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August 20 , 2008

The Golden Dream: Adventures in the Far West


The Cause of the Whole Affair. Ned Sinton gazed at the scene before him with indescribable amazement! He had often witnessed strange things in the course of his short though chequered life, but he had never seen anything like this. Many a dream of the most extravagant nature had surrounded his pillow with creatures of curious form and scenes of magic beauty, but never before, either by actual observation or in nightly vision, had Ned Sinton beheld a scene so wonderful as that which now lay spread out before him. Ned stood in the centre of a cavern of vast dimensions—so vast, and so full of intense light, that instead of looking on it as a huge cave, he felt disposed to regard it as a small world. The sides of this cavern were made of pure gold, and the roof—far above his head—was spangled all over with glittering points, like a starry sky. The ground, too, and, in short, everything within the cave, was made of the same precious metal. Thousands of stalactites hung from the roof like golden icicles. Millions of delicate threads of the same material also depended from the star-spangled vault, each thread having a golden ball at the end of it, which, strange to say, was transparent, and permitted a bright flame within to shine through, and shed a yellow lustre over surrounding objects. All the edges, and angles, and points of the irregularly-formed walls were of burnished gold, which reflected the rays of these pendant lamps with dazzling brilliancy, while the broad masses of the frosted walls shone with a subdued light. Magnificent curtains of golden filigree fell in rich voluminous folds on the pavement, half concealing several archways which led into smaller caverns, similar to the large one. Altogether it was a scene of luxurious richness and splendour that is utterly indescribable. But the thing that amazed Ned Sinton most was, that the company of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who moved about in these splendid halls, and ate golden ices, or listened to the exquisite strains of music that floated on the atmosphere, were all as yellow as guineas! Ned could by no means understand this. In order to convince himself that there was no deception in the matter, he shook hands with several of the people nearest to him, and found that they were cold and hard as iron; although, to all appearance, they were soft and pliable, and could evidently move about with perfect freedom. Ned was very much puzzled indeed. One would have thought he must have believed himself to be dreaming. Not a bit of it. He knew perfectly well that he was wide-awake. In fact, a doubt upon that point never crossed his mind for a moment. At length he resolved to ask the meaning of it all, and, observing a stout old gentleman, with a bland smile on his yellow countenance, in the act of taking a pinch of golden snuff from a gold snuff-box, he advanced and accosted him
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