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feet; while Colorado Springs, fifty miles farther west, stands at an elevation of 4,900 feet.
It was seven o'clock, instead of half-past two, when we arrived at North Pueblo, and further connections were impossible, so we had to stop over there instead of sleeping in Manitou valley, as planned. The landlord of the "Lindell" was wrapped in contemplation of the new parlour furniture "and pianner," which he had just imported, at a cost of 300 dollars, from New York city, as he proudly informed every one. was not ready, and it was difficult to persuade them to produce some milk, which, bad as it was -tasting of the earth earthy, as it invariably does on the foot-hills, where herbage is scanty-was infinitely to be preferred to Arkansas river water, which left a thick deposit in the glasses, and was really so muddy as to render washing in it quite a farce. The town cows, it seemed, are driven out in one herd in the morning to graze on the desert, and delivered to their respective owners at night. Of the cuisine the least said the better; all the viands were smothered in a dense mass of pertinacious flies, the pest of the foot-hill regions. The whitewashed bedrooms were cell-like in proportions and furniture, the windows propped up with sticks; but, as usual, they were clean, and rest was possible, despite the sounds of a harp and violin and the click of the billiard-balls in the select saloon in the basement of the hotel, where, a legend ran, "No miners allowed here." Altogether it was an amusing experience.
The situation of Pueblo is not attractive. It lies in an amphitheatre of cretaceous sand hills, with the Wet Mountain range in the background, open at one side to a wide expanse of desert, whence sand storms rise frequently to add to the discomforts of the furnace-like atmosphere, in summer often 110° to 130° in the shade. There are few stone blocks, and the streets are rough, dusty, and treeless, fringed here and there with wooden shanties of one storey, consisting chiefly of drug, dry-goods, and hardware stores-these last corresponding to our ironmongers'-dram-shops, billiard and drinking saloons. That evening they were thronged by miners and prospectors on their way up to Colorado and New Mexico, smelters, and long-haired cow-boys in picturesque and serviceable attire of gay shirt, buckskins, long boots, spurs, sombrero, cartridge-belt, and six-shooter, who lounged about the saloons. Red-skinned half-breeds and longhaired Pueblo Indians added to the wildness of the scene as we sauntered in the dusk through the dim-lighted streets down to the depôt to inquire about baggage and a way of escape. Pueblo has two depôts, and, as the junction of the Atchison and Santa Fé with the North, West, and New Mexican extensions of the Denver and Rio Grande-a narrow-gauge road which links it on to the Union Pacific-is the very centre of South Colorado traffic, and certainly "booming." It aims to be the Denver of the South, and was then about as unattractive a place of residence as the capital was in the earlier stages of its develop
The River Arkansas, on its way to the plains and the Mississippi, and fresh from its work in
the mountains of cutting the grand cañon of the Royal Gorge-here a swirling eddy of liquid mud -divides the city into North and South Pueblo, connected on Union Avenue by a rickety wooden bridge, so shaky a structure that the local journal, the "Colorado Chieftain," in its issue for that day, foreboded an early severance between the two cities.
Next morning the streets were hotter, dustier, and more thronged than before. Pueblo, booming though it was, seemed a place to get out of, and we left without regret by the midday train for Denver, shaking the dust from our feet, as they say; but Western dust is not so easily got rid of, getting into every pore and sticking there. By now, probably, this metropolis of South Colorado has boomed into something highly commonplace and respectable, with boulevards, grand opera houses, electric lights, and possibly a university, so rapidly is the mise-en-scène changed beyond recognition in the progressive West.
The Denver and Rio Grande, like all the Colorado lines, is narrow gauge, seating three persons abreast, and running at an uncomfortable angle. The run northwards from Pueblo is very uninteresting, past a group of trees sheltering an encampment of semi-civilised Indians into a region of desolate wastes and sand hills, here and there ripple-marked with the wind; a few prairie dogs and sage-bushes, cows living and dead, the shrunken carcasses of skin and bone forming a frequent feature. A solitary mound or pile of stones, marking the last resting-place of some poor wanderer, and the skeleton of a horse and the débris of a schooner, are more pathetic objects, recalling the real dangers and discomforts of crossing the plains and deserts in the ante-railroad days, when weary weeks and months were passed amid such scenery and surroundings, harassed by fears of Indian attacks and failure of water. As the foot-hills rise higher and higher the short and robust locomotive pants and labours up the steepening grade, and the bold outlines of the here treeless Rockies grow clear and distinct. At Colorado Springs, a delightful oasis in the desert, we quit the express, bound for Denver, seventy miles northward, and change into a one-horse concern, drawn by a dummy engine for five miles through the valley of Manitou, rounding the foothills, past the rugged, bare, and castellated rocks which guard the southern entrance into the "Garden of the Gods," with its fantastic groups of red, yellow, and purple sand-eroded sandstones, and grey granite boulders grouped in weird masses, beautiful illustrations of the action of the weather and the power of blown sand as erosive agents, the chief source of the peculiar features of the rock scenery hereabout. The Fontaine creek rushes merrily through the green valley on its way to join the Arkansas river at Pueblo and past Colorado city, a mere collection of shanties, which, once intended for the State capital, looks fossilised prematurely. The village of Manitou consists of two excellent hotels, pensions, Chinese laundry, and a few stores, and lies in an amphitheatre of the green foot-hills, studded here and there with the white tents of the campers who sleep out all summer in
search of health and strength in this delightful and invigorating atmosphere, and closed into the left by the rounded granite summit of Pike's Peak. The winter snows had melted, but showers fall on the peak daily, giving it a peculiarly changeful aspect. The great height (14,174 feet) is minimised by the elevation of the valley at its base 6,200 feet, an elevation which exceeds that of the summit of the Rigi and more than doubles that of the valley of Chamounix. Viewed under similar circumstances, even the giant Mont Blanc would lose some of its grandeur.
Manitou, the Saratoga of Colorado, is but an outpost of Rocky Mountain scenery. Its fine mineral springs of iron, sulphur, and soda-these last bubbling up close to the hotels, a sparkling, delicious beverage-with its excellent accommodation and proximity to many pleasant excursions, make it a delightful summer resort for Eastern citizens. Cottonwood-trees fringe the creek, and many beautiful shrubs grow in the valley; stunted shrub-like oaks and dwarfed pines are sparsely scattered over the greener slopes, while the bare and glowing rocky sections yield only the lovely yucca, well-named gloriosa, with its long aloe-like leaves and single lily-stalk, crowned with myriads of yellow and heavily-perfumed blossoms. One of the pleasantest spots is Williams's Cañon, a small but perfect example of those peculiarities of American scenery, and exemplifying the erosive powers of water. The rock-shadowed entrance, at first wide, gradually narrows first to a carriage road, then a horse trail, and finally to a footway, which ends where the now reduced streamlet falls over a ledge of rocks. Beyond, unexplored, its limits are unknown. The deep-red and greyish-yellow rocks, Granitic, Triassic, and uptilted Silurian, rise more or less abruptly, in irregular masses, to a height of eight hundred feet on either side. Pine-trees cling amid the boulders, and flowers of many hues in niches. Here and there the stream meandered in its sculptor's course, giving a picturesque turn to the gorge, which seems to end abruptly, but opens out another vista beyond. Only a narrow band of cloudless blue sky above, below the tiny brooklet ripples languidly over the stones, large yellow and blue-black butterflies, with open wings as large as a hand, flutter temptingly near, the screech of an eagle or hawk rushing out from his eyrie the only other sound, for most of the gold claims in this now silent spot have been abandoned. A cave extends within the rock-recesses of this charming cañon-second in size, it is said, to that of Kentucky-but we did not explore its marvels, feeling the outer air and loveliness too exquisite to shut out.
The walk up the Ute Pass, once the highway of those formidable Indian raiders, is also beautiful, the rocks closing in picturesquely where the Fontaine creek tumbles over a ledge of rock in its course, forming the Rainbow Falls, a pretty but insignificant torrent. In response to a cordial invitation from a fellow-traveller, we went over one day to that finished but misnamed little city, Colorado Springs, which has sprung up in eleven years from the sand of the desert, and is now sur
rounded by a stretch of irrigated land, an oasis of fertility. Its wide runnel-watered streets are planted with trees and lined with white villas with open doors, protected by gauze blinds to keep out dust and flies and let in the perfect healthgiving air. The view hence of the Front range is noble and comprehensive-" a joy for ever." Their snow-strewn summits glittered in the sun, and the outlines of the Cheyenne range were softened by a purple haze, which added to their beauty. There is an opera house, and college with library, class-rooms, and museum and laboratory, in this refined eleven-year-old city, which is occupied chiefly by cultured people-exiles for their lives' sake from the cities of the East. At the depôt it was odd to hear an urchin call out to his mate, "Say, Jim, here's another mashed-up engine!" Looking out, I saw a very battered specimen of the genus locomotive, with dented flanks and twisted funnel, much as though, to use another expressive local phrase, it had "derailed" from a considerable height. The journey down grade back to La Junta was a rapid one, the air and scenery growing more depressing at each halt. At Pueblo half the inhabitants seemed changing cars at once, and attracting the baggage-master's attention on the open platform, with the thermometer over 100°, was not a pleasant business. All baggage has to be re-checked at the terminus of each road, and out West it is always a tedious process. On the way down to La Junta we passed the débris of our former train. The track had been relaid in a circle, and as the engineer sounded his cowwhistle at every moment, the cows kept at a safe distance, and we reached our destination without mishap.
Just then that attractive junction was composed of the depôt, two temperance hotels, saloons, and stores. Rustlers, or highwaymen, mustered in force. Passengers had been robbed the previous evening, and it was not advisable to stray far from the miserable accommodation of the shanty depôt, where, although detained for eleven hours, as the westward express was three hours late, neither food nor lodging was procurable. The surrounding prairie was of an uninteresting type, light sandy soil covered with straggling weeds and dusty sage-brush sloping down to a sluggish muddy creek. The sunset was certainly the only beautiful sight at La Junta, and that was soon over, and we had to return to the little den-twelve feet by twelve-into which the amiable but incapable station-clerk peered occasionally to cheer us all with the information "She's wired," "So many hours late now." Soon after midnight those who had secured rooms were called up, and three hours later the express steamed slowly up, and we having run the chance of vacant sleeping berths had to turn into the ordinary car, which was crowded with a rough but well-behaved set of miners and cow-boys, armed with most formidable six-shooters, and a few prospective settlers with their wives and families. Some, comfortable enough with the next seat, turned round, and forming a sofa and pillows of their own providing, were loth to make room for fresh occupants; but the conductor soon found seats for all. For another hour the
I'VE just come in good time for the wedding," was the greeting with which I was received in a small cluster of Mongol tents, where I went to pass a few weeks one autumn. I had heard nothing about it, but was well pleased at the prospect of seeing so grand a marriage as that of the daughter of a high Mongol mandarin. The evening conversation in the tent was all about the forthcoming match, the various things that were to be made, the presents that would be given, and the feasting that would take place.
Next morning, before I had gone out, a tall young girl came to our tent with a present for me from the mandarin, and, as I was told she was his daughter, I thought I was doing the polite thing when I referred to her coming marriage.
She looked confused, and soon left the tent, when. I was informed that I had been guilty of great rudeness, as no bride in Mongolia is supposed to know anything about her marriage till she is carried off to be delivered over to her husband. The bride herself, of course, does know all about it, and even assists in making the garments; but still she is supposed not to know, and my mistake lay in taking it for granted that she did know. I did all I could to repair my error by sending her two silver rubles to make buttons.
When I got out about among the tents I found that all hands were busy. Extra tents were being, set up, carpets, felts, boots, garments, cushions, were being sewed, and in short, everybody was so busy that, as the brother of the bride said, they had not time to eat or drink. Attracted by the
"click, click" of a light hammer, I entered a tent, and found a silversmith busy making the silver head ornaments. He was a lama, and explained to me that he had been accommodated in another tent till the lama son of the mandarin was brought home with a broken leg. The smith had then to give place to the doctor, and shifted himself, his scales, his clothful of tools, his blowpipe, and his pieces of silver, to a humbler tent, where he was the guest of a married lama. called on the broken-legged son, and found him an intelligent and pleasing young lama, who, without the least reserve, was describing how he had come by the broken limb. He had been intoxicated, fallen from his horse, and actually made two attempts to remount before he discovered what was the matter. The eldest son, a layman, and married, lived in a cluster of tents about a mile away. His dependents also were busy at the same wedding outfit. In the course of conversation I was repeatedly asked how we managed such affairs, and the usual remark made when I described our weddings was, "How easy!" In Mongolia it is a formidable business, lasting about a week, more or less.
The first thing that arrived was a cartload of provisions from the nearest Chinese town, prominent among the provisions being two piculs of strong Chinese whisky. On expressing my surprise at the largeness of the quantity, I was told that it was rather small, and that the amount of spirit provided at the other end-that is, at the bridegroom's house-would be much greater. The slaughter of an ox and several sheep followed, and elicited grumbling rather than admiration from the neighbours, who thought the quantity of meat thus provided by no means sufficient. However, they made the excuse that though the mandarin was high in rank he was poor in purse, and could not well afford more. The bridegroom's father, on the other hand, was only a commoner, but very rich, so they hoped to make up for the deficiency at home by the extra abundance at the other end.
One afternoon a cartload of ladies arrived. The cart was of the Peking model, drawn by two spirited horses, and guided by a driver on horseback. The ladies were grandly dressed in embroidered robes, flaming with all manner of figures, in almost all the colours of the rainbow. These first arrivals were near relations of the family, and had come early to assist and superintend. Some few days passed, the activity and excitement getting greater. The mandarin drank whisky, took snuff, and wrote requisitions borrowing horses, carpets, and felts from his neighbours all round, while the women of his family rushed about with sewing that had been forgotten, half commanding, half entreating the neighbouring females to help them to be ready in time.
Preparations were at length completed, and feasting began. I have now only an indistinct idea of how many days the feast lasted, and as great part of the fun consisted in drinking whisky, I did not visit the revellers often. I was once
• A picul is 133 lb.
taken to see a tentful of ladies in full dress. They were fully dressed indeed! The most striking thing was the gown, glaring with colours and fierce with embroidered dragons, whose eyes seemed ready to start from their heads. Though inside a tent, they all wore great fur caps exactly like those worn by men. At their side they each had a hanging of silk, silver, and gilt ornaments, but the most curious part of the adornment was the head-dress of beads, which seemed to hang down all round, and made it a matter of some difficulty for the fair dames to convey the cups to their mouths. I watched the process of drinking tea under difficulties for some time, then withdrew, trying to calculate how many oxen each of these women carried about on her person. The silver ornaments were of native workmanship, the dresses, the caps, and beads, were purchases from Peking, and, with Chinese interpreters, squeezes, merchants' profits, and allowance for the time that the bill would lie unpaid, must have cost a great sum.
One morning I was informed that the young bridegroom would come that day. Soon after, when out walking, I saw a troop of horses tied at some tents on a rising ground about a mile off. Presently the riders issued from the tents, mounted their steeds, and made directly for our cluster of tents. They came on in beautiful style, till brought to a halt by a steep-sided ravine cut out in the plain by the water of the summer rains. For a moment they halted, confused, on the farther edge, till some one discovered the pass; they then converged on one point, and one after another disappeared below the level of the plain. A few moments more and bonnets, then heads, then horses, rose up into view again. The troop widened out once more, and the twenty horsemen, picturesque with their bright costumes, and mounted on their best steeds, swept past at full gallop. The bridegroom, conspicuous by the bow-and-arrow case he carried slung from his shoulder, seemed a mere boy fourteen or fifteen years old, but he was mounted on perhaps the finest animal in the troop, and rode well, keeping side by side with his father.
The company dismounted at the poles a little way in front of the tents, where horses are generally tied, put themselves in order, and advanced formally towards the principal tent. Every one seemed to carry something in his hand, and I noticed that several, who carried little open casks of whisky, asked eagerly what they were to do with it. I suppose they brought it in bladders on horseback, then filled it into the casks when they dismounted. As they stood before the tent, each man holding his present with both his hands, the bride's big brother, a tall, broad man, with a goodnatured face, came out and planted himself in front of the door, demanding of the strangers what brought them there. "We want to enter your tent," they replied. "Then you'll have to fight for it!" answered the giant; and, suiting the action to the word, the strangers and the mandarin's followers instantly began a scuffle, pulling each other about a good deal, but, as I could not help remarking, taking good care not to spill the whisky.
The sham fight lasted a few seconds, when the defenders gave in and invited the assailants to enter the tent. But now another struggle began. No one would enter first. The two head men stood bowing each other in, neither entering, till at last the stranger allowed himself to be pushed in, and his host followed. The second pair had the same struggle, settled in the same way, and finally, after a great ado, the whole crowd entered and business began.
I did not enter, but was told that the marriage contract was there and then made, the bridegroom-or his father rather-promising to treat the bride well and make such and such provision for her. Consuming whisky seemed to form an important part of the ceremony; it was remarked that though all were able to mount and ride off when the bargain was concluded, several of them rode only a mile to the nearest tents, and were unable to go on till next morning.
That afternoon a great cry arose among our tents, and, running out to see what had happened, I saw half a dozen women leading the bride, newly adorned with her matron's ornaments, from the silversmith's tent to her father's abode. Just at this stage was she supposed to have discovered what all the preparations meant. She howled most vigorously, very much after the fashion of a distressed calf, but the Mongols said it was all right, it was a part of the ceremony! Still crying and reluctant, she was dragged into the tent, and there set aside in state.
Next morning all were astir early. The proper hour for a bride to start depends on the year in which she was born, and men skilled in such lore said that this girl should have left her home at two o'clock in the morning. When the proper time falls at such an inconvenient hour, the difficulty is got over by starting her, going a few yards, and alighting in another tent, the journey being commenced in earnest-resumed, they would sayat a more suitable time of day. In this case the ceremony of starting was not performed at the proper hour, but deferred till daylight. When all were mustered and ready, the old mandarin stumped about impatiently, saying, repeatedly, "Why don't you start ?" The truth was, that to have everything proper, all the women of the place had to assemble in the tent and weep over the poor girl, who was now crying away most energetically.
The proper amount of weeping having been at length accomplished by the tearful dames, a young man obeyed the command of the father, pushed aside the women, drew back the curtain, took up the bride and carried her along under his arm as a man would carry a bundle of grass, taking care not to bump her head ornaments on the lintel of the low door, and, by the help of two others, hoisted her into the saddle of a remarkably quiet horse, which stood ready to receive her. In the hands of the men the girl seemed a lifeless form, and, but for her crying, and the fact that she covered her veiled face with her hands, no one would have supposed that she possessed the least command of her limbs. She took no care to balance herself or keep her seat, all that she left
to the attendants; her part in the performance was to cry, and cry she did in the same calf-like howl of yesterday.
The horse was led a step or two in a direction determined also by the year of her birth, and then the starting was an accomplished fact. She was taken down from the saddle and stowed away in a Peking cart, her mother got in beside her, the mounted driver called on his two lively horses, and the whole party fell into the line of march, while the crying of the disconsolate girl became fainter and fainter in the distance.
The bridal procession, as we afterwards heard, had a long ride over hill and dale, and finally drew up late in the day before some tents, within sight of which were feeding flocks of sheep, herds of oxen, and droves of horses, indicating the wealth of the possessor, and all judiciously displayed for the sake of effect.
The door of the bridegroom's tent was barricaded, and quite a war of words ensued, the strangers reproachfully asking, "What sort of people are you, to live with doors inhospitably barricaded?" The besieged reproachfully asked, "What sort of brigands are you to come riding up to any man's tent in that threatening manner? The comers replied, "We have brought So-andso's daughter to be So-and-so's bride." "Oh, that alters the case!" answered the bridegroom's friends, and after some more ado the door was opened and the bride delivered over.
Feasting, drinking, singing, mirth, and quar