Page images
PDF
EPUB

smile, and “ 'lowed he would turn up lems of inefficiency. right and proper when the time came, But all this took time, and when Sandy which was interpreted to mean that the climbed back onto his own wagon, he was orbit of the Comet was sufficiently well- four hours behind in the race for first in known to predict any possible conjunction to-morrow. When Jerry picked his way with such stars of first magnitude as through the darkness into the lower yard might appear in the foothill firmament. at the mill, he passed Tommy's wagon,

Then came the scramble for first out. loaded and set for first out in the mornOne by one the jingling chimes swung on- ing. Tommy, sure of victory, waxed symto the road, and two by two the wagons pathetic. rolled out onto the steepest hill in the “What'd you stop for down there, you Sierras. Sandy was out three teams old sardine? Nobody else would ?" ahead of Tommy, who had been too busy “That's why I stopped, I suppose," reparrying sallies and thrusts to get away plied Sandy, wearily. quickly.

“Just like the darn fool,” said Nelson. Step by step the long teams wriggled “Always fooling around helping out some and stamped and crept their way up the no-good cuss." face of the cliff, and stone by stone the "He done tank mooch of dat girl now, wheels bumped and rolled up and up and or he no stop that-a-way for ole Badon up till the Widow Weeks' place looked luck,” commented Pete. like a miniature camp below. On up they Sandy ate his supper alone, and that went, a wagon length at a time, a mo- night, after the Bearsden was dark and ment's pause, another pull; big mules and silent, he was pushing plank after plank little mules and mules bad and indifferent, onto his wagons, glad for once that his silent and persistent, up past the Dead- load was out of hearing in the upper yard. man's point and out of sight from below. As the stars of the morning began to fade

Sandy boasted no diploma, but he did in the east, he put the last twist under the possess an accurate working knowledge of chains, and turned his attention to the mule psychology, and he had a mutual mules. understanding with his intrepid little But the news had reached the lower flea-bitten leader. As he swung up the yard, and for once Tommy had no time to grade on the high seat, his thoughts were joke. As the gong rang for breakfast, he not on the road nor the mules, but they hooked up the last trace chain, and with came rudely to earth again with the sight a “Haw there, Kate !" was out on the road. of one of old Badluck Biddie's predica- "I see myself cutting out breakfast for ments scattered over the road ahead. any girl," said Nelson, in disgust.

“Head that team out of the track," he Sandy heard the cheer from the grub shouted in wrath, and as he edged past house and knew its meaning. Weary and the stalled team, he expressed his personal hungry as he was, this was no time for opinion of the quality of the alleged intel- such trifles as breakfast, and he strung lect and equipment of the ill-natured and out his mules at once. While the coffee inefficient Badluck in language that will went around the second time, he pulled onbest grace this tale by its omission. At to the road, second out, but ten minutes the next passing place, though, he pulled behind Tommy, with no chance to pass. out till there was room to get by, and then Down the grade the mules swung with went back and inspected Badluck's mis- steady step, while Sandy munched crackfortune in detail. There was plenty of it, ers from his box. After all, the world well distributed, and while one by one looked better in the fresh dawn than in every team on the grade pulled by, Sandy the darkness of the night. If Nina would straightened out the wretched team, made only be reasonable, all life might be like unsuccessful efforts to get started, brought the glint on the firs and the odor of the back four of his own mules, pulled two tamaracks. Anyhow, she was at the other wheels from under the old wagon, ignored end of the road waiting for him—perhaps, the whining protest, chained together the and Sandy's jaw took a set that indicated broken pieces, and left Badluck on top of that he did not consider the race lost just the ridge with a free lecture on the prob- yet.

.

was over.

Two miles below the mill, the old aban- work with the shovel, a testing of the doned road led off to the right across the strength of the narrow footing next to the ridge. Sandy dismounted and explored bank, and he climbed back on the seat, a short distance. He could hear the jan- and Jerry began to pick his way out onto gle of the bells of Tommy's mules a half the log. Inch by inch the wheels followed, mile below, and without further investiga- starting and stopping till the first wagon tion, he swung the eight mules and two

The last wheel on the second wagons down the Devil's Slide. Last year wagon slipped, struck a rock, and came the new road was finished, and no wagon down on the bank, but three minutes later had now been down the old grade since eight plucky mules lifted it onto the road the season's rains had torn its ruts to and the gulf was passed. chasms and carved landslides out of its The last thousand yards was steep and banks. When in good repair, its ascent rough, but it was no worse than the road was a case of doubling on one wagon, and above, and with shoveling and side-pulling no year had passed without its record of and sliding, mules and wagons were on fatality. It saved five miles distance, but the new grade, with no damages other there was no complaint of the longer road. than scratched paint and strained nerves.

With steady nerves, Sandy headed his No road had ever looked so good before team down this causeway of destruction, as this nice, smooth, dusty grade, and as and whatever may serve as substitute for he caught the faint echoes of Tommy's nerves in a mule, was steady in Jerry. Af- bells a mile above, Sandy felt like shoutter a quarter of a mile of passable road, ing, if ever a Scot feels that way. He had the descent began, and with set brakes brought his load down the Devil's Slide in and sliding wheels the flat was reached in an hour and a quarter, and he would be safety, for the rain had done little damage first in to-night. on the crest.

Now it happened that Tommy was so Sandy breathed easier, and was think- elated with his early start and so busy ing of regular trips by the old road to get composing a fine speech that he did not home quicker to Nina if—but he thought notice the tracks leading in from the old of something else, for the road ahead out road, and proceeded on his way in blissful of the flat had been the play path of the ignorance of his loss of place by one of torrent, and for a thousand feet was cut the most difficult feats of teamstership into gullies and crevasses from one to known on the mountains. three feet deep. It looked bad, but Nina But other eyes did see the tracks. An was at the other end, and there was no re- hour later, Billy Dean, the mail carrier, treat now.

passed Sandy, and inquired whether he With four mules detached and chained were the blasted fool that came down the wheels, Jerry and his three plucky brothers slide this morning, and went on with the dragged the load down that corrugated comforting assurance that “Next time skidway of ruin. With a super-mulish in- you'll go over, and then everybody'll say, telligence Jerry dodged holes, climbed I knew he'd break his fool neck some banks, and picked his way along preci- day.'pices. Twice the trail wheels went over, At Kellog's, Sandy only stopped to but the gear was strong, and with new water and get from the cook a substantial danger at every rod of the way, the notch handout which he hungrily devoured in was reached, and Sandy drew long the dust that half the time hid the leaders. breath. Then Jerry stopped short, and Tommy's mules were famous walkers, and Sandy's heart came into his mouth. At the sooner it were over now the better. At the next fill, the earth was washed out this speed he would turn into the yard at clear across the road. There was the per- the record breaking hour of 4:30 p. m. pendicular hill on one side and the yawn

Then he would throw down his jerk line, ing chasm on the other, and across the wash up, and go to the house to hear chasm a four foot log bridging the ten what she would say to him. “One thing,"

he muttered to himself, “I ain't much to Sandy got down and examined the log look at, and I'm no ladies' man, but if she while Jerry watched intently. A little takes me, she'll get a square deal.”

a

feet of space.

[ocr errors]

Just above the Deadman's, he met Pel- and there is, too; I can see it myself.” ton, the road boss.

“Well, the cork's never been out of it "Goin' to the chivaree to-night, I sup- yet, but what's the use? I got nothing pose ?” he queried.

to live for now.” “What chivaree?” inquired Sandy, "Sandy McClellan, whatever is the matdully.

ter with you?” “At the Widow Weeks, of course. Have "Nothing,” he stubbornly answered. you not heard the news ?

The happy

“Nothing !” she challenged. “Give me event came off last night.”

that bottle, and don't you get another one, “Happy event!" echoed Sandy. "Who?" either. You need a guardian, you do." But he knew too well the name he dreaded Sandy braced himself. “Well, Nina, I to hear.

did hope to have a guardian—a guardian “The Comet," chuckled Pelton, in glee. angel, but now-excuse me, I forgot to ”

I “Wouldn't that grieve you? He ain't congratulate you. I sure wish youbeen a-hangin' at that there likely widow's "Congratulate me!she exclaimed. all this time for nothin’; long head, you "What for? Are you crazy ?”

'

“ bet?”

“For getting the man you wanted, I Sandy sat motionless on his seat. All suppose. I hope you the suspended fatigue of yesterday, the "Sandy, if you don't talk sense pretty toil of the night and the tension of the soon, I will send over for the marshall. Devil's Slide fell on him at once. The "Well,” said Sandy, utterly perplexed, sun went out, and in the soul of the man “Pelton said it was the Comet, and that was a thick darkness that could be cut, the happy event came off last night.” and through it there did cut something Nina's contracted brow relaxed, and into the heart of the man. To have been then she laughed, a merry, hearty laugh beaten by Tommy would have been bad

that rang out over the yard and up to enough, but this dude that wore clean the house. shirts and talked about the stars and could "Sandy McClellan, you old goose, you; not drive a jerk-line—it was too much for the Comet married Ma! Did you think flesh and blood. He had never taken the I could support him ?” Comet seriously—Nina was too sensible a “Then you're not married ?” ventured girl!

Sandy in cautious bewilderment. At the roadhouse he went in and "Not even engaged," she said, demurely, brought out a black bottle with a green as she drew up a pile of sand with the toe label, and put it in his wagon box. of her shoe.

Billy Deen's incredible story had spread That night they sat on the old stone about the flat, and it was about five o'clock step together, close together. Her hand that Ben came up to the house with his was in his, and she was saying: “Just to mouth full of news, which he heralded think that you worked all night and came with the relish of those who bear ill-tid- down the Devil's Slide this morning to ings.

get here first after helping out old Bad"Sandy's in,” he asserted, "and he's luck! I never supposed that any man drinkin' agin. I saw the bottle in his would—jockey box."

“But suppose I had not got in first!” Straight to the corral went Nina, interposed Sandy.

, flushed of face and determined of step. “Oh! then I had the certificate to teach. Sandy saw her and turned his head.

I passed, you know. And when Billy “What's this I hear?" she exclaimed, I

Deen came down the hill this morning suddenly coming upon him, pulling the and told what you did, I knew that you harness from one of the mules.

were the right one. I guess you need “Nothin' bad, I hope,” said Sandy, dog- teaching as much as anybody I know.” gedly.

Ma's' chivaree," said “Ben says there's a bottle in your box, Sandy. “Let's git!”

“Here

>

comes

THE HOME OF THE RED MAN IN

STATEHOOD

BY GRANT FOREMAN

Mr. Grant Foreman tells us, in a most instructive and convincing manner, the story of the American Indian in Statehood. While the editor is not prepared to affirm that Mr. Foreman is correct in all of his conclusion, it is certain that the meagre knowledge of the question so ably discussed by Mr. Foreman is to be deplored. The white man's actions, toward a race that is probably one of the noblest the sun has ever shone upon, have been such that the impartial reader of history shudders in contemplating the record thereof. Mr. Foreman has contributed to the history of our times, in the article in this issue of the Overland Monthly, and the whole country is indebted to him for his painstaking efforts.

EDITOR OVERLAND MONTHLY.

[ocr errors]

B

Y ITS INFREQUENCY in re- Unique in many other respects, the
cent years, the admission of genesis of Oklahoma is as different from
States into the union has become that of other States as is that of Texas or

something of an event to be ap- Florida. Nearly every other State of the proached with unusual circumspection. Union represents a bloody conquest of the Oklahoma, the first State to be admitted Indian occupants of the land and the in a period extending over eleven years, cruel driving of them out to seek new comes into the Union fully grown,

homes while their visitors turned their with all the vigor and strength of matur- minds to

to conquering the wilderness, ity. Born into affluence, conscious of her wresting a bare existence from a not alown strength, she asks no odds of any ways too generous soil, passing through State. She numbers almost half as many the privations and hardships of pioneer people as there were in the thirteen origi- life, enduring the rigors of winter with nal colonies at the close of the Revolution. illy provided protection, rallying from Four times as many people as there were droughts and loss of crops, and finally in the next largest State at the time of its emerging into a degree of comfort. admission. When the census of 1900 was And when these pioneers became so taken, twenty States of the Union had numerous that they could organize each less than the present population of school district here and there and an ocOklahoma. Any one of sixteen of them casional village throughout the land behad less than one-half of the number of came an established fact, they saw a hand Oklahoma's population.

beckoning to them from Washington inAs fair a land as the sun ever shone viting them to come into the Union and upon, Oklahoma has welcomed to her be a State. It did not matter that they broad acres hundreds of thousands of citi- were small in number, they were young zens from the older States. They have and would grow. Uncle Sam loved a big come from every section of the country family, and he thought it was only right to better their conditions, and, unmind- to reward the hardy men and brave women ful of the lack of laws, contented with the who had gone forth and toiled and suffertile soil and salubrious climate, have fered to conquer wild nature, by giving settled down and built homes and cities. them the right to make their own laws and

a

to rise to the dignity of citizens of this Oklahoma, the fact that this great ungreat country with all the rights and priv- organized civilization should have grown ileges thereunto appertaining.

up here, surpassing many of the States For many years the Legislature of our in wealth, population, thriving cities, railGovernment has invited the settler to "go road mileage, energy and development, beWest and grow up with the country." fore Congress grudgingly gave it stateLiberal homestead and pre-emption laws hood to better conserve its wealth and have encouraged pioneers to occupy and strength, suggests something out of the improve great tracts of public domain. ordinary in its organic nature. Grants to railroad companies have induced Unlike most other States of the Union, the building of highways to carry settlers the pioneers of Oklahoma, the early setfrom the States. And the privilege of tlers who claimed the country from the Statehood has been freely extended these aimless prodigality of nature, were not pioneers upon a fair showing of popula- white people, but Indians, and anomation and of the natural resources which lous as it may seem, these pioneers and ultimately would make a respectable settlers reduced this wilderness to civiliState.

zation without bloodshed, and their apWe have for so many years seen Uncle propriation of the land did not dispossess Sam coddling territories into States and others of prior rights. nourishing tender young States until they The five civilized tribes, the Cherokees, acquired the strength that comes with Creeks, Chickasawa, Choctaws and Semiyears, that the spectacle furnished by Ok- noles, less than eighty years ago lived upon lahoma of a sturdy, full-grown young their own lands within the boundaries of State not only coming into the Union un- Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee bidden, but fairly forcing her way in by and Florida. Even in those days they sheer strength, comes in the nature of a were regarded as civilized Indians. They strange departure. Twenty-eight States had schools and churches, they trafficked of the Union were admitted in the ninety in the crops, fruits and vegetables they years ending 1890, averaging three States raised. They built roads and kept inns. in every ten years. Thirty-two States ad- They had mills and workshops, and they mitted to the Union numbered at the time manufactured cotton and wool. A young of admission from 6,857 in Nevada, to Cherokee named Sequoyah had invented 376,683 population in West Virginia. The an alphabet which has been used since great State of Illinois came into the Un- 1826 in publishing Cherokee newspapers ion with only 34,620 souls, only a little and books. more than the population of one average- The fact that these Indians had made size Oklahoma county. As recently as such progress in civilization, promising to 1890, the State of Wyoming was admit- become fixtures in the States, worried not ted with only 60,705 persons. North and a little the white citizens of those States South Dakota together had only 100,000 who are hoping and striving to ultimatepopulation.

ly possess the fine lands owned by these In 1906 Oklahoma was pounding at the Indians. doors of the Union clamoring for the ad- It would be a long story that would tell mission of a State of a million and a half how these States passed laws to circumpeople. Congress had turned a deaf ear scribe the Indians, the enactment and exto her claims theretofore, but her remark- ecution of which contravenes the treaties able growth of recent years gave such force made between them and the Government to her persistent claims for recognition of the United States. How the President that Congress was at last obliged to take refused to enforce the laws of Congress notice. Reluctantly the law-makers said to protect the Indians from the oppression that if Oklahoma and Indian Territory of their covetous neighbors; how he and would unite as one State and apply for Congress finally decided to banish the admission as the State of Oklahoma, she trouble from their minds and at the same might be admitted, subject, however, to time conciliate the States named by sendcertain conditions named in the enabling ing these five civilized tribes to a remote act. This apparent discrimination against end of our possessions recently acquired

« PreviousContinue »