The beauty of midsummer lay upon the land—the mountains and plains of Chihuahua. It was August, the month of melons and ripening corn. High aloft in the pale blue vault of heaven, a solitary eagle soared in ever widening circles in its flight toward the sun. Far out upon the plains the lone wolf skulked among the sage and cactus in search of the rabbit and antelope, or lay panting in the scanty shade of the yucca. By most persons this little known land of the great Southwest is regarded as the one which God forgot. But to those who are familiar with its vast expanse of plain and horizon, its rugged sierras, its wild desolate mesas and solitary peaks of half-decayed mountains—its tawny stretches of desert marked with the occasional skeletons of animal and human remains—its golden wealth of sunshine and opalescent skies, and have felt the brooding death-like silence which seems to hold as in a spell all things living as well as dead, this land becomes one of mystery and enchantment—a mute witness of some unknown or forgotten past when the children of men were young, whose secrets it still withholds, and with whose dust is mingled not only that of unnumbered and unknown generations of men, but that of Montezuma and the hardy daring Conquistadores of old Spain. But whatever may be the general consensus of opinion concerning this land, such at least was the light in which it was viewed by Captain Forest, as he and his Indian attendant, José, drew rein on the rim of a broken, wind-swept mesa in the heart of the Chihuahuan desert, a full day's ride from Santa Fé whither they were bound, to witness the Fiesta, the Feast of the Corn, which was celebrated annually at this season.