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be found in the fact that the triple team heroism, and now that the paralyzing settled back in the breeching, as if they conditions of surprise were beginning to scented danger, and the stage stopped wear off, the occurrence presented itself with a jerk that startled everybody into in a farcical light. an alert attitude. Conversation ceased, How absurd all those various types of and “What is the matter?” had run the nationality appeared, standing like helpwhole gamut of anxiety before the check- less babies, while a single shadow rifled ing of the coach had sent a final shiver their persons without a particle of resisthrough the lengths of harness.
tance on their part! She and the widow Evidently there was matter enough, were not compelled to submit to the indigthough Miss Eastlake was only conscious nity of being blindfolded, so that as soon of a mysterious presence. The night as she was able to shake off the stupor, was so dark that she could discern no- which had at first enthralled her senses, thing save a line of embankment, Miss Eastlake's professional instinct rose sparsely tufted with pines. From this superior to every other feeling, and made indefinite region came an official-like her study details with cool, impartial order,-
eyes. “ Throw off the box.”
The rays of
a bull's-eye lantern The Wells, Fargo Express instantly brought into prominence a ludicrous crashed to the ground, with a thud that looking group of men, who appeared caused more than one passenger to turn more like maskers going through some pale.
voluntary farce, than men in peril of “ Hands up!" and simultaneously, a their lives; and this effect was enhanced flash of light showed space crystallizing by the obscurity that enveloped their into a medley of gloved and ungloved mysterious assailant, rendering him (or hands.
them ) all but invisible. Indeed the “Step out, gentlemen !" continued the nearest approach to anything tragic in unseen, and all at once Miss Eastlake be- the
the frightened little came overwhelmingly aware that the mother, keeping shuddering guard over a gleaming barrels of a shotgun pointed sleeping cherub. the request.
It is characteristic of females that they Instinctively she cowered away from are always intolerant of foibles in their it; for centuries of sex timidity had left own sex, and being of a cool, unemotional an indubitable imprint that even force of temperament herself, Miss Eastlake was character could not overcome. Before disposed to entertain a certain disesteem she had recovered from the stunning for exhibitions of feeling. She had a effect of facing a dangerous weapon, the rather distinct conviction that people entire load of men had vacated the coach, who could not maintain a composed exand stood ranged in a line with bed- terior were only half-educated; and ticking masks over their faces. Then having had time to remember that weak there was a confused impression that womanhood was exempt from the penthese sightless victims submitted to the alties imposed upon the stronger sex, she further outrage of being robbed; but mistook her sense of security for courage. they seemed to be merely enacting some This pleasant conceit led her to question thrice-read tale, rather than figuring in the bravery of men who submitted to an actual drama. The whole affair was being robbed without even a protest. It conspicuously barren of any elements of appeared to her like the veriest coward
ice on their part; and she became un passengers gave the required information, reasonably indignant with the male pas- whereupon an ejaculation more forcible sengers in general, and Ralph Greyburn than elegant disclosed the politics of the in particular, for being overawed by a mountain assessor. They were at varisingle bandit.
ance with Miss Eastlake's views, and it While these changing thoughts trooped roused her wrath to reflect that this tumultuously through Miss Eastlake's robber, and men like him, took an inbrain, the highwayman conducted his terest in the ballot, and even had the own affairs with such businesslike dis power to help elect officers that winked patch, that his plucked victims were at their nefarious practises for the sake of clambering into the coach again before their political support, while she, a righther indignation cooled. The noise awoke eous-minded female, was de barred from the baby, and she gave a frightened casting a vote. little outcry. In some inexplicable way A woman has less tame sensibilities the sound reminded Miss Eastlake of the than a man, and however quick of comstartled sensation she had experienced prehension or self-possessed she may be, at the outset, and she felt troubled by a is liable to be unnerved by excitehumiliating misgiving lest she might ment, and expose her weak points when have betrayed her shrinking fear of that there seems to be the least occasion for menacing weapon. It had been a mere it. Conflicting emotions had been brought motion, but it mortified her to think that to the surface within the hour, that had she had so far forgotten herself, -- the strained her fortitude to the utmost; and more so because she was helpless of in a sudden reaction Miss Eastlake gave opportunity to prove that dauntless blood
way to a dominant impulse under the flowed in her veins.
mistaken impression that she was evinThese final reflections were indulged cing a fearlessness, which she suspected in while they sat silently waiting for the her male companions of lacking. signal that they were free. The bull's “I am glad that such a rapscallion as eye light had been sheathed for a full you are does not belong to the party minute, and the power that had pre I favor," she said with contemptuous sented itself as a mysterious shadow had boldness. relapsed into the Egyptian darkness
She was vaguely conscious that Ralph from which it sprung. A rustle in the Greyburn made a significant gesture to wayside brush, growing momentarily stop her, but she was too excited to heed fainter and fainter, denoted that the ex the warning ; and the words were out press box was being removed to a dis before she fairly realized that the speech tance, and suspense was giving way to was devoid of a proper dignity. a feeling of intense relief, when a voice The silence that greeted it was aponce more broke the obscurity with the pailing. Not a sound broke the profound unexpected question,-
stillness, except the faint click of the “ How did the State go?”
slide in a lantern, and Miss Eastlake's The nearness of the voice startled Miss face was again subjected to a searching Eastlake ; and the singular question from scrutiny. The moment was growing the lips of an outlaw made her feel interminable, when the bandit at length a hysterical inclination to laugh. While said in a voice that was blandly maleshe was endeavoring to repress this in volent: herent nervous tendency, one of the "Madam, I regret to be obliged to
You may hand me your
brackish taste when the first comment purse."
broke the painful silence. Miss Eastlake gasped, but there was no “Is that the up-to-date American style mistaking the firm determination, how- of conducting highwayism?” asked the ever softly spoken; and there was a English tourist, as if seeking for inforcompelling force in the shining barrels of mation. his gun which prevented more than a “I reckon it's a new gang, - that of momentary hesitation. With eyes like Burly Bill's widder. Great Scott! I balls of fire she fumbled for her purse, never counted on seein' women take to and almost flung it at him in her impotent the road fur a livin',” drawled a grizzlerage.
bearded man. “I shall be obliged to fine you again. There was a confusion of electrified Your watch, if you please."
exclamations, which at length settled into An expensive timepiece changed
the query, owners.
“Do you mean to tell me that a dozen “I will relieve you of your earrings.'' of us men have been made to unload by
Miss Eastlake reluctantly unscrewed a woman?" the diamond solitaires, that had been “Wa'al, I reckon that 's about the twinkling temptingly in her small lobes. size of it. A man never did hev much
Her finger rings followed, and not until show when he got cornered by a woman; she was stripped of every article of value an' now invenshun is helpin' 'em with did the robber cease his demands.
bicycles, an' bullet-proof jackets, I mean It was a very crestfallen creature that ter shake this road 'till the railroad ez laid the last tribute in the hand held out finished.” to receive it; and it was with a cool At that instant the coach whirled politeness that was absolutely exasper- around a sharp curve, and taken off her ating that the extortioner said in tones of guard, Miss Eastlake lurched into Mr. womanly sweetness:
Greyburn's arms. “ Thank you, Madam. Good night." "I beg your pardon," she said, lifting
It was the signal that they were free; her abashed eyes. Their glances met and after waiting until the sound of a in the sympathetic communion that is so viewless cycle died into an echo of move- provocative of friendly relations; and he ment far down the rocky cañon, the remarked in a voice that vainly strove to driver cracked his whip, and the impa- keep an inflection of merriment out of tient horses bounded eagerly ahead.
Miss Eastlake had a distressing suspi- “ This is a progressive age.” cion that her misfortune afforded her “And men's privileges are not always fellow passengers a sly amusement, and agreeable,” was the lady's quick reher mouth seemed struggling with a joinder.
Emma Mersereau Newton.
CHARLES WARREN STODDARD.'
A CHARACTER SKETCH BY JOAQUIN MILLER.
[A request to Mr. Miller for some word Charley, our Charley, our poet, our of greeting to publish, expressing his feel- wicked, wicked poet, was a contradiction ing for Charles Warren Stoddard on his from the first. Born in Boston, the Calreturn for a visit to California, resulted in ifornia University instead of Harvard behis giving the OVERLAND a somewhat came his alma mater. Reared a strict modified copy of his tribute to Stoddard, Protestant by the gentlest and most published in the daily papers at the time exact Presbyterian parents, he became when the Catholic University of America the most devout and most entirely dechose a Californian professor of English. voted Catholic I ever knew. Born of a
“Take that,” Mr. Miller said, “I stock that had been for generations cold could not write anything better or truer and quiet Yankees, he spent his life today, even if I should try!"
under the blazing path of the sun. The It is hoped that OVERLAND readers billows of the South Sea or the burning will be glad to have this tribute in per- sands of Arabia were his home until the manent form. ED.]
end, from the day he left the university. Charles Warren Stoddard became known
to the world, all the white world, except Now that Charles Warren Stoddard, California, the land he celebrated, while
the poet and traveler, is buried, still a boy, by the publication of a thin hidden away out of sight, and beyond all book bearing the imprint of a San Franbothering or bother, let us kindly creep cisco house - A. Roman, the founder of around into his back yard and examine our OVERLAND MONTHLY. I have not the old boots there, inspect the bones the book at hand and it can only be had there, and see what we can find or im- at the libraries now — under the modest agine of “the world and the flesh and title of “ Poems." the devil" in good old orthodox obituary This was about quarter of a century fashion. Let us dig everything up, drag ago, and although California has given everything out, real or imaginary, pile many books to the world since, as she all in a heap and then generously pardon had before, California has had nothing said him ; not entirely to show how bad he of er so unique, so poetical, so prettily was, indeed, but to show how good and artistic as you may find between the forgiving we are. Let us say, as Rogers, covers of this boy's first book. True, the banker poet, said over the bones of the great big world has said bigger Byron, the better of the two in other things, mightier thoughts have thundered things as well as art:
from Who among us all, tempted as thou wert,
The grand old masters, the bard sublime, Would not have sinned as much or more than
Whose footsteps echo down the corridors of time. thou?
But this little book was so loyal to See frontispiece.
California. See the color and contour of
the brown hills that stand shoulder to shoulder under the burning sun,
Like Arabs in their cloaks of leather. He sang the sea and the sky of California, the color of California, in this first book - the only real book on California that has yet been written from hill to hill. He celebrated the majestic march of the seasons here. Holmes, Whittier, Longfellow, and other “kings of thought,” have sung the goldenrod and the maple leaf and all the perfect colors that mark the lines between the seasons of the Atlantic so continually and so lovingly and so loyally, and have done their work so vividly and well, that travelers and writers for the press have learned to say there are no seasons in California, or colors either. Much the same as some writer, who saw the world from a carwindow, said not long since that California had no songbirds, while in truth and in fact she has nearly every songbird on earth.
Aye, we have the seasons, we have the songbirds, we have a thousand things and a thousand themes; but we have had, so far, only this one poet who has been entirely in earnest and entirely Californian. Here is the first flag of the invading armies of autumn :
White caravans of clouds go by Across the desert of bright sky. What Mecca are they hastening to ? What princess journeying to woo? But I am too cunning to dig up out of memory any more of these little cameos of California. They put my own work to a disadvantage, and so it is unwise in me to switch off from the story of his life to his work.
One day Charles Warren Stoddard stopped singing and stopped celebrating California as suddenly as a clock might stop. I am not authorized to say why. But I remember the time and the occasion when he told me he would cease to