Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

“ But he isn't.” A jealous instinct roused | its way over its sandy bed. The verbenas a spirit of prophecy in the woman. “He's and larkspurs in Blossom's little garden

-how do I know what he is ? ” she nodded scarlet and blue and pink in the added with a hard laugh, “but he's got the sunshine. And many a heart-ache awoke place that 'll come to the cap'n some day. with the flowers as one after another of the I've heard 'em say so many a time.” officers at the post were ordered away into

“We don't want it," said Blossom active service. Captain Elyot's turn might softly. “We've money enough, you and I, come any day, and then where would her for us all. Let him keep it, and he may hopes be? What if after all her scheming live forever, poor old man!” The world she should gain nothing for Blossom but a was wide, no one need be crowded out of it broken heart at last ! to make room for her. In all this time while Captain Elyot's

CHAPTER xx. happy honeymoon was passing, no

WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON THE MIST. called upon his young bride with the exception of the chaplain's wife, and Mrs. It was early summer and the door of the Bryce who left her name at the door one store stood wide open. In one corner afternoon when she was sure that Blossom screened from the sight of passers outside, a was out. As for Claudia, horses could party of men in undress uniform were gathhardly have dragged her to the house, and ered about a card-table; two or three idlers the other ladies at the post took their cue | looked over their shoulders, among whom from head-quarters and staid away without was Cogger, the wagoner, who had just come exception. If Mrs. Stubbs fancied that the in with an emigrant train on its way south. words of the clergyman pronounced over The whole place had changed its appearher from his book and the bearing of a ance since Mrs. Stubbs retired to private new name would bring about a change in life. There was a lack of that scrupulous Blossom's social position, she was fated to neatness which displayed itself under her disappointment. But nothing had come rule, and a greater striving after startling about as she expected, and she was too be- effects. Gaudy calicoes and gay-bordered wildered by the turn affairs had taken and handkerchiefs swung from perch to perch. in her new position, to be for a while in Showy horse-equipments were displayed any way affected by outside events. It ostentatiously, while the array of bottles upon was only when she had settled at last into the shelves would have done credit to a barher place in the new household and the room. Nor were the necessities of human hours began to hang heavy upon the hands life forgotten. They did not, however, push unused to ease, that she became aware of themselves disagreeably to the front, but like this fresh neglect. “They're set against the virtues-were to be had upon demand. us," the poor soul said; but her strength for Cogger had bestowed upon all this disresistance was waning and she was strangely play a comprehensive stare which might or humbled in her own opinion. The idea might not express admiration. haunted her half-crazed brain that it would be Blinkins, the new sutler, observed it with different if she were only out of the way. a self-satisfied smile. “You knew him?" There was no lack of respect in Captain “I did. Me an' him was as good as Elyot's manner, nor had Blossom's love pardners the last time I crossed the plains.” been turned away from her mother by her “Good fellow enough, they say, but slowmarriage, but it would be better for them coach," the young man apostrophized, flipboth, she had come to believe, if she were pantly, setting his regulation cap a little more not here. Alone, Blossom might win her

on one side. way, even here, where she was so lightly “He warn't spry," Cogger replied slowly; esteemed, but she, Mrs. Stubbs herself, who “but ye'd find him thar when ye looked for would have done anything for the child, was him, most likely." only a bar and a hindrance.

“Oh yes, good fellow I don't doubt,” the She planned all manner of schemes to rid sutler assented glibly. “Make yourself at them of her,-wild impracticable schemes home Mr.—Mr. Coggle. Look about you, which she had no courage to attempt. may be we can suit you with something Would this old man never die ? The sum- in our line. Here's a fine pair of buckmer was here already, the grass green about skins now.” And he eyed Cogger's worn them, the great arched sky vividly blue nether garments as he spoke. overhead. The river, dark and full, slid on But the wagoner shook his head.

“I'll take a little baccy; I never did think to step in here and try them on," and he much o'clothes 'cept as a kiver, not bein' threw open the door into what had been much t' look at myself, but I'll bear it in Blossom's parlor. mind all the same." And he returned to “What has come over Cogger ?” exthe players.

claimed one of the players a little later when “What ever came of the wimmin-folks the wagon-master, arrayed in his new purarter Stubbs was put under and this pooty chase and a somewhat shop-wom flannel boy took his place ?” he asked in a whisper blouse of enormous size, stood before a very loud enough to reach the ears of the last- small mirror complacently surveying as named individual.

much of his figure as could be reflected “ What women-folks ?” some one in- therein at one time. quired absently

“Going to a funeral," suggested one, at sight “ Stubbs's wife an' the little un.”

of the lean figure arrayed in this loose gar“Where've you been, man, not to hear ment which hung about his form as a Hag the news ? Why, Elyot married the girl. drapes its staff on a breezeless day. Confounded good luck, too, whatever they “Just look at that,” said the sutler, with a may say. She'll have no end of money, wink toward the players. “Did you ever see and

such a fit?." and dexterously seizing a handful “ Ye don't say ?" And Cogger thrust of the coat between the shoulders behind himself into the group. “I reckoned it might (thus drawing it into temporary shape in come round,-kind o' Providence in it.” front) he bade Cogger look in the glass.

“I don't know about that,” returned the Then wheeling him about with a sudden speaker; " but there's money enough in it. grip in front he urged him to look over his Elyot cut us all out, but there was no chance shoulder and see for himself. “Was there for a man; the old woman kept her pretty ever a snugger fit in the back ?" daughter under lock and key and only And Cogger was satisfied even to incipient brought her out at the end of a chain." vanity, especially when to these were added

“ Ye don't say ?” Cogger was not yet a new pair of boots, a gay-colored handover his astonishment at this happy termi- kerchief and a bottle of pomade. nation of affairs. “ An' they're here now ? " “I say, Cogger," broke in one of the card

“ They were an hour ago; I hardly think players, “ what's going to be done now?" they can have strayed very far away since “I don't mind telling ye that I'm thinkin' then.”

o gettin' married,” the wagon-master re“ An' the old woman?”

plied, proceeding with grave deliberation to “Oh, she's with 'em; a kind of providen- finish his toilet.

“ Thar's a young gal tial balance."

down on the Santa Fé trail I spoke to as I Ye don't say ?” Cogger added for the came along in the fall. She'll be lookin' third time. And after a moment of silence, out for me most likely, an' I might as well he addressed the sutler again : “Young be ready. Ye never kin tell what'll hapman, I don't keer ef I do take a look at them pen. Her name is Susannah,” he added buckskins."

carelessly. “Hm; an' so Elyot married the The young man addressed hastened to little gal!" bring forward the desired garments, with 66 What blessed luck some fellows have!" running comment on their excellence as he burst out one of the group. “ Stubbs must spread them out.

have left a pretty fortune, and as if that Cogger held them at arm's length while wasn't enough, some rich old fellow in the he screwed up one eye and tried the effect states, just ready to drop off, 'll leave him of distance. Then, bringing them nearer, another pile. They say he'll throw up his he tested their quality by a brisk rubbing commission before long.” between his fists to the evident anxiety “I happen to know something of that of the store-keeper. At last giving the second story." The speaker was a newwhole a shake which would have annihilated comer fresh from the states. He glanced anything of a less firm texture, he pro- about carefully as he went on dealing out nounced them all right. “I suppose you the cards in his hands, then he proceeded kin give a man the rest o' the fixin's ? " cautiously: “ It may be all true enough

“ Certainly, certainly; anything you wish, about this Stubbs's fortune, but Elyot 'n Mr. Coggle; just choose for yourself. I never get his uncle's money. The old man venture to say there is not such a stock this is swearing mad over his nephew's marrying side of Independence. Perhaps you'd like the sutler's daughter."

“Hush !” whispered some one at his , which had fallen on the plains. “I thought elbow. “ There's the old woman now.” p'r'aps the little gal ud like it, seein' her

It was true. Mrs. Stubbs had come in father an' me was as good as pardners.” unobserved and stood scarcely a dozen “ What is it? What do you want ?” yards from the speaker. There was a rustle questioned the woman vacantly, letting the of the stiff black garments as she passed chain which had cost Cogger many an out and away. She had not seen their hour's labor slip through her fingers. faces, but every word had reached her ears. “It's for the little gal, for Miss Blossom. In one moment her castle in the air fell to They say she's married. If you'd give it ruins. Her dream of glory for the child to her. 'Taint much, but ye might wish her faded like a mist touched by the sun. The joy with it an' tell her there wa’n’t a link old man was angry! Even Captain Elyot's

Even Captain Elyot's of it that didn't have her bright eyes shinin' fine friends had turned away from the child; through 'em, when I was workin' at it.” and she would never be a grand lady after The woman seemed but half to compreall. The glare of the sinking sun dazed hend this long message, but she raised the her eyes, the sudden shine of the river—as little bauble and examined it absently. she turned a corner hardly knowing whither Then she dropped it into his hand again. she went and struck out beyond the stock- “Why, man, she's got 'em o' gold ! ade-brought a deathly faintness. She She brushed by him and entered the house. could have fallen, but some instinct of will she passed on to the room which Blossom held her up till she had passed beyond had insisted upon making fine for her and the reach of curious eyes and an angle of threw herself heavily upon the bed. On the the rough wall screened her from sight. wall before her was a picture—the only reHere she sank down and let the strange maining one of Stubbs's gallery-which she numbness that had seized her lock her into had pinned there with her own hands, fancyforgetfulness. It must have been hours being that the face, though high-colored and fore she came to herself, before she rose up rudely drawn, bore a resemblance to Bloswith a confused sensation of bearing a som. As she lay here, her mind gradually weight under which she staggered, and clearing and her thoughts returning to their moved toward her new home. As she ap-old channel,—the deep-cut channel from proached slowly and with difficulty, some which there was now no escape,—the eyes one hanging about the corner of the house with a touch of sadness in them seemed to came to meet her, screened by the gather- gaze upon her continually. Turn whiching darkness, for night was at hand. ever way she would they pursued her like a

“ I hope I see ye well, ma'am,” said Cog- reproach. ger, removing his hat and advancing with “I did what I could for ye! The Lord an awkward, hesitating step.

knows I tried,” she said aloud. And Blos“ Eh? ” There was no recognition in som heard the voice and came hastily into the eyes which looked beyond him.

the room. “ 'Pears to me you aint over civil to old “Are you ill ?" she asked with gentle friends."

“ Where have you been so long ?” The wagon-master was piqued into self- There were visitors in the parlor. Captain confidence.

Elyot had brought a couple of friends home “I aint no friends,” the woman responded to tea. in a hollow voice, each word coming labori- “ Are they there now?” The woman ously from her lips. “Nobody's friends t'

“ Nobody's friends t motioned with her head toward the door. ye, only t' git what they kin."

“ Yes; they have had their tea and are “That's an awful hard sayin'; if I was you smoking their pipes together.” I wouldn't hold to it," replied the wagon- Mrs. Stubbs had turned her face to the wall. master confidentially. “Why, I've come “ Go back to 'em,” she said in a hoarse ť show ye 'taint so! Here am I, who aint voice. “ I'm best by myself, child." much ť look at, t be sure, but I've been “ Is it your head ? " asked Blossom tenthinking about ye an' the little gal all the derly. “ Let me bathe it." way along the trail. I had somethin'

“No, I'm best by myself. Perlaps I'll He fumbled in the pockets of his coat and drop asleep." The woman made a feint of brought out a little chain cut deftly and composing herself to slumber, and Blossom delicately from the bones of some animal / kissed her and went softly out of the room.

(To be continued.)

anxiety.

A CALIFORNIA MINING CAMP.

a

I OFTEN think, as I stoop to pick a cluster mule-trains, the Mexican ladders, the shrine of white-petaled flowers, that seem the very and crucifix disappeared when the Baron expression of the freshness and briefness of family lost their claim and “ Nuevo" bethe morning, how, in some shadowy “labor" came New Almaden. That prompt and a thousand feet below, a gang of Mexicans, urgent monosyllable was the key-note to finishing their night-shift, may be passing the change of dynasty. What the mine the “barrilito " from one grimy mouth to may have lost in picturesqueness, it has another.

gained, however, in general interest, from If one possessed an ear-trumpet like the curious mixture of races gathered here, Dame Eleanor Spearing's, by laying it on all living under a common rule, with the almost any spot of these steeply mounting same work and the same general influences, hills and winding trails, one might hear yet as distinctly national as if each occuthe ringing of hammer and drill against the pied its own corner of the earth. rock, the rumbling of cars through cavern- It gives me a strange feeling to see the ous drifts, the dull thunder of blasts, even miners go down into the underworld. The the voices of men burrowing in the heart of men's heads show above the top of the the mountain. One can walk, in the pas- “skip," the bell strikes, the engineer moves a sages only of this underground world, for lever, the great wheels of the engine slowly twenty-seven miles without treading the swing round and the heads disappear down same path twice. Only those familiar with the black hole. I can see a hand waved and its blind ways from childhood may venture the glimmer of a candle for a little way. below in safety without a guide, for besides The spark grows fainter and a warm, damp the danger of being lost, is that of wan- wind blows up the shaft. dering into some disused “labór," where Above-ground, the colony is in three the rotten timbers threaten cave.” stories: the Hacienda * at the foot of the Within the last year, I am told, a part of mountain, the Cornish camp half-way up, “ Mine Hill” has settled three inches, and and the Mexican camp on top; a long everywhere above the “old workings” great winding road leads from one to another, cracks and holes show how the shell is con- like a staircase. From its breezy landings, stantly sinking. If this burrowing process looking back, one can follow the Santa goes on with the same vigor' as during the Clara valley, opening out to the sea, and the last thirty years, the mountain will some long quiet lines of the Coast Range opposite, day be nothing but a hollow crust,- huge while the nearer mountains fold in around nut-shell, emptied of its kernel. Acres of with strong lights and shadows. The mountits surface now cover nothing but emptiness, ains are not bare, but clothed chiefly with -caverns, hundreds of feet in length and scrub-oak and live-oak, not large, yet sufbreadth, connected by winding passages ficient to soften the rugged outlines. The hewn out of the rock, and propped by a “works" are hidden by spurs and clefts, so net-work of timbers.

as to be quite inconspicuous. The shaft“ Nuevo Almadén,” the mine was called, houses and miners' cottages on the sides under the leisurely Mexican régime; then of the hills are of no more consequence than the quicksilver ore was carried in leather rabbit-holes. sacks on the miners' heads, up ladders made The charms of the Hacienda are of the of notched logs, and “packed ” down the obvious kind : a long, shady street, folmountain to the furnaces, on the backs of lowing the bright ripples of a stream mules. There is an old “labór” called “La (which the tourist generally speaks of as the Cruz,” where candles were kept burning “ Arroyo de los Alamitos "), at one end the before a shrine to the Virgin, hollowed out manager's house, with its double piazzas of the rocky wall. It was furnished with a crucifix and an image of the Queen of

*"Hacienda,” as used at Almaden, describes the Heaven with a crown on her head and the village where the manager lives and has his office, Holy Child in her arms. Here the miners and where the furnaces are built for reducing the knelt in prayer before going to their day's

When the mine was under Mexican manageor night's work. No one ever passed it Cornish camp and the settlement was chiefly at the

ment it was much less extended, there was no without making the sign of the cross. The Hacienda.

ore.

[graphic]

and easy hospitable breadth of front, a the names of dwellers remote from the highlonely background of mountains at the road. Many trees in the camp, standing other, and the vine-covered cottages be- at the meeting of ways, bear these excrestween. These agreeable objects can be as cences. To a New England mind they well appreciated in a drive along the main would at once suggest the daily paper; but street as in a year's residence there,—it is the Cornish miners sustain life on something very pretty ; but as the “show” village of more substantial than “bread and the newsthe mine, ever conscious of the manager's paper.” The meat-wagon, on its morning presence, the Hacienda wears an air of pro- rounds, leaves Tyrrell his leg-o'-mutton, Trepriety and best behavior, fatal to its pict- goning his soup-bone, and Trengove his uresqueness.

two-bits' worth of steak, in the boxes bearThere is no undue propriety about the ing these names respectively. Harold, in mining camps on the “ Hill." Their do- Tennyson's drama, boasts that, in his earlmestic life has the most unrestrained frank- dom, ness of expression, and their charms are

“A man may hang gold bracelets on a bush, certainly not obtrusive. The Mexicans And leave them for a year, and coming back, have the gift of harmoniousness; they seem

Find them again," always to fit their surroundings, and their and such is the honesty of the Cornish dingy little camp has made itself at home

camp, that trees bearing soup-bones, steaks, on the barren hills, over which it is scattered; but the charm of the Cornish camp their fruit

, save by the rightful owners.

and legs-of-mutton, are never plucked of lies partly in the vivid incongruity between

The camp seems always to be either washits small, clamorous activities, and the re

ing or moving, or both. Monday and Maypose of the vast, silent nature around it.

day arrive here quite regardless of the almanac As you climb the last hill before reaching

or the customs of society. The Cornish the Cornish camp, a live-oak tree, warped miner can hardly be said to by the wind, leans out in relief against the sky at a sharp bend of the road. It bears

fold his tent like the Arab,

And silently steal away. upon its trunk certain excrescences in the shape of oblong boxes, inscribed in various When the wind sits in the shoulder of his experimental styles of chirography) with sail, the entire camp is aware of the fact.

There is an auction of his household gear, at which his neighbors are cheerfully emulous that some private good should result from the loss to the community. He departs with his wife and quiverful of chil

[graphic]
[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »