THE road to Silver City was through a country that was rugged, bleak, and gray. No habitations except the occasional stations, most of them deserted, and a farm here and there. Not a tree to be seen in the entire distance, nothing but crooked, gnarled sagebrush, greasewood and stretches of browse. At least this was true until one came to the river; there the country was broken up into foot-hills with high mountains behind them.
Approaching the first summit, my thoughts went back to a story told me by Bill Coulter years before, about being chased down this road by Indians when he was driving a stage. I could imagine the flying stage-coach and Bill throwing the buckskin into his team, with a band of Indians behind whooping and yelling but never getting close enough to the galloping horses to shoot an arrow at the driver.
Before I got to Jack Baudoin's I was hungry and thirsty. I had a few dollars in my pocket, but I thought, Hell, what good is money, anyway? Here at least was one place where a car-load of twenty- dollar gold pieces would not buy a square meal. Why should money buy a meal, I wondered; money did not seem to me an equivalent of value, an equivalent of labor, or an equivalent of anything else. This was something that I would have to look into.
At Jordan Valley I turned my horse in to pasture, hung my saddle and bridle up in the livery stable, and took stage for Silver City.
When we got there, I went into a Chinese restaurant, and afterward knocked around the town for an hour or so. I was looking for a place to sleep that night. A man said to me:
"I've got a bed in the old Potosi shaft house. You can roll in with me until your blankets come, but you'd better come up and look at the place so if you happen to come in late you won't stumble and fall down the shaft in the dark."
I went up to the shaft house with him. There were several rolls of blankets scattered about a deep open shaft into the old mine,