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gem dua ngua

Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-06-15 20:01:03
Typefacelarge in Small

gem dua ngua

“It’s a landslide sure enough!” yelled Jerry. Tinny, quickly recognizing the extent of the slide and calculating its probable direction, cried: “Get the horses over this way. And grab what stuff you can. Get back of that line of rocks. I think they’ll keep the slide off!” He pointed to a ridge of bare rock which extended up and down the mountain side. Like a jetty, or breakwater, it might fend off the landslide. “Ned and I will take the horses!” cried Jerry. “You save what grub you can, Bob!” This was giving the stout lad an occupation[181] nearest to his heart, but there was no joking in their thoughts at this moment. “I’ll save our camp stuff!” shouted Tinny, making a jump toward some rolls of bedding and tarpaulins on which they expected to sleep at night, for they carried no tents. Action was scarcely less quick than the words, and though there was a little trouble in releasing the horses and getting them to a place of comparative safety, it was accomplished. All this while the landslide was advancing nearer and nearer, and with increased force and volume. Back of the first line of rocks, bushes, and dirt was a great mass of earth, immense boulders, great trees, and a quantity of gravel and smaller stones. This was sweeping everything before it, breaking off giants of the forest with trunks three feet in diameter as if they were the long stems of churchwarden pipes. THE LANDSLIDE WAS ADVANCING NEARER AND NEARER. For a few seconds the boys and Mallison were so busy rushing their animals and belongings to the safe side that they did not notice the curious roar and rumble that filled the air. But when the horses had been tied beyond the line of rocks, which, Tinny thought, would mark the dividing line of the landslide, and when their food and camp stuff had been moved, the travelers had an opportunity to listen to the nerve-racking[182] noise that accompanied the shifting of the face of the mountain. The rumble and roar made a terrifying sound. It was not like thunder, though it was akin to it. Nor was it like the blast of the tempest, though, in a measure, it filled the air with that awful howling. The breaking of great trees, the crash and rumble of rocks splitting in twain, the concussion of those rocks on other boulders or against trees which they cracked wide open, splitting them from roots to crown, the rattle of gravel like the hail of shrapnel against steel shields—all this served to fill the air with a terrible tumult. All the while the landslide was increasing in speed, volume, and force. It seemed that a great part of the mountain was going to slip down its side into the valley below. Fortunately, it was a desolate region, and not so much as a lone miner’s cabin was in the path of the devastating force. Cromley’s friends alone were in danger, but as they stood near the horses, which were trembling in terror, they had hopes that the slide might pass them by. The animals were very much frightened, but they seemed to prefer the nearness of their human companions rather than to try to bolt into the wilderness. So they did not break away. Now the landslide had reached its maximum,[183] and in one immense, irregularly shaped mass of rocks, trees, and earth was going down the mountain slope. The vanguard of comparatively small rocks, with a quantity of gravel and bushes, had passed on with merely a rattle. Then, close behind this, came thousands of tons of the very side of the mountain itself, sweeping before it every vestige of verdure and leaving in its wake but the bare side of the great hill. Fortunately for the campers, the landslide did just what Mallison guessed it would do, and as he hoped it would do—it did not extend to the side farther than to the line of great rocks deeply imbedded in the side of the mountain. “That alone saved us!” whispered Tinny, pointing to the great rocky wall. Tinny’s whisper could be heard, for now that the landslide had passed on down into the valley, there was silence about the camping place. Yet it was no longer a complete camp, for so close had the great slide come that it had engulfed the fire. “And the coffee pot and our bacon, too!” lamented Bob, when he saw what had happened. This had actually taken place. The coffee had been boiling on one side of the fire, which had been built in a primitive grate of stones, and the bacon was frying on the other side. There had[184] been so much to do that no one—not even Bob—had thought of saving the supper. “Thank goodness we’ve got more grub and another coffee pot—or something that will do for one,” remarked Bob. His companions did not make any joke about his first thought after their escape from danger having to do with eating. They were too thankful over their good fortune to think of anything else for the time being. In the gathering darkness after the dust caused by the landslide had blown away, they looked down into the valley. Part of it was made level and the floor of it was covered with the rocks and other débris, splintered trees and shredded bushes. “Well, it broke our trail,” remarked Tinny, pointing to where the slide had cut squarely across the road they had taken to reach their present whereabouts. “We can’t go back that way—we’ll have to keep on!” “And we want to keep on,” said Jerry. “We want to get Noddy and his gang and save Bill.” “That’s right!” chimed in Ned. “Maybe Noddy ran up against one of these things himself.” “They’re common enough out here,” said Tinny. “But this is the nearest that one ever came to me, and it was altogether too close for comfort.” [185] “Do you think it’s likely to happen again?” asked Jerry, as he spoke to his horse and patted the animal to soothe and quiet it. “It might, but it isn’t very probable,” was the reassuring answer. “What causes these landslides?” asked Ned. “No one knows—at least, I don’t,” Mallison replied. “Very likely a large mass of earth and rocks gets loosened by rain storms, and is held in place by a single key-rock or tree. The pressure back of the rock or tree becomes too great, it breaks or moves, and down comes the thousands of tons of stuff, gathering more material as it travels, like a snowball, until it sweeps everything before it. We’re mighty lucky not to have been in its direct path.” The boys well knew this. But as the old saying has it, “a miss is as good as a mile,” and when the first terror was over they regained their usual good spirits. The fire had been put out—swept away, in fact—but it was an easy matter to kindle another, and they had brought with them enough utensils to use in place of the departed coffee pot and frying pan. None of their bedding had been lost. “So we aren’t so badly off after all,” remarked Jerry, as they sat about the cheerful blaze and ate. [186] “No, indeed,” agreed Mallison. “But we may have a hard time ahead of us.” “We’re used to hard times,” chuckled Ned. “It can’t be any harder than some things we’ve been through before this.” “No,” agreed Jerry thoughtfully, “it can’t.” It did not take long to establish the simple camp. They got out their rolls of bedding, gathered wood enough to make a sudden blaze in the night in case one should be needed, saw that the horses were securely fastened, and then prepared to get some sleep. Because of the remote danger that another landslide might follow that first one, it was decided they would take turns in remaining on guard. Thus an alarm could be given by the wakeful one. “Though, as a matter of fact, if a landslide should start above us and come down, we could hardly get to either side of it in time in the darkness,” Tinny said. “But don’t worry, boys. I think we’re safe.” In spite of this, however, the lads could not help worrying some, and when it was the turn of Ned, Jerry or Bob to remain awake for a two-hour stretch, each one strained ears and eyes to detect the first sound of danger. But the night passed quietly save for a distant rattle now and again of some falling rock that had been loosened by the slide of earth. [187] Morning came, with bright sunshine, and the spirits of all revived, especially after some hot coffee and flapjacks, which Bob essayed to make, and with success. “Well, maybe we’ll catch up with Noddy to-day,” suggested Jerry, as once more they journeyed onward and away from the slide.


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