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The Conductor's Story

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I tliink t is Kinrrson wliosays : " Wlien oh i;iy for your ticket, and gti bitotiu car, yon lmve nogneMwhki good eompauy voii símil liinl Unir. Yon buy mach that not renderfld n ti e bilí." 1 lmve found tliis remark emtaentty trae on several ocCMloM, :irlirnlarlv wlicn my life-long friend Ruth me conipany. líntli is llic inost iiiu-onvciitioiml of and ti tu bread where moM psopl6 íad (inly st.incs. 'l'lnis iccentlv, belng in t lie icar car of the iniijr train, iie prefcrred Kandlnjt apon ti e platform and drinking in mi one drauf(b1 thal manlfioenl valle}nf i Ik: Bneramento, tlirowgh wbteh we ¦eemed Bying, tbao bv tantalldrig is, is one lias In do IVuiii ichuiil n uairow r;ir l i'ofiowi-il lier. TalwaySdö. And, bolding on to the narrow rmlHBg, we telt KMnewli.-it liketwotoaf oometa wiiiiiinir thronffb spare. Soon door behtnd ua baneed, .iiuifl gentleman in the rnlclaúmmer o( lite. with a faoe u cIhübícaIIj beautiful i win rooms, ana a waist ot ralitamao iliiiH'iisions, joincd iis. lic Immi'il on us aliños) literal ly. Fiom tlic dimple In his tair. - 1 1 chtn to the rini; of brown, sOky h.ür whicli lay upon his broad. smnntii foreheud. the expression scintillated with inii-iicciual geod-uature. wuhal, tbere wtusucb a retrospectiva background to the sunny brightneu that, aftw ¦ few common-plaoes, Ruth, the dartng, bouwt, inipndenl creatnre, sald, looking up meanwhilc Into hu tare with a unue so honeal and kindly that be wouW bar been a Beraerker not to have reflected it: " sir. permit nu to ramark that j-ou are a phvsicnl iiii-onruity." '¦ not w bad aa that, nmdame, I hope, f na imTi'ly a conductor, ai by this ttane yiiu have discovt-rcci, and a pretty -n lialanccd one, Indep !'i)t of iny avoirdupola." ¦¦ lint your tlioiiglitful face. sir, that b ivliat perpiexea m [tihould iidongtoa hoiiy but one-thlrd the weljrhl ofyoon," saggested Kuth. the irtee dtaciple (' Luater. 'My face i.s all riffat," he replied, stroknr his cheekl and chin with au air of narreloni Belf-complaoency. " It stopped jrowiug ten years ago, hut it s bere, bere," iouching the refrion of his dlaphraffm with be i]) of his plump breflnjtw, "that oobIcntnicnt and inv rare ool luck shows toelf. Onoel va as tliin as lVti-rSchcmni I's shailow, and" - h i)aused, looking nto Uuth's clear jfray e.vcs as If he would SOund her m ui I's depths- " I mi strangely tcinptcd to teil yon my bit of a romancé, tor thcre is a long stretch ahcad, and you lonk like one Of the kind to enjoy a touch t nature. Isn't it so -" i in. i ¦ 1 1 1 1 (i i 'i iiii'i - i i 1 1' iv liic i i iv r V note of our neéds. We were pinina for a vi 'i-it:ill(? California story, told in an unconYenÜonal wav, outside the well-read romances oí Bret liarte and the Argonaut tu be told, too, onder inch peculiar clreum-taiicc- would be an added pice, and thus we besought hlra to Inimediately yield to emptation. ' I ani M oíd Mager," he said, "at least t val M lar back as the spring of '50 that, wilh a lilanket strapped upon ray back, ilty cents In my panes pocket, and the i stock Of bope and untried enerjíy ha) cyit made a lad's heart as lijfht as a lalloon, 1 trainpi'd adOBg lien1 in niy search or the 'gold alggin's.' My ambitinn was dgher Ulan llio-c Imttes younder, by thousands oí feet, and the top was to ba cappeil uith lolid gold," iointinjr, aa he ipokie, to lie tbree singular and laolated pêaki we rere jnst tnen passing, known as tbc MarygviUe Buttes. lióse volc&nic heighta ooki-d as nai i cs.-ible to us as tlu-ir peftka seemed brown and barren. " It sftpeara to me," said Ruth, ineasurDg tli alniost precipitóos sidei of those olty and niysterious hills, "that when a ñau aspires to touch the sky lie wooW ant a bigber guerdon than mere gold, lot, howcvcr, that I liold the metal in coneinpt." " 1 liad, madame, and that was the -winde naili r. I was tlesjierately in love - that as a solemn bet expressed in as few words ti possible - and I believed that nhe loved ne, bol (he top ot Mount Sliasta was not nore attainable to me than Jennie. Her 'ather, an oíd Phfladelphia drugglst, liad monev. and 1 liad nona He ;i proud H Lucifer, and as ambitious for his danghter as he was proud. I felt that I coulil ' move a monntiiin,1 if I could find a mountain to s" ¦' i nU roqd-bre one ifternoon under an Oíd oak in Kairmount Park, and In thn tut rlpptha af niy heart I lielievcd she would be true to rae. It was not a seven days" ride in a palace car rom New York to San Francisco tliose taya, and tlie twenty-nine yeai's a{T), seekng lus fortune like another Dlcï WhitIngton, was-a weary and honit-sick, one. i well." " By ' here,' whlch yon have twiec used, lo yon mean this veritable valley of the Sacramento r" aaked Bnth. 'The very same. Sly objective point was a piare now tamons in the aunáis of hat period, called ' Bidwell's Bar,' on account of a rich bar in llie Feitlier Hiver, uil of golden Mtnd, whten was discovered iv General Bldwelj. The plaee waa many nilcs frouime; the country was sparsely -et! led; 1 did not know a soul (for even ramps were acaree In those early days), 1 1 1 1 so niy courage and mv lejrs ave out ogethur. Pulllng off my old bootK about ive o'clock one siiltry day, I bared my ilistered feet to Uiecooleveninjrbreeze. and Teeping Intoaclump ol yonnj; mananita-. 'ell asleep. hoplBS that 1 would liever i;aiii wake .-de of the ¦tan. I did, lowever. conscious that my toet ere biinjr leked in a gentle Guhbm, and discovered liat it was lieiiiL' done by a young brown setter dog, about as huiigry-looking and renermlly dilaptdatad s I vu paywlf. W'here be carne trom I nevor knew. luit Ooklng into bis half human eyes, we ¦peedlly entered into a soit of dunib coin aact to tradge M toetlur. I toiiiid that lic poor ldiow, (I never could cali him a rute, ) hada sore kilte, intiained and blcednr. I tore a strip off from in v last baadkerellief tO hind it ap, and in place of the IOO(] amaritan's oil and wine, t;ave him OJ 1 IB( Krap ofcold bacon. It is stranjre, tut forlorn I was in thOM days, 1 reeall hem wilh a tender pleasnre, alinost Ililiic¦ Miutalile. If I had been niised a Brah nin, I would liave belived that some ininortaj spirit of unfaUIng clieeifnlness and luendtng resoaroei was npriaoned In tliat lag1! body. l'i'i yon ever read the (alry egend 't ' The White 'at.' who, after she iad per-uaded the young prince, her lover, 0 ent oH' her head and tail and throw ben in the tire, suddenly stood beforehim a woman, as fair as Aurora? Fritz, for that was the name by which I called the dog, looked at me with Jennie's brown eves, half roguish, half thoaghtfuj, mu together we resumcd our journey. Nor woiild I liuve foltowed in the wake oí thc yon n g prince, even had I kaown the reshli would be similar, Ibr Fritz, the dog, mu iuvaluable, justas he was. All lonesouieness was gone, now that he rarely left 1113 jM.-, mi jvItliMiih uur shadoirs lmd gi'UWH mm by the time we reached the ' Bar ' our inmaterial entitles were la prime order for anything in the shape of adventure. 'Une nevtr neen any gi,ld du'if' Then III not at this latp day spoil your first impressions of aminersouñp .u.- -a,;,,,, mino, as I approached Bidwell's Bar. I may say tlioiigli, tliat one mieht have supposed an aatthqnake or turnado liad been at work there, tearing up the hundreds of thousandsof cubic feet that had been moved and removed by mortal hands in theii frantic and persistent search for gold. The 'bar' was a world in miniatura, Alinost every nationality was there repreMBtad, and almoít every feature of human kind Imt liuimtnity. Armad witli a pick, pan, and shovel, I, like hundreds oothers, besan to dig, and borrow, and wash dirt. But my labor and t.s results wonld not balance, for somehow my little leather bng of rold-duat pn no heavier, toil as I would. Waget betnj good, I ttopped digging, and hired mywfl a. ¦ MHi l' Camp scullion. I did every kind of jobbing within the range of a niiner's wants. Wasliing dirty flannel ihlrta and cotton overall", pntcbiog'leatber trouaera, mi eooking Sapjaoki is nol the most digntfled aud nower-gtrewn path to fortune, yon must know; and to a boy, wlio.-e kleaa of chlvalry, Independence, and Intensely ' Byróní5,ife6 f eñkfS&Jt$& acknowledge, ui -mi of poetic tojiutioe. Hi alm, thoogh, wrm toearn enoogn money with whieh to buy a oertaln dalm of which I kotw, and tliat 1 liad, in advanee, labelled 'Bonanza.' I might have succeed, bul I irai pnMtrated bj a malaria] fever, and arnl tor díiy ütt.l wooka luy uuutxim'lous, :it tlie tender merey of n leu rough Welah minen wiid human hearta. My littküoard of money and my energy melted away together, like spring anow. But for Plltz, l'd liavo died of disappointinent alone. He had adopted the 'Never say die" motto, and as I otteii leml n lii? gloricilis cu I Ihe selitenee, ' Ycm ereat ()1(1 cowardl Ai liün aninl' as a tender and appreeialive sinpatliy wliieh tile srift of lueeoo eoald nol have made more aworlng Mv muses liad [litclied me a tent on the snuili side of a low hill, and left me to get ucll at my leisure. Mv ' bottom dollar' had dwindled uto the valué of a dinie, mv iviz into thii kness Dt ¦ pair of tonn (for ali nppetite W gOlM), and one nijfht hopa failed me. Believiii)r I wai mina to die, I resolved to do tile tair lliinr by Jennie, apprUe her of the evunt. and ailvise her tu rorgel me. By the Bickering liírlit Of a hit of tal low canille I (ommeiiceil the letter - the first I had w ritten for inontlis. 1 tliouglit alouil as 1 wrote. Frite lay beside me, his mise wedged between hl forepaws, lut 1 kne by thc twt-h..p me hn ears that he undeistood every word i as wiitiiir. I had reached the clima] t reuunciation and wrvtohednta - rather my expression of it - wlien lie suddenlv rose and ueut nut. I soon haard hini pawinjf, nnd seratchlng, and tearing the earth alimit si feet troin me. as tbougb lie was onder contract to dig a tunnel to China before dayiijrht. Thinking he liad found the bnrrow of a wolf or a fox. 1 called him otl', lint he as deat'as a rock to my voiee. Seizing the candle, I htirried to the spot, around which lay a half-bushel of gravel, which he liad loosencd, wheii my eye caught the gleam of a dull red ¦treek that veined 1 pnce Of jiiurt z about the si.e of an egg, lying amnng the freah eartli. Would yon believe it? Thestreak was woitii Stty dollars, for it was virgin rold. Nor wee il the only one upon that hill-side. Fritz liad found a lode (thank to a gopher), and 1, therehy. liad found :i foiinne. As lOOB :is poMlble I had the foM of that tirst precious stone wrought into rinsr of my own designing; all of it. at least, but thc contentó of one blunt corner, which, in lts native rou'liness, I liad mounied as a limpie broocb. Bending these to Jennie, I " , "An act of great generosity, sir, I tliink, " interrupted liutli. with a laughing gllnt iu lier eye. "One would have tboughl you'd liave pieserved sucha pleoe it rare good fortune as a memorial stone." " mi anticípate me. madame. It was a memorial that I sent my litst bit ol ti. i-'ik, bnt t . vjititnl l.. '. 1 ti tl.nh again within tWO ïrai "mi tht girl inth it." tr "And ilul you?" "No; nor even reoelred ¦ line of ¦ckaowladjraneni taal my "Her had beea aecepted. Nuthiiifr ttadtffold qulcker than goM, when a man DM once oot i lair aliare of it, and in two years I had, in varioui wuvs, secured twenty thousand dollars, [nveetlng It, as I thoaght, safely, I returned4o Phlladelphla In all the pride of a oooqaertn tero. My story oaght Co end here; to wind up with the chime of wedding bells and a ' beautlfol Rachel ' ns my Kward lor ïaithful niriBg, but I had scarcely arrived when I liciinl, incident ,illy, that Jennle had gone with her father tn Knrope, nor lelt one sign that she ever reniembered me." "You certainly ilid not let that fact dampen the ardor of your piirsuit?" qM ried Kuth; "you followed her, ofcotirse." " Of course I did DO ÍUOD thinir, inadami-. I retomad to San Francisco, and plunged Into the exoitement of gold-hiintinr Ui a recklessnos that a roman can not onderstand Six months aftcr and 1 had los. evcry dollar, but by that time, I had . i 1 1 . ¦ ¦ t ,. [wripiir is wortli nnthlnL aa snli.l capital un til it has been dearly boiifiht. I whistk'd my rhynic, ix and Kiiln, pleaaure and palu, lialnnco the seosHW uf Ufe, In tbe wnsilive aan of my faithful Fritz, hujfjtfd hishrowri bead close to my ahouldAr - don't laufrh, that dog was niv frlend rollel up ui slaeves,and agaiá ent to oi k witli avijforthat I kncw memit lUOOMt if the mm held out It did, und five years at'teiwards I Imd a bank account whir.h ran largely into the tliousands. I invMted it in land. Jiy that time 1 was a bachelor of nearly thirty. Hard knocks and my one bijr disapxintmi'nt had shaken all the romance uut ut me. and when I igain went cast il was on businesss connected witli the coustructing of this railroad " "And you had qnlte ont-lived your boyish tancy as vour heart bejran to lose u voilthy'said kuth, with the least bit i ui cisni in her tone. "I think Friiz kncw,"said the conductor, quietly, ¦' I had beOODM iilmoxt a misanihi-ope f il' sake. If I left hini to go into society - such as we had - for a few boiirs, tiee'itlier whined likc a tick child or kcpl np such 10 iiicrea-int barking and liayinfr that, to save him trom being not :ia nuisaiice, 1 went to no ])).ice where It was Imponible tor him to acoorapaay me. The old fellow went with me even to New Vork. and on the jonrney 1 often caueht in iel! cosiUtlng how he- boni in a wilder nessol wild inu.slard, and is fond of cunilife as au Indiaii- would take to the constraints of au old city. Well, I had not been in New Vork a weck heli. re theie was a streng tugriiir at iv heart in run lown to l'iiiladclphia. .Not that it was home tor me, lor niv pannl-. had died lietore 1 tirsl l.-ft it. I oaUed the dcsnc the chatio of associiition.' and it led inc There, u I Bral went down Arch .-trcct. my poor dag lost his wils sad the sober llfTiiitv of his maturity. lie hal a remark ably fine scent, I always knew that: but no Ooner had we turne(i into that particular Mtirct thau. with nose close to the grouiid md rifii.l tail, he ran algcag to and fro, as thOUgfa he TM on the irail of a erratic fox. I lled him. but he gave no beed. Pfople got out of his way. The ramins shouted, and, witli a wild, ahrill Imrk, b ¦uddenly bounded uto the doorway of large dry-goods store. I boundcd' after lihn in time to see liim rush up to o lad] in black, who was exarnining some ylnven and dance arounii lier with siga of the most extravagant joy. Tliere are toncs tliat live without the aid of plionographs 'Roy V Rov? Dear oíd Roy,' was all sue said, but l'd liave sworn tbe voice was Jriuili's lf I had hcard lt on the -turninit of Mount Blanc A wttite hand was lui upon his head, and my ring was on tbe liand." He pansed. " Yours? 8ir, I bope you did not claim it," siiid ' r-'-1 ¦¦¦¦ " I did, and the band which wore it, iust as Ioriginally intended." Nor did Alex ander, in bis hour of greatest conques! ever smile a more serene approval of liim self tban our conductor at this stage of bis story. " JSut the conduct of Fritz, and tlic lady's sileoce, and all the ooneomitanU which exia only in tíction - kow dojron reatadle tbeiii with witli mi ' ow'r trne'tale' f' said Ruth the truth-loving. " Fritz was Hoy, the Roy who had oftin been caressed bj Jennie before liis jrotuif ma-ter, Jennie's conain, )t tbe frold fever wben I did, and came to Oallfornla, never (O rctmn. .Icnnic had written, but her letten never reached me. she tbought me dead VV'hy tbe dog came to me. wlit-n hu mastcr (Ned, is niip among the rkidlee Of my lile wliich I will disriituiiirli' in liie bereaftar." "And to -day where is she?" Restood vaitinr for the qneatton. "On oor ranch Dear Bacntmento, and t bellere one of the happleat rotBea in the state. Wc hare a boy ten jrear ld vrhoaa nami is Fritz, and all the dearei for tb t ut ""iK nee .ron, wherel hope, one day, to mM l)l(. i. , ,T , , . ,, ui Dim. 1 wisli iiu COUld ftop Off :i vrl.n and 1M iny w ife. Queer, isn't it tfaat I ghonld have Intruded tbis bit of prlmti liislorv upon you, bal tbe t rut h is ¦l es, roniing. I'll k witli you ignin. ladiee." A brakeman beokoned bini Inride, and we had tem the last of om kandsoroe conductor The evening sbadowa IkuI benia to lengthen. The setting sun hail tnrued ch vast plain of the Sacramento Valley luto a " field of the dcitli of gold." and t lic dik iiuit peakt of the Sierra, ciad In their eter? nal siinus, hut now roae-tinted and giowiiiL', léeme i to cleaye tbe amreabove them as with iredge of burnisbed itirer. li ww (tarllghl wben we reached tbe end of our car ride and frere registcrel for tbe night. ' The coniliictor's story was ¦ plcasant little episode, Kutli, wasn't it. Do ymi believe t ill bappened y" I aaked, as I leaned from my pülow to hers to leare i good-night kiss nu her round check. "I like Fritz," was her sleepy answer. " 'l'bere's a divinity about some dogs that the half oí mankind can neitlicr apprectate or attain, I trust a man whoni a good dog loves."


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News