Chiquita, an American Novel by Merrill Tileston
CHAPTER I. A
CHAPTER II. ON
CATS, TRAPS, AND
CHAPTER IV. OLD
CHAPTER V. THE
CAMP IN THE
CHAPTER VI. THE
RANCH ON THE
CHAPTER VIII. A
GLIMPSE OF HOME.
CHAPTER IX. UTE,
CHAPTER X. THE
CHAPTER XV. A
HOSPITAL AND A
GALLING YOKES OF
WHENCE COME MY
CHAPTER I. A BOZRAH BORNIN'.
A tallow candle shed its sickly and flickering light in the front
room of an ancient farm house, as Jack Sheppard announced his arrival
on earth at four o'clock on a Friday morning. He arrived in a
snowstorm, and it was a very select gathering of some of old Bozrah's
prominent citizens who greeted his entry into the world. There was old
Doctor Pettingill, with square-rimmed, blue-glass spectacles; Grandma
Paisley, who didn't care for avoirdupois, just so it was a boy; Aunt
Diantha, with portentous air and red mittens, while in the kitchen,
dozing by the big fireplace, was Uncle Zebedee, who had driven over
from Pudden Hollow the evening before to learn the news and set up
all night in order to be of assistance in case of necessity.
The whole Deerfield valley was interested, and it made no difference
if the snow did play tag up and down the necks and on the faces of all
Bozrah as they brought paregoric, feather pillows, goody-goodies and
all the useful uselessnesses that each and every one had kept for years
and years awaiting a possible occasion. There was an old brass
warming-pan that Deacon Baxter used to warm the bed for Governor
Winthrop, and a hot water jug which Great-grandma Lathrop averred
warmed the feet of every one of her seventeen darters and
grand-darters. There was also a quilt made of silk patches, each patch
taken from a dress that some colonial dame had worn when she danced the
stately minuet at a great function in Boston or Albany.
All these good people had a successful way of bringing up children
in the paths of self-reliance, respect, thrift, endurance and honesty
which made stalwart, orthodox patriots.
The Sheppards were an old English family who settled in New England
late in the seventeenth centurythree brothers, one of which,
according to ye olden tyme records, planted the elm trees in front of
the meetyngehouse on Dorchester hill; these trees, at the age of sixty
or seventy years, being cut down by the British during the
Revolutionary War. The descendants of the three brothers were thrifty
men, large of physique and of great executive ability, the women the
loveliest of the coloniesfamilies of sterling integrity, wealth and
Thad Sheppard, Jack's father, was in some respects an exception,
he being a man of the world, of the wild, dangerous class, handsome and
talented, but lacking the balance wheel which magnetic temperaments
usually require. He was admired by both men and women to the point of
the danger line, for his schemes wrecked many a fortune and family,
ultimately losing him the confidence of all. Thad loved one of the
beautiful daughters of the Deerfield valley, and, despite the
protestations of friends and relatives, she married him, claiming she
could do what none thus far had been able to accomplishreform him.
Thad's habits had not been curbed. Life was too gay for thoughts of
the sombre hereafter, and the sedate, sober counsel of the old men was
scorned, but their predictions were to be most cruelly fulfilled. Yet
there was that confiding love, that desire to accomplish miracles,
which swayed the fair young girl of the Deerfield hills to sacrifice
herself in the hope of reform. Oh, what a waste of time for any woman!
What debauchery of intellect, what a prostitution of a fair and
beautiful life; utter folly, deliberate social suicide, with its months
and years of anguish and debasement for the mere gratification of an
impulse! To be sure, there are some moments, comprising even days or
months, when happiness reigns, but do these few hours, which grow
farther apart, shorter and shorter, as time wears away, compensate for
the millions of silent, expectant moments during which the
uncomplaining wife watches for that unerring expression which never
deceives her? Is there any excuse a mother can give her daughter,
budding into womanhood, for bringing her into the world to face
disgrace, possibly crime? Does a son, born of such parents, have that
respect and confidence toward father and mother that he should?
Sue Paisley lived on that beautiful farm where Jack was born. She
was on a visit while Thad attended important business in the great
cotton markets of the South. She loved the brook that gurgled and
splashed along its course. Nodding bluebells coquetted with the tiny
wave crests, while the grass along the bank waved little blades in
defiance at the roar of its voice. Each summer Sue sang its praises to
the tinkle of the whetstone as the farm hand sharpened his scythe,
tink, tink, tinkety tink. When she married, she left the long rows of
maple trees, the great red barn, the stuffy parlor, the spare room with
its high feather bed and Dutch clock; the big round dining table with
tilting top, blue and white chinaware, and the long well sweep, to
become hostess in the more pretentious surroundings of a small city on
the Connecticut, living long enough to realize how futile were her
efforts to stay the temptations which beset Thad on every hand.
Misfortune overtook all his financial investments, and, as one
enterprise followed another in the maelstrom of speculation, Sue's life
ebbed away, leaving Jack and his sisters to be cared for by a spinster
aunt, who undertook the responsibility at the earnest solicitation of
The awakening from sin was that of genuine remorse and sorrow. With
the characteristic determination of those rugged ancestors, Thad
broke off all his former boon companionships, started on entirely new
lines of life and succeeded in living down the awful past. In a few
years he remarried, giving Jack a mother who learned to love her
stepson as her own. Jack was not the ever industrious boy in school,
but he was quick to learn both kinds of knowledge, useful and
mischievous. That is the reason why the old red school-house, at the
top of the hill, held pleasant recollections for him in after life. Of
course, J-A-C-K was carved into the top of every desk at which he sat
and, as the first row of desks was the baby or A, B, C row, the next
one a little larger, and so on, the four rows of boxes represented
four classes, and Jack managed to stay in each class long enough to
carve his name where future generations would find it.
He's the most trying pupil in the school, was what the teacher
told everybody in the little village.
When the snow was deep, Jack took his dinner in a little basket,
just the same as the other scholars, and at the noon recess he was
always in the games in which the girls liked to have a few of the nice
boys to help out. Two chairs, facing each other, with a little gap
between them, then a ring of boys and girls holding hands to circle
around between the chairs, while a boy and a girl stood on the chairs,
hands clasped across the gap, all joining in singing the little
The needle's eye that does supply
The thread that runs so true,
I've caught many a smiling lass,
And now I have caught you.
It was the boy's turn to choose the girl he wanted for a partner,
and she had to submit to the penalty of a kiss before she could mount
the chair. The desks were arranged in horseshoe form, and of course the
favorite seats were in the back row, farthest away from the teacher,
but Jack generally managed to be on a line with the first nail hole in
the horseshoe by the time the first third of the term was reached.
This, so the teacher could better keep her eye on him.
It was near the end of the summer term that a little event occurred
which made a lasting impression on Jack. His seat-mate was an ungainly
little urchin who had the faculty of being cunning without being smart.
His name was Ted Smith, but he was better known as Ted Weaver, for
he had a habit of rocking to and fro from one hand to another while he
studied. Jack happened to be busy with lessons when some one shot a
paper wad at one of the scholars, which missed the scholar but hit the
teacher on the cheek.
Miss Freeman was spare and angular, with a pointed rose-colored
nose, hard, cold-gray eyes, and long neck circled with a severe white
linen collar, which lay flat over the prominent collar bones. The black
waist of her dress was severely plain, with, seemingly, a gross of
buttons made of wooden molds covered with the dress fabric. The skirt
covered an area of floor space that was in keeping with the period
before the Civil War, when hoop skirts ruled the fashion, and, as the
tilter tilted, it could be seen the school ma'am enumerated among her
personal belongings a pair of white hose and cloth gaiters. A head of
luxurious hair was parted exactly in the middle and divided into three
portions, two side and back strands, the side strands twisted to the
temples, then the smooth flat surface gracefully looped over the tops
of the ears until the curve of the hair reached the eyebrows; the ends
of the strands were then formed into a foundation, around which the
back hair was wound, after a sufficient quantity had been properly
separated for curlslong ones for the side, or short ones to dangle
When the paper wad struck Miss Freeman a rap immediately brought the
school to order. With a searching gaze she tried to locate the evil
doer, and her well-trained eye rested on Jack, who innocently looked up
to see the cause of the unusual summons to order. Jack knew who shot
the wad, for he had noticed the culprit shoot others earlier in the
day, a performance which had escaped the teacher's notice and cheek.
Jack, did you throw that paper wad? she asked, her voice as cold
and hard as that of the second mate of a three-masted brig.
Do you know who did throw it?
Jack would not tell a lie about the wad, so he answered slowly,
Who did it?
There was no reply.
Who threw the wad?
She had flushed to her hair at the commencement of the inquisition,
but now the color slowly receded and the lines in her severe face
became like those in stone.
Unless you tell me who threw the wad I shall punish you.
Jack remained silent. His little bosom filled with wrath because the
culprit would not speak up; but his honor was so strong that he would
not be telltale. The teacher reached for her switch and told Jack to
step forward. Like a little man he marched up to her desk and stood,
not defiant, but humble and submissive, awaiting his punishment. Miss
Freeman stepped down from the platform with switch in hand, and again
demanded the name of the guilty one.
I'll never tell, said Jack in a whisper.
There was a swish in the air and a sharp cracking noise as the rod
smote Jack around the fleshy part of his legs.
Will you tell now? asked the teacher again.
Jack made no answer, but shook his head and stifled a sob. He knew
if he relaxed his firmly shut teeth he would cry, so he gritted them
and prepared to receive the following blows without flinching.
Thoroughly maddened, the school ma'am finally threw off all endeavor of
restraint and showered blow after blow upon poor Jack's arms, legs and
bare feet, for it was summer and Jack followed the custom of other
boys. But, it is needless to say, that was the last day he went
barefooted. The switch was broken, but not the spirit in the boy. He
had given way to tears, which gushed forth because of bodily pain. He
sought to protect his feet and grabbed the infuriated school ma'am's
skirt, and as the blows descended he swung under the protecting expanse
of hoops. This piece of strategy perplexed the teacher, and as she had
broken all her switches she had to suspend hostilities until a new
supply was gathered. Leaving Jack and the school room, she hastened to
the willows, which grew in abundance just back of the building, and
brought in a stick as big as a cane, just in time to see Jack
disappearing through the window and his sturdy little legs, all striped
with red marks, making tracks for home.
Episodes of this character followed Jack all through his school
life. He had a stern father, who always punished his children if they
were punished at school, no matter what the excuse, and on this
occasion there was no exception, only in place of another birching
the filial duty was limited to sending the boy to bed without anything
to eat, so he could reflect upon the awful crime of disobedience to his
Nature has ever been prodigal in the distribution of her favors and
disfavors, limiting her generosity in the picturesque to certain
localities, and giving in abundance to the arid regions, as well as to
the fertile valleys. But in her selfish allotments no upheavals in the
vast chaos of creation furnished man an abiding place so compatible
with his Puritanical doctrines as the forbidding rock-walled coast of
New England and the everlasting hills extending back to the Hudson
River, with their beautiful slopes, sinuous streams and forest-scented
dales. And it was among these hills that Jack found, even in his
younger days, that pleasure and freedom which afterward was intensified
by his associations with the forest-born red man.
Old Bozrah, where he first saw the light of day, was the Mecca to
which his longing gaze was ever turned, even as he studied, worked or
played, and no greater treat was in store for him than the one looked
forward to when his father hitched up Old Jerry to drive that long
twenty miles, through villages and past cross-road stores, to the old
farm house. Old Jerry was known even better than Thad Sheppard.
Every factory hand on Mill River from where it emptied into the
Connecticut to the great reservoirs in the Goshen hills, and every
farmer, merchant and preacher knew Thad and Old Jerry.
Thad was well aware of the danger that lurked in the old
reservoirs and knew the day would come when the torrent would burst
forth and sweep all the industries away, and Jack wondered why
everybody looked so grave and serious when the spring freshets made the
brooks roily so he could not fish. In after years when that animated
devastating fortress of trees, rocks and factory debris crushed its way
down the valley, receiving its propulsive force from the waters which
broke forth from bondage, Jack remembered those grave and serious
But it was among the hills of the Deerfield valley that Jack loved
best to wander and to fish for trout, or to help Uncle Zebedee and
Uncle John in planting or haying or salting the cattle, or gathering
apples on hills so steep that the fruit rolled a rod sometimes after
falling from the trees.
In the old barn at milking time, when the cows were yoked to their
feed racks, Jack helped give them haynice new cloverand then waited
and watched Aunt Sally strain the warm fluid into the bright pans,
fearing the while she would forget the little cup, which he kept moving
from one place to another, and which she seemed never to see until
almost the last drop in the pail was reached. Churning day was always
welcome to Jack. The old yellow churn, which stood near the big water
trough in the wash room, had to be brought into the kitchen, and then
he would turn the paddle wheel round and round, listening to the patter
of the blades as they splashed into the cream, until finally he knew by
the sound that the butter had come.
Jack did not like Saturday night very well, for at sundown on the
last day of the week those good orthodox folks commenced their Sunday.
Saturday afternoon was given to baking cake and other dainties and
getting the house in order for the Lord's Day. The men folks were
shaved clean and all the chores were done and supper ended before
sundown. Then the old black leather Bible was taken from the shelf and
all gathered around for family prayers. These devotions were held every
night about bedtime, but Saturday evening was the beginning of the
Sabbath, and services were held earlier and longer than on other days
of the week. The room, with its chintz-covered lounge, rag carpet,
Dutch clock, and chairs upholstered in haircloth, seemed more sacred on
Saturday. The Bible was read, a lesson given from the shorter
catechism, and several of Watts' hymns repeated by all together, or by
volunteers, as the spirit moved; a song or two, then all would kneel
devoutly, while Uncle John, in deep stentorian voice, prayed long and
earnestly for the divine grace, which sustains the righteous through
the snares and temptations of the wicked world; after which all
On Sunday no work was done that could be avoided, and at an early
hour in solemn procession all filed out to the vehicles which conveyed
them to the village two and one-half miles away. The horses knew it was
Sunday and devoutly raised one leg at a time in covering the distance.
The minister knew it was Sunday and exhorted his hearers, with threats
of dire hell and damnation, to mend their ways. Sunday school
immediately after the morning service, then lunch at the wagons or on
the steps of the church or in the church, and again the minister
unrolled his sermons and renewed his valiant fight in redemption of
sinners. The choir stood up, the leader struck the key with his tuning
fork, and when the pitch was duly recognized the last hymn was sung,
followed by the doxology and benediction. All hearts seemed to begin
life anew when the final Amen was pronounced, and although the long
hill had to be ascended, it took less time than it had to descend in
the morning. It was dinner time when the farm was again reached and all
were hungry. After the meal the family gathered in the parlor, with its
fragrant odor of musty walls, varnished maps and stuffy ancientness
which pervaded everything. Here the conversation dwelt upon the
goodness of the Lord, misfortunes of the sick in the neighborhood, news
of which had been learned at church, or other topics not too worldly.
As sundown approached the men folks commenced to get ready for the
week's work and changed their clothes, while the women got out aprons
and put away their Sunday duds. By sunset the wash barrel was brought
forth and the laundry work for Monday commenced.
In the wagon-shed Uncle John had his scythe ready to grind, and as
Jack turned the stone he said to himself, Uncle John bears down harder
on Sunday night than he does any other night in the week.
These visits to the old farm were at frequent intervals, so Jack had
ample opportunity to see real country life under all the different
aspects of maple-sugar making, planting, haying, cutting wood for the
year, and building stone walls. Berrying was about the greatest
enjoyment, next to catching brook trout, and such an abundance of
blackberries in the pastures and woods where portions of the timber had
been cut out! But the visits came to an end, inasmuch as Jack's father
moved west to one of the great flour-milling cities, which flourished
at the close of the Civil War.
In the west Jack received his final education, at sixteen taking
leave of Latin, algebra and rhetoric, with one term in the high school.
During the grammar school incubation Jack learned the difference
between a village teacher and a city ward instructor; also that the
western city ward boy had to fight occasionally, while the good New
England lad was in mortal disgrace if he ever presumed to raise his
hands against a fellow schoolmate. Jack had been warned time and again
by his father not to fight, as it was wicked, and severe punishment
awaited all demonstrations of anything in the nature of a scrap.
It was but natural that a boy who would not fight should become the
target for every pugnacious lad in the school, and Jack went home
regularly with a bloody nose or scratched face, as a result of some
misunderstanding. Not only would he get larruped by the bigger boys,
but little fellows half his size walloped him good and plenty. Then the
teacher had to make an example of him with the ruler, and finally his
father finished up the job in the barn or across his knee with the hair
brush. The hair brush was the handiest thing Jack ever encountered in
his spare (not) the rod career. One day he went home with a frightful
cut in his lip where some bully of the school had kicked him. His
father lost all patience and Jack pleaded for a hearing.
Why do you tell me it is wicked to fight and punish me for getting
licked? I can lick any boy in the school, but have never raised my hand
yet, because you told me not to, and they pick on me all the time.
It was a revelation to the parent and he wondered at his own
obtuseness. One instruction, one little lesson to be a man, he gave
Jack: Do not fight for the sake of showing off, or to be a 'bully,'
but defend yourself always.
Jack was all excitement, and forgot his swollen lip. His father
continued: And when you find you have to defend yourself, strike
straight from the shoulder and hit between the eyes, downward, like
that, and the stern old man took a crack at the side of the barn and
ripped a board off, besides nearly breaking his knuckle. Jack went to
school that afternoon, and at recess, when a big, red-headed bully,
nicknamed Cross-eyed Whittaker, commenced to tease and banter him,
Jack edged away as usual, but with eyes ablaze and fist clinched. He
saw that the bully was bent on showing off, and knew the time had
come to make the first stand for Jack. Whittaker was about the same
height, but much heavier in build than Jack. Finally, as the big one
got nearer and nearer and became more and more offensive, Jack stood
his ground, looking the bully over from head to foot, and suddenly
You miserable coward, you have picked on me long enough. Now let me
alone or take the licking that you deserve.
The other boys, of course, jumped up and gathered in a ring. Fight!
Fight! was yelled by a hundred throats, as all rushed to where the now
angry combatants faced each other. Jack stood poised on one foot ready
for any emergency. All at once he spied the crony of the bully
sneaking through the crowd of boys to get behind his chum. When the
latter saw his pal his courage increased wonderfully, but ere he had
time to put into execution the thoughts uppermost in his mind, Jack
made a feint, a step back and then a lunge ahead with a right-hand
smash just as he had seen his father hit the board, and the bully lay
at his feet writhing and kicking in defeat.
Whittaker took the licking very much to heart, and he carried a scar
on his lip, caused by Jack's blow, to his grave. Jack heard
occasionally that the bully had sworn to get even, but as time
passed and their pursuits carried them into opposing channels,
Whittaker soon became a school-day reminiscence and later was not even
remembered by name.
Jack's school days came to an end and he went into his father's mill
to work, learning the various methods of flour manufacture and manner
of marketing the product. The business did not seem to take his fancy.
Something wrong in the industry, he would often say to the boss
miller. Here you work this mill day and night, turn out three hundred
barrels of flour every twenty-four hours, yet lose money on the product
half the time. Six months of the year is a loss, but none of the mill
owners can give the reason why.
You're right, kid; but that ain't nothin' to me to figger out. I've
been dressin' mill stones an' cuttin' them burrs ever since I was your
age, an' it's allus been the same. Sometimes it's the wheat, sometimes
the weather, but in the end it's as you say. P'raps it's the farmer,
who asks too big a price.
No, it's not any one of those causes, said Jack, meditatively.
It's that big engine down there eating up coal and the carrying charge
to get the flour to market. That's what ails the business. Look, now;
see that farmer with a load of wheat on the scales. There's father out
there taking a handful out of one sack and a cupful out of another.
(Look out, dad, you may strike a nest of screenings shot into the
middle of one of those sacks with a stove pipe.) He's bought the load
and now it's going into the hopper, where it will in all probability be
mixed with inferior grades. Then people complain the flour is no good,
and you grind up a lot of corn meal and feed it back into the flour, or
regrind with some middlings, until one can't tell whether it is flour
or hog feed, and where are the profits? Now, let me tell you. I was
listening the other day to that little alderman over in the second
ward. He was talking politics and business, and when he was not
roasting 'Bob' Ingersoll or General Grant he was making fun of Illinois
River millers. He saidand you know what a big voice the little fellow
hashe said this: 'There's a town up by St. Anthony's Falls that will
turn out more flour in a day than we turn out in a week, and you know
we are some pumpkins with our flour barrels, ain't we?'
Say, kid, you're sure of what you just said? asked the miller,
Sure as I live, replied Jack; why?
Well, I'm goin' up to see that bit of water near St. Paul.
The nearest town is Minneapolis, a little suburb of St. Paul,
answered Jack, remembering his geography lessons.
Between oiling machinery, sacking bran, sewing flour sacks, heading
barrels, sweeping, and occasionally learning his trade, as he called
it, over in the cooper shop, Jack got to be pretty well posted on the
manufacture of flour, but he did not like the business and finally gave
it up, deciding to take up the mercantile sphere and quit the field
wherein the foundations of the most gigantic fortunes were just ready
for the superstructureflour, oil, harvest machinery and provisions,
to say nothing of the contributory railway and telegraph business. He
went to Boston, secured a position in a large wholesale establishment,
lived in one of the beautiful suburban cities which surround the Hub
on three sides, and there learned the lessons of prudence, sharp buying
and economical, labor-saving methods, which were in contrast with the
wastefulness and unsystematic methods prevalent in the great west. Not
long after Jack was well established his father packed up the family
belongings and moved where he could be with his son.
In a little country village fifty miles from Boston, on the
Newburyport branch of the B. & M. R. R., lived Hazel Hemmingway. When
Jack Sheppard was a pupil of Miss Freeman's in the old red school house
back in the hills of western Massachusetts, he divided his apple with
Hazel, dragged her white sled up hill in winter, and in summer made for
her peachstone baskets, which he whittled out with his Barlow knife.
There was no girl in all the world to Jack that compared with the
brown-eyed, brown-faced Hazel, and no boy in the school got so many
cookies, bon-bons and dainty notes slipped into arithmetic or grammar
as did Jack.
The parting when Jack's father moved to the west was full of tender
good-byes and promises to write real often on the part of
bothpromises which each faithfully kept. As the years passed Mr.
Hemmingway became interested in a shoe factory in the eastern part of
the state and moved his family to the thriving little manufacturing
town. The correspondence continued between the twain, and when Jack
returned to Boston a girl to womanhood grown knew that a supplementary
reason caused the young man to select Boston, and that she was the
supplement. Of course no one else ever dreamed the truth.
It was not long after Jack was established in the Hub that he made
the first visit to Hazel in her new home, spending the Sabbath in the
quaint old place which was within the pale of influence spread by the
historic witchcraft of the ancients. The renewal of that childhood
acquaintance needed no flint and steel to ignite the tiny spark of
smouldering fire into a flame of enduring love. Jack sat dignified and
martyr-like while the minister preached upon the evils which beset the
young and dangers to the worldly-minded. The vain glories of dress and
fashion are an abomination of the Lord, said the man of God. Jack
moved uncomfortably in his new suit of clothes, while Hazel from her
choir seat telegraphed her convictions that the dominie was right, just
to plague Jack. And when the admonition came, He that loveth pleasure
shall be a poor man, Jack said to himself, A whip for a horse, a
bridle for an ass and a rod for a fool's back.
At last the fourthly came to an end and so did the church service
for the morning. Jack and Hazel wended their way to her home, where
dinner awaited them, after which followed a walk under the far
spreading elms that arched the roadway, and as they walked they talked
of childhood pastimes, joking each other of forgotten jealousies, or
dwelling upon indelibly impressed, attaching episodes, the remembrance
of which were souvenirs, non-negotiable and indestructible. They had
left the little village behind and reached a large pine grove where the
Sunday-school picnic was annually held. Seating themselves upon a
rustic bench, Jack told of his life in the far distant west, as the
states bordering upon the Mississippi River were then called, finishing
with his return to the east and plans for the future. Hazel was an
attentive listener, interrupting occasionally to inquire what Gertie
Whitcomb looked like, or if Eva Duncan was freckled, or Nellie Courtney
a good skater, as Jack included them in his biography of events.
Not that it makes any difference, Jack, but Iererjust wanted
to know, said Hazel, with the least bit of suspicion in her manner.
As he told of fastening Nellie's skates for her and of the lovely
ice, the big crowds on the lake, and what a pretty girl Nellie was,
Hazel kept time with her dainty foot kicking her broad-brimmed leghorn,
which dangled by the string from her hand, finishing by poising the hat
on her toe while she disinterestedly remarked, Those western girls
have such large feet; I suppose they have no trouble standing up on the
ice, a remark which pleased the young man immensely, although he
essayed no response.
When Jack reached his plans for the future Hazel became even more
inclined to worry the historian by a rapid fire of insinuations.
I suppose you will have to go on the road and take long trips out
west tosell goods? Shall you have the choice of territory when you
get to be a salesman? Do those western stores carry as fine a line of
goods as our folks do in the east? The styles out there are about two
years behind ours; don't the girls look old fashioned? To all of which
Jack had one answer, Yes.
You can stop saying 'yes' all the time.
I will, Hazel dear, on one conditionthat you say 'yes.'
Yes, demurely answered Hazel.
Just then from a near-by hillside came the tattoo welcome of a cock
partridge drumming for his mate, the measured, gradually increasing
roar making the woods resound as Mr. Grouse beat the hollow log upon
which he strutted up and down until his coquettish spouse approached
within sight of her liege lord. She came, pecking negligently at snails
and bugs, missing them oftener than hitting them, but she didn't care.
She scratched at imaginary seeds, inattentively awaiting his pleasure.
As soon as the cock perceived his bride he spread his tail like a fan,
clucked a welcome and flew to her side.
There, my dear, said Jack; that is the way you must obey me when
I am lord and master. Be very meek and let me do the splurging.
And don't I get a chance to say a teeny, weensy word? Have I just
got to listen, and watch the man of the house dry the dishes, get the
breakfast (if we can't have a domestic) andHazel rolled her eyes
mockingly meek and with her hands Now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep fashion,
continued, match samples for me at the store? Jack capitulated; his
grandeur collapsed all at once and nothing first, just as bubbles do
when they burst. Two merry peals of laughter echoed through the
Sh! Jack, it is Sunday. I forgot all about it, and we must go home.
Papa will wonder where I am, and a little red spot burned on each
cheek as she surmized what papa would say when he found out that the
young man from Boston proposed to splurge.
But Jack's splurging was all make-believe. In the shadowy recesses
of the great elms, as they retraced their steps toward the Hemmingway
mansion, a manly arm stole about the waist of the lithesome girl, whose
demure yes had to be sealed in order to make it real. Mr. Hemmingway
was in the library as they entered the house. Jack nudged Hazel at the
portentously contracted brows of papa and the stern look of inquiry
which followed. Hazel quickly stepped into the hall, leaving Jack
Papa, JackMr. Sheppardwants to speak to you a moment, then she
flew past the meekest man that ever tried to splurge.
Mr. HemmingwayJack got that far and it seemed as though every
whisker in that stern face became a bristling bayonet. I think you
must be able to guess my mission.
What? Nono. Jack, youwhy, you are but a boy, and HazelA
softer, kindlier expression crept slowly into the face of the man whose
only daughter he suddenly realized had become a woman. Jack, I moved
here to keep my childto get her away from thefrom theit is no
use, though. I guess you will be good to her. Let me see, you are the
boy who got such an awful whipping once because you would not be a
tell-tale, and a boy that has that kind of grit, I guess, is the right
stuff to be my son-in-law. Hazel
The stern old man went out upon the lawn as Hazel re-entered the
library. A noise as of some one vigorously using a handkerchief broke
the stillness, but even then the old man chuckled as he saw two figures
silhouetted upon the curtain. Celebrating my consent, I guess, he
Hazel, you had better pull down the green shade. Then to himself,
These children have no conception of the propriety of things.
CHAPTER II. ON THE FIRING LINE OF
The summer vacation period found Jack among the old hills of Bozrah,
his first visit to the scenes of his childhood since making Boston his
home. Six years' business and social life in and about the Hub
launched Jack upon the world a polished gentleman, refined, cultured,
energetic, well qualified to step into a position demanding more than
The first panic in his experience had unsettled values, trade was at
a standstill, confidence was lacking, men hoarded their wealth and the
wheels of many mills ceased to turn, while mill hands idly walked the
streets or sought labor in distant parts of the globe. The great
electoral dispute of eight to seven still rankled in the minds of
many, while those who cared not for that controversy found themselves
unable to entertain the problems of manufacture until the changes
anticipated in the tariff should be made by congress. Realizing that
the east gave little promise or opportunity for a young man, Jack
concluded, soon after his vacation ended, to resign his position and
cast his lot with the pioneer on the frontier, or, at least that he
would visit Denver and see what the chances were there.
The breaking off of fast friendships was keenly felt; business and
social acquaintances admired his grit, as they called it, but were
skeptical as to the ultimate results. Hazel had become a frequent
visitor at the Sheppard mansion and made it her home-in-law, as she
called it, whenever fancy took her cityward. She happened to be there
when Jack declared himself.
I've resigned my job and am going to Colorado within a month.
Jack Sheppard! What? Going to Colorado? Going to leave Boston?
Indians! You'll come home without any scalp!
Such was the chorus which greeted his simple announcement. Hazel
cried, his mother cried, his sisters moped around, and his father
patted him on the back. Go and see the world, broaden out, the
experience will be worth the cost, even if you don't stay, he said,
with lots of emphasis on the experience.
Five days from Boston to Denver. Everything was the old, old story
of farms, villages and small cities until the train left Kansas City,
then the arid plains opened wider and wider, the towns grew farther and
farther apart, less and less in size until what was marked a station on
the trip ticket given him by the conductor proved on arrival to be a
platform, a water tank and a cowboy straddle of a buckskin,
white-eyed broncho. These scenes in truth were new and Jack's
experience had commenced. Occasionally the water tank was supplemented
by a saloon. Great herds of cattle grazed along the unfenced right of
way of the railroad, and the treeless expanse of never ending brown,
sun-burned, alkali-spotted plains wearied the eye, the mind and soul in
their wretched monotony. The slow-going fire wagon, drawing its
burden of weary humanity, puffed laboriously along the hot iron pathway
toward the setting sun at a speed so slow that many a cow puncher
tested the mettle of his hardy, sure-footed pony to the discomfiture of
the iron horse and its attendant.
Antelope raced with the train and buffalo stood defiantly in the
wallows, their lop-ended bodies appearing strangely out of proportion
for sustaining the equilibrium necessary for feeding, fighting or
flying. Prairie dogs barked their squeaky warnings, and wise looking
little top-heavy owls flapped their wings lazily in an attempt to rise,
only to fall awkwardly into the next dog village near by, as the train
rumbled through the sand-duned desert. But all things have an end. So
did the first journey to Denver. Within a week Jack met a mountain
guide who told of the deer, the bear, the trout in Middle Park. Within
another week he had purchased an Indian pony, saddle, and provisions to
last two for seven months, agreeing to follow the guide and trapper in
his winter's occupation of securing pelts for market.
It took a month to reach the final spot selected for a cabin on Rock
Creek, during which time Jack met many of the brave and weather-beaten,
buckskin clad frontiersmen living on the firing line of civilization at
the very threshold of savagedom. Men who drove the rude stakes marking
pioneer advancement into the soil wrested from its occupants by
purchase from a broken down dynasty, claiming discovery, a nation whose
bigoted avariciousness blinded its foresight to the end of bartering
away its last foothold on the great American continent.
The incidents from Denver to Rock Creek Jack enumerated in an
improvised journal, greasy from continued usage in his endeavor to let
nothing escape the record.
First night: Slept on the floor of a grocery store, twenty miles
from Denver, a buffalo robe between me and the boards.
Second night: Slept in the hay in a barn at Georgetown.
Third day: A. M. Homesick. The trapper not ready to go into Middle
Park; must wait four days. All my money left in Denver. Supposed we
would have no use for money, as all our worldly provisions and needs
would be on the wagon or pack animals, but the provisions are coming by
rail and we eat at a restaurant in the mining town where the railway
terminates. As my money is gone and no provisions here, I am at a loss
to satisfy hunger.
Third day: P. M. Heard some dogs barking away up on the side of the
mountain; asked the butcher if he would buy a wild goat if I killed
one. It was goats that made the dogs bark, goats that once were
civilized but had strayed away and became wild. Shouldered my rifle and
climbed that awful stretch of snow-covered slide rock at the imminent
peril of starting an avalanche and destroying the whole town. Killed a
goat, a black one. Shot him in the shoulder just where Swiftfoot, the
scout, would have planted a bullet, but the goat would not or did not
die, so I shot him again through the neck. Then I plunged my steel into
him and saw the life-blood gush all over me and the snow, then I
dragged the goat by his horns down the mountain side. There were places
so steep that the goat went faster than I did, so it was a case of goat
dragging me. Finally landed at the same time the goat did, at the
bottom of the long gulch; tied the goat's legs together and hung him
across my back on my rifle barrel. Walked unconcernedly past the
butcher shop to the restaurant, where I deposited the goat on a box in
the back yard. The perilous adventure netted me my meals for four days,
three dollars in United States money and one Mexican dollar. I was not
Another interesting item in his graphic description of the country
so new to him:
We left Georgetown in early morning to cross the range. From timber
line on the eastern slope of the great Atlantico-Pacifico water shed,
winding around Gray's Peak, serpentinely descending to the Frazier
River through Middle Park to our cabin site on Rock Creek one hundred
and fifty miles, is one unbroken cheerless blanket of snow, covering
irregular sage brush grown mesas sloping to the river banks, along
whose sides grow stretches of heavy, coarse grass suitable for
wintering hardy, range-grown stock. Cultivation of any of the land is
still an unsolved problem. The residents of this great unregistered
section live in log cabins. Neighbors are 'near' who occupy claims
within ten miles of each other. The one county, Grand, represents more
territory than Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island put
together. No section lines mark the maps, no organized arrangement of
district or circuit courts interferes with the 'administration' of
'justice' when disputes have to be adjudicated. Generally the one
quickest with a gun has the law on his side. The people are willing to
share beds and grub with each other and strangers; a feeling akin to
insult being awakened if payment be tendered for hospitality even of
several days' duration, excepting, of course, regularly established
quarters where stage coaches change horses and provision is made for
the accommodation of summer tourists. Every man is a blacksmith,
carpenter, tinker, tailor, cook, chamberman, physician, nurse, even
undertaker and grave digger when occasion demands. The food is the most
primitive known in a civilized landbread, venison or elk meat,
occasionally antelope, bear, mountain sheep, always bacon and black
coffee, and dried prunes, peaches or apples furnish fruit if the
ranchman's ambition fires him sufficiently to stew sauce. Occasionally
a ranchman has milch cows, which add butter and cream to the simple
fare. Vegetables are a scarce commodity, except for a case or two of
canned corn, tomatoes, succotash and baked beans, the latter being a
dish utterly impossible of being prepared in high altitudes without the
aid of baking soda to soften the bean; even then unless great care is
taken the alkali spoils the flavor of this toothsome Boston creation.
Buckskin and heavy woolen underclothes form the general run of
garments, an outer protecting duck coat and overalls being worn to a
large extent. White goods as wearing apparel, table or bed furnishings
are seldom found, much less used. Time is reckoned by 'sun ups,'
'snows' and the mail carrier. In event of the latter being a day late
or ahead, the fact is recorded, or every one would eventually lose
complete track of dates, Sunday likely as not being observed in name in
the middle of the week.
Jack kept his record straight for a month and then lost the
combination entirely for eighteen days. There were no churches, no
schools, and but one voting precinct in the whole of Grand County. Ward
primaries had not been established and politics centered in a justice
of the peace, sheriff, and county judge, none of whom accumulated
wealth from office emoluments.
On Thanksgiving Day Jack's last officially correct entry in his log
book noted the thermometer as frozen up, subsequent days for a long
period recording a little colder, much colder, terribly cold.
The fifth day from Hot Sulphur Springs found the trapper and his
pupil on the west slope of the Gore or Park range, encountering a
terrific snowstorm, in the midst of which they stumbled into a band of
elk which made Jack forget all his troubles of keeping the trail, the
difficulty of keeping the big wagon box on runners from upsetting and
himself from freezing. As the big animals loomed up in the clouds of
snow flakes driven pitilessly into his face he suddenly recalled the
oft-told stories of buck fever, and for fear this dread disease would
shatter his nerves he waited the arrival of the experienced trapper.
The band was moving slowly down the ravine, not seeming to notice their
Shoot 'em, why don't you shoot? Careful now, and get that big bull
with his flank turned toward you. There, give him another, quick!
Again! before he gets out of sightyou've got him! And Jack saw his
first wapiti plunge to his knees, recover, bound sideways and then
again lunge with his nose plowing deep into the snow, his hind legs
straining at the earth for a support, only to sink in a last effort,
and the monarch of the forest was Jack's prize. It was but a few
moments' work to knot a lariat to a hind leg and by the aid of his
Indian pony drag the carcass to a tree, hang the body out of reach of
wolves and coyotes, then seek a suitable location for a camp, which in
that storm was no easy matter. For hours it had been unload, dig the
sled out of a deep bank of snow, load up again and flounder a few rods,
only to repeat the process. The diversion of killing an elk gave a rest
of half an hour, then another attempt was made to cross a small park
before night should envelop them in her black mantle. About half way,
however, the horses floundered into a drift which accumulated over the
spongy surface of a willow-banked ravine, the sled pitched its nose
down deep, the trapper swore, and Jack wanted to.
Guess we better 'cache' our stuff and get over thar in the timber
and let the 'dod gasted' blizzard play itself out, said the man of
many winters' experience. You have done mighty well for a tenderfoot.
An old-timer couldn't have done better in tramping snow and breaking
trail than you have. This is about as bad a storm as you will ever get
into. When it snows so you can't see the horses' heads in front of you
it gets about the limit.
Can we find the provisions if we leave them here? questioned Jack.
Yes, you get that long dead sapling over there and we will stick it
up beside the pile, throw that wagon sheet over the top, and then we'll
drive some tent pins to fasten the corners to. There nowHi! there,
you! The horses gave a pull and the almost empty sled followed. In a
few minutes the edge of the timber was reached and Jack commenced to
scrape away the snow preparatory for a camp fire. The old trapper
decided it best to put coverings on the horses and turn them loose. It
was too stormy to picket them, too cruel to tie them up short, and
unless blankets were fastened on them they would make a bee line back
to Hot Sulphur.
When Jack had broken dry twigs from the ends of overhanging branches
and found a blazed spot on a pine tree which promised a good
pitch-soaked kindler, and gathered a lot of dead timber, he made ready
to light his fire. The wind drove the snow in avalanches. No one could
ever light a match in that gale, and when he reached the time for
lighting, he found but one match. He had lost his tin matchbox and the
stock box was in the cache, which was by that time under two feet of
snow. Carefully making a little lean to out of a rubber blanket, he
first warmed the match against his flannel shirt up in the armpit, to
absorb any dampness in the sulphur, then with trepidation and fear he
carefully drew the yellow end across the inside of his duck coat, a
crack, a choking cloud of sulphur, a sputter of burning brimstone blue
and feeble, then a stronger yellow flame and the camp fire was assured.
Throwing off the lean to the wind drove the flames against the big
pile of firewood and soon the cheerful warmth melted a space in the
snow big enough to call a camp. It was no easy matter to cook supper,
and there was little comfort standing around afterwards, so both made
ready for bed. The lean to was again the resort for a shelter for the
night, as a tent could not be made secure in that storm in frozen
Carefully fastening one end of the canvas to the wagon, and pegging
the other to the ground near the fire, a bed was improvised with the
rubber blanket next to the snow, then the blankets, eleven in all, the
lean to tucked in all aroundand Jack went to sleep with the wind
driving its icy breath through the thick pine forest or shrieking as it
caught the naked, ghostlike branches of a leafless aspen. The morning
found them almost buried under the snow, but none the worse otherwise.
It was noon before the horses were found and brought back by the
trapper, and that evening the camp was pitched only a mile from the
other side of the cache. The storm went down with the sun and the
cold intensified until the biting blasts hurled across the open gate to
Egeria Park were to the unprotected face like knife slashes.
For two days melted snow had served for cooking, drink for horses,
and washing purposes. A good square meal had been impossible to
prepare, and a hungry night was in prospect for both man and beast. The
trapper declared he would not turn the horses loose that night, so
picking out a sheltered place among the pine trees he tied up all but
Ned, Jack's Indian pony, halter lengths, covered them with blankets
and harnessed to keep the blankets on. The tent was pitched in a long
deep cut, dug into an immense snow bank, to all appearances a part of
the big drift after it had been arranged for the night. The intensity
of the cold was estimated at fifty degrees below zero and six pair of
double blankets weighing eight pounds per pair were used as covering
(Jack was actually tired when he awoke, from the weight of the
bedding). Single thicknesses of blankets had to be drawn over the face
to keep it from freezing. But with all these hardships the young man
from the States thrived and grew hardy. No such thing as a cold or
bodily ailment of any sort attacked either one.
The next night found them camped in a protected ravine near a stream
from which water was obtained and some pretensions to comfort
prevailed. For the first time elk meat formed a part of the evening
meal, and a feeling of good cheer followed a hearty repast. The next
morning as Jack climbed the side of the long south slope, covered with
stunted sage brush, to get the horses that had found plenty of feed, he
came face to face with a tawny-skinned animal that came up out of one
ravine as Jack emerged from another, about a hundred yards apart. No
firearms, not even a hunting knife, were at hand. To flee would be but
an invitation to tempt the mountain lion to possible attack, so Jack
sauntered along, carelessly as he could under the circumstances, in the
direction of the ponies. The lion kept on his own course, crossing
Jack's path and eventually disappearing in a deep arroya, or gulch, all
the while turning his head from side to side watching but not
attempting to molest either Jack or the horses.
The next camping spot selected was on the bank of Rock Creek, where
a bend of the stream deflected by high rocks left a well timbered,
protected area, surrounded on three sides by precipitous slopes of the
adjacent benches covered with sage brush, these benches or mesas
extending to the high ridges towering above, one facing the north, the
other the south, the former bleak and covered with deep snow, the
latter, warm and sun-kissed, furnishing feed for horses. The building
of a cabin occupied a few days, which, when equipped with a fireplace,
a bunk having about eighteen inches of spruce boughs as a mattress, and
other frontier conveniences, made a trapper's home.
Deer were abundant. In an evening or in the early morning hundreds
of the great muleheaded species could be seen winding their way to and
from the feeding grounds, or wandering aimlessly about. Traps were set
out, bait doctored with dead medicine or poison tacked to trees and
stumps where foxes, wolves and lions were likely to find it, and the
regular life of catching fur was commenced.
A band of Ute Indians that had left the White River Agency
established their village two miles below the cabin at a point where
Rock Creek joined another streamToponas, or Ponyand then flowed
on to its confluence with the Grand River. These Indians became
visitors to the cabin and among them Jack found one, Yamanatz, a
friendly and peaceable savage.
The village was destitute of food and ammunition, in fact, no means
were at their command for obtaining game, therefore they heralded the
trappers' arrival with gladness, for they expected to be able to obtain
powder and bullets with which to obtain venison.
The second visit Yamanatz made to the Rock Creek camp, he was
accompanied by his beautiful daughter Chiquita, a girl of seventeen,
richly attired in beaded skirt, leggings and moccasins. She rode
astride of a magnificent chestnut brown, full-blooded Ute pony, a large
Navajo blanket drawn tightly about her, Indian fashion. She carried a
bow and from her back hung a quiver of arrows. Her well molded face was
set in its frame of straight, black hair, braided in two long strands
into which were interwoven pieces of lion skin, beaver fur and other
bits of medicine charms to drive away evil spirits. A string of elk
teeth adorned her neck and bands of heavy silver ornaments bedecked her
Indians are similar to other folks in many respects. A proper
introduction generally puts them on a gracious footing. It did not take
long for Jack and Chiquita to strike up a fast friendship, and the old
adage of feed the brute held good with both Indian buck and maiden.
The cabin was but partly chinked when the old trapper announced
his intention of going to Hot Sulphur Springs.
I left the old woman without enough wood and must go back to cut
some for her. Then there are some other matters to attend to which will
take a week or ten days, after which I will come back and bring what
mail is at the Springs for you, he explained.
Little did Jack realize, in fact, he did not suspect, there might be
other reasons for this sudden determination on the part of the trapper.
It did not occur to him the seeming folly of a man leaving his wife
unprovided with wood. The trip of a hundred miles or more in the dead
of winter over unbroken trails was not so much of an obstacle for a man
experienced in mountain life; but he did not then know that the Utes'
camp was made up of some of the worst characters from the White River
Agency, nor that the band was there against the wishes of Indian Agent
Meeker, who had requested their return more than once.
Jack took the matter as one of the peculiar incidents in a trapper's
life, for he had learned that a trapper has no conception of time, no
thought for the days ahead, no particular object in view beyond
existence, and no ambition beyond that of the prospector who indulges
his fancies of striking it rich some day.
Jack knew there were plenty of provisions to last until summer, that
the trapper would leave two horses and the sled, besides quite a
valuable lot of traps, et cetera, which would insure his return sooner
or later, so there were no misgivings when the mountaineer mounted his
horse and rode away.
He busied himself day after day and accumulated furs and knowledge
of frontier life.
These were the surroundings in which Jack found himself three months
after leaving Boston.
CHAPTER III. CATS, TRAPS, AND
The steady life of a trapper had become regular diet to Jack, as day
after day he visited old traps, set out new ones and explored territory
farther away from the cabin. The Indians were daily visitors whether he
was in camp or not, but they never molested anything, no matter how
curious or hungry. They were seemingly good humored, even though there
appeared an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. The first episode to put
him on his guard was when one of the Utes, Bennett, hid behind a tree
near the camp fire outside the cabin. Yamanatz was there in his
customary place, squatted upon the ground. A strange dog ran in and out
of the place and Jack inquired of the old Ute how the dog happened to
be there. Yamanatz, unconcerned, replied, Me dunno. This puzzled
Jack, but he went about his cooking, carefully watching the trees and
rocks. He felt for the first time a species of alarm. Again he
inquired, Ute dog, mebbe so?
Jack knew no white man would go along that trail at that time of
year without stopping to say How! In fact, there was no white man
within forty miles, except old Joe Riggs, and old Joe would be there
with the dog if the dog was Joe's. The suspense had a sudden
termination as the muzzle of a rifle mirrored in the sunlight, just
the tip of the muzzle being thus accidentally disclosed. Quick as a
flash Jack pulled his six shooter, cocked it and held it level at the
tree where the bright steel was in full view. Yamanatz made neither
sign nor comment, but Jack felt that the cunning old chief was fully
aware of all that was going on. Very soon the edge of a woolen turban
cap appeared opposite the rifle muzzle, then an ear, then a little of
the chin and finally the eye of Bennett looked straight into Jack's six
shooter. With a bound the joker jumped from behind the tree and, with a
laugh which could have been heard a mile, and in which Yamanatz joined,
came forward, palms outward, signifying peace, exclaiming, White man
no 'fraid; heap big joke, heap big joke.
But Jack began to feel that these jokes might end in something
serious, especially if he showed the white feather in the least.
The next day he returned from the traps just as the last streaks of
sunlight were tipping the tops of the cañon where Rock Creek dashed by
the cabin. Yamanatz sat by the cold camp fire in the same place and
same position in which Jack had left him after breakfast, six hours
before. Of course, Jack was surprised at this and wondered what it
meant. As Jack swung into the open space Yamanatz immediately arose
with hands outstretched, the palms well up towards the comer,
accompanying the action with this eager outburst:
Yamanatz heap glad to see white man Jack; Colorow come. White man
gone. Colorow heap mad, want to see white man. Me tell 'em white man
gone, Colorow follow white man; byme by Antelope come look for Colorow;
Antelope go back Indian village by Pony Creek. Antelope tell Utes
Colorow mean mischief; Colorow's boy come byme by look for Colorow;
when Yamanatz tell Colorow's boy 'Colorow follow white man,' Colorow's
boy heap 'fraid, say: 'Mebbe so Colorow meet 'em white man Jack.' Then
Colorow's boy go Indian village. Sun lowChiquita come, no find white
man, go back Indian village, mebbe so white man see Colorow?
Jack, of course, was nervous. Alone in a wild country that was alive
with wild game, ravenous wolves, mountain lions, bears and hostile
Indians, he realized what a novice, a tenderfoot, a fool he was, or
would be, to put his ignorance of frontier life against the cunning of
the old chiefs, but he answered quickly,
Me no see Colorow. Then taking courage by the kindly look in
Yamanatz's eyes, Jack said slowly, taking Yamanatz's hands in his own.
Mebbe so Colorow want to kill white man Jack?
Yamanatz shrugged his shoulders but made no answer and Jack
If Colorow meet white man, Colorow got no bulletsgot
knifesuppose white man kill Colorow, will Utes kill white man?
Yamanatz evaded the question but made the reply: Colorow heap bad
Indian, mebbe so make heap trouble. Utes 'fraid Colorowbig chief
'fraid Colorow. White man mebbe so kill Colorow, no tell what 'em
happen. Old Utes not much care. Antelope, Bennett, Douglas, Washington.
Mebbe so heap mad, kill all white men if white man Jack kill Colorow.
In this honest avowal Jack found little comfort, but Yamanatz's next
words gave him a hope that all might be well.
Utes got no lead, no powder, no deer meat. Mebbe so Colorow take
many ponies, go Sulphur Springs, get 'em bullets, bacon, flour, then be
good Injun till all gone.
In this logic of plenty to eat lay the safety of the white trappers
for that winter, so Jack prayed fervently for the early departure of
the Indians for Sulphur Springs to the end of his own personal safety.
He knew now that certain sign language the Utes had so often indulged
in represented Agent Meeker in his attempts to teach the Indians how to
plow; that bits of tragic, practical joking were tests of his own
bravery, and that the uneasy red devils but waited opportunity and
excuse for an uprising, after they should obtain the necessary
munitions of war, of which they had none.
Chiquita grew more and more interested in the ways of the pale face
with each visit, and Jack found her waiting for his return oftener,
even following him portions of the route in his attentions to the
traps. Her desire for knowledge seemed to him incomprehensible and old
Yamanatz was equally at a loss to understand why his daughter should
prefer to hear about her white sisters' habits and what they did,
rather than matters of more moment. When she finally told Yamanatz her
desire to do wonderful things, such as building a big medicine tepee
with lots of Indian maidens in medicine clothes to care for the sick,
the aged and infirm, the old chief's face gladdened and his actions
spoke louder than words, so that Jack knew it was safe to humor them
both in their dream.
Within a few days Yamanatz sprung a joke on Jack that left Bennett's
fun hanging high and dry on the trees. Chiquita had arrayed herself in
more gorgeous raiment than had been recorded of a society debutante in
Indian storiesbeaded cape, waist, shirt, leggings, and moccasins;
medals of gold, silver and pewter; ornaments of brass, tin and iron;
necklaces of elk teeth and grizzly claws; hair decorations of lion
skin, beaver and otter fur, and in her hand a rawhide shield just
dazzling with highly polished brass knobs. Her bright eyes fairly
danced with joy as she posed before Jack in her Sunday best. Yamanatz
watched her with that same benevolent kindness which characterized him
above other Utes. After the usual salutations, the old chief took a
leather bag from the saddle and opened it, turning its contents upon
Jack's best dish towel, which happened to be near. To say that Jack's
heart jumped is drawing it very mild. The contents of the bag were gold
nuggets from the size of a mustard seed to a navy bean and there was at
least a quart.
Yamanatz saw the sparkle in Jack's eyes and laconically remarked,
Heap big gold mine somewhere? asked Jack,
To which question Yamanatz made two repliesMe dunno; mebbe so.
Jack waited for him to continue, wondering what reason the two Utes
had for appearing as they did, one in royal raiment, the other with a
good sized ransom, for Jack estimated that there was twenty pounds of
pure gold worth twenty dollars an ounce, or in all nearly five thousand
Does the white man sabe? again inquired Yamanatz.
Me no sabe, no sabe, Jack shook his head.
Chiquita now spoke up. Does the white man sabe, what you call 'em
when white sister learn A, B, C?
Chiquita shook her head.
College? asked Jack.
This time she nodded her head and pointed to the gold. How much
cost Chiquita in college?
It dawned on him that Chiquita wanted to go to college and that
Yamanatz would furnish the necessary money to defray the expenses.
Visions of a red savage in full forest costume ascending the steps of a
great university or college was too much for Jack and he had to laugh,
much to the disgust of his friends, but he quickly restored good faith.
Yamanatz put his finger to his tongue, indicating that he did not
lie. Yamanatz's tongue not split, no lie. Yamanatz show white man Jack
heap big pile gold, some for Jack, some for Chiquita. White man take
Chiquita, do as Chiquita say.
Jack was puzzled; he thought they were bargaining in a matrimonial
deal, and he saw a little brown-eyed girl back East peering through the
camp fire at him.
Chiquita, however, came to his rescue. Yamanatz has said it. White
man take Chiquita college. Chiquita learn, heap study, make Chiquita
like white sister. Yamanatz show Jack heap big mine, lots gold, some
for Jack; some for Chiquita.
As he at last comprehended this great undertakingthe stupendous
task of educating a blanket Indian girl in a modern college of refined
CaucasiansJack was dismayed, even more so than the matrimonial
possibility had suggested, for he could get out of that, but here was a
poser. Perhaps the colleges would draw the line on Indians as some
institutions did on negroes. As he made no answer Chiquita continued.
How many moons take Chiquita college?
Jack answered slowly, Take Chiquita four snows little A, B, C's,
two snows big A, B, C's, four snows college.
Both Yamanatz and Chiquita understood, and Chiquita replied, Ten
snows Chiquita like white sister, know heap?
Jack nodded Yes, but in his heart he did not believe she would in
a hundred years be any more than a half-educated savage, under the most
Yamanatz then spoke up. How much gold Jack want make Chiquita like
Jack made a rough estimate and ventured at a thousand dollars a
year, Twelve thousand dollars.
Yamanatz could not understand so much money in American coin, so he
talked with Chiquita, then pointed at the pile of gold nuggets.
Jack held up three fingers, meaning three times as much to make
sure. Yamanatz looked scornfully at the three fingers, then pointed at
the big grain bag in which Jack had his sugar, saying, Yamanatz show
Jack where get a big bag full. Some for Jack and some for Chiquita, if
Jack promise Yamanatz take Chiquitabut Chiquita had to supply the
Jack pondered a long time while the would-be college girl and her
father watched his ever varying expression as he thought, How can it
be done? He finally agreed to make the attempt and replied: Jack will
take Chiquita to the A, B, C school, then a little bigger school, then
college. He will see Chiquita become a great queen if Yamanatz so
It shall be so. Yamanatz will show Jack a big cave of gold where
the sun goes down. Blazing-Eye-By-The-Big-Water, heaps of gold, and
Yamanatz will give it half to Jack, half to Chiquita and Chiquita shall
be a big queen. Then they both smoked the pipe of tobacco pledging
each in their mission.
Afterwards the more detailed plan was arranged. Yamanatz indicated
that in the early spring they would start for the cave of gold, which
he explained was in a great sun-burned valley where no life existed
except snakes and scorpions; furthermore, that the trip to the cave was
one of deadly peril and hardships.
The Great Manitou gave to the Utes this cave of gold. Many big
chief go to the land of the setting sun and bring back plenty gold.
Yamanatz the last chief who can show Jack, and when Yamanatz go to the
Happy Hunting Ground the big cave is all for Jack and Chiquita.
Solemnly he outlined all the details for the undertaking. As they
finished, Yamanatz gathered up the gold nuggets and handed the bag to
Jack, saying, This is for white manYamanatz has more.
Jack hid the gold in his war bag, after the chief and his gorgeously
arrayed daughter had gone, then he pondered long over the unexpected
mission upon which he found himself launched and his dreams were full
of colleges, gold mines and savages being educated.
It was nearing Christmas time and the snow was deep on the mountain
side. The warm sun penetrated the cañons but a few hours each day.
Chiquita had become a daily visitor to the camp fire, near which she
would sit and listen to Jack as he told of the wonders of the civilized
world. Chiquita knew many English words of common usage and Jack knew
as many Mexican, or rather a mixture of Spanish, Mexican and Indian,
which, with the sign language, did service in these conversations.
Tell Chiquita how many sleeps Rock Creek to Denver City.
Six sleeps, was the reply of Jack, meaning it was a six days' ride
Sabe usted the great white chief at Washington City? was the next
query, meaning the President of the United States.
Tell Chiquita how many sleeps on the cars Washington City from
Five sleeps on the cars Denver City to Washington City.
Jack happened to have in his kit a railroad map of the United States
and with this spread before them on a blanket, he would point out Rock
Creek and then explain the distances from one place to another, telling
of the great buildings, the industries, the immense amount of fuel used
in the big shops and the number of men employed in making guns, wagons,
saddles, harness, boots, blankets and the like, articles that appeared
in the camp and which were in everyday use at the White River Agency.
This was a very arduous but pleasing task, in that it required all of
Jack's ingenuity to portray the information intelligently, and
frequently Chiquita would be the instructor because of her better
ability, as a child of the forest, to convey thought by means of signs
and comparative objects. He taught her the alphabet, also words of one
and two syllables, and she showed how wonderful is the Indian mind in
its retention of the slightest impression when the will power to
receive it is acquiescent.
Tell Chiquita, does the white man's squaw carry the wood for the
fire so the warrior can cook his venison?
No, said Jack, laughing, the warrior of the white man is the
soldier at the fort.
Chiquita interrupted quickly, a deep scowl causing her inky black
eyebrows to meet over her flashing eyes, and with her head thrown back,
displaying the full, rounded throat, her beautiful arm bared save for
the wide beaded bracelets and amulets, she pointed to the sky, almost
hissing through her marvelously white teeth, Chiquita comprehends, the
warrior of the white man is the hired pale face, sent by the Great
White Chief at Washington City to slay my people; even now mebbe so the
hired man rides to take Chiquita back to the White River; but her
people are brave. Her people were as the stars above, as the drops that
make the big river, but they are gone to the Great Spirit, where their
ponies await their coming in the Happy Hunting Ground that the pale
face knows not of, and to where the spirit of Chiquita will some day
fly. Let the white man Jack beware. It is well for him that Yamanatz is
his friend, and Chiquita will see that no harm comes to the friend of
Yamanatz. Mebbe so Colorow is no friend of the white man Jack, but
Colorow has no bullets. The gun of Colorow is empty, but the knife in
the belt of Colorow is pointed. It is sharp and the arm of Colorow is
as the young tree, and his step is as the step of the fawn when the dew
is on the grass. Let the white man Jack beware. Colorow will come to
tell the white man to go to the land which was taken from Colorow's
people; that this is the Utes' land and that the Utes will no more let
the white man hunt the deer and trap the wolf, which run by the tepee
of the red man. So let the white man Jack be cunning and let not
Colorow find the white man asleep under the big tree.
She was all excitement. The cords stood out upon her graceful
throat, while her rounded cheeks crimsoned as the frosted leaf in the
autumn time. Jack was spellbound as the words of that eloquent warning
fell upon his ears, but at the last subdued, almost beseeching plea, he
started as if the knife was already at his throat, for it was but
yesterday, in the warm sunshine far beyond the snowy range, at noon
time, he had taken a short nap under a big pine tree, where a bed of
pine needles made an inviting spot, little dreaming that a living
being, much less an Indian, was within five miles of him. Chiquita
guessed his thoughts, and in that musical tone found only among the old
blanket Indian tribes, told Jack how she followed him and Colorow from
the camp on Rock Creek, fearing all the while that that cunning war
chief would slay the young man from the east and upset all plans of
Chiquita becoming a medicine tepee queen.
Chiquita knew that Colorow, of all the discontented Utes on Rock
Creek, desired especially to be rid of Jack's presence. That the old
warrior had a grudge against the trapper was evident, and the trapper's
departure, leaving Jack alone to attend to the traps, was to her mind
clear proof that Colorow had been instrumental in causing the
She had heard the leaders of the renegade band denounce all trappers
who sought the region contiguous to the White River reservation, and in
particular the trapper who had built the cabin on Rock Creek. She knew
that this trapper had the winter before wantonly killed seventy-six
elk, which he had stumbled upon in a little willow grown park where the
deep snow had stalled them, and that he did not kill any more because
his ammunition had given out. She knew that the Utes, as well as the
white settlers, had in unmeasured terms condemned this wanton slaying
of so much game, but she did not think this episode was the cause of
Colorow's animosity. There was but one reason that sufficed in her
opinion. She believed Colorow had told the trapper to abandon the camp
under penalty of death if he remained, and she reasoned that the
trapper went alone because he had been ashamed to tell Jack the truth.
Consequently Jack would be the next to go, and as she already knew that
Colorow had openly declared his intention of driving the young paleface
away, she determined to watch that cunning Ute every day and give him
no opportunity for any hostile movement against Jack.
The gray dawn of the day referred to in her impassioned warning
found Chiquita swiftly and silently making her way toward the Rock
Creek cabin, where she took up a position commanding a view of the camp
and the trails leading to it.
The first rays of the sun were just tipping the snow on the high
mountain peaks when Jack came from the cabin and proceeded to get his
breakfast over the camp fire. As Chiquita watched him she was tempted
many times to make her presence known, for the savory viands made her
heap hungry, but at last Jack started up the gulch on his rounds to
the traps. Chiquita knew that Colorow would put in an early appearance,
expecting to find Jack at the cabin, so she waited patiently. It was
not long before she heard the plaintive call of a camp bird mewing for
something to eat, and she mimicked it, saying to herself, camp bird
and Colorow all same. She carefully screened herself in the willows
and saw Colorow suddenly dart from one big tree to another, then creep
to a big rock, wait a moment and glide along until he was close to the
cabin. He waited some time, evidently reading by the signs of the
smoldering fire that the object of his visit had made an early start.
Seeing this, he boldly walked out and picked up the coffee pot. As it
was empty he threw it spitefully down into the ashes and looked for a
piece of bread. Being disappointed in this also he made a big fuss of
brandishing his knife, executing a few steps as though he had
discovered an enemy and in pantomime had slain and scalped him. During
this time he kept up a continual jargon of curses and imprecations.
Finally he drew back the blanket which constituted the door of the
cabin and peered in. Satisfied with his observations, he carefully
scanned the trail leading up the gulch, and seeing the fresh made
tracks, set out rapidly after Jack.
Chiquita followed, darting along from one side of the trail to the
other or diverging obliquely across portions of the territory which she
knew Jack had to traverse in order to examine the traps, knowing
Colorow would ultimately appear.
The sun had reached the meridian when she noted the Indian standing
under a big tree watching intently something not far distant from him.
Pretty soon she saw a thin spiral of white smoke gradually becoming
more dense as if from burning damp wood, and occasionally she could
hear the crackle of the flames. She knew Jack was busy getting a little
lunch. She scented the bacon as he toasted it before the fire and again
she felt that ravenous gnawing which now was doubly aggravating.
The cooking evidently made Colorow furious, for he vanished into
some brush and made noises as of a wolf growling with hunger just as he
prepares to tear at a bone. Then the Indian disappeared down the ever
handy gulch to watch Jack in his effort to find the wolf.
Jack proceeded to investigate, and, with gun ready, he entered the
brush, but there were so many signs of wolf tracks, fresh ones, too,
that he was at a loss to understand where they could so suddenly have
As he slowly returned to his lunch campa spot free from snow in a
little pine grove where the sun shone bright and warmhe passed very
near where Chiquita was hiding, and then discovered a moccasin track,
which he examined critically. He knew the track had been made since
sunrise, but could not tell whether before or after he started to make
his little camp fire. He carefully set his big boot alongside the
footprint, making a deep impression in the earth. He also deposited the
end of one of his rifle bullets in the moccasin track, feeling sure
that the owner of the moccasin was sure to discover the significance
thereof. Colorow saw the action from his hiding place, but well knew
that a hunting knife was of little avail against a fearless man
protected by a rifle, six-shooter and belt full of ammunition.
Jack looked at the sun, then at Rock Creek a long way off, and sat
down to smoke a pipeful of tobacco. The pleasing, soothing narcotic
made him drowsy and he fell asleep.
Colorow made a circle around the camp and in doing so discovered the
trail which Jack had made on previous trips from the little grove. This
led toward a big gulch which was divided at the lower portion by a
steep ridge. Colorow took the one showing the most usage and ambushed
himself in a thicket close to Pony Creek, at a point convenient to a
spot where Jack would be obliged to pass within leap of the hidden foe.
Here he waited.
Chiquita watched Colorow disappear down the gulch and divined his
purpose, then returned to see Jack as he awakened and witness his
surprise at having so forgotten his prudence.
Picking up his rifle and skins Jack started swiftly down the gulch,
intending to follow the one selected by Colorow, as he had some venison
protected by two big traps and was certain to get at least a bobcat
But at the last moment he changed his mind or neglected to watch the
trail and entered the left-hand gulch.
It was getting late when he discovered his error, but decided not to
retrace his steps, and the ridge was too precipitous to climb at that
Chiquita followed Jack to Pony Creek and on down to where it joined
Rock Creek. Then Jack went to his cabin and Chiquita to the Indian
village, where she later saw Colorow come in, baffled in his mission,
at least for the time being.
Jack now thoroughly realized the dangerous position in which he was
placed and made up his mind to protect himself very carefully against
any mishap. He knew that Colorow would not dare to attack him openly,
and that safety depended on constantly guarding against all chance of
Jack is heap glad to hear Chiquita tell of how she watches for the
white man's safety. Does Chiquita sabe? said Jack in a half apologetic
manner, speaking abstractedly and not knowing what was best to say
under the circumstances. His mind was taken up with the uncertainties
of good Indians. He wanted to trust Yamanatz and Chiquita, but did
not know how far either one would dare to go in their evident desire to
protect him. His recent talk with Yamanatz, of less than a week before,
was pictured vividly in Chiquita's story of her long day's tramp and
vigil over him, and he knew that if Colorow made any attempt at his
life in the presence of either Chiquita or Yamanatz, they might resist,
but even their resistance would possibly be unavailing.
Making an early start on the day following to go the reversed route
of the trip during which he had taken the nap Chiquita had so
graphically described, Jack found himself in the gulch where the
venison lay and a couple of bobcats in the traps near the carcasses.
Killing and skinning these took some time, and with the heavy pelts
added to a haunch of deer meat, Jack found it no easy task to climb to
the top of the snowy ridge, down which he must go in order to reach
camp. The frozen, well-worn trail he must reach before darkness set in,
but despite his most desperate exertion it was some time after daylight
had departed that he reached the long stretch of white covered slope.
Not a trail could he findnot a welcome footprint to guide him over
the deep ravines filled with snow, or away from precipitous rocks where
a misstep would land him far below. There was but one course to
takestraight down the mountain side. Throwing away caution, he
started on a swift swinging trot, each foot breaking the crust of snow
beneath him. Arriving at the edge of a ravine, which appeared only
smooth snow, he went into it up to his waist; then, thoroughly alarmed,
he struggled deeper into the ravine until the snow was up to his
armpits. His revolver was lost and wolves were already giving tongue to
dismal howls as the air carried to their nostrils the scent of the
venison to which Jack clung.
His unequal combat with the yielding snow gradually exhausted his
strength and, growing each moment weaker, tired nature finally
succumbed, and he fell unconscious. But the cold air quickly revived
him. Nearer and nearer came those dreadful deep-mouthed tongue signals,
augmented by additional ones from new directions and made still more
heartbreaking by the yippy-yappy of a bunch of coyotes which also
joined the big timber wolves. The six-shooter was found first, then
Jack used a little reason. Taking off his coat and placing the furs and
coat as a support on the snow, he rolled over and over until his foot
struck solid earth. Then gathering his furs and leg of venison, he more
carefully descended, his enemies keeping at a safe distance, for in
America wild animals of any sort rarely attack man when not molested,
even in the dead of winter.
Slipping and sliding, he at last reached camp, only to find both
feet badly frozen at the heels and toes. As he cut his boots off and
plunged his extremities into the cold water a whole lot of adventure
went out of his heart with the frost.
CHAPTER IV. OLD JOE RIGGS.
It was Sunday, the eighth day after Jack had taken that memorable
trip so near unto death. In the warm sunshine at Rock Creek camp the
major part of the day had been passed by the young hunter in writing up
his journal, carefully jotting down all the incidents of latest
development, even to the extra spread given in his honor to himself and
three imaginary guests. He, being present, had a good meal, but the
invited guests had to feast by proxy. The menu started with a hambone
soup, and a nice broiled mountain trout, captured in a big hole where
Pony and Rock Creek join forces. Winter trout being so great a luxury,
Jack forgot his table etiquette and asked for a second portion, and
being refused, he made a fierce onslaught upon the piece de resistance,
no more and no less than a blue grouse roasted before the fire, as they
roasted turkeys in the days of the Pilgrim Fathers. Jack used one of
the metal joints of the cleaning rod belonging to his rifle as a spit,
and as he turned the bird slowly and basted it with venison fat he
wondered, if his guests could really drop in for a moment, what they
would say about his culinary efforts. The bird was stuffed with real
sage dressing; not quite so good as mother used to make, as the
mountain sage is a trifle stronger. When finished the grouse was
garnished with juniper berries and spruce buds, these being the winter
food of the grouse. There was a distinct flavor of the juniper in the
meat. Then came an entree of young elk brains and another of Big Horn
kidney stew. Jack was shy on vegetables of any kind, except Rock Creek
baked beans, cooked all night in a Dutch oven sunk in the hot ashes of
the camp fire; two kinds of bread, baking powder and sour dough, the
first being hot biscuit, the latter nice big slices of cold white
bread, never free from the name it bears. Stewed prunes and baked apple
dumpling constituted the pastry, while black coffee in a tin cup and
sparkling Rock Creek water served for liquids.
Jack had finished the dishes, the last rattle of tin plates, pans,
cup and skillets had re-echoed from the depths of the china closet,
and he had settled himself for a chat with his pipe, when Chiquita
bounded into camp all excitement and panting for breath.
Colorow gone Sulphur Springs. Take 'em many ponies (counting forty
with her fingers). All Utes except old men and Yamanatz go too. Mebbe
so come back with bullets, powder, bacon, flour, and she stopped to
Jack contemplated, and while he did so Chiquita cast wistful eyes at
the remains of the midday banquet. The longing expression was not a new
one to Jack. He knew from experience that Chiquita was a good eater, in
fact all Indians had that failing, so he motioned the belle of the
village to a seat on the end of a log near by and proceeded to dish her
up a square meal. He knew that Yamanatz would be coming along soon, so
he reserved some odds and ends for him. When Chiquita had advanced far
enough so she could have time between mouthfulsnot bitesto answer,
Jack gave utterance to his thoughts.
Colorow's ponies make pretty big track in snowmake heap big
trail. Mebbe so good for two sleeps on high mountain where wind blow.
Chiquita understood and stopped her struggles, with a rib of venison
in one hand and a grouse wing in the other, long enough to articulate:
Chiquita comprehends. White man follow Utes; white man leave
Chiquita and Yamanatz to go Sulphur Springs, mebbe so Denver City.
Her smiles were gone, but not her appetite, as she renewed her
attacks on the remnant counter. Jack replied:
Mebbe so Jack be gone four moons. Come back when honeysuckle on
mountainside and cactus on plain in bloom. Will Chiquita and Yamanatz
go then with Jack to Blazing-Eye-by-Big-Water?
Jack decided to get out of the Ute country while the scalp was yet
on his head and not dangling at the belt of any warrior, or braided
into the make-up of any tepee pole. Just then the clatter of two ponies
down the trail caused him to look around. In a moment or two the
willows parted and Yamanatz, accompanied by a white man, whom Jack
recognized as old Joe Riggs, entered the camp. To Jack's greeting of
How? the newcomers both made response. Joe inquired as to the
condition of Jack's feet, and upon being assured that those necessary
adjuncts to a man's safety on Rock Creek were in fairly good order, the
cattleman suggested the opportunity presented for Jack to make an
attempt to connect with civilization.
Old Joe Riggs was known from the Cache le Poudre to the Rio Grande;
to cowman, miner, prospector and goods store folks. Old Joe was a part
and parcel of the main range. Forty-niners had bunked with him and
fifty-niners had divided buffalo steaks with him, while sixty-niners
from Missouri allowed old Joe could rock a cradle or shovel tailings
from the sluice boxes, and seventy-niners found him as ready to take
his turn at the drill or windlass as the best of them. In appearance
old Joe was a weird, uncanny being that made the creeps run up and down
one's crupper bone. Seated upon a chair in a room full of average-sized
people, Joe appeared a dwarf. His anatomy seemed to rest on the ends of
his shoulder blades, while his knees formed the hypothenuse of an
inverted right-angle triangle. When standing he overtopped every man in
a regiment of six-footers. His arms swung listlessly to his knees from
the shoulder socket, as if lacking in elbow joints, terminating in
hands fashioned more after the talons of an eagle than those of a human
being. His nose was also like the beak of that fierce bird, while his
chin retreated from his underlip in a direct line to the Adam's
apple. High cheek bones and protruding forehead caused the deep sunken
orbital spaces to appear sightless, except for the nervous batting of
his eyelids. His shoulders were broad, but being thin chested, he was
short on lung capacity, which caused a most extraordinary mixture of
guttural whispers and shrill wheezes every time he tried to talk. His
strength was prodigious, and on more than one occasion he had won his
drink by taking hold of the chines of a full barrel of liquor, raising
it from the ground to his lips and drinking his fill from the bunghole.
The most startling of all, though, was his wardrobe, and it was an open
secret that Joe had his surname thrust upon him by reason of the
various rigs in which he was clad. As the winter season approached and
Joe got cold, he would appropriate any and all old garments he could
find lying around loose; old pants, overalls, shirts, vests and socks
which others had cast away as useless. These he would patch and sew
together where necessity demanded, lengthening or widening, and pull
one garment on over another. In this semi-annual outfitting he would
appear one day with overalls reaching just below the knees, the pair
under them revealing their frazzled ornamentations for a foot or
more. The next day, as like as not, he would find an old pair of red
drawers, and these would go on right over the last pair of overalls.
When the spring came and warm weather got the best of his clothes, Joe
proceeded to divest himself of a lot of useless and uncomfortable rags,
for by that time they could not be called garments.
Joe at the present time was conducting a vest-pocket ranch on the
sunny slopes of the cedar-treed hills rising from the Grand River
tributaries and in what were termed warm holes, being little areas of
sage-brush covered mesas found upon the banks of the streams. These
miniature parks were quite fertile in bunch and even buffalo grass, and
varied from five acres to a whole section in extent. His herd of cattle
consisted of two heifers, six old cows and ten three-year-old steers.
This constituted the nucleus of an expectant million-dollar stock farm.
It represented more than the average fortune accumulated by constant
and attentive prospecting for forty years.
Joe's hint at the opportunity of connecting with God's country
struck Jack as a coincidence upon which there might turn a contingency,
so he reasoned with himself: Why does Joe think I might want to get
away from the Indians? Does he think I will desert my camp outfit and
provisions? Besides, what is the old trapper to do when he returns?
These questions were immediately answered by the cattleman just the
same as though Jack had asked the information point blank, a proceeding
which added to the weirdness of Joe's presence, and the most uncanny
feature of it was the total inability of the hearer to locate whence
came the sound that emanated from that sepulchral living cadaver. No
lips moved in unison with a voice, nor even did the gleaming teeth,
just visible through the parted mouth, open or close as if responsive
to any oral exertions. The sound came from everywhere. Joe was a
Yer needn't be slow about gittin' away from Rock Creek ef yer want
ter go. 'Taint nothin' ter me. That ther' trapper ain't comin' back
'til ther beaver gets to usin' thar cutters on the trees a-buildin'
dams, an' then he won't cum back ef thar's goin' to be trubble. He tol'
me that ther day afore he struck out, savvey?
Jack did not need to have the cabin fall on him nor an upheaval of
the earth to realize that the trapper had cut loose from the Rock
Creek possibilities. There was an ominous silence for a couple of
minutes. One thing was certain in the minds of the two white men,
alone, as they were, far from aid of any sort in the event of an
uprising, and the thought uppermost in both their minds was as patent
to each other as if branded in letters of firethe trapper had
deserted the tenderfoot.
As soon as this thought had coursed through Jack's brain other
thoughts surged one upon another in quick succession. Was it a frontier
conspiracy in which both white and red men were equally interested? Was
it a put-up job between the trapper and Joe and the Indiansmerely a
coincidence in the commission of the trade? Perhaps the trapper had
sold the camp outfit and Joe had come to take possession. This last
thought made his heart sick, for he knew only too well that he could
make no resistance except that which would end in a tragedy. Again the
supernatural mind-reading Joe proclaimed himself in a few disjointed
sentences, but to Jack they were most welcome in their honesty of
purpose and implication of the trapper as a coward.
I reckon yer might be calkerlatin' on what yer would do with this
yere plunder, said Joe, as he pointed at the camp outfit, the
provisions and the furs hanging on the side of the cabin. Continuing in
that monotonous sing-song of gutturals and whispers, he allowed the
plunder belonged to Jack, for the trapper had acknowledged as much.
That trapper got 'skeered' of Colorow and lit out. Mebbe yer don't
know it, but the Utes don't like him any too much, and when Colorow
said 'Vamoose' yer pardner left yer to yer own cogitashuns. He tol' me
that nothin' in the camp belonged to him; thet 'twas all your'n except
the traps and harness. 'Taint likely he'll come back 'til next March,
so ef yer don't want ter stay 'til then yer'll have to git a move on
yerself. Thet trail won't stay open an hour on the high divide, but yer
can rastle a couple Ute cayuses through ten feet of snow like a hot
bullet goin' through a piece of ham fat, and onct on the other side of
the divide it will be an easy trail to Kremling's, at the mouth of the
Big Muddy. Yer don't need ter take much along. Yer will be out but one
night, and mebbe yer will git ter the old hunter's cabin about forty
mile from here 'fore that. Ef yer don't ther is a good campin' ground
on the crik in a big pocket five miles this side.
It did not take long to make a trade. Jack reserved his
six-shooters, blankets and three or four fine cat and fox skins. Joe
gave him a good Indian pony, a silver watch, and the balance in money
for the provisions, rifle, ammunition and other paraphernalia, except
the remaining furs, traps and cooking utensils, which were the
legitimate belongings of the trapper.
But the awful perils of a trip over an unknown trail in midwinter
rose up as a barrier between Jack and civilization. The night had come
on and Yamanatz, with Chiquita, as silent witnesses to the exchange of
chattels, sat beside the camp fire. Grotesque shadows wavered and
wandered back and forth in and out of the gloom as Jack replenished the
disappearing embers with new fuel preparatory to a pow-wow in which the
final arrangements were to be completed concerning his escape from Rock
Creek, his return later when the winter passed, when Yamanatz should
conduct him to the great gold deposit. It was a matter of a hundred
miles to the nearest ranch in Middle Park, before reaching which was a
divide, the top of which soared far above the surrounding hills, and
then came the Gore, or Park range, split by the Grand River into an
impassable cañon, along whose steep side ran the old Ute trail, up, up,
until it crossed the snow-covered summit beyond timber line, and thence
descended by serpentine and circuitous windings to the southern
entrance of the Park. From there to the ranch on the Troublesome was
open level country, across which was comparatively easy traveling. The
other pass over the Gore range, which was used by the trapper and Jack
when they made their incoming trip to Rock Creek, was already closed by
snow as far as travel by horses was concerned, and for that matter the
Ute trail was closed, except for being opened by the band of Indians
and thirty or forty ponies bucking their way through to Sulphur
CHAPTER V. THE CAMP IN THE WILLOWS.
The most difficult portions of the journey would be encountered the
first day over the numerous ridges of barren waste intervening between
Rock Creek and the high divide. Old Joe shook his head in uncertain
manner when Jack asserted his confidence in being able to follow after
Colorow. Yamanatz nodded in assent at the dangers confronted by the
dilemma of Jack's unfamiliarity with the trail, and then in that
portentous monosyllabic manner of Indians in brief words conveying
whole paragraphs of information but adding to the dismal forebodings,
White man all right. Plenty sign when trail in big woods. Heap sign
on big trees. Come big open, no trees, no sign; one look, two look,
three look, all same. All snow, no trail, no tree. Get lost; sundown,
no fire, no camp. White man cold. Pretty soon sleep; fall off pony;
sleep long time.
Then Jack knew that three looks would carry him from the top of
one high hill to the top of another, as far as the eye could reach to
the horizon, into a country absolutely treeless, and where even an
Indian would be lost if he had never been shown the trail. To attempt
the trip alone would be sheer madness and only result in that subtle
overpowering sleep into eternitydeath by freezing.
Yamanatz stopped speaking for a moment to give his hearers ample
time to fully understand him, then continued: White man sabe? Colorow
gone one sleep, mebbe so not make 'em Gore range. White man catch 'em
pony tomorrow. Two sleeps before can take 'em trail to follow Colorow,
sabe? Colorow mebbe so come back meet 'em white man. Colorow then heap
mad, no get 'em flour, bacon. Colorow, Antelope, Bennett all heap
hungry. White man no got 'em big gun; little gun not much good, mebbe
so? and Yamanatz lapsed into silence.
There was no need to ask anything more. The cunning old warrior knew
only too well the fate that awaited Jack if Colorow and his ugly
renegade Indians should fail to get through to Sulphur Springs and had
to return empty handed to Rock Creek. Old Joe knew, too, that his own
safety would be problematical, even with his years of familiarity with
the whole Ute tribe. The gloom that settled over them was full of
foreboding. Each one was striving to hatch out a plan that would dispel
the dangers now besetting Jack's safety.
It was useless to think of old Joe attempting the trip with Jack,
and Yamanatz made no sign of being willing to assume the role of guide.
At last as Jack was about to abandon all hope, Chiquita arose and,
crossing over to where Jack was, bid him to be of good cheer.
Pointing to the stars, she said: What Yamanatz has said is in the
sky. The Great Spirit who watches over the Indian maiden has told
Chiquita to lead the white man that he may go to meet his white
brothers. Chiquita knows the trail. Chiquita is not afraid. It is but
one moon since Chiquita's pony did paw the deep snow and carry Chiquita
on the big divide to meet the Ute braves coming from the Grand River.
One sleep, and the white man Jack must get his ponies, and two sleeps
before the sun shall show on top of the high mountain. Chiquita will be
ready at the tepee of Yamanatz to lead the white man over big divide,
where make 'em one camp for Chiquita and one camp for white man Jack.
One sleep and Chiquita say adios to white man, then come back Indian
village on same day. White man go to his white brothers on Troublesome,
then go long way Denver City.
Here was a dilemma that confronted Jack, even more embarrassing than
anything yet thrown in his paththe would-be leader of the select four
hundred at White River acting as guide over a wild country, to say
nothing of a one-night camp among the willows at the edge of some
little creek. It must have amused him to a great degree, for, serious
as it was, a smile lurked around the corners of his mouth, causing
Chiquita to become a little disdainful, as an Indian is very sensitive
to ridicule, but Jack quickly relinquished the comical side of the
question and his features again became as grave as those of old
Yamanatz. Old Joe was the first to speak:
The Injun gal is made of the right stuff and will pilot yer to ther
right place, an' she can take care of herself goin' an' comin'. I've
seen her throw that knife in her belt twenty feet as straight as yer
can shoot a bullet outen that six-shooter of your'n.
Then the old Ute spoke:
Chiquita all same Yamanatz show 'em trail to white man. White man
Jack could do nothing but take Chiquita's hands in his own and bow
his humblest thanks. It occurred to him he had an old sealskin cap in
his war bag and that it might please the dusky maiden. He soon produced
it and, with another friendly greeting, presented it to her. It was
lined with bright red silk, and she proceeded to put it on with the
silk on the outside, to which Jack made no remonstrance. Although it
made him bite his tongue, he did not crack a smile.
Yamanatz and Chiquita immediately started on the trail for the
Indian village. It was ten o'clock. After a chat with Joe they both
turned into the bunk, Jack to dream of home, sheets and pillowcases,
barber shops, chinaware and a real live dining-room table. It took all
next day and far into the night to get his Ute ponies in readiness for
Tuesday's long journey, but at last the packs were made up. Three days'
supply for two, of bread, bacon, tea and coffee, were made into a
convenient bundle, to be rolled into the blankets, which would in turn
be strapped behind Jack's saddle. All the other paraphernaliaIndian
moccasins, buckskin shirts, beaded tobacco bags and a real Ute war
bonnet, with lots of pipes, elk teeth, bears' claws, arrow heads and
Jack's clothingwere packed in rubber blankets, canvas covers and
grain bags, ready for the pack-saddle on the other pony.
It was just daybreak when Jack bid the old Rock Creek camp farewell,
leaving it to be put in shape by old Joe, who had helped the young man
from the far east in his preparations. Old Joe did not waste words in
his good-bye speech, but there was at least a perceptible tremor in his
voice and a decided reluctance in withdrawing his hand after the adios
shake. The Indian village was reached at exactly sunrise, and as a
chorus of yelping dogs greeted the arrival of the ponies, a few squaws
poked their heads out of the tepees, nodding a salute of recognition to
Jack. Chiquita was ready to mount her pony as soon as Jack gave her the
word. He had tightened the diamond hitch on the pack pony and his own
saddle girth preparatory for a long lope over the sage-brush flat that
extended from the Indian village across the small mesa at the foot of
the first hills, which form the steps of the high divide. Chiquita,
dressed in her buckskin shirt, skirt, leggings and moccasins heavily
trimmed with beads, quickly sprang into her saddle and pulled the
blanket up around her shoulders Indian fashion. Her hair hung in heavy
braids at either side of her cheeks, while the sealskin cap with showy
red silk lining crowned her head. Into the peak of the cap she had
thrust an immense eagle feather. The chorus of yelping dogs again took
part in the ceremony attending their departure. As they ascended the
first bench several blacktail deer ran directly across their
pathbeautiful animals that cleared the sage brush in graceful, easy
bounds, looking first to the right and then to the left, as much as to
say, Come on, I'm ready.
It was noon when the last long snow-covered ridge lay behind them.
For two hours it had been a battle with snowdrift after snowdrift. The
trail cut by the Colorow Indian ponies had been filled by the wind with
drifting snow until not a sign was left. Parapets of snow ten feet high
were encountered, which had to be cut and the trail again located by
Chiquita. First one pony would take the lead and, reared on his hind
feet, paw the snow down beneath him, while the next in line trampled it
a second time, until a cut was formed at a low point in that endless
chain of banks stretching for miles in either direction. Towering forty
feet in the air were mountains of the same dazzling white, which had to
be circled, sometimes leaving the trail to the right or left for a
mile. At times these detours were made only to be retraced because of
the impassable blockades rising in sheer precipices, and once the trail
opened by these detours was found to be refilled within an hour, so
fierce was that icy blast, blowing its wanton breath in seeming malice
against the weary beasts and their equally weary riders.
Jack had tramped snow for the ponies on many occasions when they
refused to move. Chiquita had lent her encouragement time and again as
Jack seemed ready to abandon the trip, but at last behind them towered
the top of the big divide, on whose crest ran a snow bank higher than
any before encountered. Giving a few moments' rest to the panting
ponies, Jack took the lead, for now the trail was easily discernible
and followed without a break, down, down, over and through a few more
banks of that mealy substance, affording neither footing nor shelter
for man or beast, until the warm forests of pine once more protected
them from the frightful cold.
At the first convenient spot Jack cleared away the snow from a huge
rock and soon had a cheerful fire roaring, which furnished warmth to
their numbed bodies; then from his tin cup in which snow was melted he
brewed a refreshing draught of tea, which, with a bite of frozen bread
thawed out on the hot rock, appeased their hunger for the time being.
By the aid of a pocket thermometer Jack ascertained the temperature to
be 36 degrees below zero. The sky was clear, but even at the edge of
the timber a thousand feet below that terrible snow-turreted ridge the
wind screamed in its fury and pierced the heavy garments and blankets
within which Chiquita and Jack were encased. The ponies humped their
backs at the lee side of the fire and seemed grateful for a few
mouthsful of smoke in lieu of a wisp of dry buffalo grass. Conversation
was almost impossible, as words were not audible three feet distant.
Both were too numb to talk, and it was difficult even to eat. The half
hour at an end, Jack struck into the trail, leading his pony. Chiquita
had not dismounted since leaving the Indian village, and was getting
pretty stiff with cold. At the end of another half hour she managed to
make Jack hear her, and after considerable trouble he found a log by
the side of the trail, where she could stand and swing first one leg
and then the other to restore circulation. After ten minutes' vigorous
exercise she remounted, and the little procession again started through
the down timber.
They had reached a portion of heavy forest that had been ravaged by
timber fires. Miles and miles of immense trees lay in chaotic
confusion. Tall spires of limbless bark-burned pines stretched eighty,
one hundred and even a hundred and fifty feet skyward, the
weather-beaten trunks white with the storm-scouring of years. Through
this desolate stretch of ghostyard (a veritable birthplace for spooks
and goblins, the terror of that docile animal known as the Rocky
Mountain canary, but usually called a jackass) the party moved in
silent Indian trot, each step taking them nearer and nearer the warmer
region of cedar, piñon and sage brush, through groves of quaking asps,
whose leaves in the summer time never cease their eternal and restless
quiver and upon whose smooth trunks were Indian signs galore. On the
larger and older trees could be found those subtle knifecuts, conveying
intelligence through representations of chickens, horses, snakes,
hatchets, knives, guns, arrows and other characters which in the past
had warned of the approaching enemy or told of the chase, of the
success or the defeat not only of Utes, but of Sioux, Apaches,
Arapahoes and Kiowas. Many an hour had Jack spent in studying these
trees which are scattered over the Rocky Mountain region, bearing whole
histories, trees generally found within an altitude of 6,000 to 8,000
feet above sea level.
It was not long after passing through this belt that they came to
the south hillsides, whose slopes were free from snow and where the
runways for deer, elk and mountain sheep became more and more numerous.
Stocky little cedar trees stretched forth their long arms over the
trail, sending forth fragrance of lead-pencils and giving a slap on the
face if the rider neglected to duck in season to avoid the branch.
Entering a sage-brush covered mesa, immense jack-rabbits bounded hither
and thither, sage hens flew up with a whir of their wings and the
shrill scream of an eagle greeted their ears as if to warn them against
entering his domain. As the trail led them nearer and nearer to the
banks of a good sized creek the ponies became restive, and finally the
pack animal resorted to that well-known method of suggesting that it
was time to make camp by buckingnot a stop in the bucking process
until blankets, bags and bundles were scattered for a mile over the
sage-brush flat. It was an hour's work for both Jack and Chiquita to
get the plunder together and again pack it on the refractory cayuse,
and it was all the more aggravating, as it was only a couple of miles
from the spot selected for camp.
Arriving at a bend in the creekrather it was a fair sized
riverthey proceeded to make the best of everything at their command.
There was a space along the edge of the river about two hundred feet
wide, covered here and there with wild rye, at the roots of which was
dried buffalo grass. This strip of land ran back to a cañon wall, a
precipice some forty feet high, sheer and without foothold for even a
wildcat. Thick willows grew along the base of this wall, and it was but
a few minutes after the ponies were relieved of their saddles ere Jack
had selected two favorable spots which would afford reasonably good
beds, one for Chiquita and one for himself. Cutting away the willows up
to the wall in a narrow space just big enough for one to lie down, and
forming a mattress of others occupied but a little time. Meanwhile,
Chiquita had brought driftwood and dry sticks until an immense pile of
fuel was in readiness for the long night. The ponies were picketed, one
on each side of the camp and the third one close to the edge of the
stream, forming a guard past which no wild animal would attempt to go.
It was now dark and the ponies were foraging for buffalo grass, while
Jack toasted some bacon on a stick, made coffee in an old baked-bean
can, which he had thoughtfully tied to the pack-saddle, and toasted the
frozen bread on a hot rock. During the early dusk the mew of a
plaintive camp bird gave notice that that mountain sentinel was at
hand, and the handsome gray-coated camp follower would spread his
black-tipped wings and fly down to the edge of the fire, looking for
crumbs and refuse of the kitchen. Chiquita gave him a few morsels,
but there was little to spare from the stock at hand.
After they had satisfied their hunger Jack and Chiquita settled
themselves for a long talk. It was the first opportunity that had been
presented since old Joe and Yamanatz interrupted them the Sunday before
after the six-course banquet Jack had given his eastern friends by
The ponies tugged at their picket ropes, wandering around in search
of overlooked patches of grass. Occasionally a wolf howl mournfully
awakened the stillness of the gathering darkness, to be answered by
others of the same species, each animal in the common quest of
something to eat, and all probably attracted by the camp fire and its
A first-quarter moon shed its cold, silvery light on the drama at
the base of the precipitous rock. The air was crisp and still. The
splashing stream dashing its burden along the confines of its narrow
channel to the Pacific Ocean was the orchestra, keeping in touch with
the scene, staged by no artificial hand and curtained by the
star-spangled canopy of night. The camp fire sent showers of sparks far
aloft and its warmth unloosened the tense-drawn muscles, every one of
which had been called upon to its utmost capacity in the battles that
the weary travelers had encountered with the snowdrifts. Jack lay
stretched upon the sand by the fire, while Chiquita stood beside him.
They had recounted the perils of the day and had outlined their
respective trips for the morrowshe to face again the dangers of the
divide and go back to the uneducated, primitive life of the forest man,
degraded by the deceits and intrigues of the avaricious, land-grabbing
representatives of schools, colleges and institutions, proclaiming the
law to be justice, he to face the vicissitudes of an unknown trail, the
possibility of meeting a murderous band of these forest men while on
his way back to that realm of advanced civilization, educated to the
highest degree of refinement of doing others legally.
Both had remained silent for a long time after the exchanges of the
day's experiences. Jack wanted to express his gratitude to Chiquita for
her bravery and self-imposed task in conducting him over the trail, for
he now fully realized the certain death that awaited him had he
undertaken the trip alone. But he was not master of words that the
Indian maiden would understand in their fullest import, nor did he hope
to be able to convey by signs that which was uppermost in his mind.
It may be Chiquita read his thoughts, but was equally at loss to
find adequate words to impart any assistance. Finally, after many
misgivings as to what she might consider an ample word reward, he
started in at random:
Chiquita sabe that she has been good to Jack?
Me no sabe, Señor.
Jack was nonplussed. In her he found the same ability to dissemble
that predominated in the well-known character of the first lady in the
Garden of Eden. He tried to recall some Spanish words that she might
understand, but none of the few which he essayed to use met with any
Chiquita heap brave, said Jack, to which she made no reply.
Chiquita save Jack; make 'em glad Jack's heart. What Jack do to
make Chiquita's heart glad?
He at last had struck the right chord, as her face beamed with a
glad response, but it brought questions causing a train of thought
which made him smile even at the risk of incurring her displeasure. To
express gratitude to an Indian requires much more diplomacy and skill
than is required under like circumstances in civilized communities.
Would the fair-faced sister of the white man save Jack all same
Chiquita? Would the pale-face maiden bring firewood and sleep in willow
bed to save white man's life?
Her eyes blazed in the consciousness of knowing that in the present
age on the American Continent no white woman had ever been put to a
like test. Whether she felt this intuitively or whether she had learned
it from the squaws who had visited the big cities as they recounted the
adoration extended by the male to the weaker sex as a part and parcel
of civilization, it matters not.
Jack knew that he was at as great a disadvantage in her presence as
if at the mercy of the divinest coquette in all of God's country. He
essayed to answer, but something restrained him. It was not fear; it
was not because he had his own misgivings on the subject, nor was it
because he had no ready reply. Nevertheless, he waited and in his mind
he tried to picture one of the belles of society bucking snow to save
some football graduate from death, or one sleeping in the open air,
without a chaperon, and a man in the same cañon. What would Mrs.
Grundy say? Of course he thought of the story by an eminent author
where there was a scuttled ship laden with gold, a clergyman and a rich
man's daughter cast upon an unknown island, and Jack acknowledged he
had never heard of Mrs. Grundy making unkind remarks about that tale.
But that was the result of accident, and mortuary tables classify
accidental risks in a category by themselves.
Chiquita had suggested the society belle who would voluntarily give
up half her estate for a real live, accidental romance that did not
incur too much danger. Would she leave her maid and steam radiator and
in the midst of a western blizzard sally forth to carry coal up three
flights of stairs to a poor, benighted student, and then sleep on the
doormat, for any reward there might be in store for her, either from a
consciousness of having performed a creditable act or because she loved
Of course, Jack knew there was no occasion ever presented where a
loving young thing, just out of the sixth grade, had been called upon
to carry anything any more formidable than a bunch of roses to a sick
friend, and the modern equipages splashed only a little dirty water
over roads well kept from snowdrifts by indulgent taxpayers. Still, the
question had been asked, and he manfully determined to stand up for the
fair ones across the range.
Si, Señorita Chiquita, the Indian maiden has said it. The
pale-faced sisters of Jack would save their white brotherseven their
red brothers and their black brothers. The fair sisters of the white
man brave death in many ways for their white brothers. See, Chiquita,
the medicine tepee of the white man is great as the high rock. It has
many beds, more than the number of all Yamanatz's ponies. The young man
who makes the gun, the maiden who makes the pretty cap mebbe so breaks
the leg. Mebbe so the big steam cars come together all in big
smashkill many, heap hurt all. Then taken 'em to white man's medicine
tepee. Medicine man tie up head, arms, legs, and white maiden in
medicine clothes, all clean dress, white cap, red cross on the arm,
give sick man medicine, wash sick man's hands, feet; give little
something to eat, sit beside 'em, feel of hot head; stay all day, stay
all night; watch 'em little blood knocks on the wrist, count all same
on little watch. Mebbe so one get well, go way, good-bye. Mebbe so some
die, go way too. Some more come bad hurt. Mebbe so like mountain fever;
mebbe so heap sick inside. Big medicine man takes little knife, cut 'em
all open, so. Cut out big chunk, mebbe so little chunk, all same; sew
'em up again, so, sabe? White maiden stand by, help big medicine man.
'Nother medicine man stand by give 'em heap strong stuff on cloth,
sabe? Sick man all same breathe 'em in, byme by go sleep; no feel 'em
knife. Big medicine man heap cut. Sick man no feel all same. Byme by
wake up. Heap sick now long time; mebbe get all well; mebbe so one
moon, mebbe so two moons; mebbe so die. All same pale face maiden heap
brave; save many white man like Jack.
Chiquita never took her eyes from Jack's countenance. That she fully
understood every phase of the hospital life as portrayed by him was
evident from the dilated nostril, the wide-open eyes and the tumultuous
heaving of the bosom through the heavy folds of her buckskin. She
waited a full two minutes after Jack had finished, and then in a voice
just above a whisper asked: Will the white man Jack take Chiquita to
see the medicine tepee of the white people that she may see the fair
white sister in her medicine clothes?
Jack little realized that he had touched the one chord in Chiquita's
character that she yearned to follow. The imaginings of her young life
had met with no sympathetic response. She revolted at the cruelty often
displayed by the warriors in the Indian village, and the atrocities
committed on captives while she was but a child were hideous
Jack quickly replied: When Jack comes back to go with Yamanatz to
Blazing-Eye-by-Big-Water then Chiquita will see big medicine tepee in
Denver City and the fair sister in her medicine clothes.
Will Jack come back Rock Creek when beaver cut 'em big tree? asked
the Indian girl.
Jack figured that April would be early enough, and even that would
require him to use snowshoes a great part of the distance. The Berthoud
pass would not be open until June, and he doubted if the snow would be
passable for ponies on the high divide they had just crossed, but the
Gore range could be crossed farther north and obviate the high ridge
and its deep snow.
Jack will come back the first new moon after beaver begin cut. Will
Chiquita be in tepee near Pony Creek or White River? He both answered
one question and asked another.
Me no sabe where Chiquita then, she replied, in a rather sorrowful
tone, continuing: Mebbe so all go to agency, mebbe so stay on Pony
Creek. White man no find Chiquita on Pony Creek, go all same agency
find 'em Yamanatz. Where Yamanatz there Chiquita wait for white man
That being settled, Jack took the blankets and distributed them on
the willow beds. He then replenished the fire with some half-green logs
pulled from a pile of drift wood, examined the picket ropes of the
ponies and lit his pipe for another smoke. Chiquita wrapped herself in
her blanket, tucked herself into a big wildcat-skin bag, which made a
part of her bed on the willow branches, and was soon asleep.
Through the rings of smoke which curled from his pipe Jack sensed
the future, as a spiritualist would say, and, realizing that this would
in all probability be his last night of outdoor life for some time to
come, he was loath to close his eyes in sleep, shutting out the grand
retrospect of independence which a few months' experience on the
frontier had taught hima life absolutely free from conventionalities,
police interference and taxes.
No wonder, he soliloquized, that the red man prefers the avenues
of the forest, the virgin plains of grass, the rugged cañons running
with sparkling water, the smoke of his tepee fire and a starry dome for
his homestead, to the cobblestones, the plowed ground, the artificial
goose ponds, the greasy-surfaced rivers, the steam-heated,
foul-smelling hothoused monuments of man's industry and civilization.
The ponies snorted as though an intruder was lurking on the
outskirts of the camp. Jack kicked one of the smoldering logs and a
shower of sparks were borne upward into the dark night air. A few
moments later and the prowler's deep, dismal howl wafted along the
river course, supplemented by the short, snappy yelps of half a dozen
coyotes. The interruption was ended and the man of the house again
lapsed into speculation.
Who would believe that Jack Sheppard would be here alone with that
Indian girl in the middle of January, over a thousand miles from his
home, where are velvet carpets and feather beds for old folks,
eiderdown quilts for his sisters and probably a good hair mattress and
blankets for the butler?
Knocking the ashes from his pipe and placing that article of luxury
safely in an Indian-beaded buckskin tobacco pouch, he drew one foot up
and clasped his hands over the greasy overalled knee, resting his back
against one of the log divans which go to make up every camp, even be
they temporary ones. He had divested himself of his outer coat and
relied upon the heavy buckskin shirt and the camp fire for protection
from the cold. Long strings, demanded by frontier fashion, dangled idly
from the sleeves and yoke of the garment. As he silently contemplated
his wardrobe he gave an additional sigh and wondered, almost aloud:
I suppose these will have to give way to a 'biled' shirt,
tailor-made clothes and white collar, to say nothing of getting a
This last think made Jack unclasp his hands rather hastily, but
having assured himself that his hair was still intact, he gave vent to
If I were to walk into that Sunday-school class of mine, of
ten-year-olds, in this rig, I wonder if the shorter catechism would
stand any show?
With a smile he proceeded to throw on a couple more logs, refresh
himself with a drink of water and, having divested himself of his
boots, using a saddle and coat for a pillow, he pulled the blankets
around himself and was soon fast asleep.
[Illustration: THE CAMP IN THE WILLOWS.]
He was awakened by snorts of all three ponies. The fire had burned
out with the exception of a bed of coals glowing in the deep black
night. The watchdogs of the camp had crowded up to the lengths of
their picket ropes, getting as near each other as they could. Jack
slowly raised himself to a sitting position and listened attentively.
Peering out through the willows he could see, by the restive tugging of
the ponies at their fastenings with the pricking of their ears toward
the high precipice, that the cause for alarm did not come from inside
the cañon. Cautiously putting on a pair of moccasins, which he always
had near him at night, he picked up his .44 and was on the point of
stepping into the open by the fire, when from above came a screech, a
long cat-like growl of defiance, yet defeat, that made the cañon echo
and re-echo with maniacal vocal debauchery. Jack's heart, it is
needless to say, quit doing business peremptorily for at least thirty
seconds. His eyes followed the ear-vanes on the ponies' heads, and just
at the edge of that breastwork of rock could be seen two golden discs
as big as car wheels, Jack thought. A greenish glare as of a halo
surrounded the yellow spots, and occasionally the bright spots suddenly
disappeared only to shine forth again appallingly bright. It was a
mountain lion taking snap shots while it speculated on its appetite.
Jack stepped out and gave the end of a burned log a kick into the hot
coals. Millions of sparks flew up. The big lemon-colored orbs slunk
back out of sight and ten minutes later the faint repetition of the
first number proclaimed the concert ended.
The big dipper pointed to 3 o'clock. Throwing on some more fuel
the fire blazed high. Chiquita thrust her head out of the environments
of the fur bag and sat up in the willow retreat. Me want 'em drink;
mouth heap dry, was the laconic remark she made to Jack as he
acknowledged her wakefulness. Giving her a cup of water, he referred to
the visitor just departed, to which she scornfully replied:
Heap big coward, big cat with long tail. Little cat with short tail
all same like this bag, no coward. Big cat all same you call 'em lion,
no catch 'em ponies, Indian or white man, all time afraid. Big cat
catch 'em rabbit, lame deer. Mebbe so heap hungry tackle 'em big elk;
drop from big tree on elk back. Big cat, little cat, wolf, bear, no
come near camp fire. Look at camp fire long way off. Chiquita no fraid
when all 'lone.
With this piece of information, with which Jack was already
acquainted, they both resumed their interest in the land of Nod.
The bright winter sun had not mounted far enough in the heavens to
shed any warm rays into the camp when Jack pulled on his boots and
poked the fire preparatory to an early breakfast. The ponies did not
look as if dyspepsia troubled them, nor did Jack feel overburdened with
belly worship. The little larder was a hollow mockery to the knockings
of a ravenous appetite. Jack concluded that a well-fed discretion was
better than hungry haste, so he meandered down the river in search of a
rabbit, while Chiquita attended to her morning ablutions. About the
time that the average city girl would have consumed with curling tongs,
cashmere bouquet and in getting her hat on straight, Jack returned with
a nice fat jack of the lepus cuniculus family, all ready for
the coals. It did not take long to cook the choice cuts from the
delectable portions of Bunny. The seasoning was rather crude,
consisting of powder taken from a misfire cartridge, which Jack
happened to have in his belt. But saltpeter in gunpowder is better
than no salt at all is an old axiom among hunters. This addition to
the hollow mockery larder sent their spirits up to the top of the
A burned hare is worth two in the bush, said Jack, as he
irreverently twisted a trite quotation and rabbit leg. But Chiquita
kept right on in her argument with a section of the vertebra just
roasted on a forked stick.
After the first pangs of hunger had been somewhat appeased the
Indian girl said to Jack, What you call 'em little things use all same
knife when eat off tin plate?
Jack recalled the fact of some cheap silver-plated forks that made
up the camp kit.
Forks, he replied, adding, as Chiquita seemed to want further
information, The fair sisters of Jack no eat 'em venison with fingers,
all same Chiquita. Think 'em Chiquita wild girl. When Jack come back
bring 'em forks and spoons for Chiquita.
To this she seemed satisfied, but remarked: Mebbe so fingers pale
face girl good play 'em tom-tom, make 'em beadwork, wash 'em tin
plates. No good catch 'em pony, cut 'em firewood, make 'em buckskin.
With this she scornfully turned her lip up in a manner that made
Jack laugh outright, a proceeding that always made Chiquita's eyes snap
with dangerous fire. He quieted her by pointing at the sun as an
indication that it was time to say adios. The ponies were brought up
and quickly saddled, Jack's belongings packed in the most approved
fashion to stand another hard climb over the Gore range, and Chiquita's
restive Bonito carefully cinched for the return trip to the Indian
village. The last point of the diamond hitch had been made and the
rope drawn taut; the last knot had been tied over the roll of blankets
behind Jack's saddle, and the last of the morning's banquet had been
divided between the wayfarers, whose journeys would in a few moments
lead in opposite directions. As Chiquita arranged herself on the back
of Bonito she looked wistfully at the sky and surrounding peaks. Me
make 'em Yamanatz tepee sun here, pointing halfway down the horizon to
Jack signified his expectations by remarking, rather dubiously, Me
mebbe so get to Troublesome heap dark.
Following the direction of Chiquita's finger as she pointed to the
high divide where the previous day they had battled long in the deep
snow, Jack felt some misgivings as to the Indian girl being able to
ride the big drift down. But the confidence she enjoyed in her own
ability to stand hardship and the additional reliance she placed in the
thoroughbred Ute pony was summed up in her one decisive comment,
uttered almost imperiously, at least scornfully:
Bonito take Chiquita through deep snow like big fish go through
foaming water. Wind all gone up there now.
Jack threw himself into his saddle and reined up beside the future
medicine queen of the White River Utes. She drew from her bosom a
beaded buckskin bag, from which she took a pair of beaver's jaws, the
short teeth bound with otter and a long strip of mountain-lion fur
bound firmly around a braid of her own hair. She handed them to Jack,
saying in a low, almost beseeching tone: Will the white man Jack bring
em back Chiquita's medicine teeth when the beaver cuts the trees?
It was a great sacrifice to part with the medicine, to which all
Indians pin their faith. Otter and mountain-lion fur especially is
woven into the long straight braids of both buck and squaw to drive
away evil spirits, and Chiquita evidently had been to a good deal of
trouble to obtain the prescription from the head medicine man for her
own use. The beaver teeth were symbolic of the time when Chiquita
expected Jack to keep faith with her. His reply was made while the
palms of both hands were stretched toward her, the fingers pointing up.
Jack will come, then pressing his knees against the sides of his
pony, he leaned over and, after a quick hand grasp, bid adios to the
smiling daughter of Yamanatz.
An hour later he had reached the end of his first look. Scanning
the side of the high divide he could see Bonito lunging forward into
the deep drifts skirting the top of the divide. Presently the pony
stopped and turned broadside toward him. Looking intently he saw
Chiquita wave a farewell response by means of a small silk flag
handkerchief which he had given her upon the first visit to Rock Creek.
Signaling a return salute by means of his sombrero, he waited until
Bonito disappeared into that fortress of snow, knowing that once over
the crest ten minutes would be sufficient time to make the crossing in
safety. As she did not reappear, Jack struck boldly into the trail,
which now led him by easy stages up toward timber line, the dark
rushing waters of the Grand River hissing and seething far below him.
At the entrance to the cañon, where the warmer current of air met the
colder wave from the snow-covered mountainside, huge bristling bayonets
of frosted rye grass waved their menacing blades at intruders.
Lattice-worked ramparts of ice and snow were veiled with filmy curtains
bespangled with millions of scintillating diamonds, the congealed
breathings from that steaming throat, through which ceaselessly poured
the mountain torrent in its strenuous effort to join the ocean.
Jack looked wistfully at the scene and sighed that a spectacle of
such rare beauty could not be shared by his eastern friends.
The tortuous trail often led to the edge of a precipice, where the
slightest misstep of his pony would have hurled both beast and rider
into a frightful abyss. At other times the narrow pathway meandered
serpentine fashion between pine trees so thickly interspersed that the
pack would wedge first on one side and then the other, to the imminent
destruction of Jack's belongings.
CHAPTER VI. THE RANCH ON THE
It was pitch dark when Jack rode into the corral at the ranch on the
Troublesome. After unpacking and storing his trappings he went over to
the ranch house. Several Ute ponies were in the corral. Their presence
puzzled him, and as he entered the log house what was his surprise to
find himself in the presence of Colorow, Bennett and Antelope. Old
Tracy, the owner of the ranch, greeted the newcomer with a merry
Howhowwell, beat my brains out with a straw ef I tho't of a-seeing
you afore spring.
Bill, the fiery red-whiskered, red-haired, red-faced, stuttering
Irishman, ejaculated, after a good deal of effort, Ddddurn my
ppppictures! Gggglad tttto see yer. The obese,
low-browed renegade Colorow looked inquiringly. So did the other
Indians as Jack replied to both ranchmen:
I left Rock Creek yesterday morning and crossed the Gore range
today. The snow was pretty deep in spots.
Colorow's eyes glittered as it dawned on him that the white man Jack
of Rock Creek and this man were one and the same. Jack did not know any
of the trio except Bennett, neither of the others having openly visited
the camp below. As Bennett rose up from the floor with a greeting he
turned and waved his hand:
This Antelope, this Colorow.
Jack involuntarily stepped back a pace, halfway starting his hand as
if to grasp his six-shooter. Colorow saw the motion as well as the
swift, penetrating flash that shot from Jack's gray eyes into the very
soul of the old red devil. But the warrior never made a hostile
movement. The least perceptible smile crept into his face as he
interpreted the telegraphic glance. He realized that Jack guessed for a
certainty what Bennett and Antelope might guess, for Colorow had never
told any of the Utes that he actually followed Jack, nor that he waited
in vain at the mouth of the long gulch for that worthy young man to
walk to his death. It was with mock cordiality that the two men
acknowledged each other's presence, but not so with Antelope, who rose
and grasped Jack's outstretched hand. Antelope and Bennett did
guess right. The ranchmen had seen the little exchange of symptoms
and were at loss to understand the purport thereof. Nevertheless, they
had in an instant, yet seemingly in a careless manner, lessened the
distance between the right hand and the butt end of their respective
six-shooters, for the frontiersman is keen to scent danger. Colorow
remained in his chair and thus addressed Jack:
Sabe white man Rock Creek trail?
Jack nodded in reply.
Sabe camp where Utes sleep?
Jack nodded again, holding up two fingers, signifying he had seen
both camping places, as the Utes had not made as rapid progress as he.
Colorow lose twelve ponies, counting them by holding up both
hands, then two additional fingers. Mebbe so white man see 'em
Jack shook his head. The ponies had become hungry, broken away and
probably were hunting buffalo grass in the lower hills when he was
crossing the higher slopes of the Gore range. A few questions as to the
camp on Rock Creek, what disposition he had made of the camp property
and furs, and then the Indians drew their blankets about themselves and
silently filed away to the corral, where they mounted their ponies and
set out for their own camp in the willows, some half mile distant.
After they had departed Tracy said with a quizzical look:
That old devil is up to mischief, meaning Colorow. He turned to
Jack, continuing, Tho't mebbe so yer were goin' to plunk him fer a
Bill chimed in: I seen the ffffire in yer eyes and says to
myself, it's all over with CucucolcolColorow at last,
bbbbut why in hhhhellen ddddidn't yer shoot?
Well, said Jack, just the least regretting he had not, I didn't
know how much of a 'stink' it would raise. The Utes are getting pretty
bad, and the whole parcel of them might take a notion to come up here
and clean out the Park before the soldiers could stop them.
What d' yer mean? anxiously asked both his listeners, with a
perceptible blanching of their bronzed faces.
Old Yamanatz tells me things aren't going just right at the agency.
Colorow and Douglas' band of renegade Utes were camped outside the
reservation, two miles from the cabin where the trapper and I put up.
Didn't the trapper tell you anything? suddenly asked Jack.
The ranchmen looked curiously at one another, and Tracy evasively
remarked, Well, he didn't say much; just said he got lonesome and had
left the old woman without any wood an' allowed he'd cut some for her,
then he'd go back byme-by.
Yes, byme-by, scornfully broke in Jack, adding, with some feeling,
Between me and the corral that trapper is afraid of the Utes and left
me in the lurch.
Tracy and Bill exchanged glances, as much as to say, The tenderfoot
has got his eye-teeth cut all right. Bill spoke up as if a sudden
impulse had made him forget the dangers that lurked in the Ute
How about that redskin gggal? Tho't mebbe so yyyer hed
jined in holy wedlock into the Ute family, at which both the ranchmen
slapped their hands together and laughed uproariously. Jack joined in
with them, for he appreciated the gossip of ranch life, and no sewing
bee ever furnished better stamping ground for wagging tongues than
the frontier masculine brand.
Bill set about getting something to eat, and Jack had a
double-barreled appetite stowed away under his belt. The table, with
its marble oilcloth, real stone china plates, cups, saucers, glass
vinegar cruets and a molasses jug, was soon loaded with a big platter
of venison, a plate of hot biscuits, a pot of coffee, a pitcher of rich
cream and a crock of yellow butter. It was nearly three months since
Jack had put his legs under any kind of a table or seen anything the
color of butter or cream, and it was a treat that could not have been
equaled in Delmonico's to draw up to that feast with those truly honest
brothers of wild civilization, partake of their hospitality and listen
to their straightforward talk, rich in its omission of studied rhetoric
or ponderous grammatical phrases; no fear of using the wrong spoon or
creating a social riot by helping one's self to a little venison gravy,
even sopping the bread in the platter. Etiquette, frills and napkins
had to give way to blunt speech, solid, wholesome food and a red
bandanna. Back of it all, too, was his famous digestion and ravenous
appetite, essential elements that have no co-existence with
spike-tailed coats, trained gowns, eye-openers and night caps. Jack
had been busy, but he slowed down long enough to let out his belt one
hole. Bill had entertained in the conversation direction.
Say, yer know when yer shot the antelope and Irish Mike got sore at
it because he missed the whole bunch? Well, old man Snyder come in with
his team last October after a load of fish, and we got up the old raft
and dropped the net into the bend of the river right there and dragged
out over a thousand fine suckers at one haul. We threw back all under
two pounds and a half.
Jack broke in with the remark, Those red-finned suckers are most as
good as trout.
Yer bet yer life they are, chimed in Tracy.
Well, continued Bill, the old man and his boy was a watchin' us
from the other bank, so we hed to be sort o' careful as we picked them
fish over, but there was five as pretty red-throated trout clum up my
coat sleeve as ever yer laid eyes on; two of 'em tipped the scales at
five pounds apiece. We had trout to eat fer a week. Gosh all humlock,
but it was cold work gettin' them suckers ready. We worked 'til most
midnight. They cleaned up about six hundred dollars on the load. Sold
'em in Georgetown, Central City, Idaho Springsyes, sir, clean down to
Golden. The first of 'em brought forty cents a pound in the big camps,
but the last end of 'em went fer a nickel apiece. Down at McQueery's
they got another load for some other chaps a month after; pulled in
over seventeen hundred fish at one clip, but them fellers didn't know
how to peddle them out and lost money by shippin' 'em to Denver.
How's the stock, Tracy? inquired Jack.
Doin' tiptop; we've got about one hundred and twenty head of horses
winterin' now. Mike brought in a lot of forty soon after you went down
trappin'. I keep a good watch on them haystacks this year to see that
the snowflakes don't strike fire again. They burned up a couple years
ago when I hed thirty ton of as fine hay as they ever get in this yere
Park. I had all the stock that was bein' wintered, and some of the
other fellows up the river had hay but no stock. The range had closed,
so they had no chans't to get any stock. Well, my hay ketched fire and,
of course, I wouldn't see them horses starve, so I had to buy them
fellers' hay. A good ba'r trap would have ketched something besides
ba'r that winter if I had set a few out. While I'm tendin' to the
corral Bill will tell you about that hole in the door frame, pointing
to a badly mangled orifice about as big as an orange.
Shotgun? queried Jack.
Yes, said Bill; shotgunkingdom cum, and he had to straighten
out his vocal impediments and tell it slowly, although it was a hard
task for him, and his red whiskers and hair would rise up in their
wrath, seemingly, as he stuttered along:
Yer see, Dick Bradner came along one day over from Rattlesnake, and
said he wanted a good jack-rabbit shoot. The snow was just right and he
was gone all afternoon. He got half a wagonload, I guess. Along about
dark he steps in on the way to the corral and sets his gun up aside the
fireplace with the other guns. I was just beginning to get grub and had
a pan of flour mixin' up some sour-dough bread, the lamp standin' in
front of the pan and me at the other end of the table from the door
frame. I was puttin' in some good licks on that bread, for sour dough
needs a lot of punchin', and guess I had my head leanin' out pretty
well toward the door. I heard some one step in from the outside, but
didn't look up to see who it was, when there came a flash, and kingdom
cum, I thought my head had caved in. The splinters flew into the bread
and the powder smoke choked me clean up. All I could see was that crazy
fool Irish Mike, his face as white as it will be when he's gone over
the range, standin' there with Dick's gun pintin' to the roof. That
idjit never sees a new gun standin' round but he must pull it up and
aim it at somethin'. You know how he shoots. Dick must have left the
gun at full cock, as he allus does. It was lucky it went off before he
got the barrel on a level with the lamp, or we'd all been in kingdom
You got some of the powder in your face, remarked Jack, noticing
the blue pits sprinkled here and there in Bill's forehead.
Yes, said Bill, energetically, with several powder-burned
adjectives; he leaves his mark everywhere he goes. Pity the foolkiller
don't git him.
Tracy had joined the party again just in time to hear Bill's bouquet
of choice epithets.
Tain't so much coz he means to do anything harmin', but the big
brute is so allfired strong and clumsy that when he sets out to do
anything he busts everything he teches. Why, he went to pitchin' hay
off the far stack and must have thought the fork handle would hold up
the whole five ton, fer he snapped it like a ginger cake just outen the
oven. Then he was helpin' put up logs on the barn. We had the top logs
most up on the skids when she fotched up again' the cross log that the
skid was leanin' again'. He reaches the ax up and sets the blade under
the log and pulls on the handle, and away went my dollar-and-a-half
handle. He broke it square off. Took me nigh onto a week to dress
another out. But he's a good worker. All he needs is a sledge and a big
enough drill so he won't miss the head on't and he can pound that 'til
jedgment day if the feller turnin' the drill keeps a good lookout for
his hand from bein' hit when the Irishman misses the drill.
I see he left his rifle, remarked Jack.
Yes; said he didn't want it at the mines, an' he allows he'll come
back afore the range opens to pick out a hundred and sixty acres
somewhere in the Park. Likely as not he'll see you in Georgetown, but
yer got some snow climbin' to do. Thar ain't many goin' out now, and I
heerd Bill Redmon say he'd have to use 'skis' pretty soon and drag the
mail on a sled. When yer goin' out?
Jack thought a minute or two and then replied:
I guess I can make it day after tomorrow. That will be the 17th of
January, and I guess 'Red' will bring the pony back and you can feed
both of them for me. By the way, I guess I'll have to snowshoe it in
about beaver-trappin' time. I've got a little business myself down near
Tracy and Bill eyed each other quizzically and tried to guess the
mission, but Jack gave them no satisfaction.
I'll be back here by the middle of April, if not before. Beaver
begin to chew the trees down in early March, don't they?
Yes, said Tracy; but it gets lonesome as all git out before
Aprile. If yer comin' in that soon, why in Christmas don't yer stay
now? We've got grub enough and we can go back in the timber, mebbe so,
and ketch a grizzly or cinnamon about six weeks from now.
No; can't do it. Got to go back to the States and attend to some
business, sure. You can have all the grizzlies that are loose. By the
way, you got that silver tip since I left.
Jack was admiring a fine skin that was nailed up on the inside of
the cabin, taking up the greater portion of a wall ten feet long and
eight feet high.
We got that out on the Blue about four weeks ago. I shot him eleven
times afore he quit bein' sassy, said Tracy, with little or no
concern, as if killing a grizzly was on a par with breaking a broncho.
I'll get twenty-five dollars for that pelt in the summer if I take it
With the dishes cleared away and everything in readiness for the
night, Jack, Tracy and Bill sat around the fireplace smoking their
pipes. The pine knots sputtered and glistened with deep, red-inflamed
eyes as Jack told of the Rock Creek pow-wows.
You see, old man Meeker has been trying to teach the Utes how to
plow, how to subtract and divide and to carry wood, while the squaws
crochet, hemstitch and make sofa pillows.
Yes, I see them redskin devils tote firewood, broke in Tracy. If
there's anything an Indian despises it's work. They won't even walk
when the snow is belly deep. I've seen six of 'em on one little cayuse
wallerin' through big drifts at timber line. Why, durn their pictures,
a Ute won't cook if he can beg a bite anywhere, let alone plow, and
he'll freeze to death afore gettin' wood for a fire if thar's a squaw
within a mile to git it fur him. The trapper told us you would git yer
fill of Injuns.
Bill crossed his legs and then uncrossed them again, knocked the
ashes out of his pipe, and his neck began to swell. He wanted to say
something right bad. Pulling a string off his buckskin pants leg, he
commenced tying it into knots, nervously fingering the ends.
Them gol durned skule teachers is all right back in the old red
skule-house inin Missouri, he said, but kingdom cum, when they try
to make them blanket Injuns plow it's time fur white folks in Middle
Park to put up a stockade and lay in lots of 45-90's for Sharp's old
reliable, and a dozen or two Colts' frontier sixes. Them's my
sentiments, and don't yer ferget it.
Bill hit the nail on the head, echoed Tracy.
Jack was studying the red, gleaming eyes of the pine knots, and the
moccasin prints in the snow on the high divide seemed to gather again
in the ashes. He started suddenly, as if an inspiration struck him.
Boys, it will come to it. That bunch down in the willows have been
off the reservation a long time. Meeker can't get them back without a
regiment of soldiers, and he hasn't got along that far yet. Susan is
the 'woman in the case,' and she's putting the young bucks into a
trance about encroaching white folks, while the old fighters, like
Colorow and Douglas, sneak up behind and pat her on the back. Ignacio,
Yamanatznot even old Ouraycan stop them if they once get a supply
of powder and lead. Wait until the next annuities are paid in and Uncle
Sam will have to send a burying squad over there. They will not do
anything for some time; they haven't any meat, no bullets to kill deer
with, not even salt. Jack stopped for a breath and Tracy took up the
I seen yer was good and strong agin' Colorow when yer found out he
was here, but I didn't know it was that bad. 'Peers to me yer must have
had a grudge agin' him wuss'n yer hev let on.
Yes, echoed Bill, sssumthin' must a ssset yer afire down
Well, Bill and Tracy, that old scalp-lifter followed me like a
shadow for two days, ready at any moment, if chance presented, to plant
the steel in a spot where it would take, as they say when you are
The frontiersmen both jumped to their feet with one impulse to get
hold of their Sharps, as if to use them at once. Thus does habit
breed in that rugged life. Then they sat down and listened to the rest
of the story wherein Jack told of Yamanatz's warnings, of young
Colorow's early mission to see if white man Jack was in his camp. But
he left the most interesting story until the last, then mentioned no
names, And who do you suppose followed Colorow to see that no harm
came to me?
Bill and Tracy guessed every Ute in the White River Reservation.
Finally Jack said:
The only one that Susan fears.
Chiquita! exclaimed Bill and Tracy, in one voice.
The same, said Jack.
Holy smoke! Kingdum cum!
Yes, the fairest Indian girl that ever drew breath.
Or ever strung a bow, chimed Bill.
Or beaded a moccasin, said Tracy.
CHAPTER VII. CHIQUITA WOOED BY
Dozens of tepee fires flickered against the dark night pall as
Chiquita made her way toward the Ute village. The tongues of dozens of
Indian dogs snarled their yippi-yappy language at each other, at
imaginary evils and at the resounding clatter of hoofs as her pony
loped along through the sage-covered mesa which skirted the river bank.
Old bucks, warriors with necklaces of cruel-looking claws and beaded
breast plates decorated with strands of human hair woven into pendants,
stood in the shadow of the tepee fires. Shrill cries of hungry papooses
rent the air; guttural jargon of young bucks in animated conversation
rasped ominously against the sensitive ear with words which only an
Indian can pronounce, made up as they are from Mexican, Spanish and
Old squaws tottered into camp, loaded with bundles of fagots
gathered from the fallen timber, and as these old witches with
thrice-wrinkled faces peered into the gloom and discerned Chiquita
astride Bonito they spitefully threw an armful of new wood into the
fire, raising a cloud of tiny sparks, and mutterings, half welcome and
half imprecation, greeted her; all cringed before that dauntless
maiden, yet all would have been glad to see her the victim of some
tragedy. Her word was law, and that law a restraining influence which
had thus far protected the settlers, the hunters, the trappers and the
white men and women who composed the agent's family on the reservation,
so far from the habitation of white men and so far from the protecting
arm of the United States military.
Old Hutch-a-ma-Chuck was bedecked with a grotesque war bonnet of
eagles' feathers, from the tips of which hung Arapahoe scalp locks; a
necklace of grizzly claws surrounded his wrinkled neck, and in his arms
he carried a worn-out army carbine, which had not been loaded in ten
years. Uncas, wrapped in a military coat made from a United States
blanket, stood with a big frontier six-shooter hanging listlessly from
his arm, but his eyes snapped viciously as he smiled a welcome to
Chiquita, the smile retreating into an ambuscade of wrinkles which
seemed to say, Wait until I get a good chance. Broken Nose, with head
encircled half a dozen times with the skins of rattlesnakes, needed no
placard to warn the stranger against encroaching on this Indian's
domain. Bowlegs, the dandy of the camp, was regal in a red-lined vest
which he wore lining outside, and an old plug hat picked up at the
Agency or at some frontier town, ornamented with shipping tags and
express labels, was jauntily tipped on one side of his head, while a
gaudy plaid shirt flapped literally in the breezes, for an Indian knows
not of decrees of fashion regarding shirtology and could not be induced
to confine the biggest part of that splendid garment from view.
Nearly every Indian had some cast-off garment which had served its
mission for a white man. Hunters, freighters, army men, etc.,
contributed old socks, trousers, coats, gloves, hats, caps, and even
women helped bedeck these children of the forest in the glory clothes,
but the medicine each and every one possessed was of the same general
characterotter, beaver and mountain lion skins woven into the hair,
constituting a charm to scare away evil spirits.
Yamanatz was by the camp fire of his tepee as Chiquita threw herself
from the back of Bonito. There were no impulsive greetings, merely a
question or two, and Chiquita disappeared in the gloom of the night to
her lodge, to dream of other scenes and to allow her imagination to
carry her to the abode of the white man's medicine houses, where nurses
comforted the maimed and sick.
In a couple of weeks the absent Utes returned, bringing provisions
to last for some time, but these did not abate the surly looks or
conduct of the older ones, who chafed at the escape of Jack, nor
assuage the enmity which the younger bucks bore him when they learned
that Chiquita piloted him safely over the divide. They dared not openly
deride her as they gathered in council to plan the breaking up of
reforms which the government anticipated at the hands of the agent at
They rebelled against cultivating the ground. They ridiculed the
proposition of a Ute warrior at the plow, and muttered imprecations on
the heads of the Indian Department.
About a month after Jack had left his camp at Rock Creek, Susan
arrived at the village accompanied by her father, big chief Red Plume
and a dozen young bucks, all eager to drive the whites over the range
and out of Middle Park. But of these, half of them were desirous of
annihilating the pale faces, simply to gain Susan's favor. The other
half were striving to win Chiquita, and Susan was jealous of Chiquita
to a marked degree, while Chiquita cared naught for Susan nor any of
Susan's admirers. Susan, of course, had learned of the perilous trip of
Chiquita, and every Indian youth had a deep admiration for Chiquita
that Susan never received.
Red Plume had left the Agency to personally visit Colorow's village,
and endeavor to obtain that surly old monster's consent to move the
village back to White River, as agent Meeker had requested. Upon one
pretext and another Colorow delayed the matter day after day. In the
meantime Susan was taunting Chiquita and Chiquita's admirers, while
spurring her own suitors to acts of violence. This was not done openly,
as Indian maidens do not take part in matters of love or war, in
person, unless the circumstances are very pronounced. Susan felt that
it was equal to the crime of elopement for Chiquita to escort the white
man over the divide, and could she have had her way Chiquita would have
been burned at the stake the morning following her return to the
village, for this is the penalty inflicted when the maiden eloping is
the daughter of a chief. Susan was particularly partial to Antelope and
never tired of singing his praises, but Antelope had no eyes or ears
for any one except Chiquita. Many a haunch of venison had this handsome
young savage laid at the lodge door of Chiquita's mother, and handsome
lion skins, eagle plumes and strings of elk teeth had he presented to
Yamanatz in his effort to win Chiquita.
As the moon rode high in the heavens, throwing long shafts of
silvery light through the pine boughs, and casting deep shadows across
the rushing waters of Toponas creek, Chiquita was wont to wend her way
along the needle carpeted bank, her red lips firmly compressed, while
her eyes appealed to the heavens above for the return of spring and
Jack. As she wandered here Antelope watched her from the sheltering
shadow of some great rock, and chanted love songs in hopes of obtaining
the least little recognition from her, for the Indian must win his
bride by feats of strength, conquest or purchase, and not by personal
servitude, as does his white brother, and his wooing must be indirect
unless the maiden vouchsafes him the pleasure of a meeting in some glen
or dell, where a few words may be spoken; but she reserves the right of
making first advances or indicating by some sign that her suitor may
address her, and if especially desired by her she will leave a token in
the shape of a flower, spruce branch, or rabbit's foot where the lover
may see it and heed the invitation.
Chiquita knew that the young warriors would eventually precipitate a
clash, which might occur when Jack was coming or going from the
reservation. She grew sick at heart when she reviewed the actions of
Colorow, and how certain it was that Jack's life had been in peril, and
always would be whenever he visited the Ute camps. She determined to
stop the agitation which Susan was fomenting, or at least get assurance
in some way that no overt act would be committed until after she and
Yamanatz should be far away towards the Blazing-Eye-by-the-Big-Water.
The new grass was beginning to show itself along the creek. Mountain
crocuses bloomed in the edge of the fast melting snow, as the white
blanket gradually receded towards the tops of the high peaks under the
heat of the early spring sun. Chiquita watched the beaver dams as the
inhabitants industriously fashioned new homes for the next winter,
cutting down the big trees and laying in a supply of willows for food
and comfort. She looked toward the sun as he peered down into the deep
cañons and besought the sun god to hurry Jack upon his way.
It was near midday, and Chiquita sat in a little grove of piñons,
watching the splashing waters and gleaming flash of a trout darting
hither and thither for a morsel as it swept along in the vicious,
turbulent stream. She had hung a branch of spruce buds, entwined with a
vine of Kilikinnick, upon a convenient tree, and she knew that it would
bring Antelope to her. She knew the symbol by him would be interpreted,
hope in peace, but she intended that his hope must result in peace.
As she listened she heard a voice close beside her. She had felt for
some time the forest intuition that some one was approaching, but so
silently had those footsteps glided along that no sound gave any
The daughter of Yamanatz is fair as the morning dove, and it
pleases Antelope to do her bidding, for is not Antelope a suitor for
the hand of Chiquita, and has not Antelope done many things that make
him worthy of the great chiefs daughter?
The son of Big Buffalo stands erect. He speaks with the tongue of
one who is a master, one day to be chief. Antelope is brave and his
prowess great enough to entitle him to the daughter of any chief.
The daughter of Yamanatz is as good as she is fair in that she
speaks of Antelope in this wise, and it is a pleasure that the eyes of
Antelope go thirsty and his heart hungry for the return of the love
which Chiquita can give. It would be for Chiquita that Antelope would
build the signal fires, that the Utes may put on their war paint and
sharpen their hatchets to take the land where were the great buffalo
before the paleface drove them into the deep sea where the sun goes
down, and when the paleface has been driven away, then Antelope will
claim Chiquita that she may sing him songs of love by his camp fire.
And when Antelope is big chief then Chiquita will be the mother of many
tribes, and our people will again hunt the buffalo which shall be as
the needles in the pine forest, and no more shall the white man drive
the noble Ute away from the paradise the Great Spirit has made for
them. Hear me, daughter whose breath is as the perfume of the trailing
arbutus and whose voice is like the voice of the lark. It is Antelope
The son of Big Buffalo is as brave as the wild horse who leads his
herd to drink of the waters of the deep cavern, but know this, that in
the sky Chiquita reads of deeds done by her white sisters who teach the
little paleface to say 'Our Father,' and she hears the song of spirits
from another land, as they sing 'peace on earth, good will to man.' The
great Antelope is not a hen to cackle and run away at the sight of
danger. He is brave but sees not that Chiquita thinks not of deeds of
battle, nor the mighty buffalo, which the great Antelope says will
return. It grieves Chiquita that the hand of the white man on the
throttle of the great iron horse is driving our people back, back into
the deep sea where have plunged the buffalo, and in their trail are the
cities where the white children are taught that the red faced Ute is a
dog, a coyote that snarls and bites and like the owl that goes hoo!
oo-oo-oo-hoo! The paleface has widened the trail from the great ocean
by the rising sun to the mountain, to the big water where the sun again
quenches his thirst. The paleface has spread out as the wings of an
eagle until the lands are gone. The smoke rises from the tall stacks
and long ago have we been forgotten by the old Ute warriors who have
passed into the great Happy Hunting Ground, there to live on pots of
savory flesh while we slave in the sage brush or eat army rations and
wear army blankets, which are brought to us on the cars. This is
civilization and it is so that Chiquita is to learn what her white
sister does in civilization, and Antelope is asked to be patient and
wait for Chiquita while she may see the fair sister unto the end. Then
if Chiquita cares not for the civilized life, she will sit by the camp
fire and sing to Antelope and Antelope may caress Chiquita and she will
be his wife.
[Illustration: ANTELOPE, THE WARRIOR, 1877.]
Chiquita has spoken, Antelope will wait, but the heart of Antelope
is sad, for it will be many snows ere Chiquita will make glad the lodge
of Antelope and he will then be an old man, replied the Indian buck.
It may not be so Long. Antelope must not make war upon the white
man. Antelope must stay the hands of the warlike Utes who seek the
lives of Chiquita's friend and his brothers. The warriors of the Utes
must not molest these people and it is Antelope who must obey Chiquita
in this. Hear not what Susan says and all will be well.
Antelope hears the words of Chiquita. Antelope will see that no
harm comes to the friends of Chiquita, nor to the white man's brethren.
Antelope cares not for Susan. Antelope hears not her words, which are
cunning, but hears only Chiquita, the flower of the Utes.
CHAPTER VIII. A GLIMPSE OF HOME.
Jack hastened his departure from the ranch on the Troublesome,
stopping at Hot Sulphur Springs one night, crossing the Berthoud pass,
early in the day, again fighting snow drifts as big as houses, as he
skirted around and over the great continental divide but a little
distance from the summit of cheerless Gray's Peak buried in her white
mantle. Leaving his pony at Georgetown for the mail carrier to lead
back, he continued his journey by rail to Denver and from there
eastward to his home. Jack dearly loved his New England home and, as
the old scenes again appeared before him, he saw new beauties to
enchant and impress him. His mother, sister and sweetheart were all on
the veranda of the grand mansion, and, as he jumped from the carriage,
he found himself attacked by a center rush such as no college boy ever
before struck. At least five touch downs were scored before they broke
Did you bring any Indian things? all demanded in a chorus.
I say Jack, said Hazel, where is the pony you promised me?
I want those eagle plumes for my hat, said one of his sisters.
Even his mother could not resist the avalanche of wants and, during an
opportune lull, archly asked if there was any danger of her having to
give up the spare room to an Indian daughter-in-law, which of course
produced a laugh at the expense of Hazel.
With the first greetings over, Jack at last got his mother and
father alone, and plunged into the subject uppermost in his mind.
My son, his mother commented, be cautious regarding your actions
with this heathen daughter of the wilderness. You can not tell what
kind of an ambush she may lead you into. Fancy Hazel trotting about
educating one of the young warriors!
This was logic with a vengeance. Even Jack could not gainsay it. It
was the same old proposition of woman's prerogative to outdo a man.
Jack pondered over the trip from the Ute village across the divide and
the night camp in the willows. He looked a little sheepish and waited
in discreet silence.
Is it necessary, Jack, asked his father, that you should go to
this unheard-of mine with the old Indian? Why not let him go and return
with the treasure alone as he has done before?
He is too old to attempt the journey and it is his desire that
Chiquita be one of the party, as he will give the mine to her and
myself equally, answered Jack, not at all assured that the reply would
make matters any better.
Have you such an unbounded faith in a crafty Indian as to believe
that he knows of any such fabulous treasure that even a nation might
send an army to snatch away from its rightful owners, and that he will
lead you to this mine simply to reward you for standing as press agent
for his equally crafty daughter?
Jack saw that his father was beginning to tread upon dangerous
ground, that it would take but little to cause an unpleasant scene
unless he could overcome the prejudice now gaining ground with his
parents. He keenly felt the implied lack of confidence which both
displayed, and for a moment he was inclined to become a trifle
skeptical himself, but he quickly reasoned, If I show any weakening
they will hammer all the harder.
Father, he slowly began, and mother, you are both ripe in the
experience of this world, with the civilized method of taking from the
untutored forest man his hunting ground, his home, by the simple
process of a representation from each state of a government; a
proposition is voted upon to drive this native farther and farther
toward the setting sun, farther and farther back, until now he lives in
a barren country, his larder empty and his proud mien broken. The
remnant of former greatness drooped to a low ebb of cunning, outmatched
only by the cunning of the frontier statesman, backed by the grasping
political land-grabber and office-holding despot bidding for
votesthese jackals whose blighting breath corrupt juries,
legislatures and even the church into a belief that it is justice to
waylay the child of nature in the onward march of civilization, to
wrest from him the land which God gave as an heritage. Yes, father, I
have unbounded faith in Yamanatz that he can and will show me the
greatest mass of gold in one mine ever uncovered by the hand of man. I
will forestall you as to finance. See, in this pouch is some twenty
pounds of gold dust, which the great chief gave me for 'pin money,' and
in the strong box of the express company is one hundred pounds of the
same kind of dust. This is earnest money. This deposit, made of his own
accord, warrants my belief in his ability to produce the property.
Coupled with this was the watchfulness over me by both Yamanatz and
Chiquita, and but for their care and warning I should not be here now.
As Jack unrolled the buckskin pouch of nuggets and grains of dull,
rich gold, the look on his father's face changed from one of intense
scorn to deference, from sarcasm to a fawning smile. The avarice in his
nature manifested itself in so apparent a manner that Jack was tempted
to make one little fling, but restrained himself.
My son, what you have uttered about the Indian being deprived of
his land is the old story. Every once in a while it comes out in a
little different cover, but are we to blame for the actions of our
ancestors? They came here to live, to escape the tyranny of rulers whom
they renounced, and in the seeking of a new world were obliged to treat
with these pagans. Is it not far better to have this country populated
with a race of God-fearing, civilized, labor-giving people, a people
who by their master minds and master hands today provide the world with
food, with clothing, with machinery that other nations may become
enlightened and as progressive as we are?
Yes, interrupted Jack, and with our own machinery send back goods
and experienced laborers to compete with the skilled labor we have
educated up to the necessary standard. You would add also, that this
class of citizens, with its Saturday night carousals and Monday's line
of police court criminals, is superior to the noble red man, who knew
not fire water nor knavery until these civilized, God-fearing people
taught it to them.
Well, Jack, are you going to head a tribe of Utes to drive us back
across the big sea?
No, father, I guess I shall have all the work of philanthropy I
need in piloting this young heathen through the 'hell gate' of learning
into the whirling vortex of society and accomplishments, laughingly
When will you start on this quest? timidly asked his mother.
Not later than the first of March, for I must be at Rock Creek soon
after that time, and part of the trip is via the snow shoe route.
Just then Hazel and Jack's sisters knocked imperatively for
Ohee, Jack, is that real gold dust in that nasty looking bag?
said Miss Hazel, as she sniffed at the pouch suspiciously.
Yes, Miss Tenderfoot, that is the real stuff.
What is that you call me, tenderfeet? Why, my feet are not tender.
Oh, that is the mountain name for what sailors call 'landlubbers,'
andsay, when I get a couple of wagon loads of that you will tack my
name onto your own with a little hyphen, won't you, dear?
I say, Jack, broke in one of his sisters, did you run across any
good looking white men, with lots of money, that want some one nice,
'to cook for two?' And the dear little apron-bedecked bit of sunshine
pirouetted on her toes in gleeful anticipation of Jack's reply.
Sure I did. Bill commissioned me to get him a cook, dishwasher,
milkmaid and wood chopper,
Hold on, Mr. Jack, I draw the line on milking. Ugh! I tried it once
down at Uncle John's and I squirted my eyes full of milk. You need not
laugh so. Uncle John just laughed fit to kill himself. That wasn't half
so bad as Hazel, though. She tried to put blankets over the little pigs
so they would keep warm, and when the old pig chased her
You stop, stop, stop! Fire! Water! screamed Hazel and no one ever
found out what happened during the chase.
Then sister Katherine wanted something.
Jack, you know what you promised to get me once, and you said when
you had enough money you would buy me a nice canary and brass cage, and
now that you have got itsuch lots of itwon't you keep your word?
They raise larger and louder voiced birds in the west than they do
in the Hartz mountains. The 'Rocky mountain canary' is the greatest
warbler on earth. I have my mind on one that is a daisy and when I come
back you shall surely have it.
Oh, Jack, you are so good, murmured she.
Jack's eyes twinkled as he thought of the joke he would have on
Katherine, but he never said a word. Turning to Hazel he said: Well,
Lady Jack, what do you think of my chaperoning a dusky maiden for
several years in her search for a continuous performance of good deeds,
hospitals, nurses and the study of political and social economy? Do you
think her thirst will find a quencher?
Oh, Jack, go by all means, only don't attempt to get her into any
clubs or societies and expect me to help you out. I recommended Daisy
Deane for initiation in our B. A. F. club,you know 'Bachelors Are
Forbidden,' and she got one black ball. Daisy is a stenographer, you
know, and her employer is Mr. Doolittle and Mrs. Doolittle is our High
Yes, said Jack curtly, and she does not belie her name, I guess.
That isn't all, Jack. Mrs. Doolittle has got her ax sharpened for
me, I understand, at next election. I was going to run for
corresponding secretary, but I guess I will give it up!
The short visit made to his home was devoted mainly to making
arrangements with tutors and deciding on the best lines to follow in
fitting Chiquita for the work she had chosen.
Hazel and his sisters made quite a bit of sport of the undertaking,
but Jack took it all good naturedly, holding his own against the
combined forces in repartee.
After these details were disposed of he joined Hazel at her home for
a few days, then started for the frontier.
CHAPTER IX. UTE, BIG WARRIORNO
The diuturnal petticoat of snow which clothed the mountain was
getting shorter and shorter as the diurnal sun crept farther and
farther north on his summer ascension. The beavers were busy, tooth and
tail, building new dams and repairing old ones. The Ute ponies were
getting fat on new buffalo and bunch grass, and the tender-eyed does
were seeking higher altitudes when Jack again reached the old trail
leading to the Indian village on Rock Creek.
Chiquita spied the lone horseman long before he was aware of his
proximity to the old camping ground.
Chiquita heap glad to see Jack. She made her welcome, palms to the
front, raised high in the air.
How! How! replied Jack and he looked askance at Chiquita in
wonderment that she should be so far from the village. Jack no sabe,
he continued, and looked from one point of the compass to another for a
Chiquita know, see Jack, old trail behind big peak, new trail this
way, when Jack go where sun rise, ground covered with heap big snowno
see this trail.
Me sabe. Where Yamanatz, Colorow, Antelope?
Chiquita smiled at the first, became grave at the second and a flash
shot from her eyes at the word Antelope, then her face saddened as she
looked into Jack's very soul. Yamanatz well, Colorow gone to Agency,
Antelope ready for big pony raceSusan want Antelope, Antelope no like
Susan, likemebbe so Jack knows, she said with an arch look.
Antelope get up big race when white man come from Hot Sulphur Springs
with heap fast pony to race Ute poniesmebbe so Ute win ponieswhite
man walk back, Antelope heap smart. Plan big race, big dance and big
games among the braves. Susan she put Antelope up to it, beat all
Indians and white men, win Susan for his wife, carry her off to his
tepee where she sing songs in twilight. But Antelope tell Chiquita he
no racejust make believe. Antelope wait for Chiquita, butand she
stopped abruptly with the frightened look of a startled deer as she
gazed again into Jack's face.
When race? he asked.
About August, said Jack to himself. Then aloud, as a bright
thought came to him, Does Chiquita sabe name of white man's ponies?
Me sabe one, she replied.
Jack sabe one heap fast pony in Middle Park. 'Brown Dick,'run
like the forked lightning out of the clouds.
Chiquita looked surprised and interrogatively answered, Mebbe so
'Brown Dick' beat 'em Ute ponies, white man ride back?
At which Jack laughed heartily. Chiquita continued: That is the
pony Antelope think no run much, heap fast, but Ute beat him. Antelope
bet money, beads, buckskin, two ponies and other Utes bet heap lot.
Has Yamanatz bet anything yet? asked Jack.
Yamanatz don't knowwait Jack comeJack tell Yamanatz what to
Jack knew the horse well and all the people interested in the races
and decided to stay and see the sport. Even had Yamanatz desired to go
to the big mine, they would go later. On reference to his calendar he
found a total eclipse of the sun would take place in August and he
desired to see the Indians under this phenomenon as well as in their
sports, and witness the struggles for the hand of Susan.
Upon arrival at the Indian village Yamanatz greeted Jack in the
customary fashion. It was not long before they arranged to wait for the
August festivities, then start for the desert mine from the Agency, to
which point the Rock Creek village moved a short time after Jack's
During the three months Jack spent his time prospecting, hunting,
and studying Indian character. Chiquita made rapid strides in her
studies under his tutorship and by the time set for the races she could
converse very well in English and read ordinary words. Jack watched the
ponies and the athletic braves as preparation was made for the great
For days the frontiersmen along the reservation border had been
wending their way to the Agency. Gamblers and confidence men from the
nearest mining camps ran over to gather in a few dollars which would be
easy money. The Government's long delayed annuities and rations were
to be distributed the week before the contest, so every Indian had
money to bet or to buy plunder with. Groups of Indians, squatting on
their haunches or kneeling beside a big blanket spread upon the ground
as a table, gambled or traded their wares in common with the visitors.
On a big Navajo blanket sat Chiquita, making beaded moccasins, while
near by on another blanket rested Susan, engaged in beading a buckskin
shirt. Off at the side with bridle reins dragging, four ponies fed on
the stubby grass as their owners, two Indians and two cowmen, played
Spanish monte. The cowmen wore heavily fringed buckskin shirts and
broad-brimmed hats, each hat having a leather band and leather string
which passed back of the ears and under the back of the head to keep
the hat from blowing off. Their feet were clad in high-topped boots,
from which clanked the cruel Mexican spurs with tinkling bells.
Eachand, in fact, every man on the reservation, had
six-shooterssome four, and nearly all carried some make of rifle, not
that they feared any evil, but it was second nature to be prepared for
game of any kind. Another mark of civilization was the red bandanna
handkerchief tied loosely around nearly every man's throat.
Oaths of the most curdling nature bellowed their way incessantly
into the ears of the onlooker. A brightly painted Indian with eagle
feathered bonnet and a string of grizzly claws around his neck, won a
mule skinner's money. The latter turned loose a wild yell and a string
of hair-raising adjectives, accompanied by the pistol-like crack of his
fifteen-foot whip, and stalked off to his mules, swearing agin the
Gov'n'ment, the redskin and hisselfchiefly in the end agin
hisself. Jack hailed him.
Pard, I've seen you before.
Mebbe so, stranger; I've lived in these hills many snows, answered
Didn't you lose some blankets about a year ago in the Wet Mountain
valley, near Buena Vista? asked Jack without mincing matters.
That's what I did, but I got 'em back andwelland he stopped as
Jack commenced to smile. What pleases you, stranger?
I was picturing in my mind what that fellow's wife, if he had one,
and she could have seen him, would have said after you fellows got
through heaving him into that dirty pond instead of hanging him.
The man of mules and wagons broke into a long guffaw that echoed
back from the woods, and circled his long whip about his head, allowing
the big broad cracker to settle lightly the length of the lash from him
as daintily as an expert caster lets his flies settle into a riffle
where the big trout hide, then with a fierce backward motion and
overhand shoot to the front the long sinuous black snake straightened
out with a vicious snap that made Jack wince, for it told the rest of
the tale of what happened to the blanket thief before court
adjourned. Then the freighter finished his remark.
Well, that onery cuss that stole my blanket has got my mark on his
hide, made like that.
Yes, I think he must have about fifteen of them the way the whips
cracked as he ran the gauntlet between about thirty of you. Did he
Oh, yes. That is he was alive when we left him on the prairie,
headed for the Missouri River.
I was on my way to Leadville. Buena Vista was the end of the
railroad and in looking after some freight at the depot I saw the
preliminaries of opening 'court' and execution of 'judgment' against
the prisoner, explained Jack. To which the grizzled teamster replied:
It looks cruel to one not familiar with frontier life. It seems a
crime, the justice which overtakes horse thieves and camp prowlers,
while those who commit greater crimes go free. But there are no two
things so essential to life on the border as blankets and horses. We
have to sleep and travel. Hotels don't pop up for the asking, with warm
beds on a winter's night, nor do horses grow out of a pine bough when a
man is miles away from any habitation. If men be too onery and sassy
and get to be too handy in their gun play with each other we make no
fuss if both 'go over the range with their boots on'a-killing of them
fellers does not necessitate an honest man's freezing to death. We
never hang a man, nor shoot him, if he steals our grub or watch, or
even gets our gun, but blankets and horses are sacred property. But
what be you doin' in here?
Came over to see the Ute races and study Indians, replied Jack.
So did I, but to make it more binding I brought in a train of
government plunder for the Agency, some plows and mowin' machines and
school house desks. Say, but I'd like to see some of these redskins
trying to cut a furrer down that sage brush flat or sittin' at one of
them desks doin' sums in 'rithmetic. More'n likely they'll be makin'
pictures of Parson Meeker crossing the divide on a sulky plow under
escort of Uncle Sam's cavalry, at which the freighter turned his
gigantic laugh loose again.
Just then two men in store clothes picked their way around the
various groups of horses and Indians, stopping a short distance from
Jack and the freighter, whose sobriquet was Cal. As the new comers
faced square about Cal eyed them a moment and then said to Jack:
You see that red-faced, black mustached feller standin' there?
Well, that's Sam Tupper, the graveyard starter of the Animas and Wet
Mountain valleys. I seen him make the first corpse in Silver Cliff.
Wonder what he's doin' up here. Sure as gun's made of iron he's up here
for mischief. It was October and the first blizzard of the season
caught us all with short wood and no pitch hot. Every prospector around
the cliff made for 'Nigger Barber's' placeafterward it got a regular
name, the 'slaughter house,' kase 'Nigger,'he was half Indian, half
Mexican and balance coyotehad two great big stoves to keep us warm.
Four fellers rode into the Cliff about 10 o'clock, cold and hungry, and
expected to find a tavern started, but they were a little early, for
the camp was right young, so they got permission to use some feller's
tent near byone of the four was Charley Rogers
Owner of 'Brown Dick,' interrupted Jack, in surprise.
Yes; and Frank Mitchell, Les McAvoy and Paddy Dinslow. Les was a
bad man, no mistake. His daddy was a judge in one of the northern
counties and when Les was a kid the old man would take the youngster to
some of the faro banks, hold him on his knee and seem to think it cute
if the little gambler picked up a 'sleeper' and sold it to the barkeep
for lumps of sugar or a bottle of pop. Well, Les got pretty tough.
Worked some, but liked his 'licker' and was allus waitin' to pick a
fuss. He was nervy and could fight with fists, stove pokers, 'toad
stabbers' or six-shooters, it was all the same to him. Sam and 'Nigger'
both knew him of old in Trinidad and Silverton. The first night after
the boys got into the Cliff they dropped into 'Nigger's' and got into a
game of faro. Les piled his stack of reds above the limit and Sam
there, who was lookout, told Les to take 'em down. Les lost on the
turn, but before the dealer could rake in the chips Les snatched the
extra ones off the top of the pile. If he won, the dealer only paid the
limit, and then Les would talk bad. All of 'em were scared of Les and
no one wanted to make a beginning, so they humored him, but the next
night they laid for him. I met Frank and Charley durin' the day and
they said Les had been run out of Silverton, and he remarked as he came
into the Cliff, 'Boys, mebbe it's my time to die with my boots on in
this very camp, but I'm game.'
It was almost 8 o'clock and 'Nigger's' was jammed. There was a big
crowd at the table near the end of the bar. I sat at a table parallel
to it, the big red hot stove making the apex of a triangle about the
same distance as the tables were apart. The deal which old Colonel
Crumpy was making came to an end. I was winner and thumbing my chips,
when bang went a gun at the other table. Say, but did you ever see two
hundred and fifty crazy, desperate men push and crowd out of gun play
range? Well, there was lots of tenderfeet in that gang. They jumped
onto the 'mustang' table and then to the hazard table and into the
crowd, pell-mell, out of windows. One feller was so scar't he never
stopped to open it, but went kersmash through glass and all. Durin'
this I backed away keerful like to the wall between two windows. I knew
if any of 'em started to run it would be in the middle of the room and
I didn't feel like risking my back to that crowd. My gun hung handy in
case of a free get-away, or die a doin' it. As I felt the cold green
boards rub my spine I seen the rest of the show. It don't take a man a
lifetime to move when guns are speakin'.
It seems a kid, with sickly taller-like face and pinched cheeks, a
young feller from the States lookin' for a gold mine, who got broke and
nothing to do but clean spit-kits in 'Nigger's' and tend bar, had been
exercised a little with the cards, dealing faro, and they put him on
watch with a big Colt's old-fashioned navy on his lap, all cocked and
ready for business, with instructions that if Les did any more funny
work to plug him. Les had bet his stack as high as he could pile 'em
and lost, grabbed the extra chips, and to the dealer's 'Youput them
chips back,' Les slid up the back of his chair. He was keepin' cases
and had his back to me, reachin' fer his gun. He had on a pair of blue
overalls, and the hammer of that six-shooter got caught in the corner
of his pocket. I seen him tuggin' to get it out, and the dealer, whose
name was Bert Lillis, had lifted the big cannon, the muzzle half way
across the table, and with both hands pulled the trigger, got scared,
dropped the gun and was trying to skin under the table. He turned his
head sideways to keep from scratching his nose, and just then Les got
into action. He leaned on his left hand over the middle of the faro
layout, put the muzzle of his gun against the eye of the dealer as he
was sliding down and fired. As Les was doin' this Sam Tupper was busy,
but Les had his eye on the lookout, who dared not move his hand for
fear Les would git him first. As quick as Les made his play at the
dealer, Sam reached for a drawer about six inches from his hand and
grabbed a pearl-handled, silver-plated gun. As Les turned with uplifted
arm, cocking his weapon, Sam stepped to the edge of the drygoods box on
which the lookout's chair was placed, his weapon pointing straight at
Les's heart. Before Les could fire there was a flasha report. The
smoke from the pearl-handled gun wreathed around Les's head as he
turned convulsively, frantically trying to get the muzzle of his pistol
on a line with Sam, who stood with the least perceptible smile waiting
for the eye of his opponent to catch his own, but as Les's body slowly
swayed and pivoted the gambler knew that in a moment more all would be
over. The fingers which tightly gripped the murderous firearm now
slackened, gripped again, then the pistol dropped to the floor; a body
straightened up its full height, the head thrown back in defiance and
with eyes rolling upward, Les McAvoy fell prone to the floor backwards.
As he fell that man standing there stepped off the box with the
pearl-handled gun cocked for a second shot, and hissed between those
white teeth of his, 'You got it that time.' The jury heard no evidence
of any shots but Lillis' and the one Les firedno bullet was found
from a Colt's navy, round ball. A conical ball rested just beneath the
skin in the small of the back. The jury said, 'Justifiable homicide at
the hands of Bert Lillis,' and I heard that Lillis died the next day.
And that is the man who did the deed? asked Jack, as he gazed at a
real bad man; one of those who make the history of every country black
with their infamous deeds, which they plan and then inveigle innocent
people to execute.
Yes, said Cal, and these redskins are not much to blame for goin'
on the warpath the way they are bamboozled about. The trouble is, them
cusses in Washington, who never see an Injun and who don't know what a
real live one is, pass laws and send commissioners and army officers
and agents out here to investigate. Some are preachers, some cunning
lawyers and some statesmenthey call 'em so. The investigation drags
along while the poor devils go hungry. Rations are held back, blankets
rot for want of transportation, and somebody back in the woodpile is
getting rich all the time. Then the Injun takes it out of a party of
prospectors or some poor rancher, or like as not holds up a train of
mules and the mule-skinners 'bite the dust' after defending their own
property. But I suppose in the end it is all for the benefit of what
they call civilization. Let's go and see them ponies over there.
Look, said Jack; must have been a bunch of folks come in last
night, pointing to a regular settlement of new tents and camping
Well, durn my pictures, ejaculated Cal. Throw a rope on that
blaze-faced, lop-eared son of Israel with a pack on his back and let's
see his brand. Guess you find them everywhere except in Jerusalem.
Hello, Isaac; where's Abraham?
Who'd you mean, my brodder or my fadder? My name is Cohen, and I
gome to make a locashun for a cloding store. Dis will be a fine blace
for a town, und Cohen will be der bioneer merchant, ain't it?
Git out, you hook-nosed Jew; this is Injun reservation, and yer
'Uncle Sam' don't allow no storekeepers here, except his own pets!
What iss dot? I got no Ungel Sam; I got un Ungel Moses und Ungel
Solomon, but no Ungel Sam. Ain'd dis a new town? Don' the shentlemans
wand a negdie or hangerchief? I haf abut Jack and Cal had turned a
deaf ear to the would-be bioneer.
As Jack stepped around the trunk of a big pine the noose of a lariat
circled around and settled over his head and arms; a short jerk and he
was brought up standing. Cal looked on wonderingly, for at the other
end of the rope sat a buckskin-clad cow-puncher mounted on a
Now will you be good? The bronzed face of Happy Jack broke into
wreaths of smiles and happy laughter.
Shake, old manput her thar, Jack. Glad ter see yer. Never thought
to see yer over here among the Utes.
When did you leave Roaring Forks?
About a week ago; been looking for some horses that are missing.
Jack, shake hands with Cal Wagner. No, not the minstrel man, but
his equal just the same.
Cal, this is 'Happy Jack' of the Bar E Ranch over in the Grand
Both men, thus introduced, shook hands, and after a few exchanges of
the day Happy Jack coiled up his lariat and, lifting his bridle
reins, said, I must look around this camp a while afore the races. May
find some signs, but I'll see yer both againadios.
The spurs jingled and his pony loped off toward the valley. Cal
looked at the disappearing cow-puncher and turned to Jack, who said:
He's as good one as ever straddled a broncho. He sure is a
character and his name is well earned. One of the happiest men I ever
met. I'll tell you about him as we take a smoke and watch the Indians.
Down on Roaring Forks of the Grand River a young fellow from the east
by the name of Eads took up a ranch. He was staked by some rich
relative, and after buying a bunch of steers and some American-bred
horses, drove them over the Tennessee pass to the Bar E ranch, five
miles above the big Hot Springs[A] where the Forks empties into the
Grand. He hired 'Happy Jack' as boss of the outfit, and with two or
three other cow-punchers he started in and built a log house, and when
I was there seemed to be doing well. I was on a hunting trip from
Middle Park and heard about the Bar E ranch and the Springs, so our
party made the place our camping ground for a week. The grass was fine
and all the stock rolling fat. His horses were in two bandsone 'used'
on one side of the Forks and the other band grazed on the opposite
side. They rounded up the horses once a week at least, and the range
riders never let the stock get away very far.
One evening just after grub one of the boys came down to the cabin
from the corral and said, 'Old Martha has pulled her picket pin and
vamoosed.' 'Martha' was stake mare. Jack said, 'I guess not,' and
bolted up the bank to the open bench which run for half a mile back to
the cedars and piñons, where the branding pens and corrals were. He
walked out to where he had picketed the mare and pulled up the pin with
about ten feet of rope left where it had been cut. It was just before
sundown, and a bunch of horses which had been run into the corral when
the stake horse was changed had not gotten far away. Jack yelled
'Thief!' and for the boys to hustle and see if some of the bunch could
be gotten back into the corrala feat, you know, next to impossible
when no one is mounted. As luck would have it, four went in when the
rest broke, but we managed to get the bars up before they turned. It
was but a few seconds' work to rope a 'saddle-wise' one and cinch him
up. Jack had taken off his belt and it lay on the ground with his
six-shooters back at the cabin. He pointed at mine and said, 'Give me
that gun.' Throwing himself into the saddle, he was off like a streak
of lightning. The mare's hoofprints were plainly visible in the trail
leading toward the Grand River. About 9:30 o'clock we heard a yell and
went up to the corral. Jack had the mare. Not a word was uttered,
except 'She was in the middle of the ford just above where the Forks go
into the Grand.' Both horses were covered with ridges of dry sweat and
looked jaded, as though every inch of ten miles had been run in a
death-race struggle. On the off side of 'Martha' a dirty red streak
mingled with the sweat. As we went slowly back to the cabin, after
picketing both horses, Jack handed me my belt and guna Colt's .41
double action. Two empty cartridge shells told the story of a tragedy.
A week later one of our party found the body of a man on the bank of
the Grand five miles below the Forks with two bullet holes in his back.
Jack had one habit that city boys think belong to themselves
Midnight lunches? asked Cal.
Yes; but Jack generally had his hungry spell about 2 a. m. Every
night that our party was at the Bar E ranch Jack would wake us up and
every one had to 'break bread' with himonly it was flapjacks instead
of bread. Jack would do all the work, and he was an artist with the
frying pan. He would turn those big cakes by tossing them out of the
pan in the air, you know, and catch them after the flop. After our
lunch a smoke, and while we smoked a few deals of Spanish monte and a
story or two, then back to bunks. Yes, 'Happy Jack' is a character.
As Jack finished his story of Happy Jack a shout announced the
beginning of the trials of strength, endurance and courage, which would
probably proclaim the victor for the hand of Susan. Standing erect with
arms folded over his breast, Red Plume watched with seeming
indifference the trials. Susan, seated upon her blanket, appeared even
more so; in fact when it became apparent that Antelope was not to be
one of the contestants she shook her head and disconsolately continued
The braves vied with each other in feats of running, wrestling,
jumping, swinging from one tree to another, riding in all manner of
positions on bareback, bridleless ponies; throwing knives at each
other's heads, arms and necks in endeavors to pinion the victim to a
tree without doing him any bodily harm; torturing themselves with cruel
whips; gashing and lacerating the flesh; being suspended from a pole or
bar by means of thongs thrust under the muscles of the shoulders, and
other blood-curdling deeds original with the savage.
Old chiefs watched the young bucks, and as the games proceeded these
old ones shook their heads or nodded in assent as success or failure
rewarded the contestants.
All were in gala dress. War bonnets of elaborate manufacture
bedecked some, while single feathers adorned others. Small hoops
fastened to long sticks were held aloft displaying portions of a human
scalp, the hair floating naturally from one side while the other side
of the scalp was painted a bright red. Every Indian lovingly carried
his pipe, the red slender bowl made from pipestone mined from quarries
hundreds of miles away and guarded carefully from reckless souvenir and
As a successful contestant received his reward and led his bride
away, the onlookers rent the air with piercing yells; rattle-boxes
split the ear with their characteristic din, and tom-toms bellowed
their dull intonations with a certain amount of regularity which
produced that same agonizing monotony of sound found in a healthy
In a group not far from the racing strip was Yamanatz, and thither
Jack and Cal bent their way. Charley Rogers and his companions were
making bets with anyone who would risk ammunition, money, clothes,
ponies, blankets, guns, pistols or knives; and even war bonnets were
staked. Yamanatz was about the only Ute who did not bet against Brown
Dick. Few of the white gamblers, who had come to fleece the Indians
with their special style of confidence games, cared to risk their coin
against Indian ponies or wampum. They wanted cash, and as the Indians
had plenty to do to meet all the demands of Jack and his friends and
Charley Rogers and his following, the gamblers saw little prospect of a
The level, well-beaten, straight-away course stretched along between
rows of tents, tepees and lodges out into the plain beyond. Indian
races are not upon oval tracks and are not confined entirely to one
dash over the course, but include a certain distance and back over the
same ground, the finish being at the starting point. Other races are
run where the contestant must lean from the pony's back and pick up a
quirt or hat as the animal dashes past.
But the time for the great race on which the bets are made has
arrived, and the restless, anxious animals have to be guided to the
starting place by their riders and arranged in line with heads opposite
the direction in which the race is to be run. Bare-skinned warriors on
bridleless, saddleless ponies, a small, finely-braided lariat attached
to the horse's jaw, sit like graven images upon their favorite steeds.
Brown Dick, whose rider is his owner, steps along jauntily, champing
in eager fashion the silver-ringed bit supported by a silver ornamented
Mexican braided-leather bridle, the loose reins held almost listlessly
by the man in blue shirt and buckskin trousers seated on an English
racing saddle. A little moisture around the roots of the delicately
pointed ears shows that Brown Dick has been exercised. The muscles of
the forelegs play beneath the skin as step by step he approaches the
line; the veins in his arched neck stand out like small ropes, and the
dilated nostrils reveal the pink membranes as each deep breath is
inhaled. Charley has maneuvered for position, timing his arrival to
such a nicety that the last slow step of his well-trained racer falls
exactly as the pistol belches forth the signal to start. Simultaneously
he utters a shrill Go and presses his knees violently into his
horse's sides, leaning far out in the saddle and throwing his weight
against the reins on the faithful horse's neck, who rears aloft, pivots
in beautiful fashion and leaps in one bound clear of the line of
frantic ponies, and amid the warwhoops of Indians, the yells of the
frenzied and the fear of defeat piercing his ears he dashes on to
victory. The struggle is not long, and the spoils won from the
vanquished nearly bankrupt the entire tribe until the next annuities
replace their losses.
There are no imprecations nor villainous mutterings. An Indian is a
good loser and bears defeat in a philosophical, stoical manner.
Immediately after the exciting races come the feasts given to the
successful competitors, and the following day finds the erstwhile
holiday-arrayed village desolate and uninteresting.
Yamanatz, Jack and Chiquita began preparations for the trip to
Blazing-Eye-by-the-Big-Water, and soon followed the crowd of visitors
making their way to the nearest railroad.
The last one to bid Chiquita adios was Antelope. He had little to
say, but averred he would continually seek the aid of all the Ute gods,
big and little, to bring the heart of Chiquita to Antelope's tepee.
Antelope will wait many, many snows and take no other maiden, were
his parting words.
The restraining influence which Chiquita and Yamanatz exerted
vanished very soon with their departure from the reservation. Susan at
once commenced to be vindictive, as jealousy and revenge gnawed at her
heart. Chagrined and disappointed at the turn of affairs in the
competition by the young bucks for their brides, she coquetted with
Johnson, well knowing that in him she would find an acquiescent if not
an aggressive leader. Furthermore, he was the brother-in-law of Ouray
and considered one of the greatest of Douglas' band of great warriors
and fighters. She soon became, in fact, Johnson's squaw, and no one in
all the Ute tribe was more regal in dress nor feared more as an enemy
than Susan. Her silver girdles, beaded buckskins, elk-tooth necklaces
and other feminine accessories were the envy of squaws, whose chiefs
were also envious of Johnsonaye, even of any one of Douglas's band of
While the races and general carnival were in progress at the Agency
a portion of this renegade band had wandered far out in the plains one
hundred miles east of Denver, near Cheyenne Wells, where they quarreled
with and murdered Joe McLane, of Chicago, and fled back to the
reservation through Middle ParkColorow, Washington, Shavano and Piah.
Washington was wounded and had his arm in a sling when they met the
outgoing party, of which Charley Rogers, Jack, Yamanatz and Chiquita
were members, then camped on the Frazier River. Colorow offered no
explanation of whence they came nor their object, but all four were in
a hurry and hastened along through the Park.
Arriving on the Blue, where old man Elliott peaceably conducted a
ranch and with whom the Indians had been on good terms for years, they
murdered him in cold blood and left immediately for the Agency.
Upon their arrival it did not take long to start the undercurrent of
open revolt. Susan enlisted the sympathies of Jane, a vicious squaw,
whose husband had a great many ponies. Jane had selected a fine piece
of pasture land and under the rights of an Indian squatted upon the
land in question. It was the best land near the Agency, and Meeker
decided to use it for cultivation and to school the Utes in the use
of the plow. Jane objected, and quarrel after quarrel took place,
Douglas even going so far as to assault Agent Meeker in his (Meeker's)
A compromise was seemingly effected by which Jane was to get another
piece of land for her pasture and Meeker again set the plow to going,
only to have the man in charge of the work shot at by two bucks who
were concealed in the sage brush. Meeker had repeatedly asked aid of
both state and Federal government. He begged for troops, as the lives
of the white people were in peril. As the aged philanthropist listened
to the council held in a smoke-smothered lodge, where warrior after
warrior gave utterance to his opinion in a language absolutely
unintelligible to any but a Ute, and when at last Douglas made his
measured, forcible, irresistible appeal to his brother savages to
resist the onward march of the white people, he (Meeker) must have
known his doom was at hand. Signal fires were constantly seen as night
came on, and the murmur of discontent increased with the uncertainty.
Finally word came that troops were on the way. Captain Payne with
colored, and Major Thornburg with white troops had been despatched to
the Agency. The morning of September 30, 1879, saw the White River
plateau under sunny skiesthe air was warm and inviting. Twenty or
thirty bucks of Douglas's band sauntered forth as though in quest of
venison, others of the various bands had been out among the hills on
similar errands, and it was not unusual for the majority of the whole
Ute nation to be scattered throughout the reservation even beyond the
lines for short periods.
Susan, Jane, Antelope and a few others wandered about the Agency
buildings laughing, chattering and in the best of spirits. All seemed
happy, Susan especially, and Antelope had not been so gay for a long
Still there was an ominous phase to their very good humor. It had
that practical joke fatality which foreboded evil in every smile and
made the heart sick for those who watched the sage-covered mesa and
feathery clouds which floated from range to range. But a few miles away
toward the Red Cañon on Milk Creek the troops were hastening. As the
advance line swung up to the narrow gorge a few Indians in warpaint
suddenly came into view. The cavalry made an attempt to flank the
defile and thus saved the entire command from being literally shot to
pieces by Indians surrounding the open death trap into which they would
Hostilities were begun at once by the Indians. Major Thornburg in
his attempt to cut through to the main body was killed, with thirteen
others. The rest of the troops reached a place of safety, and with the
dead bodies of their comrades, the carcasses of dead horses and mules
and the wagons, formed a temporary shelter until breastworks could be
thrown up. The command was not relieved until the 5th of October.
Runners carried the news of the ambuscade to the Agency, reaching
there at noon of the same day. During the excitement which followed and
the shots directed first at the men who were putting a roof on a
building, the venerable agent was killed and a barrel stave driven down
his throat, log chains placed around his neck, and subsequently the
savages in their fury held up the dead man's legs, imitating a man
[Illustration: ANTELOPE, THE CIVILIAN, 1902.]
The women were taken by Douglas, Johnson and other Utes to the old
Rock Creek village and there held as prisoners until the middle of
October. Susan was left at the Agency and did not know that her brave
warrior had taken unto himself a new squaw under penalty of blowing her
brains out, nor that Douglas threatened another with death unless she,
too, became his Ute squaw, while the other Indians jeered, scoffed and
insulted the wives of the men who lay dead at the Agency. Yet these
bucks dared do nothing but taunt the poor, helpless women, as Douglas
and Johnson were big chiefs, and the women owed their personal safety
to the declaration that they were respectively Douglas's and Johnson's
Upon the body of Major Thornburg was found a picture of Colorow,
this signifying that the death-dealing bullet that killed the officer
had been fired by that crafty old savage.
After a tedious examination of both Johnson and Douglas by
commissioners, Douglas was confined in the prison at Fort Leavenworth
for one year. Colorow never was taken into custody.
When Susan learned that her wily spouse (Johnson) had been
unfaithful to her, she started at once for Rock Creek with the
intention of murdering the white woman; but she was too late, as the
prisoners had been led away and delivered to their friends in a place
The Utes were afterward moved to the Uintah Reservation[B] in Utah,
but many of them visit the old Agency grounds, and at this writing
(1902) Antelope again favored the White River people with his presence
and his photograph in civilized attire.
[Footnote A: Hot Springsnow Glenwood Springs.EDITOR.]
[Footnote B: For authentic documents on the Meeker massacre see
Chicago Tribune, Oct. 2-15, 1879; Denver papers of same date;
Bancroft's History of Colorado; U.S. House Documents, 1879-1880 (Indian
CHAPTER X. THE BLAZING-EYE MINE.
In Eastern California there lies a strip of country less than a
hundred miles in length and thirty miles in widththe Gehenna of
Americaa basin so defiled that the abomination of the Israelites, the
Valley of Hinnom, was a paradise; Tophet, where the sacrifices of
children to Moloch were made by this Biblical tribe of Hebrews, was at
least habitable. Death Valley lies two hundred and fifty feet lower
than the tide water of the Pacific Ocean. Upon this strip of land grows
no verdure, and within its confines exists no life save the scorpion,
the centipede, the tarantula, the hideous gila monster and
rattlesnakes, all more deadly poisonous than sisters and brothers of
the same family found elsewhere, each species a continual menace to the
others in the never ending battle for lifevindictive conquerors at
last being vanquished by more malignant foes.
The desert is one mass of burning, blighting alkali sand. The heat
is beyond human endurance, and what few pools of water may be found by
digging deep into the earth are so pregnant with disease-breeding,
loathsome germs, that death is but hastened to the poor victim of
thirst who attempts to assuage his sufferings by drinking the polluted
reward of frenzied labor.
At one time the government established an observation station within
the borders of this waste to give scientifically to the world an
accurate account of the perils which await the prospector venturesome
enough to visit this living ossuarythe realm of the dead and habitat
of the uncanny. Records show that the government representative found
the heat so burdensome that clothing was dispensed with, and in
nature's primitive garb the lonely vigils were passed until the station
Years before, a prospector braved the perils of the desert and
returned more dead than alive, but with golden sand and golden nuggets
and tales of a mine whose splendor out-dazzled the wildest dreams. This
prospector called the mine after himself, Pegleg. He obtaining his
sobriquet from the fact that one of his legs was a wooden peg. He
organized a party and they entered the valley, never to return. Other
parties were formed and attempted a rescue, only to leave their bones
to bleach as monuments of man's distorted and perverse cupidity.
The government sent a detachment of soldiers, well versed in the
knowledge of all the impending dangers, but none returned save a
corporal, and he a raving maniac, upon a thirst-crazed mule. Thus the
famous Pegleg mine became a legend fraught with mystery and weird,
It was to this mine, The Blazing-Eye-by-the-Big-Water, that
Yamanatz was to conduct Jack. The Utes in years gone by made the trip
from the mountains to the desert land and returned laden with golden
ornaments, their trappings covered with gold nuggets beaten into
fantastic shapes. It took many moons in their comings and goings, and
many fierce battles were waged with other tribes in the latter's
endeavors to wrest the secret from the wily warriors, who knew of a
safe but dangerous underground river bed, which wound its tortuous way
beneath the sand-covered desert, cutting the wonderful deposit in half.
But even this passage to that mountain of wealth was beset by terrors
as frightful as those above the ground. Reptiles had ingress and egress
from fissures leading to the surface, and one was in constant danger at
every step, not from the trail alone, but from the roof and sides of
that slimy cañon, the gloom of which added to the dark hideousness, as
the feeble, flickering torches awakened the lethargic inhabitants of
that abandoned inferno.
The trip from the White River Agency had been made by rail as far as
possible. Every provision had been made that could be devised for
protection against the evils surrounding the dangerous mission. The
nearest station which Jack could in any way guess would land them
near a point from whence Yamanatz could find his way was Mojave. The
curious of the little town watched the preparations of the trio as they
made ready to prospect toward the Telescope range. The party consisted
of Yamanatz, Jack and Chiquita, and an old forty-niner who was asked
to join them under the promise of good wages and the usual interest
in any claims which might be staked. As they slowly made their way
along the edge of the great Mojave desert, Yamanatz was continually on
the lookout for some familiar sign that would indicate they were in the
locality leading to the mysterious river bed. Finally the fourth day
found them encamped at the edge of a low bench, or hill, mountains
arising from one side and an undulating, dreary waste of billowy sands
stretching to the horizon on the other.
It is good, said Yamanatz, continuing, On the morrow Chiquita
will go with the prospector to the stream where yonder mountain meets
the sky. Chiquita will watch and wait until Jack and Yamanatz shall
return. The prospector will find an old vein of mineral in which is
gold. He must work upon that while Yamanatz and Jack go toward the
setting sun, where the buzzards roost waiting for those who venture
into Death Valley.
This satisfied the prospector, who answered, It is not much thet
bird gets to put inside his 'bone box' sence the fools quit a-goin' ter
ther 'Pegleg' mine. Ye hev bin told about thet, I guess, and ye don't
look thet crazy as would attempt even a one hour's ride into thet
furnass. I'll go with the Injun gal, and good luck ter ye.
We will be gone five sleeps, said Yamanatz.
The second day found Jack and the Ute chief inside the
well-concealed stone covered opening which led to the river bed. Armed
with horsehair whips and gnarled piñon torches which blazed and smoked,
they made their way, leading horses and pack mules along the
subterranean passage. Occasionally the swashing of water smote their
ears, and at intervals open fissures extending to the stream far below
them were encountered, whereby cooling drink was obtained by means of a
lariat and camp bucket. It was not difficult to replenish the leathern
pouches provided for water.
The middle of the fourth day they reached the crumbling,
disintegrated mass of quartz, honeycombed with gold. It was necessary
to crush the decayed ore and extract the huge nuggets by washing in a
pan. Occasionally the breaking of some of the rock revealed solid
masses of pure gold, while in pockets of rusty, discolored quartz great
handfuls of gold sand were disclosed. All that day and night Jack
worked with a frenzied fervor, loading saddlebag after saddlebag with
the precious metal. Yamanatz assisted until all their receptacles were
filled, then a couple of hours of restsleep was out of the question.
The heat and excitement rendered it useless to attempt it.
Packing the valuable pouches together with the few camp requirements
which had been used on the trip, the return was commenced. The entrance
was reached in less time than it required going; but now it became
necessary to mark a trail by which Jack could find the way back to the
cavern alone. Monuments of stone were erected in triangles, which gave
the needed bearings for future use. More time had been consumed than
had been allowed, and starvation rations for man and beast became
When the last monument to complete the chain had been erected it was
midnight, and it was decided to attempt the crossing of the desert
strip at an angle. Hour after hour they traveled, yet at daybreak no
blue haze, no lofty peak appeared in that simmering, sweltering,
burning waste. The trail behind them was as water struck with a whip.
The sand in front gave no alluring sign. The ponies laboredthe mules
were restive. Silently as a moonbeam falling across the earth the
cavalcade moved. Another midnight, and Jack resorted to his knowledge
of astronomy to guide them from that fearful death which another day
would probably bring. The constellation of Cassiopea seemed to beckon
him in her direction. Again the red copper-colored sun appeared above
the horizon; a faint blue line in front gave hope of relief. The ponies
were allowed free rein to choose their own way.
As the sun rose higher and higher the heat drove the pack animals
into a frenzy. The oscillating motion of those in the saddle was almost
unendurable. Gloomily they looked at each otherthe one seeing that
shrunken, skin-drawn, parched, pinched human horror in front, wondering
if he in turn looked the same. Still they lived and hoped. Again hour
succeeded hour until the midnight of another day arrived. Suddenly the
mules gave a joyful whinny and started up a sandy gulch at a brisker
pace than they had been traveling. The last of the water had been
divided that noon and no food had been tasted for three days. In
another hour they came to a rock where a little pool struggled only to
lose itself in the sand. But by scooping away the earth while the
animals were pawing, even biting, the very ground, Jack was at last
able to save a little of the precious fluid and appease their immediate
A short rest and the march was again resumed. By noon, gaunt and
hidedrawn, two Indian ponies stumbled along the burning sands. Two
horsemen with vacant, stony stare, pitifully reeled in their saddles as
their horses wabbled slowly, painfully into the camp of the Lone
Fisherman. Pack mules with drooping, lifeless ears, tongues lolling
from their mouths and hoofs cracking from contact with the poisonous
alkaloids of the desert, staggered under their burdens as they toiled
after the silent spectres in the lead. The dust-begrimed, skin-dried,
withered, parched and blighted beings athwart those animated skeletons
were Jack and Yamanatz. The load under which the beasts of burden
tottered was gold. Death Valley had been invaded, and once more
substantial treasure from the Pegleg mine gave positive evidence of
the fabulous riches, surpassing the most wonderful opulence of ancient
kings, which was accorded those who survived the horrors of the
health-wrecking, life-destroying journey. A joyous welcome awaited the
returned travelers. Chiquita had determined to get a rescuing party
that day, but a kind Providence directed otherwise. In attempting the
short cut from the last triangle of monuments Jack and Yamanatz had
traveled in a circle.
Jack recovered his normal condition more readily than did Yamanatz.
Before leaving the Lone Fisherman, which the old prospector found of
value sufficient to pay for working, Yamanatz and Jack again made the
trip to and from the nearest located triangle and Jack had no trouble
in future visits. He soon succeeded in obtaining from the Government a
valid title to the ground.
The nucleus of that fortune was spent in fitting Chiquita for her
She entered at once upon her studies, under the care of private
tutors, and in two years' time the rapid advancement made placed her
far along toward the goal of learning. Academic courses followed in
quick succession, her wonderful intellectual powers seemingly never to
weary or flag in their grinding evolution from savagery to civilized
enlightenment during her self-imposed task of ten years in the bright
fields of knowledge.
CHAPTER XI. COLLEGE VACATIONS.
During one of the spring terms, when the birds taunted Chiquita with
their freedom, Jack and Hazel proposed, during the recess of two weeks,
that they all take a trip to the Indian Territory and visit the
Cherokees, Kiowas and Comanches, among whose tribes were many relatives
of Chiquita. Over a rough and dusty roadbed rolled a long train of
coaches bearing tourists, farmseekers and business men through banks of
smoke and clouds of cinders to the great farming lands of the west. At
Coffeyville Jack disembarked his party and in a comfortable buckboard
continued the journey. A couple of miles of dusty road between
sweltering hedges of osage orange led them to the boundary of the
Indian Territory. Along this in a never varying line for a hundred
miles on the north side stretched farm after farm, divided from the
highway and each other by thousands of miles of wire fencing. Bare
cornfields and treeless wastes spread forth uninviting landscape,
marked at intervals with the houses of the ambitious ranchmen, who, by
preoccupation or purchase, obtained title to the soil. Alkali dust
smarted the nostrils, and the glare of the noonday sun scorched the
faces of travelers. Plowmen, making ready for the season's planting,
rested their teams as the pleasure seekers stopped to inquire the road
to California Creek.
To the south of the highway rolled a grass-covered prairie that
seemed a great poly-chromed rug of velvet. The hand of man had not
chiseled the virgin soil with plowshare, nor riveted its surface with
post and rail. A well defined road led zigzag over its undulating bosom
until the hideous regularity of section lines disappeared behind a
friendly stretch of upland. Cottonwood, elm and oak became frequent as
they entered the valley of the Verdigris and great stretches of
forest-dotted park enchanted the eye and gave rest to tiresome monotony
of treeless plain. Occasionally an unpretentious, unpainted shanty gave
evidence of man, and inquiry proved it to be the abiding place of one
of the precivilized occupants of unfettered expanse of the American
continent, the other a squaw man, who had made matrimonial alliance
with the partially civilized companion.
Jack, said Chiquita, after the inspection of one of these abodes
of an Indian, who had adopted some of the ways and customs of his white
brethren, Cherokee once big Indian, now half man, half coyote; little
plow, little hunt, little eatlittle good, and she curled her lip in
disdain as she contemplated the work of onwardness. Continuing the
conversation in the more polished language of a college student, Did
not the Great Spirit, the one God of the Indians, put his people here
in this paradisethis continent of flower-carpeted, forest-grown hills
and vales, a people noble in thought, noble in dignified demeanor, with
a belief in a religion simple and effective? Among Indians are no
infidels or agnostics. All Indians believe in the Happy Hunting Ground
and the Great Spirit. Do you know, Jack, of any country where the
native race, indigenous to the land, compare with the noble red man as
he was when the first white settlers occupied America?
Possibly the Arabs or early Egyptians might compare more favorably
than any other nation that I know of, Jack replied.
Yes, but Egypt and Arabia are of today, whereas the Indians are
wards of a great government, and your government has condemned the
Indian to a worse Siberia than that to which Nihilist was ever
transported. Look; there is a specimen of what a civilized government
does to a native-born American, pointing to a half-breed trying to
plow with one steer harnessed up like a horse.
Hello! Jack sang out to the man thus referred to.
As the buckboard stopped a few rods from the shack, called a hoos,
the individual addressed pulled at his galluses and hat, then walked
over to the fence, which enclosed fifty acres of newly plowed ground,
said, How? and stood gaping at the travelers.
Good morning, cheerily said Jack. We are on our way to Pryor
Creek and then want to go into the Kiowa Reservation. Can you tell us
anything about the road?
Waal, I reckon yes. It's good goin' 'til yer git to the Verdigris.
Thet nigh ho'se (meaning horse, pronounced with long o and aspirate s)
uster belong to the 'Lazy L' outfit.
The answer was given in a drawling, sing-song tone, with full rests
between every third word, when the speaker stopped to pick up a stick
to whittle, to halloo at his steer or to show how straight he could
expectorate a small freshet of tobacco juice between his teeth at some
real or imaginary mark. His skin was a dirty soot color, and his raven
black eyes and straight hair emphasized his ghastly pallor. He was tall
and thinbuilt on the Arkansas plan of constructing ladders. His hips
and shoulder blades seemed to meet, giving his long, lank legs the
appearance of a man's head on jointed stilts. Jack made no reply to the
remark about the horse with the Lazy L brand, but inquired the
distance to the Verdigris.
It's quite a patch. I reckon yer mought hev some 'navy' about yer
close; jess the same if yer moughtenthanks.
Jack had learned that a plug of tobacco had open sesame qualities
among certain species of human beings, and in his war bag were several
pounds cut into goodly sized pocket pieces. One of them he handed to
the half-breed, who tore off a corner with his teeth, absentmindedly
putting the rest in his pocket. The tip had the desired effect, for
Ladder Legs recounted in the drawl of the Cherokee half-breeds, with
its characteristic aspirating, all the crooks, turns, fords and
distances to the Kiowa Reservation. In response to Jack's inquiry
regarding the limited cultivation of the land so near the Kansas
border, Ladder Legs vouchsafed this information:
A 'squaw man' has little ambition, and a half-breed none. The
environments of Indian life make a 'States' man dejected and he soon
outgrows the infant ambition which prompted him to marry a squaw that
he might 'take up' land in the territory. A white man cannot live on
the Indians' ground except he marries a squaw or the daughter of a man
who has had tribal rights conferred upon him; then he becomes an Indian
and can have a fifty-acre pasture fenced, all the land he will
cultivate, and the 'range' for his stock to feed upon. You see that
bend in the river? Waal, a white man from the States married the widow
of a well-to-do Cherokee half-breed. He is educated and has grown-up
daughters almost as white as you be, and a nice house well furnished,
and he rents out a part of his land on shares to some 'niggers,' or
half-breeds, and they cultivate all the land he can put under fence.
Some day when this land is allotted he will own an immense tract.
How about the range you spoke of? asked Jack.
The cattlemen up in the States supply a bunch of cattle to some
ranchman having a good range or lots of open country, well watered,
around his house. Probably the man has a lot of corn and wants to feed
the cattle over winter and take profit in so much increase of beef,
pound for pound, that these cattle gain. Nearly all of the ranchmen
have hogs to run with the cattle, so there is another source from which
a return is anticipated. Pays, did you ask? Sure; all get rich who will
work. But over there on California Creek was a young fellow who had a
snap of it if ever a man did. This young fellow married the daughter of
an Indian missionary, a preacher from up in Kansas, who rewrote the
real Bible in the Cherokee dialect, for which the tribe made him a
full-blooded Indian, as far as any rights in the nation were concerned.
After they were married they came down here with their fine duds and
bought a ranch over on the creek of a full-blood Cherokee. He lived
there about four years. He had friends up in one of the Missouri towns
in the livestock commission business and they had all kinds of cattle.
They started the young fellow with four thousand fine steers in the
spring, and told him to raise some corn for the next winter and feed
the first lot on the range, then they would send in another bunch for
winter care. Them there cattle drifted all the way to Texas, and do you
suppose the lazy dude would try to round 'em up? No, sirree. He was
just too nice. His hands were so soft he couldn't get a calf to the
brandin' post in a corral, let alone rope a steer and brand him in the
open country. The folks came down on him and he lost the ranch. His
wife died and he went to Honduras, or the Philippines, or somewhere.
But this yere land is all goin' to be allotted some day and then it is
good-by to the freedom which we get here now. Yes, civilization kicks
up a heap of dust. Good-by; stop and see me if you come back this way.
Chiquita seemed amazed to hear that an educated man from the
civilized States would let such a golden opportunity pass him by. Mile
after mile of the fairest cattle range was passed on their way into the
The time had arrived when Chiquita must return to college. During
her visit to the old relatives who had married into the Territory
tribes she learned that a distant cousin of hers was to be shot for the
murder of a fellow Indian. The tribal council had tried him and
sentenced him to death six months before, but on the plea which he made
for leave of absence to go to his old home among the mountain Utes in
Colorado to see his mother and father before he died, they had respited
him. The time for his return expired at noon the very day that Chiquita
was to start back.
She learned the story about four hours before noonthe time for the
executionand at once made her way to the council hall, where in
solemn silence waited the court and executioners. Chiquita pleaded that
they spare her cousin. The plea was made to deaf ears. He had dealt the
death blow to a Kiowa, and by their laws he had been tried and found
guilty, and by their law he must suffer death.
Where is he, that I may see him? asked Chiquita.
He has not returned.
He will come. A Ute does not fear the death that awaits him, even
for a crime, proudly asserted Chiquita. The Great Manitou will send
him back. Has he not danced to Wakantanka with a buffalo skull hung to
a thong that passed through the flesh of his back? Will one who has
danced to the Sun be afraid to return to the Kiowa dogs? Polar Bear
knows that the Utes would drive him back from the Happy Hunting Ground
and be killed by them if he did not keep his promise to return. Polar
Bear knows there is no escape.
Chiquita is wise in what she says. The Kiowas know that Polar Bear
has been a big brave and danced the awful Sun dance, but the hour is
near at hand, and no word that he comes. What have we to insure his
return, except the Indian's faith in the hereafter and that the Great
Manitou will punish him in the Happy Hunting Ground if he disobeys the
Kiowa Council and splits his heart with a lie when he promised to
At this moment a shout was heard and a mounted runner quickly
appeared, his horse covered with flecks of foam and nostrils deeply
Polar Bear comes. He runs like the deer of the plains, when we
lived in sight of the great mountains, the home of the Utes.
The council suspended all manifestations. The executioner examined
his rifle. Polar Bear entered and bowed his head, then looked aloft and
pointed to the sky.
I am ready, was all he said.
The hour lacked ten minutes of the expired time. The executioner
motioned and Polar Bear followed. Under a large oak he took his stand,
stripped to the waist, a scarlet heart painted over his own. The
executioner took his place, a few steps away, sighted his rifle at the
painted heart, a puff of smoke, a sharp report, a gush of blood, and
Polar Bear had atoned for his crime. Chiquita turned to Jack and asked:
Is there another nation in the world where their criminals return
of their own accord to suffer the death penalty?
Most of the summer vacations of her college life Chiquita spent
among the forests, crags and parks on the Ute reservation or in her
mountain home near Middle Park. Hundreds of student friends visited her
at the latter place and were entertained for weeks in a royal manner,
to their great pleasure, a result which does not always follow the
lavish expenditure of money. Tents, tepees, lodges, log cabins and
quaint cottages were set apart for the use of the guests. A beautiful
rustic chapel improvised for religious services and a hall for indoor
entertainment were erected near the small hotel at the source of Rock
Creek, where a famous iron and soda spring bubbles forth its sparkling
waters of more than ordinary quality. The adjacent hills furnished
abundance of deer, and even bear, and the famous catches of trout
perpetuated the glory of a summer on Rock Creek as a lifelong realistic
dream. The most elaborate of Indian trappings adorned the various
abodes. Canoes silently sped along the surface of an artificial lake
made by repairing an old beaver dam, and in the corral Ute ponies,
Mexican burros or American-bred saddle horses, besides traps, brakes
and coaches presented a never-tiring array from which to select in
order to make pilgrimages into more distant territory.
A little garden furnished fresh vegetables, while the ranch hack
made trips to the nearest railway station for other provisions once a
week. Chiquita arranged for the pre-emption of this ranch on one of
Jack's early visits, but by reason of mineral springs being reserved by
the Government from operation of the land law, the property was
abandoned in later years.
In making her trips back and forth from the ranch on Rock Creek to
the college, Chiquita watched the marvelous growth of that great
stretch of country between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains
with sinking heart.
To Jack she confided her worst fears. The Great Manitou of the Utes
has been conquered by the Great Spirit of the white man, she was wont
to remark as her knowledge of the Christian religion advanced.
In truth, Chiquita had ground for her fears. Leadville, with its
never ceasing output of silver which rolled in a continuous stream
toward the great manufacturing centers of the East, was welcomed by the
idle, labor seeking armies as the Mecca of the world. The prominent
transportation companies sent emissaries to all the great farming
regions of Europe, colonizing emigrants to enter the immense
uncultivated sections traversed by their respective charters in the
attempt to make their railways profitable. Train load after train load
of hardy, well-to-do Russians, Norwegians, Swedes and Germans rolled
into the fertile valleys, peopling the arid wastes and starting the
building of villages, towns and cities along the railway like unto
tales of mythology. The impetus of this gigantic, overwhelming
land-grabbing aroused the speculative world and money came forth from
its hiding place to seek investment. Mills began to work overtime.
Products of all kinds were in demand, for the comers to the new land
had to be fed, clothed and entertained. Prosperity ruled.
Jack, said Chiquita, as the annual trip was made across the great
country to the mine near the close of her college career, see the
effects of education and civilization in these immense cities where ten
years ago were unplowed lands, open prairie and treeless wastes. The
untutored savage must go; yes, there is but one result can ensue, and
while it makes me feel sad for my people yet I doubt not it is best for
CHAPTER XII. JACK WEDDED.
'Twas the last of June, the wedding bells pealed joyously, the
church organ bellowed noisily, the formality of congratulations
followed along with the flutter of praises for the bride and groom,
which they received because it was eminently proper and expected; a
hurried breakfast, still more hasty good-byes, the whistle of an
approaching train amid the excitement of baggage checked, lost or
forgotten, a rush of depot farewells, a waving of handkerchiefs, a few
misty eyes, then Hazel had a chance to breathe a long sigh of relief
and Jack to unburden some pent-up adjectives as he picked rice out of
his wife's hair and removed the tell-tale labels, ribbons and signs
which decorated umbrellas, suit cases and wraps.
Jack, whispered Hazel, as she nestled close to him in the railroad
coach in which was no one but an old man, the train attendant being on
the platform. I was 'skeert' until you squeezed my hand, and I
trembled all over. I thought I should faint, but I'm your wife, ain't
Yes, you are an old married lady now, answered Jack, dogmatically.
An old married lady, repeated Hazel slowly, lapsing into a brown
study for a moment. Jack, is it such an awful long time since I was a
little girl and you pulled my sled on the hill for me?
No, dear, it is but yesterday and it will be yesterday always, even
if we live for a hundred years. Don't you know, 'It's only once in life
one's boots have copper toes,' and my 'copper-toed' age was the
happiest part of my life.
Until today, Jack, interrupted Hazel, very decidedly.
Yes? inquiringly replied Jack.
The time for Jack to make his regular visit to the mine had also
been selected for his wedding trip and Chiquita was to join the newly
married pair at Denver, then all three were to do Colorado, finishing
by spending a few weeks in Estes Park and the Buena Vista ranch, as
Chiquita called her wonderful summer abode, later going on to
California. Jack had purchased a fine equipment of split bamboo fly
rods and all the necessary accompaniments, while Hazel, equally ardent
in her admiration of the sport so fascinating to the disciples of Izaak
Walton, fashioned, with her own hands, elegant rod cases, fly books and
natty garments for the outing. Conspicuous among the latter was a short
walking skirt and Eton jacket of brown duck, trimmed with bands of
white and studded with brass buttons, in which she arrayed herself and
practiced fly casting for imaginary trout on the lawn. A stop of an
hour in Boston gave them barely time to transfer across the city of
crooked streets to the Albany station and to settle themselves for the
long ride to Chicago. Jack provided in advance for plenty of room,
engaging a sleeper section.
By the time the train had shot past the beautiful suburban cities of
Auburn and the Newtons and rolled into Framingham Mr. and Mrs. Sheppard
were quite at home. They commenced to congratulate themselves on
looking like old married folks and that no one would suspect them of
being bride and groom.
Jack, you know something? said Hazel in her speculative way that
always meant a favor to come.
Well, sweetheart, what is it? Jack presumed it was a glass of
water or apples or that her pillow was not right.
Well, you know.
Jack knew then that something more than ordinary was coming; that
you know indicated not an uncertainty, but was the usual signal for a
hold upnothing short of opera ticketsand the young man wondered
what unsatisfied desire was about to be you knowed.
Well, you know that little descriptive story you wrote of Estes
Park, read it to me.
So Mr. Jack resurrected the tale from its pocket in his suit case
and in his rich, modulated voice, read the story for the xth time, he
Peerless Estes! That miniature world wilderness of wonder and
delight! Set apart for the tired brain and careworn wreck from the
sepulchers of business activity! A sweet paradise nestled amidst the
encircling snow-capped peaks whose somber heads rise far above the
habitat of microbe and parasite. Those silent peaks silhouetted against
an ethereal dome of deepest blue or blackest star-bespangled canopy of
night! The mountain air of Estes; the elixir compounded by nature for
reinvigorating battling civilization!
This enchanted arena, which pen fails adequately to drape in
poetical luxury, was dedicated for combats between rest and toil,
health and sickness, vitality and decay. The angler revels in luxury
with the numbers of easily accessible pools, riffles, meadows, cañons,
the most distant an hour's drive and the majority but ten minutes'
walk. Occasionally deer may be seen and the 'Big Horn' come down their
aerial stairway from the clouds to lick from the alkali waters in
Horseshoe. Wait until you see the chattering magpie, with its bronze
equipment and saucy manners. The foe of this long-tailed, noisy
inhabitant is a blue jay (the one James Whitcomb Riley calls the 'bird
with soldier clothes.') Hours may be spent witnessing the strategy,
diplomacy, anger, spite and vindictiveness waged by these bird robbers
and desperadoes, for both are notorious house breakers, murderers and
thieves in bird land, as well as clever in appropriating kitchen
supplies which they surreptitiously seize when opportunity is
In Estes a Sabbath quiet broods at all times, broken only by the
swish of the angler's rod, the merry peal of frightened laughter as
some maiden lands her first trout, or the crunching of horses' hoofs in
the hard gravel roads as a pleasure party clatters by. Children romp
and play without fear of mosquitoes or snakes, troublesome poisonous
insects being banished as thoroughly as if destroyed by some mysterious
Where in all the world can the lover go
Stop, Jack, look into the depth of my eyes and skip those charming
nooks, bowers and rock girt dens where so many rehearse the preliminary
episode which leads to the altar. I know that by heart; skip the
'lover' pages and read about the coach ride from Lyons, for we will get
to Lyons Friday, won't we?
So after a glass of water, an orange and readjusting of pillows,
Jack picked up his book again.
The ride from Lyons is so fraught with surprises that one becomes
distracted. Situated as it is in a veritable fiery furnace of red,
rough, ragged precipices, monuments of the eruptive age when volcanoes
vomited billowy lava over the face of the earth, Lyons is the
antithesis of what the traveler expected at the end of a tortuously
curved railroad track, over which the 'mixed' train of freight and
disgruntled humanity has been jerked, jostled and jumped along for
about three hours, covering forty miles.
But a delicious dinner awaits; generally fried chicken, southern
style. This does not mean a sun dried remnant of a wing, or the active
extremity of a leg with a burnt bone protruding through gristly skin,
but a nice, big piece of a yellow-legged Plymouth Rock, the real
article, hatched by a mother hen acquainted with the business and not
one of those Illinois river incubators that furnish spring chickens at
all seasons of the year to be kept well frozen in cold storage until
called for. This chicken is fried in ranch butter to a golden russet
brown, if you happen to know what color cooking calls for, and a whole
lot of it comes in on one great big platter, so you get a chance to
pick a good joint, but any part of such a chicken is good.
Jack, you are putting in a whole lot that is not in that book just
to make me hungry. My mouth has been puckered up for half an hour to
get a bite of that 'yaller leg.' We are near Springfield; let's eat.
Suiting the action to the word they joined the motley throng in the
rush for the dining-room, as the train came to a stop for forty
Fresh Connecticut River shad and roe, new green peas, new potatoes
in cream, lettuce, radishes.
There, that will kill your chicken fever for a time, said Jack, as
he ordered for both.
You may order me a piece of lemon pie, Jack. I see some on the
sideboard and the meringue is about two inches thick.
We want to go over and see the train for the north pull out; might
see some Bozrah people, Hazel, said Jack, after the dinner, it leaves
five minutes before we do.
Oh, sure enough, and there are a lot of students just going home. I
suppose Chiquita is in Denver by this time.
Hazel, there is old Deacon Petherbridge and Elam Tucker. I'll bet
they've been down to New Haven on a horse trade. You know Elam had the
big livery stable that burned down when you were eight and I was just
eleven. You remember the Tucker boy was foolish and set fire to the
hay, 'Wanted to see it burn,' he told the town marshal. But we must get
The last beams of rose-tinted sunlight percolated through the
gathering darkness as the train sped on its way, winding in and out
among the hills of western Massachusetts. Hazel watched the fading
panorama as it dissolved in the gloom of the night. She was thinking of
her happy school days among those very hills through which she was now
gliding, a one-day bride, wife of her childhood lover. As the scenes
vanished she shyly snuggled a little closer and whispered, Jack, we
will always be happy, won't we?
Why, yes; but what made you ask it?
Oh, just 'cause, continuing, I kinder wish we had gone around by
Hoosac tunnel, we could have seen 'Old Bozrah' hills and
I guess my new wife is a little homesick, consolingly interrupted
Jack. Suppose we visit Old Bozrah when we come back and have a famous
time going nutting and picking autumn leaves
And getting ivy poisoned so my face will be all spots next winter.
I guess not.
The obsequious, ebony-hued gem'man, in white coat with black
buttons, interrupted the first family differences.
If yoh doan mind, I'd laik to fix up yoh section; got so much to do
won't git through 'fore midnight.
All right, where can we go? This one across here is unoccupied,
replied Jack, wishing to accommodate.
Dat section, sah, will not be taken until we neah Albany, sah,
came from the man of tips and corporation dignity.
They had been seated but a few moments when the occupant of the
section next forward of their own was obliged to find temporary
quarters as the ever-obliging servant of monopoly touched his cap for
permission. A lady of prepossessing countenance, faultlessly gowned and
of gracious manner, knocked, as it were, at Jack's door, addressing
him, May I occupy this vacant seat while the porter arranges my
domicile? Pardon the intrusion, but all other avenues seem already
Certainly, it is no intrusion; in fact, we shall be glad to have
you, as you have had a long siege of solitaire, replied Jack.
I do get so lonesome on my trips that I sometimes wish some one
else had the position, answered the lady with that assurance which
Gathering from that, I judge you travel for business instead of
pleasure, said Jack.
Yes, I make two trips a year on business. I am buyer for
Stoddersmith of Boston, and am on my way to Colorado and California. I
shall visit Estes Park, Manitou and other points, then go to India and
Jack was no more surprised than if she had told him she was
quartermaster in the navy, or a field marshal in the German army. He
looked incredulous. The lady handed him her card, which read, Miss
Asquith, Stoddersmith's, Boston, remarking that if it would be
agreeable she would tell them how it happened a woman occupied so
important a position, and naively added, The only firm in the world
who employs one of our sex in this department, even as a saleslady.
Oh, do tell us, said Hazel, and to Jack, Just think of a woman
going alone to India to buy goods!
This trip is really a part of my twenty-fifth anniversary with the
Hazel interrupted. Pardon me, but do you mean to say you have been
twenty-five years with one firm?
Yes, and I am but forty-five. I went to work, a girl of fifteen, in
one of the then larger western cities and after five years concluded I
would prefer an eastern house. New York did not offer the inducement
which I found in Boston. I was placed in the fur stock in winter and
lighter wraps in summer. For some reason, after I had been with them
ten years, they transferred me temporarily into the present department,
later returning me for one winter to the furs. At the end of that
season I was given the option of management of the entire wrap stock or
a permanent place in the other line. I preferred the latter. I did not
feel confidence enough in myself to be a buyer. You see, if certain
styles of goods fail to 'go,' fail to become popular or to bring a good
profit, there is a vacancy and a new buyer takes up the department. My
sales in the new stock increased steadily. It became positively
embarrassing to me at times when customers refused to have their wants
attended to by the men in the stock, men who had been there many years
longer than I had. But the fact was, it finally became necessary for me
to make appointments just the same as dentists do in order to give the
attention necessary to the trade. Three years ago I made my first
attempt in buying from manufacturers in France. That trip was one
continual round of 'stage fright,' and even after the goods were in the
house I worried myself sick for fear the end of the season would be a
'blank,' as the boys say about lottery tickets, but the books showed a
very profitable period in the face of grave reverses to the general
trade. And now, to show their confidence in me as well as making me the
magnificent present of a trip to India, I am on my way to buy goods.
Isn't it lovely of them?
Well, you deserve it, even more if anything. Just imagine working
for one firm a quarter of a century, spoke up Hazel very
Many firms, said Jack, weighing his words, send 'style hunters'
abroad for the effect the mail from a foreign port has on their
customers. Half the time these 'hunters' stay long enough to mail their
announcements, like as not printed in the United States, look at a few
hats or garments, perhaps buy a 'pattern' or two, and then return home.
Other firms do send buyers into various ports abroad. Some have
resident buyers, but I never knew before of any firm sending a buyer
from the ranks of the fair sex to the Orient. Let me compliment you,
Miss Asquith, on your high achievement. It certainly demonstrates the
advancement of woman's sphere. But may I ask you a pertinent question
regarding the social part of your life?
Certainly, I can guess what you want to know, and let me say, at
first, I used to feel dreadfully when I found that the working girl is
to a great degree ostracised by what is called society. But I learned
that society is treacherous. If one has lots of money to spend there
are certain attractions that it takes money to enjoy or provide. The
different degrees of wealth provide their respective scale of eligible
members to make up their circle of society, and the lesser lights are
eclipsed or paled into insignificance by the grander candle power. It
is the same in business, professions, art and politics, so I found that
my sphere was probably cast in just as pleasant places among my class
of those who work for a living, as though I had been evolved by
marriage or fortune into a society star of any magnitude, where the
jealousies and 'snubs' are even harder to be endured because of the
still greater lustre found or imagined among more brilliant or
exclusive sets into which I could not enter. Do I make it clear?
Very; indeed, you echo my own theory. But I could not have
expressed it as clearly as you have, replied Jack.
After all, continued Miss Asquith, I doubt if the very rich
obtain as much unalloyed pleasure from life as do the middle classes
who do not aspire to greatness and are educated from infancy to make
themselves happy in the strata to which they are indigenous, as one may
put it. They are free to come and go any and everywhere, while the
wealthy commence life in charge of a nurse girl, are educated by
private tutors, attended by chaperones in their courtship and graduate
simply to be put in charge of the butler, footman, coachman and maid.
But I guess I have worn you out with my sermon on riches, and will say
Hazel and Jack joined in their good night and discussed the subject
some time, deciding to ask Miss Asquith to meet Chiquita and the four
go as one party to Estes Park. As Hazel said, It will give Chiquita a
grand chance to study another phase of the life of her white sister,
and, Jack, I guess the red man's squaw is not alone in the field of
drudgery, after all.
Owing to through tickets having been procured, it became necessary
for Jack to go one route while Miss Asquith took another from Chicago
to Denver, arrangements being made to that end the day following. Jack
had to get his tickets viséd at the Chicago office and for some
technical reason the matter was of such a nature that it required the
O. K. of the General Passenger Agent. As he awaited an audience, the
official being for the moment engaged with another person, evidently a
stranger to city methods and customs, Jack struggled with a long
forgotten, dimly familiar something about the man that recalled brain
impressions, which they say are never destroyed when once imprinted. He
had been directed to see Mr. Lillis at such a room, in such a building,
but that name carried no suggestion. It did not seem to fit the groping
fancy of his mind. Still the name seemed to associate itself with the
party then engaging the General Passenger Agent. As the stranger turned
to go he stopped in front of Jack, looked at him a moment, then put out
his hand, Shake, old man; guess you don't re-cog-nize Cal Wagner in
his store clothes. I jess cum out to God's country once more afore I
pass in my chips to see how things look in civilization. How be ye?
Of course Jack then remembered his quondam friend during the races
on the Ute reservation, and the name Lillis puzzled him more than ever.
He greeted Cal in a hearty manner, introducing Hazel.
Wait a minute while I get my tickets fixed, then I'll have a chat
with you, said Jack.
As he presented his tickets, stating the object of his errand, he
noticed the official had a glass eye and scar near his ear. When the
tickets were returned a name written across them identified so
unmistakably a part of Jack's vision that he immediately recalled the
story which Cal Wagner told him years before of the first grave in
Silver Cliff. The name was Bert Lillis. Allowing his curiosity to
prevail, he asked abruptly, Mr. Lillis, were you ever in Silver
The official started, a shiver ran through his frame, the color left
his face until it was like a piece of Parian marble, while he replied
just audibly, helplessly, Yes, adding quickly, Come in, I guess you
must know. Idid you ever see me before?
Jack shook his head, but turning to Cal said, Cal, this is Bert
Lillis, formerly of Silver Cliff.
Cal looked from one to the other and replied, Guess you are
mistaken. Lillis is dead many years.
No, he is still alive, said the official. Come in.
Upon being seated, no one seemed desirous of broaching the painful
subject uppermost in their minds, while Hazel was completely mystified
as to the conduct of the three men. Finally, with a great effort to
restrain his feelings, his head bowed upon his breast, the railroad man
said in broken sentences: Ifor fifteen years a blackened pall has
shadowed my path, a floating, abandoned derelict moored to my heart has
dragged me against the buffeting waves of the sea of life or held me
helpless in the trough as storm crests broke over me in my misery. A
man marked with the brand which God placed upon Cain for the murder of
his brother, yet I was exonerated by the jury. I shot Les McAvoy in the
discharge of my duty. I was a mere boy, without money, scantily clad,
in search of wealth with which to support my mother, and had to accept
the only opportunity presented in that lawless mining camp. I had no
tools or trade and was not strong enough to do the work required of
miners, and the camp had not advanced far enough to give employment to
the ordinary run of commercial wage earners. It was instilled into me
in early life to do my duty in whatever capacity I served, under all
circumstances, and I considered it my duty to protect that gambling
table even at the risk of my own life. The years of mental anguish
which I have lived since that fatal moment, and the years which my poor
old mother has had her head bowed in sorrow
Wait a moment, Mr. Lillis, interrupted Cal. You did not kill Les
What is thatyou say I did not? Oh! I wishit is good of you to
try to erase the stigma, but the evidence, the facts, the coroner's
verdict, 'at the hands of Bert Lillis.' Oh, no, nosadly commented
Mr. Lillis, I will prove to you what I say is truth, and if the
grave of Les McAvoy has remained untouched all these years, the
evidence is in the coffin, replied Cal.
Tell it! tell it! prove, first, that you were there; describe the
You were dealing, you raised a Colt's old-fashioned,
powder-and-ball navy six-shooter from yer lap
Yes, I had cleaned up that old gun and loaded it with fresh powder,
ball and new caps that day. They told me tointerrupted Mr. Lillis.
Sam Tupper sat in a chair on top of a dry-goods box; he was
lookout. A man with mustache, dead black, like India ink. Les did not
like your remarks and started to rise up in his chair, his hand goin'
to his pistol pocket. You lifted that big Colt's with both hands and as
soon as the muzzle of it was pintin' up and away from your own body you
pulled the trigger. Les had his own weapon out; you saw it, was
frightened, dropped your own gun and tried to slip under the table. As
you went down Les placed the muzzle of his gun agin yer eye and cut
loose. While this was goin' on Tupper never moved until he saw a chanst
to open a drawer, grab a pearl-handled, silver-plated shootin' iron. He
stood up, advanced one step, and fired downwardly at Les McAvoy's
breast. Les writhed, turned completely around, his hand convulsively
endeavoring to get an aim at Tupper, who stood with a malicious grin
waiting for McAvoy again to face him, ready to fire again if need be,
but he saw it was useless. As McAvoy finally pivoted, the pistol
dropped to the floor, and with a crash he fell flat on his back, dead.
You were under the table. Tupper stepped from the box, his six-shooter
a smokin' and said, 'You got it that time,' then put the gun in his
Where were you? exclaimed Mr. Lillis.
Right agin the wall, and McAvoy's head struck at my feet. One man
saw this besides myself. He wore three gold nuggets on his shirt front,
and me and him figgered it out that night and again the next morning,
but mum was the word. We knew the gamblers would kill us both if we
told what we seen. I left the place and returned just as the last
testimony was being given. There was no evidence given of Tupper having
fired a shot. As the body lay upon its side on the floor there was one
wound in the breast near the left center. Just under the skin in the
small of the back was a dark, cone-shaped substance. It was the lead
bullet from that pearl-handled six-shooter. The round bullet from your
Colt's navy went through the roof.
Gentlemen, said Lillis, I am now able to relieve my mind from
this hideous vision, and it will bring happiness to my mother. I can
see now why the gamblers removed me to Rosita and furnished me with
transportation and money to leave Colorado when I recovered
sufficiently to travel. The ball from McAvoy's pistol caught the lower
portion of my eye, and the turning of my head just before he fired
caused the bullet to pass out near my ear, instead of going into my
We must go now, as it is near train time, said Jack.
Me, too, said Cal.
Are you going west? asked Jack.
Same train you take, I guess, replied Cal.
Gentlemen, said Mr. Lillis, I regret you leave so soon. I would
like to entertain you if you care to stay over. If not now, at some
future time; and, Mr. Wagner, you have done me a great favor. My poor
old mother can live the rest of her life peacefully. Good-bye!
As the train pulled out of the station on the way to Denver the
principal topic of conversation was the remarkable coincidence of the
rencounter of Jack and Cal, emphasized by the more remarkable meeting
of Cal and Bert Lillis.
Well, that beats me, said Cal.
I've got another surprise in Denver for you, said Jack.
Will it beat this one?
Wait until you see our old friend, Chiquita.
Chiquita, the injun gal? asked Cal, inquiringly.
Yes, Yamanatz's daughter.
CHAPTER XIII. ESTES PARK.
The renewal of the acquaintance between Jack and Cal was an
opportune one. As each unfolded his past and expectations for the
future there seemed to be a bond of mutual sympathy formed unlike the
Jack, said Cal, confidentially, I have laid up a good pile of
'dust' and got as likely a ranch outfit as any of 'em. I ain't so much
on talk as some fellers with slippery tongues, neither is any one going
to get the worst of it as they do what deals with some of them slippery
talkers. When Cal says a thing's so, it's so, just as sure as gun's
made of iron. Now, I'm gittin' on in years, an' git lonesome as a
settin' hen without airy egg. I ain't a pinin' away, but I would like
to gin some desarvin' woman a good home. I'd kinder like to live in
Denver and have a house up among them nabobs. I don't expect that big
red stone quarry is goin' to give out right away and I just as lieve as
not use some of it to build a decent mansion. Then I've got a few
thousand steers;they's one bunch of eighteen hundred fat ones, every
one of them beef to the heels, true Herefords, got the Hereford mark,
that will run twelve to fourteen hundred pounds apiece, and prime
beeves are good as cash anywhere. I think that bunch of steers ought to
provide a pretty good place to live in as long as the stone don't cost
[Illustration: THE KEYHOLE, LONG'S PEAK, 13,000 FEET ABOVE SEA
Cal stopped and looked curiously at Jack, who was looking curiously
You are not so awful poor. Been about fifteen years making it?
asked Jack musingly.
Well, longer than that. I took up that stone ranch twenty years
ago. Never thought much of it until Denver got into the buildin' boom
and some feller was cartin' away my red rock without askingthe
cattle, well in freightin' and ranchin' I run onto many a 'maverick'
durin' the spring round-ups, then some young tenderfoot would get a
rich uncle to stake him; but when one of them March blizzards struck
his weavin', staggerin', half-famished bunch he would get sick and be
glad to turn over his travelin' boneyard for a couple of hundred or
less, an' I kept addin' to 'em until I got into raisin' nothin' but
thoroughbreds, answered Cal.
Let me tell you something, Cal. I'll put you onto the right track
and if you can't manage to do the right thing at the right time, you'll
have to live in that red house by yourself, see?
Hazel commenced to smile. She had joined in the general conversation
until Cal got sentimental, but when Jack joined forces with the honest
man of the plains who acknowledged to picking up mavericks, although
she did not know what they were, still she felt that it was some get
something for nothing scheme and she was afraid Jack might acquire bad
habits; then she was inclined to resent any effort on the part of Mr.
Jack to become a promoter of some matrimonial enterprise, so she smiled
and sententiously remarked: I guess you need not bind yourself to
deliver any foreign goods for domestic purposes, free of charge, Mr.
Now listen, my dear, said Jack. Wait until you learn what's
trumps before you tip your hand. I'm going to invite Cal to go with us
to Estes Park. He can be so useful to me, you know, if I want to go out
for a deer hunt; then he can pilot Miss Asquith over the big rocks when
I have my arms full attending to you, said Jack, with a merry twinkle.
Oh, ho! so it is Miss Asquith you seek to waylay, is it? Well, that
is different. Say, I guess I'll have to throw up my hand. I have no
trumps! success to you.
Cal laughed, Jack made merry over the prospect, and Hazel could not
help being amused at the deliberate plot to kidnap a woman's heart who
had for twenty-five years earned her own living.
Cal, there is a Miss Asquith going to meet us in Denver and join us
on a trip to Estes Park. Just you come along and help me take care of
the ladies. You have nothing on hand and you will enjoy the trip
anyway. Now that is all I want. If you get tangled up in any
Now mind, if I do go, and get half a chance I'll stake a claim sure
as gun's made of iron, jokingly remarked Cal. I will have to go to
the ranch first: I'll stop off at Hugo and be in Estes in a few days.
I'll find you all right, so Jack and Hazel continued alone on their
Say, Jack, said Hazel, after Cal left them, what a joke it would
be if Mr. Wagner should marry Miss Asquith.
Why shouldn't he? Of course she is much better educated; he has the
gruff ways of the rich frontiersman, but he is rich and not so much
older than she is. He will give her an elegant home, where he will be
like the historic 'bull in a china shop.'
Just what was in my mind, interrupted Hazel. Do you remember she
said two or three times, joking, of course, 'I don't see why I never
could find a farmer who would take pity on me.' Both laughed heartily
at such a prospect. The long, dusty ride over sand hills, through
dreary, brown sunburned cattle ranges from Cheyenne Wells to Hugo and
Hugo to the end of their journey, finally came to an end. The welcome
snow-capped peaks freshened the superheated atmosphere and Denver with
all its wealth, health and climate was reached. It did not take long
for Jack and Hazel to find Chiquita, and within an hour or two Miss
Asquith arrived. They were in a mood to enjoy all the sights of the big
city of the plains; but what chiefly impressed the new visitors was the
clearness of the air, the bracing, inspiring vigor which it imparted,
and the absence of that aftermath, which always followed exercise in
the lower altitudes on the lakes or sea coast.
The slow dragging, mixed train deposited its burden in Lyons just as
the book said it would, and the red volcanic rocks baked them, and the
yaller legged chicken, in all its delicious russet brown jacket, was
served to the hungry quartet, who renewed their grumbling on the park
hack as the driver cracked his whip and the wheels crunched their way
through the deep hot sand. Slowly the great vehicle groaned along for
perhaps a mile, when a sudden turn in the road brought them to a bridge
which spanned a clear sparkling stream, and the ascent of the first
lofty foothills was begun. Eyes brightened, ejaculations of surprise
and delight followed each other in rapid succession as Johnnie
cracked his whip and dexterously guided the now thoroughly contented
coachful of pleasure seekers along a narrow ledge, winding around some
precipice or taking a run down some steep declivity that caused the
timid to shriek and the blood to tingle in the more reckless. Up,
nearer and nearer the sky, ever leaving the top of the next hill below
them, until the summit was reached.
Coats that had been discarded because of the heat were resumed,
light wraps were called for by the ladies, and the descent towards the
Park commenced. Great stretches of pine forest fringed the barren rocks
on some of the long ridges, while on others a chaotic interwoven mass
of tangled dead wood silently proclaimed the terrible devastation of
the devouring mountain fire.
As the first view of the Park greeted the travelers, a merry shout
rent the air, the coach pulled up at the side of the toll road and
everybody alighted to stretch, get out still heavier wraps, and make
ready for the remaining four hours' ride. Hazel had exhausted her
supply of English suitable for the occasion, while Jack and Chiquita
enjoyed the attempts of Miss Asquith to do the subject justice in
Even the heavier wraps were none too warm as the coach reached the
foot of the last incline and rolled easily over the hard, gritty, well
kept turnpike. The meadow stretched before them, the Big Thompson
easily distinguished in its center and the unbroken line of mountains
walling up to the sky, shut them out from the noisy world which lay
just beyond Long's Peak, whose snow-white night cap was then a mass of
burnished copper from the last rays of the setting sun.
Oh, Jack, how supremely grand, was all Hazel ventured.
It is just lovely, murmured Miss Asquith.
The great triangle sent forth its warning that dinner was waiting,
and reluctantly they entered the house where the warmth of a little
wood fire took the chill off the crisp air.
Think of it, 90 degrees in Chicago yesterday, today a fire to warm
the house! exclaimed Hazel.
It is just lovely, said Miss Asquith.
Dinner, shouted a white-aproned darky.
A great platter of deliciously browned brook trout stood
appetizingly in the center of a round table, and the four chairs were
immediately occupied by four hungry people, who waived all ceremony, as
well as the every day stereotyped roast beef, making trout the Alpha
and Omega of their first Estes Park repast.
The sight-seeing was begun at daybreak, Jack routing out his party
in order to see the sunrise and the dissolving mists which hung low on
the mountain sides as they disappeared beneath the warming influence of
old Sol. An early breakfast was followed by unpacking of trunks,
arranging of fishing tackle, cameras, hammocks and paraphernalia which
they disposed of in and about the four-room cottage near the main
hostelry. Great elk and deer antlers decorated buildings all about them
and the emblem of occupancy was the fly rod standing in some convenient
corner. Saddle horses, phaetons and four-seated spring wagons were
standing about, chartered for the day's outings, while already on the
banks of the streams were anglers casting their favorite flies over
pool, riffle and swirl, in expectant anticipation of luring the wary,
ever alert inhabitant which lurked beneath some rock or bank. A flash
of something like light, followed by the straightening of a line, the
symmetrical curve of a split bamboo, the sharp click of a swiftly
revolving reel in crescendo as the line cleft the water, then the lull,
the renewed dash for liberty as a spotted, open mouthed one-pounder
madly threw himself from the water, shaking his head and falling with a
splash back into the stream,the critical moment,but the barb holds
and a limp, pink tinted trout, with extended gills, floats easily into
the landing neta prize is captured which proves the record breaker of
the day, all within sight of the tavern.
Day after day excursion followed exploration; fishing in Willow Park
or Horseshoe, the cañon and the pool, over on the St. Vrain and the
meadow; in the latter place as the season advanced one becomes familiar
with the finny tenant who has outwitted all the temptations of
professional angling, and many an hour can be spent devising new
deceptions with which to entice the sagacious big ones, those who have
felt the keen thrust of a barbed hook and learned not to grab every
dainty morsel floating near its den. Few captures of the landlords of
the meadow stream are recorded.
Among the tourists were numbers of English members of the nobility,
and in fact a great portion of the Park was the property of a
well-known lord, whose representative entertained his lordship's
friends. The grand herd of Hereford cattle grazing in the park belonged
to the English lord, as well as many of the blooded horses found at the
Just a week after Jack had tested his ability attending to the
caprices of a bride and his two protegés, they were all resting in easy
chairs or in the hammocks, awaiting the arrival of the stage from
Lyons, when a pair of handsome brown horses, flecked with foam, swung
into view, drawing a buckboard in which sat a lonesome traveler leading
a beautiful roan saddle pony. It was Cal, and as he greeted Jack, who
had advanced to meet the outstretched hand, he said, I thought perhaps
I'd run across a 'maverick' up here.
Jack understood and replied, Glad you come prepared to put your
brand on any that you catch in the round up.
As they were instructing the corral men what to do with the horses
Miss Asquith said to Hazel, Oh, Mrs. Sheppard, isn't that a stunning
turnout? I guess it must be my rich farmer. To which Hazel nodded
assent, remarking through her smiles, There's no telling.
Chiquita joined in the merriment with a suggestion, Suppose, Miss
Asquith, you let me get some Indian lovers' ferns and you dry them,
then crush them with your own hands while you chant some lines which
one of the great Sachems, in time long ago, obtained from a good
spirit; and the good spirit promised the great Sachem that any of his
maidens could cause an obstinate lover to woo her, or make a recreant
spouse return to the side of his love if the maiden or wife would mix
some of the ferns with some killikinnick, so the object of solicitude
would smoke himself into her presence.
Oh! That is just lovely. I think I would rather have one smell kind
of smoky any how. I just abominate these scrupulously clean men who
saturate the atmosphere with Jockey Club; it is too much like 'shop.'
Sh! said Hazel, they are coming. Welcome, Mr. Wagner, and here is
a poor unfortunate, Mr. Wagner, who is on her way to China; she says
she is going to bring back a Chinaman or die in the attemptMiss
You need not go to China for 'em. I've got one down at the ranch
that I'd just as lieve swap as not.
Is he the genuine article with a dragon on his blouse? retorted
Miss Asquith. I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Wagner.
Thanks; and, Chiquita, who would have thought it? You here, and,
well, this beats me, turning to Jack, who was enjoying the scene.
My surprise I promised you, said he.
Surprise, well I should say so, sure as gun's made of iron, but
I'll tell you myself, broke in Chiquita. Yamanatz's daughter has
been to college for the last six or eight years. Chiquita has adopted
the life of her white sisters. She said it rather regretfully, Cal
thought, but he replied:
The flower of the Utes is a daisy, sure as gun's made of iron.
Now, Mr. Wagner, that is not fair; you might have said something
nice about me, playfully remarked Miss Asquith.
I suppose I never will be forgiven for such a lack of good
manners, said Cal, continuing in that open-hearted off-hand way, but
let me tell you how I will even up. Tomorrow morning you shall ride
that roan for me and the rest of us will trail along behind and take
your dust, for that horse is a thoroughbred.
Just then the dinner gong sounded. The party planned an outing at
Horseshoe Falls, Chiquita and Miss Asquith, with Cal as escort, all
mounted, while Jack and Hazel drove in the buckboard, carrying supplies
and fishing tackle. Ten miles over a hard, sandy road, a couple of
hours' fishing, lunch in camp fashion, then an hour's rest and return
to the hotel. Miss Asquith was a trifle timid at first, but she was not
a novice and soon proved well able to master her mount, although he was
spirited and inclined to test his powers against all comers. But she
could not catch trout. Cal, of course, found it necessary to spend most
of his time extricating her line from the limbs of trees or driftwood
in the stream and changing the flies.
He showed her when and how to let the sombre hued gray hackle or
gaudy royal coachman settle daintily along the riffle, or drop a
black gnat from a bunch of grass on the opposite bank as though it
was a sure enough bug. But the lady in search of a Chinaman could not
hook the lord of the water. She was either too slow or too quick, and
the exasperating ineffectual attempts to capture one little one
of the many that rose to the bait, took it with a rush only to drop it
instantly, or the ones even darting out of the water as she lifted her
flies too quickly, wore her patience to a frazzle. In fact, after
losing one grand fellow that she had managed to hold for just an
instant before he broke her leader, she was fairly upset and could not
keep back the tears of disappointment.
Now, little one, you must not give up that way, Cal expostulated.
These pesky fellows are just like lightning. Let me see if I can't get
that one. Now watch my fly as it goes into the dark shadow by that tree
and I will skitter the second fly sort of dancing-like diagonally
across the lower corner of the swirl that makes over that sunken
rockGee, whiz! I've got him, and see, there is another just grabbed
the second fly. Now the trick is to let them fight it out among
themselves while I hold this end of the argument. Two are not so hard
to 'whip' as one if you keep your line just easy tight as they are
pulling against each other all the time. But we will have to go down by
that little beach where I can wade out with a landing net; the tail fly
being down stream, the farthest will drop into the net first, then I
let the other float in on top of him, see?
I don't care, I think it is real mean I can't catch one, replied
Miss Asquith, but oh, ain't they pretty?
Guess they are half pounders, perhaps the biggest will go three
quarters, said Cal, as he adjusted the shrinker, a little spring
scale which he took from his pocket. Nine ounces and fourteen ounces,
larger than I thought they were, said Cal, as he placed them in his
creel. I guess we'd better be moving towards the camp, and as we go I
will tell you one secret of catching trout. As your flies settle into
the water, pull against them easy all the time as though they were
fastened to something, a good deal like 'feeling a horse's mouth' when
driving. This seeming tension, while infinitesimal, is enough that when
a trout grabs the fly he can not drop it; and when you feel the 'tug,'
instead of jerking your line out of the water turn your hand over and
upward a little. This will set the hook deep, then land your catchif
Oh, yes, it is easy enough to say it, replied Miss Asquith.
The camp was soon reached and a gay party discussed the two big
ones at dinner upon their arriving at the hotel.
There are very few trout caught in the Park that exceed a pound,
and more six ouncers or less than in excess of six, said Cal. The
large three to eight pound red throated mountain trout are more
plentiful in the waters that empty into the Pacific Ocean or Rio Grande
River than in the streams that go to the North Platte and on into the
Trips of this nature and exploration tours followed each other day
after day, until all the country had been visited.
One trip which Jack deferred was to Long's Peak, and as day
succeeded day he was conscious that his little party cast longing
glances toward that snowcapped, uncompromising sentinel of the plains.
So few ventured to undertake the fatigue incident to the wearisome and
perilous journey that little was heard of the experiences, and those
who did accomplish it seemed loath to recount much of their experience.
When the signs in the zodiac at last became propitious, and all were
physically and morally equal to the attempt, preparations were made to
go to the Half Way house, Lamb's ranch, and the next morning, at four
o'clock, make an early start to climb the peak. No fishing tackle was
carefully stowed away, no odds wagered on results, and no great amount
of unrestrained merriment attended the make ready as wraps, lunches,
heavy ironshod walking sticks and sundry necessaries were packed into
the vehicles. Three good saddle ponies of the Indian variety were
provided for the ladies, while Jack and Cal made arrangements to get
their saddle animals at Lamb's. The road to the Half Way house was of
the usual rough thoroughfare, corduroyed in places, steep and fringed
with pine trees, whose uncanny whisperings added to an already
semi-funereal gloom which hung oppressively over the party. This was
partially due to the impressive monosyllabic advice given in low voices
by guides, hostlers and residents of the park.
After a restless night, just as the gray dawn of morning was
breaking through the eastern sky, the lengthening and shortening of
stirrups, changing of packs, wrapping up bundles of extra clothing and
other miscellany occupied the time while breakfast was being prepared.
With a good-bye to those who remained at the ranch, a cavalcade of a
dozen, including guides, started away in the crisp, frosty air, each
one eager to be in the lead, and on the return each one was contented
to be the drone. The sun was perhaps two hours high when timber line
was reached. Frequent stops for breathing had to be made and saddle
girths adjusted as higher altitudes and steeper grades were
encountered. The inexperienced noted the panting horses, but did not
fully grasp the terrific effort required to climb those precipitous
inclines at eleven thousand feet above sea level. Not a cloud, not a
particle of haze blurred the clear atmosphere. The pines soughed
dreamily and waved their needle tipped arms in a lazy, indolent manner,
wafting fragrance and vigor to the world. The trail wound its
serpentine way around hill after hill toward the monster peak, standing
cold and aloof, riveted, as it were, to the deep blue firmament against
which it seemed to rest. As the sky was approached nearer and nearer,
the vegetation grew sparse and stunted. Coarse rye grass in clumps few
and far between gave evidence of nature's provision, even at that
altitude, for wandering deer or elk that might be left behind when the
great winter migration of the restless bands sought the lower regions.
Great boulders appeared more frequently and the trail led the party
over slide rock a great portion of the way. The squeaks of conies and
shrill whistles of groundhogs could be distinguished above the clatter
of horses' hoofs, for timber line is their home.
At last the trees were left behind, the great boulder bed stretched
before them, an ocean of waste rock, formidable, repellant, uninviting.
The Key Hole was plainly visible, two miles distant, while the summit
of the peak towered far above, almost over them. Horses were lariated,
saddles taken off, and lunches stowed into pockets, the stout iron
pointed sticks were brought into service and the signal given,
Onward. The way at first was over soft grassy spots interspersed
between the waves of rocks, here and there a scrawny runt of a pine
tree, looking more like roots growing needles than a tree, beneath the
shelter of which the famous ptarmigan, or mountain quail, kept lonely
The last vestige of verdure passed, the immensity of that vast area
of huge, desolate, dreary waste of rock appalls the mind. Step by step,
up, up, over those ever increasing boulders, it did not seem like
mounting higher and higher, but as though one was in a gigantic,
fearful stone tread mill and the earth gradually sinking away, down,
down, into space below. After the boulder bed, the snow, hard, crusty,
firm enough to bear a horse. The Key Holeand as the party passed
through to the eastern slope, they found spread out beneath their feet
the dry, dusty plain, with its brown coat of grass and alkali,
stretching away into nothing. A venture to the edge of an immense great
rock upon which one could lie down and gaze into the depth below was
like looking into eternity, the contemplation of which baffles the mind
for words to describe the awesome, fearful grandeur of God's handiwork
as viewed from Long's Peak. No other peak so barren, no other peak so
lonesome, no other peak so supernaturally devoid of at least one
redeeming feature as Long's. From its barren crest one seems able to
touch the sky, and one bound into space would land him beyond the
world. To the right could be seen Denver, there the Platte River,
Longmont in a maze of alfalfa beds and wheat fields, but these were as
a drop of water to the ocean, a grain of sand to the plains. A hasty
lunch, dry indeed, but for the accommodating snow bank which leaked
enough to furnish ice water that coursed in a stream about the size of
the lead in a pencil down a boulder, which dwarfed Cheops' pyramid. The
labor involved in the return trip caused dejection and woe. Lameness
was the rule and only after much coaxing, and threatening, could every
one understand the peril which awaited them, once the night settled
down before the boulder beds were crossed.
Just below the Key Hole the guide conducted the party to a wooden
slab standing unpainted, weatherbeaten, bearing this inscription:
Carrie J. Welton
Lay to Rest
It was in a spot at the base of the Key Hole where the rocks stood
on end and seemed to disappear into the boulders, that made up that
vast boulder bed. From a prayer book, which Jack carried, he read the
following tale of the awful tragedy:
From the Half Way House at break of day
A maiden gaily strode away,
To climb the heights of Long's Peak bold,
With guide to show the trail, I'm told;
For there's no path and the way is steep,
And death lurks 'round that grim old peak.
'Twas at the dawn of an autumn morn,
The pine trees soughed as if to warn
As two climbed o'er the boulder bed.
Come back! The storm! 'Twill come, he said.
On to the summit, she made reply.
Why need we falter, you and I?
Then upward climbed to view the sight
Of raging storm on Long's Peak height,
And saw ambition's fixéd star
On guard, within the gates ajar,
Lest mortal man should enter in
Before absolved from venial sin.
The solitude of those drear crests
No welcome gives to lingering guests
When storm king vies with mid-day sun
In battle, 'til the conquered one
Retreats for days, perhaps for weeks,
And gloom reigns o'er the lonely peaks.
The wild wind shrieked as in snow and hail
They undertook the downward trail.
She brav'd the cold and murmured not,
As they groped their way from spot to spot;
Her wondrous strength succumbed at last
While yet the Keyhole must be passed.
The stalwart guide in his arms then bore
Her fragile form, and ponder'd o'er
The waste of rocks beneath the Key;
For his strength was failing rapidly,
And night clouds dimm'd the tortuous way
Which few e'er tread e'en at mid-day.
You may go for help, she moaned at last,
As through the Key they slowly pass'd.
The rocks will shelter me, she said,
And sank to rest on the boulder bed.
He covered her with the coat he wore,
Then hastened to the Half Way door.
Another dawn of an autumn morn
In the eastern sky had been born,
As stalwart guides, with throbbing heads,
Toiled wearily o'er the boulder beds;
'Midst cruel crags and waist-deep snow
They battled on against the foe.
Up, up, they climb'd that dreadful night
And brav'd the storm on Long's Peak height;
Yet wild winds shrieked as heads were bow'd
To gaze with awe at the snowy shroud
In which she slept on her boulder bed.
She lay to rest,she's gone, they said.
Oh, dear, isn't it sad? said Hazel and Miss Asquith in a breath.
She died alone? queried Cal.
Yes, sir, spoke up a guide, both of us would have perished, but
she was true grit to the last. I thought she might hold out, but the
storm grew worse as it grew darker.
Do you have such awful storms as early as September? asked Hazel.
[Illustration: SHE LAY TO REST, ON HER BOULDER BED.]
Sometimes the first winter blizzards are pretty rough up here;
generally get a starter any time after the middle of September,
answered another guide.
We had better be moving, said Jack.
One moment, please. Would you mind giving me a copy of those verses
when we get to the ranch? I would like to show them to visitors, said
Certainly, certainly; why, just take the prayer book. We will all
put our names in here right now and you can keep it to remember us by,
The dragging of swollen feet, weary bodies and aching limbs back
over that two miles of desolation was full of torture for all. The
expected relief when the horses were reached proved but an additional
multiplicity of aches, especially in the joints of the knees, where it
seemed as though iron pins were crunching the very cavities of those
valuable adjuncts to man's usefulness.
Hazel cried, Chiquita even complained, and poor Miss Asquith,well,
Cal had his hands full. He showed his frontier gallantry by picking her
up and carrying her down one steep grade as though she were but an
infant, and the episode did more to reinvigorate the dejected spirits
of the entire party than anything that could have happened.
Nevertheless the Half Way house welcomed a hungry, cross,
disgruntled aggregation of mountain climbers.
Said Jack as the guide bid him good-bye, Don't you ever get tired
of seeing these peak scalers come near the place? They are all alike on
the home stretch, if they are able to stand up at all.
I must say I do. I wouldn't care if no one ever again wanted to
make that fool climb. Why, that senseless trip has often put folks to
the bad for months. They can ride up Pike's Peak, but they don't know
what climbing is until they tackle that old fellow. Well, adios; I'll
say this much, you've been the jolliest party this season.
It was nine o'clock when the hotel was reached, and it was noon of
the next day before a lot of crippled tourists managed to limp into the
dining room, leaving a trail of arnica and pain killers everywhere they
Oh, isn't this just lovely, said Miss Asquith, as Cal rolled her
in an invalid chair to her place at the table.
It was a couple of days before the effects of the Long's Peak trip
abated to a degree that recreation once more became a pleasure. During
the days of sight seeing and exploration of Estes Park, Chiquita had
opportunity to study the character of the saleslady depicted by Miss
Asquith, but she had little chance to talk with the lady on whom the
years sat as easily as upon one in her teens, and whose vivacious
temperament was contagious. The enforced respite gave plenty of time
for recounting interesting episodes in Miss Asquith's life, which she
did with charming grace.
To many, Miss Asquith seemed affected. The spontaneous spark of a
jovial, witty disposition burned just as brightly in her at forty-five
as it did a generation before, but the critic would not have it so. It
is put on, it is not natural, it is out of place; she had better be
saying her beads preparatory to being buried, were some of the unkind
Hazel said to Jack, She shocks one at first with her display of
artlessness as a stock in trade, until you learn by experience that it
I presume, my dear, there are people at eighty who condemn the
'kittenish' actions of some at ninety, the same as those of thirty
criticise Miss Asquith. Is it envy?
I'll tell you, Chiquita, said the lady in question the day after
the peak episode, I find great enjoyment in being jolly, full of fun,
possibly at times breaking all written rules of decorum and dignity;
for why should we poor mortals go around with a long face, rigid arms
and mouths full of pious ejaculations just because the Puritans brought
that style from across the water? I have been doped on fashion for a
quarter of a century, and fashions change, but in that time I have
learned that to laugh is to be with the world. To weep is to be alone.
Better be a little frivolous with good appetite than strain at dignity
and wail with dyspepsia. This etiquette and form is only skin deep any
You are such a considerate little body I should have thought some
enterprising man would have captured you years ago, ventured Chiquita.
There was one, but he was stricken with fever and after that I
never have had a desire to become married. Think I would like to run a
ranch, though, now I am getting old and need some one to take care of
me, she playfully added, causing a genuine ripple of merriment.
Miss Asquith, you are all right, said Hazel. Don't let these
carping critics cause you to forego any fun there is in life, even to
playing tag with a cattle king, which, of course, produced another
burst of laughter.
I shall have to insist upon your accompanying us to 'Buena Vista,'
Miss Asquith. I think you can spare the time and positively we can not
get along without you, said Chiquita.
I shall have to give up that pleasure. I must go on my journey.
The reply was rather sad, but she quickly recovered her usual vivacity.
I want another trial at those fish. I suppose I will have to leave
Saturday, and this is Wednesday
Well, well, who are these girls conspiring against now? said Cal,
as he drove up with Jack.
We have just talked Miss Asquith to death and tried to get her to
go with us to 'Buena Vista.' You will go, won't you, Cal? said
Oh, you bet, I'd never lose such an opportunity. Guess you will
change your mind, Miss Asquith. In fact we will have to take you
I want to catch a fish before I leave Estes. Now, be good and go
down in the meadow and tie one somewhere to the bank so I can find it,
banteringly replied Miss Asquith.
We will go Friday and I pledge the fish, a big one, said Cal.
Seated upon the beautiful roan pony, Miss Asquith, followed by Cal,
went to the meadow Friday afternoon, while the others lolled in
hammocks around the hotel. The sky was just the least bit clouded and a
warm south wind blew lazily across the park. A few fingerlings had been
lifted from the riffles when Miss Asquith headed her pony into deep
water up stream at a big bend where the river was sixty feet wide. Cal
was busy whipping the eddies farther down. As her pony was well trained
to the angling pastime, he knew almost as well as his rider what was
wanted. Stepping slowly along until the water reached his belly the
pony stopped, Miss Asquith's flies flashed behind, then she gracefully
dropped the leader far over the stream to the other shore.
Oh, dear, she exclaimed, they have gone too far and caught in the
grass. Howhow will I ever
Just then the tail fly dangled down to the surface of the water,
held back by the droppers, which were caught in the grass ever so
lightly. The top of something darted from under the bank and seized the
fly. Miss Asquith thought it was a muskrat, it was so big. Down went
the line deeper and deeper. She instinctively turned her hand and wrist
in order to free the hooks from the grass, and thus set the fly good
and deep into whatever was cavorting around, making her reel sing as
she never had heard it before.
Oh, Cal, quick! quick! come and get me, she called, little
thinking what she was saying, at the same time pressing her knee
against the side of the pony, who recognized the signal and turned
toward the shore. Miss Asquith allowed her rod to hold steady until she
could dismount. By that time Cal was at her side.
You've got a beauty, sure as gun's made of iron, said he.
As she reeled in a little of the line the tension ceased and an
immense trout broke from the water. Oh! Oh! what shall I do?
Cal spoke sternly, Watch your line and don't be foolish.
With that she settled down to her work and in a few moments had the
pleasure of floating the fish into the landing net, Cal wading out to
intercept it. As it went into the net she stood on the bank just above
him, a little beach giving him opportunity to make the capture. As he
stood there holding on to the staff of his landing net with one hand
and the line with the other, he said, This trout is yours on one
conditionthe fish, the horse and the man all go together. Say yes,
and the fish comes ashore, say no, and I turn him loose.
Yes, yes, y-e-s. Hurry up with the fish, she exclaimed, adding
excitedly, as Cal came to the bank, I'll just kiss you right here for
the sake of the fish, and, suiting the action to the word, she planted
a good smack on his upturned mouth.
Now we will see what he weighs. But first here is your reward,
slipping a big solitaire off his finger and holding up his hand, tie
it on if necessary.
Why, what is that for? stammered she.
Didn't you say 'yes, yes, yes?'
Well, that meant fish, horse and man, and I'm the man.
Mr. WagnerCallet me go. My! the people are all watching us.
Never mind, show them your hand. Just two pounds and a quarter,
said Cal, as he adjusted the scales, the biggest one this season so
Yes, a fish, a horse and a manquite a catch for one day,
laughingly said Miss Asquith.
The details of that catch are duly recorded in the hotel register
and never will be duplicated, said Cal at dinner, as the party made
merry and toasted the future ranch owner, who blushed rosy as a girl of
sixteen, while Cal was as brim full of joy as a lad with a new pair of
red top boots and sled to match. The following telegram fairly burned
Stoddersmith, Boston. Caught a trout, a horse and a man with a six
ounce rod. Trip to India postponed. Resign position today.
To which they replied:
Miss Asquith, Estes Park via Lyons, Colo. Congratulations. Fish,
horse and man uncertain property. Resignation accepted to take effect
day of ceremony.
It was decided to go overland to Chiquita's Buena Vista ranch on
horseback and with pack animals, the road horses and buckboard being
started a few days ahead by way of Georgetown and the Berthoud Pass, to
await the party at Hot Sulphur Springs, the trail from Estes via
Specimen Mountain being impassable for anything on wheels.
I am very anxious, said Jack, that Hazel should see the grandest
bit of scenery in Colorado. While the average mind is satisfied with
Estes, still there is one little area beyond Estes that surpasses
anything else, and there is but one way to get to itwalk.
Two good camp hustlers were engaged to do the work of packing,
putting up tents and other duties in common. By going ahead a camp was
located and pitched by the time the sightseers overtook the advance
guard. A saddle horse to each member of the party, three small pack
mules and a Mexican burrothe Rocky Mountain canary which Jack
promised his sister year after yearthe luggage so packed being ample
for three times the number in the party.
The sun had crossed the noonday meridian when the final adios was
given. Striking to the right of the Horseshoe Park road the trail led
into a labyrinth of forest burned down timber, miles of denuded
treessentries in nature's graveyardand as the wind wheezed dismally
through the few branches left by the consuming fire, their creaking and
rattling was not unlike the clatter of a thousand skeletons assembled
in some vast amphitheatre to dance away a few years of eternity's
The first camp was made in the center of this weirdly fantastic home
of goblins and bogy men. The tents had been pitched and camp fires
started when Jack and his four companions came straggling along. The
side packs, containing commissary supplies, stood gaping, awaiting the
cook. Frying pans, coffee pot and Dutch oven appealed, as it were,
for recognition, so in one chorus the honor was thrust upon Jack to
get the first meal. But he was a past-master in the art,
notwithstanding he had not officiated before in the presence of so
finnicky an assemblage.
Now, you ladies who have a cupboard full of clean dishes to use
when you commence to prepare a meal, and a table to prepare it on and a
cook book to guide you, and a sink for the trash, and shelves full of
handy ingredients, and when the meal is ready every dish has been used
and every utensil stands neglected with traces of its having fulfilled
a mission belonging to it, and who sigh because there are so many pots,
stewpans and table dishes to wash and dry after the meal is over,just
watch the frontier method.
Jack had superintended the packing of the mess box, so he knew
where all the supplies were. Seizing a stick, provided for the purpose,
his first act was just like that of a woman. He poked the fire, but in
his case it was to draw out a bed of coals on which he set the oven
skillet, a cast iron utensil about five inches deep, with long legs
under it and a bail and cast iron cover half an inch thick. The latter
he placed on the fire logs. Next he washed his hands, then put a
tablespoonful of coffee for each cup into a big pot and added cold
water. This was put on one corner of his bed of coals. Taking a six
quart pan he put in flour, some salt, a pinch of sugar, some
milkwhich by good luck they had managed to capture at the last
ranchthen some baking powder, and stirred it all up with a big iron
spoon until it was stiff. The mixing was done on a convenient rock.
Here Jack looked suspiciously at the quizzical eyes which followed his
every movement. He washed his hands again, then with turned-up shirt
sleeves moulded the dough, adding flour until it was biscuit thick.
Turning another pan upside down he flattened a portion of the dough to
the desired thickness, then cut his biscuits square. The remainder of
the dough in the original pan was treated likewise where it was.
Cutting off a piece of bacon rind he greased his oven skillet
thoroughly, placed the biscuits therein, then put the hot cover upon
the skillet and a shovelful of hot coals on the cover. The coffee was
just beginning to boil, so he set the pot back on some hot ashes,
washed his pans, spoons and hands, and in a twinkle was slicing up some
bacon and calf's liver, which he placed in a frying pan near the bread
Bright tin cups, plates, knives, forks and spoons were handed around
and the folks instructed to get your places near the grub pile. A
bucket of cold brook water stood handy by. Jack opened a can of peas,
which were soon sizzling in a double bottomed stewpan. A round wooden
box was marked Oleobut no one, except Jack, knew it to be otherwise
than best Elgin butter.
Into another frying pan Jack put some of the butter, and when it was
good and hot added half a dozen brook trout that also had escaped the
notice of the now hungry onlookers. The scent of savory viands nearly
precipitated a riot.
Supper! called Jack.
Why, you don't know whether those biscuits are burned to death or
raw, said Hazel. Look at him settle that coffee with cold water.
Where's an egg?
Jack lifted the cover off the oven and a cloud of steam rose up and
wafted away, then he set the skillet in the center of the party, the
fish beside the bread and the bacon near at hand; peas came along and
Hazel picked up a lightly browned, rich, creamy biscuit, breaking it in
two and adding a dab of butter, took a bite, smacked her lips and said
More. The verdict was unanimous.
The routine of camp life is not a dull one; new and varied episodes
follow each other in rapid order while on the trail. The informal
mannerisms of camp life become contagious and an irresistible impulse
takes possession of the most conservative to break away from
conventionalities. Bantering persiflage bubbles in everyone, and good
natured raillery adds zest to all phases of the experience, whether it
rains or shines.
No sooner had Jack straightened up his kitchen than he inspected the
disposition of the horses, seeing that each one had as good a spot to
crop grass as was obtainable. Then the beds. Put some more of those
second growth pine boughs under that bunch of blankets and it will be
more like a good curled hair mattress, to which I presume Miss Asquith
is accustomed; dig a trench all around each tent; it may rain before
morning and this side hill will be a running river if it does; spread
that wagon sheet over the saddles and 'commissary' before you turn in;
we will want to start about eight o'clock; you may sleep until six.
Thus he gave his instructions to the hustlers.
After a little chat, as they sat on the ground, Turk-fashion, or
lolled against a tree, first one yawned and of course the others
followed suit, so Jack suggested early to bed.
Breakfast over, saddles were cinched, camp equipment all snugly
packed away and the laborious climb was commenced which was to take
them to the slide rock trail five miles long, following the crest of
the great continental divide which separates the waters of the Atlantic
The men walked behind their respective ponies, lessening their labor
by hanging to the ponies' tails, while the fair sex suffered almost as
much hardship listening to the panting, patient animals, as they
stopped every hundred feet to get a breath and blow.
Oh, say, but this is a corker! said Cal, as he steadied himself
and leaned against a tree for a little rest.
I often wish my tongue would hang out like a dog's when I get to
climbing these high peaks. Seems as though mine fills my throat up so I
can't breathe, said Jack, his remark causing much merriment.
The summit was not far distant at ten o'clock, and as they
surmounted the last slope the clouds rolled in above them like a great
drop curtain, black and dense. Onward the great canopy spread toward
the sunlit peaks beyond, leaving a trail of drizzle, sleet and snow.
Then the entire party was swallowed up in an immense gray fog bank,
while darker electrically charged masses of moisture bowled along,
chasing each other through phosphorously illuminated paths, much to the
consternation of the ladies.
Oh, it's lightning right here! Won't it strike us? exclaimed Miss
It might give you a little shock that would tingle some, but not
enough to hurt you, vouchsafed Jack.
The light clouds soon followed, then the sun shone bright, and in a
few minutes the gum coats provided for just such an emergency had been
relegated to the strings on the saddles. To the left, on the slope of
another hogback, rose tier after tier of little lakes, seven terraces
in all, each fringed with a belt of green pine trees; behind each belt
rose a precipitous ledge of rock.
Just look at that, isn't it grand? said Hazel.
Jack had provided plates and the panoramic camera snapped its
welcome to the view. Five exposures were made to insure a good one,
then the party filed along the ragged, dimly outlined trail which
Indians had used for a century or more. In the distance could be seen
the headwaters of the Cache le Poudre and to the immediate right a huge
snow bank formed a horseshoe half a mile in its arc. Leaving their
ponies, at a suggestion from Jack the party walked over to the edge of
the slide rock and gazed down into a small lake, of perhaps a thousand
acres, nestled in a rocky embrace, twenty-five hundred feet below them,
into the nearer edge of which stones were sent splashing by those who
attempted a throw. Groups of pine trees dotted the farther shore of the
lake and upon its bosom floated half a dozen immense icebergs, which
remain summer after summer, during the months of July and August, never
Again and again Jack attempted the difficult feat of obtaining a
focus to register that grandest of picturesque spots on the plates
especially prepared, but none proved successful when developed.
Slowly, regretfully, the march was again taken up and camp was made
on the low pass where pools of water flow from two outlets, one north
into North Park, the other south into Middle Park and the Grand River.
This camp was beneath the famous Specimen mountain and its fantastic
spire-like rock formations, on the apex of which the Big Horn dozed
in perfect security, the spires succeeding each other and making the
great aerial stairway accessible only to the sure-footed mountain
No one enjoyed the life of the camp half as much as did Chiquita.
She was in her element. The respite from the continual grind of college
had been such a welcome one that she preferred to listen to the others
rather than join in the general conversation. The topics discussed
found no sympathetic chord in her mind, and, notwithstanding the years
she had submitted to the refining influences of education, she was a
savage at heart. She realized it. Her restive spirit broke the bonds of
captivity as soon as the first campfire was lighted. Like a golden
winged chrysalis she burst her civilization fetters and became again
the forest-born Indian maiden, Chiquita. No longer did she feel the
restraint which society demanded. The buoyant freedom of the camp
injected new life into her veins, new aspirations into her mind. But
she was not aware that the very ascendency of civilization immeshed her
in its grasp. Her manners, always charming, had become more so under
the polish of education and association with those who trained the soul
as well as the hand, the eye, the body.
The smoke of the tepee fire has driven away the oppressive chaotic
whirl of classes, recitations and examinations which have had
possession of me ever since I left the college, she said,
That was one reason I had for making this trip overland, said
Jack. I knew you longed to break away from crockery and tablecloths,
and in your tent you will find something that will please and make you
still more at home.
When Jack superintended the packing of the paraphernalia for the
trip over the trail, he managed to include in Chiquita's outfit a
complete set of buckskin garments, and these she found awaiting her. It
was not long before she appeared in her native costume.
Now you look natural, said Cal.
The daughter of the woods is happy again, she replied, half sadly,
but, recovering quickly, proposed a specimen-hunting expedition up the
mountain which derives its name from the great pockets of specimen
rocks found upon its slopes.
The party picked its way carefully over slippery, slimy,
ooze-covered shale to the specimen beds. Geodes, rounded nodules of
rock, filled with waxy uncrystallized deposits of infiltrated silicious
waters were broken open, presenting in some instances masses of
infinitesimal stalactites, in others the beautiful ribbon agate so much
prized by the mineralogist, with its alternate rows of different
colors. Much more difficult to find was chrysoprase in green, and the
flesh red carnelian, all of these known as chalcedony and of which in
Rev. 21:19 and 20, St. John describes the third foundation of the wall
of the holy city as a chalcedony, the tenth foundation a
chrysoprasus. Hours were spent in digging these precious souvenirs
from their resting place.
Far above, an occasional mountain sheep appeared for a moment,
reconnoitering to see if it was safe for him to descend with his family
to the night camp of the Big Horn, for the oozy, slimy deposit was
salty and this lick was the most famous in all the great length and
breadth of the Rocky Mountains. It consequently became the resort of
thousands of those wary, intelligent animals, but there were times when
the insatiable desire for alkali grew so strong that no danger appalled
them, and they rushed recklessly only to meet death at the hands of the
hunter who took advantage of this weakness. Skulls, broken horns and
bones could be discerned upon the apex of many of the spires or
truncated cones which rose at intervals from the eruptive lava, that in
ages gone by had broken forth from the earth's crust, the surface of
one of these beds being, in many cases, not over three feet in width,
while the precipitous sides of the cone varied from one foot to a
thousand feet. To these dizzy spots, which formed the Big Horn's aerial
stairway, did this wonderful animal bound, whether pursued or in search
of a resting place, alighting with sure foot, and immediately curling
down for a nap or another bound in event danger was scented. That leap
from danger was in itself marvelouswith all four feet curled beneath
that ponderous body, the iron muscles warmed by the heavy hair coat, it
was not the laborious effort of a steer elevating its hindquarters,
unfolding one foreleg and then the other with a groan; it was a
propulsion of a seemingly inert mass into space, a touch of toes to the
earth and another bound into the air and probably out of sight, for
that stairway is a mass of intricate, steep sided fissures, deep rifts
opening one into another, each presenting a ledge sufficiently large to
enable one of these sure-footed travelers to find bouncing room and
so down, down, down for a thousand or more feet this denizen of the
clouds would make his escape. This method of retreat being so sudden
and the disappearance so sure, tales have been ofttimes told of the
wonderful leaps into mid air, dropping to the bottom of one of those
cañons and of his sheepship alighting on his horns, none the worse for
jumping half a mile or more.
All one afternoon Chiquita told wonderful stories of the wild game
life, the parties of hunters who came even from Europe to wait for days
until the sheep came to the lick, and how these hunters crept up to
the beds in the darkest and stormiest nights, waiting within rifle
shot until the dawn should break, when the slaughter would commence.
She told of the bands of elk, two and three thousand herding together,
migrating from their summer feeding grounds among the high willow
grown, spongy bogs, to the cedar grown mountains along Eagle River,
crossing Middle Park in October and November after the first great snow
storms began to drive them out.
The mountains around here used to be the greatest paradise for game
that Indian ever found. Is it any wonder my people resent the intrusion
of the paleface? said she, after giving an enthusiastic account of one
of the Ute hunting expeditions which took place when she was but a few
The fascination and charm which held the listener spellbound could
not be analyzed. Chiquita in her college dress and college speech was
not the Chiquita of the forest. Day after day as the party wended its
course along the Grand River and over the range to those famous springs
at the Buena Vista ranch, she pointed out hunting grounds, battle
fields where Cheyennes fought the Utes, or Sioux came down from the
north to wage a war of conquest.
The buckboard was at Hot Sulphur Springs when they arrived. Miss
Asquith and Cal, it is needless to remark, found this conveyance more
to their liking, at least a part of the time, than the saddle method.
From the ranch excursions were made to Egeria Park, where the
towering Toponas rock lifted its ragged summit over five hundred feet
in the air, and on whose side a city of swallows, martins and
mud-nesting birds numbering into tens of thousands, dwelt until the
winter breath drove them to the warm southland. A trip to the famous
Steamboat Springs, with its porcelain frescoed caves, belching forth
the peculiar chug, chug, chug of a Mississippi boat, as though some
giant ventriloquist were navigating one of those floating palaces in
the bowels of the earth. Great trout were captured, after arduous
labor, from the sluggish waters of the Bear River, but little peace was
afforded the whole trip from the pestiferous swarms of red-legged
grasshoppers exiled from the plains, to be buffeted back and forth from
the surrounding ranges of snow-capped mountains, until the white man's
destroying agency should catalogue them with the auk, the buffalo and
the red man; as Chiquita chronicled it, another example of the onward
march of civilization.
The removal of the Utes from White River to the Uintah reservation
had been so distasteful to Chiquita that she seldom visited the
remnants of her people domiciled in a strange land. Many of these,
however, made pilgrimages to her ranch, and the various tourists who
shared in her hospitality had opportunity to see the blanket Indian in
all his modern splendor of cast-off army garments and civilian society
Yamanatz made his home a greater part of the year at his daughter's
place, but the aged chief had lost his vigor and only waited the call
to the Great Hunting Ground beyond. He took little interest in the
comings and goings of strangers, but enjoyed the company of Jack, who
made it his mission to entertain the old warrior in every manner
possible as far as he could.
The time for Chiquita to return to college was approaching. She had
given up the trip to California on account of the sequel which the
little romance of Miss Asquith and Cal had brought about. Chiquita had
obtained their promise that the wedding should take place at the Buena
The preparations were made and the services of a clergyman, who was
making a tour of the mountains, was secured. Cal was elated at the
unexpected turn of affairs and Miss Asquith was easily reconciled. Jack
gave away the bride and the wedding bells which comprised a part of
the ceremony pealed forth from a lot of Indian tom-toms, sleigh bells
and tin pans in the hands of some visiting Utes.
The newly made man and wife started, after the wedding repast was
served, for Denver. Jack, Hazel and Chiquita followed a few days later,
Chiquita to return to college, Jack to continue his journey to the
CHAPTER XIV. CHIQUITA GRADUATES.
In a room overlooking the broad Connecticut valley, a student,
wearing cap and gown, stood by the window watching the clouds as they
floated in filmy drapery above the long rows of corn, tobacco and
rhubarb which paralleled each other on either side of the historic
stream that divides western Massachusetts. Chiquita, as she surveyed
the scenery, then the room and then herself, heaved a sigh of
satisfaction. The same old routine of registering, getting the trunks
unpacked, studies and classes arranged, had come to an end. Greetings
by classmates, introductions to new professors, salutations to members
of the faculty and respects to the dean had taken their regular order,
and now the daughter of Yamanatz gazed wistfully into the deep waters
which reflected the clouds above. The room was gorgeous in Indian
blankets, draperies, spears, arrows, pottery, beaded scarfs and long
war bonnets, gold and silver-mounted leather trappings of bridles,
lariats, saddle skirts and pistol holsters adorned the walls, while the
floor and furniture were smothered in lion, beaver, wolf, bobcat and
fox skins. Busts of Powhatan and Massasoit looked down from pedestals
upon the young Indian girl as she reflected the advancing stages of
education and refinement which make the civilized world. Well she
remembered the lonesome, world forgotten time when she first registered
in the great reception room, seven years before, after two years'
private tutorship in her effort to master the English language and
learn her A, B, C's.
Oh! the days and nights of study, study, study! Nothing but
knowledge, for breakfast, dinner, supper and dreams. And as she looked
forward to the easy senior year and honors which awaited her upon
graduation day, she smiled a little and then waxed serious.
Me, Chiquita, the daughter of a red devil, mistress of English,
French, German, Russian, Spanish, Greek and Latin. Winner of prizes in
literature, elocution and music, as well as first lady at all class
parties! For two years no function by any great society or college
demonstration has been complete without Chiquita, and this is to be my
last year. Then adios to my alma mater foreveryes, forever. It
is little satisfaction to fill one's mind with knowledge. It is
poverty. The mind is dull that is oppressed with wisdom. Chiquita is
not as happy here as she expected. But, ah, happiness will surely come
when I visit the sick, the maimed, and comfort the dying. In that life
where the 'medicine man' of the paleface cuts out big chunk in sick man
and pale-faced sister in 'medicine clothes' nurse 'em 'til all well.
Ah, Jack, you told me the 'medicine' story in such simple language that
I understood it far easier than I now interpret the oppressive wisdom
dispensed at clinics or lecture room, by those who fetter themselves to
profound and awe-inspiring dissertations, until human intelligence
seems a fallacy. With this vast amount of knowledge how little we know!
But that reminds me: what will be the theme for my valedictory? There
is no one who can, no one who will expect this honor but Chiquita. And
I will discuss 'Ambition,' something after this fashion:
'A soul lay fettered at the portals of heaven. The long, winding
stairway reached down into space, through worlds of worlds, and
countless millions ascended toward the great white throne, each
unconcerned as to the fate of the other. On a bier, with body swathed
in burial robes, lay the inanimate clay from which the soul fled after
its imprisonment of the allotted threescore and ten years. Around the
bier were gathered the few of the endless millions left behind, who
remembered the departed a brief season and then became absorbed in the
great race of life against death. Science is constantly establishing
new guideposts in the chaos of obscurity and winning converts to the
domain of enlightened intelligence.'
There, that is what comes of educating a Ute chief's daughter, and
about six pages of that will be proof positive that the savage is
infinitely happier with the worship of the sun, the wind, the water as
animate objects, than we in the realm of knowledge with our defunct
moons and birdless heavens.
Chiquita spent a great portion of her senior year in day dreaming
and imaginings, often putting her thoughts into manuscript form. Not
that she expected to use them, but because she read the stories she
thus improvised over and over to herself, occasionally sending one to
Jack for his inspection and criticism. If Jack said it was good she
kept it, but if he made objections to any portion, she destroyed the
whole. In one of these she wrote of her people and herself and the
utter folly of any attempt on the part of the Indians to regain their
lost hunting ground and lands. She wrote thus:
Alas! for my people! The Great Spirit of the white man is probably
the same as the Great Manitou of the red man, the Buddha of the Hindoo
and the Mahomet of the Arab. All worship a divine being, all nations
and tribes of the earth acknowledge a power, mysterious, ever present
but unseen, who rules the world, the elements and the actions of his
followers. The white races are intellectual, far outranking the black
man of Africa, the yellow man of eastern Asia and the red man of
America. In the end I see but one result, the occupation by them of the
entire world and ultimate blotting out of all religion except the
Christian belief in the Messiah, who in the form of man was crucified
to do away with the offerings, sacrifices and consecrated rites
established by the Hebrews and observed by them without dissension
until the commencement of the Christian era. But there are Jews today
still looking for the King promised by the old prophets of the Bible,
and while prophecy upon prophecy has been fulfilled in a most marvelous
manner, these people with no country, no flag, no standing as a nation
are promised the earth and fulness thereof and a new Jerusalem.
Do not the followers of Buddha look forward from the death of
Gaudama, who became incarnate 500 years B. C., to the thousands of
years which must pass before another Buddha appears to restore the
world from ignorance and decay? Do not the noble red-skinned tribes of
the great American continent pray to their Manitou for the restoration
of the land where the buffalo roam and the paleface cannot molest them?
But, alas, my people! The heathen world must succumb before the
strides of education, science and civilization. It is useless to hope
for the return of those days, and while the children of the forest
cannot in one generation adapt themselves to the ways and habits of
industry, education and social life of their white brethren, the time
is not far distant when the blanket Indian will be as the buffalo, and
the noble red man become a farmer, mechanic or politician.
The 'home, sweet home' of the people is the place where they spent
their early youth, and no matter where their other years are passed, no
matter what their successes, no matter what their failures, the
sweetest spot on earth is the home of their younger days, to which
millions return and from which millions die far away, but with
'fatherland' a vision still bright before them.
The last term was at end. Visitors flocked to the old historic town
to witness the commencement exercises and hear Chiquita, the Ute's
daughter, deliver the valedictory. Her father, the aged Yamanatz, was
there with several chiefs in full council robes, and this of itself was
sufficient to draw thousands of the curious. Prominent officials, who
had watched the progress of yoking the savage red maiden of the forest
to her civilized white sister of fashion, occupied front seats on the
platform of the edifice wherein the commencement scenes were enacted.
Interest in the preliminary features seemed to flag, and only desultory
attention greeted the various ones as diplomas were handed out.
Little were the gowned professors and learned LL. D.'s prepared for
the tumultuous wave of approbation which greeted Chiquita as she
appeared on the platform from a side entrance, clad in her native
costume of richly-beaded buckskin, her copper colored face set in a
frame of intensely black hair, which reached to her knees in voluminous
braids from whose ends dangled the medicine of the Utes. Words are
feeble to express the transition from darkness to educated light, but
there she stood in primeval beauty, uttering her valedictory in
language so fascinating that not one syllable was lost.
Bouquets were showered upon her, bravos rent the air, and, as she
stepped before the dean to receive her sheepskin, with its guarantee
that Chiquita was educated, a smile of profound satisfaction played for
an instant over her marvelously thoughtful face. Then spying Yamanatz
near the platform, she bounded into his arms to receive his blessing,
her filial affection superior to her decorous surroundings. Never
before in the history of the college had such an outburst of enthusiasm
greeted a graduate.
CHAPTER XV. A HOSPITAL AND A
Long rows of windows in a massive building gave light to thousands
within, who in turn looked out upon the thousands plodding their way to
and from toil. It was in one of the hospital zones of the second city
in the United States and the building was one of the largest hospitals
in the city. Within the memory of the present generation the word
hospital was fraught with weird and uncanny dark rooms, bloody
floors, shrieking victims of accident or disease undergoing the torture
of the knife, muffled rumbles of iron-wheeled trucks rolling in new
patients or wheeling the lifeless form of the dead to the morgue. Over
the door, unseen by mortal man, an ominous inscription, He who enters
here leaves all hope behind.
By the onward, irresistible advance of that flickering flame which
penetrates the darkest corner of bigotry and ignorance, science has
groped its way beyond the portals of death and snatched many from the
very coffin after being prepared for the grave. This is civilization.
Even today thousands look askance at the uncompromising brick and stone
walls, shuddering as the ambulance gong warns them of its approach,
bearing the victim, perchance, of some terrible disaster. To the
unsophisticated who visit for the first time one of these institutions
a surprise is in store. The awful gloom is penetrated by sunlight. In
place of bespattered walls and crimson stained operating table are snow
white tiling and glass slabs mounted on iron frames. The sickening
offensive odor of the old slaughter pens has been relegated to the
dark ages, and nothing worse than a whiff of carbolic acid or a
possible suspicion of iodoform greets the most sensitive nostrils.
Within such an institution Chiquita found herself face to face with
the medicine man of the paleface, and her white sister in medicine
clothes. Arrayed at last in the oriental blue and white striped
uniform, white apron with strings crossed at the back and jaunty little
white cap, Chiquita began the task of familiarizing herself with the
calling which so recently has placed woman in a sphere entirely her
own, and made her the subject of hero worship on battlefield and in
peaceful home. Faithfully she performed the laborious work of smoothing
the rumpled clothing of a fever-racked patient, or adjusting the
uncomfortable bandages of another, crushed and maimed. In the operating
room she administered anesthetics or assisted with sponge and basin,
and at clinics she listened intently to all the specialists, while in
other channels she learned the necessary business methods needed for
successfully carrying on the expensive undertaking which she proposed
to inaugurate for the good of her own people.
The last half of the second year of hospital life had commenced. It
was summer, and Jack, with Hazel, was returning from his annual trip to
the Blazing-Eye-by-the-Big-Water mine.
Chiquita had enjoyed an afternoon with them, driving about the city,
and observed that Jack was not as bright and cheerful as usual.
No, said he, I don't feel at all well. I think I over-exerted
myself at the mine.
Hazel and Chiquita insisted upon his consulting a physician, but
Jack contended that it was nothing; I will be all right in the
His malady, however, grew more pronounced, the third day finding him
with a high fever and in great bodily pain. A surgeon was called, who
discovered that an immediate operation was imperative.
Jack protested, but finally yielded to the pleadings of his wife,
and arrangements were made to take the then almost helpless patient to
The carriage was driven to where Chiquita in great anxiety awaited
their coming. The surgeon had preceded them, informing the matron that
it was a case of blood poisoning, and arranged for the admission of his
At 9 o'clock that evening the affected part was lanced, giving
temporary relief, but this disclosed a dangerous complication which
would require a tedious operation and a prolonged stay in the hospital.
The next morning, as Chiquita prepared Jack for the operating table,
they joked about the medicine tepee and dwelt long upon the singular
coincidence that should bring them together under such circumstances.
Chiquita administered the anesthetics. While Jack was losing
consciousness, struggling vainly to gasp a breath of fresh air, she
recalled the vivid description of hospital life which he had so long
ago on Rock Creek depicted to her. As the surgeon skillfully wielded
his various instruments, and with the electric wire burned the
sensitive flesh along the track of the affected part, Chiquita for the
first time felt a sinking, gaping, craving of her heart.
She realized in that one moment what it meant. She felt that if Jack
should die her heart would cease its tumultuous beating, that if he
lived she should forever have to keep her secret and stifle the
emotions which her love for him revealed.
A sudden thought surged within her. No one would know; should
sheHe is not for meI am a Ute's daughter, a degraded Indian. Can
I live and see him the husband of another and not betray my secret? Oh,
Jack! perhaps it had been better that Chiquita had never become a
medicine tepee queen! Were it not better that the sister of the forest
should never have been educated?
'A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.'
I can not turn back. I will stifle my love for the one who lies
there helpless. I will consecrate my life to the customs of his people,
that I may leave a legacy to my peoplethe inheritance which
Mechanically she performed the rest of her duties; nurses had taken
the unconscious form away in its swaths of bandages, while she remained
to administer to other patients and begin the long siege of love's
starvation, until her heart should capitulate and turn to stone.
The day following the operation, Chiquita's first duties were to
take Jack's temperature and respiration, and note other conditions. She
performed the latter with perfect composure, but when she essayed the
counting of those little blood knocks upon the wrist, her own heart
beat so furiously that she was fearful of making an error, and was
obliged to ask another nurse to take that record. Afterward, however,
she was able to control her feelings, and take Jack's temperature with
Upon the fifth day, when the internes were dressing Jack's wound, it
was discovered that another operation would have to be performed. The
surgeon had overlooked a portion of the affected tract, and the wound
would again have to be reopened and rescarified with a burning white
hot electric wire. This discovery was made Saturday, and Jack was at
Hazel tried to encourage him, but despondency seemed to take
possession of him, and all day Sunday, as the church bells clanged
their discordant soul-racking peals, he tossed restlessly upon his bed.
The terrific winds from the southwest blew their breath to the north in
sweltering blasts, and poor humanity had to endure it. Tuesday,
Chiquita once more was called upon to watch Jack as he succumbed to the
influence of the anesthetic. Once more she counted his heart throbs as
the surgeon scraped, burned and annihilated germs, bugs and septic
tissue, and once more her heart wildly stampeded in its ecstatic
throbbing of love for him whose life she literally held in her own
hands, as his hallowed form reposed unconscious on the glass slab.
Oh, what joy to her! what an entrancing, ravishing hour! As she
afterwards lived those minutes over and over again, allowing her stony
heart to grow tender as the impulse swayed her, she was carried back in
vivid memory to the camp on Rock Creek where she first learned of the
medicine tepee queen.
The second operation was successful, and although Jack's
convalescence was prolonged for months, he was fully cured of an
ailment which in days of less scientific skill had invariably resulted
With the culmination of her hospital education, Chiquita turned her
attention to the study of the economics of city life, and investigation
of the details relating to her future enterprise.
She found herself domiciled in a rather pretentious establishment in
a fashionable and aristocratic neighborhood.
Yes, Señorita Chiquita, I shall be pleased to have you make your
home with my family, as they call themselves, and we are a happy
houseful. So spake the little black-eyed proprietor of the
Addington. She was Mrs. Pickett. Pickett was a speculator. The whole
atmosphere in and about Pickett reflected the market; if he was on the
right side of corn or wheat or provisions one could feel it, hear it,
see it in Pickett's handshake, voice and clothes. If, however, he was
bull on a bear movement, the Pickett barometer dropped accordingly.
Pshaw! that wheat is worth a dollar any day. Buy five thousand at
72. But puts went to 68 cents at the close of the privileges and
Pickett was glum.
Pickett was not a big plunger, only one of the ten million poor,
hungry hangers on who watch the ticker, listen to the reports made up
for the masses by the master hand of manipulators, out of storm
centers, visible supply, and world's consumption, and then gorge the
Pickett was a winner one day on a pork deal and among other
commodities in the pit which seemed a good thing was corn at 31
cents. He bought a small line and then forgot it in the strenuous
circumstances which followed. At the close of the day's pork business
he pocketed a big roll of bills and went out with the boys for a good
time, only to fall down stairs and break his ankle. After three weeks'
suffering he hobbled into the broker's office. Greetings were exchanged
with the regulars, then he sought the cashier to draw the balance of
his pork money. This account being settled the cashier said to him,
Pickett, what are you going to do with that corn?
Why that corn you bought at 31 cents the day you broke your ankle.
I did not buy any corn, did I?
Yes, you did, and there is to your credit $7,000.
Seven thousand dollars! shouted Pickett, and before any answer
could be made he ordered the deal closed, then went out and bought a
fast hoss, a pair of checked trousers, a silk hat, and hunted up the
girl who immediately became Mrs. Pickett as soon as the necessary
formalities could be arranged. But the seven thousand dollars did not
last long and the support of a wife was more than Pickett bargained
for. Matters grew very serious and Mrs. Pickett found she had either to
go to work in some clerkship capacity, or start a boarding house or
peanut and candy store near some school house. She chose the boarding
house, which soon merged into a swell private hotel, and it was in the
Addington that Chiquita saw a phase of life so common to the man of
the world and the bachelor girl charging full tilt into the twentieth
Mrs. Pickett, please tell me a little of yourself, that I may
understand why the white sister has no husband to care for her as other
white sisters have.
It was about three months after Chiquita had taken up her residence
at the Addington. The two were on one of the porches which overlook
the lake on the north shore in a most beautiful location near Sheridan
It is a long story, but I can make it very brief in words, although
the years have been filled with events which handicap a woman of my age
in looks and spirit, and that handicap will make the story seem longer
to me than to a listener.
Don't skip any of the incidents, will you? I mean those portions
where the Christian spirit upheld you in your grief and sadness.
I was young. Mr. Pickett's fast horse must share the blame for a
portion of the admiration I became possessed of for Mr. Pickett. Then
he was such a swell dresser, a good singer and at that time a Board of
Trade man, at least I thought so, and when he showed me that pile of
money and said 'Junie, let's get married,' I said, 'Pickett, give my
father a home and I will marry you tomorrow.'
We were married, but the money did not last long and poor Pickett
lost all ambition save that of watching the 'ticker,' reading the
market reports, and living in the fascinating atmosphere of 'bucket
shops,' gambling in grain, stocks and provisions, as do an army of
poor, deluded would-be speculators.
There was but one course for mea boarding-house, and here I have
lived. My father died, and soon after, my husband was stricken with a
lingering illness, which lasted six years ere death relieved him of his
sufferings. It has been a bitter cup, but after all, as my good father
often said, 'It is all for the best. He waters the corn and weeds
alike, and burns up the roses as well as the thistles; trust in God,
Junie,' and so I try to make the most of what I have.
Mrs. Pickett, it is so hard for me, an Indian born girl, a daughter
taught to pray to the wind, the sun, the rain as animate gods, capable
of doing good or harm, to have that faith you possessthat beautiful
faith in the hereafter, in a God whose heaven and home you know not of,
yet where, you acknowledge, there are no flowers, no birds, no deer, no
giving in marriage, no thirst, and no hunger. What, then, can my
uneducated people be expected to relinquishthat great and Happy
Hunting Ground, which is to be returned to us as it was before the
white man drove us to the setting sun, drove the buffalo into the great
sea and destroyed our homes, our villages, and killed our warriors? It
is hard for Chiquita with all her learning and life among her palefaced
sisters to say, 'Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.' But I try
to believe that your life is the better one for the world, for the
human race, and that in the end there will be no more savages, no more
heathens, no more unbelievers.
CHAPTER XVI. GALLING YOKES OF
In one of the large wholesale houses, a junior partner, much
interested in municipal affairs and whose endorsement was sought by
many a candidate seeking electionfor the junior partner wielded a
vast interest in both the secular and Christian lifewas presented to
Chiquita and she spent many an hour, at convenient times, discussing
the affairs of mutual interest, he seeking to establish the superiority
of the ways of education and civilization, she accepting the teachings
and attempting to persuade herself that he was right and that savagery
was nothing more nor less than animal life in the woods.
Mr. Dunbar, she said one day, the red man of the forest is
sometimes a gambler, and when the spirit moves him he seeks one of his
kind and they spread a blanket under a tree or near the wigwam and
there follow their inclination, open and above board, without fear of
police interference. I am told that the young white man sometimes has a
similar temptation in the big city, but that you have laws which forbid
gambling. Nevertheless, because of political influence, there are
booths and rooms where gambling in its civilized conditions can be
found. Will you take Chiquita to a gambling den that she may see the
class of men found at the tables?
The brows of the merchant contracted, he hesitated and stammered as
he attempted to reply.
Whyermy dear Señorita, you know I am a pillar of the church, an
active member in one of the largest wholesale houses in the west, and
my example to my young men, if I were to appear in a gambling room,
would be horrifying. Ier
Oh, never mind if it would prove such a heinous offense; but why,
Mr. Dunbar, is it allowed, if respectable people can not go there
without contaminating themselves? Is it possible that the people of a
great city like this make laws and elect men to enforce those laws, and
yet take no notice of law breakers except to protect them?
Señorita, it is useless to make any defense. Our officeholders are
corrupt. The blush of shame rises to the face of respectable citizens
when they have to acknowledge that they elect men to office simply
because the candidate stands for party principles, only to make use of
the office for private gain or personal spite. Of course, there are
exceptions, but men do not go into political battles without expecting
a reward, and that reward must be a greater inducement than the one
offered in private life. But I will escort you to a gambling den and we
will see for ourselves.
You certainly are brave to attempt it, and I shall thank you so
At ten o'clock a carriage drove up to a corner. Mr. Dunbar and
Chiquita alightedan English tourist and his valet. It was but a few
steps to the middle of the block where a pair of green covered swinging
doors, on polished brass hinges, continually but noiselessly opened and
closed. The bright glare of arc lights made the street as midday. The
throngs of pedestrians glanced at the green doors, and either passed by
without comment, or one would say to the other, Great game up in
Doll's. Why don't the police shut it off? Got a pull with the high
Mr. Dunbar and his protegé found themselves in a long entry at the
head of the stairs which led to a door at its farther end, where at a
little window sat a fat gentleman with gray mustache.
Walk in, right this way. No danger. Suppose you are looking for a
little game. Go through the doors at the right.
The great baize covered screens opened as if by magic, revealing a
large square room, carpeted with velvet and smothered with deep piled
rugs. Magnificent landscapes by Bierstadt, Colby and Elkins hung from
the walls, depicting the Rocky Mountains and the plains. Immense
chandeliers, festooned with prisms which scintillated the colors of the
rainbow, hung from the ceilings. Mahogany and rosewood sideboards
glistened with cut glass decanters, tumblers and fine chinaware, while
the sable attendant served dainty refreshments and thirst-assuaging
liquids to those who asked for them. Leather upholstered tête-a-têtes
graced corners and bay windows, while in an anteroom long racks were
filled with files of newspapers and magazines. A wainscot of highly
polished black walnut surrounded the room, and rich India draperies
deadened the walls. At a table near the entrance were three young men
playing poker, while the keeper of the game, in accents harsh, urged
newcomers to take a hand, only a quarter to draw cards. At a side
table five cattlemen, just from the stock yards, were killing time in a
game of draw, while on the opposite side a roulette wheel spun round
and round until the little ball settled into its space and the
announcement the red wins was greeted by clicking of chips as the
croupier paid out or raked in.
But the great throng was at the far end of the room, where, around a
table some seven feet long and four feet wide, were men three to five
deep, craning, pushing, reaching, to place a bet or receive their chips
on a winning card. The air was close and hot, just the slightest
murmuring, the low indistinct utterings of questions asked and
answered: How many times has the queen been loser? The tray is a
case, Copper the jack for a blue chip, Play ace to lose and king to
win, Last turn in the box, gentlemen, four for one on the call. A
scruffing of feet, a sigh of relief, the tension eased up for a few
moments while the dealer shuffles his cards. Some change seats, others
quit the game, new ones buy chips, and again the soda card appears
and another deal is on. The suppressed excitement is again apparent in
feature and action; the flushed face of the winner and the cold sweat
on the brow of the loser make no impression on the calm, self-satisfied
face of dealer or lookout, each of whom wears a light slouch hat, the
brim shading the eyes. Both are dressed neatly and in good taste,
except for the enormous diamonds they show in shirt bosoms and on the
little finger. There is no tragedy here. The sequel of the life in a
city gambling den is the wife at home without food, or suffering from
dyspepsia because of its plenteousness, or perhaps in the counting-room
of some Board of Trade office, directors' room of a bank, or a police
station, to which the embezzler is taken after the confession. The
mining camp and frontier gambling dens differ in respect to
lawlessness, but the atmosphere after all is about the same.
I am ready to go, Mr. Dunbar, said Chiquita.
While we are at it, suppose we take in one of the theater
restaurants and then at midnight see the worst sink hole of iniquity on
the American continent, replied Mr. Dunbar, a look of do or die'
changing his usually kind face to that of uncompromising severity.
I trust, Mr. Dunbar, I have not offended by asking a sacrifice of
your self-respect, and
No, no, do not mention it, interrupted he, quickly. I am glad of
this opportunity. To be sure it has taken a great deal of resolution on
my part, not only to satisfy my consciousness of the propriety in the
first place, but to feel that it is consistent with a Christian life to
allow one's self on any pretext to come in contact with evil just to
gratify curiosity. I am not in sympathy with the so-called slumming
parties, either for the good such investigations may bring about, or
for the benefit that such visitations might result in to the inmates.
There are other methods by which the same end may be accomplished and
not appear so drastic. I have sometimes wondered if there are really
any grounds for the flings made at Chicago, and if there be any truth
in the oft heard remark, 'Chicago's down town resorts have no
counterpart in any other city in the world.' Of course I expect we will
see a mild form of dissipation and possibly one or two who may have
taken a drop too much, but as those stories go from one to another they
are exaggerated until one has to make allowance for these word
pictures. But here we are.
Have a private room, sir? asked an attendant, for they had stepped
into a hallway leading to private dining rooms up stairs. We have nice
rooms for private parties. If you expect ladies you can wait for them
Just then a lady, unaccompanied, came through the swinging doors and
darted to the elevator. In a low tone she told the attendant to show
her to No. 7, where she would wait. Mr. Dunbar and Chiquita rather
undecidedly followed into the elevator and were whisked up to the
second floor, where they sauntered along toward an open door. Merry
peals of laughter wafted over transoms and a sudden opening of one door
showed a party of five seated round a table, while a sixth member, one
of the fair sex, was standing on the table. Then the door shut out the
scene. Mr. Dunbar gasped a little, but concluded to go back to the
ground floor and have a lunch in the main restaurant. They were shown
seats well back from the front of the place, in a position commanding a
good view of the tables, all of which seemed crowded.
While we are waiting for our lunch we can study the people, said
Chiquita. I guess the rooms up stairs are used by theatrical people
and they give little dramas of their own.
Yes, I should judge it to be dramatic, answered Mr. Dunbar grimly.
Do you notice at every table in the room some one is drinking, either
a malt beverage or wine, and at a majority of the tables some one is
smoking? asked he of Chiquita.
Yes, I presume they came here to forget the dark spots of a day's
life and to drown sorrow in drink and music. You have not spoken of the
classic strains coming from that harp and two fiddles.
Mr. Dunbar smiled audibly at the reference to music.
Well, I don't consider this such an awful place for a wicked man, a
man of the world; every one is well behaved and there is no loud noise,
but these scenes lead to others still worse and the temptations offered
here require a goodly sized purse and larger salaries to support this
extravagance than the average man commands. But it is midnight and we
must make our way to the resort in the next block.
Descending a steep stairway they found themselves at the end of a
long room. The air was reeking with the fumes of smoke, stale beer and
sickening perfumery. Shouts and loud guffaws mingled with shrill peals
of screamy laughter. Glasses tinkled amid the disconsolate strains of a
discordant piano, but above all other sounds were the harsh orders of
waiters. Draw six, one green seal, two martinis, four straight
whiskies, high ball and two gin fizzes. Down the long line of tables
they passed men and women who leered at each other, drinking to each
other's health, both sexes smoking cigarettes, some singing, some
arguing, some swearing such oaths that the visitors fain would have
fled the place. At the foot of the staircase, commanding the whole
place and surrounded by painted creatures in the latest wraps, sat the
proprietor, a man of fifty, dark and swarthy, with black curly hair and
mustache. His face was filled with lines, the accumulations of years of
debauchery. Upon his hands were diamond rings, seemingly too numerous
to count, a watch fob with more gems than a fashionably dressed ball
attendant would wear, hung below his vest, and his shirt front was
literally ablaze with sparklers. The poor dupes about him in this
whirling vortex of hell were receiving their infamous commissions for
inducing men who visited the resort to purchase drinks.
And from whence come these sisters and daughters? asked Chiquita.
Go to the great sales counters of some of the cheaper grade of
stores and follow the life of some poor unfortunate; seek the divorce
court and find a victim of misplaced affection; go to the political
fountain and gaze at the high chief whose influence restrains the
guardian of the public peace from interfering with these dens of vice
where voters congregate to do honor to the chief. Seven thousand
saloons in the city, with a following of twenty to each saloon to vote
for their master who wields the baton of wide-open hell holes to the
end of obtaining blood money from those who are protected! Señorita,
this is the black spot on our fair Christian land. It is so to a
greater or lesser degree in all cities, in all lands, where
civilization endures. This bartering of and in human souls within the
business districts of Chicago must come to an end. Now we will step
into the police headquarters, only a block away, while I ask the desk
sergeant a couple of questions.
As they started up the steps leading to the central detail
headquarters a cab drove up to the curb, and a young man, whom Mr.
Dunbar immediately recognized, stepped to the walk, followed by a
detective in plain clothes. They lifted a good-sized sack of something
from the cab and carried it past the late visitors. A clinking of
silver was easily recognized and Mr. Dunbar became interested. He
presumed the young man had just been arrested and naturally inquired
Tommy, are you in trouble that you come in with an officer at this
hour? inquired Mr. Dunbar of the supposed prisoner.
Tommy stopped and walked up to the speaker. It was some seconds
before he recognized Mr. Dunbar in the disguise of a tourist. When he
did so he hesitated to confide the truth of the circumstances, but
finally acknowledged, under promise that the informant should never be
known, that the sack contained over five thousand dollars, which had
been collected from the proprietors of just such dens of vice as Mr.
Dunbar had just visited.
And my business is to count it, divide it into halves and quarters
and deliver the respective bundles to those who are high on the throne
of police authority.
How often are you called upon to make this collection, division and
delivery? asked Mr. Dunbar.
Oh, once every six weeks or so.
With that Mr. Dunbar stepped up to the desk and with a bow naively
asked, Can you tell me where there is a first-class gambling hall? I
am a stranger to the calling, but would like to visit one of these dens
said to be run in Chicago.
An' who be ye thot ye want a gamblin' house at this time o' night?
Get out o' here, there be's not a gamblin' din in all Chicago fer the
last three years thot I've been on the cintral detail, is there, Jawn?
And Mr. Dunbar took his departure with Chiquita. In her diary
Chiquita entered this: Visited the most horrible dens of vice
imaginable, the refinement of educated debauchery, literally sitting in
the lap of political lechery, hurling defiance at virtue, decency and
During her hospital career Chiquita had many experiences outside of
the varied occurrences in the life of a nurse, which added to rather
than detracted from the perplexities of civilizing her people. These
other scenes enacted in the great empire of industry swept all minor
attractions away, leaving a dreadful negative photographed indelibly
upon her sensitive mind, whose films reproduced with startling detail
not only the foreground of drastic events, but the background
reproduction of unswerving determination on the part of political
demagoguery which brought ruination to millions of people and even
threatened the financial fabric of the entire world; a photograph more
in accord with the despotic days of fiddling Nero than those of
advanced civilization under the constitution of the new republic.
While waiting for a car that would take her to the hospital,
Chiquita noticed numbers of men in rather shabby attire approach better
clad individuals and after a little conversation each would go his way.
In some instances the better dressed speaker put his hand in his pocket
and handed the other a coin. Then the latter waited a time before
accosting another and then another. Oftener would the better dressed
individual shake his head, even savagely repulsing the appeal of his
less fortunate brother. One of these solicitors-at-alms, for such they
were, approached Chiquita, and as she presented no frowning or
repellant mien, he politely doffed his cap and explained in a few words
Pardon me, lady, I am unfortunate, I am out of work and have no
place to sleep tonight. I have three cents; for five cents I can get a
bed. Will you give me a penny? I will get another somewhere.
Closely scanning the man's face she saw not the hardened lines of
dissipation, not the pallor of the convict nor the attenuated features
of a cripple, but a young man in good health, decently clad, though in
rather threadbare clothing. Chiquita had seen hundreds of men brought
into the hospital of all grades and callings and had become an adept as
a student of human nature. The man before her did not shift his eyes
nor stand irresolute, but the mournful voice and drooping mouth told
only too plainly that discouraging, despondent tale thrust so suddenly
upon a prosperous nation in 1893.
Why are you without work? asked Chiquita.
Canceled orders and help laid off indefinitely, replied the young
Why were the orders canceled?
I don't know exactly, but Wall street and free silver had something
to do with it.
Had you no money saved up to fall back upon at such a time?
Yes, ma'am; but the savings bank went to the wall and my three
hundred, which I had been five years getting together, went with it.
Can't you get a job as porter rather than beg?
There's a thousand men waitin' for all the 'porter' jobs. Lady, you
don't know it, but half the population of this country is out of work.
Where can you get a bed for a nickel? asked Chiquita, dubiously.
On the west side at one of the 'Friendship' houses.
You mean a whole bed and room by yourself?
Oh, no, lady, just a shelf to lie on, perhaps an old quilt to cover
up with. This costs a nickel; in some places we get a 'claim' on the
floor for two cents.
You say a 'claim' on the floor; you don't pay for sleeping on the
floor? said Chiquita, drawing back in amazement.
Yes, we have to pay for everything but air in Chicago. We pick out
our claim, first come, first served, and put down a newspaper for bed,
cover up with another, all for two cents; but I don't like the floor.
The other fellows step on you when they come in late.
Are these places clean? timidly inquired Chiquita.
Not very, ma'am; not like the hospital.
Well, my poor fellow, here is a quarter; I hope it will do you some
Thank you, lady.
Instead of going to the hospital Chiquita made a pilgrimage to one
of those well-known better class lodging houses, not far from the Board
of Trade. Here she saw every chair of a hundred or more occupied by men
similarly dressed and evidently looking for work. Of the numbers
accosted all told the same tale of misfortune and all emphasized the
deplorable condition of the great manufacturing industries throughout
the United States. There was no work to be had at any price. Large
firms reduced their forces to the lowest capacity possible. Many
curtailed the working hours of all rather than discharge half the
number, while one colossal corporation ran their works at a loss,
despite the wide spreading distrust prevalent during the panic, which
crippled every occupation, profession and calling. Banks closed their
doors, regardless of the suffering inflicted, business houses, shorn of
their credit, dropped all attempts to sustain relations with the world,
and armies of men thrown out of employment had to provide for
themselves and their families as best they could.
Money could not be borrowed. Even the gold-bearing bonds of the
United States fell under the ban of suspicion; and nothing but gold,
gold, gold, had any intrinsic value. The new word which wrought such
dire disaster was Coin, and the bank notes presented day after
day by Wall street sapped the gold of the treasury until repudiation
seemed inevitable. The one man upon whose shoulders the burden of
disaster fell, took the oath of office as President of the United
States, on March 4th, 1893, the responsibility of a bond issue being
thrown upon him by the outgoing administration. The new official
refused to declare his policy. Wall street wanted knowledge positive as
to the issuance of bonds with which to buy gold to maintain the
reserve. Day followed day before the tension was relieved by a bond
issue, which was succeeded by other bond issues. The harm had been
done. Financial institutions bridged the torrent at one place only to
succumb and plunge into the yawning abyss at another. Stagnation
followed disaster. Had the new administration declined to give gold for
the coin notes and tendered silver, could any greater ruin have
overtaken American commerce?
Following in the wake of the ghastly spectre of commercial ruin,
that cruel, remorseless and vindictive vulture, discontent, swooped
down upon a far reaching industry, shrieked its defiant and soul
curdling edict Strike, and to the consternation of the world,
labor organizations refused to temporize. The steam pulses ceased to
beat, machinery came to a standstill, the great factory doors closed
against wage earners and the stupendous battle between iron handed men
of toil and iron gloved employer was on.
Aided by sympathetic city and state officials the wage earners grew
insolent and arbitrary. Pitying the unfortunate, misguided mechanic,
artisan and laborer, the iron gloved employer awaited until the
devouring flame of jealousy and strife consumed itself. It was under a
broiling July sun that Chiquita and Jack visited the scene to see for
themselves the effects of newsboys' hoarse cries, Extra! Extra!
All about the bloody strike! The Stock Yards in danger!
Regiments of soldiers were bivouacked about the postoffice, on the
lake front, and at the yards. Dismantled, untrucked, costly palace cars
blocked railroad tracks from Van Buren street to the city limits. In
the vicinity of Thirty-ninth street turbulent masses of muttering,
riotous, eye-inflamed sympathizers congregated to watch the incoming
United States troops from Fort Sheridan.
Women, carrying babies, mingled with the angry, unruly,
drink-maddened throng, urging, aye, even commanding more devastation,
more wrecking of property. As the snail moving train of army equipment
was pulled along the siding, coupling pins were drawn by the lawless,
and as one car was recoupled another was detached. Soldiers, in United
States uniform, endured insults of every nature.
A woman, acting as bodyguard to a crowd of jeering, taunting idlers,
stepped up to a guard and spat in his face, then slapped him and in
vulgar language derided him for wearing the uniform of liberty. The
soldier was powerless to resent the affront, and this emboldened the
vindictive throng to acts of greater violence. Turning to Chiquita,
Jack said, with shamefaced candor, Never did I expect to see my
country's flag humiliated in such a manner.
The officer of the day approached. It was the seeming signal for an
outbreak; a hundred throats responded to the one voiced cry, The
torch! Burn the train! Burn the Yards! The woman pushed the man in
front of her along the railroad track to within a few feet of the
officers. The crowd behind drew closer, their jeers dropped to sullen,
discontented murmurings. The officer held up his hand.
He waved his hand for the mob to go back, but they made no movement.
The woman cried out, You have no business to stop us; the man in
front made a rough remark and roared to his followers, Come on, we'll
show 'em. The officer backed away, calling to a guard to take a
position on a near-by fence. Load with ball, make ready, aim,
pointing his sword at the oncoming law-breaking, infuriated ruffian who
had stopped a sword's length away. The striker heard the words of the
When I count three I shall give the command, 'Fire!' if you
and your mob have not obeyed my order to disperse. Onetwo
The man looked at the soldier, at the carbine and the cold gray eye
that followed along the barrel as the muzzle sought the breast of the
leader, he measured the distance, he heard the word two, then with
despairing yell turned and fled.
The success of the mob at another place met with cheers and shouts
of approval as an engineer was borne from the cab of his engine to a
saloon across the way, a new recruit to the army of disorganized,
rebellious workmen, fed by the ever ready impromptu orator seeking
opportunity to air his viewsa near friend and close imitator of the
agitator commissioned walking delegate.
Jack, said Chiquita, are these scenes, these property-destroying
conflicts between employer and employe necessary for the advancement of
civilization and fulfillment of that commandment that 'Ye love one
CHAPTER XVII. WHENCE COME MY PEOPLE?
The holiday recesses were spent by Chiquita in the great eastern
cities, where she attended theater, opera, and many social functions of
greater or lesser magnitude.
After Jack's wedding she came to rely upon his wifewho found the
Indian Señorita always included in the invitations sent the Sheppard
houseto smooth the difficult paths of etiquette and to instruct her
in the many formalities necessarily omitted in her college life, that
were imperative upon being presented in the whirl of fashionable
circles. She was welcomed by various clubs, literary folk, and at state
receptionsthis grandly intellectual daughter of a savage chief.
The first great effort she made in behalf of her people was an
attempt to forestall the opening of the great expanse of land in the
Indian Territory to settlement by the white people. A venerable senator
from Massachusetts espoused her cause sufficiently to awaken a hope in
her inexperienced breast that the object could be accomplished.
Another, from a western state, gladly joined in the undertaking, while
a brilliant ex-secretary of state devoted his energies in her behalf.
At a memorable cabinet meeting the question was discussed, and in
the presence of that august body, and of the President himself,
Chiquita delivered her appeal, recounting step by step the claims under
which the prerogative of the Indian to the land in question should be
Mr. President, and gentlemen who constitute his advisers, you ask
whence come my people?
For ages, as countless as the sands of the Big River, the fresh
waters of the great inland seas skirting the first lofty range of the
Rocky Mountains washed in torrents and torrents the salt deposited by
the great upheavals of the western continent, through the yawning
cañons which were created by these torrents' own irresistible force, to
the bases of the great barrier where the sun disappears. The fresh
waters' encroaching left their alluvial deposits further and further
toward the setting sun in the same manner as the white settlers
dispossessed the noble red warrior and primeval possessor of the
Western hemisphere. The fresh waters divided and subdivided into
smaller and smaller compasses. In these grand forest-grown,
grass-covered areas herds of wild horses, buffalo, deer, elk and
mountain sheep found subsistence. The fertile valleys and meadows were
thronged with villages of beaver, otter and mink, whose dams were
overgrown with the silvery-leafed aspen upon which these busy families
existed. The forests were fragrant with fir, cedar and pine, among
whose branches the birds of the wood built their nests.
But before these were other possessors of this great mass of
tangled volcanic eruptions, at a time so remote that the mind becomes a
mist, a fog bank in its endeavor to locate the date, and then only as
an age, it being impossible to determine the century. The fossils of
these prehistoric creatures have been found in deposits over three
thousand feet in thickness, species until recently unknown to science.
Here man inhabited dwellings of unhewn stone cemented with mortar
containing volcanic ashes, at a period so long ago that the waters were
supposed to wash the face of the cliffs upon whose precipitous side
these ancient people lived, in evidence of which are the fossilized
In this legacy is found the answer, 'Whence come my people?' And
what nation has ever disputed the title of land conveyed by the
Indians? As early as 1851, when Colorado was organized as a territory,
a treaty was made at Fort Laramie with several tribes of Indians, by
which the latter gave up all the lands east of the Rocky Mountains.
West of the continental divide were the great warlike tribes of Utes
extending to the Sierra Nevadas, 15,000 free-born American savages to
whose necks the galling yoke of civilization was to be adjusted.
The Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanches and Kiowas, plains Indians,
were mild and tractable in comparison with the Utes. These latter were
fearless, indomitable warriors, who owned the forest, the river beds
and mountain crags by inheritance from Almighty God, and whose
disestablishment is written in letters of blood where the forest man
was the aggressor by retaliation. But the outrages of the new people,
the educated, civilized white man, must be forever unrecorded.
Repudiation, shameless duplicity, political and martial perfidy, local
and national, followed each other year after year until 1865, when the
final treaties effected the abandonment of Colorado by the plains
Indians, who were removed to the Indian Territory, where the government
agreed to pay each Indian $40 annually for forty years.
My people, the White River Utes, had taken no part in the plains
Indian controversies with the white people, and, while the Utes'
territory bordered that of the Arapahoes and Cheyennes, the only
courtesies were the exchanging of scalps and horses whenever they met.
The time arrived when agents were appointed by the government to reside
with each Indian tribe. These agents were generally respected and
settled many jealousies which sprang up between the various bands of
Nevava, the great Ute chief of the White River tribes, had passed
into the Happy Hunting Grounds and his sons each claimed the
inheritance of ruler. There were many in the tribes who would gladly
have accepted the distinction, but Ouray was appointed chief over all,
the lesser chiefs being forced to content themselves with such
following as their individual qualities could command. This caused
great jealousy and in 1875 many conspired against Ouray. The neglect of
the government to pay the annuities was charged against the big head
chief, who was said to be in collusion with certain white men in
depriving the Utes of their goods, and the question was ofttimes asked,
'How comes Ouray to be so rich?'
In 1879, the venerable N. C. Meeker was appointed to take charge,
as agent, of my people at White River. He undertook the task of
educating the Ute warriors to plow. Opposition met him at the start,
for the soil is no more Ute soil when once broken by the white man's
Aid from the war department was expected to force the warriors to
till the soil.
Runners carried the news to the agency that a band of Utes who had
set out to hunt had ambushed the cavalry. The final outcome of this
outbreak cost us our home in Colorado, for soon after the relief of the
cavalry the White River agency was abandoned and my people removed to
the Uintah Reservation in Utah. It is too late now to undo the wrong
which resulted in the removal of the Utes from Colorado, but,
gentlemen, the land given over and set apart by your own government in
the Indian Territory for those tribes now occupying the domain should
be held sacred. I appeal to you to keep this land intact and forbid its
being thrown into the hands of speculating spoilers. The Indian is not
able to cope with the cunning of the white brother, and he is unable to
endure the conditions by which his white brother naturally adapts
himself to the cultivation of the soil, the marketing of produce and
protection of estate.
The appeal was in vain. The political influence of cattle barons
proved too great, and the concourse of settlers swallowed the territory
in question. The result was very disheartening to Chiquita, but she
bore up and turned her attention to other duties, preparing for the
final establishment of her home for the aged and infirm Indians. This
home she decided to model after a plan of her own, unlike anything in
any city, possibly in the world. Persistent effort among the political
leaders of both great parties resulted in Congress setting apart, in
western Colorado, a large tract equal to one hundred miles square, to
include a portion of the land on the north side of the Grand River,
where it cut the Park or Gore range, taking in the old Ute trail, the
camp in the willows, the junction of Rock and Toponas Creeks and the
high divide along the edge of Egeria Park, where Jack froze his feet.
The tract of land became by law the National Hunting Ground of the
Blanket Indian, provision being made for the maintaining of the park,
policing, stocking with game and fish, as the same might be killed or
disappear. No white man was to be allowed to hunt or fish under any
circumstances within the domain, no squaw with white man husband and no
descendants of any but full-blooded Indians were to be allowed to take
up residence within its established lines. No cultivation of the soil
for domestic purposes, no harvesting of any crop whatsoever, no
institutions of learning, no mercantile establishments, no Indian
agency to obtain footing, no railroad, no stage line for tourists, no
telegraph or telephone poles and no vehicles of any kind were to be
tolerated. Tourists afoot or on horseback accompanied by an Indian
guide, a resident of the park, could travel and camp, the guide allowed
to kill game or catch fish for his party as food supply, but no game or
fish to be taken from the park. The one exception to all this was the
immense hospital and necessary minor buildings, an ambulance, vehicles
and paraphernalia for conveying disabled persons, supplies for the
hospital, and nurses to and from the nearest railway. All food
products, supplies and clothing were to be obtained outside of the park
lines and all annuities due the Indians were to be paid them at
agencies established without the park.
When the bill making these provisions came before the upper house
for a final vote, a tall, white-haired senator responded to his name
and arose. Pointing with outstretched hand to the gallery, where a
group of aged, wrinkled chiefs congregated about a fair Indian girl, he
said, in part:
Tardy as this action of the great American people may seem, I think
I echo the sentiments of both friends and foes of this persecuted race
when I raise my voice in their behalf. The foes of the Indian are but
the natural result of broken faith, and while it may be good logic to
say one white man is worth more than all the Indians ever created, it
does not condone the trespass committed when the white man became the
usurper and confiscator of the very thing given voluntarily by his
fathers and forefathers. Follow the patient man of the forest as the
dogs of civilization barked at his heels, worrying him the same as the
doe becomes affrighted when she hears the deep bay of the hound upon
her track. Look at the primitive means of defense with which the noble
red man attempted to defend his domain against the onward march of
civilization. The pages of the record of this chamber, of the war
department, of the department of the interior are dripping with the
blood of this race, defrauded of their homes, their hunting grounds,
aye, gentlemen, even their burying grounds. 'Move on! Move on!' has
been the command since 1620, until this handful of a great and brave
nation are today but remnants of cowardly and degraded tribes, made so
by the damnable treachery of American white people and their civilized
methods of aggression. I consider it one of the greatest honors of my
life to be able to face that faithful, devoted Indian girl, Chiquita,
and cast my vote 'aye' in this weak and tardy attempt at remuneration.
Two tiny red spots burned in Chiquita's cheeks as the senator
finished. She smiled at the applause which greeted the venerable member
and prepared to listen to the rest of the voting. When the last name
was called, before the teller could announce the result, a cheer from
the galleries burst forth, every eye was directed toward Chiquita, and
in response to the wave of applause she arose and bowed her
appreciation of the action of that august body.
But the excitement proved too great a strain upon her temperament,
and she was carried to the hotel in a fainting condition. As she
recovered consciousness, she said to Hazel, Chiquita will be one of
the first to leave the National Hunting Ground for the great Happy
Hunting Ground above. She realized that her vitality was weakened,
that overwork and exposure had made her vulnerable to insidious
disease, whose progress would be rapid now that the weakened spots had
succumbed to its ravages. But she would not give up the cherished hopes
of seeing her one aim in life accomplished, the forest-grown
reservation where her people could forever hunt and fish without
further molestation or dividing up of the land, and in its center
wigwams, lodges, tepees and her great hospital for the sick, helpless
and aged when they would be unable to take care of themselves.
Immediate preparations were made to carry out her cherished wish,
which had been so many years her aim. With Jack to aid her the
purchases of material were made. Contracts were entered into for the
erection of the buildings and equipment therefor. Nurses and attendants
were engaged for the hospitals, and for a year she watched the
accumulating results which her education and fortune were bringing
But the task of civilization was one which nature condemned in such
a short period. The overwork and confinement was more than she could
endure and she sought rest from the weary toil inflicted upon herself
in behalf of her people.
[Illustration: THE TEPEE ON THE GRAND RIVER.]
In a grove of tall fir trees, close to the placid waters of the
Grand River, Yamanatz erected his tepee, where in the soft, balmy air,
fragrant with balsam and cedar, Chiquita could rest and watch the
clouds as they made great shadow pictures on the mountain and stream.
Like a sentinel, a lone peak stood beyond the cleft in the great
divide, whose precipitous sides rose in towering splendor all clad in
verdure green. The river reflected on its mirror of millions of tiny
drops of sparkling water, the blue sky, the trees tinted red by the
setting sun, the tepee on the bank of the stream and the mountain
tipped with its cap of eternal snow. The camp fire sent a spiral of
thin blue smoke toward the azure dome, and by the lurid coals two Utes
smoked in silence. Within the sign-bedecked tepee, upon a couch of lion
skins, lay Chiquita, clad in hunting garb, her rifle and fishing rod
beside her. Yamanatz, Antelope, Jack, and the mother of Chiquita stood
by, while the fairest of the White River maidens told them of the great
happiness which awaited her in the Happy Hunting Ground of the Utes
which lay just beyond the sky.
If my father and my mother were only there, said Chiquita, as she
pointed beyond the cleft above the river. And, Jack, she continued,
you must beg leave of absence from the heaven of the white man and
visit Chiquita in her happy home. You will find birds that sing and the
bounding deer and flowers that bloom. The warriors of many, many snows
are gathered there and you will see the Utes in all their grandeur, as
they were before the white man took their land.
But what of your friends, Chiquita, those who taught you of the
religion of our people, of the only Christ who died to save mankind?
asked Jack, as he recalled the years and years of Chiquita's life in
school, in college, in the hospital, the church and in the society of
the ablest women of the nineteenth century.
Ah, Jack! Chiquita waited a moment, then with her bright eyes
reflecting the love of the forest queen for her native haunts, customs
and the freedom of the woods, she continued, The God who gave you the
Christ gave you also wisdom, and with that wisdom cruel weapons to
drive the weaker to destruction. The paleface has driven the red man to
his death. My people share not the needs nor desires which civilization
brings to the white brethren, nor the society demands which make our
paleface sister a slave to her calling. Jack, I have lived among my
white sisters, I have been one of them, been sought for, banqueted,
heralded and had tributes of honor thrust upon me. No school, no
church, no institution of science, no club, no society, no matter how
select, has been other than glad to have Chiquita honor them with her
presence. With wealth untold and accomplishments unattained before by
any woman in the world, Chiquita returns to her forest home for peace
and contentment. 'In my Father's house are many mansions.' Yes, Jack,
and the tepees of the great Indian nation stretch beyond the sky to
welcome Chiquita. See, Jack, father, mother, the braves in all their
glorious array are waiting for Chiquita! 'Our Father,' the Great Spirit
of both the red and white man, welcomes. It is in the peace of the
Happy Hunting Ground that we find rest. Adios, Jack. The great Yamanatz
will soon follow and it will not be long ere all my people are as the
buffalo, and the white man alone in the land that once was a paradise,
but the mockery of civilization turned it into a stench hole of
iniquity and market place of educated vampires, against which the child
of the forest of the same God had noThe voice failed to respond to
the effort. Chiquita was dead. And with her was buried that undying,
unquenchable, unsung love which consumed her heart.
A camp bird, in subdued autumn plumage of black and pearl gray,
mewed plaintively as the old warrior came forth from the tepee. The
wrinkled visaged chief beat his breast and muttered in Ute dialect the
prayers of a bereaved father for a dead daughter. The old medicine
chief ceased to bang the tom-tom and the jargon of the squaws was
silenced. Jack looked on with keen disappointment. For years he had
watched and sympathized with Chiquita in her ambition; and now at the
last turn in the great course of life, after tasting nearly every phase
of civilized honor, she had returned to the religion of her fathers and
died with utter contempt in her heart for the foibles and allurements
of civilization, civilized society and civilized government.