The Golden Canyon
Hurst & Company Publishers.
The Golden Canyon.
I. A Run Ashore
II. Dick's Escape
III. The Gold-Seekers
IV. More Plans
V. The Search For The Canyon
VI. The Map Again
VII. The Scarcity Of Water
VIII. The Golden Valley
IX. The Tree On The Peak
XI. Hard At Work
XIII. The Redskin
XIV. In The Ravine
XVI. On The Return
The Stone Chest.
I. A Mystery Of The Storm
II. Off For Zaruth
III. Among The Icebergs
IV. The Escape From The Icebergs
V. The Arctic Island
VI. The Madman
VII. A Fearful Fall
VIII. A Remarkable Story
IX. The Volcano Of Ice
X. The Escape Of The "Dart"
XI. Among A Strange Foe
XII. Bob's Discovery
XIII. The Big Polar Bear
XIV. The Finding Of The Stone Chest
XV. Bob Rescues His Father - Conclusion
George Alfred Henty has been called "The Prince of Story-Tellers." To
call him "The Boy's Own Historian" would perhaps be a more appropriate
title, for time has proved that he is more than a story-teller; he is a
preserver and propagator of history amongst boys.
How Mr. Henty has risen to be worthy of these enviable titles is a story
which will doubtless possess some amount of interest for all his
Henty may be said to have begun his preliminary training for his
life-work when a boy attending school at Westminster. Even then the germ
of his story-telling propensity seems to have evinced itself, for he was
always awarded the highest marks in English composition.
From Westminster he went to Cambridge, where he was enrolled as a
student at Caius College. It is a decided change of scenery and
circumstances from Cambridge to the Crimea, but such was the change
which took place in Mr. Henty's career at the age of twenty-one.
An appointment in connection with the commissariat department of the
British army, took him from the scenes of student life into the
excitement of the Muscovite war.
Previous to this, however, he had written his first novel, which he has
characterized as "Very bad, no doubt, and was, of course, never
published, but the plot was certainly a good one."
Whilst engaged with his duties at the Crimea he sent home several
descriptive letters of the places, people, and circumstances passing
under his notice. His father, thinking some of those letters were of
more than private interest, took a selection of them to the editor of
the _Morning Advertiser_, who, after perusal of them, was so well
pleased with their contents that he at once appointed young Henty as war
correspondent to the paper in the Crimea.
The ability with which he discharged his duties in the commissariat
department at that time soon found for him another sphere of similar
work in connection with the hospital of the Italian forces. After a
short time this was relinquished for engagement in mining work, which he
first entered into at Wales, and then in Italy.
Ten years after his Crimean correspondence to the _Morning Advertiser_
he again took to writing, and at this time obtained the position of
special correspondent to the _Standard_. While holding this post, he
contributed letters and articles on the wars in Italy and Abyssinia, and
on the expedition to Khiva. Two novels came from his pen during this
time, but his attention was mostly devoted to miscellaneous letters and
It is a specially interesting incident in the career of Mr. Henty how he
came to turn his attention to writing for boys. When at home, after
dinner, it was his habit to spend an hour or so with his children in
telling them stories, and generally amusing them. A story begun one day
would be so framed as "to be continued in the next," and so the same
story would run on for a few days, each day's portion forming a sort of
chapter, until the whole was completed. Some of the stories continued
for weeks. Mr. Henty, seeing the fascination and interest which these
stories had for his own children, bethought himself that others might
receive from them the same delight and interest if they were put into
book form. He at once acted upon the suggestion and wrote out a chapter
of his story for each day, and instead of telling it to his children in
an extempore fashion, read what he had written. When the story was
completed, the various chapters were placed together and dispatched to a
publisher, who at once accepted and published it. It was in this way the
long series of historical stories which has come from his powerful pen
was inaugurated, and G.A. Henty was awarded the title of "The Prince of
There is in this incident a glimpse of the character of our author which
endears him to us all. The story of his kindly interest in his own
children surely creates a liking for him in the hearts of the children
of others. The man who can spend an hour in telling stories to his
little ones, and retain their attention and interest, has an evident
sympathy with, and power over, the youthful nature. Time has proved such
is the case with G.A. Henty, for up to the present he has written close
on fifty stories for boys, which have been received with unbounded joy
and satisfaction by all.
As an indication of the reception which his books have met with, the
following may be quoted from an English paper:
"G.A. Henty, the English writer of juveniles, is the most popular writer
in England to-day in point of sales. Over 150,000 copies of his books
are sold in a year, and in America he sells from 25,000 to 50,000 during
"All the world" is the sphere from which Mr. Henty draws his pictures
and characters for the pleasure of the young. Almost every country in
the world has been studied to do service in this way, with the result
that within the series of books which Mr. Henty has produced for the
young we find such places dealt with as Carthage, Egypt, Jerusalem,
Scotland, Spain, England, Afghanistan, Ashanti, Ireland, France, India,
Gibraltar, Waterloo, Alexandria, Venice, Mexico, Canada, Virginia, and
California. Doubtless what other countries remain untouched as yet are
but so many fields to be attacked, and which every lad hopes to see
conquered in the same masterly way in which the previous ones have been
As a rule much of what boys learn at school is left behind them when
classes are given up for the sterner work of the world. Unless there is
a special demand for a certain subject, that subject is apt to become a
thing of the past, both in theory and practice. This, however, is not
likely to be the case with history, so long as G.A. Henty writes books
for boys, and boys read them. History is his especial forte, and that he
is able to invest the dry facts of history with life, and make them
attractive to the modern schoolboy, says not a little for his power as a
story-teller for boys. It is questionable if history has any better
means of fixing itself in the minds of youthful readers than as it is
read in the pages of G.A. Henty's works. There is about it an attraction
which cannot be resisted; a most unusual circumstance in connection with
such a subject. All this of course means for Mr. Henty a vast amount of
research and study to substantiate his facts and make his situations,
characters, places, and points of time authentic. To the reader it means
a benefit which is incalculable, not only as a means of passing a
pleasant hour, but in reviving or imparting a general knowledge of the
history and geography, the manners and customs of our own and other
There is a noticeable element of "Freedom" which runs through Mr.
Henty's books, and in this may be said to lie their influence. From them
lads get an elevating sense of independence, and a stimulus to patriotic
and manly endeavor. His pages provide the purest form of intellectual
excitement which it is possible to put into the hands of lads. They are
always vigorous and healthy, and a power for the strengthening of the
moral as well as the intellectual life.
In the present work, "The Golden Canyon," a tale of the gold mines, Mr.
Henty has fully sustained his reputation, and we feel certain all boys
will read the book with keen interest.
The Golden Canyon
Chapter I. - A Run Ashore.
In the month of August, 1856, the bark _Northampton_ was lying in the
harbor of San Diego. In spite of the awning spread over her deck the
heat was almost unbearable. Not a breath of wind was stirring in the
land-locked harbor, and the bare and arid country round the town
afforded no relief to the eye. The town itself looked mean and
poverty-stricken, for it was of comparatively modern growth, and
contained but a few buildings of importance. Long low warehouses fringed
the shore, for here came for shipping vast quantities of hides; as San
Diego, which is situated within a few miles of the frontier between the
United States and Mexico, is the sole sheltered port available for
shipping between San Francisco and the mouth of the Gulf of California.
Two or three other ships which were, like the _Northampton_, engaged in
shipping hides, lay near her. A sickening odor rose from the half-cured
skins as they were swung up from boats alongside and lowered into the
hold, and in spite of the sharp orders of the mates, the crew worked
slowly and listlessly.
"This is awful, Tom," a lad of about sixteen, in the uniform of a
midshipman, said to another of about the same age as, after the last
boat had left the ship's sides, they leaned against the bulwarks; "what
with the heat, and what with the stench, and what with the captain and
the first mate, life is not worth living. However, only another two or
three days and we shall be full up, and once off we shall get rid of a
good deal of the heat and most of the smell."
"Yes, we shall be better off in those respects, Dick, but unfortunately
we shan't leave the captain and mate behind."
"No, I don't know which I like worst of them. It is a contrast to our
last sip, Tom. What a good time we had of it on board the _Zebra_! The
captain was a brick, and the mates were all good fellows. In fact, we
have always been fortunate since the day we first came on board together
up to now. I can't think how the owners ever appointed Collet to the
command; he is not one of their own officers. But when Halford was taken
suddenly ill I suppose they had no others at home to put in his place,
so had to go outside. My father said that Mr. Thompson had told him that
they heard that he was a capital sailor, and I have no doubt he is. He
certainly handled her splendidly in that big storm we had rounding the
Cape. I suppose they did not inquire much farther, as we took no
passengers out to San Francisco, and were coming out to pick up a cargo
of hides here for the return journey; but he is a tyrant on board, and
when I get back I will tell my father, and he will let Thompson know the
sort of fellow Collet is. It doesn't do one any good making complaints
of a captain, but my father is such friends with Thompson that I know he
will tell the other partners that he hears that Collet isn't the sort of
man they care about having commanding their ships, without my name
coming into it. If he does I can't help it. I know Thompson will see
that I don't sail with Collet again, anyhow, and will get you with me,
as he has often met you at my father's, and knows what chums we are.
Collet brought Williams with him, and they were a nice pair. I believe
the second and third are just as disgusted as we are, and as Allen is a
nephew of one of the partners he will put a spoke in their wheel too,
when he comes back."
"Well, we might be worse off in some respects, Dick. We have two good
officers out of the four, and we have a very fair crew, and we have good
grub; and the company always victual their ships well, and don't put the
officers' messing into the hands of the captain, as they do in some
Presently Mr. Allen, the second officer, came up with the two lads.
"I am going ashore in an hour, Preston," he said to Dick; "if you like,
you can come with me."
"Thank you, sir; I should like it very much."
"I wish you were coming too, Tom," he went on when the officer moved
away. "That is one of the nuisances, Collet never letting us go ashore
"It is a nuisance," the other said, heartily. "Of course, Allen is a
very good fellow, but one can't have any larks as one could have if we
"Well, there are not many larks to be had here, at any rate, Tom. It is
about the dullest place I ever landed at. It is a regular Mexican town,
and except that they do have, I suppose, sometimes, dances and that sort
of thing, there is really nothing to be done when one does go ashore,
and the whole place stinks of hides. Even if one could get away for a
day there is no temptation to ride about that desert-looking country,
with the sun burning down on one; no one but a salamander could stand
it. They are about the roughest-looking lot I ever saw in the town.
Everyone has got something to do with hides one way or the other. They
have either come in with them from the country, or they pack them in the
warehouses, or they ship them. That and mining seem the only two things
going on, and the miners, with their red shirts and pistols and knives,
look even a rougher lot than the others. I took my pistol when last I
went ashore; I will lend it you this evening."
"Oh, I don't want a pistol, Tom; there is no chance of my getting into a
"Oh, it is just as well to carry one, Dick, when you know that everyone
else has got one about him somewhere, and a considerable number of them
are drunk; it is just as well to take one. You know, it is small, and
goes in my breast pocket."
"I will take my stick, the one I bought at San Francisco; it has got an
ounce of lead in the knob. I would rather have that than a pistol any
However, as Dick was standing with the second officer at the top of the
gangway, Tom Haldane, as he passed by, slipped the pistol into his hand
and then walked on. Dick thrust it into his pocket, and then descended
the ladder. It was almost dark now.
"I have two or three places to go to, Preston, and do not know how long
I shall be detained. It is just nine o'clock now. Suppose you meet me
here at the boat at half-past ten. It will be pleasanter for you to
stroll about by yourself than to be waiting about outside houses for
"Very well, sir. I don't think there is much to see in the town, but I
will take a bit of a stroll outside. It is cool and pleasant after the
heat of the day."
They walked together to the first house that Mr. Allen had to visit;
then Dick strolled on by himself. The place abounded with wine-shops.
Through the open doors the sound of the strumming of mandolins, snatches
of Spanish song, and occasionally voices raised in dispute or anger,
came out. Dick felt no inclination to enter any of them. Had his chum
been with him he might have looked in for a few minutes for the fun of
the thing, but alone he would be the object of remark, and might perhaps
get involved in a quarrel. Besides the freshness of the air was so
pleasant that he felt disposed for a walk, for the moon was shining
brightly, the stars seemed to hang from the skies, and after having been
pent up in the ship for the last four days it was pleasant to stretch
the limbs in a brisk walk. In ten minutes he was outside the town, and
followed the road for half an hour.
"It is a comfort," he said to himself, "to have got rid of the smell of
hides. If ever cholera comes this way I should think it would make a
clean sweep of San Diego."
Turning, he walked leisurely back; he entered the town, and had gone but
a hundred yards or two when he heard a shout, followed by a pistol shot,
and then, in English, a cry for help.
He dashed down the street toward a group of people who, he could see in
the moonlight, were engaged in a sharp struggle. One man was defending
himself against four, and the oaths and exclamations of these showed
that they were Mexicans. Just as he reached them the man they were
attacking was struck down, and two of his assailants threw themselves
Dick rushed upon the men, and felled one with a sweeping blow of his
stick. The other man who was standing up sprang at him, knife in hand,
with a savage oath.
So quick was the action that he was upon Dick before he had time to
strike a blow with his stick. He threw up his left arm to guard his
head, but received a severe gash on the shoulders. At the same moment he
struck out with his right, full into the face of the Mexican, who, as he
staggered back, fell across the three men on the ground. Dick seized the
opportunity to draw his pistol, dropping his stick as he did so, as his
left arm was disabled. It was a double-barreled pistol and as the three
natives rose and rushed at him, he shot the first. The other two sprang
at him and he received a blow that almost paralyzed him. He staggered
against the wall, but had strength to raise his arm and fire again, just
as the man was about to repeat his blow; he fell forward on his face,
and his other assailant took to his heels. A moment later Dick himself
sank to the ground.
Chapter II. - Dick's Escape.
When Dick opened his eyes it was broad daylight. He was lying in a
barely furnished room. A surgeon was leaning over him bandaging his
wounds, while on the other side of the bed stood three red-shirted men,
whose rough beards and belts with bowie knives and pistols showed them
to be miners. One of them had his face strapped up and his arm in a
sling. An exclamation of satisfaction burst from him as Dick's eyes
"That is right, lad. You will do now. It has been touch and go with you
all night. My life aint no pertik'lar value to nobody, but such as it is
you have saved it. But I won't talk of that now. Which ship do you
belong to? We will let them know at once."
"The _Northampton_," Dick said in a whisper.
"All right; don't you talk any more. We will get your friends here in no
But when Mr. Allen came ashore Dick was again unconscious. The mate
fetched two more surgeons, who, after conferring with the first, were
all of opinion that although he might possibly recover from his wounds,
weeks would elapse before he would be convalescent. Before night fever
had set in, and it was a fortnight before he was again conscious of what
was passing round him. He looked feebly round the room. One of the
red-shirted men was attending to a pot over a charcoal fire. Turning his
head he saw, standing looking out of the window, his friend Tom Haldane.
"Halloa, Tom," he said, in a whisper, which, however, reached the
midshipman's ears. He turned sharply round, and hurried to the bedside.
"Thank God, Dick, you are conscious again. Don't try to talk, old
fellow; drink this lemonade, and then shut your eyes again."
Dick tried to raise his hand to take the glass, but, to his surprise,
found he was unable to do so. Tom, however, put it to his lips and
poured it down his throat. It was cool and pleasant, and with a sigh of
relief he again closed his eyes, and went off into a quiet sleep.
When he awoke it was evening; the window was open, and the fresh air
came in, making the lamp on the table flicker.
"How do you feel now, old man?" Tom asked.
"I feel all right," he said, "but I am wonderfully weak. I suppose I
must have lost a lot of blood. Has the skipper given you leave to stop
with me for the night?"
Tom nodded. "I will tell you all about it in the morning, Dick. There is
some chicken broth Dave has been cooking for you. You must try and drink
a bowl of it, and then by to-morrow morning you will be feeling like a
Dick laughed feebly. "It will be some time before there is much of a
giant about me. Tom; but I feel as if I could drink some broth."
The next morning Dick woke feeling decidedly stronger. "Raise me up and
put some pillows behind me, Tom. It is horrid being fed from a spoon,
lying on one's back."
The man called Dave, and Tom, lifted him up as he wished, and then the
latter fed him with the broth, in which some bread had been crumbled.
"Now, then," Dick said, when he had finished; "let us hear what the old
man said. I suppose he was in a tremendous rage?"
"That he was! a brute!"
"Why, there is my chest. What has he sent that ashore for? I should
think I could be taken on board again to-day."
"You won't be taken on board the _Northampton,_" Tom said, "for by this
time she is down somewhere near Cape Horn."
"Eh!" Dick exclaimed in astonishment. "Why, how long have I been here?"
"A fortnight to-day, Dick."
Dick was too surprised to make any remark for some time.
"But if the _Northampton_ has gone, how is it that you are here, Tom?"
"Simply because she has gone without me, Dick. The old man was in a
furious rage when he heard in the morning what had happened to you. Of
course, we were in a great stew - I mean the third mate and myself - when
Allen came off at twelve o'clock without you, after waiting an hour and
a half at the wharf for you to turn up. We all felt sure that something
must have happened, or you would never have been all that time late.
There was a row between Allen and the skipper the first thing in the
morning. Allen wanted to go ashore to make inquiries about you, and the
old man would not let him, and said that no doubt you had deserted, but
that if you came on board again he would have you put in irons.
"Well, there was a regular row going on when a boat came off with a man
in a red shirt, who I know now is one of Dave's partners, and said that
you were desperately wounded, and that the Spanish doctor they had
called in thought that you would die. So then the old man couldn't help
Allen's going ashore. Of course, he could do nothing, as you were
insensible, but he got two other surgeons. Their opinion was that you
would not get over it, but that if you did it would be a long time
first. When Allen got back there was another row. He wanted to have you
brought on board. The captain said that as you had chosen to mix
yourself up in a row on shore, you might die on shore for anything he
cared. Then I asked for leave to stay with you when the vessel sailed,
and got sworn at for my pains. In the afternoon I filled up your chest
chockfull with as many of my things as I could get into it, and sent it
ashore. By the next night we had got all the cargo on board, and were to
sail by the next morning, and I lowered myself down and swam ashore.
"Allen had told me exactly where you were lying, so I came here at once
and told Dave who I was, and why I had come ashore, and as soon as it
was light he took me round to the room the other two had. The captain
came ashore in the morning and stormed and raved at the Consul's, but he
had better have kept on board. I told our friends here all about it, and
as he went back to the boat again one of them pitched into him, and gave
him such a tremendous licking that I hear he had to be carried on board.
As soon as he got on board the _Northampton_ sailed, so you see here we
both are. I have written off to your father and mine, giving them a full
account of the whole affair, and saying what a brute Collet had been on
the whole voyage. They will be sure to lay the letters before the firm,
and as Allen and Smith will, when they are questioned, speak out pretty
straight, you may be sure the old man and his friend, the first mate,
will have to look for a berth somewhere else."
"It is awfully good of you to have come ashore to nurse me, Tom."
"Bosh! Why, I have got away from the _Northampton_. I found, too, that
as far as nursing was concerned I might as well have stayed on board,
for Dave here and his two mates have, one or other of them, been with
you night and day, and they could not have taken more care of you if
they had been women. Still I have been very glad to be here, though till
three days ago there seemed very little hope of your pulling through it.
Now you have talked enough, or rather, I have talked enough, Dick; and
you had better turn over and get another sleep."
Chapter III. - The Gold-Seekers.
Two days later the lad was able to sit up in bed and to enter upon a
discussion as to the future with Tom and the miner. It was begun by the
"I suppose you will be taking the first ship back as soon as you are
strong enough?" he said.