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after a while, the phases of the great event, another ball given in Galveston harbor, on which is destined to have such a vast in. board the dismasted brig, by a set of joyous, fluence on the future of the whole civilized thoughtless young officers, whose doubtful world—for good, if education progress, and prospect of a next day's dinner rendered the gentler arts advance with increased them not a whit less merry. For my own wealth-for evil, if the mad hunt for mere part I had long ceased to think of my priva. lucre check the advance of enlightenment, tions and sufferings in Texas, to remember the only thing which enables us rightly to only its bright side, and I answered the use temporal advantages. For some time, admiring remarks of my companions but however, my attention was only attracted carelessly, as I lived over once more in like that of all men who watch the history memory, days which are always pleasant of their own time. It is only within a very when past, especially when belonging to our short time that the affair has taken a more first essays in manhood. My friends sat personal and immediate interest.
down in a convenient spot, and I left them My head-quarters in Europe have for awhile to look after my strange sosia. In some time been Paris, a city for which I have an instant we were face to face. He, too, a weakness. During the autumn of last was alone ; be also had left his female comyear, I received a ticket for a ball to which panion, and was evidently in search of me. no persons were admitted except in naval “Impossible !" cried he; “no, it cannot uniform. It was for a charitable purpose, and I originally declined going; a party of “Walter Bruce," exclaimed I, as I recEnglish ladies, however, whom I knew, ognized a quondam lieutenant of the San wished to attend and requested me to escort Bernard schooner. them. I resolved magnanimously to change “Well,” said he, “I expect this is exmy previous resolution and be present. My traordinary and pleasant too. We parted first difficulty was a uniform. I had no on the deck of the New York steamer, inclination to have a suit made for the occa- bound from Galveston to New Orleans, and sion, and I had a decided objection to hiring here we meet in Paris, to all appearance, in one from a masquerade shop. Suddenly I the identical clothes we wore on that day.” recollected that I had a relic of my erratic I passed my arm through his, scarcely life in Texas, in the shape of a lieutenant's able to speak, and we moved along a few suit of blue. It was old and the worse for yards in silence. wear, but it was genuine, and could, on a “What are you doing here,” he said, after pinch, be furbished up to pass muster for a a short pause, “ quill driving, I suppose ? night. Accordingly, on the evening in | I have been told you have written considerquestion I found myself under the covered able yarns about Texas since you returned way leading to the Jardin d'Hiver, a party to Europe." of ladies under my guidance, waiting for a “ Yes, my dear fellow,” replied I, “ I am crowd of persons before me to pass ere I now an author. That is my business, probraved the crush. My friends had just an- fession, or calling; and you ?" nounced to me that the moment was oppor- “Oh, I? Why I've been to California tune, when I noticed a dashing equipage since I saw you, and I'm now on the look draw up. I was about to turn away when out for a place in old Europe, where to pitch my eye was arrested by the sight of a young my tent. But come along, I must introduce man wearing precisely the same dress as you to my wife. I have often talked of you myself, only perfectly new, who, leaping out to her. You recollect that MS. volume of of the dashing coupé, gave his arm to a tales of mine, which I scribbled on board the young lady of great beauty, and followed in Jim Bowie, and which you corrected and my track. I had scarcely time to notice his revised for me? She has them. But here own start of unfeigned astonishment at the she is." sight of a Texas navy coat, and then I was I was then hastily introduced to a very compelled to enter the precincts of the gay lovely young woman, about twenty years of and brilliant scene.
age, whose peculiar complexion and hair at But already had I forgotten this ball; my once pronounced her to be a Mexican, of the mind was carried back several years, to mixed race of Spaniards and Indians. She
received me with the frank heartiness of her away by the details of her heroic struggle nation, and when I alluded to my not being with Mexico. But an American is generally alone, proposed to join my party. This was fit for any thing, and Walter Bruce soon readily agreed upon, and as my adventures captivated the confidence of Messrs. Morris in Texas have always, I fear, to the sorrow and Franklin his employers. They had of some of my patient friends, formed an counters in the city of Mexico, at Mazatlan, endless topic of conversation, the union and traded with California, whence they proved interesting and agreeable. The fair- drew hides and tallow, the very humble but haired and blue-eyed English girls, who useful product of that now gold-exporting composed the juvenile section of my com- region. panions, formed a pleasing contrast to the One day, about three months after the Mexican beauty, and the rest of the evening entrance of Bruce into the service of Messrs. was spent in company.
Morris and Franklin, the resident partner of Next morning I found myself at the break- Vera Cruz called the young man into his fast-table of Walter Bruce, who occupied private office. Walter Bruce presented bimsplendid apartments looking out on a self, and was requested to sit down. fashionable boulevard. All around him Mr. Bruce,” said the merchant, opening bespoke opulence and wealth; his servants, a letter which lay before him, “I am in a his residence, his equipages were in a style slight difficulty, to get out of which I require of almost oriental splendor, and I could not the assistance of one in whom not only we refrain from remarking on the wonderful have confidence, but who is disposed to unchange in his fortunes which had taken place dertake for the house a task of some delicacy since the day when we lived in a state of and nicety.” semi-starvation on board the old guard-ship “I am complete.y at your service," rein the port of Galveston.
plied the young man. He smiled, and promised to explain the Our counter in California is managed by whole affair to me, even at the risk of ap- an old Mexican, about whom we know very pearing in print. “For,” said he, “if I do little, but who has always been very honest narrate my adventures, you will not be able and correct in his dealings. He resided to resist the temptation.”
much in the United States when young, but After breakfast we drew our chairs near for the last twenty years has inhabited Calithe fire, smoked the pipe of peace, which fornia. In this letter he expresses a wish more than any thing else carried me back to to retire from business. He even hin ts at my old life, and while Mrs. Bruce went out approaching death, and strongly urges us to to make some calls, frankly did my ex- send some one to him in whom we have comrade in danger and difficulty relate his confidence, to wind up his accounts, and to adventures and history.
receive from him some deposit of which he speaks in terms of considerable ambiguity.
I have determined to acquiesce in bis wishes, When Walter Bruce left me, he was on and if you have no objection, I should desire his way to join two vessels of the Texan you, Mr. Bruce, to be the agent for this purrepublic, lying in New Orleans harbor, which pose.” had been ordered down to Sisal, to assist " You wish me to go to California ?" said the republic of Yucatan against the parent Bruce, quietly. state of Mexico.
It would require more “ Exactly. Frankly, we have every reason space than I can here devote to the subject, to to be pleased with you, and I know none of narrate all my friend's adventures until he our young men to whom I should confide found himself one fine morning transferred this task with so much pleasure.” from the deck of a man-of-war to the count “I am exceedingly grateful for your good ing house of a merchant in Vera Cruz, a opinion, Mr. Morris, and I am quite ready change which, however inglorious it may to start at the earliest opportunity." sound, was really very advantageous. Bruce The merchant seemed much pleased at bad originally been educated for the bar, as this prompt decision, and entered at once had I, and like myself abandoned quiet and into fuller details with regard to his mission. settled life to wander in Texas, carried | He was to journey by land to Mazatlan, .
thence by a trading schooner to San Fran- varieties, but nothing worthy of particular cisco Bay, and after settling the affairs of notice; and at the end of a somewhat weari. the counter, to leave there one Jacob Willis, some voyage, during which the young man a plodding old clerk, who was selected to rather astonished the skipper and crew by replace the Mexican.
his nautical experience, they entered the Three days later, Walter Bruce, furnished magnificent bay of California, and anchored with credentials, with money, and accom- a short distance from the land. panied by Jacob Willis, took his place in the This is not the place to enter into any stage bound for Mexico city. The journey minute description of localities. My friend, was interesting and delightful, and the Walter Bruce, had little to do on the coast. young man began his progress with feelings The counter managed by the old Mexican of extreme delight. He was of a romantic was up the country, and thither he immediand impressionable nature; travelling was ately prepared to journey. The distance with him a passion, and the ground over was not great, but it had to be performed which he had to travel, though now well on horseback, with an Indian for a guide, known to the reading public, was to him while a train of mules were to take up the new and full of charms. The splendor of supply of goods which were to replenish Orizaba peak, the delights of Jalapa, the the store. Bruce made his preparations plains of Perote, Popocatapeti, the grand with the utmost rapidity. During his long and sublime scenery of the country in general, journey his curiosity had become much exits varied phases of wild and soft and fertile cited, and he was anxious to see the man nature filled him with satisfaction, and about whom Mr. Morris had told him enough created a source of endless reflection for the to let him see that he was an original and future. And then Mexico city and its won singular character. drous and vast valley, its lakes and hills, its It was a fine morning in autumn when curious manners and primitive people, were Walter Bruce and his little caravan started all ever-renewing subjects of observation. towards the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada, But he stayed not by the way. His orders where was situated the little settlement of were to proceed with the utmost rapidity. Pablo Rittera, the name of the Mexican in His companion and himself were well armed, question. The weather without being very for they had to go through the robber re- warm was dry and pleasant; and as the Ingion, itself a fertile source of excitement; dian guide knew the road well, the way prebut at last dangers and difficulties were sented little difficulty. The first night the past and they arrived at Mazatlan, glad to camp was pitched in a grove of evergreen rest their weary limbs in the hospitable oaks, which formed an agreeable sbelter. house of Mr. Riley, the agent at that port, Walter Bruce, after supper, got into conone of the most picturesque on the Pacific, versation with the Indian, who was commuand reminding one of the East and of Spain, nicative and well-informed. At length he with its cream-colored houses, its heavy- asked him questions about Pablo. The Inarched entrances and cool court-yards within, dian looked uneasily around as if he feared its massive cornices and large-balconied win to be overheard, and then muttered a few dows.
words scarcely intelligible. Walter Bruce took a few days to rest and “You know him ?" said Walter, with some refresh himself after his journey, the more anxiety. readily that the schooner which was to “ Yes ; Pablo medicine man--great mysconvey him to San Francisco Bay was not tery-not good talk much about him." yet quite loaded with its varied freight. “ Indeed! I am very anxious to know him." Besides, it was necessary that Jacob Willis “Him Gold-Man; he knows all the secrets should receive some insight into the nature of the hill-rich, like ten chiefs” of the constant transactions which took place “Gold-Man!” cried Walter, still more exbetween Mazatlan and the agent in Cali- cited, “ who gave him that name ?” fornia. At length, however, all was ready, “Indians. Wbite man laugh; but Indian and the young man and his old associate know hills full of gold-no use to poor Inwent on board the scudder, bound for Cali- dian, but white man god; and Pablo know fornia. The journey presented the usual all about it.”
“ Has Pablo found any gold, then ?” eyes, a heavy white beard growing almost
“He no want gold. He medicine man- all over his face, and withal a worn and live without work-live without money.” suffering air, which was sufficiently painful.
“He seems to be a regular Californian A look of suspicion, too, hung over every magician," mused Walter, but this idea of feature, but Walter Bruce scarcely noticed the Indians is absurd. A man who had dis- him, so taken was he by the charms of the covered gold would not have remained up young girl beside him. here so quiet. I suppose the eccentric old She was a dark-eyed Mexican, of about fellow has frightened the Indians for fear of sixteen years of age, with long curling hair, their proving troublesome. “ Does he live a mouth which would have delighted a Phialone ?" asked he, once more addressing the dias or a Raphael, teeth white as snow, and guide.
a graceful, elegant form, which the young "He got plenty servants, and one girl man thought he had never seen equalled. bright as sun and moon, two eyes like stars She wore the picturesque costume of a -great beauty!"
Mexican woman of the middle classes, in “Ah, ah !" cried Walter, warmly, “this, strong contrast to the coarse, dusky, and doubtless, is the precious deposit of which common babiliments of the man who stood he speaks, and which I shall have to escort beside her. back to Vera Cruz."
“Welcome, stranger," said the man, in a And speculating on the agreeable prospect feeble voice. "What brings you into these of charming female society during his jour- remote parts ?”. ney home, Walter, somewhat fatigued by “I come from Messrs. Morris and Frankthe day's journey, soon fell asleep.
lin, of Vera Cruz," replied Walter Bruce, For several days the march was continued “and but precede my caravan by a few through a country of varied character, until hundred yards." at last, about twelve o'clock one morning, “Enter !” said the old man, with considerthe caravan reached the mouth of a secluded able animation, a ray of pleasure illumining and picturesque valley, through which rush his features, “Guadalupe, go bid Maria preed a small stream, that about a mile off was pare a repast." blended with the waters of a larger river. The young girl moved towards the dis
“Pablo Sancho," said the guide, senten- tant huts, and Walter Bruce followed Pablo tiously-pointing up the valley.
into the outer apartment of the house. It Walter Bruce dashed eagerly forward. A was a large and almost naked room, which marked trail led in the direction of the set usually contained the goods that formed the tlement, which in a few minutes came in matter of barter with the traders of the dissight. A narrow ledge of land lay between trict. The two men sat down by a huge the river and a huge precipitous rock, and German stove, that served to diffuse warmth on this the house inhabited by Pablo was through the warehouse, and Walter at once situated. It was built against the cliff itself, banded his letters to the agent. The old which seemed, indeed, to bear its whole man took them, put on his spectacles, and weight. It was of rather large dimensions, read them carefully. Every now and then but still did not serve all the purposes of he raised his looks from the papers, as if to the settlement, for about fifty yards distant muse on their contents, but in reality to lay a number of smaller huts. As Walter scrutinize with a curious eye their bearer. came in sight, a young girl who had been “ You are warmly recommended by standing at the threshold of the door of the Messrs. Morris and Franklin," said he, preprincipal block, hurried in, and very soon sently, speaking in pure English. Have returned with a man. By this time the you been long in their employment !" traveller was at the door, and had time to “ Three months when I left Vera Cruz." take a hasty survey of his new acquaintance “ Three months—short time to learn a while dismounting.
man's character in."
“Messrs. Morris and Franklin hare
thought it quite sufficient to give me their The man was about sixty, with a thin, entire confidence,” observed Walter, a little hard, wrinkled face, small, gray, piercing haughtily.
“ Don't be hasty, young man," said Pab. / “Sir,” cried Walter Bruce warmly, “I lo, gravely, “I doubt not you are deserving have this day learned to believe in those of their regard; but I have been used to sudden passions which carry us away in an the world, and have been made perhaps instant beyond all the calculations of reason. over suspicious by circumstances."
I love your daughter." " From the moment, that in any transac- “ This is better than I expected. And tion, I have the full approval of my em- now, young man, close that door, and listen ployers, I suppose that relieves you from all to me. Are you willing to take her portionresponsibility.”
less and without fortune ?" “Certainly-certainly-as far as their “I am young, in health, and able to work," business is concerned-but here comes the said Walter, who was vainly endeavoring to caravan, and breakfast. We can resume catch the eyes of the blushing and puzzled our conversation in the evening.”
When breakfast was over, Pablo retired “Enough. Walter Bruce, you see before to an inner room to study his letters, and to you the richest heiress in America. Surprepare instructions for Jacob Willis, his rounded by her children, I had hoped mysuccessor. He left Walter to the care of self to enjoy fortune and its favors. But I Guadalupe. The young people were at an have waited too long and I shall never leave age when acquaintances are rapidly made. this place. Young man, in this country you The girl had never before been thrown into tread on gold as you walk. The whole the society of an educated man, while Wal- land is one mass of mineral riches. But I ter bad rarely been placed in a position alone know it. For twenty years I have since the commencement of his adventurous toiled in secret, at first for myself, then career, to study so closely the female char- for my child. The knowledge of what lay acter. Influenced by the excitement of the around me made me greedy, and the more journey, by the romantic circumstances of I collected the more I wanted ! Come.” his position, Walter Bruce was before even- The old man, whose eyes flashed with an ing deeply in love, while had the young unearthly glare, seized the lamp off the girl questioned her own heart it is probable table, took a key from his breast, and bade she might have made a similar discovery. I them follow. He went a few yards down
After dinner Pablo expressed a wish to a passage, and then opened a thick door. be alone with his daughter and Walter. He He entered with the young couple, who had, was very pale and excited, and when he by one stealthy pressure of the hand, ratitook them into an inner apartment sunk on fied mutually the contract. There were in a chair under the excess of his emotion. a vast natural cavity. The chamber in
"Mr. Bruce,” said he gravely, after a short which they stood was twenty feet high, and pause, “ I am compelled to be abrupt and as many wide, while across its centre ran a brief. My daughter has been kept bitherto little stream, which fell into a hole, ran unin the dark as to the cause of my sending der the house, and joined the stream before to Messrs. Morris and Franklin. I am de- / alluded to. voured by an internal disense and have not “Son and daughter," said the old man, many days to live.”
| holding up his lamp, “ you are in a gold “Father !" cried the girl.
mine. Above, below, around, every where “Silence, child, and listen. Remain up is gold. It is the same all over the country, here you cannot, and this is why I begged but in no place is the mineral more abunmy employers to send a trusty person to dant than in the chambers of this vast cave. me. Mr. Bruce, I have examined carefully | For twenty years have I ventured alone the letters sent me, and they satisfy me here, during the long hours of the night, and completely. I begged them to send a young behold the produce of my toil.” man, if possible, free from all ties of affec He pointed towards a pile of small bartion. There is no time for delicacy of feel. rels occupying one corner of the cave. ing or hesitation. Do you think it proba- “And is all that gold ?” cried Walter, alble, after one day's acquaintance that you most breathless. could be happy with my daughter for your “All gold! Truly, the Indians are right, wife ?"
I though they never suspected the truth, I