The Daughter of a Magnate (Chapter 2, page 2 of 10)

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Chapter 2

At McCloud Vice-president Bucks, a very old campaigner, had held the
party for two days to avoid the adverse conditions in the west and turned
the financiers of the party south to inspect branches while the road was
drying in the hills. But the party of visitors contained two distinct
elements, the money-makers and the money-spenders--the generation that
made the investment and the generation that distributed the dividends.
The young people rebelled at branch line trips and insisted on heading
for sightseeing and hunting straight into the mountains. Accordingly, at
McCloud the party split, and while Henry S. Brock and his business
associates looked over the branches, his private cars containing his
family and certain of their friends were headed for the headquarters of
the mountain division, Medicine Bend.

Medicine Bend is not quite the same town it used to be, and
disappointment must necessarily attend efforts to identify the once
familiar landmarks of the mountain division. Improvement, implacable
priestess of American industry, has well-nigh obliterated the picturesque
features of pioneer days. The very right of way of the earliest overland
line, abandoned for miles and miles, is seen now from the car windows
bleaching on the desert. So once its own rails, vigorous and aggressive,
skirted grinning heaps of buffalo bones, and its own tangents were spiked
across the grave of pony rider and Indian brave--the king was: the king

But the Sweetgrass winds are the same. The same snows whiten the peaks,
the same sun dies in western glory, and the mountains still see nestling
among the tracks at the bend of the Medicine River the first headquarters
building of the mountain division, nicknamed The Wickiup. What, in the
face of continual and unrelenting changes, could have saved the Wickiup?
Not the fact that the crazy old gables can boast the storm and stress of
the mad railroad life of another day than this--for every deserted curve
and hill of the line can do as much. The Wickiup has a better claim to
immortality, for once its cracked and smoky walls, raised solely to house
the problems and perplexities of the operating department, sheltered a
pair of lovers, so strenuous in their perplexities that even yet in the
gleam of the long night-fires of the West End their story is told.

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