A Princess of Mars HTML version
As Powell was familiar with the country, as well as with the mechanical requirements of
mining we determined that it would be best for him to make the trip. It was agreed that I
was to hold down our claim against the remote possibility of its being jumped by some
On March 3, 1866, Powell and I packed his provisions on two of our burros, and bidding
me good-bye he mounted his horse, and started down the mountainside toward the valley,
across which led the first stage of his journey.
The morning of Powell's departure was, like nearly all Arizona mornings, clear and
beautiful; I could see him and his little pack animals picking their way down the
mountainside toward the valley, and all during the morning I would catch occasional
glimpses of them as they topped a hog back or came out upon a level plateau. My last
sight of Powell was about three in the afternoon as he entered the shadows of the range
on the opposite side of the valley.
Some half hour later I happened to glance casually across the valley and was much
surprised to note three little dots in about the same place I had last seen my friend and his
two pack animals. I am not given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince
myself that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his trail were
antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure myself.
Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian, and we had,
therefore, become careless in the extreme, and were wont to ridicule the stories we had
heard of the great numbers of these vicious marauders that were supposed to haunt the
trails, taking their toll in lives and torture of every white party which fell into their
Powell, I knew, was well armed and, further, an experienced Indian fighter; but I too had
lived and fought for years among the Sioux in the North, and I knew that his chances
were small against a party of cunning trailing Apaches. Finally I could endure the
suspense no longer, and, arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine, I
strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse, started down the
trail taken by Powell in the morning.
As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a canter and
continued this, where the going permitted, until, close upon dusk, I discovered the point
where other tracks joined those of Powell. They were the tracks of unshod ponies, three
of them, and the ponies had been galloping.
I followed rapidly until, darkness shutting down, I was forced to await the rising of the
moon, and given an opportunity to speculate on the question of the wisdom of my chase.
Possibly I had conjured up impossible dangers, like some nervous old housewife, and
when I should catch up with Powell would get a good laugh for my pains. However, I am
not prone to sensitiveness, and the following of a sense of duty, wherever it may lead, has
always been a kind of fetich with me throughout my life; which may account for the