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I looked round again ; a dense mob of red bluff ; but had it been a few yards lower down, skivs was after me, and by their inhuman the horse would never have been able to yells they gave me to understand that I was climb the steep; the bank, as it was, was to be their victim also.
very high and precipitous, but my steed's The distance between us, however, had strength was equal to the emergency, and been increased. I drew a fresh breath, and burying its delicate feet in the soft loose svil, my passion soon dispelled my feelings of pity it sprang up the bank, forcing me to cling and its sister fear. The forest rose rapidly round its neck lest I should slip off behind. before mo, and my safety only depended on I had noticed from the prairie that the forest this question : Was there a stream on this grew lower down the stream and gradually side the wood ? Firmly resolved even in ended which led me to the conclusion that that event to force Czar in, I clung closer to farther on the banks would not be so steep, him with my knees and gave him a cheery though the river might be broader ; hence I chirrup. Like a swan he flew over the grass rode down the waterside--for the wood was towards the woods, whose single trees I not so close and impenetrable as at the spot I already distinguished. There was no river had recently left--for about three miles in this on this side, and I soon reached the dense direction, and found a spot where the bank foliage, and led Czar snorting and champing was not so steep, and I could easily lead Czar in, while my pursuers, now few in number, to water, while at the same time wild oats, stopped a long way from me on the prairie. three feet in height, grew close by. Hence I I took out my handkerchief and waived it at resolved to spend the night here. them to annoy them, for I would but too I led Czar into the nearest thicket, un. gladly have avenged my unhappy comrade ;
saddled and hobbled him, and lit a small fire, but they turned round, and I went along the partly to dry my clothes, partly to make a buffalo path into the forest, dragging Czar cup of hot coffee, for I had turned chill, and
felt quite worn out. I had chosen my bivouac For about an hour I walked through the so that I could see for a long distance along gloomy shede, cutting my way among the the road I had come, and kept my weapons in numerous creepers, till I reached a stream readiness, so that I might sell my life as whose banks were quite forty feet above the dearly as possible were I pursued. The scene water. The forest on both sides of the path of horror I bad witnessed so lately, the prowhere it led down to the river was so over- bable frightful death of the naturalist, rose grown with thorns that it was impossible to vividly before me, and though I had accusgo up or down the river side, especially with tomed myself to society again for a very short a horse; nor would it do to stay here all time, I now felt very lonely, and reproached night with Czar, as there was nothing for him myself for having ever consented to let to eat; and in event of pursuit I could be Kreger ride a mule on this journey, when I easily tracked. Hence I soon made up my knew the great danger. That he had fallen mind, mounted Czar, hung my pistol-belt and a victim to this error there could be no doubt; saddle-bags over my shoulders, took my rifle still I resolved to make certain of his fate. in my right hand, and forced him to follow Night set in: the fire had burut low; Czar the path down to the stream. It was so lay close to me, and I threw myself over bis steep that walking was impossible, but the neck, patting him for his pluck and fidelity : faithful creature, once on the steep, half he was very tired, and frequently gave a sigh slipped, half fell into the river, as the bank nor did he stir the whole night through. I was very smooth and slippery. The waves, remained awake till near morning, and although as he fell in, broke over the saddle-bow; but I dozed now and then, I was soon aroused by the horse at once raised the whole of its back the hoot of an owl, the yell of a wolf, or the above the surface, and snorting and puffing, mournful cry of a panther, and I then listened passed the crystalline flood.
to the sound of every falling leaf and every Iu spite of the rapid current, we reached leaping sqnirrel. The night was cool too, the the other side, when the path ran up the ground under me rather damp, aud the dew
very heavy, so that I really awaited daylight covered with splendid mosquito grass, and with longing. Czar, however, would not get picturesquely broken up by post oaks; here up, and I let him lie, for I knew that he and there a single conical mound, whose top needed rest, and I might very possibly be ob- was covered with a thicket, rose some hundred liged to trust to his powers during the day. feet from the plain. It was still early in the I had drunk a cup of coffee, and eaten a slice evening when I neared one of these mounds, of venison, by the time my faithful comrade and let my horse refresh itself in a rippling rose. I led him down to the water, and saw stream at its base. Here I encamped and a number of turkeys taking their morning hobbled Czar, who mercilessly plucked many dranght at the river side, but dared not fire for a beantiful flower and champed it between his fear of betraying myself. It was about ten teeth with the tender grass. I then took my o'clock when I started down the stream again rifle in order to see whether there was any to find a convenient ford. The forest grew dangerous animal in the wood, which was thinner, the shores flatter, and I soon found a about a thousand yards in diameter. I had deeply-trampled buffalo path which conveyed crept through it and met nothing except a few me without difficulty across the river, for old does that had their fawns hidden there, though it was very wide, it was quite shallow. and when I stepped out on to the prairie 1 saw Within half an hour I was again on the same a herd of large male antelopes grazing about a prairie where Czar had saved me yesterday, thousand yards from me. This graceful and where the poor botanist had probably met animal, though frequent in our parts, is rarely bis fate. I cantiously examined the whole killed by the sportsman, for it is the most shy plain with my glass, and could not see any of animals. Great curiosity alone brings it at thing except a few herds of buffalo, and a times in the vicinity of the watching gin, number of deer grazing carelessly among them. and hence I tried to attract the bucks grazing I rode up the forest side to the path, where I ahead of me. I chose a spot covered with found my previous trail, which was crossed rather tall grass, lay down on it with my by later hoofmarks, and then proceeded cau- cocked rifle by my side, but drew my ramrod tiously in the direction of the spot where I bad out and fastened my handkerchief to it. I left my companion.
then whistled so loudly that the sound reached While still a long way off, I saw the fearful the antelopes. All looked round towards me sight before me. The sun lit up his bloody at once, and I raiscd ope foot in the air and corpse stretched out on the grass. I rode up lowered it again a minute after. I saw that to him, and found that he was lying on his they had noticed it and were leaping about ; back, withont his scalp, and covered all over I then raised the pocket-haudkerchief and with lance and arrow wounds. None of his lowered it again, upon which the herd got in clothing had been left him; the only things I motion, led by one of the largest bucks. found were my destroyed pistols and double- They came near me in a large circle, but I barrelled gun, from which I removed the continued my telegraphic motions till the anocks; even the blotting-paper had been taken, telopes, urged by their fatal curiosity, came though for what purpose was a mystery. I within shot, and their leader fell bleeding would have gladly dragged the body to the among the flowers, giving the flying herd a wood and buried it, but the distance was too sad parting glance with its large beauteous great to do so without help. I therefore bade eyes. I jumped np and fired my second him a silent farewell, and turned my horse to barrel after the fugitives. Clap! I heard the ford where I had crossed the river that the bullet enter the mark, and another buck morning
fell on the grass after a few more bounds..
Hunting is the most cruel sport to which a CHAPTER V.
man can devote himself; I repented of my second shot, for I could make no use of the
animal, as a few pounds of the meat amply My route led me from here through a very satisfied my wants. The charm lay solely in fine country, consisting of undulating plateaux, the query, “Can you hit or not?”. If this
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doubt be removed, it is all over with the ance of wood, and wateral by magnificent passion, and no one would go out sporting for streams. This earthly paradise awaited men the pleasure. I must naturally see where the to raise the unlimited treasures which it proanimals were hit, for that is the real enjoyment mised to bestow so bountifully. It was a to know how near you have gone to the right saddening thought, that these bouniless plains spot, and hence I walked up to the bucks to were entirely uninhabited, for the nomadic choose the best of the meat for my consump- hordes of savages cannot be called inhabitants. tion at the same time. The one first shot From where I stood to the north pole, with was the plumpest, and carried a pair of large the exception of a few trading ports of the beautiful horns which I regretted I could not fur companies, no white man had yet erected take with me. The antelopes do not shed his cabin. Westward the enormous regions their horns like stags; they are formed more were un populated almost to the Pacific, and like goats' horns, and annually grow farther even eastward the distance to the first settleout of the head; they are brown and bent ment was so great that I felt very solitary, back at the point like chamois horns. The and for the first time was overpowered by a form of the antelope much resembles that of the sort of yearning for the social life which I had deer, but is rather lighter on the legs and of lest in vexation. Still these feelings took no a brighter hue; its weight does not exceed deep root in my breast; they were soon 120 lbs. The cye of this graceful creature is driven away by the joys of hunting, which certainly one of the loveliest that pature has can only be found in their full extent far away given to any of her creatnres, and I have often from the civilised world. turned away from the look of a dying antelope Abont mid-day, as I was following one of because I could not endure the reproach that the windings of the stream, I suddenly found it expressed.
myself a few paces from a camp of Cato InI cut off the best lumps of game and went dians, and a general “ugh” reached my car, back to the dark shade, in which Czar greeted as the men-about thirty in number--sprang me with a whinny of delight, and rested on up, and we gazed at each other in surprise, my horse-rag, refreshed by the delicions per- watching for a signal of peace or war. My fumes of hyacinths, jonquils, daffodils, and presence of mind did not desert me; and narcissuses, that surrounded me. The night knowing that these savages, when they have was warm, and I required no fire after I had their wives and children with them, prefer a finished supper. I slept splendidly, with Czar peaceful understanding, I waved a good mornat my side, and the sun was high when I ing to them with a pleasant smile, and rode, awoke, to find my horse browzing on the holding my rifle and watching every movegrass within reach of his tether. I washed ment of the men, to the next bend in the Czar clean, which I never neglected when I river, while the savages looked after mc with had the chance, and rode ont of my arbour open mouth, as if petrified. When I had got down the side of the hill, whence I could sur- round a curve and was protected by the bushes, vey the country before me for many miles. my first idca was to give Czar the spur and
A glorious picture was spread out. The gallop away, but this would only have been a sun was not very high yet, so that the shadows challenge to the Indians to pursue me; hence over the landscape were rather long, and the I made him amble as well as he could manage light mist gave the distance that reddish blue it in the tall grass, and hastened to get out of tone which renders a landscape with a rich this unpleasant company. It was highly bold foreground so exquisite. I remained for probable that the savages would follow me, if some time at the spot, examining the road to only to get hold of my fine horse; hence I the hills whither I was going, but which were was obliged to calculate my next steps. 1 still too far for me to reach them on this day. had but the choice of two ways-cither to Up to these blue mountains the ground ap- throw out the savages by riding in the water peared to be much the same as I had ridden and on stony ground, where they could not over yesterday; rich in arable land, supplied follow my trail, and then concealing myself with the most luxuriant pastures and abund- at some easily-defended spot-or else to ride
quickly away from them so far that they My mouth was very dry, and my tongue could not follow me on their wretched horses. clove to the palate. In vain I looked from The former was difficult and dubious, as the every height I reached for the longed-for sign, Indian's eye surpasses the nose of the best and wandered up hill and down, till the sun pointer, and hence I chose the other, trustiug sank behind the distant blue mountains, and to my horse's speed.
the first shadows of night spread over the land. I continued my journey without interrup. I had passed over several bills in this manner, tion. The sun poured its last vertical beams when I saw a valley before me in the twilight, on the dry soil, which was intersected by which I greeted with renewed hopes ; but the deep cracks a foot in breadth. This bursting darkness set in so rapidly, that I was unable of the ground during great heat is very com- to continue my journey. Feeling quite mon on plateanx where the earth is very rich, knocked up, I threw myself on the warm and often endangers the rider, as the fissures, rocks, holding Czar by the rein, to wait being covered by the long grass, are difficult for the rising moon. The sky behind me to detect. There was not a breath of air; grew more and more red; the anxiously my horse became very warm, and looked in awaited light rose slowly about the hills, and vain for water in the deep dry ditches. I looked down on the deadly silence that was also pined for a fresh draught, for the water spread over the whole landscape. in my pouch had become quite warm, and I had rested about an hour ere it grew light Czar could not swallow it when I poured enough to continue my journey, and I soon some into his mouth. My horse-rug was so reached the plain, where unfortunately the hot that I was hardly able to sit on it, and grass grew very high. I was obliged to mount the barrels of my rifle almost blistered my my horse again, for it was impossible to walk hand. I stopped several times in the shade through the grass; and thongh I was very of an isolated tree to draw a little breath, but sorry to do it, I urged the poor creature on, this did not advance my journey, and I could while he continually strove, by hanging his not possibly spend the night here without head and shaking his neck, to make me unwater. How far I still had to ride to the derstand it was high time to go to rest. I had next stream I did not know, but I was aware continued my journey for two hours without that I might travel for days in these mountains stopping, when the grass grew shorter, my without finding a spring or a stream. The horse every now and then stepped on stones, sun was on my left hand when I reached the and I saw a tree or two again. I had probably end of this plateau, but, instead of perceiving passed the lowest part of the valley, and as I the longed-for sign of water, a poplar-tree, I had found no water in it, there was no prossaw before me alnıost impassable hills, covered pect of doing so at a greater elevation. I was with loose stones, that rose behind one an- awfully tired and sleepy, and my horse was other like sugar-loaves. I could only reckon quite as bad; I therefore unsaddled under an on an hour's daylight, and it was highly pro- elm, fastened Czar to the tree by his long bable that I should have to pass an unpleasant | lasso, and in ten minutes I was dreaming of night. So far as I could see northward, the cool crystalline water ; but for all that woke hills were piled on each other, without offering at day break exhausted and feverish, and to my a prospect of water, hence I turned my horse horror missed my horse. westward, on the chance of reaching the val. I sprang up, surveyed the wide plain, and ley which ran along parallel with the plateau. who can describe my delight when I saw I was obliged to dismount, for in the hollows Czar’s white coat shining a few hundred yards between the hills the torrents had torn deep off over a small mimosa bush, behind which ravines, in which old trees washed down were he was enjoying the fresh grass in a hollow. piled up, and became very dangerous to pass. The knot of the lasso had come undone, and The rocks over which I wearily climbed were thus Czar had been able to look about for red hot, and burnt my feet; and, at the same more agreeable fodder. I led him nearer my time, I suffered intolerable thirst, I had bivouac, and was just going to light my fire, sþared the last water in my flask with Czar. I when I saw smoke rising in the west, about
three miles from me. I quickly pocketed my | the river, I must have been noticed by the flint and steel, saddled, and rode toward the Indians on my white horse. The road was highest part of the ridge which divided the tiring, as I was frequently obliged to walk, valley in half. When I had nearly reached and the heat on these barreu hills soon renthe top I dismounted and crawled to the dered my thirst intolerable. highest point, whence I surveyed the valley, It was midday when I, with a firm resolıand observed an Indian camp, round which tion to ride to the water, cost what it might, some three hundred horses and mules were guided my horse down a ravine, and suddenly grazing. I saw through the grass that the saw before me the fresh verdure of plants various families were sitting at the fires in which only grow at very damp spots, under a front of their leathern tents, with the excep- heap of dry piled-up trees, among which a tion of a few children that were playing about. number of turkeys were running; I forgot The camp was on the other side of a stream the Indians and the risk, shot two old gobwhich” wound through the valley from the blers, and threw myself between the tall ferns, north. Though I lovged so for water, I must over the cold springs that welled up among avoid the neighbourhood of these savages, who them, in order to quench my fearful thirst. I might prove very dangerous to me in such an lay for nearly half-an-hour, ate a bit of biscuit, unknown and desolate country. I rode back and as I could not fully quench my thirst, through the valley in which I had spent the continually applied to the spring. This was night, and into the mountains on its eastern one of the most glorious meals I ever erside; for, if I had followed the valley to reach joyed.
Be of good cheer! 'Tis Christmas come once more ;
C. E. M.