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Zigzagging through a tumbled,
broken country for maybe a couple of
hours. Then it began to descend
first little by little, then so quick it
was like going downstairs. And at
last we reached he mouth of the
canon, with the river Tolling out of it.
"The mouth of the canon was wide
and the woods came down thick to
the trail. We reckoned it would be
no kind of a healthy place for us
around daylight; so, the first gray
ness just then sifting down among
the trees, we quit the trail.
"Along toward the middle of the
afternoon we caught a queer kind of
noise. We made it out, at last, to be
a woman's voice crying and moan
ing. I said I'd go and kind of pros
pect around and bring back word
what was the matter; but Baldy and
Antonio allowed they'd go along, too.
"We didn't have to go far before
we saw what it was. There at the
bend of the trail, tied to a tree, was
a girl with long coal black hair all
down her face to her knees. And in
front of her, where she could see it
plain, but couldn't any way get at it,
was a jar of water keeping nice and
cool in the shade. It struck us we
being thirsty ourselves just then
as a mighty simple but ingenious
" 'Well,' whispered I, 'I reckon
we've got to see what can be done
for that kid.' Antonio's eyes showed
their whites at me with a leer of mis
understanding and approval; but
" 'What for, Martin?' he demanded.
" 'You haven't got much sense,
Baldy, have you? Can't you see this
is our big chance? We'll make her
show us the way.'
"I slopped out of the brush with
my knife in my hand. The girl gave
a cry of terror as she saw me com
ing. Then her face lighted up with
" 'Don't be frightened, we won't
hurt you any,' says I in Spanish as
I cut the leather thongs that lashed
her to the tree.
"She didn't seem to understand
Spanish, but began to thank me kind
of wild like in an injun lingo which
I'd picked y down on the coast; and
she tried to kiss myliands. The mo
ment I'd freed her little feet she grab
bed my arm and fairly dragged me
into the brush.
" 'We must get away quick,' she
whispered, all shaking with terrible
excitement. But when we came to
Baldy and Antonio she looked scared
and slipped behind my arm.
" "'They're friends,' says I' to her.
This satisfied her.
" 'Come on, then, come quick!' she
panted, and started to drag me away
as if to get me out of the canon,
but I wouldn't stir.
" 'No!' says I. 'Not that way, yet.
We have come to get the gold. J've
saved you. We'll fight for you, but
you must show us how to get the
"She seemed terribly frightened at
this- and fell on her knees and beg
ged me to take her away at once or
we'd all be killed. She made kind of
signs to show us that we'd be tor
tured; and she poured out such a
string of stuff about the injuns hav
ing just murdered her mother, and
having condemned her to death for a
kind of witch and about how she'd
tell us all about the gold, by and by,
so as we could come back with a lot
of soldiers and get it, and all such
crazy childish stuff. Baldy and An
tonio, not understanding her lingo,
got impatient, and Baldy began to
grumble something ugly. 'But,' says
I, 'shut up, Baldy. Who's running
this show?' Then, says I to the girl,
in her own gibberish: 'No, my girl,
that won't go. We're after that gold;
we've helped you and will stand by
you, and you must help us. " No more
talk. Will you or won't you?'
"Well, at that time, she got up,
kind of proud and straight; and then
her eyes began to blaze, and she said
that maybe, with her to guide us, and
being brave men as" we were, we
might, perhaps, manage it. With that