Mormon Joe, the Robber by John A. Hill
I'm on intimate terms with one of the biggest robbers in this country.
He's an expert at the business, but has now retired from active work.
The fact of the matter is, Joe didn't know he was robbing, at the time
he did it, but he got there, just the same, and come mighty nigh doing
time in the penitentiary for it, too.
Maybe I'd better commence at the beginning and tell you that I first
knew Joe Hogg in '79, out at the front, on the Santa Fé. Joe hailed from
Salt Lake City, and had run on the Utah Central, which gave him the
nickname of "Mormon Joe," a name he never resented being called, and to
which he always answered. I never did really know whether he was a
Mormon or not, and never cared; he was a good engineer, that's about all
I cared for. Joe took good care of his engine, wore a clean shirt and
behaved himself—which was doing more than the average engineer at the front did.
I remember, one night, Jack McCabe—"Whisky Jack," we used to call
him—made some mean remark about the Mormons in general and Joe in
particular, and Joe replied: "I don't propose to defend the Mormon
faith; it's as good as any, to my mind. I don't propose to judge or
misjudge any man by his belief or absence of belief. All that I have got
to say is, that the Mormon religion is a practical religion. They
don't give starving women a tract, or tramps jobs on the stone-pile. The
women get bread, and the tramps work for pay. Their faith is based on
the Christian Bible, with a book added—guess they have as big a right
to add or take away as some of the old kings had—bigamy is upheld by
the Bible, but has been dead in Utah, for some years. It can't live for
the young people are against it. In Utah the woman has all the rights a
man has, votes, and is a person. (Since cut out of new constitution.)
Before the Gentiles came to Salt Lake, the Mormons had but one
policeman, no jail, few saloons, no houses of prostitution—now the
Gentile Christian has sway, and the town is full of them. I guess you
could argue on the quality and quantity of rot-gut whisky a good
engineer ought to drink, better than on theology, anyhow."
I never heard any of the gang twit Joe about the Mormons again.
I didn't take an awful sight of notice about Joe until I came in, one
night, and the boys told me that Joe was arrested as an accomplice in
the robbery of the Black Prince mine, in Constitution gulch.
This Black Prince was a gold placer owned by two middle-aged Englishmen.
They had a small stamp-mill, run by mule power; and a large number of
sluice-boxes. They always worked alone, and said they were developing
the mine. No one had any idea that they were taking out much dust, until
the mill and sluice-boxes were burned one night, and the story came out
that they had been robbed of more than thirty thousand dollars.
Each partner accused the other of the theft. Both were arrested, and
detectives commenced to follow every clue.
Joe's arrest fell like a thunder-clap among us. The Brotherhood men took
it up right away, and I went to see Joe, that very night. It was said
that Joe had visited the Black Prince, the day before, and had been seen
carrying away a large package, the night before the robbery.
Joe absolutely refused to say a word for or against himself.
"The detectives got this scheme up and know what they are doing," said
he; "I don't. When they get all through, you'll know how it'll come out."
To all questions as to his guilt or innocence, to every query about the
crime or his arrest, he replied alike, to friend or foe:
"Ask the sheriff; he's doing this."
He was in jail a long time, but nothing was proven against him and he
was finally released.
Neither of the Englishmen could fasten the crime on his partner, and
they sold out and drifted away, one going back to England and the other
Joe ran awhile on the road again and then took a job as chief-engineer
of a big stamp-mill in Arizona, and going there he was lost to myself
and the men on the road, and finally the Black Prince robbery passed
into history, and nothing remained but the tradition, a sort of a myth
of the mountains, like Captain Kidd's treasures, the amount only being
increased by time. I believe that the last time I heard the story, it
was calmly stated that thirty million dollars was taken.
When I was out West, last time, I got off the train at Santa Fé, and
when gunning through the baggage for my kiester, I saw a trunk,
bearing on its end this legend:
"MRS. JOS. HOGG."
While I was "gopping" at it, as they say down East, and wondering if it
could be my Joe Hogg, a very nice-looking lady came in, leading a little
girl, glanced along the lines of trunks, put her hand on the one I was
looking at, and said:
"That's the one; yes; the little one. I want it checked to New York."
Just then, a little fellow with whiskers on his chin and a twinkle in
his eye came in and took charge of the trunk, the woman and the child,
and with the little one's arms around his neck, bid them good-by, and
got them into their seats in the sleeper.
I watched this individual with a great deal of interest; he looked like
my old friend, "Mormon Joe," only for the whiskers and the stockman clothes.
Finally he jumped off the moving train, waved his hand and stood
watching it out of sight, to catch the last glimpse of (to him) precious
burden-bearer; he raised his hand to shade his eyes, and as he did so, I
saw that it was minus one thumb, and I remembered that "Mormon Joe" left
one of his under an engine up in Colorado—I was sure of him.
There was a tear in his eye, as he turned to go away, so I stepped up to
him and asked:
"Any new wives wanted down your way, Elder?"
He glanced up, half angry, looked me straight in the eye, and a smile
started at the southeast corner of his phiz and ran around to his port ear.
"Well, John, old man, I don't mind being sealed to one about your
size, right now. I've just sent away the best one in the wide world. Old
man, you're looking plump; by the Holy Joe Smith, a sight of you is good for sore eyes!"
Well, we started, and—but there ain't no use in telling you all about
it—I went home with Joe, went up a creek with a jaw-breaking Spanish
name, for miles, to a very good cattle ranch, that was the property of "Mormon Joe."
Joe only quit running some three or four years ago, and the ranch and
its neat little home represented the savings of Joe Hogg's life.
His wife and only child had just started for a visit to England where she was born.
The next day we rode the range to see Joe's cattle, and the next we
started out for a little hunt. It was sitting by a jolly camp-fire, back
in the hills of New Mexico, that "Mormon Joe" told me the true story of
the robbery of the Black Prince mine and the romance of his life.
Filling his cob pipe with cut-plug, Joe sat looking away over space
toward our hobbled horses and then said:
"Old man, I reckon you remember all about the Black Prince robbery. I
don't forget you were the first man that came to the cooler to see me
while I was doing time as a suspect. Well, coming right down to the
point, I had the dust all the time! and the working out of the mystery
would be rather interesting reading if it was written up, and, as you
are such an accomplished liar, I wouldn't be surprised if you made it
the base-line of one of them yarns of yourn—only, mind you, don't go
too far with it, for it's as curious as a lie itself. I would not try to
improve on it, if I was you. I'll tell it to you as it was.
"About four days before the robbery, I was introduced to Rachel
Rokesby, daughter of one of the partners in the Black Prince. I met her,
in what seemed to be a casual way, at Mother Cameron's hash-foundry, but
I found out, a long time afterward, that she had worked for two weeks to
bring about the introduction.
"I don't know as you remember seeing her, but she was a quiet, retiring,
well-educated, rosy-cheeked English girl—impressed you right away as
being the pure, unrefined article, about twenty-two karat. She "chinned"
me about an hour, that evening, and just cut a cameo of her pretty face
right on my old heart.
"Well, course I saw her home, and tried my best to be interesting, but
if a fellow ever in his natural life becomes a double-barreled jackass,
it's just immediately after he falls in love. Why, he ain't as
interesting as the unlettered side of an ore-sack.
"But we got on amazing well; the girl did most of the talking and along
toward the last, mentioned that she was in great trouble—of course I
wa'n't interested in that at all. I liked to have broken my neck in
getting her to tell me at once if I couldn't do something to help her,
say, for instance, move Raton mountain up agin Pike's Peak.
"I went home that night, promising to call on her the next trip, not to
let any one know I was coming, not to tell anybody I had been there, not
for worlds to repeat or intimate what she told me, and she would tell
me her trouble from start to finish, and then I could help her, if I
wanted to. Well, I wanted to, bad.
"I went up to the Rokesby's cabin, next trip in; it was dark, and as I
went up the front walk, I heard the old gentleman going out the back,
bound for the village 'diggin's.' I had it all to myself—the secret, I mean.
"When I went in, I got about a forty-second squeeze of a neat little
hand, and things did look so nice and clean and homelike that I had it
on the end of my tongue to ask right then to camp in the place.
"After a few commonplaces, she turned around and asked me if I still
wanted to help her and would keep the secret, if I concluded in the end
to keep out of her troubles. You bet your life, old man, she didn't have
to wait long for assurance—why I wouldn't'a waited a minute to have
contracted to turn the Mississippi into the Mammoth Cave, if she had asked it.
"'Well," says she, finally, "it is not generally known, in fact, isn't
known at all, that the Black Prince is a paying placer, and that papa
and Mr. Sanson have been taking out lots of gold for some time. They
have over fifty pounds of gold-dust and nuggets hidden under the floor
of the old mill.'
"'Well,' says I, 'that hadn't ought to worry you so.'
"'But that isn't all the story,' she continued; 'we have discovered a
plot on the part of Mr. Sanson to rob papa of the gold and burn the mill
and sluice-boxes, to hide the crime. You will find that every tough in
town is his friend, because he buys whisky for them, and they all
dislike papa. If he carried out his plan, we would have no redress
whatever; all the justices in town can be bribed. The plan is to take
the gold, burn the mill, and then accuse papa of the crime. Now, can't
you help me to fool that old villain of a Sanson, and put papa's half of
the money in a safe place?'
"I thought quite a while before I answered; it seemed strange to me that
the case should be as she stated, and I half feared I might be made a
cat's-paw and get into trouble, but the girl looked at me so trustingly
with her blue eyes and added:
"'I am afraid that I am the cause of all the trouble, too. Papa and
Sanson got along well until I refused to marry him; after that, the row
began—I hate him. He said I would have to marry him before he was
done with me—but I won't!'
"'You bet you won't, darling,' says I, before I thought. 'Pardon me,
Miss Rokesby, but if there is any marrying done around here, I want a
hand in the game myself.'
"She blushed deeply, looked at the toe of her shoe a minute, and said:
"'I'm only eighteen, and am too young to think of marrying. Suppose we
don't talk of that until we get out of the present difficulties.'
"'Sensible idea,' says I. 'But when we are out, suppose you and I have a
talk on that subject.'
"She looked at the toe of her shoe for a minute again, turned red and
white around the gills, looked up at me, shyly at first, then fully and
fairly, stretched out her hand and said:
"'Yes; if you care to.'
"Course, I didn't care, or nothing—no more than a man cares for his
"I guess that was about a half engagement, anyhow, it's the only one we
ever had. She said it would be ruinous to our plans if I was seen with
her then or afterward; and agreed to leave a note at the house for me by
next trip, telling me her plan—which she should talk over with her father.
"A couple of days later I got in from a round trip and made a dive for
"'Any mail for me, mother?' I asked old Mrs. Cameron.
"'No, young man; I'm sorry to say there ain't'.
"'I was anxious to hear from home.'
"'Too bad; but maybe it 'll come to-morrow.'
"I was up to fever heat, but could do nothing but wait. I went to bed
late, and, raising up my pillow to put my watch under it, I found a note; it read:
"'Midnight, July 17.
"'Just thought of that rule for changing counter-balance you
wanted. There has always been a miscalculation about the weight of
counter-balance; they are universally too heavy. The weights are
in pieces; take out two pieces; this treatment would even improve
a mule sweep. When once out, pieces should be changed or placed
where careless or malicious persons cannot get hold of them and
replace them. All is well; hope you are the same; will see you some time soon.
"Here was apparently a fool letter from one young railroader to another,
but I knew well enough that it was from Rachel and meant something.
"I noticed that it was dated the next night; then I commenced to see,
and in a few minutes my instructions were plain. The old five-stamp mill
was driven by a mule, who wandered aimlessly around a never-ending
circle at the end of a long, wooden sweep; this pole extended past the
post of the mill a few feet, and had on the short end a box of stones as
a counter-weight. I would find two packages of gold there at midnight of July 17.
"I was running one of those old Pittsburgh hogs then, and she had to
have her throttle ground the next day, but it was more than likely that
she would be ready to go out at 8:30 on her turn; but I arranged to have
it happen that the stand-pipe yoke should be broken in putting it up, so
that another engine would have to be fired up, and I would lay in.
"I told stories in the roundhouse until nearly ten o'clock that fateful
night, and then started for the hash-foundry, dodged into a lumber
yard, got onto the rough ground back of town and made a wide detour
toward Constitution Gulch, the Black Prince and the mule-sweep. I crept
up to the washed ground through some brush and laid down in a path to
wait for midnight. I felt a full-fledged sneak-thief, but I thought of
Rachel and didn't care if I was one or not, so long as she was satisfied.
"I looked often at my watch in the moonlight, and at twelve o'clock
everything was as still as death. I could hear my own heart beat against
my ribs as I sneaked up to that counter-balanced sweep. I got there
without accident or incident, found two packages done up in canvas with
tarred-string handles; they were heavy but small, and in ten minutes I
had them alone with me among the stumps and stones on the little mesa
back of town.
"I'll never forget how I felt there in the dark with all that money that
wasn't mine, and if some one had have said 'boo' from behind a stump, I
should have probably dropped the boodle and taken to the brush.
"As I approached the town, I realized that I could never get through it
to the boarding-house or the roundhouse with those two bundles that
looked like country sausages. I studied awhile on it and finally put
them under an old scraper beside the road, and went without them to the
shops. I got from my seat-box a clean pair of overalls and jacket and
came back without being seen.
"I wrapped one of the packages up in these and boldly stepped out into
the glare of the electric lights—I remember I thought the town too
"One of the first men I met was the marshal, Jack Kelly. He was reported
to be a Pinkerton man, and was mistrusted by some of the men, but tried
to be friendly and 'stand in' with all of us. He slapped me on the back
and nearly scared the wits out of me. He insisted on treating me, and I
went into a saloon and 'took something' with him, in fear and trembling.
The package was heavy, but I must carry it lightly under my arm, as if
it were only overclothes.
"I treated in return, and had it charged, because I dare not attempt to
get my right hand into my pocket. Jack was disposed to talk, and I
feared he was just playing with me like a cat does with a mouse, but I
finally got off and deposited my precious burden in my seat-box, under
lock and key—then I sneaked back for the second haul. I met Jack and a
policeman, on my next trip, and he exclaimed:
"'Why, ain't you gone out yet?' and started off, telling the roundsman
to keep the bunkos off me up to the shop. I thought then I was caught,
but I was not, and the bluecoat bid me a pleasant good-night, at the shop yard.
"When I got near my engine, I was surprised to see Barney Murry, the
night machinist, with his torch up on the cab—he was putting in the
"Just before I had decided to emerge from the shadow of the next engine,
Barney commenced to yell for his helper, Dick, to come and help him on
with the dome-cover.
"Dick came with a sandwich in one hand and a can of coffee in the other.
This reminded Barney of his lunch, and setting his torch down on the
top of the cab, he scrambled down on the other side and hurried off to
the sand-dryer, where the gang used to eat their dyspepsia insurance and swap lies.
"After listening a moment, to be sure I was alone, I stepped lightly to
the cab, and in a minute the two heavy and dangerous packages were side by side again.
"But just here an inspiration struck me. I opened the front door of the
cab, stepped out on the running-board, and a second later was holding
Barney's smoking torch down in the dome.
"The throttle occupied most of the space, but there was considerable
room each side of it and a good two feet between the top of the boiler
shell and the top row of flues. I took one of the bags of gold, held it
down at arm's length, swung it backward and forward a time or two, and
let go, so as to drop it well ahead on the flues: the second bag
followed at once, and again I held down the light to see if the bags
were out of sight; satisfied on this point, I got down, took my clothes
under my arm, and jumped off the engine into the arms of the night
"'What did you call me for? That engine is not ready to go out on the
extra,' I demanded, off-hand.
"'I ain't called you; you're dreaming.'
"'May be I am,' said I, 'but I would 'a swore some one came and called
under my window that I got out at 2:10, on a stock-train, extra.'
"Just then, Barney and Dick came back, and I soon had the satisfaction
of seeing the cover screwed down on my secret and a fire built under
it—then I went home and slept.
"I guess it was four round trips that I made with the old pelter, before
Kelly put this and that together, and decided to put me where the dogs
wouldn't bite me.
"I appeared as calm as I could, and set the example since followed by
politicians, that of 'dignified silence.' Kelly tried to work one of the
'fellow convict' rackets on me, but I made no confessions. I soon became
a martyr, in the eyes of the women of the town. You boys got to talking
of backing up a suit for false imprisonment; election was coming on and
the sheriff and county judge were getting uneasy, and the district
attorney was awfully unhappy, so they let me out.
"Nixon, the sheriff, pumped me slyly, to see what effect my imprisonment
would have on future operations, and I told him I didn't propose to lose
any time over it, and agreed to drop the matter for a little nest-egg
equal to the highest pay received by any engineer on the road. Pat
Dailey was the worst hog for overtime, and I selected his pay as the
standard and took big money,—from the campaign funds. I wasn't afraid
of re-arrest;—I had 'em for bribery.
"Whilst I was in hock, I had cold chills every time I heard the 313's
whistle, for fear they would wash her out and find the dust; but she
gave up nothing.
"When I reported for work, the old scrap was out on construction and
they were disposed to put me on another mill, pulling varnished cars,
but I told the old man I was under the weather and 'crummy,' and that
put him in a good humor; and I was sent out to a desolate siding, and
once again took charge of the steam 'fence,' for the robber of the Black Prince mine.
"On Sunday, by a little maneuvering, I managed to get the crew to go off
on a trout-fishing expedition, and under pretext of grinding-in her
chronically leaky throttle, I took off her dome-cover and looked in;
there was nothing in sight.
"I was afraid that the cooking of two months or more had destroyed the
canvas bags; then again the heavy deposit of scale might have cemented
the bags to the flues. In either case, rough handling would send the
dust to the bottom of the boiler, making it difficult if not impossible
to recover; and worse yet, manifest itself sometime and give me dead away.
"I concluded to go at the matter right, and after two hours of hard
work, managed to get the upright throttle-pipe out of the dome. I drew
her water down below the flue-line, and though it was tolerably warm, I
"Both of my surmises were partially correct; the canvas was rotted, in a
measure, and the bags were fastened to the flues. The dust had been put
up in buckskin bags, first, and these had been put into shot-sacks; the
buckskin was shrunken but intact. I took a good look around, before I
dared take the treasure into the sunlight; but the coast was clear, and
inside of an hour they were locked in my clothes-box, and the cover was
on the kettle again and I was pumping her up by hand.
"I was afraid something would happen to me or the engine, so I buried
the packages in a bunch of willows near the track.
"It must have been two weeks after this that a mover's wagon stopped
near the creek within half a mile of the track, and hobbled horses soon
began to 'rustle' grass, and the smoke of a camp-fire hunted the clouds.
"We saw this sort of thing often, and I didn't any more than glance at
it; but after supper I sauntered down by the engine, smoking and
thinking of Rachel Rokesby, when I noticed a woman walking towards me, pail in hand.
"She had on a sunbonnet that hid her face and she got within ten feet
of me before she spoke—she asked for a pail of drinking-water from the
tank—the creek was muddy from a recent rain.
"Just as soon as she spoke, I knew it was Rachel, but I controlled
myself, for others were within hearing. I walked with her to the engine
and got the water; I purposely drew the pail full, which she promptly
spilled, and I offered to carry it for her.
"The crew watched us walk away and I heard some of them mention 'mash,'
but I didn't care, I wanted a word with my girl.
"When we were out of earshot, she asked without looking up:
"'Well, old coolness, are you all right?'
"'You bet! darling.'
"'Papa has sold out his half and we are going away for good. I think if
we get rid of the dust without trouble, we may go to England. Just as
soon as all is safe, you shall hear from me; can't you trust me, Joe?'
"'Yes, Rachel, darling; now and forever.'
"'Where's the gold?'
"'Within one hundred feet of you, in those willows; when it is dark, I
will go and get it and put it on that stump by the big tree; go then and
get it. But where will you put it?'
"'I'm going to pack it in the bottom of a jar of butter.'
"'Good idea, little girl! I think you'd make a good thief yourself.
How's my friend, Sanson?'
"'He's gone to Mexico; says yet that papa robbed him, but he knows as
well as you or I that all his bluster was because he only found half
that he expected; I pride myself on getting ahead of a wicked man once,
thanks to our hero, by the name of Hogg.'
"It was getting dusk and we were out of sight, so I sat down the pail and asked:
"'Do I get a kiss, this evening?'
"'If you want one.'
"'There's only one thing I want worse.'
"'What is that, Joe?'
"My arm was around her waist now, and the sunbonnet was shoved back from
the face. I took a couple of cream-puffs where they were ripe, and answered:
"'That message to come and have that talk about matrimony.'
"Here a man's voice was heard calling: 'Rachel! Rachel!' and throwing
her arms around my neck, she gave me one more kiss, snatched up her pail and answered:
"'Yes; I'm coming.'
"Then to me, hurriedly:
"'Good-by, dear; wait patiently, you shall hear from me.'
"I went back and put the dangerous dust on the stump and returned to the
bunk-car. The next morning when I turned out, the outlines of the wagon
were dimly discernible away on a hill in the road; it had been gone an hour.
"I walked down past my stump—the gold was gone.
"Well, John, I settled down to work and to wait for that precious letter
that would summon me to the side of Rachel Rokesby, wherever she was;
but it never came. Uncle Sam never delivered a line to me from her from
that day to this."
Joe kicked the burning sticks in our fire closer together, lit his pipe
and then proceeded:
"I was hopeful for a month or two; then got impatient, and finally got
angry, but it ended in despair. A year passed away before I commenced to
hunt, instead of waiting to be hunted; but after another year I gave
it up, and came to the belief that Rachel was dead or married to
another. But the very minute that such a treasonable thought flashed
through my mind, my heart held up the image of her pure face and rebuked me.
"I was discharged finally, for forgetting orders—I was thinking of
something else—then I commenced to pull myself together and determined
to control myself. I held the job in Arizona almost a year, but the mill
company busted; then I drifted down on to the Mexican National, when it
was building, and got a job. A few months later, it came to my ears that
one of our engineers, Billy Gardiner, was in one of their damnable
prisons, for running over a Greaser, and I organized a relief
expedition. I called on Gardiner, and talked over his trouble fully; he
was in a loathsome dobie hole, full of vermin, and dark. As I sat
talking to him, I noticed an old man, chained to the wall in a little
entry on the other side of the room. His beard was grizzly white, long
and tangled. He was hollow-cheeked and wild-eyed, and looked at me in a
strange, fascinated way.
"'What's he in for,' I whispered to Gardiner.
"'Murdered his partner in a mining camp. Got caught in the act. He don't
know it yet, but he's condemned to be shot next Friday—to-morrow. Poor
devil, he's half crazy, anyhow.'
"As I got up to go, the old man made a sharp hiss, and as I turned to
look at him, he beckoned with his finger. I took a step or two nearer,
and he asked, in an audible whisper:
"'Mr. Hogg, don't you know me?'
"I looked at him long and critically, and then said:
"'No; I never saw you before.'
"'Yes; that's so,' said he; 'but I have seen you, many times. You
remember the Black Prince robbery?'
"'Yes, indeed; then you are Sanson?'
"'Rokesby! My God, man, where's Rachel?'
"'I thought so,' he muttered. 'Well, she's in England, but I'm here.'
"'What part of England?'
"'Sit down on that box, Mr. Hogg, and I will tell you something.'
"'Is she married?' I asked eagerly.
"'No, lad, she ain't, and what's more, she won't be till she marries
you, so be easy there.'
"Just here a pompous Mexican official strode in, stepped up in front of
the old man and read something in Spanish.
"'What in hell did he say?' asked the prisoner of Gardiner.
"'Something about sentence, pardner.'
"'Well, it's time they was doing something; did he say when it was?'
"'Good enough; I'm dead sick o' this.'
"'Can't I do anything for you, Mr. Rokesby—for Rachel's sake?'
"'No—yes, you can, too, young man; you can grant me a pardon for a
worse crime nor murder, if you will—for—for Rachel's sake."
"'It's granted then.'
"'Good! that gives me heart. Now, Mr. Hogg, to business, it was me that
robbed the Black Prince mine. I took every last cent there was, and I
used you and Rachel to do the work for me and take the blame if caught.
Sanson was honest enough, I fired the mill myself.
"'It was me that sent Rachel to you; I admired your face, as you rode by
the claim every day on your engine. I knew you had nerve. If you and
Rachel hadn't fallen in love with one another, I'd 'a lost though; but I won.
"'Well, I took the money I got for the claim and sent Rachel back to her
mother's sister, in England. You may not know, but she is not my
daughter; she thinks she is, though. Her parents died when she was
small, and I provided for her. I'm her half-uncle. I got avaricious in
my old age, and went into a number of questionable schemes.
"'After leaving New Mexico, I worked the dust off, a little at a time,
an' wasted the money—but never mind that.
"'It was just before she got aboard the ship that Rachel sent me a
letter containing another to you, to be sent when all was right—I've
carried it ever since—somehow or other I was afraid it would drop a
clew to send it at first, and after it got a year old, I didn't think of it much.'
"He fumbled around inside of his dirty flannel shirt for a minute, and
soon fished up a letter almost as black as the shirt, and holding it up, said:
"'I had the envelope off in a second, and read:
"'I am going to my aunt, Mrs. Julia Bradshaw, 15 Harrow Lane,
Leicester, England. If you do not change your mind, I will be
happy to talk over our affairs whenever you are ready. I shall be waiting.
"I turned and bolted toward a door, when Gardiner yelled:
"'Where are you going?'
"'To England,' said I.
"'This door, then, sir,' said a Mexican.
"I came back to the old man.
"'Rokesby,' said I, 'you have cut ten years off my life, but I forgive you; good-by.'
"'One thing more, Mr. Hogg; don't tell 'em at home how I went—nothing
about this last deal.'
"'Well, all right; but I'll tell Rachel, if we marry and come to America.'
"'I've got lots of honest relations, and my old mother still lives, in her eighties.'
"'Well, not till after she goes, unless to save Rachel in some way.'
"'Good-by, Mr. Hogg, God bless you! and—and, little Rachel.'
"'Good-by, Mr. Rokesby.'
"The next day I left Mexico for God's country, and inside of ten days
was on a Cunarder, eastward bound. I reached England in proper time; I
found the proper pen in the proper train, and was deposited in the
proper town, directed to the proper house, and street, and number, and
had pulled out about four yards of wire attached to the proper bell.
"A kindly-faced old lady looked at me over her spectacles, and I asked:
"'Does Mrs. Julia Bradshaw live here?'
"'Yes, sir; that's me.'
"'Have you a young lady here named Rachel R—'
"The old lady didn't wait for me to finish the name, she just turned her
head fifteen degrees, put her open hand up beside her mouth, and shouted upstairs:
"'Rachel! Rachel! Come down here, quick! Here's your young man from America!'"