Yoking Up

“Corral was but an elliptical space of fifty yards by thirty, not a superfluity of room for four hundred and twenty head of cattle, and forty men seeking their own in the melee. At the hour of yoking up it was always a strange scene, and echoed with strange shoutings . . .

“But this day all was at its worst. Men, some voluntarily entering the mire barefoot, some emerging shoeless, some cursing a steer they could not hold, some upset and uttering curses deep-in mud; ‘keys’ lost, chains entangled, lariettes thrown in vain, yokes turned upside down, all to the eye in hopeless confusion, like revolutions on the Continent; and yet the work did go on, if the progress were slow, and at last, after two hours, we got clear of the mire.”