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[68] Californian brigands. What hybrid peasant has not envied Capitan Soto, and his bold companion, Capitan Procopio? What lonely ranch and noisy drinking ken has not heard of Capitan Senati's deeds, and Capitan Moreno's treachery? What selorita has not sighed over the romantic love and tragic fate of Capitan Vasquez, the Mexican hero? Each of these brigands has excited and disturbed the country, roaming through the valleys, plundering the lonely farms, stopping the public mails, and carrying girls into the woods; each hero, as the hybrids think, combining the best qualities of Robin Hood, Dick Turpin, and Claude du Val.

Soto was the captain of a band of horse-stealers. Driving horses from the herd is ranked by Mexicans as the most lucrative and gallant branch of a brigand's trade. To steal horses, a man must be brave, cool, and hardy; he must know the country like a guide-each hidden jungle, nameless cave, and rocky pass-and he must sit his saddle as he sits a chair. All Mexicans ride well, but even for a Mexican ranger, Capitan Soto was a dasher; going like a gale of wind; yet able, in his rapid flight, to twist himself round his horse's belly, and to

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Capitan Soto (3)
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