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Full text of "A girl from Mexico"

ANGUS, ORHE 

NANCE OF MANCHESTER 

ANNESLEY, MAUDE 
THIS DAY'S MADNESS 
WIND ALONG THE WASTE 
SHADOW-SHAPES 

ARNOLD, Mrs. J. 0. 
HONOURS EASY 

AUTHOR OP 'THE INNER SHRINE 

THE WILD OLIVE 

THE STREET CALLED STRAIGHT 

BAGOT, RICHARD 

A ROMAN MYSTERY 

THE PASSPORT 

TEMPTATION 

ANTHONY CUTHBERT 

LOVE'S PROXY 

DONNA DIANA 

CASTING OF NETS 

THE HOUSE OF SERRAVALLE 

DARNELEY PLACE 




JEN'S 
LIBRARY 

BY EMINENT AND POPULAR 
POSSIBLE SIMULTANEOUSLY 
&LAND. THEY ARE OF VERY 
RINTED ON ANTIQUE PAPER 
ON PAPER OR IN ATTRACTIVE 
VERS 



' t 




ILEY, H. C. 

.JORM AND 
HE LONELY QUEE1 
HE SUBURBAN 

RING-GOUtr1 

N THE ROAR Of THE SEA 
HE QUEEN OF LOVE 
ALONE 



HE BROOM-SQUIRE 
ABO THE PRIEST 
VINEFRED 

RNETT, JOHH 
QUEEN OF CASTAWAYS 



Ulus. 
Ulus. 
Ulus. 
Ulus. 



BARR, ROBERT 

IN THE MIDST OF ALARMS 

THE MUTABLE MANY 

THE COUNTESS TEKLA 
BARRETT, WILSON 

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS 

THE NEVER-NEVER LAND 
BELLOC, H. 

A CHANGE IN THE CABINET 
BELLOC-LOWNDES, Mrs. 

THE CHINK IN THE ARMOUR 

MARY PECHELL 

BENNETT, ARNOLD 

CLAYHANGER 

HILDA LESSWAYS 

THE CARD 

A MAN FROM THE NORTH 

THE MATADOR OF THE FIVE 

TOWNS 
BURIED ALIVE 

BENSON, E. F. 
DODO 



METHUEN'S COLONIAL LIBRARY 



FICTION Continued 



BIRMINGHAM, G. A. 

THE BAD TIMES 
SPANISH GOLD 
THE SEARCH PARTY 
LALAGE'S LOVERS 

BOWEN, MARJORIE 
I WILL MAINTAIN 
DEFENDER OF THE FAITH 
GOD AND THE KING 
THE QUEST OF GLORY 
A KNIGHT OF SPAIN 

CAPES, BERNARD 

THE LOVE STORY OF ST. BEL 
JEMMY ABERCRAW 

CASTLE, AGNES and EGERTON 

FLOWER O' THE ORANGE IIlus. 

CASTLETON, ROBERT 

ADVENTURES OF AN ACTOR 

CLARK, IMOGEN 
A CHARMING HUMBUG 

CLARKE, I. 

PRISONERS' YEARS 

CONRAD, JOSEPH 

THE SECRET AGENT 
A SET OF SIX 
WESTERN EYES 

CONYERS, DOROTHEA 

SALLY 

COOK, W. VICTOR 

ANTON OF THE ALPS 
A WILDERNESS WOOING 

CORELLI, MARIE 

A ROMANCE OF TWO WORLDS 

VENDETTA 

THELMA 

ARDATH 

THE SOUL OF LILITH 

WORMWOOD 

BARABBAS 

THE SORROWS OF SATAN 

THE MASTER-CHRISTIAN 

TEMPORAL POWER 

GOD'S GOOD MAN 

HOLY ORDERS 

THE LIFE EVERLASTING 

BOY 

THE MIGHTY ATOM 

CAMEOS 



CROCKETT, S. R. 

LOCHINVAR Illus. 

THE STANDARD BEARER 

CROKER, B. M. 

PEGGY OF THE BARTONS 

A STATE SECRET 

ANGEL 

JOHANNA 

THE HAPPY VALLEY 

THE OLD CANTONMENT 

A NINE DAYS' WONDER 

KATHERINE THE ARROGANT 

BABES IN THE WOOD 
CROSBIE, MARY 

KINSMEN'S CLAY 
DANBY, FRANK 

JOSEPH IN JEOPARDY 
DOYLE, SIR A. CONAN 

ROUND THE RED LAMP 
DUNCAN, SARA JEANNETTE 

A VOYAGE OF CONSOLATION. Illus. 

THE BURNT OFFERING 

EDGELOW, THOMAS 

IT HAPPENED IN SMYRNA 
ELLIOT, ROBERT 

THE IMMORTAL CHARLATAN 
FINDLATER, JANE H. 

THE GREEN GRAVES OF BAL- 
GOWRIE 

FINDLATER, MARY 

THE ROSE OF JOY 

A BLIND BIRD'S NEST Illus. 

THE NARROW WAY 

OVER THE HILLS 
FITZSTEPHEN, GERALD 

GRIFFITH COLGROVE'S WIFE 
FRANCIS, M. E. 

GALATEA OF THE WHEATFIELD 

MARGERY O' THE MILL 

HARDY-ON-THE-HILL 
FRASER, MRS. HUGH 

GIANNELLA 
FRY, B. and C. B. 

A MOTHER'S SON 
GERARD, LOUISE 

THE HYENA OF KALLU 

THE GOLDEN CENTIPEDE 

GIBBON, PERCEVAL 

MARGARET HARDING 



METHUEN'S COLONIAL LIBRARY 

FICTION Continued 



GIBSON, L. S. 

THE OAKUM PICKERS 
GISSING, GEORGE 
THE CROWN OF LIFE 

GLANYILLE, ERNEST 

THE KLOOF BRIDE Illus. 

GLEIG, CHARLES 

A WOMAN IN THE LIMELIGHT 
GREENE, FRANCES NIMMO 

INTO THE NIGHT Illus. 

HAMILTON, COSMO 

MRS. SKEFFINGTON 
HANDASYDE 

THE MAN IN ARMOUR 
HARRADEN, BEATRICE 

IN VARYING MOODS 

THE SCHOLAR'S DAUGHTER 

HILDA STRAFFORD Illus. 

INTERPLAY 

HAUPTMANN, G. 

A FOOL IN CHRIST 
HERBERTSON, A. G. 

DEBORAH 

THE SHIP THAT CAME HOME IN 
THE DARK 

HICHENS, ROBERT S. 

BYEWAYS 

TONGUES OF CONSCIENCE 

THE PROPHET OF BERKELEY 
SQUARE 

FELIX 

THE WOMAN WITH THE FAN 

THE GARDEN OF ALLAH 

THE BLACK SPANIEL Illus. 

THE CALL OF THE BLOOD 

BARBARY SHEEP 

THE DWELLER ON THE THRES- 
HOLD 

HILLIERS, ASHTON 

THE MASTER GIRL Illus. 

REMITTANCE BILLY 
HOLDSWORTH, ANNIE E. 

THE LITTLE COMPANY OF RUTH 

DAME VERONA OF THE ANGELS 

HOPE, ANTHONY 

A MAN OF MARK 

A CHANGE OF AIR 

THE GOD IN THE CAR 

THE CHRONICLES OF COUNT 

ANTONIO 
PHROSO Illus. 



HOPE, AW1ROJW continued 

SIMON DALE , Htos. 

THE KING'S MIRROR 

QUISANTE* 

A SERVANT OF THE PUBLIC Illus. 

TALES OF TWO PEOPLE Illus. 

THE GREAT MISS DRIVER Illus. 

MRS. MAXON PROTESTS 
HOPE, MARGARET 

CHRISTINA HOLBROOK 
HORNIMAN, ROY 

CAPTIVITY 
HUTCHINSON, M. P. 

HAUNTING SHADOWS 
HUTTEN, BARONESS YON 

THE HALO 

HYNB, C. J. CUTCLIFFE 

MR. HORROCKS, PURSER Illus. 

IRONSIDE, JOHN 

FORGED IN STRONG FIRES 
JACOBS, W. W. 

MANY CARGOES 

SEA URCHINS 

A MASTER OF CRAFT Illus. 

LIGHT FREIGHTS Illus. 

THE SKIPPER'S WOOING Illus. 

ODD CRAFT Illus. 

AT SUNWICH PORT Illus. 

DIALSTONE LANE Illus. 

THE LADY OF THE BARGE Illus. 

SALTHAVEN Illus. 

SAILORS' KNOTS Illus. 

SHORT CRUISES Illus. 

JAMES, HENRY 

FINER GRAIN 

THE OUTCRY 
LEE, JENNETTE 

BETTY HARRIS 

LE QUEUX, WILLIAM 

THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW. Illus. 
BEHIND THE THRONE 
THE CROOKED WAY 
THE CLOSED BOOK 
THE HUNCHBACK OF WESTMIN- 
STER 

.INDSEY, WILLIAM 

THE SEVERED MANTLE Illus. 

,ISLE, DAYID 
A PAINTER OF SOULS 
A KINGDOM DIVIDED 



'a Colonial |t tbraru 



A GIRL FROM MEXICO 



A GIRL FROM MEXICO 



I 4' 

IT i^" BY 

R. B. TOWNSHEND 

AUTHOR OF "LONE PINE" 



"WE LIVE IN A DREAM AND WE LOVE IN A DREAM 
AND WE GO IN A DREAM TO DIE." 



METHUEN & GO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 

LONDON 

Colonial Library 



, , 



First Published in 1914. 



Bancroft Library 



TO MY WIFE 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAOB 

I. THE HIRED MAN I 

II. BY THE ELKHORN FORD .... II 

III. JUST A SCRAP ...... 26 

IV. A CROCKETT CIRCUS 35 

V. EL MEJICANO. . . . . 50 

VI. CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES. ... 67 

VII. SCARING A TENDERFOOT .... 77 

VIII. FATES IRONIC. ..... 94 

IX. WHAT HAPPENED AT THE WATERHOLES . IOQ 

X. THE WIFE BEATER 1 19 

XI. THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT . . .131 

XII. ADIOS, SENORA 144 

XIII. GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL . . 159 

XIV. TOO LATE 169 

XV. A NEW ALLY l82 

XVI. THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH . . . 190 

XVII. A COMANCHE HOLIDAY . 203 

XVIII. BACK TRACKS 22O 

vii 



viii A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

CHAPTER PAGB 

XIX. UNA VIDA ...... 233 

XX. THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO . . 247 

XXI. APACHE AMMUNITION .... 26l 

XXII. DISCOVERIES 274 

XXIII. THE IMPENITENT THIEF .... 289 

XXIV. THE CURSE OF REUBEN .... 2Q7 
EPILOGUE . . . , .310 




A 
GIRL FROM MEXICO 



CHAPTER I 
THE HIRED MAN 

T" SWAN I dunno what we're going to do for 
a hired man," said my partner disconsolately, 

JL as we stared up and down the deeply rutted 
expanse of the main thoroughfare of Tintacktown. 

Tintacktown was an absurd name for one of the 
liveliest new mining camps in the Rockies, and it 
had its origin in an absurd story. 

Before any visible sign of human occupation 
existed there a certain weary and disappointed 
prospector, who had been out roaming over the 
mountains all day, was tramping back to the place 
where he had left his partner, and chose to take 
his seat on a convenient rock to rest himself. But 
though no sign of the place having been visited before 
was visible to the eye, some one nevertheless had 
been there before him and had left upon that par- 
ticular rock a small memento of his visit in the shape 
of a tin tack with the business end pointing skywards. 

The weary miner who sat on the business end 
i 



2 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

of that tack jumped up with a yell, thinking he was 
stung by some new breed of scorpion, and dealt a 
furious blow at the spot with the pick he held in 
his hand. He knocked off a great chunk of rock ; 
something glittered ; he picked it up, and dis- 
covered not only the tin tack, but a piece of ore 
which in a few months had developed into the 
world-famed and world-beating " Jacob's Ladder 
Lode." Other lodes of varying quality were found 
by the hundred, and located, and fought over, 
within a mile of the lucky prospector's strike, and 
in less than a year there were eight or ten thousand 
men at work in the district. But a wretched tin 
tack had been the cause of the original strike and 
the title of Tintacktown was given to it and stuck. 

" What do you think we'd better do, Ed ? " I 
rejoined in answer to my partner's remark. " Per- 
haps we made a mistake in coming up here at all to 
look for a man." 

" Mistake, your grandmother," retorted my part- 
ner rudely. " Could we hear of a man anywheres at 
any of the ranches as we come along ? Wasn't this 
the likeliest place to find a man ? " 

Colorado was a new country, and labour was 
scarce and dear. The eight or ten thousand men 
who were at work in the district round Tintack- 
town were getting a minimum wage of three dollars 
and a half a day. Mine-owners might be able to 
afford it, but the question for us was, could we ? 

My partner and I had taken up a lonely ranch 
out on the vast empty Plains thirty miles from the 



THE HIRED MAN 8 

foot of the mountains, and fifty from Tintacktown. 
It was ten miles from our ranch to the nearest 
neighbour, and for five hundred miles the Great 
Plains east of us were occupied only by the buffalo, 
the wild horses, and the Red Indian. 

" We've got to have a hired man to help us put 
up that hay," continued my partner. " But there 
ain't no men here to hire, and if there was, they all 
want too much. There ain't no ranchman can 
afford to pay more than forty dollars a month and 
grub. Tain't like mining." 

I suppressed a laugh. Without knowing it Ed had 
practically admitted our mistake. We had come on 
a fool's errand to this most horribly expensive place. 

Our light wagon stood near us on a vacant lot, 
with the mules tied to the wheels, eating baled hay, 
bought from a store in Tintacktown at two and a 
half cents a pound ; for in Tintacktown hay was 
sold not by the ton, but by the pound, and our 
ambition was to put up fifty or a hundred tons 
to sell at that glorious price. 

Just at that moment a small but very resolute- 
looking man with a badge fastened round his left 
arm came slowly down the street. My partner's 
eye fell upon him and he cried out : 

" Why, if it ain't Bill Musgrave ! " 

The man with the badge glanced warily and 
swiftly round, and then his face lit up with a 
friendly look. He advanced and held out his hand. 

" Wai', if it ain't Ed Holcombe ! " he said. " Put 
it there, pard. Shake ! " and they shook. 



4 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" It's more'n a month of Sundays," cried Ed, 
" since I run across you there on Larimer Street, 
over that Callaghan business ..." and the two 
exchanged glances. I had heard about that business 
and I quite understood when Ed continued, " You 
was a good friend to me, Bill, that time." 

"That's all right," said Bill Musgrave shortly, 
and for ten minutes by the watch the pair talked 
as hard as they could talk about old times in 
Denver, until finally Holcombe recollected himself 
and presented me formally : " My partner, Mr. 
Thompson," said he. " A young Britisher, who's 
come out here to grow up with the country. Him 
and me's just starting a ranch together." 

I thought I had seldom seen a keener eye than 
that which Bill Musgrave flashed on me. Of course 
he knew me for a tenderfoot at once. I was con- 
scious of the fact myself, and was heartily ashamed 
of it, and was doing all I could to make people 
think I had lived in the West all my life. Bill 
Musgrave was not deceived for a moment, and I 
read in his face that he quite took in the situation 
as Ed saw it. To go partners with a green English- 
man was a softer job than being a policeman or a 
sheriff. However, he spoke civilly to me and in- 
quired if we were ranching round Tint ackt own. 
Ed hastened to explain that our ranch was far away, 
but that now we were utterly at a loss for a hired 
man. Could Mr. Musgrave help us ? 

Mr. Musgrave thought not. 

" There ain't no men unemployed in town here/' 



THE HIRED MAN 5 

he said, " except them that don't want employ- 
ment or such as ain't worth employing." 

Ed Holcombe gave a dry laugh. 

" Except them fellers as you've got in the cala- 
boose," he said, " or them as had orter be in it, eh ? " 

The two men looked each other hard in the 
eyes, and Ed smiled as grimly at the wearer of the 
star. They both knew what calaboose meant. 

" I guess you've sized 'em up about right," said 
the officer, and then he seemed to reflect for a minute 
or two . Presently he spoke again . " D 'you know, ' ' 
he said, " now I come to think of it, there is a man 
in there we run in a couple of days ago, and I'm 
none so sure he mightn't do for you." 

" That so ? " said Ed doubtfully. " How's he 
come to be there, anyhow ? " 

" Well," answered the guardian of the public 
peace, " I dunno as he done much harm. But he 
was in Sandy's saloon night before last when Tom 
Witney d'you know Tom ? No ? Well, he's on 
the force and he went in to look for a man as he had 
a warrant out for. And the man warn't there, as 
it happened, but this feller, Jones he's a country- 
man of yours by the way," said Musgrave turning 
to me " he was in there, and I guess he'd got a 
drink or two in him, just enough to make him a 
trifle sassy. Anyway he sassed Tom Witney, and 
right there's where he slipped up, for Tom just 
pounded his head soft with a six-shooter and run 
him in. So we had him up before the Court yes- 
terday morning, and the old man said he must 



6 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

charge him fifty dollars for brawling. He wouldn't 
pay, and so we've got him still/' 

" Rather a stiff fine," I ventured to remark. 

" Well," returned Musgrave, " he's got some 
money coming to him from somewheres, at least so 
we was given to understand. But he didn't have 
but three dollars and a half on him when he was 
took. We thought though as a second night in 
the calaboose would bring him to his senses, and 
he'd send and get the cash, but he ain't done it. 
So I don't reckon he means to pay the city for his 
board and lodging." 

" What makes you think he'd do for us ? " asked 
my partner cautiously. 

" Oh, he's a big stout husky chap," answered the 
officer, " and he talks very civil indeed. Tom 
Witney beat him over the head pretty bad, I must 
say, and he don't seem to bear no grudge about 
it. I reckon you might get some work out of him. 
He ain't the ordinary no-account sort of 'tough.' 
But you can see him for yourself." 

It didn't sound very promising, but we were 
hard up for a man. And, to me at least, the idea 
of rescuing a fellow countryman in distress was an 
additional motive. 

In a few minutes we stood before the calaboose. 
It was a large, gaunt-looking building of unpainted 
wood, with windows high above the ground. Open- 
ing a door the officer took us in through a sort of 
office. We passed an armed warder, and we stood 
inside. 



THE HIRED MAN 7 

I gave a gasp of astonishment. % The wooden 
frame building inside which we stood was a great 
shell, and under the same roof it enclosed another 
entirely, with a space all round between the two 
structures. The inner structure was a huge series 
of cages, like those in which lions and tigers are 
kept by the Zoological Society ; the back and sides 
of the cages were of wood with upright iron bars 
for the front. And behind the bars, like wild beasts, 
human beings walked, or sat or slept. Two or three 
of them had irons on wrist and ankle. In the empty 
space between the cages and the outer shell stood 
a couple of armed warders, as well as two or three 
citizens the latter, like ourselves, being presum- 
ably there on business. The place seemed very 
tolerably clean and the windows were open, but the 
season was midsummer, and it was inevitable that 
the flavour of it gave a certain shock to the senses. 

Officer Musgrave heard me gasp, and it seemed 
rather to amuse him. 

" No, it ain't a pretty sight," he said. " We've 
got some of the worst ruffians in the United States 
behind them bars, but if we was to turn 'em all 
loose, there'd be hell to pay in Tintacktown to-night, 
and a dozen men for breakfast to-morrow morning." 

A man for breakfast was only a playful way of 
intimating that somebody had died with his boots 
on overnight. 

We were walking round the cages as he spoke, 
and now stopped before one in which a man with 
his coat off was lying on a blanket. At a signal 



8 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

from our conductor one of the warders came and 
unlocked the door. The man lifted a plastered and 
bandaged head from the floor. 

" You can come out, Johnny," said Mr. Mus- 
grave. " Here's friends to see you." 

The man came forward with a puzzled look as 
his eyes fell first on Ed Holcombe and then on me. 
We were both entire strangers to him, and in the 
position he was in he was obviously inclined to 
suspect everybody. 

" I shouldn't wonder if you'd be glad to get shet of 
this hole ? " remarked my partner unceremoniously. 

" I dunno as I care about stopping longer that 
I can help," replied the man, still eyeing us with 
surprise. 

" S'posin' you were to be let go, do you think 
you'd care about a job at haymaking ? " said 
Holcombe. 

" Whereabouts would it be ? " asked the man, 
with some show of interest rising in him. 

" Out on the Plains a little way," answered my 
partner. " Can you drive a mower ? " 

" Yes, I guess so," replied the man carelessly. 

He was a strong, well-built fellow, decidedly good- 
looking on the whole, and his clothes were, if any- 
thing, rather better than those we were wearing. 

I left Ed to do the talking. When we went into 
partnership I had put in the capital and he had 
put in the experience, and one of the first things 
I had learned was not to shove my oar in when he 
was making a bargain. 



THE HIRED MAN 9 

" Thirty-five dollars a month and grub," said my 
partner, " is what I'm paying. It's an easy job; 
no night work, and we live pretty high ; we don't 
starve ourselves." 

" I dunno but what I might take it," answered the 
man after a moment's reflection. " Whereabouts 
did you say your ranch was ? Is it near Crockett ? " 

" Yes, that's right," answered Ed. " Crockett's 
the nearest town, and it's got a big boom on." 

" Will you agree to take me in there when I 
quit ? " asked the man. 

" Yes, I'll agree to that if you don't quit till the 
haying is over ; that'll be about six weeks," said 
my partner. 

" Right," said the man ; " I'll come. Jones is 
my name Jack Jones. Can I get out of this, 
officer ? " he asked, looking at Musgrave. 

" If you want him, Ed, I guess you can take him 
along," said Musgrave, ignoring the prisoner and 
speaking to my partner. " But you'll have to pay 
his fine first." 

Ed Holcombe shook his head. 

" Scarcely," he said " not fifty dollars, I guess." 

By this time I was red-hot to get the man released. 

" Ed," I whispered, " I've got some spare cash, 
I'll pay it for him. I can't leave him in here, you 
know." 

" Oh, you hush up," he whispered back. " I 
know what I'm doing. We want all the money 
you've got to put in our business. Don't give your- 
self away like that," He took Bill Musgrave aside 



10 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

for a minute. Jones stepped back into his cell 
without a word. I caught snatches of my partner's 
conversation : 

" Tell the old man give a reduction no use 
holding him here ; he knows too much to be 
skinned." Presently Musgrave departed hastily, 
and a warder came and stood near us. 

In ten minutes and what a long time they 
seemed to me in that den ! Musgrave returned. 

" I've seen the old man," he said, " and it'll be 
all right. He's reduced the fine to twenty-five 
dollars on condition he leaves town at once, and 
there'll be five dollars costs. I guess you can go 
thirty dollars, Ed. He'll make you a good hand." 

It was evidently useless to bargain for better 
terms, and indeed the terms we had got were 
liberal enough, all things considered. I forked out 
the thirty dollars which were demanded in the 
office, and Jack Jones was a free man again. 

How good it was to breathe the fresh air as we 
stood outside that calaboose in the street. The 
cloudless blue of a Colorado sky hung over us, 
and my heart leapt at the sight of the mountains, 
and at the thought of the glorious long swells of the 
Great Plains beyond, where the flowing curves of 
old Mother Earth's surface rose and fell and melted 
into each other endlessly, like the curving backs of 
racing horses. Hurrah, to be back again on the 
finest ground in the world for a fifty mile gallop. 
No, I didn't want any towns in mine, and most 
particularly not Tintacktown. 



CHAPTER II 
BY THE ELKHORN FORD 

HULLO ! " cried Ed, pulling up the mules 
sharply, " dern my skin ef thar' ain't an 
outfit stalled in the ford ahead of us." 

Right in front the foam-flecked stream of the Elk- 
horn ran rapidly over its rocky bed, to which the 
banks sloped steeply down for twenty feet or more 
from the level of the bottom lands on either side. 
At the foot of the farther bank stood a white-tilted 
wagon with its hind wheels still in the water, while 
a man and a boy vainly urged a pair of thin broncos 
to haul it up the steep pitch. 

" Reckon thar '11 be room to get by 'em," said my 
partner, taking in the situation at a glance. " Git 
up thar', you Jack, you Jinny ! " 

He tightened the reins, shoved his foot hard on 
to the brake, and dropped us cleverly down the bank 
into the ford. Splash, dash, rattle ! we bumped 
over the stones, and with a whoop and a crack of 
the blacksnake whip we rushed past the stalled 
wagon : as we went by, I caught a glimpse under the 
wagon-tilt of a girl's face and a pair of dark eyes 
wondering at us ; but before I could take a second 
glance the panting mules dragged us to the top of 



12 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

the bank, and we circled out on to a flat beyond 
among the blackened ashes of old camp fires. 

" Here's our camp for to-night," said Ed with 
decision, springing to the ground and unhitching 
our team ; " but the first thing I'm going to do is go 
back and haul them godforsaken Mexicans out of 
the crick, gosh dern their fool hearts." Ed could 
do a kindness as ungraciously as any man I ever met. 

" Oh, are those Mexicans ? " I exclaimed. 

" Why, ain't you got eyes in your head ? " he 
retorted with his usual abruptness. " Can't you see 
their dark skins ? " The three of us with the mules 
were already close to their wagon and Ed was 
shouting and making signs to the driver to get out 
of our way and leave the business to us. There was 
no sight of the lovely face of which I had had a 
fleeting vision as we crossed the ford, only an elderly 
woman leant out listening with evident anxiety to 
the conversation. She was almost as dark as the 
man to whom Ed was talking, and any good looks 
she might have had had vanished beneath the 
wrinkles of a harassed old age. Then suddenly 
behind her I saw the face that had sent a thrill 
through my unaccustomed veins. Like May beside 
November, a lovely girl pressed close beside her 
mother, her face almost hidden by a shawl drawn 
over her head and covering her mouth as though 
she were an Eastern beauty ; but the great dark 
eyes, shaded by silken lashes, looked into mine for 
a startled moment with the dumb appeal of a hunted 
doe then they were modestly cast down, and I was 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 18 

left with my heart thumping and my head whirling, 
vaguely hearing my partner's impatient call. 

" Now then, nip on to those hind wheels there, 
everybody, and when I speak to the mules shove 
for all you're worth.'' 

So Jack Jones and I each laid our shoulders to 
a wheel, Ed tightened his reins and spoke to the 
mules, the blacksnake whip cracked, and as our 
staunch team sprang into their collars, the creaking 
clumsy vehicle was yanked right up the pitch from 
the ford out on to the level, where it was brought 
to a final halt a little way from ours. Then Jones 
and I undid the cords with which we had fastened 
our mules to the end of their wagon-tongue, while 
the old Mexican expressed his thanks to Ed with 
amazing volubility in some foreign form of speech. 
Ed took no more notice of him than if he had been 
a little dog barking, but Jack Jones answered him 
in his own language, and I listened, feeling as 
vaguely irritated by his fluency as I was by my 
partner's contemptuous silence. How clearly I was 
an outsider ! When we got back to our own camp 
a sudden unreasonable feeling of loneliness and 
oppression weighed upon my spirits. 

" Reckon you want some grub," grinned Ed, as I 
answered some remark of his rather shortly. ' * Sup- 
per 's ready ; wade in ; nothing like a mess of bacon 
and beans to make a man feel good after a long 
day's journey. Reckon you wore yourself plum 
out heaving on a wheel for them Greasers ? Wheels 
wanted greasing, eh ? " 



14 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Ed posed as a funny man, but his rough jokes re- 
volted me to-night more than ever. I turned to Jones: 

" Was that Spanish you were talking to them, or 
Indian ? " I said. 

" Spanish," he answered. " Oh yes they talk 
as good Spanish as any one wants." 

Ed looked sharply across at him. 

" How do you come to know Spanish ? " he asked. 

Jones hesitated an instant. 

" Oh, I have made a trip or two to New Mexico," 
he answered, " but it's a couple of years since I've 
had any use for Spanish, so I reckon I've forgotten 
it some." 

"What were you doing there?" said Ed, 
drawing him out " trading ? " 

" Well, we traded some," answered Jones. 

" Prospecting ? " 

" Well, we just looked round a bit," he answered 
in the same non-committal tone. 

" Come across any of them darned dirty old 
Mormon pioneers ? " continued Ed jovially. 

Jones flushed. 

" Yes," he answered with a hardening in his tone, 
" I did come across Mormon pioneers, and they were 
clean, industrious, intelligent men, with better 
manners than one often meets in these parts." 

" Clean, industrious, intelligent hogs," retorted 
Ed loudly, then turning to me as if he considered 
Jones had had his answer: " Brigham Young's 
sort of a king there in Salt Lake, and now he wants 
to capture New Mexico ; as if the Greasers there 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 15 

wasn't bad enough already ! He's going to teach 
them some of his fine manners ! I know something 
about his manners, goldarn them I " 

Jones got up and carefully turned his back on Ed. 

" I guess I'm going to step across to that Mexican's 
camp for a little pasear," he said to me. 

Ed laughed rudely. 

" Going to compare the Mexican's manners with 
the Mormon Bishop's, eh ? " 

" I'll go along with you," cried I, jumping up, 
a thousand wild thoughts suddenly waltzing through 
my brain. 

" Don't stop all night," shouted Ed. " We've 
got to roll out bright and early to-morrow." 

Jones' voice roused me from a sort of dream. 

" You are new to these parts, sir/' he said with 
studied civility, " but I make no doubt you see 
things clearer than that ignorant American does." 

" Ed's not half a fool," said I, standing up for 
my partner, as in duty bound. 

" No, no. I have no doubt he understands his 
own business very well, but he knows nothing 
outside it ; the way he speaks of Mexicans and 
Mormons is mere ignorance." 

" Oh, well," said I in a tone intended to close the 
topic, " it's enough that he understands ranching." 
I wasn't going to discuss my partner with our 
hired man. I noticed that Jones' tone and language 
completely changed when he was alone with me. 
Though his voke and accent were not exactly those 
of a gentleman, he evidently had some education, and 



16 ' A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

his civil and deferential manner was pleasant. I 
was tired of being treated by Ed as though I were 
an infant or an idiot. 

" The Mormons/' Jones' even voice was going 
on, " have as good a right to their religion as any 
one else." 

" Certainly/' I agreed; "religious persecution is 
abominable." 

" They bring over half- starved beggars from 
Europe and make them into well-fed, industrious, 
self-respecting men it can't be a very bad sort of 
religion that shows such results, can it, sir ? These 
slovenly ranchmen are just envious of their success, 
and so they invent scandals about them. But I " 
he hesitated " I have seen a good deal of them, in 
fact, I have lived near them ; they were good neigh- 
bours, generous." 

"To be sure"; I agreed carelessly, "seeing is 
believing." 

Jones and his new religion were of no particular 
interest to me what I wanted to know was how far 
it was to the Mexican's camp and whether I should 
catch another glimpse of those wonderful eyes. Yet 
the earnestness of the man's tone vaguely struck me. 
At Oxford the days when men would come to blows 
over points of philosophy were over and gone ; the 
lecturers I listened to there had taught me to weigh 
the arguments for and against calmly, so calmly and 
dispassionately that after a while they themselves 
seemed as lifeless as their theories. Were not they 
and their teachings mere appearances, phantoms 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 17 

flitting through the dream I called my life; or perhaps 
fellow shadows with myself, living only in the Red 
King's dream. With the self-confidence of youth I 
had ended by lumping all philosophies and theologies 
together as equally vain attempts to express man's 
relation to the unconditioned, and tired of fancies I 
had come out to the Wild W T est to face realities. 

" Proud am I to have worked beside those Mor- 
mons he speaks so ill of," Jones was going on. "I 
saw them turning the desert into a Garden of Eden, 
and they lived there like brothers. No one is in 
want of anything his neighbour can help him to. 
I wish you could just see them, sir, and see what 
miracles their religion can work." 

Truly he was talking of no vague theories now 
planting and building and brotherly kindness were 
as solid facts as any in this uncertain universe 
but I had not taken a first class in the schools to 
learn from our hired man that the Book of Mormon 
was the foundation of all virtues ! Perhaps I 
might have asked myself if I had read for Greats and 
won the Newdigate to prepare myself for such a life 
as I now shared with Ed Holcombe, but that question 
had been asked and answered months before. I 
had then decided that the rough work of life de- 
mands rough tools. Spirit alone is powerless, a mere 
gibbering ghost if it lacks a body to enable it to act 
and express itself the gross flesh is needed as much 
as the informing spirit ; therefore, as I was capable 
of supplying all the nobler part of life (including 
the cash), it behoved me to find a partner in all 



18 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

respects my opposite, a body for my soul. Certainly 
Ed had filled the bill. The thought of Ed awoke me 
with a jump from my dream flight back to Oxford 
and her fair philosophies Jones was still talking. 
Had I really got away from Oxford after all ? 

" What they have suffered for religion you 
wouldn't believe, sir. They are well off now, but 
they had to run for their lives out of Illinois after 
their prophet Joe Smith was shot down. Yes, sir, 
women and little children as well as the men had 
to fly from persecution and leave all they had in 
the world and go out into the wilderness." 

I looked up at the shining stars above us as we 
walked. The dreamlike feeling that possessed 
me grew stronger was this a history lecture or had 
time rolled backwards? Jones might have been 
talking of the early Christians and suddenly, in 
the blaze of a camp fire, was it not a Spaniard of the 
days of Cortez who was coming forward hat in hand 
to kiss our hands and feet and entreat us to make 
ourselves at home ? Perhaps my wits were quickened 
by excitement ; I certainly made a good guess at the 
meaning of the stately phrase with which the old Don 
welcomed us it sounded half like French, or was it 
Latin ? I hardly knew I would think of that later 
on and my eyes roved round in search of some one 
else. Yes, there were the two women seated by the 
fire ! They bowed graciously and made room for us 
within their circle. The shawl which had shrouded 
the girl earlier in the day was now thrown back and 
the firelight showed the full glory of her beauty. 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 19 

She might have been perhaps eighteen, but her 
Southern loveliness was already in its full blossom, 
the soft velvet of her cheek, the rosebud lips that 
curved deliciously in a true cupid's bow. I blessed 
the silken lashes that veiled her wonderful eyes 
and let me gaze unashamed at her beauty. Then 
she raised them, and once again their strange dumb 
pathos thrilled my heart . What could be this sorrow 
that lay in them ? This glorious creature was born 
to queen it over mankind. Were her parents cruel ? 
They looked ordinary enough there did not seem 
to be much room for tragedy near that voluble old 
gentleman or that dull quiet old woman who was 
evidently half asleep after the fatigues of the day. 

Jones and the senor talked unceasingly to each 
other ; around us hung the dark curtains of the 
night, above us watched the unsleeping stars, the 
low wind soughed in the pines, and the river babbling 
over its rocky bed murmured an unceasing refrain. 
The two men opposite were absorbed in their talk, 
the girl and I sat silent fool that I was to sit tongue- 
tied ! fool to have wasted my years at Oxford learning 
the language of dead men, so that now in my need 
I was dumb ! I could not speak, I could not tell 
her that, whatever her trouble, I was ready to be her 
champion, her slave to beg her to let me serve her. 

" Signora," at last I stammered, in my ignorance 
substituting Italian for Spanish. She raised her 
eyes and answered in her musical tongue and alas ! 
I could only shake my head. Then an inspiration 
seized me why not try Latin my Oxford Latin, 



20 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

of course. She would be a good Catholic and be 
accustomed to say her prayers in Latin. 

" Felix," I said, patting my breast, " sum felix ! " 
She looked puzzled, then with a delightful little 
shy laugh she cried, " Feliz ? Estd usted feliz ? " 
and a long sentence more in her musical language. 
With such eyes, was it necessry to have a dictionary 
to explain her words ? I knew perfectly that she 
was acknowledging my condescension in being 
" feliz " with a seat on a striped blanket by a camp 
fire ! Her eyes could speak very well, but alas ! 
mine I could not doubt were as uncommunicative 
as my tongue ; I could only reiterate " feliz " and 
bow and put my hand on my heart if one has no 
words one can only resort to idiotic gestures and 
again her musical laugh rewarded my efforts. But 
she quickly checked herself, and with a sidelong 
glance at her mother was suddenly as demure as 
before. But that laugh had told me something, it 
told me that though her face and form were those 
of a woman, and the sorrow that too often looked 
out of her eyes was a woman's grief, she was still 
in heart but a girl, and could for a moment forget 
that life had troubles, and laugh with the innocent 
abandonment that she had known when she played 
a barefooted child under the Southern sunshine. 
How could I continue the conversation so happily 
begun ? The smile was dying from her face, her lips 
were drooping back into their former sadness 
she turned at a word from her mother, who had 
roused herself and was stooping over the fire, stirring 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 21 

a little coffee-pot and apparently giving some order, 
for the girl sprang to her feet and ran to the wagon, 
whence she brought out three cups. I darted after 
her, and in trying to take the cups from her hand, 
I clumsily made her drop one ; we both stooped 
and our faces almost met, our hands touched and I 
gained the cup, but her slender fingers seemed un- 
conscious of the pressure I ventured to give. But 
I secured the three cups and bore them triumphantly 
to the old lady, who protested shrilly and incompre- 
hensibly something about Americanos ; well, if she 
meant that Americans had a name for being auda- 
cious, I was ready to play up the part assigned to me ! 

" Chocolate," said the girl, offering me the cup 
her mother had filled with a creamy brown mixture. 

" Gratias," I said " thank you" ; but I saw there 
were only three cups how could I say I would wait 
till the ladies were served ? " After you " is all very 
well, but my dog Latin could only suggest " Post 
te " as a translation, and she once more pressed the 
cup on me. I took it from her, and then with as 
elegant a bow as I could manage offered it her 
again, saying, " Basior manus tuas," which was as 
near as I could get to the old gentleman's remark 
about kissing our hands when we arrived. The 
girl blushed and smiled, and the mother bustled 
forward and, pushing her aside, obliged me to accept 
the chocolate. I raised the cup and looked across 
at the senorita. " If but thy lips had touched the 
cup," I sighed. 

Who knows if she guessed what I was trying to 



22 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

say, for she blushed a deeper red and hid her face 
behind her mother's shoulder. The old senor was 
speaking to me Jones explained that he was asking 
if I was investing in the mines. 

" No," I answered, and shook my head, and I 
saw the girl had taken advantage of the interruption 
to slip out of the circle. 

" I told him you were a ranchman," said Jones, 
" but the old gentleman wants to talk prospecting " ; 
and whether I would or no I had to sit down beside 
the head of the family and roll a cigarette, and hear, 
with Jones as interpreter, all his long-winded views 
on the advantages of gold-mining. 

" You should mine," he cried. " Ranching is 
not for the young and adventurous. You should 
mine. That is the way fortunes are made." 

" Mining is risky," I returned. 

" Yes, yes, yes, but nothing venture nothing 
win. I too have ventured in my time, and I have 
won, and I have lost again too. But now I have my 
family, my wife here and my daughter, and I am 
no longer free. People said there were fortunes to 
be had in Tintacktown for the picking up ; I left 
my farm and travelled here, bringing them along 
with me to see, but it is not true, and so we return 
home again, but the gold is somewhere. If I were 
free I would search these mountains from end to 
end and never cease till I found it. There is only 
one thing worth searching for oro, oro, oro! " 

" Oro" was the one word of Spanish I knew. It 
meant " gold/' and as he said it a hungry look came 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 23 

into his eyes, and his skinny fingers reached forward 
and crooked themselves as though he were ready 
to clutch the desired treasure and tear it with his 
naked hands from the bosom of the earth. Across 
the fire I saw the patient face of the old woman grow 
sadder, and the girl, who had stolen back, pressed 
closer to her mother ; were these two helpless crea- 
tures being sacrificed to the old man's lust for gold ? 

The old Don was talking more eagerly. 
' Those were good mines, very good mines that 
I saw, when I was young, exploring in the Mogollon 
Mountains. I hastened home from them that I 
might marry, otherwise I might have remained and 
become rich very rich. Ah ! young men are 
foolish," he maundered on ; " they have fancies, they 
know not that all departs save gold, that is a flower 
that cannot wither. Ha ! ha ! " and he chuckled 
a covetous laugh that struck me as rather villainous. 
And with that the old man's excitement suddenly 
flickered out and ended, leaving him as dull as a 
blown out tallow candle. He looked up at the stars. 

"It is late," said Jones. " I reckon they want 
to be rid of us." So we rose and said good night and 
exchanged formal compliments, the ladies bowing 
to us in the stiff Spanish style. 

Then an impulse bred of desperation suddenly 
awoke in me. I could not speak but deeds say 
more than words and as I bowed before the girl 
I caught her hand and pressed my lips to it. I saw 
the surprised flash of her eyes, and the hot red fly up 
into her cheeks as her slender fingers slid out of 



24 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

mine slid, I fancied, a little reluctantly. I saw 
Jones smile, and the old Don's eyebrows go up, 
and then a constrained grin of civility came on 
his face. The old woman had drawn the girl to her 
side there was no more to say or do ; in a moment 
more I was walking beside Jones to our camp, but 
my heart was thumping, and I could have shouted in 
my delight. Come what might, I still felt the touch 
of those cool little ringers on my lips she must guess 
a little of what I had begun to feel, she must know 
she had stolen my heart away in two short hours. 

Jones had smiled like his confounded cheek ! 
Yet he was the only person I could ask, so, as we 
strolled back in the darkness, I inquired if he knew 
the names of our new friends. 

"No," he answered carelessly; "I didn't think 
to ask. Sure to be Juarez or Sanchez or something 
or other in ' z.' " And he laughed. 

" Unhappy sort of a beggar, the old chap," he 
went on ; " seems to be always on the move. They 
come from Old Mexico : I found that out. Then 
he thought he'd try and prospect for mines in New 
Mexico, but the gold didn't materialize. Now he's 
failed to pick up any gold round Tintacktown, and he 
wants to go back to New Mexico and start farming. 
He'll never get on anywhere. Handsome girl that," 
he continued, looking, I fancied, rather hard at me. 

' Yes," I answered shortly ; and then, controlling 
my dislike to his manner, " What's the matter with 
them all any way ? They looked as if they were 
in trouble." 



BY THE ELKHORN FORD 25 

' Want of money, I should say," he answered 
with a slightly important air. " That old fellow 
is a pretty keen hand at the cards, I should judge ; 
it was only by setting him to yarning that I kept 
him from bringing them out to-night. So I reckon 
the women don't have too easy a time." 

" Is it only want of money, I wonder ? " I said half 
to myself. 

" Be sure it is, sir," answered Jones earnestly, 
returning to the respectful tone he had used earlier 
in the evening. ' These Mexican women are not 
like the English ladies you are used to, not educated, 
you know ; only give them their little luxuries and 
something pretty to put on and they are quite 
content, but if they're baulked of any trifle they've 
set their hearts on, they'll cry their pretty eyes out, 
like children. I've lived among them, and I was sur- 
prised at the difference between them and English- 
women not that I would pretend to have any 
acquaintance among the ladies you would be know- 
ing. But they are just children, as content with 
trifles and as apt to make a fuss about trifles no 
companions for educated people." 

I *aw what he meant, and I resented it. What 
right had my hired man to give me advice however 
delicately ? Insolent ! And as for being mere 
grown-up children could the sorrow in that girl's 
eyes mean merely that she couldn't afford a smart 
handkerchief or a box of sugar-plums ? No ! no ! 
that I would never believe, and Jones was a fool as 
well as an interfering, prying puppy. 



CHAPTER III 
JUST A SCRAP 

" S A OME, my sons, come quick, and come 

I a-running ! Show a leg there, show a 

V^_ X leg.'* It was the rousing voice of my 

partner Ed which startled me out of my sweet 

dreams of the beautiful vision of last evening. 

I sat up in my blankets at the call and beheld the 

form of Jack Jones also reluctantly emerging from 

his bed. Ed was already on foot and feeding the 

mules. 

" Rustle around there, you Jack, and build a 
fire. We've got to get a move on. Say" he 
turned to me with a laugh " you've got left behind 
this time, ain't you ? Where's your Mexican 
friends now, that you was so sweet on last night ? 
Gone where the woodbine twineth, eh ! They rolled 
out before breakfast. Too poor to want any, I guess. 
But that ain't my style. But cheer up," he con- 
tinued, " we'll be ahead of them before night ; with 
those poor broncos of theirs they'll take all day 
to make Crockett." 

That booming young city lay on the way to our 
ranch, and thanks to Ed's good driving, by the 
time we camped again for noon we had covered a 

26 



JUST A SCRAP 2T 

good stretch of our road to town, but though I 
looked for the Mexicans at every bend of the track, 
no glimpse could I see of them anywhere. We 
halted by a little creek running through open pine 
timber. 

" You get the dope out of the tail-end of the 
wagon-box and grease the wheels," said my partner 
to Jack Jones, jumping off. " I'll feed the mules." 

I was myself busy with the cooking fire when 
suddenly I heard a loud crash behind me followed 
by an oath. Looking round I saw that Jones 
had pulled one of the wheels too far out in order to 
put the grease on the axle, and the wheel had come 
right off, letting down the bed of the wagon at one 
corner to the ground. 

"Confound your clumsy soul!" shouted my 
partner furiously. " You'd orter have them dod- 
rotted brains of yourn took out and a lot of goose 
grease run in instead." 

Jones made no answer, but sulkily set to work 
to try to straighten things again. 

" Not like that, you idiot ! " shouted Ed, rushing 
towards him. " Ain't you got no sense at all ? 
Here, get down there under the wagon bed and put 
that back of yours under the axle and heave it up 
so I can slip the wheel on again. . . . No, not like 
that, you loony ! Can't you see you're only twisting 
the reach worse ? Where's your eyes. . . . Oh, get 
out of my way. Here, Mr. Thompson, you come 
and slip this wheel on while I heave the wagon bed 
up myself." 



28 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

I left my cooking-pots and caught the wheel 
from Ed's hands, while he sprang to the after end of 
the wagon, thrusting Jones rudely to one side. 

" Hands oft there ! " cried Jones, flushing dark red. 
Indeed Ed's thrust had been almost a blow. 

" Oh, you make me tired ! " cried Ed. " What 
did I hire you for any way ? Not to put on 
frills, I guess." And he stooped to lift the wagon 
himself. 

Jones' air all morning had been a trifle nonchalant, 
as if he had done us a favour in permitting us to 
rescue him from the calaboose, and now here he 
was standing on a point of honour, with the couplings 
of the wagon ready to break, and we twenty miles 
from a blacksmith ! 

" I ain't no slave," said the hired man. " I ain't 
going to be knocked about like a nigger by you." 

Ed turned on him like a tiger. 

" Easy, Ed! " I cried, starting forward, but my 
intervention was not quite quick enough ; before 
I reached the disputants Holcombe had let go the 
wagon and struck the other a swinging blow on the 
head. In an instant the two men were at it ; they 
were evenly matched in size and strength and the 
fight would be a fierce one. I dropped the wheel and 
pushed desperately in between them, thrusting them 
apart with my open hands and catching a crack on 
the jaw that had been meant for somebody else 
than me. 

" I say, stop ! stop ! " I shouted, and to my 
amazed relief I saw that one of them was actually 



JUST A SCRAP 29 

ready enough for peace. Jack Jones made no 
endeavour to push me aside ; it was Ed who was 
violently struggling to break from me and renew the 
fight. I did not much wonder that he was furious, 
for Jones during their short rally had managed to 
land him one on the left eye, which was already 
swelling fast. 

Suddenly Ed stopped struggling ; some idea 
seemed to strike him ; and wrenching himself out 
of my grasp he dashed to the wagon and thrust his 
arm under the seat. 

" Run ! " I shouted to Jones in an agony. " He's 
getting his gun. Run, you fool, or you'll be shot ! " 

Jones saw his danger and sprang towards the 
shelter of the brush. 

" Stop, Ed stop for God's sake ! " I cried, clutch- 
ing his arm and holding it tight. " You mustn't 
shoot ! " 

But, bang, his pistol spoke by way of answer, 
and bang, and bang she spoke again. My grip on 
his arm, though, spoiled his aim, and the bullets 
flew Lord knows where. And all the while Ed 
struggled on towards the pine-brush, dragging me 
after him. 

" I'll fix the son of a gun," he rasped out. " No 
man's going to knock me about in my own camp." 

"If it comes to knocking about," I protested, 
still hanging on to him manfully, "if it comes to 
that, I'm the one to have a right to swear. You've 
nearly broken my jaw with that fist of yours." 

" Did I hit you ? " he replied quickly, in a more 



80 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

natural tone. " I didn't mean to. It was an 
accident. But strike me blue mouldy if I don't 
do more than that to that son of a gun ; I'll let 
daylight through him/' 

" No, you won't," I retorted. " I've no quarrel 
with you, but I don't intend to let you shoot an 
unarmed man." And I still hung on tight to his 
arm. 

In this melodramatic style we rounded the clump 
of young pines and the tragedy exploded in 
laughter. The instant Jones had got the thicket 
between his enemy and himself he had taken to 
his heels, and already he was over two hundred 
yards away, legging it for all he was worth across 
the valley. He was heading west, and at the rate 
he was going I wondered how long he would take 
to get to his Mormon friends again, who were only 
about two hundred miles off, on the other side of 
the Rocky Mountains. The idea of starting on 
such a journey, just as he was, in order to get away 
from Ed was so ridiculous that I had to laugh ; 
and with that laugh I felt the tension of the situation 
relax. In another instant I heard Ed himself 
begin to chuckle. 

" Run ! run ! you cowardly skunk," he halloed 
after the fugitive. "It's lucky for you you're out 
of range." And then he turned to me with a puzzled 
expression. " I don't know why you didn't let me 
kill him." 

" Why ? " said I. " Well, because we can't 
afford the luxury. He owes us for that fine thirty 



JUST A SCRAP 81 

dollars and he's got to work it out. We'll never 
collect it off him if you go and fill him full of 
lead." 

Ed looked me in the face ; his left eye was half 
bunged up with the blow, but he laughed right out. 

" Dern my skin, if you ain't becoming a Western 
man pretty quick," he said. " What you say is 
solid fact too, but we've lost that thirty dollars 
any way. I can't have a man working for me that 
I've got to knock down every day." 

I wouldn't for worlds have hurt Ed's feelings by 
asking who it was who had done the knocking down 
this time. 

" Look here," said I. " When I was at school we 
used to put a piece of beef-steak on a black eye. 
Best let me fix you up quick." 

Ed was busy reloading his pistol, glancing up as 
he did so in the direction where Jones had vanished 
among the trees. Then he submitted to my minis- 
trations ; he was curiously cheerful over it all, 
largely, I believe, because he found on examination 
that the wagon couplings were not broken. 

" Well done, yourself ! " he said, as I crawled 
underneath and by main force heaved the wagon 
up, enabling him to replace the wheel. " We'll 
graduate you all right out West here. Better than 
your Oxford degree, eh ? " 

Then we ate our postponed meal, during which he 
relieved his feelings by keeping up a running fire of 
fancy swears over the invisible hired man. But 
he made me put on my pistol, and sit facing him as 



32 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

we ate, so that either of us could detect the enemy 
if he should come sneaking up. 

" Not that I fear that darned skunk ! " he said ; 
" but I'm not giving away any chances. I've got 
some experience, me, and I don't take no risks ! " 

Experience ! Ed had made me sup full of horrors 
many a time over the camp fire. In that shooting 
scrape, the recollection of which had acted as a 
common bond between Ed and Bill Musgrave 
yesterday, I knew that Ed had killed his man on 
Larimer Street. The victim, Callaghan, was a 
certain Mormon emissary, who, disregarding the 
Prophet's strict orders, had got drunk and started 
to raise Cain in Denver. Unfortunately he fell 
foul of Ed, who laid him out, thus providing that 
lively burgh with its " man for breakfast." 

" But Jones has got no arms," I protested. " Bill 
Musgrave told us that the police at Tintacktown 
had confiscated them." 

Ed grinned. 

" I don't take no risks," he repeated. " Kit 
Carson himself warn't ashamed to keep his eyes 
peeled." 

" What '11 we do with his bedding ? " I asked 
when we started to hitch up again. " Dump it 
here by the road for him ? " 

"Not much," said Ed; "we'll take it into 
Crockett. Maybe he'll come after it, then you'll 
see some fun." 

So we travelled briskly on to the city. And as 
we went I watched the road, hoping as we topped 



JUST A SCRAP 83 

each rise and rounded each patch of pinewood that 
I might see the white-tilted wagon of the Mexicans 
creeping slowly before us. But I hoped in vain. 
Had that lovely vision only appeared to vanish with 
the morning like a dream ? A dream of loveliness 
it truly had been which in one short hour had 
changed the whole world for me. I jumped off 
the wagon to walk up a long hill, glad to get away 
from Ed's talk and indulge my own fancies. The 
clouds of dust, the heat haze simmering over the 
plains far away built up a vision ; those dreaming 
eyes those soft lips was it most pain or pleasure 
to recall them ? Where could she have vanished to ? 
Had they turned off the road to camp so early ? 
Which pine thicket screened her from my eyes ? 
The long road was empty empty of the Mexican 
wagon, and empty, too, of Jones. Suppose he had 
come up with them ? Suppose it was he who had 
induced them to turn aside to some hidden camp ? 
The idea was torture. I fancied him seated in their 
wagon beside the mistress of my dreams. Oh, 
the luck of it ! the luck of it ! It was I who put 
him there. Twice I had saved him now, once from 
that horrible calaboose, once from Ed's murderous 
pistol. Was there anything in the superstition 
that the man you saved from death was fated to 
bring evil on you ? Good Heaven, if that should 
be so now ! The talk I had just had with Ed about 
man-slaying had set the blood coursing through 
my veins. Instinctively I dropped my right hand 
on to the pistol butt, where it hung on my hip with 

3 



34 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

a sense of power. To meet your enemy face to 
face and shoot him, that was the mark of a man 
of a Western man anyhow. And to do it for the 
sake of the woman you loved, that was the test of 
a lover. To risk your life for her, that proved 
your passion, better than all the pretty phrases 
and pressures of the hand and the rest of it. If my 
tongue spoke no Spanish my deeds should speak 
good English, or rather good American, and that 
very plain. 

Lord, what a young fool one seems to oneself 
afterwards ! But let him that never loved in his 
youth cast the first stone. 

" Well," suddenly broke in Ed's rough voice. 
" Never did I see such a feller ! Three times have 
I spoke to you and got no more answer than to 
stare at me like a loony. I do believe you are 
struck on them thar Mexicans. There's no ac- 
counting for tastes. Mebbe you find them more 
European like ? Well, don't you fret. We'll over- 
haul them pretty soon they'll be lying up in the 
timber somewheres where they can get a bite of 
grass for them starved broncos. Reckon we'll get 
up with them in time for you to stop and take tea 
with the ladies. I'll wait for you in Crockett : don't 
you hurry by no means. Pity you shouldn't have 
all the variety you're honing for." 



CHAPTER IV 
A CROCKETT CIRCUS 

WE put up in Crockett at the Mammoth 
Corral, a big yard with a shed of raw 
boards all round it, in which teamsters 
could stable their mules for payment, sleeping 
usually under their wagons, and cooking their 
food in the pilgrim house, a common-room attached 
to the corral. The embryo town mainly consisted 
of new wooden houses in every stage of erection, 
and its streets were crowded with new arrivals from 
everywhere. Not a few hailed from beyond the 
seas, men of all classes and characters, good, bad, 
and indifferent. 

I sauntered down street in the early morning with 
a keen eye on the new-comers ; it was just possible 
I might pick up a useful hired man among them, 
so long as he wasn't another Jack Jones. 

I heard a sudden burst of laughter and cheers, as 
through the open gate of the Elephant Corral, a 
rival caravanserai, bounded a bronco mare, bucking 
for all she was worth. On her back was an un- 
mistakable Britisher, in a cutaway coat, cord 
breeches, and long shiny boots ; but the hat he had 
on his head was a broad-brimmed cowboy sombrero. 

35 



86 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

He sat well back and kept his seat cleverly, and as 
the folks in the street scattered before the plunges of 
the mare he pulled out a short English revolver and 
began firing over his head. The man in the street 
in front of me backed nervously right on to my toes. 

" Look out there/' said I. " But what's all this, 
any way ? " 

" This holy show ? " he said, with a grin, removing 
himself from my toes. " Why, it's the Crockett 
City Circus. There's a Texas horseherd camped 
jest below town, and they're selling bucking broncos 
to green Englishmen seven days a week. The show 
is to see 'em roll off. Why, the streets here are jest 
littered with 'em. The ponies put 'em down every 
time. There goes this one now." And we saw man 
and horse rolling together on the ground. The 
mare, maddened by the shooting and unable to 
dislodge her rider fairly, had thrown herself back- 
wards. I dashed forward to pick him up. 

" Thanks awfully," he said as I aided him to 
rise. " No, I'm not hurt. This sandy soil is soft 
falling, and I know how to fall I've had some 
experience in the Argentine and elsewhere. She'd 
not have got me off if she hadn't thrown herself." 

" Rather not," I answered, " you stuck to her 
like a good 'un." 

" Why, you're English," he exclaimed, looking at 
me in surprise as he brushed the dust off his knees. 
He was a tall fellow, welljsetjup,fand extremely good 
looking, with a bronzed, eagle face, dark, curling 
hair, and flashing eyes. " I'd no idea you were 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 37 

English ! " he repeated, with a glance at my clothes. 
I wore the rough overalls of the ranchman, but of 
course my voice had given me away. 

" Yes, I'm English all right," I said, " but I'm 
ranching out here." 

" Glad to meet a fellow countryman," he said 
affably. " Come and have a drink and a yarn. No 
thank you, Mr. Hardman " this to a man who had 
recaptured his bronco and led her up to us, still 
bouncing and snorting ; " you can take her away. 
I won't buy her. Not that I mind her bucking a 
bit, but just now I'm in want of a steady mount to 
shoot off." 

He slipped his arm into mine. 

"Come along and have a drink," he said; "it 
makes one homesick to hear our English tongue 
out here." He didn't look the sort to be homesick ; 
his handsome face showed plain enough signs of 
fast living as well as a daredevil temper. 

" I'll take a cigar if you don't mind," said I as 
we entered the saloon. " I'm not using whisky 
to-day." Experience had taught me the way to 
get out of taking a drink without giving offence. 

" You're right to be careful," said he, drawing the 
decanter towards him and pouring out about five 
fingers of Old Bourbon ; " but I know the liquor here, 
and it's all right. Chalk it down to me, Simmy," 
he interjected over his shoulder to the white-sleeved 
bar- tender. " Well, here's luck," and he raised his 
glass. 

" Drink hearty," I responded with a nod. 



38 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" I supposed you ranchmen came into town mostly 
for a spree," he said, with a glance at my abstemious 
cigar. 

" Not much," said I. "I'm here on stern busi- 
ness, looking for a man to help us make hay." 

" By Jove," said he reflectively, " that sounds 
rural tooralural ! I've a great mind to sign on 
myself just for a variety. I'm waiting for a re- 
mittance and I might as well put in the time in 
Arcadia." 

"Not much Arcadia about my place," I grinned ; 
" but if you feel like it you might come round to 
the Mammoth and see my partner. We're a firm, 
and I'm the Co. only." 

" He's English too ? " he said quickly. 

" No, American all wool and of the woolliest 
Wild West ! " 

" Hum ! you must excuse my not spotting you 
for English at first," he began suddenly, changing 
the subject. " Your working clothes, you know," 
indicating my butternut overalls, " are rather 
rather " 

" Oh," I laughed, " you wouldn't expect me to put 
on Court dress to come to Crockett, would you ? " 

" Well, not exactly. I don't suppose you even 
brought yours to Colorado. I left mine at home." 
He said this with an airified seriousness, as if to 
imply he really did possess such a luxury. Our 
settlers in Colorado were drawn from all classes, 
but there certainly were not many of them who had 
ever been presented at Court. 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 39 

" I left mine at home, too," said I, with a grin 
" at my uncle's/' glancing at the bar-tender, who 
gave me a wink without moving another muscle of 
his solemn countenance. 

" Ah, you're chaffing," said my new friend, sipping 
his whisky slowly. " But I don't mind admitting 
I like Court dress. Nothing shows a man off better, 
you know." He squared his shoulders and folded 
his arms ; he was a splendid looking fellow, only 
he knew it rather too well. 

" Why, certainly," I assented. " I've always 
found it looked most effective on the stage." The 
idea had struck me that this man might have been 
an actor. His voice, gestures, and smile all seemed 
to suit well with the profession ; perhaps the word 
" stage " would set him talking of it. 

" Yes, yes," he said, " but it looks better still in 
real life. In some Courts Courts where old customs 
are kept up, like Spain, you know the grandees' 
dresses are simply glorious." 

He sighed, with a far-away look in his eyes. 

" Ah, fair Spain ! A Court is no good when there 
is a man on the throne no charm, no romance 
but when there is a queen, and such a queen 1 
So ill-used, so passionate ! " It was not so long since 
the world had rung with the intrigues that went on 
at the Court of Isabella of Spain, and Bob's implied 
meaning was unmistakable. " Such a queen," he 
murmured, and then springing to his feet, " The 
Queen ! " he cried, and drank off his glass and flung 
it over his shoulder. At the crash, the other people 



40 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

in the bar turned round with a jump : the noise might 
be the signal for the beginning of a deadly quarrel, 
but they only saw two Englishmen hobnobbing as 
though they were long-lost brothers. 

" You must find this a considerable change from 
Court life," I said, when the bar-keeper had brought 
my friend a fresh glass. 

" Change, ah ! but when one has a reason a 
mission what do hardships matter ! When she 
herself had arranged the mission, was it not rapture 
to go. What was it to leave the luxury of Madrid 
for a bed on the hard earth of the Pampas ! what did 
I care ! I did my errand. I tell you what," he 
went on, dropping his sentimental tone, " we got 
across South America in just record time. As 
soon as we had ridden the horses to a standstill, we 
caught fresh ones from one of the herds that range 
wild over the Pampas, and rode those till we wanted 
a change. Capital fun real wild beauties never 
backed before, y' know." 

' Yes," said I, " that was a sporting way to do it 
certainly. Then the wild horses there let you get 
near enough to lasso them ? ' ' 

" Oh no lassos are only a sort of second string 
there" he settled himself down, stretched out his 
legs luxuriously, and lit a cigarette as he prepared 
to improve my ignorant mind. " The bolas are 
what we used ; they are the thing ! " 

' The how much ? " I asked. 
" Bolas oh, of course you don't know them here, 
but they are the best fun for wild horses or for wild 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 41 

Indians either. You should have seen us use them 
when I was scouting for General Roca on the Gran 
Chaco and rode down a bunch of Indians." 

" But what are they ? " I persisted. 

" Oh, if I could only get hold of some green raw 
hide I'd make you a set of bolas and show you how 
to use them. They are better than a Winchester 
or a revolver or a lasso any day. They are simply 
three round stones at the ends of three strong cords 
which meet in the middle. You whirl them round 
your head as you gallop and sling them at the hind 
legs of a horse as he runs, and they entangle him, 
and down he comes such a cropper. The most 
wonderful thing though was to see those Indians 
as they fled from us. They all carried immensely 
long spears, sixteen feet, I should say, and to escape 
the bolas they held them with the butts trailing on 
the ground behind them as they ran. By this means 
the bolas generally caught on the long smooth shaft 
of the spear instead of on the horses' legs, and then 
only slithered off harmlessly on to the ground. We 
used to look out for them as they dropped off, and 
then bend down from the saddle without stopping 
in our gallop, and gather them up and get ready 
for another throw, with perhaps better luck." 

' Well," said I, rising, " if ever you are in the 
direction of our ranch I hope you'll look in and give 
us a lesson in them. My name's Thompson 
any one' 11 show you Thompson's Ranch." 

? Thanks awfully I'll make a point of it. My 
name is you may as well call me Williams, Robert 



42 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

John Williams ; rather a good sort of name, eh ? " 
he ended with a laugh and a whistle. " Come, I 
say, we must baptize that name." 

" All right," said I, " but it's my treat this time, 
fill your glass." 

At this moment the swing doors of the bar room 
were pushed open, and who should enter but Jack 
Jones. 

" Hullo ! there you are, that's you at last," he 
exclaimed confusedly, catching sight of me. " Just 
time to have a drink and part friends." 

" Introduce me to the millionaire," murmured 
Bob Williams. " Pleasure to meet any one in com- 
fortable circumstances in these wilds." 

" Millionaire, indeed ! " said I, with a stare. 

' Yes, millionaire," returned Bob positively. " I 
ran up against your friend when I was making 
some inquiries at the bank just now, and the bank 
clerk handed him a wad of greenbacks as thick as 
my arm. Nice little remittance, eh ? " 

" Oh ho, Mr. Jones ! " thought I, " so Bill Mus- 
grave was not so far wrong when he declared you had 
money coming to you." 

" Are you coming round after your bedding ? " 
I said to him aloud. " Your things are in the wagon 
at the Mammoth Corral I'll walk there with you 
and hand them over." 

Jones' face flushed darkly. 

" Want to see me knock the head off that partner 
of yours again ? " he queried in a bluffing tone. 

The saloon-keeper grinned. 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 43 

"No," returned I. " I don't want any more 
rows, and I don't see any call for them. But I 
suppose you intend to come and square up money 
matters ? " 

" I ain't got nothing to square up as I know of," 
he rejoined defiantly. It was plain that he had 
been sampling Crockett City whisky, and the de- 
ferential manner in which he had always spoken 
to me had disappeared. 

' You know perfectly well that I advanced thirty 
dollars to get you out " I hesitated a moment and 
then blurted out " out of the Tintacktown cala- 
boose." 

The grin on the bar-keeper's face grew broader, 
and Bob Williams' eyes began to sparkle. 

" And," I went on, " as I know now that you're 
perfectly able to return the money, if you deny the 
obligation, well, it will be my business to collect 
it" ; and I looked him contemptuously in the face 
and then turned towards the door. 

He waited till I reached it. 

" Hold on there," he called after me, " I'm not 
scared of that darned cowardly partner of yours. 
He was mighty brave when he had a gun and I 
hadn't, but I've no sort of objection to interviewing 
him now." He pushed through the swing door, and 
I followed. 

My new friend raised his tall form from the two 
chairs on which he was lounging and strolled after us. 

Jones hurriedly crossed the road and we saw him 
stop before a gunsmith's shop. There he pulled 



44 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

up short and looked over his shoulder at Williams 
and me. 

' Your partner was mighty brave when he had got 
a gun and I had none/' he repeated. " Now it's 
my turn, and I'm coming to talk to him right now." 

We saw him, through the door, provide himself 
with a pistol and an ammunition pouch and pay for 
them with a fifty-dollar bill. 

He loaded the pistol right there in the shop. As 
he stuck it in the belt under his coat, we heard the 
gunsmith cautioning him that there was a law in 
Crockett against carrying concealed weapons. 

" No fear," said Jones, shortly. " I ain't been in 
town an hour yet : only just come off the prairie." 

The seller of deadly weapons smiled. 

" You seem to be posted," he said. " Likely 
you know your way about." 

''You bet, I do," nodded Jones, pocketing some 
thirty dollars change which the other gave him. 
"Now I'm heeled." He turned to me. "Come 
on ! " he cried defiantly, " now for the Mammoth," 
and he slapped the pistol at his hip. 

Bob Williams and I followed close at his heels. 
To say I was uneasy is putting it mildly. I knew 
Ed was a good shot, and I had learned from his own 
yarns that he was an experienced fighting man. 
But Ed would possibly not have his pistol handy 
here in Crockett, and if Jones came on him at a 
disadvantage I didn't like the prospect at all. 
At the best there would be a row, and probably an 
arrest and a fine to pay; at the worst, somebody 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 45 

might be lying dead within ten minutes, and that 
somebody might be my partner. It struck me it 
would be no harm to encourage Jones by mentioning 
a few of Ed's feats. He might be too tough to be 
rattled, but it might shake his nerve a bit. 

" You may like to know Ed only shot to scare 
you yesterday," I called after him as he walked a 
good two yards in front of me. " He wouldn't ever 
kill an unarmed man. But he can shoot straight ; 
he shot straight enough when he killed Callaghan 
in Denver/' 

Jones stopped so abruptly that we all but collided. 

" D'you mean to tell me it was your partner 
killed Callaghan ? " he said. 

" Certainly," said I. "In Denver, two years 
back, on Larimer Street." 

"This sounds sporting," murmured Bob. " But 
who was Callaghan ? " 

" A Mormon desperado," said I. " People be- 
lieved that he was sent to Denver on one of Brigham 
Young's errands. He got into some sort of quarrel 
with Ed, and Ed just dropped him in his tracks." 

Jones looked back over his shoulder ; he had 
started on again. 

" If your partner's such a big man," he jeered, 
" it's time somebody taught him a lesson, and I'm 
going to do it. The first one I gave him don't 
seem to have been enough." 

But in spite of this brag it struck me that his 
steps were getting slower. Was it possible that he 
might be getting reluctant to come to the scratch, 



46 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

or did he mean to creep up to Ed and shoot him 
unawares ? I kept close behind ready to knock up 
his arm ; my eye was glued to his elbow. Bob 
Williams swaggered along beside me, discoursing 
agreeably on the ladies of the Spanish Court as 
though there was no such thing as a fight imminent. 

We reached the corner, and as we turned it, 
there, sure enough, at the gate of the corral was my 
partner talking to a tall cowpuncher and pointing 
our way. 

Jones pulled up short, backed behind us, and 
then slipped round the corner again so as to be out 
of sight. I sprang after him, whispering to Bob 
that one of the pair was my partner Ed. 

" Why, the other's the Texas chap whose camp 
I'm stopping at ! " said Bob, with a quick glance 
at Jack Jones' pale face. " I want to say a word 
to him. You wait half a minute, and I'll be back." 

He was back almost as quick as he promised, 
and with a very serious look. 

" I say," he began, " my Texas friend, Duval, 
there swears that your friend is out for meat, means 
to kill somebody." 

Jones was pale before, but now his complexion 
suddenly became green. 

" Oh, I'll go and speak to Ed ! " I cried in real 
concern ; and I was starting off at a run when 
a violent nudge from Bob Williams sent me stagger- 
ing against the wall, and as I turned to remonstrate, 
I caught an unmistakable wink. " Go and do your 
best," he said rather loudly. " Tell Mr. Holcombe 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 47 

I will try to keep Mr. Jones back, though I doubt 
if I can/' 

" Yes, yes," stammered Jones, " I must have an 
explanation ; can't stand American brutality, you 
know." 

" Quite right to teach him a lesson," agreed 
Williams as I ran off, rather marvelling as to what 
the game was. I began to see light when Claude 
Duval, the tall cowboy, met me with a facsimile of 
the wink with which Williams had favoured me. 

"I'm telling Mr. Holcombe he mustn't take too 
many risks," he said. " No doubt he's got to fight 
that fellow that's been working for you but he 
wants to have fair play and we'll see that he gets 
it ; Mr. Williams says that this Jones has just 
bought a new pistol to kill him with ; always takes 
a new gun he says every time he kills any one ; in 
fact he's a regular bad man." 

Ed looked singularly uncomfortable, and it began 
to dawn on me that perhaps he wasn't quite the 
hero I had imagined. The true Western man had 
a sudden nerve no danger could shake ; such a 
nerve I hoped some day to find in myself ; was it 
possible that Ed, Ed who had killed Callaghan, 
should not have it ? Was it possible that he was 
crawfishing before Jack Jones ? I must know, and 
here I saw a chance to put him to the test. 

"He is livid with rage," I said impressively. 
" Williams is just holding him back. You'd best 
not go down the street, Ed ; it would never do to 
have a row right in the town." 



48 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" I don't just see how Mr. Holcombe can get out 
of it," said Claude, " but you and me'll see he has 
a fair show. Come on." And holding Ed the 
actually reluctant Ed by the arm he started down 
the street. I took Ed's other side. If Jones was 
more on the warpath than I guessed, he might yet 
hesitate to shoot when he saw three men approach- 
ing, but when we turned the corner, lo, he and 
Williams had vanished ! Ed shook himself free 
from Claude and began to swear at large. 

" Where is he ? " he shouted. " Cowardly skunk, 
he darsn't wait ! " 

" Come along," cried Claude with an ecstatic 
grin, " we'll find him," and they started forward at 
a run, but as they went I saw something that made 
me forget him and my partner and everything else 
it was the white tilt of a wagon that a couple of 
thin broncos were dragging up the street, the 
wagon I had watched for all along the road, and 
inside which sat the girl whose beauty had haunted 
me ever since I saw her by the Elkhorn ford. 
Eagerly I looked for her as it came up ; yes, there 
she was far in under the shadow of the tilt, sitting 
behind her father and mother. They recognized me 
and pulled up, the old man smiling and waving 
his hand. I ran forward to shake it. Oh, if my 
tongue could but frame a few flattering phrases in 
Spanish ! The maiden of my dreams was once 
again before me, and once again the barrier of a 
foreign language rose like a wall between us. 

" Hold on ! " I cried, raising my hand, and as I 



A CROCKETT CIRCUS 49 

turned and ran, I saw the old senor had guessed 
my meaning and waited. I dived into a candy 
shop close by and flung down a ten-dollar bill on 
the counter, while with one hand I snatched up a 
satin-covered box of chocolate creams and with 
the other grabbed a bunch of roses with which the 
young lady in charge had decorated her marble- 
topped counter. I sped back with my plunder, 
and, reaching past the old man, laid the box and 
the flowers on the girl's lap. 

" Gracias, senor ; muchas gracias," cried the old 
people, and once again she smiled into my eyes. 
Was it fancy ? it seemed to me her face was thinner, 
her lips sadder than I had seen them in my dreams. 
What was the trouble ? Why was she miserable ? 
I would find out if only I had some one to interpret. 
My new acquaintance, Bob Williams, had been in 
Spain ; perhaps he could help me, only he wasn't 
here. 

" Can't you stay with me here to-day ? " I cried 
despairingly in English, and waving my hand 
invitingly to the old Mexican. 

He seemed to divine my meaning and hesitated ; 
his wife spoke rapidly to him. 

" Gracias," he cried again, " gracias, no puedo 
tardar mus' go adios, senor, adios," and I 
fancied a softer " adios " was echoed from within the 
wagon. The wheels creaked, the wagon rolled on, 
and they were gone. 



CHAPTER V 
EL MEJICANO 

THE Mexican wagon rolled away leaving me 
standing in the middle of the street staring 
blankly after it. Then I came to my senses 
again, my heart thumping. Things could not end 
like this. I had not found her again just to lose 
her a second time. I must follow, I must explain 
somehow. I turned and ran towards the corral 
to see if I could hire a horse ; if I could only get 
a horse Providence might also be good enough to 
find me an interpreter. Alas ! there wasn't a 
horse to be had at the Mammoth for love or money. 
I tried a second corral and then a third in vain, 
when, as I ran to seek elsewhere, a shout made 
me halt ; there were Ed and Duval, standing on 
the step of the bar-room where I had my talk with 
Williams, and Ed was signalling to me. I stopped 
reluctantly and pulled myself together. 

" Hullo ! " I said, " where is Jones ? have you 
buried him ? " I half wished that he and Jones had 
broken each other's necks. 

Ed puffed out his chest and looked warlike. 
Bob Williams laughed. 

" Bar- keeper here, says he's jumped the country," 



EL MEJICANO 51 

he said. " A Mexican wagon came along, and Mr. 
Jones just popped up into it without hardly a 
' By your leave/ and skipped. Only left his love for 
Mr. Holcombe of course. I am afraid he didn't 
remember to give any message for you he was too 
busy jabbering to the old Don who was driving. 
He's a mile on the road to New Mexico by now ! " 
and Bob laughed aloud, and Ed joined him. 

But I did not think it funny. What Mexican 
outfit was it that he had joined ? The horrible 
certainty flashed on me that it was the party I had 
just left. Nay, perhaps Jones had been lying low 
in the back of the wagon while I was fetching flowers 
for the senorita ! 

" Whom did he go with ? " I cried hastily. 
" Was it the people we camped by last night, 
Ed?" 

" How should I know ? " returned Ed. " I 
didn't see him. Do you suppose he'd be travelling 
around with his head on if I'd ever come up with 
him ? " 

" Old man and woman, pair of thin broncos, 
poverty-stricken lot," remarked Bob. 

Then I was right. I swung round. I must stop 
this. Jones the liar and coward, who was not fit 
to wipe the dust off her feet, was going with her 
family into New Mexico. What power his glib 
tongue and full purse would give him with that 
ignorant and greedy old Mexican. 

" I must go after that fellow ! " I cried. 

" Oh, leave him be," began Duval ; and my 



52 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

partner interrupted loudly : " Don't let me hear 
that skunk's name again ! We're well rid of him 
at thirty dollars." He might say that easily as it 
was my money not his that had got Jones out of 
jail. " We're here for business," shouted Ed ; 
" we've got no time to fool after such truck. Mr. 
Duval knows of a little herd of cattle that sounds 
just like what we've been looking for, and you and 
me's going right off to see them." 

" I was a-telling your partner, Mr. Thompson," 
explained Duval, " as I knowed where there is a 
nice little herd of young Texas cattle, the MN 
brand, cows and calves mostly. Cap. Anderson, 
the man who's got 'em, wants to go back to Texas, 
and he'd sell 'em out reasonable. There's only 
about three hundred of 'em, and I'll be right pleased 
to have you stop over at my camp while you look 
at 'em ! " 

What could I answer ? How could I in honour 
throw over my partner and turn my back on our 
business ? I was ready enough to cry " All for 
love and the world well lost," but every penny I 
was worth was being sunk in the ranch ; and sup- 
posing I threw it away, what would that old Don 
say to the advances of a penniless Englishman ? 
I stared down at my dusty boots as desire and 
common sense struggled in my breast. I might at 
least ride after them and warn them what sort 
of a man had thrust himself into their company 
but could I catch them ? How could I know which 
road they would take ? they clearly travelled by 



EL MEJICANO 53 

short cuts, for we missed them coming in to Croc- 
kett. But if I caught up with them I began to 
see how preposterous it was to ride up, with no 
interpreter, to their wagon, to tell them that 
they had got a passenger whom I knew to be a 
cheat and a coward. What business was it of 
mine ? How naturally they would resent my inter- 
ference. A cold flood of reason froze my impatient 
romance I was a fool I had no right to meddle, 
I must mind my own business. Like a picketed 
horse I could not break from my tether, but must 
follow, dumb and patient, where it pleased Ed 
Holcombe to lead me. And so I silently turned 
my back on dreams and journeyed out to Claude 
Duval's camp. 

But that night when I lay beside the camp fire 
my restless thoughts could not but travel to that 
other camp twenty or thirty miles away where the 
wagon would stop on the road to New Mexico. In 
imagination I beheld the glow of the firelight on 
the face of the girl who had cast such a spell on 
me, and I pictured Jack Jones sitting there too, 
amusing them with his talk and boasting of his 
money and his powerful friends. I could not doubt 
that he had lied when he told me on the Elkhorn 
that he did not know the Mexican's name I could 
not doubt that even then he had set his evil heart 
on winning the girl. Fool that I was ! To have 
seen the one face that would ever haunt me, the 
one woman whose charm had struck me with 
adoration at first sight, and to let her slip like the 



54 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

unsubstantial vision of a dream. A line I had read 
years back hummed through my head : 

" We live in a dream, and love in a dream, and go in a dream 
to die." 

I would dream no longer. She needed my help, and 
she should have it. At least, this I might do, now 
that I was awake at last. I must hunt through 
Crockett to find some one who knew their name 
and pay an interpreter to write a letter for me warn- 
ing them against Jones. As his late employer I 
had some right to see that he did not take advan- 
tage of having been seen in my company I had a 
right to say that he was an unknown waif, and pro- 
bably a thorough ruffian, whom I had picked out of 
jail half out of charity. Do not say I was jealous 
how could I condescend to be jealous of such a 
worm ! It was righteous indignation that I felt 
or so, at least I persuaded myself and having 
settled what were my own feelings and what should 
be my future conduct some calm came back to me 
and I slept. 

But when morning came there was no Crockett 
City for me. As the capitalist of the concern it 
was indispensable that I should go with Ed to 
inspect the MN herd. However, if I could not go, 
Claude Duval was riding in there, for his business 
demanded his return to the city. I would not lose 
such a chance of making inquiries, and I begged 
him to ask among the people he knew if any one 
could give the name of the old Mexican travelling 



EL MEJICANO 55 

south with his family in a white tilted wagon. I 
mumbled out some lame excuse of wanting to keep 
track of our late hand, Jones ; but Claude was not 
inquisitive ; he readily promised to do all he could 
for me, and we parted, he to lope towards the town 
we to drive out to Captain Anderson's ranch. We 
found him at home and learned that the cattle 
were still for sale. 

The owner was a fine specimen of a thorough- 
bred Texan, very quiet and unassuming in manner, 
yet something about him seemed to mark a born 
leader of men. Ad Anderson had gone into the 
Southern army in the war, Claude told us, as a plain 
cavalryman, and had come out at the end with a 
pair of shoulder straps and minus his left arm. 

" Fll find you a couple of ponies/' said Captain 
Anderson, " and we'll ride out to where I'm having 
the cattle close-herded so that I can show them 
to you," and off we went. 

A solitary man, who was sitting on the ground 
holding a long cord at the end of which a saddled 
horse was grazing, rose at our approach, sprang 
lightly on to the animal's back, and rode to meet us. 

" Feeding well ? " inquired Captain Anderson 
as we came up. " All right, Ho-seh ? " Later I 
learned this was the Spanish way of pronouncing 
Jose. 

The man addressed as " Ho-seh " was not tall, 
but well and strongly built, with bright sparkling 
eyes and a smile that disclosed a brilliant array of 
teeth. I recognized him for a Mexican at once by 



56 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

his resemblance to my friends of the wagon, and 
the musical intonation of his voice brought a thrill 
of remembrance to my mind, though, unlike them, 
he spoke very fair English. 

" The cattle do all right," he said. M They been 
feed good. But I just hear a bull call over the mesa 
yonder, and I think that mean bull from Apishpa 
come back here again." 

" There's a plaguy Spanish bull," explained 
Captain Anderson to us, " who has taken it into his 
blamed head to come over here and bother my herd, 
and by thunder, here he is again ! " 

As Captain Anderson spoke, a long-horned 
brindled bull came into sight round the end of the 
mesa, trotting eagerly forward with his head held 
high and bellowing a defiant challenge to his rivals 
which shrilled on the air like the blare of a trumpet. 

Then he halted, bowed his huge neck, and smelt 
the earth, and pawed up the dirt with his forefeet 
till it rained back in showers over his loins. 

" Can't you tail him, Ho-seh ? " asked Anderson. 

' This horse too slow," answered the Mexican. 
" I tried to tail him yesterday, but it was no use. 
I got to drive him off with the whip. But that 
don't scare him much. You see how he comes right 
back again." 

" All right," said the owner of the MN brand. 
" Let me have that horse you're riding, and you try 
him with this Darky horse. He can just fly. Put 
your saddle on him." 

The exchange was soon made. The horse on 



EL MEJICANO 57 

which the Mexican now found himself was a beauti- 
ful black pony of about fourteen hands, clean- 
limbed as a deer, and full of fire. Jose drew the 
cinch tight and sprang lightly to the saddle, and, 
even as he sprang, the black pony started in a gallop 
straight for the enemy, as if man and horse were 
guided by a common will. Like a flash he cut in 
between the bull and the main herd. The bull with 
an angry toss of his head bounded forward as if 
to pass in front of him, and then, suddenly stop- 
ping short, whirled round to slip behind. But he 
had met his match ; Jose and the pony whirled 
too, and were galloping in the opposite direction 
faster than before. Again the bull tried to stop 
and dodge, but Jose closed on him and belaboured 
him vigorously over the quarter with the quirt. It 
looked audacious, so big was the bull, so small 
seemed the man and horse in comparison. 

Once more the bull turned, this time wheeling 
away from his pursuer ; and then, finally giving 
up the dodging game, set off at the very top of his 
speed to shake off his tormentors. 

Now came Jose's opportunity. In a moment he 
ran the black pony up to the left quarter of the 
hard-galloping bull. The rider leaned over on his 
right side till he nearly disappeared from view, 
and then straightened himself in the saddle, holding 
the end of the bull's tail in his right hand. He 
raised his right leg from the horse's side, and shut 
it down again with a swing so as to get a purchase 
with it on the bull's tail. At the same moment the 



58 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

perfectly trained cow-horse, in obedience to an 
invisible touch of the rein, swung off sharp to the 
left. 

The effect was electrical. The hindquarters of 
the bull were slewed to the left as he galloped ; 
his own feet, hitting each other in his stride, 
tripped him up ; Jose, at exactly the right instant, 
let go the tail ; and as the black horse sheered off 
in a left-hand curve and slowed up, the bull rolled 
end over end like a shot rabbit. They were rushing 
towards us when he fell, and the ground beneath us 
trembled with the shock of his overthrow. I 
thought he would never have done rolling. When 
at last he brought up, it was on the flat of his back, 
with all his four legs sticking up in the air, and a 
tremulous quiver running through his carcass. 

" Splendid ! " I cried" splendid ! " 

" You've about killed him this time, I believe," 
exclaimed Anderson. " B'gosh, I think his neck's 
broke." 

" Esta vivo," replied the Mexican calmly, as he 
reined in his horse and sat proudly still on him, 
eyeing his prostrate foe. " He's not dead. He's 
only a bit shook up." 

The Mexican was right. The bull came to ; he 
rolled over on one side, heaved his quarters from 
the ground and got his hind legs under him, then 
struggled on to his forefeet, and finally stood up 
and looked around with an absurd air of bewilder- 
ment. 

My partner burst into a loud laugh. 



EL MEJICANO 59 

" He thinks the ground got up and hit him in 
the face/' he cried. 

Jose uncoiled the stock-whip which he had tied 
to his saddle, and riding up to the bull laid it once 
or twice sharply across his back. The discomfited 
intruder, apparently recognizing the hand that had 
overthrown him, acknowledged defeat, and trotted 
meekly back the way he had come, the Mexican 
keeping close to his heels and touching him up 
smartly to send him along. 

" Never saw that done before," remarked my 
partner approvingly. " Je-whillikins, but that bull 
did roll over ! " 

" That Darky horse knows the trick," said An- 
derson, " and he's as good a cow-horse as I ever 
thro wed a leg across." 

" Throw him in with the herd ? " asked Ed. 

" Hum ! " said Mr. Anderson, " that depends. 
I'm not anxious to part with him." 

The fun was over and we came to business, and 
my partner made his bargain with Mr. Anderson, 
a bargain with which I had nothing to do but to 
foot the bill, and we turned and rode back to camp, 
having arranged that Jose should join us on the 
morrow to help us to drive our new purchase back 
to the ranch. 

" He's a first-class hand with cattle," said Captain 
Anderson, " and a very decent quiet fellow, but I 
shan't want him now I've got rid of this last lot, 
so if you like to take him you're welcome." 

" Well," said my partner, " we come down here 



60 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

looking for a hired man, so I reckon we'll take 
the Mexican with the rest of the cattle/' and we 
rode back to camp. 

Claude had returned, and he seemed really sorry 
that he had been unable to identify the particular 
wagon I was in search of. As we talked we strolled 
towards the camp fire. How picturesque were 
the cowboys, lounging about in their fringed 
" shaps." A handsome lad was seated on the 
ground fixing fancy knots on a bridle rein, and 
another was mending a worn hide rope. Claude's 
quick return from town a second time became the 
theme of their pleasantries. 

'' What brings you back so soon, Claude ? " in- 
quired Johnny, the boy who was making fancy 
knots. " Lafe said as how you wouldn't be back 
before second watch. Couldn't you find no friends 
in Crockett ? " 

' You don't seem to understand, Johnny," 
explained the rope-mender who answered to the 
name of Lafe. " He's gone and painted the town 
vermilion, and he's come away so as to let it dry 
on." 

" Oh, is that how it is ? " mocked Johnny. " I 
might have guessed as much. I allus did hear say 
as Claude would be a plumb terror when he got 
started. Tell us all about it, Claude. Have you 
ordered their funerals ? And how many of 'em ? " 

" That cemetery as they've started at Crockett 
ain't no class," said Claude coolly, " and I consider 
as 'tain't worth adding to the population of it. No 



EL MEJICANO 61 

self-respecting corpse would ever want to be seen 
there." 

He squatted down before the fire, and extracted 
a coal to light his pipe. 

" Why blame me if he ain't had his moustache 
curled/' said the irrepressible boy, as the glowing 
coal threw a strong light upon the lower part of 
Claude's face. " Now, mind you don't singe it 
mind ! " he cried with great anxiety. " Your best 
girl won't never look at you again if you char the 
ends. She don't want no blacking-brushes fooling 
round her mouth." 

Claude sucked away at his pipe till it drew, re- 
gardless of his tormentor, and then threw himself 
comfortably back on his elbow. 

" How many best girls have you got already, 
Claude ? " cut in Lafe. " Let me see, there was 
one at Las Moras, and two or was it three ? at 
Las Vegas ; and now that moustache of yourn has 
been devastating the female hearts of Crockett 
City. Tell us about the girls at Crockett, Claude. 
Are they a patch on Las Vegas ? Did they give 
you any message for us ? " 

" Yes, they did," retorted Duval ; M they told me 
if I seen a long-legged, slab-sided Arkansaw cow- 
puncher, with not more'n three ugly goat hairs 
straggling round his chin, and answering to the 
name of Long Lafe, to tell him as their dance 
programmes was full up, and he could go to the 
top of Pike's Peak and set there and cool off till 
they sent for him." 



62 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

He stopped suddenly. The night had fallen 
swiftly even as we talked, and the darkness stood 
round us like a wall. Out of it a figure on horse- 
back loomed up, advancing slowly into the edge of 
the firelight, and hailed the camp. 

"Mr. Holcombe ? " he said; and I knew the 
voice to be the voice of Jose. 

He dismounted, and handed a letter to my 
partner, and stood beside the fire, holding the riata 
of his horse. My partner read the letter and turned 
to me. 

" Cap. Anderson writes that a big herd of buffalo 
is reported on Rush Creek, only fifty miles off. He 
wants to have a hunt before he starts back for 
Texas, and he wants to know if we'll join his party. 
He says he'll find us horses. He'd like you to 
come too, Mr. Duval," he added, turning to Claude. 

" I say, what a lark," said Bob Williams' voice, 
as he came up behind us, calmly assuming that the 
invitation included any one who wished to accept 
it. " Come on, Tommy, and we'll see if that 
Mexican can tail a buffalo." 

" What do you say, Ed ? " said I, half ashamed 
to confess how I thrilled at the idea of a buffalo 
hunt. Here at last I might see something of the 
romance of the wilderness. I had grown mightily 
disenchanted with ' ' the simple life ' ' during my 
experience with Ed Holcombe, but this sounded like 
the life in the West I had dreamed of when I first 
crossed the Divide. 

" Please yourself/ 1 grumbled Ed ; " all I can say 



EL MEJICANO 63 

is I've lost no buffalo, me, but if you want to go and 
let off a gun at 'em I've no objection we can do 
with a buffalo robe or two this next winter. Those 
MN cattle have got to be taken straight off to the 
ranch ; I can see to that while you are amusing 
yourself." Ed always managed to imply that he 
did all the work. 

" All right," I said, " I'll go "and I pulled out 
my pocket-book and began to scribble an answer 
to Captain Anderson's note, but I still heard 
everything that was said. 

" Cursed awkward," growled Ed, turning to 
Claude. " Cap. was turning this Mexican over 
to me with the herd, and now he says he can't let 
me have him till after his silly hunt wants him 
to drive a wagon for him. How am I going to get 
those brutes of cattle driven ? " 

" Oh, if that's all, we can spare you a couple of 
men for a few days," said Claude. " You Cap. 
Anderson's herder?" he added in Spanish, to 
Jose", who stood silently beside the fire. 

" Si, senor," replied the Mexican quietly. 

" So you talk Spanish," said Bob Williams to 
Claude, with some surprise. 

' Them girls at Las Vegas learned him a bit," 
laughed Lafe. " One Mexican girl's worth a dozen 
dictionaries. And Claude had two any way." 

I saw Jose's eyes flash at this. I was aware that 
he understood English ; but these men either didn't 
know or didn't care. 

" Ask him if he knows Las Vegas," suggested Bob. 



64 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Possibly he's been there since you, and can give 
you news of the sefioritas you were talking about." 
Bob's tone was a trifle condescending. 

Claude hesitated a moment, and then said some- 
thing in Spanish to the Mexican in a rallying tone. 

Jose answered curtly, with a certain stiff reserve. 
It looked as if he wanted to mark his dislike of 
familiarities coming from a total stranger. 

I got up and came nearer the fire. 

" What did you say to him ? " I asked Claude. 

He laughed. 

" I was only asking him if he wasn't fond of the 
girls," he said lightly. " Most of them Mexicans 
like to be joshed about it, but he don't seem to. 
Seems more like he was inclined to put on frills." 

I looked at him as he stood there staring into 
the glowing embers, his broad sombrero with its 
shining silver braid drawn a little down over his 
brows. There was a medieval quality almost a 
Velasquez touch I thought about the trim pointed 
beard and the heavy moustache, the ends of which 
his left hand was now twisting meditatively. Here 
stood the Mexican, alone, in the camp of a race that 
had conquered his. They bore no spite against 
him ; they wished to be friendly ; but, by way of 
expressing it, the only man among them who 
understood his language had tried to " josh" him 
about his countrywomen. He must have winced 
internally, but he was there on duty, not by choice ; 
he was waiting for my answer. To my eyes there 
was dignity in his air of proud reserve, 



EL MEJICANO 65 

"I'm sure he doesn't like you to chaff him about 
the women," said I in an undertone to Claude as I 
scribbled. " No man can stand being chaffed about 
the women of his own people. It sounds as if you 
thought them all well, you know what I mean. 
I wish you'd shut up." 

Claude laughed. 

" Oh, well, there's some of the girls that are, and 
some that aren't," he said with an air of impar- 
tiality. " I didn't go to hurt his feelings," he con- 
tinued lower, " but I'll bet you he's been sweet on 
some of them himself, just the way your English 
friend over there has. They're good looking, you 
bet." It was impossible to choke Claude off 
I was only thankful that Bob, who stood listening 
with a slightly contemptuous air, seemed disinclined 
to join in the chaff. " Why, some of 'em," con- 
tinued Claude, with growing enthusiasm, " some of 
'em's just as pretty as a painted mule. They're 
dark, you know, darker'n you or me, but they've 
all got mighty taking eyes. Velvet-eyed little 
senoritas, that's what they are, you bet ; and it's 
a mighty taking way they have of looking at you 
out of the corners of them eyes. And fiery ; they're 
just as hot-tempered as blazes. Why, if you make 
one of them girls jealous, she's as like as not to 
slip a knife into you in a holy minute ; yes, and 
then cry over you like anything the next minute 
after she's done it. Oh, they're high-strung, them 
moohairies are. A moohair's Mexican for a woman." 
It was his way of pronouncing the Spanish " mujer." 
5 



06 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" What's that you're saying about women 
there ? " sung out Lafe. Claude had unconsciously 
raised his voice a little at the end of what he had 
been telling me. " Let's hear what it is. Did 
this Mexican tell you something about them girls 
at Las Vegas ? Go on. We're all interested." 

" No, there's nothing to tell, 3 ' answered Claude. 
" I tried him on, but he wouldn't rise to it nohow." 

" He's jealous of you, Claude," said Lafe ; 
" that's what it is. Likely he's got a girl down that 
way himself. Mebbe you'll be going back there as 
soon as this herd's sold out, and Mr. Mexican H ombre 
don't want no sech good-looking chap as you 
nosing around where he's got a claim staked out. 
That's about the size of it. 1 ' 

Why did not Jos6 speak out at once, and say that 
he understood English ? These men had assumed 
that he did not. As I folded my note and addressed 
it I was on the point of speaking straight out and 
telling them so, when I met his glowing eyes full 
on me. Disdain was there the disdain of a man 
who is proud to own his allegiance to a different 
civilization. It was as if he had spoken to me 
" They say. What say they? Let them say." 

I handed him my letter. 

" There's my answer," I said. 

" Si, seiior," said the Mexican, gathering up his 
riata and leaping on his horse. " Good night, 
gentlemen," he said in perfect English, with a 
comprehensive glance round the circle. The next 
moment he was gone. 



CHAPTER VI 
CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES 

WHEN the Mexican had ridden away, 
Bob Williams condescended to sit down 
again by the camp fire and join in the 
conversation. 

" I shouldn't wonder if we was to run up against 
some Cheyennes," Claude had begun; "they most 
in general follow the buffalo herds, and all around 
here used to be their hunting grounds." 

" I've not come on a blessed Indian since I came 
west," I said. " I don't believe there are any left 
except in novels and poems." 

" If you had seen as much of them as I have, you 
might prefer their room to their company," said 
Bob, with an irritating air of superiority. 

" Say, you had a scrap or two with them? " 
put in Claude, his eyes beginning to sparkle. Claude 
had not quite understood the Mexican, but I sus- 
pected he had taken the measure of Bob Williams 
pretty well. 

" Not with these Indians," he said" what do 
you call them, Cheyennes ? No the redmen I 
have come across are the ones in South America ; 
they're none of your half- tame loafers in old top 

67 



68 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

hats, they are the genuine article, warrior Indians 
of the Gran Chaco is what the Argentines call 
them I once was in rather a tight place with 
them, I must confess. I was travelling alone 
through the giant thistles : our common thistles 
have taken to growing there as big as trees ; they 
grow higher than a man on horseback at any rate, 
and so thick that the only way to get through is to 
follow the narrow trails made by the wild cattle. 
Well, I was following one of these trails, when 
suddenly I heard, quite near, the voice of an in- 
visible being. You see these trails in the thistle 
are practically tunnels, one is so shut in, but though 
they are too high for a man in the saddle to look 
over the tops, if you stand up on your horse's back 
the extra three feet elevation allows you to see for 
miles. I reined up short, put my feet on the 
horse's croup he was trained to it, of course and 
stood up. I had my elephant gun in my hand, by 
good luck." 

" Your what ? " broke in Claude. 

" My elephant gun. I had been invited to lead 
a scientific expedition to Patagonia to kill or cap- 
ture a gigantic monster that was roaming there, 
and I made it a practice to scout alone, ahead of 
my followers. As I say, by the greatest luck, I 
happened to have the big gun with me it shot 
a bullet of a quarter of a pound. As my head rose 
above the thistle-wall what should I see but six 
heads in a line looking at me from about twenty- 
five yards off. It was a band of redskins who 



CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES 69 

were travelling the same trail as myself and, like 
me, had stood up on their horses to look around. 
No time to ask questions. Up came the gun. A 
snap shot, bang ! And, if you believe me, the whole 
row went down like a pack of cards." 

We all looked at one another and gasped. 

" Yes," he continued meditatively, " it was a 
most extraordinary sight. There they lay, piled 
one on the other, just like a pack of cards." 

" Seven at one blow," I remarked. 

" I didn't say seven," retorted Bob sharply; " I 
said six. You would have said six were enough if 
you'd seen their ugly mugs so close." 

" Well," said Claude, " I swan it's a pity you 
haven't that gun along now ; you'd about account 
for a whole herd of buffalo at one shot." 

" Ah ! " answered Bob, with a sigh. " It is a pity. 
But I shall never let off another shot from that 
dear old gun. The reason of the wonderful force 
of the bullet was that I had overcharged the gun 
always filled my own cartridges in those days 
and while the bullet knocked over the Indians, the 
gun itself busted and knocked me off my horse 
backwards as flat as the enemy. Happily, there 
were none of them left alive, for I should have 
been at their mercy I hadn't even a bit of the 
stock to use as a club, it all flew to matchwood. 
But I have always regretted that gun ! " 

Claude was silent I guessed he was struck 
dumb ; but Lafe took up the tale. 

" Well, it is an almighty pity that gun got 



70 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

busted. I am real sorry for it. It would have 
given us all confidence to have a weapon like that 
in camp." 

" Oh ! " said Bob, " you don't need any out-of- 
the-way weapons to deal with the Colorado Indians, 
I should imagine. A little promptitude and decision 
is all that is needed. I really wish we could come 

on a few. My experience " and as I lay in my 

blankets the last sounds that came to my drowsy 
ears were Bob's threats of blood and slaughter 
against every redskin on the same section of the 
Territory as himself. 

When we got to Ad Anderson's camp next morn- 
ing Ed tried unsuccessfully to get him to turn 
Jose over to us with the cattle at once, but the 
captain needed him too much himself. I did not 
say anything, but I was amused to find how my 
partner, for all his contempt for Mexicans, had 
counted on the help of the " darned greaser" in 
moving the MN cattle, and how angry he was at 
having to put up with the help of a couple of 
ordinary American cowboys. I was, on my part, 
very glad of the arrangement. Ever since our 
eyes had met in that curious dumb colloquy by the 
camp fire I had felt a strange sort of intimacy with 
the Mexican, and I was anxious for a chance of 
speaking with him. 

It was a glorious morning, and cantering under 
the blue sky over the endless stretches of buffalo 
grass the laughter and yells of the cowboys stimu- 
lated our game little broncos to more exertion. 



CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES 71 

The exhilarating air of the Colorado plains went 
to our heads like champagne and I began to realize 
that the West could indeed make the very fact of 
existence a joy. 

Bob's flow of yarns was incessant, and so were 
the jokes of young Johnny, who was the pet and 
torment of Claude Duval's camp. Jos6 rode in 
silence, an alien among them. Magnificently as 
they all managed their horses, Jos6 still gave me 
the effect of an antique cavalier among modern 
cattlemen ; the grace and skill of his riding, the 
courtesy of his manner, all touched my imagination. 

" How did you learn to tail a bull so splen- 
didly ? " I said, turning my horse alongside of his. 

" When I was a boy in Chihuahua, I worked a 
good deal on a big hacienda, a cow ranch these 
Americans call it. I been born there. If you go 
to my country you see some good vaqueros there, 
much better than me," he ended modestly. 

" By Jove, I'd like to/' I cried impulsively. 
" There's nothing I should like better than to go 
to your country, but I can't speak the language." 

" You learn it very soon," said he; "it's much 
easier to learn than your language." 

" Yes," I said. " I expect it ought to come easy 
to any one who knows a bit of Latin." 

" Oh, you know Latin ? " he said, with a sudden 
bright smile. " You are learned as a padre, sefior ; 
you find our language only a play to learn ! ' ' 

" All right," said I. " I only hope it's so ; will 
you give me some lessons ? " 



72 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

'' Con mucho gusto," he smiled back, and cer- 
tainly I did not find it hard to guess what he 
meant. 

So we rode together and I made him tell me 
about the life in his home and the ways of his 
people. Poor Jose, he did not guess that the 
sudden interest of the stranger in things Mexican 
was awakened, not by Jose Ortega, but only in 
order that he might picture the surroundings of 
an unknown girl. 

We camped that night thirty miles out and with 
good hopes to come on the buffalo early next day. 
How clear and low the stars hung ! in that trans- 
parent air they shone with different colours, some 
visibly farther off and others nearer to us ; the 
mind grew dizzy trying to fathom the depths of 
space. I lay on the short dry grass looking up, 
till it seemed as if I could feel our own planet spin 
under me as it flew on its track among the other 
shining worlds. Often had I watched them rise and 
wheel behind the dark spires and towers of Oxford 
and had rebelled at the narrow life of futile re- 
search that satisfied my teachers. Often had I 
looked for them in vain through the fogs of London, 
when heartsick with the greedy warfare of man 
against man. Now I saw them in the wilderness, 
the wilderness that was ancient as they, and was I 
more content ? How my soldier father and my 
soldier brother had chaffed me over my doleful 
dumps, as they used to call them. Dad, still as 
keen a rider and as straight a shot as when he 



CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES 73 

trekked across South Africa with Gordon Gumming, 
Harry full of yarns of his adventures with Boers 
and Zulus, how they laughed at my dreamy life, 
mooning over poetry books or inventing political 
Utopias. And Dad would say, " Wake up, boy, 
old England is not such a bad place if you take it 
the right way." 

But I could not take it the right way, and so I 
got his consent to turn my back on it all and see if 
Arcadia might not still be found in the untrodden 
wilderness of the West. I rode into the wilderness 
I found me a ranch, there on the unpolluted prairie ; 
I found a partner, a simple, practical man, as 
unlike myself as possible he must be the right 
man if he were unlike me. And lo ! the struggle 
for existence proved to be as ignoble in Colorado 
as it had been in London, only here the greed and 
brutality were naked and not ashamed. After a 
year of it, I actually found it a positive relief to 
hear the voice of Bob Williams in Crockett ; repro- 
bate he might be, but he was at least an English 
gentleman. No this was not my rest, these 
cowboys were not the companions I desired. But 
I knew now what I wanted I had no desire to leave 
civilization and " wed some savage woman," but 
a new ideal had arisen before me. Why not fly 
from the artificial European life to a people who 
were simple as primitive man and yet inheritors of 
Spanish civilization and Aztec romance, why not 
seek out the one woman, who, a very child of 
Nature, yet possessed the grace and dignity of a 



74 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

dame of Old Castile, and woo and win her, my 
nameless love ? Then would not my restless 
nature at last be content would not my soul fold 
its wings ? And as if in answer to my thought the 
musical voice of Jose spoke close beside me, but 
low, lest our reckless comrades should overhear 
and jeer. 

" You are educated man, sen or," he said. " You 
know books you think those stars up there rule our 
lives ? That's what they believe in my country." 

I laughed a little ; it was delightful to find that 
my medieval cavalier should speak so in character. 

" I am afraid there aren't many people who 
believe it in Europe," I said ; " but the poets always 
like to sing that Venus yonder is the star happy 
lovers are born under." 

There was silence and then a sigh. 

" The right star to be born under, eh ? " I said. 

" Yes," he answered quietly. " I wish I had been 
born under that star." 

" Oh," I said boldly, " I don't believe the stars 
have any power over us ; man is man and master 
of his fate," and as I said it, my heart gave me 
the lie if I were indeed master of my fate, why 
was I lying here while that wagon rolled farther and 
farther away into New Mexico ? 

" Perhaps you not find it out yet," he answered, 
with the quiet sadness of a man who had bought 
his experience : " perhaps by and by a day come 
when you find you are not so strong as fate after 
all." 



CAMP FIRE CONFIDENCES 75 

' You are right, Jose," I admitted suddenly. " I 
know it already, only I mean to fight." 

He sighed again. 

" Yes, one may try to fight; but fighting does 
not always win if the stars are against you." 

' I say," I cried impulsively, " do tell me what 
you are fighting about you are fighting for some- 
one, I think ? " 

" Yes," he answered simply, " I am a poor man, 
sefior, and poor men must try for long before they 
get what they want." 

" Rich men can't always get it," I said ; " at least 
I'm not exactly poor, and I haven't." 

' Yes, sefior, I had a guess you understood. I 
tell you there is a girl at home, near Las Vegas ; 
I love her, and she cares for me very much. But 
her father he says no, unless I have a thousand 
dollars to buy a farm with. So I came here among 
the Americans, but it takes a long time to earn a 
thousand dollars. It takes two years." 

" And will she wait for you all that time ? " I 
asked. 

" She will wait, most surely her heart cannot 
change ; but I fear her father, he is a man who 
loves money, a man without pity. I fear what he 
may do ; but I hope, and I pray the saints, and the 
time goes by six months of it have gone already." 

" Good luck to you," said I heartily. How 
simple, how straightforward his love-story was, 
how fantastic my wild dreams seemed compared to 
it ! Something forced me to confess in my turn. 



76 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Jose," I said, "I, too, have some one I want to 
win. That is why I want to learn Spanish, for 
she is one of your people. I want to follow her 
and speak to her so you must teach me as quick 
as you can, and then we'll go together to New 
Mexico and prove we are stronger than fate." 

" I shall be proud to have such a companero, 
senor," he answered courteously. " It is at least a 
kind fate that has led me to your honour. A man 
suffers less, far less, if he may say what he feels 
and there is one who will listen." 



CHAPTER VII 
SCARING A TENDERFOOT 

THE next day we came on the buffalo and 
wonderful enough was the sight of the army 
of shaggy monsters browsing slowly along ; 
but when it came to hunting I was disappointed 
shooting bullocks in a field would have been about 
as exciting. Captain Anderson would not allow 
us to run them on horseback, as that would have 
scattered the herd. Claude Duval was told off to 
do the shooting, and this he did by crawling slowly 
up wind till he got within range of a bunch, and 
then laying them all out one after another ; after 
which the rest of us had to turn to and skin the 
carcasses. Beef and hides were required, and beef 
and hides we got, but another of my illusions had 
vanished, and I was quite ready to get back to Ed 
and business as soon as my companions might be 
willing. 

Another person who was disappointed was Bob 
Williams. He was quite a good shot, and the last 
day Anderson gave him a chance, and he accounted 
for his fair share of buffalo ; but not an Indian was 
to be seen, and the interest of the expedition sadly 
waned when it became clear that no redmen were 

77 



78 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

following the herd, as was their wont, and that Bob 
would have to return to Crockett without having 
taken a single scalp or run any chance of having 
his own hair lifted. His disappointment was keen, 
and his lamentations loud and long. So loud and 
long were they that Claude grew restive, and I felt 
sure some mischief was brewing. 

It happened that the last evening of our hunt 
we camped near a waterhole where a Texas man 
named Easton with half-a-dozen cowboys was pre- 
paring to winter in a dug-out a cabin cut cellar- 
like into the face of a clay bank. Claude knew the 
party well, and went in to have supper with them, 
while we grilled our buffalo steaks at our own camp 
fire. We had done our meal and were smoking 
peacefully when Claude came hurrying back, big 
with important news. 

" Say, boys," he began excitedly, " we've got to 
look out. There is Injuns round here after all. 
They've tried to run off the horses several times, 
so that Easton and his boys hev' to stand guard 
over 'em nights." 

At this news we all pricked up our ears, and a 
gleam of rapture shot across Bob's face. 

"Yes," continued Claude. "Mr. Easton' s an 
old friend of mine, and though he's got mighty 
little hay, I've got his leave to put my horses in 
the corral along with his for safety ; but now that 
we have horses in his pen we ought to furnish 
a man to stand guard along with his. It would 
only be two hours apiece for the five of us, and 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 79 

if you fellers say so I'll jes' go and fix it with 
him." 

We all agreed, and Claude went back to the dug- 
out. 

" All right," said he when he returned. " I've 
fixed it up with them. They'll hev' a man on every 
two hours, and so will we. I've arranged that Mr. 
Williams shall go on guard first watch." 

So Bob muffled himself in his great-coat, and, 
having armed himself with his i6-shot Winchester, 
was taken by Claude to be introduced to his comrade 
on the watch, a cowboy named Pilcher, and was 
shown where to stand and what to look out for. 
Claude came back to us bursting with suppressed 
laughter. 

" I couldn't tell you fellers before him," he began, 
' but this yer' thing's a reg'ler put-up job. Thar' 
ain't no Injuns round here now at least, likely 
thar' ain't, though it's quite true as thar' hev' been 
some but at supper I got to tellin' Easton's boys 
about this tenderfoot of a Bob Williams, and what 
a gas-bag he was, and what wonderful brave things 
he lets on to hev' done in other countries, and 
they settled it would be rare fun to give him a 
scare. So Pilcher 's going to cram him full of lies 
about Injun outrages, and when he's bin about an 
hour out thar' in the dark, and got right skeery, 
we're going to give him a fusillade." 

" Rather a rough joke, isn't it ? " said Captain 
Anderson. " However, Mr. Bob Williams has 
taken pains to give us such a lofty idea of his own 



80 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

qualities, that he can hardly complain if you give 
him a good opportunity of displaying them." 

"He's got that Winchester," thoughtfully observed 
Jose". " You have to mind what you're at. I've 
known men get mighty fooled over playing Injun on 
a tenderfoot." 

" Oh, we'll get the Winchester away from him, 
of course," answered Claude shortly; " it won't do 
to risk that nohow. Best plan will be, Captain 
Anderson," he continued, turning to him, " if you 
don't mind giving us the loan of them white- 
handled pistols of yourn ; then I'll take 'em to 
him and get him to give me the Winchester instead, 
by telling him that we think thar's some Injuns 
down the creek now after the mules, and we want 
to crawl on 'em, and the Winchester's handier 
than the pistols for crawling." 

Anderson entered into the spirit of the thing so 
far as to lend his pistols to Claude, who instantly 
disappeared with them. We all went up to the 
dug-out to see the show, and Claude soon joined 
us there, bearing Bob's trusty rifle. He proceeded 
to empty the magazine of every cartridge it con- 
tained, and then he and the cowboys went to work 
to load it up with old cartridge-cases filled with 
sand and corked with a bit of stick. By nine o'clock 
all was ready, and Claude ran out and exchanged 
it back with Bob for Captain Anderson's pistols. 

" He's pretty well excited already," reported 
Claude on his return. " Pilcher's bin making him 
see things in the dark till he thinks the whole prairie's 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 81 

lined with redskins. I told him we seen some 
skedaddling off when we crept down to the mules. 
Now, come on, boys, let's have a surround." 

Off they all ran, leaving Captain Anderson, Jose, 
and myself alone with Easton at the dug-out. We 
stood at the door listening and peering into the 
inky darkness. 

Suddenly a red flash divided the night, followed 
by a loud report and then by a blood-curdling yell ; 
instantly from every quarter came more flashes ; 
rifles and pistols were banging all round, and the 
air was full of the ping of the bullets. By the 
dull trampling of the horse-hoofs we knew that 
the frightened animals were galloping wildly round 
their pen. 

" Serve me right," exclaimed Easton abruptly, 
" if I get a horse lamed, for allowing this blamed 
foolishness. But there," he continued in a reflec- 
tive tone, " ranch life's apt to get dull, and the 
boys wanted a little fun." 

If fun consists in firing off your six-shooters as 
fast as you can load, and yelling like lunatics broke 
loose, it seemed to me that the boys were getting 
a good deal of it. 

" Suppose it all true? " said Jose to me in a 
low voice. ' ' It would be mighty queer if the Indians 
who Mr. Easton says have ben around here, should 
have come in just now. You think they think us 
all mad?" 

' Wouldn't be so far wrong neither," growled 
Easton, his uneasiness growing as he listened for 

6 



82 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

the sound he feared to hear next, the sound of his 
horse-herd smashing through the corral fence. 
" Of all the fool tricks I ever had played around 
my camp this is the most plumb crazy. Hark to 
them horses ! They'll break out in a minute. I 
should think," he added, turning to me, " that mare 
of yours must have broke loose long ago. Come 
on ; I'm going to stop this dodrotted fooling." 

We started out, but as we did so we almost ran 
into the arms of Pilcher and Bob Williams, who 
came flying to the dug-out at last. So close were 
they that I thought Bob must have surely heard 
Easton's final speech, and, fearing that the hoax 
would be discovered, I rushed forward, and clutch- 
ing Bob by the arm I cried out in tones of piteous 
entreaty : 

" Don't leave me, Bob ! don't leave me ! " 

I felt him trembling all over with excitement, 
and he was tugging as he ran at the lever of the 
treacherous weapon, which had got clogged with 
one of the dummies. 

"No, I won't leave you, old man," cried he; 
" but it's all up now we'll die together. I think 
the other fellows must be all killed," he went on ; 
" this wretched thing has gone wrong, and I can't 
make it go. Where's your gun ? " 

" I didn't bring it," said I, helplessly. " Come on 
into the dug-out and hide," and into it I scuttled 
like a frightened rabbit into its hole, with Bob close 
behind me. 

The fusillade now died away, and Bob, finding 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 88 

himself in comparative safety, began to pour forth 
a fluent and excited account of his experiences. 

" It's been an awful time," said he, " but I've 
made some of them bite the dust, I know that." 

Here Claude, breathless, hatless, and his face 
blackened with powder, burst into the dug-out. 

" Blamed if we ain't beat 'em off," he shouted, 
'" but thar' was a pizen crowd of the red scoundrels. 
Hello ! air you here, Mr. Williams ? Why, I 
thought you was shot up at the corral." 

" I thought I was, too," said Bob eagerly. " One 
of them fired at me as close as I am to you over 
on the far side of the corral. I felt his bullet just 
graze my head, but I worked the old Winchester on 
him to a proper tune. He's got his dose, anyhow. 
I tell you I made some of them mighty sick." 

" But ain't you wounded ? " asked Claude, 
counterfeiting great anxiety ; " ain't you hit no- 
wheres ? " 

' There's more than one bullet through my coat, 
I fancy," said Bob; " one fellow came behind me 
at the far corner of the corral and fired so close it 
nearly deafened me. I think the ball went through 
between my arm and my side." And he bent down 
his head to search. 

"Here's where it went, plain enough," cried 
Claude pointing. " Powder-burnt too, as I'm a 
living sinner. A mighty close call it was that time, 
sure. And look here, here's another ! See ? " 
and by Claude's help every worn spot in the old 
velvet-faced coat became a shot-hole, till the 



84 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

marvel was that his body was not riddled like a 
sieve. 

The other cowboys now came dropping in rapidly 
with tidings of the fray. 

" There was at least twenty or twenty-five of 
'em," said the one who came in last ; " when they 
run off they come my way, and I jes' dropped down 
and laid low. They passed me agen the sky, and 
I could see the eagle feathers on the chief, and I'll 
lay there was more'n twenty." 

" More than twenty," shouted Bob, whose spirits 
were rising higher and higher every minute, now 
that he was delivered out of the jaws of death, 
" I should say there were nearer fifty ; I judge by 
the noise of the hoofs of their horses and by the 
heavy volleys they fired. There can't have been 
less than fifty. But won't they come back ? " 

Ad Anderson's firm mouth curved into a scorn- 
ful smile. 

" You needn't be afraid of that, I guess," ob- 
served he. " Injuns is mighty like cats. They lay 
around and wait, till they see a chance to make a 
pounce, and then if it sticks they hev' a gay time ; 
but if it don't, they jes' go right off and give it up. 
You won't see no more of them Injuns to-night than 
you do now." 

' We'll see the dead ones in the morning, any- 
how," exclaimed the triumphant Bob. " Did you 
say they were Apaches ? " 

" No, nor you won't do that neither," retorted 
Anderson. " Injuns allus carries off their dead 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 85 

and wounded, so you needn't look to finding none 
of them, if ever there was any. As likely to be 
Apaches as any one else ! " 

Bob was so preoccupied with his own heroism 
that I suspect he did not observe other people much ; 
but Claude, fearing that Bob might have heard that 
Apaches never raided so far north and that Ander- 
son's sarcasms were going to spoil the jest, at once 
cut in : 

" Don't you make any error about that, Cap. 
Mr. Williams settled some of them, I reckon, sure 
pop. I seed him work the lead pump and whale 
away at 'em like a good 'un. One chap ran and 
fired at him quite close, and I saw Mr. Williams 
drop one one knee and plug him good. I'll bet I 
can show you the pool of blood there to-morrow.' ' 

" Yes, yes," cried Bob, delighted at finding such 
a hearty backer. " I know I got him ; that was on 
the far side of the corral. He was trying to break 
down the corral, I believe, to let the horses out while 
the others were stampeding them from the oppo- 
site side, and I ran on to him and he fired at me 
as I told you." 

Meanwhile the irrepressible Johnny had got just 
behind Bob, and, grinning from ear to ear, fired in 
dumb show, for our benefit, an imaginary pistol 
just over Bob's devoted head, indicating that he 
was the particular redskin, who, as Bob declared, 
had nearly deafened him and cut a line through 
his curls. How we all kept our countenances I 
don't know. Claude went on, backing Bob up. 



86 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Mr. Williams headed those horses back that 
time," said he, " or they'd hev' bin out. I seed him 
work his Winchester till she choked, nor he didn't 
leave the corral as long as he could fire a shot." 

" Oh, yes, by the way," exclaimed Bob, " where' s 
the rifle ? I want to see what's the matter with it." 

" Here it is," said Ad Anderson quietly. " I've 
just been looking at it for you. One of the car- 
tridges had got the bullet loosened a little which 
made it too long and caused it to jam in the carrier 
between the magazine and the barrel. I've re- 
moved it, and it's all right now." 

Bob embraced the weapon with ardour. 

" I'll never part with it," said he as we took 
our leave and started for the camp. " After the 
good service it has done to-night I shall keep it 
as a trophy." 

" You needn't send any more men on guard, 
Claude," Mr. Easton called after us. " I'll answer 
for it there won't be no more rumpus to-night." 

And we returned to our camp fire, where Bob 
" fought his battles o'er and o'er and thrice did slay 
the slain," till Orion's belt, blazing in the southern 
sky, showed the night to be more than half gone, 
and in the keen Colorado air we stretched ourselves 
on mother earth, wrapped in our blankets, to sleep 
peacefully under the silent stars. 

But the fun was next morning to see Bob looking 
round for Indian tracks and pools of blood, guided 
by Johnny. That enthusiastic cowboy would find 
some spot on the prairie a little darker than the 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 87 

rest of the ground, and holloa out to Bob, " Here's 
where you dropped another of 'em," and Bob 
would run to the place, head down like a questing 
hound, and swallow every word Johnny said, and 
swear he quite remembered the shot, and saw the 
beggar stagger when he hit him. It was amazing 
to see him spring from side to side in the search. 

"Here's a moccasin track," he shouted, "and 
here's another and another. Some of them must 
have dismounted here and come down the creek 
to try and attack our camp from this quarter." 

Every scratch in the sandy soil that was not 
manifestly made by a heeled boot was in his eyes 
the print of an Indian's foot, and every track of 
an unshod pony betokened an Indian war horse. 
His imaginary foes multiplied themselves like Fal- 
staff's men in buckram, and he persuaded himself 
that he had beaten off a whole tribe of redskins 
single-handed and saved the lives of the entire 
party. The crowning triumph was when Johnny 
found a scrap of old cow-hide with some long black 
hairs on it, and with a cry of joy he proclaimed to 
Bob the discovery of an authentic trophy. 

" It's a bit of the scalp off one of them blamed 
Injuns' heads," he exclaimed. " Your bullet must 
have just grazed him along the skull and it took 
away skin and hair and all with it. This Colorado 
air is so dry, it's just got plumb dried up in the 
night, but I'll take it in and stretch it for you, and 
you'll have a genuine scalp of your own taking. 
That coarse black hair is Cheyenne Injun, I know/' 



88 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

We drove straight for Crockett, and when we 
came in sight of the houses about three miles ahead 
of us, Claude seemed struck with an idea, and 
pulled up his team. 

" I think," said he, " after Mr. Williams' splendid 
conduct he ought to go into town in style. We 
could rig him out among us. I've got a red sash 
here, and a bowie knife to stick in it, and if you'd 
lend him them white-handled pistols of yourn, 
Mr. Anderson, to stick in alongside of it, he could 
sling his Winchester to his horse's saddle, and ride 
in looking gay." 

Bob jumped at the idea. We all helped to 
decorate him, and he dashed into town ahead of 
us in full war-paint, on his prancing steed. We 
had hardly calculated on the effect he would pro- 
duce. By the time we got there the whole city 
was in an uproar. Friends ran up to us to know if 
we were all safe and to learn what had happened. 

" Say," said Judge Douglas eagerly, " is it true 
you've had a big fight with the Indians, and Bob 
Williams has taken a lot of scalps ? " 

" True," said Claude promptly ; " of course it's 
true, if he says so. You fellows have known Mr. 
Bob Williams for the last three months, I guess, 
and you never knew him tell a lie, did you ? " 

We tied our teams in front of the principal saloon 
and went in. I fancy I can see it all now, an excited 
crowd swarmed over the floor, around the big stove, 
and, leaning against the bar in an easy attitude, 
we beheld our hero warrior scout in all his glory. 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 89 

His coat was thrown open to display his red sash 
and the ivory hilts of the pistols. His broad 
sombrero was stuck rakishly on one side of his 
head, his curly black locks flowing down from under 
it. Round his muscular throat was loosely knotted 
a red handkerchief, his bronzed face was turned 
towards the door by which we entered. He was 
flushed with excitement, and talking loud. 

" They dashed round the corner of the corral at 
me," we heard him saying, " but I dropped on 
one knee to steady myself and cut loose. You 
know how fast a man can make a Winchester speak. 
The barrel was red hot when I had done firing, and 
I had emptied a dozen saddles. One fell as close 
to me as I am to this bar " and he brought down 
his hand on the counter beside him with a slam 
that made the glasses ring. " He fired right in my 
face, and his bullet just missed me, cutting a line 
through my hair here," and the unblushing Bob 
had the audacity to point to a furrow through his 
curls. He must have cut it for himself with the 
camp scissors. 

" Then," he went on, " my Winchester got 
clogged, and finding I could do no more I retreated 
back to the dug-out, and there I found one of our 
chaps scared almost into fits. He was shaking all 
over ; I never saw a man so badly frightened 
before." Just then his eye caught mine through 
the crowd. 

" Hullo ! " he cried, " there he is. Come on, 
Tommy, old man, and give us your fist. How you 



90 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

did beg me not to leave you, eh ! You were 
scared, of course, but then who wouldn't have 
been ? But don't be afraid ; I'll never give you 
away." 

" Give me away ! " I cried. " Why, it was a 
put-up thing " but Claude kicked me on the shins, 
whispering, " Hold on a minute," and, pushing past 
me, slapped Bob violently on the back. 

" The whitest man from Maine to Texas, boys," 
he cried. " He stood off a 'hull tribe of Indians 
single-handed. Brave ! Brave ain't no name for 
Mr. Bob Williams. Now, just you hear me talk. 
He deserves the biggest kind of a testimonial, and 
it's our desire to present it to him as publicly as 
possible before all of you gentlemen." 

At this highly flattering exordium Bob's martial- 
hero pose was a sight to see. He was the cynosure 
of all eyes. 

" Mr. Williams, you haven't received your 
decoration yet," said a quiet voice. It was An- 
derson's. We all turned to look where the tall 
Texan's dark sun-tanned face was visible over 
the heads of the crowd of bar-room loafers. He 
produced something from his pocket and held it 
out to Bob. 

" Your scalp," said he, " which Johnny gave me 
for you, only I forgot to hand it over before." 

Bob pounced on it eagerly and waved it aloft. 

" Yes," he exclaimed, " there's the hair of one 
of the infernal redskins I bowled over." 

Immense excitement on the part of the crowd, 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 91 

men crushing past one another to examine the 
trophy. Claude and Johnny exploded in shrieks of 
laughter. Bob turned on them angrily. 

' What are you grinning at now ? " he demanded 
with indignation. 

" Why, man alive," said Claude, "I'm grinning 
at you. Don't you understand yet that this 'hull 
thing's a put-up game on you? Thar' never was 
no Injuns that night. That ar' thing you've got 
in your hand is a bit of an old black cow's tail. 
We've all bin a-laughing at you the 'hull time." 

" Pshaw ! " scoffed Bob, " I know a blessed sight 
better than that. I potted too many of the beggars 
not to know what they were." 

' You ! " retorted Claude " you never hit 
nothing. Why, man, I got your Winchester away 
from you on purpose, and then filled it up with 
dummy cartridges. Me and Johnny and Easton's 
cowboys was all the Injuns that was around that 
night." 

" Oh, nonsense," said Bob, somewhat taken aback 
nevertheless. Then he appealed to Captain Ander- 
son : ' You know better than that. Those were 
Indians round there, weren't they, and isn't this 
my scalp? " 

" Bit of cowskin," said Anderson carelessly. 
" There warn't no Injuns round that night except 
in your imagination. You seemed to see a good 
many." 

Bob turned to me ; he was fairly staggered now. 

" Why, Tommy," said he, " you were scared 



92 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

anyhow. Didn't you beg and pray me not to leave 
you, with tears in your eyes ? " 

" Well, I did," said I, " but I'm afraid you didn't 
know I did a good bit of amateur acting when I 
was at Oxford, and I only played my part." 

" Oh, you young villain/' he laughed, giving me 
a friendly shake ; " you took me in completely." 
It was all up with him as a martial hero now, and 
he wisely decided to come down from his high 
horse and pose as a genial soul. " Well," he cried, 
" we've had lots of fun out of the trip, anyhow, 
and I don't bear any malice, for, after all, you 
fellows didn't make me run so long as I had a shot 
in the locker." He paused and looked down, and 
then went on, though his laugh sounded perhaps 
just a little forced. "If you did work off a hoax 
on me, why, I've done it myself before now, and 
I'm not going to growl when it comes round to my 
turn." 

" Well," said Claude, " if you're satisfied I'm 
sure we are." And raising his hat aloft: " Here's 
three cheers for Mr. Bob Williams," he cried, 
" who stuck to his post like a good 'un, and now 
that he knows it was all a joke, shows that he can 
take it like a man. Three cheers and a tiger for 
Mr. Bob Williams!" 

There was a great waving of hats in the air, and 
the crowd of whisky-soakers, scenting free drinks 
in the near future, gave him a rousing volley of 
cheers. 

" Set 'em up, barkeep," said Bob, turning to the 



SCARING A TENDERFOOT 93 

white-sleeved gentleman behind the bar. " It's my 
treat. These gentlemen will drink with me." 

The crowd pressed forward eagerly, the glasses 
were set out, and the decanters passed down the 
long line. 

When all were filled Claude held out his hand, 
and clinked glasses with Bob. 

" Here's luck to you, Mr. Williams," he said 
heartily " the best of luck and plenty of it ! You're 
the right sort" ; and following his example the 
crowd with one accord nodded to Bob and drank. 

Jose looked at me. 

" All the same," he said, " Indians are no joke 
and I don't like very well playing at Indians. It's 
like calling them to come and do it in earnest. 
Some day we all have to fight them, you see." 

11 Nonsense, Jose"," I said; "you are superstitious." 

He shook his head. 

" You see," he repeated, " it's not lucky to play 
at a thing ; very often it comes true." 



CHAPTER VIII 
FATES IRONIC 

BOB liked his new friends in town too well to 
leave them in a hurry, but Jose and I had 
something else to think of tha.n playing cards 
and standing drinks. Ed was already at the ranch 
with the cattle, awaiting our return to cut the hay and 
fix things up, while I was meditating how to break 
it to him that at the first convenient opportunity 
the ranch work would all fall into his hands, while 
the new hired man and I careered off into the wide 
world to hunt for our lady-loves. But how the mis- 
chief was I going to do it ? I must wait my chance. 
I rode Darky out on herd every day, my brain 
simmering with plots and devices, with crafty 
explanations to Ed, and with eloquent appeals to 
the lady of my heart. Luckily there was not much 
for me to do but gallop round every morning and 
see that the cattle, the bulk of them at least, were 
visible. Our ranch was ten miles farther out than 
any other towards the absolutely empty plains where 
the buffalo roamed, so our herd had unlimited 
room. No sooner was the hay up than Ed went 
off with Jose to the Divide, where there was timber 
and began to cut logs for the house, pitch-pine posts 

94 



FATES IRONIC 95 

for fencing, and poles for the corral. Much better 
let them do that. I could not bring back a bride 
to camp out on the prairie, or to live in a shack ; I 
wanted at least to have the house built before I went. 
Also, when the work of timber-cutting and hauling 
was over, Ed might be more inclined to listen to my 
schemes. At this moment he lived in lumber and 
logs ; every thought seemed saturated with chips 
and sawdust he had hardly even a word to spare for 
the cattle. Every time he and Jose got back with 
the wagon, and had unloaded the logs or poles, he 
ate silently, revolving plans of getting out some extra 
good house-logs or calculating how many feet of 
lumber would be needed to make a high tight-board 
fence round the corral and he would start off next 
morning, still absorbed, with hardly a word to me. 
But my day-dreams kept me company, and I did 
very well without Ed's conversation. Still, in spite 
of my day-dreams, I managed to keep a pretty 
sharp look out on the cattle. Ed, who was a smart 
trader, had also picked up a bunch of big Texas 
steers, but the new lot would not settle down with 
our MN cattle. They had a most annoying way of 
going off by themselves, and sometimes they would 
strike right out as if they meant going back to 
Texas, seven hundred miles away. One morning 
they were missing as usual, and this time I cut 
their trail in one of the old buffalo roads that 
intersected the range, and I followed it far back 
from the water on our creek to the top of what we 
had named Holcombe Bluffs. There I sighted, over 



96 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

a mile away, two dark objects ; the bigger either 
a cow or a horse, the smaller a calf or a man. I 
galloped towards them, my pistol ready loose in 
its holster, for it might just possibly be an Indian 
scout. As I got closer I saw that it was a horse and 
alongside him a man on foot, who quickly mounted 
and rode to meet me. I was still suspicious, but 
as he got nearer I was pleased to recognize Big John 
Fogle, a gigantic hunter who had passed our ranch 
not long before. Professional hunters were not 
in very good odour with the cattlemen, who 
1 ' suspicioned ' ' that their keen eyes sometimes mis- 
took a calf for an antelope if they happened to 
run short of meat. But jovial Big John, best of 
hunters, was quite above that. 

" Why, John," I exclaimed after we had passed 
the time of day, " what are you doing here ? I 
thought you'd gone out on the range after buffalo." 

" Buffalo business is overdone," said John. 
" Hides ain't fetching nothing now, so I've started 
catching wild horses instead." And he added with 
a curious grin at me, " I've caught a wrong 'un this 
morning, I'm afraid. Guess you'd better come and 
take a look." 

Without more ado he turned his horse in the 
direction of the place where he had been when I 
first spied him, and I rode beside him full of curiosity. 
There in the old buffalo road which led down to the 
water in Holcombe Hollow he had dug a long narrow 
pitfall, and the cover of it now was broken through. 
Strange noises came up from underground. Peering 



FATES IRONIC 97 

down inside I saw, not a wild horse, but our own 
biggest Texas steer, the one who always walked in 
the lead and now had fallen into the trap. 

" The balance of the bunch are at the water 
down in the Hollow," said John. " I was just 
figuring what to do with this joker ; he sounds 
pretty hostile by now." 

Hostile he certainly was. Infuriated at being 
caught he would back his stern up against one end 
of the pit, and then plunge forward with a bellow 
against the other, jabbing his great horns savagely 
into the earth and knocking it down by bucketfuls. 

" Guess you'd better go and fetch up the bunch 
and hold 'em handy," said John, " while I scoot 
back to camp and fetch a shovel to dig him out." 

Twenty minutes later I was sitting on my horse 
a hundred yards away, watching John making the 
dirt fly with his shovel. His horse stood stock 
still a few yards off, the rein tight over the saddle- 
horn so that John could jump on him quick at need. 
The need was not long in coming. There was a great 
bawl from the steer, and his head and forequarters 
sprang out of the ground like a jack-in-the-box. One 
mighty scramble and his hindquarters followed, and 
instanter he rushed for Big John. But, the hunter 
had dropped the shovel and was already on the horse, 
and he came towards us on the run, followed by the 
steer. Luckily the animal's rage was not sufficient 
to carry him past his fellows, especially as he seemed 
to know he had small chance to catch the horseman, 
and he ran in among the bunch for sympathy, but 

7 



98 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

still breathing out wrath and defiance ; however, he 
made no second attempt to charge when we turned 
the lot back in the direction of the ranch. 

" I'll go part ways to give you a hand with 
them," said Big John, " but I think you won't 
have any trouble from him now ; he's settling down 
with the others." 

"Do you have to get the wild horses out of the 
pit the same way ? " I asked. 

" Why, yes," he answered, " but of course before 
I dig down the end for 'em to climb out I've got 
to have a rope on 'em. I drop it over their necks 
and then work a kind of rope halter on the head, 
and then lead it back under the tail, and forward 
again with a few twists round itself to the halter and 
knot it there, and last of all I tie it to the hind 
axle of my wagon. Then I can let Mr. Mustang 
climb out, and you bet your life there's some fun. 
The horse can buck and pull back all he's a mind to, 
but when I speak to the team and the wagon starts 
you bet he's got to come too, or else be dragged. I 
tell you I've got a real ' beaut' down to camp that 
I caught three days ago. He ain't no scrub mustang 
stock ; I guess he's half thoroughbred, likely one of 
White Cloud's colts." White Cloud was a celebrated 
blood-horse who had escaped while crossing the Plains 
and was believed to have joined the wild horses. 

" I've gentled him some," continued John, " but 
I ain't thought of riding him yet. I wonder could 
I get that Mexican of yours to ride him for me, 
do you think ? I'd fetch him over if he would." 



FATES IRONIC 99 

" Yes," I cried eagerly, " I guess so. I'd just 
love to see Jos6 do it. They call him the best 
bronco-buster in the Territory." 

" That's what I've heard tell," said John, " and 
that's why I spoke. Look at here now. The 
cattle have settled down all right. I'll go back 
and load up the wagon and fetch the horse over 
tied behind it, while you go ahead." 

I gladly assented and continued on my way to the 
ranch, where I found Jose and Ed just arrived from 
the Divide with logs, and told them of John's scheme. 

" No, you don't," said Ed in his abrupt way. 
" Jose don't ride no horses for Mr. Big John nor 
for no other man. He's working for me now. But 
maybe I'll buy the horse off him, if I like his looks." 

Jose looked nettled, but both of us knew Ed's 
rough way of speaking ; we understood that he 
didn't mean to be disagreeable, and of course he 
was perfectly right in his argument. Ere long 
the big hunter's wagon hove in sight with the wild 
horse towing behind. He looked dilapidated, for 
he was all tucked up, having scarcely eaten since 
his capture, and his hair was streaked with white 
lines where the sweat of his fight for freedom had 
dried on him, and his skin was chafed and broken 
in spots by the rope. Nevertheless he was a beauty 
as Big John had said. His fine head, set on a 
neck not too heavy, his short back and beautiful 
sloping shoulders, all testified to his blood. His 
coat was staring now, but the colour, dark bay 
with black points, was right enough. 



100 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Big John showed no surprise at my partner's 
refusal to let Jose ride for him ; the two Western 
men understood one another, and Ed with natural 
instinct put it more politely to the hunter than he 
had done in speaking before the Mexican and myself. 
The upshot was that I bought the horse for fifty 
dollars, and John departed next day to see if he 
could catch another like him. Jose was to break 
Rube, as we called the horse, for us, but my hopes of 
seeing Jose on a bucking bronco never materialized. 

" I going to break this horse for you, Capitan," 
he said, " and break him so gentle that he never 
know what buck means." 

And Jose was as good as his word. Each day 
that he came down with a load of logs or poles he 
gave the horse a lesson in the evening and another 
in the morning before he went back. But a treat 
I had nevertheless, for a treat it was to see the 
infinite gentleness and skill with which he handled 
the nervous, high-spirited animal. Patience and 
kindness were his system, while he was lightning- 
quick to anticipate any dangerous movement of 
his pupil. Merely to watch Jos6 was a liberal 
education in horsemanship. The result was that 
when, after the fourth lesson, he mounted the horse 
for the first time, Rube never bucked at all, and 
presently learned to submit his will to his master, 
and to obey the bridle. During Jose's absences on 
the Divide, where my partner was still getting out 
logs, I took charge of the horse, feeding and watering 
him daily, and keeping him tethered on a forty- foot 



FATES IRONIC 101 

picket rope, which I moved night and morning. 
Also I patted and stroked him by Jos6's advice, 
to keep up the gentling process ; and I felt I could 
have put the saddle on him if I had wished, so docile 
was he growing ; but at that suggestion Jose said : 

" Don't you try to get on him yet, Capitan. Wait 
a little and then I will put you on him myself and I 
come along with you on Darky, so you'll be all right." 

At this prospect, with the swift eye of fancy I 
already saw myself perfect master of this noble 
animal, and riding off in search of my lady-love to 
New Mexico, where I would witch the world with 
noble horsemanship. It makes me blush now to 
confess to such dreams, but after all one is only 
young once, and what could be more romantic 
than to go a-courting mounted on the proudly 
prancing ex-leader of the wild horses of the prairie. 
I longed eagerly for the day when the house and 
corrals should be finished, and when I, mounted on 
the gallant Rube, and attended by my faithful 
squire Jose*, should be free to start forth on my 
quest. Like Romeo I could have cried, ' ' My bosom's 
lord sits lightly on his throne." But the smile with 
which the Fates seemed to favour me was ironic. 

One day during the absence of Ed and Jose, while 
riding around after the cattle, I espied a buck 
antelope taking his noonday sleep. Jumping off, 
I left Darky, and creeping stealthily on the buck I 
shot him at fifty yards with my revolver. He 
sprang up and dashed off badly wounded, so, running 
back to the horse, I jumped on and went full split 



102 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

after the game. Just as we were close on him 
Darky put his foot in a dog-hole and we both turned 
a tremendous somersault. We scrambled to our 
feet again. I was luckily unhurt, but Darky, alas ! 
had wrenched his fetlock. There was nothing for 
it but to give up the chase and lead him limping 
slowly back to the ranch, I thinking all the time of 
the remarks Ed would make about a tenderfoot 
starting out to run antelope. I did what I could 
for the horse's damaged leg ; and then I got my 
rifle and with sulky obstinacy set out on foot to 
see if I could finish that antelope : I hated to leave 
him to the wolves. The idea of taking Rube along 
did occur to me, but I remembered Jose's caution, 
and left him on his picket. I found the antelope 
near where the horse had fallen with me. The 
buck had lain down, his wound had stiffened, and 
when I roused him he could only go at a walk. 
I took advantage of this to get on the far side of 
him and drive him towards the ranch, so as to save 
the labour of packing the meat. About a mile 
from home there was a broad sand gulch, and in 
trying to climb out of this he fell more than once. 
When I stirred him up again he looked round at 
me with that melting eye of the wounded animal 
that sometimes gives a twinge of remorse to the 
most hardened hunter. " Poor brute," thought I, 
" you shall be put out of your misery," and I gave 
him the merciful bullet. He was by far the biggest 
buck I had ever killed, and to pack him in when 
cumbered with the rifle was no joke. An ingenious 



FATES IRONIC 108 

idea entered my brain. I had seen Jose making 
Rube drag fence-posts and poles to where they 
were wanted by a rope tied to the horn of the saddle. 

" Every cow horse got to learn to pull by the 
horn of the saddle," he had explained to me ; 
"if he don't know, how you going to hold a big 
steer when you rope him ? " 

I tramped in to the ranch, left my rule, and 
proceeded to saddle up Rube, who made no objec- 
tion whatever to the process. Still remembering 
Jose's caution I led, instead of riding, him out to 
where the dead antelope lay, made one end of the 
rope fast to the animal's head, and was proceeding 
to tie the other to the saddle horn, standing beside 
the horse. Perhaps he felt the rope brush against 
his legs, or he looked round, saw it tied to the 
antelope, and did not like it. Anyhow, the first 
thing I knew, I received a kick on the right leg that 
broke it below the knee, and as I went down, the 
horse sprang right over me and began bucking all 
over the place, the carcass at the rope's end jerk- 
ing at every buck as if galvanized into life. Luckily 
I had not finished tying the knot ; the rope slipped 
off the horn ; the carcass returned to death again ; 
and Rube, ceasing to buck, began to graze quietly 
round his trailing bridle, a habit Jose had taught him. 

I found myself in a desperate fix. The pain of 
the broken bone was dreadful, intensified by an 
old wound in the same leg which the kick had re- 
opened. I was absolutely alone, with no human 
being within ten miles : Jos6 and Ed might not be 



104 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

back for days ; and then suppose that Indians, or 
even one Indian were to come along ! Despair ex- 
pects the worst. However, I had to try something, 
so I set out to crawl to the ranch on hands and 
knees. If I could get there I should at least have 
shelter and water, which last the pain already 
made me half crazy for. Before I had gone many 
yards sudden darkness came over me and I fainted. 
How long I lay there I can hardly say, but I re- 
collect coming to with a confused sense of disaster, 
and looking up I saw Rube still grazing close by, 
but I also saw a little beyond him three black 
objects on the ground which I did not remember 
there before. What could they be ? One of 
them gave a couple of heavy lumbering hops towards 
the others, and then I knew what I was up against. 
The crows I At the same moment rather farther 
off I saw a low slinking yellowish-grey thing, and 
that I knew for a wolf only a cowardly coyote to 
be sure, but still a wolf and then another, and 
another. Great Heavens ! Here were the wolves 
come to the feast as well as the crows, and the 
feast was to be made off me, dead, or it might 
even be only half dead. Now then for the nerve of 
the Western man. Out came my pistol, and I fired 
three shots at the wolves, and one bullet at least 
got home, for one of the brutes went limping off. 
I had felt pity for the wounded buck, a pity which 
had cost me so dear, but I had none to waste on 
the wolf. The crows, realizing that I was not dead 
yet by a long chalk, flapped heavily away. Lucky 



FATES IRONIC 105 

beasts and birds ; they could fly or run off at will ; 
I, poor wretch, was pinned to the spot, knowing 
that if I started to crawl and fainted again I should 
only make myself their meat. 

Slowly the hours dragged by while the sun 
sloped down handsbreadth by handsbreadth to- 
wards Pike's Peak in the west. No man knows how 
much he loves the sun till he sees him sinking, as 
he believes, for the last time. What did I think 
of all those hours ? I suppose no man is able or 
cares to tell his actual thoughts in the face of death. 
All I will say is that my mind naturally ran back 
to the old home in England and to my people 
there ; and once more I saw the old school life and 
my college days, when life had seemed to be so 
bright an adventure, an adventure that was now 
finding such a sorry end. It seemed intolerable 
to be cut off like this in the prime of one's youth. 
And then my thoughts fled off to New Mexico and 
the girl I had sought to win. Her silvery, sweet 
voice, her velvet dark eyes, her soft olive cheek, 
all rose so vividly before me. And now I must 
go down to the grave what a grave ! the beak of 
the carrion crow and the maw of the scavenger wolf 
with my bliss untasted and defrauded of my 
hopes. I had had a good time in my life I had 
enjoyed it and rejoiced in it but I had never 
tasted the best thing of all, a woman's love. And 
now I must die without it, nay, be without it for 
ever. And she what would become of her ? 
That she cared for me I dared not think. How 



106 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

could she when we had hardly exchanged a dozen 
words ? But when I was gone, whom would she 
find to come and defend her from that heartless 
old father of hers, and from that evil man who, I 
feared, had somehow got him in his power ? 

At the thought I raised myself on my hands 
and knees again to make one more effort for the 
ranch. Heavens ! here were the wolves back 
again, and this time there were a dozen of them, 
with a whole flock of crows to boot. Up came the 
pistol once more, and two more shots sent them 
flying for the second time : but, unhappily, I had 
no means of reloading it, for I was not carrying 
spare ammunition, so I kept the last bullet for 
myself. It was usual to keep the last for yourself 
on the plains in the seventies, when the Indians 
were still on the warpath. Then that deadly faint- 
ness crept over me again, and I sank down. Had 
I the Western man's nerve to use that last bullet ? 
Yes, I felt I had. But not yet ; hope was not 
quite dead ; there still was the off-chance that my 
partner might come down that day. 

It only wanted some two hours to sunset, and, 
hoping against hope, I raised my eyes towards the 
Divide. God be praised ! I could see something 
moving, a dark object five miles away along the line 
of the road they hauled the logs over. " Saved ! " 
I cried aloud. " It's the wagon ; by the size of it, 
it must be," for I knew well that at that distance 
a cow or a horse would have been too small for me 
to make out even in that clear Colorado air except 



FATES IRONIC 107 

under special circumstances. The moving object 
soon disappeared, but I was sure it was no vision 
of my fancy I had veritably seen it and if so my 
friends were coming. Of course I was bound to 
lose sight of them temporarily with the rise and 
fall of the road over the swells of the prairie. 

Just before sunset they came into clear view within 
half a mile of the ranch. I watched them eagerly 
till they pulled up by the corral, saving my voice 
till the rattle of the wagon should cease. Then I 
shouted for all I was worth, but no notice was taken. 
I could see the two men plain enough, but, lying flat 
on the ground as I was, it was hardly likely they 
would see me. Again and again I halloed, but still 
no sign from them. Was the cup to be snatched 
from my lips at the last moment ? Just as the sun 
slid down behind Pike's Peak the breeze, as so often 
happens, dropped for a moment. I drew in a deep, 
deep breath, and then let out a despairing yell. This 
time I was heard and no mistake. Out came Ed 
rifle in hand on the run. Then he paused, looking 
round every way. I yelled again. He turned, gazed, 
and then set off walking fast in my direction. A 
few minutes more and he was standing over me. 

" What have you gone and done to yourself 
now ? " he asked. 

" Broke my leg," said I. 

" Well, I'm darned," said he, " of all the 

clumsy " and then he broke off, for I suppose 

I looked rather shaken. " But there, I guess you 
must be suffer in' some. How' 11 we get you in ? " 



108 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

He pulled off his coat and with rough kindness 
threw it over me, for I had only a shirt. 

" I don't know," said I. " I can t walk, and I 
can't ride, and Darky's lame any way." 

" More trouble ! I suppose," said he. " Well, I 
guess Jose and I'll have to tote you in. It'll be 
quicker than unloading that wagon and hitching up 
again. Here, I'll leave my rifle to keep you com- 
pany, and we'll be back soon," and off he went 
taking Rube along with him. In half an hour the 
two men were by me with an improvised stretcher 
and carried me in. 

I will not enlarge on what I endured : the memory 
of the physical pain happily has long since faded ; 
it is the sad recollections of lost friends, of partings, 
and unhappy love, that haunt our imagination. 
I had sixty-five miles to go in a wagon without 
springs to Denver, where Doc. Justice skilfully 
mended the leg and also healed the reopened wound. 
He had learned his business well during the horrors 
of the civil war, of which he told me many a story. 
Familiarity with horrors had made him a humorist. 

One day I looked at the great unsightly scar on 
my leg. 

" When will that go away, Doc. ? " I asked in my 
simplicity. 

" Not till the worms eat it," he said with that 
dry grin of his. 

Yes, Doc. Justice had humour, plenty of it, but 
it was grim. And so was life out there on the 
Ragged Edge 



CHAPTER IX 
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE WATERHOLES 

I WAS in Denver on crutches a long time, but at 
last I got back to the ranch after weary months 
of convalescence, which I whiled away by teach- 
ing myself Spanish out of books. I found that 
Ed and Jos6 had finished the house, and a rare 
good one for the frontier it was, too. It had five 
rooms ! but then (with an eye to the future) I had 
not stinted Ed in money. The barn and corrals 
were likewise complete ; however, I was still in 
time to lend a hand with the fencing, which en- 
closed a large horse pasture. During this period I 
talked much with Jos6 and added to my book- 
knowledge of Spanish the art of conversation. He 
and I became greater friends than ever. I found 
something very sympathetic about his nature, and 
the charm of the Latin races had always appealed 
to me. By the time the fence was finished my leg 
was really strong again, and I cautiously sounded 
Ed as to the chance of our getting away. 

' Well, not just yet," he said. "Don't you know 
that they've fixed up the roundup at the Water- 
holes for next week and they've elected me foreman ? 
'Course I'll need you two men along to help." 

109 



110 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Ed's practical ability, his rapid decision, and his 
smooth tongue for he could talk smoothly enough 
when he chose had in fact caused the cattlemen 
to elect him foreman. 

" I've contracted them Texas beeves to Hurd and 
Hendricks," he continued, " and I want to deliver 
'em pretty soon. The contrairy brutes have took 
to running over at the Waterholes, and I want to 
gather 'em there and fetch 'em back where we'll 
have 'em handy." 

As usual Ed was obviously right, and there was 
nothing for it but to wait, which I did, not without 
much impatience, but all the same, I found myself 
looking forward to this roundup. It was the first 
big gathering of the kind to be held anywhere in 
our neighbourhood ; but now that the country was 
rapidly being settled up several new herds had 
come in. The Waterholes were about fifteeen miles 
from our ranch, somewhat in the Crockett direction 
to the south-west, and there we three, Ed, Jose, 
and I, camped the night before the appointed day 
so as to be in readiness. I had never seen Ed in 
a better temper, for he was proud of his position, 
as indeed he had a right to be, seeing that it was a 
genuine tribute to his energy ; and he was fired with 
ambition to justify it. By sunrise he had fifty or 
sixty men in the saddle, and by ten o'clock a 
bellowing, surging mass of some fifteen hundred 
cattle had been brought together near the ranch. 

When Jose and Ed and I returned to the camp 
where the roundup wagons lay to get our fresh 



WHAT HAPPENED AT WATERHOLES 111 

horses we found Bob Williams there. He had 
driven out from Crockett with some friends in order 
to see the sight, and here he sat by the camp fire 
busy over a lot of raw-hide strings. 

" What have you got there ? " inquired Jose", 
eyeing his work curiously. 

' The bolas," returned Bob, looking at what he 
had done with the air of a satisfied expert. " I 
got some green hide over in that other camp be- 
yond where they killed the maverick last night " 
somebody had supped on maverick beef " and I 
found three suitable stones in the sand gulch, and 
here's the result" : he held them up for our in- 
spection. " As good a set of bolas as you want to 
see. I wish," he continued, " that I had a horse 
to ride. I'd like first rate to watch the cutting 
out and compare the style of your men with the 
Argentines." 

" Let me sell you a horse," broke in Ed promptly. 
" I'm a trading man. I'll sell anything I've got. 
You can have your choice of my band for a hun- 
dred dollars, bar Mr. Thompson's Rube." 

Bob's last remittance had long been spent, and 
Ad Anderson, who had mounted him before, had 
gone back to Texas. Naturally Bob jumped at the 
offer, which was really a very fair one, and after a 
little consideration selected Darky. 

" I knew he would pick him," I grumbled to 
Ed aside, " he's the most stylish one we've got, 
and a lightning good cow-pony." 

" I know all that," returned my partner, " but 



112 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

it's exactly what I meant him to do. Darky only 
cost us seventy dollars, and he's getting old. I'd 
rather keep Rube and the other young ones we've 
had broke by Jose. They'll last for years." 

As usual Ed's head was level, but all the same 
I hated to see Darky go. 

" Pay you when we get into town, you know," 
said Bob easily. He was saddling Darky with a 
borrowed saddle. "Of course you understand 
that I don't carry a bushel of money around on the 
prairie." 

" Right you are," returned Ed, with a readiness 
that surprised me. " I'll be going in with a lot of 
beef directly after the roundup, and I'll receive the 
money then." 

" I say, Ed," whispered I aside, " you'll have to 
look sharp after that money. They say he owes a 
lot of debts already." 

" Oh," answered Ed carelessly. " He's an English 
gentleman, ain't he? The Crockett banks are 
always drawing money from England for these tony 
tenderfeet. Their credit stands high, anyhow." 

" H'm," I murmured. " Mr. Williams may have 
been a gentleman to start with, but he's rubbed a 
little of the bloom off knocking round the world." 

" I guess we're safe," returned Ed ; "I shan't 
give him a bill of sale till I get the cash, so I can 
seize the horse back if he don't pay up." 

It amused me that Ed, who had been so much 
quicker than I to detect Jack Jones' true quality, 



WHAT HAPPENED AT WATERHOLES 113 

should be so ready to show confidence in Bob Wil- 
liams, whom I could not help suspecting might turn 
out a slippery customer; but what Ed said was 
true ; just then English credit stood high, for most 
of the Englishmen who had come to Crockett were 
gentlemen. Meantime Bob lost no time in pre- 
paring to try his new purchase and rode back with 
us to the roundup, as proud as a peacock, his new 
bolas dangling in his hand. 

His appearance and his stylish get up created 
quite a little stir among the cowboys, as he rode 
round from group to group showing off his gay 
horse and holding forth at length in answer to the 
curious questions that the sight of his novel sub- 
stitute for the lasso provoked. 

A big roundup is always a stirring scene, and 
there is no finer sport in the world than cutting out 
wild Texas cattle. Through the great sweltering, 
surging, many-coloured mob of animals a few 
cowboys were coolly and quietly winding their 
clever horses in and out at a walk, each man keenly 
intent on spotting the brands he was gathering. 
Others waited outside the herd, galloping this way 
and that after the unruly beasts they had separated 
from their companions and seeking to induce them 
to go quietly into the bunch for which they were 
destined. On all sides were flying cows and steers, 
racing ponies twisting and turning like greyhounds 
in the pursuit, cowboys leaning forward in the 
saddle, their hat-brims blown back as they rushed 
through the air. And once in a while, well to the 
8 



114 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

outside, you might see a lasso untied from the 
saddle, whirled round the cowpuncher's head, flung 
skilfully over the horns or the heels of some unruly 
bullock, and the beast brought to the ground with 
a resounding thump. And wherever there was 
difficulty there was Ed sure to be, prompt in action, 
shrewd in counsel on a day like this Ed was at his 
best, and I forgot his failings in sheer admiration. 

Suddenly I became aware that over on the far 
side of the herd there was trouble. A big dun 
steer had gone on the warpath. Twice the cow- 
boy who was cutting out had brought him to his 
bunch, and twice he had broken away and rushed 
headlong back to the main herd. He had been 
raced and chased till his tongue hung out a foot 
and he was red hot and thirsty for blood. Nothing 
would turn him now and he was ready to drive 
those sharp horns of his deep into any horse or man 
that stood in his way. 

The cowboy got down his lasso and dashed up 
behind the big steer to rope and throw him. He 
threw and caught him, but with so large a loop that 
the rope settled back to his shoulders and no horse 
could possibly hold him. The steer broke away 
from him with the end of the lasso flying loose, 
maddening him more than ever. 

Then Bob Williams saw his opportunity. Whirl- 
ing the bolas round and round his head, he put 
Darky to his full speed behind the frantic animal, 
and with a throw of the arm like that of a slinger 
he sent them circling through the air after him. 



WHAT HAPPENED AT WATERHOLES 115 

But he overshot his mark and the triple balls, in- 
stead of entangling the animal's legs, caught his 
horns and the cords lapped themselves round and 
round their base, the heavy stones at the end bang- 
ing hard against his nose and eyes. Shaking his 
head with a wild bellow of affright the infuriated 
steer plunged back into the main herd ; his frantic 
terror communicated itself on the instant to them. 
One mighty roar went up to heaven from the whole 
body of them at once, and they started. The dull 
thunder of thousands of galloping hoofs burst upon 
my ears, and in a moment the great mass of cattle 
swept down upon us like a flood. 

It was a stampede, and Ed and I were in front 
of it. Our own little band of cattle was instantly 
swallowed up in the rush, and away we went with 
them, our ponies racing in the very forefront at 
top speed. Ed's nerve was all right. 

" Stay with 'em, boys," I heard his strong voice 
shout out. " Stay with 'em, if you die a- trying." 

It was an awful sight. A mob of near two thou- 
sand animals, bellowing with terror, seeing nothing, 
heeding nothing, feeling nothing but the one 
frantic overmastering desire to save themselves by 
headlong flight from the imagined danger behind 
them. Remorseless as an avalanche, resistless as 
Niagara, they poured onward, and woe betide 
aught that lies in their path. 

But our ponies were swift and stout, and Ed and 
I trusted to them to keep their feet as we galloped 
headlong in the van, while near us rode three or 



116 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

four of the men who had been on our side of the 
herd when they started. With shouts and cries, 
the strange, half-animal cries with which cattlemen 
talk to their cattle, we strove incessantly to pacify 
them and calm their terror. The thunder of the 
myriad hoofs close behind us half drowned our calls, 
but even through that roar the human voice might 
make its influence felt. 

On, on we rushed, a whirlwind of dust and noise 
following in our rear, the noise of motherless calves 
and bereaved mother cows bellowing their lamenta- 
tions at the tail of the stampede, the mighty instinct 
of motherhood asserting itself even in the face of 
panic terror. But with us in the van were no 
lamenting cows and calves. Big wild steers and 
barren cows that cared for nothing but themselves 
were treading on our heels at the front of the 
stampede. 

Looking to the right I saw a galloping figure 
boldly working his horse from the far side of the 
herd across our front at an angle, striving to get 
well up to the post of greatest danger in the middle. 
By George, it was Jose on Rube ! he had been 
left in the rear of the herd when they started, but 
he had ridden desperately, like the brave man he 
was, to get to the front, and here he came and 
added his shouts to ours. 

" Ep-pa, Ep-pa ! Oh-ye, oh-ye ! " he sang out, 
swinging his rope backwards in the very faces of 
the leaders ; but still the terrible flood of animals 
poured on. 



WHAT HAPPENED AT WATERHOLES 117 

Then to my dismay I saw ahead that the prairie 
was pitted with holes and dotted with little bare 
mounds that made it look like a rabbit-warren. 
We were nearing a prairie dog town at headlong 
speed, and every mound had got a hole in it that 
might prove a trap for any of us. Nevertheless 
between the holes the footing was sound and good, 
and we knew our prairie-bred horses would do all 
they could to avoid putting a foot in one of those 
traps. 

Down underground went each fat little dog, 
with a twiddle of the tail and a toy-like squeak, 
as we came tearing over the doors of their dwellings ; 
and safe in their nests far below they felt the earth 
around them shake, and heard the thunder of the 
stampede above their heads. 

Good Heavens ! what a cry ! I saw Ed pitched 
violently forward over his horse's head : the grey 
horse had put his foot in a dog-hole and blundered 
upon his nose. The horse was down ! No, it was 
only a long stagger and the grey was up again, 
and once more galloping forward, but the saddle 
was empty, he was riderless, and his rider already 
beneath the hoofs of the herd. Gallantly Jose 
reined Rube back till the foremost of the cattle 
were almost on him, and slashed violently in their 
faces with his rope now on this side and now on 
that. A cowboy closed in towards him on one side, 
and I did the same on the other. 

Jos6's bold move succeeded ; the cattle gave 
way ; the stream of brutes poured past us to left 



118 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

and right ; we had split the herd. With shouts 
and blows we widened the gap, and a couple of men 
who had also been riding in front worked their 
way to our aid. Others joined in, the divided 
herd was skilfully swung round and brought down 
to a trot, until finally it came to a standstill. The 
great stampede was at an end. 

Yes, it was at an end, but the cost was still to be 
reckoned. 

" Come on," cried Jose to me. " I been afraid 
your partner get hurt." 

We turned our horses and rode back to look for 
what we feared to see. Yes, there among the 
mounds of the prairie dog town we beheld a dark 
object lying ominously still. 

The ground was one mass of hoof marks where 
the rushing herd had left a track behind them 
like the track of a fleeing army, and right in the 
centre of that trampled track lay a thing trodden 
and battered and beaten out of all human semb- 
lance. It was all that was left of the man who 
had been one short quarter of an hour before my 
ill-fated partner Ed Holcombe. 

"Stay with 'em, boys, or die a-trying," I had 
heard him cry as the herd swept down on us. And, 
rough diamond as he was, Ed Holcombe had made 
his words good. He died a-trying. 



CHAPTER X 
THE WIFE BEATER 

WE buried Ed Holcombe on the hill above 
the ranch. Peace be to his ashes. 
Perhaps nothing in life became him 
so well as his leaving it. 

And now I was free ! The thought went to my 
head like strong wine. I had chafed at the bond 
to Ed that honour imposed. Now the shears of 
fate had cut the link, and although I staggered, 
dismayed at the realization of my wishes and the 
price at which it had been bought, daily and hourly 
the impulse grew to make swift use of my freedom. 
I loathed the ranch, the dull mechanical round of 
duties, with no break but the coming of the next 
roundup, and at the mere word I shuddered. Never 
could I face a roundup again, never could I see a 
flying herd of cattle without seeing the mangled 
form of poor Ed Holcombe. Now my one desire 
was to get my stock off my hands and turn my 
back on the cattle business. Perhaps I might 
take up sheep ; I played with own own fancies and 
made believe not to know that sheep meant New 
Mexico : Colorado sheepmen went down there to 
buy. The world was all before me where to choose 

119 



120 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

well, why might not I choose New Mexico ? 
What mattered it if I left the house I had got 
ready ? would not the lady of my dreams be more 
easily won if I could build her a home in her own 
country ? 

Something of my thoughts I let out to Jose, and 
found ready sympathy. 

" It seems to me," he said, " you get on with my 
people. You like them better than the Americanos. 
And they are not all poor like me. You find hidalgos 
there like your friends you left back in England." 

" I don't think I am hunting any hidalgos," said 
I, smiling. ' You know what I want to find in 
New Mexico ? " 

" Si, sefior," he smiled back. " We go together." 

' Yes," I said, " if only I can get some one to 
take this ranch off my hands." 

' That not very hard," he said. " Mr. Holcombe 
was a good cattle man every one at the roundup 
said how well he had got your ranch fixed here. I 
think Mr. Passman over at Cottonwood Creek 
would like well to buy you out and have this range 
all to himself." 

" Well," said I, " we've got to deliver those fat 
beeves in Crockett ; we'll stop at Cottonwood Creek 
on the way ; and if Mr. Passman wants to say any- 
thing, why, he'll have the chance." 

We drove our steers slowly and were not sorry 
to break the tedious journey at Cottonwood Creek, 
and there, as Jose had foretold, Mr. Passman soon 
began to hint some curiosity as to my future plans. 



THE WIFE BEATER 121 

I answered guardedly, but before we broke camp 
in the morning we had so far come to an under- 
standing that he said he would have his proposals 
ready for me in writing by the time I got back 
from Crockett. 

At last we had our thirty steers safe in the corrals 
up by the slaughter pen above the town, where we 
left them to cool off, and hungry after our ride 
jogged down the street, indulging in pleasant antici- 
pations of a square meal at 'Frisco Joe's. 

On Chestnut Avenue Jose suddenly checked his 
bridle rein. A woman, heavily veiled and holding 
her head down, as if to avoid observation, was coming 
towards us swiftly along the side-walk ; there was 
a wonderful lissom grace in the way she seemed to 
glide along that instantly caught the eye. 

" Santisima Virgen ! " cried Jose under his 
breath, " but it is she ! I can swear it ! " 

Like a flash he was off his horse, and gave me 
the rein, his eyes aflame with excitement. 

" Dolores ! Is it possible that it is you ! " he 
exclaimed in Spanish. " How is it that you are 
here ? " Rapture, amazement, perplexity thrilled 
in his voice. 

The woman turned away her head from him and 
raised a little brown hand to draw the veil more 
closely over her face. 

" Dolores, speak ! " he cried, as she was still 
silent. " Alma de mi vida, speak to me ! Let me 
see your face ! I know that it is you. My eyes do 
not deceive me, neither has my heart forgotten.'* 



122 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" I do not know you," the girl stammered brokenly, 
and bending her head, she made as if to pass on. 

" Ah, forgive me ! " came his swift apology. 
"Me, Jose Ortega, you may easily have forgotten. 
But Las Vegas, the beautiful city at the feet of the 
snow mountains, Las Vegas among its orchards 
and its cornfields, where your people dwelt you 
have not forgotten it, even though you are here, 
in this melancholy north, with its cold and frost ? " 
His voice shook. " My heart has never frozen, 
senorita, even in this north, neither have my eyes 
forgotten the lightness of your step. Why will you 
not show me your face that they may see if they 
remember that as well ? " 

" Ah, Don Jose, why will you torture me ? " she 
cried desperately. And then with a sudden revulsion 
she turned towards him and threw back her veil. 

I was aghast. The face was none other than 
that of my unknown love, the Mexican maiden of 
my dreams. My head reeled. With one crashing 
blow my fairy visions were shattered. Oh, hard 
fate, oh, bitter chance ! Why, among all the fair 
women of New Mexico, had it chanced that my 
friend and I should both set our hearts on the 
same girl ! How all the last months of my life 
had been coloured by the wild, the crazy expec- 
tation of seeing the lady of my dreams again ! I 
was no experienced adventurer in the pays du 
tendre, I had left England a boy in mind, and here 
in the deserts little chance had I of setting eyes on 
a woman. So this first fancy, instead of being a 



THE WIFE BEATER 128 

mere fancy, had taken hold of me and had possessed 
me, soul and body. In all the hardness, the fatigue, 
the squalor of my life, how that one thought had lit 
up its darkness, how that one hope had irradiated 
its dreariness ! Mad fool that I had been the 
words were only too true I had indeed ' ' lived in a 
dream and loved in a dream ! " Would the end be 
indeed to die ? 

I sat there, absolutely paralysed with dismay. O 
cruel moment ! Dazed, overwhelmed, I saw and 
heard nothing then a cry from Jose awoke me : 
he was staring curiously into the face of the girl. 

Again I looked down at her merciful heavens ! 
What had happened ? She was bruised, disfigured ; 
the angelic face that had haunted my dreams was 
livid with blows ! 

"Nombre de Dios ! " cried Jose frantically. 
; ' Who has struck you ? Who has dared ? Your 
father ? " He broke off in impotent fury. 

" Who is it ? " She repeated the words after 
him with a bitter mockery ringing in her voice. 
" Who is it ? Who but he who has the right ? It 
is my husband." 

"Her husband ! " Now indeed the house of 
cards which I had built collapsed utterly. Not 
only had Jose loved her before ever I met her, not 
only had her maiden heart first yielded itself to 
him, but even since I had seen her she had been 
won by another ; within these few months she had 
been married, miserably married to a wretch who 
beat her ! A dull fury seized my heart : I knew 



124 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

instinctively whose was the hand that struck her. 
Why had I done nothing ? Why had I waited all 
these months and allowed this tragedy to happen ? 
Why had I not at any cost broken my partnership 
with Ed Holcombe and hastened to seek her ? 

Jose was staring at her with burning eyes, his 
face livid. 

" Madre purisima," he cried in a hollow voice, 
" do you tell me that you have a husband ? " He 
flung up his hands despairingly. " I thought you 
would have died first." 

"Did you not know ? " she sobbed. "Did they 
not tell you ? My father brought me and my 
mother to this country, and here he found a man 
with whom he made friends, and when we returned 
home this man returned with us. He had money, 
and he prevailed with my father, so that he gave 
me to him" she faltered and stopped. 

How could I doubt it ! The inhuman wretch to 
whom she had been sold must be Jones ! Accursed 
be the day when I rescued him from prison, and 
doubly cursed the day when I turned aside Ed's 
pistol from his heart. I had saved him for her 
undoing. 

She hid her face from her lover with her hands 
and sobbed as if her bosom would burst. 

" Oh, forgive me, forgive ! Believe me, it was 
against my will ! " 

" Against your will," said Jose in bitter scorn. 
His eyes flashed fire as he stood there erect, eyeing 
her harshly and gnawing his moustache. 



THE WIFE BEATER 125 

" Indeed against my will," she pleaded pitifully. 
" How could I love him ? My heart was true to 
you. But they forced me into it, they forced me. 
My father lost money at the cards, and he, this 
man, lent him money. And my father said he was 
ruined if I did not consent. What could I do ? 
. . . He is my father ! The padre said I must obey 
my father." She threw an appealing glance at the 
man whom she had wronged. 

" I understand. I know him. He is a soul that 
knows neither pity nor love/' said Jose in a hard 
voice. " It was like him to sell you to the stranger 
and glory in your price ! " He paused, thinking 
unutterable things. ' ' And who was this stranger ? ' ' 
he broke out again. " Where is he, what is he ? 
Tell me his name." 

" He is called Baldwin. He lives we have come 
to live here now," she faltered. 

' Where is the house ? " said Jose sternly. 
" But no matter ; I shall find him." 

She threw a terrified look behind her. 

" Oh, here he is," she cried in a scared voice, 
hurriedly pulling down her veil. " Oh, forget that 
you have seen me ! ' ' And without pause her swiftly 
gliding steps bore her away from us. 

Baldwin ? So then I had been unjust to Jack 
Jones. That in a way was a relief, for I need no 
longer feel that I was responsible for the existence 
of the ruffian who had married her. Jose stood 
looking after her, his back to the advancing man. 

" Have you your pistol ? " he asked me, with 



126 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

his eyes still on the retreating figure of the 
woman. 

" No," I answered. " I left it at the ranch." 

" I thought you might have got that little Der- 
ringer with you," he said regretfully, " but it don't 
matter." The veiled figure that he devoured with 
his eyes turned the corner of the next block and 
disappeared down a side street. Jose Ortega 
wheeled round again abruptly and found himself 
face to face with a big man, showily dressed, and to 
my horror I recognized Jones. He might have 
changed his name to Baldwin, but he was the very 
same Jack Jones I had taken out of the Tintack- 
town calaboose, who deserved no more mercy than 
a mad dog. My first impulse was to ride full speed 
to Claude Duval (I knew he was in town), get his 
pistol and settle the villain quick. But to ride off 
might be to leave Jose in peril. Jones was likely 
armed. I must stop and see my friend through. 

Jones did not recognize me or notice me at all 
as I sat there on my horse in the street, but he made 
as if to push hastily past Jose on the side- walk. 

" One moment, senor, by your leave," said Jose, 
stepping close in front of him. " If I am not mis- 
taken you are the husband of the lady who has 
just passed." 

" Well, and supposing I am," returned the 
other, and he looked down at Jose with a would-be 
humorous expression, for indeed Jose hardly came 
up to his shoulder. " Well, and supposing I am, 
what then? " 



THE WIFE BEATER 127 

" Will you do me the honour to give me your 
name ? " said the Mexican, very stiff, proud, and 
punctilious. 

" At your service, little chap," said the bigger 
man, still keeping up the affectation of humorous 
familiarity. " My name's Baldwin. Anything I 
can do for you ? ' ' There he stood with his broad 
shoulders and his leering face, looking down at 
the smaller man who had so audaciously thrust 
himself across his path. 

" At your service," he repeated. " Anything I 
can do for you ? " 

" Only this," said the Mexican, twisting his 
moustache and looking his formidable antagonist 
squarely in the eyes. " My name is Jose Ortega. 
You have married a sefiora of my country ; you 
have brought her to this country here, where you 
believed she had no friends to protect her. You 
were mistaken. If ever you lay a finger on her again 
I will hunt you down and kill you like a mad dog. 
Me, Jose Ortega, I will kill you ! You are warned." 
He stood there defiant but cool, his left hand 
still twisting his moustache till the points fairly 
bristled, his loaded quirt grasped ready in his right. 
" And if you escape him you will have to deal 
with me, Mr. Jack Jones ! " I shouted. I did not 
know my own voice, but Jones did. His face 
suddenly grew pale. Well I remembered seeing it 
turn pale like that before when Ed Holcombe pulled 
his pistol on him in our camp. 
With a loud oath he wheeled round. There wai 



128 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

a bar close by, and he sprang into the open door 
for refuge. 

" Why, they're a pair of lunatics, or they're mad 
drunk," he cried. " What's the city marshal 
about ? why don't he take chaps like this in 
charge ? " And he disappeared inside. 

Jose turned to follow him. There came over me 
that strange feeling, which some of us know at 
times, that all this identical scene, the men, the 
words, the actions, had once been there before, 
everything happening just as now, but in another 
state of existence. The sensation is paralysing 
while it lasts, but that happily is seldom more 
than the fraction of a second, though it seems 
eternity ; and thus it was now. Already I had 
sprung to earth, dropping the reins of the horses 
on the ground, and seizing Jose by the arm. 

"Don't go inside there," I cried. " Come and 
get heeled first. Then we'll talk to him." 

But the fiery Spanish temper would not be con- 
trolled. 

" I must talk to him now," he cried, as he pushed 
through the door into the bar ; where I, of course, 
followed. 

The room was empty. The bar-keeper grinned 
at seeing us. 

" You gentlemen painting the town red ? " he 
said cheerfully, expecting to hear an order for the 
drinks. 

"Where's that man who came in just now? " 
I demanded. 



THE WIFE BEATER 129 

" He's vamoosed," said the bar-keeper, still 
grinning ; " seemed to have some pressing business 
outside that back door yonder. Like to leave 
any message for him ? " 

"No, thanks," said I, " I expect we'll find him 
pretty easy if we want him. Come along out of 
this, Jose." 

We jumped on our horses and galloped round 
to the back of the saloon, a simple matter, for half 
the lots in Crockett were still unbuilt on. There 
was not a sign to be seen of him or anybody else. 

" He's done us this time, sure," said I. "Oh 
yes, I know you'd like to rope him with Rube" 
the Mexican was fingering his lasso " I can see 
you're just aching to drag him to death ; but it 
can't be done to-night." 

" Might be he kill her to-night, though," said 
Jos6 musingly. 

" I guess not," I returned. " He's an utter 
coward. He went as white as a sheet when you 
told him you'd kill him just now. I saw him go 
white like that once before, when I bluffed him with 
Ed, and the fright made him bolt. He'll never dare 
to lay a finger on her again while you're in town." 

" I wonder if she live anywhere close here," 
said Jose. 

To satisfy him I left my horse and ran back to 
the saloon. The bar-keeper told me readily how 
to go to Baldwin's house away out on Chestnut 
Avenue, and we galloped there, only to find it 
shut and locked, with no light to be seen. 
9 



130 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" I expect she's taken refuge with some friend," 
said I, " but it's impossible to say where, and it's 
like looking for a needle in a haystack to find her 
now. Likely he can't find her either." 

I was trying to cheer myself by taking the most 
hopeful view of things and also to keep Jos6 from 
making a rash attack on his enemy and mine 
before he was fixed. 

" Come along, Jose," said I, "I've got to make 
Hurd and Hendricks take delivery of the steers 
to-night. We can find that scoundrel to-morrow." 

But several things were to happen before to- 
morrow. 






CHAPTER XI 
THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 

AND when we did find Jack Jones or Bald- 
win, or whatever his new name was what 
was to be the next move ? Jose, obeying 
his first impulse, had wanted to fly at his throat. 
Now as we rode in company with Kurd out to the 
pens I could see that the Mexican was turning 
things over in his mind. I waited. It was for him 
to speak first. 

We reached the cattle pens ; the doomed animals, 
scenting something ominous from the slaughter- 
house near by, were bellowing anxiously as they 
worked round and round the strong corral looking 
for a way to escape. They found none ; there was 
only one way they ever would find, and Hurd the 
butcher would show them that. He looked them 
over and accepted the lot, paid me a sum on account, 
and my part of the contract was completed. 

Jose and I rode back to town together silently 
through the gathering darkness. Was he ever 
going to tell me the conclusion he had come to ? 

" What are you going to do about it ? " said I 
at last, seeing that he did not speak. 

131 



182 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" My mind," he answered slowly, " go round and 
round like them steers we leave in that corral. 
But there is no way out ; at least, no way out but 
one." 

It was a grim comparison. The outlet the steers 
would find on the morrow smelt of blood. 

"He deserves killing," said I, " if ever a man did. 
But it's a serious matter to think of killing a man." 

He nodded assent. Presently he began again. 

" If I could but save her from him without kill- 
ing him ! I hate to kill any man in cold blood. 
And if I kill him she may hate me for it. Women 
have got very strange feelings. I thought she would 
rather die than marry such a man, but when her 
father wanted her to do it she married him. Now 
she has been living with him it may have made a 
great difference in her. How much difference I 
don't know. But I've got to be careful what I do 
to him." Jos6 fell silent again, thinking deeply. 
" Ojala que yo tenia diez mil pesos ! " he burst out 
suddenly after a pause. " Oh, if I only had ten 
thousand dollars." 

" Yes ? " said I. Was he thinking of what possi- 
bilities there might be of bribing an American jury 
if he did do the deed after all ? 

" But I have less than a thousand," he sighed. 
" Not enough." 

41 Well, no," said I, " it's not enough if you make 
up your mind to go and kill him ; they say it takes 
ten thousand dollars here to be sure of getting off 
on a charge of murder." 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 133 

" That's not what I was thinking," he returned. 
" I want them ten thousand dollars for quite 
another thing. With ten thousand dollars I could 
get the padre at Las Vegas to write to the Pope 
that this man had turned out a villain and to ask 
him to say that her marriage to him had never 
been a real marriage at all. And then she would 
be free." 

" A divorce ! " I cried. " Excellent. Yes, that's 
it ; she can get a divorce and let him go. But 
there's no need to send to Rome and spend ten 
thousand dollars (if that is the cost of one there). 
The courts here will give her one for fifty, I don't 
know but for twenty-five." And I called myself 
stupid for not having thought of it before. 

" You do not understand," said he stiffly. " This 
is not a matter of the laws of the Americans. What 
are your courts to us ? This that I speak of is a 
matter of our Church. It is not a divorce. No. 
We have no such thing. Among us nothing dis- 
solves a marriage but death. But if the Pope is 
satisfied that there never was any true marriage 
between them, he will declare it, and then she is 
free. He has the power to declare that. But that 
is not a divorce." 

" That is very curious," answered I, somewhat 
doubtfully. Could this queer story be true ? Jos6 
was but a poor vaquero ; he could know nothing 
of Church law. " And would the Pope's declara- 
tion cost ten thousand dollars ? " I asked. If 
ever any miracle put such a sum into Jose's hands, 



134 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

I vowed to myself to consult a lawyer before I let 
him hand it over to Pope or Padre ! 

" I have heard people in my country say it can 
be done for that," he answered. " Not often, you 
understand. Only when the cause is very strong. 
And always the expense is great. They say it is 
no use to try unless you can spend ten thousand 
dollars. Then there may be a chance. And if I had 
them I would try it. But where should a poor 
man like me get ten thousand dollars ? " 

" Hold on, Jose," I cried, " here's another 
chance. I have a very strong suspicion that this 
man is a Mormon. If he has half a dozen other 
wives out in Utah his marriage with Dolores is no 
marriage at all, and it don't need a Pope to tell 
us so ! " 

Jose's eyes flashed. 

' The cur ! It is possible, it is very possible. 
I know the Mormons have come even into my 
country, he may be one of them. But alas ! " he 
went on slowly, " our padre, I know, would say 
those Mormon marriages were the ones that were 
only a mummery, and that the marriage he cele- 
brated was the binding one. If it is as you say, it 
makes that man's soul blacker than ever, but I don't 
know that it would save Dolores. No ; she was 
married to him by a priest nothing can undo that." 

We made our way round to 'Frisco Joe's for 
the food we needed. A man must go on with his 
work, and to do that he must eat, even though 
the iron may have entered into his soul. As we 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 135 

waited for our supper to arrive I left Jose* to his 
thoughts and took up the Crockett City Clarion 
which lay beside me. 

" Hullo," I exclaimed, " things are going ahead 
fast. Look here, Jose, we aren't the only people 
who are down on Baldwin. Perhaps now his 
behaviour is made public he may mend." It 
was a flaming headline that had caught my notice : 
" A Disgrace to his Country." The American 
man, the article began, was, in a good cause, the 
most terrible fighter upon the face of the earth. 
He could and would outfight any man in the world 
with any weapons in the world. But chivalry, true 
chivalry, was the motto of his life : against a 
woman he scorned to raise his hand. Only among 
subjects of the effete despotisms of the Old World 
could that meanest form of tyranny be developed. 
" And now," went on the article, " now this odious 
vice has been introduced into our midst by an 
unworthy Englishman who is a disgrace to his 
country ! Hitherto the Clarion has always ex- 
tended its cordial welcome to the scions from the 
old stock across the Atlantic who cast in their lot 
with ours in order to find and enjoy here the oppor- 
tunities of advancement which are denied to them 
at home. There is nothing we desire more than 
to protect and encourage them in all worthy deeds. 
But there is one thing they shall not do : they 
shall not come here to share in the blessings to 
which we so freely admit them, and reward our 
hospitality by poisoning the banquet at which 



136 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

they are guests. They shall not practise here the 
vices upon which they may have learned to look 
too leniently elsewhere. And our last word to the 
Englishmen of Crockett is Rise to the moral 
elevation of the country of your adoption and root 
out from among you this accursed thing." 

If I had not been so heart-sick I could have 
laughed at the inflated language, but I had to 
admit with bitterness that the taunt was true. 
Wife-beating was an imported crime, and odious 
in American eyes. It was clear from what the 
Clarion said that the behaviour of Jones, or Bald- 
win as I must learn to call him, was notorious, and 
had his unhappy wife been an American woman 
there was not a doubt that the Vigilantes would 
have lynched him long ago. The wretched victim 
in this case being a Mexican it was neat of the 
Clarion to suggest that the Crockett Englishmen 
should do justice : strangers it seemed were to 
wash each other's dirty clothes and save the Ameri- 
cans the trouble ! I passed over the article to Jose. 
He read it, and looked up with gleaming eyes. 

" Do you think they will kill him now ? " he 
asked. 

" They may," I answered, " but I doubt it. 
Englishmen don't go in for mob law. I wish either 
the Crockett police or the Crockett Vigilantes 
would do their own jobs ! But we'll go round the 
town to-morrow and find out what's doing." 

After supper we returned to the Elephant Corral 
to give our horses their corn, and make our beds 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 137 

in the " pilgrim house." I lay down on my hard 
bunk with my saddle for a pillow, and there, in 
the darkness, my vanished dreams began to dance 
mockingly before my eyes and the dull ache in 
my breast became sharp pain. 

The quick rush of events and the need of keeping 
Jos6 in hand had forced back my own feelings for 
a while, but now they took possession and I tossed 
restlessly, one instant resolved to jump up and 
turn my back on Jos6 and his lady love and the 
whole West for ever, and another to go out and 
murder Jack Jones. The romantic vagueness of 
my love for Dolores prevented my feeling any real 
jealousy of Jose ; his right to her was obvious, his 
love real, mine but the shadow of a dream. But 
mad as it was, and ignorant of it as she must ever 
remain, my love for her carried its responsibilities. 
I must be not only her servant, her knight, I must 
also be the guardian of her lover ; and a delight, 
keener than any pain, awoke in me as I vowed to 
dedicate my life to the service of this hapless pair. 

I felt as if I had hardly been asleep a minute 
when I was disturbed by a rough but not unfriendly 
hand shaking me vigorously, and I heard in young 
Johnny's cheerful tones : 

" Say, ain't you coming to see the fun ? The 
Crockett Englishmen are going to hang Baldwin." 

" Eh ! what's that ? " I answered, drowsy and 
less than a quarter awake. The seven sleepers 
themselves are not harder to rouse than a man of 
two-and-twenty who has been fifteen hours in the 



138 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

saddle. " I've nothing to do with that. I'll see 
him to-morrow." 

" See him ! " cried Johnny, " you don't know what 
you're talking about. You'll see him dangling 
from a limb. That's how you'll see him." Slowly 
my mind began to take in what he was saying. 
" You'd better turn out," he went on, as I raised 
myself on my elbow. " You oughtn't to miss it. 
I knowed you was here, and came right down to 
rout you out, so as you wouldn't miss it. All them 
tony English aristocrats in Crockett has made 
themselves into a vigilance committee and gone 
on the war-path. I just seen Mr. Bob Williams 
leading of 'em off in style. You bet they'll have a 
shivaree. Ain't you going ? " 

" Are you going ? " said I, blinking sleepily at 
the stable lantern Johnny had brought in and set 
down on the rough table. Jose had turned out the 
moment he heard Johnny's news, and was already 
half-dressed. 

" Oh, the Englishmen are on in this piece," 
laughed Johnny. " Maybe you'll see me in the 
boxes. They've only just started. It was Mr. 
Bob as let me into the secret ; and I say, look at 
here, if you run on to the city marshal anywheres 
mind you don't give the whole show away." 

I was wide awake at last, and realizing the im- 
portance of what was taking place I struggled into 
my clothes, shivering in the keen night air. 

" Now, mind and be sure you don't give it 
away/ 1 reiterated Johnny. " If Marshal Berry 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 139 

hears of it and gets after that crowd of smartys, 
he's mighty liable to bore holes in several of your 
tony English friends. He don't allow no lynching 
to go on here exceptin' by the regular Vigilantes. So 
mind yourself, I tell you, and keep your eye peeled." 

" We had better take the horses," said Jose. 
" We're going to be too late if we go afoot, and very 
like we shall find some good use for them. But I 
wish you'd got that pistol along." 

" You know the house where Baldwin lives on 
Chestnut Avenue ? " said Johnny. " It's an un- 
painted house, with a railing round it. But I 
expect before you get there they'll have took him 
down to Beetle Creek to find a cottonwood to 
hang him on." And Johnny pranced away, wild 
with excitement over this first experience of lynch 
law d I'Anglaise. 

Jose and I put our ponies into a lope through 
the silent street. Crockett was a really most re- 
spectable town, and the majority of the population 
had gone to bed long ago. But halfway up Chest- 
nut we overtook two men running in the same 
direction as we were going. At first I thought it 
must be the city marshal and his deputy, hurrying 
to the scene of action. But getting closer to 
them I recognized two young Englishmen who had 
once been out at the ranch, Jim Foley and Tom 
Buncombe. 

" That you ? " said Foley, who spotted me at 
the same minute. " I was afraid you were Marshal 
Berry. But I don't think he's heard of it yet." 



140 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" What in the world are you up to ? " I asked, 
for I thought I had better get the correct story 
from him. 

" We're going to take it out of Baldwin's hide," 
he replied. " He's been thrashing that pretty little 
wife of his again, and we've settled to give him a 
sound flogging in his turn. The fellows were going 
to hang him at first, but some of us thought that 
was going rather too far, so we'll let him off with 
a licking and warn him never to come back here 
again. I've been home to fetch my hunting-crop." 

" Where are you going to do it ?" I asked. 
" Not before his wife's eyes ? His house is some- 
where here, isn't it ? " I didn't care to let on that 
I had been to look at it myself. 

" Yes, that's his house," replied Foley, indicat- 
ing the low frame building, dimly seen in the star- 
light ; " but you bet he's not there now. They've 
got him out on the prairie a mile away, so that his 
yells can't be heard in town." 

" And Mrs. Baldwin ? " I queried. "Do you 
know what's become of her ? " 

" Oh, she's there all right. She didn't show up 
when we brought him out and nobody's going to 
disturb her." 

If that was so she must have returned there 
or been dragged back there by him subsequently 
to our visit. 

" Of course she wouldn't show up," said I, " but 
what's going to become of her after you've got 
through Jwith him ? " Foley was trotting along- 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 141 

side of me hanging on to my stirrup leather, but 
Jose could hear everything we said, as I meant him 
to do. It was important that we should both know 
what their plans were. ' You say you're going 
to run him out of town. But where to ? " 

" Oh, we've agreed to subscribe his fare north 
on the stage to Big Muddy. He can go where he 
likes then. The northward-bound stage goes 
through here at two in the morning. We'll warm 
his hide well for him first and then put him aboard. 
You bet he won't care about coming back to 
Crockett again much." 

" No," said I, " I suppose he won't : he'll be a 
good riddance ; but how about her ? She can't 
go on here alone, after he's gone, with nothing to 
live upon." 

" Gad, I hadn't thought about that ! " said 
Foley. " I suppose we'll have to have another 
subscription and pay her fare back to Mexico. But 
there's plenty of time to think about all that 
afterwards." 

In the dim starlight Jose" and I exchanged 
glances. We were well out on the prairie outside 
the town now. A group of figures were dimly 
visible ahead. 

" Whack ! " through the night came the sound 
of a whip, followed by a howl, and at the same time 
we heard the stentorian tones of Bob Williams 
sing out, " One." 

" They've begun," cried Foley, putting on a 
spurt. 



142 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

"The idiot!" said I, loping alongside him. 
" Bob's voice will carry a mile. Marshal Berry is 
bound to hear him if he shouts like that." 

" Whack," came a second blow, followed by 
another howl, and a loud " Two " from Bob. 

" Dry up, Bob," shouted Foley, plunging into 
the group. " Don't make such a beastly row. 
You'll have all the town out here in a minute." 

Jose and I reined up. On the ground lay the 
wife beater, stretched and held securely, and 
over him stood Bob Williams with a horse-whip. 

" We've settled to give him three dozen," I 
heard Bob sing out cheerfully, " and we're each 
going to give him two cuts. Now then, Foley, it's 
your turn." 

" Jose," said I in an undertone, " do you want 
to take any part in this ? " 

His left hand was twisting that moustache of his 
again, as he looked at the scene. 

" No," he answered. " When I settle with him 
I'll do it on my own account. I don't want this 
or any other crowd to help me." 

Certainly the Crockett Englishmen were the 
veriest of amateurs at lynch law. They had no 
guards out ; there was not a man of them masked 
or carrying a rifle : they called each other freely 
by their names : they spoke in loud and cheerful 
tones. There was nothing to show that they felt 
they were law-breakers, and there was no attempt 
at secrecy beyond the fact that the affair was being 
conducted a mile outside town limits. 



THE OUTRAGE AT CROCKETT 148 

"If Marshal Berry comes/' said Jose, " they'll 
have to let the man loose. This crowd don't mean 
to kill anybody. And if they let him loose I know 
one thing : he'll go straight back to his house, and 
he'll pretty near kill that woman. That's sure." 

" You're right enough there," said I. 

"If they finish their job," continued Jose, " and 
run him out of town, she's going to be left here all 
alone unprotected. Either way she's bound to 
suffer," he repeated slowly, and speaking in Spanish 
half to himself. " There's only one thing to do 
send her back to Las Vegas." 

" And you're right again there," said I. 

" You got the money for that beef on you ? " 
he asked, still in Spanish, and lowering his voice. 
He need not have been so particular to avoid being 
overheard, for we were outside the crowd, which, 
besides, was wholly absorbed in the punishment of 
Baldwin. They were giving him the second dozen 
now. 

" Kurd paid me a hundred dollars cash down," 
said I. " He's to pay the balance to-morrow 
morning." 

" A hundred will be more than enough," said he. 
" I wish you'd let me have it for to-night, if you 
don't mind." 

It was obviously better that he should pay her fare 
for her than that I should. I handed him the thick 
roll of greenbacks, and three minutes later we were 
galloping hard down Chestnut Avenue towards 
the house where the Senora Dolores was left alone. 



CHAPTER XII 
ADIOS, SENORA 

WE halted before the palings round Bald- 
win's house, and Jos6 sprang off, and ran 
to the door, tried it, found it unfastened, 
and disappeared inside. I waited minute after 
minute, his horse's rein in my hand, trying to 
adjust myself to the new order of things that had 
arisen. Baldwin was clearly disposed of, for the 
time at least. Even though the English mob were 
not going to hang him, the flogging and the shipping 
him north would remove him temporarily out of 
the way. But what would his wife wish to do ? 
Was it possible that she would cleave to him still ? 
I knew nothing of women, but Jos6, who did, had 
suggested that such things were possible some- 
times. Or would she seize the opportunity to fly 
to her father's house ? And if so, would she allow 
Jos6 to accompany her ? He had scorned the idea 
of an American divorce as a thing neither he nor 
she could accept. The Papal nullification he talked 
of was beyond his means, but if she loved him 
still they might cut the Gordian knot by going 
away together. Their hot southern natures might 
be a law to themselves, and I had no mind to blame 

144 



ADIOS, SENORA 145 

Dolores whatever she might do ! The Queen can 
do no wrong. 

The minutes sped ; neither he nor Dolores came 
out ; it was chilly waiting there and time was 
precious. Might not the lynchers let Baldwin go 
back to his house before shipping him north by 
stage ? or what was even more likely, might not 
Marshal Berry rescue him and bring him home ? 
An ominous sense of impending trouble came over 
me ; I could stand the delay no longer. 

" Jose," said I, loud enough to be heard through 
the door, " Jose ! Time passes. What have you 
decided ? " 

The door flew open. 

" The Senora Dolores," said Jose", " is uncertain 
what to do. She would gladly return to her father, 
but she is afraid of the journey, and yet she refuses 
to accept my escort." Jos6's voice sounded strange, 
he spoke slowly, as if his lips could hardly frame the 
words ; I could hear his hard breathing in the dusk. 

" There is no reason whatever for her to feel 
afraid," I replied, speaking in Spanish as Jos6 had 
done ; Dolores was invisible inside the room, but 
I knew she could hear every word. " There is 
absolutely no reason for any fear ; Wells Fargo' s 
stage-coach runs by here on the direct route to 
Las Vegas. It passes through Crockett about one 
in the morning, and if she likes to go we will see 
her off by it to-night. She will be in perfectly 
safe hands. Wells Fargo guarantee the safety of 
their passengers." If Dolores did not desire Jos6's 
10 



146 , A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

company it should not be forced upon her. I re- 
peated with emphasis : " It is the greatest Express 
Company in the world, and it is purely American, 
agents, drivers, messengers and all. A solitary 
woman is as safe with them as in her own house : 
they'll keep her in perfect security." 

Perhaps this was not exactly the answer that 
Jose desired, but it evidently relieved her mind. 

" I am afraid to stay here," I heard her say, 
" and if it is so safe as this sefior says for me to go 
alone on the stage-coach, then I should like to go 
home to Las Vegas at once." 

Ten minutes later we were off, Jos6 mounted on 
his horse's croup, and holding her seated, Mexican 
style, before him in the saddle, while I encumbered 
myself painfully with her baggage in the shape of 
a big bundle. 

As I rode near I could not help hearing Jos6's eager 
voice, urging, urging still, the vanity of her sacrifice. 

"Have you not done enough?" he cried. 
" You have obeyed your father, you have done all 
he desired, and now that your husband desires to be 
rid of you why do you persist in clinging to him ? " 

" I do not," she answered, " I do not. I have 
left him for ever. I will die rather than degrade 
myself by returning to him." 

" Then if you have left him, what stands between 
us ? Oh, my beloved, don't you see ? Don't you 
understand that if you go back to your father it 
is but beginning the same history over again ? He 
will force you back to that man." 



ADIOS, SENORA 147 

" No," she repeated, " I will die sooner. He 
can never force me back." 

" But why leave me ? Why turn your back 
coldly on me when I can protect you and adore 
you and make you forget all, all you have suffered ? 
It shall seem to you but a bad dream my whole 
life shall be spent in keeping you from remembering 
it. Oh, my soul, think what a paradise only waits 
one little word from you to open its gates." 

" It can't be paradise where there is sin," came 
her muffled tones I knew she was weeping. 

" But it shall not be sin. We will get a divorce 
from the Americans and be married properly in 
all due form ; we shall be man and wife as truly 
as any Americans in all this broad land." How 
quick he had been to adopt my suggestion. 

" No," she said again, " no, it may be all right 
for Americans they have their own laws they 
know no better they are ignorant like the heathen, 
like children, like mad people ; but we know, and it 
can never be the same for us as if we did not know." 
She was holding on to the fortress he had forsaken. 

" But he has given you up," argued Jose. " It is 
his own wish not to be your husband any longer." 

" If he is wicked it does not make me obliged to 
be wicked," she cried. " Oh, Jose", do not torture 
me you know you would not love me if I con- 
sented. You love me because I have always tried 
to be good ; if I consented you would be kind to 
me and pity me but you would despise me. I am 
not to be pitied, I am not to be despised," she cried 



148 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

proudly. " God has protected me has sent you 
and Sefior Thompson to save me now I will trust 
to Him still." 

" I honour you as I honour her whose name you 
bear, Our Lady of Sorrows," cried poor Jose, his 
voice choked with sobs. " I will lay down my life 
for you. How can you say that anything, any 
change can alter my veneration for you? " 

But she answered no word and in silence the 
unhappy pair rode beside me through the darkness 
to their farewell. 

It was Jose who paid the fare to the agent at 
the stage station, and after a momentary hesita- 
tion ventured to offer him a suggestion. 

' This lady not much used to travelling," he 
said in English. " She going a long journey by 
herself to Las Vegas. I want to tell you this so 
as you make sure she be all right." 

The agent who sat at his desk writing out the 
through ticket for her looked up at Jose. 

" Don't you fret yourself about that, young 
man," said he impressively. ' There ain't no one 
going to interfere with this lady nohow till we 
deliver her safe at Las Vegas ; you can bet your 
bottom dollar on that. Anything put in charge of 
Wells Fargo is just as safe as it would be in the 
U.S. Treasury Office. I see you're a Mexican 
hombre, so I jest say it over for your benefit. 
Now you know." 

"How soon is the stage due ? " I asked. I was 
standing at the door peering into the darkness, 



ADIOS, SENORA 149 

through which I seemed to hear a sound of distant 
voices. 

"Due now in five minutes," said the agent, 
looking up at the clock. " It's a clear night and 
the road's good and hard. I reckon they'll be here 
on time." 

I listened, vainly hoping to catch the rumbling 
of wheels. They were not yet audible, while the 
distant voices sounded every minute nearer and 
nearer. I looked at Jose and Dolores. They were 
standing by the stove in the stage station. He was 
speaking again. I was sure he was urging yet 
again the petition she had refused before. 

"It is impossible, impossible," I heard her say 
in a low voice. " Here you must leave me. You 
must not come further. If you do I will not go." 

And as I stood in the doorway the outside voices 
suddenly grew loud and dreadfully familiar, and 
it was Bob Williams' clarion tones that were clearest. 

' When does the northern mail go through for 
Big Muddy ? " I hastily inquired of the agent. 

' Just an hour from now," he answered briefly, 
without looking up from his way-bill. 

I hesitated no longer, but plunged into the night 
and met the crowd of lynchers face to face. 

" Bob," said I, catching his arm, " where are you 
taking him to ? " 

" Going to ship him out of town," he answered 
promptly. 

" Not south ? not Las Vegas way ? " I cried 
anxiously. 



150 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" No," said he, " we mean to send him north to 
the railroad. And then he can go where he darn 
pleases/' 

At this instant I heard the rumble of wheels 
and the clattering hoofs of a four-horse team. 

" But, Bob," I interrupted, " hold on a minute. 
This coach that's just coming up is the southern- 
bound stage. The northern ain't due for an hour 
yet. You're never going to hold him right here 
at the station for a whole hour before starting ? " 

" Well, why not ? " returned Bob. 

' ' Why not ? " I replied. ' ' Why, hang it all, man, 
you'll give your whole show away by bringing him 
to this public place. The agent or the stable-helpers 
or any passenger getting off here might tell Marshal 
Berry where you are. I tell you, this lynching 
business of yours isn't going to be popular in town. 
I've been long enough in this country to understand 
that much. You must hide him an hour longer, 
man ; you must lie low." I could hear the clatter 
of the harness at the stage station as the stage 
pulled up, and the helpers rapidly began to unhitch 
the tired team and put in the fresh horses. 

" Well, perhaps you're right," said Bob. " But 
it's a horrid nuisance having to stop a whole hour 
out on the prairie this cold night." 

" Better that," said I, " than being run in by 
the marshal. He'll get after you in dead earnest 
(unless you've squared him), and if he does you'll 
either spend the night in the calaboose or he'll 
fill you full of lead. Don't make any error, Bob. 



ADIOS, SENORA 151 

I've been a good deal longer in this country than 
you. These American police aren't safe to go 
monkeying with, I tell you." 

" Well, hang it all," grumbled Bob, " we don't 
want to freeze to death waiting in the cold. Here, 
you fellows, I vote we give him his ticket and turn 
him loose right here. He can board the stage as 
it comes along and go anywhere he likes we're not 
particular, so long as Crockett City is relieved of 
his presence." His proposal evidently found 
favour ; the amateur lynchers had apparently begun 
to think they had had enough for one night. 

To turn Baldwin loose at once might suit them 
well enough : but we could not risk his boarding 
the Santa Fe* stage and finding Dolores there. 

At that very moment what I had feared came 
to pass and a cry was raised that Marshal Berry was 
coming. I turned and ran back to the station. 

Dolores had just got inside the stage, and Jose* 
was handing in her things after her. The fresh 
team was already harnessed. 

" Hurry," I whispered to him. ' They've let 
Baldwin loose. He's just here down the road, and 
I guess he'll try to get on board." 

The door was shut, the helpers let go the horses' 
heads, the driver cracked his whip and they were 
off. Jose and I flew across the road and sprang to 
our saddles ; and in another moment we were 
galloping after the stage, which rapidly neared the 
crowd of lynchers. 

" Hello," came a yell from the middle of the 



152 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

crowd, and a figure ran out into the road right in 
front of the horses' heads. "Hello, there! the 
stage ! I want to get on board ! " 

It was Baldwin himself. 

The driver pulled up abruptly and swore at large. 
I saw Jose's nimble fingers unloosing something from 
his saddle-horn. We galloped past the offside of the 
coach ; then something swung once, twice, thrice 
round Jose's head, and shot from his hand ; his horse 
whirled sharp round and bounded away ; down came 
Baldwin to the ground with a heavy thud, and was 
dragged like a helpless log to one side of the road. 

" Drive ahead," said I to the stage driver, speak- 
ing low ; " there's been a fuss on here in town and 
I guess this man who stopped you was in it. But 
I believe he really wants to go north and tried to 
board you by mistake." 

' Tell the son of a gun to go to the station next 
time he wants to board my stage," said the driver 
in a very surly voice. ' What the blazes does he 
mean by stopping my team out here on the prairie, 
I want'er know ! Git up thar', yew ! " The whip- 
thong fell across the leaders' backs, they sprang 
into their collars, and away dashed the coach. I 
saw Jose dismount in order to unloose his rope from 
the prostrate figure at the side of the road ; swiftly 
he leaped on his horse again, and as he did so the 
stern voice of Marshal Berry rang out loud and 
quite close to us. 

" Where's Mr. Baldwin ? What have you done 
with him ? " 



ADIOS, SENORA 153 

It was wonderful how silently and how swiftly 
the crowd seemed to melt into the surrounding 
darkness. The marshal ran to the prostrate man, 
while Jose clapped spurs to his horse and started 
after the stage. 

" Halt ! " sung out the marshal, raising his 
pistol. " Halt, there ! " 

"Crack!" and a jet of bright flame spurted 
from the levelled pistol of the marshal. 

" Hold on, marshal," I cried, in dire terror for 
Jose's life. " You're shooting at the wrong man. 
He wasn't in it." 

" Who are you ? " said the marshal, turning to 
me abruptly. 

There was no sign to be seen of Jose, nor for that 
matter of anybody else except Baldwin lying on 
the ground. 

I gave him my name. 

' I have just been seeing off a friend by the 
stage," said I. " I don't belong to that crowd that 
got after Mr. Baldwin. Of course you can arrest 
me if you like, but if you search me you'll find I 
haven't any arms, and Kurd and Hendricks can 
prove I'm in town on business." 

The marshal turned his back on me, and busied 
himself in hoisting Baldwin on to his feet. 

" I don't want to spend the night in the cala- 
boose," I went on. "I expect Judge Douglas would 
bail me, but I don't want to rout him out at this 
time of night." 

" Oh, give us a rest," said the marshal rudely. 



154 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" It'd serve you darned well right if I arrested every 
Englishman in Crockett for making this disturbance. 
Now then, mister" this to Baldwin "can you 
walk ? Right, then, steady does it; come along." 

' You don't want me, then, marshal ? " I asked, 
doubtful in what position I stood with him exactly. 

" I'll know where to find you fast enough when 
I want you," he threw at me over his shoulder as 
he and his charge, an oddly assorted pair, moved off 
in the direction of the town. " Shouldn't wonder," 
he added, " if Mr. Baldwin here made it cost some 
of your high-toned friends all they're worth before 
they get through with this job. You mark me ! " 

" Good night, then," I sang out, and headed 
down the road after Jos6 and the coach. 

As I galloped southwards through the night it 
dawned upon me that there was a little game afoot 
that was a good deal deeper than I had dreamed 
of. What if the Clarion had prompted the English- 
men to lynch Baldwin with the idea that when they 
had done the job the law might lay them by the 
heels and make them pay roundly for their escapade 
before they could get clear ? That meant money 
for newspaper men, and money for the lawyers of 
Crockett ! Besides that, Baldwin, of course, could 
bring a civil action for damages against every man 
in the crowd ; no doubt that was what the marshal 
meant by saying it would cost my friends all they 
were worth before they got through. 

I caught up with the stage, and Jose acting as 
outrider to it, on the second long hill out of Crockett. 



ADIOS, SENORA 155 

" The marshal didn't hit you, Jos6 ? " I asked, 
riding up alongside of him. " Why on earth 
didn't you stop ? " 

" Because I wanted to say a word more to her," 
answered the Mexican. " Besides, I didn't know 
if he wanted me when he said halt. I thought, 
maybe, he was shooting at Mr. Williams." 

" He fired at you," said I, " and I'm mighty 
glad you escaped. But what have you settled ? 
What's she going to do ? Forgive him ? " 

" Never," he said, " never ! Things are far 
worse than you think. I am ashamed to say how 
bad. That man is a Mormon, just as you suspected, 
but he is no big man among them. There is some- 
one else, a Mormon bishop, who comes to see them 
now and then, and he has told Dolores he would 
make her a much better husband than Baldwin, and 
told Baldwin he has had it revealed to him from 
heaven that he's got to give Dolores over to him." 

I gave a cry of horror. 

" It's quite true, she told me all that in the 
house and that she vowed she would poison herself 
first, and then he beat her. He's very much afraid 
of that bishop." 

" Good heavens," I cried, " why didn't I let 
Ed shoot him ? I've never regretted saving that 
skunk's life but once, and that's ever since. But 
why the dickens didn't you tell all this to those 
fellows just now ? They'd have hanged him right 
off, and I don't believe any one would have blamed 
them." 



156 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

"It is not our custom to tell such things to 
strangers," said Jose a little stiffly. " We Mexicans 
can take care that our women are avenged with- 
out crying out in the street that they have been 
insulted." 

" Yes, it's more dignified," I admitted, " but 
can you do it ? " 

" He's not harder to shoot than another man," 
said Jose simply. " I could have choked him with 
the lasso just now, only it might have made trouble 
for you." 

' Thanks very much," I said, half laughing, 
"but as you didn't strangle him, how are you 
going to see that he doesn't get after his wife ? " 

" If she would let me I could take care of her 
very well," he cried with sudden vehemence, " but 
I am not sure yet what to do. I am not sure that 
she will be safe with her father, though she de- 
clares that will be all right, and as soon as he hears 
how bad Baldwin is that he will keep her safe. 
I say I do not trust her father and she'll never be 
safe till I get her ; she says no." 

" If her father doesn't back her up she'll be 
bound to call you," I said. 

" I don't know," he answered. " I don't know, 
I don't understand her at all. I can only wait ; 
maybe she will call me." 

The steady lope of our cow-ponies kept company 
with the swinging trot of the big American stage 
horses for the twelve-mile stretch to Little Sand 
Creek. Half-way there, we encountered the 



ADIOS, SENORA 157 

northern-bound stage, the two drivers exchanging 
hasty greetings as they sped past each other. 

" Look out for a lunatic in Crockett," we heard 
our man shout to the other. " He's just raging 
around there loose, and he'll likely try to get under 
your leaders' forefeet." 

" I'll loony him if he does, you bet," we heard 
the other reply, his voice dwindling away behind us 
as he vanished northwards. We reached Little Sand 
Creek, where the cross and sleepy helpers had a fresh 
team ready for the coach. In the light of their stable 
lanterns we saw the steam from our hot ponies go 
up into the frosty air as we pulled up alongside. 

Dolores put out her little hand to Jos6 through 
the window. 

"You are all right now," he said; " you are 
safe till you get to your father's house. These 
Americans will see to it. But then ? Ah, think 
again before it is too late ! " 

She shook her head. 

" Well, when you arrive there, if there is danger 
I implore of you to send me a message, send me 
but an empty envelope by the mail and I fly." 

I pushed forward. 

" Senora," I said, " Jose is not alone, I also will 
do all in my power to protect you, if you will 
permit me : I am his compafiero. There are two 
who are ready to serve you to the death." 

" No, no, there is no need," she cried. ' With 
my father I am in safety. Spare me, I pray you. 
Spare me, my friend, and stay away." 



158 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" My heart is torn is torn in two," Jose" cried 
in a despairing voice. " Oh, even now give me 
leave to follow you, to see you only." 

" No lo puedo," I heard her cry, "no lo puedo. 
I cannot, I cannot do it." 

" All aboard ! " shouted the stage driver, springing 
aloft and seizing the lines. " Let 'em go, Jimmy." 

The helpers let go the leaders' heads ; once more 
the coach rolled forward into the night, and we 
two on our leg-weary horses were left behind staring 
after it. A white kerchief waved from the window. 
" Adios" came to our ears, and again, sadly from 
the distance, a final faint " Adios." 

" Come along, Jose," said I, " we've got to walk 
these horses home now, and it'll take us till to- 
morrow morning." 

But he seemed not to hear. 

" Alma de mi vida," he cried, staring into the 
empty darkness, " and is it thus we part ? Un- 
happy, most unhappy was I born ! " 

" What's that Greaser bleating about ? " I heard 
one helper say to the other. " Dashed if I can 
understand his lingo." 

" What, him ! " said the man addressed, pointing 
to the unconscious Jose, too absorbed in looking 
after the now vanished coach to notice anything 
else. " I guess he's just bleating after his gurl 
like a calf that's lost his mammy, that's all. Shows 
he's part human." 

I caught Jos6's bridle rein and led him away, 
and by daylight we were at the ranch. 



CHAPTER XIII 
GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL 

THERE at the ranch waiting for me lay the 
letter from Mr. Passman that I had so 
wished for. There was his offer for my 
whole outfit, the offer that would break my chains 
and set me free and it had come too late. What 
was freedom to me now ? Where did I want to 
go ? What sweetness had life to offer whether I 
stayed or went ? It seemed as though twenty 
years had passed since I had halted at Mr. Pass- 
man's ranch twenty-four hours earlier full of ro- 
mantic dreams and golden hopes. In those few 
hours all my dreams had vanished. There was now 
assuredly no reason that I should sell my ranch. 
I feared indeed that Jose might not consent to stay 
in Colorado, for he had no chance here of gather- 
ing the gold that was to move the Pope himself 
to stand his friend. I should miss Jose but what 
did he matter or any one else ? In sullen ill- 
humour I set about my daily tasks. 

And in the afternoon we saw over the tawny 
yellow swells of the prairie a solitary figure on a 
black horse come loping along the road from 
Crockett. He rode, as the Spanish phrase has it, 



160 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

with his beard on his shoulder, glancing continually 
back as if fearing some danger from behind. 

" That looks like Mr. Williams on your black 
horse/' said Jose, whose keenly watchful eyes had 
often been looking down that road through the long 
silent hours of that melancholy day. " Maybe he 
brings us some news." 

Jose was right. The horseman proved indeed 
to be the leader of the lynchers. 

" Hullo, Bob," I cried as he pulled up beside the 
stable where we were standing. " What brings 
you out of town ? How's business in Crockett ? " 

" Oh, snakes ! " exclaimed Bob, swinging his leg 
over the horn of the saddle and slipping to the 
ground, where he stood leaning with his back 
against the side of the horse ; " there's the very 
deuce and all to pay in Crockett. You're in for it 
too, you are, Tommy ! " 

" Eh, what ? " cried I, disagreeably startled. 
" What's up ? No one can possibly run me in, for 
I never touched Baldwin." 

" Well," replied Bob, " nobody quite knows the 
ins and outs of it all, but the story is all over the 
town this morning that after we let him go last 
night Marshal Berry picked him up and did the 
good Samaritan business, and after he was fixed 
up a bit off he went round to the offices of those 
infernal land-sharks, Beesly and Brackett. I reckon 
they knew pretty well that something was going 
to happen, for their office was open ! And this 
morning Beesly and Brackett are threatening to 



GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL 161 

bring suit in his name against half the Englishmen 
in Crockett, and swear they're going to lay the 
damages at twenty-five thousand dollars for what 
they call the abominable treatment he's received ! 
And it's chaps like you, Tommy, who own cattle or 
real estate, that they're going after. They're talk- 
ing of attaching all Jim Foley's town lots and Tom 
Duncombe's interest in the Colorado Mining and 
Lumber Company ! Likely they'll try and attach 
your property too ! They can't find anything to 
attach of mine, unless it's Darky here." He patted 
the horse's neck and, turning, began to undo the 
cinch. " But I got a hint that they want to attach 
my person instead I The beggars want to lay me 
by the heels and have me indicted by the grand 
jury ! So I'm going to try change of air ! " 

" Hang it all," said I, " they can't find any 
excuse for a suit against me. I had no hand in it." 

" No, old chap," he assented, " you hadn't any 
hand in it ; I can swear to that much, and much 
good that'll do you. If they mean to rook you 
they'll soon arrange for plenty of evidence against 
you, no fear. You're no match for the western 
lawyers." 

There came back into my mind the suspicions 
that had been wakened by that very suggestive 
article in the Clarion \ Suppose it had been in- 
spired by Messrs. Beesly and Brackett, and sup- 
pose they intended to make a good thing out of me 
as well as out of all the soft-headed Englishmen 
who had walked so obediently into the trap ! And 
ii 



162 A GI&L FROM MEXICO 

I remembered too with discomfort the ominous 
phrase of Marshal Berry : " I'll know where to find 
you fast enough when I want you ! " 

" Where do you suppose that Baldwin is ? " said 
Jos<. 

" Blessed if I know," returned Bob. " I didn't 
leave a card with kind inquiries before I skipped ! 
But I can tell you something else ; that pretty 
little senorita that he had has gone off ! Nobody 
knows where to either, but it's clear she took the 
opportunity to skip on her own account, and I 
don't wonder at it. Hullo," he broke off abruptly, 
" who's this coming ? I swear it looks like Marshal 
Berry and his deputy. Tommy, old man, I don't 
want 'em to take me. Can you hide me ? " 

" Grab your saddle," cried I, " quick, and get 
up there into the hay-loft. You can hide there. 
We'll take care of the horse. He's my horse, any- 
way. You've never paid me that hundred dollars 
you owe me for him yet, and I'm jiggered if they're 
going to attach him while he's here in my hands." 

Bob sprang into the stable and climbed on a 
manger and so into the loft, dragging his saddle 
after him. Meantime Jose and I led Darky in 
and tied him up. I fell to work with the curry- 
comb and he with the stable fork, both pretending 
to be very busy. But I felt a horrible sinking at 
the idea that this new arrival might prove to be 
Marshal Berry, coming, not after the impecunious 
Bob, indeed, but after me, armed with a warrant to 
seize my cattle. Sickening thought ! 



GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL 168 

" Hello there ! Hello the ranch ! " came a 
cheerful hail. 

I ran to the door, and looking out I beheld to my 
joy not Marshal Berry but the jovial features of 
Claude Duval, with young Johnny close behind 
him, leading a pack-horse. 

" Why, thunder ! " I called out, immensely re- 
lieved, " I was looking for some one else. Who'd 
have thought it was you, Claude ? But get down 
and put your horses in the stable, both of you, and 
stay overnight, won't you ? What's your game 
now ? Are you off for another buffalo hunt ? " 

"Not this journey," said Claude, slipping off and 
beginning to loose the cinch rope of the pack-horse. 
" Me and Johnny here's going down to Texas to- 
gether. Cap. Anderson's offered us a berth on 
the Santa Cruz Ranch. I'm about froze out with 
this arctic clime, and I want to get back to a country 
where I can feel warm sometimes." He led his 
horse into the stable and gave Darky a smack on 
the quarters with a brisk " Stand up, there" as 
he walked behind him, followed by Johnny. The 
cowboy kid recognized the horse at once. " Why, 
Je-whillikins ! " he exclaimed to me. " Ain't that 
the black horse your partner sold to Mr. Williams ? 
I seen Mr. Williams cavorting round the town on 
him several times. Why, how did you come to get 
him back ? " 

Then in a moment he guessed that Bob was 
hidden somewhere near perhaps my face had 
betrayed as much and no sooner did the young 



164 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

rascal scent the secret than he began in loud, clear 
tones : 

" I suppose your having got Darky back again 
means that Mr. Williams has got clean out of this 
country. Lucky for him, that's all. Do you know 
what the Crockett Vigilantes mean to do with him ? 
They're going to tie him up and have his friend 
Mr. Baldwin return those fifty lashes he was given, 
right on Mr. Williams' bare back," and he winked 
at me and laughed aloud. 

" Oh, give us a rest, Johnny," I remonstrated. 
" Hi ! Bob ! don't you pay any attention to the 
kid ; he's only trying to humbug you. Come along 
down. There's nobody going to hurt you." 

The fugitive slipped down from the hayloft, 
and reappeared amongst us brushing the hayseed 
and the grass bents from his hair and clothes. 

" I didn't recognize it was only you fellows at 
first," he remarked rather crossly to Claude as we 
went into the house. " But I might have guessed 
it. You're always trying to gammon somebody." 

" Not much gammon about the fuss there's on 
in Crockett," retorted Claude. " You bet the folks 
there are up on their ear at you Britishers taking 
on the job of their Vigilantes." 

" Why, Claude," I cut in, " how about the article 
in the Clarion calling upon the Englishmen to do 
something ? " 

" Oh, the Clarion \ " exclaimed the cowboy con- 
temptuously. " That article was just a lawyer's 
trap for you fellows, as every living soul there 



GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL 165 

knows but you. Why, Beesly and Bracket! own 
the Clarion. It was all a put-up job, and they 
swear they are going to rake in a good ten thousand 
dollars by it. They've advanced Baldwin four 
hundred on his claim, so the Crockett folks say, 
and told him to skip till the circuit court meets. 
You see, if the Englishmen got him into their hands 
now they might buy him off." 

V Why, did he tell you so ? " I said. 

" Not much ! But everybody knows it in 

Crockett. Baldwin would have stuck right there 
if he'd hoped to get anything out of the Englishmen 
himself, but them lawyers made him skip. Me and 
Johnny saw him getting into the Cimarron Stage 
this morning and told him good-bye real friendly.'* 

I was on my feet. 

" The Cimarron Stage ! " I cried, and looked at 
Jose, for Cimarron was in New Mexico and not far 
from Las Vegas. His face was white. He turned 
his back quietly upon us, picked up a saddle, and 
went out. I followed him. 

" I am going," he said. " I must go after him at 
once. If he has caught her I've got to shoot him." 

" Hold hard, Jose," I said, "I'm coming too. We 
settled we'd stick together as far as this business is 
concerned. Now will you go off at once, or will 
you wait till to-morrow, and let me come along ? " 

He stared at me. 

"Do you mean that you will leave the ranch right 
away ? " 

" I exactly do mean it. Mr. Passman is ready to 



166 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

take over the ranch and the MN brand as soon as 
I give the word, so I can get off to-morrow." 

He held out his hand and without another word 
our quest was resolved on. 

Bob was still discoursing on lynch law when I 
went back into the house. 

" Look here, Bob/ 1 I broke in, " if you're going 
to give us the history of all the lynchings you've 
been interested in, you'd better do it while we eat 
supper." 

For a moment Bob seemed disposed to resent 
his story being cut short, but I believe he was in- 
ternally pleased at having a little time in which 
to polish his yarn, with the result that during supper 
he harangued us to such good purpose that Judge 
Lynch and Judge Jeffreys and all the wisdom of 
King Solomon could not compare with the way in 
which Mr. Williams had administered the law 
throughout the length and breadth of the Argentine. 

" So you may think," he concluded, " I feel quite 
sick at having been mixed up with such a one- 
horse affair as this of Baldwin's. The fun wasn't any 
way worth the racket. I feel really inclined to 
chuck this country and go somewhere where there 
is more proper feeling." 

" Bully for you, Mr. Williams," cried Claude, 
who delighted in Bob's airs and yarns. "Why 
don't you up stakes and come along to Texas with 
Johnny and me ; we'll have a high old time ! " 

Bob twisted his moustache. 

" I believe Texas would suit me very well," he 



GOOD-BYE TO THE STORMY PETREL 167 

said magnificently, " and I shall be uncommon 
pleased to have your company." It sounded as if 
he were inviting Claude and Johnny to accompany 
him. 

Claude winked at me and went on. 

" Let's start right out together to-morrow. You 
can get anything you want for the trail as we go 
through Cimarron, and you've got a capital horse 
for the journey, anyway." 

" Look here, Bob," said I, " you haven't paid me 
for that horse yet. I'd like to see the money, you 
know." 

" Why ! " he exclaimed, with innocent surprise. 
" My dear man, no more I have ! Dashed if I 
hadn't forgotten all about it. Of course I haven't 
got the cash with me here. But I'll be getting 
another remittance out from England directly, and 
I must send you a cheque for it then." 

" Hm-m," I growled, " you'll be apt to forget 
it again, I'm afraid. I think you ought to look on 
it as a debt of honour, Bob, for if I agree to wait for 
my money it's only to give you a chance to get 
out of the country." 

" Thanks awfully, old man," said he heartily. 
" It's awfully good of you. No, I won't forget." 

I was almost ready to think the money well lost 
if it carried Bob out of the country. I had begun 
to look on him as a sort of Stormy Petrel, and to 
feel we must expect squalls whenever he appeared. 
First my partner's death was certainly due to his 
fooling, and now no one could say what would be 



168 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

the end of the trouble he had raised at Crockett 
or what loss it might entail on me and what misfor- 
tunes it might heap on the unhappy Dolores. 

" Good-bye, Mr. Thompson," said Claude next 
morning with a strong clasp of my hand. " You do 
ditto. Come to Texas, the finest country that 
ever lay out of doors. Come there to the Elm 
Creek branch of the Nueces River. There's pea- 
vines there grows four foot high and as rich 
as corn for stock. Make for the old Santa Cruz 
ranch and you'll find me there, sure pop. I'd 
like to see you buy yourself a ranch and cattle in 
God's country." He raised his reins and away 
they went. 

" So long," cried Bob, in his gayest and airiest 
way, turning in his saddle with his hand on Darky's 
croup. " Give my love to them all in Crockett, 
and tell Beesly and Brackett that I most particu- 
larly regret I couldn't call and leave a p.p.c. on 
them." 

And as the trio disappeared in the distance I 
hastily saddled up a fresh horse to ride over to 
Mr. Passman's, resolved to sell out to him lock, 
stock, and barrel. If later on Marshal Berry did 
arrive with a writ for my goods and chattels he 
should find no property of mine to attach. 



CHAPTER XIV 
TOO LATE 

PAST the foot of the sky-piercing Spanish 
peaks Jose and I journeyed in all haste; 
up and across the flat table-land summits 
of the rugged-sided Raton mountains ; down their 
canon-slashed southern escarpment into New 
Mexico. In spite of anxiety, of sorrow, of our 
stern resolve of vengeance, the journey was a joy, 
for every day my heart leapt up and cried : " I 
don't care, I don't care, I am a day nearer to her. I 
am going to see her once more." And the horse's 
hoofs took up the strain with their soft drumming 
on the trail, they echoed : " Las Vegas, Las Vegas, 
I am going to see her/ 1 Foolish enough it was ; 
it is foolish for the moth to flutter into the candle, 
but is it all the moth's fault ? 

Yet though we journeyed in haste we forbore 
to press our mounts, aware that with Baldwin's 
long start it was futile for us to race the stage, and 
that after we got to Las Vegas we might need to 
push them hard. Meantime we could only trust 
that some feeling of decency if not of affection would 
have made Don Mauricio protect his daughter till 
we could arrive and bear witness to the whole tale 
of Baldwin's delinquencies. If he had not pro- 

169 



170 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

tected her, if she were delivered back to the mercies 
of that ruffian, well I quoted grimly : 

" He'll have her, but he will not keep her long. 
And now mark this," I went on to my com- 
panion, " I must be the man to do it if there's got 
to be any shooting done." 

And as I rattled out " Shooting done " it flashed 
across my mind if poor old Ed were alive to hear 
me now wouldn't he say I'd graduated as a real 
Western man ? 

" No, no," cried the Mexican eagerly, " it is my 
right, my revenge. I will give you much, any- 
thing, but don't ask me for that." 

" Now, old man, you mustn't be a fool," I said. 
" It's your game to stand in with Dolores and her 
people, isn't it ? Well, you know it's even odds 
if she'll love you or hate you for killing her husband, 
while it don't matter a pin if she loves or hates me." 
Bitter truth, but I said it coolly enough. 

11 Es verdad," he admitted thoughtfully. 

" Besides," I went on, " there won't be half the 
row over one Englishman shooting another, now 
we are out of the way of Beesly and Brackett, as 
there would be for a Mexican doing it." 

"I don't care for that/ ' he replied with flashing eyes. 

" Probably not," I returned, " but I do; so now 
you have got to play the confidential friend of the 
family, and keep your temper," I added emphatically, 
" and if that fails, I come in." 

And so one bright noon we reined up before the 
courtyard of a solid square-built adobe house, and 



TOO LATE 171 

Don Mauricio Espinosa himself came out to receive 
us and begged us to alight. 

" Aqui esta su casa, senores," said he with great 
effusion. " Make yourselves at home, gentlemen." 

But Jose*, showing no haste to dismount, asked 
after Dona Dolores, speaking stiffly enough. It was 
not easy for him to play the part I had cast for him. 

" She is well, Heaven be thanked," answered 
Don Mauricio in his best Pecksniman manner. 
" And thanks also to you two gentlemen, to both 
of you, who were to her most truly friends in 
need." His bow included me in these thanks. " Of 
course I remember you very well, Sefior Thompson, 
you were present when we first became acquainted 
with the husband of my daughter." 

I ground my teeth at the memory. 

"It is most kind of you still to take an interest 
in him and in my unhappy child, and Jose Ortega 
is, of course, an old friend, a neighbour. I am most 
grateful to you both for your kindness. I am happy 
to have the opportunity to express my obligations, 
my infinite obligations, to you for the assistance you 
gave to my unhappy daughter in Crockett. She and 
her husband will be eager to unite their thanks to 
mine. You indeed acted a truly noble part by her 
when she was left defenceless by the attack upon her 
husband. Holy Virgin, she herself might also have 
suffered at the hands of those brutal Americanos." 

" Naturally," said Jose courteously he had got 
hold of himself during the long speech " naturally, 
sefior, we were happy to be of the smallest service. 



172 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

But may we not congratulate the Senora Dolores on 
her safe arrival at home ? I trust she was not too 
much fatigued. Is she able to receive us ? " 

Don Mauricio's countenance fell. 

" Alas ! senor," said he, " you cannot see her : 
she is not here : she did not remain in my house 
above a couple of days. She went away again." 

Jose looked at me in dismay. What did this 
second flight mean ? Had she fled from Baldwin 
again, or had he actually come and carried her off ? 

Jose spoke at last very gravely. 

11 Senor, I must apologize for interfering in your 
private concerns. But you do not seem to be aware 
that there has been much talk, much ill-feeling about 
Mr. Baldwin and his usage of Senora Dolores in 
Crockett. It has made us Mexicans to be very ill- 
thought-of by the Americans. And I ventured to 
hope that we might find the Senora Dolores safe un- 
der your protection, so that we might give the lie to 
those insolent Americans who had said things of you, 
senor, which I should not venture to repeat in your 
hearing, and which I trust have not yet come to the 
knowledge of your neighbours here, or of our padre." 

Don Mauricio winced. His shifty eyes travelled 
from us round the courtyard and came back to us 
again, as though he had half expected to see an 
array of accusing Americans and Mexicans headed 
by the padre approaching to menace him. Then 
suddenly flinging out his hands with an air of 
injured innocence he broke out volubly : 

" Sefiores both, I will tell you all, all, and you 



TOO LATE 173 

shall judge what ground any one can have to 
blame me, her father, for the follies of my daughter. 
Heaven knows I am poor, and that as a good father 
I desired to save my child from the privations, 
from the miseries, which her mother and I have 
endured, and I found for her a husband who would 
give her all that a woman could need or desire." 

How he could lie ! Jose's words came back to me, 
" a man without pity, without remorse." 

" Suddenly last week my daughter appeared here, 
without notice, without warning, crying out that 
her husband had ill-treated her and she had left 
him for ever. Of course I understood that, as you 
have said, there would be a scandal if she were 
known to have said such things " Jose put out 
his hand, but the old don hurried on volubly ' ' but 
I made her welcome, and her mother received her. 
We knew young girls are easily offended, they have 
little fancies and tempers, all of which blow over, 
if their elders have but patience to wait till they 
become calmer. Then they see reason and all is 
forgotten and forgiven. Women cannot leave their 
husbands in that fashion, Holy Church forbids it. 
We have no divorces like the Americans," this 
with a nod at me. "Then in two days' time her 
husband arrived in a buggy he had bought in 
Cimarron, and he was enchanted to find her here, 
in safety from the brutal Americans. But when 
he flew to greet her she screamed and ran into the 
inner room and locked herself in. I talked to her, 
I, her father, through the door we told her her 



174 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

duty ; her mother implored her to become recon- 
ciled ; she only answered that she would kill herself 
rather than forgive him. He assured her that she 
had taken up a wrong idea, that it was all a mis- 
understanding. She answered she understood him 
perfectly and that she hated him. Such words, 
senores, for a w r oman to use to her husband ! He ex- 
plained to me how he had spoiled her with kindness 
till she had become obstinate and perverse. She 
would not speak to his friends or admit them into his 
house. Such want of hospitality is a thing unheard 
of among our people it is a disgrace. And when at 
last he insisted she wept, she threatened to kill her- 
self. And when he caught hold of her to stop her she 
beat her head against the wall like a mad woman." 

Jose and I again looked at each other. We knew 
too well who were the friends this cur endeavoured 
to force upon his defenceless wife, the Mormon 
bishop and his gang. 

" I heard it, I heard the excellent Baldwin's 
words ; he cried out to her that she was mistaken, 
that she had not comprehended what his friends 
had said ; she said she knew too well that they 
were devils. Then we all agreed that our un- 
happy girl must be mad, for that an evil spirit had 
possessed her, and I said : ' Very well, my daughter, 
you keep your door fast and you stay there. Your 
husband must sleep here in the outer room amongst 
the family. To-morrow I shall send for the padre 
to exorcise the bad spirit and you will come to your 
senses.' It is true, is it not ? senores, none but a 



TOO LATE 175 

mad woman would set herself against both her 
husband and her father. A woman cannot be 
independent, her place is to be governed and ruled.'* 

" Es verdad," said Jose. " It is true what you 
say, the woman has to obey. But it is possible 
that on this question, senor, you do not know all. 
Senor Thompson has come here on purpose to tell 
you something very different about your daughter's 
husband and the men he calls his friends." 

Before I could speak theold manhadstarted afresh. 

" I assure you, sen ores, I know all, all. That un- 
happy girl's wits have completely forsaken her, and 
she has imagined things so impossible that unless 
they were inspired by the evil spirit she could not have 
thought of them. And behold what she has done un- 
der the influence of this madness ! She waits till the 
house is asleep, she unlocks her door, she goes out, she 
puts on the clothes of her brother ; she goes out to 
the stable and finds the buggy and the mules which 
Senor Baldwin had brought, harnesses them herself 
and drives away alone in the darkness. She learned 
far too much independence among the Americans." 

" And did he catch her on the morrow ? " asked 
Jose eagerly. 

' Well, no, senor, not on the morrow. It was 
not till the second day, though we scoured the 
country round, that we learned that she had taken 
the road to Santa F6. And thither, borrowing a 
horse, Senor Baldwin pursued her." 

" How long since all this happened ? " asked Jose. 

" 'Tis a week now, senor," he answered, " since 



176 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

she fled, and six days that Senor Baldwin has been 
in search of her. But they have not yet returned. 
Perhaps they are in Santa Fe together. Let us 
hope it is all well." 

"It is certainly not well, sefior," said I, inter- 
posing at last. "It is anything but well if that 
man has caught your unhappy daughter. His 
behaviour to her has been infamous. I, who was 
his employer when you first met him, have come 
here on purpose to tell you he is a liar, a cheat, 
and a coward, and what is more than all, he is a 
Mormon, and quite possibly has a dozen wives be- 
sides that unhappy girl you delivered over to him." 

Don Mauricio shrugged his shoulders. 

" A Mormon ? That, I suppose, is one of the varie- 
ties of American heresy ? Here we know nothing of 
such matters ; heretics are all heretics. I am truly 
grieved that my son-in-law does not yet belong to 
the true Church, but I trusted to the prayers and the 
influence of his wife to restore him to the true fold." 

"Well," I said, "you may perhaps be more in- 
terested to hear how I bought him out of the jail at 
Tintacktown, and that he has not yet repaid me that 
money, so I intend now to collect it with interest." 

The old man's temper was up at last. 

" My son-in-law understands the law, he has good 
lawyers who will see that he has justice. I quite 
understand why you are here, Senor Thompson ; you 
want to make me believe you were in the right, you 
and your friends, in assaulting him so shamefully." 

"Not I," I answered, " it's not my trade to 



TOO LATE 177 

thrash hounds but when a dog is dangerous I 
shoot him, Sefior Don Mauricio, and you may tell 
your precious son-in-law that. Come on, Jos6," 
and I turned my horse and rode out of the gate. 

Two days later we reached Santa Fe, where our 
first guarded inquiries for Dolores were made in 
vain. We were making the round of the corrals 
when my eye caught sight of something that fairly 
made me jump : it was the well-known form of 
Bob Williams caracoling across the plaza on Darky. 

" How did I get here ? " he smiled in answer to 
my greeting. 

" Why, like a blooming big U.S. Army general, 
with a buggy and a pair of mules." 

I gave a start. 

" Lord, Tommy, you're on your nerve," laughed 
Bob, seeing my start, " but I can jolly well guess 
what you're after. Oh, he's been here, yes, and 
she's been here, and lots of things have happened/' 
He nodded amicably to Jose as he came up. " To 
begin at the beginning then, I parted from Claude 
and Johnny at Vegas. They were set on going 
straight on to Texas. I heard that Santa F6 was 
a festive old burgh and thought I'd stop over and 
sample it. So I left them and came here by myself. 
A mile or two outside Santa Fe, as I was jogging 
along on Darky, I was overtaken by a buggy and a 
pair of mules driven by a Mexican boy, a pretty boy, 
oh ! such a pretty boy, Tommy." The roguishness in 
Bob's eyes was enough to drive one wild. " ' Would 

12 



178 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

you do me the favour, sir/ says the pretty boy to me 
in the most insinuating manner, ' to take this buggy 
on into Santa Fe and leave it at the Corral Hensman ? 
Say that the owner will call for it presently.' 

" ' Whither away, my pretty boy,' says I, ' and 
why don't you take it yourself ? ' 

' ' ' Because I want to go and see my mother, sir, 
my dear mother, who is in that house yonder,' 
says he, ' and my master will be angry if he does 
not find the team at Hensman 1 s when he arrives.' 
He told me this so innocently, the scamp. 1 

" ' And what name shall I give as the owner's ? ' 
says I. ' What shall I say when I leave the buggy 
at the Corral Hensman ? 

41 ' Say that it belongs to the American who is stay- 
ing at the Casa Espinosa,' says my pretty boy with 
a sweet smile ; ' say he will call for it very shortly.' 

" Well," continued Bob, " by this and by that, 
it sounds rather a fishy thing to have done in a 
country where people are so apt to get themselves 
hanged for being caught driving other people's 
mules. But that pretty boy's appealing voice would 
have melted a heart of stone he did want so bad 
to see his mother. And the long and short of it is 
that I consented : I tied Darky behind and I drove 
the buggy to Hensman' s here and put it up, and put 
up here myself. So far no one said Boo to me, or 
By your leave, and all went merry as a marriage 
bell, only the expected American buggy-owner didn't 
materialize. Of course I told Hensman just how 
things stood and that the mules weren't mine. 



TOO LATE 179 

"And the next day the fat was in the fire, for 
here, if you please, was our friend Baldwin in pro- 
pridjpersond looking for his mules and his mujer. 
She was that remarkably pretty boy. She'd cribbed 
his team all unbeknown to him " 

" Yes, yes/' Jose and I cried together, " we know." 

" And she'd roped me in ever so neatly to take 
them off her hands." 

" But where is she now ? " I cried breathlessly. 

" Oh, Lord knows," he answered with his usual 
insouciance. " She's skipped : North, South, East, 
West ? I've seen no more of her. But you really 
ought to have seen the meeting between me and 
Baldwin. You'd have died a-laughing. Of course 
I hadn't the slightest inkling of what was coming 
till I caught sight of him with Hensman in the 
corral, inquiring for his buggy. Naturally I 
spotted him at once, and as I always take the bull 
by the horns I walked up close behind him 
before he saw me and called out : ' Well, sir, 
what are you doing here ? ' He turned round, and 
his jaw fairly dropped when he recognized me. 
' What are you doing with that buggy ? ' I re- 
peated in the most peremptory way. The black- 
guard pulled himself together and made an attempt 
to buck up. ' What have you been doing with 
it ? ' he returned impudently. 'I've a mind to 
have you arrested for mule-stealing.' Hensman 
had told him, of course, that I was the man who 
had brought it there. 

" ' No, you won't/ I retorted ; ' f or a gentleman, 



180 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

a Mexican young gentleman, mark you, gave it to 
me to leave here for the owner, and here it is.' 

" I didn't exactly speak in whispers and a dozen 
fellows, Americans and Mexicans, ran up, scenting 
a row, so I gave them a brief sketch of friend Bald- 
win's career in Crockett, together with a full account 
of the flogging, you bet. 

" Man, dear, but you'd have laughed to see his face. 
I was watching him all the time I was telling it like 
a cat, to see if he'd start to pull a gun or a knife on 
me you bet I was fixed for him if he had but he 
made no offer at it. He went as white as a sheet and 
kept looking from me to Hensman and from Hens- 
man to the crowd. But at last he bucked up enough 
to mumble something about a damned pack of lies. 

" ' A lie, is it ? ' cried I, stepping up to him. ' I 
might knock you down for that ' ' Bob was a big, 
strong man and in a fight with fists would have 
been a full match for Baldwin " 'but,' says I, ' I 
prefer to prove it on you another way, to the satis- 
faction of these gentlemen ' meaning the crowd. 
' You strip your shirt,' I said, ' and if the weals 
we left on your back aren't there still you can call 
me a liar and I'll own up and stand the drinks. I 
can't say fairer than that, can I, gentlemen ? ' I 
said, turning to the crowd." Bob slapped his thigh 
with delight. " Oh, I know how to tickle the ears 
of an audience like that." 

" Well," continued Bob, " that settled him. He 
mumbled something or other about his honour and 
its being unfair to put a man to such a degrading 



TOO LATE 181 

test, and the end of it was that he actually craw- 
fished, backed right out, and went into the stable 
and got his mules and hitched them up and took 
himself off. Every one was tickled to death at the 
way I'd shown the villain up, naturally." 

" Do you know where he went ? " asked I, ex- 
changing looks with Jose. 

" Vegas road, I heard," answered Bob nonchal- 
antly. " All I know is he hasn't been back since." 

" Can you show the place where you last saw that 
boy ? " It was Jose's voice that now first broke the 
silence he had maintained. " I'd like to go there." 

" Oh, I don't mind taking you," answered Bob 
easily. " It's only a little way outside town here. 
Get your horses and we'll go right off." 

Under Bob's guidance we explored the neigh- 
bourhood of where he had last seen Dolores, but 
except one old woman we found no one who seemed 
to have the faintest recollection of such a person 
as Bob's " pretty boy." The old woman did admit 
that a boy of that description had rested an hour 
or two in the humble adobe cot she occupied and 
had walked on into Santa F6 after dark. But we 
heard from other neighbours that a short time 
afterwards a man driving a buggy and a pair of 
mules had come there asking everywhere for the 
" boy," and not finding him had taken his departure, 
but nobody seemed to know where. 

The upshot was plain. Dolores was still fleeing 
in her disguise and Baldwin had so far failed to hit 
off her trail. 



CHAPTER XV 
A NEW ALLY 

JOSE and I were entirely at a loss. Neither of 
us could see why we should travel north, south, 
east, or west. The injured wife and her pursuing 
husband had vanished as completely from our 
sight as if the earth had swallowed them up, and one 
or the other we must catch if we meant to prevent 
more mischief. We knew that Dolores had the wit 
and the spirit to help herself. If Baldwin had come 
up with her, w r e believed she would have appealed 
to any one, every one for help the idea of a woman 
being in danger from a Mormon profligate was always 
enough to fire the blood of frontiersmen. And if 
she could not find other protectors, we knew well 
that she was resolved now to take sanctuary with 
the One Protector against whom man is powerless. 
But, dead or alive, no one had heard anything of 
her. Nor could we hear that any Mormons had 
settled of late in those parts. The German-Jews, 
who did most of the trade of Santa Fe, know every- 
thing that goes on, yet even they were unable to 
help us. One friendly Jew, however, gave us a hint 
with our perplexity. 

" I tells you what to do," said he, " You ask 
183 



I 

A NEW ALLY 183 

Herr Wallack the trader. He go everywhere, he 
trafel mit his wagons and see eferybody and 
efery dings ; if your friend anywhere in these parts 
Herr Wallack bound to have met him." 

" Wallack ? " said Jos6, rousing himself suddenly, 
" Jake Wallack? " 

" Yes, Jake Wallack. He big trader, fery well 
known. I dinks you finds him down de river a bit ; 
he passed by here two days ago." 

" I've never seen Jake Wallack," said Jose" to me, 
" but I've heard* of him. His wagons used to pass 
Las Vegas. He can help us if any man can." 

We thanked the kindly Jew, swung ourselves 
into our saddles, and struck for the Rio Grande. We 
reached its wide bed of gravel and sandbars where 
the shrunken flood rolled by half-a-dozen channels 
to southward, followed the course of the river all 
that day, and early next morning were rewarded 
by the sight of Jake Wallack' s camp. He travelled 
in style, with a big outfit of several wagons ; fine 
fat mules were grazing and kicking up their heels 
on the green river banks and quite a crowd of 
Mexican arrieros were lounging about the camp. 

On hearing our inquiries, Mr. Wallack himself 
came forward, a tall, elderly man whose white goatee 
beard showed in strong contrast to his sunburnt, 
weather-beaten face. A shrewd face it was, with 
alert, dark eyes that seemed to take stock of you 
before he had been two minutes in your company. 

" Well, gentlemen," said he affably, " my name 
is Wallack. How can I oblige you ? " 



184 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" We are looking for a man named Baldwin," I 
explained, " and we were told it was possible that you 
might have come across him in travelling around." 

11 Baldwin," said Mr. Wallack, thoughtfully, 
rubbing his hand round his jaw, " Baldwin seems 
to me I know the name, though I can't fix it this 
minute who it belongs to. What sorter man is he ? " 

I described him as well as I could, and suddenly 
Wallack slapped his leg. 

" I've got him," he said. " You mean that 
drunken cuss as married little Dolores Espinosa." 

" Yes, yes," we cried eagerly, " that's the man." 

" Excuse me, gentlemen," said Wallack with a 
smile, " I don't know what your business may be 
with Baldwin, but I shouldn't think him worth 
going out of my way to look for but tastes differ." 

The man's smile was so friendly that it was im- 
possible to resent his little jokes, and we consulted 
each other with our eyes. Jose gave an impercep- 
tible nod, and so encouraged I told the greater part 
of our story to the trader, for as he had no good 
opinion of Baldwin I hoped to enlist his sympathy 
for Dolores and perhaps gain his help for our quest. 
I described her ill-treatment, then her flight. I 
did not think it necessary to go into her husband's 
connexion with the Mormons. 

He listened with interest to our tale. 

" It's a pity, it's a real pity," he said thoughtfully, 
turning his quid. " That's a real nice gal and a 
good gal. I seed her often when she was a kid, 
while I was trading around there, and I took a 



A NEW ALLY 185 

real interest in her. I was some surprised when I 
heard as she was married off in a hurry to a stranger, 
and him not a Catholic neither. I seed him too 
not a bad sort of chap I should say to start with, 
but seems he's took to drink now. I'm free to say 
as I'd be glad to do anything to help that nice 
little gal. Wife-beating's not a thing as we Ameri- 
cans hold with, anyway." 

We hastened to assure him that his assistance 
was just what we wanted, though we had hardly 
ventured to hope for it to be given so readily. 

" Why, you see as it's no trouble to me to ask 
a question here and there. I'm always a-roaming 
to and fro in the earth, like Old Nick in Scripter. 
Now what do you say, gentlemen, to striking a 
sort of partnership ? I roll out to-morrow and go 
on south, why don't you turn round and go west, 
then whichever of us gets track of the gal can let 
the other know. I did hear something as may be 
worth your thinkin' over. There was some Mexi- 
can women run off by the Apaches over west here 
only a short while back, and something I've heard 
makes me suspicious it's only a suspicion, mind 
you as one of them mou't be the gal herself. It 
mou't be, and then again, it mou'tn't. There's 
more than one pretty sefiora in New Mexico, but 
the description did sound pretty near. How she 
come to be thar' I dunno, but that's jes' all I've 
happened to hear. Well, General Crook has just 
persuaded the Apache chiefs to bring in these cap- 
tives, so's he kin restore them to their friends. 



186 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

They're to be delivered at the San Carlos Agency, 
right away. Now I don't guarantee that it mightn't 
be a journey for nothing, but it's a chance she 
mou't be thar'." 

Jose and I looked at each other. The Apaches 
were a danger we had never taken into considera- 
tion, yet what more possible than that Dolores, in 
fleeing from the dangers of recognition in the 
towns, might have sought concealment in some out- 
lying village away beyond the Rio Grande and have 
fallen into the hands of even more dreadful enemies 
than those she was escaping from ? We knew too 
well what the fate of Apache captives was, and I 
saw Jose's face turn whiter under the tan. I was 
too sick with dismay to speak, and Wallack went on. 

" Now it don't follow for sure even if they've 
took her, as she'll be among the captives give up 
to General Crook. They don't allus give 'em all 
up. Sometimes they keeps the best. But if any 
man could go thar' as knowed the sign language 
and could talk with the Injuns himself he mou't 
find out a lot. I don't know any Indian talk my- 
self or dashed if I wouldn't put out for the agency 
right away, jest on the chance." 

" I understand the sign language pretty well," 
said Jose. " And I have been dealing with Apaches 

before this. If I thought she were there " He 

broke off doubtfully. 

" Wai, it's a chance, as I said afore," remarked 
Mr. Wallack in a non-committal tone. " I don't 
guarantee nothin'. But ef you understand the sign 



A NEW ALLY 187 

language you might find out a good deal thar' at 
the Agency. However, that's for you to decide." 
' You are very good," I said heartily. " We 
had not the slightest idea which way to turn, so it 
can do no harm to take this chance, and we will 
let you know what sort of luck we have. Where 
could we leave a message for you ? " 

" Well," he said thoughtfully, " I mou't be in 
one place, and I mou't be in another. You couldn't 
do better than send any news you might get to 
Nathan Hoffman at Albuquerque ; it won't be long 
in finding me there." He hesitated a minute and 
continued : " Now, if you'll excuse me, gentlemen, 
seeing we intend working in partnership, and allus 
meaning no offence, you understand, what may you 
propose to do with the gal when you do find her ? " 

Jose and I looked at each other, and I admit 
we both looked and felt rather foolish. 

Wallack smiled a little. 

" You haven't fixed your plans so far ahead, eh ? " 

" Well," I explained, " we have planned to a 
certain extent. We have hopes that the head of 
the Catholic Church may interfere and say that her 
marriage with Baldwin is invalid ; then she would 
be a free woman and could go where she pleased." 

" You don't say ? " said Wallack, casting a 
quick and surprised look at each of us in turn. 
" So the point is to prove she's not married so as 
she can marry again ! Now to which of you 
gentlemen, meaning no offence, may I ask is she 
to be married this time ? " 



188 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

We felt frightfully young and foolish, and some- 
what disreputable, while this shrewd old patriarch 
cross-questioned us. 

" Well, gentlemen," he said, after enjoying our 
confusion, " so fur's I can see she's married right 
enough, now, whatever you and the Pope may 
be able to put up in the future ! " 

Then for the first time Jose opened his lips. 

"It is I, senor," he said gravely in his quaint 
English, "it is I who have loved her since she was a 
child, and whom she loved also. God forbid I should 
think of her if she is truly this man's wife to me she 
is as sacred as Our Lady but if the Pope says she is 
free then there is no question more. For that I wait." 

Mr. Wallack listened to Jose's high flown speech 
with a cynical grin. 

' Whether she's truly married or not," he re- 
sumed, " she's plain set on not going back to Mr. 
Baldwin, and it don't seem to me she'd be over 
welcome at home neither. Now where' s she to go 
to ? Seems to me that's whar I come in. I know 
a decent American family that's ranching in a 
valley 'way over west here ; the darter has gone off 
to be a schoolmarm in Colorado, and the old woman 
finds herself mighty lonesome without her. That's 
the sort of place to put the gal, she'll be safe thar ! 
Apaches ? Wai, I guess the old man can draw a bead 
as well as any man in the West and the old woman 
has done it herself afore now ; they're the right kind 
of folks, and Madam Dolores would be real well 
fixed thar' and they'd see to it she took no harm." 



A NEW ALLY 189 

" I think I ought to tell you " I hesitated. 

' There are more dangers threatening her than her 
husband's brutality ; there is some fear that there 
are Mormons who want to get hold of her." 

" The h 11 ! " shouted Jake, and his face grew 
black. Then he pulled himself together, and wiped 
his forehead. " You must excuse me," he mut- 
tered. " I can't abide to hear talk of them." 
And then his natural manner returning: "You 
needn't have no fear of any of that sort of cattle 
being around where my friends camp there's no 
love lost between us ; and you hear me talk, thar' 
ain't no place in the universe that will just fill the 
bill so exactly as this little ranch I was speaking 
of. Maybe I'd best not say their name till later 
on ; with the best mind in the world something 
might be let drop, and if once any of these enemies 
got track, why, they might blow our little scheme 
sky high. So mum's the word. As soon as you 
get track of her you lemme know, and we'll hide 
her in one of my wagons and yank her out of the 
way in two twos. And there she'll be all safe while 
you gentlemen are manoeuvring with his holiness 
the Pope." 

Mr. Wallack did not seem to have over much 
confidence in us, but, after all, the point was to 
secure such a good friend for our poor heroine, so 
Jose and I took his advice as meekly as a couple of 
schoolboys before a headmaster, and with a cordial 
farewell we raised our bridle reins and struck off 
westward for San Carlos. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 

BUT San Carlos I did not reach for the 
second day of our journey came a halloaing 
behind us and a boy on a good horse riding 
hard on our trail. We pulled up in surprise. 

" Mr. Wallack sent me after you," shouted the 
boy, M here's a letter." 

I snatched it from his hand and tore it open. 
Jose watched it hungrily. 

" Sir," it began, " I've got news as I can guaran- 
tee true as how Baldwin's gone to Texas and is 
cavortin' round with a couple of Dutchmen who 
are going to look at some land over on the Nueces. 
I ain't heard as Mrs. Baldwin's along with him, 
so whether you choose to follow him or look for her 
among the captives at San Carlos is for you to 
decide. I'm sorry I can't go either of them ways 
myself, for both roads seem worth goin'." 

We told the boy to dismount and eat while we 
talked the matter over. 

" It don't matter if Baldwin is on the Nueces 
or in heaven," groaned Jose, " if she's a captive 
among the Indians." 

190 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 191 

" No," said I, " but it won't do to lose sight of 
Baldwin ; he may have her hidden somewhere." 

"It seems to pull both ways," said Jose, " and 
whichever we do will be wrong." 

" We'll have to divide," said I. " Claude and 
Johnny said Cap. Anderson's ranch was on the 
Nueces ; if I go to them they might have news for 
me. It's no use your going there and my going 
to San Carlos alone, because I can't talk the sign 
language with the Apaches ; and, besides, suppos- 
ing the Seiiora Dolores is there, you are the man 
she will like to see, and it's your right to have the 
chance of doing her a service. We settled her hus- 
band should be my meat, so I'll go and fix him. 
And whichever of us gets news of her first can send 
word to Nathan Hoffman's and he'll let Mr. Wai- 
lack know." 

We grasped each other's hands. 

" I don't a bit like to see you ride off alone, 
Jose," said I. 

" Oh, I am safe enough," he answered wearily, 
" I shall be all right among General Crook's sol- 
diers ; he's a very good man. But somehow I don't 
have any hopes." 

" Well, I have plenty," said I, " and after your 
picnic with General Crook you'll come back to find 
a family party camped there at Hoffman's, and 
Jake Wallack turning out all his best muslins for 
Dolores to choose her wedding gown." I jested 
with a heavy heart, for I was loath to let my com- 
rade set his face towards the unknown dangers 



192 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

of the deserts alone, and some presentiment of 
evil weighed down my spirits ; but I knew our 
decision was the reasonable one, we could not risk 
losing either of the chances now offered, so we said 
farewell. 

And it was really with a light heart that I started 
out, filled with the enthusiasm of knight-errantry 
and conscious in the bottom of my heart that I was 
doing rather a fine thing, risking much and spend- 
ing time and money to rescue a lady who would 
never be anything to me, just that I might play the 
part of a true comrade to my friend. So I rode 
on, making my lonely camp evening after evening, 
and riding, riding, riding all day long across the bare 
tablelands of New Mexico. The sun glared down 
on me, the mirage quivered along the horizon, the 
spike-crowned soapweeds cast sharp violet shadows 
on the hot earth. I passed the line -between New 
Mexico and Texas, and crossed the terrible Staked 
Plains in an exalted dream my mind full .of the 
two great elemental truths, Love and Death, for I 
knew that anywhere the bullet of a " rustler" or 
the knife of a Comanche Indian might end my wild 
quest for ever. 

And then as I rode on, the vast blue sky over- 
head, the vast empty uplands around me, I began 
to find out new things that the universe was very 
great and that I was very small indeed and the 
solitude grew crushing and the vastness infinite. 
I was " on my own " at last for the first time in 
my life I could not lay the blame of anything on 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 198 

public schoolmaster or college don, on unapprecia- 
tive partners or interfering relatives. I was myself, 
and I began to suspect that that self was not a very 
heroic creature after all. I had started on this 
quest, partly from honest affection for Jose, but 
partly also from its romance and my own school- 
boy desire for adventure. Now the desert looked 
at me day by day with grave, unchanging face, and 
before it I was ashamed. What was I about, what 
plan had I before me ? If I found the man I was 
hunting, what was I going to do ? What would 
a reasonable sane being do ? I thought it out 
again and again, and again and again was tempted 
to leave all to the chapter of accidents after my 
usual fashion ; but gradually a clearer purpose 
formed in my mind. If I could meet him and pick 
a quarrel with him, I could shoot him and be rid 
of him. True, he might shoot me instead, but I 
must manage to get in first, and Romance whispered 
a duel, a duel for a lady, what could be more per- 
fect ? But if he wouldn't fight he was a coward, I 
very well knew what then ? Well, I was not 
poor ; could he not be bribed ? He always seemed 
to have plenty of money in his pocket, but possibly 
it was that money that kept him the slave of his 
Mormon masters. If he had money of his own 
might he not be glad to be at liberty ? 

And as I planned and schemed I rode on into a 
land that after the waterless desert of the Staked 
Plains looked like a paradise, endless leagues of 
undulating pasture land, studded here and there 

13 



194 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

with thick dark clumps of massive live-oak that 
made cool islands of shade in the heat, while every- 
where on the hills the thorny mesquite brush 
fledged the rolling country with the tenderness of its 
spring green. And there under the cool darkness of 
a mighty live-oak I found the scattered grey build- 
ings of the old Santa Cruz Ranch. 

Before I had time to shout " Hallo, the house/' 
a slim young cowboy came out from the corral, and 
after staring a minute rushed wildly towards me 
with a whoop of recognition. 

" Why, Johnny," I cried, " you've grown out of 
knowledge, or is it the high heels of those smart 
cowpuncher boots that make you look it ? " 

" Oh, I reckon I've growed," answered Johnny, 
grinning delightedly. " This is bully ! Claude's 
just a-honing for you to come and chase a few wild 
Texas steers at home. He swore last week he'd 
put out back to Colorado and fetch you down," and 
as he pranced round and chattered and laughed, 
Claude himself appeared and gave me the heartiest 
of welcomes, well nigh wringing my hand off in his 
delighted surprise. He took me round to the 
corral to find Ad Anderson, who also seemed well 
pleased to see me again. 

Naturally my first inquiry was for Baldwin. 
No, they knew nothing of him on the Nueces ; he 
had never f turned up there. 

A sudden qualm seized me. Had our shrewd 
and genial friend Mr. Wallack been mistaken ? 
But, after all, the Nueces valley is hundreds of 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 195 

miles long, and Baldwin might easily strike it at 
some point far from the Santa Cruz ranch. 

What yarns we had over the fire that night, and 
what a contrast to the sad and silent camps that 
Jose and I had made ! Claude and Johnny were 
wild with high spirits, and in a sudden revulsion of 
feeling I flung all memory of my quest behind me 
to jest with them. 

And the very next day, as we were standing in 
the doorway, a sudden crow of delight from Johnny 
called my attention to three riders who were just 
heaving in sight along the trail from San Antonio. 

" Say, boys," he cried, " here's some genuine 
no-slouch Injun-fighters on the march. The Texas 
Rangers ain't in it." 

" Scott ! but look at their guns," cried Claude, 
as he caught sight of them too. Each of the three 
carried, slung across his saddle, a brilliantly new 
carbine, the breech part of which seemed to be 
made of the very yellowest and brassiest of gun- 
metal. The whole outfit was resplendently fresh 
from the shops of San Antonio. Revolvers and 
bowie knives dangled from their belts. They were 
literally got up to kill. 

" By thunder, they'll never be taken alive," 
laughed Johnny under his breath, peeping round 
Claude as he stood in the door to watch them dis- 
mount, while Ad Anderson went forward to receive 
them. 

And then with a sudden catch of the breath I 
saw that my quest was to prove successful after 



196 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

all, for the man I sought was walking straight into 
my hands. 

" Claude/' I exclaimed, scarcely able to believe my 
eyes, " spot that man with the pack-horse ! Isn't 
that Baldwin ? Can you see ? " I was looking 
out through the dusty foot-and-a-half-square pane 
that did duty for a window. 

" It's him sure," exclaimed Johnny. 

" That's so," echoed Claude. "Holy Moses! 
What's he want in Texas ? " 

I snatched up my revolver and belted it on, 
first glancing at the caps. I slipped past Claude 
and Johnny in the doorway, and walked up behind 
the new-comers, who had got off their horses. Yes, 
it was Baldwin. The other two were talking with 
Ad Anderson, and their accent revealed them in a 
moment to be Dutchmen. So Jake Wallack's in- 
formation was true. Now, how was I going to act ? 

" Come inside, gentlemen," Anderson was saying. 
"It's rougher quarters than you gentlemen from 
the East are accustomed^ to, but such as it is you're 
welcome." 

" Nein, nein, mein freund," I heard one of the 
Dutchmen reply. " We camp by ourselves, so, 
efery day. Our cook he makes the goot camp. 
Ach, so, we do fery well. But all we do ask for is 
your kind bermission to use the water. We do 
pegin to learn your customs here in the South." 

" Certainly, gentlemen, by all means ; please 
yourselves," answered Anderson stiffly. He felt his 
southern hospitality to be a little despised. The 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 197 

gorgeousness of these eastern Dutchmen with their 
new, heavy clothing, new saddles, new, bright 
blankets, new, shining carbines and revolvers was 
just a trifle oppressive. 

" Dot be all right then," said the elder of the 
two Dutchmen, the one who had spoken before. 
" My name is Arend, and dis gentlemans is mein 
brudder, and dis is our outfit." He looked across 
at Baldwin. " Dot odder mans," he said, " is our 
cook," and in a voice of authority he called out to 
him : " You, Jan, you takes de pack-horse on down 
yonder and makes noon camp for us. We sees if 
we buys some meat from dis ranchmans." Then to 
Captain Anderson : " How much a pound you asks 
for beef ? " 

" I don't sell it," said Anderson shortly, turning 
away, " but I'll send you a piece down to your 
camp directly by one of the negroes. Here, Pete," 
and he called out to a darky standing near the 
corral " go and cut off some of the shoulder of that 
heifer we butchered, and give it to these gentlemen." 

I followed the unsuspecting Baldwin closely and 
took careful stock of him ; he had -on both knife 
and revolver. He was well heeled, if only he would 
show fight ! 

" Baldwin," said I sharply. He wheeled as if 
on a pivot. "Or is it Jones this time ? Or is it 
something else now ? " 

" Baldwin's my name," said he sulkily, eyeing 
me like a whipped cur. 

This was my time once and for all to avenge the 



198 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

wrongs of Dolores and to free her from the scoundrel's 
tyranny. But I couldn't take an unfair advan- 
tage ; Ed had shot at him when he was unarmed ; 
I would give him the chance to draw first. 

" Now then," I said savagely, " out with it ; what 
have you done with Dona Dolores ? " 

" Done with her ? " he exclaimed with unfeigned 
astonishment. " Me ? But I haven't seen her 
since since Crockett ! " 

" Don't lie to me," said I authoritatively. " You 
saw her at Don Mauricio's." 

" Oh, that time," he admitted. " I didn't count 
that. I I only saw her half a minute." 

" Yes," I sneered. " I know all about that. 
She'd got the door locked, hadn't she ? But didn't 
you find her in Santa Fe ? " 

" No, Mr. Mr. Thompson," he cried, " no, sir. 
Indeed I didn't. I swear if any one told you so it 
was a lie. I tried to, but I couldn't find her. She 
was in disguise, you know." 

" Then you don't know the whereabouts of your 
own wife!" I sneered. "You devil, you have 
sold her and skipped with the money. Pull your 
gun," and up came my right hand with the six- 
shooter in it. 

Instead of pulling his weapon both his hands 
went convulsively to his breast and he tore his 
shirt wide open, baring the naked skin. With al- 
most a scream of terror he burst out : 

" Murder me. Murder me if you want to. I 
swear I ain't touched her again. I never seen her." 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 199 

How could I shoot down this unresisting coward ? 
I heard hurried steps behind me, and though my 
eyes were glued to the skin over Baldwin's quick- 
pulsing heart I knew that Claude, Johnny, and 
Anderson had run up full speed. 

" Hold on, Mr. Thompson," came Anderson's 
cool voice. " I don't want to intrude into your 
business, but I'd like to hear what this trouble 
means." 

I explained the whole situation to him as briefly 
but as thoroughly as I could, Claude and Johnny 
corroborating. 

" Very well," said Ad Anderson judicially when I 
had finished, " you can shoot him if you want to, 
Mr. Thompson, so far as I am concerned, though 
out here in Texas we'd be more apt to string him 
up to a convenient limb for what he's done. I 
guess, too, you could borrow a rope right here if 
you liked." 

Practically these words were equivalent to making 
the four of us into a Vigilance Committee, so I 
uncocked my pistol and thrust it back into its 
holster ; but as I did so down went Baldwin on 
his knees. 

" For the love of God don't hang me, gentle- 
men," he begged. " It's God's truth I ain't touched 
her since Crockett, and I'm trying now to set 
things right. I'm getting a divorce from her here 
in Texas, and I'm earning money to pay for it from 
these two gentlemen here." He turned to the 
Arends, who were watching from a little way off with 



200 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

an alarmed disapproval. Frontier justice was a 
novelty of a highly unwelcome sort to them. 
"Ain't it so, gentlemen? " he cried appealingly. 
" Ain't you paying me $65 a month and the 
divorce don't cost but $50 ? " 

" I knows nodings of any divorce," answered 
coldly the elder of the two thus appealed to, " but 
it is true we pays you dem $65 to cook for us and 
be guide around dis country." Then he added, 
generally, in an aggrieved tone : "If dese gentle- 
mans hangs you dey got to find us anodder mans 
to be our guide. Dot's what I says." 

The Dutchman's carefulness for himself and care- 
lessness for Baldwin's fate made us smile, and I 
felt the tension relax. 

Baldwin, still on his knees, was quick to feel it 
too. 

" There, gentlemen," he pleaded to his pos- 
sible lynchers, " you see yourselves I spoke true. 
I'll go with you straight to the lawyers in San 
Antonio ; and you can hang me then if it ain't 
true about that divorce. The Court will grant it 
in a month from now when I pay the $50." 

Liar as he was I began to believe him in this 
matter. The thing was likely enough in itself, 
while he was not so likely to have invented it on 
the spur of the moment. The obvious way for 
him to gain a respite would have been to say he 
could show us the hiding-place of Dolores. But he 
hadn't done that. So quite probably this divorce 
story might be true. 



THE OLD SANTA CRUZ RANCH 201 

Seeing no pistols drawn the elder Arend hardened 
his heart enough to come up closer. 

"Den if you ranchmans doesn't hang him/' he 
said, addressing the four of us, " and if you takes 
him in to San Antonio, you still got to find us one 
guide to show us dat land across the Nueces just 
de same." 

M Right," said Ad Anderson coolly. ' I'll lend 
you a darky who'll show you round. But let me 
tell you two enterprising gentlemen I don't think 
you'll like it so much when you see it. Did the 
men who propose to sell you this land tell you the 
Indians sometimes raid around here ? " 

"Oh, dem Indians!" sneered the Dutchman. 
"Why, de United States looks after dem. De 
ranchmans makes up stories about dem so as folks 
won't come and settle out here, because dey wants 
dheir cattle to run all over the land free." 

The insinuation was a nasty one for Ad Ander- 
son, who flushed angrily, but he chose to dis- 
regard it. 

" Look at here," said he to me, drawing me aside. 
" Why not leave things as they are for the pre- 
sent ? This 'yer Baldwin man can't get away from 
you here ; for one thing, he's got no horse, seeing 
that this whole outfit belongs to these Dutchies. 
A man like him afoot in Western Texas is in a bad 
fix, and if he stole one of their horses he'd be hung 
in a holy minute, and right well he knows it. Now 
what d'you think of this plan ? Leave him go out 
with his Dutchies across the Nueces. I'll send a 



202 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

darky to show them where to camp. To-morrow 
we'll ride that way ourselves and sort of keep an 
eye on them. There's some cattle over there I'd 
like to have a look at. And when he comes back 
with his $50 you go on in to San Antonio and 
settle things the way you want. I don't mind 
saying, too, you can get all the help you need from 
this ranch ; but that's as you like." 

It did not take me long to make up my mind. 
I saw how sound Anderson's scheme was. It was 
his wise head, so much rarer a thing than mere 
personal courage, that had won him his shoulder- 
straps in the war. 

" Right you are," I assented freely. " What 
you say goes." 

An hour and a half later we saw the Dutch outfit 
remount and file off westward, Baldwin leading the 
pack-horse as before ; and a little later still they 
were followed by Pete, with orders to bring back 
word where they made their camp for the night. 

But I had a wakeful hour of self-questioning 
that night before I slept. What would Ed have 
said to my performance that day, pulling a gun 
on a man but never firing it ? For it was a maxim 
of Ed's, never draw till you mean business, then 
be very sure you kill. Why hadn't I done that ? 
Had I failed in nerve ? 



CHAPTER XVII 
A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 

COMANCHES," said Ad Anderson 
" Comanches, as I'm a living sinner!" 
and he pulled his horse up sharp. " There's 
a peltin' big crowd of 'em too," he added, after a 
moment. " We're in for it this time, sure." 

We were out on the high ground some fifteen 
miles west of the Nueces, where Ad Anderson 
wanted to round up some cattle. The Arend 
brothers and Baldwin were riding a little behind us ; 
as Anderson had said the land they had come to 
see lay in the same direction. 

Claude's eyes met mine. It is no disgrace to a 
brave man if his heart beats fast at the sight of an 
Indian war party ; death in its grimmest form stares 
him in the face. Ad was looking out intently, 
shading his eyes with his hand. Claude glanced 
at Johnny. 

" Say, kid," he cried, " ain't it a pity we ain't 
got Mr. Williams along ? He'd be right pleased to 
see the genuine article 'stead of our put-up job." 

Johnny tried to grin in answer, but his lips 
twisted pitifully. Claude's plucky jest brought 
suddenly back to me Josh's ominous words when 

203 



204 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

we were playing Indians to scare Bob Williams. 
" It's like calling them to come in earnest. Some 
day we shall have to fight Indians, you see." Our 
day had come all too quickly. Was it his day, too, 
over by San Carlos ? 

The Arend brothers and Baldwin were only a 
few paces behind, and by a simultaneous impulse 
Claude and I turned in our saddles to see how our 
three queer companions took the startling appari- 
tion on the horizon. We wanted badly to know 
how far they were to be depended on. 

They had their good new Warner carbines and a 
belt full of cartridges apiece ; but the way they 
handled them and the way they sat on their horses 
had naturally not given us much confidence. Now 
we suddenly saw the skunks pull their horses' 
heads round, and without a word to us they started 
and just put back for the Nueces for all they 
were worth. 

Johnny, as the lightest of the party, had been 
mounted on War Eagle, the racehorse of the ranch, 
and the moment he saw the cowards begin to run 
he instinctively turned his horse too, gave him his 
head, and commenced to lay the whip to him, as 
if he was finishing a race on the track. 

But Ad Anderson knew what he was about every 
time. The minute Johnny wheeled and ran Ad 
Anderson struck the spurs into his pony and he 
rode a good one and he was up and alongside 
of the boy before War Eagle was fairly into his 
stride. 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 205 

" Chuck that whip, Johnny," he shouted, rais- 
ing his one hand with the quirt in it as if to hit 
him " chuck it, or I'll knock you off that horse/' 

Johnny turned his white face to Ad : he was 
sitting back in the saddle and slashing War Eagle 
down the shoulders with a stinging raw hide ; but 
he obeyed Ad ; and at the word ' chuck it ' he 
loosed the loop off his wrist and flung the raw hide 
clean away. 

" Now pull that horse down to a lope," said Ad. 
' You mind me, d'ye hear ? Steady him ! Steady 
there, steady." 

His voice had the true soldierly ring in it. He 
was once more commanding men in a fight. It 
was no easy task to get War Eagle steadied when 
he was in his racing stride ; but the horse as well 
as the boy felt the power of that voice ; before we 
had covered many yards Johnny had pulled him 
down to three-quarter speed. 

Meanwhile Claude Duval and I were coming 
along behind them at a rare good pace. We 
reached down as soon as we started, and pulled our 
rifles out of the leather cases in which we carried 
them slung between the off stirrup leather and the 
horse's side. Claude had a Spencer cavalry car- 
bine, a seven-shooter, and a right good one too. 
I, alas ! had broken the stock of my cherished 
Winchester on my journey down through my horse 
falling and rolling over it, so to-day I had nothing 
but an old Frank Wesson rifle which I had borrowed 
at the ranch. 



206 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

We had beautiful ground to run on just here, 
for we were on a wagon trail from the Nueces 
to the Rio Grande, which crossed a high wide up- 
land, bare of timber. As we looked back over our 
shoulders we could see the Indians spread out like 
a pack of hounds on both sides of the trail and 
coming after us on the keen jump. There must 
have been above thirty of them, and we could hear 
the hi-hi-hi-yas of their yells ringing shrill down 
the breeze. The Arends and Baldwin were well 
ahead of us already. Ad holloaed to them to hold 
up and keep cool as soon as he had got Johnny 
to drop his whip and check his horse ; but they 
never took any notice of what he said. 

" You'll kill your horses," we could hear him 
shout to them, " running like that ! There's full 
fifteen miles to go, and you've got to save 'em. 
Take it easy, I tell you. Pull 'em in. Keep back 
with us." 

I said that Anderson's voice had the true soldierly 
ring, and that there was a cool, confident manner 
about him that made it seem a matter of course 
to do what he said. But those poor fools didn't 
feel it so. They were just crazy with fear, and the 
harder they ran the more crazy they made them- 
selves. 

They took no heed of him, but went on whipping 
their horses, galloping forward as fast as they could 
lay leg to the ground. In five minutes they were 
clear out of sight of us over a rise. Claude and I 
kept close up behind Ad and Johnny, our horses all 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 207 

going strong ; but the leading Indians had now got 
to some three hundred yards behind us. 

" Shall I try a belt at them without stopping ? " 
said Claude to Ad. " I could maybe give one of 
'em a scare." 

" No ; not yet," answered Ad ; " it'll only make 
War Eagle fight for his head worse to hear you 
shoot ; and we can't afford to waste no cartridges 
neither. There's a steep bank to go down about 
two miles ahead. If they don't crowd us too hard 
till then, we'll stop a minute there to blow our 
horses and give them redskins a rattle." 

But the leading Indians were flogging their war- 
ponies to a racing speed, and closing on us fast. 
Two or three of them began to shoot, and we heard 
the ping of their bullets flying past us. Luckily, 
Indians are for the most part poor shots with a rifle 
on horseback, and we were none of us touched. 

" Give 'em a turn, Claude," said Ad. " Aim 
low." And at the word the cowboy dropped his 
rein on his horse's neck, and twisting his body round 
in the saddle, fired straight behind him. Bang ! 

" Rick off the ground," he announced triumph- 
antly ; " one of them ponies is mighty sick. I 
aimed low, as you told me, Cap." 

His bullet had struck the ground well in front of 
the Indians, and rising from the graze, had hit one 
of their ponies, which instantly fell to the rear. 
As he fired, each one of the leading Indians had 
dropped over the right-hand side of his horse, and 
wheeled slightly to the right, thus covering his body 



208 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

completely from the shot. The effect was like the 
scattering of a covey of partridges when a hawk 
makes a swoop on them, and we gained a little 
distance by this manoeuvre. But now a lot of 
them began to edge off more to the right, trying to 
draw up parallel to us on that side, which would 
enable them to use their rifles with more effect, and 
be equally inconvenient for us. Before they could 
succeed in doing so, however, the wished-for bank 
was near. It was a place where the whole width 
of the high prairie broke away steeply for about two 
hundred yards down to a lower level. Ad turned 
in his saddle and took a look at the Indians. 

" Johnny," said he, " the moment we're over the 
edge, you slip off and hold War Eagle and my horse, 
and I'll hold the other two. Mind you don't let 
'em slip, now. Hang on to 'em like grim death." 
Then he added to Claude and me : " Jump off, you 
boys, as soon as you're over the edge, and chuck me 
your reins. I'll hold your horses, and you give 'em 
what for." 

Almost as he ended we were at the edge of the 
slope and over it, and we all leaped off together. 
Throwing our reins to Ad, Claude and I knelt just 
under cover of the brow of the hill and opened fire. 
The Indians were within a hundred yards ; but at 
the first shots they ducked behind their horses and 
turned away to right and left, streaming off in both 
directions, instead of charging right down on us. 
Indians hardly ever do charge straight in on men 
standing at bay. I loaded and fired my single- 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 209 

shooter as fast as I could finger the cartridges ; 
but I heard Claude's repeater go bang, bang, bang ! 
and I heard Ad's warning voice saying: " Steady, 
Claude, steady ; you're shooting behind 'em. Take 
that white horse now, and aim a good length in front. 
That's one of their chiefs, I reckon." 

Ad was standing behind us a foot or two lower 
down the hill with the horses behind him again, so 
that they were quite covered by the hill from a 
chance bullet ; but he himself, standing upright, 
was able to see over our heads where we were firing. 
I looked round for an instant to Claude's side of the 
fight while my fingers were stuffing a fresh cartridge 
into the gun and closing the breech. Bang went 
the Spencer again, and down came the white horse 
like a shot rabbit and rolled over his rider. Instantly 
two other Indians dashed up to the fallen man, and 
leaning down from their saddles without dismounting 
they swung him up between them, and so across the 
withers of the horse of one of them, and bore him 
out of the fray. 

" Mind your side, mister," shouted Ad to me 
" mind that chap. Stop him if you can" ; and 
looking to my own side, I saw that the leading 
Indian was urging his horse to go down over the 
brow some two hundred yards away, with the view 
of getting behind us in the broken ground on that 
part of the slope. I brought my rifle instantly to 
the shoulder, and was taking aim when Ad called 
out : " Raise your sight, mister, or draw a very full 
bead : you've only got the hundred yards sight up." 



210 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

I drew a full bead, and missed. 

" Too low, much," said Ad ; " you wanted to 
allow more than that. Now, come on, boys," he 
added, " let's scoot before they can bushwhack us 
among this broken ground." 

We sprang on to our horses again and hurried down 
the hill, Ad Anderson and Johnny in the lead and 
Claude and I close behind them. The first rush of 
excitement over I found time to tell myself that my 
self-suspicions of last night were wrong : this was 
my first time under fire, and my nerve was all right. 
As for Claude, he was an old hand and as cool as a 
cucumber. 

" Say," he said to me, glancing back over his 
shoulder at the yelling mob of Indians, " I am plum 
sorry we haven't Mr. Bob Williams here. He's just 
the man for this kind of show, eh ? I shouldn't 
wonder if he really has got fight in him, for all that 
he's an almighty gasbag. Now that measly cur of 
a Baldwin ain't got no more sand than a hen." 

It was hateful to think that we were actually 
covering the flight of the skulking wretch, and help- 
ing him to escape the fate he so richly deserved. 

Claude cast his eyes forward to take in the long 
road we had yet to ride. 

" Look at the cowardly skunk there with his 
darned Dutchmen," he went on, as his glance fell 
upon the three fugitives, of whom he had a glimpse 
for the moment. They were now far ahead, but 
we could see that their horses were loping slowly 
and heavily. " It's a dirty, mean trick of them to 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 211 

skin out and leave us like that. But it's the worse 
for them. If they only knowed it their only chance 
is to stick by Ad Anderson. He's as good a Injun- 
fighter as there is in Texas.' 1 

Down the hill we actually succeeded in gaining 
some ground on our pursuers, for we had an advant- 
age over the Indians in having the wagon trail to 
follow. It led down the easiest grade, and was com- 
paratively smooth. A hail of bullets whistled past 
us as we ran ; but none of our horses seemed to 
flinch, and no rider was hit. We got away from 
that hill quite four hundred yards ahead of our foes. 

" Choked 'em off that time," said Ad. " That 
touching up did 'em good : they won't crowd on us 
in the open, I reckon, quite so quick. It's that belt 
of timber along Jack Creek, though, that I'm thinkin 
of now. If they was to get into that before us, 
it's all U.P." 

Our horses were much refreshed by the short 
breathing spell we had given them, and we dashed 
ahead at three-quarter speed. The Indians came 
on behind us at a steady, untiring gait, but they 
seemed much less eager, now, to close on us. Our 
spirits rose. 

" How're ye, Johnny ? " said Ad. " How d'ye 
like being shot at, eh ? Are you sure you didn't 
bob your head when you heard the bullets whizzing 
over ? " 

" Nary bob," said the boy with a grin. His 
colour had come back, and he looked himself again. 
" I was too busy hanging on to War Eagle," he 



212 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

continued ; " but I stayed right with him, as you 
told me." 

Ere long we came in sight of three objects ahead 
of us in the road. 

" Boys," said Ad, turning to us, " here's them two 
Dutchmen and that cook of theirs on in front, and 
you can lay that their horses is plumb give out. 
I'm sorry, but I don't know what we can do for 'em." 

We gained on them rapidly, and soon we could see 
the rise and fall of their arms as they mechanically 
flogged their exhausted animals. Presently we 
drew up alongside of them, but they took no notice 
of us. Their horses' heads hung down, and they 
were reduced to a walk. The faces of the riders 
were set : they looked straight before them, and 
seemed to see nothing. It was the Shadow of 
Death they were looking at. 

" Hullo ! rouse up, you fellers," said Claude to 
them, springing off his horse. " You'd better jump 
off and make play with them new carbines, if you 
don't want the Comanches to get your hair." 

They did not appear to hear him. Still with 
those white, set faces, they pressed on, leaving us to 
make a stand alone. I was holding Claude's horse 
while he knelt down and opened a rapid fire once 
more on the advancing redskins. 

" Let me try that rifle just one shot," said Ad to 
me, tossing me his reins at the same time. 

I gave him the old Wesson, and it was wonderful 
to see him rest it on the saddle and level it with his 
one arm. He took a very careful shot and dropped 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 213 

an Indian : the others fell back again to a distance 
of about a quarter of a mile, and seemed to deliberate 
a minute. Then they dashed forward again hot-foot, 
trying to pass us on the right as before, though 
keeping at a respectful distance. 

" They've spotted the timber on Jack Creek and 
they're making for it," cried Ad, leaping on his 
horse and returning me my rifle. " Boys, we must 
ride for it now. If they head us there, there won't 
one of us get home " ; and he dashed forward at a 
tremendous speed. In a moment we were up to the 
Arends again ; they were still flogging mechanically, 
still pressing on to the goal they were never to 
reach. 

" Jump off your horses and lie down and shoot," 
shouted Claude as we passed them. " That's your 
only chance." But his words went by them like 
the idle wind. 

In another moment we were alongside of Baldwin, 
and never to the last day of my life shall I forget the 
sight. Ashy pale, his staring eyes bulging from their 
sockets, his white lips parted and drawn back, he 
craned his head forward, as if shrinking before the 
final blow. Death was upon him, but he could not 
look the King of Terrors in the face. The coward, 
with his doom before him, was the very image of 
Fear incarnate. 

What cursed spell came over me to give him a 
chance for his life ? Yesterday I had been ready to 
kill him myself : to-day, with the Indian bullets 
whistling round our ears, there surged up within me 



214 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

a strange but overpowering instinct compelling me 
to play the Don Quixote. 

" Jump off," I cried to him, as I freed the end of 
the latigo strap securing the cinch of my saddle, 
" catch hold here, and you can keep it going on foot 
for a while.'* 

He heard my voice ; his fear lent him wings. The 
next moment he was hanging on to my strap with 
a death-clutch and bounding along, half-towed 
by Rube. Without a word Ad Anderson laid his 
horse on the other side of the runner, and gave him 
a second latigo to hold so that he now flew as if 
borne on wings. 

At the same instant a burst of yells told us that 
the Indians were upon the unhappy Dutchmen ; 
they were struck to the ground unresisting, and the 
yells of the savages were their death-knell. A 
dozen of the fiends were off their horses, hacking and 
mutilating the bodies of their victims beyond recog- 
nition. Claude swung himself round in his saddle 
and fired a long shot at them as they were bunched 
together. 

"No use," said Ad; "nothing can help those 
chaps now. Ride, boys, ride, if ever you did in 
your lives." 

Rube answered gamely to the spur. Fully half 
the band of Indians were still in the saddle and quite 
abreast of us to our right, too far to shoot, indeed, 
with any effect, but racing us for the line of timber, 
that showed up hardly a mile away. If they could 
reach it before us, and beset our road through it, 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 215 

we must certainly perish. White men are no match 
for Indians in brush, especially when outnumbered 
five to one. Ad's horse and Rube, encumbered with 
Baldwin, were doing their very best, and could do 
no more ; but War Eagle, thanks to his race-horse 
blood and his light rider, was going well within him- 
self, and was quite equal to a dash. Three of the 
best-mounted Indians had drawn considerably ahead 
of the others, and were now working in to get to 
the place where the trail we were following entered 
the timber in front of us. If they reached it and 
delayed us there one single minute we were done 
for. 

Ad drew out his pistol and handed it to the cow- 
boy kid. 

" Johnny," said he, " we've got to head them 
Indians away from the trail through the timber, 
or they'll check us there, and we'll have the whole 
bilin' on us before you can say ' knife.' War 
Eagle's still fresh, but our horses can't do more 
than they're doing. You take this pistol and run 
War Eagle up level with them and fire at them, 
so as to make them keep wide. Stick to the trail ; 
don't follow 'em ; just fend 'em off. Shoot for the 
leading horse every time, and shoot well ahead of 
him. Now show your nerve. Remember we're 
behind you. If they come at you, pull up short, 
and we'll be alongside of you before they can get 
at you." 

Johnny's face went a bit whiter again ; but he 
was game. He shut his lips tight, and took the 



216 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

pistol and dug his heels into War Eagle, and left us 
three as if we had been standing still. In just no 
time he was a hundred yards ahead of us and abreast 
of those three Indians, and we saw him raise his 
right hand and pop went the pistol. We saw the 
dust fly up where the bullet struck the prairie ; but 
the Indians still held on their course. They did 
not shoot back at him, for the knowledge that we 
were so near, I fancy, made them afraid to empty 
their guns at the boy. We looked for him to shoot 
again, but the spring of Ad's pistol was too strong 
for Johnny to cock it with one hand, and we saw 
him lower it to his left hand to get a purchase. 
Then up it came again, popped again, and again 
the puff of dust showed where the ball harmlessly 
struck the ground. 

" I had ought to have taught him better than 
that," observed Ad ; " and if I have him with me 
long, I will, sure. But he's got grit, anyhow," he 
added as Johnny, undismayed by his failures, raised 
the pistol for the third time and missed again. After 
all, the Indians were eighty or a hundred yards 
away from him, a tremendous range for a pistol, 
and shooting off a horse on the run isn't so easy as 
it looks in a circus. 

Once more the boy raised his weapon and popped, 
and then we all shouted for joy. The leading Indian 
pony stumbled, and blundering almost on to his 
nose came to a halt. His rider lit on the ground 
on his feet, and instantly levelling his piece fired 
at Johnny. The boy gave a cry and dropped the 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 217 

pistol ; but he didn't fall off War Eagle, who kept 
right on to the timber. In five seconds more we 
were up to the spot where he had dropped it. Ad 
Anderson, making Baldwin leave go, sprang from 
his saddle, recovered the fallen pistol, leaped on 
again, and rode furiously after Johnny, while I 
more slowly towed Baldwin behind him. Claude 
jerked his horse to a dead stop and leaped off. The 
dismounted Indian ran behind his wounded horse, 
which was standing still, for shelter ; but his legs 
showed underneath, and Claude hit him fair in the 
knees and doubled him up like a jack-knife. It was 
a neat shot. Then he fired three more shots at the 
two others, missing them, for all we could see, but 
it turned them off our line. Claude sprang on 
again and came speeding after me, and gave Bald- 
win a strap to hold till we caught up with Ad and 
the boy just inside the timber ; Johnny was looking 
white and shaky with pain, but he smiled at us. 
Baldwin leaned up against Rube, his lungs pumping 
like a steam-engine. 

" Come on ! " said Ad " come on, boys ; we 
must get out of this. Johnny'll do. The arm 
ain't broken only an ugly flesh-wound, and he 
bears it like a little John-man. Don't you be scared, 
Johnny. Here, you" to Baldwin "jump on to 
War Eagle behind the saddle. He can carry 
double. You hold the boy and leave him to hold the 
rein with his good hand. Don't you dare try to leave 
us or I'll shoot you right off him. Now mind ! " 

The gasping wretch seized the can tie of Johnny's 



218 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

saddle and dragged himself on to the croup without 
a word ; indeed he had no breath to speak with. 

Away went the race-horse with his double load in 
front, and we followed as fast as we could. We could 
hear the yells of the Indians to our right in the timber 
though we could no longer see them ; but we had 
the advantage of the wagon trail to travel on, and 
went considerably faster than they could travel 
through the bush. Presently we came to Jack 
Creek and crossed it ; there was no water in its bed. 
We continued to gallop through the timber on the 
other side of it, and came out again in the prairie 
beyond, and had gone quite four hundred yards in 
the open before our enemies emerged behind us. 

" Jump off, boys," said Ad to us, " and send 
'em word we're here. You, Baldwin, and Johnny, 
you stay still on the horse." Baldwin seemed to 
be trying to force the horse on, but Johnny's sound 
hand held the rein and Ad's orders were obeyed. 

We three leaped to the ground, and Claude and 
I opened fire again ; but the Indians kept dodging 
in and out of the edge of the timber, and we couldn't 
see if we did any damage. They fired back at us ; 
but the range was too far for the rifles they carried 
at least they didn't hit us. 

" Now, come on again," said Ad ; " just jog, 
so as to show them we ain't afraid. They've got 
a sickener, I reckon. I wish we could meet a good 
party of the boys from the ranch, and we'd whoop 
'em back again to where we found 'em." 

We were only seven or eight miles away from 



A COMANCHE HOLIDAY 219 

home now, and there was a chance of such a thing 
happening, though it didn't come off ; but, as Ad 
reckoned, the Indians had had about enough 
of it. It is wonderful how a firm stand discourages 
them. Perhaps they had lost their chief. Anyhow, 
they retired, doubtless to gloat over the corpses of 
the two white men they had murdered, and left us 
to make our way to the ranch unmolested. Johnny, 
held up by Baldwin, did not faint on the road ; but 
he was most uncommonly glad to get in and rest his 
arm and have it dressed. He was a healthy youngster, 
and Ad Anderson, whose empty sleeve gave him 
a right to know about wounds, told him he would be 
healed up in three weeks. 

Yes, young Johnny was well out of it certainly ; 
and so was I in a sense, for had I not saved my scalp 
as well as proved that I could fight ? But what 
infatuation had possessed me to undo the very thing 
I had started out to accomplish ? I had come to 
Texas firmly resolved to shoot Baldwin as soon as 
I should lay eyes on him and lo, my soft heart, 
or my inconvenient conscience, had rebelled against 
leaving a w r hite man to be murdered by Indians, and 
I had saved a ruffian who deserved a hundred deaths 
and riveted anew the chains a kindly chance nearly 
had unlocked for Dolores ! 

Confound my Quixotism ! Shall I always be a 
fool ? I asked myself. Bob is a sensible man compared 
to me ! He does what he intends, whatever folly it 
may be I do nothing ! 



CHAPTER XVIII 
BACK TRACKS 

" T X O just as you think best, Mr. Thompson," 
1 said Ad Anderson next morning. ' ' Come 

JL J along with us, or else stop here, or make 

for San Antonio, whichever you prefer." 

He had sent his darkies round during the night 
to the neighbouring ranches, and had got together 
a party of twenty good men, to start out with him 
to bury the dead and find out the whereabouts of 
the Indians. I could hardly refuse to accompany 
them, for it was a toss up whether the savages had 
retired, content with the scalps of the two miserable 
Dutchmen, or were still raiding round the country 
like a pack of hungry wolves. It would have been a 
poor thing to leave Ad Anderson now, when I had 
shared his race for life and death yesterday, and yet 
I hated to lose sight of Baldwin. 

He certainly seemed to be safely laid by the heels, 
for the wretched creature lay gasping and groaning 
in his blankets, having, he believed, strained his 
heart in that wild race for life. I certainly did 
not waste much pity on him, but it did seem 
a little ghoul-like to sit gloating over his misery, 

220 



BACK TRACKS 221 

so I was after all not unwilling to be kept busy 
till he was well enough to ride with me to San 
Antonio. 

The good-natured darkies of the ranch were quite 
proud of having two men to nurse, for poor young 
Johnny, though he did not make so much noise as 
Baldwin, was feverish and in a good deal of pain. 
So leaving the two invalids safely tucked up in 
their blankets we rode out on that well-remembered 
track, eagerly watching for any sign of the ferocious 
enemy. But the green slopes stretched away 
peacefully on either hand, basking in the sunshine 
and empty of any living thing till we came towards 
the scene of the fight. There we could see from far 
off something that glimmered white, like shapeless 
patches of half-melted snow, and as our trampling, 
jingling party rode up three hideous black vultures 
flapped heavily away, gorged from a feast, and we 
knew those white objects were the naked, ghastly 
relics of the slain, marred and mutilated beyond re- 
cognition. We hastened to hide the poor remains 
under the kindly lap of earth and left them there to 
sleep their last sleep. 

It did not take the experienced Texas frontiers- 
men long to see by the tracks that the Comanche 
warriors had left for parts unknown ; probably they 
were fifty miles away by this time. 

" They've hunted their holes sure," said Claude 
with a sagacious nod, " they being most almighty 
keen to dance the scalps of them poor Dutchies and 
show off before the squaws. Likely there won't 



222 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

be another raid for two or three moons." The full 
of the moon is the redskin raiders' chosen time. 

So, our work done, we loped back to the ranch. 
I pressed on, for no sooner had we buried the two 
Arends than Baldwin began to get on my nerves. 
Should I find him recovering ? When would he 
be able to ride to San Antonio ? Or the thought 
flashed on me might Providence and heart-failure 
have solved my problem while I was away, and 
should I find him dead ? That indeed was a hope 
to make me strike spurs to my horse and hurry 
forward. 

The instant we reached the ranch I sprang off 
and ran to the cabin where we had put the sick 
man. I stood still, bewildered I rubbed my eyes. 
The place was empty ! Could he have wandered 
out in delirium ? No he would not have taken his 
blankets with him ! Death and furies ! was it 
possible that he had bolted ? I tore back to the 
house, shouting distractedly to all my friends, to 
the negroes, to every one I could lay eyes on. Even 
Johnny was roused by my outcry and staggered to 
the door laughing, to stop suddenly when he saw 
my agonized face. The negro cook alone seemed to 
take no interest in the uproar I was making. He 
was surrounded with pots and pans, and so busy 
scrubbing them that I had to shake him by the 
shoulder before I could get him to listen to my 
questions. 

" Dat man, Mass' Thompson ! I don't see nuffin 
of him, Spec's he's asleep." 



BACK TRACKS 223 

'You fool, don't you hear? he's gone away. 
Didn't you see him come out ? " 

The darky scratched his head. 

" Don't nachilly seem to recollect nuffin'," 
was all I could get out of him. 

" I believe that cunning old ruffian knows more 
than he lets on," suggested Claude. " He generally 
is as full of chatter as a jaybird. It's kinder sus- 
picious he should be so silent." 

So, accompanied by Captain Anderson himself, 
we went down to the darkies' quarters to see if by 
any chance Baldwin could be there. He might have 
gone there for something and a second bad heart- 
attack might have made him fall down in a faint. 
If only it could have finished him off this time ! 

Alas ! there was no sign of Baldwin inside or out, 
dead or alive. But poking around for his possible 
corpse Claude chanced to disclose the corner of a 
bright red blanket in Pete's bunk. A rough pull 
or two and out it came along with three more. We 
knew them at once. They were the gay blankets of 
the Dutchmen's outfit. 

" Now I begin to see daylight," said Anderson. 
" That old rascal Pete has been doing a deal with 
your sick friend. Let me talk to him." 

Back to the house we hurried to find Pete. 

" 'Fore God, massa, I dunno how dey came dar," 
cried the cook, his black face visibly paling before 
his master's stern question. " Dat Baldwin man 
must hab' put 'em there, I reckon. I don't know 
nuffin' 'bout it" 



224 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Ax' Pete where his saddle is," came a malicious 
suggestion from one of the negro hands, who had 
just arrived from the corrals. 

" Why, it's up dar' at de stable, ain't it ? " cried 
the tormented cook. " Ef 't ain't, dat Baldwin 
mans done steal it, shuah ! " 

Sure enough a brief inspection showed that it 
really and truly had gone, and the conclusion became 
irresistible that Pete's saddle, Baldwin, and the 
Dutchmen's pack-horse had disappeared in company. 

" You traded it to him, you black rascal," said 
Anderson angrily to the whimpering cook, " and 
you deserve a thundering good licking for it, too." 

" He done took it off me by force, massa," con- 
fessed the darky, cowering. " He done hold a pistol 
to my head and make me gib' it to him, and swear 
I don't let on nufftn' to nobody." 

" Oh, yes, and held a pistol on you to make you 
hide the Dutchmen's blankets in your bed," com- 
mented Anderson contemptuously. 

He turned to me. 

" You can believe as much of Pete's story as you 
like, Mr. Thompson, but it's as clear as mud that 
your friend's heart-disease has suddenly got well 
and he's skipped out. Now look at here. That 
horse he's taken ain't his. It belonged to those 
Dutchmen yesterday and it's the property of their 
executors to-day. If he ain't a horse- thief he's so 
near it you can't tell much difference. You know 
how such scalawags get treated in Texas ; he's 
liable to find himself strung up to a convenient 



BACK TRACKS 225 

limb. But he's got a long start and there's no telling 
where he'll make for. If I were you I'd ride right 
into San Antonio and put it before the sheriff. He 
can act, if he thinks fit, and he's more liable to get 
track of him through some of his deputies than any 
of us round here. Of course if we should happen 
to hear of him, we'd act ourselves without waiting 
for the sheriff (his euphemism was characteristic) 
and afterwards we'd let you know." 

Once more I had reason to admire the frontiers- 
man' s wise head as contrasted with my own blunder- 
ings. Only yesterday, so I flattered myself, I had 
finally qualified as a genuine Western man, when 
(under Anderson's leadership) I had put up a real 
good fight against the Indians. To-day, alas ! was 
a sad come-down for my pride, for would not poor 
old Ed, if alive, have showered sarcasms on my 
tenderfoot simplicity in letting such a miserable 
creature as Baldwin fool me so cheaply ? In a 
chastened spirit I accepted Captain Anderson's 
counsel, and after a hasty meal I saddled up Rube, 
bade farewell to the Santa Cruz Ranch, and set out 
on the road to San Antonio. 

A lively frontier town San Antonio was, raw, new 
American buildings side by side with the old brown 
adobes of the Spanish era, just as American citizens 
rubbed shoulders with Mexicans on the streets. 
San Antonio considered itself civilized, but despite its 
civilization I was not impressed with its administra- 
tion of justice. I found the sheriff civil, but that was 
all. He didn't much think the courts would hold 
15 



226 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Baldwin for getting away with the Arends' horse, 
and he openly hinted that I had best leave that affair 
to Judge Lynch. At the same time if I liked to swear 
out a warrant against Baldwin, he'd be most happy 
to execute it, so long as I paid his fee. Even if the 
man we wanted could not be found in San Antonio, 
the sheriff was ready to send a deputy, or a dozen 
deputies, to hunt him all over Texas on the under- 
standing that I footed their bills of ten cents a mile. 
In short he offered me the pleasure of paying the 
State, or rather the State's officials, for doing their 
own work. 

San Antonio was not so large but that a brief 
search revealed that Baldwin was not there ; and 
as the State of Texas spread over an area about as 
big as France it did not seem possible to commis- 
sion an unlimited chase through the length and 
breadth of it after him at my private expense. 
But one thing of importance my inquiries did reveal : 
Baldwin's story about the divorce was actually 
true. What his motive had been was not so easy to 
divine, but he had actually applied for it, and in a 
month it would veritably issue always, of course, 
subject to the payment of the $50 costs he had 
alluded to. I considered the matter, and grimly I 
gave the lawyers my guarantee for those costs in the 
case of his non-appearance, for I judged it was well 
worth that sum to have Dolores legally freed from 
the bond in case Jos6's scheme of getting a Papal 
nullification should ever succeed. But better, far 
better were it had she been divorced by his death. 



BACK TRACKS 227 

And that was all the good I got at San Antonio. 
No more news of Baldwin could I get than if the 
earth had swallowed him ! My friends at the Santa 
Cruz Ranch inquired after him in vain. It was 
maddening to linger here, knowing that the fugitive 
was hourly getting further away, though whether 
North, South, East or West was quite uncertain. 
But one night, as I lay awake, it flashed upon me 
that it was more than likely that he had struck out 
for New Mexico. I had hardly even interrupted his 
designs ; his application for the divorce was doubt- 
less a part of some devilish device to transfer the 
unlucky Dolores to his Mormon masters ; and now 
he had gone to clinch the bargain ! Why had I 
delayed ? The more I thought of it the clearer grew 
my conviction that I should find him in New Mexico. 
And even if I did not find him there it was there that 
I was most likely to come on Dolores, to stand by her 
against all these known and unknown dangers. 
So once more I took the long, long trail back to the 
Staked Plains. 

And now like the baseless fabric of a dream, like 
the mirage that glimmered before me over the 
desert, so had all my futile fancies fled away, and 
of the reality I dared hardly think. Before me 
in the cool morning, how crystal clear were the flat- 
topped mesas. It hardly needed eyes as keen as 
mine had grown to distinguish every detail, to 
trace the path I should follow and identify every 
soapweed or scattered rock I should pass by. But 
I knew that as the sun rose higher, the heated 



228 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

air would flicker and dance over the burning sand, 
and around me would glimmer the mirage, turning 
everything to unreality. A thing a hundred yards 
off seemed but a little prairie-dog, and then like 
a nightmare it suddenly shot up and grew tall the 
rifle, quick ! It is an Indian, a mounted Indian ! But 
the outline shrank, wavered, widened no, it was no 
Indian, it was a grazing buffalo. My heart beat freely 
again, I rode nearer ; the air cleared for an instant 
and the reality was but a lifeless bush of soapweed. 

Illusion, mirage, glamour, what was real ? I 
rode alone ; my horse was real, I was real or were 
we also but shadows in the vain mirage men call 
life ? How strong and clear had been my ambi- 
tions. How well-founded my hopes of winning a 
dark-eyed bride and leading her back to my ranch. 
And how had my cloud-topped palace toppled over ! 
Dreams, all dreams ! Had I ever seen Baldwin at 
all ? What nightmare impotence had kept my 
hand from killing him ? Had he ever existed ? 
Did I exist ? Riding day after day among illusions 
you are hard put to it to be sure you are not your- 
self but a dream. And then I came to a ranch 
near Pope's Crossing, on the boundary line of 
New Mexico, and there I hit the trail of my fugitive. 

A man answering to his description, and riding a 
horse branded with the Bar C, had passed on the 
trail only five days before only five days, thank 
God ! I might yet be in time to head him off. The 
brand on the horse made me sure I had him at last, 
for one of the darkies had noticed that the Arends' 



BACK TRACKS 229 

pack-horse was marked with the Bar C. Yes, 
I was on his trail all right at Pope's Crossing, but 
from there on I lost the scent. What was more 
I could not make many inquiries, for that was a 
time when another hue than that of mud darkened 
the Pecos water ; it was reddened with the blood 
of men. A murderous private war was going on 
between the cattlemen ; and an inquisitive stranger 
ran some risks. In fact, inquisitive or not, a 
stranger was not particularly safe and many a 
night I lay in the dark in my blankets, fearing to 
light the fire that might betray me to some of the 
rustlers. And as I lay I wondered whether Bald- 
win's stout horse and bright, brand-new pistol might 
not have tempted some one to annex them, and 
whether I had lost his trail because death had re- 
moved him out of my way for ever. If he was alive 
and still ahead of me, which direction would he 
have taken ? He might, of course, have gone 
straight on to Las Vegas, where he would be put in 
possession of any information his old scoundrel of 
a father-in-law could give him. But that would 
not be much, for Dolores would never have trusted 
herself back in Don Mauricio's care. There was 
nothing to tempt me to try there ; my best line 
now would be to strike for Albuquerque with the 
hope of meeting Jos6 and Jake Wallack, or at least 
of getting news of them from Nathan Hoffman. 

As I rode into the picturesque old Mexican town 
I looked eagerly from side to side. Who could 
say whom I might not meet ? Any one, perhaps, 



230 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

of the three men I was seeking might be there . . . 
nay, by some possibility even Dolores herself. I 
looked eagerly at the pretty Mexican girls who glided 
past the brown adobe walls, their shawls draped 
coquettishly over their graceful heads pshaw ! 
Did I not know Dolores was a fugitive, in disguise ! 
Yet those rich Southern beauties sent a thrill to 
my heart they reminded me of her. 

I slipped off Rube's back at Hoffman's door. 

" No, Mrs. Baldwin's not been seen around here," 
said friendly Nathan Hoffman in answer to my 
questions, " and Mr. Wallack, when he left here, 
said he had heard nothing of her neither ; and that 
San Carlos story was all wrong too. The captives 
were surrendered by the Apaches, but the lady 
wasn't among them. Mr. Wallack told me to write 
and inquire, and I got their names all right and 
regular, but hers wasn't there. Guess likely she 
never was that way at all." 

" And Jose Ortega ? " I cried anxiously. " He 
was going to San Carlos " 

"I'm afraid that's a bad job," said the store- 
keeper, slowly shaking his head " a very bad job. 
He never got to San Carlos at all. When I inquired 
about the lady I asked if he had been there ; and 
he hadn't ; and more they told me a Mexican had 
been cut up by the Apaches near Fort Grant." 

He stopped, and I stared at him as if I had not 
heard. Then I spoke, but my lips seemed stiff. 

" They didn't say who the Mexican was ? " I said. 
" He wasn't identified ? " 



BACK TRACKS 231 

"No." Hoffman shook his head again. " Not 
likely after the Apaches had carved him. But if 
Ortega were all right he'd have turned up at San 
Carlos or come back here, or he'd have written 
sure." 

I still could say nothing ; somehow I hadn't ex- 
pected this. I had known I might never get back 
alive from Texas, I had hoped to hear Baldwin was 
dead I had even wondered if Dolores were still 
blessing the earth with her presence but Jose* ! So 
keen, so brave, so full of life ! It was impossible 
that he should be dead. I knew of course that he 
was in hourly risk, as we all were, but though I 
knew it I had never realized it. He was so ready, 
so sagacious, I turned to him for counsel and 
guidance as I might to Ad Anderson ; it wasn't 
reasonable that he should fall while I, the tender- 
foot, survived. 

" Frontier luck," said Hoffman, not unsympa- 
thetically. 

" Where is Wallack ? " I asked, pulling myself 
together. 

II Well, his wagons went off Santa Fe* way. He 
may be with his outfit and again he mayn't. He's 
a man always with a lot of business on hand. 
Spiegelbergs' at Santa Fe is the likeliest place to 
hear of him, he does a lot of business with Spiegel- 
bergs'." 

I thanked the good-natured Jew and went away. 
I was still half-dazed. Jose" dead ! the good 
comrade, the faithful pard' , the man for whom I had 



282 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

risked my life, to help him to his love. And then I 
stood still. His love ! the woman he had vowed 
to protect. Who now stood between Dolores and 
her enemies ? Even if the divorce were granted, 
even if Baldwin had been killed by some Pecos 
rustler, Dolores would still be the forlorn victim of 
circumstance in that medieval society no woman 
could stand alone and be safe for an hour. And 
gradually the thought stole into my mind, Dolores 
free Dolores at liberty to choose her protector. 
Who so likely to take up Jos6's guardianship as 
Jos6's friend ? 

For a while would she not trust me as his friend ? 
would she not feel that I looked on her as a sacred 
legacy ? and so she would learn to lean on me. 
She might never care for me as she had for Jos6, 
but our mutual memories of him would be a bond. 
Yes, I was very humble by now, I had taught my- 
self to be second, and I could understand that none 
could ever take the place of her first love ; but 
that love, after all, was but a girlish fancy. Now 
she was a woman she would appreciate other quali- 
ties, less romantic but valuable in their way. I had 
education, wealth, position to offer ; I had been pa- 
tient and faithful, might I not hope for my reward ? 
I was not false to my friend, but my heart began 
to beat faster as I murmured: "My turn nowl 
I may still have to wait months, years, to win her 
heart, but I will win it. I never had a chance till 
now. All I have learned of life will make me wise 
and bold, and the prize shall be mine at last," 



CHAPTER XIX 

UNA VIDA 

" "X 7"ES, I guess the first thing you got to do 

V/ is to find Jake Wallack," said Hoffman 

JL again next morning, " but where he is 

just now is more than I can say. He's a curious 

sort of man, and sometimes for whole weeks no one 

seems to know where he is, and then he'll turn 

up again as cool as a cucumber and wiser than ever. 

You try the Spiegelbergs ; if anybody knows where 

he is, they will." 

The friendly Jew's advice seemed sound, and 
accordingly Rube and I made our way to Santa 
Fe* ; I found the Spiegelbergs willing enough, but 
they could tell me no more of Jake Wallack than 
Hoffman had done. They too said that the traders 
comings and goings were apt to be uncertain, and 
that he had a way of occasionally vanishing, as 
now, clean out of men's sight. Nevertheless, if 
only I would have patience, it was all right ; he 
was perfectly sure to turn up again one of these 
days. 

Patience 1 That was a pretty sort of a virtue to 
preach to me in my restless, anxious uncertainty. 
I was filled with dread now lest Baldwin or those 



234 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

mysterious Mormon friends of his should somehow 
have discovered Dolores* city of refuge, wherever 
it might be, that hiding-place whose secret Fate 
seemed determined to keep from me. 

Of Baldwin himself I learnt nothing, though I 
spent some time in inquiry among the travelling 
teamsters and ranchmen who put up at the various 
Santa Fe corrals ; but none of them had happened 
to encounter any one that looked like the man I 
described riding a Bar C horse. 

Of course he might have played the old trick of 
trading off the stolen horse somewhere along the 
trail, and so be riding another mount now ; and if 
so that extra complication was bound to make the 
finding of the needle in the haystack a more hope- 
less task than ever. 

I was wandering irresolutely across the plaza, 
the reins on Rube's neck, in this disconsolate mood 
when, as happened there once before, my eye fell 
upon an old friend whom I recognized immediately. 
A jet black horse with an American on his back 
came dancing along in the very toniest New Mexi- 
can style, and I knew my own old Darky again in 
a minute, though this time his rider was not Bob 
Williams but a stranger ; Rube and I were along- 
side of him directly. 

" Stylish horse you've got there," I ventured to 
remark to him after passing the time of day. 

"You bet he's a daisy," was the reply, as Darky 
proudly champed his Spanish bit till the white 
flakes of foam dotted his glossy neck, 



UNA VIDA 235 

" If you'll allow me to ask," said I, " I'd like to 
know where you bought him ? " 

' That's more'n I can tell you," said the rider. 
" Fact is, he isn't really my own horse, though he's 
in my possession now. He belongs to an English- 
man who's stopping here in town at present." 

" Ah," said I, " and can you give me the Eng- 
lishman's name ? I think maybe I know him." 

' Well, he calls himself Williams," returned my 
companion cautiously. 

" I know him then," I cried, " a big man, isn't he, 
dark-complexioned with curly black hair ? He used 
to be around in Colorado." 

" You've got it," said the other. " I think likely 
he's got a few creditors there would like to hear 
of him. He got some money out from England a 
short while back, but I guess it's all gone before 
now. Money don't last him long." I wondered if it 
was too late to get my hundred dollars out of him. 
During my long wanderings my stock of ready cash 
had run low. 

" Do you know where' s he's stopping ? " I 
queried eagerly. " Is he at the Planter's House ? 
Don't think I'm here to dun him ; he's an old 
chum of mine." 

" Ah, he's quit the Planter's House," said my 
informant, " and he's keeping quiet now down at 
my corral Arthur's my name, and I keep a corral 
on La Cruces Street. If you want him you'll find 
him right there this minute, I reckon." 

Five minutes later I had hung up my horse at 



286 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Arthur's corral, a great, straggling place built all 
round a large yard like an eastern caravanserai, 
and I was hunting about everywhere for Bob. 
Suddenly, from behind, a stalwart arm was flung 
over my shoulder, I was turned round and my hand 
caught in a warm clasp. 

" Why, Tommy, old man, is that you ? The 
very chap I've been looking everywhere for and 
wanting to see." 

Of course it was Bob, the same old irrepressible 
Bob as ever. 

" Thanks," said I, extricating my ruffled dignity 
from his embrace as well as I could ; " very good 
of you, I'm sure. You were wanting to see me to 
pay me that hundred dollars you owe me for 
Darky, I suppose. I've just told Arthur I wasn't 
going to dun you, but I think I'd better." 

" To pay you a hundred dollars ! " he cried with 
well-feigned astonishment. " But, my dear fellow, 
didn't you get it ? Didn't I send you a cheque for 
it to Crockett City ? " 

" I've not been near Crockett," said I, " and 
never a cheque have I had from you. Come, Bob, 
draw it mild. If you had sent me the money by 
cheque, you know, I'd have sent you a receipt for 
it, and if you ever looked at your own banking 
account you'd know if I'd ever had a chance of 
cashing a cheque of yours ! ' ' 

" My banking account ! " he cried. " Me ! As 
if I ever bothered to go into such things. Not 
rmich, Mary Ann ! No, no, Tommy, old chap. If 



UNA VIDA 28T 

you say I didn't send it you I suppose I didn't. 
Why, now that I think of it, I meant to pay you 
that time I met you and Jos6 here but you went 
off in such a hurry that I had no chance. I swear 
I was awfully sick when I remembered that I had 
let you go off without paying you, old chap, but 
on my word you shall have it the very next time 
I get some cash out from home/' 

There spoke the true-bred remittance man ; it 
was idle to expect him to be other than he was. 

" All right, all right, Bob," said I, " we'll let it 
go at that. I've got more important things to talk 
of. About Jos6, now tell me, have you seen or 
heard anything of him ? ' ' 

Bob cheerfully dropped the subject of his debts. 

" Not a bally sight or sound," said he gaily. " I 
thought he was spreeing around with you some- 
where. There's lots of larks to be had in New 
Mexico for those that know where to look." 

" He and I didn't come here for larks," said I, 
jarred by his flippancy. " We had serious work 
to do, and I'm afraid it has turned out a journey 
of death for him." 

Bob's tone changed. 

"You don't say!" he said. "Poor Jose" t 
That's tough on him. He was a rare hand with 
a lasso, wasn't he ? But you don't seem quite cer- 
tain about it ; weren't you with him, then ? " 

"No," said I, "we had parted, and I was down in 
Texas with Claude and Johnny on the Nueces, where 
we had a tremendous fight with the Comanches ..." 



238 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Scott ! Tommy," interrupted Bob, " what a 
warrior you've turned out ! My word, I'd like to 
have been in it with you. D'you remember that 
night at Easton's ranch ? Oh, well, maybe you and 
I'll find ourselves in a fight together yet." 

" I daresay," said I, resuming as soon as he gave 
me the chance, " but what I was trying to tell you 
was that while I was off down there Jose was mak- 
ing for San Carlos in Arizona, where we were told 
it was just possible he might find the woman who 
had been lost. But he never got there, and I 
learned only two days ago, on my return, that it is 
practically certain that he fell into the hands of 
Apaches and was killed by them near Fort Grant. 
There was a Mexican killed there, that's certain, 
and it's just where he would have been, and the 
description of the body fitted him so far as one can 
say. It's too horrid to talk of, but you know one 
can't often identify the remains where the Apaches 
have been at work. Devils ! " 

" You're right there," said Bob. '' That's what 
they are. But, I say, if the remains couldn't be 
positively identified, how do you know they didn't 
really take Jos6 prisoner, and that man they killed 
might be somebody else ? " 

" Because," I answered, " Apaches never keep 
prisoners, not men-prisoners that is, except to tor- 
ture them the first opportunity, if they haven't 
time to do it on the spot. Every one says that's 
so." 

I was only repeating what I had been told on 



UNA VIDA 289 

the very best authority in Albuquerque, and Bob's 
idea really showed nothing but his entire ignorance 
of Apaches. And yet, I mused . . . supposing 
there should be anything in it .... And like a 
flash I saw how that must affect my latest dream 
of winning Dolores. 

" Of course/' I said reflectively, " if you were 

right But there's no way to find out. It isn't 

possible to go among them to their camps. That 
would only be to tempt Fate and suffer like him." 

" Well now," said Bob, " I'm none so sure he's 
dead, and I've got an idea of my own. I believe 
if he is a prisoner that I know where we might 
conceivably get wind of him. I've been cavorting 
round among Indians myself, not fighting like you, 
Tommy, you old war-horse, but flirting. Fact, I 
assure you. I've found quite a new lot of Indians, 
and they are the most awfully decent fellows. I've 
regularly lived among them for this last month 
or so, until I got my remittance the other day, 
and I've got a little private affair on hand that 
will take me back again there presently. They're 
called the Pueblo Indians, and they're splendid 
chaps, and really quite civilized. Some people 
think they're the same as the old Aztecs." 

" Rot," said I, interrupting. " There never were 
any Aztecs up here, and if there ever were I believe 
the Spaniards killed them all out about four hun- 
dred years ago ! " 

"It's all very well for you to say ' rot/ " re- 
torted Bob resentfully, " and I don't profess to 



240 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

know much about what took place four hundred 
years ago, but I know that they call themselves 
Montezuma Indians, and they're just as different 
from the wild Indians as chalk from cheese. They 
build houses, and grow corn and peaches, and live 
like fighting cocks, and what's more to the point, 
they think the world of me. They're down on the 
Mexicans, you know, but they think no end of 
an American or Englishman." 

" You don't say so ? " I remarked incredulously. 
If Robert stood high in their estimation they must 
be a queer lot, I thought. 

" Oh, but I do say so," retorted Bob indignantly. 
" I believe, Tommy, that just because you've been 
out here a year or two longer than the rest of us 
you think nobody has a right to know anything of 
this western country except yourself. I tell you, 
Americans who have been in this country ever since 
they conquered it from the Mexicans have told 
me that there's no place in all New Mexico where 
a white man is as safe as in one of these villages of 
the Pueblos." 

Absorbed in himself, Bob seemed to have forgotten 
his original point of developing some scheme for 
finding out about Jose*. 

" It's just because a white man is so safe there," 
he continued, " that I went and lived among 
them." He gave me a knowing wink : " The fact 
is, old man," he went on, lowering his voice and 
with a naughty smile playing on his lips, " I've 
been getting into a sad piece of mischief," 



UNA VIDA 241 

It was quite impossible to mistake what sort of 
mischief he wished to convey. There is a self-betray- 
ing fatuousness about a man like Bob when he 
tries to make you understand that the ladies have 
found him irresistible. 

" I'm not going to give any secrets away, you 
know," he continued, glorying in the mystery he 
was making about what was probably some very 
ordinary and vulgar intrigue. " Never kiss and 
tell, old chap honour forbids, you know but 
the result has been that a certain gentleman, whom 
at present I prefer not to name, has got awfully 
down on me, and I've been in great danger from 
some of his agents, for he's much too important a 
person to act himself." How pleased Bob was at 
that phrase! " I was warned, in fact, that I was 
never safe for a minute." 

" You're a perfect hero of romance," said I 
gravely, feeling that my only chance was to play 
up to him. " And so to save your skin you went 
and joined these noble red-men ? Capital plan 1 
How have you got along amongst them ? Married 
as early and as often as possible, I suppose ? Lost 
no time about setting up in business as a patri- 
arch ? " 

" Oh, well," replied Bob, the same fatuous smile 
playing round his lips again, " of course I could 
have if I'd wanted to. They'd have adopted me 
into their tribe and given me as many Indian 
wives as I liked and all that sort of thing. But, 
you see, I had my other little game on, as I hinted 

16 



242 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

to you just now I may say so much it was with 
a certain pretty Mexican girl and I came to the 
conclusion that things would get altogether too 
complicated if I got too thick with the Indians be- 
sides." 

A sudden insane alarm shot through me. Who 
was this pretty Mexican ? There were hundreds 
of pretty Mexican girls, and the odds were enormous 
against Bob having fixed his wandering affections 
on Dolores, but yet yet I could not help feeling 
it was horribly possible. How Bob had chaffed 
about " the pretty boy " when he had met Dolores 
in her disguise ! How like him it would be to take 
advantage of having helped her then ! Of course 
her wretched husband could not be the " important 
person " whose jealousy Bob had awakened, but 
we knew she was coveted by one of the Mormon 
men of position ; that jealousy would be indeed 
dangerous to any rival. It might, oh, it might in- 
deed be possible ! The same irony of fate that had 
made Baldwin meet her and her father there in 
Crockett, while, hard by, the unconscious Jose was 
toiling to win her, might make Bob once again the 
herald of misfortune, the stormy petrel who brought 
bad luck to all who had to do with him. 

' Whereabouts did you say you had been hav- 
ing this gay time ? " I carelessly inquired of Bob. 
It was a very natural question to put ; he need 
not know of my suspicions just yet. 

" Oh, away out west here," he replied a little 
vaguely, " out towards the country of the Apaches. 



UNA VIDA 243 

The wild Indians come in and trade with the Pueblos 
sometimes, and my idea was that we might chance 
to hear of Jose among them." 

His words made me start, for it was out that 
way Jos6 and I had also thought that Dolores might 
have hidden herself. 

"And the lady is pretty, Bob? " I said, still 
playing up and doing my best to look sly. 

" Oh, she is," he replied earnestly. " D'you 
know, I think she's the very prettiest girl I ever saw 
in my life. And that's a good deal to say." 

" And what about this other man who is such 
a swell does he live there too ? " 

' Well, on and off," said Bob with the old fatuous 
smile. " He isn't there all the time. I don't mind 
telling you that he's an American and an old-timer 
here. But he's been off on a trip lately, and when 
the cat's away my chance comes, eh ? " 

" Bob," I said, " I want to ask you something. 
Do be serious. I particularly want you to tell 
me the lady's name." 

" Ah, that's a good deal to ask, old chap," he 
returned. " La Fulana let's call her between 
ourselves. That won't hurt anybody." 

His ridiculously important air recalled our first 
meeting in Crockett and his stories of the Spanish 
Court and the jealousy of a rival, that had been 
the cause of his all-powerful protectress sending 
him off on a mission to Argentina. And now this 
mystery of La Fulana ! La Fulana means simply 
Miss Blank. 



244 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

It was absurd of me to feel so alarmed. Of 
course Bob was a desperately handsome fellow, 
young, tall, strong, and the most amusing scape- 
grace I had ever run across ; but would Dolores 
have resisted the entreaties of poor faithful Jos6 
only to yield to a stranger and a foreigner ? I 
could not believe it for an instant. Yet she was 
very helpless her father still had great power. 
If Bob had been able to gain him over ! 

" I admit it's a good deal to ask, Bob," I con- 
ceded, " and it's highly honourable of you to be so 
careful about her fair fame, but I have a special 
reason for asking. Look here, may I put it in 
another way ? I'll mention a name, and you say 
if I'm wrong. Is it Mrs. Baldwin ? " 

" No, indeed," laughed Bob, and he gave me a 
quizzical look as he did so. ''Did you think it 
was she ? " He laughed again ; my face, I sup- 
pose, betrayed me. 

"Of course I see now what made you think so," 
he added. " But don't you be scared, Tommy. 
You can wire in and try your luck with her as 
much as you like, old chap ; you'll not be poach- 
ing on my preserves." 

" Thank you for nothing," said I sharply. " Only 
you're so infernally mysterious about it all." 

' ' Got to be in an affaire de cceur, my dear boy ; 
got to be," he cried. " But about Jose now. If 
my Pueblo friends can put you on to him, why, all 
right. But if they can't, well, I know of somebody 
who very possibly could, and that is no other than 



UNA VIDA 245 

the individual who does me the honour to be 
down on me on account of a certain lady. He 
bosses all that border country. He has a great 
deal of power, and he knows all that goes on, and 
he makes it his business to know. If there has been 
any news of Jose brought in to any of the settle- 
ments from San Mateo up to Tierra Amarilla he's 
more likely to have heard of it than any man in 
New Mexico. So if you could get at him, you 

see But there's the rub. I'm afraid that my 

introduction wouldn't help you much." 

The smile with which Bob said this was delicious. 

I agreed that under the circumstances perhaps 
it would not. 

" But," continued Bob, " the lady in question 
always keeps me posted as to his whereabouts. 
It's a necessary part of our little game. Now I 
could take you to my good Indian friends at Una 
Vida, and from there you could go and see this 
worthy gentleman (of course saying nothing about 
me), and you could find out if he knows anything 
of Jose or Mrs. Baldwin, or anybody else. You 
wouldn't be running the slightest risk, and it's the 
best plan I can think of." 

I debated the matter with myself. I had the 
very strongest objection to getting mixed up with 
Bob's shady love affairs. At the same time if an 
interview with this mysterious rival of Bob gave 
the remotest chance of finding a clue to poor Jose's 
fate, I could not possibly afford to miss it. 

" All right," said I to Bob, " I don't see what 



246 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

better I can do. I'll go with you, then, as far as 
your Indian allies' village: and then after that 
we'll be independent of each other." 

" Right you are," said Bob ; " that's the ticket. 
I'm quite game to start now, for I've had as much 
of Santa Fe as will do me for one while. So glad 
to be of service to you. But I say, Tommy, old 
man," he continued with demonstrative cordiality 
as we rose to make preparations for a move, " just 
let me have ten dollars to get Darky out of this 
corral, if you don't mind. I'm owing Arthur here 
two weeks' stabling for him." 

He was the same old Bob as ever. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 

ON the third evening Bob and I rode into 
the Indian pueblo of Una Vida, a nest of 
flat-topped houses rising in terraces one 
above the other. It was admirably planned for 
defence, for few of the houses could be entered 
save by climbing a ladder to the terraced roof 
and entering by the top instead of the bottom of 
the dwellings. Bob had been in luck to find such 
a place of refuge, and such a host as his particular 
friend Sebastiano, a stalwart, courteous Indian, clad 
picturesquely in loose, cotton garments with a 
striped blanket draped toga-wise over all. He 
bade us welcome and feasted us with the best his 
house could afford. After supper Bob took him 
aside and asked some question, and then came 
running back to where I was seated. 

"He was actually down here to- day," he ex- 
claimed in great excitement, " and now he's quite 
close by at Cabralcito, the Mexican village." 

" Who ? " I asked, startled. 

"Why, the man I told you about," answered 
Bob, " the man you ought to see and that I 
needn't," he added half aside. " I don't mind 

247 



248 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

telling you now who he is. His name is Jake 
Wallack." 

" Jake Wallack ! " I shouted, springing to my feet. 
" Why, of course I want him, I've been hunting 
him all over the place ! " 

Bob laughed. 

" You seem to have lost a good many people," 
he said. " First Mrs. Dolores, then Baldwin, then 
Jos6, and then Jake Wallack ! I'm pleased to hear 
you are fond of him ! I'm not ! " 

" Oh, nonsense," said I. " Jake Wallack has 
been helping me all along and making inquiries 
for me. I want him to tell me where I'd best try 
now. It's the most extraordinary luck to drop 
on him here ! " 

" Well," said Bob, " so long as it's you and not 
me I don't care. You'll find him right enough at 
Cabralcito. There's a big function up there to- 
morrow, and he's sure to be swelling around." 

"But can't I see him to-night?" I exclaimed 
eagerly. If he could tell me where Dolores was, 
how quick I would fly to her side ! 

" Don't you try it," hastily answered Bob. 
' Take it easy for to-night and ride in to-morrow. 
It might spoil his digestion if you bounced in on 
him after supper ..." 

" Oh, quit fooling, Bob," cried I, losing all pa- 
tience. " When it's a matter of life and death . . ." 

" Right you are," he assented. " And mind 
you, I'm taking some risks myself, so don't you go 
and give me away to him. I'll say no more than 



THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 249 

this : I know that Wallack is engaged to-night. 
If you go and interrupt him he'll be extremely 
angry, and you won't have the faintest chance of 
getting out of him what you want. Leave him 
alone till to-morrow. Then he'll be at leisure to 
talk to you ; Sebastiano will put you on the right 
road. Meantime I have my own business to at- 
tend to." And he started to the door. 

He paused there with his hand on the string and 
looked back at me : a strange flush glowed on his 
handsome face. 

' You learned some poetry, Tommy, at Oxford," 
he said. " Do you know this ? " And he raised his 
right hand as if drinking a toast. 

" To the splendour caught from the Southern skies 
That shone in the depths of her glorious eyes, 
Her large eyes wild with the fire of the South, 
And the dewy wine of her warm, red mouth. 

" Ah, you don't know yet what that means, old 
fellow ! " He turned and was gone. 

" Perhaps he will return soon, perhaps no," said 
our host, in Spanish. " That is the way he did 
before," and the Indian's mouth broadened into 
a meaning laugh. " But he ought not to have gone 
to-night," he continued. " Cabralcito no good 
place for strangers to-night, not very safe " 

" Probably that's just why he has gone," said 
I. " It's more amusing to him if it's risky." 

" I think so too," said Sebastiano with a shrug. 
Certainly the plot was thickening and people were 
showing themselves in unexpected lights. Who 



250 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

would have dreamed of the elderly Mr. Wallack 
philandering after a Mexican girl in rivalry with 
Bob Williams ! I laughed, the position was only 
fit for a Christmas pantomime with pantaloon and 
clown on the stage ! 

It was hours before I slept, there in the house of 
my Indian host, comfortable as it was. My mind 
kept running on the morrow and what it might 
hold for me ... and her. 

Morning came at last, but Bob had not yet re- 
turned. Sebastiano, however, seemed to think it 
was all right. Bob's comings and goings were 
always uncertain, he said. And after all Bob and 
I had agreed to be independent of each other. 

" What house shall I find Mr. Wallack at ? " I 
asked as I swung myself into my saddle. 

"Who knows where he is ? " said Sebastiano 
vaguely. " He comes when he likes, and he goes 
when he likes." Then he lowered his voice and 
became mysterious. " Much people to-day in 
Cabralcito. Mexicans do much foolishness there 
to-day. If you go round the town you sure find 
Mr. Wallack among Mexicans." 

Of what he meant by the Mexicans doing foolish- 
ness I had not the ghost of an idea. But he refused 
to be more explicit as he showed me the trail to 
Cabralcito, and assured me that it was only " a 
small, small journey." I should be there before 
the sun was " so high," and he pointed to a spot 
in the south-eastern sky about half way between 
the horizon and the zenith. 



THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 251 

A ride of an hour and a half brought me to 
Cabralcito. 

It lay in a canon amid the high mesas, and the 
blazing sun poured down upon its huge encircling 
precipice walls and on its dusty little squares of 
ploughed ground between the irrigating ditch and 
river, as it had done any time during the last three 
hundred years. Cabralcito was one of the most 
isolated valleys of New Mexico ; its inhabitants 
had more of the Indian than the Spaniard in their 
blood, and during all those three hundred years 
they and their forefathers had lived so completely 
out of the world that they were now nothing less 
than a fossil stratum of the Middle Ages. 

As I neared the village of sun-dried brick on that 
bright morning in April I could see quite a number 
of people standing about, apparently watching 
something that was going on. Through the intervals 
in the crowd I caught glimpses of what I took to be 
a white animal dragging itself along with a curious 
gait. 

" Now what can they be up to this time ? " I 
asked myself. "Is it some wretched bull-calf 
they're busy tormenting, or what ? " Then as I 
came closer I caught for one moment a full view of 
the object. It was a human being walking half- 
crouched, dragging first one leg and then the other 
after it. The creature wore voluminous white 
drawers and had its whole head tied up in a white 
bag ; for the rest it was naked, and its back was 
red. As it took each long, dragging step forward 



252 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

I saw it raise both hands to one shoulder with a 
jerk and a knotted bloody scourge fell with a 
whish-h-h on the scarified back. 

" Good heavens ! " said I, " this must be self- 
torture going on. I always thought these people 
were capable of a good deal, but who would have 
dreamed of this ? Why, there are lots of them at 
it. Here are half-a-dozen self-torturers in a gang." 
Sure enough there was a string of these ghastly 
figures, flogging themselves, a yard or two apart, 
in each other's wake, across the little plaza of the 
village. It was evident that the white bag which 
enveloped each head and acted effectually as a 
mask was transparent enough to let each see suffi- 
ciently well to be able to follow the figure in front 
of him. In front of the foremost walked a man in 
ordinary dress, with no bag on his head, and he 
held a book open in his hands, from which he 
read or pretended to read (for I thought the book 
was held upside down) some mumbling litany or 
other. Now I understood what Sebastiano meant 
when he talked so mysteriously of the Mexicans 
doing foolishness. 

Among the lookers-on I caught sight of Jake 
Wallack. He had the air of a critical sight-seer to 
whom the thing was no novelty. 

" Mr. Wallack ! " I cried, "I am so glad to find 
you again ! " 

He started violently and stared at me as I rode 
up, holding out my hand. 

" Hullo ! " he said, " you here ? So you've 



THE PENITENTES OP CABRALCITO 258 

come to see the show. I shouldn't have thought 
it in your line." 

" No, I came to see you. I have so much to tell 
you, and to ask," I cried eagerly. 

" I'm afeard it must keep a bit," he said in some 
confusion. " I'm here on several sorts of business, 
and I must attend to these here Mexican friends of 
mine, or their feelin's will be hurt. But I'll see 
you by-and-bye," he added, as if he realized he had 
been the reverse of cordial. 

" Yes, but, Mr. Wallack, I must ask Can you 
tell me anything of the sefiora Dolores or of Jos6 
Ortega ? You remember how you sent him to 
San Carlos to look for her, but he never got there. 
Hoffman wrote to ask about him and was told that 
a Mexican, supposed to be Jos6, had been murdered 
by the Apaches near Fort Grant. He's not been 
seen since." 

"Oh, I reckon he's all right," said Wallack care- 
lessly. " Very likely he's found his girl and gone 
off with her somewheres." 

" What I Dolores ? " I exclaimed. " You have 
heard of her, then ? " 

" No, I haven't," he returned, speaking very short, 
" not of him nor her. I said I thought it likely 
they'd met. But I ain't got no time to attend to 
these affairs to-day if you like to keep alongside 
of me and admire this show, why all right, but one 
thing at a time's my motto." 

" Yes," said I reluctantly. 

Of course I had no right to Wallack' s time and 



254 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

attention, and if I bothered him out of season with 
my anxieties it was quite possible that he would 
drop me altogether ; so I began to play the part 
of intelligent sightseer with the best grace I could 
muster. Anything to keep him in a good temper. 

" What does all this mean, anyhow ? " I said. 

" Why, don't you know ? " he answered. " Why, 
them thar's the Penitent es of course.'* 

" But who are they ? what on earth are they doing 
it for?" 

He hesitated and then spoke rather slowly. It 
struck me he was making up his mind just how 
much to tell me. 

" They're just taking it out of their own hides," 
he answered, " to pay for all their sins for years 
past. They need it too, some of 'em," he continued, 
" need it bad, they do." 

He paused reflectively and gave me a quick, 
suspicious glance. Then apparently he decided to 
enlighten me a little further, and he went on : 

" Now just you look at that son of a gun thar', 
that's walking number two. He ain't letting into 
himself not one quarter as bad as he deserves. 
I wish I was behind him with my black-snake whip. 
I'd split that dirty hide of his for him a deal worse 
nor he's doing. Dad burn me ef I don't believe 
that he's the skunk that stole my grey mule 
up Conejos way. I can't see his mug for the blamed 
rag he's got wropped round it ; but it's the exact 
make of him." 

Jake's manner was growing more easy ; evi- 



THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 255 

dently he preferred talking of Penitentes to talking 
of Dolores. I went on with my questions. 

"Do they do this extraordinary game often ? " I 
said, " and who settles whose turn it is to get the 
whip?" 

" Ah," said he mysteriously, " I can tell you 
about that. They do this thing once every year, 
just before Easter : thar's a big secret society of 
'em all through this country. They call themselves 
Hermanos, Brothers, just like the Freemasons, with 
passwords, and secret lodges, and so forth. They 
know each other, but outsiders don't know them. 
Why, two-thirds of these folks that's looking on, 
and some of 'em sniggering and cutting jokes on 
'em, is Penitentes too. That's the sort of way they 
like to pretend. But, you bet, they've got the 
marks of the whip on their backs half of 'em. I 
ain't no Penitent e, me," he added, looking at me 
sideways with a curious grin on his face, " not ef 
I knows it, I ain't, but I know some as is pretty 
well, and I've heard a lot about it. I can tell you 
this much : they all take it by turns who's to 
get whopped, and they all have got to take it 
when it comes to their turn, too, some time or 
another. But they keep mighty dark about it 
when they do. That's how they come to have their 
heads tied up so that you can't tell who's who. I 
can make a dashed close guess though myself," 
and he grinned at me again knowingly, with the 
grin of the old hand who knows the ropes. 

We followed slowly with the crowd in the rear 



256 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

of the procession of self-torturers which filed along 
down the valley, the whish-whish of the falling 
lashes never ceasing for a moment. 

" Where are they bound for ? " I inquired. " Do 
you happen to know ? " 

" Wai," he answered meditatively, " they may 
be going out to their Calvary. There's a big pile 
of stones you may have noticed on a little hill 
below the village with three or four great crosses 
of logs nailed together laying around loose, or else 
I reckon likely they're making for the shrine of 
Santa Guadalupe over yonder. Thar's a great long 
weather-stain over thar', up the face of that big cliff, 
that looks part like a human, and these damphool 
idjits swear as it's a miraculous image of their 
patron saint, and they go and flog 'emselves all 
the way down thar' and back again. You'll see, 
they'll have the blood down to their heels before 
they get back ; and then they'll go into their lodge, 
and you'll not see any more of 'em until another 
gang of 'em goes to make a fresh start. Ef you stay 
on a bit likely you may see some women Penitentes 
come out." 

" Never ! " cried I. " You don't mean to tell 
me that the women here do such a thing as that ? " 

" But I do mean it," he replied positively ; 
" thar's women in all the lodges, and they take 
their little dose of whish-whish " he imitated the 
sound of the scourges falling on raw flesh that still 
unceasingly assaulted our ears " just the same as 
the men folks." I suppose he thought I looked 



THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 257 

shocked, for he went on quickly: " Of course they 
hang a bit of rag in front of 'em for decency's sake, 
but they give it themselves all down their backs 
with them soap weed scourges just like you see these 
men a-doing it ; nor there ain't no shananagan 
about it neither. The women do most everlast- 
ingly welt themselves to strips ; they do so. More 
fools they, sez I." 

Mr. Wallack had certainly a queer lot of friends 
among the Mexicans. Bob's talk about him had 
made me begin to look at him under a new light. 

"You seem to me to know an uncommon lot 
about it, Mr. Wallack," I said, and as I spoke I 
caught sight of a vivid streak of scarlet on his 
wrist only half concealed by his sleeve. His quick 
eye saw that I had detected it. 

" It's a pity if I don't," he laughed. " I hain't 
been trading up and down this country for ten 
years for nothing. And I can get anything I want 
to know out of the women. Now, just you look at 
here," and he bared his arm and showed the red 
streak that had roused my curiosity. It was a long, 
angry-looking, half-healed scratch, as if made by 
a cat with one claw. " Would you like to know 
how I got that ? " 

" Of course I would," I naturally replied. 

" Wai then," said Jake, " thar's a gurl round 
here, La Fulana will do for a name for her between 
ourselves." I jumped ; could this be the lady 
about whom Bob had been so mysterious ? It 
was odd that the two men should allude to a girl 

17 



258 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

without giving her real name. " Wai, she's sorter 
friendly with me. And only last week I was look- 
ing on here at this same tomfoolery, and I'm 
jiggered ef I didn't see four women come out of 
the lodge over thar' and start off towards Santa 
Guadalupe, all a-doing of their fancy flogging of 
themselves in style. All of 'em had their heads 
tied up in bags ; but I knowed which of 'em was 
La Prieta La Fulana, that is and she was just 
a-letting into herself like fury. 'Course, I couldn't 
say nuthin' to her right thar' these folks 'Id have 
torn me into little pieces ef I'd dared to interfere 
but I made out to see her next day, and you better 
believe I gave her a talking to. She owned up to 
it to me she couldn't help herself, you under- 
stand- but when I slated her for it she cried, and 
promised she wouldn't do it no more. But now 
you'll never be able to believe this she just swore 
to me that it never hurt her none when she was 
doing it, swore she rather liked it, in fact. Now did 
you ever hear the like of that ? " 

" Yes, I have," I returned promptly. " I've 
heard of a man being burnt at the stake for his 
religion, and washing his hands in the flame, as if 
he rejoiced at getting rid of his sinful body. Some 
people can feel that way, they say." 

" Durned ef I could," said he ; " but when I 
axed her how they could flog themselves till the 
blood came without it hurting she told me that 
they slit their skins first with flint knives to make 
it run free." 



THE PENITENTES OF CABRALCITO 259 

" Like the prophets of Baal who gashed them- 
selves with knives and with lancets," I murmured ; 
but the remark was lost upon Jake, who wasn't up 
in Old Testament lore, and he went on without 
noticing my interruption : 

" ' Lemme show you how,' sez she, and with that 
she took hold of my hand here with her left, and 
slipped her other into the bosom of her gownd, and 
whipped out a little piece of black flint like a bit 
of broken glass. And then she just drawed it like 
lightning acrost the back of my wrist, here, where 
you see the mark, and slit the skin in a moment, 
and, of course, the blood flowed. And then she 
looked up into my face half laughing, half crying, 
and sez she, 'Now you're a Penitent e too.' ' The 
blazes I am/ sez I. ' Not much, Mary Ann. You 
can't rope me in for no Penitente like that. I'll 
just trouble you, young woman, to mop up that 
blood and say no thin' about it to nobody. I don't 
want none of your Penitente friends to come 
a-crucifying me next week." 

" Crucifying 1 " I exclaimed in amazement. 
" You don't mean to say they go as far as that ? " 

" Yes, but I do mean it," Jake retorted. " That's 
what their crosses is for that you see down to 
their Calvary. It's- the end of Lent now. They'll 
crucify somebody sure to-night. They allers do. 
Sometimes the chap dies of it and sometimes he 
don't. I'm going to be thar' myself to look on, 
but I don't propose to iurnish the corpse, not 
exactly. But there's queer going's on among 



260 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

these people, and I'll own I was took aback to see 
you come among 'em just now. They know me 
and I know them, so I'm all right here ; but some- 
times if they see strangers about at their grand 
function they turn nasty. Say, whar's you stop- 
pin' ? " 

" At the Indian town of Una Vida," I said. 

" Wai," said Jake earnestly, " I do wish as you'd 
go right back thar' and stop quiet for the next 
day or two. And as soon's I can I'll make out to 
come and see you thar'. I've a raft of things to 
say to you, but 'tisn't safe by a long way for you 
to be hanging round here. Jest you put out for 
Una Vida, and as soon's things are quiet here I'll 
give you the word." 



CHAPTER XXI 
APACHE AMMUNITION 

WAS Mr. Wallack really anxious for my 
safety, I wondered, as I rode dispiritedly 
back to Una Vida, or was he merely tired 
of helping us ? He was a business man and there 
was not much money to be made out of us. It 
was natural that he should be unwilling to waste 
his valuable time on what, after all, was of no real 
interest to him, or was he ? 

Ah ! Had he planned this surprise ? And with 
a shout of recognition I spurred forwards towards a 
shabby, ragged man on a very sorry steed who was 
riding slowly down the main street of Una Vida. 

" Jose ? " I cried, as to one risen from the dead. 
" Jos6 ? " Impossible ! It was i And I am glad 
to remember that no thought of my shattered cloud- 
paradise checked the leap of joy with which I 
darted forward to meet my friend. In that first 
moment the master-feeling in my heart was the 
deep-rooted sense of comradeship, and the glad 
words of welcome sprang of themselves from my 
lips. It was not till later that I felt the stab of 
renunciation, as I recognized that Dolores must 
be his, not mine, and beheld the ruin of my hopes. 

361 



262 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Jose* ! " I cried again, " why, man, I am 
glad ! " and I sprang to the ground and ran to- 
wards him. 

In an instant the warm-hearted Mexican was of! 
his horse, and his arms were round me in a demon- 
strative southern hug. 

" Well ! this is most wonderful ! " said I. "By 
George, I can't believe it ! I wonder if that old 
fox Wallack knew you were to be in Una Vida and 
sent me back on purpose ! " 

" No one knew I was here," answered Jos6. " Mr. 
Wallack has not seen me since that time near 
Albuquerque ; I did not know you were here 
either." 

" It's more than extraordinary," I cried ; " then 
did you just happen here by chance ? " 

" No," said Jose", " I have come to find her, 
Dolores ; she is at Cabralcito." 

Great Heavens ! had a spirit in our feet led both 
of us to the place where she was hiding ! But had 
not Wallack lied to me ? For if she was at Cabral- 
cito he must surely be aware of it, 

" How did you know ? " I cried. 

" I was at San Mateo coming out of the Apache 
country, a week ago, and there I met Ramon 
Archuleta ; I knew him very well when we were 
boys, and he told me that his father, Don Tomas, 
who lives here, had heard we were making in- 
quiries, you and me, about Dolores, and he was 
very much vexed, because he had got Dolores 
here safely hidden, and she was living in his house 



APACHE AMMUNITION 263 

under his name, so that no one should know who 
she really was, and the questions we were asking 
would make people suspect, and she would have 
to run away again. Don Tomas is a very good 
man, and has great power here ; if any one can 
protect her it is he/' 

" Well done, Don Tomas," cried I, " for she may 
yet need to be protected, and it's all my fault. Oh, 
Jose", I have to confess it, I have played the silly 
goat. I found Baldwin down in Texas on the 
Nueces, and instead of killing him as I ought and 
meant to have done, I rescued him from the 
Comanches, and he has rewarded me by giving me 
the slip. But there's this much comfort I've 
found out that he's got a divorce from Dolores 
down there, so that she's legally free at last." 

" I'm mighty glad to hear that," broke in Jose, 
" for now I've got the money to send to the Pope." 

" You've got it ? " I cried, amazed. " But how 
on earth ..." 

" Let's come a little way off from the houses and 
talk where we'll be quite sure there's no one to 
overhear us," said he. 

We left our horses and moved a few hundred 
yards away to a little bluff that overlooked the 
valley, and there we sat down on the dry, sandy 
soil. 

"Not much wonder you couldn't find me," said 
he. " I've been a prisoner among the Apaches." 

I stared. 

" You ! a prisoner among the Apaches ! and 



264 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

alive to tell the story ! That's why you didn't go 
to San Carlos. Hoffman wrote there to ask about 
you, and they told him you had been killed by the 
Apaches." 

" I never went there," answered Jose quietly. 
" Two days after you left me that boy came again 
riding after me very fast from Mr. Wallack. He 
says he knows for sure that Dolores is a captive 
among the Mogollon Apaches, and they do not 
mean to give her up. So I did not go to San 
Carlos at all, but I bought a dozen bottles of 
whisky ; I knew that Indians are all mad for 
whisky." 

" Penitentiary offence to give it to them," I 
murmured. I was really so hysterical I must 
laugh or go off my head. 
He went on quietly. 

" I took that whisky and went to look for those 
Apaches." 

" But, man alive ! " I cried, " it was walking 
to certain death ! " 

" What good was it I should stay alive if she was 
a captive ? I thought I'd see if I could save her ; 
if not I'd shoot her and that would be the end. 
I found an Apache, seven feet high, a regular giant. 
He is a great chief among them, son of that Manga 
Colorada they called ' The Terror.' " 

I nodded. I had often heard of Manga Colorada, 
the Apache Terror. 

" Well, I met him, and I gave him the whisky, 
and that made him very friendly, but he would not 



APACHE AMMUNITION 265 

tell me if he'd got any more Mexican captives 
in his camp or not. Then he showed me his gun, 
there was something wrong with it. I asked him 
if he had any tools to mend it with. He said he 
got plenty in his camp. So I went with him to his 
camp away up in the roughest country I ever was 
in, up in the Sierra Mogollon, but there were no 
captives there at all, and then he said he'd never 
heard tell of any but the three women who had 
been given up to General Crook. But I fixed his 
gun for him good, and then I saw what you think 
I saw ? You'd never guess what he had for bullets 
for that gun." His eyes shone with the look of 
a man who has a wonderful secret to tell. 

" Don't be too sure I can't guess," I cried ; 
" there's a poem of Joaquin Miller's that tells how 
he went prospecting for 

' The far-famed spot where Apaches shot 
With bullets of gold their buffalo.' " 

' I never heard that," said Jos6, a little put out 
at my anticipation of his secret. " But it's true ; 
all that those Apaches do with gold is to make 
bullets of it, and the chief had a pouchful of them, 
and he told me he'd give me some when I had 
mended his gun." 

" Well," I cried, for he paused, " go ahead. I 
remember now it was in the Mogollons that Don 
Mauricio yarned about finding gold the first time 
ever I saw him. And did the giant chief give you 
any ? " 



266 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

For answer Jos6 stood up and walked a little 
back from the edge of the bluff and signed to me 
to follow. As soon as we were out of sight of the 
pueblo and alone under the sky, he said abruptly : 

" Give me your hand." 

I held it out, and he took it, and standing close 
to me passed it under his coat. I felt a sort of 
hard, thick lump on his back. 

" You feel that ? " said he, looking at me again 
with those gleaming eyes that proclaimed a mystery 
to which he held the key. 

" Well, rather/' said I, " of course I feel it." 

He let go my hand and looked round. There 
was no one in sight and no probability of any one 
appearing within any ordinary length of time. 

" I guess I can show you here all safe," said he. 

He slipped his hands under his clothes and pro- 
duced a thick buckskin belt like a sort of huge 
sausage. He undid a neat lacing at one end, and 
then he spread his coat on the ground and de- 
liberately spilled the contents of the belt into it. 
Out came literally a whole stream of gold bullets 
about the size of big buck-shot, some larger and 
some smaller. Down I went on my knees and 
with my joined palms scooped up a double handful 
of this amazing ammunition. 

" Mind you don't drop any," said the Mexican 
anxiously ; " those bullets are worth a good ten 
dollars each." 

So they were. There was near half an ounce of 
gold in most of them and a good deal more in some, 



APACHE AMMUNITION 267 

They were not cast but made of nuggets of soft, 
pure gold, chopped up, hammered rudely into shape, 
and then rolled till they were round between two 
flat stones. 

I let them pour through my fingers back into 
the coat, but I could not keep my hands off them, 
and scooped up another lot to gloat over. 

" Jose," I cried, " you have struck it this time | 
I never saw such gorgeous gold. Did your Apache 
give you these ? What a noble Indian ! I never 
would have believed it ! " 

Jose smiled. 

" Oh, well," he said, " that wasn't exactly the 
way of it. When I had fixed his rifle for him he 
did give me some bullets, just two or three. But 
the other Apaches were very angry with him for 
having shown the place where they lived, and they 
wouldn't let me go ; they kept me prisoner there 
for many weeks, and I had to mend all their old guns 
and pistols for them." 

' Well," said I, " you put in your time at a 
pretty high rate if they gave you all the gold you 
could carry for your services ! Why, you must 
have the value of near ten thousand dollars here." 

" That's what I reckon it at," said Jose, " but it's 
no thanks to the Indians. They didn't pay me 
anything for mending their guns. They only told 
me they'd peel my scalp and cut me in little bits 
if I didn't do their work. So you may bet I 
worked pretty hard for them ! Some of them old 
pistols were awful bad : nobody could mend them 



268 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

up properly, but I had to do my best. One time, 
when I couldn't make an old pistol work, the man 
it belonged to stuck arrows into me about half 
an inch." 

I shivered. 

" Good heavens," said I, " you have had a time 
of it ! And how in the world have you got away 
from the beasts at last ? Did Crook hear of you ? " 

"Oh no," said the Mexican, " I had to do it 
myself. I played a game with them : I pretended 
I loved them all very much, and rather enjoyed 
having arrow points stuck into me just for fun. 
And at last, about two weeks ago, almost all the 
men went off somewhere ; I don't know where they 
went, but I suppose they were going to steal sheep 
and horses, going to kill people too, very likely. I 
had to stay with the squaws and just a few old 
men who were left on guard. Now near the camp 
I had come on a plant that in my country we know 
very well, yerba de locura. The seed of it makes 
you stupid, just as if you were drunk. I kept some 
of this handy and I watched my chance, and I 
put it in the pot, and all the Apaches went to sleep 
for a good while except one. There was one Apache 
stayed awake, for he was on the look-out almost 
all the time, and he never came in to eat with the 
others. So I went out after him : he was the Apache 
who stuck arrows into me about half an inch. I 
found him on guard, and told him to come in to 
supper. He said he'd come presently, so I went 
up to him and asked him what he was watching. 



APACHE AMMUNITION 269 

He said he was watching everything. So then I 
pointed very sudden down the canon and called 
out ' What's that ? ' and when he looked where 
I pointed I knocked him flat. Then I tied his hands 
behind him and I went back to camp and got all 
the gold bullets I could find and some grub. I made 
him carry the grub and the bullets on his back and 
show me the way. When he didn't want to go 
I stuck one of his arrows into him about half an 
inch. Then he went quite peaceably. I made him 
show me the secret trails out of the Sierra Mogollon 
and bring me across here to the border of New Mexico. 
I never untied his hands. He brought me right 
to the Pueblo de Zuni, and I gave him to the Zufii 
Indians : they'll keep him for awhile, I guess. 
Very likely they'll make him work for them for a bit. 
But they're afraid of the Apaches, and I expect 
they'll let him go back to his own country pretty 
soon. And then at Zuni I got a horse ; the Zuni 
Indians only let me have a very poor horse, but he 
brought me out to San Mateo ; and then, of course, 
when Don Ramon told me that Dolores is at his 
father's house, I came straight on here." 

He told his story so simply that for a little I 
could hardly realize the marvel of it. 

" Well," I cried at last, " Jos6, you are a wonder ! 
You are the first man I ever heard of who has 
scored off an Apache ! But I say, the Indians are 
perfect fiends for revenge. Won't they try to hunt 
you down ? They might follow your trail, I 
suppose ? " 



270 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Oh, they won't do that," said Jos6 confidently. 

' There are too many people in these parts, here 

and at Cabralcito. Cabralcito's pretty full just 

now," he added significantly. He knew about the 

Penitente business. 

" Oh, yes," I laughed, " I saw some of the show 
there this morning. Have you come along hot- 
foot to take your part ? " 

He looked at me so seriously as I said this that 
an awful alarm seized me. 

" By Jove, Jose"," I broke out, " you don't mean 
that you are a Penitente yourself ! Hang it all, 
man, you can't be such an idiot." 

There was a grimly sardonic smile on his face as 
he met my question square. 

" No," he said, " you bet I'm no Penitente. But 
I'm afraid of them. When they have a great 
function on like this bad men can do many things 
under cover of their disguise. I hope Dolores is 
not in Cabralcito to-night. Very likely Don Tomas 
will have hidden her further away. But if she is 
here, this is just the time those Mormon friends 
of Baldwin's might try to run her off." 

I groaned : were our troubles not over yet ? 

" Mr. Wallack," said I, " certainly swore he didn't 
know of her being here when I saw him up in Cab- 
ralcito this morning. But he said, like you, that 
Cabralcito wasn't healthy for outsiders just now, 
and he was very anxious on my account that I 
should hurry back here." 

" I wonder what he is doing there," ruminated 



APACHE AMMUNITION 271 

Josd. "He is no Mexican ; why should he stop 
around ? " 

" He told me he had friends to see and business 
to get through," I answered. 

" I don't understand," answered Jose\ " Mr. 
Wallack is a very strange man. Why did he send 
me that message to take me to the Mogollons ? 
Why did he say what was not true ! And what is 
he doing here ? It's all very queer. I don't like 
it at all." 

" Well," said I, " this is a queer sort of country, 
anyhow." 

" They're a very dangerous people here to fool 
with, I tell you," said Jose, " and I don't see why 
Mr. Wallack is mixed up with them." 

" By Jove," exclaimed I, " suppose, now, that 
his getting me to leave Cabralcito and come back 
down here has something to do with Bob ! I hadn't 
thought of that." 

"What Bob?" inquired Jose", "not Bob 
Williams ? " 

" The same," said I. " The original and only 
Bob. Oh, yes : he's here. It would take a week 
to tell you all he's been up to. But after all it's 
he who brought me to Una Vida, for he had an 
idea that we might hear something of you from the 
Indians, so I owe him a good turn for that. But 
he's got a game on here of his own that I don't 
care much about. He's getting into mischief as 
usual. He says he is Jake Wallack' s rival in the 
affections of some lady ! He has been stopping in 



272 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

this pueblo, because he thought he would be safe 
here from Wallack, but the idiot went off yesterday 
evening, and he hasn't turned up again." 

"If Mr. Bob has taken a girl from Jake Wallack," 
said Jose, " he'd better look out. Mr. Wallack 
would never stop there in Cabralcito to-night unless 
he is friends with the Penitentes, and if he gets the 
Penitentes to fix Mr. Bob, I tell you they'll put him 
through. Those people who ain't afraid to skin 
their own backs don't stop at anything." 

I was startled. 

" By Jove," cried I, "I shouldn't wonder if 
that's what it all means ! I'll bet Jake Wallack 
has got some scheme on to serve out this blessed 
idiot by means of the Penitentes, and that's why he 
sent me back here in such a hurry out of the way, 
so that I should not be on the spot to interfere. 
Confound Bob Williams ! He really is enough to 
drive anybody wild ; he's always mixing himself 
up in some row or other and letting his friends in. 
It was all through him that poor Ed got killed, 
and then it was the mess he made of that lynching 
business that brought Baldwin down to New Mexico 
instead of being shipped north to the railroad. 
Now, next thing, we shall get these infernal Peni- 
tentes down on us. For if they have got hold of 
him we can't chuck him and leave him at their 
mercy." 

" I'll tell you what I think will be our best plan," 
said Jos6, " that is if you like to do it. Let us wait 
till it's dark and then go straight to Don Tomas's 



APACHE AMMUNITION 278 

house. He's no Penitent e, but all the same he's 
a big man among the Cabralcito people; he'll tell 
us what we'd best do about Mr. Bob." 

" And maybe you'll see some one there you want to 
see ? " I laughed ; yes, I laughed. Had I not told 
myself that I would take my medicine ! 

" Maybe," he answered ; " but before I met you 
my first idea was to wait till to-morrow, for Don 
Tomas will not want visitors to-night. A man 
who is no Penitente wants to keep very quiet when 
they are at work. So I thought I'd go to-morrow 
morning, and show him the gold I have got, and 
prove that I am a rich man now, and that I can pay 
for sending to get the Pope to make Dolores free ; 
but it won't do to wait if Mr. Bob has got into this 
trouble. It may be a very bad job." 

" Right," said I. " Then at nightfall we move/' 



18 



CHAPTER XXII 
DISCOVERIES 

THE streets of Cabralcito were silent and 
deserted as Jose* and I rode into the little 
town underthe bright stars of aNew Mexican 
sky. The blank walls of the adobe houses looked 
inhospitable, and no light gleamed behind the 
wooden shutters of the windows. 

We stopped before the large doors that closed 
the roofed gateway into the casa of Don Tomas 
Archuleta and knocked. All was silent save that 
very far away down the valley the wind brought 
a vague sound like church music. We knocked 
again, and a step inside was followed by the door 
being opened about two inches while a man's voice 
asked : 

"Quienes?" 

" I beg of you to say to Don Tomas Archuleta 
that Jos6 Ortega entreats very earnestly to speak 
with him," said Jose in Spanish. " I am here with 
my companero, Senor Thompson." 

The door closed and we waited on in the dark. 
Then the footsteps returned and the voice said : 
" Enter, senores," and the doors were opened suffi- 
ciently wide for us to lead our horses in and were 

274 



DISCOVERIES 275 

promptly shut and bolted behind us. The man 
picked up his lantern and piloted us across a court- 
yard to an open door, from which a faint light shone, 
and then we entered, while our guide led away the 
horses. 

" You are welcome, senores/' said a dignified 
old gentleman advancing. " I beg of you to enter." 
And he led us into a sitting-room simply enough 
furnished with a small table and a divan. Plain 
as was the whitewashed wall, the door and wooden 
shutters were heavily carved, and a silver figure of 
a saint was enthroned in a niche in a corner. 

When we were seated our host looked at us ex- 
pectantly. He was grey-haired and grey-bearded, 
but his black eyes had the masterfulness and 
energy of the prime of life. 

" This is not a happy time to visit our town, 
sefiores," he said at last. " Doubtless some press- 
ing business has brought you ? " 

Certainly Cabralcito was not a genial spot. 
Every one seemed to think we should be better out 
of it. 

" Indeed I know we come at a time when strangers 
are not desired," cried Jos6 eagerly, " and we have 
also to ask your pardon, sefior, for intruding so 
late at night. But, sefior, as it is known far and 
wide that there is but one in Cabralcito who has 
both the wisdom and benevolence with which to 
advise the foolish, we come, sefior, to entreat your 
guidance, for in truth we are in much anxiety over 
a foolish friend of ours who has come to these parts, 



276 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

and also, I fear, from what Don Ramon told 
me, we have been ourselves foolish in our great 
desire to assist the lady you have befriended, the 
Senora Dolores Baldwin for that we come to ask 
your pardon and hers." 

The old Don smiled almost imperceptibly. 

" I am aware, for Dona Dolores has told me, of 
the great services you and this sefior have rendered 
her in Colorado. But thanks be to the saints, so 
long as she remains under my roof she is in safety." 

" But yes, senor, who could doubt it ? I do not 
mean that she could be taken anywhere else ; but, 
sefior, it is a sad thing that a woman should have 
to live hidden all her life, as though she were a 
nun." 

" Certainly it is sad," returned Don Tomas a 
little stiffly. " But I have done all in my power ; 
there are many bad things in this world which 
alas ! senores, I cannot amend." 

" But, sefior, is it not possible that this trouble 
may be amended ? It is said among many of our 
people that his Holiness the Pope can say that a 
marriage is no marriage, and so set a woman free." 

Don Tomas raised his eyebrows. 

" I have heard such a thing spoken of," he said, 
" but I hardly know if it can be true ; and at any 
rate it is no simple matter. Rome is very far off, 
and of this at least I am sure dealings with Rome 
cost much, very much, money." 

"But, senor," cried Jose, " I am rich! Why 
should I conceal it from you. My past life you 



DISCOVERIES 2TT 

already know very well ? You know that I have 
loved the lady since I was a child, but that I 
was then poor, too poor to gain her father's con- 
sent to our marriage. Now I am rich, and I desire 
above all things on earth to make her my wife. 
Behold, senor, I return but now from the land of 
the Apaches and I bring treasure." And he snatched 
out his bag of golden bullets and poured them on 
the table. 

Don Tomas looked at the glittering heap. 

" You have indeed been fortunate, senor, and I 
offer you my congratulations. But I cannot say 
any more in an instant. This matter is extra- 
ordinary it is not a thing to be undertaken in 
haste. I cannot say at once if I approve. It is 
very like the divorce of the Americans ' ' and he 
shook his head " and it is certainly not right or 
fitting that you should act personally in the matter. 
If the senora or her father thinks right to apply 
to Rome, I have nothing to say for or against. 
Every good Catholic has a right to lay his troubles 
at the feet of our holy Father, but for you no ! " 
And he closed his lips abruptly. 

I saw the delicacy of the old man's views, a 
delicacy that Jose in his eagerness hardly appre- 
ciated. 

" Pardon me, senor," I said ; " as a stranger I 
have perhaps no right to speak, but I have taken 
such interest in all this history that I beg to be 
allowed to lay my views before you." 

" Surely," said the old man courteously. " It 



278 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

is of interest to learn what light an educated 
gentleman of another country can throw on our 
difficulty." 

"Then, sen or," said I, " may we not guess that 
the lady has never heard or thought of this way 
of freeing herself, and that she may be glad to 
make the application herself ? And if she happens 
not to have quite sufficient money to pay the ex- 
penses, can it be wrong for her to borrow what is 
needful from her old friend Jose Ortega ? " 

Don Tomas smiled. 

" You are subtle, senor, but there is something 
in the way you put it, and if this be a possible 
solution, perhaps the senora should be told." 

" It is possible," I said. " Since Jose first spoke 
to me of it I have asked learned American friends, 
and they tell me it is so." 

"It would be difficult to arrange," mused Don 
Tomas. " There are, I fear, few priests to whose 
fingers gold will not stick as it passes through." 

" But would you allow me to write to New York 
and make inquiries there?" I urged. "There 
are archbishops and cardinals there, great men who 
can be trusted." 

I looked at Jose, whose eyes were sparkling with 
eagerness, and he nodded. 

" And besides, senor," I went on, " there is an- 
other reason why it would be a good plan to lay 
this matter before the Church. This man Baldwin 
has disappeared ; but he has the cunning of the 
serpent, and some time before he left he had 



DISCOVERIES 279 

arranged to get the Texas courts to grant him a 
divorce from his wife. Such a divorce is perfectly 
valid according to the civil law, and now if it 
were confirmed by Papal decree all would be well. 
Of course the scoundrel may be already dead. 
He stole a horse in Texas, and there were men 
there ready to hang him for it, and even if he 
escaped them he may have been killed here in New 
Mexico. In that case things are quite simple . . ." 

" In that case," said Don Tomas piously, " may 
God have mercy on his soul. But you know, gentle- 
men, that even if that wretched creature were 
proved dead, the dangers that threaten Dona 
Dolores would not be at an end. Her guardians 
need not only gold, but also prudence and courage." 

" Who threatens her ? " cried Jose" fiercely, 
bounding to his feet. " Here I stand ready to deal 
with any other enemy of hers." 

" I said prudence as well as courage, sefior," 
said Don Tomas with emphasis ; " the latter I could 

not doubt, the former " and he smiled again a 

little as Jose, still chafing, resumed his seat. ' The 
lady has remained hitherto in safety because she 
has been hidden. She came to me on the road 
near Santa Fe* and entreated me to take her into 
my service, and thinking her a boy, I consented. 
Then, arrived here, she confided all to my wife, who 
persuaded me to take her into my household, and 
here she has remained under the name of a kins- 
woman of mine, the Sefiora Teresa Archuleta. 
Here she has been unmolested and unsuspected, 



280 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

only of course when the man Wallack arrived for 
the festival of the Penitentes we had to keep her 
hidden." 

" Wallack ? " we cried simultaneously. 

" Yes, Jake Wallack, the man who persecutes 
her, the monster to whom her husband would have 
delivered her." 

With a cry, almost a howl of rage, Jos6 was on 
his feet again, flinging his arms above his head. 

" Curses on him ! " he shrieked. " A million 
curses on him ! " 

I sat paralysed. Jake Wallack the enemy ! 
And we had told him everything and done his 
bidding and been his tools ! I could have beaten 
my head against the wall with rage at my own 
stupidity. All the time that we had been search- 
ing for her, we had been doing our best to put her 
enemy on her track ! I sat silent, too utterly aghast 
to say a word. How that man had fooled us to 
the top of our bent, how he had played with us, 
and with what cold-blooded cunning he had laid 
his schemes to get us out of his way, throwing 
Baldwin to me as a lure and victim now that he 
had no longer any use for him, and as soon as I 
was beguiled away to Texas sending Jose" to al- 
most certain death in the deserts of the Mogollon. 
We had indeed a dangerous and wily enemy to 
deal with. 

Don Tomas had risen to his feet and was en- 
deavouring to quiet Jose, who, snatching up his 
Winchester, was preparing to go out and hunt 



DISCOVERIES 281 

through Cabralcito for Jake Wallack and then and 
there put an end to his career of evil. 

" My good sir," he said at last, in the tone of 
reproof that I imagine few people in Cabralcito 
ventured to disregard, " you seem to forget that 
you have no right to act as this lady's champion. 
You have already brought her into grave danger by 
your ill-considered interference in her affairs, and 
I cannot allow you to meddle further with any one 
under my care." 

Jos6 stopped suddenly and looked at him as if a 
bucket of cold water had been dashed in his face. 

" It is true," he said hoarsely. " I apologize. I 
am mad what am I to do ?" he ended, patheti- 
cally flinging himself on the more experienced man. 
' You must be reasonable," answered Don 
Tomas, " and consider that it is for you to protect 
this lady's good name. I protect her person," he 
added, drawing himself up. "I will tell her in 
due time of your you will allow me to call it ... 
extraordinary proposition, and I will let you know 
her conclusions, and then, senor," bowing to me, 
" we may possibly ask for your help in communi- 
cating with some dignitary of the Church." 

He evidently expected us to go. 

" But may we not see the senora ? " faltered poor 
Jose". " May I not apologize for my folly for 
the inconvenience I may have put her to ? " 

Don Tomas shrugged his shoulder. 

" I will ask her if she wishes to receive visitors," 
he said, and turned to the door. 



282 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

There was a stumble, a sort of scramble and 
startled exclamation. Was it possible that the 
lady of our dreams could have been guilty of listen- 
ing at the keyhole ? The slightly flushed air of Don 
Tomas as he returned, followed by two women, corro- 
borated my suspicions. But if there had been a 
listener it must have been the elder of the two ; 
the girl who followed him was perfectly composed, 
though the colour in her lovely cheek came and went 
as she spoke to Jos6 with a dignity that was a strange 
contrast to the despairing grief with which she had 
parted from him. She merely glanced at me with 
a slight bow as she sat down on the divan beside 
the older woman, whom our host introduced as his 
wife, Dona Fidencia. Perhaps it could hardly be 
expected that she should feel any interest in me, 
yet when those beautiful eyes passed over me as 
coldly as she would have looked at a passing horse 
or dog, it sent a startled pang through me. I had 
imagined that I should be satisfied to play the 
heroic part, to give her all and ask for nothing, to 
act the god from the machine and befriend her and 
Jos6 and then vanish, asking for no incense nor 
thank-offering. Should I be satisfied ? Could I 
play that part ? My heart began to thump as wildly 
as it had done by the Elkhorn ford she might have 
kept a grain of gratitude for me ; after all, I had 
helped her to escape from Crockett ! Was she as 
cold as she was beautiful ? Ah no ! Those eyes told 
a different tale. What eyes they were, lakes of dark- 
ness ! and what dreams, what memories might lie 



DISCOVERIES 288 

drowned there ! But whatever memories she might 
hide no ghosts would ever rise again to upper day, 
unless she gave them leave. The lovely nymph I 
had seen at the Elkhorn Ford, the despairing woman 
I had helped to rescue at Crockett, neither of them 
now stood before me. Young, still almost a child, 
married scarcely a year, Dolores had the dignity, 
the self-control of a woman, a self-control that added 
fascination of mystery to the charm that she had 
radiated before. She had matured, the energy and 
courage with which she had extricated herself from 
her tragic circumstances had developed I could see 
it a self-reliance and dignity that only made her 
beauty more divine ! 

Grief had brought no pallor to the rich tint of 
olive that set off the perfect curve of her cheek, and 
betrayed the passionate fervour of the daughters of 
the South and the sun, doubled as it now was by the 
warm blush that burned under the clear skin. 
Grief had left no mark on the smooth brow ; the 
soft, ripe mouth curved as sweetly as a child's ; 
it must be ready to smile again ! 

Jose was exchanging some formal words with 
her I could see his thin, brown hand tremble 
with the restraint he was putting on himself; but 
Dolores answered his words with the composure 
of a finished woman of the world, so finished that 
I began to suspect she remembered me very well 
indeed, but intended to give me and every one 
else just as much attention as she pleased and no 
more. 



284 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

Well I could take my cue and act my part and 
after all I had something more serious to do than 
sit and watch Jose's courtship. He had moved to 
a stool nearer to the divan on which the two women 
sat against the wall, and was talking in a low voice 
eagerly, though slowly, evidently choosing his words 
with care. Dona Fidencia was leaning forward, 
amazement painted on her face. I saw Dolores raise 
her great eyes with an expression of perplexity, 
almost of dismay. Jos6 was explaining his plan of 
campaign ; he could manage his own affairs ; I 
had something sterner to attend to. It was obvious 
from what Don Tomas had just told us that if Bob 
had really offended Jake Wallack and then put his 
head into the lion's mouth, we, his friends, were 
going to have our hands pretty full. Strangers 
in the country where this man was all-powerful, 
we were like children pitted against a giant. There 
was one chance Don Tomas was a big man. Was 
he big enough to step for a second time between 
Wallack and his prey ? And would he take such a 
risk for a foreigner ? 

" Don Tomas," I began, " we told you there was 
a second matter on which we came to beg your 
advice ; and what you have just told us about the 
wickedness and cleverness of that man Wallack 
makes me yet more afraid. For I have reason to 
fear that he is the enemy of a friend of mine, an 
Ingles, who came with me yesterday to the Pueblo 
Una Vida, and who went off last evening without 
saying where he was going. I have reason to think 



DISCOVERIES 285 

that he has come up here to Cabralcito. Do you 
happen to have seen anything of him ? " 

" No, sefior, no indeed," answered the Mexican 
positively. " I have not seen such a man to-day, 
neither have I heard any one speak of having seen 
him. To-day I have been riding far off in the sierra, 
visiting my flock of sheep. I had an appointment 
with my shepherds to meet them at the Ojo del Toro 
and count the flock. So I have had no opportunity 
to learn the gossip of Cabralcito, or to ask who has 
come or gone in the village." 

" Yes, yes," said I hastily. " Doubtless you 
prefer to give these Penitente performances a wide 
berth." 

He looked at me as if a little startled by my can- 
dour, and then after a pause he spoke out frankly. 

" You see, sefior," he explained, " most of my 
neighbours here belong to this mad brotherhood of 
the Hermanos. For me, it is enough that the priests 
of the Church do not favour it. Formerly they used 
to encourage it ; now they do so no longer. Very 
well. I follow their lead, and I have nothing to say 
to it either. But I am not commanded to set myself 
up in opposition to my neighbours or to interfere 
with what they do in any way. So during this period 
I either keep close in my own house or I make a 
journey into the high sierra, as I did to-day." 

" You are wise," I said with a sigh ; " but, senor, 
even though you have not been in the town you 
may be able to advise us how best to help this mad 
friend of mine. This is clearly not the time when 



286 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

strangers are wanted in Cabralcito, but the whole 
place being so occupied with this Penitente business 
I hope he may escape the notice of Jake Wallack." 

"Escape his notice!" echoed Don Tomas. 
" Then you do not know that Wallack is one of the 
chief men of this brotherhood ? " 

" Impossible ! " I exclaimed. " Why, I understood 
that Baldwin and his friends were all Mormons ! ' ' 

11 That is possible/' answered the sen or. " Dona 
Dolores has told me as much ; but, sen ores, these 
Mormons are, I hear, very cunning ; they desire to 
gain power, to find an opening to come here, and 
buy land, and make a settlement. So it is my 
thought that this man Wallack has made himself 
one of the Penitentes that he may win power to 
turn the minds of the Cabralcito people whither he 
will. He is indeed already one of the men of most 
influence in the district." 

Don Tomas spoke with bitterness : it galled his 
pride to admit the power of a stranger in his own 
town. 

" The whole life of this place," he continued, 
" centres in the brotherhood ; these Hermanos are 
a most powerful secret society. I don't care what 
is in question, business, politics, even love, in every- 
thing they have a hand. These mad performances 
of theirs happily only go on during the time of 
Lent, but their influence is felt all the year round 
and everywhere." 

" But surely if the people, if your clergy, know 
he is a Mormon " I cried. 



DISCOVERIES 287 

" Ah, but it is there that my mouth has been 
hitherto shut. I could not proclaim him a Mormon 
without admitting I had learned it from the senora, 
whose name I could not give. Therefore I have 
had to wait and watch, till the opportunity arrived 
of exposing this scoundrel without betraying the 
hiding-place of our fugitive to him." 

"Good heavens!" I cried, "what a tangle! 
And what can it be possible to do about my friend ? " 

Jos6 had overheard what I was saying, and came 
over to us. 

" Don Tomas," he interrupted, " you surely 
must have friends here who are well posted in 
the affairs of the Penitentes, and yet are not at 
this moment occupied in lashing their own backs 
with a soapweed scourge. Could you not get some 
one among them to inquire for you concerning this 
Mr. Williams ? " 

" There can be no reason why you should trouble 
yourself, Don Tomas," I interposed. " If you would 
tell me whom to go to I will call on any of your friends 
who are not at present in a mad fit and beg for 
information from them. It isn't as if I wanted to 
pry into the secrets of the brotherhood. They can 
flog and crucify themselves all round for me. I only 
want to get at the whereabouts of my lost friend. 
There can be no harm in that, surely ? " 

" Ah, senor," replied the Mexican, " you do not 
understand our ways. If you, a stranger, should be 
found asking questions, on this their great night, 
you will be thought to be spying where you ought 



288 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

not, and I do assure you that will be a very dan- 
gerous position." 

It is not too much to say that I felt as if I had 
suddenly walked into a lunatic asylum turned 
topsy-turvy, where the few sane people were shut 
up in a ward by themselves, while the great mass of 
lunatics had taken charge. My anxiety about Bob 
grew stronger the more I realized the situation, 
and this feeling showed itself in my face. 

' Well, sen or," said our kind-hearted host, seeing 
me look so perturbed, " I will do what I may to 
satisfy you. I will go myself to a certain cousin of 
mine, who, I may admit, is by way of knowing a good 
deal about them, and I will make inquiry of him 
about your friend. If my cousin is inclined to assist 
you he can do as much as anybody in Cabralcito.' ' 

" But, senor, I trust you will not run any risk 
on my account," cried I. "Or anyway mayn't I 
go along with you and share it ? " 

" You would only spoil matters," said Jose", 
cutting in. " Much better that Don Tomas should 
go alone. It's pitch dark by now. He can slip 
around there quietly and make no fuss." And to 
this course I had, though somewhat unwillingly, 
to consent. 

Don Tomas took up a large black cloak with 
scarlet lining that was thrown on the divan, and 
flinging the end over his shoulder and drawing his 
hat down over his features, he could defy recognition, 
and so sallied forth on his quest, while Jos6 and I 
awaited impatiently the course of events. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
THE IMPENITENT THIEF 

IN silence we four sat beside the fire. Jose* 
was too completely absorbed in thinking of 
the future to dare even to look at Dolores, 
till Dona Fidencia, raising her eyes from her em- 
broidery, murmured some words to the girl, who left 
the room, returning with coffee. 

Then as she handed him his cup their eyes met 
and Jose saw, as I had seen, that she had heard, and 
that she approved all his designs. The mere presence 
of Jose, unless he had brought hope with him, could 
not have accounted for the almost indescribable 
change that had come over her, the change that the 
first breath of spring awakes when it tinges the bare 
desolation of mountain slopes with the faint green 
that heralds the glories of May, the change that 
came when the touch of the divine finger on the 
bosom of Galatea awoke the marble into blushing 
womanhood. She had taken her place again beside 
Dona Fidencia, and said no word to either of us, but 
her silent mouth was no longer set in the stern lines 
of endurance and self-control, her eyes no longer 
avoided those of Jose\ What were they saying ? 
I knew only too well how eloquent they could be, 
i$ 289 



290 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

though I had been too ignorant of their language to 
read them at the Elkhorn Ford. If I could but 
have understood their message then, what idle pangs 
I might have saved myself, what misery might have 
been spared to Dolores and her lover ! I could have 
come to the front, a " Deus ex Machina," faced down 
the cruel father, dowered the penniless bride, sent 
Baldwin back to his scoundrelly employers. . . . 
Alas, what sadder word is there than " might have 
been ! " 

Jose" was silent. I could see the tension was too 
great for speech, for he could not, dared not, yet 
say the only words that waited on his lips. Yet in 
the stillness one was conscious that a conversation 
was going on, that two souls were meeting without 
audible words, that the silence was full of unspoken 
vows of adoration and unvoiced, shy confessions of 
love. 

Dona Fidencia still seemed absorbed in her 
embroidery, she evidently did not think it her busi- 
ness to make conversation for strangers, and we 
sat on in the half-light so full of those electric thrills 
of mystery till the outer door of the room suddenly 
opened a little way, and we heard from without the 
voice of Don Tomas calling : 

" Senores, senores, come hither a moment." 

Dona Fidencia started to her feet, crying : " The 
Saints be praised, he has come back ! " while Jos6 
and I ran out into the courtyard to learn what was 
afoot. The moon, only just past its full, had risen 
and was now well up in the eastern sky, and by its 



THE IMPENITENT THIEF 

light we could discern the alarm expressed in our 
host's face. 

" Your friend," he exclaimed in a loud whisper, 
trying in spite of his excitement to keep his voice 
sufficiently subdued for the women not to hear him, 
" your friend, as I feared, has been seized by the 
Penitentes, and that fiend incarnate Wallack has 
got him in his hands. They have taken him along 
with their procession of self-torturers to the Calvary 
on the hill outside the village, and I am afraid that 
something absolutely frightful has happened. 
Senores, what is to be done ? or rather, alas, what 
is it possible to do ? " 

" Great Heavens," I cried, " seized by the Peni- 
tentes? But it's impossible ! He's a white man the 
government the police " 

DonTomas shook his head with a pity ing half -smile. 

" You do not know New Mexico, sefior." 

" But what on earth do they want to do with 
him ? " cried I, trying to take a hopeful view. 
" What are you afraid of ? They can't have flogged 
him like one of themselves ? " 

It seemed indeed a curious turning of the tables 
that the castigator of Baldwin might be doomed 
to suffer now what he had once inflicted. 

" Alas," answered Don Tomas, " I fear it is much 
worse than that. Of course I cannot speak of my 
own knowledge, but my cousin has just been out 
among them and I have no doubt of the truth of 
what he tells me. I fear they have crucified your 
friend as the impenitent thief ! " 



292 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" Crucified him ! " cried I in horror. " Heaven 
and earth ! They dare not ! An Englishman cruci- 
fied by the Penitentes ! Come on, Jose, we've got 
to get him away somehow ! Grab your rifle and 
come on ! " 

I sprang to the house for my weapons, but there 
in the doorway I was faced by Dolores herself. 
She had followed us, and this time she had over- 
heard everything that had been said, and, having 
heard, she broke silence at last. She stood on the 
top step, her face white, her eyes shining. 

" You shall not take him away," she cried with a 
wildness of passion that took my breath. " You, 
you, you call yourself his friend, and yet you let 
him go alone into the wilderness among the horrible 
savages, and now when he has escaped from them 
you want to drag him into new dangers! I tell 
you you shall not do it." Her magnificent eyes 
shot lightnings. 

For an instant I stood spell-bound, the gentle 
girl I had known was transformed into an avenging 
fury. The pallor of her face gleamed vivid like a 
white flame set between the loosened masses of her 
hair ; her tense form, her pale hands, seemed like an 
embodied lightning flash that had risen before me, 
and for a moment I stared at her helplessly. Then 
the very vehemence of her passion awoke my own. 

" We must go," I cried ; " it is life or death. You 
cannot be a woman and leave a helpless man to be 
tortured to death let me by 1" 

" A woman," she retorted, " yes, I am a woman. 



THE IMPENITENT THIEF 293 

I have borne all, all that a woman can endure, I 
have been dumb, I have been patient because a 
woman is a dumb slave that must bear all. But 
I will bear no more ! I claim him Jose" is mine 
bought by all the years I have waited, the tortures 
I have suffered, he is mine and I keep him. Go your 
way, senor ; what have we Mexicans to do with you 
Americans ? Go and save your friend if you will, 
but you go alone." 

" All right," I said, " I'll go alone, but my gun 
I must have, so will you kindly stand on one side 
and let me get it ? " 

" But it is better that you should consider, senor," 
came the warning voice of Don Tomas behind me. 
' What can one or even two do against a hundred ? 
Why should you go only to share his fate ? " 

I interrupted him impatiently. 

' I must go because I am an English gentleman, 
and it is not our way to desert our friends. Let me 
pass, sefiora." 

" You must not stop the way, cousin," said Don 
Tomas, taking her by the hand with the authorita- 
tive gesture of the master of the house. 

She retreated a step, panting, and I slipped past 
her and ran to the corner where my rifle stood. But 
as Jose also endeavoured to pass she caught him by 
the arm. 

" You cannot go," she said desperately. " I 
forbid you to go. You bade me wait and I have 
waited, I have kept my heart for you, for you only, 
and you shall not trample it underfoot. You are 



294 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

bewitched by these strangers, but it is I, I, I whom 
you must think of, must look at," and she stretched 
out her arms with an appealing gesture. 

' You do not understand," said Jose, speaking 
almost harshly in the desperation of his struggle 
against his own heart. " You do not understand. 
I am dishonoured if I hang back. I must go. 
This is a man's business, serlora, and you must 
not interfere." 

" A man's business," she shrieked, " a man's 
business ! And was it a man's business to tempt a 
helpless woman to sin as you did in Crockett City ? 
That was also a question of honour, but you were 
not so eager then for my honour as you are now for 
your own ! " 

" Dolores ! " He caught both her hands, and for 
all the steadiness of his tone there was a vibration 
in it that compelled the attention even of the half- 
distracted woman. ' ' Dolores, you were brave then, 
you did right, even when I, your lover, was base 
enough to tempt you to wrong. Be brave again 
now : do not tempt me in your turn make me as 
brave as yourself. Behold, is not my honour yours ? 
You could not love a coward." 

She stood gazing at him in a sort of fascination, 
his steady eyes were on hers ; if ever I saw the face 
of a hero, it was that of my friend Jos6 Ortega on 
that night. Gradually the magnetism of his gaze 
seemed to overcome her resistance, the tension of her 
form relaxed, her head drooped, she reeled and fell 
on bis breast. 



THE IMPENITENT THIEF 295 

" Oh, my dearest, my dearest," she sobbed, " do 
not leave me, a most miserable woman. You are 
right, you are noble, whatever you do is right, but 
have pity ; you are generous. Why waste all your 
pity on that stranger? am not I also worthy of 
pity ? ' ' And she clung to him, lifting her exquisite 
face and tear-laden eyes to his. 

" She is mad," cried the Sefiora Fidencia, rushing 
forward ; " her troubles have turned her brain." 

The dignified Don Tomas looked displeased. 

" You must command yourself, cousin," he said. 
Much she heeded them ! 

Jose caught her in his arms. 

" My beloved one, my adored one, I go that I may 
prove myself worthy of you. You would be the 
first to despise me if I did not go ! Saints and angels, 
is it not like turning my back on the gates of heaven 
to go from you ? but it is you who are my guardian 
angel, and it is your prayers that Will bring me back 
safe." 

" You do not care for me," she wailed, " you love 
those hateful foreigners better than your own people. 
You are weary of me ! " 

" Alma de mi corazon," he cried, holding her close 
to him, " I take all the saints to witness that if I 
desire life at all it is that I may live to love you. 
I have loved you ever since I was a boy, and I 
love you more passionately this moment than ever 
before. Waking or sleeping I have sighed for you, I 
have had no thought but of you to all other women 
I have been blind, for you I have worked, I have 



296 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

waited, I have faced the Indian tortures . . . and 
now is it not for you I must go, to avenge your 
wrongs on that Mormon fiend ? " 

" My wrongs," she gasped, " who where ? " 

" It is that man Wallack whom I am after. Have 
I not prayed that I might meet him and pay him 
tenfold for the shame he heaped on you ? Now I 
will kill him and avenge your wrongs. It is you 
as well as that foolish Ingles whom I must rescue 
from him. It is in your quarrel I fight. Let me go, 
my soul," he continued tenderly as he unlaced the 
loving arms that were clasped around him so tight. 
" I must leave you for a little while. Do not fear, 
I will return," and he kissed her on the lips before 
he snatched up his rifle. 

But Dolores went down in a heap on the floor. 

" Go, go," cried the senora, while Don Tomas 
buckled the heavy cartridge belt on Jose". " San- 
tisima Virgen, has not that poor child endured 
enough? " 

I sprang through the door, Jos6 after me. 

" Look out only for the Hermano Americano," 
counselled Don Tomas as his parting charge. 
" Look out for Wallack. If you once crush him 
you may do what you will, for he is the mayordomo 
of them all." 

And side by side in the glorious moonlight that 
poured its silver flood over the wild, rock-walled 
valley we set our faces towards the Calvary of the 
Penitentes, the hill of the crucifixion. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
THE CURSE OF REUBEN 

WE were both silent, Jos6 and I, as we 
hurried along up the trail towards the 
scene of action. He could think only 
of the woman from whose arms he had just torn him- 
self, while I was now shall I confess it ? rebelling 
in soul against the hard luck that thus linked my 
fate to this scamp of a Bob Williams. Was this to 
be the end of my dream ? It was turning to a very 
nightmare. In springing to the rescue, rifle in hand, 
I had unreflectingly obeyed the first instinct of 
comradeship. But human nature is a complex 
thing, and in these short minutes before the struggle 
now so near at hand, another great primary instinct, 
that of self-preservation, did not fail to assert 
itself. Why should I go at all ? What had I really 
to do with Bob ? Why should I get killed for 
him ? Bob was no special friend of mine ; far 
from it. I owed him nothing ; on the contrary, it 
was he owed me. And here the grotesque, as usual, 
thrust in its mocking face on the tragedy in which 
we were ready to play a part, and I found myself 
grimly smiling to think that we were going to 
rescue Bob from crucifixion at peril of our lives, and 

297 



298 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

that my material reward would consist in a re- 
mote chance of recovering that hundred dollars 
for which, half in jest, I had dunned him in Santa 
Fe. Such trifles dance wildly through one's brain 
upon the very verge of the deadliest risks. 

The man of the frontiers who is conscious always 
of being on the ragged edge of life or death gener- 
ally gets to confront his fate with the devil-may- 
care recklessness that best suits his surroundings. 
Realizing that the jump ing-off-place may be mighty 
near, he soon learns to simulate an indifference to 
that fact which in time grows more than half real. 
But there are limits to this recklessness, and the 
kind of a " jump-off " immediately in prospect 
counts for a great deal. To be torn limb from 
limb by these wolfish madmen (which was what I 
had every reason to expect) was an end the stark 
horror of which might dishearten the temper of a 
Bayard. Yet I was bound to be in it ! 

We breasted a hill, and on the top we stood to 
gaze. Below us lay a little rocky hollow, and be- 
yond it again rose a second low hill, upon which a 
great company of white figures was visible under 
the bright moon ; and above them on the summit 
great Heavens! it was true! we beheld a cross 
raised, and on it was seen a figure suspended against 
the sky. 

And at that sight all my contemptuous reluctance 
vanished. I forgot my love of life, I forgot my love 
of Dolores, I forgot everything in the wild lust of 
blood that seized me clamouring kill ! kill ! kill ! 



THE CURSE OF REUBEN 299 

Yet my fury was a cold one my head was clear 
I was not going to make a fool of myself. My 
first business was to rescue Bob if that agonized 
figure was indeed Bob and then ! my teeth set as 
I said the word then ! 

' What are you going to do now ? " said Jos6. 

His voice was tense what hard luck was his, 
to be torn from the woman he adored at the mo- 
ment he could claim her as his own ! But he had 
thrown in his lot with me, and if Bob was to be 
saved he must help. But if the murderers had 
finished their job thought is quick and I was still 
cool enough to consider if Bob was dead Jos6 had 
no more part in the matter, he must go back to his 
love ; for it would be my business and mine only 
to teach the Penitentes of Cabralcito a lesson they 
would never forget. 

" Most likely he's dead by now/' went on Jos6. 

" We must make sure," I said between my teeth 
I strained my eyes to see if there were any move- 
ment in that awful hanging figure. What could 
two do against a hundred ? Don Tomas had said. 
There seemed to be twice a hundred round the 
cross. I smiled grimly. " It's easy to brown them. 
One gun can make a pretty good bag when they're 
packed so close ! " 

Then one of the great cloud masses came sailing 
over the sky, and the moon disappeared. 

" Come on, Jose," I said, and swiftly and silently 
we crept nearer. The droning hum of a litany 
that was being^recited came borne to our ears by 



800 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

the night wind, yet it was all but drowned in an- 
other sound that reached us too, the melancholy 
plash of scourges falling upon bleeding flesh, which 
told us that the fanatic self-torturers were still at 
their work. 

"If that's him," I whispered, "we've got to spot 
Jake Wallack I'll put my rule to his head and 
tell him he's got to take him down : I reckon if 
we scare him good, he'll do it. You guard my 
back." 

" Yes," he whispered back, " but how are we to 
find out if that's really Bob Williams on the cross ? " 

At this moment the dark mass of cloud rolled 
away, and the moon shone out bright again. The 
great cross stood boldly up, rising from a platform 
of unhewn stones that held it upright ; and now 
we could distinguish more clearly the figure sus- 
pended on it ; the feet and arms were bound to 
the wood with ropes ; the body was half naked, 
but the head was wrapped in a white cloth, making 
all recognition impossible, though we were now not 
many yards away. Around the cross the fanatics 
knelt on the bare rocks and plied the lashes un- 
ceasingly on their lacerated backs. 

" No one can tell who is under that cloth," 
whispered Jose. " It may be one of themselves. 
I always heard they do it to one of their own 
people ; I never heard before of their doing it to 
anybody who was not a Hermano." 

' Yes," I muttered, " but then, supposing to- 
night they made a new departure ? You heard 



THE CURSE OF REUBEN 301 

what Don Tomas thought about it, that they had 
done it to him as the impenitent thief." 

The figure on the cross hung motionless, as if 
already dead. 

" If he is not dead he might hear me if I shouted 
to him," I said, " and he might be able to answer 
me back. We daren't lose time." 

" Then you try if you think so," answered Jose, 
his rifle at the ready. We were admirably screened 
by a rock, behind which we had taken up our posi- 
tion. 

Then I lifted up my voice and shouted aloud : 

11 Bob Williams, Bob Williams, are you there ? " 

I called at the very pitch of my voice, so that 
if possible the words might reach the dulled ears of 
the sufferer. 

And in truth at the sound of my voice the ap- 
parently lifeless figure writhed upon the cross, and 
some dreadful, indistinguishable sound of woe came 
as an answer from that swathed head. * 

" He hears," said Jose ; "he moves his head and 
tries to speak back." 

" It's him sure enough," I growled. " No Mexi- 
can Penitent e would have understood me. Now 
for it ! " 

But as we gathered ourselves for the rush I saw 
I had been mistaken. One there was among the 
Penitentes who understood me perfectly, and with 
confident insolence he did not hesitate to show it. 
From among the white figures nearest the cross 
rose a man, not like them, with naked body and 



802 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

swathed head, but dressed in ordinary clothes. 
In his hand he held a book, though he could hardly 
have read from it by the moonlight. But he was 
the leader and the book was his sign of office. 
And as he stood up and turned towards us we saw 
that he was none other than Jake Wallack, and he 
had given himself into our hands ! 

" Throw up your hands," I shouted triumphantly, 
covering him with my rifle. " There's a bead 
drawn on you. Up with them quick." 

For one thrilling moment he hesitated whether 
to obey or no, and the trigger felt smooth under my 
finger as I got the carefully whitened foresight on 
his hips. Then, as if worked by a spring, up flew 
both his hands. 

" Listen," I called to him. " Take that man 
down instantly. Call up some of your gang there 
to help you. Mind what you say to them, for we 
understand every word. Your life depends on 
doing what you're told." 

Taken by surprise and covered by the Winchesters 
he could but obey. 

And all the time those dreadful scourges rose 
and fell as unceasingly as ever on the bleeding 
backs. Seeing nothing, and absorbed in their 
frantic devotion, the self-torturers took no more 
heed of the sound of our voices than of the cold 
night wind that blew over the hilL 

But Jake spoke, and from among the crowd four 
men came forward who were clad like himself in 
ordinary dress. Their faces were uncovered, they 



THE CURSE OF REUBEN 808 

were clear in the moonlight ; three of them were 
brown-skinned Mexicans the fourth was he who 
had escaped me so long, only to be caught at last ! 
It was Baldwin ! I knew by a stifled curse that Jos6 
saw him too. 

" Mind, Jos6," I muttered, " kill any one you 
please, but Baldwin's mine." 

Wallack was speaking to the four. 

" Lower him," I shouted. " Be quick and careful 
if you love your lives." 

Jake held his book and turned partly away, con- 
tinuing his reading in a sort of bravado. Two of 
the men put their hands to the cross to steady it, 
while the others began to roll away the stones that 
kept its base in position. I could see Baldwin's 
livid face turned on Jake like a spaniel waiting his 
owner's orders without looking round Jake im- 
patiently motioned him on, and as if half paralysed 
the creature crept to the cross, and as it came down 
seemed to fumble with the cords that held the feet 
of the victim. 

" Mind what you're about," I shouted warningly. 
"No fool play or we shoot. The lead's ready to 
jump." 

Baldwin turned a despairing face towards us, and 
then suddenly sprang upright, the knife with which 
he had been cutting the cords glittering in his hand. 
He raised his arm and struck just as my rifle 
spoke ; then his knees gave way under him as my 
bullet shattered his brain. Instantly, as if my shot 
were a preconcerted signal, crash ! a loud, sudden 



804 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

volley burst upon our ears from the farther side 
of the hill ; spurts of red flame divided the night ; 
a storm of bullets flew singing past ; and the 
wildest and most bloodcurdling of all Indian yells 
rent the air. 

Under that withering volley, down in a heap over 
the cross where they stood, fell Jake Wallack and 
the hapless three beside him. Louder yet and more 
devilish than before rang out those horrid yells, 
as a crowd of painted savages dashed forward over 
the rocks to scalp the fallen. And still the red-men 
fired as they came on, and to right and left white 
forms of death-stricken Penitentes dropped upon the 
hill. Never was an Indian surprise more startling 
or more complete. 

" The Apaches ! " cried Jose" in utter amazement 
at this most unlooked-for attack. " Dios de mi vida, 
but the Apaches of the Mogollon have tracked me ! 
Fool that I was to mend their rifles, oh, fool, fool ! " 

Now the Apaches were right among the crowd, the 
foremost braves had reached the very cross. Yet 
still those red scourges rose and fell, and the devoted 
Penitentes neither fought nor fled, but, absorbed in 
their insane devotion, continued their wild worship 
unheeding. Triumphant in their victory over these 
unarmed and unresisting victims the Indians stooped 
over the fallen to tear away the prize of valour, 
dearest of all trophies to the Indian heart. Once 
more the craft and cunning of the red-men had con- 
quered ! once more the detested ' ' Espagnol ' ' should 
pay the uttermost penalty of defeat ! 



THE CURSE OF REUBEN 805 

But Manga Colorada's son triumphed too soon. 
As he stooped, knife in hand, upon his prey, 
" Shoot, shoot/' I cried to Jos6, recovering from 
my stupor of amazement. Our Winchesters spoke 
together, the scalping-knife fell from his nerveless 
grasp, and alongside his victims the chief of the red- 
men dropped a corpse. 

" Crack, crack, crack," Jos6 and I worked the 
swift repeaters for all we were worth, and from our 
post of vantage poured in a deadly fire on the as- 
tonished red-men. The tables were turned. Surprised 
themselves, and shot down thus in the very moment 
of their victory, with their chief slain before their 
eyes, the Apaches, true to their nature, turned and 
fled. 

Indians, ere they make their spring, will crouch 
and creep and crouch again with all the cunning and 
address of hungry tigers. Tigerlike they leap upon 
their quarry, to ravin in blood if they succeed, but 
ready, if they fail, to seek instant safety in flight. 
With a loud hurrah Jose and I broke from our cover 
upon their heels, and sent our leaden messengers 
hurling after the flying foes. Ignorant of our num- 
ber, and struck with panic terror by the pitiless and 
awful rapidity of the fire of the American weapons, 
they fled back to their deserts as if an army was after 
them. Jos6 and I were no match for them in speed, 
but we followed them up, scarcely pausing in our 
wild rush to aim, but raining bullet after bullet as 
fast as we could pull the trigger till we saw them 
vanish from the hill ; then, knowing that further 
20 



306 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

pursuit was unavailing, we turned and hastened 
back to where the cross had stood. There was the 
body of Jake Wallack, struck down by an Apache 
hatchet, lying stretched across the body of his 
helpless victim, which was still bound to the cross. 
There lay Baldwin, with my bullet in his brain, 
but the bullet had done its work too late. Baldwin 
had taken a final revenge on the man he hated and 
had plunged his knife into the unresisting form of 
Bob Williams. 

Alas ! Alas ! poor Bob ! Strong man as he was 
he might perhaps have survived the crucifixion, and 
our efforts to rescue him might have been rewarded 
with success but for this foul blow. With hasty but 
gentle hands we cut his bonds, and tore off the 
cloths that were swathed tightly round his head, 
only to see when they were removed the ashy hue 
of death on the face turned up to the sky. He was 
breathing still ; and as Jos6 supported him we 
tried in vain to staunch the blood that poured from 
the knife stab. Baldwin's stroke had gone home, 
and it was clear that Bob Williams was sped. 

" Bob, Bob, old man," I cried, " can't you speak 
to me ? Do you know who we are ? Your friends." 

He lay perfectly still, but he turned eyes of despair 
the terrible eyes of a dying man full on mine. 

" Yes 1 know you " he answered, speaking 

slowly and with difficulty. He gasped deeply, and 
then added, after a short pause : " They've done 
for me I'm going." 

" Who was it crucified you ? " I asked. " Was it 



THE CURSE OFJREUBEN 807 

that brute Jake Wallack ? Don't strain yourself to 
speak. Just move your hand if the answer's yes." 

He faintly moved his head, as if trying to give a 
nod in sign of assent. 

"I understand," said I. "Well, he's got his 
gruel, if that's any comfort to you. He's lying 
dead right here. And Baldwin's dead too. Were 
they alone in the affair, or were there any more of 
them in it that we can serve out ? Was it Jake's 
jealousy over that girl you spoke of ? You don't 
need to speak. Just make a motion as you did 
before if I guess right. Was it over the woman ? 
Nothing else ? " 

At the word " woman " Bob seemed to rouse him- 
self : the shadow of a triumphant smile flickered 

on his pale lips. Btaooh Ubrmry 

" Over the woman," he said'* that's it." The 
words came out from his mouth with pain, but speak 
he would. " I cut out Jake told you so before 
that was why." The bold smile of the gay Bob 
Williams of other days came back for a moment to 
the fading eyes as he added : "I scored off him 
there ugly old beggar." He paused to collect 
himself for a great effort. " You might say good- 
bye to her for me La Prieta a Mexican girl here 
(it was the name Jake had let slip) I came up to 
see her Jake found out and got mad she was at 
the Penitente lodge I followed her there he made 
them seize me treachery they tied my hands I 
couldn't struggle. He gagged me and used me as 
you see." 



80S A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

" The villain," I groaned. " I thought as much. 
Well, anyway, he's gone to his account." 

Bob remained silent, exhausted with the effort 
of speech, but he gave me a look that indicated that 
he understood. 

" Say, old man," I continued, " is there anything 
you'd like to say to me ? Is there any message 
you'd like to send to anybody ? Can I write to 
them at home for you ? Tell me where to write 
to, and I'll do it." 

For a minute he made no reply, but his broad 
chest he was a man of splendid physique heaved 
deeply three or four times. Was he thinking of the 
past, of his wasted life ? Did he pray ? Who can 
tell ? The end was fast coming. 

" No use," he murmured at last, as I bent low 
to catch his falling accents, " no use you can't write 
to them, you don't know their names you don't 
know my real name it's not Williams when I'm at 
home I shan't tell it. They think me a disgrace. 
Oh, I've been a Black Sheep. Who cares for me, 
anyway ? But I've scored every time." 

A mocking half-smile came over his blanched face. 
Bob must have his joke even in the jaws of death. 

"^A game Black Sheep ! " he whispered, as I put 
my ear close to catch his dying words. " That's 
me." 

In the country of the Penitentes there was no con- 
secrated ground for him, a heretic beyond the pale. 
He must lie apart. Perhaps it was better so. 



THE CURSE OF REUBEN 809 

We buried him next day, high up above the valley, 
on the brow of the great mesa, where Manga Colo- 
rada and his Apaches had lain in wait, crouching ere 
they made their spring. No man had ever a nobler 
resting-place than that glorious eyrie whence the 
eye ranged free through translucent gulfs of air from 
the toy-like village far beneath over endless sweeping 
lines of rock- walled canon and shaggy mountain side ; 
where the sleeper's lullaby was the soughing of the 
wind in the tops of the pines like to the sound of the 
sea on a far-off wave-beaten shore. 

And if no priest was there nor the long train of 
mourners to do honour to the dead, yet Jos6 and I 
paid the last rites of sorrowing humanity beside the 
fresh-turned earth, and in the unshorn meadow 
Dolores pulled handfuls of wild flowers to scatter 
on his grave. Nameless he died, and nameless we 
left the mouldering heap above his narrow cell ; 
but we dragged great stones from the cliff brow, 
piling them over him for a memorial, and built up a 
mighty cairn that should keep the wolves of the sierra 
from disturbing his last rest. Peace be to his ashes. 



EPILOGUE 

DOLORES looked lovelier than ever as a 
bride on the day when I saw her married 
to Jose in the old Catholic Church at Las 
Vegas. If Jose had ever penetrated my secret, he, 
man-like, had not breathed a word of it to me. 
But to her it could be no secret. What woman is 
so blind as to be ignorant of the love she awakens ? 
Dolores had seen it, too plainly . . . and she had 
resented it. I knew she had looked on me as a 
false friend for daring to think of my compafiero's 
love. Well, the last few weeks had taught her that 
I was not such a traitor after all. She had for- 
given me, I swear it, for loving her, as she forgave 
me for leading Jose into peril that night. Tri- 
umphant love could afford to be generous, the 
more so that now I could never lead him into danger 
again, for well she knew that they would see my 
face no more. 

When we came out I looked up to the cold snows 
of the Sierra Blanca ; and a sudden impulse seized 
me to fly unto the hills ere night fell, so that I 
might sleep alone upon the heights. 

I bade the happy lovers farewell, and saddling 
Rube I rode away by myself. Far on I pushed, 

310 



EPILOGUE 811 

ever higher and higher along a dim mountain 
trail, till at sunset I stood on the edge of a great 
tableland that looked out for a hundred miles over 
the eastern plains. In the level light of the sinking 
sun mesa and canon and butte lay clear-cut and 
sharp beneath me as though carved in amethyst, 
while behind me rose the mountain, peak beyond 
peak shaggy with pines, and in the afterglow the 
pure snows of the great Sierra, flushing rosy as a 
bride, towered into the stainless blue. 

There I made my camp, tethering my horse in a 
mountain meadow hard by ; and there, thinking 
many things in my heart, I kept a long vigil under 
the patient stars. I thought of my life during the 
past two years, and of what had happened since I 
had watched those same stars wheeling slowly to 
the west on my first night on herd. 

The steadfast stars had not changed, but what 
wild hopes and fears had thrilled my heart since 
those first days, what palaces of delight the mirage's 
moving show had built up for me, what a fool's 
paradise I had chosen to walk in ! And even she 
the dark-eyed Mexican girl, was she not a bride 
built up of cloud ? Would she not have dissolved 
into empty air if ever my arms had enfolded her ? 
Illusion, disappointment, were they life ? And 
was such a life worth living out to palsied old age ? 

Suicide ? No, that was the coward's refuge. It 
might be pardoned in some prisoner of ruthless 
Apache torturers, not in the sufferer from the pangs 
of unrequited love. But was self-slaughter the 



812 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

only way ? Indeed no ! A man might die fight- 
ing, and I was a true Western man now ; verily I 
knew that I could fight. The Apaches knew it too. 
A good fight, that was what my soul lusted after, 
and it could not come too soon. 

Just at that moment I heard the indignant 
" Woof, woof ! " of a mountain grizzly close by in 
the moonlight : I heard also Rube's snort of terror 
as he surged on his picket rope. 

An impulse, some would call it a madness, seized 
me. Deliberately I abandoned my well-loved Win- 
chester, ever my faithful bedfellow between the 
blankets, and bareheaded and barehanded I ran to 
the horse, weaponless save for a knife. I stroked 
and soothed the trembling animal, for horses have 
a mortal terror of the bear. The grizzly came 
nearer to us, doubtfully. Every spring the Mexican 
shepherds bring their flocks to the high mountains 
for the lambing, and the mountain bears take large 
toll of them. This one was indignant to find I had 
brought nothing for him, and his hoarse throat 
gave the challenge for a fight. Well, he should 
have it. I left Rube and stepped forward to meet 
him. My enemy reared himself upright, as tall as I, 
his head moving from side to side like a boxer's 
in the ring. The knife was in my right hand ; I 
had known a brave Mexican shepherd who had 
once slain a bear with a knife, and lived to tell 
the tale. Could not I do as well ? Nay, could 
not I do better ? Yes ! My excited fancy jumped 
at a new idea. Was not an English fist as good 



EPILOGUE 313 

any day as a Spanish knife ? I clenched mine, 
squared up at the still hesitating bear, and with a 
quick step-in gave him my left full on the snout. 

With a howl of dismay the monarch of the moun- 
tains dropped on all fours and fled, and my derisive 
laughter rang out after him to the dark pines 
bordering the meadow, whence it came echoing 
back to me. 

The sound was a shock to my ears, as if it came 
from alien lips in mockery of myself. I had so 
longed to die fighting that night, and lo ! my 
enemy had fled and here was I alive still. 

That mad laugh relieved the tension, and by an 
effort of will I regained the mastery of myself. 
No, I would not die to-night. 

Back to my blankets I returned a saner being. 
If a man cannot win in love he may win in war ; 
life had still something to offer ; the fighting blood 
of my race was up, I would live and strike another 
blow or two. That very day in Las Vegas lurid 
newspaper headlines had told of white men butchered 
by Zulu impis in South Africa, and of the loud- 
baying bloodhounds of war let loose on the Natal 
border. My own brother would be there with his 
regiment. 

And there would I go too. I was no tenderfoot 
now ; as poor Ed would have put it, I had graduated 
on the frontier, and I could do my countrymen 
and women good service in their need. The blood 
leapt in my veins ; no more of regrets ; new life, 
new hope, new scenes opened out before me. I 

21 



314 A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

looked up at the North Star and the Great Bear 
swinging low for the morn. " Good-bye, old stars," 
I cried. " Hurrah for the Southern Cross, and the 
charging impi's horns." 

My soul was comforted, and I laid me down and 
slept at last. 

Just before dawn Dolores came to me, as it 
seemed, and bent over my couch and kissed me on 
the forehead. 

" Farewell," she breathed, " farewell. I dwell 
among my own people. The thing you desire could 
never have been." 

I flung out eager hands to clasp her, but the 
vision vanished like the mirage of the desert, and 
so I awoke from my dream. 



PRINTED BY 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, L o 
W>NDON AND AYISSBUUV, 

ENGLAND. 



JLffl'rP. 




SPRING 1914 

METHUEN'S 
POPULAR NOVELS 

Crown 8vo, 6s. each 
IT HAPPENED IN EGYPT 

By C. N. and A. M. WILLIAMSON, Authors of 'The 
Heather Moon,' ' The Lightning Conductor,' etc. 

This book tells, in the charming manner of the authors, a story of en- 
trancing interest for travellers in Egypt and for home-dwellers too. A 
young English diplomatist finds himself compelled by an unusual combina- 
tion of circumstances to become the temporary conductor of a party of 
tourists cruising on the Mediterranean and seeing Egypt. His strange 
new duties plunge him into the midst of adventures both comic and 
serious. He composes quarrels, intervenes in love affairs, baffles the 
agents of a secret society, conducts his charges successfully up the Nile 
to Khartoum, and in the end finds love and treasure both for himself and 
a faithful friend. 

CHANCE 

By JOSEPH CONRAD, Author of 'The Nigger of the 
"Narcissus."' 

In this new romance, which Mr. Conrad unfolds in his fascinating and 
curious way, partly by monologue, partly by narrative, we find the author 
of Lord Jim again revealing one of those strange cases of human passion 
and disaster which he alone, of living writers, can present. The sea is in 
the book, but it is not entirely a book of the sea. 

WHOM GOD HATH JOINED 

By ARNOLD BENNETT, Author of ' Clayhanger. 1 
This is a re-issue of one of Mr. Bennett's most famous novels. 

THE WAY HOME 

By BASIL KING, Author of The Wild Olive/ 

This is the story, minutely and understandingly told, of a sinner, his life 
and death. He is an ordinary man and no hero, and the final issue raised 
concerns the right of one who has persistently disregarded religion during 
his strength, in accepting its consolations when his end is near : a question 
of interest to every one. The book, however, is not a tract, but a very 
real novel. 



2 METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 

OLD ANDY 

By DOROTHEA CONYERS, Author of ' Sandy Married,' etc. 

No one knows rural Ireland and its humours better than Mrs. Conyers, 
whose intensely Hibernian stories are becoming so well known, and throw 
such amusing light on that eternal and delightful Ireland which never gets 
into the papers or politics. In Old Andy there is a very charming vein ol 
sentiment as well as much fun and farce. 

THE GOLDEN BARRIER 

By AGNES and EGERTON CASTLE, Authors of ' If Youth 
but Knew.' 

The main theme of this romance is the situation created by the marriage 
a marriage of love of a comparatively poor man, proud, chivalrous, and 
tender, to a wealthy heiress : a girl of refined and generous instincts, but 
something of a wayward 'spoilt child,' loving to use the power which her 
fortune gives her to play the Lady Maecenas to a crowd of impecunious 
flatterers, fortune hunters, and unrecognized geniuses. On a critical 
occasion, thwarted in one of her mad schemes of patronage by her husband, 
who tries to clear her society of these sycophants and parasites, she 
petulantly taunts him with having been a poor man himself, who happily 
married money. Outraged in his love and pride, he offers her the choice 
of coming to share his poverty or of living on, alone, amid her luxuries. 
There begins a conflict of wills between these two, who remain in love 
with each other prolonged naturally, and embittered, by the efforts of 
the interested hangers-on to keep the inconvenient husband out of Lady 
Maecenas' house but ending in a happy surrender on both sides. 

THE HAPPY HUNTING GROUND 

By ALICE PERRIN, Author of ' The Anglo-Indians.' 

A lively and entertaining story of Anglo-Indian life dealing with the 
matrimonial adventures of a young lady whose forbears have all been 
connected with the Indian services, and who is sent out to India to find a 
husband in her own class of life, but marries an official of humble origin 
ignorant of the circumstances of his birth. Troubles and disappointments, 
which come near to real tragedy, end in the triumph of grit and sincerity 
over social barriers. 

THE FLYING INN 

By G. K. CHESTERTON. 

This story is partly a farcical romance of the adventures of the last 
English Inn-keeper, when all Western Europe had been conquered by the 
Moslem Empire and its dogma of abstinence from wine. It might well 
be called ' What Might Have Been,' for it was sketched out before the 
legend of the Invincible Turk was broken. It involves a narrative de- 
velopment which is also something of a challenge in ethics. The lyrics 
called ' Songs of the Simple Life,' which appeared in The New Witness, 
are sung between the Inn-keeper and his friend, the Irish Captain, who 
are the principal characters in the romance. 



METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 3 

THE WAY OF THESE WOMEN 

By E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM, Author of 'The Missing 
Delora.' 

In this story Mr. Phillips Oppenheim, who is never content to remain in 
the same rut for long, has boldly deserted the somewhat complicated 
mechanism which goes to the making of the modern romance. He has 
contented himself with weaving a tensely written story around one Event, 
and concentrating the whole love interest of the book upon two people. 
The Event in itself is one simple enough, its use in fiction almost hackneyed, 
yet the circumstances surrounding it are so tragical and surprising, its 
hidden history so unexpected, that it easily serves as the pivot of an 
interest arresting from the first, startling in its latter stages, almost breath- 
less in its last development. 

A CROOKED MILE 

By OLIVER ONIONS, Author of ' The Two Kisses.' 

This is a story of a very modern marriage following the author's previous 
story, The Two Kisses, of a very modern courtship. In it two manages are 
contrasted, the one run on new and liberal and enlightened lines, the other 
still dominated by the ideas of the benighted past. What the difference 
between them comes to in the end depends entirely on the interpretation 
put upon the story, but the comedy 'note' speaks for itself. It may be 
remembered that The Two Kisses touches on the foibles of certain artists. 
A Crooked Mile deals with the vagaries of a certain airy amateurism in 
Imperial Politics. 

THE SEA CAPTAIN 

By H. C. BAILEY, Author of ' The Lonely Queen. 1 
One of the great company of Elizabethan seamen is the hero of this 
novel. There is, however, no attempt at glorifying him or his comrades. 
Mr. Bailey has endeavoured to mingle realism with the romance of the 
time. Captain Rymingtowne is presented as no crusader but something of 
a merchant, something of an adventurer and a little of a pirate. He has 
nothing to do with the familiar tales of the Spanish Main and the Indies. 
His voyages were to the Mediterranean when the Moorish corsairs were at 
the height of their power, and of them and their great leaders, Kheyr-ed- 
din Barbarossa and Dragut Reis, the story has much to tell. Captain 
Rymingtowne was concerned in the famous Moorish raid to capture the 
most beautirul woman in Europe and in the amazing affair of the Christian 
prisoners at Alexandria. 

FIREMEN HOT 

By C. J. CUTCLIFFE HYNE, Author of ' The Adventures 

of Captain Kettle.' 

In Firemen Hot, Mr. Cutcliffe Hyne has added three clearly etched 
portraits to a gallery which already contains those marine 'musketeers,' 
Thompson, McTodd, and Captain Kettle. The marine fireman is probably 
at about the bottom of the social scale, but, in Mr. Hyne's pages, he is 
very much the human being. In each chapter the redoubtable trio play 
before a different background, but whether they are in New Orleans or 
Hull, in Vera Cruz or Marseilles, one can tell in a paragraph that the 



4 METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 

author is writing of his ground from first-hand knowledge, and his char- 
acters from intimate and joyous study of them. A few Captain Kettle 
stories have been added. 

SIMPSON 

By ELINOR MORDAUNT, Author of ' The Cost of It.' 

Simpson is a retired business man in the prime of life, who, beneath a 
rugged exterior, possesses a sympathetic heart. Yet, finding no woman to 
fill it, he organizes a bachelor's club of congenial spirits and leases a fine 
old English country estate, there to live in dolce far niente untroubled by 
feminism in any form. How first one member of the club and then another 
drops away for sentimental reasons until only Simpson is left, and then his 
final capitulation to the only woman all this makes a delightful bit of 
comedy. The book, however, is more than a comedy. Running through 
it is a sound knowledge of human life and character, and the writing is 
always brilliant. It is a book out of the ordinary in every way. 

TWO WOMEN 

By MAX PEMBERTON, Author of 'The Mystery of the 
Green Heart.' 

DAVID AND JONATHAN IN THE 
RIVIERA 

By L. B. WALFORD, Author of ' Mr. Smith.' 

Two simple, unsophisticated bachelors, respectively minister and elder of 
a Scotch country parish, go to the Riviera for health's sake, and the rich 
and jovial ' Jonathan,' older by fifteen years than his friend, means to have 
a merry time, and to force the reluctant, shy, and sensitive ' David ' into 
having a merry time too. He ' opines ' that David needs waking up. 
Jonathan Buckle reminds us of Mrs. Walford's earlier hero ' Mr. Smith,' 
but unluckily his heart of gold is not united to the latter's personal charms, 
and he continually jars upon his companion, especially when making new 
acquaintances. His habit of doing this in and out of season eventually 
leads to disaster, and both men pass through a never-to-be-forgotten 
experience of the sirens of the South before they return home. An old 
Scotch serving-man, who attends Mr. Buckie as valet, plays no small part 
in the story, and his sardonic comments, grim humour, and the way in 
which he handles his master, whose measure he has taken to a nicety, 
make many amusing episodes. 

THE ORLEY TRADITION 

By RALPH STRAUS. 

The Orleys are an old noble family, once powerful, but now living 
quietly in a corner of England (Kent). They do nothing at all, in spile 
of people's endeavours to make them reach to the older heights. But they 
are happy in their retirement, and the real reason for this is that they have 
few brains. John Orley, the hero, has all the family characteristics, and 
is preparing himself for a humdrum country life, when he meets with an 
accident which prevents him from playing games, etc. He becomes am- 
bitious, goes out into the world, and fails at everything. He recovers 
his strength, and sees the mistake he has made, and the book ends as it 
began, the Orley Tradition holding true. 



METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 5 

ON THE STAIRCASE 

By FRANK SWINNERTON. 

The scene of Mr. Frank Swinnerton's new novel is set in the heart of 
London, in the parish of Holborn. The reproduction of manners, and 
the revelation by this means of the spirit underlying those manners, forms 
the framework of a story of passion. In the main, therefore, On the Stair- 
case is a romance with a clearly defined setting of commonplace happen- 
ings, in which the loves of Barbara Gretton and Adrian Velancourt are 
shown in conflict with the action of circumstance. The book is in no 
sense photographic, but it has value as a social picture, being based upon 
genuine observation. 

MAN AND WOMAN 

By L. G. MOBERLY, Author of * Joy. 

This story, which is based on Tennyson's lines 'The woman's cause is 
man's, they rise or sink together ' has for its chief character a woman who 
takes the feminist view that man is the enemy ; a view from which she is 
ultimately converted. Another prominent character is one whose love is 
given to a weak man, her axiom being that love takes no heed of the 
worthiness or unworthiness of its object. The scene is laid partly in 
London, partly in a country cottage, and partly in India during the 
Durbar of the King-Emperor. 

MAX CARRADOS 

By ERNEST BRAMAH, Author of 'The Wallet of Kai 
Lung.' 

Max Carrados is blind, but in his case blindness is more than counter- 
balanced by an enormously enhanced perception of the other senses. How 
these serve their purpose in the various difficulties and emergencies that 
confront the wealthy amateur when, through the instigation of his friend 
Louis Carlyle, a private inquiry agent, he devotes himself to the elucidation 
of mysteries, is the basis of Mr. Ernest Bramah's new book. The adven- 
tures that ensue range from sensational tragedy to romantic comedy as the 
occasions rise. 

THE MAN UPSTAIRS 

By P. G. WODEHOUSE, Author of ' The Little Nugget.' 

Under this title Mr. Wodehouse has collected nineteen of the short 
stories written by him in the past four years. Mr. Wodehouse is one of 
the few English short-story writers with an equally large public on both 
sides of the Atlantic : but only two of these stories have an American 
setting. All except one of this collection are humorous, and some idea of 
the variety of incident of the remainder may be gathered from the fact that 
their heroes include a barber, a gardener, an artist, a playwriter, a tramp, 
a waiter, an hotel clerk, a golfer, a stockbroker, a butler, a bank clerk, an 
assistant master at a private school, an insurance clerk, a peer's son who 
is also a leading member of a First League Association football team, 
and a Knight of King Arthur's Round Table who is neither brave nor 
handsome. 



6 METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 

SQUARE PEGS 

By CHARLES INGE, Author of ' The Unknown Quantity.' 

This novel raises again the absorbing question as to what is failure and 
what success. It tells how a big man from South Africa sets out to con- 
quer London the London of the Lobby and the Clubs with a threepenny 
weekly paper and sympathy for the unemployed ; how he fails, but in 
failure wins his woman ; how she too suffers in the London of women 
workers. There is, on the other side, the little solicitor who calculates 
for and succeeds by the other's failure ; but in succeeding loses. The 
background includes the life drama of an enthusiast for Labour reform. 

MESSENGERS 

By MARGARET HOPE, Author of ' Christina Holbrook/ 
A story of the sudden yielding to temptation of a woman of good 
position. She suffers for her fault in prison, but her sufferings on release 
are ten times greater. She tries her utmost to keep the knowledge of her 
guilt from her daughter, a girl just left school, but in vain. The girl, in 
a painful scene, demands to be told the truth, and the mother, unable to 
bear the sight of her child's misery, flies from home, hoping still in some 
way to retrieve the past. But the net of circumstance is too strongly 
woven. 

ENTER AN AMERICAN 

By E. CROSBY-HEATH, Author of 'Henrietta taking 

Notes.' 

The hero of Miss Crosby -Heath's new novel is a self-made American, 
who comes to London and enters a Home for Paying Guests. He is an 
optimistic philanthropist, and he contrives to help all the English friends 
he makes. His own crudity is modified by his London experiences, and 
the dull minds of his middle-class English friends are broadened by con- 
tact with his untrammelled personality. A humorous love interest runs 
through the book. 

THE FRUITS OF THE MORROW 

By AGNES JACOMB, Author of 'The Faith of his 

Fathers.' 

The Fruits of the Morrow is a novel showing the consequences of a man's 
and a woman's conduct in the past and how it affects the lives of their 
two sons. The other characters of the story are in different degrees 
involved in the results of the old romance, but not irredeemably. There 
is no hero in the ordinary sense of the word, the four male characters 
being of almost equal importance. The action takes place mainly in East 
Anglia and during the months of one summer. 

A GIRL FROM MEXICO 

By R. B. TOWNSHEND, Author of ' Lone Pine.' 

Adventures are to the adventurous, and a very young Oxford man 
who strikes out for himself in the wild and woolly West is apt to come in 
or some lively developments. He gets an exciting start by going partners 
with a Mormon-eating American desperado, and when the unsophisticated 
youth falls in love with a velvet-eyed Mexican senorita, and then finds 



METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 7 

himself called upon in honour to play the part of Don Quixote, things 
begin to get tangled up. Finall> he becomes involved in a struggle, not 
only with Mormons but with Mexican self-torturers in a great scene on the 
Calvary of the Penitentes which forms the climax of the story. 

SARAH MIDGET 

By LINCOLN GREY. 

In the sedate atmosphere of a quiet country town there develop the 
later phases of a man's sin, when he has become rich and powerful, and 
the woman whom he thrust aside in his early manhood learns, all un- 
consciously, to love the son of her successful rival. How Sarah Midget 
rises, in the shock of a great tragedy, to supreme heights of self-sacrifice, 
is shown in poignant and moving scenes. 

AN ASTOUNDING GOLF MATCH 

By ' STANCLIFFE,' Author of ' Fun on the Billiard Table ' 

and * Golf Do's and Dont's.' 

The narrative of the adventures of two golfers of equal handicaps, but 
different styles, who being dissatisfied with the result of two home arid home 
matches, decide that golf across country from links to links, would be 
more scientific and interesting than golf where all the hazards are known. 
The troubles that befell them, and how the match came to an abrupt 
termination, to the discomfort of one and the joy of the other, are told in 
this book. 

BLACKLAW 

By Sir GEORGE MAKGILL. 

This is a study in temperaments a contrast between the old and the 
new views of the relations between parent and child. Lord Blacklaw 
throws up rank and fortune, takes his children to the Colonies to live ' the 
Patriarchal Life,' and sacrifices their future to his own impulses. John 
Westray, on the other hand, gives up happiness, even life itself, for what 
he deems his son's welfare. Each from his own point of view fails, yet 
neither life is wholly wasted. The scenes are laid in Scotland, New 
Zealand, and in a Cornish Art Colony. 

POTTER AND CLAY 

By Mrs. STANLEY WRENCH, Author of * Love's Fool,' 
* Pillars of Smoke,' 'The Court of the Gentiles,' etc. 
In this story the author returns to the peasant folk of the Midlands whom 
she knows so well, and of whom she has written with sympathetic frank- 
ness in several books already. Just now, when the land question is so 
much discussed, this novel, dealing in the main with tillers of the soil, 
should receive careful attention. 

A ROMAN PICTURE 

By PAUL WAINEMAN, Author of ' A Heroine from Fin- 
land.' 

Mr. Paul Waineman, the Finnish novelist who has so far allowed his 
pen only to describe his native land Finland, has in his latest work essayed 
a new and also very old hunting ground for those in search of romance. 



8 METHUEN'S POPULAR NOVELS 

A Roman Picture is a romantic love story, set in the Mother City of the 
world, Rome. The author, from personal experience, shows up in a daring 
manner the hatred that still exists between the old and the new Rome. 
The heavy shadows and many memories within the vast decaying Roman 
palace, haunted by the living presence of the young and beautiful Donna 
Bianca Savelli, the last representative of an ancient line, form a pen-picture 
which will appeal to the many lovers of Rome. 

THE GIRL ON THE GREEN 

By MARK ALLERTON, Author of 'Such and Such 

Things.' 

The atmosphere of the links pervades Mark Allerton's new novel. The 
wind from the sea blows fresh through its pages. The heroine is a charm- 
ing, high-spirited girl who on her way from college to Bury St. Dunstan's, 
has an unexpected excursion into Militancy. The author has no views to 
present on the Suffrage Movement ; nor, indeed, has his heroine, whose 
not-to-be-explained week-end in a police cell gives ample scope for a highly 
amusing and exciting story. While The Girl on the Green makes a bid 
for general popularity, golfers will find it of particular interest. Mark 
Allerton is well known as a writer on the game, and his description of the 
great golf match between the hero and heroine will be found full of sly 
allusions to topics in the knowledge of all golfers, as well as an uncom- 
monly racy and exciting finish to a breezy story. 

DICKIE DEVON 

By JOHN OVERTON, Author of ' Lynette.' 

Mr. John Overton's second novel is laid in Worcestershire in the summer 
of 1644, and is the story of a young Cavalier, forced by adverse circum- 
stances to become a spy among the Roundheads. His position is a difficult 
and dangerous one, and matters are made worse by the advent of a spoilt 
Court beauty, who mistaking him for another man imagines herself to 
be his wife. Readers of Lynette will welcome the reappearance of the 
happy-go-lucky Irishman, Michael Fleming, who plays a leading part in 
this romance of love and war. 

THE STORY OF A CIRCLE 

By M. A. CURTOIS, Author of 'A Summer in Corn- 
wall.' 

A story of an experiment in the Occult, in which some ladies who began 
by being idly interested in psychical research, find themselves in dangerous 
contact with the material necessities of mediums. Much light is cast upon 
that strange population of charlatans who grow fat on the credulity of the 
foolish in London. 

LOTTERIES OF CIRCUMSTANCE 

By R. C. LYNEGROVE. 

This story is laid in Germany, and describes the matrimonial adventures 
of two sisters belonging to the impoverished German aristocracy. The 
elder, gentle and unselfish, marries into the vulgar domineering family of 
Gubbenmeyer. The other, flirtatious and attractive, saves herself and her 
family from penury by securing a rich officer, only to jeopardize everything 
through her undisciplined and sensuous temperament. 



A SELECTION OF BOOKS 

PUBLISHED BY METHUEN 

AND CO. LTD., LONDON 

36 ESSEX STREET 

W.C. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

General Literature . 2 
Ancient Cities . . ,13 

Antiquary's Books ... 13 

Arden Shakespeare ... 14 

Classics of Art . . . 14 

'Complete' Series ... 15 

Connoisseur's Library . . 15 

Handbooks of English Church 

History 16 

Handbooks of Theology . . 16 

' Home Life ' Series ... 16 

Illustrated Pocket Library of 

Plain and Coloured Books . 16 

Leaders of Religion . . 17 

Library of Devotion . . 17 

Little Books on Art . . 18 

Little Galleries ... 18 

Little Guides .... 18 

Little Library , , 19 



PAGE 

Little Quarto Shakespeare . 20 

Miniature Library ... 20 

New Library of Medicine . 21 

New Library of Music . . 21 

Oxford Biographies . . . 21 

Four Plays 21 

States of Italy .... 21 

Westminster Commentaries . 22 

' Young ' Series .... 22 

Shilling Library ... 22 

Books for Travellers . . 23 

Some Books on Art. . . 23 

Some Books on Italy . 24 

Fiction 25 

Books for Boys and Girls . 30 
Shilling Novels . .30 

Sevenpenny Novels . . 31 



A SELECTION OF 

MESSRS. METHUEN'S 

PUBLICATIONS 



IN this Catalogue the order is according to authors. An asterisk denotes 
that the book is in the press. 

Colonial Editions are published of all Messrs. METHUEN'S Novels issued 
at a price above is. 6d., and similar editions are published of some works of 
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Colonies and India. 

All books marked net are not subject to discount, and cannot be bought 
at less than the published price. Books not marked net are subject to the 
discount which the bookseller allows. 

Messrs. MKTHUEN'S books are kept in stock by all good booksellers. If 
there is any difficulty in seeing copies, Messrs. Methuen will be very glad to 
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receipt of the published price plus postage for net books, and of the published 
price for ordinary books. 

This Catalogue contains only a selection of the more important books 
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publications may be obtained on application. 



Abraham (G. D.). MOTOR WAYS IN 
LAKELAND. Illustrated. Second 
Edition. Demy 8o. -js. 6d. net. 

Adcock (A. St. John). THE BOOK- 
LOVER'S LONDON. Illustrated. Cr. 
$vo. 6s. net. 

*Ady (Cecilia M.). PIUS II.: THE 
HUMANIST POPE. Illustrated. Demy &vo. 
IQJ. bd. net. 

Andrewes (Lancelot). PRECES PRI- 
VATAE. Translated and edited, with 
Notes, by F. E. BRIGHTMAN. Cr. Zvo. 6s. 

Aristotle. THE ETHICS. Edited, with 
an Introduction and Notes, by JOHN 
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Atkinson (C. T.). A HISTORY OF GER- 
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Atkinson (T. D.). ENGLISH ARCHI- 
TECTURE. Illustrated. Third Edition. 
Fcap. Saw. 3*. 6d. net. 

A GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN 
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ENGLISH AND WELSH CATHE- 
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rut. 

Bain (P. W.). A DIGIT OF THE MOOX: 
A HINDOO LOVE STOKY. Tenth Edition. 
Fcap. &va. 3*. id. net. 



THE DESCENT OF THE SUN : A CYCLE 
OF BIRTH. Fifth Edition. Fcap. Bvo. 

A^EIF'ER OF THE DAWN, seventh 

Edition. Fcap. Bvo. as. dd. net. 
IN THE GREAT GOD'S HAIR. Fifth 

Edition, ficaf. Bvt. zs. 6d. net. 
A DRAUGHT OF THE BLUE. Fifth 

Edition Fcap. Bvo. vs. 6d. net. 
AN ESSENCE OF THE DUSK. Third 

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AN INCARNATION OF THE SNOW. 

Third Edition. Fcap. Bvo. js. 6d. net. 
A MINE OF FAULTS. Third Edition. 

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THEASHESOFAGOD. Second Edition. 

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BUBBLES OF THE FOAM. Second 

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Balfour (Graham). THE LIFE OF 
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON. Illus- 
trated. Eleventh Edition. In one Volume. 
Cr. %vo. Buckram, 6s. 
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Baring (Hon. Maurice). LANDMARKS 

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HONOURABLE Miss, THE. L. T. Meade. 

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Edith E. 



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25/10/13 



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FICTION Continued 



LONDON, JACK 

WHITE FANG Illus. 

LUBBOCK, B. 

DEEP SEA WARRIORS Illus. 

LUCAS, A. ST. JOHN 

THE FIRST ROUND 
LUCAS, E. Y. 

LISTENER'S LURE 

OVER BEMERTON'S 

MR. INGLESIDE 

LONDON LAVENDER 
LYALL, EDNA 

DERRICK VAUGHAN, NOVELIST 

MAARTENS, MAARTEN 

THE NEW RELIGION 
BROTHERS ALL 
THE PRICE OF LIS DORIS 
HARMEN POLS 
MCCARTHY, JUSTIN HUNTLY 
THE LADY OF LOYALTY HOUSE 
THE DUKE'S MOTTO 

MACNAUGHTAN, S. 

CHRISTINA McNAB 

PETER AND JANE 
HALET, LUCAS 

THE WAGES OF SIN 

THE CARISSIMA 

THE GATELESS BARRIER 

A COUNSEL OF PERFECTION 

COLONEL ENDERBY'S WIFE Illus. 

SIR RICHARD CALMADY 
MANN, MARY E. 

AVENGING CHILDREN 

MRS. PETER HOWARD 

A WINTER'S TALE 

ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS 

THE PARISH NURSE 

ASTRAY IN ARCADY 

A WIDOW WOMAN 
MARSH, RICHARD 

THE GIRL AND THE MIRACLE 

A ROYAL INDISCRETION 

LIVE MEN'S SHOES 

IN THE SERVICE OF LOVE 

METAMORPHOSIS 

JUDITH LEE 
MARSHALL, ARCHIBALD 

MANY JUNES Illus. 

THE SQUIRE'S DAUGHTER 

THE ELDEST SON 



MAUD, CONSTANCE 

A DAUGHTER OF FRANCE 



Illus. 



MAUD, MRS. D. 

THE EXPIATION OF JOHN COURT 

MAXWELL, W. B. 

VIVIEN 

THE RAGGED MESSENGER 

THE GUARDED FLAME 

ODD LENGTHS 

THE COUNTESS OF MAYBURY 

HILL RISE 

THE REST CURE 
MEADE, L. T. 

DRIFT 
MERRICK, L. 

ALL THE WORLD WONDERED 
MITFORD, BERTRAM 

THE SIGN OF THE SPIDER Illus. 

THE RED DERELICT 
MONTAGUE, C. E. 

A HIND LET LOOSE 
MORRISON, ARTHUR 

TALES OF MEAN STREETS 

A CHILD OF THE JAGO 

THE HOLE IN THE WALL 

DIVERS VANITIES 
NESBIT, E. 

THE RED HOUSE 

DORMANT 
NICKLIN, CONSTANCE 

THE HOUR AND THE WOMAN 
NOBLE, EDWARD 

LORDS OF THE SEA 
NORMAN, MRS. GEORGE 

LADY FANNY 

DELPHINE CARFREY 

THE SILVER DRESS 
OLIPHANT, PHILIP LAWRENCE 

HER SERENE HIGHNESS 
OLLIYANT, ALFRED 

OWD BOB Illus. 

THE TAMING OF JOHN BLUNT 

THE ROYAL ROAD 
ONIONS, 0. 

THE EXCEPTION 

GOOD BOY SELDOM 
OPPENHEIM, E. PHILLIPS 

MASTER OF MEN 

THE MISSING DELORA Illus. 



METHUEN'S COLONIAL LIBRARY 



ORCZT, BARONESS 

FIRE IN STUBBLE 
OSBOURNE, LLOYD 
THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD 

OXENHAM, JOHN 

A WEAVER OF WEBS Illus. 

THE GATE OF THE DESERT Illus. 
PROFIT AND LOSS Illus. 

THE LONG ROAD Illus. 

THE SONG OF HYACINTH 
MY LADY OF SHADOWS 
LAURISTONS 
THE COIL OF CARNE 
THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN 
ROSE 

PAIN, BARRY 

THE GIFTED FAMILY 
THE EXILES OF FALOO 
HERE AND HEREAFTER 

PARKER, GILBERT 

THE TRAIL OF THE SWORD Illus. 

WHEN VALMOND CAME TO 
PONTIAC 

AN ADVENTURER OF THE NORTH 

PIERRE AND HIS PEOPLE 

MRS. FALCHION 

THE SEATS OF THE MIGHTY. Illus. 

THE POMP OF THE LAVILETTES 

THE BATTLE OF THE STRONG. Illus. 

THE TRANSLATION OF A SAVAGE 

NORTHERN LIGHTS 
PATTERSON, J. E. 

WATCHERS BY THE SHORE 
PEMBERTON, MAX 

THE FOOTSTEPS OF A THRONE 

I CROWN THEE KING Illus. 

LOVE THE HARVESTER Illus. 

MYSTERY OF THE GREEN HEART 
PENROSE, Mrs. H. H. 

CHARLES THE GREAT 

PERRIN, ALICE 

THE CHARM 
THE ANGLO-INDIANS 
PHILLPOTTS, EDEN 

SONS OF THE MORNING Illus. 

CHILDREN OF THE MIST Illus. 

LYING PROPHETS 
THE RIVER Illus. 

THE HUMAN BOY Illus. 

THE AMERICAN PRISONER 
THE POACHER'S WIFE 



PHILLPOTS, EDEN continued 
THE PORTREEVE Illus. 

THE STRIKING HOURS 
THE FOLK AFIELD 
DEMETER'S DAUGHTER 

PICKTHALL, MARMADUKE 

SAID THE FISHERMAN 
BRENDLE 



THE MAYOR OF TROY 
MERRY-GARDEN 
MAJOR VIGOUREUX 

QUERIDO, ISRAEL 

TOIL OF MEN 
RAWSON, MAUD STEPNEY 
THE ENCHANTED GARDEN 
HAPPINESS 
SPLENDID ZIPPORAH 

RHYS, GRACE 

THE BRIDE 
RIDGE, W. PETT 

A SON OF THE STATE 

THE WICKHAMSES 

NAME OF GARLAND 

SPLENDID BROTHER 

ERB 

MRS. GALER'S BUSINESS Illus. 

NINE TO SIX-THIRTY 

THANKS TO SANDERSON 

DEVOTED SPARKES 

RITCHIE, Mrs. DAVID G. 

THE HUMAN CRY 
ROBINS, ELIZABETH 

THE CONVERT 
RUSSELL, W. CLARK 

MY DANISH SWEETHEART Illus. 

HIS ISLAND PRINCESS Illus. 

ABANDONED 

SHERRING, HERBERT 

GOPI 

SIDGWiCK, MRS. A. 
THE KINSMAN Illus. 

THE LANTERN BEARERS 
ANTHEA S GUEST 
LAMORNA 

SNAITH, J. C. 
THE PRINCIPAL GIRL 

SOMERVILLE, E. (E., and M. 
DAN RUSSEL THE FOX 



METHUEN'S COLONIAL LIBRARY 



FICTION Continued 



STONE, LOUIS 

JONAH 
BWABEY, HILDA M. 

THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER 
SWATHE, MARTIN L. 

LORD RICHARD IN THE PANTRY 
SWINNERTON, FRANK 

THE HAPPY FAMILY 
THURSTON, E. TEMPLE 

MIRAGE 
VAN YORST, MARIE 

THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY 
BULSTRODE 

IN AMBUSH 
WATSON, H. B. MARRIOTT 

A MIDSUMMER DAY'S DREAM 

THE PRIVATEERS Illus. 

A POPPY SHOW 

THE FLOWER OF THE HEART 

THE CASTLE BY THE SEA 

ALISE OF ASTRA Illus. 

AT A VENTURE 

THE BIG FISH 
WEALE, PUTNAM 

THE REVOLT 
WEBLING, PEGGY 

VIRGINIA PERFECT 

A SPIRIT OF MIRTH 

FELIX CHRISTIE 



WELLS, H. G. 

THE SEA LADY 
WEYMAN, STANLEY J. 

UNDER THE RED ROBE Illus. 

WHITBY, BEATRICE 

THE RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT 

ROSAMUND 
WHITE, EDMUND 

THE HEART OF HINDUSTAN 
WHITE, PERCY 

LOVE AND THE WISE MEN 

THE LOST HALO 
WILLIAMSON, C. N. and A. M. 

THE LIGHTNING CONDUCTOR Illus. 

THE PRINCESS PASSES Illus. 

MY FRIEND THE CHAUFFEUR Illus. 

LADY BETTY ACROSS THE WATER 

Illus. 

THE CAR OF DESTINY Illus. 

THE BOTOR CHAPERON Illus. 

SCARLET RUNNER Illus. 

SET IN SILVER Illus. 

LORD LOVELAND DISCOVERS 
AMERICA 

THE GOLDEN SILENCE Illus. 

THE GUESTS OF HERCULES 

THE HEATHER MOON 
WYLLARDE, DOLP 

THE PATHWAY OF THE PIONEER 

THE UNOFFICIAL HONEYMOON 



GENERAL LITERATURE 

A List of Books in General Literature may be obtained 
from any Bookseller, or post free on application to the 
Publishers. 



The List contains books by: 

P. W. BAIN 
GRAHAM BALFOUR 
HON. MAURICE BARING 
S. BARING-GOULD 
HILAIRE BELLOC 
G. K. CHESTERTON 
ALEXANDRE DUMAS 
LORD EYER8LEY 
FRANK HARRIS 
EDWARD HUTTON 
SIR HARRY JOHNSTON 
RUDYARD KIPLING 



SIR E. RAY LANKESTER 

SIR OLIVER LODGE 

E. V. LUCAS 

MAURICE MAETERLINCK 

C. F. G. MASTERMAN 

LADY DOROTHY NEYILL 

R. L. STEVENSON 

LEO TOLSTOY 

OSCAR WILDE 

H. NOEL WILLIAMS 

SIR EYELYN WOOD 



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