The Nebraskan. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1892-1899, December 01, 1892, Page 38, Image 10

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oi the old .and. well established mining re
gions, and they decided to try their luck in a
new locality. Their wagons were abandoned,
and their belongings packed on horses and
burroes. In two days the' had passed the
majority of claims already staked out. Five
days brought them, on December 5th, to
what seemed to them a desirable place for
location. Temporary lodges were con
structed, and soon they were ready to dig
the precious metal from the rough mountains.
Their prospecting was not as successful as
they had expected, but they labored on be
cause indications were good for a find.
Anael, now past fifteen, was the pride of
the camp, which sprang up around their new
settlement. Her household duties were sim
ple, and she was frequently up in the mount
ains gathering wild ilowers, or bagging some
choice game, for she had become proficient
with the rifle in herlndianahome. Christmas
week approached, but the prospects for a
cheery Christmas was not very bright to
On the morning of the 24th Anael did her
light household duties early, and was intent
upon taking an excursion further up the
mountain than ever before, and secure some
(good game for the Christmas dinner, besides
some flowers and native novelties which
would do to keep as presents, although they
were not especially polished. Full of gaiety
and hopes for a bright future, she was soon
climbing the mountain sides. While push
ing upwards her foot loosened a large bould
er, and sent it to the bottom of a deep
.precipice with a loud noise, crashing down
the mountain side like an avalanche. Anael
sprang foward without, danger to herself, and
looking around she saw a yellow lump glit
tering in the sun. She hastened back to ex
amine it, and it proved to be one of the most
valuable gold nuggets ever found in that
valley. As she rolled it over, her eyes
sparkled with delight. What a Christmas
present it would be ! But how to get it
Ihome? vShe found she could carry jt, but to
.conceal tit way the question. She had on a
large shawl, and wrappjng her apron around
il, folded the shawl and put the nugget in
the folds. She made a sling out of the
shawl, and throwing it over her back lugged
it home. While she had not secured as
fine game as she expected, she had some
rabbits and squirrels, so made them answer
for turkey and cranberry sauce. She hid
her find for a Christmas surprise. The men
came in at night disheartened. All of Payne's
shiftlessness had ceased in this wild search
for wealth, and he was removing as much
dirt from the mountain side as any of his
The camp was to take a vacation on Christ
mas day. Anael was up early next morning
to prepare breakfast. She didn't awake the
men folks until the meal was ready. She
placed the nugget at his plate, and covered
it with a napkin, which she had raked up
for the occasion. "Hey, a napkin for use at
this Christmas feast,'' said John as he ap
proached the table, "a rarity indeed." He
sat down and after dishing xip the meal
caught hold of the napkin, and uncovered
the lump beneath it. The surprise was so
great that he sprang back as if seized with
terror. After a few moments silent observa
tion, glancing first at the nugget, and then
at Anael, he exclaimed: "Can it be pos
sible? No! it must be a dream." But all
doubts could but vanish. It was a reality,
and Anael had by a single turn of the foot
uncovered the fortune which they had spent
hour upon hour of tiresome labor in striving
for. Auael explained her trip to the mount
ains with radient cheeks, and great was the
Christmas celebration for the Paynes.
Payne appeared more jovial than he had
been for days at the "ball" given that night,
but none learned the reason why. It was best
to keep that a secret. A few days later he
announced his intention of forever leaving
the gold fields, and soon afterward bid his
brothers farewell. He went to San Francisco
and settled there, going into 41 prosperous
business with his son. After he had disposed
of his nugget, he wrote his friends the rea
son of his sudden departure. Anael Payne
became a belle in coast society and her name
spread far and wide as that of anaccomplish
,ed ,and charming young lady.