On Horseback By Charles Dudley Warner
























































































































































 -  Away in the southwest,
lifting themselves up in a gleam of the western sky, the Great Smoky
Mountains loomed like - Page 80
On Horseback By Charles Dudley Warner - Page 80 of 124 - First - Home

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Away In The Southwest, Lifting Themselves Up In A Gleam Of The Western Sky, The Great Smoky Mountains Loomed Like A Frowning Continental Fortress, Sullen And Remote.

With Clingman and Gibbs and Holdback peaks near at hand and apparently of equal height, Mitchell seemed only a part and not separate from the mighty congregation of giants.

In the center of the stony plot on the summit lie the remains of Mitchell. To dig a grave in the rock was impracticable, but the loose stones were scooped away to the depth of a foot or so, the body was deposited, and the stones were replaced over it. It was the original intention to erect a monument, but the enterprise of the projectors of this royal entombment failed at that point. The grave is surrounded by a low wall of loose stones, to which each visitor adds one, and in the course of ages the cairn may grow to a good size. The explorer lies there without name or headstone to mark his awful resting-place. The mountain is his monument. He is alone with its majesty. He is there in the clouds, in the tempests, where the lightnings play, and thunders leap, amid the elemental tumult, in the occasional great calm and silence and the pale sunlight. It is the most majestic, the most lonesome grave on earth.

As we sat there, awed a little by this presence, the clouds were gathering from various quarters and drifting towards us. We could watch the process of thunder-storms and the manufacture of tempests. I have often noticed on other high mountains how the clouds, forming like genii released from the earth, mount into the upper air, and in masses of torn fragments of mist hurry across the sky as to a rendezvous of witches.

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