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were partly due to the notion that had got in a second or so, as he rubbed his hands in into the heads of one or two of our party that an excited fashion, “to have them out for the idyllic life of a shepherd in the Platte our neighbours for a year at the least-it Valley must be a very fine thing. The lieu- will be pleasant for Bell—how can she get tenant combated this notion fiercely, and any one in Denver or Idaho to know all begged Lady Sylvia to wait until she had about her children and Surrey ? My dear seen the harshness of life even amid friend, if you have any sense, you will stay the comparative luxury of a well-appointed with us too. I will show you bears ” ranch. Lady Sylvia retorted gently that He spoke as if he were already owner of we had no further knowledge of life at a the Rocky Mountains. ranch than herself ; that she had attentively “And we will go down to Kansas-a listened to all that had been said about the great party, with covered waggons, and picsubject by our friends in Omaha ; that harsh- nics, and much amusement-for a buffalo ness of living was a relative thing; and that hunt. And then we will go up to the Parks she had no doubt Bell and her husband in the middle of the mountains—what it is, would soon get used to it, and would not is this, I tell you : If our stay here is comcomplain.
pulsive, we will make it as amusing as pos“Oh no, she will not complain,” said he, sible, you will see, if only you will stay the lightly. “She is very reasonable—she is year too." very sensible. She will never be reconciled A sigh was the answer. to the place while her children are away, and And now, as we again set out on our jourshe will have a great deal of crying by her ney westward, the beautiful prairie country self; but she will not complain.
seemed more beautiful than ever ; and we "Nor would any woman,” said Lady Syl- caught glimpses of the fertile valley of the via, boldly. “She is acting rightly; she is Platte, in which our imaginary freehold doing her duty. I think that women are far estates lay awaiting us. On and on we went, more capable of giving up luxuries they with the never-ending undulations of grass have been accustomed to than men are." and flowers glowing all around us in the sun
This set the lieutenant thinking. On the light; the world below a plain of gold, the morning on which we left Omaha, he came world above a vault of the palest blue. The aside, and said,
space and light and colour were altogether “ I, too, have written a letter to Mr. Bal- most cheerful ; and as the train went at a four. Shall I post it ? '
very gentle trot along the single line, we sat 6. What is in it?"
outside, for the most part, in the cool breeze. “ The proposal I told you of the other Occasionally we passed a small hamlet, and night, but very, very—what do you call it ? that had invariably an oddly extemporized roundabout. I have said perhaps he is only look. The wooden houses were stuck down coming out to take his wife home sooner anyhow on the grassy plain ; without any than you go : that is well. I have said per trace of the old-fashioned orchards and walled haps he is waiting until the firm starts again; gardens and hedges that bind, as it were, an if that is any use, when they must have been English village together. Here there was losing for years. Again, that is well. But but the satisfaction of the most immediate I have said perhaps he is coming to look needs. One wooden building labelled “Drug how to start a business-an occupation ; if Store," another. wooden buildirg labelled that is so, will he stay with us a year ?—see “ Grocery Store," and a blacksmith's shop, if he understands—then he will take the were ordinarily the chief features of the commanagement, and have a yearly per centage. munity. All day we passed in this quiet I have said it is only a passing thought; but gliding onward; and when the sun began we will ask Lady Sylvia to stay with us to sink towards the horizon we found at Idaho until we hear from him. He can ourselves in the midst of a grassy plain, telegraph from New York. He will tell her apparently quite uninhabited, and of boundto remain until he comes, or to meet him less extent. As the western sky deepened somewhere ; I will get some one to accom- in its gold and green, and as the sun actually pany her. What do you say?"
touched the horizon, the level light hit across " Post the letter.”
this vast plain in long shafts of dull fire, just It will be very pleasant for us," said he, catching the tops of the taller rushes near us, and touching some distant sandy slopes into ing is shining over the prairies, and when a pale crimson. Lower and lower the sun within this long caravan there is a confused sank until it seemed to eat a bit out of the shuffling and dressing, every body wanting horizon, so blinding was the light; while far to get outside to get a breath of the fresh air. above, in a sea of luminous green, lay one And what is this we find around us now? long narrow cloud, an island of blood-red. The vast plain of grass is beautiful in the
In a second, when the sun sank, the world early light, no doubt ; but our attention is seemed to grow quite dark. All around us quickened by the sight of a drove of antethe prairie land had become of a cold, heavy, lope, which trot lightly and carelessly away opaque green, and the only objects which toward some low and sandy bluffs in the disour bewildered eyes could distinguish were tance. That solitary object out there seems some pale white flowers—like the tufts of at first to be a huge vulture ; but by-and-by canna on a Scotch moor. But presently, it turns out to be a prairie-wolf—a coyoteand to our intense surprise, the world seemed sitting on its hind legs and chewing at a bone. to leap up again into light and colour. This The chicken-hawk lifts its heavy wings as we after-glow was most extraordinary. The im go by, and flies across the plain. And here measurable plains of grass became suffused are the merry and familiar little prairie-dogs with a rich olive green ; the western sky was —half rabbit and half squirrel —that look all a radiance of lemon yellow and silvery at us each from his little hillock of sand, gray; while along the eastern horizon—the and then pop into their hole only to remost inexplicable thing of all--there stretched appear again when we have passed. Now a great band of smoke-like purple and pink. the long swathes of green and yellow-brown We soon became familiar with this pheno- are broken by a few ridges of grey rock; and menon out in the West—this appearance of these, in some places, have patches of orange a vast range of roseate Alps along the east- red lichen that tell against the pale blue sky. ern horizon, where there was neither moun. It is a clear, beautiful morning. Even those tain nor cloud. It was merely the shadow who have not slept well through the slow rumof the earth, projected by the sunken sun bling of the night soon get freshened up on into the earth's atmosphere. But it was an these high, cool plains. unforgettable thing, this mystic belt of colour, At Sidney we suddenly came upon an far away in the east, over the dark earth, oasis of brisk and busy life in this immeaand under the pale and neutral hues of the surable desert of grass ; and of course it was sky.
with an eager curiosity that we looked at The interior of a Pulman sleeping-car, these first indications of the probable life of after the stalwart coloured gentleman has our friend the ranch-woman. For here were lowered the shelves and made the beds and immense herds of cattle brought in from the drawn the curtains, presents a strange sight. plains, and large pens and inclosures, and The great folds of the dusky curtains, in the the picturesque
herders, with their big boots dim light of a lamp, move in a mysterious and broad-rimmed hats, spurring about on inanner, showing the contortions of the hu- their small and wiry horses. man beings within who are trying to dispos- “Shall you dress in buckskin ?” asked sess themselves of their garments; while Lady Sylvia of our lieutenant; “and will occasionally a foot is shot into the outer you flourish about one of those long whips?”. air so that the owner can rid himself of his “Oh, no" said he ; “I understand my boot. But within these gloomy recesses business will be a very tame one-all at a there is sufficient comfort ; and he who is desk.” wakeful can lie and look out on the gather- “Until we can get some trustworthy pering stars as they begin to come out over the son to take the whole management,” said dark prairie land. All through the night Bell, gently, looking down. this huge snake, with its eyes of yellow fire, “ What handsome fellows they are !” the creeps across the endless plain. If you wake lieutenant cried.“ It is a healthy life. Look up before the dawn and look out, behold! at the keen brown faces, the flat back, the the old familiar conditions of the world are square shoulders ; and not a bit of fat on gone, and the Plough is standing on its head. them. I should like to command a regiBut still more wonderful is the later awaken- ment of those fellows. Fancy what cavalry ing; when the yellow sunlight of the morn- they would make-light, wiry, splendid riders
-you could do something with a regiment ing the rueful expression of his wife's face, of those fellows, I think ! Lady Sylvia, did burst out laughing. I ever tell you what two of my company- “You will have elbow-room out here, eh?” the dare-devils !-did at — po
said he. "You will not crowd your neighLady Sylvia had never heard that legend bours off the pavement.” of 1870 ; but she listened to it now with a “I suppose we shall have no neighbours proud and eager interest ; for she had never at all,” said she. forsaken, even at the solicitation of her “But at Idaho you will have plenty,” said husband, her championship of the Germans. he ; "it is a great place of fashion, I am told.
“I will write a ballad about it some day," It is even more fashionable than Denver. said the lieutenant, with a laugh. "Es ritt | Ah, Lady Sylvia, we will show you somezwei Uhlanen wohl über den Rhein-'" thing now. You have lived too much out of
“ Yes !” said Lady Sylvia, with a flash of the world, in that quiet place in Surrey. Now colour leaping to her face,“ it was well over we will show you fashion, life, gayety.” the Rhine-it was indeed well over the Rhine “Is it bowie-knives or pistols that the that they and their companions got before gentlemen mostly use in Denver ? " asked they thought of going home again !
Lady Sylvia, who did not like to hear her “Ah, yes," said he, humbly, “but it is native Surrey despised. only the old seesaw. To-day it is Paris, to- “ Bowie-knives ! pistols !” exclaimed the morrow it is Berlin, that is taken. The only lieutenant, with some indignation. “When thing is that this time I think we have they fight a duel now, it is with tubes of rosesecured a longer interval than usual ; the water. When they use dice, it is to say which great fortresses we have taken will keep us of them will go away as missionaries to Africa secure for many a day to come ; our garri. -oh, it is quite true-I have heard many sons are armies ; they can not be surprised things of the reforination of Denver. The by treachery; and so long as we have the singing-saloons, they are all chapels now. fortresses, we need not fear any invasion—" All the people meet, once in the forenoon
“But you took them by force : why should and once in the afternoon, to hear an exposinot the French take them back by force ? " tion of one of Shakspeare's plays; and the his wife said.
rich people, they have all sent their money “I think we should not be likely to have away to be spent on blue china. All the boys that chance again,” said he ; “ the French are studying to become bishops—" will take care not to fall into that condition He suddenly ceased his nonsense, and again. But we are now safe, and for a long grasped his wife's arm. Some object outside time, because we have their great fortresses, had caught his attention. She instantly turned and then our own line of the Rhine for- to the window, as we all did ; and there, at tresses as well. It is the double gate to our the distant horizon, we perceived a pale house ; and we have locked all the locks, and transparent line of blue. You may be sure bolted all the bars. And yet we are not going we were not long inside the carriage after to sleep."
The delight of finding something to We were again out on the wide and tenant- break the monotony of the plains was boundless plains, and Bell was looking with great less. We clung to the iron barrier outside, curiosity at the sort of land in which she was and craned our necks this way and that, so to find her home ; for over there on the left that we could see from farthest north to farthe long undulations disappeared away into thest south the shadowy, serrated range of Colorado. And though these yellow and the Rocky Mountains. The blue of them grey-green plains were cheerful enough in the appeared to be about as translucent as the sunshine, still they were very lonely. No silvery light in which they stood; we could trace of any living thing was visible--not but vaguely make out the snow peaks in that even an antelope, or the familiar little prairie- long serrated line ; they were as a bar of dog. Far as the eye could reach on this cloud along the horizon. And yet we could high-lying plateau, there was nothing but the not help resting our eyes on them with a tufts of withered-looking buffalo-grass, with great relief and interest, as we pressed on to here and there a bleached skull, or the ribs Cheyenne, at which point we were to break of a skeleton breaking the monotony of the our journey and turn to the south. It was expanse. The lieutenant, who was watch- about midday when we reached that city,
which was a famous place during the con- “ And if I have,” said she, boldly, “they struction of the Union Pacific Railway, and are licensed by the government. Why should which has even now some claim to distinc- I not amuse myself in these places ?” tion. It is with a pardonable pride that its “Madame," replied her husband, sternly, inhabitants repeat the name it then acquired, “ the Puritan nation into which you have and all right to which it has by no means married permits of no such vices. Cheyenne abandoned. The style and title in question must follow Homburg, Wiesbaden, Badenis “ Hell on Wheels.”
“No doubt,” said the sharp-tongued of our women-folk, who invariably comes to the
assistance of her friend~" no doubt that will CHAPTER XLVIII.
follow when your pious emperor has annexed
the State." HELL ON WHEELS."
“I beg your pardon, madame," says the
lieutenant, politely, “but Wyoming is not a E step out from the excellent little State ; it is only a Territory. railway hotel, in which
“I don't suppose it would matter," she taken up our quarters, on to the broad plat- retorts, carelessly, “if the Hohenzollerns form, and into the warm light of the after could get their hands on it anyhow. But noon.
never mind. Come along, Bell, and let us " Bell,” says our gentle Queen T---, see what sort of neighbours you are likely to looking rather wistfully along the pale ram- have." part of the Rocky Mountains, “ these are the They were no doubt rather rough-looking walls of your future home. Will you go up fellows, those gentlemen who lounged about to the top of an evening and wave a hand the doors of the drinking saloons ; but there kerchief to us? And we will try to answer were more picturesque figures visible in the you from Mickleham Downs."
open thoroughfares riding along on stalwart “On Christmas night we will send you little ponies, the horsemen bronzed of face, many a message,” said Bell, looking down. clad mostly in buckskin, and with a good
“ And my husband and myself,” said Lady deal of ornament about their saddle and stirSylvia, quite simply, “ you will let us join in rups. As for Cheyenne itself, there was certhat too.
tainly nothing about its outward appearance “But do you expect to be out here till to entitle anyone to call it " Hell on Christmas ?” said Bell, with well-affected Wheels.” Its flat rectangular streets were surprise.
rather dismal in appearance ; there seemed "I don't think my husband would come to be little doing even in the drinking saloons. to America,” said Lady Sylvia, in the most But brisker times, we were assured, were at matter-of-fact way," after what has happened, hand. The rumours about the gold to be unless he meant to stop.”
had in the Black Hills would draw to this “Oh, if you could only be near us ! ” cried point the adventurers of many lands, as free Bell; but she dared not say more.
with their money as with their language. “That would be very pleasant,” Lady Here they would fit themselves out with the Sylvia answered, with a smile; “but of waggons and weapons necessary for the jourcourse I don't know what my husband's ney up to the Black Hills ; here they would plans are. We shall know our way more return—the Sioux permitting-to revel in clearly when he comes to Idaho. It will the delights of keno, and poker, and Bourseem so strange to sit down and shape one's bon whiskey. Cheyenne would return to its life anew; but I suppose a good many peo- pristine glory, when life-so long as you ple have got to do that.”
could cling on to it was a brisk and exBy this time the lieutenant had secured a citing business. Certainly the Cheyenne we carriage which was standing at the end of the saw was far from being an exciting place. It platform, along with a pony for himself. was in vain that we implored our Bell to step
“Now, Mrs. Von Rosen,” said he, “air down and bowie-knife somebody, or do someyou ready? Guess you've come up from the thing to let us understand what Cheyenne ranch to have a frolic? Got your dollars was in happier times. There was not a sinready for the gambling saloons ?"
gle corpse lying at any of the saloon doors,
nor any duel being fought in any street. The on the part of the Indians exasperated by glory had departed.
the encroachments of the miners among the But when we got away from these few chief Black Hills; and so we all got down and thoroughfares, and got to the outskirts of entered Fort Russell, and had a pleasant Cheyenne, we were once more forcibly re. walk round in the cool evening air. We minded of our native land ; for a better re- greatly admired the pretty little houses built presentation of Epsom Downs on the morn- for the quarters of the married officers, and ing after the Derby day could not be found we appreciated the efforts made to get a few any where, always with the difference that cotton-wood trees to grow on this arid here the land is flat and arid. The odd soil ; but as for fortifications, there was not fashion in which these wooden shanties and so much as a bit of red tape surrounding the sheds, with some private houses here and inclosure. Our good friend who had conthere, are dotted down anyhow on the plain ducted us hither only laughed when the —their temporary look —the big advertise lieutenant expressed his surprise. ments, the desolate and homeless appearance “ The Indians would as soon think of inof the whole place—all served to recall that vading Washington as coming down here,” dismal scene that is spread around the Grand said he. Stand when the revellers have all returned “But they have come before," observed to town. By-and-by, however, the last of the lieutenant, “and that not very long ago. these habitations disappeared, and we found How many massacres did they make when ourselves out on a flat and sandy plain, that the railway was being built-" was taking a warm tinge from the gathering ** Then there were fewer people--Cheycolour in the west. The Rocky Mountains enne was only a few shanties” were growing a bit darker in hue now; and “Cheyenne!" cried the lieutenant, "Cheythat gave them a certain grandeur of aspect, enne a defence ?-a handful of Indians they distant as they were. But what was this would drive every shopkeeper out of the strange thing ahead of us, far out on the place in an hour" plain? A cloud of dust rises into the golden “I don't know about that,” responded our air ; we can hear the faint foot-falls of distant companion for the time being. * The most horses. The cloud comes nearer ; the noise of the men about here, Sir, I can assure you, deepens. Now it is the thunder of a troop have had their tussles with the Indians, and of men on horseback galloping down upon could make as good a stand as any soldiers us as if to sweep us from the road.
could. But the Sioux won't come down here ; “Forward, scout !” cried Bell, who had they will keep to the hills, where we can't get been getting up her Indian lore, to her hus- at them.” band on the pony ; "hold up your right “My good friend, this is what I cannot hand and motion them back; if they are understand, and you will tell me,” said the friendly, they will retire. Tell them the lieutenant, who who was arguing only to obGreat Father of the white men is well dis- tain information. “You are driving the posed toward his red children-”
Indians to desperation. You make treaties; “—And wouldn't cheat them out of a dol- you allow the miners to break them ; you lar even if he could get a third term of office send out your soldiers to massacre the
Indians because they have killed the white But by this time the enemy had borne men, who had no right to come on their land. down upon us with such swiftness that he Very well : In time no doubt you will get had gone right by before we could quite them all killed. But suppose that the chiefs make out who he was. Indeed, amid such begin to see what is the end of it. And if dust the smartest cavalry uniforms in the they say that they must perish, but that they United States army must soon resemble a will perish in a great act of revenge, and if digger's suit.
they sweep down here to cut your railway We pushed on across the plain, and soon line to pieces-which has brought all these reached the point which these impetuous people out—and to ravage Cheyenne, then riders had just left-Fort Russell. The lieu. what is the use of such forts as this Fort tenant was rather anxious to see what style Russell and its handful of soldiers ? What of fortification the United States government did I see in a book the other day? that the adopted to guard against any possible raid fighting men of these Indians alone were not