The Case of Summerfield
William Henry Rhodes
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The Case of Summerfield
By William Henry Rhodes
With an Introduction by Geraldine Bonner
The greatest master of the short story our country has known found his
inspiration and produced his best work in California. It is now nearly
forty years since "The Luck of Roaring Camp" appeared, and a line of
successors, more or less worthy, have been following along the trail
blazed by Bret Harte. They have given us matter of many kinds,
realistic, romantic, tragic, humorous, weird. In this mass of material
much that was good has been lost. The columns of newspapers swallowed
some; weeklies, that lived for a brief day, carried others to the grave
with them. Now and then chance or design interposed, and some fragment
of value was not allowed to perish. It is matter for congratulation that
the story in this volume was one of those saved from oblivion.
In 1871 a San Francisco paper published a tale entitled The Case of
Summerfield. The author concealed himself under the name of "Caxton," a
pseudonym unknown at the time. The story made an immediate impression,
and the remote little world by the Golden Gate was shaken into startled
and enquiring astonishment. Wherever people met, The Case of Summerfield
was on men's tongues. Was Caxton's contention possible? Was it true
that, by the use of potassium, water could be set on fire, and that any
one possessing this baneful secret could destroy the world? The
plausibility with which the idea was presented, the bare directness of
the style, added to its convincing power. It sounded too real to be
invention, was told with too frank a simplicity to be all imagination.
People could not decide where truth and fiction blended, and the name of
Caxton leaped into local fame.
The author of the tale was a lawyer, W. H. Rhodes, a man of standing and
ability, interested in scientific research. He had written little; what
time he had been able to spare from his work, had been given to studies
in chemistry whence he had drawn the inspiration for such stories as The
Case of Summerfield. With him the writing of fiction was a pastime, not
a profession. He wrote because he wanted to, from the urgence of an idea
pressing for utterance, not from the more imperious necessity of keeping
the pot boiling and of there being a roof against the rain. Literary
creation was to him a rest, a matter of holiday in the daily round of a
man's labor to provide for his own.
His output was small. One slender volume contains all he wrote: a few
poems, half a dozen stories. In all of these we can feel the spell
exercised over him by the uncanny, the terrible, the weirdly grotesque.
His imagination played round those subjects of fantastic horror which
had so potent an attraction for Fitz James O'Brien, the writer whom he
most resembles. There was something of Poe's cold pleasure in dissecting
the abnormally horrible in "The Story of John Pollexfen," the
photographer, who, in order to discover a certain kind of lens,
experimented with living eyes. His cat and dog each lost an eye, and
finally a young girl was found willing to sell one of hers that she
might have money to help her lover. But none of the other stories shows
the originality and impressively realistic tone which distinguish The
Case of Summerfield. In this he achieved the successful combination of
audacity of theme with a fitting incisiveness of style. It alone rises
above the level of the merely ingenious and clever; it alone of his work
was worth preserving.
Scattered through the ranks of writers, part of whose profession is a
continuous, unflagging output, are these "one story men," who, in some
propitious moment, when the powers of brain and heart are intensified by
a rare and happy alchemy, produce a single masterpiece. The vision and
the dream have once been theirs, and, though they may never again
return, the product of the glowing moment is ours to rejoice in and
wonder at. Unfortunately the value of these accidental triumphs is not
always seen. They go their way and are submerged in the flood of fiction
that the presses pour upon a defenseless country. Now and then one
unexpectedly hears of them, their unfamiliar titles rise to the surface
when writers gather round the table. An investigator in the forgotten
files of magazinedom has found one, and tells of his treasure trove as
the diver of his newly discovered pearl. Then comes a publisher, who,
diligent and patient, draws them from their hiding-places, shakes off
the dust, and gives them to a public which once applauded and has since
Such has been the fate of The Case of Summerfield. Thirty-five years
ago, in the town that clustered along the edge of San Francisco Bay, it
had its brief award of attention. But the San Francisco of that day was
very distant - a gleam on the horizon against the blue line of the
Pacific. It took a mighty impetus to carry its decisions and opinions
across the wall of the Sierra and over the desert to the East. Fame and
reputation, unless the greatest, had not vitality for so long a flight.
So the strange and fantastic story should come as a discovery, the one
remarkable achievement of an unknown author, who, unfortunately, is no
longer here to enjoy an Indian summer of popularity.
The Case of Summerfield
The following manuscript was found among the effects of the late
Leonidas Parker, in relation to one Gregory Summerfield, or, as he was
called at the time those singular events first attracted public notice,
"The Man with a Secret." Parker was an eminent lawyer, a man of firm
will, fond of dabbling in the occult sciences, but never allowing this
tendency to interfere with the earnest practice of his profession. This
astounding narrative is prefaced by the annexed clipping from the Auburn
Messenger of November 1, 1870:
A few days since, we called public attention to the singular conduct of
James G. Wilkins, justice of the peace for the "Cape Horn" district, in
this county, in discharging without trial a man named Parker, who was,
as we still think, seriously implicated in the mysterious death of an
old man named Summerfield, who, our readers will probably remember, met
so tragical an end on the line of the Central Pacific Railroad, in the
month of October last. We have now to record another bold outrage on
public justice, in connection with the same affair. The grand jury of
Placer County has just adjourned, without finding any bill against the
person named above. Not only did they refuse to find a true bill, or to
make any presentment, but they went one step further toward the
exoneration of the offender; they specially ignored the indictment which
our district attorney deemed it his duty to present. The main facts in
relation to the arrest and subsequent discharge of Parker may be summed
up in few words:
It appears that, about the last of October, one Gregory Summerfield, an
old man nearly seventy years of age, in company with Parker, took
passage for Chicago, via the Pacific Railroad, and about the middle of
the afternoon reached the neighborhood of Cape Horn, in this county.
Nothing of any special importance seems to have attracted the attention
of any of the passengers toward these persons until a few moments before
passing the dangerous curve in the track, overlooking the North Fork of
the American River, at the place called Cape Horn. As our readers are
aware, the road at this point skirts a precipice, with rocky
perpendicular sides, extending to the bed of the stream, nearly
seventeen hundred feet below. Before passing the curve, Parker was heard
to comment upon the sublimity of the scenery they were approaching, and
finally requested the old man to leave the car and stand upon the open
platform, in order to obtain a better view of the tremendous chasm and
the mountains just beyond. The two men left the car, and a moment
afterward a cry of horror was heard by all the passengers, and the old
man was observed to fall at least one thousand feet upon the crags
below. The train was stopped for a few moments, but, fearful of a
collision if any considerable length of time should be lost in an
unavailing search for the mangled remains, it soon moved on again, and
proceeded as swiftly as possible to the next station. There the
miscreant Parker was arrested, and conveyed to the office of the nearest
justice of the peace for examination. We understand that he refused to
give any detailed account of the transaction, only that "the deceased
either fell or was thrown from the moving train."
The examination was postponed until the arrival of Parker's counsel,
O'Connell & Kilpatrick, of Grass Valley, and after they reached Cape
Horn not a single word could be extracted from the prisoner. It is said
that the inquisition was a mere farce; there being no witnesses present
except one lady passenger, who, with commendable spirit, volunteered to
lay over one day, to give in her testimony. We also learn that, after
the trial, the justice, together with the prisoner and his counsel, were
closeted in secret session for more than two hours; at the expiration of
which time the judge resumed his seat upon the bench, and discharged the
Now, we have no desire to do injustice toward any of the parties to this
singular transaction, much less to arm public sentiment against an
innocent man. But we do affirm that there is, there must be, some
profound mystery at the bottom of this affair, and we shall do our
utmost to fathom the secret.
Yes, there is a secret and mystery connected with the disappearance of
Summerfield, and the sole object of this communication is to clear it
up, and place myself right in the public estimation. But, in order to do
so, it becomes essentially necessary to relate all the circumstances
connected with my first and subsequent acquaintance with Summerfield. To
do this intelligibly, I shall have to go back twenty-two years.
It is well known amongst my intimate friends that I resided in the late
Republic of Texas for many years antecedent to my immigration to this
State. During the year 1847, whilst but a boy, and residing on the
sea-beach some three or four miles from the city of Galveston, Judge
Wheeler, at that time Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, paid
us a visit, and brought with him a gentleman, whom he had known several
years previously on the Sabine River, in the eastern part of that State.
This gentleman was introduced to us by the name of Summerfield. At that
time he was past the prime of life, slightly gray, and inclined to
corpulency. He was of medium height, and walked proudly erect, as though
conscious of superior mental attainments. His face was one of those
which, once seen, can never be forgotten. The forehead was broad, high,
and protuberant. It was, besides, deeply graven with wrinkles, and
altogether was the most intellectual that I had ever seen. It bore some
resemblance to that of Sir Isaac Newton, but still more to Humboldt or
Webster. The eyes were large, deep-set, and lustrous with a light that
seemed kindled in their own depths. In color they were gray, and whilst
in conversation absolutely blazed with intellect. His mouth was large,
but cut with all the precision of a sculptor's chiseling. He was rather
pale, but, when excited, his complexion lit up with a sudden rush of
ruddy flushes, that added something like beauty to his half-sad and
half-sardonic expression. A word and a glance told me at once, this is a
most extraordinary man.
Judge Wheeler knew but little of the antecedents of Summerfield. He was
of Northern birth, but of what State it is impossible to say definitely.
Early in life he removed to the frontier of Arkansas, and pursued for
some years the avocation of village schoolmaster. It was the suggestion
of Judge Wheeler that induced him to read law. In six months' time he
had mastered Story's Equity, and gained an important suit, based upon
one of its most recondite principles. But his heart was not in the legal
profession, and he made almost constant sallies into the fields of
science, literature and art. He was a natural mathematician and was the
most profound and original arithmetician in the Southwest. He frequently
computed the astronomical tables for the almanacs of New Orleans,
Pensacola and Mobile, and calculated eclipse, transit and observations
with ease and perfect accuracy. He was also deeply read in metaphysics,
and wrote and published, in the old Democratic Review for 1846, an
article on the "Natural Proof of the Existence of a Deity," that for
beauty of language, depth of reasoning, versatility of illustration, and
compactness of logic, has never been equaled. The only other publication
which at that period he had made, was a book that astonished all of his
friends, both in title and execution. It was called "The Desperadoes of
the West," and purported to give minute details of the lives of some of
the most noted duelists and bloodstained villains in the Western States.
But the book belied its title. It is full of splendid description and
original thought. No volume in the language contains so many eloquent
passages and such gorgeous imagery, in the same space. His plea for
immortality, on beholding the execution of one of the most noted
culprits of Arkansas, has no parallel in any living language for beauty
of diction and power of thought. As my sole object in this communication
is to defend myself, some acquaintance with the mental resources of
Summerfield is absolutely indispensable; for his death was the immediate
consequence of his splendid attainments. Of chemistry he was a complete
master. He describes it in his article on a Deity, above alluded to, as
the "Youngest Daughter of the Sciences, born amid flames, and cradled in
rollers of fire." If there were any one science to which he was more
specially devoted than to any and all others, it was chemistry. But he
really seemed an adept in all, and shone about everywhere with equal
Many of these characteristics were mentioned by Judge Wheeler at the
time of Summerfield's visit to Galveston, but others subsequently came
to my knowledge, after his retreat to Brownsville, on the banks of the
Rio Grande. There he filled the position of Judge of the District Court,
and such was his position just previous to his arrival in this city in
the month of September of the past year.
One day, toward the close of last September, an old man rapped at my
office door, and on invitation came in, and advancing, called me by
name. Perceiving that I did not at first recognize him, he introduced
himself as Gregory Summerfield. After inviting him to a seat, I
scrutinized his features more closely, and quickly identified him as the
same person whom I had met twenty-two years before. He was greatly
altered in appearance, but the lofty forehead and the gray eye were
still there, unchanged and unchangeable. He was not quite so stout, but
more ruddy in complexion, and exhibited some symptoms, as I then
thought, of intemperate drinking. Still there was the old charm of
intellectual superiority in his conversation, and I welcomed him to
California as an important addition to her mental wealth.
It was not many minutes before he requested a private interview. He
followed me into my back office, carefully closed the door after him and
locked it. We had scarcely seated ourselves before he inquired of me if
I had noticed any recent articles in the newspapers respecting the
discovery of the art of decomposing water so as to fit it for use as a
fuel for ordinary purposes?
I replied that I had observed nothing new upon that subject since the
experiments of Agassiz and Professor Henry, and added that, in my
opinion, the expensive mode of reduction would always prevent its use.
In a few words he then informed me that he had made the discovery that
the art was extremely simple, and the expense attending the
decomposition so slight as to be insignificant.
Presuming then that the object of his visit to me was to procure the
necessary forms to get out a patent for the right, I congratulated him
upon his good fortune, and was about to branch forth with a description
of some of the great benefits that must ensue to the community, when he
suddenly and somewhat uncivilly requested me to "be silent," and listen
to what he had to say.
He began with some general remarks about the inequality of fortune
amongst mankind, and instanced himself as a striking example of the fate
of those men, who, according to all the rules of right, ought to be near
the top, instead of at the foot of the ladder of fortune. "But," said
he, springing to his feet with impulsive energy, "I have now the means
at my command of rising superior to fate, or of inflicting incalculable
ills upon the whole human race."
Looking at him more closely, I thought I could detect in his eye the
gleam of madness; but I remained silent and awaited further
developments. But my scrutiny, stolen as it was, had been detected, and
he replied at once to the expression of my face: "No, sir; I am neither
drunk nor a maniac; I am in deep earnest in all that I say; and I am
fully prepared, by actual experiment, to demonstrate beyond all doubt
the truth of all I claim.
For the first time I noticed that he carried a small portmanteau in his
hand; this he placed upon the table, unlocked it, and took out two or
three small volumes, a pamphlet or two, and a small, square,
wide-mouthed vial, hermetically sealed.
I watched him with profound curiosity, and took note of his slightest
movements. Having arranged his books to suit him, and placed the vial in
a conspicuous position, he drew up his chair very closely to my own, and
uttered in a half-hissing tone: "I demand one million dollars for the
contents of that bottle; and you must raise it for me in the city of San
Francisco within one month, or scenes too terrible even for the
imagination to conceive, will surely be witnessed by every living human
being on the face of the globe."
The tone, the manner, and the absurd extravagance of the demand, excited
a faint smile upon my lips, which he observed, but disdained to notice.
My mind was fully made up that I had a maniac to deal with, and I
prepared to act accordingly. But I ascertained at once that my inmost
thoughts were read by the remarkable man before me, and seemed to be
anticipated by him in advance of their expression.
"Perhaps," said I, "Mr. Summerfield, you would oblige me by informing me
fully of the grounds of your claim, and the nature of your discovery."
"That is the object of my visit," he replied. "I claim to have
discovered the key which unlocks the constituent gases of water, and
frees each from the embrace of the other, at a single touch."
"You mean to assert," I rejoined, "that you can make water burn itself
"Nothing more nor less," he responded, "except this: to insist upon the
consequences of the secret, if my demand be not at once complied with."
Then, without pausing for a moment to allow me to make a suggestion, as
I once or twice attempted to do, he proceeded in a clear and deliberate
manner, in these words: "I need not inform you, sir, that when this
earth was created, it consisted almost wholly of vapor, which, by
condensation, finally became water. The oceans now occupy more than
two-thirds of the entire surface of the globe. The continents are mere
islands in the midst of the seas. They are everywhere oceanbound, and
the hyperborean north is hemmed in by open polar seas. Such is my first
proposition. My second embraces the constituent elements of water. What
is that thing which we call water? Chemistry, that royal queen of all
the sciences, answers readily: 'Water is but the combination of two
gases, oxygen and hydrogen, and in the proportion of eight to one.' In
other words, in order to form water, take eight parts of oxygen and one
of hydrogen, mix them together, and the result or product is water. You
smile, sir, because, as you very properly think, these are the
elementary principles of science, and are familiar to the minds of every
schoolboy twelve years of age. Yes! but what next? Suppose you take
these same gases and mix them in any other proportion, I care not what,
and the instantaneous result is heat, flame, combustion of the intensest
description. The famous Drummond Light, that a few years ago astonished
Europe what is that but the ignited flame of a mixture of oxygen and
hydrogen projected against a small piece of lime? What was harmless as
water, becomes the most destructive of all known objects when decomposed
and mixed in any other proportion.
"Now, suppose I fling the contents of this small vial into the Pacific
Ocean, what would be the result? Dare you contemplate it for an instant?
I do not assert that the entire surface of the sea would instantaneously
bubble up into insufferable flames; no, but from the nucleus of a
circle, of which this vial would be the center, lurid radii of flames
would gradually shoot outward, until the blazing circumference would
roll in vast billows of fire, upon the uttermost shores. Not all the
dripping clouds of the deluge could extinguish it. Not all the tears of
saints and angels could for an instant check its progress. On and onward
it would sweep, with the steady gait of destiny, until the continents
would melt with fervent heat, the atmosphere glare with the ominous
conflagration, and all living creatures, in land and sea and air, perish
in one universal catastrophe."
Then suddenly starting to his feet, he drew himself up to his full
height, and murmured solemnly, "I feel like a God! and I recognize my
fellow-men but as pygmies that I spurn beneath my feet."
"Summerfield," said I calmly," there must be some strange error in all
this. You are self-deluded. The weapon which you claim to wield is one
that a good God and a beneficent Creator would never intrust to the
keeping of a mere creature. What, sir! create a world as grand and
beautiful as this, and hide within its bosom a principle that at any
moment might inwrap it in flames, and sink all life in death? I'll not
believe it; 't were blasphemy to entertain the thought!"
"And yet," cried he passionately, "your Bible prophesies the same
irreverence. Look at your text in 2d Peter, third chapter, seventh and
twelfth verses. Are not the elements to melt with fervent heat? Are not
the 'heavens to be folded together like a scroll?' Are not 'the rocks to
melt, the stars to fall, and the moon to be turned into blood?' Is not
fire the next grand cyclic consummation of all things here below? But I
come fully prepared to answer such objections. Your argument betrays a
narrow mind, circumscribed in its orbit, and shallow in its depth. 'Tis
the common thought of mediocrity. You have read books too much, and
studied nature too little. Let me give you a lesson today in the
workshop of Omnipotence. Take a stroll with me into the limitless
confines of space, and let us observe together some of the scenes
transpiring at this very instant around us. A moment ago you spoke of
the moon: what is she but an extinguished world? You spoke of the sun:
what is he but a globe of flame? But here is the Cosmos of Humboldt.
Read this paragraph."
As he said this he placed before me the Cosmos of Humboldt, and I read
Nor do the Heavens themselves teach unchangeable permanency in the works
of creation. Change is observable there quite as rapid and complete as
in the confines of our solar system. In the year 1752, one of the small
stars in the constellation Cassiopeia blazed up suddenly into an orb of
the first magnitude, gradually decreased in brilliancy, and finally
disappeared from the skies. Nor has it ever been visible since that
period for a single moment, either to the eye or to the telescope. It
burned up and was lost in space.
"Humboldt," he added," has not told us who set that world on fire!
"But," resumed he, "I have still clearer proofs."
Saying this, he thrust into my hands the last London Quarterly, and on
opening the book at an article headed "The Language of Light," I read
with a feeling akin to awe, the following passage:
Further, some stars exhibit changes of complexion in themselves. Sirius,
as before stated, was once a ruddy, or rather a fiery-faced orb, but has
now forgotten to blush, and looks down upon us with a pure, brilliant
smile, in which there is no trace either of anger or of shame. On the
countenances of others, still more varied traits have rippled, within a
much briefer period of time. May not these be due to some physiological
revolutions, general or convulsive, which are in progress in the
particular orb, and which, by affecting the constitution of its
atmosphere, compel the absorption or promote the transmission of
particular rays? The supposition appears by no means improbable,
especially if we call to mind the hydrogen volcanoes which have been
discovered on the photosphere of the sun. Indeed, there are a few small
stars which afford a spectrum of bright lines instead of dark ones, and
this we know denotes a gaseous or vaporized state of things, from which
it maybe inferred that such orbs are in a different condition from most
of their relations.
And, as if for the very purpose of throwing light upon this interesting
question, an event of the most striking character occurred in the
heavens, almost as soon as the spectroscopists were prepared to
interpret it correctly.
On the 12th of May, 1866, a great conflagration, infinitely larger than
that of London or Moscow, was announced. To use the expression of a
distinguished astronomer, a world was found to be on fire! A star, which
till then had shone weakly and unobtrusively in the corona borealis,
suddenly blazed up into a luminary of the second magnitude. In the
course of three days from its discovery in this new character, by
Birmingham, at Tuam, it had declined to the third or fourth order of
brilliancy. In twelve days, dating from its first apparition in the
Irish heavens, it had sunk to the eighth rank, and it went on waning
until the 26th of June, when it ceased to be discernible except through
the medium of the telescope. This was a remarkable, though certainly not
an unprecedented proceeding on the part of a star; but one singular
circumstance in its behavior was that, after the lapse of nearly two
months, it began to blaze up again, though not with equal ardor, and
after maintaining its glow for a few weeks, and passing through sundry
phases of color, it gradually paled its fires, and returned to its
former insignificance. How many years had elapsed since this awful
conflagration actually took place, it would be presumptuous to guess;
but it must be remembered that news from the heavens, though carried by
the fleetest of messengers, light, reaches us long after the event has
transpired, and that the same celestial carrier is still dropping the
tidings at each station it reaches in space, until it sinks exhausted by
the length of its flight.
As the star had suddenly flamed up, was it not a natural supposition
that it had become inwrapped in burning hydrogen, which in consequence
of some great convulsion had been liberated in prodigious quantities,
and then combining with other elements, had set this hapless world on
fire? In such a fierce conflagration, the combustible gas would soon be
consumed, and the glow would therefore begin to decline, subject, as in
this case, to a second eruption, which occasioned the renewed outburst
of light on the 20th of August.
By such a catastrophe, it is not wholly impossible that our own globe
may some time be ravaged; for if a word from the Almighty were to
unloose for a few moments the bonds of affinity which unite the elements
of water, a single spark would bring them together with a fury that
would kindle the funeral pyre of the human race, and be fatal to the
planet and all the works that are thereon.
"Your argument," he then instantly added, "is by no means a good one.
What do we know of the Supreme Architect of the Universe, or of his
designs? He builds up worlds, and he pulls them down; he kindles suns
and he extinguishes them. He inflames the comet, in one portion of its
orbit, with a heat that no human imagination can conceive of; and in
another, subjects the same blazing orb to a cold intenser than that
which invests forever the antarctic pole. All that we know of Him we
gather through His works. I have shown you that He burns other worlds,
why not this? The habitable parts of our globe are surrounded by water,
and water you know is fire in possibility."
"But all this," I rejoined, "is pure, baseless, profitless speculation."
"Not so fast," he answered. And then rising, he seized the small vial,
and handing it to me, requested me to open it.
I confess I did so with some trepidation.
"Now smell it."
I did so.
"What odor do you perceive?"
"Potassium," I replied.
"Of course," he added, "you are familiar with the chief characteristic
of that substance. It ignites instantly when brought in contact with
water. Within that little globule of potassium, I have imbedded a pill
of my own composition and discovery. The moment it is liberated from the
potassium, it commences the work of decomposing the fluid on which it
floats. The potassium at once ignites the liberated oxygen, and the
conflagration of this mighty globe is begun."
"Yes," said I, "begun, if you please, but your little pill soon
evaporates or sinks, or melts in the surrounding seas, and your
conflagration ends just where it began."
"My reply to that suggestion could be made at once by simply testing the
experiment on a small scale, or a large one, either. But I prefer at
present to refute your proposition by an argument drawn from nature
herself. If you correctly remember, the first time I had the pleasure of
seeing you was on the island of Galveston, many years ago. Do you
remember relating to me at that time an incident concerning the effects
of a prairie on fire, that you had yourself witnessed but a few days
previously, near the town of Matagorde? If I recollect correctly, you
stated that on your return journey from that place, you passed on the
way the charred remains of two wagon-loads of cotton, and three human
beings, that the night before had perished in the flames; that three
slaves, the property of a Mr. Horton, had started a few days before to
carry to market a shipment of cotton; that a norther overtook them on a
treeless prairie, and a few minutes afterward they were surprised by
beholding a line of rushing fire, surging, roaring and advancing like
the resistless billows of an ocean swept by a gale; that there was no
time for escape, and they perished terribly in fighting the devouring
"Yes; I recollect the event."
Now, then, I wish a reply to the simple question: Did the single spark,
that kindled the conflagration, consume the negroes and their charge?
No? But what did? You reply, of course, that the spark set the entire
prairie on fire; that each spear of grass added fuel to the flame, and
kindled by degrees a conflagration that continued to burn so long as it
could feed on fresh material. The pilule in that vial is the little
spark, the oceans are the prairies, and the oxygen the fuel upon which
the fire is to feed until the globe perishes in inextinguishable flames.
The elementary substances in that small vial recreate themselves; they
are self-generating, and when once fairly under way must necessarily
sweep onward, until the waters in all the seas are exhausted. There is,
however, one great difference between the burning of a prairie and the
combustion of an ocean: the fire in the first spreads slowly, for the
fuel is difficult to ignite; in the last, it flies with the rapidity of
the wind, for the substance consumed is oxygen, the most inflammable
agent in nature."
Rising from my seat, I went to the washstand in the corner of the
apartment, and drawing a bowl half full of Spring Valley water, I turned
to Summerfield, and remarked, "Words are empty, theories are ideal - but
facts are things."
"I take you at your word." So saying, he approached the bowl, emptied it
of nine-tenths of its contents, and silently dropped the
potassium-coated pill into the liquid. The potassium danced around the
edges of the vessel, fuming, hissing, and blazing, as it always does,
and seemed on the point of expiring - when, to my astonishment and
alarm, a sharp explosion took place, and in a second of time the water
was blazing in a red, lurid column, half way to the ceiling.
"For God's sake," I cried, "extinguish the flames, or we shall set the
building on fire!"
"Had I dropped the potassium into the bowl as you prepared it," he
quietly remarked, "the building would indeed have been consumed."
Lower and lower fell the flickering flames, paler and paler grew the
blaze, until finally the fire went out, and I rushed up to see the
effects of the combustion.
Not a drop of water remained in the vessel! Astonished beyond measure at
what I had witnessed, and terrified almost to the verge of insanity, I
approached Summerfield, and tremblingly inquired, "To whom, sir, is this
tremendous secret known?" "To myself alone," he responded; "and now
answer me a question: is it worth the money?"
* * * * * * *
It is entirely unnecessary to relate in detail the subsequent events
connected with this transaction. I will only add a general statement,
showing the results of my negotiations. Having fully satisfied myself
that Summerfield actually held in his hands the fate of the whole world,
with its millions of human beings, and by experiment having tested the
combustion of sea-water, with equal facility as fresh, I next deemed it
my duty to call the attention of a few of the principal men in San
Francisco to the extreme importance of Summerfield's discovery.
A leading banker, a bishop, a chemist, two State university professors,
a physician, a judge, and two Protestant divines, were selected by me to
witness the experiment on a large scale. This was done at a small
sand-hill lake, near the seashore, but separated from it by a ridge of
lofty mountains, distant not more than ten miles from San Francisco.
Every single drop of water in the pool was burnt up in less than fifteen
minutes. We next did all that we could to pacify Summerfield, and
endeavored to induce him to lower his price and bring it within the
bounds of a reasonable possibility. But without avail. He began to grow
urgent in his demands, and his brow would cloud like a tempest-ridden
sky whenever we approached him on the subject. Finally, ascertaining
that no persuasion could soften his heart or touch his feelings, a
sub-committee was appointed, to endeavor, if possible, to raise the
money by subscription. Before taking that step, however, we ascertained
beyond all question that Summerfield was the sole custodian of his dread
secret, and that he kept no written memorial of the formula of his
prescription. He even went so far as to offer us a penal bond that his
secret should perish with him in case we complied with his demands.
The sub-committee soon commenced work amongst the wealthiest citizens of
San Francisco, and by appealing to the terrors of a few, and the
sympathies of all, succeeded in raising one-half the amount within the
prescribed period. I shall never forget the woe-begone faces of
California Street during the month of October. The outside world and the
newspapers spoke most learnedly of a money panic - a pressure in
business, and the disturbances in the New York gold-room. But to the
initiated, there was an easier solution of the enigma. The pale spectre
of Death looked down upon them all, and pointed with its bony finger to
the fiery tomb of the whole race, already looming up in the distance
before them. Day after day, I could see the dreadful ravages of this
secret horror; doubly terrible, since they dared not divulge it. Still,
do all that we could, the money could not be obtained. The day preceding
the last one given, Summerfield was summoned before the committee, and
full information given him of the state of affairs. Obdurate, hard and
cruel, he still continued. Finally, a proposition was started, that an
attempt should be made to raise the other half of the money in the city
of New York. To this proposal Summerfield ultimately yielded, but with
extreme reluctance. It was agreed in committee that I should accompany
him thither, and take with me, in my own possession, evidences of the
sums subscribed here; that a proper appeal should be made to the leading
capitalists, scholars and clergymen of that metropolis, and that, when
the whole amount was raised, it should be paid over to Summerfield, and
a bond taken from him never to divulge his awful secret to any human
With this, he seemed to be satisfied, and left us to prepare for his
going the next morning.
As soon as he left the apartment, the bishop rose, and deprecated the
action that had been taken, and characterized it as childish and absurd.
He declared that no man was safe one moment whilst "that diabolical
wretch" still lived; that the only security for us all was in his
immediate extirpation from the face of the earth, and that no amount of
money could seal his lips, or close his hands. It would be no crime, he
said, to deprive him of the means of assassinating the whole human
family, and that as for himself he was for dooming him to immediate
With a unanimity that was extraordinary, the entire committee coincided.
A great many plans were proposed, discussed and rejected, having in view
the extermination of Summerfield. In them all there was the want of that
proper caution which would lull the apprehensions of an enemy; for
should he for an instant suspect treachery, we knew his nature well
enough to be satisfied, that he would waive all ceremonies and carry his
threats into immediate execution.
It was finally resolved that the trip to New York should not be
abandoned, apparently. But that we were to start out in accordance with
the original program; that during the journey, some proper means should
be resorted to by me to carry out the final intentions of the committee,
and that whatever I did would be sanctioned by them all, and full
protection, both in law and conscience, afforded me in any stage of the
Nothing was wanting but my own consent; but this was difficult to
At the first view, it seemed to be a most horrible and unwarrantable
crime to deprive a fellow-being of life, under any circumstances; but
especially so where, in meeting his fate, no opportunity was to be
afforded him for preparation or repentance. It was a long time before I
could disassociate, in my mind, the two ideas of act and intent. My
studies had long ago made me perfectly familiar with the doctrine of the
civil law, that in order to constitute guilt, there must be a union of
action and intention. Taking the property of another is not theft,
unless, as the lawyers term it, there is the animus furandi. So, in
homicide, life may be lawfully taken in some instances, whilst the deed
may be excused in others. The sheriff hangs the felon and deprives him
of existence; yet nobody thinks of accusing the officer of murder. The
soldier slays his enemy, still the act is considered heroical. It does
not therefore follow that human life is too sacred to be taken away
under all circumstances. The point to be considered was thus narrowed
down into one grand inquiry, whether Summerfield was properly to be
regarded as hostis humani generis, the enemy of the human race, or not.
If he should justly be so considered, then it would not only be not a
crime to kill him, but an act worthy of the highest commendation. Who
blamed McKenzie for hanging Spencer to the yard-arm? Yet in his case,
the lives of only a small ship's crew were in jeopardy. Who condemned
Pompey for exterminating the pirates from the Adriatic? Yet, in his
case, only a small portion of the Roman Republic was liable to
devastation. Who accuses Charlotte Corday of assassination for stabbing
Marat in his bath? Still, her arm only saved the lives of a few
thousands of revolutionary Frenchmen. And to come down to our own times,
who heaps accusation upon the heads of Lincoln, Thomas or Sheridan, or
even Grant, though in marching to victory over a crushed rebellion, they
deemed it necessary to wade through seas of human gore? If society has
the right to defend itself from the assaults of criminals, who, at best,
can only destroy a few of its members, why should I hesitate when it was
apparent that the destiny of the globe itself hung in the balance? If
Summerfield should live and carry out his threats, the whole world would
feel the shock; his death was the only path to perfect safety.
I asked the privilege of meditation for one hour, at the hands of the
committee, before I would render a decision either way. During that
recess the above argumentation occupied my thoughts. The time expired,
and I again presented myself before them. I did not deem it requisite to
state the grounds of my decision; I briefly signified my assent, and
made instant preparation to carry the plan into execution.
Having passed on the line of the Pacific Railway more than once, I was
perfectly familiar with all of its windings, gorges and precipices.
I selected Cape Horn as the best adapted to the purpose, and . . . the
public knows the rest.
Having been fully acquitted by two tribunals of the law, I make this
final appeal to my fellowmen throughout the State, and ask them
confidently not to reverse the judgments already pronounced.
I am conscious of no guilt; I feel no remorse; I need no repentance. For
me justice has no terrors, and conscience no sting. Let me be judged
solely by the motives which actuated me, and the importance of the end
accomplished, and I shall pass, unscathed, both temporal and eternal
The following additional particulars, as sequel to the Summerfield
homicide, have been furnished by an Auburn correspondent:
Mr. Editor: The remarkable confession of the late Leonidas Parker, which
appeared in your issue of the 13th ultimo, has given rise to a series of
disturbances in this neighborhood, which, for romantic interest and
downright depravity, have seldom been surpassed, even in California.
Before proceeding to relate in detail the late transactions, allow me to
remark that the wonderful narrative of Parker excited throughout this
county sentiments of the most profound and contradictory character. I,
for one, halted between two opinions - horror and incredulity; and
nothing but subsequent events could have fully satisfied me of the
unquestionable veracity of your San Francisco correspondent, and the
scientific authenticity of the facts related.
The doubt with which the story was at first received in this community -
and which found utterance in a burlesque article in an obscure country
journal, the Stars and Stripes, of Auburn - has finally been dispelled,
and we find ourselves forced to admit that we stand even now in the
presence of the most alarming fate. Too much credit cannot be awarded to
our worthy coroner for the promptitude of his action, and we trust that
the Governor of the State will not be less efficient in the discharge of
[Since the above letter was written the following proclamation has been
issued. - P. J.]
Proclamation of the Governor.
Department of State.
By virtue of the authority in me vested, I do hereby offer the above
reward of ten thousand dollars, in gold coin of the United States, for
the arrest of Bartholomew Graham, familiarly known as "Black Bart." Said
Graham is accused of the murder of C. P. Gillson, late of Auburn, county
of Placer, on the 14th ultimo. He is five feet ten inches and a half in
height, thick set, has a mustache sprinkled with gray, grizzled hair,
clear blue eyes, walks stooping, and served in the late civil war, under
Price and Quantrell, in the Confederate army. He may be lurking in some
of the mining-camps near the foot-hills, as he was a Washoe teamster
during the Comstock excitement. The above reward will be paid for him,
dead or alive, as he possessed himself of an important secret by robbing
the body of the late Gregory Summerfield.
By the Governor: H. G. Nicholson,
Secretary of State.
Given at Sacramento, this the fifth day of June, 1871.
Our correspondent continues:
I am sorry to say that Sheriff Higgins has not been so active in the
discharge of his duty as the urgency of the case required, but he is
perhaps excusable on account of the criminal interference of the editor
above alluded to. But I am detaining you from more important matters.
Your Saturday's paper reached here at 4 o'clock Saturday,13th May, and,
as it now appears from the evidence taken before the coroner, several
persons left Auburn on the same errand, but without any previous
conference. Two of these were named respectively Charles P. Gillson and
Bartholomew Graham, or, as he was usually called, "Black Bart." Gillson
kept a saloon at the corner of Prickly Ash Street and the Old Spring
Road; and Black Bart was in the employ of Conrad & Co., keepers of the
Norfolk Livery Stable. Gillson was a son-in-law of ex-Governor Roberts,
of Iowa, and leaves a wife and two children to mourn his untimely end.
As for Graham, nothing certain is known of his antecedents. It is said
that he was engaged in the late robbery of Wells & Fargo's express at
Grizzly Bend, and that he was an habitual gambler. Only one thing about
him is certainly well known: he was a lieutenant in the Confederate
army, and served under General Price and the outlaw Quantrell. He was a
man originally of fine education, plausible manners and good family, but
strong drink seems early in life to have overmastered him, and left him
but a wreck of himself. But he was not incapable of generous or, rather,
romantic acts; for, during the burning of the Putnam House in this town
last summer, he rescued two ladies from the flames. In so doing he
scorched his left hand so seriously as to contract the tendons of two
fingers, and this very scar may lead to his apprehension. There is no
doubt about his utter desperation of character, and, if taken at all, it
will probably be not alive.
So much for the persons concerned in the tragedy at the Flat.
Herewith I inclose copies of the testimony of the witnesses examined
before the coroner's jury, together with the statement of Gillson, taken
in articulo mortis:
Deposition of Dollie Adams.
State of California, }
County of Placer. } ss.
Said witness, being duly sworn, deposes as follows, to wit: My name is
Dolly Adams, my age forty-seven years; I am the wife of Frank G. Adams,
of this township, and reside on the North Fork of the American River,
below Cape Horn, on Thompson's Flat. About one o'clock p. m., May 14,
1871, I left the cabin to gather wood to cook dinner for my husband and
the hands at work for him on the claim. The trees are mostly cut away
from the bottom, and I had to climb some distance up the mountainside
before I could get enough to kindle the fire. I had gone about five
hundred yards from the cabin, and was searching for small sticks of
fallen timber, when I thought I heard some one groan, as if in pain. I
paused and listened; the groaning became more distinct, and I started at
once for the place whence the sounds proceeded; about ten steps off I
discovered the man whose remains lie there (pointing to the deceased),
sitting up, with his back against a big rock. He looked so pale that I
thought him already dead, but he continued to moan until I reached his
side. Hearing me approach, he opened his eyes, and begged me, "For God's
sake, give me a drop of water!" I asked him, "What is the matter?" He
replied, " I am shot in the back." "Dangerously?" I demanded. "Fatally!"
he faltered. Without waiting to question him further, I returned to the
cabin, told Zenie, my daughter, what I had seen, and sent her off on a
run for the men. Taking with me a gourd of water, some milk and bread -
for I thought the poor gentleman might be hungry and weak, as well as
wounded - I hurried back to his side, where I remained until "father" -
as we all call my husband - came with the men. We removed him as gently
as we could to the cabin; then sent for Dr. Liebner, and nursed him
until he died, yesterday, just at sunset.
Question by the Coroner: Did you hear his statement, taken down by the
Assistant District-Attorney? - A. I did.
Q. Did you see him sign it? - A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is this your signature thereto as witness? - A. It is, sir.
(Signed) Dollie Adams.
Deposition of Miss X. V. Adams.
Being first duly sworn, witness testified as follows: My name is Xixenia
Volumnia Adams; I am the daughter of Frank G. Adams and the last
witness; I reside with them on the Flat, and my age is eighteen years. A
little past one o'clock on Sunday last my mother came running into the
house and informed me that a man was dying on the side-hill, from a
wound, and that I must go for father and the boys immediately. I ran as
fast as my legs would carry me to where they were "cleaning up," for
they never cleaned up week-days on the Flat, and told the news; we all
came back together and proceeded to the spot where the wounded man lay
weltering in his blood; he was cautiously removed to the cabin, where he
lingered until yesterday sundown, when he died.
Question. Did he speak after he reached the cabin? - A. He did
frequently; at first with great pain, but afterward more audibly and
Q. What did he say? - A. First, to send for Squire Jacobs, the Assistant
District-Attorney, as he had a statement to make; and some time
afterward, to send for his wife; but we first of all sent for the
Q. Who was present when he died? - A. Only myself; he had appeared a
great deal easier, and his wife had lain down to take a short nap, and
my mother had gone to the spring and left me alone to watch. Suddenly he
lifted himself spasmodically in bed, glared around wildly and muttered
something inaudible; seeing me, he cried out, "Run! run! run! He has it!
Black Bart has got the vial! Quick! or he'll set the world afire! See,
he opens it! O my God! Look! look! look! Hold his hands! tie him! chain
him down! Too late! too late! oh, the flames! Fire! fire! fire!" His
tone of voice gradually strengthened until the end of his raving; when
he cried "fire!" his eyeballs glared, his mouth quivered, his body
convulsed, and before Mrs. Gillson could reach his bedside he fell back
stone dead. (Signed) X. V. Adams.
The testimony of Adams corroborated in every particular that of his wife
and daughter, but set forth more fully the particulars of his demoniac
ravings. He would taste nothing from a glass or bottle, but shuddered
whenever any article of that sort met his eyes. In fact, they had to
remove from the room the cups, tumblers, and even the castors. At times
he spoke rationally, but after the second day only in momentary flashes
The deposition of the attending physician, after giving the general
facts with regard to the sickness of the patient and his subsequent
demise, proceeded thus:
I found the patient weak, and suffering from loss of blood and rest, and
want of nourishment; occasionally sane, but for the most part flighty
and in a comatose condition. The wound was an ordinary gunshot wound,
produced most probably by the ball of a navy revolver, fired at the
distance of ten paces. It entered the back near the left clavicle,
beneath the scapula, close to the vertebrae between the intercostal
spaces of the fifth and sixth ribs; grazing the pericardium it traversed
the mediastinum, barely touching the oesophagus, and vena azygos, but
completely severing the thoracic duct, and lodging in the xiphoid
portion of the sternum. Necessarily fatal, there was no reason, however,
why the patient could not linger for a week or more; but it is no less
certain that from the effect of the wound he ultimately died. I
witnessed the execution of the paper shown to me - as the statement of
deceased - at his request; and at the time of signing the same he was in
his perfect senses. It was taken down in my presence by Jacobs, the
Assistant District-Attorney of Placer County, and read over to the
deceased before he affixed his signature. I was not present when he
breathed his last, having been called away by my patients in the town of
Auburn, but I reached his bedside shortly afterward. In my judgment, no
amount of care or medical attention could have prolonged his life more
than a few days.
(Signed) Karl Liebner, M. D.
The statement of the deceased was then introduced to the jury as
People of the State of California, }
Bartholomew Graham. }
Statement and Dying Confession of Charles P. Gillson, taken in articulo
mortis by George Simpson, Notary Public.
On the morning of Sunday, the 14th day of May, 1871, I left Auburn alone
in search of the body of the late Gregory Summerfield, who was reported
to have been pushed from the cars at Cape Horn, in this county, by one
Leonidas Parker, since deceased. It was not fully light when I reached
the track of the Central Pacific Railroad. Having mined at an early day
on Thompson's Flat, at the foot of the rocky promontory now called Cape
Horn, I was familiar with the zigzag paths leading down that steep
precipice. One was generally used as a descent, the other as an ascent
from the caņon below. I chose the latter, as being the freest from the
chance of observation. It required the greatest caution to thread the
narrow gorge; but I finally reached the rocky bench, about one thousand
feet below the grade of the railroad. It was now broad daylight, and I
commenced cautiously the search for Summerfield's body. There is quite a
dense undergrowth of shrubs thereabouts, lining the interstices of the
granite rocks so as to obscure the vision even at a short distance.
Brushing aside a thick manzanita bush, I beheld the dead man at the same
instant of time that another person arrived like an apparition upon the
spot. It was Bartholomew Graham, known as "Black Bart." We suddenly
confronted each other, the skeleton of Summerfield lying exactly between
us. Our recognition was mutual. Graham advanced, and I did the same; he
stretched out his hand and we greeted one another across the prostrate
Before releasing my hand, Black Bart exclaimed in a hoarse whisper,
"Swear, Gillson, in the presence of the dead, that you will forever be
faithful, never betray me, and do exactly as I bid you, as long as you
I looked him full in the eye. Fate sat there, cold and remorseless as
stone. I hesitated; with his left hand he slightly raised the lapels of
his coat, and grasped the handle of a navy revolver.
"Swear!" again he cried.
As I gazed, his eyeballs assumed a greenish tint, and his brow darkened
into a scowl. "As your confederate," I answered, "never as your slave."
"Be it so!" was his only reply.
The body was lying upon its back, with the face upwards. The vultures
had despoiled the countenance of every vestige of flesh, and left the
sockets of the eyes empty. Snow and ice and rain had done their work
effectually upon the exposed surfaces of his clothing, and the eagles
had feasted upon the entrails. But underneath, the thick beaver cloth
had served to protect the flesh, and there were some decaying shreds
left of what had once been the terrible but accomplished Gregory
Summerfield. A glance told us all these things. But they did not
interest me so much as another spectacle, that almost froze my blood. In
the skeleton gripe of the right hand, interlaced within the clenched
bones, gleamed the wide-mouthed vial which was the object of our mutual
visit. Graham fell upon his knees, and attempted to withdraw the prize
from the grasp of its dead possessor. But the bones were firm, and when
he finally succeeded in securing the bottle, by a sudden wrench, I heard
the skeleton fingers snap like pipe-stems.
"Hold this a moment, whilst I search the pockets," he commanded.
I did as directed.
He then turned over the corpse, and thrusting his hand into the inner
breast-pocket, dragged out a roll of MSS., matted closely together and
stained by the winter's rains. A further search eventuated in finding a
roll of small gold coin, a set of derringer pistols, a rusted
double-edged dirk, and a pair of silver-mounted spectacles. Hastily
covering over the body with leaves and branches cut from the embowering
shrubs, we shudderingly left the spot.
We slowly descended the gorge toward the banks of the American River,
until we arrived in a small but sequestered thicket, where we threw
ourselves upon the ground. Neither had spoken a word since we left the
scene above described. Graham was the first to break the silence which
to me had become oppressive.
"Let us examine the vial and see if the contents are safe."
I drew it from my pocket and handed it to him.
"Sealed hermetically, and perfectly secure," he added. Saying this, he
deliberately wrapped it up in a handkerchief and placed it in his bosom.
"What shall we do with our prize?" I inquired.
"Our prize?" As he said this he laughed derisively, and cast a most
scornful and threatening glance toward me.
"Yes," I rejoined firmly; "our prize!"
"Gillson," retorted Graham, "you must regard me as a consummate
simpleton, or yourself a Goliath. This bottle is mine, and mine only. It
is a great fortune for one, but of less value than a toadstool for two.
I am willing to divide fairly. This secret would be of no service to a
coward. He would not dare to use it. Your share of the robbery of the
body shall be these MSS.; you can sell them to some poor devil of a
printer, and pay yourself for your day's work."
Saying this he threw the bundle of MSS. at my feet; but I disdained to
touch them. Observing this, he gathered them up safely and replaced them
in his pocket. "As you are unarmed," he said, "it would not be safe for
you to be seen in this neighborhood during daylight. We will both spend
the night here, and just before morning return to Auburn. I will
accompany you part of the distance."
With the sangfroid of a perfect desperado, he then stretched himself out
in the shadow of a small tree, drank deeply from a whiskey flagon which
he produced, and pulling his hat over his eyes, was soon asleep and
snoring. It was a long time before I could believe the evidence of my
own senses. Finally, I approached the ruffian, and placed my hand on his
shoulder. He did not stir a muscle. I listened; I heard only the deep,
slow breathing of profound slumber. Resolved not to be balked and
defrauded by such a scoundrel, I stealthily withdrew the vial from his
pocket and sprang to my feet, just in time to hear the click of a
revolver behind me. I was betrayed! I remember only a flash and an
explosion - a deathly sensation, a whirl of the rocks and trees about
me, a hideous imprecation from the lips of my murderer, and I fell
senseless to the earth. When I awoke to consciousness it was past
midnight. I looked up at the stars, and recognized Lyra shining full in
my face. That constellation, I knew, passed the meridian at this season
of the year after twelve o'clock, and its slow march told me that many
weary hours would intervene before daylight. My right arm was paralyzed,
but I put forth my left, and it rested in a pool of my own blood. "Oh,
for one drop of water!" I exclaimed, faintly; but only the low sighing
of the night blast responded. Again I fainted. Shortly after daylight I
revived, and crawled to the spot where I was discovered on the next day
by the kind mistress of this cabin. You know the rest. I accuse
Bartholomew Graham of my assassination. I do this in the perfect
possession of my senses, and with a full sense of my responsibility to
Almighty God. (Signed) C. P. Gillson.
George Simpson, Notary Public.
Chris. Jacobs, Assistant District-Attorney.
Dollie Adams, } Witnesses.
Karl Liebner, }
The following is a copy of the verdict of the coroner's jury:
County of Placer, }
Cape Horn Township. }
In re C. P. Gillson, late of said county deceased.
We, the undersigned, coroner's jury, summoned in the foregoing case to
examine into the causes of the death of said Gillson, do find that he
came to his death at the hands of Bartholomew Graham, usually called
"Black Bart," on Wednesday, the 17th May, 1871. And we further find said
Graham guilty of murder in the first degree, and recommend his immediate
(Signed) John Quillan,
(Correct:) Wm. A. Thompson.
Thos. J. Alwyn,
The above documents constitute the papers introduced before the coroner.
Should anything of further interest occur, I will keep you fully
advised. Powhattan Jones.
Since the above was in type we have received from our esteemed San
Francisco correspondent the following letter:
San Francisco, June 8, 1871.
Mr. Editor: On entering my office this morning I found a bundle of MSS.
which had been thrown in at the transom over the door, labeled, "The
Summerfield MSS." Attached to them was an unsealed note from one
Bartholomew Graham, in these words:
Dear Sir: These are yours; you have earned them. I commend to your
especial notice the one styled, "De Mundo Comburendo." At a future time
you may hear again from
A casual glance at the papers convinces me that they are of great
literary value. Summerfield's fame never burned so brightly as it does
over his grave. Will you publish the MSS.?
Here ends No. Two Western Classics Containing The Case of Summerfield by
W. H. Rhodes an Introduction by Geraldine Bonner and a Frontispiece
After a Painting by Galen J. Perrett the Typography Designed by J. H.
Nash of this First Edition One Thousand Copies Have Been Issued Printed
on Fabriano Handmade Paper Published by Paul Elder and Company and Done
into a Book for them at the Tomoye Press in the City of New York MCMVII
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