Joaquin Murrieta: Life and Adventures of the Celebrated Bandit : His Exploits in the State of California

By Ireneo Paz; Francis P. Belle | Go to book overview

Chapter XIX

Not more than ten days from that night, Joaquin awakened his men and ordered them to pack up their tents and break up camp. Although surprised at this sudden resolution, all obeyed without answering, and before the sun appeared on the horizon, the party had gone out from Lake Mono in the direction of Sonora Pass. Arkansaw was not with the bandits. An hour before the departure, Jack Three Fingers, who did not wish to allow such a good chance for vengeance to escape, had killed without telling anyone, the man who had almost conquered him in a remarkable combat.

Joaquin had not failed to see the new crime committed by his assistant, but what could he do with a nature like that? The chieftain had preferred not to say anything about the matter, making a resolution not to think any more about Arkansaw. Nevertheless, in his heart he was only half angry at what had just passed. Joaquin was reserving for the American a special punishment.

When they arrived at the south branch of the Tuolumne River, Joaquin formed his people into companies of ten or fifteen men, who were to go forward by different roads to the Arroyo Cantova. Joaquin left the women in the care of Antonio and Guerra, and taking fifteen resolute men, he went with them toward the southwest, near Coulterville.

On the road which led from Don Pedro to Snellings Bar, he met three Frenchmen, two Germans, and two Americans, who were leading some mules loaded with provisions, blankets, and implements for use in the mines. Joaquin did not hesitate to speak to them, and while his men were talking at the side of the caravan, ready to fire their revolvers at the first sign, he advanced toward one of the Frenchmen, who did not dare to use his revolver, seized him by the neck, and told him to tell where the sack was which contained the gold. The Frenchman delayed in order to give his companions time to defend the treasure, but the bandits were too able, and were not to

-94-

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