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The Lone Ranche   By: (1818-1883)

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The Lone Ranche A Tale of the Staked Plain

By Captain Mayne Reid This was quite a hard book to transcribe, and I hope there are not now too many errors remaining. For one thing several of the people of the book speak a very rough version of the language, so that there are many hundreds of "words" appearing in the book, that are not in the dictionary. And the "new" words are not always consistently spelt.

There are numerous Spanish or Mexican words used in the book, but I am no scholar in these tongues. I just did my best to get them right.

Another problem was that the type used to print the book had been damaged in many places, which meant that it was sometimes very hard to decipher. After much poring there remains only one damaged word in the book, of which I am not certain.

As if this were not enough I made the mistake of scanning the book too dark, which meant that in very many cases a full stop following the letters `t' and sometimes `e' had not come correctly through the OCR process; and also any stains on the pages obscured the letters under them. This greatly increased the amount of work needed to transcribe the book.

I suppose this is among the very first "cowboy and Indian" books. If you are interested in this genre, here is the book for you. NH






Within the city of Chihuahua, metropolis of the northern provinces of Mexico for the most part built of mud standing in the midst of vast barren plains, o'ertopped by bold porphyritic mountains plains with a population sparse as their timber in the old city of Chihuahua lies the first scene of our story.

Less than twenty thousand people dwell within the walls of this North Mexican metropolis, and in the country surrounding it a like limited number.

Once they were thicker on the soil; but the tomahawk of the Comanche and the spear of the Apache have thinned off the descendants of the Conquistadores , until country houses stand at wide distances apart, with more than an equal number of ruins between.

Yet this same city of Chihuahua challenges weird and wonderful memories. At the mention of its name springs up a host of strange records, the souvenirs of a frontier life altogether different from that wreathed round the history of Anglo American borderland. It recalls the cowled monk with his cross, and the soldier close following with his sword; the old mission house, with its church and garrison beside it; the fierce savage lured from a roving life, and changed into a toiling peon , afterwards to revolt against a system of slavery that even religion failed to make endurable; the neophyte turning his hand against his priestly instructor, equally his oppressor; revolt followed by a deluge of blood, with ruinous devastation, until the walls of both mission and military cuartel are left tenantless, and the redskin has returned to his roving.

Such a history has had the city of Chihuahua and the settlements in its neighbourhood. Nor is the latter portion of it all a chronicle of the olden time. Much of it belongs to modern days; ay, similar scenes are transpiring even now. But a few years ago a stranger entering its gates would have seen nailed overhead, and whisked to and fro by the wind, some scores of objects similar to one another, and resembling tufts of hair, long, trailing, and black, as if taken from the manes or tails of horses. But it came not thence; it was human hair; and the patches of skin that served to keep the bunches together had been stripped from human skulls! They were scalps the scalps of Indians, showing that the Comanche and Apache savages had not had it all their own way.

Beside them could be seen other elevated objects of auricle shape, set in rows or circles like a festooning of child peppers strung up for preservation... Continue reading book >>

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