They therefore took with them rations for twenty-eight days. But their progress was far more slow and toilsome than they had anticipated. Dense forests were to be threaded, where it was necessary for them to cut their way through almost tropical entanglement of vegetation. Deep and broad marshes were to be waded, where the horses sank almost to their saddle-girths.

Shefford loosened the saddle-girths on Nack-yal and, leaving him to graze, went toward the hogan of Hosteen Doetin. A blanket was hung across the door. Shefford heard a low chanting. He waited beside the door till the covering was pulled in, then he entered. Hosteen Doetin met him, clasped his hand.

These were built of black marble; and the iron gate was barred and bolted, and none who went in had ever yet come out. Hermod called loudly to the porter to open the gate and let him in; but no one seemed to hear nor heed him, for the words of the living are unknown in that place. Then he drew the saddle-girths more tightly around the horse Sleipner, and urged him forward.

Dick's lips were closed tight, and he did not look at me. Evidently he did not intend to actually put me aboard a train, and the time for parting had come. He watered his horses at the trough, and fussed over his pack and fumbled with his saddle-girths. It looked to me as though he had not the courage to say goodby. "Ken, it didn't look so bad so mean till now," he said.

Neither of them said anything to this, but went on buckling up their saddle-girths. "Which way are you going?" Wild asked, as they were ready to mount their horses. "Right out that way," was the reply, and the speaker pointed toward the pass. "What! You are not afraid of being held up in Forbidden Pass, then?" "No. I reckon that's all rot what's said about that.

For a while, in the night and the black water that was deep as to his saddle-girths, he wrought with his staff like a smith at his stithy, and great was the sound of oaths and blows. With that the ambuscade was burst, and he rode for home with a pistol-ball in him, three knife wounds, the loss of his front teeth, a broken rib and bridle, and a dying horse.

Returning to the lieutenant, they entered the wood, and moved a little way among the trees, so as to be out of sight if the fog lifted suddenly. Then they loosened the saddle-girths, gathered some sticks and lit a fire, and using the Cossack coats for rugs, began to discuss the meal they had brought with them.

"This," one of our American consuls said, "is the language of Canaan now;" and it is one of the least melodious of earth. We lunched on the dry grass in the sun in full sight of Tabor, on the remnants of what the good missionary at Nablous had given us, and, tightening our saddle-girths, we began the ascent of the mountain.

Knowing the Indians would be up in a few minutes, I cut the saddle-girths with my knife, that the horse might be freer in his movements, and then, bidding him lie still, I took my pistols and burrowed into the snow beside him. After I had dug down a little way, I struck off in the drift, and worked myself along it toward the valley.

The trail widened and leveled; they all came up abreast, with the pack-horses strung out behind, and sat looking across the valley to the adobe walls of the town that perched on the opposite ridge. After a while, riders began dismounting and checking and tightening saddle-girths; a couple of Caleras helped Ganadara and Atarazola inspect their pack-horses.