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interest, for everybody present, like my- tions of his life, reeled to one side and self, was uncertain and curious as to fell heavily to the earth. Not a few long whether Bill's indignantand abrupt course breaths were drawn by those around me had been the result of sheer simplicity, the majority of whom were as much termistaking the sense of the expression rified as astonished at this extraordinary “madness,”—of a sagacious intuition of dénouement of a most remarkable scene. the treatment proper in such a case, or
All had observed the mastery Bill's eyes confidence in his own resources. For bad exhibited over this, to them, mystea minute or so the figures of the two men rious distemper, and some regarded it as were tossed to and fro in the uncertain
a supernatural display; particularly Caslight, linked and writhing in a stern, silent, tro and his Indians who looked upon the and desperate struggle. It seemed to me Trapper with expressions, ludicrously that Bill's object was to quell and over- mingled, of awe, humility, and affright. bear the madman by the weight of physi- Bill had ordered water to be brought from cal superiority without hurting him. I the river, of which Black, who had fallen shuddered, when, as they whirled by from excessive weakness—the collapse close to me, I perceived the cause of the of his long excitement—drank with inominous silence of the madman. His conceivable eagerness. He seemed so teeth were clenched in the shoulder of the subdued, 1 hoped for a moment that the Trapper, whose pale face as it gleamed spell had passed from off his soul; but past was rigid and calm as ever. A sud. there was the same incoherence and wanden change came over the aspect of the dering evident as soon as he was able to combat. The two figures were perfectly speak; and when any of us came very still for a moment, then that of Black near him, the same disposition to injure gradually sank towards the ground. us. Bill alone could control him-at a I stepped close to them and saw that Bill, single glance from whose eye he became by the tremendous power of his hug, had humble again. I should not have been paralyzed him by pressure on the spine. particularly astonished at the simple fact With his back bending in; the grip of his that Bill's eyes, or the eyes of any other teeth loosened as he sank upon his knees. man of great firmness, should have exAt that moment, while Bill stooped over erted this absolute power over a madhim, their eyes met. The two figures man-for that such a power had long seemed at once to be frozen into a death- been known to exist and been used by like pause, while their eyes were riveted occasional individuals in the treatment upon each other. It seemed to me that and management of lunatics, I was perthose of Bill were emitting a keen and fectly aware—but what did surprise me palpable flame that steadily searched the was, that this uncultivated Trapper, who depths of the brain beneath him. There had probably never seen or heard of a was something terrible and ghost-like in medical book in his life, and as probably his white stony face, lit with that calm never saw a madman before, should have weird light, heightened by a broad fleck seemed so securely conscious of possessof the moon's rays that fell upon iting this unusual power as to have trusted through an opening in the trees. I could to it calmly through a scene of so much scarcely breathe with the excitement, peril. How, and where could he have half of awe-which fell upon me as I picked up this knowledge, was a queslooked on this intense scene. The glare tion I determined in my own mind to of animal ferocity rapidly faded from the have settled on the first opportunity. In fascinated gaze of the madman—the the mean time arrangements were made to spasmodic contraction of his features sub- return to the Colonel's Rancho. The sided-his muscles were unstrung from body of Davis was thrown into the river; their tension. Bill, yet gazing steadily Black was mounted upon the horse of a into his eyes, gently shook off his grasp Lipan, the lariat of which Bill held as he as he loosened his own hold, and then led off the party on the return. Hays, straitening himself, lifted him slowly up Fitz, and several others of the Rangers with him to his feet. Black's spell-led who had joined us, were discussing eyes still followed the face of his con and accounting for the late scene with queror for an instant-he then drew the great earnestness, in their own way, as back of his rough and gore-encrusted we walked on, some vowing it was one hand quickly across them, and, bursting thing, others another ; but most inclined into tears, with a convulsive sob that to regard it with superstition. Finding seemed to be tearing up the very founda. that no light was to be gained from them,
I determined to join Bill, who was moodi- longed to this mysterious fraternity: Ty striding on alone, and try whether I Without having witnessed, as yet, any of could draw him into a communicative hu- their feats, I had, under a theory of my mor. It had occurred to me that the own, been disposed to classify them among effect had been purely accidental. But the unexplained phenomena of Mesmerthis view I was almost disposed to dis- ism; which last designation would, in. card on remembering Bill's steady and deed, include all the apparent facts of methodical management from the time he the embryo science. Bill had never heard caught the madman's eye. I had ob- of mesmerism, though, and the suspicion served a trait of superstition in his own that he had stumbled unawares upon the character, and was not surprised when I existence of a physical law, of the nature found him very mysterious and difficult of which, he, in common with its more of approach on the subject. I soon per- learned advocates, was profoundly ignoceived that he himself did not understand rant, had crossed my mind more than the origin of the power, and it was only once. It was interesting to have thus after a great deal of cross-questioning and traced it back to a seeming connection, urging, that I could get a hint of the heretofore unsuspected, with influences source from which he had originally re- producing inexplicable effects in two ceived the suggestion. It appeared from classes of well-known facts—the taming what he let fall, that years ago in one of of madmen and wild beasts. I had afterhis trapping expeditions towards the head wards the opportunity of examining this waters of the Platte, he had met with curious subject with greater minuteness, three men-two Americans and a half- and satisfying myself more definitely as breed Indian-whose sole occupation to the plausibility of my new theory. seemed to be that of catching mustangs.
We met the Colonel with the Bravo These, after being captured, the Half- and his party near the Rancho, returning breed would render perfectly tame in a bootless from their search pushed in anfew hours so much so that they would other direction. follow him about the Prairie, and come The Colonel's sagacity had also discovto him at his call. A wolf was captured ered the trail of the strange horseman and tamed in as short a time, and as ef- which had so much puzzled us, though sectually. The Half-breed had been very the recollection of it had been for the mysterious as to his mode of proceeding, time overcome by the late incidents. and announced that he bewitched them— Without waiting to hear more of the debut added, also, that he could, for a tails we had to give than the simple “compensation” commensurate with the intelligence that Davis had been hung by value of the important secret, impart it to Black—which he seemed to consider a others. Bill had collected a very valuable matter-of-course incident—he insisted pack of beaver pelts, and so deeply had he upon Bill's report about Agatone, and been interested and impressed, that with- explanation, if he had any to give, of out any hesitation he had offered them the tracks. Bill proceeded in his quaint in exchange for the secret. This, after vernacular to inform us that he had prosome demur, the cunning Half-breed had ceeded with Castro and the Indians to agreed to--first binding Bill over to the place in Big Bend Bottom, where he secresy by the most fantastic rites and had first seen the three men, of whom, solemn oaths. Under these injunctions the person supposed to be Agatone was the secret had been communicated, and riding behind one of the others--the Lieuof course was beyond my reach. Bill tenant, probably—whom he shot. That said he had often tried the “ spell," as he here he and Castro had taken their trail called it, upon the wildest and most fero- again and followed it with the most cious animals with perfect success when minute care, examining every tree near hecould get them “ cornere!” long enough the trunk of which it passed, to see for it to work. That he had been equally whether he had been pushed up into it successful with men who had the “ trem to hide among the long moss. The Inblers” (delirium tremens) upon them after dians were spread out on every side to a spree. I had often heard of these “ wild look for the traces of his footsteps, so horse tamers," as they are called, and felt that every square yard of the ground for great curiosity with regard to them. It some distance on both sides of the trai! ailded not a little to the interest I already had been carefully examined up to the felt in the character of my long-sided point where he, by cutting across, had friend, the Trapper, to find that he be- intercepted the horsemen, and seen, to
his astonishment, that the man riding and swung off, then eased himself up on
The Rangers were too much of woods-
went to look for him in the Bend, and “ But how the duce did he get thar, that's what made his trail so round-aBill; you said you looked up all the bouting, as Bill says !" trees ?” said Fitz, breathlessly.
“ That war ther way it come."
Them fellers war up ter trailin'—they “ For sartain I did! I went back ter
, and that in the broad daylight for the tracks warn't broke, I look'd out too." He won't get out again so easy, or sharp for that—he grab’d the grape vine I'm mistaken.”
“ But where was Black all this time?" too infernally rich not to be reveled in asked I of Bill as he was turning off. by these chivalric pioneers of the bles.
“ He tuck off through ther woods soon sings of civilization and free institutions ! as we left yer at the ford; did'nt see him What were Mexican women and children any more 'till I com'd whar these green born for but to afford them the amusement yourkers had been insultin' his arms of seeing them roast. This cool diabolicwith ther dirty strings !"
ism, though it could not fail, under any cirNobody who heard the last speech of cumstances, to shock me, yet had at least the Colonel's suspected him, even remote- the merit of novelty--it was anomalous ly, of joking in the threats he let fall. He in my experience of life, and, so far as had appeared so moodily absorbed since curiosity went, attractive. Opposition I it had been made evident that his enemy knew would avail nothing, and merely was near him-almost within his reach subject me to suspicion and personal dan--with only wooden walls interposed be- ger; besides, the companionship of peril iween them—that it was hard for those which I had voluntarily offered to share whoknew him best to conjecture what his with them left me no choice but to see surly and desperate hate might not do them through. My probable compuncbefore morning. That he was fiercely tions and whatever of humanity I had determined this night should settle left on hand ought to have been looked to the long account between Agatone and before I had placed myself in such relahimself at whatever risk, soon became tions. As it was, I made the most of a clear enough. He went aside with Bill bad move, and endeavored to look forand Hays and held a long consultation. ward to the anticipated “ barbecue of We, in the mean time, despatched a hasty Yellow Bellies” as some one jocosely meal. They then came forward and called it, with as vividly pleasurable joined us After all were through, the sensations as I could summon. The Colonel picked up six-shooterand seemed fact unquestionably was, that this Rancho to be examining it attentively, then raised had long been the greatest nuisance of his head suddenly as if a new thought this frontier. Pretending to be friendly had struck him.
to the Texans, the old Senora Cavillo had Boys,” said he, grinning hideously, secretly aided and encouraged the worst “What do you say to a whole-hog out of the border depredators, and the storm and-out frolic to-night ?”
of vengeance for several years had been “ I'm for it,” said one.
muttering upon her horizon. The Tex“ I'm thar !” said Texas. “ What is ans had been too few in this region for it, Colonel ?”
some time to attempt her destruction, and “ Fellers, we must have Agatone any now that a number-possibly sufficient, how !”
had been brought together, and that under “ In course—but how ?”
circumstances of so much immediate ex“ Well, we can stampede the sheep- asperation against her, there was no tell. pen-you know that's outside the gate; ing what might be the result of this maybe they'll be fools enough to come night's work. I had, unconsciously perout; we can make a rush at the gate haps, assimilated very much, in my feelthen."
ings towards the Mexicans, with the tone “ She's too sharp for that, Colonel !" of those around me, and that was charac
With a rasping chuckle and vicious terized by the most deadly and unutterable significant leer he merely said, as he The two races in this country turned off, “ I smell something burning — have no sympathy in common but that of maybe she will !”
hatred-on the one side the malignant “ Ha! that's the game! She'll burn assassin hate of coward and conscious blue ? won't she Colonel ?” was said by inferiority-on the other, the contemptsome one as they all rose to get their uous exterminating hate of domineering weapons, without another syllable of brutality-secure in superior energies, and comment, upon this monstrous proposi. as destitute of magnanimity as it is grasption, being considered as called for by these ing. This scorn is a very convenient senmatter-of-fact personages. The idea of timent, by the way, too often assumed by setting fire to the houses of three or four natures having in them generous suscep. hundred unoffending human beings, that tibilities, as the readiest mitigation, and the insane hate of three or four men might higher name for any harsh outbreak of be gratified with the prospect of any licentious passion upon inferiors. It is amount of indiscriminate slaughter was hard for warlike men to display chivalry
towards an ignoble foe—ordinarily cour. few days! judge what the years of such a tesy calls forth courtesy, and so with its life must have been ! opposite. It is thus on this frontier, that Black, who might have been a serious where true bravery exists still, it has and unmanageable incumbrance to a demost frequently degenerated into a fierce sign requiring great secrecy, had forturelentlessness, while mere cut-throat nately fallen asleep, after devouring, like ferocity is as frequently mistaken for the a famished wild beast, an enormous meal. nobler virtue. There is little call for the We set off in silence for the Rancho, achigher traits of the civilized soldier, and companied by Castro and his warriors on they are as little known as valued. From foot. They were sent ahead with orders the observation of such facts, I, as well, to seize, without noise, any straggler they strongly incline to doubt, whether--with might find, to prevent the alarm being all the parade that has been so popular given. The moon was out very bright, with regard to the prodigies of Texan but her rays penetrated feebly beneath valor—that population would prove equal the dense umbrage of the forest as we to our“ corn-stalk militia” upon an equal approached the log-bridge of which 1 field against an equal foe. They may have spoken. We had nearly reached very well afford to fight Mexicans five to this difficult passage, when a sudden one—as the boast is—when not more commotion among the Indians announced than one in that five can fire hisgun with that something had happened. There out (shutting his eyes; besides, the yet was a scattering crashing and scrambling more important fact is, that the social through the thickets for a moment-a virtues of which the Texans have no stifled cry—and they came out dragging over-plus to boast, are the truest and among them a prisoner. Who should it most certain incentives of heroism. The be, trembling in a mortal panic, but Masbest soldiers are the best sons, and fathers, ter Antone, whose unaccountable disapand citizens. They have desperadoes pearance after the capture of Davis had enough, such as these men were, who since been frequently commented upon in feared neither God nor man, it would no mincing terms. Indeed, every one seem; but desperadoes are not always suspected him of too warm a sympathy the surest soldiers--they are ever liable for the traitor, and friendship for the old to being panic-stricken when attacked on Senora ; and threats had been let fall the blind side, or when called upon to meet which now, it appeared, were to be exedanger in any unsuspected or unusual cuted. I saw there would be little chance way. These are general observations for him when Castro reported that he which apply to a population in which too had heard him or some one else run from many of the extremes meet for anything a thicket close to the Colonel's Rancho, very consistent to be looked for. The when we came out and, suspecting he truth is, I was gradually becoming Texan would make for the log, had intercepted myself, under the rapid process of “ case. him. This placed Sir Braggadocio under hardenings to which these men around the unpleasant imputation of having me had been in turn subjected ; and that added the character of spy to his many the incrustation of habit was insensibly salient qualities. The proposition was forming over the moral sense, I became made instanter to swing him up to the occasionally aware at such times as this, nearest limb. The Indians, first binding when I found myself so readily sophisti- his mouth to keep him quiet, proceeded cating——so easily reconciled-though to halter him. I had seen enough of conditions absolutely
horrifying in such murders for one day, and was un. themselves were presented. This con- willing to see this harmless wretch lose sciousness would make me extremely his life so unceremoniously; though I restless then, and even the recollection saw as well that the men were 100 of it now makes me perhaps so sple- fiercely roused to be entirely diverted netically uncharitable towards these from their purpose of vengeance. I promen. The hate engendered through posed that we should throw him off the years of mutual wrongs had not yet in log into the river, tighten and secure the my case been kindled into a fierce de- rope just sufficiently to keep his head vouring flame which made a hell at the above water, and leave him there to heart and madness in the brain ; yet this drown at his leisure—intending myself had been so with them, and with conse- to come back and release him so soon as quences such as I have described, and I could get away from the party. The shall proceed to show, occurring within a novelty of this proposition won for it