Desert Gold (Chapter 1, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 1

Richard Gale reflected that his sojourn in the West had been what his
disgusted father had predicted--idling here and there, with no
objective point or purpose.

It was reflection such as this, only more serious and perhaps somewhat
desperate, that had brought Gale down to the border. For some time the
newspapers had been printing news of Mexican revolution, guerrilla
warfare, United States cavalry patrolling the international line,
American cowboys fighting with the rebels, and wild stories of bold
raiders and bandits. But as opportunity, and adventure, too, had
apparently given him a wide berth in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, he had
struck southwest for the Arizona border, where he hoped to see some
stirring life. He did not care very much what happened. Months of
futile wandering in the hope of finding a place where he fitted had
inclined Richard to his father's opinion.

It was after dark one evening in early October when Richard arrived in
Casita. He was surprised to find that it was evidently a town of
importance. There was a jostling, jabbering, sombreroed crowd of
Mexicans around the railroad station. He felt as if he were in a
foreign country. After a while he saw several men of his nationality,
one of whom he engaged to carry his luggage to a hotel. They walked up
a wide, well-lighted street lined with buildings in which were bright
windows. Of the many people encountered by Gale most were Mexicans.
His guide explained that the smaller half of Casita lay in Arizona, the
other half in Mexico, and of several thousand inhabitants the majority
belonged on the southern side of the street, which was the boundary
line. He also said that rebels had entered the town that day, causing
a good deal of excitement.

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