Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/152

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positively refused to swim across it again on his mule. As he said of himself, “The starch was completely taken out of me by my three days' rough experience, and I had neither strength nor heart for the passage.” It turned out that he was very wise in his refusal, for, as his mule was being led across, the saddle-girth broke, and everything it bore, including sleeping-blankets, dropped into the water and was lost. The following passage from a letter of his to the Tribune refers to an accident that befell me suddenly between Clear Creek and Denver:

An accident, which might have proved serious, happened to a member of our party, Mr. Villard of the Cincinnati Commercial. Riding some distance ahead of us, he was thrown by his mule's saddle slipping forward and turning him so that he fell heavily on his left arm, which was badly bruised, and thence dragged a rod with his heel fast in the stirrup. His mule then stopped, but, when I rode up behind him, I dared not approach him, lest I should start his animal, and waited for the friend who, having heard his call for help, was coming up in front. Mr. Villard was released without further injury, but his arm is temporarily useless.

I had, in fact, to carry the injured arm in a sling for several weeks.

Greeley, Richardson, and I united in a statement to the public regarding the then actual mining developments. It was prepared in perfect good faith, and based strictly on facts observed by the signers themselves. Greeley's political opponents, nevertheless, made it the subject of ridicule and abuse of him for a long time. His inveterate enemy, the senior James Gordon Bennett, especially attacked him for it in the New York Herald. The assertions that we had allowed ourselves to be misled and swindled, became so persistent that the leading miners subsequently published sworn statements testifying to the correctness of our account. The steadily growing proof of the existence of great mineral wealth in the Rocky Mountains triumphantly sustained us in the end.