miner who 
had had some experience in "quartz," he arranged a 
programme, which was carried out to the letter. A 
meeting of citizens was held ; the startling announce 
ment of the existence of silver veins in the neigh 
borhood was proclaimed ; and a code of laws was 
proposed. The assembly, being fiercely eager to 
adjourn and go " prospecting," passed the laws in a 
hurry ; and the first location recorded was the Aga 
memnon. A week later, every chunk or bowlder of 
rock, in place or out of place, streaked, spotted, black, 
or white, that showed itself on that mountain-slope, 
had been " discovered," named, and recorded. A fine 
crop of litigation and pistol-shooting about disputed 
titles had been planted. But the title to the Aga 
memnon no one disputed: its discoverer was the 
benefactor of the district. The saloon-keeper, deeply 
impressed by the incident of the stove, advanced five 
hundred dollars for a fractional interest in the claim ; 
and with this money Young Bullion began operations. 
But, foreseeing that it would not last long, he called 
the miners together, and proposed, that, instead of 
wasting their labor each on his own mine, they should 
unite to open the Agamemnon to a considerable, 


depth, extract a lot of ore, send it to the Bay, and 
sell it for the benefit of all parties. This they had 
done with unexpected success ; and Young Bullion 
had been able to send by express from San Francisco 
a good round sum for each of them, besides opening 
the negotiation far the sale of his mine. Meanwhile 
the news had spread, and the tide of population had 
turned again to flood. Empty houses were inhabited 
once more; the hotel was re-opened; The Weekly 
Nozzle " (christened in honor of a now defunct 
hydraulic scheme) began to play again, and talked 
of expanding into a daily under the title of "The 
Morning Blast ; " and the schoolhouse had once more 
a teacher. 

Listening to Agamemnon s story made the time 
pass rapidly ; and, before we were aware, we were 
at the next station, where the horses were to be 
changed, and the passengers fed. 

I do not know why I have omitted to mention that 
the stage was w r ell filled inside, but that the pas 
sengers were not a particularly interesting company, 
with the exception of one, a singularly intelligent 
and refined-looking young woman, w T ho had joined us 
at the last station before that at which I went out 
side. A new-comer al\vays has a great advantage in 
such circumstances. Even an ordinary woman, if 
neatly dressed, and spotless as to collar and cuffs, 
seems almost a saint or an angel by comparison with 
a thoroughly dusty load of travel-worn sufferers. 


But this- lady was not an ordinary person. There 
was a what s the use of trying to describe her ? I 
will at least postpone the desperate task; and per 
haps the progress of my story may make it unneces 
sary. Suffice it to say here, that an hour s sitting 
opposite her in the stage had quite filled my mind 
with a sort of tender curiosity as to her character, 
her history, and her errand into the rude society of 
the Sierra. But Young Bullion, with his quaint and 
vigorous narrative, had driven out her image. 

It returned, however, with fresh force, when we all 
alighted for dinner, and I hastened gallantly to help 
her out of the coach, on which occasion, let me say, 
I observed that her foot and hand were small, while 
her step and clasp were firm. (There s so much of 
my description unconsciously done for me, thank 
goodness !) 

But surely it was not at sight of me that she 
blushed, and looked confused ? ]^~o : it was at some 
one behind me, to wit, Young Bullion ; and, upon 
my word, he was blushing too, unless his complexion 
deceived me. The next instant my fair unknown 
(yes, she was fair : put that down in the descrip 
tion) walked straight up to him, and said in her 
peculiarly sweet, clear voice (another item). " How 
do you do, Mr. O Ballyhan ? Have you had a pleas 
ant journey ? It is quite an unexpected pleasure to 
meet you here. I have been spending a day or two 
visiting some friends in the Valley." [This with a 


graceful but indefinite gesture, \vhich might indicate 
any thing from Los Angeles to Chico.] "We have 
had a little vacation, to get a new floor put in the 

It struck me that she seemed a trifle anxious to 
answer his possible questions before he asked them. 
If so, she need not have feared embarrassment from 
any inquisitiveness on his part. In her presence 
Young Bullion the capitalist. Agamemnon the ruler 
of men, was merely an awkward boy. It was all he 
could do to introduce me, at my request. But style 
was not important under the circumstances; and I 
was satisfied when I found myself on a footing of 
agreeable acquaintance with Miss Mary Carleton, the 
Pactolus school-teacher. 

At the table I managed to improve a good many 
opportunities in the way of " passing " the potatoes, 
and such delicacies ; and, as Young Bullion closely 
watched and eagerly imitated these courtesies, I 
fancy Miss Mary was waited upon as never before. 

All the company resumed their places at the accus 
tomed signal ; and the rest of the journey passed 
quietly enough. Agamemnon apparently did not 
wish to talk, and, as evening approached, rolled 
himself up and went to sleep again on the upper 
seat. The shadows deepened in the canons ; and the 
red evening-glow slipped upward on the hills, and 
faded out at last from their summits into the sky, 
where it lingered yet a while before giving place 
entirely to the starlight. 


Stephen and I chatted sedately and at intervals, 
until the spirit of the time charmed us to silence, and 
\ve smoked our pipes in placid re very. At midnight 
everybody was aroused ; for with cracking of whip, 
and barking of dogs, and clattering of hoofs, and 
rattling of wheels, we drove up to the Pactolus hotel ; 
and nobody was going any farther. I lodged at the 
hotel, and saw no more of Young Bullion that night. 
Tired as I was, I noted, with a slight touch of envy, 
that he re-entered the stage, for the purpose, as I 
inferred, of "seeing Miss Mary home." 

Next morning, after breakfast, Agamemnon ap 
peared, to "talk business." We walked through 
the single street of the town, along the edge of 
the irregular excavation which had been Nature s 
" gulch," and had become man s " diggin s," until 
the last house was reached. It was the schoolhouse ; 
and Miss Mary, standing in the doorway, just about 
to ring the " second bell," waved us a greeting as we 
passed. (She had a pretty arm, too !) On a little 
height beyond, we paused, and turned to enjoy the 
very picturesque prospect of houses and pine-covered 
hills, great red excavations, busy miners, and rolling 
foot-hills piled behind and below all 

" That s whar the O Ballyhans live," said my com 
panion, pointing to the house nearest the schoolhouse, 
a low, large log-cabin. 

" And where does Miss Carleton live ? " I asked. 

" She boards with us," he replied curtly, and faced 
about to resume the march. 


The miners of the West have a notion that the 
richest mines are to be sought in the most inacces 
sible places. How far this might be recognized, if 
otherwise stated, as a fact with a scientific reason, 
I will not stop to explain. At all events, it was true 
of the Agamemnon, which occupied a very high and 
very bare mountain-spur of porphyritic rock, belong 
ing properly to a more eastern belt than the granite 
and slate of the gulch proper. A lower summit and 
a heavy belt of pine-timber separated this desert 
height from the settlement. One might say that the 
characteristic scenery of two States was here brought 
close together. Nevada peeped over a gap in the 
edge of the Sierra into California. 

I began my examination at once, and soon became 
satisfied that it was indeed a mine of extraordinary 
value. How this conclusion was reached I do not 
need to describe here. But it was only after several 
visits, and many careful samplings and measure 
ments, that my opinion became definite as well as 
positive. Even this definite judgment was held in 
abeyance to await the results of the assays of the 
samples, to be made at San Francisco. 




Ox this first day \ve spent but a couple of hours in 
and about the mine, and then returned to town, \vhere 
I had accepted an invitation to call on the O Bally- 
hans. It was long past the dinner-hour. We had 
shared the miners meal at their t4 boarding-house " 
on the mountain. As we passed the schoolhouse, the 
hum of reciting voices told that Miss Mary was at 
work. Presently we entered the rude mansion of 
Agamemnon s family. 

The door opened directly into a large sitting-room ; 
and, as Young Bullion pushed it open without cere 
mony, we surprised the paternal O Ballyhan, sitting 
before a pine table, and lazily engaged, pipe in mouth, 
in some sort of solitary game of cards. 

" At it again? " said Agamemnon angrily ; " r n you 
hain t copied them papers, neither ! " 

" Hem acu tetigisti : bedad ! ye ve touched the thing 
acutely, Aggy, me boy : et nihil tettr/isti quod nan orna- 
ris//, an ye niver touched any thing that ye didn t 
adorn. Come, now, that s rather nate, av ye only 
understood it." This airy reply was thrown oft , like 
a soap-bubble from a pipe, with a wave of the hand 
and an affectation of easy unconcern. Nevertheless, 


the speaker managed with the same gesture to sweep 
the cards into a drawer ; and it was not difficult to 
see that the theatrical sire was really in awe of his 
practical son. 

The latter paid no attention to the classical effusion 
with which he had been greeted, but continued stern 
ly, " Been drinkin too. Look here, ole man, this has 
got to stop. You hear me ! " 

" Vultus est index animi" responded the awful dad : 
" sure it s me physiognomy betrays me sowi. In vino 
veritas: I couldn t tell ye a lie, me boy. Ecce signum! 
there s the bottle ; elieu ! quantum mutatus ab illo ! an 
divil a bit left in it ! " 

Agamemnon might have proceeded to further in 
quiry and rebuke; but, suddenly recollecting my pres 
ence, he dropped, for the time, the process of family 
discipline, and introduced me as " the quartz-sharp 
from San Francisco." 

The O Ballyhan rose with exuberant cordiality, 
and skipped towards me as if I were his partner in a 
contra-dance. I despair of depicting him. Imagine 
a grizzly, rummy, bleared visage, surmounted by a 
shock of bristling gray hair ; a short, fat figure clad 
in a most dilapidated but once gorgeous, large-fig 
ured, flowing dressing-gown, which did not pretend 
to conceal a very dirty shirt ; tight pantaloons of the 
cut and the pattern that were the rage a score of 
years ago ; and a pair of slippers that flapped the floor 
at every stop: in short, a person without the slightest 


remaining trace of dandyism. Imagine this being to 
talk and move with immense affectation of gentle 
manly style, and you may gain some conception of the 
O Ballyhan. I ought to add that his hands would 
have been white if they had been clean, and that his 
pipe was a common, short black "cuddy." His pro 
fuse quotations of trite scraps of Latin, usually ac 
companied by free translations into English with a 
brogue, added to the bizarre and incongruous effect of 
his whole appearance. 

" Salce . " he exclaimed : " ye re welcome to the 
castle o the O Ballyhans. Non sumus quales eramus : 
we re not ourselves at all since we left our swate 
ancistral hall, natale solum, so to spake. But ccelum 
non animum mutant : it s the climate, and not the char 
t/ether, they change " 

" Qui frans mare currunt, who come to Castle Gar 
den," said I, finishing his quotation in his own style. 

"Dies fauxtus, cretd notandus I " exclaimed the old 
scapegrace, with a gesture as if he w^ould embrace 
me : " it s a blissed day it is, an we ll mark it wid 
chalk ; that is to say, wid something better. Sure, 
Aggy, me boy, ye won t grudge yer old father a glass 
to mark the day. Dale obolum Belisario : there s no 
use translatin that to ye, ye hard-hearted spalpeen." 

The last part of this speech was delivered in an 
altered tone, caused by a frown and shake of the head 
from Agamemnon, who at this point turned to leave 
the room. " Where s Mother? " said he. 


"In partis inferior thus, it s the back-yard I mane, 
sittin in the rockin -chair \vid her otium cum digni- 
tate an a favorite author." 

True enough, as Agamemnon opened a door oppo 
site to that by -which we had entered, I caught a 
glimpse of the matron, enjoying the pleasant after 
noon air in the manner described. Her rocking-chair 
was the genuine article, city made, and doubtless 
hauled, with other household belongings, many a 
weary mile through ono family pilgrimage after 
another. It bore the scars of age and trouble ; but 
it was still able to rock, though in a somewhat rick 
ety way. Mrs. O Ballyhan was maintaining this mo 
tion by timely application of her toes to the ground, 
while her eyes were riveted upon a pamphlet, of 
which I could only see that the cover was yellow. 
Then the door closed behind Agamemnon, and I was 
left with the sinful sire. 

" It s a foine boy," he began, " but clane spoilt wid 
consate, an disrespict o payrints. Sequitur patrem 
liaud passibus equis he takes after his father, but he 
can t kape up; and it irritates him. Nori tarn Mi 
nerva quam Mercurio : it s business he manes, an not 
learnin . But he wasn t born wid a rale jaynius for 
business, non nascitur fit, faith that s a nate one too, 
an it s mesilf 11 show him a thing. Business is 
it ? Negotium f Si negotium quceris circumspice. Siste 
viator! Av ye re travelin on business, talk wid the 
O Ballyhan." 


Here he assumed a significant air, which convinced 
me that he intended some confidential communica 
tion. Suspecting at the same time that the tawdry 
adornments of Latin quotations and misquotations in 
his discourse were deliberately affected, I said, " Well, 
Mr. O Ballyhan, if you have any thing to say about 
the business on which I am traveling, it is my busi 
ness to hear you. But we shall save time if we 
confine ourselves to English." 

" Lex loci" said the incorrigible scamp, in a final 
effort to impose upon me: "it s the custom o the 
country. These barbarians, damnatl a<l metalla, con- 
dimned to work in the mines, so to spake, pretind to 
talk nothin but English, an a voile mess they make 
o that too. But /YfcVrt est alea in medias res: I ll begin 
wid the business immajitly, an it s dumb in the dead 
languages I ll be to plaze ye, till 1 have the honor to 
resave ye in Ballyhan Castle, County Clare, wid me 
complate edition o the Auctores Classic! ad Usum 
Del/jhini in the bookcase behind our two selves, an* 
the amphora, wid the sugar and the hot vvather, on the 
table afore us." 

After all, he seemed to*take so much squalid com 
fort in his Latin, that I was half sorry I had tried to 
cut it short. But the voice of Agamemnon was heard 
outside ; and the old man had only time to say, 
" Whisht ! I ll mate ye sub rosa (beggin your par 
don) to-night in the little grane-room at the back o 
the International saloon, and tell ye what s important, 


if true (an true it is) ; an in the best of English I ll 
tell it, on the \vurrd of an Oirish jintleman ! " Then 
the door opened, and Agamemnon ushered in his 

After making the acquaintance of Mrs. O Ballyhan, 
I was lost in wonder, that from such a couple the 
keen, energetic, and straightforward son could have 
sprung. It was a clear case of what the philosophers 
call atavism, the re-appearance, in some remote 
descendant, of ancestral qualities which are entirely 
wanting in the intermediate generations. Doubtless, 
I reflected, the stimulating atmosphere of this newest 
New World had developed the dormant germs of 
character in Young Bullion. 

Few words will suffice for Mrs. O Ballyhan. She 
was, perhaps, the most utterly negative, washed-out 
woman I ever met. In all my observation of her I 
detected only two feelings that had survived the 
otherwise complete wreck of will and emotion; 
namely, her appetite for novel-reading, and her ad-- 
miration for her humbug of a husband. Toward 
Agamemnon, whose industry and executive ability 
were the only support of tlie family, she entertained, 
apparently, only the mournful sentiment that he was 
not like his father. I tried once to converse with her 
on the subject of a sensational romance which she had 
just been reading, and the result convinced me that 
she did not remember a word or scene of it. She was 
like a drunkard, who tastes his liquor only for a brief 


instant while he swallows it, and can not recall its 
flavor in his craving for more. 

I wondered who cooked and washed, surely not 
this mere echo of a woman? and who maintained 
the general order of the house, the interior of which 
was by no means so slovenly in appearance as its 
nominal master and mistress. Two windows mutely 
answered my two mental queries. Through one of 
them I saw John Chinaman carrying an armful of 
wood to the kitchen ; through the other, Miss Mary 
Carleton, briskly returning from school. 

I was curious to see what sort of conversation could 
come of such a strange mixture of ingredients. 
Would the O Ballyhan continue to spout maudlin 
classics, and his spouse sit in rapt vacuity, with her 
finger in the place where she had left off reading? 
Would Agamemnon talk about the mine, which must 
be Greek to the school-teacher, and the school-teacher 
discourse concerning topics that must be equally 
Greek to Agamemnon? 

"Greek to Agamemnon!" The w r himsical coinci 
dence carried my thought further. Of course Miss 
Mary would have tact, and would speak with Aga 
memnon in his own tongue as it were. A superior 
being like her would know how to come down to the 
level of half-grown natures. Then I found that I 
was forgetting the whole race of O Ballyhans, and 
thinking with all my might of the pretty school 
teacher; and then the door opened, and she stood 


like a picture against the background of pine-woods 
and sky. 

She did not enter, but said she was going to the 
post-office to mail a letter. I offered to accompany 
her ; and she assented graciously, observing, that, as 
the office was next door to the hotel, it would not take 
me out of my way. So, making an appointment with 
Agamemnon for the following morning, I took leave 
of the O Ballyhans. 

We walked slowly down the street in the slant sun 
shine. What we said as we walked, I think is hardly 
worth repetition. Indeed, I remember of it only ho\v 
hard I tried to be agreeable, and how neatly she foiled 
my attempts to learn any thing about herself. 

After supper, as I sat lazily on the porch, watching 
a dog-fight in the "middle distance," I became aware 
of the presence of the O Ballyhan, who had come 
from his mansion by the perilous road of the gulch 
itself to avoid the keen eyes of Agamemnon, or the 
greetings of tell-tale acquaintances. Everybody knew 
that he was under filial surveillance, and in process of 
reform against his will ; and there were thoughtless 
persons who would not have hesitated to ask him, in 
a too sonorous and repetitious way, whether he had a 
pass from his son to be out after dark. 

"Bedad!"he said in a stage-whisper, as he came 
suddenly upon me out of the shadows, " it s hard 
worrk I had to lave em behind, domus et placens uxor, 
an thim sharp eyes o the school-misthress an me 


firrst-borrn. Av they hadn t fell a-talkin \vid wan 
another, actum est de Repitblica, it would a been all 
up wid the O Ballyhan. But I gev era the slip ; 
an the O Ballyhan kapes his worrd non sine pul- 
vere, not widout a dale o throuble. Sure I came 
widin an ace of findin meself paddlin about in yur- 
ghe vasto in the ould hydthraulic reservoir. A rare 
swimmer I d a been an that s a nate thing too, 
av ye comprehind it ! " 

I was in no mood for the old fellow s discursive 
conversation, and I brought him peremptorily to biisi- 
ness. Thereupon he led the way to the neighboring 
saloon, and, entering by a back-door, showed me into 
a room of considerable size, in which a motley crowd 
was gathered about a green-baize-covered table, intent 
upon gambling. No one paid attention to us; al 
though the O Ballyhan, following an impulse which 
he could not resist, paused at the table, and stood on 
tiptoe, to watch the game over the shoulders of the 

"Maybe ye d loike to try yer luck," he whispered. 
" Audaces fortuna juvat, the bould boy s the lucky wan ! 
Or ye moight make use o my supayrior skill an 
expayrience, by permittin me the honor to invist a 
small amount for ye?" 

I shook my head sternly, and motioned him away. 

" Ah, thin, it s a comforthable drop ye d prefer. Ad 
utrumque paratm the O Ballyhan s ready to accom 
modate ye." He withdrew me to a small table in a 


remote corner, and, disappearing for a moment, re 
turned with two glasses full of some variety of alco 
holic "mixed drink," such as the seasoned palates 
of Pactolus required. When I declined to join him, 
he proceeded in due course to perform duty for both 
of us, and, as I found afterwards, at my expense. 
(" D ye think," said the barkeeper forcibly, " that 
we d a trusted that old galoot for half a dozen 
drinks, if he hadn t ordered for a respectable gent? ") 

After all these preliminaries, he began to develop 
his important communication. It was twofold : first, 
he wanted to bribe me; secondly, he tried to black 
mail my clients through me. He had the power to 
destroy the value of the title to the Agamemnon lode, 
and would use it if he were not bought off. To this 
I replied, "Very well. If there is any such trouble 
about the title, I shall advise my clients to have 
nothing to do with it, and of course I shall tell your 
son the ground of my unfavorable decision. " 

At this he began to weep, with whisky and emotion, 
and lapsed into Latin, from which his strictly busi 
ness communication had been comparatively free. 
" Est qucedam jiere voluptas, there s a certain relayf 
in tares," quoth he: "hinc illce lachrymce. But ye 
wouldn t tell the boy, now, nee prece nee pretio, not for 
love nor money. Sure, he d murther me." And, in 
his dismay over this prospect, he abandoned his plan 
of operations, and confessed that his claim to the title 
of the mine consisted merely in the fact that Aga- 


memnon was a minor, and that he was consequently 
himself the real owner. After which I had to help 
him home. 

As I turned away from his door, with his " Serus in 
ccdum redeas, may ye live a thousand yares, an spind 
all yer avenin s in improvin conversation wid the 
O Ballvhan ! " sounding in my ears, I saw through a 
window Miss Mary Carle ton in her own room. She 
sat, pen in hand, with a half-written letter before her. 
Her face was raised, and her eyes were turned upward. 
AVas she thinking of some absent friend, or only hunt 
ing after a suitable adjective? 1 know not; but I 
know that she had a beautiful profile. 



I FELT it my duty, on the following day, to call 
Young Bullion s attention to the possible defect in 
his title to the mine which bore his name. He 
chuckled with a knowing air, and, instead of reply 
ing to the point, at once began to tease me about 
my interview with his father. 

" Th ole man show ye how to play cards ? " 

" No : I didn t choose to learn." 


" Stuck ye for the drinks, hey ? I knowed it when 
I see yer towin him home." 

" For his drinks. Yes : I must confess I was obliged 
to pay for them, or make trouble. But how did you 
happen to see us ? I thought you were all abed, 
except Miss Carleton. There was a light in her 

" Oh ! T was jest prowlin around, n thinkin matters 
over who does she keep a-writin to, n stoppin, n 
cryin ? That s what I want ter know ! " he added 

With sublime virtue I replied that I didn t know, 
and that perhaps it was none of our business. 

44 Ke-retY," said Young Bullion: " it s none o yours. 
But it s my business when she cries, now, you bet! 
She ain t a-goin to cry if Agamemnon O Ballyhan 
can help it." 

" Who is she ? " I inquired. 

"Ain t a man in this camp as know r s. She jest 
come down on the camp out o the sky, s ef she was 
sent. Ye see, when things got livelier, on account o 
the quartz, the boys said we orter start up the school- 
house agin. Some on em was for havin church too, 
right away ; said it looked more like civ l zation : n 
the others said no, they couldn t afford to run a fust- 
class parson, an they warn t goin to have no cheap 
sardine of a parson to bring the gospel into con 
tempt. Nor they couldn t agree on the kind o church, 
to begin with. Some of em up 11 said they was 


Catholics, an some was Methodists, n so on ; n, 
afore the meetin that we had to consider the ques 
tion come to ajourn, there was a dozen religions a-cuss- 
in one another, where nobody knowed, up to that 
time, there was ary one. So they broke up in a row ; 
n the next day a committee come round to me, n 
said the camp was goin to leave it to me, cause my 
head was level, n I hadn t got no prejudices. 

" Well, gentlemen. says I, yer wrong than ye 
hain t allowed for curiosity. I never was inside of a 
church while she was in operation; n I m o good 
mind to give it a trial. But we ll wait n see how 
the mines turn out, n we ll get the school to produ- 
cin reg lar, n at the same time we can prospect 
around, n stake out for a church. Then they had 
another meeting, n lected me chairman o the com 
mittee on education n religion. Th ole man, he 
thought he d got a soft thing, n was going to be 
principal o the academy. But I sot on him. N in 
a day or two along come Miss Carleton, n said she 
was a candidate. Well, we hed a meetin o the com 
mittee, n they asked her fur her references; n she 
give one o her looks, ye know, n said right out, 
straight n clear, Gentlemen, says she, fur reasons 
o my own, I don t propose to give references. I have 
taught school in the States, n I think I am compe 
tent. If you will give me a trial, you will soon find 
out whether I can manage and teach the children. 

"French Joe, he was on the committee, n he ob- 


jected. But somebody said how would he like to 
furnish references, n he shut up quick. N Miss 
Carle ton turned round n spoke about a dozen words 
to him in his own lingo, clear French; n Joe was 
unanimous for her after that, you bet! Well, the 
more they talked, the more they liked her; n at last 
they voted her in. Now there ain t a man in Pacto- 
lus that wouldn t go through fire n water to serve 

"Then, since your school is so well provided for," 
said I, "you are about ready to start a church." 

" I ain t no jedge o that," responded Young Bullion ; 
" but I guess our boys d rather hev things as they 
are. You see, Miss Carleton has half the camp up to 
the schoolhouse every Sunday afternoon to her Bible- 
readin s ; n the boys spend a good part o the fore 
noon fixin up n gettin ready, n that keeps em out 
o mischief. Besides, nobody d want to go to Bible- 
readin tight: so they jist haul off early Saturday 
night, nstead o keepin t up all night n all Sun 
day. N they set round there till dark, talkin an 
thinkin it over; n what she says jest stays by a 
feller. Somebody sort o mentioned the church busi 
ness the other day, 11 all he got was to dry up : what 
was the use o leasin a priest, s long s we had one 
o the Lord s own angels free ? " 

Agamemnon s eloquence on this subject might have 
continued indefinitely ; but I remembered my duty 
to my employers, and reminded him that the serious 


question of title ought to be settled immediately, 
since, without a satisfactory basis in that particular, I 
could not properly spend time and labor in examining 
the mine. 

"Oh!" said he, "that s all right. The ole man 
don t git ahead o me! Why, he was a-copyin the 
papers yesterday ; n when he found that one of em 
was a full deed o his right, title, n interest, he 
thought he d struck it rich. Didn t know he hed any 
right, title, n interest up to that time. N he hain t, 
accordin to the laws o this district. But I jest got a 
p int or two through my agent in San Francisco, so as 
to make things all serene ; n when he said the law 
yers said that wards, minors, n id jits, n so forth, 
couldn t give deeds, says I, Who s an idjit ? Oh ! 
says he, * it s a minor you are. What kind of a 
minor, says I, * if I can t sell a mine ? But James 
he wa n t no slouch. He understood it right up to 
the handle ; n he explained it all, n we got the papers 
fixed before I left." 

" But perhaps your father will refuse to sign, unless 
you pay him some of the money." 

" He won t sign, won t he?" said Young Bullion 
with superb contempt. " He d sign away his ole soul 
for five dollars, or one dollar, or two bits ; n he ll 
sign that thar deed for nothin when I tell him to." 

" You seem to be very confident of your power over 
him. Do you use corporal punishment in the fam 
ily? " I asked jocosely. * 


He took my question quite in earnest. " I know 
what you mean," said he : "we had a talk about that 
in the school committee ; n Miss Carleton said she 
wouldn t hev it. But it s a hefty thing to fall back 
on. As to my family, I never had to lick th old man 
but once ; but I did it up in style that time. He was 
bangin* th ole woman about the room ; n I made up 
my mind if he couldn t set a better example n that, 
I d commence n boss the shebang myself. But I ve 
got a better holt on him than that. Don t you worry: 
he ll sign." 

I suspected afterwards, no matter on what evidence, 
that the son had saved the father from either lynch 
ing or jail by paying some claim, which, if pressed, 
would have convicted the old scamp of felony ; and 
that he now held in terrorem over the culprit s head, 
for purposes of reform, the proofs of the crime. 
What a strange feeling he must have entertained 
towards a father whom he could make r,uch sacrifices 
to save, and then govern by a mixture of thrashing 
and blackmail ! Young Bullion s code of ethics was 
certainly confused. He seemed to have a sense that 
the family was a burden laid on him by fate, to be 
borne without complaining, and a fierce determina 
tion, that, though it was a burden, it should cease to 
be a disgrace. 

My examination of the mine and neighborhood 
was prolonged through that week and the next. I 
sent off very early, however, my preliminary report 


and a box of samples by express, with a letter to my 
clients, saying that I would await further advices, and 
watch the developments of the work then going on. 
This was no doubt wdse : but I was conscious that 
circumstances made it also pleasant ; for, as the days 
went on, I became, in every respect except her own^ 
personal history, very well acquainted with Miss Carle- 
ton. We had many subjects of conversation which 
she could not discuss with the rude inhabitants of 
Pactolus. She possessed the great charm of direct 
ness and simplicity. Perfectly aware of the worship 
ing regard of her constituency, she spoke of it as 
openly, and yet with as little vanity (or affected mod 
esty, which is the same thing), as if it were another 
person, and not herself, that \vas concerned. " It is a 
great pleasure," she said one day, "to be really a 
superior being/ and to go down to help and lift such 
thankful souls as these. There is a sort of intoxica 
tion about it for a young w T oman of twenty-one." 

" Do you never feel a longing for some compan 
ionship more congenial, more like what you have 
been accustomed to ? " 

"I did; and I am grateful to you for taking so 
much interest in my work, giving me such intelligent 

I felt a little guilty at this ; for my interest in the 
work was certainly subordinate to my interest in 
the woman. Our acquaintance, however, remained on 
the same footing as at first. I wondered why I could 


not even assume the fraternal tone. When she was 
sad, as I often fancied she was, why did she so effec 
tively evade sympathy, saying, " Now I am tired and 
melancholy, don t mourn with me, but make me 
laugh ? " And why 

Well, thus I drifted, until it was high time for me 
to stop wondering over her position, and take an 
observation as to my own. But everybody knows 
that it may be high time for some duty, and yet one 
may take no note of the time until some signal 
sounds the hour. At last the clock struck for me. 

On the second Saturday a letter arrived from my 
clients, advising me that the results of all assays had 
been favorable beyond my estimates, and that, if my 
own judgment continued to approve the purchase, 
they would close the bargain at once. I was instruct 
ed to see that the papers were made out in due form, 
and Mr. O Ballyhan could then express them to his 
agent in San Francisco, who could deliver them, and 
receive the money. 

I went at once to Young Bullion, half expecting 
that this good news would startle him out of his 
preternatural maturity. It would have been a relief 
to hear him whoop with joy, or see him stand on his 
head. But he turned pale, and staggered as if he had 
been shot. 

" It s most too much for me," he said ; " not the 
money, but" 

With an effort that gave me a higher conception 


than ever of his manly self-control, he turned hastily 
to the table-drawer, and produced the papers of 
title. They were complete in every particular, the 
certificate of original location, the deeds of the co- 
locators to Agamemnon Atrides O Ballyhan, the com 
plete and absolute quit-claim of Miles O Ballyhan 
and Leonora his wife, to the said Agamemnon, all 
duly acknowledged and indorsed by the proper officer, 
as recorded in the proper " Liber." The young man 
had evidently not been idle. He must have ridden 
to the county-seat, many miles away, to secure these 
last, and in those days somewhat unusual, evidences 
of regularity. The papers were all in the same 
handwriting, an elaborate, flourishing script, which 
he said was the old man s. Finally he showed me 
another deed, transferring the title in blank, and not 
yet signed. " When I put my name to that," said 
he, "the thing s drove in n clinched. I left this one 
blank ; because, if your folks didn t buy, I might want 
to use it for some one else." 

"I find every thing in order," I replied. "You 
have only to fill up and execute this final deed, and 
send it to your agent." 

Then I walked out, and up into the woods, and medi 
tated for a long time upon non-professional matters, 
without coming to any conclusion. 

Should I seek a final interview with Miss Carleton ? 
and, if so, what should I say to her? I was not so 
really "in love" as to deliberately intend to offer my- 


self to her without knowing any thing of her history; 
yet I felt that a farewell talk might lead rne to just 
that rash act, unless I definitely decided beforehand 
what should be its nature. 

My reflections were suddenly interrupted by the 
appearance of the lady herself. Since it was Sat 
urday afternoon, and therefore holiday, she \vas 
evidently intending to use her freedom for a walk. 
Ordinarily I would have hastened to join her, with 
a pleasant impression that my company was not un 
welcome. This time, however, I hesitated; because 
I had not yet finished my mental debate, and was 
in a perilous state of impressible uncertainty. I re 
mained sitting a little distance from the path, in the 
expectation that she would pass by without seeing 
me ; then, I thought, I would hasten to make up my 
mind, and on her return I could casually meet her, 
prepared to speak as the result of my reflection might 
dictate. I ought to add that prudence would have 
had, in any case, nothing to say if I had been able to 
see any signs of a more than friendly interest on her 
part; but I could not honestly say to myself that 
any such sign had been discernible hitherto. I could 
not doubt that a declaration of any special interest on 
my part would be a great surprise to her ; and really, 
I was not myself prepared to make it, unless hurried 
over the edge of deliberation by some sudden im 

She neither saw me nor passed me : on the con- 


trary, she stepped aside from the path, and seating 
herself on a fallen tree a few yards in front of me, 
and with her back to me, read and re-read a letter ; 
then, looking steadfastly down over the town, and 
out through the gulch, toward the foot-hills and the 
valley, she seemed to be weeping. Which would be 
more embarrassing? to make my presence known, 
or to remain an involuntary witness of her suffering? 
I had just resolved to go forward and speak to her 
any words that would comfort her when a new inci 
dent checked my purpose. Headlong up the path 
came Mr. Agamemnon Atrides O Ballyhan. There 
was no indecision about his manner. He came, to 
use a homely comparison, "as if he had been sent 



A MOMENT more, and he stood before Miss Carleton. 
" I saw ye goin up the hill," he said breathlessly, 
" n I thought I d catch yer. The Agamemnon s sold, 
Miss Mary : she s sold ! " 

With ready sympathy, putting aside her own trouble, 
she replied, " How glad I am ! Now what will you 
do? " 


" That s what what I was a-goin to ask y about. 
Ye see, I s pose th ole man n Mother ought to be 
fixed somehow ; ought to be took care of, I mean. 
Not to have any money: they can t take care o 
money. Ye see, he d spend it in cards n whisk} , 
n she d spend it in novels and opium. Gets opium 
on the sly from the Chinamen. Now, I mean to ap- 
pint Cripple Dan gardeen for them two. He ll never 
do no more work since the bank caved in on him ; but 
he is smart enough to watch ? em, n not be took in by 
any o their tricks. He can play cards with th ole 
man to keep him out o gamblin , n he can buy nov 
els as fast as Mother can swaller em. Shouldn t 
wonder if he could ring in some o th old ones on 
her once in a while, by changin the covers. But 
whisky n opium they must be kep out." 

"A very practical arrangement, I should say. 
But what are you going to do? " 

At this simple question Young Bullion became 
much embarrassed. " Do you," said he, " Miss Mary 
would you is seventy-five thousand dollars 
enough, do you think, to run a reg lar gentleman s 
house ? " 

She sighed involuntarily. " It is enough to main 
tain a happy home with every comfort and luxury. 
There are many refined gentlemen who bring up 
their families in content on far less money than the 
income of that sum." 

" Well, but Miss Mary would it be enough for 
you f " 


She started in astonishment. " For me ? What do 
you mean ? " 

" I mean," replied the young man, conquering his 
timidity, and speaking with a simple dignity that 
made him handsome, "I mean that you are the one 
that made me want to be a gentleman, n I can t be 
a gentleman unless you help me ; n I love the ground 
you tread on, Miss Mary. If you ll be my wife, you 
shall never work, or cry, or be sorry again." 

There was a moment of painful silence. Then she 
said, "I did not dream of this. I am so much older 
than you, you know." 

" You are not so very much older," he pleaded. 
"That is not what troubled me. But you are so 
much better n wiser, that s what s the matter with 
you ! I wouldn t a dared to speak to ye ; but I 
knowed ye was in trouble. N now the Agamem 
non s sold, n what s it all good for, f I can t give it 
to you ? " 

" My dear friend," she answered slowly, but with 
that simple frankness which belonged to her, " I have 
been I am in trouble ; but I can not take your 
help. You must forget, as I will forget, all that you 
have said, but not the kindness that prompted it, nor 
the gratitude with which I refuse it." 

Agamemnon looked keenly at her, with the air of 
one who still pursued a fixed purpose. The refusal 
of his offer did not seem to be a conclusive defeat to 
his mind. 


" Ye couldn t change yer mind ? " he asked reflec 


" Not never ? Not if I was older n I be ? " 

" Never. You must not think of it." 

u Then ye re married to some other feller! " said 
Agamemnon, with a sad triumph. "Now, Miss 
Mary, it ain t no business o mine, I know; but ye d 
better tell me, anyhow. Wouldn t ifc sort o quiet my 
mind, n do me good, hey ? " 

This subtle appeal to her benevolence accomplished 
what no inquisitive stratagem could have compassed. 
After a slight hesitation she said, " There is not much 
to tell, and it is not very important that I should 
keep it secret, only I have preferred to do so ; and I 
trust you to help me in that. Yes, I am married; and 
my dear husband is slowly recovering at at a place 
on the San Joaquin, from a long, wasting fever, I 
left him when he was pronounced out of danger, and 
I have seen him but once since then. It was the 
other day, when I took the journey by stage from 
which I returned on the same coach with you. It is 
hard to be parted from him. 

" Now, don t ye cry again, Miss Mary. It ain t none 
o my business, ye know ; but it would sort o settle 
my mind he s good to ye, ain t he ? Ye didn t go 
for to leave him cause he wouldn t let ye boss the 
ranch ? " 

- The ranch V " she replied sadly. " I left him be- 


cause, after his long illness, we were so poor that we 
were in danger of losing our pretty ranch altogether, 
and of starving perhaps, unless one of us could get 
work. That one was I ; and the work I understand 
best is teaching." 

" You bet ! " assented Young Bullion with enthusi 
asm. " But jest to ease iny mind completely, ye 
know why didn t you tell somebody afore? This 
camp would a raised yer salary, n fetched yer hus 
band up here, n built ye a shebang, n look here, 
what line o business is he in ? " 

"He is a minister." 

" Whoop la ! " shouted Young Bullion : " that s our 
lay exactly. There s a fust-class vacancy right here, 
n I ll no, T guess I couldn t quite stand it, hevin 
him around : that s what s the matter with me ! But 
why didn t you tell us afore this this trouble was 
made? We d a voted him n you in unanimous. 
Anybody that s a good nough husband fer you s a 
good nough minister fer us." 

" I wish I had told you all at the beginning," said 
she ; " but, perhaps, if I had done so, you would have 
declined my services altogether. I heard about your 
dispute over a minister, and I feared to let you know 
I was a minister s wife. It was so important, so very 
important to me then, to get a place immediately." 

Young Bullion made no reply. If what he had 
heard had not " eased his mind," it had at least given 
him much to think about. The silence which ensued 


recalled me to a sense of ray embarrassing position as 
a listener ; and, with sudden presence of mind, I 
stepped forward. 

"You must pardon me, my friends," I said, "that 
I have overheard your conversation. Nothing that 
you have said shall be repeated. But every word has 
deepened my respect for both of you. If I can in any 
way be of service to you, Mrs. Mrs. Mary, you 
have only to command me as a faithful friend." 
Then I lifted my cap, and retired in as good order as 
a fellow could under the circumstances. 

I had gone but a few steps when Young Bullion 
overtook me. That boy s penetration was most an 
noying at times, and this w r as one of the times. 

" Goin to play fer the school-teacher yerself, wa n t 
ye, if I hedn t got the call fust?" was his dreadful 
greeting. u Well, tain t no use fer nary one of us. 
You jest go n thank the Lord y ever knowed her, n 
don t you whine cause she s picked out a better man. 
No cryin over spilt milk. That s me ! " And he 
straightened himself until his short stature visibly 

I got rid of Young Bullion as soon as practicable, 
and went to the hotel in a dazed condition, as if I 
had fallen from the top of the mountain, and rolled 
down the gulch. When one has seriously weighed a 
question like that which had occupied my thoughts 
that afternoon, it is inevitably startling to find that it 
was a matter wholly beyond question all the time. I 


wanted to think it over. But I did not succeed in 
thinking it over on the porch after supper: so I 
went to bed to meditate there ; and finally I went to 
sleep, my last reflection being, that I would review the 
whole matter on the morrow, after which I would pay 
the school-teacher a cordial, friendly farewell call. 

But the morrow brought its own topics for surprise 
and reflection. At early dawn I was waked by a 
hand on my shoulder, and, turning sleepily in bed, 
met the energetic look of Agamemnon Atrides O Bal- 
lyhan. He, at least, had thought over his situation, 
and made his decision. 

" Sorry to h ist ye so early," said he ; " but I m off. 
Now, don t ye go fer to ask no questions, but tend to 
business. Here s them papers : they re all right, n 
you ll find my directions along with em. I m off. 
Take care o yerself, ole boy." And he was gone. 

I opened the package he had left on rny bed. It 
contained all the papers I had previously inspected. 
The final deed, however, had been filled up and exe 
cuted ; and I was not a little surprised to find my 
own name inserted as the new owner of the Agamem 
non. Enclosed in the deed, however, was a document 
in a cramped schoolboy hand which threw full light 
on the transaction. It ran as follows : 

" This is my Will But I aint ded no nor goin to be but 
I am as good as ded wich it is All the Same line gon over 
the Range the mine belongs to miss mary and u give her 
the inunny she kuos about Criple dann and the olrnan 


and mother you pay my agent 1 tliousn Dolars and doan 
take nothin for yureself yure foaks pays u with the munny 
i antid up i truss u becaus u likt miss mary too. 


Why should I detain the reader with an account of 
what followed V It was not easy for me to execute 
the charge confided to me. The lady at first utterly 
refused to accept the strange legacy of which I was 
trustee. But I succeeded in persuading her to take 
the money, and carry out Agamemnon s wishes until 
he should be found, an event which I felt sure he 
would not permit to happen. " Get your husband to 
come here and live," I said. u If the boy ever means 
to be seen again, it is to this place he will come ; and 
it is here, in the good work you have begun, of which 
his own awakened manhood was one of the first- 
fruits, that you should expend the income of his 

Cripple Dan, it turned out, had been already sound 
ed as to his willingness to take charge of the two way 
ward O Ballyhans on a handsome allowance for the 
three. He assumed the position at once, and smashed 
two hidden bottles for the O Ballyhan the first day. 
That disconsolate old toper supposed the orders for 
this vandalism proceeded from the school-teacher. 
" Dux fcemina factij it s a woman is in it: cedant arma 
toyce, the glory o the O Ballyhans is swipt away be a 
petticoat," was his lament. But he submitted to be 
made comfortable, and seemed none the worse for his 
enforced sobriety. 




THUS I left them all, and closed a chapter in my 
own life which I expected never to re-open. But 
time brings about unexpected coincidences; and what 
should it bring to me, the ether day, ten years after 
the even Is narrated in this story, but a visit from Aga 
memnon Atrides O Ballyhan ? a prosperous, manly 
fellow as one would wish to see, with stylish clothes 
and a fine mustache. And on his arm could I be 
lieve my eyes ? Was it the school-teacher, become as 
much younger as Agamemnon had grown, older ? 

"Mrs. O Ballyhan," said he proudly, "Miss Mary s 
sister. You and I didn t feel very happy that day, 
you know; but now I m glad I waited." The latter 
remark was fortunately an aside, so that Mrs. O Bal 
lyhan did not hear it. 

. "You bet!" I answered, clothing due felicitation 
in what I thought would be congenial style. But 
1 was mistaken as to the style. Agamemnon had 
" swore off " from slang so far as human nature would 
permit. Only now and then, as he confessed, "con 
versation got the better of him." 

During the short half-hour that the happy pair sat 
in my office, my old friend gave me an outline of his 


career from the day when we had parted. It would 
make another story by itself, and I am sorry that it 
must be condensed in a few lines. 

After striking it rich " again, over the Range in 
Nevada, and accumulating from several lucky hits a 
fortune at least double that which he had given away, 
he had returned to Pactolus six years from the day of 
his disappearance. 

" It took me about that time," said he, "to get over 
things. But then I couldn t rest till I had seen the 
old place, and so I came back.. The old folks were 
both dead best thing for em. But there was the 
minister and his wife just about worshiped by every 
body ; and there was an Agamemnon Academy, and 
an Agamemnon Free Library, and so on, all built 
with the interest of my money. You d better believe 
everybody was astonished to see me. All thought [ 
was dead, sure, except Miss Mary : she stuck to it 
I would come back. Even when they found some 
body s bones over in the sage-brush beyond the sum 
mit, and had a funeral on em, she wouldn t let em 
call my name at the funeral, nor put it on the tomb 

" Well, they wanted me to take back my capital. 
But I told em I d got enough ; and, at any rate, there 
wasn t any hurry. I d stay round a while, and con 
sider. So, after I had considered a little, I went to 
Miss Mary and the parson, and says I, What 1 want 
is to go to school. I feel pretty old; but I guess I 


ain t too old to learn. You see, my Susy here, she 
was assistant teacher in the academy, and I thought 
she could teacli me if anybody could. But they said 
I was too big to go and sit on the benches in the 
academy. Susy said she couldn t think of trying to 
manage a scholar twenty-two years old: that was so 
very old, a whole year older than she was! So I 
had to take up with the minister s offer to give me 
private instruction. And I got my pay, too, before 
long; for the minister said I got ahead so fast that I 
had better join the reading-class. That meant to 
come every other day and read and talk over books 
with him and his wife and Susy. 

"It was a good while before I made up to Susy. 
Had a good lesson once, you know and, besides, 
I had got more bashful. The more I learned, the 
more 1 found I didn t know ; and I felt so ugly and 
clumsy, and inferior every way, it didn t seem as if a 
lady like her would care for me unless it was by 
reason of the two hundred thousand dollars. But 
Susy didn t know about that, and she wouldn t have 
minded it a mite if she had. Fact is, she thought a 
good deal better of me than I deserved all the time ; 
for her folks had been cracking me up for years and 
years, and all the Academy Commencements and the 
Annual Reports had a lot in em about the * munifi 
cent founder and the generous benefactor, and I 
don t know what all; and so, when I turned up alive 
at last, she was prepared to believe I w r as better than 


I looked. Anyhow, I got to be like one of the fam 
ily ; and Susy was as good as she could be, and took 
no end of pains with me, to help me put on a little 
style, and talk the correct thing, and so on. And one 
day she was showing me how to hold yarn for her to 
wind; and says I, sitting there as meek as a lamb, 
4 Seems to me, if you couldn t manage a big boy of 
twenty-two, you ve somehow got the knack of mana 
ging him now he s nigh twenty-four. 

" Well, one thing led to another ; and that skein 
of yarn got so tangled (because I forgot to lay it 
down), that Susy said it should never be unraveled. 
She keeps it as a curiosity. 

" The next morning I went to the parson, and says 
I, Now let s talk business. I ll take that hundred 
thousand back, just to please you; though I ve got 
twice as much, and I don t want it. He said, i All 
right ; but he looked a little cast down too. Par 
sons are human. 

"* Now, says I, it s mine ; and I m going to make 
another business proposition. You marry Susy and 
me, and I ll give you, say, a hundred thousand dollars 
as a wedding-fee. 

" * Oho ! says he. * Well, my boy ; she s worth it. 
You ve made a good bargain, and so have I. 

" That was two years ago ; and Susy and I have 
just been the happy pair you read about, ever since. 
She s been going right ahead with my education, and 
got about as much polish on me, I guess, as the grain 


will bear. You can t make mahogany out o red 
wood, if you rub it for ever. So the other day I 
made a little turn in Agamemnon stock, those 
blamed fools in California Street thought the mine 
was played out. when they had a new body of first- 
class ore right under their noses, and I asked Susy 
if she didn t think a little foreign travel was about 
the thing to finish off with. She wasn t long saying 
yes to that ; and here we are, bound for everywhere. 
I expect we ll go round the world before we stop." 

We had a most friendly and familiar chat; and the 
last I heard of them was as they were departing in 
merry mood together, and the sweet voice of Mrs. 
O Ballyhan said, " He offered to get the Legislature to 
change it; but I said No. I like him just as he is, 
name and all Agamemnon Atrides O Ballyhan." 

She laughed a musical laugh of mingled mirth and 
pride as she added, glancing fondly at her husband, 
44 But I call him * my dear, for short." 




|T was a bright., still day, after the first hard 
frost. The chestnuts were dropping in the 
woods; and Squire Hawkins, one of the 
selectmen of the town of Hucklebury, was 
burning brush on his side-hill ten-acre-lot. The 
squire had got through with the heavy work, and had 
nothing to do but to watch the fire while he tinkered 
here and there at the fence. So, when Deacon Pea- 
body s white horse, pulling a shay with the deacon 
in it, came in sight on the hill-road, the squire had 
no reason to deny himself the expectation of a com 
fortable and leisurely clr >: From where he stood, 
he could see the turnpike tuat came from the corners 
arid went through the valley, past the red school- 
house, and past Westcott s sawmill, to Hucklebury 


Center and South Ilucklebury, and so on to larger 
places. And when he saw the deacon s shay turn 
from the pike and begin to ascend the hill-road, he 
knew that in about fifteen minutes the deacon would 
be at hand. That gave him time to fix up one more 
length of fence, and to fold his arms sociably on the 
top-rail, ready for an. interview. The deacon s horse 
stopped opposite the squire, without needing any hint 
from his driver. He knew the custom of the coun 
try, and was not averse to it, particularly when the 
opportunity to observe it occurred on a convenient, 
level spot, at the end of a steep pull. 

"Wai, Deacon," said the squire heartily, "I m glad 
to see ye out agin. We ve kind o missed ye at 
meetin , n everywhere else too, for that matter. The 
parson, he says he s all lost o Sundays thout you to 
look at : dunno whether he s been sufficiently explicit 
on a tough pint o doctrine, or not. You took it most 
too hard, Deacon. Grief is nateral, of course, to a 
reasonable extent; but Mis Peabody had been a- 
f ailiu so long, ye know ; and it was a gret marcy 
she passed away comfortable in body an mind; an , 
on the hull, there s much to be thankful for. I 
expect it is kind o lonesome, now she s gone ; " and 
the squire paused, W 7 ith the air of one who had 
administered consolation and rebuke in wise propor 

Deacon Phineas Peabody took no offense where 
none was meant. He had nursed his invalid wife 


through her long illness, an old-fashioned, slow 
consumption, and he had shut himself up for a 
month after her death, in a silent sorrow too deep 
for words ; but now he had braced himself again for 
the duties of life, and he quite assented to the rough 
but well-meant observations of his friend. 

" Yes," said the deacon meditatively, " she lasted a 
good while ; *n I dunno s I ever quite giv up hopin 
about her. She d git a little better some weeks, n 
then agin a little wuss ; n she was allers lookin on 
the dark side herself, so / sort o got in the way o 
s posin mebbe she wa n t so bad s she thought for. 
Them last drops that her sister Mahaly sent up from 
Boston seemed to take right hold of her cough. But 
it wa n t no use : it was ordained. Cynthy w r as right, 
after all. I s pose the Lord kind o prepared her for 
what was comin ." 

"There s Susan," said the squire. "She must be 
gret comfort to ye. She s a good gal, Susan is. I ve 
follered her ever sence she was a little bit of a thing, 
comin over to our house after maple-sugar. I used 
to think young Jotham Baker and she would make a 
match on t; but, bless you! these young folks will 
hev their own idees, and they re too sharp for us old 
fellows to find em out. I tell ye, I was jest up-an - 
down mortified when Jotham carne to me, an told me 
he was engaged to Westcott s darter Nancy. Not 
but she was a nice gal, n I had nothin agin the 
match, except that old Westcott was a Methodist n 


a Democrat, n it did Seem kind o mean to hold Nancy 
responsible for that. But I thought, after all his 
goin s on with Susan, it wasn t jest exactly right for 
him to go off arter another one ; n I told him so. 
Says I, Jotham, my boy, there ain t no objection to 
your takin a wife, in the fear o the Lord, wherever 
you find her, amongst the Moabites, or the Hittites, 
or the Methodists, or the Democrats ; but I don t like 
this philanderin at the same time with Susan Pea- 
bedy. Jotham, he bust out a-larnn , n says he, 
Why, Susan has know d all about it ever sence it 
began. Thet s what I talk about to Susan, says he. 
Well, says I, it s none o my business, you know, 
Jotham: you hevn t got to answer to me for your 
doin s ; but I d like to know how long ago it be 

" Wai, he was ready enough to talk about it. He d 
a talked all day if I d a let him. You see, I was 
an old friend of his fam ly, n Widder Baker sot a 
good deal by my advice; n Jotham, he was like 
a son to me. So he told me he had been acquainted 
with Nancy Westcott ever sence the quiltin down to 
W^estcott s, jest afore last year s donation-party. Do 
tell ! says I, tol ble scornful ; n you ve know d 
Susan Peabody all your life. You must excuse me 
for sayin of it, young man ; but Susan is wuth a 
dozen of her. 

" Susan is the best girl that ever lived, says he, 
* exceptin Nancy ; but that s a very different matter. 


I tell ye, Susan wouldn t loolt at me, onless as a 
friend. So oft he went, n that s a most the last 
time I see him. He sailed for the East Injees that 
fall, n now it s about two year, n he hain t been 
heerd from. I ve hed it on my mind many a time to 
tell ye about that talk ; cause, says I to myself, per 
haps the deacon hed the same idee as I did, n he 
might think strange on it that Jotham Baker got 
engaged, afore he sailed, to Xancy Westcott, arter he d 
been pay in attentions to Susan Peabody. " 

The deacon had listened to the squire s voluble 
story in an absent-minded way, paying, in truth, very 
little attention to it. lie had never quite realized 
that his little Susan had come to bo a young woman. 
To him she was a dutiful and comely daughter, 
deeply but not demonstratively loved, a brisk house 
keeper, a skillful nurse to her invalid mother, a 
melodious singer in the choir, and a great favorite 
with the Widow Baker. Since his wife s death, he 
had thought more about Susan ; and now the squire s 
allusion to her aroused a host of feelings and remi 
niscences, in which the love-affairs of Jotham Baker 
had not the remotest share. 

u Exactly," said the deacon, not very exactly, so 
far as a logical reply was concerned. c; Susan s a 
good darter, n a middlin manager. She used to 
be a bright, heal thy- look in gal; but I think it lias 
wore on her, tendin to her ma. She ain t so spry as 
she was, n the color is kind o faded out of her 


cheeks. I m af eared she s a-goin to be delicate. 
Fact is, I was jest ridin over to Widder Baker s to 
talk to her about Susan. I thought mebbe she d fix 
her up suthin to take, that d do her good, n s j t her 
up. Susan mopes n reads too much ; though I dunno 
s she slights her housekeepin any. But she s a gret 
hand for books takes after her ma. But she won t 
never be sech a woman as her ma was. Miss Baker 
was a gret friend o my Cynthy " 

The deacon s simple admiration of his deceased 
wife would have been amusing, if it had not been 
pathetic. Probably nobody else would have extolled 
the intellect of the late Mrs. Peabody ; and certainly 
nobody would have dreamed of pronouncing Susan 
her inferior, Susan, who talked on terms of equality 
with the parson and the doctor and the schoolmaster, 
and who had even written poetry which had been pub 
lished with editorial commendation in " The Adver 
tiser/ But to the patient and apparently prosaic 
deacon, there never had come an end of the romantic 
admiration with which he had in his youth regarded 
his Cynthia. Indeed, his present visit to the Widow 
Baker, undertaken on the pretext of talking about 
Susan, was really inspired by the longing to talk 
about his wife with one who had known and loved 




GOIN over to Widder Baker s, be ye? " answered 
the squire. " Xpect ye hain t heerd the news. Law 
yer Marigold, over to the Center, has foreclosed on 
that Baker mortgage ; n it s likely Widder Baker ll 
be turned out o house n home. I was over to the 
Center yesterday to see what could be done about it. 
Marigold, he was reasonable enough ; didn t want 
nothin but his money, an he s waited for that this 
ten year, not wishin to disturb the fam ly. Ye see, 
the kernel borrowed the money. Kernel Baker was 
a well-meanin man ; but all his geese was swans, an 
he was shif less besides, allers a-contrivin suthin, 
or in ven tin* suthin, n never reelly amountin to 
nothin . There was that patriotic warfle-iron o 
liis n, in the shape of the American eagle. He 
was sure he had got a fortin in that. Fact is, I 
thought it was a good idee myself, men-folks don t 
know much about cookin , ye see, an I let him 
have a hundred dollars just to start the thing. AVall, 
he brought the very fust one down to our house, n 
made a present on t to my wife ; n, the minit she sot 
eyes on it, she took the sense o the thing, and was 
sartin it wouldn t work. The idee was good enough 


for any thing bat a warfle-iron ; but ye couldn t make 
a warfle on it, to save your life. When the beak n 
the thunderbolts was done to a crips, the innards was 
most raw ! Now that was Kernel Baker, overdone 
in one spot, n underdone in another spot, s long s he 

"Wai, s I was sayin , Marigold let him have two 
thousand dollars on his farm. The land -ain t worth 
the money, you know, not even if you throw in the 
house and barn. But the kernel he had found a 
gold-mine up in the rocks on top o the hill; n sure 
enough he did show r some gold that he got out on t, 
n I guess that sort o stirred old Marigold s blood. 
Ye know thct hole the kernel s cow fell into n broke 
her neck? Wai, thet s the mine. They never could 
make it pay; n the kernel he pottered around about 
it, washin an malgamatin , an the Lord knows what, 
till he got the rheumatiz, n salivated himself with 
the quicksilver, n kind o run down an died. Then 
Eliakim started off out West to seek his fortin ; an 
Marigold promised him to wait five years, so s to 
give him a chance to redeem the old place. It w an t 
wuth the money; but folks will get their hearts sot 
on the place they was born in, if it s too poor for a 
chicken-paster. Thet s nateral. But, afore the five 
years was up, Eliakim he d took a fever out there in 
Illinois, n died, n left nothiiv. So there was nobody 
but the widder n Jotham. I tell ye, Deacon it como 
mighty hard on Jotham to make up his mind to go 


away n leave his mother. He tried every way to git 
a livin out o the farm ; but all he could do he couldn t 
niore n make both ends meet, n hard scratchin at 
thet, teachin school in the winter, n workin at 
Westcott s sawmill, besides all the farm-work n 
chores at home. Then come that courtin business 
with Xancy ; n AVestcott didn t half like it. But the 
gal was headstrong, n there was nothin to be said 
agin Jotham, only he was poor. But Westcott he had 
been poor himself, n he didn t stand so much on thet; 
only he said the young folks must wait. Fact is, 
Jotham was too proud to settle down onto a father- 
in-law, partic ly with his mother. So he started off 
to sea. Advised him to go myself. He couldn t do 
so well any other way. It was a good chance, super 
cargo I b lieve they called it, with middlin fair pay, 
11 the priv lege o speculatin a little on his own hook. 
An Lawyer Marigold he said he d wait another year 
to see what d come of it. I clunno how much you ve 
heerd o this afore, Deacon : what with Miss Peabody 
bein so thick with Widder Baker, nd your Susan 
sech good friends with Jotham, it s more n likely you 
kep the run o the whole thing. But what I m com- 
in to ll be news to ye. About a week ago I see in 
The Advertiser that Jotham s ship had been giv up 
for lost, n the insurance company lied paid the insur 
ance on her. That s a purty sartin sign, ye know. 
When one o them companies pays up, it must be a 
tol ble clear case. 


"So, as I was savin , I hitched up yesterday, n 
drove over to the Center, to see Lawyer Marigold 
about it. Says I, There s the Widow Baker without 
kith or kin, n how she ll git along s more n I can 
see. Jotharn left her his winter s arnin s ; n the farm 
has jest about kep her in vittles. One o my men 
worked ikon shares. But he give her all it perduced ; 
n I made it all right with him. Iwaii t goin to hev 
Jotham come back, n find we d let the old lady suf 
fer. However, says I, thet s no way to get along. 

" * Won t Westcott do nothin ? says Marigold. 

" Westcott s not a bad man, says I, if he is cluss. 
But I don t think the widow d take any help from him. 
Ye see, she knows it was all along o Nancy that her 
boy went off, n she takes it hard that Nancy hain t 
been to see her. Gals is gals, n I don t want to jedge 
em ; but the fact is, Nancy never did care quite so 
much for Jotham as she made out to. N about a year 
arter he was gone, that smart young feller from Boston 
came a-cuttin round, n she was mightily taken with 
him. They say there wa n t no reg lar engagement 
between her an Jotham : the old man wouldn t hear 
on t. So the long an short on t is, they re goin to be 
married day before Christmas, n she s goin to live in 
Boston, n keep her own kerridge. No wonder she 
was a little shy o the widder ! " 

The deacon listened to the squire s long story, and 
gently poked oft with his whip the flies that settled 
on the white horse. His kind heart was beginning to 


stir within him, and to take an interest in the trials 
and sorrows of other people. " Seems to me," said 
the deacon, "I heu heerd a good deal o this afore; 
but I cal late I ve ben too much occupied with my 
own troubles. I sort o let it go through my ears with 
out stoppin . I do remember Susan lettin out the 
other day about Nancy Westcott, an sayin it was a 
shame she was goin to git married; but I jest put it 
down as gals talk. Wai, what did Lawyer Marigold 
say? " 

" He said he hadn t no idee o turnin . the Widow 
Baker out o house an home at her age; but ho didn t 
see no good o leavin on her there when she couldn t 
git her livin . lie guessed he d hev to foreclose so s 
to get a clear title to the farm, ef it ever should be 
worth any thing. Somebody d hev to pay taxes, n 
keep up the fences, an so on. When the branch rail 
road come in to Hucklebury, the land might be 
wanted. It was a good place for a tunnel, anyhow. 
But he was ready to give a bond, that ef Widder 
Baker, or any other Baker, wanted the place back 
agin, they should have it for what it cost him. 

" * Wai, says I, Mr. Marigold, thet s fair n square. 
As for the widder, I don t see but she ll hev to come 
on the town. " 

When Deacon Peabody heard that, he winced a 
little; but on second thought he said reflectively, 
"Wai, it ain t a disgrace, so far as I know, for a 
good woman to be took care of by her neighbors, 


when she s brought up her family well, 11 lost em all, 
an got beyond takin* care of herself." 

"Jest so," replied the squire. "I thought I d go 
over an* break it to her; but 1 didn t quite like to do 
it, pavtic ly now, with this news about Jotham s ship 
bein lost, an the boy drowned. An I had an idee 
that there wan t no need o tellin her the hull on t. 
We might auction off her board, accordin to law ; V 
then the lowest bidder could jest step over, n invite 
her to stay with him." 

The deacon suddenly broke off the conversation. 
" I must be gittin on," said he, "and addressed the 
white horse with a sudden " G dap ! " that surprised 
that venerable animal into a trot up hill. A listener 
unacquainted with the characters of these worthy 
people would have been shocked to hear a conversa 
tion which showed at least some faculty of sympathy 
and respect for the Widow Baker terminate with the 
cold-blooded proposition to put her up at auction as a 
pauper, and let her go to the citizen who would give 
her board and lodging for the smallest sum. Yet 
such a judgment would have been unjust. Under 
plain words and ways, both the squire and the deacon 
meant nothing but kindness. Either of them was 
ready to take the widow into his own home, and 
make her old age comfortable. Neither would have 
exacted payment from her; but that was no reason 
why the town shouldn t pay something for keeping 
her. Indeed, strange as it may appear, not only 


these two men, but many another substantial citizen, 
would have argued that whoever, not being a rela 
tive, and so bound to support her, should undertake 
her maintenance, ought, as a matter of right to his 
neighbors, to accept from the common treasury some 
payment for his pains. It was the only way in which 
all could contribute. This way of looking at the 
matter would not long have survived any considera 
ble increase in the number of the poor. But Huckle- 
bury had hardly any paupers. A blind man, a para 
lytic, and one or two old people who had, like Widow 
Baker, outlived their relations and means of subsist 
ence, comprised the entire list. Every year the 
selectmen put them up at auction, after town-meet 
ing; and on this small scale, and among such simple 
and kind-hearted folks, the plan worked well. 

The deacon, softened by his own recent grief, and 
touched with the remembrance of the relations be 
tween his lost Cynthy and the Widow Baker, had 
made up his mind at once and irrevocably to give 
the latter a home in his own household. He didn t 
mean to wait for the auction even. He would take 
her in, if he had to pay her whole support himself. 
But, of course, he would bid, like other people; and 
no false delicacy would prevent him from accepting 
the stipend which the selectmen were bound to pay. 




WIDOW BAKER was in her sitting-room alone. It 
was not a handsome apartment : indeed, it had no 
element of beauty except that spotless neatness which 
is the sole adornment within the reach of poor folks. 
People used to say, " Widder Baker s settin -room s 
as clean s a June sky," and the expression carried a 
sens t e of thoroughness with it \vhich was well deserved. 
One was sure that under the clean rag-carpet there 
was an unstained floor, that the shining brass candle 
sticks on the mantelpiece hid no lurking windrows 
of dust, that under the settee, and behind the doors, 
and aw ays on the top- shelf of the dresser, a bride 
might have rubbed the finger of her white kid glove 
without sullying its purity. Just so unspotted of the 
world seemed Widow Baker herself as she sat in her 
high-backed rocking-ch-air, with her snowy cap, and 
her kerchief crossed on her breast, the great Bible 
open on her knee, and lying on its ample page her 
hands, clasped, and holding her silver-rimmed specta 
cles. It could not be a mere coincidence that the 
folded hands covered the words, " Though He slay me, 
yet will I trust in him." 


The widow s eyes were turned to the wide pros 
pect that spread itself beneath her windows; but -she 
seemed to be looking far beyond over the blue horizon, 
beyond the valley fields, where the thick stubble told 
of the fruitful harvest ; beyond the comfortable farm 
houses, sending up banners of hospitality from their 
chimneys into the frosty air ; beyond the fire-tipped 
steeple of the Hucklebury meeting-house ; beyond the 
floating clouds and the crystal sky, to "a better 
country, that is, an heavenly." 

Deacon Peabody drove up to the gate, descended 
from his shay, hitched his horse (a superfluous pro 
ceeding), and walked into the house, shouting to the 
widow as he passed the window, " Don t ye git up 
now ; jest set there comfortable, 11 I ll open the door 
myself." But she arose, nevertheless, and met him 
at the threshold with a smile of grateful welcome. 

44 This is very good of you, Deacon," she said, " to 
think of me in your own sorrow." 

44 Yes," said the deacon, not meaning to accept the 
praise exactly, but following a habit of his, " yes, I 
thought I d come over n. see how ye was gittin along. 
Putty cold spell yesterday n to-day." 

He looked at her as he spoke, with a sudden doubt 
whether she had heard the whole of the evil tidings 
concerning her own fate, the loss of her last son, 
and the impending loss of home. Her placid air 
told him little; and it was to cover his embarrassment 
that he plunged into the subject, yet with an instinc- 


tive delicacy that the squire could never have imi 

44 We re right lonesome down to our house, Miss 
Baker, Susan n me ; V it occurred to my mind that 
p raps you d be willin to come down V spend a stay 
as long "s ye could, n keep us company, Susan n me. 
Susan misses her ma n so do J. You was a good 
friend to my Cynthy, n I cal late you d be a good 
friend to her darter. S long s you expected to meet 
Jotham agin, it was nateral to want to keep a home 
for him. But " - 

Here the deacon, remembering that perhaps she did 
not know of Jotham s death, hesitated for an instant, 
and then continued, " But ye know, if Jotham should 
come back, he d be welcome too. Jotham s company 
is worth more n his board any day." 

44 Pliineas Peabody," said the widow earnestly, 
4k you come like an answer to prayer! There s no 
news of my boy ; and I should be wearied with wait 
ing if I didn t know, that, wherever he is, he has not 
forgotten his mother. But I am sure he would not 
wish me to be a burden on my friends ; and that I 
shall be, if I try to keep up the farm any longer. I m 
too good a housekeeper, Deacon, not to have found 
out that the squire has helped a good deal this year. 
There s more oats and corn and potatoes than my half 
of the crops, and yet there ll be nothing to pay inter 
est or debts. If Jotham comes back, he ought to 
start fair; and so I ve made up my mind that 


the old place will have to go. As for me well, 
I ve thought over it a good deal, and I m not ashamed, 
in my old .age, to be poor." 

There were tears in her eyes, which the deacon did 
not see, because of something in his own. " Sho 
now; yes, yes," said the deacon hastily: "don t ye 
worry about that. You jest come n visit with Susan 
n me. That reminds me, I want you to kind o doc 
tor up Susan a little. There s suthin the matter 
with her. She misses her ma, V she don t have her 
uzhal appetite." 

A few days after this conversation, the deacon s 
shay carried Widow Baker to her new home ; and the 
deacon s lumber-wagon and ox-team followed with a 
load of bedding and furniture, only ^ one load, 
enough to furnish a single room. Close upon this 
event followed an auction of all the remaining per 
sonal property of the Baker family. The proceeds 
amounted to very little, about two hundred dollars, 
and the squire, somewhat to the surprise of the 
community, claimed the money in payment of his 
own advances during the past two years. It seemed 
to contradict his previous generous behavior ; but the 
squire explained his conduct to the deacon in few 
words. " Two hundred dollars amounts to nothin , 
said he; "but, s long s the widder s got any money, 
we can t take her up n support her, accordin to law. 
She d hev to spend all her money fust. You jest give 
her a, hint, Deacon : if she wants any spendin money, 


she can draw on me, V I ll make it right, besides, in 
my will." Moreover, it turned out that the squire 
had bought all the household stuff himself: so it was 
his o\vn money he was saving for the widow. 

Xext came the auction of the farm under the fore 
closure. That was bought by Lawyer Marigold, who, 
being able without cash expenditure to offer the full 
sum expressed in the mortgage, had no competitors. 
After the sale, however, there was a friendly and 
shrewd conversation between the lawyer and the 
deacon, which resulted in the absolute purchase of 
the farm by the latter for five hundred dollars. 

Then came the queerest action of all, the sale of 
the widow herself. This was not carried on with the 
noise and publicity of an ordinary public sale. The 
selectmen and freeholders simply talked the matter 
over, and the few paupers of Hucklebury were 
allotted to the lowest bidders for the privilege of 
boarding them. As for the Widow Baker, there was 
quite an animated competition for her. Plenty of 
people were willing to take her at small profit, and a 
few offered to accept the bare cost of her subsistence. 
But when the squire and the deacon began to bid 
below cost, "the boldest held their breath for a 
time." They ran down the scale with prudence, yet 
with firmness, until at last Phineas Peabody having 
bi 1* two shillings a week equivalent to thirty-three 
and one-third cents the squire said, " Wai, Deacon, 
this is gittin redic lous. Ef ye don t look out, ye 


\\on t realize nothin at all. But, sence you re bound 
to have the widder, I ll give up ; 11 I must say it s 
the best thing for both on ye." 

All of which was quite unknown to the good old 
lady, who went on, in her quiet, cheerful resignation, 
** visiting" at the deacon s house. She did not know 
that the money which the deacon gave her every Sun 
day to put into the contribution-plate (aside from his 
own contribution, let us add) was the price of her 
board. But, if she had known it, her esteem for the 
deacon would not have been diminished; for she 
would have understood, as a stranger in Huckle- 
bury could not have done, the combination of genuine 
kindness with habitual business-like exactness and 
economy which formed a part of the local character. 
In fact, the deacon was more delicate in his generosity 
than any of his neighbors would have been. It is 
true, not even they ever alluded to the widow s pov 
erty in her presence; but that was chiefly because it 
did not occur to them as a matter separating them 
and her in any way. Their treatment of the poor, 
however disguised beneath the hard forms of a bar 
gain, was in spirit more like the Christian commun 
ism of the New 7 Testament than like the almsgiving 
of ancient (and modern) Pharisees. 

But, as a bargain, the boarding of the Widow 
Baker was an unqualified success. It soon proved 
that she, and not her host, bestowed benefaction. 
What a blessing in the house is a serene and wise 


soul ! What a contagious peace is that which is the 
fruit of sorrow rightly borne ! The widow s un 
worldly spirit was not that of a dreamer. She was 
full of activity and helpfulness. She did not run 
from barn to kitchen, and from attic to cellar, like 
Susan ; yet her directing mind was everywhere, and 
a new spirit of system and order began to pervade the 
establishment. The deceased Mrs. Cynthia Peabody 
had been one of those restless housekeepers who 
" fuss " when they are well, and worry when they are 
sick ; and Susan, as the result of her tuition, was apt 
to bustle more, and plan less, than circumstances re 
quired. It was wonderful to see how, after the com 
mand of affairs had gradually lapsed into the old 
lady s hands, every thing began to work smoothly 
in doors and out. The very hired men on the farm 
caught the new fashion. The yard and the barn 
emulated the house in orderly neatness. The old 
white horse and the shay and harness were curried, 
washed, and oiled into new youth and beauty. The 
deacon s shirt- bosoms, and, what was more important, 
the deacon s brow, appeared without a crease or 
wrinkle. And, as a consequence of this universal 
decrease of friction, there was a saving of power in 
the whole machinery of house and farm. A shrewd 
observer like the deacon could not fail to see that the 
presence of this motherly guest was not only pleasant 
but profitable. And Squire Hawkins saw it too, and 
summed it im very neatly, when, in reply to old 

124 CAMP AND CAlttN. 

Westcott s remark that "the deacon couldn t be mak- 
in much, boardin Granny Baker at two shillin a 
week," he replied, " Wai, now, I dunno s Phiueas 
Peabody kin make money so fast any other way as 
by boardin Mis Baker at two shillin a week. I tell 
ye, Westcott, godliness is profitable; V the kind 
that Widder Baker has got is the quickest-pay in 
investment y ever see." 

This remark was made the week before Christmas, 
when Westcott was distributing invitations to his 
daughter s wedding with the gentleman from Boston. 
Hence the squire s concluding observation was not 
without point : " I won t undertake to say iiothin 
about young Jotham ; but it s sartin sure as you live, 
Westcott, your Nancy s missed the best mother-in-law 
that ever was raised in these parts. They don t hev 
em so good as that in Boston." 



OF all who were blessed by the saintly and yet 
practical influence of the Widow Baker, Susan was, 
and had reason to be, the most grateful. She found 
what she had hitherto greatly lacked in two direc- 


tions, wise counsel in her daily duties on the one 
hand, and sympathy for all her aspirations on the 
other. It was Susan who first began to call the 
widow "Mother Baker; " and Phineas and the whole 
household followed her example. Indeed, it spread 
through the town; for she seemed like a mother to 

No one ever heard her complain; and seldom did 
she speak of the sorrows of the past. But somehow, 
to Susan it was natural for her to talk about old 
times, and that led to the mention of later and later 
times, until at last all their conversations wound up 
with Jotham, as all roads lead to Rome. The dif 
ference between them was, that, while Mother Baker 
gradually settled into the conviction that her son was 
no longer on earth, and ranked him in her thoughts 
with the host of dear ones that waited for her in the 
new home that could not decay, nor be broken and 
scattered, Susan vehemently insisted that Jotham 
was still alive, and would return. " Two years is not 
so very long," she used to urge. "People are often 
missing for tw-o years, particularly in the East 

And that creature, Nancy Westcott, had a letter 
from Jotham in her pocket, and never told anybody ! 
It was rather embarrassing to her; and like a good 
many of us, when caught in the current of trouble 
some circumstances, she drifted in the vague hope 
that matters would somehow fix themselves. The 


chief elements of the case were these : first, she never 
had loved him " so very much as all that; " secondly, 
his letter did not arrive until she had as good as 
accepted the Boston gentleman ; thirdly, its contents 
were not satisfactory, as they told of shipwreck and 
disaster, and offered no other hope than that of further 
waiting until he could make a new start with " an 
idea " that he had, for all the world just like his 
shiftless father; fourthly, of course he had written 
to his mother, and she knew all about it, and had 
probably informed him that Miss Westcott had thrown 
him overboard figuratively about the time that the 
typhoon had done him the same service literally; 
fifthly, why should she go to see his mother, just be 
cause he asked it, or write a letter to meet him on his 
arrival at Boston, which, of course, the Boston gentle 
man would not approve? sixthly, she would decide 
to-morrow or next day what to do about it; seventhly, 
she forgot all about it, except so far as an occasional 
momentary uneasiness might be called a recollection. 
So it came to pass that those who longed to see the 
living Jotham knew not of his coming, while she who 
knew it was not at all desirous of it. Once she might 
have told Susan as they met on the meeting-hous3 
steps ; but Susan was " huffy," and carried her head 
very high, which made Miss Westcott huffy likewise : 
so they marched asunder, keeping their own secrets.- 
" Heartless thing ! " soliloquized Susan. " She s mad," 
thought Nancy, " because I m engaged, and she ain t. 


Shouldn t wonder if she stands up for Jotham Baker : 
she was always a friend o his n, nothin more n a 
friend, though, that s one comfort. He s told me so 
a dozen times." Even after discarding her humbler 
lover, she didn t quite like to think of his " takin 
up " with anybody else. 

As for Susan, concealment was no "worm i the 
bud" of her cheek. Since the coming of Mother 
Baker she had grown contented and even happy. 
She sang in the choir, and taught in the Sunday 
school, went to sewing-society and quiltings, patron 
ized the very young gentlemen (who could be kept at 
a distance), made butter and pies, dried apples, pre 
served quinces, and attended to other duties daily 
and periodically, each. in its season, as the almanac 
indicated, and with it all read poetry, and thought 
a good deal about Jotham, in a sisterly manner, of 
course, and merely by way of indignation at the wrong 
that had been done him, and query whether he would 
feel it so much, when he should come home, as to go 
right away again in his despair. That would be 
very wrong, and she would certainly tell him so. It 
would be his duty to stay on his mother s account. 

A fortnight before Christmas came the cards which 
formally announced, what everybody knew, the cere 
mony of Miss Westcott s wedding. It was to be the 
sensation of the age for Hucklebury. Every thing 
was to be imported from Boston for the occasion, 
u down to the vittles and fiddlers." As Squire Haw- 


kins said, adding, in his disenchanting way, " the set- 
tm -room is goin to be jest kivered with hemlock, n 
I hev heerd that they intend to light up the stoop 
n the yard." Of course everybody was. eager to be 
invited ; and nobody was disappointed. Miss West- 
cott would riot willingly omit a single witness to her 

Susan flung the cards into Mother Baker s lap, with 
a passionate exclamation of contempt. " To think ! " 
said she, " after the way she treated Jotham ! I won t 
go near her horrid wedding ! " 

" My dear," said the placid old lady, with that in 
nocent air which old ladies can assume when they are 
up to mischief, " you were a good friend to Jotharn, 
and if he were alive " 

" lie is alive ! I know he is," interrupted Susan. 

" Well, do you want him to come home and marry 
Nancy AVestcott against her will ? She was not bound 
to him, you know ; and she has found somebody who 
is better suited to her." 

" How she could ever prefer that dandy to Jo 
tham ! " said Susan hotly. 

" We wouldn t, of course," replied Mother Baker. 
" But there s no accounting for tastes; and, if you stay 
away from her wedding on that account, won t folks 
say you think too much of Jotham s mother ? " 

This suggestion was sheer nonsense ; but it had a 
startling effect upon Susan, who turned red and white 
in a moment, then blushed again to think that she 


had blushed, and at last said that she was sure there 
\vas something burning in the kitchen, whither she 
departed with all speed, and proceeded to quench the 
something that was burning by plunging her face into 
a basinful of cold water. The active preparations 
which began next day, in the way of clear-starching 
and ironing, indicated sufficiently that Susan was 
going to the party. 



IN due course of time Mr. Jotham Baker, follow 
ing pretty close upon his letter, landed in Boston, 
and, finding no news from home, made his way with 
all haste to his native town of Hucklebury. It was 
already dark when he arrived at the Center, where 
the stage stopped. Curiously enough he couldn t 
find a horse or a sleigh in the place. The tavern- 
keeper (a stranger to him) said they were all gone to 
AVestcott s. Very well : the rest of the way, a good 
two-hours walk, he would have to make on foot; 
but he stopped long enough to call at Lawyer Mari 
gold s for the purpose of getting some news from 
home. The girl who came to the door did not recog- 


nize him, for two good reasons. In the first place, 
his full beard had changed his appearance : in the 
second place, she had never seen him, with or without 
a beard. So she told him merely that Mr. Marigold 
had gone to Westcott s, like everybody else, and shut 
the door in his face, with a promptness due to Hie 
coldness of the wintry air. The reply was a sort of 
omen to him ; and, vaguely wondering why everybody 
had gone to Westcott s, lie started off at a swinging 
pace over the crisp snow, bound for the same destina 
tion. That is, he started to go home ; but the road 
would lead him past A\ r estcott s. 

Jotham, striding along the highway under the stars, 
was certainly a comely young fellow. Two years of 
adventure had made him stouter and browner, and 
for a shipwrecked wanderer he had a strange well-to- 
do appearance. People reduced to the extremity of 
poverty don t have such substantial baggage as the 
valise he had left in the Eagle Tavern, Ilucklebury 
Center, nor wear such comfortable clothes as those in 
which he was now hastening homeward. 

His thoughts, as he swiftly pursued his solitary 
way, were not altogether pleasant. First of all, he 
reproached himself for having left his mother alone 
two years before, and wondered whether Squire Haw 
kins had been, according to promise, a true friend, to 
her. Jotham did not doubt that his mother knew of 
his return. To her he had written fully more than 
once. AVhy she had never received a single letter 


from him is one of the mysteries of the post-office, 
which, dear reader, the author is sorry to say nobody 
can clear up : hence it must be allowed to remain a 
mystery, as it is far too late now to ask for its inves 
tigation by a committee. Of all this Jotham was 
ignorant, but tormented himself, as he walked, with 
imagining what might have happened to his mother. 
Once lie stopped suddenly what if she were dead ! 
Then he .started again with violent speed, saying 
aloud, "No, no, no!" as if such a protest could af 
fect the irrevocable past. 

Then he thought of Nancy Westcott. What a 
strange thing it was, that, once out of her presence, 
he had found it so hard to believe in her sincerity ! 
That letter which he had written to try her now 
seemed, on the whole, not a very honorable thing; 
though he had thought it fair at the time. Instead 
of telling her of his shipwreck, leaving her to infer 
that he was ruined, and asking her if she could wait 
for him a little longer, in the secret hope that she 
would not stand the test, he should have confessed 
frankly his own discovery that what he had thought 
love w r as only a transitory glamour. 

i4 Jotham," said Jotham, "you are well paid for 
your shrewdness. You wanted to escape, and at the 
same time have the credit of being constant, though 
you pretended to me that it was your firm intention 
and desire to remain true to the girl if she was true 
to you. Now you ve got to face the music. What if 

132 CAMP AND CAlllN. 

she is true to you ? I shouldn t wonder if she was ; 
it s as likely as not ; it s very probable ; by gracious, 
Jotham Baker, I believe it s so ! Ugh, \vhat a cold 
night ! and yet this walking makes a fellow per 
spire ! 

" And there s Susan Peabody, Jotham : what do you 
think of her? If you hadn t made a fool of yourself 
with Nancy, you might have had some chance, per 
haps, with Susan. But she despised you after you 
went and gushed to her your silly nonsense about the 
other one. Don t you recollect when you told her? 
She never w T as the same to you after it came out who 
the girl was. No wonder : she w r as disappointed in 
you. / saw it, if you didn t. She had thought you 
had more sense. Don t flatter yourself she ever loved 
you, Jotham ; she never dreamed of that: but she re 
spected you until you made a fool of yourself. And 
you might have gone on from that to O you don 
key ! " 

He took a grim pleasure in this sarcastic soliloquy. 
But self-castigation soon tires both the executioner 
and the victim; and his muttered eloquence ended 
in a sigh as he approached the Westcott mansion, 
now 7 glorious with streaming lights, and musical with 
voices and violins. The impulse of curiosity was too 
strong to be resisted, and, crossing the yard unnoticed, 
he gained a shadow r ed corner by one of the front- 
windows, whence he could survey the festive scene. 

Almost the first person he distinguished from the 


gay confusion was a dazzling being in white satin, 
with china-blue eyes, and flaxen locks erected into a 
stupendous structure above them, surrounded with a 
cloud of gauzy veil, and looking, on the \vhole, like 
a child substituted at the last moment for some larger 
bride, so that thj wedding-dress should not be wasted. 
Only a second glance showed that the features were 
not merely childish. There was full-grown triumph 
in them, and a complete consciousness of the business 
aspects of matrimony. Jotham recognized at once 
the lady who would henceforward be known in Xew- 
England phrase as "she that was Nancy Westcott." 
The marriage was already over, and Miss Westcott 
was Mrs. no, I won t give the name: I don t 
mean to pain anybody if I can help it ; and the fact is, 
that the Boston gentleman some years after, having 
lost all his money by extravagance and speculation, 
signed another Boston gentleman s name to a check, 
and left the country. All the parties are dead long 
ago ; but how do I know but they have relatives yet 
living, relatives a great deal larger than I am? 

In another instant Jotham saw Susan. Her dark 
hair and earnest eyes ; her cheek, paler than when he 
had looked upon it last ; her plain muslin dress, that 
showed so little fashion, and so much taste ; every 
thing about her, in short, made her a complete con 
trast to the bride. To Jotham she seemed at once 
more beautiful and more unapproachable than ever 
before. There was a new expression on her face, 


which, of course, the foolish fellow could not read; 
the work of sorrow and patience bearing fruit of 
peace. All he felt was that she reminded him 
strangely of his mother, and that somehow, in spite 
of that, she was far beyond his reach. He could 
never talk with brotherly freedom to that dignified 
and lovely woman : he could only fall at her feet, 
and lie there till she left him in disdain. 

As for the dandy in a white cravat, on whose arm 
"she that was Nancy AVestcott " promenaded through 
the room, Jotham paid no attention to him ; and why 
should we consider him? We always knew he would 
turn out badly, didn t we? To our hero he served as 
a slim piece of collateral evidence, corroborating the 
white satin and veil and orange-blossoms. Who he 
was didn t matter. He was not Jotham Baker Hal 
lelujah ! 

But man is ungrateful, and Jotham was not satis 
fied with his happy escape. He had made the impor 
tant discovery that he didn t want Nancy because he 
did want Susan ; and, being a young man of decision, 
he would not waste further time in useless repinings 
at the window. And he turned resolutely away to 
pursue his journey homeward. 

But, as he passed the door, it was opened wide, and 
an imposing sable gentleman in white cotton gloves 
addressed him cordially with, u Second story front, 
sah ! " This was one of the features imported for 
the occasion from Boston, a darkey to open the door 


whenever he heard steps approaching. And our 
young man of decision, having determined to walk 
straight by, and being suddenly tempted by this dark 
and mysterious providence, was deflected ninety de 
grees from his course, and walked straight in. 

Now, it happened that Nancy Westcott, just before 
coming down stairs to be married, had had occasion 
to rummage her bureau for a smelling-bottle, or a 
hair-pin, or something of that sort, and had suddenly 
come upon Jotham s letter, which, as a well-regulated 
person, she ought to have destroyed long before. 
There were too many w r omen-folk fussing round to 
make it safe to destroy it now : so, with a hopeless 
glance at the fire, she thrust it into her dress, say 
ing merely, and that not for anybody s hearing, 
" Goodness gracious ! " Thus it came to pass that 
she was actually married with Jotham s letter in her 
bosom, a horribly improper state of affairs ! 

During the solemn ceremony, which the parson made 
long enough to permit, if not to necessitate, some wan 
dering of the thoughts, she perceived Susan Peabody, 
and made up her mind that Susan looked " stuck up," 
and didn t half realize the splendor of the occasion. 
Of course, if Susan was not suitably impressed, the 
admiration of all the rest would not suffice. That s 
human nature since the days of Haman. So, later 
in the evening, in fact, just at the moment when 
Jotham left the window, she got an opportunity to 
worry Susan, and began to do it with feminine skill. 


"You haven t been introduced to my husband, 
Susan. You d like him, I know. He says you re 
the most distangy woman in the room. But you an 
me mustn t be rivals agin. Hev you heard from 
Jo from Mr. Baker lately? " 

This was even more cruel than Nancy intended ; for 
she really supposed the fact of Jotham s return was 
known to his friends, though she had never told of it, 
because she did not care to reveal her recent recep 
tion of his letter. It was much simpler to let her 
friends say, as they did, that there never had been 
any thing between him and her, at least, nothing 
more than a flirtation. 

But Susan was on her guard, and Nancy was no 
match for her. Without a sign of any emotion, not 
even scorn she said slowly, " Mr Baker has reason 
to congratulate himself." 

That made Nancy " as mad as fire." She under 
stood by it more than was meant ; for it led her to 
suppose that Jotham, having been informed of her 
faithlessness, had pretended he was glad to be rid of 
her. Her breast heaved with passion, and fortunately 
(the bridal dress being a tight fit) that very heaving 
made her aware of Jotham s letter : otherwise there 
might have been a " scene." But this enabled her to 
restrain her wrath, and to say, in tones that attracted 
no attention from the rest of the company, " Perhaps 
he tries to make you think so, Miss Feabody. But 
that ain t the way he writes to me! " Whereat she 


pulled out the letter, thrust it into Susan s hand, and 
sailed away with her nose in the air, inwardly con 
scious that she had done a very foolish thing, and not 
at all aware that it was the best thing that could have 
been done for everybody but herself. 

Susan recognized the handwriting ; seized the let 
ter; forgot Nancy, the company, every thing; made 
her escape blindly out of the room ; and rushed up 
stairs to the ladies dressing-room (second story back), 
clasping the letter in her hand. Jotham was alive! 

Nobody was in the rotmi. She could read the letter 
unobserved. In her tumultuous happiness she was 
about to kiss it; but her eye fell on the address, 
"Miss Nancy Westcott " (she had forgotten for a mo 
ment to whom the letter had been written). As for 
kissing "Miss Nancy Westcott " -that was a little 
too much. But she did open the paper, and put to 
her lips a carefully-selected spot on the inside, which 
bore the words, "Yours truly, Jotham Baker." Then 
she hastily read the letter; and not even its apparent 
testimony that he still loved the heartless creature 
down stairs could silence in her heart the singing 
voice, "Jotham is alive! " 

Meanwhile the young man himself had left the 
window, walked slowly, though decidedly (as I have 
before mentioned), to the front-door and into the 
hall, and was at this moment at the top of the stairs, 
on his way to the second story front; so that, when 
Susan raised her eyes from the perusal of his letter, 
she saw him passing the door. 


With a cry of joy she sprang forward, calling his 
name; but, as he turned, she recollected what must 
be his present anguish, and said only, holding out 
both hands, " O Jotham, I m so sorry for you ! " 

Alas ! what a comedy of errors it was ! Poor 
Jotham, already in a maze of conflicting emotions, 
lost his head entirely at hearing her friendly words, 
and burst into an incoherent explanation about Xancy 
and his own affections, out of which confusion 
emerged presently a declaration of love to Susan. 
This he made still worse bj* dropping on his knees 
before her, as he had just been wildly dreaming he 
would do some day. He was a handsome fellow; but 
no fellow ought to kneel down in his overcoat. He 
deserved to be laughed at for his pains. But Susan 
was in no mood for laughing. Her maidenly pride 
burned hotly in cheek and eye. " Mr. Baker," she 
said with bitter politeness, "now you re down, per 
haps you will have the goodness to pick up that let 
ter. Nancy gave it to me, and I will take this oppor 
tunity to return it to the writer." 

She watched him with un moving look as he clutched 
the letter, recognized it, rose, and staggered from the 
room. Down stairs he rushed, and past the astounded 
doorkeeper, into the open air. She listened until she 
heard the bang with which the door closed behind 
him; then, having nothing else in the world to do, 
Susan Peabody fainted away, and fell on the spot 
where he had knelt. 




JOTHAM felt, as he reached the road, as if he had 
escaped from a burning house in which was every 
thing he held dear in life. But his second thought 
was of his mother. He had her to live for, at least; 
and to her he would devote himself. So he hastened 
up the hill-road, past the squire s farm, and on to the 
well-remembered house where he expected to find 
her. It was always a rather lonesome place ; but to 
night, as he approached it, and saw neither light in 
the windows, nor living thing about the yard, a chill 
struck his heart. The barking of a dog, or the de 
liberate rising of a cow disturbed in her repose by his 
passage, would have been most welcome. His knock 
ing at the door called forth no answer; and when, 
after fruitless shouting, he lifted a window-sash, 
climbed into the sitting-room, struck a light, and 
found the place dismantled and empty, except for 
that " litter " peculiar to an abandoned room, which 
told him more plainly than any thing else that his 
neat and efficient mother could no longer be in au 
thority there, the revulsion was overpowering. The 
stalwart young fellow dropped his match, and, lean 
ing in the darkness against the mantel-piece, cried as 


if his heart would break. This blow was indeed the 
worst of all. 

A moment later he was again out of doors, and 
rushing down the hill-road at a terrible pace. As he 
passed the lane that turned down to the squire s 
house, a sleigh came up with much clangor of silvery 
bells, bringing the squire and Mrs. Hawkins, who 
were just returning from the party at Westcott s. 

"Jerusalem!" ejaculated the hearty squire, " ef 
that ain t Jotham Whoa, there ! Why, Jptham, 
how d ye do? Where did ye come from? n how on 
airth but here! git right in, there s room for ye; 
come right along to the house." 

"The house is empty," said Jotham in quick, 
hoarse tones. "What has happened? Where s my 

" She s boardin at Deacon Peabody s," replied the 
squire ; " n she looks twenty years younger for t. 
You jest come along. Ye can t see your mother to 
night ; n ye mustn t see her nohow, till I ve put ye up 
to the news." 

So Jotham spent the rest of a long evening and the 
night at the Hawkins s, and slept soundly in spite of 
his sorrows. The squire told him all about every 
thing, dwelling particularly on Susan and her affec 
tion for his mother, and much surprised that Jotham 
regarded that subject with evident pain. 

"What s the matter with ye, Jotham?" pursued 
the squire. " Now, I m a plain man, n I go to the 


pint. It ain t no use for you to worry about Nancy 
Westcotfc though she d be a pretty good match, 
jest now, for a feller as poor s you be." 

" I don t care a sixpence for Nancy Westcott," in 
terrupted Jotham sullenly, "and I m not so poor as 
you think." 

" Why, the hull cargo was lost, I cal late : them 
companies wouldn t a paid the insurance without 
proof o that " 

"Exactly. They paid tlic insurance, and my goods 
were insured, as well as the rest. I knew that would 
be all right, and I bought a home cargo on the 
strength of it, and made enough by the voyage to 
give me a good start." 

" Ginger an spices haft riz," said the squire thought 
fully. " I read that in The Advertiser last week. 
Dew tell! Wai, Jotham, I m glad on t. But don t 
ye go to buy in back the old farm : it ll ruin ye, sure." 

" On the contrary," said Jotham, " I shall buy it at 
once, and sell the mine-hill to a man who is coming 
up from Boston right away to look at it." 

" What! " cried the squire, " gold, arter all? " 

"No; granite." 

" Wai, there s plenty o that on t," said the squire. 

"Yes; and it will be the best place for a quarry 
that can be found when the branch railroad is built. 
But I don t care much about it now, except for 
mother s sake," added Jotham with a sigh. 

The squire looked at him shrewdly. "My boy," 


said he, "there s somethin the matter between you 
an Susan, n ye d better tell me all about it. I ain t 
one that ll talk about it, like the women-folks." 
(Mrs. Hawkins had retired, or this remark would 
have been suppressed.) 

Jotham made a clean breast on this invitation, first 
handing over the unlucky letter as a text, and then 
furnishing a full commentary upon it. At the con 
clusion, the squire whistled reflectively, and at last 
delivered his opinion : 

"It looks like a bad job, Jotham; but I ve seen 
wuss. Susan was glad to see ye stick a pin there! 
An she was mad to hev ye make a fool o yourself, n 
try to made a fool o her. Wai, now, look at it cool 
an reasonable, n who wouldn t be? I tell ye what," 
continued the squire, warming up as he went on, 
"it s all right, an so you ll see. You go to bed ! " 

Meanwhile Susan, whom we left "all in a heap" 
on the floor of the "second story back," had recovered 
from her faint without help, and without attracting 
attention. Of course her first act was to scrub and 
rub her pale cheeks till they glowed, replace and 
tighten various hair-pins (which always become loose 
in moments of emotion), and obliterate the traces of 
her agitation Then she went down stairs, found her 
father, and persuaded him to take her home, no 
difficult matter, since he was bored with the new 
fangled stiffness of the entertainment. On the way 
they spoke little. Phineas was occupied with driving, 
and only once put a question to his daughter : 


" Hope ye had an interestin time, Susan? " 

" Yes, very interesting," said she, and lapsed again 
into silence. But her thoughts were busy enough, 
recalling painfully the strange behavior and incohe 
rent speech of Jotharn, and wondering whether she 
had not done him some injustice. That letter of his 
to Xancy was not so very loving. There was a mys 
tery in it ; and an old friend should not be discarded 
without an opportunity to explain his conduct. Per 
haps he was at this moment with his mother. He was 
an affectionate and dutiful son, at least. " Couldn t 
you drive a little faster, father? " said Susan. 

But on arrival she found that Mother Baker was in 
bed, and that nobody had called. She kept the secret 
of Jotham s return. Why should she say any thing 
to her father about it ? Everybody would know it in 
the morning. But, when the morning came, she was 
thoughtful enough to prepare the widow for the joy 
ful surprise of meeting her son, assuring her that he 
had really returned, and would soon make his appear 
ance, but declining to tell how she had got the news, 
except that she had heard it at the party. 

When Jotham knocked at the door, it was Susan, 
much to his embarrassment, who opened it. He 
began an apology for his intrusion, which she checked 
with a gesture. "Your mother is expecting you/ 
said she, pointing to the door of the room in which 
the widow was sitting, and withdrew, to fidget in the 
kitchen ; while Jotham, forgetting for the moment all 


woes and embarrassment, entered to clasp in arms of 
unalterable affection and perfect joy the darlingest 
old mother that ever lived. 

Widow Baker was so glad to get her son back on 
any terras, that she needed little to satisfy her curiosity 
concerning his long absence and silence. When he 
alluded to letters he had written her, she did not tell 
him, in this first happy hour, that she had never re 
ceived them. When he mentioned to her his plan 
about the old place, which he had already found he 
could buy back, and which would be, after all, a 
source of profit to the family, her face lit up with a 
proud smile such as the late Colonel Baker might 
well have returned to enjoy. " That s what your 
father always said," was her comment. Dear soul ! 
she had put sympathy, if not faith, in every one of 
her husband s schemes ; raid it was to her simple 
affection a sort of vindication of his misunderstood 
and depreciated career, to have his gold-mine turn 
out at least a granite-quarry. 

"Well, my son," said the widow at last, "the dea- 
con ll be glad to have you stop here for a while, until 
you can set up a house of your own. lie told me 
that when he first invited me. I wouldn t have come 
to a house, you know, where my boy would not have 
been welcome." This was the good lady s artful 
approach to a subject that lay near her heart. 

" The deacon is a true friend," replied Jotham, 
" and I shall tell him so. But I I d rather not stop 


in his house. Don t you think you could visit some 
where else, say, at Squire Hawkins s?" 

"Why, what should I do without Susan? " was the 
deeply innocent reply ; to which Jotham made a 
somewhat testy rejoinder : 

"You ll have to do without Susan sooner or later,- 
and you might as well begin ! " 

Now, by this time, Susan, having rattled about the 
kitchen vigorously, doing nothing, for half an hour, 
had found it absolutely necessary to come to the 
sitting-room. She wanted a "holder" to protect her 
fair fingers in lifting a kettle from the fire; and the 
holder in the kitchen didn t suit her no, not at all. 
But there was one in the sitting-room that would suit 
and that one she must have. So, with a timid pre 
liminary knock on the half-open door, she walked in. 
The widow watched her keenly. 

" Susan," she said, " our Jotham has come ! " 

" Yes," replied Susan, with a beating heart, and a 
voice far too unsteady for the leading soprano of the 
Ilucklebury choir, " I ve met Mr. Baker already. I 
I hope he s very well." Upon this she went to 
wards the fireplace, where the " holder " hung on a 
nail, and, before she got there, forgot what she was 
going for, and so, coming to a dead stop, looked into 
the fire with preposterous earnestness and a great de 
sire to cry. Jotham, on his part, studied a spot on 
the floor till it began to revolve before his eyes in an 
amazing way, and then said hastily that he thought 
he had better go and attend to some other matters. 


" Don t go on my account," said the young girl at 
the fire ; at which Jotham stopped short, and the 
situation was worse than ever. But the widow, bless 
her! was more than equal to it. She divined the 
state of affairs better than if they had told her all 
about it, though that s not saying much ; for, if they 
had undertaken to tell her, a pretty mess they would 
have made of it with their confusions and cross pur 
poses and reservations and pique and embarrassments. 

" I want Jotham to visit with us a few days, till he 
gets ready a place of his own, for him and me," 
said she ; " but he thinks he had better not." 

" I suppose he is right," remarked Miss Peabody to 
the fire." 

" He wants me to go and stay somewhere else with 
him," continued the widow. 

Susan turned half round, with a sudden movement, 
and then resolutely back to her former position, say 
ing earnestly, 

" No, no ! you mustn t leave us. Nobody can do 
without you, dear Mother Baker! * 

It was strange that she could not even face her 
dearest friend, wasn t it? But the fact is, she had 
come in a hurry, and her handkerchief was missing, 
as handkerchiefs are so apt to be at the very minute 
when they are worth their weight in gold. 

" If anybody needs me, then my only son needs me 
most," said the old lady, going over to Jotham, and 
putting her thin hands on his broad shoulder. 
" Where he had better not stay, I will not stay." 


"Then he must stay," said the voice by the fire. 
" He needn t go on my account." 

" Mother," interrupted the subject of this dialogue, 
shaking off his wretched timidity, and speaking in a 
straightforward, commanding way, that settled things 
at once in his favor (though he was not aware of 
that), " don t trouble Miss Peabody any further. She 
has reason to think I have treated her with some 
indignity, though she is wrong: I would die first." 

" Of course," said the widow heartily. " But Susan 
don t believe any such thing. Why, she can t: it s 
impossible. O Susan ! shake hands with Jotham, 
and tell him so yourself." 

Susan held out her hand with averted face; but 
the young man was bent on no half-way measures. 
" No," he said imperatively. " Hear me out. She is 
wrong in her thought of me, though I am to blame 
for her mistake ; but she is right in saying (as she 
did before you spoke of leaving here) that I had bet 
ter not stay in this house." 

Miss Peabody had withdrawn again her neglected 
hand, and, having no better use for it, was pressing 
it against her heart, a most insipid and unprofitable 
use of both hand and heart. Mr. Jotham Baker, 
having the floor, went on, as is the custom of orators, 
addressing the chair, but meaning to be heard by the 
audience : 

"For I love her I love her dearly; and I will 
not stay in her house, or touch her hand, or look into 


her face because I couldn t bear it. I don t want 
to be old friends again." 

" You d better stay," said Susan feebly. " Your 
mother wants you to sta}^." 

The Widow Baker smiled, as a general might smile, 
who, just as he was about to order a retreat, should 
see through his field-glass the white flag hoisted by 
the enemy. But Jotham had no field-glass, and went 
on with his last despairing volley. 

" No," he said impatiently, " it is impossible. If 
if you felt as I do, you would understand me. But I 
do not deserve to be utterly despised ; and I think, 
Miss Peabody, that I ought to explain to you before I 

Susan shook her shoulders. "I don t want any 
explanation," she said. 

"And / do" said desperate Jotham. "I claim it 
as a right: it is my last chance, and I will be heard." 

That obstinate young woman put her fingers in her 
ears, and that obstinate young man went right on 
addressing the chair; and the chair, that is to say, 
Widow Baker, positively laughed in his face. The 
sublime was evidently sliding fast facilis descensus 
- into the ridiculous. 

Now, this scene would not have lasted half as long 
if Susan had had a handkerchief. When a person 
has been crying ever so little, and is obliged by cir 
cumstances to dry before the fire, without the aid of 
cambric or bandanna, the conversation must be pro- 


longed, to give that person a reasonable time. But 
if the person begins again why, then all subter 
fuges are in vain. Thus it came to pass that Susan, 
whose fingers were not so very tightly pressed into 
her ears, heard Jotham walk towards the door. The 
blundering, lucky fellow ! Just as he was about to 
resign the game, he gave checkmate. For Susan 
Peabody turned like a flash, and called him by name 
no mistake about it, and no " Mr." a good, clear, 
unfaltering " Jotham ! " 

But he was smitten with blindness. Not even the 
sight of her, blushing, tearful, radiant, holding out 
both hands towards him, could make him understand. 

" Then you will hear my explanation ? " said stupid 

" I tell you," said she, stamping with her little 
foot, "I have heard enough, I won t have any ex 
planations ! " 

" But before I go " pursued the incorrigible 

u Mr. Jotham Baker," said Susan, laying down 
the proposition with the air of a teacher whose pa 
tience was exhausted, and emphasizing it with a 
didactic forefinger, " your mother and I are 
never going to let you go away from 
us as long as you live : so, there ! " 

Here the Widow Baker, who had so wisely inter 
fered, perceived with equal wisdom that her interfer 
ence was no longer called for. And her departure 



from the room cuts short my story at this most 
interesting point; for, although I am very intimate 
with all the parties, Susan and Jotham never would 
repeat to me and I am utterly unable to imagine 
the conversation that followed. 





(AST summer 1 two of us found ourselves, on 
professional duty connected with " the de 
velopment of the mineral resources " of our 
country, in the Territory of Montana, to 
wit, the capital thereof, Virginia City ; and there we 
did devise a journey up the Madison Valley to the 
Spouting Geysers, over the mountains to the lake, 
canon, cataracts, and hot-springs of the Yellowstone, 
and so on, as events might determine; traversing, in 
short, that large area of nearly four thousand square 
miles, of which Congress has wisely made a Na 
tional Park. Our party was not a full-fledged affair, 
with wings of military escort, and claws of tools and 
instruments for detailed scientific investigation, but 
an assemblage of volunteers, comprising no small 
amount of original and unconventional character. 

1 The summer of 1871. 



Numerous eminent citizens of Virginia City had 
enthusiastically declared their intention of joining 
our company, and we reasonably expected to invade 
the mountain solitudes with a great array of rank 
and intellect. But, when the critical day arrived, 
there was an amazing pressure of business, legal and 
otherwise, iu the usually somewhat dull town, which 
hindered every one of our distinguished friends from 
starting. Far be it from me to suggest that a very 
recent raid of the Sioux into the Gal latin Valley 
had any thing to do with this unanimous inability 
to go where glory waited. That could not be; for 
did not each reluctantly declining friend take pains 
to add, " There ll be no danger, I guess, where you 
are going. You just keep a good lookout, and you ll 
get through all right, I guess. Got plenty of arms 
and ammunition, haven t you? " 

Under these inspiriting encouragements we pre 
pared to set forth. There were six of us men, eight 
of us horses, and one of us mule. Gilman Sawtelle, 
the guide, will forgive me for bringing him before the 
public by name. I can not rank him with any of the 
typical pioneers, from Leatherstocking down, who 
have been familiar in novels of Western life. He 
affects no singularity of dress or speech; indulges 
not in long and silent laughter; prefers not an old 
single-barreled, small-bore, muzzle-loading Kentucky 
rifle to the modern arms of precision ; does not pre 
tend to see in the night as well as in the daytime, or 


to follow a trail where there isn t any; misses a shot 
now and then, at long range, like any other honest 
man ; reads books and newspapers ; and does not de 
spise his kind. A stalwart, blond, blue-eyed, jovial 
woodsman is he, w T ho for years has kept a solitary 
ranch on the bank of Henry s Lake, some sixty miles 
from the settlements. Half a dozen well-built log- 
houses constitute his establishment. There is a com 
fortable dwelling, a stable, a work-shop, store-houses 
for skins and game, and an ice-house. Mr. Saw- 
telle s principal business has been spearing trout, 
packing them in ice, hauling them in wagons to 
Virginia City, and even as far as Helena, and dis 
posing of them at handsome prices to the busy popu 
lation who haven t time to fish for themselves. A 
farm supplies him with vegetables and grain ; the 
valleys afford him excellent hay; and land and water 
all about him swarm with game of every kind. 

Mr. Thrasher the photographer is another charac- t 
ter of public interest, whom I will not disguise under 
a fictitious name, because the one he wears by right 
exactly suits him. He invests the profession of 
photography with all the romance of adventure. 
What other men will do for self-defense, or excite 
ment, or a positive reward, he does for a "negative. * 
No mountain is too high for him, if there s a "vie\v" 
from the top. No perilous precipice daunts him, if 
it is just the place for his camera. If there is a 
picturesque region where nobody has been, thither 


he hastens, with company if company offers ; alone 
if need be, he and his pack-mule, carrying the pre 
cious chemicals and glasses. Sometimes, after a 
long and arduous expedition, that mule will roll 
down a steep mountain-face, and smash every thing 1 . 
Then Thrasher begins again, nothing daunted. It is 
a sight to see him, when, struck by the beauty of 
some sudden vista, he halts, and rapidly unpacks, 
erecting his tripod, and hanging to the bough of 
some convenient tree his black-cloth laboratory. In 
a trice the plate is prepared, the view is taken : 
Thrasher buries his head, ostrich-like, in the dark 
chamber, exposing recklessly, as he kneels at his 
work, the dilapidated rear of his corduroys. Then 
speedily comes from the black tent a muffled shout 
of triumph, and the artist emerges backward on all- 
threes, holding up a dripping negative for general 
admiration. Or perhaps it doesn t suit him, and the 
boys are told to go on ; he will stay and " wrastle " 
with that view; and an hour after camp is made, 
when all have subsided into the delights of dolce far 
nientc, supper being over, and guard not begun, 
along comes Thrasher with "that cussed mule," who 
will persist in trying to carry her unwieldy pack be 
tween precisely the trees that stand too close for 
passage, Thrasher, I say, weary, hungry, irate, but 

I may mention here, that, after we had been sev 
eral weeks in the mountains, Mr. Thrasher became 


entirely unmanageable. He had so many views to 
take that there was no hope of getting him back 
to civilization until his chemicals were used up and 
he had provided a desperately large stock. So on 
the canon of the Yellowstone we left him, with Saw- 
telle ; while the rest of us rode home without him. 
I have heard since that lie got " burnt out" by a for 
est fire, losing every thing but Ids negatives; and that 
after returning to Virginia City, and procuring a new 
outfit, he posted back again, this time alone, to " do 
the rest of that country, or bust." 

O Thrasher! Thy mule, with the sharp-pointed 
legs of the camera-tripod projecting from her stern, 
was unpleasant to the next-following horseman when 
she backed in a narrow defile ; nor was it altogether 
delightful to get up prematurely in order to form 
part of one of thy frequent "sunrise scenes :" but 
thou wert most excellent company on the march and 
in camp, and thy energy and enthusiasm were sub 
lime. May I not fail to fare with thee again, some 
day, through wild and rugged ways, pursuing with 
tireless steps the spirit of beauty to her remotest 
hiding-place ! 

Another member of the party was Mr. Hardpan, 
of the editorial staff of "The Weekly Alloutdoors," 
published at Bucksborough, Montana, a fine speci 
men of the frontier "local," possessing the wide 
awake characteristics of the city species, but superior 
in point of manliness. Interviewing people against 


their will, following with intent nose the trails of 
scandal, picking up scraps of information around 
the doors of public offices, and the like occupations, 
tend to obliterate in the city reporter somewhat of 
the gentleman, and more of the man. But the habit 
of traversing mountains and valleys in search of 
news, interviewing the hardy miners and hunters in 
the gulches or by the camp-fire, " prospecting " en 
route for wash-gold or quartz (for your Western 
editor has always been at some time a miner him 
self, and can not pass black sand or rusty rock with 
out "just taking a look at hsr"), not disdaining to 
follow the fleet deer, and impale the wrigglesorne 
trout, nor shirking the due share of danger before 
the grizzly or the Sioux, this life, I say, makes 
quite another man of the reporter. Paul Pry and 
Ilardpan have nothing in common : in fact, one 
would not have imagined that the gentleman from 
" The Weekly Alloutdoors " was an emissary of the 
press at all. If he "took notes," it was in secret, as 
a gentleman should. He has since immortalized us 
all in a highly embellished account of the journey; 
but he inflicted upon us no preliminary tortures 
during the trip, and the picture he has painted is as 
delicately and truthfully flattering as one of Hunt- 
ington s portraits, or Sarony s photographs. It is a 
comfort to " sit " to an artist who will see to it that 
freckles are omitted, and that a pleasing expression 
is secured at any cost. For the rest, Hardpan was a 


jolly companion, who obtruded no "shop-talk," and 
endeared himself to all by his extraordinary skill in 
the preparation of " dough-gods" and "bull-whacker s 
butter," two triumphs of camp-cw/sme not to be 
compassed by any thing short of genius. 

The other three of us decline to be publicly por 
trayed; but we permit it to be said, in all modera 
tion, that we possessed among us all the beauties 
of form and feature, all the virtues of character, and 
all the varieties of learning and accomplishment, 
that anybody ever found in anybody. What one 
of us lacked another was sure to have until that 
woeful day when none of us possessed so much as a 
pipeful of "Lone Jack;" but this deficiency was 
abundantly remedied as soon as we returned to the 
settlements, and we now present to the pen of the 
eulogist our pristine perfection. 

But how can we omit to mention Sawtelle s dog? 
ugliest, hardiest, most enthusiastic and affectionate, 
most ardent in the chase, most patient in hunger, 
and insensible to fatigue, of all the canine race, a 
dog of no distinguished lineage, and no advantage 
in early education, but full of an excellent spirit 
and a companionable soul. The enthusiasm with 
which that dog would attempt the impossible, 
chasing grouse upon the wing, or swimming fiercely 
after ducks that contemptuously waited for him till 
he almost touched them, and then, just as he raised 
his yelp of anticipated triumph, dove under him, and 


re-appeared behind him, to his blank bewilderment, 
the brisk enthusiasm with which he would essay these 
feats, stimulated every day by the remembrance of 
past failures to wilder racing and louder yelping, was 
a moral to mortals. Some day, I am persuaded, that 
dog will catch a grouse upon the wing, or a duck upon 
the wave. Nothing can be impossible forever to such 
perseverance. He rejoiced in several names, being 
chiefly called Bob, for short, in allusion to his tail. 

With the remainder of our party, that is to say, 
with the horses and the mule, w 7 e began to get ac 
quainted very early in the journey. The first day s 
march was a succession of packings, chasings, shout 
ings, draggings, and buckings, from the time we were 
escorted out of Virginia City by the merchant-princes, 
legal luminaries, and small boys of the town, until 
we made camp on the other side of the "divide," 
after dark, cold and hungry and tired, by the rush 
ing waters of the Madison. It took some time, how 
ever, to learn all the peculiarities of all the animals, 
and to produce in them the sure conviction that we 
knew their tricks and their manners. One ancient 
white steed, who was used to carrying packs, infected 
the rest with his wisdom. He taught them to swell 
up when they were " sinched," so that the girths 
might slip afterward ; to lie down and roll with their 
packs on; to start on wild prairie gallops without 
warning, and work their burdens around their bel 
lies, where they could be conveniently kicked ; to 


"buck," when they could thereby throw any body or 
any thing into a river; and at night, when they were 
turned out for rest and grazing, to start in solemn 
procession for home, and travel a dozen miles before 
daylight. But that sublime being, man, is more than 
a match for that noble animal, horse; and due subor 
dination was ere long established. Did time permit, 
I would gladly sing the praises of the " diamond 
hitch," that mystery of ropes and running-knots, 
which, once properly adjusted upon a well-balanced 
and well-settled load, defies the cunning of the equine 
or asinine bearer, and will not even yield to a pine- 
tree, tearing and scraping against it in the forest. 
But we have lingered too long already over the inci 
dentals of our trip though, in truth, they are rather 
to be reckoned as essentials; for the destination of 
a journey like ours may be \vherever you please, if 
you are well fitted out for the march and the camp ; 
but without good company, good arms, and a knowl 
edge of the "diamond hitch," one had better not start 
at all. 



As I have hinted, our party was escorted out of 
Virginia City by the friendly population, and took 
its -way over the divide which separates that town 
from the valley of the Madison. And here, O un 
suspecting reader ! shall be sprung upon thee a trap 
of instruction. But be not dismayed, the agony shall 
be brief. And, moreover, there is no dread examina 
tion awaiting you beyond, to reveal your wicked 
neglect if you skip the next paragraph altogether. 
Geography is not pleasant, but grievous; yet is it 
necessary to him who would travel, whether in per 
son or by sympathetic imagination. Wherefore 
listen : 

The two great river-systems of the Missouri-Mis 
sissippi, on the one hand, and the Snake-Columbia, 
on the other, have their highest sources close to 
gether, in the Rocky Mountains, where their upper 
waters even pass each other in opposite directions, 
like the fingers of two hands, employed in the fasci 
nating game of 

" Here s the church, and here s the steeple: 
Open the door, and there s the people! " 


Persons who do not know this game will be bewil 
dered by the illustration, just as persons who enter 
for the first time the country of which I speak are 
bewildered when they find one stream running north 
for the Gulf of Mexico, and the next running south 
for the Pacific Ocean. For this perplexity, dear 
reader, there are only two remedies : you must either 
learn the game, or visit the region. 

It is the Missouri system which chiefly concerns us 
here ; and it must suffice to say of it that four large 
rivers rise not far from the north-west corner of Wyo 
ming Territory, and flow for some distance northward. 
Three of them the Jefferson, the Madison, and the 
Gallatin unite at Gallatiu City, Montana, to form 
the Missouri, which continues northward to near the 
British boundary, which it avoids by a great bend to 
the east, after which it gradually assumes a south 
east course to the Mississippi. The fourth river is 
the Yellowstone, which bends on its own hook, so 
to speak, before reaching the Missouri, and finally 
joins that river on the borders of Dakota. In the 
upper part of their course, therefore, the valleys of 
the Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone, 
are in a general way, parallel, and their order from 
west to east is indicated by the order in which I 
have named them. The Gallatin, being the shortest, 
rises farther north than the others, and the head 
waters of the Madison are separated from the Yel 
lowstone Lake, which may be called the head of the 


Yellowstone, by mountain-ranges only. To traverse, 
mainly by valley routes, the geysers of the Upper 
Madison (or Fire Hole River), the Yellowstone Lake, 
cafion and cataracts, and the hot-springs that dot the 
region between these rivers, one may either ascend 
the Yellowstone, cross the mountains to the Madison, 
and descend the Madison, or vice versa. The first is 
what the parties of Washburne and Hay den did. 
The second is what our party did only we left the 
Yellowstone after following it down to the great 
canon, and returned by a different trail across the 
mountains to the Madison Valley, by which we re 
turned to the settlements. Here endeth the first 
lesson in geography. 

Sawtelle and his dog did not share in the trium 
phal departure from Virginia City, but awaited us 
at the camp on the Madison, nine miles from town. 
Next morning, being the 10th of August, we began 
our journey in earnest, and traveled eighteen miles 
up the valley, a fair day s work for the pack-ani 
mals, though on our way home we "pushed things" 
over the same ground at the rate of thirty miles 
daily. The valley of the Madison at this point is 
an inspiring scene. The river is accompanied on 
the east by the splendid chain of the Madison Moun 
tains, with their bold outlines, rugged brown-and- 
red rock-surfaces, snow-touched crests, and occasional 
tracery of piney canons. Opposite these is a succes 
sion of inferior but picturesque ridges, and between 


is the broad, fair, grassy valley, a very paradise for 
stock-raisers. To the north, it draws together into 
the dark and precipitous lower canon of the Madison. 
Southward (i.e., up the valley), the benched or ter 
raced structure of the terrain becomes more and more 
distinct, until at last three or four gigantic terraces, 
rising one above another from the stream to the 
mountains, stretch away for many miles on cither 
side along the valley. What a natural preparation 
for a railroad ! The engineer need only choose his 
level, and then "go it" on a gravel foundation hun 
dreds of feet deep. There is more or less volcanic 
rock all along the ranges; but as we ascend the river 
it becomes predominant, and forms at length high 
lava-walls, like the Palisades of the Hudson. Upon 
these lavas and the gravel terraces, the vegetation is 
scanty, though the clear mountain-streams which cut 
their way through deep side-canons at intervals of 
about ten miles are delightfully shadowed with pines 
and cottonwoods and fringed with verdure. The 
general aspect of the scenery, after the meadows are 
left behind, is desolate and grand. 

Impossible to describe is the quiet beauty of an 
evening or noon-day camp by a rushing stream in 
these sublime solitudes, the blazing fire, the lux 
urious repose of man and beast, the fragrant pipe, 
well chosen by some early poet of coppery hue as par 
excellence the emblem of peace ! Grouse strut and 
flutter in the bushes ; eagles scream and wheel in 


the sky ; processions of ducks make straight, swift 
course down the river ; the service-berry thickets and 
the freshly-turned stones and stumps betray the re 
cent presence of the fruit and insect loving bear (no 
bug-bear to us and our repeating breech-loaders) ; 
there are upon the trail delicate footprints of ante 
lope and deer, and heavy hoof-marks of the elk. 
From our green, cool covert we look lazily out upon 
the valley, hot with the meridian glow, or vast and 
hazy in the twilight, or mystical and solemn beneath 
the moon. 

On the fourth day we reached the middle canon of 
the Madison, where the river breaks through the* 
main chain of the Rocky Mountains ; and, to avoid 
the difficulty of the passage, we turned out of the 
valley, crossed the low divide known as the Reynolds 
Pass, and saw before us the gleaming waters of 
Henry s Lake. Here we found hospitable shelter in 
Sawtelle s ranch, and excellent amusement for a day 
in hunting and fishing upon his preserves. What 
with innumerable grouse on the hillsides, ducks and 
geese in the sedgy sloughs, snowy swans and pelicans 
upon the lake, and four-footed game of every variety 
in forest and field, the sportsman s taste can not fail 
to be gratified. If he is an adventurous Englishman, 
and must have danger, let him hunt skunks : there 
are plenty of them, and they strike fear into the 
stoutest heart. 

Who was Henry? and how came he to have a 


lake? Henry was a prominent fur-trading capitalist 
of early days, I believe, and had this geographical 
greatness thrust upon him. Henry s Lake is the 
source of the Henry, or north fork of the Snake. It 
is surrounded by lofty mountains, but connected 
with the outer world by four remarkably low passes, 
all practicable, and two of them (Snake River and 
the Reynolds Pass) positively inviting, for a railroad. 
Southward, the north fork runs with steady grade 
out to the great plains of Idaho. North-west, a pass 
over a low divide leads to Red Rock Lake, the head 
of a branch of the Beaverhead and the Jefferson. 
Northward, the Reynolds Pass communicates with 
the terraced valley of the Madison ; and eastward, 
the Henry Pass gives easy entrance to the great 
Madison basin, above the middle canon. Here end- 
eth the second lesson in geography, 

Our route lay through the latter opening; and a 
charming day s ride it was, from the placid lake, 
through the glens and glades of the pass, beneath 
the shining summits, along the willowy banks of 
the streams, by the great beaver-dams, and finally 
across the wide basin, densely covered with slender 
pines, until we camped again on the banks of the 
river we had left two or three days before. 

At this camp we got a taste of the mosquitoes and 
black flies, which taught us that the country did not 
swarm with game exclusively for us. After a fellow 
has been slaughtering the inhabitants of the wilder- 


ness for a week, it is, perhaps, a wholesome lesson 
for him to be slaughtered in turn. The helplessness 
of man against insects is one of Nature s sarcastic 


comments upon intellect. Camels we can manage, 
swallow even, if necessary ; but gnats are too many 
for us. Our unfortunate animals couldn t eat, but 
wound themselves up in their lariats, in frantic at 
tempts to get away from the multitudinous foe. Old 
Whitey showed his sagacity by quietly usurping the 
smoky side of the camp-fire, whence he was not to 
be enticed away. An hour after sunset, however, the 
cold stiffened all winged nuisances, an August night 
in these latitudes means frost, and, before they 
thawed out in the morning, we had sounded our 
" packs, saddles, and away!" 



THE great Madison basin is perhaps thirty miles 
wide by fifty long. The river enters it on the south 
by a narrow canon, which now lay before us, and 
leaves it on the north by the canon we had avoided 
in our detour by Henry s Lake. The southern canon, 
upon which we entered after crossing the basin, is 


nine or ten miles long, and extremely picturesque. 
Basaltic cliffs a thousand feet in height overhang the 
passage, at the bottom of which there is room for 
the rushing river, with grassy openings and groves of 
pine on either side. The forest and the wave alike 
teem with legged and winged game. Fish there are 
none to speak of, probably on account of the hot and 
mineral springs above, the effect of which is percep 
tible in the moderate (though not tepid) temperature 
of the water, the dense mists which arise from it in 
early morning, and the presence of certain aquatic 
plants along the bottom, which we (perhaps mis 
takenly) attributed to the warm springs above. The 
Lower Madison abounds in fish, and there is nothing 
to prevent them from ascending to this point, except 
the possible effect of the thermal waters. 

We named no end of grand pinnacles and preci 
pices in this beautiful canon ; but I fear oar names 
will not stick. Doubtless Hayden or somebody came 
along afterward, with a dictionary and a reporter, 
and dubbed them all over again; and ere long the 
Plantation Bitters man, with his pot and brush, will 
have obliterated distinctions utterly, and labeled all 
the prominent points alike. It is with a sad presen 
timent, therefore, that I recall the glories of Cathe 
dral Rock, where high in the air the basaltic columns 
strangely curve and meet to form in the face of the 
cliff the outline of a stately Gothic arch ; or Pul 
pit Rock, a bold elevated rostrum aftar the fashion 


which Mr Beecher detests ; or Thrasher s Hole, a gap 
in the western wall, through which was seen a fasci 
nating amphitheater of wooded hills, arid which got 
its name from the difficulty with which Thrasher, 
his mule, and his camera, were restrained from "go 
ing for it," to the infinite delay of the expedition ; or 
Family Buttes, a magnificent series of jutting peaks 
and buttresses, terminating the canon, beneath the 
shadow of which we made camp after the passage. 

Our journey had not been altogether without stir 
ring adventures, such as the christening of Duck 
Creek and the interview of Hardpan with a bear. 

The way to christen a creek is to immerse some 
thing in it; and the article immersed, in this case, 
was a member of the party, who desires me to sup 
press his name. We were trotting along the river- 
bottom, when an inquisitive coyote, or prairie-wolf, 
poked his head over the terrace above us. A rifle 
shot checked his curiosity without really frightening 
him much, and he kept pace with us upon his upper 
level in that graceful and leisurely way which char 
acterizes his tribe, the loafers of the wilderness. 
Sawtelle was suitably indifferent, as an old hunter 
should be, knowing well the small pecuniary value 
of a coyote-skin. But Sawtelle s dog raced after the 
trivial prey like mad; aud two or three of us, realiz 
ing that any thing is game which gives you a good 
chase, sprang up the terrace in eager pursuit, lie- 
suit: Mr. Coyote surveying us with calm wonder, out 


of rifle-range, and with the whole continent for his 
line of retreat; a brace of panting sportsmen, look 
ing and feeling ridiculous ; and, worst of all, Saw- 
telle s dog yelping away, with all the breath left in 
his body, after a dozen antelope that sailed away up 
the highland, alarmed by our too sudden emergence 
from below. There was nothing for it but an 
antelope-hunt by another relay of the party, and an 
ignominious return of the defeated ones to lead and 
drive the pack animals. 

The gentleman to whom I have dimly alluded 
happened to have the task of leading an ambitious 
bay horse, to whose noble but somewhat broken- 
winded spirit the pack was an unaccustomed insult. 
As we pushed along the valley we came to a narrow, 
lively stream, across which most of us passed with 
out difficulty. The docile steed which this gentle 
man rode waded peacefully through the flood, and 
the vicious beast he was leading bucked " suddenly 
on the hither shore. He would not let go the lead 
ing rope, since that involved a long gallop after a 
runaway ; and, firmly holding on, he exhorted the 
recusant in an inspiring tone to " git up and git ! " 
Unfortunately exhortations are most heeded where 
not needed ; the good horse got up and got, and the 
naughty horse sat down. Between the two, I found 
myself I mean the anonymous gentleman found 
himself suddenly disporting in the cool, cool wave. 
Blessings on those big Spanish stirrups out of which 


one slips so easily ! So we christened it Duck Creek, 
and went our dripping- way. Thank fortune, those 
fellows who went after antelope didn t get any that 
time ! There is a damp kind of misery which can 
not bear to look upon success; and drying one s self 
at a gallop in a biting wind makes the temper as 
creaky as the joints. 

The hero of Duck Creek was likewise he who 
climbed the dead cottonwood after a wounded eagle 
in its nest. Those who remained to scoff, under the 
tree, say it was beautiful to see him, embracing with 
legs and arms the wind-swayed trunk, proceed, after 
the fashion of a measuring-worm, while the bottoms 
of his pantaloons, catching the contagious upward 
tendenc}^ traveled kneeward along his noble limbs 
faster than he skyward on the cottonwood. Four 
times that heroic being ascended in vain ; four times 
he descended, with rapid friction, bringing much 
rotten and cotton wood : but the fifth time he car 
ried up in his indomitable clinched teeth the end of 
a lariat, which he fastened around the tree, and 
then, descending in triumph, planted himself on a 
neighboring knoll, victoriously tetered out, and cap 
tured the shot eagle and two eaglets. 

It was down at the camp on Bear Creek that 
Hardpan interviewed the bear. lie was not hunting 
bear just at that time, but eating berries with both 
hands and all his might and mouth. A rustling in 
the bushes indicated the approach of a bear. lie 


awaited the encounter -with stern courage, resolved 
to stab the bear with his jack-knife at the moment 
of the fatal hug; for, in changing his position to 
get a better view of the foe, he had accidentally left 
behind his hat and his gun. It was a very large 
bear, to judge by the rustling in the bushes. In 
fact, continuing to judge, with that rapidity which 
brave men show in the face of danger, he judged 
that there were several of them, all large. Unfor 
tunately, stepping across to a point about half a 
mile farther down the creek, to get a still better 
view, he lost so much time (a full minute and a 
half), -that the bears escaped. In a solemn proces 
sion to the berry ing-ground, we saw the very bushes 
that had rustled, and recovered the hat and rifle. 

Our practice at night w r as to pour water on the 
fire after supper, and picket the animals close around 
us where we lay on the ground. After reaching the 
Upper Madison, we took turns in standing guard, to 
watch against possible stealing or stampeding of the 
stock, and also, from time to time, to see to it that 
the picket-ropes were clear. When you want to 
pasture one hors3 for one night on an ample lawn, 
the business is easy enough. You drive your picket- 
pin deep enough to hold, and leave enough of it 
above ground to permit the firm fastening of the 
rope, but not to permit the winding up of the rope 
on the pin by possible circular promenades on the 
horse s part ; after which, you bid the horse, and all 


care on his behalf, good-night. Unless he is a very 
raw recruit at picket-duty, he will move about with 
perfect freedom over the whole circle of which the 
rope is the radius ; and you will hear him nibble and 
crunch the squeaking grass at all hours of the night. 
But, when you apprehend Indians, you can t afford to 
hunt up a smooth lawn for each horse. As the higher 
mountains are entered, the grass grows scanty, and 
it is necessary to make the best of such patches as 
occur. So the animals get picketed where bushes 
interfere with tho free circulation of the ropes, or so 
near together that they can (and accordingly do) get 
up mutual entanglements. Every such performance 
shortens the radius, and the realm of food. An ex 
perienced picketer generally makes one or two at 
tempts to disentangle himself, by traveling around 
in the direction that first occurs to him. If this hap 
pens to bo the right one, he may work out again to 
the full area of his destined supper : otherwise he 
winds himself up, and then (unlike a clock) stops 
going. It ir, the duty of the guard to go out, unwind 
him, and start him again, lest, standing in patient dis 
gust all night, he be found in the morning empty of 
grass and of spirit for the day s work. It is solemnly 
amusing to march in a moony midnight hither and 
thither, followed by a silent steed, through all the 
intricacies of the knot he has tied, with the aid of 
stumps, bushes, his own legs, and his neighbor s rope. 
Fancy yourself unraveling a bad case of shoestring, 


and obliged to pull a horse through every loop at the 
end of the string. The "Lancers" is nothing to it. 
For a real mazy dance, to puzzle the floor-committee, 
give me the nine-horse picket-cotillion. % 

At daylight the animals are let loose, and stray 
about, trailing their long ropes, in search of un tram 
pled grass for breakfast. It is easy to catch them by 
means of the ropes, though now and then an experi 
enced old fellow has learned the exact length of his 
lariat, and will not let you get near enough to clutch 
the end of it. 

This keeping guard at night without the compan 
ionship of the camp-fire is a chilly and dispiriting 
affair. The first watch is not very lonely. There is 
generally some wakeful comrade who sits up in his 
bed to talk ; or perhaps the whole party linger around 
the flameless embers, exchanging stories of adventure. 
But he who "goes on " from midnight till dawn, sur 
rounded only by mummies rolled in blankets on the 
ground, is thrown upon his thoughts for company. 
The night-noises are mysterious and amazingly vari 
ous, particularly if the camp is surrounded by woods. 
There are deer and elk going down to the water to 
drink ; there are unnatural birds that whistle and 
answer, for all the world, like ambuscading savages; 
there are crackling twigs ; the picket-ropes crawl 
through the grass with a dreadful sound; the grass 
itself squeaks in an unearthly way when it is pulled 
by the horses mouths. The steady crunching of their 


grinders is a re-assuring, because familiar sound ; but 
ever and anon it stops suddenly, all the horses seem 
ing to stand motionless, .and to listen. Their ears are. 
.quicker than yours: they hear something moving in 
the forest, doubtless the wily Sioux. You glide 
from tree to tree, revolver in hand, until you get near 
enough to see that they are all asleep. Old Bony is 
dreaming unpleasantly besides : it is an uncanny 
thing, a horse with the nightmare. You make the 
rounds. They all wake and go to eating again : so 
you know they were not scared except the blooded 
bay, who mistakes you for an Indian, and snorts and 
cavorts furiously. 

I remember well such a night, near the banks of 
the Yellowstone Lake, when we were doubly suspi 
cious, because we had heard a rifle-shot close by our 
camp, not fired by any member of our party. I was 
on guard at about one A.M., and keenly alive to all 
the blood-curdling sensations I have mentioned, when 
suddenly the trees above and the ground beneath 
were shaken by a brief but unmistakable earthquake. 
The shock was in the nature of a horizontal vibra 
tion ; and the emotion produced by the experience at 
such an hour, in the solemn woods, w r as a unique com 
bination of awe and nausea. I was not sorry that 
one or two of the party were waked by it : under the 
circumstances, I w r as grateful for a little conversa 



BY our camp under Family Buttes, at the upper 
end of the third great Madison canon, the river 
" forks; " a considerable stream, called the East Fork 
of the Madison, coming in at this point. We as 
cended this stream two or three miles, attracted by 
the appearance of a stream in the distance, which we 
found to proceed from a group of large hot-springs. 
These we studied with great zeal, and named with 
much ingenuity. Unfortunately, the greater wonders 
subsequently observed have driven these out of my 
memory; and one of my note-books, in which the 
whole thing is carefully recorded, with a view to im 
mortality, is, at the moment of the present writing, in 
the pocket of my other coat ; and I fear that coat has 
been surreptitiously sold by my wife, for pin-money, 
to a gentleman from Jerusalem who does business in 
our street ; and at any rate I don t want the thing, 
and wouldn t use it if I had it. It is my impression 
that we called one spring the Caldron, another the 
Kettle, a third the Safety- Valve, a fourth the Reser 
voir, and a fifth the Devil s something or other. Ne 
cessity is generally the mother of profanity in the 
nomenclature of hot-springs. But I remember the 


Bath-Tub, a deep crystal Lauy, on the brim of which 
we sat, and parboiled our feet in the steaming tide, 
until, the action of the water having in some strange 
way thinned the aggregate cuticle, and increased the 
sensitiveness of the membrane left, the fear of blis 
ters overcame the love of romance. 

Probably none of these springs are active geysers, 
though one or two of the group may be so, and some 
of them boil with great vehemence. The Caldron, in 
particular, lifts a pyramid of ebullition, several feet 
in diameter, to the height, occasionally, of two feet. 
The most interesting feature of the group is the prc;- 
cipitation of iron in the quieter parts of their reser 
voirs. We could see, for instance, in the Bath-Tub, 
bubbles of steam ascending from many small vents 
at the bottom, indicating the points where the heated 
water from beneath came up. As the hot stream 
escaped from subterraneous pressure, and came in 
contact with the cooler water above, it apparently 
precipitated a portion of its iron (doubtless held in 
solution under pressure as bicarbonate); and this pre 
cipitation took place around the jet of hot water, so as 
to form a tube, from the upper end of which the hot 
ter current continued to escape. The process goes on, 
of course, very slowly; and the tubes do not harden, 
but are flexible and slimy. In the largest reservoir 
they have accumulated great size, and lie along the 
bottom wherever the hottest currents have flowed. 
They look like reddish-brown slime-covered logs; but 


a little scientific investigation with a long pole dissi 
pates at once the log and the illusion. 

Returning to the main stream, or rather the Fire- 
Ilole River, since this is the name given to the west 
ern branch, from this point up, we ascended its 
course southward. For a dozen miles it traverses a 
wild and narrow canon, breaking through the moun 
tain-range which forms one wall of the Madison canon 
described in the last chapter. Our course lay up and 
down, and every whither ; sometimes in the stream 
itself, when the steep precipices gave no footing ; 
sometimes along a narrow grassy margin beneath 
the cliffs ; sometimes straight up a fearful " climb ; " 
sometimes straight down an awful slide ; through 
the thick forests, over or around the fallen timber; 
Thrasher s mule playing fantastic tricks, with only a 
hand s-breadth between her and everlasting smash, 
with the ruin of American art as a consequence ; the 
other animals occasionally infected with the desire of 
trying impossible passages, or of unloading them 
selves at any expense : but cool heads, and good tem 
per, and the diamond hitch, were finally triumphant 
over all. It was a glorious, though a fatiguing, dozen 
miles. Several fine falls and rapids were passed ; and 
frequently we left the trail, to steal out upon some 
projecting point, and gaze into the deep gorge, and 
the whirling, roaring, iridescent flood. The scenery 
of this region is never going to get justice from the 
critics. Everybody will rave about the geysers and 


the Yellowstone, and these lovely glades and wild 
ravines will be set down as ordinary in comparison. 
Nor can I afford to dally any longer by the way in 
this sentimental fashion, I must give up the itine 
rary style, and plunge at once, so to speak, into the 
hot-springs and geysers. And, before we go a step 
farther, I mean to get rid of a heavy weight of sci 
ence which has burdened my soul long enough. You 
shall not see a single geyser till you have heard the 
geyser theory. 

The word "geyser" is an Icelandic term, meaning 
to break forth : consequently, nothing is truly a gey 
ser which is not truly a "buster." As Hardpan says, 
after seeing the genuine article in the Fire-Hole 
basin, " Those small sizzlers they call geysers in 
California might just as well dry up or simmer 
down: they can t run a two-for-a-bit side-show along 
of this ! " 

The true geyser, then, is characterized by a pecul 
iar intermittent activity. It discharges periodically, 
with almost explosive force, a column of hot water 
and steam into the air; and, after the eruption is 
over, it remains quiet for a considerable time. Now, 
ask me four questions; to wit: Where does the water 
come from? What makes it hot? Why does it 
shoot into the air ? Why does it stop shooting ? 
and don t bother me with cross-questionings; for this 
is a subject that will bear more explanation than dis 


The water comes, no doubt, from the same source 
that supplies all ordinary springs ; namely, the clouds. 
This is proved by the location of the geysers and hot- 
springs at the foot of mountains, &c., where the per 
colating waters would naturally find an outlet. How 
deeply they have penetrated, however, before they ap 
pear in their heated condition, it is impossible to say. 
The fact that the surface all around is cold, except 
when actually wet with the hot water, or permeated 
with hot gases, seems to indicate a deep origin of the 
heat. It is probable, however, that only a part, if 
any, of the percolating springs actually penetrate so 
far. At comparatively shallow depths they are prob 
ably met by ascending vapors from below, at intense 
temperatures, and thus heated to a mean degree. 

According to some authors, the source of all this 
heat, like that of volcanoes and earthquakes, is cos- 
mical; that is to say, the store of heat still remain 
ing from the early incandescence of the earth, or, in 
other words, the fiery fluid interior of the globe. Ac 
cording to others, it is chemical, or the result of solu 
tions and decompositions in underground deposits. 
That the latter cause is sufficient to account for vast 
degrees of heat, there is no doubt; though there is 
reason to believe that volcanic phenomena are due, in 
part at least, to wider causes, and that the solf ataras, 
hot-springs, and geysers belong in the same class. 
My own observations incline me to believe that both 
the heat and the decomposition of subterranean rocks 


contribute to the temperature of thermal springs. 
In cases where waters contain much iron, sulphuric 
acid, sulphurated hydrogen, or alkalies, a considera 
ble decomposition of the rocks may be plausibly in 
ferred. When, however, as in most of the geysers 
of the Madison, the water contains little mineral mat 
ter, and that mostly silica, it is difficult to give an 
adequate chemical cause of the heat, without assum 
ing boldly that the results of decomposition have 
been precipitated on their way up to the surface. 

The peculiar discharge of the geysers, and their 
still more remarkable intermittency, is the result of 
the geyser tube and its connection. A thermal spring, 
particularly a silicious one, tends to form for itself a 
mound by the evaporation of its continual overflow; 
and through the center of this mound runs, more or 
less vertical and regular, the channel or tube of the 
spring, branching oft at the bottom into the duct or 
ducts through which the water is supplied. It has 
been supposed that the intermittent action of the 
geysers was due to subterranean reservoirs in which 
steam accumulated until its force was sufficient to 
cause an explosion ; but Bunsen showed, nearly twen 
ty-five years ago, that the tube itself is sufficient to 
account for all these irregularities. His experiments 
were made upon the Great Geyser in Iceland, the 
tube of which is from ten to eighteen feet in diame 
ter, and has been probed to a depth of seventy or 
seventy-five feet, lie ascertained the temperature of 


the water at various parts of the tube just before an 
explosion, and found that, strange to say, it was no 
where boiling hot. This expression requires some 
explanation. Our phrase u boiling hot" does not 
signify any particular temperature. In the first place 
different liquids boil at very different heats. Ether 
and alcohol boil long before water : mercury, and 
most other fluids familiar to us in daily life, require 
a much higher temperature. If we were to try to 
boil mercury in a lead or tin spoon, the spoon would 
melt before the mercury would boil. But, even with 
one and the same liquid, the boiling-point depends 
on the pressure. Water may be heated in a closed 
vessel to 400 without boiling. Our boiling point of 
212 Farenheit is the temperature at which water 
boils at the level of the sea at a barometric pressure 
of thirty inches of mercury. As we ascend in alti 
tude, the temperature of boiling water decreases. 

The boiling-point for any pressure is the tempera 
ture of saturated steam at that pressure. Assuming 
the altitude of the geyser basin at about sixty-five 
hundred feet, we have (2-3.64 inches barometer) 200 
for the temperature of the water at boiling-point. 
At different depths in the geyser tube, when it is 
full of water, we have (by rough calculation) the fol 
lowing boiling-points : 

Ten feet, 210 ; twenty feet, 229 ; thirty feet, 240; 
forty feet, 250 ; fifty feet, 258 ; sixty feet, 266 ; 
seventy feet, 273 ; one hundred feet (if the tube is 


so deep) 290 ; four hundred feet, 380 (about a hun 
dred and eighty-five pounds pressure) ; one thousand 
feet, 452, or about 453 pounds per square inch. 

Now, if the water at forty feet from the surface is, 
say, 245 hot, it can not boil ; but, if any thing could 
move it up to thirty feet, it would there begin to boil, 
and give off steam vigorously, because it would be 
several degrees above the boiling temperature for 
that depth. The pressure at forty feet from the 
water in the tube is thirty pounds per inch ; and 
that of the steam (at 245), only about twenty-seven 
pounds. But at thirty feet the hydrostatic pressure 
is only twenty-five pounds; and hence, if the water at 
forty feet were pushed up to this point, it would be 
hot enough to fly into steam, and the steam would 
have two pounds surplus pressure. The column of 
water above would, therefore, be lifted. If it were 
entirely lifted, so that the whole tube above thirty 
feet were full of steam, moving upward, the pressure 
upon the water below would be greatly reduced, and 
this would fly into steam with still greater excess of 
power. Practically, the two operations take place 
simultaneously; and from the middle, upward and 
downward, the whole geyser tube bursts into steam, 
and blows its contents out with great force. 

The necessary preliminary lifting of the geyser 
column is effected by portions of steam, generated at 
the hottest points in the side-ducts, and forcing their 
way into the main tube. Here they meet with cooler 


water, by which they are condensed, unless, before 
that takes place, they lift the whole column enough to 
cause an eruption. The entrance, condensation, and 
collapse of these bodies of steam, may be distin 
guished at the surface by a sudden "jump," and 
subsidence again of the water in the geyser-pool over 
the tube, accompanied by explosive reports from be 
low. Tyndall aptly calls these movements abortive 
eruptions. After numerous repetitions of them, dur 
ing which the water in the tube reaches its maximum 
heat throughout, some larger lift than usual hoists 
the whole affair with its own petard, and it becomes 
the inquisitive observer to stand clear. 

The duration of an eruption depends upon the 
amount of sufficiently hot water " banked up " in the 
subterranean channels which supply it. Its conclu 
sion is marked by a diminution of steam pressure in 
the tube and a condensation of the remaining steam, 
causing a suction downward, which draws back the 
water from the surface-pool. 




WE approached the geyser-basin with our expec 
tation at the boiling-point, and ready to discharge; 
for we had among the baggage two copies of " Scrib- 
ner s," containing Mr. Lang-ford s account of the 
wonders of the region, as seen by the Washburne ex 
ploring party. His article occupied two numbers, and 
we had t\vo copies of each : so four persons could be 
accommodated with intellectual sustenance at one 
time. For the other two, it was, as one of them 
mournfully observed, "Testaments, or nothinV 

Mr. Langford s articles (see " Scribner s " for May 
and June, 1871) were vivid and tascinating; and we 
found them, in the end, highly accurate. At the out 
set, however, we were inclined to believe them some 
what exaggerated; and Thrasher w r as divided between 
his desire to catch an instantaneous view of a spout 
ing column two hundred and fifty-six feet high, and 
his ambition to prove, by the relentless demonstration 
of photography, that these vents of steam and hot 
water were u not half as big as they had been cracked 
up to be." 

We were not at first aware that there are two gey 
ser-basins on the Fire-Hole River; the upper one, 


ten miles above the other, being the smaller, but con 
taining the largest geysers. It was this one which 
Washbu rue s party, coming from Yellowstone Lake, 
first stumbled upon, and, after viewing its splendid 
display, naturally passed by the inferior basin with 
little notice. But we, emerging from the forest, and 
finding ourselves on the border of a great gray plain, 
with huge mounds in the distance, from which arose 
perpetually clouds of steam, supposed we had reached 
the great sensation, and prepared to be enthusiastic 
or cynical as circumstances might dictate. 

We rode for a mile across the barren plain, picking 
our way to avoid the soft places. This is quite neces 
sary in the neighborhood of the hot-springs. Where 
they have deposited a white, hard crust, it is gener 
ally strong enough to bear horse and man ; but, over 
large areas, the ground is like what we call, in the 
East, "spring-holes; " and the treacherous surface 
permits uncomfortable slumping through, haply into 
scalding water. It is not very deep; but a small 
depth under such circumstances is enough to make a 
fellow " suffer some," like the "lobster in the lobster- 

The plain contains a few scattered springs; and 
along the river, its western border, there are many in 
active ebullition. The. principal group of geysers is 
at the upper or southern end, extending for some dis 
tance up the valley of a small tributary from the east. 
With cautious daring, we rode up the side of the 


great white mound, winding among the numerous fis 
sures, craters, and reservoirs that on every side of us 
hissed, gurgled, or quietly vapored, with now and 
then a slight explosion, and a spurt to the height of 
a dozen feet or more. Sawtelle s dog nosed suspi 
ciously around several of the basins, until, finding 
one that seemed not too hot for a bath, he plunged 
in, and emerged in a great hurry, with a yelp of dis 

A couple of dead pines stood, lonesome enough, in 
the side of the hill, " whence all the rest had fled." 
They had died at their posts, and to the said* posts we 
made fast our horses, and ascended a few rods far 
ther, until we stood by the borders of the summit 
springs. There were two or three large vents at the 
bottom of deep reservoirs or intricate caverns. It 
gives one an unpleasant thrill, at first, to hear the 
tumult of the imprisoned forces, and to feel their 
throes and struggles shaking the ground beneath 
one s feet; but this soon passes away, and the phi 
losopher is enabled to stand with equanimity on the 
rim of the boiling flood, or even to poke his inquisi 
tive nose into some dark fissure, out of which, per 
haps, in a few moments more a mass of uproarious 
liquid and vapor will burst forth. 

We lingered much longer in this basin than my 
brief notice of it indicates ; for, you see, we thought 
we had found the geysers ; and oh the hours that 
we spent " identifying " the individual springs that 


Langford had described 1 Since the largest eruptions 
we observed did not exceed forty-five feet in height, 
we set down his account as hugely overdrawn, and 
were deeply disgusted at the depravity of travelers. 
But Sawtelle remarked, in his quiet way, that, "if it 
w r ere not for that there article in that there magazine, 
these yer springs would be considered a big thing, 
after all ; and perhaps it was just as well to let the 
magazine go to thunder, and enjoy the scenery." 
This sensible advice we followed with much profit 
and pleasure ; and we are all now ready to admit that 
our happening upon the wrong lot of geysers first was 
a most fortunate occurrence, since we should other 
wise have been tempted to pass them by as insignifi 
cant. The truth is, that, in some of the elements of 
beauty and interest, the lower basin is superior to its 
more startling rival. It is broader, and more easily 
surveyed as a whole ; and its springs are more numer 
ous, though not so powerful. Nothing can be lovelier 
than the sight, at sunrise, of the white steam- columns, 
tinged with rosy morning, ascending against the back 
ground of the dark-pine woods and the clear sky above. 
The variety in form and character of these springs is 
quite remarkable. A few of them make faint de 
posits of sulphur, though the greater number appear 
to be purely silicious. One very large basin (forty 
by sixty feet) is filled with the most beautiful slime, 
varying in tint from white to pink, which blobs and 
spits away, trying to boil, like a heavy theologian 


forcing a laugh to please a friend, in spite of his 
natural specific gravity. We called it the Paint-Vat; 
and Hayden s people, I see, have called it the Mud- 
Puff. Paint-Mud, or Puff- Vat, or any other permuta 
tion or combination, will do. 

A geyser in its old age becomes a quiet, deep pool, 
or laiKj. This may occur by reason of the choking of 
the vent, or the gradual growth in altitude of the 
mound or tube, so that the hydrostatic pressure per 
petually prevents explosive discharges ; or any other 
causs leading to the opening of some new vent in its 
neighborhood ; or, finally, a local diminution of the 
heat, a change in the subterranean channels by \vhich 
the heated vapors reach the spring-water, or such an 
excess of the water-supply as prevents any part of it 
from being converted into steam. In Hayden s report 
it is suggested that the geyser eruptions must be most 
frequent and grand in the spring and autumn, when 
the supply of water is most abundant. It is possible, 
ho\vever, that a large and sudden supply of water 
may render them less frequent, or less grand, or both. 

The lauys, or extinct geysers, are the most beautiful 
objects of all. Around their borders the white in 
crustations form quaint arabesques and ornamental 
bosses, resembling petrified vegetable growths. (At 
the risk of spoiling the rhetorical effort of this pas 
sage, I will boldly say that they most frequently look 
like sponges and cauliflowers.) The sides of the res 
ervoir are corrugated and indented fancifully, like the 


recesses and branching passages of a fairy cavern. 
The water is brightly but not deeply blue. Over its 
surface curls a light vapor; through its crystal clear 
ness one may gaze, apparently, to unfathomable 
depths; and, seen through this wondrous medium, 
the white walls seem like silver, ribbed and crusted 
with pearl. When the sun strikes across the SCPHO, 
the last touch of unexpected beauty is added. The 
projected shadow of the decorated edge reveals by 
contrast new glories in the depths : every ripple on 
the surface makes marvelous play of tint and shade 
on the pearly bottom. One half expects to see a 
lovely naiad emerge with floating grace from her fan- 
tastically-carven covert, and gayly kiss her snowy 
hand through the blue wave. AVhat we did see, in 
one such romantic instance, was the whitened skele 
ton of a mountain buffalo. Was it a case of disap 
pointed love, and suicide? We voted otherwise, in 
our degraded cynicism, and decided that the old fool 
had come down from the hills to "take a little some 
thing hot," lost his footing (as folks will, who do 
that sort of thing), and got drowned, like Duke Clar 
ence, in his own toddy. " Served him right," says 
Hard pan: "there w 7 as too much water in his drink." 
Whatever may be the moral of it, no king or saint 
was ever more magnificently entombed. Not the 
shrine of St. Antony of Padua, with its white mar 
bles and its silver lamps, is so resplendent as this 
sepulcher in the wilderness. Thrasher thought it 


would make an elegant view, and would "take" 
amazingly as part of a stereopticonical exhibition, 
being a great natural curiosity. Everybody knows 
flies in amber ; but who ever heard of a buifalo in 
sapphire? Still, there are some things which Thrasher 
can not do; and of these there are a very few which 
he will not even attempt. One of them is to stand 
astride of a deep pool of hot water, greater in diam 
eter than the length of his legs, hold up a camera, 
and take a flying shot at a sub-aqueous buffalo. 
With unutterable woe in his countenance, he pro 
nounced the unaccustomed words, " It can t be done," 
and was with difficulty prevented from taking a drink 
of collodion (by mistake) in his despair. 

It was not until we had crossed the mountains to 
the Yellowstone that we discovered, through the 
courtesy of Lieut. Doane, whom we met upon that 
river, that we had not seen the grandest of the gey 
sers. So, from the Great Canon we struck straight 
across the ranges by a new route, and, emerging upon 
the Fire-Hole, followed it to the upper basin. 



THE centers of the two geyser-basins are about ten 
miles apart; though the distance along the river be 
tween them, in which no springs are found, does not 
exceed two or three miles. It is a lovely ride, fringed 
with groves made musical by the rippling stream, and 
watched over by the grandeur of the far hills. For a 
part of the way, the traveler winds along the slopes of 
vast accumulations of disintegrated geyser-sinter, like 
ashes, only stained in various colors with sulphur and 
iron, and mineral salts. At one place, several enor 
mous hot-springs, which have built themselves up on 
the river-bank, unite to pour over their incrusted rirn 
a steaming cascade into the main current. But such 
sights are grown familiar to us by this time, and we 
do not even ford the stream to take a closer look at 

Just as we were about entering the upper basin, 
some quick eye caught sight of four strange spots on 
the side of a snowy geyser-mound in the distance 
ahead. They looked like so many dark paddles laid 
in a row; but we recognized them, with a thrill of 
anticipated feasting, as wild geese, lying, with their 
necks extended, to comfortably snooze and simmer in 


the sun. It is not a common thing to catch wild 
geese asleep : so we made preparations to terminate 
slumber with slaughter. The bold Hardpan and ihe 

wise , like Diomed and Ulysses in the glorious 

tenth book of the Iliad, "both lay down without the 
path," and wriggled towards the enemy s camp, 
while all the rest of us Greeks awaited the result. 
There was a long interval of silence, broken only by 
the occasional crackling of a twig. We learned sub 
sequently that Ulysses insisted on crawling half a 
mile or so upon his stomach, and made the impetuous 
TyJides Hardpan do the same. At length the two 
belligerents emerged from the forest, in serpentine 
stillness, 011 the river-bank, just opposite the Trojans, 
who slept serenely, but at long range. Our warriors, 
sprawled at full-length, and stretching out their 
heads as far as their limited necks would allow, to 
reconnoiter the position, resembled ludicrously their 
sleeping victims. The gleam of two rifle-barrels was 
seen; a sharp double report broke the stillness; some 
white dust flew from the distant mound and eighty 
pounds Troy weight of uninjured goose-flesh got up 
hastily, and went squawking down stream. As the 
discomfited sportsmen returned, Hardpan remarked, 
with assumed cheerfulness, that, by Jove, he had 
scared em some! But this paltry consolation availed 
nothing with the well-grieved Greeks. So, our ex 
periment in the Homeric line being a failure, we 
shot a couple of ordinary ducks for dinner, and rode 
meekly forward. 


A short distance farther brought us into the Upper 
Basin. This is about three miles long by half a mile 
wide. Entering at the lower end, and passing numer 
ous quiescent springs, we recognized at once the cone 
of the Giant Geyser, which rises about ten feet above 
the surface of a low mound, and looks like the petri 
fied hollow stump of a big tree. Riding by it a few 
hundred yards over the white sinter that covered the 
ground, we camped in the edge of a grove, almost 
under the shadow of the architectural pile of the 
Castle Geyser. But, while we were removing packs 
and saddles, a roar from the north indicated some 
unusual occurrence; and, looking thither, we saw the 
Giant in full activity. A few moments brought us to 
the spot; and approaching the geyser on the wind 
ward side, to escape the driving spray, we were able 
to examine it closely. Out of its throat, five feet 
in diameter, was rushing a full column of mingled 
steam and water, the latter rising a hundred feet (by 
measurement taken of a less than maximum height), 
and the former shooting cloudily much higher, and 
then drifting a\vay with the wind. This monstrous 
eruption lasted three hours; and during its continu 
ance the volume of the river into w r hich the water 
flowed was nearly doubled. 

A dozen feet from the main cone w r as a small vent, 
which for a long time only vapored quietly, like a 
meditative teakettle. Suddenly, however, this small 
side-vent began to blow off steam with considerable 


noise and power, and immediately the force of the 
Giant Geyser was perceptibly weakened. This was 
a safety-valve, or rather a low-water detector such as 
we attach to steam-boilers. When the water sunk to 
a certain level under ground, the steam escaped 
through this side-channel, and thus the pressure in 
the main tube was weakened. We thought the erup 
tion was about to come to a close ; but new accessions 
of steam and water below revived its enthusiasm, 
the safety-valve shut up again, and the column rose 
to its former height, this process being several times 
repeated during the long continuance of the spring s 

Near the Giant is the Grotto, a geyser which has 
covered over its cone, so that the vent is partly hori 
zontal. Some of us put our heads in, and could see 
the boiling and muttering w r ater about twenty feet 
below. One of the party proposed to crawl through 
the cavern of sinter, with irregular side-openings, 
which housed this spring; but he was fortunately 
dissuaded. If he had tried it, he would have been a 
parboiled man, and of no further use to anybody, 
except to point a paragraph of soul-harrowing de 
scription in this article, and to stop that hole against 
some other fool, until the operation of time and hot 
water had reduced him to the merely ornamental 
condition of a skeleton, like that of the. buffalo. 
lately described, the only insoluble things about 
him being his bones, and how they got there. For 


the geyser suddenly began to play, and a scalding 
stream poured from the openings just now so safe and 

This geyser also had its safety-valve companion, 
in fact, more than one of them. The one which most 
attracted us was a deep and beautiful reservoir, into 
which ran one of the streams from the gushing Grotto. 
Supposing that the reservoir was thus being filled, 
we placed a pebble on the margin at the water s edge, 
that we might measure the rate of its rise ; but re 
turning in eight minutes, we found, to our surprise, 
that the water had fallen a foot. The geyser was 
emptying the reservoir from below, while it returned 
but a portion of its contents by the surface stream we 
had noticed. One of the scientific gentlemen said he 
knew 7 all about it, it was in Greenleaf s Arithmetic : 
" A cistern has two spouts : one is able to fill it in 
one hour, and the other will empty it in half an hour. 
Now, if the diameter of the cistern be 173,258,421 
feet, and the height 25,479,623 feet, and the weight 
of the water 62.49 pounds per cubic foot, and the 
rate of legal interest six per cent, and both spouts be 
running, how long will it take to fill the cistern?" 
He said it was only necessary to substitute x and y 
for some of these quantities, to make the case apply 
to the Grotto Geyser; and he promised to work the 
thing out for me when we got home. But now he 
says that part of his Greenleaf has been torn out ; 
and, besides, he is sure it is one of those things " that 


no fellow can find out," because it depends on the 
amount of water, which varies with the reports of the 
Signal Service Bureau. 

After we returned to camp, Old Faithful, in many 
respects the most beautiful geyser of all, gave us a 
brief but very satisfactory exhibition. This geyser 
is situated near the upper end of the basin, upon the 
top of a symmetrical mound; and its tube, being 
smooth and vertical, gives a remarkably straight and 
perfect jet, rising, sometimes, to the height of two 
hundred feet. The performance of Old Faithful 
lasts only about twenty minutes; but it is repeated 
generally every hour. It was in full sight from camp, 
and we could admire it at our ease, without leaving 
our late and welcome dinner. A lively breeze car 
ried the white steam away to one side, and left a 
clean, sharp, vertical edge on the other side, marking 
against the woods and the sky the column of the 
fountain, and giving to the whole the appearance of 
a gigantic plume. At intervals during the night we 
turned our heads, without rising, as we heard Old 
.Faithful s booming signal, and beheld through the 
trees the pillar of cloud, snow-white and sparkling in 
the starry night. 

Probably the geysers are not regular in their times 
of eruption. The Great Geyser of Iceland is notori 
ously lazy and whimsical ; and often parties are 
obliged to leave without having seen it discharge at 
all, after camping and watching beside it for many 


days. In our American geyser-basins, the springs 
are so numerous, that no one fails to see at least a 
dozen eruptions, though the largest are not the most 
frequent. Here is a list of some of the principal 
geysers of the Upper Basin, as seen by Washburne s, 
Hayden s, or our party. The heights have been de 
termined by actual though sometimes rude measure 
ment; but it must be borne in mind that they gener 
ally represent the maximum observed. Some of the 
geysers maintain this maximum height with surpris 
ing steadiness : others rapidly diminish in power. 

Giant. Diameter, 5 feet ; height, 140 feet ; lasts 3 

Giantess. Diameter, 18 feet; height of small jet, 
250 feet; lasts 20 minutes. 

Beehive. Diameter, 2 feet; height, 219 feet; lasts 
20 minutes. 

Grand Geyser. Diameter, 6 feet; height, 200 feet; 
lasts 20 minutes. 

Old Faithful. Diameter, 20 inches; height, 200 
feet; lasts 20 minutes. 

Grotto. Diameter, 4 feet; height, GO feet; lasts 30 

Castle. Diameter, 3 feet ; height, 50 feet. 

Fan. Height, 60 feet; lasts 10 to 30 minutes. 

Besides these, there are numerous geysers throwing 
their jets from ten to forty feet, and many springs 
which bear every indication of being geysers, though 
they have not yet been observed in violent action. 


A still larger number have once been geysers, and 
have now relapsed into the quiet old age of the laug, 
or have never been geysers, but hope to be some clay, 
when they have accumulated a tube of sufficient 
height, just as boys, when I was a boy, looked 
forward to the achievements of manhood as synony 
mous with tho possession of high standing-collars. 

It was hard for us to tear ourselves away from this 
interesting region; but duty called, and lack of pro 
visions and ammunition induced us to listen. So, 
from the Upper Basin we went back to Virginia City, 
by forced marches, in four days, at the rate of over 
thirty miles a day. Oar homeward journey was en 
livened by one small " Indian encounter/ which, if I 
should embellish it after the manner of frontier his 
torians, would cause the sympathetic scalps of many 
a Christian household to tingle. But "my con 
science, hanging about the neck of my heart," bids 
me confess that there was no fighting done, and that 
our running was executed with dignified firmness. 

This is not all of my story ; for I shall go back, as 
the novelists do, and take up the thread of the tale 
in the middle thereof, narrating in my next chapter 
our experiences of the great lake, cafion, and cataracts 
of the Yellowstone. 



THE great lake from which the Yellowstone River 
flows is about twenty-two miles long from north to 
south, and ten to fifteen miles wide from east to west. 
Several long peninsulas extend into it from the 
southern shore; so that the shape of the lake has been 
compared to a human hand. The imaginative gen 
tleman who discovered this resemblance must have 
thought the size and form of fingers to be quite insig 
nificant, provided the number was complete. The 
hand in question is afflicted with elephantiasis in the 
thumb, dropsy in the little finger, hornet-bites on 
the third finger, and the last stages of starvation in 
the other two. There are several islands in the lake ; 
and soundings taken at many points indicate a depth 
nowhere exceeding fifty fathoms. The altitude above 
sea-level is 7,427 feet. 

The scene presented to our eyes by this lake, as we 
emerged from the thick forests on the western side, 
and trod with exultation its sandy shore, was indeed 
lovely. The broad expanse of shining water, the 
wooded banks and bosky islands, the summits of lofty 
mountains beyond it, faintly flushed with sunset, the 
deep sky, and the perfect solitude and silence, com 
bined to produce a memorable impression. 


We camped near a group of hot springs, in one of 
which we cooked our beans for breakfast by suspend 
ing the kettle over night in the boiling tide. Beans 
take a good while to " do," especially at such alti 
tudes, where the temperature of boiling water is many 
degrees lower than at sea-level. We regarded this 
piece of cookery, therefore, as a culinary triumph. 

Near our camp was another hot-spring, illustrating 
in a curious way the precipitation of silica, to which I 
have alluded in previous articles. The water emerged 
at high temperature from a vent in the bottom of the 
lake two or three feet from tlie shore. Coming in 
contact with the cold water of the lake, it lost so 
much heat by the mixture as to be forced to precipi 
tate its silica; but this precipitation had always taken 
place at a certain distance from the vent. In the 
course of time, therefore, a wall of silica had been 
built up through the lake-water, like a coffer-dam; 
so that now the hot spring was completely protected 
against the cold water, and stood in the lake like a 
basin, with its surface several inches above the lake- 
surface, and its hot current spilling over this self- 
constructed brim. On the shore- side there was no 
such wall. 

The lake swarms with salmon-trout, weighing from 
one to four pounds each. Many of them are afflicted 
with a curious intestinal worm, of a different species 
from the two which are already recognized as para 
sites of the salmon genus in Europe. Too many of 


these tape-worms are not good for a trout ; but five or 
six do not seem to hurt him much. We had no diffi 
culty in rejecting, from the great number which \ve 
caught with hook and line in a short time, such as 
were unfit for food. The wormy fellows bite the 
best, which is strange, when one considers that they 
have already more bait in them than is wholesome. 

Thrasher was wild with enthusiasm about the views 
to be obtained from every point around the lake ; and 
it took the whole company to tear him away from 
each successive promontory. By judiciously indul 
ging him on occasions of peculiar importance, however, 
we succeeded in bringing him to the outlet, at the 
north-west corner of the lake, where the Yellowstone 
proper begins. Here we camped in a beautiful grove 
commanding a prospect of the lake, woods, moun 
tains, and river, so lovely as to linger yet in my memo 
ry, the last and the fairest picture of all. About 
six miles below the lake, and again at eight miles, 
there are groups of sulphur-springs and "mud- volca 
noes." The presence of sulphur in these waters leads 
to the formation of numerous salts, such as alum, &c., 
and the precipitation by sublimation of beautiful 
specimens of crystallized sulphur. These are very 
fragile; and it severely taxed the ingenuity of our 
party to pack them, in the absence of suitable materi 
als, so as to safely transport them. (" The absence 
of materials " is very poor stuff to pack things in, as 
you will find out if you try it.) 


It was while venturing, in search of specimens, too 
near the edge of a vehemently bubbling and roaring 
caldron, that Thrasher slumped through the thin 
crust, and took a steam-and-sulphtir bath up to his 
waist. He scrambled out so quickly, however, that 
he suffered no apparent effects, unless we were right 
in attributing to chemical re-actions the increased 
spottiness of his corduroys. 

The largest "mud volcano," or geyser, is situated 
on a steep hillside, and surrounded with trees. The 
crater is about forty feet in diameter at the top, ami 
contracts rapidly to less than half that size. By 
cautiously approaching the edge, and seizing the 
opportunity when the steam drifts away, a view may 
be obtained of the dingy and dismal interior. At the 
depth of about thirty feet may be seen the surface 
of the boiling mass, consisting of very thin mud in 
the most violent agitation. We saw nothing like an 
eruption ; and the only proof of such an occurrence 
is the condition of the surrounding trees, some of 
which have been killed, while others (even young 
and growing trees) are covered more or less with 

About eighteen miles below the lake, the Yellow 
stone plunges from its high level into tho upper 
canon. Only a few rapids give warning of the ap 
proaching change. The river runs between low but 
steep, and sometimes vertical rocky banks, until, 
bursting through a narrow gateway, it leapn down in 


a fine cataract a hundred and forty feet. Thence it 
flows tumultuously onward (re-enforced by Cascade 
Creek, which tumbles into it from the West), through 
a picturesque canon, for about one-third of a mile ; 
and then comes the grand cataract, three hundred and 
fifty feet in one unbroken plunge. The surface of the 
country around rather increases than diminishes in alti 
tude as we follow the river down. The canon is carved 
in it; and the banks rise from twelve hundred to 
fifteen hundred feet above the river in the bottom. 

A curious architectural effect is given to the scene 
by the peculiar form of the canon. The material of 
the country just below the falls is largely composed 
of soft clays, sand, tufa, volcanic ash and breccia, &c , 
v/ith occasional masses (layers or boulders) of basalt 
and other harder rocks. In this soft material the 
agencies of rain, frost, and mountain-streams, have 
wrought effectively. Every little brook or temporary 
stream that spills into the Yellowstone at this point 
from the surrounding highlands has cut a deep notch 
of its own; and between these side-gulches great but 
tresses are left standing in the main canon. These 
would soon be carried away by the surface-sweeping 
agencies mentioned, but for the fact that thc-ir forces 
toward the river are protected by terminal rock- 
masses too hard to be thus disintegrated and removed. 
But their upper surfaces, between these termini and 
the main bank, are sometimes deeply degraded, so 
that the rocky points stand like pinnacles. We went 


out upon one or two of them, first descending some 
what, then traversing a narrow neck (about a yard 
wide, with a precipice on either hand), and then climb 
ing up to the pinnacle. The feat is more perilous in 
appearance than in reality; for the soft, ashy material 
gives excellent footing, and, even if one slipped, one 
might slide to the bottom without injury. Standing 
upon the pinnacle is far more trying to the nerves. 
Here one finds one s self upon a rock not larger than 
a dinner-table, with an almost vertical precipice of 
more than a, thousand feet on three sides, and a slim 
connection with terra firma on the fourth. Most 
people prefer, under the circumstances, to sit down : 
so at least did we, and gathered composure by a brief 
rest, before giving ourselves up to the contemplation 
of one of the most magnificent scenes on earth. 

From our point of observation we command a view 
of several miles of the canon. To the north, it soon- 
disappears by a sharp turn, and penetrates gloomier 
scenes. We can see the black walls that overhang, 
far away, its awful depths. Southward, and beneath 
and around us, there is no gloom, but grandeur 
steeped in glory. A thousand feet below us. the river, 
tiny in the distance, stretches its ribbon of emerald, 
embroidered with silver foam. The great walls of 
the canon glow with barbaric splendor, in such hues 
as Nature s palette seldom furnishes. The bright 
yellow of the sulphury clay is splashed with blood- 
red stains of iron, and striped here and there with 


black bands of lava. It is the " Schwarz Roth 
Gold" of the ancient German banner, than which 
there never was or will be a more gorgeous blazonry. 
Above it the dark pine-woods finish the picture with 
a green fringe against the bine depths of the sky ; 
and, as the eye ranges up the long line of crested 
pinnacles and shining precipices, it rests at last upon 
the snowy column of the distant cataracts. It is too 
far aw^ay to make its warning heard. This is the 
banquet of the eye, and the ear is not invited. In 
the clear, upper air we approach the perfect stillness 
of which the poet sings, " that lucid interspace 
twixt world and world," where dwell the gods, 

" Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to rnar 
Their secret, everlasting calm." 

To bid farewell to such a scene is like descending 
from the heights of heaven. Precious indeed is the 
memory of so fair a vision, yet blent forever with the 
pain t)f yearning. O silent splendors of solitude ! 
shall we never greet you again? Verily, not as be 
fore; for ye are now part of a National Park, and ye 
have a superintendent, and are speedily to be provided 
with a turnpike and a hotel, and daily stages connect 
ing with the railroad ; and, when \ve revisit you, \vo 
shall pay toll to the man who owns the staircase at 
the pinnacle ; and the fair being who leans upon our 
arm will view the scene through her lorgnette, and 
say it is not so nice as Niagara, and hurry us away. 


ice ! Disconsolate drinkers hung about 
the bar-rooms, sipping insipid cocktails and 
cobblers, or playing "freeze out* in grim 
irony, to decide who should have the first 
lump out of that refrigerant cargo daily expected 
from the North. Butter pathetically , swam about 
on the platters ; cucumbers visibly wilted for disap 
pointed hope ; fresh meat grew prematurely old with 
sorrow ; the ice-cream shebangs shut up their busi 
ness, and all over town might be heard the dia 
bolical chuckle and supercilious snuffle of the tea 
kettles, celebrating the triumph of hot water over 
cold. Even the Templars couldn t stand it. That 
worthy association had no scruples about appropriat 
ing the convivial songs of all ages, and skillfully 
injecting "cold water" into the place originally oc 
cupied by " ruby wine," to adapt them for the uses of 
reform ; but the strongest stomach in the fraternity 


rebelled at the Bacchanalian choruses, " Warm water 
for me!" "Tepid and bright in its liquid light," "In 
the simmering stream our bro\vs we lave, and par 
boil our lips in the crystal wave." For once, the all- 
transforming wand of the Muse of Temperance was 
powerless, and the melodeon of the Lodge "dried 
up." This was the situation at Portland, Or. ; and 
it was, to borrow the most expressive word in the 
Chinook jargon, that ripest fruit of time, product 
of all languages, essence of concentrated speech, it 
was, I say, cult us : yes, Injns cultus, or, in feeble Saxon, 
highly inconvenient, disgusting, demoralizing. 

Happy Dalles City, meanwhile, reveled in ice. The 
living were content, the unburied dead were comforta 
ble, and topers were saved the additional sin of pro 
fanity ; for the seductive bar-room sign of " Iced Mixed 
Drinks" was not a taunting, fraudulent voice crying 
in the sage-brush. The philosophic observer, inquir 
ing as to the cause of this strange contrast, was in 
formed that a mysterious ice-cave in Washington 
Territory constituted a reserve upon which the Dalles 
fell back in seasons when the improvidence of the 
Oregonians, and some unusual irregularity in cli 
mate, combined, exhausted the supply of the great 
necessity of civilized life. 

Moved by various individual motives, but united 
in the desire to render thanks at headquarters for 
this blessed relief, a small party of us formed the 
plan of an excursion to the cave. There was a keen 


and portly Portlander, who cherished a secret inten 
tion of building a hotel, constructing a wagon-road, 
and creating out of the cave a fashionable ice-water 
ing-place. There was a young, enthusiastic tourist 
from the Mississippi Valley, who, having lived out 
West till the West was East, had come to explore 
the veritable Occident, beyond which there is none. 
There was a veteran inhabitant, who goes out every 
spring on snow-shoes, and "claims" the cave, under 
an ingenious application of mining law, as a mineral 
deposit, so as to obtain a monopoly of the ice-packing 
business. And, finally, there was the present writer, 
a person habitually animated by the purest impulses 
known to reconstructed humanity, who joined the 
party because he -wished to do so, than which no 
reason could be more conclusive, or free from base 

As we disembarked from the handsome steamer of 
the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, near the 
mouth of the White Salmon, we found ourselves as 
sembled upon the sandy bank, as follows : four men, 
four horses, and a huge quantity of bacon, crackers, 
&c., together with a pair of blankets apiece. The 
work of distributing the baggage, and packing it be 
hind our saddles, so that it would not pound on a 
trot, nor rattle on a gallop, nor quietly slip off on 
a walk, so that the matches would not ignite upon 
the coffee-pot, nor the bacon flavor the sugar, nor the 
sardines burst among the crackers^ nor the candles 


(for exploring the cave) be mangled by the knives 
and spoons (for exploring the victuals), was not ac 
complished without some difficulty. But at length 
all was adjusted except the frying-pan, which would 
not pack, and was accepted by the Veteran, with, some 
profane grumbling, as a very unnecessary evil, which 
ought by rights to be "slung to thunder," but was 
unjustly slung to him instead. That frying-pan owes 
its safety throughout our trip to the fact that it was 
borrowed, and must be returned. The Veteran rode 
ahead, brandishing it sullenly, like some new instru 
ment of warfare, and we followed in single file. 

It was a ride of some forty miles to the cave, 
through the bewildering beauty and grandeur of the 
Cascade Mountains. We galloped over high, breezy 
table-lands; we looked down on Josselin s nestling 
ranch, alive with cattle, and lovely with fruit-laden 
orchards; we followed the narrow trail along the 
steep mountain-side, the deep misty canon of the 
White Salmon below us, and beyond it the leafy 
mountains rising, ridge above ridge, until they were 
veiled in the smoke of burning forests far away. 
We threaded our way through thick wildernesses of 
undergrowth, parting the branches with our hands, 
and scarcely able to see before us the path, well worn 
for the feet by patient pack-mules, but not yet quite 
ready for a rider taller than a bundle of ice. Anon 
we emerged into beautiful openings carpeted with 
bunch-grass or wild oats, and dotted with stately 


oaks and pines, the ground kept smooth and lawny 
by woodland fires, that creep silently from tuft to 
tuft of grass or dry leaves, or smolder along the 
course of fallen trunks, and kiss with burning, de 
ceitful passion, as they pass, the feet of the giants of 
the forest, that disdain to notice such trifles while 
they can look abroad upon a measureless world and 
sky. But now and then, favored by drought and 
wind, the creeping fires grow bold, and spring like 
tigers upon some feeble, dry old tree, wrapping it in 
flame from root to crown ; or they gnaw at a sturdy 
trunk till its strength is undermined, and then, some 
fair, quiet day, like that on which we rode through 
these solitudes, the overstrained column gives way 
suddenly, and with a groan, a rustle of unavailing 
resistance, a vain wringing of leafy hands, and wild 
tossing of rugged arms, a crackling, a crashing, a 
great rush and sweep, and a final heavy boom as of 
far artillery, waking the echoes of the pitying hills 
a tree falls ! Beautiful, but ah ! how sad, were the 
belief, that imprisoned within it was a conscious 
Dryad conscious, but not immortal to feel her 
life carried downward in that mighty fall, into the 
hopeless abyss of annihilation ; or, sadder yet, to lie 
thereafter prone in the forest, and wait the deliver 
ance even of utter destruction at the merciful hands 
of Time and Decay! 

But now we stand upon the crest of a high, steep 
ridge, down which, with slow and careful steps, we 


must lead our horses. At the bottom rushes the 
swift White Salmon, which we cross upon a frail, 
swaying bridge to climb the rocky height upon the 
other side, and mount again to gallop through the 
woods. West of the river the surface rises in irregu 
lar terraces, the results of successive basaltic over 
flows. The rocky ridges, peeping through the soil, 
cross our path at intervals ; and the fine dust rising 
from the trail beneath our horses feet is the same in 
character as that which daily chases the wagons on 
the roads over the vast volcanic highlands between 
the Columbia and the Snake. These rugged out 
crops are the haunts of the graceful rattlesnake and 
the vivacious yellow-jacket. My acquaintance with 
one individual of the latter, though brief, was long 
enough to be fatal to him, and memorable to me. 
Our party was quietly jogging through the forest, and 
my eyes were fixed, with mild lack of interest, upon 
the crupper of the steady beast that bore the tourist, 
when suddenly that respectable charger stopped, tried 
to kick with all his feet at once, reared, plunged, 
bucked, and revolved his tail with furious rapidity 
in a plane at right angles with the axis of his body. 
A moment after, my own steed began a similar series 
of antics, under the attacks of a host of little ban 
dits in golden mail, whose retreat we had invaded. 
I laughed aloud at the novel situation ; but the insult 
was terribly avenged. Straight out of the empty air 
came a raging cavalier to answer the challenge, and 


we fought it out in half a second. He insisted on 
his right to choose ground, weapons, and distance ; to 
wit, my hand, his sting, and considerably less than 
nothing. His arrangements were so well made that 
ho was well "into" me before I got "onto" him. 
Result : one small dead yellow-jacket, of no account 
whatever, and a hand and arm nearly as useless, i 
<k gained flesh " for an hour with astonishing speed 
losing sight of knuckles and sinews; and, had I that 
day presented my hand to an aged, purblind father, 
he would have had cause to say, " The voice is the 
voice of Jacob ; but the hand is the hand of the boy 
in Pickwick." Some good whiskey was wasted (as 
the veteran opined) in external lotions ; but for a day 
or two I could only hang up the useless member, and 
make believe I had lost an arm at Gettysburg, and 
deserved well of a grateful republic. Since that 
time, I have had opportunity to study the yellow- 
jacket ; and I know that, like other desperate charac 
ters who hold life cheap, he is to be respected and 
feared. He who would merely kill you may be a 
coward, after all, and you need not leave the country 
on his account ; but he who hates you, and, in com 
parison with that passion, cares not whether you kill 
him or no, is dangerous. Avoid him if you can, treat 
him kindly when you may, smash him when you 
must ; but be sure, that, nine times out of ten, he will 
first put dagger into you. 

We strike into the well-trodden trail of the In- 


dians, and frequently meet cavalcades of them re 
turning, heavy-laden, from the great huckleberry- 
patches, where they collect their winter store. Others 
of them are spearing or netting salmon at the cas 
cades of the Columbia and Des Chutes, and, with 
dried fish and fruit galore, they will pass a merry 
winter in their squalid manner. These fragmentary 
tribes of the Upper Columbia Klikatats, and what 
not are not so handsome as the Nez Perce s, farther 
to the north-east; but there are now and then fine 
faces among them, laughing-eyed young squaws, 
old men with judicial brows, straight, strong ath 
letes, and the children all promise a future beauty 
which privation, hardship, and disease too surely 
erase as they grow up." Was there a time when the 
Red Man roamed, &c., contented and happy, valiant 
and handsome, the perfect and worthy child of Na 
ture V Show us the relics of former decent habi 
tations, and good victuals, and we may, perchance, 
answer in the affirmative. But perpetually living out 
of doors, without clothes to speak of, and subsisting 
upon food in precarious supply and frequently of 
inferior quality, is not calculated to develop a high 
type of physical, any more than of mental manhood. 
If this doctrine be held to cast a slur upon Adam, 
who represents to us the state of savage innocence to 
which some people think we ought to return, I can 
only say that Adam s career was a disgraceful one. 
He had a better chance than the rest of us, and he 


ruined himself and his descendants by a piece of real 
Indian laziness and folly. Lolling about, and eating 
the spontaneous fruits of the earth, instead of tilling 
Ihe garden with industry, is just his sin, and theirs. 
This copper-colored Adam, who was placed in the 
Eden of the New World, has mismanaged it in the 
same way. He and his dusky Eve have loitered and 
idled away the centuries, living carelessly upon the 
bounty of the passing time. Verily, by reason of 
family resemblance to Adam (and, for that matter, to 
Cain also), the Indians should be set down as a very 
early offshoot from the Eden stock, transplanted be 
fore the parent tree had begun its better growth. 

"Too much preaching and philosophizing," says the 
Tourist, who is interested in .the squaws and babies, 
and not at all in Adam. In deference to his wishes, I 
subside into silence and a trot. These Indians all talk 
Chinook, which is the most fascinating of tongues. 
Being the product of a deliberate agreement of men, 
a compromise, it is said, between the Hudson s Bay 
Company s agents, the Jesuit missionaries, and the 
once powerful Chinook tribe, it is, of course, supe 
rior to those misshapen dialects that spring up of 
themselves, no one knows how. From the French, 
Spanish, English, Indian, and Hawaiian, these wise 
etymologists took what was best in each, and the 
result comprises melody, force, and wondrous laconic 
expressiveness. It is none of your tame tongues, that 
can be spoken without gesture. Little boys declaim- 


ing in jargon could not possibly retain in nervous 
grasp the seams of their trouser-legs. One of the 
most frequent words is kahkwa, meaning " thus," or 
" like this," and invariably accompanied with picto 
rial illustration of movement or feature. Let us ad 
dress this ancient chieftain, solemnly riding at the 
head of a long train of " cayuse " horses, laden with his 
household, his "traps," and his huckleberries: " Kla- 
liowya sikhs?" (" How dost thou, venerable sir?") "kali 
mika klatawa?" ("and whither journeyest? ") " Nika 
klatawa kopa Simcoe. Mika King George, lilikum, Boston 
tilikum?" ("I travel to the Simcoe Reservation. Are 
ye of King George s men, that is to say, Englishmen, 
or of the Boston tribe, that is to say, Yankees? ") 
" Nesika Boston tilikum. King George cultus." ("We 
are Americans all, and regard King George with") " Okook mika klootchman?" 
we ask, (" Is yon beauteous being thy bride ? ") 
" Nawitka" ("Yes.") "Siah kopa lamonti?" ("Is it 
far to the mountains?" lamonti, from the French 
la montagne.) " Wake siah ; wayltut hyas kloshe, okook 
sun ; kali cldlchil kahkwa tomolla keekwillie kahkwa ; 
tomolla moosum kopa lamonti." (" Xot far ; good 
road to-day, steep; to-morrow, low and level, thus 
and thus ; to-morrow night a camp at the moun 
tain.") A very commonplace conversation, but full 
of music, as you will discover, if you read it aloud, 
Mademoiselle, with your sweet voice. But the Vet 
eran is loping far ahead. Jargon has no charms for 


him: he has prattled too many years with these babes 
of the wood. 

It is thirty-five miles from the mouth of the White 
Salmon to the ice-cave; and over this trail by which 
we travel the ice is " packed " upon the backs of 
mules and horses. We meet upon the road the 
leaded train. On each beast two sacks, each of 
which contained, at starting, a block of ice weighing, 
perhaps, t\vo hundred pounds, but destined to melt 
away to half its original dimensions before it reaches 
the steamboat-landing. By this simple device, as 
the toilsome day wears on, the burden diminishes, 
andj while it grows lighter, distills refreshing cool 
ness on the bearer. The dividends of the business 
would be larger, however, as the Portlander acutely 
remarks, if the ice were better packed at the cave. 
But this is a fair sample of the mining industry of 
the coast. Happy that enterprise, whereof the drip 
pings only equal the savings! 

The sun drops into the hazy west as we ride into 
a forest glade, and the Veteran exclaims, " Here she 
is ! " We resolve upon an immediate preliminary 
examination of the cave, and subsequent supper and 
sleep. All that presented itself was an opening in 
the ground a dozen feet square, formed by the fall of 
a portion of the roof. We had passed, within a few 
hours, numerous openings of this kind, the mention 
of which I have omitted for artistic reasons. I would 
not fritter away the reader s interest in minor caverns 


on the way. The examination of several, however, 
qualifies me to give wise explanation of their nature. 

Thcso caves are channels in the basalt, through 
which the latest flows of melted matter passed. The 
phenomenon of a stream of lava walled and roofed 
with congealed material of the same character may 
be observed at almost any active volcano. I have 
seen it on the sides of Vesuvius during a quiet erup 
tion. If the source of such a stream is suddenly 
choked, the lava will continue to flow for some dis 
tance, protected from rapid cooling by the crust 
above, and thus a portion of the channel will be left 
empty. It is not difficult to recognize this process in 
the basalt caves of Washington Territory. Their 
walls are covered with the traces of the departing fluid 
matter, and on their floors may be found masses of the 
congealed lava, still fibrous from its last vain effort 
to follow the current. It looks, my young friend, 
like that piece of abortive molasses candy which 
you threw away in despair, because it got so stiff 
and would not "pull." But whence the ice that 
strange dweller in these homes of fire? That, also, 
you .shall know. 

Only a few of these caverns contain ice ; and they 
are connected at both ends with the open air, by 
means of passages formed by the falling-ill of the 
crust, or the flssuring of the rocks by frost, or, finally, 
by the gradual denudation of the surface, exposing 
the ancient channels themselves. The intense rei ri- 


gerating airs of winter are thus allowed free passage. 
Alternately with these, the percolating waters of the 
surface find their way into the caves in such small 
quantities that they freeze, layer upon layer, solid 
from the bottom ; and the store of ice thus accumu 
lated thaws slowly during the summer. This sum 
mer thaw is retarded, not only by the covering which 
protects the ice from the direct rays of the sun. but 
also by the fact that the melting ice at one end of 
the cave, through which the summer draught enters, 
itself refrigerates the air, and maintains a freezing- 
temperature at the other end. We noted in the 
main ice-cave, which we explored, a decided differ 
ence in the degrees of thaw at different points. 
This difference was due to the cause above men 
tioned; and I had the honor to determine it by slid 
ing unintentionally down a glacial stalagmite, and 
observing practically the degree of moisture upon 
its surface. The popular report, that, as fast as ice 
is removed from the cave, it continually and at all 
seasons forms again, is without foundation. The 
amount of it in the cave is not very great, though as 
yet undetermined; and what there is, perpetually, 
though slowly, wastes away. The main body of ice 
has a level surface, indicating subterranean drainage 
at a certain point, above which water does not remain 
in the cave. There are a few stalactites, and still 
more numerous stalagmites, here and there. One of 
these is a superb, transparent hillock, rising nearly 


to the roof, and christened "the Iceberg." Here I 
took my slide. 

The entrance used by the ice-miners is the opening 
in the roof already alluded to. At this point the 
channel turns at right angles, and this sharp turn 
left the roof with less support, so that it fell in. We 
followed the cave more than two hundred feet in one 
direction from this entrance, and perhaps five hun 
dred in the other. The short arm of it contains 
most of the ice, and the long arm simply reaches out 
through fallen rocks and rubbish to daylight. The 
terminus of the cave in the other direction was 
reached by the Tourist, who, being a small man and 
an ambitious, hatcheted his way over the iceberg, and 
crawled out of sight into a fissure beyond, from the 
depths of which his voice was presently heard, an 
nouncing that it was " too tight a fit" for him to go 
farther. Tableau: Tourist in the hole, triumphant; 
Writer perched on the iceberg, curious, but cautious; 
portly Portlander, halfway to the entrance, resolving 
to have that hole made bigger when the hotel is 
built; and Veteran at the entrance, not caring a 

The dimensions of the cavern are not large. It 
does not exceed thirty feet in width, nor (at present, 
\vith the bottom full of ice and fallen fragments of 
basalt) twenty in height. Others in the neighbor 
hood are larger, but do not contain so much ice. 
From the nature of their origin, it is not likely that 


any of them possess extraordinary dimensions, ex 
cept in length. In this direction they extend for 
miles; though they can seldom be followed under 
ground, without labor in removing rocks, &c., for 
more than a few hundred feet. It was in the present 
instance the indefatigable Tourist, who, with the do 
cile Writer in his wake, made a second visit to Hades 
after supper, and, entering by the familiar chasm, 
found the new exit far to the south, and emerged 
thereby, to the great amazement of the party by the 
camp-fire, under whose unconscious feet they had 
passed, to re-appear in an unexpected quarter. 

If you ever visit the cave, don t let the Veteran 
persuade you that it is necessary to ride two miles 
farther to camp, on account of water. There are 
pools of clear ice-water within it; and behind a tall 
pine, not far away, you will find two wooden troughs 
half sunk in the earth. One of them is very leaky; 
the other not so much. Let one of you stand at the 
bottom of the cave, and another lower from above 
the coffee-pot, made fast to a lariat. A third can 
run to and fro with the precious liquid ; and in a few 
minutes you will have water for your horses in the 
trough. The Veteran will sit on a log, scornfully at 
first, but finally snort his approbation. At least, that 
was the order of operations on the present occasion. 

The joys of camping out I do not undertake to 
describe. In this effeminate day, when people sit in 
their parlors and read about things, instead of doing 


them, thank goodness there is something left which 
can not be put into words ! There is a period of per 
fect peace, when, rising at midnight, and putting a 
fresh log on the fire, one gazes placidly about upon 
his sleeping comrades, lights a pipe, and communes 
with himself, the dancing flame, and the solemn, 
silent forest. Interjected between the jollity of the 
evening rneal and the business-like activity of break 
fast, packing, and mounting, this midnight pipe of 
peace is like a whiff from another w 7 orld. Ho\v 
ridiculously different from sitting up in bed, and 
lighting the gas ! 

Another thing which I omit is a description of fair 
St. Helen s and grand Mount Adams. How they ac 
company us with their eternal beauty all the way ! 
How delightful is the change from the gloomy caves 
to the paradise that lies just beneath the edge of the 
melting snows on Mount Adams ! There innumerable 
varieties of flowers bloom, even at this late season, 
the whole Flora of the coast, but dw arfed by their 
Alpine locality into forms of infinite delicacy, and, 
hovering among them, multitudes of humming-birds, 
who have gathered here to find again the blossoms of 
June, vanished long since from the South. Streams 
alive with trout (liyiu tenas salmon) and white goats 
on the snowy fields above, to tax the skill and daring 
of the more ambitious sportsman I could give you 
a fine description of all these things; but T must stop 
here. And morally it is quite as well, for the smoke 



in the air prevented us from seeing Adams, or visit 
ing the Paradise of Humming-birds but which is, 
nevertheless, there ; and so you will find out, when, 
next July, you add to your summer trip along the 
grand Columbia a charming three-days excursion to 
the region I have faintly depicted. 


HE ascent of the Rocky Mountains from the 
east begins so far away, that it is useless to 
include the whole of it in this brief sketch. 
Even at Omaha, one is nine hundred and 
sixty-six feet above sea-level ; and, in traveling west 
ward to Cheyenne, one trundles smoothly up hill, 
until, by imperceptible degrees, the altitude of six 
thousand and forty-one feet has been attained. The 
bugbear of the Rocky Mountains, and the way it 
vanishes when assailed, are a perpetual joke on man 
kind. One is amused, in the midst of the monoto 
nous iteration of buffalo- grass and sky, by the re 
currence of the reflection that this is the forbidden 
barrier between East and West, about as much of 
a barrier as the hole in the fence through which one 
used, in comparative infancy, to kiss the little girl 
that lived next door, a positive opportunity, an in 
vitation, not a hindrance. 

But if you think, fair reader, that the rest of the 
fence is like this easy gap in it, just come along with 

April, 1871. 



me, and climb one of the pickets. We are going, 
two or three of us, to ascend Gray s Peak. 

From Cheyenne to Denver is a ride over the Plains 
of about a hundred and ten miles. The new railroad 
is excellently built and stocked. The view from the 
car-window is enlivened by glimpses of prairie-dogs 
erect on stern at the doors of their burrows, and now 
and then an owl blinking in the sun. The dogs and 
owls do live together in the proportion of a great 
many dogs to one owl : wisdom is in the minority in 
this world. But don t you believe that story about 
the rattlesnakes being members of the same happy 
families. As far as I can find out, the snakes inhabit 
the holes, as the first of them may have lived in Eden, 
after the ejection of the original tenants. Believe 
what good you choose about all other branches of 
creation, but never you 1st up on snakes : that way 
lies heresy. 

There are antelopes too, charming compounds of 
timidity and curiosity, their slender legs carrying 
them swiftly away as the train approaches, and their 
slender noses, with skillful leverage, whirling them 
about to sniff and stare. But we do not need these 
petty distractions; for, lo ! vision denied till now 
through all the weary way the rreat mountains 
themselves now loom up, silent and majestic on the 
\vest, and accompany us, hour after hour, with their 
shining crests, and purple canons, and floating wreaths 
of cloud. The sun sets behind them, and their glo- 


ries vanish in a cold, gray monotone. You should see 
them at sunrise, if you would learn their infinite beau 
ty. Then the but this won t do : we have got to 
climb Gray s Peak, and we are using up all the adjec 
tives beforehand. That s Gray s Peak yonder ; and 
that other, close by, is Irwin s. Away to the north is 
Long s; and terminating our view of the range to 
the south is Pike s, grandest in outline of them all. 
This view of two hundred miles of the Rocky Moun 
tains in one picture, from the Plains by Denver, is 
not surpassed in the w r orld. The Alps seen from the 
top of Milan Cathedral are lovely, but too faint and 
far. There is a place on the old road from Dalles 
City to Canon City in Oregon, where a similar pano 
ramic view of the Cascade Range may be obtained, 
including Shasta, Jefferson, The Sisters, Hood, St. 
Helena, Adams, and even (to a good eye, favored with 
a clear day, a first-rate glass, and a fine imagination) 
Baker, and Rainier. That view is equal to this ; but 
it is a great deal harder to reach. So, considering all 
things, we may decide that the display of the moun 
tains before Denver is the finest thing of the kind 
ever provided by Nature, and developed by railroads. 
This thrifty settlement, by the way, is the new col 
ony of Greeley. Two hundred houses already, and 
not a solitary one last spring. The inhabitants all 
have more or less capital, and so they will escape the 
poverty-stricken children of most pioneer settlements. 
There are only one or two Democrats in town, not 


enough to keep the Republican party from splitting. 
And there are no liquor-stores at all, a miracle in 
these parts. Is it partially accounted for by the very 
near neighborhood of Evans (only a couple of miles 
away), formerly a temporary terminus of the railroad, 
and a very busy place, where now there is scarcely any 
thing left but saloons and bars? Let us hope that the 
Greeleyites will let Evans alone. 

But here we are at Denver, a pretty town, more 
substantially built than any other of the interior, not 
even excepting Salt Lake. Denver has three rail 
roads already, the Denver Pacific to Cheyenne / the 
Kansas Pacific to Kansas City and St. Louis, and the 
Colorado Pacific to Golden City, all shortened, to 
save the valuable time of hotel clerks and runners, 
to the D. P., the K. P., and the C. P. Remember, 
moreover, that, if you take the D. P., you must be 
going to Cheyenne to connect with the U. P. : so mind 
your P s and cues, or you ll lose your baggage. 

The Colorado Pacific, with sublime audacity, strikes 
straight at the heart of the mountains What it has 
to do with the ocean whence it borrows half its name, 
can only be seen by continuing the line of the road 
through a dozen or more of the highest ranges in the 
country. This process is easy on a map with a lead- 
pencil ; but drawing a line is not drawing a train. 
However, there is inspiration in names, and nobody 
knows what may happen. A few years ago any Paci 
fic railroad was chimerical : a few years hence all of 


them may be achieved and trite, and we may be 
laughing at the Kamtschatka Baltic, or the Cape of 
Good Hope Mediterranean, or the Patagonia Arctic. 

Having had our joke, let us take our tickets. Fif 
teen miles, or thereabout, is the distance to Golden 
City, the present terminus of the railroad. The route 
winds among grassy foothills capped with basalt, that 
seem to be a compromise between rugged mountain 
and rolling plain. Golden is nestled among them, 
a thriving, ambitious town, endowed with fire-clay, 
coal-mines, and a fine seminary. A territorial school 
of mines is about to be established here; possibly the 
students will find the locality more agreeable, but 
less profitable, than Georgetown or Central, where the 
arts of mining and metallurgy are extensively illus 
trated in practice. 

Not desiring to visit Central at present, we will 
cross over from Golden to the main stage-road for 
Georgetown. The excellent coaches of the Colorado 
Stage Company bear us to Idaho City, and hence up 
the long, magnificent Virginia Canon to Georgetown. 

Idaho (let us drop the " City : " most of these moun 
tain towns were founded for metropolitan purposes, 
and their high-sounding titles now have a ring of dis 
appointment; so that the inhabitants save themselves 
both time and mortification by dropping the sugges 
tive appendix: hence Denver, Golden, Central, Vir 
ginia, Ruby, Empire, Diamond, Star, and what not; 
hence, also, Idaho) is picturesquely situated at the 


meeting of two or three canons, the main one being 
that of Clear Creek. Certain hot-springs give the 
town a permanent importance as a watering-place : 
and numerous mines in the neigborhood bestow upon 
it the flickering reflections of their fluctuating pros 
perity. The ten miles of Clear Creek Canon that lie 
between this and Georgetown are full of fine rock 
scenery, not unlike portions of the Via Mala in Switz 
erland, though here the snowy peaks are not in view. 
People say, moreover, that the legendary and his 
toric charms which add so much to the attractions of 
Nature in foreign lands are wanting in our own; but 
that is a mistake. If you don t believe it, talk to the 
driver. The guide told you, somewhere in the Alps, 
did he? of a peasant who found the treasures of the 
mountain-elves, and when he \vent to look for them 
again, with a party of friends to carry them away, 
lo ! there was nothing but barren rock. Bless you, 
that happens here every day ! Up yonder, a thou 
sand feet over your head, is a white rock. That is 
the outcrop of the Salamander Ledge. The man 
that owned it knew 7 it was the mother-lode of the 
Kocky Mountains; the geologist who examined it was 
sure it was the real "igneous fatuous " rock, and no 
mistake; and the company that bought it proposed 
to pay the national debt, after satiating their stock 
holders. But there never Vas a pound of ore discov 
ered in it, except the specimens that went East, and 
there is a touch of the legendary in them even. Beat 
that story in the Alps, if you can. 


They talk, too, about ruined castles, stately old 
rookery on a hill, desolate cloister in the valley, 
knight went to Palestine in olden days, villain way 
laid knight, began suit to lady, rascally priest mixed 
up in the business, and sp on. Not a bit more pa 
thetic than the history of yonder magnificent pile, the 
Megatherium Mill, with its pristine splendor, knights 
and ladies (pardon me, Madam, for alluding to them), 
its suits and battles, its final abandonment and pres 
ent desolation. The lively dwelling-house beyond is 
a monastery now, and a monk in red flannel shirt and 
long beard smokes a pipe there. 

Ruined aqueducts of the Campagna? We can 
match them too. Look at these flumes and ditches, 
and grim, toothless wheels, sported by the current 
they once controlled! See the heaps of boulders, 
every one of which has been lifted by zealous hands, 
if perchance the philosopher s stone might lie beneath. 
Yes, the romance of the past is here. These wild 
scenes are clothed, as truly as those of the elder world, 
with the ambitions, hopes, disappointments, and tra 
gedies of the human heart. 

But all around us here is the life and busy indus 
try of the present. Fortunes are carved out of these 
rocks ; and Clear Creek Canon discharges to the wide 
plains andHhe wider world^ its steady stream of wealth. 
Of course, I don t mean to say this is romantic. I 
throw in the remark merely for the information of 
capitalists, and to satisfy my conscience, which might 


otherwise be quickened unpleasantly by some justice- 
loving citizen of Colorado, who would fire a revolver 
or a leading article at me to remind me that the terri 
tory is by no means dead yet. 

Here is Georgetown, imbosomed in the mountains 
which overshadow it on every side, and leave it only 
space enough to be comfortable and beautiful. It is, 
indeed, a lovely site, and doubly so by comparison 
with the awkwardness of Central, squeezed into its 
three or four precipitous canons as one rubs putty in 
a crack. Georgetown possesses, however, what Cen 
tral doesn t even claim, a good hotel. On the other 
hand, let us be just, and then fear not, the mines 
about Central produce a great deal more money at 
this time ; the achievements of the districts around 
Georgetown being but respectable at present, and 
magnificent in future. 

Perhaps you think we are coming but slowly to 
Gray s Peak. Not so. While I have beguiled the 
way with gossip, we have steadily ascended, until now 
we are some nine thousand feet above the sea. You 
wouldn t have a man begin to climb a mountain at 
nine thousand feet, and call that the outset ? lleflect, 
moreover, that I had a clear right to begin at the At 
lantic Ocean. Where should we be now in that case? 
Certainly not out of the clutches of Chica^%. Sleep 
in peace this night : to-morrow s sunrise will see us 
far on our way. 

u To-morrow s sunrise" is a phrase carefully chosen ; 


for the sun makes no haste to rise in these deep canons. 
We may even, on our winding route, enjoy half a 
dozen sunrises, plunging again, after each one, into 
the chill shadows of last night. But gloriously tipped 
with gold are the crest-ridges, and steadily the luster 
crawls down the steep rock-faces, until at last the 
glowing day is everywhere, save in those profound 
coverts where the cold, clear springs are hidden under 
tufted mosses and closely-twined arms of Dryads, and 
in the subterranean recesses of shaft, or tunnel, or 
stope, where the swart miner swings the sledge in per 
petual midnight. 

Mounted on the active, sure-footed horses of this 
region (which have better endurance than the coursers 
of the plains, as the Denver boys found out when 
they bet their money at the Georgetown races), we 
follow the wagon-road up the canon of the north fork 
of the middle branch, or the middle fork of the south 
branch, or something to that effect, of South Clear 
Creek. The stream was once well named. They say 
one could count the trout in its waters only they 
were too many to be counted. .But sluices and tail 
ings have long ago corrupted its lower course. Only 
up here towards its source is it still worthy, in some 
degree, of its pretty title. The turnpike follows it 
patiently, under many difficulties, now clinging along 
a steep bluff far above it, now crossing it by a rustic 
bridge, now peacefully enjoying for a season its close 
company through a bit of fertile or gravelly bottom- 


land. The mountains crowd us all they can, and 
now and then they seem to have cornered us entirely. 
Just above Georgetown there is apparently no way 
out of the cul-de-sac into which they have driven our 
brave little creek ; but a way there is, and through it 
Clear Creek leaps into Georgetown. Of course the 
gap is called the Devil s Gate, or something similarly 
diabolical. It is the Western way to clap the infer- 
nalest names on the heavenliest places, flying, in such 
cases as this, moreover, in the face of Scripture, which 
informs us that the Devil s gate is not narrow, but 
broad and easy. 

The mountain-sides are still covered with timber, 
though sadly scarred by great fires which the reck 
lessness of the inhabitants occasions or permits. The 
straight, dead pines, first charred and afterwards 
bleached, bristle like gray porcupine-quills on the 
back of the range. In the more accessible places 
wood-cutters are at work, felling the dry timber, and 
shooting it down the steep precipices to the valley. 
All along the base of the mountains are the mouths 
of inchoate tunnels, reminding us of those curious 
organisms that begin with a mouth only, and develop 
their bowels afterward. High above, sometimes fif 
teen hundred feet over the stream, are dumps and 
windlasses, showing where the silver-veins have been 
found. So many promising veins have been discov 
ered on these bare summits, that it is almost a maxim 
with some of the prospectors that, 


" A good silver-mine 
Is above timber-line 
Ten times out of nine." 

But let us drop the subject. That way lies science. 

At Brownsville, three miles distant from George 
town, are the Brown and Terrible Mines, and the 
smelting-works of the former company. The mines 
are situated up a steep, rocky gulch, above the Brown 
works, the Brown Mine being uppermost, and the 
Terrible between. The ore extracted from the Brown 
is brought down on an aerial tramway, the rails of 
which are tightly-stretched wire-cables ; and in this 
way the Brown transportation goes on through the 
air, over the heads of the Terrible people. The 
smoke and fumes from the smelting-works float up 
the canon for a long distance, and supply the cloud 
hitherto lacking in this morning s spotless sky. 

Three miles farther, through the constantly nar 
rowing and rising valley, bring us to the settlement 
and the handsome mill of the Baker Company. It is 
this company to which we are indebted for the good 
road we have traveled thus far : and indeed the bless 
ing is not yet exhausted; for the company s mine 
is not far from the summit of Gray s Peak, and the 
company s teams have made a capital wagon-road up 
to the mines. 

At this point w 7 e leave Clear Creek, and follow up 
a tributary known as Kelso. The road now mounts 
more steeply. The pines and quaking-asps, dwarfed 


somewhat in stature, come close to us as we ride, as 
though they were lonesome, and huddled along the 
road to catch a social glance or word from a passing 
traveler. The birds and squirrels, so plenty a mile 
below, suddenly cease to be seen or heard. The pecul 
iar stillness of the upper air makes itself felt. Pres 
ently we have emerged from the last belt of timber, 
and are alone with heaven. 

No, not yet! Hundreds of feet still above us, on 
the side of Kelso Mountain, are the buildings of the 
Baker Mine. A shanty may mean any thing ; but a 
house with a chimney is a sign of permanent habita 
tion. At that warning finger, Solitude gets up and 
goes. Nevertheless, barring the Baker Mine, the 
scene is grand as Nature before the age of man. On 
the right, Kelso Mountain turns to us a rounded, con 
ical form, grass-clad. On the left, McClellan Moun 
tain presents a circling ridge ; the face turned toward 
us being as steep and rugged as it can be, and not fall 
over. Whoever has ascended Vesuvius, and remem 
bers how the central cone arises from within the sur 
rounding precipices of a former crater, will compre 
hend the general position of the parts of this wild 
scene. But these rocks are not volcanic. The farther 
side of McClellan is sloping, like this side of Kelso ; 
and the farther side of Kelso is rough and perpendicu 
lar, like this side of McClellan ; and the ridge of Mc 
Clellan does not completely surround Kelso, but at its 
farther end soars up into two peaks, and there stops. 


These two peaks are Gray s and Irwin s; and, as we 
journey, they come into full near view from behind the 
head of Kelso. 

I am glad enough that the scene is not volcanic. 
This gray granite, or gneiss, has far greater variety 
and beauty of form, and gives us delicate shadows. 
Though it may lack the imperial purples of trachytes 
and tufas seen in the distance, it does not offer us 
their horrid blackness seen near by. Besides, there 
are dainty grasses and blossoms that sometimes hang 
by one hand from clefts in the granite, and swing in 
the wind. Yosemite, Smoky Valley, and Gray s Peak, 
let the lava people, with their Snake Caiions, Sho- 
shone Falls, and gloomy Dalles, match this granite 
trio if they can ! 

It is lucky that our path doesn t lie up that face of 
McClellan Mountain. Lie? It couldn t : it would 
have to stand. No mortal could climb there without 
wings. I?ut what is that a thousand feet up the clilf ? 
A house ye gods! a boarding-house! The glass 
shows us fragments of a zigzag trail, interspersed 
with ladders where the precipices are otherwise im 
passable. Now we see, at the foot of the cliif, another 
house, and between the two, fine lines, like a spider s 
web, stretched through a thousand feet of air. That 
is the somewhat celebrated Stevens Mine. The men, 
lumber, provisions, &c., are all carried up, and the 
ore is all brought down, by means of one of the in 
genious wire- tramways now becoming common in 


Colorado. How the mine was ever discovered, I can 
not say : somebody must have " lit on it." 

The summit is close before us now, glistening with 
patches of snow. On the neck between Gray and 
Irwin, there is a regular turnover collar of a drift. 
It looks small enough here ; but you couldn t pass it 
without a twenty-foot tunnel in the snow. There s 
not much life up here, scarcely even a mountain- 
goat or a snow-quail for a six-hundred-dollar break 
fast. Bill, here, will tell you that story: he hasn t 
opened his mouth the whole way. 

" Well, tain t much of a story ; but it gives the 
Georgetown boys the deadwood on Dick Irwin and 
me, and they hain t let up on us yet, nor wont s long s 
they kin git anybody to swop lies with em. How 
ever, this yer s no lie. Ye see Dick and me that 
thar mountain was named after Dick ; that is to say, 
these two was ary one Irwin s Peak, and whichary 
wasn t Irwin s was Gray s, and nobody knov?ed. Gray, 
he was a great weed-sharp down East somewhar, and 
he gin so many names to this yer bunch-grass and 
stuff, that they thought they d gin his name to the 
highest peak, though I don t see it myself. So these 
scientific fellers kept a-comin up here, and a-meas- 
urin , and they couldn t agree. Some on em biled 
water on the top, and some on em friz mercury ; but 
they couldn t agree. So at last a lot on em fresh 
from college camped out all night right on the top 
of Gray s, and took observations, you bet ! every five 


minutes ; and when they come down there wasn t no 
manner of doubt in their minds but what Gray s was 
the highest peak in the whole fandango. So Dick he 
come down like a gentleman, and took the next best 
himself. Well, Dick and me was out huntin , and 
looking up blossom-quartz around yeiy and we raised 
one of these yer white snow-quails, and I found the 
nest with six eggs into it. So says I to Dick, You jest 
hold on, an we ll have a reg lar Delmonico sockdolo- 
ger. And we fried them there eggs, and eat em ; and 
Dick said, Bust his crust, if he d ever had a break 
fast set so comfortable-like as that one did. * All we 
want, says Dick, is a drop of whisky to wash it down. 
So we went down to Bakerville, and was a-settin round 
in the bar-room as sociable as you please, spittin on 
the stove, when Dick happened to mention them snow r - 
quails eggs; and a long, slab-sided, scientific son of 
a gun, with spectacles, riz up like a derrick, and says 
he, l My friend, the Smithsonian Institution has of 
fered a reward of one hundred dollars for a single 
specimen of the snow-quail s egg. Most anybody 
would V stopped to swear, and have a drink on that ; 
but it never was nothin but an idee and a start with 
Dick Irwin. When he thought of a thing, he was 
goin to do it sure ; and this time he made just two 
jumps out of doors, and moseyed up the mountain, 
with his rifle. Afore we saw him agin, he had been 
away down on the Grand, and all through the Snowy 
and the Wasatch. Then we heerd on him in the 


Middle Park; and one day he walked over the range, 
and into the bar-room at Bakerville, as if nothin had 
happened; and says he, Boys, that six-hundred-dol 
lar breakfast has used up the last snow-quail s egg in 
the whole dam Rockies. What 41 ye take? 

Not so well told, Bill, as when first you reeled it off 
to me under the shadow of McClellan. However, 
this expurgated version, though not so good for your 
reputation as a raconteur, is doubtless better for your 

We have reclined on a sunny bit of grass, letting 
our horses nibble their luncheon while we disposed 
of our own, Bill s employment as a story-teller serv 
ing to keep him down to a fair share of the sand 
wiches and sardines. Now let us scale the final peak. 
It looks but a -short distance, yet it is a good hour s 
work. You need not walk, however : the horses are 
used to it. 

The peak seems to be formed of loose fragments 
of rock, piled up in confusion How did they get 
here? They didn t get here: they were here always. 
This heap of stones is the effect of ages of frost and 
snow and wind upon the once solid rock. At our 
left, as we ascend, stands a solitary crag, which has 
not yet quite yielded, nor toppled into ruins, but is 
seamed and cracked through and through. 

No extensive prospect from here. It is one of the 
advantages of this route, that we mount gradually, 
and without great trouble, yet do not have the final 


glory of the view from the summit wasted upon us 
in driblets by the way. McClellan and Gray and 
Irwin still rise solidly between us and the land of 
promise, into which we shall presently gaze. There 
are snow-drifts here and there, but not enough to 
trouble us. The trail goes back and forward, wind 
ing sharply among the rocks. We have not yet risen 
above all life. There are tracks of light-footed ani 
mals in the snow ; and yonder, as I live! there is one 
more mine. Yes, the Atlantic and Pacific Lode sits 
astride the backbone of the continent; and the en 
thusiastic discoverer, sure of having found at last the 
argentiferous heart of the continent, has put down 
a shaft exactly on the divide. Pity that a location 
so admirable for drainage and ventilation should have 
to be abandoned " for lack of capital " ! We must wait 
for the C. P. to come this way. 

But, the last turn and the last snowdrift being 
passed, we stand at last on the summit of Gray s Peak. 
It is a place for deep breaths of delight and admira 
tion, but not for words, at least not until, the first 
ecstasy of silence being passed, the inevitable member 
of the party who carries the opera-glass, and who 
knows all the geography of the scene, begins to dis 
pense his information. Never mind him. He is a 
good fellow ; but he has been here before, and you 
have not. Hear what he has to say, and then sit on a 
rock beyond ear-shot, and look for yourself. 

Southward, the crowding summits of the range, 


intersected by the deep canons of the Platte and its 
tributaries, and, beyond all, Pike s Peak, superb in 
the sun. 

Westward, sweeping the circle from the south, the 
South and Middle Parks, pieces of the plains, caught 
and half-lifted by the mountains, in the midst of 
which their broad, fair surfaces lie imbosomed ; the 
dark, tiny caiions of the Blue and other streams, that 
hasten to join the great south-western system of. 
waters. One of them is full of clinging smoke ; the 
woods are a-fire for miles. Far beyond the Parks is 
the Snowy Range, and the lofty peak of Mount Lin 
coln. Down in this labyrinth of glades, cliffs, and 
gorges, emerald lakes and rushing streams, there are 
human beings living and laboring, digging and slui 
cing, blasting and crushing, scalping or being scalped 
for the Arraphoes make a dash at the Utes or the 
whites, now and then, in the Middle Park but we 
reck nothing of it all. We might imagine ourselves 
to be the first who were looking on the fair expanse, 
but for this piece of " The New -York Herald," and 
this old sardine-box, left by a former party, and the 
minute cluster of dots in one of those far canons, 
which closer inspection reveals to be the town of 

Northward, infinite variety of battlements, spires, 
domes, and whatever other thing you choose to name, 
by way of dwarfing the sublimity you cannot de 
scribe; innumerable vistas -and half-revelations; Ir- 


win s Peak in the foreground, looming up on a level 
with us, so near, apparently, that one might throw a 
stone to its lone flagstaff and skeleton of a tent ; 
Long s Peak closing the view in the distance, brown 
and cloud-hung. 

Eastward, another turn of the marvelous kaleido 
scope, and a new combination of the endless beauties 
of outline, tint, and shade ; and beyond all ending 
and blending in the illimitable sky, the vast ocean of 
the Plains. 

Upward, the empty heavens, speaking unutterable 
things ; and everywhere the thin, pure, sweet moun 
tain-air, which one rather drinks than breathes, feel 
ing the while that intoxicating combination of in 
spiring stimulus and delicious languor which nothing 
else bestows. 

It takes a good while to go up to Gray s Peak ; but 
mark how short a tale shall put you down. A climb 
for descending the steep summit, leading the horses, 
a brisk ride, with gallops interspersed, down the val 
ley, through deepening twilight and at last, beneath 
the glamour of a full white moon Georgetown 
Denver, C. P. R. R. 


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