The syndicate that bought the “Wedge of Gold” put some of the stock on the market. A few days later another shipment of bullion was received, another dividend was declared, and the stock advanced to L10 per share. The happy owners gave an entertainment in honor of the mine, and called it “The Wedge of Gold Reception.” Sedgwick and Browning with their wives and Captain McGregor attended.
As they returned, the dawn was breaking in the East, and mighty London with its five millions of people began to awaken. There were confused murmurs, which swelled in volume every moment; these were interspersed with distinct clamors, as one industry after another took up anew its daily work. Then there was the whistle of trains; the deeper calls and answers of boats on the river; the louder and louder hum of the awaking millions, until with the coming of the full dawn the roar of the swelling hosts became a full diapason.
“What a monster this great handiwork of man is, Sedgwick,” said McGregor; “I wonder if there is anything else like it in this whole world.”
“I guess not,” was Sedgwick’s reply; “but, strangely enough, it reminds me of something not at all like it, but which impressed me quite as much as does this. As you say, this is man’s handiwork. I saw another dawn once which had little in it save God’s handiwork.
“While mining in Virginia City, I determined one summer day to give up work for a week and to make a visit to the high Sierras. One day’s ride takes you from the Comstock into the very fastnesses of the mountains. There were five of us in the party. We went to Lake Tahoe, crossed the lake, and kept on to a spring and stream of water beyond, a few miles. We had a camping outfit, and determined to sleep in no house while absent. We spread our beds in a little grassy glen; to the east there was no forest, but on the north and south the trees were immense, and to the west, a mile or two away, the mountains rose abruptly to a height which held the snows in their arms all the summer long.
“The good-night hoot of an owl or some other sound awakened me just as the first streaks of the dawn began to flush the face of the east.
“I sat up, and while my friends were sleeping around me, I watched the transformation scene of that dawn. There were not many birds to awake—our altitude was too high for them—and so the panorama moved on almost in silence. But it was the more impressive because of its stillness. The east grew warmer and warmer, and the solemn night began to spread her black wings, under which she had brooded the world, in preparation for flight. The shadows began to retreat from where they had shrouded the nearest trees. The air grew softer; from it a noiseless breeze just touched the great arms of the pines as though to waken them and gave to them an almost imperceptible motion. The stars and planets began to faint in the heavens. As the waves of light increased in the east, the snow on the high mountains to the west took on the hue of the opal, and when the last shadow fled away and the sun flashed gloriously above the eastern horizon, and another day was born, I knew just how the ancient Fire Worshipers felt when they bowed their heads in reverence before the splendors of the rising sun.”