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Wild Northern Scenes by S. H. Hammond

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wilderness, save a single spot at the head of the bay, where Martin's
house stands, three or four miles distant, and when you remember also
that no boat might be passing during the next twenty-four hours, you
will comprehend that his position was none of the pleasantest. There
he sat upon the top of his rock, with scarcely room to turn around,
with a wide sweep of deep water between him and the nearest land, the
fish utterly refusing to bite, and the sun blazing down upon him with
heat like a furnace, as it crept with its snail's pace across the sky.
At first he was inclined to smile at his ridiculous situation, all
alone there on the rock; but as the wind died away, and the sun poured
his burning rays right down upon him, and he panted and sweat under
its sweltering influences, he began to feel a little more serious.
Hours glided away, and the sun crept slowly along down the heavens,
but still no boat made its appearance.

"The sun hid itself behind the hills on the West, and still he was
alone. The shadows crept up the mountain peaks that stand up like
grim giants away off in the East, and twilight began to throw its grey
mantle over the lake; still he was alone. The darkness began to gather
around him; the forests along the shore to lose their distinctness and
to stand in sombre and shadowy outline above the water; still no
prospect of relief presented itself. The twilight faded from the West,
the stars stole out in the heavens, the milky way stretched its belt
of light across the sky, and there he sat alone still on his rock, the
night dews falling around him, and the night voices of the forest
coming solemnly out over the water. Things had now assumed a serious
aspect. He could not stretch his limbs save by standing erect, and it
seemed inevitable that he must watch the stars during the night, as he
had watched the sun during the day. To sleep there was out of the
question. There was no room for a sleeping posture, and the danger of
rolling down the rock into the water kept him wide awake. At length
the pleasant sound of oars, and voices in jolly converse, fell upon
his ear, and he shouted. Two sportsmen were returning from the Upper
Lakes, and right welcome was the answer they returned to his call. He
was glad enough to be released from his rock, upon which, as he said,
'he had made up his mind that he should be compelled to roost, like a
turkey on the ridge of a barn, for the night.'

"To go back from this digression," continued the Doctor, "I repeat
that every man has a vein of the vagabond, a streak of the savage in
him, which can never be clean wiped out. Educate him, polish him as
you may, it will be in him still, and he will love to go off into the
old woods at times, to lay around loose for a season, vagabondising
among the wild and savage things of the wilderness. It is but
indulging the original instincts of our nature. True, he will not
relish his savage ways a great while. His old habits will lead him
back to civilization, to the luxury of a well-furnished room, the
quiet of an easy chair, and the repose of a soft bed. In a word to
'clean up' and shave and dress, so that when he looks into a glass he
will see the shadow of a gentleman."



Spalding and Martin went out upon the lake after dark, with one of the
boats, to hunt by torch light. This is done by placing a lighted
torch, or a lamp upon a standard, placed upright in the bow of the
boat, and so high that a man seated or lying upon the bottom of the
craft, will have his head below it. He must himself be in someway
shaded from the light, which must be cast forward so that both the
hunter and the boatman will be in the shadow. A very common method is
to make a box, a foot or less square, open, or with a pane of glass on
one side; a stick three or four feet long is run through an auger hole
in the top and bottom, and wedged fast, which forms a standard; the
other end of the stick is run through a hole on the little deck on the
forward part of the boat, and placed in a socket formed for the
purpose in the bottom, and is wedged at the deck, so as to make it
steady. The open or glass front of the box is turned forward, and a
common japan lamp placed in a socket prepared for it in the box. This
of course throws the light forward, while the occupants of the boat
are in the shadow. The hunter sits, or more commonly lies at length on
a bed of boughs in the bottom of the boat, with his rifle so far in
front that the light will fall upon the forward sight. An experienced
boatman will paddle silently up to within twenty feet of a deer that
may be feeding along the shore. The stupid animal will stand, gazing
in astonishment at the light, until the boat almost touches him.

"That Hank Martin," said Cullen, one of the boatmen, as the hunters
disappeared into the darkness, "is a queer boy in his way. You will
notice that when he straightens up, and takes the kinks out of him, he
stands six feet and over in his stockings, and his arms hang down to
his knees. He's the strongest man in these woods, and tolerably active
when there's occasion for it. He is a droll, good-natured, easy
tempered chap, and don't get angry at trifles. He is fond of a joke
himself, and will stand having a good many sticks poked at him without
getting riled; but when he does get his back up, it's well enough to
stand out of his way, and not step on his shadow. He never struck a
man but once in real earnest, and that was over in Keeseville, and on
that occasion the people said the town clock had struck _one_. The
fellow he struck went eend over eend, and then went down, and when he
went down he laid still--he didn't come to tine.

"But what I was going to tell you is, that Hank and I were down at
Plattsburgh last fall, and a big fellow who had taken quite as much
red eye as was for his good, undertook to pick a quarrel with Hank and
give him a beating. Hank, as I said, being a peaceable man, and much
more given to fun than to fighting, kept good-natured, and avoided a
scrimmage as long as he could. But his patience and his temper at last
caved in, and seizing his opponent by the neck with his left hand, and
thrusting him down upon the ground, he began very deliberately to cuff
him with his right, in a way that seemed anything but pleasant to the
individual upon whom his cuffs were bestowed. 'Enough! enough!' cried
his assailant. 'Let up! enough! enough!' 'Hold your tongue, you
scoundrel!' replied Hank, as he kept on pommeling his enemy, 'hold
your tongue, I tell you! You ain't a judge of these things! I'll let
you know when you've got enough.' When he'd given him what he thought
was about right, he lifted him on to his feet, and, holding him up
face to face with himself a moment, 'There,' said he, 'look at me
well, so that you'll know me when I come this way again; and when you
see my trail, you'd better travel some other road.'"

"Speaking of Plattsburgh," said the Doctor, "reminds me of an incident
which occurred to a friend and myself, over in the Chataugay woods,
between the Chazy and the Upper Chataugay lakes. I was spending a few
days at Plattsburgh, and hearing a good deal of the trout and deer in
and about those lakes, my friend and myself concluded to pay them a
flying visit. On the banks of the Chazy and near the outlet, a
half-breed, that is, half French and half Indian, had built him a log
cabin, and cleared about an acre of land around it. His live stock
consisted of two homely, lean, and half-starved dogs, and as ragged
and ill-looking a donkey as could be found in a week's travel. The
half-breed was a sort of half fisherman and half hunter, excelling in
nothing, unless it be that he was the laziest man this side of the
Rocky Mountains. He succeeded, occasionally, in killing a deer in the
forest, and when he did so, he would lead his donkey to the place of
slaughter, and bring in the carcase on the long-eared animal's back.

"We were passing from the Chazy to Bradley's Lake, and had sat down on
the trunk of a fallen tree to take a short breathing spell. It was a
warm afternoon, and the air was calm; not a breath stirred the leaves
on the old trees around us; the forest sounds were hushed, save the
tap of the woodpecker on his hollow tree, or an occasional drumming of
a partridge on his log. It was drawing towards one of those calm,
still, autumnal evenings of which poets sing, but which are to be met
with in all their glory only among the beautiful lakes that lay
sleeping in the wild woods, and surrounded by old primeval things. The
path wound round a densely wooded and sombre hollow, the depths of
which the eye could not penetrate, but from out of which came the song
of a stream that went cascading down the rocks, and rippling among the
loose boulders that lay in its course. Beyond us, through an opening
in the trees, we could see the lake, sparkling and shining in the
evening sunbeams, and we were talking about the beauty of the view,
and the calmness and repose that seemed resting upon all things, when,
of a sudden, there came up from that shadowy dell a sound, the most
unearthly that ever broke upon the astonished ear of mortal man. I
have heard the roar of the lion of the desert, the yell of the hyena,
the trumpeting of the elephant, the scream of the panther, the howl of
the wolf. It was like none of these; but if you could imagine them all
combined, and concentrated into a single sound, and ushered together
upon the air from a single throat, shaped like the long neck of some
gigantic ichthiosaurus of the times of old, you would have some faint
idea of the strange sounds that came roaring up from that hollow way.
My friend was a man of courage, and, like myself, had been around the
world some; had spent a good deal of time, first and last, in the
woods, was familiar with most of the legitimate forest sounds, and had
heard all the ten thousand voices that belong in the wilderness, but
we had never before listened to a noise like that.

"We looked to our rifles and at one another, and it may well be that
our hats sat somewhat loosely upon our heads, from an involuntary
rising of the hair. 'What, in the name of all that is mysterious,'
cried my friend, in amazement, 'is that?' 'It is more than I know,' I
replied, as I placed a fresh cap on my rifle. After a few minutes, the
sounds were repeated, and the hills seemed to groan with affright as
they sent them back in wavy and quavering echoes from their rugged

"'We must understand this,' said my friend, as he led the way with a
cautious and stealthy movement towards the depths of the hollow, whence
the sounds came, and there, by the stream, on a little sand-bar, stood
old Sangamo's donkey, by the side of a deer. Old Sangamo himself was
stretched at full length on the bank, fast asleep. How he could have
slept on, with such an infernal roaring as that donkey made in those
old woods, six or eight miles outside of a fence, is more than I can
comprehend. But he did sleep through it all, and was wakened only by
a punch in the ribs with the butt of my rifle, instigated by pity for
the poor donkey that was being eaten up by the flies. We helped him
to load the carcass of the deer on the back of his donkey, and saw
him move off lazily towards home. I have heard a good many strange
noises in my day, but never, on any other occasion, have I listened
to anything to be at all compared with the noise made by the braying
of old Sangamo's donkey in the Chataugay woods."

As the Doctor concluded his story, the sharp crack of Spalding's rifle
broke the stillness of the night, and went reverberating among the
hills, and dying away over the lake. It was but a short distance from
our camp, in a little bay hidden away around a wooded promontory below
us. In a few minutes, the light was seen, rounding the point that hid
the bay from our view, and, as the boat landed in front of our tents,
Spalding and Martin lifted from it a fine two year old deer, shot
directly between the eyes.

[Illustration: How he could have slept on, with such an infernal
roaring as that donkey made in those old woods, six or eight miles
outside of a fence, is more than I can comprehend.--]

"There," said Spalding, "is the biggest, or what _was_ the biggest
fool of a deer in these woods. Do you believe that he stood perfectly
still, gazing in stupid astonishment at our light, until we were
within a dozen feet of him, when I dropped him with that ball between
the eyes?"

"No," replied Smith, "I really don't believe any such thing."

"It is true, notwithstanding your lack of faith," said Spalding.

"Do you say that as counsel, or as a gentleman?" inquired Smith.

"Look you, Mr. Smith," said Spalding, "you are drawing a distinction
not warranted by the authority of the books--as if a lawyer could not
tell the truth like a gentleman. I say it as both."

"Very well," remarked Smith, "then I must believe it, of course. But
understand, Hank Martin, it will be my turn to-morrow night." And so
the matter was settled that the next night hunting was to be done
by Smith.

"H----," said the Doctor, as I was stealing quietly out of the tent,
in the twilight of the next morning, so as not to awaken my
companions, "where now?"

"I'm going to take some trout for breakfast, with our venison," I

"And where do you propose to take them?" he inquired. "Come with me,
and I'll show you. I looked the place out last evening, and if you've
done sleeping, we'll have some sport."

"Agreed," said he, and we paddled around the point into a little bay,
at the head of which a small, but cold stream entered the lake. The
Doctor sat in the bow, and, having adjusted his rod, I steered the
boat carefully, close along the shore, to within reach of the mouth of
the brook, and directed him to cast across it. The moment his fly
touched the water, half a dozen fish rose to it together. It was
eagerly seized by one weighing less than a quarter of a pound, which
was lifted bodily into the boat. He caught as fast as he could cast
his fly. They were the genuine brook trout, none of them exceeding a
quarter Of a pound in weight. In half an hour, we had secured as many
as we needed for breakfast, and paddled back to take a morning nap
while the meal was being prepared.

The sweetest fish that swims is the brook trout, weighing from a
quarter of a pound down. Rolled in flour, or meal, and fried brown,
they have no equal. The lake and river trout, weighing from two to ten
pounds, beautiful as they are, have not that delicacy of flavor which
belongs to the genuine brook trout. Boiled, when freshly caught, they
are by no means to be spoken lightly of. They have few equals, cooked
in that way, but as a pan fish, they are not to be compared with the
genuine brook trout.



We crossed over towards a deep bay on the west shore, to where a
stream comes cascading down the rocks, and leaping into the lake, as
if rejoicing at finding a resting-place in its quiet bosom. The spot
where this stream enters, is in the deep shadow of the old forest
trees that reach their leafy arms far out from the ledges on which
they grow, forming an arch above, and shutting out the sunlight. Here
the trout congregate, to enjoy the cool water that comes down from the
hills above. We approached it carefully, and Smith, by way of
experiment, cast his fly across the current where the stream enters
the lake. It was seized by a beautiful fish weighing, perhaps, two
pounds. We did not need him, for the place where we proposed to pitch
our tents for the night would afford us all the fish required, and
after lifting him into the boat with the landing-net and releasing
the hook from his jaw, we returned him to the lake again.

Two miles from the head of the lake, on the east side, is a deep bay
at the head of which enters a little brook that comes creeping along
for a mile among the tangled roots of ancient hemlocks and spruce,
singing gaily among the loose stones, sometimes disappearing entirely
beneath bridges of moss, and sometimes sparkling in the sunlight, on
its way to the lake. This little stream we found swarming with
speckled trout of the size of minnows, and at its mouth the large
trout congregated. As we rounded one of the points that shut out the
view of this bay from the lake, we saw two deer feeding quietly upon
the lily pads along the shore, some quarter of a mile from us. We
dropped quietly back behind the point, where Smith and one of the
boatmen prepared to take a shot at them. Martin took his seat in the
stern with his paddle, and Smith lay stretched at length along the
bottom of the boat upon boughs prepared for the occasion, with his
rifle resting upon the forward end of the boat. It was broad daylight,
and to paddle up within shooting distance of a deer under such
circumstances, in plain view of an animal the most wary, is a delicate
job, but it may be done. I have more than once been thus paddled
within thirty yards of a deer while feeding in the water. The wind
must be blowing from the deer to the hunter, or the scent will alarm
the animal, and he will go snorting and bounding away.

Smith and Martin passed silently out into the bay, and moved slowly
towards where the deer were feeding. The boat in which we sat was
permitted to float out to a position from which we could see the
sportsmen as they approached the game. Slowly but steadily they moved,
the paddle remaining in the water, sculling the little craft along as
if it were a log drifting in the water. The deer occasionally raised
their heads, looking all around, evidently regarding the boat as a
harmless thing floating in from the lake. After gazing thus about them
they stooped their heads again, and went on feeding, as if no danger
were near them. The hunters drifted within seventy or eighty yards of
the game, when a column of white smoke shot suddenly up from the bow
of the boat, and the report of Smith's rifle rang out sharp and clear
over the lake. We saw where the ball struck the water just beyond the
deer, passing directly under its belly, possibly high enough to graze
its body. At the flash and report of the rifle, the animal leaped high
into the air, bounded in affright this way and that for a moment, and
then straightened itself for the woods. We heard his snort as he went
crashing up the hillside.

Reader, should you ever drift out to this beautiful lake, you will
find on the ridge just above where Bog River comes tumbling, and
roaring, and foaming over the rocks into the lake, the charred remains
of a campfire, built against a great log that was once the trunk of a
tall forest tree. If you should visit it within a year or two, you
will perhaps notice some forked stakes standing a few feet from the
place of the fire, and a bed of withered and dry boughs (now fresh
and green). Well, our tents were stretched over those stakes, those
boughs were our bed, and those charred chunks are the remains of our
campfire, that sent a sepulchral light among the forest trees around.

The sounds that come upon the ear during the night in a far off place
like this, are peculiar. The old owl hoots mournfully, the frogs
bellow hoarsely along the reedy shore, while the tree toads are
quavering from among the branches of the scrubby trees that grow along
the rocky banks; the whippoorwill pipes shrilly in the forest depths;
the breeze murmurs among the foliage of the tall old pines, while the
everlasting roar of the waters, as they go tumbling down the rocks, is
always heard. However diversified these sounds may be, they all invite
to repose. They fall soothingly upon the ear, and though all are
distinctly heard, yet strange as it may seem, there is a strong
impression upon the mind of the deep silence pervading the forest.
This impression is doubtless occasioned by the utter dissimilarity
between the voices one hears in the day, from those which fall upon
the ear in the night time. The former are all joyous and happy, full
of gladness and merriment, full of life and animation; the latter
solemn, deep, profound, lulling to the senses; not sorrowful nor sad,
yet still such as form a calm and quiet lullaby, under the influence
of which one glides away into slumber, and sleeps quietly until dawn.
Then the voice of gladness breaks so tumultuously on the ear, that he
must be a sluggard indeed who can resist their wakening influences.
How beautifully the sun went down behind the hills, lighting up the
western sky, and the fleecy clouds floating in the heavens with a
blaze of glory, throwing a mantle of silver over the tall ranges and
mountain peaks that loomed up in solemn grandeur away in the east; and
how stilly, silently the stars came out from the depths above, and how
brightly and truthfully they were given back from away down in depths
beneath the placid waters. We had taken half a dozen beautiful trout
from the foot of the falls where the current shoots out into the lake.
We had eaten them too, and were sitting in front of our tents smoking
our evening pipes.

"Spalding," said the Doctor, "How I wish our little boys were out here
with us. How they would enjoy themselves among these lakes and rivers.
It is a hard lot that the children of our cities have in life. They
struggle up to man and womanhood against fearful odds, and the wonder
is, that they do not perish in their infancy; that they are not
blasted, as the blossoms are, when the cold east wind sweeps over
the earth."

"You are right, my friend," replied Spalding. "I should like to have
our little boys, and girls too, for that matter, with us for a few
days out here on these lakes. It would be a lifetime to them,
measuring time by the enjoyment it would afford them. Still their city
habits might make them tire of this freedom in a week. You and I enjoy
it longer, because it brings back old memories and relieves us from
the toils of business and the restraints of conventional life. You
are right too in saying that the lot of our city children is a hard
one. To live imprisoned between long rows of brick walls, breathing an
atmosphere charged with the exhalations of ten thousand cooking
stoves, the dust of forges and the smoke of furnaces, machine shops,
gas works, filthy streets, and the thousand other manufactories of
villainous smells; where the summer air has no freshness, no forest
odors, or sweetness gathered from fields of grain, the meadows, or the
pastures. To tramp only on stone sidewalks. To know nothing of the
pleasant paths beneath the spreading branches of old primeval trees;
no soft grass for their little feet to press; never to wander along
the streams or the little brooks; to be strangers always to the
beautiful things spread out everywhere in the country in the summer
time. I always feel sad when I see the pale faces of the little
children of the great cities, and marvel how so many of them grow up
to be men and women. It is a hard lot to be cooped up in the city,
vegitating, as it were, in the shade, where there is no grass for
their little feet to press, no fences to climb, or fields to ramble
over, or brooks to wade, or running water on which to float chips, and
wherein to watch the little chubs and shiners dancing and playing
about, or fresh pure air to breathe, or birds to listen to. It is a
thousand pities that the cities could not be emptied every summer of
their little people into the free and open country, where they could
run about, and sport and play, and have free range and plenty of
elbow-room. It would make them so much healthier and happier, so much
more cheerful; their voices of gladness would ring out so much more
joyously in the morning, and their songs be so much more sweet
at night."

I remember an anecdote told me of a little child, born in the great
metropolis, who had never, until her fifth summer, been outside of the
paved streets of New York. Her mother had friends residing in one of
the up-river towns, owning a beautiful farm overlooking the Hudson,
and in early May she paid them a visit, taking her little daughter
with her. Mary, of course, was delighted. Like a bird freed from its
cage, she flew about here, there, everywhere, in-doors and out, among
the chickens and the pigs, the turkeys and the lambs, enjoying to the
full the thousand new things that her eyes rested upon all around her,
and her young spirits in wild commotion under the bracing influences
of the country air. "Mother! mother!" she exclaimed, as she came
dashing into the parlor, her beautiful curls floating wildly over her
shoulders, and her bright eyes wide open with wonder; "Mother I
mother! come out here, quick! and see this funny tree, all covered
over with snow-flakes, and how sweet it smells all around it." It was
a plum tree in full blossom. That little child had never seen the
beautiful spring blossoms on the fruit trees.

"I have no children of my own," remarked Smith, "and, therefore, may
not be regarded as the best authority in regard to the manner of
treating, or rearing children; but I have often wondered at the very
great mistakes people sometimes make in regard to them. There are
parents who mean no wrong, and yet who make no scruple of deceiving
them in reply to their simple questionings, forgetting, or regardless
of the fact, that a false answer to their innocent inquiries put in
good faith, and in the earnest pursuit of truth, may plant an error in
their minds, which may take years of experience, and often a painful
amount of ridicule to eradicate. I knew a little boy years ago, a
thoughtful, philosophic child, who speculated in his simplicity upon
what he saw, as great philosophers do, in their wisdom, upon the
various phenomena of Nature. His father, had a great barn, above
which, as was the fashion long ago, perched upon a staff, a few feet
above the ridgepole, was a weather-cock, fashioned out of a piece of
board in the shape of a rooster. 'Father,' said the little boy, one
day, 'what makes that rooster always point his head one way when the
cold wind blows, and the other way when it is warm and pleasant?' 'He
always looks towards the place where the wind comes from,' replied the
father; 'when he gets too warm, and the sun is too hot for him, he
turns his tail to the south, and the north wind is sure to come down,
cold and chill, to cool him off.' 'Does he call the cold wind, father,
and will it come when he looks, that way?' was the next inquiry.
'Certainly,' replied his father, carelessly. That was a wrong and a
foolish answer.

"That little boy, relying in his simple faith upon the wisdom and
truthfulness of his father, believed for a long time, that the
weathercock on the top of the barn, could bring the cold north, or
the warm south wind, by turning upon its perch. He was cured of his
error only by being laughed at for his simplicity. Parents should
never deceive their children by a careless or a wrong answer to the
simple questions put to them by these little searchers after

"I remember," said the doctor, "and it is one of the earliest
incidents which my recollection has treasured, that I was out one
evening in autumn, with a boy older than myself, gathering hazel nuts.
The sun had sunk behind the hills, and the shadows of twilight were
gathering in the valley. It was a beautiful and calm evening, the
solemn stillness of which, was only broken by the 'tza! tza!' of
thousands of katydids among the bushes. I asked my companion what it
was that made the noise I heard, and he, supposing that I referred to
sounds that came up occasionally from the lake, after listening for a
moment, answered that it was made by the wild geese. In my simplicity
I believed it, and it was not until I caught, the next season, a
katydid while it was in the act of singing, that I discovered that the
music among the hazel bushes was not made by the wild geese."

"I never respect a man or woman," said Spalding, "whose heart does not
warm towards little children, who takes no pleasure nor interest in
their society, who has no patience to listen to their simple thoughts
expressed in their simple way. 'Mother,' said a little child of four
or five years of age, one evening when the summer air was warm, and
the skies were bright above, as she sat beside her mother, on a bench
beneath the spreading branches of the tall old elms in front of the
house; 'mother, what makes the stars come out, only after the dark has
come down, and why don't the moon go up into the sky like the sun in
the day time?' I listened anxiously for the reply. I knew the kind
heart of that mother, how truthful it was, and how earnest and pure in
its affection for its gentle and only darling. 'Sit here upon my lap,
Mary,' said the mother, 'and I will try and explain it all so that you
will understand it.' And she told the little child how God made the
sun to rule the day, and the moon and the stars to rule the night; how
that the stars were always in the sky, but how the superior brightness
of the sun put them out in the day time; how the stars, that twinkled
like little rush-lights in the heavens, were great worlds, a thousand
times larger than this earth, made and placed away up in the sky, by
the same great and good God who made the world we live in. Little Mary
was silent and attentive to the simple lecture, until it was finished,
and then asked, so simply and confidingly, that I could not help
smiling to think that the mind of childhood should be running upon a
subject, and seeking a solution of the same question which has puzzled
the profoundest philosophers through all time: 'Mother,' said the
little one, 'are there people in the moon and in the stars, them great
worlds that look to us so like candles in the sky?' 'That question, my
child,' said the mother, 'I cannot answer.' 'I believe,' said the
child, that there _are_ people in the moon, and in all the stars.'
'Why?' asked her mother. 'Because I don't believe God would make such
big and beautiful worlds without making people to live in them.' What
more has the profoundest philosopher who ever lived said, to prove
that those mighty worlds which are seen in the heavens at night, that
are scattered all through the universe of God, rolling forever on
their everlasting rounds, are peopled by living, moving,
sentient beings?"



We sent forward our boatman with the luggage early in the morning, up
Bog River towards Mud Lake, the source of the right branch of that
river, lying some thirty miles deeper in the wilderness, counting the
sinuosities of the stream, and said to be the highest body of water in
all this wild region. We were to spend the day on Tupper's Lake, and
follow him the next morning. Our boatman built for our accommodation,
a brush shanty in the place of our tents. We rowed about this
beautiful sheet of water, exploring its secluded bays and romantic
islands, trying experiments with the trout wherever a stream came down
from the hills, and trolling for lake trout while crossing the lake.
Near the shore, on the west bank, perhaps half a mile from the falls,
is one of the coldest, purest and most beautiful springs that I ever
met with. It comes up into a little basin some six or eight feet in
diameter, by two or three in depth. The bottom is of loose white sand
which is all in commotion, by the constant boiling up of the clear
cold water. From this basin a little stream goes rippling and laughing
to the lake. Towards evening we returned to our shanty with abundance
of fish for supper and breakfast, taken, as I said, in simply trying
experiments as to where they were to be found in the greatest

If any sportsman who may drift out this way, is fond of taking the
speckled trout--little fellows, weighing from a quarter of a pound
down, the same he meets with in the streams of Vermont, in
Massachusetts, in Northern Pennsylvania, and. Western New York, let
him provide himself with angle-worms, and row to the head of the lake.
A short distance east of where Bog River enters, say from a quarter to
half a mile, he will find a cold mountain stream. Let him rig for
brook-fishing and take to that stream. If he does not fill his basket
in a little while, he may set it down to the score of bad luck, or
some lack of skill on his part in taking them, for the brook trout are
there in abundance. Across the lake from Long Island, to the right as
you go up the lake, is a bay that goes away in around a woody point.
At the head of this bay, "Grindstone Brook" enters. It is a smallish
stream, and comes dashing down over shelving rocks some thirty feet,
and shoots out into the bay among broken rocks, and loose boulders.
The waters of this stream are much colder than those of the lake. Let
the sportsman row carefully up towards the mouth of this stream, along
towards evening of a hot day, when the shadow of the hill reaches far
out over the lake, and cast his fly across the little current, and if
he does not take as beautiful a string of river trout as can be found
in these parts, let him set it down to the score of accident, for the
trout are there in the warm days of August. If he has a curiosity to
know what there is above these Little Falls, let him try his
angle-worms in the brook just over the ridge, and he will find out. I
claim to have discovered these choice fishing places some seasons
since, and have kept them for my own private use and amusement. Nobody
seemed to know of them. When the trout refused to be taken elsewhere,
I have always found them here, abundant, greedy, and ready to be taken
by any decently skillful effort. I regard these places as in some sort
my private property, and I mention them privately and in confidence to
the reader, trusting that my right will be respected.

We finished our evening meal while the sun was yet above the western
hills, and sat with our pipes around a smudge, made upon the broad
flat rock, which recedes with a gentle acclivity from the shore, where
the Bog River enters the lake, looking out over the stirless waters.
It was a beautiful view, so calm, so still and placid, and yet so
wild. The islands seemed to stand out clear from the water, to be
lifted up, as it were, from the lake, so perfectly moveless and
polished was its surface. On a grassy point to the right, and a
hundred rods distant, two deer were quietly feeding, while in a little
bay on the left, a brood of young ducks were sporting and skimming
along the water in playful gyrations around their staid and watchful
mother. On the outstretched arm of a dead tree on the island before
us, sat a bald eagle, pluming himself; and high above the lake the
osprey soared, turning his piercing eye downward, watching for
his prey.

"I've been thinking," said Smith, as he refilled his pipe, "of what
the Doctor was saying the other evening about every body having a
streak of the vagabond in him, which makes him relish an occasional
tramp in the old woods among the natural things; things that have not
been marred by the barbarisms, so to speak, of civilization. I'm
inclined to believe his theory to be true, but I see a difficulty in
its practical working. Now, suppose, Doctor, that you and I being out
here together vagabondizing, as you term it, and your streak of the
vagabond being twice as large as mine, you would of course desire to
play the savage twice as long as I should. There would, in that case,
be a marring of the harmonies. I should be anxious to get back to
civilization, while you, being rather in your normal element, would
insist upon 'laying around loose,' as you say, for Mercy knows
how long."

"Gentlemen," said the Doctor in reply, "only hear this fellow! He's
getting homesick already. He has no wife, not a child in the world, no
business, nothing to call him home save a superannuated pointer, and
an old Tom cat, and yet he would leave these glorious old woods, these
beautiful lakes, these rivers, these trout and deer, and all the glad
music of the wild things, to-morrow, and go back to the dust, the
poisoned atmosphere, the eternal jostling and monotonous noises of the
city! Truly a vagabond and a savage is Smith. He's afraid that his
family, his mangy old pointer and dropsical cat, will suffer in
his absence."

"I scorn to answer such an accusation," retorted Smith, "I shall treat
it with dignified contempt, as I do the Doc medicines, which I never
take but always pay for, just to keep him from starving, and to make
him imagine he cures me. But speaking of cats reminds me of a certain
matter which occurred not many years ago. The Doctor here, if his
testimony could be relied upon, knows that I used to be troubled with
indigestion, and was sometimes a little nervous"----

"A _little_ nervous!" interrupted the Doctor, "why he would be as crazy
with the hypo as a March hare. He would insist that he was going to
die, or to the almshouse. He has made two or three dozen wills, to my
certain knowledge, under the firm conviction that he would be in the
ground in a week. A _little_ nervous, indeed!"

"Well," said Smith, "we won't quarrel about the degree of my
nervousness. But in regard to what I was going to say about cats. Some
years ago I occupied a suite of rooms in the second story of a house
rented by a widow lady, to whom I had been under some obligations in
my boyhood, and whom my mother always regarded as her best friend."
(Smith supported the excellent old lady in comfort for a decade, under
pretence of boarding with her, ministering to the last years of her
life with the care and affection of a son.) "The landlord of the
premises was the owner of a block of twelve houses--six on Pearl
street, and six on Broadway, the lots meeting midway between the two
streets. On the rear of these lots are the out-houses, all under a
continuous flat roof, some twelve feet high, twenty wide, and say a
hundred and fifty feet long. In the rear of the Broadway
dwelling-houses, are one story tea-rooms, or third parlors, the roofs
of which form a continuous platform, upon which you can step from the
second story of the houses."

"Well," said the Doctor, "what of all that?"

"There's a great deal of it," Smith replied. "I don't pretend to know
how many cats there were in the city of Albany. Indeed, I never heard
that they were included in the census. I do not undertake to say that
they _all_ congregated nightly on the roofs of those out-houses. But
if there was a cat in the sixth ward, that didn't have something to
say on that roof every night, I should like to make its acquaintance.
I am against cats. I regard them as treacherous, ungrateful animals,
and as having very small moral developments generally. I am against
_cat-_terwauling, especially in the night season, when honest people
have a right to their natural sleep. I don't like to be woke up, when
rounding a pleasant dream, by their growling and screaming, spitting
and whining, groaning and crying, and the hundred other nameless
noises by which they frighten sleep from our pillows.

"Well, one night, it may have been one o'clock, or two, or three, I
was awakened by the awfullest screaming and sputtering, growling and
swearing, that ever startled a weary man from his slumbers. I leaped
out of bed under the impression that at least twenty little children
had fallen into as many tubs of boiling water. I threw open the window
and stepped out upon the roof of the tea-room. I don't intend to
exaggerate, but I honestly believe that there were less than three
hundred cats over against me, on the roofs of the out-houses; each one
of which had a tail bigger than a Bologna sausage, his back crooked up
like an oxbow, and his great round eyes gleaming fiercely in the
moonlight, putting in his very best in the way of catterwauling. Two
of the largest, one black as night and the other a dark grey or
brindle, appeared to be particularly in earnest, and the way they
scolded, and screamed, and swore at each other was a sin to hear. I
won't undertake to report all they said; a decent regard for the
proprieties of language, compels me to give only a sketch of
the debate.

"'You infernal, big-tailed, hump-backed, ugly-mugged thief,' screamed
the grey, 'I'd like to know what _you_ are out here for this time of
night, skulking, and creeping, and nosing about in the dark, poaching
upon other people's preserves?'

"'Very well I mighty well!' was the reply, 'for _you_, to talk, you
black-skinned, ogre-eyed, growling and sputtering robber, to come upon
this roof, sticking up _your_ back and taking airs on yourself. I'd
like to know what business _you've_ got to be prowling about and
crowding yourself into honest people's company?'

"'I'm a regular Tom Cat, I'd have you know, and go where I please, and
I'll stand none of your big talk and insolent looks.' "'Insolent!
Hear the cowardly thief! Insolent! Very well, Mr. Tom Cat! very good,
indeed! Now, just take your black skin off of this roof, or you'll get
what will make you look cross-eyed foe a month.'

"'Get off this roof, I think you said. Look at this set of ivory, and
these claws, old greyback! If you want I should leave this roof, just
come and put me off. Try it on, old Beeswax. Yes, yes! try it on once,
and we'll see whose eyes will look straightest in the morning! Come
on, old Humpback! Try it on, old Sausage Tail!'

"And then they pitched in, and such scratching and growling, scolding
and swearing, and biting, and rolling over and over, I never happened
to see or hear before. About that time I dropped a boulder of coal,
taken from the scuttle, weighing about half a pound, right among them
(accidently of course). Whether it hit any one I can't positively
affirm, but I heard a dull heavy sound, a kind of _chug_, as if it had
struck against something soft, and the scream of one of the
belligerents was brought to a sudden stop, by a sort of hysterical
jerk, as though there had been a sudden lack of wind to carry it on.
It put an end to the disturbance, and all the rioters, save one,
scampered away. That one remained, all doubled up in a heap like, as
if it had the sick headache, or been attacked with a sudden
inflammation of the bowels. If any body's cat was found the next
morning with a swelled head, or a great bunch on its side, and seemed
dumpish, it's my private opinion that that's the one that lump of coal
fell upon. Still it did'nt do much good in the way of relieving me
from the annoyance of these cat conventions. They continued to
congregate nightly on that long shed in the rear of my rooms. I wasted
more wood upon them than I could well afford to spare. I used up all
the brickbats I could lay my hands on. I threw away something less
than a ton of coal; and on two occasions came near being taken to the
watch-house for smashing a window in the opposite block. All this
proved of no avail. Indeed, my tormentors began at last to get used to
it, to regard it as part of the performance.

"The matter was getting serious. It became evident that either those
cats or myself must leave the premises. I had paid my rent in advance,
and was therefore entitled to quiet use and enjoyment, according to
the terms of my lease. I made up my mind to try one more experiment.
So I bought me a double-barrelled gun, and a quantity of powder and
shot, and gave fair warning that I intended to use them.

"Well, the moon came up one night, with her great round face, and went
walking up the sky with a queenly tread, throwing her light, like a
mantle of brightness, over all the earth. I love the calm of a
moonlight night, in the pleasant spring time, and the cats of our part
of the town seemed to love it too, for they came from every quarter;
from the sheds around the National Garden, from the stables, the
streets, the basements, and the kitchens, creeping stealthily along
the tops of the fences, and along the sheds, and clambering up the
boards that leaned up against the outbuildings, and set themselves
down, scores or less of them, in their old trysting place, right
opposite my chamber windows. To all this I had in the abstract no
objection. If a cat chooses to take a quiet walk by moonlight, if he
chooses to go out for his pleasure or his profit, it is no particular
business of mine, and I haven't a word to say. Cats have rights, and I
have no disposition to interfere with them. If they choose to hold a
convention to discuss the affairs of rat-and-mousedom, they can do it
for all me. But they must go about it decently and in order. They must
talk matters over calmly; there must be no rioting, no fighting. They
must refrain from the use of profane language--they must not swear.
There's law against all this, and I had warned them long before that I
would stand no such nonsense. I told them frankly that I'd let drive
among them some night with a double-barrelled gun, loaded with powder
and duck-shot--and I meant it. But those cats did'nt believe a word I
said. They did'nt believe I had any powder and shot. They did'nt
believe I had any gun, or knew how to use it, if I had; and one great
Maltese, with eyes like tea-plates, and a tail like a Bologna sausage,
grinned and sputtered, and spit, in derision and defiance of my
threats. 'Very well!' said I. 'Very well, Mr. TOM CAT! very well,
indeed! On your head be it, Mr. TOM CAT! Try it on, Mr. TOM CAT, and
we'll see who'll get the worst of it.'

"Well, as I said, the moon came up one night, with her great round
face, and all the little stars hid themselves, as if ashamed of their
twinkle in the splendor of her superior brightness. I retired when the
rumble of the carriages in the streets, and the tramp on the stone
sidewalks had ceased, and the scream of the eleven o'clock train had
died away into silence, with a quiet conscience, and in the confidence
that I should find that repose to which one who has wronged no man
during the day, is justly entitled.

"It may have been midnight, or one o'clock, or two, when I was
awakened from a pleasant slumber, by a babel of unearthly sounds in
the rear of my chamber. I knew what those sounds meant, for they had
cost me fuel enough to have lasted a month. I raised the window, and
there, as of old, right opposite me, on the north end of that long
shed, was an assemblage of all the cats in that part of the town. I
won't be precise as to numbers, but it is my honest belief that there
was less than three hundred of them; and if one among them all was
silent, I did not succeed in discovering which it was. There was that
same old Maltese, with his saucer eyes and sausage tail; and over
against him sat a monstrous brindle; and off at the right was an old
spotted ratter; and on his left was one black as a wolf's mouth, all
but his eyes, which glared with a sulphurous and lurid brightness; and
dotted all around, over a space some thirty feet square, were dozens
more, of all sizes and colors, and _such_ growling and spitting, and
shrieking, and swearing, never before broke, with hideous discord, the
silence of midnight.

"I loaded my double-barrelled gun by candle-light I put plenty of
powder and a handful of shot into each barrel. I adjusted the caps
carefully, and stepped out of the window, upon the narrow roof upon
which it opens. I was then just eighty feet from that cat convention.
I addressed myself to the chairman (the old Maltese) in a distinct and
audible voice and said, 'SCAT!' He did'nt recognise my right to the
floor, but went right on with the business of the meeting. 'SCAT!'
cried I, more emphatically than before, but was answered only by an
extra shriek from the chairman, and a fiercer scream from the whole
assembly. 'SCAT! once,' cried I again, as I brought my gun to a
present. 'SCAT! twice,' and I aimed straight at the chairman, covering
half a dozen others in the range. 'SCAT! three times,' and I let
drive. Bang! went the right-hand barrel; and bang! went the left-hand
barrel. Such scampering, such leaping off the shed, such running away
over the eaves of the outbuildings, over the tops of the wood-sheds,
were never seen before. The echoes of the firing had scarcely died
away, when that whole assemblage was broken up and dispersed.

"'Thomas,' said I, the next morning to the boy who did chores for us,
'there seems to be a cat asleep out on that woodshed, go up and
scare it away.'

"Thomas clambered upon the shed and went up to where that cat lay, and
lifting it up by the tail, hallood back to me, 'This cat can't be
waked up; it can't be scared away--its dead!' After examining it for a
moment--'Somebody's been a shootin' on it, by thunder,' as he tossed
it down into the yard.

"You don't say so!" said I. "That cat was the old Maltese--the
chairman of that convention. I don't know where he boarded, or who
claimed title to him. What I do know is, that it cost me a quarter to
have him buried, or thrown into the river; and that I was suffered to
sleep in peace from the time I made the discovery that _powder and
lead are great quellers of midnight rioting_. They gave _me_ quiet at
least, and saved me from the wickedness of the nightly use of certain
expletives, under the excitement of the occasion, which are not to be
found in any of the religious works of the day."



We started early the next morning up Bog River, intending to reach the
"first chain of ponds," some twenty miles deeper in the wilderness, as
the stream runs, on the banks of which our pioneer had been instructed
to pitch our tents. This day's journey, it was understood, would be a
hard one, as there were eight carrying places, varying from ten rods
to half a mile in length. The Bog River is a deep, sluggish stream for
five or six miles above the falls, just at the lake. It goes creeping
along, among, and around immense boulders, thrown loose, as it were,
in mid channel. At this distance, the stream divides, the right hand
channel leading to the two chains of ponds and Mud Lake, where it
takes its rise; and the left to Round Pond, and little Tupper's Lake,
and a dozen other nameless sheets of water, laying higher up among the
mountains. Our course lay up the right hand channel, which, for half
a mile above the forks, comes roaring and tumbling through a mountain
gorge, plunging over falls, and whirling and surging among the
boulders, in a descent of three of four hundred feet in all. Around
these, and seven other rapids of greater or less extent, our boats had
to be carried.

We reached the lower chain of ponds within an hour of sunset, and
found our tents pitched at a pleasant spot which looked out over the
easternmost one of these beautiful little lakelets. There are three of
them, connected together by narrow passages or straits, the banks of
which, as the boat glides along, the oars will touch. They are
surrounded by low but pleasant hills, so arranged as to form a varied
but delightful scenery. From the western one, the hills rise from the
water with a steep acclivity, covered with a gigantic growth of
timber, save on the northern side, where a pleasant natural meadow,
covered with rank grass and a few spruce and fir trees, stretches
away. It contains about two hundred acres, and its waters are deep and
pure. The middle one, though smaller, is equally beautiful, skirted on
three sides with wood-covered hills, and on the other by a
continuation of the same natural meadow. The eastern one, on the
western banks of which our tents were located on a beautiful little
bay, is the prettiest of them all. It contains perhaps six hundred
acres, and the scenery around it is exceedingly cheerful and pleasant.
The northern shore is bound by a natural meadow of luxuriant wild
grass, between which and the water is a hard sandy beach, at low water
some thirty feet wide, and extending between a quarter and half a
mile in length.

As we approached these ponds, the river became broad and shallow.
Natural meadows, covered with tall grass and weeds, stretching away on
either hand. When we came to this portion of the river, the oars were
shipped, and our boat-men took their seats in the stern with their
paddles. Smith was in the bow of one boat, and Spalding in that of the
other, each with rifle in hand, preparatory to the slaughter of a
deer, to provide us with venison. It was arranged that the marksman
who fired and failed to secure his game, should change places with the
one behind him, and that thus the rotation should go on, till we
should bring down a deer. We knew that we should see numbers of them
feeding along the margin of the stream, and upon the natural meadows
that skirted the shore. The stream was winding and tortuous, and at no
time could we see more than five-and-twenty rods in advance of us, so
crooked is its course.

We were moving up the stream cautiously and silently; the boatman who
had charge of the craft in which were Smith and myself, seated in the
stern, paddling, and Smith himself seated in the bow, with rifle in
hand, ready for anything that might turn up. As the boat rounded a
point, a deer started out from among the reeds on the right, and went
dashing and snorting across the river directly in front of the boat,
and five or six rods ahead, the water being only about two feet in
depth. Smith blazed away at him; where the ball went, Mercy knows; but
the deer dashed forward with accelerated speed, and a louder whistle,
and went crashing up the hill-side. Smith acknowledged to a severe
attack of the Buck fever. It was now my turn to take the next shot;
and changing places with Smith, we went ahead. In ten minutes a chance
to try my skill occurred. But it was a long shot, the game was "on the
wing," and I had no better success than did my friend. The deer only
increased the length of his bounds, and he too went plunging through
the old woods, snorting in astonishment, and huge affright at what he
had seen and heard.

Our boat now fell back, and Spalding and the Doctor took the lead. In
a short time, a deer was discovered feeding just ahead of us on the
lily pads along the shore. The boatman paddled silently up to within
eight or ten rods of him. Spalding sighted him long and, as he
averred, carefully with his rifle. The deer fed and fed on, and we
waited anxiously to hear the crack of the rifle, and see the deer go
down; but still the boat glided on unnoticed by the animal that was
feeding in unsuspecting security. At length he raised his head, threw
forward his long ears, gazed for a second intently at his enemies, and
then appreciating his danger, snorted like a warhorse and plunged in a
seeming desperation of terror towards the shore. He had ran a few rods
when Spalding let drive at him, as he confessed, at random. The ball
went wide of the mark, and the game dashed, with more desperate
energy, and whistling and snorting like a locomotive, into the brush
that lined the banks. It was Spalding's third shot in all his life at
a deer, and he insisted, gravely enough, that he did not fire while
the game was standing broadside to him, on account of his desire to
give the animal a chance for his life. The truth is, that Spalding had
a bad, a very bad attack of the aforesaid Buck fever.

The Doctor, by rotation, now became the leading marksman. He was cool
and calm, as if going to perform some delicate surgical operation. We
soon came in sight of a buck feeding in a shallow pasture, and the
boat glided quietly within fifteen rods of it. The Doctor's hand was
firm, and his aim steady. There was about him none of that nervous
agitation which is so apt to disturb the first efforts at deer
slaying. The boat came to a pause a moment, when his rule rang out
quick and sharp, waking the echoes of the mountains around and
reverberating along the shore. At the crack of the rifle, the buck
leaped high into the air, and plunged madly towards the bank, up which
he dashed with a prodigious bound, made a single jump among the tall
grass, and disappeared from the sight. The Doctor was greatly
mortified, supposing he had missed. He declared solemnly that he had
taken steady and sure aim just back of the fore-shoulders of the deer,
had a perfect sight upon it, and that it did not fall in its tracks,
could only be owing to its bearing a charmed life. The boatman,
however, knew that the animal, from its actions, was mortally wounded.
He said nothing, but paddled quietly to the shore, and there, just
over the bank, in the tall grass and weeds, lay the noble buck, stone
dead. He had gone down and died without a struggle. A proud man was
the Doctor, as he passed his hunting-knife across the throat of the
deer, and gazed upon its broad antlers, now in the velvet, pointing to
the course of the ball right through its vitals, in on one side and
out on the other. We had venison for the next four-and-twenty hours,
and we disturbed the deer no more that afternoon.

The deep baying of the stag-hounds, as we entered the little lake,
apprised us of the location of our tents, and we were glad to reach
them, and stretch our limbs upon the bed of boughs beneath them, for
the day had been warm, and our journey a weary one. Our pioneer had
made the entire journey the day before, though he had to pass over all
the carrying-places three times. We found that he had killed two deer,
and had the meat from them, cut into thin slips, undergoing the
process of "jerking," in a bark smokehouse erected near the tents. He
had also a beautiful string of trout ready for our supper, taken in a
way peculiarly his own. He had used neither bait nor fly.

After supper, as we sat looking out over the lake in front of our
tents, the Doctor inquired of our pioneer how he had taken his fish,
as he had with him neither rod nor flies, and there was no bait to be
found in the woods proper for trout.

"Why," said he, "I got lonesome yesterday, all alone up here in the
woods, waiting for you, and I thought I'd take a look around the shore
of the lake, thinking I might find a gold mine, or a pocketful of
diamonds, or something of that sort; so I took my rifle and the two
dogs, and started on an explorin' voyage. I didn't find any gold, but
I found, just across there by those willows and alders, a cold stream
entered the lake, and right in the mouth of it the trout were lyin' as
thick as your fingers. They were fine little fellows as I ever
happened to see, weighing about a quarter of a pound each. I had a
hook or two, and a piece of twine in my pocket, but they were of no
sort of use in common fishin', for I had no kind of bait, and couldn't
get any. After thinking the matter over, I concluded I'd see if I
couldn't bag some of them in a quiet way. So I cut me a long pole,
tied the hook and line to the end of it, and reaching out over the
water, dropped quietly down among them. I let the line drift gently up
against the one I wanted. He didn't seem to mind it, but was rather
pleased as the line tickled his sides. After letting it lay there a
moment, I jerked suddenly, and up came the trout clean over my head on
to the flat rock behind me. However this might have astonished him, it
didn't seem to disturb the rest. In that way I caught all I wanted,
and could have caught a bushel. It isn't a very science way of
fishin', but it answers when a man is hungry, and hasn't got any
bait or fly."

"I scarcely know why," said the Doctor, "but Cullen's account of
catching his trout, reminds me of a circumstance which occurred when I
was a boy, and which for the moment made a deal of sport. I have not
probably thought of it in twenty years, but it comes to me now as
fresh as though it were the occurrence of yesterday. It must be, as
Hank Wood said the other day, that a thing which gets fairly anchored
in a man's mind, remains there always, and covered up as it may be by
other and later things, it can never be forgotten. It will come
drifting back on the current of memory, fresh and palpable as ever.

"Everybody understands, or ought to understand, how sheep are washed.
A small yard is built on the bank of a stream adjacent to a deep
place. One side of which is open to the water, and into which the
flock is crowded. The washers take their places in the water, where it
is three or four feet deep, and the sheep are caught by others, and
tossed to them, where they undergo ablution (an operation by the way,
that they do not seem altogether to enjoy), to wash the dirt and gum
from their fleeces. On such occasions, it is regarded as a lawful
thing, a standing and ancient practical joke, to pitch any outsider,
who may happen to indulge his curiosity by stopping to look on, into
the stream. If he is verdant, he will be very likely to be inveigled
into the yard, and in an unguarded moment, be made to take an
involuntary dive, head foremost into the water.

"A few rods above the place in which my father washed his sheep, was
an old dam, the apron of which remained, and beneath which was a basin
some five or six feet in depth, and thirty or forty feet in diameter,
filled of course with water. On one occasion, a man who was employed
to catch the sheep, was one of those shiftless, good-natured, lazy
fellows, to be found in almost every neighborhood, who prefer smoking
and telling stories in bar-rooms to regular work, and who greatly
prefer odd jobs to consecutive labor. Tom G----was one of this genus,
full of fun and mischief, but without a particle of real malice in
his composition. As he was busy throwing sheep to the washers, a young
fellow from the neighboring village happened that way, and becoming
somewhat interested in the process, was seduced by Tom G----, inside
of the yard, to try his hand at catching and tossing in sheep. About
the second or third one he operated upon, his treacherous friend
stumbled against him, giving him a tremendous push, and with a sheep
in his arms he drove head foremost among the washers. The water was
cold, and there was a good deal of puffing and blowing about the time
his head came above the surface. He was a sensible chap, and took the
joke as a wise man should, especially when the odds are all against
him, albeit, it was somewhat rude.

"He came out on the other side of the stream, and after joining in the
laugh against himself, and taking off and wringing his garments, he
wandered up to the apron of the old dam, and stretching himself along
the planks, went to looking anxiously down into the deep water. After
a while, he seemed to have discovered something, and called out to his
friend below, 'I say Tom, have you got a fishhook in your pocket? Here
is a trout that will weigh two pounds, and I want to hook him up.' Now
Tom was a fisherman, and a big trout was his weakness; moreover, he
was never without half a dozen hooks and lines in his pockets. He left
his business at once, and went up to the apron to assist in taking the
two-pound trout. A pole was cut, and a couple of feet of line, with a
hook attached, was fastened a little way from the top, and the haft
of the hook stuck into the end so that by a little force it might be
removed, and Tom and his friend got upon the apron, and stooped over
to see where the great trout lay.

"'Here he is, Tom, just under the edge of this rock.' Tom stretched
himself over to get a view of the fish, when a vigorous shove from the
rear sent him like a great frog plump towards the bottom of the pool.
This was a consummation that Tom had not bargained for, but there was
no alternative but to swim for the shore, dripping like a rat from a
flooded sewer. That joke had two points to it, and Tom G----had the
worst of them."

"Your anecdote," said Smith, "reminds me of one in which I was an
actor, and which was impressed upon my mind by a process which few
boys are fond of, but which is very apt to make the impression
durable. _I_ fished for trout once without line or hook. I got a fine
string of them, and myself into a pretty kettle of fish in the
bargain. On my father's farm, as it was when I was a boy, was a stream
that came down through a gorge in the mountains that bounded the
pleasant valley in which that farm lay. In the spring freshets and the
summer rains, that stream was a mighty and resistless torrent, that
came roaring and plunging down from the plain above, cascading and
leaping down ledges and rushing though a gorge, on either side of
which precipices of solid rock stood straight up two hundred feet in
height. It was a goodly sight to see that stream when its back was up,
come rushing and foaming, a mighty flood from the deep and shadowy
gulf, rolling in its resistless course great boulders of tons upon
tons in weight, and eddying, and twisting, and roaring onward in its
furious course towards the lake. In the summer time the drouth lapped
up its waters, and it dried away to a little brook, trickling over the
falls, and went winding, a small streamlet, around the base of the
hill; sometimes it disappeared in the gravel, or among the loose
stones, save here and there a pool of narrow limits and shallow depth.
It was a fine trout stream at times. Its waters were cold and pure,
and the brook trout loved to hide away under the great smooth stones
or shelving rocks, and be comfortable in the shade, when the summer
sun was hot and fiery in the sky. When the creek was low, they would
congregate in the pools and still places, and in times of extreme
drouth, might be seen huddled together in such places in
great numbers.

"My father, though not a member of any church, was strict in his
family discipline in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, the
breach of which, on the part of his children, was very apt to be
followed by consequences not the most pleasant in the world, for he
held that a good switch was an essential article of household
furniture, and its occasional use a cardinal principle in the
philosophy of family rule. One Sunday, when I was some ten or eleven
years old, when the old people were gone to meeting (and they had to
go eight miles to find a meeting house), I, with an older brother,
tired of lying around the house, concluded to take a stroll along up
the brook. It was a time of severe drouth, and the stream was dried
up, save here and there a small pool, clear and cold, the bottom of
which consisted of smooth and clean-washed stones and pebbles. In one
of these was a number of beautiful speckled trout, averaging maybe a
quarter of a pound each in weight. Here was a temptation too strong to
be resisted. We had no hooks or lines with us, and would not have
ventured to use them _on Sunday_, if we had. That would have been
fishing. But the taking of those trout with our hands was quite
another matter. So, rolling our pants up above our knees (there was no
use of talking about shoes and stockings; such luxuries were not
within the range of indulgence to boys of our age in those days, save
in the frosts and snows of winter, and stubbed toes, stone bruises,
and thorns in the feet, come floating along down from the long past,
like shadows of darkness on the current of memory. By the way, will
some rich man, who was reared in the country in the good old times
when boys went barefooted in the summer months, when chapped feet,
stone bruises, stubbed toes, and thorns that pierced and festered in
their _soles_ were the great ills that 'darkened deepest around human
destiny,' solve for me a problem of the human mind? Will he tell me
whether, in his after life, when he was the owner of broad acres, fine
houses, piles of stocks in paying corporations, and huge deposits in
solvent banks, he ever felt richer or prouder when counting his gains,
and contemplating the aggregate of his wealth, than he did when he
pulled on his first pair of boots?) So, as I said, we rolled up our
pants, and waded in for the trout. We caught a beautiful string of
twenty or more, took them home, dressed them nicely, and sat them
carefully away in the cool cellar. We had a notion that the greatness
of the prize would wipe away the offence by which it was secured, and
that the delicious breakfast they would afford, would be received as a
sufficient atonement for the sin of having taken them on a Sunday. But
we were never more mistaken in our lives. My father went into the
cellar for some purpose in the evening, after his return from meeting,
and discovered the trout. An inquiry was instituted, our dereliction
was exposed, and we were promised a flogging. Now that was a promise,
which, while it was rarely made, was never broken. When my father in
his calm, quiet way, made up his mind and so expressed it, that he
owed one of his boys a flogging, it became, as it were, a debt of
honor, what, in modern parlance, would be termed a confidential debt,
and he to whom it was acknowledged to be due, became a prefered
creditor, and was sure to be paid.

"Well, the trout were eaten for breakfast, and after the meal was
over, my brother and myself were duly paid off, at a hundred cents on
the dollar, with full interest. That flogging cured me of 'tickling'
trout, especially on Sunday. I am never tempted to take trout with my
hands, without feeling a tickling sensation about the back; and though
old recollections of the long past, of that pleasant stream and the
gorge through which it flowed, with the side hill covered with old
forests above it, and the green fields spread out on the other side,
of the home of my boyhood, the old log-house, the cattle, the sheep,
the old watch-dog, and the thousand other things around which memory
loves to linger, come clustering around my heart, yet conspicuous
among them all, is the flogging I got for 'tickling' trout on
a Sunday."



As we came down to the lake in the morning to perform our ablations,
we saw a fine deer on the opposite shore, feeding upon the pond lilies
that grew along in the shallow water. It was nearly half a mile from
us, and while we were looking at it, four others came walking
carelessly out of the tall grass upon the beach, and commenced
playing, as we have seen lambs do, on the sandy shore. They would run
here and there, back and forth, at full speed along the sands, leap
high into the air, kicking up their heels, and performing all the
various antics of which animals so supple and active may be supposed
capable. We saw one fellow leap, with a clear bound, over two that
were standing looking out over the water, and run some fifty rods up
the beach, as if all the hounds in Christendom were at his tail, and
then wheel gracefully, and return with equal speed to his companions,
when they all commenced jumping and bounding, and running up and down
along the shore, as if they were out on a regular spree, and were
determined to be jolly. After half an hour of exceedingly active play,
they hoisted their white flags, and went bounding over the meadow into
the woods.

The deer that was feeding paid no further attention to them than to
raise his head and look quietly, and perhaps contemptuously at them
occasionally, while he chewed his breakfast, that he was picking up in
the shape of lily pads upon the surface of the water. Spalding and a
boatman paddled across the lake to make Mm a morning call. It is a
curious fact that one skilled in the art will paddle or scull one of
these light boats to within a few rods of a deer while feeding, in
plain open sight, provided always that the wind blows _from_ the
direction of the animal, and no noise is made by the boatman. The deer
will feed on, and the time for paddling is while his head is down.
When he raises it to look about him, in whatever position the boatman
is, he must remain immovable. If his paddle is up, it must remain so;
not a motion must be made, or the game will be off, with a snort and a
rush, for the shore and the woods. The deer may, and probably will
look, with a vacant stare, directly at the approaching boat without
its curiosity being in the least excited, and then go to feeding
again. The marksman must take his aim while the game is feeding; when
it raises its head high in the air, throws forward its ears and gazes
at him for a moment with a wild and startled look, then is his time to
fire. Five seconds at the longest is all that is allowed him when he
sees these motions, for within that time, with its fears thoroughly
aroused, the game will be plunging for the shelter of the woods.

The boatman paddled Spalding quietly and silently to within twelve or
fifteen rods of the deer that was feeding, when a column of white
smoke shot suddenly up from the bow of the boat; the sharp crack of
the rifle rung out over the water, and the deer went down. Spalding
was a proud man as he returned to us with a fine fat spike buck in
his boat.

These little lakes are probably sixty-five miles from the settlements,
allowing for the winding course of the rivers. Just above, where the
river enters, is a dam, built of logs some fifteen feet high, erected
by the lumbermen the last winter to hold back the water, so as to
float their logs down from this to Tupper's Lake, and so on down the
Rackett to the mills away below. Around this dam is the last carrying
place between this and Mud Lake, over which our boatmen trudged with
their boats, like great turtles with their shells upon their backs.
This is still called Bog River, and though above the dam to Mud Lake,
where it takes its rise, it is deep and sluggish, yet it is doing it
honor overmuch to dignify it by the name of a river. It was large
enough, however, to float our little craft. We left our baggage-master
here with most of our luggage, to perfect his operations in the way
of jerking venison, intending to return the next day. We might have
left everything without a guard, so far as human depredations were
concerned. No bolts or bars would be necessary for its protection. In
the first place, nobody would visit the spot, and if they did, our
property would be perfectly protected by the law of the woods. It
would be doubtless carefully inspected by any curious banter passing
that way, but theft or robbery are unknown here. True, a bottle of
good liquor, if handled by a visitor, might lose somewhat of its
contents, but it would be drank to the health of the owner, and in a
spirit of good fellowship, and not of theft, all which would be
regarded by woodsmen as strictly within rule, there being, as Hank
Wood said, "no law agin it."

We left the first chain of ponds, and rowed some ten miles up the deep
and sluggish but narrow channel of the river, startling every little
way a deer from its propriety by our presence as it was feeding along
the shore. Few sportsmen ever visit this remote region, and it is
above the range of the lumbermen. We came to some rapids near the
outlet of the second chain of ponds, around which we walked, and up
which the boatmen pushed their little craft. These rapids are a
quarter of a mile in length, with no great amount of fall, but still
enough to prevent the passage up them of a loaded boat. Directly at
the head of these rapids is the "second chain of ponds," three
pleasant little lakelets, of from two to four hundred acres each,
surrounded by dense forests, and shores in the main walled in by huge
boulders and broken rocks. We passed through these, in which were
several loons, or great northern divers, quietly floating, and as they
watched us, sending forth their clear and clarion voices over the
water. We took each a passing shot at them, but with no other effect
than to make them dive quicker and deeper, and stay under longer than
usual; at the flash of our rifles they would go down, and in a few
minutes would be again on the surface sixty rods from us, laughing
aloud, as it were, with their clear and quavering voices, at our
impotent attempts to shoot them.

We left the "second chain of ponds" by the narrow and sluggish inlets,
still the Bog River, here so small that the boatman's oars spanned the
narrow channel, and as crooked a stream as it is possible for one to
be. It flows for miles through a low and marshy region, with dense
alderbushes clustering along the shore, and scattering fir-trees, dead
at the top, standing between these and the forests in the background.
The bottom, much of the way, is of clean yellow sand, in which are
imbedded millions of clams, resembling, in every respect, those of the
ocean beach. Some of these we opened, and found the living bivalves in
appearance precisely like their kindred of the salt water. I have seen
occasionally muscle shells in other streams, and along the shores of
the lakes, but I never before saw any such as these save near the
ocean, where the salt water ebbs and flows, and not even there in such
quantities. One might gather barrels and barrels of them, large and
apparently fat, and yet there would be hundreds or thousands of
barrels left. The mink, the muskrat, and other animals that hunt
along the water, and have a taste for fish, have a good time of it
among them, for we saw bushels of shells in places where the fish had
been extracted and devoured.

We arrived at Mud Lake towards evening, and pitched our tent on a
little rise of ground on the north side, a few rods back from the
lake, among a cluster of spruce and balsam, and surrounded by a dense
growth of laurel and high whortleberry bushes. We saw a deer
occasionally on our route, and the banks of the stream in many places
were trodden up by them like the entrance to a sheep-fold. Why this
sheet of water should be called Mud Lake is a mystery, for though
gloomy enough in every other respect, its bed is of sand, and it is
surrounded by a sandy beach from fifteen to forty feet wide. It is
perhaps four miles in circumference, its waters generally shallow, and
so covered with pond lilies, and skirted with wild grass, as to form
the most luxuriant pasture for the deer and moose to be found in all
this region. Of all the lakes I have visited in these northern wilds,
this is the most gloomy. Indeed it is the only one that does not wear
a cheerful and pleasant aspect. It seems to be the highest water in
this portion of the wilderness, lying, as one of our boatmen
expressed it, "up on the top of the house." In only one direction
could any higher land be seen, and that was a low hill on the
western shore, not exceeding fifty feet in height. There are no
tall mountain peaks reaching their heads towards the clouds,
overlooking the waters; no ranges stretching away into the distance;
no gorges or spreading valleys; no sloping hillsides, giving back the
sunlight, or along which gigantic shadows of the drifting clouds
float. All around it are fir, and tamarac, and spruce of a stinted and
slender growth, dead at the top, and with lichens and moss hanging
down in sad and draggled festoons from their desolate branches. It is,
in truth, a gloomy place, typical of desolation, which it is well to
see once, but which no one will desire to visit a second time. We
noticed on the sandy beach tracks of the wolf, the panther, the moose,
and in one place the huge track of a bear. He must have been of
monstrous growth, judging by the impression of his great feet and
claws in the sand. But we saw none of these animals, and so gloomy is
the place, so sepulchral, such an air of desolation all around, that
it brings over the mind a strong feeling of sadness and gloom, and we
resolved not to tarry beyond the nest morning, even for the chance of
taking a moose, a panther, or a bear.

We pitched our tent, as I said, a little way back from the lake, near
a cold spring, that came boiling up through the white sand in a little
basin, eight feet wide, the bottom of which, like that on the bank of
Tupper's Lake, was all in commotion, boiling and bubbling, as the
water forced its way up through it. I was in the forward boat as we
approached the lake, and was surprised to see the number of deer
feeding upon the lily pads in the shallow water, and the wild grass
that grew along the shore. Some stood midside in the water, some with
only the line of their backs and heads above it. Some were close
along the shore, feeding upon the grass that grew there. Others still
were nibbling at the leaves of the moosewood upon the bank, and one
large buck stood by the side of a fir tree, rubbing his neck up and
down against it, as if scratching himself against its rough bark. We
had not been discovered, and waited for the other boats to arrive.
Great was the astonishment of my companions, when they saw the number
of deer that were feeding in this little lake. Neither of them had
ever seen the like, nor had I, save on one occasion, and that was in a
small lake, the name of which I have forgotten, lying a few miles
beyond the head of the Upper Saranac.

"You see that clump of low balsam trees on that point yonder," said my
boatman, as we lay upon our oars, pointing in the direction indicated.
"Well, from that spot, three years ago, I shot a moose out upon the
bar there, as it was feeding upon the lily pads and flag grass.

"I had heard from an old Indian hunter, about this lake, and the
abundance of game to be found here, and I made up my mind to see it.
So another hunter and myself agreed to come up here in July, and take
a look at matters, and find out whether the old copperhead told the
truth or not. We started about the middle of July, with our rifles and
provisions for a fortnight, and came up. We saw any quantity of deer
on the way. On the second chain of ponds, we saw, as we were rowing
along, a large panther walk out on to the top of a great boulder, and
look around, lashing his sides with his long tail, and then sit down
on his haunches with his tail curled around his feet, just as you've
seen a cat do. He was too far off for us to shoot him, and he saw us
before we got within proper distance, and stole away into the woods,
and we passed on. As we rounded the point just below the lake there,
and looked out upon the broad water, I saw the moose I spoke of,
feeding. We sat perfectly still, and permitted the boat to drift back
down the stream until we were out of sight. We then landed, and I
crept carefully and silently to that clump of fir trees. I had my own
and my companion's rifle both properly loaded. Having got a right
position, I sighted for a vital part, and fired. The animal rushed
furiously forward two or three rods, with its head lowered as if
making a lunge at an enemy, then stopped, and looked all around,
standing with its back humped up, and its short stump of a tail
working and writhing at a furious rate. I sighted it again with the
other rifle, and pulled. The animal plunged furiously for again for a
few rods, stopped a moment, and then settled slowly down, and fell
over on its side, dead. It was a cow-moose and would weigh as killed
five or six hundred pounds. I was a pretty proud man then, as that was
my first moose, and about as big feeling a chap as was Squire Smith
the other day, when he brought down that buck. I have shot two others
here since, one at each visit I have made."

The season for moose hunting along the water pastures, was nearly
over. They go back upon the hills in August, the food there being by
that time abundant. The tracks we saw were old ones, the animals
having passed there several days previously. I would not have it
supposed that the moose are abundant in any portion of this
wilderness. They have come to be few and far between, and exceedingly
wary at that. I could hear of none having been killed the present
season; but that there are some left, as well as bears, and wolves,
and panthers, the tracks we saw gave unmistakable evidence.

We saw no appearance of trout in this lake, or in the outlet of it
above the upper chain of ponds. The stream swarmed with chub and dace,
a rare circumstance with the streams of this region. Towards evening,
we saw numbers of little grey wood rabbits, hopping around among the
dense undergrowth on the ridge where our tents were situated,
squatting themselves down and cocking up their long ears, as they
paused occasionally to examine the strange visitors who had come among
them. They were very tame, not seeming to regard our presence as a
thing of much danger to them.

"Seeing those rabbits," remarked Smith, "reminds me of an anecdote of
my boyhood, which at the time occasioned me an amount of mortification
equalled only by the amusement it affords me, when I think of it in
after years. On my father's farm was a bush field, a place that had
been chopped and burned over, and then left to grow up with bushes,
making an excellent cover for wild wood rabbits. I had seen them
hopping about, when I went to turn away the cows in the morning, or
after them at night. I had a longing to 'make game' of them. I had a
brother a good deal older than myself, who was as fond of a joke as I
was of the rabbits, and who was quite as ready to make game of me, as
I was of them; so he told me, one day to put an apple on a stick over
their paths, high enough to be just above their reach, and a handful
of Scotch snuff on a dry leaf on the ground under it, and the rabbits,
while smelling for the apple, would inhale the snuff, and sneeze
themselves to death in no tune. Well, I was a child then and simple
enough to be gammoned by this rigmarole. I set the apple and the
snuff, but I got no rabbit, while I did get laughed at hugely for my
credulity. This satisfied me that people should never impose upon the
simplicity of childhood. I remember my mortification on the occasion.
It was so long ago that it stands out by itself, a mere fragment of
memory, with _all_ beyond it a blank, and a wide gap out this side. It
is an isolated fact, fixed in my recollection by the pain it
occasioned me."

"Your anecdote of the rabbits," said the Doctor, "reminds me of a
story told of a Dutchman, who discovered an owl on a limb above him,
and noticed that its face, and great round eyes, followed him always
as he walked around the tree, without its body moving at all. Seeing
this he concluded in his wisdom, that he would travel round the tree,
till the owl twisted its head off in watching him. So round and round
he went for an hour, and stopped only by having the conviction forced
upon his mind that the owl had a swivel in its neck."

"Strange," remarked Spalding, "how the hearing of one story reminds us
of another. I always admired the 'Arabian Nights,' because the stories
contained in that work hang together so like a string of onions, or a
braid of seed corn. The first is a sort of introduction to the second,
and the second an usher to the third, and so on through the whole. But
why the story of the Dutchman and the owl should remind me of another,
in which an old negro and a bellicose ram were the actors, is a matter
I do not pretend to understand, unless it be the extreme absurdity of
both. A gentleman of my acquaintance long ago (he was a middle-aged
man when I was a small boy. He was an upright and a good man. He has
gone to his rest, and sleeps in an honored grave, having upon the
simple stone above him no lying epitaph), had an old negro who
rejoiced in the name of Pompey, and a Merino buck, the latter a
valiant animal, that was ready to fight with anybody, or anything,
that crossed his path. Between him and the 'colored person,' was an
'eternal distinction,' an active and irreconcilable antagonism, that
developed itself on every possible occasion. The old Guinea man was
winnowing wheat one day, with an old-fashioned fan (did any of you
ever see one of these primitive machines for separating wheat from the
chaff, used by our fathers before the fanning mill was invented? It
was an ingenious contrivance, by which a man with a strong back and
of a strong constitution, could clean some twenty bushels in a single
day). While stooping over to fill his fan with unwinnowed grain, the
buck, taking advantage of his position, came like a catapult against
him, and sent him like a ball from a Paixhan gun, head foremost into
the chaff. Great was the astonishment, but greater the wrath of
Pompey, and dire the vengeance that he denounced against his
assailant. Gathering himself up, and rubbing the part battered by the
attack of his enemy, he retreated around the corner of the barn, and
procuring a rock weighing some twenty pounds, returned to the presence
of his foe, who was quietly eating the wheat that the negro had been
cleaning, evidently regarding it as the legitimate spoils of victory.
Getting down on all fours, and managing to hold the stone against his
head, Pompey challenged his enemy to combat. The buck, nothing loth,
drew back to a proper distance, and shutting both eyes, came like a
battering _ram_ against the stone on the other side of which was the
negro's head. As might have been expected, the challenger went one
way, and the challenged the other by the recoil, both knocked into
insensibility by the concussion. Pompey was taken up for dead, but his
wool and the thickness of his scull saved him. He gave the buck a wide
berth after that. He regarded him always with a sort of superstitious
awe, never being able to comprehend how he butted him through that big
stone. Explain the matter to him ever so scientifically, demonstrate
it on the clearest principles of mechanical philosophy, still Pompey
would shake his head, and as he walked away, would mutter to himself,
'de debbil helps dat ram, _sure_. Dere's no use in dis nigger's tryin'
to come round _him_. He's a witch, dat ram is, and ain't
nuffin else.'"



We returned the next day to our camping ground. On the "Lower Chain of
Ponds," we found our pioneer and his goods all safe, no visitors
having passed that way in our absence. Smith knocked over a deer on
our passage down. I have said that just above our camp was a dam. It
was made in this wise: first, great logs were laid up, across the
stream, in the same fashion as the side of a log house, to the height
of about twelve feet, properly secured, and upon these, other and
smaller logs were laid, side by side, transversely, and sloping up the
stream at an angle of forty-five degrees, like one side of the roof of
a house. These long, slender logs, reached out over and beyond those
that were laid up across the stream, the lower part covered with
brush, and then with earth, so as to make a tight dam, the upper ends,
even when the dam was full, extending several feet above the top water
line. These logs, or perhaps they had better be called large and long
poles, for, when compared with the foundation timbers, they were
nothing more, have, of course, above where they are covered with brush
and earth, interstices, or crevices, between them.

On our return, and as we came in sight of the dam, I, being in the
forward boat, saw a small deer, laying stretched out upon these poles,
dead, hanging, as it were, by one foot. My impression was, that it had
been shot, and dragged up there, and left by our pioneer for the
present. We found, however, upon examination, that the deer had walked
up on the dam, probably to take a look at what was below, and on the
other side, when his foot slipped down between the poles, and he was
caught as in a trap. His leg was badly broken, and nearly severed by
his efforts to get loose, and the bark of the poles was worn away
within reach of his struggles. He had died where he thus got hung; and
there he was, stone dead, but not yet cold, when we found him. He was
a fine, fat, young deer, and died by one of the thousand accidents to
which the wild animals of the forest, as well as man, are exposed.

Upon relating this incident to an old hunter, I was told by him that
he once, while out in the woods, came upon the skeletons of two large
bucks, that, in fighting, had got their horns so interlocked and
wedged together, that they could not separate them, and thus, locked
in the death grapple, they had starved and died. There lay their
bones, the flesh eaten from them by the beasts and carrion birds, and,
bleached by the sun and the storms, the two skulls with the horns
still interlocked; and the narrator told me he had them yet at home,
fast together, as he found them, as one of the curiosities to be met
with in the Rackett woods.

"I've been thinking," said Spalding, in his quiet way, as we sat
towards evening, looking out over the pleasant little lake, watching
the shadow chasing the retiring sunlight up the sides of the opposite
hills, "I've been thinking how differently we act, and feel, and
talk--aye, and think, too--out here in these old woods, from what we
do when at home and surrounded by civilization. However we four may
deny being old, we cannot certainly claim to be young. We have all
reached the meridian of life, and though feeling few, if any, of the
infirmities of age, still, our next move will be in the downhill
direction. Yet, notwithstanding all this, we talk and act, and think,
and feel, too, like boys. I do not speak this reproachfully, but as a
fact which develops a curious attribute of the human mind."

"Well," replied the Doctor, "while it may be curious, it is
exceedingly natural. We have thrown off the restraints which society
imposes upon us; we have thrown off the cares which the business of
life heaps upon us. We have gone back for a season to the freedom, the
sports, the sights, the exercises which delighted our boyhood. And can
it be called strange that the feelings, the thoughts, and emotions of
our youth should come welling up from the long past, or that with the
return of boyish emotions, the language and actions of boyhood should
be indulged in again?"

"You will find," said Smith, "your old feelings of sobriety, of
thoughtfulness, your cautiousness, coming back just in proportion as
you tire of this wilderness life, and that by the time you are ready
to return to civilization, you will have become as staid, sober, and
reflective men of the world, as when you started, with as strict a
guard upon your expression of sentiment, or opinion, as ever."

"It is that 'guard' of which you speak," remarked Spalding, "over the
emotions, the sentiments of the heart, stifling their expression, and
chaining down under a placid exterior their manifestations, that
constitutes one of the broad distinctions between youth and manhood.
It is when that guard is set, that the process of fossilization, so to
speak, begins; and if no relaxing agency intervenes, the heart becomes
cold and hard, even before white hairs gather upon the head. I often
imagine that if men who really _think_, who have the power of
analyzation, of weighing causes and measuring results, would dismiss
that rigid espionage over themselves, would stand in less awe of the
world, in less dread of its accusation of change, and with the
fearless frankness of youth, declare the truth, and stand boldly up
for the right as they, _at the time_, understand it to be, without
reference to consistency of present views and opinions with those of
the past, the world would be much better off; progress would have
vastly fewer obstacles to contend against. But it is not every man,
even of those who _think_, who in politics, in religion, in science,
in anything involving a possible charge of inconsistency, of the
desertion of a party, a sect, or a principle, dare avow a change of
conviction or opinion, however such change may exist. This should
not be so. It belittles manhood, and makes slaves and cowards of men.
It is a proud prerogative, this ability and power of thinking. It is a
priceless privilege, this freedom of thought and opinion, and he is a
craven who moves on with the heedless and thoughtless crowd, conscious
of error, himself a hypocrite and a living lie, through fear of the
charge of 'inconsistency,' the accusation of change. 'Speak your
opinions of to-day,' says Carlyle, 'in words hard as rocks, and your
opinions of to-morrow in words just as hard, even though your opinions
of to-morrow may contradict your opinions of to-day.' There is a fund
of true wisdom in this beautiful maxim, if men would appreciate it. It
would correct a vast deal of error in politics, in religion, in
philosophy, in the social relations of life. Times change, and
struggle against it as they may, men's convictions will change with
the times. The man who says that his opinions never alter, is to me
either a knave or a fool. For a thinking man to remain stationary,
when everything else is on the move, is a simple impossibility. Time
was when the stage coach was the model method of travelling. It
carried us six, sometimes eight miles the hour, in comfort and safety.
But who thinks of the lumbering stage coach now, with its snail's pace
of eight miles the hour, when the locomotive with its long train of
cars, lighted up like the street of a city in motion, rushes over the
smooth rails literally with the speed of the wind. The scream of the
steam-whistle has succeeded the old stage-horn, and the iron horse
taken the place of those of flesh and blood. Change is written in
great glowing letters upon everything. It stands out in blazing
capitals everywhere. All things are on the move! Forward! and forward!
is the word. And who would, who CAN, stand still amidst the universal
rush? Only a century ago, from the valley through which the majestic
Hudson rolls its everlasting flood, westward to the mighty
Mississippi, westward still to the Rocky Mountains, and yet westward
to the Pacific, was one vast wilderness; interminable forests,
standing in all their primeval grandeur and gloom; boundless prairies,
covered with profitless verdure, over which the silence of the
everlasting past brooded; and above all these, mountain peaks, covered
with perpetual snows, upon which the eye of a white man had never
looked, stood piercing the sky. From the Atlantic coast to the
Mississippi, that old forest has been swept away. The broad prairies
have been, or are being, subjected to the culture of human industry;
even the Rocky Mountains have been overleaped, and beyond them is a
great State already admitted into the family of the Union, and a
territory teeming with an adventurous and hardy population, knocking
at its door for admission. The march of civilization has crossed a
continent of more than three thousand miles, sweeping away forests,
spreading out green fields, planting cities and towns, making the old
wilderness to blossom as the rose, scattering life, activity,
progress, all along the road it has travelled. The great rivers that
rolled in silence through unbroken forests, have become the highways
of trade, upon whose bosoms the white sails of commerce are spread,
and through whose waters countless steamboats plough their way. These
stupendous changes are the results of human energy, and they reach, in
their moral prestige, their progressive influence, through every vein
and artery of governmental and social compacts, affecting political
institutions, shaping national policy, and forcing, by their
resistless demonstrations, change and mutations of opinions upon
all men.

"As it has been in the past century, so it is now, and so it will be
through all the long future. Forward, and forward, is the word, and
forward will be the word for centuries to come. And why? Because all
men here, in this free Republic, are free to think, free to speak,
free to will, free to act. No traditions of the past bind them; no
hereditary policy controls their action; no customs, covered with the
dust of ages, fetter them; no physical or intellectual gyves, corroded
by the rust of centuries, are eating into their flesh. Because
thinking American men everywhere live in the present, ignoring and
defying the dead past, and building up the mighty future. Because they
'speak their opinions of TO-DAY in words hard as rocks, and their
opinions of TO-MORROW in words just as hard, although their opinions
of to-morrow may contradict their opinions of to-day.' They are
fearless of personal consequences. As free men, they will think, as
free men they will speak, and as such they will act, regardless of the
jibe and sneer of those who accuse them of change, of inconsistency,
of being mutable and unstable of purpose. The point to the march
of improvement, the advance in the actualities of life, and ask, 'When
every thing else is on the move, shall we stand still? Shall the
opinions of a quarter of a century, a decade, a year, a month ago,
remain unchanged, immutable, fixed as a star always, amidst the new
demonstrations looming up like mountains everywhere around us?'

"Man's life is short at best; a little point of time, scarcely
discernible on the map of ages; his aspirations, his hopes, his
ambition, more transient than the lightning's flash; but his opinions
may tell for good upon that little point occupied by his generation,
and he should 'speak them in words hard as rocks.' They may aid in
illuminating the darkness of the present, and he should therefore
'speak them in words hard as rocks.' They may have some influence in
building up and ennobling human destiny in the future, and he should
therefore 'speak them in words hard as rocks,' regardless of the
contumely heaped upon him by little minds for having thus spoken them.
What if the ridicule, the denunciations of the unthinking, the
sensual, the profligate, the unreflecting fools of the world be poured
upon him? What of that? To-day, may be one of darkness and storm. The
cloud and the storm will pass away, and the brightness and glory of
the sunlight will be all over the earth to-morrow. Let him 'speak his
opinions then of to-day in words hard as rocks, and his opinions of
to-morrow in words just as hard.' Let him speak his opinions thus on
all subjects within the range of human investigation, upon science,
philosophy, politics, religion, morals; and leave to little minds to
settle the question of consistency or change. Let his be the eagle's
flight towards the sun, and theirs to skim in darkness along the
ground, like the course of the mousing owl."

After it became dark, Smith and Martin went out around the lake night
hunting, and the rest retired to our tents. We heard the report of
Smith's rifle from time to time, and concluded that we should have to
court-martial him for a wanton destruction of deer, contrary to the
law we had established for our government on that subject. But on his
return, we ascertained that, though having had several shots, he had
succeeded in killing or, according to Martin's account, even wounding
but one, and that a yearling, and the poorest and leanest we had seen
since we entered the woods. Though it was thus diminutive in size,
Smith declared that he had seen, and shot at, some of the largest deer
that ever roamed the forest. He insisted that he had seen some, by the
side of which the largest we had looked upon by daylight, were mere
fawns, and thereupon he undertook to establish a theory that the large
deer fed by night and the smaller ones by day. This would have been
all well enough, were it not for the fact, understood by every
experienced night-hunter, that by the spectral and uncertain light of
the lamp, or torch, a deer, when seen standing in the water, or on the
reedy banks, is in appearance magnified to twice its actual
dimensions. To this Smith at last assented, since to deny the
proposition, involved the conclusion that he had killed the wrong
deer; for the one he shot at, as it stood in the edge of the water,
though much smaller than some he had seen, appeared greatly larger
than the one he killed.



We started down stream in the morning, towards the forks, intending to
ascend the left branch to Little Tupper's Lake. We reached the forks
at three o'clock. Directly opposite to where the right branch enters,
a small cold stream comes in among a cluster of alder bushes on the
eastern shore. At the mouth of this little stream, which one can step
across, the trout congregate. We could see them laying in shoals along
the bottom; but the sun shone down bright and warm into the clear
water, and not a trout would rise to the fly, or touch a bait. We
wanted some of those trout, and as they refused to be taken in a
scientific way and according to art, it was a necessity, for which we
were not responsible, which impelled us to a method of capture which,
under ordinary circumstances, we should have rejected. I took off the
fly from my line, and fastened upon it half a dozen snells with bare
hooks, attached a small sinker, and dropped quietly among them. A
large fellow worked his way lazily above where the hooks lay on the
bottom, eying me, as if laughing at my folly in attempting to deceive
him, with fly or bait. I jerked suddenly, and two of the hooks
fastened into him near the tail. That trout was astonished, as were
half a dozen or more of his fellows, when they came out of the water
tail foremost, struggling with all their might against so vulgar and
undignified a manner of leaving their native element. We got as
beautiful a string in this way as one would wish to see, albeit they
laughed at our best skill with fly and bait; and the cream of the
matter was, that we had our pick of the shoal.

We pitched our tents at the foot of the second rapids, on a high,
moss-covered bank. The roar of the water sounded deep and solemn among
the old woods, as it went roaring and tumbling, and struggling through
the gorge. The night winds moaned and sighed among the trees above us,
while the night bird's notes came soothingly from the wilderness
around as.

"What a strange diversity of tastes exists among the people of this
world of ours," said the Doctor, addressing himself to me, as we sat
in front of our tents, listening to the roar of the waters. "You and
I, I take it, enjoy a fortnight or so, among these lakes, and old
forests, with a keener relish than Spalding or Smith here. I judge so,
because we indulge in these trips every year, while this is their
first adventure of the kind. But even you and I, however much we may
love the woods, however we may enjoy these occasional tramps among
their shady solitudes, would not enjoy them as a residence; and yet I
have sometimes thought I should love to spend the summers in a forest
home, alone with nature, with my pen and books, a fishing-rod and
rifle to supply my wants, and a friend to talk with occasionally.

"Many years ago, I was out on the Western prairies, some sixty days
beyond the region of bread; we had encamped on the banks of a stream,
along which a narrow belt of timber grew. More than a quarter of a
century has passed since I took that trip to look upon the Rocky
Mountains. There was no gold region laying beyond them then, or
rather, the enterprise of the Anglo-Saxon had not discovered its
existence, and the greed of the white man had not made the trail over
the mountains, or through their dismal passes, a familiar way. Along
in the afternoon we were visited by a trapper, who had, in his
wanderings, discovered the smoke of our camp fires. He was a
weather-beaten, iron man, of the solitudes of nature, who had wandered
away from his home in New England, and from civilization, into that
limitless wilderness. He was glad to see us, inquired the news from
the outer world, talked about York State, Vermont, the Bay State, and
then, after an hour's converse, as if his social instincts and
sympathies had been satisfied, he shouldered his rifle and started off
across the plain, towards a belt of timber lying dim and shadowy, like
a low cloud, upon the distant horizon. I watched him for an hour or
more, as he trudged away over the rolling prairie, growing less and
less to the view, until he became like a speck in the distance, and
then vanished from my sight. There was a solemn sort of feeling stole
over me, as this lonely hunter wended his way into the deep solitudes
of the prairies, to be alone with nature, communing only with himself
and the things scattered around him by the great Creator. He seemed to
be contented and happy. How different were his tastes from yours or
mine, my friends; and yet I felt as though it would have been easy for
me to have been like him, an isolated and solitary man, had
circumstances in early life thrown me into a position to have followed
the original bent of my nature."

"And yet," said Spalding, "if you will look into the philosophy of the
matter, you will see that this diversity of tastes, as you call it, is
not so great after all; that is, that the origin of the impulse which
sends some men away from society among the solitudes of the
wilderness, and of that which holds others in constant communion with
the busy scenes of life, is very nearly the same. It is the love of
adventure, of excitement, a restlessness for something new, a desire
for change. This impulse is controlled, shaped by circumstances of
early life, by education and association; but the foundation of it at
last is the thirst for excitement, the love of adventure. One man
wanders away into the wilderness in pursuit of it. Another plunges
into society in pursuit of the same thing. These hardy men who are
here with us, who were reared on the borders of civilization, enjoy
the solitudes of their wilderness quite as much, and upon the same
general theory, as we do the society to which we have been accustomed;
and they plunge alone into the one with quite as much zest as we do
into the other, in the pursuit of excitement. Here is Cullen, now, who
has spent more time alone in the wilderness than almost any other man
outside of the trappers and hunters of the prairies of the West, I
appeal to him if it is not rather a love of adventure than of nature
which sends him on his solitary rambles in the forests?"

"May be the Judge is right," replied Cullen, as he rubbed the shavings
of plug tobacco in the palm of his left hand with the ball of his
right, while he held his short black pipe between his teeth,
preparatory to filling it, "may be the Judge is right, I rather think
he is, and let me tell you I've met with some queer adventures, as you
call them, in these woods too; some that I wouldn't have gone out
arter if I'd known what they were to've been afore I started. I've
been movin' back from what you call civilization for five and twenty
year, because I didn't like to live where people were too thick, and
where there was nothing but tame life around me. I've a kind of liking
for the deer and moose, and haven't any ill will towards, now and then,
a wolf or a painter. I like a rifle better than I do the handles of a
plow, and I'd rayther bring down a ten-pronger than to raise an acre
of corn, and I don't care who knows it. There's a place in the world
for just such a man as I am yet, and will be till these old woods are
gone. Do you see that?" said he, rolling up his pantaloons to his
knees, revealing a deep scar on both sides of the calf of his leg, as
if it had been pierced by a bullet. "And do you see that?" as he
exhibited another deep scar above his knee. "And that?" as he showed
another on his arm, above the elbow. "Wal, I reckon I had a time of it
with the old buck that made them things on my under-pinin', and on my
corn-stealer, as they say out West. Fifteen years ago I was over on
Tupper's Lake, shantyin' on the high bank above the rocks, just at the
outlet, fishin' and huntin', and layin' around loose, in a promiscuous
way, all alone by myself, havin' nobody along but the old black dog
that you," appealing to Hank Wood, who nodded assent, remember. "That
dog," continued Cullen, "was human in his day, and if anybody has
another like him, and wants a couple of months lumberin' in the place
of him, I'm ready for a trade; he may call at my shanty. Wal, Crop and
I had Seen about all there was to be looked at about Tupper's Lake,
and havin' hearn some pretty tall stories about the deer and moose up
about the head of Bog River from an Ingen who'd hunted that section, I
mentioned to Crop one mornin' that we'd take a trip into them parts.
'Agreed,' said he, or leastwise he didn't say a word agin it, and, by
the wag of his tail, I understood him to be agreeable.

"Mud Lake, as you've discovered, aint very near now, and it was a good
deal farther off then. The settlements hadn't been pushed so far into
the woods then as now. But we put out, Crop and I, for Mud Lake; we
passed the eight carryin' places afore night, and reached the first
chain of ponds while the sun was hangin' like a great torch in the
tree-tops. I've seen a good many deer in my day, but the way they
stood around in those ponds, and in the shallow water of the river
below, among the grass and pond lilies, was a thing to make a man open
his eyes _some._ I saw dozens of 'em at a time, and if it didn't seem
like a sheep paster I would'nt say it. I had my pick out of the lot,
and knocked over a two-year-old for provision for me and Crop. I aint
at all poetical, but if there was ever a matter to make a man feel
like stringin' rhymes, that evenin' that Crop and I spent on the lower
chain of ponds, or little lakes on Bog River, was a thing of that
sort. The sun threw his bright red light on the tops of the mountains
away off to the East, spreading it all over the lofty peaks, like a
golden shawl, while the gorges and deep valleys around their base
rested in deep and solemn shadow. The loon spoke out clear, like a
bugle on the lakes, and his voice went echoin' around among the hills;
the frogs were out and out jolly, while the old woods were full of
happy voices and merry songs as if all nater was runnin' over with
gladness and joy; even the night breeze, as it sighed and moaned among
the tree-tops, seemed to be whisperin' to itself of the joy and
brightness and glory of such an evenin'. As the night gathered, the
moon, in her largest growth, came up over the hills and walked like a
queen up into the sky, and the bright stars gathered around her,
twinklin' and flashin' and dancin', as if merry-makin' in the
brightness of her presence. Away down below the bottom of the lake
were other mountains and lakes, another moon with bright stars
shinin' and twinklin' around her, other broad heavens just as distinct
and glorious as those which arched above us. Don't laugh, Judge, for
me and Crop saw and heard all that I've been describin' to you, and we
felt it too, may be quite as deeply as if we'd been bred in colleges
and stuffed with the larnin' of the books.

"I heard the cry of the painter, the howl of the wolf, and the hoarse
bellow of the moose that night, and Crop crept close alongside of me,
in our bush-shanty, and answered these forest sounds by a low growl,
as if sayin' to himself, that while he'd rayther keep oat of a fight,
yet, if necessary, in defence of his master, he was ready to go in.
Wal, we started on up stream next mornin', passed the second chain of
lakes, and went along up the crooked and windin' course of the stream,
till towards night we came in sight of Mud Lake. That lake is anything
but handsome to my thinkin'; you saw it was gloomy and solemn enough,
situated as it is away up on the top of the mountain, higher than any
other waters I know of in these parts. All about it are fir, and
tamarack, and spruce, the lichens hanging like long grey hair away
down from their stinted branches, while all around low bushes grow,
and moss, sometimes a foot thick, covers the ground. That, Judge, is
the place for black flies and mosquitoes in June. The black flies are
all gone before this time in the summer, but if you'd a taken this
trip the latter part of June, you'd have admitted that I'm tellin' no
lie. If there's any place in the round world where mosquitoes have
longer bills, or the black flies swarm in mightier hosts, I don't know
where it is, and shan't go there if I happen to find out its location.
I've a tolerably thick hide, but if they didn't bite me _some_, I
wouldn't say so. But you ought to have seen the deer feedin' on the
pond-lilies and grass in that lake I They were like sheep in a
pasture; and out some fifty rods from the shore was a great moose,
helpin' himself to the eatables that grew there. I laid my jacket down
for Crop to watch, and waded quietly in towards where the moose was
feedin'. I got within twelve or fifteen rods of him, and spoke to him
with my rifle. He heard it, you may guess. Without knowin' who or what
hurt him, he plunged right towards me for the shore; but he never got
there alive. You ought to have seen the scampering of the deer at the
sound of my rifle! Maybe there wasn't much splashin' of the water, and
whistlin', and snortin', and puttin' out for the shore among 'em.

"The next mornin', I got up just as the sun was risin', and a little
way down on the shore of the lake I saw a buck. Wal, he was one of
'em--that buck was. The horns on his head were like an old-fashioned
round-posted chair, and if they hadn't a dozen prongs on 'em, you may
skin me! He wasn't as big as an ox, but a two-year-old that could
match him, could brag of a pretty rapid growth. I crept up behind a
little clump of bushes to about fifteen rods of where he stood on the
sandy beach, and sighting carefully at his head, let drive. My gun
hung fire a little, owin' to the night-dews, but that buck went down,
and after kickin' a moment, laid still, and I took it for granted he
was dead. So I laid down my rifle, and went up to where he
was, and with my huntin' knife in my hand, took hold of his
horn to raise his head so as to cut his throat. If that deer
was dead, he came to life mighty quick; for I had no sooner
touched him, than he sprang to his feet, and with every hair standin'
straight towards his head, came like a mad bull at me. In strugglin'
up he overshot me; and as he made his drive one prong went
through the calf of my leg. I plunged my knife into his body, and the
blood spirted all over me. But it wasn't no use. He smashed down upon
me again, and made that hole in my leg above the knee. I handled my
knife in a hurry, and made more than one hole in his skin, while he
stuck a prong through my arm. I hollered for Crop, who was watching
the shanty as his duty was. The old buck and I had it rough and
tumble; sometimes one a-top, and sometimes the other, and both growin'
weak from loss of blood. May be we didn't kick and tussle about, and
tear up the sand on the beach of the lake _some!_ The buck was game to
the backbone, and had no notion of givin' in, and I had to fight for
it, or die; so up and down, over and over, and all around, we went for
a long time, until Crop made up his mind that my callin' so earnestly
meant something, and round the point he came. When he saw what was
goin' on, you ought to've seen how _he_ went in! He didn't stop to
ask any questions, but as if possessed by all the furies of creation
he lit upon that buck, and the fight was up. He with his teeth, and I
with my knife, settled the matter in less than a minute. But, Judge,
let me tell you, that buck was dangerous; and if Crop hadn't been
around, may be ther'd have been the bones of man and beast bleachin'
on the sandy beach of Mud Lake! I bound up my wounds as well as I
could--but it was tough work backin' my bark canoe over the carryin'
places on Bog River, and across the Ingen carryin' place, and from the
Upper Saranac to Bound Lake, with them holes in my leg and arm, and
the other bruises I received. When I got out to the settlements I was
mighty glad to lay still for six weeks, and when I got around again I
was a good deal leaner than I am now.

"My gun hangin' fire made my bullet go wide of the spot I aimed at. It
had grazed his skull and stunned him for a little time, and crazed him
into the bargain. I learned more fully a fact that I'd an idea of
before, by my fight with that deer, and it is this--that it's best to
keep out of the way of a furious buck with tall, sharp horns on his
head. He's a dangerous animal to handle.

"That's one of the adventures that I went out into the wilderness
arter, and found without lookin' for it; and I've found a good many
others that put me and Crop in a tight place more than once. I backed
him over all the carryin' places between Little Tupper's and the
Saranacs once, when he was too lame and weak to walk, and nussed him
for a month afterwards. But that's an adventer I'll tell another time.
There's a deal of excitement, as the Judge calls it, outside of the
fences, if people will take the pains to look for it there."



We put up our tents the next evening, on a bold bluff near the outlet
of Round Pond, a picturesque and pleasant sheet of water, some eight
or ten miles in circumference. It lay there still and waveless, in
that calm summer evening, as glassy and smooth as if no breeze had
ever stirred its surface. All around it were old forests, old hills
and rocks, and away off in the distance were the tall peaks of the
Adirondacks, standing up grim, solemn, and shadowy in the distance.
These peaks are seen from almost every direction. They tower so far
above the surrounding highlands, that they seem always to be peering
over the intervening ranges, as if holding an everlasting watch over
the broad wilderness beneath them. This lake is probably more than a
thousand feet above the Rackett, and the river falls that distance

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