Marlowe-The San Juans


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Summary: Marlowe reaches his mine

Date: February 3/4, 1884

Log TitleMarlowe-The San Juans

LocationThe San Juan Mountains

Four days later, as the sun's weak, lemony light crested the Sand Hills to

the southeast when the unlikely, horse and wolf..crested the top

of the San Juans.

The snow in those high southern mountains was over ten feet deep, but, they

had made good time, now, lean and haggard, the 'breed pulls up in front of a

tiny, dilapadated cabin on the southern slope, some miles above Cripple


The rusted lock is shot off the door, although, truth be told, it may as

easily have been pulled from the rotting wood. The wolf slinks to the back of

the cabin, no doubt to burrow underneath, while the horse is led inside. The

'breed starts a fire in the rusting potbellied stove, then sets to stripping the

saddle from the horse and rubbing him down.

The cabin is fairly bare. A three legged stool sits at a piece of plank pegged

to a wall to serve as a table. A rope frame cot, the ropes sagging and

broken is against the side wall, under a shuttered window covered by a piece

of canvas. The floor, what remains of it, is planked over hardpacked dirt.

Several magazines and newspapers are on a pair of dynamite crates with a

plank top weighted down with a thick book..everything rodent chewed.

Finally, a pie safe with a broken leg is propped up by several large, flat

rocks..remains of several cans of peaches, long since spoiled and eaten by

rodents sit in a sticky black mass, and a oil lamp sit inside. Marlowe silently

sets to work, his face an impassive mask. The peaches are thrown out the

door into the deep snow, shelf and all. The old newspapers and magazines

are pitched into the potbellied stove, then he turns to the floorboards in

front of the pie safe.

Prying up one, then another of the boards, the 'breed uses the lantern to

examine the small, rock lined hole uncovered, and grunts. Out comes a

hammer, a seven pound single jack, a pair of drills, wrapped in oiled canvas

and a small, but heavy ore bag. He dumps the bag on the table, and pokes in

the nuggets and wire gold with a finger. His mine, for this was it, though

small had been dug into the side of the mountain where an ancient spring had

gushed forth in eons past before being covered.

He and his partner, a Shakespearean actor, long deceased, had cut into this

underground streambed and found a rich haul. They'd extended the shaft

thirty feet back before the old man had died, and a much younger and

idealistic Marlowe (then known only as Breed) had set out to find happiness

that cold gold could not provide. He'd returned, at least once a year, to

peck at the hard rock and have some ore assayed, but usually contented

himself with hoarding a few nuggets before returning to his other life.

His other life..ruined now..One wife killed, another deserted..yes, he had

taken to thinking of it in that manner during the long ride child

sent to New Orleans with a flashy French woman his second, a babe in arms

in the deserted wife's care.
Meriah..Madeline..Christophe.. the life the petite woman had given him,

shattered by Chiane's return from the dead..the love he had had for her,

still had for her, stilled to a bitter pool because of her coldness and her

cutting tongue. It rose now in his anger as he muttered to the

horse,"Damned woman got all the men she wants"
Keira..the lovely red headed schoolteacher. A raging fire was concealed

behind those demure clothes.A dangerous inferno, and he, damn him, had

wanted to touch that fire..had touched it in fact, and been seared to his

soul..and his life was now bitter ashes, embers kept alive only by hatred..of

men and their rules, women and their notions, of the people that had come

into HIS people's lands, and stolen them.

He rolled himself in the heavy buffalo hide coat in front of the stove, and

slept uneasily, the dreams in his head coiling about like great dark serpents,

each telling him what he must do.


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