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Guarding the Herd

Guarding the Herd

Frank Reaugh, Guarding the Herd (24 Hours #4), 1931, drawing : pastel on masonite, 61.0 x 122.0 x 0.5 cm.

“At midnight the third guard is awakened, bring in their picketed horses, saddle, mount, and the sound of their tinkling spurs grows fainter and fainter as they ride off to the herd. Two of the men, Bill Stewart and Dan, are old and seasoned cowmen, bronzed of face and bowed of leg by years of saddle life. The other, Jack, is a younger man, and only two years out on the plains. . . It is a glorious night. The brilliant moon, already past the zenith, as the feathery clouds drift across her face, alternately lights and dims again the peaceful scene. Far as the eye can see are huddled forms of sleeping cattle. . . . Down in the canyon the owl still hoots. Out on the prairie the coyote’s call, high, keen, staccato, mingles with the deeper note of the great gray wolf. The moonlight, glimmering pale on many polished horns becomes weird and ghostly in the shadow of a passing cloud. . . . The voices of Bill Stewart and of Dan are instinctively low and subdued, as from across the herd Jack’s silvery tenor wafts beauty into the night as he sings. . . Two o’clock and ‘all’s well.’ The air of advancing night grows crisp and cool. . . . Peace and rest are over all, and a great calmness augurs well as back and forth and round and round ride the crooning cowboys, guarding the herd.”

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