Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 24, 1908)
HENRY WALLACE PHILLIPS
COPYRIGHT. 1002. DY McCLURE, PHILLIP5 C COMPANY
" 'You have doubtless been nttracted
to our small hut growing elty from the
reports-which arc happily true -of the
lncxhiir..-r.ihlu minora! wealth of the
Hiirroui.uing region. says he.
"'No-o not exactly,' says I; 'hut I
do want to hear something about
mines. Mr. Ilotehuun out there (who's
n gentleman of the old school If ever
there lived one) (old me that you might
put me on to a good thing.'
" 'Precisely,' says he. 'Now. sir, my
name Is Jones Agamemnon (',. .Jones
mid my pardner, Mr. II. Smith. Is on
a husluos trip, selling shares of our
mine, which we have culled ''The
Treasury" from reasons which we can
make obvious to any Investor. The
" 'Saunders Hod Saunders Chuntu
"'Mr. Saunders, are ."() cents apiece,
which price is really only put upon
them to avoid the offensive altitude of
stealing them out as charity. As a
matter of fact, this mine of ours con
tains a store of gold which would up-
net the commercial world were the
hare facts of its extent known. There
is neither sense nor amusement In
i:on(lnlug such enormous treasure In
I ho hands of two people. Consequent
ly my pardner and l are presenting an
Interest to the puhllc, putting the nom
inal llgure of ."0 cents a share upon It,
to save the feelings of our beneficia
ries.' '"What the devil do I eareV says I.
l'm looking for u chnneo to dig. Could
.you tell a mun where to go?
" 'Oh, says he, 'when you come to
that, that's different. Strictly speak
ing, my pardner lly hasn't gone off
tm a business trip. As u matter of
fact, he left town night before last
with two-thirds of the money we'd
julled out of a pocket up on Sliver
creek In the company of two half
breed Injuns, u Chinaman and four
more sons of guns not classified, all
In such u state of beastly Intoxication
that their purpose, route aud destlua
tltin are matters of the wildest con
jecture. I've been laying around town
hero hating myself to death, thinking
perhaps I could sell some shares in u
-mine that we'll And yet, If we have
:good luck. If you want to go wild
matting over the hills and fur uway,
1'iii your huckleberry.'
"'That hits me all right,' says I.
"Tor what 1 don't know about mining
nobody don't know. When do we
" 'This or any other minute,' says he,
pelting up from the table.
"'Walt till I finish up those eggs,'
says I. 'And there's n matter of ouo
drink coming to me outside. I may as
well put that where It won't harm
imy one else before we start.'
'"All right,' says he, waving his
hand. 'You'll find, me outside, at your
"I awallered the rest of my break
fast whole and hustled out to the bar,
where my friend and the hotel man
was waiting. 'Now I'll take that drink
that's coining, and rather than be
small about It I'll buy one for you,
too, aud then we're oil',' says I.
'"You won't do no such thing,' says
the hotel man. 'It's a horse on me,
3ind I'll supply the liquor. Mr. .Tones
Js In the play as much as anybody.'
"So the hotel man set 'em up, and
that made one drink. Then Jones said
he'd inner let a drink sull'er from
lonesomenoss yet when he had the
price, and that made two drinks. I
laid to uphold tho honor of the ranch,
mid that made three drinks. Hotel
niiiji said it was up sticks now, and
lie meant to pay his just debts like nn
Inmost man, and that made four
drinks. Then Jones said well, by this
time I see I needn't have hurried
hronkfast so much. More, people came
In. I woke up the next mornlug In
tho same old bedroom. Kvery break
fast Aggy nnd mo got ready to pull
for the mines, and every mornlug I
woke up In the bedroom. I should
like to draw a veil over tho uext two
weeks, but It would huve to bo a
pretty strong veil to hold It. I tried
to keep level with Aggy. hut he'd
spend three dollars to my one, and the
consequeneo of that was that we wont
broke within fifteen minutes of each
"Well, sir, wo were a mournful pair
to draw to that day. We Bat there
and cussed nnd said, 'Now, why didn't
we do this, that and t'other thing in
Htead of blowing our hard earned
dough?' till blmeby wo Just dripped
melancholy, you might say. IIow
ziomover, we weren't booked for a dull
time Just yet. That afternoon there
was a great popping of whips llko an
Injun skirmish nnd Into town comes
a bull train half a mllo long. Twelve
yoke of hulls to tho team; load, swing
nnd trail wagons for each, as big as
Jiuwuui an wlieelB. Youjlou't see the
like or that In this country, nowu
the street thoy come, the dust- dying,
whips cracking and the lads hollering:
'Whoa haw. Mary up there I WherpI
"And those fellers had picked up
dry throats walking In the dust: also
they had a month's wages aching In
their pockets. We hadn't much moro'n
got the thump of their arrival out of
our ears when who conies roaring Into
town but the Bengal Tiger gang, and
they had four months' wages. The own
er of the mine got on a bender and paid
everybody off by mistake. You can
hardly Imagine how this livened up
things, 'riiere ain't nobody less likely
to play lame duck than me, but there
wa.4 iio dodging the hospitality. The
only Idea prevailing was to bo rid of
the money as soon as possible. The
effects showed right off. You could
hear one man telling the folks for
their own good that he was the Old
Missouri River, and when he felt like
swelling his banks It was time for
narlles who couldn't swim to hunt
the high ground, while the gentleman
on the next corner let us know that he
was a locomotive carrying :)( pounds
of steam with the gauge still elltiblng
tuid the blower on. When he whistled
three times, he said, any Intelligent
man would know that there was dan
"Well, sir, I put the Old Missouri
River to bed that night, and he'd Hat
toned out to a very small streamlet In
deed, wlille the locomotive went lame
before supper and had to be put In
the roundhouse by u couple of pushers.
That's the way with flue Ideas. Cold
facts comes nnd puts a crimp lu them.
Once I knew a small feller I could
have stuck lu my pocket and forgot
nbout, but when we went out and took
Beveral presclptlons together on a day
he spoke to me like this. 'Hod,' says
he, 'put your little hand In mine, nnd
we'll go and take u blrdseye view of
the universe.' Astonlshln' idea, wasn't
It? And him not weighing over a hun
dred pound. Howsomever, he didn't
take any blrdseye view of tho uni
verse, lie only become strikingly In
disposed. "Well, to get back to Boise, you
never in all your lire saw so many
men nnd brothers os was gathered
there that day, und old Aggy, he was
one of the centers of attraction. That
big voice and black beard was always
where tho crowd was thickest and the
wet goods flowing the freest. 'Gentle
men,' says he, 'let's lift up our voices
In melody!' That was one of Ag's de
lusions he thought he could sing. So
four of 'cm got on top of a billiard
tablo and presented 'Rocked In the
Cradle of the Deep to the company,
which made me feel glad that I hadn't
been brought up that way. After Ag
had hip locked the last low note an
other song bird volunteered.
. "This was a little fat Dutchman,
with pale blue eyes and n mustache
like two streaks of darning cotton.
Ho laid come to town to sell a pair of
beef steers, but got .drawn Into the
general hilarity, qnd now he didn't
care a cus whether he, she or It ever
sold another steer. Up got himself on
end and sung 'I.eeb Faddeiiont mox
true e'ekstelu' hi a style that made you
wonder that the human noo could
stand the strain.
'"Aw, cheese that!' says a feller
near the door. 'Come, get your steers;
wme of 'em's Just chased the barber up
a telegraph pole!
"So then we all plied out Into the
street to see tho steers. Sure enough,
there was tho barber sitting on the
crossplece and the steer pawing dirt
" 'Ho done made mo come a fast
heat from do cohner,' says the barber.
'I kop' linllorln "Next!" but he ain't
pay no 'tentlon he make It "next" fur
mo, shuah! Yah, yah, yah! You gents
orler seen mo stnrt at do bottom nn'
slide nil de wuy up dls yer telegraft
"One of the bull whackers went out
to rope the steers, and Ag gave direc
tions, from tho sidewalk. Fie wasn't
very handy with a rluta, and thnt's n
fact, but tho way Ag lit Into him was
scandalous. When he'd missed about
six casts of ids rope, Ag opened up on
" Tut a stamp on It and send It to
him by 'mail,' said Aggy In his sour
castle way. 'Address It, "Bay Steer,
mlddlo of Main street, Boise, Ida. If
not delivered within ten days, return
to owner, who can use It to hang him
self." Blast my hide if I couldn't
stand here and throw a box cur nearer
to tho critter! Well, well, well! flow
many left hands havo 'you got, auy-
hovv? Do It up lu a wad aud heave it
at him for general results. He might
get tangled in It
"It rattled the bull whucker, having
so much attention drawn to him, ami
ntmsetr up In It aud was tiying ngiu
"'Say,' says Ag, nppealltig to the
crowd, 'won't some kind friend who'll
fond of puzzles go down and help that
gentleman do himself?'
"Thnt made the whacker mad. lie
was as red lu the face as a lobster.
" 'Yon come down and show what
you can do,' says he. 'You've got gas
enough for a balloon ascension, but
that may be all there Is to you.'
" 'Oh, I ain't so much,' says Aggy,
'although I'm as good a man today as
ever I was In my life, hut I have a lit
tle friend here who can rope, down
nnd ride (hat critter from here to the
brick front In five minutes by the
watch, nnd If you've got a twenty-live
dollar bill In your pocket or Its equlv
aleut In dust you can observe the ex
"Til go yon, by gosh!' says the bull
whacker, slapping his hut on the
ground and digging for his pile.
iUnv If vnll'i-it Viit'.irrllli' In tun.
Ag,' 1 says, 'It's kind of a sudden
spring. I ain't what you might call In
training, and that steer-Is full of triple
extract of giant powder.'
'"("wan!' says Ag. 'Yon can do It
ami then we're twenty-live ahead.'
" 'But suppose we hwo?
" 'Well It won't he such an awful
" 'Now, you look here, Agamemnon
G. Jones,' says I, 'I ain't going to
stand for nutting up a summer breeze
aglu that feller's good dough. That's j
u skin game, to speak It pleasantly.'
"Then Aggy argues the case with i
me, and when Aggy started to argue
you might Just as well 'moo' anil chase
yourself Into the corral, because he'd
get you sure. Why, that man could
sit In tho cabin and make roses bloom
right In the middle of the lloor. While
he was singing his little song you
could see 'em and smell 'em. He could
talk a snowbank off a high divide In
the mlddlo of February. Never see
anybody with such a medicine tongue,
nnd lu a big mun it was all the stran
ger. 'Now,' ho winds up, 'as for cheat
ing that feller, you ought to know me
better, Red. Why, I'll give him my
"So, anyhow, I done It. Up tho
street we went, steer bawling and
buck Jumping, my hair n-tlylng and me
as busy as the little bee you reud about
keeping that steer underneath me
'stend of on top of me, whore he'd
rather lie, nnd after us the whole
town, whoopui', yellln', crackln off
six shooters and carryln' on wild.
"Then we hud $2." and was iih good
as nnybody. But It didn't last loug.
The tin horns come out after pay day
like hoptoads ufter a rain. 'T would
puzzle the government at Washington
to know where they hang out In the
meantime. There was one lad had n
face on him with about as much ex
pression as a hotel punkin pic. He
run nn arrow game, and he talked
right straight along in n voice that had
no more bends in it than a billiard cue.
"'Here's where you get your three
for one any child may do It no chance
to lose make your bets while the ar
row of fortune swings all gents ac
commodated lu amounts from two bits
to double eagles aud bets paid on the
nail,' snys he.
" 'Red,' says Aggy, 'I can double our
pile right here. Let me have the
money. I know this gaiiio.' You'd
hardly believe It, hut I dug up. 'Dou
ble or quits?' snys he to the dealer.
"Let her go,' says the dealer. The
arrow swung around. 'Quits,' says the
dealer and raked In my dough. It wns
all over in one second.
"I grabbed Aggy by the shoulder
and took him lu the corner for a pri
vate talk. 'I thought you knew this
game?' says I.
" 'I do.' says he. 'That's the way It
always happens.' And once more In
my life I experienced tho peculiar feel
ing of being altogether at a loss for
" 'Aggy,' says I at last, 'I've got a
good notion to lay two violent hands
on you and wind you up like an eight
day clock, but rather' than make hard
feelings between friends I'll refrain.
Besides, you are a funny cuss, that's
sure. One Ihlng, boy, you can mark
down. We leave here tomorrow morn
" 'All iight,' says Ag. "This sporting
life Is the very devil. I like outdoors
ns well as tho next man, when I get
"So tho morrow morning away wo
went. All we had for kit wob the
picks, shovels and pans. Tho rest of
our belongings was staying with the
hotel man until we made a rise.
"Ag said he'd bo cussed If he'd walk.
A hundred and fifty miles of stroll
was too many.
" 'But wo ain't got' a cent to pay the
stage fare,' says I.
" 'Borrow It of Undo Hotel-keep,'
" 'Not by a town site, says I. 'Wo
owe him all we're going to at this
very minute. You'll have to hoof It.
" 'I tell you I won't. I don't llko to
have anybody walk on my foot, not
even myself. I can stand off that
stage driver so easy that you'll won
der I don't take It up us a profession.
Now, don't rulso any more objcctlous
please don't,' says he. 'I can't tell
you how nervous you make mo, al
ways finding some fault with every
thing I try to do. That's no way for u
hired mun to act, let alone a pardner.'
'IS.o of course ho gottbje best. of mo,
as usual, ami we clliuucii into me
stage when she conic along. Now.
our bad luck set ineil to hold, because
you wouldn't llud many men lu that
country who wouldn't stake two fel
lers to a wagon ride wherever they
wauled to go und be pleasant about
It. I'd have sure seen that the man
got paid, even If Aggy forgot It, but
the mini that drove us was the surli
est brute that ever growled. When
you'd speak lo him he'd say, Tnli' n
style of thing that didn't go well lu
thnt part of the country. I kept my
mouth shul, as knowing that I didn't
have the eonio-up-with weighed on my
" tell no a I u'ohV. "don't Ukctohdvc
anybody milkminy feet."
spirits, but Aggy gave him the Jolly
He only meant It in fun, and there was
plenty of reason for It, too, for you
never seen such a giiuio of driving ns
that feller put up in all your life. The
Lord save us! He cut around one cor
ner of a mountain so that for the
longest second I've lived through my
left foot hung over about a thousand
feet of fresh air. I'd have hud timo
to write my will before I touched bot
tom If we'd gone over. I don't know
us I turned pale, but my hulr ain't
been of the same rosy complexion
" 'Well'.' Bays Aggy In a surprised
tone of voice when we got all four
wheels on the ground again. 'Here we
are! says he. 'Who'd have suspected
It? I tliought he was going to take
the short cut down to the creek.'
"The driver turned round with tne
corner of his Up h'Isted a dead ringer
of a mean man. Says he to Aggy,
'Yer a funny bloke, ain't yer?'
" 'Why,' vvyu Ag, 'that's for you to
say wouldn't look well coming from
me but if you press mo I'll admit I
give birth to a little gem now nnd
"Our bold buck puts on a great
swagger. 'Well, yer needn't bo funny
lu this wagon,' says he. 'The pair of
yer spongln' a ride! Yer needn't bo
gay. Yer hear me, don't cher?'
" 'Why, I hear you as plain as though
you set right next me,' says Ag. 'Now,
you listen and see if I'm audible nt tho
same range. You're a blasted chump!'
he roars In n tone of voice that would
have carried forty mile. 'Did you hear
that, Red?' he asks very Innocent. I
was so hot at the driver's sass the
cussed low downuess of doing a feller
a favor und then heaving It at him
thnt you could have lltii match on me
anywheres, but to save me I couldn't
help laughing A g had the comlcalost
"At that th driver begins to lnrrup
the horses. I ain't the kind to feel
faint when a cayuse gets what's com
ing to him for raising the devil, but
to see that lad whale his team because
there wasn't nothing else he dared hit
got mo on my hind legs. I nestled
one hand In his hair nnd twisted his
ugly mug back.
" 'Quit that!' says I.
" 'You let me be I ain't hurting you,'
"flint- nln'f in onv T wnn't lii lilirf.
Ing you soon,' suys I. 'You put tho
hud on them horses again, and I'll boot
the spine of your buck up through tho
top of your head till it stands out like
a flngstaff. Just one more touch and
you get It!' says I.
"Ho didn't 'open his mouth again till
we come to tho river. Then he pulled
up. 'This Is nbout as fur as I cure
to carry you two gents for nothln',' he
says. 'Of course you'ro two to one,
nnd I can't do nothing. If you see fit to
bull the thing through. But I'll soy
this, If either one or both of you roost
ers has got the least smell of u gentle
man about him he won't have to he
told his company ain't wanted twice.'
"Now, mind you, Ag and mo dldu't
have tho first cussed thing not grub
nor blankets nor gun nor nothing, nnd
this the feller well knew.
" 'Rod,' says Aggy, 'what do you say
to pulling this thing apart and seeing
what makes It act so?'
'"No, says I, 'don't touch it-It
might lie catching. ' Now, you whelp.
says I to tho driver, 'you tell us if
there's it pluco where we can get any
thing to iu$.rouud.hereJ' We'd ex-
pftien xo go Hungry until we lilt tno
camp some forty miles further on,
where we knew Ihere'd he plenty for
anybody that wanted It.
" 'Yes,' says he. 'There's a man run
ning a shack two mllo up the river.'
'"AH right,' says I. 'Drive on.
You've played us as dirty a trick ns
one man can play another. If we ever
got a cinch on you, you can expect
we'll pull her till tho Intlgocs fltinp.'
"He kept shut till he got ncross tho
river, where ho felt safe.
" 'It's nil right about that cinch!' he
hollers back, grinning. 'Only wait till
you get It, yer suckers! Sponges!
Beats! Deadheads! Yah!'
"Well, n man can't entch a team of
horses, and that's all there Is about
It, but 1 want to tell you he was on tho
anxious seat for a quarter of a mile.
We tried hard.
"When we got buck to where wo
started and could breathe ngaln, Wo
held a council of war.
"'Now, Aggy,' says I, 'we're dumped.
What shall we do?"
"lie sat there awhile looking around
him, snapping pebbles with his thumb.
" 'Tell you what It is. Red.' he snys
nt last, 'wo might as well go mining
right here. rJUn Is likely gravel, and
there's a river. If that bar lu front of
you had been further lu the mountains
It would have been punched full of
holes. It's only because It's on tho
road that nobody's taken the trouble
to see what was In It. This road was
made by cattle ranchers that didn't
know nothing nbout mining, and every
miner that's gone over tho trail had
his mouth set lo get further along ns
quick as possible Just like us. Do
you see that little hollow running
down to the river? Well, you try
your luck there. I give you that place,
as It's the most probable, and you ns a
tenderfoot In the business will have nil
the luck. I'll make a stab where I am.'
"Well, sir, it sounds queer to tell it,
ami It seems queerer still to think of
the doing of It, but I hadn't dug two
feet before I come to lied rock, nnd
there was some henvy black chunks.
" 'Aggy,' says I. 'what's these things?'
throwing one over to him. He caught
It and stared nt it.
" 'Where did you get thutV Bays he
In almost a whisper.
" 'Why, out of the hole, of course!'
says I, laughing. 'Come tako a look!'
"Aggy wasn't the kind of a man to
go off tho handle over trifles, but when
he looked into that hole he turned per
fectly green. Ills knees give out from
under him, nnd he sat on the grotrnd
like a man in a trance, wiping the
sweat off his faco with a motion like
"'What the devil nils you? soya I,
astonished. I thought maybo I'd dono
something I hadn't ought to do
through Ignorance of the rules and
regulations of mining.
" 'Red,' snys he, dead solemn, Tvo
mined for twunty year and from old
Mexico to Alaska, but I never saw
nnything that wns ace high to that
before. (Sold laying loose In chunks
on top of the lied rock Is too much
for me. 1 wish Hy could see this.'
"'Gold!' suyn I. 'Wlint you tnlkln
about? What have those black hunks
to do with gold?'
"The only answer he made was to
lay the one I had thrown to 'him on
top of n rock and hit her a crack with
a pick. Then he handed It to me.
Sure enough! There under the black
was tho ycller. Of courso If I'd
known mora about, the business I could
have told It by tho weight, but I'd
never seen u piece of gold fresh off
the farm before In my life. I hadn't
the slightest Idea what It looked like,
and I learned afterward It all looks
different. Some of It shines up ycller
lu the start, some of It's red, und some
Is like ours, coated black with iron
"So I looked at Ag, and Ag looked
nt me, neither ouo of us believing
anything at nil for awhile. I simply
couldn't get hold of the thing I ain't
yet, for that matter. I expect to wake
up and And it a pipe dream, and lu
some ways I wouldn't mind If It wns.
I never wns so completely two men as
I avus on that occasion. One of 'em
was bopping around nnd hollering
with Ag, yelling 'Hooray!' aud tho
other didn't take much Interest In tho
proceedings at all. And It wasn't until
I thought, 'Now I can pay that cuss
ed coyoto of a stage driver whnt I
owe him! that I got nny good out of
it. That brought It home to me. When
I spoko to Ag nbout paying the driver,
ho says, 'That so. Then he takes a
quick look nround. 'We can pay him
in full, too, old horse!' lie hollers, and
there was a most Joyful' smile on his
" 'Red,' says he, 'don't you know this
Is the only ford on the river for I
don't know how many miles perhapB
the whole length of her?'
"'Well,' suyB I.
" 'Our little placer claim,' flays Aggy
slowly, rubbing his hands together,
'covers that ford, and by a Judicious
taking up of claims for various uncles
and brothers nnd friends of ours along
the creek on tho lowlands we can fix
It so they can't even brldgo it.'
" 'Do you moon thoy cun't cross our
claim If we sny they cun't?' ,
"Sure thing!' says Aggy. 'Thero'rf
you and mo nnd tho law to say "No"
to that. I wish I had a guu.'
"You don't need nny guu for that
skunk, of a driver.'
To be continued.
Powered by Open ONI