Sybil Chase: The Valley Ranche by Ann Sophia Stephens

Sybil Chase: The Valley Ranche

byAnn Sophia Stephens

Kobo ebook | November 12, 2014

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A small valley cutting through a range of mountains in California—a green oasis that looked strange and picturesque in the midst of that savage scenery. The cliffs rose in a solid wall on one side to the height of many hundred feet. Dwarfed fir-trees and dead cedars were scattered along the summit, stretching up their gaunt limbs and adding to the lonely grandeur of the scene. Great masses of broken rocks, which, in some conflict of the elements, had been wrenched from their bed, projected from the rifted precipices and lay in great moss-covered boulders in the lap of the valley. On the southeastern side a break in the heart of the cliffs was covered with thrifty verdure, and, over the rocks that obstructed it, a mountain torrent rushed thundering into the valley, dividing that cradle of verdure in the middle, and abruptly disappearing through another gorge, breaking to the open country somewhat lower down, where it plunged over a second precipice with the sound of distant artillery.
Just above the spot where this mountain stream cut the valley in twain, a collection of huts, tents and rickety frame houses composed one of those new villages that are so often found in a frontier country, and half a mile above stood a small ranche, with its long, low-roofed dwelling half buried in heavy vines that clambered up the rude cedar pillars of the veranda, and crept in leafy masses along the roof. Beyond this, great oaks sheltered the dwelling, and the precipice that loomed behind it was broken with rifts of verdure, which saved this portion of the valley from the savage aspect of the mountains lower down.
The sunset was streaming over this picturesque spot; great masses of gorgeous clouds, piled up in the west, were casting their glory down the valley, turning the waters to gold, and, flashing against the metallic sides of the mountains, changed them into rifts and ledges of solid gems.
Standing upon the rustic veranda, and looking down over the beautiful valley dotted with tents and picturesque cabins, the waters singing pleasantly, the evening wind fluttering the greenness of the trees, that mountain pass appeared so tranquil and quiet, a stranger could hardly have believed the repose only an occasional thing. In truth, it is the heavenly aspect of the valley that I have given you, and that was truly beautiful.
Only a few miles off, still higher up among the rugged mountains, the "gold diggings" commenced, and from this point, every Saturday night of that beautiful summer, came down crowds of wild, reckless men with their bowie-knives, revolvers, and the gold-dust which soon changed hands either at the liquor-bar, set up in some log-cabin, or the gambling-table, established in an opposite shanty.


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Title:Sybil Chase: The Valley RancheFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:November 12, 2014Publisher:New-York and London: BEADLE AND COMPANYLanguage:English

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