Twin Graves Of The Mountain
( Originally Published 1902 )
IN the early days of gold gathering amid the hills of Montana, two famous miners worked as partners in the Laughing Mist Gulch. They answered to the names of Old Reliable and Pansy, the latter had come to the Silver Bow district with a wife, and a little child, whom the rough miners named " Pan," whom they claimed as their mascot, and whom they were wont to have put her hand upon the gravel as they shook their treasure pans, believing there was luck in her gentle touch.
Old Reliable and his partner secured an ample fortune and stored it up in the banks of San Francisco, thinking they would some day seek a more quiet life and enjoy their wealth. When the mother died, the little one became the care of these fast friends ; she had been well schooled before entering upon her wild surroundings, and had with her a single book, the Bible, whose sacred truths and loving words she used to read, as evening pastimes, to Reliable and Pansy.
One day, in a hot dispute with a troublesome miner, Pansy was mortally wounded, and the murderer was at once hanged to the nearest tree. After that the girl and Old Reliable made up the family, and every night at the setting of the sun, in deference to her wish, they used to stand on the mountain peak, and say, " Jesus, Master, I believe that thou hast saved me by thy blood." The old man's locks were turning white, but his lips rather than his heart, went through the service to please the little maiden. He came to love her so, that he could endure sacrifice for her welfare, and, though he was broken-hearted at the parting, she was sent to a school on the Pacific coast, where every luxury surrounded little " Pan." It is said no post ever reached " Silver Bow," without a letter to Old Reliable from the child.
The marksmanship of the old miner was very skilled, but one day the cap on his rifle missed fire, and a marauder, mortally wounded the dearest earthly friend of little " Pan."
Fleet couriers bore the sad news to the nearest telegraph station, and by rapid stages the girl made her way to the dying man. The sun was sinking beyond the western hills as the child burst into the room where the dying man lay, and pressed her lips against his brow, now growing cold. The dying eye caught for the last time the light of earthly sunset ; his arm about " Pan's " neck, a smile upon his lips, he whispered, " Jesus, Master, I believe," and died.
" Pan " buried him on Heart's Mountain, looking out upon the western hills, and not long after they buried " Pan " beside him, for her life was short. Ever since, for it was in her will to do it, and the means were plentiful, each day is reverently placed upon these graves a simple cross of flowers, and at the head of these two sleepers is a rock-hewn stone, with this simple inscription in letters of silver and gold, " Jesus, Master, I believe."
Amid all the circumstances and habits of life, for rugged miner or beautiful maiden of the mountain, there is but one means of moral purification and one hope of a blessed future, and that is simple faith in the crucified Redeemer.