The Hoodlum Band by Bret Harte
It was a quiet New England village. Nowhere in the valley of the
Connecticut the autumn sun shone upon a more peaceful, pastoral,
manufacturing community. The wooden nutmegs were slowly ripening on the
trees, and the white pine hams for Western consumption were gradually
rounding into form under the deft manipulation of the hardy American
artisan. The honest Connecticut farmer was quietly gathering from his
threshing floor the shoe-pegs, which, when intermixed with a fair
proportion of oats, offered a pleasing substitute for fodder to the
effete civilizations of Europe. An almost Sabbath-like stillness
prevailed. Doemville was only seven miles from Hartford, and the
surrounding landscape smiled with the conviction of being fully
Few would have thought that this peaceful village was the home of the
three young heroes whose exploits would hereafter—but we
Doemville Academy was the principal seat of learning in the county.
Under the grave and gentle administration of the venerable Doctor
Context, it had attained just popularity. Yet the increasing infirmities
of age obliged the doctor to relinquish much of his trust to his
assistants, who, it is needless to say, abused his confidence. Before
long their brutal tyranny and deep-laid malevolence became apparent. Boys
were absolutely forced to study their lessons. The sickening fact will
hardly be believed, but during school hours they were obliged to remain
in their seats with the appearance at least of discipline. It is stated
by good authority that the rolling of croquet balls across the floor
during recitation was objected to, under the fiendish excuse of its
interfering with their studies. The breaking of windows by base balls,
and the beating of small scholars with bats, were declared against. At
last, bloated and arrogant with success, the under- teachers threw aside
all disguise and revealed themselves in their true colors. A cigar was
actually taken out of a day scholar's mouth during prayers! A flask of
whisky was dragged from another's desk, and then thrown out of the
window. And finally, Profanity, Hazing, Theft, and Lying were almost
Could the youth of America, conscious of their power and a literature
of their own, tamely submit to this tyranny? Never! We repeat it firmly.
Never! We repeat it to parents and guardians. Never! But the fiendish
tutors, chuckling in their glee, little knew what was passing through the
cold, haughty intellect of Charles Fanuel Hall Golightly, aged ten; what
curled the lip of Benjamin Franklin Jenkins, aged seven; or what shone in
the bold blue eyes of Bromley Chitterlings, aged six and a half, as they
sat in the corner of the playground at recess. Their only other companion
and confidant was the negro porter and janitor of the school, known as
Fitly, indeed, was he named, as the secrets of his early wild
career—confessed freely to his noble young friends—plainly
showed. A slaver at the age of seventeen, the ringleader of a mutiny on
the African Coast at the age of twenty, a privateersman during the last
war with England, the commander of a fire-ship and its sole survivor at
twenty-five, with a wild intermediate career of unmixed piracy, until the
Rebellion called him to civil service again as a blockade-runner, and
peace and a desire for rural repose led him to seek the janitorship of
the Doemville Academy, where no questions were asked and references not
exchanged: he was, indeed, a fit mentor for our daring youth. Although a
man whose days had exceeded the usual space allotted to humanity, the
various episodes of his career footing his age up to nearly one hundred
and fifty- nine years, he scarcely looked it, and was still hale and
"Yes," continued Pirate Jim, critically, "I don't think he was any
bigger nor you, Master Chitterlings, if as big, when he stood on the
fork'stle of my ship, and shot the captain o' that East Injymen dead. We
used to call him little Weevils, he was so young-like. But, bless your
hearts, boys! he wa'n't anything to little Sammy Barlow, ez once crep' up
inter the captain's stateroom on a Rooshin frigate, stabbed him to the
heart with a jack-knife, then put on the captain's uniform and his cocked
hat, took command of the ship and fout her hisself."
"Wasn't the captain's clothes big for him?" asked B. Franklin Jenkins,
The janitor eyed young Jenkins with pained dignity.
"Didn't I say the Rooshin captain was a small, a very small man?
Rooshins is small, likewise Greeks."
A noble enthusiasm beamed in the faces of the youthful heroes.
"Was Barlow as large as me?" asked C. F. Hall Golightly, lifting his
curls from his Jove-like brow.
"Yes; but then he hed hed, so to speak, experiences. It was allowed
that he had pizened his schoolmaster afore he went to sea. But it's dry
Golightly drew a flask from his jacket and handed it to the janitor.
It was his father's best brandy. The heart of the honest old seaman was
"Bless ye, my own pirate boy!" he said, in a voice suffocating with
"I've got some tobacco," said the youthful Jenkins, "but it's fine-
cut; I use only that now."
"I kin buy some plug at the corner grocery," said Pirate Jim, "only I
left my port-money at home."
"Take this watch," said young Golightly; "it is my father's. Since he
became a tyrant and usurper, and forced me to join a corsair's band, I've
began by dividing the property."
"This is idle trifling," said young Chitterlings, mildly. "Every
moment is precious. Is this an hour to give to wine and wassail? Ha, we
want action—action! We must strike the blow for freedom
to-night—aye, this very night. The scow is already anchored in the
mill-dam, freighted with provisions for a three months' voyage. I have a
black flag in my pocket. Why, then, this cowardly delay?"
The two elder youths turned with a slight feeling of awe and shame to
gaze on the glowing cheeks, and high, haughty crest of their youngest
comrade—the bright, the beautiful Bromley Chitterlings. Alas! that
very moment of forgetfulness and mutual admiration was fraught with
danger. A thin, dyspeptic, half-starved tutor approached.
"It is time to resume your studies, young gentlemen," he said, with
They were his last words on earth.
"Down, tyrant!" screamed Chitterlings.
"Sic him—I mean, Sic semper tyrannis!" said the classical
A heavy blow on the head from a base-ball bat, and the rapid
projection of a base ball against his empty stomach, brought the tutor a
limp and lifeless mass to the ground. Golightly shuddered. Let not my
young readers blame him too rashly. It was his first homicide.
"Search his pockets," said the practical Jenkins.
They did so, and found nothing but a Harvard Triennial Catalogue.
"Let us fly," said Jenkins.
"Forward to the boats!" cried the enthusiastic Chitterlings.
But C. F. Hall Golightly stood gazing thoughtfully at the prostrate
"This," he said calmly, "is the result of a too free government and
the common school system. What the country needs is reform. I cannot go
with you, boys."
"Traitor!" screamed the others.
C. F. H. Golightly smiled sadly.
"You know me not. I shall not become a pirate—but a
Jenkins and Chitterlings turned pale.
"I have already organized two caucuses in a base ball club, and bribed
the delegates of another. Nay, turn not away. Let us be friends, pursuing
through various ways one common end. Farewell!" They shook hands.
"But where is Pirate Jim?" asked Jenkins.
"He left us but for a moment to raise money on the watch to purchase
armament for the scow. Farewell!"
And so the gallant, youthful spirits parted, bright with the sunrise
That night a conflagration raged in Doemville. The Doemville Academy,
mysteriously fired, first fell a victim to the devouring element. The
candy shop and cigar store, both holding heavy liabilities against the
academy, quickly followed. By the lurid gleams of the flames, a long,
low, sloop-rigged scow, with every mast gone except one, slowly worked
her way out of the mill-dam towards the Sound. The next day three boys
were missing—C. F. Hall Golightly, B. F. Jenkins, and Bromley
Chitterlings. Had they perished in the flames who shall say? Enough that
never more under these names did they again appear in the homes of their
Happy, indeed, would it have been for Doemville had the mystery ended
here. But a darker interest and scandal rested upon the peaceful village.
During that awful night the boarding-school of Madam Brimborion was
visited stealthily, and two of the fairest heiresses of
Connecticut—daughters of the president of a savings bank, and
insurance director—were the next morning found to have eloped. With
them also disappeared the entire contents of the Savings Bank. and on the
following day the Flamingo Fire Insurance Company failed.
Let my young readers now sail with me to warmer and more hospitable
climes. Off the coast of Patagonia a long, low, black schooner proudly
rides the seas, that breaks softly upon the vine-clad shores of that
luxuriant land. Who is this that, wrapped in Persian rugs, and dressed in
the most expensive manner, calmly reclines on the quarter-deck of the
schooner, toying lightly ever and anon with the luscious fruits of the
vicinity, held in baskets of solid gold by Nubian slaves? or at
intervals, with daring grace, guides an ebony velocipede over the
polished black walnut decks, and in and out the intricacies of the
rigging. Who is it? well may be asked. What name is it that blanches with
terror the cheeks of the Patagonian navy? Who but the Pirate
Prodigy—the relentless Boy Scourer of Patagonian seas? Voyagers
slowly drifting by the Silurian beach, coasters along the Devonian shore,
still shudder at the name of Bromley Chitterlings—the Boy Avenger,
late of Hartford, Connecticut.
It has been often asked by the idly curious, Why Avenger, and of what?
Let us not seek to disclose the awful secret hidden under that youthful
jacket. Enough that there may have been that of bitterness in his past
life that he
"Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave,"
or "whose soul would heave above the sickening wave," did not
understand. Only one knew him, perhaps too well—a queen of the
Amazons, taken prisoner off Terra del Fuego a week previous. She loved
the Boy Avenger. But in vain; his youthful heart seemed obdurate.
"Hear me," at last he said, when she had for the seventh time wildly
proffered her hand and her kingdom in marriage, "and know once and
forever why I must decline your flattering proposal: I love another."
With a wild, despairing cry, she leaped into the sea, but was
instantly rescued by the Pirate Prodigy. Yet, even in that supreme
moment, such was his coolness that on his way to the surface he captured
a mermaid, and, placing her in charge of his steward, with directions to
give her a stateroom, with hot and cold water, calmly resumed his place
by the Amazon's side. When the cabin door closed on his faithful servant,
bringing champagne and ices to the interesting stranger, Chitterlings
resumed his narrative with a choking voice:—
"When I first fled from the roof of a tyrannical parent, I loved the
beautiful and accomplished Eliza J. Sniffen. Her father was president of
the Workingmen's Savings Bank, and it was perfectly understood that in
the course of time the entire deposits would be his. But, like a vain
fool, I wished to anticipate the future, and in a wild moment persuaded
Miss Sniffen to elope with me; and, with the entire cash assets of the
bank, we fled together." He paused, overcome with emotion. "But fate
decreed it otherwise. In my feverish haste, I had forgotten to place
among the stores of my pirate craft that peculiar kind of chocolate
caramel to which Eliza Jane was most partial. We were obliged to put into
New Rochelle on the second day out, to enable Miss Sniffen to procure
that delicacy at the nearest confectioner's, and match some zephyr
worsteds at the first fancy shop. Fatal mistake. She went—she never
returned!" In a moment he resumed in a choking voice, "After a week's
weary waiting, I was obliged to put to sea again, bearing a broken heart
and the broken bank of her father. I have never seen her since."
"And you still love her?" asked the Amazon queen, excitedly.
"Noble youth. Here take the reward of thy fidelity, for know, Bromley
Chitterlings, that I am Eliza Jane. Wearied with waiting, I embarked on a
Peruvian guano ship—but it's a long story, dear."
"And altogether too thin," said the Boy Avenger, fiercely, releasing
himself from her encircling arms. "Eliza Jane's age, a year ago, was only
thirteen, and you are forty, if a day."
"True," she returned, sadly, "but I have suffered much, and time
passes rapidly, and I've grown. You would scarcely believe that this is
my own hair."
"I know not," he replied, in gloomy abstraction.
"Forgive my deceit," she returned. "If you are affianced to another,
let me at least be—a mother to you."
The Pirate Prodigy started, and tears came to his eyes. The scene was
affecting in the extreme. Several of the oldest seamen—men who had
gone through scenes of suffering with tearless eyes and unblanched
cheeks—now retired to the spirit-room to conceal their emotion. A
few went into caucus in the forecastle, and returned with the request
that the Amazonian queen should hereafter be known as the "Queen of the
"Mother!" gasped the Pirate Prodigy.
"My son!" screamed the Amazonian queen.
They embraced. At the same moment a loud flop was heard on the
quarter-deck. It was the forgotten mermaid, who, emerging from her
state-room and ascending the companion-way at that moment, had fainted at
the spectacle. The Pirate Prodigy rushed to her side with a bottle of
She recovered slowly. "Permit me," she said, rising with dignity, "to
leave the ship. I am unaccustomed to such conduct."
"Hear me—she is my mother!"
"She certainly is old enough to be," replied the mermaid; "and to
speak of that being her own hair!" she added with a scornful laugh, as
she rearranged her own luxuriant tresses with characteristic grace, a
comb, and a small hand-mirror.
"If I couldn't afford any other clothes, I might wear a switch, too!"
hissed the Amazonian queen. "I suppose you don't dye it on account of the
salt water. But perhaps you prefer green, dear?"
"A little salt water might improve your own complexion, love."
"Fishwoman!" screamed the Amazonian queen.
"Bloomerite!" shrieked the mermaid.
In another instant they had seized each other.
"Mutiny! Overboard with them!" cried the Pirate Prodigy, rising to the
occasion, and casting aside all human affection in the peril of the
A plank was brought and two women placed upon it.
"After you, dear," said the mermaid, significantly, to the Amazonian
queen; "you're the oldest."
"Thank you!" said the Amazonian queen, stepping back. "Fish is always
Stung by the insult, with a wild scream of rage, the mermaid grappled
her in her arms and leaped into the sea.
As the waters closed over them forever, the Pirate Prodigy sprang to
his feet. "Up with the black flag, and bear away for New London," he
shouted in trumpet-like tones. "Ha, ha! Once more the Rover is free!"
Indeed it was too true. In that fatal moment he had again loosed
himself from the trammels of human feeling, and was once more the Boy
Again I must ask my young friends to mount my hippogriff and hie with
me to the almost inaccessible heights of the Rocky Mountains. There, for
years, a band of wild and untamable savages, known as the "Pigeon Feet,"
had resisted the blankets and Bibles of civilization. For years the
trails leading to their camp were marked by the bones of teamsters and
broken wagons, and the trees were decked with the drying scalp locks of
women and children. The boldest of military leaders hesitated to attack
them in their fortresses, and prudently left the scalping knives, rifles,
powder, and shot, provided by a paternal government for their welfare,
lying on the ground a few miles from their encampment, with the request
that they were not to be used until the military had safely retired.
Hitherto, save an occasional incursion into the territory of the
"Knock-knees," a rival tribe, they had limited their depredations to the
But lately a baleful change had come over them. Acting under some evil
influence, they now pushed their warfare into the white settlements,
carrying fire and destruction with them. Again and again had the
government offered them a free pass to Washington and the privilege of
being photographed, but under the same evil guidance they refused. There
was a singular mystery in their mode of aggression. School-houses were
always burned, the schoolmasters taken into captivity, and never again
heard from. A palace car on the Union Pacific Railway, containing an
excursion party of teachers en route to San Francisco, was surrounded,
its inmates captured, and—their vacancies in the school catalogue
never again filled. Even a Board of Educational Examiners, proceeding to
Cheyenne, were taken prisoners, and obliged to answer questions they
themselves had proposed, amidst horrible tortures. By degrees these
atrocities were traced to the malign influence of a new chief of the
tribe. As yet little was known of him but through his baleful
appellations, "Young Man who Goes for his Teacher," and "He Lifts the
Hair of the School Marm." He was said to be small and exceedingly
youthful in appearance. Indeed, his earlier appellative, "He Wipes his
Nose on his Sleeve," was said to have been given to him to indicate his
still boy-like habits.
It was night in the encampment and among the lodges of the "Pigeon
Toes." Dusky maidens flitted in and out among the camp-fires like brown
moths, cooking the toothsome buffalo hump, frying the fragrant bear's
meat, and stewing the esculent bean for the braves. For a few favored
ones spitted grasshoppers were reserved as a rare delicacy, although the
proud Spartan soul of their chief scorned all such luxuries.
He was seated alone in his wigwam, attended only by the gentle
Mushymush, fairest of the "Pigeon Feet" maidens. Nowhere were the
characteristics of her great tribe more plainly shown than in the little
feet that lapped over each other in walking. A single glance at the chief
was sufficient to show the truth of the wild rumors respecting his youth.
He was scarcely twelve, of proud and lofty bearing, and clad completely
in wrappings of various-colored scalloped cloths, which gave him the
appearance of a somewhat extra-sized pen-wiper. An enormous eagle's
feather, torn from the wing of a bald eagle who once attempted to carry
him away, completed his attire. It was also the memento of one of his
most superhuman feats of courage. He would undoubtedly have scalped the
eagle but that nature had anticipated him.
"Why is the Great Chief sad?" asked Mushymush, softly. "Does his soul
still yearn for the blood of the pale-faced teachers? Did not the
scalping of two professors of geology in the Yale exploring party satisfy
his warrior's heart yesterday? Has he forgotten that Hayden and Clarence
King are still to follow? Shall his own Mushymush bring him a botanist
to-morrow? Speak, for the silence of my brother lies on my heart like the
snow on the mountain, and checks the flow of my speech."
Still the proud Boy Chief sat silent. Suddenly he said: "Hist!" and
rose to his feet. Taking a long rifle from the ground he adjusted its
sight. Exactly seven miles away on the slope of the mountain the figure
of a man was seen walking. The Boy Chief raised the rifle to his unerring
eye and fired. The man fell.
A scout was dispatched to scalp and search the body. He presently
"Who was the pale face?" eagerly asked the chief.
"A life insurance agent."
A dark scowl settled on the face of the chief.
"I thought it was a book-peddler."
"Why is my brother's heart sore against the book-peddler?" asked
"Because," said the Boy Chief, fiercely, "I am again without my
regular dime novel, and I thought he might have one in his pack. Hear me,
Mushymush; the United States mails no longer bring me my 'Young America,'
or my 'Boys' and Girls' Weekly.' I find it impossible, even with my
fastest scouts, to keep up with the rear of General Howard, and replenish
my literature from the sutler's wagon. Without a dime novel or a 'Young
America,' how am I to keep up this Injin business?"
Mushymush remained in meditation a single moment. Then she looked up
"My brother has spoken. It is well. He shall have his dime novel. He
shall know what kind of a hair-pin his sister Mushymush is."
And she arose and gamboled lightly as the fawn out of his
In two hours she returned. In one hand she held three small flaxen
scalps, in the other "The Boy Marauder," complete in one volume, price
"Three pale-faced children," she gasped, "were reading it in the tail
end of an emigrant wagon. I crept up to them softly. Their parents are
still unaware of the accident," and she sank helpless at his feet.
"Noble girl!" said the Boy Chief, gazing proudly on her prostrate
form; "and these are the people that a military despotism expects to
But the capture of several wagon-loads of commissary whisky, and the
destruction of two tons of stationery intended for the general
commanding, which interfered with his regular correspondence with the War
Department, at last awakened the United States military authorities to
active exertion. A quantity of troops were massed before the "Pigeon
Feet" encampment, and an attack was hourly imminent.
"Shine your boots, sir?"
It was the voice of a youth in humble attire, standing before the flap
of the commanding general's tent.
The General raised his head from his correspondence.
"Ah," he said, looking down on the humble boy, "I see; I shall write
that the appliances of civilization move steadily forward with the army.
Yes," he added, "you may shine my military boots. You understand,
however, that to get your pay you must first—"
"Make a requisition on the commissary-general, have it certified to by
the quartermaster, countersigned by the post-adjutant, and submitted by
you to the War Department—"
"And charged as stationery," added the General, gently. "You are, I
see, an intelligent and thoughtful boy. I trust you neither use whisky,
tobacco, nor are ever profane?"
"I promised my sainted mother—"
"Enough! Go on with your blacking; I have to lead the attack on the
'Pigeon Feet' at eight precisely. It is now half-past seven," said the
General, consulting a large kitchen clock that stood in the corner of his
The little boot-black looked up; the General was absorbed in his
correspondence. The boot-black drew a tin putty blower from his pocket,
took unerring aim, and nailed in a single shot the minute hand to the
dial. Going on with his blacking, yet stopping ever and anon to glance
over the General's plan of campaign, spread on the table before him, he
was at last interrupted by the entrance of an officer.
"Everything is ready for the attack, General. It is now eight
"Impossible! It is only half-past seven."
"But my watch and the watches of your staff—"
"Are regulated by my kitchen clock, that has been in my family for
years. Enough! It is only half-past seven."
The officer retired; the boot-black had finished one boot. Another
"Instead of attacking the enemy, General, we are attacked ourselves.
Our pickets are already driven in."
"Military pickets should not differ from other pickets," interrupted
the boot-black, modestly. "To stand firmly they should be well driven
"Ha! there is something in that," said the General, thoughtfully. "But
who are you, who speak thus?"
Rising to his full height, the boot-black threw off his outer rags,
and revealed the figure of the Boy Chief of the "Pigeon Feet."
"Treason!" shrieked the General; "order an advance along the whole
But in vain. The next moment he fell beneath the tomahawk of the Boy
Chief, and within the next quarter of an hour the United States Army was
dispersed. Thus ended the battle of Boot-black Creek.
And yet the Boy Chief was not entirely happy. Indeed, at times he
seriously thought of accepting the invitation extended by the Great Chief
at Washington, immediately after the massacre of the soldiers, and once
more revisiting the haunts of civilization. His soul sickened in feverish
inactivity; schoolmasters palled on his taste; he had introduced base
ball, blind hooky, marbles, and peg- top among his Indian subjects, but
only with indifferent success. The squaws insisted in boring holes
through the china alleys and wearing them as necklaces; his warriors
stuck spikes in their base ball bats and made war clubs of them. He could
not but feel, too, that the gentle Mushymush, although devoted to her
pale-faced brother, was deficient in culinary education. Her mince pies
were abominable; her jam far inferior to that made by his Aunt Sally of
Doemville. Only an unexpected incident kept him equally from the extreme
of listless Sybaritic indulgence, or of morbid cynicism. Indeed, at the
age of twelve, he already had become disgusted with existence.
He had returned to his wigwam after an exhausting buffalo hunt in
which he had slain two hundred and seventy-five buffalos with his own
hand, not counting the individual buffalo on which he had leaped so as to
join the herd, and which he afterward led into the camp a captive and a
present to the lovely Mushymush. He had scalped two express riders and a
correspondent of the "New York Herald"; had despoiled the Overland Mail
Stage of a quantity of vouchers which enabled him to draw double rations
from the government, and was reclining on a bear skin, smoking and
thinking of the vanity of human endeavor, when a scout entered, saying
that a pale-face youth had demanded access to his person.
"Is he a commissioner? If so, say that the red man is rapidly passing
to the happy hunting-grounds of his fathers, and now desires only peace,
blankets, and ammunition; obtain the latter and then scalp the
"But it is only a youth who asks an interview."
"Does he look like an insurance agent? If so, say that I have already
policies in three Hartford companies. Meanwhile prepare the stake, and
see that the squaws are ready with their implements of torture."
The youth was admitted; he was evidently only half the age of the Boy
Chief. As he entered the wigwam and stood revealed to his host they both
started. In another moment they were locked in each other's arms.
"Jenky, old boy!"
"Bromley, old fel!"
B. F. Jenkins, for such was the name of the Boy Chief, was the first
to recover his calmness. Turning to his warriors he said,
"Let my children retire while I speak to the agent of our Great Father
in Washington. Hereafter no latch keys will be provided for the wigwams
of the warriors. The practice of late hours must be discouraged."
"How!" said the warriors, and instantly retired.
"Whisper," said Jenkins, drawing his friend aside; "I am known here
only as the Boy Chief of the 'Pigeon toes.'"
"And I," said Bromley Chitterlings, proudly, "am known everywhere as
the Pirate Prodigy—the Boy Avenger of the Patagonian Coast."
"But how came you here?"
"Listen! My pirate brig, the 'Lively Mermaid,' now lies at Meiggs's
Wharf in San Francisco, disguised as a Mendocino lumber vessel. My pirate
crew accompanied me here in a palace car from San Francisco."
"It must have been expensive," said the prudent Jenkins.
"It was, but they defrayed it by a collection from the other
passengers—you understand, an enforced collection. The papers will
be full of it to-morrow. Do you take the 'New York Sun'?"
"No; I dislike their Indian policy. But why are you here?"
"Hear me, Jenk! 'Tis a long and a sad story. The lovely Eliza J.
Sniffen, who fled with me from Doemville, was seized by her parents and
torn from my arms at New Rochelle. Reduced to poverty by the breaking of
the savings bank of which he was president,—a failure to which I
largely contributed, and the profits of which I enjoyed,—I have
since ascertained that Eliza Jane Sniffen was forced to become a
schoolmistress, departed to take charge of a seminary in Colorado, and
since then has never been heard from."
Why did the Boy Chief turn pale, and clutch at the tent-pole for
support? Why, indeed!
"Eliza J. Sniffen," gasped Jenkins, "aged fourteen, red-haired, with a
slight tendency to strabismus?"
"Heaven help me! She died by my mandate!"
"Traitor!" shrieked Chitterlings, rushing at Jenkins with a drawn
But a figure interposed. The slight girlish form of Mushymush with
outstretched hands stood between the exasperated Pirate Prodigy and the
"Forbear," she said sternly to Chitterlings; "you know not what you
The two youths paused.
"Hear me," she said rapidly. "When captured in a confectioner's shop
at New Rochelle, E. J. Sniffen was taken back to poverty. She resolved to
become a schoolmistress. Hearing of an opening in the West, she proceeded
to Colorado to take exclusive charge of the pensionnat of Mad. Choflie,
late of Paris. On the way thither she was captured by the emissaries of
the Boy Chief—"
"In consummation of a fatal vow I made never to spare educational
instructors," interrupted Jenkins.
"But in her captivity," continued Mushymush, "she managed to stain her
face with poke-berry juice, and mingling with the Indian maidens was
enabled to pass for one of the tribe. Once undetected, she boldly
ingratiated herself with the Boy Chief,—how honestly and devotedly
he best can tell,—for I, Mushymush, the little sister of the Boy
Chief, am Eliza Jane Sniffen."
The Pirate Prodigy clasped her in his arms. The Boy Chief, raising his
"Bless you, my children!"
"There is but one thing wanting to complete this reunion," said
Chitterlings, after a pause, but the hurried entrance of a scout stopped
"A commissioner from the Great Father in Washington."
"Scalp him!" shrieked the Boy Chief; "this is no time for diplomatic
"We have, but he still insists upon seeing you, and has sent in his
The Boy Chief took it, and read aloud, in agonized accents:—
"Charles F. Hall Golightly, late Page in United States Senate, and
Acting Commissioner of United States."
In another moment, Golightly, pale, bleeding, and, as it were,
prematurely bald, but still cold and intellectual, entered the wigwam.
They fell upon his neck and begged his forgiveness.
"Don't mention it," he said, quietly; "these things must and will
happen under our present system of government. My story is brief.
Obtaining political influence through caucuses, I became at last Page in
the Senate. Through the exertions of political friends I was appointed
clerk to the commissioner whose functions I now represent. Knowing
through political spies in your own camp who you were, I acted upon the
physical fears of the commissioner, who was an ex-clergyman, and easily
induced him to deputize me to consult with you. In doing so, I have lost
my scalp, but as the hirsute signs of juvenility have worked against my
political progress I do not regret it. As a partially bald young man I
shall have more power. The terms that I have to offer are simply this:
you can do everything you want, go anywhere you choose, if you will only
leave this place. I have a hundred thousand-dollar draft on the United
States Treasury in my pocket at your immediate disposal."
"But what's to become of me?" asked Chitterlings.
"Your case has already been under advisement. The Secretary of State,
who is an intelligent man, is determined to recognize you as de jure and
de facto the only loyal representative of the Patagonian government. You
may safely proceed to Washington as its envoy extraordinary. I dine with
the secretary next week."
"And yourself, old fellow?"
"I only wish that twenty years from now you will recognize by your
influence and votes the rights of C. F. H. Golightly to the
And here ends our story. Trusting that my dear young friends may take
whatever example or moral their respective parents and guardians may deem
fittest from these pages, I hope in future years to portray further the
career of those three young heroes I have already introduced in the
spring-time of life to their charitable consideration.