THE LUCK OF ROARING CAMP 19
of the camp, or some other reason, Cherokee Sal
was finking fast. Within an hour she had climbed,
as it were, that rugged road that led to the stars,
and so passed out of Roaring Camp, its sin and
shame, for ever. I do not think that the announce¬
ment disturbed them much, except in speculation
as to the fate of the child. " Can he live now ? "
was asked of Stumpy. The answer was doubtful.
The only other being of Cherokee Sal's sex and
maternal condition in the settlement was an ass.
There was some conjecture as to fitness, but the
experiment was tried. It was less problematical
than the ancient treatment of Romulus and Remus,
and apparently as successful.
When these details were completed, which ex¬
hausted another hour, the door was opened, and
the anxious crowd of men who had already formed
themselves into a queue, entered in single file.
Beside the low bunk or shell, on which the figure
of the mother was starkly outlined below the
blankets, stood a pine table. On this a candle-
box was placed, and within it, swathed in staring
red flannel, lay the last arrival at Roaring Camp.
Beside the candle-box was placed a hat. Its use
was soon indicated. " Gentlemen," said Stumpy,
with a singular mixture of authority and ex officio
complacency,—" Gentleman will please pass in at
the front door, round the table, and out at the