Imágenes de páginas

way you will and the horizon descends to the waving grass.

We are drifting on a vast inland sea, -a sea of earth and grass and dying flowers; both grass and flowers yielding up their lives to the weeds of dry, hot weather. One may have company and comforts and he may be certain that if he holds true to the compass he will come out safely, but yet the feeling steals over him at intervals that he is lost,—driven here and there by wind and wave and current.

“What ails that horse ? "

We all sprang up to see one of the saddle horses—a veteran in years and experience-standing with his head high in the air and pointed due west. While he looks as fixedly as if his eyes had lost their power to turn, his nostrils quiver and dilate with excitement. We watch him a full minute. He was the first to exhibit alarm, but now one horse after another throws up his head and looks to the west.

“It's fire, boys!"

Had it been night we should have seen the reflection. Had there been a strong wind the odor would have come to us sooner. There is only a gentle breeze, -languishing, dying under the fierce sun, but resurrected and given a new lease of life at intervals by an unknown power. But now we can see the smoke driving heavenwards and shutting the blue of the west from our vision; now the horses show such signs that no man could mistake. A great wall of flame, fifty miles in length, is rolling toward us, fanned and driven by a breeze of its own creation, but coming slowly and grandly. It takes me two or three minutes to climb to the top of one of the trees, and from my elevated position I can get a grand view of the wave of fire which is driving before it everything that lives and can move.

We work fast. Blankets are wet at the spring and hung up between the trees to make a bulwark against the sparks and smoke, the horses doubly secured, camp equipage piled up and covered, and before we are through we have visitors. Ten or twelve buffaloes come thundering-pass the grove, halt and return to its shelter, crowding as close to the horses as they can, and showing no fear at our presence.

Next come three or four antelopes, their bright eyes bulging out with fear, and their nostrils blowing out the heavy odor with sharp snorts. One rubs against me and licks my hand as I rub her nose.

Yelp! Yelp! Here are half a dozen wolves, who crowd among

the buffaloes and tremble with terror, and a score of serpents race over the open ground to seek the wet ditch which carries off the overflow of the spring. Last to come, and only a mile ahead of the wave, which is licking up everything in its path, is a mustang,—a single animal which has somehow been separated from its herd. He comes from the north, racing to reach the grove before the fire shall cut him off, and he runs for his life. With ears laid back, nose pointing and his eyes fixed on the goal, his pace is that of a thunderbolt. He leaps square over one pile of camp outfit and goes ten rods beyond before he can check himself, Then he comes trotting back and crowds between two of our horses with a low whinny.

There is a roar like Niagara. The smoke drives over us in a pall like midnight. The air seems to be one sheet of flame. The wave has swept up to the edge of the bare ground, and is dividing to pass us by. We are in an oven. The horses snort and cough and plunge; the wolves howl and moan as the heat and smoke become intolerable. Thus for five minutes, and then relief comes. The flame has passed and the smoke is driving away. In their path is a cool breeze, every whiff of which is a grand elixir.

In ten minutes the grove is so clear of smoke that we can see every foot of the earth again. A queer sight it is. It has been the haven of refuge for snakes, lizards. gophers, prairie dogs, rabbits, coyotes, wolves, antelopes, deer, buffaloes, horses and men,-enmity, antipathy and hunger suppressed for the nonce that all might live, that each might escape the fiend in pursuit.

For half an hour nothing moves. Then the mustang Aings up his head, blows the last of the smoke from his nostrils, and starts off with a flourish of his heels. The buffaloes go next; the deer and antelope follow, and in five minutes we are left alone.

For fifty miles to the north, west, and south there is nothing but blackness,-a landscape of despair. Away to the east the wall of fire is still moving on and on-implacable-relentless-a fiend whose harvest is death and whose trail is desolation.

- Detroit Free Press.


A tramp went up to a cottage door
To beg for a couple o' dimes or more.
The cottage door was opened wide,
So he took a cautious look inside.
Then over his features there spread a grin
As he saw a lonely maid within, --
A lonely maid within the gloom
Of the shadiest part of a shady room.
Into the room the tramper went;
Over a dog the maiden bent.
His eyes were red and full of fire,
And he viewed the tramp with evident ire.
“Run for your life!” the maiden cried ;
“I clean forgot to have him tied !
“Run for your life through yonder door •
I cannot hold him a minute more !”
Without a word he turned his face
And leaped the fence with careless grace;
Then lightly along the road he ran,
A very much-put-out young man.

The maiden loosed her bull-dog's neck,
And gazed at the tramp,-a vanishing speck.
And peal after peal of laughter rent
The air with the maiden's merriment.
The dog was of terra-cotta ware-
She won him that week at a lottery fair.


Once a mighty potentate

Placed above his palace gate,
Golden letters, bright and clear,

“None shall pass or enter here
Who no kindly deed hath wrought,

Or some pauper's blessing caught.”
Warriors fierce with blood-stained pride,

Read its words and turned aside;
Princes, rich in power and gold,

Felt its message, clear and cold;
All turned back and none returned

Till its permit they had earned.
Soon in all that roomy land,

Blessings rose on every hand;
Great men made their kindness sure,

Rich men helped the sick and poor;
Words and works in sweetness blent,

Clothed the land in glad content.
Men who came and turned away

Learned what good in kindness lay;
Hard hearts cursed its terms and went,

Finding in its work content,
Thus ere many years and days,

All the land was filled with praise.
Then each heart and grateful tongue,

With the monarch's praises rung;
Thankful thoughts and thankful player

Paid their tribute to his care,
Anchored in each subject's soul,

Each a part and all a whole.
Rich in years but poor in pride,

There at last the monarch died;

Wide the pearly portals flew,

That bis soul might enter through;
While upon its arches wrought,

Gleamed the same familiar thoughita
So when each his race had run,

Came his people one by one;
Greeting with a welcome smile,

Its familiar word and style;
Thus the king upon his throne,

Gave heaven's passport to his own.
Still upon the heavenly dome,

Greeting each who journeys home,
While angelic anthems ring,

Gleams the message of the king.


Old Deakin Brown lives out f’um town

About four mile er so,
An' drives a spankin' team o' bays

W'en he goes to an' fro;
An'allus w'en he overhauls

Some feller walkin' on the ground,
He stops his team and cramps around

An' calls:

“Hullo, Git in an' hev' a lift!"

You'll see 'im sit an' chaw an' spit,

An' saw upon the lines,
His jolly face so red with pride

It reg'lar glows and shines;
Them hosses step so gay an' high

An' tear along at sech a gait,
You'd scarcely think their owner'd wait

An' cry:

“Hullo, Git in an' hev' a lift!”

T see ol' Brown a-saggin' down

On one e'end o' the seat,
An' leaning sideways now 'n' agin

To watch 'em pick their feet,

« AnteriorContinuar »