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“Will you please to tell us some of some ridges of brown, searei, earthy-looking them ?” said Queen T—, with no appar- hills, for the most part bare, though here and ent sarcasm. “We are so often appealed there the crest was crowned by a ridge of to for charity; and it would be delightful to pine. At the mouth of one of the valleys be able to tell poor people how to make a we came upon Golden City, a scattered fortune."
hamlet of small houses, with some trees, “ The poor people would have to have and some thin lines of a running stream some influence. But would you like to hear about it. Then, getting farther into the my schemes? They are numberless ; and mountains, we entered the narrow and deep they are all based on the supposition that gorge of the Clear Creek canon, a naturally in London there are a very large number of forined highway that runs and winds sinupeople who would pay high prices for the ously for about thirty miles between the simplest necessaries of life, provided you huge walls of rock on either side. could supply these of the soundest quality. not a beautiful valley, this deep cleft among Do you see? I take the case of milk, for the mountains, but a gloomy and desolate example. Think of the number of mothers place, with lightning-blasted pines among in London who would pay a double price the grays and reds of the fused fire-rocks; for milk for their children, if you could guar- an opaque gray-green river rushing down the antee them that it was quite unwatered, and chasm; the trees overhead, apparently at got from cows living wholesomely in the the summit of the twin precipices, black country, instead of in London stalls ! That against the glimmer of the blue sky. Here is only one of a dozen things. Take bread, and there, however, were vivid gleams of for example. I believe there are thou- colour ; a blaze of the yellow leaves of the sands of people in London who would pay cotton-wood, or a mass of crimson creeper extra for French bread, if they only knew growing over over a gray rock. how to get it supplied to them. Very well ; | to wonder, too, whether this small river I step in with my association--for the wants could really have cut this deep and narrow of a great place like London can only be chasm in the giant mountains; but there, supplied by big machinery - and I get a sure enough, far above us on the deep slopes, duke or two, and a handful of M.P.'s with were the deep holes in the intertwisted me, to give it a philanthropic look; and, of quartz out of which the water in by-gone course, they make me manager. I do a ages must have slowly worked the bowlders good public work, and I benefit myself." of some alien material. There were other
“Do you think you would succeed as a holes, too, visible on the sides of this gloomy manager of a dairy? " said Queen T —, gorge, with some brown earth in front of gently.
then, as if some animal had been trying to “As well, probably,” said he, laughing, scrape for itself a den there : these were the "as the manager of Mrs. Von Rosen's prospect holes” that miners had bored to mines and farms! But having got up the spy into the secrets of the everlasting hills. company, you would not ask me to look Down below us, again, was the muddy after the cows."
stream, rushing between its beds of gravel ; “Oh, Hugh,” said Lady Sylvia, anxiously, and certainly this railway carriage, on its "I hope you will never have anything to do narrow guage, seemed to tilt dangerously over with any company. It is that which has got toward the sheer descent and the plunging poor papa into such trouble. I wish he waters. The train, indeed, as it would round could leave all these things for a time, and the rocks, seemed to be some huge python, come out here for a holiday; it would do hunted into its gloomy lair in the mounhim a great deal of good.”
tains. This filial wish did not seem to awaken We were glad to get out of it, and into the any cager response, though Mrs. Von Rosen clear sunshine, at the terminus—Floyd Hill; murmured something about the pleasure it and here we found a couple of stage-coaches, would give her to see Lord Willowby. We each with four horses, awaiting to carry us had not much hope of his lordship consent still farther up into the Rockies. They were ing to live at a ranch.
strange-looking vehicles, apparently mostly And now we drew near the Rockies. First built of leather, and balanced on leather of all, rising from the plains, we encountered springs of enormous thickness.
soon disappeared from sight. We were lost women-folk, from which Bell, more especially, in such clouds of dust as were never yet be- was obviously suffering. When we all asheld by mortal man. Those who had gone sembled thereafter at our mid-day meal, she inside to escape found that the half-dozen was still somewhat pale. The lieutenant windows would not keep shut; and that, as declared that, after so much travelling, she they were flung hither and thither by the must now take a long rest. He would not plunging of the coach up the steep moun- allow her to go on to Georgetown for a week tain paths, they lost sight of each other in at least. the dense yellow clouds. And then some- And was there ever in all the world a tiines a gust of wind would cleave an open place more conducive to rest than this dising in the clouds; and, behold! a flashing tant, silent, sleepy Idaho up here in the picture of pine-clad mountains, with a dark lonely mountains ? When the coaches had blue sky above. That jolting journey seemed whirled away in the dust toward Georgeto last for ever and ever, and the end of it town, there was nothing to break the absofound us changed into new creatures. But lute calm but the soft rustling of the small the coat of dust that covered us from head trees ; there was not a shred of cloud in the to heel had not sufficed to blind us; and now blue sky to bar the glare of the white road before our eyes we found the end and aim with a bit of grateful shadow. of our journey—the far hamlet of Idaho. After having had a look at Bell's house,
Bell looked rather bewildered ; she had we crossed to the other side of the valley, dreaded this approach to her future home. and entered a sort of tributary gorge beAnd Queen T—, anxious above all things tween the hills which is known as the Soda that her friend's first impressions should be Creek Canon. Here all vestiges of civilizafavourable, cried out,
tion seemed to end, but for the road that led “Oh, Bell, how beautiful, and clean, and we knew not whither; and in the strange bright it is !"
silence we wandered onward into this new And certainly our first glance at Idaho, world, whose plants and insects and animals after the heat and dust we had come through, were all unfamiliar to us, or familiar only as was cheering enough. We thought for an they suggested some similarity to their Enginstant of Chamounix as we saw the small lish relatives. And yet Queen T-- strove white houses by the side of the green, rush- to assure Bell that there was nothing wonng stream, and the great mountains rising derful about the place, except its extreme sheer beyond. There was a cool and plea- silence and a certain sad desolation of beausant wind rustling through the leaves of the ty. Was not this our identical Michaelmas young cotton-wood trees planted in front of daisy ? she asked. She was overjoyed when the inn. And when we turned to the mount- she discovered a real and veritable harebell ains on the other side of the narrow valley, -a trifle darker in colour than our harebell, we found even the lofty pine woods glowing but a harebell all the same. She made a with colour ; for the mid-day sun was pour- dart at a cluster of yellow flowers growing ing down on the undergrowth---Now of a up among the rocks, thinking they were the golden yellow--so that one could almost mountain saxifrage ; but they turned out to believe that these far slopes were covered be a composite plant-probably some sort with buttercups. The coaches had stopped of hawk-weed. Her efforts to reach these at the inn—the Beebe House, as it is called flowers had startled a large bird out of the --and Colonel Sloane's heiress was received bushes above ; and as it darted off, we could with much distinction. They showed her see that it was of a dark and luminous blue: Colonel Sloane's house. It stood on a knoll she had to confess that he was a stranger. some distance off ; but we could see that it But surely we could not have the heart to was a cheerful-looking place, with a green regard the merry little chipmunk as a stranpainted veranda round the white walls, and ger—which of all living creatures is the à few pines and cotton-woods about. In friendliest, the blithest, the most comical. the meantime we had taken rooms at the In this Soda Creek canon he reigns supreme; inn, and speedily set to work to get some of every rock and stone and bush seems inthe dust removed. It was a useful occupa- stinct with life as this Proteus of the animal tion ; for no doubt the worry of it tended world scuds away like a mouse, or shoots up to allay that nervous excitement among our | the hill-side like a lizard, only, when he has got a short distance, to perch himself up on member of the party, whose hands are full his hind legs, and curl up his bushy tail, and of wild flowers. eye us demurely as he affects to play with a “My dear Lady Sylvia," says this person, bit of may-weed. Then we see what the with her sweetest smile,
what would you small squirrel-like animal really is—a beau- all do if you had not us to take back your tiful little creature with longitudinal bars of messages to England ? We are to teach golden brown and black along his back; the Bell's little girl to say Idaho. And when same bars on his head, by the side of his Christmas comes, we shall think of you at a bright, watchful eyes; the red of a robin's particular hour-oh, by-the-way, we have breast on his shoulders ; his furry tail, jaunt- never yet fixed the exact difference of time ily cocked up behind, of a pale brown. We between Surrey and Idaho-" were never tired of watching the tricks and “We will do that before you leave, attitudes of this friendly little chap. We madame,” says the lieutenant," but I am knew quite well that his sudden dart from sure we will think of you a good many times the lee of some stone was only the pretense before Christmas comes. And when Mr. of fright; before he had gone a yard he Balfour and I have our bears and buffaloes, would sit up on his haunches and look at and elephants, and all these things, we will you, and stroke his nose with one of his fore- see whether we cannot get something sent paws. Sometimes he would not even run you in ice for your Chrismas party. And you away a yard, but sit quietly and watch fully will drink our good health, madame, will you . to see us pass. We guessed that there were not? And perhaps, if you are very kind, few stone-throwing boys about the Rocky you might send us one bottle of very good Mountains.
Rhine wine, and we will drink your health Behold! the valley at last shows one too. Nee! I meant two bottles, for the brief symptom of human life; a waggon drawn four of us—" by a team of oxen comes down the steep “I think we shall be able to manage that," road, and the driver thereof is worth looking says she ; and visions of real Schloss Johanat, albeit his straw sombrero shades his nisberg, each bottle swathed in printed and handsome and sun-tanned face. He is an signed guarantees of genuineness, no doubt ornamental person, this bullwhacker ; with began to dance before her nimble brain. the cord tassels of his buckskin jacket just But at this moment a cold breeze came appearing from below the great Spanish rushing down the narrow gorge; and almost cloak of blue cloth that is carelessly thrown at the same instant we saw the edge of a round his shoulders. Look at his whip, too heavy cloud come lowering over the very -the heavy thongs of it intertwisted like highest peak of the mountains. Some little serpents ; he has no need of bowie-knife or familiarity with the pranks of the weather in pistol in these wilds while he carries about the Western Highlands suggested that, havhim that formidable weapon The oxen passing no water-proofs, and no shelter being on down the valley; the dust subsides; near, we had better make down the valley again we are left with the silence, and the again in the direction of Idaho; and this we warm sunlight, and the aromatic odours of set about doing. The hot afternoon had the may-weed, and the cunning antics of our grown suddenly chill
. A cold wind whistled ubiquitous friend the chipmunk.
through the trembling leaves of the cotton“There," said the lieutenant, looking up woods. The mountains were shadowed, and to the vast hill-slopes above, where the scat- by the time we reached Idaho again it tered pines stood black among the blaze of seemed as if the night had already come yellow undergrowth, “that is the beginning down. The women in their thin dresses, of our hunting country.
All the secrets are
were glad to get in-doors. behind that fringe of wood. You must not “But it is this very thing," the lieutenant imagine, Lady Sylvia, that our life at Idaho cried—for he was anxious that his wife should is to be only this dulness of walking-" regard her new home favourably—“ that
“I can assure you I do not feel it dull at makes these places in the Rocky Mountains all,” she said ; " but I am sorry that our so wholesome—so healthful, I mean. I have party is to be broken up-just when it has heard of it from many people, who say here been completed. Oh, I wish you could stay is the best sleeping-place in the world. It with us !” she adds, addressing another is no matter how warm it is in the day, it is
always cold at night; you always must have dow—we two who were leaving--and tried a blanket here. The heat-that is nothing to fix in our memories some picture of the if you have the refreshing cold of the night; surroundings of Bell's home; for we knew people who can not sleep any where else, that many a time in the after-days we should they can sleep here very well. Every one think of her and endeavour to form some
notion of what she was engaged in at the “Yes, and I will tell you this,” he added, moment, and of the scene around her. And turning to Balfour ; you ought to have can we remember it now? The sunlight stayed some days more in Denver, as all seems to fall vertically from that blazing sky, people do, to get accustomed to the thin air, and there is a pale mist of heat far up in the before coming up here. All the doctors say mountains, so that the dark pine-woods apthat."
pear to have a faint blue fog hanging around “ Thank you,” said Balfour, laughing,“ my them. On the barer slopes, where the rocks lungs are pretty tough. I don't suffer any project in shoulders, there is a more brilliant inconvenience.
light ; for there the undergrowth of cotton“ That is very well, then ; for they say the wood bushes, in its autumn gold, burns clear air of these places will kill a consumptive and sharp, even at this distance. And then person
the eye comes down to the still valley, and Oh, Oswald !” his wife cried, “Don't the scattered white houses, and the small and frighten us all."
rustling trees. We seem to hear the running “ Frighten you," said he. “Will you show of the stream. me the one who is likely to be consumptive? And what was that little bit of paper There is not any one of us does look like thrust furtively, almost at the last moment, it. But if we all turn to be consumptive, can into our Bell's trembling hand ? We did not not we go down to the plains ? and we will know that we had been entertaining a poetess give up the mountain sheep for the ante- unawares among us; or had she copied the lope—"
verses out of a book, just as one takes a " I do believe," said his wife, with some flower from a garden and gives it as a token vexation, that you had not a thought in of remembrance-something tangible to recoming out here except about shooting ! ” call distant faces and by-gone friends ?
“ And I do believe," he said, " that you had no thought except about your children.
“ O Idaho ! far Idaho ! Oh, you ungrateful woman! You wear
A last farewell before we go." mourning-yes ; but when do you really mourn for your poor uncle? When do you
That was all that companion of this unhonspeak of him ? You have not been to his oured Sappho managed to make out as the grave yet.”
paper was snatched from her hand. No “ You know wery well it was yourself who doubt it invoked blessings on the friends to insisted on our coming here first,” said she, whom we were bidding good-bye. No with a blushing face; but it was not a deadly doubt it spoke of the mother's thinking of quarrel.
her children far away. And there certainly The chillness of the night did not prevent
was no doubt that the verses, whether they our going out for a walk later on, when all were good verses or bad verses, served their the world seemed asleep. And now the turn, and are treasured up at this moment as clouds had passed away from the heavens, though their like had never been seen. and the clear stars were shining down over
On that warm, clear, beautiful morning, the mystic darkness of the mountains. In when the heavy cuach came rolling up to the the silence around us we only heard the door of the inn, Balfour and Lady Sylvia did plashing of the stream. It was to be our last not at all seem broken down by emotion ; night together.
on the contrary, they both appeared to be in high spirits. But our poor Bell was a
wretched spectacle, about which nothing CHAPTER LII.
more shall be said here. Her last words
were about her children ; but they were alAUF WIEDERSEHN !
most inaudible, through the violence of her N the early morning—the morning of sobbing. And we knew well, as we caught
farewell—we stood at the small win. I the last glimpse of that waved handkerchief,
that this token of farewell was not meant for How long ago was it that we sat in the long us; it was but a message we were to carry saloon, and the fog-horn was booming outback with us across the seas to a certain side, and we heard Lady Sylvia's tender voice home in Surrey.
singing with the others, “ Abide with me; Heir hat die Mär'ein Ende; and yet the pre- fast falls the eventide," as the good ship sent writer, if he is not overtaxing the patience plunged onward and through the waste of the reader, would like to say a word of waters ? But the ship goes too slow about the fashion in which two people, living for us. We can outstrip its speed. We pretty much by themselves down in the soli- are already half-way over to Bell's retreat, tudes of Surrey, used to try to establish some and here we shall rest ; for are we not high link of interest and association with their over the Hudson, in the neighbourhood friends far away in Colorado, and how at of the haunted mountains ?-and we have these times pictures of by-gone scenes would but to give another call to reach the far rise before their minds, soft, and clear, and plains of Colorado ! beautiful ; for the troubles and trials of travelling were now all forgotten, and the pleasant passages of our journeying could be
“Ho, Vanderdecken-Hendrich Hudsonseparated and strung like lambent beads on can you take our message from us and pass the thread of memory.
it on ? This is a night, of all the nights in Or shall we not rather take, as
a last the long year, that you are sure to be abroad, breach of confidence, this night of all the you and your sad-faced crew, up there in nights in the year--this Christmas-eve- the lonely valleys, under the light of the which we more particularly devote to our
stars. Can you go still higher and send a dear and absent friends ? It is now drawing view-halloo across to the Rocky Mountains ? away from us. We have been over to Bell's Can you say to our friends that we are lisalmost deserted house ; and there, as the tening ? Can
youl tell them that something children were being put to bed, we heard has just been said—they will know by whom something about Ilaho. It was as near as
about a certain dear mother at Idaho? Give the little girl could get to it; it will suffice a call, then, across the waste Atlantic that for a message:
we may hear! Or is it the clamour of the And now, late as it is, and our own house katydids that drowns the ghostly voice? We being wrapped in silence aftar all the festivi- cannot hear at all. Perhaps the old men are ties of the evening-well, to tell the truth, cowering in their cave, because of the sacred there was a wild turkey, and there were some time; and there is no mirth in the hills tocanvas-back ducks; and we were not bound night; and no huge cask of schnapps to be to tell too eagerly inquisitive boys that these tapped, that the heavy beards may wag. could not well come from Colorado, though
Vanderdecken-Hendrich Hudson-you are they did come from America -a madness of no use to us ; we pass on: we leave the seems to come over our gentle Queen Ti- dark mountains behind us, under the silent tania, and she will go out into the darkness, though the night is cold and there is snow on the ground. We go forth into the silent world. The thin snow is crisp and dry un
" • Saint of this green isle, hear our prayersderfoot. The stars are shining over our
Oh, grant us cool heavens and favouring airs !
Blow, breezes, blow ! the stream runs fast, heads. There is no wind 10 stir the black
The rapids are near, and the daylight's past!'” shadows of the trees.
And now, as the time draws near when we are to send that unspoken message to the houses, and the pale green of the sunset
“Look at the clear gold ray of the lightlistening ones across the seas, surely they are skies, and the dark islands and trees catching waiting like ourselves? And the dark night, the last red Aush. And is not this Bell's even up here on Mickleham Downs, where voice, singing to us, with such a sweetness we go by the dusky yew-trees like ghosts,
as the Lake of a Thousand Islands never becomes afire with light, and colour, and
heard beforemoving shapes ; for we are thinking once niore of the many scenes that connect us by
"Soon as the woods on shore look dim, an invisible chain with our friends of the past. We'll sing at St. Ann's our parting hymn.