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asked quietly, "why did you try to help other side of which was the railroad camp. me get away from the Apaches?”
“But, Vanity,” Brisbane insisted, "the Quickly she rolled his shirt sleeve away Apaches will kill you." from his tanned wrists, and touched the "What's care—who care ?" she answered white skin on his arm lightly.
resignedly. "My mother,” she whispered proudly. "I care, Vanity, darling,” Brisbane an"Your mother a white woman,” he ex- swered, holding both her slender hands claimed. “Yes, my father very big Chero- and bending over her; "I care-I love you,
— kee chief. Steal my mother. Like very dear little Cherokeemuch. Die sometime," she finished with “What's love?" she asked quietly. trembling lips.
“This, Vanity,” he whispered, as he "Well, you dear little waif, and is that pressed his lips to hers. why you helped me?” the man asked soft- "Vaneety like love very much,” she said ly. “Say to my mother, Snow-Squaw some- sweetly, after a little. time maybe help white man
_” she be
"I'm glad you do, you beautiful dargan.
ling,” Brisbane said joyously. "You're “What a pretty sentiment, child,” the going to come with me and be my wife, surveyor said, feelingly.
Vanity, and I'll teach you everything your "No child,” she corrected gently, “Van- lovely mother knew. Maybe we can find eety."
out who she was, too. How old are you, "OL, certainly! I beg your pardon, anyway, sweetheart?” Vanity.” She drew an old-fashioned flat She indicated seventeen winters on her needle case from her garment and handed slender hands. it to Brisbane. He opened it, and re- “And not any more summers, either, I'll moved his hat as he looked upon a faded vouch,” Brisbane laughed. daguerreotype-the sweet, girlish face of a “What a lucky fellow I am," he said, as white woman.
he entered the railroad camp—two days "Her mother!” he breathed reverently, later. “I have the maps and I have Vanas he looked into the shining depths of ity.” the maiden's eyes.
When the strange pale-faces came to “Vanity,” he said unsteadily,
meet them, the girl clung to Brisbane. banded her the little worn and faded “Come, sweetheart,” he said, quietly, needle case.
“You must come with me. “they are your people as they are mine." You must
With his arm around her, Brisbane ap"No," she answered dully, the brightness proached the amazed and jubilant railleaving her eyes. "No; Vaneety go back road men. —you, go on.” Her voice sounded so “Who in the world is this?” asked the hopeless and sad. It reminded Brisbane superintendent, smilingly. of the low moaning of the wind at sea. “Vaneety," the girl answered proudly,
She pointed to the mountain on the with a dazzling smile.
N THE HISTORY of man's hunt for where they were found by the natives im
mineral wealth there is no romance bedded in the mud of a certain chain of more fascinating than the grim marshes. These crystals chemists named
story of Death Valley's borax har- "tincal,” but in the Thibetan tongue they vest. It is woven in the tale of the were called “Baurach,” probably the etoonce most isolated, most dreaded dis- mological derivation of borax. But with trict of the Great American Desert. It the exception of few boracic deposits in writes the chapter of the most bizarre in- Italy, South America and California, dustry the West has ever known, an in- which, furnishing a very meagre supply dustry waged far from even the crudest of borax, were of small commercial value, society that bred queer, half-salamander the mineral was more of a laboratory oddmen who scraped borax from sun-blistered ity than a common article, until 1871, marshes and brought it miles beneath a when William Troup found the first “cotfiery sky across a rugged arid sweep to ton-ball” marsh in Western Nevada. civilization. Song and story resting for Troup's find brought about borax a space their well-worn theme of treasure transfiguration in the chemical, industrial gold can find rich romance in the quest and commercial worlds. The "cottonof this Golden Fleece for which desert ar- bal!”—the desert name for ulexite, gonauts during a decade paid death toll round mass of white crystals of borate of to heat and thirst in Death Valley's maze sodium-calcium—was an entirely of ash-heap hills and scar-like canyons. form of a borax deposit. But what was
Mineral history can well give heed to the more to the point, it offered purer borax romance of this desert industry, because in an undreamed-of quantity. Chemistry the harvest of Death Valley borax was the at once ascertained scores of new uses for bulk of American borax, when American the mineral in the arts, and the demand borax supplied the world. Indeed, it is increased as by magic. the record of the first important borate But great as was the augmented call, deposits known to trade, since previous to the supply outstripped it. Out in the the discovery and working of the marshes West, the desert went borax mad. Lode of our Western waste, borax beds were ex- hunters scorned or forgot gold and silver tremely scarce throughout the world. ledges. Every prospector set out with his Widespread as the mineral is
it burro to locate a "cotton-ball” swamp. Isonevertheless is something of a parvenu, lated desolate nooks of the desert were though Bulwer Lytton attempts to give it explored. Many a borax prospector left antiquity in his “Last Days of Pompeii,” his bones to bleach on the blistered flats of when he has Nero use it in his carnage Western Nevada and Eastern California. shows at the Coliseum. Lytton's author- Out of this stampede came scores of borax ity for this association of Nero and borax beds large and small, and as many indecannot be found. Its authenticity is ques- pendent refining plants scattered over the tionable beyond doubt, since previous to arid region. The borax traffic became the 17+2 chemistry records no knowledge of most energetic industry of the West, a borax. About that time, green greasy
veritable giant in growth. borate crystals were imported from Thibet Of this widespread "cotton-ball” gath
ering, the Death Valley harvest was easily the lowest of a chain of pre-historic lakes the most picturesque as well as the most into it drains the rocky washes of the Ralimportant. Its characteristics were most ston and Amargoesa Deserts. According typical of the bizarre peculiarities of the to a monument set up in the salt sump the traffic. Its romance is the essence of this lowest spot of its floor, the valley is 284 heroic age of the desert. In those days, feet below sea level, making it the lowest Death Valley was a long way from cities, inland on the continent and perhaps in and city men, in spirit as well as in miles. the world. None but an intrepid traveler ventured Death Valley proper, that is, from the into the forbidding region, and reached it north end of the Amargossa Wallow to only after a fortnight of hard trail. Even the barricade of low buttes that divides it among desert men it bore an unsavory from Lost Valley, its northern extension, reputation. It was spoken of as a spot is about eighty miles long. Its concave incredible heat, where water was scarce floor, varying in width from ten to twenty and danger plentiful. Moreover, there was miles, foothills to foothills, is a pebbly a gloomy tradition that it had come by its wash of ground and broken rock, save at name through the disastrous attempt of the deeper dip, where the salt sump, a an emigrant band to make a short cut to marsh of livid muck, lies like a lake of California across the hot low hollow. All mo!ten steel. But for two clumps of meshad perished, the story ran, man and beast. quite, it is as barren as a stone slab. To this lugubrious legend "desert rats”– Sirocco-like dust storms hurtle up and those half-made derelicts of the sea of sun down the valley, leaving for days a grayand sand-coming from the man-shunned ish purple haze. Mirages are common as vallev, would add grewsome tales of lost sunshine. Truly it is the desert's strongprospectors wandering thirst-crazed in hold with the desert's idiosyncracies carendless canyons till they dropped and died. ried to an extreme. It is savagely beauti
While much of Death Valley's horror, ful. Viewed from Funeral peaks, the whether pictured by "desert rat" or un- range of the entire region—the sagging traveled scribe who never saw the spot, is valley with the pallid flat of its sump and exaggeration, its evil name is partially de- sawlike contour of its mountain rimserved. It has been a huge cauldron in presents a cyclorama awful in its sweep of which the desert sun has often cooked up sun-burnt barrenness, marvelous as the a bitter kettle for man and beast. It is a Grand Canyon in its splashes of barbaric strange, even sinister valley that sinks pot- color. like in the desert. Around it rise high The danger of the region comes from its ridges of slag mountains, the Panamints unnatural aridity. In this characteristic on the west, with a 12,000 foot altitude, it outstrips the worst parts of the desert. and to the east the terra cotta Funeral A Government meteorological station Range fully 10,000 feet at its highest maintained one vear from June to Seppoints.
tember at a point midway up the valley, The dry bed of an ancient inland sea, where there is a stream of running water,
Furnace Creek, has a record of days when freight it by wagon 164 miles to Mojave,
curred on the long trail. The out trip to
up the extraordinary outfit that brought The problem was to get the borax to borax from Death Valley. trade. There was but one solution, to Horsemanship that was horsemanship
piloted this aggregation of animals. Your They were strange men, those drivers famous whip tooling along Fifth avenue and swampers of Death Valley days, to be or your expert drayman picking his way satisfied to flit back and forth shuttle-like through a traffic jam, considers himself a between Mojave and Furnace Creek. pretty good hand with the ribbons if he They must have had a touch of "queer" manages without mishap six or even four in the beginning to take the job; and horses. Out in the desert in those days of jolted along, week in and week out, beborax freighting the driver who halted at neath a sun that grilled the brain, breathten and even twelve mules was a mere ing the parched desert air, alone with "rawhide.” Your real "skinner" was the their own vacuous thoughts, they grew steersman of the borax team. At his into the half-mad wretches about whom wheels he had a span of heavy draught- incredible heart-sickening tales are told. horses; in the lead the cleverest, least-sin- As the freighting days wore on, quarrels ful pair of mules; and between, two by and bloody duels between driver and two, sixteen shades, shapes and sorts of swamper became so frequent that it was mule devilishness. This string of animals the chief duty of the superintendent at he manipulated by means of a 120-foot Mojave to make sure that all was fair jerk-line or rope. What a spectacle of weather with a pair at the end of each horsemanship it was—to see from the trip before sending them out again toroadside
when this outfit, coming under gether on another grind over the lonely full headway down grade, swung round a trail. But even with this precaution, dark bend in a rough canyon trail. Such driv
Such driv- tragedies occurred. Occasionally one of ing was sheer magic.
the five outfits that plied the Death Valley In the heydey of the borax freighting, route would fail to arrive at the scheduled Mojave was as roaring as a pay-dirt camp. time. Three or four days later the next Teamsters give bustle and bank to a town, team would bring in the ugly news that and the borax carters did their part by the missing wagons were out on the road Mojave. Gambling hells and bar-rooms with a gristly corpse beside them. A new ran wide open from one sunrise to the grave would rise beside the trail and a new next. The stakes of the freighters kept outlaw haunt the desert fastness, all bethem busy. Drivers drew their $100 a cause flesh and blood and brain could not month, and swampers—the assistants who stand the heat of Death Valley's sun or went along to cook, "flunkie," and tend the grip of its uncanny silence. the break on down grades—their $75. Meanwhile up in the gray, gaunt valley This money was invariably "sloughed” in was waged the borax gathering. At the the gambling hells and saloons in time to northeast segment of the sump Coleman take out the next trip.
garnered his supply and refined it in huge