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The Plunge of the "Knupfen"

By LEONARD GROVER

Out of the scientific records of the past, we give you the astonishing account of a voyage into earth's very center

I HAVE many times thought of writing an account of the many strange and wonderful incidents that happened to me during this very last year, but have hesitated from fear that they will be denied credibility.

But at last I have gathered courage, and have set down the amazing details.

I am Robert Wiley Gough.

Three years ago I left my native town, Grafton, in the Old Bay State, and went West to better my fortune.

I am a telegrapher, and secured engagement with the Comstock mines, where I remained for many days far down in the earth transmitting to the miners telegraphic instruction which came from the superintendent's office above, on the surface.

I had left, and was in San Francisco to try for a more healthful employment.

I had taken a long walk from the Cliff House along the sands of the ocean.

The pathway for miles was solitary. Not one human being was visible till, some miles inland, a lad told me that I might shorten my journey back to San Francisco by crossing a great sand-dune at the left.

At the summit of this dune I saw a charming picture—a narrow valley surrounded by gray, barren dunes, with a band of the brightest green running through. A row of windmills was irrigating the valley from artesian depths. A group of five great wind-wheels almost overlapping each other provoked my curiosity. The wheels were upheld by a framework of tall, iron stanchions, and below them was a cabin built against the side of the dune.

I drew near to investigate.

As I stepped within the patch of green nearest the cabin, at the door appeared a man who came directly toward me. He was perhaps fifty years old, possessed a pleasant but resolute face, and a stature slightly above the average. His dress was poor and in keeping with his apparent occupation.

He paused squarely in front of me, his appearance plainly inquiring, "What do you want here?"

"Good-day," I ventured. "I was curious to know why you required so many wind wheels for such a small amount of water and garden."

"I might pipe the water to a point below."

That was true. He might be supplying fresh water to a point nearer the ocean. I had no time to press my investigation further, for I was put in the attitude of the answerer rather than the questioner. I had no reason to conceal anything; and he quickly drew from me my occupation, its association with the Comstock, my present lack of employment—in fact, everything.

At the conclusion of his series of inquiries he invited me inside his cabin. The wall against the hill was completely covered by a curtain of soiled muslin. I was speculating as to what it might conceal, when he burst in upon my thoughts by recounting the facts he had learned from me.

"You are a telegrapher; you have been far down in the ground for more than a week at a time; you have nothing at present in view. How would you like to secure fifty thousand dollars in gold a month for yourself?"

I made haste to answer:

"Fifty thousand dollars a month is a great deal of money, but I would dearly like to hold down the job for a year."

He said that he was about to advertise for a man when, lo! Providence brought the man to his door. I was just the one for his purpose. Would I listen to him, and swear not to betray him if I declined his offer?

I promised that I would keep his secret.

HIS name was Christian Aldgeldt. He had been professor of chemistry at one of the Eastern colleges. He had experimented and invented. He led me by gradation to a comprehension of his project.

He denied the atomic theory. He was convinced that no one order of matter could be wholly eliminated from all other orders of matter—in a word, that there was gold in everything.

He had been up in the Snake River country above Lewiston, where there were minute quantities of placer-gold in every foot of land along the river. He had become convinced by experiment that this gold was disseminated by atmospheric electricity.

There was a man there known as "the brass monkey." He had seen him. His face bore the look of a broken bar of brass. Under the microscope he discovered particles of gold-dust in his pores.

Investigation disclosed that the man had been to the Hot Springs in Arkansas for medical treatment, and taken the baths, had become saturated with copper, and it was on this copper that the electrical atmosphere was making deposits of gold.

"Now," said he, "gold exists deep in the earth in volatile form, as volatile as quicksilver. The remote volcanic upheaval which threw these great ranges of mountains into being placed the great mass of the precious metal to the west of the Rockies. The greatest deposits of placer gold were found along the valley of the Sacramento.

"The recent discovery of rich ...

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