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Full text of "The luck of Roaring Camp, and other sketches"

And Other Sketches 
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THE 

LUCK OF ROARING CAMP 

AND OTHER SKETCHES. 



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| Luck of Roaring Camp 



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CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY, W. 



THE 



LUCK OF ROARING CAMP 



AND OTHER SKETCHES 



BY 

BRET HARTE 




A NEW EDITION 



ilontjon 
-CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY 



CONTENTS. 



I. SKETCHES PAGE 

THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP . . . .1 

THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT . . , .15 

HIGGLES V:'. \Y": 'YV "..' "'" ? ;" ,28 

TENNESSEE'S PARTNER . . v ;'. . ., . .41 

THE IDYL OF RED GULCH . . . 52 

HIGH-WATER MARK . . . ^ . . . 63 

A LONELY RIDE . "-..' ' , _ . , . . . 72 

THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT . .. \ : . . 79 

II. STORIES 

MLISS . '. . V . r .' " . . . 85 

THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER Y\ . 1 15 

NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD , - . . . 124 

III. BOHEMIAN PAPERS 

THE MISSION DOLORES . - , . */ . . 150 

JOHN CHINAMAN . . . . . . . 153 

FROM A BACK WINDOW . . . . .156 

BOONDER , 159 



vi CONTENTS. 

SENSATION NOVELS CONDENSED- 
PAGE 

SELINA SEDILIA. BY MISS M. E. B-DD-N AND MRS. 

H-N-Y W-D . . . ' .. . . 165 

FANTINE. AFTER THE FRENCH OF VICTOR HUGO . 173 
TERENCE DEUVILLE. BY CH-L-S L-V-R . , . '178 

THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. BY SIR ED-D 

L-TT-N B-LW-R . -. * ... . , 184 

THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. BY AL-X-D-R D-M-S 189 

MUCK-A-MUCK. A MODERN INDIAN NOVEL. AFTER 

COOPER . ; * . * * I 9^ 

MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. BY CAPTAIN M-RRY-T, R.N. 204 

GUY HEAVYSTONE ; OR, " ENTIRE." A MUSCULAR 

NOVEL. BY THE AUTHOR OF " SWORD AND GUN" 212 

THE HAUNTED MAN. A CHRISTMAS STORY. BY 

CII-R-S D-CK-NS ... . -, . " " ,. 219 
"LA FEMME." AFTER THE FRENCH OF M. MICHELET 228 

MARY M'GILLUP. A SOUTHERN NOVEL. AFTER 
BELLE BOYD . . . . - * * 232 

MISS MIX. BY CH-L-TTE BR-NTE . t , 238 

N. N. BEING A NOVEL IN THE FRENCH PARAGRAPHIC 

STYLfc . . . . . . . . 248 

NO TITLE. BY W-LK-E C-LL-NS . . . .252 

HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. BY CH-S R-DE 260 



CONTENTS. vii 

SIvLTCHES PAGE 

ME. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL . . . . . 273 

MELONS 282 

THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW . . .289 

A NIGHT AT WINGDAM . . , . . 302 



THE 

LUCK OF ROARING CAMP 

AND OTHER SKETCHES. 



L-SKETCHES. 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

'HPHERE was commotion in Roaring Camp. It could 
- 1 - not have been a fight, for in 1850 that was not novel 
enough to have called together the entire settlement. The 
ditches and claims were not only deserted, but " Tuttle's 
grocery" had contributed its gamblers, who, it will be re 
membered, calmly continued their game the day that French 
Pete and Kanaka Joe shot each other to death over the bar 
in the front room. The whole camp was collected before a 
rude cabin on the outer edge of the clearing. Conversation 
was carried on in a low tone, but the name of a woman was 
frequently repeated. It was a name familiar enough in the 
camp, " Cherokee Sal." 

Perhaps the less said of her the better. She was a coarse, 
and, it is to be feared, a very sinful woman. But at that 
time she was the only woman in Roaring Camp, and was 
just then lying in sore extremity, when she most needed the 
ministration of her own sex. Dissolute, abandoned, and 
irreclaimable, she was yet suffering a martyrdom hard 
enough to bear even when veiled by sympathizing woman 
hood, but now terrible in her loneliness. The primal curse 
had come to her in that original isolation which must have 
made the punishment of the first transgression so dreadful. 
It was, perhaps, part of the expiation of her sin, that, at s 

v 2 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

Tuoment when she most lacked her sex's intuitive tenderness 
and care, she met only the half-contemptuous faces of her 
masculine associates. Yet a few of the spectators were, I 
think, touched by her sufferings. Sandy Tipton thought it 
was " rough on Sal," and, in the contemplation of her con 
dition, for a moment rose superior to the fact that he had an 
ace and two bowers in his sleeve. 

It will be seen, also, that the situation was novel. Deaths 
were by no means uncommon in Roaring Camp, but a birth 
was a new thing. People had been dismissed the camp 
effectively, finally, and with no possibility of return; but 
this was the first time that anybody had been introduced 
ab initio. Hence the excitement. 

"You go in there, Stumpy," said a prominent citizet 
known as " Kentuck," addressing one of the loungers. " Go 
in there, and see what you kin do. You've had experience 
in them things." 

Perhaps there was a fitness in the selection. Stumpy, in 
other climes, had been the putative head of two families ; in 
fact, it was owing to some legal informality in these pro 
ceedings that Roaring Camp a city of refuge was in 
debted to his company. The crowd approved the choice, 
and Stumpy was wise enough to bow to the majority. The 
door closed on the extempore surgeon and midwife, and 
Roaring Camp sat down outside, smoked its pipe, and 
awaited the issue. 

The assemblage numbered about a hundred men. One or 
two of these were actual fugitives from justice, some were 
criminal, and all were reckless. Physically, they exhibited 
no indication of their past lives and character. The greatest 
scamp had a Raphael face, with a profusion of blond hair ; 
Oakhurst, a gambler, had the melancholy air and intellectual 
abstraction of a Hamlet ; the coolest and most courageous 
man was scarcely over five feet in height, with a soft voice 
and an embarrassed, timid manner. The tf.rm "rouph s " 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 5 

applied to tliem was a distinction rather than a definition. 
Perhaps in the minor details of fingers, toes, ears, &c., the 
camp may have been deficient j but these slight omissions 
did not detract from their aggregate force. The strongest 
man had but three fingers on his right hand ; the best shot 
had but one eye. 

Such was the physical aspect of the men that were dis 
persed around the cabin. The camp lay in a triangular 
valley, between two hills and a river. The only outlet was 
a steep trail over the summit of a hill that faced the cabin, 
now illuminated by the rising moon. The suffering woman 
might have seen it from the rude bunk whereon she lay, 
seen it winding like a silver thread until it was lost in the 
stars above. 

A fire of withered pine-boughs added sociability to the 
gathering. By degrees the natural levity of Roaring Camp 
returned. Bets were freely offered and taken regarding the 
result. Three to five that " Sal would get through with 
it ; " even that the child would survive ; side bets as to the 
sex and complexion of the coming stranger. In the midst 
of an excited discussion an exclamation came from those 
nearest the door, and the camp stopped to listen. Above 
the swaying and moaning of the pines, the swift rush of the 
river, and the crackling of the fire, rose a sharp, querulous 
cry a cry unlike anything heard before in the camp. The 
pines stopped moaning, the river ceased to rush, and the 
lire to crackle. It seemed as if Nature had stopped to 
listen too. 

The camp rose to its feet as one man ! It was proposed 
to explode a barrel of gunpowder, but, in consideration of 
the situation of the mother, better counsels prevailed, and 
only a few revolvers were discharged ; for, whether owing 
to the rude surgery of the camp, or some other reason, 
Cherokee Sal was sinking fast. Within an hour she had 
climbed, as it were, that rugged road that led to the stars, 



6 THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

and so passed out of Roaring Camp, its sin and shame, for 
ever. I do not think that the announcement disturbed 
them much, except in speculation as to the fate of the child.- 
"Can he live now?" was asked of Stumpy. The answer 
was doubtful. The only other being of Cherokee Sal's se 
and maternal condition in the settlement was an ass. There 
was some, conjecture as to fitness, but the experiment was 
tried. It was less problematical than the ancient treatment 
of Romulus and Remus, and apparently as successful. 

When these details were completed, which exhausted 
another hour, the door was opened, and the anxious crowd 
of men who had already formed themselves into a queue, 
entered in single file. Beside the low bunk or shelf, on 
which the figure of the mother was starkly outlined below 
the blankets, stood a pine table. On this a candle-box was 
placed, and within it, swathed in staring red flannel, lay the 
last arrival at Roaring Camp. Beside the candle-box was 
placed a hat. Its use was soon indicated. " Gentlemen," 
said Stumpy, with a singular mixture of authority and ex 
qfficio complacency, " Gentlemen will please pass in at the 
front door, round the table, and out at the back door. Them 
as wishes to contribute anything toward the orphan will find 
a hat handy." The first man entered with his hat on ; he 
uncovered, however, as he looked about him, and so, uncon 
sciously, set an example to the next. In such communities 
good and bad actions are catching. As the procession filed 
in, comments were audible, criticisms addressed, perhaps, 
rather to Stumpy, in the character of showman, " Is that 
him ? " " mighty small specimen ; " " hasn't mor'n got the 
colour" "ain't bigger nor a derringer." The contributions 
were as characteristic : A silver tobacco-box ; a doubloon ; 
a navy revolver, silver mounted ; a gold specimen ; a very 
beautifully embroidered lady's handkerchief from Oakhurst, 
the gambler) ; a diamond breastpin ; a diamond ring (sug 
gested by the pin, with the remark from the giver that he 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMF. ? 

" saw that pin and went two diamonds better ") j a slung 
shot j a Bible (contributor not detected) ; a golden spur ; 
a silver teaspoon (the initials, I regret to say, were not the 
giver's) ; a pair of surgeon's shears ; a lancet ; a Bank of 
England note for 5 ; and about $200 in loose gold and 
silver <coin. During these proceedings Stumpy maintained a 
silence as impassive as the dead on his left, a gravity as in 
scrutable as that of the newly born on his right. Only one 
incident occurred to break the monotony of the curious pro 
cession. As Kentuck bent over the candle-box half curi 
ously, the child turned, and, in a spasm of pain, caught at 
his groping finger, and held it fast for a moment. Kentuck 
looked foolish and embarrassed. Something like a blush 
tried to assert itself in his weather-beaten cheek. "The 
d d little cuss ! " he said, as he extricated his finger, with, 
perhaps, more tenderness and care than he might have been 
deemed capable of showing. He held that finger a little 
apart from its fellows as he went out, and examined it 
curiously. The examination provoked the same original re 
mark in regard to the child. In fact, he seemed to enjoy 
repeating it. " He rastled with my finger," he remarked to 
Tipton, holding up the member, " the d cl little cuss ! " 

It was four o'clock before the camp sought repose. A 
light burnt in the cabin where the watchers sat, for Stumpy 
did not go to bed that night. Nor did Kentuck. He drank 
quite freely, and related with great gusto his experience, in 
variably ending with his characteristic condemnation of the 
new-comer. It seemed to relieve him of any unjust impli 
cation of sentiment, and Kentuck had the weaknesses of 
the nobler sex. When everybody else had gone to bed, ho 
walked down to the river, and whistled reflectingly. Then 
he walked up the gulch, past the cabin, still whistling with 
demonstrative unconcern. At a large red-wood tree he 
paused and retraced his steps, and again passed the cabin. 
Half- way down to the river's bank he again paused., and then 



8 THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

returned and knocked at the door. It was opened by 
Stumpy. "How goes it ?" said Kentuck, looking past 
Stumpy toward the candle-box. "All serene," replied 
Stumpy. "Anything up?" "Nothing." There was a 
pause- an embarrassing one Stumpy still holding the door. 
Then Kentuck had recourse to his finger, which he held up 
to Stumpy. " Rastled with it, the d d little cuss," he 
said, and retired. 

The next day Cherokee Sal had such rude sepulture as 
Hearing Camp afforded. After her body had been com 
mitted to the hill-side, there was a formal meeting of the 
camp to discuss what should be done with her infant. A 
resolution to adopt it was unanimous and enthusiastic. But 
an animated discussion in regard to the manner and feasibility 
of providing for its wants at once sprung up. It was re 
markable that the argument partook of none of those fierce 
personalities with which discussions were usually conducted at 
Hearing Camp. Tipton proposed that they should send the 
child to Eed Dog, a distance of forty miles, where female 
attention could be procured. But the unlucky suggestion 
met with fierce and unanimous opposition. It was evident 
that no plan which entailed parting from their new acquisi 
tion would for a moment be entertained. " Besides," said 
Tom Ryder, "them fellows at Red Dog would swap it, and 
ring in somebody else on us." A disbelief in the honesty of 
other camps prevailed at Roaring Camp as in other places. 

The introduction of a female nurse in the camp also met 
with objection. It was argued that no decent woman could 
be prevailed to accept Roaring Camp as her home, and the 
speaker urged that " they didn't want any more of the other 
kind." This unkind allusion to the defunct mother, harsh as 
it may seem, was the first spasm of propriety, the first 
symptom of the camp's regeneration. Stumpy advanced 
nothing. Perhaps he felt a certain delicacy in interfering 
with the selection of a possible successor in office. But when 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 9 

questioned, he averred stoutly that he and " Jinny " the 
mammal before alluded to could manage to rear the child. 
There was something original, independent, and heroic about 
the .plan that pleased the camp. Stumpy was retained. 
Certain articles were sent for to Sacramento. "Mind," said 
the treasurer, as he pressed a bag of gold-dust into the 
expressman's hand, "the best that can be got, lace, you 
know, and filigree-work and frills d n the cost ! " 

Strange to say, the child thrived. Perhaps the invigorat 
ing climate of the mountain camp was compensation for 
material deficiencies. Nature took the fondling to her 
broader breast. In that rare atmosphere of the Sierra foot 
hills, that air pungent with balsamic odour, that ethereal 
cordial at once bracing and exhilarating, he may have 
found food and nourishment, or a subtle chemistry that 
transmuted asses' milk to lime and phosphorus. Stumpy 
inclined to the belief that it was the latter, and good nurs 
ing. " Me and that ass," he would say, " has been father and 
mother to him ! Don't you," he would add, apostrophizing 
the helpless bundle before him, " never go back on us." 

By the time he was a month old, the necessity of giving 
him a name became apparent. He had generally been 
known as "the Kid," " Stumpy's boy," "theCayote" (an 
allusion to his vocal powers), and even by Kerituck's endear 
ing diminutive of " the d d little cuss." But these were 
felt to be vague and unsatisfactory, and were at last dis 
missed under another influence. Gamblers and adventurers 
are generally superstitious, and Oakhurst one day declared 
that the baby had brought " the luck" to Roaring Camp. 
It was certain that of late they had been successful. 
" Luck " was the name agreed upon, with the prefix of 
Tommy for greater convenience. No allusion was made to 
the mother, and the father was unknown. " It 's better," 
said the philosophical Oakhurst, " to take a fresh deal all 
round. Call him Luck, and start him fair." A day wag 



io THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

accordingly set apart for the christening. What was meant 
by this ceremony the reader may imagine, who has already 
gathered some idea of the reckless irreverence of Roaring 
Camp. The master of ceremonies was one " Boston," a 
noted wag, and the occasion seemed to promise the greatest 
facetiousness. This ingenious satirist had spent two days 
in preparing a burlesque of the church service, with pointed 
local allusions. The choir was properly trained, and Sanely 
Tipton was to stand godfather. But after the procession had 
marched to the grove with music and banners, and the child 
had been deposited before a mock altar, Stumpy stepped 
before the expectant crowd. " It ain't my style to spoil fun, 
boys," said the little man, stoutly, eyeing the faces around 
him, " but it strikes me that this thing ain't exactly on the 
squar. It 's playing it pretty low down on this yer baby to 
ring in fun on him that he ain't going to understand. And 
ef there 's going to be any godfathers round, I 'd like to see 
who's got any better rights than me." A silence followed 
Stumpy's speech. To the credit of all humorists be it said, 
that the first man to acknowledge its justice was the sa 
tirist, thus stopped of his fun. " But," said Stumpy, quickly, 
following up his advantage, " we 're here for a christening, 
and we '11 have it. I proclaim you Thomas Luck, according 
to the laws of the United States and the State of Cali 
fornia, so help me God." It was the first time that the 
name of the Deity had been uttered otherwise than pro 
fanely in the camp. The form of christening was perhaps 
even more ludicrous than the satirist had conceived ; but, 
strangely enough, nobody saw it, and nobody laughed. 
" Tommy" was christened as seriously as he would have 
been under a Christian roof, and cried and was comforted in 
as orthodox fashion. 

And so the work of regeneration began in Roaring Camp. 
Almost imperceptibly a change came over the settlement. 
The cabin assigned to " Tommy Luck" or " The Luck," 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 1 1 

as he was more frequently called first showed signs of 
improvement. It was kept scrupulously clean and white 
washed. Then it was boarded, clothed, and papered. The 
rosewood cradle packed eighty miles by mule had, in 
Stumpy's way of putting it, " sorter killed the rest of the 
furniture." So the rehabilitation of the cabin became a 
necessity. The men who were in the habit of lounging in 
at Stumpy's to see " how the Luck got on" seemed to appre 
ciate the change, and, in self-defence, the rival establish 
ment of "Tattle's grocery" bestirred itself, and imported 
a carpet and mirrors. The reflections of the latter on the 
appearance of Eoaring Camp tended to produce stricter 
habits of personal cleanliness. Again, Stumpy imposed a 
kind of quarantine upon those who aspired to the honour 
and privilege of holding " The Luck." It was a cruel mor 
tification to Kentuck who, in the carelessness of a large 
nature and the habits of frontier life, had begun to regard 
all garments as a second cuticle, which, like a snake's, only 
sloughed off through decay to be debarred this privilege 
from certain prudential reasons. Yet such was the subtle 
influence oi innovation that he thereafter appeared regularly 
every afternoon in a clean shirt, and face still shining from 
his ablutions. Nor were moral and social sanitary laws 
neglected. " Tommy," who was supposed to spend his whole 
existence in a persistent attempt to repose, must not be 
disturbed by noise. The shouting and yelling which had 
gained the camp its infelicitous title were not permitted 
within hearing distance of Stumpy's. The men conversed in 
whispers, or smoked with Indian gravity. Profanity was 
tacitly given up in these sacred precincts, and throughout 
the camp a popular form of expletive, known as " D u the 
luck ! " and " Curse the luck ! " was abandoned, as having a 
new personal bearing. Vocal music was not interdicted, 
being supposed to have a soothing, tranquillizing quality, 
and one song, sung by " Man-o'-war Jack," an English 



12 THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

sailor, from her Majesty's Australian colonies, was quite 
popular as a lullaby. It was a lugubrious recital of the 
exploits of " the Arethusa, Seventy-four," in a muffled 
minor, ending with a prolonged dying fall at the burden 
of each verse, " On b-o-o-o-ard of the Arethusa." Jt was a 
fine sight to see Jack holding The Luck, rocking from side 
to side as if with the motion of a ship, and crooning forth 
this naval ditty. Either through the peculiar rocking of 
Jack or the length of his song it contained ninety stanzas, 
and was continued with conscientious deliberation to the 
bitter end the lullaby generally had the desired effect. 
At such times the men would lie at full length under the 
trees, in the soft summer twilight, smoking their pipes and 
drinking in the melodious utterances. An indistinct idea 
that this was pastoral happiness pervaded the camp. " This 
'ere kind o' think," said the Cockney Simmons, meditatively 
reclining on his elbow, "is 'evingly." It reminded him of 
Greenwich. 

On the long summer days The Luck was usually carried 
to the gulch, from whence the golden store of Roaring Camp 
was taken. There, on a blanket spread over pine-boughs, he 
would lie while the men were working in the ditches below. 
Latterly there was a rude attempt to decorate this bower 
with flowers and sweet-smelling shrubs, and generally some 
one would bring him a cluster of wild honeysiickles, azaleas, 
or the painted blossoms of Las Mariposas. The men had 
suddenly awakened, to the fact that there were beauty and 
significance in these trifles, which they had so long trodden 
carelessly beneath their feet. A flake of glittering mica, a 
fragment of variegated quartz, a bright pebble from the bed 
of the creek, became beautiful to eyes thus cleared and 
strengthened, and were invariably put aside for "The Luck.' 
It was wonderful how many treasures the woods and hill 
sides yielded that " would do for Tommy." Surrounded by 
playthings such as never child out of fairy-land had before, 



THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 13 

it is to be hoped that Tommy was content. He appeared 
to be securely happy, albeit there was an infantine gravity 
about him, a contemplative light in his round gray eyes, 
that sometimes worried Stumpy. He was always tractable 
and quiet, and it is recorded that once, having crept beyond 
his "corral," a hedge of tessellated pine-boughs, which 
surrounded his bed, he dropped over the bank on his head 
in the soft earth, and remained with his mottled legs in the 
air in that position for at least five minutes with unflinching 
gravity. He was extricated without a murmur. I hesitate 
to record the many other instances of his sagacity, which 
rest, unfortunately, upon the statements of prejudiced friends. 
Some of them were not without a tinge of superstition. " I 
crep' up the bank just now," said Kentuck, one clay, in a 
breathless state of excitement, "and dern my skin if he 
wasn't a talking to a jay-bird as was a sittin' on his lap. 
There they was, just as free and sociable as anything you 
please, a jawin' at each other just like two cherry-bums." 
Howbeit, whether creeping over the pine-boughs or lying 
lazily on his back blinking at the leaves above him, to him 
the birds sang, the squirrels chattered, and the flowers 
bloomed. Nature was his nurse and playfellow. For him 
she would let slip between the leaves golden shafts of sun 
light that fell just within his grasp ; she would send wander 
ing breezes to visit him with the balm of bay and resinous 
gums ; to him the tall red-woods nodded familiarly and 
sleepily, the bumble-bees buzzed, and the rooks cawed a 
slumbrous accompaniment. 

Such was the golden summer of Roaring Camp. They 
were "flush times," and the luck was with them. Tho 
claims had yielded enormously. The camp was jealous of its 
privileges, and looked suspiciously on strangers. No encou 
ragement was given to immigration, and, to make their 
seclusion more perfect, the land on either side of the moun- 
t:iin-wall that surrounded the camp they duly pre-empted. 



14 THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP. 

This, and a reputation for singular proficiency with the 
revolver, kept the reserve of Roaring Camp inviolate. The 
expressman their only connecting link with the surround 
ing world sometimes told wonderful stories of the camp. 
He would say, " They've a street up there in f Hearing,' that 
would lay over any street in Red Dog. They've got vines 
and flowers round their houses, and they wash themselves 
twice a day. But they're mighty rough on strangers, and 
they worship an Ingin baby." 

With the prosperity of the camp came a desire for further 
improvement. It was proposed to build a hotel in the follow 
ing spring, and to invite one or two decent families to reside 
there for the sake of " The Luck," who might perhaps profit 
by female companionship. The sacrifice that this concession 
to the sex cost these men, who were fiercely sceptical in 
regard to its general virtue and usefulness, can only be 
accounted for by their affection for Tommy. A few still 
held out. But the resolve could not be carried into effect 
for three months, and the minority meekly yielded in the 
hope that something might turn up to prevent it. And it 
did. 

The winter of 1851 will long be remembered in the foot 
hills. The snow lay deep on the Sierras, and every mountain 
creek became a river, and every river a lake. Each gorge 
and gulch was transformed into a tumultuous watercourse, 
that descended the hill-sides, tearing down giant trees, and 
scattering its drift and debris along the plain. Red Dog had 
been twice under water, and Roaring Camp had been fore 
warned. "Water put the gold into them gulches," said 
Stumpy; "it's been here once and will be here again!" 
And that night the North Fork suddenly leaped over its 
banks, and swept up the triangular valley of Roaring Camp. 

In the confusion of rushing water, crushing trees, and 
crackling timber, and the darkness which seemed to flow 
with the water and blot out the fair valley, but little could 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 15 

be done to collect the scattered camp. When the morning 
broke, the cabin of Stumpy nearest the river -bank was gone. 
Higher up the gulch they found the body of its unlucky 
owner; but the pride, the hope, the joy, the Luck of Hoar- 
ing Camp had disappeared. They were returning with sad 
hearts, when a shout from the bank recalled them. 

It was a relief-boat from down the river. They had picked 
up, they said, a man and an infant, nearly exhausted, about 
two miles below. Did anybody know them, and did they 
belong here ? 

It needed but a glance to show them Kentuck lying there, 
cruelly crushed and bruised, but still holding the Luck of 
Roaring Camp in his arms. As they bent over the strangely 
assorted pair, they saw that the child was cold and pulseless. 
"He is dead," said one. Kentuck opened his eyes. "Dead'?" 
he repeated, feebly. "Yes, my man, and you are dying too." 
A smile lit the eyes of the expiring Kentuck. "Dying," he 
repeated, " he's a taking me with him, tell the boys I've 
got the Luck with me now;" and the strong man, clinging 
to the frail babe as a drowning man is said to cling to a 
straw, drifted away into the shadowy river that flows for 
ever to the unknown sea. 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

< A S Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, stepped into the main 
street of Poker Flat on the morning of the twenty- 
third of November, 1850, he was conscious of a change in 
its moral atmosphere since the preceding night. Two or 
three men, conversing earnestly together, ceased as he 
approached, and exchanged significant glances. There was a 
Sabbath lull in the air, which, in a settlement unused to 
Sabbath influences, looked ominous. 



i6 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

Mr. Oakhurst's calm, handsome face betrayed small con 
cern in these indications. Whether he was conscious of any 
predisposing cause, was another question. "I reckon they're 
after somebody," he reflected ; "likely it's me." He returned 
to his pocket the handkerchief with which he had been 
whipping away the red dust of Poker Flat from his neat 
boots, and quietly discharged his mind of any further con 
jecture. 

In point of fact, Poker Flat was "after somebody." It 
had lately suffered the loss of several thousand dollars, two 
valuable horses, and a prominent citizen. It was experi 
encing a spasm of virtuous reaction, quite as lawless and 
ungovernable as any of the acts that had provoked it. A 
secret committee had determined to rid the town of all 
improper persons. This was done permanently in regard of 
two men who were then hanging from the boughs of a syca 
more in the gulch, and temporarily in the banishment of 
certain other objectionable characters. I regret to say that 
some of these were ladies. It is but due to the sex, however, 
to state that their impropriety was professional, and it was 
only in such easily established standards of evil that Poker 
Flat ventured to sit in judgment. 

Mr. Oakhurst was right in supposing that he was included 
in this category. A few of the committee had urged hang 
ing him as a possible example, and a sure method of reim 
bursing themselves from his pockets of the sums he had won 
from them. " It's agin justice," said Jim Wheeler, " to lei 
this yer young man from Roaring Camp an entire stranger 
carry away our money." But a crude sentiment of equity 
residing in the breasts of those who had been fortunate 
enough to win from Mr. Oakhurst overruled this narrower 
local prejudice. 

Mr. Oakhurst received his sentence with philosophic calm 
ness, none the less coolly that he was aware of the hesitation 
of his judges. He was too much of a gambler not to accept 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 17 

Fate, With him life was at best an uncertain game, and he 
recognised the usual per-centage in favour of the dealer. 

A party of armed men accompanied the deported wicked 
ness of Poker Flat to the outskirts of the settlement. Besides 
Mr. Oakhurst, who was known to be a coolly desperate man, 
and for whose intimidation the armed escort was intended, 
the expatriated party consisted of a young woman familiarly 
known as " The Dutchess " another, who had bore the title 
of "Mother Shipton ;" and "Uncle Billy," a suspected sluice- 
robber and confirmed drunkard. The cavalcade provoked 
no comments from the spectators, nor was any word uttered 
by the escort. Only when the gulch which marked the 
uttermost limit of Poker Flat was reached, the leader spoke 
briefly and to the point. The exiles were forbidden to return 
at the peril of their lives. 

As the escort disappeared, their pent-up feelings found 
vent in a few hysterical tears from the Duchess, some bad 
language from Mother Shipton, and a Parthian volley of 
expletives from Uncle Billy. The philosophic Oakhurst 
alone remained silent. He listened calmly to Mother Ship- 
ton's desire to cut somebody's heart out, to the repeated 
statements of the Duchess that she would die in the road, 
and to the alarming oaths that seemed to be bumped out 
of Uncle Billy as he rode forward. With the easy good- 
humour characteristic of his class, he insisted upon exchanging 
his own riding-horse, " Five Spot," for the sorry mule which 
the Duchess rode. But even this act did not draw the party 
into any closer sympathy. The young woman readjusted her 
somewhat draggled plumes with a feeble, faded coquetry; 
Mother Shipton eyed the possessor of "Five Spot" with 
malevolence ; arid Uncle Billy included the whole party in 
one sweeping anathema. 

The road to Sandy Bar a camp that, not having as yet 
experienced the regenerating influences of Poker Flat, con 
sequently seemed to offer some invitation to the emigrants 

o 



13 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

lay over a steep mountain range. It was distant a day's 
severe travel. In that advanced season, the party soon 
passed out of the moist, temperate regions of the foot-hills 
into the dry, cold, bracing air of the Sierras. The trail was 
narrow and difficult. At noon the Duchess, rolling out of 
her saddle upon the ground, declared her intention of going 
no farther, and the party halted. 

The spot was singularly wild and impressive. A wooded 
amphitheatre, surrounded on three sides by precipitous cliffs 
of naked granite, sloped gently towards the crest of another 
precipice that overlooked the valley. It was, undoubtedly, 
the most suitable spot for a camp, had camping been 
advisable. But Mr. Oakhurst knew that scarcely half the 
journey to Sandy Bar was accomplished, and the party were 
not equipped or provisioned for delay. This fact he pointed 
out to his companions curtly, with a philosophic commentary 
on the folly of " throwing up their hand before the game 
was played out." But they were furnished with liquor, 
which in this emergency stood them in place of food, fuel, 
rest, and prescience. In spite of his remonstrances, it was 
not long before they were more or less under its influence. 
Uncle Billy passed rapidly from a bellicose state into one of 
stupor, the Duchess became maudlin, and Mother Shipton 
snored. Mr. Oakhurst alone remained erect, leaning against 
a rock, calmly surveying them. 

Mr. Oakhurst did not drink. It interfered with a pro 
fession which required coolness, impassiveness, and presence 
of mind, and, in his own language, he "couldn't afford it." 
As he gazed at his recumbent fellow-exiles, the loneliness 
begotten of his pariah-trade, his habits of life, his very vices, 
for the first time seriously oppressed him. He bestirred 
himself in dusting his black clothes, washing his hands and 
face, and other acts characteristic of his studiously neat 
habits, and for a moment forgot bis annoyance. The thought 
of deserting his weaker and more pitiable companions never 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 19 

perhaps occurred to him. Yet he could not help feeling the 
want of that excitement which, singularly enough, was ino::t 
conducive to that calm equanimity for which he was notori 
ous. He looked at the gloomy walls that rose a thousand 
feet sheer above the circling pines around him ; at the sky, 
ominously clouded \ at the valley below, already deepening 
into shadow. And, doing so, suddenly he heard his own 
name called. 

A horseman slowly ascended the trail. In the fresh, 
open face of the new-comer, Mr. Oakhurst recognized Tom 
Simson, otherwise known as " The Innocent " of Sandy Bar. 
He had met him some months before over a " little game," 
and had, with perfect equanimity, won the entire fortune 
amounting to some forty dollars of that guileless youth. 
After the game was finished, Mr. Oakhurst drew the youth 
ful speculator behind the door, and thus addressed him : 
" Tommy, you 're a good little man, but you can't gamble 
worth a cent. Don't try it over again." He then handed 
him his money back, pushed him gently from the room, and 
so made a devoted slave of Tom Simson. 

There was a remembrance of this in his boyish and enthu 
siastic greeting of Mr. Oakhurst. He had started, he said, 
to go to Poker Flat to seek his fortune. " Alone ? " No, 
not exactly alone ; in fact (a giggle), he had run away with 
Piney "Woods. Didn't Mr. Oakhurst remember Piney ? 
She that used to wait on the table at the Temperance House 1 
They had been engaged a long time, but old Jake Woods had 
objected, and so they had run away, and were going to Poker 
Flat to be married ; and here they were. And they were 
tired out, and how lucky it was they had found a place to 
camp and company. All this the Innocent delivered rapidly, 
while Piney, a stout, comely damsel of fifteen, emerged from 
behind the pine-tree, where she had been blushing unseen, 
and rode to the side of her lover. 

Mr. Oakhurst seldom troubled himself with sentiment, 

02 



20 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

still less with propriety ; but he had a vague idea that the 
situation was not fortunate. He retained, however, his 
presence of mind sufficiently to kick Uncle Billy, who was 
about to say something, and Uncle Billy was sober enough 
to recognize in Mr. Oakhurst's kick a superior power that 
would not bear trifling. He then endeavoured to dissuade 
Tom Simson from delaying further, but in vain. He even 
pointed out the fact that there was no provision, nor means 
of making a camp. But, unluckily, the Innocent met this 
objection by assuring the party that he was provided with 
an extra mule loaded with provisions, and by the discovery 
of a rude attempt at a log-house near the trail. " Piney can 
stay with Mrs. Oakhurst," said the Innocent, pointing to the 
Duchess, " and I can shift for myself." 

Nothing but Mr. Oakhurst's admonishing foot saved Uncle 
Billy from bursting into a roar of laughter. As it was, he 
felt compelled to retire up the canon until he could recover 
his gravity. There he confided the joke to the tall pine- 
trees, with many slaps of his leg, contortions of his face, and 
the usual profanity. But when he returned to the party, he 
found them seated by a fire for the air had grown strangely 
chill, and the sky overcast in apparently amicable conver 
sation. Piney was actually talking in an impulsive, girlish 
fashion to the Duchess, who was listening with an interest 
and animation she had not shown for many days. The 
Innocent was holding forth, apparently with equal effect, to 
Mr. Oakhurst and Mother Shipton, who was actually relax 
ing into amiability. " Is this yer a d d pic-iiic ? " said 
Uncle Billy, with inward scorn, as he surveyed the sylvan 
group, the glancing firelight, and the tethered animals in the 
foreground. Suddenly an idea mingled with the alcoholic 
fumes that disturbed his brain. It was apparently of a 
jocular jiature, for he felt impelled to slap his leg again and 
cram his fist into his mouth. 

As the shadows crept slowly up he mountain, a slight 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 21 

breeze rocked the tops of the pine-trees, and moaned through 
their long and gloomy aisles. The ruined cabin, patched and 
covered with pine-boughs, was set apart for the ladies. As 
the lovers parted, they unaffectedly exchanged a kiss, so 
honest and sincere that it might have been heard above the 
swaying pines. The frail Duchess and the malevolent 
Mother Shipton were probably too stunned to remark upon 
this last evidence of simplicity, and so turned without a word 
to the hut. The fire was replenished, the men lay down 
before the door, and in a few minutes were asleep. 

Mr. Oakhurst was a light sleeper. Toward morning he 
awoke benumbed and cold. As he stirred the dying fire, the 
wind, which was now blowing strongly, brought to his cheek 
that which caused the blood to leave it, snow ! 

He started to his feet with the intention of awakening the 
sleepers, for there was no time to lose. But turning to where 
Uncle Billy had been lying, he found him gone. A suspicion 
leaped to his brain and a curse to his lips. He ran to the spot 
where the mules had been tethered; they were no longer there. 
The tracks were already rapidly disappearing in the snow. 

The momentary excitement brought Mr. Oakhurst back to 
the fire with his usual calm. He did not waken the sleepers. 
The Innocent slumbered peacefully, with a smile on his 
good-humoured, freckled face ; the virgin Piney slept beside 
her frailer sisters as sweetly as though attended by celestial 
guardians, and Mr. Oakhurst, drawing his blanket over his 
shoulders, stroked his mustaches and waited for the dawn. 
It came slowly in a whirling mist of snow-flakes, that dazzled 
and confused the eye. "What could be seen of the landscape 
appeared magically changed. He looked over the valley, 
and summed up the present and future in two words 
" snowed in ! " 

A careful inventory of the provisions, which, fortunately 
for the party, had been stored within the hut, and so escaped 
the felonious fingers of Uncle Billy, disclosed the fact that 



22 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

\vitli care and prudence they might last ten days longer. 
" That is," said Mr. Oakhurst, sotto voce to the Innocent, " if 
you're willing to board us. If you ain't and perhaps you 'd 
better not you can wait till Uncle Billy gets back with 
provisions." For some occult reason Mr. Oakhurst could 
not bring himself to disclose Uncle Billy's rascality, and so 
offered the hypothesis that he had wandered from the camp 
and hact accidentally stampeded the animals. He dropped a 
warning to the Duchess and Mother Shipton, who of course 
knew the facts of their associate's defection. " They'll find out 
the truth about us all when they find out anything," he added, 
significantly, "and there's no good frightening them now." 

Tom Simson not only put all his worldly store at the 
disposal of Mr. Oakhurst, but seemed to enjoy the prospect 
of their enforced seclusion. "We'll have a good camp for a 
week, and then the sriow'll melt, and we'll all go back 
together." The cheerful gaiety of the young man, and Mr. 
Oakhurst's calm infected the others. The Innocent, with 
the aid of pine-boughs, extemporized a thatch for the roofless 
cabin, and the Duchess directed Piney in the rearrangement 
of the interior with a taste and tact that opened the blue 
eyes of that provincial maiden to their fullest extent. " I 
reckon now you're used to fine things at Poker Flat," said 
Piney. The Duchess turned away sharply to conceal some 
thing that reddened her cheeks through its professional tint, 
and Mother Shipton requested Piney not to " chatter." But 
when Mr. Oakhurst returned from a weary search for the 
trail, he heard the sound of happy laughter echoed from the 
rocks. He stopped in some alarm, and his thoughts first 
naturally reverted to the whiskey, which he had prudently 
cached. " And yet it don't somehow sound like whiskey, 51 
said the gambler. It was not until he caught sight of the 
blazing fire through the still blinding storm and the group 
around it, that he settled to the conviction that it was 
" square ftm." 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 23 

Whether Mr. Oakhurst had cached his cards with the 
whiskey as something debarred the free access of the com 
munity, I cannot say. It was certain that, in Mother 
Shipton's words, he " didn't say cards once " during that 
evening. Haply the time was beguiled by an accordion, 
produced somewhat ostentatiously by Tom Simson from his 
pack. Notwithstanding some difficulties attending the mani 
pulation of this instrument, Piney Woods managed to pluck 
several reluctant melodies from its keys, to an accompani 
ment by the Innocent on a pair of bone castinets. But the 
crowning festivity of the evening was reached in a rude 
camp-meeting hymn, which the lovers, joining hands, sang 
with great earnestness and vociferation. I fear that a 
certain defiant tone and Covenanter's swing to its chorus, 
rather than any devotional quality, caused it speedily to 
infect the others, who at last joined in the refrain : 

" I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, 
And I'm bound to die in His army." 

The pines rocked, the storm eddied and whirled above the 
miserable group, and the flames of their altar leaped heaven 
ward, as if in token of the vow. 

At midnight the storm abated, the rolling clouds parted, 
and the stars glittered keenly above the sleeping camp. 
Mr. Oakhurst, whose professional habits had enabled him tC 
live on the smallest possible amount of sleep, in dividing the 
watch with Tom Sim son, somehow managed to take upon 
himself the greater part of that duty. He excused himself 
to the Innocent by saying that he had " often been a week 
without sleep." "Doing what?" asked Tom. "Poker!" 
replied Oakhurst, sententiously ; " when a man gets a streak 
of luck nigger-luck he don't get tired. The luck gives in 
first. LUCK/' continued the gambler, reflectively, "is a 
mighty queer thing. All you know about it for certain is 
that it's bound to change And it's finding out when it's 



24 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER 

going to change that makes you. We've had a streak of 
bad luck since we left Poker Flat you come along, and slap 
you get into it, too. If you can hold your cards right along 
you're all right For," added the gambler, with cheerful 
irrelevance 

" ' I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, 
And I'm bound to die in His army.' " 

The third day came, and the sun, looking through the 
white-curtained valley, saw the outcasts divide their slowly 
decreasing store of provisions for the morning meal. It was 
one of the peculiarities of that mountain climate that its rays 
diffused a kindly warmth over the wintry landscape, as if in 
regretful commiseration of the past. But it revealed drift 
on drift of snow piled high around the hut a hopeless, un- 
chartered, trackless sea of white lying below the rocky shores 
to which the castaways still clung. Through the mar 
vellously clear air the smoke of the pastoral village of Poker 
Flat rose miles away. Mother Shipton saw it, and from a 
remote pinnacle of her rocky fastness, hurled in that direc 
tion a final malediction. It was her last vituperative attempt, 
and perhaps for that reason was invested with a certain 
degree of sublimity. It did her good, she privately informed 
the Duchess. " Just you go out there and cuss, and see." 
She then set herself to the task of amusing " the child," as 
she and the Duchess were pleased to call Piney. Piney was 
no chicken, but it was a soothing and original theory of the 
pair thus to account for the fact that she didn't swear and 
wasn't improper. 

When night crept up again through the gorges, the reedy 
notes of the accordion rose and fell in fitful spasms and long, 
drawn gasps by the flickering camp-fire. But music failed 
to fill entirely the aching void left by insufficient food, and a 
new diversion was proposed by Piney story-telling. Neither 
Mr. Oakhurst nor his female companions caring to relate 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 25 

their personal experiences, this plan would have failed, too, 
but for the Innocent. Some months before he had chanced 
upon a stray copy of Mr. Pope's ingenious translation of the 
Iliad. He now proposed to narrate the principal incidents 
of that poem having thoroughly mastered the argument 
and fairly forgotten the words in the current vernacular of 
Sandy Bar. And so for the rest of that night the Homeric 
demigods again walked the earth. Trojan bully and wily 
Greek wrestled in the winds, and the great pines in the canon 
seemed to bow to the wrath of the son of Peleus. Mr. Oak- 
hurst listened with quiet satisfaction. Most especially was 
he interested in the fate of " Ash-heels," as the Innocent 
persisted in denominating the " swift-footed Achilles." 

So with small food and much of Homer and the accordion, 
a week passed over the heads of the outcasts. The sun again 
forsook them, and again from leaden skies the snow-flakes 
were sifted over the land. Day by day closer around them 
drew the snowy circle, until at last they looked from their 
prison over drifted walls of drizzling white, that towered 
twenty feet above their heads. It became more and more 
difficult to replenish their fires, even from the fallen trees 
beside them, now half hidden in the drifts. And yet no one 
complained. The lovers turned from the dreary prospect, 
and looked into each other's eyes, and were happy. Mr. 
Oakhurst settled himsef coolly to the losing game before 
him. The Duchess, more cheerful than she had been, 
assumed the care of Piney. Only Mother Shipton once 
the strongest of the party seemed to sicken and fade. At 
midnight 011 the tenth day she called Oakhurst to her side. 
"I'm going," she said, in a voice of querulous weakness, 
" but don't say anything about it. Don't waken the kids. 
Take the bundle from under my head and open it." Mr. 
Oakhurst did so. It contained Mother Shipton's rations for 
the last week, untouched. " Give 'em to the child," she said, 
pointing to the sleeping Piney. " You've starved yourself," 



26 THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 

said the gambler. " That's what they call it," said the 
woman, querulously, as she lay down again, and, turning 
her face to the wall, passed quietly away. 

The accordion and the bones were put aside that day, and 
Homer was forgotten. When the body of Mother Shipton 
had been committed to the snow, Mr. Oakhurst took the 
Innocent aside, and showed him a pair of snow-shoes, which 
ho had fashioned from the old pack-saddle. " There's one 
chance in a hundred to save her yet," he said, pointing to 
Piney; "but it's there," he added, pointing toward Poker 
Flat. "If you can reach there in two days she's safe." 
"And you?" asked Tom Simson. "I'll stay here," was 
the curt reply. 

The lovers parted with a long embrace. " You are not 
going, too?" said the Duchess, as she saw Mr. Oakhurst 
apparently waiting to accompany him. " As far as the 
canon," he replied. He turned suddenly, and kissed the 
Duchess, leaving her pallid face aflame, and her trembling 
limbs rigid with amazement. 

Night came, but not Mr. Oakhurst. It brought the 
storm again and the whirling snow. Then the Duchess, 
feeding the fire, found that some one had quietly piled beside 
the hut enough fuel to last a few days longer. The tears 
rose to her eyes, but she hid them from Piney. 

The women slept but little. In the morning, looking 
into each other's faces, they read their fate. Neither spoke j 
but Piney, accepting the position of the stronger, drew near 
and placed her arm around the Duchess's waist. They kept 
this attitude for the rest of the day. That night the storm 
reached its greatest fury, and, rending asunder the pro 
tecting pines, invaded the very hut. 

Toward morning they found themselves unable to feed the 
fire, which gradually died away. As the embers slowly 
blackened, the Duchess crept closer to Piney, and broke the 
silence of many hours: "Piney, can you pray?" "No, 



THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT. 27 

dear," said Piney, simply. The Duchess, without knowing 
exactly why, felt relieved, and, putting her head upon Piney's 
shoulder, spoke no more. And so reclining, the younger 
and purer pillowing the head of her soiled sister iipon her 
virgin breast, they fell asleep. 

The wind lulled as if it feared to waken them. Feathery 
drifts of snow, shaken from the long pine-boughs, flew like 
white- winged birds, and settled about them as they slept. 
The moon through the rifted clouds looked down upon what 
had been the camp. But all human stain, all trace of earthly 
travail, was hidden beneath the spotless mantle mercifully 
flung from above. 

They slept all that day and the next, nor did they waken 
when voices and footsteps broke the silence of the camp. 
And when pitying fingers brushed the snow from their wan 
faces, you could scarcely have told, from the equal peace that 
dwelt upon them, which was she that had sinned. Even 
the law of Poker Flat recognized this, and turned away, 
leaving them still locked in each other's arms. 

But at the head of the gulch, on one of the largest pine* 
trees, they found the deuce of clubs pinned to the bark with 
a bowie-knife. It bore the following, written in pencil, in a 
firm hand : 

t 

BENEATH THIS TREE 

LIES THE BODY 

OF 

JOHN OAKHURST, 

WHO STRUCK A STREAK OF BAD LUCK 
ON THE 23 RD OF NOVEMBER. 1850, 

AND 

HANDED IN HIS CHECKS 
ON THE 7TH DECEMBER, 1850. 

4 

And pulseless and cold, with a Derringer by his side and a 
bullet in his heart, though still calm as in life, beneath the 
snow lay he who was at once the strongest and yet the 
weakest of the outcasts of Poker Flat. 



28 MIGGLES. 



HIGGLES. 

"\irE were eight, including the driver. We had not 
spoken during the passage of the last six miles, since 
the jolting of the heavy vehicle over the roughening road had 
spoiled the Judge's last poetical quotation. The tall man 
beside the Judge was asleep, his arm passed through the 
swaying strap and his head resting upon it altogether a limp, 
helpless-looking object, as if he had hanged himself and been 
cut down too late. The French lady on the back seat was 
asleep, too, yet in a half-conscious propriety of attitude, 
shown even in the disposition of the handkerchief which she 
held to her forehead, and which partially veiled her face. 
The lady from Virginia City, travelling with her husband, 
had long since lost all individuality in a wild confusion of 
ribbons, veils, furs, and shawls. There was no sound but the 
rattling of wheels and the dash of rain upon the roof. Sud 
denly the stage stopped, and we became dimly aware of 
voices. The driver was evidently in the midst of an ex 
citing colloquy with some one in the road a colloquy of 
which such fragments as " bridge gone," " twenty feet of 
water," " can't pass," were occasionally distinguishable above 
the storm. Then came a lull, and a mysterious voice from 
the road shouted the parting adjuration, 

" Try Miggles's." 

We caught a glimpse of our leaders as the vehicle slowly 
turned, of a horseman vanishing through the rain, and we 
were evidently on our way to Miggles's. 

Who and where was Higgles 1 The Judge, our autho 
rity, did not remember the name, and he knew the country 
thoroughly. The Washoe traveller thought Higgles must 
keep a hotel. We only knew that we were stopped by high 
water in front and rear, and that Higgles was our rock of 
refuge. A ten minutes' splashing through a tangled by- 



HIGGLES. 2$ 

road, scarcely wide enough for the stage, and we drew up 
before a barred and boarded gate in a wide stone wall or 
fence about eight feet high. Evidently Higgles's, and evi 
dently Higgles did not keep a hotel. 

The driver got down and tried the gate. It was securely 
locked. 

" Higgles ! Higgles !" 

No answer. 

" Higg-ells ! You Higgles !" continued the driver, with 
rising wrath. 

" Higglesy ! " joined in the expressman, persuasively. 
"OHiggy! Mig!" 

But no reply came from, the apparently insensate Higgles. 
The Judge, who had finally got the window down, put his 
head out and propounded a series of questions, which if 
answered categorically would have undoubtedly elucidated 
the whole mystery, but which the driver evaded by replying 
that " if we didn't want to sit in the coach all night, we had 
better rise up and sing out for Higgles." 

So we rose up and called on Higgles in chorus ; then 
separately. And when we had finished, a Hibernian fellow- 
passenger from the roof called for "Haygells !" whereat we 
all laughed. While we were laughing, the driver cried 
"Shoo!" 

We listened. To our infinite amazement the chorus of 
"Higgles" was repeated from the other side of the wall, 
even to the final and supplemental " Haygells." 

" Extraordinary echo," said the Judge. 

"Extraordinary d d skunk!" roared the driver, con 
temptuously. " Come out of that, Higgles, and show your 
self ! Be a man, Higgles ! Don't hide in the dark j I 
wouldn't if I were you, Higgles," continued Yuba Bill, now 
dancing about in an excess of fury. 

" Higgles ! " continued the voice, " O Higgles ! n 

"My good man ! Mr. Hyghail !" said the Judge, soften- 



30 HIGGLES 

ing the asperities of the name as mucli as possible. "Con 
sider the iuhospitality of refusing shelter from the incle 
mency of the weather to helpless females. Really, my dear 

sir " But a succession of " Higgles," ending in a 

burst of laughter, drowned his voice. 

Yuba Bill hesitated no longer. Taking a heavy stone 
from the road, he battered down the gate, and with the 
expressman entered the enclosure. We followed. Nobody 
was to be seen. In the gathering darkness all that we 
could distinguish was that we were in a garden from the 
rosebushes that scattered over us a minute spray from 
their dripping leaves and before a long, rambling wooden 
building. 

" Do you know this Higgles ?" asked the Judge of Yuba 
Bill. 

" No, nor don't want to," said Bill, shortly, who felt the 
Pioneer Stage Company insulted in his person by the contu 
macious Higgles. 

" But, my dear sir," expostulated the Judge, as he thought 
of the barred gate. 

" Lookee here," said Yuba Bill, with fine irony, " hadn't 
you better go back and sit in the coach till yer intro 
duced 1 I 'm going in," and he pushed open the door of the 
building. 

A long room lighted only by the embers of a fire that 
was dying on the large hearth at its further extremity i 
the walls curiously papered, and the flickering firelight 
bringing out its grotesque pattern j somebody sitting in a 
large arm-chair by the fireplace. All this we saw as we 
crowded together into the room after the driver and ex 
pressman. 

" Hello, be you Higgles T' said Yuba Bill to the solitary 
occupant. 

The figure neither spoke nor stirred. Yuba Bill walked 
wrathfully toward it, and turned the eye of his coach-lantern 



HIGGLES. 31 

upon its face. It was a man's face, prematurely old and 
wrinkled, with very large eyes, in which there was that 
expression of perfectly gratuitous solemnity which I had 
sometimes seen in an owl's. The large eyes wandered from 
Bill's face to the lantern, and finally fixed their gaze on 
that luminous object, without further recognition. 

Bill restrained himself with an effort. 

" Miggles ! Be you deaf? You ain't dumb anyhow, 
you know ; " and Yuba Bill shook the insensate figure by 
the shoulder. 

To our great dismay, as Bill removed his hand, the vene 
rable stranger apparently collapsed, sinking into half his 
size and an undistinguishable heap of clothing. 

" Well, dern my skin," said Bill, looking appealingly at 
us, and hopelessly retiring from the contest. 

The Judge now stepped forward, and we lifted the myste 
rious invertebrate back into his original position. Bill was 
dismissed with the lantern to reconnoitre outside, for it was 
evident that from the helplessness of this solitary man there 
must be attendants near at hand, and we all drew around the 
fire. The Judge, who had regained his authority, and had 
never lost his conversational amiability, standing before us 
with his back to the hearth, charged us, as an imaginary 
jury, as follows : 

" It is evident that either our distinguished friend here 
has reached that condition described by Shakespeare as ' the 
sere and yellow leaf,' or has suffered some premature abate 
ment of his mental and physical faculties. Whether he is 
really the Miggles " 

Here he was interrupted by " Miggles ! O Miggies 
Migglesy ! Mig ! " and, in fact, the whole chorus of Miggles 
in very much the same key as it had once before been 
delivered unto us. 

We gazed at each other for a moment in some alarm. 
The Judge, in particular, vacated his position quickly, aa 



31 MfGGLES. 

the voice seemed to come directly over his shoulder. The 
cause, however, was soon discovered in a large magpie who 
was perched upon a shelf over the fireplace, and who im 
mediately relapsed into a sepulchral silence, which contrasted 
singularly with his previous volubility. It was, undoubtedly, 
his voice which sve had heard in the road, and our friend in 
the chair was not responsible for the discourtesy. Yuba 
Bill, who re-entered the room after an unsuccessful search, 
was loath to accept the explanation, and still eyed the help 
less sitter with suspicion. He had found a shed in which 
he had put up his horses, but he came back dripping 
and sceptical. " Thar ain't nobody but him within ten 
mile of the shanty, and that 'ar d d old skeesicks knows 
it." 

But the faith of the majority proved to be securely based. 
Bill had scarcely ceased growling before we heard a quick 
step upon the porch, the trailing of a wet skirt ; the door 
was flung open, and, with a flash of white teeth, a sparkle of 
dark eyes, and an utter absence of ceremony or diffidence, 
a young woman entered, shut the door, and, panting, leaned 
back against it. 

" Oh, if you please, I'm Higgles !" 

And this was Miggles ! this bright- eyed, full-throated 
young woman, whose wet gown of coarse blue stuff could 
not hide the beauty of the feminine curves to which it clung; 
from the chestnut crown of whose head, topped by a man's 
oil-skin sou'wester, to the little feet and ankles, hidden 
somewhere in the recesses of her boy's brogans, all was 
grace ; this was Miggles, laughing at us, too, in the most 
airy, frank, off-hand manner imaginable. 

" You see, boys," said she, quite out of breath, and hold 
ing one little hand against her side, quite unheeding tho 
speechless discomfiture of our party, or the complete demo 
ralization of Yuba Bill, whose features had relaxed into an 
expression of gratuitous and imbecile cheerfulness, "you 



HIGGLES. 53 

ee, boys, I was mcr'n two miles away when you passed 
down the road. I thought you might pull up here, and so 
I ran the whole way, knowing nobody was home but Jim, * 
and and I 'ni out of breath and that lets me out." 

And here Higgles caught her dripping oil-skin hat from 
her head, with a mischievous swirl that scattered a shower 
of rain-drops over us ; attempted to put back her hair ; 
dropped two hair-pins in the attempt ; laughed and sat 
down beside Yuba Bill, with her hands crossed lightly on 
her lap. 

The Judge recovered himself first, and essayed an extra 
vagant compliment. 

"I'll trouble you for that thar har-pin," said Higgles, 
gravely. Half a dozen hands were eagerly stretched for 
ward ; the missing hair-pain was restored to its fair owner ; 
and Higgles, crossing the room, looked keenly in the face of 
the invalid. The solemn eyes looked back at hers with an 
expression we had never seen before. Life and intelligence 
seemed to struggle back into the rugged face. Higgles 
laughed again, it was a singularly eloquent laugh, and 
turned her black eyes and white teeth once more towards us. 

" This afflicted person is " hesitated the Judge. 

" Jim," said Higgles. 

"Your father?" 

"No." 

Brother?' 

No." 

"Husband?" 

Higgles darted a quick, half-defiant glance at the two 
lady passengers who I had noticed did not participate in the 
general masculine admiration of Higgles, and said, gravely, 
"No; it's Jim/' 

There was an awkward pause. The lady passengers moved 
closer to each other ; the Washoe husband looked abstract 
edly at the fire ; and the tall man apparently turned his 

9 



3.4 MIGGLES. 

eyes inward for self-support at this emergency. But Migglcs's 
laugh, which was very infectious, broke the silence. " Come," 
she said, briskly, "you must be hungry. Who'll bear a 
hand to help me to get tea V* 

She had no lack of volunteers. In a few moments Yuba 
Bill was engaged like Caliban in bearing logs for this Mi 
randa ; the expressman was grinding coffee on the verandah; 
to myself the arduous duty of slicing bacon was assigned ; 
and the Judge lent each man his good-humoured and voluble 
counsel. And when Higgles, assisted by the Judge and our 
Hibernian " deck passenger," set the table with all the avail 
able crockery, we had become quite joyous, in spite of the 
rain that beat against windows, the wind that whirled down 
the chimney, the two ladies who whispered together in the 
corner, or the magpie who uttered a satirical and croaking 
commentary on their conversation from his perch above. In 
the now bright, blazing fire, we could see that the walls 
were papered with illustrated journals, arranged with femi 
nine taste and discrimination. The furniture was extempo 
rized, and adapted from candle-boxes and packing-cases, and 
covered with gay calico, or the skin of some animal. The 
arm-chair of the helpless Jim was an ingenious variation of 
a flour-barrel. There was neatness, and even a taste for the 
picturesque, to be seen in the few details of the long low 
room. 

The meal was a culinary success. But more, it was a 
social triumph, chiefly, I think, owing to the rare tact of 
Miggles in guiding the conversation, asking all the questions 
herself, yet bearing throughout a frankness that rejected the 
idea of any concealment on her own part, so that we talked 
of ourselves, of our prospects, of the journey, of the weather, 
of each other, of everything but our host and hostess. It 
must be confessed that Miggles's conversation was never 
elegant, rarely grammatical, and that at times she employed 
expletives^ the use of which had generally been yielded to 



MIGGLES. 35 

our sex. But they were delivered with such a lighting up 
of teeth and eyes, and were usually followed by a laugh 
a laugh peculiar to Higgles so frank and honest that it 
seemed to clear the moral atmosphere. 

Once, during the meal, we heard a noise like the rubbing 
of a heavy body against the outer walls of the house. This 
was shortly followed by a scratching and sniffling at the 
door. " That 's Joaquin," said Higgles, in reply to our 
questioning glances ; " would you like to see him ?" Before 
we could answer she had opened the door, and disclosed a 
half-grown grizzly, who instantly raised himself on his 
haunches, with his forepaws hanging down in the popular 
attitude of mendicancy, and looked admiringly at Higgles. 
with a very singular resemblance in his manner to Yuba 
Bill. " That 's my watch-dog," said Higgles, in explanation, 
" Oh, ho don't bite," she added, as the two lady passengers 
fluttered into a corner. " Does he, old Toppy ?" (the latter 
remark being addressed directly to the sagacious Joaquin). 
" I tell you what, boys," continued Higgles, after she had 
fed and closed the door on Ursa Minor, " you were in big 
luck that Joaquin wasn't hanging round when you dropped 
in to-night." " Where was he ] " asked the Judge. " With 
me," said Higgles. " Lord love you ; he trots round with 
me nights like as if he was a man." 

We were silent for a few moments, and listened to the 
wind. Perhaps we all had the same picture before us, of 
Higgles walking through the rainy woods, with her savage 
guardian at her side. The Judge, I remember, said some 
thing about Una and her lion ; but Higgles received it as 
she did other compliments, with quiet gravity. Whether 
she was altogether unconscious of the admiration she ex 
cited she could hardly have been oblivious of Yuba Bill's 
adoration I know not ; but her very frankness suggested a 
perfect sexual equality that was cruelly humiliating to th 
younger members of our party. 

D 2 



36 MIGGLES. 

The incident of the bear did not add anything in Miggles'a 
favour to the opinions of those of her own sex who were 
present. In fact, the repast over, a dullness radiated from 
the two lady passengers that no pine-boughs brought in by 
Yuba Bill and cast as a sacrifice upon the hearth could 
wholly overcome. Higgles felt it ; and, suddenly declaring 
that it was time to " turn in," offered to show the ladies to 
their bed in an adjoining room. " You, boys, will have to 
camp out here by the fire as well as you can," she added, 
''for thar ain't but the one room." 

Our sex by which, my dear sir, I allude of course to the 
stronger portion of humanity has been generally relieved 
from the imputation of curiosity, or a fondness for gossip. 
Yet I am constrained to say, that hardly had the door closed 
on Higgles than we crowded together, whispering, snicker 
ing, smiling, and exchanging suspicions, surmises, and a 
thousand speculations in regard to our pretty hostess and 
her singular companion. I fear that we even hustled that 
imbecile paralytic, who sat like a voiceless Hemnon in our 
midst, gazing with the serene indifference of the Past in his 
passionless eyes upon our wordy counsels. In the midst of 
an exciting discussion the door opened again and Higgles 
re-entered. 

But not, apparently, the same Higgles who a few hours 
before had flashed upon us. Her eyes were downcast, and 
as she hesitated for a moment on the threshold, with a 
blanket on her arm, she seemed to have left behind her the 
frank fearlessness which had charmed us a moment before. 
Coming into the room, she drew a low stool beside the para 
lytic's chair, sat down, drew the blanket over her shoulders, 
and saying, " If it's all the same to you, boys, as we're rather 
crowded, 111 stop here to-night/' took the invalid's withered 
hand in her own, and turned her eyes upon the dying fire 
An instinctive feeling that this was only premonitory to 
more confidential relations, and perhaps some shame at our 



HIGGLES. 37 

previous curiosity kept us silent. The rain still beat upon 
the roof, wandering gusts of wind stirred the embers into mo 
mentary brightness, until, in a lull of the elements, Higgles 
suddenly lifted up her head, and throwing her hair over her 
shoulder, turned her face upon the group and asked, 

" Is there any of you that knows me % " 

There was no reply. 

"Think again ! I lived at Marysville in '53. Everybody 
knew me there, and everybody had the right to know me. 
I kept the Polka Saloon until I came to live with Jim. 
That's six years ago. Perhaps I've changed some." 

The absence of recognition may have disconcerted her. 
She turned her head to the fire again, and it was some 
seconds before she again spoko, and then more rapidly, 

" Well, you see, I thought some of you must have known 
me. There's no great harm done, anyway. What I was 
going to say was this : Jim here " she took his hand in 
both of hers as she spoke " used to know me, if you didn't, 
and spent a heap of money upon me. I reckon he spent all 
he had. And one day it's six years ago this winter Jim 
came into my back room, sat down on my sofy, like as you 
see him in that chair, and never moved again without help. 
He was struck all of a heap, and never seemed to know 
what ailed him. The doctors came and said as how it was 
caused all along of his way of life for Jim was mighty free 
and wild like and that he would never get better, and 
couldn't last long anyway. They advised me to send him 
to Frisco, to the hospital, for he was no good to any one 
and would be a baby all his life. Perhaps it was some 
thing in Jim's eye, perhaps it was that I never had a baby, 
but I said * No.' I was rich then, for I was popular with 
everybody gentlemen like yourself, sir, came to see nie 
aad I sold out my business and bought this yer place, be 
cause it was sort of out of the way of travel, you see, and I 
brought my baby here." 



38 MIGGLES 

With a woman's intuitive tact and poetry, she had, as 
she spoke, slowly shifted her position so as to bring the 
route figure of the ruined man between her and her audience, 
hiding in the shadow behind it, as if she offered it as a tacit 
apology for her actions. Silent and expressionless, it yet 
spoke for her ; helpless, crushed, and smitten with the 
Divine thunderbolt, it still stretched an invisible arm around 
her. 

Hidden in the darkness, but still holding his hand, she 
went on, 

" It was a long time before I could get the hang of things 
about yer, for I was used to company and excitement. I 
couldn't get any woman to help me, and a man I dursent 
trust ; but what with the Indians hereabout, who'd do odd 
jobs for me, and having everything sent from the North 
Fork, Jim and I managed to worry through. The Doctor 
would run up from Sacramento once in a while. He'd ask 
to see ' Miggles's baby,' as he called Jim, and when he'd go 
away, he'd say, ( Higgles, you're a trump, God bless you ! ' 
and it didn't seem so lonely after that. But the last time 
he was here he said, as he opened the door to go, ' Do you 
know, Higgles, your baby will grow up to be a man yet and 
an honour to his mother ; but not here, Higgles, not here ! ' 
And I thought he went away sad and and " and here 
Higgles's voice and head were somehow both lost completely 
in the shadow. 

" The folks about here are very kind," said Higgles, after 
a pause, coming a little into the light again. " The men 
from the fork used to hang around here, until they found 
they wasn't wanted, and the women are kind and don't 
call. I was pretty lonely until I picked up Joaquin in the 
woods yonder one day, when he wasn't so high, and taught 
him to beg for his dinner ; and then thar's Polly that's the 
magpie she knows no end of tricks, and makos it quite 
Bociable of evenings with her talk, and so I don't feel like 



HIGGLES. 39 

as I was the only living being about the ranch. And Jim 
here," said Higgles, with her old laugh again, and coming 
out quite into the firelight, " Jim why, boys, you would 
admire to see how much, he knows for a man like him. 
Sometimes I bring him flowers, and he looks at 'em just as 
natural as if he knew 'em and times, when we're sitting 
alone, I read him those things on the wall. Why, Lord!" 
said Higgles, with her frank laugh, "I've read him that 
whole side of the house this winter. There never was such 
a man for reading as Jim." 

" Why," asked the Judge, " do you not marry this man 
to whom you have devoted your youthful life 1 " 

tf Well, you see," said Higgles, "it would be playing it 
rather low down on Jim, to take advantage of his being so 
helpless. And then, too, if we were man and wife, now, 
we'd both know that I was bound to do what I do now of 
my own accord." 

" But you are young yet and attractive " 

"It's getting late,' said Higgles, gravely, "and you'd 
1>etter all turn in. Good-night, boys ;" and, throwing the 
blanket over her head, Higgles laid herself down beside 
Jim's chair, her head pillowed on the low stool that. held 
his feet, and spoke no more. The fire slowly faded from 
the hearth ; we each sought our blankets in silence ; and 
presently there was no sound in the long room but the pat 
tering of the rain upon the roof, and the heavy breathing of 
the sleepers. 

It was nearly morning when I awoke from a troubled 
dream. The storm had passed, the stars were shining, and 
through the shutterless window the full moon, lifting itself 
over the solemn pines without, looked into the room. It 
touched the lonely figure in the chair with an infinite com 
passion, and seemed to baptize with a shining flood the 
lowly head of the woman whose hair, as in the sweet old 
story, bathed the feet of him she loved. It even lent a 



40 HIGGLES. 

kindly poetry to the rugged outline of Yuba Bill, half re* 
dining on his elbow between them and his passengers, with 
savagely patient eyes keeping watch and ward. And then 
I fell asleep and only woke at broad day, with Yuba Bill 
standing over me, and " All aboard " ringing in my ears. 

Coffee was waiting for us on the table, but Miggles was 
gone. We wandered about the house and lingered long after 
the horses were harnessed, but she did not return. It was 
evident that she wished to avoid a formal leave-taking, and 
had so left us to depart as we had come. After we had 
helped the ladies into the coach, we returned to the house 
rind solemnly shook hands with the paralytic Jim, as so 
lemnly settling him back into position after each hand 
shake. Then we looked for the last time around the long 
low room, at the stool where Miggles had sat, and slowly 
took our seats in the waiting coach. The whip cracked, 
and we were off ! 

But as we reached the high-road, Bill's dexterous hand 
laid the six horses back on their haunches, and the stage 
stopped with a jerk. For there, on a little eminence beside 
the road, stood Miggles, her hair flying, her eyes sparkling, 
her white handkerchief waving, and her white teeth flashing 
a last "good-by." We waved our hats in return. And 
then Yuba Bill, as if fearful of further fascination, madly 
lashed his horses forward, and we sank back in our seats. 
We exchanged not a word until we reached the North Fork 
and the stage drew up at the Independence House. Then, 
the Judge leading, we walked into the bar-room and took 
our places gravely at the bar. 

" Are your glasses charged, gentlemen ? " said the Judgn, 
solemnly taking off his white hat. 

They were. 

" Well, then, here's to Miggles, GOD BLESS HEB 1 n 

Perhaps He had. Who knows \ 



JJNNSSE'S PARTNER. 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

T DO not think that we ever knew his real name. Our 
ignorance of it certainly never gave us any social 
inconvenience, for at Sandy Bar in 1854 most men were 
christened anew. Sometimes these appellatives were derived 
from some distinctiveness of dress, as in the case of 
" Dungaree Jack ; " or from some peculiarity of habit, as 
shown in "Saleratus Bill," so called from an undue 
proportion of that chemical in his daily bread ; or from 
some unlucky slip, as exhibited in "The Iron Pirate," a 
mild, inoffensive man, who earned that baleful title by his 
unfortunate mispronunciation of the term "iron pyrites." 
Perhaps this may have been the beginning of a rude heraldry j 
but I am constrained to think that it was because a man's 
real name in that day rested solely upon his own unsupported 
statement. " Call yourself Clifford, do you % " said Boston, 
addressing a timid new-comer with infinite scorn ; " hell is 
full of such Cliffords ! " He then introduced the unfor 
tunate man, whose name happened to be really Clifford, as 
"Jay-bird Charley," an unhallowed inspiration of the 
moment, that clung to him ever after. 

But to return to Tennessee's Partner, whom we never 
knew by any other than this relative title ; that he had 
ever existed as a separate and distinct individuality we only 
learned later. It seems that in 1853 he left Poker Flat to 
go to San Francisco, ostensibly to procure a wife. He never 
got any farther than Stockton. At that place he was at 
tracted by a young person who waited upon the table at the 
hotel where he took his meals. One morning he said some 
thing to her which caused her to smile not unkindly, to 
somewhat coquettishly break a plate of toast over his up 
turned, serious, simple face, and to retreat to the kitchen. 
He followed her, and emerged a few moments later, covered 



42 TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

with more toast and victory. That day week they were 
married by a Justice of the Peace, and returned to Poker 
Flat. I am aware that something more might be made of 
this episode, but I prefer to tell it as it was current at Sandy 
Bar in the gulches and bar rooms where all sentimert 
was modified by a strong sense of humour. 

Of their married felicity but little is known, perhaps for 
the reason that Tennessee, then living with his partner, one 
day took occasion to say something to the bride on his own 
account, at which, it is said, she smiled not unkindly and 
chastely retreated, this time as far as Marysville, where 
Tennessee followed her, and where they went to housekeep 
ing without the aid of a Justice of the Peace. Tennessee's 
Partner took the loss of his wife simply and seriously, as was 
his fashion. But to everybody's surprise, when Tennessee 
one day returned from Marysville, without his partner's 
wife, she having smiled and retreated with somebody else, 
Tennessee's Partner was the first man to shake his hand 
and greet him with affection. The boys who had gathered 
in the canon to see the shooting were naturally indignant. 
Their indignation might have found vent in sarcasm but for 
a certain look in Tennessee's Partner's eye that indicated a 
lack of humourous appreciation. In fact, he was a grave 
man, with a steady application to practical detail which was 
unpleasant in a difficulty. 

Meanwhile a popular feeling against Tennessee had grown 
up on the Bar. He was known to be a gambler ; he was 
suspected to be a thief. In these suspicions Tennessee's 
Partner was equally compromised ; his continued intimacy 
with Tennessee after the affair above quoted could only 
be accounted for on the hypothesis of a copartnership of 
crime. At last Tennessee's guilt became flagrant. One day 
he overtook a stranger on his way to Red Dog. The 
stranger afterward related that Tennessee beguiled the time 
with interesting anecdote and reminiscence, but illogically 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 43 

concluded the interview in the following words : " And now, 
young man, I'll trouble you for your knife, your pistols, and 
your money. You see your weppings might get you into 
trouble at Eed Dog, and your money's a temptation to the 
evilly disposed. I think you said your address was San 
Francisco. I shall endeavour to call." It may be stated here 
that Tennessee had a fine flow of humour, which no busi 
ness preoccupation could wholly subdue. 

This exploit was his last. Red Dog and Sandy Bar made 
common cause against the highwayman. Tennessee was 
hunted in very much the same fashion as his prototype, the 
grizzly. As the toils closed around him, he made a despe 
rate dash, through the Bar, emptying his revolver at the 
crowd before the Arcade Saloon, and so on up Grizzly Canon ; 
but at its farther extremity he was stopped by a small man 
on a gray horse. The men looked at each other a moment 
in silence. Both were fearless, both self-possessed and inde 
pendent ; and both types of a civilization that in the seven 
teenth century would have been called heroic, but, in the 
nineteenth, simply " reckless." " What have you got there? 
I call," said Tennessee, quietly. " Two bowers and an 
ace," said the stranger, as quietly, showing two revolvers 
and a bowie knife. " That takes me," returned Tennessee ; 
and with this gambler's epigram, he threw away his useless 
pistol, and rode back with his captor. 

It was a warm night. The cool breeze which usually 
sprang up with the going down of the sun behind the clia~ 
parral-crested mountain was that evening withheld from 
Sandy Bar. The little caiion was stifling with heated resinous 
odours, and the decaying drift-wood on the Bar sent forth 
faint, sickening exhalations. The feverishness of day, and 
its fierce passions, still filled the camp. Lights moved rest 
lessly along the bank of the river, striking no answering re 
flection from its tawny current. Against the blackness of 



44 TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

the pines the windows of the old loft above the express- 
office stood out staringly bright ; and through their curtain- 
less panes the loungers below could see the forms of those 
who were even then deciding the fate of Tennessee. And 
above all this, etched on the dark firmament, rose the Sierra, 
remote and passionless, crowned with remoter passionless 
stars. 

The trial of Tennessee was conducted as fairly as was con 
sistent with a judge and jury who felt themselves to some 
extent obliged to justify, in their verdict, the previous ir 
regularities of arrest and indictment. The law of Sandy 
Bar was implacable, but not vengeful. The excitement and 
personal feeling of the chase we?e over ; with Tennessee safe 
in their hands they were ready to listen patiently to any 
defence, which they were already satisfied was insufficient. 
There being no doubt in their own minds, they were willing 
to give the prisoner the benefit of any that might exist. 
Secure in the hypothesis that he ought to be hanged, on 
general principles, they indulged him with more latitude of 
defence than his reckless hardihood seemed to ask. The 
Judge appeared to be more anxious than the prisoner, who, 
otherwise unconcerned, evidently took a grim pleasure in the 
responsibility he had created. " I don't take any hand in this 
yer game," had been his invariable, but good-humoured reply 
to all questions. The Judge who was also his captor for a 
moment vaguely regretted that he had not shot him "on 
sight," that morning, but presently dismissed this human 
weakness as unworthy of the judicial mind. Nevertheless, 
when there was a tap at the door, and it was said that Ten 
nessee's Partner was there on behalf of the prisoner, he was 
admitted at once without question. Perhaps the younger 
members of the jury, to whom the proceedings were be 
coming irksomely thoughtful, hailed him as a relief. 

For he was not, certainly, an imposing figure. Short and 
stout, with a square face, sunburned into a preternaturcil 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 45 

redness, clad in a loose duck "jumper," and trousers 
stieaked and splashed with red soil, his aspect under any 
circumstances would have been quaint, and was now even 
ridiculous. As he stooped to deposit at his feet a heavy 
carpet-bag he was carrying, it became obvious, from 
partially developed regions and inscriptions, that the ma 
terial with which his trousers had been patched had been 
originally intended for a less ambitious covering. Yet he 
advanced with great gravity, and after having shaken the 
hand of each person in the room with laboured cordiality, 
he wiped his serious, perplexed face on a red bandanna hand 
kerchief, a shade lighter than his complexion, laid his 
powerful hand upon the table to steady himself, and thus 
addressed the Judge : 

" I was passin' by," he began, by way of apology, " and 1 
thought I'd just step in and see how things was gittin' 
on with Tennessee thar my pardner. It's a hot night. I 
disremember any sich weather before on the Bar." 

He paused a moment, but nobody volunteering any other 
meteorological recollection, he again had recourse to his 
pocket-handkerchief, and for some moments mopped his 
face diligently. 

" Have you anything to say in behalf of the prisoner 1 " 
said the Judge, finally. 

"Thet's it," said Tennessee's Partner, in a tone of relief. 
" I come yar as Tennessee's pardner knowing him nigh 
on four year, off and on, wet and dry, in luck and out o* 
luck. His ways ain't allers my ways, but thar ain't any 
p'ints in that young man, thar ain't any liveliness as he's 
been up to, as I don't know. And you sez to me, sez 
you confidential- like, and between man and man sez you, 
'Do you know anything in his behalf?' and I sez to you, 
sez I confidential-like, as between man and man ' What 
should a man know of his pardner ? ' " 

" Is this all you have to say ? " asked the Judge, impa- 



46 TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

tiently, feeling, perhaps, that a dangerous sympathy of 
humour was beginning to humanize the Court. 

" Thet's so," continued Tennessee's Partner. " It ain't for 
me to say anything agin' him. And now what's the case ? 
Here's Tennessee wants money, wants it bad, and doesn't 
like to ask it of his old pardner. "Well, what does Tennessee 
do ? He lays for a stranger, and he fetches that stranger. 
And you lays for him, and you fetches him; and the 
honours is easy, And I put it to you, bein' a far- minded 
man, and to you, gentlemen, all, as far-minded men, ef this 
isn't so." 

"Prisoner," said the Judge, interrupting, "have you any 
questions to ask this man 1 " 

" Ko ! no ! " continued Tennessee's Partner, hastily. " 1 
play this yer hand alone. To come down to the bed-rock, 
it's just this : Tennessee, thar, has played it pretty rough 
and expensive-like on a stranger, and on this yer camp. 
And now, what's the fair thing 1 Some would say more ; 
some would say less. Here's seventeen hundred dollars 
in coarse gold and a watch, it's about all my pile, and 
call it square ! " And before a hand could be raised to pre 
vent him, he had emptied the contents of the carpet-bag 
upon the table. 

For a moment his life was in jeopardy. One or two men 
sprang to their feet, several hands groped for hidden wea 
pons, and a suggestion to " throw him from the window " 
was only overridden by a gesture from the Judge. Ten 
nessee laughed. And apparently oblivious of the excite 
ment, Tennessee's Partner improved the opportunity to mop 
his face again with his handkerchief. 

When order was restored, and the man was made tc 
understand, by the use of forcible figures and rhetoric, that 
Tennessee's offence could not be condoned by money, his face 
took a more serious and sanguinary hue, and those who were 
nearest to him noticed that his rough hand trembled slightly 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 47 

on the table. He hesitated a moment as he slowly returned 
the gold to the carpet-bag, as if he had not yet entirely 
caught the elevated sense of justice which swayed the tribu 
nal, and was perplexed with the belief that he had not 
offered enough. Then he turned to the Judge, and saying, 
"This yer is a lone hand, played alone, and without iny 
pardner," he bowed to the jury and was about to withdraw, 
when the Judge called him back. " If you have anything to 
say to Tennessee, you had better say it now." For the 
first time that evening the eyes of the prisoner and his 
strange advocate met. Tennessee smiled, showed his white 
teeth, and saying, " Euchred, old man ! " held out his hand. 
Tennessee's Partner took it in his own, and saying, " I just 
dropped in as I was passin' to see how things was gettin' 
on," let the hand passively fall, and adding that " it was a 
warm night," again mopped his face with his handkerchief, 
and without another word withdrew. 

The two men never again met each other alive. For the 
unparalleled insult of a bribe offered to Judge Lynch who, 
whether bigoted, weak, or narrow, was at least incorruptible 
firmly fixed in the mind of that mythical personage 
any wavering determination of Tennessee's fate j and at the 
break of day he was marched, closely guarded, to meet it at 
the top of Marley's Hill. 

How he met it, how cool he was, how he refused to say 
anything, how perfect were the arrangements of the com 
mittee, were all duly reported, with the addition of a warn 
ing moral and example to all future evil-doers, in the Red 
Dog Clarion, by its editor, who was present, and to whoso 
vigorous English I cheerfully refer the reader. But the 
beauty of that midsummer morning, the blessed amity of 
earth and air and sky, the awakened life of the free woods 
and hills, the joyous renewal and promise of Nature, and 
above all, the infinite Serenity that thrilled through each, 
was not reportedj as not being a part of the social lesson* 



43 TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

And yet, when tlie weak and foolish deed was done, arid a 
life, with its possibilities and responsibilities, had passed 
out of the misshapen thing that dangled between earth 
and sky, the birds sang, the flowers bloomed, the sun shone, 
as cheerily as before ; and possibly the Red Dog Clarion was 
right. 

Tennessee's Partner was not in the group that surrounded 
the ominous tree. But as they turned to disperse, attention 
was drawn to the singular appearance of a motionless 
donkey-cart halted at the side of the road. As they ap 
proached, they at once recognised the venerable " Jenny" 
and the two-wheeled cart as the property of Tennessee's 
Partner, used by him in carrying dirt from his claim ; and 
a few paces distant the owner of the equipage himself, sit 
ing under a buckeye-tree, wiping the perspiration from his 
glowing face. In answer to an inquiry, he said he had 
come for the body of the " diseased " " if it was all the same 
to the committee." He didn't wish to " hurry anything ;" 
he could " wait." He was not working that day j and 
when the gentlemen were done with the " diseased," he 
would take him. " Ef thar is any present," he added, in his 
simple, serious way, " a? would care to jine in the fun'l, 
they kin come." Perhaps it was from a sense of humour, 
which I have already intimated was a feature of Sandy Bar, 
perhaps it was from something even better than that ; but 
two-thirds of the loungers accepted the invitation at once. 

It was noon when the body of Tennessee was delivered 
into the hands of his partner. As the cart drew up to tho 
fatal tree, we noticed that it contained a rough oblong box, 
apparently made from a section of sluicing, and half filled 
with bark and the tassels of pine. The cart was further 
decorated with slips of willow, and made fragrant with buck 
eye-blossoms. When the body was deposited in the box, 
Tennessee's Partner drew over it a piece of tarred canvas, 
and gravely mounting the narrow seat in front, with his 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 4 9 

feet upon the shafts, urged the little donkey forward. The 
equipage moved slowly on, at that decorous pace which was 
habitual with "Jenny," even under less solemn circum 
stances. The men half-curiously, half-jestingly, but all 
good-humouredly strolled along beside the cart; some in 
advance, some a little in the rear of the homely catafalque. 
But, whether from the narrowing of the road or some 
present sense of decorum, as the cart passed on the company 
fell to the rear in couples, keeping step, and otherwise 
assuming the external show of a formal procession. Jack 
Folinsbee, who had at the outset played a funeral march in 
dumb show upon an imaginary trombone, desisted, from a 
lack of sympathy and appreciation, not having, perhaps, 
your true humourist's capacity to be content with the en 
joyment of his own fun. 

The way led through Grizzly Canon by this time 
clothed in funereal drapery and shadows. The red- woods, 
burying their moccasoned feet in the red soil, stood in 
Indian file along the track, trailing an uncouth benediction 
from their bending boughs upon the passing bier. A hare, 
surprised into helpless activity, sat upright and pulsating in 
the ferns by the roadside as the cortege went by. Squirrels 
hastened to gain a secure outlook from higher boughs ; and 
the blue-jays, spreading their wings, fluttered before them 
like outriders, until the outskirts of Sandy Bar were reached, 
and the solitary cabin of Tennessee's Partner. 

Viewed under more favourable circumstances, it would 
not have been a cheerful place. The unpicturesque site, the 
rude and unlovely outlines, the unsavoury details, which 
distinguish the nest-building of the California miner, were 
all here, with the dreariness of decay superadded. A few 
paces from the cabin there was a rough enclosure, which, in 
the brief days of Tennessee's Partner's matrimonial felicity, 
had been used as a garden, but was now overgrown with 
forn. As we approached it, *ve were surprised to find that 





$r> TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 

what we had taken for a recent attempt at cultivation was 
the broken soil about an open grave. 

The cart was halted before the enclosure ; and rejecting 
the offers of assistance with the same air of simple self- 
reliance he had displayed throughout, Tennessee's Partner 
lifted the rough coffin on his back, and deposited it, un 
aided, within the shallow grave. He then nailed down the 
board which served as a lid ; and mounting the little mound 
of earth beside it, took off his hat, and slowly mopped his face 
with his handkerchief. This the crowd felt was a preliminary 
to speech ; and they disposed themselves variously on stumps 
and boulders, and sat expectant. 

" When a man," began Tennessee's Partner, slowly, " has 
been running free all day, what's the natural thing for him 
to do 1 Why, to come home. And if he ain't in a con 
dition to go home, what can his best friend do ? Why, 
bring him home ! And here's Tennessee has been running 
free, and we brings him home from his wandering." He 
paused, and picked up a fragment of quartz, rubbed it 
thoughtfully on his sleeve, and went on : " It ain't the first 
time that I've packed him on my back, as you see'd me 
now. It ain't the first time that I brought him to this yer 
cabin when he couldn't help himself ; it ain't the first time 
that I and ' Jinny ' have waited for him on yon hill, and 
picked him up and so fetched him home, when he couldn't 
Fpeak, and didn't know me. And now that it's the last time, 

w hv " he paused, and rubbed the quartz gently on his 

sleeve " you see it's a sort of rough on his partner. And 
now, gentlemen," he added, abruptly, picking up his long- 
handled shovel, " the fun'l 's over ; and my thanks, and 
Tennessee's thanks to you for your trouble." 

Resisting any proffers of assistance, he began to fill in the 
grave, turning his back upon the crowd, that after a few 
moments' hesitation gradually withdrew. As they crossed 
the little ridge that hid Sandy Bar from view, some, looking 



TENNESSEE'S PARTNER. 51 

back, though fc they could see Tennessee's Partner, his work 
clone, sitting upon the grave, his shovel between his knees, 
and his face buried in his red bandanna handkerchief. But 
it was argued by others that you couldn't tell his face frou. 
his handkerchief at that distance j and this point remained 
undecided. 

In the reaction that followed the feverish excitement of 
that day, Tennessee's Partner was not forgotten. A secret 
investigation had cleared him of any complicity in Tennessee's 
guilt, and left only a suspicion of his general sanity. Sandy 
Bar made a point of calling on him, and proffering various 
uncouth, but well-meant kindnesses. But from that day this 
rude health and great strength seemed visibly to decline ; 
and when the rainy season fairly set in, and the tiny grass- 
blades were beginning to peep from the rocky mound above 
Tennessee's grave, he took to his bed. 

One night, when the pines beside the cabin were sway 
ing in the storm, and trailing their slender fingers over the 
roof, and the roar and rush of the swollen river were heaid 
below, Tennessee's Partner lifted his head from the pillow, 
saying, " It is time to go for Tennessee ; I must put 
Jinny' in the cart;" and would have risen from his bed 
but for the restraint of his attendant. Struggling, he still 
pursued his singular fancy : " There, now, steady, ' Jinny,' 
steady, old girl. How dark it is ! Look out for the ruts, 
and look out for him, too, old gal. Sometimes, you 
know, when he's blind drunk, he drops down right in the 
trail. Keep on straight up to the pine on the top of the 
hill. Thar I told you so ! thar he is, coming this way, 
too, all by himself, sober, and his face a-shining. Ten 
nessee ! Pardner ! " 
so they met. 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

ANDY was very drunk. He was lying under an azalea- 
bush, in pretty much the same attitude in which he 
had fallen some hours before. How long he had been lying 
there he could not tell, and didn't care ; how long he should 
lie there was a matter equally indefinite and unconsidered. 
A tranquil philosophy, born of his physical condition, suf 
fused and saturated his moral being. 

The spectacle of a drunken man, and of this drunken man 
in particular, was not, I grieve to say, of sufficient novelty 
in Red Gulch to attract attention. Earlier in the day 
some local satirist had erected a temporary tombstone at 
Sandy's head, bearing the inscription, " Effects of 
McCorkle's whiskey, kills at forty rods," with a hand 
pointing to McCorkle's saloon. But this, I imagine, was, 
like most local satire, personal ; and was a reflection upon 
the unfairness of the process rather than a commentary upon 
the impropriety of the result. With this facetious exception, 
Sandy had been undisturbed. A wandering mule, released 
from his pack, had cropped the scant herbage beside him, 
and sniffed curiously at the prostrate man ; a vagabond dog, 
with that deep sympathy which the species have for drunken 
men, had licked his dusty boots, and curled himself up at his 
feet, and lay there, blinking one eye in the sunlight, with a 
simulation of dissipation that was ingenious and dog-like in 
its implied flattery of the unconscious man beside him. 

Meanwhile the shadows of the pine-trees had slowly 
swung around until they crossed the road, and their trunks 
barred the open meadow with gigantic parallels of black and 
yellow. Little puffs of red dust, lifted by the plunging 
hoof g of passing teams, dispersed in a grimy shower upon the 
recumbent man. The sun sank lower and lower ; and still 
Sandy stirred not. And then the repose of this philosopher 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCfr. 53 

was disturbed, as other philosophers have been, by the in 
trusion of an unphilosophical sex. 

" Miss Mary," as she was known to the little flock that 
she had just dismissed from the log school-house beyond tho 
pines, was taking her afternoon walk. Observing an un 
usually fine cluster of blossoms on the azalea-bush opposite, 
she crossed the road to pluck it, picking her way through 
the red dust, not without certain fierce little shivers of 
disgust, and some feline circumlocution. And then she 
came suddenly upon Sandy ! 

Of course she uttered the little staccato cry of her sex. 
But when she had paid that tribute to her physical weak 
ness she became overbold, and halted for a moment, at 
least six feet from this prostrate monster, with her white 
skirts gathered in her hand, ready for flight. But neither 
sound nor motion came from the bush. With one little 
foot she then overturned the satirical head-board, and mut- 
terred, " Beasts ! " an epithet which probably, at that 
moment, conveniently classified in her mind the entire male 
population of Red Gulch. For Miss Mary, being possessed 
of certain rigid notions of her own, had not, perhaps, properly 
appreciated the demonstrative gallantry for which the 
Calif ornian has been so justly celebrated by his brother 
Californians, and had, as a new-comer, perhaps, fairly earned 
the reputation of being " stuck up." 

As she stood there she noticed, also, that the slant sun 
beams were heating Sandy's head to what she judged to be 
an unhealthy temperature, and that his hat was lying use 
lessly at his side. To pick it up and to place it over his face 
was a work requiring some courage, particularly as his eyes 
were open. Yet she did it and made good her retreat. But 
she was somewhat concerned, on looking back, to see that 
the hat was removed, arid that Sandy was sitting up and 
saying something. 

The truth was, that in the calm depths of Sandy's mind 



54 THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

he was satisfied that the rays of the sun were beneficial and 
healthful ; that from childhood he had objected to lying down 
in a hat ; that no people but condemned fools, past redemp 
tion, ever wore hats ; and that his right to dispense with 
them when he pleased was inalienable. This was the state 
ment of his inner consciousness. Unfortunately, its outward 
expression was vague, being limited to a repetition of the 
following formula, " Su'shine all ri' ! Wasser ma'ar, eh ? 
Wass up, su'shine 1" 

Miss Mary stopped, and, taking fresh courage from her 
vantage of distance, asked him if there was anything that he 
wanted. 

" Wass up ? Wasser ma'ar T' continued Sandy, in a very 
high key. 

" Get up, you horrid man ! " said Miss Mary, now 
thoroughly incensed ; " get up, and go home." 

Sandy staggered to his feet. He was six feet high, and 
Miss Mary trembled. He started forward a few paces and 
then stopped. 

"Wass I go home for?" he suddenly asked, with great 
gravity. 

" Go and take a bath," replied Miss Mary, eying his 
grimy person with great disfavour. 

To her infinite dismay, Sandy suddenly pulled off his coat 
and vest, threw them on the ground, kicked off his boots, 
and, plunging wildly forward, darted headlong over the hill, 
in the direction of the river. 

" Goodness Heavens ! the man will be drowned !" said 
Miss Mary ; and then, with feminine inconsistency, she ran 
back to the school-house, and locked herself in. 

That night, while seated at supper with her hostess, the 
blacksmith's wife, it camo to Miss Mary to ask, demurely, if 
her husband ever got drunk. "Abner," responded Mrs. 
Stidger, reflectively, "let's see : Abner hasn't been tight 
since last 'lection." Miss Mary would have liked to ask if 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 55 

ne preferred lying in the sun on these occasions, and if a cold 
bath would have hurt him ; but this would have involved an 
explanation, which she did not then care to give. So she 
contented herself with opening her gray eyes widely at the 
red-cheeked Mrs. Stidger, a fine specimen of South- western 
efflorescence, and then dismissed the subject altogether. 
The next day she wrote to her dearest friend, in Boston : " I 
think I find the intoxicated portion of this community the 
least objectionable. I refer, my dear, to the men, of course. 
I do not know anything *hat could make the women 
tolerable." 

In less than a week Miss Mar}' had forgotten this episode, 
except that her afternoon walks took thereafter, almost un 
consciously, another direction. She noticed, however, that 
every morning a fresh cluster of azalea-blossoms appeared 
among the flowers on her desk. This was not strange, as her 
little flock were aware of her fondness for flowers, and 
invariably kept her desk bright with anemones, syringas, 
and lupines; but, on questioning them, they, one and all, 
professed ignorance of the azaleas. A few days later, Master 
Johnny Stidger, whose desk was nearest to the window, was 
suddenly taken with spasms of apparently gratuitous Ian ^hter, 
that threatened the discipline of the school. All that Miss 
Mary could get from him was that some one had )een 
"looking in the winder." Irate and indignant, she sallied 
from her hive to do battle with the intruder. As she turned 
the corner of the school house she came plump upon the 
quondam drunkard, now perfectly sober, and inexpressibly 
sheepish and guilty-looking. 

These facts Miss Mary was not slow to take a feminine 
advantage of, in her present humour. But it was somewhat 
confusing to observe, also, that the beast, despite some faint 
signs of past dissipation, was amiable-looking, in fact, a 
kind of blond Samson, whose corn-coloured, silken beard 
apparently had never yet known the touch of barber's razor 



56 THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

or Delilah's shears. So that the cutting speech which 
quivered on her ready tongue died upon her lips, and she 
contented herself with receiving his stammering apology 
with supercilious eyelids, and the gathered skirts of uncon- 
tamination. When she re-entered the school- room, her eyes 
fell upon the azaleas with a new sense of revelation. And 
then she laughed, and the little people all laughed, and they 
were all unconsciously very happy. 

It was on a hot day and not long after this that two 
short-legged boys came to grief on the threshold of the 
school with a pail of water, which they had laboriously 
brought from the spring, and that Miss Mary compassionately 
seized the pail and started for the spring herself. At the foot 
of the hill a shadow crossed her path, and a blue-shirted arm 
dexterously, but gently, relieved her of her burden. Miss 
Mary was both embarrassed and angry. " If you carried 
more of that for yourself," she said, spitefully, to the blue 
arm, without deigning to raise her lashes to its owner, " you'd 
do better." In the submissive silence that followed she 
regretted tho speech, and thanked him so sweetly at the door 
that he stumbled, which caused the children to laugh again, 
a laugh in which Miss Mary joined, until the colour came 
faintly into her pale cheek. The next day a barrel was 
mysteriously placed beside the door, and as mysteriously 
filled with fresh spring-water every morning. 

Nor was this superior young person without other quiet 
attentions. "Profane Bill," driver of the Slumgullion Stage, 
widely known in the newspapers for his " gallantry " in 
invariably offering the box-seat to the fair sex, had excepted 
Miss Mary from this attention, on the ground that he had a 
habit of " cussin' on up grades," and gave her half the coach 
to herself. Jack Hamlin, a gambler, having once silently 
ridden with her in the same coach, afterwards threw a 
decanter at the head of a confederate for mentioning her 
name in a bar-room. The over- dressed mother of a pupil 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 57 

whose paternity was doubtful, had often lingered near this 
astute Vestal's temple, never daring to enter its sacred pre- 
ciucts, but content to worship the priestess from afar. 

"With such unconscious intervals the monotonous pro 
cession of blue skies, glittering sunshine, brief twilights, and 
starlit nights passed over Red Gulch. Miss Mary grew fond 
of walking in the sedate and proper woods. Perhaps she 
believed, with Mrs. Stidger, that the balsamic odours of the 
firs " did her chest? good," for certainly her slight cough was 
less freqiient and her step was firmer; perhaps she had 
learned the unending lesson which the patient pines are 
never weary of Repeating to heedful or listless ears. And so, 
one day, she planned a pic-nic on Buck-eye Hill, and took the 
children with her. Away from the dusty road, the straggling 
shanties, the yellow ditches, the clamour of restless engines, 
the cheap finery of shop-windows, the deeper glitter of paint 
and coloured glass, and the thin veneering which barbarism 
takes upon itself in such localities what infinite relief was 
theirs ! The last heap of ragged rock and clay passed, the 
last unsightly chasm crossed, how the waiting woods 
opened their long files to receive them ! How the children 
perhaps because they had not yet grown quite away from the 
breast of the bounteous Mother threw themselves face 
downward on her brown bosom with uncouth caresses, 
filling the air with their laughter ; and how Miss Mary 
herself felinely fastidious and intrenched as she was in the 
purity of spotless skirts, collar, and cuffs forgot all, and ran 
like a crested quail at the head of her brood, until, romping, 
laughing, and panting, with a loosened braid of brown hair, 
a hat hanging by a knotted ribbon from her throat, she came 
suddenly and violently, in the heart of the forest, upon the 
luckless Sandy ! 

The explanations, apologies, and not overwise conversation 
that ensued, need not be indicated here. It would seem, 
however, that Miss Mary had already established some 



58 THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

acquaintance with this ex-drunkard. Enough that he 
soon accepted as one of the party ; that the children, with 
that quick intelligence which Providence gives the helpless, 
recognized a friend, and played with his blond beard, and 
long silken mustache, and took other liberties, as the help 
less are apt to do. And when he had built a fire against a 
tree, and had shown them other mysteries of wood-craft, 
their admiration knew no bounds. At the close of two such 
foolish, idle, happy hours he found himsejf lying at the feet 
of the schoolmistress, gazing dreamily in her face, as she sat 
upon the sloping hill- side, weaving wreaths of laurel and 
syringa, in very much the same attitude as he had lain when 
first they met. Nor was tk similitude greatly forced. The 
weakness of an easy, sensuous nature, that had found a 
dreamy exaltation in liquor, it is to be feared was now find 
ing an equal intoxication in love. 

I think that Sandy was dimly conscious of this himself. 
I know that he longed to be doing something, slaying a 
grizzly, scalping a savage, or sacrificing himself in some way 
for the sake of this sallow-faced, gray-eyed schoolmistress. 
As I should like to present him in a heroic attitude, I stay 
my hand with great difficulty at this moment, being only 
withheld from introducing such an episode by a strong con 
viction that it does not usually occur at such times. And I 
trust that my fairest reader, who remembers that, in a real 
crisis, it is always some uninteresting stranger or unromantic 
policeman, and not Adolphns, who rescues, will forgive the 
omission. 

So they sot there, undisturbed the woodpeckers chattering 
overhead, and the voices of the children coming pleasantly 
from the hollow below. What they said matters little. What 
they thought which might have been interesting did not 
transpire. The woodpeckers only learned how Miss Mar^ 
was an orphan j how she left her uncle's house, to come to 
California, for the sake of health and independence ; how 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 59 

Sandy was an orphan, too ; how he came to California for ex 
citement j how he had lived a wild life, and how he was trying 
to reform ; and other details, which, from a woodpecker's 
view-point, undoubtedly must have seemed stupid, and a 
waste of time. But even in such trifles was the afternoon 
spent ; and when the children were again gathered, and 
Sandy, with a delicacy which the schoolmistress well under 
stood, took leave of them quietly at the outskirts of the 
settlement, it had seemed the shortest day of her weary life. 

As the long, dry summer withered to its roots, the school 
term of Red Gulch to use a local euphuism " dried up " 
also. In another day Miss Mary would be free j and for a 
season, at least, Red Gulch would know her no more. She 
was seated alone in the school-house, her cheek resting on her 
hand, her eyes half closed in one of those day-dreams in 
which Miss Mary I fear, to the danger of school discipline 
was lately in the habit of indulging. Her lap was full of 
mosses, ferns, and other woodland memories. She was so 
pre-occupied with these and her own thoughts that a gentle 
tapping at the door passed unheard, or translated itself into 
the remembrance of far-off woodpeckers. When at last it 
asserted itself more distinctly, she started up with a flushed 
cheek and opened the door. On the threshold stood a 
woman, the self-assertion and audacity of whose dress were 
in singular contrast to her timid, irresolute bearing. 

Miss Mary recognised at a glance the dubious mother of 
her anonymous pupil. Perhaps she was disappointed, perhaps 
she was only fastidious ; but as she coldly invited her to 
enter, she half-unconsciously settled her white cuffs and 
collar, and gathered closer her own chaste skirts. It ^ns, 
perhaps, for this reason that the embarrassed stranger, after 
a moment's hesitation, left her gorgeous parasol open and 
sticking in the dust beside the door, and then sat down at 
the farther end of a long bench. Her voice was husky as she 
began, 



60 THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

"I lieerd tell that you were goiu' down to the Bay to 
morrow, and I couldn't let you go until I came to thank you 
for your kindness to my Tommy." 

Tommy, Miss Mary said, was a good boy, and deserved 
more than the poor attention she could give him. 

" Thank you, miss ; thank ye ! " cried the stranger, 
brightening even through the colour which Red Gulch knew 
facetiously as her " war paint," and striving, in her embar 
rassment, to drag the long bench nearer the schoolmistress. 
" I thank you, miss, for that ! and if I am his mother, there 
ain't a sweeter, dearer, better boy lives than him. And if I 
ain't much as says it, thar ain't a sweeter dearer, angeler 
teacher lives than he's got." 

Miss Mary, sitting primly behind her desk, with a ruler 
over her shoulder, opened her gray eyes widely at this, but 
said nothing. 

" It ain't for you to be complimented by the like of me, 1 
know," she went on, hurriedly. "It ain't for me to be 
comin' here, in broad day, to do it, either ; but I come to 
ask a favour, not for me, miss, not for me, but for the 
darling boy." 

Encouraged by a look in the young schoolmistress's eye, 
and putting her lilac-gloved hands together, the fingers down 
ward, between her knees, she went on, in a low voice, 

" You see, miss, there's no one the boy has any claim on 
but me, and I ain't the proper person to bring him up. I 
thought some, last year, of sending him away to 'Frisco to 
school, but when they talked of bringing a schoolma'am here, 
I waited till I saw you, and then I knew it was all right, and 
I could keep my boy a little longer. And O, miss, he loves 
you so much ; and if you could hear him talk about you, in 
his pretty way, and if he could ask you what I ask you now, 
you couldn't refuse him. 

"It is natural," she went on rapidly, in a voice that 
trembled strangely between pride and humility, "it's natural 



THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 61 

that lie should take to you, miss, for his father, when I first 
knew him, was a gentleman, and the boy must forget me, 
sooner or later, and so I ain't a-goin' to cry about that. 
For I come to ask you to take my Tommy, God bless him 
for the bestest, sweetest boy that lives ! to to take him 
with you." 

She had risen and caught the young girl's hand in her own, 
and had fallen on her knees beside her. 

" I've money plenty, and it's all yours and his. Put him 
in some good school, where you. can go and see him, and help 
him to to to forget his mother. Do with him what you 
like. The worst you can do will be kindness to what he will 
learn with me. Only take him out of this wicked life, this 
cruel place, this home of shame and sorrow. You will ; I 
know you will, won't you 1 You will, you must not, you 
cannot say no ! You will make him as pure, as gentle as 
yourself ; and when he has grown up, you will tell him his 
father's name, the name that hasn't passed my lips for 
years, the name of Alexander Morton, whom they call here 
Sandy ! Miss Mary ! do not take your hand away ! Miss 
Mary, speak to me ! You will take my boy ? Do not put 
your face from me. I know it ought not to look on such as 
me. Miss Mary ! my God, be merciful ! she is leaving me ! " 

Miss Mary had risen, and, in the gathering twilight, had 
felt her way to the open window. She stood there, leaning 
against the casement, her eyes fixed on the last rosy tints 
that were fading from the western sky. There was still some 
of its light on her pure young forehead, on her white collar, 
on her clasped white hands, but all fading slowly away. The 
suppliant had dragged herself, still on her knees, beside her. 

"I know it takes time to consider. I will wait here all 
night ; but I cannot go until you speak. Do not deny me 
now. You will ! I see it in your sweet face, such a face 
as I have seen in my dreams. I see it in your eyes, Miss 
Mary ! you will take my boy S" 



62 THE IDYL OF RED GULCH. 

The last red beam crept higher, suffused Miss Mary's eyes 
with something of its glory, flickered, and faded, and went 
out. The sun had set on Bed Gulch. In the twilight and 
silence Miss Mary's voice sounded pleasantly. 

" I will take the boy. Send him to me to-night." 

The happy mother raised the hem of Miss Mary's skirts to 
her lips. She would have buried her hot face in its virgin 
folds, but she dared not. She rose to her feet. 

"Does this man know of your intention?" asked Miss 
Mary, suddenly. 

" No ; nor cares. He has never even seen the child to 
know it." 

" Go to him at once, to night, now. Tell him what 
you have done. Tell him I have taken his child, and tell 
him he must never see see the child again. Wherever 
it may be, he must not come ; wherever I may take it, he 
must not follow ! There, go now, please I'm weary, and 
have much yet to do ! " 

They walked together to the door. On the threshold the 
woman turned. 

"Good night." 

She would have fallen at Miss Mary's feet. But at the 
same moment the young girl reached out her arms, caught 
the sinful woman to her own pure breast for one brief 
moment, and then closed and locked the door. 

It was with a sudden sense of great responsibility that 
Profane Bill took the reins of the Slumgullion Stage the next 
morning, for the schoolmistress was one of his passengers. 
As he entered the high-road, in obedience to a pleasant voice 
from the "inside," he suddenly reined up his horses and 
respectfully waited, as "Tommy" hopped out at the com 
mand of Miss Mary. 

" Not that bush, Tommy the next." 

Tommy whipped out his new pocket-knife, and, cutting a 



HIGH- WA TER MARK. 63 

branch from a tall azalea-bush, returned with it to Miss 
Mary. 

"All right now ]" 

"All right." 

And the stage-door closed on the Idyl of Red Gulch. 



HIGH WATER MARK. 

A \J HEIST the tide was out on the Dedlow Marsh, ita 
extended dreariness was patent. Its spongy, low- 
lying surface, sluggish, inky pools, and tortuous sloughs, 
twisting their slimy way, eel-like, toward the open hay, were 
all hard facts. So were the few green tussocks, with their 
scant blades, their amphibious flavour, and unpleasant damp 
ness. And if you choose to indulge your fancy, although 
the flat monotony of Dedlow Marsh was not inspiring, the 
wavy line of scattered drift gave an unpleasant consciousness 
of the spent waters, and made the dead certainty of the 
returning tide a gloomy reflection, which no present sunshine 
could dissipate. The greener meadow-land seemed oppressed 
with this idea, and made no positive attempt at vegetation 
until the work of reclamation should be complete. In the 
bitter fruit of the low cranberry-bushes one might fancy ho 
detected a naturally sweet disposition curdled and soured by 
an injudicious course of too much regular cold water. 

The vocal expression of the Dedlow Marsh was also melan 
choly and depressing. The sepulchral boom of the bittern, 
the shriek of the curlew, the scream of passing brent, the 
wrangling of quarrelsome teal, the sharp, querulous protest of 
the startled crane, and syllabled complaint of the "killdeer" 
plover were beyond the power of written expression. Nor 
was the aspect of these mournful fowls at all cheerful and 
inspiring. Certainly not the blue heron standing midleg 
deep in the water, obviously catching cold in a reckless dis- 



6.f. HIGH-WATER MARK. 

regard of wet feet and consequences; nor the mournful curies, 
the dejected plover, or the low-spirited snipe, who saw tit to 
join him in his suicidal contemplation ; nor the impassive 
king-fisher an ornithological Marius reviewing the deso 
late expanse ; nor the black raven that went to and fro over 
the face of the marsh continually, but evidently couldn't 
make up his mind whether the waters had subsided, and felt 
low-spirited in the reflection that, after all this trouble, he 
wouldn't be able to give a definite answer. On the contrary, 
it was evident at a glance that the dreary expanse of Dedlow 
Marsh told unpleasantly on the birds, and that the season of 
migration was looked forward to with a feeling of relief and 
satisfaction by the full-grown, and of extravagant anticipa 
tion by the callow, brood. But if Dedlow Marsh was cheer 
less at the slack of the low tide, you should have seen it 
when the tide was strong and full. When the damp air 
blew chilly over the cold, glittering expanse, and came to 
the faces of those who looked seaward like another tide ; 
when a steel-like glint marked the low hollows and the 
sinuous line of slough ; when the great shell- incrusted trunks 
of fallen trees arose again, and went forth on their dreary, 
purposeless wanderings, drifting hither and thither, but 
getting no farther toward any goal at the falling tide or the 
day's decline than the cursed Hebrew in the legend ; when 
the glossy ducks swung silently, making neither ripple nor 
furrow on the simmering surface; when the fog came in with 
the tide and shut out the blue above, even as the green 
below had been obliterated ; when boatmen, lost in that fog, 
paddling about in a hopeless way, started at what seemed 
the brushing of mermen's fingers 011 the boat's keel, or 
bhrank from the tufts of grass spreading around like the 
floating hair of a corpse, and knew by these signs that they 
were lost upon Dedlow Marsh, and must make a night of it, 
and a gloomy one at that, then you might know something 
of Dedlow Marsh at high water. 



HIGH-WATERMARK. 6$ 

Let me recall a stoiy connected with this latter view, 
which never failed to recur to my mind in my long gunning 
excursions upon Dedlow Marsh. Although the event was 
briefly recorded in the county paper, I had the story, in all 
its eloquent detail, from the lips of the principal actor. I 
cannot hope to catch the varying emphasis and peculiar 
colouring of feminine delineation, for my narrator was a 
woman ; but I'll try to give at least its substance. 

She lived midway of the great slough of Dedlow Marsh 
and a good-sized river, which debouched four miles beyond 
into an estuary formed by the Pacific Ocean, on the long 
sandy peninsula which constituted the south-western boundary 
of a noble bay. The house in which she lived was a small 
frame cabin, raised from the marsh a few feet by stout piles, 
and was three miles distant from the settlements upon the 
river. Her husband was a logger, a profitable business in 
a county where the principal occupation was the manufacture 
of lumber. 

It was the season of early spring, when her husband left 
on the ebb of a high tide, with a raft of logs for the usual 
transportation to the lower end of the bay. As she stood by 
the door of the little cabin when the voyagers departed, she 
noticed a cold look in the south-eastern sky, and she remem 
bered hearing her husband say to his companions that they 
must endeavour to complete their voyage before the coming 
of the south-westerly gale which he saw brewing. And that 
night it began to storm and blow harder than she had ever 
before experienced, and some great trees fell in the forest by 
the river, and the house rocked like her baby's cradle. 

But however the storm might roar about the little cabin, 
she knew that one she trusted had driven bolt and bar with 
his own strong hand, and that had he feared for her he 
would not have left her. This, and her domestic duties, and 
the care of her little sickly baby, helped to keep her mind 
from dwelling on the weather, except, of course, to hope that 

F 



6C. HIGH-WATER MARK 

he was safely harboured with the logs at Utopia in fche 
dreary distance. But she noticed that day, when she west 
out to feed the chickens and look after the cow, that the tide 
was up to the little fence of their garden patch, and the roar 
of the surf on the south beach, though miles away, she could 
hear distinctly. And she began to think that she would 
like to have some one to talk with about matters, and she 
believed that if it had not been so far and so stormy, and 
the trail so impassable, she would have taken the baby, and 
have gone over to Ryckman's, her nearest neighbour. But 
then, you see, he might have returned in the storm, all wet 
with no one to see to him ; and it was a long exposure for 
baby, who was croupy and ailing. 

But that night, she never could tell why, she didn't feel 
like sleeping or even lying down. The storm had somewhat 
abated, but she still "sat and sat," and even tried to read. I 
don't know whether it was a Bible or some profane magazine 
that this poor woman read, but most probably the latter, for 
the words all ran together and made such sad nonsense that 
she was forced at last to put the book down and turn to that 
dearer volume which lay before her in the cradle, with its 
white initial leaf as yet unsoiled, and try to look forward to 
its mysterious future. And, rocking the cradle, she thought of 
everything and everybody, but still was wide awake as ever. 

It was nearly twelve o'clock when she at last lay down in 
her clothes. How long she slept she could not remember, 
but she awoke with a dreadful choking in her throat, and 
found herself standing, trembling all over, in the middle of 
the room, with her baby clasped to her breast, and she was 
" saying something." The baby cried and sobbed, and she 
walked up and down trying to hush it, when she heard a 
scratching at the door. She opened it fearfully, and waa 
glad to see it was only old Pete, their dog, who crawled, 
dripping with water, into the room. She would like to have 
looked out, not in the faint hope of her husband's coming, 



HIGH-WATER MARK. 67 

but to see how things looked ; but the wind shook the door 
so savagely that she could hardly hold ifc. Then she sat 
down a little while, and then walked up and down a 
little while, and then she lay down again a little while. 
Lying close by the wall of the little cabin, she thought she 
heard once or twice something scrape slowly against the 
clapboards, like the scraping of branches. Then there was 
a little gurgling sound, "like the baby made when it was 
swallowing ; " then something went " click-click " and 
" cluck-cluck," so that she sat. up in bed. When she did so 
she was attracted Tby something else that seemed creeping 
from the back door towards the centre of the room. It 
wasn't much wider than her little finger, but soon it swelled 
to the width of her hand, and began spreading all over the 
floor. It was water. 

She ran to the front door and threw it wide open, and saw 
nothing but water. She ran to the back door and threw it 
open, and saw nothing but water. She ran to the side 
window, and, throwing that open, she saw nothing but water. 
Then she remembered hearing her husband once say that 
there was no danger in the tide, for that fell regularly, and 
people could calculate on it, and that he would rather live 
near the bay than the river, whose banks might overflow at 
any time. But was it the tide ] So she ran again to the 
back door, and threw out a stick of wood. It drifted away 
towards the bay. She scooped up some of the water and 
put it eagerly to her lips. It was fresh and sweet. It was 
the river, and not the tide ! 

It was then 0, God be praised for his goodness ! she 
did neither faint nor fall ; it was then blessed be the 
Saviour, for it was his merciful hand that touched and 
strengthened her in this awful moment that fear dropped 
from her like a garment, and her trembling ceased. It was 
then and thereafter that she never lost her self-command, 
through all the trials of thatgloomy night-, 

s 9 



6S HIGH-WATER MARK. 

She drew the bedstead towards the middle of the room, 
and placed a table upon it, and on that she put the cradle. 
The water on the floor was already over her ankles, and the 
house once or twice moved so perceptibly, and seemed to be 
racked so, that the closet doors all flew open. Then she 
heard the same rasping and thumping against the wall, and, 
looking out, saw that a large uprooted tree, which had lain 
near the road at the upper end of the pasture, had floated 
down to the house. Luckily its long roots dragged in the 
soil and kept it from moving as rapidly as the current, for 
had it struck the house in its full career, even the strong 
nails and bolts in the piles could not have withstood the 
shock. The hound had leaped upon its knotty surface, and 
crouched near the roots shivering and whining. A ray of 
hope flashed across her mind. She drew a heavy blanket 
from the bed, and, wrapping it about the babe, waded in the 
deepening waters to the door. As the tree swung again, 
broadside on, making the little cabin creak and tremble, she 
leaped on to its trunk. By God's mercy she succeeded in 
obtaining a footing on its slippery surface, and, twining an 
arm about its roots, she held in the other a moaning child. 
Then something cracked near the front porch, and the whole 
front of the house she had just quitted fell forward, just as 
cattle fall on their knees before they lie down, and at the 
same moment the great redwood tree swung round and 
drifted away with its living cargo into the black night. 

For all the excitement and danger, for all her soothing of 
her crying babe, for all the whistling of the wind, for all the 
uncertainty of her situation, she still turned to look at the 
deserted and water-swept cabin. She remembered even 
then, and she wonders how foolish she was to think of it at 
that time, that she wished she had put on another dress and 
the baby's best clothes ; and she kept praying that the house 
would be spared so that he, when he returned, would have 
something to come to, and it wouldn't be quite so desolate, 



HIGH-WATER MARK. 69 

and how could he ever know what had become of her and 
baby 1 And at the thought she grew sick and faint. But 
she had something else to do besides worrying, for whenever 
the long roots of her ark struck an obstacle, the whole trunk 
made half a revolution, and twice dipped her in the black 
water. The hound, who kept distracting her by running up 
and down the tree and howling, at last fell off at one of these 
collisions. He swam for some time beside her, and she tried 
to get the poor beast upon the tree, but he "acted silly" and 
wild, and at last she lost sight of him for ever. Then she 
and her baby were left alone. The light which had burned 
for a few minutes in the deserted cabin was quenched 
suddenly. She could not then tell whither she was drifting. 
The outline of the white dunes on the peninsula showed 
dimly ahead, and she judged the tree was moving in a line 
with the river. It must be about slack water, and she had 
probably reached the eddy formed by the confluence of the 
tide and the overflowing waters of the river. Unless the 
tide fell soon, there was present danger of her drifting to its 
channel, and being carried out to sea or crushed in the float 
ing drift. That peril averted, if she were carried out on the 
ebb toward the bay, she might hope to strike one of the 
wooded promontories of the peninsula, and rest till daylight. 
Sometimes she thought she heard voices and shouts from the 
river, and the bellowing of cattle and bleating of sheep. 
Then again it was only the ringing in her ears and throbbing 
of her heart. She found at about this time that she was so 
chilled and stiffened in her cramped position that she could 
scarcely move, and the baby cried so when she put it to her 
breast that she noticed the milk refused to flow ; and she 
was so frightened at that, that she put her head under her 
shawl and for the first time cried bitterly. 

When she raised her head again, the boom of the surf was 
behind her, and she knew that her ark had again swung 
round. She dipped up the water to cool her parched throat, 



70 HIGH-WATER MARK. 

and found that it was salt as her tears. There was a relief, 
though, for by this sign she knew she was drifting with the 
tide. It was then the wind went down, and the great and 
awful silence oppressed her. jThcre was scarcely a ripple 
against the furrowed sides of the great trunk on which she 
rested, and around her all was black gloom and quiet. She 
spoke to the baby just to hear herself speak, and to kno^v 
that she had not-lost her voice. She thought then it was 
queer, but she could not help thinking it how awful mus 
have been the night when the great ship swung over the 
Asiatic peak, and the sounds of creation were blotted out 
from the world. She thought, too, of mariners clinging to 
spars, and of poor women who were lashed to rafts, and 
beaten to death by the cruel sea. She tried to thank God 
that she was thus spared, and lifted her eyes from the baby 
who had fallen into a fretful sleep. Suddenly, away to the 
southward, a great ligjit lifted itself out of the gloom, and 
flashed and flickered, and flickered and flashed again. Her 
heart fluttered quickly against the baby's cold cheek. It was 
the lighthouse at the entrance of the bay. As she was yet 
wondering, the tree suddenly rolled a little, dragged a little, 
and then seemed to lie quiet and still. She put out her hand 
and the current gurgled against it. The tree was aground, 
and, by the position of the light and the noise of the surf, 
aground upon the Dedlow Marsh. 

Had it not been for her baby, who was ailing and croupy 
had it not been for the sudden drying up of that sensitive 
fountain, she would have felt safe and relieved. Perhaps it 
was this which tended to make all her impressions mournful 
and gloomy. As the tide rapidly fell, a great flock of black 
brent fluttered by her, screaming and crying. Then the 
plover flew up and piped mournfully, as they wheeled around 
the trunk, and at last fearlessly lit upon it like a gray cloud. 
Then the heron flew over and around her, shrieking and 
protesting, and at last dropped its gaunt legs only a few 



HIGH-WATER MARk. 71 

yards from her. But, strangest of all, a pretty white bird, 
larger than a dove, like a pelican, but not a pelican, circled 
around and around her. At last it lit upon a rootlet of the 
tree, quite over her shoulder. She put out her hand and 
stroked its beautiful white neck, and it never appeared to move. 
It stayed there so long that she thought she would lift up the 
baby to see it, and try to attract her attention. But when 
she did so, the child was so chilled and cold, and had such a 
blue look under the little lashes, which it didn't raise at all 
that she screamed aloud, and the bird flew away, and she 
fainted. 

Well, that was the worst of it, and perhaps it was not so 
much, after all, to any but herself. For when she recovered 
her senses it was bright sunlight, and dead low water. There 
was a confused noise of guttural voices about her, and an 
old squaw, singing an Indian " hushaby," and rocking 
herself from side to side before a fire built on the marsh, 
before which she, the recovered wife and mother, lay weak 
and weary. Her first thought was for her baby, and she 
was about to speak, when a young squaw, who must have 
been a mother herself, fathomed her thought, and brought 
her the " mo witch," pale but living, in such a queer little 
willow cradle all bound up, just like the squaw's own young 
one, that she laughed and cried together, and the young 
squaw and the old squaw showed their big white teeth and 
glinted their black eyes and said, " Plenty get well, skeena 
mowitch," " wagee man come plenty soon," and she could 
have kissed their brown faces in her joy. And then she 
found that they had been gathering berries on the marsh in 
their queer, comical baskets, and saw the skirt of her gown 
fluttering 011 the tree from afar, and the old squaw couldn't 
resist the temptation of procuring a new garment, and came 
down and discovered the " wagee " woman and child. And 
of course she gave the garment to the old squaw, as you 
rnay imagine, and when, he came at last and rushed uj> to 



72 A LONELY RIDE. 

her, looking about ten years older in his anxiety, she felt so 
faint again that they had to carry her to the canoe. For, 
you see, he knew nothing about the flood until he met the 
Indians at Utopia, and knew by the signs that the poor 
woman was his wife. And at the next high-tide he towed 
the tree away back home, although it wasn't worth the 
trouble, and built another house, using the old tree for the 
foundation and props, and called it after her, " Mary's Ark ! " 
But you may guess the next house was built above High- 
water mark. And that's all. 

Not much, perhaps, considering the malevolent capacity 
of the Dedlow Marsh. But you must tramp over it at low 
water, or paddle over it at high tide, or get lost upon it 
once or twice in the fog, as I have, to understand properly 
Mary's adventure, or to appreciate duly the blessings of 
living beyond High- Water Mark. 



A LONELY RIDE. 

A S I stepped into the Slumgullion stage I saw that it was 
a dark night, a lonely road, and that I was the only 
passenger. Let me assure the reader that I have no ulterior 
design in making this assertion. A long course of light reading 
has forewarned me what every experienced intelligence must 
confidently look for from such a statement. The story-teller 
who wilfully tempts Fate by such obvious beginnings ; who 
is to the expectant reader in danger of being robbed or half- 
murdered, or frightened by an escaped lunatic, or introduced 
to his lady-love for the first time, deserves to be detected. I 
am relieved to say that none of these things occurred to me. 
The road from Wingdam to Slumgullion knew no other 
banditti than the regularly licensed hotel-keepers ; lunatics 
had not yet reached such depth of imbecility as to ride of 



A LONELY RIDE. 73 

their own free-will in Californian stages ; and my Laura, 
amiable and long-suffering as she always is, could not, I fear, 
have borne up against these depressing circumstances long 
enough to have made the slightest impression on me. 

I stood with my shawl and carpet-bag in hand, gazing 
doubtingly on the vehicle. Even in the darkness the red 
dust of Wingdam was visible on its roof and sides, and the 
red slime of Slumgullion clung tenaciously to its wheels. I 
opened the door ; the stage creaked uneasily, and in the 
gloomy abyss the swaying straps beckoned me, like ghostly 
hands, to come in now, and have my sufferings out at 
once. 

I must not omit to mention the occurrence of a circum 
stance which struck me as appalling and mysterious. A 
lounger on the steps of the hotel, whom I had reasoij to 
suppose was not in any way connected with the stage 
company, gravely descended, and, walking toward the 
conveyance, tried the handle of the door, opened it, 
expectorated in the carriage, and returned to the hotel with 
a serious demeanour. Hardly had he resumed his position, 
when another individual, equally disinterested, impassively 
walked down the steps, proceeded to the back of the stage, 
lifted it, expectorated carefully on the axle, and returned 
slowly and pensively to the hotel. A third spectator wearily 
disengaged himself from one of the Ionic columns of the 
portico and walked to the box, remained for a moment in 
serious and expectorative contemplation of the boot, and 
then returned to his column. There was something so weird 
in this baptism that I grew quite nervous. 

Perhaps I was out of spirits. A number of infinitesimal 
annoyances, winding up with the resolute persistency of the 
clerk at the stage -office to enter my name misspelt on the 
way-bill, had not predisposed me to cheerfulness. The 
inmates of the Eureka House, from a social view-point, were 
not attractive. There was the prevailing opinion so 



74 A LONELY RIDE. 

common to many honest people that a serious style of 
deportment and conduct toward a stranger indicates high 
gentility and elevated station. Obeying this principle, all 
hilaaifcy ceased on my entrance to supper, and general remark 
merged into the safer and uncompromising chronicle of 
several bad cases of diptheria, then epidemic at Wingdain. 
When I left the dining-room, with an odd feeling that I had 
been supping exclusively on mustard and tea-leaves, I 
stopped a moment at the parlour door. A piano, harmoni 
ously related to the dinner-bell, tinkled responsive to a 
diffident and uncertain touch. On the white wall the 
shadow of an old and sharp profile was bending over several 
symmetrical and shadowy curls. " I sez to Mariar, Mariar, 
sez I, ' Praise to the face is open disgrace.' " I heard no 
more. Dreading some susceptibility to sincere expression 
on the subject of female loveliness, I walked away, checking 
the compliment that otherwise might have risen unbidden 
to my lips, and have brought shame and sorrow to the 
household. 

It was with the memory of these experiences resting 
heavily upon me, that I stood hesitatingly before the stage 
door. The driver, about to mount, was for a moment 
illuminated by the open door of the hotel. He had the 
wearied look which was the distinguishing expression of 
Wingdam. Satisfied that I was properly way-billed and 
receipted for, he took no further notice of me. I looked 
longingly at the box-seat, but he did not respond to the 
appeal. I flung my carpet-bag into the chasm, dived 
recklessly after it, and before I was fairly seated with a 
great sigh, a creaking of unwilling springs, complaining 
bolts, and harshly expostulating axle, we moved away. 
Rather the hotel door slipped behind, the sound of the piano 
sank to rest, and the night and its shadows moved solemnly 
upon us. 

To say it was dark expressed but faintly the pitchy 



A LONELY RIDE. 75 

obscurity that encompassed the vehicle. The roadside trees 
were scarcely distinguishable as deeper masses of shade w \ I 
knew them only by the peculiar sodden odour that from 
time to time sluggishly flowed in at the open window as we 
rolled by. We proceeded slowly j so leisurely that, leaning 
from the carriage, I more than once detected the fragrant 
sigh of some astonished cow, whose ruminating repose upon 
the highway we had ruthlessly disturbed. But in the 
darkness our progress, more the guidance of some mysterious 
instinct than any apparent volition of our own, gave an 
indefinable charm of security to our journey, that a moment's 
hesitation or indecision on the part of the driver would have 
destroyed. 

I had indulged a hope that in the empty vehicle I might 
obtain that rest so often denied me in its crowded condition. 
It was a weak delusion. When I stretched out my limbs it 
was only to find that the ordinary conveniences for making 
several people distinctly uncomfortable were distributed 
throughout my individual frame. At last, resting my arms 
on the straps, by dint of much gymnastic effort I became 
sufficiently composed to be aware of a more refined species 
of torture. The springs of the stage, rising and falling 
regularly, produced a rhythmical beat, which began to 
painfully absorb my attention. Slowly this thumping 
merged into a senseless echo of the mysterious female of the 
hotel parlour, and shaped itself into this awful and 
benumbing axiom, " Praise- to -the -face- is-open-disgraca 
Praise-to-the-face-is-open- disgrace." Inequalities of the roaa 1 
only quickened its utterance or drawled it to an exasperating 
length. 

It was of no use to seriously consider the statement. It" 
was of no use to except to it indignantly. It was of no use 
to recall the many instances where praise to the face had 
redounded to the everlasting honour of praiser and bepraised \ 
of no use to dwell sentimentally on modest genius antj 



76 A LONELY RIDE. 

courage lifted up and strengthened by open commendation ; 
of no use to except to the mysterious female, to picture 
her as rearing a thin-blooded generation on selfish and 
mechanically-repeated axioms, all this failed to counteract 
the monotonous repetition of this sentence. There was 
nothing to do but to give in, and I was about to accept it 
weakly, as we too often treat other illusions of darkness and 
necessity, for the time being, when I became aware of some 
other annoyance that had been forcing itself upon me for the 
last few moments. How quiet the driver was ! 

Was there any driver? Had I any reason to suppose 
that he was not lying, gagged and bound on the roadside, 
and the highwayman, with blackened face, who did the thing 
so quietly, driving me whither ? The thing is perfectly 
feasible. And what is this fancy now being jolted out of 
me % A story 1 It's of no use to keep it back, particularly 
in this abysmal vehicle, and here it comes : I am a Marquis 
a French Marquis ; French, because the peerage is not so 
well known, and the country is better adapted to romantic 
incident a Marquis, because the democratic reader delights 
in the nobility. My name is something ligny. I am coming 
from Paris to my country seat at St. Germain. It is a dark 
night, and I fall asleep and tell my honest coachman Andre" 
not to disturb me, and dream of an angel. The carriage at 
last stops at the chateau. It is so dark that, when I alight, 
I do not recognize the face of the footman who holds the 
carriage-door. But what of that ? peste ! I am heavy 
fcdth sleep. The same obscurity also hides the old familiar 
indecencies of the statues on the terrace ; but there is a 
door, and it opens and shuts behind me smartly. Then I 
ind myself in a trap, in the presence of the brigand who has 
quietly gagged poor Andre and conducted the carriage 
thither. There is nothing for me to do, as a gallant French 
Marquis, but to say, " Parbleu I " draw my rapier, and die 
\alorously ! I am found, a week or two after, outside a 



A LONELY RIDE. 77 

deserted cabaret near the barrier, with a hole through my 
ruffled linen, and my pockets stripped. No ; 011 second 
thoughts, I am rescued, rescued by the angel I have been 
dreaming of, who is the assumed daughter of the brigand, 
but the real daughter of an intimate friend. 

Looking from the window again, in the vain hope of dis 
tinguishing the driver, I found my eyes were growing accus 
tomed to the darkness. I could see the distant horizon, 
denned by India-inky woods, relieving a lighter sky. A 
few stars, widely spaced in this picture, glimmered sadly. I 
noticed again the infinite depth of patient sorrow in their 
serene faces ; and I hope that the Vandal who first applied 
the flippant "twinkle" to them may not be driven melan 
choly mad by their reproachful eyes. I noticed again the 
mystic charm of space, that imparts a sense of individual 
solitude to each integer of the densest constellation, involving 
the smallest star with immeasurable loneliness. Something 
of this calm and solitude crept over me, and I dozed in my 
gloomy cavern. "When I awoke the full moon was rising. 
Seen from my window, it had an indescribably unreal and 
theatrical effect. It was the full moon of Norma that 
remarkable celestial phenomenon which rises so palpably to 
a hushed audience and a sublime andante chorus, until the 
Casta Diva is sung the "inconstant moon" that then 
and thereafter remains fixed in the heavens as though it 
were a part of the solar system inaugurated by Joshua. 
Again the white-robed Druids filed past me, again I saw 
that improbable mistletoe cut from that impossible oak, and 
again cold chills ran down my back with the first strain of 
the recitative. The thumping springs essayed to beat time, 
and the private box-like obscurity of the vehicle lent a cheap 
enchantment to the view. But it was a vast improvement 
upon my past experience, and I hugged the fond delusion. 

My fears for the driver were dissipated with the rising 
moon. A familiar sound had assured me of his presence in 



78 A LONELY RIDE. 

the full possession of at least one of his most important func 
tions. Frequent and full expectoration convinced me that 
his lips were as yet not sealed by the gag of highwaymen, 
and soothed my anxious ear. With this load lifted from my 
mind, and assisted by the mild- presence of Diana, who left, 
as when she visited Endymion, much of her splendour out 
side my cavern, I looked around the empty vehicle. On 
the forward seat lay a woman's hair-pin. I picked it up 
with an interest that, however, soon abated. There was no 
scent of the roses to cling to it still, not even of hair-oil- 
No bend or twist in its rigid angles betrayed any trait of 
its wearer's character. I tried to think that it might have 
been "Mariar's." I tried to imagine that, confining the 
symmetrical curls of that girl, it might have heard the soft 
compliments whispered in her ears, which provoked the 
wrath of the aged female. But in vain. It was reticent 
and unswerving in its upright fidelity, and at last slipped 
listlessly through my fingers. 

I had dozed repeatedly, waked on the threshold of obli 
vion by contact with some of the angles of the coach, and 
feeling that I was unconsciously assuming, in imitation of a 
humble insect of my childish recollection, that spherical shape 
which could best resist those impressions, when I perceived 
that the moon, riding high in the heavens, had begun to 
separate the formless masses of the shadowy landscape. 
Trees isolated, in clumps and assemblages, changed places 
before my window. The sharp outlines of the distant hills 
came back, as in daylight, but little softened in the dry, 
cold, dewless air of a California summer night. I was won 
dering how late it was, and thinking that if the horses of the 
night travelled as slowly as the team before us, Faustus 
might have been spared his agonizing prayer, when a sudden 
spasm of activity attacked my driver. A succession of 
whip-snappings, like a pack of Chinese crackers, broke from 
the box before me. The stage leaped forward, and when I 



THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 79 

could pick myself from under the seat, a long wliite build 
ing had in some mysterious way rolled before my window. 
It must be Slumgullion ! As I descended from the stage I 
addressed the driver : 

" I thought you changed horses on the road ?" 

" So we did. Two hours ago." 

" That's odd. I didn't notice it." 

" Must have been asleep, sir. Hope you had a pleasant 
nap. Bully place for a nice quiet snooze empty stage, sir !" 



THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 

T T IS name was Fagg David Fagg. He came to California 
^ * in '52 with us, in the " Skyscraper." I don't think he did 
it in an adventurous way. He probably had no other place 
to go to. "When a knot of us young fellows would recite 
what splendid opportunities we resigned to go, and how sorry 
our friends were to have us leave, and show daguerreotypes 
and locks of hair, and talk of Mary and Susan, the man of no 
account used to sit by and listen with a pained, mortified 
expression on his plain face, and say nothing. I think he 
had nothing to say. He had no associates, except when we 
patronized him ; and, in point of fact, he was a good deal of 
sport to us. He was always sea-sick whenever we had a 
capful of wind. He never got his sea-legs on either. And 
I never shall forget how we all laughed when Rattler tock 

him the piece of pork on a string, and But you know 

that time-honoured joke. And then we had such a splendid 
lark with him. Miss Fanny Twinkler couldn't bear the 
sight of him, and we used to make Fagg think that she had 
taken a fancy to him, and send him little delicacies and 
cooks from the cabin. You ought to have witnessed the 
scene that took place when he came up, stammering and 



Bo THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 

very sick, to thank her ! Didn't she flash up grandly and 
beautifully and scornfully? So like " Medora," Rattler 
said, Rattler knew Byron by heart, and wasn't old Fagg 
awfully cut up ? But he got over it, and when Rattler fel 
sick at Valparaiso, old Fagg used to nurse him. You see he 
was a good sort of fellow, but he lacked manliness and 
spirit. 

He had absolutely no idea of poetry. I 've seen him sit 
stolidly by, mending his old clothes, when Rattler delivered 
that stirring apostrophe of Byron's to the ocean. He asked 
Rattler once, quite seriously, if he thought Byron was ever 
sea-sick. I don't remember Rattler's reply, but I know we 
all laughed very much, and I have no doubt it was some 
thing good, for Rattler was smart. 

When the " Skyscraper " arrived at San Francisco, we had 
a grand "feed." We agreed to meet every year and per 
petuate the occasion. Of course we didn't invite Fagg. 
Fagg was a steerage passenger, and it was necessary, you see, 
now we were ashore, to exercise a little discretion. But Old 
Fagg, as we called him, he was only about twenty-five 
years old, by the way, was the source of immense amuse 
ment to us that day. It appeared that he had conceived 
the idea that he could walk to Sacramento, and actually 
started off afoot. We had a good time, and shook hands 
with one another all around, and so parted. Ah me ! only 
eight years ago, and yet some of those hands then clasped in 
amity have been clenched at each other, or have dipped fur 
tively in one another's pockets. I know that we didn't dine 
together the next year, because young Barker swore he 
wouldn't put his feet under the same mahogany with such a 
very contemptible scoundrel as that Mixer ; and Nibbles, 
who borrowed money at Valparaiso of young Stubbs, who 
was then a waiter in a restaurant, didn't like to meet such 
people. 

Whe>i I bought a number of shares in the Coyote Tunnel 



THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT 81 

at Mugginsville, in '54, I thought I'd take a run up there 
and see it. I stopped at the Empire Hotel, and after dinner 
I got a horse and rode round the town and out to the claim. 
One of those individuals whom newspaper correspondents 
call " our intelligent informant," and to whom in all small 
communities the right of answering questions is tacitly 
yielded, was quietly pointed out to me. Habit had enabled 
him to work and talk at the same time, and he never pre- 
termitted either. He gave me a history of the claim, and 
added : " You see, stranger " (he addressed the bank before 
him), " gold is sure to come out 'er that theer claim (he put 
in a comma with his pick), but the old pro-pri-e-tor (he 
wriggled out the word and the point of his pick) warn't of 
much account (a long stroke of the pick for a period). He 
was green, and let the boys about here jump him," and the 
rest of his sentence was confided to his hat, which he had 
removed to wipe his manly brow with his red bandanna. 

I asked him who was the original proprietor. 

" His name war Fagg." 

I went to see him. He looked a little older and plainer. 
He had worked hard, he said, and was getting on " so, so." 
I took quite a liking to him, and patronized him to some 
extent. Whether I did so because I was beginning to have 
a distrust for such fellows as Rattler and Mixer is not neces 
sary for me to state. 

You remember how the Coyote Tunnel went in, and how 
awfully we shareholders were done ! Well, the next thing 
I heard was that Rattler, who was one of the heaviest share 
holders, was up at Mugginsville keeping bar for the pro 
prietor of the Mugginsville Hotel, and that old Fagg had 
struck it rich, and didn't know what to do with his money. 
All this was told me by Mixer, who had been there, settling 
up matters, and likewise that Fagg was sweet upon tho 
daughter of the proprietor of the aforesaid hotel. And so 
by hearsay and letter I eventually gathered that old Robins, 



82 THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 

the hotel man, was trying to get np a match between Nellie 
Robins and Fagg. Nellie was a pretty, plunip, and foolish 
little thing, and would do jnst as her father wished. I 
thought it would be a good thing for Fagg if he should marry 
and settle down; that as a married man he might be of 
some account. So I ran up to Mugginsville one day to look 
after things. 

It did me an immense deal of good to make Rattler mix 
my drinks for me, Rattler ? the gay, brilliant, and uncon 
querable Rattler, who had tried to snub me two years ago. 
I talked to him about old Fagg and Nellie, particularly as I 
thought the subject was distasteful. He never liked Fagg, 
and he was sure, he said, that Nellie didn't. Did Nellie 
like anybody else 1 He turned around to the mirror behind 
the bar and brushed up his hair; I understood the con 
ceited wretch. I thought I'd put Fagg on his guard and 
get him to hurry up matters. I had a long talk with him. 
You could see by the way the poor fellow acted that he was 
badly stuck. He sighed, and promised to pluck up courage 
to hurry matters to a crisis. Nellie was a good girl, and I 
think had a sort of quiet respect for old Fagg's unobtrusive- 
ness. But her fancy was already taken captive by Rattler's 
superficial qualities, which were obvious and pleasing. I 
don't think Nellie was any worse than you or I. We are 
more apt to take acquaintances at their apparent value than 
their intrinsic worth. It's less trouble, and, except when we 
want to trust them, quite as convenient. The difficulty with 
women is that their feelings are apt to get interested sooner 
than ours, and then, you know, reasoning is out of the ques 
tion. This is what old Fagg would have known had he been 
of any account. But he wasn't. So much the worse for 
him. 

It was a few months afterward, and I was sitting in my 
office, when in walked old Fagg. I was surprised to see 
him down, but we talked over the current topics in that 



THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 83 

mechanical manner of people who know that they havo 
something else to say, but are obliged to get at it in that 
formal way. After an interval Fagg in his natural manner 
said, 

" I'm going home !" 

"Going home?" 

"Yes, that is, I think I'll take a trip to the Atlantic 
States. I came to see you, as you know I have some little 
property, and I have executed a power of attorney for you 
to manage my affairs. I have some papers I 'd like to leave 
with you. Will you take charge of them 1 " 

" Yes," I said. But what of Nellie ? " 

His face fell. He tried to smile, and the combination 
resulted in one of the most startling and grotesque effects I 
ever beheld. At length he said, 

" I shall not marry Nellie, that is," he 'seemed to 
apologize internally for the positive form of expression, " I 
think that I had better not." 

" David Fagg," I said with sudden severity, "you 're of no 
account ! " 

To my astonishment his face brightened. " Yes," said he, 
that's it ! I 'm of no account ! But I always knew it. 
You see I thought Rattler loved that girl as well as I did, 
and I knew she liked him better than she did me, and would 
be happier I dare say with him. But then I knew that old 
Robins would have preferred me to him, as I was better off, 
and the girl would do as he said, and, you see, I thought I 
was kinder in the way, and so I left. But," he continued, 
as I was about to interrupt him, " for fear the old man might 
object to Hat tier, I've lent him enough to set him up in 
business for himself in Dogtown. A pushing, active, bril 
liant fellow, you know, like Rattler, can get along, and will 
soon be in his old position again, and you needn't be hard 
on him. you know, if he doesn't. Good by." 

I was too much disgusted with his treatment of that 

G2 



?4 THE MAN OF NO ACCOUNT. 

Rattler to be at all amiable, but as his business was pro 
fitable, I promised to attend to it, and he left. A few weeks 
passed. The return steamer arrived, and a terrible incident 
occupied the papers for days afterward. People in all parts 
of the State conned eagerly the details of an awful ship 
wreck, and those who had friends aboard went away by 
themselves, and read the long list of the lost under their 
breath. I read of the gifted, the gallant, the noble, and 
loved ones who had perished, and among them I think I 
was the first to read the name of David Fagg. For the 
u man ot* no account" had " gone home l n 



II.-STORIES. 

MLISS. 

CHAPTER I. 

JUST where the Sierra Nevada begins to subside in gentler 
undulations, and the rivers grow less rapid and yellow, 
on the side of a great red mountain, stands "Smith's Pocket." 
Seen from the red road at sunset, in the red light and the red 
dust, its white houses look like the outcroppings of quartz on 
the mountain-side. The red stage topped with red-shirted 
passengers is lost to view half a dozen times in the tortuous 
descent, turning up unexpectedly in out-of-the-way places, 
and vanishing altogether within a hundred yards of the 
town. It is probably owing to this sudden twist in the road 
that the advent of a stranger at Smith's Pocket is usually 
attended with a peculiar circumstance. Dismounting from 
the vehicle at the stage office, the too confident traveller 
is apt to walk straight out of town under the impression 
that it lies in quite another direction. It is related that one 
of the tunnel-men, two miles from town, met one of these 
self-reliant passengers with a carpet-bag, umbrella, Harper's 
Magazine, and other evidences of " Civilization and Re 
finement," plodding along over the road he had just rid 
den, vainly endea-vouring to find the settlement of Smith's 
Pocket. 

An observant traveller might have found some compensa 
tion for his disappointment in the weird aspect of that 



86 MLISS. 

vicinity. There were huge fissures on the hillside, and dis 
placements of the red soil, resembling more the chaos of some 
primary elemental upheaval than the work of man ; while, 
half-way down, a long flume straddled its narrow body and 
disproportionate legs over the chasin, like an enormous fossil 
of some forgotten antediluvian. At every step smaller 
ditches crossed the road, hiding in l-Lei > sallow depths un 
lovely streams that crept away to a clandestine union with 
the great yellow torrent below, and here and there were the 
ruins of some cabin with the chimney alone left intact and 
the hearthstone open to the skies. 

The settlement of Smith's Pocket owed its origin to the 
finding of a " pocket " on its site by a veritable Smith. 
Five thousand dollars were taken out of it in one half-hour 
by Smith. Three thousand dollars were expended by Smith 
and others in erecting a flume and in tunnelling. And then 
Smith's Pocket was found to be only a pocket, and subject 
like other pockets to depletion. Although Smith pierced the 
bowels of the great red mountain, that five thousand dollars 
was the first and last return of his labour. The mountain 
grew reticent of its golden secrets, and the flume steadily 
ebbed away the remainder of Smith's fortune. Then Smith 
went into quartz-mining j then into quartz-milling ; then 
into hydraulics and ditching, and then by easy degrees into 
saloon-keeping. Presently it was whispered that Smith was 
drinking a great deal ; then it was known that Smith was a 
habitual drunkard, and then people began to think, as they 
are apt to, that he had never "been anything else. But the 
settlement of Smith's Pocket, like that of most discoveries, 
was happily not dependent on the fortune of its pioneer, and 
other parties projected tunnels and found pockets. So 
Smith's Pocket became a settlement with its two fancy 
stores, its two hotels, its one express- office, and its two first 
families. Occasionally its one long straggling street was 
overawed by the assumption of the latest San Francisco 



MLISS. 87 

fashions, imported per express, exclusively to the first families; 
making outraged Nature, in the ragged outline of her fur- 
rowed surface, look still more homely, and putting personal 
insult on that greater portion of the population to whom the 
Sabbath, with a change of linen, brought merely the neces 
sity of cleanliness, without the luxury of adornment. Then 
there was a Methodist Church, and hard by a Monte Bank, 
and a little beyond, on the mountain-side, a graveyard ; and 
then a little school-house. 

" The Master," as he was known to his little flock, sat 
alone one night in the school-house, with some open copy-books 
before him, carefully making those bold and full characters 
which are supposed to combine the extremes of chirographi- 
cal and moral excellence, and had got as far as " Riches are 
deceitful," and was elaborating the noun with an insincerity 
of flourish that was quite in the spirit of his text, when he 
heard a gentle tapping. The woodpeckers had been busy 
about the roof during the day, and the noise did not disturb 
his work. Bui- the opening of the door, and the tapping 
continuing from the inside, caused him to look up. He was 
slightly startled by the figure of a young girl, dirty and 
shabbily clad. Still, her great black eyes, her coarse, un 
combed, lustreless black hair falling over her sun-burned face, 
her red arms and feet streaked with the red soil, were all 
familiar to him. It was Melissa Smith, Smith's mother 
less child. 

" What can she want here ? " thought the master. Every 
body knew " Mliss," as she was called, throughout the 
length and height of Red Mountain. Everybody knew her 
as an incorrigible girl. Her fierce, ungovernable disposition, 
her mad freaks and lawless character, were, in their way, as 
proverbial as the story of her father's weaknesses, and as 
philosophically accepted by the townsfolk. She wrangled 
with and fought the school-boys with keener invective and 
quite as powerful arm. She followed the trails with a wood- 



88 

man's craft, and the master had met her before, miles away, 
shoeless, stock iiigless, and bareheaded on the mountain road. 
The miners' camps along the stream supplied her with sub 
sistence during these voluntary pilgrimages, in freely offered 
alms. Not but that a larger protection had been previously 
extended to Mliss. The Kev. Joshua McSnagley, " stated " 
preacher, had placed her in the hotel as servant, by way of 
preliminary refinement, and had introduced her to his 
scholars at Sunday-school. But she threw plates occasionally 
at the landlord, and quickly retorted to the cheap witticisms 
of the guests, and created in the Sabbath-school a sensation 
that was so inimical to the orthodox dulness and placidity of 
that institution, that, with a decent regard for the starched 
frocks and unblemished morals of the two pink-and-white- 
faced children of the first families, the reverend gentleman 
had her ignominiously expelled. Such were the antecedents, 
and such the character of Mliss, as she stood before the 
master. It was shown in the ragged dress, the unkempt 
hair, and bleeding feet, and asked his pity. It flashed from 
her black, fearless eyes, and commanded his respect. 

"I come here to-night," she said rapidly and boldly, 
keeping her hard glance on his, " because I knew you was 
alone. I wouldn't come here when them gals was here. I 
hate 'em and they hates me. That's why. You keep school, 
don't you 1 I want to be teached ! " 

If to the shabbiriess of her apparel and uncomeliness of 
her tangled hair and dirty face she had added the humility of 
tears, the master would have extended to her the usual 
moiety of pity, and nothing more. But with the natural, 
though illogical instincts of his species, her boldness 
awakened in him something of that respect which all original 
natures pay unconsciously to one another in any grade. 
And he gazed at her the more fixedly as she went on still 
rapidly, her hand on that door-latch and her eyes on his : 

" My name's Mliss, Mliss Smith ! You can bet your 



MUSS. 9 

life on that. My father's Old Smith, Old Bummer Smith, 
that's what's the matter with him. Mliss Smith, and 
I'm coming to school." 

"Well?" said the master. 

Accustomed to be thwarted and opposed, often wantonly 
and cruelly, for no other purpose than to excite the violent 
impulses of her nature, the master's phlegm evidently took 
her by surprise. She stopped ; she began to twist a lock of 
her hair between her fingers ; and the rigid line of upper 
lip, drawn over the wicked little teeth, relaxed and quivered 
slightly. Then her eyes dropped, and something like a 
blush struggled up to her cheek, and tried to assert itself 
through the splashes of redder soil, and the sunburn of 
years. Suddenly she threw herself forward, calling on God 
to strike her dead, and fell quite weak and helpless, with 
her face on the master's desk, crying and sobbing as if her 
heart would break. 

The master lifted her gently and waited for the paroxysm 
to pass. When with face still averted, she was repeating 
between her sobs the mea culpa of childish penitence, that 
" she'd be good, she didn't mean to," &c., it came to him to 
ask her why she had left Sabbath-school. 

Why had she left the Sabbath-school? why ? O yes. 
What did he (McSnagley) want to tell her she was wicked 
for 1 What did he tell her that God hated her for 'I If God 
hated her, what did she want to go Sabbath-school for 1 She 
didn't want to be " beholden " to anybody who hated her. 

Had she told McSnagley this ? 

Yes she had. 

The master laughed. It was a hearty laugh, and echoed 
so oddly in the little school-house, and seemed so inconsistent 
and discordant with the sighing of the pines without, that he 
shortly corrected himself with a sigh. The sigh was quite 
as sincere in its way, however, and after a moment of serious 
silence he asked her about her father. 



90 MLISS. 

Her father] What father? Whose father? What had 
he ever done for her? Why did the girls hate her? Come 
now! what made the .folks say, "Old Bummer Smith's 
Mliss ! " when she passed ? Yes ; O yes. She wished he was 
dead; she was dead, everybody was dead; and her sobs 
broke forth anew. 

The master, then leaning over her, told her as well as he 
could what you or I might have said after hearing such 
unnatural theories from childish lips ; only bearing in mind 
perhaps better than you or I the unnatural facts of her 
ragged dress, her bleeding feet, and the omnipresent shadow 
of her drunken father. Then, raising her to her feet, he 
wrapped his shawl around her, and, bidding her come early 
in the morning, he walked with her down the road. There 
he bade her "good night." The moon shone brightly on the 
narrow path before them. He stood and watched the bciit 
little figure as it staggered down the road, and waited until 
it had passed the little graveyard and reached the curve of 
the hill, where it turned and stood for a moment, a mere 
atom of suffering outlined against the far-off patient stars. 
Then he went back to his work. But the lines of the copy 
book thereafter faded into long parallels of never-ending 
road, over which childish figures seemed to pass sobbing and 
crying into the night. Then, the little school-house seeming 
lonelier than before, he shut the door and went home. 

The next morning Mliss came to school. Her face had 
been washed, and her coarse black hair bore evidence of 
recent struggles with the comb, in which both had evidently 
suffered. The old defiant look shone occasionally in her 
eyes, but her manner was tamer and more subdued. Then 
began a series of little trials and self-sacrifices, in which 
master and pupil bore an equal part, and which increased 
the confidence and sympathy between them. Although 
obedient under the master's eye, at times during the recess, 
if thwarted or stung by a fancied slight, Mliss wouM rage in 



MLISS. 9t 

ungovernable fury, and many a palpitating young savage, 
finding himself matched with his own weapons of torment, 
would seek the master with torn jacket and scratched face, 
and complaints of the dreadful Mliss. There was a serious 
division among the townspeople on the subject; some threat 
ening to withdraw their children from such evil companion 
ship, and others as warmly upholding the course of the 
master in his work of reclamation. Meanwhile, with a 
steady persistence that seemed quite astonishing to him on 
looking back afterward, the master drew Mliss gradually 
out of the shadow of her past life, as though it were but her 
natural progress down the narrow path on which he had set 
her feet the moonlit night of their first meeting. Remem 
bering the experience of the^evangelical McSnagley, he care- 
folly avoided that Rock of Ages on which that unskilful 
pilot had shipwrecked her young faith. But if, in the course 
of her reading, she chanced to stumble upon those few words 
which have lifted such as she above the level of the older, 
the wiser, and the more prudent, if she learned something 
of a faith that is symbolized by suffering, and the old light 
softened in her eyes, it did not take the shape of a lesson. 
A few of the plainer people had made up a little sum by 
which the ragged Mliss was enabled to assume the garments 
of respect and civilisation; and often a rough shake of the 
hand, and words of homely commendation from a red-shirted 
and burly figure, sent a glow to the cheek of the young 
master, and set him to thinking if it was altogether de 
served. 

Three months had passed from the time of their first meet 
ing, and the master was sitting late one evening over the 
moral and sententious copies, when there came a tap at the 
door, and again Mliss stood before him. She was neatly 
clad and clean-faced, and there was nothing, perhaps, but 
the long black hair and bright black eyes to remind him of 
bis former apparition. "Are you busy?" she asked; "can 



92 MLTSS. 

you come witli meT' And on his signifying his readiness, 
in her old wilful way she said, "Come, then, quick." 

They passed out of the door together, and into the dark 
road. As they entered the town the master asked her 
whither she was going. She replied, " To see my father." 

It was the first time he had heard her call him by that 
filial title, or indeed anything more than "Old Smith," or the 
" Old Man." It was the first time in three months that she 
had spoken of him at all, and the master knew she had kept 
resolutely aloof from him since her great change. Satisfied 
from her manner that it was fruitless to question her pur 
pose, he passively followed. In out-of-the-way places, low 
groggeries, restaurants, and saloons ; in gambling-hells and 
dance-houses, the master, preceded by Mliss, came and went. 
In the reeking smoke and blasphemous outcries of low dens, 
the child, holding the master's hand, stood and anxiously 
gazed, seemingly unconscious of all in the one absorbing 
nature of her pursuit. Some of the revellers, recognising 
Mliss, called to the child to sing and dance for them, and 
would have forced liquor upon her but for the interference 
of the master. Others, recognising him mutely, made way 
for them to pass. So an hour slipped by. Then the child 
whispered in his ear that there was a cabin on the other 
side of the creek, crossed by the long flume, where she 
thought he still might be. Thither they crossed, a toilsome 
half-hour's walk, but in vain. They were returning by the 
ditch at the abutment of the flume, gazing at the lights of 
the town on the opposite bank, when suddenly, sharply, a 
quick report rang out on the clear night air. The echoes 
caught it, and carried it round and round Bed Mountain, and 
set the dogs to barking all along the streams. Lights seemed 
to dance and move quickly on the outskirts of the town fol 
a few moments, the stream rippled quite audibly beside 
them, a few stones loosened themselves from the hillside, and 
Clashed into the stream, a heavy wind seemed to surge tho 



MUSS. 93 

branches of the funereal pines, and then the silence seemed 
to fall thicker, heavier, and deadlier. The master turned 
towards Mliss with ail unconscious gesture of protection, but 
the child had gone. Oppressed by a strange fear, he ran 
quickly down the trail to the river's bed, and, jumping from 
boulder to boulder, reached the base of Eed Mountain and 
the outskirts of the village. Midway of the crossing he 
ooked up and held his breath in awe. For high above him, 
011 the narrow flume, he saw the fluttering little figure of his 
late companion crossing swiftly in the darkness. 

He climbed the bank, and, guided by a few lights moving 
about a central point on the mountain, soon found himself 
breathless among a crowd of awe-stricken and sorrowful 
men. Out from among them the child appeared, and, taking 
the master's hand, led him silently before what seemed a 
ragged hole in the mountain. Her face was quite white, but 
her excited manner gone, and her look that of one to whom 
some long-expected event had at last happened, an expres 
sion that, to the master in his bewilderment, seemed almost 
like relief. The walls of the cavern were partly propped by 
decaying timbers. The child pointed to what appeared to be 
some ragged cast-off clothes left in the hole by the late occu 
pant. The master approached nearer with his flaming dip, 
and bent over them. It was Smith, already cold, with a 
pistol in his hand, and a bullet in his heart, lying beside his 
empty pocket. 

CHAPTER II. 

r ~PHE opinion which McSnagley expressed in reference to a 
" change of heart" supposed to be experienced by Mliss 
was more forcibly described in the gulches and tunnels. It was 
thought there that Mliss had "struck a good lead." So when 
there was a new grave added to the little enclosure, and at 
the expense of the master a little board and inscription put 



94 MLISS. 

above it, the Bed Mountain Banner came out quite hand 
somely, and did the fair thing to the memory of one of " our 
oldest Pioneers," alluding gracefully to that " bane of noble 
intellects," and otherwise genteelly shelving our dear brother 
with the past. " He leaves an only child to mourn his loss," 
says the Banner, " who is now an exemplary scholar, thanks 
to the efforts of the Eev. Mr. McSnagley." The Rev 
McSnagley, in fact, made a strong point of Mliss's conver 
sion, and, indirectly attributing to the unfortunate child the 
suicide of her father, made affecting allusions in Sunday- 
school to the beneficial effects of the " silent tomb," and in 
this cheerful contemplation drove most of the children into 
speechless horror, and caused the pink-and-white scions of the 
first families to howl dismally and refuse to be comforted. 

The long dry summer came. As each fierce day burned 
itself out in little whiffs of pearl-gray smoke on the mountain 
summits, and the upspringing breeze scattered its red embers 
over the landscape, the green wave which in early spring 
upheaved above Smith's grave grew sere, and dry, and hard. 
In those days the master, strolling in the little churchyard 
of a Sabbath afternoon, was sometimes surprised to find a 
few wild flowers plucked from the damp pine forest scattered 
there, and oftener rude wreaths hung upon the little pine 
cross. Most of these wreaths were formed of a sweet-scented 
grass, which the children loved to keep in their desks, inter 
twined with the plumes of the buckeye, the syringa, and the 
wood anemone ; and here and there the master noticed the 
dark blue cowl of the monk's-hood, or deadly aconite. There 
was something in the odd association of this noxious plant 
with these memorials which occasioned a painful sensation to 
the master deeper than his esthetic sense. One day, during 
a long walk, in crossing a wooded ridge, he came upon Mliss 
in the heart of the forest, perched upon a prostrate pine, on 
a fantastic throne formed by the hanging plumes of lifeless 
branches, her lap full of grasses and pine-burrs, and crooning 



MUSS. 95 

to herself one of the negro melodies of her younger life. 
Recognizing him at a distance, she made room for him on 
her elevated throne, and with a grave assumption of hospi 
tality and patronage that would have been ridiculous had it 
not been so terribly earnest, she fed him with pine nuts and 
crab-apples. The master took that opportunity to point out 
to her the noxious and deadly qualities of the monk's-hood, 
whose dark blossoms he saw in her lap, and extorted from 
her a promise not to meddle with it as long as she remained 
his pupil. This done, as the master had tested her integrity 
before, he rested satisfied, and the strange feeling which 
had overcome him on seeing them died away. 

Of the homes that were offered Mliss when her conversion 
became known, the master preferred that of Mrs. Morpher, 
a womanly and kind-hearted specimen of south-western 
efflorescence, known in her maidenhood as the " Per-rairie 
Rose." Being one of those who contend resolutely against 
their own natures, Mrs. Morpher, by a long series of self- 
sacrifices and struggles, had at last subjugated her naturally 
careless disposition to principles of " order," which she con 
sidered, in common with Mr. Pope, as " Heaven's first law." 
But she could not entirely govern the orbits of her satellites, 
however regular her own movements, and even her own 
"Jeemes" sometimes collided with her. Again her old 
nature asserted itself in her children. Lycurgus dipped into 
the cupboard "between meals," and Aristides came home 
from school without shoes, leaving those important articles 
on the threshold, for the delight of a bare-footed walk down 
the ditches. Octavia and Cassandra were "keerless" of their 
clothes. So with but one exception, however much the 
" Prairie Rose" might have trimmed and pruned and trained 
her own matured luxuriance, the little shoots came up de 
fiantly wild and straggling. That one exception was Clytem- 
nestra Morpher, aged fifteen. She was the realization of her 
mother's immaculate conception, neat, orderly, and dulL 



06 MUSS. 

It was an amiable weakness of Mrs. Mc-rpher to imagine 
that " Clytie " was a consolation and model for Mliss. 
Following this fallacy, Mrs. Morpher threw Clytie at the 
head of Mliss when she was " bad," and set her up before 
the child for adoration in her penitential moments. It was 
not, therefore, surprising to the master to hear that Clytie 
was coming to school, obviously as a favour to the master 
and as an example for Mliss and others. For " Clytie " was 
quite a young lady. Inheriting her mother's physical 
peculiarities, and in obedience to the climatic laws of the 
Red Mountain region, she was an early bloomer. The 
youth of " Smith's Pocket," to whom this kind of flower 
was rare, sighed for her in April and languished in May. 
Enamoured swains haunted the school-house at the hour of 
dismissal. A few were jealous of the master. 

Perhaps it was this latter circumstance that opened the 
master's eyes to another. He could not help noticing that 
Clytie was romantic ; that in school she required a great 
deal of attention ; that her pens were uniformly bad and 
wanted fixing ; that she usually accompanied the request 
with a certain expectation in her eye that was somewhat 
disproportionate to tHe quality of service she verbally re 
quired ; that she sometimes allowed the curves of a round, 
plump white arm to rest on his when he was writing her 
copies ; that she always blushed and flung back her blond 
curls when she did so. I don't remember whether I have 
stated that the master was a young man, it's of little con 
sequence, however ; he had been severely educated in the 
school in which Clytie was taking her first lesson, and, on 
the whole, withstood the flexible curves and factitious glance 
like the fine young Spartan that he was. Perhaps an in 
sufficient quality of food may have tended to this asceticism. 
He generally avoided Clytie ; but one evening when she 
returned to the school-house after something she had for 
gotten, and did not find it until the master walked homo 



MLISS. 97 

with her. I hear that he endeavoured to make himself 
particularly agreeable, partly from the fact, I imagine, that 
his conduct was adding gall and bitterness to the already 
overcharged hearts of Clytemnestra's admirers. 

The morning after this affecting episode Mliss did not 
come to school. Noon came, but not Mliss. Question 
ing Clytie on the subject, it appeared that they had left for 
school together, but the wilful Mliss had taken another road. 
The afternoon brought her not. In the evening he called on 
Mrs. Morpher, whose motherly heart was really alarmed. 
Mr. Morpher had spent all day in search of her, without 
discovering a trace that might lead to her discovery. 
Aristides was summoned as a probable accomplice, but 
that equitable infant succeeded in impressing the household 
with his innocence. Mrs. Morpher entertained a vivid im 
pression that the child would yet be found drowned in a 
ditch, or, what was almost as terrible, muddied and soiled 
beyond the redemption of soap and water. Sick at heart, 
the master returned to the school-house. As he lit his lamp 
and seated himself at his desk, he found a note lying before 
him addressed to himself, in Mliss's handwriting. It seemed 
to be written on a leaf torn from some old memorandum- 
book, and to prevent sacrilegious trifling, had been sealed 
with six broken wafers. Opening it almost tenderly, the 
master read as follows : 

RESPECTED SIR, When you read this, I am run away. 
Never to come back. Never, NEVER, NEYER. You can 
give my beeds to Mary Jennings, and my Amerika's Pride 
[a highly-coloured lithograph from a tobacco-box] to Sally 
Flanders. But don't you give anything to Clytie Morpher. 
Don't you dare to. Do you know what my opinion is of 
her, it is this, she is perfekly disgustin. That is all and no 
more at present from 

Yours respectfully, 

MELISSA S 



98 MLISS. 

The master sat pondering on this strange epistle till the 
moon lifted its bright face above the distant hills, and 
illuminated the trail that led to the school-house, beaten 
quite hard with the coming and going of little feet. Then, 
more satisfied in mind, he tore the missive into fragments 
and scattered them along the road. 

At sunrise the next morning he was picking his way- 
through the palm-like fern and thick underbrush of the 
pine-forest, starting the hare from its form, and awakening a 
querulous protest from a few dissipated crows, who had 
evidently been making a night of it, and so came to the 
wooded ridge where he had once found Mliss. There he 
found the prostrate pine and tasselled branches, but the 
throne was vacant. As he drew nearer, what might have 
been some frightened animal started through the crackling 
limbs. It ran up the tossed arms of the fallen monarch, 
and sheltered itself in some friendly foliage. The master, 
reaching the old seat, found the nest still warm ; looking 
up in the intertwining branches, he met the black eyes of 
the errant Mliss. They gazed at each other without 
speaking. She was the first to break the silence. 

" What do you want ] " she asked curtly. 

The master had decided on a course of action. " I want 
some crab-apples," he said, humbly. 

" Shan't have 'em ; go away. Why don't you get 'cm of 
Cly temnerestera 1 " (It seemed to be a relief to Mliss to 
express her contempt in additional syllables to that classical 
young woman's already long-drawn title.) " O you wicked 
thing!" 

"I am hungry, Lizzy. I have eaten noting since 
dinner yesterday. I am famished ! " and the young man, 
in a state of remarkable exhaustion, leaned against the 
<ree. 

Melissa's heart was touched. In the bitter days of hei 
gipsy life she had known the sensation he so artfully 



JlfL/SS. 99 

simulated. Overcome by his heart-broken tone, but not 
entirely divested of suspicion, she said, 

"Dig under the tree near .the roots, and you'll find lots ; 
but mind you don't tell," for Mliss had her hoards as well 
as the rats and squirrels. 

But the master, of course, was unable to find them ; the 
effects of hunger probably blinding his senses. Mliss grew 
uneasy. At length she peered at him through the leaves in 
an elfish way, and questioned, 

" If I come down and give you some, you'll promise you 
won't touch me ? " 

The master promised. 

" Hope you'll die if you do ! " 

The master accepted instant dissolution as a forfeit. 
Mliss slid down the tree. For a few moments nothing 
transpired but the munching of the pine-nuts. " Do you 
feel better?" she asked, with some solicitude. The master 
confessed to a recuperated feeling, and then, gravely thank 
ing her, proceeded to retrace his steps. As he expected, he 
had not gone far before she called him. He turned. She 
was standing there quite white, with tears in her widely- 
opened orbs. The master felt that the right moment had 
come. Going up to her, he took both her hands, and, look 
ing in her tearful eyes, said, gravely, " Lissy, do^ you 
remember the first evening you came to see me ?" 

Lissy remembered. 

" You asked me if you might come to school, for you 
wanted to learn something and be better, and I said " 

" Come," responded the child, promptly. 

" What would you say if the master now came to you 
and said that he was lonely without his little scholar, and 
that he wanted her to come and teach him to be better ?" 

The child hung her head for a few moments in silence. 
The master waited patiently. Tempted by the quiet, a 
hare ran close to the couple, and raising her bright eyes and 

H 2 



loo MLISS. 

velvet forepaws, sat and gazed at them. A squirrel ran 
half-way down the furrowed bark of the fallen tree, and 
There stopped. 

"We are waiting, Lissy," said the master, in a whisper, 
and the child smiled. Stirred by a passing breeze, the tree- 
tops rocked, and a long pencil of light stole through their 
interlaced boughs full on the doubting face and irresolute 
little figure. Suddenly she took the master's hand in her 
quick way. What she said was scarcely audible, but the 
master, putting the black hair back from her forehead, kissed 
her ; and so, hand in hand, they passed out of the damp 
aisles and forest odours into the open sunlit road. 



CHAPTER III. 

O OMEWHAT less spiteful in her intercourse with other 
scholars, Mliss still retained an offensive attitude in 
regard to Clytemnestra. Perhaps the jealous element was 
not entirely lulled in her passionate little breast. Perhaps it 
was only that the round curves and plump outline offered 
more extended pinching surface. But while such ebullitions 
were under the master's control, her enmity occasionally 
took a new and irrepressible form. 

The master in his first estimate of the child's character 
could not conceive that she had ever possessed a doll. But 
the master, like many other professed readers of character, 
was safer in & posteriori than ci priori reasoning. Mliss had 
a doll, but then it was emphatically Mliss's doll, a smaller 
copy of herself. Its unhappy existence had been a secret 
discovered accidentally by Mrs. Morpher. It had been the 
old-time companion of Mliss's wanderings, and bore evident 
marks of suffering. Its original complexion was long since 
washed away by the weather and anointed by the slime of 
ditches. It looked very much as Mliss had in days past. 



MLISS. 101 

Its one gown of faded stuff was dirty and ragged as hers had 
been. Mliss had never been known to apply to it any 
childish term of endearment She never exhibited it in the 
presence of other children. It was put severely to bed in a 
hollow tree near the school-house, and only allowed exercise 
during Mliss's rambles. Fulfilling a stern duty to her doll, 
as she would to herself, it knew no luxuries. 

Now Mrs. Morpher, obeying a commendable impulse, 
bought another doll and gave it to Mliss. The child received 
it gravely and curiously. The master, on looking at it one 
day, fancied he saw a slight resemblance in its round red 
cheeks and mild blue eyes to Clytemnestra. It became 
evident before long that Mliss had also noticed the same 
resemblance. Accordingly she hammered its waxen head 
on the rocks when she Avas alone, and sometimes dragged it 
with a string round its neck to and from school. At other 
times, setting it up on her desk, she made a pin-cushion of 
its patient and inoffensive body. Whether this was done in 
revenge of what she considered a second figurative obtrusion 
of Clytie's excellences upon her, or whether she had an 
intuitive appreciation of the rites of certain other heathens, 
and, indulging in that "Fetish," ceremony, imagined that 
the original of her wax model would pine away and finally 
die, is a metaphysical question I shall not now consider. 

In spite of these moral vagaries, the master could not help 
noticing in her different tasks the working of a quick, restless, 
and vigorous perception. She knew neither the hesitancy 
nor the doubts of childhood. Her answers in class were 
always slightly dashed with audacity. Of course she was 
not infallible. But her courage and daring in passing 
beyond her own depth and that of the floundering little 
swimmers around her, in their minds outw^ighed all errors 
of judgment. Children are not better than grown people in 
this respect, I fancy; and whenever the little red hand 
flashed above her desk, there was a wondering silence, and 



102 MLISS. 

even, the master was sometimes oppressed with a doubt of nls 
own experience and judgment. 

Nevertheless, certain attributes which at first amused and 
entertained his fancy began to afflict him with grave doubts. 
He could not but see that Mliss was revengeful, irreverent, 
and wilful. That there was but one better quality which 
pertained to her semi-savage disposition, the faculty of 
physical fortitude and self-sacrifice, and another, though not 
always an attribute of the noble savage, Truth. Mliss was 
both fearless and sincere ; perhaps in such a character the 
adjectives were synonymous. 

The master had been doing some hard thinking on this 
subject, and had arrived at that conclusion quite common to 
all who think sincerely, that he was generally the slave of 
his own prejudices, when he determined to call on the 
Rev. McSnagley for advice. This decision was somewhat 
humiliating to his pride, as he and McSnagley were not 
friends. But he thought of Mliss, and the evening of their 
first meeting ; and perhaps with a pardonable superstition 
that it was not chance alone that had guided her wilful 
feet to the school-house, and perhaps with a complacent 
consciousness of the rare magnanimity of the act, he choked 
back his dislike and went to McSnagley. 

The reverend gentleman was glad to see him. Moreover, 
he observed that the master was looking "peartish," and 
hoped he had got over the " neuralgy " and " rheumatiz." 
He himself had been troubled with a dumb "ager" since 
last conference. But he had learned to "rastle and pray." 

Pausing a moment to enable the master to write his 
certain method of curing the dumb " ager " upon the book 
and volume of his brain, Mr. McSnagley proceeded to inquire 
after Sister Morpher. " She is an adornment to Christianity, 
and has a likely growin' young family," added Mr. 
McSnagley ; "and there's that mannerly young gal, so 
well behaved, Miss Clyde." In fact, Clytie's perfections 



AfLISS. 103 

seemed to affect him to such an extent that he dwelt 
for several minutes upon them. The master was doubly 
embarrassed. In the first place, there was an enforced 
contrast with poor Mliss in all this praise of Olytie. 
Secondly, there was something unpleasantly confidential in 
his tone of speaking of Mrs. Morpher's earliest born. So 
that the master, after a few futile efforts to say something 
natural, found it convenient to recall another engagement, 
and left without asking the information required, but in his 
after reflections somewhat unjustly giving the Rev. Mr. 
McSnagley the full benefit of having refused it. 

Perhaps this rebuff placed the master and pupil once 
more in the close communion of old. The child seemed to 
notice the change in the master's manner, which had of late 
been constrained, and in one of their long post-prandial 
walks she stopped suddenly, and, mounting a stump, looked 
full in his face with big, searching eyes. " You ain't mad ? " 
said she, with an interrogative shake of the black braids. 
"No." "Nor bothered?" "No." "Nor hungry!" 
(Hunger was to Mliss a sickness that might attack a person 
at any moment.) " No." " Nor thinking of her ? " " Of 
whom, Lissy?" " That white girl." (This was the latest 
epithet invented by Mliss, who was a very dark brunette, to 
express Clyteninestra.) "No." " Upon your word V (A 
substitute for " Hope you'll die ! " proposed by the master.) 
" Yes." " And sacred honour ? " " Yes." Then Mliss gave 
him a fierce little kiss, and, hopping down, fluttered off. For 
two or three days after that she condescended to appear 
more like other children, and be, as she expressed it, 
"good." 

Two years had passed since the master's advent at Smith's 
Pocket, and as his salary was not large, and the prospects of 
Smith's Pocket eventually becoming the capital of the State 
not entirely definite, he contemplated a change. He had 
informed the school trustees privately of his intentions, 



io4 MLISS. 

educated young men of unblemished moral character being 
scarce at that time, he consented to continue his school .term 
through the winter to early spring. None else knew of his 
intention except his one friend, a Dr. Duchesne, a young 
Creole physician known to the people of Wingdam as 
" Duchesny." He never mentioned it to Mrs. Morpher, Clytie, 
or any of his scholars. His reticence was partly the result 
of a constitutional indisposition to fuss, partly a desire to 
be spared the questions and surmises of vulgar curiosity, and 
partly that he never really believed he was going to do 
anything before it was done. 

He did not like to think of Mliss. It was a selfish 
instinct, perhaps, which made him try to fancy his feeling 
for the child was foolish, romantic, and unpractical. He 
even tried to imagine that she would do better under the 
control of an older and sterner teacher. Then she was 
nearly eleven, and in a few years, by the rules of Red 
Mountain, would be a woman. He had done his duty. 
After Smith's death he addressed letters to Smith's relatives, 
and received one answer from a sister of Melissa's mother. 
Thanking the master, she stated her intention of leaving the 
Atlantic States for California with her husband in a few 
months. This was a slight superstructure for the airy castle 
which the master pictured for Mliss's house, but it was easy 
to fancy that some loving sympathetic woman, with the 
claims of kindred, might better guide her wayward nature. 
Yet, when the master had read the letter, Mliss listened to 
it carelessly, received it submissively, and afterwards cut 
figures out of it with her scissors, supposed to represent 
Clytemnestra, labelled " the white girl," to prevent mistakes, 
and impaled them upon the outer walls of the school-house. 

When the summer was about spent, and the last harvest 
had been gathered in the valleys, the master bethought him 
of gathering in a few ripened shoots of the young idea, and 
of having his Harvest-Home, or Examination. So the savana 



MUSS. 105 

and professionals of Smith's Pocket were gathered to witness 
that time-honoured custom of placing timid children in a 
constrained position, and bullying them as in a witness-box. 
As usual in such cases, the most audacious and self-possessed 
were the lucky recipients of the honours. The reader will 
imagine that in the present instance Mliss and Clytie were 
pre-eminent, and divided public attention j Mliss with her 
clearness of material perception and self-reliance, Clytie 
with her placid self-esteem and saint-like correctness of 
deportment. The other little ones were timid and blundering. 
Mliss's readiness and brilliancy, of course, captivated the 
greatest number and provoked the greatest applause. Mliss's 
antecedents had unconsciously awakened the strongest 
sympathies of a class whose athletic forms were ranged 
against the walls, or whose handsome bearded faces looked 
in at the windows. But Mliss's popularity was overthrown 
by an unexpected circumstance. 

McSnagley had invited himself, and had been going 
through the pleasing entertainment of frightening the more 
timid pupils by the vaguest and most ambiguous questions 
delivered in an impressive funereal tone; and Mliss had 
soared into Astronomy, and was tracking the course of our 
spotted ball through space, and keeping time with the 
music of the spheres, and denning the tethered orbits of the 
planets, when McSnagley impressively arose. " Meelissy ! 
ye were speaking of the revolutions of this yere yearth 
and the move-mewte of the sun, and I think ye said it had 
been a-doing of it since the creashun, eh ? " Mliss nodded 
a scornful affirmative. " Well, war that the truth ? " said 
McSnagley, folding his arms. " Yes," said Mliss, shutting up 
her little red lips tightly. The handsome outlines at the 
windows peered further in the school-room, and a saintly 
Raphael-face, with blond beard and soft blue eyes, belonging 
to the biggest scamp in the diggings, turned toward the 
child and whispered, " Stick to it Mliss ! " The reverend 



loo MLISS. 

gentleman heaved a deep sigh, and cast a compassionate 
glance at the master, then at the children, and then rested 
his look on Clytie. That young woman softly elevated her 
round, white arm. Its seductive curves were enhanced by 
a gorgeous and massive specimen bracelet, the gift of one of 
her humblest worshippers, worn in honour of the occasion. 
There was a momentary silence. Clytie's round cheeks were 
very pink and soft. Clytie's big eyes were very bright and 
blue. Olytie's low-necked white book-muslin rested softly 
on Clytie's white, plump shoulders. Clytie looked at 
the master, and the master nodded. Then Clytie spoke 
softly : 

" Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and it obeyed 
him ! " There was a low hum of applause in. the school 
room, a triumphant expression on McSnagley's face, a grave 
shadow on the master's, and a comical look of disappoint 
ment reflected from the windows. Mliss skimmed rapidly 
over her Astronomy, and then shut the book with a loud 
snap. A groan burst from McSnagley, an expression ot 
astonishment from the school-room, a yell from the windows, 
as Mliss brought her red fist down on the desk, with the 
emphatic declaration, 

It's a d n lie. I don't believe it ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 



r "PHE long wet season had drawn near its close. Signs of 
~*- spring were visible in the swelling buds and rushing 
torrents. The pine-forests exhaled the fresher spicery. The 
azaleas were already budding, the Ceanothus getting ready its 
lilac livery for spring. On the green upland which climbed 
Red Mountain at its southern aspect the long spike of the 
monk's-hood shot up from its broad-leaved stool, and onca 
more shook its dark-blue bells. Again the billow abovo 



MUSS. 107 

Smith's grave was soft and green, its crest just tossed with 
the foam of daisies and buttercups. The little graveyard 
had gathered a few new dwellers in the past year, and the 
mounds were placed two by two by the little paling uiitiJ 
they reached Smith's grave, and there there was but one. 
General superstition had shunned it, and the plot beside 
Smith was vacant. 

There had been several placards posted about the town, 
intimating that, at a certain period, a celebrated dramatic 
company would perform, for a few days, a series of " side 
splitting " and " screaming farces ; " that, alternating plea 
santly with this, there would be some melodrama and a 
grand divertisement, which would include singing, dancing, 
&c. These announcements occasioned a great fluttering 
among the little folk, and were the theme of much excite 
ment and great speculation among the master's scholars. 
The master had promised Mliss, to whom this sort of thing 
was sacred and rare, that she should go, and on that momen 
tous evening the master and Mliss " assisted." 

The performance was the prevalent style of heavy medio 
crity ; the melodrama was not bad enough to laugh at nor 
good enough to excite. But the master, turning wearily to 
the child, was astonished, and felt something like self-accu 
sation in noticing the peculiar effect upon her excitable 
nature. The red blood flushed in her cheeks at each stroke 
of her panting little heart. Her small passionate lips were 
slightly parted to give vent to her hurried breath. Her widely 
opened lids threw up and arched her black eyebrows. She 
did not laugh at the dismal comicalities of the funny man, 
for Mliss seldom laughed. Nor was she discreetly affected 
to the delicate extremes of the corner of a white hanclker 
chief, as was the tender-hearted " Clytie," who was talking 
with her "feller" and ogling the master at the same mo 
ment. But when the performance was over, and the green 
curtain fell on the little stage, Mliss drew a long deep 



io$ MLISS. 

breath, and turned to the master's grave face with a half- 
apologetic smile and wearied gesture. Then she said, 
"Now take me home ! " and dropped the lids of her 
black eyes, as if to dwell once more in fancy on the mimic 
stage. 

On their way to Mrs. Morpher's, the master thought 
proper to ridicule the whole performance. Now he shouldn't 
wonder if Mliss thought that the young lady who acted 
so beautifully was really in earnest, and in love with the 
gentleman who wore such fine clothes. Well, if she 
were in love with him, it was a very unfortunate thing ! 
" Why 1 " said Mliss, with an upward sweep of the drooping 
lid. " Oh ! well, he couldn't support his wife at his present 
salary, and pay so much a week for his fine clothes, and then 
they wouldn't receive as much wages if they were married 
as if they were merely lovers that is," added the master, 
" if they are not already married to somebody else ; but I 
think the husband of the pretty young countess takes the 
tickets at the door, or pulls up the curtain, or snuffs the 
candles, or does something equally refined and elegant. As 
to the young man with nice clothes, which are really nice 
now, and must cost at least two and a half or three dollars, 
not to speak of that mantle of red drugget which I happen 
to know the price of, for I bought some of it for my room 
once ; as to this young man, Lissy, he is a pretty good 
fellow, and if he does drink occasionally, I don't think people 
ought to take advantage of it and give him black eyes and 
throw him in the mud. Do you 1 I am sure he might owe 
me two dollars and a half a long time, before I would throw- 
it tip in his face, as the fellow did the other night at Wing- 
dam." 

Mliss had taken his hand in both of hers and was trying 
to look in his eyes, which the young man kept as resolutely 
averted. Mliss had a faint idea of irony, indulging herself 
sometimes in a species of sardonic humour, which was 



MLISS. 109 

equally visible in her actions and her speech. But the 
young man continued in this strain until they had reached 
Mrs. Morpher's, and he had deposited Mliss in her maternal 
charge. Waiving the invitation of Mrs. Morpher to refresh- 
men b and rest, and shading his eyes with his hand to keep 
out the blue-eyed Clytemnestra's siren glances, he excused 
himself, and went home. 

For two or three days after the advent of the dramatic 
company, Mliss was late at school, and the master's usual 
Friday afternoon ramble was for once omitted, owing to the 
absence of his trustworthy guide. As he was putting away 
his books and preparing to leave the school-house, a small 
voice piped at his side, " Please, sir 1 " The master turned, 
and there stood Aristides Morpher. 

""Well, my little man," said the master, impatiently, 
" what is it 1 quick ! " 

" Please, sir, me and ' Kerg ' thinks that Mliss is going to 
run away agin." 

"What's that, sir?" said the master, with that unjust 
testiness with which we always receive disagreeable news. 

" Why, sir, she don't stay home any more, and ' Kerg ' 
and me see her talking with one of those actor fellers, and 
she's with him now j and please, sir, yesterday she told 
* Kerg ' and me she could make a speech as well as Miss 
Cellerstina Montmoressy, and she spouted right off by heart," 
and the little fellow paused in a collapsed condition. 

u What actor 1 " asked the master. 

" Him as wears the shiny hat. And hair. And gold 
pin. And gold chain," said the just Aristides, putting 
periods for commas to eke out his breath. 

The master put on his gloves and hat, feeling an unplea 
sant tightness in his chest and thorax, and walked out in 
the road. Aristides trotted along by his side, endeavouring 
to keep pace with his short legs to the master's strides, 
when the master stopped suddenly, and Aristides bumped 



i io MLISS. 

up against him. "Where were they talking I 1 * asked the 
master, as if continuing the conversation. 

"At the Arcade," said Aristides. 

When they reached the main street the master paused. 
" Run down home," said he to the boy. " If Mliss is there, 
come to the Arcade and tell me. If she isn't there, stay 
home j run ! " And off trotted the short-legged Aris 
tides. 

The Arcade was just across the way a long rambling 
building, containing a bar-room, billiard-room, and restau 
rant. As the young man crossed the plaza he noticed that 
two or three of the passers-by turned and looked after him. 
He looked at his clothes, took out his handkerchief and 
wiped his face, before he entered the bar-room. It contained 
the usual number of loungers, who stared at him as he en 
tered. One of them looked at him so fixedly and with such 
a strange expression, that the master stopped and looked 
again, and then saw it was only his own reflection in a large 
mirror. This made the master think that perhaps he was 
a little excited, and so he took up a copy of the Red Moun 
tain Banner from one of the tables, and tried to recover his 
composure by reading the column of advertisements. 

He then walked through the bar-room, through the res 
taurant, and into the billiard -room. The child was not 
there. In the latter apartment a person was standing by 
one of the tables with a broad-brimmed glazed hat on his 
head. The master recognized him as the agent of the dra 
matic company ; he had taken a dislike to him at their first 
meeting, from the peculiar fashion of wearing his beard and 
hair. Satisfied that the object of his search was not there, 
he turned to the man with a glazed hat. He had noticed 
the master, but tried that common trick of unconsciousness, 
in which vulgar natures always fail. Balancing a billiard 
cue in his hand, he pretended to play with a ball in the 
centre of the table. The master stood opposite to him until 



MLISS. ill 

he raised his eyes ; when their glances met, the master 
walked up to him. 

He had intended to avoid a scene or quarrel, but when 
he began to speak, something kept rising in his throat and 
retarded his utterance, and his own voice frightened him, 
it sounded so distant, low, and resonant. *'I understand," 
he began, " that Melissa Smith, an orphan, and one of my 
scholars, has talked with you about adopting your profession. 
Is that so ?" 

The man with the glazed hat leaned over the table, and 
made an imaginary shot, that sent the ball spinning round 
the cushions. Then walking round the table he recovered 
the ball, and placed it upon the spot. This duty discharged, 
getting ready for another shot, he said, 

" S'pose she has 1 " 

The master choked up again, but, squeezing the cushion 
of the table in his gloved hand, he went on : 

" If you are a gentleman, I have only to tell you that I 
am her guardian, and responsible for her career. You know 
as well as I do the kind of life you offer her. As you may 
learn of any one here, I have already brought her out of an 
existence worse than death, out of the streets and the con 
tamination of vice. I am trying to do so again. Let us talk 
like men. She has neither father, mother, sister, or brother. 
Are you seeking to give her an equivalent for these ? " 

The man with the glazed hat examined the point of his 
cue, and then looked around for somebody to enjoy the joke 
with him. 

" I know that she is a strange, wilful girl," continued the 
master, "but she is better than she was. I believe that I 
have some influence over her still. I beg and hope, there 
fore, that you will take no further steps in this matter, 
but as a man, as a gentleman, leave her to me. I am 

Billing " But here something rose again in the master' a 

throat, and the sentence remained unfinished* 



112 MUSS. 

The man with the glazed hat, mistaking the master's 
silence, raised his head with a coarse, brutal laugh, and said 
in a loud voice, 

" Want her yourself, do you 1 That cock won't fight here, 
young man ! " 

The insult was more in the tone than the words, more in 
the glance than tone, and more in the man's instinctive 
nature than all these. The best appreciable rhetoric to this 
kind of animal is a blow. The master *felt this, and with 
his pent-up, nervous energy finding expression in the one 
act, he struck the brute fall in his grinning face. The blow 
sent the glazed hat one way and the cue another, and tore 
the glove and skin from the master's hand from knuckle to 
joint. It opened up the corners of the fellow's mouth, and 
spoilt the peculiar shape of his beard for some time to come. 

There was a shout, an imprecation, a scuffle, and the 
trampling of many feet. Then the crowd parted right and 
left, and two sharp quick reports followed each other in 
rapid succession. Then they closed again about his opponent, 
and the master was standing alone. He remembered picking 
bits of burning wadding from his coat-sleeve with his left 
hand. Some one was holding his other hand. Looking at it, 
he saw it was still bleeding from the blow, but his fingers 
were clenched around the handle of a glittering knife. He 
could not remember when or how he got it. 

The man who was holding his hand was Mr. Morpher. 
He hurried the master to the door, but the master held back, 
and tried to tell him as well as he could with his parched 
throat about " Mliss." " It's all right, my boy," said Mr. 
Morpher. "She's home ! " And they passed out into the street 
together. As they walked along Mr. Morpher said that 
Mliss had come running into the house a few moments before, 
and had dragged him out, saying that somebody was trying 
to kill the master at the Arcade. Wishing to be alone, the 
master promised Mr. Morpher that he would not seek the 



MLISS. 113 

Agent again that night, and parted from him, taking the 
road toward the school-house. He was surprised in nearing 
it to find the door open, still more surprised to find Mliss 
sitting there. 

The master's nature, as I have hinted before, had, like 
most sensitive organizations, a selfish basis. The brutal 
taunt thrown out by his late adversary still rankled in his 
heart. It was possible, he thought, that such a construc 
tion might be put upon his affection for the child, which at 
best was foolish and Quixotic. Besides, had she not volun 
tarily abnegated his authority and affection? And what 
had everybody else said about her 1 Why should he alone 
combat the opinion of all, and be at last obliged tacitly to 
confess the truth of all they had predicted ? And he had 
been a participant in a low bar-room fight with a common 
boor, and risked his life, to prove what ? What had he 
proved ? Nothing ! What would the people say 1 What 
would his friends say ? What would McSnagley say ? 

In his self-accusation the Ja?t person he should have 
wished to meet was Mliss. He entered the door, and, going 
up to his desk told the child, in a few cold words, that he 
was busy, and wished to be alone. As she rose he took her 
vacant seat, and, sitting down, buried his head in his hands. 
When he looked up again she was still standing there. She 
was looking at his face with an anxious expression. 

" Did you kill him ? " she asked. 

"No ! " said the master. 

" That's what I gave you the knife for ! " said the child, 
quickly. 

"Gave me the knife?" repeated the master, in bewilderment. 

" Yes, gave you the knife. I was there under the bar. 
Saw you hit him. Saw you both fall. He dropped his old 
knife. I gave it to you. Why didn't you stick him I " said 
Mliss, rapidly, with an expressive twinkle of the black eyes 
and a gesture of the little red hand. 

I 



114 MLTSS. 

The master could only look his astonishment. 

"Yes," said Mliss. "If you'd asked me, I'd told you I was 
off with the play-actors. Why was I off with the play 
actors ? Because you wouldn't tell me you was going away. 
I knew it. I heard you tell the Doctor so. I wasn't 
a-going to stay here alone with those Morpher's. I'd rather 
die first." 

With a dramatic gesture which was perfectly consistent 
with her character, she drew from her bosom a few limp 
green leaves, and, holding them out at arm's length, said in 
her quick vivid way, and in the queer pronunciation of her 
old life, which she fell into when unduly excited, 

" That's the poison plant you said would kill me. I'll go 
with the play-actors, or I'll eat this and die here. I don't 
care which. I won't stay here, where they hate and des 
pise me ! Neither would you let me, if you didn't hate and 
despise me too ! " 

The passionate lit tie breast heaved, and two big tears 
peeped over the edge of Mliss's eyelids, but she whisked 
them away with the corner of her apron as if they had been 
wasps. 

" If you lock me up in jail," said Mliss fiercely, "to keep 
me from the play-actors, I'll poison myself. Father killed 
himself, why shouldn't I ? You said a mouthful of that 
root would kill nie, and I always carry it here," and she 
struck her breast with her clenched fist. 

The master thought of the vacant plot beside Smith's 
gr9e, and of the passionate little figure before him. Seizing 
her hands in his and looking full into her truthful eyes, 
he said, 

" Lissy, will you go with me ? " 

The child put her arms around his neck, and said, joyfully, 
fces." 

* 'But now to-night 1 * 

"To-night." 



THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 115 

And, hand in hand, they passed into ^he road, the 
narrow road that had once brought her weary feet to the 
master's door, and which it seemed she should not tread 
again alone. The stars glittered brightly above them. For 
good or ill the lesson had been learned, and behind them the 
school of Red Mountain closed upon them for ever. 



THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 

npHE year of grace 1797 passed away on the coast of 
California in a south-westerly gale. The little bay 
of San Carlos, albeit sheltered by the headlands of the 
blessed Trinity, was rough and turbulent ; its foam clung 
quivering to the seaward wall of the Mission garden ; the 
air was filled with flying sand and spume, and as the Senor 
Comandante, Hermenegildo Salvatierra, looked from the 
deep embrasured window of the Presidio guard room, he 
felt the salt breath of the distant sea buffet a colour into 
his smoke-dried cheeks. 

The Commander, I have said, was gazing thoughtfully 
from the window of the guard-room. He may have been 
reviewing the events of the year now about to pass away. 
But, like the garrison at the Presidio, there was little to re 
view j the year, like its predecessors, had been uneventful, 
the days had slipped by in a delicious monotony of simple 
duties, unbroken by incident or interruption. The regularly 
recurring feasts and saints' days, the half-yearly courier from 
San Diego, the rare transport-ship and rarer foreign vessel, 
were the mere details of his patriarchal life. If there was 
no achievement, there was certainly no failure. Abundant 
harvests and patient industry amply supplied the wants of 
Presidio and Mission. Isolated from the family of nations, 
the wars which shook the world concerned them not so much 

I 2 



Ii6 THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER 

as tlie latest earthquake ; the struggle that emancipated 
their sister colonies on the other side of the continent to 
them had no suggestiveness. In short, it was that glorious 
Indian summer of California history, around which so much 
poetical haze still lingers, that bland, indolent autumn of 
Spanish rule, so soon to be followed by the wintry storms of 
Mexican independence and the reviving spring of American 
conquest. 

The Commander turned from the window and walked 
toward the fire that burned brightly on the deep oven-like 
hearth. A pile of copy-books, the work of the Presidio 
school, lay on the table. As he turned over the leaves with 
a paternal interest, and surveyed the fair round Scripture- 
text, the first pious pot-hooks of the pupils of San Carlos, 
an audible commentary fell from his lips : " ' Abimelech 
took her from Abraham ' ah, little one, excellent ! ' Jacob 
sent to see his brother ' body of Christ ! that up-stroke of 
thine, Paquita, is marvellous ; the Governor shall see it ! " 
A film of honest pride dimmed the Commander's left eye, 
the right, alas ! twenty years before had been sealed by an 
Indian arrow. He rubbed it softly with the sleeve of his 
leather jacket, and continued : " * The Ishmaelites having 
arrived '" 

He stopped, for there was a step in the court-yard, a foot 
upon the threshold, and a stranger entered. With the 
instinct of an old soldier, the Commander, after one glance 
at the intruder, turned quickly toward the wall, where his 
trusty Toledo hung, or should have been hanging. But it 
was not there, and as he recalled the last time he had seen 
that weapon it was being ridden up and down the gallery by 
Pepito, the infant son of Bautista, the tortilio-maker, he 
blushed and then contented himself with frowning upon the 
intruder. 

But the stranger's air, though irreverent, was decidedly 
peaceful. He was unarmed, and wore the ordinary cape of 



THE RIGHT EYE ?F THE COMMANDER. 117 

tarpaulin and sea-boots of a mariner. Except a villanous 
smell of codfish, there was little about him that was pe 
culiar. 

His name, as he informed the Commander, in Spanish 
that was more fluent than elegant or precise, his name was 
Pcleg Scudder. He was master of the schooner General 
Court, of the port of Salem, in Massachusetts, on a trading 
voyage to the South Seas, but now driven by stress of 
weather into the bay of San Carlos. He begged permission 
to ride out the gale under the headlands of the blessed 
Trinity, and no more. Water he did not need, having taken 
in a supply at Bodega. He knew the strict surveillance of 
the Spanish port regulations in regard to foreign vessels, and 
would do nothing against the severe discipline and good 
order of the settlement. There was a slight tinge of sar 
casm in his tone as he glanced toward the desolate parade- 
ground of the Presidio and the open unguarded gate. The 
fact was that the sentry, Felipe Gomez, had discreetly retired 
to shelter at the beginning of the storm, and was then sound 
asleep in the corridor. 

The Commander hesitated. The port regulations were 
severe, but he was accustomed to exercise individual au 
thority, and beyond an old order issued ten years before, 
regarding the American ship Columbia, there was no prece 
dent to guide him. The storm was severe, and a sentiment 
of humanity urged him to grant the stranger's request. It 
is but just to the Commander to say, that his inabilily to en 
force a refusal did not weigh with his decision. He would 
have denied with equal disregard of consequences that right 
to a seventy-four gun ship which he now yielded so grace 
fully to this Yankee trading schooner. He stipulated only, 
that there should be no communication between the ship and 
shore. " For yourself, Seiior Captain," he continued, "accept 
my hospitality. The fort is yours as long as you shall 
grace it with your distinguished presence ; " and with old- 



:i8 THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 

fashioned courtesy, lie made the semblance of withdrawing 
from the guard-room. 

Master Peleg Scudder smiled as he thought of the half- 
dismantled fort, the two mouldy brass cannon, cast in Manila 
a century previous, and the shiftless garrison. A wild 
thought of accepting the Commander's offer literally, con 
ceived in the reckless spirit of a man who never let slip an 
offer for trade, for a moment filled his brain, but a timely 
reflection of the commercial unimportance of the transaction 
checked him. He only took a capacious quid of tobacco, as 
the Commander gravely drew a settle before the fire, and in 
honour of his guest untied the black silk handkerchief that 
bound his grizzled brows. 

What passed between Salvatierra and his guest that night 
it becomes me not, as a grave chronicler of the salient points 
of history, to relate. I have said that Master Peleg Scudder 
was a flueut talker, and under the influence of divers strong 
waters, furnished by his host, he became still more loqua 
cious. And think of a man with a twenty years' budget of 
gossip ! The Commander learned, for the first time, how 
Great Britain lost her colonies ; of the French Revolution; 
of the great Napoleon, whose achievements, perhaps, Peleg 
coloured more highly than the Commander's superiors would 
have liked. And when Peleg turned questioner, the Com 
mander was at his mercy. He gradually made himself 
master of the gossip of the Mission and Presidio, the 
"small-beer" chronicles of the pastoral age, the conversion 
of the heathen, the Presidio schools, and even asked the 
Commander how he had lost his eye ! It is said that at 
this point of the conversation Master Peleg produced from 
about his person divers small trinkets, kick-shaws and new 
fangled trifles, and even forced some of them upon his 
host. It is further alleged that under the malign influence 
of Peleg and several glasses of aguardiente, the Com 
mander lost somewhat of his decorum, and behaved in a 



THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 119 

manner unseemly for one in his position, reciting high-flown 
Spanish poetry, and even piping in a thin, high voice, divers 
madrigals and heathen canzonets of an amorous complexion ; 
chiefly in regard to a " little one " who was his, the Com 
mander's, " soul ! " These allegations, perhaps unworthy 
the notice of a serious chronicler, should be received with 
great caution, and are introduced here as simple hearsay. 
That the Commander, however, took a handkerchief, and 
attempted to show his guest the mysteries of the sembi 
cuacua, capering in an agile but indecorous manner about 
the apartment, has been denied. Enough for the puposes of 
this narrative, that at midnight Peleg assisted his host to 
bed with many protestations of undying friendship, and 
then, as the gale had abated, took his leave of the Presidio 
and hurried aboard the General Court. When the day broke 
the ship was gone. 

I know not if Peleg kept his word with his host. It is 
said that the holy fathers at the Mission that night heard 
a loud chanting in the plaza, as of the heathens singing 
psalms through their noses j that for many days after an 
odour of salt codfish prevailed in the settlement; that a 
dozen hard nutmegs, which were unfit for spice or seed, 
were found in the possession of the wife of the baker, and 
that several bushels of shoe-pegs, which bore a pleasing 
resemblance to oats, but were quite inadequate to the pur 
poses of provender, were discovered in the stable of the 
blacksmith. But when the reader reflects upon the sacred- 
ness of a Yankee trader's word, the stringent discipline of 
the Spanish port regulations, and the proverbial indispo 
sition of my countrymen to impose upon the confidence of 
a simple people, he will at once rejeci this part of the 
ttory. 

A roll of drums, ushering in the year 1798, awoke the 
Commander. The sun was shining brightly, and the storm 



120 THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 

had ceased. He sat up in bed, and through the force of 
habit rubbed his left eye. As the remembrance of tho 
previous night came back to him, he jumped from his couch 
and ran to the window. There was no ship in the bay. A 
sudden thought seemed to strike him, and he rubbed both of 
his eyes. Not content with this, he consulted the metallic 
mirror which hung beside his crucifix. There was no 
mistake ; the Commander had a visible second eye, a 
right one, as good, save for the purposes of vision, as the 
left. 

Whatever might have been the true secret of this trans 
formation, but one opinion prevailed at San Carlos. It was 
one of those rare miracles vouchsafed a pious Catholic com 
munity as an evidence to the heathen, through the inter 
cession of the blessed San Carlos himself. That their 
beloved Commander, the temporal defender of the Faith, 
should be the recipient of this miraculous manifestation was 
most fit and seemly. The Commander himself was reticent ; 
he could not tell a falsehold, he dared not tell the truth. 
After all, if the good folk of San Carlos believed that the 
powers of his right eye were actually restored, was it wise 
and discreet for him to undeceive them? For the first 
time in his life the Commander thought of policy, for the 
first time he quoted that text which has been the lure of so 
many well-meaning but easy Christians, of being " all things 
to all men." Infelix Hermenegildo Salvatierra ! 

For by degrees an ominous whisper crept through the 
little settlement. The Right Eye of the Commander, al 
though miraculous, seemed to exercise a baleful effect upon 
the beholder. No one could look at it without winking. It 
was cold, hard, relentless, and unflinching. More than that, 
it seemed to be endowed with a dreadful prescience, a 
faculty of seeing through and into the inarticulate thoughts 
of those it looked upon. The soldiers of the garrison obeyed 
the eye rather than the voice of their commander ; and 



THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 121 

answered his glance rather than his lips in questioning. The 
servants could not evade the ever watchful but cold atten 
tion that seemed to pursue them. The children of the 
Presidio School smirched their copy-books under the awful 
supervision, and poor Paquita, the prize pupil, failed utterly 
in that marvellous up-stroke when her patron stood beside 
her. Gradually distrust, suspicion, self -accusation, and 
timidity took the place of trust, confidence, and security 
throughout San Carlos. Wherever the Eight Eye of the 
Commander fell, a shadow fell with it. 

Nor was Salvatierra entirely free from the baleful in 
fluence of his miraculous acquisition. Unconscious of its 
effect upon others, he only saw in their actions evidence of 
certain things that the crafty Peleg had hinted on that 
eventful New Year's eve. His most trusty retainers 
stammered, blushed, and faltered before him. Self-accusa 
tions, confessions of minor faults and delinquencies, or 
extravagant excuses and apologies met his mildest inquiries. 
The very children that he loved his pet pupil, Paquita 
seemed to be conscious of some hidden sin. The result of 
this constant irritation showed itself more plainly. For the 
first half-year the Commander's voice and eye were at 
variance. He was still kind, tender, and thoughtful in 
speech. Gradually, however, his voice took upon itself the 
hardness of his glance and its sceptical impassive quality, 
and as the year again neared its close, it was plain that the 
Commander had fitted himself to the eye, and not the eye 
to the Commander. 

It may be surmised that these changes did not escape the 
watchful solicitude of the Fathers. Indeed, the few who 
were first to ascribe the right eye of Salvatierra to mira 
culous origin, and the special grace of the blessed San Carlos, 
now talked openly of witchcraft and the agency of Luzbel, 
the evil one. It would have fared ill with Hermeiiegildo 
Salvatierra had he been aught but Commander or amenable 



122 THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 

to local authority. But the reverend father, Friar Manuel 
de Cortes, had no power over the political executive, and all 
attempts at spiritual advice failed signally. He retired 
baffled and confused from his first interview with the 
Commander, who seemed now to take a grim satisfaction in 
the fateful power of his glance. The holy father contra 
dicted himself, exposed the fallacies of his own arguments, 
and even, it is asserted, committed himself to several un 
doubted heresies. When the Commander stood up at mass, 
if the officiating priest caught that sceptical and searching 
eye, the service was inevitably ruined. Even the power of 
the Holy Church seemed to be lost, and the last hold iipon 
the affections of the people and the good order of the settle 
ment departed from San Carlos. 

As the long dry summer passed, the low hills that sur 
rounded the white walls of the Presidio grew more and more 
to resemble in hue the leathern jacket of the Commander, 
and Nature herself seemed to have borrowed his dry, hard 
glare. The earth was cracked and seamed with drought ; a 
blight had fallen upon the orchards and vineyards, and the 
rain, long delayed and ardently prayed for, came not. The 
sky was as tearless as the right eye of the Commander. 
Murmurs of discontent, insubordination, and plotting among 
the Indians reached his ears ; he only set his teeth the more 
firmly, tightened the knot of his black silk handkerchief, 
and looked up his Toledo. 

The last day of the year 1798 found the Commander 
sitting, at the hour of evening prayers, alone in the guard 
room. He no longer attended the services of the Holy 
Church, but crept away at such times to some solitary spot, 
where he spent the interval in silent meditation. The fire 
light played upon the low beams and rafters, but left the 
i-owed figure of Salvatierra in darkness. Sitting thus, ho 
felt a small hand touch his arm, and, looking down, saw the 
figure of Paojiita, his little Indian pupil, at his knee. " Ah, 



THE RIGHT EYE OF THE COMMANDER. 123 

littlest of all," said the Commander, with something of his 
old tenderness, lingering over the endearing diminutives of 
his native speech, " sweet one, whatdoest thou here ? Art 
thou not afraid of him whom every one shuns and fears ? " 

" No," said the little Indian, readily, " not in the dark. I 
hear your voice, the old voice ; I feel your touch, the old 
touch ; but I see not your eye, Senor Commandaiite. That 
only I fear, and that, Senor, O my father," said the 
child, lifting her little arms towards his, " that I know is not 
thine OWTI ! " 

The Commander shuddered and turned away. Then, re 
covering himself, he kissed Paquita gravely on the forehead 
and bade her retire. A few hours later, when silence had 
fallen upon the Presidio, he sought his own couch and slept 
peacefully. 

At about the middle watch of the night a dusky figure 
crept through the low embrasure of the Commander's apart 
ment. Other figures were flitting through the parade-ground, 
which the Commander might have seen had he not slept 
so quietly. The intruder stepped noiselessly to the couch 
and listened to the sleeper's deep-drawn inspiration. Some 
thing glittered in the firelight as the savage lifted his arm ; 
another moment and the sore perplexities of Hermenegildo 
Salvatierra would have been over, when suddenly the savage 
started, and fell back in a paroxysm of terror. The Com 
mander slept peacefully, but his right eye, widely opened, 
fixed and unaltered, glared coldly on the would-be assassin. 
The man fell to the earth in a fit, and the noise awoke the 
sleeper. 

To rise to his feet, grasp his sword, and deal blows thick 
and fast upon the mutinous savages who now thronged the 
room, was the work of a moment. Help opportunely 
arrived, and the undisciplined Indians were speedily driven 
beyond the walls, but in the scuffle the Commander received 
t. blow upon his right eye, and, lifting his hand to that mys- 



[24 NOTES BY FLOO& AND FIELD. 

terious organ, it was gone. Never again was it found, and 
never again, for bale or bliss, did it adorn the right orbit of 
the Commander. 

With it passed away the spell that had fallen upon San 
Carlos. The rain returned to invigorate the languid soil, 
harmony was restored between priest and soldier, the green 
grass presently waved over the sere hillsides, the children 
flocked again to the side of their martial preceptor, a Te 
Deum was sung in the Mission Church, and pastoral con 
tent once more smiled upon the gentle valleys of San Carlos. 
And far southward crept the General Court with its master, 
Peleg Scudder, trafficking in beads and peltries with the 
Indians, and offering glass eyes, wooden legs, and other 
Boston notions to the chiefs. 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 
PART I. IN THE FIELD. 

T T was near the close of an October day that I began to be 
disagreeably conscious of the Sacramento Valley. I 
had been riding since sunrise, and my course, through the 
depressing monotony of the long level landscape, affected 
me more like a dull dyspeptic dream than a business journey, 
performed under that sincerest of natural phenomena, a 
California sky. The recurring stretches of brown and baked 
fields, the gaping fissures in the dusty trail, the hard outline 
of the distant hills, and the herds of slowly moving cattle, 
seemed like features of some glittering stereoscopic picture 
that never changed. Active exercise might have removed 
this feeling, but my horse by some subtle instinct had long 
since given up all ambitious effort, and had lapsed into a 
dogged trot. 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 125 

It was autumn, but not the season suggested to the At 
lantic reader under that title. The sharply denned bounda 
ries of the wet and dry seasons were prefigured in the clear 
outlines of the distant hills. In the dry atmosphere the 
decay of vegetation was too rapid for the slow hectic which 
overtakes an Eastern landscape, or else Nature was too 
practical for such thin disguises. She merely turned the 
Hippocratic face to the spectator, with the old diagnosis of 
Death in her sharp, contracted features. 

In the contemplation of such a prospect there was little 
to excite any but a morbid fancy. There were no clouds in 
the flinty blue heavens, and the setting of the sun was 
accompanied with as little ostentation as was consistent with 
the dryly practical atmosphere. Darkness soon followed, 
with a rising wind, which increased as the shadows deepened 
on the plain. The fringe of alder by the watercourse began 
to loom up as I urged my horse forward. A half-hour's 
active spurring brought me to a corral, and a little beyond a 
house, so low and broad it seemed at first sight to be half 
buried in the earth. 

My second impression was that it had grown out of the 
soil, like some monstrous vegetable, its dreary proportions 
were so in keeping with the vast prospect. There were no 
recesses along its roughly boarded walls for vagrant and un 
profitable shadows to lurk in the daily sunshine. No pro 
jection for the wind by night to grow musical over, to wail, 
whistle, or whisper to ; only a long wooden shelf containing 
a chilly looking tin basin, and a bar of soap. Its uncur 
tained windows were red with the sinking sun, as though 
bloodshot and inflamed from a too long unlidded existence. 
The tracks of cattle led to its front door, firmly closed 
against the rattling wind. 

To avoid being confounded with this familiar element, I 
walked to the rear of the house, which was connected with 
a smaller building by a slight platform. A grizzled, hard- 



126 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

faced old man was standing there, and met my salutation 
with a look of inquiry, and without speaking, led the way to 
the principal room. As I entered, four young men, who 
were reclining by the fire, slightly altered their attitudes of 
perfect repose, but beyond that bet rayed neither curiosity nor 
interest. A hound started from a dark corner with a growl, 
but was immediately kicked by the old man into obscurity, 
and silenced again. I can't tell why, but I instantly re 
ceived the impression that for a long time the group by the 
fire had not uttered a word or moved a muscle. Taking a 
seat, I briefly stated my business. 

Was a United States surveyor. Had come on account of 
the Espiritu Santo Rancho. Wanted to correct the exterior 
boundaries of township lines, so as to connect with the near 
exteriors of private grants. There had been some inter 
vention to the old survey by a Mr. Tryan who had pre 
empted adjacent " settled land warrants," interrupted the 
old man. " Ah, yes ! Land Warrants, and then this was 
Mr. Tryan?" 

I had spoken mechanically, for I was preoccupied in con 
necting other public lines with private surveys, as I looked 
in his face. It was certainly a hard face, and reminded me 
of the singular effect of that mining operation known as 
" ground sluicing j " the harder lines of underlying character 
were exposed, and what were once plastic curves and soft 
outlines were obliterated by some powerful agency. 

There was a dryness in his voice not unlike the prevailing 
atmosphere of the valley, as he launched into an ex parte 
statement of the contest, with a fluency, which, like the wind 
without, showed frequent and unrestrained expression. He 
told me what I had already learned that the boundary 
line of the old Spanish grant was a creek, described in the 
loose phraseology of the deseno as beginning in the valda or 
skirt of the hill, its precise location long the subject of liti 
gation. I listened and answered with little interest, for mv 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 127 

mind was still distracted by the wind which swept violently 
by the house, as well as by his odd face, which was again 
reflected in the resemblance that the silent group by the fira 
bore toward him. He was still talking, and the wind was 
yet blowing, when my confused attention was aroused by a 
remark addressed to the recumbent figures. 

" Now, then, which on ye'll see the stranger up the creek 
to Altascar's, to-morrow ! " 

There was a general movement of opposition in the group, 
but no decided answer. 

" Kin you go, Kerg ? " 

" Who's to look up stock in Strarberry per-ar-ie ? " 

This seemed to imply a negative, and the old man turned 
to another hopeful, who was pulling the fur from a mangy 
bear-skin on which he was lying, with an expression as 
though it were somebody's hair. 

" Well, Tom, wot's to hinder you from goin' ? " 

" Mam's goin' to Brown's store at sun-up, and I s'pose 
I've got to pack her and the baby agin." 

I think the expression of scorn this unfortunate youth 
exhibited for the filial duty into which he had been evi 
dently beguiled, was one of the finest things I had ever seen. 

"Wise?" 

Wise deigned no verbal reply, but figuratively thrust 
a worn and patched boot into the discourse. The old man 
flushed quickly. 

" I told you to get Brown to give you a pair the last time 
you war down the river." 

" Said he wouldn't without'en order. Said it was like 
pulling gum-teeth to get the money from you even then.' 

There was a grim smile at this local hit at the old man's 
parsimony, and Wise, who was clearly the privileged wit of 
the family, sank back in honourable retirement. 

"Well, Joe, ef your boots are new, and you aren't 
pestered with wimmin and children, p'r'aps you'll go," said 



128 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

Tryan, with a nervous twitching, intended for a smile, about 
a mouth not remarkably mirthful. 

Joe lifted a pair of bushy eyebrows, and said shortly, 

Got no saddle." 

" Wot's gone of your saddle ? " 

" Kerg, there," indicating his brother with a look such 
as Cain might have worn at the sacrifice. 

" You lie," returned Kerg, cheerfully. 

Tryan sprang to his feet, seizing the chair, flourishing it 
around his head and gazing furiously in the hard young 
faces which fearlessly met his own. But it was only for a 
moment ; his arm soon dropped by his side, and a look of 
hopeless fatality crossed his face. He allowed me to take 
the chair from his hand, and I was trying to pacify him by 
the assurance that I required no guide, when the irre 
pressible Wise again lifted his voice : 

" There's George coinin' ? why don't ye ask him ? He'll 
go and introduce you to Don Fernandy's darter, too, ef you 
ain't partickler." 

The laugh which followed this joke, which evidently had 
some domestic allusion (the general tendency of rural 
pleasantry), was followed by a light step on the platform, 
and the young man entered. Seing a stranger present, he 
stopped and coloured ; made a shy salute and coloured again, 
and then, drawing a box from the corner, sat down, his 
hands clasped lightly together and his very handsome bright 
blue eyes turned frankly on mine. 

Perhaps I was in a condition to receive the romantic im 
pression he made upon me, and I took it upon myself to ask 
his company as guide, and he cheerfully assented. But some 
domestic duty called him presently away. 

The fire gleamed brightly on the hearth, and no longer 
resisting the prevailing influence, I silently watched the 
spirting flame, listening to the wind which continually shook 
the tenement. Besides the one chair which had acquired a 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 129 

new importance in my eyes, I presently discovered a crazy 
table in one corner, with an ink-bottle and pen ; the latter 
in that greasy state of decomposition peculiar to country 
taverns and farm-houses. A goodly array of rifles and 
double barrelled guns stocked the corner ; half a dozen 
saddles and blankets lay near, with a mild flavour of the 
horse about them. Some deer and bear skins completed the 
inventory. As I sat there, with the silent group around 
me, the shadowy gloom within and the dominant wind with 
out, I found it dinicult to believe I had ever known a different 
existence. My profession had often led me to wilder scenes, 
but rarely among those whose unrestrained habits and easy 
unconsciousness made me feel so lonely and uncomfortable. 
I shrank closer to myself, not without grave doubts which 
I think occur naturally to people in like situations that 
this was the general rule of humanity, and I was a solitary 
and somewhat gratuitous exception. 

It was a relief when a laconic announcement of supper by 
a weak-eyed girl caused a general movement in the family. 
We walked across the dark platform, which led to another 
low-ceiled room. Its entire length was occupied by a table, 
at the farther end of which a weak-eyed woman was already 
taking her repast, as she, at the same time, gave nourishment 
to a weak-eyed baby. As the formalities of introduction 
had been dispensed with, and as she took no notice of me, 
I was enabled to slip into a seat without discomposing or 
interrupting her. Tryan extemporized a grace, and the 
attention of the family became absorbed in bacon, potatoes, 
and dried apples. 

The meal was a sincere one. Gentle gurglings at the 
upper end of the table o^en betrayed the presence of the 
" well-spring of pleasure." The conversation generally re 
ferred to the labours of the day, and comparing notes as to 
the whereabouts of missing stock. Yet the supper was such 
a vast improvement upon the previous intellectual feast, 



ijo NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

when a chance allusion of mine to the business of my vi&it 
brought out the elder Tryan, the interest grew quite exciting. 
I remember he inveighed bitterly against the system of ranch- 
holding by the " greasers," as he was pleased to term the 
native Californians. As the same ideas have been sometimes 
advanced under more pretentious circumstances, they may 
be worthy of record. 

" Look at 'em holdin' the finest grazin' land that ever lay 
outer doors ? Whar's the papers for it 1 "Was it grants ? 
Mighty fine grants, most of 'em made arter the 'Merrikans 
got possession. More fools the 'Merrikans for lettin' 'em 
hold 'em. Wot paid for 'em ? 'Merrikan blood and money. 

" Didn't they oughter have suthin out of their native 
country ? Wot for ? Did they ever improve 1 Got a lot 
of yaller-skinned diggers, not so sensible as niggers to look 
arter stock, and they a-sittin' home and smokin'. With 
their gold and silver candlesticks, and missions, and cruci- 
fixens, priests and gra.ven idols, and sich ? Them sort things 
wurent allowed in Mizzoori." 

At the mention of improvements, I involuntarily lifted 
my eyes, and met the half-laughing, half-embarrassed look of 
George. The act did not escape detection, aud I had at 
once the satisfaction of seeing that the rest of the family 
had formed an offensive alliance against us. 

"It was agin JSTater, and agin God," added Tryan. "God 
never intended gold in the rocks to be made into heathen 
candlesticks and crucifixens. That's why he sent 'Merrikans 
here. JSTater never intended such a climate for lazy lopers. 
She never gin six months' sunshine to be slept and smoked 
away." 

How long he continued, and with what further illustration, 
I could not say, for I took an early opportunity to escape to 
the sitting-room. I was soon followed by George, who called 
me to an open door leading to a smaller room, and pointed 
to a V 



A T QTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 131 

"You'd better sleep there to-night," lie said; "you'll be 
more comfortable, and I'll call you early. 

I thanked him, and would have asked him several questions 
which were then troubling me, but he shily slipped to the 
door and vanished. 

A shadow seemed to fall on the room when he had gone. 
The " boys " returned, one by one, and shuffled to their old 
places. A larger log was thrown on the fire, and the huge 
chimney glowed like a furnace, but it did not seem to melt 
or subdue a single line of the hard faces that it lit. In half 
an hour later, the furs which had served as chairs by day 
undertook the nightly office of mattresses, and each received 
its owner's full-length figure. Mr. Tryan had not returned, 
and I missed George. I sat there until, wakeful and 
nervous, I saw the fire fall and shadows mount the wall. 
There was no sound but the rushing of the wind and tho 
snoring of the sleepers. At last, feeling the place Insup 
portable, I seized my hat and, opening the door, ran out 
briskly into the night. 

The acceleration of my torpid pulse in the keen fight 
with the wind, whose violence was almost equal to that of a 
tornado, and the familiar faces of the bright stars above me, 
I felt as a blessed relief. I ran not knowing whither, and 
when I halted, the square outline of the house was lost in 
the alder-bushes. An uninterrupted plain stretched before 
me, like a vast sea beaten flat by the force of the gale. As 
I kept on I noticed a slight elevation toward the horizon, 
and presently my progress was impeded by the ascent of an 
Indian mound. It struck me forcibly as resembling an 
island in the sea. Its height gave me a better view of the 
expanding plain. But even here I found no rest. The 
ridiculous interpretation Tryaii had given the climate was 
somehow sung in my ears, and echoed in my throbbing 
pulse, as, guided by the star, I sought the house again. 
But I felt fresher and more natural as I stepped upon the 

K 2 



133 NOTES 23Y FLOOD AND FIELD. 

platform. The door of the lower building was open, and the 
old man was sitting beside the table, thumbing the leaves of 
a Bible with a look in his face as though he were hunting up 
prophecies against the "Greaser." I turned to enter, but my 
attention was attracted by a blanketed figure lying beside 
the house, on the platform. The broad chest heaving with 
healthy slumber, and the open, honest face were familiar. 
It was George, who had given np his bed to the stranger 
among his people. I was about to wake him, but he lay so 
peaceful and quiet, I felt awed and hushed. And I went to 
bed with a pleasant impression of his handsome face and 
tranquil figure soothing me to sleep. 

I was awakened the next morning from a sense of lulled 
repose and grateful silence by the cheery voice of George, 
who stood beside my bed, ostentatiously twirling a "riata," 
as if to recall the duties of the day to my sleep-bewildered 
eyes. I looked around me. The wind had been magically 
laid, and the sun shone warmly through the windows. A 
dash of cold water, with an extra chill on from the tin basin, 
helped to brighten me. It was still early, but the family 
had already breakfasted and dispersed, and a waggon winding 
far in the distance showed that the unfortunate Tom had 
already "packed" his relatives away. I felt more cheer 
ful, there are few troubles Youth cannot distance with a 
start of a good night's rest. After a substantial breakfast, 
prepared by George, in a few moments we were mounted 
and dashing down the plain. 

We followed the line of alder that defined the creek, now 
dry and baked with summer's heat, but which in winter, 
George told me, overflowed its banks. I still retain a vivid 
impression of that morning's ride, the far-off mountains, like 
silhouettes ', against the steel-blue sky, the crisp dry air, and 
the expanding track before me, animated often by the well- 
knit figure of George Try an, musical with jingling spurs, 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 133 

and picturesque with flying " riata." He rode a powerful 
native roan, wild-eyed, untiring in stride and unbroken in 
nature. Alas ! the curves of beauty were concealed by the 
cumbrous macliillas of the Spanish saddle, which levels all 
equine distinctions. The single rein lay loosely 011 the cruel 
bit that can gripe, and, if need be, crush the jaw it controls. 

Again the illimitable freedom of the valley rises before 
me, as we again bear down into sunlit space. Can this be 
" Chu-Chu," staid and respectable filly of American pedi 
gree, "Chu-Chu," forgetful of plank-roads and cobble 
stones, wild with excitement, twinkling her small white feet 
beneath me ? George laughs out of a cloud of dust, " Give 
her her head ; don't you see she likes it ? " and " Chu-Chu " 
seems to like it, and, whether bitten by native tarantula into 
native barbarism or emulous of the roan, "blood" asserts 
itself, and in a moment the peaceful servitude of years is 
beaten out in the music of her clattering hoofs. The creek 
widens to a deep gully. We dive into it and up on the 
opposite side, carrying a moving cloud of impalpable powder 
with us. Cattle are scattered over the plain, grazing quietly, 
or banded together in vast restless herds. George makes a 
wide, indefinite sweep with the " riata," as if to include 
them all in his vaquero's loop, and says, " Ours." 

" About how many, George ? " 

Don't know." 

" How many 1 " 

"Well, p'r'aps three thousand head," says George, re 
flecting. "We don't know ; takes five men to look 'em up 
and keep run." 

" What are they worth ? " 

"About thirty dollars a head." 

I make a rapid calculation, and look my astonishment at 
the laughing George. Perhaps a recollection of the domestic 
economy of the Try an household is expressed in that look, 
for George averts his eye and says, apologetically, 



I3\ NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

" I've tried to get the old man to sell and build, but you 
know he says it ain't no use to settle down, just yet. We 
must keep moviri'. In fact, he built the shanty for that 
purpose, lest titles should fall through, and we'd have to get 
up and move stakes farther down," 

Suddenly his quick eye detects some unusual sight in a 
herd we are passing, and with an exclamation he puts his 
roan into the centre of the mass. I follow, or rather 
" Chu-Chu " darts after the roan, and in a "few moments we 
are in the midst of apparently inextricable horns and hoofs. 
" Toro ! " shouts George, with vaquero enthusiasm, and the 
band opens the way for the swinging " riata." I can feel 
their steaming breaths, and their spume is cast on "Chu- 
Chu's " quivering flank. 

Wild, devilish-looking beasts are they ; not such shapes 
as Jove might have chosen to woo a goddess, nor such as 
peacefully range the downs of Devon, but lean and hungry 
Cassius-like bo vines, economically got up to meet the exi 
gencies of a six months' rainless climate, and accustomed 
to wrestle with the distracting wind and the blinding 
dust. 

" That's not our brand," says George, " they're strange 
stock," and he points to what my scientific eye recognizes 
as the astrological sign of Venus deeply seared in the brown 
flanks of the bull he is chasing. But the herd are closing 
round us with low mutterings, and George has again recourse 
to the authoritative " Toro," and with swinging " riata " 
divides the " bossy bucklers " on either side. When we are 
free, and breathing somewhat more easily, I venture to ask 
George if they ever attack any one. 

"Never horsemen, sometimes footmen. Not through 
rage, you know, but curiosity. They think a man and his 
horse are one, and if they meet a chap afoot, they run him 
down and trample him under hoof, in the pursuit of know 
ledge. But," adds George, " here's the lower bench of the 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 135 

foot-hills, and here's Altascar's corral, and that white build 
ing you see yonder is the casa." 

A whitewashed wall enclosed a court containing another 
adobe building, baked with the solar beams of many sum 
mers. Leaving our horses in the charge of a few peons in 
the courtyard, who were basking lazily in the sun, we entered 
a low doorway, where a deep shadow and an agreeable cool 
ness fell upon us, as sudden and grateful as a plunge in cold 
water, from its contrast with the external glare and heat. 
In the centre of a low-ceiled apartment sat an old man with 
a black silk handkerchief tied about his head, the few grey 
hairs that escaped from its folds relieving his gamboge- 
coloured face. The odour of cigarritos was as incense added 
to the cathedral gloom of the building. 

As Seiior Altascar rose with well-bred gravity to receive 
us, George advanced with such a heightened colour, and 
such a blending of tenderness and respect in his manner, 
that I was touched to the heart by so much devotion in the 
careless youth. In fact, my eyes were still dazzled by the 
effect of the outer sunshine, and at first I did not see the 
white teeth and black eyes of Pepita, who slipped into the 
corridor as we entered. 

It was no pleasant matter to disclose particulars of busi 
ness which would deprive the old Senor of the greater part 
of that land we had just ridden over, and I did it with great 
embarrassment. But he listened calmly, not a muscle 
of his dark face stirring, and the smoke, curling placidly 
from his lips, showed his regular respiration. When I had 
finished, he offered quietly to accompany us to the line of 
demarcation. George had meanwhile disappeared, but a sus 
picious conversation, in broken Spanish and English, in the 
corridor, betrayed his vicinity. When he returned again, a 
little absent-minded, the old man, by far the coolest and 
most self-possessed of the party, extinguished his black silk 
cap beneath that stiff, uncomely sombrero which all native 



136 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

Californians affect. A serapa thrown over his shoulders, 
hinted that he was waiting. Horses are always ready saddled 
in Spanish ranches, and in half an hour from the time of our 
arrival we were again " loping " in the staring sunlight. 

But not as cheerfully as before. George and myself were 
weighed down by restraint, and Altascar was gravely quiet. 
To break the silence, and by way of a consolatory essay, 
I hinted to him that there might be further intervention or 
appeal, but the proffered oil and wine were returned with a 
careless shrug of the shoulders and a sententious "Que 
bueno ? Your courts are always just." 

The Indian mound of the previous night's discovery was 
a bearing monument of the new line, and there we halted. 
We were surprised to find the old man, Tryan, waiting us. 
For the first time during our interview, the old Spaniard 
seemed moved, and the blood rose in his yellow cheek. I 
was anxious to close the scene, and pointed out the corner 
boundaries as clearly as my recollection served. 

" The deputies will be here to-morrow to run the lines 
from this initial point, and there will be no further trouble, 
I believe, gentlemen." 

Senor Altascar had dismounted, and was gathering a few 
tufts of dried grass in his hands. George and I exchanged 
glances. He presently arose from his stooping posture, and 
advauciDg to within a few paces of Joseph Tryan, said, in a 
voice broken with passion, 

" And I, Fernando Jesus Maria Altascar, put you in pos 
session of my land in the fashion of my country." 

He threw a sod to each of the cardinal points. 

" I don't know your courts, your judges, or your corregi- 
dores. Take the llano ! and take this with it. May the 
drought seize your cattle till their tongues hang down as 
long as those of your lying lawyers ! May it be the curse 
and torment of your old age, as you and yours have made it 
of mine!" 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 137 

"We stepped between the principal actors in this scene, 
which only the passion of Altascar made tragical, but 
Tryan, with a humility but ill concealing his triumph, inter 
rupted, 

" Let him curse on. He 11 find 'em coming home to him 
sooner than the cattle he has lost through his sloth and 
pride. The Lord is on the side of the just, as well as agin 
all slanderers and revilers." 

Altascar but half guessed the meaning of the Missourian, 
yet sufficiently to drive from his mind all but the extrava 
gant power of his native invective. 

" Stealer of the Sacrament : Open not ! open not, I say, 
your lying, Judas lips to me ! Ah ! half-breed, with the soul 
of a cayote ! Car-r-r-ramba !" 

With his passion reverberating among the consonants like 
distant thunder, he laid his hand upon the mane of his horse 
as though it had been the grey locks of his adversary, swung 
himself into the saddle, and galloped away. 

George turned to me, 

" Will you go back with us to-night ?" 

I thought of the cheerless walls, the silent figures by the 
fire, and the roaring wind, and hesitated. 

" Well, then, good-bye." 

" Good-bye, George." 

Another wring of the hands, and we parted. I had not 
ridden far when I turned and looked back. The wind had 
risen early that afternoon, and was already sweeping across 
the plain. A cloud of dust travelled before it, and a pictu 
resque figure occasionally emerging therefrom was my last 
indistinct impression of George Tryan. 



133 NOTES BY PLOOD AND FIELD, 



PART II. IN THE FLOOD. 

T^HREE months after the survey of the Espirita Santo 
Bancho, I was again in the valley of the Sacramento. 
But a general and terrible visitation had erased the memory 
of that event as completely as I supposed it had obliterated 
the boundary monuments I had planted. The great flood of 
1861 62' was at its height, when, obeying some indefinite 
yearning, I took my carpet-bag and embarked for the inun 
dated valley. 

There was nothing to be seen from the bright cabin win 
dows of the Golden City but night deepening over the water. 
The only sound was the pattering rain, and that had grown 
monotonous for the past two weeks, and did not disturb the 
national gravity of my countrymen as they silently sat 
around the cabin stove. Some on errands of relief to friends 
and relatives wore anxious faces, arid conversed soberly on 
the one absorbing topic. Others, like myself, attracted by 
curiosity, listened eagerly to newer details. But with that 
human disposition to seize upon any circumstance that 
might give chance event the exaggerated importance of in 
stinct, I was half conscious of something more than curiosity 
as an impelling motive. 

The dripping of rain, the low gurgle of water, and a leaden 
sky greeted us the next morning as we lay beside the half- 
submerged levee of Sacramento. Here, however, the novelty 
of boats to convey us to the hotels was an appeal that was 
irresistible. I resigned myself to a dripping rubber-cased 
mariner called " Joe," and, wrapping myself in a shining 
cloak of the like material, about as suggestive of warmth as 
court-plaster might have been, took my seat in the stern- 
sheets of his boat. It was no slight inward struggle to part 
from the steamer, that to most of the passengers was the 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 139 

only visible connecting link between us and the dry and 
iabitable earth, but we pulled away and entered the city, 
stemming a rapid current as we shot the levee. 

We glided up the long level of K Street, once a cheer 
ful, busy thoroughfare, now distressing in its silent desolation. 
The turbid water which seemed to meet the horizon edge 
before us flowed at right angles in sluggish rivers through 
the streets. Nature had revenged herself on the local taste 
by disarraying the regular rectangles, by huddling houses on 
street corners, where they presented abrupt gables to the 
current, or by capsizing them in compact ruin. Crafts of all 
kinds were gliding in and out of low-arched doorways. The 
water was over the top of the fences surrounding well kept 
gardens, in the first stories of hotels and private dwellings, 
trailing its slime on velvet carpets as well as roughly boarded 
floors. And a silence quite as suggestive as the visible deso 
lation was in the voiceless streets that no longer echoed to 
carriage-wheel or footfall. The low ripple of water, the 
occasional splash of oars, or the warning cry of boatmen 
were the few signs of life and habitation. 

With such scenes before my eyes and such sounds in my 
ears, as I lie lazily in the boat, is mingled the song of my 
gondolier who sings to the music of his oars. It is not 
quite as romantic as his brother of the Lido might improvise, 
but my Yankee " Giuseppe" has the advantage of earnest 
ness and energy, and gives a graphic description of the ter 
rors of the past week and of noble deeds of self-sacrifice and 
devotion, occasionally pointing out a balcony from which 
some California Bianca or Laura had been snatched, half 
clothed and famished. Giuseppe is otherwise peculiar, and 
refuses the proffered fare, for am I not a citizen of San 
Francisco, which was first to respond to the suffering cry of 
Sacramento? and is not he, Giuseppe, a member of the 
Howard Society ? No ! Giuseppe is poor, but cannot take 
my money. Still, if I must spend it, there is the HowartJ 



140 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

Society, and the women and children without food and 
clothes at the Agricultural Hall. 

I thank the generous gondolier, and we go to the Hall, 
a dismal, bleak place, ghastly with the memories of last 
year's opulence and plenty, and here Giuseppe's fare is 
swelled by the stranger's mite. But here Giuseppe tells me 
of the " Relief Boat" which leaves for the flooded district in 
the interior, and here, profiting by the lesson he has taught 
me, I make the resolve to turn my curiosity to the account 
of others, and am accepted of those who go forth to succour 
and help the afflicted. Giuseppe takes charge of my carpet 
bag, and does not part from me until I star*** on the slippery 
deck of "Relief Boat No. 3." 

An hour later I am in the pilot-house, looking down upon 
what was once the channel of a peaceful river. But its 
banks are only denned by tossing tufts of willow washed by 
the long swell that breaks over a vast inland sea. Stretches 
of "tule" land fertilized by its once regular channel and 
dotted by flourishing ranches are now cleanly erased. The 
cultivated profile of the old landscape had faded. Dotted 
lines in symmetrical perspective mark orchards that are 
buried and chilled in the turbid flood. The roofs of a few 
farm houses are visible, and here and there the smoke curl 
ing from chimneys of half-submerged tenements show an 
undaunted life within. Cattle and sheep are gathered on 
Indian mounds waiting the fate of their companions whose 
carcasses drift by us, or swing in eddies with the wrecks of 
barns and out-houses. Waggons are stranded everywhere 
where the tide could carry them. As I wipe the moistened 
glass, I see nothing but water, pattering on the deck from 
the lowering clouds, dashing against the window, dripping 
from the willows, hissing by the wheels, everywhere wash 
ing, coiling, sapping, hurrying in rapids, or swelling at last 
into deeper and vaster lakes, awful in their suggestive quiet 
and concealment. 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 141 

As day fades into night the monotony of this strange 
prospect grows oppressive. I seek the engine-room, and in 
the company of some of the few half-drowned sufferers we 
have already picked up from temporary rafts, I forget tho 
general aspect of desolation in their individual misery. 
Later we meet the San Francisco packet, and transfer a 
number of our passengers. From them we learn how in 
ward bound vessels report to having struck the well-defined 
channel of the Sacramento, fifty miles beyond the bar. 
There is a voluntary contribution taken among the generous 
travellers for the use of our afflicted, and we part company 
with a hearty "God-speed" on either side. But our signal- 
lights are not far distant before a familiar sound comes back 
to us, an indomitable Yankee cheer, which scatters the 
gloom. 

Our course is altered, and we are steaming over the obli 
terated banks far in the interior. Once or twice black 
objects loom up near us, the wrecks of houses floating 
by. There is a slight rift in the sky towards the north, and 
a few bearing stars to guide us over the waste. As we pene 
trate into shallower water, it is deemed advisable to divide 
our party into smaller boats, and diverge over the sub 
merged prairie. I borrow a pea-coat of one of the crew, and 
in that practical disguise am doubtfully permitted to pass 
into one of the boats. We give way northerly. It is quite 
dark yet, although the rift of cloud has widened. 

It must have been about three o'clock, and we were lying 
upon our oars in an eddy formed by a clump of cottonwood, 
and the light of the steamer is a solitary, bright star in the 
distance, when the silence is broken by the " bow oar," 

" Light ahead." 

All eyes are turned in that direction. In a few seconds a 
twinkling light appears, shines steadily, and again disap 
pears, as if by the shifting position of some black object 
apparently drifting close upon us. 



142 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

" Stern, all ; a steamer !" 

"Hold hard there ! Steamer be d d!" is the reply of 
the coxswain. " It's a house, and a big one too." 

It is a big one, looming in the starlight like a huge frag 
ment of the darkness. The light comes from a single candle, 
which shines through a window as the great shape swings bj. 
Some recollection is drifting back to me with it, as I listen 
with beating heart. 

"There's some one in it, by Heavens ! Give way, boys, 
lay her alongside. Handsomely, now ! The door's fas 
tened ; try the window ; no ! here's another !" 

In another moment we are trampling in the water, which 
washes the floor to the depth of several inches. It is a large 
room, at the farther end of which an old man is sitting 
wrapped in a blanket, holding a candle in one hand, and 
apparently absorbed in the book he holds with the other. I 
spring toward him with an exclamation, 

" Joseph Tryan ! " 

He does not move. We gather closer to him, and I lay my 
hand gently on his shoulder, and say, 

" Look up, old man, look up ! Your wife and children, 
where are they 1 The boys, George ! Are they here ? are 
they safe ?" 

He raises his head slowly, and turns his eyes to mine, and 
we involuntarily recoil before his look. It is a calm and 
quiet glance, free from fear, anger, or pain ; but it somehow 
sends the blood curdling through our veins. He bowed his 
head over his book again, taking no further notice of us. The 
men look at me compassionately, and hold their peace. I 
make one more effort : 

" Joseph Tryan, don't you know me ? the surveyor who 
surveyed your ranch, the Espiritu Santo 1 Look up, old 
man!" 

He shuddered, and wrapped himsel f closer in his blanket. 
Presently he repeated to himself, " The surveyor who sur- 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 143 

veyed your ranch, Espiritu Santo," over and over again, as 
though it were a lesson he was trying to fix in his memory. 

I was turning sadly to the boatmen, when he suddenly 
caught me fearfully by the hand and said,- 

"Hush!" 

We were silent. 

" Listen ! " He puts his arm around my neck and whispers 
in my ear, " I'm a moving off '/" 

"Moving off]" 

" Hush ! Don't speak so loud. Moving off. Ah ! wot's 
that ? Don't you hear 1 there ! listen !" 

We listen and hear the water gurgle and click beneath the 
floor. 

" It's them wot he sent ! Old Altasoar sent. They've 
been here all night. I heard 'em first in the creek, when 
they came to tell the old man to move farther off. They 
came nearer and nearer. They whispered under the door, and 
I saw their eyes on the step, their cruel, hard eyes. Ah ! 
why don't they quit 1" 

I tell the men to search the room and see if they can find 
any further traces of the family, while Tryan resumes his old 
attitude. It is so much like the figure I remember on the 
breezy night that a superstitious feeling is fast overcoming 
me. When they have returned, I tell them briefly what I 
know of him, and the old man murmurs again, 

" Why don't they quit, then ? They have the stock, all 
gone gone, gone for the hides and hoofs," and he groans 
bitterly. 

" There are other boats below us. The shanty cannot have 
drifted far, and perhaps the family are safe by this time," 
says the coxswain, hopefully. 

We lift the old man up, for he is quite helpless, and carry 
Aim to the boat. He is still grasping the Bible in his right 
hand, though its strengthening grace is blank to his vacant 
eye., and he cowers in the stern as we pull slowly to the 



144 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

steamer, while a pale gleam in the sky shows the coming 
day. 

I was weary with excitement, and when we reached the 
steamer, and I had seen Joseph Tryan comfortably bestowed, 
T wrapped myself in a blanket near the boiler and presently 
fell asleep. But even then the figure of the old man often 
started before me, and a sense of uneasiness about George 
made a strong undercurrent to drifting dreams. I was 
awakened at about' eight o'clock in the morning by the 
engineer, who told me one of the old man's sons had been 
picked up and was now on board. 

" Is it George Tryan?" I ask quickly. 

t( Don't know ; but he's a sweet one, whoever he is," adds 
the engineer, with a smile at some luscious remembrance. 
You'll find him for'ard." 

I hurry to the bow of the boat, and find, not George, but 
the irrepressible Wise, sitting on a coil of rope, a little 
dirtier and rather more dilapidated than I can remember 
having seen him. 

He is examining, with apparent admiration, some rough, 
dry clothes that have been put out for his disposal. I cannot 
help thinking that circumstances have somewhat exalted his 
usual cheerfulness. He puts me at my ease by at once 
addressing me : 

" These are high old times, ain't they ? I say, what do you 
reckon's become o' them thar bound'ry moniments you 
stuck? Ah!" 

The pause which succeeds this outburst is the effect of a 
spasm of admiration at a pair of high boots, which, by great 
exertion, he has at last pulled on his feet. 

"So you've picked up the ole man in the shanty, clean 
crazy ? He must have been soft to have stuck there instead 
o' leavin' with the old woman. Didn't know me from Adarn ; 
took me for George !" 

At this affecting instance of paternal forgetfulness, Wise 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. ri 5 

was evidently divided between amusement and chagrin. I 
took advantage of the contending emotions to ask about 
George. 

" Don't know whar he is ! If he'd tended stock instead of 
running about the prairie, packin' off wimmin and children, 
he might have saved suthin. He lost every hoof and hide, 
I'll bet a cookey. Say you," to a passing boatman, " when 
are you goin' to give us some grub 1 I'm hungry 'nough to 
skin and eat a hoss. Beckon I'll turn butcher whenthings 
is dried up, and save hides, horns, and taller." 

I could not but admire this indomitable energy, which 
under softer climatic influences might have borne such goodly 
fruit. 

"Have you any idea what you'll do, Wise ?" I ask. 

" Thar ain't much to do now," says the practical young 
man. " I'll have to lay over a spell, I reckon, till things 
comes straight. The land ain't worth much now, and won't 
be, I clessay, for some time. Wonder whar the ole man'll 
drive stakes next." 

" I meant as to your father and George, Wise." 

" 0, the ole man and I'll go on to ' Miles's,' whar Toni 
packed the old woman and babies last week. George'll turn 
up somewhar atween this and Altascar's, ef he ain't thar now." 

I ask how the Altascars have suffered. 

" Well, I reckon he ain't lost much in stock. I shouldn't 
wonder if George helped him drive 'em up the foot-hills. 
And his l casa"s built too high. O, thar ain't any water 
thar, you bet. Ah," says Wise, with reflective admiration, 
" those greasers ain't the darned fools people think 'em. I'll 
bet thar ain't one swamped out in all 'er Californy." But 
the appearance of " grub " cut this rhapsody short. 

" I shall keep on a little farther," I say, " and try to find 
George." 

Wise stared a moment at this eccentricity until a new light 
ilawned upon him. 



Itf NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

" I don't think you'll save much. "What's the percentage, 
workin' on shares, eh ! " 

I answer that I am only curious, which I feel lessens his 
opinion of me, and with a sadder feeling than his assurance of 
George's safety might warrant, I walked away. 

From others whom we picked up from time to time we 
heard of George's self-sacrificing devotion, with the praises of 
the many he had helped and rescued. But I did not feel 
disposed to return until I had seen him, and soon prepared 
myself to take a boat to the lower " valda " of the foot-hills, 
and visit Altascar. I soon perfected my arrangements, bade 
farewell to Wise, and took a last look at the old man, who 
was sitting by the furnace-fires quite passive and composed. 
Then our boat-head swung round, pulled by sturdy and 
willing hands. 

It was again raining, and a disagreeable wind had risen. 
Our course lay nearly west, and we soon knew by the strong 
current that we were in the creek of the Espiritu Santo. 
From time to time the wrecks of barns were seen, and we 
passed many half-submerged willows hung with farming 
implements. 

We emerge at last into a broad silent sea. It is the 
"llano de Espiritu Santo." As the wind whistles by me, 
piling the shallower fresh water into mimic waves, I go 
back, in fancy, to the long ride of October over that 
boundless plain, and recall the sharp outlines of the 
distant hills which are now lost in the lowering clouds. 
The men are rowing silently, and I find my mind, released 
from its tension, growing benumbed and depressed as then. 
The water, too, is getting more shallow as we leave the 
banks of the creek, and with my hand dipped listlessly 
over the thwarts, I detect the tops of chimisal, which 
shows the tide to have somewhat fallen. There is a black 
mound, bearing to the north of the line of alder, making an 
adverse current, which, as we sweep to the right to avoid, I 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 147 

recognize. We pull close alongside and I call to the men to 
stop. 

There was a stake driven near its summit with the initials, 
" L. E. S. I." Tied half-way down was a curiously worked 
"riata." It was George's. It had been cut with some 
sharp instrument, and the loose gravelly soil of the mound 
was deeply dented with horse's hoofs. The stake was 
covered with horse-hairs. It was a record, but no 
clew. 

The wind had grown more violent, as we still fought our 
way forward, resting and rowing by turns, and oftener 
" poling " the shallower surface, but the old " valda," or 
bench, is still distant. My recollection of the old survey 
enables me to guess the relative position of the meanderings 
of the creek, and an occasional simple professional experiment 
to determine the distance gives my crew the fullest faith in 
my ability. Night overtakes us in our impeded progress. 
Our condition looks more dangerous than it really is, but I 
urge the men, many of whom are still new in this mode of 
navigation, to greater exertion by assurance of perfect safety 
and speedy relief ahead. We go on in this way until about 
eight o'clock, and ground by the willows. We have a muddy 
walk for a few hundred yards before we strike a dry trail, 
and simultaneously the white walls of Altascar's appear like 
a snow-bank before us. Lights are moving in the courtyard ; 
but otherwise the old tomb-like repose characterizes the 
building. 

One of the peons recognized me as I entered the court, and 
Altascar met me on the corridor. 

I was too weak to do more than beg his hospitality for the 
men who had dragged wearily with me. He looked at my 
hand, which still unconsciously held the broken " riata." I 
began, wearily, to tell him about George and my fears, but 
with a gentler courtesy than was even his wont, he gravely 
laid his hand on my shoulder. 

2.C 



148 NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 

" Poco a poco Seiior, not now. You are tired, you have 
hunger, you have cold. Necessary it is you should have 
peace." 

He took us into a small room and poured out some French 
cognac, which he gave to the men that had accompanied me. 
They drank and threw themselves before the fire in the 
larger room. The repose of the building was intensified that 
night, and I even fancied that the footsteps on the corridor 
were lighter and softer. The old Spaniard's habitual gravity 
was deeper ; we might have been shut out from the world as 
well as the whistling storm, behind those ancient walls with 
their time-worn inheritor. 

Before I could repeat my inquiry he retired. In a few 
minutes two smoking dishes of " chupa " with coffee were 
placed before us, and my men ate ravenously. I drank the 
coffee, but my excitement and weariness kept down tho 
instincts of hunger. 

I was sitting sadly by the fire when he re-entered. 

"You have eat r 

I said, " Yes," to please him. 

" Bueno, eat when you can, food and appetite are not 



He said this with that Sancho-like simplicity with which 
most of his countrymen utter a proverb, as though it were 
an experience rather than a legend, and, taking the " riata " 
from the floor, held it almost tenderly before him. 

" It was made by me, Senor." 

" I kept it as a clew to him, Don Altascar," I said. " If 
I could find him " 

" He is here." 

" Here ! and " but I could not say " well 1 " I under 
stood the gravity of the old man's face, the hushed footfalls, 
the tomb-like repose of the building in an electric flash of 
consciousness ; I held the clew to the broken riata at last. 
Altascar took my hand, and we crossed the corridor to a 



NOTES BY FLOOD AND FIELD. 149 

sombre apartment. A few tall candles were burning in 
sconces before the window. 

In an alcove there was a deep bed with its counterpane, 
pillows, and sheets heavily edged with lace, in all that 
splendid luxury which the humblest of these strange people 
lavish upon this single item of their household. I stepped 
beside it arid saw George lying, as I had seen him once before, 
peacefully at rest. But a greater sacrifice than that he had 
known was here, and his generous heart was stilled for ever. 
" He was honest and brave," said the old man, and turned 
away. 

There was another figure in the room ; a heavy shawl 
drawn over her graceful outline, and her long black hair 
hiding the hands that buried her downcast face. I did not 
seem to notice her, and, retiring presently, left the loving and 
loved together. 

When we were again beside the crackling fire, in the shift 
ing shadows of the great chamber, Altascar told me how he 
had that morning met the horse of George Tryan swimming 
on the prairie ; how that, farther on, he found him lying, 
quite cold and dead, with no marks or bruises on his person ; 
that he had probably become exhausted in fording the creek, 
and that he had as probably reached the mound only to die 
for the want of that help he had so freely given to others ; 
that, as a last act, he had freed his horse. These incidents 
were corroborated by many who collected in the great 
chamber that evening, women and children, most of them 
succoured through the devoted energies of him who lay cold 
and lifeless above. 

He was buried in the Indian mound, the single spot of 
strange perennial greenness, which the poor aborigines had 
raised above the dusty plain. A little slab of sandstone, 
with the initials " G. T.," is his monument, and one of the 
bearings of the initial corner of the new survey of the 
"Espiritu Santo Rancho." 



III.-BOHEMIAN PAPERS. 



THE MISSION DOLORES. 

'"FHE Mission Dolores is destined to be " The Last Sigh " 
of the native Californian. When the last " Greaser " 
shall indolently give way to the bustling Yankee, I can 
imagine he will, like the Moorish King, ascend one of the 
Mission hills to take his last lingering look at the hilled city. 
For a long time he will cling tenaciously to Pacific Street. 
He will delve in the rocky fastnesses of Telegraph Hill until 
progress shall remove it. He will haunt Vallejo Street, and 
those back slums which so vividly typify the degradation of 
a people ; but he will eventually make way for improve 
ment. The Mission will be last to drop from his nerveless 
fingers. 

As I stand here this pleasant afternoon, looking up at the 
old chapel, its ragged senility contrasting with the smart 
spring sunshine, its two gouty pillars with the plaster drop 
ping away like tattered bandages, its rayless windows, its 
crumbling entrances, the leper spots on its whitewashed wall 
eating through the dark abode, I give the poor old mendi 
cant but a few years longer to sit by the highway and ask 
alms in the names of the blessed saints. Already the vici 
nity is haunted with the shadow of its dissolution. The 
shriek of the locomotive discords with the Angelus bell. An 
Episcopal church, of a green Gothic type, with massive but 
tresses of Oregon pine, even now mocks its hoary age with 



THE MISSION DOLORES. 151 

imitation, and supplants it with a sham. Vain, alas ! were 
those rural accessories, the nurseries and market-gardens, 
that once gathered about its walls and resisted civic encroach 
ment. They, too, are passing away. Even those queer little 
adobe buildings with tiled roofs like longitudinal slips of cin 
namon, and walled enclosures sacredly guarding a few bullock 
horns and strips of hide. I look in vain for the half- 
reclaimed Mexican, whose respectability stopped at his waist, 
and whose red sash under his vest was the utter undoing of 
his black broadcloth. I miss, too, those black-haired women, 
with swaying unstable busts, whose dresses were always un 
seasonable in texture and pattern ; whose wearing of a shawl 
was a terrible awakening from the poetic dream of the 
Spanish mantilla. Traces of another nationality are visible. 
The railroad "navvy" has builded his shanty near the 
chapel, and smokes his pipe in the Posada. Gutturals have 
taken the place of liuguals and sibilants ; I miss the half- 
chanted, half-drawled cadences that used to mingle with the 
cheery " All aboard " of the stage-driver, in those good old 
days when the stages ran hourly to the Mission, and a trip 
thither was an excursion. At the very gates of the temple, 
in the place of those " who sell doves for sacrifice," a vendor 
of mechanical spiders has halted with his unhallowed wares. 
Even the old Padre last type of the Missionary, and des- 
cendent of the good Junipero I cannot find to-day ; in his 
stead a light-haired Celt is reading a lesson from a Vulgate 
that is wonderfully replete with double r's. Gentle priest, 
in thy R-isons, let the stranger and heretic be remembered. 

I open a little gate and enter the Mission Churchyard. 
There is no change here, though perhaps the graves lie closer 
together. A willow-tree, growing beside the deep, brown 
wall, has burst into tufted plumes in the fulness of spring. 
The tall grass-blades over each mound show a strange 
quickening of the soil below. It is pleasanter here than on 
the bleak mountain seaward, where distracting winds con- 



152 THE MISSION DOLORES. 

tinually bring the strife and turmoil of the ocean. The 
Mission hills lovingly embrace the little cemetery whose deco 
rative taste is less ostentatious. The foreign flavour is 
strong ; here are never -failing garlands of immortelles, with 
their sepulchral spicery ; here are little cheap medallions of 
pewter, with the adornment of three black tears, that would 
look like the three of clubs, but that the simple humility of 
the inscription counterbalances all sense of the ridiculous. 
Here are children's graves with guardian angels of great spe 
cific gravity ; but here, too, are the little one's toys in a glass 
case beside them. Here is the average quantity of execrable 
original verses ; but one stanza over a sailor's grave is 
striking, for it expresses a hope of salvation through the 
" Lord High Admiral Christ \ " Over the foreign graves 
there is a notable lack of scriptural quotation, and an increase, 
if I may say it, of humanity and tenderness. I cannot help 
thinking that too many of my countrymen are influenced by 
a morbid desire to make a practical point of this occasion, and 
are too apt hastily to crowd a whole life of omission into the 
culminating act. But when I see the gray immortelles 
crowning a tombstone, I know I shall find the mysteries of 
the resurrection shown rather in symbols, and only the love 
taught in His new commandment left for the graphic touch. 
But " they manage these things better in France." 

During my purposeless ramble the sun has been steadily 
climbing the brown wall of the church, and the air seems to 
grow cold and raw. The bright green dies out of the grass, 
and the rich, bronze comes down from the wall. The willow- 
tree seems half inclined to doff its plumes, and wears the 
dejected air of a broken faith and violated trust. The 
spice of the immortelles mixes with the incense that steals 
through the open window. Within, the barbaric gilt and 
crimson look cold and cheap in this searching air ; by this 
light the church certainly is old and ugly. I cannot help 



JOHN CHINAMAN. 153 

wondering whether the old Fathers, if they ever revisit the 
scene of their former labours, in their larger comprehensions, 
view with regret the impending change, or mourn over the 
clay when the Mission Dolores shall appropriately come to 
grief. 



JOHN CHINAMAN. 

* I "HE expression of the Chinese face in the aggregate is 
neither cheerful nor happy. In. an acquaintance of half 
a dozen years, I can only recall one or two exceptions to this 
rule. There is an abiding consciousness of degradation, a 
secret pain or self-humiliation visible in the lines of the 
mouth and eye. Whether it is only a modification of 
Turkish gravity, or whether it is the dread Valley of the 
Shadow of the Drug through which they are continually 
straying, I cannot say. They seldom smile, and their 
laughter is of such an extraordinary and sardonic nature 
so purely a mechanical spasm, quite independent of any 
mirthful attribute that to this day T am doubtful whether 
I ever saw a Chinaman laugh. A theatrical representation 
by natives, one might think, would have set my mind at ease 
on this point ; but it did not. Indeed, a new difficulty pre 
sented itself, the impossibility of determining whether the 
performance was a tragedy or farce. I thought I detected 
the low comedian in an active youth who turned two somer 
saults, and knocked everybody down on entering the stage. 
But, unfortunately, even this classic resemblance to the legi 
timate farce of our civilization was deceptive. Another 
brocaded actor, who represented the hero of the play, turned 
three somersaults, and not only upset my theory and his 
fellow-actors at the same time, but apparently run a-muck 
behind the scenes for some time afterward. I looked around 
at the glinting white teeth, to observe the effect of these two 



154 JOHN CHINAMAN. 

palpable hits. They were received with equal acclamation, 
and apparently equal facial spasms. One or two beheadings, 
which enlivened the play, produced the same sardonic effect, 
and left upon my mind a painful anxiety to know what was 
the serious business of life in China. It was noticeable, how 
ever, that my unrestrained laughter had a discordant effect, 
and that triangular eyes sometimes turned ominously toward 
the "Fanqui devil;" but as I retired discreetly before the 
play was finished, there were no serious results. I have only 
given the above as an instance of the impossibility of decid 
ing upon the outward and superficial expression of Chinese 
mirth. Of its inner and deeper existence I have some private 
doubts. An audience that will view with a serious aspect 
the hero, after a frightful and agonizing death, get up and 
quietly walk off the stage, cannot be said to have remarkable 
perceptions of the ludicrous. 

I have often been struck with the delicate pliability of the 
Chinese expression and taste, that might suggest a broader 
and deeper criticism than is becoming these pages. A China 
man will adopt the American costume, and wear it with a 
taste of colour and detail that will surpass those "native, and 
to the manner born." To look at a Chinese slipper, one 
might imagine it impossible to shape the original foot to any 
thing less cumbrous and roomy, yet a neater-fitting boot than 
that belonging to the Americanized Chinaman is rarely seen 
on this side of the Continent. When the loose sack or pale 
tot takes the place of his brocade blouse, it is worn with a 
refinement and grace that might bring a jealous pang to the 
exquisite of our more refined civilization. Pantaloons fall 
easily and naturally over legs that have known unlimited 
freedom and bagginess, and even garrote collars meet cor 
rectly around sun-tanned throats. The new expression 
seldom overflows in gaudy cravats. I will back my Ameri 
canized Chinaman against any neophyte of European birth 
in the choice of that article. While in our own State, the 



JOHN CHINAMAN. 1 5 5 

Greaser resists one by one the garments of the Northern 
invader, and even wears the livery of his conqueror with a 
wild and buttonless freedom, the Chinaman, abused and de 
graded as he is, changes by correctly graded transition to 
the garments of Christian civilization. There is but one 
article of European wear that he avoids. These Bohemian 
eyes have never yet been pained by the spectacle of a tall hat 
on the head of an intelligent Chinaman. 

My acquaintance with John has been made up of weekly 
interviews, involving the adjustment of the washing accounts, 
so that I have not been able to study his character from a 
social view-point, or observe him in the privacy of the 
domestic circle. I have gathered enough to justify me in 
believing him to be generally honest, faithful, simple, and 
painstaking. Of his simplicity let me record an instance, 
where a sad and civil young Chinaman brought me certain 
shirts with most of the buttons missing and others hanging 
on delusively by a single thread. In a moment of unguarded 
irony, I informed him that unity would at least have been 
preserved if the buttons were removed altogether. He 
smiled sadly and went away. I thought I had hurt his 
feelings, until the next week, when he brought me my shirts 
with a look of intelligence, and the buttons carefully and 
totally erased. A.t another time, to guard against his general 
disposition to carry off anything as soiled clothes that ho 
thought could hold water, I requested him to always wait 
until he saw me. Coming home late one evening, I found 
the household in great consternation over an immovable 
Celestial who had remained seated on the front door-step 
during the day, sad and submissive, firm, but also patient, 
and only betraying any animation or token of his mission 
rhen he saw me coming. This same Chinaman evinced 
Eome] evidences of regard for a little girl in the family, who 
&i her turn reposed such faith in his intellectual qualities as 
to present him with a preternaturally uninteresting Sunday- 



156 FROM A BACK WINDOW. 

school book, her own property. This book John made a 
point of carrying ostentatiously with him in his weekly 
visits. It appeared usually on the top of the clean clothes, 
and was sometimes painfully clasped outside of the big 
bundle of solid linen. Whether John believed he uncon 
sciously imbibed some spiritual life through its pasteboard 
cover, as the Prince in the Arabian Nights imbibed the 
medicine through the handle of the mallet, or whether he 
wished to exhibit a due sense of gratitude, or whether he 
hadn't any pockets, I have never been able to ascertain. In 
his turn he would sometimes cut marvellous imitation roses 
from carrots for his little friend. I am inclined to think 
that the few roses strewn in John's path were such scentless 
imitations. The thorns only were real. From the persecu 
tions of the young and old of a certain class, his life was a 
torment. I don't know what was the exact philosophy that 
Confucius taught, but it is to be hoped that poor John in his 
persecution is still able to detect the conscious hate and fear 
with which inferiority always regards the possibility of 
even-handed justice, and which is the key-note to the vulgar 
clamour about servile and degraded races. 



FROM A BACK WINDOW, 

T REMEMBER that long ago, as a sanguine and trustful 
* child, I became possessed of a highly coloured litho 
graph, representing a fair Circassian sitting by a window. 
The price I paid for this work of art may have been extra 
vagant, even in youth's fluctuating slate-pencil currency ; 
but the secret joy I felt in its possession knew no pecuniary 
equivalent. It was not alone that Nature in Circassia 
lavished alike upon the cheek of beauty and the vegetable 
kingdom that most expensive of colours Lake ; nor was it 



FROM A BACK WINDOW. 157 

that the rose which bloomed beside the fair Circassian's 
window had no visible stem, and was directly grafted upon a 
marble balcony ; but it was because it embodied an idea. 
That idea was a hinting of my Fate. I felt that somewhere 
a young and fair Circassian was sitting by a window looking 
out for me. The idea of resisting such an array of charms 
and colour never occurred to me, and to my honour be it 
recorded, that during the feverish period of adolescence I 
never thought of averting my destiny. But as vacation and 
holiday came and went, and as my picture at first grew 
blurred, and then faded quite away between the Eastern and 
Western continents in my atlas, so its charm seemed myste 
riously to pass away. When I became convinced that few 
females, of Circassian or other origin, sat pensively resting 
their chins on their henna-tinged nails, at their parlour 
windows, I turned my attention to back windows. Although 
the fair Circassian has not yet burst upon me with open 
shutters, some peculiarities not unworthy of note have fallen 
under my observation. This knowledge has not been gained 
without sacrifice. I have made myself familiar with back 
windows and their prospects, in the weak disguise of seeking 
lodgings, heedless of the suspicious glances of landladies and 
their evident reluctance to show them. I have caught cold 
by long exposure to draughts. I have become estranged 
from friends by unconsciously walking to their back windows 
during a visit, when the weekly linen hung upon the line, or 
where Miss Fanny (ostensibly indisposed) actually assisted in 
the laundry, and Master Bobby, in scant attire, disported 
himself on the area railings. But I have thought of 
Galileo, and the invariable experience of all seekers and 
discoverers of truth has sustained me. 

Show me the back windows of a man's dwelling, and I 
will tell you his character. The rear of a house only is 
sincere. The attitude of deception kept up at the front 
windows leaves the back area defenceless. The world enters 



ISS FROM A BACK WINDOW. 

at the front door, but nature comes out at the back passage. 
That glossy, well-brushed individual, who lets himself in 
with a latch-key at the front door at night, is a very different 
being from the slipshod wretch who growls of mornings for 
hot water at the door of the kitchen. The same with 
Madame, whose contour of figure grows angular, whose face 
grows pallid, whose hair comes down, and who looks some 
ten years older through the sincere medium of a back 
window. No wonder that intimate friends fail to recognize 
each other in this dos d, dos position. You may imagine 
yourself familiar with the silver door-plate and bow- windows 
of the mansion where dwells your Saccharissa ; you may 
even fancy you recognize her graceful figure between the 
lace curtains of the upper chamber which you fondly imagine 
to be hers; but you shall dwell for months in the rear of 
her dwelling and within whispering distance of her bower, 
and never know it. You shall see her with a handkerchief 
tied round her head in confidential discussion with the 
butcher, and know her not. You shall hear her voice in 
shrill expostulation with her younger brother, and it shall 
awaken no familiar response. 

I am writing at a back window. As I prefer the warmth of 
my coal- fire to the foggy freshness of the afternoon breeze that 
rattles the leafless shrubs in the garden below me, I have 
my window-sash closed ; consequently, I miss much of the 
shrilly altercation that has been going on in the kitchen of 
No. 7 jiist opposite. I have heard fragments of an enter 
taining style of dialogue usually known as "chaffing," 
which has just taken place between Biddy in No. 9, and the 
butcher who brings the dinner. I have been pitying the 
chilled aspect of a poor canary, put out to taste the fresh air, 
from the window of No 5. I have been watching and 
envying, I fear the real enjoyment of two children raking 
over an old dust-heap in the alley, containing the waste and 
debris of all the back yards in the neighbourhood. What a 



BOONDER. 159 

wealth of soda-water bottles and old iron they have acquired ! 
But I am waiting for an even more familiar prospect from 
tny back window. I know that later in the afternoon, when 
the evening paper comes, a thickset, grey-haired man will 
appear in his shirt-sleeves at the back door of No. 9, and, 
seating himself on the door-step, begin to read. He lives in 
a pretentious house, and I hear he is a rich man. But there 
is such humility in his attitude, and such evidence of 
gratitude at being allowed to sit outside of his own house 
and read his paper in his shirt sleeves, that I can picture his 
domestic history pretty clearly. Perhaps he is following 
some old habit of humbler days. Perhaps he has entered 
into an agreement with his wife not to indulge his disgraceful 
habit in-doors. He does not look like a man who could be 
coaxed into a dressing-gown. In front of his own palatial 
residence, I know him to be a quiet and respectable middle- 
aged business-man, but it is from my back window that my 
heart warms toward him in his shirt-sleeved simplicity. So 
I sit and watch him in the twilight as he reads gravely, and 
wonder sometimes, when he looks up, squares his chest, and 
folds his paper thoughtfully over his knee, whether he doesn't 
fancy he hears the letting down of bars, or the tinkling of 
bells, as the cows come home, and stand lowing for him at 
the gate. 



BOONDER. 

T NEVER knew how the subject of this memoir came to 
attach himself so closely to the affections of my family. 
He was not a prepossessing dog. He was not a dog of even 
average birth and breeding. His pedigree was involved in 
the deepest obscurity. He may have had brothers and sisters, 
but in the whole range of my canine acquaintance (a pretty 
extensive one), I never detected any of Boonder's peculiarities 



1 63 BOONDER. 

in any other of his species. His body was long, and his 
fore-legs and hind-legs were very wide apart, as though 
Nature originally intended to put an extra pair between 
them, but had unwisely allowed herself to be persuaded out 
of it. This peculiarity was annoying on cold nights, as it 
always prolonged the interval of keeping the door open for 
Boonder's ingress long enough to allow two or three dogs of 
a reasonable length to enter. Boonder's feet were decided j 
his toes turned out considerably, and in repose his favourite 
attitude was the first position of dancing. Add to a pair 
of bright eyes ears that seemed to belong to some other 
dog, and a symmetrically-pointed nose that fitted all aper 
tures like a pass-key, and you have Boonder as we knew 
him. 

I am inclined to think that his popularity was mainly 
owing to his quiet impudence. His advent in the family 
was that of an old member, who had been absent for a short 
time, but had returned to familiar haunts and associations. 
In a Pythagorean point of view this might have been the 
case, but I cannot recall any deceased member of the family 
who was in life partial to bone-burying (though it might be 
post mortem a consistent amusement), and this was Boonder's 
great weakness. He was at first discovered coiled up on a 
rug in an upper chamber, and was the least disconcerted of 
the entire household. From that moment Boonder became 
one of its recognised members, and privileges, often denied 
the most intelligent and valuable of his species, were quietly 
taken by him and submitted to by us. Thus, if he were 
found coiled up in a clothes-basket, or any article of clothing 
assumed locomotion on its own account, we only said, " O, 
it's Boonder," with a feeling of relief that it was nothing 
worse. 

I have spoken of his fondness for bone-burying. It could 
not be called an economical faculty, for he invariably forgot 
the locality of his treasure, and covered the garden with 



BOONDER. 161 

purposeless holes ; but although the violets and daisies were 
not improved by Boonder's gardening, no one ever thought 
of punishing him. He became a synonyme for Fate ; a 
Boonder to be grumbled at, to be accepted philosophically, 
but never to be averted. But although he was not an 
intelligent dog, nor an ornamental dog, he possessed some 
gentlemanly instincts. When he performed his only feat, 
begging upon his hind legs (and looking remarkably like a 
penguin), ignorant strangers would offer him crackers or 
cake, which he didn't like, as a reward of merit. Boonder 
always made a great show of accepting the proffered dainties, 
and even made hypocritical contortions as if swallowing, but 
always deposited the morsel when he was unobserved in the 
first convenient receptacle, usually the visitor's overshoes. 

In matters that did not involve courtesy, Boonder was sin 
cere in his likes and dislikes. He was instinctively opposed 
to the railroad. When the track was laid through our 
street, Boonder maintained a defiant attitude toward every 
rail as it went down, and resisted the cars shortly after to 
the fullest extent of his lungs. I have a vivid recollection 
of seeing him, on the day of the trial trip, come down the 
street in front of the car, barking himself out of all shape, 
and thrown back several feet by the recoil of each bark. 
But Boonder was not the only one who has resisted inno 
vations, or has lived to see the innovation prosper and 
even crush But I am anticipating. Boonder had pre 
viously resisted the gas, but although he spent one whole 
day in angry altercation with the workmen, leaving his 
bones unburied and bleaching in the sun somehow the gas 
went in. The Spring Valley water was likewise unsuccess 
fully opposed, and the grading of an adjoining lot was for a 
long time a personal matter between Boonder and the con 
tractor. 

These peculiarities seemed to evince some decided cha 
racter and embody some idea. A prolonged debate in the 

M 



i62 BOONDER. 

family upon this topic resulted in an addition to his name, 
we called him "Boonder the Conservative," with a faint 
acknowledgment of his fateful power. But, although Boon 
der had his own way, his path was not entirely of roses. 
Thorns sometimes pricked his sensibilities. When certain 
minor chords were struck on the piano, Boonder was always 
painfully affected and howled a remonstrance. If he were 
removed for company's sake to the back yard, at the recur 
rence of the provocation, he would go his whole length 
(which was something) to improvise a howl that should 
reach the performer. But we got accustomed to Boonder, 
and as we were fond of music the playing went on. 

One morning Boonder left the house in good spirits with 
his regular bone in his mouth, and apparently the usual 
intention of burying it. The next day he was picked up 
lifeless on the track, run over, apparently, by the first car 
that went out of the dep6t. 



SENSATION NOVELS 

CONDENSED. 



SELINA SEDILIA. 

BY MISS M. E. B-DD-N AND MRS. H-N-Y W-D. 

CHAPTER I. 

'"PHE sun was setting over Sloperton Grange, and red 
dened the windows of the lonely chamber in the 
western tower, supposed to be haunted by Sir Edward 
Sedilia, the founder of the Grange. In the dreamy distance 
arose the gilded mausoleum of Lady Felicia Sedilia, who 
haunted that portion of Sedilia Manor known as " Stiff-uns 
Acre." A little to the left of the Grange might have been 
seen a mouldering ruin, known as " Guy's Keep," haunted 
by the spirit of Sir Guy Sedilia, who was found, one morning, 
crushed by one of the fallen battlements. Yet, as the setting 
sun gilded these objects, a beautiful and almost holy calm 
seemed diffused about the Grange. 

The Lady Selina sat by an oriel window overlooking the 
park. The sun sank gently in the bosom of the German 
Ocean, and yet the lady did not lift her beautiful head from 
the finely-curved arm and diminutive hand which supported 
it. When darkness finally shrouded the landscape, she 
started, for the sound of horse-hoofs clattered over the stones 
of the avenue. She had scarcely risen before an aristocratic 
young man fell on his knees before her. 

"My Selina!" 

" Edgardo ! You here ] " 

" Yes, dearest." 

" And you you have seen nothing ? " said the lady 



166 SELINA SEDILIA. 

in an agitated voice and nervous manner, turning her face 
aside to conceal her emotion. 

" Nothing that is. nothing of any account," said Edgardo. 
if I passed the ghost of your aunt in the park, noticed the 
spectre of your uncle in the ruined keep, and observed the 
familiar features of the spirit of your great grandfather at 
his post. But nothing beyond these trifles, my Selina. 
Nothing more, love, absolutely nothing." 

The young man turned his dark liquid orbs fondly upon 
the ingenuous face of his betrothed. 

" My own Edgardo ! and you still love me ? You still 
would marry me in spite of this dark mystery which sur 
rounds me ? In spite of the fatal history of my race 1 In. 
spite of the ominous predictions of my aged nurse ? " 

" I would, Selina ; " and the young man passed his arm 
around her yielding waist. The two lovers gazed at each 
other's faces in unspeakable bliss. Suddenly Selina started. 

" Leave me, Edgardo ! leave me ! A mysterious some 
thing a fatal misgiving a dark ambiguity an equivocal 
mistrust oppresses me. I would be alone ! " 

The young man arose, and cast a loving glance on the 
lady. " Then we will be married on the seventeenth." 

"The seventeenth," repeated Selina, with a mysterious 
shudder. 

They embraced and parted. As the clatter of hoofs in 
the courtyard died away, the Lady Selina sank into the chair 
she had just quitted. 

" The seventeenth," she repeated slowly, with the same fatal 
shudder. "Ah ! what if he should know that I have another 
husband living? Dare I reveal to him that I have two 
legitimate and three natural children ? Dare I repeat to 
him the history of my youth ? Dare I confess that at the age 
of seven I poisoned my sister, by putting verdigris in her 
cream tarts that I threw my cousin from a swing at the 
age of twelve? That the lady's-maid who incurred the 



SELINA SEDILIA. 167 

displeasure of my girlhood now lies at the bottom of the 
horsepond 1 No ! no ! he is too pure too good too inno 
cent, to hear such improper conversation ! " and her whole 
body writhed as she rocked to and fro in a paroxysm of 
grief. 

But she was soon calm. Rising to her feet, she opened a 
secret panel in the wall, and revealed a slow-match ready 
for lighting. 

" This match," said the Lady Selina, " is connected with a 
mine beneath the western tower, where my three children 
are confined ; another branch of it lies under the parish 
church, where the record of my first marriage is kept. I 
have only to light this match and the whole of my past life 
is swept away ! She approached the match with a lighted 
candle. 

But a hand was laid upon her arm, and with a shriek the 
Lady Selina fell on her knees before the spectre of Sir Guy. 



CHAPTER II. 

"FoBBEAR, Selina," said the phantom in a hollow voice. 

"Why should I forbear?" responded Selina haughtily, as 
she recovered her courage. " You know the secret of our 
race ? " 

" I do. Understand me I do not object to the eccen 
tricities of your youth. I know the fearful fate which, pur 
suing you, led you to poison your sister and drown your 
lady's-maid. I know the awful doom which I have brought 
upon this house ! But if you make away with these chil 
dren " 

" Well ? " said the Lady Selina hastily. 

" They will haunt jon ! " 

" Well, I fear them not," said Selina, drawing her superb 
figure to its full height. 

" But what place are they to haunt ? The ruin is sacred 



1 63 SELINA S ED ILIA. 

to your uncle's spirit. Your aunt monopolises ths park, and, 
I must be allowed to state, not unfrequently trespasses upon 
the grounds of others. The horsepond is frequented by the 
spirit of your maid, and your murdered sister walks these 
corridors. To be plain, there is no room at Sloperton 
Grange for another ghost. I cannot have them in my room 
for you know I don't like children. Think of this, rash 
girl, and forbear ! Would you, Selina," said the phantom 
mournfully, " would you force your great grandfather's spirit 
to take lodgings elsewhere t " 

Lady Selina's hand trembled j the lighted candle fell from 
her nerveless fingers. 

" No," she cried passionately, " never ! " and fell fainting 
to the floor. 



CHAPTER III. 

EDGARDO galloped rapidly towards Sloperton. When the 
outline of the Grange had faded away in the darkness, he 
reined his magnificent steed beside the ruins of Guy's Keep. 

" It wants but a few minutes of the hour," he said, consult 
ing his watch by the light of the moon. " He dared not 
break his word. He will come." He paused, and peered 
anxiously into the darkness. " But come what may, she is 
mine," he continued, as his thoughts reverted fondly to the 
fair lady he had quitted. " Yet if she knew all. If she 
knew that I were a disgraced and ruined man a felon and 
an outcast. If she knew that at the age of fourteen I 
murdered my Latin tutor and forged my uncle's will. If 
she knew that I had three wives already, and that the fourth 
victim of misplaced confidence and my unfortunate pecu 
liarity is expected to be at Sloperton by to-night's train with 
her baby. But no ; she must not know it. Constance must 
not arrive. Burke the Slogger must attend to that. 

"Ha! here he is! Well?" 



SELINA SEDILIA. 169 

These words were addressed to a ruffian in a slouched hat, 
who suddenly appeared from Guy's Keep. 

" I be's here, nieaster," said the villain, with a disgrace 
fully low accent and complete disregard of grammatical rules. 

"It is well. Listen : I'm in possession of facts that will 
send you to the gallows. I know of the murder of Bill 
Smith era, the robbery of the toll-gate keeper, and the making 
away of the youngest daughter of Sir [Reginald de Walton. 
A word from me, and the officers of justice are on your 
track." 

Burke the Slogger trembled. 

" Hark ye ! serve my purpose, and I may yet save you. 
( The 5.30 train from Clapham will be due at Sloperton at 
9.25. It must not arrive !" 

The villain's eyes sparkled as he nodded at Edgardo. 

" Enough you understand ; leave me 1 " 



CHAPTER IV. 

ABOUT half a mile from Sloperton Station the South Clapham 
and Medway line crossed a bridge over Sloperton-on-Trent. 
As the shades of evening were closing, a man in a slouched 
hat might have been seen carrying a saw and axe under his 
arm, hanging about the bridge. From time to time he dis 
appeared in the shadow of its abutments, but the sound of 
a saw and axe still betrayed his vicinity. At exactly nine 
o'clock he reappeared, and crossing to the Sloperton side, 
rested his shoulder against the abutment and gave a shove. 
The bridge swayed a moment, and then fell with a splash 
into the water, leaving a space of one hundred feet between 
the two banks. This done, Burke the Slogger for it was he 
with a fiendish chuckle seated himself on the divided rail 
way track and awaited the coming of the train. 

A shriek from the woods announced its approach. For 
an instant Burke the Slogger saw the glaring of a red lamp. 



i;o SELINA SEDILIA. 

The ground trembled. The train was going with fearful 
rapidity. Another second and it had reached the bank. 
Burke the Slogger uttered a fiendish laugh. But the next 
moment the train leaped across the chasm, striking the rails 
exactly even, and, dashing out the life of Burke the Slogger, 
sped away to Sloperton. 

The first object that greeted Edgardo as he rode up to the 
station on the arrival of the train, was the body of Burke 
the Slogger hanging on the cow-catcher; the second was the 
the face of his deserted wife looking from the windows of a 
second-class carriage. 

CHAPTER V. 

A NAMELESS terror seemed to have taken possession of Cla 
rissa, Lady Selina's maid, as she rushed into the presence of 
her mistress. 

" Oh, my lady, such news !" 

" Explain yourself," said her mistress, rising. 

"An accident has happened on the railway, and a man 
has been killed." 

" What not Edgardo ! " almost screamed Selina. 

" No, Burke the Slogger, your ladyship ! " 

"My first husband!" said Lady Selina, sinking on her 
knees. "Just Heaven, I thank thee !" 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE morning of the seventeenth dawned brightly over Slo 
perton. " A fine day for the wedding," said the sexton to 
Swipes, the butler of Sloperton Grange. The aged retainer 
shook his head sadly. "Alas! there's no trusting in signs !" 
he continued. " Seventy-five years ago, on a day like this, 
my young mistress " but he was cut short by the appear 
ance of a stranger. 



SELINA SEDILIA. 171 

" I would see Sir Edgardo," said the new-comer im 
patiently. 

" The bridegroom, who, with the rest of the wedding trail s 
was about stepping into the carriage to proceed to the parish 
church, drew the stranger aside. 

" It's done !" said the stranger, in a hoarse whisper. 

" Ah ! and you buried her 1 " 

"With the others!" 

"Enough. No more at present. Meet me after the 
ceremony, and you shall have your reward." 

The stranger shuffled away, and Edgardo returned to his 
bride. " A trifling matter of business I had forgotten, my 
dear Selina ; let us proceed," and the young man pressed the 
timid hand of his blushing bride as he handed her into the 
carriage. The cavalcade rode out of the courtyard. At the 
same moment, the deep bell on Guy's Keep tolled ominously. 

CHAPTER VII. 

SCARCELY had the wedding train left the Grange than Alice 
Sedilia, youngest daughter of Lady Selina, made her escape 
from the western tower, owing to a lack of watchfulness on 
the part of Clarissa. The innocent child, freed from re 
straint, rambled through the lonely corridors, and finally, 
opening a door, found herself in her mother's boudoir For 
some time she amused herself by examining the various orna 
ments and elegant trifles with which it was filled. Then, in 
pursuance of a childish freak, she dressed herself in her 
mother's laces and ribbons. In this occupation she chanced 
to touch a peg which proved to be a spring that opened a 
secret panel in the wall. Alice uttered a cry of delight as 
she noticed what, to her childish fancy, appeared to be the 
slow-match of a firework. Taking a lucifer match in her 
hand she approached the fuse. She hesitated a moment, 
What would her mother and her nurse say ? 



SELINA SEDILIA. 

Suddenly the ringing of the chimes of Sloperton parish 
church met her ear. Alice knew that the sound signified 
tha.t the marriage party had entered the church, and that she 
was secured from interruption. With a childish smile upon 
her lips, Alice Sedilia touched off the slow-match. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AT exactly two o'clock on the seventeenth, Eupert Sedelia, 
who had just returned from India, was thoughtfully descend 
ing the hill towards Sloperton Manor. " If I can prove that 
my aunt, Lady Selina, was married before my father died, 
I can establish my claim to Sloperton Grange," he uttered, 
half aloud. He paused, for a sudden trembling of the earth 
beneath his feet, and a terrific explosion, as of a park of 
artillery, arrested his progress. At the same moment he 
beheld a dense cloud of smoke envelop the churchyard of 
Sloperton, and the western tower of the Grange seemed to be 
lifted bodily from its foundation. The air seemed filled with 
falling fragments, and two dark objects struck the earth close 
at his feet. Rupert picked them up. One seemed to be a 
heavy volume bound in brass. 

A cry burst from his lips. 

" The Parish Records." He opened the volume hastily. 
It contained the marriage of Lady Selina to " Burke the 
Slogger." 

The second object proved to be a piece of parchment. He 
tore it open with trembling fingers. It was the missing will 
of Sir James Sedilia I 

CHAPTER IX. 

WHEN the bells again rang on the new parish church of 
Sloperton it was for the marriage of Sir Rupert Sedilia and 
his cousin, the only remaining members of the family. 



FANTINE. 173 

Five more ghosts were added to the supernatural popula 
tion of Sloperton Grange. Perhaps this was the reason why 
Sir Rupert sold the property shortly afterward, and that for 
many years a dark shadow seemed to hang over the ruins of 
Sloperton Grange. 



FANTINE. 

AFTER THE FRENCH OF VICTOR HUGO. 

:-o-: 
PROLOGUE. 

As long as there shall exist three paradoxes a moral Frenchman, a 
religious Atheist, and a believing sceptic so long, in fact, as book 
sellers shall wait say twenty-five years for a new gospel; so long as 
paper shall remain cheap and ink three sous a bottle, I have no hesita 
tion in saying that such books as these are not utterly profitless. 

VICTOR HUGO. 



'"PO be good is to be queer. What is a good man? 
Bishop Myriel. 

My friend, you will possibly object to this. You will say 
you know what a good man is. Perhaps you will say your 
clergyman is a good man, for instance. 

Bah ! you are mistaken j you are an Englishman, and an 
Englishman is a beast. 

Englishmen think they are moral when they are only 
serious. These Englishmen also wear ill-shaped hats, and 
dress horribly ! 

Bah ! they are canaille. 

Still, Bishop Myriel was a good man quite as good as 
you. Better than you, in fact. 

One day M. Myriel was in Paris. This angel used to 
walk about the streets like any other man. He was not 



174 FANTINE. 

proud, though fine-looking. Well, three gamins de Pans 
called him bad names. Says one : 

" -A h, mon Dieu I there goes a priest ; look out for your 
eggs and chickens ! " 

What did this good man do 1 He called to them kindly : 

" My children," said he, " this is clearly not your fault. I 
recognise in this insult and irreverence only the fault of 
your immediate progenitors. Let us pray for your immediate 
progenitors." 

They knelt down and prayed for their immediate pro 
genitors. 

The effect was touching. 

The bishop looked calmly around : 

" On reflection," said he, gravely, " I was mistaken ; this 
is clearly the fault of Society. Let us pray for Society." 

They knelt down and prayed for Society. 

The effect was sublimer yet. What do you think of that ? 
You, I mean. 

Everybody remembers the story of the Bishop and Mother 
Nez Retrousse. Old Mother Nez RetroussS sold asparagus. 
She was poor ; there's a great deal of meaning in that word, 
my friend. Some people say " poor but honest ; " I say, 
Bah! 

Bishop Myriel bought six bunches of asparagus. This 
good man had one charming failing ; he was fond of 
asparagus. He gave her a franc and received three sous 
change. 

The sous were bad counterfeit. What did this good 
Bishop do ] He said : " I should not have taken change 
from a poor woman." 

Then afterwards to his housekeeper : " Never take change 
from a poor woman." 

" Then he added to himself: " For the sous will probably 
be bad." 



FANTINE. 175 



ir. 

WHEN a man commits a crime Society claps him in prison. 
A prison is one of the worst hotels imaginable. The people 
there are low and vulgar. The butter is bad, the coffee is 
green. Ah, it is horrible ! 

In prison, as in a bad hotel, a man soon loses, not only his 
morals, but what is much worse to a Frenchman, his sense of 
refinement and delicacy. 

Jean Valjean came from prison with confused notions of 
society. He forgot the modern peculiarities of hospitality. 
So he walked off with the Bishop's candlesticks. 

Let us consider : candlesticks were stolen \ that was 
evident. Society put Jean Valjean in prison ; that was 
evident, too. In prison, Society took away his refinement ; 
that is evident, likewise. 

Who is Society 1 

You and I are Society. 

My friend, you and I stole those candlesticks I 

in. 

THE Bishop thought so, too. He meditated profoundly 
for six days. On the morning of the seventh he went to the 
Prefecture of Police. 

He said: "Monsieur, have me arrested. I have stolen 
candlesticks." 

The official was governed by the law of Society, and 
refused. 

What did this Bishop do ? 

He had a charming ball and chain made, affixed to his 
leg, and wore it the rest of his life. 

This is a fact ! 

iv. 

LOVE is a mystery. 

A little friend of mine clown in the country, at Auvergne, 



176 FANTINE. 

said to me one day : ''Victor, Love is the world it contains 
everything." 

She was only sixteen, this sharp-witted little girl, and a 
beautiful blonde. She thought everything of me. 

Fantine was one of those women who do wrong in the 
most virtuous and touching manner. This is a peculiarity 
of French grisettes. 

You are an Englishman, and you don't understand. 
Learn, my friend, learn. Come to Paris and improve your 
morals 

Fantine was the soul of modesty. She always wore high- 
neck dresses. High-neck dresses are a sign of modesty. 

Fantine loved Thomolyes. Why 1 My God ! What are 
you to do 1 It was the fault of her parents, and she hadn't 
any. How shall you teach her? You must teach the 
parent if you wish to educate the child. How would you 
become virtuous 1 

Teach your grandmother ! 

v. 

WHEN Thomolyes ran away from Fantine which was 
done in a charming, gentlemanly manner Fantine became 
convinced that a rigid sense of propriety might look upon 
her conduct as immoral. She was a creature of sensitiveness 
and her eyes were opened. 

She was virtuous still, and resolved to break off the liaison 
at once. 

So she put up her wardrobe and baby in a bundle. Child 
as she was, she loved them both. Then left Paris. 



VI. 

FANTINE'S native place had changed. 
M. Madeline an angel, and inventor of jet-work, had 
been teaching the villagers how to make spurious jet i 



FANTINE. 177 

This is a progressive age. Those Americans children of 
the West they make nutmegs out of wood. 

I, myself, have seen hams made of pine, in the wigwams 
of those children of the forest. 

But civilisation has acquired deception too. Society is 
made up of deception. Even the best French society. 

Still there was one sincere episode. 

Eh? 

The French Revolution ! 

VII. 

M. MADELINE was, if anything, better than Myriel. 

M. Myriel was a saint. M. Madeline a good man. 

M. Myriel was dead. M. Madeline was living. 

That made all the difference. 

M. Madeline made virtue profitable. I have seen it 
written : 

"Be virtuous and you will be happy." 

"Where did I see this written] In the modern Bible] 
No. In the Koran ? No. In Rousseau ? No. Diderot ? 
No. Where then? 

In a copy book. 

VIII. 

M. MADELINE was M. le Mairo. 

This is how it came about. 

For a long time he refused the honour. One day an old 
woman, standing on the steps, said : 

" Bah, a good mayor is a good thing. 

" You are a good thing. 

" Be a good mayor." 

This woman was a rhetorician. She understood inductive 
ratiocination. 

IX. 

WHEN this good M. Madeline, whom the reader will 
derceive must have been a former convict, and a very bad 

N 



178 TERENCE DEUVILLE. 

man gave himself up to justice as the real Jean Valjean ; 
about this same time, Fantine was turned away from the 
manufactory, and met with a number of losses from society. 
Society attacked her, and this is what she lost : 

First her lover. 

Then her child. 

Then her place. 

Then her hair. 

Then her teeth. 

Then her liberty. 

Then her life. 

What do you think of society after that 1 I tell you the 
present social system is a humbug. 



THIS is necessarily the end of Fantine. 

There are other things that will be stated in other volumes 
to follow. Don't be alarmed ; there are plenty of miserable 
people left. 

Au revoir my friend. 



TERENCE DEUVILLE. 

BY CH-L-S L-V-R. 
CHAPTER I. 

MY HOME. 

'J'HE little village of Pilwiddle is one of the smallest 
and obscurest hamlets on the western coast of Ireland. 
On, a lofty crag, overlooking the hoarse Atlantic, stands 
" Deuville's Shot Tower" a corruption by the peasantry of 
D 'Eauvillds Chdteau, so called from my great-grandfather, 
Phelim St. Kemy D'Euville, who assumed the name and 



TERENCE DEUVILLE. 179 

title of a French heiress with whom he ran away. To this 
{act my familiar knowledge and excellent pronunciation of 
the French language may be attributed, as well as many of 
the events which covered my after life. 

The Deuvilles were always passionately fond of field 
sports. At the age of four, I was already the boldest rider 
and the best shot in the country. When only eight, I won 
the St. Remy Cup at the Pilwiddle races riding my 
favourite bloodinare Hellfire. As I approached the stand 
amidst the plaudits of the assembled multitude, and cries 
of " Thrue for ye, Masther Terence," and " Oh, but it's a 
Diuville ! " there was a slight stir among the gentry, who 
surrounded the Lord Lieutenant, and other titled personages 
whom the race had attracted thither. " How young he is 
a mere child ; and yet how noble looking," said a sweet, 
low voice, which thrilled my soul. 

I looked up and met the full liquid orbs of the Hon. 
Blanche Fitzroy Sackville, youngest daughter of the Lord 
Lieutenant. She blushed deeply. I turned pale and almost 
fainted. But the cold, sneering tones of a masculine voico 
sent the blood back again into my youthful cheek. 

" Very likely the ragged scion of one of these banditti 
Irish gentry, who has taken naturally to 'the road.' He 
should be at school though I warrant me his knowledge 
of Terence will not extend beyond his own name," said 
Lord Henry Somerset, aide-de-camp to the Lord Lieu 
tenant. 

A moment and I was perfectly calm, though cold as ice. 
Dismounting, and stepping to the side of the speaker, I said 
in a low, firm voice : 

" Had your Lordship read Terence more carefully, you 
would have learned that banditti are sometimes proficient in 
other arts beside horsemanship," and I touched his holster 
significantly with my hand. I had not read Terence my 
self, but with the skilful audacity of my race I calculated 



i8o TERENCE DEUVILLE. 

that a vague allusion, coupled with a threat, would em 
barrass him. It did. 

"Ah what mean you?" he said, white with rage. 

"Enough, we are observed," I replied; "Father Tom 
will wait on you this evening ; and to-morrow morning, 
my lord, in the glen below Pilwiddle we will meet 
again." 

"Father Tom glen!" ejaculated the Englishman, with 
genuine surprise. " What ? do priests carry challenges and 
act as seconds in your infernal country ?' 

"Yes!" I answered scornfully, "why should they not 1 
Their services are more often necessary than those of a 
surgeon," I added significantly, turning away. 

The party slowly rode off, with the exception of the Hon. 
Blanche Sackville, who lingered for a moment behind. In 
an instant I was at her side. Bending her blushing face 
over the neck of her white filly, she said hurriedly : 

" "Words have passed between Lord Somerset and your 
self. You are about to fight. Don't deny it but hear me. 
You will meet him I know your skill of weapons. He 
will be at your mercy. I entreat you to spare his life ! " 

I hesitated. "Never!" I cried passionately; "he has 
insulted a Deuville ! " 

" Terence," she whispered, " Terence -for my sake?" 

The blood rushed to my cheeks at the loving epithets, 
and her eyes sought the ground in bashful confusion. 

" You love him then !" I cried, bitterly. 

" No, no/' she said, agitatedly, " no, you do me wrong. 
I I cannot explain myself. My father! the Lady 
Dowager Sackville the estate of Sackville the borough 
my uncle, Fitzroy Somerset. Ah 1 what am I saying 1 
Forgive me. Oh, Terence," she said, as her beautiful head 
sank on my shoulder, " you know not what I suffer ! " 

I seized her hand and covered it with passionate kisses. 
But the high-bred English girl, recovering something of her 



TERENCE DEUVILLE. 181 

former hauteur, said hastily, " Leave me, leave me, but 
promise ! " 

" I promise/' I replied, enthusiastically : " I will spare his 
life !" 

" Thanks, Terence thanks !" and disengaging her hand 
from my lips she rode rapidly away. 

The next morning, the Hon. Capt. Henry Somerset and 
myself exchanged nineteen shots in the glen, and at each 
fire I shot away a button from his uniform. As my last 
bullet shot off the last button from his sleeve, I remarked 
quietly, " You seem now, my lord, to be almost as ragged as 
the gentry you sneered at," and rode haughtily away. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE FIGHTING FIFTY-SIXTH. 

WHEN I was nineteen years old my father sold the Chdteau 
d 'Euville and purchased my commission in the " Fifty-sixth" 
with the proceeds. " I say, Deuville," said young McSpad- 
den, a boy-faced ensign, who had just joined, "you'll repre 
sent the estate in the Army, if you won't in the House." 
Poor fellow, he paid for his meaningless joke with his life, 
for I shot him through the heart the next morning. " You're 
a good fellow, Deuville," said the poor boy, faintly, as I 
knelt beside him: "good-bye!" For the first time since 
my grandfather's death I wept. I could not help thinking 
that I would have been a better man if Blanche but why 
proceed 1 Was she not now in Florence the belle of the 
English Embassy 1 

But Napoleon had returned from Elba. Europe was in 
a blaze of excitement. The Allies were preparing to resist 
the Man of Destiny. We were ordered from Gibraltar 
home, and were soon again en route for Brussels. I did not 
regret that I was to be p.\iced in active service. I was am 
bitious, and longed for an opportunity to distinguish myself. 



1 82 TERENCE DEUVILLE. 

My garrison life in Gibraltar had been monotonous and dull. 
I had killed five men in duel, and had an affair with the 
colonel of my regiment, who handsomely apologised before 
the matter assumed a serious aspect. I had been twice in 
love. Yet these were but boyish freaks and follies. I 
wished to be a man. 

The time soon came the morning of Waterloo. But 
why describe that momentous battle, on which the fate of 
the entire world was hanging ? Twice were the Fifty-sixth 
surrounded by French cuirassiers, and twice did we mow 
them down by our fire. I had seven horses shot under me, 
and was mounting the eighth, when an orderly rode up 
hastily, touched his cap, and handing me a despatch, gal 
loped rapidly away. 

I opened it hurriedly and read : 

" LET PlCTON ADVANCE IMMEDIATELY ON THE RIGHT." 

I saw it all at a glance. I had been mistaken for a general 
officer. But what was to be done ? Picton's division was 
two miles away, only accessible through a heavy cross fire 
of artillery and musketry. But my mind was made up. 

In an instant I was engaged with an entire squadron of 
cavalry, who endeavoured to surround me. Cutting my way 
through them, I advanced boldly upon a battery and sabred 
the gunners before they could bring their pieces to bear. 
Looking around, I saw that I had in fact penetrated the 
French centre. Before I was well aware of the locality, I 
was hailed by a sharp voice in French : 

" Come here, sir ! " 

I obeyed, and advanced to the side of a little man in a 
cocked hat. 

Has Grouchy come ? " 

" Not yet, sire," I replied for it was the Emperor. 

" Ha ! " he said suddenly, bending his piercing eyes on 
my uniform ; " a prisoner ? " 

"Kb, sire," I replied proudly. 



TERENCE DEUVILLE. 183 

"A spy?" 

1 placed my hand upon my sword, hut a gesture from the 
Emperor made me forbear." 

" You arc a brave man," he said. 

I took my snuff-box from my pocket, and taking a pinch, 
replied by handing it, with a bow, to the Emperor. 

His quick eye caught the cipher on the lid. 

" What ! a Deuville ! " Ha ! this accounts for the purity 
of your accent. Any relation to Roderick d'Euvillc ? " 

" My father, sire 1 " 

"He was my schoolfellow at the Ecole Poly technique. 
Embrace me ! " and the Emperor fell upon my neck in the 
presence of his entire staff. Then recovering himself, lie 
gently placed in my hand his own magnificent snuff-box, in 
exchange for mine, and hanging upon my breast the cross of 
the Legion of Honour which he took from his own, he bade 
one of his marshals conduct me back to my regiment. 

I was so intoxicated with the honour of which I had been 
the recipient, that on reaching our lines I uttered a shout of 
joy and put spurs to my horse. The intelligent animal 
seemed to sympathise with my feelings, and fairly flew over 
the ground. On a rising eminence a few yards before me 
stood a grey-haired officer, surrounded by his staff. I don't 
know what possessed me, but putting spurs to my horse, I 
rode at him boldly, and with one bound, cleared him, horse 
and all. A shout of indignation arose from the assembled 
staff. I wheeled suddenly, with the intention of apologising, 
but my mare misunderstood me, and again dashing forward, 
once more vaulted over the head of the officer, this time 
unfortunately uncovering him by a vicious kick of her hoof. 
" Seize him ! " roared the entire army. I was seized. As 
the soldiers led me away, I asked the name of the grey- 
haired officer. " That why that's the DUKE OP WELLING 
TON!" 

I fainted, 



1 84 THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 

For six months I had brain fever. During my illness 
the grapeshot were extracted from my body which I had 
unconsciously received during the battle. When I opened 
my eyes I met the sweet glance of a Sister of Mercy. 

" Blanche ! " I stammered feebly. 

" The same," she replied. 

"You here?" 

" Yes, dear ; but hush ! It's a long story. You, see, 
dear Terence, your grandfather married my great-aim t'& 
sister, and your father again married my grandmother's niece, 
who dying without a will, was, according to the French 
law " 

" But I do not comprehend," I said. 

"Of course not," said Blanche, with her old sweet smile; 
" you've had brain fever ; so go to sleep." 

I understood, however, that Blanche loved me ; and I am 
now dear, dear reader, Sir Terence Sackville, K.C.B., and 
Lady Blanche is Lady Sackville. 



THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 

BY SIR ED-D L-TT-N B-LW-R. 

BOOK I. 
THE PROMPTINGS OF THE IDEAL. 

T T was noon. Sir Edward had stepped from his brougham 
and was proceeding on foot down the Strand. He was 
dressed with his usual faultless taste, but in alighting from 
his vehicle his foot had slipped, and a small round disc of 
conglomerated soil, which instantly appeared on his high 
arched instep, marred the harmonious glitter of his boots. 
Sir Edward was fastidious. Casting his eyes around, at a 
little distance he perceived the stand of a youthful boot 
black. Thither he sauntered, and carelessly placing his foot 



THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 185 

on the low stool, he waited the application of the polisher's 
arfc. "'Tis true," said Sir Edward to himself, yet half 
aloud, " the contact of the Foul and the Disgusting mars the 
general effect of the Shiny and the Beautiful and yet, why 
am I here ? I repeat it, calmly and deliberately why am 
I here ? Ha ! Boy ! " 

The Boy looked up his dark Italian eyes glanced intel 
ligently at the Philosopher, and, as with one hand he tossed 
back his glossy curls from his marble brow, and with the 
other he spread the equally glossy Day and Martin over the 
Baronet's boot, he answered in deep rich tones : " The Ideal 
is subjective to the Real. The exercise of apperception 
gives a distinctiveness to idiocracy, which is, however, sub 
ject to the limits of ME. You are an admirer of the 
Beautiful, sir. You wish your boots blacked. The Beau- 
ful is attainable by means of the Coin." 

"Ah," said Sir Edward thoughtfully, gazing upon the 
almost supernal beauty of the Child before him; "you speak 
well. You have read Kant" 

The Boy blushed deeply. He drew a copy of Kant from 
his bosom, but in his confusion several other volumes dropped 
from his bosom on the ground. The Baronet picked them up. 

" Ah ! " said the Philosopher, " what's this 1 Cicero's De 
Senectute, and at your age, too ? Martial's Epigrams, Caesar's 
Commentaries. What ! a classical scholar 1 " 

" E pluribus TJnum. Nux vomica. Nil desperandum. 
Nihil fit ! " said the Boy, enthusiastically. The Philosopher 
gazed at the Child. A strange presence seemed to trans 
fuse and possess him. Over the brow of the Boy glittered 
the pale nimbus of the Student. 

" Ah, and Schiller's Robbers, too 1 " queried the Philoso 
pher. 

" Das ist ausgespielt," said the Boy modestly. 

" Then you have read my translation of Schiller's Ballads?" 
continued the Baronet, with some show of interest. 



j 86 THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 

" I have, and infinitely prefer them to the original," said 
the Boy with intellectual warmth. " You hare shown how 
in Actual life we strive for a Goal we cannot reach ; how in 
the Ideal the Goal is attainable, and there effort is victory. 
You have given us the Antithesis which is a key to the 
Remainder, and constantly balances before us the conditions 
of the Actual and the privileges of the Ideal." 

" My very words," said the Baronet ; " wonderful, won 
derful !" and he gazed fondly at the Italian boy, who again 
resumed his menial employment. Alas ! the wings of the 
Ideal were folded. The Student had been absorbed in the 
Boy. 

But Sir Edward's boots were blacked, and he turned to 
depart. Placing his hand upon the clustering tendrils that 
surrounded the classic nob of the infant Italian, he said 
softly, like a strain of distant music : 

" Boy, you have done well. Love the Good. Protect the 
Innocent. Provide for The Indigent. Respect the Philo 
sopher." ..." Stay ! Can you tell me what is The True* 
The Beautiful, The Innocent, The Virtuous ?" 

" They are things that commence with a capital letter," 
said the Boy, promptly. 

" Enough ! Respect everything that commences with a 
capital letter $ Respect ME !" and dropping a halfpenny in 
the hand of the Boy, he departed. 

The Boy gazed fixedly at the coin. A frightful and 
instantaneous change overspread his features. His noble 
brow was corrugated with baser lines of calculation. His 
black eye, serpent-like, glittered with suppressed passion. 
Dropping upon his hands and feet, he crawled to the curb 
stone and hissed after the retreating form of the Baronet, the 
single word ; 

"Bilk!" 



THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 187 
BOOK II. 

IN THE WORLD. 

"ELEVEN years ago, said Sir Edward to himself, as his 
brougham slowly rolled him toward the Committee Room ; 
"just eleven years ago my natural son disappeared mys 
teriously. I have no doubt in the world but that this little 
bootblack is he. His mother died in Italy. He resembles 
his mother very much. Perhaps I ought to provide for him. 
Shall I disclose myself 1 No ! no ! Better he should taste 
the sweets of labour. Penury ennobles the mind and kindles 
the Love of the Beautiful. I will act to him, not like a 
Father, not like a Guardian, not like a Friend but like a 
Philosopher !" 

With these words, Sir Edward entered the Committee 
Room. His Secretary approached him. "Sir Edward, there 
are fears of a division in the House, and the Prime Minister 
has sent for you." 

" I will be there," said Sir Edward, as he placed his hand 
on his chest and uttered a hollow cough ! 

No one who heard the Baronet that night, in his sarcastic 
and withering speech on the Drainage and Sewerage Bill, 
would have recognised the lover of the Ideal and the Philo 
sopher of the Beautiful. No one who listened to his eloquence 
would have dreamed of the Spartan resolution this iron man 
had taken in regard to the Lost Boy his own beloved 
Lionel! None ! 

"A fine speech from Sir Edward to-night," said Lord 
Billingsgate, as, arm-in-arm with the Premier, he entered his 
carriage. 

" Yes ! but how dreadfully he coughs !" 
" Exactly. Dr. Bolus says his lungs are entirely gone ; he 
breathes solely by an effort of will, and altogether independent 
of pulmonary assistance." 

" How strange !" and the carriage rolled away. 



1 88 THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD. 
BOOK III. 

THE DWELLER OF THE THRESHOLD 

" ADON AT, appear ! appear I" 

And as the Seer spoke, the awful Presence glided out of 
Nothingness, and sat, sphinxlike, at the feet of the Alchemist. 

" I am come !" said the Thing. 

"You should say <I have come' it's better grammar," 
said the Boy-Neophyte, thoughtfully accenting the substituted 
expression. 

" Hush, rash Boy," said the Seer sternly. " Would you 
oppose your feeble knowledge to the infinite intelligence of 
the Unmistakable ? A word, and you are lost for ever." 

The Boy breathed a silent prayer, and handing a sealed 
package to the Seer, begged him to hand it to his father in 
case of his premature decease. 

"You have sent for me," hissed the Presence. " Behold 
me, Apokatharticon the Unpronounceable. In me all 
things exist which are not already co-existent. I am the 
Unattainable, the Intangible, the Cause, and the Effect. In 
me observe the Brahma of Mr. Emerson ; not only Brahma 
himself, but also the sacred musical composition rehearsed by 
the faithful Hindoo. I am the real Gyges. None others are 
genuine." 

And the veiled Son of the Starbearn laid himself loosely 
about the room, and permeated Space generally. 

" Unfathomable Mystery," said the Eosicrucian ki a low, 
sweet voice. " Brave Child with the Vitreous Optic ! Thou 
who pervadest all things and rubbest against us without 
abrasion of the cuticle. I command thee, speak !" 

And the misty, intangible, indefinite Presence spoke. 



THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 189 

BOOK IV. 

MYSELF. 

AFTER the events related in the last chapter, the reader will 
perceive that nothing was easier than to reconcile Sir Edward 
to his son Lionel, nor to resuscitate the beautiful Italian girl, 
who, it appears, was not dead, and to cause Sir Edward to 
marry his first and boyish love whom he had deserted. They 
were married in St. George's, Hanover Square. As the bridal 
party stood before the altar, Sir Edward, with a sweet, sad 
imile, said, in quite his old manner : 

" The Sublime and Beautiful are the Real ; the only Ideal 
is the Ridiculous and Homely. Let us always remember 
this. Let us through life endeavour to personify the virtues, 
and always begin 'em with a capital letter. Let us, whenever 
we can find an opportunity, deliver our sentiments in the 
form of roundhand copies. Respect the Aged. Eschew 
Vulgarity. Admire Ourselves. Regard the Novelist," 



THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 

BY AL-X-D-R D-M-S. 

CHAPTER I. 

SHOWING THE QUALITY OF THE CUSTOMERS OF THE INNKEEPER 
OF PROVINS. 

HP "WENT Y years after, the gigantic innkeeper of Proving 
stood looking at a cloud of dust on the highway. 

This cloud of dust betokened the approach of a traveller. 
Travellers had been rare that season on the highway between 
Paris and Proving. 

The heart of the innkeeper rejoiced. Turning to Dame 
Perigord, his wife, he said, stroking his white apron : 

"St. Denis ! make haste and spread the cloth. Add a 



190 THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 

bottle of Charlevoix to the table. This traveller, who ridea 
so fast, by his pace must be a Monseigneur." 

Truly the traveller, clad in the uniform of a musketeer, 
as he drew up to the door of the hostelry, did not seem to 
have spared his horse. Throwing his reins to the landlord, 
he leaped lightly to the ground. He was a young man of 
four and twenty, and spoke with a slight Gascon accent. 

" I am hungry. Morbleu ! I wish to dine ! " 

The gigantic innkeeper bowed and led the way to a neat 
apartment, where a table stood covered with tempting viands. 
The musketeer at once set to work. Fowls, fish, and pates 
disappeared before him. Perigord sighed as he witnessed 
the devastation. Only once the stranger paused. 

"Wine!" 

Perigord brought wine. The stranger drank a dozen 
bottles. Finally he rose to depart. Turning to the ex 
pectant landlord, he said : 

" Charge it." 

" To whom, your highness ? " said Perigord, anxiously. 

To his Eminence ! " 

" Mazarin ! " ejaculated the innkeeper. 

" The same. Bring me my horse," and the musketeer, 
remounting his favourite animal, rode away. 

The innkeeper slowly turned back into the inn. Scarcely 
had he reached the courtyard, before the clatter of hoofs 
again called him to the doorway. A musketeer of a light 
and graceful figure rode up. 

" Parlleu, my dear Perigord, I am famishing. What have 
you got for dinner 1 " 

"Venison, capons, larks and pigeons, your excellency," 
replied the obsequious landlord, bowing to the ground. 

" Enough ! " The young musketeer dismounted and 
entered the inn. Seating himself at the table replenished 
by the careful Perigord, he speedily swept it as clean as the 
first comer. 



THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 191 

" Some wine, my brave Perigord," said the graceful young 
musketeer, as soon as he could find utterance. 

Perigord brought three dozen of Charlevoix. The young 
man emptied them almost at a draught. 

" By-by," Perigord," he said lightly, waving his hand, as, 
preceding the astonished landlord, he slowly withdrew. 

" But, your highness the bill," said the astounded Peri 
gord. 

" Ah, the bill. Charge it ! " 

" To whom 1 " 

" The Queen ! " 

< What, Madam?" 

" The same. Adieu, my good Perigord," and the graceful 
stranger rode away. An interval of quiet succeeded, in 
which the inkeeper gazed woefully at his wife. Suddenly he 
was startled by a clatter of hoofs, and an aristocratic figure 
stood in the doorway. 

"Ah," said the courtier good-naturedly. "What, do 
my eyes deceive me ? No, it is the festive and luxurious 
Perigord. Perigord, listen. I famish. I languish I would 
dine." 

The innkeeper again covered the table with viands. 
Again it was swept clean as the fields of Egypt before the 
miraculous swarm of locusts. The stranger looked up. 

" Bring me another fowl, my Perigord." 

* Imposible, your excellency, the larder is stripped clean." 

" Another flitch of bacon, then." 

" Impossible, your highness there is no more." 

"Well, then, wine!" 

The landlord brought one hundred and forty-four bottles. 
The courtier drank them all. 

" One may drink if one cannot eat," said the aristocratic 
stranger, good-humouredly. 

The innkeeper shuddered. 

The guest rose to depart. The innkeeper came slowly for- 



192 THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 

ward with his bill, to which he had covertly added the losses 
which he had suffered from the previous strangers. 

"Ah ! the bill charge it." 

" Charge it ! to whom 1 " 

" To the King," said the guest. 

What ! his Majesty ? " 

" Certainly. Farewell, Perigord." 

The innkeeper groaned. Then he went out and took dowu 
his sign. Then remarked to his wife : 

" I am a plain man, and don't understand politics. It 
seems, however, that the country is in a troubled state. Be 
tween his Eminence the Cardinal, his Majesty the King, and 
her Majesty the Queen, I am a ruined man." 

" Stay," said Dame Perigord, " I have an idea." 

" And that is " 

" Become yourself a musketeer." 



CHAPTER II. 

THE COMBAT. 

ON leaving Provins the first musketeer proceeded to 
Nangis, where he was reinforced bf thirty- three followers. 
The second musketeer, arriving at Nangis at the same 
moment, placed himself at the head of thirty-three more. 
The third guest of the Landlord of Provins arrived at 
JSTangis in time to assemble together thirty-three other 
mustketeers. 

The first stranger led the troops of his Eminence. 

The second led the troops of the Queen. 

The third led the troops of the King. 

The fight commenced. It raged terribly for seven hours. 
The first musketeer killed thirty of the Queen's troops. The 
second musketeer killed thirty of the King's troops. The 
third musketeer killed thirty of his Eminence's troops. 



THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 193 

By this time it will be perceived the number of muske 
teers had been narrowed down to four on each side. 

Naturally the three principal warriors approached each 
other. 

They simultaneously uttered a cry : 

"Aramis!" 

" Athos ! " 

" D'Artagnan ! " 

They fell into each other's arms. 

" And it seems that we are fighting against each other, 
my children," said the Count de la Fere, mournfully. 

" How singular ! " exclaimed Aramis and D'Artagnan. 

" Let us stop this fratricidal warfare," said Athos. 

" We will ! " they exclaimed together. 

" But how to disband our followers ? " queried D'Artagnan. 

Aramis winked. They understood each other. " Let us 
cut 'em down ! " 

They cut 'em down. Aramis killed three. D'Artagnan 
three. Athos three. 

The friends again embraced. " How like old times ! " 
said Aramis. " How touching ! " exclaimed the serious and 
philosophic Count de la Fere. 

The galloping of hoofs caused them to withdraw from 
each other's embraces. A gigantic figure rapidly ap 
proached. 

" The innkeeper of Provins ! " they cried, drawing their 
swords. 

" Perigord, down with him ! " shouted D'Artagnau. 

" Stay," said Athos. 

The gigantic figure was beside them. He uttered a cry. 

" Athos, Aramis, D'Artagnan ! " 

" Porthos ! " exclaimed the astonished trio. 

" The same." They all fell in each other's arms. 

The Count de la Fere slowly raised his hand to Heaven. 
" Bless you ! Bless us, my children ! However different 



194 THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 

our opinions may be in regard to politics, we have but ono 
opinion in regard to our own merits. Where can you fisd a 
better man than Aramis ? " 

" Than Porthos ? " said Aramis. 

" Than D'Artagnan ? " said Porthos. 

" Than Athos ? " said D'Artagnan. 

CHAPTER III. 

SHOWING HOW THE KING OF FRANCE WENT UP A LADDER. 

THE King descended into the garden. Proceeding cautiously 
along the terraced walk, he came to the wall immediately 
below the windows of Madame. To the left were two win 
dows, concealed by vines. They opened into the apartments 
of La Valliere. 

The King sighed. 

" It is about nineteen feet to that window," said the King. 
" If I had a ladder about nineteen feet long, it would reach 
to that window. This is logic." 

Suddenly the King stumbled over something. " St. 
Denis !" he exclaimed, looking down. It was a ladder, just 
nineteen feet long. 

The King placed it against the wall. In so doing, he 
fixed the lower end upon the abdomen of a man who lay con 
cealed by the wall. The man did not utter a cry or wince. 
The King suspected nothing. He ascended the ladder. 

The ladder was too short. Louis the Grand was not a tall 
man. He was still two feet below the window. 

" Dear me ! " said the King. 

Suddenly the ladder was lifted two feet from below. This 
enabled the King to leap in the window. At the further 
end of the apartment stood a young girl, with red hair and a 
lame leg. She was trembling with emotion. 

"Louise!" 

"The King I* 



THE NINETY-NINE GUARDSMEN. 19$ 

" Ah, my God, mademoiselle. 5 ' 

"Ah, my God, sire." 

But a low knock at the door interrupted the lovers. The 
King uttered a cry of rage ; Louise one of despair. 

The door opened and D'Artagnan entered. 

" Good evening, sire," said the musketeer. 

The King touched a bell. Porthos appeared in the door 
way. 

" Good evening, sire." 

" Arrest M. D'Artagnan." 

Porthos looked at D'Artagnan, and did not move. 

The King almost turned purple with rage. He again 
touched the bell. Athos entered* 

" Count, arrest Porthos and D'Artagnan." 

The Count de la Fere glanced at Porthos and D'Artagnan, 
and smiled sweetly. 

" Sacre I Where is Ararnis 1 " said the King, violently; 

" Here, sire," and Aramis entered. 

" Arrest Athos, Porthos, and D'Artagnan.'* 

Aramis bowed, and folded his arms. 

" Arrest yourself ! " 

Aramis did not move. 

The King shuddered and turned pale. " Am I not King 
of France ? " 

" Assuredly, sire, but We are also severally Porthos, Ara 
mis, D'Artagnan, and Athos." 

"Ah!" said the King. 
*< Yes, sire." 

" What does this mean ? " 

" It means, your majesty," said Aramis, stepping forward, 
" that your conduct as a married man is highly improper. I 
am an Abbe, and I object to these improprieties. My friends 
here, D'Artagnan, Athos, and Porthos, pure-minded young 
men, are also terribly shocked. Observe, sire, how they 
blush 1" 

o 2 



I9<5 MUCK-A-MUCK. 

Athos, Porthos, and D'Artagnan blushed. 

" Ah," said the King, thoughtfully. " You teach me a 
lesson. You are devoted and noble young gentlemen, but 
your only weakness is your excessive modesty. From this 
moment I make you all Marshals and Dukes, with the excep 
tion of Aramis." 

" And me, sire f said Aramis. 

" You shall be an Archbishop !" 

The four friends looked up and then rushed into each 
other's arms. The King embraced Louise de la Valliere, by 
way of keeping them company. A pause ensued. At last 
Athos spoke : 

" Swear, my children, that next to yourselves, you will 
respect the King of France ; and remember that ' Forty 
years after ' we will meet again." 



MUCK-A-MUCK. 



AFTER COOPER. 
CHAPTER I. 

T T was towards the close of a bright October day. The 
last rays of the setting sun were reflected from one of those 
sylvan lakes peculiar to the Sierras of California. On the 
right the curling smoke of an Indian village rose between the 
columns of the lofty pines, while to the left the log cottage 
of Judge Tompkins, embowered in buckeyes, completed the 
enchanting picture. 

Although the exterior of the cottage was humble and un 
pretentious, and in keeping with the wildness of the ;and- 
scupe, its interior gave evidence of the cultivation and refine- 



MUCK-A-MUCK. 197 

ment of its inmates. An aquarium, containing gold-fishes, 
stood on a marble centre table at one end of the apartment, 
while a magnificent grand piano occupied the other. The 
floor was covered with a yielding tapestry carpet, and the 
walls were adorned with paintings from the pencils of Yan 
Dyke, Rubens, Tintoretto, Michael Angelo, and the produc 
tions of the more modern Turner, Kensett, Church and Bier- 
stadt. Although Judge Tompkins had chosen the frontiers 
of civilisation as his home, it was impossible for him to en 
tirely forego the habits and tastes of his former life. He was 
seated in a luxurious arm-chair, writing at a mahogany ecri- 
toire, while his daughter, a lovely young girl of seventeen 
summers, plied her crochet needle on an ottoman beside him. 
A bright fire of pine logs flickered and flamed on the ample 
hearth. 

Genevra Octavia Tompkins was Judge Tompkins' s only 
child. Her mother had long since died on the Plains. Reared 
in affluence, no pains had been spared with the daughter's edu 
cation. She was a graduate of one of the principal seminaries, 
and spoke French with a perfect Benicia accent. Peerlessly 
beautiful, she was dressed in a white moire antique robe 
trimmed with tulle. That simple rosebud, with which most 
heroines exclusively decorate their hair, was all she wore in 
her raven locks. 

The Judge was the first to break the silence 

" Genevra, the logs which compose yonder fire seem to have 
been incautiously chosen. The sibilation produced by the 
sap, which exudes copiously therefrom, is not conducive to 
composition." 

" True, father, but I thought it would be preferable to the 
constant crepitation which is apt to attend the combustion 
of more seasoned ligneous fragments." 

The Judge looked admiringly at the intellectual features 
of the graceful girl, and half forgot the slight annoyances of 
the green wood in the musical accents of his daughter. He 



198 MUCK-A-MUCK. 

was smoothing her hair tenderly, when the shadow of a tall 
figure, which suddenly darkened the doorway, caused him to 
look up. 

CHAPTER II. 

IT needed but a glance at the new comer to detect at once 
the form and features of the haughty aborigine the untaught 
and untrammelled son of the forest. Over one shoulder a 
blanket, negligently but gracefully thrown, disclosed a bare 
and powerful breast, decorated with a quantity of three cent 
postage stamps which he had despoiled from an Overland 
Mail stage a few weeks previous. A cast-off beaver of Judge 
Tompkins's, adorned by a simple feather, covered his erect 
head, from beneath which his straight locks descended. His 
right hand hung lightly by his side, while his left was engaged 
in holding on a pair of pantaloons, which the lawless grace 
and freedom of his lower limbs evidently could not brook. 

" Why," said the Indian, in a low sweet tone, " why does 
the Pale Face still follow the track of the Eed Man ? Why 
does he pursue him, even as 0-kee-chow, the wild cat, chases 
Ka-ka, the skunk ? Why are the feet of Sorrel-top, the 
white chief, among the acorns of Muck-a-Muck, the mountain 
forest ? Why," he repeated, quietly but firmly, abstracting 
a silver spoon from the table, " why do you seek to drive 
him from the wigwams of his fathers 1 His brothers are 
already gone to the happy hunting grounds. Will the Pale 
Face seek him there ?" And, averting his face from the 
Judge, he hastily slipped a silver cake-basket beneath his 
blanket, to conceal his emotion. 

" Muck-a-Muck has spoken," said Genevra softly. <: Let 
him now listen. Are the acorns of the mountain sweeter 
than the esculent and nutritious bean of the Pale Face 
miner 1 Does my brother prize the edible qualities of the 
&nail above that of the crisp and oleaginous bacon ? Delicious 
are the grasshoppers that sport on the hillside are they 



MUCK-A-MUCK. 199 

better than the dried apples of the Pale Faces ? Pleasant is 
the gurgle of the torrent, Kisli-Kish, but is it better than the 
cluck-cluck of Bourbon brandy from the old stone bottle 1" 

"Ugh!" said the Indian, "Ugh! good. The White 
Rabbit is wise. Her words fall as the snow on Tootoonolo, 
and the rocky heart of Muck-a-Muck is hidden. What says 
my brother the Gray Gopher of Dutch Flat ?" 

" She has spoken,, Muck-a-Muck," said the Judge, gazing 
fondly on his daughter. " It is well. Our treaty is con 
cluded. No, thank you you need not dance the dance of 
Snow Shoes, or the Moccasin Dance, the Dance of Green 
Corn, or the Treaty Dance. I would be alone. A strange 
sadness overpowers me." 

" I go," said the Indian. " Tell your great chief in Wash 
ington, the Sachem Andy, that the Eed Man is retiring 
before the footsteps of the adventurous Pioneer. Inform 
him, if you please, that westward the star of empire takes its 
way, that the chiefs of the Pi-Ute nation are for Reconstruc 
tion to a man, and that Klamath will poll a heavy Republican 
vote in the fall." 

And folding his blanket more tightly around him, Muck-a- 
Muck withdrew. 

CHAPTER III. 

GENEVRA TOMPKINS stood at the door of the log cabin, look 
ing after the retreating Overland Mail stage which conveyed 
her father to Virginia City. " He may never return again," 
sighed the young girl as she glanced at the frightfully rolling 
vehicle and wildly careering horses " at least, with unbroken 
bones. Should he meet with an accident ! I mind me now 
a fearful legend, familiar to my childhood. Can it be that 
the drivers on this line are privately instructed to despatch 
all passengers maimed by accident, to prevent tedious litiga 
tion ? No, no. But why this weight upon my heart 1" 
She seated herself at the piano and lightly passed her hand 



200 MUCK-A-MUCK-. 

over the keys. Then, in a clear mezzo-soprano voice, she 
sang the first verse of one of the popular Irish ballads : 

" Arrak, ma dheelisk, the distant dudheen * 
Lies soft in the moonlight, ma bouchal vourneen : 
The springing gossoons on the heather are still, 
And the caubeens and cotteens are heard on the hills." 

Bub as the ravishing notes of her sweet voice died upon the 
air, her hand sank listlessly to her side. Music could not 
chase away the mysterious shadow from her heart. Again 
she rose. Putting on a white crape bonnet, and carefully 
drawing a pair of lemon-coloured gloves over her taper 
fingers, she seized her parasol and plunged into the depths of 
the pine forest. 

CHAPTER IV. 

GENEVRA had not proceeded many miles before a weariness 
seized upon her fragile limbs, and she would fain seat herself 
upon the trunk of a prostrate pine, which she previously 
dusted with her handkerchief. The sun was just sinking 
below the horizon, and the scene was one of gorgeous and 
sylvan beauty. " How beautiful is Nature," murmured the 
innocent girl, as, reclining gracefully against the root of the 
tree, she gathered up her skirts and tied her handkerchief 
around her throat. But a low growl interrupted her medi 
tation. Starting to her feet, her eyes met a sight which 
froze her blood with terror. 

The only outlet to the forest was the narrow path, barely 
wide enough for a single person, hemmed in by trees and 
rocks, which she had just traversed. Down this path, in 
Indian file, came a monstrous grizzly, closely followed by a 
California lion, a wild cat, and a buffalo, the rear being 
brought up by a wild Spanish bull. The mouths of the three 
first animals were distended with frightful significance ; the 
horns of the last were lowered as ominously. As Genevra 
was preparing to faint, she heard a low voice behind her. 



MUCK-A-MUCK. 201 

** Eternally dog- gone* my skin ef this ain't the puttiest 
chance yet." 

At the same moment, a long, shining barrel dropped 
lightly from behind her, and rested over her shoulder. 
Genevra shuddered. 

" Durn ye don't move ! w 

Genevra became motionless. 

The crack of a rifle rang through the woods. Three 
frightful yells were heard, and two sullen roars. Five 
animals bounded into the air and five lifeless bodies lay upon 
the plain. The well-aimed bullet had done its work. Enter 
ing the open throat of the grizzly, it had traversed his body, 
only to enter the throat of the California lion, and in like 
manner the catamount, until it passed through into the 
respective foreheads of the bull and the buffalo, and finally 
fell flattened from the rocky hillside. 

" Genevra turned quickly. " My preserver ! " she shrieked, 
and fell into the arms of Natty Bumpo the celebrated Pike 
Hanger of Donner Lake. 

CHAPTER V. 

THE moon rose cheerfully above Donner Lake. On its placid 
bosom a dug-out canoe glided rapidly, containing Natty 
Bumpo and Genevra Tompkins. 

Both were silent. The same thought possessed each, and 
perhaps there was sweet companionship even in the unbroken 
quiet. Genevra bit the handle of her parasol and blushed. 
Natty Bumpo took a fresh chew of tobacco. At length 
Genevra said, as if in half-spoken reverie : 

" The soft shining of the moon and the peaceful ripple of 
the waves seem to say to us various things of an instructive 
and moral tendency." 

* A euphemism common with the men of the West, and equal to 
the English " Od rat it," or " Gl darn." 



202 MUCK-A-MUCK. 

" You may bet yer pile* on that, Miss," said her com 
panion gravely. " It's all the preachin' and psalm- singin 
I've heern since I was a boy." 

"Noble being !" said Miss Tompkins to herself, glancing 
at the stately Pike as he bent over his paddle to conceal his 
emotion. " Reared in this wild seclusion, yet he has become 
penetrated with visible consciousness of a Great First Cause." 
Then, collecting herself, she said aloud : " Methinks 'twere 
pleasant to glide ever thus down the stream of life, hand in 
hand with the one being whom the soul claims as its affinity. 
But what am I saying ?" and the delicate-minded girl hid 
her face in her hands. 

A long silence ensued, which was at length broken by her 
companion. 

" Ef you mean you're on the marry," he said thoughtfully, 
" I ain't in no wise partikler ! " 

"My husband," faltered the blushing girl; and she fell 
into his arms. 

In ten minutes more the loving couple had landed at 
Judge Tompkins's. 

CHAPTER VI. 

A YEAR has passed away. Natty Bumpo was returning from 
Gold Hill, where he had been to purchase provisions. On 
his way to Donner Lake, rumours of an Indian uprising met 
his ears. " Dern their pesky skins, ef they dare to touch my 
Jenny," he muttered between his clenched teeth. 

It was dark when he reached the borders of the lake. 
Around a glittering fire he dimly discerned dusky figures 
dancing. They were in war paint. Conspicuous among 
them was the renowned Muck-a-Muck. But why did the 
fingers of Natty Bumpo tighten convulsively around his 
rifle? 

* I.e., pile of money. 



MUCK-A-MUCK. 203 

The chief held in his hand long tufts of raven hair. The 
heart of the pioneer sickened as he recognised the clustering 
curls of Genevra. In a moment his rifle was at his shoulder, 
and witli a sharp " ping," Muck-a-Muck leaped into the air 
a corpse. To dash out the brains of the remaining savages, 
tear the tresses from the stiffening hand of Muck-a-Muck, 
and dash rapidly forward to the cottage of Judge Tompkins, 
was the work of a moment. 

He burst open the door. Why did he stand transfixed with 
open mouth and distended eyeballs 1 Was the sight too hor 
rible to be borne ? On the contrary, before him, in her peerless 
beauty, stood Genevra Tompkins, leaning on her father's arm. 

" Ye'r not scalped, then !'' gasped her lover. 

" No. I have no hesitation in saying that I am not ; but 
why this abruptness ] " responded Genevra. 

Bumpo could not speak, but frantically produced the silken 
fcresses. Genevra turned her face aside. 

" Why, that's her chignon," said the Judge. 

Bumpo sank fainting on the floor. 

The famous Pike chieftain never recovered from the deceit, 
and refused to marry Genevra, who died, twenty years after 
wards, of a broken heart. Judge Tompkins lost his fortune 
in Wild Cat. The stage passes twice a week the deserted 
cottage at Donner Lake- Thus was the death of Muck-a- 
Muck avenged. 



204 MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 

MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 
A NAVAL OFFICER. 

BY CAPTAIN M-RRY-T, R.N. 
CHAPTER I. 

TV /T Y father was a north-country surgeon. He had retired, 
'"* a widower, from Her Maj esty's navy many years before, 
and had a small practice in his native village. When I was 
seven years old he employed me to carry medicines to his 
patients. Being of a lively disposition, I sometimes amused 
myself, during my daily rounds, by mixing the contents of the 
different phials. Although I had no reason to doubt that the 
general result of this practice was beneficial, yet, as the death 
of a consumptive curate followed the addition of a strong 
mercurial lotion to his expectorant, my father concluded to 
withdraw me from the profession and send me to school. 

Grubbins, the schoolmaster, was a tyrant, and it was not 
long before my impetuous and self-willed nature rebelled 
against his authority. I soon began to form plans of revenge. 
In this T was assisted by Tom Snaffle a school-fellow. One 
day Tom suggested : 

"Suppose we blow him up. I've got two pounds of 
powder !" 

" No, that's too noisy," I replied. 
Tom was silent for a minute, and again spoke : 
" You remember how you flattened out the curate, Pills ! 
Couldn't you give Grubbins something something to make 
him leathery sick eh ?" 

A flash of inspiration crossed my mind. I went to the 
shop of the village apothecary. He knew me ; I had often 
purchased vitrol, which I poured into Grubbins's inkstand to 
corrode his pens and burn up his coat-tail, on which he was 
in the habit of wiping them. T boldly asked for an ounce of 



MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 205 

chloroform. The young apothecary winked and handed me 
the bottle. 

It was Grubbins's custom to throw his handkerchief over 
his head, recline in his chair, and take a short nap during 
recess. Watching my opportunity, as he dozed, I managed 
to slip his handkerchief from his face and substitute my own, 
moistened with chloroform. In a few minutes he was insen 
sible. Tom and I then quickly shaved his head, beard, and 
eyebrows, blackened his face with a mixture of vitriol and 
burnt cork, and fled. There was a row and scandal the 
next day. My father always excused me by asserting that 
Grubbins had got drunk but somehow found it convenient 
to procure me an appointment in Her Majesty's navy at an 
early day. 

CHAPTER II. 

AN official letter, with the Admiralty seal, informed me that 
I was expected to join H.M. ship Belcher, Captain Boltrope, 
at Portsmouth, without delay. In a few days I presented 
myself to a tall, stern-visaged man, who was slowly pacing 
the leeward side of the quarter-deck. As I touched my hat 
he eyed me sternly : 

" So ho ! Another young suckling. The service is going 
to the devil. Nothing but babes in the cockpit and grannies in 
the board. Boatswain's mate, pass the word for Mr. Cheek ! " 

Mr. Cheek, the steward, appeared and touched his hat. 
" Introduce Mr. Breezy to the young gentlemen. Stop ! 
Where's Mr. Swizzle T' 

" At the masthead, sir." 

"Where's Mr. Lankey ?" 

" At the masthead, sir." 

"Mr. Briggs?" 

"Masthead, too, sir." 

"And the rest of the young gentlemen?" roared the 
enraged officer. 



206 MR. MIDSHIPMAN' BREEZY. 

" All masthead, sir." 

" Ah !" said Captain Boltrope, as he smiled grimly, 
" under the circumstances, Mr. Breezy, you had better go to 
the masthead too." 



CHAPTER III. 

AT the masthead I made the acquaintance of two youngsters 
of about my own age, one of whom informed me that he had 
been there 332 days out of the year. 

" In rough weather, when the old cock is out of sorts, you 
know, we never come down," added a young gentleman of 
nine years, with a dirk nearly as long as himself, who had 
been introduced to me as Mr. Briggs. " By the way, Pills," 
he continued, " how did you come to omit giving the captain 
a naval salute ?" 

" Why, I touched my hat," I said, innocently. 
" Yes, but that isn't enough, you know. That will do 
very well at other times. He expects the naval salute wheu 
you first come on board greeny ! " 

I began to feel alarmed, and begged him to explain. 
. Why, you see, after touching your hat, you should have 
touched him lightly with your forefinger in his waistcoat, so, 
and asked, ' How's his nibs V you see T' 
" How's his nibs ?" I repeated. 

" Exactly. He would have drawn back a little, and then 
you should have repeated the salute, remarking, ' How's his 
royal nibs ? ' asking cautiously after his wife and family, and 
requesting to be introduced to the gunner's daughter." 
"The gunner's daughter?" 

" The same ; you know she takes care of us young gentle 
men ; now don't forget, Pillsy !" 

When we were called down to the deck I thought it a 
good chance to profit by this instruction. I approached 
Captain Boltrope and repeated the salute without conscien- 



MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 207 

tiously omitting a single detail. He remained for a moment 
livid and speechless. At length he gasped out : 

" Boatswain's mate ! " 

" If you please, sir," I asked, tremulously, " I should like 
to be introduced to the gunner's daughter ! " 

" 0, very good, sir ! " screamed Captain Boltrope, rubbing 
his hands and absolutely capering about the deck with rage. 
-' d n you ! Of course you shall ! O ho ! the gunner's 
daughter ! O, h 11 ! this is too much ! Boatswain's mate S" 
Before I well knew where I was, I was seized, borne to an 
eight-pounder, tied upon it and flogged ! 

CHAPTER IV. 

As we sat together in the cockpit, picking the weevils out of 
our biscuit, Briggs consoled me for my late mishap, adding 
that the " naval salute," as a custom, seemed just then to be 
honoured more in the breach than the observance. I joined 
in the hilarity occasioned by the witticism, and in a few 
moments we were all friends. Presently Swizzle turned to 
me : 

" We have been just planning how to confiscate a keg of 
claret, which Kips, the purser, keeps under his bunk. The 
old nipcheese lies there drunk half the day, and there's no 
getting at it." 

" Let's get beneath the state-room, and bore through the 
deck, and so tap it," said Lankey. 

The proposition was received with a shout of applause. A 
long half-inch, auger and bit was procured from Chips, the 
carpenter's mate, and Swizzle, after a careful examination of 
the timbers beneath the wardroom, commenced operations. 
The auger at last disappeared, when suddenly there was a 
Blight disturbance on the deck above. Swizzle withdrew 
the auger hurriedly ; from its point a few bright red drops 
trickled. 



2o8 MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 

" Huzza ! send her up again ! " cried Lankey. 

The auger was again applied. This time a shriek was 
heard from the purser's cabin. Instantly the light was 
doused, and the party retreated hurriedly to the cockpit. 
A sound of snoring was heard as the sentry stuck his head 
into the door. " All right, sir," he replied in answer to the 
voice of the officer of the deck. 

The next morning we heard that Nips was in the surgeon's 
hands, with a bad wound in the fleshy part of his leg, and 
that the auger had not struck claret. 

CHAPTER V, 

"Now, Pills, you'll have a chance to smell powder," said 
Briggs as he entered the cockpit and buckled around his 
waist an enormous cutlass. " We have just sighted a French 
ship." 

We went on deck. Captain Boltrope grinned as we 
touched our hats. He hated the purser. "Come, young 
gentlemen, if you're boring for French claret, yonder 's a 
good quality. Mind your con, sir," he added, turning to the 
quartermaster, who was grinning. 

The ship was already cleared for action. The men, in 
their eagerness, had started the coffee from the tubs and 
filled them with shot. Presently the Frenchman yawed, and 
a shot from a long thirty-two came skipping over the water. 
It killed the quartermaster and took off both of Lankey's 
legs. "Tell the purser our account is squared," said the 
dying boy, with a feeble smile. 

'The fight raged fiercely for two hours. I remember kill 
ing the French Admiral, as we boarded, but on looking 
around for Briggs, after the smoke had cleared away, I was 
intensely amused at witnessing the following novel sight : 

Briggs had pinned the French captain against the mast 
with his cutlass, and was now engaged, with all the hilarity 



MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 209 

of youth, in pulling the captain's coat-tails between his legs, 
in imitation of a dancing-jack. As the Frenchman lifted his 
legs and arms, at each jerk of Briggs's, I could not help 
participating in the general mirth. 

"You young devil, what are you doing?" said a stifled 
voice behind me. I looked up and beheld Captain Boltrope, 
endeavouring to calm his stern features, but the twitching 
around his mouth betrayed his intense enjoyment of the 
scene. "Go to the masthead up with you, sir!" he re 
peated sternly to Briggs. 

(i Very good, sir," said the boy, coolly preparing to mount 
the shrouds. " Good-bye, Johnny Crapaud. Humph ! " he 
added, in a tone intended for my ear, " a pretty way to treat 
a hero the service is going to the devil I" 

I thought so too 



CHAPTER VI. 

WE were ordered to the West Indies. Although Captain 
Boltrope's manner toward me was still severe and even 
harsh, I understood that my name had been favourably 
mentioned in the despatches. 

Reader, were you ever at Jamaica ? If so, you remember 
the iiegresses, the oranges, Port Royal Tom the yellow 
fever. After being two weeks at the station, I was taken 
sick of the fever. In a month I was delirious. During my 
paroxysms, I had a wild distempered dream of a stern face 
bending anxiously over my pillow, a rough hand smoothing 
my hair, and a kind voice saying : 

" B 'ess his 'ittle heart ! Did he have the naughty fever !" 
This face seemed again changed to the well-known sterD 
features of Captain Boltrope. 

When, I was convalescent, a packet edged in black was 
put in my hand. It contained the news of my father's 
death, and a sealed letter which he had requested to be 



2io MR MIDSHIPMAN BREEZY. 

given to me on his decease. I opened it tremblingly. It 
read thus : 

"My DEAR BOY, I regret to inform you that in all 
probability you are not my son. Your mother, I am 
grieved to say. was a highly improper person. Who your 
father may be I really cannot say, but perhaps the Honour 
able Henry Boltrope, Captain II, N., may be able to inform 
you. Circumstances over which I have no control have 
deferred this important disclosure. 

" YOUR STRICKEN PARENT." 

And so Captain Boltrope was my father. Heavens ! 
Was it a dream ? I recalled his stern manner, his obser 
vant eye, his ill-concealed uneasiness when in my presence. 
I longed to embrace him. Staggering to my feet, I rushed 
in my scanty apparel to the deck, where Captain Boltrope 
was just then engaged in receiving the Governor's wife and 
daughter. The ladies shrieked ; the youngest, a beautiful 
girl, blushed deeply. Heeding them not, I sank at his feet, 
and embracing them, cried : 

My father!" 

" Chuck him overboard ! " roared Cnptain Boltrope. 

"Stay," pleaded the soft voice of Clara Maitland, the 
Governor's daughter. 

" Shave his head ! he's a wretched lunatic ! " continued 
Captain Boltrope, while his voice trembled with excite 
ment. 

"No, let me nurse and take care of him," said the lovely 
girl, blushing as she spoke. " Mamma, can't we take him 
home?" 

The daughter's pleading was not without effect. In the 
meantime I had fainted. When I recovered my senses I 
found myself in Governor Maitland's mansion. 



MR. MIDSHIPMAN BREEZ Y. 211 

CHAPTER VII. 

THE reader will guess what followed. I fell deeply in love 
with Clara Maitland, to whom I confided the secret of my 
birth. The generous girl asserted that she had detected the 
superiority of my manner at once. We plighted our troth, 
and resolved to wait upon events. 

Briggs called to see me a few clays afterward. He said 
that the purser had insulted the whole cockpit, and all the 
midshipmen had called him out. But he added thought 
fully : "I don't see how we can arrange the duel. You see 
there are six of us to fight him." 

" Very easily," I replied. "Let your fellows all stand in 
a row, and take his fire j that, you see, gives him six chances 
to one, and he must be a bad shot if he can't hit one of you; 
while, on the other hand, you see, he gets a volley from you 
six, and one of you'll be certain to fetch him." 

" Exactly ; " and away Briggs went, but soon returned to 
say that the purser had declined " like a d d coward," he 
added. 

But the news of the sudden and serious illness of Captain 
Boltrope put off the duel. I hastened to his bedside, but 
too late an hour previous he had given up the ghost. 

I resolved to return to England. I made known the 
secret of my birth, and exhibited my adopted father's letter 
to Lady Maitland, who at once suggested my marriage with 
her daughter, before I returned to claim the property. We 
were married, and took our departure next day. 

I made no delay in posting at once, in company with my 
wife and my friend Briggs, to my native village. Judge of 
my horror and surprise when my late adopted father came 
out of his shop to welcome me. 

" Then you are not dead ! " I gasped. 

"No, my dear boy." 

And this letter P 

g i 



21 ? GUY HEA VYSTONE. 

My father as I must still call him glanced on the paper, 
and pronounced it a forgery. Briggs roared with laughter. 
I turned to him and demanded an explanation. 

" Why, don't you see, greeny, it's all a joke a midship 
man's joke ! " 

"But "I asked. 

u Don't be a fool. You've got a good wife be satisfied." 

I turned to Clara, and was satisfied. Although Mrs. 
Maitland never forgave me, the jolly old Governor laughed 
heartily over the joke, and so well used his influence that I 
soon became, dear reader, Admiral Breezy, K.C.B. 



GUY HEAVYSTONE; 
OR, "ENTIRE." 
31 j^luscular $o&cl. 

BY THE AUTHOR OF " SWORD AND GUN." 

CHAPTER I. 
" Nerei repandirostrum incurvicervicum pecus. v 

A DINGY, s washy, splashy afternoon in October ; a 
school-yard filled with a mob of riotous boys. A lot 
of us standing outside. 

Suddenly came a dull, crashing sound from the school 
room. At the ominous interruption I shuddered involun 
tarily, and called to Smithsye : 

"What's up, Smithums?" 

" Guy's cleaning out the fourth form," he replied. 

At the same moment George de Coverly passed me, 
holding his nose, from whence the bright Norman blood 
streamed redly. To him the plebeian Smithsye laughingly : 

"Gully! how's h's nibs ?" 



GUY HE A VY STONE. 2 1 3 

I pushed the door of the school-room open. There are 
some spectacles which a man never forgets. The burning of 
Troy probably seemed a large-sized conflagration to the pious 
/Eneas, and made an impression on him which he earned 
away with the feeble Anchises. 

In the centre of the room, lightly brandishing the piston- 
rod of a steam-engine, stood Guy Heavystone alone. I say 
alone, for the pile of small boys on the floor in the corner 
could hardly be called company. 

I will try and sketch him for the reader. Guy Heavy- 
stone was then only fifteen. His brosd, deep chest, his 
sinewy and quivering flank, his straight pastern showed liim 
to be a thorough-bred. Perhaps he was a trifle heavy in the 
fetlock, but he held his head haughtily erect. His eyes were 
glittering but pitiless. There was a sternness about the 
lower part of his face the old Heavystone look a stern 
ness heightened, perhaps, by the snalfle-bit which, in one of 
his strange freaks, he wore in his mouth to curb his occa 
sional ferocity. His dress was well adapted to his square -set 
and Herculean frame. A striped knit undershirt, close-fitting 
striped tights, and a few spangles set off his figure ; a neat 
Glengarry cap adorned his head. On it was displayed the 
Heavystone crest, a cock regardant on a dunghill or, and the 
motto, " Devil a better ! " 

I thought of Horatius on the bridge, of Hector before the 
walls. I always make it a point to think of something 
classical at such times. 

He saw me, and his sternness partly relaxed. Something 
like a smile struggled through his grim lineaments. It was 
like looking on the Jungfrau after having seen Mont Blanc 
a trifle, only a trifle less sublime and awful. Resting his 
hand lightly on the shoulder of the head-master, who 
shuddered and collapsed under his touch, he strode toward 
me. 

His walk was peculiar. You could not call it a 



214 GUY HE A VYSTONE. 

It was like the "crest-tossing Belleroplion " a kind of 
prancing gait. Guy Heavystone pranced toward nie. 



CHAPTER II. 

" Lord Lovel he stood at the garden gate, 
A-combing his milk-white steed. 1 ' 

IT was the winter of 186- when I next met Guy Heavystone. 
He had left the University and had entered the 76th 
" Heavies." " I have exchanged the gown for the sword, 
you see," he said, grasping my hand, and fracturing the bones 
of my little finger, as he shook it. 

I gazed at him with unmixed admiration. He was 
squarer, sterner, and in every way smarter and more 
remarkable than ever. I began to feel toward this man as 
Phalaster felt towards Phyrgino, as somebody must have felt 
toward Archididascalus, as Boswell felt towards Johnson. 

"Come into my den," he said, and lifting me gently by 
the seat of my pantaloons, he carried me up-stairs and 
deposited me ; before I could apologise, on the sofa. I looked 
around the room. It was a bachelor's apartment, character 
istically furnished in the taste of the proprietor. A few 
claymores and battle-axes were ranged against the wall, and 
a culverin, captured by Sir Ralph Heavystone, occupied the 
corner, the other end of the room being taken up by a light 
battery. Foils, boxing-gloves, saddles, and fishing poles lay 
around carelessly. A small pile of billets-doux lay upon a silver 
salver. The man was not an anchorite, nor yet a Sir Galahad. 

I never could tell what Guy thought of women. " Poor 
little beasts," he would often say when the conversation 
turned on any of his fresh conquests. Then, passing his 
hand over his marble brow, the old look of stern fixedness' 
of purpose and unflinching severity would straighten the 
\ines of his mouth, and he would mutter, half to himself, 



G UY HE A VYSTONE. 2 i 5 

"Come with me to Heavystone Grange. The Exmoor 
Hounds throw off to-morrow. I'll give you a mount," he 
said, as he amused himself by rolling up a silver candlestick 
between his fingers. " You shall have Cleopatra. But stay," 
he added, thoughtfully ; " now I remember, I ordered 
Cleopatra to be shot this morning." 

" And why ] " I queried. 

" She threw her rider yesterday and fell on him " 

"And killed him]" 

" No. That's the reason why I have ordered her to be 
shot. I keep no animals that are not dangerous I 
should add deadly ! " He hissed the last sentence between 
his teeth, and a gloomy frown descended over his calm 
brow. 

I affected to turn over the tradesmen's bills that lay on 
the table ; for, like all of the Heavystone race, Guy seldom 
paid cash, and said : 

" You remind me of the time when Leonidas " 

"0, bother Leonidas and your classical allusions. 
Come!" 

We descended to dinner. 

CHAPTER III. 

* He carries weight, he rides a race, 
'Tis for a thousand pound." 

" THERE is Flora Billingsgate, the greatest coquette and 
hardest rider in the country," said my companion, Ralph 
Mortmain, as we stood upon Dingleby Common before the 
meet. 

I looked up and beheld Guy Heavystone bending 
haughtily over the saddle, as he addressed a beautiful 
brunette. She was indeed a splendidly-groomed and high- 
spirited woman. We were near enough to overhear the 
following conversation, which any high-toned reader will 



2i6 GUY 

recognise as the common and natural expression of the 
higher classes. 

" When Diana takes the field the chase is not wholly 
confined to objects ferce naturce," said Guy, darting a 
significant glance at his companion. Flora did not shrink 
either from the glance or the meaning implied in the 
sarcasm. 

"If I were looking for an Eiidymion, now," she said 
archly, as she playfully cantered over a few hounds and 
leaped a five-barred gate. 

Guy whispered a few words, inaudible to the rest of the 
party, and curvetting slightly, cleverly cleared two of the 
huntsmen in a flying leap, galloped up the front steps of the 
mansion, and dashing at full speed through the hall, leaped 
through the drawing-room window and rejoined me, languidly, 
on the lawn. 

" Be careful of Flora Billingsgate," he said to me, in low 
stern tones, while his pitiless eye shot a baleful fire. 
" Gardez vous ! " 

" Gnothi seauton" I replied calmly, not wishing to appear 
to be behind him in perception or verbal felicity. 

Guy started off in high spirits. He was well carried. He 
and the first whip, a ten-stone man, were head and head at 
the last fence, while the hounds were rolling over their fox, 
a hundred yards farther in the open. 

But an unexpected circumstance occurred. Coming back, 
his chestnut mare refused a ten- foot wall. She reared and 
fell backward. Again he led her up to it lightly ; again she 
refused, falling heavily from the coping. Guy started to his 
feet. The old pitiless fire shone in his eyes ; the old stern 
look settled around his mouth. Seizing the mare by the tail 
and mane he threw her over the wall. She landed twenty 
feet on the other side, erect and trembling. Lightly leaping 
the same obstacle himself, he remounted her. She did not 
refuse the wall the next time. 



HE A VYSTONE. 2 1 7 



CHAPTER IV. 
" He holds him by his glittering eye." 

GUY was in the north of Ireland, cock-shooting. So Ealph 
Mortmain told me, and also that the match between Mary 
Brandagee and Guy had been broken off by Flora Billings 
gate. " I don't like those Billingsgates," said Ralph, 
" they're a bad stock. Her father, Smithfield de Billings 
gate, had an unpleasant way of turning up the knave from 
the bottom of the pack. But nous verrons ; let us go and 
see Guy." 

The next morning we started for Fin-ma-CouTa Crossing. 
When I reached the shooting-box, where Guy was enter 
taining a select company of friends, Flora Billingsgate 
greeted me with a saucy smile. 

Guy was even squarer and sterner than ever. His gusts 
of passion were more frequent, and it was with difficulty that 
he could keep an abV-bodied servant in his family. His 
present retainers were more or less maimed from exposure to 
the fury of their master. There was a strange cynicism, a 
cutting sarcasm in his address piercing through his polished 
manner. I thought of Timon, etc., etc. 

One evening we were sitting over our Chambertin, after a 
hard day's work, and Guy was listlessly turning over some 
letters, when suddenly he uttered a cry. Did you ever hear 
the trumpeting of a wounded elephant] It was like that. 

I looked at him with consternation. He was glancing at 
a letter which he held at arm'w xength, and snorting, as it 
were, at it as he gazed. The lower part of his face was 
stern, but not as rigid as usual. He was slowly grinding 
between his teeth the fragments of the glass he had just 
been drinking from. Suddenly he seized one of his servants, 
and, forcing the wretch upon his knees, exclaimed with the 
roar of a tiger ; 



2i& GUY HEA VYSTONE. 

" Dog ! why was this kept from me f ' 

" Why, please, sir, Miss Flora said as how it was a recon 
ciliation, from Miss Brandagee, and it was to be kept from 
you where you would not be likely to see it and and " 

" Speak, dog ! and you " 

" I put it among your bills, sir !" 

With a groan like distant thunder, Guy fell swooning to 
the floor. 

He soon recovered, for the next moment a servant came 
rushing into the room with the information that a number of 
the ingenuous peasantry of the neighbourhood were about to 
indulge that evening in the national pastime of burning a 
farmhouse and shooting a landlord. Guy smiled a fearful 
smile, without, however, altering his stern and pitiless 
expression. 

" Let them come," he said calmly ; " I feel like entertain 
ing company." 

We barricaded the doors and windows, and then chose our 
arms from the armoury. Guy's choice was a singular one : 
it was a landing net with a long handle, and a sharp cavalry 
sabre. 

We were not destined to remain long in ignorance of its 
use. A howl was heard from without, and a party of fifty 
or sixty armed men precipitated themselves against the 
door. 

Suddenly the window opened. With the rapidity of light 
ning, Guy Heavystone cast the net over the head of the ring 
leader, ejaculated " II abet /" and with a back stroke of his 
cavalry sabre severed the member from its trunk, and draw 
ing the net back again, cast the gory head upon the floor, 
saying quietly : 

"One." 

Again the net was cast, the steel flashed, the net was 
withdrawn, and the ominous " Two ! " accompanied the 
head as it rolled on the floor. 



THE HAUNTED MAN. 219 

" Do you remember what Pliny says of tlie gladiator V 
said Guy, calmly wiping liis sabre. " How graphic is that 
passage commencing : ' Inter nos, etc.* " The sport con 
tinued until the heads of twenty desperadoes had been 
gathered in. The rest seemed inclined to disperse. Guy 
incautiously showed himself at the door j a ringing shot was 
heard, and he staggered back pierced through the heart. 
Grasping the door-post in the last unconscious throes of his 
mighty frame, the whcle side of the house yielded to that 
earthquake tremor, and we had barely time to escape before 
the whole building fell in ruins. I thought of Samson, the 
Giant Judge, etc., etc. ; but all was over. 

Guy Heavy stone had died as he had lived hard. 



THE HAUNTED MAN. 
a CC&rfetmas Storn. 

BY CH-R-S D-C-K-N-S. 
PART I. 

'THE FIRST PHANTOM. 

tell me that it wasn't a knocker. I had seen it 
often enough, and I ought to know. So ought the 
three o'clock beer, in dirty highlows, swinging himself over 
the railing, or executing a demoniacal jig upon the doorstep; 
BO ought the butcher, although butchers as a general thing 
are scornful of such trifles ; so ought the postman, to whom 
knockers of the most extravagant description were merely 
human weaknesses, that were to be pitied and used. And 
so ought, for the matter of that, etc., etc., etc. 

But then it was such a knocker. A wild, extravagant, and 
utterly incomprehensible knocker. A knocker so mysterious 
and suspicious that Policeman X 37, first coming upon it, felt 



22* THE HA UNTED MAN. 

inclined to take it instantly in custody, but compromised 
with his professional instincts by sharply and sternly noting 
it with an eye that admitted of no nonsense, but confidently 
expected to detect its secret yet. An ugly knocker; a 
knocker with a hard, human face, that was a type of the 
harder human face within. A human face that held between 
its teeth a brazen rod. So hereafter in the mysterious future 
should be held, etc., etc. 

But if the knocker had a fierce human aspect in the glare 
of day, you should have seen it at night, when it peered out 
of the gathering shadows and suggested an ambushed figure ; 
when the light of the street lamps fell upon it, and wrought a 
play of sinister expression in its hard outlines \ when it 
seemed to wink meaningly at a shrouded figure who, as the 
night fell darkly, crept up the steps and passed into the 
mysterious house ; when the swinging door disclosed a black 
passage into which the figure seemed to lose itself and become 
a part of the mysterious gloom ; when the night grew 
boisterous and the fierce wind made furious charges at the 
knocker, as if to wrench it off and carry it away in triumph. 
Such a night as this. 

It was a wild and pitiless wind. A wind that had com 
menced life as a gentle country zephyr, but wandering 
through manufacturing towns had become demoralised, and 
reaching the city had plunged into extravagant dissipation 
and wild excesses. A roystering wind that indulged in 
Bacchanalian shouts on the street corners, that knocked off 
the hats from the heads of helpless passengers, and then 
fulfilled its duties by speeding away, like all young prodigals 
to sea. 

He sat alone in a gloomy library listening to the wind that 
roared in the chimney. Around him novels and story-books 
were strewn thickly ; in his lap he held one with its pages 
freshly cut, and turned the leaves wearily until his eyes 
rested upon a portrait in its frontispiece. And as the wind 



THE HAUNTED MAN. 221 

howled the more fiercely, and the darkness without fell 
blacker, a strange and fateful likeness to that portrait 
appeared above his chair and leaned upon his shoulder. The 
Haunted Man gazed at the portrait and sighed. The figure 
gazed at the portrait and sighed too. 

" Here again]" said the Haunted Man. 

" Here again," it repeated in a low voice. 

"Another novel 1 ?" 

" Another novel." 

" The old story 1" 

" The old story.'* 

" I see a child," said the Haunted Man, gazing from the 
pages of the book into the fire " a most unnatural child, a 
model infant. It is prematurely old and philosophic It dies 
in poverty to slow music. It dies surroundeed by luxury to 
slow music. It dies with an accompaniment of golden water 
and rattling carts to slow musie. Previous to its decease it 
makes a will; it repeats the Lord's Prayer, it kisses th<j> 
' boofer lady.' That child " 

" Is mine," said the phantom. 

" I see a good woman, undersized. I see several charming 
women, but they are all undersized. They are more or less 
imbecile and idiotic, but always fascinating and undersized. 
They wear coquettish caps and aprons. I observe that 
feminine virtue is invariably below the medium height, and 
that it is always babyish and infantine. These women " 

" Are mine." 

" I see a haughty, proud, and wicked lady. She is tall and 
queenly. I remark that all proud and wicked women are 
tall and queenly. That woman " 

" Is mine," said the phantom, wringing his hands. 

" I see several things continually impending. I observe 
that whenever an accident, a murder, or death is about 
to happen, there is something in the furniture, in the 
locality, in the atmosphere that foreshadows and suggests it 



222 THE HAUNTED MAN. 

years in advance. I cannot say that in real life I have 
noticed it the perception of this surprising fact belongs " 

"To me!" said the phantom. The Haunted Man con 
tinued, in a despairing tone : 

"I see the influence of this in the magazines and daily 
papers : I see weak imitators rise up and enfeeble the world 
with senseless formula. I am getting tired of it. It won't 
do, Charles ! it won't do ! " and the Haunted Man buried 
his head in his hands and groaned. The figure looked down 
upon him sternly : the portrait in the frontispiece frowned 
as he gazed. 

"Wretched man," said the phantom, "and how have 
these things affected you ? " 

"Once I laughed and cried, but then I was younger. 
Now, I would forget them if I could." 

"Have then your wish. And take this with you, man 
whom I renounce. From this day henceforth you shall live 
with those whom I displace. Without forgetting me, 'twill 
be your lot to walk through life as if we had not met. But 
first you shall survey these scenes that henceforth must be 
yours. At one to-night, prepare to meet the phantom I 
have raised. Farewell ! " 

The sound of its voice seemed to fade away with the 
dying wind, and the Haunted Man was alone. But the 
firelight flickered gaily, and the light danced on the walls, 
making grotesque figures of the furniture. 

" Ha, ha ! " said the Haunted Man, rubbing his hands 
gleefully ; " now for a whiskey punch and a cigar." 

BOOK II. 

THE SECOND PHANTOM. 

ONE ! The stroke of the far-off bell had hardly died before 
the front door closed with a reverberating clang. Steps 
were heard along the passage ; the library door swung open 



THE HAUNTED MAN. 223 

of itself, and the Knocker yes, the Knocker slowly strode 
into the room. The Haunted Man rubbed his eyes no ! 
there could be no mistake about it it was the Knocker's 
face, mounted on a misty, almost imperceptible body. The 
brazen rod was transferred from its mouth to its right hand, 
where it was held like a ghostly truncheon. 

" It's a cold evening," paid the Haunted Man. 

" It is," said the Goblin, in a hard, metallic voice. 

"It must be pretty cold out there," said the Haunted 
Man, with vague politeness. "Do you ever will you 
take some hot water and brandy 1 " 

" No," said the Goblin. 

" Perhaps you'd like it cold, by way of change?" continued 
the Haunted Man, correcting himself, as he remembered 
the peculiar temperature with which the Goblin was pro 
bably familiar. 

"Time flies," said the Goblin coldly. "We have no 
leisure for idle talk. Come ! " He moved his ghostly 
truncheon toward the window, and laid his hand upon the 
other's arm. At his touch the body of the Haunted Man 
seemed to become as thin and incorporeal as that of the 
Goblin himself, and together they glided out of the window 
into the black and blowy night. 

In the rapidity of their flight the senses of the Haunted 
Man seemed to leave him. At length they stopped suddenly. 

" What do you see ? " asked the Goblin. 

" I see a battlemented medieval castle. Gallant men in 
mail ride over the drawbridge, and kiss their gauntlet ed 
fingers to fair ladies, who wave their lily hands in return. 
I see fight and fray and tournament. I hear roaring heralds 
bawling the charms of delicate women, and shamelessly pro 
claiming their lovers. Stay. I see a Jewess about to leap 
from a battlement. I see knightly deeds, violence, rapine, 
and a good deal of blood. I've seen pretty much the same 
at Astley V 



224 THE HAUNTED MAN. 

" Look again." 

" I see purple moors, glens, masculine women, bare-legged 
men, priggish bookworms, more violence, physical excellence, 
and blood. Always blood and the superiority of physical 
attainments." 

"And how do you feel now ! " said the Goblin. 

The Haunted Man shrugged his shoulders. 

"None the better for being carried back and asked to 
sympathise with a barbarous age." 

The Goblin smiled and clutched his arm ; they again sped 
rapidly through the black night, and again halted. 

" What do you see ? " said the Goblin. 

" I see a barrack room, with a mess table, and a group of 
intoxicated Celtic officers telling funny stories, and giving 
challenges to duel. I see a young Irish gentleman capable 
of performing prodigies of valour, I learn incidentally that 
the acme of all heroism is the cornetcy of a dragoon regi 
ment. I hear a good deal of French ! No, thank you," 
said the Haunted Man hurriedly, as he stayed the waving 
hand of the Goblin, " I would rather not go to the Peninsula, 
and don't care to have a private interview with Napoleon." 

Again the Goblin flew away with the unfortunate man, 
and from a strange roaring below them, he judged they were 
above the ocean. A ship hove in sight, and the Goblin 
stayed its flight. " Look," he said, squeezing his com 
panion's arm. 

The Haunted Man yawned. " .Don't you think, Charles, 
you're rather running this thing into the ground] Of 
course, it's very moral and instructive, and all that. But 
ain't there a little too much pantomime about it ? Come 
cow ! " 

"Look ! " repeated the Goblin, pinching his arm malevo 
lently. The Haunted Man groaned. 

"Oh, of course, I see Her Majesty's ship Arethusa. Of 
course I am familiar with her stern First Lieutenant, her 



THE HAUNTED MAN. 2.^ 

eccentric Captain, her one fascinating and several mis 
chievous midshipmen. Of course, I know it's a splendid 
thing to see all this, and not to be sea-sick. Oh, there the 
young gentlemen are going to play a trick on the purser. 
For God's sake, let us go," and the unhappy man absolutely 
dragged the Goblin away with him. 

When they next halted, it was at the edge of a broad and 
boundless prairie, in the middle of an oak opening. 

" I see," said the Haunted Man, without waiting for his 
cue, but mechanically, and as if he were repeating a lesson 
which the Goblin had taught him "I see the Noble 
Savage. He is very fine to look at ! But I observe under 
his war paint, feathers and picturesque blanket dirt, disease, 
and an unsymmetrical contour. I observe beneath his in 
flated rhetoric deceit and hypocrisy. Beneath his physical 
hardihood, cruelty, malice and revenge. The Noble Savage 
is a humbug. I remarked the same to Mr. Catlin." 

" Come," said the phantom. 

The Haunted Man sighed, and took out his watch, 
" Couldn't we do the rest of this another time ! " 

" My hour is almost spent, irreverent being, but there is 
yet a chance for your reformation. Come ! " 

Again they sped through the night, and again they halted. 
The sound of delicious but melancholy music fell upon their 
ears. 

"I see," said the Haunted Man, with something of inte 
rest in his manner, " I see an old moss-covered manse beside 
a sluggish, flowing river. I see weird shapes : witches, 
Puritans, clergymen, little children, judges, mesmerised 
maidens, moving to the sound of melody that thrills me 
with its sweetness and purity. 

" But, although carried along its calm and evenly-flowing 
current, the shapes are strange and frightful : an eating 
lichen gnaws at the heart of each ; not only the clergymen, 
but witch, maiden, judge, and Puritan, all wear Scarlet 

Q 



225 THE HAUNTED MAN. 

Letters of some kind burned upon their hearts. I am fasci 
nated and thrilled, but I feel a morbid sensitiveness creeping 
over me. I I beg your pardon." The Goblin was yawn 
ing frightfully. " Well, perhaps we had better go." 

" One more, and the last," said the Goblin. They were 
moving home. Streaks of red were beginning to appear in 
the eastern sky. Along the banks of the blackly flowing 
river, by moorland and stagnant fens, by low houses, clus 
tering close to the water's edge, like strange mollusks, 
crawled upon the beach to dry ; by misty black barges, the 
more misty and indistinct seen through its mysterious veil, 
the river fog was slowly rising. So rolled away and rose 
from the heart of the Haunted Man, etc., etc. 

They stopped before a qiiaint mansion of red brick. The 
Goblin waved his hand without speaking. 

"I see," said the Haunted Man, "a gay drawing-room. 
I see my old friends of the club, of the college, of society, 
even as they lived and moved. 1 see the gallant and un 
selfish men whom I have loved, and the snobs whom I have 
hated. I see strangely mingling with them, and now and 
then blending with their forms, our old friends Dick Steele, 
Addison, and Congreve. I observe, though, that these gen 
tlemen have a habit of getting too much in the way. The 
royal standard of Queen Anne, not in itself a beautiful 
ornament, is rather too prominent in the picture. The long 
galleries of black oak, the formal furniture, the old portraits, 
are picturesque, but depressing. The house is damp. I 
enjoy myself better here on the lawn, where they are getting 
up a Vanity Fair. See, the bell rings, the curtain is rising, 
the puppets are brought out for a new play. Let me 
eee." 

The Haunted Man was pressing forward in his eagerness, 
but the hand of the Goblin stayed him, and pointing to his 
feet, he saw between him and the rising curtain, a new-made 
grave. And bending above the grave in passionate griefj 



THE hA VNTED MAN. <MJ 

the Haunted Man belield the phantom, of the previous 
night. 

******#** 

The Haunted Man started, and woke. The bright sun 
shine streamed into the room. The air was sparkling with 
frost. He ran joyously to the window and opened it. A 
small boy saluted him with " Merry Christmas." The 
Haunted Man instantly gave him a Bank of England note. 
"How much like Tiny Tim, Tom and Bobby that boy 
looked bless my soul, what a genius this Dickens has ! " 

A knock at the door, and Boots entered. 

"Consider your salary doubled instantly. Have you 
read David Gopperjidd ? " 

" Yezzur." 

" Your salary is quadrupled. What do you think of the 
Old Curiosity Shop ? " 

The man instantly burst into a torrent of tears, and tLaSl 
into a roar of laughter. 

"Enough ! Here are five thousand pounds. Open a 
porter-house, and call it, ' Our Mutual Friend.' Huzza ! I 
feel so happy ! " And the Haunted Man danced about the 
room. 

And so, bathed in the light of that blessed sun, and yet 
glowing with the warmth of a good action, the Haunted 
Man, haunted no longer, save by those shapes which make 
the dreams of children beautiful, re-seated himself in his 
chair, and finished Our Mutual Friend. 



228 LA FEMMfi. 

'LA FEMME." 

AFTER THE FRENCH OF M. MICHELET* 



WOMEN AS AN INSTITUTION. 

" T F it were not for women, few of us would at present be 
in existence." This is the remark of a cautious and 
discreet writer. He was also sagacious and intelligent. 

Woman ! Look upon her and admire her. Gaze upon 
her and love her. If she wishes to embrace you, permit her. 
Remember she is weak and you are strong. 

But don't treat her unkindly. Don't make love to another 
woman before her face, even if she be your wife. Don't do 
it. Always be polite, even should she fancy somebody better 
than you. 

If your mother, my dear Amadis, had not fancied your 
father better than somebody, you might have been that 
somebody's son. Consider this. Always be a philosopher, 
even about women. 

Few men understand women. Frenchmen perhaps better 
than any one else. I am a Frenchman. 



II. 

THE INFANT. 

SHE is a child a little thing an infant. 

She has a mother and father. Let us suppose, for ex 
ample, they are married. Let us be moral if we cannot be 
happy and free they are married perhaps they love one 
another who knows ? 

But she is not lovely at first. It is cruel, perhaps but 
She is red and positively ugly. She feels this keenly, and 



LA FEMME. 



229 



cries. She weeps. Ah, my God! how she weeps! Her 
cries and lamentations now are really distressing. 

Tears stream from her in floods. She feels deeply and 
copiously like M. Alphonse de Lamartine in his Confessions. 

If you are her mother, Madame, you will fancy worms ; 
you will examine her linen for pins and what not. Ah, 
hypocrite ! you, even you, misunderstand her. 

Yet she has charming natural impulses. See how she 
tosses her dimpled arms. She looks longingly at her mother. 
She has a language of her own. She says " goo goo," and 
"gaga." 

She demands something this infant ! 

She is faint, poor thing. She famishes. She wishes to be 
restored. .Restore her, Mother ! 

It is the first duty of a mother to restore her child/ 



III. 

THE DOLL, 

SHE is hardly able to walk she already totters under 
the weight of a doll. 

It is a charming and elegant affair. It has pink cheeks 
and purple-black hair. She prefers brunettes, for she has 
already, with the quick knowledge of a French infant, per 
ceived she is a blonde and that her doll cannot rival her. 
Mon Dieu, how touching ! Happy child 1 She spends hours 
in preparing its toilette. She begins to show her taste in 
the exquisite details of its dress. She loves it madly, de 
votedly. She will prefer it to bonbons. She already antici 
pates the wealth of love she will hereafter pour out on her 
lover, her mother, her father, and finally perhaps her 
husband. 

This is the time the anxious parent will guide these 
first outpourings. *ttie will read her extracts from Miche- 



230 LA FEMME. 

let's IS Amour, Rousseau's Heloise, and the Revue des deux 
Mondes. 

IV. 

THE MUD PIE. 

SHE was in tears to-day. 

She had stolen away from her lonne, and was with some 
rustic infants. They had noses in the air, and large, coarse 
hands and feet. 

They had seated themselves around a pool in the road, 
and were fashioning fantastic shapes in the clayey soil with 
their hands. Her throat swelled and her eyes sparkled with 
delight as, for the first time, her soft palms touched the 
plastic mud. She made a graceful and lovely pie. She 
stuffed it with stones for almonds and plums. She forgot 
everything. It was being baked in the solar rays, when 
inadame caine and took her away. 

She weeps. It is night, and she is weeping still. 



V. 

HER FIRST LOVE, 

SHE no longer doubts her beauty. She is loved. 

She saw him secretly. He is vivacious and sprightly. He 
is famous. He has already had an affair with Einfin, the 
filU de chambre, and poor Einfin is desolate. He is noble. 
She knows he is the son of Madame la Baromie Couturiere. 
She adores him. 

She affects not to notice him. Poor little thing ! 
Hippolyte is distracted annihilated inconsolable and 
charming. 

She admires his boots, his cravat, his little gloves his 
exquisite pantaloons his coat, and cane. 

She offers to run away with him. He is transported, 



LA FEMME. 231 

but magnanimous. He is wearied, perhaps. She sees him 
frhe next day offering flowers to the daughter of Madame la 
Oomtesse Blanchisseuse. 

She ig again in tears. 

She reads Paul et Virginie. She is secretly transported. 
When she reads how the exemplary young woman laid 
down her life rather than appear en deshabille to her lover, 
she weeps again. Tasteful and virtuous Bemardine de St. 
Pierre ! the daughters of France admire you ! 

-All this time her doll is headless in the cabinet. The 
mud pie is broken on the road. 

VI. 

THE WIFE. 

SHE is tired of loving, and she marries. 

Her mother thinks it, on the whole, the best thing. As 
the day approaches, she is found frequently in tears. Her 
mother will not permit the affianced one to see her, and he 
makes several attempts to commit suicide. 

But something happens. Perhaps it is winter, and the 
water is cold. Perhaps there are not enough people present 
to witness his heroism. 

In this way her future husband is spared to her. She 
will offer philosophy. She will tell her she was married 
herself. 

But what is this new and ravishing light that breaks 
upon her ? The toilette and wedding clothes ! She is in a 
new sphere. 

She makes out her list in her own charming writing. 
Here it is. Let every mother heed it.* 



The delicate reader will appreciate the omission of certain articles 
for which English synonyms are forbidden, 



232 MARY McGILLUP. 

She is married. On the day after, she meets her old 
lover, Hippolyte. He is again transported 



VII. 

HER OLD AGE. 

A FRENCH woman never grows old. 



MARY McGILLUP. 
"a Southern $obd. 

AFTER BELLE BOYD. 
CHAPTER I. 

TJ* VERY reader of Belle Boyd's narrative will remember 
7-* an allusion to a " lovely, fragile-looking girl of nine 
teen," who rivalled Belle Boyd in devotion to the Southern 
cause, and who, like her, earned the enviable distinction of 
being a " rebel spy." 

I am that " fragile " young creature. Although on 
friendly terms with the late Miss Boyd, now Mrs. Harding, 
candour compels me to state that nothing but our common 
politics prevents me from exposing the ungenerous spirit she 
has displayed in this allusion. To be dismissed in a single 
paragraph after years of but I anticipate. To put up with 
this feeble and forced acknowledgment of serv'ces rendered 
would be a confession of a craven spirit, which, thank God, 
though "fragile" and only "nineteen," I do not possess. 
I may not have the " blood of a Howard" in my veins, as 
some people, whom I shall not disgrace myself by naming, 
claim to have, but I have yet to learn that the race of 
M'Gillup ever yet brooked slight or insult. I shall not say 



MARY McGILL UP. 233 

that attention in certain quarters seems to have turned some 
people's heads ; nor that it would have been more delicate 
if certain folks had kept quiet on the subject of their court 
ship, and the rejection of certain offers, when it is known 
that their forward conduct was all that procured them a 
husband ! Thank Heaven, the South has some daughters 
who are above such base considerations. While nothing 
shall tempt me to reveal the promises to share equally the 
fame of certain enterprises which were made by one who 
shall now be nameless, I have deemed it only just to myself 
to put my own adventures upon record. If they are not 
equal to those of another individual, it is because, though 
"fragile," my education has taught me to have some con 
sideration for the truth. I am done. 



CHAPTER II. 

I WAS born in Missouri. My dislike for the Northern scum 
was inherent. This was shown, at an early age, in the 
extreme distaste I exhibited for Webster's spelling-book 
the work of a well-known Eastern Abolitionist. I cannot 
be too grateful for the consideration shown by my chival 
rous father a gentleman of the old school who resisted to 
the last an attempt to introduce Mitchell's Astronomy and 
Geography into the public school of our district. When I 
state that this same Mitchell became afterward a hireling 
helot in the Yankee Army, every intelligent reader will 
appreciate the prophetic discrimination of this true son of 
the South. 

I was eight years old when I struck the first blow for 
Southern freedom against the Northern Tyrant. It is 
hardly necessary to state that in this instance the oppressor 
was a pale, over-worked New England " school-marm." The 
principle for which I was contending, I felt, however, to be 
the same. Resenting an affront put upon me, I one day 



234 MAR Y McGILL UP. 

heaved a rock' 55 " at the head of the Vandal schoolmistress. 
I was seized and overpowered. My pen falters as I reach 
the climax. English readers will not give credit to this 
sickening story the civilised world will avert its head but 
I, Mary McGillup, was publicly SPANKED ! 



CHAPTER III. 

BUT the chaotic vortex of civil war approached, and fell 
destruction, often procrastinated, brooded in the storm. f 
As the English people may like to know what was really 
the origin of the rebellion, I have no hesitation in giving 
them the true and only cause. Slavery had nothing to do 
with it, although the violation of the Declaration of Inde 
pendence, in the disregard by the North of the Fugitive 
Slave Law,J might have provoked a less fiery people than 
the Southrons. At the inception of the struggle a large 
amount of Southern indebtedness was held by the people of 
the North. To force payment from the generous but insol 
vent debtor to obtain liquidation from the Southern 
planter was really the soulless and mercenary object of 
the craven Northerners. Let the common people of Eng 
land look to this. Let the improvident literary hack ; the 
starved impecunious Grub Street debtor ; the newspaper fre 
quenter of sponging-houses, remember this in their criticisms 
of the vile and slavish Yankee. 

* NOTE, BY B. B. B. In the South-west, any stone larger than a pea 
is termed "a rock." 

t I make no pretension to fine writing, but perhaps Mrs. Harding 
can lay over that. Oh, of course ! M. McG. 

J The Declaration of Independence grants to each subject " the 
pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness." A fugitive slave may be said to 
personify " life, liberty, and happiness." Hence his pursuit is really 
;egaL This is logic. B. B. B. 



MAR Y McGILL UP. 235 



CHAPTER IV, 

THE roasting of an Abolitionist, by a greatly infuriated 
community, was my first taste of the horrors of civil war. 
Heavens ! Why will the North persist in this fratricidal 
warfare 1 The expulsion of several Union refugees, which 
soon followed, now fairly plunged my beloved State in the 
seething vortex. 

I was sitting at the piano one afternoon, singing that 
stirring refrain, so justly celebrated, but which a craven 
spirit, unworthy of England, has excluded from some of her 
principal restaurants, and was dwelling with some enthusiasm 
on the following line : 

*' Huzza ! she spurns the Northern scum ! " 

when a fragment of that scum, clothed in that detestable 
blue uniform which is the symbol of oppression, entered the 
apartment. " I have the honour of addressing the celebrated 
rebel spy, Miss McGillup," said the "Vandal officer. 

In a moment I was perfectly calm. With the exception 
of slightly expectorating twice in the face of the minion, I 
did not betray my agitation. Haughtily, yet firmly, I 
replied : 

I am." 

" You looked as if you might be," the brute replied, as he 
turned on his heel to leave the apartment. 

In an instant I threw myself before him. " Y"ou shall 
not leave here thus," I shrieked, grappling him with an 
energy which no one, seeing my frail figure, would have 
believed. " I know the reputation of your hireling crew. 
I read your dreadful purpose in your eye. Tell me not that 
your designs are not sinister. You came here to insult me 
to kiss me, perhaps. You shan't you naughty mail. 
Go away I" 



236 MAR Y McGILL UP. 

The blush of conscious degradation rose to the cheek of 
the Lincoln hireling as he turned his face away from mine. 

In an instant I drew my pistol from my belt, which, in 
anticipation of some such outrage, I always carried, and shot 
him. 

CHAPTER V. 

" Thy forte was less to act than speak, 

Maryland ! 
Thy politics were changed each week, 

Maryland ! 

With Northern Vandals thou wast meek, 
With sympathisers thou wouldst skriek, 
I know thee 'twas like thy cheek ! 

Maryland ! my Maryland ! " 

AFTER committing the act described in the preceding 
chapter, which every English reader will pardon, I went 
up-stairs, put on a clean pair of stockings, and placing a rose 
in my lustrous black hair, proceeded at once to the camp of 
Generals Price and Mosby to put them in possession of in 
formation which would lead to the destruction of a portion 
of the Federal army. During a great part of my flight I 
was exposed to a running fire from the Federal pickets of 
such coarse expressions as, 

" Go it, Sally Eeb." 

" Dust it, my Confederate beauty." 

But I succeeded in reaching the glorious Southern camp 
uninjured. 

Tn a weak afterwards I was arrested, by a lettre de cachet 
of Mr. Stanton, and placed in the Bastile. British readers 
of my story will express surprise at these terms, but I 
assure them that not only these articles but tumbrils, 
guillotines, and conciergeries were in active use among the 
Federals. If substantiation be required, I refer to the 
Charleston Mercury , the only reliable organ, next to the 



MAR Y McGILL UP. 237 

Kew York Daily News, published in the country. At the 
Bastile I made the acquaintance of the accomplished and 
elegant author of Guy Livingstone* to whom I presented a 
curiously-carved thigh-bone of a Union officer, and from 
whom I received the following beautiful acknowledgment: 

"Demoiselle: Should I ever win hame to my ain conntrie, 
I make mine avow to enshrine in my reliquaire this elegant 
bijouterie and offering of La> Belle Eebelle. Nay, methinks 
this fraction of man's anatomy were some compensation for 
the rib lost by the ' grand old gardener,' Adam." 



CHAPTER VI. 

RELEASED at last from durance vile and placed on board of 
an Erie canal-boat, on my way to Canada, I for a moment 
breathed the sweets of liberty. Perhaps the interval gave 
me opportunity to indulge in certain reveries which I had 
hitherto sternly dismissed. Henry Breckin ridge Folair, a 
consistent copperhead, captain of the canal-boat, again and 
again pressed that suit I had so often rejected. 

It was a lovely moonlight night. We sat on the deck of 
the gliding craft. The moonbeam and the lash of the driver 
fell softly on the flanks of the off-horse, and only the surging 
of the tow-rope broke the silence. Folair's arm clasped my 
waist. I suffered it to remain. Placing in my lap a small 
but not ungrateful roll of checkerberry lozenges, he took the 
occasion to repeat softly in my ear the words of a motto he 
had just unwrapped with its graceful covering of the tissue- 
paper from a sugar almond. The heart of the wicked little 
rebel, Mary McGillup, was won ! 

* The recent conduct of Mr. Livingstone renders him unworthy of 
my notice. His disgusting praise of Belle Boyd, and complete ignoring 
of my claims, show the artfulness of some females and puppyism of 
some men. M. McG. 



238 MISS MIX. 

The story of Mary McGillup is done. I might have added 
the journal of my husband, Henry Breckinridge Folair, but 
as it refers chiefly to his freights, and a schedule of his 
passengers, I have been obliged, reluctantly, to suppress it. 

It is due to my friends to say that I have been requested 
not to write this book. Expressions have reached my ears, 
the reverse of complimentary, I have been told that its 
publication will probably ensure my banishment for life. Be 
it so. If the cause for which I laboured have been sub 
served, I am content. 

LONDON, May, 1865. ; 



MISS MIX. 

BY CH-L-TTE BR-NTE, 
CHAPTER I. 

TV /T Y earliest impressions are of a huge, mis-shapen rock, 
* against which the hoarse waves beat unceasingly. On 

this rock three pelicans are standing in a defiant attitude. A 
dark sky lowers in -the background, while two sea-gulls and 
a gigantic cormorant eye with extreme disfavour the floating 
corpse of a drowned woman in. the foreground. A few 
bracelets, coral necklaces, and other articles of jewelry, 
scattered around loosely, complete this remarkable picture. 

It is one which, in some vague, unconscious way, symbo 
lises, to my fancy, the character of a man. I have never 
been able to explain exactly why. I think I must have 
seen the picture in some illustrated volume, when a baby, or 
my mother may have dreamed it before I was born. 

As a child I was not handsome. When I consulted the 
triangular bit of looking-glass which I always carried with 
me, it showed a pale, sandy and freckled face, shaded by 



MISS MIX. 239 

locks like the colour of sea-weed when the sun strikes it in 
deep water. My eyes were said to be indistinctive ; they 
were a faint ashen grey j but above them rose my only 
beauty a high, massive, domelike forehead, with polished 
temples, like door-knobs of the purest porcelain. 

Our family was a family of governesses. My mother had 
been one, and my sisters had the same occupation. Conse 
quently, when at the age of thirteen, my eldest sister handed 
me the advertisement of Mr. Tlawj ester, clipped from that 
day's Times, I accepted it as my destiny. Nevertheless, a 
mysterious presentiment of an indefinite future haunted me 
in my dreams that night, as I lay upon my little snow-white 
bed. The next morning, with two band-boxes tied up in 
silk handkerchiefs, and a hair trunk, I turned my back upon 
Minerva Cottage for ever. 



CHAPTER IL 

BLUNDEBBORE HALL, the seat of James Eawjester, Esq., was 
encompassed by dark pines and funereal hemlocks on all sides. 
The wind sang weirdly in the turrets and moaned through 
the long-drawn avenues of the park. As I approached the 
house I saw several mysterious figures flit before the 
windows, and a yell of demoniac laughter answered my 
summons at the bell. While I strove to repress my gloomy 
forebodings, the housekeeper, a timid, scared-looking old 
woman, showed me into the library. 

I entered, overcome with conflicting emotions. I was 
dressed in a narrow gown of dark serge, trimmed with black 
bugles. A thick green shawl was pinned across my breast. 
My hands were encased with black half-mittens worked 
with steel beads ; on my feet were large pattens, originally 
the property of my deceased grandmother. I carried a blue 
cotton umbrella. As I passed before a mirror, I could not 



240 MISS Mix. 

iielp glancing at it, nor could I disguise from myself the fact 
that I was not handsome. 

Drawing a chair into a recess, I sat down with folded 
hands, calmly awaiting the arrival of my master. Once or 
twice a fearful yell rang through the house, or the rattling of 
chains, and curses uttered in a deep, manly voice, broke upon 
the oppressive stillness. I began to feel my soul rising with 
the emergency of the moment. 

" You look alarmed, miss. You don't hear anything, my 
dear, do you 1" asked the housekeeper nervously. 

" Nothing whatever," I remarked calmly, as a terrific 
scream, followed by the dragging of chairs and tables in the 
room above, drowned for a moment my reply. " It is the 
silence, on the contrary, which has made me foolishly 
nervous." 

The housekeeper looked at me approvingly, and instantly 
made some tea for me. 

I drank seven cups ; as I was beginning the eighth, I 
heard a crash, and the next moment a man leaped into the 
room through the broken window. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE crash startled me from my self-control. The house 
keeper bent toward me and whispered : 

" Don't be excited. It's Mr. Rawj ester he prefers to 
come in sometimes in this way. It's his playfulness, ha ! 
ha! ha!" 

" I perceive," I said calmly. " It's the unfettered impulse 
of a lofty soul breaking the tyrannising bonds of custom," 
and I turned toward him. 

He had never once looked at me. He stood with his back 
to the fire, which set off the Herculean breadth of his 
shoulders. His face was dark and expressive ; his under- 



MISS MIX. 2 1 i 

jaw squarely formed, and remarkably heavy. I was struck 
with his remarkable likeness to a Gorilla. 

As he absently tied the poker into hard knots with his 
nervous fingers, I watched him with some interest. Sud 
denly he turned toward me : 

" Do you think I'm handsome, young woman T' 

" Not classically beautiful," I returned calmly ; "but you 
have, if I may so express myself, an abstract manliness a 
sincere and wholesome barbarity which, involving as it does 
the naturalness" but I stopped, for he yawned at that 
moment an action which singularly developed the immense 
breadth of his lower jaw and I saw he had forgotten me. 
Presently he turned to the housekeeper : 

" Leave us." 

The old woman withdrew with a courtesy. 

Mr. Rawj ester deliberately turned his back upon me and 
remained silent for twenty minutes. I drew my shawl the 
more closely around my shoulders and closed my eyes. 

" You are the governess 1" at length he said. 

" I am, sir/' 

" A creature who teaches geography, arithmetic, and the 
use of the globes ha ! a wretched remnant of femininity 
a skimp pattern of girlhood with a premature flavour of tea- 
leaves and morality. Ugh ! " 

I bowed my head silently. 

" Listen to me, girl ! " he said sternly ; " this child you 
have come to teach my ward is not legitimate. She is 
the offspring of my mistress a common harlot. Ah ! Miss 
Mix, what do you think of me now f 

" I admire," I replied, calmly, " your sincerity. A maw 
kish regard for delicacy might have kept this disclosure to 
yourself. I only recognise in your frankness that perfect 
community of thought and sentiment which should exist 
between original natures." 

I looked up ; he had already forgotten my presence, and 



2,p MISS MIX. 

was engaged in pulling off his boots and coat. This done, 
lie sank down in an arm-chair before the fire, and ran the 
poker wearily through his hair. 1 could not help pitying him. 

The wind howled fearfully without, and the rain beat 
furiously against the windows. I crept toward him and 
seated myself on a low stool beside his chair. 

Presently he turned, without seeing me, and placed hia 
foot absently in my lap. I affected not to notice it. But 
he started and looked down. 

" You here yet, Carrothead 1 Ah, I forgot. Do you 
speak French ?" 

" Oui, Monsieur" 

11 Taisez-vous /" he said sharply, with singular purity of 
accent. I complied. The wind moaned fearfully in the 
chimney, and the light burned dim. I shuddered in spite of 
inysel " Ah, you tremble, girl i " 

" It is a fearful night." 

" Fearful ! Call you this fearful ha ! ha ! ha ! Look ! 
you wretched little atom, look ! " and he dashed forward, 
and, leaping out of the window, stood like a statute in the 
pelting storm, with folded arms. He did not stay long, but 
in a few minutes he returned by way of the hall chimney. 
I saw from the way that he wiped his feet on my dress that 
lie had again forgotten my presence. 

" You are a governess. What can you teach V ' he asked, 
suddenly and fiercely thrusting his face in mine. 

" Manners ! " I replied calmly, 

"Ha ! teach met" 

"You mistake yourself," I said adjusting my mittens. 
"Your manners require not the artificial restraint of society. 
You are radically polite ; this impetuosity and ferociousness 
is simply the sincerity which is the basis of a proper deport 
ment. Your instincts are moral ; your better nature, I see, 
is religious. As St. Paul justly remarks see chap. 6, 8, SI, 
an d 10 " 



MfSS MIX. 243 

He seized a heavy candlestick, and threw it at me. I 

dodged it submissively, but firmly. 

" Excuse me," lie remarked, as his undcr-jaw slowly 
relaxed. " Excuse me, Miss Mix but I can't stand St. 
Paul Enough you are engaged." 



CHAPTER IV. 

I FOLLOWED the housekeeper as she led the way timidly to 
my room. As we passed into a dark hall in the wing, I 
noticed that it was closed by an iron gate with a grating. 
Three of the doors on the corridor were likewise grated. A 
strange noise, as of shuffling feet, and the howling of in 
furiated animals, rang through the hall. Bidding the house 
keeper good night, and taking the candle, I entered my 
bedchamber. 

I took off my dress, and putting on a yellow flannel night 
gown, which I could not help feeling did not agree with my 
complexion, I composed myself to rest by reading Blairs 
Rhetoric and Paley's Moral Philosophy. I had just put out 
the light, when I heard voices in the corridor. I listened 
attentively. I recognised Mr. Rawj ester's stern tones. 

" Have you fed No. 1 V he asked. 

" Yes, sir," said a gruff voice, apparently belonging to e 
domestic. 

" How's No. 2 1" 

" She's a little off her feed just now, but will pick up in a 
day or two ! " 

And No. 3 r 

" Perfectly furious, sir. Her tantrums are ungovernable." 

"Hush!" 

The voices died away, and I sank into a fitful slumber. 

I dreamed that I was wandering through a tropical forest. 
Suddenly I saw the figure of a gorilla approaching me. As 
it neared me, I recognised the features of Mr. Rawj ester. 



244 MISS MIX. 

He held his hand to his side as if in pain. I saw that he 
had been wounded. He recognised me and called me by 
name, but at the same moment the vision changed to an 
Ashantee village, where, around the fire, a group of negroes 
were dancing and participating in some wild Obi festival. I 
awoke with the strain still surging in my ears. 

" Hokee-pokee wokee fum !" 

Good Heavens ! could I be dreaming ? I heard the voice 
distinctly on the floor below, and smelt something burning. 
I arose, with an indistinct presentiment of evil, and hastily 
puting some cotton in my ears and tying a towel about my 
head, I wrapped myself in a shawl and rushed down 
stairs. The door of Mr. Rawj ester's room was open. I 
entered. 

Mr. Rawj ester lay apparently in a deep slumber, from 
which even the clouds of smoke that came from the burning 
curtains of his bed could not rouse him. Around the room 
a large and powerful negress, scantily attired, with her head 
adorned with feathers, was dancing wildly, accompanying 
herself with bone castanets. It looked like some terrible 
feticJi. 

I did not lose my calmness. After firmly emptying the 
pitcher, basin, and slop-jar on the burning bed, I proceeded 
cautiously to the garden, and, returning with the garden- 
engine, I directed a small stream at Mr. Rawj ester. 

At my entrance the gigantic negress fled. Mr. Kawj ester 
yawned and woke. I explained to him, as he rose dripping 
from the bed, the reason of my presence. He did not seem 
to be excited, alarmed, or discomposed. He gazed at rne 
curiously. 

" So you risked your life to save mine, eh 1 you canary- 
coloured teacher of infants V 1 

I blushed modestly, and drew my shawl tightly over my 
yellow flannel nightgown. 

f< You love me, Mary Jane don't deny it ! This tremb- 



MISS MIX. 245 

ling shows it ! " He drew me closely towards him, and said, 
with his deep voice tenderly modulated : 

" How's her pooty tootens did she get her 'ittle tootens 
wet b'ess her V 9 

I understood his allusion to my feet. I glanced down and 
saw that in my hurry I had put on a pair of his old India- 
rubbers. My feet were not small or pretty, and the addition 
did not add to their beauty. 

" Let me go, sir," I remarked quietly. " This is all im 
proper j it sets a bad example for your child ;" and I firmly 
but gently extricated myself from his grasp. I approached 
the door. He seemed for a moment buried in deep thought. 

" You say this was a negress ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Humph ; No. 1, I suppose !" 

" Who is Number One, sir V 

"My first" he remarked, with a significant and sarcastic 
smile. Then, relapsing into his old manner, he threw his 
boots at my head, and bade me begone. I withdrew calmly. 



CHAPTER V. 

MY pupil was a bright little girl, who spoke French with a 
perfect accent. Her mother had been a French ballet^ 
dancer, which probably accounted for it. Although she was 
only six years old, it was easy to perceive that she had been 
several times in love. She once said to me : 

" Miss Mix, did you ever have the gr ancle passion 1 Did 
you ever feel a fluttering here f and she placed her hand 
upon her small chest, and sighed quaintly, "a kind of dis 
taste for bonbons and caromels, when the world seemed as 
tasteless and hollow as a broken cordial drop." 

" Then you have felt it, Nina V I said quietly. 

** O dear, yes. There was Buttons that was our page, 



246 MISS MIX. 

you know I loved him dearly, but papa sent him away. 
Then there was Dick, the groom, but he laughed at me, and 
I suffered misery !" and she struck a tragic French attitude. 
" There is to be company here to-morrow," she added, 
rattling on with childish naivete, " and papa's sweetheart 
Blanche Marabout is to be here. You know they say she 
is to be my mamma," 

What thrill was this shot through me? But I rose 
calmly, and administering a slight correction to the child, 
left the apart ment. 

Blunderbore House, for the next week, was the scene of 
gaiety and merriment. That portion of the mansion closed 
with a grating was walled up, and the midnight shrieks no 
longer troubled me. 

But I felt more keenly the degradation of my situation. 
I was obliged to help Lady Blanche at her toilette and help 
her to look beautiful. For what 1 To captivate him 1 Oh 
no, no but why this sudden thrill and faintness 1 Did 
he really love her 1 I had seen him pinch and swear at her. 
But I reflected that he had thrown a candlestick at my head, 
and ixiy foolish heart was reassured. 

It was a night of festivity, when a sudden message obliged 
Mr. Rawj ester to leave his guests for a few hours. " Make 
yourselves merry, idiots," he added, under his breath, as he 
passed me. The door closed and he was gone. 

A half hour passed. In the midst of the dancing a shriek 
was heard, and out of the swaying crowd of fainting women 
and excited men, a wild figure strode into the room. One 
glance showed it to be a highwayman, heavily armed, hold 
ing a pistol in each hand. 

" Let no one pass out of this room !" he said, in a voice of 
thunder. " The house is surrounded and you cannot escape. 
The first one who crosses yonder threshold will be shot liko 
a dog. Gentlemen, I'll trouble you to approach in single 
file, and hand me your purses and watches." 



MfSS MIX. 247 

Finding resistance useless, the order was ungraciously 
obeyed. 

"Now, ladies, please to pass up your jewelry and 
trinkets." 

This order was still more ungraciously complied with. As 
Blanche handed to the bandit captain her bracelet, she en 
deavoured to conceal a diamond necklace, the gift of Mr. 
Rawj ester, in her bosom. But, with a demoniac grin, the 
powerful brute tore it from its concealment, and adminis 
tering a hearty box on the ear of the young girl, flung her 
aside. 

It was now my turn. Witk a beating heart, I made 
my way to the robber chieftain, and sank at his feet. 
"Oh, sir, I am nothing but a poor governess, pray let 
me go." 

" Oh, ho ! A governess ? Give me your last month's 
wages, then. Give me what you have stolen from your 
master !" and he laughed fiendishly. 

I gazed at him quietly, and said, in a low voice, " I have 
stolen nothing from you, Mr. Rawj ester !" 

"Ah, discovered? Hush! listen, girl!" he hissed, in a 
fiercer whisper, "utter a syllable to frustrate my plans and 
you die aid me, and " but he was gone. 

In a few moments the party, with the exception of 
myself, were gagged and locked in the cellar. The next 
moment torches were applied to the rich hangings, and the 
house was in flames. I felt a strong hand seize me, and 
bear me out in the open air and place me upon the hillside, 
where I could overlook the burning mansion. It was Mr. 
Rawj ester. 

" Burn !" he said, as he shook his fist at the flames. Then 
sinking on his knees before me, he said hurriedly : 

" Mary Jane, I love you ; the obstacles to our union are 
or will be soon removed. In yonder mansion were confined 
my three crazy wives. One of them, as you know, attempted 



248 A r N. 

to kill me ! Ha ! this is vengeance ! But will you be 
mine 1 " 

I fell, without a word, upon his neck. 



NN. 

33etng a $obd in tf)C JFrcncf) ^paragraphic Stglt. 



_ T\/T ADEMOISELLE, I swear to you that I love 
*** you. 

You who read these pages. You who turn your burn 
ing eyes upon these words words that I trace Ah, 
Heaven ! the thought maddens me. 

I will be calm. I will imitate the reserve of the festive 
Englishman, who wears a spotted handkerchief which he 
calls a Belchio, who eats biftek, and caresses a bull-dog. I 
will subdue myself like him. 

Ha ! Poto-beer ! All right Goddam ! 

Or, I will conduct myself as the free-born American 
the gay Brother Jonathan ! I will whittle me a stick. I 
will whistle to myself "Yankee Doodle," and forget my 
passion in excessive expectoration. 

Hoho ! wake snakes and walk chalks. 

The world is divided into two great divisions : Paris and 
the provinces. There is but one Paris. There are several pro 
vinces, among which may be numbered England, America, 
Russia, and Italy. 

N N. was a Parisian. 

But N N. did not live in Paris. Drop a Parisian in the 
provinces, and you drop a part of Paris with him. Drop 
him in Senegambia, and in three days he will give you an 
omelette soufflee or a pate de foie gras, served by the neatest 
of Senegambian files, whom he will call Mademoiselle. In 
three weeks he will give you an opera. 



N N. 249 

N N. was not dropped in Senegambia, but in San Fran 
cisco quite as awkward. 

They find gold in San Francisco, but they don't under 
stand gilding. 

N 1ST. existed three years in this place. He became bald 
on the top of his head, as all Parisians do. Look down 
from your box at the OpeYa Comique, Mademoiselle, and 
count the bald crowns of the fast young men in the pit. 
Ah you tremble ! They show where the arrows of love 
have struck and glanced off. 

N N. was also near-sighted, as all Parisians finally be 
come. This is a gallant provision of Nature to spare them 
the mortification of observing that their lady friends grow old. 
After a certain age every woman is handsome to a Parisian. 

One day, N N. was walking down Washington- street. 
Suddenly he stopped. 

He was standing before the door of a milliner's shop. 
Beside the counter, at the further extremity of the shop, 
stood a young and elegantly-formed woman. Her face was 
turned from N X. He entered. "With a plausible excuse, 
and seeming indifference, he gracefully opened conversation 
with the milliner as only a Parisian can. But he had to 
deal with a Parisian. His attempts to view the features of 
the fair stranger by the counter were deftly combated by 
the shop-woman. He was obliged to retire. 

N 1ST. went home and lost his appetite. He was hannted 
by the elegant basque and graceful shoulders of the fair 
unknown, during the whole night. 

The next day he sauntered by the milliner. Ah ! Heavens ! 
A thrill ran through his frame, and his fingers tingled with 
a delicious electricity. The fair inconnu was there ! He 
raised his hat gracefully. He was not certain, but he thought 
that a slight motion of her faultless bonnet betrayed recogni 
tion. He would have wildly darted into the shop, but just 
then the figure of the milliner appeared in the doorway. 



250 N N. 

Did Monsieur wish anything 1 

Misfortune ! Desperation ! N N. purchased a bottle of 
prussic acid, a sack of charcoal, and a quire of pink note- 
paper, and returned home. He wrote a letter of farewell to the 
closely-fitting basque, and opened the bottle of prussic acid. 

Some one knocked at his door. It was a Chinaman, with 
iis weekly linen. 

These Chinese are docile, but not intelligent. They are 
ingenious, but not creative. They are cunning in expe 
dients, but deficient in tact. In love they are simply 
barbarous. They purchase their wives openly, and not 
constructively by attorney. By offering small sums for 
their sweethearts, they degrade the value of the sex. 

Nevertheless, N N". felt he was saved. He explained all 
to the faithful Mongolian, and exhibited the letter he had 
written. He implored him to deliver it. 

The Mongolian assented. The race are not cleanly or 
sweet-savoured, but N N. fell upon his neck. He embraced 
him with one hand, and closed his nostrils with the other. 
Through him he felt he clasped the close-fitting basque. 

The next day was one of agony and suspense. Evening 
came, but no Mercy. N N. lit the charcoal. But, to com 
pose his nerves, he closed his door and first walked mildly 
up and down Montgomery Street. When he returned, he 
found the faithful Mongolian on the steps. 

All lity ! 

These Chinese are not accurate in their pronunciation. 
They avoid the r, like the English nobleman. 

N N. gasped for breath. He leaned heavily against the 
Chinaman. 

Then you have seen her, Ching Long ? 

Yes. All lity. She cum. Top side of house. 

The docile barbarian pointed up the stairs, and chuckled. 

She here impossible ! Ah, Heaven ! do I dream ? 

Yes. All lity top side of house. Good-bye, John. 



NN. 251 

This is the familiar parting epithet of the Mongolian. It 
is equivalent to our au revoir. 

N N. gazed with a stupefied air on the departing servant. 

He placed his hand on his throbbing heart. She here 
alone beneath bis roof. Oh, Heavens what happiness ! 

But how ? Torn from her home. Ruthlessly dragged, 
perhaps, from her evening devotions, by the hands of a re 
lentless barbarian. Could she forgive him ? 

He dashed frantically up the stairs. He opened the door. 
She was standing beside his couch with averted face. 

A strange giddiness overtook him. He sank upon his 
knees at the threshold. 

Pardon, pardon. My angel, can you forgive me ? 

A terrible nausea now seemed added to the fearful giddi 
ness. His utterance grew thick and sluggish. 

Speak, speak, enchantress. Forgiveness is all I ask. 
My Love, my Life ! 

She did not answer. He staggered to his feet. As he rose, 
his eyes fell on the pan of burning charcoal. A terrible 
suspicion flashed across his mind. This giddiness this 
nausea. The ignorance of the barbarian. This silence. O 
merciful heavens ; she was dying ! 

He crawled toward her. He touched her. She fell for 
ward with a lifeless sound upon the floor. He uttered a 
piercing shriek, and threw himself beside her. 

***** 

A file of gendarmes, accompanied by the Chef Burke, 
found him the next morning lying lifeless u pon the floor. 
They laughed brutally these cruel minions of the law and 
disengaged his arm from the waist of the wooden dummy 
which they had come to reclaim from the mantua-maker. 

Emptying a few bucketfuls of water over his form, they 
finally succeeded in robbing him, not only of his mistress, 
but of that Death he had coveted without her. 

Ah ! we live in a strange world, Messieurs. 



252 NO TfTLF 

NO TITLE. 

BY W-I.K-E C-LL-NS. 



PROLOGUE. 

nPHE following advertisement appeared in the Times of 
* the 17th of June, 1845: 

V\7" ANTED. A few young men for a light genteel employment. 
VV Address J.W.,P. 0. 

In the same paper, of same date, in another column : 

/ "p LET. That commodious and elegant family mansion, No. 27, 
* Limehouse Road, Pultneyville, will be rented low to a respectable 
tenant if applied for immediately, the family being about to remove to 
the continent. 

Under the local intelligence, in another column : 

MISSING. An unknown elderly gentleman a week ago left his 
lodgings in the Kent Boad, since which nothing has been heard 
of him. He left no trace of his identity except a portmanteau con 
taining a couple of shirts marked " 209, WARD." 

To find the connection between the mysterious disappear 
ance of the elderly gentleman and the anonymous communi 
cation, the relevancy of both these incidents to the letting 
of a commodious family mansion, and the dead secret in 
volved in the three occurrences, is the task of the writer of 
this history. 

A slim young man with spectacles, a large hat, drab 
gaiters, and a note-book, sat late that night with a copy of 
the Times before him, and a pencil which he rattled ner 
vously between his teeth, in the coffee-room of the " Blue 
Dragon." 



NO TITLE. 253 

CHAPTER I. 

MARY JONES'S NARRATIVE. 

I AM upper housemaid to the family that live at No. 27, 
Limehouse Road, Pultneyville. I have been requested by 
Mr. Wilkey Ceilings, which I takes the liberty of here stating 
is a gentleman born and bred, and has some consideration for 
the feelings of servants, and is not above rewarding them for 
their trouble, which is more than you can say for some who 
ask questions and gets short answers enough, gracious knows, 
to tell what I know about them. I have been requested to 
tell my story in my own langwidge, though, being no schol- 
lard, mind cannot conceive. I think my master is a brute. 
Do not know that he has ever attempted to poison my missus 
which is too good for him, and how she ever came to 
marry him, heart only can tell but believe him to be capable 
of any such hatrosity. Have heard him swear dreadful 
because of not having his shaving water at 9 o'clock pre 
cisely. Do not know whether he ever forged a will or tried 
to get my missus' property, although, not having confidence 
in the man, should not be suprised if he had done so. 
Believe that there was always something mysterious in his 
conduct. Remember distinctly how the family left home 
to go abroad. Was putting up my back hair, last Saturday 
morning, when I heard a ring. Says cook, " That's missus' 
bell, and mind you hurry, or the master 'ill know why." Says I, 
" Humbly thanking you, mem, but taking advice of them as 
is competent to give it, I'll take my time." Found missus 
dressing herself, and master growling as usual. Says missus, 
quite calm and easy like, " Mary, we begin to pack to-day." 
" What for, mem ? " says I, taken aback. " What's that 
hussy asking 1 " says master from the bedclothes, quite 
eavage like. " For the Continent Italy," says missus ; "can 
you go, Mary ? " Her voice was quite gentle and saintlike, 



2 $4 NO TITLE. 

but I knew the struggle it cost, and says I, " With you, 
mem, to India's torrid clime, if required, but with African 
Gorillas," says I, looking toward the bed, " never." " Leave 
the room," says master, starting up and catching of his boot 
jack. " Why, Charles," says missus, " how you talk ! " affect 
ing surprise. "Do go, Mary," says she, slipping a half- 
crown into my hand. I left the room scorning to take 
notice of the odious wretch's conduct. 

Cannot say whether my master and missus were ever 
legally married. What with the dreadful state of morals 
now-a-days, and them stories in the circulating libraries, 
innocent girls don't know into what society they might be 
obliged to take situations. Never saw missus' marriage cer 
tificate, though I have quite accidental-like looked in her 
desk when open, and would have seen it. Do not know 
of any lovers missus might have had. Believe she had a 
liking for John Thomas, footman, for she was always spite- 
ful-like poor lady when we were together though there 
was nothing between us, as cook well knows, and dare not 
deny, and missus needn't have been jealous. Have never 
seen arsenic or Prussian acid in any of the private drawers, 
but have seen paregoric and camphor. One of my master's 
friends was a Count Moscow, a Eussian papist which I 
detested. 

CHAPTER II. 

THE SLIM YOUNG MAN'S STORY. 

I AM by profession a reporter, and writer for the press. I 
live at Pultneyville. I have always had a passion for the 
marvellous, and have been distinguished for my facility in 
tracing out mysteries, and solving enigmatical occurrences. 
On the night of the 17th June, 1845, I left my office and 
walked homeward. The night was bright and starlight. 1 
was revolving in my mind the words of a singular item I had 



NO TITLE. 255 

just read in the Times. I had reached the darkest portion 
of the road, and found myself mechanically repeating "An 
elderly gentleman a week ago left his lodgings in the Kent 
Road," when suddenly I heard a step behind me. 

I turned quickly, with an expression of horror in my face, 
and by the light of the newly-risen moon beheld an elderly 
gentleman, with green cotton umbrella, approaching me. His 
hair, which was snow-white, was parted over a broad, open 
forehead. The expression of his face, which was slightly 
flushed, was that of amiability verging almost upon imbeci 
lity. There was a strange, inquiring look about the widely- 
opened mild blue eye a look that might have been intensi 
fied to insanity, or modified to idiocy. As he passed me, he 
paused, and partly turned his face, with a gesture of inquiry. 
I see him still, his white locks blowing in the evening breeze, 
his hat a little on the back of his head, and his figure painted 
in relief against the dark blue sky. 

Suddenly he turned his mild eye full upon me. A weak 
smile played about his thin lips. In a voice which had 
something of the tremulousness of age and the self-satisfied 
chuckle of imbecility in it, he asked, pointing to the rising 
moon, "Why? Hush!" 

He had dodged behind me, and appeared to be looking 
anxiously down the road. I could feel his aged frame shak 
ing with terror as he laid his thin hands upon my shoulders 
and faced me in the direction of the supposed danger. 

"Hush ! did you not hear them coming 1" 

I listened ; there was no sound but the soughing of the 
roadside trees in the evening wind. I endeavoured to re 
assure him, with such success that in a few moments the old 
weak smile appeared on his benevolent face. 

"Why? " But the look of interrogation was suc 
ceeded by a hopeless blankness. 

*' Why !" I repeated with assuring accents. 

Why," he said, a gleam of intelligence nickering over 



256 NO TITLE. 

nis face, " is yonder moon, as she sails in the blue empyrean, 
casting a flood of light o'er hill and dale, like Why," he 
repeated with a feeble smile, " is yonder moon, as she sails 
in the blue empyrean " He hesitated stammered and 
gazed at me hopelessly, with the tears dripping from his 
moist and widely-opened eyes. 

I took his hand kindly in my own. " Casting a shadow 
o'er hill and dale," I repeated quietly, leading him up the 
subject, "like Come, now." 

" Ah ! " he said, pressing my hand tremulously, " yon 
know it ?" 

"I do. Why is it like the eh the commodious man 
sion in the Limehouse Road ? " 

A blank stare only followed. He shook his head sadly. 
" Like the young men wanted for a light, genteel employ 
ment?" 

He wagged his feeble old head cunningly. 

"Or, Mr. Ward," I said with bold confidence, "like the 
mysterious disappearance from the Kent Road." 

The moment was full of suspense. He did not seem to 
hear me. Suddenly he turned. 

"Ha!" 

I darted forward. But he had vanished in the darkness. 



CHAPTER III. 

I NO. 27, LIMEHOUSE ROAD. 

IT was a hot midsummer evening. Limehouse Road was 
deserted save by dust and a few rattling butchers' carts, and 
the bell of the muffin and crumpet man. A commodious 
mansion which stood on the right of the road as you enter 
Pultneyville, surrounded by stately poplars and a high fence 
surmounted by a chevaux defrise of broken glass, looked to 
the passing and footsore pedestrian like the genius of seclu- 



NO TITLE. 257 

sion and solitude. A bill announcing in the usual terms 
that the house was to let, hung from the bell at the servants' 
entrance. 

As the shades of evening closed, and the long shadows of 
the poplars stretched across the road, a man carrying a small 
kettle stopped and gazed, first at the bill and then at the 
house. When he had reached the corner of the fence, he 
again stopped and looked cautiously up and down the road. 
Apparently satisfied with the result of his scrutiny, he deli 
berately sat himself down in the dark shadow of the fence, 
and at once busied himself in some employment, so well con 
cealed as to be invisible to the gaze of passers-by. At the 
end of an hour he retired cautiously. 

But not altogether unseen. A slim young man, with 
spectacles and note-book, stepped from behind a tree as the 
retreating figure of the intruder was lost in the twilight, and 
transferred from the fence to his note-book the freshly sten~ 
cilled inscription" S T 1860 X." 



CHAPTER IV. 

COUNT MOSCOW'S NARRATIVE. 

I AM a foreigner. Observe ! To be a foreigner in England 
is to be mysterious, suspicious, intriguing. M. Collins has 
requested the history of my complicity with certain occur 
rences. It is nothing bah absolutely nothing. 

I write with ease and fluency. Why should I not write 1 
Tra la la ! I am what you English call corpulent. Ha, 
ha ! I am a pupil of Macchiavelli. I find it much better 
to disbelieve everything, and to approach my subject and 
wishes circuitously, than in a direct manner. You have 
observed that playful animal, the cat. Call it, and it (Joes 
not come to you directly, but rubs itself against all the fUr- 
nature in the room, and reaches you finally and scratches, 



258 NO TITLE. 

Ji, ha, scratches ! I am of the feline species. Poop!-?, ca 1 ! 
me a villain bah ! 

I know the family living at No. 27, Liinehouse Hoad. 
I respect the gentleman a fine, burly specimen of your 
Englishman and madame, charming, ravishing, delightful. 
When it became known to me that they designed to let their 
delightful residence, and visit foreign shores, I at once called 
upon them. I kissed the hand of madame. I embraced the 
great Englishman. Madame blushed slightly. The great 
Englishman shook my hand like a mastiff. 

I began in that dexterous, insinuating manner of which 1 
am truly proud. I thought madame was ill. Ah no. A 
change, then, was all that was required. I sat down at the 
piano and sang. In a few minutes madame retired. I was 
alone with my friend. 

Seizing his hand, I began with every demonstration of 
courteous sympathy. I do not repeat my words, for my 
intention was conveyed more in accent, emphasis, and 
manner, than speech. I hinted to him that he had another 
wife living. I suggested that this was balanced ha ! by 
his wife's lover. That, possibly, he wished to fly hence the 
letting of his delightful mansion. That he regularly and 
systematically beat his wife in the English manner, and that 
she repeatedly deceived him. I talked of hope, of consola 
tion, of remedy. I carelessly produced a bottle of strychnine 
and a small vial of stramonium from my pocket, and enlarged 
on the efficiency of drugs. His face, which had gradually 
become convulsed, suddenly became fixed with a frightful 
expression. He started to his feet, and roared : " You d d 
Frenchman ! " 

I instantly changed my tactics, and endeavoured to em 
brace him. He kicked me twice, violently. I begged 
permission to kiss madame's hand. He replied by throwing 
me down-stairs. 

I am iu bed with my head bound up, and beef-steaks 



NO TITLE. 2$9 

upon my eyes, but still confident and buoyant. I have not 
lost faith in M'accniavelli. Tra la la 1 as they sing in the 
opera. I kiss everybody's hands. 



CHAPTER V. 

DR. DIGGS' STATEMENT. 

M Y name is David Diggs. I am a surgeon living at No. 9, 
Tottenham Court. On the 15th of June, 1854, I was called 
to see an elderly gentleman lodging in the Kent Road. 
Found him highly excited, with strong febrile symptoms, 
pulse 120, increasing. Repeated incoherently what I judged 
to be the popular form of a conundrum. On closer exami 
nation found acute hydrocephalus and both lobes of the brain 
rapidly filling with water. In consultation with an eminent 
phrenologist, it was further discovered that all the organs 
were more or less obliterated except that of Comparison. 
Hence the patient was enabled to only distinguish the most 
common points of resemblance between objects, without 
drawing upon other faculties, such as Ideality or Language, 
for assistance. Later in the day found him sinking being 
evidently unable to carry the most ordinary conundrum to a 
successful issue. Exhibited Tinct. Val., Ext. Opii, and 
Camphor, and prescribed quiet and emollients. On the 17th 
the patient was missing. 



' CHAPTER LAST. 

STATEMENT OF THE PUBLISHER. 

ON the 18th of June, Mr. Wilkie Collins left a roll of manu 
script with us for publication, without title or direction, 
since which time he has not been heard from. In spite of 
the care of the proof-readers, and valuable literary assistance^ 

B 2 



26o HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

it is feared that the continuity of the story has been, de 
stroyed by some accidental misplacing of chapters during its 
progress. How and what chapters are so misplaced, tho 
publisher leaves to an indulgent public to discover. 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

BY CH-S R-DE. 
CHAPTER I. 

HpHE Dodds were dead. For twenty years they had slept 
^ under the green graves of Kittery churchyard. The 
townfolk still spoke of them kindly. The keeper of the 
alehouse, where David had smoked his pipe, regretted him 
regularly, and Mistress Kitty, Mrs. D odd's maid, whose trim 
figure always looked well in her mistress's gowns, was incon 
solable. The Hardins were in America. Kaby was aristo 
cratically gouty ; Mrs. Eaby, religious. Briefly, then, we 
have disposed of 

1. Mr. and Mrs. Dodd (dead). 

2. Mr. and Mrs. Hardin (translated). 

3. Raby, baron et femme. (Yet I don't know about the 
former ; he came of a long-lived family, and the gout is an 
uncertain disease.) 

"We have active at the present writing (place aux 
dames} 

1 . Lady Caroline Coventry, niece of Sir Frederick. 

2. Faraday Huxley Little, son of Henry and Grace LittLau 
deceased. 

Sequitur to the above, A HERO AND HEEOINE. 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 261 



CHAPTER II. 

ON the death of his parents, Faraday Little was taken td 
JElaby Hall. In accepting his guardianship, Mr. Raby 
struggled stoutly against two prejudices : Faraday was 
plain-looking and sceptical. 

" Handsome is as handsome does, sweetheart," pleaded 
Jael, interceding for the orphan with arms that were still 
beautiful. " Dear knows, it is not his fault if he does not 
look like his father," she added with a great gulp. Jael 
was a woman, and vindicated her womanhood by never 
entirely forgiving a former rival. 

"It's not that alone, madam," screamed Raby, "but, 
d m it, the little rascal's a scientist, an atheist, a radical, 
a scoffer ! Disbelieves in the Bible, ma'am ; is full of this 
Darwinian stuff about natural selection and descent. Descent, 
forsooth ! In my day, madam, gentlemen were content to 
trace their ancestors back to gentlemen, and not to 
monkeys ! " 

" Dear heart, the boy is clever," urged Jael. 

"Clever!" roared Baby; "what does a gentleman want 
with cleverness ? " 



CHAPTER III. 

YOUNG Little was clever. At seven he had constructed a 
telescope; at nine, a flying-machine. At ten he saved a 
valuable life. 

Norwood Park was the adjacent estate, a lordly domain 
clotted with red deer and black trunks, but scrupulously 
kept with gravelled roads as hard and blue as steel. Thero 
Little was strolling one summer morning, meditating on a 
new top with concealed springs. At a little distance before 
him he saw the flutter of lace and ribbons. A young lady, 



262 HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

a veiy young lady, say of seven summers, tricked out in 
the crying abominations of the present fashion, stood beside 
a low bush. Her nursery-maid was not present, possibly 
owing to the fact that John the footman was also absent. 

Suddenly Little came towards her. " Excuse me, but do 
you know what those berries are % " He was pointing to the 
low bush filled with dark clusters of shining suspiciously 
shining fruit. 

ie Certainly ; they are blueberries." 

" Pardon me ; you are mistaken. They belong to quite 
another family." 

Miss Impudence drew herself up to her full height (exactly 
three feet nine and a half inches), and, curling an eighth of 
an inch of scarlet lip, said scornfully, " Your family, 
perhaps." 

Faraday Little smiled in the superiority of boyhood over 
girlhood. 

" I allude to the classification. That plant is the bella 
donna, or deadly nightshade. Its alkaloid is a narcotic 
poison." 

Sauciness turned pale. " I have just eaten some ! " 
And began to whimper. " O dear, what shall I do 1 " Then 
did it, i. e. wrung her small fingers and cried. 

"Pardon me one moment." Little passed his arm around 
her neck, and with his thumb opened widely the patrician- 
veined lids of her sweet blue eyes. " Thank Heaven, there 
is yet no dilation of the pupil ; it is not too late ! " He cast 
a rapid glance around. The nozzle and about three feet of 
garden hose lay near him. 

" Open your mouth, quick ! " 

It was a pretty, kissable mouth. But young Little meant 
business. He put the nozzle down her pink throat as far as 
it would go. 

" Now, don't move." 

He wrapped his handkerchief around a hoop-stick. Then 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 263 

he inserted both in the other end of the stiff hose. It fitted 
Bimgly. He shoved it in and then drew it back. 

Nature abhors a vacuum. The young patrician was as 
amenable to this law as the child of the lowest peasant. 

She succumbed. It was all over in a minute. Then she 
burst into a small fury. 

" You nasty, bad ugly boy." 

Young Little winced, but smiled. 

" Stimulants," he whispered to the frightened nursery, 
maid who approached ; "good evening." He was gone. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE breach, between young Little and Mr. Raby was slowly 
widening. Little found objectionable features in the Hall. 

" This black oak ceiling and wainscoating is not as healthful 
as plaster ; besides it absorbs the light. The bedroom ceiling 
is too low ; the Elizabethan architects knew nothing of 
ventilation. The colour of that oak panelling which you 
admire is due to an excess of carbon and the exuvia from 
the pores of your skin " 

"' Leave the house," bellowed Raby, " before the roof falls 
on your sacrilegious head ! " 

As Little left the house, Lady Caroline and a handsome 
boy of about Little's age entered. Lady Caroline recoiled, 
and then blushed. Little glared ; he instinctively felt the 
presence of a rival. 

CHAPTER V. 

LITTLE worked hard. He studied night and day. In five 
years he became a lecturer, then a professor. 

He soared as high as the clouds, he dipped as low as the 
cellars of the London poor. He analyzed the London fog, 
and found it two parts smoke, one disease, one unmentionable 



264 HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

abominations. He published a pamphlet, which was violently 
attacked. Then he knew he had done something. 

But he had not forgotten Caroline. He was walking one 
day in the Zoological Gardens and he came upon a pretty 
picture, flesh and blood too. 

Lady Caroline feeding buns to the bears ! An exquisite 
thrill passed through his veins. She turned her sweet face 
and their eyes met. They recollected their first meeting 
seven years before, but it was his turn to be shy and timid. 
Wonderful power of age and sex ! She met him with perfect 
self-possession. 

" Well meant, but indigestible I fear " (lie alluded to the 
buns). 

"A clever person like yourself can easily correct that" 
(she, the slyboots, was thinking of something else). 

In a few moments they were chatting gayly. Little eagerly 
descanted upon the different animals ; she listened with 
delicious interest. An hour glided delightfully away. 

After this sunshine, clouds. 

To them suddenly entered Mr. Raby and a handsome 
young man. The gentlemen bowed stiffly and looked vicious, 
as they felt. The lady of this quartette smiled amiably, as 
she did not feel. 

" Looking at your ancestors, I suppose," said Mr. Raby, 
pointing to the monkeys ; "we will not disturb you. Come." 
And he led Caroline away. 

Little was heart-sick. He dared not follow them. But an 
hour later he saw something which filled his heart with bliss 
unspeakable. 

Lady Caroline, with a divine smile on her face, feeding the 
monkeys ! 

CHAPTER VI. 

ENCOURAGED by love, Little worked hard upon his new 
flying-machine. His labours were lightened by talking of the 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 265 

beloved one with her French maid Therese, whom be had 
discreetly bribed. Mademoiselle Therese was venal, like 
all her class, but in this instance I fear she was not bribed 
by British gold. Strange as it may seem to the British 
mind, it was British genius, British eloquence, British 
thought, that brought her to the feet of this young savan. 

" I believe," said Lady Caroline, one day, interrupting her 
maid in a glowing eulogium upon the skill of " M. Leetell," 
"I believe you are in love with this Professor." A quick 
flush crossed the olive cheek of Therese, which Lady Caroline 
afterward remembered. 

The eventful day of trial came. The public were gathered, 
impatient and scornful as the pig-headed public are apt to be. 
In the open area a long cylindrical balloon, in shape like 
a Bologna sausage, swayed above the machine, from which, 
like some enormous bird caught in a net, it tried to free 
itself. A heavy rope held it fast to the ground. 

Little was waiting for the ballast, when his eye caught 
Lady Caroline's among the spectators. The glance was 
appealing. In a moment he was at her side. 

" I should like so much to get into the machine," said the 
arch-hypocrite, demurely. 

" Are you engaged to marry young Raby," said Little, 
bluntly. 

" As you please," she said with a courtesy ; "do I take this 
as a refusal?" 

Little was a gentleman. He lifted her and her lapdoginto 
the car. 

" How nice ! it won't go off?" 

" No, the rope is strong, and the ballast is not yet in." 

A report like a pistol, a cry from the spectators, a thousand 
hands stretched to grasp the parted rope, and the balloon 
darted upward. 

Only one hand of that thousand caught the rope, Little's ! 
But in the same instant the horror-stricken spectators saw 



265 HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

him whirled from his feet and borne upward, still clinging td 
the rope, into space. 

CHAPTER VII.* 

LADY CAROLINE fainted. The cold watery nose of her dog 
on her cheek brought her to herself. She dared not look over 
the edge of the car ; she dared not look up to the bellying 
monster above her, bearing her to death. She threw herself 
on the bottom of the car, and embraced the only living thing 
spared her, the poodle. Then she cried. Then a clear voice 
came apparently out of the circumambient air : 

" May I trouble you to look at the barometer ? " 

She put her head over the car. Little was hanging at the 
end of a long rope. She put her head back again. 

In another moment he saw her perplexed, blushing face 
over the edge, blissful sight. 

" O, please don't think of coming up ! Stay there, do"!" 

Little stayed. Of course she could make nothing out of 
the barometer, and said so. Little smiled. 

" Will you kindly send it down to me V 1 

But she had no string or cord. Finally she said, " Wait a 
moment." 

Little waited. This time her face did not appear. The 
barometer came slowly down at the end of a stay-lace. 

The barometer showed a frightful elevation. Little looked 
up at the valve and said nothing. Presently he heard a sigh. 
Then a sob. Then, rather sharply, 

" Why don't you do something V y 



CHAPTER VIII. 
LITTLE came up the rope hand over hand. Lady Carolir.a 

* The right of dramatization of this and succeeding chapters * 
reserved by the writer. 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 267 

crouched in the farther side of the car. Tido, the poodle, 
whined. " Poor thing," said Lady Caroline, " it's hungry." 

" Do you wish to save the dog \ " said Little. 

"Yes." 

" Give me your parasol." 

She handed Little a good-sized affair of lace and silk and 
whalebone. (None of your " sun-shades.") Little exa 
mined its ribs carefully. 

" Give me the dog." 

Lady Caroline hurriedly slipped a note under the dog's 
collar, and passed over her pet. 

Little tied the dog to the handle of the parasol and 
launched them both into space. The next moment they 
were slowly, but tranquilly, sailing to the earth. 

"A parasol and a parachute are distinct, but not dif 
ferent. Be not alarmed, he will get his dinner at some 
farm-house." 

" Where are we anr 2" 

" That opaque spot you see is London fog. Those twin- 
clouds are North and South America. Jerusalem and 
Madagascar are those specks to the right." 

Lady Caroline moved nearer; she was becoming inte 
rested. Then she recalled herself and said freezingly, 
" How are we going to descend ?" 

" By opening the valve." 

" Why don't you open it then ?" 

u BECAUSE THE VALVE-STRING is BROKEN !" 



CHAPTER IX. 

.LADY CAROLINE fainted. When she revived it was dark. 
They were apparently cleaving their way through a solid 
block of black marble. She moaned and shuddered. 

" I wish we had a light." 

M I have HP lucifers," said Little. " I observe, however. 



263 HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

that you wear a necklace of amber. Amber under certain 
conditions becomes highly electrical. Permit me." 

He took the amber necklace and rubbed it briskly. Then 
he askecl her to present her knuckle to the gem. A bright 
spark was the result. This was repeated for some hours. 
The light was not brilliant, but it was enough for the 
purposes of propriety, and satisfied the delicately minded 
girl. 

Suddenly there was a tearing, hissing noise and a smell of 
gas. Little looked up and turned pale. The balloon, at 
what I shall call the pointed end of the Bologna sausage, 
was evidently bursting from increased pressure. The gas 
was escaping, and already they were beginning to descend. 
Little was resigned, but firm. 

" If the silk gives way, then we are lost. Unfortunately 
I have no rope nor material for binding it." 

The woman's instinct had arrived at the same conclusion 
sooner than the man's reason. But she was hesitating over 
a detail. 

" Will you go down the rope for a moment ?" she said, 
with a sweet smile. 

Little went down. Presently she called to him. She 
held something in her hand, a wonderful invention of the 
seventeenth century, improved and perfected in this : a 
pyramid of sixteen circular hoops of light yet strong steel, 
attached to each other by cloth bands. 

With a cry of joy Little seized them, climbed to the 
balloon, and fitted the elastic hoops over its conical end. 
Then he returned to the car. 

We are saved." 

Lady Caroline, blushing, gathered her slim but antiauo 
irapery against the other end of the car. 



HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 269 

CHAPTER X. 

THEY were slowly descending. Presently Lady Caroline 
distinguished the outlines of Kaby Hall. " I think I will 
get out here," she said. 

Little anchored the balloon and prepared to follow her. 

"Not so, my friend," she said, with an arch smile. 
" We must not be seen together, People might talk. Fare 
well." 

Little sprang again into the balloon and sped away to 
America. He came down in California, oddly enough in 
front of Hardin's door, at Dutch Flat. Hardin was just 
examining a specimen of ore. 

" You are a scientist ; you can tell me if that is worth 
anything?" he said, handing it to Little. 

Little held it to the light. " It contains ninety per cent, 
of silver." 

Hardin embraced him. " Can I do anything for you, and 
why are you here 1 " 

Little told his story. Hardin asked to see the rope. 
Then he examined it carefully. 

" Ah, this was cut, not broken !" 

" With a knife 1" asked Little. 

" No. Observe both sides are equally indented. It was 
done with a scissors I " 

" Just Heaven !" gasped Little. " Therdse !" 

CHAPTER XI. 

LITTLE returned to London. Passing through London one 
day he met a dog-fancier. "Buy a nice poodle, sir 1 ?" 

Something in the animal attracted his attention. "Fido!" 
he gasped. 

The dog yelped. 

Little bought him. On taking off his collar a piece of 1 



270 HANDSOME IS AS HANDSOME DOES. 

paper rustled to the floor. He knew the handwriting and 
kissed it. It ran : 

" To THE HON. AUGUSTUS EABY : I cannot marry you. 
If I marry any one" (sly puss) "it will be the man who has 
twice saved my life, Professor Little. 

" CAROLINE COVENTRY." 

And she did. 



SKETCHES. 



MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL, 

"\1[ 7E all knew that Mr. Thompson was looking for his 
son, and a pretty bad one at that. That he was 
coming to California for this sole object was no secret to his 
fellow-passengers ; and the physical peculiarities, as well as 
the moral weaknesses, of the missing prodigal, were made 
equally plain to us through the frank volubility of the 
parent. 

" You was speaking of a young man which was hung 
at Red Dog for sluice-robbing," said Mr. Thompson to a 
steerage-passenger, one day ; " be you aware of the colour 
of his eyes?" 

" Black," responded the passenger. 

"Ah," said Mr. Thompson, referring to some mental 
memoranda, " Char-les' eyes was blue." 

He then walked away. Perhaps it was from this unsym 
pathetic mode of inquiry; perhaps it was from that Western 
'predilection to take a humorous view of any principle or 
sentiment persistently brought before them, that Mr. Thomp 
son's quest was the subject of some satire among the passen 
gers. A gratuitous advertisement of the missing Charley 
addressed to " Jailers and Guardians," circulated privately 
among them ; everybody remembered to have met Charles 
under distressing circumstances. Yet it is but due to my 
countrymen to state that when it was known that Thomp 
son had embarked some wealth in this visionary project, but 
]>,tle of this satire found its way to his ears, and nothing 
v '<? uttered in his hearing that might bring a pang to a father's 



274 MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 

heart, or imperil a possible pecuniary advantage of the 
satirist. Indeed, Mr. Bracey Tibbets' jocular proposition 
to form a joint-stock company to "prospect" for the missing 
youth, received at one time quite serious entertainment. 

Perhaps to superficial criticism Mr. Thompson's nature 
was not picturesque nor lovable. His history, as imparted 
at dinner one day by himself, was practical even in its sin 
gularity. After a hard and wilful youth and maturity in 
which he had buried a broken-spirited wife, and driven his 
son to sea he suddenly experienced religion. 

"I got it in New Orleans in '59," said Mr. Thompson, 
with the general suggestion of referring to an epidemic. 
" Enter ye the narrer gate. Parse me the beans." 

Perhaps this practical equality upheld him in his appa 
rently hopeless search. He had no clew to the whereabouts 
of his runaway son indeed, scarcely a proof of his present 
existence. From his indifferent recollection of the boy of 
twelve, he now expected to identify the man of twenty- 
five. 

It would seem that he was successful. How he succeeded 
was one of the few things he did not tell. There are, I be 
lieve, two versions of the story. One, that Mr. Thompson, 
visiting a hospital, discovered his son by reason of a peculiar 
hymn, chanted by the sufferer, in a delirious dream of his 
boyhood. This version, giving as it did wide range to the 
finer feelings of the heart, was quite popular ; and as told 
by the Eev. Mr. Gushington, on his return from his Cali 
fornia tour, never failed to satisfy an audience. The other 
was less simple, and as I shall adopt it here, deserves more 
elaboration. 

It was after Mr. Thompson had given up searching for his 
son among the living, and had taken to the examination of 
cemeteries, and a careful inspection of the " cold hie jacets 
of the dead." At this time he was a frequent visitor of 
"Lone Mountain" a dreary hill-top, bleak enough in ite 



MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 275 

original isolation, and bleaker for the white-faced marbles 
by which San Francisco anchored her departed citizens, and 
kept them down in a shifting sand that refused to cover 
them, and against a fierce and persistent wind that strove to 
blow them utterly away. Against this wind the old man 
opposed a will quite as persistent a grizzled, hard face, and 
a tall, crape-bound hat drawn tightly over his eyes and so 
spent days in reading the mortuary inscriptions audibly to 
himself. The frequency of scriptural quotation pleased him, 
and he was fond of corroborating them by a pocket Bible. 

" That's from Psalms," he said, one day, to an adjacent 
grave-digger. 

The man made no reply. 

Not at all rebuffed, Mr. Thompson at once slid down 
into the open grave, with a more practical inquiry : " Did 
you ever, in your profession, come across Char-les Thompson ?" 

"Thompson be d d," said the grave-digger, with great 
directness. 

" Which, if he hadn't religion, I think he is," responded 
the old man, as he clambered out of the grave. 

It was, perhaps, on this occasion that Mr. Thompson 
stayed later than usual. As he turned his face towards the 
city, lights were beginning to twinkle ahead, and a fierce 
wind, made visible by fog, drove him forward, or, lying in wait, 
charged him angrily from the corners of deserted suburban 
streets. It was on one of these corners that something 
else, quite as indistinct and malevolent, leaped upon him 
with an oath, a presented pistol, and a demand for money. 
/But it was met by a will of iron and a grip of steel. The 
assailant and assailed rolled together on the ground. But 
the next moment the old man was erect ; one hand grasp 
ing the captured pistol, the other clutching at arm's length 
the throat of a figure, surly, youthful, and savage. 

"Young man," said Mr. Thompson, setting his thin lips 
together, " what might be your name ! " 



2 ;6 MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 

" Thompson ! " 

The old man's hand slid from the throat to the arm of 
his prisoner, without relaxing its firmness. 

" Char-les Thompson, come with me," he said, presently, 
and marched his captive to the hotel. "What took place 
there has not transpired, but it was known the next morn 
ing that Mr. Thompson had found -his son. 

It is proper to add to the above improbable story, that 
there was nothing in the young man's appearance or man 
ners to justify it. Grave, reticent, and handsome, devoted 
to his newly found parent, he assumed the emoluments and 
responsibilities of his new condition with a certain serious 
ease that more nearly approached that which San Francisco 
society lacked, and rejected. Some chose to despise this 
quality as a tendency to " psalm-singing j " others saw in it 
the inherited qualities of the parent, and were ready to pro 
phesy for the son the same hard old age. But all agreed 
that it was not inconsistent with the habits of money-getting, 
for which father and son were respected. 

And yet the old man did not seem to be happy. Perhaps 
it was that the consummation of his wishes left him without 
a practical mission \ perhaps and it is the more probable 
lie had little love for the son he had regained. The obe 
dience he exacted was freely given, the reform he had set 
his heart upon was complete ; and yet, somehow, it did not 
seem to please him. In reclaiming his son, he had fulfilled 
all the requirements that hisreligious duty required of him, 
and yet the act seemed to lack sanctificatioii. In this per 
plexity he read again the parable of the Prodigal Son 
which he had long adopted for his guidance and found that 
he had omitted the final feast of reconciliation. This seemed 
to offer the proper quality of ceremoniousness in the sacra 
ment between himself and his son ; and so, a year after the 
appearance of Charles, he set about giving him a party. 



MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 277 

"Invite everybody, Char-les," lie said, dryly; "everybody 
who knows that I brought you out of the wine-husks of 
iniquity, and the company of harlots ; and bid them eat, 
drink, and be merry." 

Perhaps the old man had another reason, not yet clearly 
analyzed. The fine house he had built on the sand-hills 
sometimes seemed lonely and bare. He often found himself 
trying to reconstruct, from the grave features of Charles, 
the little boy which he but dimly remembered in the past, 
and of which lately he had been thinking a great deal. 
He believed this to be a sign of impending old age and 
childishness ; but coming, one day, in his formal drawing- 
room, upon a child of one of the servants, who had strayed 
therein, he would have taken him in his arms, but the child 
fled from before his grizzled face. So that it seemed emi 
nently proper to invite a number of people to his house, and, 
from the array of San Francisco maidenhood, to select a 
daughter-in-law. And then there would be a child a boy, 
whom he could " rare up " from the beginning, and love 
as he did not love Charles. 

We were all at the party. The Smiths, Joneses, Browns, 
and Robinsons also came, in that fine flow of animal spirits, 
unchecked by any respect for the entertainer, which most of 
us are apt to find so fascinating. The proceedings would 
/iave been somewhat riotous, but for the social position of the 
actors. In fact, Mr. Bracy Tibbets, having naturally a fine 
appreciation of a humorous situation, but further impelled 
by the bright eyes of the Jones girls, conducted himself so 
remarkably as to attract the serious regard of Mr. Charles 
Thompson, who approached him, saying quietly : " You look 
ill, Mr. Tibbets ; let me conduct you to your carriage. Re 
sist, you hound, and I'll throw you through that window. 
This way, please ; the room is close and distressing." It is 
hardly necessary to say that but a part of this speech was 
audible to the company, and that the rest was not divulged 



278 MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 

by Mr. Tibbits, who afterwards regretted the sudden 
illness which kept him from witnessing a certain amusing 
incident, which the fastest Miss Jones characterized as the 
" richest part of the blow-out," and which I hasten to record : 
It was at supper. It was evident that Mr. Thompson had 
overlooked much lawlessness in the conduct of the younger 
people, in his abstract contemplation of some impending 
event. When the cloth was removed, he rose to his feet, 
and grimly tapped upon the table. A titter, that broke 
out among the Jones girls, became epidemic on one side of 
the board. Charles Thompson, from the foot of the table, 
looked up in tender perplexity. " He's going to sing a 
Doxology " " He's going to pray"" Silence for a speech," 
ran round the room. 

" It's one year to-day, Christian brothers and sisters," 
said Mr. Thompson, with grim deliberation, " one year 
to-day since my son came home from eating of wine-husks 
and spending of his substance on harlots." (The tittering 
suddenly ceased.) " Look at him now. Char-les Thompson, 
stand up." (Charles Thompson stood up.) " One year ago 
to-day^and look at him now." 

He was certainly a handsome prodigal, standing there in 
his cheerful evening-dress a repentant prodigal, with sad, 
obedient eyes turned upon' the harsh and unsympathetic 
glance of his father. The youngest Miss Smith, from the 
pure depths of her foolish little heart, moved unconsciously 
toward him. 

"It's fifteen years ago since he left my house," said 
Mr. Thompson, " a rovier and a prodigal. I was myself a man 
of sin, O Christian friends a man of wrath and bitter 
ness " (" Amen," from the eldest Miss Smith) " but, praise 
be to God, I've fled the wrath to come. It's five years ago 
since I got the peace that passeth understanding. Have 
you got it, friends ? " (A general sub chorus of " No, no," 
from the girls, and " Pass the word for it," from Midship- 



MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 279 

man Coxe, of the U.S. sloop Wethersfield.) "Knock, audit 
shall be opened to you. 

"And when I found the error of my ways, and the 
preciousness of grace," continued Mr. Thompson, " I came 
to give it to my son. By sea and land I sought him far, 
and fainted not. I did not wait for him to come to me 
which the same I might have done, and justified my 
self by the Book of books, but I sought him out among his 
husks, and " (the rest of the sentence was lost in the 
rustling withdrawal of the ladies). " "Works, Christian 
friends, is my motto. By their works shall ye know them, 
and there is mine." 

The particular and accepted work to which Mr. Thompson 
was alluding had turned quite pale, and was looking fixedly 
toward an open door leading to the verandah, lately filled by 
gaping servants, and now the scene of some vague tumult. 
As the noise continued, a man, shabbily dressed, and evi 
dently in liquor, broke through the opposing guardians, 
and staggered into the room. The transition from the fog 
and darkness without to the glare and heat within, evidently 
dazzled and stupefied him. He removed his battered hat, 
and passed it once or twice before his eyes, as he steadied 
himself, but unsuccessfully, by the back of a chair. Sud 
denly, his wandering glance fell upon the pale face of Charles 
Thompson ; and with a gleam of childlike recognition, and 
a weak, falsetto laugh, he darted forward, caught at the 
table, upset the glasses, and literally fell upon the prodigal's 
breast. 

" Sha'ly ! yo' d d ol' scoun'rel, hoo rar ye ! " 

" Hush ! sit down ! hush ! " said Charles Thompson, 
hurriedly endeavouring to extricate himself from the em 
brace of his unexpected guest. 

"Look at'm ! " continued the stranger, unheeding the 
admonition, but suddenly holding the unfortunate Charles 
at arms' length, in loving and undisguised admiration of his 



280 MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 

festive appearance. " Look at'm ! Ain't he nasty 1 Sha'ls, 
I'm prow of yer ! " 

" Leave the house ! " said Mr. Thompson, rising, with a 
dangerous look in his cold, gray eye. Char-les, how dare you ]" 

" Simmer down, ole man ! Sha'ls, who's th' ol' bloat 1 
Eh 1 " 

11 Hush, man ; here, take this ! " With nervous hands, 
Charles Thompson filled a glass with liquor. " Drink it and 
go until to-morrow any time, but leave us ! go now." 
But even then, ere the miserable wretch could drink, the 
old man, pale with passion, was upon him. Half carrying 
him in his powerful arms, half dragging him through the 
circlimg crowd of frightened guests, he had reached the door, 
swung open by the waiting servants, when Charles Thompson 
started from a seeming stupor, crying- 

Stop ! " 

The old man stopped. Through the open door the fog 
and wind drove chilly. " What does this mean ?" he asked, 
turning a baleful face on Charles. 

"Nothing but stop for God's sake. Wait till to 
morrow, but not to-night. Do not I implore you do 
this thing." 

There was something in the tone of the young man's 
voice something, perhaps, in the contact of the struggling 
wretch he held in his powerful arms ; but a dim, indefinite 
fear took possession of the old man's heart. " Who 1" he 
whispered, hoarsely, " is this man 1" 

Charles did not answer. 

" Stand back, there, all of you," thundered Mr. Thompson, 
to the crowding guests around him. " Char-les come here ! 
I command you I I I beg you tell me who is this 
man*" 

Only two persons heard the answer that came faintly from 
the lips of Charles Thompson : 

" YOUR SON." 



MR. THOMPSON'S PRODIGAL. 281 

When the day broke over the bleak sandhills, the guests 
had departed from Mr. Thompson's banquet-halls. The 
lights still burned dimly and coldly in the deserted rooms 
deserted by all but three figures, that huddled together in 
the chill drawing-room, as if for warmth. One lay in 
drunken slumber on a couch ; at his feet sat he who had 
been known as Charles Thompson ; and beside them, haggard 
and shrunken to half his size, bowed the figure of Mr. 
Thompson, his gray eye fixed, his elbows upon his knees, 
and his hands clasped over his ears, as if to shut out th\ 
sad, entreating voice that seemed to fill the room. 

" God knows I did not set about to wilfully deceive. The 
name I gave that night was the first that came into my 
thought the name of one whom I thought dead the dis 
solute companion of my shame. And when you questioned 
further, I used the knowledge that I gained from him to touch 
your heart to set me free only, I swear, for that ! But 
when you told me who you were, and I first saw the opening 
of another life before me then then. O, sir, if I was 
hungry, homeless, and reckless when I would have robbed 
you of your gold, I was heart-sick, helpless, and desperate 
when I would have robbed you of your love." 

The old man stirred not. From his luxurious couch the 
newly found prodigal snored peacefully. 

" I had no father I could claim. I never knew a 
home but this. I was tempted. I have been happy very 
happy." 

He rose and stood before the old man. 

" Do not fear that I shall come between your son and 
his inheritance. To-day I leave this place, never to return. 
The world is large, sir, and, thanks to your kindness, I 
now see the way by which an honest livelihood is gained. 
Good-bye. You will not take my hand 1 Well, well. G-ood- 
bye." 

He turned to go. Bub when he had reached the door 



282 MELONS. 

he suddenly came back, and, raising with both hands the 
grizzled head, he kissed it once and twice. 

"Char-les." 

There was no reply. 

Char-les ! " 

The old man rose with a frightened air, and tottered 
feebly to the door. It was open. There came to him the 
awakened tumult of a great city, in which the prodigal's 
footsteps were lost for ever. 



MELONS. 

A S I do not suppose the most gentle of readers will believe 
* that anybody's sponsors in baptism ever wilfully as 
sumed the responsibility of such a name, I may as well state 
that I have reason to infer that Melons was simply the nick 
name of a small boy I once knew. If he had any other, I 
never knew it. 

Various theories were often projected by me to account 
for this strange cognomen. His head, which was covered 
with a transparent down, like that which clothes very small 
chickens, plainly permitting the scalp to show through, to 
an imaginative mind might have suggested that succulent 
vegetable. That his parents, recognising some poetical 
significance in the fruits of the season, might have given this 
name to an August child, was an Oriental explanation. 
That from his infancy he was fond of indulging in melons, 
seemed on the whole the most likely, particularly as Fancy 
was not bred in McGinnis's Court. He dawned upon me as 
Melons. His proximity was indicated by shrill, youthful 
voices, as "Ah, Melons!" or playfully, "Hi, Melons!" or 
authoritatively, "You, Melons !" 



MELONS. 283 

McGinnis's Court was a democratic expression of some 
obstinate and radical property-holder. Occupying a limited 
space between two fashionable thoroughfares, it refused to 
conform to circumstances, but sturdily paraded its unkempt 
glories, and frequently asserted itself in ungrammatical 
language. My window a rear room on the ground floor 
in this way derived blended light and shadow from the 
Court. So low was the window-sill, that had I been the 
least predisposed to somnambulism, it would have broken 
out under such favourable auspices, and I should have 
haunted McGinnis's Court. My speculations as to the origin 
of the Court were not altogether gratuitous, for by means of 
this window I once saw the Past, as through a glass darkly. 
It was a Celtic shadow that early one morning obstructed 
my ancient lights. It seemed to belong to an individual 
with a pea-coat, a stubby pipe, and bristling beard. He was 
gazing intently at the Court, resting on a heavy cane, some 
what in the way that heroes dramatically visit the scenes of 
their boyhood. As there was little of architectural beauty 
in the Court, I came to the conclusion that it was McGinnis 
looking after his property. The fact that he carefully kicked 
a broken bottle out of the road, somewhat strengthened me 
in the opinion. But he presently walked away, and the 
Court knew him no more. He probably collected his rents 
by proxy if he collected them at all. 

Beyond Melons, of whom all this is purely introductory, 
thore was little to interest the most sanguine and hopeful 
nature. In common with all such localities, a great deal of 
washing was done, in comparison with the visible results. 
There was always something whisking on the line, and always 
something whisking through the Court, that looked PS if it 
ought to be there. A fish geranium of all plants kept for 
the recreation of mankind, certainly the greatest illusion 
straggled under the window. Through its dusty leaves I 
caught the first glance of Melons. 



284 MELONS. 

His age was about seven. He looked older, from the 
venerable whiteness of his head, and it was impossible to 
conjecture his size, as he always wore clothes apparently 
jDelonging to some shapely youth of nineteen. A pair of 
pantaloons, that, when sustained by a single suspender, com 
pletely equipped him formed his every-day suit. How, 
with this lavish superfluity of clothing, he managed to per 
form the surprising gymnastic feats it has been my privilege 
to witness, I have never been able to tell. His " turning 
the crab," and other minor dislocations, were always attended 
with success. It was not an unusual sight at any hour of 
the day to find Melons suspended on a line, or to see his 
venerable head appearing above the roofs of the out-houses. 
Melons knew the exact height of every fence in the vicinity, 
its facilities for scaling, and the possibility of seizure on the 
other side. His more peaceful and quieter amusements con 
sisted in dragging a disused boiler by a large string, with 
hideous outcries, to imaginary fires. 

Melons was not gregarious in his habits. A few youths 
of his own age sometimes called upon him, but they 
eventually became abusive, and their visits were more strictly 
predatory incursions for old bottles and junk, which formed 
the staple of McGinnis's Court. Overcome by loneliness 
one day, Melons inveigled a blind harper into the Court. 
For two hours did that wretched man prosecute his un 
hallowed calling, unrecompensed, and going round and 
round the Court, apparently under the impression that it 
was some other place, while Melons surveyed him from an 
adjoining fence with calm satisfaction. It was this absence 
of conscientious motives that brought Melons into dis 
repute with his aristocratic neighbours. Orders were issued 
that no child of wealthy and pious parentage should play 
with him. This mandate, as a matter of course, invested 
Melons with a fascinating interest to them. Admiring 
glances were cast at Melons from nursery windows. Baby 



MELONS. 285 

fingers beckoned to him. Invitations to tea (on wood and 
pewter) were lisped to him from aristocratic back-yards. It 
was evident he was looked upon as a pure and noble being, 
untrammelled by the conventionalities of parentage, and 
physically as well as mentally exalted above them. One 
afternoon an unusual commotion prevailed in the vicinity of 
McGrinnis's Court. Looking from my window, I saw Melons 
perched on the roof of a stable, pulling up a rope by which one 
" Tommy," an infant scion of an adjacent and wealthy house, 
was suspended in mid-air. In vain the female relatives 
of Tommy, congregated in the back-yard, expostulated 
with Melons ; in vain the unhappy father shook his fist at 
him. Secure in his position, Melons redoubled his exertions 
and at last landed Tommy on the roof. Then it was that 
the humiliating fact was disclosed that Tommy had been 
acting in collusion with Melons. He grinned delightedly 
back at his parents, as if " by merit raised to that bad 
eminence. ' ; Long before the ladder arrived that was to 
succour him, he became the sworn ally of Melons, and I 
regret to say, incited by the same audacious boy, " chaffed " 
his own flesh and blood below him. He was eventually taken, 
though of course Melons escaped. But Tommy was re 
stricted to the window after that, and the companionship was 
limited to "Hi, Melons !" and "You Tommy!" and Melons, 
to all practical purposes, lost him for ever. I looked after 
ward to see some signs of sorrow on Melons' part, but in 
vain ; he buried his grief, if he had any, somewhere in his 
one voluminous garment. 

At about this time my opportunities of knowing Melons 
became more extended. I was engaged in filling a void in 
the Literature of the Pacific Coast. As this void was a 
pretty large one, and as I was informed that the Pacific 
Coast languished under it, I set apart two hours each day 
to this work of filling in. It was necessary that I should 
adopt a methodical system, so I retired from the world and 



236 MELONS. 

locked myself in my room at a certain hour each day, after 
coming from my office. I then carefully drew out my 
portfolio and read what I had written the day before. This 
would suggest some alteration, and I would carefully re-write 
it. During this operation I would turn to consult a book 
of reference, which invariably proved extremely interesting 
and attractive. It would generally suggest another and 
better method of "filling in." Turning this method over 
reflectively in my mind, I would finally commence the new 
method, which I eventually abandoned for the original plan. 
At this time I would become convinced that my exhausted 
faculties demanded a cigar. The operation of lighting a cigar 
usually suggested that a little quiet reflection and meditation 
would be of service to me, and I always allowed myself to 
be guided by prudential instincts. Eventually, seated by 
my window, as before stated, Melons asserted himself. 
Though our conversation rarely went further than " Hello, 
Mister ! " and " Ah, Melons ! " a vagabond instinct we felt 
in common, implied a communion deeper than words. In 
this spiritual commingling the time passed, often beguiled by 
gymnastics on the fence or line (always with an eye to my 
window) until dinner was announced, and I found a more 
practical void required my attention. An unlooked-for 
incident drew us in closer relation. 

A sea-faring friend just from a tropical voyage had pre 
sented me with a bunch of bananas. They were not quite 
ripe, and I hung them before my window to mature in the 
sun of McGinnis's Court, whose forcing qualities were 
remarkable. In the mysteriously mingled odours of ship 
and shore which they diffused throughout my room, there 
was a lingering reminiscence of low latitudes. But even 
that joy was fleeting and evanescent : they never reached 
maturity. 

Coming home one day as I turned the corner of that 
fashionable thoroughfare before alluded to, I met a small boy 



MELONS. 287 



eating a banana. There was nothing remarkable in 
but as I neared McGinnis's Court I presently met anothet 
small boy, also eating a banana. A third small boy en 
gaged in a like occupation obtruded a painful coincidence 
upon my mind. I leave the psychological reader to deter 
mine the exact co-relation between this circumstance and 
the sickening sense of loss that overcame me on witnessing 
it. I reached my room and found the bunch of bananas 
were gone. 

There was but one who knew of their existence, but one 
who frequented my window, but one capable of the gymnastic 
effort to procure them, and that was I blush to say it 
Melons. Melons the depredator Melons, despoiled by 
larger boys of his ill-gotten booty, or reckless and indiscreetly 
liberal ; Melons now a fugitive on some neighbouring 
house-top. I lit a cigar, and drawing my chair to the 
window, sought surcease of sorrow in the contemplation of 
the fish geranium. In a few moments something white 
passed my window at about the level of the edge. There 
was no mistaking that hoary head, which now represented 
to me only aged iniquity. It was Melons, that venerable, 
juvenile hypocrite. 

He affected not to observe me, and would have withdrawn 
quietly, but that horrible fascination which causes the 
murderer to revisit the scene of his crime, impelled him 
toward my window. I smoked calmly and gazed at him 
without speaking. He walked several times up and down 
the Court with a half rigid, half belligerent expression of 
eye and shoulder, intended to represent the carelessness of 
innocence. 

Once or twice he stopped, and putting his arms their whole 
length into his capacious trowsers, gazed with some interest 
at the additional Avidth they thus acquired. Then he whistled. 
The singular conflicting conditions of John Brown's body 
and soul were at that time beginning to attract the attention 



2?3 MELONS. 

of youth, and Melons' performance of that melody was always 
remarkable. But to-day he whistled falsely and shrilly between 
his teeth. At last he met my eye. He winced slightly, but 
recovered himself, and going to the fence, stood for a few 
moments on his hands, with his bare feet quivering in the air. 
Then he turned toward me and threw out a conversational 
preliminary. 

" They is a cirkis," said Melons gravely, hanging with 
his back to the fence and his arms twisted round the palings 
" a cirkis over yonder !" indicating the locality with his 
foot " with hosses, and hossback riders. They is a man wot 
rides six hosses to onct six hosses to onct and nary saddle" 
and he paused in expectation. 

Even this equestrian novelty did not affect me. I still kept 
a fixed gaze on Melons' eye, and he began to tremble and 
visibly shrink in his capacious garment. Some other desperate 
means conversion with Melons was always a desperate 
means must be resorted to. He recommenced more art 
fully : 

" Do you know Carrots ?" 

I had a faint remembrance of a boy of that euphonious 
name, with scarlet hair, who was a playmate and persecutor 
of Melons. But I said nothing. 

" Carrots is a bad boy. Killed a policeman onct. Wears 
a dirk knife in his boots, and saw him to-day looking in 
your windy." 

I felt that this must end here. I rose sternly and addressed 
Melons. 

" Melons, this is all irrelevant and impertinent to the 
case. You took those bananas. Your proposition regarding 
Carrots, even if I were inclined to accept it as credible infor 
mation, does not alter the material issue. You took those 
bananas. The offence under the statutes of California is 
felony. How far Carrots may have been accessory to the 
fact either before or after, is not my intention at present to 



MELONS. 289 

discuss. The act; is complete. Your present conduct shows 
the animo furandi to have been equally clear." 

By the time I had finished this exordium, Melons had 
disappeared, as I fully expected. 

He never re-appeared. The remorse that I have experienced 
for the part I had taken iii what I fear may have resulted in 
his utter and complete extermination, alas ! he may not know, 
oxcept through these pages. For I have never seen him since. 
Whether he ran away and went to sea to re-appear at some 
future clay as the most ancient of mariners, or whether he 
buried himself completely in his trousers, I never shall know. 
I have read the papers anxiously for accounts of him. 

I have gone to the Police Office in the vain attempt of 
identifying him as a lost child. But I never saw or heard of 
him since. Strange fears have sometimes crossed my mind 
that his venerable appearance may have been actually the 
result of senility, and that he may have been gathered peace 
fully to his fathers in a green old age. I have even had 
doubts of his existence, and have sometimes thought that 
he was providentially and mysteriously offered to fill the void 
I have before alluded to. In that hope I have written these 
pages. 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 



n^HE latch on the garden gate of the Folinsbee Ranch 
clicked twice. The gate itself was so much in shadow 
that lovely night, that " old man Folinsbee," sitting on his 
porch, could distinguish nothing but a tall white hat and 
beside it a few fluttering ribbons, under the pines that marked 
the entrance. Whether because of this fact, or that he con 
sidered a sufficient time had elapsed since the clicking of the 
latch for more positive disclosure, I do not know \ but after 
a few moments' hesitation he quietly laid aside his pipe and 

u 



290 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

walked slowly down the winding path toward the gate. A t 
the Ceanothus hedge he stopped and listened. 

There was not much to hear. The hat was saying to the 
ribbons that it was a fine night, and remarking generally 
upon the clear outline of the Sierras against the blue-black 
sky. The ribbons, it so appeared, had admired this all the 
way home, and asked the hat if it had ever seen anything half 
%o lovely as the moonlight on the summit 1 The hat never 
had ; it recalled some lovely nights in the South in Alabama 
(" in the South in Ahlabahm " was the way the old man 
heard it), but then there were other things that made this 
night seem so pleasant. The ribbons could not possibly con^ 
ceive what the hat could be thinking about. At this point 
there was a pause, of which Mr. Folinsbee availed himself to 
walk very grimly and craunchingly down the gravel walk 
toward the gate. Then the hat was lifted, and disappeared 
in the shadow, and Mr. Folinsbee confronted only the half- 
foolish, half-mischievous, but wholly pretty face of his 
daughter. 

It was afterwards known to Madrono Hollow that sharp 
words passed between " Misu Jo" and the old man, and 
that the latter coupled the names of one Culpepper Starbottle 
and his uncle, Colonel Starbottle, with certain uncom 
plimentary epithets, and that Miss Jo retaliated sharply. 
" Her father's blood before her father's face boiled up acd 
proved her truly of his race," quoted the blacksmith, who 
leaned toward the noble verse of Byron. " She saw the old 
man's bluff and raised him," was the director comment of 
the college-bred Masters. 

Meanwhile the subject of these animadversions proceeded 
slowly along the road to a point where the Folinsbee mansion 
came in view, a long, narrow, white building, unpreten 
tious, yet superior to its neighbours, and bearing some evi 
dences of taste and refinement in the vines that clambered 
over its porch, in its French windows, and the white muslin 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 291 

curtains that kept out the fierce California sun by day, and 
were now touched with silver in the gracious moonlight, 
Culpepper leaned against the low fence, and gazed long and 
earnestly at the building. Then the moonlight vanished 
ghost-like from one of the windows, a material glow took its 
place, and a girlish figure, holding a candle, drew the white 
curtains together. To Culpepper it was a vestal virgin 
standing before a hallowed shrine ; to the prosaic observer, 
I fear it was only a fair-haired young woman, whose wicked 
black eyes still shone with imfilial warmth. Howbeit, when 
the figure had disappeared he stepped out briskly into tha 
moonlight of the high road, Here he took off his distinguish 
ing hat to wipe his forehead, and the moon shone full upon 
his face, 

It was not an unprepossessing one, albeit a trifle too thin 
and lank and bilious to be altogether pleasant. The cheekbones 
were prominent, and the black e} r es sunken in their orbits. 
Straight black hair fell slantwise off a high but narrow fore 
head, and swept part of a hollow cheek. A long black mus 
tache followed the perpendicular curves of his mouth. It 
was on the whole a serious, even Quixotic face, but at times 
it was relieved by a rare smile of such tender and even 
pathetic sweetness, that Miss Jo is reported to have said 
that, if it would only last through the ceremony, she would 
have married its possessor on the spot. " I once told him 
so," added that shameless young woman ; " but the man 
instantly fell into a settled melancholy, and hasn't smiled 
since." 

A half-mile below the Folinsbee Ranch the white road 
dipped and was crossed by a trail that ran through Madrono 
Hollow. Perhaps because it was a near cut-off to the settle 
ment, perhaps from some less practical reason, Culpepper 
took this trail, and in a few moments stood among the rarely 
beautiful trees that gave their name to the valley. Even in 
that uncertain light the weird beauty of these harlequin 



J92 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

masqueraders was apparent ; their red trunks a blush, in 
the moonlight, a deep blood-stain in the shadow stood out 
against the silvery green foliage. It was as if Nature in 
some gracious moment had here caught and crystallized the 
gypsy memories of the transplanted Spaniard, to cheer him 
in his lonely exile. 

As Culpepper entered the grove he heard loud voices. As 
he turned toward a clump of trees, a figure so bizarre and 
characteristic that it might have been a resident Daphne, a 
figure over-dressed in crimson silk and lace, with bare brown 
arms and shoulders, and a wreath of honeysuckle, stepped 
out of the shadow. It was followed by a man. Culpepper 
started. To come to the point briefly, he recognized in the 
man the features of his respected uncle, Colonel Starbottle ; 
in the female, a lady who may be briefly described as one 
possessing absolutely no claim to an introduction to the 
polite reader. To hurry over equally unpleasant details, 
both were evidently under the influence of liquor, 

From the excited conversation that ensued, Culpepper 
gathered that some insult had been put upon the lady at a 
public ball which she had attended that evening ; that the 
Colonel, her escort, had failed to resent it with the sangui 
nary completeness that she desired. I regret that, even in a 
liberal age, I may not record the exact and even picturesque 
language in which this was conveyed to her hearers. 
Enough that at the close of a fiery peroration, with feminine 
inconsistency she flew at the gallant Colonel, arid would 
have visited her delayed vengeance upon his luckless head, 
but for the prompt interference of Culpepper. Thwarted 
in this, she threw herself upon the ground, and then into 
un picturesque hysterics. There was a fine moral lesson, not 
only in this grotesque performance of her sex which cannot 
afford to be grotesque, but in the ludicrous concern with 
which it inspired the two men. Culpepper, to whom women 
was more or less angelic, was pained and sympathetic ; the 



THE ROMANCE Of MADRONO HOLLOW. 29? 

Colonel, to whom she was more or less improper, was es 
ceedingly terrified and embarrassed. Howbeifc the storn; 
was soon over, and after Mistress Dolores had returned 
little dagger to its sheath (her garter), she quietly took her 
self out of Madrono Hollow, and happily out of these pages 
for ever. The two men, left to themselves, conversed in low 
tones. Dawn stole upon them before they separated : the 
Colonel quite sobered and in full possession of his usual 
jaunty self-assertion ; Culpepper with a baleful glow in his 
hollow cheek, and in his dark eyes a rising fire. 

The next morning the general ear of Madrono Hollow 
was filled with rumours of the Colonel's mishap. It was 
asserted that lie had been invited to withdraw his female 
companion from the floor of the Assembly Ball at the Inde 
pendence Hotel, and that failing to do this both were ex 
pelled. It is to be regretted that in 185-4 public opinion was 
divided in regard to the propriety of this step, and that there 
was some discussion as to the comparative virtue of the 
ladies who were not expelled, but it was generally conceded 
that the real casus belli was political. " Is this a dashed 
Puritan meeting T' had asked the Colonel, savagely. "It's 
no Pike County shindig," had responded the floor manager,, 
cheerfully. "You're a Yank !" had screamed the Colonel, 
profanely qualifying the noun. "Get ! you border ruffian," 
was the reply. Such at least was the substance of the re 
port. As, at that sincere epoch, expressions like the above 
were usually followed by prompt action, a fracas was con 
fidently looked for. 

Nothing, however, occurred. Colonel Starbottle made his 
appearance next day upon the streets with somewhat of his 
usual pomposity, a little restrained by the presence of his 
nephew, who accompanied him, and who, as a universal 
favourite, also exercised some restraint upon the curious and 
impertinent. But Culpepper's face wore a look of anxiety 



294 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

quite at variance with his usual grave repose. "The 
Don don't seem to take the old man's set-back kindly," 
observed the sympathizing blacksmith. "PYaps he was 
sweet on Dolores himself," suggested the sceptical ex 
pressman. 

It was a bright morning, a week after this occurrence, 
that Miss Jo Folinsbee stepped from her garden into the 
road. This time the latch did not click as she cautiously 
closed the gate behind her. After a moment's irresolution, 
which would have been awkward but that it was charmingly 
employed, after the manner of her sex, in adjusting a bow 
under a dimpled but rather prominent chin, and in pulling 
down the fingers of a neatly fitting glove, she tripped towards 
the settlement. Small wonder that a passing teamster drove 
his six mules into the wayside ditch and imperilled his load, 
to keep the dust from her spotless garments ; small wonder 
that the " Lightning Express " withheld its speed and flash 
to let her pass, and that the expressman, who had never 
been known to exchange more than rapid monosyllables with 
his fellow-man, gazed after her with breathless admiration. 
For she was certainly attractive. In a country where the 
ornamental sex followed the example of youthful Nature, 
and were prone to overdress and glaring efflorescence, Miss 
Jo's simple and tasteful raiment added much to the physical 
charm of, if it did not actually suggest a sentiment to, her 
presence. It is said that Euchrecleck Billy, working in the 
gulch at the crossing, never saw Miss Folinsbee pass but that 
he always remarked apologetically to his partner, that " he 
believed he must write a letter home." Even Bill Masters, 
who saw her in Paris presented to the favourable criticism 
of that most fastidious man the late Emperor, said that she 
was stunning, but a big discount on what she was at Ma 
drono Hollow. 

It was still early morning, but the sun, with California 
extravagance, had already begun to beat hotly on the little 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 295 

chip hat and blue ribbons, and Miss Jo was obliged to seek 
the shade of a by-path. Here she received the timid 
advances of a vagabond yellow dog graciously, until, em 
boldened by his success, he insisted upon accompanying her, 
and, becoming slobberingly demonstrative, threatened her 
spotless skirt with his dusty paws, when she drove him from 
her with some slight acerbity, and a stone which haply fell 
within fifty feet of its destined mark. Having thus proved 
her ability to defend herself, with characteristic inconsistency 
she took a small panic, and, gathering her white skirts in 
one hand, and holding the brim of her hat over her eyes 
with the other, she ran swiftly at least a hundred yards 
before she stopped. Then she began picking some ferns, and 
a few wild-flowers still spared to the withered fields, and 
then a sudden distrust of her small ankles seized her, and 
she inspected them narrowly for those burrs and bugs and 
snakes which are supposed to lie in wait for helpless woman 
hood. Then she plucked some golden heads of wild oats, 
and with a sudden inspiration placed them in her black hair, 
and then came quite unconsciously upon the trail leading 
to Madrono Hollow. 

Here she hesitated. Before her ran the little trail, vanish 
ing at last into the bosky depths below. The sun was very 
hot. She must be very far from home. Why should she 
not rest awhile under the shade of a madrono 1 

She answered these questions by going there at once. 
After thoroughly exploring the grove, and satisfying herself 
that it contained no other living human creature, she sat 
down under one of the largest trees, with a satisfactory 
little sigh. Miss Jo loved the madrono. It was a cleanly 
tree ; no dust ever lay upon its varnished leaves ; - its 
immaculate shade never was known to harbour grub or 
insect. 

She looked up at the rosy arms interlocked and arched 
above her head. She looked dowu at the delicate ferns and 



296 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

cryptogams at her feet. Something glittered at the roct 
of the tree. She picked it up ; it was a bracelet. She 
examined it carefully for cipher or inscription ; there was 
none. She could not resist a natural desire to clasp it on 
her arm, and to survey it from that advantageous view 
point. This absorbed her attention for some moments ; and 
when she looked up again she beheld at a little distance 
Culpepper Starbottle. 

He was standing where he had halted, with instinctive 
delicacy, on first discovering her. Indeed, he had even 
deliberated whether he ought not to go away without dis 
turbing her. But some fascination held him to the spot. 
Wonderful power of humanity ! Far beyond jutted an 
outlying spur of the Sierra, vast, compact, and silent. 
Scarcely a hundred yards away a league-long chasm dropped 
its sheer walls of granite a thousand feet. On every side 
rose up the serried ranks of pine trees, in whose close-set 
files centuries of storm and change had wrought no breach. 
Yet all this seemed to Culpepper to have been planned by 
an all-wise Providence as the natural background to the 
figure of a pretty girl in a yellow dress. 

Although Miss Jo had confidently expected to meet 
Culpepper somewhere in her ramble, now that he came upon 
her suddenly, she felt disappointed and embarrassed. His 
manner, too, was more than usually grave and serious, and 
more than ever seemed to jar upon that audacious levity which 
was this giddy girl's power and security in a society where 
all feeling was dangerous. As he approached her she rose 
to her feet, but almost before she knew it he had taken 
her hand and drawn her to a seat beside him. This 
was not what Miss Jo had expected, but nothing is so 
difficult to predicate as the exact preliminaries of a declara 
tion of love. 

What did Culpepper say 1 Nothing, I fear, that will add 
anything to the wisdom of the reader ; nothing, I fear, that 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 297 

Miss Jo had not heard substantially from other lips before. 
But there was a certain conviction, fire-speed, and fury in 
the manner that was deliciously novel to the young lady. 
It was certainly something to be courted in the nineteenth 
century with all the passion and extravagance of the six 
teenth ; it was something to hear, amid the slang of a 
frontier society, the language of kni gob-errantry poured 
into her ear by this lantern-jawed, dark-browed descendant 
of the Cavaliers. 

I do not know that there was anything more in it. The 
facts, however, go to show that at a certain point Miss Jo 
dropped her glove, and that in recovering it Culpepper pos 
sessed himself, first of her hand and then her lips. When 
they stood up to go Culpepper had his arm around her 
waist, and her black hair, with its sheaf of golden oats, 
rested against the breast-pocket of his coat. But even then 
I do not think her fancy was entirely captive. She took a 
certain satisfaction in this demonstration of Culpepper's 
splendid height, and mentally compared it with a former 
flame, one Lieutenant McMirk, an active, but under-sized 
Hector, who subsequently fell a victim to the incautiously 
composed and monotonous beverages of a frontier garrison. 
Nor was she so much pre-occupied, but that her quick eyes, 
even while absorbing Culpepper's glances, were yet able to 
detect, at a distance, the figure of a man approaching. In 
an instant she slipped out of Culpepper's arm, and whipping 
her hands behind her, said, " There 's that horrid man !" 

Culpepper looked up, and beheld his respected uncle 
panting and blowing over the hill. His brow contracted as 
he turned to Miss Jo : " You don't like my uncle 1 " 

"I hate him!" Miss Jo was recovering her ready 
tongue. 

Culpepper blushed. He would have liked to enter upon 
some details of the Colonel's pedigree and exploits, but 
there was not time. He only smiled sadly. The smile 



298 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

melted Miss Jo. She held out her hand quickly, and said, 
with even more than her usual effrontery, " Don't let that 
man get you into any trouble. Take care of yourself, dear, 
and don't let anything happen to you." 

Miss Jo intended this speech to be pathetic ; the tenure 
of life among her lovers had hitherto been very uncertain. 
Culpepper turned toward her, but she had already vanished 
in the thicket. 

The Colonel came up panting. "I've looked all over 
town for you, and be dashed to you, sir. Who was that 
with you ? " 

"A lady." (Culpepper never lied, but he was discreet.) 

" D m 'em all ! Look yar, Gulp, I've spotted the man 
who gave the order to put me off the floor " (" flo " was what 
the Colonel said) " the other night ! " 

" Who was it 1 " asked Culpepper, listlessly. 

"JackFolinsbee." 

"Who?" 

" Why, the son of that dashed nigger- worshipping, psalm- 
singing Puritan Yankee. What's the matter, now ! Look 
yar, Culp, you ain't goin' back on your blood, ar'ye ] You 
ain't goin' back on your word 1 Ye ain't going down at the 
feet of this trash, like a whipped hound ! " 

Culpepper was silent. He was very white. Presently 
he looked up and said quietly, "No.' 

Culpepper Starbottle had challenged Jack Folinsbee, and 
the challenge was accepted. The cause alleged was the 
expelling of Culpepper's uncle from the floor of the Assembly 
Ball by the order of Folinsbee. This much Madrono Hollow 
knew and could swear to ; but there were other strange 
rumours afloat, of which the blacksmith was an able ex 
pounder. "You see, gentlemen," he said to the crowd 
gathering round his anvil, " I ain't got no theory of this 
affair, I only give a few facts as have come to my knowledge. 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 299 

Oulpepper and Jack meets quite accidentally like in Bob's 
saloon. Jack goes up to Culpepper and says, ' A word with 
you.' Culpepper bows and steps aside in this way, Jack 
standing about here" (The blacksmith demonstrates the 
position of the parties with two old horseshoes on the anvil.) 
" Jack pulls a bracelet from his pocket and says, ' Do you 
know that bracelet 1 ' Culpepper says, ' I do not,' quite 
cool-like and easy. Jack says, * You gave it to my sister.' 
Culpepper says, still cool as you please, 'I did not.' Jack 
says, * You lie, G d d mn you,' and draws his derringer. 
Culpepper jumps forward about here" (reference is made 
to the diagram) "and Jack fires. Nobody hit. It's a 
mighty cur'o's thing, gentlemen," continued the blacksmith, 
dropping suddenly into the abstract, and leaning meditatively 
on his anvil, " it's a mighty cur'o's thing that nobody gets 
hit so often. You and me empties our revolvers sociably at 
each other over a little game, and the room full, and nobody 
gets hit ! That's what gets me." 

" Never mind, Thompson," chimed in Bill Masters, "there's 
another and a better world where we shall know all that 
and become better shots. Go on with your story." 

" Well, some grabs Culpepper and some grabs Jack, and 
so separates them. Then Jack tells 'em as how he had seen 
his sister wear a bracelet which he knew was one that had 
been given to Dolores by Colonel Starbottle. That Miss Jo 
wouldn't say where she got it, but owned up to having seen 
Culpepper that day. Then the most cur'o's thing of it yet, 
what does Culpepper do but rise up and takes all back that 
he said, and allows that he did give her the bracelet. Now, 
my opinion, gentlemen, is that he lied ; it ain't like that 
man to give a gal that he respects anything off of that piece 
Dolores. But it's all the same now, and there's but one 
thing to be done." 

The way this one thing was done belongs to the record of 
Madrono Hollow. The morning was bright and clear; the 



300 THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 

air was slightly chill, but that was from the mist which 
arose along the banks of the river. As early as six o'clock 
the designated ground a little opening in the madrono 
grove was occupied by Culpepper Starbottle, Colonel Star- 
bottle, his second, and the surgeon. The Colonel was exalted 
and excited, albeit in a rather imposing, dignified way, and 
pointed out to the surgeon the excellence of the ground, 
which at that hour was wholly shaded from the sun, whose 
steady stare is more or less discomposing to your duellist. 
The surgeon threw himself on. the grass and smoked his 
cigar. Culpepper quiet and thoughtful, leaned against a 
tree and gazed up the river. There was a strange suggestion 
of a picnic about the group, which was heightened when the 
Colonel drew a bottle from his coat-tails, and, taking a 
preliminary draught, offered it to the others. " Cocktails, 
sir," he explained with dignified precision. "A gentleman, 
sir, should never go out without 'em. Keeps off the morning 
chill. I remember going out in '53 with Hank Boompirater. 
Good ged, dr, the man had to put on his overcoat, and was 
shot in it. Fact." 

But the noise of wheels drowned the Colonel's reminis 
cences, and a rapidly driven buggy, containing Jack Folins- 
bee, Calhoun Bungstarter, his second, and Bill Masters drew 
up on the ground. Jack Folinsbee leaped out gaily. " I 
had the j oiliest work to get away without the governor's 
hearing," he began, addressing the group before him with 
the greatest volubility. Calhoun Bungstarter touched 
his arm, and the young man blushed. It was his first 
duel. 

" If you are ready, gentlemen," said Mr. Bungstarter, 
" we had better proceed to business. I believe it is under 
stood that no apology will be offered or accepted. We may 
as well settle preliminaries at once, or I fear we shall be 
interrupted. There is a rumour in town that the Vigilance 
Committee are seeking ow friends the Starbottles, and I 



THE ROMANCE OF MADRONO HOLLOW. 301 

believe, as their fellow-countryman, I have the honour to be 
included in their warrant." 

At this probability of interruption, that gravity which 
had hitherto been wanting fell upon the group. The pre 
liminaries were soon arranged and the principals placed in 
position. Then there was a silence. 

To a spectator from the hill, impressed ,with the picnic 
suggestion, what might have been the popping of two 
champagne corks broke the stillness. 

Culpepper had fired in the air. Colonal Starbottle tittered 
a low curse. Jack Folinsbee sulkily demanded another shot. 

Again the parties stood opposed to each other. Again 
the word was given, and what seemed to be the simul 
taneous report of both pistols rose upon the air. But after 
an interval of a few seconds all were surprised to see 
Culpepper slowly raise his unexploded weapon and fire it 
harmlessly above his head. Then throwing the pistol 
upon the ground, he walked to a tree and leaned silently 
against it. 

Jack Folinsbee flew into a paroxysm of fury. Colonel 
Starbottle raved and swore. Mr. Bungstarter was properly 
shocked a,t their conduct. " Really, gentlemen, if Mr. Cul 
pepper Starbottle declines another shot, I do not see how we 
can proceed." 

But the Colonel's blood was up, and Jack Folinsbee was 
equally implacable. A hurried consultation ensued, which 
ended by Colonel Starbottle taking his nephew's place as 
principal, Bill Masters acting as second, vice Mr. Bung- 
starter, who declined all further connection with the affair. 

Two distinct reports rang through, the Hollow. Jack 
Folinsbee dropped his smoking pistol, took a step forward, 
and then dropped heavily upon his face. 

In a moment the surgeon was at his side. The confusion 
v^as heightened by the trampling of hoofs, and the voice of 
the blacksmith bidding them flee for their lives before the 



302 A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 

coming storm. A moment more, and the ground was 
cleared, and the surgeon looking up, beheld only the white 
face of Culpepper bending over him. 

" Can you save him 1 " 

" I cannot say. Hold up his head a moment, while I run 
to the buggy." 

Culpepper passed his arm tenderly around the neck of the 
insensible man. Presently the surgeon returned with some 
stimulants. 

" There, that will do, Mr. Starbottle, thank you. Now 
my advice is to get away from here while you can. I'll look 
after Folinsbee. Do you hear ? " 

Culpepper 's arm was still round the neck of his late foe, 
but his head had drooped and fallen on the wounded man's 
shoulder. The surgeon looked down, and catching sight of 
his face, stooped and lifted him gently in his arms. He 
opened his coat and waistcoat. There was blood upon his 
shirt, and a bullet-hole in his breast. He had been shot unto 
death at the first fire. 



A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 

F HAD been stage-ridden and bewildered all day, and when 
we swept down with the darkness into the Arcadian 
hamlet of " Wingdam," I resolved to go no further, and 
rolled out in a gloomy and dyspeptic state. The effects of a 
mysterious pie, and some sweetened carbonic acid known to 
the proprietor of the " Half- Way House " as " lemming 
Body " still oppressed me. Even the facetiae of the gallant 
expressman who knew everybody's Christian name along the 
route, who rained letters, newspapers and bundles from the 
top of the stage, whose legs frequently appeared in frightful 
proximity to the wheels, who got on and off while we were 
going at full speed, whose gallantry, energy, and superiol 



A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 303 

knowledge of travel crushed all us other passengers to en 
vious silence, and who just then was talking with several 
persons arid manifestly doing something else at the same timo 
even this had failed to interest me. So I stood gloomily, 
clutching my shawl and carpet bag, and watched the stage 
roll away, taking a parting look at the gallant expressman 
as he hung on the top rail with one leg, and lit his cigar 
from the pipe of a running footman. I then turned to 
ward the Wingdam Temperance Hotel. 

It may have been the weather, or it may have been the 
pie, bnt T was not impressed favourably with the house, 
Perhaps it was the name extending the whole length of 
the building, with a letter under each window, making the 
people who looked out cfreadfully conspicuous. Perhaps it 
was that " Temperance " always suggested to my mind rusks 
and weak tea. It was uninviting. It might have been 
called the " Total Abstinence " Hotel, from the lack of any 
thing to intoxicate or enthrall the senses. It was designed 
with an eye to artistic dreariness. It was so much too 
large for the settlement, that it appeared to be a very slight 
improvement on out-doors. It was unpleasantly new. There 
was the forest flavour of dampness about it, and a slight 
spicing of pine. Nature outraged, but not entirely subdued, 
sometimes broke out afresh in little round, sticky, resinous 
tears on the doors and windows. It seemed to me that 
boarding there must seem like a perpetual picnic. As I 
entered the door, a number of the regular boarders rushed 
out of a long room, and set about trying to get the taste of 
something out of their mouths, by the application of tobacco 
in various forms. A few immediately ranged themselves 
around the fire-place, with their legs over each other's chairs, 
and in that position silently resigned themselves to indi 
gestion. Remembering the pie, I waived the invitation of 
the landlord to supper, but suffered myself to be conflicted 
into the sitting-room. " Mine host " was a magnificent 



304 A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 

looking, heavily bearded specimen of the animal man. He- 
reminded me of somebody or something connected with the 
drama. I was sitting beside the fire, mutely wondering what 
it could be, and trying to follow the particular chord of 
memory thus touched, into the intricate past, when a little 
delicate-looking woman appeared at the door, and leaning 
heavily against the casing, said in an exhausted tone, 
" Husband ! " As the landlord turned toward her, that 
particular remembrance flashed before me, in a single line of 
blank verse. It was this : " Two souls with but one single 
thought, two hearts that beat as one." 

It was Ingomar and Parthenia his wife. I imagined a 
different denouement from the play. Ingomar had taken 
Parthenia back to the mountains, and kept a hotel for the 
benefit of the Alemaimi, who resorted there in large num 1 - 
bers. Poor Parthenia was pretty well fagged out, and did all 
the work without " help." She had two "young barbarians," 
a boy and a girl. She was faded but still good looking. 

I sat and talked with Ingomar, who seemed perfectly pt 
home and told me several stories of the Alemanni, all 
bearing a strong flavour of the wilderness, and being per 
fectly in keeping with the house. How he, Ingomar, had 
killed a certain dreadful " bar," whose skin was just up "yar," 
over his bed. How he, Ingomar, had killed several "bucks," 
whose skins had been prettily fringed and embroidered by 
Parthenia, and even now clothed him. How he, Ingomar, 
had killed several "Injins," and was once nearly scalped 
himself. All this with that ingenious candour which is per 
fectly justifiable in a barbarian, but which a Greek might 
feel inclined to look upon as " blowing." Thinking of the 
wearied Parthenia, I began to consider for the first time 
that perhaps she had better married the old Greek. Then 
she would at least have always looked neat. Then she would 
not have worn a woollen dress flavoured with all the dinners 
of the past year. Then she would not have been obliged to 



A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. *cr 

wait on the table with her hair half down. Then the two 
children would not have hung about her skirts with dirty- 
fingers, palpably dragging her down day by day. T suppose 
it was the pie which put such heartless and improper ideas 
in my head, and so I rose up and told Ingomar I believed 
I'd go to bed. Preceded by that redoubtable barbarian and 
a flaring tallow candle, I followed him up-stairs to my room. 
It was the only single room he had, he told me ; he had 
built it for the convenience of married parties who might 
stop here, but that event not happening yet, he had left it 
half furnished. It had cloth on one side, and large cracks 
on the other. The wind, which always swept over Wing- 
dam at night time, puffed through the apartment from 
different apertures. The window was too small for the hole 
in the side of the house where it hung, and rattled noisily. 
Everything looked cheerless and dispiriting. Before Ingo 
mar left me, he brought that " bar-skin," and throwing it 
over the solemn bier which stood in one corner, told me he 
reckoned that would keep me warm, and then bade me good 
night. I undressed myself, the light blowing out in the 
middle of that ceremony, crawled under the " bar-skin," 
and tried to compose myself to sleep. 

But I was staringly wide awake. I heard the wind sweep 
down the mountain side, and toss the branches of the 
melancholy pine, and then enter the house, and try all the 
doors along the passage. Sometimes strong currents of air 
blew my hair all over the pillow, as with strange whispering 
breaths. The green timber along the walls seemed to be 
sprouting, and sent a dampness even through the "bar- 
skin." I felt like Robinson Crusoe in his tree, with the 
ladder pulled up or like the rocked baby of the nursery 
song. After lying awake half-an-hour, I regretted having 
stopped at " Wiiigdam j" at the end of the third quarter, I 
wished I had not gone to bed, and when a restless hour 
passed, I got up and dressed myseK There had been a fire 



306 A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 

clown in the big room. Perhaps it was still burning. 1 
opened the door and groped my way along a passage, vocai 
with the. snores of the Aleinaimi and the whistling of the 
night wind ; I partly fell down-stairs, and at last entering 
the big room, saw the lire still burning. I drew a chair 
toward it, poked it with my foot, and was astonished to see, 
by the up-springing flash, that Parthenia was sitting there 
also, holding a faded-looking baby. 

I asked her why she was sitting up ? 

She did not go to bed on Wednesday night, before the 
mail arrived, and then she awoke her husband, and there 
were passengers to 'tend to. 

" Did she not get tired, sometimes ? " 

" A little, but Abner " the Barbarian's Christian name 
" had promised to get her more help next spring, if 
business was good." 

" How many boarders had she 1 " 

"She believed about forty came to regular meals, and 
there was transient custom, which was as much as she and 
her husband could 'tend to. But he did a great deal of 
work." 

"What work?" 

" Oh ! bringing in the wood, and looking after the traders' 
things." 

" How long had she been married 1 M 

" About nine years. She had lost a little girl and boy. 
Three children living. He was from Illinois; she from 
Boston. Had an education (Boston Female High School 
Geometry, Algebra, a little Latin and Greek). Mother and 
father died. Came to Illinois alone to teach school. Saw 
him yes a love match (' Two souls,' etc., etc.) Married 
and emigrated to Kansas. Thence across the Plains to 
California. Always on the outskirts of civilization. He 
liked it." 

" She might sometimes have wished to go home. Would 



A NIGHT AT W1NGDAM. 307 

like to, on account of her children. Would like to give 
them an education. Had taught them a little herself, but 
couldn't do much on account of other work. Hoped that the 
boy would be like his father strong and hearty. Was 
fearful the girl would be more like her. Had often thought 
bhe was not fit for a pioneer's wife." 

Why 1 " 

" Oh, she was not strong enough, and had seen some of his 
friends' wives in Kansas who could do more work. But he 
never complained he was so kind " (" Two souls," etc.) 

Sitting there with her head leaning pensively on one 
hand, holding the poor, wearied and limp looking baby 
wearily on the other arm dirty, drabbled and forlorn, with 
the fire-light playing upon her features no longer fresh or 
young, but still refined and delicate, and even in her 
grotesque slovenliness still bearing a faint reminiscence of 
birth and breeding, it was not to be wondered that I did not 
fall into excessive raptures over the barbarian's kindness. 
Emboldened by my sympathy, she told me how she had 
giyen up, little by little, what she imagined to be the weak 
ness of her early education, until she found that she acquired 
but little strength in her new experience. How, translated 
to a back-woods society, she was hated by the women, and 
called proud and "fine," and how her dear husband lost 
popularity on that account with his fellows. How, led 
partly by his roving instincts, and partly from other circum 
stances, he started with her to California. An account of 
that tedious journey. How it was a dreary, dreary waste in 
her memory, only a blank plain marked by a little cairn of 
stones a child's grave. How she had noticed that little 
Willie failed. How she had called Abner's attention to it, 
but, man-like, he knew nothing about children, and pooh- 
poohed it, and was worried by the stock. How it happened 
that after they had^ passed Sweet water, she was walking 
beside the waggon one night, and looking at the western 

x 2 



308 A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. 

sky, and she heard a little voice say "mother." How sh 
looked into the waggon and saw that little Willie was sleep 
ing comfortably, and did not wish to wake him. How that 
in a few moments more she heard the same voice saying, 
"mother." How she came back to the waggon and leaned 
down over him, and felt his breath upon her face, and again 
covered him up tenderly, and once more resumed her weary 
journey beside him, praying to God for his recovery. How, 
with her face turned to the sky, she heard the same voice 
saying, "mother," and directly a great, bright star shot 
away from its brethren and expired. And how she knew 
what had happened, and ran to the waggon again only to 
pillow a little pinched and cold white face upon her weary 
bosom. The thin, red hands went up to her eyes here, and 
for a few moments she sat still. The wind tore round the 
house and made a frantic rush at the front door, and from 
his couch of skins in the inner room, Ingomar, the barbarian, 
snored peacefully. 

" Of course she always found a protector from insult and 
outrage in the great courage and strength of her husband ? " 

" Oh yes ; when Ingomar was with her she feared nothing. 
But she was nervous, and had been frightened once ! " 

" How 1 " 

" They had just arrived in California. They kept house 
then, and had to sell liquor to traders. Ingomar was 
hospitable, and drank with everybody, for the sake of 
popularity and business, and Ingomar got to like liquor, and 
was easily affected by it. And how one night there was 
a boisterous crowd in the bar-room ; she went in and tried 
to get him away, but only succeeded in awakening the 
coarse gallantry of the half-crazed revellers. And how, 
when she had at last got him in the room with her frightened 
children, he sank down on the bed in a stupor, which made 
her think the liquor was drugged. And how she sat beside 
him all night, and near morning heard a step in the passage, 



A NIGHT AT WINGDAM. . 309 

and looking toward the door, saw the latch slowly moving up 
and down, as if somebody were trying it. And how she 
shook her husband, and tried to waken him, but without 
effect. And how at last the door yielded slowly at the top 
(it was bolted below), as if by a gradual pressure without ; 
and how a hand protruded through the opening. And how, 
as quick as lightning, she nailed that hand to the wall with 
her scissors (her only weapon), but the point broke, and 
somebody got away with a fearful oath. How she never 
told her husband of it, for fear he would kill that somebody ; 
but how on one day a stranger called here, and as she was 
handing him his coffee, she saw a queer triangular scar on 
the back of his hand." 

She was still talking, and the wind was still blowing, and 
Ingomar was still snoring from his couch of skins, when 
there was a shout high up the straggling street, and a clat 
tering of hoofs, and rattling of wheels. The mail had arrived. 
Parthenia ran with the faded baby to awaken Ingomar, and 
almost simultaneously the gallant expressman stood again 
before me, addressing me by my Christian name, and inviting 
me to drink out of a mysterious black bottle. The horses 
were speedily watered, and the business of the gallant ex 
pressman concluded, and bidding Parthenia good-bye, I got 
on the stage, and immediately fell asleep, and dreamt of 
calling on Parthenia and Ingomar, and being treated with 
pie to an unlimited extent, until I woke up the next morn 
ing in Sacramento. I have some doubts as to whether all 
this was not a dyspeptic dream, but I never witness the 
drama, and hear that noble sentiment concerning "Two 
souls," etc., without thinking of Wingdam, and poor Par 
thenia,. 



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