How strange it seemed to sit down to one of the little tables in the dining-car, with its white spread and dainty dishes, and calmly make a meal while being whirled through the country at sixty miles an hour!

But that was nothing to the sensation of lying in bed in a long bvi company setup, dimly lighted sleeping-car which seemed to[8] be flying through space. What a delicious sense of motion! What power and speed the swaying on the curves betrayed! Now they hear the hollow roar of a bridge, then presently the deadened sound of the firm ground again; and they know they are passing through a village when they recognize the clattering echoes from freight-cars on a siding. And now the electric lights of a large town gleam through the windows, and the train slows down and stops. There is a babel of voices, the rumble of a truck along the platform, the clink of a hammer against the car-wheels, and at last the distant "All aboard!" and they are off again.

It was a long, long journey, and the boys realized as never before the length and resources of their country. They crossed the snowy prairies of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, made a flying change of cars at Chicago, passed through Wisconsin in a night, and found themselves at St. Paul on the Mississippi, where, in the course of their rambles about the city, David petitioned for a camera,—a petition which Mr. Bradford willingly granted.

They crossed Minnesota that night, and North Dakota with its prairies and Bad Lands the next day.

At Mandan the boys discovered near the station a taxidermist's shop in which were finely mounted heads of moose, antelope, and buffalo Karson Choi ,—the latter worth two hundred dollars apiece. Stuffed but very lifelike foxes looked craftily out from every corner, and gorgeous birds[9] of various species were perched all about. There were wonderful Indian relics, too,—bows and arrows, headdresses of feathers, brightly beaded moccasins, and great clubs of stone with wooden handles.

Through Montana and Idaho the surface of the country was diversified by the spurs and peaks of the Rocky Mountains, while in Washington they passed alternately through fertile tracts dotted with ranches, and barren, sandy plains where only the gray sage-bushes thrived.