The Young Trail Hunters
Samuel Woodworth Cozzens
Part 4 out of 4
"Well, Jerry, how do you account for his disappearance?" inquired I.
"Angels!" was the sententious reply.
"Pooh!" remarked the matter-of-fact Ned; "angels don't wear clothes and
"How do you know?" inquired Jerry.
"Why, I never heard they did," answered Ned.
"Did you ever hear they didn't?" continued the old man. "I never believed
in 'em much afore then, and I sartin hain't bed no reason to, on this
trip, so far as I know. Now, judge, you're the first one I ever told that
story to; and it's true, every word of it. What do yer reckon become of
him, if 'twain't angels?"
"I can't say, Jerry," was my reply. "That is one of the secrets of the
desert, which I cannot answer."
"Well, I reckon I've talked, about as long as I ought to, at this time of
night; but I've never come this way since then, without thinkin' thet
perhaps I might see him again. I never shall, though, I reckon; and I
s'pose I'd better give up all hopes of it, and may as well go to bed
As soon as he had gone, Ned crawled over to my side, and said, "Do you
really believe that it was an angel Jerry saw?"
I endeavored to explain to the boy, that Jerry had been the victim of one
of those strange illusions defined in Sanskrit, as "The thirst of the
gazelle," which is frequently experienced by travellers in the desert,
causing them to imagine they see those objects in which their souls most
delight, but which exist only, in their imaginations. Nor is it possible,
ever after to convince the beholder, that the vision was not real.
The following day's journey carried us out of the arid, desert country,
through magnificent groves of oak, over beautiful green prairies, and by
ranches, whose cattle were, in truth, "feeding on a thousand hills." The
contrast was as surprising, as it was graceful and pleasing; and, when at
last we reached the summit of the high land that overlooked the beautiful
blue waters of the Pacific, and saw, cozily nestled on the plain below
us, facing the sea, the quaint old town of San Diego, with its
magnificent date-palms, and rare old architecture, we all fairly shouted
The dangers and perils we had passed through, the privations we had
suffered, the petty jealousies that had arisen, the unkind words spoken,
--all were alike forgiven and forgotton in the rapture caused by the sight
of that "shining shore" we had travelled so many weary miles to see.
Our arrival at San Diego was most opportune, for there was a great
scarcity of goods in the market, which enabled us to dispose of ours, at
such prices that we realized a handsome profit, after paying the expenses
of our entire trip.
Indeed, we found ourselves in the possession of so much money, that we
deemed it advisable to hold a consultation, as to the best manner of
Hal declared, that he would speculate with it; and thereby take the
chance of doubling the capital in a few weeks, perhaps days.
Ned was for purchasing a stock of goods in San Francisco, and going into
Jerry declared for a stock-ranche, and I--why, I decided with Jerry, of
"And what do you say, Patsey," called out Ned.
"Well, I'd take the money, an' buy me a new buckskin suit, and sthart
back for the ould country, shure. Divil a day would yez kitch me stoppin'
in a counthry like this, iny longer thin it would take to git out of it."
After properly canvassing the matter, we decided to purchase a ranche,
stock it well with cattle, and place it in charge of old Jerry, with Hal
and Ned as assistants, and Patsey as "general utility boy."
The ranche, under old Jerry's management, has become a valuable piece of
property, branding over a thousand calves the last spring.
Hal, who, since his arrival here, has corresponded regularly with
Juanita, is now on a visit to Chihuahua, and the last letter I received
from him spoke of his marriage as a settled thing in the coming fall.
After that interesting event is over, he proposes to bring his wife home
Ned is one of the most respected and honored citizens of San-Diego
county, and Patsey is growing rich from the profits of a small country
Old Jerry is alive, and insists upon having his camp-fire lighted every
night, smoking his pipe by the cheerful blaze, and telling a story. Then
he spreads his "painter-skin," and "turns in;" for nothing will induce
the old man to sleep within the four walls of a house. He says "it chocks
him right up, so, he can't; fur the life of him, he don't see how a white
man can stan' it."
And now, my dear readers, having crossed the Continent together, and at
last found a home upon the shores of the beautiful Pacific, you and I
must part; but, if you ever chance to visit San Diego, come and see us at
the Buena-Vista stock-ranche, and you shall hear old Jerry tell a "story
of the road," beside his camp-fire, and receive from Hal and Ned a
genuine Western welcome.
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