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   Chapter 47 ARTHUR. No.47

Tracy Park By Mary Jane Holmes Characters: 6221

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


He had enjoyed himself immensely, from the moment he first caught sight of grand old Pike's Peak on the distant plains until he entered the city of the Golden Gate, and, standing on the terrace of the Cliff House, looked out upon the blue Pacific, with the sea lions disporting on the rocks below. For he went there first, and then to China-town, and explored every nook and corner, and opium den in it, and drank tea at twenty dollars a pound in a high-toned restaurant, and visited the theatre and the Joss House, and patronized the push-cars, as he called them, every day, and experienced a wonderful exhilaration of spirits, as he sat upon the front seat, with the fresh air blowing in his face, and only the broad, steep street, lined with palaces, before him.

'This is heaven! this clears the cobwebs!' he would say to Charles, who sat beside him with chattering teeth and his coat-collar pulled high about his ears, for the winds of San Francisco are cold even in the summer.

Arthur's first trip was to the Yosemite, taking the Milton route, and meeting with the adventure he so much desired; for in the early morning, between Chinese Camp and Priest's, the stage was suddenly stopped by two masked marauders, one of whom stood at the horses' heads, while the other confronted the terrified passengers with the blood-curling words:

'Hands up, every soul of you!'

And the hands went up from timid women and strong men, until click-dick came in rapid succession from the driver's box, where Arthur sat, and shot after shot followed each other, one bullet grazing the ear of the highwayman at the horses' head, and another cutting through the slouched hat of his comrade near the stage.

'Leave, or I'll shoot you dead! I've five more shots in this one, and two more revolvers in my pockets, and I'm not afraid!' Arthur yelled, jumping about like a maniac, as for the time being he was, and so startling the robbers that they fled precipitately, followed for a little distance by Arthur, who leaped from the stage and started in pursuit, with a revolver in each hand, and ball after ball flying ahead of him as he ran.

When at last he came back, the passengers flocked around him, grasping his hands and blessing him as the preserver of their money, if not of their lives. After that Arthur was a lion, whom all people in the valley wished to see and talk with, and with whom the landlord bore as he had never borne with a guest before, for Arthur found fault with the rooms, which he likened to bath-tubs, and fault with the smells which came from the river, and fault with the smoke in the parlour, but made ample amends by the money he spent so lavishly, the scores of photographs he bought, and the puffs he wrote for the San Francisco papers, extolling the valley as the very gate of heaven, and the hotel as second only to the Palace, and signing himself "Bumble Bees."

He went on every trail, and started for the highest possible peak, and when he stood on the top of old Capitan and looked down upon the world below, he capered and shouted like a madman, singing at the top of h

is voice, "Mine eye have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord, glory, glory, hallelujah!" until the rocky gorges rang with the wild echoes which went floating down the valley below, where the sun was shining so brightly and the grass was growing so green.

On his return to San Francisco after an absence of several weeks, he took up his abode at the Palace Hotel, which he turned topsy-turvy with his vagaries; but as in the valley, so here in the city, the landlord could afford to bear much from one who spent his money so freely and paid so lavishly; and so he was allowed to change rooms every day if he liked, and half the plumbers in the city were called in to see what caused the smells which he declared worse than anything he had ever met in his life, and which were caused in part by the disinfectants which he bought by the wholesale and kept in his bath room, his wash-room, and under his bed, until the chambermaid tied her nose in camphor when she went in to do her work.

But his career was brought to a close suddenly one morning in August, when, just as he was taking his coffee and rolls in his room, Charles brought him the following telegram:

'Come immediately. There's the devil to pay.

'TOM TRACY.'

Arthur read the message two or three times, not at all disturbed by it, but vastly amused at its wording; then, putting it down, he went on with his breakfast until it was finished, when he took a card from his pocket and wrote upon it:

'Pay him then, for I sha'n't come. ARTHUR TRACY.'

This was handed to Charles with instructions to forward it to Tracy Park. This done, he gave no further thought to the message so full of such import to himself, but began to talk of and plan his contemplated trip to Tacoma by the next steamer which sailed. It was six o'clock when he had his dinner in his own private parlour, where he was served by both Charles and a waiter, and where a second telegram was brought him.

'Confound it,' he said, 'have they nothing to do at home but to torment me with telegrams? Didn't I tell them to pay the old Harry and have done with it? What do they mean?' and putting the envelope down by his plate he went quietly on with his dinner until he was through, when he took it up, and, breaking the seal, read:

'Come at once. I need you. JERRIE.'

That changed everything, and with a bound he was in the next room, gesticulating fiercely, and ordering Charles to step lively and get everything in readiness to start home on the first eastward bound train which left San Francisco.

'That rascally Tom is a liar,' he said. 'It's not the old Harry to pay. It's Jerrie. Do you hear, it's Jerrie. Bring me some paper, quick, and don't stand staring at me as if I were a lunatic. It's Jerrie who needs me.'

Charles brought the paper, on which his master wrote:

'Coming on the wings of the wind, Yours respectfully,

'ARTHUR TRACY.'

In less than half an hour this singular message was flying along the wires across the continent, and within a few hours Arthur was following it as fast as the steam horse could take him.

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