F. B. Garth
For the first time we get to know the heroes in March 1848 in the Californian Sierra, when they almost die of starvation, as they have long since lost their way into a snowstorm and set up camp in some canyon. Two of them, Philip Ashley, a young man of uncommon mind and solid character, and his beloved Grace Konroy, leave the camp to find some settlement and inform his inhabitants about the detachment of settlers killed in the snow. Among the others, Grace’s brother Gabriel Conroy and their three-year-old sister Ollie remain in the camp. Before Grace leaves the camp, her friend Dr. Dvarges, an elderly, dying man, gives her a bar of silver and gives him a document confirming his right to own land, where he found a silver vein, and the donative that passes this vein into Grace’s property.
A few days later, Philip and Grace finally reach a village. Philip leaves Grace in the house of one hospitable woodcutter, and he embarks on the way back to the Hunger camp to point her brother and sister to the village. However, when he is in the camp, he meets a detachment of rescuers. It turns out that one of his former companions has already died, and the rest, who still had some strength, including Gabriel and Olli, left this place of weakness following the example of Philip Ashley.
Philip Ashley, who took this pseudonym for some reason only for the time of travel, is in fact former military officer Arthur Poinzet. In the rescue
In mid-May, in vain after waiting for Ashley’s return, Grace, posing as his sister, goes to the commander of the garrison commandant Juan Salvatierra and asks for his help. From it, she learns that the rescue expedition sent to find the camp has already returned and that among the dead, the body of Grace Conroy has been found. Then Grace states that an error occurred, calls her real name and faints in excitement and weakness. At that moment, she drops Dr. Devarges’ document. Then the secretary, the Mexican Ramirez, steals it and further uses it for their own purposes.
Don Juan Salvatierra becomes sorry for the poor emaciated girl, and he decides to adopt it. At the end of 1848, with the consent of Grace, he recognizes her as her daughter, born out of wedlock from an Indian princess, and makes her the heir of her vast fortune. Under the name of Donna Dolores Salvatierra, she leads a solitary lifestyle in his possessions and for several years keeps incognito. To look like an Indian, she, on the advice of her maid, daily washed her face and hands with yokoto juice, and they are painted bronze.
The next five years in the novel are not described, and then the author tells about the life of Gabriel and Olli Conroy, about how it evolves after these five years. They live in a prospecting village called Rotten Hollow on the land that was donated by Dr. Dvardzhes Grace in a small hut on a hill; their life is very modest, since Gabriel does not succeed in Driving a rich vein. Gabriela can not be called a hero in the conventional sense of the word, although in all his actions he is guided by good motives. He is naive and poorly oriented in the true sense of what is happening. Gabriel has extraordinary physical strength, he is able to overcome the raging mountain stream, but in the turbulent stream of life he is helpless. So, one day he saves from death, which threatens her breakthrough dam, one young person, and later she marries him to herself. This person’s name is Julie DeVarges. She is the divorced wife of the late Dr. Dargares. Once she met with Ramirez and, hoping to win her heart and profit from this deception, gave her a gifted doctor in the name of Grace. Julie pretends to be Grace and comes to Rotten Hollow with the intent to take away from Gabriel his land, in which passes a rich silver veil, which they have not yet found. However, after Gabriel saves her and she sees that he is a very attractive man, she falls in love with him and decides to complete the case amicably, that is, not through court, but simply marrying him. As a result of her marriage, she becomes the legal co-owner of the Conroy land. Gabriel for a long time does not even suspect that Julie posed as her sister,
Ramirez is furious with the fact that he was held in both the love and business spheres. He is about to take revenge on Julie and Peter Dumphy, now a successful banker, who is also involved in a fraudulent charity, and, approving Julie’s unexpected move, tries to take Gabriel’s land to his hands. Through the intermediary of Julie Gabriel, the banker can create on the basis of his development a joint-stock company with fixed capital from Dumphy, since he can not conduct ore processing at his own expense, since this requires large material investments at the first stage. He receives from Dumfy a large sum, becomes manager at his enterprise and a prominent person in the village, without losing at the same time his characteristic simplicity and diligence.
Ramirez, meanwhile, is making attempts to shake the stability of the Dumfi enterprise. He orders a fake donative for the same piece of land in San Francisco from his friends, which was donated by the governor to Dr. Dvardzhes. He draws it up in the name of Don Salvatierra and tosses into the papers of the late comandante. Grace discovers a gift, calls for a lawyer and asks him to find out whether she is real. The lawyer works in the same building where Ramirez came to his friends with a request to make a fake document for him, and then they accidentally met. His name is Henry Perkins, he is the brother of the late Dr. Dargage, who once fled with his wife Julie, but he carefully conceals his real name and leads a very private and modest way of life.
To understand whether to claim her rights to Conroy’s land, Grace invites another lawyer, Arthur Poinset, the same Philip Ashley, who was her fiancé five years ago, and now has become a well-known lawyer. At first she tries to get advice through her neighbor and friend, a rich young widow, the owner of a huge estate, the beautiful Maria Sepulvid. However, later decides to meet with Poinzet herself. The young man is blinded by her beauty, but because of the dark color of her skin Grace does not recognize her. The girl behaves with him very reserved.
One day in the church, Grace notices Ramirez, who seems to be watching her. She is confused and worried that the former secretary of Don Salvatierra will recognize her. However, a certain Jack Gemlin, a handsome young man, a professional card player who at first glance falls in love with Grace comes to the rescue. With Ramirez shortly before his road was already intersected, and he feeds this slippery Mexican frank dislike. He knocks him down, and Grace, meanwhile, manages to escape.
Ramirez begins to guess that Donna Dolores is Grace, but her fellow countrymen partly dissuade him of this. He goes to Rotten Hollow with the intention of telling the naive Gabriel everything he knows about his wife, and thus annoying Julie. However, under the pressure of Gabriel, he is forced to open his cards ahead of time and thus is deprived of the opportunity to fully enjoy his revenge and humiliation of Julie. After talking with the Mexican Gabriel leaves his wife in an unknown direction.
Ramirez threatens Julie with a date in the forest, wanting to talk to her. Arriving at the meeting place, Julie is amazed to face Henry Perkins, his former lover. After talking with him, she runs home. Then he meets Ramirez, who, in insignificance and cowardice, tries to justify himself and beg for her forgiveness, because she hopes that she will return to him again. Julie refuses to return and insults him. Ramirez, in a fit of rage, snatches the knife and tries to stab it. At this moment, someone puts a hand on his shoulder. This is Perkins. A fight is tied up. Julie is hiding. She runs home and writes a note to Gabrielle, in which she says that she has new information about Grace (Ramirez had time to share with her his guesses). She gives a note to the Chinese working in her house and sends it to Gabrielle for her search. A Chinese walks through the forest, and at the moment when Ramirez is ready to kill Perkins, he passes by the fighting, although he does not see the fight himself over the bushes. The steps of the Chinese frighten Ramirez, and, as Perkins later said, the Mexican stabs his knife in his chest.
The Chinese finds Gabriel, hands him a note, and he returns home through the forest, but his wife is no more there. She disappeared. Walking past his forest hut, he saw the body of Ramirez and now comes to the conclusion that the culprit for the death of a Mexican is his wife. Despite his break with Julie, he decides to protect her, if necessary, even at the cost of his own life.
He goes to Wingdam, a neighboring town, goes to a hotel where he is going to have lunch. However, the suspicion of Ramirez’s murder falls on him. From the Rotten Hollow, the sheriff arrives and arrests him. Gabriel does not resist, In the same restaurant and at the same time is Jack Gemlin. When he realizes why Gabriel is being arrested, he gets to this simple-minded giant with fraternal love, since he himself had long wanted to deal with Ramirez. Gabriel asks him to bring Ollie from the boarding house, where she is at this time.
On the way back, having already taken Ollie from the boarding house, Gemlin learns that Gabriel is being pursued by vigilantes wishing to deal with him before the trial. He leaves the sleeping Ollie in Wigdham in the care of his servant Pete Pete and rushes to help Gabriel. In the prison building, Gabriel and the sheriff guarding him barely restrain the door that is cracking under the pressure of the mob of lynchers. Gemlin penetrates inside, but not immediately recognized by his sheriff shoots at Jack and hurts him in the leg. Gabriel with the wounded Jack on his back and the sheriff, trying to escape from the vigilante, try to climb out onto the roof to then descend the rope and hide in the forest. However, at this very moment in California, an earthquake is rolling. The door of the court is below and the door to the attic is jammed, and the sheriff, who does not have time to get out, is trapped. Gabriel and Jack get to the abandoned tunnels and wait for the onset of darkness. In the evening they move to the forest, where they find Ollie and Pete. The next morning the sheriff again arrests Gabriel, but later he is released on bail, which Dumphy is making for him. In the courtyard of his house, Gabriel finds a basket to sew his wife, and in it – a vest and understands that Julie is waiting for a child.
To protect Gabriela in the Hollow comes Arthur Poinset hired by Peter Dumphy. Thanks to his lawyer talent and testimony of witnesses, Gabriela is justified. During the court session it is found that a lady who appeared on the court under a thick veil is Grace (with a natural complexion already). She opposes her brother, since she is offended by him because he married an impostor and thereby deprived her of her legitimate rights to land in the Hollow. Poinset is shocked by the sudden appearance of Grace and the fact that he could not recognize her in the guise of an Indian woman. In the future, he manages to make peace with her, and young people get married.
Ollie and Gabriel forgive her sister for the fact that she almost threw a loop around her brother’s neck. Julie’s excitement prematurely produces a child, and she and Gabriel again live with one family. Instead of the silver vein that went underground during the earthquake, Gabriel finds another in her own sector. Conroi again become rich and restore their good name.