Raphael Pumpelly.

Travels and adventures of Raphael Pumpelly : mining engineer, geologist, archaeologist and explorer online

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sarcastic remarks, and in atonement elected me president
of the club.



CHAPTER XIV
IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE

THE following summer was to be the last vacation I
should have before leaving Freiberg and entering upon
the serious duties of life. There was an English student
Parkyn who was in the same condition.

We decided that we would use that vacation in the
manner that would give us much adventure combined
with some profit in the way of seeing mines. Before
going out into the cold world, we must have such a fill of
rousing experiences as would forever remain warm in our
memories.

Parkyn knew what real adventure was: for he was
older than I, and he had spent two years in the wild life
of the first rush to the gold fields of Australia. One of
his stories recurs to me.

Parkyn stayed one night at a wayside house in the
" bush." He was eating when a man entered and handed
to the cook something wrapped in paper, telling him to
cook it. Then he sat down opposite Parkyn. When the
man had emptied the dish, he leaned back and said:

" There ! I told the damned I'd eat his damned

liver, and I've done it ! "

It was clear that no tame adventure would satisfy
Parkyn's longing.

So all through that winter we discussed the possibilities
of all the countries of Europe. Parkyn thought them too
simple. But before the end of the semester, there came

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102 RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

the news that Prince Danielo of Montenegro was going
to fight the Turks.

This seemed promising. We decided that we would
go to Montenegro. We would offer our services to that
Prince, in the noble effort to destroy the infidel invader !
It seemed quite natural that we should be accepted, and
very certain that there would be adventure galore.

Incidentally, we would examine some mines on the
way through Hungary. And we started on this enter-
prise. We went first to Wielicka in Austrian Poland.

Here we descended by a stairway cut in the rock a thou-
sand feet into the earth. We wandered through great
rooms cut in the solid rock salt, their lofty roofs sup-
ported by columns of the almost transparent salt. We
crossed subterranean lakes in boats. There was an en-
ormous salon with a table cut out of the rock (salt) run-
ning the whole length of the room. Chandeliers hung
from the roof, with pendants of salt crystals instead of
glass, and the walls were, I think, decorated with sculp-
tures in the same glistening material. In this room, I
was told, there had been a royal banquet. There was
also a chapel with altar and saints all cut out of the
rock salt.

To take us to the surface, there was a great rope with
many loops at the end. We and the other visitors each
occupied a loop, and in the shape of a great cluster of
grapes we were lifted to daylight up through a large shaft
in the white rock salt.

After having soothed our consciences by noting the
method of mining, we bought a pair of Magyar ponies
and a light wagon, for the journey to Buda-Pesth.

I remember few details of this stage of our journey of
nearly 200 miles by road. It is a memory of delightful
summer travel in ideal weather, through Galicia and over



IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE 103

the Carpathian Alps, and all the way over the plains of
Hungary to the Danube.

I recall the approach to one Galician village, and a
vision of many Jews loitering about, all clad in long,
black gaberdines, with tall silk hats. They had long,
greasy curls and beards. It seems strange that from
this clothing are descended our silk hat and frock coat.

We stopped at noon to eat at a house in the village.
Evidently the only clean food would be boiled eggs.
When we asked for spoons, the woman thought for a
minute, then opening a drawer in our table, and raking
over a mass of dusty rubbish, brought forth one spoon
green with verdigris, which she offered without further
ceremony. Fortunately the eggs were hard enough to
eat without spoons. While the hostess was out hunting
for change, we opened a door and found ourselves in a
synagogue. My cane stuck deep in the dirt on the floor.

All that afternoon we passed groups of Galician peas-
ants, men and women in bright gala costumes.

We were told that the Jews owned the distilleries, and
absorbed the means of the peasantry. It is the old story
of contact between races.

We geologized on the Carpathians, and climbed the
peaks of the Tatra Mountains, and we enjoyed for sev-
eral days such luxuries as were offered at a favorite
watering place in the mountains.

Then, as a sop to that Cerberus, conscience, we made
a careful study of the gold mines and methods at Krem-
nitz.

We made a side excursion to find von Andrian, who
was working on the Geological Survey. He drove with
us part of the journey, starting at three in the morning.
Looking at the brilliant starlit sky, I saw a faint star that
seemed blurred in contrast with its neighbors. After



104 RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

much discussion we agreed that it must be a comet. It
was the great comet of 1858. During the rest of the
journey, we saw it growing to the distinct comet form.
And through that summer I saw it stretch out its tail till
it swept, in a brilliant curve of light, half across the
heavenly arch. I think our first sight of it was before it
was noted in the newspapers.

At Buda-Pesth we sold our outfit, and boarded a steam-
boat to go down the Danube.

I don't remember whether we were one or several nights
on that boat, but we came at last to the mouth of the Save
River, in whose valley lay the route to Montenegro.
Here we left the boat and started southward. It may
have been near the landing or further up the valley, that
an officer of the Austrian Frontier Guard demanded our
passports. We had forgotten to have them vised for
Montenegro, and were turned back. We tried to get
through at another point. Alas! we were arrested as
Russian spies ! We were brought before an officer. He
compared our identifications on the documents, and looked
serious.

" You have done a dangerous thing in trying to cross
this frontier without permission; what was your rea-
son?"

" We are two students on a vacation trip, and we
thought to have some fun in fighting the Turks," we an-
swered.

The officer clearly saw some humor in the idea. He
laughed good naturedly.

" That would be fine," he said, " but I'm sorry that it's
impossible." Then he added:

" I might arrest you, for we are neutrals ; but I'll ac-
cept your word of honor that you won't try again, and
will let you go elsewhere in Austria-Hungary."



IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE 105

We promised.

A considerate providence, or perhaps the shades of our
ancestors, had made us forget the vises, and had dashed
our hair-brained plan.

We couldn't kill Turks ; we decided to go to Belgrade,
which was then Turkish territory, and see what kind of
people the Turks were anyway. So we took the next
boat, and steamed down the beautiful Danube. We got
vises for Belgrade, and crossed the frontier.

In the quaint city, that had seen the carnage of in-
vading hosts through the centuries, we found a son of
one of our instructors at Freiberg. He went around with
us and introduced us to the governing Pasha.

The Pasha was a genial old gentleman ; he received us
very kindly and made us sit on divans. Coffee and
delicious confections were placed before us by slaves ; and
we smoked Latakia in Narghiles with long, flexible tubes.
We liked these so much that he presented them to us, and
I still have mine. He spoke French much Better than
we could, and we talked long about Paris and Turkey.

The Pasha treated us so well that we felt quite resigned
to our disappointment, and were inclined rather to like
the Turk we knew better than the Montenegrin we had
not seen.



CHAPTER XV

SEQUEL TO THE MOUFLON STORY
AND RETURN TO AMERICA

As we had to find new fields to roam in, I said to
Parkyn : " Let's try Transylvania. No one goes there ;
it's a quaint region, with lots of interesting gold mines
and picturesque scenery."

" Oh, hang Transylvania ! " he answered ; " I'm tired of
these Danubian countries; let's go to Vienna."

"If you don't care for Transylvania," I said, " we
might branch off south, and tramp through Croatia and
Dalmatia to the Adriatic. It's a wild region where the
rivers are lost in underground caverns, and the people
haven't go^ out of the fifth century."

Parkyn used some improper words, and persisted in
going to Vienna.

'* Tell me why on earth you want to go there now," I
answered, " we've both been there, and it's a hot and
dreary place in summer."

"Well, if you must know, I'll tell you; I didn't want
to tell. Now don't misunderstand; it wasn't that the
boys didn't believe all your tale about the things your
mouflon did; no, it wasn't that; the truth is, they made
me promise that, if I ever got out of Montenegro alive, I
would go to Vienna, and I should see whether there was
any such animal as a mouflon anyway ! "

I had to agree. So to Vienna we went. We drove out
to Schonbrunn. An old keeper said:

" Certainly, many people come to see our mouflons ;

106



RETURN TO AMERICA '107

they are the only ones in any Thier Garten in Europe."

He led us to an inclosure in which were two mouflons
my superb animal and a smaller and lean one.

" Where are the others? " I asked.

" There are no others," he answered.

" You're mistaken," I said. " There's a herd of them ;
His Majesty comes here to shoot them."

The old man threw up his hands :

" Are you crazy, my dear Sir ? I have told you that
these are the only mouflons in confinement in Europe.
That little one was presented to His Majesty by the King
of Sardinia three years ago. His Majesty bought this

fine one last winter from Herr von B . He paid

him 1,500 guldens."

Seeing that my companion was about to speak, I said
to him :

" Keep quiet, don't say a word. Let's get right out of
Vienna." I knew something of the Austrian secret
police, and Herr von B was an official of importance.

Ten years later, when I was on Lake Superior, select-
ing the land grant of the Portage Lake and Lake Superior
Ship Canal, I received a letter from a friend in New
York, who wrote that he had given to two gentlemen a
letter recommending them to me. They were traveling
incognito. One was Duke Wilhelm of Wurtemberg,
uncle of the Emperor of Austria, and Field Marshal in
the Austrian army. The other was Prince Eugen, his
nephew, and heir to the throne of Wurtemberg. The
duke had expressed a wish to visit the great primeval
forests of the Northwest, and the iron mines. He was
interested in geology, and the royal family had large
interests in iron mines and forests, and in the industries
connected with both. My friend hoped I would be able
to aid these gentlemen in their visit.



108 RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

A week or two later, in Marquette, two cards were
handed me,

"W. T. Wurtemberg."
" Eugen Wurtemberg."

The duke was a tall man of soldierly bearing, and still
feeling wounds received in the war in Italy. The prince
was young, and with the manner of a young German
officer. I noticed that in leaving a room, the uncle al-
ways held the door open for the nephew to pass first.
Both of them had the affable simplicity of manner of
royal personages.

I took them with me for a week or more on a trip, in
canoes and on foot, through the great untouched forest.
They adapted themselves at once to the very rough con-
ditions and food. The older man showed intelligent in-
terest in all he saw, the younger one shot game.

We passed long evenings telling stories by the great
campfires. One night, when I thought I knew the duke
well enough, I told the mouflon story. He was listening
with interest. When I came to the scene where I stood
on the stairs between two shattered mirrors, he started
forward throwing out his hands.

" I was there ! I saw you ! I had my apartments in
the Kaiserin Elizabeth"

When in finishing I came to what had been my real
reason for telling the story the statement by the keeper

that Herr von B had sold the mouflon the duke

said:

" Yes, those fellows are shameless, they do such things.
But, Herr Professor, I shall tell the Emperor; you shall
have your revenge."

The duke died soon after returning to Vienna, and I
fear that I may have missed the revenge.



RETURN TO AMERICA 109

In my student days and in the following years, I was
often asked to tell this story. It got ahead of me in my
travels, and I have told it in English, German, French,
Italian, and Japanese.

At Freiberg I set about arranging and studying my
Corsican collection of rocks.

At the same time I worked out my scheme of the rela-
tive ages of the dikes I had studied in Corsica, to each
other and to the rocks they traversed.

Then I wrote an account of the occurrences of traces
of ancient glaciers in Corsica. The relation of glaciers
to geological history had only recently begun to be dis-
cussed and I searched such scientific literature as was at
hand for possible clues.

I received my certificate from the authorities of the
Academy, made a tour of farewell visits, and, with many
" Gluck auf!" (Good luck!) blessings, started forth into
the world. I was harassed by the feeling that I was end-
ing my education with a very widely neglected gap in the
way of broader culture. I felt that I should like to spend
years at a university, studying history and archaeology.
The geological history of the globe and of its lower forms
of life, which had been my chief interest, seemed to be
only stepping-stones to the history of man.

But my parents had spent so much for my six years
in Europe that it was a duty to shift for myself.

After a round of visits to the coal mines of West-
phalia, and a visit to some mines near Aix-la-Chapelle,
I came to Paris. Here I stayed for some time working
in the collections at the cole des Mines (School of
Mines) and at the Jar din des Plantes, and in collecting
fossils in the Paris basin, this time with a much better
knowledge than in my earlier excursions.

I lived again at the pension at 25 Rue Royale, where



110 RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

I found again my friend Baroness de Pailhez and several
other agreeable ladies.

It must have been autumn when I left Europe to re-
turn to America. In coming, I had crossed the Atlantic
on a sailing vessel to Hamburg in fifteen and a half days,
the trip back from France in a steamer was, I think,
about as long. The steamer was the Ocean Queen, a
large side-wheeler. The passage was very rough. We
had a startling experience ; during the night I was awak-
ened by a hard bump on the bottom of my berth which
was the upper one. In the lower one slept Susini, the
opera singer. He was a large and powerful man ; it was
Susini's head that bumped. There was loud shrieking in
the adjoining saloon. We jumped out, and into water
up to our knees. Opening the door we saw a wild and
weird sight. The long saloon occupying the rear half
of the ship had already a foot or more of water. The
ship was pitching. The passengers, chiefly women in
night clothes, were hanging to the revolving chairs, along
the double row of tables. Their floating bodies swung
round in unison to point toward bow or stern as the water
surged back and forth.

I could see that the water had come in through the
port-holes at the stern ; and I remember that before going
to bed I had opened these for air. With much difficulty
I managed to close them.

The explanation given by the ship's officers, and which
I never understood, was that we were driving before a
severe storm on a heavy sea, and that the waves traveling
faster than we did, had at one moment reversed our
engine and submerged the stern. I don't know yet that
this is possible; but I did know, silently, that all those
ladies owed their salt bath to me. One wheelhouse with



RETURN TO AMERICA 111

a man was carried away, for which I was not responsible,
nor was I for the big lump on Susini's head.

I remember one other passenger on this voyage Mr.
Yancey who was prominent later in the Southern Con-
federacy. We were much together. Once, when he
showed interest in my plans for the future, I happened
to express doubt as to an opening for professional work
in mining ; and whether I should gain a living. He threw
his arm over my shoulder and said : " Don't worry ;
you'll find that money comes fast enough ; the trouble is
in keeping it."

This was very consoling, for I didn't as yet know how
true was the qualifying phrase.



CHAPTER XVI
I GO TO ARIZONA

WHILE visiting relatives in Albany the winter follow-
ing my return from Europe, I came to know Professor
Hall, the great paleontologist, and Colonel Jewett, the
Curator of the Geological Museum an acquaintance
that lasted, with both, through their lives. In the case
of Colonel Jewett, this meeting was one of the critical
incidents that determined my subsequent career. Mr.
Wrightson, of Cincinnati, had asked Colonel Jewett to
recommend a geologist to develop some mines in Arizona.
This led to my appointment after some correspondence
and a visit to Cincinnati.

It led also to a wild life of adventure, and to a pretty
thorough education in human nature gained from con-
tact with men of varied races and of every shade of
character from the stalwart pioneer of the frontier to the
gambler, the bully, and the frank cut-throat. In a gen-
eral way, Mr. Wrightson warned me of the nature of the
environment into which my acceptance of the post would
lead me, but his description was, compared with the reality
known later, like the faded print of a poor photograph.
However, the prospect only strengthened my wish to go.

In the affectionate parting from my parents, my dear
mother said:

" My dear boy, remember always to do your whole
duty towards your employers."

In St. Louis on the 8th of October, 1860, I bought my

112



I GO TO ARIZONA 113

ticket " from Syracuse to Tucson, per Overland Mail
Stage, Waybill No. 7 of this date." I went by rail to
Jefferson City, then the westernmost end of the railroad
in Missouri. This finished the first, and in point of time
the shortest stage in a journey, the end of which I had
not even tried to foresee.

I secured the right to a back seat in the overland coach
as far as Tucson, and looked forward, with comparatively
little dread, to sixteen days and nights of continuous
travel. But the arrival of a woman and her brother
dashed my hopes of an easy journey at the very outset,
and obliged me to take the front seat, where, with my
back to the horses, I began to foresee coming discomfort.
The coach was fitted with three seats, and these were
occupied by nine passengers. As the occupants of the
front and middle seats faced each other, it was necessary
for these six people to interlock their knees; and there
being room inside for only ten of the twelve legs, each
side of the coach was graced by a foot, now dangling near
the wheel, now trying in vain to find a place of support.
An unusually heavy mail in the boot, by weighing down
the rear, kept those of us who were on the front seat con-
stantly bent forward, thus, by taking away all support
from our backs, rendering rest at all times out of the
question.

My immediate neighbors were a tall Missourian, with
his wife and two young daughters ; and from this family
arose a large part of the discomfort of the journey. The
man was a border bully, armed with revolver, knife, and
rifle ; the woman, a very hag, ever following the disgust-
ing habit of dipping filling the air, and covering her
clothes with snuff ; the girls, for several days overcome by
seasickness, and in this having no regard for the clothes
of their neighbors; these were circumstances which of-



RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

fered slight promise of pleasure on a journey which, at
the best, could only be tedious and difficult.

For several days our road lay through the more barren
and uninteresting parts of Missouri and Arkansas; but
when we entered the Indian Territory, and the fertile
valley of the Red River, the scenery changed, and we
seemed to have come into one of the Edens of the earth.

Before reaching Fort Smith every male passenger in
the stage had lost his hat, and most of the time allowed
for breakfast at that town was used in getting new head-
gear. It turned out to be a useless expense, however,
for in less than two days we were all again bareheaded.
As this happened to the passengers of every stage, we
estimated that not less than fifteen hundred hats were
lost yearly by travelers for the benefit of the population
along the road.

After passing the Arkansas River, and traveling two
or three days through the cultivated region of north-
eastern Texas, we came gr? dually to the outposts of
population. The rivers became fewer, and deeper below
the surface; the rolling prairie-land covered with grass
gave way to dry gravelly plains, on which the increasing
preponderance of cacti, and the yucca, warned us of our
approach to The Great American Desert. Soon after our
entrance into this region we were one morning all startled
from a deep sleep by the noise of a party coming up at
full gallop, and ordering the driver to halt. They were
a rough-looking set of men, and we took them for robbers
until their leader told us that they were " regulators,"
and were in search of a man who had committed a mur-
der the previous day at a town we had passed through.

" He's a tall fellow, with blue eyes and red beard," said
the leader. " So if you've got him in there, driver, you
needn't tote him any further." As I was tall, and had



I GO TO ARIZONA 115

blue eyes and a red beard, I didn't feel perfectly easy
until the party left us, convinced that the object of their
search was not in the stage.

One can scarcely picture a more desolate and barren
region than the southern part of the Llano Estacado be-
tween the Brazos and the Pecos rivers. Lying about
4,500 feet above the sea, it is a desert incapable of sup-
porting other plant or animal life than scattered cacti,
rattlesnakes, and lizards. Our route, winding along the
southern border of this region, kept on the outskirts of
the Comanche country.

Here we were constantly exposed to the raids of this
fierce tribe, which had steadily refused to be tamed by the
usual process of treaties and presents. They were com-
mitting serious depredations along the route, and had
murdered the keepers at several stations. We conse-
quently approached the stockade station-houses with more
or less anxiety, not knowing whether we should find either
keepers or horses. Over this part of the road no lights
were used at night, and we were thus exposed to the ad-
ditional danger of having our necks broken by being up-
set.

The fatigue of uninterrupted traveling by day and
night in a crowded coach, and in the most uncomfortable
positions, was beginning to tell seriously upon all the
passengers, and was producing in me a condition border-
ing on insanity. This was increased by the constant
anxiety caused by the danger from Comanches. Every
jolt of the stage, indeed any occurrence which started a
passenger out of the state of drowsiness was instantly
magnified into an attack, and the nearest fellow passenger
was as likely to be taken for an Indian as for a friend.
In some persons, this temporary mania developed itself
to such a degree that their own safety and that of their



116 RAPHAEL PUMPELLY

fellow travelers made it necessary to leave them at the
nearest station, where sleep usually restored them before
the arrival of the next stage, in the following week.
Instances had occurred of travelers in this condition jump-
ing from the coach, and wandering off to a death from
starvation in the desert.

Over the hard surface of the country beyond the
Pecos River, which is everywhere a natural road, we
frequently traveled at great speed, with only half-broken
teams. At several stations, four wild horses were hitched
blindfolded into their places. When everything was
ready, the blinds were removed at a signal from the
driver, and the animals started off at a runaway speed,
which they kept up without slackening, until the next
station, generally twelve miles distant. In these cases
the driver had no further control over his animals than
the ability to guide them; to stop, or even check them,
was wholly beyond his power; the frightened horses
fairly flew over the ground, never stopping till they drew
up exhausted at the next station. Nothing but the most
perfect presence of mind on the part of the driver could
prevent accidents. Even this was not always enough, as
was proved by a stage which we met, in which every pas-


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