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The Girl a Horse and a Dog 



BY FRANOIB LTNDB 

THE OIBL A H0B8B AKD A DOG 



DAVID VAIXOBT 

BBAin>ED 

8TBANDED IN ABOADT 

AFTEB TEm ICAITNIB OW HXN 

THBBBAL ICAN 

THE CITT OF NI71CBEBBD DATS 

THE HONORABLE 8ENAT0B BAOEBBUBE 

SCIENTIFIC fiPBAOUB 

THE PBICE 

THE TAIQNG OF BED BUTTE WEBTIBN 

A BOMANCE IN TBAN8IT 

CHARLES SORIBNBR'S SONS 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBUAEY 



iSTO". ir-^'OT. /NO 




I should have called her lovable after the fash. 
Shakespeare made his Rosalind lovable. 



i 



THE GIRL A HORSE 
AND A DOG 



FRANCIS LYNDE 



WTTH nONTUPUCB BY 
ARTHUR E. BECKER 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 
NEW YORK::::::::::::::::::;::1920 

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1913 



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COPYVORT. 1920, BT 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



Published August, 1990 




MATTHEW J. GREEVY 

IN taUOKY OF THB DAYS WHBH MINIS AND MINING ^lU 4 

BK, AND THI AUTHOl'l, DAILY BUAD, THU BOOK 

U AFncnoNATILT INtCMUD 



CONTENTS 

cBkrm riam 

1. Cousin Percy's Little Jokb .... 1 
II. A Needle in a Haystack 16 

III. Waifs and Strays 28 

IV. At the Back of Beyond 43 

V. The Magic Trmd 61 

VI. The Old Cinnabar 81 

VII. Honorable Scars 104 

VIII. The Laboring Pumps 127 

IX. One Too Many 147 

X. To Fish or Cut Bait 172 

XI. The Dbep-Wells 194 

XII. An ARcnc Bath 208 

XIII. Akound Robin Hood's Barn .... 226 

XIV. A Battle and a Siege 247 

XV. Applied Hydrauucs 274 

XVI. High Explosives 293 

XVII. Burnt Matches 307 

XVIII. Tit for Tat 323 

XIX. Thb Hold-Up 339 

XX. Angels^ Desert and Urban .... 358 
XXI. Cousin Percy Wires 367 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 



^ } 



r- 



The Girl a Horse and a Do 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

I SUPPOSE every one has had the experien 
of waking in the middle of the night to fii 
everything perfectly still and quiet and norm 
and yet with the impression persisting that the 
had been a tremendous crash of some sort ji 
before the waking senses were alive enough 
realize it. It was some such dazing jolt as tl 
that was given me on the morning when I w 
called in, with the other members of the fami 
to listen to the reading of my grandfather's wi 
But, first, however, to give some idea of t 
conditions precedent, as a lawyer would say. ^ 
father — good, easy-going, comfort-loving Da 
—never owned what Grandfather Dudley, pu: 
ing his thin lips and snapping the words out, call 
^'the money sense.'' As an architect high in 1 

I 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

profession and with fine artistic feeling for the 
beautiful in buildings, he earned a liberal income 
— and spent it; or so much of it that there was 
barely enough left after his death to provide for 
my mother and sister, and to keep me going, as 
you might say, in an exceedingly modest manner. 
Without work, I mean. I may as well confess, 
at once, that I had never acquired the work habit. 
I was always ''going to,'' but it was so fatally 
easy to keep on postponing tht chilling plunge. 
I had made a lot of jolly good friends in col- 
lege, and there was always something or other 
going on; yacht cruising in summer, duck shoot- 
ing in the fall, motor tours anywhere, and 
at any old time. L suppose I had been ready 
on at least half a dozen occasions to take a dive 
into some pool with a salary attachment; but al- 
ways some one of the good friends would bob up 
to say, ''Oh, come on, Stannie, old man; we're 
lacking just one more to make up the bunch- 
Don't be a clam. Time enough to settle down 
when you have to," and then it would be all off. 

Besides, you see, there was always Grandfather 
Jasper in the background. He had money — flash- 
ings of it, so we all believed; and it had been a 
family understanding for years that he intended 
splitting the bulk of it, fifty-fifty, between my 

2 



.•• • . » . 



• • 



• •• 



. ■ 



a 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

cousin Percy and me. Before we go any farther, 
let me set it down that Cousin Percy was — and 
is — all Che Wenteen different kinds of things that 
I am not, and never wished to be ; smooth, neat, 
well-groomed, a "grind" in college and a "perfect 
dear" with the girls, ambitious as the very devil, 
and measuring his friends by the amount of 
"pull" they might be able to exert in his behalf; 
there you have him from the crown of his well- 
brushed litde head to his patent-leather pumps. 
When we met, which, believe me, was not any 
oftener than I could help, be never missed a 
chance to knodc mc for my "disgraceful idle- 
ness." 

"You're a fright, Stannie," he would sty, in 
his carefully polished diplomatic manner — he had 
a billet in the Department of State at Washing- 
ton, and was in training for the legation service 
abroad — "you are a perfect fright Three whole 
years out of college, and you haven't done a 
single, solitary useful thing yet. When are you 
going to begin? And, incidentally, how long are 
you going to keep lisette waiting?" 

Oh, Lord I — right there was another knot in 

the tangle — Lisette. We had agreed to agree — 

Lisette and I — some six mon^ or so in advance 

of Grandfather Jasper's death, and we were both 

3 



family of four girls in a mighty exp 
hold, and there wasn't anything to let 
side of the fence. Though, of cour 
discussed it brutally in so many woi 
waiting for that fifty-fifty look-in 
which family tradition declared had i 
drawn up, signed, sealed, witnessed ai 
in cold storage; otherwise in the safe 
Grandfather Jasper's family lawyer. 
All of which may serve to bring 
that nightmare effect registered on 
When the Dudley will was taken out 
box and read to the assembled memi 
family, there were at least two shockin 
For one thing we discovered that C 
Jasper hadn't been anywhere near as 
had all been thinking he was; that 
manner of living had been, perhaps, 
matter of necessity as of choin* i 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

ber Two was strictly personal to me: Grand- 
father Jasper had left me his love and best wishes, 
and bad willed the money and property — all of 
it, mind you*— to Cousin Percy, giving as his 
reason that he thought Percy would make better 
use of it 

Of course, I had everybody's synqpathy and 
condolences— even Percy's, for that matter. My 
mother wept; and, as I recall it, Lisette managed 
to compass a tear or so when I told her what had 
happened; or rather what had so ignominlously 
failed to happen. 

"Whatever will you do?" she faltered; and 
when I reminded her that I was never any good 
at guessing conundrums, she wiped the tear or so 
away and became her calm and collected self 
again: she could do the calm-and-coUected in a 
way to make a heroine in melodrama blush with 
envy. 

"I suppose you will really have to go to work 
now» won't you. Stannic?" she went on, after I 
had side-stepped the conundrum. 

"Perish the thought 1" I told her; then I gave 
the good reasons why there was no hope for us 
in that direction. "A fat chance I'd have to earn 
any real money. I can navigate a yacht, — a little, 
— drive a motor, ride a polo pony, and play a 

5 



snould be wroug 

pitchforked into ; 

raarry a workingn 

^^ "No," she said r 

"I jlon't think I sh< 

"You needn't re( 

ing that she was lo 

"You can wear it 

know." 

Yes; I suppose ] 

and I'm blest if she 

the other hand righ( 

It was less than a 

scene with Lisette t 

found it in my mail ; 

»n a Department of 

unquestionably from 

pocket, meaning to : 

rime— time at the m 




Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

•'Dear Stannie: 

*1 know just about how you felt last week when 
you heard Grandfather Jasper's will read, and 
it isn*t going to make you feel any better now 
when I tell you that I knew of its provisions more 
than a year ago. When the will was drawn, 
grandfather showed it to me, and gave me a. 
sealed envelope, which I was to open after his 
death. That envelope, as I knew at the time, 
contained, among other things, a codicil to the 
will. By its provisions you are to receive a legacy 
under certain conditions which were to be re- 
vealed to you at such time as I might think 
best. 

"At first I determined to make you wait a 
while, hoping that the realization that you were 
left out would shock you into doing something 
for yourself. But, as it happens, I can't stay 
to try the experiment. I start for San Francisco 
to-night, on my way to join our legation in Pekin. 
So here are the conditions : 

"Your portion of Grandfather Jasper's prop- 
erty was worth, at its latest valuation, some- 
thing like $440,000. It lies in a perfectly safe 
repository, situated between the 105th and 110th 
degrees of longitude west from Greenwich, and 
the 35th and 40th degrees north latitude. When 

7 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

you find it, you will be able to identify it by 
the presence o^ a girl with brown hair and 
blue eyes and small mole on her left shoulder, 
a piebald horse which the girl rides, and a dog 
with a split face — ^half black and half white. 
You will be more than likely to find the three 
together; and if you make the acquaintance of 
the girl, you'll be on the trail of your legacy. 

**So there you are. Stannic, old boy; there's 
your fortune. All you've got to do is to go to 
work and find it. Perhaps by that time you will 
have acquired the working habit — ^which is what 
Grandfather Jasper hoped might prove to be 
the case. 

^'Wishing you great joy in your search, I am, 
*Tour affectionate cousin, 

"Percy." 

Naturally, I had a quiet little laugh over this 
screed of Percy's, taking it for a joke; a poor 
joke and in rather bad taste, I thought, coming 
from a man who had walked off with the kittie, 
the table stakes, and the entire lay-out. In that 
mood I handed the letter to Lisette for her to 
read. She didn't laugh, but she did look a bit 
scornful and put about, if you know what I mean. 

'1 don't suppose the blue-eyed girl would ap* 

8 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

peal to you," she said, "though the horse and 
the dog might. When do you start?" 

I was still chuckling over the letter. 

"What will you bet that longitude ont hundred 
and five to one hundred and ten isn't in the 
middle of one of the oceans?" I said. 

"We can easily find out whether it is or not," 
she offered; whereupon she went somewhere and 
found an atlas. I should have lost my bet, all 
right, but the area described by Percy's figures 
might just as well have been ocean-bounded for 
all the good it would do a poor, half-orphaned 
treasure-seeker. We discovered that Meridian 
105 west of Greenwich split the State of Colo- 
rado just beyond Denver, Colorado Springs and 
Pueblo, and the hunting-ground plotted out for 
me took in three-fourths of the remainder of the 
State, a slice of Utah, a good bit bi^er slice of 
New Mexico, with a bite out of the northeastern 
comer of Arizona, just for good measure. 

"Me for the wild and woolly I" I brayed. 
"Don't you see me rigged out in a nice, hairy 
pair of 'shaps' and riding hell-bent-for-leather 
— I believe that's the phrase — over the snow- 
capped peaks or the boundless prairies, as the 
case may be? But just imagine Percy the im- 
maculate pulling a bonehead joke like thisl 
9 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Getting the Chinese job must have spifflicated 
him, or something.*' 

Lisette's handsomely penciled eyebrows — ^they 
were penciled by nature; not by art — went up in 
a pair of pretty arches. 

*Tou are taking it for a joke ?'' she questioned. 

^'Sure I am; and it's a rather rotten one at 
that, I should say— considering the source." 

"Then you won't go to look for the blue-eyed 
girl with nut-brown hair and the cunning little 
mole? Think of what you may be missing 1" 

For just one crazy minute I had a hunch, or 
a premonition, or whatever you like to call it, 
that the letter might not be a joke. Grandfather 
Jasper had always been a bit eccentric — a rich 
man's privilege and a rich old man's incontestable 
right. What if he had actually done this thing 
to me? — z thing scarcely less devastating than 
cutting me o£f without a penny? On the spur 
of the moment I said: 

"If I should go, would you wait for me, 
Lisettc?" 

She took her time about answering — z good 
and sufficient plenty of it. And when the answer 
came, she had the calm-and-coUected attitude ad- 
justed to the fraction of a hair. 

"I think perhaps I'd better not change the 

ID 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

ring back, Stannic," she said, sort of wintrily. 
"If there is any money and you should happen 
to find it, you would probably fling it all away 
before you could get back to Boston. Besides, 
there is the blue-eyed girl: if she should bring 
you a fortune, you'd have to marry her, wouldn't 
you ? It would be the least you could do, don't 
you think?" 

This reference to the figmentary girl made me 
laugh again. 

"Don't try to tell me that you care enough 
about me to be jealous, Osettel" I exploded in 
honest derision. 

"I don't," she averred soberly. "You are big 
and strong, and — well — er — nice in a good many 
ways, Stannie, and much too good-looking for 
your own good; but when you marry — if you do 
marry — you'd better be sure that the g^rl has 
money enough to buy her own hats. / haven't 
enough, as you know." 

I managed to dig up the sigh that such a cut- 
ting arraignment seemed to call for. 

"I know only too well that the love-in-a-cot- 
tage idea has never appealed to you," I said, 
with the regretful stop pulled all the way out in 
deference to the sentimental decencies. 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

^*Not in the least, Stannie, dear; not in the 
littlest least'' 

This appeared to be the end of our rathet 
lukewarm love-dream, and to be really honest 
and aboveboard about it, I am obliged to confess 
that it didn't break as many bones for me as I 
suppose it should have. Anyway, a half-hour or 
so after I had said good-by to Lisette I met Jack 
Downing; and when he asked me if I didn't want 
to go with him and a bunch of the fellows for 
a little spin down the coast df Maine in his motor 
cruiser, I fell for the invitation so suddenly that 
he hadn't a ghost of a chance to back out, if he 
had wanted to. 

So, a few hours beyond that touching little 
scene at "The Rockerie," you may figure me, if 
you please, spinning the wheel of one of the 
nattiest little boats on the North Shore, with a 
fresh nor'easter blowing and the sea getting up 
to give me the time of my young life to hold the 
Guinevere to her course, nor' nor'-east, half a 
point east, as we lifted the Shoals on our port 
bow. 

In such jolly good company as we had aboard 
the stout ship Guinevere, three full days elapsed 
before a thought of Percy or his joke ever en- 
tered my head again; and it's a ten-to-one shot 

12 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

that I wouldn't have thought of him, or It, during 
the remainder of the cruise if we hadn't been 
obliged to tie up at Rockland for motor repairs. 
This, as I recall it, was on the fourth day, and 
It was a dog that made me remember ; a mongrel 
cur that followed the motor repairman down 
to the wharf; a most disreputable looking mon- 
grel, at that, but — ^by Jove I he had the magic 
markings ! Half of his face, measuring from a 
line drawn straight down over the tip of his nose, 
was black, and the other half was a dingy, dirty 
white. 

After I had stared at the dog for a second or 
two in a groping effort to connect him up with 
something in my past life, I remembered the joke 
letter and it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't 
got back at Percy; that I'd let him get clear away 
with the idea that possibly he had soaked me one. 

At that, I did a little rapid figuring on train 
schedules. If he had left Washington as he was 
planning to, my diplomatic cousin should have 
been, at that figuring moment, just about due in 
San Francisco. That being the case, or the like- 
lihood, I toddled up to the telegraph office and 
sent a message, addressing it in care of the cap- 
tain of whatever might be the next steamer due 
to sail for ports in China. All I said was : "Your 

13 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

letter was as funny as an hour in a dentist's chain 
Bon voyage to you." 

When I shoved the message across the counter 
the operator wanted to know where he could 
find me with the answer. I told him there 
wouldn't be any answer; and at this he sprung 
his rules on me, telling me that he was required 
to get an address. Accordingly I explained that 
I was a member of the motor yacht Guinevere^s 
party at such and such a wharf; that we were 
laid up for only a few hours, tinkering our motor ; 
and that our next stop would probably be at 
Portland. 

As it turned out, I lied to the operator about 
the length of our stay — ^but it was the tinker- 
man's fault and none of mine. Night found us 
still tied to the Rockland wharf; and just as 
we were getting up from dinner in the yacht's 
saloon, here came a boy with a telegram. The 
wire was from Percy, and it said: 

"Don't be a complete fool. It was no joke 
at all. Ask my lawyer." 

Even then, I didn't go off at half-cock, though 
I have often been called an impulsive jackass. 
The thing was still too ridiculous to bite very 
hard. But farther along in the evening, when 
I got to thinking it over, and more especially 

14 



Cousin Percy's Little Joke 

when it was shoved in upon me that I really did 
owe it to Lisette not to turn down even the tenth 
part of a chance to provide her with the means 
of buying her future hats, the die was cast, as 
the play-writers say. I made some sort of a 
foolish excuse to Jack Downing and the other 
fellows, caught a night train for Boston, stopped 
off at the home station long enough to pack a 
couple of grips and to tell my mother and sister 
good-by, and the thing was — oh, no; not done — 
nothing like that. It was only just begun. 



II 



A Needle in a Haystack 

SINCE my happy hunting-ground began in the 
middle of Colorado, I took a ticket to Den- 
ver by way of Chicago and Omaha. A box of 
prime cigars and a sheaf of the current magazines 
helped me to wear out the journey between the 
East and the Middle West ; and a three-hour lay- 
over between trains in Chicago enabled me to 
stock up on maps and gazetteers— everything I 
could find in the bookstores in the shape of canned 
information bearing upon the region I was head- 
ing for. 

This geographical stuff kept me out of mischief 
all the way across Illinois and Iowa and well out 
into Nebraska. As I recall it now, it was after 
the train had passed North Platte that I first 
became sensibly conscious, as you might say, of 
the fact that the man in the opposite section 
of the sleeping-car also had a little Pullman table 
set up in front of him, and was likewise studying 
maps — and blue-prints. He was a rather effi- 

i6 



A Needle in a Haystack 

cient-loolcing fellow of maybe thirty-two or three, 
with dark hair and eyes, and what LJsette would 
have called a determined nose, and he sported 
a beard and mustaches, nut-brown as to color, 
and neatly trimmed. 

Farther along we met in the smoking-room, 
at a time when the stuffy little den had no other 
occupants. Mr. Opposite Section's only cigar 
turned out to have a broken wrapper, so I 
naturally tendered my own pocket-case. That 
served to break the ice and we talked, first of 
the weather, which was picture fine, and then of 
the scenery, which is monotonous enough in that 
part of the world to drive the wildest prairie 
enthusiast to drtnk. So we dribbled along from 
one commonplace to another until finally Brown- 
beaird said: 

"You don't by any chance happen to be a 
mining engineer, do you?" 

"Far be it from me," I laughed; "nothing 
so useful as that. I might say, in strict confi- 
dence, that I'm not much of anything — more's 
the pity." 

"I didn't know," he hastened to say, half 
apologetically. "I saw you studying maps as we 
came along." 

Now ordinarily I'm apt to talk a lot too much 
17 



ouic yoa aid, he admitted cheerni 
he told me his name — ^which I got as 1 
Bulletin, or something like that — and sa 
a mining engineer, which was the reasc 
had asked me if I wasn't one. 

Past that, the talk ran mostly upon h 
sion, and since the mysterious hunch 
nudging me, I let him have the floor, so 
"figuring chiefly, myself, as a good liste 
pitching in a bit of curiosity now and t 
to keep him going. 

"Yes; we do run across some ratht 
propositions in our trade,'' he said, afte: 
given me some sort of an idea of what ; 
engineer's job is like, and I had tossed in t 
ful pinch of a desire to hear more. ' 
many people seem to think that an expe 
chance to get in on any number of 'groun 
in the mining game, but that isn't so. 



r^- ^ 



A Needle in a Haystack 

"How was that?" 

"The man died," he replied laconically. 

That sounded rather interesting, so I gave 
him another pinch. 

"Tell me about it; if it won't bore you." 

He grinned good-naturedly — ^and accepted an- 
other cigar out of my pocket-case. 

"You'll be the one to be bored. It was this 
way: A little over a year ago I was on my way 
to Chicago with a report that I had been making 
on some properties in the Cripple Creek district. 
In the Denver-Omaha Pullman I fell in with a nice 
old gentleman who had been buying himself a 
gold brick in the shape of a flooded mine. The 
mine had at one time been a 'producer/ though 
not by any means what you'd call a 'bonanza.' 
After a rather extended dividend-pa^ng period 
— ^I don't know just how long, though it was 
some years — ^the luck changed, as sometimes hap- 
pens. In sinking and drifting the operators had 
uncovered^ another vein which was exceedingly 
rich. Don't let me talk your arm oflF." 

"Go ahead," said I. "My arms are insured." 

"Well, at about the time that they struck this 
new underlying vein, they also struck water; so 
much of it as to lead them to suspect that they 
had tapped an underground lake. Sometimes, 

19 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

you onderstandy a mine flood comes suddenly, but 
oftener it gives ample warning; cracks leaking 
a little more freely, or the sump filling a little 
faster than the pumps can take it out. In the 
case which my old gentleman described there had 
evidently been some considerable interval; time 
enough to enable the operating company to find 
out what they were up against, and to unload. 
The old gentleman wasn't exactly a woolly sheep 
— ^in the Wall Street sense of the term. He had 
owned stock in the mine for a long time, and 
it had been paying him dividends, right along. 
So naturally, after the new strike was announced, 
he was perfectly willing to own more. The fel- 
lows who were *in the know* haggled with him 
as long as they dared; offered to buy his interest 
or sell him theirs — at a good, round figure, of 
course: and finally he bought. I don't know 
what his investment was, but he gave me to un- 
derstand that it was something like half a million. 
In less than a month after the deal was closed, 
the mine was drowned and went out of business.*' 

"Still, I don't see your lost opportunity," I 
threw in. 

"I'm conung to that. As It happens, my 
specialty as an engineer is the unwatering of wet 
mines. The old gentleman had maps and pro- 

20 



A Needle in a Haystack 

files with him ; the records of a very carehil and 
excellent topographical survey. We were to- 
gether all the way to Omaha, and I had every 
opportunity to study the situation. I'm reason- 
ably certain that I discovered a way in which 
that mine can be drained at comparatively small 
expense." 

"I begin to understand," I said. "You told 
the owner?" 

"I told him 1 thought I could do it; but I didn't 
give my plan away. Instead, I made him a 
proposition; offered to undertake the drainage 
job at my own costs. If I should succeed, he 
was to deed me a fourth interest in the property. 
If I didn't succeed, it was to cost him nothing — 
sort of a contingent fee, as a lawyer would 
say." 

I laughed. It does me a lot of good to find 
out now and then that there are other folks in 
this world who are as reckless as I am. 

"You made an ofier like that to a stranger? 
and on a mine that you had never seen?" I 
chuckled. 

He grinned good-naturedly and got back at 
me, quick. 

"All business is a taking of chances. As the 
matter stood at that stage of the game, I had 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

everything to gain and nothing to lose, and the 
only chance I was taking was in the bet on my 
own ability as an engineer. The old man had 
plenty of evidences of the former value of the 
property; dozens of assays and mill-runs signed 
by men whom I knew well. . But he was a queer 
old codger in some respects; as secretive and 
cautious as an old fox. For example: he had 
carefully clipped the name of the mine from the 
blue-prints and other papers, and in all our talk 
he never once let that name slip, and never even 
mentioned the name of the district in which the 
mine was located. But in spite of all this caution 
he drew up a sort of option agreement with me. 
He said he wanted to go home and think my 
proposition over; but meanwhile, money talked. 
If I meant business, we'd stop off together in 
Omaha and fix things up so that they would stay 
put until he was ready to give the word to go 
ahead." 

"I suppose you stopped off with him," I tossed 
in, just to keep him going. 

"I sure did. We found a lawyer and had the 
agreement drawn up in legal form. The time 
limit was to be a year, and each of us was to put 
up a thousand dollars to make the agreement 
binding. If either of us should wish to withdraw 

22 



A Needle in a Haystack 

within that time, he was at liberty tq do so by 
forfeiting his ante of a thousand doUars to the 
other. If neither of us withdrew by or before 
the end of the year, I was to be at liberty to go 
ahead with my drainage project, and the agree- 
ment bound the owner to turn over a one-fourth 
interest in the property to me upon the comple- 
tion of the job and the unwatering of the mine." 

"But why so long a wait?" I asked. 

"Fm coming to that, right now. At the mo- 
ment I was under engagement to go to Peru for 
a Chicago syndicate, and I expected to be out of 
the United States for at least six months, and 
maybe longer. So I was handicapped to that ex- 
tent. Just why the old gentleman wasn't in any 
bigger hurry, I don't know, but it seems he wasn't. 
Anyway, we signed the agreement, put up our 
checks for a thousand each, and put the papers 
and the money in escrow in one of the Omaha 
banks. As it turned out, the South American job 
was a lot bigger than I had anticipated, and 
for that reason the time limit of a year expired a 
week ago, on the day that I landed in New York. 
Yesterday I called upon the Omaha banker, and 
he gave me the cheering information that my 
old man was dead — ^had died just a few days 
earlier." 

23 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 



» 



"Still, I don't see how you have lost out, 
I put in. 

"Wait; here comes the funny part of it. Mr. 
Banker tells me solemnly that I am remembered 
in my old gentleman's disposition of some cash 
legacies made just before his death, and Fm to 
have the thousand dollars which he put up as a 
forfeit. I took the prize down and spent some 
of it within the next few minutes wiring the old 
man's home lawyer, whose name and address the 
banker had given me. I briefed the situation 
for the lawyer, said I was ready to fulfil my 
part of the contract, and asked him to wire me 
the name and location of the mine. You'd never 
guess in a thousand years the kind of an answer 
I got." 

I shook my head. 

"No; probably not. What was it?" 

"It was a bolt from the blue, all right Mr. 
Home Lawyer wired that his client had never 
owned a share of mining stock in his life, that 
there was nothing in his papers or records bearing 
upon the subject of my telegram, and that I must 
be either drunk or crazy. Of course, he didn't 
put it just that way in his reply, but that is what 
he meant." 

"How do you sort it out?" I inquired. 

24 



A Needle in a Haystack 

"The lawyer's telegram? I have a theory* 
which you may have for what it's worth. The 
gold-mining game has a pretty shady reputation, 
especially in the East, where a good many gold 
bricks have undoubtedly been handed out. I put 
it up that my cautious, secretive old gentleman 
never told anybody at home about his mining in- 
vestments; kept them in a separate pocket, so to 
speak. Quite possibly he didn't have any other 
excepting the one I've been telling you about, and 
that one he regarded as a dead cock in the pit. 
That would explain the situation nicely, don't 
you think ?" 

We smoked in comfortable silence for a little 
while. The story had told itself like a plot out 
of a mystery book, and I could readily under- 
stand why my new friend had unburdened him- 
self to me. For one reason, he'd been abroad 
among the spiggotty people for a long time, and 
I guess it did him good to gabble a little of the 
real United-States kind of talk. For another, he 
probably wanted to get it out of his system, and a 
Pullman-smoke-room confidence came in pat for 
that. It was perfectly safe. We were total 
strangers to each other and would most probably 
never meet again. I suppose every man who has 
25 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

ever traveled has had such coniidences thrust at 
him — or has thrust them at somebody else. 

Still and all, the story had left me a bit fogged 
as to the present state and standing of the thing, 
and I said so. 

"Well, it stacks up about this way," said 
Brown-beard. "There is a perfectly good mine 
somewhere west of us that is worth anywhere 
from a quarter to half a million, and at the pres- 
ent moment it is kicking around without an owner. 
So far as I can see, Vm the only man on top of 
earth who has a claim on any part of it. And 
I have no more idea than the man in the moon 
where it is *at\" 

"Which is mighty hard luck,*' I commented. 
"But didn't you say that you saw the maps?" 

"Yes, I saw them; but they were merely local 
survey maps. There wasn't a name of any kind 
on them to identify the location or the district. 
Possibly— quite likely — ^that was a part of the 
old man's queer secretiveness. No; I'm afraid 
my handsome fortune is a lost dog, so far as I'm 
concerned." 

His mention of a lost dog hit me right in the 
center of the solar plexus and I laughed like a 
fooL 

26 



A Needle in a Haystack 

"What struck your funny-bone ?" he demanded, 
sort of dubiously, I fancied. 

"Nothing," I gurgled; "nothing worth men- 
tioning — only I'm hunting for a lost dog, too." 

But I didn't tell him any more. That hunch 
was stiU with me; and, anyway, my particular 
chase seemed too utterly foolish to be rehashed 
for the benefit of a stranger. So, after we'd 
smoked a while longer, and Brown-beard had 
apolo^zed for making me listen to his rather 
longish tale of woe, we took the porter's hint 
that he'd like to have the smoking-room for his 
nightly shoe-shine, and turned in. 



Ill 



Waifs and Strays 

WHEN I crawled out of my berth at the 
porter's call the next morning, my Pull- 
man was standing in the Denver yard. While 
I was shaving in the wash-room I asked the 
colored boy if my smoking-room chum of the 
night before was up yet. 

''Yas, sah; he done been up an' gone, for the 
longest." 

"Don't happen to know his name, do you?" 
I said, merely to be saying it, I guess. 

"Naw-suh. Didn' have no name on dat silver 
dollah he give me — naw-suh," said the boy, tak- 
ing this indirect way, I supposed, of informing 
me as to the proper size of the tip he should have. 

Of course, this was the merest Idje questioning 
on my part. Tracing the brown-bearded mining 
engineer who had used me as a convenient dump- 
ing ground for his story was the least of my 
intentions at the moment. For that matter, since 
we hadn't exchanged cards, and I wasn't even 

28 



Waifs and Strays 

sure that I'd heard his name straight, I couldn't 
have traced him if I had wanted to. 

Recalling the story in the garish lig^t of aor 
other day, it seemed a bit less credible than it had 
while I was listening to it, and I began to wonder 
if the teller of it might not be a member of the 
deathless guild of smoke-room romancers. The ~ 
more I thought of tt, the more "romancy" it be- 
came ; especially the description of the exceedin^y 
eccentric old gentleman who, having just been 
properly soaked in a mining deal, was still naive 
enough to strike up a sort of half-bargain with a 
stranger met casually on a train. 

It was with an epitaph of this nature that I 
buried the story among the things to be smiled at 
and forgotten when I took a taxi for the hotel. 
After an excellent breakfast which made me for- 
get for the moment that I was over 2,000 miles 
west of the Ritzes, I made a few inquiries about 
that meridian; the 105th, that the maps showed 
as passing just west of the city. Oddly enough, 
nobody seemed to know anything about it, or 
even that there were any such things as meridians. 
One man — and he was the hotel manager, at that, 
— asked me if I didn't mean Meridian, Missis- 
sippi. Finally, however, I found somebody who 
had sense enough to refer me to die county sur- 
29 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

veyor's office in the Court House, and thither 
I wended my way. An extremely courteous young 
fellow working over a drawing-board answered 
my query. The maps were right. The 105th 
meridian, which is the one from which Mountain 
Time is reckoned, ran a little west of the city 
proper, and, by consequence, west of the two 
other principal cities of the State, Colorado 
Springs and Pueblo. 

Naturally, I was a bit disappointed at finding 
that Denver was not included in my hunting 
ground, though I was obliged to admit that the 
girl-horse-and-dog sign-board pointed to the coun- 
try, rather than to a city. Family tradition at 
home had it that Grandfather Jasper had once 
in his lifetime gotten as far west as Denver, and 
I had been cherishing a secret hope that I might 
perhaps find myself inheriting a business block 
or an office building, or something of that nature, 
in Colorado's noble capital. 

Returning to the hotel and resorting again to 
the maps, I found that the 105th meridian, trac- 
ing it north from Denver, stops short against the 
40th parallel of latitude just south of a little town 
called Erie. Traced south, it tracks the D. & R. 
G. Railroad for about twenty miles and then takes 
to the mountains, barely shutting out Manitou^ 

30 



Waifs and Strays 

and passing, as I have said, well to the westward 
of Pueblo. This simplified matters — a little. 
The railroad system of western Colorado is not 
so tremendously extensive, and those of eastern 
Utah and northern New Mexico are still less so. 
Summing it up, I concluded that it wouldn't be 
a lifetime job to visit every hamlet in the pre- 
scribed area, if such was to be my lot. 

Yet this business of wandering aimlessly from 
post to pillar, combing the face of nature for 
blue-eyed maidens and piebald horses and harle- 
quin-faced dogs was already beginning to strike 
me as about the most fantastic thing a body could 
ever conceive of doing. To attempt it without 
a plan of some kind seemed worse than useless; 
so, for perhaps the first time in a pretty rattle- 
brained life, I sat down to do some ground-and- 
lofty head work, with Cousin Percy's letter for 
a sort of nexus. 

Phrase by phrase I pondered that sphinxian 
document, weighing each word and sentence, and 
turning the confounded thing inside out and up- 
side down in search of a more definite clue. The 
third paragraph contained the meat of the mat- 
ter: "Your portion of Grandfather Jasper's 
property was worth, at its latest valuation, some- 
thing like $440,000." What single piece of 

31 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

property outside of a large city could be worth 
any such sum as that? I could think of nothing 
but a mine of some kind, unless it might be a 
cattle ranch, or a growth of standing timber; and 
in the area laid out for me, mines would out-vote 
cattle or timber about a hundred to one, I thought. 
But Percy said ^^was worth," as if the past tense 
had something to do. with the value : was this an 
implication that it was no longer worth that 
handsome sum? Would a mine decrease in value 
as time passed? It might; and then again it 
mightn't. 

Then there was that other phrase: "It lies 
in a perfectly safe repository. . . . "Repository" 
implied a receptacle or container of some sort; 
a brick wall, or a barbed-wire fence, or any en- 
closing thing you like to imagine. Could a mine 
be said to be in a "repository" ? Or was it only 
the fortune that was thus hived up, or in ? That 
"repository" idea made me chuckle. I guess 
some investors in mines have reached the con- 
clusion that their money had gone into a "reposi- 
tory" that couldn't be pried open. 

As you see, I kept coming l:^ack to the mine 
idea, in spite of all I could do; and at last, with- 
out a word of warning, and right out of a clear 
sky, as you may say, smack/ a thing hit me 

32 



Waifs and Strays 

squarely, between the shoulder-blades — BrowiK 
beard and his eccentric old gentleman I 

After I got cooled off a bit I had to admit that 
there was something less than one chance in a 
thousand that, at the price «f a couple of cigars 
given to a fellow traveler in distress, I had pur- 
chased any real clue to my own puzzle. Taking 
every word of the engineer's story at its face 
valuation — and this, I realized, was a mighty 
temerarious thing to do in the circumstances — 
assuming that the queer old gentleman of his- 
yam was my grandfather, and that the mine in 
question was my legacy, my own particular diffi- 
culty was in no wise lessened. The boundaries 
of my hunting ground were just as great as ever; 
the mine of Mr. Brown-beard's tale was still a 
lost mine, as well as a drowned one. 

Yet I couldn't get away from the notion that 
I was on the verge of a discovery, and for a time 
I had to grind pretty hard at the capstan to winch 
my feet down to the solid earth again, and to at- 
tain a frame of mind in which I could calmly 
measure the probabilities. Oddly enough, the 
miraculous part of it — the one chance in a million 
that I should run across the one person in a hun- 
dred million who could tell me that particular 
story — didn't impress me at the time. I was too 
33 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

busily engaged in trying to fit the puzzle pieces 
together to think of anything else at the moment. 

Come to sum them up, they fitted astoundingly 
well. Like a good many ultra-conservative old 
men, Grandfather Jasper had always been ex- 
ceedingly close-mouthed when speaking of his 
investments. Added to that, he would be the last 
man in the world to have confessed that he had 
been bitten, even indirectly, by a "gold-brick" 
game. Then, too, the course he had pursued with 
the mining engineer (always granting the truth 
of Brown-beard's story) was just like him; he 
would have wanted a year in which to think it 
over — or maybe longer. Also, it was like him 
to keep all the identifying marks as carefully 
hidden as a nut meat in its shell. Brown-beard 
had hit upon the exact word in describing him: 
"secretive" was Grandfather Jasper's middle 
name. 

At this point I began to think about getting 
action. One word from Bullton, or Bulletin, or 
whatever his name was, would settle the identities 
beyond question, and that word was his "old 
gentleman's" name. He hadn't mentioned it once 
in telling his yarn — ^which nught have been by 
design, or just a happen-so. But; by heavens, I'd 
make him mention it I 

34 



Waifs and Strays 

That is a mighty good old saw which says you 
must first catch your hare before you cook it. 
Denver is a goodish-sized city in which to hunt 
for a man whose name you don't know, and I 
saw at once, of course, that I'd have to find the 
man before- 1 could turn a wheel. But how to get 
the name which I had foolishly failed to hear 
straight when he had pronounced it for me, was 
a problem. Still and all, problems are made to 
be solved, and I went at mine like an under- 
graduate cramming for an exam. Since the man 
had told me that he was just back from a year 
spent in South America, the city directory was 
no good. Hotel registers seemed to be the only 
hope left, so I made a round of every hotel in 
Denver where a man of his class might put up. 
Nothing doing. Denver has a thousand hotels 
— ^more or less — and I examined the registers of 
all of them. Among the day's arrivals there was 
no name anything like BuUton or Bulletin. 

Finally, and this was by the merest chance, I 
happened to think of the Mining Exchange, and 
to wonder if somebody connected with it might 
not have a list of engineers and mining experts. 
Another hike through the streets brought me to 
the Exchange and the secretary not only had such 
a list, but was willing to show it to me. In its 

35 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

proper place I found the name, '^Charles Buller- 
ton." A query shot at the man behind the desk 
elicited the information that Mr. Charles BuUer- 
ton was in South America. At this, I could have 
shouted for joy because it proved conclusively 
that Charles Bullerton was my man, and that the 
tale to which I had listened wasn't altogether 
made up out of whole cloth, as so many Pullman 
smoke-room romances are. 

"He isn't in South America," I told the secre- 
tary. "He is here in Colorado. I came over 
from Omaha with him yesterday." 

"All right," said the secretary nippily. "If 
you know more about him than I do, why do you 
ask me?" 

Here was a chance to use some of the Cousin- 
Percy dope — diplomacy and that sort of stuff — 
and I palliated that gentleman good and proper; 
gave him a fifty-cent cigar, and talked all around 
Robin Hood's barn before I got back to Mr. 
Charley Bullerton. The bit of honeying brought 
home the bacon. BuUerton's usual address, when 
he was in Colorado and not in Denver, was in 
care of a certain bank in Cripple Creek; or at 
least, that was the way it had been before he 
went to South America. 

A telegraph office was the next thing on the 

36 



Waifs and Strays 

program, and when I found one it seemed 
to be about a hundred-to-one shot that I'd never 
touch bottom, since I had no hint that BuUerton 
had been headed for Cripple Creek. My mes< 
sage, prepaid and answer prepaid, contained only 
a smgle question: "What was the name o£ the 
old gentleman who bought the watered mine and 
then died?'* An answer to that would tell the 
story. 

For two whole days, an Interval which I spent 
in hither-and-yon chasings of piebald ponies and 
harlequin-faced dogs about the streets of Denver 
— and found no blue-eyed girls attached to any 
of them, — I thought I had merely shot up into 
the air with my telegram, and missed the whole 
face of the earth. Then, one morning, the an* 
swer came in just two words, like this : 

"To Stanford Broughton, 
"Hotel Savoy, 
"Denver. 

*'JoHN Smith. 

"Charles Bullerton." 

That settled it with a vengeance, you'd say. 

And yet it didn't. It merely proved that Mr. 

Charles Bullerton had acquired a sudden access 

of caution, and was probably cussing himself 

37 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

plentifully for having been too loose-tongued with 
a perfect stranger in a Pullman smoker. He had 
answered my wire with a name that meant just 
as much or as little as if he'd said ^'Alexander 
the Great/' and that was precisely the amount of 
information that he had intended to convey. But 
the result was exactly opposite to that which he 
doubtless wanted to produce: it coninnced me at 
once that he was hiding the real name ; that ^' John 
Smith" — ^I coulii imagine him writing it with his 
tongue in his cheek — ^when properly translated, 
would read, "Jasper Dudley." Of course, this 
was jumping at a conclusion on my part, but all 
human experience goes to show that if one 
doesn't jump now and then the life distances 
covered don't amount to much. 

Whether or not Bullerton's memorandum 
agreement with my grandfather would be binding 
upc me as Grandfather Jasper's heir, was a ques- 
tion for the courts to decide. But one thing was 
certain — ^that is, granting all the assumptions; 
if he should find the mine and go to work on his 
unwatering scheme, he would have a grip on 
things that might be handsomely troublesome to 
shake loose. 

After I had argued it out thus far the next 
step suggested itself in a jiify. I must have a 

38 



Waifs and Strays 

heart-to-heart talk with the cautious Mr. Buller* 
ton, telling him who I was, and perhaps giving 
him a chance to join forces with me in the search, 
if it should prove to be my grandfather's mine 
that be was looking for. Grabbing this impulse 
fay the neck, so to speak, I took the first train for 
Cripple Creek, arriving at the great gold camp 
too late in the afternoon to find anybody in the 
bank through which my telegram had been sent. 
This meant more delay; and the next morning 
when I made my inquiry I found that BuUerton 
had left town, though where he had gone the 
bank folks couldn't say. 

Looking back at the thing now, I am' glad to 
be able to write it down that I was already be- 
ginning to acquire some small fragments of sense 
— the sense of proportion. I had gone into the 
chase more than half for the sheer fun of it; 
pretty much as the dog runs after the stick you've 
flung into die bushes, and which he hasn't much 
hope of finding. But now it was appealing to 
me as more of a man's job. There was a legacy; 
and however valueless it might be in its present 
condition, it had once been worth nearly half a 
million — and might be again. And a half-million 
is a whole lot of money, when you come to con- 
sider it. 

39 



The Girl a Horsie and a Dog 

For a moment I felt like wiring Lisette, "You 
'may possibly be able to buy your future hats, 
after all," but I didn't. From what little the 
bank folks told me it appeared that Bullerton was 
fairly well known in Cripple Creek and the region 
roundabout. Therefore, somebody in the near 
vicinity must know more than I had as yet been 
able to learn about the manner of his disappear- 
ance and his probable destination. My job was 
to find the somebody. 

I went about it in a systematic sort of way — 
for me. There are more mines in and around 
Cripple Creek than you could shake a stick at 
before your arm would ache, and I hunted up 
at least ninety-nine per cent, of them, asking the 
same question at each and all: "Do you know 
a mining engineer named Bullerton?" Plenty of 
people knew him. "Know Charley Bullerton? — 
why, sure I" But that was about as far as it went. 
Some of the mine people knew that he had gone 
to South America ; some could only say that they 
hadn't seen him for a month of Sundays. 

Still, I wouldn't quit, and about the time I 
thought I had exhausted all the combinations, I 
found the one particular Bullerton friend I was 
hunting for. His name, as I recall it, was Hil- 
ton, or something like that, and he was the 

40 



Waifs and Strays 

superintendent of a big drainage-tunnel under* 
taking designed to unwater a lot of flooded mines 
on the hills above the tunnel site. 

"I can give you a little information, but not 
much," was his answer to my well-worn inquiry. 
"BuUerton is bughouse on the subject of a lost 
mine — not an unusual disease in any mining 
country — and he has gone to hunt for it. He 
has a sketch map of the location, but nothing 
to tie it to. Just before he left, he told me that 
he had been showing this map to some old 
prospector he had happened to run across, and 
the prospector had claimed to be able to recog- 
nize the topographies. That was as far as I got. 
I didn't ask him where the location was — or 
rather, where he thought it was." 

"Then, of course, you have no idea where his 
hunt was to begin?" I threw in. 

"Only a guess. In our talk, he asked me if I 
knew anything about a place called Placerville, 
in the Red Desert; what sort of a town it was, 
and if a man could outfit there for a prospecting 
trip. I took it from this that he might be head- 
ing for Placerville, though he didn't say that he 
was." 

As you'd imagine, this was enough for me. 

The next morning I was back in Denver, figuring 

41 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

out the quickest way to get to Placerville in the 
Red Desert. I hoped BuUerton was on the true 
scent, but was mightily afraid he wasn't— -in which 
case I, too, would go beautifully astray. But if 
he should happen to be on the right track, then 
I must beat him to the goal. True, he had a map 
to guide him, and was that much better oif than 
I was. But, on the other hand, I had the girl, 
a horse and a dog. 



'42 



T 



IV 
At the Back of Beyond 

O my chagrin, the railroad ticket offices in 
Denver didn't know any such place as 
PlacerviUe in the Red Desert region, which was 
then, as now, traversed only by one railroad. 
, The single "PlacerviUe" they had listed was a sta- 
tion not far from Telluride, in quite another part 
of the State. Nor could the Mining Exchange 
gentleman help me.. He said — what was true 
enough — that mining-camps blaze up and bum a 
while, and then go out, blink, and in a short time 
even their names are forgotten; this being par- 
ticularly the case with placer diggings, which are 
usually quickly worked out, exhausted and aban- 
doned. After discouraging me plentifully, how- 
ever, he suggested that if I could iind some old 
resident ("old-timer" was the word he used) 
whose memory reached back a ways, there might 
be something doing. 

"Steer me," I begged; "I'm a half-orphan and 
a total stranger in Denver." 
43 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

He laughed, and then thought for a minute, 
and said : 

"The Du Pont Powder people have been doing 
business here for a good many years, and they 
know the powder buyers all over the State. It's 
just possible that they could tell you. Suppose 
you ask at their office." 

I went, forthwith ; and the gentleman to whom 
I presented my card at the cashier's window was 
particularly kind and obliging — ^looked and talked 
as if he might be that way to everybody. More- 
over, he had the dope. The Red Desert Placer- 
ville, he told me, was strictly a "has been." The 
placers had long ago been exhausted, and the 
place had afterward figured as a shipping point 
for some mine or mines on the desert slope of 
the Eastern Timanyonis. He was not quite cer- 
tain, but he thought the name "Placerville" had 
been changed to something else. Questioned 
about the mines for which the place had formerly 
served as a shipping point, he could tell me little, 
save that he supposed they had all played out and 
had been abandoned. At any rate, the powder 
shipments to them had stopped long ago. 

As to the manner of reaching the "has been," 
this, as he pointed out, was simple enough. There 
were through sleepers by way of the P. S-W. and 

44 



At the Back of Beyond 

Copah all the way to the Pacific Coast. My 
informant thought, however, that I might be 
obliged to go to a copper-mining town called 
Angels, some twenty miles beyond the "has been,'* 
doubling back from thence on a local, since it was 
altogether probable that the through trains did 
not stop at the place, or no-place, which I wished 
to reach. 

Armed with this information, I quickly shook 
the dust of Denver (no slam here intended at 
the Queen City of the Plain) from my feet, tak- 
ing a through ticket to Angels; and the follow- 
ing morning, when I ran my window shade up 
previous to turning out for breakfast, the train 
was rollicking along over endless reaches of the 
driest, dreariest, most barren-looking country 
that the sun ever shone upon; red sand, it ap- 
peared' to be, with withered bits of grass here and 
there and scattering bunches of what I after- 
ward learned was called "greasewood." Off in 
the distance there were mountains, and then more 
mountains; and after I was up and dressing I 
saw that the scenery on one side of the train was 
an exact duplicate of that on the other. If one 
would shut his eyes and turn around, he wouldn't 
know which side of the train he was looking from. 

The dining-car breakfast was fine. The farther 

45 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

you get into the region of no-supplies, the better 
the car meals are likely to be. Perhaps you've 
noticed this. From breakfast to luncheon I had 
the sleeper smoldng-room all to myself, and I 
dozed and smoked straight on through to one 
o'clock or thereabouts, rousing up only now and 
again to observe that the scenery was still hold- 
ing its own in the monotony marathon. But when 
I went forward at the last call for luncheon and 
took a seat in the dining-car on the opposite side 
of the train, I found that the outlook had been 
changing a bit on that side. We were gradually 
approaching the northern mountain barrier of 
the desert; part of the time we were skirting the 
barren foothills themselves, with the mountains 
proper only a mile or so beyond them. 

It was while luncheon was getting itself served 
that the train stopped to water the engine at the 
most desolate place that ever lay out of doors, 
I do think. The town, or rather hamlet, was a 
collection of rough shacks in all stages of dilapi- 
dation, most of them empty and yawning, with 
gaping holes where the windows and doors had 
been. All around and about them the gravelly 
ground was heaped in hillocks and windrows, 
exactly as if a drove of antediluvian hog-mon- 
sters had rooted it up. 

46 



At the Back of Beyond 

The placing of our engine at the watering tank 
brought the train to a stand so that my window 
in the dining-car looked out upon the end of the 
station platform which extended past the station 
building itself, fencing off a litde area which 
would have been the cab stand in the average 
country town with people in it. The place was 
utterly deserted; there wasn't a human being in 
sight, either on the platform or in the street upon 
which the station faced; not even the bunch of 
loafers which usually materializes out of nowhere 
to see a train come and go. I was looking out 
of the window and wondering how anybody, 
even a hermit telegraph operator, could stand it 
to live in such a graveyard of a place when I got 
my shock. 

It was a dog that connected up the high- 
voltage wires for me; a shaggy mongrel with his 
ears cocked and a red ribbon of a tongue hanging 
out as he jumped up on the high station platform 
as if to say "Hello, stranger 1" to me. For, right 
down the center of that dog's face and dividing 
it as accurately as if it had been drawn by some 
mathematical draftsman, was a Une marking off 
a black half from a white half I 

I was just taking a swallow of hot chocolate 
when the dog appeared, and it nearly choked 

47 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

me. Luckily, I got the swallow down before I 
saw the horse — a grasshopper-headed cow pony, 
saddled and bridled and standing hitched to a 
gnawed wooden rail in front of one of the 
tumble-down shacks. 'Tiebald*' is sort of an 
elastic word, as the dictionaries define it, and it 
might apply to almost any beast-markings out 
of the ordinary. But the horse I was gaping at 
fell easily within any or all of the definitions; it 
was a true ''calico," white and light sorrel in 
grotesque patchings; unmistakably ''piebald,^' if 
a purist in the use of the mother-tongue — ^like 
Cousin Percy, for example — ^wished to call it so. 

You know how tightly the chairs and tables 
are jammed in and fitted together in the modem 
dining-car. If there were an alarm of fire you'd 
burn to a crisp before you could ever extricate 
yourself. Before I could drop things and wrig- 
gle out and rush back to the steward's sentry-box 
in the vestibule of the car our train was chasing 
along again. 

"Heyl" I shouted; "what's the name of that 
station we've just left?" 

The well-fed, bay-windowed dining-car boss 
looked at me as if he thought I'd suddenly gone 
nutty. 

"Easy, my friend," he cooed, as one would 

48 



At the Back, of Beyond 

gentle a fractious horse, "be right easy. I don't 
know the name of the ctty, but I'll find out for 
you right away if you'll go back quietly and finish 
your luncheon. I hope there was nothing wrong 
with the service to — to— er — excite you?" 

"G-r-r-rl" I said, and went back to my place. 
Whatever might have been done, it was too late 
to do it now, and I went on eating. Pretty soon 
the railroad train conductor, a man big enough 
to have kicked a prize elephant into the gutter, 
came along and propped himself by two ham-like 
hands on my table. 

"Somethin' I can tell you?" he inquired, in a 
sort of be-careful-of-yourself-now tiger-growl. 

"A few," I returned. "What is the name of 
that place where we stopped to water the en- 
gine ?" 

"Atropia." 

" 'Death-sleep'," I translated, with a grin. "It 
fits, all the way down to the ground: What are 
the industries of Atropia ?" 

"I don't get you." The tiger-growl was 
deepening. 

"Excuse me ; I'll try to put it in simpler form. 
Why is Atropia?" 

By this time he appeared to have reached the 

conclusion that I was an escaped lunatic, safely 

49 



^ The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

enough, though most probably a harmless one. 
He looked first at the little colored slip sticking 
in my hat-band and then consulted a note-book 
drawn from his pocket. 

"H'm; ticketed to Angels," he muttered half 
to himself. And then to me: "Was you ex- 
pectin* to have friends meet you at Angels?" 

This was too much, and, anxious as I was to 
find out something more about Atropia, I felt 
It an imperative duty — fool-like — ^to do my ^mall 
part toward enlivening a rather sad world. So 
I said, solemnly: 

"I shall be met by a parade of the Angels fire 
department, in uniform and with the apparatus, 
headed by a brass band. But this is irrelevant 
to the present burning question. What I am 
thirsting to know is why there should be a dog 
with a face half white and half black standing on 
the Atropia station platform, and a piebald pony 
hitched to the horse-rack on the Atropia public 
square." 

That finished him. 

"Say, young feller, you've got 'em bad," he 
commented. "But that'll be all right. Just you 
wait till we get to Angels, and then you can find 
out all these funny things you're so dead anxious 
to know." 

50 



At the Back of Beyond 

"Hold on a minute," I interposed as he was 
trying to escape. "Atropia hasn't always been 
as dead as it is now, has it? What was its name 
when it was alive and able to sit up and take 
nourishment?" 

"Huh?" he queried; and then: "Oh, I get 
you, now; it used to be called Placerville." 

"Thank you; that helps. Now how much 
farther is it to Angels?" 

" 'Bout twenty miles." 

"All right. And when will there be a train 
coming back to this Atropia place 7" 

"Way-freight — to-morruh momin' — eight- 
thirty out o' Angels." 

"Good. Now if those fire people and the 

brass band don't miss me " I couldn't resist 

the temptation to give him a final shot, and it 
hit the bull's-eye. As he edged away I could 
see by his expression diat he still thought me 
crazy. 

When I got back to my Pullman after luncheon 
I perceived at once that the train conductor had 
promptly passed the word about the episode in 
the dining-car. The Pullman conductor evidently 
had his weather eye on nle, and the negro porter 
shied every time he passed my section. This was 
rich, but if I could have known the tenth part 
51 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

of what was going to pop out of this Pandora 
box that I had foolishly dug up in the dining-car, 
the amusement feature would speedily have been 
forgotten in a pretty strenuous effort to straighten 
things out while there was yet time. 

Most naturally, I didn't have — or take — ^very 
much time to reflect upon the poor joke that had 
set the train people to wondering which asylum 
I had escaped from. I was too busy trying to 
plan some way by which I might anticipate the 
eight-thirty way-freight |of the next morning. 
Granting the assumption that there need be no 
fixed limit to the law of coincidences, the happen- 
ings were coming too thick and fast to be classed 
as mere chance cuttings of the cards. BuUerton, 
doubtless guided by the old prospector's reading 
of the maps, was headed for Placerville; and at 
Placerville I had seen the horse and the dog of 
Cousin Percy's letter. Nothing was lacking now 
but the blue-eyed maiden with a mole on her left 
shoulder. Clearly, I must arrive at this Placer- 
ville-Atropia place at the earliest possible mo- 
ment. 

It was with this enthusiastic determination in 
the saddle that I descended from the train at my 
ticket-named destination of Angels, and found 
a typical mining-camp of a single street and a 

52 



At the Back of Beyond 

tawdry, dusty dreariness scarcely exceeded by 
that of the dead-alive Atropia. The first thing 
I saw on the station platform was my Bfobding* 
nagian train conductor talking earnestly to a 
large, desperadoish-looking man whose greatest 
need was for a clean shave. By the manner of 
the two I saw that their talk was aiming Itself 
at me: the railroad man was only too plainly 
warning the Angelic person that Angels the 
blest had a probably harmless, but possibly dan- 
gerous, maniac in its midst. 

Still I saw only the humorous side of it and 
refused to be disturbed. Fired by the ambition 
to find some way of returning at once to Atropia, 
before the magic horse and dog should disappear, 
I tramped ofi in search of a place where I could 
leave my two grips. The place that offered, and 
the only one, was the "Celestial Hotel," and I 
wondered what sly wag had suggested the name, 
which was a double pun upon the name of the 
town and the fact that the tavern, half restaurant 
and half lodging-house, was kept by a Chinaman. 
When I entered the frowsy, ill-smelling place I 
chuckled again. For, besides being a two-faced 
pun, its name fitted it only by antithesis; as if 
one said "heaven" when be meant the other 
place. 

S3 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Wing Poo, when I found him, looked much 
like the average Pacific-Coast laundryman, and his 
English was a shaving from the same stick. 
Though I hadn't lost much time in getting to 
the "hotel" it was quite apparent that my reputa- 
tion as an escaped lunatic had preceded me in 
some mysterious fashion, for when I asked for 
acconunodations and a storage for my grips, the 
Chinaman's face took on the expression of 
the Great Buddha done in stone, and he shook 
his head. 

"Solly. No got loom." 

"Money," I retorted, showing him a handful 
of gold coins which I had taken the precaution 
to buy before leaving Denver. 

That got him. The commercially minded 
Chinaman will take a chance on an untamed 
Bengal tiger if you can show him a probable or 
possible profit; at least, that is the impression 
I had gathered on a former winter tour in 
California. 

"Mebbe so can find loom," said Wing Poo, 
and he took my grips. This removed one ob- 
stacle in the way of sudden flight, but as I was 
turning to leave the restaurant-tavern another 
loomed up in the shape of the heavy-shouldered, 
desperadoish-looking person whom I had seen at 

54 



At the Back of Beyond 

the station talking with the train conductor. He 
blod^ed the exit for me, twitching the lapel of his 
coat aside to show me a silver star the size of 
a small saucer. 

"I'm onto you with both feet," he remarked, 
boring me with an eye that I could easily fancy 
might strike terror into the heart of the most 
reckless criminal. "I'm givin' you warnin' right 
now that no funny business don't go in this man's 
town; see?" 

"Guess again," I suggested. "I'm not a 
theatrical company." 

"Huh!" he grunted. "What bughouse did 
you break loose from, anyhow?" 

I laughed. 

"I'm quite harmless," I assured him. "The 
train conductor ought to have added that to his 
report. Give me a little information^ and I'll 
forthwith remove myself from the confines of 
your charming city. How far is it by wagon- 
road to Placerville-Atropia, and how can I get 
there?" 

"My goshl" he said gloomily; "two of you 
in the same dog-goned week I" 

"Even so. When did the other one arrive?" 

"Day before yistidday. He didn't look so 
much bughouse as you do, but I reckon he must 

55 



( 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

*a' been off his ka-whoop, too, 'r he wouldn't 'a' 
gone to 'Tropia." 

"Let him rest in peace. Do I get my in- 
formation?" 

"Shore: we speeds the partin' guest. You've 
come apast your place. Twenty-one mile back; 
and the way-freight 'U git you there to-morruh 
mornin'." 

"How about this afternoon, and a horse ?'^ 

"There ain't no road." 

"What's the matter with following the rail- 
road track?" 

"I reckon you mought; and then ag'in, you 
moughtn't. Have to head some o' the draws,, 
and they run back into the hills in a heap o^ 
places." 

"Couldn't make it in a motor car?" 

His smile was the land you give your small 
son when he remarks that he is going to build 
him an aeroplane. 

"There ain't but three cars in this whole 
b'jinged town, and I reckon you ain't goin' to 
^t to borra one of 'em." 

"All right; just the same, I'm going to Atro- 
pia — this afternoon," I bragged. 

He let me pass, and I tramped up the street 
imtil I found the one livery stable. Here, again» 

56 



At the Back of Beyond 

my fool reputation had quite evidently outrun 
me. The man had idle horses, plenty of them, 
as I couldn't help seeing, but I couldn't hire one 
for love or money. When It came right down to 
the pinch, he wouldn't even sell me one. 

"Naw," he growled. "They'll be along yerc 
after ye by ter-morrer *r nex' day, and I ain't 
a-goin' ter haf ter crope up an' say I he'ped ye 
make yer git-away." 

It is curious how the thing you can't do grows 
in importance in direct proportion to the diffi- 
culties that develop. My getting to Atropia that 
afternoon was no such killing matter as I had al- 
lowed it to become. In any case, the owner of 
the piebald cow pony, man, boy or gjrl, would 
doubtless have ridden away long before I could 
reach the place; and a little inquiry the next day 
would easily enable me to identify the said owner, 
since calico horses are not so common as to go 
unremariced anywhere, and much less in such a 
graveyard of- a town as Atropia had appeared 
to be. 

But by this time I was in a hot sweat of im- 
patience to be on my way; to bridge that twenty- 
one mites before the elusive clue — if it were the 
clue — could once more dodge me and vanish into 
thin air. In that frame of mind I told the cau- 
57 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

tious liveryman, in gentle phrase, what I thought 
of him and his kind, and hurried down to the 
railroad, hoping to be able to catch an east^ 
bound train of some kind, any kind, whose crew 
could be bribed or cajoled into carrying me to 
Atropia. 

It was just as I was about to inquire of the 
telegraph operator what the chances we're that 
the great temptation rose up and slapped me in 
the face. Up the grade from the westward a 
tiny, three-wheeled car, carrying two men, came 
spinning along. I recognized it at once as a 
track-inspection car, driven by a small gasoline 
engine; an evolution of the old velocipede car, 
foot- and hand-driven and used by roadmasters 
and other railroad men for making quick trips 
over short distances. 

In half a minute the little car rattled up to the 
station and made a quick stop, the two men set- 
ting the brakes and hopping off to dodge into the 
telegraph office. They left the little pop-popping 
engine running at idling speed, and in a flash I 
saw my chance. Of course, if I should steal the 
car, I'd be caught and arrested and hauled off 
somewhere to be tried and fined; but before any 
of these untoward things could happen, I should 
have settled that biting question of the owner- 

58 



At the Back of Beyond 

ship of the piebald pony and the harlequin*faced 
dog. 

All right; no sooner thought than said, or 
said than done. Darting across the platform I 
gave the pop-popping go-cart the once over. 
Since I had driven pretty nearly everything on 
wheels from a motor-cycle to a racing-auto, I 
saw at once that the control mechanism of 
the car wouldn't bother me. So, with a quick 
glance over my shoulder to make sure that the 
coast was still clear, I slipped into the driving- 
seat, jerked the throttle open and released the 
clutch, praying fervently that the switches might 
be set right for me at the upper end of the Angels 
yard. 

With a spattering roar like that of a small 
rapid-fire gun, the little wagon got under way. 
Two, three, five rail-joints clicked under the 
wheels; then, as the machine began to gather 
speed, I looked back. What I s^w was a-plenty. 
Three men, one of them, whom I took to be 
the telegraph operator, in his shirt-sleeves, came 
running up the station platform. The shirt- 
sleeved man was yelling and waving something 
that glistened in the sunlight. Next I heard the 
distance-diminished crack of a pistol and a blunt- 

59 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

nosed bullet sang a whining little lullaby to me 
as it tore past. 

I flung up an arm to show the pistol-firer that 
he had missed, and then the small car swung 
around the shoulder of the nearest hill and 
Angels became only a backward-flitting memory. 



60 



F 



The Magic Triad 

OR the first few minutes the exhilarating ex- 
A' perience of driving what was to me an 
entirely new kind of motor vehicle kept me from 
dwelling too pointedly upon the enormity of the 
offense I was committing. Sober second thought 
came in due time, however, and I began to plan 
a bit for the impending and rather ominous 
future. 

Without doubt, news of the car theft had al- 
ready gone clicking over the wires to Atropia; 
and while I was quite willing to be arrested and 
tried, sentenced and made to pay the penalty, I 
was stubbornly determined that that unusual and 
interesting experience should be postponed at least 
long enough to enable me to reap the benefit of 
the theft. 

Hence, to be stopped before I could reach my 
goal was no part of my plan, so I opened things 
up and gave the little three-wheeled dinky all the 
gas it could use, keeping a sharp lookout ahead, 

6i 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

and meaning to pull up a little way short of the 
graveyard city, abandoning the car and making 
the actual approach on foot. 

That is, if I should live long enough to get 
that far — an accomplishment, let me say, which 
began to appear a trifle uncertain before I had 
measured the first mile of the flight. You see, 
I knew less than nothing of the train schedules 
on this out-of-the-world railroad, and for aught 
I knew to the contrary, I might very well be 
rushing headlong to a collision with something 
coming full tilt in the opposite direction. Now 
that I came to think of it, this catastrophe seemed 
more than likely. The two men of whom I had 
borrowed my wagon had gone to the telegraph 
office, perhaps, and very probably, for the ex- 
press purpose of having the operator ascertain 
for them if there were any train running to 
oppose them. 

This conclusion was a good bit less than com- 
forting, as you might say, and it kept me keyed 
up to an anticipatory pitch that soon became 
positively thrilling. On the stretches of straight 
track it was not so bad; here I should have at 
least some little warning. But at the approach 
to each new curve I couM feel a cold breeze 
chasing up the back of my neck ; and the reactioot 

62 



The Magic Triad 

when I could see around the curve and get a 
glimpse of another reach of clear track ahead, 
left me sweating like a i^ctim in a Turkish bath. 

Fortunately, there were mile numbers strung 
along on the telegraph poles, so I could get a 
notion from time to time as to how much longer 
the agony was going to last Judging from the 
way the scenery was racing backward, I estimated 
that the little car must be doing at least thirty 
miles to the hour; which meant forty minutes, 
or such a matter, to cover the twenty-one miles. 
If the opposing train or trains, whatever they 
mig^t be, would only keep out of my way for 
those precious forty minutes. • . • 

But there it is: if the dog hadn't stopped he 
might have caught the rabbit; which, being trans- 
lated into terms human and made applicable to 
a runaway on a strange railroad — but I mustn't 
get ahead of my story. Some time after 
passing the thirteenth mile-post the straight- 
track stretches disappeared altogether and the 
road became a succession of curves winding 
among bare hills, with the mountains on the left 
backgrounding them at a short distance. Eye- 
sight for the look ahead was no longer of any 
use to me, and as the small car went squealing 
zmd careening around the curves, I was straining 

63 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

my ears to make them ignore the rapid-fire ex- 
hausts of the motor and the clattering and shrill- 
ing of the wheels to concentrate upon those other 
expected and dreaded sounds; the ominous thun- 
derings of a train which would be my only 
warning before the thing itself should leap at me 
from behind the screening of the hills. 

The thing to do, of course, was to speed up 
and get out of this tangle of hill curves as quiddy 
as possible, thus shortening the time of the extra 
hazards. So, regardless of the careening procliv- 
ities of the little boat, which was now and then 
lifting its outrigger wheel clear of the rail in the 
darting rushes around the shorter curves, I 
pushed the small motor to its limit and was get- 
ting along beautifully until suddenly, on a grade 
that was a bit steeper than usual, the popping 
exhaust quit short off, the engine slowed down, 
and the car, squeaking and grinding, came to a 
stand on a low embankment between two of the 
hill cuttings. 

My first impulse was to lift the ear from the 
track, abandon it, and take shank's mare for the 
remainder of the trip. Then I remembered that 
the last mile-post I had noticed was the four- 
teenth out of Angels; which meant that I still 
had something like seven miles to go. It seemed 

64 



The Magic TriacJ 

foolish to plug seven miles afoot when a bit of 
tinkering might be all diat was needed to turn 
the walk into a ride, so I piled off and began 
to investigate. 

There wasn't anjrthing very complicated about 
the Uttle motor* and I soon discovered that a 
broken ignition wire was what had killed it. 
Happily, there was a small tool-box under the 
seat, and in the kit there was a pair df pliers. 
But sometimes — and this was one of them — a bit 
of material is as important as the tools to work 
with. The broken wire was too short to couple 
up again, and there wasn't an inch of spare wire 
to be found in the kit. 

They say that necessity is the mother of in> 
vention; but I'll defy anybody to invent a piece 
of wire in the middle of the Great Sahara Desert. 
I looked the car over, as you might say, with a 
magnifying-glass. Probably there were a dozen 
expedients that would have suggested themselves 
to a trained tinkerer, but unfortunately I wasn't 
a trained anjrthing. The only other wires in the 
entire shooting-match were the battery couplings, 
and they were just barely long enough to reach 
from cell to cell. 

All this searching and fussing around was 
done, as you'd imagine, in a feverish hurry. 
6s 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog ' 

Every minute I was. expecting to hear the rumble 
and roar of a train. But the silence of the ever- 
lasting solitudes was as yet unbroken, and I hated 
to tip the car off the track while there was any 
shadow of a chance of getting it to run again. 

In this extremity it was a little desert zephyr 
that gave me the great idea. A gentle breeze 
came sighing up the draw from some overheated 
area out beyond, and finding no trees on the bar- 
ren hills, it sang its little song in the thickly 
clustering telegraph wires on the poles. Why, 
sure I I' said to myself; here was my wire — 
miles and miles of it. All I had to do was to 
climb up and get it. 

Gentle reader, I wonder if you've ever tried 
to climb a telegra|)h pole without the contrivances 
that a lineman buckles upon his feet? If you 
haven't, the advice of this amateur is. Don't. 
Half a dozen times I shinnied up to perhaps the 
height of a man's head, only to come sliding 
down again on a run. Still, I wouldn't ^ve up; 
and the more foolish it became the harder I 
tried. At last, by a series of inchings I con- 
trived to get within arm's-reach of the lowest 
crosspiece. Pliers in hand, I strained for the 
nearest wire, gripped it, and began to twist it 
back and forth to break it. 

66 



The Magic Triad 

To the end of my life I shall always have a 
profound respect for the tenacity of an ordinary 
telegraph wire. A thousand times, as it seemed 
to me, I b^nt that strand first one way and then 
the other, and still it held. My grip on the 
pole wasn't any too good, and I knew that when 
the wire should break, Fd go sliding to the 
ground like the freed hanuner-weight of a pile- 
driver ; but that was a small matter. 

Not to let me miss any of the thrills. It was 
at the predse instant of the wire-breaking that 
my straining ears caught the sound they had 
been listening for; a far-away, drumming rumble 
that seemed to come from nowhere in particular. 
Then, out of the same indefinite circumambience 
came a warning that was still more unmistakable 
— ^the long-drawn blast of a locomotive whistle. 

I didn't climb down that pole; I came down 
just as I thought I should — like the time-ball on 
the flagstaff in Washington at high noon. More- 
over, I struck the ground running, as one might 
say. All thoughts of tinkering that confounded 
motor had vanished and my one great object in 
life was to get the car off the track before a 
worse thing should happen. 

Tippy as the little wagon had seemed on the 
curves, it proved to be no one-man job to get 

67 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

It off the rails and out of the way with anjrthing 
like decent celerity. Nevertheless, I was doing 
fairly well with the lifting and tugging when the 
enemy hove in sight less than five hundred yards 
away. It was a freight train bound in the gen- 
eral direction of Angels, and the locomotive at 
the head of it looked as big as an ofEce building 
as it came surging down upon me. And that 
wasn't all, either. At precisely the same instant, 
as if it had been timed by the same mechanism 
that had brought the freight train, here came 
a wild engine around the curve in the opposite 
direction, with its whistle valve held open and 
making a racket to wake the dead. The bereft 
motor-car riders had found a locomotive some- 
where and were chasing me. 

Believe me, there was no time to stop and 
speculate as to whether or not there was going 
to be a collision between the oncoming freight 
and the wild engine. One mad heave at the 
stranded gasoline car, a mighty boost that got 
all but one wheel of it in the clear, and L was 
gone — streaking it like a jack-rabbit for the tall 
timber— only there wasn't a stick of timber 
nearer than the slopes of the backgrounding 
mountains. 

One glance over my shoulder as I fled showed 

68 



The Magic Triad 

me what I was in for : that the story was to be 
immediately continued in our next. Both en- 
gineers tried to stop; did stop in time to avert 
the greater catastrophe. The wild engine was 
pulled up a hundred feet or so short of the half- 
derailed inspection car; but the freight engineer, 
with a heavy train to push him, was not so lucky. 
His driving-wheels were grinding fire from the 
rails and barely turning over when he came to 
the obstruction, but the gentle touch he gave it 
was enough to send the little car whirling down the 
embankment, where its gasoline tank burst open 
and it promptly set itself afire. That was the 
signal for the footrace to begin; three or four 
men jumping from the freight and two from the 
wild engine to come tearing after me. I fancied 
I could give them their money's worth at that 
game — ^being in pretty fair training — so I pitched 
out to try to turn the hypothetical theory into a 
condition. 

It was a great race. My worst handicap, 
which caught me before I had covered the first 
hundred yards, was the fact that I was not yet 
acclimated to the high altitude, and the fast pace 
cut my wind so savagely that I thought I should 
fan out and drop before I could even get a safe 
lead on the field. Then the good old second 

69 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

wind came along, my lungs quit tr^g to explode 
like a leaky steam-boiler, and I was able to spurt 
a bit. Through one gap and into another we 
went, making figure eights around the hills and 
back again, dodging into new ravines and out of 
them into others, circling among great sandstone 
boulders that took all sorts of weird shapes in 
the passing glimpse. At the send-off my pursuers 
were yelling at me like a lot of Indians on the 
war-path; but I noticed that they soon stopped 
that when they found they were going to have 
a more pressing use for their breath. 

I don't know just how long the chase lasted, 
but it was long enough to give me a very consider^ 
able degree of respect for the nerve and persis- 
tence of those highly indignant railroad men. We 
must have been miles away from the scene of 
the disaster when I finally left them behind and 
lost them. When I looked back and found my- 
self alone with the solitudes I sat down upon a 
flat rock to gasp and laugh. It had all been 
so supremely ridiculous, and so beautifully in 
keeping with the reputation I had left behind me 
at Angels, that I felt sure that now nothing less 
than a verdict of expert alienists would ever 
serve to convince these Red Desert folk that I 
was anything but an escaped lunatic. 

70 



The Magic Triad 

Aftei^ the breathing spell I began to look 
around and try to get my bearings. The sun 
had already gone behind the western mountains, 
though it was yet only a little past four o'clock. 
My breathing halt had been made in a narrow, 
canyon-like valley which seemed to extend in a 
general direction of southwest and northeast. 
Since it wouldn't have been exactly prudent, in 
the circumstances, to go back toward the railroad, 
which, I judged, would be somewhere over the 
hills to the sputhward, I kept on up the valley, 
heading away from the setting sun, and feeling 
certain that, sooner or later, I must come out 
somewhere in the neighborhood of Atropia. 

That was a bad guess. Two hours later I was 
still wandering about among those barren hills, 
with all sense of direction lost, and with no 
change in the stage-settings perceptible save that 
the hiUs were growing bigger and the intervening 
valleys were shrinking more and more into pre- 
cipitous ravines. In all the wanderings, which 
must have covered a number of miles, I had seen 
no trace of human beings; no trails, no cattle, 
nothing to indicate that I hadn't been dropped 
down hard in the middle of a blankly uninhabited 
wilderness a thousand miles wide and long. 

All these things taken into consideration, I 

71 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

was tremendously relieved when, at the last qf 
the scramblings up the rocky slope in which the 
pocket ravine abruptly endbd, I came into a sort 
of an excuse for a road. It was a mere notch 
cut in the steep mountain-side, and it looked, as 
nearly as I could determine in the twilight which 
was now turning into night, as if it hadn't felt 
a wheel or a hoof for a month of Sundays. Yet 
and notwithstanding, it was a real wagon-road, 
hewn out sometime or other by the hand of man. 
And being such, it must therefore lead me in due 
time to food, shelter and human companion- 
ship. 

Being pretty well winded by the stiflf climb out 
of the canyon ravine, I sat down at the roadside 
to rest a bit and to decide which way I should go, 
to the right or to the left. The choice, so far 
as I could see, lay only between going up-hill or 
down. The road had a slight grade, and the 
inference was that the down-hill pitch would come 
out, in the course of time, somewhere upon the 
desert level. Just as I was making up my mind 
that, in the darkness, a down-hill stumble would 
be preferable to the other kind, I heard a patter 
of feet and a dog barked. 

A moment later I could see the beast, indis- 
tinctly. He had been coming up the road and 

72 



The Magic Triad 



had stopped at the sight— or scent— of me. 
Since a dog argued the proximity of a dog-bwn- 
ing human being, I called coaxingly: ''Here, 
Towser — here— -come on, old fellow — ^that's a 
boy I" and the curious thing about it is that he 
did it, running up a little way and stopping, and 
finally coming to squat before me and to lift a 
paw for me to shake. 

I jollied him a bit and let him nose me to his 
heart's content. Then suddenly, as if he had 
discovered a long-lost master, he htoke away and 
began to leap and dance around me, barking a 
furious and hilarious welcome. In the midst of 
this hubbub I heard hoofbeats and the squeaking 
of saddle leather, and the dog's owner rode up. 
At first, I thought the dimly outlined Stetson- 
hatted figure in the saddle was that of a boy. But 
it was a woman's voice, and a mighty pleasant 
one, that called to the dog: ''Down, Barney, 
and behave yourself — ^what's the matter with 
you, sirl" 

I stood up and pulled off my cap. 

"I'm chiefly the matter," I said. "Your dog 
seems to think he knows me, and I'm awfully 
sbrry that his memory is so much better than 



mine." 



You'd think — anybody would think — ^that a 

73 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

woman riding alone in the dark on a solitary 
mountain road would be handsomely startled, to 
say the least, at seeing a man rise up fairly under 
her horse's nose. I could prefigure Lisette In 
similar circumstances; hear her shriek as she 
flung her calm-and-coUected mantle to the four 
^nds and became just an every-day human 
woman, like the colonel's lady or Judy O'Grady. 
But if my little lady were scared, she certainly 
didn't parade her fright. 

^'Barney is such a foolish dog, sometimes," she 
said apologetically. ^'He has a double brain, 
you know: half of it is good-natured and silly, 
and the other half is — ^well, it's ^" 

The dog had come around again wagging his 
tail and at that magic word ''half" I stooped to 
let him stick his cold nose into my palm. The 
act brought me near enough to enable me to see 
him better, and I had to clap a hand over my 
mouth to keep from shouting out and scaring the 
entire combination Into a wild stampede. For, 
if you'll believe me, the dog was my dog. One- 
half of his face was white, and the other was so 
black that it merged and faded harmoniously 
Into the night I 

''I know," I said, straightening up again; ''my 
brain acts that way, too, sometimes." Then: 

74 



The Magic Triad 

"Pardon me, but would you mind telling me the 
color of the horse you are riding?" 

The young woman laughed, and her laugh 
was just as jolly and pleasant as her speaking 
voice. 

"Can't you see for yourself?" she asked. 

"No; I'm— er — rather color-blind, after dark." 

"Winkie is what the cow-men call a 'pinto' — a 
calico horse," she answered promptly. 

"Surel" I bellowed, "I knew itl" and the 
horse shied, and the dog barked in sheer sym- 
pathy. Then I apologized. "Please forgive the 
explosion. As I said a minute ago, my brain 
sometimes acts like Barney's: half of it being 
good-natured and silly, and the other half — ^well, 
we'll omit the description of the other half for 
the present, if you'll permit me. There are other 
things much more important. For example : this 
mountain, now; if I could only know its ap- 
proximate latitude and longitude I should lack 
only a degree or so of being entirely happy. In 
other words, may I — er — ^will you have the 
goodness to tell me where I am?" 

"I — ^why — dear mel don't you know where 
you are?" 

"Not any more than a harmless, necessary 
goat, I assure you." 

75 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"But you're not lost, are you ? I don't under- 
stand " 

« 

"Of course you don't," I broke in, laughing 
joyously. "But if you had been through what 
I have this afternoon . . . but we needn't go 
into that now. Some other time, perhaps, when 
you feel the need of a bit of relaxation, I'll 
write my adventures out for you in Greek hex- 
ameters." 

I couldn't be certain, but I thought she took 
a little firmer hold upon her bridle rein at this. 

"Did you— did you come from Angels?" she 
asked, in a sort of awed little voice. 

"How did you guess it? I was, indeed — for 
a very short space of time this very day — a mem- 
ber of the Angelic band. And if you should 
ask me, I might say that I feel as though I had 
walked most of the way here from Angels. I — 
I — my car broke down, you know." 

"Yes," she siaid; "I know" — ^just as if she did. 
Then: "I can at least tell you where you are. 
This is the southern slope of Cinnabar Moun- 
tain. This road leads on down to Atropia, about 
three miles below." 

"Y-es; Atropia was the place I was trying to 
come at." 

"So they ^'* she broke off short and tried 

76 



The Magic Triad 

again: "Yes; Atropia, of course. But you are 
not going there now, are you ?" 

**Well," said I, "I suppose it's Atropla or no 
' supper; neither supper nor lodging." 

She stopped and appeared to be thinking about 
something. Then she said: 

"Really, I think you would better not go to 
Atropia. It's — ^well, it's quite a long walk." 

"The walk doesn't specially appal me. I'vd 
done so much walking this afternoon that a few 
hundred miles^ more or less, in addition wouldn't 
be worth mentioning. But for some other rea- 
sons ^" 

"Yes; for some other reasons," she said, re- 
peating it right after me. Then: "I — ^we — 
Daddy and I, might give you some supper and 
put, you up for the night, if — if you wouldn't 
mind sleeping in the — in the loft." 

My Lord I I hadn't so much as seen her face 
clearly yet, but I could have worshiped herl 
She had just come from Atropia, and she knew/ 
Of course she knew. That little dry-as-dust 
hamlet must have been sizzling for hours with the 
wire news of the escaped lunatic who had alighted 
in Angels only to light out again with a stolen 
inspection car. And in the face of all that she 
was willing to take a chance on me I If she had 

77 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

only known that I would cheerfully risk sleeping 
in a cellar — ^to say nothing of a loft — rather than 
lose sight of her . . . but she was going on a 
bit breathlessly: "It is only a short mile to our 
cabin, and — and if you are very tired, I might 
let you ride Winkie." 

"I shall be most delighted — ^to walk," I has- 
tened to say. 

"Straight on up the road, then," she directed; 
so I struck out, trudging a trifle stiffly, I dare 
say, with the dog at my heels and the pony fol- 
lowing along at his heels. 

We had traversed possibly half of the promised 
mile in plodding silence when we came to a place 
where the grade was so steep that it cut what 
was left of my sea-level wind to the small end 
of nothing; and even the tough little mountain 
pony was blowing. 

"Stop a minute and get your breath," said the 
pony's rider; and when I had halted: "You arc 
not used to these high altitudes, are you?" 

"N-not so that any one would remark it," I 
gasped. "How high up are we?" 

"About five thousand feet. The mine is ex- 
actly five thousand three hundred, I believe." 

There it was, you see : the mine I 

78 



The Magic Triad 

"Pardon me," I blurted out; "but would you 
mind telling me If your eyes are blue?" 

Her laugh was like a drink of cool spring 
water in the middle of a hot summer day; re- 
freshing, you know, like that. 

"I — I hope you are not dangerous," she 
stammered, mixing the words in with the end of 
the laugh. 

"Bless you, no 1" I protested. "Without doubt, 
I am a third-degree lunatic; there have been 
times — ^like to-day, for example — ^when there 
wasn't even method in my madness. But I am 
perfectly harmless, I assure you; at least, I'm 
never tempted to be violent unless people refuse 
to answer my questions." 

"That seems quite reasonable," she admitted. 
And then: "I sup-pup-pose my eyes are blue: 
people tell me they are." 

"Thank you," I returned. "There is only one 
other little matter, and that can very well wait 
until we are — er — a bit better acquainted, you 
know. Shall we go on, now?" 

She spoke to her pony and we went on. At 
the top of the steep place the forest was much 
heavier, or so it seemed in the darkness, and the 
dim road turned off to the right across what ap- 

79 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

peared to be the flat top of the mountain. I 
asked my guide and preceptress if it were. 

"No," she replied, "we are on the Cinnabar 
Bench, as it is called — z sort of terrace. We 
shall come to the mountain itself again in a few 
minutes." 

Accordingly, after perhaps a half-mile of the 
level going, we did come to the steepnesses again, 
with the great bulk of the mountain towering be- 
fore us to shut the stars off well up toward the 
zenith. Ahead of us, and diagonally up another 
steep ^lope, I could see the dim shapes of a num- 
ber of buildings, all dark. Then we came to a 
great gray dump, looking as if the mountain had 
at one time opened to pour out a cataract of 
broken stone. 

Beyond the dump there was another building 
with a light in it; and as the dog ran ahead of 
us, barking, the figure of a man silhouetted itself 
in the open doorway. 

"Here we are, and you are welcome' to the 
Old Cinnabar," said my companion to me. Then 
she "hoo-hoo-ed" cheerily to the man in the door- 
way and slipped out of her saddle, letting her 
pony stand while she led me across to the 
lighted, log-built cabin. 



80 



The Old Cinnabar 

I WAS wondering, speculatively, how the lit- 
tle lady — ^when she stood beside me her head 
came about level with my shoulder — wai"' going 
to explain me to her father. But I needn't have 
bothered my brains about that. We had seem- 
ingly left all of the conventions and social ham- 
perings at the bottom of the big hill. 

"Daddy, here is a man I found down at the 
head of Antelope Gulch: he had lost his way, 
so I brought him home with me," was the simple 
manner in which she launched me; and I found 
myself shaking hands with an elderly man who 
looked as if he might be a farmer, or a miner, 
or something of that nature — ^you will knowwhat 
I mean: Bannel shirt, trousers tucked into boots, 
iron-gray whiskers all over his face, an eye as 
mild as a collie dog's. 

"You done plum' right, Jeanie," he remarked; 
and then to me: "Come right on in, stranger, 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

and be at home. If you don't see what you want, 
ask for it.'* After which he went to take care 
of the piebald pony. 

The log cabin proved to be primitive only on 
the outside. The interior was a dream of cozy 
homeliness; rag carpet on the floor; chintz cur- 
tains at the windows; heavy home-built furnish- 
ings designed for solid comfort; a glorious stone 
fireplace with a wood fire snapping and crackling 
in its depths against the chill of the high-moun- 
taTn night. A hanging lamp lighted this haven 
of rest, and in its mild glow I had my first real 
look at the girl. 

She wasn't beautiful in any show-girl meaning 
of the word; she was something far better — 
piquant, charming, I was going to say winsome, 
only the word has been so knocked about and 
misused that it doesn't mean anything any more. 
Pressed for another word, I should have called 
her lovable after the fashion that Shakespeare 
made his Rosalind lovable; not too easily to be 
won, but a most cuddlesome thing afterward. A 
round little face, wind-tanned to a tint as delicious 
as the blush in the heart of an apple-blossom, 
a jolly bit of a nose, tip-tilted enough to bespeak 
a healthy sense of humor, a mouth neither too 
large nor too small upheld by a firm, round chin, 

82 



The Old Cinnabar 

and the chin upheld by an extra firm little jaw. 
As she had admitted, her eyes were blue — ^the 
blue that shades into violet — and they were well- 
set; wide apart and perfectly fearless; the kind 
of eyes fit to match the straight-lined brows that 
usually go with them. 

At the moment she was dressed sensibly for 
the road; a two-j)iece riding uniform that looked 
like washed khaki — and probably was washed 
khaki — a coat .that fitted like a soldier's tunic, 
neat brown riding boots, divided skirts, a soft 
felt hat to match. The coat, which she stripped 
off as we stood before the fire, had pockets like 
a man's; and the stripping process revealed the 
trimmest of brown canvas cartridge-belts sagging 
around her waist, with a six-gun, carried in its 
holster with the grip forward, cowboy fashion. 

"Ah 1" said I, nodding toward the gun, "I see 
now why you weren't frightened when I loomed 
up before you on the road a little while back. 
I'm glad I'm still alive." 

She laughed. 

"I don't think you were in any great danger." 
Then, as if an apology were needed: "Daddy 
always makes me carry the gun when I'm going 
anywhere out of his sight. You see, he's lived all 
of his life on what used to be called the frontier, 

83 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

and he can^t realize yet that it is no longer a 
gun country." 

'Tm not so sure that it isn't still a gun coun- 
try," I put in. "Fve been shot at at least once 
to-day. I know, because I heard the bullet. But 
could you use a gun if you had to?" 

"Oh, yes; I suppose so. Goodness knows, 
Daddy has taken pains enough trying to teach me 
how to make the hand quicker than the eye. But 
now you'll have to excuse me. Please make your- 
self comfortable ; Fve got to go and get supper." 

At that I lost her for the time being, and sat 
alone before the cheerful blaze, chuckling quietly 
to myself over the mad adventures of the day 
and their highly romantic, not to say miraculous, 
outcome. Beyond all manner of doubt I had 
stumbled upon the three talismans of Cousin 
Percy's cryptic letter. By the most marvelous of 
accidents I had discovered the girl, the horse 
and the dog; and, if the remainder of Percy's 
letter were to be taken at its face value, I should 
now be in touch with my legacy. 

As to the character of that legacy, there could 
now-be no further question. Grandfather Jasper 
had left me a mine ; and I was fully prepared to 
find it the drowned mine of BuUerton's story. 
What I might be able to make of it was a matter 

84 



The Old Cinnabar 

which could well be postponed to another day. 
Just as I reached this postponing conclusion, the 
girl's father came in, drew up a chair on the 
opposite side of the hearth, and began to make 
me welcome in a mild-mannered way, saying that 
they didn't have much company, and were always 
"master" glad to see a new face. He did not 
ask me any troublesome questions; and beyond 
telling me his name, which was Hiram Twombly, 
did not volunte.er any information about himself 
or his daughter, nor did he explain how they 
came to be living in so much comparative comfort 
in such an out-of-the-way place. 

A little later the girl returned to set the table, 
and presendy we had supper. It was an amaz- 
ingly good meal ; crisp bacon, fried potatoes, hot 
biscuits and honey, and cofiee that was most 
delicious in spite of the condensed milk which was 
made to serve as cream. "Homey" is the word 
that best Htted the supper, the meal marching in 
perfect harmony with the rag carpet, the chintz 
curtains and the cozy fireside. 

The talk at the table was purely desultory, as 
if all three of us were trying to dodge an issue of 
some sort. As I remember it, we chattered about 
the weather, the difference between the climate 
of the eastern and .western slopes of the range, 
8s 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the bracing nights, even in June, at an altitude of 
five thousand feet — all sorts of innocuous things 
like these. Through it all, there was no word of 
mention as to the why of the dark and deserted 
buildings on the opposite side of the great mine 
dump, and, on the other hand, my hosts were 
just as careful to avoid any reference to my rea- 
sons for making aimless foot tours in a region 
where I was measurably certain to get lost. 

After we left the table the blue-eyed maiden 
got housewifely busy again, and the old man and 
I sat before the fire and smoked. I had a fdw 
cigars in my pocket and I gave him one. 

"M-mphl" he said, running it back and forth 
under his nose, ''I haven't seen what you might 
call a real see-gar in a month o' Sundays. Got 
another one for yourself?" 

I said I had, but preferred the corn-cob pipe 
he had given me. That seemed to loosen him up 
a bit more ; pried the talk away from the weather, 
at least. I don't remember just how it was that 
we finally drifted around to automobiles and 
motor boats and such things, but we did, and 
maybe I may have bragged a bit about having 
driven and tinkered pretty nearly all the breeds 
of go-cart on land and water — as I really had. 

"Know about machinery, do you?^ said my 

86 



The Old Cinnabar 

hearth-mate; and theiii with a humorous glint in 
his mild eyes: "Shouldn't wonder if you could 
be sort of a God-send to me, if you wanted to. 
To-morruh, if you ain't in too big a hurry to be 
leavin' us, Til get you to show me a few things 
that I don't know, 'long them lines, maybe." 

Of course, I acquiesced cheerfully — ^too cheer- 
fully, perhaps, for the old man switched the talk 
back to less interesting things and said no more 
about extending my welcome. By and by the girl 
came in and sat down to knit, just as her grand- 
mother might have done, and at that her father 
go^ up, and, lighting a lantern, went out. I was 
fairly perishing by this time to know a vast num- 
ber of things, but hardly knew how to begin ask- 
ing about them. So, as the old man clapped on 
his hat and left the cabin, I blew out the first 
foolish remark that came uppermost. 

"All dressed up, and nowhere to go : isn't that 
about the way of it for you two up on this moun- 
tain?" 

"Meaning Daddy, and now, particularly?" 
she said, smiling across at me. "He has gone 
to make his regular round of the mine buildings 
and cabins. Not that there is the slightest use 
of it; only he likes to feel that he is at least pre- 
tending to earn his pay." 

87 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"The mine?" I queried. 

"Yes; ^is is the old Cinnabar, you know; and 
Daddy is the — ^well, I suppose you might call us 
the caretakers, though there isn't much to take 
care of. The mine has been shut down for a 
year and more." 

"Is it a gold mine?" 

"It was." 

"Why the past tense?" 
' "Water," she said briefly. "It's a drowned 
mine. That is why it was shut down." 

Of course, this was exactly what I was expect- 
ing to hear, and yet this plain unvarnished ^con- 
firmation of things gave me a damp and soggy 
feeling of despondency. Percy had wired, you 
remember, that his letter was no joke; but it 
seemed that It really was one, and that the joke — 
which was a mighty grim one — ^was on me. 

"Can't the water be pumped out?" I asked. 

"It seems not. I understand the company spent 
thousands of dollars trying to pump it out. There 
is one big building completely filled with ma- 
chinery; boilers and engines and everything. 
Daddy will show you to-morrow, if you care to 
see the plant. It's — it's rather pitiful." 

"You mean the company's loss?" 

88 



The Old Cinnabar 

"No; the company didn't lose anything. It 
was just one old man.'' 

Now we were coming to the real meat of the 
thing, and I looked my hand of cards over care- 
fully to the end that I should not overplay it. 

"I'm fond of stories," I ventured; "especially 
mining stories," and thereupon she told me the 
story of the Cinnabar. It was a fair repetition 
of Bullerton's tale, with a few more of the par- 
ticulars thrown -in. 

To brief these particulars : It seemed that the 
original Cinnabar Company had more than made 
good; had dug gold and paid dividends until the 
capital stock was worth four or five to one. Then, 
as it seemed, at the height of prosperity, the water 
had begun to come in ; real water — not the finan- 
cial kind. As my blue-eyed little Scheherazade 
understood it, my grandfather had been a minority 
stockholder in the company during the prosper- 
ous period. When the watery debacle came, the 
fact of it was carefully concealed from him, and 
he was generously permitted to come to the 
rescue — ^which he did by paying a fabulous sum 
(Scheherazade did not know how much) for his 
fellow-stockholders' holdings. In other words, 
they had sold him a gold brick; soaked him for a 

89 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

final dean-up on a doomed mine. That was about 
all there was to it. 

"But you say that pumping machinery was in- 
stalled: who did that?" I asked, after she had 
finished the sorry tale of 'the drowning and 
soaking. 

"After Mr. Dudley bought the mine for him- 
self, he employed these same people to operate 
it for him. Of course, in a little time they had 
to tell him that the water was gaining on them. 
It seems that he put more money in and authorized 
them to buy all sorts of pumps and things. It 
didn't do any good, as they probably knew it 
wouldn't; and in a few weeks they had to shut 
down. 

"Who were these original highbinders?" I in- 
quired. 

"Some Cripple Creek capitalists: neither Dad- 
dy nor I know any of their names. We were 
not here at the time." 

"Did my — did the old gentleman you speak of 
ever come out here himself?" 

She nodded. 

"Once that we know of: that was after it was 
all over and the place was deserted. At that time 
Daddy had taken up a claim just west of here in 
the next gulch, and we were living in this cabin; 

90 



The Old Cinnabar 

squatters, I guess you'd call us. This used to be 
the mine superintendent's house, and it was empty, 
like all of the others. Daddy said we might as 
well be getting the use of it; anyhow, until some- 
body came along who had a better right. So we 
camped down." 

"That was quite right and proper. And this 
Mr. Jasper Dudley : he didn't turn you out when 
he came, did he?" 

"Oh, no, indeed; he was very kind. When he 
found that Daddy's gulch claim wasn't going to 
pan out anything, he said he needed a caretaker 
here, and since that time he has sent us money 
every month. But now I suppose it will all be 
different." 

"Why should it be different?" 

"Mr. Dudley is dead," she said, looking 
steadily into the glowing heart of the fire. 

"But the heirs?" I suggested. 

"We don't even know who they are. When 
Mr. Dudley went away he left a sealed envelope 
with Daddy. He said he might come back again, 
some time, but if he didn't, or couldn't. Daddy 
was to keep the envelope and give it to his — 
Mr. Dudley's — representative ; whoever that 
might be." 

Talk about plots thickening! This one was 

91 



^ • 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

already as thick as molasses in the dead of 
winter I 

"How were you to know this representative, 
if one should come?" I edged in cautiously. 

"I don't know," she replied simply. "I should 
suppose he would be able to identify himself in 
some way, though ; shouldn't you ? — ^that is, if he 
ever comes." 

"Sure; nothing easier, of course," I agreed; 
and then, since we seemed to have scraped the 
bottom of the Cinnabar dish clean, I switched 
off to something else. 

"When we were coming up the road a while 
back. Miss Jeanie, you gathered the impression 
that I was a crazy man, didn't you ?" 

"Didn't you try to give me that impression?" 
she countered. 

"I fancy I didn't have to try very hard — in as 
much as you had been spending the afternoon in 
Atropia." 

She forced a queer little laugh and bent lower 
over her knitting. 

"How do you know I spent the afternoon in 
Atropia?" 

"I don't know it, of course,, but I have good 
circumstantial evidence that you were there at 

92 



y- 



i 



The Old Cinnabar 

the time that the through train stopped at the 
Atropia tank to water the engine." 

"You were on that train ?" she said. 

"Yes; and I saw Barney and your horse. 
Barney jumped up on the station platform and 
stuck his tongue out at me." 

At this, she began to look rather painfully 
self-conscious, and in common charity I had to 
help her out. So I switched again, saying: 

"When you were in Atropia, did you see or 
hear anything of the other crazy man?" 

"Is there another one?" she asked, a bit 
breathlessly. 

"I was told so in Angels this afternoon; by a 
man who carried a gun, wore a big silver star, 
and needed a shave very badly indeed. His 
words, as I recall them, were, 'My gosh! two 
of you In the same dog-goned week!" And he 
added that the other one had gone to Atropia." 

"Is this other man a friend of yours?" she 
wanted to know. 

"You could scarcely call him that: I've met 
him only once. He is a mining engineer, and 
his name is Bullerton — Charles Bullerton." 

If I had reached up and got her pistol out of 
its holster over the mantel to bang it oS into' 
93 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the fireplace, she could hardly have been more 
startled. 

"Ch-Charles Bullerton?" she stammered; "is 
Mr. Bullerton here ?" 

"Not here, exactly; but, according to the man 
with the silver star and the need of a shave, he 
was in Atropia two days ago. Yet stay : the chief 
of police, or whatever he may be, didn't call 
Bullerton by name; he merely mentioned him as 
another crazy man headed for Atropia. The re- 
mainder of it is inference — my inference. I 
chanced to hear in Cripple Creek some days ago 
that Mr. Bullerton was contemplating a journey 
in this direction. Do you, by any chance, happen 
to know him?" 

"Oh, yes; qui-quite well." 

"Then, naturally, you know best whether or 
not he is in my class — ^the crazy class, I mean." 

Once more she let the blue eyes drop to her 
knitting, and if I wasn't very much mistaken the 
pretty lips were twisting themselves in a sort of 
wry smile. 

"The last time I saw him he told me he was 
crazy," she admitted. 

"Isn't this delightful !" I murmured. "BuUer- 
ton is crazy, and Fm crazy; perhaps we are all 
a bit crazy. You remember what the old Quaker 

94 



The Old Cinnabar 

lady aaid to her husband as they sat in meeting 
watching the people come in: 'AH the world 
is queer, John, save thee and me; and some- 
times thee's a little queer.' Do you know, Miss 
Jeanie, that I have come thousands of miles to 
find you?" 

"To find mef" — the blue eyes were as round 
as the full moon. 

"Even so; you, your horse, and your dog. 
Would you — er — ^wouU you permit an exceed- 
ingly personal question? — remembering always 
that it is put by a man who has lost his wits?" 

*'I — I don't know what you mean." 

"Of course, you don't; nobody would. But 
I am virtually obliged to ask the que'sdon, you 
know. Have you a small brown mole on your 
left shoulder?" 

She blushed very fetchingly; even the hand- 
some mountain wind tan wasn't brown enou^ to 
hide it. 

"I think you are crazy — completely crazy." 

"Certainly I am; there hasn't been the slightest 
doubt of it since — well, since about two weeks 
ago, when I started out to hunt for you and a 
pie-faced dog and a piebald horse." 

There was silence before the fire for a long 
minute, and I began to be afraid Daddy Hiram 
95 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

would come back before anything else happened. 
Then she said, with more curiosity than resent- 
ment, I thought: 

"How did you know about the mole?" 

"Then there is one?" I questioned eagerly. 

"Y-yes." 

"Glory be I" I chanted. "You don't know 
what a load you have lifted from whatever poor 
fragment of a mind I have left!" 

Again she said, "I don't know what you mean." 

"No; certainly you don't: you wouldn't know 
in a thousand guesses." 

Silence again, and this time I did my share of 
the puzzling. How did that mole get into Per- 
cy's letter? That is what I wanted to know. I 
hadn't even begun to figure it out when she said : 

"Aren't you leaving it rather awfully for me, 
don't you think? — not telling me anything?" 

I had an idea she was going to insist upon 
knowing, then and there, but I was not quite ready 
to tell her, or anybody, that I was the looked-for 
"representative" of Mr. Jasper Dudley. 

"Just you wait," I begged. "I have lucid in- 
tervals at times; all crazy folks do, you know. 
When my next one comes along I'll explain as 
much as I can — ^which isn't nearly as much as 
you might think, at that." 

96 



The Old Cinnabar 

It vas just at this moment that her father re> 
turned) so she went on with her sock-knitting while 
we two men talked a bit and had a bed-time 
smoke. Pretty soon I began to get sleepy — a 
natural consequence of the strenuous day — and 
at the third yawn, which I was trying vainly to 
hide, Daddy Twombly lighted a candle and of- 
fered to show me my bunk. 

This proved to be in the cabin loft, as the blue- 
eyed maiden had threatened, and the stair was 
just a common ladder. Father Hiram left me 
the candle, and I had blown the light out and 
rolled myself in the blankets before I realized 
that the loft must be directly over the room with 
the fireplace in it. 

I was so workmanly tired that I fell asleep 
almost at once, and why I should have awakened 
before morning, I don't know. But I did awaken, 
and though I don't know what time it was, it 
seemed as if I hadn't been asleep more than a 
few minutes. There were voices in the room 
beneath; Twombly and his daughter had not yet 
gone to bed, so it must have been reasonably 
early. I had no manner of right to listen in, but 
short of stuffing cotton in my ears there didn't 
seem to be any easy way of staying out — and I 
didn't have any cotton. 

97 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Yes" — this in the girl's sober tones — "I 
found him sitting beside the road at the head of 
Antelope Gulch; I think he must have climbed 
out of the gulch itself. . . . No, I wasn't ex- 
actly scared; but, of course, after what I had 
heard at Atropia, it startled me a little. Barney 
made friends with him right away, and that gave 
me a feeling that there wasn't anything to be 
afraid of." 

There was a pause, and then the old man 
chipped in. 

"S'pose you go over the thing again, Jeanie. 
I'm sort o' mixed up on it, yet." 

"It was this way : I'd been over to Mrs. Hag- 
gerty's for a while and afterward I walked down 
to the railroad office with Buddy. He had some 
new magazines, and I sat down to look them 
through. Before very long, a freight train 
passed, going west, and just as it went out of 
sight beyond the water tank, the telegraph instru- 
ments seemed to go crazy, and Buddy said, 'Gosh- 
all-Fridayl' and fairly jumped to answer. 

"It was Angels talking, telling Buddy that 
some crazy man had stolen a gasoline inspection 
car at the Angels depot and was running away 
with it up the line : Buddy was to throw a switch 
in front of it and run it off the track if he couldn't 

98 



The Old Cinnabar 

stop It any other way. Buddy wired right back 
that Number Seventeen had already passed, going^ 
west, and that the thief would most probably 
never get half way to Atropia alive. 

^'That was all we heard until just before I 
started home. Then I guess the Angels operator 
had a little spare time on his hands, so he called 
Buddy again and told him all about it: how'this 
man had come to Angels on Number Five, and 
Five's conductor* had warned Ike Beasley, the 
marshal, telling him that the man who had just 
got off the Pullman was a lunatic. It seems that 
the man went right up-town and left his suit cases 
at Wing Poo's. Then he tried to hire a horse 
to ride to Atropia ; but by that time Buck Bradley 
had heard about him, and, of course, wouldn't 
let him have one." 

"Sure, he wouldn't I" said the man's voice. 

"It was after he had been to the livery stable 
that he went back to the depot; and when the 
inspection car came along with the division en- 
gineer and the roadmaster, he waited until the 
two men went into the Angels telegraph oiSce 
to find out where Number Seventeen was, and 
then stole the car and ran away with it. The 
two railroad officials hurried down to the copper 
mine yards and got the switching engine to chase 

99 



^^^\^^^ 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

him. They found the Inspection car stopped just 
below Four Buttes, with Number Seventeen 
coming down on it, and with the man trying to 
get it oflF the track and out of the way. When 
he found he wasn^t going to have time, he ran 
back into the hills with both of the train crews 
chasing him. But they didn't catch him." 

Another little Interval of silence and then the 
man's voice began again. 

'Tou reckon this Is him, all right enough, up 
in the loft, don't you, Jeanie ?" 

"There can't be any doubt of it. The Angels 
operator described him for Buddy; a big, hand- 
some young man, smooth-faced, and wearing gray 
tweeds and a golf cap to match. There couldn't 
very well be two of them to fit the same descrip- 
tlon.'* 

"That's him, right enough," said Daddy 
Hiram, still reckless with his grammar. Then: 
"I'm sure sorry for him. Of course, he's dean 
gone bughouse; but after all, what he did wasn't 
noways vi'lent, as' you might say. He'd set his 
fool head on gettin' to 'Tropia, some way 'r 
other; though what In Sam Hill he was goln' to 
look for In thaf little dried up burg, nobody but 
a looney could tell. Ain't that about the way 
you're stackin' it up, Jeanie?" 

ICO 



The Old Cinnabar 

There was another little spell of silence, land 
I figured that the blue-eyed maiden was deliberat- 
ing as to whether or not she'd better tell her 
father at this time those few things that Fd let 
slip in talking with her. She knew perfectly well 
what Fd expected to find in Atropia. Evidently 
her inward vote as to the advisability of opening 
up to Daddy Hiram was a Nay, for presently 
she said: 

'I'm not at all sure he is crazy, Daddy. 
There's a — ^there's a mystery of some sort about 
him, and I half believe he is taking it as a good 
joke and trying to help it along. Part of the 
time he talks just as sensibly as anybody." 

"Well, you'd say it was a dog-gone shame if a 
nice-appearin' young feller like him had to go 
to jail 'r to a 'sylum, and one o' them two places 
'11 grab him, sure, if the railroad folks find out 
where he is. Maybe this car-stealin' business 
wasn't meant to be nothin' but a piece o' horse- 
play. He looks like a 7oung feller that'd do 
just such a thing as that, and then be astonished 
'cause people didn't have no better sense than to 
get mad about it. But this is what I was comin' 
at: what say if we try to keep him sort o' quiet 
up here on Cinnabar till this thing blows over — 
that is, s'posin' he'll stay?" 

lOI 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Why — j-jes; if you think best," was the half 
hesitant reply; and then, as if to change the sub- 
ject before it should grow to such size that she 
couldn't handle her side of it: "I heard some- 
thing else to-day — something that you won't like 
to hear. Charles BuUerton is somewhere in this 
neighborhood. He was in Angels yesterday or 
the day before." 

"Huh I" ' grunted Twombly; "I wonder what 
sort of a crooked deal he's trying' to pull oil now? 
Did he stay in Angels?" 

"N-i^o. What I heard was that he had left 
there to go to Atropia." 

"Who was tellin' you all this?— Buddy?" 

I noticed very pointedly that she neglected to 
answer the direct question directly. All she said 
was, "You may be sure Buddy won't tell him 
how to find us." 

"No," was the growled-out response, "but 
somebody else will, and I don't want to see him 
come foolin' 'round you any more, whatsoever, 
Jeanie girl. I kep' still the other time, but that 
was afore Fd found out how everlastin' crooked 
he is." 

"You needn't be afraid for me, Daddy," said 
the girl, and I could hear her low laugh. "You 
know you've always said I'd have to marry 

102 



The Old Cinnabar 

money, and Charles Bullcrton hasn't enough to 
tempt even me." 

I heard something that sounded like a deep- 
throated "Gosh ! — ^listen at that, will ye ?" then : 
"If Charley Bullerton's been in 'Tropia he'll be 
bustin' in here, next, tryin* to get his claws into 
this here Cinnabar carcass. And me, I hain't 
got no boss to stand behind me. That'll be a 
nice ketde o' fish I" 

I stuck my head out of the blankets and listened 
greedily. It seemed to be very highly necessary 
that I should be made acquainted with the pre- 
cise ingredients of that kettle of fish. But my 
luck had exhausted itself. In a few minutes 
there was a stir in the living-room below, and 
I heard Daddy Twombly shoveling up ashes to - 
cover the fire. That meant good-night; and 
though I continued to listen, there were no more 
sounds, and I was finally obliged to go to sleep, 
leaving the Jish-ketde still unanalyzed. 



103 



yii 

Honorable Scars 

IF I had been what I had invited Jeanie 
Twombly to imagine me : merely an ordinary 
drifting tourist set afoot in the wilds by circum- 
stances over which I had ^ no control, my cue to 
be on my way the following morning couldn't 
have been delayed much beyond the appetizing 
breakfast to which I sat down a little after seven 
o'clock. But since I had reached the end of the 
rainbow, and had no intention of moving on be- 
fore I could have my chance to dig for the pot 
of gold which is said to be the reward of suc- 
cessful rainbow chasers, I was casting about for 
an excuse to prolong my stay when Twombly, in 
accordance with the bit of talk which I had over- 
heard in the loft chamber, took the matter out 
of my hands. 

"When we was talkin' about autermobiles and 
such, las' night, you let on to me that you knowed 
something about machinery," was the way he 
began. "If you ain't in a tearin' hurry to be 

104 



Honorable Scars 

goin' somewheres, maybe I could get you to hang 
'round for a spell and show me how to take a 
steam ingine to pieces so 't I could clean it up 
and keep it from goin' to rack and ruin." 

"With all the pleasure imaginable," I hastened 
to say, before he could have time to change his 
mind. "Machinery is my long suit, tf I have 
any. And as for the hurry-on part of it, I 
shouldn't recognize the word if I should meet 
it face to face in the middle of the big road. If 
you and Miss Jeanie could manage to take me 
on as a boarder for a while, I'd be more than 
delighted. I may not have mentioned it before, 
but my — er — doctor has recommended a stay in 
the high and dry altitudes, you know." 

On any face less guileless than the old prospec- 
tor's, the smile that this bit of rough-hewn in- 
vention brought forth would have figured as an 
impish grin. 

"You don't say! Well, now — you don't look 
much like a 'lunger,' " he ventured. 

"Don't I know it? I look disgustingly healthy, 
I'm sure — and eat that way, too. But you can't 
always tell by the looks, or the appetite, Mr. 
Twombly. I was worried a good bit last night' 
for fear my coughing nught keep you awake, 
don't you know." 

los 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Curious," he remarked with the slow droop-^ 
ing of an eyelid, "I never once heard it a-taU.**^ 
Which, in view of the fact that I hadn't anjr 
cough, and had slept like a hibernating bear the 
live-long night through, wasn't so remarkably 
singular as it might have been. 

This little breakfast-table talk was the prelude 
to a day's work. While the cerulean-eyed maiden 
was carrying the dishes out to the kitchen, the 
old man donned overalls and a jumper, and a few 
minutes later I was introduced to the mine — my 
mine, if you please, — or rather to so much of it 
as was open to any visitor other than a submarine 
diver. My introduction was merely to the top 
works. A solidly built shaft-house equipped with 
a hoist and a huge double pumping installation; 
an ore-shed, with a home-made tipple for load- 
ing wagons; a blacksmith shop, with a forge and 
anvil; a few power-driven machine tools for 
making repairs; a scattering of cabins along the 
mountain side — ^these last for the housing of the 
miners who once had been and were now no more 
— that was all. 

While he was sorting out his wrenches and 
hammers the old man told me the story of the 
Cinnabar; most of which I had already heard 
twice — the outline from Bullerton, and a little 

1 06 



Honorable Scars 

"better rendering of it from Jeanie Twombly the 
previous evening; though, of course, Daddy 
Hiram didn't know this. His story was neither 
fuller nor less circumstantial than Jeanie's. The 
Cinnabar had once been a "producer," in ore 
sufficiently rich to bear wagon transportation to 
Atropia, and the rail tariff from there to the 
Copah smelters. Then the water had come in 
and the mine was hopelessly Sooded, as I could 
see for myself, Daddy said, by looking in the 
shaft. 

I did look, and my heart went hot in sympathy 
for good old Grandfather Jasper. The scoun- 
drels who had done him up had not been content 
with merely selling him the gold brick; they had 
let him spend thousands more for the pumping 
machinery, after they, themselves, were well as- 
sured that he was merely throwing money away. 

"And you say the water can't be pumped out?" 
I asked, after I had looked into the shaft. 

Twombly shook his head. 

"Looks like they give it a mighty good try, 
theirselves, afore theji give it up," he suggested. 
"You see them pumps: they're whales, but you 
can run 'em lickety-split all day long, and come 
night you wouldn't know you'd ever had steam 
on." 

107 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Have you ever tried it?" 

He looked a bit abashed. 

"It ain't my mine, and I reckon I didn^t have 
no business to be a-monkeyin'. But there was 
wood for firin/ and I didn't have a dog-blasted 
thing to do to keep me from rustin' out like an 
old b'iler. I never bothered with them deep-well 
fellers, of course; but Fve run them two big suc- 
tion pullers three days at a stretch— and never 
did gain a half-inch on the water in that blame* 
shaft." 

That seemed to settle the drowning question 
pretty definitely, and I asked him what he wished 
to do with the machinery. He said he was afraid 
it might be rusting inside, standing unused so 
long, and he wanted to take it apart; especially 
the steam engine. So I told him how to begin, 
and he fell to work; but in just a few minutes his 
awkwardness with the tools gave me a fit of the 
willies. 

"See here," I said; "if you've got another pair 
of overalls and a jumper " 

"Sure pop, I have," he admitted; and that was 
how I discovered my first real job of honest-to« 
goodness work. 

We stuck at It until noon, disassembling, and 
scraping rust, and polishing and oiling, and Inci« 

io8 



Honorable Scars 

dentally finding the machinery in a great deal 
better condition than it had any right to be after 
standing idle for so long a time. Of course, I 
bunged my soft hands all up, and got as dirty 
as a pig, and all that; but that first forenoon is 
written down in my life as one of the most en- 
joyable I've ever known. And when Daddy 
Hiram called the noon halt, and we went across 
to the cabin to wash up for dinner, the little girl 
met me round-eyed. 

'^Goodness gracious!" she exclaimed, at sight 
of my working uniform and gudgeon-greased 
hands and face, "has your — ^your malady taken 
a new form?" 

I laughed at her; a monkey-like grin it must 
have been with the black grease-paint on my 
face. 

"It has," I said. "My lucid moments come 
oftenest and easiest when Fm tinkering with 
machinery of some sort. Ask your father if I 
haven't been, to all appearances, perfectly sane 
all forenoon. But that isn't all. We're going to 
put things in top-hole order over yonder and 
pump the old Cinnabar dry. That done, we'll 
all live happily ever afteri like the people in the 
fairy tales." 

She shook her pretty head in mock sorrow. 

109 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

*^That shows that the tinkering isn't a real 
cure," she asserted. ''But get ready and come 
in to dinner; you must be awfully hungry." 

I was hungry. I think that forenoon measured 
about the only useful half-day's work I'd ever 
done; and the afternoon made it a full day. Say, 
people — it was great! For the first time in an 
idle, happy-go-lucky life I had a job with a con- 
crete object in view, and a keen ambition to see 
it through. I was thirstily eager to get that ma- 
chinery in shape and to start those old he-pumps, 
and this in spite of Daddy Hiram's repeated 
assurances that it 'Wouldn't do no good a-tall." 

Any old gold miner or prospector will tell you 
that there is a peculiar fascination in the precious- 
metals mining game that soon develops into some- 
thing like a mania. In two days I had acquired 
all the symptoms ; in two weeks the symptoms had 
acquired me. I could scarcely wait until we 
could get the engine and pumps put together and 
the boilers cleaned, I was so impatient to make 
the trial. 

During that hard-working interval of two 
weeks a number of things had hlippened. One 
was a visit from the desperadoish-looking Angeli- 
can who had impressed me with the fact that he 
belonged to the Ancient and Honorable Order of 

no 



Honorable Scars 

the Silver Star, and whose farewell to me had 
been, "We speeds the pardn' guest." I'll have 
to tell about that visit, because it proved what a 
tremendously lucky thing tt was for me that I 
had fallen among friends. 

It was this way. On the second day of my 
stay in the bosom of the Twombly family I no- 
ticed tiiat a battered surveying instrument — a 
transit which was probably a left-over from the 
time when the Cinnabar was a working propo- 
sition, witii an engineer to ligure out its dips and 
angles — had been moved from its place in the 
comer of the living-room and was stood upon 
its three legs at a small, square window which 
looked out over the plateau-bench of the moun- 
tain to the southeastward. 

Wondering what the blue-eyed maiden had 
been telescoping — I took it for granted that it 
was she who had set the instrument — I watched 
for my chance when neither she nor her father 
were in the room, and stole a squint through the 
tube, being careful not to displace it. What I 
saw in the telescopic field didn't enlighten me 
to any severe extent. The transit was pointed 
diagonally across the level bench which I have 
described, and its object-glass took in a goodish 
stretch of the old ore road over which Jeanie 
III 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Twombiy had brought me on the night of res- 
cuings. 

I guess I must have been rather obtuse that 
day, for the placing and focusing of the transit 
failed to get a rise out of me. What I concluded 
at the time was that the girl had been amusing 
herself a bit with the old relic. With only two 
men, both with exceedingly primitive wants, to 
keep house for, I fancied she found time hang- 
ing pretty heavily on her hands between meal 
hours, and even an old, battered surveying instru- 
ment might answer for a plaything. 

In the same unthinking vein I failed to find 
anything singular in the fact that the transit re- 
mained in its place at the square window day 
after day, or to be more than mildly curious when, 
one morning, Jeanie left the breakfast sizzling 
on the stove in the little out-kitchen while she 
slipped into the living-room to take a peep 
through the telescope. 

"Studying geography at long range?" I asked 
her joshingly. 

"How did you guess?" she retorted; and, 
making a funny little grimace at me, ran back 
to her cooking. 

It was not until two mornings after this that 
I found out the why and wherefore of the old 

112 ^ 



Honorable Scars 

transit and its ''set up,'* as an engineer would 
say. Daddy Hiram and I were standing with 
our backs to the hearth fire, waiting for break- 
fast to be put on the table, when Jeanie came in 
from the kitchen with a great stack of hot batter- 
cakes. As she darted out again after the coSee 
and bacon, she paused just a fraction of a second 
to put her eye to the telescope, exactly as she 
had done that other morning. I didn't see what 
kind of a signal it was that she passed to Daddy 
Hiram, but whatever its nature, it made him get 
action in a tearing hurry. 

"Up into the loft with you, quick, Stanniel" 
he yipped at me ; and as I went stumbling up the 
ladder in blind obedience, I saw him hastily help- 
ing his daughter to remove my plate, knife and 
fork, spoon, coffee-cup and chair; in other words, 
to obliterate swiftly and completely all signs of 
the presence of a third member of the family. 

All this was mysterious enough, to be sure, but 
there was more to follow. Sitting quietly on my 
bunk under the cabin rafters I presently heard 
the cloppity-clop of horse-shoes upon loose stones. 
Peeping through a crack in the hewn-log floor 
of the loft chamber, I could see Twombly hur- 
riedly folding the legs of the transit tripod and 
standing the instrument in its accustomed niche 

113 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

behind the door. Then he and his daughter 
calmly sat down to their breakfast, as if nothing 
had happened or was going to happen; this 
though I was quite sure they must have heard 
the approaching hoof stumblings as plainly as I 
had, and still did. 

In a minute or so there was a gruff hail from 
somebody outdoors, and Daddy got up to go and 
look out 

"Why, hello, Ike, you old geezer 1'* he called. 
"What under the shinin' sun fetches you up on 
old Cinnabar this early in the momin'? 'Light 
down and come in ; you're just in the nick o' time 
for breakfast." 

While I was cudgeling my brain in a vain effort 
to recall what, if any, memory association there 
should be awakened in me by the mention of 
an "Ike" person, this particular Isaac presented 
himself at the cabin door and clumped in with 
the stiff-legged walk of a man who has ridden 
horseback far and hard. I knew then why I 
should have been able to dig up that memory as- 
sociation. This was Mr. Isaac Beasley, my 
Angelic friend of the overgrown silver star and 
the unshaven countenance. 

"Huh !" he grunted, "them griddle-cakes shore 
do look mighty righteous to me! I been ridin' 

114 



Honorable Scars 

sence two hours afore sun-up: wild-goose chase 
dear over on toother side o* Lost Mountain. 
Some folks hain't got sense enough to last 'em 
over-night. That's what I'm a-sayin'.'* 

"What folks?" Twombly asked. 

"Couple o' prospectors 'at blew into Angels 
day afore yistidday and said they'd seen that 
con-dummed lunatic that got loose from us and 
busted up a car fr the railroad: them yoddle- 
heads said they'd seen him workin' in the Lost 
Creek placers." 

"A looney?" said Daddy Hiram, as innocent 
as a two-weeks'-old lamb. 

"Yep; that feller that stole an inspection car 
and got it smashed up, and then took to the hills. 
You hain't seen anything of him, have ye?" 

"Nary a lunatic," said Daddy Hiram calmly; 
and then, quite as calmly: "Jeanie, here, was 
down at 'Tiropia that day, and she heard tell 
somethin' about the car smash-up. Hain't found 
anything o' that young scamp yet?'* 

"Nope; neither hide n'r hair. I keep a-tellin' 
them smart-Alec, office-chair railroad detectives 
'at it's no use ; 'at that locoed bug is jest nachelly 
dead somewheres in the hills by this time; but 
they keep on a-joggin' me, and throwin' it up to 

115 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

me 'at I'm a dep'ty sheriff o' the county, as well 
as the Angels marshal." 

"Of course, them roosters 'd duck and let it 
drop onto your shoulders, Ike," Twombly as- 
sented cheerfully. "Don't catch any o' them 
chair-warmin' pay-drawers wearin' out saddle 
leather in the hills when they can get somebody 
else to do it for 'em. But find ye a chair and 
set up. We was just comniencin' on them flap- 
jacks, Jeanie and me, when you hollered." 

Friend Ike needed no second invitation. 
Through the floor crack I saw him draw up my 
chair and take my place at the hospitable board. 
Worse than that, I was forced to look on in envi- 
ous silence while he gorged himself upon those 
delicately browned cakes, tucking them away in 
a — ^to me — invisible cavern in his bristly-bearded 
face after a fashion to put all the ogres of the 
children's fairy tales to shame. 

Like the ogres, too, he ate single-eyed; I mean 
he was much too busy to talk. But when Jeanie 
went to the kitchen to stir up a second batch of 
batter, I had to listen to another repetition of the 
tale of a demented young ass who stole a car 
and with it ran away. And, as was to be expected, 
the tale lost nothing in the way of garnishings 
and embellishments in the retelling. 

ii6 



Honorable Scars 

"You say he left his grips at Wing Poo's. 
Wasn't there nothin' a-tall in them to tell you 
who he was?" Daddy Hiram asked. 

"Not a durn, livin' thing; lot o' maps and good 
clothes, and sich, but nothin' with a name on it, 
and nothin' to tell where he come from." 

"Poor Buddy!" said Twombly. "Most likely 
you never will know who 'r what he was." And 
then Jeanie came in with a fresh stack of cakes. 

His breakfast eaten, Friend Isaac showed no 
disposition to hurry away — ^much to my chagrin. 
He took time to smoke a leisurely pipe with 
Daddy Hiram, and to ask a lot of indifferent 
questions about the drowned mine. 

"Hain't heard nothin' fr'm yer owners yit, 
have ye, Hiram?" he wanted to know, after — as 
it seemed to me — ^the subject had been pretty 
thoroughly talked to death. 

I heard Daddy's reply, made as to one with 
whom the matter had been canvassed before. 

"Nothin' but that clippin' from some news- 
paper back East, tellin' about Mr. Dudley's 
passin' out." 

"Kind-a curious somebody don't tell ye some- 
thin', ain't it?" the marshal put in. "Lx>oks like 
the heirs 'd be either fishin' 'r cuttin' bait on this 

117 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

here Cinnabar layout — not as it'd do *em any 
good if they did. Didn't any letter come with 
the newspaper piece?" 

"Nary a pen-scratch." 

"Whereabouts was the envelope posted?" 

•'Washin'ton." 

"Aha 1" said I to myself, "I have you, Cousin 
Percy I For some reason best known to your- 
self you didn't want Daddy Hiram to get hold of 
Grandfather Jasper's proper address 1" 

By this time his pipe was smoked out and the 
marshal prepared to take horse. Daddy went 
with him to the far side of the dump, and the 
murmur of their voices came to me in diminish- 
ing cadences. After a bit Daddy came back and 
called up to me in the sing-song of the miners 
after the final blast has been fired : "A-a-1-1 over, 
Stannic. I reckon ye can come down now and 
get you some breakfast." 

Jeanie served me in silence when I took my 
place at table, and the good old man stood in the 
doorway, keeping watch, as I made no doubt, 
against a possible second-thought return of Friend 
Isaac the Bristle-bearded. Throughout the work- 
ing day which followed he never made the slight- 
est reference to the episode of the morning, and, 
truly, I think the whole incident would have been 

ii8 



Honorable Scars 

buried in oblivion by those two simple-hearted 
souls if I hadn't first spoken of it myself. 

This I did in the evening of the same day, 
when Daddy had gone to make his entirely use- 
less night round of the mine property. As on 
most evenings, Jeanie sat at her corner of the 
hearth, knitting; and I was Blling a bed-time pipe. 

"Jeanie," I broke out, "I wish you'd tell me 
why you and your father are so good to me." 

She looked up quickly. 

"Meaning?" — she said, leaving the query 
hanging by the hair of its head. 

"Meaning a lot of things, and -among them 
what you both did for me this rooming. Why 
should you ? How do you know that I'm not the 
crazy criminal that other people believe me to 
be? I did steal the car and get it smashed, you 
know." 

"You are not a criminal, and I am sure you 
didn't mean to get the car smashed. Besides, 
you had taken shelter under our roof." 

"You are true Bedouins," I laughed. "Is that 
the code in the West? — your code? — to defend 
anybody who has eaten salt with you ?" 

"I should think it would be anybody's code." 

"You and your father were expecting this man 
Beasley to come here looking for me?" 
"9 



The Girl a JtLotsc and a Dog 

**Daddy thought he might just happen along. 
We are only four miles from Atropia, you know." 

**And was that the reason you put the old 
transit at the window? — so you might watch 
for him?" 

"Of course." 

By Jove I Another woman, any other woman 
in the world, I thought, would have let some lit- 
tle shred of sentiment show; she couldn't have 
helped it. But this one didn't. A boy couldn't 
have looked me in the eyes any more frankly 
and squarely than she did when she said "Of 
course." There was nothing more said about it 
at the time, because Daddy Hiram came in be- 
fore I could ask any more questions. The next 
day, however, I spoke of it to him while we were 
working together in the old shaft-house, and 
tried to thank him for not having given me away. 
He chuckled and treated the matter precisely as 
his daughter had. There was nothing to thank 
him for. Since I had eaten their bread, I was, 
for so long as I chose to stay, a member of the 
dan. This he said, and was then careful to point 
out the fact that he had told Beasley no lie. 
Beasley was looking for a lunatic: he, Hiram 
Twombly, had seen no lunatic. 

One of the other happenings during those first 

120 



Honorable Scars 

two weeks was of an entirely different nature, 
though it served the same purpose; namely, to 
increase my affection for these two with whom 
my lot had been so singularly cast. 

It was near the end of the fortnight, and 
Daddy Hiram and I had scoured and rubbed and 
scraped and reassembled the engine and pumps, 
and were finishing the cleaning of the boilers. 
These were pretty badly rusted and scaled, and 
to do the job properly, we had taken the man- 
hole heads out of the ho^es left to give access 
to the interior of the shells, and had had a good- 
natured squabble as to which of us should crawl 
inside to do the scrapirig; Daddy insisting upon 
doing it, because, as he pointed out, he was the 
smaller man, and I arguing that I should because 
I was the younger and stronger. 

To settle it finally we flipped a coin— one of 
those inch-wide copper pennies that Daddy car- 
ried for a pocket-piece — and I won the toss. The 
job wasn't exactly a picnic, but I got along all 
right until we came to the last of the battery. 
This boiler was just like the others: of the old- 
fashioned shell type, with the man-hole opening 
through the rear head into the steam space over 
the flues; and I had no more than the usual 
amount of trouble getting in. But once on the 

121 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

inside I found .that the repairers had at some past 
time inserted a couple of extra stay-rods, so that 
there was little enough room left in the old steel 
shell for a professional boiler-monkey to wriggle 
about in, to say nothing of a husky young chap 
-who tipped the beam at around a hundred and 
seventy pounds, stripped. 

Just the same, I made shift to knock the worst 
of the scale off and rattle it down so that it could 
be washed out from below, and was backing out 
to make my escape, wh^n I found that one of 
the extra stay-rods was loose. At my asking. 
Daddy screwed up the nut on the outside of the 
boiler head to tighten the rod, and then passed 
the wrench in to me so that I could screw up the 
nut on the inside. To this good day I don't know 
just what did happen, but I guess the big S-wrench 
must have slipped off the nut while I was pulling 
on it. Anyhow, something hit me a stunning 
crack over the eye, and I promptly faded out, 
blink, like a penny candle in a gust of wind. 

When I came to myself again it was night, 
and I was lying undressed and in a real bed in a 
room that was totally unfamiliar. On a pack- 
ing-box table at the bed's head a small night light 
was burning, and in the looking-glass which hung 
on the opposite wall I got a glimpse of myself 

122 



Honorable Scars 

with a regular Turk's turban of white stuff wound 
around my head and skew-angled to cover one. 
eye. When I stirred, Jeanie popped in from 
somewhere to ask what she could do for me. 
Whereupon I pulled the usual stunt of ''where 
am I?" in the proper hoarse whisper. 

"You're in bed," she said, answering the bro- 
mide literally. 

I looked at her as reproachfully as I could out 
of the one eye that wasn't covered by the wet- 
doth swathings. 

"What was it?" I asked; "an earthquake?" 

"Daddy says you hit yourself with a wrench. 
Does it hurt much now?" 

"Not more than having a sound tooth pulled; 
no. But I was inside of the boiler, wasn't I? 
How did you manage to get me Out?" 

She turned her face away and even -with one 
eye I could see that she was trying to hide a 
smile. 

"Laughi if you want to," I said; "I'm the 
goat." 

"It was funny," she confessed, "though we were 
both scared stiff at the time. Daddy called me 
and I ran over. You were all doubled up inside 
of the boiler, and there wasn't room for Daddy 
to crawl in and straighten you out. And unless 

123 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

you could be straightened out, we couldn't pull 
you out." 

"I see. What did you do? — send for a boiler- 
monkey?" 

"What is a boiler-monkey?" 

"It isn't a Vhat'; it's a man; usually the lit- 
tlest man in the shop." 

"I was the monkey," she said. 

I tried to sit up, but the blinding headache I 
had somehow acquired said No. 

"yofi crawled into that rusty old coffin?" 

She nodded. 

"Daddy lent me his overalls and jumper. It 
wasn't hard; but when I got in and saw how 
badly you were hurt • • • there wasn't anything 
to laugh at, then." 

"How badly am I hurt?" 

"It's a bruised cut nearly an inch long just 
over your eye. Daddy says you'll be apt to 
carry the scar as long as you live." 

"Honorable scars," I muttered. "You straight- 
ened me around — ^I'll believe it if you say so— 
and then what?" 

"Then I got out and we pulled you out — 
Daddy and I. I was glad you didn't know : that 
you were past feeling things, I mean. We must 

124 



Honorable Scars 

have hurt you frightfully. I don't see how you 
ever crawled in through that little hole.'* 

"It's much easier when you're alive," I offered. 
"What room is this?" 

"It used to be mine ; and it will be again, after 
you are through with it." 

"I object," I protested. "I can get up to my 
loft if your father will come and give me a 
shoulder." 

"You will do nothing of the kind. And, be- 
sides, Daddy is* asleep." 

"What time is it?" I asked. 

"Nearly midnight." 

"And you are sitting up to take care of me? 
I won't have that — ^I simply won't 1" 

"I'm going to bring you a cup of herb tea, and 
then I'll go and lie down for a while." 

She did just what she said she would, and— 
just to show me how strong she was, I thought 
— she lifted me on one stout little arm while she 
held the cup to my lips. I drank the hot tea; 
I guess I should have downed anything she of- 
fered me; but, oh, man I what a dose it wasl — 
sickening sweet, and behind the sweetness, and 
with a prize-fighter's staying power, the bitter- 
ness of a thousand sorrows I 

"Like it?" she said sweetly, when she had 

125 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

made me drain the ultimate drop of the soul- 
harrowing cup. 

*'If its effects are half as venomous as its taste, 
Fm a dead manl'' I gasped; and at that, she put 
me back on the pillow and told me to go to sleep 
and forget it. 

Since, as I afterward learned, the dose she 
had given lAe was some sort of a home-brewed 
sleeping draft, I did go to sleep, and very nearly 
slept the clock round. Daddy came in and 
helped me into my clothes — they were eating 
their noon meal when I woke up and called — 
and apart from being still a bit headachey and 
tottery, I was all right again. But for two whole 
days they made me sit around and be waited on, 
hand and foot, and coddled and petted, those 
two; and for their own flesh and blood they 
couldn't have done more. 



126 



VIII 
The Laboring Pumps 

ON the third day after I had tried to brain ^ 
myself in the old boiler I was pretty nearly 
as good as ever, and my two Good Samaritans 
reluctantly consented to my going back to work, 
Jeanie renewing the bandage on my broken head, 
and laying many injunctions upon Daddy Hiram 
to send me right back to the cabin if I didn't 
behave; "behaving," in her use of the word, 
meaning that I was to take it easy on the job. 

That sounded mighty good to me, the way she 
said it. Most men, I fancy, are only overgrown 
children in the sense that they like to be fussed 
over by their womankind; and by this time I 
could hardly see that Jeanie Twombly made any 
difference between her father and me in the care 
she bestowed upon us. Short as it had been, my 
experience as a member of the little household 
had been full of revelations and new discoveries. 
I had never known anybody like the Twomblys, 
and if I had been asked, I should probably have 

127 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

said that the t]rpe didn't exist' You know what 
I mean : people well-informed enough to talk in- 
telligently upon all ordinary subjects, and yet liv- 
ing simply and contentedly on next to nothing. 

These two were such wholesome, whole-souled 
folk; so vastly unlike the money-spending, have* 
a-good-time crowd I had always run with at 
home. Sincerity, and a certain straightforward 
way of looking at and attacking things, seemed 
to come natural to both of them, and the girl 
especially had a keen little mentality that was 
never fooled for very long at a time, I imagine. 
Yet with all her frankness, and an utter absence 
of the little arts and masklngs that a more com- 
plicated civilization imposes upon both sexes, 
there was a certain reserve that was always on 
guard, as you niight say, behind the almost sex- 
less camaraderie which included both her father 
and me ; something that gave me the feeling that 
she could very easily refrain from telling all she 
knew, if the occasion demanded. 

My best opportunity for testing the quality of 
this shadowy barrier which she occasionally let 
me see or feel came once a day; in the evening 
half-hour or so when Daddy Hiram lighted his 
lantern and left us to go on his ridiculously need- 
less watchman's round. It was in one of these 

128 



The Laboring Pumps 

erening interludes— die one that followed my re- 
turn to work after the boiler accident — that I told 
her about Dsette, assuring myself fatuously that 
it was her due to know, and that m telling her 
I was thereby acquiring merit, after the manner 
of those who tell the whole truth, eren to their 
own manifest detriment 

"Of course; I knew there was a girl," she said 
quietly, after I had acquired all the merit there 
was. 

"Well," said I, "there is, and there isn't, at 
you might say." 

"But you are engaged to her," she pointed out 
evenly^ catching up s dropped stitch in her knit- 
ting. 

"Am I? That is exactly the theorem that I 
can't demonstrate — not to my own satisfaction. 
Am I, or am I not? Put yourself in IJsette's 
place for a moment. If you were engaged to 
s man and you took his ring off, rig^t in hts 
, presence, and deliberately put it upon a finger 
of the other hand, wouldn't you consider that 
you had called the thing off, definitely?" 

"Oh, well; if you put it that way — and if it 
hadn't gone any deeper than the ring " 

"It hadn't," I interrupted; "not in any human 
sense. You don't know the world of to-day, 
129 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Jeanie; the bigger worldt I mean. Sentiment, as 
our fathers and mothers understood and used 
the word, has been pretty well rubbed out of the 
human relations — ^the sexual relations, anyway. 
*A11 for love, and the world well lost' has become 
merely a pretty bit of poetry for most people.** 

"Oh, I should hope not,*' she objected gravely. 
"That would make it a very drab world, wouldn't 
it?'* 

"It is a drab world, as I know it. Nothing 
but a good, healthy sense of humor saves it from 
stalling in the mud of its own self-analyzings. 
Aiid not everybody has the sense of humor. In 
this example that I've been boring you with: 
Lisette and I merely agreed to agree; or per- 
haps even that is putting it too strongly : possibly 
we merely agreed not to disagree. Then there 
was the money — or the lack of enough of it. 
Lisette was always reminding me that I couldn't 
afford to buy her hats." 

"Well, you couldn't, could you?" put in this 
cool-blooded maiden. 

"No; but one day I may be able to: and then 
what?" 

"Why — ^you'll have to buy them, won't you?" 

"That is precisely what I wish I knewl" I 
groaned. 

130 



The Laboring Pumps 

Her laugh was friendly, but also a bit strained, 
I fancied. 

"You and your Miss Randle haven't a mo- 
nopoly upon all the sordidness in the world," she 
remarked, with the first touch of cynicism that 
I had ever discovered in her. "I am always tell- 
ing Daddy that I've got to marry money." 

"You?" I crowed. "Please don't ask too 
much of me. I can't imagine such a thing as your 
marrying for money." 

"Can't you? Perhaps if you had lived the 
way Daddy and I have, ever since I can remem- 
ber, your imagination would be more elastic." 

Somehow, this didn't ring the least little bit 
true, and I told htr so. But she clung to her 
assertion. 

"No; I'm glad to be able to say this to you, 
because — ^well, because I don't want you to get 
the wrong idea about me, or to praise me for 
things that I — for things that are not so. Only 
yesterday you were saying how nice it was to 
know at least one girl who could be 'homey' and 
perfectly contented with just little or nothing, 
and if made r.ie want to scream. You see me 
here, cooking for you and Daddy, and wearing 
dothes that would make a city dining-room girl 
turn up her nose, and maybe you think I do it 

131 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

because it is precisely the thing I want to do. It 
isn't. I want to be like other girlst and travel 
and see things, and have nice, soft, shimmery 
gowns to wear, and — and never, never have to 
open another can of beans again as long as I livei 
unless I really wanted to : so there I" 

I laughed; I had to, she was so earnest about it 
"That attitude — ^which I don*t for a minute 
believe is your real, every-day yearning — is 
merely due to the fact that, as yet, the right man 
hasn't come along down the big road. When he 
does come, you won't think about the frills and 
the garnishings — or the beans. You'd go and 
live in a hollow tree with him, if that were the 
best he had to ofifer. Don't tell me." 

There were other little evening talks like this, 
and some of them took the same slant on her 
part. But her efforts to lead me to believe that 
she was hard and loveless and mercenary never 
got very far. It was simply absurd. Every 
glance of the blue eyes, every twist and turn in 
her cheerfully busy life, proved that she was built 
to make some man deliriously happy; and that 
wholly without regard to the figure of his bank 
account. Don't mistake me, please: I wasn't in 
love with her — then. Candidly, I don't think 
I knew what a real love was. But it was mighty 

132 



The Laboring Pumps 

pleasant to live in the same house with her, and 
to eat her delicious cooking; to be with her every 
day, and to have those undisturbed evening half- 
hours with her in front of the fire. If I had had 
to get out; or if there had been another man 
• • . but I won^t anticipate. 

In due time, and after we had completely 
overhauled the rusted and gummed-up machineryt 
Daddy and I happened upon a day when we were 
ready to put fire under the boilers, and we did it 
If I should live to be a hundred years old, I shall 
never forget the tense, suppressed excitement 
that gripped me as we brought the wood for the 
furnaces that .bright, hot, July morning. The 
excitement was all mine, of course ; Daddy Hiram 
didn't have a sliver of it, because he'd been there 
before. Since he didn't yet know who I was, or 
what an inmiense stake I had in the game, he was 
bullet-proof against all of my efforts to inoculate 
him with a bit of my own enthusiasm. 

"I reckon I know about how you feel, Stannie,'* 
he would say. "I had them same fits o' the jumps, 
afore I'd ever steamed her up and tried her. 
But there ain't nothin' goin' to happen: you'll 

8CC* 

Never mind; I had all the joys of the prelimi- 
nary and anticipatory thrills, at any rate. By 

133 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

eight o'clock we had ninety pounds of steam 
pressure on the boilersi but we held off until it 
had dimbed to the regular working pressure of 
one hundred and twenty. Then I started the 
pumps; two big centrifugal suctions, mounted on 
a platform in the shaft mouth, and so arranged 
that they could be lowered to follow the water 
level down — if it should go down: pumps that 
each threw a stream six inches in diameter. 

Long before this, I had gotten some idea of 
the mine layout underground from Daddy Hi- 
ram, though he had no maps of the workings and 
could tell me only what he had pieced together 
from hearsay. As he described the mine plan, I 
understood that the main shaft ran straight down 
some two hundred feet without a break, and that 
from the bottom of the shaft there were hori- 
zontal drifts and stoplngs following the ore- 
bearing vein back under the mountain. 

That all of these deep workings were filled 
with water could well be argued from the simple 
fact that the shaft itself was tuU to within a dozen 
feet of the floor of the shaft-house. Of course, 
. the centrifugals, having a suction lift of only 
twenty-eight feet or so, couldn't lower the water 
below the twenty-eight-foot level; but if they 
could make a beginning, they could be lowered, 

134 



The Laboring Pumps 

as I have said; and, besides, there were two im* 
mense deep-well pumps to do the follow-up 
stunt 

After the pumps were started and the Indica- 
tors showed, or seemed to show, that they were 
working up to full capacity, I rigged up a measur- 
ing gauge ; a bit of wood for a float, with a string 
tied to it, and the string passing over a pulley 
in the shaft-house roof-beaming with a weight on 
the end of it. If the water level should go down, 
the float would sink with it, pulling the weight 
up.' A smooth board, with feet, inches and frac- 
tions penciled on it, was stood up beside the 
weight to answer for a measuring scale. 

From the time when I let the steam into the 
engine cylinders, and for an hour thereafter, we 
drove those big water lifters at top speed, and 
between the intervals of crowding wood into the 
boiler furnaces we made ourselves pop-eyed 
watching that suspended weight. At the end of 
the hour it hadn't moved a hair's-breadth ; not a 
hundredth part of an inch, so far as w^ could 
see. 

"*At*s what I was tryin' to tell you,** said 
Daddy Hiram mildly. "If them pumps was to 
run from now till kingdom come, it wouldn't 
make a smitchin's difference with that water.'* 

135 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"I don't believe the pumps are working I'* I 
exploded. '^Surely they'd make some little dif- 
ference in the level unless that shaft's got all the 
underground water in the world to back it up. 
Those indicators must be out of whack in some 
way. Where does the discharge water empty 
itself?" 

Daddy knew this, too. 

"Over in the left-hand gulch — ^into the creek.'* 

"Show me," I directed. 

Together we went to investigate, leaving the 
centrifugals whirring away at their seemingly 
hopeless task. There was a beaten path along 
the little secondary bench upon which the mine 
buildings stood, and it led straight across through 
the sparse timber to a shallow gulch down which 
a near-torrent of mountain water, a clear, cold 
stream of melted snow, went foaming and tum- 
bling on its way to a junction with the headwaters 
of the Little Timanyoni. 

We found the discharge from the pumps a little 
way below the end of the path; a ten-inch pipe 
which had been laid underground from the shaft- 
house, presumably to keep it from freezing in 
winter. The end of the pipe stuck out over the 
stream, and it was projecting pretty nearly a solid 
ten-inch jet of water. The pumps were working 

136 



The Laboring Pumps 

all right; there was no doubt about that I dug 
up enough of my college math, to figure that two 
six-inch streams would just abou^^fiU a ten-inch 
pipe, and here it was, running full and pouring 
like another torrent into the gulch. So back we 
went to the mine buildings to pile more wood into 
the furnaces and to resume our watching of the 
indicator weight and its pencil-marked scale. 

Noon caught up with us after a while — ^with 
nothing doing save that we were rapidly diminish- 
ing our wood-pile*. Jeanie brought our dinner 
over to us from the cabin, with a pot of hot cof- 
fee to wash it down; and, of course, she had to 
have her hierry-merry' laugh at my demonstration 
which wasn't demonstrating. 

"If Daddy hadn't tried it before, just as you're 
doing now," she said. "But we ifeiiow;." 

"You don't know i»r/' I retorted, helping my- 
self to more of the warmed-over beans. "To- 
morrow we take turns chopping down more trees. 
After we've burned all the wood within reach, 
maybe I'll be ready to quit." 

As I said, so we did; and my heavens, but it 
Was a fight for fair I For a solid week we chopped 
down trees and split them up, Daddy and I9 and 
kept the fires roaring under the boilers, and kept 
those monster pumps whirring and grinding away 

137 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

at the shaft mouth — anight and day, mind you; 
watch on and watch off. And, right straight 
through it all, that little indicator weight I had 
rigged up stood stock still ; never moved the width 
of one of the pencil marks I had drawn on its 
gauge board. 

The week wasn't without its adventures for me 
— ^plenty of them. Wood-chopping was one of 
the things that Td only read about, and while I 
could use a few garage tools middling handily, 
a two-bitted axe was a total stranger. The first 
tree I felled by myself didn't do a thing but tumble 
the wrong way, crushing one of the empty cabins 
Into kindling wood. Daddy merely laughed at 
this : the cabins were slipping back into dilapida- 
tion, anyway, so it wasn't such a serious loss as it 
might have been ; and out of the wreck we salvaged 
more fuel. 

But my next awkwardness had more disastrous 
consequences. I had felled half a dozen trees, 
and was beginning to think I'd got the hang of it 
right, when a big pine which should, by all the 
laws of gravitation, have fallen south, took a sud- 
den notion to swing west. It was a hundred-foot 
tree, or better, and I yelled like a frantic madman 
when I saw it going, and going the wrong way. 
The buildings at the shaft mouth lay squarely in 

138 



The Laboring Pumps 

the westward path, and Daddy Hiram was in 
either the blacksmith shop or the boiler shed, I 
didn't know which. 

I think I must have died at least a dozen deaths 
whilfc the feather-duster top of the great tree was 
cutting its scimitar sweep through the air. After 
that first frenzied yell my tongue stuck to the roof 
of my mouth and I couldn't let out another sound 
to save my life. I made sure the tree was tall 
enough to reach the shaft-house, in which case It 
would be certain to crush the smaller buildings 
which stood in the space between. And at the 
final horrifying instant I saw Daddy walk out of 
the blacksmith shop to stand gazing calmly up at 
the descending besom of destruction I 

By Jove I I had the funeral arrangements all 
made before that tree had traveled through an- 
other ten feet of its arc : saw myself radng down 
the road to Atropia to wire Angels for the under- 
taker; saw Jeanie's wild grief and heard her bit- 
ter reproaches ; saw the little cortege winding away 
somewhere — I didn't know just where — ^with the 
mangled remains of the old prospector. 

Then the real disaster butted in. As I might 
have seen, if my point of view had been anywhere 
but just where it was, at the splintered stump, the 
pine was not tall enough to reach the buildings 

139 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

with its spreading top. But it did come down 
across one of the guy wires supporting our boiler 
smokestack, snapping the wire short oS, and let- 
ting the stack, urged by the pull of the remaining 
guys, topple over gracefully to lie on the roof of 
the shaft-house. 

"Well, Stannie; I reckon yeVe done it this 
time,'' drawled the old man, when I ran to be in' 
at the death. *'We ain't goin' to get any more 
steam without a stack to make the draft — ^that's 
one sure thing." 

But now that I found I hadn't killed anybody 
I got my grip again. 

"Those pumps are not going to stop," I de- 
clared. "If we two can't stand that stack up again 
I'll eat my hat." 

"All right, son," he chuckled; "lay off yer plan 
and we'll h'ist away. But I don't see nothin' short 
of a derrick; and that's one thing the old Cinnabar 
hain't got." 

"I'll show you," I boasted; and here I did have 
a little helpful experience, of the kind that had 
come from looking on at a ship yard when the 
masts were being hoisted into a vessel. 

The first thing to do was to chop down a stout 
young pine that would serve as a gin-pole or der- 
rick mast, and while I was doing this, Daddy 

140 



The Laboring Pumps 

rammed the furnaces with some of the dry wreck- 
age of the crushed cabin and so kept the steam 
pressure from dying out entirely. The next thing 
was tackle, and luckily the mine storeroom was 
well supplied with ropes and pulley-blocks. 

In a very little while we had our gin-pole rigged 
and guyed strongly into place, with a block and 
tackle for the lift on the recumbent stack. I had 
no means of ascertaining the weight of the steel 
chimney, but I knew in reason that it would be far 
beyond the strength of two men or two dozen men 
to lift it with our primitive rig. So I took the 
end of the tackle line through a snatch-block into 
the shaft-house and made it fast to the drum of 
the main mine hoist. 

This promised to give us all the power we 
needed, and a lot more, but now we were up a 
stump for another pair of hands. Any way I 
could figure it, it was going to take two of us to 
guide the stack into place on the lift, and to guy 
it after it was up, and this didn't leave anybody 
to run the hoist. 

While we were rigging, Jeanie had come over 
to look on — and to poke fun at me for my un- 
woodsman-like trick in dropping the big pine on 
the guy wire. But when she saw that we were 
stuck she stepped into the breach with a laugh. 

141 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"rm the only boy Daddy has," she said. "Tell 
ine what you want me to do, and Fll do it." 

I wasn't going to trust her on one of the steady- 
guys, that was a cinch ; there would have been too 
good a chance for her to get hurt. 

"Do you think you could run this hoist?" I 
asked. . 

"I can do whatever you tell me to do, if you'll 
show me." 

I showed her, not without considerable nervous- 
ness, rU confess. The handling of a big mine 
hoist, with its variable-speed clutches and its 
double brake, is a man's job; and the man ought 
to have grown up with the machine, at that. But 
the way she took hold showed how capable and 
self-reliant her life as the daughter of a knock- 
about prospector had made her; also, it drew 
again for me the enormous contrast between her 
and the more or less trammeled young women I 
had known in a world which was even now slip- 
ping into a past as remote as ancient history. 
Before I had fairly gone over the names of the 
different levers and treadles she was to operate, 
she had it all down pat, and we were ready for 
the trial. 

"You are a constant wonder to me," I said, 
iwhen I was once more making the hoisting line 

142 



The Laboring Pumps 

fast to the big drum. ''A good smart boy couldn^t 
take hold of the practical things any more readily 
than you do.'' 

"Practical I" she sniffed. "If you only knew 
how I hate the word. I want to be ornamental." 

I laughed. "That's only human nature; to 
want to be something different. Never mind: 
maybe the prince will come along some day, with 
a trunkful of the shimmery things and gewgaws; 
and then I shouldn't wonder if you'd sigh for the 
old clothes and the bean cans. There you are: 
Now I'm going out on the guy lines with your 
fathen When I give the word, hoist away slowly, 
and when you hear me yell again, stop." 

With such an apt pupil at the levers the hoist 
was made successfully, and at my shout the brakes 
went on. Guying the chimney firmly in place after 
it was up was a mere routine job, and by the time 
Jeanie, who had fled to her kitchen at the moment 
of her release, called us to dinner, we were as 
good as new again. 

At table I had to stand a running fire of quips 
and jests about my awkwardness with the axe, but 
that didn't break any bones. The camaraderie 
that I spoke of a while back wa» becoming more 
brotherly— or sisterly — every day, and when I 
let my thoughts travel backward I could hardly 

143 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

realize that a short month earlier I hadn't even 
known of Jeanie Twombly's existence. It seemed 
more as if we had known each other from the 
year One. 

**I may not know how to handle an axe, but 
you'll* have to hand it to me when it comes to 
machinery/' I bragged. ''If I can knock things 
down, I can also set them up." 

''I wonder if you can always set up the things 
you knock down," she said; and she wasn't look- 
ing at me when she said it. 

''How many meanings Is that meant to have ?" 
I laughed. 

"None at all, if you can't apply them," she 
returned; but I knew perfectly well she was 
knocking me a bit about Lisette and those hats 
I wasn't able to pay for. She had done it quite 
a few times since I had told her my unsenti- 
mental love-tale. 

Two other days we chopped and sawed wood, 
fired the boilers, and kept those giant centrifugals 
churning, and if my make-shift gauge had been 
frozen in place it couldn't have been more im- 
movable. By this time my stubbornness was 
yielding something to the still more stubborn 
fact. If all this pumping hadn't even started the 
flood toward its diminution, truly all the waters 

144 



The Laboring Pumps 

under the earth must be backing the unfailing 
well of that drowned shaft. 

Toward the last I think we kept on more from 
force of habit than anything else, but at the end 
of the week I gave in and consented to let the 
fires die down, though it was like pulling teeth 
to do it. Something, indeed, I brought out of 
the overtime week, disappointing as it had been 
in the major sense : I was muscled up as hard as 
a keg of nails; as strong as a mule; and the 
fierce toil of wood-chopping and boiler-firing had 
given me an appetite for real work that fairly 
made me ache when I thought of stopping. We 
threshed it out that evening, the three of us be- 
fore the living-room fire, after Daddy and I had 
finally stopped the pumps and let the steam run 
down. 

'1 reckon you hain't no call to take it so hard, 
Stannie," Daddy said, after I had growled and 
grouched like a bear with a sore head over our 
failure. "After all, you must ricollect that it 
ain't no skin off 'm you if the old Cinnabar stays 
right where she is and soaks till kingdom come." 

**No skin off of me?" I yelped, with a sort of 
wild laugh. "Listen — ^both of you," and then 
I told them the entire heart-breaking story of 
Cousin Percy's letter and my grandfather's joke ; 

145 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

of my starting out on the fantastic search for the 
g^rl, a horse and a dog— a search which would 
doubtless have failed before it had fairly begun 
if I hadn't happened to ride in a Pullman smoker 
with the man Charles Bullerton. 

I remembered afterwards that I had got just 
that far — to the naming of Bullerton — ^when 
Barney, the pie-faced collici got up from his 
corner of the hearth, stalked to the door and 
began to growl. The next minute we heard a 
horse's sh-r-r-r, and Daddy Hiram rose, pushed 
the dog aside and opened the door. Then 
Jeanie and I, still sitting before the fire, heard 
him say gruffly, "Well, hello, Charley Buller- 
ton ! What in Sam Hill are you doin' up in this 
neck o' woods?" 

I turned to look at Jeanie — and missed. In 
the moment when I had glanced aside she had 
vanished. 



146 



IX 

One Too Many 

IN view of the fact that I had once heard, o? 
rather overheard. Daddy Hiram's freely ex- 
pressed opinion of BuUerton, and that other fact 
that the Twomblys, both of them, were, as I have 
said, just about the sincerest people I had ever 
met, I was more than a little disgruntled to hear 
the old prospector greet my chance acquaintance 
of the Omaha-Denver Pullman with even the 
gruff welcome he had given him. But I hoped 
that it merely meant that the ordinary civilities 
and conventions die hard, even in the wilderness. 

When BuUerton came in, which was after 
Daddy Hiram had lighted the lantern and shown 
him where to put his horse, he didn't seem half 
as much surprised to find me sitting before the 
Twombly house fire as I thought he might have 
been. 

"Well, well I — ^look who's here !" he bantered. 
"How are you, Broughton? This old world 
isn't so infernally big as it might be, after all, is 

147 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

it? Who would have thought that our next 
meeting would be in such an out-of-the-way cor- 
ner of the universe as this I I hope you')^^^ been 
well and chipper, all these weeks?'' 

I said what I was obliged to, and wasn't any 
too confoundedly cordial about it, either, I guess; 
and my sourness had no better reason at that 
stage of the game than the sort of unwelcoming 
feeling that any untimely butt-in provokes. We'd 
been doing very nicely without company. Daddy 
and Jeanie and I ; and, besides, there was a recol- 
lection of that "kettle of fish" Daddy had men- 
tioned, the ingredients of which I was now, as 
I supposed, about to learn. ' 

BuUerton drew up a chair and made himself 
handsomely and chummily at home, pulling a sil- 
ver-mounted cigar-case and passing it around — 
without result, since Daddy Hiram and I both 
said that we preferred our cornrcobs. That 
didn't feaze the brown-whiskered jcet — not in 
the least. He lighted a cigar for himself, and 
when it was going good, began to talk, much as 
if we'd invited him to, about his hard-working 
year in South America ; about the fabulously rich 
mines in that far-away Utopia of the gold-dig- 
gers; about his voyage up from the Isthmus; 
about the oddness of his meeting me on the train, 

148 



One Too Many 

combined with the more excruciating oddness of 
his meeting me again, here in the Eastern Ti- 
manyonis: things like that. 

He was just comfortably surging along in the 
swing of it when a door opened behind us and 
he jumped up with another "Well, well, look 
who's here 1'' and when I turned, he wars holding 
Jeanie's two hands in his and braying over her 
like a wild ass of the plains. And, if you'll be- 
lieve me, that girl had gone and changed her 
dress 1 That is what she went to do when she 
slipped out and left me to stare at her empty 
chair, after she had heard her father say, "Well, 
hello, Charley BuUertonl" 

It was all off with me from that time on. For 
what was left of the evening, Bullerton played 
a solo. The talk fairly gushed out of him, like 
water from a soaked sponge when you step on it. 
Jeanie didn't knit and listen, as she had been 
doing for me; she just listened. Daddy Hiram 
didn't say much; he never did, for that matter, 
and if he'd wanted to, Bullerton wouldn't have 
given him a chance: and as for me— well, I was 
too full for utterance, and if the stem of my old 
corn-cob pipe had been made out of compressed 
aloes, it couldn't have tasted any bitterer. I had 
thought Bullerton a pretty decent sort of fellow 

149 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

at our foregathering on the train, but that opinion 
was changing now like the weather on an April 
day. He was a ganuiph — I had never before 
found anyone whom the coined epithet so aptly 
fitted; a pure-bred, narrow-^yed ganuiph, lacking 
nothing but a close shave, a little grease paint, 
and a few feathers in his hair. 

I got full-up on the solo performance about 
nine o'clock, and climbed my ladder and went to 
bed, muffling my head in the blankets so that I 
wouldn't have to lie there and listen to the bag- 
pipe drone of BuUerton's voice in the room below. 
When I left the living-room he was chattering 
along about the Indian women of Peru, telling 
how inexpressibly hideous they were, and my last 
thought as I fell asleep was a sour wish that he 
might wake up some morning and find himself 
married to half a dozen of 'em. 

I hoped — without the least shadow of reason 
for the hope, of course — ^that the next morning 
would show me a hole in the atmosphere in the 
space that Bullerton had occupied. But there 
was no such luck. He was present at the break- 
fast-table, as large as life and twice as talkative; 
and for aught I could see, Jeanie made her batter 
cakes just as light and fluffy, and crisped her bacon 
just as brown, for him as she had— oh, shucks 1 

150 



One Too Many 

I guess Fd have found fault with an angel with 
wingSi that morning. 

Prodding this overnight grouch until the spines 
stuck out ail over its back, I made my escape 
from the cabin as soon as I could and tramped 
over to the mine and the scene of my late dis* 
comfiture in practical hydraulics. A glance into 
the shaft showed the black pool in its depths as 
placid and untroubled as if we hadn't just lifted 
a million or so cubic feet of water out of it by 
hard labor. 

In morose discouragement I recalled the few 
things I had learned about drowned mines while 
I was knocking about in the Cripple Creek dis- 
trict trying to trace Bullerton. Particularly I 
remembered my talk with Hilton, the man who 
had finally put me upon what had proved to be 
the right track in the tracing job. Hilton, as I 
have said, was the superintendent of a drainage 
project, and his task was to drive a huge tunnel 
underrunning a number of swamped mines. His 
tunnel was already a mile deep under the moun- 
tain and had cost a fabulous sum of money. 

Since I was just then beginning to be interested 
in flooded mines myself, I had asked him a num- 
ber of questions. He had talked quite freely. 
Sometimes the flood was only the tapping of an 

151 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

underground stream, as when one digs a well; in 
Other cases — and these were most common in the 
Cripple Creek region — the source of the flood 
would be found in a buried lake or reservoir, 
large or not so large, as the luck might have it* 
If the source were a lake — so Hilton had said — 
there was little use in trying to pump the mine 
dry. These lakes or reservoirs were themselves 
fed by underground streams, usually of consider* 
able magnitude, and the only remedy was to draw 
oflf the reservoir from below, if the topography, 
and the costs of tunnel-driving, were not pro* 
hibitory. 

Mulling over these discouraging bits of in* 
formation, I was naturally led back to the Pull- 
man smoking-room talk with BuUerton. His 
information about the Cinnabar had evidently 
been gained from the maps and blue-prints 
Grandfather Jasper had shown him, and it was 
doubtless accurate, as far as it went But now 
I remembered, with a sharp little flick of the 
memory whip, that he had given an expert 
opinion, which, as it seemed, he had backed up 
a year earlier with a thousand dollars of real 
money — the deposit in the Omaha bank made 
to cover my grandfather's bargain-binder. What 
he had said was, ^I'm reasonably certain that I 

15^ 



One Too Many 

discovered a way in which that mine can be 
drained at comparatively small expense." 

Had he really discovered a way ? — and with no 
better data than a study of the maps? Staring, 
down at the black pool which Daddy and I hadn't 
been able to lower by so much as a fraction of 
an inch in a week's pumping, I doubted it. And 
the ^'comparatively small expense" killed the idea 
of an underrunning tunnel, such as I had seen 
at the Hilton project, and which I had once sug- 
gested to Daddy Hiram. Daddy was confident 
— and so was I, after he had walked me over 
the ground — ^that the cost of a tunnel would be 
wildly prohibitory in the case of the Cinnabar. 
The mine was fully half a mile back from the 
point where the level bench began to break away 
toward lower levels, and it was nearly another 
half-mile to the point where the tunnel-driving 
would have to begin. And yet, and yet again, 
there was BuUerton's positive statement made to 
me. He had said he could drain the mine. And 
if he could do it, somebody else could. 

I was stumbling out toward the engine-room 
with my head down and my hands in my pockets 
when I heard footsteps coming from the direc- 
tion of the cabin beyond the dump. Looking 
out, I saw BuUerton sauntering over toward the 

153 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

shaft-house. Though I knew that some sort of a 
wrangle with him was inevitable, I was perfectly 
willing to postpone it, so I edged into the black- 
smith shop and sat down on the anvil, hoping 
he might miss me and go away. But there was 
nothing coming to me on that bet. 

"I saw your lead when you left the house," 
he began, after he had fouiid me and had dusted 
off an empty dynamite box for a seat. ''It was 
the proper caper to come over here. There is 
no manner of need of taking the old skeezicks 
in as a third party on what weVe going to talk 
about." 

"Meaning Mr. Twombly?" I rasped, with a 
good, heavy emphasis on the courtesy title. 

"Meaning 'Mister' Twombly, if that's what 
you've been calling him, though he's better known 
all over the mining half of the State as 'Old Hi- 
ram.' But let him rest; I didn't come here to 
talk about him. I've come to prod you up a 
little, Broughton. Don't you think you've played 
it rather low down oil me ?" 

"How so?" 

"By taking in my story of this mine when I 
told it to you without giving me a hint that you 
were the person most deeply interested — since 
my old gentleman was your grandfather." 

154 



One Too Many 

'It didn't strike me that way, and it doesn't 
yet," I shot back. "I notice you were mighty 
careful not to tell me the name of your old 
gentleman— or rather, I should say, you lied 
about it when I wired you." 

''An ordinary business precaution," he chuckled. 
"But we needn't waste our time bickering over 
what might have been — and wasn't. I have a 
contract with your grandfather which is legally 
binding upon you as his heir to this particular 
piece of property — always provided you can 
prove that you are his heir. Want to see the 
contract?" ^ 

**No; I'll take your word for it that such a 
contract was once made." 

"All right. If you don't deny the validity of 
the agreement ^" 

"Hold up," I interjected. "I didn't say any- 
thing about its validity. I am merely willing to 
admit the possibility of its existence." 

"Tweedledum and tweedledeel" he snorted. 
"Split all the hairs you like. I've got the agree- 
ment, and it's valid. If you don't haggle over 
the preliminary fact, we're just that much fur- 
ther along, that's all. What I'm here to say 
is that I'm ready to carry out my part of the 

155 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

contract; to unwater this mine. What do you 
say?" 

"How are you going to do it?" 

"That, my young friend, is particularly my 
own affair. If I should tell you how it's to be 
done, youM know as much as I do and I shouldn't 
have anything to sell." 

I felt pretty scrappy, that morning; there is 
no use in denying it. 

"You're not the only pebble on the beach, 
BuUerton," I *said, looking him squarely in the 
eye. "What you can do with this mine, another 
mining-engineer can do quite as well; and the 
other man will probably be willing to do it with- 
out asking the fenced-in earth for his reward." 

"Humph!" he grunted; "so that's your play, 
is it?" Then, after a scowling pause: "You're 
licked before you begin. You're fighting with- 
out anununition, Broughton. You haven't any 
money; and you'll look a damned long time be- 
fore you'll find an engineer able to finance his 
own experiment on your drowned proposition." 

"That may be," I retorted. "But if you told 
me the story straight that night in the Pullman, 
you can't turn a wheel until I tell you to go ahead. 
So your contract, if you've got one, doesn't 
amount to a hill of beans." 

156 



L 



One Too Many 

^'That point may make a nice little question 
for the courts to decide/' he snapped. ''But I 
don't want to go to law about this thing, and 
neither do you. As a matter of raw fact, you 
haven't any money to throw away in a legal 
scrap." 

The tone he was taking didn't make me feel 
any less quarrelsome, as you'd imagine; but for 
the sake of bringing matters to a head, I said : 

"Go on and shoot it out: what's your propo- 
sition?" 

"Now you're talking!" he barked. "Here it 
is in a nutshell. You make me a deed to fifty-one 
per cent, of the Cinnabar property, just as it 
stands, and then you may go back East and en- 
joy yourself playing marbles, or pitch and toss, 
or red dog — whatever your pet diversion may 
happen to be." 

The sublime nerve of this proposal nearly took 
my breath, though I suppose I should have been 
prepared for anything if I had stopped to con- 
sider the source. 

"Fifty-one per cent. 1" I ripped out. "You 
told me your offer to my grandfather was for a 
fourth interest 1" 

"So I did, and so it was. But the times change 
and we change with them. I'm doing business 

157 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

with you, now, Broughton; not with your grand- 
father. Fifty-one per cent., and you give me a 
clear field — ^not stick around, I mean. That goes 
as it lies.'' 

"Huhl" I scoffed. "A while back you were 
talking about pulling the law on me. You can't 
make anything like thai stand in the courts, and 
you know it mighty well." 

^'Maybe not; but I can make it stand Mnth 
you — ^which is much more to the purpose. You 
said a minute ago that I couldn't turn a wheel 
without your consent. You can't turn a wheel 
at all — ^without money." 

His rubbing the poverty gibe into me made me 
madder than ever, and I thought it was about 
time to tell him where he got off. 

"Then, by Jove, the wheels needn't turnl" I 
countered. "And that lets you out. If you want 
to go to law about that contract, sail in. That's 
all I've got to say." 

**0h, hold onl" he protested, with mock con- 
cern. "You're hot under the ^collar now and 
ready to kick the fat into the fire without con- 
sidering the inevitable conflagration that will fol- 
low." Then he showed me plainly what he'd 
been doing in the interval between his first, and 
this second, appearance in the Red Desert region. 

158 



One Too Many 

"Fve had rime to look you up, you know. YouVe 
engaged to a girl back East, and you can't marry 
her because you haven't money enough. Half a 
loaf is better than no bread; and I'm offering 
you very nearly the half loaf. Take a day or so 
to think it. over. I'm in no hurry." And with 
that he went back to the cabin across the dump 
and left me warming the anvil. 

I guess it will say itself that the next few days 
stacked up about as wretched an interval as I 
had ever been called upon to put over. I con- 
trived to wear out the daylight time tinkering 
with the machinery at the mine, prying into the 
pumps, and spending hours figuring over all the 
ways I could think of for trying new experiments 
on the flood — all to no purpose, of course. But 
with all this dodging and hermiting, I couldn't 
shut my eyes to the way things were going on the 
Cinnabar reservation. 

BuUerton had a masterful sort of grip that 
seemed to give him a strangle-hold upon every- 
thing he tackled. Daddy Hiram knuckled down 
to him— or seemed to— or kept out of his way; 
and as for Jeanie, she appeared to be fairly 
hypnotized; there was no other name for it. I 
couldn't get three consecutive words with her in 
anything like privacy, and BuUerton was with her 

159 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

practically all the time. At table, and in the even- 
ings before the fire, he monopolized the talk, and 
the rest of us sat around like stoughton-bottles 
and let him do it. If I should live to be a million 
years old I shall never want to hear another 
word said about South America, or to have that 
pigeon-toed continent so much as named In my 
hearing. You'd think, to hear Bullerton tell 
about it, that it was the wonderland of the world, 
and that he was its discoverer and divinely ap- 
pointed trumpet-blower. 

Another way in which the jeet made himself 
hateful — to me, at least — ^was by his constant 
parading of his money. He had wads of it with 
him — carried a pocket roll thick enough to dis- 
gust even a professional gambler. How he came 
to have so much, and why he was carrying it 
around with him were questions I was to have 
answered later on; but it was very evident that 
all this display of cash capital had a purpose 
behind it. 

I wasn't long in discovering the motive, or in 
thinking I had discovered it. From the first, 
Bullerton had made himself completely a mem- 
ber of the cabin household, even allowing Daddy 
Hiram to sleep on the lounge in the living-room 
to provide him lodgings, and before he had been 

i6o 



One Too Many 

twenty-four hours under the Twombly roof it was^ 
plainly evident that he was making love to Jeanie ; 
evident, likewise, that in so doing he was re- 
suming a pleasant occupation begun somewhere 
back in the past. I hadn't realized that I was 
in love with the dear girl before this bandit came 
along, but I realized it now, with a vengeance. 
And the way it was working out, it seemed as 
if I had no more chance than a tree-climbing^ 
monkey in the middle of the Great Sahara. 

Here, then, I told myself, was the motive for 
the disgusting money parade. Hadn't Jeanie 
told me repeatedly what her ambitions were? 
And on my first night in the household hadn't I 
overheard her say to her father, "You needn't 
be afraid for me, Daddy. You know you've al- 
ways said I'd have to marry money, and Charles 
Bullerton hasn't enough to tempt even me"? 
But now he had enough to turn any girl's head. 

It didn't help matters out much when Daddy 
Hiram, chasing me up on one of the days when 
I was dodging Bullerton, gave me the sealed 
envelope which my grandfather had left with 
him. As will be remembered, it was on the night 
of BuUerton's arrival at the Cinnabar that I had 
told Daddy and his daughter who I was, and 
the subject hadn't been again referred to by any 

i6i 



The Girl a Horse and a Dojg 

of us. But now Daddy, having overtaken me 
on one of the trails above the mine, sat beside 
me on a flat rock and we had it out together. 

"You knew who I was from the first, Daddy?" 
I asked. 

"Not right plumb at first, no," he qualified. 
"You see, I didn't know who I was to look for. 
Always reckoned jom^body'd be along, 'f course, 
but I hadn't any idea who 'r when." 

"I'm afraid I've been a pretty sorry disap- 
pointment to you," I muttered. "I have no 
money, and I don't know enough to be any good 
at the mining game. And that reminds me: my 
grandfather paid you a regular salary for the 
caretaking, didn't he?" 

"Uh-huh." 

"That has been discontinued since his death?" 

"I reckon so." 

"I have a little income of my own; not much, 
but enough for the way we're living here. It 
must be understood that I share it with you and 
Jeanie, so long as I stay with you." 

"Ain't no need o' your doin' that. Stannic. I 
got a little stake hid out for a pinch." 

In all this, you will notice, there was no word 
said about BuUerton. We sat in silence for a 
while, Daddy chewing a spear of grass. After 

162 



One Too Many 

a time he called attention to the envelope which 
I still held unopened in my hands. 

"Don't ye want to know what your gran'paw 
says?" he asked mildly. 

At this I slit the end of the envelope. Its 
contents were a deed in fee simple to the Cinna- 
bar and a note to me, written in Grandfather 
Jasper's cramped, old-fashioned handwriting. In 
the note he merely said that he was leaving me 
a property which had cost him pretty well up to 
half a million, and that he hoped I'd brace up 
and go to work and make something out of it; 
adding that if I hadn't been such a hopeless idler 
all my life he might have considered the pro- 
priety of adding an experimental fund to the gift. 
As it was, I must work out my own salvation — 
if I were anxious to possess any of that com- 
modity. 

I let Daddy see both of the papers, and he 
read the letter with a shadowy smile wrinkling 
at the corners of the patient old eyes. 

"Didn't seem to me you was so all-fired lazy 
while we was foolin' 'ith them pumps, Stannic," 
he remarked., "I thought you was givin' a purty 
good imitation of a workin'man." 

"I had an object then: I'd never had one 
before." 

163 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Maybe you'll get one o' them things again, 
-some day. I wouldn't get too down in the mouth, 
if I was you. You must ricoliect that neither one 
of us ain't what you might call a dyed-in-the-wool 
minin' ingineer." 

"Bullerton has been telling you that he can 
4rain the Cinnabar?" I blurted out. 

"I've heard him hintin' 'round about it a time 
^r two." 

"If it has to wait for him to unwater It, it'll 
be a drowned mine when Gabriel blows his 

if 

trumpet," I returned hotly. 

Daddy 'made no comment upon this, either for 
or against, and after a bit he left me and went 
poking off down the trail toward the cabin, and 
I saw him no more until supper-time. 

I think it was on the fourth day after his ar- 
rival that Bullerton cornered me again, and again 
it was in the deserted blacksmith shop. 

"Well, Broughton," he began abruptly, seat- 
ing himself once more upon the empty dynamite 
box, "I've given you plenty of time to think it 
over. Where do you stand now?" 

"Right exactly where I did in the beginning," 
I snapped. "I don't want any forty-nine-fifty- 
'One per cent, partnership with you; neither that 
jior any other kind." 

164 



One Too Many 

"All rights" he rejoined brusquely; "we'll call 
that phase of it a back number and go on to 
something else. I'll buy your mine, just as it 
stands, water and all — and that's what nobody 
else would do, you'd better believe." 

"For how much?" 

"For fifty thousand dollars — cash." 

"Not on your life 1" 

"Well, why not? It isn't a particle of good to 
you in its present condition, and you haven't any 
money with which to try experiments. Get in line 
with common sense and look the thing squarely 
in the face. Suppose you go out and try to get 
some qualified engineer to figure on the unwater- 
ing problem. The first thing he'd do would be to 
inquire into your resources. Then you'd be gone, 
flooey. On the other hand, if you'll dicker with 
me, you'll be just fifty thousand to the good, as 
I figure it." 

"No," I grated. "I don't need a little money 
that badly." 

"Fifty thousand isn't a little; at a good, safe, 
investment interest it will give you an income of 
three thousand a year. And that's more than 
you're getting now out of what your father left 
you." 

165 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

*'You seem to know a good bit about my 
private affairs," I growled. 

"You said a mouthful, then. I've made it my 
business to find out about them. There's nothing 
much to you, Broughton, when you come right 
down to brass tacks. You had a good education, 
but you haven't had get-up-and-get enough in you 
to make any use of it." 

"Your opinion of me h^s no bearing upon the 
bargain-and-sale offer you've made. There's 
nothing doing." 

"But there ought to be," he insisted. "You 
owe something to that girl back East, don't 
you?" 

His persistent harping upon the intimacies — 
my intimacies — ^was beginning to rub me on the 
raw and make me itch to get my hands on him, 
but I kept telling myself that, for the sake of the 
Twomblys, I mustn't lose my temper. 

"The less you dig in my private garden patch, 
the better we shall get along," I told him. "What 
I owe, or what may be owing to me, is no con- 
cern of yours." 

He was silent for a moment. He had picked 
up a bit of iron rod and was tracing hieroglyphic 
figures with it in the dust of the shop floor. 

i66 



One Too Many 

Presently he looked up with a sort of mocking 
leer. 

"Been trying to carry sentimental water on 
both shoulders, haven't you? I'm telling you 
right now, Broughton, it's no use. I filed on the 
little Blue-eyes claim over yonder in Twombly's 
cabin a long, long time before you ever saw or 
heard of it." 

That remark of his carried things over the 
edge for me. 

"See here, BuUerton," I said, and I suppose I 
stuck out my jaw at him as people say I do when 
I'm beginning to feel ugly, "there are limits, and 
I'll pay you the compliment of assuming that you 
are not quite a born fool. We are going to leave 
Miss Twombly out of it; completely and abso- 
lutely out of it." 

"You may; but I shan't," he grinned back at 
me. "In point of fact, my dear fellow, now that 
I come to think of it, you'll have to leave her 
out." 

"Not for anything you may say or do, or leave 
unsaid or undone." 

"Yes, you will; and for something that I may 
say. And I guess this is as good a time as any to 
mention it. Have you forgotten that you have 
advertised yourself in this out-of-the-way comer 

167 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

of the world rather successfully as one of two 
things: a pretty dangerous sort of lunatic, or — a 
criminal? As a matter of fact^ the railroad de- 
tectives have been looking high, low and level for 
you ever since you stole that inspection motor 
at the Angels platform and got it smashed.'' 

^'Twombly knows about that; and so does Miss 
Twombly," I cut in. 

"They wouldn't give you away, of course: in 
a certain sense you are Twombly's guest, and in 
another you're his employer. But you'll notice 
that neither of these restrictions apply to me." 

"In other words, if it suits your purpose, you'll 
hand me over to the railroad sleuths: is that 
what you are trying to say?" 

"As an apt little guesser, Broughton, you 
couldn't be beat," he chuckled. "Now, perhaps, 
you can understand just iivhy you are obliged, in 
ordinary prudence, to leave the girl out of it — 
and why I am not so obliged." 

"Miss Twombly, herself, has the casting vote 
on that," is what I flung at him. 

He got up from the dynamite-box seat and 
dusted himself painstakingly with his handker- 
chief. 

"She has already voted," he said coolly. Then : 
"You're not in the game, Broughton; you don't 

i68 



One Too Many. 

hold anything higher than a seven-spot, and you 
are bucking a straight flush. Pd just as soon 
«how you my hand/^ and he pulled his fat pocket- 
roll of bank-notes — ^yellow-backs, as far as one 
might see — and let it lie in his palm. "Money 
is what talks, Broughton, and wfien it opens its 
mouth it makes so much noise that you can't hear 
anything else. Do you take fifty thousand and 
vanish? That is the one live question of the 
moment.'* 

"No." 

"Very well; Fll give you another day to think 
it over; but I'm warning you here and now that 
the price will shrink. It is fifty thousand to-day, 
say up to sunset: to-morrow it will be forty 
thousand.'' 

I slid from the anvil and half unconsciously 
picked up the blacksmith's hand-hammer. 

"You go straight to hell," I said; and at that 
he left me. 

This happened along in the forenoon; and 
after BuUerton had removed himself I took to 
the woods on the mountain and didn't show up 
again until supper-time. As had come to be the 
usual thing since BuUerton's advent, I played 
the dummy hand at table, and as soon as the meal 
was over I left the cabin and went across to the 

169 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

shaft-house, with the week-old grouch growing 
like a juggler's rose. 

In the engine-room there was a chair made out > 
of a barrel cut half in two and rigged with a 
seat; a luxury contrived by some past-and-gone 
hoist man ; and I sat down in the dark to try once 
more to think things out to some sort of an action 
focus. Should I take BuUerton's fifty thousand 
and quit? Common sense said Yes, spelling it 
with a capital and underscoring it for emphasis. 
What was the use in hanging on? Hadn't we 
proved that the mine was undrainable, save, 
perhaps, at the enormous cost of driving an un- 
derrunning tunnel from a lower slope of the 
mountain? As I have said. Daddy and I had 
figured on that: heM had experience, and could 
furnish the rough-and-ready estimates of the 
expense of rock-boring. Two hundred thousand 
dollars, at least, was his figure; and it might as 
well have been two hundred million, so far as my 
resources went. 

Then there was Jeanie. Hadn't she told me 
plainly that she intended marrying money? And 
wasn't the money flaunted in her face every day 
of the world? Then, again, there was Lisette. 
Fifty thousand dollars at six per cent, would 
buy her hats — ^but it wouldn't buy much else. I 

170 



One Too Many 

could picture the calm and collected way in which 
she would say, "Yes, Stannic; you've succeeded 
nicely in financing the hats. But you know as 
well as I do that we couldn't buy hats and keep 
a car on three thousand a year." 

I had just climbed down to this bottom round 
of the ladder of dejection when I heard a bit of 
noise and looked up to see a small, trim figure 
darkening the engine-room door. Then a voice 
that I would have recognized in a thousand voices 
all speaking at once, said: 

"Mr. Broughton — Stannic: are you here?" 



171 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

IT is nothing short of wonderful how the 
sourest grouch can sometimes be banished by 
a single word. That word "Stannie/* you know : 
she had never called me that before; though her 
father had been using the familiar handle, 
Western-wise, right along, almost from the day 
I landed on the Cinnabar reservation. 

"Yes?" I said, and jumped up and went to her. 
There was a bench just outside of the shaft- 
house door where that same hoist man of other 
days had been wont to sun himself between 
signals, I suppose, and we sat down. There was 
no moon, but the starlight was top hole. Her 
first question sounded a bit like a reproach. 

"Did you ever hear of such a thing as a bear 
with a sore head?" she asked, in the tone of a 
schoolma'am asking the dull boy if he'd ever 
heard of the letter "A." 

"Often," I admitted. 

"Well, isn't that the way you've been acting?" 

172 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

"Haven't I some little cause?" 

"Maybe : of course, Fm willing to make some 
allowances. It does seem provoking that your 
grandfather should have left things in such a 
dreadful muddle." 

"How much do you know about the muddle ?" 
I asked. 

"I know that old Mr. Dudley let, or partly 
let, a contract for the draining of the mine, to 
a man who was almost a total stranger to him." 

I saw how it was. BuUerton, always readier to 
talk than a stuck pig is to bleed, had been giidng 
her his own version of things. But I let that 
part of it go. 

"Grandfather Jasper was laboring for the 
good of my soul. He knew his 'medium,' as the 
artists say. He wanted to make me work — 
something that nobody else has ever been able 
to do." 

"Don't you like to work?" 

"Why-e-e, I guess I'm like other folk in that 
respect. I don't mind working if I can pick my 
job — and my company. I've been having a bully 
good time hammering around this old bunch of 
junk mth your father. Or I was having one 
until Satan came also." 

"Meaning Mr, Bullerton?" 

173 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

^'Quite so; meaning Mr. Bullerton, christened 
•Charles/ " 

''Ought I to stay here and listen if youVe going 
to say things about him?" 

"Not if you are going to marry him, you 
shouldn't." 

"Well, why shouldn't I marry him if I want 
to? Hasn't he plenty of money? And haven't 
I always told you that I'd have to marry money?" 

"Humph!" said I; "when you talk that way 
you are saying out loud just what Lisette says 
to herself— only you don't mean it, and she 
does." 

The blue-eyed maid was silent for a little space, 
and when she spoke again it was to say : 

"If you could have your mine in working order. 
Miss Randle could have her wish, couldn't she. 
You would then have money enough to buy her 
hats, wouldn't you?" 

"Lordl" I chuckled, "I hope, for sheer hu- 
manity's sake, she won't be obliged to go 
bareheaded until the Cinnabar begins to pay her 
millinery bills. The Boston winters are rather 
cold. But tell me: how did you get permission 
to come over here and talk with me?" 

"Whose permission — Daddy's?" 

"No; Bullerton's, of course." 

174 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

"I don't have to ask it— yet." 

"Not yet, but soon," I grinned. "AH things 
come to him— or her — ^who waits. Just the sam^, 
you shouldn't have come." 

"Why not?— if I wanted to." 

"Because it's cruelty to animals. After a man 
has traveled thousands of miles to sit at the feet 
of the one girl in the universe, only to find 
himself elbowed aside by a brown-whiskered 
jeet '' 

"Hush I" she chided. "Can't you ever be 
serious? You are not sitting at anybody's feet. 
What are you going to do about the mine?'* 

"As matters stand now, I can grab hold of the 
hot end of it in either one of two ways. BuUer- 
ton offered to unwater the Cinnabar if I'd deed 
him a bit more than a half interest — and possibly 
he'd still be willing to do that : which would mean 
that he'd form a stock company and freeze me 
out completely when he got good and ready." 

"And what is the other way?" 

"He offers to buy the mine outright, just as it 
stands, for fifty thousand dollars.'^ 

"But your grandfather paid nearly half a 
million for it, didn't he?" 

"Even so. But, you see, in the present scrap 
I'm the under dog. The man you are going to 

175 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

marry has none of the nice little scruples in a 
business transaction — if you'll permit me to go 
that far. He even threatens to turn me over 
to the authorities for stealing that inspection car 
and getting it smashed.'' 

**0h, I don't believe he'd do that 1" she depre- 
cated. 

"It IS perfectly right and proper that you 
shouldn't think so^in the circumstances. Just 
the same, you'll pardon me if I say that I'm 
swearing continuously and prayerfully at the 
circumstances." 

"You don't want me to marry money and have 
good clothes and all the other nice things, and 
travel and see the world, and all that?" 

"No, by Jove 1 I want you to marry me." 

Her laugh was just a funny little gurgle. 

''Bluebeardr she said, just like that. "And 
* you haven't even killed Miss Randle yet ! Thank 
you, ever so much; but I don't want to be one of 
several. Besides, you haven't any money." 

Talk of impasses and impossible situations! 
What could a man say, or hope to say, to such a 
girl as that I 

"Did you come over here just to torment me ?" 
I rasped. 

"Woof I" she shivered, "here comes the bear 

176 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

again!'' and then, right smash out of a dear 
sky: "Kiss me — ^just once, Stannie-bear." 

Did I? She was gasping a bit when she got 
up rather unsteadily to go back to the cabin across 
the dump head, and wouldn't stay another minute, 
though I begged and pleaded with her. 

"No, indeed, Bluebeard man,'' she said, with 
that queer little gurgle of a laugh; "I — ^I think 
I have found out what I wanted to. Good-by." 
And then, after I thought she was clean gone, 
she turned back to say, airily: "Oh, yes; I had 
almost forgotten what I came over here to tell 
you. You mustn't sell the Cinnabar, Stannie; 
not for any price that anybody might offer you. 
Good-by, again." 

Can you beat it? When the good Lord made 
women, He doubtless had many patterns; but I 
do believe the mold was broken and thrown away 
after this Jeanie girl had been fashioned. For 
a solid hour or more I sat on that slab bench at 
the shaft-house door in a sort of bewildered daze, 
wondering if I had been asleep and dreaming, 
or if the bedazzling thing had really happened. 
And when I finally went across to crawl up the 
ladder to my bunk in the loft, the cabin was 
all dark and I was apparently the last one to 
turn in. 

177 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

At breakfast the next morning everything 
passed o£f as usual, and for anything that Jeanie 
said or looked, there needn't have been any bench 
beside the shaft-house door, and the dream theory 
I had been playing with might have been the 
sober fact. An hour later, after I had gone 
across to the mine, BuUerton came over to dig 
me out, as before. 

"Forty thousand, this morning," he announced, 
as chipper as an English sparrow over an unex- 
pected heap of street sweepings. "Say, Brough- 
ton; can you afford to let your capital shrink at 
the rate of ten thousand dollars a day? If you 
should ask me, I should say not." 

"You never miss what you haven't had," I 
shot back. "There are no takers on the floor 
this morning." 

"Right-o; it'll be thirty thousand to-morrow, 
you must remember. At that rate, you'll be 
owing me quite a chunk of money by this time 
next week. That's about all I have to say — 
excepting one more little thing : No more chinny 
little tete-a-tetes in the starlight, old man, or I 
shall be obliged to put the gad to you; the rail- 
road gad, you know." 

It made me so boiling hot to have him admit, 
thus baldly, that he had been sppng upon Jeanie 

178 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

and me the previous evening that I could scarcely 
see straight. 

"That will be about enough 1" I barked. "I 
told you the other day that there were limits, 
and you've walked up and looked over the edge 
two or three times. You may think you have 
as many lives as a cat, but I doubt it I" 

He laughed and threw back the lapel of his 
coat to show me a regulation six-gun slung by a 
shoulder strap under his left arm. 

"You pulled a hammer on me yesterday," he 
said, letting the laugh lapse into a grin that 
showed his fine mouthful of teeth, "and you 
probably didn't know that you would have been 
a dead man before you could s\dng it. Oh, yes; 
I could do it, and any coroner's jury in the Red 
Desert would acquit me : dangerous lunatic — self- 
defense, you know. That's a word to the wise, 
and it ought to be sufficient. But I have a bet- 
ter life-insurance policy than any that the six-gun 
could write me : you're in love with Jeanie Twom- 
bly — ^in spite of that girl back East; and because 
you are, you are not going to make her a widow 
before the fact. See?" 

"Don't you be too sure about what I may do 
or not do; or about the widowing part of it, 
either," I growled. 

179 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"It's a pretty safe bet," h« said; and then, as 
if to see if I really would take a hammer to him: 
"I'm crazy about that girl, Broughton." 

When he said that, it popped into my mind 
that this was what she had meant when she had 
said to me that he had once told her he was 
crazy — ^this was in the first evening talk of ours, 
if you remember it. 

"It strikes me that you are crazy about a good 
many other things," I told him. 

"Not so you could notice it," he said carelessly. 
"You have a monopoly on the bughouse distinc- 
tions in this neck of woods. You're not selling 
your mine for forty thousand — cold cash — ^this 
morning J" 

"Not this morning or any other morning." 

"Good. I can afford to stick around here a 
few days longer, I guess — at the rate of ten 
thousand dollars a day. So long." And he 
picked his way out of the clutter of the shop and 
went across to the cabin — and Jeanie. 

Later, along in this same day, while I was 
standing at the shaft mouth and staring down 
at the water that was keeping me out of my 
heritage. Daddy Hiram came up behind me, 
treading so quietly that I didn't know he was 
there until he spoke. 

1 80 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

^^Still a-puzzlln* over it, Stannie?" he asked^ 
in the sympathetic tone that he always used when 
he spoke of the Great Disappointment. 

"There's nothing to it, Daddy," I gloomed. 
"Bullerton has me by the neck, ai\d he knows it. 
So do I| for that matter. I only hope he won't 
keep on badgering me until I have to kill him." 

Instead of making any reply he tiptoed to the 
door and peeped out. 

"You've heard 'em say 'at curiosity killed a 
cat," he said out of the corner of his mouth; 
"well, the cat's a-comin'. Makes me sort o' hot 
under the collar, jinged if it don't 1" he went on, 
as if talking to himself. Then over his shoulder 
to me : "Skip out o' that other door, Stannie and 
hit for the timber. I'll ketch up with you in a 
Kttle spell." 

I didn't know exactly what he was driving at 
until after I got clear of the mine buildings and 
was climbing the slope of the mountain above. 
Then I looked back and saw Bullerton saunter- 
ing across the dump head. He was evidently 
bent on another little job of spying; either that, 
or else he didn't want Daddy and me to get to- 
gether by ourselves. 

Under cover of the forest I sat down and 
waited; and in a short time Daddy joined me, 

i8i 



The Girji a Horse and a Dog 

making an excuse for the dodge-away that didn't 
mean anything at all. 

**I got a claim over yonder in the right-hand 
gulch — ^the one 'at I was workin' when your 
gran'paw came along," he said. "Thought maybe 
you'd like to mog over with me and take a look 
at her." 

Of course, I said I'd be delighted; so we made 
a detour around the Cinnabar, keeping out of 
sight from the cabin and shaft-house, and push- 
ing on around the western slope for maybe half 
a mile until we came to the gulch in which the 
abandoned claim lay. 

Here, some two years earlier, Daddy ex- 
plained, a small outcrop of gold quartz— quite 
probably a diverging seam from the Cinnabar 
lode — ^had shown itself, and he had "located" 
and filed upon It After working It for some 
months, during which period he had "bached" 
in a log hut of his own building in the gulch, he 
had sent for Jeanie, who had been staying with 
friends In Cripple Creek. They had then taken 
possession of the cabin at the Cinnabar, Daddy 
going to and from his claim night and morning. 
This he was still doing when my grandfather 
made his visit 

Arrived at the site of the "Little Jeanie," as 

[182 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

he had named the quartz claim, I was given ample 
proof of the old man's prodigious industry. 
Working entirely alone, he had driven a tunnel 
possibly a hundred feet deep straight into the 
solid rock of the mountain side, following the 
thin vein and hoping that it would widen into a 
"pay-streak." I was going to make him tell me 
more about it, but after he had led me a few 
yards into the tunnel, he waved me to a seat on a 
pile of broken rock, and took one himself with 
his back against the opposite wall. 

"Got your pipe along?" he asked; and when 
J nodded he found his own and filled and 
lighted it. 

"Fm gettin' just naturally so I hate a gosh- 
dummed crowd," he remarked, switching sud- 
denly from his talk of the abandoned claim and 
pulling at his pipe with more vigor than I had 
ever seen him put into the tobacco burning. 
"Feel sometimes as if I'd like to swap skins with 
a con-dummed gopher and duck plumb into a 
hole." 

"Well," said I, grinning at him, "youVe 
ducked, for once in a way, and so have I. What 
about it?" 

"Charley Bullerton," he spat out, without 
further preface. "That slick-tongued word artist 

^183 



V 



^ The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

sure docs get onto my nerves. What-all's he 
trj^* to do to you, anyway, Stannie?" 

I didn't see any reason why he shouldn't know,, 
so I told him all of it, from start to finish, oCFers, 
bullyingSy and threats, but, of course, nothing 
about the Jeanie factor. 

"Great Moses I" he ejaculated at the end of 
the sorry tale. "Why, gosh-to-Methusaleh I — 
it's a hold-up I" 

"It is what they call ^business,' out in the big 
world. Daddy," I explained. "BuUerton has the 
underhold on me, and he is using it; that's all." 

"Do you reckon he kin unwater the Cinnabar?" 

"Surest thing in the world. So could you or 
I, if we had the money to drive a long drainage 
tunnel from the lower slope." 

The old man smoked along in thoughtful 
silence for a few minutes. Then he said : 

"'Bout that there tunnel job; somethin' like 
two hundred thousand, we figured that'd cost,. 
- with no bad luck, didn't we, Stannic?" 

"That was the figure." 

"And, first oflF, Charley BuUerton was willin*^ 
to give you fifty thousand for your rights — 
though now you say he's shaved it down to forty. 
That*d mean an investment of at least two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand; all a-goin' out and 

184 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

nothin' a-comin* in. Let's see where that's 
fetchin' us to. From what I've heard tell, the 
Cinnabar never was a Tortland' 'r an 'Inde- 
pendence,' or anything like that; just a good, 
comfortable, middle-grade prop'sition, with a 
rich pocket now and ag'in to sort o' keep things 
a-movin'. I don't know what your gran'paw 
paid for it, but it was less 'n half a million, and 
I reckon he paid ever' dollar it was worth, don't 
you?" 

"Doubtless he did," I admitted. 

"So there's where we land," he went on specu- 
latively. "Two hundred and fifty thousand 
tacked onto half a million gives her a capital of 
three-quarters of a million sunk in her, first and 
last. Question is, is she worth it?" 

I was beginning to get his idea at last. He 
was wondering if a mine that had once sold at 
a top-notch price of half a million could stand 
the investment of a quarter of a million addi- 
tional and still hope to be a paying proposition. 

"You mean that Bullerton isn't figuring upon 
spending a quarter of a million more on it?" I 
queried. 

"I was just a-wonderin'. There^s a nigger in 
tile woodpile, somewheres, Stannie, as sure 's 
you're born." 

185 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Can you carry it any farther?" 

"Nope; I reckon I can't. There^s too many 
darned things a-puzzlin' me. One of 'em is 
where in Sam Hill did Charley Bullerton get all 
the money that he's flashin' around so peacocky?" 

"I don't know where he got it, but he has it, 
all right; carries it with him," I said sourly. 

"Yes; but see here, Stannie,^ son, I'll bet a fice 
dog worth a hundred dollars that it ain't his 
money." 

"What makes you say that?" 

"Well, for one thing, because I know Charley 
Bullerton; been knowin' him since Adam was a 
little boy in knee-breeches. He can't keep any 
money of his own ; just naturally ain't built that^ 
away." 

"Gambles it?" I suggested. 

"Big gambles, yes ; stocks and that sort o' 
truck. No sir-ee ; these yeller-backs he's a-flashin' 
around ain't his'n, not by a long chalk, and I'd 
bet on it. Somebody else is settin' 'em up; and 
if that's so. Stannic, there's a reason for it." 

"Sure," I conceded. Then: "Could you make 
a long, high, running jump and guess at the 
reason, Daddy?" 

"Not so 's it'd hold together, I reckon," he 
replied dubiously. "But there's a few little no- 

i86 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

tions 'at IVe picked up from folks that's older 
in this neck o' woods than I am — been here 
longer. As I've been tellin' you, the old Cinna- 
bar never was whkt you'd call a 'bonanza.' 
Plenty of ore, /o be sure, but mostly low grade, 
■ceptin' them rich little pockets now and then. 
Once in a while, when they'd hit a pocket, things 
'd jump up; but mostly it was just plain wood- 
sawin', as you might say, with the wagon haul 
to 'Tropia, and the railroad freight from there 
to the Copah smelter, a-cuttin' pretty deep into 
the profits." 

"Those rich podcets," I put in. "A strike of 
one of them would be about the right time to sell, 
wouldn't it?" 

He nodded. 

"You're shoutin', now. I redcon that's about 
how they caught your gran'paw. But Buddy 
Fuller — he's the 'Tropia telegraph operator and 
a sort o' half-way nephew o' mine — says there's 
more to it than that. 'Long back a couple o' 
years 'r so, there was a copper strike made in 
Little Cinnabar Gulch, about four mile west o' 
here, and foUerin' it there was a heap o' talk 
about the railroad runnin' a branch to it. That 
there branch, if it was built — 'r when it's built, 
for it's goin' to be, some day, to open them cop- 

187 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

per mines — ^that there branch '11 go right along 
our bench within a hundred yards of the old Cin- 
nabar; so clost you could mighty near dump 
from the ore sheds into the cars." 

I began to see more crookings in the sacrificial 
road over which Grandfather Jasper had been 
led; many more, and more devious ones. 

'*In that case, even the low-grade Cinnabar 
would come a bit nearer being a bonanza, 
wouldn't it?" I asked. 

"She sure would, Stannic. That long, hard 
wagon haul to 'Tropia was what was puttin' the 
cuss in the cost o' handlin'." 

"And with the railroad right at the door, so 
to speak, it might even pay to recapitalize at 
three-quarters of a million and drive that long 
drainage tunnel we have been figuring on?" 

"Somethin' like that; yes. Can you see any 
f urder into the millstone ? I'll say I've got about 
to the end of my squintin'." 

I refilled my pipe and did a bit of cogitating. 
Daddy Hiram's facts opened up a rather long 
vista of inference and conjecture. Sometimes the 
best way to get at the inside of a mystery which 
has the human factor in it is to put yourself into 
the other fellow's place; crawl into his skin and 
look ojut through his eyes. Supposing / had been 

i88 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

the boss figurer in the bunch that did Grandfather 
Jasper the honor to bilk him; as conscienceless 
as that pirate, whoever he was, and in the secret 
of the conditions as Daddy had just outlined 
them : what would I have done ?" 

The answer came as pat as you please. With 
a railroad in prospect which would turn a small 
profit into a big one, I should quite probably have 
shut the mine down to wait until I could hear 
the whistle of the locomotive. 

This conclusion led promptly and logically to 
another. Supposing, at the moment when I had 
decided upon the shut-down, some doddering old 
gentleman had come along and offered to buy 
the mine? Add, as a corollary, the supposition 
that the water problem was daily growing more 
insistent, with the ultimate threat of a flood. As 
an ordinary, garden-variety mining shark, what 
would I have done? 

That answer came pat, also. I should have 
taken the old gentleman's money, trusting to the 
rising flood to make him sick of his bargain in 
due course of time, and thus willing to sell out 
for anything he could get. 

**I believe I have it doped out," I told Daddy 
at the end of the cogitating pause; and then I 
passed the inferences along to him. The im- 

189 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

mediate eCFect was to evoke a couple of his quaint 
substitutes for profanity. 

**Jehoiachim-to-brcakf ast 1" he exclaimed; "I'll 
be ding-swizzled if I don't believe you've struck 
the true lead, Stannic, my son! If you have, 
here's what foUers : Charley BuUerton's here to 
do the dickerin' for that same old high-bindin' 
Cinnabar outfit that did your gran'paw up. They 
sold for half a million 'r so, and now they're 
willin' to buy back for thirty or forty or fifty 
thousand. By Jezebel I I just knew that slick- 
tongued rooster was tryin' to work some skin 
game I" 

"Yet he is going to marry your daughter," I 
put in grimly. 

At this the old man turned gloomy-serious in 
the batting of an eye, drawing his mouth down 
at the corners and sucking hard at the pipe which 
had long since burned out. 

"That's been a-pinchin' me like a tight boot. 
Stannic," he admitted. "If you'd ast me afore 
he come, I'd 'a' told you she hadn't a morsel o' 
use for that con-dummed blowhard. But just you 
look at the way things are stackin' up now 1 He's 
snoopin' 'round her mighty near all the whole 
time, and she hain't never once give me the wink 
to send him a-kitin', like I'm itchin' to I" 

190 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

He told me to look : I had been looking until 
my eyes ached. The indications were all one 
way, tons of them; with only one little impulsive 
kiss to put in the other pan of the scale. I didn't 
tell Daddy about the kiss; but I did tell him that 
Jeanie had told me not to sell the Gnnabar. 

"So?" he conunentedy livening up a little. 
"That brings on more talk, I reckon." Then, 
after a bit: "If Jeanie said that, it goes to show 
that there's yit another nigger in this here wood* 
pile o' your'n, Stannie, son; besides the one you've 
just dug out. Reckon you can make out to hang 
onto the old cow's tail for a spell longer ?" 

I took time to consider my answer. 

"I've been wondering if, all things given their 
due footing, it were worth while to hang on, 
Daddy. As matters stand now, BuUerton is 
stuck unless I sell out to him. He can't make a 
move while I hold the deed you gave me; so, 
if I should take my foot in my hand and walk 
out, he'd be left up in the air. But, on the other 
hand, there's Jeanie. If she's going to marry 
BuUerton, why, that's a horse of another color. 
I'm not enough of a dog-in-the-manger to bite 
her nose oflF to spite BuUerton's face." 

"Um," was the grunted response. Then, with 
a side swipe diat I wasn't looking for : "Charley 

191 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

BuUerton's been hintin' 'round that you're tied 
up with a girl back East. Is diat so?-— or is it 
on'y another one o' his frilly lies?" 

I laughed. 

**I wish I knew, Daddy; Fd sure tell you if I 
would anybody. We were really engaged — the 
back-East girl and I; but I don't think we are 
now, and I don't think she thinks so. Anyway, 
she called it all off when we found out— or 
diought we found out — ^that my grandfather 
hadn't left me anything in his will. She's like 
Jeanie says she is, you know : she's got to marry 
money." 

*'Jus' so," he said, with a rather grim glint in 
die mild blue eyes. '^All the same, if you had the 
old Cinnabar in slap-up workin' order, I reckon 
you'd have to go back yonder and marry her, 
wouldn't ye?" 

"I'd be in honor bound to offer to, anyway." 

"That don't sound much like you was car in' a 
whole lot for her," he objected gravely. 

I despaired in advance of making him under- 
stand the tack of sentiment in the case, or the 
viewpoint from which any such condition could 
be considered as a human possibility. He was 
much too simple-hearted. So I got rid of the 
Lisette obstacle, or got around it, as best I could. 

192 



To Fish or Cut Bait 

"She has been free for several weeks, now; in 
all probability she is wearing some other fellow's 
ring by this time. But about the Cinnabar: as- 
suming that my string of guesses is hitched up 
to the true state of affairs, what would you advise 
me to do? Shall I hang on — ^with no prospect, 
that I can see, of getting anywhere on my own 
hook? Or shall I sell out to BuUerton and thus 
let your daughter in for a wife's share of a pos- 
sible fortune?" 

"Gosh-all-hemlock 1" he spluttered, "when you 
line it up that-away, I reckon / kin't the man to 
tell you what to do!" Then, as upon a second 
and belated thought: "Jeanie says for you not 
to sell: if she said that to me, Fd hang on till 
the cows come home. I would jo/" 

I got up and knocked the ashes from my pipe. 

"And that, Daddy, is precisely what Fm going 
to do," I said; and the saying of it ended the 
conference in the abandoned tunnel of the "Little 
Jeanie." 



193 



XI 

The Deep-Wells 

THE next morning I turned out at break of 
day, before anybody else was up, slipped 
into my clothes (mail-order hand-me-downs, 
these, gotten for me by Daddy through the tele- 
graph operator at Atropia — an expedient to 
which I had been driven because I didn't dare 
send to Angels for my belongings, with the rail- 
road warrant out for my arrest), straightened 
up my bunk, and dropped through the ladder 
hatchway to the main-deck. In the living-room 
I came upon Daddy Hiram sleeping peacefully 
on the home-made lounge, and so had my sus- 
picion confirmed — ^that Bullerton had actually 
hogged him out of his room; like the camel in 
the Arab story. 

I had told myself that the reason for the day- 
break turn-out was a desire to see if the railroad 
people really had been sufficiently in earnest 
about the proposed copper-mine branch to make 
a survey for it ; but the true underlying push was 

194 



\ 



The Deep-Wells 

a biting reluctance to have anything more to 
do with Bullerton, or even to sit at table with 
him. 

It^s apt to be that way with a nursed grouch. 
Every day it was growing more and more diffi- 
cult for me to keep hands off when the jeet was 
within reach of a good, solid jolt to the jaw; and 
I was still decent enough to wish to avoid an 
open rupture with him and a rough-and-tumble 
scrap which, in the circumstances, would have 
been an outrage upon the Twomblys, and which, 
of course, could have but one result — ^that one 
or the other of us would have to ^Vamoose the 
ranch,'' as Daddy would have phrased it. 

Tiptoeing through the common room, so as 
not to wake Daddy Hiram,' I broke into Jeanie's 
kitchen and raided the cupboard for a bite of 
something to eat. There was plenty of bread, 
and some cold fried ham, and cutting a couple of 
generous sandwiches, I hiked out to make my 
breakfast in the open. It was a fine morning, 
with the air just crisp enough to be bracing and 
exhilarating, and the mountain forest was at its 
summer best. I had never been much of a wood- 
lander in the days which by now seemed to have 
withdrawn into a far-distant past ; but the grand, 
silent forests of the high altitudes have a charm 

195 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

« 

that is all their owni and I had fallen under the 
spell of it. Even the few weeks I had spent in 
this mountain solitude had awakened the Nature 
love which, I fancy, lies merely dormant in the 
most confirmed city dweller* 

The sandwiches disposed of, I began to quarter 
the bench woodland back and forth, searching 
for some indications of the railroad survey. In 
due time I found one of the location stakes, and 
from its facing and the markings on it, got the 
direction of the proposed line and was able to 
trace it for some distance along the bench. As 
Daddy had said, it ran within a few hundred 
yards of the Cinnabar claim, and a short side- 
track would make his suggestion perfectly feasi- 
ble ; our ore could be shot into the cars with but a 
single handling. 

From tracing the railroad survey, I edged 
around to take another look at the possibilities 
of the drainage tunnel Daddy and I had figured 
on. Going over the ground this second time, 
and with some better knowledge of the difficul- 
ties, it appeared that we must have ridiculously 
underestimated the probable cost Pacing the 
distances carefully, and guessing at the differences 
in altitude by the heights of the trees, I saw that 
it wouldn't be safe to count upon less than a mile 

196 



The Deep-Wells 

of tunneling, and this, in the solid porphyry of 
Old Cinnabar, and in a situation remote from 
the nearest base of supplies, would run — no, it 
wouldn't run; it would fairly gallop into money. 

Was this what BuUerton meant to do if he could 
oust me? T^at he was utterly confident of bis 
ability to drain the Cinnabar was evident in a 
dozen ways. To go no farther in that direction, 
his willingness to pay fifty thousand dollars, of 
his own or somebody else*s money, for a quit- 
claim from me — in addition to whatever sum 
the drainage project nught cost — was proof posi- 
tive that be believed the mine could be salvaged. 
But how was it to be done? Would he, or his 
backers, be willing to spend a quarter of a million 
or more, and the better part of a year's time, 
driving that mile-long tunnel ? 

The longer I thought about it, the larger the 
conviction grew that no such expensive expedient 
was to be resorted to. BuUerton, or his backers, 
or both, knew some other and far cheaper and 
more expeditious way of getting rid of the water. 
Sitting on a big rock that had in some former 
earth convulsion tumbled from the broken cliffs 
above the mine, I gave the mechanical fraction 
of my brain (it was a small fraction and sadly 
under-developed) free rein. 
197 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Two possibilities suggested themselyes. A 
siphon^ a big pipe, starting at the bottom of the 
shaft and leading out over the top and down the 
mountain to a point lower than the shaft bottom, 
would, after it was once started, automatically 
discharge a stream of its own bigness, whatever 
that should be. But the cost of over a mile of 
such pipe was beyond my means; and if two six- 
inch pumps driven night and day had failed to 
make any impression upon the flood, what could 
be expected of a siphon which, in the nature of 
things, couldn't be much bigger than an ordinary 
street water main? 

The other possibility was even less hopeful. 
It was the driving of a short tunnel, which Daddy 
and I might undertake without additional help, 
from the level of the big bench straight in to an 
intersection with the mine shaft. This, I esti« 
mated, might tap the water at a point possibly 
twenty feet below its present level in the shaft. 
.Its success, as I saw at once, would depend en- 
tirely upon the location and volume of the under- 
ground lake which was supposed to be supplying 
the flood. If this reservoir were shallow and 
high in the mountain, the short tunnel might 
drain it. If it were deep and low, nothing would 
be accomplished. 

198 



The Deep-Wells 

rU admit that I was considering both of these 
expedients in the light of what BuUerton might 
do ; and the conclusion was that if they appeared 
inadequate to a greenhorn like myself, they 
would probably be scrapped at once by a trained 
engineer. But, on the other hand, if I hadn't 
yet guessed the right answer, what could that 
answer be? 

The exasperating question was still hanging 
hopelessly up in the air when I made ihy way 
around to the mine buildings by the left-hand 
gulch path, sneaked in, and began to shuck my- 
self into Daddy's extra pair of overalls; just for 
what, I hadn't the least idea ; only I needed to be 
doing something to keep me from going com- 
pletely dotty in the guessing contest. 

By this time, as I kntWj they would be getting 
up from breakfast in the cabin across the dump 
head; which would most likely be BuUerton's cue 
to come over and ride me some more. When I 
looked out in sour anticipation, here he came, 
smoking one of his high-priced cigars and swag- 
gering a bit, as he always did in walking. 

'^This is your thirty - thousand - dollar day, 
Broughton," he tossed at me as soon as he 
stepped over the threshold of the shaft-house 
door ; but I fancied I could notice that, some way, 

199 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

he didn't seem quite so chipper and careless as 
he had the day before. 

"See here," I ripped out; "what's the use? 
You can't buy this mine at any price ! It's not in 
the market, and it isn't going to be. More than 
that, if I were thinking of selling, do you suppose 
I'd take any of your silly bids? Not in a thou- 
sand years 1" 

He looked up, scowling, to snap back at me ^ 
like an angry dog. 

"Say, Broughton, you don't look like a danmed 
fooll" 

"Glad to know it. Incidentally, I don't mean 
tp act like one, either, if anybody should ask you.'* 

*^But see here : what's the use of butting your 
head against a stone wall? You're stuck, world 
without end, and you know it. This flooded hole 
in the ground is of no more use to you than a pair 
of spectacles to a blind manl" 

"Perhaps not : * 'tis a poor thing, but mine own.* 
I guess I can keep it as a souvenir if I feel like it, 
can't I ?" 

"Oh, hell!" he gritted; and turning on his 
heel, went away. 

After he had gone I patted myself on the back 
a bit for not losing my temper, and then, just 
to have an excuse for staying away from the 

200 



The Deep-Wells 

cabin and the BuUerton vicinity, I made fires 
under the boilers and got up steam. In the 
former pumping spasm Daddy and I had operated 
only the two big centrifugals, ignoring the deep- 
well pumps designed to lift the water from the 
lower levels of the mine. These — ^there were 
two of them — ^were old-fashioned "Cornish" 
lifts, built exactly like an ordinary wind-mill 
pump, with their barrels at the bottom of the 
shaft and their plungers operated by long iron 
connecting-rods running up through the delivery 
pipes to the actuating machinery in the shaft- 
house. 

Just to try something that we hadn't tried 
before, I got steam on the deep-wellers, and soon 
found that the machinery, which we hadn't taken 
down in the general overhauling, needed tinker- 
ing before it would be safe to run it. Banking 
the boiler fires, I went at the job single-handed 
and managed to wear out the live-long day at it. 

.When I didn't show up at the cabin for the 
noon meal. Daddy brought me something to eat, 
and offered to stay and help ; but I told him No, 
adding that I wasn't in a fit frame of mind to 
associate with anybody. 

"But what-all are ye tryin' to do, Stannic ?" he 
asked, and when I explained, he shook his head. 

201 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

^^Stands to reason that there ain't nothin' 
goin* to come o' that. Them deep-wells won't 
han'le more 'n half as much water as the centri- 
fugals, and if the centrifugals won't budge 
it '' 

"I know," I broke In. "Just the same, I'm 
going to try." And at that he left me. 

It took me all the afternoon, and then some, 
to get the machinery cleaned and tinkered up and 
reassembled. In pawing over the supplies in 
the mine store-room— stuff left by the former 
operators — ^we had found an acet^ene flare 
torch and a can of carbide, and I rigged the 
torch so that I could go on working after dark. 
A little past sundown Daddy brought my supper 
over from the cabin and asked me if I wasn't 
ever going to quit. I told him I didn't care to 
go up against BuUerton any more than I had to; 
that things had come to such a pass that the next 
word between us was likely to be a blow, and I 
didn't want to have any open trouble with the 
jeet. He saw the point, and, after another offer 
of help, which I declined, went back to the cabin. 

It was along about nine o'clock when I got the 
deep-wells ready to run and freshened up the 
fires and turned the steam on. The big lifters, 
geared up from the steam engine which furnished 

202 



The Deep-Wells 

the power, clanked and banged and made a lot 
of noise, and I rather expected Daddy would 
come over to see what was doing. But I was 
soon too deeply interested in the new experiment 
to wonder why he didn't. 

In curious contrast to the care which had been 
taken to provide a discharge outlet for the cen- 
trifugals, the Cornish pumps had merely an iron 
trough which ran to a ditch leading down to t;he 
bench below the mine buildings. After a few 
minutes of the clanking and banging, the water 
began to come. It was horribly smelling stuff, 
thick and discolored; evidences sufficient that it 
was coming from the bottom of the mine. The 
two pumps together were lifting about an eight- 
inch stream, and it occurred to me at once that if 
I could set the centrifugals going at the same time, 
the mass attack might accomplish what the piece- 
meal assault couldn't. 

Throwing In the clutch that drove the big 
rotaries, I ran up against what Daddy would have 
called a "circumstance." There wasn't power 
enough to drive both sets of pumps coupled in 
together; at least, not with the steam pressure 
the boilers were carrying. Thinking to get more 
power, by pushing the fires a bit harder, I went 
to the detached boiler-room to stoke up, leaving 

203 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the deep-wells clanging away in the shaft-house. 
I had fired two of the furnaces and was at work 
on the third when a series of grinding crashes in 
the machinery sent me flying to find out what 
was going wrong. 

What was happening — ^what had already hap- 
pened — was a plenty. As I have said, the great 
Cornish water-lifters were driven through a train 
of gearing. When I reached the scene, the steam 
engine was still running smoothly, but the pumps 
had stopped. The reason didn't have to be 
looked for with a microscope. The gear-train 
was a wreck, with one of the wheels smashed 
into bits, and half of the cogs stripped from its 
mesh-mate, if that's what you'd call it. 

Mechanically I stopped the engine and went 
to view the remains. The deep-wells were done 
for — ^there was no question about that: they'd 
never run again until a new set of gears should 
be installed. That much determined, I began to 
look for the cause of the calamity. Naturally, 
I supposed that a cracked cog in one of the wheels 
had given way, and with this for a starter, the 
general smash would follow as a matter of course. 
But a careful and even painful scrutiny of the 
wreckage failed to reveal the cog with the ancient 
fracture. Each break was new and fresh and 

204 



The Deep-\Vells 

dean; there wasn't a sign of an old flaw in any 
one of them. 

I think I must have knelt there under the gear- 
train for a half-hour or more, handling the frag- 
ments of iron and fitting them together. It was 
like a child's broken-block puzzle, and after a 
time I was able to lay all the larger bits out upon 
the floor in their proper relation to one another. 
It was in the ground-up debris remaining that I 
found something which suddenly made me see 
red. JBattered into shapelessness, but still clearly 
recognizablci were the crushed disjecta membra 
of our twelve-inch monkey-wrench 1 

I tried not to go off the handle Jn a fit of mad 
rage. With a sort of forced calm I considered 
every beam and projecting timber where I might 
incautiously have left the wrench, and from which 
it might have jarred off to fall into the gears. 
There was no such chance. I had used the wrench 
in reassembling the machinery, but now that I 
came to recall all the circumstances, I distinctly 
remembered having put it, together with the 
other tools, on the Utile work bench back of the 
engine. The alternative conclusion was, there- 
fore, fairly inevitable. While I was firing the 
furnaces, somebody — and doubtless somebody 
who had been watching for the opportunity — 

205 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

had taken advantage of the moment when my 
back was turned and had thrown the wrench into 
the gears. 

It was the final straw. There was only one 
person on the Cinnabar reservation who could 
have any motive for wrecking my machinery; 
and while I was banking the fires and setting 
things In order for the night, I charted my course, 
as the navigators say. Since it was late, and the 
cabin on the other side of the gray dump showed 
no lights, the reckoning might be allowed to stand 
over until morning. But the dawn of another 
*day, I told myself, would schedule the ultimate 
limit. Unless he should prove to be a good bit 
quicker with his gun than I was with my fists, 
BuUerton was due to get the man-handling he 
seemed to be aching for; and beyond that, he'd 
quit the Cinnabar, If I should have to tie him on 
his horse and flog the beast half-way to Atropla. 

It was with this most unchristian design seeth- 
ing and boiling In my brain that I finally went 
over to the cabin, let myself in, and climbed 
stealthily up the loft ladder to my blankets. To 
lie awake and wrathfully perfect the details of 
the ^vengeance battie ? Not a bit of It. I was 
so dog-tired after the long, hard day that I fell 
asleep the minute my head hit the pillow; and 

206 



The Deep-Wells 

the next thing I knew, it was broad daylight, the 
sun was shining in at the little window over the 
head of my bunk, and from the kitchen at the 
rear- a juicy and most appetizing odor of frying 
ham was wafting itself up through the cracks in 
the imchinked walls of my cubicle. 



207 



XII 



An Arctic BatH 

IT'S an old saying that coming events have a 
knack of foreshadowing themselves. While 
I was struggling Into my clothes and reviving that 
overnight determination to have it out with Bul- 
lerton the minute I should lay eyes upon him, 
it struck me all at once that the house was curi- 
ously quiet. To be sure, somebody was stirring 
and the breakfast was cooking, but the premoni- 
tion that something had happened was strong 
upon me when I descended the ladder. 

In the living-room I found a mighty sober- 
faced old Daddy putting breakfast on the table. 

"It's just you and me for it, this mornin'. Stan- 
nic," he muttered, laying plates for two; and his 
mild old eyes looked as if they were about to 
take a bath. 

"What 1" I exclaimed. "Has BuUerton gone ?" 

"Uh-huh; bright and early — 'fore day, I 
reckon; leastwise, I didn't hear him when he 



went." 



208 



i 



An Arctic Bath 

"But where's Jeanie? She isn't sick, is she?'* 

He shook his head dolefully. 

"No; she — she's gone, too." 

"Not with BuUerton?" I gasped. 

"It sure does look that-away, Stannie. She 
left a li'l' note on the table for me, a-tellin' me 
not to worry none, and sayin' I needn't look for 
her till I saw her ag'in." 

At first I could scarcely believe my own ears. 
It was so incredibly out of keeping with Jeanie 
as I had been idealizing her. That she could 
bring herself to the point of marrying BuUerton 
under any conditions was a ruthless smashing of 
all the fitnesses; that she should run away with 
him clandestinely, when there wasn't the slightest 
need of it, was a shrieking absurdity. Yet she 
had evidently done just that. The fact that her 
bolstered pistol, without which she never rode 
alone, was still hanging in its place over the 
mantel was sufficient proof that she had ridden 
with BuUerton, or I thought it was. 

"Are you going after them?" I demanded. 

"What for?" was the despondent query. 
" 'Tain't a morsel o' use, any way you look at it. 
Jeanie's a woman growed, and she don't have to 
have the old daddy say she can, 'r she mustn't. 
Besides, they was probably pitchin' out to catch 

209 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

one o' the early trains — there's one each way, 
east and west — and them trains 've been gone a 
couple o' hours." 

Daddy had done his best with the breakfast, 
but I don't recall any meal of my life that ever 
came so near choking me. We talked a little : I 
guess Daddy saw how hard I was hit and tried 
to comfort me a bit; and I did the same for him. 
By and by we got around to the business side of 
it, and here there was another bunch of perplexi- 
ties. I told Daddy about the smashing of the 
machinery, and the proof I had that it had been 
a piece of sabotage. 

'^Reckon maybe he allowed you'd find out he 
done it and try a dogfall 'r somethin' with him 
to pay him back?" Daddy queried. 

"I don't know," I confessed. "Possibly he had 
this elopement all planned out and was merely 
saying good-by to me In his own peculiar fashion. 
Just the same, I can't see why he should quit 
short off on the Cinnabar proposition, flying the 
coop between two days, when, from his point of 
view, he had me going and might safely assume 
that it was only a question of time when I must 
surrender." 

^ "You c'n search me," said Daddy, in deep dis- 
couragement. 

2IO 



i 



An Arctic Bath 

**I can find only one answer," I went on. "He 
IS postponing the business part of it to go and 
get married. He wants to show me that I'm 
not in the fight in any field in which he chooses 
to oppose me." 

"How's that?" said the old man, who, like 
most American fathers, was innocently blind on 
the side of a daughter's sentimental involve- 
ments. 

"Jeanie had my number," I returned briefly. 
"I'd told her I wanted to marry her." 

"Sho, now I had you. Stannic? Well, that 
does mix it up a heap more tanglesome than 
ever I" 

I fully agreed with him and went on eating in 
silence, or rather trying to eat, and turning over 
the puzzling and bad-tasting questionings in my 
mind. How could Jeanie go off with BuUerton, 
knowing him to be the scamp he was ? And why, 
if she had been meaning all along to do this 
thing, had she blocked his game by telling me 
that I wasn't to sell him the Cinnabar? 

It was in the midst of these reflections that I 
chanced to feel in the coat pocket where I had 
been carrying the deed turned over to me by 
Daddy Hiram; and for the second time that 
morning I nearly choked. The pocket was empty I 

211 



( 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"What's hit you now, son?" Daddy inquired; 
seeing my jaw drop, I suppose. 

''The last thing there was in the box that could 
fall out and hit me," I gurgled. ''Bullerton has 
stolen my deed to the Cinnabar 1" 

"The mischief he has 1 Plum' sure you hain't 
lost it out b' your pocket?" 

We made sure, without the loss of a moment; 
looking in my loft sleeping-place and in the mine 
buildings. The deed was gone, safely enough, 
and we both agreed that BuUerton had had plenty 
of chances to steal it. Wearing overclothes while 
I was working about the machinery, I had often 
left my coat hanging in the cabin. As a matter 
of fact, I hadn't worn it at all on the previous 
day. 

"Well, Daddy," said I, after the prolonged 
search had proved futile, "where does this leave 
me?" 

Threshing the facts out, we soon found where 
it left me. Grandfather Jasper, as you may re- 
member, had made no mention of the mine, or, 
indeed, of any legacy to me in his will as it had 
been probated; there was no need of it because 
he had already deeded the Cinnabar to me, and 
at the time of his death it was no longer among 
his assets. Moreover, his lawyers had told Bul- 

212 



An Arctic Bath 

lerton (according to Bullerton's story told me in 
the Pullman smoke-room) that there was no 
record of any mining transaction whatever in his 
papers. Therefore, in the absence of the memo- 
randum which my grandfather had given Cousin 
Percy — and which Percy had doubtless carried 
with him to China — ^there was nothing but the 
deed to show for my ownership; absolutely 
nothing. 

At that, the loss of the deed wouldn't have 
been fatal if the document had been properly 
recorded. It hadn't been. Daddy had promptly 
called my attention to this omission when I had 
shown him the contents of the sealed envelope, 
saying, as I distinctly remembered, "You want to 
be gettin' that thing copied into the county books 
down at Copah, Stannic," and pointing out 
shrewdly that the paper lacked the recorder's 
certificate of the fact and time of filing. And 
now, with the unrecorded deed gone, there was 
nothing to prove that I had ever owned the Cin* 
nabar. The loss was total — ^with no insurance. 

Daddy Hiram was shaking his head sorrow 
fully after we had run this last bunch of straw 
through the threshing-machine. 

"Looks like your gran'paw and Charley Bui* 
lerton and the Old Harry himself had bunched 

213 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

their hands and run in a cold deck on you, Stan- 
nie, son. Them Cripple Creek hold-ups c'n walk 
in and tell you to vamoose the ranch 'most any 
time when they get good'and ready, 's the way 
it looks to a man up a tall tree/* he remarked. 

That was what it came to, so far as I could 
see. Of course, there was the prior transaction 
— ^the transfer of the property from the original 
owners to Grandfather Jasper, which must have 
involved the passing of papers. But of this 
earlier transaction there might, or might not, be 
a legal record. Even Daddy Hiram didn't know 
who the original owners were, by name. He 
merely knew that they were Cripple Creek min- 
ing men, styling themselves the Cinnabar Mining 
Company. 

With things looking as blue as the bluest 
whetstone that ever clicked upon scythe, we tried 
to settle upon some line of action. Copah was 
the county seat, and the obvious first step would 
have been for me to go there for a search in the 
county records for evidence of the sale of the 
mine to my grandfather. But the minute I should 
show myself on the railroad, I'd be nabbed for 
the theft of that infernal inspection car. Daddy 
offered to go in my place, but that alterna- 
tive didn't appeal to me at all. I knew perfectly 

214 



An Arctic Bath 

well how helpless he'd be in any such lawyer-like 
search as would have to be made in the county 
recorder's office. 

Being stopped off short in every other direc- 
tion, we finally gravitated over to the shaft-house 
and went to work in an aimless sort of fashion 
gathering up the wreckage of the smashed gear 
train and putting things shipshape again. Along 
in the middle of the forenoon, Barney, the harle- 
quin-faced dog — ^he had also been missing, along 
with Jeanie's and Bullerton's horses — came home 
with his tail between his legs and looking as if 
he had lost his last friend. We took it that he 
had followed his mistress in her early-morning 
flight, and his return alone was proof positive 
that she had gone on one of the trains. I had 
been cherishing a sort of hopeless hope that she 
might have changed her mind at the last minute, 
refusing to go with Bullerton. But now that hope 
was gone glimmering. 

Though we had begun the deaning-up job in 
a listless sort of way, we soon got more or less 
mechanically interested; and after we had eaten 
our noon snack we fired up the boilers again, 
just to be doing something to stave off the 
wretchedness for a few hours longer. 

With steam up, we turned the machinery over 

215 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog^ 

a few times, just to see that everything was in 
working order again, and I threw in the clutch 
of the centrifugals, merely for, the satisfaction of 
hearing the flood rushing through the outlet. 
When the pumps were going at full speed I went 
to look down the shaft. As before, when we 
had run the pumps for a week on end, there 
was a slight disturbance of the water, but noth- 
ing more. My makeshift float-and-puUey gauge 
showed no change in the level. 

Suddenly a freak nodon seized me that Fd 
like to know just what was going on down in 
those black depths into which the suction pipes 
of the big pumps led. 

"Daddy, I'm going to try to find out some- 
thing," I declared and forthwith began to strip 
my clothes off. 

"Oh, say, now, Stannle; I wouldn't do that I'* 
he protested. "You ain't goin' down into that 
plagued hole I Youll ketch your death o' cold 1" 

"I'll chance the cold-catching," I returned. 
"We've seen the water coming out at the other 
end of things, and now, by George, I mean ta 
make sure that it's going in at this end." 

He didn't try very hard to dissuade me, and 
a minute or so later I was crawling down the 
shaft ladder in the habiliments that old Mother 

216 



An Arctic Bath 

Nature gave me. It was my first exploration of 
the shaft, and I was surprised to find it so well 
and tightly timbered; "boxed" is the better word, 
since the timbering was really a substantial 
wooden box built within the square outlinings of 
the pit. Common sense told me that this must 
haxe been done to prevent the caving in of the 
sides; and afterward I remembered wondering, 
at the time, that the shaft should have been sunk 
In caving material when the remainder of the 
bench upon which the buildings stood appeared 
to be little else than solid rock. 

The initial dip into the black water was mag- 
nificently shocking. Mountain water of any sort 
is apt to be pretty cold, and when you strike it 
twelve feet down in a pit it isn't likely to be 
any warmer. But this Cinnabar plunge bath was 
fairly paralyzing; I could have sworn that the 
water was fresh from the bottom of a snow-bank. 
No matter ; I was in for it,, and I stayed in, fol- 
lowing the side ladder down, down, until I was 
buried to the chin and shivering like a man with 
an old-fashioned ague chill. 

By feeling with a free foot I could determine 
that the pump suction pipes went on still farther, 
and then the real adventure began. The ladder 
suddenly gave out, quit, ended. There were no 

217 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

more rounds below the one upon which I was 
standing. That being the case, there was nothing 
for it but a dive, feet foremost, and taking a 
deep breath, I let go of the ladder and began to 
swim downward. It was a good bit like trying 
to cleave a path through liquid ice, and I was 
finally obliged to clutch one of the frigid suction 
pip^s, pulling myself down awkwardly by that. 

If anybody cares to inquire, PU say it was at 
least a hundred feet down to a place where a 
great swirl of water began to twist at my feet 
and legs — and, incidentally, to freeze them solid 
— ^this though I knew it couldn't possibly be more 
than twelve or fourteen feet, since that depth 
would measure the extreme suction lift of the 
pumps. What happened after I felt the first 
tug of the swirling whirlpool was merely the 
recording of a series of vivid impressions — ^vivid, 
but somewhat mixed and mightily confusing. Al- 
most before I realized it I was fighting desperately 
for dear life. One of the big suction pipes had 
taken hold of a foot and leg, like a tentacle of an 
enormous octopus, and I was unable to get loose. 

Heavens I I wouldn't want my worst enemy 
to go through what I did for the next age or so 
— it seemed like ages to me, though, of course, 
it could have been only a few seconds. Wrig- 

218 



An Arctic Bath 

gling and twisting to make the monster let go 
of me, I finally got head downward m the pit, 
and then it appeared to be all over but the shout- 
ing — ^with no chance to shout. 

Clawing and struggling, I seemed to feel the 
wooden confines of my prison all around me, top, 
bottom and sides. The water in this lower depth 
was in a perfect turmoil. Once I reached out 
an arm and had it shoved back as by an irresisti- 
ble inrushing torrent. Again, I had the recurring 
impression that I was completely enclosed in a 
box with a bottom and with the lid shut down, 
and nothing but the savage pain in the suction- 
damped foot and leg kept me alive and made me 
go on fighting. 

After all, it was Daddy Hiram who saved my 
life. Suddenly the thunder of the pumps, magni- 
fied a thousand-fold for me in that icy pit of 
death, stopped short and the mechanical squid 
let go of my leg. With lungs bursting I shot to 
the surface and weakly clutched the ladder. 
Framed in the square of daylight a dozen feet 
overhead I could see Daddy hanging over the 
mouth of the pit; saw him and heard his shouted 
words: "Freeze to the ladder, boy — I'm a-comin' 
down after ye I" 

I was freezing all right, in both senses of the 
219 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

word, but I found breath to warn him back, and 
presently managed to crawl up the ladder and 
roll out upon the shaft-house floor. Instantly 
the old man pounced upon me, buffeting, slapping 
and rubbing, mauling me worse than any Turkish- 
bath pirate would have dared to. It was keen 
torture, but it turned the trick, and by the time 
I was able to breathe comfortably again, I had 
acquired a beautiful spanked blush where I had 
been blue — all but the great bruise, ring-shaped, 
where the suction pipe had bit me. 

Of course. Daddy was chock full of sym- 
pathy and concern, mixed up with a good bit of 
curiosity. 

"What In the name o' Jazariah ever got holt 
o' ye, down yonder, Stannie, son?" he demanded. 
"I knowed well enough ye was a-fighting some- 
thin' almighty hard; the water was all r'iled up 
and b'ilin'." 

"One of the suction pipes,'' I explained, be- 
ginning to crawl back into my clothes. "I was 
foolish enough to get under it and it grabbed 
and held me. If you hadn't stopped the pumps 
I'd have been a gone goose. I was just about 
all in, as it was." 

"Well, you found out the pumps are suddn' 
all right, anyhow," he remarked. 

220 



An Arctic Bath 

*'They sure are; you'd think so if you'd been 
where I was." Then I began to recall some of 
those mixed and mingled impressions I had 
gathered. "What kind of soil is there under this 
floor, Daddy?" I asked. 

"Huhl" he snorted; "what soil there is on 
this here ledge you could mighty near put in your 
eye, I reckon. 'Tain't nothin' but rock, and 
blame' hard rock, at that." 

"That was my notion. But if the shaft is in 
rock, why did they box it so strongly with tim- 
ber? Surely there wouldn't be any danger of a 
cave in solid stone." 

"Well, now, I'm dinged 1" he returned mus- 
ingly. "Long as I've been monkeyin' 'round 
mines and such, it never once come to me to won- 
der about that I Reckon the timberin' goes all 
the way down?" 

"Your guess is as good as mine," I told him. 
"It certainly goes as far as I've been, and that, 
I should say, if I didn't know better, is about a 
mile and a half." 

Speaking of the wooden bulkheading renewed 
that other impression, or rather two of them; 
one of having the feeling that I was shut in a 
tight box at the moment of the fiercest struggling, 
and the other of fancjring that I had felt a swirl- 

221 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

ing inrush of the liquid ice as well as the suddng 
outrush. But the recollection was so confused 
that I attached no importance to it. When a 
man is fighting for his life ten or twelve feet 
under water, pipe-dreams are nothing to the 
things he can imagine. 

It was while we were sitting at the shaft-house 
door, hammering away at the old puzzle of why 
the water level never varied so much as a frac- 
tion of an inch in the shaft, in wet seasons or 
dry — as Daddy testified it never did — and why 
the subtraction of two six-inch streams at a ve- 
locity sufficient to stir up a veritable whirlpool 
at the suction intakes should make no impression 
upon it, that I began to notice the queer actions 
of the pie-faced collie, Barney. 

Never a resdess dog, unless somebody was get- 
ting ready to go somewhere and he wanted to go 
along, he seemed now to have developed an in- 
curable case of the dog-fidgets. First he would 
come and stick his cold nose into my hand; then 
he'd trot over to the cabin and back, and maybe 
loaf a little way down the road toward the bench 
level. Coming around to the shaft-house again, 
he'd sit beside Daddy Hiram, yawning and pant- 
ing as if he were waiting impatiently for us to 
stop talldng and pay some attention to him. 

222 



An Arctic Bath 

"Poor old Barney's homesick, and I don't 
blame him," I said. "I'm feeling a good bit that 
way, myself, Daddy." Then to the dog: "Come 
here, old boy I" 

The collie came to lick my hand, and while I 
was petting him I found a pretty bad gash just 
behind one of his ears. 

"See here, Daddy," I broke out; "the dog's 
hurt I" 

We examined the wound and decided at once 
that it was not a bite. It was a bruised cut, look- 
ing as if it had been made by some blunt instru- 
ment or weapon. I had a hot-flash vision of 
Bullerton kicking the dog with his iron-shod heel 
in an attempt to drive him back home, and it was 
so real that I couldn't shake it off. But if that 
was what had happened, then truly Jeanie Twom- 
bly must have changed her entire nature. I 
could easily fancy the girl I knew, or thought 
I had known, flying like a blue-eyed little fury at 
the man, lover, or promised husband, or an]^hing 
else, who would dare to kick her dog. 

When it began to grow dusk in the shaft-house 
we shut up shop and went over to the cabin to 
cook our supper. The dog went along, but evi- 
dently with reluctance. While we were crossing 
the dump head he turned back and once more 

223 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

started off down the road toward the bench be- 
low, but when he found that we were not follow- 
ing him he came to heel again. Still, neither of 
us had dog sense enough to guess what was the 
matter with him. 

Later, after we had finished our supper, I took 
some of the scraps to the door to feed him, but 
he refused to eat. If he had moped or acted 
sick I shouldn't have wondered at his apparent 
lack of appetite, but he didn't behave like a sick 
dog; on the contrary, his restlessness of the after- 
noon was now breaking out in little frenzy fits of 
impatience that fairly made him dance when 
either of us moved. 

Daddy Hiram and I, being merely stupid hu- 
mans, were commenting upon his queer actions, 
and laying them to Jeanie's absence, when again 
the dog started off down the road, looking back 
and barking when he found that we were still 
sitting on the doorstep. At that, since even 
solid ivory can be penetrated if the would-be 
driller of it stays on the job long enough, we 
finally caught on. 

"Say, Stannic 1 — ^he's a-tryin* to tell us to come 
onl" Daddy exclaimed, starting to his feet. 
**Methuselah-to-gracious 1 did it have to take us 

224 



An Arctic Bath 

a hull endurin' afternoon to figger out that mudi 
dog-talk?" 

"It looks that way," I admitted; but now, 
having "figgered" it out, we made no delay. 
Daddy got his rifle and cartridge-belt, and told 
me to take Jeahie's pistol for myself — ^which I 
did. And thus equipped we took the trail, In- 
dian-filing down the mountain road in the dark- 
ness. Daddy Hiram, with his giin in the crook 
of his left arm, setting the pace, and the collie 
running on ahead to point the way. 



225 



XIII 

Around Robin Hood's Bam 

MOST naturally, we expected that the trail 
we were following would lead us to Atro* 
pia; or that the first lap of it would, anyway. 
But it did nothing of the kind. After we had 
covered possibly two of the four miles between 
the Cinnabar and the railroad station, the dog 
branched off to the left along the mountain on a 
road that was little better than a bridle path 
through the forest, and which, for the time, kept 
its level on the slope, neither ascending nor de- 
scending. 

"How about it. Daddy?" I asked. "Does this 
trail take us to the station by another route?'* 

"No," he answered; "we'll be goin' away from 
'Tropia in a little bit." 

"But that doesn't square with what we've been 
arg-jiiig," I objected. Then I thought of some- 
thing else. "We have no direct proof that 
Barney went with Jeanie and BuUerton this 
morning; we're merely taking that for granted." 

226 



Around Robin Hood's Barn 

"It's a safe bet," said the old man. "Barney 
didn't go off by himself — never docs." 

"Where does this trail go?" 

"Give it time enough, it comes out at the old 
Haversack, on Greaser Mountain." 

"Ends there, you mean?" 

"You said it; far as I know, it ends there." 

"What is the Haversack?" 

"It ain't nothin', now. Used to be a gold 
prospect eight 'r ten year ago. Never got far 
enough along to be a mine, they tell me." 

It was certainly singular that the dog should 
be leading us to an abandoned mining project, but 
Barney seemed to know perfectly well where he 
was going. He was trotting along with his head 
up and was quite evidently not following by scent. 
The old trail was as crooked as a ram's horn, 
heading the spurs and running back into the side 
gulches, and after a time it began to climb a 
little. 

In one of the gulch headings there was a 
patch of wash sand in what was, in wet weather, 
a runway for water, but which was now only a 
streamless ravine with a few damp spots in it. 
Here Daddy called a halt, and while the dog 
sat down and yawned at us and otherwise mani- 
fested his impatience at the delay, the old man 

227 



The Girl a Horse and a Dojg 

gathered a few pine-cones and twigs, struck a 
match and lighted a fire, cautioning me mean- 
while not to walk on the damp sand patch. 

I hadn't the slightest idea of what he was 
driving at, and he didn't explain; but after the 
fire had blazed up enough to light the surround- 
ings a bit, he went down upon his hands and 
knees and began to give an imitation of a man 
hunting for a dropped piece of money. 

"Can't I. help?" I asked, getting down beside 
him. "Give it a name so that I may know what 
I'm looking for." 

"Huh 1", he grunted; "it's plain enough for 
even a tenderfoot like you to read, I sh'd say." 
Then, straightening up: "Just the same. Stan- 
nic, it's sort o' queer. Jeanie's been here, and 
the dog's been back and across a couple o' times, 
as you can see. But BuUerton hasn't crossed 
here. There's only the one set o' tracks." 

I looked again. The hoof prints were per- 
fectly plain in the moist sand, and, as Daddy 
had said, there was only one set of them, and 
the horse had been going the same way we were 
going. 

"Are you sure it was Jeanie's horse ?'* I asked. 

"Reckon I ort to be; I shod him." 

Beyond this, we made a wider search, with a 

228 



Around Robin Hood's Bant 

dead pine branch for a torch, but found no other 
tracks; in fact, the gulch was gullied so deeply 
above and below that there was no other prac- 
ticable crossing-place for a hor^. If Jeanie had 
headed for the gulch — ^and the hoof prints in the 
sand, and Daddy's identification of them seemed 
to prove this past any question of doubt — she had 
headed it alone. But why had she been riding 
alone into the depths of this uninhabited moun-^ 
tain wilderness? 

"I don't know, Stannie ; no more 'n a whiskered 
billy-goat," was Daddy's answer to the query; 
and this was the first dip into a mystery which 
rapidly thickened after "we extinguished the fire 
and went on, still following the dog's lead. 

Calm and self-contained as he usually was, I 
could see, or rather feel, that Daddy Hiram was 
growing Increasingly nervous as we pushed on. 
I didn't blame him; so far from it, I was sharing 
the nervousness in full measure. What were we 
going to find at the end of the trail? Pictures 
of all the things that might have happened to a 
lone girl on a lonely road like this kept conjuring 
themselves up in my mind, as I'm sure they did 
in Daddy's; and they were not made any less 
ominous by the fact that we were now entirely 
in the dark as to what her motive could have 

229 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

been for leaWng the main road from the Cinna- 
bar to Atropia. 

It must have been at least two miles beyond 
the damp sand patch that the dim trail we had 
been following ended abruptly at the abandoned 
mining claim spoke^ of by Daddy Hiram — ^the 
Haversack. The starlight was bright enough to 
show us what there was to be seen, which wasn't 
much; a couple of tumble-down shacks, a shed 
that had probably been the prospectors' blade- 
smith shop, and a tunnel mouth that had once 
been securely boarded up, but from which the 
bulkheading was now partly fallen away. 

Once more Daddy hunted for a dead pine 
branch and lighted a torch. The shacks were 
empty, of course, and while we did not go into 
the tunnel, we could see, through the broken 
bulkheading, that it was half filled with caved-in 
earth and broken stone. Underfoot there was 
only the coarse gravel of the tunnel spoil, and a 
full troop of cavalry might have passed over it 
without leaving any visible trail. Worse than 
all, Barney, the pie-faced collie, appeared now 
to be completely at fault. He was running 
around in circles with his nose to the ground; a 
pretty plain indication that he had lost the trail. 

"It sure does beat a hog a-flyin\" Daddy mut- 

230 



Around Robin Hood's Barn 

tered, holding the torch high overhead for an 
eye-sweep of the larger surroundings. "What 
in the jciame o' Jasher JCanie was doin' up here 
is a-past me. And the dog's lost out, too." 

**You think there is no doubt that Jeanie did 
come here," I put in, remembering that we had 
had nothing to go on since finding the hoof prints 
in the sand. '^Maybe she left the trail at som« 
point lower down the mountain." 

Daddy's reply to this was a nod at the dog. 

"Barney was with her; you can bet on that. 
And he's tryin' to trail her or the li'l' hawss, 
right now. But that don't get us nowhere. Hain't 
you got any guess comin', a-tall, Stannie, son?" 

"If I had I shouldn't be hiding it." 

He wagged his head. 

"I'll be bat-clawed and owl-hooted if I know 
what-all to do next," he puzzled. 

He hadn't any the best of me there, and it was 
precisely at this point that the split-faced dog 
took it into his head to add another snarl to the 
knotted tangle. After galloping around all over 
the place half a dozen times, sniffing at every- 
thing in sight, he had finally come to a stand 
with his nose at a crack in the tunnel boarding. 
The next instant he had leaped through the hole 
where the planks had fallen away, and presently 

231 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

we heard him whining and scratching behind the 
bulkhead. 

I don't know about Daddy Hiram's heart, but 
I do know that mine was doing flip-flaps and back 
somersaults when we ran up to see what the dog 
had found in the tunnel. For a half-second after 
Daddy thrust his torch through the hole I was 
afraid to look — scared stiff at the thought of 
what I might see. When I did look, I saw the 
dog digging frantically at the heap of caved-in 
earthy and, of course to my disordered imagina- 
tion, the hole in which he was burrowing trans- 
formed itself at once into a newly made grave. 

"Good God!" I gasped; and then: "Look, 
Daddy 1 — right under your torch!" 

He looked and staggered back, and would 
have dropped the blazing pine branch if I hadn't 
caught it from his hand. For what he saw, and 
what I had seen, was the unmistakable print, in 
the soft earth just inside of the planking, of one 
of Jeanie's brown-leather riding-boots. 

In another half-second we were both in the 
tunnel and Daddy was heaving the dog aside 
from the hole he was pawing out in the earth 
fall. Snatching up a broken-handled shovel that 
the former tunnel drivers had thrown away, the 
old man flung himself madly upon the dirt pile> 

232 



Around Robin Hood's Barn 

and since there was room for only one to work 
at a time, I stood at his elbow and held the torch. 
I don't know what he expected to find hidden 
under the slide, but I do know what I was afraid 
he was going to find. 

After all, it was only a flash in the pan, so far 
as any dreadful discovery was concerned. Inside 
of five minutes. Daddy, working like a man de- 
mented, had dug the entire cave-in away, and 
there was nothing to show for the frantic shovel- 
ing — ^less than nothing. Again, I don't know 
how Daddy felt, but I'm sure I was able to breathe 
better, the improvement dating from the moment 
when it became apparent that the earth heap had 
grown too small under the shovel stabs to pos- 
sibly conceal a human body. Why either of us 
should have jumped to the conclusion that Jeanie 
had been murdered and her body hidden in the 
old tunnel is one of those things that can't be 
accounted for in any reasonable way; they just 
grab you unawares, and from being a mere hor- 
rible suspicion leap at once Into the field of con- 
viction. 

After we had cooled down a bit and were a 
trifle more "at" ourselves. Daddy took the torch 
again and knelt to examine the little boot print 
just inside of the entrance. After a close scrutiny 

233 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

of it and its immediate surroundings, I heard blrtL 
fetch a deep sigh that was almost a sob. 

"We might 'a' saved ourselves a whole lot o' 
heart-thumpin's if we hadn't been so tarnajtion 
rattled, Stannie — ^had took a minute *r two to 
look 'round,'' he said in a half whisper. "She 
did come in here, sure enough; but, thank the 
good Lord, she went out ag'in 1" 

"Show me," I demanded; and he did. A little 
to one side, at a place where the step over the 
broken planking would be the easiest, there was. 
another boot print, and it was pointing in the 
opposite direction. 

"She came in, and she went out," he repeated; 
"and what in the name of Aminadab she did it 
for is somethin' that'll keep me guessin' till the 
cows come home. And I reckon you ain't na 
better off than I be, are you, Stannie?" 

"Not a whit," I answered. "It merely makes, 
the mystery that much more befuddled. I haven't 
yet drummed up any sensible reason why she 
should be here at all." 

"Nor I," he declared, and we clambered out 
of the tunnel. "But she had a reason o' some 
sort; you can bet on that." The collie had fol- 
lowed us over the broken bulkhead, and Daddy^ 
Hiram scowled down at him. "If that dog could 

234 



Around Robin Hood's Barii 

only be like old Gran'paw Balaam's donkey for 
a minute 'r so," he mused. "He saw her go in 
there and saw her come out; likewise and the 
same, he must Ve seen what she did after she 
come out. Looks as if he wanted to talk and 
tell us, don't he ?'* 

Barney was certainly giving a good imitation 
of that, or some other anxiety. He was frisking 
about and barking, leaping up now and then to 
snap at an imaginary fly in the air. Daddy 
caught him by his lower jaw and held him im- 
movable. "Go find her, Barney I" he com- 
manded; "good dog — go find her!" 

The instant he was released the collie acted 
as if he understood perfectly what was wanted 
of him. Springing aside, he began to circle again, 
nose to the ground, and within half a minute he 
was off, this time heading into a dim trail that 
led away diagonally down the mountain, not in 
the direction of Atropia, but rather on the other 
leg of a triangle, one side of which might be the 
desert edge, one the trail we had followed from 
the Atropia road, and the third the route we 
were now taking to the eastward. 

"Have you any Idea where we're bound for 
now. Daddy?" I asked, after a mile or more of 
the rough trail had been worked to the rear. 
235 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Not so's to hurt any," he replied. "If she 
holds as she's p'inted" — ^meaning the trail, I took 
it — "we'll come out on the desert somewheres 
east o' 'Tropia. But what-all Jeanie was ridin' 
this here buck trail for is what's a-beatin' me. 
Ne' mind; this world and another, and then 
comes the fireworks. We'll know, some day, I 
reckon." 

His prediction, that we'd finally come out on 
the desert edge, came true, but it must have been 
within an hour or so of midnight when we left 
the mountain forests behind and got into the 
region of barren foothills. Here the collie 
seemed much surer of his ground, and we had 
our work cut out for us in the effort to keep up 
with him. 

"How about it now?" I asked Daddy, as we 
trotted along behind the dog. "Are we still east 
of Atropia ?'* 

"We're sure to be that," he affirmed; "but I 
reckon there's a heap shorter way than the one 
we come. We'd ort to be hittin' the railroad 
somewheres along here." 

That prediction, too, was fulfilled, and within 
the next half-nule. In the starlight I made out 
the line of telegraph poles as we ran, and pretty 
soon our dog leader swung off to the right and 

236 



Around Robin Hood's Bam 

we found ourselves trotting on a line parallel 
to the railroad track and only a little way 
from it. 

While we were chasing along at Barney's heels 
we heard the whoop of a locomotive whistle, and 
very soon thereafter saw the headlight of a 
train away out in the desert still farther to the 
eastward. After a few minutes we saw that the 
approaching train was stopping, or had stopped : 
a tiny dot of yellow light appeared beside it, and 
this, alone, seemed to be coming on toward us. 

"I reckon that tells us where we're at," said 
Daddy Hi^am; ^'that speck o' light's a brakeman 
comin' ahead to set a switch." 

**A side-track?" I queried. "I don't see any 
station." 

"There ain't any. Accordin' to the way we've 
come, that ort to be Greaser Sidin', five mile 'r 
so east o' 'Tropia; the place where them two 
early-m-the-mornin' trains meet and pass." 

Again the old man's guess was confirmed. Al- 
most at once the headlighted train began to move 
again, and we were near enough now to see its 
long length curving in on the siding. It was a 
freight, and the side-track was evidently its pass- 
ing point with some train coming from the west- 
ward. 

237 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Fol* the last few minutes the dog had been 
slowing .upi and he was now zigzagging back and 
forth and quartering the ground as if in search 
of a trail that he had over-run. While we were 
lyaiting for him to find whatever it was he was 
hunting for, there was another whistle shriek and 
the eastbound train, a passenger, came in sight. 
It was running fast and it made no stop for the 
blind siding, thundering past the waiting freight 
with a clamor that set the echoes crashing among 
the bare hills. While its tail-lights were still 
visible as two red dots withdrawing into the dis- 
tance, the long freight train pulled out and went 
on its way, and again we had the silent midnight 
inunensities to ourselves. 

"You say that this is where those two morning 
trains meet: are you assuming that Jeanie came 
all this distance out of her way to take one of 
them, when Atropia isn't half as far from the 
mine?" I queried. 

Daddy Hiram pointed to the dog. Barney was 
still coursing back and forth, making darting side- 
trips into the hills, and letting out little yelps now 
and then as if he were on the warm trail of a 
rabbit. 

"I reckon the collie knows what he*s a-doin\ 
Jeanic's been here, 'r he wouldn't be here now. 

238 



Around Robin Hood's Barn 

And it's the pinto he's trailin, though what in 
the world that liT hawss 'd be doin' strayin' all 
over creation this-away is more 'n I could ever 
teU." 

Pretty soon the dog disappeared; and then we 
heard him barking at a little distance to the left 
of the parallel tracks. When we went to see 
what he had found, the mystery suddenly took 
another tack and veered off into a new channel. 
In a small grassy hollow between two of the hills 
we came upon the dog and the calico pony. The 
bridle reins had slipped over the bronco's head, 
and Barney had them between his teeth and was 
backing and tugging and apparently trying to pull 
the pony along. 

"WeU, rU be ding-jiggered 1" said Daddy; 
but I couldn't unload quite that easily. For me 
the riderless pony meant an accident of some 
sort. 

^^HeavensI" I gasped; ^'do you suppose she's 
been thrown, and — and maybe crippled?" 

"Who— Jcanie? Why, bless your heart. Stan- 
nic, son, she can ride 'em wild! And that calico 
wouldn't buck a baby off. No, boy; don't you 
go to frettin' about nothin' like that. When she 
got out o' that saddle, it was 'cause she was good 
and ready and wanted to." 

239 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"But why should she want to, in a place like 
this?" 

That brought on more talk— or more guesses 
— and we sat down on the warm ground to take 
another shy at the growing puzzle. We worked 
out part of it after a while. Jeanie had ridden 
to the 'blind' siding by way of the abandoned 
mining claim; so much we were justified in as- 
suming from her foot prints which we had found 
in the old prospect tunnel, and from the facts 
that her horse was here, and that Barney had 
led us to him. 

But when we got over into the field of motives 
we were lost again. At the end of the ends it 
was Daddy Hiram who offered the most plausi- 
ble explanation, and I had to accept it because 
I couldn't find a better. For some reason best 
known to herself, Jeanie had not wished to be 
seen taking the train at Atropia in company 
with Bullerton — ^this was Daddy's shot at it. So 
she had taken the roundabout ride across the 
mountain-side to this lonely side-track, where she 
knew the train would stop, and had boarded it 
here, turning her pony loose on the supposition 
that it would find its way home. 

As I say, I accepted this explanation because 
I hadn't any better one to offer ; but it did seem 

240 



Around Robin Hood's Bam 

that it was stretching the credulities pretty well 
up to the breaking point. If she cared enough 
for Bullerton to run aw^y with him, it was next 
door to an absurdity to suppose that she'd be 
ashamed to be seen with him. Again, there was 
the abandonment of the pony. I knew how well 
she loved the little piebald beast, and it was hard 
to believe that anything short of the crudest neces- 
sity would have made her leave it in this way, sad- 
dled and bridled, and a good ten miles from 
its. stable. 

"Maybe you are right," I conceded reluctantly. 
"But if she took one of the trains here, which 
one was it; the east or the westbound? If this 
is the meeting point, they'd both be here at the 
same time." 

"It 'd have to be the eastbound — ^the one goin* 
towards Copah," Daddy made answer. "That 
one's the local, and it takes the sidin'. T'other 
one is the Nevada Special, and it don't make any 
stop; wouldn't stop at 'Tropia if it wasn't for 
the water tank." 

Having thus covered all the probabilities — 
without being greatly the wiser — ^we went down 
into the little swale and relieved the dog of his 
job of pony-towing. Upon examining the bridle 
we found it chewed and bitten into shapelessness, 

241 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

and another small explanation stuck up its heid 
and asked to be considered. 

"When she got oflF to take the train, she tried 
to make Barney lead the pony home/* I suggested* 
"Would she be likely to do that?* 

Daddy Hiram slapped his leg. 

"You Vc hit it exactly, son ! Don't know why 
I didn't think o' that at first. It's an old tridc 
that she taught the collie wheii^he was a liT pup. 
And Barney, he tried, and when he couldn't make 
the pinto leave off grazin', he come for us. Sure I 
— that was the way of it." 

As he spoke, he struck a match and hauled put 
his old-fashioned silver watch, which was big 
enough and heavy enough to be used for a slung- 
shot. 

"We've done bu'sted the night mighty near in 
two in the middle, Stannie. What say if we go 
back to the edge o' the timber and camp down? 
I reckon there ain't nothin' to be gained by hittin* 
the trail afore we've had a liT rest-up spell, is 
there?" 

I had no objection to offer, you may be sure; 
and after we had found a camping spot, and had 
picketed the pony with the light rope that Jeanie 
always carried tied to the cantle of her saddle, 
we made a good fire to serve in lieu of the blankets 

242 



Around Robin Hood's Bam 

that we didn't have and stretched ourselves out 
to sleep the sleep of the fagged and leg-weary. 
And though I was heart-sore and disappointed 
enough to curdle a glass of milk by merely look- 
ing at it, I must confess that I didn't stay awake 
to think about it. 

The next thing I knew — and it seemed to be 
just about a minute after I had closed my eyes — 
Daddy was shaking me awake. 

"Time to be mog^n' along, If we aim to get 
home for breakfast, sonny," he announced; and 
when I asked him what time it was, he said it was 
nearly three o'clock. With no preparations to 
make other than to extinguish our fire, we were 
soon heading back for the Cinnabar bench, tak- 
ing a short cut which led us along the mountain 
slope at some considerable distance above the 
desert level, and, I judged, quite as much below 
the long detour around by way of the Haversadc. 
And as we tramped along, each of us was trying 
earnestly to persuade the odier to ride the pony; 
with the net result that neither of us did it. 

Eight miles or so of the ten-mile tramp in those 
early morning hours were passed without incident. 
How Daddy found his way through the track- 
less forest in the dark, I don't know; but he did 
it unerringly, and at the break of day we were 
243 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

coming into the Cinnabar-Atropia road at pre- 
cisely the point at ^hich we had left it the 
evening before. 

Here Daddy Hiram flagged the procession 
down, and asked me to keep the pony out of the 
way while he did a bit of sleuth work. After he 
had gone over the ground at the intersection of 
the old trail and the road half a dozen times 
with his body bent and his eyes on the roadway, 
he told me what he was trying to find out — and 
what he had found out 

"They rid together this far — ^Jeanie and that 
skunk/' he said, "and when they got here, Jeanie 
branched off on the old trail and Bullerton went 
on down towards *Tropia." 

"How do you know?" I demanded. 

'^It's as plain as the nose on your face. There's 
the two sets o' hawss-tracks a-comin' down the 
road, and part o' the time one of 'em's stepping 
on the other, and part of the time t' other's step- 
pin' on the one. Couldn't be that-away less'n 
they was comin' along togther; first one ahead, 
and then t'other. What's a-puzzlin' me is that 
there's another set o' tracks goin' up the hill. 
And they look right fresh." 

With a chance for breakfast now no more thaii 
a mile or a mile and a half ahead, I thought 

244 



Around Robin Hood's Bam 

we mjght ignore these extraneous trades which 
pointed in the opposite direction, so we went on. 
As we were passing the place where I had climbed 
out of the deep gulch in the dusk of a memorable 
evening to be met by the girl, a horse and a dog, 
Daddy stopped again and pointed down into the 
depths of the great canyon-like ravine. 

"What-all might them fellers be down yon- 
der?" he queried; "hoboes?" 

What he saw, and what I saw after he had 
called my attention, was a camp-fire, with ten or 
a dozen men around it, some sprawling on the 
ground, others busying themselves about the fire 
as if they were cooking breakfast. 

"Weary Willies, I should say; yes," I answered; 
"though what they are doing so far away from 
a railroad, I can't imagine. Here's hoping they 
don't come up to the Ctonabar and strike us for 
a hand-out: there are too many of 'em." 

''Purn 1" said Daddy, using his strongest ex- 
pletive; "these here woods is gettin' to be too 
blame* full o' queer things I Let's mog along." 

The sun was just beginning to gild the upper 
heights of Old Cinnabar when we trailed over 
the broad plateau bench below the mine and 
headed for the slope that led up to the dump 
head. As we topped this last small hill there was 
245 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

an amazing surprise awaiting us — a surprise and 
a shock. On the level spot which served as a 
dooryard for the Twombly cabin stood a horsCy 
saddled and bridledi its drooped, ears and hang- 
ing head showing that it had been ridden far 
and hard. And on the cabin door-step, sitting at 
ease and calmly chewing a half-burned cigar, was 
— Bullcrton 1 



246 



I 



sav 

A Battle and a Siege 

T was Daddy Hiram who made the first break. 
"Charley Bullerton, where's my daugh* 
ter?" he rapped out, hurling the question at the 
loafer on our doorstep in a sort of deadly rage 
that you wouldn't have thought possible in so 
mild-mannered a man. 

"You needn't worry about her," was the cool 
response. "Didn't you get the note she left for 
you, saying that you needn't?" Then, as if he 
had just seen and recognized me: "Hello, 
Broughton; we've missed a day, but I'll gjvc you 
the benefit of it and not dock you. Are you sell- 
ing the old water-logged Cinnabar for twenty 
thousand dollars this fine morning? It'll proba- 
bly save you more or less trouble if you are." 

He didn't get the kind of answer he wanted; 
or any kind relating to the mine. Unbuckling 
Jeanie's gun and handing it to Daddy Hiram, 
I walked across to where he was sitting, keeping 
a wary eye on the hand which would have to be 
247 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the one to go after the weapon he had once 
showed me hanging under his left arm-pit. 

"Mr. Twombly has just asked you where his 
daughter is, and you haven't told him/' I grit- 
ted. "You've got about ten seconds in which to 
tell him all you know, and after you've done it, 
I'm going to trim youl" 

He had scrambled to his feet when he saw 
me coming, and, just as I expected, that watched 
right hand flicked suddenly under his coat. At 
that I rushed him and we mixed it promptly. I 
got hold of the gun hand before it got to the 
pistol butt, and at the clinch we were all over the 
place, each grappling for the underhold, and 
neither of us paying much attention to the rules, 
Marquis of Queensberry or other. 

As it happened, I had dabbled a good bit in 
sports in my university days, and had once gone 
to the mat with a rather famous Japanese 
wrestler who, in return for the way in which I 
had let him wallop me around for the edification 
of a gymful of undergraduates, had taught me 
a few of the little brown men's tricks for getting 
away with an adversary too big to be handled 
otherwise. Bullerton was a heavy-weight; he had 
probably fifteen pounds the advantage of me in 
that direction; but after I had got the thumb of 

248 



A Battle and a Siege 

my free hand upon a certain spot in his neck, it 
was all over but the funeral. 

Jehu I how he swore when I crumpled him, 
and took his gun away from him, and slammed 
him down on a bed of broken stone and stuck 
a knee into his breathing machinery. But he 
couldn't do anything; the thumb-jab had fixed 
him. His head was skewed over on one side 
and he couldn't straighten it. I groped around 
until I found that other paralyzing nerve ganglia 
— the one at the joint of the third vertebra. 

"Now, then," I barked; "if you don't want 
to be crippled for life — ^where's that girl?'* 

At the touch on the fresh tender spot he yelled 
like a hurt baby, protesting over and over again 
that he didn't know. 

"Listen to what he says, Daddy 1" I said to 
the old man who stood looking on with the face 
of a wooden image. Then to. BuUerton, who was 
now merely a wad of flesh gone flaccid under the 
torturing touch: "Tell what you know, and all 
you know; and. tell it quick and straight!" and 
I gave him one more little prod on the agony 
nerve. 

With a preliminary shriek he let it out by lit- 
tles, gasping between the words and phrases like 
a man in the last stages of lockjaw. 

249 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"Wc were going to Angels — ^to get married/* 
he panted. "Ah— oh — ^I was to meet her at 
Atropia — atfie — she was afraid to ride all the 
way with me — afraid — the old man — would 
come gunning I Oh, for God^s sake, Broughton, 
take your thumb out of my back I — ^you're killing 
me by inches 1'* 

"You need a little killing worse than anybody 
I know," I told him. "Go on; you were to over- 
take her at Atropia : what then ?** 

"I didn't see her again I" he howled. "I don't 
know where she went!" 

I didn't believe much of what he was saying, 
and I think Daddy Hiram didn't, though we had 
proved it true up to the point where they, had 
separated on the Atropia road. I would have 
gone on, making him talk some more, but the 
look that was creeping into the old man's eyes 
made me let up. As I read the look it meant 
that Daddy couldn't stand it to see the third- 
degree stunt carried to its finish, so I got up and 
pulled Bullerton to his feet. He was pretty 
badly wrecked, as I meant him to be ; still couldn't 
straighten his neck, and stood as if one leg were 
about half paralyzed, as perhaps it was. 

"This outfit is my property, and you've out- 

250 



A Battle and a Siege 

stayed your welcome I" I snapped at him. ''Climb 
your horse and get off the map!" 

He limped over to his horse and gathered the 
reins and tried to put a foot into the stirrup. 
When I saw that he couldn't do even that much, 
I grabbed him and heaved him into the saddle; 
did this, and gave the horse a slap to set him 
going. I guess I shall always be able to recall 
the picture of that brown-bearded pirate riding 
across the Cinnabar dump head in the early morn- 
ing sunshine, screwing his body ,in the saddle — 
because he couldn't turn the stiff-necked head by 
itself — ^to yell back at me with sizzling curses, 
"Fll get you I — I'll get you, yetl Damn your 
eyes— do you think you can make a hobbling 
cripple of me and get away with it? I'll — " 
and then breaking it off short and kicking the 
ribs of his nag frantically for more speed when 
I made as if I were going to run after him. 

Throughout this bit of belligerent by-play, 
which hadn't used up more than a few minutes, all 
told. Daddy Hiram had stood aside, as I have 
said, taking the part of the interested spectator. 
But now he was chuckling joyously. 

"You're some man, Stannic I" he crowed; "I'll 
be jash-jingled if you ain't I Did me more good 
to see you make that gosh-dummed magpie- eat 

251 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

(firt than anything that's happened to me in a 
month o' Sundays — ^it did, for a fact I I wisht 
you'd gave him another dig 'r two for me." 

'1 should have, if I hadn't thought it was 
going to make you keel over," I retorted. "He 
had it coming to him." 

"Me keel over?" said the old Spartan. "If I 
looked that-away it was only because I was 
afeard you might be goin' to let him off too 
easy." 

I laughed the kind of laug^ that has no fun 
mit 

"We're both forgetting that he may be Jeanie's 
husband," I stuck m. 

"That's so," he said, frowning morosely at 
Bullerton's wry-necked figure which was just 
passing out of sight among the trees on the bench 
below. "I'm a-mistrustin' he lied, more 'r less, 
Stannie. His sayin' that Jeanie was afeard I'd 
foller 'em up with a gun • . . she knows the old 
daddy a heap better 'n that. Maybe she told 
him she was afeard. Ne' mind; I reckon we'd 
better rustle 'round and hunt us up somethin' to 
eat, so's to have it over with. You can bet all 
your old clothes, son, that we hain't seen the last 
o' Charley Bullerton, not by a long chalk. You 

252 



A Battle and a Siege 

ricollect I told you once he'd got a man, down in 
one o' the camps on the Saguache ? Well, it was 
for a heap less than what you done to him a few 
minutes ago. But let's go eat." 

*'I was hungry an hour or so ago, Daddy, 
but what that bird said . . • about their going 
/ off to get married ... we know that they did 
go off together: Fm not so hungry as I was." 

He made a gesture like that of a dog passing 
its paw over its eyes. 

"That's a-grindin' me some, too," he admitted. 
"But we got a job ahead of us and I reckon we'd 
better sort o' hustle and get ready for itJ If 
you'll go in and make up a cookin' fife, I'll take 
care o* the pinto." 

I passed through the cabin to the out-kitchen 
and while I was kindling a fire in the stove I 
saw Daddy with an armful of hay and a peck 
measure of oats, tolling the little horse down the 
path back to the cabin to disappear with it in 
the direction of the gulch where the abandoned 
"Little Jeanie" daim lay. I had the coffee made 
and the bacon fried by the time he got back, 
and after we had eaten he blossomed out in 
an entirely new role — that of commander-in- 
chief. 

"This is movin' day. Stannic," he announced 

253 



/ 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

briefly. '*If you'll dig up all the chuck and 
canned stuff you can find and tote it over to the 
shaft-house, I'll fetch the blankets and the cookin* 
tins." 

I obeyed blindly, and entirely without prejudice 
to a lively curiosity as to what this new move 
might mean. While I was emptying the kitchen 
and pantry the old man unearthed another rifle 
from the closet under the loft ladder, and with 
it a box of anununition; and I observed that this 
second gun, like the one he. had carried on our 
pilgrimage of the night, looked as if it had been 
freshly oiled and rubbed up every day since it had 
left the factory. 

"You'll have a lot of talking to do presently," 
I warned him. "You seem to forget that you 
haven't yet told me what's biting you." 

"Maybe there ain't nothin' bitin' me; maybe 
I'm just gettin' sort o' old and skeery. But it's 
this-away, Stannie, son : ever since your gran'paw 
gave me this here watchin' job, and since I heard 
tell how them Cripple Creek short-card artists 
socked it to him on this Cinnabar deal, I been 
lookin' for trouble." 

"What kind of trouble?" I asked. 

"Oh, most any old kind. Maybe you ricoUect 

254 



A Battle and a Siege 

what the old poet feller — ^I disremember his 
name — says about 

'They can take, what has the power, 
And they can keep what can/ 

and that's about the way of it in a ra\y minin* 
country like these here Eastern Timanyonis. I 
hain't been easy about them Cripple Creek hold- 
ups nary a day since your gran'paw told me to 
stay here and hold the fort for him." 

'Tou thought perhaps the original owners 
might try to grab the property by force ?" 

"WeU, I didn't know," he drawled. "But if 
you've ever noticed, Stannie, it's always most 
likely to rain the very day when you've left your 
umbrell' at home." 

''But BuUerton — supposing he represents these 
original owner sharks— couldn't very well 'jump' 
the mine by himself," I protested. 

Daddy looked up at me from under his bushy 
eyebrows. 

"Tears to me like you've got a mighty short 
memory, some way, Stannie. Have you done 
forgot that bunch o' huskies we saw campin' out 
in Antelope Gulch as we come along by there at 
daybreak this mornin'? You said yourself that 
it was kind-a queer to see a lot o' hoboes that far 

255 



^ The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

from the railroad. I didn't like the looks o' that 
camp much at the time; and I liked it a whole 
lot less after we got here and found Charley 
BuUerton sunnin' himself on the door-step. Made 
me sort o' perk up my ears.** 

"Zowiel" said I. "You think that gang be- 
longs to Bullerton?" 

"You never can tell. Bullerton's been tryin' 
to buy you out for a song; he'd 'a' bought you 
this momin' if you'd 'a' took him up for twenty 
thousand, because that'd probably been the easi- 
est way out of it for him. But he ain't none too 
good to throw rocks if dods won't fetch you 
down." 

It was just here that I began to see some 
method in the old man's madness. With my deed 
in his hands — in the scrap, what with my wrath 
about Jeanie, and the savage desire to square up 
with Bullerton for past-due accounts, I h^d totally 
lost sight of the theft of the deed, and of the 
possible chance to recover it — ^with this unre- 
corded deed in his hands, Bullerton had only to 
come with sufficient force and take possession of 
the property. I had nothing in the world to prove 
my right and title to it. 

"But, see here, Daddy," I thrust in, "if he's 

got my deed, or has destroyed it, why ^" 

256 



A Battle and a Siege 

'^Why be kas as good a right to the Cmnabar 
as the next one that comes along, is what youVe 
goin* to say. I ain't disputin' you for a minute. 
But afore he can have it, he's got to take it, hain't 
he? And weVe got two mighty good li'l' pieces 
of artillery that says he's goin' to have one joy- 
ful old time a-takin it; that is, if you're of the 
same mind that I am**' 

By Jove I I wanted to put my arms around 
the old Spartan and hug him I As I've said, 
there were ten or a dozen men in that 1)unch 
we'd seen in the gulch, and he was calmly pro- 
posing to stand up to them, as confidently as if it 
were all in the day's work. 

"I get you now, Daddy," I said, "and if there's 
a fight coming to us, your mind is mine. We'll 
give them the best we've got." And then I began 
to let the little joy-songs sing themselves in my 
heart because Jeanie was well out of the way, and 
if the scrap came we could fight with a free hand 
and not have to capitulate because we happened 
to have a woman with us. 

By this time we ha4 transferred all the neces- 
sities across to the shaft-house and were ready 
to look over our defenses. These were not so 
vulnerable as they might have been. The shaft- 
house proper, containing the hoist, the steam 

257 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

engine and the two centrifugals, was strongly 
timbered, sheathed with heavy pine planking, 
and roofed with sheet-iron. The two doors, one 
opening on the dump head and the other into the 
blacksmith shop, were solid, battened affairs, and 
each had a wooden bar for fastening it on the 
inside. The windows — there were only two of ' 
them, both on the down-mountain side of the 
building, — ^were merely square^ unglazed holes 
left for light and ventilation, and they were high 
in the wall ; so high that the sills were above the 
height of a tall man's head. 

With so much for the framework of our for- 
tress, we set to work to strengthen it as we could. 
In one of the out-buildings there were a number 
of curved sheets of boiler iron which — so Daddy 
informed me — ^had been used in the underground 
drifts and tunnels of the mine as shields for the 
miners to crawl under when the blasting was 
going on; these we dragged into the shaft-house 
and stood up around the exposed parts of the 
walls, thus providing ourselves with a bullet- 
proof barricade behind which we could take 
shelter from rifle fire. 

rU confess I was a little dubious about the 
bullet-proof part of it, for the shield plates were 
none too thick. 

258 



A Battle and a Siege 

'*If those fellows come armed — and undoubt- 
edly they will — ^what kind of guns will they 
have?'* I asked of Daddy. 

'^Rifle-guns, of course/' he replied. 

"Yes, but what kind of rifles ? If theyVe been 
thoughtful enough to provide themselves with 
modem, high-power guns shooting a nickled bul- 
let, these shields won't hold 'em out." 

He looked a bit incredulous. 

*'Sho, now; d'ye mean that, Stannic?" he 
queried. 

"Sure I do. The regulation army rifle of to- 
day will puncture this stuff as if it were that much 
pasteboard. More than that, with such guns they 
can badly out-range us; these Winchesters we 
have are the old model, and their effective range 
isn't much over three hundred yards. With an 
army Springfield a man could stand off twice that 
distance and still make it hot for us behind these 
boiler-plate things." 

Daddy grinned sheepishly. 

"You make me feel sort o' old and out o* date. 
Stannic. I reckon a man can stay out in the tall 
timber so long that he gets to be like that old 
Dutchman that went to sleep and forgot to wake 
up for a little matter o' twenty year 'r so. I 
been countin' on these here iron things for breast- 

259 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

works ever since I first found 'em. Reckon that 
there Charley BuUerton outfit might have some 
o' them new-fangled guns youVe tellin* about." 

**It is quite likely. BuUerton doesn't strike me 
as the sort of man who would go into a fight 
with a dub if he could get hold of a better 
weapon." 

"All right, then; what's the answer?" 

I wrestled with the problem for a moment. 
Then I asked how the feed for Jeanie's pony was 
brought up from Atropia. 

"A sack at a time, on the pinto's back," was 
the reply. 

"Good. Have you kept the sacks?" 

"I reckon there's about a million of 'em over 
in the hawss shed." 

"Good again. We'll get those sacks and fill 
*em with earth and stack 'em around the walls. 
Then we'll have something that will stop any- 
thing short of a cannon-ball." 

Daddy fell in with the suggestion at once and 
we went to work, toiling like grade laborers 
since we didn't know how much, or rather how 
little, time we might have. In a couple of hours 
we had our improved breastworks completed; a 
row of the earth-filled feed sacks stacked around 

260 



A Battle and a Siege 

the inside of the three exposed walls of the shaft- 
house, and the earthwork reinforced by the iron 
shield plates. 

*'I reckon that does look a heap more like it/* 
said Daddy Hiram, surveying the completed job, 
and then we put our own small arsenal in shape, 
giving the two Winchesters a final rub-up and 
filling the magazines. 

I thought the two old-fashioned guns and 
Jeanie^s pistol promised a poor chance for an 
effective defense; but Daddy Hiram proceeded 
to show me that we had at least one other re- 
source. In the mine stores left behind by the 
former operating company were two boxes of 
sixty-per-cent dynamite, with fuse and caps, and 
Daddy pointed out that there were good possi- 
bilities wrapped up in the greasy brown-paper 
cartridges if the enemy should come close enough 
to let us use them. 

Even as he talked, he was cutting short pieces 
of the fuse, capping them, and bedding the capped 
ends in some of the paper cartridges to make 
them look like miscolored g^ant firecrackers. 

^'I believe you had this all doped out in ad- 
vance. Daddy," I said, when he had a neat little 
row of the cartridges laid out on the floor. ''But 
surely you didn't expect to hold out alone if those 

261 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

sharks sent a crowd of 'jumpers' In to run you 
off?" 

"Me and Jeanic/' he said simply. "We'd 'a' 
done our level best; and the angels couldn't do 
no more than that." 

Here, unless the old man was sadly mistaken 
in his daughter, was another and wholly unsus- 
pected side of the blue-eyed maiden displayed for 
me. I tried to imagine Lisette helping her father, 
or me, or any lone man, to defend a beleaguered 
mine against an armed attack. It was so funny 
that I shouted. 

"What's struck you, now?" asked Daddy, 
looking up from his job of cartridge-making. 

"Oh, nothing much," I chuckled; "only I've 
been living in such an Arablan-NIghts sort of 
world for the past few weeks that I have to puU 
up short and laugh at it once In a while, just to 
prove that Fm awake and alive and still on earth. 
Do you mean to say that Jeanle would shut her- 
self up in here and load the guns for you against 
a mob of mine jumpers?" 

He looked up with a prideful sparkle In his 
mild blue eyes. 

"You don't half know that little girl o' mine, 
yet, Stannic, son," he said earnestly. And then: 
"She's the only boy I ever had, you see; and 

262 



A Battle and a Siege 

she hain't had any mother since she can remem* 
ber. Maybe I hadn't ort to taught her to ride 
hawsses and shoot, and them things; but it 
seemed like I had to/' 

''You haven't made her one iota less womanly 
—or lovable," I hastened to say. Then I blurted 
out the thing that had been weighing on me ever 
since we had found Bullerton loafing on the 
door-step : "Do you suppose they could — is there 
any way they could have been married yesterday, 
Daddy?" 

"Uh-huh; I reckon there was. They might *a' 
gone on down to Angels. There's/a justice o' the 
peace down there." 

"But we decided that she took the train at 
Greaser Siding, and you said the westbound train 
doesn't stop there." 

"It might 've stopped just that once: Charley 
Bullerton might 've telegraphed to headquarters 
to have it stop." 

There it was again, at the same old jumping- 
off place. What more natural than that they 
should have gone to the nearest marriage-mill, 
and that Bullerton had left Jeanie thert while he 
came back to give me the coup de grace, so to 
speak. I guess I'm not much of a scrapper ; lazy 
men aren't, as a rule. But when I saw what Bul« 

263 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

lerton had done to me, and what he probably 
thought he was going to do, I was ready to reach 
out and shake hands with red murder or any 
other thing that would give me a toe-hold 'in the 
fight One question, and one only, remained to 
be asked of my staunch side-partner. 

"How much of this mountain-side have I a 
legal— -or rather, since I've lost my deed, I should 
say an ethical — right to defend, Daddy ?*' 

"I don't rightly know the exact boundaries, but 
there's five or six claims, so they tell me. I 
reckon you got a right to romp on as much of 
the mountain as you can see, lookin' any which- 
way you like." 

"That's good. Then if these jumpers come 
anywhere within sight of us, they'll be trespass- 
ing on my property; is that it?" 
"That's about the size of it." 
"All right; that's all I wanted to know." 
It still lacked a full hour of noon when we 
got our preparations made and were ready to 
stand a siege. Then we waited, and waited some 
more; and after a while I began to grin. What 
if we had stampeded ourselves needlessly? After 
aU, the men we had seen in the deep gulch might 
really have been tramps, and not a BuUerton 
army. Would the mining engineer, unprincipled 

264 



A Battle and a Siege 

as he doubtless was, go to the length of trying to 
dispossess us by force? The more I thought of 
it, the more unlikely it seemed. 

^'I guess maybe we were scared of a shadow, 
after aU, Daddy," I said. "Bullerton has had 
time enough to bring up his army, if he has one.'' 

*'I ain't countin' much on his backin' down,'* 
was the drawling rejoinder. "Ye see, I know 
Charley BuUerton of old; been knowin' him ever 
since he first bu'sted into the minin' game. That 
was over in the Sagauche. He's an all-'round 
cuss, but he's a stayer. Besides, you roughed him 
up sort o' hurtful this momin', and he's got that 
to make him spitey. We'll be hearin' from him 
as soon as he gets things yanked 'round into 
shape to suit him." 

Still, as time passed and nothing happened, it 
looked less and less likely that we were going to 
have to fight for our holding ground. I don't 
know to this good day what made BuUerton so 
slow in bringing up his army, but it was high 
noon, and Daddy and I were eating a cold 
luncheon, with the shaft-house door-sill for a seat, 
when we saw the army coming. It was a strag- 
gling gang of perhaps a dozen men; we couldn't 
count them accurately because the road on the 
bench wound in and out among the trees. 

265 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

They came up within easy rifle shot and pitched 
their camp, if you could call it that, in a little 
glade. At that distance we could see that they 
were armed, but, of course, we couldn't tell what 
kind of guns they had. After they had taken 
possession of the small open space, two of them 
set to work to build a cooking fire. 

"Do I own the land down that far?'' I asked 
of Daddy Hiram. 

"You sure do," he grunted. 

"All right; after the show opens up we'll try 
to persuade them to hunt another camping-place 
farther off. We haven't advertised for any 
neighbors, so far as I know." 

"Fm a-standin' right with you," said Daddy 
grimly. "It's gettin' a heap too crowded up here 
on this mountain: been that-away ever since 
Charley Bullerton showed up here the first time*" 

At the halt in the glade one of the party — 
Bullerton, we guessed it was — broke a branch 
from a pine, stripped the twigs from it, and made 
it a flagstaff for his white handkerchief. Under 
this flag of truce he and two of his men came 
on, leaving their guns behind. There was a dlmb 
of about thirty feet, maybe, coming up from the 
bench to the ledge upon which the mine buildings 
stood, so we got a fairly good look at the peace 

266 



A Battle and a Siege 

party before it came within talking distance. 
BuUerton still had a slight touch of the wry-nedc, 
and the devil-may-care jauntiness which had been 
his chief characteristic as a guest of the Twom- 
blys had been wiped from his face and manner 
like a picture from a blackboard. 

As the three of them topped the rise in the 
ore road I reached behind me and got one of the 
Winchesters. 

"That's near enough 1" I called out. "Do your 
talking from there, if youVe anything to say." 

The delegation halted and Bullerton took a 
paper from his pocket. 

"I*m serving legal notice upon you, Brough- 
ton/' he said, waving the paper at me, "and I 
have two witnesses here, as the law requires. I 
represent the Cinnabar Mining Company, of 
Cripple Creek. You are trespassing on our 
property and I am making a formal demand for 
possession." 

"So that's the new wrinkle, is it?" I laughed. 
"I was hoping you might spring something a 
little more original. How are you going to prove 
ownership ?" 

"The burden of proof isn't on us; it's on youl" 
he ripped out "You haven't a shadow of claim 
to this mine. I've got your so-called deed right 

267 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

here I'' — ^and he shook that at us. "It*s a for^ 
gery; a clumsy, childish forgery that wouldn't 
impose upon a blind man I We can send you to 
the rock pile on the strength of it if we want to I** 

Since he had stolen the deed out of my pocket, 
I thought, of course, that he was just bluffing 
about its being a forgery. He must have known 
perfectly well that it wasn't. But Daddy was 
whispering in my ear as he sat behind me. Some- 
thing like this: *^Gosh-all-Friday, Stannic, he's 
got you goinM He's made a copy o' the deed 
and throwed the Viginal away — burnt it up, 'r 
somethin' I" 

This seemed a very probable solution — proba- 
ble enough to bite, anyway — ^and one which did 
infinite credit to BuUerton's villainous ingenuity. 
If I had had any legal standing in the beginning 
of things, I had lost it now beyond any hope 
of recovery. Yet that very fact made me only 
the more obstinately belligerent; awakened a 
grinning imp of battle which— or who— might 
otherwise have gone on sleeping peacefully to 
the end of the story. 

"You have it all your own way, BuUerton — 
or you think you have," I told him; and if I 
didn't get all of the self-confidence into the words 
that I tried to, I am persuaded that he didn't 

268 



A Battle and a Siege 

know the difference. ^'I might even concede that 
you have everything but the niine itself. If you 
want that, you may come and take it; but you'll 
permit me to say that when you break into this 
shaft-house there will be fewer people alive on 
Cinnabar Mountain than there are at the present 
moment. I shall quite possibly be one of the 
dead ones, but before I go out I shall do my best 
to make you another.'' 

**A11 right," he snapped back; "you're speaking 
for yourself, and that's your privilege. But how 
about you, Twombly? This is no quarrel of 
yours. Suppose you go over yonder to your 
cabin and stay out of the fight. Nobody wants 
to hurt you." 

That put it pretty squarely up to me, too, so 
I turned to the old man at my side. 

"It's good advice. Daddy," I said; "and this 
isf^i your quarrel. You'd better duck while you 
can." 

Daddy Hiram made no reply at all to me; 
didn't pay any attention to me.. Instead, he stood 
up on the door-sill and shook his fist at BuUerton. 

"I been lookin' for you and your kind of a 
crowd for a year back, Charley BuUerton, and 
drawin' pay for doin' it I'* he shrilled. "Stannie, 
here, says if you want this mine vou can come 

269 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

ind take it, and, by gummles, I say them same 
identical words I" 

''AU right/' said BuUerton again. ''But it's 
only fair to say that we outnumber you six to one, 
and weVe got the law, and a few deputy sheriffs, 
on our side. You two haven't as much show as 
a cat in hell without daws, and when the circus 
is over, you'll both go to jail, if there's enough 
left of you to stand the trip." Then, as he was 
turning to go he flipped the deed into the air 
so that it fell at our feet. ''You may have that," 
he sneered. "We'd like nothing better than to 
have you produce it in court." 

It didn't seem just fitting to let him have the 
last word, so I pitched a small ultimatum of my 
own after him as he herded his two scoundrelly 
looking "T^tnesses" into the downward road. 

"One thing more, BuUerton," I called out. 
"Your flag of truce holds only until you get back 
to your army. If you or any of your men are 
in sight of Cinnabar property ten minutes after 
you reach your camp, we open fire." 

Since the truce was thus definitely ended, we 
retired into our fortress and put up the bars. As 
we were closing the doors and making every- 
thing snug I asked Daddy what kind of human 
timber BuUerton was likely to have in his army, 

270 



A Battle and a Siege 

and if there were any chance that his boast about 
having deputy sheriffs in the crowd was to be 
taken at its face value. 

^There's nothin* to the deputy brag. Ike 
Beasley is the chief deputy for this end o* the 
county, and he*d be here himself if that was a 
posse commytaters down yonder. As for what 
he has got, there^s no tellin\ Most likely he's 
picked up a fistful o' toughs and out-o'-works 
down in Angels. . There's always plenty o' drift 
o' that kind hangin' 'round a minin' camp." 

"Fighters?" I queried. 

"Oh, yes ; I reckon so— if fightin' comes easier 
thaa workin'." 

With the doors shut and barred I climbed up 
on our breastwork to bring my eyes on a level 
with one of the high window holes. The ten- 
minute ultimatum interval had come to an end, 
but the raiders were making no move to vacate 
the premises. On the contrary, their cooking 
fire was now burning briskly and they were ap- 
parently making leisurely preparations to eat. 

It is curious how a little matter will sometimes 
touch off a whole battery fire of senseless rage. 
It fairly made me school-boy furious to see those 
fellows calmly getting their noon meal ready and 
ignoring my warning. 

271 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

**Hand me up one of those dynamite car- 
tridges!** I barked at Daddy Hiram; and when 
he complied, I lighted a match and stuck it to 
the split end of the fuse. There was a fizz, a 
cloud of acrid smoke to make me turn my face 
away and cough, and then a frenzied yell from 
the old man. 

"Throw it 1 — good-gosh-to-Friday I — throw iV/" 

I contrived to get it out through the window 
opening in some way, and lost my balance on the 
earth bags doing it, tumbling awkwardly into 
Daddy's arms as I fell. Coincident with the 
tumble, the stout old shaft-house rocked to the 
crash of an explosion that was still echoing from 
the cliffs of the mountain above when the sour 
fumes of the dynamite rose to float in at the 
Tdndow holes. 

^'G-good gizzards!** stuttered Daddy Hiram, 
''did you reckon I cut them fuses long enough so 
*t you could hold 'em in your hands and watch *em 
bum?** 

''What do I know about fuses?** I asked, grin- 
ning at him. Then I mounted the breastwork 
again and looked out, prepared to see the entire 
landscape blown into shards. 

Aside from a few sheets of corrugated iron 
torn from the roof of the adjacent ore shed, 

272 



A Battle and a Siege 

the landscape appeared to be fairly intact and 
still with us. But down on the bench below, the 
lately kindled cooking fire was burning in soli- 
tary confinement. The raiders, to a man, had 
disappeared. 



273 



xy 

Applied Hydraulics 

««rr^EY'VE skipped," I reported to Daddy, 
X as I climbed down from the earth sacks, 
*'and that shows us the quality of the humanity 
stuff we have to deal with. BuUerton will never 
get that bunch to rush us in the open." 

"That's somethin' gained, anjnvay," said the 
old man; "and ever* IVV bit helps. But if they 
ain't goin' to take it standin' up, we got to look 
out for Injin doin's; the snake-in-the-grass kind. 
Charley BuUerton ain't goin' to quit none so easy." 

Nevertheless, for an hour or more, it looked as 
if the jumpers had quit. In due time the cooking 
fire in the little glade burned out, and no one came 
to rekindle it. About and about the solemn silence 
of the mountain wilderness ringed us in, and it 
was hard to realize that the siege had not been 
abandoned — though we knew well enough it 
hadn't. 

All our speculations as to the cause of the ene- 

274 



Applied Hydraulics 

my^s prolonged inaction blew up as soon as they 
were made. True, Bullerton might safely count 
upon having all the time there was. Since we 
were between four and five miles from Atropia, 
half-way around a mountain, and on an unused 
road which led only to the Cinnabar, it was highly 
improbable that anybody would happen along to 
meddle or to interrupt. But why he should hold 
off, with the big force he had, was more than we 
could figure out. < 

We put in the time as best we could, tinkering 
up our defenses and trying to provide for all the 
contingencies. For one thing. Daddy found a big 
auger and used it to bore loopholes at various 
places through the walls, by means of which we 
could command the approaches to the shaft-house 
on two of the three exposed sides. Eastwardly, 
the blacksmith shop intervened between us and 
the boiler shed — it was built as a lean-to against 
that side of the shaft-house — and in that direction 
we were necessarily blind. The fourth side, as I 
have said, faced an abrupt diS of the mountain, 
a rocky wall rising to maybe twice the height of 
the buildings and almost overhanging them. At 
its sunmiit this cliff tapered off into a steep upward 
slope, bare of timber; hence we were compara- 
tively secure from attack in that quarter. 

275 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

During the delay we had ample opportunity to 
calculate our chances of winning out. Though I 
didn't mention this to Daddy Hiram, I argued 
that Bullerton, either as the de facto, or even the 
prospective, husband of Jeanie Twombly, would 
be sl6w to push the fight to an extremity which 
might list Jeanie's father among the casualties. 
As an alternative he might be preparing to starve 
us out. Living in the Twombly household, he had 
had plenty of opportunities to learn the exact 
state of our conmiissary, and he doubtless knew, 
to a single can of beans, just how well or poorly 
we were provisioned for a siege. 

As to the provisioning we were not so badly off. 
Daddy Hiram, well used in his long experience 
as a prospector to figuring upon the longevity 
of ''grub-stakes,'' estimated that, what with the 
canned stuff, part of a sack of flour» and another 
of corn meal, we could live for a week, though 
the cooking was going to be rather inconvenient. 
For a fire we should have to resort to the forge 
in the blacksmith shop, and the shop was nothing 
but an open-cracked shed, as I have described it, 
entirely indefensible if the raiders should conclude 
to rush it. 

Another thing we dfd while we were waiting 
for something to drop was to examine the deed 

276 



Applied Hydraulics 

which Bullerton had so contemptuously flung at 
us as he was going away. Neither of us could 
discover, at first, any reason why he should have 
called it a forgery, nor could we convince our- 
selves that it was not really the identical paper 
which had been given me in Grandfather Jasper's 
sealed envelope. 

If, as Daddy Hiram had suggested, Bullerton 
had made a copy, destroying the original so that 
I should have only a palpable forgery to produce 
in court, the copying had been very skilfully done. 
I knew Grandfather Jasper's signature well — ^I 
had seen it a sufficient number of times on checks 
drawn to pay spendthrift debts of mine in the 
past, goodness knows — and there seemed to be 
no possibility of mistaking his queer, old-fash- 
i6ned handwriting. 

It was after I had quite convinced myself that, 
for some utterly unexplainable reason, Bullerton 
had actually given me back the stolen deed that 
Daddy Hiram found proof that the paper we 
held was not the original. 

"I reckon we ain't much lawyer-folks — neither 
one of us. Stannic, son," he offered, after he had 
gone squinting-eyed over the document for the 
third or fourth time. ^'This here ain't your deed 
a-taU." 

277 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

^Tou'll have to show me/' I said; and there- 
upon he pointed with a stubby finger at the no- 
tary's stttestation to my grandfather's signature. 

*^See anything wrong about that?" he asked. 

I did not, and said so. 

^'Better try some more," he suggested; and then 
the thing hit me slam between the eyes. The im- 
press of the notarial seal was lacking. 

*^Are you sure there was a seal?" I demanded. 

He nodded. 

"Plum' sure. Dunno why I didn't notice the 
miss at first. You're euchered, Stannie. This 
here's a copy, all right, and the galoot that made 
it didn't put any seal on it 'cause he couldn't — 
didn't have any seal." 

It was another jab in the ribs for me, but it 
only made me the more determined to scrap the 
affair out to a finish. BuUerton apparently held 
all the cards in the deck save and excepting the 
one little two-spot of possession. But I made up 
my mind then and there that the two-spot was go- 
ing to cost him all it was worth before he got it. 

In the fulness of time the period of suspense 
came to an end, and we were given audible proof 
that BuUerton had finally made his "dispositions," 
as an army man would say. The announcement 
came in the form of a rifle bullet ripping through 

278 



Applied Hydraulics 

the roof of the shaft-house as if the stout Iron 
roofing had been so much paper. 

"The fun's a-beginnin\" said Daddy; and the 
words were hardly out of his mouth before an- 
other bullet came, this time from the opposite 
direction and it, also, tore through the roof. 

"Got us surrounded," Daddy grimaced, when 
a third shot came from still another point of the 
compass; and within the next fifteen minutes Bul- 
lerton's demonstration was made complete. The 
shots, fired one at a time, and at intervals of a 
minute or so, came from all three of the exposed 
sides of the building, and the time elapsing be- 
tween the ripping crashes on the roof and the 
crack of the guns told us that the marksmen were 
all well beyond the range of our Winchesters, 
even if we could have seen them — ^which we 
couldn't. 

"Injin fightin' — ^just like I told you," Daddy 
grunted. 

"Yes; but the Indians have high-powered guns," 
I put in. "Those are Springfields or Krags, and 
these pointed invitations for us to surrender are 
coming from all sorts of distances up to a thou- 
sand yards. Lucky for us the pirates are taking 
it out upon our roof. If they'd lower their sights 

a bit '* 

279 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

The interruption was a sound like a plank 
splitting under the sudden blow of an axe, accom- 
panied by the angry spat of a bullet upon the iron 
casing of one of the pumps. Evidently some one 
of the gunmen had lowered his sights. There- 
upon we took a few of the filled earth sacks which 
we had kept for emergencies and built a little 
inner bomb-proof with the engine base and cylin- 
der for a back wall, and in this we crouched, 
with Jeanie's dog between us. 

This precaution, however, proved to be more 
or less superfluous. Bullerton had evidently 
given his men orders to aim at the roof, for it 
was only a stray bullet now and then that came 
through the walls. After a time the purpos^ of 
the bombardment becanie obvious. Bullerton 
seemed to have absorbed the idea that he could 
break our nerve — ^wear us out. After the first 
fusillade the shots came at intervals of maybe 
five minutes ; just often enough to keep us on the 
strain, and I don't mind admitting that the object 
was handsomely gained. I can't speak for Daddy 
Hiram or the dog, but at the end of the first hour 
I was little better than a bunch of raw nerves. 
And I guess the dog was feeling it, too. About 
every second slam on the roof he'd get up and 

280 



Applied Hydraulics 

turn around, and stick his nose Into my hand or 
Daddy's. 

As all days must, this wearisome first day came 
to an end at last, and with the coming of dusk 
the bombardment stopped — ^with our roof look- 
ing like a sieve. We waited for another half- 
hour before we made any move, and then I 
promptly vetoed Daddy's suggestion that we go 
out to the forge and cook our supper. 

"Not on your life 1" I said. "They've proba- 
bly crept up on us by this time, and the light of 
the forge fire showing through the cracks of that 
shed would give them as good a target as they 
could ask for. We'll cook in here, or go with- 
out cooking." 

Fortunately, we were able to solve the cook- 
ing problem without much difficulty. One of the 
boiler-plate shields turned down upon the floor 
made a safe firepan, and a spare plank broken up 
served for fuel. We had bacon and potatoes, 
and Daddy Hiram made pan-bread which at 
least had the merit of being hot. Well-fed, and 
fortified by a pot of strong coffee, we felt better 
and thought we were ready to face the night. 

But after darkness had settled down we were 
made to feel in another way how acutely help- 
less we were. We could see nothing, hear noth- 

281 



ii 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

ing. Though we knew we were surrounded, the 
silence and solitude were unbroken, and the 
strain was greater than that of a pitched battle. 
If we were to get any sleep at all, a night watch 
could be maintained by only one of us at a time; 
and with our utmost vigilance a surprise attack 
would be the easiest thing in the world for Bui- 
lerton to pull off. 

'*I reckon you said a mouthful, then,*' said 
Daddy, when I pointed out how easy it would 
be for the attackers to swarm in the blacksmith 
shop, and so be fairly at the shaft-house door 
before we should know anything about it. And 
it was with this disturbing possibility in prospect 
that we arranged the watches. We were to share 
them, two hours on and two off; and after the 
evening pipe-smoking I made Daddy Hiram turn 
in and took the first period myself. 

For a long time nothing happened, and the 
creepiness of that lonesome, chilly sentry-go— 
the Cinnabar nights, even in midsummer, are al- 
ways chilly — was about the fiercest thing I had 
yet experienced; even worse than crouching un- 
der fire through the better part of the afternoon. 
There are no night noises in the high altitudes, 
unless the wind happens to be blowing; no frogs 
or tree-toads, no insects; and the silence was 

282 



Applied Hydraulics 

fairly deafening — and maddening. Daddy Hi- 
ram was one of the few men I've ever known 
who slept in absolute and utter quiet ; even his 
breathing was inaudible unless I crept over to 
the comer where he had rolled himself in his 
blankets. Twice, in sheer desperation, I woke 
the dog; but apart from gi^ng my hand a lick 
or two before stretching himself out again, that 
was all there was to that expedient. 

Not wishing to strike a match to determine the 
exact end of my watch period, I stuck it: out, 
meaning to give Daddy good measure. So I 
think it must have been somewhere around ten 
o'clock when the collie woke with a start, jumped 
up, took the kinks out of his back with a lit- 
tle whining yawn, and trotted to the door — ^the 
one opening toward the cabin across the dump 
head. Screwing an eye to one of Daddy's auger- 
bored loopholes I tried to fathom' the outer dark- 
ness, which was only a degree or so less Egyptian 
than that of the shaft-house interior. There was 
nothing to be seen but the shadowy bulk of the 
deserted cabin, which was about two hundred 
feet distant and on the same level with the mine 
buildings. 

Though I could see nothing suspicious it was 
very evident that the dog could hear something. 

283 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

He had his nose to the crack under the door and 
was growling. I quieted him and listened. Some- 
thing was going on, either inside of the cabin or 
back of it; in the dead silence I could distinguish 
a low murmur of voices, and, a moment later, a 
sound like that which would be made by the 
cautious opening of one of the sliding windows. 
While I still had my eye to the peep-hole a jet 
of flame spurted from the dark bulk of the cabin, 
and simultaneously a bullet tore through the 
shaft-house roof. The raiders had captured our 
outworks. 

The report and the bullet clatter aroused 
Daddy Hiram, and when I turned he was at 
my elbow. 

"Done crope up on us, have they, son?** he 
said in his usual unrufiled manner. Then : "May- 
be this is just a sort o* false motion over here. 
S'pose you try and get a squint at things over 
on the blacksmith-shop side, Stannie.*' 

I stumbled across to the other door, taking the 
collie with me. I could see nothing in that direc- 
tion; less than nothing, since the lean-to shop 
building cut off what little light the stars gave. 
But the black darkness didn't hamper Barney's 
ears or his nose, and his eagerness to get back 
to the real battle front 'twas a good proof that 

284 



Applied Hydraulics 

there was as yet nothing stirring on our side of 
things. 

Groping my way back to Daddy I found that 
he had one of the Winchesters and seemed to 
be trying to fit a ramrod to the barrel. When I 
finally made out what he was doing I found that ' 
he had thrust a piece of heavy wire into the gun- 
barrel and was impaling one of the dynamite 
cartridges on its projecting end. 

"LiT skyrocket," he chuckled; then, with quaint 
humor: "You stand by with a match, Stannic, 
and let's see what-all's goin' to happen. When 
I say the word, you stick your match to the fuse." 

Heavens I maybe I didn't enjoy a delightful 
little spasm as I got a flash-light mental picture 
of that old man fumbling around with a lighted 
cartridge at the muzzle of his gun, trying to poke 
cartridge and gun-barrel through a hole in the 
door that couldn't possibly have been over two 
and a half inches in diameter — and in the dark, 
at that I What if he shouldn't be able to find the 
hole in time? Or if he should succeed in finding 
it and the rifle bullet should jam on the wire? 
Or any one of a dozen "ifs" that mig^t fail to 
rid us of the deadly thing before it should go 
off and blow us to kingdom come? 

But there was no time to haggle about it, and 
28s 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the whang of another high-powered bullet on the 
iron roof over our heads speeded things up. 

"Do your do,*' Daddy muttered; and I struck 
a match, sheltered the tiny flame in my hollowed 
hands until it got going good, and then, with a 
silent prayer that Daddy might not miss the hole, 
stuck thd blaze to the frayed end of the powder 
string. 

Coming all three together as it seemed to me, 
there were spittings like those of an angry cat, 
a puff of choking powder smoke, and the crack 
of the rifle. For just about three seconds nothing 
further happened; but at the fourth second or 
thereabouts — oh, boyl The cabin was stoutly 
and solidly built of logs, as I may have men- 
tioned, but in the flash of the rending explosion 
we had a glimpse of the door and windows cav- 
ing inward and a section of the split-shingle roof 
leaping toward the spacious firmament on high. 

"Now, durn ye," was Daddy Hiram's morose 
comment, made with an eye to a, peep-hole, "now, 
durn ye, maybe you'll let folks sleep peaceable 
for a little speUl" 

Of course, in the darkness, made thicker by 
the cloud of dust tht explosion had kicked up, 
we couldn't tell what had become of the cabin 
garrison, or whether or no we'd killed all or any 

286 



Applied Hydraulics 

of it. But the immediate result was perfectly 
soul-satisfying. There were no more roof bom^ 
bardments, and after we had remained on watch 
together for perhaps half an hour, Daddy sent 
me to the blankets for my forty winks ; did this, 
and afterward played a low-down trick on me. 
For, what with the previous night's broken rest, 
and the more or less exciting and strenuous day, 
I slept like a tired baby, and when I awoke the 
sun was shining in at the two high window-holes 
at something more than an acute angle, and 
Daddy Hiram was making coffee, and frying 
bacon and baking pan-bread over a chip fire built 
on the piece of boiler iron we had turned down 
for hearth purposes the previous evening. 

The old angel took my reproachful abuse for 
his unselfishness quite good-naturedly, as he did 
most things, and made his report of the night's 
doings. Up to midnight there had been nothing 
stirring; but after that there had been noises on 
the blacksmith-shop side, and indications that the 
jumpers were at work on something in the boiler 
shed. Since this lay beyond our field of vision, 
we couldn't see what was going on, nor could we 
apply the dynamite remedy. 

"What did they seem to be doing out there?" 
I asked. 

287 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

^^I dunno; heap o* poundin' and hammerin* 
and cussin\ Kep' it up for two V three hours. 
Just quit a litt)e spell ago." 

"Smashing things, do you suppose?" 

''No, I reckon not; if that was their game, they 
could bu'st things up 'r burn us out mighty quick 
and easy. But, you see, if they was to do that, 
they'd lose the plant and machinery and be just 
that much out o* pocket." 

Shortly after we had finished breakfast the 
work noises began again, but with the blanketing 
blacksmith-shop in the way we couldn't see a 
thing and could only make wild guesses at what 
the raiders were up to. Along about the middle 
of the forenoon they fired up one or more of 
the boilers; a whiff of wind coming along the 
side of the mountain blew the smoke over so that 
some of it drifted into the shaft-house through the 
high windows. Still we were completely lost in 
the guessing wilderness. 

It was a little after noon, while we were squat- 
ting on the floor to eat another meal warmed up 
over the chip fire, that we found out the answer 
to all the guesses and learned what the mechanical 
noises of the night and forenoon had been lead- 
ing up to. One of the left-overs from the working 
period of the mine was a good-sized steam force 

288 



Applied Hydraulics 

pump which, we took it, had once been installed 
on one of the lower mine levels and had been 
hoisted out of the shaft ahead of the advancing 
water flood and put under shelter in a corner of 
the boiler shed. As I was passing my tin cup 
for more of Daddy's excellent coffee the rattle 
and clank of a pump began to make itself heard, 
together with the coughing chug<hug of the 
steam exhaust therefrom. 

"That's that low-level pumpP' I exclaimed. 
"They must have connected it up with the 
boil ^" 

Whoosh! that was just as far as I got. In 
the middle midst of the word "boilers" a two- 
inch jet of muddy water came curving up through 
one of the window openings to arch over and 

« 

fall, splash, all over us as we sat munching our 
dinner. Everlastingly ruined the dinner, put out 
the fire, upset the coffee pot, and made drowned 
rats of both of us in less time than it takes ta 
tell it — ^much less. 

So much for that. Of course, we ran and 
ducked and dodged, like the drowned rats I speak 
of hunting for a hole. But now Bullerton's^ 
devilish engineering ingenuity came into play. 
By some means as yet unknown to us, he had 
contrived a movable nozzle to his squirt-gun^ 

289 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

and in another minute there wasn^t a single dry 
spot left in that shaft-house. I venture to say 
that Daddy and I and the dog ran a full mile 
trying to get out of range of that demoniacal 
sozzle-machine, but there wasn^t a corner of the 
place that it couldn't, and didn't, reach. 

Naturally, we didn't spend the remainder of 
the day playing puss in the comer, and running 
around in circles, and endeavoring to find a dry 
spot that didn't exist. Boosted by Daddy Hi- 
ram, I climbed up beside the window of vomit- 
ings, and between drenchings that made me gasp 
and choke and swear madly I found out what 
had been done to us. 

During the night the scoundrels had laid a pipe 
line from the pump in the boiler shed alongside 
of our prison fortress; this with an upright ex- 
tension on the business end of it. At the top of 
the stand-pipe stem there was an elbow with a 
short joint of pipe screwed into it to point our 

« 

way; and on the end of this nozzle there was a 
piece of rubber hose. Under the jerky impulses 
of the pump strokes this flexible extension of the 
nozzle flopped up and down and around and 
sidewise, like the nose of a patent lawn-sprinkler ; 
and there you are — or there we were. 

Risking a shot from something more deadly 

290 



Applied Hydraulics 

than this muddy ditch water slinger^ I leaned out 
and took a look around. There was nobody in 
sight on this down-hill side, and I reached for 
the hose, meaning to pull it oS or break the pipe 
at one of the joints, or something. The flopping 
thing dodged and evaded me. I reached again 
and discovered that the end of the imitation 
elephant's trunk was a nicely calculated six inches 
or so beyond my longest stretch. Moreover, 
now that I was grabbing for it, it seemed to be 
endowed with a sort of malignant mechanical 
intelligence, whisking itself aside and filling me 
diock full with an extra dose as it flirted away. 

I was gasping for breath and chilled to the 
bone when I dropped back to the floor of the 
shaft-house shower-bath and explained, with teeth 
a-chatter, what was going on outside. We 
took hurried counsel together, huddling in the 
one comer which the deluging stream missed 
oftenest, and with the collie trying to burrow his 
way under us to get out of the pitiless down- 
pour. 

We still had the dynamite; Daddy's first care 
had been to snatch up the cartridges and turn a 
bucket over them. But it didn't seem possible 
to use the explosive in this emergency. True, if 
we could have dropped a stick of the stuff out- 

291 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

side it would have blown Bullerton's devilish 
contrivance into the middle of next week; but 
most likely it would also have caved in the side 
wall of our fortress, to say nothing of what might 
happen to us who were cooped up inside. I say 
"if." A burning fuse is pretty tenacious of its 
fire; it is made to burn under difficulties. But 
you can hardly throw it into a spouting water 
jet and expect it to go on singing its little fizz 
song to the explosive conclusion. 

"Gosh-to-Solomon I" Daddy spluttered, "we 
ain't on the water-wagon — ^we're spang inside 
of itl Are you rememberin*, Stannie, that they 
caij keep this gosh-dum thing up frever? All 
in the world they've got to do is to put a stick 
o' wood on the fire now and then I Say, son; 
they got us goin' and comin'; we can't eat, and 
we can't sleep no more whatever 1" 

"By heavens, I own those boilers, and if I 
could get a stick of dynamite under 'em, I'd fix 
the fellow that's firing 'em I" I shivered; and then 
the bright idea was born. "Say, Daddy, we can 
stop itl" I yelled; and just then the water devil 
outside made another fiendish flop and got me 
squarely in the face. 

But it didn't drown the bright idea. 



292 



XVI 

High Explosives 

^T^HE idea was one which ought to have sug- 
X gested itself much sooner. The steam 
supply pipe for driving the big centrifugals at 
the shaft-mouth came through the wall over our 
heads, and it was the sight of this pipe, steam- 
ing even on the outside of its thick insulating 
jacket of asbestos under the wetting from the 
water jet, that had set me thinking. A spinning 
twirl of the engine throttle valve set our ma- 
chinery in motion, and when I had thrown the 
pump clutch in, we crouched again in the least-wet 
corner to watch the index of the tell-tale steam- 
gauge connected into the supply pipe. 

We knew that the centrifugals were voracious 
steam-eaters; we had proved that when we were 
running them in the week-long test. I had a 
notion that maybe BuUerton had fired only one 
of the battery of three boilers to run his shower- 
bath machine, and the result speedily confirmed 
this assumption. In a few minutes the steam 

293 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

pressure had dropped to a point at which it would 
no longer drive any of the pumps, either ours 
or the one outside, and the window cataract 
stopped. 

"This will be only a breathing space," I pro- 
phesied, getting up to squeeze some of the super- 
fluous water out of my clothes. "Bullerton will 
do one of two things : fire the other two boilers, 
or disconnect this steam pipe of ours." 

"Reckon so?" said Daddy. 

"You'll see in a minute or so." 

The attack began even while we were speak- 
ing, sundry hammerings and twistings that shook 
the pipe overhead prolong that the besiegers 
were going to stop the leak by cutting us off from 
the boilers. 

"Take your whirl at the inventions, this time. 
Daddy 1" I urged. "When they get this supply 
pipe cut out, we'll be in for another ducking — 
and one that we can't stop." 

Daddy was shaking' his head and wringing the 
moisture — ^and mud--K)ut of his beard. 

"Jerusalem-to-gosh, Stannie, we got to take a 
chancel" he muttered. "Anyways, I'd about as 
lief die as be drownded to death. We'll have 
to muss that blacksmith shop up and get it out 
o' the way, somehow. Gimme a match out o* 

294 



High Explosives 

that tin box o' your'n — ^if they ain't all soaked 
to a jiz-whizzlin' sop." 

I found the matches, which, luckily, were still 
dry, and handed him one. Before I fairly 
realized what he was going to do, he had taken 
one of the dynamite cartridges out of its bucket 
hiding-place and was splitting the fuse with his 
pocket knife. 

"Ot)en that there door into the shop," he com- 
manded; and when I obeyed mechanically, out 
went the bomb, fizzing and sputtering, to land 
in a heap of scrap iron piled on the farther side 
of the stone-built forge. The sight of it smok- 
ing and spitting sparks in the heap of scrap half 
hypnotized me, I guess, for I stood gaping at it, 
with the door held open, until Daddy Hiram 
jerked me away, slammed the door, and yelled 
to me to help him bar it. 

We had barely time to get the door closed 
and fastened with the heavy wooden bar, and to 
throw ourselves flat on the floor behind the hoist- 
ing machinery before the crash came. As I have 
previously said, the blacksmith shop was a rather 
flimsy, shed-like affair, roofed with corrugated 
iron, and it seemed to us as if broken timbers 
and pieces of sheet metal were raining down for 
a full minute after the blast went off. 

295 



I 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

The shock to everything in the vicinity was, 
of course, tremendous, and the stout old shaft- 
house itself rocked and swayed like a tree in a 
hurricane. But the walls still stood intact; and 
when we got up and peeped through a hole which 
a piece of the flying scrap had torn, in the door, 
we could see what we had done. It was a-plenty. 
The blacksmith shop had disappeared, leaving 
nothing but a scattering of wreckage. The heavy 
anvil had been thrown from its block, and the 
forge looked as if a giant had kicked it. Out 
by the boiler-shed a rack of cord-wood had been 
toppled over, and under it a man was struggling 
to free himself. When he saw the imprisoned 
enemy that mild-mannered, soft-spoken old sol- 
dier that I was shut up with would have opened 
the door and shot the struggler if I hadn't 
stopped him. 

This blowing up of the shop settled the 
shower-bath business for us definitely. With the 
impediment out of the way we had a dear view 
on this third side; could conunand the row of 
miners* cabins, as well asi the boilers in their 
open shed. When I got through persuading 
Daddy Hiram that we couldn't afford to murder 
the wounded, the fellow who had been wrestling 
with the wood-pile had made his exit, and there 

296 



High Explosives 

was nobody in sight. Shortly afterward a bullet, 
fired from somewhere in the forest background, 
whanged upon our roof, and there were several 
more to follow; but aside from punching a few 
more holes in the iron, they did no harnu 

''Looks like the 'Hercules' is the one thing 
they're most skeered of," said Daddy, with his 
queer little stuttering chuckle. ''Now maybe 
they'll leave us have time to get ourselves dried 
out a mite." 

The drying-out process was wretdiedly un- 
satisfactory, as it was bound to be. The only 
fuel we had was a few loose planks that we 
chopped up with the axe, and this was all so 
soaking wet that it made a lot more smoke than 
heat. But in time we succeeded after a fashion, 
and were a bit less miserable; not dry, you un- 
derstand; merely a shade less wet. Meanwhile 
those pirates in the woods kept up their bombard- 
ment, the bullets sometimes ripping new holes in 
the roof, and sometimes coming through the 
walls. I noticed that they were no longer care- 
ful to aim high, as in the firing on the previous 
afternoon; from which I argued that BuUerton 
was gradually overlooking any reluctance he may 
have had about killing us outright. And the 
pecking fire was irregular enough to make it 

297 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

nerve-destroying, as before, the shots coming just 
often enough to keep us on the keen edge of 
expectancy. 

Totting up the results of the shower-bath we'd 
had, a bread famine promised to be the worst of 
them. The few cans of beans, tomatoes and 
peaches — ^the campers* standbyes — ^were unhurt, 
of course ; and the muddied bacon could be washed 
with water drawn from the flooded shaft. But 
the flour in its sack was merely a blob of paste 
and was beyond redemption, and the corn meal 
was the same. In view of the results, I wondered 
if BuUerton hadn't shrewdly calculated upon, 
washing our commissary out of existence when 
he planned his overgrown lawn-sprinkler. But 
maybe that was giving him credit for more in- 
genuity than he really had. 

Through what remained of the afternoon the 
rifle firing continued, coming sometimes from one 
angle and sometimes from another, but always 
cannily from a safe distance and always under 
cover of the surrounding forest. Daddy Hiram, 
grimly optimistic, extracted a swallow or so of 
encouragement out of the persistent pot-shooting. 

"Dunno as you've ever noticed it, Stannie, but 
if you'll only let a hog alone long enough he'll 
shove himself under the bob-wire fence far 

298 



High Explosives 

enough to get caught,^' he said. ^'Charley Bul« 
lerton, now: he's plum' forgot that 'Tropia's 
less 'n five mile away, and that sound carries 
mighty long distances in these mountains in clear 
weather." 

"What difference does that make?" I asked. 

"It may make a heap o' difference. Looks to 
me like somebody — Buddy Fuller, 'r Jim Hag- 
gerty, the section boss, 'r some of 'em down yon- 
der 'd be^n a-wonderin', after a spell, what in 
tarnation all this here blastin' and rifle-poppin' 
up on old Cinnabar is a p'intin' at and come and 
see." 

"Do you think the racket will carry that far ?" 

"It sure will. One nigl^t afore 'Tropia had 
gone as dead as she is now, a bunch o' cow- 
punch's got into an argyment at Blue-nose Bill's 
place, and we heard the crackin' and poppin' up 
here — ^Jeanie and me — ^like it was just over yon- 
der in Greaser Gulch." 

"Well?" said I; "if your nephew or any of 
the others hear it? — ^what then?" 

As I asked the question one of the low-aimed 
shots tore through the side of the building, struck 
the iron frame of the hoist, flattened itself and 
dropped into the old man's lap. Picking up the 
hot bit o{ lead to dandle it from hand to hand, 

299 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

he went on much as if picking up bullets that 
were fired at him had been his daily recreation. 

**Curiosity killed the cat, Stannie, son. You 
let some one o' the folks down yonder in 'Tropia 
say, *By gol — ^I wonder what all that shootin's 
'for?' and the next thing you know, somebody'll 
be moggin' up here to find out." 

*'But if they should come, Bullerton would 
head *em off and make us the goats — ^tell 'em 
we were trying to do him out of his mine," I 
objected. 

^'Maybe so; I reckon we'll just have to hope 
for the best, and expect the worst. Then we 
won't be disapp'inted none, whichever way the 
cat jumps. wWhat say if we eat a bite while we 
can?" 

*l'm with you," I said, so we opened a can of 
beans and another of tomatoes and made our 
frugal supper, sharing the beans part of it with 
the collie, who, though he was not yet sufficiently 
hungry to eat canned tomatoes, was not finicky 
enough to refuse good beans. 

Along about dusk some member of the be- 
sieging party tried to make a reconnaissance. I 
happened to be keeping the lookout on the cabin 
side of our fortress and saw a man dodging 
among the pines back of the house. When I 

300 



High Explosives 

reported to Daddy he took a snap shot at the 
place I pointed out to him, and there was a wild 
yell and a stir in the young pines as though a 
hog were galloping through them. 

"Just to let 'em know that we're still alive and 
kickin'," said the old man, with another of his 
quavery chuckles. "I reckon maybe that's what 
they was aimin' to find out." 

Possibly it was. At all events, the rifle fire 
stopped with the coming of darkness, and as we 
faced our second night of the defense we had 
plenty of time to sit around and think and specu- 
late upon what the outcome was going to be. 

Taking it all in all, it was the fantastic humor 
of the thing that hit me hardest. Six short weeks 
earlier, people at home had been calling me all 
the hard names that fall to the lot of the idle 
ne'er-do-weel; a young chap with enough inheri- 
tance money to keep him in ties and shoes and 
shirts, and to buy gas for his car — ^though that 
last asked for a good bit on the rising cost of 
gasoline — and not enough to make life, or any- 
thing connected therewith, very much worth 
while. 

Also, these same people were saying — ^behind 
my back, of course, but there were always plenty 
of them to repeat the saying to my face — that 

301 



i 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

I 'was good stock gone td seed» would never 
amount to a hill of beans in anjrthing that asked 
for initiative or resourcefulness, or primitive 
rough stuff of any sort; that I was due to go on 
dolling myself up and playing skittles to the 
end of the chapter — ^which would probably stage 
itself in an asylum for the feeble-minded. Also, 
again, at that same time which was six weeks — 
or six thousand years — ago, I was engaged to 
Lisette; with mighty little prospect of marrying 
her, to be sure, but with no thought of marry- 
ing anybody else. 

And now ... I looked around at the shadowy 
walls of the grim old Cinnabar shaft-house, 
looming darkly and still dripping, tick, tack, from 
their early-afternoon mud bath; felt my soggy 
clothes; stared across at Daddy Hiram sitting 
backed up against the hoist with his legs jack- 
knifed and his hands locked over his knees: it 
was a grotesque pip^e-dream; there was no other 
name for it. Had I ever worn silk shirts — to 
say nothing of dress clothes? Had I ever sent 
my toast back at Torricelli's because it happened 
to be browned a bit too much on one side ? Had 
I ever worn white flannels on a yacht, or sport 
clothes at a football game? I broke out in a 
laugh that was a bellow. 

302 



High Explosives 

'^Split it up, Stannie,^' urged the old man dryly. 
*'I allow you ain't goin' to be close-fisted enough 
to keep a good joke all to yourself in no such a 
hoe-down as this/' 

"I'll try," I said, and did it the best I knew 
how, ^ving him some idea of the life I had lived 
and its earthwide, abysmal difference from the 
experience of the past six weeks. 

"So you was one o' them ^It-edged, la-de- 
dah young bucks, was you?" he conunented re- 
flectively, after I had spread my past out flat for 
him. "Silk socks on toast I" and he chuckled 
with that quaint clucking noise that meant more 
than the heartiest laugh. "S'posin' that ^rl back 
East could see you now?" 

"She couldn't see me. Daddy," I averred; 
"she is totally color-blind to znythmg as far out 
of her class as I am just now." 

" * Class !' " he echoed, a bit contemptuously, 
I thought; "has it got so that we have ^classes' 
in America, Stannic, son?" 

"In the minds of a few; yes. I'm not so sure 
that I didn't think so, once." 

"Got over it, now?" 

"If I haven't, I ought to be shot." 

3ilence for a time, and then: 

"Book-leamin' and good clothes and eatin' 

303 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

with a flat fork V* all right, Stannic, but they 
don't make the man n'r the woman; there's got 
to be somethin' inside; somethin' a heap bigger 
than any o' them things/' 

"Quite so," I admitted. 

Another silence, and at the end of it the old 
philosopher again: 

"You been sort o' sore about my Jeanie, since 
yesterday. . . . She's been eatin' your gran'paw's 
bread, like me, and you thought, and / thought, 
that she might at least 've waited a little spell 
afore she run off with Charley BuUerton. Maybe 
you're still thinkin' so." 

"No," I denied. "A woman's first loyalty is 
to her own heart, and after that, to the man she 
loves. I'm not finding fault with her. Daddy." 

"I been a-wonderin'," he mused. "Maybe 
we've been jumpin' at things too sudden, Stannie. 
What made her ride 'way up yonder to Greaser 
Sidin' to catch that train? And how come 
Charley BuUerton to marry her one day, and be 
up here with his bunch o' gunmen by daybreak 
the nex* momin'?" 

"Has Jeanie friends in Angels with whom she 
could be staying?" I asked. 

"Not a single soul. He'd a-had to leave her 

304 



High Explosives 

at the Chink's ho-tel; and that ain't no place for 
a woman, married 'r t' otherwise." 

''But supposing they didn't go to Angels?" 

''There ain't no other place they could go, and 
let him get back, as you might say, in the same 
day." 

"Say it all, Daddy," I prompted. 

"There ain't much to say, Stannie, boy; 'ceptin' 
what I said afore : that maybe we'd been jumpin' 
at things sort o' blind, like. Jeanie's got a heap 
o' sense — ^if I do say it as shouldn't — and the 
whole gee-rippitin' thing, as we been puttin' it up, 
ain't no more like her than winter's like dog- 
days.'* 

I thought, at the moment, that Daddy Hiram 
was merely leaving the one big factor — a wo- 
man's love — out of the equation; but what I said 
was: 

"You can't quarrel with me about Jeanie^ 
Daddy. She is all that you think she is, and then 
some. I only wish I'd seen her first." 

"Afore Charley BuUerton did, you mean? — 
or afore you saw that there g^rl back East?" 

"Both. But I meant Bullerton." 

Having thus run the subject into a comer we 
were both speechless for a little time, and I think 
it was almost with a sense of relief that we 

305 



The Girl a Hors^ and a Dog 

sprang alert when the dog, hitherto sleeping 
quietly at our feet, jumped up and ran to hold 
his nose at the threshold of the door opening 
upon the dump head. 



306 



XVII 

Burnt Matches 

FOLLOWING the dog to the door, we could 
neither see nor hear anything going on out- 
side, though Barney's sniffings under the door and 
his low growl warned us that something was 
afoot, either on the dump head or in the partly 
wredced cabin beyond. While we were still 
peeping and peering, each at his auger-hole and 
each ready to take an off-hand shot at anything 
that seemed suspicious, the silence of the moun- 
tain night was ripped and torn by the most 
hideous clamor ima^nable, arising, apparently, 
in the cabin or perhaps from the groving of trees 
just behind it The racket was deafening; com- 
parable to nothing that I'd ever heard; a 
magnified orchestration, so to speak, of the 
pandemonium made by a crowd of country boys 
serenading a newly married pair with tin pans 
and such-like noise-making implements. 

"What in the name o' Joab !" stuttered Daddy 
Hiram. "Reckon them gosh-dummed pirateers 
've gone plum' loony?" 

307 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

*'Wait/' I qualified, and I had to shout to 
make myself heard. "There'll be more to fol- 
low. This is only the curtain-raiser." 

But my guess appeared to be no good. For 
quite some little time we crouched, guns at the 
ready, prepared to repel the assault which we 
naturally supposed would be made under cover 
of the distracting racket. But there was no 
assault, though the meaningless clamor kept up 
without abatement. After a bit we were able 
to sort out the different noise-makers; to realize 
that the thunder-roll might be made by somebody 
shaking a suspended sheet of metal; that the 
shriller dashings came from kitchen utensils 
lustily beaten, with the louder ones figuring as 
hammer blows rained upon some thicker piece of 
sheet metal. 

By the time we were beginning to grow a trifle 
hardened to it the clamor stopped as abruptly 
as it had begun, and the silence which succeeded 
was even more deafening than the noise had been. 
While I fancied I could see dim figures stealing 
down the road that led to the bench below, I 
heard Daddy say: "Now, what in the name o' 
Jehoiachim ^** 

He had turned away from his peep-hole and 
I could sense, rather than see, that he was rub* 

308 



Burnt Matches 

bing his eye8. Then I realized that upon me^ 
also, a sudden blindness had fallen; the interior 
of the shaft-house had become as dark as the 
inside of a pocket. The effect was so stupefying 
that it took both of us a minute or so to under-^ 
stand that some change as yet undefinable had 
been wrought either in us or in our surroundings 
during the noisy interlude. 

^'Great Jehu I" exclaimed the old manr— though 
he was within armVreach I pould make him out 
only as a dim shadow — "Great Jehu ; I — ^I b'lieve 
I'm goin' blind, Stanniel I — ^I can't see nothin^ 
a-taUr* 

"Don't worry/' I hastened to say; "I'm in the 
same boat. We've been looking too long and 
steadily through those auger-holes. It'll pass in 
a minute." 

But it didn't pass, and presently the voice of 
my old side partner came again out of the dark- 
ness. / 

"P'raps it's doudin' up some," he suggested 
in a half-whisper. "I can't see no stars through 
them windows." 

At this I looked toward the window openings, 
but the interior blackness had blotted them out 
completely. Almost instinctively I turned back, 
to the door and put an eye to a loophole. One 

309 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

glance was enough. The trouble, whatever it 
might be, was with us and not with the sky. The 
stars were shining as brightly as ever. 

^'Don't move, Daddy," I cautioned, and then 
groped my way along the wall and climbed to 
the top of our earth-sack breastwork at a point 
which I guessed to be under the nearest of the 
two windows. 

When I drew myself up and tried to thrust a 
hand through the opening the mysterious dark- 
ness was explained. The window embrasures 
were stopped up, both of them, on the outside 
by something that felt like a heavy canvas cur« 
tain, though how the curtain was held in place 
I could not determine. But it was firmly braced 
in some way. With all the purchase I could get 
— ^which wasn't much — ^I couldn't dislodge it or 
push it aside. 

Making my way back to the door I told Daddy 
what I had found. 

*'HuhI" he said; ''that old tarpaulin that was 
out yonder in the ore shed. How d'ye reckon 
they got it there, Stannic?" 

''It's hoisted on a framework of some kind, 
and they did it while we ^ were rubbering and 
trying to find out what all that noise was about." 

"I redcon we ort to have a leather medal," he 

310 



Burnt Matches 

chuckled dryly. '^A couple o' kids chasln' a; 
organ-grinder wouldn't 'a' been any easier to 
fool. What's it for?" 

"That remains to be seen — or felt. I told you 
all that radcet was only the beginning of some- 
thing." 

We were not kept very long in doubt as to 
what the next enemy move was to be. With the 
cessation of the tom-tom clatter the collie had 
grown curiously restless. We couldn't see him, 
but we could hear him running from post to pil- 
lar, sniffing at the cradcs and occasionally giving 
a whining growl. Presently he began to cough 
and sneeze; then he came racing back to us, 
flattening himself to hold his nose to the crack 
under the door and taking long breaths as if he 
were half stifled. I stooped to pat him and 
immediately imagined I was smeUing burning 
sulphur matches. 

"Get down here, Daddy, and smell this dog I" 
I whispered. "Is it old-fashioned matches, or 
what?" 

One sniff was all that the old man needed. 

'*Gbsh-to-gee-whiz 1 — ^brimstone!" he choked; 
"them devils are smokin' us outl That's why 
they stopped up them window holes; so we 
couldn't get any airl" 

3" 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

"But, listen," I protested; "where could they 
get any sulphur?" 

"Out o' the ore. There was a little of it left 
in the shed: and the Cinnabar ore is all high 
sulphur — got to be roasted afore it can be 
smelted. Charley BuUerton's rigged him a con* 
traption to sweat the sulphur out o' them leavin's 
and he's pumpin' it in to us. If we can't find out 
where it's comin' from and stop it, it'll be all 
over but the shoutin' 1" 

Already there appeared to be little enough 
time for any defensive move. The asphyxiating 
gas was coming stronger every moment, and any 
search for its source seemed utterly hopeless. 
Yet we went at it, coughing and choking, and 
stumbling over everything in the darkness, as a 
matter of course. 

"They've sure got us, this timcl'* Daddy 
gasped, after we had made a blind circuit of ^he^^ 
place and had collided head on in our gropings. 
"Hain't found nothin' yet, have ye?" 

"Nothing," I wheezed. "It's no use; we'll 
have to open the door and run for it I" 

"No, by grabs 1" barked the old stout-heart; 
"we're not dead yet I Where's that durn dog?" 

Barney had more sense than we had. He had 
found the hole torn in the door on the black- 

3" 



Burnt Matches 

smith-shop side by our dynamite blast of the 
afternoon and was using it for a breathing gap. 
We made him share it with us and so got tem- 
porary relief. But when we wOuld have cracked 
the door open a little way to make the relief bet- 
ter available, we found it blocked on the outside. 
A hurried examination of the opposite door 
proved that it, also, was fastened in some way. 
We were not only stifling — ^we were shut in. 

After that it appeared to be dnly a case of 
hanging on to the breathing gap as long as we 
could and then yelling for help — which was 
doubtless what BuUerton was confidently count- 
ing upon. As an alternative I suggested that we 
might chop our way out with the axe. But Daddy 
Hiram was not yet willing to give up the ship. 

"If you once turn loose. Stannic, you're gone !" 
he objected. Again the two of us and the collie 
were taking turns at the breathing hole in the 
shattered door. "It's just like I been a-tellin' yc 
all along; possession's the whole nine parts o' the 
law and nigh about half o' t'other one. If that 
gang ever gets us out o' here, we'll never get 
back this side o' the great Day o' Judgment! 
Gosh-all-Friday I if we could only find out where 
this ding-jizzled stuff's a-comin' from I" 

We did find out, after a bit. Through the 

313 



i 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

broken door we could see the reflection of a red 
glow lighting up the end of the boiler shed and 
some part of what might be called the back yard 
of the mine plant. The glow came from the 
bench below us, which told us that BuUerton had 
built his ore-roasting device on our down-moun- 
tain side. As IVe said, the shaft-house was built 
on a ledge some twenty-five or thirty feet above 
the general level of the main bench, and the 
ore-roasting furnace was probably at the foot of 
this ledge. But how BuUerton was contriving to 
chimney the sulphur fumes up to us and get them 
into the building was still an unsolved mystery. 

After all it was Barney who (I honor him with 
the human pronoun because he certainly deserved 
it) it was Barney who showed us the devil's 
doorway. The red glow ^was now sending enough 
light through cracks and crevices and the bullet 
rippings overhead to make our inner darkness 
a degree or so less than Stygian. Missing the 
dog for a moment at our conunon breathing 
hole, we saw him circling a particular spot in the 
floor and snarling at it as if it were something 
alive. 

At that we both remembered that the shaft- 
house floor was raised a foot or so from the 
rocky ledge on the down-mountain side, and that 

314 



Burnt Matches 

the space underneath was partly open. Daddy 
'pointed to the circling dog. 

"Barney's got it I" he panted. "Thejr'vc nm 
their chimney up under the floor I" Then: 
"Wh-where in Sam Hill did you leave that 
axe?'' 

The axe was near at hand and I ran for it 
Holding my breath 1 began to chop madly at 
the floor planking. By this time the air was so 
bad that it was impossible to breathe it, and after 
a few blows I had to drop the axe and run to 
the breathing gap. Daddy took his cue instantly, 
snatching up the axe as I flung it down and hack- 
ing away as long as he could hold his breath. 
When he was forced to make a bolt for the life- 
saving hole in the door, I ran in again ; and thus 
chopping and spelling each other we finally got 
a couple of the floor planks loose and pried them 
out. 

In the space beneath the open-cracked floor 
we found Bullerton's chimney-end; an old dis- 
carded boiler-flue, it seemed to be, leading up 
from the bench below. From unearthing the 
deadly thing to muzzling it with one of our wet 
blankets was the breathless work of only a minute 
or two; and with the gas-main thus shut off, the 
air in the shaft-house soon became bearable again, 

315 



I 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the hole we had chopped through the floor serv- 
ing as a ventilator through which the cool, crisp 
night air came rushing in a revivifying blast. 

To help the ventilating along I climbed once 
more to the window holes, and with Daddy 
steadying me, made an attack oti the stop-gap 
with the axe. Even then I didn't find out just 
hdw the tarpaulin curtain was fastened in place; 
but when it fell under the blows of the axe there 
was a prodigious clattering of planks and tim- 
bers on the outside, as if the tarpaulin had been 
backed by a contrivance like a bill-board hoisted 
and propped in place while we were listening to 
the serenade. You'd have said it couldn't have 
been done without attracting our attention; but 
the answer to that is that it was done. 

Now that we had time to collect our wits, we 
both wondered why Bullerton hadn't rushed us 
while he had us practically helpless. Nothing 
would have been easier with the force he had. 
But throughout the raid thus far we had re- 
marked that he was cannily cautious about com- 
ing to the real give-and-take of a hand-to-hand 
battle. Perhaps he was wise. Long before this 
he must have realized that we meant to fight to 
a show-down, and that a rush meant that some- 
body, or most likely a number of somebodies, 

316 



Burnt Matches 

would be killed. Or, possibly, the temper of 
the renegade crew he had picked up wasn't equal 
ta the facing of two determined men who would 
probably shoot to kill. 

Anyway the rush wasn't made, and, the crisis 
having passed, Daddy Hiram immediately set to 
work on a come-back, resorting once more to his 
favorite weapon. With my help he got one of 
the filled sacks down through the floor hole to 
take the place of the wet-blanket chimney plug. 
Next, he rebuilt one of the dynamite cartridges, 
working rapidly by the light of a little splinter 
fire that I kindled on the boiler-plate hearth. 
Taking out the short fuse, he inserted a much 
longer one, and after he had twisted the end of 
a long piece of wire around the body of the 
cartridge I began to get some inkling of what he 
meant to do. 

**Now then, Stannic, son, if you'll just ginune 
a hand," he said. ^'Reckon them pirateers is 
still down yonder, a-firin' their roastin' oven?" 

I thought it most unlikely. They must surely 
have heard us chopping, and if they hadn't, the 
crash of their window-stopping invention must 
have told them that we were still alive and able 
to hit out. But I wouldn't say a word to dis- 

317 



k 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

courage the neat little reprisal that Daddy was 
getting ready to hand theoL 

Since there was room for only one of as in 
the cramped space under the floor, it was Daddy 
who placed and tamped the blast, lowering the 
cartridge into the sulphur chimney as far as 
the length of the guiding wire permitted, lighting 
the fuse, and replacing the earth sack to serve as 
a plug and a breech-block for the makeshift gun.. 

In the stricdy limited time we had between 
the hearse and the grave, as you might say, we 
worked fast, replacing the floor planks and load- 
ing them with the spare earth sacks against what 
an artilleryman would call a ^'flare-back.** But 
though we jumped to it like a pair of amateur 
stevedores the fuse was the quicker. There was 
a sort of hollow cough, followed instandy by 
the louder thunder of the explosion, and the old 
shaft-house rocked as if one of the giant pines 
had fallen against it. When we looked out, the 
red glow had disappeared, and with it — so we 
fervendy hoped — Bullerton's ingenious stifling- 
machine. 

Our first care, after a prolonged silence led 
us to believe that the raiders had withdrawn to 
study up some fresh scheme for getting rid of us, 
was to get a bar and pry our two doors open so 

318 



Burnt Matches 

that the breeze might blow throug^i and air the 
place out a bit For the half-hour or more diat 
ynte left the doors standing mde — but not un» 
guarded, as you may imagine — nothing happened, 
and for any sign of life to be seen or heard we 
might have been the only human beings within 
a radius of miles. 

Closing and barring the doors after the sul- 
phur stench had been reduced to a mere match- 
box odor, we established our night-watch, Daddy 
Hiram taking the first trick under a solemn 
promise to call me at the end of a couple of 
hours. This time he behaved better, rousing me 
a little before midnight. He reported everything 
quiet, and pointed to the sleeping dog as evidence 
that there were no intruders within smelling 
distance. 

'^Been that-away ever since you turned in,^* he 
said, meaning, as I took it, that the dog had been 
resting easy. 'Tou can just keep an eye on Bar- 
ney. If anything goes to stirring he'll know it 
afore you will." 

Nothing did stir; and after Daddy had gone 
to wrap himself in his damp blankets, I had my 
work cut out for me keeping awake; in fact, I 
shouldn't want to swear that I was fully awake 
during all of the one hundred and twenty minutes 

319 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

that my sentry-go lasted. No matter about that. 
BuUerton didn*t spring any more surprises on us 
during my watch; and when I turned the for- 
tress over to Daddy at two o'dodc I was able 
to pass the "all quiet" report back to him and go 
to the blankets with an easy conscience. 

I had just dropped asleep, as it seemed to me 
— though in reality I had slept like a log for 
more than two hours — rwhen Daddy Hiram came 
to shake me awake. 

"Somethin* doin\" he announced quietly, and 
when I sat up I saw that the collie was moving 
uneasily from one door to the other, stopping 
now and then to stand motionless with his ears 
cocked and his head on one side. 

"Barney hears something," I ventured; and 
a moment later Daddy broke in: 

"Huh I it*s plain enough for my old ears, now : 
it's a wagon comin' across the bench." 

Now the presence of a wagon on our bench at 
this early hour in the morning might mean either 
one of two diametrically opposite things: our 
deliverance; or the upcoming of reinforcements 
for the raiders. We were not left long in doubt. 
Shortly after the r ack-ack of the wagon wheels 
stopped we heard footsteps, and the hair stif- 
fened on Barney's back. Next we heard Buller- 

320 



Burnt Matches 

ton's voice, just outside and apparently under our 
window openings. 

"Broughtoii!" the voice called; "can you hear 
me?" 

"So well that youM better keep out of range I" 
I snapped back. 

"All right — Glisten: if you strike a match to 
touch off one of your hapd^grenades^ I'll see you 
and pot you through one of your own portholes. 
Get that?" 

"We hear what you say," I answered. 

"All right again. Now listen some more. 
You've got to get out, Broughton — that's flat. 
I haven't wanted to go to extremes. For per- 
fectly obvious and commonplace reasons I don't 
want to have to kill you to get rid of you. But 
we are not going to gentle you any more. You've 
already hurt four of my men, and two of the 
four are crippled. The next time we hit you, 
it'll be for a finish." 

"Yes," said I. "You brought the new dub up 
in a wagon, didn't you?" 
. He ignored this. 

"We could starve you out if we chose to take 
the time. I know pretty well what you've got to 
eat— or rather what you haven't got. It's your 
privilege to take your life in your, own hands, 

321 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Broughton; that's up to you. But how about 
the old man ?'* 

'The old man's a^^kntjr good and able to 
speak for hisselfl'* yapped Daddy. 'Tou do 
your dumdest, Charley Bullerton T' 

''All right, once more. You'll hear from us 
directly, now; and as I said before^ we've quit 
gentling you. That's my last word." 

For a dme after this the silencei and the dark- 
ness, since it was the hour before dawn, were 
thick enough to be cut with an axe. But the dog 
was more restless than ever, and we knew that 
something we could neither see nor hear must 
be going on. After a while I asked the question 
'that had been worrying me ever since I had 
heard the wagon wheels. 

"What did they bring up in that wagon. 
Daddy?— a Catling?" 

"The Lord only knows, Stannie — and he won't 
tell," was the old prospector's reply, made with 
no touch of irreverence; and the words were 
scarcely out of his mouth before a thunderbolt 
struck the shaft-house. 



322 



Tit for Tat 

THAT word "thunderbolt" is hardly a figure 
of speech. The thing that Ut us couldn't 
be compared to anything milder than thunder 
and lightning. There was a Hash, a rending, 
ripping roar as if the solid earth were splitting 
in two, and the air was filled with flpng frag- 
ments and splinters. Air, I say, but the acrid, 
choking gas which filled the shaft-house could 
scarcely be called air. 

"Dynamite 1 — that's wbat they fetched in that 
wagon I" gurgled the old man at my side, and I 
could have shouted for joy at the mere sound 
of his voice, since it was an assurance that he 
hadn't been killed outiight. Then he went on, 
with that grim, stuttering chuckle that nothing 
seemed to be able to extinguish: "What is it 
they're always sayin' in the picture^aper adver- 
tisements, about imitation bein' sort o' flatterin'? 
323 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Charley Bullerton's a-copyin' us — took to throwin* 
a few sticks o* 'giant' hisself. Didn't get you, 
did it, Stannie, son?" 

I told him I was a complete human being, as 
yet, but took issue with him on the dynamite as- 
sumption. 

''This isn't dynamite we're smelling," I said. 
"It's more likely one of the new coal-tar explo- 
sives. That bomb didn't hit us squarely. If it 
had " 

"We'd better be doin' like the gophers and 
huntin' us a hole," Daddy broke in; then, sniffing 
suspiciously: "You're plumb right; that ain't no 
dynamite; it's one o' them newfangled rock-split- 
ters: 'mph — smells worse 'n a polecat I Durnl 
I wish it was daylight so 't we could see a little 
somethin'." 

Losing no time about it, we turned some of 
the boiler-plate shields over on the floor and made 
haste to crawl under them for what protection 
they might afford, as the miners do in blasting; 
and the dog came, also, crawling flat on his belly 
and trembling. I had put my gun down some- 
where, and in the hur^ and scramble I couldn't 
find it. But Daddy was a better soldier and kept 
hold of his weapon, dragging it with him as he 
backed into the crowded covert. 

324 



Tit for Tat 

After the dust of the mighty explosion had 
settled a bit we were given time to think upon 
our sins. It was still pitch dark inside of the 
building, but we knew that the early sunmier 
dawn could not be far off. Though we were as 
helpless as blind kittens in the dark, we knew that 
the coming of daylight would not be an unmixed 
blessing. Enabling us to see better, it would also 
be a decided advantage to the enemy, since the 
bombarders, also, could see better what they 
were doing. 

While we were still holding out, and meant to 
hold out, there was discouragement in the new 
situation, as I showed Daddy Hiram. 

*7t's only a question of a little time, now, 
Daddy,'* I prophesied. "What you said yester- 
day — ^that BuUerton would try to get possession 
without destroying the property — no longer holds 
good. He has evidently decided that weVe got 
to be ousted, even at the expense of building a 
new shaft-house and installing new machinery. 
Why has he changed his mind, when he knows 
that he could starve us out in a few days?'' 

*1 been thinkin' about that, right p'intedly, 
Stannic. Shouldn't wonder if somethin's in the 
wind — somethin' we don't know about." 

**Then there's another thing," I put in. "Sup- 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

posing) just for the sake of argument, that our 
first guess was right: that he did take Jeante to 
Angels three days ago and that they were mar- 
ried there. You know your daughter, Daddy, 
and I know her, a little. Nobody but an idiot 
would suppose that she*d live with Bullerton as 
his wife for a single minute if he makes himself 
your murderer." 

^*It sure does look that-away to a man up a 
tree," admitted the stout old fighter. 

'Tm hanging on to the little hope like a dog 
to a root. Daddy," I confessed. ^If I can only 
keep on believing that theyVe not married, I can 
put up a better fight, or be snuffed out — ^if I have 
to be — ^with a good few less heart-burnings." 

But at this the old man, who, no longer ago 
than the yesterday, had seemed to lean definitely 
toward the no-marriage hypothesis, suddenly 
changed front. 

''Don't you go to bankin' on anjrthing like that, 
Stannie, son," he said in a tone of deep dis- 
couragement. ''Charley Bullerton' s a liar, from 
the place where they make liars for a livin', and 
'taint goin' to be no trick a-tall for him to make 
Jeanie, and a lot o' other folks, b'lieve that we 
blowed ourselves up with our own dynamite. No, 
sir; don't you go to bankin' on that." 

326 



Tit for Tat 

"Then you do believe \ that Jeanie went with 
Bullerton?" 

''Looks like there ain't nothing else left to 
believe/' he asserted dolefully. "Look at it for 
yourself, son: she's been gone three whole days. 
If she hadn't gone with him, — and the good 
Lord only knows where else she could have gone 
— don't you reckon she'd 've been back here long 
afore this? No, Stannie; we been lettin' the 
'wish it was' run away with the 'had to be.* I 
reckon we just got to grit our teeth, son, and 
tough it out the best we can." 

During this waiting interval, which seemed 
like hours and was probably only a few minutes, 
we were^ momentarily expecting another crash. 
It did not come; but in due course of time we 
heard a stir outside and then voices, and one of 
the voices, which was not BuUerton's, said : "I'll' 
bet that ca'tridge smoked 'em out good an' plenty, 
Cap'n. Gimme th' axe, Tom, till we bu'st open 
the door an' have a squint at 'em." 

Just at that moment a submerging wave of 
depression surged over me and shoved me down 
so deep that I think possibly if BuUerton had 
called out and demanded our surrender I should 
have been tempted to tell him that I was not so 
much of a hog as not to know when I had enough. 

327 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

But the old man squeezed in beside me under 
the arched boiler plate was made of better fibre ; 
he was game to the last hair in his beard. With 
a wild-Indian yell, he hunched his Winchester 
into position and fired once, twice, thrice, at the 
door, as rapidly as he could pump the re-loading 
lever. 

A spattering fusillade was the reply to this,, 
but the aim was bad and the only result was to 
set the air of our prison fortress to buzzing as 
if a swarm of angry bees had been turned loose 
on us. After this, the raiders withdrew, so we 
judged; at all events, the silence of the dark 
hour before daybreak shut down upon us again, 
and once more we had space in which to ^'gather 
our minds," as Daddy put it. 

It may be a dastardly confession of weakness 
to admit it, but I am free to say that the pro- 
longed struggle was gradually undermining my 
nerve. While I was able to fall back upon the 
conviction that Bullerton would stop short of a 
ruthless destruction of the plant to get us, there 
seemed to be some little hope that we might be 
able to worry through. But his resort to high 
explosives proved conclusively that he was now 
willing to go the whole length, sacrificing the 
entire plant, if need be, to get rid of us. 

328 



Tit for Tat 

Taking this view of it, discretion seemed very 
much the better part of valor. If BuUerton had 
made up his mind to write oS the loss of the mine 
buildings and machinery, it was a battle lost for 
us. It could be only a question of a little time, and 
enough daylight to enable the bombers to throw 
straight, until we should be buried in the wreck 
of the shaft-house and hoist — and without the 
privilege of dying in a good, old-fashioned, 
stand-up fight. 

All of this I hastily pointed out to Daddy Hi- 
ram, adding that, for Jeanie's sake, if for no 
better reason, he ought to take his chance of 
staying upon earth. Also, I urged that the pres- 
ent moment was ours, if we chose to improve it 
quickly. All we had to do was to crawl out, 
unbar the door, and make a bolt for it before the 
bombardment was resumed. 

Pshaw I I might just as well have appealed 
to a stone post. As long as I live I shall always 
have a high respect for the wrath of a mild- 
mannered man. The old prospector was fairly 
Berserk, mad, foaming at the mouth, and short 
of dragging him out by main strength there was 
no way of making him let go. 

"No, sir; I done promised your gran'paw 'at 
rd stand by for him, and he paid me money for 

329 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

doin* it. When them hellions get this here mine, 
they're goin' to dig a hole somewheres and 
bury me afterwards/' was all I could get out of 
him. 

We were not given very much more time for 
discussion, or for anything else. The first faint 
graying of dawn was coming, and with the par- 
tial lightening of the inner gloom, we craned our 
necks — ^like a double-headed turtle peering out 
of its shell — and got a glimpse of the damage 
done by the initial thunderbolt. We saw it with- 
out any trouble: a great hole torn in the sheet- 
iron roof directly over the hoist and shaft mouth. 
Knowing the use and effect of explosives pretty 
well, Daddy said that the bomb had gone off 
prematurely; had exploded before it iiad fairly 
lighted upon the roof. 

"If it hadn't — if it had been layin' on the roof 
when it went off — ^we wouldn't be lookin' up at 
that hole right now. Stannic, my son. We'd be 
mog^n' up the golden stair and a-wonderin' how 
much farther it was to the New Jerusalem, and . 
what Idnd o' harps they was goin' to ^ve us 
when we got there. We sure would." 

We didn't keep our heads out very long. 
While we were staring up at the hole and at the 
patch of sky beyond it, a small dark object with 
/ 330 



Tit for Tat 

a smoke-blue comet's tail trailing behind it crossed 
our line of sight, and we ducked and held our 
breath— -or at least, I held mine. The crash 
came almost immediately, and it was followed in 
swift succession by a second and a third. Luckily, 
none of the three hit the shaft-house, nor, indeed, 
fell very near it; and this uncertainty of aim 
told us where the attack was coming from. The 
bomb throwers were posted somewhere on the 
steep slope of the mountain above us; the slope 
which I have described as running up from the 
brink of the abrupt diff overlooking the mine 
plant. 

As we both knew, the mine buildings were not 
visible from any part of this slope, though the 
steel stack of the power plant was. So they were 
flinging the bombs at random, without being able 
to see where they fell. And there were two good 
reasons why they didn't climb down to the edge 
of the cliff and place one of the bombs where 
it would do the most good: they knew that the 
^^man who did it would probably get potted by one 
of us through the hole the first explosion had 
made, or, failing that, he'd be blown up by his 
own petard— -or stand a mighty good chance of it. 
All of this we sorted out quickly. Daddy and 
I, with an eye on as much of the diS line as was 

331 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

visible through the rent in the roof. If any one 
of the cartridge-throwers should take the risk 
of coming down, we were ready for him. In a 
minute or so there was another crash on the 
boiler-shed side of things, re^stering another 
miss. It seemed more than singular that whoever 
was doing the throwing couldn't throw straighter, 
with the stack to indicate the lay-out on the mine 
ledge. 

"They'll get the range, after a while," Daddy 
grunted. "And when they do, I reckon it'll be 
good-by, fair world, for a couple of us and one 
mighty good dog. I'm a-tellin' you, Stannic, son, 
the shot that comes down through that hole fixes 
us a-plenty. Sufiferin' Methusalehl what-all is 
the folks down yonder at 'Tropia a-dreamin* 
about, to let all this bangin' and whangin' go on 
up here without comin' up to find out what's 
makin' it?" 

The Atropia that I remembered was so nearly 
moribund that I didn't wonder it wasn't making 
any stir in our behalf; so, when a few pattering 
rifle shots which seemed to originate on the great 
bench below began to sift in among the bomb 
echoes, I took it that BuUerton had divided his 
force and was trying to rattle us two ways at 
once. As for that, however, the bigger bom- 

332 



Tit for Tat 

bardment kept us from speculating very curiously 
upon anything else. Two more of the giant 
crackers had fallen to the right of us, one of them 
into the wreck of the blacksmith shop to send 
up a spouting volcano of scrap which fell a second 
or so later in a thunderous rain ; and then. 

We were looking up through the roof hole and 
we both saw it coming; a sputtering meteor leav- 
ing its baby-blue smoke trail behind it. Straight 
as a shot out of a gun it came for the great gap 
in the roof, and we could hear the hiss of the 
burning fuse and smell the reek of it as it hurtled 
through the opening. 

For a flitting instant it seemed as if it must 
drop squarely in front of the iron shield under 
which we were jammed — ^in which case even the 
undertaker wouldn't have been needed — not any 
whatsoever, as Daddy Hiram would have said. 
But at the critical point in its flight the hurtling 
thing "ticked'* the top of the hoist frame and 
its downward course was deflected the needed 
hair's-breadth, causing it to come down beyond 
the machinery, and not on our side of things. 
Nevertheless, we were cowering in anticipation 
of a blast which would most likely heave the en- 
tire machinery aggregation over bodily upon us 
when the explosion came. 

333 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

It wasn't like any of the other crashes ; it more 
nearly resembled an upheaval of buried thun- 
der, if you can imagine such a thing. We saw 
the belching colunm of flame apd gas going sky- 
ward beyond the machinery barrier, taking a full 
half of the roof with it as if the blast had come 
from the mouth of a ^gantic cannon. We were 
dazed and deafened by the shock, and half choked 
by the fumes, but neither of us was so far gone 
as not to hear distinctly a prolonged and rum- 
bling crash like the thunder of a small Niagara, 
coming after the smash/ 

*^The shaft 1'' shrilled Daddy Hiram, in a thin, 
choked voice; *'it went off down in the shaft I 
And, say I — ^what-all's that we're a-listenin' to 
now?" 

If there had been a dozen of the bombs rain- 
ing down I don't believe the threat of them would 
have kept us from bursting out of our dodge-hole 
to go and see what had happened in the mine 
shaft. But before we could determine anything 
more than that the mouth of the shaft was com- 
pletely hidden under a mass of wreckage, and 
that the mysterious Niagara roar, dwindled 
somewhat, but yet hollowly audible, was still 
going on under the concealing mass of broken 
timbers and sheet-iron, there was a masterful 

334 



Tit for Tat 

interruption. Shots, yells, shoutings and hot 
curses told us that a fierce battle of some kind 
was staging itself just outside of our wrecked 
fortress; whereupon Daddy Hiram began paw- 
ing his way to the door, yelling like a man sud« 
denly gone dotty. 

"That there's old Ike Beasley — dad-blame his 
old hide I" he chittered. "There ain't nary 
'nother man in the Timanyonis 'at can cuss like 
that. He's come with a posse, and they're layin' 
out Charley BuUerton's crowd I" 

There was a fine little tableap spreading itself 
out for us when we had clambered over the 
wreckage and had withdrawn the wooden bar 
and flung the door wide. Daddy Hiram had 
called the turn and named the trump. The large, 
desperadoish-looking man who had once inter- 
viewed me at Angels, and a little later had paused 
in his combing of the mountains in search of me 
to usurp my place at the Twomblys' breakfast- 
table, this bewhiskered giant, with a goodish 
bunch of followers — ^hard-boiled to a man, they 
looked to be — ^had surrounded a fair half of the 
would-be "jumpers" and were handcuffing them 
with a celerity that was truly admirable. And 
Beasley, himself, square-jawed and peremptory, 
was shoving BuUerton up against the side of the 

335 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

shaft-house, snapping the irons upon his wrists 
and counseling him, with choice epithets inter- 
mingled, to save up his troubles and tell them to 
the judge. 

As we emerged from our wrecked fortress, 
other members of the posse were scattering to 
round up the outlying bomb-throwers, who had 
apparently taken to the tall timber in a panic- 
stricken effort to escape. Down on the bench 
below there were horses and horse-holders; and 
among the horses one whose boyish-looking rider 
was just slipping from the saddle. While I was 
wondering vaguely why the Angels town marshal 
had let a mere boy come along on such a battle 
errand, the boyish figure ran up the road and 
darted in among us to fling itself into Daddy 
Hiram^s arms, gurgling and half crying and 
begging to be told if he was hurt. 

I didn't know at the time how much or how 
little the big marshal knew of the various and 
muddled involvements which were climaxing right 
there in the early morning sunshine on the old 
Cinnabar dump head; but I do know that he 
quickly turned his captures over to some of his 
deputies and had them promptly hustled down 
stage and off scene. While this was going on I 
was merely waiting for my cue, and I got it, or 

336 



Tit for Tat 

thought I got it| when the boy who wasn^t a boy 
slipped from Daddy's arms and faced me. 

"Fm not hurt, either," I ventured to say, hop- 
ing that the brain storm had subsided sufficiently 
to make me visible. ^^Welcome home, Miss 
Twombly— or should I say Mrs. BuUerton?" 

The look she gave me was just plain deadly; 
you wouldn't think that violet-blue eyes could 
do it, but they can. Then she drew a folded 
paper from somewhere inside of her clothes and 
held it out to me. 

"There is the deed to your mine, Mr. Brough- 
ton," she said nippingly, and with a fdrly 
tragical emphasis on the courtesy title. "You 
wouldn't take the trouble to go to Copah and 
get it recorded, so I thought Fd better do it. 
I hope you'll pardon me for being so forward 
and meddlesome." 

It was the super-climax of the entire Arabian- 
Nights business, and because my feelings would 
no longer be denied their rightful fling, I sat 
down on the shaft-house doorstep and shouted 
and laughed like a fool. But after all, it was 
Mr. Isaac Beasley, deputy sheriff and marshal of 
Angels, who put the weather-vane, so to speak, 
up on the fantastic structure. 

"I 'been lookin' 'round fot you a right smart 

337 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

while," he told me gruffly. "When you get plum' 
over your laugh and feel that you're needin' a 
little sashay over the hills f r exerdse, you can 
come along with me and go to jail f r stealin* 
that railroad car." 



338 



XIX 

The Hold-Up 

BEASLEY left me sitting on the doorstep— 
IVe a notion he had run out of handcuffs, 
else he might have clapped a pair of them on 
me — ^while he started his posse down to Atropia 
with the captured raiders and their leader. When 
he came back we took time, Daddy and I and the 
big marshal, to size up the damage that had been 
wrought, and beyond that, to dig into the mystery 
of the continuous grumbling roar which was still 
ascending out of the wreck-covered mine shaft. 
Payment for the damage, if it could have been 
collected, would have cracked a reasonably fat 
bank account. The out-buildings on the black- 
smith shop side were reduced to kindling wood, 
the boiler shed had been carried away, and two of 
the three boilers were lying on the ground. The 
roof of the shaft-house was to all intents and 
purposes a total loss, and the hoisting machinery 
was badly crippled. Across the dump head. 
Daddy's blast-shot, fired earlier In the siege to 
drive the raiders out of the cabin, had caved in 

339 



Il 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

the windows and door and damaged the roof 
some, but the interior wasn^t hurt much. 

All this we took in hurriedly, being much more 
interested In finding out what was going on un- 
der the pile of wreckage hiding the shaft mouth. 
Beasley stayed with us, waiting, as I took it, to 
get his breakfast before he ran me off to jail, 
and the three of us fell to work clearing away 
the fallen timbers and roofing iron. It was a 
rather slow job, and Jeanle who, after giving me 
that bucketing of ice-water, had gathered up what 
was left of our commissary and had gone over 
to set the cabin to rights, came across to call us 
to breakfast while we were still digging away at 
the obstructions. Naturally, we didn't want to 
stop at that stage of the game, so we worked 
the faster. Daddy Hiram leading the attack and 
being the first to stick his head through what 
remained of the tangle and hang it over the edge 
of the shaft's mouth. 

"Hooray!" he yelled, his voice sounding as if 
it came from the inside of a barrel; and then 
again, "Hooray, Stannle, son 1 — by the ghosts of 
old Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Charley 
BuUerton's done gone and done epffs-zzc^ly what 
he said he could do— dreened your mine for ye I 
Climb in here and take a look at her. She's 

340 



The Hold-Up 

empty — empty as a gourd — but, at that, she ain't 
goin* to be, very long I'* 

A few more minutes of the strenuous toil 
cleared the pit mouth so that we could all see. 
The bomb which had exploded in the shaft had 
wrought a complete transformation. The stand* 
ing flood, which all of our pumping attacks had 
failed to lower by so much as a fraction of an 
inch, was gone, and with it had vanished the two 
big centrifugals, the platform upon which they 
had stood, and their pipe connections. Gone, 
likewise, was the greater part of the heavy^ 
wooden shaft-lining. A little of this remained 
in the upper part of the shaft, but from a point 
possibly twenty-five feet down, there was nothing 
but the bare rock sides of the square pit swept 
dean by the receding flood. 

As for the hollow roaring noise which had fol- 
lowed the crash of the explosion, and which still 
continued, there was a good and sufficient reason 
plainly visible from the pit^s mouth. Some twenty 
feet down, and' on the eastern side of the shaft, 
a stream of water big enough to run a good-sized 
h/dro-electric plant was pouring into the per* 
pendicular cavern, and it was its plunging descent 
into the bowels of the earth which was making 
the mimic thunder. 

341 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Beasley was the first to find speech. 

"Where the blazes is all that water comin* 
from?" he exploded. 

"That's just what we're going to find outf" I 
barked. "Can you and Daddy handle my weight 
in a rope sling?" 

They both protested that they could handle 
two of me if necessary, and a sling was quickly 
rigged and I was lowered into the pit. At the 
nearer view thus obtained, some of the mysteries 
were instantly made clear. The reason why the 
wooden boxing disappeared below a certain point 
in the shaft was that it had never extended any 
farther down. It had been merely a box with a 
bottom/ — and all those pipe-dream impressions 
which had tried to register themselves on the day 
when I had my struggle with the suction-pipe 
octopus were instantly translated into facts. I 
could have sworn, then, that there was a bottom 
in the box, and there was a bottom. And that 
other impression — ^that I had encountered an in- 
rushing stream of ice-cold water in the chilling 
depths: here was the stream; a foot-thick, never- 
failing cataract, pouring in through a perfectly 
good and substantial conduit of twelve-inch iron 
pipe! 

In a flash the whole criminal mystery involv- 

342 



The Hold-Up 

Ing the ostensibly flooded mine was illuminated 
for me. "Haul away!" I called to the two above; 
and when they had drawn me up to the pit's mouth 
and I could get upon my feet, I yipped at Daddy 
and the marshal to come on, and led them in an 
out-door race along the mine ledge to the east- 
ward; a hundred-yards dash which brought us 
to the banks of the swift little mountain torrent 
in the right-hand gulch. 

A brief search revealed precisely what I was 
expecting to find; what any one in possession of 
the facts precedent would have expected to find. 
In the middle of a small pool slightly upstream 
from the path level — a pocketed bit of water 
neatly screened and half hidden by a growth of 
low-branching spruces — ^we saw a cone-shaped 
whirlpool swirl into which a good third of the 
stream flow was vanishing. Below this pool an 
apparently accidental heaping of rocks formed 
a small dam which kept the little reservoir full. 

Without a word, Daddy Hiram and the An- 
gelic marshal plunged recklessly into the stream 
and with their bare hands tore away the loose- 
rock dam. With the removal of the sli^t bar- 
rier and the consequent clearing of the course 
of the stream, the pocket reservoir immediately 
sucked dry, the inlet of the cataracting pipe was 

343 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

exposed, and the secret of the flooded Cinnabar 
was a secret no longer. 

We threshed it all out over a breakfast of 
bacon and warmed-over beans and stewed to- 
matoeSf eked out by — no, crowned and decorated 
by — delicious corn cakes which Jeanie had made 
out of some store of meal which Daddy and I 
must have overlooked in our hasty provisioning 
of the shaft-house fortress. In that talk, we, or 
Daddy Hiram and I, recalled our blind guesses 
made on the day when we had dodged BuUerton 
by taking refuge in Daddy's abandoned tunnel 
on the '^Little Jeanie*' daim; and Beasley, who 
was an old resident in the district, and had been 
a mining man before he was elected marshal of 
Angels, was able to confirm the guesses—or some 
of them. 

The scheme which had been elaborated and 
set in motion to **soak'' Grandfather Jasper was 
'a premeditated **hold-up.'' The Cinnabar, in 
operation and producing to its capacity, was 
worth, so Beasley asserted, all that my grand- 
father had paid for it, and more. But with the 
branch railroad built to its very door, its value 
would be doubled. Two alternatives had thus 
presented themselves to the owners, who were 
Cripple Creek mining speculators who had bought 

344 



The Hold-Up 

in the stock at a low figure while the main vein 
was as yet unexploited : they could go on mining 
the ore and storing it against the time when the 
railroad, with its cost-reducing advantages, should 
come along ; or they could suspend operations for 
the same length of time, setting the losses of a 
shut-down over against the increased profits when 
they should start up again. 

While they were debating this moot point — 
the Cinnabar's dilemma was common talk in An- 
gels, at the time, so it seemed — Grandfather 
Jasper, who had been one of the original stock- 
holders in the mine when it was but an unyield- 
ing prospect shaft, happened along. It was safe 
to assume that he knew nothing of the railroad 
plans, and if he didn't, the speculators were 
probably careful to leave him in ignorance. Any- 
way, the next thing Angels knew, the report was 
handed about that the Cinnabar had been sold, 
lock, stock and barrel, to an Eastern millionaire; 
and that, shordy after the sale was consummated, 
an immense body of underground water had been 
tapped and the mine was hopelessly flooded. 

With our discoveries of the morning the plan 
of the robbery became perfectly plain. Some 
giant of finance among the speculators had 
evolved a scheme by which the mine not only 

345 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

might be shut down during the interval of wait- 
ing for the railroad to build over the bench, but 
at the same time be made to yield a bumper crop 
of profits. 

Taking its various steps in their order, the 
first move in the game was to sell the mine to 
Grandfather Jasper while it was still a going 
proposition; and this was done. But one of the 
conditions of the sale (Beasley told us this) was 
that the selling corporation should continue to 
operate the mine, not as a lessee, but under a 
CQntract by which the operating company should 
receive a certain percentage of the output; an 
arrangement which gave the hold-up artists ample 
opportunity to prepare for the coup de main. 

How these preparations were made, and the 
secret of them kept from leaking out, still re- 
mained one of the unsolved mysteries, though 
Beasley suggested that probably imported work- 
men were employed, and that the work had been 
done under jealous supervision with all the need- 
ful precautions taken against publicity. The 
tight wooden box — ^which would figure as a part 
of the shaft lining — ^had been built, and into the 
box the creek had been diverted by means of 
the small dam and the underground conduit. 
With the water admitted, to rise in the box to 

346 



The Hold-Up 

the level of its intake in the creek reservoir, the 
trap was set and was ready to be sprung. 

Beyond this point there was a gap which we 
were obliged to bridge by conjecture, but the in« 
ferences were all plausible enough. Doubtless 
the plotters had notified my grandfather that his 
mine was flooded and was no longer workable. 
Doubtless, again, he had authorized them to buy 
the needful pumping machinery and to install it 
— ^which they did. 

Next we were to suppose that the robbers had 
reported the total loss of his investment to their 
victim, inviting him to come out and see for him- 
self what the flood had done to him. He had 
come; Beasley had seen him as he passed through 
Angels. We were left to infer that he had visited 
the mine and had been given a demonstration of 
the hopelessness of aifairs by a test run of the 
pumps; a demonstration which drew the water 
from ^he box in the shaft only to have it con- 
stantly and steadily replaced by the flow through 
the pipe conduit from the stream in the gulch. 

In this barefaced imposture the plotters had 
conceivably builded something upon Grandfather 
Jasper's advanced age as an insurance against any 
too-searching investigation; but beypnd this they 
had carefully disarmed any suspicions that he 

347 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

might oti^rwise have harbored by encouragiiig 
him — ^in the actual purchase of the property — 
to take expert advice, and by craftily priming 
him, by understatements of the facts, to trust 
jthenL 

Only rumors of what had occurred at this visit 
reached Angels; but Beasley could testify that 
my grandfather had come and returned alone, and 
that after the pumping demonstration had been 
>made he had seemed disposed to podcet his huge 
loss and to call it a bad day's work. 

It was some months later when he made an- 
other and final visit to the mine ; and this was the 
occasion upon which he had found the Twom- 
blys inhabiting the deserted cabin of the former 
superintendent, and had put Daddy in charge as 
caretaker. 

The later developments were not hard to figure 
out. Beasley was able to tell us that the proposed 
railroad branch to run to the new copper proper- 
ties in Little Cinnabar Gulch was now a certainty 
for the very near future. Hence the time was 
fully ripe for the recovery of the Cinnabar by 
the plotters. No doubt they had confidently as- 
sumed that a repurchase of the property — not 
directly by themselves, of course, but by an agent 
who would figure as a disinterested third party 

348 



k 



The Hold-Up 

— ^would be easy. Beasley said that there had 
been some talk of an underrunning drainage 
tunnel, such as Daddy and I had figured upon — 
this at the time of the springing of the flood 
trap, — and that the cost had been estimated at 
half a million. Unquestionably the robbers had 
assumed that an old man who had already charged 
his venture up to* profit and loss would sell for a 
song rather than to venture again; and in this 
they were probably well within the truth. 

But at the moment when they were ready to 
complete the circle of imposture, death — ^the 
death of Grandfather Jasper — ^had stepped in 
to complicate matters. Somebody — possibly 
Cousin Percy — ^had corresponded with whoever 
was representing the robber syndicate, and by 
this means the plotters had learned that they 
would now have to reckon with an heir. How 
Bullerton came to be employed by them almost 
at the instant of his return from South America 
we did not know; but we could easily understand 
that with the new complication which had arisen 
by reason of Grandfather Jasper's death, it was 
highly necessary for some emissary of the syn- 
dicate to get on the ground quickly, prepared 
to forestall by purchase, guile, or, in the last 
resort by force, any attempt of the Dudley heirs 

349 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

to pry into things they were not to be permitted 
to know. 

Some of these things we guessed at, but one^ 
inference was fairly certain. It was I who had 
pulled the trigger of all the recent activities by 
the single query I had telegraphed Bullerton, 
wfafen he was in Cripple Creek and I was in Den- 
ver. He — and his employers — ^had doubtless 
inmiediately jumped to the conclusion that no- 
body but old Jasper Dudley's heir would have 
asked the question that I was asking; that is, the 
name of the old gentleman who had owned 
the drowned mine. After that, Bullerton had 
wired me the fictitious name, had loaded himself 
up with money enough to buy me off if I were 
for sale, and had set out to best me in the race 
for the goal in the Eastern Umanyonis. Also, 
we judged, he had been given authority enough 
to cover whatever means he might have to employ 
if the money club wouldn't serve to beat me off. 

His pushing of the fight for possession to the 
final and property-destroying extremity was an- 
other matter that Beasley was able to explain. 
Sometime during the siege Bullerton had sent one 
of his men to Atropia to buy explosives, and the 
man had been recognized by Buddy Fuller, 
the telegraph operator, as a member of a gang 

350 



The Hold-Up 

of box-car thieves that the railroad authorities 
had once prosecuted. There were no explosives 
to be had in Atropia, and the man had gone on to 
Angels. Fuller had thereupon wired Beasley to 
be on the lookout for this man, and the marshal 
had met and questioned him. The mere fact 
that he was under suspicion was enough to send 
the powder-buyer bade to BuUerton with a flea 
in his ear; and Bullerton was shrewd enough to 
guess that Beasley would follow his inquiries up 
with an expedition to the Cinnabar. Hence the 
necessity for a finishing stroke, administered 
swiftly. 

'Te see, it was a case o' fish V cut bait, and do 
it quick,*' the marshal concluded. '*If he could 
run you folks out, pronto, and get possession 
afore anybody come along to ask a lot o* pMnted 
questions, he stood about one chance in a dozen 
to lie out of it some way. If you-all got killed 
in the scrimmage, he'd scatter his men in the 
woods and try to make me b*lieve that you'd got 
done up trying to run him off." 

"Would you have believed him?" I asked, 
grinning across the table at Beasley. 

**It 'd a-been a question of vee-radty, as the 
court says ; with maybe you and Hi Twombly too 
dead to testify." 

351 



*^ 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

At this, Daddy, who had been eating like a 
man half-starved, put in his word. 

'1 reckon you can't get at them galoots higher 
up, Stannie, but if you don't shove Charley Bul- 
lerton just about as far as the law '11 allow, Fm 
goin' to call ye a quitter." 

At that moment Jeanie had just brought in 
another heaping plate of the luscious corn cakes, 
and I was looking at her when I replied. 

"We'll see about the shoving a bit later. 
Daddy. The first thing to do is to put the old 
Cinnabar in shape to shell us out some money. 
I'm broke, you know." 

When I made this admission, Beasley, the last 
man in the world from whom help could come, 
I should have said, looked me squarely in the 
eyes. 

"Stannie Broughton-^if that's your name — 
you ain't so dad-blamed crazy as you look and 
act,'* he remarked. "Money's what talks. Are 
you aimin' to swing onto this thing with your 
own hands? — for keeps, I mean; not to sell it 
out to the first set o' minin' sharps that comes 
along?" 

"Sure! — ^you said it; I'm going to keep it and 
work It — after I get out of the jail where you're 
going to land me for pinching that inspection car 

352 



The Hold-Up 

and getting It smashed. Why else did I start out 
blindfolded to hunt for a girl, a horse and a 
dog?" 

He let the latter half of my reply go without 
comment; charging it up to some last lingering 
remains of the craziness, perhaps. 

"Well, let's see about where you'd crack your 
whip first," he invited. 

"That part of It is easy," I laughed. "What 
I don't know about the practical end of the min- 
ing job would load a wagon. I'll pitch out and 
hunt me up a real,yfor-sure miner, of course." 

"Nothin' so awfully crazy about that/' he 
granted. Then: "What's the matter with Hi 
Twombly, here, for your boss miner?" 

"Not a thing in the wide world — except that 
he can't be because he is going to be my partner 
in the deal." 

"Now you're talkin* a whole heap like a white 
man," said the desperadolsh one. "Dog-goned 
if I don't b'lieve you are white 1 What do 
you say to givin' me a whack at the bossin' 
job?" 

I took just one little glance at Daddy, and the 
mild blue eyes said "yes." 

"But you've got me under arrest, Mr. Beas- 
ley," I pointed out, just to see what he'd say. 

353 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

'^You can't very well close a business deal with 
your prisoner, can you?" 

"Kill two 'r three birds with the one rock," 
he mumbled, cramming the siruped half of his 
breakfast-finishing corn cake into his capadous 
mouth. "I'll chase you down to Angels and turn 
you over to the maj-esty o' the law — the same 
bein' by name old Squire Dubbin., Then Fll 
jump my job o' sortin' out the bad angels from 
amongst the good angels and go out and rustle 
your ball. Time old Bill Dubbin's chewin' over 
the law In sich cases made and per^ded — ^llke 
he's bound to do— I'll scrap up a bunch o^ men 
and start 'em up hereaways to begin on the re- 
pairs. How does all that strike you?" 

If my laugh was a bit grim there was a war- 
rant for It. 

"It strikes me fair in the empty pocket, my 
good friend," I told him. "Just at this present 
moment I couldn't finance one solitary, lonesome 
carpenter — ^to say nothing of a gang of them, 
with half a dozen steam-fitters and boilermakers 
thrown in." 

"Huhl workin' capital, you mean? That's 
about the easiest thing this side o' Hades — ^with 
a mine like the old Cinnabar — ^with no more 
water in it than what can be pumped out — to 

354 



The Hold-Up 

back you. I redcon your tide to the property 's 
aU right, ain't it?" 

"It is: I have a deed from my grandfather/* 
So much I said, but I didn't go on to explain 
how the quick wit of a girl who now hated me 
had saved that deed from being a mere scrap 
of waste paper. Not that I knew how she had 
done it — but the tangible fact was safely in my 
pocket. 

"Well, is it a go?" Beasley asked. 

"As our English friends -say, Mr. Beasley, it's 
a great go. You are certainly one good man 
to tie to, and I shall pu|l the knot until there'll 
never be any chance of its slipping," I replied; 
and thus our bargain was strudc. 

Fifteen minutes after this breakfast-table talk 
I was bidding a temporary good-by to the wreck 
on the Cinnabar ledge, and was about to take 



the road to Atropia with Beasley; both of us in- 
tent upon catching a way-freight to Angels. 
Daddy had lent me the piebald pony for the ride 
to the railroad station — ^this either with or with- 
out Jcanie's consent; I didn't know and forbore 
to ask — and the harlequin-faced dog was ready 
to trot at the pony's heels. But the blue-eyed 
maiden had shut herself up in her room, and I 

355 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

thought she wasn't going to come out to see me 
off. 

At the final moment, howeveri after Beasley 
had already steered his nag across the dump 
head, and I was about to climb into my saddle, 
she came to the cabin door, and was both curi- 
ously embarrassed and a bit breathless. 

"Please!— one minute 1" she begged; and as^ I 
took my foot out of the stirrup : "Do you know 
what they have done with — ^with ^^ 

"With BuUerton?" I helped out. "No, I 
don't know; but I suppose they've taken him on 
to the county^ seat at Copah with the others.'* 

"I — I — ^you owe me something, don't you, 
Sta — I mean Mr. Broughton?" she stammered. 

I nodded. 

"I owe you anything and everything you may 
like to ask me to pay." 

"Then — then — ^please let him go! If you re- 
fuse to prosecute " 

"Make yourself entirely easy," I broke in, a 
bit sourly, maybe. "I'll agree not to play the 
part of the dog in the manger." 

"Thank you — so much!" she murmured; and 
then she backed away quickly and went in and on 
through to the kitchen, leaving me to follow 
Beasley, which I did, with the sour humor telling 

356 



The Hold-Up 

me that of all the puzzling, utterly unaccountable 
things in a world of enigmas, a woman's vagaries 
were the least understandable. For, after all was 
said and done, and after all that had happened 
and been made to happen, it seemed to be palpa- 
bly apparent that Jeanie Twombly was still in love 
with the jeet 



357 



XX 

Angels, Desert and Urban 

OUR stop-over in Angels, Friend Beasley's 
and mine, was of the shortest. Upon our 
arrival, the marshal ran me up to the office of 
"the maj-esty o' the law" sitting in the person of 
a gray-haired patriarch with the stem of a corn- 
cob pipe clamped between his four remaining 
teeth, and his slippered feet on the table, which 
answered the double purpose of a desk and the 
bar of justice. 

Our business with Father William Dubbin was 
the merest travesty upon a trial at law, and was 
speedily concluded. At Beasley's prompting I 
pleaded guilty to the abreption (the obsolete 
word was mine, but Beasley caught at it at once 
and begged me to use it in my plea) of the in- 
spection car, and expressed my entire willingness 
to confess judgment and to reimburse the rail- 
road company for its loss. 

To this plea, Beasley added his word, which 
was to the eflFect that, "this here prisoner, the 

358 



Angels, Desert and Urban 

said Stannie Broughton aforesaid, was jest nacfa- 
erly obleeged to get to Atropia that same afore- 
said day, him a-takin' a ten-to-one shot on 
losin' a mine that had cost his gran'pap half a 
million cart-wheels. Hence-wise and wherefore, 
he throws hisself onto the mussies o' the court; 
and further this here deponent sayeth not/' 

Whereupon, very gravely, and in legal phrase- 
ology that "saw" Beasley's eflForts in that direc- 
tion and went them one better, the patriarch with 
his feet on the table remanded me to the custody 
of the marshal, "on my good behavior,'' with a 
formal order to Beasley that I be forthwith taken 
to Brewster, the railroad headquarters, there to 
make my peace with the railroad officials. After 
which the majesty shook hands most cordially 
with me and we parted. 

This brief contact with the law of the land, 
and the recovery of my two suit cases from the 
custody of Wing Poo— with the contents some- 
what wrinkled by their long confinement but 
otherwise good to look upon — ^were accomplished 
while yet the way-freight upon which we had 
journeyed from Atropia was still shifting cars 
in the Angels yard. Since there would be no 
passenger-train until afternoon, Beasley and I 
resumed our places in the freight's caboose, and 

359 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

in due time were set down in Brewster, the breezy 
little metropolis of Timanyoni Park. 

Here my captor — ^and friend — appeared to be 
very much at home. He took me to the best 
hotel, where he was greeted with a£fectionate 
camaraderie by a derk who wore a diamond big 
enough to serve for a locomotive headlight, shook 
hands with, and introduced me to, a number of 
gentlemen in the lobby, and presently gave me 
orders to go up to our rooms and '^take a wash," 
preparatory to meeting a certain friend of his 
at luncheon; the meeting contingent upon his be- 
ing able to ^'round up" the friend in time for 
the feast. 

It was with emotions that are fairly indescriba- 
ble that I turned the hot water on in the bath, 
and shaved while it was running, and laid out 
dean linen and a respectable suit of dothes, and 
otherwise took the various steps toward an 
emergence from the Arabian-Nights enchantment 
into which I had plunged at the hour of going 
ashore from Jack Downing's motor cruiser at 
the wharf in Rockland, Maine, on an evening 
some six weeks earlier. 

According to all human precedent, the six- 
weeks' adventure, with its near-tragic condusion, 
should already be withdrawing into the limbo of 

360 



Angels, Desert and Urban 

things dreamed of but never really experienced; 
yet, oddly enough, it was quite the other way 
about: even after I had made myself decently 
presentable for an appearance in a hotel dining- 
room, it was borne in upon me that the past — 
that past which I had put behind me on the Rock- 
land wharf — ^was the real dream, and that it 
could never repeat itself in any conceivable 
future. 

It is old Homer, I believe, who tells the story 
of the Lotus-eaters; people who ate the fruit 
of the magic tree and straightway lost all desire 
of returning to their native land. ... I, too, 
had bitten into a strange and intoxicating fruit; 
the bitter-sweet apple that grows on the tree of 
good) hard work; work with both head and 
hands, and directed toward a useful end. 

With the taste of the apple in my mouth I 
wouldn't have accepted a free tidcet to Paradise 
just then ; much less a return billet to Boston and 
the ambitionless, time-killing existence which was 
about the only thing I'd ever known before I set 
out to find the girl, a horse and a dog somewhere 
west of longitude 105 and north of the 35th de- 
gree of latitude. What I wanted most was to 
get back to Cinnabar Mountain quickly; to put 
on my old clothes and lay hold with my hands 

361 



m 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

again; to live, so far as the changed conditions 
might permit, the simple life that I had been 
living in the Twombly cabin before Bullerton had 
butted in. 

And Jeanie of the heavenly eyes? There, 
indeed, was a sore spot that only time could 
heal. Still, I told myself that I wasn't the 
only man in the world who had found the one 
woman, merely to learn that somebody else had 
already discovered the way to her heart. Yet 
there was a little mystery here, too; and, having 
nothing more tangible to embrace, I hugged it 
gratefully. Loving Bullerton well enough, so 
it seemed, to make at least a start toward letting 
him carry her off; and certainly thinking enough 
of him to plead with me for his release, she had 
nevertheless defeated whatever plot he had been 
weaving in connection with the deed to the mine; 
upset and smashed it by her journey to Copah 
and the Recorder's office. 

It still wanted a half-hour of the appointed 
luncheon time when I descended to the lobby, 
feeling almost as awkward as a store-clothed 
countryman on his first visit to the metropolis — 
so soon does the slight veneer of use and wont 
crack and split and fall away when one has been 
in contact with Great Nature and the raw reali- 

362 



Angels, Desert and Urban 

ties. Since Beasley was nowhere in sight, I 
bought a newspaper (the first I had seen in a 
month and a half), felt for my trusty corn-cob 
pipe — ^but shamefacedly compromised on a cigar 
— and sat down to read while I waited. 

A little before one o'clock Beasley came in 
with a middle-aged man who looked as if he 
might have been the retired manager of a Wild 
West show; not long-haired, or anything like that 
but with the cool eye and bronzed, weather-beaten 
face of one who lived under house roofs only 
when circumstances forced him to. A moment 
later I was shaking hands with Mr. William 
Starbuck, mine owner, ranchman, a director in 
the Brewster National Bank, president of /the 
Brewster Commercial Club, and the prime mover 
in a lot of other civic activities too numerous to 
mention. 

We adjourned to the dining-room at once, and 
when we had given our luncheon order, Beasley 
opened the ball with a few choice — and Angelic 
— ^phrases introductory. 

'Tm runnin' you up ag'inst the whitest man 
in the Timanyoni, Stannic," he said. '^Billy Star- 
buck, here, has gone all the gaits and had all the 
ups and downs; me and him used to ride range 
here in the Timanyoni together when Missis Eve 

363 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

was a kiddie in short dresses and old Daddy 
Adam was too little to climb trees. I been a-tellin' 
him about your tussle f r the old Cinnabar — sort 
o* breakin' the ice f'r you; so now you jest / sail 
in and unload your grief/' 

Thus encouraged, I laughed and told the 
"whitest man" where I stood and what my needs 
were. He asked a few questions, but was, on 
the whole, the least talkative person I had as yet 
met in the unfettered West. But, as I was pres- 
ently to learn, his capacity for swift and effective 
action was in inverse proportion to the number 
of words he wasted over it. Practically all he 
said, before we started out to tiy to convince a 
banker that I was a good risk, was to the effect 
that he knew Ike Beasley and Hiram Twombly 
of old, and that Beasley's word was as good as 
his bond. 

I may pass, lightly over the events of the three 
days following; days in which Mr. William Star- 
buck, who seemed to be known to all the old- 
timers in Brewster as "Billy," and to- the younger 
generation as "Uncle Billy," labored untiringly 
in my behalf; procured me the necessary working 
credit at the Brewster National, helped me in 
the telegraphic ordering of new machinery, helped 
Beasley to rustle up a small army of mechanics 

364 



Angels, Desert and Urban 

to go on ahead of us to the Cinnabar, and last, 
but not least, made my peace with the railroad 
company in the matter of the stolen and smashed 
inspection car; this being a thing which he was 
easily able to do because he was the brother-in- 
law, once removed, of the railroad company's 
vice-president and general manager. 

On our last day in Brewster, and as a parting 
favor, I asked Starbuck how I should proceed in 
regard to quashing the indictment against Buller- 
ton, and when I did so, he gave me a shrewd look 
out of the cool gray eyes with a gentle uplifting 
of the shaggy brows. 

'^I shouldn't think youM want to quash that 
indictment, Mr. Broughton," he said. "Buller- 
ton would have killed you and Twombly if he 
had been given a little more time.'' 

'^None the less, there are reasons," I insisted. 

'^But if you let him off, you'll have to let his 
hired thugs off, as well." 

''I know; but even so, the reasons remain 
good." 

At this the shrewd look changed to a grim 
smile. 

^'I'm going to hazard a guess that they are a 
woman's reasons," he offered. "However, that 
is none of my business. If you are determined 

365 



I 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

to let BuUerton go, all you have to do is to do 
nothing. If you don't appear in Copah to 
prosecute him and his would-be mine jumpers, 
the case against them will be dismissed, as a mat- 
ter of course. But really, you know, you ought 
to make an example of them." 

*ln the circumstances, I can't,*' I returned, so 
we let it go at that; and an hour later Beasley 
and I were on our way back to Atropia and 
Cinnabar Mountain. 



366 



XXI 

Cousin Percy Wires 

IT was on the evening of the fourth day's 
absence that Beasley and I left the train at 
Atropia and took the mountain trail in reverse 
for a return to the high bench on Old Cinnabar, 
Beasley riding a borrowed horse, and I the calico 
pony, which Daddy Hiram had sent down to the 
station by one of the newly imported workmen. 

Just as we were leaving the railroad station 
in the sleepy shade hamlet which was soon to take 
on new life as the shipping point for a revivified 
Cinnabar, and as the junction point for the new 
copper-mine branch. Buddy Fuller, the operator, 
ran out to hand me a telegram. Since it was too 
dark to see to read it, and I supposed, naturally, 
that it was nothing more important than a bid 
from some madiinery firm anxious to supply our 
needs, I thought it might wait, stuck it into my 
pocket — and promptly forgot it. 

Our talk, as we rode together up the now 
familiar trail, was chiefly of business ; the business 

367 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

of reopening the mine; and it was not until we 
were nearing our destination that the ex-marshal 
said: 

"Still stickin' in your craw that you ain't a-goin' 
to pop the whip at Charley BuUerton?" 

"It is," I answered. 

« 

"It looks to me like you'd ort to. He ain't 
no better than a sawed-off-shotgun hold-up, any 
way you squint at it." 

"Thkt may be true: it is true. But I shan't 
prosecute." 

"Well, now, why not?" 

"Principally because I have promised some- 
body that I wouldn't prosecute." 

"Not Hi Twombly; he^d never ast you to do 
anything like that." 

"No; not Daddy Hiram." 

He didn't press the matter any further, and 
we rode on in silence. As we approached the 
neighborhood of the mine, evidences of the 
forthputting activities began" to manifest them- 
selves. Hammers and saws were making a 
cheerful racket, and carbide flares were lighting 
up the scene for the night shift of rebuilders. 
Twinkling lights in the long-deserted miners' 
cabins gave an inhabited aspect to the mine ledge, 
and the alternating clank-and-gush of deep-well 

368 



Cousin Percy Wires 

pumps told that the work of freeing the lower 
levels of the workings from seepage water was 
already In progress. 

Daddy Hiram met us at the door of his newly 
repaired cabin across the dump head and insisted 
upon taking care of the horses. Beasley and I 
washed up at the out-door, bench-and-basin lava- 
tory; and when we went in, Jeanie had supper 
ready for us. 

She didn't sit at table mth us — from which I 
argued that she and her father had already eaten 
— and I thought she purposely avoided me; 
avoided meeting my eye, at least. I didn't won- 
der at it. Her position) as I had it figured out, 
was rather awkwardly anomalous. By this time, 
I had fully convinced myself that she was in love 
with BuUerton, and was probably engaged to be 
married to him; and that it was only her native 
honesty that had driven her to take sides against 
him in the struggle for the Cinnabar, prompting 
her to do the one thing which had knocked his 
nefarious scheme on the head — namely, the 
recording of my deed. 

Crazy as he had confessed himself to be about 
her, I fancied Bullerton would hardly forgive her 
for the deed business — the one thing that estab- 
lished my ownership of the mine beyond question. 

369 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

Or, if he should overlook it and marry her, I 
feared it would be partly in the way of revenge. 
It was a sorry mix-up, or so it appeared to me, 
any way it could be looked at, and my heart 
ached for her. If there were any comfort to be 
got out of the fact that Bullerton wasn't going 
to be held for trial — the assurance that she had 
saved him from this — ^I meant to give it to her 
at the first opportunity. 

It was quite late in the evening before the op- 
portunity offered itself. Knowing nothing but 
hard work, Daddy Hiram was running the deep- 
well pumps himself, or rather, taking the night 
shift on them; and about ten o'clock, just as I 
had made up my mind to go to bed and let the 
repairing activities take care of themselves, I 
saw Jeanie going over to the boiler shed with a 
pot of freshly made coffee for her father. Here 
was my chance, I thought; so I waited and cor- 
nered her as she came bade. 

*'Let*s have it out, Jeanie,'' I said; which, I 
confess, was a sort of brutal way to begin on the 
woman I loved, and yet the only way if I was to 
go on remembering that she belonged to another 
man. **We can at least be good friends, can't 
we?" 

^*No," she returned, with a queer little twist 

370 



Cousin Percy Wires 

of her pretty lips and a flash of the blue eyes, 
"Fm afraid we can't cvep be that— or those — 
any more, Mr. Broughton." 

It was awkward for both of us, standing there 
before the open cabin door, and I pointed to the 
bench where Daddy Hiram was wont to smoke 
his evening pipe in good weather. 

''Won't you sit down until we can sort of flail 
It out?" I begged. 

"It's no use, whatever," she objected; never- 
theless, she did sit down and let me sit beside her. 
The place was public enough, goodness knows: 
the entire mine ledge was lighted as bright as day 
by the carbide flares, and the carpenters were at 
work all over the near-by shaft-house. 

"I know just how distressed you must be," I 
began, ''and perhaps I can lift a bit of the load 
from your shoulders. There will be no legal 
steps taken against your — ^against Charles BuUer- 
ton." 

"Thank you," she said; just as short as that. 

"And that isn't all," I went on. "After we 
get into the ore and have some real money to 
show for it, I'm going to make over a share in 
the Cinnabar to your father and put him in a 
position to do the right thing by you when you 
marry. And he'll do it; you know he'll do it." 

371 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

**How kindl** she murmured, looking straight 
but in front of her. 

^It isn't kindness; it*s bare justice. Between 
you, you two have saved my legacy for me." 

"I wish, now, it hadt^t been saved 1" she ex- 
claimed, as vindictively as you please. 

Truly, I thought, the ways of women are past 
finding out; or at least the way of a maid with 
a man is. 

^'Can't I say anything at all without putting 
my foot into it?" I asked in despair. "You break 
a man's back with a load of obligation one day, 
and toss him lightly out of your young life the 
next! I haven't done anything to earn your — to 
earn the back of your hand, Jeanie; or if I have, 
I don't know what it is." 

"You have committed the unpardonable sin," 
she accused coolly. "I don't wonder that Miss 
Randle took your ring off." 

I wasn't going to let the talk shift to Lisette; 
not if I knew it, and could help it. 

"What is the unpardonable sin?" I asked. 

"To misunderstand: to think a person capable 
of a thing when a person is not ; to— just take it 
for granted that a person is guilty — oh" — ^with 
a little stamp of her foot — "I can't bear to talk 
about it I" 

372 



Cousin Percy Wires 

I guess it's a part of a man's equipment to be 
dense and sort of stupid — ^in his dealings with 
women, I mean. Slowly, so slowly that I thought 
the catch would never snap and hold, my fool 
mind crept back along the line, searching blindly 
for the point at which all this fiery indignation 
toward me had begun ; back and still bade to that 
moment of our deliverance — ^Daddy's and mine 
— at the shaft-house door, with this dear g^rl un- 
twisting her arms from her father's nedc, and 
with me saying, 'I'm not hurt, either. Welcome 
home, Miss Twombly— or should I say, Mrs. 
Bullerton?" 

''Jeanier I gasped; "do you mean that you're 
not going to marry Charles Bullerton ? — that joxl 
never meant to?" 

"Of course, I'm notl" she retorted, with a 
savage little out-thrust of the adorable chin. "But 
you thought so small of me that you simply took 
it for granted 1" 

I wagged my head in deepest humility. 

"I'm as the dust under your pretty feet, Jeanie; 
please don't trample me too hard. Bullerton — 
that is — er — ^we had a scrap the next morning 
after you went away, you know, and I . . . 
well, he rather got the worst of it. And when 
I had him down and was trying to make hun 

373 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

tell us where you were— ^ven your father thought 
you'd gone off with him — he said you'd planned 
to go with him to get married, but that you had 
failed to show up at Atropia in time for the 
traui. 

''He told a lie, because that is the way he is 
made and he couldn't help it," she said simply, 
still as cool as a cucumber. ^^He said we were 
going to Angels to get married, and I — ^I didn't 
say we weren't; I just let him talk and didn't say 
anything at all.'* 

"Won't you tcU me a bit more ?" I begged. 

"You don't deserve it the least little bit, but 
I will. It began with the deed ; your deed to the 
mine. One day, when you were over at the shaft- 
house, and had left your coat here in the cabin, 
I saw him take the deed from your pocket when 
he didn't know I was looking. He read it and 
put it back quickly when he heard me stirring in 
the other room. I knew it hadn't been recorded; 
you and Daddy had both spoken of that. I felt 
sure he'd take it again, and perhaps destroy it. 
At first, I thought I'd tell you or Daddy, or both 
of you. But I knew that would mean trouble." 

"We were never very far from the fighting 
edge in those days," I admitted. "Bullerton had 
shown me the gun he always carried under his 

374 



Cousin Percy Wires 

arm, and had told me what to expect in case I 
were foolish enough to lose my temper/' 

'1 know,'' she nodded. **He killed a man once; 
it was when I was a little girl and we were living 
in Cripple Creek. He was acquitted on the plea 
of self-defense. So I didn't dare say anything 
to you or to Daddy. What I did was to steal 
your deed myself, when I had a chance. Daddy 
has some blank forms just like it, and I sat up 
one night in my room and made a copy. It wasn't 
a very good copy — ^your grandfather's handwrit- 
ing was awfully hard to imitate. Besides, I 
didn't have any notarial seal. But I thought it 
might do for — for something to be stolen. Then 
I hid the real deed and put the copy back in the 
envelope in your pocket." 

*'And BuUerton finally stole it, just as you 
thought he would," I put in. 

"He did. You are dreadfully careless with 
your things; you are always leaidng your coat 
around, just where you happen to take it off. I 
knew then that the next thing to be done was to 
get your deed recorded quickly. He — he was 
urging me every day to run away with him, and 
I was afraid to tell him how much I despised 
him; afraid he'd take it out on you and Daddy. 
So I just let him go on and talk and believe what 

375 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

he pleased. Of course, he wanted to ride with 
me the morning we went away, but after we 
got down the road a piece, I made an exaac to 
go on ahead by another trail/' 

^That much of what he told your father and 
me — ^when we were having the scrap— was true. 
He said you went on ahead/' 

*1 didn't go. to Atropia, as he expected me to/' 
she continued calmly. '1 took the old Haver- 
sack trail across the mountain to Greaser Sding. 
I knew that the Copah train would stop there on 
the side-track. When I got as far as the Haver- 
sack I thought I heard somebody following me. 
I was scared and didn't know what to do. I was 
afraid my copying of the deed had been discov- 
ered and that the original would be taken away 
from me, so I hurried to hide the real deed. The 
old Haversack tunnel seemed to be a good place, 
but while I was in there Barney began to bark,' 
and I looked out and saw that the noise I had 
heard had been made by a stray cow from one 
of the foothill ranches. So I remounted and rode 
on to catch the train to Copah. At Greaser Sid- 
ing I tried to make Barney lead the pony home, 
and Barney tried his best to do it. But Winlue 
wanted to graze, and I had to go off and leave 
them when the train came. That's all, I thmk; 

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Cousin Percy Wires 

except that I had to wait two days at my cousin's 
in Copah before I could get the deed back from 
the Recorder's office. They were awfully slow 
about it/' 

"It isn't quite all," I amended. "You haven't 
told me how you happened to come back with 
Beasley and his posse." 

"That was just a coincidence. I reached Atro- 
pia on the early morning train and met Mr. Beas- 
ley and his men just as they were starting up 
the mountain. Gxisin Buddy Fuller had told me 
how he had telegraphed to Angels for Mr. Beas- 
ley, and I was scared to death, of course, because 
I knew what it meant. So I borrowed the Hag- 
gertys' pony and came along with the posse." 

There was silence for a little time ; such silence 
as the clattering and hammering of the carpenters 
and steam-fitters permitted. Then I said: 

"And when you got here, the first thing I did 
was to call you ^Mrs. BuUerton'. I don't blame 
you for not being able to forgive me, Jeanie, g^rl; 
honestly, I don't** 

"It was worse than a crime," she averred 
solemnly; "it was a blunder. What made you 
do it?" 

"Partly because I was a jealous fool ; but mostly 

377 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

because I was sore and sorry and disappointed. 
I thought BuUerton had beaten me to it.'* 

''No/' she said quite soberly; *4t was Miss 
Randle who beat you to it." 

I gasped. There were tremendous possibilities 
in that cool answer of hers; prodigious possibili- 
ties. 

"But sayl" I burst out; "didn't I tell you that 
Lisette had pushed me overboard long ago?** 

"I know. She was sensible enough to see that 
you and she couldn't live on nothing a year. But 
now that you are rich, or are going to be . . . 
Fm sure you are not going to be less generous 
than she was. What if she did take your ring 
off in a moment of discouragement, and knowing 
that you couldn't buy her hats ? You can be very 
sure she put it on again as soon as your bade was 
turned." 

There we were ; no sooner over one hurdle be- 
fore another and a higher one must jump up. I 
groaned and thrust my hands into my pockets. 
A paper rustled and I drew it out. It was the 
telegram Buddy Fuller had handed me, still 
unread. I opened it half absently, holding it 
down so that the glow of the nearest flare fell 
upon the writing. Then I gave a little yelp, 
swallowed hard two or three times and nearly 

378 



Cousin Percy Wires 

choked doing it, and read the thing again. After 
all of which I said, as calmly as I could: 

''But, in spite of all that I had told you about 
Lisette, you asked me once to kiss you/' 

"Is — is it quite nice of you to remind rac of 
it?'' she inquired reproachfully. 

"It wouldn't be — ^in ordinary circumstances; 
it would be beastly. But, listen, Jeanie; haven't 
you been mad clear through, sometimes, in read- 
ing a story, to have a coincidence rung in on you 
when you knew perfectly well that the thing 
couldn't possibly have happened so pat in the 
nick of time ?" 

"I suppose I have ; yes." 

"Well, don't ever let it disturb you again. Be- 
cause the real thing Is a lot more wonderful and 
unbelievable, you know. Listen to this: it's a 
wire from my cousin, Percy; the one who sent 
me out into the wide, wide world to look for a 
girl, a horse and a dog, and who is the only 
human being outside of Colorado who knows 
where I am likely to be reached by telegraph. 
He is in Boston, and this is what he says: 'Re- 
called home when we reached Honolulu, out- 
bound. Lisette and I were married to-day. Con- 
gratulate us.' " 

379 



The Girl a Horse and a Dog 

For a minute there was a breathless scMt of 
pause, and I broke it. 

"Jeanie, dear, was it just cxHnmon honesty and 
good faith that made you take all these chances, 
with the deed, and with BuUerton?" 

'Tes, Vm commonly honest,^* said the small 
voice at my shoulder. 

^'BuUerton is a shrewd, sharp, smart fellow,'' 
I went on. ^TU venture to say that he aever 
made such ^ bonehead break as I did the morning 
you came back. You must think something of 
him or you wouldn't have asked me not to prose* 
cute him for trying to murder your father and 
me. 

She looked down at her pretty feet, which were 
crossed. 

"I think — a little something— of myself," she 
said, with small breath-catchings between the 
words. "I owed myself that much, don't you 
think? If I didn't deceive him outright, I'm 
afraid I did let him deceive himself. So that 
made me responsible, in a way, and I couldn't 
let you send him to jail, could I ?" 

*^But what about me? Are you going to send 
me to a worse place than any jail? — for that is 
what the whole wide world is going to be to me 
without you, Jeanie, dear." 

380 



Cousin Percy Wires 

Her answer was just like her: she turned and 
put up her face to me and said, ''Kiss me again, 
Stannie/' And though all the carpenters on the 
job were looking on, as I suppose they were, by 
'this time, I took her in my arms. 

It was a short spasm; it sort of had to be in 
the public circumstances. When it was over, I 
folded Percy's telegram, took out my pencil, and 
with the dear girl looking on, printed my reply 
on what was left of the message blank. This is 
what I said: 

"The same to you. Have found the G., the 
H. and the D., and Miss Jeanie Twombly and 
I are to be married as soon as we can find a 
minister. Incidentally, I have learned how to 
work. Hope it will be a comfort to you, to 
Grandfather Jasper — if he is where he can hear 
of it— and to all concerned. 

"Stannie.'' 



381