“The town,” I said, “is in a most unsettled condition, and many dangerous characters are about. Under these circumstances I have felt compelled to leave the defense of our property in the hands of the Government. I have formally intimated to the authorities that we shall hold them responsible for any loss occasioned to us by public disorder. The colonel, in the name of the Government, has accepted that responsibility. I therefore desire to tell you, Mr. Jones, that, in the lamentable event of any attack on the bank, it will not be expected of you to expose your life by resistance. Such a sacrifice would be both uncalled for and useless; and I must instruct you that the Government insists that their measures shall not be put in danger of frustration by any rash conduct on our part. I am unable to be at the bank this evening; but in the event of any trouble you will oblige me by not attempting to meet force by force. You will yield, and we shall rely on our remedy against the Government in case of loss.”
These instructions so fully agreed with the natural bent of Jones’ mind that he readily acquiesced in them and expressed high appreciation of my foresight.
“Take care of yourself and Mrs. Jones, my dear fellow,” I concluded; “that is all you have to do, and I shall be satisfied.”
I parted from him affectionately, wondering if my path in life would ever cross the honest, stupid old fellow’s again, and heartily hoping that his fortune would soon take him out of the rogue’s nest in which he had been dwelling.
FAREWELL TO AUREATALAND.
The night came on, fair and still, clear and star-lit; but there was no moon and, outside the immediate neighborhood of the main streets, the darkness was enough to favor our hope of escaping notice without being so intense as to embarrass our footsteps. Everything, in fact, seemed to be on our side, and I was full of buoyant confidence as I drank a last solitary glass to the success of our enterprise, put my revolver in my pocket, and, on the stroke of midnight, stole from my lodgings. I looked up toward the bank and dimly descried three or four motionless figures, whom I took to be sentries guarding the treasure. The street itself was almost deserted, but from where I stood I could see the Piazza crowded with a throng of people whose shouts and songs told me that the colonel’s hospitality was being fully appreciated. There was dancing going on to the strains of the military band, and every sign showed that our good citizens intended, in familiar phrase, to make a night of it.