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THE GIFT OF

FLORENCE V. V. DICKEY

TO THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES




THE DONALD R. DICKEY

LIBRARY
OF VERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY




Castle




And

Otber
Weird



By



C. B. CORY



i 9



NEW YORK
RALPH S. MIGHILL



\\I-.M K



J899




OFTEN AT NIGHT HE SPOKE WITH FIERY ELOQUENCE. P. 128.



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE



AND



OTHER WEIRD TALES



BY

CHARLES B. CORY

AUTHOR or DR. WANDERMANN," HUNTING AND PUHINO
IN FLORIDA," rrc.



NEW YORK
RALPH S. MIGHILL

70 FIFTH AVENUE
1899



Copyright, 1899
BY CHARLES B. CORY



PRESS OF

fcottoell anB Cijnrcfittl
BOSTON, U.S.A.



/*

C



TO



Cbarlee iu. Crane

AUTHOR AND TRAVELLER
WHOSE NAME RECALLS MANY PLEASANT MEMORIES

THIS BOOK
IS DEDICATED



395910



CONTENTS.



PAGE

MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE 7

THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP 23

THE TRAGEDY OF THE WHITE TANKS .... 43

Too CLOSE FOR COMFORT 55

THE STRANGE POWDER OF THE Jou Jou PRIESTS. 75

AN AZTEC MUMMY 78

A LESSON IN CHEMISTRY 90

AN INTERESTING GHOST 102

THE MOUND OF ETERNAL SILENCE 116

THE STORY OF A BAD INDIAN 127

A QUEER COINCIDENCE 135

THE STORY OF AN INSANE SAILOR 152

THE ELDUR OF LIFE 173

THE VOODOO IDOL 194

AN ARIZONA EPISODE 205

ONE TOUCH OF NATURE 218



(3)



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAOK

OFTEN AT NIGHT HE SPOKE WITH FIERY ELO-
QUENCE Frontispiece.

THE CASTLE is BUILT ON A LEDGE ON THE SIDE

OF A MOUNTAIN 7

THE SMOKE CONTINUALLY OOZED FROM ALL PARTS

OF HIS BODY 106

THE MOUND OF ETERNAL SILENCE 118

JUDSON'S MAP 119

TDCINOPA 127

MALTTA 130

A SILVER COIN ONE EDGE HAD BEEN FLAT-
TENED AND A HOLE PIERCED IN IT .... 152

THE GREAT Doc RESTING HIS HEAD ON

THE COWBOY'S KNEE . 218



(5)



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.



*M" said the curiosity dealer, "that

- 1 ^ mummy is not for sale. I had too
big a job to get it."

" Tell me about it," I asked.

The curiosity dealer carefully closed and
locked the case, and then meditatively rolled
a cigarette.

"Well, it was this way: y ou S e e I was
out after snakes and other natural history
specimens. I had a special order from a
chap in New York for three hundred snakes
e wanted some big rattlers. I think I
sent him some that pleased him; anyhow he
paid for them all right. I had a customer
who wanted a rattlesnake with a very big
rattle, and I fixed up a snake for him on



g MONTEZUMA ? S CASTLE.

this trip and sent it to him afterwards. It
had one hundred and eighteen rattles! I
glued a lot of rattles together, and by tak-
ing off the buttons it was pretty hard to see
where they were joined. This rattle was
more than a foot long.

" There was another Eastern chap wanted
an ibex, which he said was found up in
these mountains. It had light-colored horns
curved over at the tips like a chamois and
striped legs and eyes that stuck out like an
antelope. He had heard about the ibex
and wanted a pair. I told him I had often
killed them, but they were hard to get."
"What is an ibex?" I asked.
" I'll be hanged if I know," answered the
collector. "But there are fellows in these
mountains who say that there really are
such animals, and if he wanted to have an
ibex, and had to have an ibex, I might as
well get him an ibex as anybody else, even
if I had to make one.



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 9

" But to get back to my story. I had a
big outfit on this trip and I expected to get
a lot of curios one way and another, what
with snakes and animals of various kinds,
besides all the things that I might pick up
in the way of baskets and Indian relics,
which might prove salable. My outfit con-
sisted of two wagons, five horses, and I had
a Mexican along to look after the teams
and do the cooking.

"After being out some two weeks we
found ourselves near what is called 'Monte-
zuma's Castle,' up by the Verde. There
are a lot of caves scattered about up there,
supposed to have been made by the Cave
Dwellers, and many of them had never
been touched or examined.

" I had an offer of good money for a
mummy, and had tried making them from
the bodies of Indian children, but I never
could get them to look real. The bones
are not crumbly enough, and the rags which



10 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

the real mummies are done up in are pretty
difficult to imitate.

"I was mighty anxious to explore the big
caves, so off we went to the place, and I tell
you the old ruin they call ' Montezuma's
Castle ' is a dandy, and don't you forget it.
The castle is built on a ledge high up on the
side of a mountain which hangs over at the
top. The only way to get up is by ladders
or ropes, and it is mighty hard to get there
even then.

" Right near there, on the face of the
high cliff, there are a lot of fine old Cliff
dwellings, and some of them are more than
one hundred feet from the base. These
cliffs are straight up and down, sometimes
nearly smooth, but often with narrow
broken ledges here and there on the face
of the wall.

" One particular cave which seemed to
be a rather large one was about fifty feet
up, and immediately below it were two or



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. II

three small ledges, which, after I had
looked the place over, seemed to me to
be sufficiently wide to hold a ladder ; and
I came to the conclusion that if I wished
to explore one of these caves I had better
try the one in question.

" In my outfit I had two large tents, nine
by fourteen, and the poles of these tents, it
seemed to me, would answer very well for
ladders if I connected them by pieces of
rope. It was not necessary to make the
steps very near together, and by cutting
notches in the poles and tying pieces of
rope across I succeeded in making two
very good ladders, one fourteen feet long,
with the two top poles one from each
tent ; and two small ladders, each about
seven feet. I made these last from the
four upright tent poles, there being two
to each tent, as you know.

"The foot of the cliff was rough, and the
first fifteen feet or so we could climb easily



I2 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

to a broad ledge, then there came a space
between nine and ten feet in height, which
was as smooth and perpendicular as a wall.
Here my first ladder was put up. Two
small ledges above this, some three feet
apart, and a wider ledge four feet higher,
allowed me to climb up, without the use of
ladders, to another ledge.

" From here I ran another small ladder
up to a ledge which was between two and
three feet wide ; from this ledge to the
entrance of the cave was about twelve feet,
and my fourteen-foot ladder answered
finely, but the difficulty was, it had to stand
so straight that it was rather ticklish busi-
ness going up one could not help feeling
that a slip or a little backward jerk would
topple it over into the valley below, and as
from the ledge where it stood to the bottom
was some forty feet, a tumble on to the
rocks would prove most unpleasant.

" However, my Mexican, Antonio, held



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 13

the ladder, and by very careful work I suc-
ceeded in reaching the mouth of the cave
and crawling in. I had no sooner entered
than I felt pretty sure it had never pre-
viously been visited by any one since the
original inhabitants left it. The first thing
I did was to take a stout piece of twine
from my pocket and fasten the end of the
ladder to a piece oi rock. Then I felt
easier.

" There were numerous bits of broken
potter}' scattered about and one nearly per-
fect specimen. Besides these there was a
very interesting bit of stone carving. These
things I gathered together and placed in a
heap near the entrance. I then went back
and, taking a small hatchet which I had
brought with me, commenced to dig about
in the floor and pretty soon found this little
child mummy.

" By the time I had taken it out I was
pretty thirsty and hot, as you may suppose.



IZ |. MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

I was careful and did not hurry matters,
and the cave was like an oven.

" Wrapping the little mummy carefully in
a big handkerchief which I had tied round
my neck, I untied the twine from the ladder,
and lowered the bundle slowly down to
Antonio, my Mexican, who was standing at
the foot of the top ladder. It reached him
safely, but while he was untying it I care-
lessly dropped the end of the string. I
went back, however, and gathered up the
other relics, intending to take some of them
down with me and then come back for the
rest if I could not manage them all the first
time.

" While I was looking them over I heard
a crash and the sound of tumbling stones,
and looking out I saw that the ladder had
fallen, and commenced to curse Antonio
for his carelessness; but imagine my horror
when I saw him throw down the bottom
ladder and then run as fast as he could



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 15

towards the camp. My first and only
thought was to pay Antonio for his treach-
ery. It was evidently his intention to
leave me safely housed in a place from
which I could never escape alive, and start
off the proud owner of the two wagons,
five horses, and various valuables which he
believed my boxes to contain.

"My revolver was still in my belt, and
hastily pulling it I commenced shooting at
the running figure, now some sixty or
seventy yards distant. The first bullet
knocked up a cloud of dust about three feet
to his right and a little ahead, the second
was still worse, but at the third he turned
sideways, staggered on several paces, and
fell among some loose rocks in a way that
must have been unpleasant. He tried to
get up again, but I now had his range pretty
well and hit him again with the sixth shot;
after that he lay pretty quiet, although I
thought I saw him move his arm once or



!6 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

twice. I reloaded, having plenty of cart-
ridges in my belt, and began shooting at
him again. This time I hit him three times
out of six shots, and as he had not moved
for some minutes I concluded that he was
dead.

" Then I began to think over how I was
going to get down. I was very thirsty and
it was tantalizing to see the water down in
the valley sparkling in the sunlight. It
looked very clear and refreshing.

" I thought and thought, and the more I
thought the more hopeless it seemed to me
to plan a way to get down alive. There
was one ladder still standing, the second
one, but there was a space of some thirty
feet before I could reach it. I had abso-
lutely nothing, not even a string, to aid me
in getting down.

" There was no use hoping for help from
any one, for the place was rarely visited, and
it might be weeks before any person would



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 17

discover that I was there. I was getting
more thirsty all the time, and, at last, I
hated to go to the mouth of the cave, hot
as it was inside, because the sight of the
water nearly drove me mad. I amused
myself by occasionally taking a shot at
Antonio. I had his range down pretty
fine, now, and rarely missed him. It was
getting late, and the sun had long since
sunk out of sight. Above the mountains
there was one tall peak which I could see
up the canon. It stood out in the sunlight
bright and shining, even after the cafton had
become quite dark.

" As the sun sank lower and lower the
darkness crept gradually up until only the
very top was left a shining point. For a
few minutes it shone a fiery red and then
the light was gone like a huge torch which
flickers and goes out.

"Then the night noises commenced: the
incessant, maddening croaking of the frogs
and now and then an owl.



j8 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

"Did you ever hear the frogs in Ari-
zona ? "

I responded in the affirmative.

" Well, then, you know something about
what they sound like, and know they can
give Eastern frogs cards and spades and
beat them easy. But you don't know what
they sound like when you are really
thirsty ! "

" Probably not," I answered.

" Well," continued the curiosity dealer,
" I knew nothing could be done until
morning, so I lay down and tried to sleep.
I was very nervous and could not help
fearing that in the night I might walk in
my sleep or roll to the mouth of the cave
and tumble out. I do not think I really
slept at all, but lay in a half-dazed condi-
tion until it was light enough for me to see
things in the canon below.

" Strange to say, I was not hungry, al-
though I had eaten nothing since the pre-



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 19

vious morning. My whole thoughts were
concentrated on the one desire something
to drink! I thought and pondered, trying to
think of some possible way to get down!
At one time I thought seriously of jump-
ing to the ledge below, but I knew that it
would be impossible for me to stay on it
even if my legs were not broken by the
fall, and that to jump meant practically to
commit suicide!

"At last a thought occurred to me that
I might possibly make a rope out of my
clothes. I had a large pocket knife and a
hatchet, and no sooner had the thought
suggested itself than I commenced to un-
dress. My canvas coat, shirt, and trousers
and some thin underclothes constituted my
entire wardrobe, and by carefully cutting
them into strips wide enough to bear my
weight, and yet narrow enough to give
sufficient length, I succeeded in making a
kind of a rope with which I hoped I could



20 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

succeed in reaching the second ladder
without broken bones!

" I could not work steadily, as it was im-
possible for me to avoid getting up and now
and then walking about the cave. I suf-
fered so with the heat and thirst, that the
hope of escape alone kept me from going
mad. At last the rope was done and tied to-
gether with various knots. It had a creepy
sort of stretchy feeling when I pulled on
it, but I had no alternative but to trust to it,
it was that or nothing, and nothing meant
death from thirst in a very short time.

" I succeeded in fixing the hatchet firmly
into and across a cleft in the rock where it
was split, and it gave me something to
tie the rope to which I was satisfied would
hold my weight. I tied the end of the rope
to the hatchet handle and threw the other
end down, and was mighty glad to see that
it reached within four or five feet of the
middle ledge.



MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE. 21

" I was stark naked excepting my shoes,
and I tell you it was no easy task letting
one's self down over the sharp edges of the
rock. Every moment I expected one of
the knots to give way, and I shall never
forget the feeling which came over me as
I swung myself clear of the ledge and hung
swaying on that improvised rope which
seemed to stretch and grow thin in a way
which sent cold shivers running up and
down my spine. It seemed a year before
I reached the ledge. I went down pretty
slow, sparing the rope as much as I could
by supporting part of my weight by digging
my toes into every little crack and crevice I
could find, but I got there at last, and when
I did, I sat down on the ledge and cried like
a baby.

" Well, that is the story. Of course I got
down the rest of the way all right, or I
wouldn't be here; but I don't know as I
would have done it if Antonio had pulled



22 MONTEZUMA'S CASTLE.

down the second ladder instead of the bot-
tom one. He was evidently in too much
of a hurry to do the job up right. After
reaching the second ladder, it was no kind
of a trick to slide it down and use it over
again. The first thing I did when I got
down was to run as fast as I could to the
river and drink as much water as I dared,
then I lay down in the water and enjoyed
it. Talk about your Paradise Cocktails
they are not to be compared with that
Verde River water which I tasted that
day!"

"Antonio?"

" Oh, yes, he is there yet, I believe,
although I have never been back since to
see, and I hope I never will. My first
experience among the Cliff Dwellers was
all sufficient."



THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.



i.

A COMMITTEE from the Phcenix Ath-
letic Club and one from the Prescott
Club had met, and after considerable dis-
cussion had arranged a match to decide the
Amateur Championship of Arizona.

As the Phoenix and Prescott clubs were
far and away the foremost athletic organ-
izations in the Territory, the contest was
looked forward to with a great interest,
especially as an intense rivalry existed
between the two cities.

" Let the contest be fair and square on
both sides," said Smith, the chairman of
the Phcenix committee. " Let each club
send its best man, who is strictly an ama-
teur, of course, and a member of the club,
23



24 THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.

in good standing, and let the best man
win."

"Them's my sentiments exactly," re-
sponded Johnson, the chairman of the Pres-
cott committee. " Fair play and honors to
the best man, say I ! I did think of
sending a young fellow I know in our club
who took some sparring lessons in 'Frisco
last year, and is quite clever; he's a gun-
smith by profession, but the trouble is he
has been teaching the boys during his spare
time when he could get away from the
shop, and that makes him a professional,
doesn't it ? "

" It does," said Smith, " and I am glad to
find you are as particular as I am in such
matters ; let me tell you, it is a pleasure to
meet a man like yourself who tries to be
fair and square, and to take no advantage
of anybody. Let's take something."

During the next few days there were
anxious meetings of the committees in



THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP. 25

charge of the arrangements. A certain man
well up in sporting matters went to 'Frisco
as a committee of one, representing the
Prescott Club, to hunt for talent; at the same
time a brother of the chairman of the
Phoenix committee, who kept a bar-room
in Chicago, received a letter which caused
considerable discussion between him and
his partner, and several interviews with a
certain short-haired, thick-set individual
who frequented his place.

" What I want," said the letter, " is the
best man you can get. Some one who is a
sure winner, and can punch the stuffing out
of this amateur duck from Prescott. Don't
make a mistake, and do not spare money.
Get a star, as the boys will bet all they have
on him, and we do not want to take any
chances."

The following week the chairman of the
committee of the Phoenix organization re-
cc-ived a letter from his brother in Chicago,



2 6 THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.

which informed him that for two hundred
dollars, and expenses, they had secured the
services of a well-known professional, but
one who had never been West, and who,
they were sure, could " lick" anything which
could be produced, professional or amateur,
on the Pacific Coast. He had commenced
training, and they could rest easy, and bet
as much money as thev wanted to.

Meanwhile the Prescott Club's represent-
ative had made a rich find in San Fran-
cisco, in the shape of an Australian profes-
sional who had just landed and was therefore
not likely to be recognized. He had a
record of numerous victories in his own
country, and cheerfully undertook, for the
sum of seventy-five dollars, " to knock the
bloomin' head off any bloomin' duffer,"
anywhere near his own weight, that might
be brought against him.

Things went along merrily, letters were
exchanged between the chairman of the



THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP. 27

two committees reporting as to the progress
of their representatives.

" Our young man," wrote the Prescott
leader, " is doing very well, and I hope
great things from him. Naturally we want
to win, and have secured the best man of
good amateur standing in our town to repre-
sent us. He is a drug clerk, and his mother
objected pretty strongly at first, but she has
been talked over. There will be a party
of at least one hundred of us go down
with him, and I hope you will have front
seats reserved for us. Most of the boys
feel inclined to wager a little on the suc-
cess of our representative, but he himself
does not feel very confident of the result.
Upon my return I found quite a strong
feeling in favor of having the young gun-
smith represent us, but, after my conversa-
tion with you, could not for a moment
countenance any such proceedings on our
part."



28 THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.

Two nights following, the Prescott chair-
man read the following letter in answer to
the one which he had sent:



To R. W. JOHNSON, ESQ.,

Chairman of the Committee

for the Prescott Athletic Club,

Prescott, Arizona :

DEAR SIR : I am glad to hear that there is consider-
able interest taken in the forthcoming match. Boxing
is a noble art, and this coming contest will no doubt
help to boom both our clubs. There is a great interest
taken here in the match, and I warn you our man is
getting himself in the very best condition possible. He
is nervous, of course, this being his first appearance in
an affair of this kind. He is a clerk in a bank, who has
lately been engaged by my friend Robinson, and there-
fore does not get as much time for exercise as perhaps
would be wise, but Robinson is an enthusiastic sport, as
you know, and has arranged to let him get off several
hours each day. We look forward to a great contest,
and I certainly feel that the winner may fully consider
himself the Amateur Champion of the Territory. We
shall take great satisfaction in reserving the one hundred



THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP. 29

seats you ask for. I think you will find all the money
ready for you in the way of bets that you will want.
Our population is made up a great deal, as you know,
largely of miners and ranchers, and they are inclined to
bet recklessly. I cannot close without congratulating
the Prescott Athletic Club for the energy and enterprise
they have shown in this matter. May the best man
win 1

Yours, etc.,

J. SMITH.

II.

There was a great crowd packed into the
ring of the Phoenix Athletic Association on
the evening of the contest. Seats were at
a premium, and the fight had been the prin-
cipal subject of conversation for days. The
two principals had met and been intro-
duced to one another, just before going to
the scene of the contest. Both were dressed
for the occasion, and I tell you they were
sights! The bank clerk had on a collar so
high that he could hardly turn his head, a



3



THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.



high silk hat, long black frock-coat, and an
immense white rose in his buttonhole.

The Prescott drug clerk was still more
gorgeous. Besides a buttonhole bouquet
and high collar, he sported an eye-glass, and
smoked a cigarette while in the presence of
his opponent.

" 'Ow's yer bloomin' 'ealth ? " remarked
the drug clerk. " Hi 'opes as 'ow yer
fit."

" Ah-h-h, go arn," answered the embryo
financier, using only one side of his mouth,
"don't try ter jolly me, yer sage-brush dude,
or I'll give yer a poke right here."

Several members of the committee has-
tened to interfere, and put a stop to all further
danger of trouble by hurrying the principals
off to their dressing-rooms to prepare for the
contest.

In the ante-room Smith hugged Robinson,
and nearly wept with joy when they were
alone.






THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP. 31

" Did you take a good look at the stiff? "
he gasped. " Why, our man will punch
daylight out of him in two minutes after the
gong sounds ! Why, I say this is wrong
it is too easy; I really feel sorry for these
Prescott chaps!"

Robinson chuckled and muttered some-
thing about " fools and their money being
soon parted," and then the two worthies
repaired to the ringside.

Smith was to be Master of the Ceremo-
nies, and climbing upon the raised platform
he crawled through the ropes, and after
looking about him for a moment, raised his
hands to enjoin silence.

" Gentlemen," he said, " I must beg you
all to stop smoking. The contest which is
to be held here to-night is to decide the
Amateur Championship of the Territory of
Arizona. Nothing is more calculated to
incite among our younger men the love for
athletic sports than such competitions, when



32 THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP.

conducted in a fair and sportsmanlike
manner. I must beg of you not to allow
yourselves to be biased towards indulging
in any unseemly noise in case your favorite
should be worsted. What we want is a
fair field and no favoritism, and while we
hope our boy will win, none of you, I am
sure, would wish in any way to feel that
either man was given any undue advantage.
The men will fight with 3~oz. gloves, Mar-
quis of Queensbury rules, three minutes to
each round, with a minute's rest between.
A man down to get up inside of ten sec-
onds or be counted out. No hitting in the
clinches. Many of you are acquainted with
the gentlemen who are our representatives
this evening, but for the benefit of those


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Online LibraryCharles B. (Charles Barney) CoryMontezuma's castle and other weird tales → online text (page 1 of 9)