After crossing the stream
Vronsky had complete control of his mare, and began holding her in, intending to cross the great barrier behind Mahotin, and to try to overtake him in the clear ground of about five hundred yards that followed it.
From this great treasury of waters issue forth limpid streams, which, augmenting as they descend, become main tributaries of the Missouri on the one side, and the Columbia on the other; and give rise to the Seeds-ke-dee Agie, or Green River, the great Colorado of the West, that empties its current into the Gulf of California.
The sight of these fish was hailed with pleasure, as a sign that they had reached the waters which flow into the Pacific; for it is only on the western streams of the Rocky Mountains that trout are to be taken.
In some places it produces a salt weed, and grass along the margins of the streams; but the wider expanses of it are desolate and barren.
Between these are deep valleys, with small streams winding through them, which find their way into the lower plains, augmenting as they proceed, and ultimately discharging themselves into those vast rivers, which traverse the prairies like great arteries, and drain the continent.
There they will see the happy hunting-grounds, with the souls of the brave and good living in tents in green meadows, by bright running streams, or hunting the herds of buffalo, and elk, and deer, which have been slain on earth.
Sometimes his ears moved when the stream awoke and whispered; but they moved lazily, with, foreknowledge that it was merely the stream grown garrulous at discovery that it had slept.
His eyes could not pierce the green screen through which the stream rippled away, but to his ears came the voice of a man.
He crossed the stream below the pool, stepping agilely from stone to stone.
At last the pan seemed empty of everything but water; but with a quick semicircular flirt that sent the water flying over the shallow rim into the stream, he disclosed a layer of black sand on the bottom of the pan.
He moved down the stream a few steps and took a second panful of dirt.
Again came the careful washing, the jealous herding of the golden specks, and the wantonness with which he sent them flying into the stream when he had counted their number.
He could not forbear another survey of the hill before filling the pan farther down the stream. His golden herds diminished.
Returning to where he had started operations, he began to pan up the stream. At first his golden herds increased--increased prodigiously.
Pan by pan, he went up the stream, the tally of results steadily decreasing.