It was the green heart that the canyon, where the wall surfaces swerved ago from therigid plan and also relieved your harshness of line by do a tiny shelterednook and filling it come the brim with sweetness and also roundness and also softness.Here all points rested. Also the narrow stream end its turbulent down-rushlong sufficient to type a quiet pool. Knee-deep in the water, v drooping headand half-shut eyes, drowsed a red-coated, many-antlered buck.
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On one side, start at the an extremely lip of the pool, to be a small meadow, a cool,resilient surface ar of green that extended to the base of the frowning wall.Beyond the pool a gentle slope of planet ran up and up to meet the opposingwall. Well grass covered the slope--grass the was spangled with flowers, withhere and there job of color, orange and also purple and golden. Below, thecanyon was shut in. There was no view. The walls leaned together abruptly andthe canyon finished in a chaos that rocks, moss-covered and hidden by a greenscreen the vines and creepers and also boughs of trees. Increase the canyon rose far hillsand peaks, the huge foothills, pine-covered and remote. And far beyond, likeclouds upon the border of the slay, towered minarets of white, where theSierra\"s eternal snows flashed austerely the blazes of the sun.
There to be no dust in the canyon. The leaves and also flowers to be clean andvirginal. The grass was young velvet. Over the pool three cottonwoods senttheir scurvy fluffs fluttering under the quiet air. On the steep the blossomsof the wine-wooded manzanita fill the air through springtime odors, when theleaves, wise with experience, were already beginning their vertical twistagainst the coming aridity the summer. In the open up spaces ~ above the slope, beyondthe the furthest shadow-reach of the manzanita, poised the mariposa lilies, likeso numerous flights the jewelled moths suddenly arrested and on the verge oftrembling into flight again. Here and there that woods harlequin, the madrone,permitting itself to be recorded in the plot of changing its pea-green trunk tomadder-red, breathed that fragrance right into the waiting from good clusters the waxenbells. Creamy white to be these bells, shaped like lilies-of-the-valley, withthe sweet of perfume that is of the springtime.
There was not a sigh of wind. The air to be drowsy v its weight of perfume.It was a sweetness that would have been cloying had actually the air been heavy andhumid. But the air was sharp and thin. It was as starlight transmuted intoatmosphere, shot through and warmed by sunshine, and flower-drenched withsweetness.
An sometimes butterfly drifted in and also out through the patches of irradiate andshade. And also from all around rose the low and also sleepy hum that mountainbees--feasting Sybarites the jostled one an additional good-naturedly at the board,nor uncovered time for stormy discourtesy. So quiet did the tiny stream dripand ripple its way through the canyon the it spoke only in faint andoccasional gurgles. The voice that the stream was together a drowsy whisper, everinterrupted by dozings and also silences, ever lifted again in the awakenings.
The motion of all things was a drifting in the love of the canyon. Sunshineand butterflies drifted in and also out among the trees. The hum that the bees andthe to whisper of the stream were a drifting of sound. And also the drifting sound anddrifting color seemed to weave with each other in the make of a fragile andintangible cloth which to be the soul of the place. It was a spirit of peacethat was no of death, yet of smooth-pulsing life, that quietude the was notsilence, of activity that was no action, the repose the was rapid withexistence without being violent v struggle and travail. The spirit of theplace was the spirit of the tranquility of the living, somnolent v the easementand content of prosperity, and also undisturbed by rumors of much wars.
The red-coated, many-antlered buck acknowledged the lordship the the soul ofthe place and also dozed knee-deep in the cool, shaded pool. There seemed no fliesto vex him and also he to be languid with rest. Sometimes his ears moved when thestream awoke and also whispered; however they moved lazily, with, foreknowledge that itwas just the stream get an impression garrulous at exploration that it had slept.
But there come a time when the buck\"s ear lifted and tensed through swifteagerness because that sound. His head was turned under the canyon. His sensitive,quivering nostrils scented the air. His eyes might not pierce the eco-friendly screenthrough i m sorry the stream rippled away, however to his ears came the voice that aman. It was a steady, monotonous, singsong voice. As soon as the buck heard theharsh clash of steel upon rock. In ~ the sound that snorted v a sudden startthat jerked him through the air from water come meadow, and also his feet sank intothe young velvet, while that pricked his ears and again scented the air. Climate hestole across the tiny meadow, pausing once and also again to listen, and also faded awayout the the canyon choose a wraith, soft-footed and without sound.
The clash of steel-shod soles against the rocks started to be heard, and also theman\"s voice grew louder. It was raised in a sort of chant and also became distinctwith nearness, so the the words can be heard:
\"Turn approximately an\" tu\"n yo\" faceUntoe lock sweet hills that grace(D\" pow\"rs that sin yo\" am scornin\"!).Look around an\" look aroun\",Fling yo\" sin-pack top top d\" groun\"(Yo\" will accomplish wid d\" mr in d\" mornin\"!).\"
A sound that scrambling attach the song, and also the soul of the place fledaway ~ above the heels of the red-coated buck. The green display screen was burst asunder,and a guy peered out at the meadow and the pool and also the sloping side-hill. Hewas a deliberate kind of man. He soaked up the scene v one embracing glance,then ran his eyes end the details come verify the basic impression. Then, andnot until then, go he open his mouth in vivid and also solemn approval:
\"Smoke that life an\" line of purgatory! will you simply look at that! hardwood an\"water an\" grass an\" a side-hill! A pocket-hunter\"s pleasure an\" a cayuse\"sparadise! Cool environment-friendly for exhausted eyes! Pink pills because that pale people ain\"t in it. Asecret pasture because that prospectors and also a resting-place for exhausted burros, through damn!\"
He to be a sandy-complexioned guy in whose face geniality and also humor seemed thesalient characteristics. It was a mobile face, quick-changing come inward moodand thought. Thinking was in the a clearly shows process. Concepts chased throughout hisface prefer wind-flaws across the surface of a lake. His hair, sparse andunkempt of growth, was as indeterminate and colorless as his complexion. Itwould seem that all the shade of his frame had gotten in his eyes, because that theywere startlingly blue. Also, they were laughing and also merry eyes, within themmuch that the naivete and also wonder of the child; and yet, in an unassertive way.they had much of patience self-reliance and strength of purpose established uponself-experience and experience the the world.
>From the end the screen of vines and also creepers that flung ahead of the a miner\"spick and also shovel and gold-pan. Climate he crawled out himself right into the open. Hewas clad in faded overalls and also black noodle shirt, v hobnailed brogans onhis feet, and on his head a hat whose shapelessness and stains advertised therough intake of wind and rain and also sun and also camp-smoke. The stood erect, seeingwide-eyed the secrecy that the scene and also sensuously inhaling the warm, sweetbreath that the canyon-garden v nostrils that dilated and quivered withdelight. His eye narrowed to laughing slits that blue, his face wreathed itselfin joy, and his mouth curled in a laugh as he cried aloud:
\"Jumping dandelions and also happy hollyhocks, yet that smells great to me! Talkabout your attar o\" roses an\" cologne factories! castle ain\"t in it!\"
He had actually the habit that soliloquy. His quick-changing facial expressions mighttell every thought and also mood, however the tongue, perforce, ran difficult after,repeating, choose a second Boswell.
The guy lay down on the lip the the pool and drank long and deep that its water.\"Tastes an excellent to me,\" he murmured, lifting his head and also gazing across the poolat the side-hill, while he wiped his mouth through the ago of his hand. Theside-hill attracted his attention. Quiet lying on his stomach, he studied thehill development long and carefully. It was a practised eye that travelled upthe steep to the crumbling canyon-wall and ago and under again to the edge ofthe pool. The scrambled to his feet and favored the side-hill with a secondsurvey.
\"Looks great to me,\" that concluded, picking up his pick and shovel and also gold-pan.
He overcome the stream listed below the pool, stepping agilely from rock to stone.Where the sidehill touch the water that dug increase a shovelful that dirt and put itinto the gold-pan. That squatted down, holding the pan in his two hands, andpartly immersing it in the stream. Then he imparted come the pan a deft circularmotion that sent out the water sluicing in and also out with the dirt and gravel.The larger and the lighter particles functioned to the surface, and also these, by askilful dipping activity of the pan, he flood out and over the edge.Occasionally, to expedite matters, he rested the pan and with his fingersraked the end the huge pebbles and also pieces the rock.
The contents of the pan reduced rapidly until only fine dirt and thesmallest bits of gravel remained. At this stage he started to work verydeliberately and also carefully. It was fine washing, and he wash fine and finer,with a to crawl scrutiny and delicate and also fastidious touch. At last the pan seemedempty the everything yet water; yet with a fast semicircular flirt that sentthe water flying end the shallow rim into the stream, the disclosed a class ofblack sand on the bottom of the pan. So thin was this layer the it was prefer astreak the paint. He check it closely. In the middle of it was a small goldenspeck. The dribbled a tiny water in over the depression edge of the pan. Witha quick flirt he sent out the water sluicing throughout the bottom, turning the grainsof black sand over and also over A 2nd tiny gold speck bonus his effort.
The washing had now become very fine--fine beyond all require of ordinaryplacer-mining. He operated the black color sand, a small portion at a time, increase theshallow pickled in salt of the pan. Each small section he examined sharply, so the hiseyes experienced every serial of it before he permitted it come slide over the edge andaway. Jealously, bit by bit, he let the black sand slip away. A golden speck,no bigger than a pin-point, showed up on the rim, and by his manipulation ofthe riveter it went back to the bottom of brick pan. And in together fashion anotherspeck to be disclosed, and also another. Good was his care of them. Prefer a shepherdhe herded his i m crying of gold specks for this reason that not one have to be lost. In ~ last,of the pan of dirt nothing remained but his golden herd. That counted it, andthen, after every his labor, sent out it flying the end of the pan with one final swirlof water.
But his blue eyes were shining v desire together he increased to his feet. \"Seven,\" hemuttered aloud, asserting the amount of the specks for which he had actually toiled sohard and which he had so wantonly thrown away. \"Seven,\" the repeated, v theemphasis the one do the efforts to admire a number ~ above his memory.
He stood tho a long while, surveying the hill-side. In his eyes was acuriosity, new-aroused and burning. There was an exultance around his bearingand a keenness like that the a hunting animal catching the fresh scent of game.
He relocated down the currently a couple of steps and took a 2nd panful the dirt.
Again came the cautious washing, the jealousy herding of the golden specks, andthe wantonness v which he sent out them flying right into the stream when he hadcounted your number.
\"Five,\" that muttered, and also repeated, \"five.\"
He could not forbear another survey the the hill prior to filling the pan fartherdown the stream. His gold herds diminished. \" Four, three, two, two, one,\"were his memory-tabulations as he moved down the stream. When but one speck ofgold rewarded his washing, the stopped and also built a fire of dry twigs. Right into thishe thrust the gold-pan and also burned the till it was blue-black. He held up thepan and examined that critically. Then he nodded approbation. Versus such acolor-background he can defy the tiniest yellow speck to elude him.
Still moving down the stream, the panned again. A solitary speck was his reward.A 3rd pan included no yellow at all. Not satisfied through this, that panned threetimes again, acquisition his shovel of dust within a foot the one another. Each panproved north of gold, and the fact, rather of discouraging him, appeared togive that satisfaction. His elation boosted with every barren washing, untilhe arose, exclaiming jubilantly:
\"If it ain\"t the actual thing, may God knock turn off my head with sour apples!\"
Returning to where he had started operations, he began to pan up the stream.At first his golden herds increased--increased prodigiously. \" Fourteen,eighteen, twenty-one, twenty-six,\" ran his storage tabulations. Just over thepool the struck his wealthiest pan--thirty-five colors.
\"Almost enough to save,\" that remarked regretfully together he enabled the water tosweep castle away.
The sunlight climbed come the top of the sky. The man functioned on. Pan by pan, the wentup the stream, the tally of results steadily decreasing.
\"It\"s just booful, the means it peters out,\" the exulted once a shovelful of dirtcontained no more than a solitary speck that gold.
And as soon as no specks at all were discovered in several pans, the straightened up andfavored the hillside v a i was sure glance.
\"Ah, ha! Mr. Pocket!\" he cried out, together though come an auditor hidden somewhereabove him beneath the surface of the slope. \"Ah, ha! Mr. Pocket! I\"m a-comin\",I\"m a-comin\", an\" I\"m shorely gwine to acquire yer! girlfriend heah me, Mr. Pocket? I\"mgwine to obtain yer as shore together punkins ain\"t cauliflowers!\"
He turned and also flung a measure glance at the sunlight poised over him in theazure of the cloudless sky. Then he went down the canyon, following the lineof shovel-holes he had actually made in filling the pans. He overcome the stream belowthe pool and also disappeared with the environment-friendly screen. There was littleopportunity because that the heart of the ar to return through its quietude andrepose, for the man\"s voice, elevated in ragtime song, still overcame thecanyon with possession.
After a time, with a better clashing that steel-shod feet top top rock, the returned.The green display was greatly agitated. The surged back and forth in thethroes the a struggle. There was a according to grating and also clanging of metal. Theman\"s voice leaped come a greater pitch and was sharp with imperativeness. Alarge body plunged and also panted. There was a snapping and also ripping and also rending,and between a shower head of falling leaves a equine burst with the screen. On itsback to be a pack, and from this trailed broken vines and torn creepers. Theanimal gazed with astonished eye at the scene into which it had actually beenprecipitated, climate dropped that is head come the grass and also began contentedly tograze. A 2nd horse scrambled right into view, slipping once on the mossy rocksand regaining equilibrium once its hoofs sank right into the yielding surface of themeadow. It was riderless, despite on its earlier was a high-horned mexico saddle,scarred and also discolored by lengthy usage.
The man brought up the rear. The threw turn off pack and also saddle, v an eye to camplocation, and gave the pets their freedom to graze. That unpacked his foodand acquired out frying-pan and also coffee-pot. That gathered an armful of dry wood, andwith a few stones make a location for his fire.
\"My!\" the said, \"but I\"ve acquired an appetite. I can scoff iron-filings an\"horseshoe pond an\" thank you kindly, ma\"am, for a 2nd helpin\".\"
He straightened up, and, when he reached for matches in the pocket of hisoveralls, his eyes travelled across the pool to the side-hill. His finger hadclutched the match-box, however they tranquil their hold and also the hand came outempty. The guy wavered perceptibly. That looked at his preparations because that cookingand he looked at the hill.
\"Guess I\"ll take one more whack at her,\" that concluded, starting to cross thestream.
\"They ain\"t no feeling in it, ns know,\" he mumbled apologetically. \"But keepin\"grub ago an hour ain\"t goin\" to hurt none, ns reckon.\"
A few feet back from his an initial line of test-pans he began a 2nd line. Thesun dropped under the western sky, the shadows lengthened, but the guy workedon. He began a 3rd line the test-pans. He was cross-cutting the hillside,line through line, as he ascended. The centre of each line developed the richestpans, while the ends came whereby no colors proved in the pan. And also as heascended the hillside the lines thrived perceptibly shorter. The regularity withwhich their length reduced served to suggest that what up the slopethe critical line would certainly be for this reason short as to have scarcely length at all, and also thatbeyond might come only a point. The style was growing into an reverse \"V.\"The converging political parties of this \"V\" marked the boundaries of the gold-bearingdirt.
The apex that the \"V\" to be evidently the man\"s goal. Often he ran his eye alongthe converging sides and also on increase the hill, make the efforts to magnificent the apex, the pointwhere the gold-bearing dirt need to cease. Below resided \"Mr. Pocket\"--for for this reason theman familiarly addressed the imaginary point over him top top the slope, cryingout:
\"Come under out o\" that, Mr. Pocket! Be best smart an\" agreeable, an\" comedown!\"
\"All right,\" the would include later, in a voice resigned come determination. \"Allright, Mr. Pocket. It\"s level to me I obtained to come best up an\" snatch you outbald-headed. An\" I\"ll carry out it! I\"ll carry out it!\" he would certainly threaten quiet later.
Each pan he lugged down come the water to wash, and also as that went greater up thehill the pans grew richer, till he started to conserve the yellow in one emptybaking-powder deserve to which he carried carelessly in his hip-pocket. So engrossedwas he in his toil the he go not notification the lengthy twilight the oncoming night.It to be not until he do the efforts vainly to see the gold colors in the bottom of thepan that he realized the passage of time. He straightened up abruptly. Anexpression the whimsical wonderment and awe overspread his challenge as he drawled:
\"Gosh darn mine buttons! if i didn\"t plumb forget dinner!\"
He stumbled across the currently in the darkness and lighted his long-delayedfire. Flapjacks and also bacon and also warmed-over beans made up his supper. Thenhe smoked a pipe by the smouldering coals, listening come the night noises andwatching the moonlight stream through the canyon. After that he unrolled hisbed, took turn off his hefty shoes, and also pulled the blankets approximately his chin. Hisface confirmed white in the moonlight, like the confront of a corpse. Yet it to be acorpse that knew that resurrection, for the guy rose all of sudden on one elbow andgazed throughout at his hillside.
\"Good night, Mr. Pocket,\" he referred to as sleepily. \"Good night.\"
He slept v the at an early stage gray of morning until the straight rays of the sunsmote his closeup of the door eyelids, once he awoke with a start and looked about himuntil that had created the continually of his existence and identified hispresent self v the days formerly lived.
To dress, he had actually merely to buckle on his shoes. That glanced at his fireplaceand at his hillside, wavered, but fought down the temptation and also started thefire.
\"Keep yer shirt on, Bill; save yer shirt on,\" the admonished himself. \"What\"sthe an excellent of rushin\"? No use in gettin\" every het up an\" sweaty. Mr. Pocket\"llwait for you. The ain\"t a-runnin\" away prior to you can obtain yer breakfast. Now,what girlfriend want, Bill, is something fresh in yer invoice o\" fare. Therefore it\"s up to youto go an\" gain it.\"
He reduced a short pole at the water\"s edge and drew from among his pockets a bitof line and also a draggled paris that had actually once to be a imperial coachman.
\"Mebbe they\"ll bite in the early morning,\" that muttered, as he do his firstcast right into the pool. And also a moment later he was gleefully crying: \"What\"d ns tellyou, eh? What\"d ns tell you?\"
He had actually no reel, nor any kind of inclination to waste time, and also by key strength, andswiftly, he drew out the the water a flashing ten-inch trout. 3 more,caught in fast succession, furnished his breakfast. When he came to thestepping-stones ~ above his way to his hillside, he to be struck through a suddenly thought,and paused.
\"I\"d just far better take a hike down-stream a ways,\" the said. \"There\"s no tellin\"what cuss might be snoopin\" around.\"
But he crossed end on the stones, and also with a \"I yes, really oughter take it thathike,\" the need of the precaution passed out of his mind and also he dropped to work..
At nightfall he straightened up. The small of his ago was stiff from stoopingtoil, and as he put his hand behind him to soothe the protesting muscles, hesaid:
\"Now what d\"ye think that that, through damn? ns clean forgot mine dinner again! If Idon\"t watch out, I\"ll certain be degeneratin\" right into a two-meal-a-day crank.\"
\"Pockets is the damnedest points I ever see because that makin\" a man absent-minded,\"he communed the night, as he crawled right into his blankets. No one did the forget tocall increase the hillside, \"Good night, Mr. Pocket! great night!\"
Rising with the sun, and snatching a hasty breakfast, he was early on at work. Afever appeared to be cultivation in him, nor did the raising richness that thetest-pans allay this fever. There was a do the washing up in his cheek various other than thatmade by the heat of the sun, and he to be oblivious come fatigue and also the passageof time. When he to fill a pan through dirt, the ran under the hill to wash it; norcould he forbear to run up the hill again, panting and stumbling profanely,to refill the pan.
He was now a hundreds yards indigenous the water, and also the reverse \"V\" to be assumingdefinite proportions. The width of the pay-dirt steadily decreased, and also theman prolonged in his mind\"s eye the sides of the \"V\" to your meeting-place farup the hill. This was his goal, the apex of the \"V,\" and he panned plenty of timesto find it.
\"Just about two yards over that manzanita bush an\" a garden to the right,\" hefinally concluded.
Then the temptation seized him. \" s plain as the sleep on your face,\" the said,as he abandoned his industrious cross-cutting and climbed to the shown apex.He to fill a pan and carried it down the hill come wash. It included no map ofgold. The dug deep, and he dug shallow, filling and washing a dozen pans, andwas unrewarded also by the tiniest golden speck. He to be enraged at havingyielded to the temptation, and cursed self blasphemously and pridelessly.Then he went down the hill and took increase the cross-cutting.
\"Slow an\" certain, Bill; slow an\" certain,\" that crooned. \"Short-cuts to fortuneain\"t in her line, an\" it\"s around time you recognize it. Obtain wise, Bill; get wise.Slow an\" certain\"s the just hand you deserve to play; so walk to it, an\" keep to it,too.\"
As the cross-cuts decreased, showing that the sides of the \"V\" wereconverging, the depth of the \" V \" increased. The gold-trace to be dipping intothe hill. That was only at thirty inches in ~ the surface ar that he might getcolors in his pan. The dust he uncovered at twenty-five inches native the surface,and in ~ thirty-five inches, gave in barren pans. In ~ the basic of the \"V,\" through thewater\"s edge, that had discovered the gold colors in ~ the grass roots. The greater hewent increase the hill, the deeper the gold dipped.
To destruction a hole three feet deep in bespeak to obtain one test-pan to be a task of nomean magnitude; while between the man and the apex intervened an untold numberof such holes to be. \"An\" there\"s no tellin\" how much depth it\"ll pitch,\" hesighed, in a moment\"s pause, when his fingers soothed his aching back.
Feverish v desire, through aching ago and stiffening muscles, v pick andshovel gouging and also mauling the soft brown earth, the man toiled up the hill.Before him was the smooth slope, spangled through flowers and also made sweet withtheir breath. Behind him was devastation. The looked choose some terribleeruption breaking the end on the smooth skin that the hill. His slow progress waslike the of a slug, befouling beauty through a monstrous trail.
Though the dipping gold-trace increased the man\"s work, he discovered consolationin the boosting richness of the pans. Twenty cents, thirty cents, fiftycents, sixty cents, were the worths of the gold found in the pans, and also atnightfall the washed his banner pan, which provided him a dollar\"s precious ofgold-dust native a shovelful that dirt.
\"I\"ll just bet it\"s my luck to have some inquisitive cuss come buttin\" in hereon mine pasture,\" the mumbled sleepily the night together he pulled the blankets up tohis chin.
Suddenly he satellite upright. \"Bill!\" he called sharply. \"Now, listen to me, Bill;d\"ye hear! It\"s as much as you, to-morrow mornin\", come mosey round an\" see what youcan see. Understand? morning morning, an\" don\"t you forget it!\"
He yawned and glanced throughout at his side-hill. \"Good night, Mr. Pocket,\" hecalled.
In the morning he stole a march on the sun, for he had actually finished breakfast whenits an initial rays captured him, and he to be climbing the wall surface of the canyon whereby itcrumbled away and gave footing. From the outlook at the height he uncovered himselfin the midst of loneliness. As much as he might see, chain after chain ofmountains heaved themselves into his vision. Come the east his eyes, leaping themiles between variety and selection and between many ranges, lugged up at lastagainst the white-peaked Sierras--the key crest, where the backbone the theWestern people reared itself against the sky. Come the north and also south the couldsee an ext distinctly the cross-systems that broke through the key trend of thesea that mountains. Come the west the ranges fell away, one behind the other,diminishing and also fading into the tenderness foothills that, in turn, lower intothe great valley i m sorry he might not see.
And in all that mighty sweep of planet he experienced no authorize of guy nor that thehandiwork of man--save just the torn bosom that the hillside in ~ his feet. Theman looked long and carefully. Once, much down his own canyon, he believed hesaw in the wait a faint hint the smoke. The looked again and also decided the it wasthe violet haze the the hills do dark by a convolution the the canyon wall atits back.
\"Hey, you, Mr. Pocket!\" he dubbed down into the canyon. \"Stand the end from under!I\"m a-comin\", Mr. Pocket! I\"m a-comin\"!\"
The hefty brogans top top the man\"s feet made him show up clumsy-footed, yet heswung down from the giddy height as lightly and also airily as a hill goat. Arock, transforming under his foot on the leaf of the precipice, did not disconcerthim. He appeared to understand the precise time compelled for the rotate to finish indisaster, and also in the while he made use of the false footing itself because that themomentary earth-contact important to carry him on right into safety. Whereby the earthsloped so steeply the it was impossible to was standing for a 2nd upright, theman did no hesitate. His foot pressed the impossible surface for yet afraction the the fatal 2nd and offered him the bound that lugged him onward.Again, where also the portion of a second\"s footing was out of the question,he would swing his body previous by a moment\"s hand-grip on a jutting knob ofrock, a crevice, or a precariously rooted shrub. At last, through a wild leap andyell, he exchanged the face of the wall surface for one earth-slide and also finished thedescent in the midst of several lots of sliding earth and gravel.
His first pan the the morning washed out over 2 dollars in outlet gold. Itwas from the center of the \"V.\" to either next the diminution in the values ofthe pans was swift. His currently of crosscutting holes were growing an extremely short.The converging political parties of the turning back \"V\" were just a couple of yards apart. Theirmeeting-point was just a couple of yards over him. Yet the pay-streak to be dippingdeeper and also deeper right into the earth. By early afternoon he was sinking thetest-holes five feet prior to the pans can show the gold-trace.
For the matter, the gold-trace had end up being something an ext than a trace; the wasa placer mine in itself, and also the man resolved come come back after he had foundthe pocket and work over the ground. But the boosting richness of the pansbegan to worry him. By so late afternoon the worth of the pans had actually grown come threeand four dollars. The man scratched his head perplexedly and also looked a few feetup the hill in ~ the manzanita shrub that marked approximately the apex of the\"V.\" he nodded his head and said oracularly:
\"It\"s one o\" two things, Bill; one o\" two things. One of two people Mr. Pocket\"s spilledhimself all out an\" under the hill, or rather Mr. Pocket\"s the damned well-off youmaybe won\"t be able to carry him every away through you. And that\"d be hell,wouldn\"t it, now?\" the chuckled in ~ contemplation that so satisfied a dilemma.
Nightfall uncovered him by the leaf of the currently his eye wrestling with thegathering darkness end the washing the a five-dollar pan.
\"Wisht I had actually an electrical light to walk on working.\" he said.
He found sleep challenging that night. Plenty of times he written himself and closedhis eyes for slumber come overtake him; yet his blood pounded through too strongdesire, and as countless times his eye opened and also he murmured wearily, \"Wisht itwas sun-up.\" Sleep involved him in the end, however his eyes were open with thefirst paling or the stars, and also the gray of dawn caught him v breakfastfinished and climbing the hillside in the direction that the secretabiding-place the Mr. Pocket.
The very first cross-cut the male made, over there was an are for just three holes, sonarrow had become the pay-streak and so close to be he to the fountainhead ofthe gold stream he had actually been following for 4 days.
\"Be ca\"m, Bill; be calm,\" he admonished himself, together he damaged ground because that thefinal hole wherein the political parties of the \"V\" had at last come together in a point.
\"I\"ve obtained the almighty cinch top top you, Mr. Pocket, an\" girlfriend can\"t lose me,\" hesaid plenty of times as he sank the feet deeper and deeper.
Four feet, five feet, six feet, he dug his means down into the earth. Thedigging prospered harder. His pick grated on broken rock. He check the rock.\"Rotten quartz,\" to be his conclusion as, with the shovel, he clearing the bottomof the feet of loose dirt. He struck the wrong quartz through the pick,bursting the disintegrating rock asunder with every stroke.
He thrust his shovel right into the loose mass. His eye captured a gleam that yellow. Hedropped the shovel and squatted unexpectedly on his heels. As a farmer rubs theclinging planet from fresh-dug potatoes, for this reason the man, a item of rotten quartzheld in both hands, rubbed the dust away.
\"Sufferin\" Sardanopolis!\" the cried. \"Lumps an\" chunks that it! Lumps an\" chunksof it!\"
It was only half rock he held in his hand. The other half was virgin gold. Hedropped it into his pan and also examined another piece. Tiny yellow to be to beseen, however with his strong fingers that crumbled the rotten quartz away till bothhands were filled with glowing yellow. That rubbed the dirt far from fragmentafter fragment, tossing them into the gold-pan. It was a treasure-hole. Somuch had the quartz rotted away the there was much less of it than there was ofgold. Now and also again he found a piece to i beg your pardon no absent clung--a item that wasall gold. A chunk, whereby the pick had actually laid open the love of the gold,glittered prefer a handful of yellow jewels, and he cocked his head in ~ it andslowly turned it around and also over to observe the wealthy play of the irradiate uponit.
\"Talk around yer Too much Gold diggin\"s!\" the male snorted contemptuously. \"Why,this diggin\" \"d make it look prefer thirty cents. This diggin\" is all Gold. An\"right right here an\" currently I surname this yere canyon \"All yellow Canyon,\" b\" gosh!\"
Still squatting top top his heels, he continued assessing the fragments and also tossingthem right into the pan. All of sudden there involved him a premonition of danger. Itseemed a shadow had actually fallen ~ above him. But there was no shadow. His love hadgiven a an excellent jump up right into his throat and also was throttle him. Then his bloodslowly chilled and he felt the sweat the his shirt cold against his flesh.
He did not spring up nor look around. He did not move. He was considering thenature of the premonition he had received, make the efforts to find the source of themysterious force that had actually warned him, striving to sense the imperativepresence that the unseen thing that endangered him. Over there is an aura the thingshostile, made manifest through messengers polished for the senses to know; and also thisaura that felt, however knew not how he feel it. His to be the feeling as when a cloudpasses end the sun. It appeared that between him and life had actually passed somethingdark and smothering and also menacing; a gloom, together it were, that swallowed increase lifeand made for death--his death.
Every force of his being impelled the to feather up and confront the unseendanger, yet his soul conquered the panic, and also he remained squatting on hisheels, in his hands a chunk the gold. That did not dare to look around, yet heknew by currently that there was something behind that and above him. The made believeto it is in interested in the yellow in his hand. He check it critically, turned itover and also over, and also rubbed the dirt from it. And also all the moment he knew thatsomething behind him was looking at the gold end his shoulder.
Still feigning interest in the chunk of gold in his hand, that listened intentlyand the heard the breathing of the thing behind him. His eyes searched theground in former of him because that a weapon, yet they saw only the uprooted gold,worthless come him now in his extremity. There to be his pick, a handy weapon onoccasion; but this was no such an occasion. The male realized his predicament.He was in a small hole that was 7 feet deep. His head walk not come to thesurface the the ground. He was in a trap.
He stayed squatting ~ above his heels. He was fairly cool and also collected; however hismind, considering every factor, verified him just his helplessness. That continuedrubbing the dust from the quartz fragments and also throwing the gold into the pan.There was nothing else for him to do. However he knew the he would have to riseup, sooner or later, and face the peril that breathed in ~ his back.
The minute passed, and with the i of each minute he knew the by somuch he to be nearer the time as soon as he have to stand up, or else--and his wet shirtwent cold against his flesh again in ~ the thought--or else he might receivedeath together he stooped there end his treasure.
Still he squatted ~ above his heels, rubbing dust from gold and also debating in justwhat path he must rise up. He could rise up through a rush and claw his wayout the the feet to meet every little thing threatened top top the even footing above ground.Or he could rise up slowly and also carelessly, and also feign casually to find thething the breathed at his back. His instinct and every fighting fibre that hisbody favored the mad, clawing rush to the surface. His intellect, and thecraft thereof, favored the slow and also cautious meeting v the point thatmenaced and also which he can not see. And while the debated, a loud, crashingnoise to explode on his ear. In ~ the same immediate he got a stunning punch on theleft side of the back, and also from the suggest of affect felt a rush of flamethrough his flesh. That sprang up in the air, but halfway come his feet collapsed.His body crumpled in favor a leaf withered in suddenly heat, and he came down,his chest throughout his pan of gold, his confront in the dirt and rock, his legstangled and also twisted due to the fact that of the limited space in ~ the bottom the the hole.His legs twitched convulsively numerous times. His body was shaken similar to amighty ague. There was a slow development of the lungs, accompanied by a deepsigh. Climate the air to be slowly, an extremely slowly, exhaled, and also his body together slowlyflattened chin down into inertness.
Above, revolver in hand, a guy was peering under over the edge of the hole. Hepeered because that a lengthy time at the prone and also motionless human body beneath him. ~ awhile the stranger sat down on the sheet of the hole so the he could see intoit, and rested the revolver top top his knee. Reaching his hand into a pocket, hedrew the end a wisp that brown paper. Into this that dropped a couple of crumbs the tobacco.The mix became a cigarette, brown and squat, through the end turned in.Not when did he take it his eye from the human body at the bottom the the hole. Helighted the cigarette and drew that smoke into his lungs through a caressingintake that the breath. That smoked slowly. As soon as the tobacco went out and herelighted it. And also all the while he learned the human body beneath him.
In the finish he tossed the cigarette stub away and rose to his feet. He relocated tothe edge of the hole. Extending it, a hand resting on every edge, and also with therevolver quiet in the appropriate hand, he muscled his body down into the hole.While his feet were however a garden from the bottom he exit his hand anddropped down.
At the prompt his feet win bottom he experienced the pocket-miner\"s arm leap out,and his very own legs knew a swift, jerking tight that overthrew him. In the natureof the run his revolver-hand was over his head. Quickly as the tight hadflashed about his legs, just as promptly he carried the revolver down. That wasstill in the air, his fall in process of completion, once he pulled thetrigger. The explosion was deafening in the confined space. The acting filledthe hole so the he could see nothing. The struck the bottom top top his back, andlike a cat\"s the pocket-miner\"s body was on height of him. Even as the miner\"sbody happen on top, the stranger crooked in his ideal arm come fire; and also even inthat instant the miner, with a quick trust the elbow, struck his wrist. Themuzzle was thrown up and the bullet thudded right into the dust of the next of thehole.
The next immediate the stranger felt the miner\"s hand fixed his wrist. Thestruggle was now for the revolver. Each male strove to turn it against theother\"s body. The exhilaration in the hole was clearing. The stranger, lied on hisback, was start to see dimly. Yet suddenly he to be blinded by a handful ofdirt intentionally flung into his eyes by his antagonist. In that minute ofshock his fixed on the revolver to be broken. In the next minute he feel asmashing darkness descend ~ above his brain, and also in the midst of the darknesseven the darkness ceased.
But the pocket-miner fired again and again, until the revolver to be empty. Thenhe tossed the from him and, breathing heavily, sat down on the dead man\"s legs.
The miner was sobbing and struggling because that breath. \"Measly skunk!\" that panted;\"a-campin\" on my trail an\" lettin\" me carry out the work, an\" climate shootin\" me in theback!\"
He was half crying indigenous anger and also exhaustion, he peered at the challenge of thedead man. It to be sprinkled with loose dirt and also gravel, and also it was daunting todistinguish the features.
\"Never laid eye on him before,\" the miner finish his scrutiny. \"Just acommon an\" ordinary thief, cursed him! An\" that shot me in the on the back! He shoot me inthe back!\"
He opened up his shirt and also felt himself, front and also back, top top his left side.
\"Went clean through, and no injury done!\" he cried jubilantly. \"I\"ll bet heaimed ideal all right, but he drew the gun over as soon as he traction thetrigger--the cuss! but I solved \"m! Oh, I fixed \"m!\"
His fingers were investigating the bullet-hole in his side, and a the shade ofregret passed end his face. \"It\"s goin\" to it is in stiffer\"n hell,\" that said. \"An\"it\"s approximately me to get mended an\" get out o\" here.\"
He crawled out of the hole and also went down the hill come his camp. Fifty percent an hourlater the returned, leading his pack-horse. His open shirt expose the rudebandages v which he had actually dressed his wound. He was slow and also awkward through hisleft-hand movements, yet that did not protect against his using the arm.
The bight that the pack-rope under the dead man\"s shoulders allowed him come heavethe body the end of the hole. Then he set to work-related gathering increase his gold. He workedsteadily for several hours, pausing frequently to remainder his stiffening shoulder andto exclaim:
\"He shooting me in the back, the measly skunk! that shot me in the back!\"
When his treasure was guise cleaned up and wrapped securely into a number ofblanket-covered parcels, that made an calculation of that is value.
\"Four hundreds pounds, or I\"m a Hottentot,\" he concluded. \"Say two hundred inquartz an\" dirt--that leaves two hundred pounds that gold. Bill! wake up up! Twohundred pounds the gold! forty thousand dollars! An\" it\"s yourn--all yourn!\"
He scratched his head delightedly and his fingers blundered into an unfamiliargroove. Castle quested along it for number of inches. It was a crease v hisscalp where the 2nd bullet had actually ploughed.
He to walk angrily end to the dead man.
\"You would, would you?\" the bullied. \"You would, eh? Well, I addressed you good an\"plenty, an\" I\"ll provide you decent burial, too. That\"s more\"n you\"d have actually donefor me.\"
He dragged the human body to the leaf of the hole and toppled it in. The struck thebottom with a dull crash, top top its side, the confront twisted as much as the light. Theminer peered down at it.
\"An\" girlfriend shot me in the back!\" he stated accusingly.
With pick and shovel he filled the hole. Then he invited the gold on his horse.It was too good a load for the animal, and when that had gained his camp hetransferred part of it come his saddle-horse. Also so, he to be compelled toabandon a section of his outfit--pick and also shovel and gold-pan, extra food andcooking utensils, and divers odds and ends.
The sun was in ~ the zenith when the man compelled the horses at the display ofvines and creepers. To climb the large boulders the animals were compelled touprear and also struggle blindly through the tangled massive of vegetation. When thesaddle-horse dropped heavily and the guy removed the pack to gain the pet onits feet. ~ it began on its means again the male thrust his head out fromamong the leaves and peered up at the hillside.
\"The measly skunk!\" he said, and also disappeared.
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There to be a ripping and also tearing that vines and boughs. The trees surged earlier andforth, noting the i of the pets through the midst of them. Over there wasa clashing that steel-shod hoofs top top stone, and also now and also again an oath or a sharpcry of command. Then the voice that the male was raised in song:--
\"Tu\"n about an\" tu\"n yo\" faceUntoe them sweet hills that grace(D\" pow\"rs that sin yo\" to be scornin\"!).Look about an, watch aroun\",Fling yo\" sin-pack ~ above d\" groun\"(Yo\" will accomplish wid d\" lord in d\" mornin\"!).\"
The song grew faint and fainter, and also through the silence crept ago the spiritof the place. The present once much more drowsed and whispered; the hum the themountain bees rose sleepily. Down v the perfume-weighted wait flutteredthe snowy fluffs that the cottonwoods. The butterflies drifted in and out amongthe trees, and also over every blazed the quiet sunshine. Just remained thehoof-marks in the meadow and the torn hillside to note the boisterous trace ofthe life the had broken the peace of the place and also passed on.