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THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE,
Th " I -. nM srornrly I) rdlrd n road was sim
ply ,i j.uimw jitl' bi trn through m-t..M i mimo-grass
aim rorns of flu j.niH which .( ! ithor baud Uvo or
six ffi-t high, all tn.tttd and tangled together with wild
pea-vines and cnoei: it was burnt quite orisp and brown
by the boat of the mm, and wn us dry a Under. As thoy
bni-'i'l :' in v-iHstng- thp twigs and canos, Snapped at a
1,1 if Ahead, fifteen ruth? away, rising bluo above the
undul.vtiom nf'Uip pn-alrta. was a stup bmiftho (brmina
Hon f a magfe-ftf lew hlfip, oifthoots of tsho Kooky Moun
tain. TIiIb tolWTr wng theft landmark and guide, for a mile
m two bflhhid it wa tba Ked Ranch settlement, or North
cotes, a it off cmlbnl.
MoanwhuY t Jr otear blue of ttte sky was bucoming over
cast with a suit ry, leaden base. The air wan intensely hot I
and heavy. Tb wioV, tireless, shadowless pmirfo rolled I
away on evwy sMa in tan nmlulntlous like tiiU swells of '
the grout notuti.
At lat Pml jfrew ttred of tanutng up even a show of
resentment and Ittgaa ts talk agMtt
"How well Miwi Mollto goot fe4ay."
"Sho nlwayn does," rtUitncd Ksitete, a shade more gra-
ciously than boforo; ahm wm tired of keeping silent so long.
"Am thewime, I would not back her against Hotspur. '
"No, ix'ttime HftUpor would be beaten,'' asserted Nan
"Will yon try?" ha flaked.
No, 1 won't. It is too hot to met. How can you sug-j
go such a thing in UiU biasing on ?"
1 5 lot or not, it strikes me te to what yon will have to J
do,' ha remarked ooollr. !
"What do you moiwir' she said, raising a pair of dark, J
"Look there!" nod, raising his whip, Prod pointed to j
the right, bohtud them, whence the huHiocVhuod olond was
spreading ovor the sky. "What does Unit look liko?" !
Nanoio Uirned her oyan in the direction indloatod, and j
as she looked her face was blanched to nu awful whiteness. !
"Fire! The prairie i on flre!M she oriod, fearfully
"Oh, Prod, whatsbaJl we do?M Invohmtairily she drew up
hor horse and gnr.od anxiounly around.
TIjo ominous leaden gray haze waa sweeping down upon t
Ibora already it had cropt around behind them. Below l
the basse a faint line of dull red wns just visible.
"Yes, the pmiric is on lire, suro enough, the young mnn i
said. "Don't bo frightened, Nancm; we must fly from it, i
that is all. What a mercy our horses are to bo doponded
onl" Ho had thrown himself off Hotspur as he spoko,
and began to tighten the saddlo-girths and straps of both
horses a )reoaution necessary enough in tho rnoo before
'Shall avc bo in time?" asked Nanoie, in a low voice,
us ho stooped by her side.
"Tos," ho replied confidently; and she did not see tho t
anxiety on his brown fnoe as ho slipped tho buckle into its
In two or throe minutes ho had remounted. As he :
gathered tho reins iu his hnnd ho gave a glanoe at Naucio
She wns seated quietly iu hor suddlo, gating stmigbt
"Are you frightened, Sfnncie?" ho asked anxiously. i
ifllio turned her dark clear eves to his. Her face was
pale, but there was no sigu of any weakuess about tho
steady, brave mouth.
''No, lara uol frightened," jsho aaswor,gd gravely, bnt
niilbig back into his anxious face, "libit I know the
"And how wo can escape," ho said reassuringly. ".Now
for it!" J
In another moment tJioy were flying along. There was
10 need to urge Hotspur and Miss Molly they scented ihe
Uangesn and could scJircoly be restrained.
The bluff showed blue in tho distance, fiftcon miles
away; ,they had to gain that before they would bo safe ;
but between them were fifteen long miles of rough, entan
gled track, and behind them was a waste of hot. dry tin
der, which caught fire with lightning-like rapidity. The
odds against them seemed awful!
A faint, trimulous wind suddenly overtook them. Tne
sunshine died out as a deep, black shadow stole over the
plains. Flocks of birds flew past them MJoutly. Wild
clogs, prairie-hens, hares and rabbits scudded along through
this grass and tangled reeds. Scarcely daring to look back
they pressed on, their horses straining every nerve. Five
miles was passed, six, seven. Thoy were getting on well,
but the fire behind was getting on better.
Looking back and seeing how fast it was gaining on
thorn, Fred would have given worlds to have Nancie safe
at home. They reached a belt of low trees, a conspicu
ous landmark on the prairie. Just eight miles more boforo
them I Heavens, it seemed like a journey across tho world !
And tho awful tugging at their hearts the horrible dread!
Already alow, sullen roar was heard behind them. Tho
wind was increasing every moment ; birds flew by with
hoarse shrieks, and a horrible gloom was settling arouud
them. On, on thoy went, not speakiug a word, except
now and then to encourage tho horses. Not that thev
needed it ; they wore galloping along like i ace-horses,
every sinew and muscle strained to the utmost.
Great clouds of smoke were now overtaking them, cir
cling and eddying above their heads. A pungent-smelling
ya.in uuiib ui-uupjug iuung uie grouua, almost suffocating
them with its fumes. Tho dull, rushiuo- roar of tb fb-n
With 4V sob Nanoio turned silently from hor favorite, and
gave nor Hand to Frod. In another mimito thoy wero fly
ing over the plain. Alas, with how small a ohanoo now I
1 ha fral,lant horse, strivo ns he might, made but little way
with his double burdon. There wero only a few miles
more. Already tho air was scorching. The smoke and
vapor enveloped thorn in suffocating clouds, hiding the
bluff from viow, and choking them witli, their Btilling
The roar of tho tire sounded fearfully, near the mo
meiits flew fa&t, and tho deadly sounds behind grew more
distinct. The wind had increased to a tempest, which
blow tho smoke in denser clouds ovor thorn. A lurid yel
low glare tinged tho heavy, rolliug masses, and the boat
of the conflagration was percoptuhly felt.
"Is there a chance?" whispered Nancie, looking fear
fully behind, as tho good horse straiuod onward.
"Yes, if wo can hold out for ten minutes more " ho
"Heaven help us!" she cried, closing hor eyes as a furi
ous blast of wind brought a bieath of iierco heat against
He drew her arm closely around him, taking ono swall
hand in an eager and covotous grasp.
"Pray for us, Nancie," ho whispered quietly.
Only two miles now. Ten little ,minutes of time and
thoy would be safe. But Hotspur was failing. He sprang
forward now with convulsive bounds, and his gallant limbs
trembled beneath him; every breath was a short, gasping
Another mile half a mile! Oh Heaven, have mercy!
The scorching breath of tho flro was upon them ; thoy
wero in a whirlwind of donse, suffocating smoke. Tho
horse stumbled at overy step ho gasped and moaned like
a human soul in extremity. Covered with foam and trem
bling convulsively, ho struggled on. Little flames and
eddies of flro, heralds of the horrors behind, crept among
the tangled grass.
Fred twined in the saddle and tried to draw Naucio's
head down on to his breast. She made no resistance, but,
when ho would have hiddon her eyes from sight, she lifted
them, clearly and unflinchingly, to his.
"Don't Fred; I can face death with open eyes," she
said; and. catching hold of his hand, she pulled it gently
away. As she did so a great shower of sparks, borne on
tho fierce wind, fell around and over them.
"Oh, my darling, to think this should be the end I" he
cried, despairingly, knowing how very near it was now.
"No, no," she cried, "it is not the end 1 See we are
close to the bluff! Oh, thank Heaven, thank Heaven !"
And she pointed to the towering rook which a rift in tho
smoko rising right before them, not fifty yards away. "On
Hotspur on, good horse one more struggle on, on!''
she shouted oncouragingl3r.
Cheered by her voice and hand, the brave horso gath
ered all his strength for ono tremendous effort, and boun
ded forth with frantic leaps. But it was an expiring strug
gle. Ere ten yards were passed he fell to the ground gas
ping and panting, his brave spirit overcome at last, Fred
dragged Nancie away, and, siezing her hand, began run
ning toward the bluff so near now, so near; and yet one
look back she gave. The lire was close behind, a fearful
sight. The fierce heat scorched their facos, and sparks of
the burnt grass, cane and splinters of wood fell in show
ers about them. Tho stifling choking smoke half suffoca
ted them, paralyzing every nerve. ,
On, on, with frantic, flying feet safety in front, death
behind and such a death !
"Leave mo, Fred," gasped Nancie faintly. 1 can go
no lurtnor. Tell f-oiu at homo my iovo kiss me once,
1 red, and
aooks from my foot. I commonood my climbing way, often
reaching tho htfht of ono" or two hundred footnly to bo
compelled to return to try gomo other way. At" length
about four o'clock in tho afternoon, I renoheda bight upon
tho smooth canon wall of about a thousand feet. Hero my
further progress was arrested by a shelving ledgo of rook
that jutted out from tho canon side a foot or more. To
advance was without hope; to return, certain death. Reaoh
ing upward, J grasped the rim of tho ledge with ono hand
and then with tho other, my foot slipped from tho smooth
side of tho canon, and my body hung suspended in tho air
a thousand foot above tho roaring waters of the Arkansas.
"At that moment I looked downward to measure tho
distanco I would have to fall when tho strength of my
aims gavo out. A stinging sensation cropt through my
hair as my eye caught tho strong root of a cedar busti that
projected ovor tho ledge, a littlo bevond my reach. My
grasp upon tho rim of the ledgo was fast yielding to tho
weight or my person. Thou I deto: mined to make my
best effort to raise my body and throw it sidowisc toward
the root so as to bring it within my grasp. At tho mo
ment of commencing the effort 1 faw my mother's face as
sho leaned out over the ledge, reaching down hor hand and
caught mo by tho hair. Stranger, my mother died while
yet a young woman, when I and my brother wore yet small
boys, but 1 remember her lace. 1 was successful in mak
ing tho side leap of my arms, when I drew myself upon tho
ledgo and rested for a timo. From here upward my climb
ing way was laborious, but loss dangerous, 1 reached tho
top of tho canon just as the sun was sinking down boyond
tho snowy range, and hastened to our camp at tho mouth
of the canon, where 1 found my brothor all safe. 'Charley,',
said he, 'have yon had your head in a sack of flour?' It
was then that I discovered that my hair was as white as
you see it now,"
Hg wns not a. Veteran.
An aged man camo into our sanctum yestorday. Deep
eyed sadness sat on his oyobrows, like a frog on tho shore
ot a mill-pond. His attiro faultless in regard to vontiln
tion; in fact, he looked as if ho was aiuodol for some houso
that manufactured ventilators, ll's shoes showed two long
slits for admitting air, which could come out at his knee,
elbow or hat, tho whole system of ventilation boing perfect
and complote. Ho hung his hat up on the third hook from
the door, being tho one set in diamonds, and drawing our
new morocco footstool up to his feot, sat down and opened
"I am probably tho only survivor of one of tho most des
perate charges at Gettysburg," said he. "I was on tho
very spot whioh tho rebels and" tho Union soldiers charged
ovor ten times, and I never stirred out of my tracks. I
was right where fifteen cannon balls tore up tho earth in
every direction, tearing men to pieces, and finally flinging
back tho torn armios in confusion."
"Did you escape?" we asked.
"You escaped? But you were wounded?"
"But certainly your clothes were pierced with bullets?"
"Not a bit of it. Nary a bullet."
"And yet you want money. No, sir! Had your head
been shot off, or a cannon-ball torn you in bits, or 220 bul-
iuuj uuuu luugco. in your uoay, we migut nave given
She dropped to tho ground with a choking
increased every moment behind them, while tho snapping
of tho cane-brakes and the crackling of the dry gramma
grass wero distinctly audible. Still they were getting on.
bevou, six, Ave miles. The fire was gaining on them with
awful rapidity, but the cliff was rising clear and distinct
before them. Half an hour more and thoy would bo safe.
Suddenly, without a moment's warning, Naucio's horse
stumbled in a hole, pitched heavily forward, and fell on
her knees. Fred threw himself off Hotspur in an instant,
and, before Nancie could free her foot from thestirup, was
at her side.
"What is it?" cried Nancie. "Is she burr?,, And,
though her voice was steady, sho trembled violently.
A glance was suflicient to show the injury,
"Ono of her logs is broken, " ho replied.
"You mwb-t rido behind me. Quick, Nancie, there is no
timo to lose!" mounting Hotspur as ho spoke, and hold
ing out his hand to help hor to mount. "Quick your
With a wild cry he ennght hor up in his arms and stag
gered on. They wore close to the bluff now. A dozen
stops and he gained tho foot of the ascent. Stumbling,
struggling, panting, he pressed on, up the face of the rock.
Tho flro rushed after him, sonding out long tongues of
fiamo as if to grasp its prey : it licked up the scanty herb
age, and raged and roared in fierce fury. But a few
"Oh Heaven, have mercy!'' Staggering, dizzy, almost
f ran tie, he struggled on, step after stop, step after step.
One more ! "Oh, thank Heaven, thank Heaven ! Safety
at hist !"
Jt was a terribly narrow escape. So close had been the
fire, so deadly the peril, that it seemed as if only a mira
cle had saved them.
Half an hour afterward, when thoy had recovered suf
ficient strength to struggle onward to the Red Ranch, they
began to realize to what an extremity of danger they were
reduced. Their clothes looked like" tinder, and hung on
them in shreds and patches. Naucio's face was deadly
white, except for a vivid scar down one side of her cheek
and neck, whoro a scorching flame had caught it. Fred's
right arm was completely disabled; his hands and face
were a deep crimson in hue. The fire had scorched him
As they crept slowly along, Fred looked wistfully into
"Did you mean it, Nancie?" ho asked gently.
"Mean what?" she said, hor oyos dropping shyly before
"What you said a while ago. Will you kiss me Nancie,
my own dear love ?"
"Yes," she whispered, turning her sweet faoo o his.
A Torriblo Situation.
ten cents: but as it is, cliarKyinust beirin at homo. John.
bring us a five cent cigar."
"But I'm the only survivor," persisted this old veteran
"Then go hire a hall, and charge ten cents for tho exhi
"Exhibition be hanged!" said ho. "Give me ten cents,
and I'll tell y u how 1 didn't get killed."
It was a a tempting bait, and war, taken. Thon he sided
towards the door as he remarked:
"I was on the very spot, where the charge was made. I
stood where the bullets fell like rain, but 'twas a month
after it happened."
A Curious Lake.
'Oh, Fred, r cannot leave her to be burnt to death !"
cried Nancie. bending over Miss Mollie, who looked up at
her mistress with nironi'pd nvo.u. nnA utinrari o !, ,..
,-,. . w ,- -.-,, "'tM
of intense suffering.
Fred drew a pistol from his bolster.
"There is n other way," he said, quietly, as he fired.
Charles May and his hiothor Robert, in the Spring of
1870, offered to pass GO, 000 railroad ties down tho Arkansas,
from the mountain source. JIo snys :
" Our offer wns accoptod, whon we started into tho upper
entrance of the canon with a skiff, provided with six days
provisions and 200 foot of rope, with which, by taking a
running turn around sumo firmly planted object we, could
lower our boats a hundred feot at a time. In this way, at
tho end of throe days, having set adrift many hundred ties,
we reached tho entrance of the Royal George. Hero wo
discovered that an attempt to ascend the first waterfall with
two in a boat was certain destruction, and to return impos
sible. Accordingly, I determined to lower my brother
down tho fall in tho boat a distanco of 200 feet, give him
tho rope and let him take tho chance of the canon, (life
seemed more certain in that direction,) while 1 woul I risk
my physical ability to climb the canon wall, which was
about 2,000 feet high,
"About ton o'clock in the morning T Khnnlr linnrlu win.
my brothor, lowered him in tho boatsafoly to tho foot of
tho fall. SravG him the lOUf,. nnd Rtvw him nn mnvn 'Plinn
j throwing asido my coat, hat and boots, and stripping tho
In Colorado U a ten-ncro field which is no more nor less
than a subterranean lake covered with soil about eighte.on
inches deep. On the soil is cultivated a field of co n,
which produces thirty or forty bushels to the acre. If any
ono will take tho trouble to dig a hole the depth of a spado
handle he will find it to fill with water, and by using a
hook and line, fish four or five inches long can bo caught.
The fish havo neither scales nor eyes and are perch-liko in
shape, The ground is a black marl in its nature, and in
all probability was at one time an open body of water, on
which was accumulated vegetablo matter, which has been
increased from time to time, until now it lias a crust, suf
ficiently strong and rich to produce fine corn, though it has
to be cultivated by hand as it is not strong enough to boar
tho weight of a horse. While harvesting, tho field hands
catch strings of fish by punching a hole through the earth.
A person rising on his ln-el and coming down suddenly onn
see tho grownig corn shake all around him. A.ny ono hav
ing the strength to drive a rail through this cntht will find
on releasing it that it will disappear altogether. Tht whole
section of country surrounding this field gives oviricnae of
marshiness, and the least rain produces an abundance of
mud. But the question comes up, has not this body an
outlet? Although brackish, tho water tastes as if fresb,
and is evidently not stagnant. Yet tlieso fish are eyeless
and scaleless similar to those found in caves.
A Button Letter-Holder.
How a letter from a soldier to his wife only a few hun
dred miles away, sent more than fifteen years ago, never
reached its destination and wns not seon by anybody until
last month, is told by tho Troy Times. Tho soldier was a
prisoner in Richmond, and the letter, which ho did not wish
to send open, as the rules established for such correspond
ence required, was inclosed in ono of tho brass buttons of
a surgeon's coat. This surgeon, Dr. Ketclmni, was also a
prisoner and apout to be exchanged. His other eleven coat
buttons contained eleven other letters. This ono was writ
ten on a sheet of paper four and a half inches long by three
inches wido, and must have been written with great caro
by a skilful penman, to compass so many words into so
small a space. The other letters wero all duly delivered,
but in some way this ono was overlooked. Last month a
littlo boy towhom,the button had been given, having hoard
his mother tell how tho prisonois sometimes nut letters in
military buttons so as to send them secretly, asked his fa
ther to open his button and see if it had a lotter in it. The,
button was opened and tho letter was found.