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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, May 08, 1910, Image 8

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1910-05-08/ed-1/seq-8/

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IT was n%ar midnight when Lueian
drew up his dripping horse to let it
wet its burning muzzle -at a spring,
which glistened darkly under tho stars.
There was a second of silence. Then
Lucian heard a diabolical yell v anJ the
rapid beat of horse hoofs on tho trail
behind him. jerked hls.horso from
the pool, and urged ,it toward the
thicket. But the brush was linpassa- .
ble^ ' The tlrei.l beast faltered.' The
hoof beats cam-i nearer. There was a
pistol v shot and the horse sank .under
Lucian. As the boy jumped clear of
th_e' falling mount.a. band of horsemen,
yelling, like mad, surrounded him. Tho
leader, raised a quirt and struck the boy
.over the" hVad.
i As Lucian saw tho blow coming he
recognized that ,he was in \u25a0\u25a0 the ,; hands
of Juan. Padilla. !
\u25a0•,• • \u25a0 \u25a0
It was the unmannerly gait of the
horse to which .he found . himself
lashed that restored; Lucian to- con
sciousness. . The fearful; jogging, of the
brute would have aroused the seven
sleepers, v '\u25a0\u0084: ;* ;. >'.'\u25a0)' ';;\u25a0;\u25a0 >:" \u25a0•-• • \u25a0\u25a0 -'\u25a0
It was still dark, blacker, even than
when Lucian had been overtaken by
Juan Padilla" and his band ( of outlaws,
for a mist had xlrifted from . San
Pablo bay and veiled' thejstars.
: -The terrible pain on his, head blinded
" Ltician, but he soon found that the cruel \u25a0;
stride s of the horsed was so^ much more f
distressful .that .he : let the two woes
neutralize each .other, brave lad that .
he was, and set his -mind to recollect „\u25a0•
his position and situation.*
. As he galloped along, flashed to the
rocking -mount.JLucia/i remembered the .
. exciting.: events? of the last ?two 'days.
He recalled^ , the, coming of ; Captain ,
Merritt andhis company of Yankees to
\ trie boy's .home, the .Elliott - place. : ; He
recollected how he had guided j, the :
'Yankees to Sonoma and how that town
had surrendered so qufetly .that it did
no t " seem | like war. .'\u25a0* He -remembered
; withs chagrin^ how he .had taken a nap',
at ' the home *of, \ Pedro's grandmother,
and had" been arbused by the voice of
•Padilla, ,;the. most cruel of \u25a0; outlaws'
;*He reviewed his '< decision' to , ride-,into '.:
the n l ght and , warn ' Captai n Merr i tt .
and his party that Padilla intended to "\u25a0•
pursue them? to rescue" - General Val
lejo* from their hand and put them to
death.' And though he f had ridden as
hard . as he had dared here he .was, V
overtaken:' by Padilla, held -;a prisoner. 5
' ' Padilla ihad a gang of more than 15
men with him "on" that night's raid.:
They were an evil looking -crew. Lv- '
"cian- could 1 see that even in the misty
darkness: that / enveloped the , .band.
Lucian was on a horse, ..which -was
driven in the 'center of the y
He was ' securely ' pocketed by the \u25a0
other -riders. " Furthermore,^ he was
\u25a0lashed to the saddle, by heavy coils of l
the riata, his hands .were tied behind;
•him and there -was a .heavy cloth over .
hisjmouth.' He was bound and gagged y
.and that, was; all there was to it!
V On and on |the party rodeJ Padilla .
.was at the headof the .small column £
of horsemen.' X At times he would shout
curses at his men- and urge them to
faster travel, .'They must overtake the "
Yankees before daylight, if at all. ,
Captain Herri tt and nine of his? men
had lert- Sonoma" during the afternoon v
,, on account of a dispute over the con
trol of the captured, town! ' '.'/\u25a0•'
« .William B. Ido; l one of the. party, had
declared, that the > Americans,,iriust stay "..
\u25a0 atSonpma and establish a government,
there, otherwise they" were not revo'-. ,
lutionists, , but, horse,, thieves and' rob- ;
hers".; There, must be rio -pillage/ or .
drinking."'.'. '''"•,\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0,"' • »\u25a0-•\u25a0'\u25a0 ;'/'-V; '/'-V "'"\u25a0'\u25a0''"'\u25a0'\u25a0'
y'j ."Merrltt • was a' different' sort' of a
warrior." ;• He held. that the command of *.
the placp . and ;! its'- f orce . rested, moro *
in the person of .the , commander than '•„
In the..p ossession of the .town, lie
declared that' General Vallejoßh6uld' be
taken as a, prisoner, to Captain "Fro- *
; monts /?amp and held j as. a* hostage.
When Ide said that he would not agree
to . that 'plan\ Merrltt -and \u25a0 nino of . hia
followers broke; with the " majority. .
Taking General. Vallejo arid another
Spanish officer, -Victor Paudon, ' Merrltt '
had started for tho Sacramento valley..
Ho and his .men were; exhausted. They"
had been In, the saddle ;for, days and •
nights' and when darkness came they
made a camp and settlod themselves .to "..
rest without posting a guard. The
crafty, bold Indian, fighter .and bear
hunter showed alack of discretion that
led almost to his death. , -
' The' blackness of night was growing
sjowly less in the east when Padilla
halted his party. Lucian, craniped and
stiff, welconiod tho respite, although^
ho did not- know but what it foretold
his death. He could not realizo' now
why, ho had' not been killed outright
when he had been overtaken. .Gagged
as he was ho could not aak, had an
opportunity' been given. >
When tlie party of outlaws halted ,a
you'll g man was sent out ahead to Bcout.,
He hastened back. He whispered to Pa-*
dilla and tlie robber chief moved hla
party on a half mile, to the bank of"
a creek. In a heavy clufnp of willows
the men dismounted and picketed their
horses. Lucian was left on his horse
and a young outlaw was left'on guard.
As soonns the others had gone this
sentry went over; to Lucian, felt \u25a0 of,' the
"bonds and the gug and found them
tight. Lucifin heard' him shuffle away
in" the darkness. ; Soon 'he-; heard a
"snore;' then he- know- that' his- guard
was asleep.
Tho sound of snoring aroused Lucian
more keenly than he had been since he
was'flrst captured by Padilla; 'He saw
the situation. - ; - -
Captain Merritt and his men would
be 1 surprised in -their sleep by Padilla
and would bekilled while he (Lucian),
the'only friend who knew of the danger,
was powerless to aid them.'' He rocked
In'hissaddle In terror of the sounds of
death which lie expected momentarily
, to' hear. • -' He ..wrenched his hands; in
their-bonds. . '...,: . ,-. . ." v
' And , hi? wrist,, small and supple,
slipped free! ,; ;,i '-•\u25a0-•\u25a0 >
•.Lucian' was in a new ' world, for all
its steadfast blackness, the moment he
had wriggled out of 'the -The
outlaws had not counted on his small
wrist. > * f .;\u25a0\u25a0•;- -'• ~ ' .\u25a0\u25a0•-\u25a0• •\u25a0
'The boy was, ready to shout for jojv
But he must not. He heard the regular
snoring of his: guard. He ".knew, that-
Padilla was creeping upon Merritt and
'his party, waiting" a moment to strike.
Lucian would try to warn the Ameri
cans,v;by breaking through the.l ine of
the outlaws.
Now he was free from all his bonds
and he dropped, from his horse. He
was so stiff and sore that it was agony
to move, " ] but he struggled on among
'the"' horses in the darkness, taking a
direction in which ";he judged t Padilla
"and his men had, gone on their bloody
"errand. 1 . .'"' /...\u25a0 , \u25a0 ; "'\u25a0.\u25a0'' ; -
The outlaws had been gone-probably
five minutes before Lueian had freed
himself. V ; "•;\u25a0• , - '
As the boy struggled on through the
willows he expected every second to i
hear; a shotor the shriek of death.
;• Ho dropped, to his knees, that ' he
\u25a0might, be bettor concealed, for the
darkness was lessening now. Slipping
craftily through a clump of willows
he saw a form in front of him. Tho
r shape of the shoulders -and the quoer
twist of tho man's hat Identified him. '
He was on the heels of Padilla. ' Now.
was not .the time to give the alarm—
\u25a0 lie must wait. So Lucian followed the
p outlaw 'chief. Tliey came to a break
in the willows; In the center was the
dull red flicker of a . dying campflre.
Around, the odges were sleeping men.'
* Padilla was approaching one man who
' reclined apart from the others. In
the gray glimmer of dawn the boy
* saw that - the man had a long- beard,
s that his head was unbowed and fine.
"He recognized "the man as General
\u25a0 - Vallejo. -....'\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0' ";, :.-.': '\u0084\u25a0: ' -.y ;: „ ;.:.-?>.; 'i\\ivi
... All the pain and hurt which Lucian
had endured since he left Sonoma
..." eight 'hours before' now seemed to. '.bq'
..concentrated- in his head' and limbs'..
He was in a tumult of anxiety. "He did
" .' not" (know, : at, .what moment' Padilla
would # ,give the signal which would
mean death to the sleeping Americans. ;
His ;brain \u25a0 reeled. He knew that if he
; : tried -to give an alarm now it would
* ! mean;instant death to' the men he was
; •\u25a0.->.> trying to save,' for they, "of course,
:»wereycovered*by the guns of the Mexi
can Outlaws. He would be the first
to die. The lad had counted , on death,
not morbidly,- but as a natural* conse
quence of his part in the drama, but
.; he 'did not want to sacrifice himself
needlessly. ' \
Padilla, as he neared the reclining
.Gerieral Vallejo, dropped on his knees
and crept through the underbrush. . '«
Lucian made a swift detour\.and
came to the side of the general almost
simultaneously with Padilla. In the
. morning twilight the boy searched the
-group of sleeping Americans for a
' waklng'ej'e. i He would not forgive the
utter carelessness of Merrltt and his
: men for sleeping thus under the knives
of assassins.
There was not n.n American eye but
was sealed with slumber wax.
Tortured by his bodily pains and
\u25a0 dizzy and giddy with anticipation of
impending woe, Lucian could do no
more than lie still within a gun's
length of Padllln. the cruel.
He heard Padilla speak in a husky
.: ."General, General, your excellency."
said the outlaw in Spanish to the re
clining Vallcjo.
Vallejo did not move, but Lucian
heard him murmur as quietly: "What?
Who are you?"
"It is I, Juan Padilla, and my m<?n.
Wo have come to rescue you, to slaugh
. ,ter the gringoes, to< free California
from tho hateful clutch of the Yan
"No, Juan," replied the great hearted
General Vallrjo. "No, my son. not
that. Our days .'ire bloody enough and
. God knows that you have blood enough
on your hands now. But now you may
make a peace with God by withholding
your knife. I have given my parole,
• my word, the word of a Spanish gen
tleman, nnd I, as general of the army
of your country and mino. order you
\u25a0 not to shed blood here. Slip away with
\u25a0 your men. before these foolish Yankees
awake, before it is too late to spare
• their blood and yours. My son, our
j ways have been, different, but wo still
belong to the same noble race. Do not
blot the name, of our mother country
at this time . We will triumph, in the
Vend. California will be for iis and for
our children. Here is my hand, my
"son, and here is my purse. Take them
. both with the best regard of your gen
. eral. Say no more and slip away as
\u25a0. 'swiftly and as quietly as you- came."
Padilla muttered. A, , * \u25a0
"See,* it is light, the sun is brightening
the sky; leave, I order you," demanded
the general , sternly. He had been
, speaking as a friend. Now he com
manded as a general.
• Padilla slunk away in. ; the under
-brush. Lucian lay still for several rrio
'"ments. ' Then General Vallejo, still re
clining onUils elbow," heard the .regular
1 .breathingof a sleeper close behind him.
"He turned. There he saw Lucian,
- sleeping soundly. The boy's troubles .
were over. His exhausted and pain
racked body had forgotten its woes In
the soft comfort of slumber. V
; ...;•\u25a0 * ;';•\u25a0'; \u2666 ;. ' "; .j
„,. The Americans in Sonoma were dls-"
) tressed. They had captured the town
and were about to establish their short
lived "California Republic," but they
counted that it would be at a. terrible
cost. It was known that Padilla and
his men had gone after Captain Merritt
and his party, and it was . feared that
the Yankees would all be killed. Then
Lucian, the bright boy who had guided
the Americans into Sonoma, was miss
,. ing. It was feared that he had been
spirited away by Padilla. 'Mr. and
. Mrs. 331110tt, Lucian's father arid moth
er, and his little sister Rose had come
\u25a0 into Sonoma where they might be-in
1 a position to learn at the earliest mo
i ment the fate of their, boy.
On the fourth day after the capture
, of the settlement there, was a great
clashing of drums at dawn. The El
liotts were aroused by the sound and
sprang, from their beds 'In terror, for
they feared that another party of Mex
icans had come to* sack - the town and
put to death all Yankees.
.They rushed into the plaza and^aw
coming down the dusky village street
a party of horsemen, Yankee "horsemen,
and at the, head rode Lucian Elliott. .
Captain Merritt and his men, after
' Paidilla's departure; met a" body of re
\u25a0', inforcements for Sonoma; and while
Merritt arid his men continued on ,to
- Fremont's • camp the reinforcements
hurried, to Sonoma, and when they
heard the story ( of Lucian they., elected
him captain In the army of the "Cali
fornia republic. • : . \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0'•'.
• With the. arrival of Captain. Lucian's '.
troops; the security of the California
republic was assured. ' And a republic
must have a flag.
\u25a0 „It was' decided that; a California bear
was .the symbol most worthy to be
placed on : the , banner, .for was there
man In" the party who had not killed
a bear? / . •
A young man named William L. Tod
drew an outline of a bear on a piece of
white cotton cloth which Lucian'a
mother. .had torn from her skirt. .
,"ilut the boar should bo colored In
red," declared Tod.
- , AmY, then it was Rose's turn to
epeak. ' "I have a bushel of , blackber
\u25a0 ries," said Lucian's little sister, "which
I was going to, make into jam. It will
. make a .pretty stain." v* V-
And,so It .did.
'". Tho 'banner was completed. The bear
was drawn Standing on ills four feet
and over his hejwl and to the front of
him was a red star. Below were tho
"California Republic."
And who but Captain Lucian had tho
rare privilege of hauling t,he banner to
tlie top of the flagstaff? *
• • ' "And tills, I think," said Lucian, "is
a more. patriotic game Hum 'Boston tea
(The End.)

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