The Case of Summerfield by William Henry Rhodes
The Case of Summerfield
The greatest master of the short story our country has known found
his inspiration and produced his best work in California. It is now
nearly forty years since "The Luck of Roaring Camp" appeared, and a
line of successors, more or less worthy, have been following along the
trail blazed by Bret Harte. They have given us matter of many kinds,
realistic, romantic, tragic, humorous, weird. In this mass of material
much that was good has been lost. The columns of newspapers swallowed
some; weeklies, that lived for a brief day, carried others to the
grave with them. Now and then chance or design interposed, and some
fragment of value was not allowed to perish. It is matter for
congratulation that the story in this volume was one of those saved
In 1871 a San Francisco paper published a tale entitled The Case of
Summerfield. The author concealed himself under the name of "Caxton,"
a pseudonym unknown at the time. The story made an immediate
impression, and the remote little world by the Golden Gate was shaken
into startled and enquiring astonishment. Wherever people met, The
Case of Summerfield was on men's tongues. Was Caxton's contention
possible? Was it true that, by the use of potassium, water could be
set on fire, and that any one possessing this baneful secret could
destroy the world? The plausibility with which the idea was presented,
the bare directness of the style, added to its convincing power. It
sounded too real to be invention, was told with too frank a simplicity
to be all imagination. People could not decide where truth and fiction
blended, and the name of Caxton leaped into local fame.
The author of the tale was a lawyer, W. H. Rhodes, a man of
standing and ability, interested in scientific research. He had
written little; what time he had been able to spare from his work, had
been given to studies in chemistry whence he had drawn the inspiration
for such stories as The Case of Summerfield. With him the writing of
fiction was a pastime, not a profession. He wrote because he wanted
to, from the urgence of an idea pressing for utterance, not from the
more imperious necessity of keeping the pot boiling and of there being
a roof against the rain. Literary creation was to him a rest, a matter
of holiday in the daily round of a man's labor to provide for his own.
His output was small. One slender volume contains all he wrote: a
few poems, half a dozen stories. In all of these we can feel the spell
exercised over him by the uncanny, the terrible, the weirdly
grotesque. His imagination played round those subjects of fantastic
horror which had so potent an attraction for Fitz James O'Brien, the
writer whom he most resembles. There was something of Poe's cold
pleasure in dissecting the abnormally horrible in "The Story of John
Pollexfen," the photographer, who, in order to discover a certain kind
of lens, experimented with living eyes. His cat and dog each lost an
eye, and finally a young girl was found willing to sell one of hers
that she might have money to help her lover. But none of the other
stories shows the originality and impressively realistic tone which
distinguish The Case of Summerfield. In this he achieved the
successful combination of audacity of theme with a fitting
incisiveness of style. It alone rises above the level of the merely
ingenious and clever; it alone of his work was worth preserving.
Scattered through the ranks of writers, part of whose profession is
a continuous, unflagging output, are these "one story men," who, in
some propitious moment, when the powers of brain and heart are
intensified by a rare and happy alchemy, produce a single masterpiece.
The vision and the dream have once been theirs, and, though they may
never again return, the product of the glowing moment is ours to
rejoice in and wonder at. Unfortunately the value of these accidental
triumphs is not always seen. They go their way and are submerged in
the flood of fiction that the presses pour upon a defenseless country.
Now and then one unexpectedly hears of them, their unfamiliar titles
rise to the surface when writers gather round the table. An
investigator in the forgotten files of magazinedom has found one, and
tells of his treasure trove as the diver of his newly discovered
pearl. Then comes a publisher, who, diligent and patient, draws them
from their hiding-places, shakes off the dust, and gives them to a
public which once applauded and has since forgotten.
Such has been the fate of The Case of Summerfield. Thirty-five
years ago, in the town that clustered along the edge of San Francisco
Bay, it had its brief award of attention. But the San Francisco of
that day was very distant—a gleam on the horizon against the blue
line of the Pacific. It took a mighty impetus to carry its decisions
and opinions across the wall of the Sierra and over the desert to the
East. Fame and reputation, unless the greatest, had not vitality for
so long a flight. So the strange and fantastic story should come as a
discovery, the one remarkable achievement of an unknown author, who,
unfortunately, is no longer here to enjoy an Indian summer of
The Case of Summerfield
The following manuscript was found among the effects of the late
Leonidas Parker, in relation to one Gregory Summerfield, or, as he was
called at the time those singular events first attracted public
notice, "The Man with a Secret." Parker was an eminent lawyer, a man
of firm will, fond of dabbling in the occult sciences, but never
allowing this tendency to interfere with the earnest practice of his
profession. This astounding narrative is prefaced by the annexed
clipping from the Auburn Messenger of November 1, 1870:
A few days since, we called public attention to the singular
conduct of James G. Wilkins, justice of the peace for the "Cape Horn"
district, in this county, in discharging without trial a man named
Parker, who was, as we still think, seriously implicated in the
mysterious death of an old man named Summerfield, who, our readers
will probably remember, met so tragical an end on the line of the
Central Pacific Railroad, in the month of October last. We have now to
record another bold outrage on public justice, in connection with the
same affair. The grand jury of Placer County has just adjourned,
without finding any bill against the person named above. Not only did
they refuse to find a true bill, or to make any presentment, but they
went one step further toward the exoneration of the offender; they
specially ignored the indictment which our district attorney deemed it
his duty to present. The main facts in relation to the arrest and
subsequent discharge of Parker may be summed up in few words:
It appears that, about the last of October, one Gregory
Summerfield, an old man nearly seventy years of age, in company with
Parker, took passage for Chicago, via the Pacific Railroad, and about
the middle of the afternoon reached the neighborhood of Cape Horn, in
this county. Nothing of any special importance seems to have attracted
the attention of any of the passengers toward these persons until a
few moments before passing the dangerous curve in the track,
overlooking the North Fork of the American River, at the place called
Cape Horn. As our readers are aware, the road at this point skirts a
precipice, with rocky perpendicular sides, extending to the bed of the
stream, nearly seventeen hundred feet below. Before passing the curve,
Parker was heard to comment upon the sublimity of the scenery they
were approaching, and finally requested the old man to leave the car
and stand upon the open platform, in order to obtain a better view of
the tremendous chasm and the mountains just beyond. The two men left
the car, and a moment afterward a cry of horror was heard by all the
passengers, and the old man was observed to fall at least one thousand
feet upon the crags below. The train was stopped for a few moments,
but, fearful of a collision if any considerable length of time should
be lost in an unavailing search for the mangled remains, it soon moved
on again, and proceeded as swiftly as possible to the next station.
There the miscreant Parker was arrested, and conveyed to the office of
the nearest justice of the peace for examination. We understand that
he refused to give any detailed account of the transaction, only that
"the deceased either fell or was thrown from the moving train."
The examination was postponed until the arrival of Parker's
counsel, O'Connell Kilpatrick, of Grass Valley, and after they reached
Cape Horn not a single word could be extracted from the prisoner. It
is said that the inquisition was a mere farce; there being no
witnesses present except one lady passenger, who, with commendable
spirit, volunteered to lay over one day, to give in her testimony. We
also learn that, after the trial, the justice, together with the
prisoner and his counsel, were closeted in secret session for more
than two hours; at the expiration of which time the judge resumed his
seat upon the bench, and discharged the prisoner!
Now, we have no desire to do injustice toward any of the parties to
this singular transaction, much less to arm public sentiment against
an innocent man. But we do affirm that there is, there must be, some
profound mystery at the bottom of this affair, and we shall do our
utmost to fathom the secret.
Yes, there is a secret and mystery connected with the disappearance
of Summerfield, and the sole object of this communication is to clear
it up, and place myself right in the public estimation. But, in order
to do so, it becomes essentially necessary to relate all the
circumstances connected with my first and subsequent acquaintance with
Summerfield. To do this intelligibly, I shall have to go back
It is well known amongst my intimate friends that I resided in the
late Republic of Texas for many years antecedent to my immigration to
this State. During the year 1847, whilst but a boy, and residing on
the sea-beach some three or four miles from the city of Galveston,
Judge Wheeler, at that time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Texas, paid us a visit, and brought with him a gentleman, whom he had
known several years previously on the Sabine River, in the eastern
part of that State. This gentleman was introduced to us by the name of
Summerfield. At that time he was past the prime of life, slightly
gray, and inclined to corpulency. He was of medium height, and walked
proudly erect, as though conscious of superior mental attainments. His
face was one of those which, once seen, can never be forgotten. The
forehead was broad, high, and protuberant. It was, besides, deeply
graven with wrinkles, and altogether was the most intellectual that I
had ever seen. It bore some resemblance to that of Sir Isaac Newton,
but still more to Humboldt or Webster. The eyes were large, deep-set,
and lustrous with a light that seemed kindled in their own depths. In
color they were gray, and whilst in conversation absolutely blazed
with intellect. His mouth was large, but cut with all the precision of
a sculptor's chiseling. He was rather pale, but, when excited, his
complexion lit up with a sudden rush of ruddy flushes, that added
something like beauty to his half-sad and half-sardonic expression. A
word and a glance told me at once, this is a most extraordinary man.
Judge Wheeler knew but little of the antecedents of Summerfield. He
was of Northern birth, but of what State it is impossible to say
definitely. Early in life he removed to the frontier of Arkansas, and
pursued for some years the avocation of village schoolmaster. It was
the suggestion of Judge Wheeler that induced him to read law. In six
months' time he had mastered Story's Equity, and gained an important
suit, based upon one of its most recondite principles. But his heart
was not in the legal profession, and he made almost constant sallies
into the fields of science, literature and art. He was a natural
mathematician and was the most profound and original arithmetician in
the Southwest. He frequently computed the astronomical tables for the
almanacs of New Orleans, Pensacola and Mobile, and calculated eclipse,
transit and observations with ease and perfect accuracy. He was also
deeply read in metaphysics, and wrote and published, in the old
Democratic Review for 1846, an article on the "Natural Proof of the
Existence of a Deity," that for beauty of language, depth of
reasoning, versatility of illustration, and compactness of logic, has
never been equaled. The only other publication which at that period he
had made, was a book that astonished all of his friends, both in title
and execution. It was called "The Desperadoes of the West," and
purported to give minute details of the lives of some of the most
noted duelists and bloodstained villains in the Western States. But
the book belied its title. It is full of splendid description and
original thought. No volume in the language contains so many eloquent
passages and such gorgeous imagery, in the same space. His plea for
immortality, on beholding the execution of one of the most noted
culprits of Arkansas, has no parallel in any living language for
beauty of diction and power of thought. As my sole object in this
communication is to defend myself, some acquaintance with the mental
resources of Summerfield is absolutely indispensable; for his death
was the immediate consequence of his splendid attainments. Of
chemistry he was a complete master. He describes it in his article on
a Deity, above alluded to, as the "Youngest Daughter of the Sciences,
born amid flames, and cradled in rollers of fire." If there were any
one science to which he was more specially devoted than to any and all
others, it was chemistry. But he really seemed an adept in all, and
shone about everywhere with equal lustre.
Many of these characteristics were mentioned by Judge Wheeler at
the time of Summerfield's visit to Galveston, but others subsequently
came to my knowledge, after his retreat to Brownsville, on the banks
of the Rio Grande. There he filled the position of Judge of the
District Court, and such was his position just previous to his arrival
in this city in the month of September of the past year.
One day, toward the close of last September, an old man rapped at
my office door, and on invitation came in, and advancing, called me by
name. Perceiving that I did not at first recognize him, he introduced
himself as Gregory Summerfield. After inviting him to a seat, I
scrutinized his features more closely, and quickly identified him as
the same person whom I had met twenty-two years before. He was greatly
altered in appearance, but the lofty forehead and the gray eye were
still there, unchanged and unchangeable. He was not quite so stout,
but more ruddy in complexion, and exhibited some symptoms, as I then
thought, of intemperate drinking. Still there was the old charm of
intellectual superiority in his conversation, and I welcomed him to
California as an important addition to her mental wealth.
It was not many minutes before he requested a private interview. He
followed me into my back office, carefully closed the door after him
and locked it. We had scarcely seated ourselves before he inquired of
me if I had noticed any recent articles in the newspapers respecting
the discovery of the art of decomposing water so as to fit it for use
as a fuel for ordinary purposes?
I replied that I had observed nothing new upon that subject since
the experiments of Agassiz and Professor Henry, and added that, in my
opinion, the expensive mode of reduction would always prevent its use.
In a few words he then informed me that he had made the discovery
that the art was extremely simple, and the expense attending the
decomposition so slight as to be insignificant.
Presuming then that the object of his visit to me was to procure
the necessary forms to get out a patent for the right, I congratulated
him upon his good fortune, and was about to branch forth with a
description of some of the great benefits that must ensue to the
community, when he suddenly and somewhat uncivilly requested me to "be
silent," and listen to what he had to say.
He began with some general remarks about the inequality of fortune
amongst mankind, and instanced himself as a striking example of the
fate of those men, who, according to all the rules of right, ought to
be near the top, instead of at the foot of the ladder of fortune.
"But," said he, springing to his feet with impulsive energy, "I have
now the means at my command of rising superior to fate, or of
inflicting incalculable ills upon the whole human race."
Looking at him more closely, I thought I could detect in his eye
the gleam of madness; but I remained silent and awaited further
developments. But my scrutiny, stolen as it was, had been detected,
and he replied at once to the expression of my face: "No, sir; I am
neither drunk nor a maniac; I am in deep earnest in all that I say;
and I am fully prepared, by actual experiment, to demonstrate beyond
all doubt the truth of all I claim.
For the first time I noticed that he carried a small portmanteau in
his hand; this he placed upon the table, unlocked it, and took out two
or three small volumes, a pamphlet or two, and a small, square,
wide-mouthed vial, hermetically sealed.
I watched him with profound curiosity, and took note of his
slightest movements. Having arranged his books to suit him, and placed
the vial in a conspicuous position, he drew up his chair very closely
to my own, and uttered in a half-hissing tone: "I demand one million
dollars for the contents of that bottle; and you must raise it for me
in the city of San Francisco within one month, or scenes too terrible
even for the imagination to conceive, will surely be witnessed by
every living human being on the face of the globe."
The tone, the manner, and the absurd extravagance of the demand,
excited a faint smile upon my lips, which he observed, but disdained
My mind was fully made up that I had a maniac to deal with, and I
prepared to act accordingly. But I ascertained at once that my inmost
thoughts were read by the remarkable man before me, and seemed to be
anticipated by him in advance of their expression.
"Perhaps," said I, "Mr. Summerfield, you would oblige me by
informing me fully of the grounds of your claim, and the nature of
"That is the object of my visit," he replied. "I claim to have
discovered the key which unlocks the constituent gases of water, and
frees each from the embrace of the other, at a single touch."
"You mean to assert," I rejoined, "that you can make water burn
"Nothing more nor less," he responded, "except this: to insist upon
the consequences of the secret, if my demand be not at once complied
Then, without pausing for a moment to allow me to make a
suggestion, as I once or twice attempted to do, he proceeded in a
clear and deliberate manner, in these words: "I need not inform you,
sir, that when this earth was created, it consisted almost wholly of
vapor, which, by condensation, finally became water. The oceans now
occupy more than two-thirds of the entire surface of the globe. The
continents are mere islands in the midst of the seas. They are
everywhere oceanbound, and the hyperborean north is hemmed in by open
polar seas. Such is my first proposition. My second embraces the
constituent elements of water. What is that thing which we call water?
Chemistry, that royal queen of all the sciences, answers readily:
'Water is but the combination of two gases, oxygen and hydrogen, and
in the proportion of eight to one.' In other words, in order to form
water, take eight parts of oxygen and one of hydrogen, mix them
together, and the result or product is water. You smile, sir, because,
as you very properly think, these are the elementary principles of
science, and are familiar to the minds of every schoolboy twelve years
of age. Yes! but what next? Suppose you take these same gases and mix
them in any other proportion, I care not what, and the instantaneous
result is heat, flame, combustion of the intensest description. The
famous Drummond Light, that a few years ago astonished Europe what is
that but the ignited flame of a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen
projected against a small piece of lime? What was harmless as water,
becomes the most destructive of all known objects when decomposed and
mixed in any other proportion.
"Now, suppose I fling the contents of this small vial into the
Pacific Ocean, what would be the result? Dare you contemplate it for
an instant? I do not assert that the entire surface of the sea would
instantaneously bubble up into insufferable flames; no, but from the
nucleus of a circle, of which this vial would be the center, lurid
radii of flames would gradually shoot outward, until the blazing
circumference would roll in vast billows of fire, upon the uttermost
shores. Not all the dripping clouds of the deluge could extinguish it.
Not all the tears of saints and angels could for an instant check its
progress. On and onward it would sweep, with the steady gait of
destiny, until the continents would melt with fervent heat, the
atmosphere glare with the ominous conflagration, and all living
creatures, in land and sea and air, perish in one universal
Then suddenly starting to his feet, he drew himself up to his full
height, and murmured solemnly, "I feel like a God! and I recognize my
fellow-men but as pygmies that I spurn beneath my feet."
"Summerfield," said I calmly," there must be some strange error in
all this. You are self-deluded. The weapon which you claim to wield is
one that a good God and a beneficent Creator would never intrust to
the keeping of a mere creature. What, sir! create a world as grand and
beautiful as this, and hide within its bosom a principle that at any
moment might inwrap it in flames, and sink all life in death? I'll not
believe it; 't were blasphemy to entertain the thought!"
"And yet," cried he passionately, "your Bible prophesies the same
irreverence. Look at your text in 2d Peter, third chapter, seventh and
twelfth verses. Are not the elements to melt with fervent heat? Are
not the 'heavens to be folded together like a scroll?' Are not 'the
rocks to melt, the stars to fall, and the moon to be turned into
blood?' Is not fire the next grand cyclic consummation of all things
here below? But I come fully prepared to answer such objections. Your
argument betrays a narrow mind, circumscribed in its orbit, and
shallow in its depth. 'Tis the common thought of mediocrity. You have
read books too much, and studied nature too little. Let me give you a
lesson today in the workshop of Omnipotence. Take a stroll with me
into the limitless confines of space, and let us observe together some
of the scenes transpiring at this very instant around us. A moment ago
you spoke of the moon: what is she but an extinguished world? You
spoke of the sun: what is he but a globe of flame? But here is the
Cosmos of Humboldt. Read this paragraph."
As he said this he placed before me the Cosmos of Humboldt, and I
read as follows:
Nor do the Heavens themselves teach unchangeable permanency in the
works of creation. Change is observable there quite as rapid and
complete as in the confines of our solar system. In the year 1752, one
of the small stars in the constellation Cassiopeia blazed up suddenly
into an orb of the first magnitude, gradually decreased in brilliancy,
and finally disappeared from the skies. Nor has it ever been visible
since that period for a single moment, either to the eye or to the
telescope. It burned up and was lost in space.
"Humboldt," he added," has not told us who set that world on fire!
"But," resumed he, "I have still clearer proofs."
Saying this, he thrust into my hands the last London Quarterly, and
on opening the book at an article headed "The Language of Light," I
read with a feeling akin to awe, the following passage:
Further, some stars exhibit changes of complexion in themselves.
Sirius, as before stated, was once a ruddy, or rather a fiery-faced
orb, but has now forgotten to blush, and looks down upon us with a
pure, brilliant smile, in which there is no trace either of anger or
of shame. On the countenances of others, still more varied traits have
rippled, within a much briefer period of time. May not these be due to
some physiological revolutions, general or convulsive, which are in
progress in the particular orb, and which, by affecting the
constitution of its atmosphere, compel the absorption or promote the
transmission of particular rays? The supposition appears by no means
improbable, especially if we call to mind the hydrogen volcanoes which
have been discovered on the photosphere of the sun. Indeed, there are
a few small stars which afford a spectrum of bright lines instead of
dark ones, and this we know denotes a gaseous or vaporized state of
things, from which it maybe inferred that such orbs are in a different
condition from most of their relations.
And, as if for the very purpose of throwing light upon this
interesting question, an event of the most striking character occurred
in the heavens, almost as soon as the spectroscopists were prepared to
interpret it correctly.
On the 12th of May, 1866, a great conflagration, infinitely larger
than that of London or Moscow, was announced. To use the expression of
a distinguished astronomer, a world was found to be on fire! A star,
which till then had shone weakly and unobtrusively in the corona
borealis, suddenly blazed up into a luminary of the second magnitude.
In the course of three days from its discovery in this new character,
by Birmingham, at Tuam, it had declined to the third or fourth order
of brilliancy. In twelve days, dating from its first apparition in the
Irish heavens, it had sunk to the eighth rank, and it went on waning
until the 26th of June, when it ceased to be discernible except
through the medium of the telescope. This was a remarkable, though
certainly not an unprecedented proceeding on the part of a star; but
one singular circumstance in its behavior was that, after the lapse of
nearly two months, it began to blaze up again, though not with equal
ardor, and after maintaining its glow for a few weeks, and passing
through sundry phases of color, it gradually paled its fires, and
returned to its former insignificance. How many years had elapsed
since this awful conflagration actually took place, it would be
presumptuous to guess; but it must be remembered that news from the
heavens, though carried by the fleetest of messengers, light, reaches
us long after the event has transpired, and that the same celestial
carrier is still dropping the tidings at each station it reaches in
space, until it sinks exhausted by the length of its flight.
As the star had suddenly flamed up, was it not a natural
supposition that it had become inwrapped in burning hydrogen, which in
consequence of some great convulsion had been liberated in prodigious
quantities, and then combining with other elements, had set this
hapless world on fire? In such a fierce conflagration, the combustible
gas would soon be consumed, and the glow would therefore begin to
decline, subject, as in this case, to a second eruption, which
occasioned the renewed outburst of light on the 20th of August.
By such a catastrophe, it is not wholly impossible that our own
globe may some time be ravaged; for if a word from the Almighty were
to unloose for a few moments the bonds of affinity which unite the
elements of water, a single spark would bring them together with a
fury that would kindle the funeral pyre of the human race, and be
fatal to the planet and all the works that are thereon.
"Your argument," he then instantly added, "is by no means a good
one. What do we know of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, or of
his designs? He builds up worlds, and he pulls them down; he kindles
suns and he extinguishes them. He inflames the comet, in one portion
of its orbit, with a heat that no human imagination can conceive of;
and in another, subjects the same blazing orb to a cold intenser than
that which invests forever the antarctic pole. All that we know of Him
we gather through His works. I have shown you that He burns other
worlds, why not this? The habitable parts of our globe are surrounded
by water, and water you know is fire in possibility."
"But all this," I rejoined, "is pure, baseless, profitless
"Not so fast," he answered. And then rising, he seized the small
vial, and handing it to me, requested me to open it.
I confess I did so with some trepidation.
"Now smell it."
I did so.
"What odor do you perceive?"
"Potassium," I replied.
"Of course," he added, "you are familiar with the chief
characteristic of that substance. It ignites instantly when brought in
contact with water. Within that little globule of potassium, I have
imbedded a pill of my own composition and discovery. The moment it is
liberated from the potassium, it commences the work of decomposing the
fluid on which it floats. The potassium at once ignites the liberated
oxygen, and the conflagration of this mighty globe is begun."
"Yes," said I, "begun, if you please, but your little pill soon
evaporates or sinks, or melts in the surrounding seas, and your
conflagration ends just where it began."
"My reply to that suggestion could be made at once by simply
testing the experiment on a small scale, or a large one, either. But I
prefer at present to refute your proposition by an argument drawn from
nature herself. If you correctly remember, the first time I had the
pleasure of seeing you was on the island of Galveston, many years ago.
Do you remember relating to me at that time an incident concerning the
effects of a prairie on fire, that you had yourself witnessed but a
few days previously, near the town of Matagorde? If I recollect
correctly, you stated that on your return journey from that place, you
passed on the way the charred remains of two wagon-loads of cotton,
and three human beings, that the night before had perished in the
flames; that three slaves, the property of a Mr. Horton, had started a
few days before to carry to market a shipment of cotton; that a
norther overtook them on a treeless prairie, and a few minutes
afterward they were surprised by beholding a line of rushing fire,
surging, roaring and advancing like the resistless billows of an ocean
swept by a gale; that there was no time for escape, and they perished
terribly in fighting the devouring element?"
"Yes; I recollect the event."
Now, then, I wish a reply to the simple question: Did the single
spark, that kindled the conflagration, consume the negroes and their
charge? No? But what did? You reply, of course, that the spark set the
entire prairie on fire; that each spear of grass added fuel to the
flame, and kindled by degrees a conflagration that continued to burn
so long as it could feed on fresh material. The pilule in that vial is
the little spark, the oceans are the prairies, and the oxygen the fuel
upon which the fire is to feed until the globe perishes in
inextinguishable flames. The elementary substances in that small vial
recreate themselves; they are self-generating, and when once fairly
under way must necessarily sweep onward, until the waters in all the
seas are exhausted. There is, however, one great difference between
the burning of a prairie and the combustion of an ocean: the fire in
the first spreads slowly, for the fuel is difficult to ignite; in the
last, it flies with the rapidity of the wind, for the substance
consumed is oxygen, the most inflammable agent in nature."
Rising from my seat, I went to the washstand in the corner of the
apartment, and drawing a bowl half full of Spring Valley water, I
turned to Summerfield, and remarked, "Words are empty, theories are
ideal—but facts are things."
"I take you at your word." So saying, he approached the bowl,
emptied it of nine-tenths of its contents, and silently dropped the
potassium-coated pill into the liquid. The potassium danced around the
edges of the vessel, fuming, hissing, and blazing, as it always does,
and seemed on the point of expiring—when, to my astonishment and
alarm, a sharp explosion took place, and in a second of time the water
was blazing in a red, lurid column, half way to the ceiling.
"For God's sake," I cried, "extinguish the flames, or we shall set
the building on fire!"
"Had I dropped the potassium into the bowl as you prepared it," he
quietly remarked, "the building would indeed have been consumed."
Lower and lower fell the flickering flames, paler and paler grew
the blaze, until finally the fire went out, and I rushed up to see the
effects of the combustion.
Not a drop of water remained in the vessel! Astonished beyond
measure at what I had witnessed, and terrified almost to the verge of
insanity, I approached Summerfield, and tremblingly inquired, "To
whom, sir, is this tremendous secret known?" "To myself alone," he
responded; "and now answer me a question: is it worth the money?"
* * * * * * *
It is entirely unnecessary to relate in detail the subsequent
events connected with this transaction. I will only add a general
statement, showing the results of my negotiations. Having fully
satisfied myself that Summerfield actually held in his hands the fate
of the whole world, with its millions of human beings, and by
experiment having tested the combustion of sea-water, with equal
facility as fresh, I next deemed it my duty to call the attention of a
few of the principal men in San Francisco to the extreme importance of
A leading banker, a bishop, a chemist, two State university
professors, a physician, a judge, and two Protestant divines, were
selected by me to witness the experiment on a large scale. This was
done at a small sand-hill lake, near the seashore, but separated from
it by a ridge of lofty mountains, distant not more than ten miles from
San Francisco. Every single drop of water in the pool was burnt up in
less than fifteen minutes. We next did all that we could to pacify
Summerfield, and endeavored to induce him to lower his price and bring
it within the bounds of a reasonable possibility. But without avail.
He began to grow urgent in his demands, and his brow would cloud like
a tempest-ridden sky whenever we approached him on the subject.
Finally, ascertaining that no persuasion could soften his heart or
touch his feelings, a sub-committee was appointed, to endeavor, if
possible, to raise the money by subscription. Before taking that step,
however, we ascertained beyond all question that Summerfield was the
sole custodian of his dread secret, and that he kept no written
memorial of the formula of his prescription. He even went so far as to
offer us a penal bond that his secret should perish with him in case
we complied with his demands.
The sub-committee soon commenced work amongst the wealthiest
citizens of San Francisco, and by appealing to the terrors of a few,
and the sympathies of all, succeeded in raising one-half the amount
within the prescribed period. I shall never forget the woe-begone
faces of California Street during the month of October. The outside
world and the newspapers spoke most learnedly of a money panic—a
pressure in business, and the disturbances in the New York gold-room.
But to the initiated, there was an easier solution of the enigma. The
pale spectre of Death looked down upon them all, and pointed with its
bony finger to the fiery tomb of the whole race, already looming up in
the distance before them. Day after day, I could see the dreadful
ravages of this secret horror; doubly terrible, since they dared not
divulge it. Still, do all that we could, the money could not be
obtained. The day preceding the last one given, Summerfield was
summoned before the committee, and full information given him of the
state of affairs. Obdurate, hard and cruel, he still continued.
Finally, a proposition was started, that an attempt should be made to
raise the other half of the money in the city of New York. To this
proposal Summerfield ultimately yielded, but with extreme reluctance.
It was agreed in committee that I should accompany him thither, and
take with me, in my own possession, evidences of the sums subscribed
here; that a proper appeal should be made to the leading capitalists,
scholars and clergymen of that metropolis, and that, when the whole
amount was raised, it should be paid over to Summerfield, and a bond
taken from him never to divulge his awful secret to any human being.
With this, he seemed to be satisfied, and left us to prepare for
his going the next morning.
As soon as he left the apartment, the bishop rose, and deprecated
the action that had been taken, and characterized it as childish and
absurd. He declared that no man was safe one moment whilst "that
diabolical wretch" still lived; that the only security for us all was
in his immediate extirpation from the face of the earth, and that no
amount of money could seal his lips, or close his hands. It would be
no crime, he said, to deprive him of the means of assassinating the
whole human family, and that as for himself he was for dooming him to
With a unanimity that was extraordinary, the entire committee
A great many plans were proposed, discussed and rejected, having in
view the extermination of Summerfield. In them all there was the want
of that proper caution which would lull the apprehensions of an enemy;
for should he for an instant suspect treachery, we knew his nature
well enough to be satisfied, that he would waive all ceremonies and
carry his threats into immediate execution.
It was finally resolved that the trip to New York should not be
abandoned, apparently. But that we were to start out in accordance
with the original program; that during the journey, some proper means
should be resorted to by me to carry out the final intentions of the
committee, and that whatever I did would be sanctioned by them all,
and full protection, both in law and conscience, afforded me in any
stage of the proceeding.
Nothing was wanting but my own consent; but this was difficult to
At the first view, it seemed to be a most horrible and
unwarrantable crime to deprive a fellow-being of life, under any
circumstances; but especially so where, in meeting his fate, no
opportunity was to be afforded him for preparation or repentance. It
was a long time before I could disassociate, in my mind, the two ideas
of act and intent. My studies had long ago made me perfectly familiar
with the doctrine of the civil law, that in order to constitute guilt,
there must be a union of action and intention. Taking the property of
another is not theft, unless, as the lawyers term it, there is the
animus furandi. So, in homicide, life may be lawfully taken in some
instances, whilst the deed may be excused in others. The sheriff hangs
the felon and deprives him of existence; yet nobody thinks of accusing
the officer of murder. The soldier slays his enemy, still the act is
considered heroical. It does not therefore follow that human life is
too sacred to be taken away under all circumstances. The point to be
considered was thus narrowed down into one grand inquiry, whether
Summerfield was properly to be regarded as hostis humani generis, the
enemy of the human race, or not. If he should justly be so considered,
then it would not only be not a crime to kill him, but an act worthy
of the highest commendation. Who blamed McKenzie for hanging Spencer
to the yard-arm? Yet in his case, the lives of only a small ship's
crew were in jeopardy. Who condemned Pompey for exterminating the
pirates from the Adriatic? Yet, in his case, only a small portion of
the Roman Republic was liable to devastation. Who accuses Charlotte
Corday of assassination for stabbing Marat in his bath? Still, her arm
only saved the lives of a few thousands of revolutionary Frenchmen.
And to come down to our own times, who heaps accusation upon the heads
of Lincoln, Thomas or Sheridan, or even Grant, though in marching to
victory over a crushed rebellion, they deemed it necessary to wade
through seas of human gore? If society has the right to defend itself
from the assaults of criminals, who, at best, can only destroy a few
of its members, why should I hesitate when it was apparent that the
destiny of the globe itself hung in the balance? If Summerfield should
live and carry out his threats, the whole world would feel the shock;
his death was the only path to perfect safety.
I asked the privilege of meditation for one hour, at the hands of
the committee, before I would render a decision either way. During
that recess the above argumentation occupied my thoughts. The time
expired, and I again presented myself before them. I did not deem it
requisite to state the grounds of my decision; I briefly signified my
assent, and made instant preparation to carry the plan into execution.
Having passed on the line of the Pacific Railway more than once, I
was perfectly familiar with all of its windings, gorges and
I selected Cape Horn as the best adapted to the purpose, and . . .
the public knows the rest.
Having been fully acquitted by two tribunals of the law, I make
this final appeal to my fellowmen throughout the State, and ask them
confidently not to reverse the judgments already pronounced.
I am conscious of no guilt; I feel no remorse; I need no
repentance. For me justice has no terrors, and conscience no sting.
Let me be judged solely by the motives which actuated me, and the
importance of the end accomplished, and I shall pass, unscathed, both
temporal and eternal tribunals.
The following additional particulars, as sequel to the Summerfield
homicide, have been furnished by an Auburn correspondent:
Mr. Editor: The remarkable confession of the late Leonidas Parker,
which appeared in your issue of the 13th ultimo, has given rise to a
series of disturbances in this neighborhood, which, for romantic
interest and downright depravity, have seldom been surpassed, even in
California. Before proceeding to relate in detail the late
transactions, allow me to remark that the wonderful narrative of
Parker excited throughout this county sentiments of the most profound
and contradictory character. I, for one, halted between two opinions—
horror and incredulity; and nothing but subsequent events could have
fully satisfied me of the unquestionable veracity of your San
Francisco correspondent, and the scientific authenticity of the facts
The doubt with which the story was at first received in this
community— and which found utterance in a burlesque article in an
obscure country journal, the Stars and Stripes, of Auburn—has
finally been dispelled, and we find ourselves forced to admit that we
stand even now in the presence of the most alarming fate. Too much
credit cannot be awarded to our worthy coroner for the promptitude of
his action, and we trust that the Governor of the State will not be
less efficient in the discharge of his duty.
[Since the above letter was written the following proclamation has
been issued.—P. J.]
Proclamation of the Governor.
Department of State.
By virtue of the authority in me vested, I do hereby offer the
above reward of ten thousand dollars, in gold coin of the United
States, for the arrest of Bartholomew Graham, familiarly known as
"Black Bart." Said Graham is accused of the murder of C. P. Gillson,
late of Auburn, county of Placer, on the 14th ultimo. He is five feet
ten inches and a half in height, thick set, has a mustache sprinkled
with gray, grizzled hair, clear blue eyes, walks stooping, and served
in the late civil war, under Price and Quantrell, in the Confederate
army. He may be lurking in some of the mining-camps near the
foot-hills, as he was a Washoe teamster during the Comstock
excitement. The above reward will be paid for him, dead or alive, as
he possessed himself of an important secret by robbing the body of the
late Gregory Summerfield.
By the Governor: H. G. Nicholson,
Secretary of State.
Given at Sacramento, this the fifth day of June, 1871.
Our correspondent continues:
I am sorry to say that Sheriff Higgins has not been so active in
the discharge of his duty as the urgency of the case required, but he
is perhaps excusable on account of the criminal interference of the
editor above alluded to. But I am detaining you from more important
matters. Your Saturday's paper reached here at 4 o'clock Saturday,13th
May, and, as it now appears from the evidence taken before the
coroner, several persons left Auburn on the same errand, but without
any previous conference. Two of these were named respectively Charles
P. Gillson and Bartholomew Graham, or, as he was usually called,
"Black Bart." Gillson kept a saloon at the corner of Prickly Ash
Street and the Old Spring Road; and Black Bart was in the employ of
Conrad Co., keepers of the Norfolk Livery Stable. Gillson was a
son-in-law of ex-Governor Roberts, of Iowa, and leaves a wife and two
children to mourn his untimely end. As for Graham, nothing certain is
known of his antecedents. It is said that he was engaged in the late
robbery of Wells Fargo's express at Grizzly Bend, and that he was an
habitual gambler. Only one thing about him is certainly well known: he
was a lieutenant in the Confederate army, and served under General
Price and the outlaw Quantrell. He was a man originally of fine
education, plausible manners and good family, but strong drink seems
early in life to have overmastered him, and left him but a wreck of
himself. But he was not incapable of generous or, rather, romantic
acts; for, during the burning of the Putnam House in this town last
summer, he rescued two ladies from the flames. In so doing he scorched
his left hand so seriously as to contract the tendons of two fingers,
and this very scar may lead to his apprehension. There is no doubt
about his utter desperation of character, and, if taken at all, it
will probably be not alive.
So much for the persons concerned in the tragedy at the Flat.
Herewith I inclose copies of the testimony of the witnesses
examined before the coroner's jury, together with the statement of
Gillson, taken in articulo mortis:
Deposition of Dollie Adams.
State of California, } County of Placer. } ss.
Said witness, being duly sworn, deposes as follows, to wit: My name
is Dolly Adams, my age forty-seven years; I am the wife of Frank G.
Adams, of this township, and reside on the North Fork of the American
River, below Cape Horn, on Thompson's Flat. About one o'clock p. m.,
May 14, 1871, I left the cabin to gather wood to cook dinner for my
husband and the hands at work for him on the claim. The trees are
mostly cut away from the bottom, and I had to climb some distance up
the mountainside before I could get enough to kindle the fire. I had
gone about five hundred yards from the cabin, and was searching for
small sticks of fallen timber, when I thought I heard some one groan,
as if in pain. I paused and listened; the groaning became more
distinct, and I started at once for the place whence the sounds
proceeded; about ten steps off I discovered the man whose remains lie
there (pointing to the deceased), sitting up, with his back against a
big rock. He looked so pale that I thought him already dead, but he
continued to moan until I reached his side. Hearing me approach, he
opened his eyes, and begged me, "For God's sake, give me a drop of
water!" I asked him, "What is the matter?" He replied, " I am shot in
the back." "Dangerously?" I demanded. "Fatally!" he faltered. Without
waiting to question him further, I returned to the cabin, told Zenie,
my daughter, what I had seen, and sent her off on a run for the men.
Taking with me a gourd of water, some milk and bread— for I thought
the poor gentleman might be hungry and weak, as well as wounded—I
hurried back to his side, where I remained until "father"— as we all
call my husband—came with the men. We removed him as gently as we
could to the cabin; then sent for Dr. Liebner, and nursed him until he
died, yesterday, just at sunset.
Question by the Coroner: Did you hear his statement, taken down by
the Assistant District-Attorney?—A. I did.
Q. Did you see him sign it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is this your signature thereto as witness?—A. It is, sir.
(Signed) Dollie Adams.
Deposition of Miss X. V. Adams.
Being first duly sworn, witness testified as follows: My name is
Xixenia Volumnia Adams; I am the daughter of Frank G. Adams and the
last witness; I reside with them on the Flat, and my age is eighteen
years. A little past one o'clock on Sunday last my mother came running
into the house and informed me that a man was dying on the side-hill,
from a wound, and that I must go for father and the boys immediately.
I ran as fast as my legs would carry me to where they were "cleaning
up," for they never cleaned up week-days on the Flat, and told the
news; we all came back together and proceeded to the spot where the
wounded man lay weltering in his blood; he was cautiously removed to
the cabin, where he lingered until yesterday sundown, when he died.
Question. Did he speak after he reached the cabin?—A. He did
frequently; at first with great pain, but afterward more audibly and
Q. What did he say?—A. First, to send for Squire Jacobs, the
Assistant District-Attorney, as he had a statement to make; and some
time afterward, to send for his wife; but we first of all sent for the
Q. Who was present when he died?—A. Only myself; he had appeared
a great deal easier, and his wife had lain down to take a short nap,
and my mother had gone to the spring and left me alone to watch.
Suddenly he lifted himself spasmodically in bed, glared around wildly
and muttered something inaudible; seeing me, he cried out, "Run! run!
run! He has it! Black Bart has got the vial! Quick! or he'll set the
world afire! See, he opens it! O my God! Look! look! look! Hold his
hands! tie him! chain him down! Too late! too late! oh, the flames!
Fire! fire! fire!" His tone of voice gradually strengthened until the
end of his raving; when he cried "fire!" his eyeballs glared, his
mouth quivered, his body convulsed, and before Mrs. Gillson could
reach his bedside he fell back stone dead. (Signed) X. V. Adams.
The testimony of Adams corroborated in every particular that of his
wife and daughter, but set forth more fully the particulars of his
demoniac ravings. He would taste nothing from a glass or bottle, but
shuddered whenever any article of that sort met his eyes. In fact,
they had to remove from the room the cups, tumblers, and even the
castors. At times he spoke rationally, but after the second day only
in momentary flashes of sanity.
The deposition of the attending physician, after giving the general
facts with regard to the sickness of the patient and his subsequent
demise, proceeded thus:
I found the patient weak, and suffering from loss of blood and
rest, and want of nourishment; occasionally sane, but for the most
part flighty and in a comatose condition. The wound was an ordinary
gunshot wound, produced most probably by the ball of a navy revolver,
fired at the distance of ten paces. It entered the back near the left
clavicle, beneath the scapula, close to the vertebrae between the
intercostal spaces of the fifth and sixth ribs; grazing the
pericardium it traversed the mediastinum, barely touching the
oesophagus, and vena azygos, but completely severing the thoracic
duct, and lodging in the xiphoid portion of the sternum. Necessarily
fatal, there was no reason, however, why the patient could not linger
for a week or more; but it is no less certain that from the effect of
the wound he ultimately died. I witnessed the execution of the paper
shown to me—as the statement of deceased—at his request; and at
the time of signing the same he was in his perfect senses. It was
taken down in my presence by Jacobs, the Assistant District-Attorney
of Placer County, and read over to the deceased before he affixed his
signature. I was not present when he breathed his last, having been
called away by my patients in the town of Auburn, but I reached his
bedside shortly afterward. In my judgment, no amount of care or
medical attention could have prolonged his life more than a few days.
(Signed) Karl Liebner, M. D.
The statement of the deceased was then introduced to the jury as
People of the State of California, } vs. } Bartholomew Graham.
Statement and Dying Confession of Charles P. Gillson, taken in
articulo mortis by George Simpson, Notary Public.
On the morning of Sunday, the 14th day of May, 1871, I left Auburn
alone in search of the body of the late Gregory Summerfield, who was
reported to have been pushed from the cars at Cape Horn, in this
county, by one Leonidas Parker, since deceased. It was not fully light
when I reached the track of the Central Pacific Railroad. Having mined
at an early day on Thompson's Flat, at the foot of the rocky
promontory now called Cape Horn, I was familiar with the zigzag paths
leading down that steep precipice. One was generally used as a
descent, the other as an ascent from the cañon below. I chose the
latter, as being the freest from the chance of observation. It
required the greatest caution to thread the narrow gorge; but I
finally reached the rocky bench, about one thousand feet below the
grade of the railroad. It was now broad daylight, and I commenced
cautiously the search for Summerfield's body. There is quite a dense
undergrowth of shrubs thereabouts, lining the interstices of the
granite rocks so as to obscure the vision even at a short distance.
Brushing aside a thick manzanita bush, I beheld the dead man at the
same instant of time that another person arrived like an apparition
upon the spot. It was Bartholomew Graham, known as "Black Bart." We
suddenly confronted each other, the skeleton of Summerfield lying
exactly between us. Our recognition was mutual. Graham advanced, and I
did the same; he stretched out his hand and we greeted one another
across the prostrate corpse.
Before releasing my hand, Black Bart exclaimed in a hoarse whisper,
"Swear, Gillson, in the presence of the dead, that you will forever be
faithful, never betray me, and do exactly as I bid you, as long as you
I looked him full in the eye. Fate sat there, cold and remorseless
as stone. I hesitated; with his left hand he slightly raised the
lapels of his coat, and grasped the handle of a navy revolver.
"Swear!" again he cried.
As I gazed, his eyeballs assumed a greenish tint, and his brow
darkened into a scowl. "As your confederate," I answered, "never as
"Be it so!" was his only reply.
The body was lying upon its back, with the face upwards. The
vultures had despoiled the countenance of every vestige of flesh, and
left the sockets of the eyes empty. Snow and ice and rain had done
their work effectually upon the exposed surfaces of his clothing, and
the eagles had feasted upon the entrails. But underneath, the thick
beaver cloth had served to protect the flesh, and there were some
decaying shreds left of what had once been the terrible but
accomplished Gregory Summerfield. A glance told us all these things.
But they did not interest me so much as another spectacle, that almost
froze my blood. In the skeleton gripe of the right hand, interlaced
within the clenched bones, gleamed the wide-mouthed vial which was the
object of our mutual visit. Graham fell upon his knees, and attempted
to withdraw the prize from the grasp of its dead possessor. But the
bones were firm, and when he finally succeeded in securing the bottle,
by a sudden wrench, I heard the skeleton fingers snap like pipe-stems.
"Hold this a moment, whilst I search the pockets," he commanded.
I did as directed.
He then turned over the corpse, and thrusting his hand into the
inner breast-pocket, dragged out a roll of MSS., matted closely
together and stained by the winter's rains. A further search
eventuated in finding a roll of small gold coin, a set of derringer
pistols, a rusted double-edged dirk, and a pair of silver-mounted
spectacles. Hastily covering over the body with leaves and branches
cut from the embowering shrubs, we shudderingly left the spot.
We slowly descended the gorge toward the banks of the American
River, until we arrived in a small but sequestered thicket, where we
threw ourselves upon the ground. Neither had spoken a word since we
left the scene above described. Graham was the first to break the
silence which to me had become oppressive.
"Let us examine the vial and see if the contents are safe."
I drew it from my pocket and handed it to him.
"Sealed hermetically, and perfectly secure," he added. Saying this,
he deliberately wrapped it up in a handkerchief and placed it in his
"What shall we do with our prize?" I inquired.
"Our prize?" As he said this he laughed derisively, and cast a most
scornful and threatening glance toward me.
"Yes," I rejoined firmly; "our prize!"
"Gillson," retorted Graham, "you must regard me as a consummate
simpleton, or yourself a Goliath. This bottle is mine, and mine only.
It is a great fortune for one, but of less value than a toadstool for
two. I am willing to divide fairly. This secret would be of no service
to a coward. He would not dare to use it. Your share of the robbery of
the body shall be these MSS.; you can sell them to some poor devil of
a printer, and pay yourself for your day's work."
Saying this he threw the bundle of MSS. at my feet; but I disdained
to touch them. Observing this, he gathered them up safely and replaced
them in his pocket. "As you are unarmed," he said, "it would not be
safe for you to be seen in this neighborhood during daylight. We will
both spend the night here, and just before morning return to Auburn. I
will accompany you part of the distance."
With the sangfroid of a perfect desperado, he then stretched
himself out in the shadow of a small tree, drank deeply from a whiskey
flagon which he produced, and pulling his hat over his eyes, was soon
asleep and snoring. It was a long time before I could believe the
evidence of my own senses. Finally, I approached the ruffian, and
placed my hand on his shoulder. He did not stir a muscle. I listened;
I heard only the deep, slow breathing of profound slumber. Resolved
not to be balked and defrauded by such a scoundrel, I stealthily
withdrew the vial from his pocket and sprang to my feet, just in time
to hear the click of a revolver behind me. I was betrayed! I remember
only a flash and an explosion—a deathly sensation, a whirl of the
rocks and trees about me, a hideous imprecation from the lips of my
murderer, and I fell senseless to the earth. When I awoke to
consciousness it was past midnight. I looked up at the stars, and
recognized Lyra shining full in my face. That constellation, I knew,
passed the meridian at this season of the year after twelve o'clock,
and its slow march told me that many weary hours would intervene
before daylight. My right arm was paralyzed, but I put forth my left,
and it rested in a pool of my own blood. "Oh, for one drop of water!"
I exclaimed, faintly; but only the low sighing of the night blast
responded. Again I fainted. Shortly after daylight I revived, and
crawled to the spot where I was discovered on the next day by the kind
mistress of this cabin. You know the rest. I accuse Bartholomew Graham
of my assassination. I do this in the perfect possession of my senses,
and with a full sense of my responsibility to Almighty God. (Signed)
C. P. Gillson.
George Simpson, Notary Public. Chris. Jacobs, Assistant
District-Attorney. Dollie Adams, } Witnesses. Karl Liebner, }
The following is a copy of the verdict of the coroner's jury:
County of Placer, } Cape Horn Township. }
In re C. P. Gillson, late of said county deceased.
We, the undersigned, coroner's jury, summoned in the foregoing case
to examine into the causes of the death of said Gillson, do find that
he came to his death at the hands of Bartholomew Graham, usually
called "Black Bart," on Wednesday, the 17th May, 1871. And we further
find said Graham guilty of murder in the first degree, and recommend
his immediate apprehension.
(Signed) John Quillan,
(Correct:) Wm. A. Thompson.
Thos. J. Alwyn, Coroner.
The above documents constitute the papers introduced before the
coroner. Should anything of further interest occur, I will keep you
fully advised. Powhattan Jones.
Since the above was in type we have received from our esteemed San
Francisco correspondent the following letter:
San Francisco, June 8, 1871.
Mr. Editor: On entering my office this morning I found a bundle of
MSS. which had been thrown in at the transom over the door, labeled,
"The Summerfield MSS." Attached to them was an unsealed note from one
Bartholomew Graham, in these words:
Dear Sir: These are yours; you have earned them. I commend to your
especial notice the one styled, "De Mundo Comburendo." At a future
time you may hear again from
A casual glance at the papers convinces me that they are of great
literary value. Summerfield's fame never burned so brightly as it does
over his grave. Will you publish the MSS.?
Here ends No. Two Western Classics Containing The Case of
Summerfield by W. H. Rhodes an Introduction by Geraldine Bonner and a
Frontispiece After a Painting by Galen J. Perrett the Typography
Designed by J. H. Nash of this First Edition One Thousand Copies Have
Been Issued Printed on Fabriano Handmade Paper Published by Paul Elder
and Company and Done into a Book for them at the Tomoye Press in the
City of New York MCMVII