The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891, December 01, 1875, Page 6, Image 6

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    G
THE WEST SHORE.
K
December.
TEE FAITHLESS TO
Br CHAS. Bf.5SF.RER.
" Hark I" exclaimed And)-, as the thrill
ing notes of the Catholic church bells called
invitingly the denizens of Auburn and list
less miners from surrounding gulches lo
midnight mass. "Hark!" he repeated
earnestly. Then, as though satisfied that
his sharp cars had uot deceived him, he
continued:
"Here, boys, this 'seven up' has to be
stopped if you wish to hear the glorious
'Te Dcum' and the holy gospel. This is
the second bell, and there is no time to
waste in paste-board."
"All right, boss!" was the unanimous
reply; only hold your horses until we play
this hand, then we all go."
Andy li was a man of sterling qual
ities; an industrious, hard-working miner,
of a fine intellect and a noble heart, never
indulging in the games of chance common
among miners. He loved solitude, spent
hit leisure hours in company with his shep
herd dog hunting, and devoted the long
winter evenings in writing. He was far
from happy, and seemed to be afflicted
with some hidden woe and mystic sorrow.
His strange and sometimes even eccentric
ways, did not escape the notice of his com
panions; but, by a silent concession, Ihey
strenuously avoided all interrogation, out of
respect for Andy's feelings, for he was ex
tremely sensitive.
However, the game had terminated, and
all arose simultaneously to accompany their
now impatient "boss," as they called him.
" Hold on, boys!" nervously ejaculated
Jack Dannels when all were ready to start;
" Hold on; 1 forgot my pipe."
" You need no pipe," said Andy reprov
ingly; "come along, boys!"
" Why, said Jack, " can't fellow smoke
in church while listening lo the music !"
Hut his partners made no further answer,
and hurried on after Andy.
The fact is, Jack was an old trapper and
miner. The mountains were his home,
and his entire belief rested in something
good lo eal. He was fond of his stomach,
and t perfect disciple of Voltaire. He re
traced his steps hack to the cabin, mutter
ing to himself as he went: "Hang the
church, I don't run with that shift! It's a
good thing, no doubt, and Christmas eve,
too; but it is so long since I was inside of
a church, that I would hardly know how to
conduct myself, and the chances are, they
will take me up and have me bound over to
keep the acc. No; I'll stay and prepare
a rousing oyster stew and some hot stuff,
and give the boys a ' lay out. Now,
then," he again soliloquized, as all was
ready and his pipe lit, "let them come;
we'll follow up the night, for Christmas
comes but once a year, and it's not every
day we kill a pig or 0wn half a dozen cans
of McMoriis's oysters at a lick." "A
queer soul," he continued alter a pause;
" what can trouble Andy, I should like to
know. There is something sad in that
dark, dreamy eye of his."
" Hello, Slu-p!" (addressing the dug,)
" an alarm at the door ? "
At that moment Andy stcpd in alone
and all in a rage, walked the cabin floor,
and talked incoherently about " a villain "
and " a perfidious wife."
Jack endcavoicd to calm him, and offer
ed him, in his jolly, droll, way, " a nip of
the criuer;" but Andy looked despondent,
ami refused to eat or drink. Now Jack,
for the first lime, ventured to ask questions,
Iml Ami) mildly evaded them. Reinforce
ment was requisite, and Jack quietly waited
for his comrades, leaving Andy undistutbed
in his mtiaii.g of days gune by. The dog
once more gave the alarm as the other
partners returned cold and hungry,
' Why didn't you stay and tee the thing
out i " queried they. " Is this the way you
cots us off to mass, and leave us in the
lurch r Come, Andy, tell us why you left
to abruptly ! "
At Ant Andy looked wild, but he grad
ually limbered up, and, after considerable
persuasion, took a drink or two.
"That's the medicine," gleefully mur
mured Jack when he saw that his well
mixed decoctions had the desired effect;
" that's the stuff to cheer the heart of Laza
rus." We proposed the health of Andy, and
of course all hands joined and circled to the
left. Andy was now no longer mute, but
a sparkle of his penetrating eyes gave
us due notice of a good and well-related
adventure. Strictly speaking, I did not
belong to the party, but I made their cabin
my home during the winter, and of course
was considered as one of the family.
" Now," said Andy, will each and every
one of you promise never to lisp, far less
tell, of what I am about to confide to you f"
We willingly and firmly pledged our
selves, and made a semi-circie around the
cozy fireplace, over which Jack presided
with becoming dignity.
"Of course you all know Miller's ranch
on Burnt river I" deliberately began Andy.
" Well, it was I who first took np that stand
in the spring of '6a. Soon after, the Boise
mines and the Bannock diggings were dis
covered, and I struck a little mint. It's
true, it kept my wife and me busy day and
night, but we made money, and that was
quite an auxiliary. I never felt tired; acted
landlord in one hour, hostler the next, and
chief cook and dishwasher at intervals; but,
as I said before, we did a ' land office busi
ness,' as the travelers called it, and we' felt
contented. Our nearest neighbor, Dr.
Mousliy, who resided on the Farewell Bend,
took a lively interest in our welfare, and
was a constant visitor at our wavside inn.
He made himself very agreeable, and my
wife never tired in eulogizing his every word
and deed, and his smooth, gentlemanly de
portment in particular; but I had no reason
to differ with her, neither did I suspect any
thing wrong or criminal Juntil too late.
Loving my wife as I did, I should have
considered it a crime on my part to even
suspect her,
" Well, as I said before, all went swim
mingly till, one day, my wife fell sick, as
though attacked by hysterics. I became
alarmed, saddled my best horse and rode
over in post haste to summon Dr. Moushv.
He had sold out, and was just ready to
leave the country. I told him my wife was
very sick, and as I said that he smiled a
suppressed, cynical smile which I shall
never forget. I did not understand it then,
but I have learned its origin since. ' I am
in earnest, doctor,' I resumed; 'my wife
will surely die unless relieved by speedy
aid.'
" ' What are the symptoms f ' laconically
inquired the doctor.
"'Heaven only knows!' I answered,
'but she is subject to some apopletic
disease, and she was in a fit when I left,
and rather light in her head.' 1
" He now assumed a serious air, pecu
liar to quacks, wrote a prescription, and
ordered me to hasten to Hoisc City to have
it filled without delay. At that time I was
willing to do anything and sacrifice all to
save the life of my wife. I dropped into
the saddle and sped anay, for the distance
was great and delay dangerons. On the
second evening, just as the Walla Walla
stage drove up to the Overland Hotel, I
arrived at my destination, having changed
horses twice on the road. Here the driver,
who knew me well, handed me a note from
Dr. M., informing me that my wife was
better, but that I should remain in Boise
City and await orders, as in case of a re
lapse he would have to change the prescrip
tion and forward the same by express.
Well, 1 felt better, and waited till patience
oozed out to give place to gloomy forebod
ings. Was she dead 1 And had they buried
her, so that I should never gaze on her
again ! Oh ! it was awful to indulge in such
conjectures even; how much more would I
feel the pang of grief were they stem reali
ties f
" I arrived home late in the night. All
was still, stark and dreary. I hastened to
the house, and called my wife by that, to
me, familiar name' Darling;' but no one
answered. I called again and again, Dut
with the same result. I was bewildered
even terrified though in my own home.
Finally I succeeded in procuring a light;
then I called again; but even the echo died
before it reached my ears, Comrades, I
was on the burning ship, Gulden Gall, and
prayed for help to live; and I was once
strychnined on the plains, and prayed again
to God for help to die, for the anguish was
terrible; but the intense suffering which I
now suffered was indescribable. Domestic
misfortune is indeed a hard master. But,
to be brief, my wife had eloped with that
villainous, self-styled doctor, robbed me of
my little all, and left me penniless and
broken-hearted."
"Andy, how did you arrive at such a
conclusion ? " I asked.
" How did I ? " he continued. " A love
letter, written by her to him, fell inadver
tently into my hands, and disclosed to me
all their vile duplicity and treachery. They
were gone, and may the curse of a just
God, from whose judgment there is no
appeal, rest on and abide with them ever
more. When love is transformed into
hate, its bitterness is venomous,
" ' But why should you grieve over spilt
milk I would some of my neighbors say,
after the news reached far and spread with
a lightning rapidity; and some who could
not even write their own name, nor knew
how many beans it would take to make
five, called me a fool for not "smelling a
mice " long ago. Others, again, who would
not under ordinary cercumslances kill a
grasshopper, Would now talk loud and
furious, advising that I should follow the
hound and perforate him with bullets till
daylight shone through him. But my best
friends counselled differently advised me
too keep cool, and deemed what I thought
an affliction a blessing, ' for, Andy,' said
they, 'a dog that follows everybody is not
worth having and too dear at any price.
If she would rather be the concubine of a
libertine than the respected wife of an
humble though honest man, then thank
God, from whom all blessings flow, that
you are rid of her.
Here Andy paused, as though unwilling
to proceed; but presently he continued in a
changed, sad voice
" The wound gnaws at my very heart
strings, while my bosom burns with eternal
vengeance, and here I am, but a wreck of
my former self and a hopeless mono
maniac." Here another pause ensued, and I ven
tured to remark soothingly:
'Andy, you certainly showed a premo
nition of something wrong. What caused hf""1 rd.
Jack, and be wal correct. A miner became din
geroualy ick during the night. A pbyeician wsi
eummoned, who, according to all accounts, wat
thrown from hit hone and got loat in the moan.
taint, for he waa a perfect ttranger in tat
locality. It was no other than Dr. Momhy,
Andy'a " botom friend," at wo jestingly etyled
him. A rigorous aearch wat at once tnetituted, is
wbicb, atrange to aay, And; took a lively interest,
He at once atarted out with hit favorite ehepnerd
dog and truety rifle,, and returned by the light of
the moon. " Wat it for good or evil P" I muted,
to mytelf, for Andy waa a fearfully impulaiveman,
never forgave an injury, and never forgot an act
of kindneaa ; but the doctor waa ttill miaaing. On
the third night Andy returned very late, bat
I wat ttiU awuke, and hit atrange behavior
routed me to full conacioumeit. He proceeded
quietly, atirred up the fire, filled a canteen with
hot coffee, helped hltntelf to all the biacuita and
cold ham and atored it under hit ponderoot over
coat. I watched him with my eyea hall open,
wondering whether he had aotually gone crety.
What atrucK me moat lorcioiy ac bit entrance wat
the absence of hie pet, at well at hit wild glances
around the cabin. Apparently aatiafled that ha
waa unobserved, he cautioualy approached my bed
and whiapered: ,
Come along, Ben ; make no noise and aik no
queationa."
Knowing hit sacred aolicitude tor human lite, I
feared no danger, and forthwith complied with hit
atrange requeat.
w Caught in a trap," he muttered when we were
a respectful diatance from the cabin; "have him
jnat where 1 want him.1
" Have whom r " I aaked. " The doctor F "
"The tame wretch, This evening returning
home from my utual hunt, and at I waa about tiz
milea from here, my pup made ft queer noiae tome
diatance ahead. At flrtt I thought he burrowed a
rabbit ; but when he refuted to obey my call, I
neared the apot and noticed by the dirt thrown np
that it wat a deserted shaft I peered into itt
gloomy depth, and a pair of black, wistful eyea
met my wondering gaze. Tou ahould have heard
bit tupplicationa for meroy at he recognized me.
It would fill a book. Adam like, he put all the
blame on the woman, the dattardly coward."
u But you are not going to hang the unfortunate
man, and have meaeawitneaotothe execution I
I exclaimed, at I noticed him carrying n ttrong
rope under hit arm.
" Far from it," calmly answered Andy ; I came
to rescue, not to kill."
The moon gradually disappeared and left ut in
darkneae.' To proceed waa dengeroua, considering
the teaton and wild locality, ao we built ft fire and
waited for the break of day. Aa toon at poatible
we atarted en our way, and at but hove in tight ok
the vacant abaft, but what a apeotaele greeted ear
Tltion I It aeeme that Andy, in order to find
place in the night with nouriahment andauecorl
the helpleaa nriaoner. tied the doe- tn a tnui
by. A ferocioue oougar and hungry mountain
wolf wen now engaged in terrible oonllct over
the little fellow'i body, which laid lifeleea on the
ground. We nuhed forward, unmindful of danger,
for we were both unarmed ; but the rapactout ani
malt kept up the fearful ttruggle till suddenly, at
it by magic, they disappeared. We ttill ruined
on, Andy, the noble eoul, taking the lead. At he
arrived at the shaft I heard him ting out in a ahrlU
voice, "Oh, my God!" I hurried on ; but, lo I ft
light greeted my eyea which will never fade from
my memory. There, in the bottom of that aheft,
the deaperate brutea which fell in the atrite made
ft common foe of the half famlahed doctor, and
tore the fimh from hia lacerated body. But let me
throw a pall over the shocking Kent, for u abor
tive ueaenpnon even woutd cauae a savage to
thudder and turn pale. Verily, the end of the
your nasty departure from church to-nir-ht '
" Listen!" he said, with the fire of intense
excitement beaming from his eyes. "After
we had entered and were fairly seated, who
should I sec before me but that carnivor-ous-looking,
low-set villain the author of
my ruined home; but I will have ven
geance, foul or fair. ! "
"Hush, Andyl" I retorted; '"ven
geance is mine, saith the Lord ! ' Remem
her the inscription upon the British coin:
' Honi soil qui mal y pense! ' But if your
chequered journey through life was in
print"
" Sec here, Ben, write nothing concern
ing this I know your propensity; but, if
I should die and you survive, then sketch
my case and do me justice."
Andy seemed to feel lighter-hearted now,
since he knew we were no longer strangers
to his domestic affairs. We sailed into that
hot punch and oysters like hired hands, and
a happier crew of jolly miners was not
within the mining district of Aubum that
night. Morpheus, however, claimed his
own one by one till all was ace and rest
The following morning, at the tun net majeati
oallyover ti e Bine MounUir, hderteta hone
wee teen daehing through the gulch and over the
rolling kllU toward Powder river.
Seaaethiftf w under the era," remarked
Ten yean nearly have paaaed over the tad oatat-
trophe, and now, alaa I poor Andy, too hat bowed
to hit Matter1! call. He returned from the Catlar
mlnce, and on the fatal trip of the steamer Pacific
met hia fate, and tleept beneath the tilent waves
till Jeeua calla.
" What became of the erring woman f " did you
eayP Atk me not. Bot the oold and watery
grave of the noble-hearted hatband it a pillow of
goldan down compared to the living tomb of " Tra
FAiTni.ua Wire."
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