[DR. FARRINGTON'S STORY.]
I was standing in a museum looking at a case of mummies. One of them was
marked "Mummy of an Aztec, found in a Cliff Dwelling," and it interested
me very much. In size it was that of a small man, and was in a fine
state of preservation, with the exception that the bones of the legs
were exposed, and more or less disintegrated, in some places. The hands,
even to the finger nails, were perfect, however, and there was a silver
ring on the index finger. One hand grasped a large stone axe—the handle
being modern. The right hand rested across the chest, clasping a
necklace of silver wire.
"Interesting specimen, is it not?" said a voice at my side.
"Quite so," I replied. "But I doubt if it is really an Aztec mummy."
"What makes you think that?" asked the voice sharply.
"Because I don't believe the Aztecs buried their dead in Cliff
Dwellings. However, it is an interesting mummy, and in a wonderful state
I was so interested in examining the mummy that I had spoken without
turning my head. Now, however, I looked up and saw a tall, gaunt figure
of a man dressed in a suit of corduroy, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat,
or sombrero, such as is generally worn on the Western plains.
"Well," he remarked, "in my opinion, it is a pretty good mummy. I made
it myself, and ought to know."
"Excuse me, what did you say?" I asked, thinking I had not understood
"I said that was one of my mummies."
"What do you mean by that, sir?" I asked.
"You will understand when I tell you I was a dealer in curiosities, and
during my time I furnished museums with a great many interesting and
valuable specimens; when trade was slow, I occasionally helped nature a
little, but that is all over now."
"Have you given up the business?" I asked.
"Had to; but perhaps you do not know that I am dead," answered my
companion. "Fell from a cliff last year and broke my neck."
"Did you, indeed?" I answered, trying to appear interested.
"That's what I did. But let me tell you about that mummy. There was a
scientific chap who came to our place and wanted to buy Aztec relics. Me
and my partner made a trade with him and sold him a lot of stuff; but
he was very anxious to be taken where he could dig some up for himself,
'to be sure of the authenticity and antiquity of the relics.' Well, me
and my pard figured up that it might be to our advantage to take him to
a good Cliff Dwelling, and we arranged that he should pay us so much for
everything he dug up. If he found a mummy we got one hundred dollars; if
stone hatchets and axes, two dollars each; arrow-heads, ten cents each;
for stone matats and grinders, one dollar each, taking them as they
came; and whole pottery, five dollars."
"Where did you find the mummy? Did you know of the cave?" I asked.
"Well, we knew where there were lots of caves, and where there were
Indian graveyards. With the aid of a little stain and judicious
arrangement of a body we prepared a fine Aztec mummy. Of course we used
the body of an Indian, one who had been dead for a long time and was
dried up and crumbly. My partner was a clever chap, and he fixed up the
axe and the silver necklace, and we took the outfit and started for the
Verde Cañon. We picked out a good-sized cave, and dug a hole in the
floor, in which we carefully placed the mummy and covered him up with
dry dust; then we wet the clay over him, leaving the floor hard and
smooth as before. We also buried about fifty axes and two or three
hundred arrow-heads, and half a dozen nice specimens of Indian pottery,
which we burned up good and black.
"After we had 'salted' the cave to our satisfaction, we partly sealed up
the entrance and returned to Flagstaff."
"Was that acting quite fair?"
"Fair? Why, how do you think that poor man would have felt if he had
come all the way out to Arizona, and gone to all the expense of his
car-fare and outfit, and then found nothing? It was philanthropy, my
dear sir, the height of philanthropy."
"Was he pleased with the mummy?"
"Pleased? Why, bless your dear, innocent soul, he screamed with joy like
a child, when we accidentally discovered a piece of a toe while digging
in the bottom of the cave! He dropped on his knees and removed every
particle of dirt with his hands, and almost cried over it. He carried on
so that my partner nearly gave us away. He was a chump about some
things: if anything pleased him, he would laugh, and his laugh sounded
like the bray of a jackass.
"Well, sir, when this scientific chap got down on his knees, and
commenced to paw the earth away from the fake mummy, my partner began to
gurgle. I knew what was coming and punched him in the ribs, but it did
no good. The scientific chap looked up and asked what was the matter.
"'Matter?' shouted my pard, and then he roared and yelled and howled.
"A look of doubt and annoyance came into our victim's eyes; but pard
saved himself just in time.
"'Look!' he yelled between his paroxysms of laughter, 'look at that
buzzard over there! I'm damned if he ain't the funniest buzzard I ever
saw in my life,' and then he roared and yelled and jumped about. 'Look
at him,' he laughed; 'see him fly! did you ever see anything so funny?'
"I am not sure but what the scientist thought he was crazy, but anyhow,
he didn't catch on to what he was laughing at, and pretty soon went on
with his digging. We stayed there three days and dug the whole place up
and took back with us a basket full of stone axes, arrow-heads, three
large prehistoric vases, and the mummy. He drove the wagon himself every
step of the way, for fear something would get broken, and when we got
to Flagstaff he spent two days packing the relics."
"Do you consider that sort of thing quite honorable?" I asked.
"Honorable? What is that you say, you squint-eyed dude? Now, my boy,
don't get fresh with me just because I am dead and can't jump you."
I hastened to pacify him.
"Well, that's all right, but if you had said that to me last year when I
was alive I would have marked squares all over your body with a piece of
chalk and then played hop-scotch on you."
"I meant no offence," I said humbly.
"Maybe you didn't. But just you make another break like that, and I
won't forget it; you will have to die sometime, and then,—oh, mamma!"
"Is your partner dead?" I asked.
"No, Jim is not dead by a long shot. I went down to see him last winter
at his place in California, where he has opened up a new store. He has
a good tourist trade—made a lot of money this year out of mermaids and
sea-devils—there was a run on sea-devils this winter. He makes them out
"The mermaids he makes out of fishes' tails and Indian children—robs
the graveyards, you know. Some of them are really fine and artistic. I
tell you he is an artist in his line.
"He has a branch store still somewhere in New Mexico, and made a stack
of money last winter in Navajo blankets and scalp-trimmed Indian arms
and shields. It is the scalp trimming which catches the tourist. He gets
most of his scalps from California, from hospitals there; but when he is
short, horse hair does pretty well, especially for old Indian scalps.
"And then, Navajo blankets. Holy smoke, a gold mine isn't in it! They
make them of Germantown wool and aniline dyes, and they cost at the
factory all the way from six bits to $10, and sell to the tourist for
various prices; sometimes as high as $75 or $80. Oh, I tell you he is
shrewd; some day he will be worth a million!
"Sometimes a chap goes into his shop and poses as an expert—those are
the kind of jays that fill Jim's soul with joy. The fellow will pull
over a pile of blankets, and after looking at them wisely, will say,
'Haven't you got any real good blankets? These are Germantown wool and
"Then Jim will say—'Ah, I see you know something about blankets.'
"'Oh, yes; a little,' answers the expert.
"'The fine old-style blankets are mighty hard to get now,' remarks Jim.
"'I know they are,' remarks the wise tourist, 'but still they are to be
had sometimes, are they not? Come, now, haven't you got something
choice hidden away?'
"Then Jim will look about, as though fearful that somebody might see
him, and will steal softly into a back room and pull from beneath his
bed a good cheap blanket—worth about $3—and spread it out lovingly in
front of the tourist.
"'There,' he whispers; 'look at that; that is not for sale. I am keeping
that for myself, but I thought you would like to see it, as it is very
evident you know a good deal about blankets; isn't it a beauty?'
"Then the tourist 'bites,' and asks him what it is worth, and admires
it, agrees with him as to the splendid old dyes and fine preservation of
the native wool prepared in the manner of the old Navajo, speaks of its
great rarity, and at last ends by asking Jim what he will take for it,
and usually carries it away with him, having paid three or four times
the value of a really good blanket.
"I've seen Jim pull their legs so hard they'd pretty near limp when
they went out. Ah, those were happy days!"
The departed heaved a deep sigh, and gazed silently at his handiwork.
"Well," he said, "I must be going; I have a lot of things I want to do
before morning, but hope to run across you sometime again. Glad you like
the mummy. I forgot to mention that most of the teeth were gone when we
first got it, and Jim put in a fine new set, and improved it a whole
I glanced at the mummy, and when I looked up again, my companion had