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The Cold Weather Pinches Passengers Going Across the Plains.

On one of my wintry trips across the plains, I took a passenger by the name of Miller who was going to Santa Fe to buy wool for Mr. Hammerslaugh. That was one of the most extreme cold winters I ever experienced. When we reached the long route, that is from Ft. Larned a distance of 240 miles to Ft. Lyon with no stations between, we took two coaches if we had several passengers; however, this time I only had Mr. Miller. The first night out I told him he had better sleep on the ground, he would sleep warmer and be safer from the elements, but he said he would freeze to death. I told him that by morning he would see who had frozen if he slept in the coach. Well, he had lots of bedding, buffalo robes, buffalo overshoes and blankets. This was in the month of January and the weather was down below zero and still a "zeroin'," it being at this time 20 below. Sixty-five miles from Ft. Lyon I opened the curtains and asked him how he was faring, and he told me he was frozen to the knees. At Pretty Encampment I opened the curtains again and told him we had better put him in cold water and take the frost out of his limbs. I told him I would cut a hole in the ice and put his feet in there and he would get all right, but he would not hear to it, he said he couldn't stand it. I insisted that it was the only plausible thing to do. He said that if I would drive straight to Ft. Lyon as hard as I could go that he would give me $100. I told him no, I could not do that, it would kill the mules before we could get there. At four o'clock, however, we arrived in Ft. Lyon with our frozen patient. We got a doctor as soon as possible who doped his legs with oil and cotton and kept him there.

On my next trip in the month of February, I took a lady passenger, a Miss Withington, daughter of Charles Withington, who lived ten miles east of Council Grove, Kansas. She wanted to go to Pueblo, Colorado. I told her how dangerous it was at that time of the year, but she insisted that she would make it all right, and as luck would have it, she did make it. John McClennahan of Independence, Mo., was our driver. On this trip as on the previous trip, at Pretty Encampment I opened the curtains and asked Miss Withington how she was. She told me her feet were frozen. "Well," I said, "Miss Withington, there is only one thing to do, and it is a little rough." She asked me what it was. I told her that I would cut a hole in the ice and put her feet in the river if she would consent to it. She was a nervy little woman, and laughingly told me to "go at it." I went ahead with blankets and the hatchet and cut a hole in the ice, and the driver carried her and emersed her feet in water 15 inches deep. She pluckily stood it without a flinch. Her feet were frozen quite hard but after 30 minutes they were thawed and we took her back to the coach where she ate a hearty breakfast and proceeded to Ft. Lyon. At four o'clock we reached the fort. Miss Withington put on her shoes but her feet were still too badly swollen to lace her shoes and tie them. She walked into the station alone, and there lay Mr. Miller, the passenger of a month ago, who had lost both his feet above the toe joint. Miss Withington walked up to him and said, "you're a pretty bird, my feet were frozen as badly as yours, but I 'took to the water' and I have no doubt but I will be all right." She never suffered much inconvenience, but Mr. Miller was a life-long cripple.

Miss Withington, whose name is Hayden now, visited in California in the year of 1912, just prior to my visit there. I was indeed sorry not to have met her again. I met her once since that memorable trip when she suffered frozen feet, and they never troubled her afterwards.

I always slept on the ground and never suffered with cold. I had buffalo robes and government blankets. So long as the wind could not get under the covering and "raise them off" I was comfortable. When the wind was high, I usually laid our harness over my bed. In case of snow storms, we would often wake up under a blanket of soft snow, and raise up and poke our arm through the snow to make an air hole, then go back to sleep again.

The wolves would often prowl around our camp and help the mules eat their corn. Several times I would look out from under my covering and behold eight or ten wolves eating corn with the mules, and seldom would ever go to bed without first putting out four or five quarts of corn for the hungry wolves. One passenger whom I had en route to Santa Fe joked me about feeding the wolves. He said that I had gotten so accustomed to feed Indians that I thought to feed the wolves, too.

[Illustration: LUCIEN MAXWELL.]