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The Gringos   By: (1874-1940)

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First Page:

THE GRINGOS

A STORY OF THE OLD CALIFORNIA DAYS IN 1849

BY B.M. BOWER

1913

WIth Illustrations By Anton Otto Fischer

[Illustration: "Gringos are savages and worse than savages."]

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I wish to make public acknowledgment of the assistance I have received from George W. Lee, a "Forty niner" who has furnished me with data, material, and color which have been invaluable in the writing of this story.

CONTENTS

I. THE BEGINNING OF IT

II. THE VIGILANTES

III. THE THING THEY CALLED JUSTICE

IV. WHAT HAPPENED AT THE OAK

V. HOSPITALITY

VI. THE VALLEY

VII. THE LORD OF THE VALLEY

VIII. DON ANDRES WANTS A MAJORDOMO

IX. JERRY SIMPSON, SQUATTER

X. THE FINEST LITTLE WOMAN IN THE WORLD

XI. AN ILL WIND

XII. POTENTIAL MOODS

XIII. BILL WILSON GOES VISITING

XIV. RODEO TIME

XV. WHEN CAMP FIRES BLINK

XVI. "FOR WEAPONS I CHOOSE RIATAS"

XVII. A FIESTA WE SHALL HAVE

XVIII. WHAT IS LOVE WORTH?

XIX. ANTICIPATION

XX. LOST! TWO HASTY TEMPERS

XXI. FIESTA DAY

XXII. THE BATTLE OF BEASTS

XXIII. THE DUEL OF RIATAS

XXIV. FOR LOVE AND A MEDAL

XXV. ADIOS

List of Illustrations

"Gringos are savages and worse than savages"

He twisted in the saddle and sent leaden answer to the spiteful barking of the guns

Mrs. Jerry took the seƱorita's hand and smiled up at her

"An accident it must appear to those who watch"

The Gringos

CHAPTER I

THE BEGINNING OF IT

If you would glimpse the savage which normally lies asleep, thank God, in most of us, you have only to do this thing of which I shall tell you, and from some safe sanctuary where leaden couriers may not bear prematurely the tidings of man's debasement, watch the world below. You may see civilization swing back with a snap to savagery and worse because savagery enlightened by the civilization of centuries is a deadly thing to let loose among men. Our savage forebears were but superior animals groping laboriously after economic security and a social condition that would yield most prolifically the fruit of all the world's desire, happiness; to day, when we swing back to something akin to savagery, we do it for lust of gain, like our forebears, but we do it wittingly. So, if you would look upon the unlovely spectacle of civilized men turned savage, and see them toil painfully back to lawful living, you have but to do this:

Seek a spot remote from the great centers of our vaunted civilization, where Nature, in a wanton gold revel of her own, has sprinkled her river beds with the shining dust, hidden it away under ledges, buried it in deep canyons in playful miserliness and salved with its potent glow the time scars upon the cheeks of her gaunt mountains. You have but to find a tiny bit of Nature's gold, fling it in the face of civilization and raise the hunting cry. Then, from that safe sanctuary which you have chosen, you may look your fill upon the awakening of the primitive in man; see him throw off civilization as a sleeper flings aside the cloak that has covered him; watch the savages fight, whom your gold has conjured.

They will come, those savages; straight as the arrow flies they will come, though mountains and deserts and hurrying rivers bar their way. And the plodding, law abiding citizens who kiss their wives and hold close their babies and fling hasty, comforting words over their shoulders to tottering old mothers when they go to answer the hunting call they will be your savages when the gold lust grips them. And the towns they build of their greed will be but the nucleus of all the crime let loose upon the land. There will be men among your savages; men in whom the finer stuff outweighs the grossness and the greed. But to save their lives and that thing they prize more than life or gold, and call by the name of honor or friendship or justice that thing which is the essence of all the fineness in their natures to save that and their lives they also must fight, like savages who would destroy them.

There was a little, straggling hamlet born of the Mission which the padres founded among the sand hills beside a great, uneasy stretch of water which a dreamer might liken to a naughty child that had run away from its mother, the ocean, through a little gateway which the land left open by chance and was hiding there among the hills, listening to the calling of the surf voice by night, out there beyond the gate, and lying sullen and still when mother ocean sent the fog and the tides a seeking; a truant child that played by itself and danced little wave dances which it had learned of its mother ages agone, and laughed up at the hills that smiled down upon it... Continue reading book >>




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