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many Indian friends happy by giving them one to roast for a dance. There is a constant stream of visitors to see these wonderful animals, and, to the thoughtful, they afford more than passing interest. Only three score years ago they were numberless. They were so numerous as to actually obstruct the passage of trains that went through this country in the early days, and in some instances, it is said, they actually locked horns with the small locomotives. Colonel Goodnight is considered to be a very reliable man. I have never heard his word discounted. He told me about a herd of buffalo that he saw en route to their winter grazing ground from the Dakota country. The figures were not given by thousands or hundreds of thousands, which, at best, would only be an estimate. I give the exact figures as he gave them to me. He said that he saw a herd of them twenty-five miles wide and one hundred and twenty-five miles long, making three thousand one hundred and twenty-five square miles of buffalo. They left the ground behind them as bare as a floor, and incidentally drank dry several small streams. This story was hard to believe, even in the presence of the formidable looking narrator. But I did not dispute his word -I will leave that for some one who lives farther from him and knows less of him than I do. We can hardly believe that this great nation of animals is so soon nearly extinct. During the four years, from 1875 to 1879, five thousand men made buffalo hunting a business, making a great slaughter pen of Northwest Texas. They were killed mainly for their hides, which brought the pitiful sum of one dollar each, whereas, now a fine buffalo robe is worth one hundred times that amount. Their bones were utilized as fertilizer. At present a large, full-blooded buffalo, including head and feet mounted, is worth about five hundred dollars. No doubt buffalo hunting, for sport alone,
was attended by all the exciting influences of the chase. Even the royalty of Europe chased these quadrupeds over the plains and pronounced it fine sport. Many of these animals have thus fall victims to the sportsman's rifle. However, in many respects the extermination of the buffalo has been a blessing to Northwest Texas. The buffalo was the Indian's commissary, and as long as they grazed on the open prairie, the hostile Indians depredated on the white settler. Also, the demise of the buffalo opened up a vast grazing district to the stockmen, and thousands of head of cattle were fattened every year where once the buffalo alone held possession. The civilizing influences of the white man have been too much for the buffalo and the wild Indian, and both have almost passed into history. But should we destroy the buffalo utterly? Who wishes to see him pass forever from the American stage? Ought we not to provide a sufficient national reservation for the buffalo? With the passing of Mr. Goodnight his ranch is likely to be broken up, pass into less appreciative hands, and soon this herd will be but a memory to remind us of this great nation of animals. Besides being the native habitat of this animal, the Palo Duro Canon is one of the most lovely and fascinating bits of country in the whole United States. Here, not only may the buffalo be preserved in his natural state, but a typical section of the country, that would represent the early history of this great and growing empire, may be set apart for the future millions.
Mulberry Canon, an arroyo of the Palo Duro, which the present buffalo ranch includes, forms by its perpendicular cliffs an impassable barrier to the plains beyond. For the purpose of getting an extended view of this panorama of flowers, hedges, trees, leaping waterfalls, deep chasms and rolling hills, bathed in the mellow shades of the late afternoon, I clambered to the
top of a rocky eminence and watched, delighted, till the shadows in the canon began to fade into the darkness. Looking far to the west I noted a lone buffalo, standing high and immovable on a cliff, both outlined against the red and gold of the sky. The old patriarch was looking toward the sunset and the plains, the once open dominion of his ancestors. He seemed like the spirit of the past. He and I were alone in the wild, open West. I felt that he was the rightful ruler of this realm, though now only a relic of that once powerful reign.
From the buffalo ranch the exploration party travelled thirty-five miles across the plains to a point where it was proposed to enter the main canon. Ascending the cap rock, the plains stretched out before us. The only obstruction to the view was our circumscribed organs of vision. Someone has said of the plains that you could see farther and see less than in any other country in the world. It is true that you can see where the pale blue screen of the horizon obscures the objects beyond, yet he who sees little here would see nothing were he to travel around. the world. The person who is afflicted with littleness ought to spend his vacations on the plains. The largeness of the country is contagious.
In journeying across the plains the optical illusion termed mirage is very evident. Images follow each other with such rapidity and with so many variations that an imaginative traveller may easily fancy himself in an enchanted land. Delusion is everywhere. What seems to be one mile is many. The mirage plays from nine o'clock in the forenoon to four o'clock in the afternoon. By it the grassy plains are converted into beautiful, shimmering lakes. Mantled in a low wisp of cloud, blue, floating, mysterious, a lake at her feet, the ethereal enchantress of the plains casts enraptured spells over all things -whether houses, land, cattle, or men.
I saw her joyful cloud train pass a herd of cattle that were feeding. The cows were caught up in her arms, and submitting to the mysterious spell, were painted in all their coats of many colors on the pale blue curtain of the sky. Motionless, they stood, delighting the eye of the enchanting queen till she had passed. A great steam plow was steadily moving along when, with an imperious wave of her wand, it suddenly became a majestically floating man-ofwar. Impossible of description was a town that I saw in the midst of one of the sorceress' happiest charms. It was six miles away. The houses were great, grand, majestical castles, painted in all the mellow hues of the rainbow, and steepled in silver and gold. At the base of the city appeared a broad, peaceful sea, athwart which the fairy palaces cast their long, dark shadows, and on its bosom rode majestically beautiful, white-winged ocean vessels. It seemed like a city not made with hands.
About sundown we arrived at the ranch house of Mr. C. M. Luttrell, a typical plainsman. By this term I mean a pure-blooded Anglo-Saxon, an open hearted, hospitable, honest, hardworking man. It is claimed by good authority that the purest Anglo-Saxon population on the globe is to be found in the Panhandle of Texas. The same hospitality that never turned even an enemy from the door in the time of old Cedric, the Saxon, is still to be found in the ranch homes of the West. The stranger is welcome to stop, eat, sleep, and make himself at home until ready to go on his way rejoicing. If a neighbor happens in when nobody is at home he thinks nothing of going in, preparing meals, and going to bed just as if he were at home, and nothing less is expected of him. The old free range, common herding, and mutual interests in such a great open country have served to join this race of men into a common brotherhood.
But hospitality is not the only virtue
of the plainsman; he is an economic success. Twenty years ago Mr. Luttrel and wife, then young and newly married, came to the plains. Then he had nothing; now he is worth one hundred thousand dollars. He has not made this by fraud or speculation, but by industry, thrift, and perseverance; by being frugal and putting honest labor in a good place and receiving God's reward and increase. He conducted the expedition into the canon, and spent several days in camp, though this, he said, was the first holiday he had taken in twenty years. He and his wife have not always had an easy time; nor have they had many of the so-called pleasures or advantages of life; but they have had health, happiness, pure air and water, sound sleep, plenty to eat, and clear consciences. Every week this man's hack goes to market some twenty miles away, loaded with chickens, eggs, and fruits, though he could buy ten times over many men who drive handsome cars. His wife told me that she had over one thousand frying chickens and over five hundred hens, the market price for chickens being fifty-five cents each and eggs twenty-two cents per dozen. I noticed that she collected a large tub full of eggs daily. I point to this man as a success. All men cannot be what the world calls great; we must have producers, men who are content to remain underground in the great building of our nation. He may be unknown to the world, but he is well and favorably known to his neighbors; he may be unlettered, though he is rich in experience, has learned much from nature, and knows instinctively a real man; he may not understand the financial manipulations of Wall Street, but he has been able to make a living and amass a small fortune besides; he has not worshipped God in costly churches or elegant temples, but when he comes to bid good-by to this vain world he will be ready to go, will stand a good chance of getting to heaven, and will feel at home when he gets there.
From Mr. Luttrell's a half-day's journey brought us to the Adair ranch, commonly known as the "J. A. Ranch," consisting of more than a million acres, the largest now in Texas. This immense body of land includes the greater part of the canon. A real cowboy conducted us to a point where we might descend into it. The hero of the plains. is the cowboy, and let me say just a word in his behalf. Although ordinarily known by his sombrero, boots, spurs, and pistols, he has a kind heart and noble generosity hidden beneath these rough exteriors. A woman is far safer on a million-acre ranch, among hundreds of these so-called desperadoes, than she would be walking down the street of a metropolis. The insult of not a single woman is on record to stain the honor of the cowboy. The old time cowboy, the "long rope and wide loop" kind, often came from a home of culture in the East to make his fortune in this wild country, and often for more desperate reasons, and while pillowing his head on his saddle and covering his body with his blanket, having nothing but the stars above him, he would dream of fair eyes and soft hands-far, far away.
Our guide recalled to our minds that the Palo Duro Canon was the original home of the great Comanche Indian nation; along its borders are their ancient burial grounds as yet undisturbed by the rude hand of civilized man, and within its walls are the ashes of many winter camp fires, among which lie hidden the charred bones of more than one unfortunate frontiersman. From the Comanches the canon received its name, Palo Duro, meaning "hard wood," a certain kind of which was found growing in abundance there and used by them in starting fires by friction. This place was an ideal home for the Indians, affording protection from the blizzards of winter, while the adjacent plains were covered with buffalo, deer, and antelope for their food. On the wild Llano Estacado roamed great
herds of wild horses, said to be the descendants of those wonderful Arabian blooded steeds brought over by Cortez with his expedition to conquer Mexico, and furnishing those fleet ponies on which the Comanches raced across the plains with the speed of the wind. Contrary to the usual Indian method of fighting, no doubt influenced by the topography of the country, the Comanches invariably fought on horseback and in the open, riding around their foe and shooting under their ponies while hanging on the opposite side for protection. Tall, lithe, and active, these famous red-skinned warriors attained to feats of horsemanship that have never been equalled.
spring would be early tempted by the alluring space to spread their newfledged pinions, and sail away into the uncharted realms of the sky and be happy. That most perfect little poem of Tennyson's came into my mind
Possibly with no less grace and ease than one of those Comanches, our guide sat on his capering cowpony as he reconnoitered the way. I approached on foot to the edge of the canon with hesitation and excitement. I heard of two men who went to the Grand Canon of the Colorado and sat down on its margin. After looking a few moments at the overaweing scene, one of them began crying; the other stammered other stammered slowly, "Well, I am damned." Finally I stood on the very rim of this abyss, fifteen hundred feet in depth, and was tempted to exclaim with the cowboy who for the first time looked into its depths, "Hurrah for God!" The solitude of the scene was oppressive, overmastering; you feel that you are looking into eternity itself. For miles and miles on every side theer was nothing but empty space; it almost crushed me. I looked downward and it almost drove me mad, and I wanted to make the wild leap. Nature in her untouched state reigned over this profusion in silence, and I stood long in mute accord. Suddenly I was startled by the scream of an eagle. A thousand feet below on a dizzy crag of rock two of those magnificent birds were protecting and feeding their young. What an environment! Here their kingly off
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls.
We pitched our tent under a large cedar tree some one hundred feet down the edge of the north canon wall. At our very feet an icy stream of clear, pure water gushed from the rocks into spray hundreds of feet below. In marked contrast to the plains above, we found the inside of this great fissure lined with luxuriant growth and thickly populated with animal life. With a pair of binoculars we saw here and there herds of deer and antelope feeding on the grassy knolls; one of the party was startled by coming in contact with a little black bear which curled itself into a ball and rolled precipitately down the canon side; at supper time the wolves gathered about our camp and howled hungrily.
After supper the party fell to discussing the cause of this great crack in the earth, which is a matter of much uncertainty. Several theories, however, were advanced. Whether or not the fact has ever been noticed or mentioned I do not know, but it is true that the beds of this canon, the Grand Canon of the Colorado, and the smaller canons of New Mexico and Arizona are on approximately the same level. Considered in the light that these fissures are in no sense a tributary system, we have a striking phenomenon, and one that may shed some light on the cause of these canons. Ordinarily geologists claim that they are due to the erosion of water, and since they do not line in the volcanic belt, this seems to be the
only plausible geological reason. Goodnight, whose opinions are based upon scientific knowledge, and after years of study and meditation, says that it is impossible that erosion could have caused the Palo Duro Canon. On being asked for his theory, he replied:
"Well, my theory is that the world cracked open; why, I do not know."
At a casual glance appearances are in his favor; and a careful study does not confirm the erosion theory.
The cowboy told us of an old Indian legend, which I have heard corroborated since by Indians themselves, that curiously accounts for this great gorge. It is an old, old story that has now almost ceased to be repeated from father to son in the wigwams and around the campfires of the Indians that once inhabited this region. The story tellers point with pride to a time, beyond which the memory of man runneth not, when the Southwest densely populated and filled with great cities. In New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Northwest Texas there are unmistakeable signs of an ancient civilization, probably coeval with the enlightened age of the ancient Toltecs, which confirm this legend. In the brakes of the Canadian river valley a solitary well digger unearthed a rock chimney which bore curious inscriptions and carvings, and in several other instances, especially in New Mexico and Arizona, unmistakable evidences of evidences of buried habitations may be found. But, so the story goes, there occurred a terrible meteoric shower, in which masses of burning, molten stone and iron rained like hail and burned up the cities and the people, all the vegetation, and dried up the streams. The small remnant of this great people who were so fortunate as to escape, were scorched and baked to a reddish brown, similar to the hues of the Indians and Mexicans at the present day. And so intense was the heat during the rain of fire that this great crack in the earth was caused.
During the ten days out many interesting things were observed. Mr. Strecker averred that he found several pieces of substance that could easily have been some of the material that had rained down as fire on the pre-historics. On one of our excursions a spinal vertebra was picked up. Its dimensions, being thirteen inches in width, excited interest. After careful investigation it was classed as belonging to the prehistoric dinosaur, a three-toed animal that progressed on its hind feet, and approached a height of seventy feet. Footprints, judged to be of this same animal were found near Glen Rose, Somerville county, Texas, in 1908. The great geologist, Winchell, thus speaks of footprints made by this enormous beast which were discovered many years ago in the sandstone of the Connecticut valley: "It is a solemn and impressive thought that the footprints of these dumb and senseless creatures have been preserved in all their perfections for thousands of ages, while so many of the works of man which date but a century back have been obliterated from the record of time. Kings and conquerors have marched at the heads of armies across continents, and have piled up aggregates of human suffering to the skies, and all physical traces of their march have disappeared; but this solitary biped which stalked along the margin of a New England inlet before the human race was born, pressed footprints in the soft and shifting sand which the rising and sinking of the continent could not wipe out."
The fauna of the Palo Duro country was also found to be very interesting. Here the animals of the staked and mesquite plains are strangely intermingled with the species of the mountain region of Trans-Pecos Texas. Many of the animals collected on the trip furnish new records for Northwest Texas. The reptiles obtained numbered three hundred and forty-six specimens, representing thirty-six species.