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them came plunging over the edge of a perpendicular rock, in a foamy, feathery waterfall.
There was plenty of room in the valley for the lake to grow larger, but the trees at its margin seemed to say that this was its customary size. On the northern side the sloping steep went up, up, up, until all its rocks became hidden under a covering of snow.
Just above the snow-line the June sun had been working hard, day after day, melting snow for the lake, until it had undermined a vast icy mass several acres in extent. Nobody could guess how many winters had been required to make that heap of frost so deep and hard, or how many summers had made everything ready for that hot day to finish.
The avalanche had broken its bonds! Down it came, slowly at first, then more swiftly, and the tall pines were snapped off and swept away, and great bowlders were caught up and carried with it.
Down, down, down it came, and at last, with a great surging plunge, it went head foremost into the lake. Crash! splash! dash! the flying sheets of water reached the tree-tops on the margin.
The avalanche found deep water, for it almost disappeared; but it made the lake several feet deeper, and then its own fragments came up from their dive to be floated around and to be dashed against the shore by the waves.
It did not take a great while for the surface of the
lake to become calm again, with the snow-cakes and the ice-cakes almost motionless in the fading light. Not any human eye had seen the avalanche fall, or had noted its grandeur or any of its consequences.
WILLIAM O. STODDARD.
[From "The Red Mustang," by W. O. Stoddard. Copyright, 1890, by Harper & Brothers.]
JOHN RIDD'S RIDE.
"I am your mother's cousin, boy, and am going up to the house. Tom Faggus is my name, as everybody knows; and this is my young mare, Winnie."
Tom Faggus and his young blood-mare, the strawberry! Already her fame was noised abroad nearly as much as her master's, and my longing to ride her grew tenfold, but fear came at the back of it.
Not that I had the smallest fear of what the mare could do to me, by fair play and horse-trickery, but that the glory of sitting upon her seemed to be too great for me; especially as there were rumors abroad that she was not a mare, after all, but a witch.
However, she looked like a filly all over, and wonderfully beautiful, with her supple stride, and soft slope of shoulder, and glossy coat beaded with water, and prominent eyes full of docile fire. Whether this
came from her Eastern blood of the Arabs newly imported, and whether the cream-color, mixed with our bay, led to that bright strawberry tint, is certainly more than I can decide, being chiefly acquainted with farm horses.
Mr. Faggus gave his mare a wink, and she walked demurely after him, a bright young thing, flowing over with life, yet dropping her soul to a higher one, and led by love to anything. Then Winnie trod lightly upon the straw, because it had soft muck under it, and her delicate feet came back again.
Up for it still, boy, are you?" Tom Faggus stopped, and the mare stopped there; and they looked at me provokingly.
"Is she able to leap, sir? There is a good take-off on this side of the brook."
Mr. Faggus laughed very quietly, turning round to Winnie, so that she might enter into it. And she, for her part, seemed to know exactly where the fun lay.
"Good tumble-off, you mean, my boy. Well, there can be small harm to you. I am akin to your family, and know the substance of their skulls."
"Let me get up," said I, waxing wroth, for reasons I cannot tell you, because they are too manifold; "take off your saddle-bag things. I will try not to squeeze her ribs in, unless she plays nonsense with me."
Then Mr. Faggus was up on his mettle at this proud speech of mine; and John Fry was running up all the while, and Bill Dadds, and half a dozen.
Tom Faggus gave one glance around, and then dropped all regard for me. The high repute of his mare was at stake, and what was my life compared to it? Through my defiance and stupid ways, here was I in a duello, and my legs not come to their strength yet, and my arms as limp as a herring.
Something of this occurred to him, even in his wrath with me, for he spoke very softly to the filly, who could now scarce subdue herself; but she drew in her nostrils, and breathed his breath, and did all she could to answer him.
"Not too hard, my dear," he said; "let him gently down on the mixen. That will be quite enough.' Then he turned the saddle off, and I was up in a
She began at first so easily, and pricked her ears so lovingly, and minced about as if pleased to find so light a weight upon her, that I thought she knew I could ride a little, and feared to show any capers.
"Gee wugg, Polly!" cried I, for all the men were now looking on. "Gee wugg, Polly, and show what you are made of!" With that I plugged my heels into her and Billy Dadds flung his hat up.
Nevertheless she outraged not, though her eyes were frightening Annie, and John Fry took a pick to
keep him safe; but she curbed to and fro, with her strong forearms rising like springs ingathered, waiting and quivering grievously, and beginning to sweat about it.
Then her master gave a shrill, clear whistle, then her ears were bent toward him, and I felt her form beneath me gathering up like whalebone, and her hind legs coming under her, and I knew that I was in for it.
First she reared upright in the air and struck me full on the nose with her comb, till I bled; and then down with her forefeet deep in the straw and her hindfeet going to heaven. Finding me stick to her still like wax, for my mettle was up as hers was, away she flew with me swifter than ever I went before or since.
She drove full-head at the cob-wall,-"Oh, Jack, slip off!" screamed Annie, then she turned like light, when I thought to crush her, and ground my left knee against it. "If you kill me, you shall die with me!" I cried.
Then she took the courtyard gate at a leap, knocking my words between my teeth, and then right over a quickset hedge, as if the sky were breath to her, and away for the water-meadows, while I lay on her neck like a child at the breast, and wished I had never been born.
Straight away, all in the front of the wind, and scattering clouds around her; all I knew of the speed