Mile 197: Big Sandy Station

“A little after midnight we resumed our way, and in the state which Mohammed described when he made his famous night journey to heaven—bayni ‘Z naumi wa ‘I yakzan—we crossed the deep shingles, the shallow streams, and the heavy vegetation of the Little Sandy, and five miles beyond it we forded the Big Sandy. About early dawn we found ourselves at another station, better than the last only as the hour was more propitious. The colony of Patlanders rose from their beds without a dream of ablution, and clearing the while their lungs of Cork brogue, prepared a neat dejeuner a la fourchette by hacking “fids” off half a sheep suspended from the ceiling, and frying them in melted tallow. Had the action occurred in Central Africa, among the Es quimaux, or the Araucanians, it would not have excited my attention: mere barbarism rarely disgusts; it is the unnatural cohabitation of civilization with savagery that makes the traveler’s gorge rise.

Issuing from Big Sandy Station at 6 30 A.M., and resuming our route over the divide that still separated the valleys of the Big Blue and the Little Blue, we presently fell into the line of the latter, and were called upon by the conductor to admire it. It is pretty, but its beauties require the cosmetic which is said to act unfailingly in the case of fairer things the viewer should have lately spent three months at sea, out of sight of rivers and women.”