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Avenged At Last

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COPYRIGHT, 1890.] CHAPTER 1. If I toke the wings of the mornlng and fly to the ttermost parts of the earth,- even there shallTby band Qnd me.- Job. áMfe?' [ES a rovoltlng gight meots the gaze amid surroundings whore tbe bands of industrious sottlora bavo beon busy doing tholr utmost in an almost vaiu endoavor to improva on nature, tbe feelingof awo which it arousos exceeds by f ar such feoling created under ordinary clrcumstanco and in paths of Ufa whero such sights aro not uncommon. Tho violent contrast chills and paralyses the sonsos and tor tho moment we know not how to act or what to do. We stand and gaze ia horror, as if struck dumb, until the actual truth which has burst suddenly upon us is mado clear and indisputable, whon we bogln to use our reasoning powors, and look for cause. Such an expericncc was that of Anton Roytnan on a bright July morning, as far back as 1875. Anton was tho foreman of tho Posada wine cellars. Three years bofore he had lcft his homo on tho Rhino, and had come to tempt fortuno In tho land of tho setting sim. For months ho had wandered around oarning what littlo ho could, doing odd jobs in various large towns of Middlo California, but poor success, or rathcr ontiro lack of success, at last mado hiin so disgusted with city Ufo that lio turned hts back upon bricks and raortar ind sot lii= faco and foet toI ii his old home he hart leained enongli to make him a very useful hand in u vineyard or a wine cellar, and afier wearying in his useless efforts to reap a fortune frora the sidewalks of San Francisco, lie had found his way tothe beautifuland fertüeSonomavalley. His advent here was as devoid of good results as liis roaming tlirough San Francisco liad Uetjii until he finally had the g'iod fortune to meet a friend in the pt-rson of Mario Delaro, a prosperous vlntager, v. l.o luid need at lliat time of such a m;n uw Antón. F rom that iay until the one in' ilie early morning of which we fin d liim weiiding his way to work he liad g:-en bis nmster faithful service and bed been rewarded accordinglyAnton was in a gay mood this momiiiK'. He had breakfasted well and hhil ki.ssed bis young wife and year-old babe wlin he partea from them with uucb briht emiles as he had not woin for iiinny i day. His thoughts were tinged ww.ih gayest hues, and as he walke I aloiig he sang lustily an oíd Germán hunting song in a marnier which wou ld have done credit to a Saxon Jager Meister. Anton had been bom in the midst ol beantiful rural scenery, but nature had not lost its charm for him. He was never weary of gazing admiringly at the beautiful landscape which lay stretched löèTore falm. l'or hlm the trown, vineolad hill possessed a novor-faüing, irresistible charra and ho lovcd to revel in the grandeur of tho sight whilo ho compared it with tho onchantinjj country ho had left bevond the soa. In this manner was ho engajred when ho casually withdrew his giance from tho hilli and vineyards and cast i ton tho ground. As ho did so ho halted suddcnly and stooped to mako certain that it was a thick lino of blooil which ho had behold in the dust of tho road. No, he had not mistaken. Blood indeed it was - but whatcould it mean? IUood was one of the last thinffs ho would be apt to associato with his surroundings here, and curiosity was nowrampant in his mind. He folloued the trail a few feet and found that it turnod towards tho vines. A fow stops f urther and he saw the body of a large, ünoly-formed man, lying flat on his back. In almost a singlo bound he was besido it, and then with an ejaculation which nono but Germán throats can possibly utter, ho threw up his arms with mixed ieelings of horror and anguish. "Mein Gottf' ho exolaimed, "who has dono this?" It wa3 enough to shatter stronger nerves than Anton's, for thero, in a pool of his life'a blood, lay bis boloved and respected employer, vvhero between two rows ol his own carefully tended yines he had apparently crawled to dio. It almost seemed as though he had thought his blood too rich to mingle wlth tho dirt on the road-side, and had therefore with his last remaining strongtb dragged himself to the soft, fertilo soil which ho had for so many years tilled. On his faco was an expression horrible as that which somo of us have seen on tho faco of a dead soldier, when death has come by a bayonet wound, struck by a hand skilled in tho uso oi thatweapon, beside which he lay in a listr .ess attitude, llis arms wero spread outward and one kneo bent; whilo his oyea wero unclosod. and, although covered jy the tjlassy film of doath, seemed to }aze upward with a wild, weird stare. Evory thing pointed to a cruel, suddon and unexpected end. Who has not at ono timo or another exporionced tho awful, inexplicable sensation which now held full sway over simplo-minded Anton? Even at qulot bed-sides, whore thoso whom we havo loved and chorishod Uo cold In death aftor lonf and todious sickness - when wo stand in tho presonco o( the King of Terrors, aftor we havo been, perhaps, sadly walting hi9 arrival for many days - oven then wo aro prono to ask: "Can this bo our friond aleeping his last sloep? Can this ba ho who took our hand and spoke so ehaorily but a few days sinca?" And sudden death oly intensifica this dreadful inability to grasp and oomprehend what is, alas, sosternly true. Yestorday, Mario Delaro, In tho warm glow of perfect, healthy manhood: today, a soulloss corpso, ghastly and lividl lt took Anton sonio momonts to rocov'jr (rom tbo shock, but whon ho did, his flrst thouglit was to look for tha cause of this torriblo spectacle. □e e.xamiuod the broaat of the doad man, but found no wound; thon ho noticed that tho blood had flowod from beneath tho loft shoulder and ho knew that Mario Delaro, tho belovod of all who knew him, tho man who nevor fearod to faco his onomy, had boon struck from behind. He was raystiüed, and tho terror with which his soul was fllled provontod hlm from action, so that for many momenta he knelt staring at tho corpso, as though ho oxpoctod to see it come to lifo. At last, howovor, ho awakoned to the nocessity of the hour and aroso to look around. Thoro was not a boing in sight, so without stopping for further reflection ho hastcmed in tho direction of the collars, tho ontranco to whieh was ocarccly a stono'3 throw from whore ho stood. Thero ho oxpoctod ho would flnd soms ono. Ho was not disappointod, for two of tho collar-mon soon appoarod and in a short tirao ho had told them tho droadful n-ws, as nrell as bis excitad stato woukl permit, and they all threo mado thoir way to the victira of a, foul and, at pres-nt, mystorious crimo. They wero all Uurmans and with natural Teutonio caution oach rofusod to touch tho eorp3o until somo person of authority was present Ono of thcm was a:i olJ inan who had workod around the vinoyard and collar for ycars and tho othor a tall, gaunt young fellow who was a recent acquisition to tho placo. Naither of tho threo could advanco any reasonablo theories. The old man knoiv everybody for miles around, but could not rcmcmber that Mario had an enemy. Anton had known tho doad man for more than two years, and had never heard a bitter word spokon oi him, whilo the youngest man of the threo only knew that during the short timo he had boon thcro ho had rocoived his pay regularly, and had heard hisemployer spoken of as a good fellow. Tho other two looked to Anton for somo suggestion, and ho gave tho only ono of which he could think. It was that tho young man should mako all hasto into tho town of San I'aola and inform the authorities of what had happened, without letting any more people know of it than was absolutoly nocessary. Tho messenger washardly out of sighi when tho two watchers feil to talking of the excellent qualitios in tho charactor of him who had met with such a violent death. With tears in his eyes and a voico thick with omotion, Anton told of the tender regard ho hal for his daad cmployor; ho mentioned tho many littlo kindnosses ho had receivcd from Delaro, and said that ho had soldom heard a harsh or unkind word from him sinco the flrst day they had mot Tho old man could go further back Into Mario's history than Anton, and ho told of deeds and acts of charity which all redounded to tho credit of tho vintager. It soemod as though noither of thom would ever tiro of talking about him, and when they ceased for a monien! to eulogiso his character they woulü endeavor to speculato on tho probable cause of tho murder, but no tangible theory presen ted itself toeither of their minds. In tho spaceof half anhour tho messenger was seen returning up the road followed bv two uniformed offleers (tho only two of which tho little town could boast) accompanied by anothep man In civilian's clothes. As they neared tho spot whero the dead man lay, they wero overtaken by a doctor who had recoived instructions to follow them and had dono so, calling into service the wagon and horse oí a grocor, with tho groccr's boy for driver. The sight of these people gave Anton infinite relief, and he breathod moro oasily when he feit that the caro of hls ghastly chargo was being shared by others. The flrst of the offlcers to approach tho body was the marshal. He took a careful survoy of tho surroundings, but found nothing that aroused his curiosity in an unusual deerree; nothing that would servo as a clow, or indícate that thero had been a struggle. The doctor, with tho assistanco of the others, examined tho body, and found only the one wound immediately bolow the loft shoulder blade, though that was evidently very deop. Plainly tho blow had been struck by a strong arm and band, which had not erred in its It was useless to surmise; thero wns nothing to say in tho matter except tho plain, horrible truth that it was a cold-blooded murder, though whoso hand had dealt the blow no person could imagino. The offleers noted all the particular which they possibly could, and the doctor, having taken a diagram of the exact position of tho body, thero was nothing left to do but to remove it. They carefully carriod the remains to the wagon and covering it up with some empty bags tho raolancholy little procession startod for tho town. They had not gone far whon they were met by a man on horseback. Ilis appearance de noted that ho was a person of especial importarles in tho community. Ho was teil but rather thln and had a vory perceptible stoop, although being on horso back it was not easily noticod. Hls eyes wort jot black and woro coverod by heavy, bushy eyo-brows; his beard was carofully trimmed and his dress rather too perfect for tho local i ty. Whilo the exprossion on his faoo wa3 not repulsivo, it was of a kind which would causo a man to exoroiso oxtreme care and caution in dealing with him. A glanco at his features was enough to mako cloar tho fact that ho was not American bom, although hls dro3S and mannors would not have indicatcd otherwise. As tho party with tho wason drow near to him he stoppod his horso and inquired: '"What is tho moaning of thia crowdso early in ttiemorntng?" (It wa3 not yot sovon o'clock) "and what is it that you havo lyinir in tho wagon covered with thoso bags? Tho body of an injured man, if I mistako not- who is It?" and as ho spoko bo movod his horse closer to tho wagon Tho marshal roplied to bis Inquirios: "Mr. Volasqucz, I am sorry to havo to teil you that Antón Royman has this morning found tho dead body of your friend and partner Mr. Dolaro in his own vineyard, and wo aro now romoving it to the town." "The dead body of my ner?" responded Valasquez, "and are there any marks of violence?" "Indeed there are," eaid the officer, "thero is no doubt but that he has been foully murdered." "But, my God," exclaimed Valasquez, "can it be possible that a gentleman who bore the good will of ever.v body, as Mario Delaro did, can havo been slain in cold blood?" "Such is the case," calraly replied the officer. " And is thfere nothing to indicate by whom the dreadful deed was committed - no clew? " asked Velasquez. " We have carefully ei arched and can find nothing," was the reply. "And what are you now going to do with the body?" pursued the questioner. "We are going to take the body into the town and prepare for an inquest," he was answered. "Meanwhile, Mr. Valaequez, will you kindly undertake to see that the news is gently broken to nis wife - poor soul?" asked the oflicer. "1 can not at present," was the reply, "for she went yesterday morning with her little daughter, Armida, to Santa Rosa; but I will try to make arrangements so that the news can not reach her suddenly and will telegraph to her friends at Santa Rosa as soon as I can reach the depot. It is not a long ride, but I will start at once and join you later at the mayor's office." Saying which, Valasquez started his horse at a brisk trot, and the sad little party moved on at a slower pace. 'íím, LTO BE C0NT1NDKD. 1


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