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Tappcm’s Burro 
Tales of Lonely Trails 
To the Last Man 
Wanderer of the Wasteland 
The Mysterious Rider 
The Man of the Forest 
Tales of Fishes 
The Desert of Wheat 
The U. P. Trail 

The Border Legion 
The Rainbow Trail 
The Lone Star Ranger 
The Light of Western Stars 
Desert Gold 

The Heritage of the Desert 
Riders of the Purple Sage 
The Young Forester 
The Young Pitcher 
The Young Lion-Hunter 
Ken Ward in the Jungle 


Established 1817 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2018 with funding from 
Brigham Young University 






Author of 

“Wanderer of the Wasteland,” “The Mysterious Rider,” 

“The U. P. Trail,” “Wildfire,” Etc. 

With Illustrations in Color 

By Charles S. Chapman 
and Frank Street 




Copyright, 1923 
Printed in the U. S. A. 

First Edition 




I. Tappan’s Burro. 1 

II. The Great Slave.81 

III. Yaqui .113 

IV. Tigre.171 

V. The Rubber Hunter. 203 



Swaying Backward, He Fell into the Upbanked Wall of 
Snow, and Went Out of Sight, Except for His Boots, 

One of Which Still Held the Crude Snowshoe . Frontispiece 


This Was the Supreme Test for His Never Proven En¬ 
durance. And He Was All but Vanquished .... 22 

On All the Four Winds Breathed Voices Whispering of 
His Future.82 

Out of the Gray Fog Burned Dusky Eyes Half Veiled By 
Dusky Hair — “Emihiyah Comes,” She Said. “Siena 
Waits,” He Replied.108 

Alone on a Ridge of Rising Ground Yaqui Faced the Back 
Trail and Watched with Falcon Eyes.114 

Yaqui Knew that Never Again Would He See His Wife and 
Baby — Never Hear From Them — Never Know What 
Became of Them. 146 

Twice She Started Forward, Only to Hang Back . . . 176 

[ vii ] 




T APPAN gazed down upon the newly-born little burro 
with something of pity and consternation. It was not 
a vigorous offspring of the redoubtable Jennie, champion 
of all the numberless burros he had driven in his desert¬ 
prospecting years. He could not leave it there to die. 
Surely it was not strong enough to follow its mother. And 
to kill i*t was beyond him. 

“Poor little devil!” soliloquized Tappan. “Reckon 
neither Jennie nor I wanted it to be born. ... I’ll have to 
hold up in this camp a few days. You can never tell what 
a burro will do. It might fool us an’ grow strong all of a 

Whereupon Tappan left Jennie and her tiny, gray lop- 
eared baby to themselves, and leisurely set about making 
permanent camp. The water at this oasis was not much 

[ 1 ] 


to his liking, but it was drinkable, and he felt he must put 
up with it. For the rest the oasis was desirable enough as 
a camping site. Desert wanderers like Tappan favored the 
lonely water holes. This one was up under the bold brow 
of the Chocolate Mountains, where rocky wall met the 
desert sand, and a green patch of palo verdes and mesquites 
proved the presence of water. It had a magnificent view 
down a many-leagued slope of desert growths, across the 
dark belt of green and the shining strip of red that marked 
the Rio Colorado, and on to the upflung Arizona land, 
range lifting to range until the saw-toothed peaks notched 
the blue sky. 

Locked in the iron fastnesses of these desert mountains 
was gold. Tappan, if he had any calling, was a prospector. 
But the lure of gold did not bind him to this wandering life 
any more than the freedom of it. He had never made a 
rich strike. About the best he could ever do was to dig 
enough gold to grubstake himself for another prospecting 
trip into some remote corner of the American Desert. 
Tappan knew the arid Southwest from San Diego to the 
Pecos River and from Picacho on the Colorado to the 
Tonto Basin. Few prospectors had the strength and en¬ 
durance of Tappan. He was a giant in build, and at 
thirty-five had never yet reached the limit of his physical 



With hammer and pick and magnifying glass Tappan 
scaled the bare ridges. He was not an expert in testing 
minerals. He knew he might easily pass by a rich vein of 
ore. But he did his best, sure at least that no prospector 
could get more than he out of the pursuit of gold. Tappan 
was more of a naturalist than a prospector, and more of a 
dreamer than either. Many were the idle moments that 
he sat staring down the vast reaches of the valleys, or 
watching some creature of the wasteland, or marveling at 
the vivid hues of desert flowers. 

Tappan waited two weeks at this oasis for Jennie’s 
baby burro to grow strong enough to walk. And the very 
day that Tappan decided to break camp he found signs of 
gold at the head of a wash above the oasis. Quite by 
chance, as he was looking for his burros, he struck his pick 
into a place no different from a thousand others there, and 
hit into a pocket of gold. He cleaned out the pocket before 
sunset, the richer for several thousand dollars. 

“You brought me luck,” said Tappan, to the little gray 
burro staggering round its mother. “Your name is Jenet. 
You’re Tappan’s burro, an’ I reckon he’ll stick to you/ 

Jenet belied the promise of her birth. Like a weed in 
fertile ground she grew. Winter and summer Tappan 
patroled the sand beats from one trading post to another, 

[ 3 ] 


and his burros traveled with him. Jenet had an especially 
good training. Her mother had happened to be a remark¬ 
ably good burro before Tappan had bought her. And 
Tappan had patience; he found leisure to do things, and 
he had something of pride in Jenet. Whenever he happened 
to drop into Ehrenberg or Yuma, or any freighting station, 
some prospector always tried to buy Jenet. She grew as 
large as a medium-sized mule, and a three-hundred-pound 
pack was no load to discommode her. 

Tappan, in common with most lonely wanderers of the 
desert, talked to his burro. As the years passed this habit 
grew, until Tappan would talk to Jenet just to hear the 
sound of his voice. Perhaps that was all which kept him 

“ Jenet, you’re worthy of a happier life,” Tappan would 
say, as he unpacked her after a long day’s march over the 
barren land. “You’re a ship of the desert. Here we are, 
with grub an’ water, a hundred miles from any camp. An’ 
what but you could have fetched me here? No horse! No 
mule! No man! Nothin’ but a camel, an’ so I call you 
ship of the desert. But for you an’ your kind, Jenet, there’d 
be no prospectors, and few gold mines. Reckon the desert 
would be still an unknown waste. . . . You’re a great beast 
of burden, Jenet, an’ there’s no one to sing your praise.” 

And of a golden sunrise, when Jenet was packed and 

[ 4 ] 


ready to face the cool, sweet fragrance of the desert, Tappan 
was wont to say: 

“Go along with you, Jenet. The mornin’s fine. Look 
at the mountains yonder callin’ us. It’s only a step down 
there. All purple an’ violet! It’s the life for us, my burro, 
an’ Tappan’s as rich as if all these sands were pearls.” 

But sometimes, at sunset, when the way had been long 
and hot and rough, Tappan would bend his shaggy head 
over Jenet, and talk in different mood. 

“Another day gone, Jenet, another journey ended — an’ 
Tappan is only older, wearier, sicker. There’s no reward 
for your faithfulness. I’m only a desert rat, livin’ from 
hole to hole. No home! No face to see. . . . Some sunset, 
Jenet, we’ll reach the end of the trail. An’ Tappan’s bones 
will bleach in the sands. An’ no one will know or care!” 

When Jenet was two years old she would have taken 
the blue ribbon in competition with all the burros of the 
Southwest. She was unusually large and strong, perfectly 
proportioned, sound in every particular, and practically 
tireless. But these were not the only characteristics that 
made prospectors envious of Tappan. Jenet had the com¬ 
mon virtues of all good burros magnified to an unbeliev¬ 
able degree. Moreover, she had sense and instinct that to 
Tappan bordered on the supernatural. 

[ 5 ] 


During these years Tappan’s trail crisscrossed the min¬ 
eral region of the Southwest. But, as always, the rich 
strike held aloof. It was like the pot of gold buried at the 
foot of the rainbow. Jenet knew the trails and the water 
holes better than Tappan. She could follow a trail obliter¬ 
ated by drifting sand or cut out by running water. She 
could scent at long distance a new spring on the desert or 
a strange water hole. She never wandered far from camp 
so that Tappan had to walk far in search of her. Wild 
burros, the bane of most prospectors, held no charm for 
Jenet. And she had never yet shown any especial liking 
for a tame burro. This was the strangest feature of Jenet’s 
complex character. Burros were noted for their habit of 
pairing off, and forming friendships for one or more com¬ 
rades. These relations were permanent. But Jenet still 
remained fancy free. 

Tappan scarcely realized how he relied upon this big, 
gray, serene beast of burden. Of course, when chance 
threw him among men of his calling he would brag about 
her. But he had never really appreciated Jenet. In his 
way Tappan was a brooding, plodding fellow, not con¬ 
scious of sentiment. When he bragged about Jenet it was 
her good qualities upon which he dilated. But what he 
really liked best about her were the little things of every 



During the earlier years of her training Jenet had been 
a thief. She would pretend to be asleep for hours just to 
get a chance to steal something out of camp. Tappan had 
broken this habit in its incipiency. But he never quite 
trusted her. Jenet was a burro. 

Jenet ate anything offered her. She could fare for her¬ 
self or go without. Whatever Tappan had left from his 
own meals was certain to be rich dessert for Jenet. Every 
meal time she would stand near the camp fire, with one 
great long ear drooping, and the other standing erect. Her 
expression was one of meekness, of unending patience. She 
would lick a tin can until it shone resplendent. On long, 
hard, barren trails Jenet’s deportment did not vary from 
that where the water holes and grassy patches were many. 
She did not need to have grass or grain. Brittle-bush and 
sage were good fare for her. She could eat greasewood, a 
desert plant that protected itself with a sap as sticky as 
varnish and far more dangerous to animals. She could eat 
cacti. Tappan had seen her break off leaves of the prickly 
pear cactus, and stamp upon them with her forefeet, mash¬ 
ing off the thorns, so that she could consume the succulent 
pulp. She liked mesquite beans, and leaves of willow, and 
all the trailing vines of the desert. And she could subsist 
in an arid waste land where a man would have died in 
short order. 

[ 7 ] 


No ascent or descent was too hard or dangerous for 
Jenet, provided it was possible of accomplishment. She 
would refuse a trail that was impassable. She seemed to 
have an uncanny instinct both for what she could do, and 
what was beyond a burro. Tappan had never known her 
to fail on something to which she stuck persistently. Swift 
streams of water, always bugbears to burros, did not stop 
Jenet. She hated quicksand, but could be trusted to navi¬ 
gate it, if that were possible. When she stepped gingerly, 
with little inch steps, out upon thin crust of ice or salty 
crust of desert sink hole, Tappan would know that it was 
safe, or she would turn back. Thunder and lightning, in¬ 
tense heat or bitter cold, the sirocco sand storm of the 
desert, the white dust of the alkali wastes — these were all 
the same to Jenet. 

One August, the hottest and driest of his desert experi¬ 
ence, Tappan found himself working a most promising claim 
in the lower reaches of the Panamint Mountains on the 
northern slope above Death Valley. It was a hard country 
at the most favorable season; in August it was terrible. 

The Panamints were infested by various small gangs of 
desperadoes—outlaw claim jumpers where opportunity af¬ 
forded—and out-and-out robbers, even murderers where 
they could not get the gold any other way. 

[ 8 ] 


Tappan had been warned not to go into this region 
alone. But he never heeded any warnings. And the idea 
that he would ever strike a claim or dig enough gold to 
make himself an attractive target for outlaws seemed pre¬ 
posterous and not worth considering. Tappan had become 
a wanderer now from the unbreakable habit of it. Much 
to his amaze he struck a rich ledge of free gold in a canyon 
of the Panamints; and he worked from daylight until dark. 
He forgot about the claim jumpers, until one day he saw 
Jenet’s long ears go up in the manner habitual with her 
when she saw strange men. Tappan watched the rest of 
that day, but did not catch a glimpse of any living thing. 
It was a desolate place, shut in, red-walled, hazy with heat, 
and brooding with an eternal silence. 

Not long after that Tappan discovered boot tracks of 
several men adjacent to his camp and in an out-of-the-way 
spot, which persuaded him that he was being watched. 
Claim jumpers who were not going to jump his claim in 
this torrid heat, but meant to let him dig the gold and then 
kill him. Tappan was not the kind of man to be afraid. 
He grew wrathful and stubborn. He had six small canvas 
bags of gold and did not mean to lose them. Still, he was 

“Now, what’s best to do?” he pondered. “I mustn’t 
give it away that I’m wise. Reckon I’d better act natural. 

[ 9 ] 


But I can’t stay here longer. My claim’s about worked 
out. An’ these jumpers are smart enough to know it. . . . 
I’ve got to make a break at night. What to do?” 

Tappan did not want to cache the gold, for in that case, 
of course, he would have to return for it. Still, he reluc¬ 
tantly admitted to himself that this was the best way to 
save it. Probably these robbers were watching him day 
and night. It would be most unwise to attempt escaping 
by traveling up over the Panamints. 

“Reckon my only chance is goin’ down into Death Val¬ 
ley,” soliloquized Tappan, grimly. 

The alternative thus presented was not to his liking. 
Crossing Death Valley at this season was always perilous, 
and never attempted in the heat of day. And at this par¬ 
ticular time of intense torridity, when the day heat was un¬ 
endurable and the midnight furnace gales were blowing, it 
was an enterprise from which even Tappan shrank. Added 
to this were the facts that he was too far west of the nar¬ 
row part of the valley, and even if he did get across he 
would find himself in the most forbidding and desolate re¬ 
gion of the Funeral Mountains. 

Thus thinking and planning, Tappan went about his 
mining and camp tasks, trying his best to act natural. 
But he did not succeed. It was impossible, while expect¬ 
ing a shot at any moment, to act as if there was nothing 

[ 10 ] 


on his mind. His camp lay at the bottom of a rocky slope. 
A tiny spring of water made verdure of grass and mesquite, 
welcome green in all that stark iron nakedness. His camp 
site was out in the open, on the bench near the spring. 
The gold claim that Tappan was working was not visible 
from any vantage point either below or above. It lay 
back at the head of a break in the rocky wall. It had two 
virtues—one that the sun never got to it, and the other 
that it was well hidden. Once there, Tappan knew he 
could not be seen. This, however, did not diminish his 
growing uneasiness. The solemn stillness was a menace. 
The heat of the day appeared to be augmenting to a de¬ 
gree beyond his experience. Every few moments Tappan 
would slip back through a narrow defile in the rocks and 
peep from his covert down at the camp. On the last of 
these occasions he saw Jenet out in the open. She stood 
motionless. Her long ears were erect. In an instant Tap- 
pan became strung with thrilling excitement. His keen 
eyes searched every approach to his camp. And at last in 
the gully below to the right he discovered two men crawl¬ 
ing along from rock to rock. Jenet had seen them enter 
that gully and was now watching for them to appear. 

Tappan’s excitement gave place to a grimmer emotion. 
These stealthy visitors were going to hide in ambush, and 
kill him as he returned to camp. 

[ 11 ] 


“Jenet, reckon what I owe you is a whole lot,” mut¬ 
tered Tappan. “They’d have got me sure. . . . But now—” 

Tappan left his tools, and crawled out of his covert 
into the jumble of huge rocks toward the left of the slope. 
He had a six-shooter. His rifle he had left in camp. Tap- 
pan had seen only two men, but he knew there were more 
than that, if not actually near at hand at the moment, 
then surely not far away. And his chance was to worm his 
way like an Indian down to camp. With the rifle in his 
possession he would make short work of the present diffi¬ 

“Lucky Jenet’s right in camp!” said Tappan, to him¬ 
self. “It beats hell how she does things!” 

Tappan was already deciding to pack and hurry away. 
On the moment Death Valley did not daunt him. This 
matter of crawling and gliding along was work unsuited to 
his great stature. He was too big to hide behind a little 
shrub or a rock. And he was not used to stepping lightly. 
His hobnailed boots could not be placed noiselessly upon 
the stones. Moreover, he could not progress without dis¬ 
placing little bits of weathered rock. He was sure that 
keen ears not too far distant could have heard him. But 
he kept on, making good progress around that slope to the 
far side of the canyon. Fortunately, he headed the gully 
up which his ambushers were stealing. On the other hand, 

[ 1 * ] 


this far side of the canyon afforded but little cover. The 
sun had gone down back of the huge red mass of the moun¬ 
tain. It had left the rocks so hot Tappan could not touch 
them with his bare hands. 

He was about to stride out from his last covert and 
make a run for it down the rest of the slope, when, survey¬ 
ing the whole amphitheater below him, he espied the two 
men coming up out of the gully, headed toward his camp. 
They looked in his direction. Surely they had heard or 
seen him. But Tappan perceived at a glance that he was 
the closer to the camp. Without another moment of hesi¬ 
tation, he plunged from his hiding place, down the weath¬ 
ered slope. His giant strides set the loose rocks sliding 
and rattling. The men saw him. The foremost yelled to 
the one behind him. Then they both broke into a run. 
Tappan reached the level of the bench, and saw he could 
beat either of them into the camp. Unless he were dis¬ 
abled! He felt the wind of a heavy bullet before he heard 
it strike the rocks beyond. Then followed the boom of 
a Colt. One of his enemies had halted to shoot. This 
spurred Tappan to tremendous exertion. He flew over the 
rough ground, scarcely hearing the rapid shots. He could 
no longer see the man who was firing. But the first one 
was in plain sight, running hard, not yet seeing he was out 
of the race. 

[ 13 ] 


When he became aware of that he halted, and dropping 
on one knee, leveled his gun at the running Tappan. The 
distance was scarcely sixty yards. His first shot did not 
allow for Tappan’s speed. His second kicked up the gravel 
in Tappan’s face. Then followed three more shots in rapid 
succession. The man divined that Tappan had a rifle in 
camp. Then he steadied himself, waiting for the moment 
when Tappan had to slow down and halt. As Tappan 
reached his camp and dove for his rifle, the robber took time 
for his last aim, evidently hoping to get a stationary target. 
But Tappan did not get up from behind his camp duffel. 
It had been a habit of his to pile his boxes of supplies and 
roll of bedding together, and cover them with a canvas. 
He poked his rifle over the top of this and shot the robber. 

Then, leaping up, he ran forward to get sight of the 
second one. This man began to run along the edge of 
the gully. Tappan fired rapidly at him. The third shot 
knocked the fellow down. But he got up, and yelling, as 
if for succor, he ran off. Tappan got another shot before 
he disappeared. 

“Ahuh!” grunted Tappan, grimly. His keen gaze came 
back to survey the fallen robber, and then went out over 
the bench, across the wide mouth of the canyon. Tappan 
thought he had better utilize time to pack instead of pur¬ 
suing the fleeing man. 

[ 14 ] 


Reloading the rifle, he hurried out to find Jenet. She 
was coming in to camp. 

“Shore you’re a treasure, old girl!” ejaculated Tappan. 

Never in his life had he packed Jenet, or any other 
burro, so quickly. His last act was to drink all he could 
hold, fill his two canteens, and make Jenet drink. Then, 
rifle in hand, he drove the burro out of camp, round the 
corner of the red wall, to the wide gateway that opened 
down into Death Valley. 

Tappan looked back more than he looked ahead. And 
he had traveled down a mile or more before he began to 
breathe more easily. He had escaped the claim jumpers. 
Even if they did show up in pursuit now, they could never 
catch him. Tappan believed he could travel faster and 
farther than any men of that ilk. But they did not ap¬ 
pear. Perhaps the crippled one had not been able to reach 
his comrades in time. More likely, however, the gang had 
no taste for a chase in that torrid heat. 

Tappan slowed his stride. He was almost as wet with 
sweat as if he had fallen into the spring. The great beads 
rolled down his face. And there seemed to be little streams 
of fire trickling down his breast. But despite this, and his 
labored panting for breath, not until he halted in the shade 
of a rocky wall did he realize the heat. 

It was terrific. Instantly then he knew he was safe 

[15 I 


from pursuit. But he knew also that he faced a greater 
peril than that of robbers. He could fight evil men, but he 
could not fight this heat. 

So he rested there, regaining his breath. Already thirst 
was acute. Jenet stood near by, watching him. Tappan, 
with his habit of humanizing the burro, imagined that Jenet 
looked serious. A moment’s thought was enough for Tap- 
pan to appreciate the gravity of his situation. He was 
about to go down into the upper end of Death Valley—a 
part of that country unfamiliar to him. He must cross it, 
and also the Funeral Mountains, at a season when a pros¬ 
pector who knew the trails and water holes would have to 
be forced to undertake it. Tappan had no choice. 

His rifle was too hot to hold, so he stuck it in Jenet’s 
pack; and, burdened only by a canteen of water, he set 
out, driving the burro ahead. Once he looked back up 
the wide-mouthed canyon. It appeared to smoke with red 
heat veils. The silence was oppressive. 

Presently he turned the last corner that obstructed sight 
of Death Valley. Tappan had never been appalled by any 
aspect of the desert, but it was certain that here he halted. 
Back in his mountain-walled camp the sun had passed be¬ 
hind the high domes, but here it still held most of the val¬ 
ley in its blazing grip. Death Valley looked a ghastly, 
glaring level of white, over which a strange dull leaden 

[ 16 ] 


haze drooped like a blanket. Ghosts of mountain peaks 
appeared to show dim and vague. There was no move¬ 
ment of anything. No wind! The valley was dead. Deso¬ 
lation reigned supreme. Tappan could not see far toward 
either end of the valley. A few miles of white glare merged 
at last into leaden pall. A strong odor, not unlike sulphur, 
seemed to add weight to the air. 

Tappan strode on, mindful that Jenet had decided opin¬ 
ions of her own. She did not want to go straight ahead or 
to right or left, but back. That was the one direction im¬ 
possible for Tappan. And he had to resort to a rare meas¬ 
ure—that of beating her. But at last Jenet accepted the 
inevitable and headed down into the stark and naked plain. 
Soon Tappan reached the margin of the zone of shade cast 
by the mountain and was now exposed to the sun. The 
difference seemed tremendous. He had been hot, op¬ 
pressed, weighted. It was now as if he was burned through 
his clothes, and walked on red-hot sands. 

When Tappan ceased to sweat and his skin became dry, 
he drank half a canteen of water, and slowed his stride. 
Inured to desert hardship as he was, he could not long 
stand this. Jenet did not exhibit any lessening of vigor. In 
truth what she showed now was an increasing nervousness. 
It was almost as if she scented an enemy. Tappan never be¬ 
fore had such faith in her. Jenet was equal to this task. 

[ 17 1 


With that blazing sun on his back, Tappan felt he was 
being pursued by a furnace. He was compelled to drink 
the remaining half of his first canteen of water. Sunset 
would save him. Two more hours of such insupportable 
heat would lay him prostrate. 

The ghastly glare of the valley took on a reddish tinge. 
The heat was blinding Tappan. The time came when he 
walked beside Jenet with a hand on her pack, for his eyes 
could no longer endure the furnace glare. Even with them 
closed he knew when the sun sank behind the Panamints. 
That fire no longer followed him. And the red left his 

With the sinking of the sun the world of Death Valley 
changed. It smoked with heat veils. But the intolerable 
constant burn was gone. The change was so immense that 
it seemed to have brought coolness. 

In the twilight—strange, ghostly, somber, silent as 
death—Tappan followed Jenet off the sand, down upon 
the silt and borax level, to the crusty salt. Before dark 
Jenet halted at a sluggish belt of fluid—acid, it appeared 
to Tappan. It was not deep. And the bottom felt stable. 
But Jenet refused to cross. Tappan trusted her judgment 
more than his own. Jenet headed to the left and followed 
the course of the strange stream. 

Night intervened. A night without stars or sky or 

[ 18 ] 


sound, hot, breathless, charged with some intangible cur¬ 
rent! Tappan dreaded the midnight furnace winds of 
Death Valley. He had never encountered them. He had 
heard prospectors say that any man caught in Death Val¬ 
ley when these gales blew would never get out to tell the 
tale. And Jenet seemed to have something on her mind. 
She was no longer a leisurely, complacent burro. Tappan 
imagined Jenet seemed stern. Most assuredly she knew 
now which way she wanted to travel. It was not easy for 
Tappan to keep up with her, and ten paces beyond him 
she was out of sight. 

At last Jenet headed the acid wash, and turned across 
the valley into a field of broken salt crust, like the rough¬ 
ened ice of a river that had broken and jammed, then 
frozen again. Impossible was it to make even a reasonable 
headway. It was a zone, however, that eventually gave 
way to Jenet’s instinct for direction. Tappan had long 
ceased to try to keep his bearings. North, south, east, and 
west were all the same to him. The night was a blank—• 
the darkness a wall—the silence a terrible menace flung at 
any living creature. Death Valley had endured them mil¬ 
lions of years before living creatures had existed. It was 
no place for a man. 

Tappan was now three hundred and more feet below 
sea level, in the aftermath of a day that had registered one 

[ 19 ] 


hundred and forty-five degrees of heat. He knew, when he 
began to lose thought and balance—-when only the primi¬ 
tive instincts directed his bodily machine. And he strug¬ 
gled with all his will power to keep hold of his sense of 
sight and feeling. He hoped to cross the lower level before 
the midnight gales began to blow. 

Tappan’s hope was vain. According to record, once in 
a long season of intense heat, there came a night when the 
furnace winds broke their schedule, and began early. The 
misfortune of Tappan was that he had struck this night. 

Suddenly it seemed that the air, sodden with heat, be¬ 
gan to move. It had weight. It moved soundlessly and 
ponderously. But it gathered momentum. Tappan real¬ 
ized what was happening. The blanket of heat generated 
by the day was yielding to outside pressure. Something 
had created a movement of the hotter air that must find 
its way upward, to give place for the cooler air that must 
find its way down. 

Tappan heard the first, low, distant moan of wind and 
it struck terror to his heart. It did not have an earthly 
sound. Was that a knell for him? Nothing was surer than 
the fact that the desert must sooner or later claim him as a 
victim. Grim and strong, he rebelled against the conviction. 

That moan was a forerunner of others, growing louder 
and longer until the weird sound became continuous. Then 

[ 20 ] 


the movement of wind was accelerated and began to carry 
a fine dust. Dark as the night was, it did not hide the 
pale sheets of dust that moved along the level plain. Tap- 
pan’s feet felt the slow rise in the floor of the valley. His 
nose recognized the zone of borax and alkali and niter and 
sulphur. He had reached the pit of the valley at the time 
of the furnace winds. 

The moan augmented to a roar, coming like a mighty 
storm through a forest. It was hellish—like the woeful 
tide of Acheron. It enveloped Tappan. And the gale bore 
down in tremendous volume, like a furnace blast. Tappan 
seemed to feel his body penetrated by a million needles of 
fire. He seemed to dry up. The blackness of night had a 
spectral, whitish cast; the gloom was a whirling medium; 
the valley floor was lost in a sheeted, fiercely seeping stream 
of silt. Deadly fumes swept by, not lingering long enough 
to suffocate Tappan. He would gasp and choke—then the 
poison gas was gone on the gale. But hardest to endure 
was the heavy body of moving heat. Tappan grew blind, 
so that he had to hold to Jenet, and stumble along. Every 
gasping breath was a tortured effort. He could not bear a 
scarf over his face. His lungs heaved like great leather 
bellows. His heart pumped like an engine short of fuel. 
This was the supreme test for his never proven endurance. 
And he was all but vanquished. 

[ 21 ] 


Tappan’s senses of sight and smell and hearing failed 
him. There was left only the sense of touch—a feeling of 
rope and burro and ground—and an awful insulating pres¬ 
sure upon all his body. His feet marked a change from 
salty plain to sandy ascent and then to rocky slope. The 
pressure of wind gradually lessened: the difference in air 
made life possible; the feeling of being dragged endlessly 
by Jenet had ceased. Tappan went his limit and fell into 

When he came to, he was suffering bodily tortures. 
Sight was dim. But he saw walls of rocks, green growths 
of mesquite, tamarack, and grass. Jenet was lying down, 
with her pack flopped to one side. Tappan’s dead ears re¬ 
covered to a strange murmuring, babbling sound. Then he 
realized his deliverance. Jenet had led him across Death 
Valley, up into the mountain range, straight to a spring of 
running water. 

Tappan crawled to the edge of the water and drank 
guardedly, a little at a time. He had to quell terrific crav¬ 
ing to drink his fill. Then he crawled to Jenet, and loosen¬ 
ing the ropes of her pack, freed her from its burden. Jenet 
got up, apparently none the worse for her ordeal. She 
gazed mildly at Tappan, as if to say: “Well, I got you 
out of that hole.” 

Tappan returned her gaze. Were they only man and 

[ 22 ] 



beast, alone in the desert? She seemed magnified to Tap- 
pan, no longer a plodding, stupid burro. 

“Jenet, you—saved—-my life,” Tappan tried to enunci¬ 
ate. “I’ll never—forget.” 

Tappan was struck then to a realization of Jenet’s 
service. He was unutterably grateful. Yet the time came 
when he did forget. 



T APP AN had a weakness common to all prospectors: 

Any tale of a lost gold mine would excite his interest; 
and well-known legends of lost mines always obsessed him. 

Peg-leg Smith’s lost gold mine had lured Tappan to no 
less than half a dozen trips into the terrible shifting-sand 
country of southern California. There was no water near 
the region said to hide this mine of fabulous wealth. Many 
prospectors had left their bones to bleach white in the sun, 
finally to be buried by the ever blowing sands. Upon the 
occasion of Tappan’s last escape from this desolate and for¬ 
bidding desert, he had promised Jenet never to undertake 
it again. It seemed Tappan promised the faithful burro a 
good many things. It had been a habit. 

When Tappan had a particularly hard experience or 
perilous adventure, he always took a dislike to the im¬ 
mediate country where it had befallen him. Jenet had 
dragged him across Death Valley,through incredible heat and 
the midnight furnace winds of that strange place; and he 
had promised her he would never forget how she had saved 
his life. Nor would he ever go back to Death Valley! He 

[ 24 ] 


made his way over the Funeral Mountains, worked down 
through Nevada, and crossed the Rio Colorado above 
Needles, and entered Arizona. He traveled leisurely, but he 
kept going, and headed southeast towards Globe. There 
he cashed one of his six bags of gold, and indulged in the 
luxury of a complete new outfit. Even Jenet appreciated 
this fact, for the old outfit would scarcely hold together. 

Tappan had the other five bags of gold in his pack; and 
after hours of hesitation he decided he would not cash 
them and entrust the money to a bank. He would take 
care of them. For him the value of this gold amounted to 
a small fortune. Many plans suggested themselves to Tap- 
pan. But in the end he grew weary of them. What did he 
want with a ranch, or cattle, or an outfitting store, or any 
of the businesses he now had the means to buy? Towns 
soon palled on Tappan. People did not long please him. 
Selfish interest and greed seemed paramount everywhere. 
Besides, if he acquired a place to take up his time, what 
would become of Jenet? That question decided him. He 
packed the burro and once more took to the trails. 

A dim, lofty, purple range called alluringly to Tappan. 
The Superstition Mountains! Somewhere in that purple 
mass hid the famous treasure called the Lost Dutchman 
gold mine. Tappan had heard the story often. A Dutch 
prospector struck gold in the Superstitions. He kept the 

[ 25 ] 


location secret. When he ran short of money, he would 
disappear for a few weeks, and then return with bags of 
gold. Wherever his strike, it assuredly was a rich one. No 
one ever could trail him or get a word out of him. Time 
passed. A few years made him old. During this time he 
conceived a liking for a young man, and eventually con¬ 
fided to him that some day he would tell him the secret of 
his gold mine. He had drawn a map of the landmarks ad¬ 
jacent to his mine. But he was careful not to put on paper 
directions how to get there. It chanced that he suddenly 
fell ill and saw his end was near. Then he summoned the 
young man who had been so fortunate as to win his re¬ 
gard. Now this individual was a ne’er-do-well, and upon 
this occasion he was half drunk. The dying Dutchman 
produced his map, and gave it with verbal directions to 
the young man. Then he died. When the recipient of this 
fortune recovered from the effects of liquor, he could not 
remember all the Dutchman had told him. He tortured 
himself to remember names and places. But the mine was 
up in the Superstition Mountains. He never remembered. 
He never found the lost mine, though he spent his life and 
died trying. Thus the story passed into the legend of the 
Lost Dutchman. 

Tappan now had his try at finding it. But for him the 
shifting sands of the southern California desert or even the 

[ 26 ] 


barren and desolate Death Valley were preferable to this 
Superstition Range. It was a harder country than the 
Pinacate of Sonora. Tappan hated cactus, and the Super¬ 
stitions were full of it. Everywhere stood up the huge 
sahuaro, the giant cacti of the Arizona plateaus, tall like 
branchless trees, fluted and columnar, beautiful and fasci¬ 
nating to gaze upon, but obnoxious to prospector and 

One day from a north slope Tappan saw afar a wonder¬ 
ful country of black timber, above which zigzagged for 
many miles a yellow, winding rampart of rock. This he 
took to be the rim of the Mogollon Mesa, one of Arizona’s 
freaks of nature. Something called Tappan. He was for¬ 
ever victim to yearnings for the unattainable. He was 
tired of heat, glare, dust, bare rock, and thorny cactus. 
The Lost Dutchman gold mine was a myth. Besides, he 
did not need any more gold. 

Next morning Tappan packed Jenet and worked down 
off the north slopes of the Superstition Range. That night 
about sunset he made camp on the bank of a clear brook, 
with grass and wood in abundance—such a camp site as a 
prospector dreamed of but seldom found. 

Before dark Jenet’s long ears told of the advent of 
strangers. A man and a woman rode down the trail into 
Tappan’s camp. They had poor horses, and led a pack 

[27 1 


animal that appeared too old and weak to bear up under 
even the meager pack he carried. 

“Howdy,” said the man. 

Tappan rose from his task to his lofty height and re¬ 
turned the greeting. The man was middle-aged, swarthy, 
and rugged, a mountaineer, with something about him that 
Tappan instinctively distrusted. The woman was under 
thirty, comely in a full-blown way, with rich brown skin 
and glossy dark hair. She had wide-open black eyes that 
bent a curious possession-taking gaze upon Tappan. 

“Care if we camp with you?” she inquired, and she 

That smile changed Tappan’s habit and conviction of a 

“No indeed. Reckon I’d like a little company,” he said. 

Very probably Jenet did not understand Tappan’s words, 
but she dropped one ear, and walked out of camp to the 
green bank. 

“Thanks, stranger,” replied the woman. “That grub 
shore smells good.” She hesitated a moment, evidently 
waiting to catch her companion’s eye, then she continued. 
“My name’s Madge Beam. He’s my brother Jake. . . . 
Who might you happen to be?” 

“I’m Tappan, lone prospector, as you see,” replied 

[* 8 ] 


“Tappan! What’s your front handle?” she queried, 

“Fact is, I don’t remember,” replied Tappan, as he 
brushed a huge hand through his shaggy hair. 

“Ahuh? Any name’s good enough.” 

When she dismounted, Tappan saw that she had a tall, 
lithe figure, garbed in rider’s overalls and boots. She un¬ 
saddled her horse with the dexterity of long practice. The 
saddlebags she carried over to the spot the man Jake had 
selected to throw the pack. 

Tappan heard them talking in low tones. It struck him 
as strange that he did not have his usual reaction to an in¬ 
vasion of his privacy and solitude. Tappan had thrilled 
under those black eyes. And now a queer sensation of the 
unusual rose in him. Bending over his camp-fire tasks he 
pondered this and that, but mostly the sense of the near¬ 
ness of a woman. Like most desert men, Tappan knew 
little of the other sex. A few that he might have been 
drawn to went out of his wandering life as quickly as they 
had entered it. This Madge Beam took possession of his 
thoughts. An evidence of Tappan’s preoccupation was the 
fact that he burned his first batch of biscuits. And Tap- 
pan felt proud of his culinary ability. He was on his knees, 
mixing more flour and water, when the woman spoke from 
right behind him. 

[ 29 ] 


“Tough luck you burned the first pan,” she said. “But 
it’s a good turn for your burro. That shore is a burro. 
Biggest I ever saw.” 

She picked up the burned biscuits and tossed them over 
to Jenet. Then she came back to Tappan’s side, rather 
embarrassingly close. 

“Tappan, I know how I’ll eat, so I ought to ask you 
to let me help,” she said, with a laugh. 

“No, I don’t need any,” replied Tappan. “You sit 
down on my roll of beddin’ there. Must be tired, aren’t 

“Not so very,” she returned. “That is, I’m not tired 
of ridin’.” She spoke the second part of this reply in lower 

Tappan looked up from his task. The woman had 
washed her face, brushed her hair, and had put on a skirt 
—a singularly attractive change. Tappan thought her 
younger. She was the handsomest woman he had ever 
seen. The look of her made him clumsy. What eyes she 
had! They looked through him. Tappan returned to his 
task, wondering if he was right in his surmise that she 
wanted to be friendly. 

“Jake an’ I drove a bunch of cattle to Maricopa,” she 
volunteered. “We sold ’em, an’ Jake gambled away most 
of the money. I couldn’t get what I wanted,” 

[ 30 ] 


“Too bad! So you’re ranchers. Once thought I’d like 
that. Fact is, down here at Globe a few weeks ago I came 
near buy in’ some rancher out an’ try in’ the game.” 

“You did?” Her query had a low, quick eagerness 
that somehow thrilled Tappan. But he did not look up. 

“I’m a wanderer. I’d never do on a ranch.” 

“But if you had a woman?” Her laugh was subtle and 

“A woman! For me? Oh, Lord, no!” ejaculated Tap- 
pan, in confusion. 

“Why not? Are you a woman hater?” 

“I can’t say that,” replied Tappan, soberly. “It’s just 
—I guess—no woman would have me.” 

“Faint heart never won fair lady.” 

Tappan had no reply for that. He surely was making a 
mess of the second pan of biscuit dough. Manifestly the 
woman saw this, for with a laugh she plumped down on her 
knees in front of Tappan, and rolled her sleeves up over 
shapely brown arms. 

“Poor man! Shore you need a woman. Let me 
show you,” she said, and put her hands right down up¬ 
on Tappan’s. The touch gave him a strange thrill. He 
had to pull his hands away, and as he wiped them with 
his scarf he looked at her. He seemed compelled to 
look. She was close to him now, smiling in good nature, 

[ 31 ] 


a little scornful of man’s encroachment upon the house¬ 
wifely duties of a woman. A subtle something emanated 
from her—a more than kindness or gayety. Tappan grasped 
that it was just the woman of her. And it was going to his 

“Very well, let’s see you show me,” he replied, as he 
rose to his feet. 

Just then the brother Jake strolled over, and he had a 
rather amused and derisive eye for his sister. 

“Wal, Tappan, she’s not overfond of work, but I reckon 
she can cook,” he said. 

Tappan felt greatly relieved at the approach of this 
brother. And he fell into conversation with him, telling 
something of his prospecting since leaving Globe, and lis¬ 
tening to the man’s cattle talk. By and by the woman 
called, “Come an’ get it!” Then they sat down to eat, 
and, as usual with hungry wayfarers, they did not talk 
much until appetite was satisfied. Afterward, before the 
camp fire, they began to talk again, Jake being the most 
discursive. Tappan conceived the idea that the rancher 
was rather curious about him, and perhaps wanted to sell 
his ranch. The woman seemed more thoughtful, with her 
wide black eyes on the fire. 

“Tappan, what way you travelin’P” finally inquired 

[ 32 ] 


“ Can’t say. I just worked down out of the Supersti¬ 
tions. Haven’t any place in mind. Where does this road 

“To the Tonto Basin. Ever heard of it?” 

“Yes, the name isn’t new. What’s in this Basin?” 

The man grunted. “Tonto once was home for the 
Apache. It’s now got a few sheep an’ cattlemen, lots of 
rustlers. An’ say, if you like to hunt bear an’ deer, come 
along with us.” ' 

“Thanks. I don’t know as I can,” returned Tappan, 
irresolutely. He was not used to such possibilities as this 

Then the woman spoke up. “It’s a pretty country. 
Wild an’ different. We live up under the rim rock. There’s 
mineral in the canyons.” 

Was it that about mineral which decided Tappan or the 
look in her eyes? 

Tappan’s world of thought and feeling underwent as 
great a change as this Tonto Basin differed from the stark 
desert so long his home. The trail to the log cabin of the 
Beams climbed many a ridge and slope and foothill, all 
covered with manzanita, mescal, cedar, and juniper, at last 
to reach the canyons of the Rim, where lofty pines and 
spruces lorded it over the under forest of maples and oaks. 

[33 ] 


Though the yellow Rim towered high over the site of the 
cabin, the altitude was still great, close to seven thousand 
feet above sea level. 

Tappan had fallen in love with this wild wooded and 
canyoned country. So had Jenet. It was rather funny the 
way she hung around Tappan, mornings and evenings. She 
ate luxuriant grass and oak leaves until her sides bulged. 

There did not appear to be any flat places in this land¬ 
scape. Every bench was either up hill or down hill. The 
Beams had no garden or farm or ranch that Tappan could 
discover. They raised a few acres of sorghum and corn. 
Their log cabin was of the most primitive kind, and out¬ 
fitted poorly. Madge Beam explained that this cabin was 
their winter abode, and that up on the Rim they had a 
good house and ranch. Tappan did not inquire closely into 
anything. If he had interrogated himself, he would have 
found out that the reason he did not inquire was because 
he feared something might remove him from the vicinity 
of Madge Beam. He had thought it strange the Beams 
avoided wayfarers they had met on the trail, and had gone 
round a little hamlet Tappan had espied from a hill. Madge 
Beam, with woman’s intuition, had read his mind, and had 
said: “ Jake doesn’t get along so well with some of the vil¬ 
lagers. An’ I’ve no hankerin’ for gun play.” That explana¬ 
tion was sufficient for Tappan. He had lived long enough 

[ 34 ] 


in his wandering years to appreciate that people could have 
reasons for being solitary. 

This trip up into the Rim Rock country bade fair to be¬ 
come Tappan’s one and only adventure of the heart. It 
was not alone the murmuring, clear brook of cold moun¬ 
tain water that enchanted him, nor the stately pines,' nor 
the beautiful silver spruces, nor the wonder of the deep, 
yellow-walled canyons, so choked with verdure, and haunted 
by wild creatures. He dared not face his soul, and ask 
why this dark-eyed woman sought him more and more. 
Tappan lived in the moment. 

He was aware that the few mountaineer neighbors who 
rode that way rather avoided contact with him. Tappan 
was not so dense that he did not perceive that the Beams 
preferred to keep him from outsiders. This perhaps was 
owing to their desire to sell Tappan the ranch and cattle. 
Jake offered to let it go at what he called a low figure. 
Tappan thought it just as well to go out into the forest 
and hide his bags of gold. He did not trust Jake Beam, 
and liked less the looks of the men who visited this wilder¬ 
ness ranch. Madge Beam might be related to a rustler, 
and the associate of rustlers, but that did not necessarily 
make her a bad woman. Tappan sensed that her attitude 
was changing, and she seemed to require his respect. At 
first, all she wanted was his admiration. Tappan’s long 

[ 35 ] 


unused deference for women returned to him, and when he 
saw that it was having some strange softening effect upon 
Madge Beam, he redoubled his attentions. They rode and 
climbed and hunted together. Tappan had pitched his 
camp not far from the cabin, on a shaded bank of the sing¬ 
ing brook. Madge did not leave him much to himself. She 
was always coming up to his camp, on one pretext or an¬ 
other. Often she would bring two horses, and make Tap- 
pan ride with her. Some of these occasions, Tappan saw, 
occurred while visitors came to the cabin. In three weeks 
Madge Beam changed from the bold and careless woman 
who had ridden down into his camp that sunset, to a seri¬ 
ous and appealing woman, growing more careful of her per¬ 
son and adornment, and manifestly bearing a burden on 
her mind. 

October came. In the morning white frost glistened on 
the split-wood shingles of the cabin. The sun soon melted 
it, and grew warm. The afternoons were still and smoky, 
melancholy with the enchantment of Indian summer. Tap- 
pan hunted wild turkey and deer with Madge, and revived 
his boyish love of such pursuits. Madge appeared to be 
a woman of the woods, and had no mean skill with the 

One day they were high on the Him, with the great 
timbered basin at their feet. They had come up to hunt 

[ 36 ] 


deer, but got no farther than the wonderful promontory 
where before they had lingered. 

“ Somethin’ will happen to me to-day,” Madge Beam 
said, enigmatically. 

Tappan never had been much of a talker. But he 
could listen. The woman unburdened herself this day. 
She wanted freedom, happiness, a home away from this 
lonely country, and all the heritage of woman. She con¬ 
fessed it broodingly, passionately. And Tappan recognized 
truth when he heard it. He was ready to do all in his 
power for this woman and believed she knew it. But 
words and acts of sentiment came hard to him. 

“Are you goin’ to buy Jake’s ranch?” she asked. 

“I don’t know. Is there any hurry?” returned Tappan. 

“I reckon not. But I think I’ll settle that,” she said, 

“How so?” 

“Well, Jake hasn’t got any ranch,” she answered. And 
added hastily, “No clear title, I mean. He’s only home¬ 
steaded one hundred an’ sixty acres, an’ hasn’t proved up 
on it yet. But don’t you say I told you.” 

“Was Jake aimin’ to be crooked?” 

“I reckon. . . . An’ I was willin’ at first. But not now.” 

Tappan did not speak at once. He saw the woman was 
in one of her brooding moods. Besides, he wanted to weigh 

[ 37 ] 


her words. How significant they were! To-day more than 
ever she had let down. Humility and simplicity seemed to 
abide with her. And her brooding boded a storm. Tap- 
pan’s heart swelled in his broad breast. Was life going to 
dawn rosy and bright for the lonely prospector? He had 
money to make a home for this woman. What lay in the 
balance of the hour? Tappan waited, slowly realizing the 
charged atmosphere. 

Madge’s somber eyes gazed out over the great void. 
But, full of thought and passion as they were, they did not 
see the beauty of that scene. But Tappan saw it. And in 
some strange sense the color and wildness and sublimity 
seemed the expression of a new state of his heart. Under 
him sheered down the ragged and cracked cliffs of the Rim, 
yellow and gold and gray, full of caves and crevices, ledges 
for eagles and niches for lions, a thousand feet down to the 
upward edge of the long green slopes and canyons, and so 
on down and down into the abyss of forested ravine and 
ridge, rolling league on league away to the encompassing 
barrier of purple mountain ranges. 

The thickets in the canyons called Tappan’s eye back 
to linger there. How different from the scenes that 
used to be perpetually in his sight! What riot of color! 
The tips of the green pines, the crests of the silver spruces, 
waved about masses of vivid gold of aspen trees, and won- 

[ 38 ] 


derful cerise and flaming red of maples, and crags of yellow 
rock, covered with the bronze of frostbitten sumach. Here 
was autumn and with it the colors of Tappan’s favorite 
season. From below breathed up the low roar of plunging 
brook; an eagle screeched his wild call; an elk bugled his 
piercing blast. From the Rim wisps of pine needles blew 
away on the breeze and fell into the void. A wild country, 
colorful, beautiful, bountiful. Tappan imagined he could 
quell his wandering spirit here, with this dark-eyed woman 
by his side. Never before had Nature so called him. Here 
was not the cruelty or flinty hardness of the desert. The 
air was keen and sweet, cold in the shade, warm in the sun. 
A fragrance of balsam and spruce, spiced with pine, made 
his breathing a thing of difficulty and delight. How for so 
many years had he endured vast open spaces without such 
eye-soothing trees as these? Tappan’s back rested against 
a huge pine that tipped the Rim, and had stood there, 
stronger than the storms, for many a hundred years. The 
rock of the promontory was covered with soft brown mats 
of pine needles. A juniper tree, with its bright green foli¬ 
age and lilac-colored berries, grew near the pine, and helped 
to form a secluded little nook, fragrant and somehow haunt¬ 
ing. The woman’s dark head was close to Tappan, as she 
sat with her elbows on her knees, gazing down into the 
basin. Tappan saw the strained tensity of her posture, the 

[ 39 ] 


heaving of her full bosom. He wondered, while his own 
emotions, so long darkened, roused to the suspense of that 

Suddenly she flung herself into Tappan’s arms. The 
act amazed him. It seemed to have both the passion of a 
woman and the shame of a girl. Before she hid her face on 
Tappan’s breast he saw how the rich brown had paled, and 
then flamed. 

“Tappan! . . . Take me away. . . . Take me away from 
here—from that life down there,” she cried, in smothered 

“Madge, you mean take you away—and marry you?” 
he replied. 

“Oh, yes—yes—marry me, if you love me. ... I don’t 
see how you can—but you do, don’t you?— Say you do.” 

“I reckon that’s what ails me, Madge,” he replied, 

“Say so, then,” she burst out. 

“All right, I do,” said Tappan, with heavy breath. 
“Madge, words don’t come easy for me. . . . But I think 
you’re wonderful, an’ I want you. I haven’t dared hope 
for that, till now. I’m only a wanderer. But it’d be 
heaven to have you—my wife—an’ make a home for you.” 

“Oh—Oh!” she returned, wildly, and lifted herself to 
cling round his neck, and to kiss him. “You give me 

[ 40 ] 


joy. . . . Oh, Tappan, I love you. I never loved any man 
before. I know now. . . . An’ I’m not wonderful—or good. 
But I love you.” 

The fire of her lips and the clasp of her arms worked 
havoc in Tappan. No woman had ever loved him, let 
alone embraced him. To awake suddenly to such rapture 
as this made him strong and rough in his response. Then 
all at once she seemed to collapse in his arms and to begin 
to weep. He feared he had offended or hurt her, and was 
clumsy in his contrition. Presently she replied: 

“Pretty soon—I’ll make you—beat me. It’s your love 
—your honesty—that’s shamed me. . . . Tappan, I was 
party to a trick to—sell you a worthless ranch. ... I 
agreed to—try to make you love me—to fool you—cheat 
you. . . . But I’ve fallen in love with you.— An’ my God, 
I care more for your love—your respect—than for my life. 
I can’t go on with it. I’ve double-crossed Jake, an’ all of 
them. . . . Now, am I worth lovin’? Am I worth havin’?” 

“More than ever, dear,” he said. 

“You will take me away?” 

“Anywhere—any time, the sooner the better.” 

She kissed him passionately, and then, disengaging her¬ 
self from his arms, she knelt and gazed earnestly at him. 
“I’ve not told all. I will some day. But I swear now on 
my soul—I’ll be what you think me.” 

[ 41 ] 


“ Madge, you needn’t say all that. If you love me—it’s 
enough. More than I ever dreamed of.” 

“You’re a man. Oh, why didn’t I meet you when I 
was eighteen instead of now—twenty-eight, an’ all that be¬ 
tween. . . . But enough. A new life begins here for me. 
We must plan.” 

“You make the plans an’ I’ll act on them.” 

For a moment she was tense and silent, head bowed, 
hands shut tight. Then she spoke: 

“To-night we’ll slip away. You make a light pack, 
that’ll go on your saddle. I’ll do the same. We’ll hide the 
horses out near where the trail crosses the brook. An’ 
we’ll run off—ride out of the country.” 

Tappan in turn tried to think, but the whirl of his mind 
made any reason difficult. This dark-eyed, full-bosomed 
woman loved him, had surrendered herself, asked only his 
protection. The thing seemed marvelous. Yet she knelt 
there, those dark eyes on him, infinitely more appealing 
than ever, haunting with some mystery of sadness and fear 
he could not divine. 

Suddenly Tappan remembered Jenet. 

“I must take Jenet,” he said. 

That startled her. “Jenet— Who’s she?” 

“My burro.” 

“Your burro. You can’t travel fast with that pack 

[ 42 ] 


beast. We’ll be trailed, an’ we’ll have to go fast. . . . You 
can’t take the burro.” 

Then Tappan was startled. “What! Can’t take 
Jenet?— Why, I—I couldn’t get along without her.” 

“Nonsense. What’s a burro? We must ride fast—do 
you hear?” 

“Madge, I’m afraid I—I must take Jenet with me,” he 
said, soberly. 

“It’s impossible. I can’t go if you take her. I tell you 
I’ve got to get away. If you want me you’ll have to leave 
your precious Jenet behind.” 

Tappan bowed his head to the inevitable. After all, 
Jenet was only a beast of burden. She would run wild on 
the ridges and soon forget him and have no need of him. 
Something strained in Tappan’s breast. He did not see 
clearly here. This woman was worth more than all else to 

“I’m stupid, dear,” he said. “You see I never before 
ran off with a beautiful woman. ... Of course my burro 
must be left behind.” 

Elopement, if such it could be called, was easy for 
them. Tappan did not understand why Madge wanted to 
be so secret about it. Was she not free? But then, he 
reflected, he did not know the circumstances she feared. 

[ 43 ] 


Besides, he did not care. Possession of the woman was 

Tappan made his small pack, the weight of which was 
considerable owing to his bags of gold. This he tied on his 
saddle. It bothered him to leave most of his new outfit 
scattered around his camp. What would Jenet think of 
that? He looked for her, but for once she did not come in 
at meal time. Tappan thought this was singular. He could 
not remember when Jenet had been far from his camp at 
sunset. Somehow Tappan was glad. 

After he had his supper, he left his utensils and supplies 
as they happened to be, and strode away under the trees to 
the try sting-place where he was to meet Madge. To his 
surprise she came before dark, and, unused as he was to 
the complexity and emotional nature of a woman, he saw 
that she was strangely agitated. Her face was pale. Al¬ 
most a fury burned in her black eyes. When she came up 
to Tappan, and embraced him, almost fiercely, he felt that 
he was about to learn more of the nature of womankind. 
She thrilled him to his depths. 

“Lead out the horses an’ don’t make any noise,” she 

Tappan complied, and soon he was mounted, riding be¬ 
hind her on the trail. It surprised him that she headed 
down country, and traveled fast. Moreover, she kept to a 

[ 44 ] 


trail that continually grew rougher. They came to a road, 
which she crossed, and kept on through darkness and brush 
so thick that Tappan could not see the least sign of a trail. 
And at length anyone could have seen that Madge had lost 
her bearings. She appeared to know the direction she 
wanted, but traveling upon it was impossible, owing to the 
increasingly cut-up and brushy ground. They had to turn 
back, and seemed to be hours finding the road. Once Tap- 
pan fancied he heard the thud of hoofs other than those 
made by their own horses. Here Madge acted strangely, 
and where she had been obsessed by desire to hurry she 
now seemed to have grown weary. She turned her horse 
south on the road. Tappan was thus enabled to ride beside 
her. But they talked very little. He was satisfied with 
the fact of being with her on the way out of the country. 
Some time in the night they reached an old log shack by 
the roadside. Here Tappan suggested they halt, and get 
some sleep before dawn. The morrow would mean a long 
hard day. 

“Yes, to-morrow will be hard,” replied Madge, as she 
faced Tappan in the gloom. He could see her big dark eyes 
on him. Her tone was not one of a hopeful woman. Tap- 
pan pondered over this. But he could not understand, be¬ 
cause he had no idea how a woman ought to act under such 
circumstances. Madge Beam was a creature of moods. 

[ 45 ] 


Only the day before, on the ride down from the Rim, she 
had told him with a laugh that she was likely to love him 
madly one moment and scratch his eyes out the next. 
How could he know what to make of her? Still, an uneasy 
feeling began to stir in Tappan. 

They dismounted, and unsaddled the horses. Tappan 
took his pack and put it aside. Something frightened the 
horses. They bolted down the road. 

“Head them off,” cried the woman, hoarsely. 

Even on the instant her voice sounded strained to Tap- 
pan, as if she were choked. But, realizing the absolute 
necessity of catching the horses, he set off down the road 
on a run. And he soon succeeded in heading off the animal 
he had ridden. The other one, however, was contrary and 
cunning. When Tappan would endeavor to get ahead, it 
would trot briskly on. Yet it did not go so fast but what 
Tappan felt sure he would soon catch it. Thus walking 
and running, he put some distance between him and the 
cabin before he realized that he could not head off the 
wary beast. Much perturbed in mind, Tappan hurried 

Upon reaching the cabin Tappan called to Madge. No 
answer! He could not see her in the gloom nor the horse 
he had driven back. Only silence brooded there. Tappan 
called again. Still no answer! Perhaps Madge had sue- 

[ 46 ] 


Climbed to weariness and was asleep. A search of the 
cabin and vicinity failed to yield any sign of her. But it 
disclosed the fact that Tappan’s pack was gone. 

Suddenly he sat down, quite overcome. He had been 
duped. What a fierce pang tore his heart! But it was for 
loss of the woman—not the gold. He was stunned, and 
then sick with bitter misery. Only then did Tappan realize 
the meaning of love and what it had done to him. The 
night wore on, and he sat there in the dark and cold and 
stillness until the gray dawn told him of the coming of 

The light showed his saddle where he had left it. Near 
by lay one of Madge’s gloves. Tappan’s keen eye sighted 
a bit of paper sticking out of the glove. He picked it up. 
It was a leaf out of a little book he had seen her carry, and 
upon it was written in lead pencil: 

“I am Jake’s wife, not his sister. I double-crossed him an’ 
ran off with you an’ would have gone to hell for you. But Jake 
an’ his gang suspected me. They were close on our trail. I 
couldn’t shake them. So here I chased off the horses an’ sent 
you after them. It was the only way I could save your life.” 

Tappan tracked the thieves to Globe. There he learned 
they had gone to Phoenix—three men and one woman. 

[ 47 ] 


Tappan had money on his person. He bought horse and 
saddle, and, setting out for Phoenix, he let his passion to 
kill grow with the miles and hours. At Phoenix he learned 
Beam had cashed the gold—twelve thousand dollars. So 
much of a fortune! Tappan’s fury grew. The gang sepa¬ 
rated here. Beam and his wife took stage for Tucson. Tap- 
pan had no trouble in trailing their movements. 

Gambling dives and inns and freighting posts and stage 
drivers told the story of the Beams and their ill-gotten gold. 
They went on to California, down into Tappan’s country, 
to Yuma, and El Cajon, and San Diego. Here Tappan lost 
track of the woman. He could not find that she had left 
San Diego, nor any trace of her there. But Jake Beam had 
killed a Mexican in a brawl and had fled across the line. 

Tappan gave up for the time being the chase of Beam, and 
bent his efforts to find the woman. He had no resentment 
toward Madge. He only loved her. All that winter he 
searched San Diego. He made of himself a peddler as a 
ruse to visit houses. But he never found a trace of her. 
In the spring he wandered back to Yuma, raking over the 
old clues, and so on back to Tucson and Phoenix. 

This year of dream and love and passion and despair 
and hate made Tappan old. His great strength and endur¬ 
ance were not yet impaired, but something of his spirit had 
died out of him. 

[ 48 ] 


One day he remembered Jenet. “My burro!” he solilo¬ 
quized. “I had forgotten her. . . . Jenet!” 

Then it seemed a thousand impulses merged in one 
drove him to face the long road toward the Rim Rock coun¬ 
try. To remember Jenet was to grow doubtful. Of course 
she would be gone. Stolen or dead or wandered off! But 
then who could tell what Jenet might do? Tappan was 
both called and driven. He was a poor wanderer again. 
His outfit was a pack he carried on his shoulder. But 
while he could walk he would keep on until he found that 
last camp where he had deserted Jenet. 

October was coloring the canyon slopes when he reached 
the shadow of the great wall of yellow rock. The cabin 
where the Beams had lived—or had claimed they lived— 
was a fallen ruin, crushed by snow. Tappan saw other 
signs of a severe winter and heavy snowfall. No horse or 
cattle tracks showed in the trails. 

To his amaze his camp was much as he had left it. 
The stone fireplace, the iron pots, appeared to be in the 
same places. The boxes that had held his supplies were 
lying here and there. And his canvas tarpaulin, little the 
worse for wear of the elements, lay on the ground under 
the pine where he had slept. If any man had visited this 
camp in a year he had left no sign of it. 

Suddenly Tappan espied a hoof track in the dust. A 

[ 49 ] 


small track—almost oval in shape—fresh! Tappan thrilled 
through all his being. 

“Jenet’s track, so help me God!” he murmured. 

He found more of them, made that morning. And, 
keen now as never before on her trail, he set out to find 
her. The tracks led up the canyon. Tappan came out 
into a little grassy clearing, and there stood Jenet, as he 
had seen her thousands of times. She had both long ears 
up high. She seemed to stare out of that meek, gray face. 
And then one of the long ears flopped over and drooped. 
Such perhaps was the expression of her recognition. 

Tappan strode up to her. 

“ Jenet—old girl—you hung round camp—waitin’ for 
me, didn’t you?” he said, huskily, and his big hands fon¬ 
dled her long ears. 

Yes, she had waited. She, too, had grown old. She 
was gray. The winter of that year had been hard. What 
had she lived on when the snow lay so deep? There were 
lion scratches on her back, and scars on her legs. She had 
fought for her life. 

“Jenet, a man can never always tell about a burro,” 
said Tappan. “I trained you to hang round camp an’ wait 
till I came back. . . . ‘Tappan’s burro,’ the desert rats 
used to say! An’ they’d laugh when I bragged how you’d 
stick to me where most men would quit. But brag as I 

[ 50 ] 


did, I never knew you, Jenet. An’ I left you—an’ forgot. 
Jenet, it takes a human bein’—a man—a woman—to be 
faithless. An’ it takes a dog or a horse or a burro to be 
great. . . . Beasts? I wonder now. . . . Well, old pard, 
we’re goin’ down the trail together, an’ from this day on 
Tappan begins to pay his debt.” 

[ 51 ] 



T APPAN never again had the old wanderlust for the 
stark and naked desert. Something had transformed 
him. The green and fragrant forests, and brown-aisled, 
pine-matted woodlands, the craggy promontories and the 
great colored canyons, the cold granite water springs of 
the Tonto seemed vastly preferable to the heat and dust 
and glare and the emptiness of the waste lands. But there 
was more. The ghost of his strange and only love kept 
pace with his wandering steps, a spirit that hovered with 
him as his shadow. Madge Beam, whatever she had been, 
had showed to him the power of love to refine and ennoble. 
Somehow he felt closer to her here in the cliff country 
where his passion had been born. Somehow she seemed 
nearer to him here than in all those places he had tracked her. 

So from a prospector searching for gold Tappan became 
a hunter, seeking only the means to keep soul and body 
together. And all he cared for was his faithful burro Jenet, 
and the loneliness and silence of the forest land. 

He was to learn that the Tonto was a hard country in 
many ways, and bitterly so in winter. Down in the brakes 

[ 52 ] 


of the basin it was mild in winter, the snow did not lie long, 
and ice seldom formed. But up on the Rim, where Tappan 
always lingered as long as possible, the storm king of the 
north held full sway. Fifteen feet of snow and zero weather 
were the rule in dead of winter. 

An old native once warned Tappan: “See hyar, friend, 
I reckon you’d better not get caught up in the Rim Rock 
country in one of our big storms. Fer if you do you’ll 
never get out.” 

It was a way of Tappan’s to follow his inclinations, re¬ 
gardless of advice. He had weathered the terrible midnight 
storm of hot wind in Death Valley. What were snow and 
cold to him? Late autumn on the Rim was the most per¬ 
fect and beautiful of seasons. He had seen the forest land 
brown and darkly green one day, and the next burdened 
with white snow. What a transfiguration! Then when the 
sun loosened the white mantling on the pines, and they had 
shed their burdens in drifting dust of white, and rainbowed 
mists of melting snow, and avalanches sliding off the 
branches, there would be left only the wonderful white 
floor of the woodland. The great rugged brown tree trunks 
appeared mightier and statelier in the contrast; and the 
green of foliage, the russet of oak leaves, the gold of the 
aspens, turned the forest into a world enchanting to the 
desert-seared eyes of this wanderer. 

[ 53 ] 


With Tappan the years sped by. His mind grew old 
faster than his body. Every season saw him lonelier. He 
had a feeling, a vague illusive foreshadowing that his bones, 
instead of bleaching on the desert sands, would mingle with 
the pine mats and the soft fragrant moss of the forest. The 
idea was pleasant to Tappan. 

One afternoon he was camped in Pine Canyon, a tim¬ 
ber-sloped gorge far back from the Rim. November was 
well on. The fall had been singularly open and fair, with 
not a single storm. A few natives happening across Tap- 
pan had remarked casually that such autumns sometimes 
were not to be trusted. 

This late afternoon was one of Indian summer beauty 
and warmth. The blue haze in the canyon was not all the 
blue smoke from Tappan’s campfire. In a narrow park of 
grass not far from camp Jenet grazed peacefully with 
elk and deer. Wild turkeys lingered there, loth to seek 
their winter quarters down in the basin. Gray squirrels 
and red squirrels barked and frisked, and dropped the 
pine and spruce cones, with thud and thump, on all the 

Before dark a stranger strode into Tappan’s camp, a 
big man of middle age, whose magnificent physique im¬ 
pressed even Tappan. He was a rugged, bearded giant, 

[ 54 ] 


wide-eyed and of pleasant face. He had no outfit, no horse, 
not even a gun. 

“Lucky for me I smelled your smoke,” he said. “Two 
days for me without grub.” 

“Howdy, stranger,” was Tappan’s greeting. “Are you 

“Yes an’ no. I could find my way out down over the 
Rim, but it’s not healthy down there for me. So I’m hit- 
tin’ north.” 

“Where’s your horse an’ pack?” 

“I reckon they’re with the gang thet took more of a 
fancy to them than me.” 

“Ahuh! You’re welcome here, stranger,” replied Tap- 
pan. “I’m Tappan.” 

“Ha! Heard of you. I’m Jess Blade, of anywhere. 
An’ I’ll say, Tappan, I was an honest man till I hit the 

His laugh was frank, for all its note of grimness. Tap- 
pan liked the man, and sensed one who would be a good 
friend and bad foe. 

“ Come an’ eat. My supplies are peterin’ out, but there’s 
plenty of meat.” 

Blade ate, indeed, as a man starved, and did not seem 
to care if Tappan’s supplies were low. He did not talk. 
After the meal he craved a pipe and tobacco. Then he 

[ 55 ] 


smoked in silence, in a slow realizing content. The morrow 
had no fears for him. The flickering ruddy light from the 
camp fire shone on his strong face. Tappan saw in him the 
drifter, the drinker, the brawler, a man with good in him, 
but over whom evil passion or temper dominated. Pres¬ 
ently he smoked the pipe out, and with reluctant hand 
knocked out the ashes and returned it to Tappan. 

“I reckon I’ve some news thet’d interest you,” he said. 

“You have?” queried Tappan. 

“Yes, if you’re the Tappan who tried to run off with 
Jake Beam’s wife.” 

“Well, I’m that Tappan. But I’d like to say I didn’t 
know she was married.” 

“Shore, I know thet. So does everybody in the Tonto. 
You were just meat for thet Beam gang. They had played 
the trick before. But accordin’ to what I hear thet trick 
was the last fer Madge Beam. She never came back to 
this country. An’ Jake Beam, when he was drunk, owned 
up thet she’d left him in California. Some hint at worse. 
Fer Jake Beam came back a harder man. Even his gang 
said thet.” 

“Is he in the Tonto now?” queried Tappan, with a 
thrill of fire along his veins. 

“Yep, thar fer keeps,” replied Blade, grimly. “Some¬ 
body shot him.” 


“Ahull!” exclaimed Tappan with a deep breath of re¬ 
lief. There came a sudden cooling of the heat of his blood. 

After that there was a long silence. Tappan dreamed of 
the woman who had loved him. Blade brooded over the 
camp fire. The wind moaned fitfully in the lofty pines on 
the slope. A wolf mourned as if in hunger. The stars ap¬ 
peared to obscure their radiance in haze. 

“Reckon thet wind sounds like storm,” observed Blade, 

“I’ve heard it for weeks now,” replied Tappan. 

“Are you a woodsman?” 

“No, I’m a desert man.” 

“Wal, you take my hunch an’ hit the trail fer low 

This was well meant, and probably sound advice, but it 
alienated Tappan. He had really liked this hearty-voiced 
stranger. Tappan thought moodily of his slowly ingrowing 
mind, of the narrowness of his soul. He was past interest 
in his fellow men. He lived with a dream. The only living 
creature he loved was a lop-eared, lazy burro, growing old 
in contentment. Nevertheless that night Tappan shared 
one of his two blankets. 

In the morning the gray dawn broke, and the sun rose 
without its brightness of gold. There was a haze over the 
blue sky. Thin, swift-moving clouds scudded up out of 

[ 57 ] 


the southwest. The wind was chill, the forest shaggy and 
dark, the birds and squirrels were silent. 

“Wal, you’ll break camp to-day,” asserted Blade. 

“Nope. I’ll stick it out yet a while,” returned Tappan. 

“But, man, you might get snowed in, an’ up hyar thet’s 

“Ahuh! Well, it won’t bother me. An’ there’s nothin’ 
holdin’ you.” 

“Tappan, it’s four days’ walk down out of this woods. 
If a big snow set in, how’d I make it?” 

“Then you’d better go out over the Rim,” suggested 

“No. I’ll take my chance the other way. But are you 
meanin’ you’d rather not have me with you? Fer you 
can’t stay hyar.” 

Tappan was in a quandary. 

Some instinct bade him tell the man to go. Not empty- 
handed, but to go. But this was selfish, and entirely un¬ 
like Tappan as he remembered himself of old. Finally he 

“You’re welcome to half my outfit—go or stay.” 

“Thet’s mighty square of you, Tappan,” responded the 
other, feelingly. “Have you a burro you’ll give me?” 

“No, I’ve only one.” 

“Ha! Then I’ll have to stick with you till you leave.” 

[ 58 ] 


No more was said. They had breakfast in a strange 
silence. The wind brooded its secret in the tree tops. 
Tappan’s burro strolled into camp, and caught the stran¬ 
ger’s eye. 

“Wal, thet’s shore a fine burro,” he observed. “Never 
saw the like.” 

Tappan performed his camp tasks. And then there was 
nothing to do but sit around the fire. Blade evidently 
waited for the increasing menace of storm to rouse Tappan 
to decision. But the graying over of sky and the increase 
of wind did not affect Tappan. What did he wait for? 
The truth of his thoughts was that he did not like the way 
Jenet remained in camp. She was waiting to be packed. 
She knew they ought to go. Tappan yielded to a perverse 
devil of stubbornness. The wind brought a cold mist, 
then a flurry of wet snow. Tappan gathered firewood, a 
large quantity. Blade saw this and gave voice to earnest 
fears. But Tappan paid no heed. By nightfall sleet 
and snow began to fall steadily. The men fashioned a rude 
shack of spruce boughs, ate their supper, and went to bed 

It worried Tappan that Jenet stayed right in camp. 
He lay awake a long time. The wind rose, and moaned 
through the forest. The sleet failed, and a soft, steady 
downfall of snow gradually set in. Tappan fell asleep. 

[ 59 ] 


When he awoke it was to see a forest of white. The trees 
were mantled with blankets of wet snow, the ground cov¬ 
ered two feet on a level. But the clouds appeared to be 
gone, the sky was blue, the storm over. The sun came up 
warm and bright. 

“It’ll all go in a day,” said Tappan. 

“If this was early October I’d agree with you,” replied 
Blade. “But it’s only makin’ fer another storm. Can’t 
you hear thet wind?” 

Tappan only heard the whispers of his dreams. By now 
the snow was melting off the pines, and rainbows shone 
everywhere. Little patches of snow began to drop off the 
south branches of the pines and spruces, and then larger 
patches, until by mid-afternoon white streams and ava¬ 
lanches were falling everywhere. All of the snow, except 
in shaded places on the north sides of trees, went that day, 
and half of that on the ground. Next day it thinned out 
more, until Jenet was finding the grass and moss again. 
That afternoon the telltale thin clouds raced up out of the 
southwest and the wind moaned its menace. 

“Tappan, let’s pack an’ hit it out of hyar,” appealed 
Blade, anxiously. “I know this country. Mebbe I’m 
wrong, of course, but it feels like storm. Winter’s cornin’ 

“Let her come,” replied Tappan, imperturbably. 

[ 60 ] 


“Say, do you want to get snowed in?” demanded Blade, 
out of patience. 

“I might like a little spell of it, seein’ it’d be new to 
me,” replied Tappan. 

“But man, if you ever get snowed in hyar you can’t get 

“That burro of mine could get me out.” 

“You’re crazy. Thet burro couldn’t go a hundred feet. 
What’s more, you’d have to kill her an’ eat her.” 

Tappan bent a strange gaze upon his companion, but 
made no reply. Blade began to pace up and down the 
small bare patch of ground before the camp fire. Mani¬ 
festly, he was in a serious predicament. That day he 
seemed subtly to change, as did Tappan. Both answered 
to their peculiar instincts. Blade to that of self-preserva¬ 
tion, and Tappan, to something like indifference. Tappan 
held fate in defiance. What more could happen to him? 

Blade broke out again, in eloquent persuasion, giving 
proof of their peril, and from that he passed to amaze and 
then to strident anger. He cursed Tappan for a nature- 
loving idiot. 

“An’ I’ll tell you what,” he ended. “When mornin’ 
comes I’ll take some of your grub an’ hit it out of hyar, 
storm or no storm.” 

But long before dawn broke that resolution of Blade’s 

[ 61 ] 


had become impracticable. Both men were awakened by a 
roar of storm through the forest, no longer a moan, but a 
marching roar, with now a crash and then a shriek of gale! 
By the light of the smouldering camp fire Tappan saw a 
whirling pall of snow, great flakes as large as feathers. 
Morning disclosed the setting in of a fierce mountain storm, 
with two feet of snow already on the ground, and the forest 
lost in a blur of white. 

“I was wrong,” called Tappan to his companion. 
“What’s best to do now?” 

“You damned fool!” yelled Blade. “We’ve got to keep 
from freezin’ an’ starvin’ till the storm ends an’ a crust 
comes on the snow.” 

For three days and three nights the blizzard continued, 
unabated in its fury. It took the men hours to keep a 
space cleared for their camp site, which Jenet shared with 
them. On the fourth day the storm ceased, the clouds 
broke away, the sun came out. And the temperature 
dropped to zero. Snow on the level just topped Tappan’s 
lofty stature, and in drifts it was ten and fifteen feet deep. 
Winter had set in without compromise. The forest became a 
solemn, still, white world. But now Tappan had no time 
to dream. Dry firewood was hard to find under the snow. 
It was possible to cut down one of the dead trees on the 
slope, but impossible to pack sufficient wood to the camp. 

' [62] 


They had to burn green wood. Then the fashioning of 
snowshoes took much time. Tappan had no knowledge of 
such footgear. He could only help Blade. The men were 
encouraged by the piercing cold forming a crust on the 
snow. But just as they were about to pack and venture 
forth, the weather moderated, the crust refused to hold 
their weight, and another foot of snow fell. 

“Why in hell didn’t you kill an elk?” demanded Blade, 
sullenly. He had become darkly sinister. He knew the 
peril and he loved life. “Now we’ll have to kill an’ eat 
your precious Jenet. An’ mebbe she won’t furnish meat 
enough to last till this snow weather stops an’ a good 
freeze’ll make travelin’ possible.” 

“Blade, you shut up about killin’ an’ eatin’ my burro 
Jenet,” returned Tappan, in a voice that silenced the other. 

Thus instinctively these men became enemies. Blade 
thought only of himself. Tappan had forced upon him a 
menace to the life of his burro. For himself Tappan had 
not one thought. 

Tappan’s supplies ran low. All the bacon and coffee were 
gone. There was only a small haunch of venison, a bag 
of beans, a sack of flour, and a small quantity of salt left. 

“If a crust freezes on the snow an’ we can pack that 
flour, we’ll get out alive,” said Blade. “But we can’t take 
the burro.” 

[ 63 ] 


Another day of bright sunshine softened the snow on 
the southern exposures, and a night of piercing cold froze a 
crust that would bear a quick step of man. 

“It’s our only chance—an’ damn slim at thet,” declared 

Tappan allowed Blade to choose the time and method, 
and supplies for the start to get out of the forest. They 
cooked all the beans and divided them in two sacks. Then 
they baked about five pounds of biscuits for each of them. 
Blade showed his cunning when he chose the small bag of 
salt for himself and let Tappan take the tobacco. This 
quantity of food and a blanket for each Blade declared to 
be all they could pack. They argued over the guns, and in 
the end Blade compromised on the rifle, agreeing to let 
Tappan carry that on a possible chance of killing a deer or 
elk. When this matter had been decided, Blade signifi¬ 
cantly began putting on his rude snowshoes, that had been 
constructed from pieces of Tappan’s boxes and straps and 
burlap sacks. 

“ Reckon they won’t last long,” muttered Blade. 

Meanwhile Tappan fed Jenet some biscuits and then 
began to strap a tarpaulin on her back. 

“What you doin’?” queried Blade, suddenly. 

“Gettin’ Jenet ready,” replied Tappan. 

“ Ready! For what ? ” 

[ 64 ] 



“Why, to go with us.” 

“Hell!” shouted Blade, and he threw up his hands in 
helpless rage. 

Tappan felt a depth stirred within him. He lost his late 
taciturnity and silent aloofness fell away from him. Blade 
seemed on the moment no longer an enemy. He loomed as 
an aid to the saving of Jenet. Tappan burst into speech. 

“I can’t go without her. It’d never enter my head. 
Jenet’s mother was a good faithful burro. I saw Jenet 
born way down there on the Rio Colorado. She wasn’t 
strong. An’ I had to wait for her to be able to walk. An’ 
she grew up. Her mother died, an’ Jenet an’ me packed it 
alone. She wasn’t no ordinary burro. She learned all I 
taught her. She was different. But I treated her same as 
any burro. An’ she grew with the years. Desert men said 
there never was such a burro as Jenet. Called her Tap- 
pan’s burro, an’ tried to borrow an’ buy an’ steal her. . . . 
How many times in ten years Jenet has done me a good 
turn I can’t remember. But she saved my life. She 
dragged me out of Death Valley. . . . An’ then I forgot my 
debt. I ran off with a woman an’ left Jenet to wait as she 
had been trained to wait. . . . Well, I got back in time. . . . 
An’ now I’ll not leave her here. It may be strange to you, 
Blade, me carin’ this way. Jenet’s only a burro. But I 
won’t leave her.” 

[ 65 ] 


“Man, you talk like thet lazy lop-eared burro was a 
woman,” declared Blade, in disgusted astonishment. 

“I don’t know women, but I reckon Jenet’s more faith¬ 
ful than most of them.” 

“Wal, of all the stark, starin’ fools I ever run into 
you’re the worst.” 

“Fool or not, I know what I’ll do,” retorted Tappan. 
The softer mood left him swiftly. 

“Haven’t you sense enough to see thet we can’t travel 
with your burro?” queried Blade, patiently controlling his 
temper. “She has little hoofs, sharp as knives. She’ll cut 
through the crust. She’ll break through in places. An’ 
we’ll have to stop to haul her out—mebbe break through 
ourselves. Thet would make us longer gettin’ out.” 

“Long or short we’ll take her.” 

Then Blade confronted Tappan as if suddenly unmask¬ 
ing his true meaning. His patient explanation meant noth¬ 
ing. Under no circumstances would he ever have consented 
to an attempt to take Jenet out of that snow-bound wilder¬ 
ness. His eyes gleamed. 

“We’ve a hard pull to get out alive. An’ hard-workin’ 
men in winter must have meat to eat.” 

Tappan slowly straightened up to look at the speaker. 

“What do you mean?” 

For answer Blade jerked his hand backward and down- 

[ 66 ] 


ward, and when it swung into sight again it held Tappan’s 
worn and shining rifle. Then Blade, with deliberate force, 
that showed the nature of the man, worked the lever and 
threw a shell into the magazine. All the while his eyes 
were fastened on Tappan. His face seemed that of another 
man, evil, relentless, inevitable in his spirit to preserve his 
own life at any cost. 

“I mean to kill your burro,” he said, in voice that 
suited his look and manner. 

“No!” cried Tappan, shocked into an instant of appeal. 

“Yes, I am, an’ I’ll bet, by God, before we get out of 
hyar you’ll be glad to eat some of her meat!” 

That roused the slow-gathering might of Tappan’s wrath. 

“I’d starve to death before I’d—I’d kill that burro, let 
alone eat her.” 

“Starve an’ be damned!” shouted Blade, yielding to rage. 

Jenet stood right behind Tappan, in her posture of con¬ 
tented repose, with one long ear hanging down over her 
gray meek face. 

“You’ll have to kill me first,” answered Tappan, sharply. 

“I’m good fer anythin’—if you push me,” returned 
Blade, stridently. 

As he stepped aside, evidently so he could have unob¬ 
structed aim at Jenet, Tappan leaped forward and knocked 
up the rifle as it was discharged. The bullet sped harm- 

[ 67 ] 


lessly over Jenet. Tappan heard it thud into a tree. Blade 
uttered a curse. And as he lowered the rifle in sudden 
deadly intent, Tappan grasped the barrel with his left hand. 
Then, clenching his right, he struck Blade a sodden blow in 
the face. Only Blade’s hold on the rifle prevented him 
from falling. Blood streamed from his nose and mouth. 
He bellowed in hoarse fury, 

‘Til kill you—fer thet!” 

Tappan opened his clenched teeth: “No, Blade—you’re 
not man enough.” 

Then began a terrific struggle for possession of the rifle. 
Tappan beat at Blade’s face with his sledge-hammer fist. 
But the strength of the other made it imperative that he 
use both hands to keep his hold on the rifle. Wrestling 
and pulling and jerking, the men tore round the snowy 
camp, scattering the camp fire, knocking down the brush 
shelter. Blade had surrendered to a wild frenzy. He hissed 
his maledictions. His was the brute lust to kill an enemy 
that thwarted him. But Tappan was grim and terrible in 
his restraint. His battle was to save Jenet. Nevertheless, 
there mounted in him the hot physical sensations of the 
savage. The contact of flesh, the smell and sight of Blade’s 
blood, the violent action, the beastly mien of his foe ? 
changed the fight to one for its own sake. To conquer this 
foe, to rend him and beat him down, blow on blow! 

[ 68 ] 


Tappan felt instinctively that he was the stronger. 
Suddenly he exerted all his muscular force into one tre¬ 
mendous wrench. The rifle broke, leaving the steel barrel 
in his hands, the wooden stock in Blade’s. And it was the 
quicker-witted Blade who used his weapon first to advan¬ 
tage. One swift blow knocked Tappan down. As he was 
about to follow it up with another, Tappan kicked his op¬ 
ponent’s feet from under him. Blade sprawled in the snow, 
but was up again as quickly as Tappan. They made at 
each other, Tappan waiting to strike, and Blade raining 
blows on Tappan. These were heavy blows aimed at his 
head, but which he contrived to receive on his arms and 
the rifle barrel he brandished. For a few moments Tappan 
stood up under a beating that would have felled a lesser 
man. His own blood blinded him. Then he swung his 
heavy weapon. The blow broke Blade’s left arm. Like a 
wild beast, he screamed in pain; and then, without guard, 
rushed in, too furious for further caution. Tappan met the 
terrible onslaught as before, and watching his chance, again 
swung the rifle barrel. This time, so supreme was the 
force, it battered down Blade’s arm and crushed his skull. 
He died on his feet—ghastly and horrible change!—and 
swaying backward, he fell into the upbanked wall of snow, 
and went out of sight, except for his boots, one of which 
still held the crude snowshoe. 

[ 69 ] 


Tappan stared, slowly realizing. 

“Ahuh, stranger Blade!” he ejaculated, gazing at the 
hole in the snow bank where his foe had disappeared. “ You 
were goin’ to—kill an’ eat—Tappan’s burro!” 

Then he sighted the bloody rifle barrel, and cast it from 
him. He became conscious of injuries which needed atten¬ 
tion. But he could do little more than wash off the blood 
and bind up his head. Both arms and hands were badly 
bruised, and beginning to swell. But fortunately no bones 
had been broken. 

Tappan finished strapping the tarpaulin upon the burro; 
and, taking up both his and Blade’s supply of food, he 
called out, “Come on, Jenet.” 

Which way to go! Indeed, there was no more choice 
for him than there had been for Blade. Towards the Rim 
the snowdrift would be deeper and impassable. Tappan 
realized that the only possible chance for him was down 
hill. So he led Jenet out of camp without looking back 
once. What was it that had happened? He did not seem 
to be the same Tappan that had dreamily tramped into 
this woodland. 

A deep furrow in the snow had been made by the men 
packing firewood into camp. At the end of this furrow the 
wall of snow stood higher than Tappan’s head. To get out 
on top without breaking the crust presented a problem. 

[ 70 ] 


He lifted Jenet up, and was relieved to see that the snow 
held her. But he found a different task in his own case. 
Returning to camp, he gathered up several of the long 
branches of spruce that had been part of the shelter, and 
carrying them out he laid them against the slant of snow 
he had to surmount, and by their aid he got on top. The 
crust held him. 

Elated and with revived hope, he took up Jenet’s halter 
and started off. Walking with his rude snowshoes was 
awkward. He had to go slowly, and slide them along the 
crust. But he progressed. Jenet’s little steps kept her 
even with him. Now and then one of her sharp hoofs cut 
through, but not to hinder her particularly. Right at the 
start Tappan observed a singular something about Jenet. 
Never until now had she been ^dependent upon him. She 
knew it. Her intelligence apparently told her that if she 
got out of this snow-bound wilderness it would be owing to 
the strength and reason of her master. 

Tappan kept to the north side of the canyon, where the 
snow crust was strongest. What he must do was to work 
up to the top of the canyon slope, and then keeping to the 
ridge travel north along it, and so down out of the forest. 

Travel was slow. He soon found he had to pick his 
way. Jenet appeared to be absolutely unable to sense 
either danger or safety. Her experience had been of the 

[ 71 ] 


rock confines and the drifting sands of the desert. She 
walked where Tappan led her. And it seemed to Tappan 
that her trust in him, her reliance upon him, were 

“Well, old girl,” said Tappan to her, “it’s a horse of 
another color now—hey?” 

At length he came to a wide part of the canyon, where 
a bench of land led to a long gradual slope, thickly studded 
with small pines. This appeared to be fortunate, and 
turned out to be so, for when Jenet broke through the crust 
Tappan had trees and branches to hold to while he hauled 
her out. The labor of climbing that slope was such that 
Tappan began to appreciate Blade’s absolute refusal to at¬ 
tempt getting Jenet out. Dusk was shadowing the white 
aisles of the forest when Tappan ascended to a level. He 
had not traveled far from camp, and the fact struck a chill 
upon his heart. 

To go on in the dark was foolhardy. So Tappan se¬ 
lected a thick spruce, under which there was a considerable 
depression in the snow, and here made preparation to spend 
the night. Unstrapping the tarpaulin, he spread it on the 
snow. All the lower branches of this giant of the forest 
were dead and dry. Tappan broke off many and soon had 
a fire. Jenet nibbled at the moss on the trunk of the spruce 
tree. Tappan’s meal consisted of beans, biscuits, and a 



ball of snow, that he held over the fire to soften. He saw 
to it that Jenet fared as well as he. Night soon fell, strange 
and weirdly white in the forest, and piercingly cold. Tap- 
pan needed the fire. Gradually it melted the snow and 
made a hole, down to the ground. Tappan rolled up in 
the tarpaulin and soon fell asleep. 

In three days Tappan traveled about fifteen miles, 
gradually descending, until the snow crust began to fail to 
hold Jenet. Then whatever had been his difficulties before, 
they were now magnified a hundredfold. As soon as the 
sun was up, somewhat softening the snow, Jenet began to 
break through. And often when Tappan began hauling her 
out he broke through himself. This exertion was killing 
even to a man of Tappan’s physical prowess. The endur¬ 
ance to resist heat and flying dust and dragging sand 
seemed another kind from that needed to toil on in this 
snow. The endless snow-bound forest began to be hideous 
to Tappan. Cold, lonely, dreary, white, mournful—the 
kind of ghastly and ghostly winter land that had been the 
terror of Tappan’s boyish dreams! He loved the sun—the 
open. This forest had deceived him. It was a wall of ice. 
As he toiled on, the state of his mind gradually and subtly 
changed in all except*the fixed and absolute will to save 
Jenet. In some places he carried her. 

[ 73 ] 


The fourth night found him dangerously near the end of 
his stock of food. He had been generous with Jenet. But 
now, considering that he had to do more work than she, he 
diminished her share. On the fifth day Jenet broke through 
the snow crust so often that Tappan realized how utterly 
impossible it was for her to get out of the woods by her 
own efforts. Therefore Tappan hit upon the plan of mak¬ 
ing her lie on the tarpaulin, so that he could drag her. The 
tarpaulin doubled once did not make a bad sled. All the 
rest of that day Tappan hauled her. And so all the rest of 
the next day he toiled on, hands behind him, clutching the 
canvas, head and shoulders bent, plodding and methodical, 
like a man who could not be defeated. That night he was 
too weary to build a fire, and too worried to eat the last of 
his food. 

Next day Tappan was not unalive to the changing char¬ 
acter of the forest. He had worked down out of the zone 
of the spruce trees; the pines had thinned out and de¬ 
creased in size; oak trees began to show prominently. All 
these signs meant that he was getting down out of the 
mountain heights. But the fact, hopeful as it was, had 
drawbacks. The snow was still four feet deep on a level 
and the crust held Tappan only about half the time. 
Moreover, the lay of the land operated against; Tappan’s 
progress. The long, slowly descending ridge had failed. 

[ 74 ] 


There were no more canyons, but ravines and swales were 
numerous. Tappan dragged on, stern, indomitable, bent 
to his toil. 

When the crust let him down, he hung his snowshoes 
over Jenet’s back, and wallowed through, making a lane 
for her to follow. Two days of such heart-breaking toil, 
without food or fire, broke Tappan’s magnificent en¬ 
durance. But not his spirit! He hauled Jenet over the 
snow, and through the snow, down the hills and up the 
slopes, through the thickets, knowing that over the next 
ridge, perhaps, was deliverance. Deer and elk tracks 
began to be numerous. Cedar and juniper trees now 
predominated. An occasional pine showed here and there. 
He was getting out of the forest land. Only such mighty 
and justifiable hope as that could have kept him on his 

He fell often, and it grew harder to rise and go on. The 
hour came when the crust failed altogether to hold Tappan 
and he had to abandon hauling Jenet. It was necessary to 
make a road for her. How weary, cold, horrible, the white 
reaches! Yard by yard Tappan made his way. He no 
longer sweat. He had no feeling in his feet or legs. Hun¬ 
ger ceased to gnaw at his vitals. His thirst he quenched 
with snow—soft snow now, that did not have to be crunched 
like ice. The pangs in his breast were terrible—cramps, 

[ 75 ] 


constrictions, the piercing pains in his lungs, the dull ache 
of his overtaxed heart. 

Tappan came to an opening in the cedar forest from 
which he could see afar. A long slope fronted him. It led 
down and down to open country. His desert eyes, keen as 
those of an eagle, made out fiat country, sparsely covered 
with snow, and black dots that were cattle. The last slope! 
The last pull! Three feet of snow, except in drifts; down 
and down he plunged, making way for Jenet! All that day 
he toiled and fell and rolled down this league-long slope, 
wearing towards sunset to the end of his task, and likewise 
to the end of his will. 

Now he seemed up and now down. There was no sense 
of cold or weariness. Only direction! Tappan still saw! 
The last of his horror at the monotony of white faded from 
his mind. Jenet was there, beginning to be able to travel 
for herself. The solemn close of endless day found Tappan 
arriving at the edge of the timbered country, where wind- 
bared patches of ground showed long, bleached grass. Jenet 
took to grazing. 

As for Tappan, he fell with the tarpaulin, under a thick 
cedar, and with strengthless hands plucked and plucked at 
the canvas to spread it, so that he could cover himself. He 
looked again for Jenet. She was there, somehow a fading 

[ 76 ] 


image, strangely blurred. But she was grazing. Tappan 
lay down, and stretched out, and slowly drew the tar¬ 
paulin over him. 

A piercing cold night wind swept down from the snowy 
heights. It wailed in the edge of the cedars and moaned 
out towards the open country. Yet the night seemed silent. 
The stars shone white in a deep blue sky—passionless, cold, 
watchful eyes, looking down without pity or hope or cen¬ 
sure. They were the eyes of Nature. Winter had locked 
the heights in its snowy grip. All night that winter wind 
blew down, colder and colder. Then dawn broke, steely, 
gray, with a flare in the east. 

Jenet came back where she had left her master. Camp! 
As she had returned thousands of dawns in the long years 
of her service. She had grazed all night. Her sides that 
had been flat were now full. Jenet had weathered another 
vicissitude of her life. She stood for a while, in a doze, 
with one long ear down over her meek face. Jenet was 
waiting for Tappan. 

But he did not stir from under the long roll of canvas. 
Jenet waited. The winter sun rose, in cold yellow flare. 
The snow glistened as with a crusting of diamonds. Some¬ 
where in the distance sounded a long-drawn, discordant 
bray. Jenet’s ears shot up. She listened. She recognized 

[ 77 ] 


the call of one of her kind. Instinct always prompted Jenet. 
Sometimes she did bray. Lifting her gray head she sent 
forth a clarion: “Hee-haw hee-haw-haw — hee-haw how-e-e-e!” 

That stentorian call started the echoes. They pealed 
down the slope and rolled out over the open country, clear 
as a bugle blast, yet hideous in their discordance. But this 
morning Tappan did not awaken. 

[ 78 ] 



A VOICE on the wind whispered to Siena the prophecy 
of his birth. “A chief is born to save the vanishing 
tribe of Crows! A hunter to his starving people!” While 
he listened, at his feet swept swift waters, the rushing, green- 
white, thundering Athabasca, spirit-forsaken river; and it 
rumbled his name and murmured his fate. “Siena! Siena! 
His bride will rise from a wind kiss on the flowers in the 
moonlight! A new land calls to the last of the Crowsl 
Northward where the wild goose ends its flight Siena wil! 
father a great people!” 

So Siena, a hunter of the leafy trails, dreamed his 
dreams; and at sixteen he was the hope of the remnant of 
a once powerful tribe, a stripling chief, beautiful as a 
bronzed autumn god, silent, proud, forever listening to 
voices on the wind. 

To Siena the lore of the woodland came as flight comes 
to the strong-winged wild fowl. The secrets of the forests 
were his, and of the rocks and rivers. 

He knew how to find the nests of the plover, to call the 
loon, to net the heron, and spear the fish. He understood 

[ 81 ] 


the language of the whispering pines. Where the deer came 
down to drink and the caribou browsed on moss and the 
white rabbit nibbled in the grass and the bear dug in 
the logs for grubs—all these he learned; and also when the 
black flies drove the moose into the water and when the 
honk of the geese meant the approach of the north wind. 

He lived in the woods, with his bow, his net, and his 
spear. The trees were his brothers. The loon laughed for 
his happiness, the wolf mourned for his sadness. The bold 
crag above the river, Old Stoneface, heard his step when he 
climbed there in the twilight. He communed with the 
stern god of his ancestors and watched the flashing North¬ 
ern Lights and listened. 

From all four corners came his spirit guides with steps 
of destiny on his trail. On all the four winds breathed 
voices whispering of his future; loudest of all called the 
Athabasca, god-forsaken river, murmuring of the bride born 
of a wind kiss on the flowers in the moonlight. 

It was autumn, with the flame of leaf fading, the haze 
rolling out of the hollows, the lull yielding to moan of com¬ 
ing wind. All the signs of a severe winter were in the hulls 
of the nuts, in the fur of the foxes, in the flight of water- 
fowl. Siena was spearing fish for winter store. None so 
keen of sight as Siena, so swift of arm; and as he was the 
hope, so he alone was the provider for the starving tribe. 

[ 82 ] 



Siena stood to his knees in a brook where it flowed over its 
gravelly bed into the Athabasca. Poised high was his 
wooden spear. It glinted downward swift as a shaft of 
sunlight through the leaves. Then Siena lifted a quivering 
whitefish and tossed it upon the bank where his mother Ema, 
with other women of the tribe, sun-dried the fish upon a rock. 

Again and again, many times, flashed the spear. The 
young chief seldom missed his aim. Early frosts on the 
uplands had driven the fish down to deeper water, and as 
they came darting over the bright pebbles Siena called 
them by name. 

The oldest squaw could not remember such a run of 
fish. Ema sang the praises of her son; the other women 
ceased the hunger chant of the tribe. 

Suddenly a hoarse shout pealed out over the waters. 

Ema fell in a fright; her companions ran away; Siena 
leaped upon the bank, clutching his spear. A boat in 
which were men with white faces drifted down toward him. 

“Hal-loa!” again sounded the hoarse cry. 

Ema cowered in the grass. Siena saw a waving of white 
hands; his knees knocked together and he felt himself 
about to flee. But Siena of the Crows, the savior of a van¬ 
ishing tribe, must not fly from visible foes. 

“ Palefaces,” he whispered, trembling, yet stood his 
ground ready to fight for his mother. He remembered 

[ 83 ] 


stories of an old Indian who had journeyed far to the south 
and had crossed the trails of the dreaded white men. There 
stirred in him vague memories of strange Indian runners 
telling camp-fire tales of white hunters with weapons of 
lightning and thunder. 

“Naza! Naza!” Siena cast one fleeting glance to the 
north and a prayer to his god of gods. He believed his 
spirit would soon be wandering in the shades of the other 
Indian world. 

As the boat beached on the sand Siena saw men lying 
with pale faces upward to the sky, and voices in an un¬ 
known tongue greeted him. The tone was friendly, and he 
lowered his threatening spear. Then a man came up the 
bank, his hungry eyes on the pile of fish, and he began to 
speak haltingly in mingled Cree and Chippewayan language: 

“Boy—we’re white friends—starving—let us buy fish— 
trade for fish—we’re starving and we have many moons to 

“Siena’s tribe is poor,” replied the lad; “sometimes 
they starve too. But Siena will divide his fish and wants 
no trade.” 

His mother, seeing the white men intended no evil, 
came out of her fright and complained bitterly to Siena of 
his liberality. She spoke of the menacing winter, of the 

[ 84 ] 


frozen streams, the snow-bound forest, the long night of 
hunger. Siena silenced her and waved the frightened braves 
and squaws back to their wigwams. 

“Siena is young,” he said simply; “but he is chief here. 
If we starve—we starve.” 

Whereupon he portioned out a half of the fish. The 
white men built a fire and sat around it feasting like fam¬ 
ished wolves around a fallen stag. When they had ap¬ 
peased their hunger they packed the remaining fish in the 
boat, whistling and singing the while. Then the leader 
made offer to pay, which Siena refused, though the covet¬ 
ous light in his mother’s eyes hurt him sorely. 

“Chief,” said the leader, “the white man understands; 
now he offers presents as one chief to another.” 

Thereupon he proffered bright beads and tinseled trin¬ 
kets, yards of calico and strips of cloth. Siena accepted 
with a dignity in marked contrast to the way in which the 
greedy Ema pounced upon the glittering heap. Next the 
paleface presented a knife which, drawn from its scabbard, 
showed a blade that mirrored its brightness in Siena’s eyes. 

“Chief, your woman complains of a starving tribe,” 
went on the white man. “Are there not many moose and 

“Yes. But seldom can Siena creep within range of his 

[ 85 ] 


“ A-ha! Siena will starve no more,” replied the man, and 
from the boat he took a long iron tube with a wooden stock. 

“What is that?” asked Siena. 

“The wonderful shooting stick. Here, boy, watch! See 
the bark on the camp fire. Watch!” 

He raised the stick to his shoulder. Then followed a 
streak of flame, a puff of smoke, a booming report; and 
the bark of the camp fire flew into bits. 

The children dodged into the wigwams with loud cries, 
the women ran screaming, Ema dropped in the grass wail¬ 
ing that the end of the world had come, while Siena, unable 
to move hand or foot, breathed another prayer to Naza of 
the northland. 

The white man laughed and, patting Siena’s arm, he 
said: “No fear.” Then he drew Siena away from the bank, 
and began to explain the meaning and use of the wonder¬ 
ful shooting stick. He reloaded it and fired again and yet 
again, until Siena understood and was all aflame at the 
possibilities of such a weapon. 

Patiently the white man taught the Indian how to load 
it, sight, and shoot, and how to clean it with ramrod and 
buckskin. Next he placed at Siena’s feet a keg of powder, 
a bag of lead bullets, and boxes full of caps. Then he bade 
Siena farewell, entered the boat with his men and drifted 
round a bend of the swift Athabasca. 

[ 86 ] 


Siena stood alone upon the bank, the wonderful shoot¬ 
ing stick in his hands, and the wail of his frightened mother 
in his ears. He comforted her, telling her the white men 
were gone, that he was safe, and that the prophecy of his 
birth had at last begun its fulfillment. He carried the pre¬ 
cious ammunition to a safe hiding place in a hollow log 
near his wigwam and then he plunged into the forest. 

Siena bent his course toward the runways of the moose. 
He walked in a kind of dream, for he both feared and be¬ 
lieved. Soon the glimmer of water, splashes and widening 
ripples, caused him to crawl stealthily through the ferns and 
grasses to the border of a pond. The familiar hum of flies 
told him of the location of his quarry. The moose had 
taken to the water, driven by the swarms of black flies, and 
were standing neck deep, lifting their muzzles to feed on 
the drooping poplar branches. Their wide-spreading ant¬ 
lers, tipped back into the water, made the ripples. 

Trembling as never before, Siena sank behind a log. 
He was within fifty paces of the moose. How often in that 
very spot had he strung a feathered arrow and shot it 
vainly! But now he had the white man’s weapon, charged 
with lightning and thunder. Just then the poplars parted 
above the shore, disclosing a bull in the act of stepping 
down. He tossed his antlered head at the cloud of hum¬ 
ming flies, then stopped, lifting his nose to scent the wind. 

[ 87 ] 


“Nazal” whispered Siena in his swelling throat. 

He rested the shooting stick on the log and tried to see 
over the brown barrel. But his eyes were dim. Again he 
whispered a prayer to Naza. His sight cleared, his shaking 
arms stilled, and with his soul waiting, hoping, doubting, 
he aimed and pulled the trigger. 


High the moose flung his ponderous head, to crash down 
upon his knees, to roll in the water and churn a bloody 
foam, and then lie still. 

“Siena! Siena!” 

Shrill the young chief’s exultant yell pealed over the 
listening waters, piercing the still forest, to ring back in 
echo from Old Stoneface. It was Siena’s triumphant call 
to his forefathers, watching him from the silence. 

The herd of moose plowed out of the pond and crashed 
into the woods, where, long after they had disappeared, 
their antlers could be heard cracking the saplings. 

When Siena stood over the dead moose his doubts fled; 
he was indeed godchosen. No longer chief of a starving 
tribe! Reverently and with immutable promise he raised the 
shooting stick to the north, toward Naza who had remem¬ 
bered him; and on the south, where dwelt the enemies of his 
tribe, his dark glance brooded wild and proud and savage. 

[ 88 ] 


Eight times the shooting stick boomed out in the still¬ 
ness and eight moose lay dead in the wet grasses. In the 
twilight Siena wended his way home and placed eight 
moose tongues before the whimpering squaws. 

“Siena is no longer a boy,” he said. “Siena is a hunter. 
Let his women go bring in the meat.” 

Then to the rejoicing and feasting and dancing of his 
tribe he turned a deaf ear, and in the night passed alone 
under the shadow of Old Stoneface, where he walked with 
the spirits of his ancestors and believed the voices on the 

Before the ice locked the ponds Siena killed a hundred 
moose and reindeer. Meat and fat and oil and robes 
changed the world for the Crow tribe. 

Fires burned brightly all the long winter; the braves 
awoke from their stupor and chanted no more; the women 
sang of the Siena who had come, and prayed for summer 
wind and moonlight to bring his bride. 

Spring went by, summer grew into blazing autumn, and 
Siena’s fame and the wonder of the shooting stick spread 
through the length and breadth of the land. 

Another year passed, then another, and Siena was the 
great chief of the rejuvenated Crows. He had grown into 
a warrior’s stature, his face had the beauty of the god- 
chosen, his eye the falcon flash of the Sienas of old. Long 

[ 89 ] 


communion in the shadow of Old Stoneface had added wis¬ 
dom to his other gifts; and now to his worshiping tribe all 
that was needed to complete the prophecy of his birth was 
the coming of the alien bride. 

It was another autumn, with the wind whipping the 
tamaracks and moaning in the pines, and Siena stole along 
a brown, fern-lined trail. The dry smell of fallen leaves 
filled his nostrils; he tasted snow in the keen breezes. The 
flowers were dead, and still no dark-eyed bride sat in his 
wigwam. Siena sorrowed and strengthened his heart to 
wait. He saw her flitting in the shadows around him, a 
wraith with dusky eyes veiled by dusky wind-blown hair, 
and ever she hovered near him, whispering from every dark 
pine, from every waving tuft of grass. 

To her whispers he replied: £4 Siena waits.” 

He wondered of what alien tribe she would come. He 
hoped not of the unfriendly Chippewayans or the far-dis¬ 
tant Blackfeet; surely not of the hostile Crees, life enemies 
of his tribe, destroyers of its once puissant strength, jealous 
now of its resurging power. 

Other shadows flitted through the forest, spirits that 
rose silently from the graves over which he trod, and warned 
him of double steps on his trail, of unseen foes watching 

[ 90 ] 


him from the dark coverts. His braves had repeated gos¬ 
sip, filterings from stray Indian wanderers, hinting of plots 
against the risen Siena. To all these he gave no heed, for 
was not he Siena, god-chosen, and had he not the wonder¬ 
ful shooting stick? 

It was the season that he loved, when dim forest and 
hazy fernland spoke most impellingly. The tamaracks 
talked to him, the poplars bowed as he passed, and the 
pines sang for him alone. The dying vines twined about 
his feet and clung to him, and the brown ferns, curling sadly, 
waved him a welcome that was a farewell. A bird twit¬ 
tered a plaintive note and a loon whistled a lonely call. 
Across the wide gray hollows and meadows of white moss 
moaned the north wind, bending all before it, blowing full 
into Siena’s face with its bitter promise. The lichen-cov¬ 
ered rocks and the rugged-barked trees and the creatures 
that moved among them—the whole world of earth and air 
heard Siena’s step on the rustling leaves and a thousand 
voices hummed in the autumn stillness. 

So he passed through the shadowy forest and over the 
gray muskeg flats to his hunting place. With his birch- 
bark horn he blew the call of the moose. He alone of hunt¬ 
ing Indians had the perfect moose call. There, hidden 
within a thicket, he waited, calling and listening till an 
angry reply bellowed from the depths of a hollow, and a 

[ 91 ] 


bull moose, snorting fight, came cracking the saplings in 
his rush. When he sprang fierce and bristling into the glade, 
Siena killed him. Then, laying his shooting stick over a 
log, he drew his knife and approached the beast. 

A snapping of twigs alarmed Siena and he whirled upon 
the defensive, but too late to save himself. A band of In¬ 
dians pounced upon him and bore him to the ground. One 
wrestling heave Siena made, then he was overpowered and 
bound. Looking upward, he knew his captors, though he 
had never seen them before; they were the lifelong foes of 
his people, the fighting Crees. 

A sturdy chief, bronze of face and sinister of eye, looked 
grimly down upon his captive. “Baroma makes Siena a 

Siena and his tribe were dragged far southward to the 
land of the Crees. The young chief was bound upon a 
block in the center of the village where hundreds of Crees 
spat upon him, beat him, and outraged him in every way 
their cunning could devise. Siena’s gaze was on the north 
and his face showed no sign that he felt the torments. 

At last Baroma’s old advisers stopped the spectacle, 
saying: 44 This is a man!” 

Siena and his people became slaves of the Crees. In 
Baroma’s lodge, hung upon caribou antlers, was the 

[ 92 ] 


wonderful shooting stick with Siena’s powder horn and 
bullet pouch, objects of intense curiosity and fear. 

None knew the mystery of this lightning-flashing, thun¬ 
der-dealing thing; none dared touch it. 

The heart of Siena was broken; not for his shattered 
dreams or the end of his freedom, but for his people. His 
fame had been their undoing. Slaves to the murderers of 
his forefathers! His spirit darkened, his soul sickened; no 
more did sweet voices sing to him on the wind, and his 
mind dwelt apart from his body among shadows and dim 

Because of his strength he was worked like a dog at 
hauling packs and carrying wood; because of his fame he 
was set to cleaning fish and washing vessels with the squaws. 
Seldom did he get to speak a word to his mother or any 
of his people. Always he was driven. 

One day, when he lagged almost fainting, a maiden 
brought him water to drink. Siena looked up, and all 
about him suddenly brightened, as when sunlight bursts 
from cloud. 

“Who is kind to Siena?” he asked, drinking. 

“Baroma’s daughter,” replied the maiden. 

“What is her name?” 

Quickly the maiden bent her head, veiling dusky eyes 
with dusky hair. “Emihiyah.” 

[ 93 ] 


“ Siena has wandered on lonely trails and listened to 
voices not meant for other ears. He has heard the music 
of Emihiyah on the winds. Let the daughter of Siena’s 
great foe not fear to tell of her name.” 

“Emihiyah means a wind kiss on the flowers in the 
moonlight,” she whispered shyly and fled. 

Love came to the last of the Sienas and it was like a 
glory. Death shuddered no more in Siena’s soul. He saw 
into the future, and out of his gloom he rose again, god- 
chosen in his own sight, with such added beauty to his 
stern face and power to his piercing eye and strength to 
his lofty frame that the Crees quailed before him and mar¬ 
veled. Once more sweet voices came to him, and ever on 
the soft winds were songs of the dewy moorlands to the 
northward, songs of the pines and the laugh of the loon 
and of the rushing, green-white, thundering Athabasca, god¬ 
forsaken river. 

Siena’s people saw him strong and patient, and they 
toiled on, unbroken, faithful. While he lived, the pride of 
Baroma was vaunting. “Siena waits” were the simple 
words he said to his mother, and she repeated them as wis¬ 
dom. But the flame of his eye was like the leaping North¬ 
ern Lights, and it kept alive the fire deep down in their 

[ 94 ] 


In the winter when the Crees lolled in their wigwams, 
when less labor fell to Siena, he set traps in the snow trails 
for silver fox and marten. No Cree had ever been such a 
trapper as Siena. In the long months he captured many 
furs, with which he wrought a robe the like of which had 
not before been the delight of a maiden’s eye. He kept it 
by him for seven nights, and always during this time his 
ear was turned to the wind. The seventh night was the 
night of the midwinter feast, and when the torches burned 
bright in front of Baroma’s lodge Siena took the robe and, 
passing slowly and stately till he stood before Emihiyah, 
he laid it at her feet. 

Emihiyah’s dusky face paled, her eyes that shone like 
stars drooped behind her flying hair, and all her slender 
body trembled. 

“Slave!” cried Baroma, leaping erect. “Come closer 
that Baroma may see what kind of a dog approaches 

Siena met Baroma’s gaze, but spoke no word. His gift 
spoke for him. The hated slave had dared to ask in mar¬ 
riage the hand of the proud Baroma’s daughter. Siena 
towered in the firelight with something in his presence that 
for a moment awed beholders. Then the passionate and 
untried braves broke the silence with a clamor of the wolf 

[ 95 ] 


Tillimanqua, wild son of Baroma, strung an arrow to 
nis bow and shot it into Siena’s hip, where it stuck, with 
feathered shaft quivering. 

The spring of the panther was not swifter than Siena; 
he tossed Tillimanqua into the air and, flinging him down, 
trod on his neck and wrenched the bow away. Siena pealed 
out the long-drawn war whoop of his tribe that had not 
been heard for a hundred years, and the terrible cry stif¬ 
fened the Crees in their tracks. 

Then he plucked the arrow from his hip and, fitting 
it to the string, pointed the gory flint head at Tilliman- 
qua’s eyes and began to bend the bow. He bent the tough 
wood till the ends almost met, a feat of exceeding great 
strength, and thus he stood with brawny arms knotted and 

A scream rent the suspense. Emihiyah fell upon her 
knees. “Spare Emihiyah’s brother!” 

Siena cast one glance at the kneeling maiden, then, 
twanging the bow string, he shot the arrow toward the 

“Baroma’s slave is Siena,” he said, with scorn like the 
lash of a whip. “Let the Cree learn wisdom.” 

Then Siena strode away, with a stream of dark blood 
down his thigh, and went to his brush tepee, where he 
closed his wound. 

[ 96 ] 


In the still watches of the night, when the stars blinked 
through the leaves and the dew fell, when Siena burned 
and throbbed in pain, a shadow passed between his weary 
eyes and the pale light. And a voice that was not one of 
the spirit voices on the wind called softly over him, “Siena! 
Emihiyah comes.” 

The maiden bound the hot thigh with a soothing balm 
and bathed his fevered brow. 

Then her hands found his in tender touch, her dark face 
bent low to his, her hair lay upon his cheek. “Emihiyah 
keeps the robe,” she said. 

“Siena loves Emihiyah,” he replied. 

“Emihiyah loves Siena,” she whispered. 

She kissed him and stole away. 

On the morrow Siena’s wound was as if it had never 
been; no eye saw his pain. Siena returned to his work and 
his trapping. The winter melted into spring, spring flow¬ 
ered into summer, summer withered into autumn. 

Once in the melancholy days Siena visited Baroma in 
his wigwam. “Baroma’s hunters are slow. Siena sees a 
famine in the land.” 

“Let Baroma’s slave keep his place among the squaws,” 
was the reply. 

That autumn the north wind came a moon before the 
Crees expected it; the reindeer took their annual march 

[ 97 ] 


farther south; the moose herded warily in open groves; 
the whitefish did not run, and the seven-year pest depleted 
the rabbits. 

When the first snow fell Baroma called a council and 
then sent his hunting braves far and wide. 

One by one they straggled back to camp, footsore and 
hungry, and each with the same story. It was too late. 

A few moose were in the forest, but they were wild and 
kept far out of range of the hunter’s arrows, and there was 
no other game. 

A blizzard clapped down upon the camp, and sleet and 
snow whitened the forest and filled the trails. Then winter 
froze everything in icy clutch. The old year drew to a 

The Crees were on the brink of famine. All day and 
all night they kept up their chanting and incantations and 
beating of tom-toms to conjure the return of the reindeer. 
But no reindeer appeared. 

It was then that the stubborn Baroma yielded to his 
advisers and consented to let Siena save them from starva¬ 
tion by means of his wonderful shooting stick. Accord¬ 
ingly Baroma sent word to Siena to appear at his wigwam. 

Siena did not go, and said to the medicine men: “Tell 
Baroma soon it will be for Siena to demand.” 

[ 98 ] 


Then the Cree chieftain stormed and stamped in his 
wigwam and swore away the life of his slave. Yet again 
the wise medicine men prevailed. Siena and the wonder¬ 
ful shooting stick would be the salvation of the Crees. 
Baroma, muttering deep in his throat like distant thunder, 
gave sentence to starve Siena until he volunteered to go 
forth to hunt, or let him be the first to die. 

The last scraps of meat, except a little hoarded in 
Baroma’s lodge, were devoured, and then began the boil¬ 
ing of bones and skins to make a soup to sustain life. The 
cold days passed and a silent gloom pervaded the camp. 
Sometimes a cry of a bereaved mother, mourning for a 
starved child, wailed through the darkness. Siena’s people, 
long used to starvation, did not suffer or grow weak so soon 
as the Crees. They were of hardier frame, and they were 
upheld by faith in their chief. When he would sicken it 
would be time for them to despair. But Siena walked erect 
as in the days of his freedom, nor did he stagger under the 
loads of firewood, and there was a light on his face. The 
Crees, knowing of Baroma’s order that Siena should be the 
first to perish of starvation, gazed at the slave first in awe, 
then in fear. The last of the Sienas was succored by the 

But god-chosen though Siena deemed himself, he knew 
it was not by the spirits that he was fed in this time of 

[ 99 ] 


famine. At night in the dead stillness, when even no mourn¬ 
ing of wolf came over the frozen wilderness, Siena lay in 
his brush tepee close and warm under his blanket. The 
wind was faint and low, yet still it brought the old familiar 
voices. And it bore another sound—the soft fall of a moc¬ 
casin on the snow. A shadow passed between Siena’s eyes 
and the pale light. 

“Emihiyah comes,” whispered the shadow and knelt 
over him. 

She tendered a slice of meat which she had stolen 
from Baroma’s scant hoard as he muttered and growled 
in uneasy slumber. Every night since her father’s or¬ 
der to starve Siena, Emihiyah had made this perilous 

And now her hand sought his and her dusky hair swept 
his brow. “Emihiyah is faithful,” she breathed low. 

“Siena only waits,” he replied. 

She kissed him and stole away. 

Cruel days fell upon the Crees before Baroma’s pride 
was broken. Many children died and some of the mothers 
were beyond help. Siena’s people kept their strength, and 
he himself showed no effect of hunger. Long ago the Cree 
women had deemed him superhuman, that the Great Spirit 
fed him from the happy hunting grounds. 

[ 100 ] 


At last Baroma went to Siena. “ Siena may save his 
people and the Crees.” 

Siena regarded him long, then replied: “Siena waits.” 

“Let Baroma know. What does Siena wait for? While 
he waits we die.” 

Siena smiled his slow, inscrutable smile and turned 

Baroma sent for his daughter and ordered her to plead 
for her life. 

Emihiyah came, fragile as a swaying reed, more beau¬ 
tiful than a rose choked in a tangled thicket, and she stood 
before Siena with doe eyes veiled. “Emihiyah begs Siena 
to save her and the tribe of Crees.” 

“Siena waits,” replied the slave. 

Baroma roared in his fury and bade his braves lash the 
slave. But the blows fell from feeble arms and Siena 
laughed at his captors. 

Then, like a wild lion unleashed from long thrall, he 
turned upon them: “Starve! Cree dogs! Starve! When 
the Crees all fall like leaves in autumn, then Siena and his 
people will go back to the north.” 

Baroma’s arrogance left him then, and on another day, 
when Emihiyah lay weak and pallid in his wigwam and the 
pangs of hunger gnawed at his own vitals, he again sought 
Siena. “Let Siena tell for what he waits.” 

[ 101 ] 


Siena rose to his lofty height and the leaping flame of 
the Northern Light gathered in his eyes. “Freedom!” 
One word he spoke and it rolled away on the wind. 

“Baroma yields,” replied the Cree, and hung his head. 

“Send the squaws who can walk and the braves who 
can crawl out upon Siena’s trail.” 

Then Siena went to Baroma’s lodge and took up the 
wonderful shooting stick and, loading it, he set out upon 
snowshoes into the white forest. He knew where to find 
the moose yards in the sheltered corners. He heard the 
bulls pounding the hard-packed snow and cracking their 
antlers on the trees. The wary beasts would not have al¬ 
lowed him to steal close, as a warrior armed with a bow 
must have done, but Siena fired into the herd at long range. 
And when they dashed off, sending the snow up like a 
spray, a huge black bull lay dead. Siena followed them as 
they floundered through the drifts, and whenever he came 
within range he shot again. When five moose were killed he 
turned upon his trail to find almost the whole Cree tribe had 
followed him and were tearing the meat and crying out in 
a kind of crazy joy. That night the fires burned before the 
wigwams, the earthen pots steamed, and there was great re¬ 
joicing. Siena hunted the next day, and the next, and for 
ten days he went into the white forest with his wonderful 
shooting stick, and eighty moose fell to his unerring aim. 

[ 102 ] 


The famine was broken and the Crees were saved. 

When the mad dances ended and the feasts were over, 
Siena appeared before Baroma’s lodge. “Siena will lead 
his people northward.” 

Baroma, starving, was a different chief from Baroma 
well fed and in no pain. All his cunning had returned. 
“Siena goes free. Baroma gave his word. But Siena’s 
people remain slaves.” 

“Siena demanded freedom for himself and people,” said 
the younger chief. 

“Baroma heard no word of Siena’s tribe. He would 
not have granted freedom for them. Siena’s freedom was 

“The Cree twists the truth. He knows Siena would 
not go without his people. Siena might have remembered 
Baroma’s cunning. The Crees were ever liars.” 

Baroma stalked before his fire with haughty presence. 
About him in the circle of light sat his medicine men, his 
braves and squaws. “The Cree is kind. He gave his 
word. Siena is free. Let him take his wonderful shooting 
stick and go back to the north.” 

Siena laid the shooting stick at Baroma’s feet and like¬ 
wise the powder horn and bullet pouch. Then he folded 
his arms, and his falcon eyes looked far beyond Baroma to 
the land of the changing lights and the old home on the 

[ 103 ] 


green-white, rushing Athabasca, god-forsaken river. “ Siena 

Baroma started in amaze and anger. “ Siena makes 
Baroma’s word idle. Begone!” 

“Siena stays!” 

The look of Siena, the pealing reply, for a moment held 
the chief mute. Slowly Baroma stretched wide his arms 
and lifted them, while from his face flashed a sullen won¬ 
der. “Great Slave!” he thundered. 

So was respect forced from the soul of the Cree, and the 
name thus wrung from his jealous heart was one to live 
forever in the lives and legends of Siena’s people. 

Baroma sought the silence of his lodge, and his medi¬ 
cine men and braves dispersed, leaving Siena standing in 
the circle, a magnificent statue facing the steely north. 

From that day insult was never offered to Siena, nor 
word spoken to him by the Crees, nor work given. He 
was free to come and go where he willed, and he spent his 
time in lessening the tasks of his people. 

The trails of the forest were always open to him, as 
were the streets of the Cree village. If a brave met him, 
it was to step aside; if a squaw met him, it was to bow 
her head; if a chief met him, it was to face him as warriors 
faced warriors. 

[ 104 ] 


One twilight Emihiyah crossed his path, and sud¬ 
denly she stood as once before, like a frail reed about to 
break in the wind. But Siena passed on. The days went 
by and each one brought less labor to Siena’s people, un¬ 
til that one came wherein there was no task save what 
they set themselves. Siena’s tribe were slaves, yet not 

The winter wore by and the spring and the autumn, 
and again Siena’s fame went abroad on the four winds. 
The Chippewayans journeyed from afar to see the Great 
Slave, and likewise the Blackfeet and the Yellow Knives. 
Honor would have been added to fame; councils called;, 
overtures made to the somber Baroma on behalf of the 
Great Slave, but Siena passed to and fro among his people, 
silent and cold to all others, true to the place which his 
great foe had given him. Captive to a lesser chief, they 
said; the Great Slave who would yet free his tribe and 
gather to him a new and powerful nation. 

Once in the late autumn Siena sat brooding in the twi¬ 
light by Ema’s tepee. That night all who came near him 
were silent. Again Siena was listening to voices on the 
wind, voices that had been still for long, which he had tried 
to forget. It was the north wind, and it whipped the 
spruces and moaned through the pines. In its cold breath 
it bore a message to Siena, a hint of coming winter and a 

[ 105 ] 


call from Naza, far north of the green-white, thundering 
Athabasca, river without a spirit. 

In the darkness when the camp slumbered Siena faced 
the steely north. As he looked a golden shaft, arrow- 
shaped and arrow-swift, shot to the zenith. 

“Naza!” he whispered to the wind. “Siena watches.” 

Then the gleaming, changing Northern Lights painted a 
picture of gold and silver bars, of flushes pink as shell, of opal 
fire and sunset red; and it was a picture of Siena’s life from 
the moment the rushing Athabasca rumbled his name, to the 
far distant time when he would say farewell to his great 
nation and pass forever to the retreat of the winds. God- 
chosen he was, and had power to read the story in the 

Seven nights Siena watched in the darkness; and on 
the seventh night, when the golden flare and silver shafts 
faded in the north, he passed from tepee to tepee, awaken¬ 
ing his people. “When Siena’s people hear the sound of 
the shooting stick let them cry greatly: ‘ Siena kills Baroma! 
Siena kills Baroma!’ ” 

With noiseless stride Siena went among the wigwams 
and along the lanes until he reached Baroma’s lodge. En¬ 
tering in the dark he groped with his hands upward to a 
moose’s antlers and found the shooting stick. Outside he 
fired it into the air. 

[ 106 ] 


Like a lightning bolt the report ripped asunder the 
silence, and the echoes clapped and reclapped from the 
cliffs. Sharp on the dying echoes Siena bellowed his war 
whoop, and it was the second time in a hundred years for 
foes to hear that terrible, long-drawn cry. 

Then followed the shrill yells of Siena’s people: “Siena 
kills Baroma . . . Siena kills Baroma . . . Siena kills Ba¬ 

The slumber of the Crees awoke to a babel of many 
voices; it rose hoarsely on the night air, swelled hideously 
into a deafening roar that shook the earth. 

In this din of confusion and terror when the Crees were 
lamenting the supposed death of Baroma and screaming in 
each other’s ears, “The Great Slave takes his freedom!” 
Siena ran to his people and, pointing to the north, drove 
them before him. 

Single file, like a long line of flitting specters, they 
passed out of the fields into the forest. Siena kept close on 
their trail, ever looking backward, and ready with the 
shooting stick. 

The roar of the stricken Crees softened in his ears and 
at last died away. 

Under the black canopy of whispering leaves, over the 
gray, mist-shrouded muskeg flats, around the glimmering 
reed-bordered ponds, Siena drove his people, 

[ 107 ] 


All night Siena hurried them northward and with every 
stride his heart beat higher. Only he was troubled by a 
sound like the voice that came to him on the wind. 

But the wind was now blowing in his face, and the 
sound appeared to be at his back. It followed on his trail 
as had the step of destiny. When he strained his ears he 
could not hear it, yet when he had gone on swiftly, per¬ 
suaded it was only fancy, then the voice that was not a 
voice came haunting him. 

In the gray dawn Siena halted on the far side of a gray 
flat and peered through the mists on his back trail. Some¬ 
thing moved out among the shadows, a gray shape that 
crept slowly, uttering a mournful cry. 

“Siena is trailed by a wolf,” muttered the chief. 

Yet he waited, and saw that the wolf was an Indian. 
He raised the fatal shooting stick. 

As the Indian staggered forward, Siena recognized the 
robe of silver fox and marten, his gift to Emihiyah. He 
laughed in mockery. It was a Cree trick. Tillimanqua 
had led the pursuit disguised in his sister’s robe. Baroma 
would find his son dead on the Great Slave’s trail. 

“Siena!” came the strange, low cry. 

It was the cry that had haunted him like the voice on 
the wind. He leaped as a bounding deer. 

Out of the gray fog burned dusky eyes half-veiled by 

[ 108 ] 




dusky hair, and little hands that he knew wavered as flut¬ 
tering leaves. “Emihiyah comes,” she said. 

“ Siena waits,” he replied. 

Far to the northward he led his bride and his people, 
far beyond the old home on the green-white, thundering 
Athabasca, god-forsaken river; and there, on the lonely 
shores of an inland sea, he fathered the Great Slave Tribe. 

[ 109 ] 




S UNSET—it was the hour of Yaqui’s watch. Chief of 
a driven remnant of the once mighty tribe, he trusted 
no sentinel so well as himself at the end of the day’s march. 
While his braves unpacked the tired horses, and his women 
prepared the evening meal, and his bronze-skinned chil¬ 
dren played in the sand, Yaqui watched the bold desert 

Long years of hatred had existed between the Yaquis of 
upland Sonora and the Mexicans from the east. Like 
eagles, the Indian tribe had lived for centuries in the moun¬ 
tain fastnesses of the Sierra Madre, free, happy, self-suffi¬ 
cient. But wandering prospectors had found gold in their 
country and that had been the end of their peace. At first 
the Yaquis, wanting only the wildness and loneliness of 
their homes, moved farther and farther back from the ever- 
encroaching advance of the gold diggers. At last, driven 
from the mountains into the desert, they realized that gold 
was the doom of their tribe and they began to fight for 
their land. Bitter and bloody were the battles; and from 

[ 113 ] 


father to son this wild, free, proud race bequeathed a terri¬ 
ble hatred. 

Yaqui was one of the last great chiefs of his once great 
tribe. All his life he remembered the words of his father 
and his grandfather—that the Yaquis must find an un¬ 
known and impenetrable hiding place or perish from the 
earth. When Mexican soldiers at the decree of their gov¬ 
ernment made war upon this tribe, killing those who re¬ 
sisted and making slaves of the captured, Yaqui with his 
family and followers set out upon a last journey across the 
Sonoran wilderness. Hateful and fearful of the east, whence 
this blight of gold diggers and land robbers appeared to 
come, he had fled toward the setting sun into a waste of 
desert land unknown to his people—a desert of scorching 
heat and burning sand and tearing cactus and treacherous 
lava, where water and wood and grass seemed days apart. 
Some of the youngest children had died on the way and all 
except the strong braves were wearing out. 

Alone, on a ridge of rising ground, Yaqui faced the 
back trail and watched with falcon eyes. Miles distant 
though that horizon was, those desert eyes could have 
made out horses against the clear sky. He did not gaze 
steadily, for the Indian method was to flash a look across 
the spaces, from near to far, and to fix the eye momenta¬ 
rily, to strain the vision and magnify all objects, then to 

[ ] 




avert the gaze from that direction and presently flash it 
back again. 

Lonely, wild, and grand, the scene seemed one of life¬ 
lessness. Only the sun lived, still hot, as it burned red- 
gold far away on the rugged rim of this desert world. 
Nothing breathed in that vastness. To Yaqui’s ear the 
silence was music. The red sun slipped down and the 
desert changed. The golden floor of sand and rock shaded 
cold to the horizon and above that the sky lost its rose, 
turning to intense luminous blue. In the far distance the 
peaks dimmed and vanished in purple. The fire of the 
western heavens paled and died, and over all the rock- 
ribbed, sand-encumbered plateau stole a wondrous gray 
shade. Yaqui watched until that gray changed to black 
and the horizon line was lost in night. Safe now from pur¬ 
suers were he and his people until the dawn. 

Then, guided by a speck of camp-fire light, he returned 
to his silent men and moaning women and a scant meal 
that he divided. Hunger was naught to Yaqui, nor thirst. 
Four days could he travel the desert without drink, an en¬ 
durance most of his hardy tribe were trained to. And as 
for toil, the strength of his giant frame had never reached 
its limit. But strong chief that he was, when he listened to 
the moaning women and gazed at the silent, set faces of 
the children under the starlight he sagged to the sands and, 

[ H5 ] 


bowing his head, prayed to his gods. He prayed for little 
—only life, freedom, loneliness, a hidden niche where his 
people would hear no steps and fear no specters on their 
trail. Then with unquenchable faith he stretched his great 
length on the sands; and the night was as a moment. 

In the gray of a dawn cold, pure, and silent, with the 
radiant morning star shining like a silver moon, the long 
file of Yaquis rode and tramped westward, on down the 
rugged bare slopes of this unknown desert. 

And out of the relentless east, land of enemies, rose the 
glaring sun. Like magic the frost melted off the rocks and 
the cool freshness of morning changed to a fiery breath. 
The sun climbed, and the leagues were as long as the hours. 
Down into a broad region of lava toiled the fugitives. 
Travel over the jagged crusts and through the poison- 
spiked cholla lamed the horses and made walking impera¬ 
tive. Yaqui drove his people before him, and some of the 
weakest fell by the way. 

Out of the hot lava and stinging cactus the Indians 
toiled and entered a region of bare stone, cut by wind and 
water into labyrinthine passages where, even if they had 
left tracks on the hard rocks, few pursuers could have fol¬ 
lowed them. Yaqui told this to his people, told them he 
saw sheep on the peaks above and smelled water, and thus 
urged them on and on league after league toward distant 

[ H6 ] 


purple heights. Vast and hard as had been the desert be¬ 
hind them, this strange upflung desert before them seemed 
vaster and grimmer. The trackless way led ever upward 
by winding passages and gorges—a gloomy and weird re¬ 
gion of colored stone. And over all reigned the terrible 
merciless sun. 

Yaqui sacrificed horses to the thirst and hunger of his 
people and abandoned the horror of toil under the sun to 
a slower progress by night. Blanched and magnified under 
the great stars, the iron-bound desert of riven rock, so un¬ 
real and weird, brought forth a chant from the lips of 
Yaqui’s women. His braves, stoic like himself, endured 
and plodded on, lightening burdens of the weaker and 
eventually carrying the children. That night passed and a 
day of stupor in the shade of sun-heated rock; another 
night led the fugitives onward and upward through a maze 
of shattered cliffs, black and wild. Day dawned once more, 
showing Yaqui by the pitiless light that only his men could 
endure much more of this dragging on. 

He made camp there and encouraged his people by a 
faith that had come to him during the night—a whisper 
from the spirit of his forefathers—to endure, to live, to go 
to a beautiful end his vision could not see. Then Yaqui 
stalked alone off into the fastnesses of the rocks and prayed 
to his gods for guidance. All about him were silence, deso- 

[ 117 ] 


lation, a gray barren world of rock, a black barren world 
of lava. Far as his falcon eye could see to the north and 
east and south stretched the illimitable glaring desert, 
rough, peaked, spiked, riven, ghastly with yellow slopes? 
bleak with its bare belts, terrible with its fluted and up- 
flung plateaus, stone faced by endless ramparts and fast 
bound to the fading distance. From the west, up over the 
dark and forlorn heights, Yaqui heard the whispers of his 
dead forefathers. 

Another dawn found Yaqui on the great heights with 
the sunrise at his back and with another and more promis¬ 
ing world at his feet. 

“Land of our forefathers!” he cried out sonorously to 
his people, gazing mutely down into the promised land. A 
vast gray-green valley yawned at their feet. Leagues of 
grassy, rock-ribbed, and tree-dotted slopes led down to a 
gleaming white stream, winding like a silver ribbon down 
the valley, to lose itself far in the lower country, where the 
colored desert merged into an immense and boundless void 
of hazy blue—the sea. 

“Great Water, where the sun sleeps,” said Yaqui with 
long arm outstretched. “Yaqui’s father’s father saw it.” 

Yaqui carried the boy and led the way down from the 
heights. Mountain sheep and wild horses and deer and 
quail that had never before seen man showed no fear of 

[ H8 ] 


this invasion of their wild home. And Yaqui’s people, foot¬ 
sore and starved, gazed round them and, in the seeming 
safety of this desert-locked valley with its grass and water 
and wood and abundant game, they took hope again and 
saw their prayers answered and happiness once more pos¬ 
sible. New life flushed their veins. The long slopes, ever 
greener as they descended, were welcome to aching eyes so 
tired of the glaring expanses of the desert. 

For an encampment Yaqui chose the head of the val¬ 
ley. Wide and gently sloping, with a rock-walled spring 
that was the source of the stream, and large ironwood trees 
and pines and paloverdes, this lonely hidden spot satisfied 
the longing in Yaqui’s heart. Almost his joy was complete. 
But never could he feel wholly secure again, even had he 
wings of an eagle. For Yaqui’s keen eyes had seen gold in 
the sands of the stream; and gold spelled the doom of the 
Indian. Still Yaqui was grateful and content. Not soon 
indeed would his people be tracked to this fastness, and 
perhaps never. He cautioned his braves to save their scant 
gun ammunition, sending them out with bows and arrows 
to kill the tame deer and antelope. The weary squaws no 
longer chanted the melancholy songs of their woe. The 
long travel had ended. They unpacked their stores under 
the wide-spreading pines, made fires to roast the meat that 
would soon be brought, and attended to the ailments of 

[ H9 ] 


the few children left to them. Soon the naked little ones, 
starved and cut and worn as they were, took to the clear 
cool water like goslings learning to swim. 

Yaqui, carrying his rifle, stalked abroad to learn more 
of this wonderful valley. Stretching at length along the 
stream, he drank deeply, as an Indian who loved mountain 
water. The glint of gold in the wet sand did not please 
him as had the sweetness of the cold water. Grasping up 
a handful of sand and pebbles, he rubbed and washed it in 
his palm. Tiny grains of gold and little nuggets of gold! 
Somewhere up at the head of this valley lay the mother 
lode from which the gold had washed down. 

Yaqui knew that here was treasure for which the white 
men would spill blood and sell their souls. But to the In¬ 
dians—the Papagos, the Yumas, the man-eating Seris, and 
especially to the.Yaquis—gold was no more than rock or 
sand, except that they hated it for the curse of white hun¬ 
ters it lured to the desert. Yaqui had found many a rich 
vein and ledge and placer of gold. He had hated them, 
and now more than any other he hated this new discovery. 
It would be a constant peril to his people. In times of 
flood this mountain stream would carry grains of gold as 
far as it flowed down on the desert. Yaqui saw in it a 
menace. But there was hope in the fact that many treas¬ 
ures of the desert heights would never be seen by white 

[ 120 ] 


men. His father had told him that. This gray valley was 
high, cradled in the rocky uplands, and it might be inac¬ 
cessible from below. 

Yaqui set out to see. His stride was that of the strong¬ 
est and tallest of his tribe, and distance meant little to 
him. Hunger gnawed at his vitals, but the long march 
across the wastes and heights had not tired him. Yaqui 
had never known exhaustion. Before the sun stood straight 
overhead he had ascertained that this valley of promise 
was shut off from the west and that the stream failed in 
impassable desert. From north and east he had traveled, 
and therefore felt a grim security. But to the south he 
turned apprehensive eyes. Long he tramped and high he 
climbed, at last to see that the valley, this land of his fore¬ 
fathers, could be gained from the south. Range and ridge 
sloped gradually to a barren desolate land of sun and cacti, 
far as his desert eyes could see. That must be the land of 
the Seris, the man-eaters. But it was a waterless hell in 
summer. No fear from the south till the winter rains fell! 
Yaqui returned to his camp, reaching there at sunset. 
There was joy in the dusky welcoming eyes of his young 
wife as she placed fresh meat before him. 

“Yaqui’s only son will live,” she said, and pointed to 
the frail boy as he slept. The chief gazed somberly at the 
little brown face of his son, the last of his race. 

[ 1 * 1 ] 


Days passed. With rest and food and water the gloomy 
spirit of the Yaquis underwent a gradual change. The wild 
valley was an Indian’s happy hunting ground, encompassed 
by lofty heights known only to sheep and eagles. Like 
wild animals, all savages, in the peace and loneliness of a 
secluded region, soon forgot past trials and fears. Still, 
the chief Yaqui did not forget, but as time passed and 
nothing disturbed the serenity of this hiding place his vigi¬ 
lance slowly relaxed. The wind and the sun and the soli¬ 
tude and the presence of antelope and wild horses always 
within sight of camp—these factors of primitive nature had< 
a healing effect upon his sore heart. In the canyons he 
found graves and bones of his progenitors. 

Days passed into weeks. The scarlet blossoms flamed 
at the long ends of the ocatilla; one morning the pale vordes, 
which had been bare and shiny green, appeared to have 
burst into full bloom, a yellow flowering that absorbed the 
sunlight; cacti opened great buds of magenta; from the 
canyon walls, on inaccessible ledges, hung the exquisite and 
rare desert flowers, lluvia d’oro, shower of gold; and many 
beautiful flowers lifted their faces out of the tall grasses. 
This magic of spring did not last long. The flowers faded, 
died, and blew away on the dry wind; the tall grasses 
slowly yellowed and bleached. Summer came. The glar¬ 
ing sun blazed over the eastern ramparts, burned white 

[ 122 ] 


down over the still solemn valley, and sank like a huge ball 
of fire into the distant hazy sea. With the torrid heat of 
desert Sonora came a sense of absolute security to the chief 
Yaqui. His new home was locked in the furnace of the 
sun-blasted waste land. The clear spring of mountain water 
sank lower and lower, yet it did not fail. The birds and 
beasts that visited the valley attested to the nature of the 
surrounding country. So the time came when Yaqui forgot 
the strange feeling of distant steps upon his trail. 

When autumn came all the valley was dry and gray and 
withered, except the green line along the stream and the 
perennial freshness of the cactus plants and the everlasting 
green of the paloverdes. With the winter season came the 
rains, and a wave of ever-brightening green flushed the vast 
valley from its eastern height of slope to the far distant 
mouth, where it opened into the barren breaks of the 

Manifestly the god of the Yaquis had not forgotten 
them. As the months passed child after child was born to 
the women of the tribe. Yaqui’s dusky-eyed wife bore him 
a healthy girl baby. As the chief balanced the tiny brown 
form in his great hand he remembered speech of his own 
father’s: “Son, let the Yaquis go back to the mountains 
of the setting sun—to a land free from white men and gold 
and fire water, to the desert valley where deer graze with 

[ 123 ] 


horses. There let the Yaquis multiply into a great people 
or perish from the earth.” 

Yaqui watched his girl baby with a gleam of troubled 
hope lighting in his face. His father had spoken prophecy. 
There waved the green grass of the broad valley, dotted 
with wild horses, antelope, and deer grazing among his 
stock. Here in his hand lay another child—a woman child 
—and he had believed his son to be the last of his race. It 
was not too late. The god of the Indian was good. His 
branch of the Yaquis would mother and father a great 
people. But even as he fondled his babe the toe of his 
moccasin stirred grains of gold in the sand. 

Love of life lulled Yaqui back into his dreams. To live, 
to have his people round him, to see his dusky-eyed wife at 
her work, to watch the little naked children playing in the 
grass, to look out over that rolling, endless green valley, so 
wild, so lonely, so fertile—such a proof of god in the desert 
—to feel the hot sun and the sweet wind and the cool night, 
to linger on the heights watching, listening, feeling, to stalk 
the keen-eyed mountain sheep, to eat fresh meat and drink 
pure water, to rest through the solemn still noons and sleep 
away the silent melancholy nights, to enjoy the games of 
his forefathers—wild games of riding and running—to steal 
off alone into the desert and endure heat, thirst, cold, dust, 
starvation while he sought the Indian gods hidden in the 

[ 1 ^ 4 ] 


rocks, to be free of the white man whom he recognized as a 
superior and a baser being—to live like the eagles—to live 
—Yaqui asked no more. 

Yaqui laid the baby back in the cradle of its mother’s 
breast and stalked out as a chief to inspire his people. 

In that high altitude the morning air was cold, ex¬ 
hilarating, sweet to breathe and wonderful to send the 
blood racing. Some winter mornings there was just a 
touch of frost on the leaves. The sunshine was welcome, 
the day was short, the night was long. Yaqui’s people 
reverted to their old order of happy primitive life before 
the white man had come with greed for gold and lust to 

The day dawned in which Yaqui took his son out and 
put him upon a horse. As horsemen the Yaquis excelled 
all other Indian tribes of the Southwest. Boys were given 
lessons at an early age and taught to ride bareback. Thus 
as youths they developed exceeding skill and strength. 

Some of the braves had rounded up a band of wild 
horses and had driven them into a rough rock-walled tri¬ 
angle, a natural trap, the opening of which they had closed 
with a rude fence. On this morning the Yaquis all assem¬ 
bled to see the wild horses broken. Yaqui, as an inspira¬ 
tion to his little son and to the other boys of the tribe, 
chose the vicious leader of the band as the horse he would 

[ 125 ] 


first ride and break. High on the rocky wall perched the 
black-eyed boys, eager and restless, excited and wondering, 
some of them naked and all of them stretching out tousled 
black heads with shining ragged hair flying in the wind. 
The women and girls of the tribe occupied another posi¬ 
tion along the outcropping of gray wall, their colorful gar¬ 
ments lending contrast to the scene. 

The inclosure was wide and long, containing both level 
and uneven ground, some of which was grass and some 
sand and rock. A few ironwood trees and one huge palo- 
verde, under which Indians were lolling, afforded shade. 
At the edge of the highest slope began a line of pine trees 
that reached up to the bare gray heights. 

Yaqui had his braves drive the vicious leader of the 
wild horses out into the open. It was a stallion, of un¬ 
gainly shape and rusty color, no longer young. With ugly 
head high, nostrils distended, mouth open and ears up, 
showing the white of vicious, fiery eyes, it pranced in the 
middle of the circle drawn by its captors. 

Yaqui advanced with his long leather riata, and, once 
clear of the ring of horsemen inclosing the stallion, he waved 
them back. Then as the wild steed plunged to and fro, 
seeking for an opening in that circle, Yaqui swung the long 
noose. He missed twice. The third cast caught its mark, 
the snarling nose of this savage horse. Yaqui hauled the 

[ 126 ] 


lasso taut. Then with snort of fright the stallion lunged 
and reared, pawing the air. Yaqui, hauling hand over 
hand, pulled him down and approached him at the same 
time. Shuddering all over, breathing with hard snorts, the 
stallion faced his captor one moment, as if ready to fight. 
But fear predominated. He leaped away. At the end of 
that leap, so powerful was the strain on him, he went down 
in the sand. Up he sprang, wilder than ever, and dashed 
forward, dragging the Indian, gaining yards of the lasso. 
But the mounted Yaquis blocked his passage; he had to 
swerve; and as he ran desperately in a circle once more 
the giant chief hauled hand over hand on the rope. Sud¬ 
denly Yaqui bounded in and with a tremendous leap, like 
the leap of a huge panther, he gained the back of the stal¬ 
lion and seemed to become fixed there. He dropped the 
lasso, and with the first startled jump of the stallion the 
noose loosened and slipped off. Except for Yaqui’s great, 
long brown legs, with their strung bands of muscle set like 
steel, the stallion was free. 

The stallion bolted for the open. Only the rock wall 
checked his headlong flight. Then he wheeled and ran 
along the wall, bounding over rocks and ditches, stretching 
out until, with magnificent stride, he was running at his 
topmost speed. Along one wall and then the other he 
dashed, round and round and across, until the moment 

[ 1^7 ] 


came when panic succeeded to fury, and then his tremen¬ 
dous energies were directed to the displacement of his 
rider. Wildly he pitched. With head down, legs stiff, feet 
together, he plunged over the sand, plowing up the dust, 
and bounding straight up. But he could not unseat his 
inexorable rider. Yaqui’s legs banded his belly and were 
as steel. Then the stallion, now lashed into white lather of 
sweat and froth, lunged high to paw the air and scream 
and plunge down to pitch again. His motions soon lost 
their energy, though not their fury. Then he reached back 
with eyes of fire and open mouth to bite. Yaqui’s huge 
fist met him, first on the right, then, as he turned, on the 
left. Last he plunged to his knees and with rumbling 
heave of anger he fell on his side, meaning to roll over his 
rider. But the Yaqui’s leg on that side flashed high while 
his hands twisted hard in the long mane. When the foiled 
horse rose again Yaqui rose with him, again fixed tight on 
his back. Another dash and burst of running, wild and 
blind this time and plainly losing speed, showed the weak¬ 
ening of the stallion. And the time arrived when, spent and 
beaten, he fell in the sand. 

“Let Yaqui’s son learn to ride like his father,” said the 
chief to his gleeful, worshiping son. 

Then the chief again stalked forth, drawn irresistibly by 
something in the hour. 

[ 128 ] 


“Let Yaqui’s son watch and remember to tell his son’s 
son,” he said. 

He scattered his riders to block the few passages out of 
the valley and he ordered his son and all the women of the 
tribe and their children again to climb high on the rocks, 
there to watch. The Indian gods said this day marked the 
rejuvenation of their tribe. Let his son, who would be 
chief some day, and his people, see the great runner of the 

Naked except for his moccasins, the giant chief broke 
into a slow trot that was habitual with him when alone on 
a trail; and he crossed the stream and the plots of sand, 
and headed out into the grassy valley where deer grazed 
with the horses. Yaqui selected the one that appeared 
largest and strongest of the herd and to it he called in a 
loud voice, meant as well for the spirit of his forefathers 
and for his gods, watching and listening from the heights: 
“Yaqui runs to kill!” 

The sleek gray deer left off their grazing and stood at 
gaze, with long ears erect. Then they bounded off. Yaqui 
broke from his trot into a long, swinging lope and the length 
of his stride was such that he seemed to fly over the ground. 
Up the valley the deer scattered and Yaqui ran in the trail 
of the one to which he had called. Half a mile off it halted 
to look back. Then it grazed a little, but soon lifted its 

[ 129 ] 


head to look again. Yaqui ran on at the same easy, dis¬ 
tance-devouring stride. Presently the deer dashed away 
and kept on until it was a mere speck in Yaqui’s eyes. It 
climbed a deer trail that led over the heights, to be turned 
back there by one of Yaqui’s braves. Then it crossed the 
wide valley to be turned back by insurmountable cliffs. 
Yaqui kept it in sight and watched it trot and stop, run 
and walk and stop again, all the way up the long grassy 
slope toward the head of the valley. 

Here among rocks and trees Yaqui lost sight of his 
quarry, but he trailed it with scarcely a slackening of his 
pace. At length, coming out upon a level open bench, he 
saw the deer he had chosen to run to death. It was look¬ 
ing back. 

Down the grassy middle of the vast valley, clear to the 
mouth where the stream tumbled off into space, across the 
wide level from slope to slope, back under the beetling 
heights, Yaqui pursued the doomed deer. 

Leagues and leagues of fleet running had availed the 
deer nothing. It could not shake off the man. More and 
more the distance between them lessened. Terror now 
added to the gradual exhaustion of the four-footed creature, 
designed by Nature to escape its foes. Yaqui, perfect in 
all the primal attributes of man, was its superior. The 
race was not to the swift but to the enduring. 

[ 130 ] 


Within sight of his people and his little son Yaqui over¬ 
took the staggering deer and broke its neck with his naked 
hands. Then for an instant he stood erect over his fallen 
quarry, a tall and gaunt giant, bathed in the weird after¬ 
glow of sunset; and he lifted a long arm to the heights, as 
if calling upon his spirits there to gaze down upon the vic¬ 
tory of the red man. 

[ 131 ] 


TT WAS toward evening of another day, all the hours of 
which had haunted Yaqui with a nameless oppression. 
Like a deer that scented a faint strange taint on the pure 
air Yaqui pointed his sensitive nose toward the east, whence 
came the soft wind. 

Suddenly his strong vision quivered to the movement of 
distant objects on the southern slope. Halting, he fixed his 
gaze. Long line of moving dots! Neither deer nor sheep 
nor antelope traveled in that formation. The objects were 
men. Yaqui’s magnified sight caught the glint of sunset 
red on shining guns. Mexican soldiers! That nameless 
haunting fear of the south, long lulled, now had its fulfill¬ 

Yaqui leaped with gigantic bounds down the slope. Like 
an antelope he sprang over rocks and dips, and once on the 
grassy downs he ran the swiftest race of his life. His pierc¬ 
ing yells warned his people in time to save them from being 
surprised by the soldiers. The first shots of combat were 
fired as he hurdled the several courses of the stream. Yaqui 
saw the running and crawling forms of men in dusty blue 

[ 132 ] 


—saw them aim short carbines—saw spurts of flame and 
puffs of smoke. 

Yaqui’s last few bounds carried him into the stone¬ 
walled encampment, and the whistling bullets that missed 
him told how the line of soldiers was spreading to surround 
the place. Yaqui flung himself behind the wall and crawled 
to where his braves knelt with guns and bows ready. Some 
of them were shooting. The women and children were hud¬ 
dled somewhere out of sight. Steel-jacketed bullets cracked 
on the rocks and whined away. Yaqui knew how poor was 
the marksmanship of the Mexicans; nevertheless it seemed 
to him they were shooting high. The position of the In¬ 
dians was open to fire from several angles. 

During a lull in the firing a hoarse yell pealed out. 
Yaqui knew Spanish. “ Surrender, Yaquis!” was the com¬ 
mand. The Yaquis answered by well-aimed bullets that 
brought sharp cries from the soldiers. Soon the encamp¬ 
ment appeared entirely surrounded. Reports came from all 
sides and bullets whistled high, spatting into the trees. 
Then occurred another lull in the firing. Again a voice 
pealed out: “Surrender, Yaquis, save your lives!” 

The Indians recognized their doom. Each man had 
only a few shells for his gun. Many had only bows and ar¬ 
rows. They would be shot like wolves in a trap. But no 
Yaqui spoke a word. 

[ 133 ] 


Nevertheless, when darkness put an end to their shoot¬ 
ing there were only a few who had a shell left. The Mexi¬ 
cans grasped the situation and grew bold. They built fires 
off under the trees. They crept down to the walls and 
threw stones into the encampment and yelled derisively: 
“Yaqui dogs!” They kept up a desultory shooting from 
all sides as if to make known to the Indians that they were 
surrounded and vigilantly watched. 

At dawn the Mexicans began another heavy volleying, 
firing into the encampment without aim but with deadly 
intent. Then, yelling their racial hatred of the Yaquis, 
they charged the camp. It was an unequal battle. Out¬ 
numbered and without ammunition the Yaquis fought a 
desperate but losing fight. One by one they were set upon 
by several, sometimes by half a dozen, Mexicans and killed 
or beaten into insensibility. 

Yaqui formed the center of several storms of conflict. 
With clubbed rifle he was like a giant fighting down a 
horde of little men. 

.. “Kill the big devil!” cried a soldier. 

From the thick of that melee sounded Spanish curses 
and maledictions and dull thuds and groans as well. The 
Yaqui was a match for all that could surround him. A 
Mexican fired a pistol. Then the officer came running to 
knock aside the weapon. He shouted to his men to cap- 

[ 134 ] 


ture the Yaqui chief. The Mexicans pressed closer, dodg¬ 
ing the sweeping rifle, and one of them plunged at the heels 
of the Indian. Another did likewise and they tripped up 
the giant, who was then piled upon by a number of curs¬ 
ing soldiers. Like a mad bull Yaqui heaved and tossed, 
but to no avail. He was overpowered and bound with a 
lasso, and tied upright to the paloverde under which he had 
so often rested. 

His capture ended the battle. And the Mexicans began 
to run about, searching. Daylight had come. From under 
a ledge of rock the Indian women and children were driven. 
One lithe, quick boy eluded the soldiers. He slipped out 
of their hands and ran. As he looked back over his shoul¬ 
der his dark face shone wildly. It was Yaqui’s son. Like a 
deer he ran, not heeding the stern calls to halt. “Shoot!” 
ordered the officer. Then the soldiers leveled rifles and 
began to fire. Puffs of dust struck up behind, beside and 
beyond that flying form. But none hit him. They shot at 
him until he appeared to be out of range. And all eyes 
watched him flee. Then a last bullet struck its flying mark. 
The watchers heard a shrill cry of agony and saw the lad 

All the Indians were tied hand and foot and herded 
into a small space and guarded as if they had been wild 

[ 135 ] 


After several hours of resting and feasting and cele¬ 
brating what manifestly was regarded as a great victory, 
the officer ordered the capture of horses and the burning 
of effects not transportable. Soon the beautiful encamp¬ 
ment of the Yaquis was a scene of blackened and smoking 
ruin. Then, driving the Yaquis in a herd before them, the 
Mexicans, most of them now mounted on Indian horses, 
faced the ascent of the slope by which they had entered the 

Far down that ragged mountain slope the Mexicans 
halted at the camp they had left when they made their at¬ 
tack on the Yaquis. Mules and burros, packsaddles and 
camp duffel occupied a dusty bench upon which there grew 
a scant vegetation. All round were black slopes of ragged 
lava and patches of glistening white cholla. 

The Yaquis received but little water and food, no blan¬ 
kets to sleep on, no rest from tight bonds, no bandaging of 
their fly-tormented wounds. But they bore their ills as if 
they had none. 

Yaqui sat with his back to a stone and when unob¬ 
served by the guards he would whisper to those of his 
people nearest to him. Impassively but with intent faces 
they listened. His words had some strange, powerful, sus¬ 
taining effect. And all the time his inscrutable gaze swept 
down off the lava heights to the hazy blue gulf of the sea. 

[ 136 ] 


Dawn disclosed the fact that two of the Yaquis were 
badly wounded and could not be driven to make a start. 
Perhaps they meant to force the death that awaited them 
farther down the trail; perhaps they were absorbed in the 
morbid gloom of pain and departing strength. At last the 
officer, weary of his subordinate’s failure to stir these men, 
dragged at them himself, kicked and beat them, cursing the 
while. “Yaqui dogs! You go to the henequen fields!” 

The older of these wounded Indians, a man of lofty 
stature and mien, suddenly arose. Swiftly his brown arm 
flashed. He grasped a billet of wood from a packsaddle 
and struck the officer down. The blow lacked force. It 
was evident that the Yaqui, for all his magnificent spirit, 
could scarcely stand. Excitedly the soldiers yelled, and 
some brandished weapons. The officer staggered to his 
feet, livid and furious, snarling like a dog, and ordering his 
men to hold back, he drew a pistol to kill the Yaqui. The 
scorn, the contempt, the serenity of the Indian, instead of 
rousing his respect, incurred a fury which demanded more 
than death. 

“You shall walk the cholla torture!” he shrieked, wav¬ 
ing his pistol in the air. 

In northwest Mexico, for longer than the oldest inhabi¬ 
tant could remember, there had been a notorious rumor of 
the cholla torture that the Yaquis meted out to their 

[ 137 ] 


Mexican captives. This cholla torture consisted of ripping 
the skin off the soles of Mexicans’ feet and driving them 
to walk upon the cactus beds until they died. 

The two wounded Indians, with bleeding raw feet, were 
dragged to the cholla torture. They walked the white, glis¬ 
tening, needle-spiked beds of cholla blind to the cruel jeers 
and mute wonderment and vile maledictions of their heredi¬ 
tary foes. The giant Yaqui who had struck down the offi¬ 
cer stalked unaided across the beds of dry cholla. The 
cones cracked like live bits of steel. They collected on the 
Yaqui’s feet until he was lifting pads of cactus. He walked 
erect, with a quivering of all the muscles of his naked 
bronze body, and his dark face was set in a terrible hard¬ 
ness of scorn for his murderers. 

Then when the mass of cactus cones adhering to the 
Yaqui’s feet grew so heavy that he became anchored in his 
tracks the Mexican officer, with a fury that was not all 
hate, ordered his soldiers to dispatch these two Indians, 
who were beyond the reach of a torture hideous and appal¬ 
ling to all Mexicans. Yaqui, the chief, looked on inscrut¬ 
ably, towering above the bowed heads of his women. 

This execution sobered the soldiers. Not only extermi¬ 
nation did they mean to mete out to the Yaqui, but an ex¬ 
termination of horrible toil, by which the Mexicans were to 

[ 138 ] 


Montes, a Brazilian, lolled in the shady spot on the 
dock. The hot sun of Yucatan was more than enough for 
him. The still air reeked with a hot pungent odor of hene- 
quen. Montes had learned to hate the smell. He was in 
Yucatan on a mission for the Brazilian government and 
also as an agent to study the sisal product—an advant¬ 
ageous business for him, to which he had devoted himself 
with enthusiasm and energy. 

But two unforeseen circumstances had disturbed him of 
late and rendered less happy his devotion to his tasks. His 
vanity had been piqued, his pride had been hurt, his heart 
had been stormed by one of Merida’s coquettish beauties. 
And the plight of the poor Yaqui Indians, slaves in the 
henequen fields, had so roused his compassion that he had 
neglected his work. 

So, as Montes idled there in the shade, with his legs 
dangling over the dock, a time came in his reflection when he 
was confronted with a choice between the longing to go home 
and a strange desire to stay. He gazed out into the gulf. 
The gunboat Esperanza had come to anchor in the roads off 
Progreso. She had a cargo of human freight—Yaqui In¬ 
dian prisoners from the wild plateaus of Northern Sonora— 
more slaves to be broken in the terrible henequen fields. At 
that moment of Montes’s indecision he espied Lieutenant 
Perez coming down the dock at the head of a file of rurales . 

[ 139 ] 


Gazing at Perez intently, the Brazilian experienced a 
slight cold shock of decision. He would prolong his stay in 
Yucatan. Strange was the nameless something that haunted 
him. Jealous curiosity, he called it, bitterly. Perez had 
the favor of the proud mother of Senorita Dolores Men¬ 
doza, the coquettish beauty who had smiled upon Montes. 
She cared no more for Perez than she cared for him or any 
of the young bloods of Merida. But she would marry Perez. 

Montes rose and stepped out of the shade. His com¬ 
mission in Yucatan put him on common ground with Perez, 
but he had always felt looked down upon by this little 

“ Buenos dias, senor,” replied Perez to his greeting. 
64 More Yaquis.” 

A barge was made fast to the end of the dock and the 
Yaquis driven off and held there in a closely guarded group. 

The time came when Perez halted the loading of hene- 
quen long enough to allow the prisoners to march up the 
dock between files of rurales. They passed under the shad¬ 
ows of the huge warehouses, out into a glaring square where 
the bare sand radiated veils of heat. 

At an order from Perez, soldiers began separating the 
Yaqui women and children from the men. They were 
formed in two lines. Then Perez went among them, point¬ 
ing out one, then another. 

[ 140 ] 


Montes suddenly grasped the significance of this scene 
and it had strange effect upon him. Yaqui father and son 
—husband and wife—mother and child did not yet realize 
that here they were to be parted—that this separation was 
forever. Then one young woman, tall, with striking dark 
face, beautiful with the grace of some wild creature, in¬ 
stinctively divined the truth and she cried out hoarsely. 
The silence, the stoicism of these Indians seemed broken. 
This woman had a baby in her arms. Running across the 
aisle of sand, she faced a huge Yaqui and cried aloud in 
poignant broken speech. This giant was her husband and 
the father of that dusky-eyed baby. He spoke, laid a hand 
on her and stepped out. Perez, who had been at the other 
end of the aisle, saw the movement and strode toward them. 

“Back, Yaqui dogs!” he yelled stridently, and he flashed 
his bright sword. 

With tremendous stride the Yaqui reached Perez and 
towered over him. 

“ Capitan , let my wife and child go where Yaqui goes,” 
demanded the Indian in deep voice of sonorous dignity. 
His Spanish was well spoken. His bearing was that of a 
chief. He asked what seemed his right, even of a ruthless 

But Perez saw nothing but affront to his authority. At 
his order the rurales clubbed Yaqui back into his squad. 

[ 141 ] 


They would have done the same for the stricken wife, had 
she not backed away from their threatening advances. She 
had time for a long agonized look into the terrible face of 
her husband. Then she was driven away in one squad and 
he was left in the other. 

Montes thought he would forever carry in memory the 
tragic face of that Yaqui’s wife. Indians had hearts and 
souls the same as white people. It was a ridiculous and 
extraordinary and base thing to be callous to the truth. 
Montes had spent not a little time in the pampas among 
the Gauchos and for that bold race he had admiration and 
respect. Indeed, coming to think about it, the Gauchos 
resembled these Yaquis. Montes took the trouble to go 
among English and American acquaintances he had made 
in Progreso, and learned more about this oppressed tribe. 

The vast plateau of northwestern Mexico, a desert and 
mountainous region rich in minerals, was the home of the 
Yaquis. For more than one hundred and sixty years there 
had been war between the Yaquis and the Mexicans. And 
recently, following a bloody raid credited to the Yaquis, 
the government that happened to be in power determined 
to exterminate them. To that end it was hunting the In¬ 
dians down, killing those who resisted capture, and sending 
the rest to the torture of the henequen fields. 

[ 142 ] 


But more interesting was the new information that 
Montes gathered. The Yaquis were an extraordinary, able- 
bodied, and intelligent people. Most of them spoke Span¬ 
ish. They had many aboriginal customs and beliefs, but 
some were Roman Catholics. The braves made better 
miners and laborers than white men. Moreover, they pos¬ 
sessed singular mechanical gifts and quickly learned to op¬ 
erate machines more efficiently than most whites. They 
possessed wonderful physical development and a marvelous 
endurance. At sixty years Yaquis had perfectly sound 
white teeth and hair as black as night. These desert men 
could travel seventy miles on foot in one day with only a 
bag of pinole. Water they could do without for days. And 
it was said that some of the Yaqui runners performed 
feats of speed, strength, and endurance beyond credence- 
Montes, remembering the seven-foot stature of that Yaqui 
chief and the spread of shoulders and the wonder of his 
spare lithe limbs, thought that he could believe much. 

The act of Perez in deliberately parting the chief from 
his loved ones was cruel and despicable; and it seemed to 
establish in Montes’s mind an excuse for the disgust and 
hate he had come to feel for the tyrannical little officer. 
But, being frank with himself, Montes confessed that this 
act had only fixed a hate he already had acquired. 

The Brazilian convinced himself that he had intuitively 

[ 143 ] 


grasped a portent apparently lost on Perez. One of those 
silent, intent-faced Yaquis was going to kill this epauleted 
scion of a rich Yucatecan house. Montes had read it in 
these faces. He had lived among the blood-spilling Gauchos 
and he knew the menace of silent fierce savages. And he 
did not make any bones about the admission to himself that 
he hoped some Yaqui would kill the peacocked Mexican. 
Montes had Spanish in him, and something of the raw pas¬ 
sion of the Gauchos he admired; and it suited him to ab¬ 
sorb this morbid presentiment. The Yaqui chief fascinated 
him, impelled him. Montes determined to learn where this 
giant had been sent and to watch him, win his confidence, 
if such a thing was possible. Quien sabef Montes felt 
more reasons than one for his desire to get under the skin 
of this big Yaqui. 

[ 144 ] 


I N THE interior of Yucatan there were vast barren areas 
of land fit only for the production of henequen. Noth¬ 
ing but jungle and henequen would grow there. It was a 
limestone country. The soil could not absorb water. It 
soaked through. Here and there, miles apart, were cenotes , 
underground caverns full of water, and usually these marked 
the location of a hacienda of one of the rich planters. The 
climate was hot, humid, and for any people used to high 
altitudes it spelled death. 

The plantation of Don Sancho Perez, father of the 
young lieutenant, consisted of fifty thousand acres. It ad¬ 
joined the hundred-thousand-acre tract of Donna Isabel 
Mendoza. The old Don was ambitious to merge the plan¬ 
tations into one, so that he could dominate the fiber out¬ 
put of that region. To this end he had long sought to win 
for his son the hand of Donna Isabel’s beautiful daughter. 

The big Yaqui Indian who had been wantonly sepa¬ 
rated from his wife by young Perez was in the squad of 
prisoners that had been picked out by the young officer to 
work on his father’s plantation. 

[ 145 ] 


They were manacled at night and herded like wild 
beasts into a pen and watched by armed guards. They 
were routed out at dawn and put to work in the fiber fields. 
For food they had, each of them, a single lump of coarse 
soggy bread—one lump once every day. When the weaker 
among them began to lag, to slow down, to sicken, they 
were whipped to their tasks. 1 

Yaqui knew that never again would he see his wife and 
baby—never hear from them—never know what became of 
them. He was worked like a galley slave, all the harder 
because of his great strength and endurance. He would be 
driven until he broke down. 

Yaqui’s work consisted of cutting henequen fiber leaves. 
He had a curved machete and he walked down the endless 
aisles between the lines of great century plants and from 
each plant he cut the lower circle of leaves. Each plant 
gave him a heavy load and he carried it to the nearest one 
of the hand-car tracks that crossed the plantation. The 
work of other Indians was to push hand cars along these 
tracks and gather the loads. 

It took Yaqui six days to cut along the length of one 
aisle. And as far as he could see stretched a vast, hot, 

1 Recently the Mexican government changed its policy toward peon labor 
in Yucatan, and the Yaquis in Sonora. These Indians are now in the regular 
Mexican army. [Author’s Note.] 

[ 146 ] 




green wilderness with its never-ending lines and lanes, its 
labyrinthine maze of intersecting aisles, its hazy, copper- 
hued horizons speared and spiked by the great bayonet-like 
leaves. He had been born and raised on the rugged moun¬ 
tain plateaus far to the north, where the clear, street, cold 
morning air stung and the midday sun was only warm to 
his back, where there were grass and water and flowers and 
trees, where the purple canyons yawned and the black 
peaks searched the sky. Here he was chained in the thick, 
hot, moist night, where the air was foul, and driven out in 
the long day under a fiery sun, where the henequen reeked 
and his breath clogged in his throat and his eyes were 
burning balls and his bare feet w T ere like rotting hoofs. 

The time came when Montes saw that the Yaqui looked 
no more toward that northland which he would never see 
again. He dreamed no more hopeless dreams. Somehow 
he knew when his wife and baby were no more a part of 
him on the earth. For something within him died and 
there were strange, silent voices at his elbow. He listened 
to them. And in the depths of his being there boiled a 
maelstrom of blood. He worked on and waited. 

At night in the close-crowded filthy pen, with the damp¬ 
ness of tropical dews stealing in, and all about him the 
silent prostrate forms of his stricken people, he lay awake 
and waited enduringly through the long hours till a fitful 

[ 147 ] 


sleep came to him. By day in the henequen fields, with 
the furnace blasts of wind swirling down the aisles, with 
the moans of his beaten and failing comrades full in his 
ears, he waited with a Yaqui’s patience. 

He saw his people beaten and scourged and starved. 
He saw them sicken and fail—wilt under the hot sun—die 
in the henequen aisles—and be thrown like dogs into ditches 
with quicklime. One by one they went and when they 
were nearly all gone another squad took their places. The 
Yaqui recognized Indians of other tribes of his race. But 
they did not know him. He had greatly changed. Only 
the shell of him was left. And that seemed unbreakable, 
deathless. He did not tell these newcomers to the fields 
what torture lay in store for them. He might have been 
dumb. He only waited, adding day by day, in the horror 
of the last throes of his old comrades, something more to 
that hell in his blood. He watched them die and then the 
beginning of the end for his new comrades. They were 
doomed. They were to be driven till they dropped. And 
others would be brought to fill their places, till at last there 
were no Yaquis left. The sun was setting for his race. 

The Yaqui and his fellow toilers had one day of rest— 
the Sabbath. There was no freedom. And always there 
were guards and soldiers. Sunday was the day of bull 
fights in the great corral at the hacienda. And on these 

[ 148 ] 


occasions Yaqui was given extra work. Montes knew the 
Indian looked forward to this day. The old Don’s son, 
Lieutenant Perez, would come down from the city to at¬ 
tend the fight. Then surely Yaqui fed his dark soul with 
more cunning, more patience, more promise. 

It was the Yaqui’s work to help drag disemboweled and 
dying horses from the bull ring and to return with sand 
to cover up the gory spots in the arena. Often Montes saw 
him look up at the crowded circle of seats and at the box 
where the gray old Don and his people and friends watched 
the spectacle. There were handsome women with white 
lace over their heads and in whose dark and slumberous 
eyes lurked something the Yaqui knew. It was something 
that was in the race. Lieutenant Perez was there leaning 
toward the proud senorita. The Indian watched her with 
strange intensity. She appeared indifferent to the efforts 
of the 'picadores and the banderilleros , those men in the 
arena whose duty it was to infuriate the bull for the artist 
with the sword—the matador. When he appeared the 
beautiful senorita wakened to interest. But not until there 
was blood on the bright blade did she show the fire and 
passion of her nature. It was sight of blood that quick¬ 
ened her. It was death, then, that she wanted to see. 

And last the Yaqui let his gaze rivet on the dark, arro¬ 
gant visage of young Perez. Did not the great chief then 

[ 149 ] 


become superhuman, or was it only Montes’s morbid fancy? 
When Yaqui turned away, did he not feel a promise of 
fulfillment in the red haze of the afternoon sun, in the red 
tinge of the stained sand, in the red and dripping tongue of 
the tortured bull? Montes knew the Yaqui only needed to 
live long enough and there would be something. And 
death seemed aloof from this Indian. The ferocity of the 
desert was in him and its incalculable force of life. In his 
eyes had burned a seared memory of the violent thrust 
with which Perez had driven his wife and baby forever from 
his sight. 

Montes’s changed attitude evidently found favor in the 
proud senorita’s eyes. She had but trifled with an earnest 
and humble suitor; to the advances of a man, bold, ar¬ 
dent, strange, with something unfathomable in his wooing, 
she was not indifferent. The fact did not cool Montes’s 
passion, but it changed him somehow. The Spanish in him 
was the part that so ardently loved and hated; his mother 
had been French, and from her he had inherited qualities 
that kept him eternally in conflict with his instincts. 

Montes had his living quarters in Merida, where all the 
rich henequen planters had town houses. It was not a long 
horseback ride out to the haciendas of the two families in 
which Montes had become most interested. His habit of 
late, after returning from a visit to the henequen fields, 

[ 150 ] 


had been to choose the early warm hours of the afternoon 
to call upon Senorita Mendoza. There had been a time 
when his calls had been formally received by the Donna 
Isabel, but of late she had persisted in her siesta, leaving 
Montes to Dolores. Montes had grasped the significance 
of this—the future of Dolores had been settled and there 
no longer was risk in leaving her alone. But Montes had 
developed a theory that the future of any young woman 
was an uncertainty. 

The Mendoza town house stood in the outskirts of 
fashionable Merida. The streets were white, the houses 
were white, the native Mayan women wore white, and al¬ 
ways it seemed to Montes as he took the familiar walk 
that the white sun blazed down on an immaculate city. 
But there were dark records against the purity of Merida 
and the Yaqui slave driving was one of them. The Men¬ 
doza mansion had been built with money coming from the 
henequen fields. It stood high on a knoll, a stately white 
structure looking down upon a formal garden, where white 
pillars and statues gleamed among green palms and bowers 
of red roses. At the entrance, on each side of the wide 
flagstone walk, stood a huge henequen plant. 

On this day the family was in town and Montes ex¬ 
pected that the senorita would see him coming. He de¬ 
rived pleasure from the assurance that, compared with 

[ 151 ] 


Perez, he was someone good to look at. Beside him the 
officer was a swarthy undersized youth. But Montes failed 
to see the white figure of the girl and suffered chagrin for 
his vanity. 

The day was warm. As he climbed the high, wide 
stone steps his brow grew moist and an oppression weighed 
upon him. Only in the very early morning here in Yuca¬ 
tan did he ever have any energy. The climate was enervat¬ 
ing. No wonder it was that servants and people slept 
away the warmer hours. Crossing the broad stone court 
and the spacious outside hall, Montes entered the dim, 
dark, musty parlors and passed through to the patio. 

Here all was colorful luxuriance of grass and flower and 
palm, great still ferns and trailing vines. It was not cool, 
but shady and moist. Only a soft spray of falling water and 
a humming of bees disturbed the deep silence. The place 
seemed drowned in sweet fragrance, rich and subtle, thicken¬ 
ing the air so that it was difficult to breathe. In a bower 
roofed by roses lay Senorita Mendoza, asleep in a hammock. 

Softly Montes made his way to her side and stood look¬ 
ing down at her. As a picture, as something feminine, 
beautiful and young and soft and fresh and alluring, asleep 
and therefore sincere, she seemed all that was desirable. 
Dolores Mendoza was an unusual type for a Yucatecan of 
Spanish descent. She was blond. Her hair was not golden, 

[ 152 ] 


yet nearly so; she had a broad, low, beautiful brow, with 
level eyebrows, and the effect of her closed lids was fasci¬ 
nating with their promise; her nose was small, straight, 
piquant, with delicate nostrils that showed they could 
quiver and dilate; her mouth, the best feature of her 
beauty, was as red as the roses that drooped over her, and 
its short curved upper lip seemed full, sweet, sensuous. She 
had the oval face of her class, but fair, not olive-skinned, 
and her chin, though it did not detract from her charms, 
was far from being strong. Perhaps her greatest attraction, 
seen thus in the slumber of abandon, was her slender form, 
round-limbed and graceful. 

Montes gazed at her until he felt a bitterness of revolt 
against the deceit of Nature. She gladdened all the senses 
of man. But somehow she seemed false to the effect she 
created. If he watched her long in this beautiful guise of 
sleep he would deaden his intelligence. She was not for 
him. So he pulled a red rose and pushed it against her 
lips, playfully tapping them until she awoke. Her eyes un¬ 
closed. They were a surprise. They should have been 
blue, but they were tawny. Sleepy, dreamy, wonderful cat 
eyes they were, clear and soft, windows of the truth of her 
nature. Montes suddenly felt safe again, sure of himself. 

“Ah, Sefior Montes,” she said. “You found me asleep. 
How long have you been here?” 

[ 153 ] 


“A long time, I think,” he replied, as he seated himself 
on a bench near her hammock. “ Watching you asleep, I 
forgot time. But alas! time flies—and you awoke.” 

Dolores laughed. She had perfect white teeth that 
looked made to bite and enjoy biting. Her smile added to 
her charm. 

“Sir, one would think you liked me best asleep.” 

“I do. You are always beautiful, Dolores. But when 
you are asleep you seem sincere. Now you are—Dolores 

“Who is sincere? You are not,” she retorted. “I 
don’t know you any more. You seem to try to make me 
dissatisfied with myself.” 

“So you ought to be.” 

“Why? Because I cannot run away with you to 

“No. Because you look like an angel but are not one. 
Because your beauty, your charm, your sweetness deceive 
men. You seem the incarnation of love and joy.” 

“Ah!” she cried, stretching out her round arms and 
drawing a deep breath that swelled her white neck. “You 
are jealous. But I am happy. I have what I want. I am 
young and I enjoy. I love to be admired. I love to be 
loved. I love jewels, gowns, all I have, pleasure, excite¬ 
ment, music, flowers. I love to eat. I love to be idle, 

[ 154 ] 


lazy, dreamy. I love to sleep. And you, horrid man, 
awake me to make me think.” 

“That is impossible, Dolores,” he replied. “You can¬ 
not think.” 

“My mind works pretty well. But I’ll admit I’m a 
little animal—a tawny-eyed cat. So, Montes, you must 
stroke me the right way or I will scratch.” 

“Well, I’d rather you scratched,” said Montes. “A 
man likes a woman who loves him tenderly and passion¬ 
ately one moment and tears his hair out the next.” 

“You know, of course, senor,” she replied mockingly. 
“The little Alva girl, for instance. You admired her. Per¬ 
haps she—” 

“She is adorable,” he returned complacently. “I go 
to her for consolation.” 

Dolores made a sharp passionate gesture, a contrast to 
her usual languorous movements. Into the sleepy, tawny 
eyes shot a dilating fire. 

“Have you made love to her?” she demanded. 

“Dolores, do you imagine any man could resist that 
girl?” he rejoined. 

“Have you?” she repeated with heaving breast. 

Montes discarded his tantalizing lightness. “No, Do¬ 
lores, I have not. I have lived in a torment lately. My 
love for you seems turning to hate.” 

[ 155 ] 


“No!” she cried, extending her hands. She softened. 
Her lips parted. If there were depths in her, Montes had 
sounded them. 

“Dolores, tell me the truth,” he said, taking her hands. 
“You have never been true.” 

“I am true to my family. They chose Perez for me to 
marry—before I ever knew you. It is settled. I shall 
marry him. But—” 

“But! Dolores, you love me?” 

She drooped her head. “Yes, senor—lately it has come 
to that. Ah! Don’t—don’t! Montes, I beg of you! You 
forget—I’m engaged to Perez.” 

Montes released her. In her confession and resistance 
there was proof of his injustice. She was no nobler than 
her class. She was a butterfly in her fancies, a little cat 
in her greedy joy of physical life. But in her agitation he 
saw a deeper spirit. 

“Dolores, if I had come first—before Perez—would you 
have given yourself to me?” he asked. 

“Ah, senor, with all my heart!” she replied softly. 

“Dearest—I think I must ask you to forgive me for— 
for something I can’t confess. And now tell me—this re¬ 
ception given to-morrow by your mother—is that to an¬ 
nounce your engagement to Perez?” 

“Yes and I will be free then till fall—when—when—” 

[ 156 ] 


“When you will be married?” 

She bowed assent and hesitatingly slid a white hand 
toward him. 

“Fall! It’s a long time. Dolores, I must go back to 

“Ah, senor, that will kill me! Stay!” she entreated. 

“But it would be dangerous. Perez dislikes me. I 
hate him. Something terrible might come of it.” 

“That is his risk. I have consented to marry him. I 
will do my duty before and after. But I see no reason why 
I may not have a little happiness—of my own—until that 
day comes. Life for me will not contain all I could wish. 
I told you; now I am happy. But you were included. 
Senor, if you love me you will remain.” 

“Dolores, can you think we will not suffer more?” he 

“I know we will afterward. But we shall not now.” 

“Now is perilous to me. To realize you love me! I 
did not think you capable of it. Listen! Something— 
something might prevent your marriage—or happen after¬ 
ward. All—all is so uncertain.” 

6 “Quien sabe?” she whispered; and to the tawny, sleepy 

languor of her eyes there came a fancy, a dream, a mystic 

“Dolores, if Perez were lost to you—one way or 

[ 157 ] 


another—would you marry me?” he broke out huskily. 
Not until then had he asked her hand in marriage. 

“If such forlorn hope will make you stay—make you 
happy—yes, Senor Montes,” was her answer. 

There came a time when Yaqui was needed in the fac¬ 
tory where the henequen fiber was extracted from the leaves. 
He had come to be a valuable machine—an instrument of 
toil that did not run down or go wrong. One guard said to 
another: “That big black peon takes a lot of killing!” 
and then ceased to watch him closely. He might have es¬ 
caped. He might have crossed the miles and miles of hene¬ 
quen fields to the jungle, and under that dense cover had 
made his way northward to the coast. Yaqui had many a 
chance. But he never looked toward the north. 

At first they put him to feeding henequen leaves into 
the maw of a crushing machine. The juicy, sticky, odorous 
substance of the big twenty-pound leaf was squeezed into 
a pulp, out of which came the white glistening threads of 
fiber. These fibers made sisal rope—rope second in qual¬ 
ity only to the manila. 

By and by he was promoted. They put him in the 
pressing room to work on the ponderous iron press which was 
used to make the henequen bales. This machine was a high, 
strange-looking object, oblong in shape, like a box, opening in 

[ 158 ] 


the middle from the top down. It had several distinct move¬ 
ments, all operated by levers. Long bundles of henequen 
were carried in from the racks and laid in the press until it was 
half full. Then a lever was pulled, the machine closed on the 
fiber and opened again. This operation was repeated again 
and again. Then it was necessary for the operator to step 
from his platform upon the fiber in the machine and stamp 
it down and jump upon it and press it closely all round. 
When this had been done the last time the machine seemed 
wide open and stuffed so full that it would never close. But 
when the lever was pulled the ponderous steel jaws shut closer 
and closer and locked. Then the sides fell away, to dis¬ 
close a great smooth bale of henequen ready for shipment. 

The Yaqui learned to operate this press so skillfully 
that the work was left to him. When his carriers went out 
to the racks for more fiber he was left alone in the room. 

Some strange relation sprang up between Yaqui and his 
fiber press. For him it never failed to operate. He knew 
to a strand just how much fiber made a perfect bale. And 
he became so accurate that his bales were never weighed. 
They came out glistening, white, perfect to the pound. 
There was a strange affinity between this massive, steel- 
jawed engine and something that lived in the Yaqui’s 
heart, implacable and immutable, appalling in its strength 
to wait, in its power to crush. 

[ 159 ] 


PT^HERE seemed no failing of the endurance of this 
primitive giant, but his great frame had wasted away 
until it was a mere hulk. Owing to his value now to the 
hacienda, Yaqui was given rations in lieu of the ball of 
soggy bread; they were not, however, what the Indian 
needed. Montes at last won Yaqui’s gratitude. 

“Senor, if Yaqui wanted to eat it would be meat he 
needed,” said the chief. Then Montes added meat to the 
wine, bread, and fruit he secretly brought to the Indian. 

When Montes began covert kindnesses to the poor 
Yaqui slaves the chief showed gratitude and pathos: “ Senor 
Montes is good—but the sun of the Yaquis is setting.” 

Perez in his triumphant arrogance evidently derived 
pleasure from being magnanimous to the man he instinc¬ 
tively knew was his rival. 

One day at the hacienda when Montes rode up to meet 
Donna Isabel and Dolores he found them accompanied by 
Perez and his parents. Almost immediately the young offi¬ 
cer suggested gayly: 

“Senor, pray carry Dolores off somewhere. My father 

[ 160 ] 


has something to plan with Donna Isabel. It must be a 
secret from Dolores. Take her a walk—talk to her, senor 
—keep her excited—make love to her!” 

“I shall be happy to obey. Will you come, senorita?” 
said Montes. 

If they expected Dolores to pout, they were mistaken. 
Her slow, sleepy glance left the face of her future husband 
as she turned away silently to accompany Montes. They 
walked along the palm-shaded road, out toward the huge, 
open, sunny space that was the henequen domain. 

“I hate Perez,” she burst out suddenly. “He meant to 
taunt you. He thinks I am his slave—a creature without 
mind or heart. Senor, make love to me!” 

“You will be his slave—soon,” whispered Montes bit¬ 

“Never!” she exclaimed passionately. 

They reached the end of the shady road. The mill was 
silent. Montes saw the Indian standing motionless close 
at hand, in the shade of the henequen racks. 

“Dolores, did you mean what you just said?” asked 
Montes eagerly. 

“That I will never be Perez’s slave?” 

“No; the other thing you said.” 

“Yes, I did,” she replied. “Make love to me, senor. 
It was his wish. I must learn to obey.” 

[ 161 ] 


With sullen scorn she spoke, not looking at Montes, 
scarcely realizing the actual purport of her speech. But 
when Montes took her in his arms she started back with a 
cry. He held her. And suddenly clasping her tightly he 
bent his head to kiss the red lips she opened to protest. 

6 ‘Let me go!” she begged wildly. “Oh—I did not— 
mean — Montes, not so! Do not make me—” 

“Kiss me!” whispered Montes hoarsely, “or I’ll never 
let you go. It was his wish. Come, I dare you—I beg 

One wild moment she responded to his kiss, and then 
she thrust him away. 

“Ah, by the saints!” she murmured with hands over 
her face. “Now I will love you more—my heart will 

“Dolores, I can’t let Perez have you,” declared Montes 

“Too late, my dear. I am to be his wife.” 

“But you love me, Dolores?” 

“Alas! too true. I do. Oh, I never knew how well!” 
she cried. 

“Let us run away,” he implored eagerly. 

Mournfully she shook her head, and looking up suddenly 
she espied the Yaqui. His great burning cavernous eyes, 
like black fire, were fixed upon her. 

[ 162 ] 


“Oh, that terrible Yaqui,” she whispered. “It is he 
who watches us at the bull fights — Let us go, Montes 
— Oh, he saw us—he saw me— Come!” 

Upon their return to the house the old Don greeted them 
effusively. He seemed radiant with happiness. He had 
united two of the first families of Yucatan, which unison 
would make the greatest henequen plantation. The beau¬ 
tiful senorita had other admirers. But this marriage had 
unusual advantages. The peculiar location and productive¬ 
ness of the plantations and the obstacles to greater and 
quicker output that would be done away with, and the 
fact that Lieutenant Perez through his military influence 
could work the fields with peon labor—these facts had car¬ 
ried the balance in favor of the marriage. The old Don 
manifestly regarded the arrangement as a victory for him 
which he owed to the henequen, and he had decided to 
make the wedding day one on which the rich product of 
the plantation should play a most important part. 

“But how to bring in the henequen!” he concluded in 
perplexity. “I’ve racked my brain. Son, I leave it to you.” 

Young Perez magnificently waved the question asida. 
Possessing himself of his fiancee’s reluctant hand, he spoke 
in a whisper audible to Montes. “We planned the wed¬ 
ding presents. That was the secret. But you shall not 
see—not know—until we are married!” 

[ 163 ] 


Montes dropped his eyes and his brow knit thoughtfully. 
Later, as a peon brought his horse, he called Perez aside. 

“I’ve an idea,” he said confidentially. “Have Yaqui 
select the most perfect henequen fiber to make the most 
beautiful and perfect bale of henequen ever pressed. Have 
Yaqui place the wedding presents inside the bale before the 
final pressing. Then send it to Donna Isabel’s house after 
the wedding and open it there.” 

Young Perez clapped his hands in delight. What a capi¬ 
tal plan! He complimented Montes and thanked him and 
asked him to keep secret the idea. Indeed, the young lieu¬ 
tenant waxed enthusiastic over the plan. It would be 
unique; it would be fitting to the occasion. Perez would 
have Yaqui pick over and select from the racks the most 
perfect fibers, to be laid aside. Perez would go himself to 
watch Yaqui at his work. He would have Yaqui practice 
the operation of pressing, so at the momentous hour there 
could be no hitch. And on the wedding day Perez would 
carry the presents himself. No hands but his own would 
be trusted with those jewels, especially the exquisite pearls 
that were his own particular gift. 

At last the day arrived for the wedding. It was to be 
a holiday. Yaqui alone was not to lie idle. It was to fall 
to him to press that bale of henequen and to haul it to the 
bride’s home. 

[ 164 ] 


But Perez did not receive all his gifts when he wanted 
them. Messengers arrived late and some were yet to come. 
He went to the mill, however, and put Yaqui to work at 
packing the henequen in the press and building it up. The 
Indian was bidden to go so far with the bale, leaving a 
great hole in the middle for the gifts and to have the rest 
of the fiber all ready to pack and press. Perez would not 
trust anyone else with his precious secret; he himself would 
hurry down with the gifts, and secretly, for the manner of 
presentation was to be a great surprise. 

Blue was the sky, white gold the sun, and the breeze 
waved the palms. But for Montes an invisible shadow 
hovered over the stately Mendoza mansion where Dolores 
was to be made a bride. The shadow existed in his mind 
and took mystic shape—now a vast, copper-hazed, green- 
spiked plain of henequen, and then the spectral gigantic 
shape of a toiling man, gaunt, grim, and fire-eyed. 

Montes hid his heavy heart behind smiling lips and the 
speech of a courtier. He steeled himself against a nameless 
and portending shock, waiting for it even when his mind 
scorned the delusion. But the shock did not come at sight 
of Senorita Dolores, magnificently gowned in white, beauti¬ 
ful, serene, imperious, with her proud, tawny eyes and proud, 
red lips. Nor when those sleepy strange eyes met his. Nor 
when the priest ended the ceremony that made her a wife. 

[ 165 ] 


He noted when Lieutenant Perez laughingly fought his 
way out of the crowd and disappeared. Then the unrest 
of Montes became a haunting suspense. 

By and by the guests were directed out to the shaded 
west terrace, where in the center of the wide stoned space 
lay a huge white glistening bale of henequen. Beside it 
stood the giant Yaqui, dark, motionless, aloof. The guests 
clustered round. 

When Montes saw the Yaqui like a statue beside the 
bale of henequen, he sustained the shock for which he had 
been waiting. He slipped to the front of the circle of 

“Ah!” exclaimed the old Don, eying the bale of hene¬ 
quen with great satisfaction. “This is the surprise our son 
had in store for us. Here is the jewel case—here are the 
wedding presents!” 

The guests laughed and murmured their compliments. 

“Where is Senor Perez?” demanded the Don as he 
looked round. 

“The boy is hiding,” replied Donna Isabel. “He wants 
to watch his bride when she sees the gifts.” 

“No—he would not be there,” declared the old Don in 
perplexity. Something strange edged into his gladness of 
the moment. Suddenly he wheeled to the Yaqui. But he 
never spoke the question on his lips. Slowly he seemed to 

[ 166 ] 


be blasted by those great black-fired orbs, as piercing as if 
they had been lightnings from hell. 

“ Hurry, open the bale,” cried the bride, her sweet voice 
trilling above the gay talk. 

Yaqui appeared not to hear. Was he looking into the 
soul of the father of Lieutenant Perez? All about him be¬ 
trayed almost a superhuman intensity. 

“Open the bale,” ordered the bride. 

Yaqui cut the wire. He did not look at her. The per¬ 
fectly folded and pressed strands of fiber shook and swelled 
and moved apart as if in relief. And like a great white 
jewel case of glistening silken threads the bale of henequen 

It commanded a stilling of the gay murmur—a sudden 
silence that had a subtle effect upon all. The beautiful 
bride, leaning closer to look, seemed to lose the light of the 
tawny proud eyes. Her mother froze into a creature of 
stone. The old Don, in slow strange action, as if his mind 
had feeble sway over body, bent his gray head away from 
the gaunt and terrible Yaqui. Something showed blue down 
under the center strands of the glistening fiber. With a 
swift flash of his huge black hand, with exceeding violence, 
Yaqui swept the strands aside. Then from his lips pealed 
an awful cry. Instead of the jewels, there, crushed and 
ghastly, lay the bridegroom Perez. 

[ 167 ] 




ES, I’ve a power over animals. Look at Tigre there! 

A But the old women in Micas say IVe found one wild 
thing I’ll never tame.” 

“And that, senor?” asked Muella. 

“My young and pretty wife.” 

She tossed her small head, so that her black curls rip¬ 
pled in the sunlight, and the silver rings danced in her ears. 

“Bernardo, I’m not a parrot to have my tongue slit, or 
a monkey to be taught tricks, or a jungle cat to be trained. 
I’m a woman, and—” 

“Yes—and I am old,” he interrupted bitterly. “Look, 
Muella—there on the Micas trail!” 

“It’s only Augustine, your vaquero .” 

“Watch him!” replied Bernardo. 

Muella watched the lithe figure of a man striding swiftly 
along the trail. He was not going to drive cattle up to the 
corrals, for in that case he would have been riding a horse. 
He was not going toward the huts of the other herders. He 
faced the jungle into which ran the Micas trail. 

Surely he could not be on his way to Micas! The af¬ 
ternoon was far advanced and the village many miles away. 

[ 171 ] 


No vaquero ever trusted himself to the dangers of the jun¬ 
gle at night. Even Augustine, the boldest and strongest of 
Bernardo’s many herders, would scarcely venture so much. 
Yet Augustine kept on down the trail, passed the thatched 
bamboo fence, went through the grove of palms, and disap¬ 
peared in the green wall of jungle. 

“He’s gone!” cried Bernardo. “Muella, I sent Augus¬ 
tine away.” 

She saw a dull red in her husband’s cheeks, a dark and 
sinister gleam in his eyes; and her surprise yielded to mis¬ 

“Why?” she asked. 

“He loved you.” 

“No! No! Bernardo, if that’s why you sent him away, 
you’ve wronged him. Of all your vaqueros , Augustine alone 
never smiled at me—he cared nothing for me.” 

“I say he loved you,” returned Bernardo hoarsely. 

“Bernardo, you are unjust!” 

“Would you lie to me? I know he loves you. Girl, 
confess that you love him. Tell it! I won’t bear this 
doubt another day!” 

Muella stood rigid in his grasp, her eyes blazing the 
truth that her lips scorned to speak. 

“I’ll make you tell!” he shouted, and ran to a cage of 
twisted vines and bamboo poles. 

[ m ] 


As he fumbled with the fastening of a door, his brown 
hands shook. A loud purr, almost a cough, came from the 
cage; then an enormous jaguar stepped out into the sun¬ 

“Now, girl, look at Tigre!” 

Tigre was of huge build, graceful in every powerful line 
of his yellow, black-spotted body, and beautiful. Still, he 
was terrible of aspect. His massive head swung lazily; his 
broad face had one set expression of brute ferocity. 

The eyes of any jaguar are large, yellow, cold, pale, 
cruel, but Tigre’s were frightful. Every instant they vi¬ 
brated, coalesced, focused, yet seemed always to hold a 
luminous, far-seeing stare. It was as if Tigre was gazing 
beyond the jungle horizon to palm-leaf lairs which he had 
never seen, but which he knew by instinct. And then it 
was as if a film descended to hide their tawny depths. 
Tigre’s eyes changed—they were always changing, only 
there was not in them the life of vision; for the jaguar was 

Bernardo burst into rapid speech. 

“The taunting old crones of Micas were right when 
they said I could not tame the woman; but I’ve tamed 
every wild creature of the Taumaulipas jungle. Look at 
Tigre! Who beside Bernardo ever tamed a jaguar? Look! 
Tigre is my dog. He loves me. He follows me, he guards 

[ 173 ] 


me, he sleeps under my hammock. Tigre is blind, and he 
is deaf, yet never have I trained any beast so well. What¬ 
ever I put Tigre to trail, he finds. He never loses. He 
trails slowly, for he is blind and deaf, but he never stops, 
never sleeps, till he kills!” 

Bernardo clutched the fur of the great jaguar and 
leaned panting against the thatch wall of the cage. 

“I’ll soon know if you love Augustine!” he went on 
passionately. “Look here at the path—the path that leads 
out to the Micas trail. See! Augustine’s sandal-prints in 
the dust! Now, girl, watch!” 

He led Tigre to the path and forced the nose of the 
beast down upon Augustine’s footmarks. Suddenly the 
jaguar lost all his lax grace. His long tail lashed from side 
to side. Then, with head low, he paced down the path* 
He crossed the grassy plot, went through the fence, along 
the trail into the jungle. 

“He’s trailing Augustine!” cried Muella. 

She felt Bernardo’s gaze burning into her face. 

“Tigre will trail him—catch him—kill him!” her hus¬ 
band said. 

Muella screamed. 

“He’s innocent! I swear Augustine does not love me! 
I swear I don’t love him! It’s a horrible mistake. He’ll 
be trailed—ah, he’ll be torn by that blind brute!” Muella 

[ 174 ] 


leaped back from her husband. “Never! You jealous 
monster! For I’ll run after Augustine—I’ll tell him—I’ll 
save him! ” 

She eluded Bernardo’s fierce onslaught, and, fleet as a 
frightened deer, she sped down the path. She did not 
heed his hoarse cries, nor his heavy footsteps. 

Bernardo was lame. Muella had so little fear of his 
catching her that she did not look back. She passed the 
fence, sped through the grove, and entered the jungle. 

[175 ] 


T HE trail was hard-packed earth, and ahead it lost its 
white line in the green walls. Muella ran swiftly, 
dodging the leaning branches, bowing her head under the 
streamers of moss, striking aside the slender palm leaves. 
Gay-plumaged birds flitted before her, and a gorgeous but¬ 
terfly crossed her path. A parrot screeched over her head. 

She strained her gaze for the trailing jaguar. Then she 
saw him, a long black and yellow shape moving slowly 
under the hanging vines and creepers. 

When Muella caught up with Tigre, she slackened her 
pace, and watched for a wide place in the trail where she 
could pass without touching him. 

“I must pass him,” she muttered. “He can’t hear me 
—I can do it safely—I must!” 

But still she did not take advantage of several wide 

Presently the trail opened into a little glade. Twice she 
started forward, only to hang back. Then desperately she 
went on, seeing nothing but the great spotted cat just in 
front of her. 

[ 176 ] 



Sharp spear-point palm leaves stung her face, and their 
rustling increased her terror. She flashed by Tigre so close 
that she smelled him. 

Muella uttered a broken cry and began to run, as if in¬ 
deed she were the wild creature Bernardo had called her. 
She looked over her shoulder to see the sinuous yellow form 
disappear round a bend of the trail. Then she gathered 
courage. For a long time her flying feet pattered lightly 
on the trail. She was young, supple, strong, and it took 
much to tire her. She ran on and on, until her feet were 
heavy, her breath was almost gone, and her side pierced by 
a sharp pain. Then she fell to a walk, caught her breath, 
and once more ran. 

Fears began to beset her. Had Augustine left the trail? 
How swiftly he had walked! It seemed as if she had run 
several miles. But that was well, for, the larger the dis¬ 
tance the farther she would get ahead of the jaguar. 

Shadows began to gather under the overhanging vines 
and creepers. Only the tips of the giant ceibas showed a 
glint of sunlight. The day was fast closing. Once more 
she ran on and on; and then, as she turned a curve, a tall, 
dark form stood out of the green, and blurred the trail. 

“Augustine! Wait! Wait!” she cried. 

The man swung round, and ran back. Muella, panting 
for breath and with her hand pressed over her heart, met him. 

[ 177 ] 


“Senora! What has happened?” he exclaimed. 

“Wait! My breath’s gone!” she gasped. “Wait! But 
keep on—we—we mustn’t stop!” 

Muella took a fleeting upward glance at him. It was so 
hurried that she could not be positive, but she thought she 
had caught a strange, paling flush of his bronzed face and 
a startled look of his dark eyes. Why should his meeting 
her unexpectedly cause more than surprise or concern? 

As she trotted along, she shot another quick glance up 
at him. He seemed unmistakably agitated; and this dis¬ 
concerted her. She heard his amazed questions, but they 
were mostly unintelligible. 

She had thought of nothing save to catch up with him 
and to blurt out that Tigre was on his trail, and why. The 
words now halted on her lips. It was not easy to tell him. 
What would he say—what would he do? A few moments 
back, he had been only one of Bernardo’s herders—the best, 
truly, and a man whom it was pleasing to look upon, but 
he had been nothing to her. He alone of the vaqueros had 
not smiled at her, and this piquing of her pride had gained 
him notice which otherwise he might never have got. 

As she pattered on, slowly regaining her breath, the 
presence of the man seemed to grow more real. It was well 
that she knew Augustine cared nothing for her, else she 
could not have told him of Bernardo’s unjust suspicions. 

[ 178 ] 


The trail opened into a clearing, where there were sev¬ 
eral old palm-thatched huts, a broken-down corral, and a 
water hole. The place had once been used by Bernardo’s 
herders, but was now abandoned and partly overgrown. 
At this point, Augustine, who for a time had silently stalked 
beside Muella, abruptly halted her. 

“ Senora, what is wrong? Where are you going?” 

“Going!” She uttered a little laugh. “Why, I don’t know. 
I followed—to warn you. Bernardo put Tigre on your trail! ” 

“Tigre? Santa Maria /” 

“Yes. I ran, and ran, and passed him. He must be 
far back now. He’s slow at first, but he’s sure, and he’s 
trailing you. Hurry on! You mustn’t stop here!” 

“ Senor a! You ran—you risked so much to save me? 
Oh, may our Blessed Lady reward you!” 

“Man, I tell you, don’t stop. Go on! You have only 
your machete. Why did you start into the jungle without 
a gun?” 

“Bernardo drove me off. I owned nothing at the ha¬ 
cienda except my blanket and machete.” 

“He’s selfish—he was beside himself. Why, Augustine, 
he was jealous. He—he told me he drove you away be¬ 
cause you—you cared for me. I’m ashamed to tell you. 
But, Augustine, he’s growing old. You mustn’t mind— 
only hurry to get safe from that terrible brute! ” 

[ 179 ] 


“I forgive him, senora. It’s his way to fall in a rage; 
but he quickly repents. And you, senora —you must take 
this old trail back to the hacienda. Go swiftly, for soon it 
will be night.” 

“I’m not going back,” said Muella slowly. “I won’t 
live any longer with Bernardo. Take me to Micas—to my 
sister’s home!” 

With one long stride Augustine barred the trail and 
stood over her. 

“You must go back. It’s best you should know the 
truth. Bernardo spoke truth when he told you I loved 

“Augustine, you’re telling a lie—just to frighten me 
back to him!” 

“No. Bernardo asked me for the truth; so I told him.” 

Muella’s eyes dilated and darkened with shadows of 
amaze, wonder, and pain. 

“Oh, why did you tell him? I didn’t know. Oh, I 
swore by the Virgin that you had no thought of me. He’ll 
believe that I lied.” 

“ Senora , you are innocent, and Bernardo will learn it. 
You know him—how hotheaded he is, how quickly he is 
sorry. Go back. Take this old cattle road—here—and 
hurry. The sun has set. You must run. Have no fear 
for me!” 

[ 180 ] 


“Tin not going back to Bernardo.” She straightened 
up, pale and composed, but as she stepped forward to pass 
the vaguero in the trail she averted her eyes. “Take me to 

With a passionate gesture Augustine stopped her. 

“But, senora , consider. Darkness is upon us. Micas is 
a long way. You’re only a girl. You can’t keep up. You’ve 
forgotten that Tigre is on my trail.” 

“I forget nothing,” she replied coldly. “I’ve begged 
you to hurry.” 

“Muella, go back at once. To-morrow—after a night 
in the jungle—with me—you can’t go. It’ll be too late!” 

“It’s too late now,” breathed the girl. “I can’t go 
back—now! ” 

“Go first, then,” he said, whipping out the long machete. 
“I’ll wait here for Tigre.” 

“ Senor , there are other tigres. There are panthers, too, 
and wild boars. I may lose the trail. Will you let me go 

[ 181 ] 


A UGUSTINE whispered the name of a saint, and turn¬ 
ing his dark face toward where the trail led out of 
the clearing, he strode on without sheathing his machete. 

Muella kept close to him, and entered the enclosing 
walls of jungle verdure. She felt indeed that she was the 
untamed thing Bernardo had called her, and now she was 
hunted. Light as dropping leaves, her feet pattered in the 
trail. Augustine loomed beside her, striding swiftly, and 
now and then the naked blade he carried, striking against 
a twig or branch, broke the silence with a faint ring. 

The green walls became hovering shadows and turned 
to gray. Muella had an irresistible desire to look back. 
The darkening menace of the gloom before and on each 
side was nothing to that known peril behind. She saw 
nothing, however, but a dull, gray, wavering line fading 
into the obscurity of the jungle. She strained her hearing. 
Except for the soft swishing of her skirt on the brush, and 
the occasional low ring of Augustine’s machete, there was 
absolutely no sound. 

[ 182 ] 


She noted that her companion never turned his 
head. Had he no fear? Quick flashes of memory recalled 
stories of this herder’s daring. How tall and powerful he 
was—how swiftly he strode—how dark and stern and 
silent he seemed! He must know full well the nature of 
Bernardo’s pet, the terrible blind brute that never failed on 
a trail. 

All at once the jungle grew into two ragged walls of 
black separated by a narrow strip of paler shade. Night 
had fallen; and with it came a blinking of stars through 
dense foliage overhead, and the lighting of fireflies. In¬ 
sects began to hum. Rustlings in the brush augmented 
Muella’s sensitiveness. A strange call of a night bird star¬ 
tled her, and instinctively she shrank closer to Augustine. 
She wished to speak to him, to make the silence bearable; 
but stealthy steps off to the right made her heart leap and 
her tongue mute. 

Augustine heard, for he struck the leaves with his 
machete. From the enshrouding blackness came the snap¬ 
ping of twigs, pattering little steps, the rush of animals run¬ 
ning through grass or ferns, and soft rustlings in the brush. 
Then the night silence awoke to strange cries—squall of cat 
and scream of panther, squeaks and grunts and squeals of 
peccaries, and inexpressibly wild sounds, too remote to dis¬ 

[ 183 ] 


“Oh, Augustine!” whispered Muella, fear at last un¬ 
locking her lips. “Listen! All before us—do you hear?” 

“ Senora , we have not greatly to fear ahead,” he replied. 
“But behind—a trailing tigre warms with the night! We 
must not lag!” 

“I’m not tired. I can walk so, all night; but the 
steps, the cries, frighten me. It grows darker, and I 

She fancied she saw him reach out as if to help her, and 
then draw suddenly back. The darkness became so thick 
that she could scarcely see him. Like a tall specter he 
moved on. 

She groped for his arm, found it, and slipped her hand 
down to his. Instantly she felt his strong fingers con¬ 
vulsively close round hers. The warm clasp helped and 
cheered her. 

So, mile after mile, Muella kept tireless pace with the 
herder; and when the jungle creatures ceased their hue 
and quest, and the dead silence once more settled thickly 
down, the strange night flight lost its reality and seemed 
a dream. The black shadows lifted and paled to opaque 
gloom. A whiteness stole into the jungle; silver shafts 
gleamed through the trees. The moon was rising. Muella 
hailed it with joy, for it meant that the night was far ad¬ 
vanced, and that their way would be lightened. 

[ 184 ] 


Soon all about her was a radiant, encompassing world of 
silver shadows and gleams. It was a beautiful night. The 
cold fear weighting her heart lessened, seemed momentarily 
to be thrilled and warmed away. She loved that great, sil¬ 
ver-orbed, golden-circled moon; and now she looked up at 
it through a streaked and fringed and laced web. 

She wondered if Augustine saw the beauty of the sharp- 
cut palms, the delicate-leaved bamboos, and the full-foli- 
aged ceibas, all festooned with long silver streamers of 
moss. Gnarled branches of a dead monarch of the forest, 
silhouetted against the deep blue of the sky, showed or¬ 
chids and aloes and long, strangling vines—parasites that 
had killed it. Every unshadowed leaf along the trail glis¬ 
tened white with dew. The glamor of the white night was 
upon Muella. 

Augustine’s voice broke the spell. 

“You are tiring, but we must not lag. Shall I carry 

“No, no! I can keep up.” 

His words and the glint of his naked machete brought 
her back to actuality. She slipped her hand from his. 

Slowly a haze overspread the moon. The brightness 
failed, and then the moonlit patches imperceptibly merged 
into the shadows, until all was gray. The jungle trees rose 
dim and weird and lost their tips in clouds of mist. A 

[ 185 ] 


chicolocki burst into song, and the broken notes heralded 
the coming of day. 

“Augustine, it is near dawn,” said Muella. “Oh, how 
good the light will be! I’m so cold—so wet. We shall be 
safe in Micas soon, shall we not?” 

The herder mumbled a reply that she did not under¬ 

[ 186 ] 


S WIFTLY upon the gray dawn came the broad daylight. 

The clouds of creamy mist rose and broke and rolled 
away, letting the sunshine down into the jungle. The 
balmy air rang with the melodies of birds. Flocks of par¬ 
rots passed overhead, screeching discordant clamor. 

Presently it struck Muella that the trail was growing 
narrow and rough and overgrown. She had journeyed to 
Micas often enough to be familiar with the trail, and this, 
so wild and crooked, was not the right one. 

“Augustine, have you missed the way?” she queried 

Briefly he replied that he was making a short cut. 
Muella did not believe him. She walked on, and began 
again to look back. When she caught Augustine doing like¬ 
wise, she gave way to dread. 

The morning wore on, the sun grew warm, and with the 
heat of day came the jungle flies and mosquitoes. Augus¬ 
tine was inured to their attacks, but Muella impatiently 
fought them, thus adding to her loss of energy. 

When, at the crossing of a network of trails, Augustine 

1187 ] 


chose one at random, Muella was certain of the worst. She 
asked him about it, and he admitted he was off the course, 
but as he was sure of his direction there was no need of 
fear. He assured her that he would have her at her sis¬ 
ter’s home in Micas by noon. 

Noon found them threading a matted jungle where they 
had to bend low along the deer and peccary trails. The 
character of the vegetation had changed. It was now dry, 
thorny, and almost impenetrable. 

Suddenly Muella jerked her hand away from a swinging 
branch, which she had intended to brush aside. 

“Look, Augustine, on my hand. Garapatas! Ugh, how 
I loathe them!” 

Her hand and wrist were dotted with great black jungle 
ticks. Augustine removed them, and as he did so, Muella 
saw his fingers tremble. The significance of his agitation 
did not dawn upon her until she was free of the pests, and 
then she fancied that her touch had so moved him. It was 
wonderful, it warmed her blood, and she stole a glance at 
him. But Augustine was ashen pale; his thoughts were 
far from the softness and beauty of a woman’s hand. 

“Augustine! You have lost your way!” she cried. 

Gloomily he dropped his head, and let his silence answer. 

“Lost in the jungle! We’re lost! And Tigre is on our 
trail!” she shrieked. 

[ 188 ] 


Panic overcame her. She tottered and fell against him. 
Her whole slender length rippled in a violent trembling. 
Then she beat her hands frantically on Augustine’s shoul¬ 
ders, and clutched him tight, and besought him with inar¬ 
ticulate speech. 

“Listen, senora , listen,” he kept saying. “If you give 
up now, I can’t save you. We’re lost, but there’s a way 
out. Listen—don’t tear at me so—there’s a way out. Do 
you hear? You go on alone—follow these deer tracks till 
you come to water. Soon they’ll lead to water. That water 
will be the Santa Rosa. Follow up the stream till you come 
to Micas. It’ll be hard, but you can do it.” 

“Go on alone! And you?” she said brokenly. 

“I’ll turn on our back trail. I’ll meet Tigre and stop 

“Tigre will kill you!” 

“He is blind and deaf. I shall be prepared. I’ve a 
chance, at least, to cripple him.” 

“At the end of a trail Tigre is a demon. He has been 
trained to kill the thing he’s put to trail. You—with only 
a machete! Ah, senor , I’ve heard that you are brave and 
strong, but you must not go back to meet Tigre. Come! 
We’ll follow the deer tracks together. Then if Tigre catches 
us—well, he can kill us both!” 

“ Senora , I can serve you best by going back.” 

[ 189 ] 


“ You think that if you took me to Micas the old women 
would talk—that my good name would be gone?” she asked 

“ Senora , we waste time, and time is precious,” he pro¬ 

Muella studied the haggard, set face. This man meant 
to sacrifice his life for her. Deep through the fire of his 
eyes she saw unutterable pain and passion. If she had 
doubted his love, she doubted no more. He must be made 
to believe that she had followed him, not alone to save him 
from Tigre, but because she loved him. Afterward he 
would be grateful for her deceit. And if her avowal did not 
break his will, then she would use a woman’s charm, a 
woman’s sweetness. 

“ Senor , you told Bernardo the truth—and I lied to 
him!” she said. 

Stranger than all other sensations of that flight was the 
thrill in her as she forced herself to speak. 

“What do you mean?” demanded Augustine. 

“He asked you if you loved me. You told the truth. 
He asked me if—if I loved you. And—I lied!” 

“Santa Maria /” the man cried, starting up impulsively. 
Then slowly he fell back. “ Senora, may the saints reward 
you for your brave words. I know! You are trying to keep 
me from going back. We waste precious time—go now!” 

[ 190 ] 


“Augustine, wait, wait!” she cried. 

Running blindly, she flung herself into his arms. She 
hid her face in his breast, and pressed all her slender, pal¬ 
pitating body close to his. As if he had been turned to 
stone, he stood motionless. She twined her arms about 
him, and her disheveled hair brushed his lips. She tried to 
raise her face—failed—tried again, and raised it all scar¬ 
let, with eyes close shut and tears wet on her cheeks. 
Blindly she sought his mouth with her lips—kissed him 
timidly—tremulously—and then passionately. 

With that, uttering a little gasp, she swayed away and 
turned from him, her head bowed in shame, one beseeching 
hand held backward to him. 

“Don’t go! Don’t leave me!” 

“Dios!” whispered Augustine. 

Presently he took the proffered hand, and, leading her, 
once more plunged into the narrow trail. 

[ 191 ] 


F OR hours Muella walked with lowered eyes. She 
plodded on, bending her head under the branches, 
and constantly using her free hand to fight the pests. 

Her consciousness, for the while, was almost wholly ab¬ 
sorbed with a feeling of an indefinable difference in herself. 
She seemed to be in a condition of trembling change, as if 
the fibers of her soul were being unknit and re woven. 
Something illusive and strange and sweet wavered before 
her—a promise of joy that held vague portent of pain. 
This inexplicable feeling reminded her of fancies, longings, 
dreams of her girlhood. 

At length sensations from without claimed full share of 
Muella’s attention. The heat had grown intense. She was 
becoming exhausted. Her body burned, and about her 
ankles were bands of red-hot fire. Still she toiled on, be¬ 
cause she believed that Micas was close at hand. 

The sun went down, and night approached. There was 
no sign of water. Augustine failed to hide his distress. He 
was hopelessly lost in the jungle. All the trails appeared 
to lead into the same place—a changeless yellow and gray 

[ 192 ] 


The flies pursued in humming wheel, and clouds of whin¬ 
ing mosquitoes rose from the ground. The under side of 
every leaf, when brushed upward, showed a red spot which 
instantly disintegrated, and spilled itself like a bursting 
splotch of quicksilver upon the travelers. And every in¬ 
finitesimal red pin point was a crawling jungle pest. The 
dead wood and dry branches were black with innumerable 

Muella had been born a hill native, and she was not 
bred to withstand the savage attack of the jungle vermin. 
The time came when she fell, and implored Augustine to 
put her out of her misery with his machete. For answer he 
lifted her gently and moved on, carrying her in his arms. 

Night came. Augustine traveled by the stars, and tried 
to find trails that led him in a general direction northward. 
By and by Muella’s head rolled heavily, and she slept. 

At length the blackness and impenetrable thicket hin¬ 
dered his progress. He laid Muella down, covered her with 
his blanket, and stood over her with drawn machete till the 
moon rose. 

The light aiding him, he found a trail, and, taking up 
his burden, he went on. And that night dragged to dawn. 

Muella walked little the next day. She could hardly 
stand. She had scarcely strength to free her hair from the 
brush as it caught in passing. The burning pain of her skin 

[ 193 ] 


had given place to a dull ache. She felt fever stealing into 
her blood. 

Augustine wandered on, over bare rocks and through 
dense jungles, with Muella in his arms. He was tireless, 
dauntless, wonderful in his grim determination to save her. 
Worn as she was, sick and feverish, she yet had moments 
when she thought of him; and at each succeeding thought 
he seemed to grow in her impression of strength and courage. 

But most of her thoughts centered on the trailing Tigre. 
The serpents and panthers and peccaries no longer caused 
Muella concern; she feared only the surely gaining jaguar. 

[ 194 ] 


N IGHT closed down on them among tangled mats and 
labyrinthine webs of heavy underbrush. 

“Listen!” whispered Muella suddenly, with great black 
eyes staring out of her white face. 

From far off in the jungle came a sound that was like a 
cough and growl in one. 

“Ah! Augustine, did you hear?” 


“Was it a tigre ?” 


“A trailing tigre?” 

“Yes, but surely that could not have been Bernardo’s. 
His tigre would not give cry on a trail.” 

“Oh, yes. Tigre is deaf and blind, and he has been 
trained, but he has all the jungle nature. He has Ber¬ 
nardo’s cruelty, too!” 

Again the sound broke on the still night air. Muella 
slipped to the ground with a little gasp. She heard Au¬ 
gustine cursing against the fate that had driven them for 
days under trees, trees, trees, and had finally brought them 

[ 195 ] 


to bay in a corner where there was no tree to climb. She 
saw him face about to the trail by which they had come; 
and stand there with his naked blade upraised. He blocked 
the dim, narrow passageway. 

An interminable moment passed. Muella stopped breath¬ 
ing, tried to still the beating of her heart so that she could 
listen. There was no sound save the low, sad hum of in¬ 
sects and the rustle of wind in leaves. She seemed to feel 
Tigre’s presence out there in the blackness. Dark as it 
was, she imagined she saw him stealing closer, his massive 
head low, his blind eyes flaring, his huge paws reaching out. 

A slight rustling checked all motion of her blood. Tigre 
was there, ready to spring upon Augustine. Muella tried 
to warn him, but her lips were dry and dumb. Had he lost 
his own sense of hearing? 

Her head reeled and her sight darkened; but she could 
not swoon. She could only wait, wait, while the slow mo¬ 
ments wore on. 

Augustine loomed over the trail, a dark, menacing fig¬ 
ure. Again there came a rustling and a stealthy step, this 
time in another direction; and Augustine turned toward it. 

Long silence followed; even the humming of insects and 
the moaning of the wind seemed to grow fainter. Then 
came more tickings of the brush and a padded footfall. 
Tigre had found them—was stalking them! 

[ 196 ] 


Muella lay there, helplessly waiting. In the poignancy 
of her fear for Augustine, expecting momentarily to see the 
huge jaguar leap upon him, she forgot herself. There was 
more in her agony of dread than the sheer primitive shrink¬ 
ing of the flesh, the woman’s horror of seeing death in¬ 
flicted. Through that terrible age-long flight through the 
jungle, Augustine had come to mean more than a protector 
to her. 

She watched him guardedly facing in the direction of 
every soft rustle in the brush. He was a man at the end of 
his resources, ready to fight and die for a woman. 

The insects hummed on, the wind moaned in the leaves, 
the rustlings came from one point and another in the 
brush, but Tigre did not appear. The black night light¬ 
ened and the moon rose. Muella now distinctly saw Au¬ 
gustine—disheveled and ragged, white and stern and wild, 
with his curved blade bright in the moonlight. 

Then the gray mist crept up to obscure the white stars 
and the moon, and at last the blue vault. The rustlings 
ceased to sound in the brush. From far off rasped the 
cough of a tigre . It appeared to come from the same place 
as when first heard. Hope had new birth in Muella’s heart. 

Moments like hours passed; the insects ceased to hum 
and the wind to moan. The gray shadows fled before a 
rosy dawn. 

[ 197 ] 


Augustine hewed a lane through the dense thicket that 
had stopped him, and presently he came upon a trail. He 
hurried back to Muella with words of cheer. Strength born 
of hope returned to her, and she essayed to get up. 

Helping her to her feet, he half led and half carried her 
into the trail. They went on for a hundred paces, to find 
that the path suddenly opened into a wide clearing. To 
Muella it had a familiar look, and Augustine’s exclamation 
assured her that he had seen the place before. Then she 
recognized a ruined corral, some old palm-thatched huts, 
and a water hole as belonging to the clearing through which 
they had long before passed. N 

“We’ve traveled back in a circle!” exclaimed Augustine. 
“We’re near the hacienda—your home!” 

Muella leaned against him and wept. First of all was 
the joy of deliverance. 

“Muella, you are saved,” Augustine went on. “The 
distance is short—I can carry you. Bernardo will forgive— 
you know how he flies into a passion, and then how he re¬ 

“Yes, yes. I’ll go back to him—tell him the truth— 
ask his mercy!” 

From the center of the clearing came a rustling of dry 
leaves, then a loud purr, almost a cough. Augustine stif¬ 
fened, and Muella clutched frantically at him. 

[ 198 ] 


For a long moment they stood, dark eyes staring into 
dark eyes, waiting, listening. Then Augustine, releasing 
his hold on the trembling girl, cautiously stepped upon a 
log and peered over the low palms. Almost instantly he 
plunged down with arms uplifted. 

“Santa Maria! Tigre! He’s there!” he whispered. 
“He’s there, beside the body of something he’s killed. He’s 
been there all night. He was there when we first heard 
him. We thought he was trailing. Muella, I must see 
closer. Stay back—you must not follow!” 

But as he crept under the low palms she followed him. 
They came to the open clearing. Tigre lay across the trail, 
his beautiful yellow and black body stretched in lax grace, 
his terrible sightless eyes riveted on a dead man beside him. 

“Muella—stay back—I fear—I fear!” said Augustine. 

He crept yet a little farther, and returned with pale face 
and quivering jaw. 

“Muella, it’s Bernardo! He’s dead—has been dead for 
days. When you started off that day to warn me, Ber¬ 
nardo must have run round by the old wagon road to 
head off Tigre. The blind brute killed him!” 

“ Bernardo repented! ” moaned Muella. “ He repented! ” 

[ 199 ] 



T QUITOS was a magnet for wanderers and a safe hiding 
-*■ place for men who must turn their faces from civiliza¬ 
tion. Rubber drew adventurers and criminals to this Peru¬ 
vian frontier town as gold lured them to the Klondike. 

Among the motley crowd of rubber hunters boarding 
the Amazonas for the up-river trip was a Spaniard, upon 
whom all eyes were trained. At the end of the gangplank, 
Captain Valdez stopped him and tried to send him back. 
The rubber hunter, however, appeared to be a man whom 
it would be impossible to turn aside. 

“There’s my passage,” he shouted. “Pm going aboard.” 

No one in Iquitos knew him by any other name than 
Manuel. He headed the list of outlaw rubber hunters, and 
was suspected of being a slave hunter as well. Beyond the 
Andes was a government which, if it knew aught of the 
slave traffic, had no power on that remote frontier. Valdez 
and the other boat owners, however, had leagued them¬ 
selves together and taken the law into their own hands, 
for the outlaws destroyed the rubber trees instead of tap¬ 
ping them, which was the legitimate work, and thus threat¬ 
ened to ruin the rubber industry. Moreover, the slave 
dealers alienated the Indians, and so made them hostile. 

[ 203 ] 


Captain Valdez now looked doubtfully at Manuel. The 
Spaniard was of unusual stature; his cavernous eyes glowed 
from under shaggy brows; his thin beard, never shaven, 
showed the hard lines of his set jaw. In that crowd of des¬ 
perate men he stood out conspicuously. He had made and 
squandered more money than any six rubber hunters on 
the river; he drank chicha and had a passion for games of 
chance; he had fought and killed his men. 

“I’m going aboard,” he repeated, pushing past Valdez. 

“One more trip, then, Manuel,” said the captain slowly. 
“We’re going to shut down on you outlaws.” 

“They’re all outlaws. Every man who has nerve enough 
to go as far as the Pachitier is an outlaw. Valdez, do you 
think I’m a slaver?” 

“You’re suspected—among others,” replied the captain 

“I never hunted slaves,” bellowed Manuel, waving his 
brawny arms. “I never needed to sell slaves. I always 
found cowcha more than any man on the river.” 

“Manuel, I’ll take you on your word. But listen—if 
you are ever caught with Indians, you’ll get the chain gang 
or be sent adrift down the Amazon.” 

“Valdez, I’ll take my last trip on those terms,” returned 
Manuel. “I’m going far—I’ll come in rich.” 

Soon after that the Amazonas cast off. She was a stern- 

[204 ] 


wheeler with two decks—an old craft as rough-looking as 
her cargo of human freight. On the upper deck were the 
pilot house, the captain’s quarters, and a small, first-class 
cabin, which was unoccupied. The twenty-four passengers 
on board traveled second-class, down on the lower deck. 
Forward it was open, and here the crew and passengers 
slept, some in hammocks and the rest sprawled on the 
floor. Then came the machinery. Wood was the fuel used, 
and stops were made along the river when a fresh supply 
was needed. 

Aft was the dining saloon, a gloomy hole, narrow and 
about twelve feet long, with benches running on two sides. 
At meal times, the table was lowered from the ceiling by a 
crude device of ropes and pulleys. 

The night of the departure this saloon was a spectacle. 
The little room, with its dim, smelly lamp and blue haze 
of smoke, seemed weirdly set between the vast reaches of 
the black river. The passengers crowded there, smoking, 
drinking, gambling. These hunters, when they got to¬ 
gether, spoke in very loud tones, for in the primeval silence 
and solitude of the Amazonian wilderness they grew unac¬ 
customed to the sound of their own voices. Many lan¬ 
guages were spoken, but Spanish was the one that gave 
them general intercourse. 

It was a muggy night, and the stuffy saloon reeked with 

[ 205 ] 


the odors of tobacco and perspiration and the fumes of 
chicha. The unkempt passengers sat coatless, many of 
them shirtless, each one adding to the din around the gam¬ 
bling board. 

Presently the door of the saloon was filled by the form 
of a powerful man. From his white face and blond hair he 
might have been taken for an Englishman. The several 
gambling groups boisterously invited him to play. He had 
a weary, hunted look that did not change when he began 
to gamble. He played indifferently, spoke seldom, and lost 
at every turn of the cards. There appeared to be no limit 
to his ill luck or to his supply of money. 

Players were attracted from other groups. The game, 
the stakes, the din, the flow of chicha —all increased as the 
night wore on. 

Like the turn of the tide, the silent man’s luck changed. 
After nearly every play he raked in the stakes. Darker 
grew those dark faces about the board, and meaning glances 
glittered. A knife gleamed low behind the winner’s back, 
clutched in a lean hand of one of the gamesters. Murder 
might have been done then, but a big arm swept the game¬ 
ster off his feet and flung him out of the door, where he 
disappeared in the blackness. 

“Fair play!” roared Manuel, his eyes glowing like phos¬ 
phorus in the dark. The sudden silence let in the chug of 

[ 206 ] 


machinery, the splashing of the paddle wheel, the swishing 
of water. Every eye watched the giant Spaniard. Then 
the game recommenced, and, under Manuel’s burning eyes, 
continued on into the night. 

At last he flipped a gold piece on the table and ordered 
chicha for all. 

“Men, drink to Manuel’s last trip up the river,” he 
said. “I’m coming in rich.” 

“Rubber or Indians?” sarcastically queried a weasel- 
featured Spaniard. 

“Bustos, you lie in your question,” replied Manuel 
hotly. “You can’t make a slave hunter of me. I’m after 
rubber. I’ll bring in canoes full of rubber.” 

Most of the outlaws, when they could not find a profit¬ 
able rubber forest, turned their energies to capturing Indian 
children and selling them into slavery in the Amazonian 

“Manuel, where will you strike out?” asked one. 

“For the headwaters of the Palcazu. Who’ll go with 

Few rubber hunters besides Manuel had ever been be¬ 
yond the junction of the Pachitea and the Ucayali; and 
the Palcazu headed up in the foothills of the Andes. Little 
was known of the river, more than that it marked the ter¬ 
ritory of the Cashibos, a mysterious tribe of cannibals. 

[ 207 ] 


None of the men manifested a desire to become Manuel’s 
partner. He leered scornfully at them, and cursed them 
for a pack of cowards. 

After that night he had little to do with his fellow pas¬ 
sengers, used tobacco sparingly, drank not at all, and re¬ 
treated sullenly within himself. Manuel never went into 
the jungle out of condition. 

The Amazonas turned into the Ucayali, and day and 
night steamed up that thousand-mile river, stopping often 
for fuel, and here and there to let off the rubber hunters. 
All of them bade Manuel good-by with a jocund finality. 
At La Boca, which was the mouth of the Pachitea and the 
end of Captain Valdez’s run, there were only three passen¬ 
gers left of the original twenty-four—Bustos, Manuel, and 
the stranger who seemed to have nothing in common with 
the rubber hunters. 

“Manuel,” said Bustos, “you’ve heard what the Pal- 
cazu is—fatal midday sun, the death dews, the man-eating 
Cashibos. You’ll never come in. Adios /” 

Then Captain Valdez interrogated Manuel. 

“Is it true you are going out to the Palcazu?” 

“Yes, captain.” 

“That looks bad, Manuel. We know Indians swarm up 
there—the Chunchus of the Pachitea, and farther out the 
Cashibos. We’ve never heard of rubber there.” 

[208 1 


“ Would I go alone into a cannibal country if I hunted 

“What you couldn’t do has yet not been proven. Re¬ 
member, Manuel—if we catch you with Indian children, it’s 
the chain gang or the Amazon.” 

Manuel, cursing low, lifted his pack and went down the 
gangplank. As he stepped upon the dock a man accosted 

“Do you still want a partner?” 

The question was put by the blond passenger. Manuel 
looked at him keenly for the first time, discovering a man 
as powerfully built as himself, whose gray eyes had a 
shadow, and about whom there was a hint of recklessness. 

“You’re not a rubber hunter?” asked Manuel. 


“Why do you want to go with me? You heard what 
kind of a country it is along the Palcazu?” 

“Yes, I heard. That’s why I want to go.” 

“Ha, ha!” laughed Manuel curiously. “ Senor , what 
shall I call you?” 

“It’s no matter.” 

“Very well, it shall be Senor” 

Manuel carried his pack to a grove of palms bordering 
the river, where there was a fleet of canoes. Capmas In¬ 
dians lounged in the shade, waiting for such opportunity 

[ 209 ] 


to trade as he presented. Evidently Manuel was a close 
trader, for the willing Indians hauled up several canoes, 
from which he selected one. For a canoe, its proportions 
were immense; it had been hollowed from the trunk of a 
tree, was fifty feet long, three wide, and as many deep. 

“ Senor , I’m starting,” said Manuel, throwing his pack 
into the canoe. 

“Let’s be off, then,” replied Senor . 

“But—you still want to go?” 


“I’ve taken out strangers to these parts—and they 
never came back.” 

“That’s my chance.” 

“ Senor , up the Pachitea the breeze seldom blows. It’s 
hot. Sand flies humming all day long—mosquitoes thicker 
than smoke—creeping insects—spiders, snakes, crocodiles, 
poison dews, and fevers—and the Cashibos. If we get 
back at all, it will be with tons of rubber. I ask no ques¬ 
tions. I, too, have gone into the jungle and kept my secret. 
Senor , do you go?” 

Senor silently offered his hand; and these two, outlaw 
and wanderer, so different in blood and the fortunes of life, 
exchanged the look that binds men in the wilderness. 
Whereupon Manuel gave one of the eighteen-foot, wide- 
bladed paddles to his companion, and, pushing the canoe 

[ 210 ] 


off the sand, began to pole upstream close to the bank. 
None but the silent Campas Indians saw their departure, 
and soon they, and the grove of palms, and the thatched 
huts disappeared behind a green bend of the river. 

The Pachitea, with its smooth current, steamed under 
the sun. The voyagers kept close to the shady side. The 
method of propelling the canoe permitted only one to work 
at a time. Beginning at the bow, he sunk his paddle to 
the bottom, and, holding it firmly imbedded, he walked 
the length of the canoe. When he completed his walk to 
the stern, his companion had passed to the bow. Thus the 
momentum of their canoe did not slacken, and they made 
fast time. 

Gradually the strip of shade under the full-foliaged 
bank receded until the sun burned down upon them. When 
the tangled balls of snakes melted off the branches, and the 
water smoked and the paddles were too hot to handle, 
Manuel shoved the canoe into the shade of overhanging 
vines. It was a time when all living things, except the 
heat-born sand flies, hid from the direct rays of the midday 
sun. While the Spaniard draped a net over the bow of the 
canoe these sand flies hummed by like bullets. Then 
Manuel motioned his comrade to crawl with him under 
cover, and there they slept away those hours wherein action 
was forbidden. 

[ 211 ] 


About the middle of the afternoon they awoke to resume 
their journey; leisurely at first, and then, as the sun de¬ 
clined, with more energy. Fish and crocodiles rippled the 
surface of the river, and innumerable wild fowl skimmed 
its green width. 

Toward sunset Manuel beached on a sandy bank, where 
there was a grove of siteka trees. He had gone into the 
jungle at this point and brought out rubber. The camp 
site was now waist deep in vegetation, which Manuel mowed 
down with his machete. Then he built two fires of damp 
leaves and wood, so they would smoke and somewhat lessen 
the scourge of mosquitoes. After that he carried up the 
charcoal box from the canoe and cooked the evening 

Manuel found it good to unseal the fountain of 
speech, that always went dry when he was alone in the 
jungle. It took him a little while to realize that he did 
all the talking, that Senor was a silent man who re¬ 
plied only to a direct question, and then mostly in mono¬ 
syllables. Slowly this dawned upon the voluble Spaniard, 
and slowly he froze into the silence natural to him in the 

They finished the meal, eating under their head nets, 
and then sat a while over the smoky fires, with the splash 
of fish and the incessant whining hum of mosquitoes in 

[ 212 ] 


their ears. When the stars came out, lightening the ebony 
darkness, they manned the canoe again, and for long hours 
poled up the misty gloom of the river. 

In the morning they resumed travel, slept through the 
sweltering noon, and went on in the night. At the end of 
the fifth day’s advance, Manuel pointed out the mouth of 
a small tributary. 

“So far I’ve been. Beyond here all is strange to me. 
White men from Lima have come down the river; but of 
those who have gone up farther than this, none have ever 

What a light flashed from the eyes of his partner! 
Manuel was slow to see anything singular in men. But 
this served to focus his mind on the strangest companion 
with whom he had ever traveled. 

Senor was exceedingly strong and implacably tireless; a 
perfect fiend for action. He minded not the toil, nor the 
flies, nor the mosquitoes, nor the heat; nothing concerned 
him except standing still. Senor never lagged, never shirked 
his part of the labor, never stole the bigger share of food, 
which was more than remarkable in the partner of a rubber 

So Manuel passed through stages of attention, from a 
vague stirring of interest to respect and admiration, and 
from these to wonder and liking, emotions long dormant 

[213 ] 


within him. The result was for him to become absorbed in 
covert observation of his strange comrade. 

Senor ate little, and appeared to force that. He slept 
only a few hours every day, and his slumbers were restless, 
broken by turning and mumbling. Sometimes Manuel awak¬ 
ened to find him pacing the canoe or along a sandy strip of 
shore. All the hot hours of their toil he bent his broad 
shoulders to the paddle, wet with sweat. Indeed, he in¬ 
vited the torture of the sun and flies. His white face, that 
Manuel likened to a woman’s, was burned red and bitten 
black and streaked with blood. 

When Manuel told him to take the gun and kill wild 
fowl, he reached instinctively for it with the action of a 
man used to sport, and then he drew back and let his com¬ 
panion do the shooting. He never struck at one of the 
thousands of snakes, or slapped at one of the millions of 
flies, or crushed one of the millions of flies, or one of the 
billions of mosquitoes. 

When Manuel called to Senor, as was frequently neces¬ 
sary in the management of the canoe, he would start as if 
recalled from engrossing thought. Then he would work 
like an ox, so that it began to be vexatious for Manuel to 
find himself doing the lesser share. Slowly he realized 
Senor’s intensity, the burning in him, the tremendous driv¬ 
ing power that appeared to have no definite end. 

[214 ] 


For years Manuel had been wandering in wild places, 
and, as the men with whom he came in contact were brutal 
and callous, answering only to savage impulses, so the evil 
in him, the worst of him, had risen to meet its like. But 
with this man of shadowed eye Manuel felt the flux and 
reflux of old forces, dim shades drawn from old memories^ 
the painful resurrection of dead good, the rising of the 
phantom of what had once been the best in him. 

The days passed, and the Pachitea narrowed and grew 
swifter, and its green color took on a tinge of blue. 

“Aha!” cried Manuel. “The Palcazu is blue. We 
must be near the mouth. Listen.” 

Above the hum of the sand flies rose a rumble, like low 
thunder, only a long, unending roll. It was the roar of 
rapids. The men leaned on their paddles and trudged the 
length of the canoe, steadily gliding upstream, covering the 
interminable reaches, winding the serpentine bends. The 
rumble lulled and swelled, and then, as they turned a 
bend, burst upon their ears with clear thunder. The Pal¬ 
cazu entered the larger river by splitting round a rocky 
island. On one side tumbled a current that raced across 
the Pachitea to buffet a stony bluff. On the other side 
sloped a long incline of beautiful blue-green water, shining 
like painted glass. 

Manuel poled up the left shore as far as possible, then 

[ 215 ] 


leaped out to wade at the bow. Senor waded at the stern, 
and thus they strove against the current. It was shallow, 
but so swift that it made progress laboriously slow, and it 
climbed in thin sheets up the limbs of the travelers. Foot 
by foot they ascended the rapid, at last to surmount it and 
beach the canoe in a rocky shore. 

“Water from the Andes!” exclaimed Manuel. “It’s 
years since I felt such water. Here’s a bad place to float a 
canoe full of rubber.” 

“You’ll have jolly sport shooting this rapid,” replied 

“We’re entering Cashibos country now. We must eat 
fish—no firing the guns.” 

Wild cane grew thick on the bank; groves of the white 
sitekas led to the dark forest where the giant capirona trees 
stood out, their tall trunks bare and crimson against the 
green; and beyond ranged densely wooded hills to far dis¬ 
tant purple outline of mountains or clouds. 

“There’s cowcha here, but not enough,” said Manuel. 

They rested, as usual during the blistering noon hours, 
then faced up the Palcazu. Before them stretched a tropi¬ 
cal scene. The blue water reflected the blue sky and the 
white clouds, and the hanging vines and leaning orchid- 
tufted, creeper-covered trees. Green parrots hung back 
downward from the branches, feeding on pods; macaws of 

[216 ] 


gaudy plumage wheeled overhead; herons of many hues 
took to lumbering flight before the canoe. 

The placid stretch of river gave place to a succession of 
rapids, up which the men had to wade. A downpour of 
rain joined forces with the stubborn current in hindering 
progress. The supplies had to be covered with palm leaves; 
stops had to be made to bail out the canoe; at times the 
rain was a blinding sheet. Then the clouds passed over 
and the sun shone hot. The rocks were coated with a slime 
so slippery that sure footing was impossible. 

Manuel found hard wading; and Senor, unaccustomed 
to such locomotion, slid over the rocks and fell often. The 
air was humid and heavy, difficult to breathe; the trees 
smoked and the river steamed. Another chute, a mill race 
steep as the ingenuity of the voyagers, put them to tre¬ 
mendous exertions. They mounted it and rested at the 
head, eyes down the glancing descent. 

“What jolly sport you’ll have shooting that one!” ex¬ 
claimed Senor; and he laughed for the first time; not 
mirthfully, rather with a note that rang close to envy. 

Manuel gazed loweringly from under his shaggy brows. 
This was the second time Senor had spoken of the return 
trip. Manuel’s sharpening wits divined a subtle import— 
Senor’s consciousness that for himself there would be no 
return. The thing fixed itself on Manuel’s mind and would 

[ 217 ] 


not be shaken. Blunt and caustic as he was, something 
withheld his speech; he asked only himself, and knew the 
answer. Senor was another of those men who plunge into 
the unbroken fastnesses of a wild country to leave no trace. 
Wanderers were old comrades to Manuel. He had met 
them going down to the sea and treading the trails; and he 
knew there had been reasons why they had left the com¬ 
forts of home, the haunts of men, the lips of women. Dere¬ 
licts on the drifting currents had once been stately ships; 
wanderers in the wilds had once swung with free stride on 
sunny streets. 

“He’s only another ruined man,” muttered Manuel, 
under his breath. “He’s going to hide. After a while he 
will slink out of the jungle to become like all the others— 
like me!” 

But Manuel found his mind working differently from 
its old habit; the bitterness that his speech expressed could 
not dispel a yearning which was new to him. 

While making camp on a shelf of shore he was absorbed 
in his new thoughts, forgetting to curse the mosquitoes and 

When the men finished their meal, twilight had shaded 
to dusk. Owing to the many rapids, travel by night had 
become impossible. Manuel drooped over one smoky fire 
and Senor sat by another. After sunset there never was 

[ 218 ] 


any real silence in the jungle. This hour was, neverthe¬ 
less, remarkably quiet. It wore, shaded, blackened, into 
wild, lonely night. The remoteness of that spot seemed to 
dwell in the sultry air, in the luminous fog shrouding the 
river, in the moving gloom under the black trees, in the 
odor of decaying vegetable life. 

Manuel nodded and his shoulders sagged. Presently 
Sefior raised his head, as if startled. 

“Listen!” he whispered, touching his comrade’s arm. 

Then in the semidarkness they listened. Sefior raised 
his head net above his ears. 

“There! Hear it?” he breathed low. “What on earth 
—or in hell? What is it?” 

“I hear nothing,” replied Manuel. 

Sefior straightened his tall form and stood with clenched 

“If that was fancy—then—•” He muttered deep in his 
chest. All at once he swayed to one side. And became 
strung in the attitude of listening. “Again! Hear it! Lis¬ 

Out of the weird darkness wailed a soft, sad note, to be 
followed by another, lower, sweeter, and then another still 

“I hear nothing,” repeated Manuel. This time, out of 
curiosity and indefinable portent, he lied. 

[ 219 ] 


“No! You’re sure?” asked Senor huskily. He placed 
a shaking hand on Manuel. “You heard no cry—like— 
like—” He drew up sharply. “Perhaps I only thought I 
heard something—I’m fanciful at times.” 

He stirred the camp fire and renewed it with dry sticks. 
Evidently he wanted light. A slight blaze flickered up, in¬ 
tensifying the somber dusk. A vampire bat wheeled in the 
lighted circle. Manuel watched his companion, studying 
the face, somehow still white through the swollen fly blotches 
and scorch of sun, marveling at its expression. What had 
Senor imagined he had heard? 

Again the falling note! Clearer than the clearest bell, 
sweeter than the saddest music, wailed out of a succession 
of melancholy, descending tones, to linger mournfully, to 
hold the last note in exquisite suspense, to hush away, and 
leave its phantom echo in the charged air. A woman, 
dying in agony and glad to die, not from disease or vio¬ 
lence, but from unutterable woe, might have wailed out 
that last note to the last beat of a broken heart. 

Senor gripped Manuel’s arm. 

“You heard that—you heard it? Tell me!” 

“Oh, is that what you meant? Surely I heard it,” re¬ 
plied Manuel. “That’s only the Perde-alma.” 

“Perde-alma?” echoed Senor. 

“Bird of the Lost Soul. Sounded like a woman, didn’t 

[ 220 ] 


it? We rubber hunters like his song. The Indians believe 
he sings only when death is near. But that signifies noth¬ 
ing. For above the Pachitea life and death are one. Life 
is here, and a step there is death! Perde-alma sings seldom. 
I was years on the river before I heard him.” 

“Bird of the Lost Soul! A bird! Manuel, I did not 
think that cry came from any living thing.” 

He spoke no more, and paced to and fro in the waning 
camp-fire glow, oblivious to the web of mosquitoes set¬ 
tling on his unprotected head. 

Manuel pondered over the circumstance till his sleepy 
mind refused to revolve another idea. In the night he 
awoke and knew from the feeling of his unrested body that 
he had not slept long. He had been awakened by his com¬ 
rade talking in troubled slumber. 

“Lost soul—wandering—never to return! Yes! Yes! 
But oh let me forget! Her face! Her voice! Could I have 
forgotten if I had killed her? Driven, always driven— 
never to find—never—” 

So Senor cried aloud, and murmured low, and mumbled 
incoherently, till at last, when the black night wore gray, 
he lay silent. 

“A woman!” thought Manuel. “So a woman drove 
him across the seas to the Palcazu. Driven—driven! How 
mad men are!” 

[** 1 ] 


Senor had turned his face from his world, to drift with 
the eddying stream of wanderers who follow no path and 
find no peace, to be forgotten, to end in evil, to die for¬ 
lorn—all for a woman. 

In the darkness of this Peruvian forest, Senor lay amid 
the crawling vermin unconsciously muttering of a woman. 
Night spoke aloud thoughts deep hidden by day. Senor 
had a sailor’s eye, a soldier’s mien; he had not shrunk from 
the racking toil, the maddening insects, the blood-boiling 
heat; he was both strong and brave; yet he was so haunted 
by a woman that he trembled to hear the fancied voice of 
his ghost of love in the wailing note of a jungle bird. That 
note was the echo of his haunting pain. Senor’s secret was 
a woman. 

Manuel understood now why he had been inexplicably 
drawn to this man. A ghost had risen out of his own dead 
years. It rolled back time for Manuel, lifting from the 
depths a submerged memory, that, like a long-sunken bell, 
rang the muffled music of its past. 

Out of the gray jungle gloom glided the wraith of one 
he had loved long ago. She recalled sunny Spain—a grassy 
hill over the blue bay—love—home—dark in his inner eye. 
And the faint jungle murmuring resembled a voice. Thus 
after absence of years, Manuel’s ghost of love and life had 
come to him again. It had its resurrection in the agony of 

[ 222 ] 


his comrade. For Manuel there was only that intangible 
feeling, the sweetness of remembered pain. Life had no 
more shocks to deal him, he thought; that keen ache in 
the breastbone, that poignant pang could never again be 
his. Manuel was lifeworn. He felt an immunity from fur¬ 
ther affliction, and consciousness of age crept across the 
line of years. 

How different from other mornings in the past was the 
breaking of this gray dawn! The mist was as hard to 
breathe, the humidity as oppressive, the sun as hot, and 
the singing spiteful, invisible, winged demons stung with 
the same teeth of poisoned fire—all the hardship of jungle 
travel was as before, yet it seemed immeasurably lessened. 

For many years Manuel had slaved up these smoky riv¬ 
ers, sometimes with men who hated him, and whom he 
learned to hate. But no man could have hated Senor. In 
these enterprises of lonely peril, where men were chained 
together in the wilderness, with life strained to the last 
notch, there could be no middle course of feeling. A man 
must either hate his companion and want to kill him, or 
love him and fight to save him. 

So Manuel loved Senor, and laughed at the great white 
wonder of it, lightening it all; and once again the sealed 
fountain of his speech broke and flowed. Back in the set¬ 
tlement chicha had always loosed Manuel’s tongue, liber- 

[ 223 ] 


ated wild mirth, incited fierce passions; here in the jungle 
the divining of another’s pain, such as had seared him 
years before, pierced to the deeps of his soul, and brought 
forth kind words that came haltingly through lips long 
grimly set to curse. 

In the beginning of that new kinship, Senor looked in 
amaze upon his changed comrade, and asked if he had 
fever. Manuel shook his shaggy head. Senor then fell 
silent; but he listened, he had to listen, and, listening, for¬ 
got himself. A new spirit fused the relation of these men. 

“Senor, we are hunters,” said Manuel. “I for gold that 
I do not want and shall easily find, you for—” 

“Peace, Manuel, peace, that I ceaselessly want, but 
will never find.” 

Onward the voyagers poled and waded up the blue Pal- 
cazu. The broken waters held them to five miles a day. 
Only giants could have made even so many. The slimy 
rocks over which floundered the hydra-headed balls of 
snakes, the stench of hot ponds behind the bars, the rush 
of current to be fought inch by inch, the torrents of rain, 
the bailing of the canoe, the merciless heat, and the ever- 
whirling, steel-colored bands of venomous flies—these made 
day a hell, rest a time of pain, sleep a nightmare; but the 
hunters, one grim, the other gay, strengthened with the 
slow advance. 

[224 ] 


Often Manuel climbed the banks, to return saying there 
was cowcha, more than he had seen, yet still not enough. 
They must go higher, to richer soil. They camped where 
sunset overtook them. As they sat over the smoky fires or 
fished in the river or lay side by side under the tent, Man¬ 
uel talked. He had gone over the vast fund of his wilder¬ 
ness knowledge, experience in that sun-festered world, 
stories of river and jungle, of fights and fevers. Circling 
back on his seafaring life, as castaway, mariner, smug¬ 
gler, he dredged memory of the happenings of those years 
till he reached the catastrophe that had made him a 

“What made me a caucho outlaw?” he queried, whip¬ 
ping his big hand through the flying swarm about his face. 
“A woman! What sends most wandering men down the 
false trails of the world? What drove you, comrade? Per¬ 
haps a woman! Quien sabef I loved a girl. She had eyes 
like night—lips of fire—she was as sweet as life. See my 
hand tremble! Senor, it was years ago—five, maybe ten, 
I don’t remember—what are years? We were married, and 
had a cottage on a grassy hill above the bay, where the 
wind blew, and we could see the white ripples creeping up 
the sand. Then a sailor came from over the sea; a naval 
man, Senor, of your country. He had seen the world; he 
could fascinate women—and women change their love. She 

[ 225 ] 


walked with me along the beach in the twilight. The wind 
tossed her hair. I repeated gossip, accused her of loving 
this man I had never seen. She acknowledged her love; 
proudly, I thought bravely; surely without shame. Senor, 
with these same hands I forced her to her knees, stifled her 
cry—and slowly, slowly watched the great staring eyes 
grow fixed and awful—the lips fall wide—” 

“You strangled her?” burst from Senor in passionate 

“I was a fiend,” went on the Spaniard. “I felt nothing 
except that her love had changed. I fled over the seas. 
For long my mind was dark, but clearness came, and with 
it truth. How I knew it I can’t say—these things abide in 
mystery—but my girl was innocent. Then hell gaped for 
me. Burning days—endless nights under the hateful stars 
—no rest—her last cry, like the Perde-alma, Senor—her 
great, wide eyes—the beat, the beat, the eternal beat of 
pain, made him you see a thing of iron and stone. 

“What was left, Senor? Only a wild life. You see the 
wanderer with crimes on him thick as his gray hairs. Ah! 
What I might have done—might have been! I see that in 
your eyes. What a man might have been! Holy Mercy! 
A braver part no man ever had chance to play. I could 
have left her free. I would not have heard the hound of 
remorse ever baying my trail. I could have hidden like a 

[226 ] 


stricken deer, and died alone. But I was a blind coward. 
Men see differently after years go by. What is love? What 
is this thing that makes one woman all of life to a man? 
Constant or fickle, she is fair to him. Bound or free, she 
answers to nameless force. 

“Where did you—all this happen?” asked Senor hur¬ 
riedly and low. 

“It was at Malaga, on the Mediterranean.” 

Senor stalked off into the gloom, whispering. 

Manuel did not notice his comrade’s agitation; he was 
in the rude grip of unfamiliar emotions. His story had 
been a deliberate lie, yet it contained truth enough to re¬ 
call the old feeling out of its grave. He thought he had 
divined Senor’s secret, his sacrifice, the motive behind his 
wandering in a God-forsaken land. He believed it was to 
leave a woman free and to forget. He felt the man’s burn¬ 
ing regret that he had not spilled blood in vengeance. So 
he had lied, had made himself a murderer, that by a som¬ 
ber contrast Senor might see in forgiveness and mercy the 
nobler part. 

Deep in Manuel’s bitter soul he knew how he had lied 
—for that woman of his youth had not been innocent; he 
had not harmed her, and he had left her free. Senor would 
believe his fabricated tragedy, and, looking on this hulk of 
a man, this wandering wretch, haunted by what he might 

[m ] 


have been, and, thanking God for his clean hands, might 
yet see the darkness illumined. 

More days the hunters poled and pulled up the Pal- 
cazu, to enter, at length, the mouth of a deep estuary com¬ 
ing in from the north. 

This water was a blue-green reflection of sky and foli¬ 
age. It was a beautiful lane, winding between laced and 
fringed, woven and flowered walls. The heavy perfume of 
overluxuriance was sickening. Life was manifold. The es¬ 
tuary dimpled and swelled and splashed—everywhere were 
movements and sounds of water creatures. Gorgeous par¬ 
rots screeched from the trailing vines; monkeys chattered 
from the swishing branches. Myriads of bright-plumaged 
birds, flitting from bank to bank, gave the effect of a many- 
colored net stretched above the water. Dreamy music 
seemed to soar in the rich, thick atmosphere 

The estuary widened presently into a narrow, oval lake, 
with a sandy shore on the north. Crocodiles basked in the 
sun, and, as Manuel turned the canoe shoreward, they 
raised themselves on stumpy legs, jaws wide, grotesque 
and hideous, and lunged for the water. 

“Cayman! I never saw so many,” exclaimed Manuel, 
striking right and left with his paddle. Where I find 
caymans, there’s always cowcha. Senor, I believe here is 
the place.” 

[228 ] 


They ascended the bank, and threaded a maze of wild 
cane rising to higher ground. The soil was a rich alluvial. 
Manuel dug into it with his hands, as if, indeed, he ex¬ 
pected to find gold there. The ridge they mounted was 
not thickly forested. Manuel made two discoveries—they 
were on the borderland of the eastern Andes, and all 
about them were rubber trees. Whether or not Manuel 
cared for the fortune represented by one hundredth part 
of the rubber he could see, certain it was that he ran 
from one tree to another clasping each in a kind of 

“Iquitos will go mad,” he cried. “A thousand tons of 
cowcha in sight! It’s here. Look at the trees—fifty, sixty 
feet high! Senor, we shall go in rich, rich, rich!” 

They packed the supplies up from the river to escape 
the sand flies, and built a shack, elevating it slightly on 
forked sticks to evade the marching ants and creeping in¬ 
sects. Inside the palm-leaf walls they hung the net, fitting 
it snugly in the cramped space. By clearing away the un¬ 
derbrush and burning the ground bare, they added still 
more to the utility of their camp site, and, as far as it was 
possible in that jungle, approached comfort. 

A troop of monkeys took refuge in the tops of some 
palms and set up a resentful chattering; parrots and ma¬ 
caws swelled the unwelcoming chorus; a boa wound away 

[ 229 ] 


from the spot, shaking a long line of bushes; and an ant- 
eater ran off into the sitekas. 

Manuel caught up his gun, making as if to pursue the 
beast, then slowly laid the weapon down. 

“I’d forgotten. We’re in Cashibos country now. I’ve 
seen no signs, but we had best be quiet. At that we may 
have to shoot the jaguars. They stalk a man.” 

The rubber hunters worked from dawn till the noonday 
heat, rested through the white, intense hours, resumed their 
tasks in the afternoon, and continued while the light lasted. 
The method of honest rubber hunters was to tap a tree in 
the evening and visit it the next morning to get the juice. 
This was too slow a process for Manuel—as it took several 
days for a flow of a few ounces. 

He was possessed with exceeding skill in the con¬ 
struction of clay vessels to catch the milky juice and in 
extracting rubber. He carried water from the river and 
fashioned large clay repositories, one for so many rubber 
trees; also he made small vessels and troughs. These 
baked hard in the sun. Then he cut the trees so the sap 
would flow freely. They would die; but that was of no 
moment to the outlaw. He had brought a number of 
kettles, in which he made a thick steam by heating palm 
nuts. Taking a stick with a clay mold on the end, he 
dipped it first in the milk, and then dried the milk in 

[230 ] 


the stream. From a vessel full of milk, he got one third 
its weight in rubber. 

“Senor,” he said proudly, “I can make a hundred 
pounds of rubber in a day.” 

It was a toil-filled time, in which the united efforts of 
Manuel and Senor were given to making an immense cargo 
of rubber. Swiftly the days passed into weeks, the weeks 
summed months, and the rainy season was at hand. Soon 
the rubber hunters must expect a daily deluge, a flooded, 
sticky forest, intolerable humidity, and sun like an open 
furnace door. 

Manuel awoke from his lust for rubber. 

“The canoe won’t hold another layer,” he said. “She’ll 
be loggy enough now. We can rest and drift clear to 
Iquitos. How good! We must be starting.” 

Like a flitting shadow, a strange, sad smile crossed 
Senor’s face. Its meaning haunted Manuel, and recalled 
the early days of the trip, before the craze for rubber had 
driven all else from his mind. A wonderful change had 
come over Senor. He gave all his strength to the gathering 
of rubber, but no longer with a madness for sheer action. 
He no longer invited the torture of the stinging pests. He 
ate like a hungry man, and his sleep was untroubled. Even 
his silence had undergone change. The inward burning, the 
intensity of mind forever riveted upon the thing that had 

[ 231 ] 


been the dividing spear of his life, had given place to aus¬ 
tere tranquillity. 

Other enlightenment flashed into Manuel’s darksome 
thought. The fancy grew upon him that he had come to 
be to Senor what Senor was to him. He sensed it, felt it, 
finally realized it. 

Pondering this man’s deep influence, he tried to judge 
what it meant. Something shook his pulse, some power 
from without; some warm, living thing drew him to Senor. 
It was more than the intimate bond of men of like caliber, 
alone in the wilds, facing peril carelessly, dependent upon 
one another. Too subtle it was for Manuel, too mysterious 
for his crude reasoning; always it kept aloof, in the fringe 
of his mind. He floundered in thought, and seemed to go 
wandering in the realms of imagery, to become lost in 
memory, where the unreal present mingled with the actual 
past, through both of which ran Senor’s baffling, intangible 
hold on his heartstrings. 

“Maybe I’ve got a touch of fever,” he soliloquized. 

Another day went by, and still he hesitated to speak 
the word for departure. More and more the task grew 
harder, for added watching, thought, realization, strength¬ 
ened his conviction that Senor intended to remain alone on 
the Palcazu. Had the man come to hide in the jungle, to 
face his soul in the solitude, to forget in the extremes of 

[ 232 ] 


endurance? Yes, but more! He sought the end—annihila¬ 

Manuel had never feared to use his tongue, yet now he 
could not speak. It was midday, and he lay beside Senor 
in the shack, sheltered from the torrid heat. Usually abso¬ 
lute silence prevailed at this hour. On this day, however, 
gentle gusts of wind beat the fronds of the palms. What a 
peculiar sound! It had no similarity to the muffled beating 
of the heart heard in the ear; yet it suggested that to 
Manuel, and wrought ominously upon his superstition. 

He listened. Sudden, soft gust—gentle beat, beat, beat 
hastening at the end! Was it the wind? How seldom had 
he heard wind in the jungle! Was it the fronds of the 
palms or the beating of his heart or of Senor’s? His blood 
did beat thick in his ears. Then a chill passed over him, a 
certainty of some calamity about to be, beyond his com¬ 
prehension; and he wrenched decision out of his wavering 
will, and swore that he would start down the Palcazu on 
the morrow, if not with this strange companion, then alone. 

Manuel fell into a doze. He awakened presently, and 
sat up, drowsy and hot. He was alone in the shack. Then 
a hand protruded under the flap of the netting and plucked 
at him. 

v “Hurry! Hurry!” came the hoarse whisper. “Don’t 
speak—don’t make a noise!” 

[ 233 ] 


Wide awake in a second, Manuel swept aside the flap 
and straightened up outside. Senor stood very close to 
him. On the instant, low, whirring sounds caught his ear. 
From the green wall of cane streaked little things that he 
took for birds. Bright and swift the glints of light shot 
through the yellow sunshine. All about him they struck 
with tiny, pattering thuds and spats. Suddenly the shack 
appeared to be covered with quivering butterflies. They 
were gaudy, feathered darts from blowguns of the canni¬ 

“Cashibos!” yelled Manuel. 

Run! Run!” cried Senor. He thrust his coat over 
Manuel and turned him with a violent push. “Run for 
the river!” 

The frenzy of his voice and will served almost to make 
Manuel act automatically. But he looked back, then stood 
with suspended breath and leaden feet. 

Bronze shadows darted through the interstices of the 
cane. Then the open sunlight burnished small, naked sav¬ 
ages, lean, wild, as agile and bounding as if they were made 
of the rubber of their jungle home. 

Senor jerked Manuel’s machete from a log of firewood, 
and rushed to meet them. His back was covered with 
gaudy butterfly darts. The sight held Manuel stricken in 
his tracks. Senor had made his broad body a shield, had 

[234 ] 


stood buffer between his comrade and the poisoned darts 
of the Cashibos. 

Like a swarm of copper bees shining in the sun, the can¬ 
nibals poured out of the cane, incredibly swift and silent, 
leveling their blowguns and brandishing their spears. 

Senor plunged at them, sweeping the machete. A row 
of nimble bodies wilted before him, went down as grain be¬ 
fore a scythe. Again the blade swept backward, to whistle 
forward and describe a circle through tumbling, copper- 
colored bodies. 

Rooted in horror, Manuel saw the first spear point come 
out of Senor’s back. Another and another! They slipped 
out as easily as if coming through water. Senor dropped 
the machete, and swaying, upheld by spears, he broke that 
silent fight with a terrible cry. It pealed out, piercingly 
shrill with pain, horrible in its human note of death, but 
strange and significant in its ringing triumph. Then he 
fell, and the Cashibos hurdled his body. 

Animal instinct to survive burst the bonds that held 
Manuel as paralyzed. One leap carried him behind the 
shack, another into the cane, where he sprang into headlong 
flight. The cane offered little resistance to his giant bounds. 
Soon he reached the bank of the river. The canoe was 
gone. Rows of caymans lay along the beach. So swiftly 
he leaped down that he beat them into the water. Then, 

[235 ] 


drawing Senor’s coat tight around his head and shoulders, 
he plunged out with powerful strokes. 

He had gained the middle of the estuary, when he saw 
arrowy gleams galnce before him. Like hissing hail, a 
shower of darts struck the water. Then it seemed that 
gaudy butterflies floated about his face. Diving deep, he 
swam until compelled to rise for breath. 

As he came up, a crocodile rolled menacingly near. 
Manuel hit it a blow with his fist, and dove again. The 
coat hindered rapid swimming under water. He rose again 
to hear the crocodile swirling behind him. Darts splashed big 
drops on his cheeks, tugged at his head covering, streaked 
beyond him to skitter along the surface of the estuary. 

Reaching shallow water, he crawled into the reeds. 
White-mouthed snakes struck at him. The bank was low 
and overhung with rank growths. Manuel scrambled 
through to the solid ground; and then turned to have a 
look at his pursuers. 

Up and down the sandy beach a hundred or more 
Cashibos were running. How wild they were, how springy 
and fleet! How similar to the hungry, whirling sand flies! 
For a moment the disturbed caymans threshed about in 
the estuary, holding the cannibals back. Presently several 
of the most daring waded in above the commotion; then 
others entered below. 

[ 236 ] 


Manuel breasted the dense jungle. Before him rose an 
apparently impenetrable wall of green. He dove into it, 
tore through it, leaving a trail of broken branches, twisted 
vines, and turned leaves. In places he ran encumbered by 
clinging creepers; in others he parted the thick growths 
with his hands and leaped high to separate them. Again 
he bent low to crawl along the peccary trails. 

Despite the obstacles, he went so swiftly that the jun¬ 
gle pests could not get at him; the few which did could not 
keep their hold, because of the scraping brush. Soon he 
ran out of a vine-webbed canebrake into a grove of sitekas, 
rubber trees, and palms. At every bound he sank into the 
moist earth, still he kept on running. He heard a scatter¬ 
ing of animals before him, and saw a blur of flapping 

The day seemed to darken. He looked up to see trees 
branching at a height of two hundred feet, and intermin¬ 
gling their foliage to obscure sun and sky. Here was the 
dim shade of the great forest of the Amazon tributaries. 
Sheering off to the right, he ran until the clinging earth 
clogged his feet. 

The forest was like a huge, dim hall full of humming 
life. Lines of shrieking monkeys hung on the ropelike vines 
that reached from the ground to green canopy overhead. 
Birds of paradise sailed like showers of gold through the 

[ 237 ] 


thick, hazy air. Before him fled boas, peccaries, ant-eat¬ 
ers, spotted cats, and beasts that he could not name. 

Manuel chose the oozy ground, for there the under¬ 
brush was not higher than his knees. On and on he wal¬ 
lowed through the moist labyrinth of intricate thickets, of 
aisles lined by the red capironas, of peccary trails worn in 
the earth, of glades starry with exquisite orchids. A fra¬ 
grance of nauseous sweetness, like that of rotting jessamine 
and tuberose, mingled with fetid odor of wet, hot earth, of 
ripe life and luxuriance. The forest was steeped in a steam 
from overheat, overmoisture, overgrowth. 

The gloom deepened. Somewhere back of Manuel 
rasped out the cough of a jaguar. He quickened his weary 
steps, soon to strike rising ground and pass out of the dark 
forest into groves of sitekas. The day was waning. He 
ascended a ridge, following the patches of open ground 
where the baked clay shone white. This hard ground would 
hide his trail from the cannibals, but he had no hope of 
eluding the jaguars. Still, he could climb out of reach of 
the hunting cats. It was the little, winged devils, the tiny, 
creeping fiends that most menaced his life. 

He strode on till the shadows warned him of approach¬ 
ing night. Selecting a group of palms with tops interlock¬ 
ing, he climbed one, and perched in the midst of the stems 
of the leaves. Laboriously he broke stem after stem, bent 

[ 238 ] 


and laid them crosswise in the middle of the tree. Then 
he straddled another stem, let his feet hang down, and lay 
back upon the rude floor he had constructed. Finally, 
wrapping head and face in Senor’s coat and hiding his 
hands, he composed himself to rest. 

He was dripping wet, hot as fire, pulsating, seething, 
aching, his whole body inflamed. Gradually the riot of his 
nerves, the race of hot blood subsided and cooled. Night 
set in, and the jungle awoke to the hue and cry of its 
bloody denizens. Mosquitoes swarmed around his perch 
with a continuous hum not unlike the long, low roll of a 
drum. Huge bats whizzed to and fro, brushing the palm 
leaves. Light steps on the hard clay, rustling of brush and 
snapping of twigs attested to the movement of peccaries. 
These sounds significantly ceased at the stealthy, padded 
tread of a jaguar. From distant points came the hungry 
snarl, the fighting squall, the ominous cough of the jungle cats. 

Sometime late in the night Manuel fell asleep. When 
he awoke the fog clouds were mustering, bulging, mush¬ 
rooming all in a swirl as they lifted. Like a disk of molten 
silver, the sun glared through the misty curtain. The drip, 
drip, drip of dew was all the sound to break the silence. 
Manuel’s cramped muscles made descending to the ground 
an awkward task. 

He estimated that his flight had taken him miles into 

[ 239 ] 


the interior. Evidently for the time being he had eluded 
the Cashibos. However, his situation was gravely critical, 
and he would never be safe until he got clear of Palcazu 
territory. It was impossible for him to protect himself from 
the jungle parasites. His instant and inflexible determina¬ 
tion was to make his way back to the river, find his canoe, 
or steal one from the cannibals, and, failing both, lash some 
logs together and trust to the current. 

The rains were due; soon the rivers would be raging 
floods; he would make fast time. Manuel had no fear of 
starvation, of the deadly heat, the fatal dews, the rainy- 
season fever, or of the Cashibos. What he feared was the 
infernal flies, ticks, ants, mosquitoes—the whole blood-suck¬ 
ing horde. Well he knew that they might bite him blind, 
poison his blood, drive him mad, actually kill him before he 
got out of the jungle. 

As he was about to start, a small leather pocketbook 
fell from Senor’s coat. Manuel picked it up. He saw 
again those broad shoulders covered with the gaudy but¬ 
terfly darts. He drew his breath with a sharp catch. Fin¬ 
gering the little book, unaccountably impelled, he opened 
it. Inside was a picture. 

He looked down into the dark, challenging eyes, the 
piquant, alluring face of the woman who had been his 
sweetheart wife! 

[240 ] 


Manuel smiled dreamily. How clear was the vision! 
But almost instantly he jerked up his head, hid the picture, 
and gazed furtively about him, trembling and startled. 
The glaring jungle was no lying deceit of the fancy. 

Slowly he drew forth the picture. Again the proud, 
dark eyes, the sweet lips, the face arch with girl’s willful¬ 
ness, importunate with woman’s charm! 

Manuel shifted his straining gaze to Senor’s coat. 

“Senor! He was the man—that sailor from over the 
sea—whom she loved at Malaga! What does it all mean? 
I felt his secret—I lied—I hatched that murderous story 
to help him. But he knew I did not kill her!” 

Manuel pitched high his arms, quivering, riven by the 
might of the truth. 

“He recognized me! He knew me all the time! He 
saved my life!” 

Manuel fell backward and lay motionless, with his 
hands shutting out the light. An hour passed. At last he 
arose, half dazed, fighting to understand. 

With Senor’s coat and the picture before him, he traced 
the wonderful association between them and him. There 
were the plain facts, as clear in his sight as the pictured 
face of the woman who had ruined him, but they were be¬ 
wildering: he could feel but not comprehend them. They 
obscured their meaning in mystery, in the inscrutable mys- 

[ 241 ] 


tery of human life. He had freed her, had left her to be 
happy with the man she loved. 

Had she betrayed him, too? It was not impossible that 
a woman who had ceased to love one man would cease to 
love his successor. Some subtle meaning pervaded the at¬ 
mosphere of that faded coat, that leather book, that 
woman’s face, with its smile, and by the meaning Manuel 
knew Senor had suffered the same stunning stroke that had 
blighted him. Senor had cried out in the night: “Oh God, 
let me forget! ” 

It was the same story—hell in the mind, because one 
day on a woman’s face shone that mysterious thing, a 
light, a smile for him alone, and on the next day it van¬ 
ished. Fever in the blood, madness to forget, wandering, 
a hunt for peace, and the wasting years—how he knew 

Manuel thought of Senor, of his magnificent strength, 
of the lion in him as he sprang to meet the Cashibos, of 
the gaudy butterfly darts imbedded in his back, of the 
glory and pathos of his death. What his life might have 
been! A strung cord snapped in Manuel’s breast; his heart 
broke. Bitter salt tears flowed for Senor, for himself, for 
all miserable wretches for all time. In that revealing mo¬ 
ment he caught a glimpse of the infinite. He saw the help¬ 
lessness of man, the unintelligible fatality of chance, motive, 

[ 242 ] 


power, charm, love—all that made up the complexity of 

How little it mattered, from the view of what made life 
significant to him, that he was a rubber hunter, lost in the 
jungle, hunted by cannibals, tortured by heat, thirst, hun¬ 
ger, vermin! His real life was deep-seated in the richly 
colored halls of memory; and when he lived at all, it was 
when he dreamed therein. His outside existence, habits of 
toil, and debauchery were horrors that he hated. On the 
outside he was a brutalized rubber hunter, unkempt and 
unwashed, a coarse clod, given over to gaming and chicha. 
In that inner life he lived on a windy hill, watching white 
sails on a blue sea, listening to a woman’s voice. 

But some change had come that would now affect his 
exterior life; something beautiful crowned the hideous span 
of years. His companionship with Senor had softened him, 
and the tragedy, with its divine communication of truth, 
was a lightning flash into the black gulf of his soul. 

By its light he felt pity for her, for Senor, for himself, 
for all who lived and loved and suffered. By its light he 
divined the intricate web and tangle and cross and coun¬ 
ter-cross of the instincts and feelings of human nature—all 
that made love transient in one heart, steadfast in another, 
fleeting as the shadow of a flitting wing—wonderful, terri¬ 
ble, unquenchable as the burning sun. 

[243 ] 


By its light he saw woman, the mother of life, the source 
of love, the fountain of joy, the embodiment of change— 
nature’s tool to further her unfathomable design, forever 
and ever to lure man by grace and beauty, to win him, to 
fetter him in unattainable, ever-enthralling desires. By its 
light he saw himself another man, a long-tried, long-failing 
man, faithful to his better self at the last. 

Manuel set forth toward the river, keeping in the shade 
of trees, walking cautiously, with suspicious eyes ever on 
the outlook. He walked all day, covering twice the dis¬ 
tance he calculated he had fled inland. When night fell, he 
went on by the light of the stars until the fog obscured 
them. The rest of the night he walked round a tree with 
covered head. In the morning the sun rose on the side he 
had thought was west. He had become lost in the jungle. 

Heretofore panic had always seized him on a like occa¬ 
sion; this time it did not. Taking the direction he thought 
right, he pressed on till the midday sun boiled his blood. 
Succulent leaves and the pith of small palms served as 
food. He moistened his parching mouth with the sap of 
trees. Lying down, he covered himself with the coat and 
a pile of brush and slept; then awoke to trudge on, fight¬ 
ing the flies. 

He entered the great jungle forest, and sought his back 
trail, but did not find it. Swampy water allayed his thirst, 

[ 244 ] 


and a snake served for meat. The jaguars drove him out 
of the forest. He began to wander in a circle; and that 
night and the following day and the next were but aug¬ 
mented repetitions of what had gone before. 

The rains did not come. The fronds of the palms beat 
in the still air. Manuel heard in them a knell. Bitten 
blind, flayed alive by pests, he fell at last with clouded 
mind. The whizzing wheel of flies circled lower; the armies 
of marching ants spread over him; the red splotches of 
ticks on the leaves spilled themselves upon him like quick¬ 
silver. He crawled on through the hot bushes. The light 
of his mind wavered, and he raved of infernal fires. He 
was rolling in fire; forked tongues of flame licked at his 
flesh; red sparks ate into his brain. Down, down under the 
heated earth, through hot vapors blown by fiery gusts! It 
was a jungle with underbrush of flame, trees in the image 
of pillars of fire, screeching red monkeys in service as imps, 
birds of dazzling coals; and over all and under all and 
through all a vast humming horde of living embers that bit 
with white-hot teeth. 

As Manuel’s reason flickered, ready to go out forever, 
the rain descended, and it cooled him and washed him 
clean of insects. It slaked his thirst and soothed his blinded 
eyes. At length the tropical cloudburst roared away, leav¬ 
ing the jungle drenched. Manuel followed a rushing stream 

[245 ] 


of water that he knew would lead him to the river. In 
him resurged effort and resistance. 

By nightfall he had come to the border of cane. Like 
an eel through grass, he slipped between the stalks to the 
river. On the opposite shore faint lights twinkled. At 
first he took them for fireflies. But dark forms moving 
across the lights told him he had stumbled upon an en¬ 
campment of the Cashibos. 

The river seemed uneasy, stirring. It was rising 
fast. By dawn it would be bank full with a swift current. 
Under the pale stars the water shimmered, steely black 
in the shade of overhanging shore, dead silver in the center, 
where the fish swirled and the crocodiles trailed dimpling 

Without hesitation, Manuel stepped into the water, 
noiselessly sinking himself to his neck. With his ear level 
with the surface, he subordinated every sense to that of 
hearing. The river was a sounding board, augmenting the 
faint jungle sounds. Crossing would be as safe for him 
then as it would ever be. 

Grim as death, Manuel trusted himself to the river. 
He glided off the shoal without making a ripple, and swam 
deep with guarded strokes. Fish sported before him; spi¬ 
ders and snakes grazed his cheeks; caymans floated by 
with knotty snout parting the current, and lines of bub- 

[246 ] 


bles bursting with hollow sound betrayed the underwater 
passage of more of the lazy reptiles. 

Once Manuel felt the swirl and heave of water disturbed 
by a powerful force. A soft river breeze wafted to him the 
smell of burning wood and the dull roar of distant rapids. 
He crossed the shimmering space between the shadows of 
shore. Looking backward, he descried a circle of black 
snouts lazily closing in upon him. He quickened his strokes. 
The twinkling lights disappeared. All before him was 
black. He felt slimy reeds touch his face, and, lowering his 
feet, found the bottom, and cautiously waded out. Then 
he crouched down to rest to gather all his wit and strength 
for the final move. 

Toward the bank he could not see his hand before his 
face; riverward there was a glancing sheen of water that 
made the gloom opaque. He began to crawl, feeling in the 
darkness for a canoe. Moving downstream, he worked out 
of the marshy sedge to ground worn smooth and hard. It 
was a landing place for canoes. 

He strained his eyes. All about him were shadowy, 
merging shades without shape. The low murmur of strange 
voices halted him; he was within hearing of the cannibals. 
Then in him awoke the stealth and savage spirit of a jaguar 
stalking prey. Gliding up the trail, he peeped over the 
bank. Fires flickered back in the blackness, lighting wan 

[ 247 ] 


circles that were streaked and shadowed by moving, dark 
forms. With fateful eyes Manuel watched. 

Below him a slight splash drew his attention. He fan¬ 
cied it too thin, too hard and dead, to be made by water 
creature. Again it broke the silence, unnatural to his 
trained ear. It was the splash of a paddle. Soundless as 
the shadows about him, Manuel glided down to the edge 
of the river and lay flat, hugging the sand. 

A long, low canoe, black against the background of the 
river gloom, swept in to the landing gloom, swept in to the 
landing, grated on the sand, and spread gentle, lapping 
waves against the beach. A slender form, smooth and wild 
in outline, stepped out within a yard of Manuel. 

Like a specter Manuel loomed up, and his hands closed 
vise-tight around the neck of the cannibal. He lifted him 
clear of the ground, and there held him, wrestling, wrig¬ 
gling till fierce struggles ceased in spasmodic convulsions 
and these subsided in a slow, trembling stretch. 

When the body hung limp, Manuel laid it down, and 
looked up the dim trail leading to the camp of the Cashibos. 
Upon him was the spell to kill. He saw again the gaudy 
butterfly darts in Senor’s back; he heard again that strange, 
terrible cry of triumph. Over him surged Senor’s grand 
disdain of life. Almost he yielded to an irresistible impulse 
to make that the end. 

[248 ] 


“If I had my machete—” he thought. Then he 
threw off the insidious thrall, and, stepping into the canoe, 
picked up the paddle and pushed out into the river. The 
twinkling lights vanished in the foliage. There was no 
sound of pursuit; the dreamy jungle hum remained un¬ 
broken. He paddled the light canoe swiftly with the 

The moon rose, whitening the river lane. A breeze bore 
the boom of the Palcazu in flood. Once upon that river of 
rapids, Manuel would scorn pursuit. Slackening current 
told him that backwater had swelled the estuary. Soon 
his ears filled with the rumbling of waters, and he turned 
out of the estuary into the sliding, moon-blanched Palcazu. 

As he dipped into the glistening channel of the first 
rapid, the canoe, quivering and vibrating, seemed to lurch 
into the air. Shock on shock kept the bow leaping. Manuel 
crouched low in the stern. It took all the strength of his 
brawny arms to keep the canoe straight. Whirling suck 
holes raced with him; frothy waves curled along the gun¬ 
wales. One rapid led into another, until the Palcazu was 
a thundering succession of broken waters. It ran wild for 
freedom. In the plunging inclines, the silver-crested chan¬ 
nels, the bulging billows, were the hurry and spirit of the 
river. The current, splitting on blackheaded stones, hissed 
its hatred of restraint. Manuel guided the canoe from side 

[249 ] 


to side, glancing along the gulfs, fringing the falls, always 
abreast of the widest passages. 

A haze crept over the moon and thickened to gray fog. 
Shadows shrouded the river, hanging lower and lower, de¬ 
scending to mingle with the spray. Manuel paddled on 
while the hours passed. 

The fog curtain lightened to the coming of dawn. 
Manuel evinced no surprise to find himself gazing upon the 
misty flood of the wide Pachitea. He had run the Palcazu 
in one night. Paddling ashore, he beached the canoe to 
bail out water he had shipped in that wild ride. 

All night he had felt a balancing of some kind of cargo 
in the bow. Upon investigating, he found the bottom of 
the bow covered with palm leaves. These he lifted to dis¬ 
cover two naked little savages cowering on a mat of woven 

“Cashibos!” ejaculated Manuel. “Boy and girl. They 
were in the canoe last night when I strangled that fellow, 
their father, probably. What’s to be done with them?” 

The boy was a dark copper color; his hair grew straight 
down over his low forehead; he was pot-bellied and alto¬ 
gether ugly. The girl was younger, lighter in color, slim 
and graceful, and pretty in a wild way, like a bronze elf 
of the jungle. 

“What’ll I do with them?” repeated Manuel. “I can’t 

[250 ] 


kill them, or leave them here to starve or be eaten by 
jaguars. I’ll take them down the Pachitea and turn them 
over to a Campas tribe.” 

Having decided, Manuel folded a palm leaf and used it 
to bail out the canoe. In the bottom he found a bunch of 
dwarfish bananas and some dried fish. Here was good for¬ 
tune in the way of food. He arranged the palm leaves 
across the gunwales, making a sun, rain, and dew shield. 
Then, pushing off, he paddled into the swollen current. 

The blazing sun rose; the sand flies wheeled with the 
drifting canoe; the afternoon rain poured; night came, 
with its cloud of singing mosquitoes, its poison dews and 

That day passed, and another like it. Every hour the 
canoe drifted speedy as the current. The Cashibos chil¬ 
dren lost their fear of Manuel. The boy jabbered and 
played; the girl smiled at Manuel, which persuaded him 
not to give them to a Campas tribe, but to take them home 
and care for them himself. 

Three more days and nights the canoe drifted. Manuel’s 
strength had returned, but it troubled him to think. Some¬ 
thing had happened up the river. He had for his pillow a 
ragged coat that fascinated him, and which he treasured. 

Early the next morning he turned the green bend at 
La Boca to come abruptly upon the Amazonas , lying at the 

[251 ] 


dock. Men shouted from her decks; there was a thudding 
of bare feet. 

“Look! Look!” 

“Is it the outlaw?” 


“Yes—yes. Those shoulders and arms—it’s he!” 

Manuel’s blotched face, swollen out of all proportions, 
was unrecognizable. 

Captain Yaldez leaned hard over the rail. “Manuel, is 
it you?” 

“Yes, captain.” 

“Where’s your cowcha?” 

“Lost, captain, lost! A great rubber forest, captain—I 
had tons of cowcha—it’s lost—all lost!” 

“I suppose so,” replied Valdez ironically. “That’s a 
fine cargo to pay you—two half-grown Indian kids. The 
nerve of you, Manuel, dropping into La Boca with 

“Slaves!” echoed from Manuel. His gaze traveled from 
Valdez’s face to the little bronze Cashibos, once more hud¬ 
dling, frightened, in the bow. “Slaves? Ha! Ha! Ha!” 

“Manuel, you had your choice,” went on the captain, 
“and now you must abide by it. I’ve caught some of you 
slave hunters this trip. There’s Bustos in irons. Your 
choice Manuel—the chain gang, or the river?” 

[ 252 ] 


“The river for me!” said Manuel. “Only up instead of 

“Up! But, Manuel, there’s a chance down the Ama¬ 
zon. You—” 

The rubber hunter faced up the wide Pachitea. His 
stentorian cry froze the words upon Captain Valdez’s lips. 
It rolled out, a strange, trenchant call to something be¬ 
yond the wild, silent river. 

“Fever,” whispered one of the fettered slave dealers. 

“Bitten crazy,” said another. 

Manuel started the canoe upstream. He did not look 

Captain and crew and prisoners on the boat thrilled to 
Bustos’s mocking farewell. 

“ Adios, Manuel!” 


[253 ]