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We checked our pace,--the red road sharply rounding;
We heard the troubled flow
Of the dark olive depths of pines, resounding
A thousand feet below.
Above the tumult of the canon lifted,
The gray hawk breathless hung;
Or on the hill a winged shadow drifted
Where furze and thorn-bush clung;
Or where half-way the mountain side was furrowed
With many a seam and scar;
Or some abandoned tunnel dimly burrowed,--
A mole-hill seen so far.
We looked in silence down across the distant
A silence broken by the guide's consistent
And realistic speech.
"Walker of Murphy's blew a hole through Peters
For telling him he lied;
Then up and dusted out of South Hornitos
Across the long Divide.
"We ran him out of Strong's, and up through Eden,
And 'cross the ford below;
And up this canon (Peters' brother leadin'),
And me and Clark and Joe.
"He fou't us game: somehow, I disremember
Jest how the thing kem round;
Some say 'twas wadding, some a scattered ember
From fires on the ground.
"But in one minute all the hill below him
Was just one sheet of flame;
Guardin' the crest, Sam Clark and I called to him.
And,--well, the dog was game!
"He made no sign: the fires of hell were round him,
The pit of hell below.
We sat and waited, but never found him;
And then we turned to go.
"And then--you see that rock that's grown so bristly
With chaparral and tan--
Suthin' crep' out: it might hev been a grizzly,
It might hev been a man;
"Suthin' that howled, and gnashed its teeth, and shouted
In smoke and dust and flame;
Suthin' that sprang into the depths about it,
Grizzly or man,--but game!
"That's all. Well, yes, it does look rather risky,
And kinder makes one queer
And dizzy looking down. A drop of whiskey
Ain't a bad thing right here!"
|Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily|
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