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every now and then the soft, melancholy cooing of the mourning dove, whose voice always seems far away and expresses more than any other sound in nature the sadness of gentle, hopeless, never-ending grief. The other birds
Now and then the black shadow of a wheeling vulture falls on the sun-scorched ground; the cattle that have strung down in long files from the hills lie quietly on the sandbars.” Whether in the bright moonlight that “turns the gray buttes into glimmering silver, the higher cliffs standing out in weird grotesqueness while the deep gorges slumber in the black shadows, the echoing hoof-beats of the horses and the steady metallic clank of the steel bridle-chains the only sounds”; or when the gales that blow out of the north have wrapped the earth in a mantle of death; when “ in the still, merciless, terrible cold . . . all the land is like granite; the great rivers stand in their beds as if turned to frosted steel. In the long nights there is no sound to break the lifeless silence. Under the ceaseless, shifting play of the Northern Lights the snow-clad plains stretch out into dead and endless wastes of glimmering white.":
So he saw it, and so he loved it; loved it when the work was hard and dangerous; when on the ranchman's occasional holiday he lay stretched before the blazing log-fire reading Shakespeare to the cowboys and eliciting the patronizing comment from one who followed broncho-busting as a trade, that "that 'ere feller Shakespeare saveyed human nature some. ” Loved the land and loved its people, as they loved him, a man among men. He has drawn a picture of them in his “Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail," from which I have quoted, that will stand as a monument to them in the days that are to come when they shall be no more. In that day we will value, too, the book, as a marvelous picture of a vanished day.
“ To appreciate properly his fine, manly qualities, the wild rough-rider of the plains should be seen in his own home. There he passes his days; there he does his life-work; there, when he meets death, he faces it as he faces many other evils, with quiet, uncomplaining fortitude. Brave, hospitable, hardy and adventurous, he is the grim pioneer of our race; he prepares the way for the civilization from before whose face he must himself disappear. Hard and dangerous though his existence is, it has yet a wild attraction that strongly draws to it his bold, free spirit. He lives in the lonely land where mighty rivers twist in long reaches between the barren bluffs; where the prairies stretch out into billowy plains of waving grass, girt only by the blue horizon-plains across whose endless breadth he can steer his course for days and weeks, and see neither man to speak to nor hill to break the level; where the glory and the burning splendor of the sunsets kindle the blue vault of heaven and the level brown earth till they merge together in an ocean of flaming fire.”
Working there, resting there, growing there, in that wonderland under the spell of which these words of his were written, there came to him, unheralded, the trumpet call to another life, to duty. Over the camp-fire he read in a newspaper sent on from New York that by a convention of independent citizens he had been chosen as their standard-bearer in the fight for the mayoralty, then impending. They needed a leader. And that night he hung up the rifle, packed his trunk, and, bidding his life on the plains good-by, started for the East.