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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 seances 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
concentration of sense in their mouths and noses, and no very clear idea of the system on which their legs were planned; but they have a slight suggestion of their future hump, and a certain spunkiness of demeanor, which, to the close observer, bound them off from the common calf. Their coats, too, are rougher than his, and show symptoms of coming curl; but they are of a reddish-brown color, which is not uncommon in our barn-yards.
Punctually at the expected time, our stage came along, and, to our great satisfaction, contained only a couple of passengers. Our dreams of luxurious space were rudely disturbed by the appearance, while we were dining, of the coach from Omaha, which here intersects the main Overland road, with a cargo of passengers mostly intending to keep on further west, and clamorous for their shares in our vehicle. After' protracted negotiation, we compromised by receiving two of the new lot, who, with our party of four and the original occupants, crowded us into wretchedly tight quarters.
For the thirty-six miles to Plum Creek station, the road continued to run through a country of only less aridity than preceded our entrance to Fort Kearney. The only spots of brightness on the dreary waste of sand and gramma were the crimson flowers of the ground-poppy, which afford such diversified beauty to the Plains about the Little Blue, and which here fought for a bare existence with the thickening myriads of cacti, bursting up between the spikes and saffron-colored blossoms of the latter, like flames twinkling among pale cinders.
Again we went pattering out into the twilight, behind fresh relays. About nine o'clock, the moon rose