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The Silver Canyon A Tale of the Western Plains   By: (1831-1909)

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The Silver Canyon, A Tale of the Western Plains, by George Manville Fenn.

This book is by an author who revels in putting his heroes into tense and dangerous situations, and never more so than in the Western plains of North America in the middle of the nineteenth century. The Indians were armed with rifles, and had immense prowess at creeping up unseen upon their enemies. In addition there are rattlesnakes, bears, and other nasty things.

The young hero, Bart for short, is out there with his uncle, seeking for a new life. And they all but got the next life out of it! After enduring these and other privations, they find a massive rocky eminence, which they find to have a good lode of silver in it, one which had been mined before, perhaps thousands of years before. It is also fairly difficult to get up to the summit of this great hill, which makes it easier to defend, but when you do get up there you find a large area of good grazing for their cattle and horses. So they make their home there, but of course the Indian attacks continue right up to almost the end of the book.

Though the mine had been worked before there was still plenty of good ore in it, so they start to mine it commercially.

Eventually a railway is made up to the mine, thousands of workers settle there, and our heroes are heard bemoaning that their way of life is no longer as dangerous and thrilling as once it was. They'll just have to put up with the boredom, I'd say.




"Well, Joses," said Dr Lascelles, "if you feel afraid, you had better go back to the city."

There was a dead silence here, and the little party grouped about between a small umbrella shaped tent and the dying embers of the fire, at which a meal of savoury antelope steaks had lately been cooked, carefully avoided glancing one at the other.

Just inside the entrance of the tent, a pretty, slightly made girl of about seventeen was seated, busily plying her needle in the repair of some rents in a pair of ornamented loose leather leggings that had evidently been making acquaintance with some of the thorns of the rugged land. She was very simply dressed, and, though wearing the high comb and depending veil of a Spanish woman, her complexion, tanned is it was, and features, suggested that she was English, as did also the speech of the fine athletic middle aged man who had just been speaking.

His appearance, too, was decidedly Spanish, for he wore the short jacket with embroidered sleeves, tight trousers made very wide about the leg and ankle sash, and broad sombrero of the Mexican Spanish inhabitant of the south western regions of the great American continent.

The man addressed was a swarthy looking half breed, who lay upon the parched earth, his brow rugged, his eyes half closed, and lips pouted out in a surly, resentful way, as if he were just about to speak and say something nasty.

Three more men of a similar type were lying beside and behind, all smoking cigarettes, which from time to time they softly rolled up and lighted with a brand at the fire, as they seemed to listen to the conversation going on between the bronzed Englishman and him who had been addressed as Joses.

They were all half breeds, and boasted of their English blood, but always omitted to say anything about the Indian fluid that coursed through their veins; while they followed neither the fashion of Englishman nor Indian in costume, but, like the first speaker, were dressed as Spaniards, each also wearing a handkerchief of bright colour tied round his head and beneath his soft hat, just as if a wound had been received, with a long showy blanket depending from the shoulder, and upon which they now half lay... Continue reading book >>

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