Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/151

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Another anecdote connected with Greeley's stay in Denver occurs to me. A German barber, plying his art there, who styled himself Murat, and claimed to be a descendant of the King of Naples, was called in to shave Greeley, and, when he had finished the job and was asked for his charge, coolly named two dollars and a half as the regular price for shaving outside of his shop. Greeley gave him a bland look, pulled out his purse, and handed him the money, saying: “Well, I guess I can afford to pay something for the privilege of getting scraped by royal hands.”

After resting a few days longer, Mr. Greeley felt strong enough to undertake a trip to the Gregory mines, and I volunteered to conduct him and his companion there. He had not ridden an animal in twenty-five years, and dreaded the necessity of doing so, but finally made up his mind to it. We drove in a wagon as far as Clear Creek, and there mounted three mules. I led the file into the creek, my companions following me without hesitation. The water was at least a foot higher than when I last crossed, and my animal began swimming at once, wetting me up to the waist. The other beasts imitated mine. Greeley was a sight to behold. Alarmed by the sudden immersion of his mule, he had first raised his legs in order to avoid getting wet. This movement made him lose his balance, and, to steady himself, he threw his arms around the animal's neck. The mule did not like the embrace, and commenced struggling against it and taking his rider down-stream. I took in the situation on reaching the other side, galloped down the creek, and, reëntering it, managed to seize Greeley's bridle and pull him along the bank. The rider's face bore an indescribable expression of fear mingled with mirth at himself. As he came up on the bank, dripping all over, a number of gold-seekers who had watched us gave him three rousing cheers, which brought back the characteristic smile to his countenance.

On reaching Clear Creek on our return trip, Greeley