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same origin for the whole mass. But the pebbles in any conglomerate might easily have been the detritus rolled from hypogene rocks down the bed of a stream with tenacious clay banks like the Republican. This view opened to me a new field of speculation upon the aqueous and igneous theories of many formations.
5. The pebbles and breccia-like detritus which inhere in the above conglomerates, are exceedingly diversified. I found among other water-worn detritus, appearing in patches between the clay and quicksand of the bottom, every possible kind of silicious material, such as agate, pure quartz crystal, smoky, rosy, and cloudy quartz, cornelian (impure), cellular quartz, and quartz united with feldspar and hornblende, or both, in all proportions and manners. One specimen of the cellular kind, associated with fibrous hornblende, was peculiarly beautiful, and resembled some of the rich auriferous specimens which I afterward found in the Colorado mines (Gregory and Bobtail lodes). All these minerals I regard as brought down by the ice and current from the head of the Republican, which, despite the United States Survey maps, is in all probability to be found as far west as Denver, and thirty miles south. They are all of Rocky Mountain formations, and resemble no outcrop in the •region where I found them.
6. To a similar source may be ascribed the small particles of mica discovered in the ferruginous sand •of the bed. In my field-book I wrote "must" instead of "may," but after discoveries made it necessary for me to suspend a decision. When I reached Fort Kearney, Lieutenant Davis, then garrison commandant, showed me a specimen of mica which he had found, with many others like it, in clay beds on the Republican, about twenty miles above our second ford. I could not gather from his description as to whether it lay apparently in situ or washed in with other debris. If the former be the true case, it opens the same interesting question regarding the aqueous or igneous origin of mica, which a little above was started about the conglomerate. If the formation of mica can be gradual and aqueous, like that of clay shale, Lieutenant Davis' specimen would be an excellent illustration of the mineral in its earlier stages. It was so soft that, although in a tabular prism and nearly quite transparent, I could scratch it almost as easily as putty, and scrape its edges into powder with my nail, and without scaling off the laminae. At first sight it appeared like calc-spar, and not till ,it refused to effervesce with acids did it occur to me to try its 'cleavage, when it laminated with ease to an indefinite thinness, each sheet showing a perfect micaceous iridescence on the surface.
7. I also found an immense boulder of almost pure feldspar, the largest mass not distinctly crystalline .that I have ever seen. It was as hard as iron, of a nearly similar weight, and about three feet in circumference.
8. Near our first ford I found a small outcrop of impure shaly-brown coal, of no apparent commercial value. Butler told me that he had seen an outcropping seam of coal on the Little Blue Blufls back of the ranch. I had no time to go and examine it,—cannot therefore be certain that it is true coal, — but am inclined to believe both this and the Republican outcrop of the same period as contemporary with much which I afterward found near Denver, and which was indubitably tertiary. Of that we shall speak further.
From our ford we moved down along the north bank to the intersection of the Fort Riley and Fort Kearney trail with the Republican first bottom. In some places the track was so overgrown with grass that it needed John Gilbert's eyes to find it, and considerable imagination to conceive how it could have been but a few years ago a comparatively important route from the Kaw to the Rocky Mountains. At this point a decayed old bridge of logs overhung a small stream emptying into the Republican, and just above it the beaver dams were plentier and more interesting than we anywhere saw them during our journey. We here halted for dinner; and Thompson's cows not having yet turned np with any fresh steak, we were compelled to feed, on canned provisions. These disposed of, Munger, the artist, and myself continued in the buggy along a beautifully smooth, grassy bottom, with gigantic cotton-woods fringing the river all the way, to a point about a mile above the junction of White Rock Creek with the Republican. Here we picketed our horses, and prepared to camp down, building a magnificent fire of old logs, with a hollow cotton-wood for a chimney. Thompson finally appeared to tell us that the others had got tired, and were camping four miles above, also to ask if we had seen any cows. We all the more regretted to say that we had not, inasmuch as the wagons contained our whole commissariat, and we were hungry enough to have done anything for a snpper except reharness and ride back four miles after we had camped down for the night. Thompson returned to the base of supplies, and we went to bed supperless. Substance being denied us, we were fain to content ourselves with shadows. Out feet lay toward the river bank, and our magnificent, though purely ornamental fire made the gigantic white trunks and grotesque gnarled branches of the cotton-woods overhanging the stream dance and flicker like ghosts in a dream. I think this was one of the noblest chiaro-oscuro effects of fire-light that I ever saw in my life. Below us murmured the river, repeating the sky's purple twilight on its smooth depths, and glinting with diamond sparks from our flame on its fretful shallows. The air was the perfection of breathableness,—softer, purer, clearer than anything east of the plains around Mount Shasta.
The next morning we rejoined our companions just in time to cook our breakfast on the remains of their kitchen. I began to feel terribly sick of meat, and, in my rage for vegetables, broke my bowie-knife digging wild onions. After this exploit, costing me a splendid weapon irreplaceable short of Denver, we made a ragout of onions and salt pork, which I cannot recommend to anybody living near Delmonico's, washed our dishes in the Republican, and turned north again toward the ranch.
We reached Comstock's about two in the afternoon, with less buffalo-meat than we should have liked, but an experience of one of the loveliest and most interesting regions on the Continent; a region which the Pacific Railroad will make the most valuable farmingland between St. Louis and California.
FROM THE BUFFALO COUNTRY TO THE GOLD MINES.
On -the 29th of May, our party were obliged to divide. We had waited several nights without finding a westward stage which would contain us all. Accordingly two of us stayed behind, while our two friends squeezed themselves into an overcrowded coach, where one at least of the passengers took it as a personal insult, using language unparliamentary and profane. Hunger had promised to send us on an empty coach from Atchison, during the next few days; for this our friends were to telegraph when they reached Kearney.
I was not sorry to stay with the Comstocks a little longer. We were both of us charfned with their original and kindly characters, and they never tired of hearing us talk about the great East. Apropos of that, John Gilbert told me that next year he was going east on a visit. I gave him a cordial invitation to come and see me, when he replied naively, " I don't think I shall get beyond Chicago." What a revelation! How far west must we be, when going to Chicago was going east! And yet we were only two hundred miles on a road numbering more than as many thousands.
From the Comstocks we learned more of the social condition of Kansas and Nebraska than all editorials and speeches had ever taught us at the East. To a