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was calling to his master with a loud, cheerful a narrow incline which rose to the level of what whinny.
by contrast seemed a fair chamber; round, like “ It is my pony, poor brute; he wants me,” a congealed bubble in the rock; not lighted, Alan explained.
yet something less than dark, owing to a crack " It is a good brute. You have tied him ? in the roof; deep, but narrow as a spear, through Bueno, muy bueno !”
which a gleam of white daylight stole into the Alan did not know then why Pacheco should cell. have called it good; but afterward he knew. “I make you welcome, Señor Caballero, to He explained how he had come upon the this your house,” said Pacheco, as they stood hole by chance on his way across the plains upright, in the dim oubliette, facing each other. northward to the Summit, which he must reach Alan struggled to be calm and to take the before dark. Pacheco seemed to attend, but words, spoken in Spanish, as the language of from his face Alan could gather nothing of the compliment, at the worst as a grim joke befiteffect of his words.
ting the place. “ Miguel Salarsono- is he dead ?”
“Muchas gracias, señor," he responded, with This was the man Pacheco had knifed. He a smile as wan as the imprisoned ray of daywas dead, but Alan hesitated at the truth, light that touched his face. “ It is a very good which Pacheco read in his eyes.
house. You are living here secreto, retirado, “ Esta bien," he said coolly. They want me. I understand. I can keep dark. It shall be all Where now Peter Kountze?”
the same, I promise you." He spoke slowly, “ In town when I saw him last."
with extreme emphasis, that Pacheco might “What day you see him ? "
lose no word of his meaning. “I swear, it shall Long time ago.” Alan lied, thinking it be all the same as if I had never seen you here. would be bad for him should he confess to hav- The cave shall be forgotten. Understand ? ” ing met Kountze the day before.
· Si, si. All the same -after you get out." Again Pacheco read his face. He gave a dis- Pacheco grinned significantly, and Alan's heart satisfied grunt. “ Put out your light,” said he. turned over in his breast.
“ It smokes,” said Alan, “but it is better than Beyond the cur-like upward glance of his no light.”
covert eye and his occasional cruel smile, “ You are with one who knows his way,” said Pacheco's face relapsed into impassiveness. Pacheco in Spanish. Alan barely understood The man had been villainous by torchlight; him; but he thought to flatter Pacheco by he was ghastly now by the faint, white dayseeming to know his language.
light, like one on whom the sun had not shone “I want to look around, now I 'm down for months. here. Rum place, ain't it?” he said, pretend- “ How long - how long," Alan gasped, ing to a cheerful curiosity he was far from “have you been down here?” feeling.
“ The light come fourteen time since the “ You shall have plenty time.”
night I skip," said Pacheco, glancing upward “ And plenty light, too, I hope.”
at the crack in his dungeon roof. Pacheco cut him short, roughly assisting him 66 Alone?” to put out his torch. He undid from about his “ A mis solas." waist a greasy silk sash, gave Alan one end of Why don't you clear out — vamose? The it, and kept the other himself. “ Anda !” he country is big." commanded.“ Por aqui," and he led on, Alan “ It is very big, señor; and I have no following at the girdle's length as best he horse.” could. Whether they were traversing a series “Where is your own horse ?” of chambers connected by passages, or one “ He play out, three miles; he drop in the long gallery of varying width and height, Alan sage-brush. I am here very safe; by and by could surmise only by the sound of their foot- pretty hungry.” He grinned and shrugged exsteps on the rock floor, which sometimes rang pressively. His philosophy of suffering promas between lofty walls and again fell dull and ised as little pity for another as he wasted upon flat. He concluded presently that he was get- himself. ting his underground eyesight, else the dark- “Good God, man! does no one know you ness was no longer absolute. Pacheco called are here?” a halt, and changed the order of march by “One too many know I am here,” said putting Alan before him. The roof here de- Pacheco, ominously, laying his dark forescended to within a few feet of the floor. Alan finger on Alan's breast.®“ You make one litcould make out the shape of a low opening tle fool of you’self when you come down that like the entrance to a drift, defined against hole.” a faint light beyond. They went down upon " I can go up again. I must go, Pacheco. hands and knees, and crawled forward along My horse is dry. No water since morning."
** Poco, poco tiempo. When it is dark, I go clasping his head, and sobbing, and rolling up. I give him water."
about on the floor. “* But I 've twenty-five miles to go before He felt sick and bruised, and silly with weakdark.” Alan was shaking from head to foot. ness. His eyes ached, his throat and jaws were
“Sit down, hombrecito. Rest you’self. You sore, his hair incrusted with blood from the cut have hunt me like jack-rabbit; now you have on his scalp; but no bones were broken, and find me in my hole. What 's the matter with he knew that food would strengthen his heart. that?"
As he crawled about, gathering materials for “God in heaven, Pacheco, my people will a breakfast, he made a new and momentous go mad!” the boy shouted, forgetting that no discovery. Pacheco had left him a letter, of one would expect him that night or any night, explanation, perhaps, or direction. But when that his absence was now a fact accepted by Alan came to examine this sole link between every one who knew him above ground. This him and the living, he found he could not delast cold detail of his situation closed upon him cipher it. He had persuaded Pacheco too well like the silence that follows the echo of a dun- of his linguistic acquirements; the letter was geon door. He flung himself upon the Mexi- in Spanish, mongrel Spanish, brutally ill-writcan with a captive's madness, throwing away ten with a pencil on a bit of greasy, wrinkled every hope of pity, and grappling with him as paper bag which had refused to take the marks his open enemy:
distinctly. Alan could have crushed, torn it; Pacheco carried a knife concealed at the he could have killed Pacheco for inventing back of his neck with which he might have fin- this new torture. He groaned, and put it ished the encounter, but murder was no part away, and struggled to swallow some food, for of his present intention toward his prisoner. He a greater test of his nerve was before him. If closed with the lad, hugging him in his arms, Pacheco had left the way of escape open, why and the pair rocked to and fro and staggered had he written a letter ? about the dim place till Alan was thrown, drag- He had been led into the cell by the rightging Pacheco with him, the back of Alan's hand wall; he took the left going back. One head striking the floor of the cave with a sick- hand he kept upon the rock, groping and shufening dunt. Pacheco freed himself, and Alan Aling forward, past angles and turns which he
remembered, till he entered the great chamber
with its one far bright star of blessed daylight X.
set in the blackness of its roof. One instant he DAYLIGHT had faded from the crevice when hung back; he dared not look : the next, susAlan came to himself. The cave was per- pense was past- the rope was gone. fectly dark. He started up on his elbow, All that day he sat in the twilight of the inner fell back, giddy and sick and sore. It was cell and pored over the letter. Sweat broke out some moments before he could summon cour- upon his flesh, the agony of attention balked age to test the silence. No answer came to his memory, and his mind refused to act. The his first hoarse call; yet Pacheco might be in few words that he could read held aloof in the outer cave. He called again, and listened, maddening incoherency from those that were holding his breath, and hearing nothing but dark to him: “water—the white cross — the his heart beating like a clock. He shouted, great cave- twenty days” — then something he screamed, he sobbed, as a child awakened about mi amiga ; the noun was feminine. by a frightful dream that cannot make itself And then the writer signed himself—“with heard.
the cheek of the devil !” groaned Alan, surHe lay all night at the mercy of hideous veying the ghastly words of compliment to a doubts and speculations which only the morn- doomed maning could set at rest. Had Pacheco gone?
With great respect,
Your servant, Had he left the rope? His flesh rose in chills,
JUAN PACHECO. and again he burned and stifled with the torture of these questions. In his tossings on the All day he hammered his brain over this difloor of the cave his hand had struck against abolical message, and when he could see no a pail heavy with a delicious weight of ice-cold longer he sat in darkness, and its goblin characwater. He had splashed it over himself in his ters came out on the strained wall of vision and eagerness, dragging it toward him. In the tortured him with guesses. He fell asleep remorning he made a terrible discovery. All Pa- peating the words that led his mind a weary checo's little store of food and candle had been dance far into the night: the white cross — waset forth in plain sight for his successor's use; ter. Twenty days, twenty days, twenty days. but the matches were ruined. Alan had Three times the light faded from the crack drenched them in his transport of drinking in and came again, and, sleeping or waking, the the night. For a moment he gave way again, word water had become the unceasing pang that
haunted his consciousness. He had counted his picking at it now as he stared before him. He stock of food, and of candles, which were no- had a crazed, broken sensation in his head; his thing without matches, yet might serve as food mind labored and drifted heavily. He thought should he come to a rat-like desperation in the his senses must be going when, on a space of last stage of hunger; but he knew he should wall above him, where the light struck upward not starve to death. Every day while the wan at a new angle, appeared a sign chalked upon light lasted he ranged round the walls of his the rock in the form of a cross. Trembling he cell; searching crannies and crevices and spots looked away at the reality about him, at the ofshadow, listening, sounding for hollow places, place of his living burial, and then fixed his stamping, and sometimes breaking out and eyes once more upon the spot where the cross howling like a trapped animal, all in an awful, had appeared. It was still there. And below, breezeless silence, never altering from hour to at the meeting of the wall with the floor of the hour, from day to day. By drinking sparely at cave, there rested an immovable spot of blacknight and morning only, he made his precious ness. He shifted his lights; the shadow did pail last a week. On the eighth day he ate little, not move. It was the opening of a passage or fearing to increase the desire for water, which burrow beneath the rock. Hands. perhaps as had taken already the form of a nervous de- weak as his had scooped it; and some doomed mand. The food which remained to him was captive as desperate as himself had marked the of a thirst-provoking quality — a sack of moldy spot with the symbol of suffering and of mercy pilot-bread, some pounds of dried salt beef, sev- in memory of his release from torment. eral cans of cooked beans, a few dusty, gritty He crawled into the hole, keeping a lighted raisins in a paper bag. He had heard that small, candle before him; only his panting breath smooth pebbles held in the mouth promote stirred the flame in that lifeless air. Creeping moisture, and occupy the mind of one suffering forward on his elbows, guarding always his from thirst
. On the ninth day he collected such light, its soft ray fell upon a dark, sunken pool; pebbles as he could find and tried the effect on the brink of which he fell on his face and of them, but without much enthusiasm for the lapped like one of Gideon's three hundred. result.
The agony was over. Imprudence followed, On the tenth day he made a joyful discov- and all the train of effects resulting from the ery. A greasy waistcoat of Pacheco's lay bun- nervous shock his system had suffered. He dled in one corner of the cell near his bunk; gained no strength; he lost, indeed, from day Alan had never touched it; it had for him that to day; and the twentieth day was at hand. personal association which made the sight of He had made himself a calendar of matchit repulsive. But this morning he took it up sticks, which he dropped, one each time the and examined the pockets in the sudden hope light came and went, into an empty tin can, that he might find a stray match or two left which thus became the repository of his great by chance; and he was not disappointed. He hope and his greater dread. When the matchfound a good bunch of California matches sticks numbered nineteen, Alan laid himself united on one thick stem, which had worked down beneath the hole in the outer chamber, through a hole in the waistcoat side-pocket, resolved to lie there till rescue came or death. and lay concealed between the stuff and the On the back of Pacheco's letter he had scrawled lining. That day he explored the dark passage a few words to his father, in case deliverance by candle-light. His tongue was so swollen should come too late. Having eased himthat he could no longer swallow food. He self of this last message, with a pail of water had fever, and could sleep but little, and then near, and such food as he could retain out of was beset by morbid dreams. His strength was the little remaining of his poor stock, he lay fast going. On the eleventh day he dragged and watched out the twentieth day and the himself into the outer cavern, wondering at his night that followed, not daring to sleep. Anfatal mistake of wasting a whole day in the pas- other day passed, and the light faded from the sage when the letter had named only the ca- hole, and he prayed that he might go before verna grande. His legs would not bear him up the morning watch, for the suspense was worse to make the round of the vast walls; but he than death. He closed his eyes and went insat himself down on the floor, and lighted all continently to sleep. The angels might waken his candles, placing them a little way off on him if help should come; he could watch no the floor in sockets of drip, that he might get longer. their combined effect without the shock of it In the night a voice called him from above; in his eyes, which were tender to the light. it became part of his dreams, and turned them
His face was as white as the candles, his into nightmare; the call was repeated again blood-shot eyes were sunken and wild. He and again, but he did not wake. had picked at a roughness on the side of one Then, with a prayer to Mary of the Mercies, of his fingers till the place was raw; he was a girl, kneeling by the hole, bound her long
black braids about her head, reefed her skirts, his bearing, as he walked into the room, and and, taking hold of the rope she had made fast
, rejoiced that he could call the clean, highdescended fearlessly into the cave. Pacheco's headed young fellow his son. He would have friend had come.
liked to cuff him about a little and to clap him Alan crawled into the engineers' camp next on the back, to take some of the starch out of morning as the boys were turning out of their him; yet the starch was well, so that there was tents for breakfast. They did not recognize in “sand" underneath. Breakfast at Mr. Norrishim the laughing, bright-haired stripling who son's was not a perfunctory matter of a roll and had sat by their fire scarcely three weeks be- a cup of coffee, but a regular sitting in three fore. When they questioned him he fell to courses, with conversation and good appetites. weeping like a baby, and said he had been To the manner of this also Philip was accliin hell. And they remarked to one another mated; he needed no urging when the third that he looked it, every inch of him. And when course came upon the table, even when it inhe told them who he was, and where he had cluded that ultra-Americanism, pancakes hot been, and how, while the bright days had passed from the griddle. Mr. Norrisson's Mexican unnoticed above ground, some of the broad- cook was a genius, at sixty dollars a month, shouldered fellows were not ashamed to wipe and could turn his small dark hand to the their own eyes, complaining audibly of the cooking of any clime. (It must have been obcamp-fire smoke. He slept all that day and served too often to be worth mentioning that night and far into the next day, and was roused men, when they keep house, will always have with difficulty when they forced him to take a cook, whether the closets be cleaned or not.) such nourishment as they judged he required. It was Enrique's pet grievance that Wong was But they might have let him sleep; nature and allowed to make the coffee at breakfast. He youth were taking care of him.
listened at the window of the butler's pantry to hear his own praises when his creations were handed in, but when he heard praise of
Wong's coffee instead, he swore strange oaths Philip's return trip from the mountains was among his pots and pans, making the kitchen hastened by a letter from his father requesting hideous with their clatter. Hearing echoes of his presence in town on a certain day of the the din, Wong would smile mysteriously, and month. He left his men to bring in the camp pass Enrique's triumphs with sweet condeoutfit, pressing on alone ahead of the wagons scension. It was Enrique’s revenge at breakon horseback, and reaching town well within fast to hasten out to the garden and to pick the stipulated time, tired as a hunter, but gay a bouquet for the table, well knowing that with the thought of the long mountain miles he alone of all in the house had the touch for he had made at the word of command. He flowers, and that Wong's efforts were simply lingered over his toilet next morning, with a insufferable. It was he who filled the lesser keen zest for the comforts of civilization after punch-bowl with roses or crisp nasturtiums three weeks of gritty camp-life in boots, and dewy with their morning sprinkling; it was corduroys, and crumpled flannels. It was lux- Wong who swore in the depths of his white, ury to put on a silk shirt and to brush his hair starched gabardine when he spied the insobefore a triple mirror. He trimmed the ends lent drops on his spotless cloth. He would of his mustache, taking all the time which that have given a month's wages for courage to delicate operation deserves; he examined criti- fling bowl and contents at the head of his cally the new barber's cut to which he had fellow-craftsman. But out of these jealousies submitted himself the evening before at the professional and racial came exceeding peace Transcontinental. He perfected his outer man and perfection of service to Mr. Norrisson. deliberately in every detail, and descended to It was his policy that the heathen should breakfast in a brilliant humor of expectation rage; that out of their dissensions he might for whatever new turn of the wheel had brought make profit to himself. him back again to the affairs of men. Even the “ Has Alan Dunsmuir turned up yet?” little new town, whose social note had struck Philip inquired. him as so crude and stridulous, contrasted His father was finishing his plate of Caliwith the life of the hills, had gained quite a fornia peaches. He paused and mopped himgay, civic, important air. He had amused self before answering; he was a critical but himself with thinking of it the evening be- not a dainty feeder. Moreover, he did not fore, as he walked home by the white light know at first to what the question referred; of the electric lamps.
then he remembered. Philip had passed the ordeal, spiritual as well “Why, of course, that must have been what as physical, and was acclimated to the western Dunsmuir meant. He excused himself from movement. His father saw it in his glance, in the dinner we gave Westerhall; some family
matter; he did n't put it very plainly, but I saw went ahead and built the canal. Water belongs
. there was trouble, so I did n't ask any ques- to the man who uses it. We claimed his locations. But I remember now. Young Duns- tion, and shall hold it, on the ground that we are muir was reported missing about a fortnight ready to build our canal now, while he is only ago. What has he been up to ?”
pottering at a rate that will not see his finished “ I don't know at all,” said Philip. “They in half a hundred years. He took occasion to sent a man after me to inquire if he had been remind me, right there, that our company's polwith my party. I did not get a very clear idea icy had been one of obstruction - unscrupulous what the trouble is, or what they are afraid and persistent,' else his ditch might have gone of.”
through years ago. And I endeavored to show “Depend on it, if Dunsmuir has had trouble him that it was his policy of antagonism which with his boy he's the one to blame. He'd be had antagonized us; that he might have gone sure to buckle the curb too tight. You will in with us had he chosen, and saved all this have to remember his arbitrary temper when friction between us. Here heshut up and would you come to work with him. However, you say no more. He had got very pale, and his are cool enough, and you have a manner that hands shook as he gathered up his
He will flatter the old sachem. But you must look looked as if he had n't slept for a week. I out and not carry etiquette too far. We 'll get wish, confound it, I had known, or rememthrough with Wongy Pongy before we begin on bered, about this trouble with his boy. Handbusiness.”
some little rascal! I used to see him around When the last dishes were on the table, Wong town cutting up all manner of cowboy capers was ordered to tell Simpson that the horses on that spotted pony of his. What did you say would not be wanted that morning. “Now," he's been up to?" said Mr. Norrisson, “shall we smoke here or Philip explained again what he knew of the outside ?"
circumstances. “I am very comfortable,” said Philip, help- “Well, I wish I had known. Dunsmuir 's ing himself to one of his father's cigars. badly strapped, I hear. I might have offered
“Well, I must tell you the circus has begun. him some help in the way of his search. Or we In fact it 's pretty nearly over. We have had might have waited a little — well, we could n't our season of wrath and bitterness. Dunsmuir wait. Westerhall understood there would be is not so topping as he used to be; whether it's trouble, but when we came to talk it over I this break his boy has made, or what, he 's not could see he did n't want to leave Dunsmuir the man he was. Crotchets play the mischief out in the cold ; though, as I said to him, a with a man's powers. Westerhall arrived, as man who won't accept any terms but his own, you know, last week,” Mr. Norrisson went on. or any facts but his own as to his real position, “We got together after a few preliminaries, and is a difficult man to deal with. we offered Dunsmuir a slice of the stock. But “ • But we must give him something,' said we made it pretty plain that we proposed to Westerhall. “He is too poor to get out of the dispense with his services as engineer. "Gen- country, you say, and he is too strong a man tlemen,' said he, “this is a very fair offer you to be left in black dudgeon here, to head every make me for my resignation. But I intend to movement against us in the future. He must build my own canal. I have staked my pro- be included in some way.' fessional word on the verity and importance “ How are we going to include him?' said of this work, and I shall see it done, and hon- I. “We tried him fifteen years ago, but he estly done,' — mark the point he always makes would n't be included on any reasonable basis. of his honesty as against our supposed want He stood off and called us swindlers. Now of it,-'if it be the last work of my life. This we are jumpers. It does n't make a happy may not strike you as business,' said he, “but family,' said I. it is where the business hits me.'
“Give him the work,' said Westerhall; and “ At our next meeting I showed him that he he showed me there was a feeling for him in had nothing to sell. He had shown his hand London, where his Indian record is on the blue to Westerhall, and all he had was the opinion of books, and it counts with them, of course, that Marshall & Read, his lawyers; and on that he is an M. I. C. E. And then Westerhall and very opinion we based our claim. Now there I had it for the rest of the day. were two clauses to it: Dunsmuir read his title But, as you may have observed, I am a man by the first clause, and we took the second and of compromises. This is the way I put it to read it just the other way; and yet it was a myself: Suppose we make Dunsmuir our chief sound, well-considered judgment by two of the engineer, not at his demand, but as a point we ablest men we have out here. It came about to yield out of generosity to a broken man. He this: Dunsmuir's claim was good to build on; knows I don't want him on the work, that I it was good for nothing if it lay idle, and we have refused to have him. Now if he takes that