Unktahe was eager to fight against his ancient enemies; for as the storm spirits shrieked wildly, the waters tossed above each other; the large forest trees were uptorn from their roots, and fell over into the turbid waters, where they lay powerless amid the scene of strife; and while the vivid lightning pierced the darkness, peal after peal was echoed by the neighboring hills.
The valley had also suffered the bombardment of the enemy and the returning fire from their own guns. Yet on this winter day the sun was shining brilliantly on the uptorn earth, which once had been so fair, while in a bit of broken shell not far from the road an indomitable sparrow had builded her nest.
Here and there were scattered roots recently uptorn, branches broken off, huge stones reduced to powder, as if an avalanche had rushed down this flank of the mountain. "That must be the path taken by the huge block which broke away from the Great Eyrie," commented James Bruck. "No doubt," answered Mr. Smith, "and I think we had better follow the road that it has made for us."
Thor was now entering one of his strongholds: a region which contained a thousand hiding-places, if he had wanted to hide; a wild, uptorn country where it was not difficult for him to kill big game, and where he was certain that the man-smell would not follow him.
"I'll tear down those mining shacks, float them down the river and sell them as lumber." "Yes." "And I'll stock the river with bass again." "Yes." "And I'll plant young poplars to cover the sight of every bit of uptorn earth along the mountain there. I'll bury every bottle and tin can in the Cove. I'll take away every sign of civilization, every sign of the outside world."
Trees of enormous length, sometimes still bearing their branches, and still oftener their uptorn roots entire, the victims of the frequent hurricane, come floating down the stream.
"I started, even there among the flowers, To find the tokens mute of what I fled Passions, and forces, and resistless powers, That have uptorn the world and stirred the dead. "In secret bowers of amethyst and rose, Close wrapped in fragrant golden curtains laid, Where silver lattices to morn unclose, The fairy lover clasps his flower-maid. "Ye blessed children of the jocund day!
Cautiously approaching, both men peered intently about them, but they were unable to discover any signs of either the warrior or the animal that had attacked him. When they advanced to the spot where the tree had been uptorn by the roots they found an abundance of footprints of the bear and also of the moccasined Indian, but that was all. "They both got away," said Boone at last.
Had not the ruthless tread of passion marred the earth's fair surface? Were no goodly trees uptorn, or clinging vines wrenched from their support? Alas! was there ever a storm that did not leave some ruined hope behind? ever a storm that did not strew the sea with wrecks or mar the earth's fair beauty?
With feelings akin to this admiration and awe the offspring of sublimity were the different characters with which the action of this tale must open, gazing on the scene before them. Four persons in all, two of each sex, they had managed to ascend a pile of trees, that had been uptorn by a tempest, to catch a view of the objects that surrounded them.