So, after taking leave of the officers and of the men who had accompanied him on his expeditions, he mounted his horse, took his pack-mule by the halter and set out.
As I know the commanding general will be most desirous to make any arrangement which is feasible to reduce the amount of discomfort, I take the liberty of suggesting that during the winter campaign the transportation for each regiment be one wagon for regimental headquarters and for company books and papers, desks, etc., as now, and in addition one pack-mule for each company.
Then, when everything was prepared, he once more started out on the trail. Two weeks later a rough and heavy-bodied man, garbed in the rough apparel of a mining prospector, made his way into the sun-steeped town of Toluca. There he went quietly to the wooden-fronted hotel, hired a pack-mule and a camp-outfit and made purchase, among other things, of a pick and shovel.
Jack, well mounted, with a pack-mule carrying supplies, had picked up Dick's trail, after it left Tularosa, from a scout out of Fort Grant. Slim Hoover headed for Fort Grant in his search for Jack. Although the ranchman had only a brief start of him, Slim lost the track at the river ford.
Wunpost went his way tranquilly, for there was no one to pursue him; and ten days later he rode down Jail Canyon with his pack-mule loaded with ore. It had been his boast that he would return in two weeks with a mule-load of Sockdolager gold; but Billy, as usual, had taken his boast lightly and came running with news of her own. "Hello!" she called.
The next day we took them out, and, tying each one on a mule, we struck out on our return trip to Fort Lyon. At the hotel outside the city, where we had stopped on Thursday and Friday, we were joined by our man with the pack-mule. That night we camped on Cherry Creek, seventeen miles from Denver.
They make a strike in the mines and set up ridiculous establishments regardless of expense. You see them riding in their carriages with two men in the box red-handed, grizzled old vulgarians who've roughed it in the mountains for twenty years with a pack-mule and a ham and a pick-axe with their jug of whiskey and their frowsy red-faced wives decked out in impossible finery.
Almost at that hour the troops were breaking camp and moving forward along the one narrow jungle-road choked with wagon, pack-mule, and soldier through a haze of dust, and, turning to the right at the first crossing beyond corps head-quarters under Chaffee for Caney.
For long Helen had cherished a fond hope that she might be married in Paradise Park, where she had fallen in love with Dale and had realized herself. But she had kept that hope secret. Dale's eager tone, his flashing eyes, had made her feel that her secret was there in her telltale face. As she entered the lane leading to the house she encountered one of the new stable-boys driving a pack-mule.
"I didn't come out here to make a pack-mule of myself," was his mental remark. Jim unfastened the rusty padlock on the cabin door and stepped inside. Percy followed him, eager to get a glimpse of his new home. The camp had not been opened for some weeks; it smelled close and stuffy.