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As the ranchers put it, in the figurative language of their calling, “ the hull blame state was burnt to a cinder."

The middle distance was lost altogether; for the park sloped, after the manner of plateaus, to a deep valley through which trickled a railroad and the remains of a river. Some twenty miles away a belt of woodland showed where Denver was justifying its name by growing into a city, and forty miles beyond Denver rose the blue ring of the Rocky Mountains. These details, be it understood, are given with the meticulous accuracy insisted on by map-makers. In a country where, every year, the percentage of “perfectly clear” days rises well above the total of all other sorts of days, and where a popular and never-failing joke played on the newcomer is to persuade him into taking an afternoon stroll from Denver to Mount Evans, a ramble of over sixty miles as the crow flies, the mind refuses to be governed by theodolites and measuring rods. Indeed, the deceptive clarity of the air leads to exaggeration at the other end of the scale, because no true son or daughter of Colorado will walk a hundred yards if there is a horse or car available for the journey. Obviously, walking is a vain thing when the horizon and the next block look equidistant.

It may, however, be taken for granted that none of these considerations accounted for MacGonigal's fixed stare at the sunlit expanse. In fact, it is probable that his bulging eyes took in no special feature of the landscape; for they held an introspective look, and he stopped polishing the counter as abruptly as he had begun that much-needed operation when Power

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entered the store. He indulged in soliloquy, too, as the habit is of some men in perplexity. Shifting the cigar he was smoking from the left corner of his wide mouth to the right one by a dexterous twisting of lips, with tongue and teeth assisting, he said aloud:

“Well, ef I ain't dog-goned ! ”

So, whatever it was, the matter was serious. It was a convention at Bison that all conversation should be suspended among the frequenters of MacGonigal's when the storekeeper remarked that he was dog-goned. Ears already alert were tuned at once to intensity. When Mac was dog-goned, events of vital importance to the community had either happened or were about to happen. Why, those words, uttered by him, common as they were in the mouths of others, had been known to stop One-thumb Jake from opening a jack-pot on a pat straight! Of course, the pot was opened all right after the social avanlanche heralded by the storekeeper's epoch-making ejaculation had rolled past, or Jake's remaining thumb might have been shot off during the subsequent row.

Apparently, MacGonigal was thinking hard, listening, too; for he seemed to be following Power's movements, and nodded his head in recognition of the rattle of a chain as the horse was tied to a feeding trough, the clatter of a zinc bucket when Power drew water from a tank, and the stamping of hoofs while Power was persuading the lame mustang to let him bathe and bandage the injured tendons. Then the animal

. was given a drink-he would be fed later—and the ring of spurred boots on the sun-baked ground announced that Derry was returning to the store.

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Power's nickname, in a land where a man's baptismal certificate is generally ignored, was easily accounted for by his second name, Darien, conferred by a proud mother in memory of a journey across the Isthmus when, as a girl, she was taken from New York to San Franciso by the oldtime sea route. The other day, when he stood for a minute or so in the foyer of the Savoy Hotel in London, waiting while his automobile was summoned from the courtyard, he seemed to have lost little of the erect, sinewy figure and lithe carriage which were his most striking physical characteristics twenty-five years ago; but the smooth, darkbrown hair had become gray, and was slightly frizzled about the temples, and the clean-cut oval of his face bore records of other tempests than those noted by the Weather Bureau.' In walking, too, he moved with a decided limp. At fifty, John Darien Power looked the last man breathing whom a storekeeper in a disheveled mining village would hail as “ Derry”; yet it may be safely assumed that his somewhat hard and care-lined lips would have softened into a pleasant smile had someone greeted him in the familiar Colorado way. And, when that happened, the friend of bygone years would be sure that no mistake had been made as to his identity; for, in those early days, Power always won approval when he smiled. His habitual expression was one of concentrated purpose, and his features were cast in a mold that suggested repose and strength. Indeed, their classic regularity of outline almost bespoke a harsh nature were it not for the lurking humor in his large brown eyes, which were shaded by lashes so long, and black, and curved that most women who


met him envied him their possession. Children and dogs adopted him as a friend promptly and without reservation; but strangers of adult age were apt to regard him as a rather morose and aloof-mannered person, distinctly frigid and self-possessed, until some chance turn in the talk brought laughter to eyes and lips. Then a carefully veiled kindliness of heart seemed to bubble to the surface and irradiate his face. All the severity of firm mouth and determined chin disappeared as though by magic; and one understood the force of the simile used by a western schoolma'am, who contributed verse to the Rocky Mountain News, when she said that Derry's smile reminded her of a sudden burst of sunshine which had converted into a sparkling mirror the somber gloom of a lake sunk in the depths of some secluded valley. Even in Colorado, people of the poetic temperament write in that strain.

Now, perhaps, you have some notion of the sort of young man it was who came back to the dog-goned MacGonigal on that June day in the half-forgotten '80's. Add to the foregoing description certain intimate labels--that he was a mining engineer, that he had been educated in the best schools of the Far West, that he was slender, and well knit, and slightly above the middle height, and that he moved with the gait of a horseman and an athlete--and the portrait is fairly complete.

The storekeeper was Power's physical antithesis. He was short and fat, and never either walked or rode; but his North of Ireland ancestors had bequeathed him a shrewd brain and a Scottish slowness of speech that


gave him time to review his thoughts before they were uttered. No sooner did he hear his visitor's approaching footsteps than he began again to polish the pine boards which barricaded him from the small world of Bison.

Such misplaced industry won a smile from the younger man.

“Gee whizz, Mac, it makes me hot to see you work!” he cried. “ Anyhow, if you've been whirling that duster ever since I blew in you must be tired, so you can quit now, and fix me a bimetallic."

With a curious alacrity, the stout MacGonigal threw the duster aside, and reached for a bottle of whisky, an egg, a siphon of soda, and some powdered sugar. Colorado is full of local color, even to the naming of its drinks. In a bimetallic the whole egg is used, and variants of the concoction are a gold fizz and a silver fizz, wherein the yoke and the white figure respectively.

“Whar you been, Derry?" inquired the storekeeper, whose massive energy was now concentrated on the proper whisking of the egg.

“ Haven't you heard? Marten sent me to erect the pump on a placer mine he bought near Sacramento. It's a mighty good proposition, too, and I've done pretty well to get through in four months.”

Guess I was told about the mine; but I plumb forgot. Marten was here a bit sence, an' he said nothin'.” Power laughed cheerfully. “He'll be surprised to see me, and that's a fact. He counted on the job using up the best part of the summer, right into the fall; but I made those Chicago mechanics open up


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