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ADVENTURES—THE LAST DAYS OF THE MARCH.
expert and systematic in clearing the camp of those reptiles. If we halted at night in the underbrush, they cut and tore away the reeds and grass, and began at once to beat the ground and kill the snakes. When I say that as many as forty were killed in one night, some literal person may ask if I actually saw the bodies of all those “lately slain!” It is not an exaggerated story, however, and one only needs to see hundreds of men pounding and clearing such a place to realize that many snakes could be disposed of in a short time. After that, when the ground was selected for our camp in the low part of the valley, I was loath to lie down and sleep until the soldiers had come up to prepare the ground. My husband used to indulge this little prejudice of mine against making my head a reproduction of Medusa’s, and we often sought the high ground for a rest until the command came up.
The guide rode often at the head of the column, and we found him full of information about the country. We began also to listen for a new domestic disclosure every time we approached an Indian village. He was the most married of any man I ever saw, for in every tribe he had a wife. Still this superfluity did not burden him, for the ceremony of tying a marital knot in the far West is simple, and the wives support themselves. Sometimes he gave us new points about making ourselves comfortable in camp. One day I was very grateful to him. We were far in advance of the wagon-train containing the tents; the sun was scorching; not a tree, nor even a clump of bushes was near. In a brief time, however, the guide had returned from the stream, where