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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesCasey Ryan - Chapter 22
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Casey Ryan - Chapter 22 Post by :reddee Category :Long Stories Author :B. M. Bower Date :July 2011 Read :621

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Casey Ryan - Chapter 22

CHAPTER XXII

Oddly enough, it was Lucy Lily who unconsciously brought Casey to his rainbow. Lucy Lily did not mean to do Casey any favor, I can assure you, but Fate just took her and used her for the moment, and Lucy Lily had nothing to say about it.

Don't think that a squaw who wants to live like a white princess will forget to go hunting a gold mine whose richness she had seen,--in a lard bucket, perhaps. Lucy Lily did not abandon her bait. She used it again, and a renegade white man snapped at it, worse luck. So they went hunting through the Tippipahs for the mine of Injun Jim. What excuses the squaw made for not being able to lead the man directly to the spot, I can't say, of course; but I suppose she invented plenty.

She did one clever thing, at least. In their wanderings she led the way into the old camp of Injun Jim. There had been no storm to dim the tracks Casey had made, and Lucy Lily, Indian that she was, knew that these were the tracks of Casey Ryan and guessed what was his errand there. So she and her white man trailed him across the valley to Two Peak.

They came first to the camp, and there the Little Woman met them, and by some canny intuition knew who they were and what they wanted,--thanks to Casey's garrulous mood when he told her of Lucy Lily. They said that they were hunting horses, and presently went on over the ridge; not following Casey's plain trail to the tunnel, but riding off at an angle so that they could come into the trail once they were hidden from the house.

Casey, as it happened, was not at the tunnel at all, but over at the gold mine, doing the location work. Doing it in the side hill a good two hundred feet away from the gold streak, too, I will add.

The Little Woman watched until the squaw and her man were out of sight, and then she took a small canteen and filled it, got her rifle, pocketed her automatic revolver, and tied Babe's sunbonnet firmly under Babe's double chin. She could not take the mule, because Casey had ridden him, so she walked, and carried Babe most of the way on her back. She kept to the gulches until she was too far away to be seen in the sage, even when a squaw was squinting sharp-eyed after her.

She came, in the course of two hours or so, to the lip of the canyon, and who-whooed to Casey, mucking out after a shot he had put down in the location hole. Casey looked up, waved his hand and then came running. No whim would send the Little Woman on a four-mile walk with a heavy child like Babe to carry, and Casey was as white as he'll ever get when he met her halfway to the bottom of the canyon.

"Take Babe and let's get back to the claim," she panted. "I came to tell you that squaw is on your trail with a white man in tow, and it'll be a case of claim-jumping if they can see their way tolerably clear. He's a mate for the two you helped me haul out of camp, and I think, Casey Ryan, the squaw would kill you in a minute if she gets the chance."

Casey did rather a funny thing, considering how scared he was usually of the Little Woman. "You pack that kid all the way over here?" he grunted, and picked up the Little Woman and carried her, and left Babe to walk. Of course he helped Babe, holding her hand over the roughest spots, but it was the Little Woman whom he carried the rest of the way. And Babe, if you please, was quite calm about it and never once became "sad" so that she must sit down and cry.

"All the claim-jumpin' they'll do won't hurt nobody," Casey observed unexcitedly, when he had set the Little Woman down on a rock beside his location "cut" in the canyon's side. "She likely picked on a white man so's he could locate under the law, but this claim's located a'ready." He waved a hand toward the monument, a few rods up the canyon. "And Casey Ryan ain't spreadin' no rich gold vein wide open for every prowlin' desert rat to pack off all he kin stagger under. I'm callin' it the Devil's Lantern. You c'n call a mine any name yuh darn want to. And if it wasn't fer the Devil's Lantern, I wouldn't be here. That name won't mean nothin' to 'em. Let 'em come." His eyes turned toward the hidden richness and dwelt there, studying the tracks, big and little, that led up to it, and deciding that tracks do not necessarily mean a gold mine, and that it would be better to leave them as they were and not attempt to cover them.

"You just say it's your claim, if they come snoopin' around here. I'm supposed to be workin' for yuh," he said abruptly, giving her one of his quick, steady glances.

"They can go and read the location notice," the Little Woman pointed out. Casey did not make any reply to that, but picked up his shovel and went to work again, mucking out the dirt and broken rocks which the dynamite had loosened in the cut.

"She's a bird, ain't she?" he grinned over his shoulder, his mind reverting to Lucy Lily. "Did she have on her war paint?"

"She will have, when she sees you," the Little Woman retorted, watching the farther rim of the canyon. Then she remembered Babe and called to her. That youngster was always prospecting around on her own initiative, and she answered shrilly now from up the canyon. The Little Woman stood up, looking that way, never dreaming how wishfully Casey was watching her,-- and how reverently.

"Baby Girl, you must not run off like that! Mother will be compelled to tie a rope on you."

"I was jes' getting--Casey Wyan's--'bacco. Poor Casey Wyan forgot--his 'bacco! He's my frien'. I have to give him his 'bacco," Babe defended herself, coming down from the location monument in small jumps and scrambles. Close to her importantly heaving chest she clutched a small, red tobacco can of the kind which smokers carelessly call "P.A." "Casey Wyan lost it up in the wocks," Babe explained, when her mother met her disapprovingly and caught her by the hand.

"Why, Babe! You've been naughty. This must be Casey Ryan's location notice. It must be left in the rocks, Baby Girl, so people will know that Casey Ryan owns this claim."

"It's his 'bacco!" Babe insisted stubbornly. "Casey Wyan needs his 'bacco."

The Little Woman knew that streak of stubbornness of old. There was just one way to deal with it, and that was to prove to Babe that she was mistaken. So she opened the red can and pulled out a folded paper, unfolded the paper and began to read it aloud. Not that Babe would understand it all, but to make it seem very convincing and important,--and I think partly to enjoy for herself the sense of Casey's potential wealth.

"'Notice of Location--Quartz,'" she read, and glanced over the paper at her listening small daughter. "'To Whom it May Concern: Please take notice that: The name of this claim is the Devil's Lantern Quartz Mining Claim. Said Claim is situated in the--Unsurveyed--Mining District, County of Nye, State of Nevada. Located this twenty-fifth day of September, 19--. This discovery is made and this notice is posted this twenty-fifth day of September,19--.

"'2. That the undersigned locators are citizens of he United States or have declared their intention to become such, and have discovered mineral-bearing rock--!'"

"What's mineral-bearing wock, mother?"

"That's the gold, Baby Girl. '--in place thereon and do locate and claim same for mining purposes.

"'3. That the number of linear feet in length along the course of the vein each way from the point of discovery whereon we have erected a monument--' That's the monument, up there, and Babe must not touch it-- '--is Easterly 950 feet; Westerly 550 feet; that the total length does not exceed 1500 feet. That the width on the Southerly side is 300 feet; that the width on the Northerly side is 300 feet; that the end lines are parallel; that the general course of the vein or lode as near as may be is in an Easterly and Westerly direction; that the boundaries of this claim may be readily traced and are defined as follows, to-wit:--!'"

She skipped a lot of easterly and westerly technique in Casey's clear, uncompromising handwriting--done in an indelible pencil--and came down to the last paragraph:

"'That all the dips, variations, spurs, angles and all veins, ledges, or deposits within the lines of said claim, together with all water and timber and any other rights appurtenant, allowed by the law of this State or of the United States are hereby claimed.


"'Locators
Jack I. Gleason,
Margaret Sutten.'


"Why--why-y--Good Lord!"

"Here they come," Casey called at that moment. "Put 'er back in the monument and don't let on like we think they're after this claim at all. It's a darn sight harder to start a fuss when the other fellow don't act like he knows there's any fuss comin'. You ask anybody that ever had a fight."

 

(THE END)
Chapter 22 (B. M. Bower's Western Novel: Casey Ryan)

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