THE journey from the Atlantic seacoast to the foot of the Rocky Mountains is singularly well adapted to prepare the mind to appreciate their noble features. From the hills of the Appalachian system westward for three days of railway journey, the earth is in its quietest mood. The rocks lie in the attitudes given them when they were built on the old sea-floors ; neither glacial frosts nor volcanic fires have done much to assail them, and so the great rolling plains stay as they were made, substantial images of the oceans that long surged above them; with their monotonous horizons they fit the eye for the strong outlines beyond, as a journey over the sea prepares it for rejoicing in the beauties of the land.
In its human aspect, too, the westward journey towards the great American mountains is a good preparation for the end. Out of the diversified lands of the Atlantic coast, where strips and patches of fertility lie mixed with the desert places of the worn rocks, where men have a scanty, poor relation’s share of earth, the road slips quickly away into the prairies of the central part of the continent, — lands that love the plow, or at least submit to it, as the ox gives himself to the yoke. From the mouth of the Mohawk on, for fifteen hundred miles, there is not an acre of land to be seen that does not invite tillage and is not capable of sustaining a human life. There is an almost painful monotony in this utter giving up of the earth to the profitable uses of man. The soil grows fatter and more fertile as we go nearer the centre of the Mississippi Valley, until in Illinois it seems a perfect desert of tall, withered corn-stalks and wheat stubble that stretches to the horizon. The towns have a look of squalid plenty. Corn is trodden under foot, and about the stations its grains often are as thick in the mud as are pebbles in New England. The wealth of the soil has not yet gone into buildings. Here and there over the wide fields a little rectangular patch of snow shows the roof of the master of a domain big enough for a lord. The sky, too, is prairie-like in its uniformity ; it is a vacuous expanse of clearness or cloud, without the diversity that a varied surface alone can give to it.
Undoubtedly, the energy that men bring with them to this land of monotonous fertility, together with the protective influences of institutions, literature, and travel, will secure them from the effects which the stranger feels there, and in time art will come to diversify that which nature has so dismally uniformed.
The rich bottom of the Mississippi Valley begins to diminish in its fertility as we enter the high-lying valley of the Kaw or Kansas River. There the ridges which border the alluvial valley already feel the shrinkage of the rainfall, caused by the great mountain wall that rises six hundred miles to the west. We see the perennial drought first in the dwindling forest trees. In the Eastern prairies there are here and there humid spots along the borders of the streams, or in the bottoms of the swales of the plain, where the trees have been made safe against the sweep of the autumn fires, and there the forest shows its strength again ; but as we go up the Kansas Valley the familiar Eastern forms drop out one by one, until a few shrunken cottonwoods and one or two species of elms, shorn of all their fair proportions, make a lowfringe close along the river banks, or at the foot of the steep escarpments of the valley, where the springs dampen the ground.
The valley of the Kansas shows us the front of the battle that man is making with this wilderness. Until we pass Topeka, the result is an easy victory. The settlers seem to have earth and air in their favor, and the farms and men wear the look of confidence that comes with swift success. Beyond them, though there is much fertile land, we see that the settlements are crowded nearer and nearer to the streams, and there are now and then wide spaces where the desert gains on the valley. The river shrinks ; the sands are heaped in its bed, and the stream crawls slowly and uncertainly through them. The houses are more and more temporary and experimental. We see that men are making a trial with their tillage, and that they half expect failure. The earth is rich ; each little stream shows high banks of deep soil, that the ages have been gathering from the decay of the rocks below, but the rains of heaven forget their share of the task of making a fertile land. These changes from fertility to barrenness are slowly made ; two hundred miles of the river valley go by in the gradual shadowing of the rich land into the waste of the upper plains. At Wallace Station we have definitely passed beyond the line of the plow, and the slow-rising valley has lifted us three thousand feet above the sea into the great table-land of our Western plains. The shrunken river, which is now only lazy pools among the lines of sand that mark its course, no longer has a distinct valley, but from its border the seared plains stretch away to a billowy horizon of low hills. In the early morning and at sunset the light gives the surface a rich glow, and under the quiet skies of night there is a majesty about its lifeless immensity, but in full day it is inexpressibly cheerless. In winter there is a light powder of dust-strewed snow drifting along through the grass tufts, — snow that looks as if it might have journeyed all the way from the Arctic circle, so worn and dirty is it. With the sun comes a fierce wind that blows as steadily as upon the sea, and with a power that holds the train on a slant as it runs along. The ranchers’ houses are mostly half underground, and are a sort of gopher holes, generally with sod roofs, and with a heap of empty tin cans excreted at the only opening of the den. Although the thermometer is at zero, the cattle pasture under the lee of the low escarpments of the hills, and droves of antelopes trot away in long Indian files, as the train interrupts their feeding. Now and then they seem to herd among the cattle, as if their misery required sympathy. At Hugo I left the train, and walked for an hour across the plain. It repays close observation. The surface is as hard as a well-beaten street, and almost as smooth. Bushes of greasewood and scattered tufts of buffalo grass, with one or two other grasses, give a sparse covering, but between the tufts of grass there are often yards of smooth ground, whitened by the thin crust of alkalies. Here and there are seen little bunches of gopher mounds, with the openings closed, for the creatures sleep through the long winter, or at least limit their movements to their underground ways. Each of these heaps is composed of pebbles, — the waste of the rocks in the mountains which are still beyond the horizon. A little further on, the road passes over the headland or divide of the Kansas waters at a height of over five thousand feet above the sea, and we get the first fair view of the Western mountain world. Pike’s Peak is the first to greet us. It rises far away in the southwest, a bit of darkened earth cloud, around which the storm clouds whirl, as about an irrupting volcano. It is the most isolated and the lowest based of all the Rocky Mountain peaks, and is the stateliest, though by no means among the highest. Next, Long’s Peak shows on the northwest, only less noble than its fellow-sentinel on the south, and then, as the road crosses the divide, two hundred miles of mountain front wall in the western horizon. At first the line is seen from seventy miles away, across a valley a thousand feet deep. The plain is in sunshine, but the mountain tops are in swift succession wrapped in driving snow-storms. In no other region have I ever seen such rapidity in the development of storms. From the time when the peaks begin to grow dim in the gathering vapor, it will be but a few minutes until the mountains for a stretch of fifty miles are all wrapped in black cloud. In a little while the storm is discharged ; the sunlight pierces through it, showing the peaks with their robe of fresh snow; the storm rack rolls off in great billows over the plain, and melts away in the dry air. After a few minutes of calm, the wind rages again over the new snow, whirling it in banners from the peaks through the clear air, until it lodges in the gorges below.
As we come nearer the mountains their wall-like aspect grows stronger. Here and there a sharp cone juts above the rampart, but the whole is of singular steepness and uniformity. The plain flows in against it as a quiet sea against the land. There are no outlying hills to make a prelude to the change, but the line is drawn like an old-fashioned front of battle, close-set and continuous. There is probably no other region where the two great earth types, plains and mountains, have such unqualified contact as here. This suddenness of meeting is a gain to the grandeur of the mountains, but is a loss to their beauty. The plain holds its unaltered desert look close up to the hills. The small rain-fall, due to the barrier that the heights make between the plains of the sea, is not a bit mitigated as we come near the foot of the mountains. Buffalo grass and greasewood, a feathering of cotton-woods and willows next the slender streams, is all their vegetation. Art will in time give fertility to the belt of land next the mountains ; already there are great projects for taking the head-waters of the Platte where they escape from their canons, and leading them off on to the plains in canals for irrigation purposes. Although the amount of water in these streams is at best small, there is no doubt that a million or so acres can be made exceedingly fruitful in this way. The soil is a deep store of the fatness that the ages of drought have allowed to accumulate iu them, unwasted by vegetation of any amount. A little water during the growing months of May and June, when the mountain streams are swollen by the melting snows, will give wonderful crops of wheat and other quick-ripening grains.
The city of Denver ends the plain travel. After the long journey through a region where the waves of civilization seem to die away among the alkali plains and antelopes, it is a strange sensation to find one’s self once again in a full-grown and prosperous town, with Paris fashions in homes and people, and the look of thrift that usually comes only with time. It needs the iron wall on the west to persuade one that he is on the very front of civilization, and that what he sees about him has been scarce a score of years in its making. Except that the town is squared, and not close knit, it might belong in Ohio, or even in New England. There are shops that would do credit to Broadway, and houses that would fit in our oldest towns. In the people there is no more of the frontier than one may find in all the towns west of the Alleghanies. The laboring miner has been called to the mountains, and except that he comes here to spend his gains, or to show his “ prospects ” to men of capital, Denver is out of his range. Probably no other American city has such a noble site. The eastern slope of the Platte rises evenly and gradually from its sandy bed, until in a mile it gains a height of two or three hundred feet. From any house-top and all the streets one gets majestic views out over the vast eastern plain or over the mountains. A canal brought on to the ridges of the plain from the Platte cañon supplies ditches, through which, in summer, water finds its way along the street, and by little sluice gates into the gardens that surround every house. For the time the irrigation of this longparched soil has brought about much sickness, so that the town seems to be temporarily unwholesome ; but this condition must soon pass, and leave the city with almost ideal conditions of salubrity. Free from parching heats and withering cold, nearly snowless, with the sweet, dry air of the mountains and the oasis-like fertility that irrigation will in time give to its surroundings, it may hope for a noble future.
At Denver the railways abandon their ordinary size, and in the shape of narrow-gauge ways begin a wonderful struggle with the difficulties that abound in the contracted gorges and steep slopes. The only train that goes to the end of the road in the direction of Leadville leaves Denver at nine P. M., and passes the night in its journey of one hundred miles. We first see the signs of the wilderness people in the train ; the little sleeping-cars are crammed with a motley lot of humanity, supercivilized and savage in all degrees.
The moon is full, and the mountains show almost as well as by day. Night quiets the winds here and settles the mists and drifting snows, so that for seeing the time is almost as good as day. The road quickly crosses the strip of plain between the town and the hills, and enters the deep cañon of the Platte as it would a door in a wall. These mountain streams all pass out of the hills through deep and narrow gorges. Their upper waters are in broad, troughlike valleys, sometimes in wide, mountain-high plains, but when they got near the edge of the hill country they suddenly plunge into deep rifts that let them quickly down some thousands of feet to the level of the plains below; out of such a rift comes the Platte from its gathering ground in the South Park. Its lower fifty miles of mountain journey is as tortuous as a cañon’s windings alone can be, and the path of the railway through it is a marvel of daring engineering. The walls of the gorge are generally from a few score to two or three hundred feet wide at the base, and they stand as steep as cliffs can, with their fantastic, spired battlements a thousand feet above the stream that winds through their ruins below. All the moods of ruined architecture, spires, castle towers, and city walls, are mimicked in their infinite variations of shape. The moon flies along the ragged southern crest and throws a flood of light upon the north wall, so that half of the scene is in shadow and half in light. For four hours, with throttle-valve wide open and a steady, panting breath, the engine toils up the steep and crooked way, gaining about five thousand feet in height, escaping from the gorge into the vast mountain plain called the South Park.
The South Park is one of the many high-walled plains which characterize the geography of the eastern part of the Cordilleras of North America. It is in structure a great basin, about nine thousand feet above the sea, and bordered by a rim of varied mountains which lift their heads three to five thousand feet above its level. In size it is about sixty miles in length by thirty in width, or nearly one fifth the area of Massachusetts. Its surface, though generally a vast rolling plain, is diversified by outlying hills that rise UJJ like islands from its sea of snow. We left a mild, easy winter air at Denver, but the live thousand feet of altitude has taken us to an arctic climate, where the cold and scant atmosphere makes every step a task. At the end of the railroad the traveler sees the unmistakable frontier. First there is a great stretch of platforms heaped with the motley supplies that are to begin their wagon journeys to the many camps beyond the mountains; quantities of horse feed make the largest element of the stores; next, mining machinery ; and last, the provisions for the vagarious animal whose strange hunger causes all this disorder in the wilderness. There are other broad platforms stacked up with bars of bullion, — dull-looking heaps, where each piece is so heavy with lead that it would seem no temptation to thieves. Hundreds of wagons are unloading this bullion, or storing their return loads. Over the wide, billowy plain caravans of them creep on their ways out or in.
The road ended in the town of Weston, a village that was just a month old when we saw it, and destined to have but another month of life; for then the railway would have its terminus twenty miles further on, and its season for living would have passed. All along the tracks of these Western roads we can see the slender foundations of temporary towns that encamp themselves for a day or two while they are at the edge of civilization, and move on as the border line advances. A hundred or so houses, sheds, and tents, all rattling in the strong wind that seems never to be quiet in the day-time, a horde of sturdy camp followers of this frontier army, squalid dram shops, and shanties with the signs of famous hotels upon them make up the huddle of a town.
The train discharges its freight into a dozen coaches, which set off for the mountain pass that lies between Norton and Lcadville; they rattle off through the whirling snows towards the range of mountains, which is already thick with storms. Our own way lies across the South Park towards a lower part of the Arkansas Valley ; for ten miles the four horses hurry the light open wagon over the snow-covered plain, through the blinding snow that flies before the blasts rushing down from the mountain ravines. Then we find our way upon the regular freighting road that leads in a devious course through the mountain gorges to Leadville. It is a way for which little has been done except by the wheels of the endless trains of wagons ; but nature meant this land for roads; the scant foliage and slight rain-fall leave each of the ravines a natural road, and the frost has now bound mud and stones together. Every mile of this trail is occupied by a long caravan of the freighting teams that carry in provisions and take out bullion. The ordinary train consists of many teams, each composed of two wagons, the hinder one being without a tongue, and the two coupled together as closely as two railway cars. Sometimes there are three wagons in the string. Eight or ten mules and a single driver supply the motive power. With this “ outfit ” one dexterous driver will drag about ten thousand pounds of freight at the rate of twenty-five miles a day. Some of the trains are individual ventures, but commonly a dozen teams are under one wagon-master, who fixes the marches and determines the places where the train shall halt to pass the tides of wagons that set the other way. These caravans give us the most picturesque aspects of this mountain life; the drivers are a strange selection from the vigorous frontiermen. The labor is extremely arduous and the life of the rudest, but the profits are very large, many of these teams earning from thirty to fifty dollars per day net for a half year at a time. The men live and generally sleep with their animals, even in this fierce cold. They are silent, indefatigable fellows, brutal in every outward aspect, yet withal singularly patient with their difficulties and helpful of each other, unless the other is a “ greaser.” A courteous word or two will always get their aid in passing through the perplexing blockade, where trains going in opposite directions meet in a narrow defile. Their life is one of trials. We are rarely out of sight of dead horses or mules which have broken their legs or died of overwork, and every precipice along the road shows the wreck of wagons that have slipped over the edge into the gorge below. In two hundred miles’ travel with them I did not hear a brutal word from one man to another, and I was indebted to them for many considerate acts. They are a marvelously profane lot, but their swearing has a curiously impersonal character. In his difficulties with the teams a man will lift up his voice and address the Infinite in diabolic homily that would befit Milton’s Satan, and then, subsiding like a geyser, remain silent for the rest of the day. At night, when they gather around the fire, in the low-walled, turf-covered ranches, they are perfectly mute; they sit on the benches as still as mummies, until they slip down upon the floor and snore until morning. They seem wrapped up in their own thoughts, or in the place where their thoughts ought to be. They often camp alone by the roadside; indeed, many of them seem to prefer the absolute isolation that they find in bivouacking in the scrub woods ten miles from neighbors. One night I sought directions from one of these solitary men. He was a huge, grizzle-bearded fellow, whom I surprised cooking his supper by a little fire in a niche in the rocks near his team. His ugly visage stood out in the blaze of his bacon, which he was toasting on a stick. He gave me sufficient answers without looking up to see who it was shouting at him out of the darkness.
Out of the South Park a low pass leads into the waters of Trout Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas. The descent is rapid, so that we are soon below the nearly treeless heights of the Park, down among steep mountain slopes, covered by the close-set yellow pine, or by the orchard-like growths of the Pignole, one of the characteristic pines of the Rocky Mountains. As in all the stream gorges of this region, the rocks are cut into forms of the most singular variety. As the snow veil blows aside with the changing storm, the time-worn, pinnacled mountains on either side loom out in simulation of gigantic castles, with all sorts of fantastic ornaments in walls and towers. Gradually we creep down beneath the storm line, and turn out into the valley of the Arkansas. Although the wandering snow-storms wrapped the summits of the majestic mountains that wall in this river, the view we had of the valley was wonderfully fine. There is a magnificent simplicity and directness in the architecture of the Rocky Mountains that is nowhere better shown than here. The valley itself is a trough, nearly direct in its course for one hundred miles, ending below where the river falls down to the plain in a cañon of wonderful depth and sheerness of walls. As we ascend the stream there is a gradual widening of the valley, until in its middle part it is a noble sweep of slopes from the base of the hills, which are several miles apart, down to the swift stream. On either side the mountains rise in one great step to meet higher regions. On the west their crests are about fourteen thousand feet above the sea. as solid as a wall, with a few commanding peaks at the heads of the valleys. As the cloud of snow sways aside we look up through those gorges of gray rock to the vast snow fields of their summits, now all aglow in the evening sun that is struggling through the subsiding storm.
The road up the valley lies over the long slopes and ridges of the moraines left here by the last glacial period. These mountains of waste are more massive and less diversified than those of Switzerland. The valley seems to have long been a glacial lake, in which the waste was much sorted and reduced to uniformity of outline. All along the stream of the Arkansas we see workings in the gravel where miners have sought gold. The mountains on the west from Mount Harvard northward are full of lodes bearing gold quartz. The grinding action of the ice during the glacial period has worn down hundreds of feet of this auriferous mass, and left the gravels made in the process rich in gold. Almost anywhere over the surface of these gravel beds the miner’s test-pan shows a grain or two of gold in each twenty pounds of gravel. When the streams have washed over this gravel, bearing away the lighter waste, the gold is concentrated into a less bulk of matter, and then the gold hunter makes a rich winning with his sluices and rockers. The bed rock is in such cases strewn with the little nuggets. From one of these side streams, known as California Gulch, where Leadville now stands, not less than six millions of dollars were taken in a few years by the modest methods of washing the gravel, and in time it is likely that all the streams hereabouts will yield largely to the miner’s labor. At present the discoveries of silver have drawn away the interest from these slower and surer sources of profit, but here and there a man who prefers small certainties to the exciting risks of other mining is still winning moderate fortunes out of the border-lands of these streams.
At Buena Vista we encounter the first of the hamlets of the Arkansas Valley. It is curious to notice the perfect forlornness of these mountain settlements; it is a distinctly higher order of miserableness than any other regions can afford. A wide range of experience in the backwoods of lower levels does not prepare one for the utterly groveling look that hangs over these shanty towns. It is perhaps the contrast between the enduring architecture of the hills and the pitiful congregation of sheds that makes the impression the more painful. There is a grand lithographed plan of Buena Vista with public squares and avenues of metropolitan length, but there is many a Pennsylvania farmer’s barn that contains more timber in it than the town. Whenever we get among the mining camps of this region, there is a sense of utility and thrift about the structures and of dauntless energy in the men that makes one overlook all else ; but in the cross-roads hamlets, that depend upon the small chances of travel and trade, we find the camp-follower element in all its debasement.
At the edge of night-fall we set out on our road up the valley. With the setting sun came the calm in the atmospheric torment that night-fall seems always to bring in these mountains. The peaks disrobe themselves one by one, and stand out in the evening light as godlike as the ancient statues of gold and ivory in their temples of the upper air The teamsters gather their wagons into parks on the roadside, and are resting about their fires of pitch pine, that perfume the still air of the valley and cast a glow of ruddy light over the crowded wagons, massed to make a wall against the wind. The road is hemmed by rocks close to the river that winds its way about in a maze of great bowlders. The ice had stilled the stream, so that the gorges were as silent as caverns. On the west the vast snow fields of Mount Harvard rose to the great dome like summit now lit by the full moon.
Late in the evening we made the hamlet of Granite, the oldest settlement in this region, once the busy centre of a gold-mining interest that has now fallen to decay. The dilapidation that comes to these hut towns is very rapid ; soon nothing remains but a modern kitchen midding of broken bottles and crushed tin cans. But a decent inn has survived the ruin of Granite, in which we gladly found shelter from the intense cold. About the fire was a grim crowd of wayfarers, none of whom answered the greeting we gave them except by a look of a questioning sort. The town has a bad name for lawlessness, even the judge on the bench having made acquaintance with the bullet argument. Our guide had been promised a warm reception on account of an old feud, and spent some time looking around for it; but except a belated fellow who insisted that we had his room and seemed disposed to assert his rights, we had nothing to mar the night.
The morning dawned in the perfection of stillness. The mercury was ten degrees below zero, but the air had a curious softness, and save for the short breath caused by the height, life in it was delightful. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the white mountains against the purple blue of the western sky at dawn. When the sun strikes their summits the winds at once awake, and wave the snow banners to and fro. In an hour or two the winds gain strength enough to sweep down into the valley, and we are again in the torrent of snow driving before the northern gales. We tried to get away before the benumbed freighters had thawed themselves out and sworn their blood into circulation. For a few miles we have the road free, but from every sheltered place the trains stream out and block the roads already gorged with snow-drifts. The twenty miles to Leadville were trying to one’s blood. The road rises all the way fifty feet for every mile ; the snow deepens and the mercury crawls down. The Arkansas Valley widens above Granite, as all these mountain valleys do in their upper regions. It is no longer a gorge, but a wide, parklike expanse walled about by mountains. The old glaciers did great work here, where they survived longest, enduring after they had shrunk away on the lower ground. Turning sharply to the east from the main valley, which is a wild, open-looking country, we find ourselves on the skirts of Leadville : a scattering of wooden huts among the bushy pines ; then a grimy smelting furnace with its slag heaps, where the waste is still glowing with the fire or sputtering as the snow drifts over it; then more huts and more " smelters,” and we are at once in the streets of this the swiftest grown of all American towns.
Although haste, incompleteness, and the disorder of overgrowth are upon every line of the town’s shape, Leadville has a look of decency and thrift that is surprising. Thirty months ago the little towns of Oreville and Malta, that had grown up while this gulch was yielding its millions of gold from the gravel washings, had rotted away, until the remnants were reduced to the name of Slabtown. Then it happened that a man skilled in such matters passed this way, and recognized ores rich in silver in the waste of the washings, — a heavy, ferruginous-looking stuff, that the placer miners had called iron ore, and much berated because it filled their sluices and spoiled their work. A little prospecting gave him the “lead,” and the new life of the camp began. In the two years thereafter five thousand shafts had been driven at random into the hills about this gulch, and from ten to twenty thousand men were after the new-found treasure. Perhaps fifty of the shafts have paid and as many miners found fortunes, but the prizes have been large, and who cares for blanks in the world’s lottery ! Once a month some one strikes “ big pay,” and the rest of the herd dig the harder and strive to make their last pound of bacon carry them deeper in their holes, that they may have the next chance. Capital has come in scores of millions to organize the work, and the prospecter is drifting away over the hills to find fresh fields and new underground pastures, — glad if he is a little ahead in money to carry him to new regions. Those who remain mostly work for “ grub stakes,” that is, they are fed by small capitalists, who get half what they find by their labor. The miner is an inveterate hoper ; nothing dampens his ardor, and very few things enrage him. He knows that his temporal salvation is awaiting him somewhere underground, and is content to bide his time. All summer long, with his blanket, tools, and small stores, he is content to crawl about through these wild hills, utterly alone, demanding admittance to the earth’s stores of precious metals. Not until the snows grow deep is he driven to the towns. Then miners swarm in the streets of Leadville, trying to find some Eastern capitalist to buy their claims; for though a miner rather hates the “tenderfoot,” as he calls him, he must use him if he is to develop the fortune that he has found over the divide. Every new-comer he scans with a hungry look, for he may be his man. Heside the work of this floating population there are the regular mines, great business enterprises, among the best conducted and the most prosperous of such works in the world, yielding fortunes each month, and some of them likely to live for a score of years. They give a solid basis to the community, and their enduring success is giving character to the town. The permanent element of the population probably has no equal for intelligence and the other marks of power in a place of equal size. They hold the vice and crime of the swarm of wild folk who crowd into the place in an iron grip, — a grip so strong that it does not need to be harsh. The vigilantes, as the constables of Judge Lynch are called, have needed to sit on only one or two occasions. A year ago they hanged two men to lamp-posts, and on their backs placarded the names of others whom they meant next to hang. The men took the warning, and left the country. In another year civilization, with its strange penetrating power, will have subdued the little of barbarism that is left.
The hills rise steeply above Leadville. Upon those on the south of the gulch are the principal mines; Carbonate Hill and Freyer Hill have upon them all the great mines contained within the space of a few hundred acres. About them in every direction there are hundreds of small huts, where men are at work in their search for the great deposits of silver. The vein lies upon a slope so gradual that it can be attacked from a very wide horizontal field, and can be made to yield its treasures a hundred times as fast as a deposit that stood at a steep angle.
The traveler is fortunate if he can make sure of the hospitality of some of the great mines upon these hills, for he is then lifted out of the noisy and narrow valley in which Leadville lies, where there are no views of the hills, to a level in an upper and refined air where, with the amenities of life about him, he may enjoy the majestic prospect over the mountains that divide the waters of the two great oceans. In the dawn of a winter’s morning, while the night stays over the western heavens, the vast Sierra of the continent, snow white down to its forest slopes, lies in a calm immensity that transcends any mountain view the Alps afford. The scene can never have anything of the graciousness or the human interest that lends beauty to the Alps, but it has a grandeur all its own. It is calm, serene, and cast in a large mould, as are all the feature lines of this rather grim continent. Our fierce American life may beat against this upper land as long as it will, but it will never be marred by its doings ; to the last these hills will remain with the same invincible look they now wear. When the well-selected race that is now gathering here shall have been shaped to the country, this strong nature will surely stamp itself upon it. We may then expect to find here the most distinctly American of our peoples, — a race that will, we may hope, be cast in the large mould of the nature that surrounds it. The fierce, eager mood that is now upon this people will in time pass away, and they will lose restlessness and gain strength in contact with the great strong land where their lot is cast.
N. S. Shaler.