Изображения страниц

“You need not ask me what was the first thing I did. If you had been there, as I was, you would have done likewise. I cut from his palpitating carcass morsel after morsel of his quivering flesh, and devoured them, raw and bloody as they were. My next thought was of my companions. I carried with me towards the camp part of the bear, and having hidden it in the neighbourhood, I awaited the return of the party. At length they dropped in, one by one, Joe Winn last. Feeling very comfortable, in spite of my wounds, which I had bound up, I was determined to punish Winn for his cruel slaughter of my dog, and I assumed as grave and dismal a face as the agreeable state of my bowels would permit. The hunt had been, as usual, unsuccessful, and Joe's face was the very seat of anxious terror. As soon as the report had been made, I turned to Winn

66. Well, Joe, you have heard the report; are you ready to-night ?"

"I do not know whether it was the sight of blood on my clothes, whether my satisfied look was by him construed into a smile, or whether his peculiar position made him unusually observant, but certain it is, that after fixing on me the intensest look I ever saw, he dropped on his knees and screamed between joy and anguish,

666 Oh God! I'm saved ! I'm saved ! Tom's killed something. Look at his clothes, look at his mouth, look at the blood and hair! Lord God, I'm sayed! I'm saved !!

"And the wretch sprang to his feet, and fairly danced.

“The latter part of this speech could not have been heard by any one save myself, for every man had started to his feet, and after surveying me for an instant, had dashed off, with Joe, into a dance, that, for wildness and fervour, would have shamed a Comanche. I soon satisfied their doubts, told them of my success, and of my having brought a part of the meat, and hidden it near the camp, and added

“Now, boys, you know your condition. It wo’nt do for you to cram like wolves, for it will hurt you; but if you will go with me (and here we all started), I'll show you the place where I hid it. Now walk up to it gently, and take a small bite, and go at it again. Now, yonder it is, under that little patch of sage. Don't hurry.'

"If you have ever seen a flock of wild pigeons dashing wildly through the woods, if you have ever seen a flock of partridges


scattering along madly with a hawk in full pursuit, if ever you have seen a dozen horses started for a sweepstake, you may have seen good speed—but you never have seen any running like that. I fairly screamed with laughter. And who do you think was the first man that reached the bushit was Joe Winn.

“The camp that night rang with jests upon poor Joe, and shouts of laughter would go up as some one would occasionally utter, in a dolorous tone

“Dear Tom, I'll do anything in the world for you. Just say the word, Tom. Wo’nt you say it, dear Tom ?

"On the next day we started for the remainder of the bear, and having saved everything, for fear of accident, we left for home. This provision lasted until we reached game, and we at length arrived in the settlement in safety.




THE little incident I am about to relate actually occurred at the place named, and some of the persons engaged in it can testify to the same. About a mile above the village of

C a , on the opposite bank of the Ohio, and on that part of Kentucky known as “The Purchas,” stands an old log-cabin, on a rising piece of ground some thirty yards from the river, just out of the reach of the Spring freshets, though at that time it is entirely surrounded by “back water," that covers the bottom land for miles above and below. A squatter had formerly kept a wood-yard there, though no one appeared to lay claim

to the ownership; in fact, 'twas looked upon and used as public property.

One Sunday afternoon, two long “dugouts," loaded with “plunder ” (a term in the West for baggage, &c.), stopped at the cabin, which was then uninhabited, and shortly afterwards a smoke was seen, and several persons to be moving around. This was the family and property of Hank Harris, a large hickory-faced, bushy-headed-looking fellow, with his wife and three children. They took up their abode at the old woodyard, and remained about three months. The history of Harris, that is, what little we heard of it, was not calculated to raise him much in the estimation of the inhabitants of Ca..

It was reported by some flat-boat men that "tied up” one night at the village, that Harris “hed left Paduky 'tween two days, and no one hed seed a site on him since ;” also that “Hank was an orful piert hand with his shootin'-iron, and as he never feed ary hog, the folks there thought he et more pork than he paid fur or come by on the squar; and also, that one day Harris was kindly allowed twenty-four hours to 6 pack up en travel.” One day Hank tied his canoe to the Illinois side, and came up

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »