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wiry gramma. This little plant is the main support of the herds along the Platte. Both the emigrant cattle and the buffaloes are very fond of it, though their attachment seems rather eccentric to anybody who has ever examined it. If you can imagine an inventive genius who had discovered a method of making an article for army rations, called “Desiccated Corkscrews,” his products would be an approximate imitation of the gramma. If I ever felt like decrying that intolerable old fallacy to the effect that figures don’t lie, it was when I heard a ranchman mention the avoirdupois of an ox who had fed on gramma entirely. How it can be nutritive, needs chemistry to show; that it is so, all the plainsmen aver, and their cattle seem to prove it. The ground rose perceptibly between breakfast and Fort Kearney. We climbed several of the loftiest and longest hills we had seen since leaving St. Louis. About twenty miles east of the fort, we seemed to reach the top of a new terrace, and thenceforward rode nearly all the way on a level sand-plain, extremely barren, very hot and dusty, and quite distressing to the horses. This plain was interspersed with bare sand-hillocks from five to twenty feet high, making it look as if it were the now abandoned dumpingground of some pre-Adamic race of genii, who followed the dustman's trade for the rest of the solar system, and came to this world to unload. Beyond the hillocks, perhaps a distance of eight miles southerly, rose a much higher range of equally barren bluffs, giving us, for the first time in our journey, a sensation of mountain scenery, and, so to speak, striking the resolving chords between the low plains of Kansas and the high plateaus of the Rocky Mountain region, whither we were tending. On our northern hand, about fifteen miles from the fort, we saw for the first time bounding our horizon the fringe of trees along the Platte. At first sight this river appeared as wide as the Hudson at Tappan Zee, or the St. John's below Pilatka. Its further banks were enveloped in a misty veil, and looked languidly soft, like far islands seen through tropical fog. Atmospheric distance never deceived so completely. The charming grandeur and tenderness of scale on which this view seemed constructed, were delusions of the mirage. Hot sun and mirroring sand had wrought up the scanty materials of the stream into a dream of beauty which had no geometric reasons. Our best dreams of beauty are generally of that sort, belonging to the soul, and not to the intellect. We hated to have this vision disturbed by Gradgrind measurements of space. “If this were a delusion, let us dream on l’” I must confess that this region of mirage is almost the only place, till one reaches the Platte's ice-cold cañon, in the mountains of Colorado, where the river exerts any fascination on the tourist. It will presently lose the assistance of mirage and imagination, and turn out the most miserably uninteresting and feeble-minded stream to be found on the continent. If it were compressed into a single bed, instead of being vaguely dispersed about great and small islands, in all sorts of intricate channels, it would approach the size of the Oswego River at the city of that name. About two o'clock, we passed a very picturesque party of Germans going to Oregon. They had a large herd of cattle and fifty wagons, mostly drawn by oxen, though some of the more prosperous “outfits” were attached to horses or mules. The people themselves represented the better class of Prussian or North German peasantry. A number of strapping teamsters, in gay costumes, appeared like Westphalians. Some of them wore canary shirts and blue pantaloons; with these were intermingled blouses of claret, rich warm brown, and the most vivid red. All the women and children had some positive color about them, if it only amounted to a knot of ribbons, or the glimpse of a petticoat. I never saw so many bright and comely faces in an emigrant train. One real little beauty, who showed the typical German blonde through all her tan, peered out of one great canvas wagon cover, like a baby under the bonnet of the Shaker giantess, and coqueted for a moment with us from a pair of wicked-innocent blue eyes, drawing back, when the driver stared at her, in nicely simulated confusion. Several old women, of less than the usual anile hideousness of the German Bauerinn, were trudging along the road with the teamsters, in short blue petticoats and everlasting shoes; partly to unbend their joints, as was evident from the pastime alacrity of their gait, and partly to oversee a crowd of children who were hunting green grass with sickles, and conveying their scanty harvest to the cattle by handfuls at a time. In the wagons all manner of domestic bliss was going on. A young teamster, whose turn it was to ride, sat smoking a pipe and wooing his bashful dear, thus uniting business and pleasure in an eminent degree, under the shadow of a great wagon top, and on a barrel of mess pork. Many mothers were on front seats, nursing their babies in the innocent unconsciousness of Eve. Old men lay asleep on bales of bedding, with their horn spectacles still astride the nose; old women, with similar aids, read great books of theoretical religion, or knitted stockings of the practical kind. Every wagon was a gem of an interior such as no Fleming ever put on canvas, and every group a genre piece for Boughton. The whole picture of the train was such a delight in form, color, and spirit that I could have lingered near it all the way to Kearney. About three o'clock we arrived at Fort Kearney, and again halted. The comparatively light-loaded stage which Munger had kindly promised to send on to us, would arrive the next day. After dinner at the Overland station, we walked over to the fort, which is a mere inclosure of boards, containing several barrack buildings, and stores belonging to the tradingpost. It is not intended to resist assault, but would probably furnish sufficient protection to settlers who might flee to it for asylum, from the Indian mode of warfare. Lieutenant Davis, then in command of a garrison of about a hundred Colorado troops, received us very politely, and asked us to make the fort our head-quarters. In the yard of his house we found a pair of nice little buffalo calves, which his men had captured in their last expedition against the Sioux. With the engravings before us, it is needless to remark how strong is their resemblance to the calf of our domestic cow, at the same age. These are supposed to be about a month old. Our artist held two séances with the little creatures on the afternoon of our arrival and the next morning, transferring them to canvas in every variety of attitude, and getting their animus and typical distinctions as well by heart as he had succeeded in doing with their belligerent sires. They are stupid little creatures, with the usual vituline

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