Sample N13 from Martha Ferguson McKeown, Mountains Ahead. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961. Pp. 390-395. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,016 words 479 (23.8%) quotesN13

Used by permission of Martha Ferguson McKeown. 0010-1760

Martha Ferguson McKeown, Mountains Ahead. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961. Pp. 390-395.

Arbitrary No Hyphen: ticklebrush [1380]Note: Only used for However [0700]

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Over his shoulder he could see Max's loose grin and the Burnsides' glowering faces . `` Honey '' , he whispered . `` Soon as we send them on their way and make camp , let's you and me go for a walk down by the Snake -- all by ourselves '' .

`` Sally '' , admonished her mother , `` you've got all evening to visit with Dan . His wounds need dressing now '' .

Mrs. Jackson's words recalled Dan to his lack of fitness for courting . What a spectacle he was , caked with dirt and sweat and blood , filthy as a pig and naked as an Indian , kissing the finest , the sweetest , the bravest , and absolutely the prettiest girl in this whole wonderful world . He released her reluctantly for her enthusiastic reunion with Old Hap . `` Got a lot to tend to , but I'll get back quick as I can '' , he assured her .

Dan could hear Clayton Burnside and Eben Jackson summing up their final reckoning for rental on the oxen . Jackson was doing most of the talking . So long as Sally's pa was coming out best on the haggle , Dan didn't feel the need of putting in his two-bits' worth .

Soon as the Burnsides moved on , he'd lead Rex down by the river ; ; there he could shave and scrub himself up for the evening . Damn it , he thought bitterly , picking up his shirt and staring at the fresh bullet hole in the sleeve . If I hadn't got Nate stopped when I did , my duds'd all be shot plumb to hell ! !

He stooped , picked up his ruined hat , and pursed his lips thoughtfully . From the way the wound in his head was itching , Dan knew that it would heal . But his only hat was something else again . `` Nate ! ! Nate '' ! ! He shouted .

The Burnsides , now ready to roll , were purposefully deaf to his cry .

`` Nate '' ! ! He bellowed to the retreating back directly in front of him .

`` I ain't going to fight you no more '' . Nate turned his head , attempting to speak in a soothing voice .

`` I know you ain't '' ! ! Dan affirmed , feeling ten feet tall . He moved in close , jerked the handsome , broad-brimmed beaver hat from Nate's head and clamped it on his own . `` Here's a present for you '' , he said , shoving his bullet-riddled hat down over Nate's purpling forehead . `` Me and you's trading hats so's you'll have something permanent to remember me by '' ! !

Sally left her choring to stand beside Dan . Slipping her hand in his , they silently watched the Burnsides make the bend in the road and disappear from sight . Much as they had to look forward to , they didn't begrudge a moment of the time they spent seeing them go .

At first Matilda could not believe her own eyes . She had spent too many hours looking ahead , hoping and longing to catch even a glimpse of Dan and finding nothing but emptiness . And now she could see him , looking uncommon handsome , standing there beside Sally Jackson and her folks in front of their trail-worn wagon .

Seeing them waiting there at the foot of Emigrant Rock was so overwhelming that , for a good minute after they rounded the bend and started down the grade leading toward them , Matilda could not speak at all . Then , with a glory that almost wiped out the deep , downward sags in her careworn face , Matilda leaned over the wheel and shouted to Hez , who was stumbling along in the heat and the dust on the opposite side of the wagon `` Pa ! ! Pa ! ! I can see Dan . And he's with the Jacksons '' ! !

`` What about Burnsides '' ? ? Hez asked , who still believed they'd have them to lick .

`` They ain't even in sight '' ! ! She replied .

By then Hez could see for himself , and so could the others . Soon they were all shouting greetings , exchanging smiles , and rejoicing to think that they were all back together again . But even a reunion as joyous as this one did not make a break in the routines of the day . Nor could they stop and find out about all that had happened until they made circle , tended the cattle , tethered the horses , gathered fuel , carried water , and started their cooking fires . Then , and only then , with the Jacksons and Dan as their true guests of honor , did the Harrows take time to catch up on the news . No sooner did they hear of Dan's injury than both Gran and Matilda went into immediate action . The wound in his scalp was examined , pronounced healing , and well doctored with simples , before they dished up the victuals . From then on , in keeping with the traditions they had followed since childhood , the whole group settled down to relish their food . Even Sally , in spite of her gaiety and obvious welcome , followed the old taboo of `` quitting the gab when wearing the nosebag '' .

After their supper , the evening turned into a regular `` Hoe-Down '' . Only , they carefully substituted old country folk dances for the Virginia Reels and square dances that were so popular among more worldly trains in the great westward migration . But with Bill O'Connor on the fiddle , and Gran Harrow exuberantly shouting `` Glory Be '' and `` Hallelujah '' above their united chant of the lilting old ballads , they played their quaint folk games with all the fervor and abandon of a real celebration .

`` Golly '' , Rod exclaimed to Harmony as he dutifully stood by her side among the ringed spectators , `` don't that fiddle make you wish the Bible didn't say us Baptists can't dance '' ? ?

`` Nor Methodists , neither '' , she replied . `` Not that it matters to me , being this far along '' .

Rod gave her a warm pat on the shoulder before he replied . `` Come spring , you'll be kicking up your heels and feeling coltish again too , gal '' .

At these words of sympathy and understanding , Harmony said generously , `` I don't mind setting here along with Gran while you go out and join in the games '' .

Rod shifted his eager eyes from the milling group out in the circle long enough to reply , `` I ain't much of a hand for Dare-Base and Farmer-in-the-Dell , but I'd sure like to get in on the handhold and wrestles '' . He looked down at his big hands and slowly flexed his long fingers . `` Don't reckon there's nobody out there , 'cept maybe Dan , who can outgrip me , Harmony '' .

With Rod on his way and Matilda visiting with Mrs. Jackson while they searched out familiar names on the face of the cliff , Harmony settled on the edge of the grub box , to ease the pressure of her swollen body on her bone-weary legs , and worried about all that might have happened to Sally . And she was deeply thankful that she could see her now , out there in the midst of a gay , youthful circle , skipping and singing , `` Farmer in the dell , Farmer in the dell , Heigh-ho the dairy-oh , the farmer in the dell '' .

At the sight of Sally's happy face and carefree expression , Harmony's dark , brooding eyes quickly brightened with unshed tears . She was glad , completely and unselfishly glad , to see that things were working out the right way for both Sally and Dan . And she really tried to go a step further and say she hoped they'd be just as right as they now were for her and for Rod . But she couldn't , not yet . Not with the memory of her folks and the lost Conestoga still holding her close .

Out in the center of the circle the farmer , who was Dan , wasted no time when they came to the line , `` The farmer choose his wife '' . With a swift swoop of his big arms , he grabbed Sally out of the circle surrounding him , and then kissed her soundly before setting her down so she could stand by his side while they jointly chose the rest of their `` outfit '' . Soon the child , the dog , the cat and even the cheese , all joined them out there in the circle .

By now Harmony could see that most of the adults in the train were winded and resting , or else siphoned off from the games by the challenging lure of the great cliff towering above them . No matter how many registry rocks they came to on this journey , each one exerted its own appeal . Even strange names seemed to make them feel closer to some kind of civilization when stumbled across out here in this wilderness . Already a few hardy folk from their own train were zealously chipping away at the register rocks , leaving their own records along with those made by the earlier trains . Soon she saw Rod and Hez moving over to join them .

No sooner were they through and the guards posted , than the whole camp turned in for a night of sound sleep . For Matilda , it was the first she had known in many a night . Even the knowledge that she was losing another boy , as a mother always does when a marriage is made , did not prevent her from having the first carefree , dreamless sleep that she had known since they dropped down the canyon and into Bear Valley , way , way back there when they were crossing those other mountains .

Next morning , they moved on again .

`` My souls' a-gracious '' ! ! Gran Harrow exclaimed , watching their rippling muscles as Rod and Dan swung her up into the load . `` A body would swear I floated right up here on a cloud '' ! !

Rod and Dan released their holds on the arms of her hickory rocker and exchanged embarrassed grins . `` Shucks , Gran '' , they said almost in unison . `` That wasn't nothing at all '' ! !

Leaning forward in her chair , Gran nearsightedly scrutinized Dan's face . `` How's Sally like rubbin' agin that thar little ticklebrush ye're a-raising '' ? ?

`` Quit ragging him , Gran '' , Rod protested .

`` I ain't ragging him '' ! ! Gran peered again at the week-old blond mustache shadowing Dan's upper lip . `` But honest-to-Betsy , I've seed more hair than that on a piece o' bacon '' .

The two tall brothers waited silently while their mother handed Gran her cold snack and water jug , placed the chamber pot beside her feet , and returned to her place at the front of the wagon with Alice .

`` Rheumatics worse , Pa '' ? ? Dan asked Hez , who had limped back from his team to hold the notched-stick chair braces in place while his boys swung up the tailgate and tied it tight at the ends .

`` My right leg's stiff as a board this morning '' , he replied . `` But the sun'll fry it out'n me onct we git to rolling '' .

The three men stepped out to the side to wait for Captain Clemens' signal .

Hez looked up at the high face of Emigrant Rock , official signboard for the Raft River turnoff , and gloated , `` Seems funny that them Burnsides never took time to leave their John-Henry up thar '' .

`` Wonder what made them hurry so '' , Rod drawled , giving Dan a sly wink .

Dan grinned , and changed the subject . `` From now on , Sally and me and her folks aim to give you our turn when it comes up and fall in behind you and Rod's outfit '' .

`` Ain't no sense you eating our dust '' , Rod protested .

`` Sally and her ma want to trade off on account of Harmony being so far along '' , Dan explained . `` Jackson recruited his critters , and him and me fixed up his wagon while we was waiting for you to catch up . He's got the tightest running gear in the train now . Besides , 'tain't no more'n right for me to follow with my black oxen , so's I can unhook and pull up fast if either of you get in a pinch '' .

Captain Clemens' signal shot sent the men hurrying to their waiting teams .

`` Reckon ye're right , Dan '' , Hez called back over his shoulder . `` I'll shore be needing ye both on the pull out o' the canyon '' .

Rod looked apprehensively ahead at the narrowing , precipice-walled gorge . `` We'll double teams zigzagging up the mountain , Harmony '' , he spoke reassuringly , concerned by the pinched look around her mouth . `` Like enough we'll all be up on top by sundown '' .

Out of the corner of his eye , he could see his father's wheels beginning to turn .

Before Harmony had a chance to reply , Rod cracked his long whip over his thin oxen's backs .