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HOME > Classical Novels > Vanished Arizona33 > CHAPTER IX. ACROSS THE MOGOLLONS
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 It was a fine afternoon in the latter part of September, when our small detachment, with Captain Ogilby in command, marched out of Camp Verde. There were two companies of soldiers, numbering about a hundred men in all, five or six officers, Mrs. Bailey and myself, and a couple of laundresses. I cannot say that we were gay. Mrs. Bailey had said good-bye to her father and mother and sister at Fort Whipple, and although she was an army girl, she did not seem to bear the parting very philosophically1. Her young child, nine months old, was with her, and her husband, as stalwart and handsome an officer as ever wore shoulder-straps. But we were facing unknown dangers, in a far country, away from mother, father, sister and brother—a country infested2 with roving bands of the most cruel tribe ever known, who tortured before they killed. We could not even pretend to be gay.  
The travelling was very difficult and rough, and both men and animals were worn out by night. But we were now in the mountains, the air was cool and pleasant, and the nights so cold that we were glad to have a small stove in our tents to dress by in the mornings. The scenery was wild and grand; in fact, beyond all that I had ever dreamed of; more than that, it seemed so untrod, so fresh, somehow, and I do not suppose that even now, in the day of railroads and tourists, many people have had the view of the Tonto Basin which we had one day from the top of the Mogollon range.
I remember thinking, as we alighted from our ambulances and stood looking over into the Basin, "Surely I have never seen anything to compare with this—but oh! would any sane3 human being voluntarily go through with what I have endured on this journey, in order to look upon this wonderful scene?"
The roads had now become so difficult that our wagon4-train could not move as fast as the lighter5 vehicles or the troops. Sometimes at a critical place in the road, where the ascent6 was not only dangerous, but doubtful, or there was, perhaps, a sharp turn, the ambulances waited to see the wagons7 safely over the pass. Each wagon had its six mules9; each ambulance had also its quota10 of six.
At the foot of one of these steep places, the wagons would halt, the teamsters would inspect the road, and calculate the possibilities of reaching the top; then, furiously cracking their whips, and pouring forth11 volley upon volley of oaths, they would start the team. Each mule8 got its share of dreadful curses. I had never heard or conceived of any oaths like those. They made my blood fairly curdle13, and I am not speaking figuratively. The shivers ran up and down my back, and I half expected to see those teamsters struck down by the hand of the Almighty14.
For although the anathemas16 hurled17 at my innocent head, during the impressionable years of girlhood, by the pale and determined18 Congregational ministers with gold-bowed spectacles, who held forth in the meeting-house of my maternal19 ancestry20 (all honor to their sincerity), had taken little hold upon my mind, still, the vital drop of the Puritan was in my blood, and the fear of a personal God and His wrath21 still existed, away back in the hidden recesses22 of my heart.
This swearing and lashing23 went on until the heavily-loaded prairie-schooner, swaying, swinging, and swerving24 to the edge of the cut, and back again to the perpendicular25 wall of the mountain, would finally reach the top, and pass on around the bend; then another would do the same. Each teamster had his own particular variety of oaths, each mule had a feminine name, and this brought the swearing down to a sort of personal basis. I remonstrated26 with Jack27, but he said: teamsters always swore; "the mules wouldn't even stir to go up a hill, if they weren't sworn at like that."
By the time we had crossed the great Mogollon mesa, I had become accustomed to those dreadful oaths, and learned to admire the skill, persistency28 and endurance shown by those rough teamsters. I actually got so far as to believe what Jack had told me about the swearing being necessary, for I saw impossible feats29 performed by the combination.
When near camp, and over the difficult places, we drove on ahead and waited for the wagons to come in. It was sometimes late evening before tents could be pitched and supper cooked. And oh! to see the poor jaded30 animals when the wagons reached camp! I could forget my own discomfort31 and even hunger, when I looked at their sad faces.
One night the teamsters reported that a six-mule team had rolled down the steep side of a mountain. I did not ask what became of the poor faithful mules; I do not know, to this day. In my pity and real distress32 over the fate of these patient brutes33, I forgot to inquire what boxes were on the unfortunate wagon.
We began to have some shooting.
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