"O yes, I know," said Browning; "but then it was different."
"What have you told Rose about your money matters?" asked Sedgwick.
"Not one word," was the reply.
"Do you think she expects a no-account boy to go off to America, and with nothing but his head and his hands to accumulate more than L12,500 in three or four years?" asked Sedgwick. "But this is all foolishness, old boy," he continued. "The last half of the money those old men obtained from you can be recovered easily, if not all; if that, after awhile, proves to be the best thing to do. And, moreover, I tell you that we are partners in this, and that we still have as much money as you and I can very well handle. I must have my way about this, old friend."
"But if you are going away, why cannot I go with you?" asked Browning.
"For several reasons," replied Sedgwick. "If you remain here, or go down on your farm in Devonshire, the conclusion of Jenvie and Hamlin will be, that with your money mostly gone, all I could do was to return to America.
"Again, no one knows how much more money you have. You must remain. Be generous at the club, move among men, keep the prestige that you have won since you came here; be entirely independent; keep your eye on the man the mine was bought from, even if you have to pay him a salary to insure his remaining here, and so be in a position to help through any line of action we may agree upon. More, you must restrain yourself and have no trouble with young Stetson. He is as much fool as knave.
"Another reason is, that Rose has already waited years for you, and it would be a wicked and cruel thing to disappoint her again. It would kill her and unman you. No, no, you must be married to-morrow. But Jack, if I were you, I would never take my wife back under the Jenvie roof until full reparation should be made. See her, and gain her consent to an immediate marriage; then go and hire a house or make arrangements at a hotel to live, and I want you to promise that you will not, after I shall have gone, bring any suit or make any sign that you have suffered a loss, or bother yourself much about business until I come back, or you receive word of me. I will fix money matters before I go, so that you will not be troubled. And now, think it over."
When Jack aroused himself, Sedgwick had disappeared. He sat in silence for a few minutes, then rose, went out, secured a conveyance, called and asked Rose to go out for a drive.
On the road he explained to Rose all that had happened; how rich he was when he came home; how his confidence had been betrayed; how little he had left, and then asked if the dear girl was still willing to be his wife, and if she would consent to become his wife next day.
She laid her hand on his, and said: "Dear Jack! it was to be for all time; your home to be my home; your God my God. I will be ready when you come for me. I will go exultingly to become your wife; my joy will be the deeper, for it will be chilled with no fear of the future, which it might have been had I known you possessed L100,000. What you have is enough for us. But, Jack, let me begin to influence you. Do not take a shilling of your friend's money unless you know that we can some time return it."
Later, Jack found a lovely furnished house, the owner of which desired to vacate for a year; hired it, paid a year's rent in advance, engaged the servants of the family, and explained that he would bring his wife on the succeeding day.
On that same day, Sedgwick sought Grace, and made clear to her the situation, explaining how Jack had been wronged, what he had advised to do him, and unfolded his own plan to leave the next day, so soon as Browning and Miss Jenvie should be married—with Jordan for South Africa, to see if it was worth while to try to bring out the property, explaining that if the mine gave no strong promise he would be back in two or three months. If, on the other hand, he and Jordan decided it was good, he might be absent for a year, and asked her if she would keep the secret of where he had gone, and if she were sure enough of her own heart to undertake to wait for him.
Grace had grown very white and still while Sedgwick was speaking. When he ceased she continued silent for a moment, and then said:
"I agree to it all, my king, all but one thing."
"And what is that, sweet?" asked Sedgwick.
She leaned over, put her arm around her lover's neck, laid her cheek against his, and said: "If Jack and Rose are to be married to-morrow, we should be married also."
"But I am going away, my child," said Sedgwick.
"I know," was her response, "but one object of my father in trying to break off the match between Jack and Rose was to try to have Jack marry me. We should complete the work. Then, should you need me, or could you send for me, I could go better as your wife than any other way; then, when I gave my heart to you I gave it entirely, and should we never meet, I would, while I lived, want to keep in thought that you were my husband; that I was your wife; that all glory had come to me."
By this time the tears were flowing fast down her cheeks, and with tears in his own eyes, Sedgwick said:
"I wanted to ask you, dearest, to become my wife before I went away, but thought it a shame to so involve you, with a future so clouded as mine is to be for the coming months."
"You forget," she replied, "that it is my right in your absence to think of you as my husband."
So it was settled that on the next day, just before noon, they should be married; that they should separate at the church, she to return with her mother, Sedgwick to start with Jordan on their long journey.
Then Grace called her mother. The matter was explained to her, and she readily consented to the marriage, saying to Sedgwick: "You know I asked you, in case Grace returned your affection, that the matter might for the present be held a secret. My reason was that I felt that something sinister, which I could not understand, was at work. I think you and Grace have a right to belong to each other; that if you must go away. Grace is right in wishing that when you are gone she can think of you as her husband."
So arranged, Sedgwick went to find Jordan. A steamer had sailed the previous day from Southampton for Port Natal, via the Suez Canal, and Sedgwick's plan was to join that ship at Port Said.
He found Jordan, told him of the change in the arrangements; fixed with him to have all needed baggage at the Dover depot, to meet him at the church at 11:30 next day, and after the ceremony to start with him from the church on their long journey.
"I'll be thar, old friend," said Jordan. "Thet's ther sensible business. Make ther splendid girl yo'r wife, and pervide for her so thet if anything happens she'll be safe agin the petty cares that break women's hearts."
Then Sedgwick returned to the Hamlin house, and went straight to Jack's room.
Browning greeted him with a smile, and said, "Jim, old pard, it's all right. The marriage goes, even as you planned, and I have found and secured a nest for my bird."
"Good," said Sedgwick; "but the arrangements have been changed a little; or, I might say, enlarged upon a little. As I understand it now, you, with Rose and her mother, will be at the church at 11:30 to-morrow. I will be there with Mrs. Hamlin and Grace. We will be the witnesses of your marriage, and then, Jack, old man, you and Mrs. Browning must be witnesses for Grace and me."
Jack sprang from his chair, and cried: "Are you and Grace fond of each other?"
"Well, somewhat, I trust," said Sedgwick.
"And you are really engaged?" cried Jack.
"For all this life, at least," said Sedgwick; then added gravely, "and heaven itself would be a cold and cheerless place to me without my saving Grace."
Then Browning wrung the hand of Sedgwick, embraced him, danced around the room; then shook hands again, crying: "This is superb! this is glorious, by Jove! Why, of course it would be all wrong any other way. O, Jim, bless my soul, how glad I am!"
Then Sedgwick said: "Browning, we have not much time. You understand I will leave my wife"—his voice trembled—"at the church door. I am going away—where, no matter—with a thought in my mind which, please, do not ask me. I may be gone two months, maybe six months.
"Here is my will. Grace will keep it. Here is a check for her, which will secure her comfort, so far as money is concerned. Here is a check for L10,000 for you and Rose. Grace will return from the church to this house. If our marriage cause any friction here, she will go and live with you and Rose. I am glad you have secured a house. If I were you, I repeat, I would never take Rose under the roof of her step-father until I received full restitution from him. Do not discuss this money part of the business any more; it will do you no good. And when I am gone, do not get low spirited. Make life happy for Rose, and"—he halted a moment—"for Grace."
The dinner was not a happy one that day. A cloud was on the Hamlin house. As soon as possible the head of the house went out. He was quickly followed by Browning.
The eyes of Grace and Sedgwick met. They both rose from the table and passed into the hall. Grace twined her arms around one of his and led him into the parlor. She swung around an easy chair, made him sit down, then seated herself on an ottoman at his feet, and said: "It's going to be awfully hard to bear, my love; but I have thought it all over, and I do not believe I should ever be quite satisfied if you should not perform what you have marked out as your duty. Of course, if the property will not bear examination, you will, if nothing wrong happens you, be back in two or three months. If it will justify further exertion, I understand it will be likely to keep you away for a year, and that will be fearful."
The tears filled her eyes.
"But that will be duty, and then if you conclude to remain, maybe you will send for me. It will not matter how I live. I would go now, but I know I would be a trouble to you. I should interfere with your work. To-day you would want to go here; to-night, there; to-morrow you would want to be off on the mountains; and while I do not imagine you would think me a burden, nevertheless your very best energies could not be exerted, and this time they must be."
She seemed very resolute as she spoke, though her face was sadder than Sedgwick had ever seen it. She continued:
"I shall be brave when the hour comes, my love. I shall not vex you with a tear when we separate. You shall carry a smile as my last gift away with you."
Sedgwick was enchanted. He thought her the grandest, noblest woman on earth, and thanked God for his treasure.
After awhile he told her of Jordan, and all that he had learned from him. When he rehearsed Jordan's love episode, she kept exclaiming: "Poor, true man! Poor, honest fellow!" But when it was finished, she said: "Why, love, he is a ninny; that woman would never have left him had he but had more faith in himself, and pressed his suit a little. I am glad he is going with you. You will be a comfort to him, and his mind will have an object to work upon. Poor fellow!" she added with a sad smile. "You men are very brave and bright. You tear down mountains, exalt valleys, fight battles, navigate great ships, tame wild horses and lasso wild oxen, but you do not—the majority of you—know any more about a woman's heart than a Fiji islander does of Sanscrit."
To all of which Sedgwick responded by calling her an angel.
Then the matter of their marriage was talked over, and Sedgwick advised that in case her step-father should be angry upon learning of the event, she should take up her home with Jack and Rose.
"My father will not show much vexation," she said. "If he begins that way, I will remind him of the fortune he has taken from your friend, his own step-son, and explain that it was his and Jenvie's work that made necessary what we shall have done."
But it was agreed that all letters to her should be sent to a private box in the post-office, to which Sedgwick gave her the key. It was agreed, moreover, that even Jack should not know he had not gone to America, because, as he explained, if Jack once suspected he was going to Africa, he, too, would insist upon going, which would break Rose's heart, who had already waited for years; and then his going would be altogether unnecessary, as he and Jordan could do as well as three could. Moreover, to go would be to lose what he had advanced on the Devonshire estate.
They both tried to be cheerful, but it was a sad night. When they came to separate, Grace broke down, but through her tears promised to be brave when the final trial came.
Next morning, from half past nine to half past ten, Sedgwick and Grace were saying their final good-byes. It was an hour never to be forgotten by them. Grace did not attempt to restrain her tears. In both their hearts was the feeling that one has when the last look is being taken of the face of a much-loved one who has gone to the final rest. There were kisses and embraces and broken words, but there was no faltering on either side. Both were supported by the thought that a duty had been presented and must not be avoided.
At 10:30 they retired to their respective apartments. Sedgwick dressed himself in a business suit of a dark texture. Grace attired herself in a traveling suit and hat. The baggage of Sedgwick was sent off at 11:15, and both were ready when the carriage came. The carriage with Mrs. Jenvie, Rose and Browning came up almost immediately, and the two vehicles proceeded to the church. Quite a little company had gathered, drawn by curiosity, when the church doors were opened.
Jordan was present, radiant in a new suit, with a flower in his coat lapel, and he answered the smile and nod that each couple gave him as they passed up the aisle.
As stated before, Grace was in a traveling suit, but Rose was radiant in robe and train and orange wreath, and a buzz of admiration at her exquisite beauty followed her all the way to her place before the altar.
The ceremony proceeded in the usual order. The mothers gave the brides away; the last prayer was finished, the kisses given, the papers duly signed and witnessed, the certificates filled out and given to the respective brides, and the company turned to leave the church.
Then Jordan came forward. Sedgwick presented the two elder ladies to him, and all greeted him most cordially. In response he said:
"It's the whitest kind uv a day. I'm glad ter know yo' all; glad ter congratulate yo', and I wanter say ter Mrs. Sedgwick—Grace grew rosy red on hearing the appellation—that I've know'd her husband a long time, and he's true blue, sho'; there's not a better or a braver man on either side o' ther ocean."
With that he drew a package from his pocket, and tendered it to Grace, saying: "I wanter give yo' a little keepsake fo' yo' husband's sake."
It was a jewel case and contained a diamond cross worth L300.
At the church door the good-byes were spoken. Browning and his bride entered one carriage and were driven away to Jack's home. The two elder ladies and Sedgwick's bride entered the other carriage.
True to her promise, Grace gave to her husband, who stood near, a smiling good-bye, but when the carriage was driven away, she broke into uncontrollable sobs, wrung her hands piteously, and not until she reached home did the paroxysm of grief subside. She went to her room, laid by all her bright dresses and ornaments, robed herself in simple black—"in mourning," she said, "for my lost honey-moon."
Sedgwick and Jordan entered a carriage, and from it boarded the Dover train. Not a word was spoken until the train had passed beyond the great city's outermost limit, when at last Jordan said:
"Cum, Jim, brace up. It'll be all the sweeter when this accursed bitter cup shall be passed."
And Sedgwick answered: "You are right, old friend, but the dear girl will suffer. That last smile was such as is given when hearts break."
When the old men, Jenvie and Hamlin, reached their homes that evening and learned what had transpired during the day, they were dumfounded. Hardly tasting any dinner, Hamlin arose from the table and sought the house of Jenvie. He met Jenvie at the door who was just going out to find Hamlin. They went at once to Jenvie's library, and when Jenvie motioned Hamlin to a seat and took another himself, it was a long time before either spoke.
At last Hamlin said: "A bad business, Jenvie."
"I do not see how it could be worse," was the reply.
"I am too confused to think," said Hamlin.
"We got Jack's money from him, and yet he and Rose are married, and it seems with Rose's mother's full consent," said Jenvie.
"And a stranger of whom we know almost nothing has married Grace and left her at the church door, and it was with her mother's full consent, also," said Hamlin.
"And neither you nor myself is in a position to complain; I have not the courage to even storm about it," said Jenvie.
"Nor have I," responded Hamlin. "I did not intend to keep Jack's money. I wanted to break off his engagement, and then offer him a little fortune if he would marry Grace."
"I was determined that he should not marry Rose, even if I had to rob him to prevent it. Curses on him! He knocked me senseless while he was yet a mere boy. And now he has given me a harder blow. He has stolen Rose from under my spectacles, married her, pauper that he is, and gone to housekeeping."
"What shall we do?" asked Hamlin.
"Look here," said Jenvie, "this move is that American's who has married your daughter. He is more subtle than Jack. He has engineered this business. But I cannot fathom it. Why should he have left his bride at the church door and gone off to America?"
"I think I can understand that," said Hamlin. "While Jack has made his L100,000, Sedgwick made a little more than L20,000. He left that with his father to buy a farm in the States, and came with Jack merely as a lark.
"I think he has gone for as much of that as may be left, and that before a month he will return, and will back Jack in a suit to recover from us Jack's money."
"Why, what can they hope to recover by a suit?" asked Jenvie. "If mining stocks are offered to a man and he buys them, and they do not turn out well, whose loss ought it to be? Then we sold nothing. It was Stetson who did the business."
"But," said Hamlin, "if a man is induced by false representations to buy wild-cat shares, and he seeks recourse through our English courts, will he not recover?"
"I made no special representations," said Jenvie.
"That will not answer," said Hamlin. "You made enough representations; so did I. It was a direct swindle, and I did my part intending to make restitution. This business has practically destroyed the peace of our own homes. My wife never gave me a look of thorough contempt until to-day."
"Neither did mine," said Jenvie. Then there was a long silence.
At last Jenvie said: "Hamlin, there is but one thing to do. We must go to Jack to-morrow, good-naturedly chide him and Rose for being married without our knowledge, each carry a present, and as soon as possible settle with Jack, and get his receipt in full, before the return of that American devil that tumbles bulls, and might trip two old John Bulls like you and me."
"I agree to that," Hamlin responded. "We can tell him that bad news from the mine has decided us not to go on with the mill building; that we will help bear the loss of the first investment, and tender him back L25,000. He will not only be glad to settle with us for that, but will feel grateful to us."
So it was agreed that they should go at noon of the succeeding day.
They each next morning purchased a valuable present, and repaired to Jack's house.
They were shown in, and their cards sent to Browning.
The servant returned in a moment and said: "Mr. Browning is engaged, and declines seeing the gentlemen."
They went out incensed, but with such a mixed feeling of anger, chagrin, self-abasement, and apprehension as they had never experienced before.
A day or two later Hamlin met Mrs. Browning face to face on the street. He rushed up to her with a joyful cry of "O Rose!" whereupon she drew her skirts around her so that they would not touch him, and walked by.
Not long after, Jenvie met Browning and addressed him joyously. Jack looked him steadily in the face for a moment and then walked on.
These were unhappy days for the old men. Something had fallen on their homes worse than a funeral, and in their souls the fear of the coming of Sedgwick became a perpetual haunting specter before their eyes. Stetson joined in their apprehensions, and then he realized besides that if he had ruined Jack, still Jack had married Rose.
But as the days grew into weeks, they began to have hope. They made two or three investments that gave them quick returns and large profits. Success begets confidence. The men on change began to look upon them as rising bankers; deposits increased heavily, and so many enterprises were offered them to promote, that, without using a dollar of their own means, their commissions began to be enormous.
"We are on the rising tide," said Jenvie.
"Indeed we are," said Hamlin. "If the suit comes now, we can settle without any business or domestic scandal."
"It is nothing to make money when a man once gets a start," said Jenvie, "but I would be glad to be fully reconciled with my wife and child."
A TRIP TO AFRICA.
Sedgwick and Jordan, with only now and then a few words of conversation, reached the coast and embarked on the channel steamer. A fresh wind was blowing, and the craft was shamefully unsteady.
"It must uv been heah, Jim, whar ther original mustang learned his cussedness," said Jordan. "See how ther steam devil performs, startin' up ez tho' it meant to climb a wave and then without er provercation rollin' half way over and all ther time shakin hisself an' makin' things thet uncomfortable thet ther man aboard, while sayin' nothin', wishes all ther time he'd never tackled ther brute. Didn't ther useter call ther sea, 'Mare?' I know why, she were a mustang shor."
Sedgwick's face kindled with the ghost of a laugh, and he agreed that Jordan's theory was not a bad one.
"But, Jim," said Jordan, "this war er famous old place after all."
"Yes," said Sedgwick; "history has compiled some of its wonderful pages right here. We are where the Great Armada sailed, the souls of those on board believing they were going to make the conquest of England. Here is where Howard gave that fleet its first blow; here is where Howard and Drake sent their fire ships to play havoc with the hostile fleet. A great place indeed! But it was only 300 years ago that Howard and Drake performed their part; before their day many a fleet swept over this watery way; the Crusaders crossed here; before them, a thousand years, the great Julius came and invaded England; before him, a hundred savage nations worked their rude boats in these turbulent seas. When the light of civilization well-nigh went out in the land where it was first kindled, it was re-lighted on these shores, and though it burned slowly for a long time it never quite went out; rather, it grew brighter and brighter until its sheen began to fill the world. Bright souls have peopled both sides of this channel; both are lands of fair women and brave men; their literature has made the world gentler and higher; their laws dominate mankind; their power is a controlling force among the nations; they make the center of the world's wealth; they are each examples of how much men may accomplish on small areas of land, provided they possess sovereign hearts and brains and souls."
The ship scraped against the pier while Sedgwick was talking, and the travelers hurried on their way. At Paris they were detained several hours, and Jordan hiring a carriage, they took in as much of the beautiful city as possible.
Jordan all the time exerted himself to talk, and by asking questions to compel Sedgwick to think of something besides the sad-browed bride whom he had left in London.
"What war the special charm 'bout Paris, Jim? I feel it, but blamed ef I can splain it even ter myself," said he.
"I do not know," replied his friend, "but I suspect, Tom, it is the culmination of something which has for a thousand years been maturing. Long ago, a full thousand years, there was an Emperor here who was in advance of his generation. He believed that a perfect education meant the full enlightenment of the mortal, that his hands and eyes as well as his mind must be disciplined, that every useful attribute must be trained. So he built cathedrals to improve the taste of the people, established free drawing schools, had the people taught the secret of fusing worthless material with acute brains and making something valuable—something which the rich are glad to give their gold in exchange for. That emperor died, but his work continued to live and increase until France became a nation of artisans and artists, and that art has now become second nature, and therein lies the charm. See how yonder lady picks up her drapery to cross the street; not ten women in England could do that little thing as she does. Do you know the reason why? She caught the art originally from old Charlemagne. That is, thirty generations ago, the old Emperor established the schools which made possible the perfection of the present, and the graceful art of that lady is in truth a graceful compliment to the old soldier-Emperor who more than a thousand years ago fell back to dust."
"I reckon yo' are right, Jim," said Jordan. "When I was heah afore, I put up at er tavern whar ther war young women as waited on ther table. I jest had plain food, in course, but when one o' them young women brot me ther bill, she would hand et out in sech er way thet tho' I knowed she war a-robbin' me, I never thot o' pertestin'; rather, she war shor ter git er tip in addition. Talk er high art, them girls war daisies, shor. One time thar war a row. A dapper feller disputed er bill. He thumped his heart, waved his arms, and made er speech like er politician. Ther perprieter cum in, then both made speeches. I thot ther would be shootin' or cuttin', sartin, but finally one rushed out, and I tho't in course hed gone for a gun. While waitin' ter see ther fun, I seen over at er table a feller smilin' like, and I tho't by his face he war a Yankee, so I went over, and sez I: 'parler vouse Fronsa?' Then he laffed and said: 'Yes, a little, but I understand English better.' Then I shuk his hand 'nd axed him wot ther row war, an 'nd ef he tho't that thar man hed gone fur a wepin. He smiled sort o' quiet-like, and said: 'No, it war jest a difficulty about an overcharge of five sous, and it's all settled.' 'All that row for five sous?' I asked. 'Yes,' he answered. Then I said, 'My God, suppose it hed a-been five francs, it would uv been ez good ez er play.' Yo' see, that old trick thet they got from big Charlie, they overplay sometimes."
Sedgwick smiled faintly, and Jordan continued:
"But are they not er light-hearted, joyus race, tho'? How they can sing 'nd dance 'nd play hades! When I war heah they hed a review uv ther soldiers, 'nd how ther hull town turned out 'nd yelled 'nd yelled 'nd sung ther Marseilles, 'nd yet ther scars and humilitation uv ther mighty defeat war still fresh upon them. They'r ez hopeful ez ther Irish, same time they is a great deal closer traders. Ther stranger pays fur eny bow they make, for any smile they give. Still, they is country-loving; every one uv 'em 'r ready ter die fur ther beautiful France, 'nd ther women ez jest ez'thuseastic ez ther men. If I war young 'nd cud round up ther language a little, I'd camp heah fur six months."
"The place is worth a longer visit," said Sedgwick, "just to study its past, to go over the spots made sacred in history, to study the monuments, to visit galleries; to dream of all the events which transpired to round the present city into form; to trace the city's career through wars, revolutions, uprisings, victories and defeats; to learn the processes, and count the throes which were necessary before the manhood of the people asserted its superiority over the manhood of kings.
"Think! It is but sixty years since the great Corsican led his army out of here to his last campaign. One can picture him now in thought, moving up this very street, the old familiar sovereign face, eyes straining towards the star that even then had become a fallen star, his ears thrilled with the plaudits of shouting armies and shouting people, his soul imperturbable in its dream of conquest. Then the man was everything, the people nothing; now the people are everything, the man—he is asleep and his heart is not colder in the grave than it was in life."
ON THEIR TRAVELS.
But at last the hour for leaving came, and Sedgwick and Jordan took the train and proceeded without delay to Marseilles, where one of the steamers of the French Imperial Messenger Line was about to sail for Port Said. They at once secured transportation, went on board, and a few hours later the ship proceeded to sea. The weather was fair on the Mediterranean, and putting aside any personal sorrows, Jordan exerted himself to be cheerful for Sedgwick's sake.
"This are ther water on which men fust learned ter be sailors, arn't it, Jim?" he asked. "I mean whar they fust got inter ther notion of venturin' out whar ther old shore-shaker could git a good hold on 'em?"
"Yes," replied Sedgwick. "This and the Red Sea. The Egyptians, the Carthagenians, the Phoenicians, the Syrians, the Greeks, the Romans, and a dozen other nations; later, the Venetians and Spaniards, and no one knows how many other nations, all learned how to build, navigate, and fight ships on these waters. Think of it, Jordan, there were sea fights here almost seven hundred years before the Christ came. On this sea floated the fighting Biremes, Triremes, and Quinquiremes of the Greeks, Carthagenians, and Romans; and here the Egyptians and Phoenicians trained their ships three thousand years before the crucifixion.
"Could this sea give up its dead—its dead men and its dead ships; could they all come back as they looked the moment before they sank, they would make a panorama of the ages, and would show the progress of the world for five thousand years. Every mile square of this sea must be paved with things which were once glorious in life and power. Maybe below where we are sailing here, helmeted Roman soldiers, being transported to some point of contemplated conquest, went down. Here pirate craft have roamed; here lumbering wheat ships have ploughed their way; here the watches have been set by the crews of a hundred nations; here sailors have been cursed in a thousand tongues. Along these shores ship-building had its birth; from these shores the ships sailed out over these waters, engaging in foreign commerce, and the camel-owner on the land learned to hate the thing which on the water could carry the burden of many camels. One could sit all day and conjure up the ghosts that these blue waters are peopled with."
"Go ahead, Jim," said Jordan. "Thet sounds as it useter when yo' read to us in ther old house thar in Texas. What war thet book that told all 'bout Lissis and Ajax, the hoss-tamer Diamed, and the boss fighters, Killes and Hector, and ther pretty gal Helen, that raised all the hel-lo, and Dromine, the squar woman thet war Hector's wife, and hed the kid thet war afeerd of the old man's headgear?"
"That was the Iliad, Jordan," said Sedgwick, "the first book that we read. The story was the siege of Troy. That was a city over on the east shore of this very sea, and the Greeks went over there in their boats and besieged it for nine years before they captured it."
"How long ago war that, Jim?" asked Jordan.
"Three thousand years," was the reply.
"But they were fighters, them fellers?" said Jordan.
"Yes, great fighters," said Sedgwick.
"And their hosses war thoroughbreds, every one? Isn't thet so, Jim?" said Jordan.
"They were great horses, indeed," said Sedgwick.
"Powerful," said Jordan, "good for fo' mile heats, sho'? And thet other chap, Nais, didn't he settle round here somewhar?"
"You mean AEneas, Jordan. It was in Virgil that we read that. AEneas was of the family of that Priam who was king of Troy when the siege was on. He got away in a ship and finally landed and settled in southern Italy, off here to our left, and the legend goes that his descendants founded Rome."
"Yo' don't mean ter say he wur ther 'riginater uv ther Dagoes?" said Jordan.
"Well," said Sedgwick, with a laugh, "you know at that time there were wild tribes in Italy. Then there came in Greek colonies, and all races fused and assimilated, even as did the Romans and Sabines when the former captured a company of the women of the latter and made them their wives. Out of it all arose the mighty Roman nation."
"They inbred with mustangs, so ter speak," said Jordan, "and these common Dagoes is whar they has bred back showin' bad stock in ther dam."
"May-be," said Sedgwick.
"Half-breeds is no good, as a rule, but that Nais war a good one."
"A good one, I guess," said Sedgwick.
"He's ther feller that Queen—what's her name?—O, yes, Queen Dido got soft on?" queried Jordan.
"Yes, Queen Dido," was the response.
"And she got looney-like when he cum away, and uv nights would go down on ther shore and watch for him to cum back?" said Jordan.
"So the legend has come down, and by the way," added Sedgwick, "her country was on this sea also, farther east and south, off to the right. It was called Carthage."
"Say, Jim," said Jordan, "them folks was a good deal like we is, after all, wuzn't they? They'd fight for most nuthin'; they'd get gone on wimmen; liked good hosses; they'd trade and work tryin' ter get rich; and ef they hed hearn of a gold mine, they'd gone ter Arizony for it."
"I guess you are right, Jordan," said Sedgwick, "you always are. The world changes its methods, but the original man is about what he has always been."
"Wurn't it from thet place Carthage that ther black feller cum what held ther Dagoes so level fur so long?" asked Jordan.
"Hannibal, do you mean?" asked Sedgwick.
"Ther same," replied Jordan.
"Yes," replied Sedgwick, "and a marvelous soldier and leader of men he was, to be sure."
"Indeed, he wur; but say, Jim, what do yo' calcerlate his pedigree wur?"
"Why, he came from a family of kings and fighting men," answered Sedgwick.
"Yes, I know; but I mean what breed war he? War he one of them ere Ethiopians?" said Jordan.
"No, I think not," answered his friend. "He was dark like an Arab or a Moor, but he belonged to a race that built cities and ships, tamed horses, and fought scientific battles."
"'Zactly," said Jordan. "And he wur a fighter from way back?"
"Yes," responded Sedgwick, "when the few great captains in the world are thought of, he is about third or fourth in the list."
"Thay ain't much in men, Jim. Thar's everything in a man," said Jordan.
"That is what Napoleon used to say," was Sedgwick's answer.
"Did Napoleon say thet?" asked Jordan. "He war a brighter man than I thought, but it is true, don't yo' think, Jim?"
"I think I understand, but am not quite sure," said Sedgwick.
"I mean this," he answered, and then paused a moment. "Well, yo' see," he continued, "I wur at Chickamauga in Hill's division, I wur in thur ranks, and wur a boy; but I hed a general idee how things wur. I knowed whar all our men war; how your army war 'ranged, and when we went in shoutin', and all your right and left melted away like a fog as comes up from the gulf melts when the sun comes up in ther mornin', I sed to Ned Sykes, who wur next me in ther ranks, 'Ned, we's got 'em,' and Ned answered back, 'we's got 'em, sho'.'
"Well, it wur a clar field, 'ceptin' your center war still solid, and they fell back all but a thin line. We charged up onto thet and broke it, killed lot's uf 'em, and gobbled up lots more, but it tuk us a right smart time, fur them was stubborn chaps 'nd they fought desperate.
"Then when I looked up, I seen the hull business. Thet line hed been flung out ter hold us till ther rest cud fall back on better ground. Thar they wuz fixed, and when our lines wuz dressed and other charge ordered, and we went in again shoutin' jest like the fust time, they laid down flat and they 'gin it ter us so hot we couldn't stand it and hed ter fall back.
"And they kept a-entertainin' of us thetway all ther evenin'. Other divisions wur called up and sent in, but what wur left uv 'em cum streamin' back, jest ez often ez it wur tried; a cavalry charge was ordered, but only a remnant cum back, and we hed made no more impression seemin'ly than ther waves thet bucks up agin a ledge uv rocks.
"Them wur no better soldiers than ther rest uv ther army, but thar war a man directin' 'em, and lookin' all ther time so kinder majistical and lofty and so fur away from all fear, and ez tho' he hedn't a thot of failin', thet ther men, yo' see, tuk on ther same state o' mind, and ter fight 'em war no use. If the fust bullet we fired hed killed thet General, we would a-scooped the hull army by four o'clock. Thet's what I mean when I say: 'They ain't much in men, thar's everything in a man!'"
"I understand you fully, and you are right, Jordan," said his friend.
Jordan continued "War it not 'round yere somewhar' thet ther Greeks lived?"
"Yes, north of this sea, ahead of us, and to the left," said Sedgwick.
"They wur the ones that fit Marathon and Thermoperlee, and it wur from ther thet big Aleck cum?" asked Jordan.
"Yes," was the reply. "It was only a little country, but had many states, The Spartans and Thespians, mostly the Spartans, fought at Thermopylae. Marathon was fought mostly by Athenians, and Alexander was Phillip's son, of Macedonia."
"'Zactly," said Jordan. "Athens wur the boss place, wur it not? It had ther best talkers, and best public schools, and wur it not thar thet the woman Frina kept house?"
"Yes, Phryne was an Athenian, I believe, a woman of a good model, but not a model woman," said Sedgwick, with a faint smile.
"I reckon yo' wur right, Jim," said Jordan, "but it wur not singular she bested them fellers in her law-suit. Her showin' would ha' brought a Texas jury every time, sho', in spite of any 'structions, no matter how savage, from ther court."
Then he continued, "Thar wur another bad one 'round here, somewhar. Don't yo' reclect readin' 'bout her and ther Roman? They got spoony on one another. He neglected his family and business, he wur thet fur gone; finally got hisself killed, and then she pizened herself with a sarpent, not a moccasin nor rattler, but a little short blue-brown scrub snake not a foot long."
"You mean Antony and Cleopatra," said Sedgwick.
"'Zactly, Cleopatra," said Jordan. "She wer ther one. I never liked her, not half so well as the one with yaller ha'r thet they called Helen. One wur bad on her own account; the other, as I calcerlate, wus bad jest because she hed er disposition to be entertainin' and agreeable. One wur naterally bad; t'other wur a lady by instinct but her edecation had been neglected."
Still he ran on: "Wur it not on this water thet old Solomon fitted out ships for ther Ophir diggings?"
"I do not know," was the reply. "It probably was, if, as is believed, a canal connected this sea with the Red Sea in his day."
"Which way are Jerusalem from here, Sedgwick?" he asked.
Sedgwick pointed in the direction.
"And Tyre and Venice and Egypt and ther Hellespont?" Jordan asked.
"The country 'round this sea made ther world once, didn't it?" was Jordan's next exclamation.
"Very nearly," answered Sedgwick. "The cradle of civilization was rocked more on these shores than anywhere else. Egypt and Greece and Carthage and Phoenicia and Syria and Rome, and a score of other nations, grew into form on the shores of this sea. The arts had birth here; arts, architecture, ship-building, sculpture, poetry, eloquence, law and learning, all began on these shores; and Roman soldiers crucified the Savior a little beyond where the waves of this sea break against its eastern shore."
"Thet's good," said Jordan. "Big region this!"
And so the great-hearted man kept talking to try to lure Sedgwick's mind away from the thoughts that possessed him, and which made his heart heavy and his face grave.
The ship touched at several ports, and the changing of passengers, the different races, the varying scenes, kept the minds of both men diverted and their interest all the time awakened, and kept Jordan talking more than he had talked before for weeks.
"I'm glad I cum, Jim," he kept saying. "Why, we fellers out in Texas as never traveled don't know nuthin', so ter speak; nuthin' 'bout the world outside, I mean. We useter think Texas wur almighty big. Tain't nuthin'."
Then after a pause he spoke again, and his next question was: "What did yo' call them ships thet ther old fellers sailed?"
"They had many names. There were Galleys, Biremes, Triremes. Quadquirimes, Quinquirimes and so on, according to the number of their oars and the way they worked them," answered Sedgwick.
"This are a daisy ship thet we is on, don't you reckon?" said Jordan. "Suppose yo' and I cud uv cum along heah with this ship when they hed ther fightin' fleets out? Wouldn't we hev astonished them old-timers?"
"I think we would, indeed," said Sedgwick, "but, Tom, with the ships that they had, they did some fighting that gave the world such a thrill that men feel it still when the name of Actium or Salamis is mentioned. As long before the coming of the Savior as it has been since, the Phoenicians were scouring this sea with their craft, founding colonies, and it is said they ventured out upon the Atlantic and went as far north as England, while amid the ruins of Tyre models of boats have been found with lines as fine as any that any modern ship-builder can draw.
"Nothing of mechanical achievement to me compares with a ship like this that we are sailing on. Panoplied in steel, with heart of fire, with iron arms picking up the burden of ten thousand horses; facing the storm and the night without a quiver except that which comes of its own great heart's throbbing, buoyant above the beating of the deep sea's solemn pulses, lighted by imitation sunlight, and making its voyages almost with the precision of the hours—what could be grander?
"Standing on the deck, with the midnight black above and the ocean black below, feeling its regular pulse-beats and its onward plunges over its uneven path; it is hard to shake off the impression that it is a grim Genie that has come to make ferries of the broad ocean, to draw the continents with their freights of nations closer together.
"But suppose, Tom, that the onward rush of this ship should bring us close beside three little ships, two with no decks and the larger one only ninety feet in length, we would look down upon them with a kind of pity, would we not?
"Still, with such vessels, the mystery of the sea was first cleared up; with such vessels, the vail was pushed back from the frowning face of the ocean; with such vessels, the New World was found.
"It was from over one of those open decks that the cry 'A Light!' rang out upon the night; it was from one of those decks that the vision of the New World materialized before the eyes of the great Italian; on one of those decks he knelt as the vision grew brighter in the dawn, and his soul was thrilled as souls are when they feel that a visible answer to prayer has been vouchsafed.
"But the man was there, Jordan; the man who could charm the terrors from the hearts of a fear-stricken crew; who could convert a meteor's fall into an augury of good instead of an omen of terror; who could quell the mutinous spirit which was awakened by a varying needle and raging storms.
"It is not the great ship that counts, but the motives in the souls of those who build and navigate the ship.
"When on the shores of this sea men first built boats and went forth on these waters, they were but rude boats indeed.
"Who knows how many were lost, how many brave souls were drowned?
"But each calamity gave new thoughts to those who escaped; they kept on improving, building better and better boats and making longer and longer voyages; they found islands and the shores of far-off mainlands; they carried back the products of those lands, and so Commerce was born.
"They made at last their ships meet the caravans from the East; the ideas as well as the products of the East and West were brought together; manufactories were established, robes and dyed garments and flashing blades were made that became immortal, and those people made such an impression on the world, as brave and capable and alert men of affairs, that the impression still remains; even as the strong and true men of Venice renewed the impression twenty-five hundred years later.
"The same spirit worked three thousand years ago that has been at work in making the transformation from the bungling ships that Nelson fought Trafalgar with to this ship under our feet, from the carrying up of ore from the deep mines on the heads of peons to the hoisting engine and safety cage of to-day."
"That is good, Jim," said Jordan, "it is ther soul of man, after all, soul of courage that counts 'nd all ther advancement is only because we has better tools ter work with than ther old-timers hed."
THE SOUL IN THE CLAY.
At Port Said the travelers left the French steamer to wait for the English ship which was on the way from Southampton. It came in on the evening of their arrival, and they went on board. They were glad to do so, for the few hours in Port Said convinced them that it was a tougher place than they had ever seen on the frontier.
At daylight next morning the ship proceeded on her way through the canal.
Our travelers were on the deck, watching the scenery.
Finally Jordan said: "This looks like Arizony, only more so. Arizony looks as though thar war a strike among the mechanics and it war never finished. This looks like it were finished once and then ther perprieter, not bein' satisfied with ther contractor's job, smashed it. They tell me ther mustang is ther blood-horse run down by starvation 'nd abuse, 'nd in-breedin', but mostly from in-breedin'. This country looks ez though it hed been ruined ther same way precisely. I shouldn't wonder but it wur true. Them old Faros wuz big fellers; so war Sesostris and ther hull race of the old chaps from ther Shepherd Kings down, and they useter call this 'the granary of the world,' didn't they?
"And old Cambysis cum here on a robbin' expedition?
"Well, it's clear enough since then things has been goin' ter ther dogs heah. I tell yo', Jim, civilization gone to seed is wuss than 'riginal barbarism.
"Them chaps as bilt the pyramids and obelisks war powerful men. They must er hed sum pride in the kentry or they wouldn't been so everlastin' perticelar 'bout their gravestunes, and this must uv been a different kentry from what it are now. Yo've seen men as has lived too long. It's so, I reckon, with patches of this old world. Anyway, I ain't buyin' no sheers in Egypt, leastways not on the showin' these croppin's make."
When the ship passed into the Gulf of Suez the temperature was something fearful.
"This wur the water that divided, wur it not?" asked Jordan.
"Yes," said Sedgwick, "this is the water, I believe."
Jordan was silent for several minutes. At last he said: "No mistake 'bout thet story, Jim?"
"Why do you ask?" was Sedgwick's response.
"Nothin' much," said Jordan, "only hain't yo' noticed ther newspapers don't hardly ever git things right?"
Sedgwick acknowledged that he had known them to make mistakes.
"Hain't it jest posserble," said Jordan, "thet what war really the fact war thet the Gipshins war drowned jest ter git 'em outer ther misery in this cussed place, and ther Jews war saved jest ter punish 'em?"
"I never thought of that," said Sedgwick. "But if the weather then was anything like it is now, the theory is not improbable."
"'Zactly," said Jordan. "From ther other side over there ther Israelites started for Canaan, didn't they?"
"I believe so," was Sedgwick's reply.
"It must uv been like goin' from Tuscon to Fort Yuma in August, don't yo' think, Jim?" said Jordan.
"Very like, I believe," said Sedgwick.
After a pause Jordan spoke up again: "Jim, it ain't for me ter try ter understand much, but ther kentry 'round heah and ther people we has seen kinder breaks me up. They tell us over ther to ther right, man fust cum outer his wild state; ez yo' has it, that 'ther cradle of civilization war fust rocked.' For five thousand year, they has been a-tryin'. Look at 'em now! Then over on the other side, the chosen people of God pulled out; they flourished; they killed their enemies, built cities and temples; hed big talkers and writers and fiters; fixed up language thet thrills a man's soul jest ter read it now; made a starter thet the world's been a-follerin' ever since, and right and left ther whole world are blasted, and no one wud ever think thet God's smile once lit this region. If this showin' makes ther balance sheet fur five thousand years, what's ther use in tryin'?"
"True," said Sedgwick. "In everything, the ancient man was the equal, if not the superior, of any men who live to-day. As soldiers, orators, and writers, the utmost men hope for is to emulate them, never to excel them. A famous English orator not long ago said that he had often been called upon to address boisterous men who had gathered in mobs for mischief, and that the only time he had ever succeeded in quelling such a gathering and turning them completely over to the side of order and peace, was when he had repeated to them his own translation of one of the impassioned orations that Demosthenes had flung with all the majesty and power of his eloquence at an Athenian mob twenty-two hundred years ago. No modern sculpture equals the ancient; no modern song or eloquence; and then there have come down to us lessons in patriotism, devotion to duty, self-abnegation and valor, which will thrill great hearts as long as civilization shall last.
"Only in one thing that I can note does the modern man excel his ancient brother. The world is more merciful than of old. Prisoners of war are no longer sold into slavery or killed; woman has ceased to be first a plaything and then a slave; in exalting woman, man has been exalted, and the perfect modern home had no parallel in the ancient world. The influence that the Cross gave out is still spreading and softening the hearts of men."
"May be," said Jordan, "but, Jim, it's a mighty big undertakin' to civilize men. Here's all Africa over here ter the right whar only the old rule prevails; man is a monstrous brute; woman is wuss nor a slave."
"That is true, Tom," said Sedgwick. "The cruelties practiced there are almost enough to make one doubt the divinity of man and the mercy of God."
"Yet who knows?" said Jordan. "What are a few thousand years ter God? Thar must be somethin' behind, or men wouldn't hev been born. Ther other day in London thar war a man carryin' a flag on a short staff thet hed a glitterin' p'int. He war preachin' on ther street corners thet men hed no souls; thet ther man ez sed he hed a soul war a fool, 'nd he asked whar ther souls war, 'nd ef any surgeon hed ever cum upon a soul when dissectin' a body, or on ther place whar ther soul hed lodged in ther man's lifetime.
"I wur listenin' 'nd thinkin'. After awhile he finished 'nd then a gentle, kind-faced man stepped outer ther crowd 'nd sed he: 'What are thet bright metal on ther end of y'r flag-staff?' Ther man sed it war aluminum. Then the kind-faced man asked what aluminum cum from. Ther other answered: 'Clay.' 'Jest common clay?' asked ther man. 'Jest common clay,' said ther other. 'How long since ther beautiful metal war discovered?' asked ther kind-faced man. 'It war within ther last half century,' war the answer. Then the kind faced man made a discourse sunthin' like this:
"'Yo' want a wisible proof thet man hez a soul. Ef yo' hed lived sixty year ago 'nd men hed told yo' ther wur in common clay a metal ez bright ez silver, ez ductile ez gold, with almost ther tensile strength uv steel; sunthin' thet could be worked inter eny form, indestructible under ther usual destructive agents of ther world, yo' wouldn't ha' believed it, would yo'? Yet it war thar all ther time. Fur thousands of years, men delved in clay. Ther wheels of ages ground it inter powder, which ther winds blew away; when men died, other men sed, 'They is turned ter clay,' which signefied ther utter degrerdation o' death; but ther men what bilt ther Bable Tower, hed they but known ther secret, mighter from thet same material have bilt a dome higher nor St. Paul's, thet would uv shone like burnished silver 'nd would hev retained all its strength 'nd splendor, notwithstandin' ther erosion uv time 'nd ther abrashin' uv ther ages, even till now, tho' since then two hundred generations uv men has lived and died.
"Still, yo' think thet ther power thet put thet imperishable, indestructible, stainless soul in ther clay at our feet, war less thoughtful, less wise, less merciful when he created man in His own sublime image? Ther chemist found this property in clay after er thousand nations hed spurned it under ther feet; this soul in clay, which will not tarnish, which can be drawn out inter finest wires and thinnest leaves; hev yo' ther audacity ter proclaim thet ther subtle chemistry of death cannot reveal anything bright and indestructible fur man, when these pore mortal senses shall have spent ther energies; when this pore body shall uv fallen back ter dust 'nd ther clearer light shell 'ave dawned."
"It war a great sermon. The unbeliever shambled shamefaced away, 'nd I've been er thinkin' uv it ever since."
"It must be true," said Sedgwick. "Somewhere must be kept the records of the hearts that break in silence, of the eyes that grow dim in straining at signals on heights beyond the vision of mortal man, of hands that lose their hold on immortality, because of the merciless buffetings of the world.
"This looks like a wrecked world around us, but there was a splendor here once. Here the alphabet of the stars was first traced out, and the order of their shining processions made known; here barbarism was first beaten back; the first code was made here; here were originated the sciences of architecture and of war; here the arts of agriculture and mechanics were born; and here was lighted and kept bright the flame of knowledge until it became a beacon to the world, that, before that light was kindled, was altogether dark.
"The tides of the sea advance and recede. It may be so with nations. The earth was made habitable by convulsions that rent its crust, the storms that beat upon it, and by the grinding of glaciers; the pressure necessary to create the rocks and coal measures was brought to bear; the continents were upheaved; the seas were beaten back; the world was loaded for a limitless voyage, before the vapors were rolled back, the full dawn was born.
"We cannot see far, but if this life is all there is to us, then, indeed, it is a pitiful failure. If our thoughts and longings are bounded by this little span of life, then there is no balance-sheet for mortality. The gift of life is then not worth the expense of supporting it.
"But, if, like the earth, the beatings and upheavals and sorrows are but the preparation for the perfect dawn, with peace in its coming, with the increase of immortal flowers in its air; if there are to be a time and place where there is to be full fruition, then it is different, and we can afford to smile as the frosts of disappointment chill us, as the salt spray of misfortune is dashed in our faces.
"Tom, with such gifts as are given us, we must do the best we can for ourselves and our fellow-men; must do it with faith and courage, do it with gentleness and in truth, and with a purpose so high that we shall never fear anything except to do the wrong.
"And all the rest we may leave to God."
It was hot and calm all the voyage through the Red Sea, the straits, and Gulf of Aden, till, when rounding the stormy cape of Guardafui and the ship swept out upon the broader ocean, the barometer dropped rapidly and a furious storm came on. It was really a mighty gale, and the heavily-laden ship labored exceedingly.
At its height, Sedgwick and Jordan stood watching the majesty of the forces exhausting their fury around them, when Jordan said:
"Jim, I needed this. Yo' know how grand ther other ship wur; yo' know how great and strong this ship are. Well, watchin' both, a senseless kind uv pride cum over me, and I sed ter myself over and over, 'This ere ship cud outride any gale whatever blow'd.' Look now! It's only a toy on ther water when God's wind goes out ter battle with God's everlastin' seas.
"Cumin' over, I stopped and tuk a look at Niagry. It wur grand, but a dozen Niagrys wouldn't make one hurrycane out ter sea. I can't explain what I wanter, but I mean as how God's majesty is nowhar else revealed as when his hurrycanes is sent ter paint a picter on ther face of a mad ocean. Nowhar else did I ever feel thet small as when watchin', as we is now, all these forces that is makin' the commotion 'round us. They all show us what pitiful weak creaters we is, and ther man who ever watched one storm at sea and ever arter dares to hev one feelin' uv pride or scornfulness, that thar man are weak somewhar and makes a spectacle of hisself."
But the storm was weathered safely; the temperature grew cooler as the ship stretched away to the South, and after a generally prosperous voyage the steamer dropped anchor in Port Natal roadstead.
THE WEDGE OF GOLD.
The voyagers were glad enough to stand once more on the solid earth. It had been twenty-one days since they had left London.
Quickly as they could they made arrangements for a journey inland. They chartered conveyances to go to the end of the road and sent forward to the capital to charter a train of riding and pack animals, with a full corps of attendants, to meet them where they had to take the trail. They employed, moreover, a civil engineer and a half-dozen frontiersmen, Boers and Kaffirs, who knew the country well.
Studying their maps and the description supplied them by the former owner of the mine, they calculated the mine was distant some 250 miles, and that it would require some thirty-five days to make the examination and return to D'Umber, the town on Port Natal Roadstead.
Sedgwick had written daily to his bride, sending the letters from every port called at.
Now he wrote her that it would probably be forty days before he could forward her another letter.
When everything was ready they started on their trip. The men were all Boers and Kaffirs, except the engineer; all strong, good-natured men, but the least bit suspicious of their employers. They had come in an English ship, wore English clothing, and if their English accent was not quite up to the standard the natives could not make the distinction.
They examined Jordan's saddle with a great deal of curiosity, as it was, with the rest of the luggage, put upon the wagon. One of them, in broken English, asked about it; where in England he found it.
He laughingly answered that they could not make any such saddle in England; that it was a Mexican saddle. Then the Boer wanted to know if he were a Mexican.
"Not by a blamed sight," said Jordan. "Do I look like er greaser?"
The Boer looked at him helplessly.
"Did you never har of ther United States?" asked Jordan.
The Boer shook his head. "Never har of America and Americans?" Jordan asked.
The Boer smiled. He had heard of Americans, and asked eagerly if Jordan and his friend came from America.
"Yo' may bet yo'r everlastin' broken Dutch diaphram that we did," said Jordan, at which the Boer hurried to tell his companions that the two strangers were not English, notwithstanding their clothing.
The first eight days of the journey, the travelers found excellent roads, and averaged twenty-seven miles a day. They did not go by the capital, but turned off to the left.
The first day the road lay mostly over the coast mountains. Toward night they entered upon the table-lands of Natal, which were generally level, except where, here and there, a low mountain spur had to be crossed. It was a grassy country, sparsely dotted with palms, with here and there timber in sight up ravines that ran down from the hills, and occasionally they ran upon clusters of heath-flowers. Indeed, the whole country was covered with flowers of rare beauty, but mostly odorless. It was all new and strange, and was noted with keen interest by the two Americans. It was the rainy season, and the road was soft in places, and some of the streams were pretty high. But they got along without serious trouble. One had been in Nevada, the other in Arizona, and both in Texas.
The first night they camped by a little stream, ate their supper, and spread their beds by some willows on the grass. It was a perfectly calm night, and in that clear air the stars shone magnificently.
As they were smoking their pipes after supper Sedgwick pointed out to Jordan the constellation of the Southern Cross as a sight which their friends in the North-land could never see unless they crossed the equator.
Jordan looked at the stars some time in silence, and then said: "Them stars is been shinin' thar allus, and yit, Jim, they wuz outer sight o' us. To see 'em we had ter cross ther line. Who can tell, Jim, what new stars'll shine on us when thet other line, thet men call death, shall be crossed, and our eyes shall be given ther new light beyond?"
He paused a moment, and then went on: "I'z been prospered. When I war a boy I went to ther wah. I war in many a fight. Men as loved life mightily wuz killed all 'round me; many another brave feller tuk sick and died. Not a scratch cum ter me.
"I made er stake easy-like in ther mines. I've dun well 'nuff; and yit, Jim, if thar should cum ther summons ter-night, and I knowd I'd got ter go, I wouldn't hev a sorrer 'cept thet we haven't passed on ther mine yit."
Then Sedgwick realized that in the selfishness of his own loneliness at leaving his bride, he had forgotten his friend, and that he had all the time been concealing a deeper grief and trying to cheer him.
"Dear old Tom," he said humbly. "I have been absorbed and selfish since we left England. I did not realize my own selfishness. We have found new stars in the sky. Let us trust that no sorrows will come to us that will not be cheered by stars behind them, and let us nurse the hope that this journey is but a discord in our lives that will make the music of them sweeter when it shall be passed."
"Shore enuff," was Jordan's answer. "I war once down at the bottom of ther Colorado Canon. It war terrible. I never seen a place so desolate and wild; but, Jim, I looked up along the walls hundreds of feet overhead, and thar in ther daylight, away off in ther infinite sky, some stars war shinin'."
So there, in the starlight, on that lonely table-land in South Africa, the two true men clasped hands in silence, and their hearts drew nearer to each other than they had ever been drawn before.
The second day, the road in places skirted a forest in which the yellow tree and the great beech were the most prominent trees, creepers grew around them, and vines trailed over their branches; marvelously tinted flowers mingled with them, and the scene was enchanting.
More than once a band of antelope was seen scudding away in the distance; here and there a zebra fled from before them, and once a pair of giraffes were discerned afar off over the plain. Though it was the beginning of winter, the tsetse fly bothered their stock a good deal, but the Boers cut branches from the trees and covered the animals with them when the sun was hottest and the insects most troublesome.
After the fourth day the road began to ascend, and at last the point was reached where the vehicles had to be given up, and the saddle and pack animals from the capital had to be brought into use. The real hills had been reached. The trail ran over a succession of sharp mountain ridges, and narrow valleys. It was not a well-made trail on the ridges, and the flanks of the ridges were so abrupt and rocky that progress was very slow; moreover, it was clear that to build a road on the line of the trail, over which heavy loads could be hauled, would be a most expensive, almost impossible, undertaking.
It required three days to make the trip of forty miles.
Finally, though, the last summit was crossed, and after a heavy descent, there spread out another valley, and on a ridge beyond, from the mountain side, could be seen something like a dump, with rock piled upon it. The two friends recognized the spot at the same moment and stopped their animals in the trail to take in the surroundings. They estimated that the mountains must be a spur of the Drakenberg Range, that they were within the basin drained by the head waters of the Vaal River, and that they were in the Southwestern Transvaal. The mountains of that point had a general course northeast and southwest, and it was clear that the mine was practically over the range in approaching from the direction of Port Natal.
"It's all right," said Jordan, "'cept it seems to me like we orter uv cum down on ther other side of Africa, and cum in from ther West. From this way it would need a pack train of bald eagles ter bring in supplies, while ter get a mill in—Good Lord!"
"I fear you are right, as usual, Tom," said Sedgwick, "but if, as I suspect, the mine is of no account, it will not matter much."
"'Zactly," said Jordan. "Thar's no use tryin' ter put up collateral on which ter borrer trouble 'fore we know anythin' 'bout ther mine."
So they pressed on and made their camp that night near a great spring that the miners had lived by while opening the mine. Next morning both Americans were up early, and, the breakfast disposed of, they went to the mine with buckets of water and hammers.
They kept their natives pounding rock all day, while they washed the samples. They took the ore from every part of the dump. The result was most satisfactory. "It will assay more than $30," said Jordan. "I believe it will work up to $30 by mill process, for it's perfectly free gold ore and not too fine."
The next day the inclines were all explored, and samples taken, step by step—taken and marked, as they proceeded. The ore body where practically exposed was carefully measured, and where any change was discernible it was noted and special samples taken. The floor of the lowest level reached was not only sampled, but a hole a couple of feet below the lowest excavation was dug, and the samples were saved.
The vein was a contact between slate and granite, and was very regular in size, and apparently in quality. The vein was exposed for probably 600 feet, and thence up the hill it was covered with debris. It was almost night when the camp was reached, and the men were very tired.
Next morning the samples taken the previous day were crushed and carefully washed.
When all was finished, Jordan said: "Jim, it's a honest mine. Ther only drawback is ther place. I've no idee what er road would cost, but it would take a power o' money, sho."
It was decided to try to explore the slope of the range they were on, up and down, to see if a break in it could not somewhere be found. They tried it to the north, and soon found themselves in a mighty gorge, with great mountains closing them in from every direction except the one from which they had come. They returned to camp, and one more day was gone. The next morning they started early to the south, and toiled until eleven o'clock, to find themselves once more ambuscaded by the precipitous hills. Again they made their way back to camp, without comfort, except that they had passed through a great forest of beech and yellow wood sufficient for fuel and mine timbers for years.
Next morning when they had finished breakfast, Sedgwick asked Jordan what his idea was by that time as to the best course to proceed.
Jordan shook his head, and said: "I'm afeerd we must try to build ther road or invent a berloon."
From the spring there ran a considerable stream off at right angles from the mine, and in exactly the opposite direction from whence they had come.
Sedgwick said: "Tom, that stream, unless it sinks, finds its way to the sea after awhile. We are in for it; a day or two more will not count. Suppose for awhile we follow that stream and see where it leads us."
"Agreed—a good idee," said Jordan. Taking with them two Boers, the engineer, and a pack animal with food and some blankets, they bade the rest keep the camp, as they might be absent two or three days. They started down the stream. It flowed in a general course to the west. After a mile or more from the camp, the banks widened out into a wooded valley, several hundred yards across, but when six or seven miles had been traveled the valley narrowed down again, and the mountains closing in, made what, at a little distance, seemed a solid wall in front. "Headed off once more, I fear," said Sedgwick.
"The stream keeps up a full head. It must git through ther hills somewhar," said Jordan.
"True enough," said Sedgwick. They followed it to the very base of the hill, to find that there it made a bend at right angles to the south and flowed through a cleft of the mountain not much wider than the stream itself. Into this they entered, and pursued their way for about 600 yards, when the stream again turned through another mighty fissure to the west, and ran a quarter of a mile farther, when another large valley opened out which was some five miles across. In this valley the stream sank in the sands and was lost. The travelers skirted the valley, keeping close to the hills where the ground was hard. Reaching the other side they found a narrow opening through which the stream had once flowed. They followed a winding way for two or three miles, the chasm bearing a little west of south, emerging at last into an open country. A fringe of willows was seen low on the southern horizon. The Boers said they knew the stream, the course of which was marked by the willows; that it was a big creek, along which their people had stock farms. They marked the obscure opening through which they had traced their way out of the mountains and started for the creek and possible ranches. The Boers said that farmers' roads ran from these ranches out to the main road over the range to the east, the road which they had come up on from Port Natal. They pressed on another seven or eight miles, and a rude house, half dug-out, came in view, distant a couple of miles.
They approached it, and from the people living there the Boers learned that it was seventeen miles out to the main road, over a good farmers' road all the way. They camped at the house, or near the house, all night. One of the residents brought in a fine young antelope, which they bought and cooked, and they suppered royally on antelope, hard tack and coffee. Next morning they returned to the mine, reaching there early in the afternoon. They had been out from Port Natal seventeen days, had found and sampled the mine, and explored a natural pass for a road.
How to proceed was the next question. Sedgwick's idea was that both should return to the seashore, proceed to England, and order a mill from San Francisco, because they knew that there were no good patterns for quartz mill machinery on the continent; and both agreed that should the mill be built in England and shipped thence to South Africa, the fact would be published and all their plans would be interfered with.
Jordan was silent for awhile; at last he said: "Jim, I ken understand thet ther thot uv goin' back ter London ez mighty enchantin' ter yo'. But thet's a game girl, thet thar young wife o' yourn; she listed fo' this wah ez well ez yo,' er she'd never let yo' cum away. Yo' must go by ther straightest track fer San Francisco and bring ther mill. I'll stay and hev some rock ready for crushin' when ther mill cums."
"But, dear old friend," said Sedgwick, "it will take a year, perhaps, to get a mill here from San Francisco. To leave you here—you would die of the horrors with no company but these Boers."
"How d' yer know but I'd make a pretty good Boer or Kaffir my own self with er little practice?" asked Jordan. "We'll stay over ter-morrer and git some work goin'; then I'll go with yer ter the coast and get some men and things I need. I'll cum back; you'll go ter Frisco, and everything'll be lovely."
"No," said Sedgwick, "you go to San Francisco, and I will stay and work the mine. It was I who proposed this thing; of right I should meet the heaviest sacrifices." But Jordan was obstinate, declaring that he would enjoy himself at the mine, and after a long discussion his programme was agreed to. In the morning Jordan took the engineer and three natives to the top of the hill, where the mine was covered with debris; walked along to where the mountain, as it sloped to the west, was very abrupt, and there set the Boers to making an open surface cut.
They went to work, and Jordan and the engineer went to measuring to see where, down the hill, a tunnel would have to be started to tap the lode 500 feet deep. It was so sharp a hillside that the tunnel site would be only 1,260 feet horizontally from a point 500 feet below the open cut. Jordan engaged the engineer to remain with all the men who would stay, and begin that work if the indications on the hill would justify, and also to build a rude stone house at the spring, large enough to accommodate a dozen people.
Then they climbed the hill again and found the croppings of the ledge uncovered in the cut. Being tested, these croppings were found richer than the ore on the dump lower down, where the vein had been opened.
Next morning, with two saddle animals, one pack animal and one Boer to ride another horse and lead the pack horse, the two Americans started back for Port Natal. They followed over the route they had traced out two days before to the ranch, then took a road traveled by the stockmen, and on the second night from the mine came to a house on the main road to Port Natal, which was six or seven miles nearer their destination than the point where they had left the road and taken the trail for the mine.
They hired a Boer to go up and bring back their wagons. They came next morning. The best rig was selected, and the two friends started for the seashore. In eight days they were back at Port Natal, having made the round trip in twenty-eight or twenty-nine days. On arriving at the seashore they found that no steamer was in port bound North, but there was a fine steamer in the roadstead that was to sail next day for Melbourne, Australia.
Sedgwick's plan had been to go back to London, take his wife and go thence, via New York, to San Francisco. But no ship was awaiting him, and the agent of the Northern Line did not know when a ship would sail. It would have to come first, and might return soon, or might lie in port fifteen or twenty days. So, talking the matter over with Jordan, both concluded that the best thing was to try the voyage via Australia. Again Sedgwick begged Jordan to go, yet he kindly, but firmly refused, saying, "I must hev my way this time, Jim."
Accordingly, Sedgwick engaged passage to Melbourne, then wrote his wife what they had found; that he had decided it was best to go by Australia to San Francisco; that, if prosperous, he hoped to reach that port in forty-eight or fifty days; that he would be detained there probably sixty days, and would then return to Africa via England, hoping to be with her in one hundred and twenty days, and to be able to remain with her for a month.
Jordan found six English miners and engaged them to go with him, bought as full an outfit as possible, through a trader ordered more, including a portable saw-mill from England, made an arrangement with Sedgwick how to send and receive news, and the two tired men lay down to take their last night's rest together for, as they calculated, at least six or seven months, perhaps a full year.
It was a memorable night to both, and the confidences they exchanged and the sacred trusts they each assumed, they never forgot.
In the morning Jordan started back for the mountains and their solitudes; Sedgwick boarded the steamer, which later in the day started on its voyage, and the sea for Sedgwick was a counterpart of the solitude which the mountains held for Jordan, except that at Port Natal he had received from his Grace the greetings which her soul had given his soul through the mornings and evenings of the first twenty days of her married life. They were to be his balm through all the days of his imprisonment on board ship, and he felt that they would be sufficient. But it grieved him to think that poor, brave, sorrowing, but cheerful and clear-brained Jordan had no such comforters.
"It is very lonely, my glorified one," she wrote; "the roar of the great city seems to me an echo of the voice of the ocean, of the wilderness that surrounds you; but I would not have it different, for I kept saying to myself: 'He is doing his duty, and beyond the horizon that bounds our eyes now, I know that higher joy awaits us which comes of a consciousness of a great trust bravely executed.' Be of good cheer, my love; it will be all right in the end, for the heavens themselves bend to be the stay of steadfast souls when with a holy patience they struggle for the right, as God gives them to see the right.
"I will wait for you, and in thinking what you have undertaken, and of the persistence required to carry your work through, will try to catch your own grand spirit, try to exalt myself by imitating your patience and faith, and thus be more worthy of you when once more it is given me to clasp your dear hands, and to gaze into your true eyes, which are my light."
As Sedgwick read, his eyes became suffused until he could not see the page before him because of his tears.
"See," he said to himself; "a man's love is selfish; it is a woman's life and light, and yet my beautiful wife loses sight of herself, and all her words are but an inspiration for me to go on and conquer if I can. Thank God for the treasure that has been given me! And may God comfort her and comfort brave and true Jordan!"
THE OCCIDENT AND THE ORIENT MEET.
The ship was twenty-four days in reaching Melbourne. It caught a gale crossing the stormy Bight, and for two days no progress was made. It was all that the men in charge could do to hold the plunging craft up into the face of the storm and meet the big seas as they rolled, furious, up against her stem. But the winds were laid at last, the ship was put upon her course and her natural speed resumed. On the afternoon of the twenty-fourth day the ship passed between the heads of Port Philip, and two hours later came to anchor before Sandridge, three miles below Melbourne. Going ashore, Sedgwick cabled to his wife his arrival on his way to San Francisco, "as first letters from Port Natal would explain," and added: "Hope to be with you in one hundred days. Write, care Occidental Hotel, San Francisco." Then he took the night train for Sidney, and arrived there the next night about nine o'clock.
Going to a hotel, he found that the first steamer for San Francisco would sail on the next day but one.
He then sought his first sleep in a comfortable house, with modern improvements, that he had found since he left London.
Next morning he went early and secured transportation on the steamer, then returned and wrote a long letter to his girl-bride; then engaging a rig took in as much of Sidney as he could. Next morning he cabled his wife that he was just going to sea again, and boarded the steamer early. The ship sailed promptly at midday, and as it passed out of the beautiful harbor the islands and shores beyond were just putting on the vestments of spring. Sedgwick had never before seen spring approaching in October; never before had he heard the love-calls of mating birds at that season, and apparently had never before realized so keenly that he was on the other side of the world from those whom he loved and knew. After dinner he went on deck. He knew no one on board, and he was nearer being homesick than he had ever been before. It was a balmy night. The sea was tumbling a little from the effects of a far-off storm, but the ship was riding the waves superbly and making rapid progress, and the stars were all out and sweeping grandly on in their never-ending, stately processions.
In the midst of his thoughts, when he was fast giving way to a mighty fit of the blues, he happened to glance upward. Corona Australis was blazing with unwonted brilliancy, and, it seemed to him, the constellation was making signs to him from its signal station in the heavens. Instantly he thought of the night that he and Jordan had particularly noticed it, and of what the great-hearted man had said. Then he thought of his friend; how unselfishly he had turned his face away from the ship that would have carried him to a pleasanter country, and had voluntarily gone back into that profound wilderness to work out a trust which would require months of time; and he said to himself: "What a selfish creature I am to repine, when I have been so blessed; when in England an angel is waiting for me; when in the depths of Africa a brave soul by his every act is teaching me lessons of self-abnegation."
A moment later another thought came to him which was a delight, and that was that with every revolution of the screw he was drawing nearer to his Grace. When an hour later he retired to his state-room he hummed a song as he went, and the throbbing of the machinery and the wash of the seas against the ship's beam made his lullaby, as the long roll of the steamer rocked him to sleep.
As before stated, Sedgwick had written his wife fully at Port Natal. Two days after he left, the steamer from the North came in. It remained five days, and then started North again. Its mails were eighteen days in reaching London.
Grace was looking for a letter from Port Natal, when Sedgwick's cable from Melbourne reached her. She could not quite comprehend the matter until, a day later, his letter came, and the next day his second cable, announcing that he was just about to sail for San Francisco. That day she did what she had not done since she left school—got a map of the world and studied it until she put her finger on a spot between Sidney and New Zealand, and said: "He is there now," and bent and kissed the place on the map.
That evening she went over from her home to call upon Jack and Rose. There she found a gentleman who, with his wife and daughter, were going to sail two days later for Australia, via New York and San Francisco. Their names were Hobart. Grace had known them ever since her father had moved to London. They were talking of their proposed journey, when the young lady said gaily: "Mrs. Sedgwick, come along with us as far as New York, or San Francisco at least." At this the father and mother together seconded the invitation.
"Do you really mean it?" said Grace.
"Indeed we do," said all three.
"And when do you sail?" asked Grace.
"Early, day after to-morrow. That is, we leave here early and sail at noon," said Mr. Hobart. "We have two full staterooms engaged. You can room with Lottie"—the young lady's name—"and be companion for us all."
"I will be ready day after to-morrow morning," said Grace, seriously.
"Not in earnest?" said Rose.
"In sober earnest," said Grace.
"To New York?" said Browning.
"To New York, and may be farther," was the reply.
"As far as Ohio, I guess," said Jack.
"May be as far as Ohio," said Grace, and she smiled as she spoke.
The Hobarts were delighted, but Jack and Rose looked serious.
"It is a long way, Gracie," said Jack.
"A fearfully long way," said Rose.
"Suppose, Rose, that Jack was as far away, would you think it a long way to go to see him?" asked Grace.
"O, Gracie! No, no," said Rose.
"When did you hear last from your husband?" asked Hobart.
"This afternoon," said Grace.
"And how long, Grace, before he will be in England?" asked Jack.
It was the first time any question had been asked of her more than the question if she had heard, and if he was well.
"About one hundred days, I think," said Grace; "that is," she added, "if I go and find him and bring him home."
Next day Grace made all her arrangements and was ready to leave early on the following morning. Parting with her mother was her great sorrow, but the mother approved of her going, and the good-byes were not so sad as though they did not expect to be soon again reunited.
They made the voyage to New York in nine days. Remaining one day in that city, they started West; stopped one day in Chicago, and reached San Francisco seventeen days from Liverpool.
Hobart had been in San Francisco before, and wanted to stop at the Lick House, but Grace insisted that her friends liked the Occidental best; so they went to the Occidental.
Four days after reaching San Francisco, the Hobarts sailed for Australia. They urged Grace to accompany them, but she declined, saying, with a smile, that she believed for the present she preferred the solid earth to the unstable sea. She saw her friends aboard the steamer; then returning to the hotel, sent for the manager, Major H.; explained that she expected her husband by the first steamer from Australia; that he did not expect to find her; so she wished to surprise him, and desired the finest apartments in the hotel, including a private dining-room; and requested that when it was known that the ship was coming up the harbor, the rooms should be elaborately dressed with flowers. She also stipulated that her husband, on his coming, should be conducted to his apartments without any knowledge that any one was waiting for him.
Major H., captivated by the little English lady, entered into the full spirit of the programme and promised that he would personally attend to the matter.
Grace was transferred to the new rooms, and thereafter had her meals served in her own dining-room.
Three days later, about one p.m., a message came that the Australian steamer had at noon been sighted outside the Heads, and was then entering the Golden Gate.
The flowers were forthcoming; the apartments were swiftly decorated; then Grace, with the utmost painstaking, robed herself in her richest costume and seated herself in the private dining-room, with the sliding doors slightly ajar so that she could look through into the parlor of the suite without being seen.
The suspense was fearful to her for half an hour. Would he really come? Separating in London, and he traveling east, would she by coming west find him? Would he be well? Had he really escaped the African fever and all the dangers that lurked in the weary stretches of treacherous billows?
Those were a few of the questions she was asking herself, when, in the hall, a well-known voice rang out which made her heart bound. It was saying: "There must be an oversight somewhere. I surely ought to have had some letters awaiting me."
The door opened, and the hearty voice of Major H. was heard by the listener. "These are your apartments, Mr. Sedgwick," he said, "and I trust you will find them pleasant."
Then the other occupant said: "But I do not care for any such rich rooms as these; any little corner will suffice for me."
"Oh no," said the Major. "Try these quarters for a day or two, and if by that time you wish to exchange them for others, we will see to it. We try to please our Australian friends, for we hope for more and more of them throughout all the years to come."
With that he closed the door.
"Australia!" Grace heard her husband say. "I'm no Australian; I'm a full-blooded African, a regular Boer or Kaffir, and no mistake. But, bless my soul, this is a fairy spot! A way-up place, surely! From the depths of Africa and the society of Boers and Kaffirs to an enchanted palace! This must be the bridal chamber of the establishment. I believe they have made a mistake and think me the King of the Pearl and Opal Islands. I wish dear old Jordan could see this. I wish, O God, I wish my Grace, my queen, could see this, that I might first crown her with flowers, and then fall down and worship her!"
She could bear the tension no longer. Pushing the doors back quickly, she stood pale, but radiant, for an instant, before the astonished man; then stretching out her divine arms, said, "O, my darling!"
SHIPPING A QUARTZ MILL.
That evening Major H. met Sedgwick in the office, and, with a twinkle of the eye, asked him if he was really anxious to take cheaper apartments.
The young man smiled and said he rather thought, as he would probably only remain two or three months, it would not be worthwhile to change.
Next morning Sedgwick ordered a forty-stamp gold quartz mill complete, with two rock-breakers, the batteries to be of five-stamp each and low mortars, with a single pan for cleaning up—a free gold quartz mill. Instead of one heavy engine, he ordered two, each of forty-horse power to work on the same shaft, to be supplied by six thirty-horse-power boilers to be set in two batteries. He ordered also one six-inch and one four-inch steam pump, with the necessary boilers, and besides, a donkey hoisting engine, good for an eight-hundred hoist. The order included all the needed attachments, belting, retorts, duplicates of all parts subject to breakage or wear, a forge, and shoes and dies enough to last two years.
He stipulated, too, that the wood-work of the battery should be gotten out, exactly framed and marked, and that all the pulleys, bolts, etc., should be included.
In two days the specifications were gotten ready, and the contract signed, which included a clause that the whole should be ready in sixty days, or less, from that date.
Then Sedgwick wrote fully to Jordan, giving him the account of what he had done, and sending him a draft of the ground plan of the mill, and full details as to the grading, hoping he would receive the letter and have the rocks hauled, the battery blocks gotten out, and the grading done.
This work under way, the exultant man devoted all his time to Grace, except that every day, when in the city, he would make a run two or three times to the foundry to mark the progress of the work.
Meanwhile, the happy pair visited every point of interest in and about San Francisco. They frequented the theatres, drove to the Park and the Cliff House, and both declared that San Francisco was the most delightful spot on earth.
They were all the world to each other. In the happiness that filled their hearts their eyes were softened, so that everything they looked at took on roseate hues—the world had become a throne to them, over which had been drawn a cover of cloth of gold.
Once they made a journey to Virginia City, and descended the Gould and Curry shaft, and Sedgwick showed his bride where he and Jack first discussed the probability of trying to make a little raise in stocks. They went and looked at the lodging-house on the Divide where Jack and Sedgwick roomed so long; visited the mills, saw crude bullion cast into bars, and watched the procession of a miner's funeral, and in their rambles Sedgwick stopped many a miner whom he had known, and presented his bride.
Returning, they got off at Sacramento and waited over one day. There Sedgwick ordered four seven-ton wagons, with four trail wagons of five tons each, and four more of three tons each, and twelve sets of team harness, a dozen of yokes and no end of chains; also a strong, covered spring wagon with harness to match.
After forty days, Sedgwick was informed that everything would be ready in ten days. His idea had been to charter a brig or bark, and send the machinery to Port Natal by a sailing craft; but in crossing the bay in visits to Oakland, Saucelito and San Rafael, he had noticed anchored, out in the stream, a small iron bark-rigged steamer which carried the British flag, and had read thereon the name "Pallas." One day he asked some men on the wharf what ship it was and why it lay so long in the harbor.
The answer was that it was an English tramp steamer that some months previously came in loaded with wines and brandies from Bordeaux.
The men also gave the information that, though a tramp steamer, it was thought to be a very strong craft, fully bulk-headed, with first-class machinery, and was commanded by the owner, a Scotchman named McGregor, who, when not on his ship, stopped at the Occidental Hotel.
Sedgwick had already made his acquaintance at the hotel, so when he met him that evening he asked him how long he expected to remain in the city. McGregor replied that he was waiting to secure a cargo for his ship.
Then Sedgwick drew him out and learned that his steamer was of six hundred tons, built with all care for a gentleman's yacht; that after awhile the owner tired of his plaything and sold it to him at a mighty discount on its first cost; and that he was seeing the world in it, and trying at the same time to make the craft pay its own expenses. He said also he had a picked crew and private surgeon, and added: "When I secure a cargo, if you and the madam will become my guests, I will adopt you both as long as you please to follow the seas."
Sedgwick declined with thanks, but said: "You want to see the world; how would you like to make a run to the coast of Africa?"
"I would not object," he replied. "I have had the 'Pallas' overhauled since we came into port. She is in first-class trim, good for a year if no unusual misfortune overtakes her. I would as soon go to Africa as any other place."
The result was the "Pallas" was chartered to carry out the machinery, some mill-wrights, a couple of engineers, a couple of mill workers, an assayer, and any miscellaneous freight that Sedgwick might desire to send.