Зображення сторінки

We ourselves crawled down, and fre- of rock, mysterious caves, gnarled and quently I lighted matches to see where to twisted cedars through which the winds place my foot next, sick, dizzy, to see the moaned and sighed, drifting the loose sands edge of the trail not a foot away disappear- in tiny eddies into caves and crevices or piling into a chasm of blackness. Now and ing it in fantastic mounds on the open then a loose piece of shale would slide off stretches. Directly behind the hut, and into space, and it seemed minutes before protected by a projecting ledge, nestled the the dry click sounded as it struck the corral enclosing the sheep, and beyond, at bottom.

the foot of a long, gentle incline, lay the Once at the base, Begay led me to a large precious pool of water. log "hogan," similar to the dome-shaped A light breakfast eaten and the sheep huts I had seen in the mountains. We watered, we started the second and last lap crawled through the low door, and soon of our journey. Unlike the descending trail had a cheery fire of crackling cedar logs of the previous night, the way out of the burning in the centre of the floor, the smoke canyon was comparatively easy, except that rising and disappearing out of the large we had to be very cautious and evade the vent in the roof. This shelter had been many soft and treacherous sand-drifts. built for the use of any one who found it I asked Begay what time he expected we necessary to spend the night in the canyon. would reach our destination; he replied On one side were piled two or three dozen by pointing to the sun and following its orragged and worn sheep skins for bedding, bit till its position indicated three o'clock. and alongside, piled in a heap on the It was about that time when we deground, were a number of blackened and scended into the bottom-lands of the “Rio dented tin dishes. In the centre lay a great Las Animas," where lay“Nip” Arment's pile of wood-ashes, telling the tale of many thriving trading-post. camp-fires, and over the low door hung a The sheep moved slowly, and the dog, his tattered piece of buckskin. We made a services unneeded, lagged behind. We were pot of strong, black coffee from the muddy seen long before we reached the “Post," water, from which a stench of sheep now and upon our arrival a dozen Indians aided rose, and with a large can of veal-loaf and Begay to count and corral the sheep. I some pilot bread we ate ravenously until stood apparently unnoticed, until, as all barely enough was left for breakfast. With were walking toward the “store," Begay the last mouthful swallowed, the boy drag- flourished the silver stirrup; a brief exged four or five skins to the fire, and wrap- planation followed and all eyes were turned ping himself in his blanket threw himself on me. upon them, and immediately fell into a A moment after “Nip” Arment apsound sleep. The night promised to be a peared upon the scene, and with a hearty sharp, frosty one, so I dragged a huge cedar welcome led me to his house. The home root on to the dying embers, and preparing was lavish in comforts; many Navajo rugs in my turn a bed of skins was soon dead to adorned the floors, numberless trophies of the world.

the hunt and rare relics from the desert It seemed hardly an hour's time before I hung on the walls; but I missed my new was aroused by the bark of the dog and the friend. That night I talked long and late bleating sheep. I crawled out of the hut with the trader, and once in bed I fell into wrapped in my blanket; it was still dusk, a sound, sound sleep. I did not wake bebut the sky was rapidly brightening. A fore noon; but then I dressed hurriedly sharp, cutting wind swept through the and rushed out in search of Begay. A canyon, and I could hear Begay down at group of Indians were playing cards behind the water-hole cracking the ice with a stick. the “store” in the warm sun, and I asked The high rock walls that hemmed us in them where to find him. One of them, a loomed gigantic and black in the gloom; tall, sinister fellow, slowly and solemnly they resembled the ruins of mighty castles, arose, and coming over to where I was fringed at the top with the silhouettes of standing, placed one hand on my shoulder tufted cedar. The steadily increasing gray and pointed with a long, dark finger at two light sifted down upon us, disclosing enor- disappearing specks on the western horizon. mous rounded bowlders, jagged pinnacles They were Begay and his dog.

Vol. XLV.-3

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It happened that I was the only child of

my parents who survived, the others havMY FIRST FAILURE

ing been carried off in early childhood by

a scourge of scarlet fever, to which, as I SHALL feel at liberty to tell look back, I now know was due my mothmy story in my own way; er's sadness of expression when my father rambling along at my own was not present. I was thus subjected to gait; now going from point the perils and great misfortune of being an to point; now tearing ahead; only child, among them that of thinking

now stopping to rest or to the sun rises and sets for his especial beneruminate, and even straying from the path fit. I must say that both my father and whenever I think a digression will be for mother tried to do their part faithfully to my own enjoyment.

counteract this danger, and they not only I shall begin with my college career, believed firmly in, but acted consistently on, a period to which I look back now with the Solomonic doctrine that to spare the a pleasure wholly incommensurate with rod is to spoil the child. My father, I must what I achieved in it; which I find due to say, was more lenient, and I think gladly the friends I made and to the memories evaded the obligation as interpreted by my I garnered there in a time when I possessed mother, declaring that Solomon, like a good the unprized treasures of youth: spirits, many other persons, was much wiser in hope, and abounding conceit. As these speech than in practice. He was fond of memories, with the courage (to use a mild quoting the custom of the ancient Scyterm) that a college background gives, are thians, who trained their youth to ride, to about all that I got out of my life there, shoot, and to speak the truth. And in this I shall dwell on them only enough to intro- last particular he was inexorable. duce one or two friends who played later a Among my chief intimates as a small very considerable part in my life.

boy was a little darkey named “Jeams." My family was an old and distinguished Jeams was the grandson of one of our old one; that is, it could be traced back about servants—Uncle Ralph Woodson. Jeams, two hundred years, and several of my an- who was a few years my senior, was a cestors had accomplished enough to be sharp-witted boy, as black as a piece of known in the history of the State-a fact old mahogany, and had a head so hard of which I was so proud that I was quite that he could butt a plank off a fence. satisfied at college to rest on their achieve- Naturally he and I became cronies, and he ments, and felt no need to add to its dis- picked up information on various subjects tinction by any labors of my own.

so readily that I found him equally agreeWe had formerly been well off; we had, able and useful. indeed, at one time prior to the Revolu- My father was admirably adapted to tionary War, owned large estates--a time the conditions that had created such a to which I was so fond of referring when character, but as unsuited to the new conI first went to college that one of my ac- ditions that succeeded the collapse of the quaintances named Peck, an envious fel- old life as a shorn lamb would be to the low, observed one day that I thought I had untempered wind of winter. He was a inherited all the kingdoms of the earth and Whig and an aristocrat of the strongest the glory of them. My childhood was spent type, and though in practice he was the on an old plantation, so far removed from kindest and most liberal of men, he always anything that I have since known that it maintained that a gentleman was the might almost have been in another planet. choicest fruit of civilization; a standard,

Vol. XLV.-4.

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