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Four Horses and a Sailor

Short Stories

A Curious Fragment

A Day's lodging

A Nose for the king

A Piece of Steak

A Wicked Woman

All Gold Canyon

Brown Wolf

Created He Them

Four Horses and a Sailor

Just Meat

Love of life

Make Westing

Nam-Bok the Unveracious

Negore, the coward

Nothing That Ever Came to Anything

Semper Idem

Small-Boat Sailing

That Dead Men Rise Up Never

That spot

The "Francis Spaight"

The Apostate

The Chinago

The Heathen

The Hobo and the Fairy

The Human Drift

The story of Keesh

The Sun-Dog Trail

The Unexpected

The white man's way


When God Laughs

Yellow Handkerchief

"Huh! Drive four horses! I wouldn't sit behind you--not for a
thousand dollars--over them mountain roads."

So said Henry, and he ought to have known, for he drives four
horses himself.

Said another Glen Ellen friend: "What? London? He drive four
horses? Can't drive one!"

And the best of it is that he was right. Even after managing to
get a few hundred miles with my four horses, I don't know how to
drive one. Just the other day, swinging down a steep mountain
road and rounding an abrupt turn, I came full tilt on a horse and
buggy being driven by a woman up the hill. We could not pass on
the narrow road, where was only a foot to spare, and my horses did
not know how to back, especially up-hill. About two hundred yards
down the hill was a spot where we could pass. The driver of the
buggy said she didn't dare back down because she was not sure of
the brake. And as I didn't know how to tackle one horse, I didn't
try it. So we unhitched her horse and backed down by hand. Which
was very well, till it came to hitching the horse to the buggy
again. She didn't know how. I didn't either, and I had depended
on her knowledge. It took us about half an hour, with frequent
debates and consultations, though it is an absolute certainty that
never in its life was that horse hitched in that particular way.

No; I can't harness up one horse. But I can four, which compels
me to back up again to get to my beginning. Having selected
Sonoma Valley for our abiding place, Charmian and I decided it was
about time we knew what we had in our own county and the
neighbouring ones. How to do it, was the first question. Among
our many weaknesses is the one of being old-fashioned. We don't
mix with gasolene very well. And, as true sailors should, we
naturally gravitate toward horses. Being one of those lucky
individuals who carries his office under his hat, I should have to
take a typewriter and a load of books along. This put saddle-
horses out of the running. Charmian suggested driving a span.
She had faith in me; besides, she could drive a span herself. But
when I thought of the many mountains to cross, and of crossing
them for three months with a poor tired span, I vetoed the
proposition and said we'd have to come back to gasolene after all.
This she vetoed just as emphatically, and a deadlock obtained
until I received inspiration.

"Why not drive four horses?" I said.

"But you don't know how to drive four horses," was her objection.

I threw my chest out and my shoulders back. "What man has done, I
can do," I proclaimed grandly. "And please don't forget that when
we sailed on the Snark I knew nothing of navigation, and that I
taught myself as I sailed."

"Very well," she said. (And there's faith for you! ) "They shall
be four saddle horses, and we'll strap our saddles on behind the

It was my turn to object. "Our saddle horses are not broken to

"Then break them."

And what I knew about horses, much less about breaking them, was
just about as much as any sailor knows. Having been kicked,
bucked off, fallen over backward upon, and thrown out and run
over, on very numerous occasions, I had a mighty vigorous respect
for horses; but a wife's faith must be lived up to, and I went at

King was a polo pony from St. Louis, and Prince a many-gaited
love-horse from Pasadena. The hardest thing was to get them to
dig in and pull. They rollicked along on the levels and galloped
down the hills, but when they struck an up-grade and felt the
weight of the breaking-cart, they stopped and turned around and
looked at me. But I passed them, and my troubles began. Milda
was fourteen years old, an unadulterated broncho, and in
temperament was a combination of mule and jack-rabbit blended
equally. If you pressed your hand on her flank and told her to
get over, she lay down on you. If you got her by the head and
told her to back, she walked forward over you. And if you got
behind her and shoved and told her to "Giddap!" she sat down on
you. Also, she wouldn't walk. For endless weary miles I strove
with her, but never could I get her to walk a step. Finally, she
was a manger-glutton. No matter how near or far from the stable,
when six o'clock came around she bolted for home and never missed
the directest cross-road. Many times I rejected her.

The fourth and most rejected horse of all was the Outlaw. From
the age of three to seven she had defied all horse-breakers and
broken a number of them. Then a long, lanky cowboy, with a fifty-
pound saddle and a Mexican bit had got her proud goat. I was the
next owner. She was my favourite riding horse. Charmian said I'd
have to put her in as a wheeler where I would have more control
over her. Now Charmian had a favourite riding mare called Maid.
I suggested Maid as a substitute. Charmian pointed out that my
mare was a branded range horse, while hers was a near-
thoroughbred, and that the legs of her mare would be ruined
forever if she were driven for three months. I acknowledged her
mare's thoroughbredness, and at the same time defied her to find
any thoroughbred with as small and delicately-viciously pointed
ears as my Outlaw. She indicated Maid's exquisitely thin
shinbone. I measured the Outlaw's. It was equally thin,
although, I insinuated, possibly more durable. This stabbed
Charmian's pride. Of course her near-thoroughbred Maid, carrying
the blood of "old" Lexington, Morella, and a streak of the super-
enduring Morgan, could run, walk, and work my unregistered Outlaw
into the ground; and that was the very precise reason why such a
paragon of a saddle animal should not be degraded by harness.

So it was that Charmian remained obdurate, until, one day, I got
her behind the Outlaw for a forty-mile drive. For every inch of
those forty miles the Outlaw kicked and jumped, in between the
kicks and jumps finding time and space in which to seize its team-
mate by the back of the neck and attempt to drag it to the ground.
Another trick the Outlaw developed during that drive was suddenly
to turn at right angles in the traces and endeavour to butt its
team-mate over the grade. Reluctantly and nobly did Charmian give
in and consent to the use of Maid. The Outlaw's shoes were pulled
off, and she was turned out on range.

Finally, the four horses were hooked to the rig--a light
Studebaker trap. With two hours and a half of practice, in which
the excitement was not abated by several jack-poles and numerous
kicking matches, I announced myself as ready for the start. Came
the morning, and Prince, who was to have been a wheeler with Maid,
showed up with a badly kicked shoulder. He did not exactly show
up; we had to find him, for he was unable to walk. His leg
swelled and continually swelled during the several days we waited
for him. Remained only the Outlaw. In from pasture she came,
shoes were nailed on, and she was harnessed into the wheel.
Friends and relatives strove to press accident policies on me, but
Charmian climbed up alongside, and Nakata got into the rear seat
with the typewriter--Nakata, who sailed cabin-boy on the Snark for
two years and who had shown himself afraid of nothing, not even of
me and my amateur jamborees in experimenting with new modes of
locomotion. And we did very nicely, thank you, especially after
the first hour or so, during which time the Outlaw had kicked
about fifty various times, chiefly to the damage of her own legs
and the paintwork, and after she had bitten a couple of hundred
times, to the damage of Maid's neck and Charmian's temper. It was
hard enough to have her favourite mare in the harness without also
enduring the spectacle of its being eaten alive.

Our leaders were joys. King being a polo pony and Milda a rabbit,
they rounded curves beautifully and darted ahead like coyotes out
of the way of the wheelers. Milda's besetting weakness was a
frantic desire not to have the lead-bar strike her hocks. When
this happened, one of three things occurred: either she sat down
on the lead-bar, kicked it up in the air until she got her back
under it, or exploded in a straight-ahead, harness-disrupting
jump. Not until she carried the lead-bar clean away and danced a
break-down on it and the traces, did she behave decently. Nakata
and I made the repairs with good old-fashioned bale-rope, which is
stronger than wrought-iron any time, and we went on our way.

In the meantime I was learning--I shall not say to tool a four-in-
hand--but just simply to drive four horses. Now it is all right
enough to begin with four work-horses pulling a load of several
tons. But to begin with four light horses, all running, and a
light rig that seems to outrun them--well, when things happen they
happen quickly. My weakness was total ignorance. In particular,
my fingers lacked training, and I made the mistake of depending on
my eyes to handle the reins. This brought me up against a
disastrous optical illusion. The bight of the off head-line,
being longer and heavier than that of the off wheel-line, hung
lower. In a moment requiring quick action, I invariably mistook
the two lines. Pulling on what I thought was the wheel-line, in
order to straighten the team, I would see the leaders swing
abruptly around into a jack-pole. Now for sensations of sheer
impotence, nothing can compare with a jack-pole, when the
horrified driver beholds his leaders prancing gaily up the road
and his wheelers jogging steadily down the road, all at the same
time and all harnessed together and to the same rig.

I no longer jack-pole, and I don't mind admitting how I got out of
the habit. It was my eyes that enslaved my fingers into ill
practices. So I shut my eyes and let the fingers go it alone.
To-day my fingers are independent of my eyes and work
automatically. I do not see what my fingers do. They just do it.
All I see is the satisfactory result.

Still we managed to get over the ground that first day--down sunny
Sonoma Valley to the old town of Sonoma, founded by General
Vallejo as the remotest outpost on the northern frontier for the
purpose of holding back the Gentiles, as the wild Indians of those
days were called. Here history was made. Here the last Spanish
mission was reared; here the Bear flag was raised; and here Kit
Carson, and Fremont, and all our early adventurers came and rested
in the days before the days of gold.

We swung on over the low, rolling hills, through miles of dairy
farms and chicken ranches where every blessed hen is white, and
down the slopes to Petaluma Valley. Here, in 1776, Captain Quiros
came up Petaluma Creek from San Pablo Bay in quest of an outlet to
Bodega Bay on the coast. And here, later, the Russians, with
Alaskan hunters, carried skin boats across from Fort Ross to poach
for sea-otters on the Spanish preserve of San Francisco Bay.
Here, too, still later, General Vallejo built a fort, which still
stands--one of the finest examples of Spanish adobe that remain to
us. And here, at the old fort, to bring the chronicle up to date,
our horses proceeded to make peculiarly personal history with
astonishing success and dispatch. King, our peerless, polo-pony
leader, went lame. So hopelessly lame did he go that no expert,
then and afterward, could determine whether the lameness was in
his frogs, hoofs, legs, shoulders, or head. Maid picked up a nail
and began to limp. Milda, figuring the day already sufficiently
spent and maniacal with manger-gluttony, began to rabbit-jump.
All that held her was the bale-rope. And the Outlaw, game to the
last, exceeded all previous exhibitions of skin-removing, paint-
marring, and horse-eating.

At Petaluma we rested over while King was returned to the ranch
and Prince sent to us. Now Prince had proved himself an excellent
wheeler, yet he had to go into the lead and let the Outlaw retain
his old place. There is an axiom that a good wheeler is a poor
leader. I object to the last adjective. A good wheeler makes an
infinitely worse kind of a leader than that. I know . . . now. I
ought to know. Since that day I have driven Prince a few hundred
miles in the lead. He is neither any better nor any worse than
the first mile he ran in the lead; and his worst is even extremely
worse than what you are thinking. Not that he is vicious. He is
merely a good-natured rogue who shakes hands for sugar, steps on
your toes out of sheer excessive friendliness, and just goes on
loving you in your harshest moments.

But he won't get out of the way. Also, whenever he is reproved
for being in the wrong, he accuses Milda of it and bites the back
of her neck. So bad has this become that whenever I yell
"Prince!" in a loud voice, Milda immediately rabbit-jumps to the
side, straight ahead, or sits down on the lead-bar. All of which
is quite disconcerting. Picture it yourself. You are swinging
round a sharp, down-grade, mountain curve, at a fast trot. The
rock wall is the outside of the curve. The inside of the curve is
a precipice. The continuance of the curve is a narrow, unrailed
bridge. You hit the curve, throwing the leaders in against the
wall and making the polo-horse do the work. All is lovely. The
leaders are hugging the wall like nestling doves. But the moment
comes in the evolution when the leaders must shoot out ahead.
They really must shoot, or else they'll hit the wall and miss the
bridge. Also, behind them are the wheelers, and the rig, and you
have just eased the brake in order to put sufficient snap into the
manoeuvre. If ever team-work is required, now is the time. Milda
tries to shoot. She does her best, but Prince, bubbling over with
roguishness, lags behind. He knows the trick. Milda is half a
length ahead of him. He times it to the fraction of a second.
Maid, in the wheel, over-running him, naturally bites him. This
disturbs the Outlaw, who has been behaving beautifully, and she
immediately reaches across for Maid. Simultaneously, with a fine
display of firm conviction that it's all Milda's fault, Prince
sinks his teeth into the back of Milda's defenceless neck. The
whole thing has occurred in less than a second. Under the
surprise and pain of the bite, Milda either jumps ahead to the
imminent peril of harness and lead-bar, or smashes into the wall,
stops short with the lead-bar over her back, and emits a couple of
hysterical kicks. The Outlaw invariably selects this moment to
remove paint. And after things are untangled and you have had
time to appreciate the close shave, you go up to Prince and
reprove him with your choicest vocabulary. And Prince, gazelle-
eyed and tender, offers to shake hands with you for sugar. I
leave it to any one: a boat would never act that way.

We have some history north of the Bay. Nearly three centuries and
a half ago, that doughty pirate and explorer, Sir Francis Drake,
combing the Pacific for Spanish galleons, anchored in the bight
formed by Point Reyes, on which to-day is one of the richest dairy
regions in the world. Here, less than two decades after Drake,
Sebastien Carmenon piled up on the rocks with a silk-laden galleon
from the Philippines. And in this same bay of Drake, long
afterward, the Russian fur-poachers rendezvous'd their bidarkas
and stole in through the Golden Gate to the forbidden waters of
San Francisco Bay.

Farther up the coast, in Sonoma County, we pilgrimaged to the
sites of the Russian settlements. At Bodega Bay, south of what
to-day is called Russian River, was their anchorage, while north
of the river they built their fort. And much of Fort Ross still
stands. Log-bastions, church, and stables hold their own, and so
well, with rusty hinges creaking, that we warmed ourselves at the
hundred-years-old double fireplace and slept under the hand-hewn
roof beams still held together by spikes of hand-wrought iron.

We went to see where history had been made, and we saw scenery as
well. One of our stretches in a day's drive was from beautiful
Inverness on Tomales Bay, down the Olema Valley to Bolinas Bay,
along the eastern shore of that body of water to Willow Camp, and
up over the sea-bluffs, around the bastions of Tamalpais, and down
to Sausalito. From the head of Bolinas Bay to Willow Camp the
drive on the edge of the beach, and actually, for half-mile
stretches, in the waters of the bay itself, was a delightful
experience. The wonderful part was to come. Very few San
Franciscans, much less Californians, know of that drive from
Willow Camp, to the south and east, along the poppy-blown cliffs,
with the sea thundering in the sheer depths hundreds of feet below
and the Golden Gate opening up ahead, disclosing smoky San
Francisco on her many hills. Far off, blurred on the breast of
the sea, can be seen the Farallones, which Sir Francis Drake
passed on a S. W. course in the thick of what he describes as a
"stynking fog." Well might he call it that, and a few other
names, for it was the fog that robbed him of the glory of
discovering San Francisco Bay.

It was on this part of the drive that I decided at last I was
learning real mountain-driving. To confess the truth, for
delicious titillation of one's nerve, I have since driven over no
mountain road that was worse, or better, rather, than that piece.

And then the contrast! From Sausalito, over excellent, park-like
boulevards, through the splendid redwoods and homes of Mill
Valley, across the blossomed hills of Marin County, along the
knoll-studded picturesque marshes, past San Rafael resting warmly
among her hills, over the divide and up the Petaluma Valley, and
on to the grassy feet of Sonoma Mountain and home. We covered
fifty-five miles that day. Not so bad, eh, for Prince the Rogue,
the paint-removing Outlaw, the thin-shanked thoroughbred, and the
rabbit-jumper? And they came in cool and dry, ready for their
mangers and the straw.

Oh, we didn't stop. We considered we were just starting, and that
was many weeks ago. We have kept on going over six counties which
are comfortably large, even for California, and we are still
going. We have twisted and tabled, criss-crossed our tracks, made
fascinating and lengthy dives into the interior valleys in the
hearts of Napa and Lake Counties, travelled the coast for hundreds
of miles on end, and are now in Eureka, on Humboldt Bay, which was
discovered by accident by the gold-seekers, who were trying to
find their way to and from the Trinity diggings. Even here, the
white man's history preceded them, for dim tradition says that the
Russians once anchored here and hunted sea-otter before the first
Yankee trader rounded the Horn, or the first Rocky Mountain
trapper thirsted across the "Great American Desert" and trickled
down the snowy Sierras to the sun-kissed land. No; we are not
resting our horses here on Humboldt Bay. We are writing this
article, gorging on abalones and mussels, digging clams, and
catching record-breaking sea-trout and rock-cod in the intervals
in which we are not sailing, motor-boating, and swimming in the
most temperately equable climate we have ever experienced.

These comfortably large counties! They are veritable empires.
Take Humboldt, for instance. It is three times as large as Rhode
Island, one and a half times as large as Delaware, almost as large
as Connecticut, and half as large as Massachusetts. The pioneer
has done his work in this north of the bay region, the foundations
are laid, and all is ready for the inevitable inrush of population
and adequate development of resources which so far have been no
more than skimmed, and casually and carelessly skimmed at that.
This region of the six counties alone will some day support a
population of millions. In the meanwhile, O you home-seekers, you
wealth-seekers, and, above all, you climate-seekers, now is the
time to get in on the ground floor.

Robert Ingersoll once said that the genial climate of California
would in a fairly brief time evolve a race resembling the
Mexicans, and that in two or three generations the Californians
would be seen of a Sunday morning on their way to a cockfight with
a rooster under each arm. Never was made a rasher generalisation,
based on so absolute an ignorance of facts. It is to laugh. Here
is a climate that breeds vigour, with just sufficient geniality to
prevent the expenditure of most of that vigour in fighting the
elements. Here is a climate where a man can work three hundred
and sixty-five days in the year without the slightest hint of
enervation, and where for three hundred and sixty-five nights he
must perforce sleep under blankets. What more can one say? I
consider myself somewhat of climate expert, having adventured
among most of the climates of five out of the six zones. I have
not yet been in the Antarctic, but whatever climate obtains there
will not deter me from drawing the conclusion that nowhere is
there a climate to compare with that of this region. Maybe I am
as wrong as Ingersoll was. Nevertheless I take my medicine by
continuing to live in this climate. Also, it is the only medicine
I ever take.

But to return to the horses. There is some improvement. Milda
has actually learned to walk. Maid has proved her
thoroughbredness by never tiring on the longest days, and, while
being the strongest and highest spirited of all, by never causing
any trouble save for an occasional kick at the Outlaw. And the
Outlaw rarely gallops, no longer butts, only periodically kicks,
comes in to the pole and does her work without attempting to
vivisect Maid's medulla oblongata, and--marvel of marvels--is
really and truly getting lazy. But Prince remains the same
incorrigible, loving and lovable rogue he has always been.

And the country we've been over! The drives through Napa and Lake
Counties! One, from Sonoma Valley, via Santa Rosa, we could not
refrain from taking several ways, and on all the ways we found the
roads excellent for machines as well as horses. One route, and a
more delightful one for an automobile cannot be found, is out from
Santa Rosa, past old Altruria and Mark West Springs, then to the
right and across to Calistoga in Napa Valley. By keeping to the
left, the drive holds on up the Russian River Valley, through the
miles of the noted Asti Vineyards to Cloverdale, and then by way
of Pieta, Witter, and Highland Springs to Lakeport. Still another
way we took, was down Sonoma Valley, skirting San Pablo Bay, and
up the lovely Napa Valley. From Napa were side excursions through
Pope and Berryessa Valleys, on to AEtna Springs, and still on,
into Lake County, crossing the famous Langtry Ranch.

Continuing up the Napa Valley, walled on either hand by great rock
palisades and redwood forests and carpeted with endless vineyards,
and crossing the many stone bridges for which the County is noted
and which are a joy to the beauty-loving eyes as well as to the
four-horse tyro driver, past Calistoga with its old mud-baths and
chicken-soup springs, with St. Helena and its giant saddle ever
towering before us, we climbed the mountains on a good grade and
dropped down past the quicksilver mines to the canyon of the
Geysers. After a stop over night and an exploration of the
miniature-grand volcanic scene, we pulled on across the canyon and
took the grade where the cicadas simmered audibly in the noon
sunshine among the hillside manzanitas. Then, higher, came the
big cattle-dotted upland pastures, and the rocky summit. And here
on the summit, abruptly, we caught a vision, or what seemed a
mirage. The ocean we had left long days before, yet far down and
away shimmered a blue sea, framed on the farther shore by rugged
mountains, on the near shore by fat and rolling farm lands. Clear
Lake was before us, and like proper sailors we returned to our
sea, going for a sail, a fish, and a swim ere the day was done and
turning into tired Lakeport blankets in the early evening. Well
has Lake County been called the Walled-in County. But the
railroad is coming. They say the approach we made to Clear Lake
is similar to the approach to Lake Lucerne. Be that as it may,
the scenery, with its distant snow-capped peaks, can well be
called Alpine.

And what can be more exquisite than the drive out from Clear Lake
to Ukiah by way of the Blue Lakes chain!--every turn bringing into
view a picture of breathless beauty; every glance backward
revealing some perfect composition in line and colour, the intense
blue of the water margined with splendid oaks, green fields, and
swaths of orange poppies. But those side glances and backward
glances were provocative of trouble. Charmian and I disagreed as
to which way the connecting stream of water ran. We still
disagree, for at the hotel, where we submitted the affair to
arbitration, the hotel manager and the clerk likewise disagreed.
I assume, now, that we never will know which way that stream runs.
Charmian suggests "both ways." I refuse such a compromise. No
stream of water I ever saw could accomplish that feat at one and
the same time. The greatest concession I can make is that
sometimes it may run one way and sometimes the other, and that in
the meantime we should both consult an oculist.

More valley from Ukiah to Willits, and then we turned westward
through the virgin Sherwood Forest of magnificent redwood,
stopping at Alpine for the night and continuing on through
Mendocino County to Fort Bragg and "salt water." We also came to
Fort Bragg up the coast from Fort Ross, keeping our coast journey
intact from the Golden Gate. The coast weather was cool and
delightful, the coast driving superb. Especially in the Fort Ross
section did we find the roads thrilling, while all the way along
we followed the sea. At every stream, the road skirted dizzy
cliff-edges, dived down into lush growths of forest and ferns and
climbed out along the cliff-edges again. The way was lined with
flowers--wild lilac, wild roses, poppies, and lupins. Such
lupins!--giant clumps of them, of every lupin-shade and -colour.
And it was along the Mendocino roads that Charmian caused many
delays by insisting on getting out to pick the wild blackberries,
strawberries, and thimble-berries which grew so profusely. And
ever we caught peeps, far down, of steam schooners loading lumber
in the rocky coves; ever we skirted the cliffs, day after day,
crossing stretches of rolling farm lands and passing through
thriving villages and saw-mill towns. Memorable was our launch-
trip from Mendocino City up Big River, where the steering gears of
the launches work the reverse of anywhere else in the world; where
we saw a stream of logs, of six to twelve and fifteen feet in
diameter, which filled the river bed for miles to the obliteration
of any sign of water; and where we were told of a white or albino
redwood tree. We did not see this last, so cannot vouch for it.

All the streams were filled with trout, and more than once we saw
the side-hill salmon on the slopes. No, side-hill salmon is not a
peripatetic fish; it is a deer out of season. But the trout! At
Gualala Charmian caught her first one. Once before in my life I
had caught two . . . on angleworms. On occasion I had tried fly
and spinner and never got a strike, and I had come to believe that
all this talk of fly-fishing was just so much nature-faking. But
on the Gualala River I caught trout--a lot of them--on fly and
spinners; and I was beginning to feel quite an expert, until
Nakata, fishing on bottom with a pellet of bread for bait, caught
the biggest trout of all. I now affirm there is nothing in
science nor in art. Nevertheless, since that day poles and
baskets have been added to our baggage, we tackle every stream we
come to, and we no longer are able to remember the grand total of
our catch.

At Usal, many hilly and picturesque miles north of Fort Bragg, we
turned again into the interior of Mendocino, crossing the ranges
and coming out in Humboldt County on the south fork of Eel River
at Garberville. Throughout the trip, from Marin County north, we
had been warned of "bad roads ahead." Yet we never found those
bad roads. We seemed always to be just ahead of them or behind
them. The farther we came the better the roads seemed, though
this was probably due to the fact that we were learning more and
more what four horses and a light rig could do on a road. And
thus do I save my face with all the counties. I refuse to make
invidious road comparisons. I can add that while, save in rare
instances on steep pitches, I have trotted my horses down all the
grades, I have never had one horse fall down nor have I had to
send the rig to a blacksmith shop for repairs.

Also, I am learning to throw leather. If any tyro thinks it is
easy to take a short-handled, long-lashed whip, and throw the end
of that lash just where he wants it, let him put on automobile
goggles and try it. On reconsideration, I would suggest the
substitution of a wire fencing-mask for the goggles. For days I
looked at that whip. It fascinated me, and the fascination was
composed mostly of fear. At my first attempt, Charmian and Nakata
became afflicted with the same sort of fascination, and for a long
time afterward, whenever they saw me reach for the whip, they
closed their eyes and shielded their heads with their arms.

Here's the problem. Instead of pulling honestly, Prince is
lagging back and manoeuvring for a bite at Milda's neck. I have
four reins in my hands. I must put these four reins into my left
hand, properly gather the whip handle and the bight of the lash in
my right hand, and throw that lash past Maid without striking her
and into Prince. If the lash strikes Maid, her thoroughbredness
will go up in the air, and I'll have a case of horse hysteria on
my hands for the next half hour. But follow. The whole problem
is not yet stated. Suppose that I miss Maid and reach the
intended target. The instant the lash cracks, the four horses
jump, Prince most of all, and his jump, with spread wicked teeth,
is for the back of Milda's neck. She jumps to escape--which is
her second jump, for the first one came when the lash exploded.
The Outlaw reaches for Maid's neck, and Maid, who has already
jumped and tried to bolt, tries to bolt harder. And all this
infinitesimal fraction of time I am trying to hold the four
animals with my left hand, while my whip-lash, writhing through
the air, is coming back to me. Three simultaneous things I must
do: keep hold of the four reins with my left hand; slam on the
brake with my foot; and on the rebound catch that flying lash in
the hollow of my right arm and get the bight of it safely into my
right hand. Then I must get two of the four lines back into my
right hand and keep the horses from running away or going over the
grade. Try it some time. You will find life anything but
wearisome. Why, the first time I hit the mark and made the lash
go off like a revolver shot, I was so astounded and delighted that
I was paralysed. I forgot to do any of the multitudinous other
things, tangled the whip lash in Maid's harness, and was forced to
call upon Charmian for assistance. And now, confession. I carry
a few pebbles handy. They're great for reaching Prince in a tight
place. But just the same I'm learning that whip every day, and
before I get home I hope to discard the pebbles. And as long as I
rely on pebbles, I cannot truthfully speak of myself as "tooling a

From Garberville, where we ate eel to repletion and got acquainted
with the aborigines, we drove down the Eel River Valley for two
days through the most unthinkably glorious body of redwood timber
to be seen anywhere in California. From Dyerville on to Eureka,
we caught glimpses of railroad construction and of great concrete
bridges in the course of building, which advertised that at least
Humboldt County was going to be linked to the rest of the world.

We still consider our trip is just begun. As soon as this is
mailed from Eureka, it's heigh ho! for the horses and pull on. We
shall continue up the coast, turn in for Hoopa Reservation and the
gold mines, and shoot down the Trinity and Klamath rivers in
Indian canoes to Requa. After that, we shall go on through Del
Norte County and into Oregon. The trip so far has justified us in
taking the attitude that we won't go home until the winter rains
drive us in. And, finally, I am going to try the experiment of
putting the Outlaw in the lead and relegating Prince to his old
position in the near wheel. I won't need any pebbles then.

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