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This man was a very simple one. had never occurred to him that people existed in the world who would not take him on trust in a matter of this kind. The inference withered his crest, somewhat. True, he had penetrated her attempt at softening it over, albeit he was very much injured. He removed his hat, and would have bowed, had he known just how it was done.
"As you please, Miss," then, as if excusing his proffered guardianship-"but being the sheriff of this dump-that isthis place, I thought it was my duty." He climbed back into the machine with burning face; became conscious of the red, and grew redder, as he felt the girl's eyes felling into his back.
What did she think? Who knows? Howbeit, whatever her thought did not relieve the big man in the front seat, who was attempting to assume a disinterested attitude. Scotty was still under the machine.
A half hour passed. The man on the front seat seemed interested in twisting out of shape the stem of his pipe when he heard a very small voice in the rear seat: "I'm so awfully hungry. Is the hotel. very far?"
The man melted-then vaporized. By degrees the word hotel sung in and he became horrified. Was it possible?
"Oh, about an hour's walk," he answered and still twisted his pipe.
an air of complete unconcern.
"Yes, but I wish to go now," emphatically.
As he climbed out of the machine and opened the side door.
"Your things will follow soon. Scotty, we're going to hoof it."
The two started up the road. He looked straight ahead and taking giant strides quite out of the capacity of his companion who trailed, on a dog trot, a few feet behind.
"But, please, I can't walk so fast," she exclaimed, laughingly.
"Pardon me, I am an Indian." Which remark, strange to say, put him at his
Greenwater lay in a slight dip on the west slope of the Funeral Range. A nest of tents, as if the Almighty had touched. the desert with a gob of something human. As it was far removed from the world without, nestling among naked heaps of sand, it incarnated such civilization as the desert boasts. For it was, in itself, a commonwealth. It was self-centered; the metropolis of an uninhabited wilderness. The month was August, but the mountains were bleak November; they are always so.
Lucinda Kingsley, who had reached the crest of the hill, with a panorama of the Funeral Range as a background and the tent city immediately below, did not contemplate the vista philosophically. The scene aroused within herself numerous vague speculations and lugubrious fears as to just what might happen to her in that homeless outland.
"But I thought there was a hotel there!" This remark was accompanied by a glance of apprehension.
"Yes, there is, but you can't see it. It's behind Lange's Saloon."
Shamefacedly he made the remark, as if he were to blame for its location. She stopped in the middle of the road and bluntly questioned:
"Are there no women there ?"
Her guide, so permeated with general information, was for the moment confused at this natural inquiry. His feelings prompted him where his knowledge of what she might know of a mining camp became dubious.
As he replied, he thoroughly wished that there had been more and a different sort of woman there:
"No; oh, no-that is, yes, but you shan't see them. The fact is, they don't like to be seen. Of course, they don't care if the people of the camp sees them -but you won't be likely to run across them."
"And, are there no families there?" In open-eyed wonder, as she took in the camp incredulously.
"No families; just the reprobate patriarchs. But don't be alarmed," he continued, as he observed that frightened rabbit look creep into her eyes, "being sheriff I'm half-expected to look after strangers, and I'll see that you get 'tended to."
She asked him everything about Greenwater. What the men did and what the sheriff did, and what she would do.
"You see, Uncle Sam hasn't got his hands on us yet. It was more like this: the Vigilantes, made up of tent merchants, saloon keepers and gamblers, they being the only permanent residents, concluded, after a general smash-up one night six months ago, that they really ought to have a sheriff, just for the looks of the thing. A meeting was called. Up jumps Slim, and proposes me, for, says he, he couldn't hit a barn door at three steps, and being gentle-like, therefore safe, and got no bonanza in sight, and would sort of look professional-like loitering around, him being one as we can back, let's back him, and the meeting adjourned to Tex's Place to further bind the compact. Which friendly pledging wound up with Slim whacking a Mexican over the head with a whisky bottle, and a hurried exodus of all peace-loving creatures for the clear."
"Did you place, him in prison ?"
"No, not exactly; he was a nuisance to the camp, so I told him to get out-the Mexican, of course-gave him a floater, and he floated."
The pair by this time had reached the first straggling tents. The evening was falling, and they walked in silence. This was the suburban district, one-half mile from the town, and was in complete in complete silence, save for the occasional bark of a dog or the bray of a burro.
Although there were some four-hundred rough men in Greenwater at this time, it could boast of but one street. Camps of this sort require but one street, and that is for whisky traffic. This particular thoroughfare was known as the "Rag Dump.”
This evening, life had just begun to bestir itself. Gasoline lamps began to flare along the road, in front of saloons and gambling establishments, or, as is the rule, both combined. Phonographs and music boxes of neighboring resorts vied with one another in the greatest confusion. Gaming tables, in front of the resorts, gradually filled with men who were not young. They were ugly, bewhiskered and browned, save the bartenders and professional gamblers, who were in their own world and at their ease; clean shaven, untouched by the desert and the sun.
The Greenwater Club, the most popular saloon of the alkali metropolis, was the property of Death Valley Slim (Hector Meesham, was the name his father gave him), a half-breed Cherokee Indian, known locally as the man who spent four thousand dollars in one night for drinks in Rhyolite. He was a long mustachioed, black-haired Indian, and was at this moment stretching his neck far over the bar, as if convincing the pale-faced bartender of his imbecility.
Slim was coatless, hatless, and had always worn a dirty green shirt, corduroys and high steel-shod boots. This evening he was unshaven. His thin, snake-like mustache, drooped almost straight down over his chin. Beneath the shaggy eyebrows, wild eyes of jet wandered restlessly around, and at intervals the brown, bony fingers ran nervously through the disheveled mop of long black hair.
Slim knew all of Death Valley, but no man knew Slim. Scotty, of the motor, was his acolyte, and that same worthy, every autumn, set out with five burros for -no one knows where, on Slim's business.
In front of the Greenwater Club, on a camp stool, and before a bottle of rye, Gypsy Ryan smoked. This was the man who had walked from Amargosa to Silver Peak on one canteen of water. And that's real fame.
In a far corner of the tent, Bill Reyes, a half-breed Mexican, dozed. He wore
high-heeled boots of red leather, and he wore his guns in sight.
Across the road from this tent saloon, five cayuses were tethered to a post. Near the top of this post the following notice. was posted:
Name unknown. Left Furnace Creek Ranch with about two quarts of water, two sandwiches in pocket, for Death Valley. Dressed in khaki suit, red shirt and soft felt hat. Height about five feet ten inches, dark complexion; weight one hundred and sixty-five or seventy. On person had one hundred and seventy-five dollars in gold and greenbacks. Finder can keep money if he will bury him and report. Signed, Madison, Sheriff.
Such notices were posted frequently, but rarely read. They were commonplace. The sheriff and his charge came up the dusty road. Silence followed after them. Beelzebub was before them. Lange's Saloon was taken completely by surprise. The cards, good hands, became mixed with the dross. The phonograph was hushed. Drinks were left untouched upon the bar. Every one peered into the road at "the neat little lady." Then everybody looked at everybody else. Something was decidedly wrong in water. Somebody whispered:
"Good hell-it's Madison."
The tension was broken, and all rushed for the bar. Such a surprise is hard upon the system. Greenwater was evidently becoming respectable.
The pair in the road caused the same convulsion at Tex's place, and at the half dozen other establishments along the road. The camp had sustained a severe shock. It could be felt in the atmosphere.
The Greenwater Club was Madison's native saloon. It was the stronghold of his clan. It supported and defended him; he was its darling. They were cheaters, drunkards and dead-shots. He was none of these. He was a freak and was beloved.
Madison was afraid of this journey up town; he was particularly afraid that something might happen at the Greenwater Club.
Such a thing had never befallen Green
water. Anything terrible might take place.
Madison lied in a colossal fashion. A young lady's fears must be allayed.
"Oh, no; these places were not so bad as they looked; they were playing peaknuckle. Yes, very harmless sort of men, these."
The two in the road approached the Greenwater Club. It was the last obstruction in the rapids. Still, smooth water was beyond, could they reach it. Madison fixed his eyes to the front that his friends might feel the least possible encouragement.
Slim was leaning against the door frame spitting bulky gobs of tobacco juice into the road and exchanging monosyllables with Gypsy Ryan, who, between his musings, was carving the table with his jackknife.
Slim's attention was drawn to the road. "Mother of God, what's coming?" he ejaculated as he straightened up and tugged at his skinny mustache. He was staggered. He reached for his gun; then, as the girl's frightened eyes took him in, pretended to tighten his belt-hedged, shuffled a bit, then settled down with open mouth into complete stupefaction. Death Valley Slim, who could hit a sparrow in the retina of the eye at four miles-Slim, who at dead of night, and dead drunk, had wildly run from Willow Creek to Greenwater, facing death at every step-was stupefied-down and out. His untamed spirit, his pride, was low.
Gypsy Ryan fared no better. He opened his mouth for a yell, but no sound came forth. Gypsy, who held untold records to his credit, was speechless-dumbfounded.
The smooth water was very near when the Mexican blood asserted itself. Ryan yelled:
"Hello, come in and drink to the health of your prisoner-ha! ha!"
"You infernal, damned idiot," whispered Slim.
"Bill Reyes, you shut up," retorted Madison as he turned to the saloon and flushed. "Perhaps you don't know any better. I am not alone."
Their fears confirmed-a lady. This strained atmosphere, however, did not last long. It broke all to pieces.
As Madison turned to face his friends.
the girl drew to the other side of the road, and in assuming indifference, her eyes wandered to the tie-post.
"Man Lost!" She ran to the notice, unconscious of the fretting horses. "Red Shirt!"-then with a low moan, sank down in the dust, in the road, by the Greenwater Club.
For one tense moment, the roughs stood transfixed, paralyzed, then they made a mad stampede for the white figure in the dust.
The melee surged around, close, for the first sight; then retreated to a safe distance and formed a circle.
Nobody spoke. Slim's jet eyes bulged. He stared upon the girl, then stared at Madison. Madison stared at the limp bundle of skirts, then looked at Slim. Slim was the first to recover speech:
"Sunstroke! Who is she? Hell, she can't lay here. Here-you-Madison, find yourself-get a hold."
(End of First Part.)
OUT OF THE WEST
BY MARGUERITE OGDEN BIGELOW
Carol me, carol me out of the West
Songs of the promise and songs of the quest,
Sing me the pride of the prairie and hill,
Sing me the bodies of women and men
Sing me the songs of the mind of the race
Sing me the comrades, the equal and free,
Waves of the ocean of wonders, rejoice!
Songs of the promise, and songs of the quest !
THE LURE AND THE LOSS
BY FRED A. HUNT
HE INTENSE ambition of the present age is the acquisition of wealth, in larger or smaller amounts, according to the cupidity or fiduciary propensity of the aspirant. One such effort is narrated in the epilogue of the succeeding story, a story that takes its niche in the columbarium of other futile and abortive quests for hidden or lost wealth; ranging from the attempted discovery of millions secluded by the antique buccaneers to the participation in an Anneke Jans estate.
In 1883, two Americans, P. R. Williams and John Kerr, under the firm name of Williams & Kerr, were engaged in the private banking business on Rio de Santa Maria, Santiago de Cuba. As is customary among the Latin nations, many Cubans deposited valuables and money without the customary banking transaction, and for such depositors Williams & Kerr became custodians to a large amount. Whether the seething unrest preceding the Cuban revolution caused the firm to apprehend the looting of the bank (whose business had grown to large dimensions and become very prosperous), or whether they deemed the time felicitous to loot it themselves, is unknown; but the latter course was decided on, and they concealed a quantity of valuables and money and decamped with the remainder. Possibly their avarice was irresistibly provoked, and they deemed that its gratification would be lost sight of, or forgotten, or condoned, in the turbulent maelstrom of blood and cruelty characterizing the Revolution. In the flight, Williams was captured and shot to death; Kerr and his wife, after many exciting and dangerous adventures, escaping to Buenos Ayres, all interest in them lapsing in Cuba, as they were presumed to have been drowned. The fugitives were unaware of this, however, and for a couple of years led a nomadic
and fearful life; tremulous of recognition, apprehension and extradition, and during which Mrs. Kerr, through nervous fear and the restless journeying, became seriously ill. That she might rest and recuperate, Kerr gave her $50,000, and she went to California, ultimately, in 1886, settling in Oakland, where, for some time, she received letters regularly from her husband in Buenos Ayres. This communication suddenly ceased, and again Mrs. Kerr became seriously ill, remaining in that state for some time; when, to the astonishment of her physicians and friends, she rallied, recuperated and announced that she was going to Santiago de Cuba. She made all the needful preparations for her journey, but on the eve of departure was again taken sick, and for many weeks was attended by Mrs. A. M. Smith, trained nurse, who became both a careful and effective ministrant and a devoted and affectionate companion. After a long period of sickness, Mrs. Kerr realized that the wings of the Angel of Death were wafting her breath from her, and the need for settling her affairs in order imminent. She called Mrs. Smith to her bedside, thanked her for her care and solicitude, and said: "You have been a true and precious friend to me during these last days, and I want to try and show my gratitude to you, for I never can adequately recompense you for your kindness to me. attending to my toilette, you may have noticed that I always carry about me a little leather bag; that bag contains a valuable secret, and that bag and its contents I now give to you, with a trust attached to the gift. You take the bag and open it, and I will explain the meaning of the paper you will find therein."
Mrs. Smith did as directed, and, on undoing the string, found a piece of discolored paper, which she placed in Mrs. Kerr's nervous and wasted hands. Un