of the desert--I was the only "white" man. As we
approached the little clump of verdure I saw the man come from his tent
and with hand-shaded eyes peer intently at us. At sight of me he
advanced rapidly to meet us.
"A white man!" he cried. "May the good Lord be praised! I have been
watching you for hours, hoping against hope that THIS time there would
be a white man. Tell me the date. What year is it?"
And when I had told him he staggered as though he had been struck full
in the face, so that he was compelled to grasp my stirrup leather for
"It cannot be!" he cried after a moment. "It cannot be! Tell me that
you are mistaken, or that you are but joking."
"I am telling you the truth, my friend," I replied. "Why should I
deceive a stranger, or attempt to, in so simple a matter as the date?"
For some time he stood in silence, with bowed head.
"Ten years!" he murmured, at last. "Ten years, and I thought that at
the most it could be scarce more than one!" That night he told me his
story--the story that I give you here as nearly in his own words as I
can recall them.
TOWARD THE ETERNAL FIRES
I WAS BORN IN CONNECTICUT ABOUT THIRTY YEARS ago. My name is David
Innes. My father was a wealthy mine owner. When I was nineteen he
died. All his property was to be mine when I had attained my
majority--provided that I had devoted the two years intervening in
close application to the great business I was to inherit.
I did my best to fulfil the last wishes of my parent--not because of
the inheritance, but because I loved and honored my father. For six
months I toiled in the mines and in the counting-rooms, for I wished to
know every minute detail of the business.
Then Perry interested me in his invention. He was an old fellow who
had devoted the better part of a long life to the perfection of a
mechanical subterranean prospector. As relaxation he studied
paleontology. I looked over his plans, listened to his arguments,
inspected his working model--and then, convinced, I advanced the funds
necessary to construct a full-sized, practical prospector.
I shall not go into the details of its construction--it lies out there
in the desert now--about two miles from here. Tomorrow you may care to
ride out and see it.
A few have paws and flippers.Page 9
Billy Byrne had not been scrapping with third- and fourth-rate heavies, and sparring with real, live ones for nothing.Page 10
He simply lay still and thoughtless, except for half-formed ideas of revenge, until Nature, unaided, built up what the captain had so ruthlessly torn down.Page 13
Then they hastened to another hostelry--a first-class one this time, and the second mate walked ahead in frock coat and silk hat while Mr.Page 17
Billy Byrne saw them from where he worked in the vicinity of the cabin.Page 41
So vivid an impression had his brutality made upon her that she would start from deep slumber, dreaming that she was menaced by him.Page 63
It was Theriere.Page 76
Divine, feeling that immediate danger from bullets was past, raised his head above the edge of the earthwork.Page 91
" The mucker halted, and turned his head in the direction of the Frenchman, who had raised himself to one elbow and was firing at the advancing enemy.Page 121
Night turned to day.Page 126
"I'm lookin' for sparrin' partners for a gink dat's goin' to clean up de Big Smoke--if he'll ever.Page 153
Half an hour later he stopped on his way in to breakfast and eyed the growing pile that lay beside Billy.Page 160
He may not have seen you, but it looked almighty like it.Page 179
We are the birds a-flyin' south, and Flannagan was the shiver in the air.Page 181
We have no money and have broken no laws.Page 196
We can use him, Rozales, but we must watch him.Page 203
"I wear them because it is easier to do so than it would be to dodge the weather and the police.Page 209
Tony held the key to their room.Page 224
" "Sure," said Eddie.Page 272
Billy urged his party to greater speed that they might avoid a meeting if possible; but it soon became evident that the strangers had no intention of permitting them to go unchallenged, for they altered their course and increased their speed so that they were soon bearing down upon the fugitives at.