Part 1 out of 6
Produced by Curtis Weyant, the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
and The Making of America Project
[Illustration: "I saw him gasp, reel, and fall."]
[Illustration: Wild Western Scenes]
WILD WESTERN SCENES:
ADVENTURES IN THE WESTERN WILDERNESS,
THE EXPLOITS OF DANIEL BOONE, THE GREAT AMERICAN PIONEER ARE
ACCOUNTS OF BEAR, DEER, AND BUFFALO HUNTS--DESPERATE CONFLICTS WITH
THE SAVAGES--WOLF HUNTS--FISHING AND FOWLING ADVENTURES--ENCOUNTERS
WITH SERPENTS, ETC.
New Stereotype Edition, Altered, Revised, and Corrected
By J.B. JONES.
Author of "The War Path," "Adventures of a Country Merchant," etc.
Illustrated with Sixteen Engravings from Original Designs
J.B. Lippincott & Co.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by J.B. Jones,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District
Stereotyped By L. Johnson & Co.,
When a work of fiction has reached its fortieth edition, one would
suppose the author might congratulate himself upon having contributed
something of an imperishable character to the literature of the
country. But no such pretensions are asserted for this production, now
in its fortieth thousand. Being the first essay of an impetuous youth
in a field where giants even have not always successfully contended,
it would be a rash assumption to suppose it could receive from those
who confer such honors any high award of merit. It has been before the
public some fifteen years, and has never been reviewed. Perhaps the
forbearance of those who wield the cerebral scalpels may not be
further prolonged, and the book remains amenable to the judgment they
may be pleased to pronounce.
To that portion of the public who have read with approbation so many
thousands of his book, the author may speak with greater confidence.
To this class of his friends he may make disclosures and confessions
pertaining to the secret history of the "Wild Western Scenes," without
the hazard of incurring their displeasure.
Like the hero of his book, the author had his vicissitudes in boyhood,
and committed such indiscretions as were incident to one of his years
and circumstances, but nevertheless only such as might be readily
pardoned by the charitable. Like Glenn, he submitted to a voluntary
exile in the wilds of Missouri. Hence the description of scenery is a
true picture, and several characters in the scenes were real persons.
Many of the occurrences actually transpired in his presence, or had
been enacted in the vicinity at no remote period; and the dream of the
hero--his visit to the haunted island--was truly a dream of the
But the worst miseries of the author were felt when his work was
completed; he could get no publisher to examine it. He then purchased
an interest in a weekly newspaper, in the columns of which it appeared
in consecutive chapters. The subscribers were pleased with it, and
desired to possess it in a volume; but still no publisher would
undertake it,--the author had no reputation in the literary world. He
offered it for fifty dollars, but could find no purchaser at any
price. Believing the British booksellers more accommodating, a friend
was employed to make a fair copy in manuscript, at a certain number of
cents per hundred words. The work was sent to a British publisher,
with whom it remained many months, but was returned, accompanied by a
note declining to treat for it.
Undeterred by the rebuffs of two worlds, the author had his cherished
production published on his own account, and was remunerated by the
sale of the whole edition. After the tardy sale of several subsequent
editions by houses of limited influence, the book had the good
fortune, finally, to fall into the hands of the gigantic establishment
whose imprint is now upon its title-page. And now, the author is
informed, it is regularly and liberally ordered by the London
booksellers, and is sold with an increasing rapidity in almost every
section of the Union.
Such are the hazards, the miseries, and sometimes the rewards, of
Glenn and Joe--Their horses--A storm--A black stump--A rough
tumble--Moaning--Stars--Light--A log fire--Tents, and something to
eat--Another stranger, who turns out to be well known--Joe has a
snack--He studies revenge against the black stump--Boone proposes a
Boone hunts the bear--Hounds and terriers--Sneak Punk, the hatchet-
face--Another stump--The high passes--The bear roused--The chase--A
sight--A shot--A wound--Not yet killed--His meditations--His friend,
the bear--The bear retreats--Joe takes courage--Joe fires--Immense
execution--Sneak--The last struggle--Desperation of the bear--His
Glenn's castle--Mary--Books--A hunt--Joe and Pete--A tumble--An
opossum--A shot--Another tumble--A doe--The return--They set out
again--A mound--A buffalo--An encounter--Night--Terrific
The retreat--Joe makes a mysterious discovery--Mary--A disclosure
--Supper--Sleep--A cat--Joe's flint--The watch--Mary--The
bush--The attack--Joe's musket again--The repulse--The starting
rally--The desperate alternative--Relief.
A strange excursion--A fairy scene--Joe is puzzled and frightened--A
wonderful discovery--Navigation of the upper regions--A crash--No
A hunt--A deer taken--The hounds--Joe makes a horrid discovery--Sneak
Boone--The interment--Startling intelligence--Indians about--A skunk
--Thrilling fears--Boone's device.
Night--Sagacity of the hounds--Reflection--The sneaking savages--Joe's
disaster--The approach of the foe under the snow--The silent watch.
Sneak kills a sow that "was not all a swine"--The breathless suspense
--The match in readiness--Joe's cool demeanour--The match ignited
--Explosion of the mine--Defeat of the savages--The captive--His
liberation--The repose--The kitten--Morning.
The dead removed--The wolves on the river--The wolf hunt--Gum fetid
--Joe's incredulity--His conviction--His surprise--His predicament--His
Mary--Her meditations--Her capture--Her sad condition--Her mental
sufferings--Her escape--Her recapture.
Joe's indisposition--His cure--Sneak's reformation--The pursuit--The
captive Indian--Approach to the encampment of the savages--Joe's
illness again--The surprise--The terrific encounter--Rescue of
Mary--Capture of the young chief--The return.
The return--The young chief in confinement--Joe's fun--His reward--The
ring--A discovery--William's recognition--Memories of childhood--A
scene--Roughgrove's history--The children's parentage.
William's illness--Sneak's strange house--Joe's courage--The bee hunt
--Joe and sneak captured by the Indians--Their sad condition
--Preparations to burn them alive--Their miraculous escape.
Balmy Spring--Joe's curious dream--He prepares to catch a fish--Glenn
--William and Mary--Joe's sudden and strange appearance--La-u-na, the
trembling fawn--The fishing sport--The ducking frolic--Sneak and the
The bright morning--Sneak's visit--Glenn's heart--The snake hunt--Love
and raspberries--Joe is bitten--His terror and sufferings--Arrival
of Boone--Joe's abrupt recovery--Preparations to leave the
WILD WESTERN SCENES: A NARRATIVE OF ADVENTURES.
Glenn and Joe--Their horses--A storm--A black stump--A rough
tumble--Moaning--Stars--Light--A log fire--Tents, and something to
eat--Another stranger, who turns out to be well known--Joe has a
snack--He studies revenge against the black stump--Boone proposes a
"Do you see any light yet, Joe?"
"Not the least speck that ever was created, except the lightning, and
it's gone before I can turn my head to look at it."
The interrogator, Charles Glenn, reclined musingly in a two-horse
wagon, the canvas covering of which served in some measure to protect
him from the wind and rain. His servant, Joe Beck, was perched upon
one of the horses, his shoulders screwed under the scanty folds of an
oil-cloth cape, and his knees drawn nearly up to the pommel of the
saddle, to avoid the thumping bushes and briers that occasionally
assailed him, as the team plunged along in a stumbling pace. Their
pathway, or rather their direction, for there was no beaten road, lay
along the northern bank of the "Mad Missouri," some two hundred miles
above the St. Louis settlement. It was at a time when there were no
white men in those regions save a few trappers, traders, and
emigrants, and each new sojourner found it convenient to carry with
him a means of shelter, as houses of any description were but few and
Our travellers had been told in the morning, when setting out from a
temporary village which consisted of a few families of emigrants, with
whom they had sojourned the preceding night, that they could attain
the desired point by making the river their guide, should they be at a
loss to distinguish the faintly-marked pathway that led in a more
direct course to the place of destination. The storm coming up
suddenly from the north, and showers of hail accompanying the gusts,
caused the poor driver to incline his face to the left, to avoid the
peltings that assailed him so frequently; and the drenched horses,
similarly influenced, had unconsciously departed far from the right
line of march; and now, rather than turn his front again to the
pitiless blast, which could be the only means of regaining the road,
Joe preferred diverging still farther, until he should find himself on
the margin of the river, by which time he hoped the storm would abate.
At all events, he thought there would be more safety on the beach,
which extended out a hundred paces from the water, among the small
switches of cotton-wood that grew thereon, than in the midst of the
tall trees of the forest, where a heavy branch was every now and then
torn off by the wind, and thrown to the earth with a terrible crash.
Occasionally a deafening explosion of thunder would burst overhead;
and Joe, prostrating himself on the neck of his horse, would, with his
eyes closed and his teeth set, bear it out in silence. He spoke not,
save to give an occasional word of command to his team, or a brief
reply to a question from his master.
It was an odd spectacle to see such a vehicle trudging along at such
an hour, where no carriage had ever passed before. The two young men
were odd characters; the horses were oddly matched, one being a little
dumpy black pony, and the other a noble white steed; and it was an odd
whim which induced Glenn to abandon his comfortable home in
Philadelphia, and traverse such inclement wilds. But love can play the
"_wild_" with any young man. Yet we will not spoil our narrative by
introducing any of it here. Nor could it have been love that induced
Joe to share his master's freaks; but rather a rare penchant for the
miraculous adventures to be enjoyed in the western wilderness, and the
gold which his master often showered upon him with a reckless hand.
Joe's forefathers were from the Isle of Erin, and although he had lost
the brogue, he still retained some of their superstitions.
The wind continued to blow, the wolves howled, the lightning flashed,
and the thunder rolled. Ere long the little black pony snorted aloud
and paused abruptly.
"What ails you, Pete?" said Joe from his lofty position on the steed,
addressing his favourite little pet. "Get along," he continued,
striking the animal gently with his whip. But Pete was as immovable
and unconscious of the lash as would have been a stone. And the steed
seemed likewise to be infected with the pony's stubbornness, after the
wagon was brought to a pause.
"Why have you stopped, Joe?" inquired Glen.
"I don't hardly know, sir; but the stupid horses won't budge an inch
"Very well; we can remain here till morning. Take the harness off, and
give them the corn in the box; we can sleep in the wagon till
"But we have no food for ourselves, sir; and I'm vastly hungry. It
can't be much farther to the ferry," continued Joe, vexed at the
conduct of the horses.
"Very well; do as you like; drive on, if you desire to do so," said
"Get along, you stupid creatures!" cried Joe, applying the lash with
some violence. But the horses regarded him no more than blocks would
have done. Immediately in front he perceived a dark object that
resembled a stump and turning the horses slightly to one side,
endeavoured to urge them past it. Still they would not go, but
continued to regard the object mentioned with dread, which was
manifested by sundry restless pawings and unaccustomed snorts. Joe
resolved to ascertain the cause of their alarm, and springing to the
ground, moved cautiously in the direction of the dark obstruction,
which still seemed to be a blackened stump, about his own height, and
a very trifling obstacle, in his opinion, to arrest the progress of
his redoubtable team. The darkness was intense, yet he managed to keep
his eyes on the dim outlines of the object as he stealthily approached
And he stepped as noiselessly as possible, notwithstanding he
meditated an encounter with nothing more than an inanimate object. But
his imagination was always on the alert, and as he often feared
dangers that arose undefinable and indescribable in his mind, it was
not without some trepidation that he had separated himself from the
horses and groped his way toward the object that had so much terrified
his pony. He paused within a few feet of the object, and waited for
the next flash of lightning to scrutinize the thing more closely
before putting his hand upon it. But no flash came, and he grew tired
of standing. He stooped down, so as to bring the upper portion of it
in a line with the sky beyond, but still he could not make it out. He
ventured still nearer, and stared at it long and steadily, but to no
avail: the black mass only was before him, seemingly inanimate, and of
a deeper hue than the darkness around.
"I've a notion to try my whip on you," said he, thinking if it should
be a human being it would doubtless make a movement. He started back
with a momentary conviction that he heard a rush creak under its feet.
But as it still maintained its position, he soon concluded the noise
to have been only imaginary, and venturing quite close gave it a smart
blow with his whip. Instantaneously poor Joe was rolling on the earth,
almost insensible, and the dark object disappeared rushing through the
bushes into the woods. The noise attracted Glenn, who now approached
the scene, and with no little surprise found his servant lying on his
"What's the matter, Joe?" demanded he.
"Oh, St. Peter! O preserve me!" exclaimed Joe.
"What has happened? Why do you lie there?"
"Oh, I'm almost killed! Didn't you see him?"
"See what? I can see nothing this dark night but the flying clouds and
yonder yellow sheet of water."
"Oh, I've been struck!" said Joe, groaning piteously.
"Struck by what? Has the lightning struck you?"
"No--no! my head is all smashed up--it was a bear."
"Pshaw! get up, and either drive on, or feed the horses," said Glenn
with some impatience.
"I call all the saints to witness that it was a wild bear--a great
wild bear! I thought it was a stump, but just as I struck it a flash
of lightning revealed to my eyes a big black bear standing on his hind
feet, grinning at me, and he gave me a blow on the side of the face,
which has entirely blinded my left eye, and set my ears to ringing
like a thousand bells. Just feel the blood on my face."
[Illustration: A dark encounter]
Glenn actually felt something which might be blood, and really had
thought he could distinguish the stump himself when the wagon halted;
yet he did not believe that Joe had received the hurt in any other
manner than by striking his face against some hard substance which he
could not avoid in the darkness.
"You only fancy it was a bear, Joe; so come along back to the horses
and drive on. The rain has ceased, and the stars are appearing."
Saying this, Glenn led the way to the wagon.
"I'd be willing to swear on the altar that it was a huge bear, and
nothing else!" replied Joe, as he mounted and drove on, the horses now
evincing no reluctance to proceed. One after another the stars came
out and shone in purest brightness as the mists swept away, and ere
long the whole canopy of blue was gemmed with twinkling brilliants.
The winds soon lulled, and the dense forest on the right reposed from
the moaning gale which had disturbed it a short time before; and the
waves that had been tossed into foaming ridges now spent their fury on
the beach, each lashing the bank more gently than the last, until the
power of the gliding current swept them all down the turbid stream.
Soon the space between the water and the forest gradually diminished,
and seemed to join at a point not far ahead. Joe observed this with
some concern, being aware that to meander among the trees at such an
hour was impossible. He therefore inclined toward the river, resolved
to defer his re-entrance into the forest as long as possible. As he
drove on he kept up a continual groaning, with his head hung to one
side, as if suffering with the toothache, and occasionally reproaching
Pete with some petulance, as if a portion of the blame attached to his
"Why do you keep up such a howling, Joe? Do you really suffer much
pain?" inquired Glenn, annoyed by his man's lamentations.
"It don't hurt as bad as it did--but then to think that I was such a
fool as to go right into the beast's clutches, when even Pete had more
"If it was actually a bear, Joe, you can boast of the thrilling
encounter hereafter," said Glenn, in a joking and partly consoling
"But if I have many more such, I fear I shall never get back to relate
them. My face is all swelled--Huzza! yonder is a light, at last! It's
on this side of the river, and if we can't get over the ferry
to-night, we shall have something to eat on this side, at all events.
Ha! ha! ha! I see a living man moving before the fire, as if he were
roasting meat." Joe forgot his wound in the joy of an anticipated
supper, and whipping the horses into a brisk pace, they soon drew near
the encampment, where they discovered numerous persons, male and
female, who had been prevented from crossing the river that day, in
consequence of the violence of the storm, and had raised their tents
at the edge of the woods, preferring to repose thus until the
following morning than to venture into the frail ferry-boat while the
waves yet ran so high.
There was no habitation in the immediate vicinity, save a rude hovel
occupied by Jasper Roughgrove and his ferrymen, which was on the
opposite shore in a narrow valley that cleft asunder the otherwise
uniform cliff of rocks.
The creaking of the wheels, when the vehicle approached within a few
hundred paces of the encampment, attracted the watch-dogs, and their
fierce and continued barking drew the attention of the emigrants in
the direction indicated. Several men with guns in their hands came out
to meet the young travellers.
"We are white men, friends, strangers, lost, benighted, and hungry!"
exclaimed Joe, stopping the horses, and addressing the men before he
"Come on, then, and eat and rest with us," said they, amused at Joe's
exclamations, and leading the way to the encampment.
When they arrived at the edge of the camp, Glenn dismounted from the
wagon, and directing Joe to follow when he had taken care of the
horses, drew near the huge log fire in company with those who had gone
out to meet him. Several tall and spreading elms towered in majesty
above, and their clustering leaves, yet partially green,
notwithstanding the autumn was midway advanced, were beautifully
tinged by the bright light thrown upward from the glaring flames. The
view on one side was lost in the dark labyrinth of the moss-grown
trunks of the forest. On the other swept the turbid river, bearing
downward in its rapid current severed branches, and even whole trees,
that had been swept away by the continual falling in of the river
bank, for the sandy soil was always subject to the undermining of tho
impetuous stream. A circle of tents was formed round the fire,
constructed of thin poles bent in the shape of an arch, and the ends
planted firmly in the earth. These were covered with buffalo skins,
which would effectually shield the inmates from the rain; and
quantities of leaves, after being carefully dried before the fire,
were placed on the ground within, over which were spread buffalo robes
with the hair uppermost, and thus in a brief space was completed
temporary but not uncomfortable places of repose. The ends of the
tents nearest to the fire were open, to admit the heat and a portion
of light, that those who desired it might retire during their repast,
or engage in pious meditation undisturbed by the more clamorous
portion of the company.
Glenn paused when within the circle, and looked with some degree of
interest on the admirable arrangement of those independent and hardy
people. A majority of the emigrants were seated on logs brought
thither for that purpose, and feasting quietly from several large pans
and well-filled camp-kettles, which were set out for all in common.
They motioned Glenn to partake with them; and although many curious
looks were directed toward him, yet he was not annoyed by questions
while eating. Joe came in, and following the example of the rest,
played his part to perfection, without complaining once of his wound.
The feast was just finished, when the dogs again set up a furious
yelping, and ran into the forest. But they returned very quickly, some
of them whining with the hurts received from the strangers they
encountered so roughly; and presently they were followed by several
enormous hounds, and soon after an athletic woodsman was seen
approaching. This personage was a tall muscular man, past the middle
age, but agile and vigorous in all his motions. He was habited in a
buck-skin hunting-shirt, and wore leggins of the same material.
Although he was armed with a long knife and heavy rifle, and the
expression of his brow and chin indicated an unusual degree of
firmness and determination, yet there was an openness and blandness in
the expression of his features which won the confidence of the
beholder, and instantly dispelled every apprehension of violence. All
of the emigrants had either seen or heard of him before, for his name
was not only repeated by every tongue in the territory, but was
familiar in every State in the Union, and not unknown in many parts of
Europe. He was instantly recognised by the emigrants, and crowding
round, they gave him a hearty welcome. They led him to a conspicuous
seat, and forming a circle about him, were eager to catch every word
that might escape his lips, and relied with implicit confidence on
every species of information he imparted respecting the dangers and
advantages of the locations they were about to visit. Boone had
settled some three miles distant from the ferry, among the hills,
where his people were engaged in the manufacture of salt. He had
selected this place of abode long before the general tide of
emigration had reached so far up the Missouri. It was said that he
pitched his tent among the barren hills as a security against the
intrusion of other men, who, being swayed by a love of wealth, would
naturally seek their homes in the rich level prairies. It is true that
Boone loved to dwell in solitude. But he was no misanthrope. And now,
although questions were asked without number, he answered them with
cheerfulness; advised the families what would be necessary to be done
when their locations were selected, and even pressingly invited them
to remain in his settlement a few days to recover from the fatigue of
travel, and promised to accompany them afterward over the river into
the rich plains to which they were journeying.
During the brisk conversation that had been kept up for a great length
of time, Glenn, unlike the rest of the company, sat at a distance and
maintained a strict silence. Occasionally, as some of the
extraordinary feats related of the person before him occurred to his
memory, he turned his eyes in the direction of the great pioneer, and
at each time observed the gaze of the woodsman fixed upon him.
Nevertheless his habitual listlessness was not disturbed, and he
pursued his peculiar train of reflections. Joe likewise treated the
presence of the renowned Indian fighter with apparent unconcern, and
being alone in his glory, dived the deeper into the saucepan.
Boone at length advanced to where Glenn was sitting, and after
scanning his pale features, and his costly though not
exquisitely-fashioned habiliments, thus addressed him:--
"Young man, may I inquire what brings thee to these wilds?"
"I am a freeman," replied Glenn, somewhat haughtily, "and may be
influenced by that which brings other men hither."
"Nay, young man, excuse the freedom which all expect to exercise in
this comparative wilderness; but I am very sure there is not another
emigrant on this side of the Ohio who has been actuated by the same
motives that brought thee hither. Others come to fell the forest oak,
and till the soil of the prairie, that they may prepare a heritage for
their children; but thy soft hands and slender limbs are unequal to
the task; nor dost thou seem to have felt the want of this world's
goods; and thou bringest no family to provide for. Thou hast committed
that which banished thee from society, or found in society that which
disgusted thee--speak, which of these?" said Boone, in accents, though
not positively commanding, yet they produced a sense of reverence that
subdued the rising indignation of Glenn, and looking upon the
interrogator as the acknowledged host of the eternal wilds, and
himself as a mere guest, who might be required to produce his
testimonials of worthiness to associate with nature's most honest of
men, he replied with calmness, though with subdued emotion--
"You are right, sir--it was the latter. I had heard that you were
happy in the solitude of the mountain-shaded valley, or on the
interminable prairies that greet the horizon in the distance, where
neither the derision of the proud, the malice of the envious, nor the
deceptions of pretended love and friendship, could disturb your
peaceful meditations: and from amid the wreck of certain hopes, which
I once thought no circumstances could destroy, I rose with a
determined though saddened heart, and solemnly vowed to seek such a
wilderness, where I could pass a certain number of my days engaging in
the pursuits that might be most congenial to my disposition. Already I
imagine I experience the happy effects of my resolution. Here the
whispers of vituperating foes cannot injure, nor the smiles of those
fondly cherished deceive."
"Your hand, young man," said Boone, with an earnestness which
convinced Glenn that his tale was not imprudently divulged.
"Ho! what's the matter with _you_?" Boone continued, turning to Joe,
who had just arisen from his supper, and was stretching back his
"I got a licking from a bear to-night--but I don't mind it much since
I've had a snack. But if ever I come across him in the daytime, I'll
show him a thing or two," said Joe, with his fists doubled up.
"Pshaw! do you still entertain the ridiculous belief that it was
really a bear you encountered?" inquired Glenn, with an incredulous
"I'll swear to it!" replied Joe.
"Let me see your face," remarked Boone, turning him to where there was
"Hollo! don't squeeze it so hard!" cried Joe, as Boone removed some of
the coagulated blood that remained or the surface.
"There is no doubt about it--it was a bear, most certainly," said
Boone; and examining the wound more closely, continued: "Here are the
marks of his claws, plain enough: he might easily be captured
to-morrow. Who will hunt him with me?"
"I will!" burst from the lips of nearly every one present.
"Huzza--revenge! I'll have revenge, huzza!" cried Joe, throwing round
"You will join us?" inquired Boone, turning to Glenn.
"Yes," replied Glenn; "I came hither provided with the implements to
hunt; and as such is to be principally my occupation during my sojourn
in this region, I could not desire a more happy opportunity than the
present to make a beginning. And as it is my intention to settle near
the ferry on the opposite shore, I am pleased to find that I shall not
be far from one whose acquaintance I hoped to make, above all others."
"And you may not find me reluctant to cultivate a social intercourse,
notwithstanding men think me a crabbed old misanthrope," replied
Boone, pressing the extended hand of Glenn. They then separated for
the night, retiring to the tents that had been provided for them.
It was not long before a comparative silence pervaded the scene. The
fierce yelpings of the watch-dogs gradually ceased, and the howling
wolf was but indistinctly heard in the distance. The katydid and
whippoorwill still sang at intervals, and these sounds, as well as the
occasional whirlpool that could be heard rising on the surface of the
gliding stream, had a soothing influence, and lulled to slumber the
wandering mortals who now reclined under the forest trees, far from
the homes of their childhood and the graves of their kindred. Glenn
gazed from his couch through the branches above at the calm, blue sky,
resplendent with twinkling stars; and if a sad reflection, that he
thus lay, a lonely being, a thousand miles from those who had been
most dear to him, dimmed his eye for an instant with a tear, he still
felt a consciousness of innocence within, and resolving to execute his
vow in every particular, he too was soon steeped in undisturbed
Boone hunts the bear--Hounds and terriers--Sneak Punk, the Hatchet-
face--Another stump--The high passes--The bear roused--The
chase--A sight--A shot--A wound--Joe--His meditations--His friend,
the bear--The bear retreats--Joe takes courage--He fires--Immense
execution--Sneak--The last struggle--Desperation of the bear--His
By the time the first streaks of gray twilight marked the eastern
horizon, Boone, at the head of the party of hunters, set out from the
encampment and proceeded down the river in the direction of the place
where Joe had been so roughly handled by Bruin. All, with the
exception of Glenn and his man, being accustomed to much walking, were
on foot. Glenn rode his white steed, and Joe was mounted on his little
black pony. The large hounds belonging to Boone, and the curs,
spaniels, and terriers of the emigrants were all taken along. As they
proceeded down the river, Boone proposed the plan of operations which
was to guide their conduct in the chase, and each man was eager to
perform his part, whatever it might be. It was arranged that a portion
of the company should precede the rest, and cross the level woodland
about two miles in width, to a range of hills and perpendicular cliffs
that appeared to have once bounded the river, and select such ravines
or outlets as in their opinion the bear would be most likely to pass
through, if he were indeed still in the flat bottom-land. At these
places they were to station themselves with their guns well charged,
and either await the coming of the animal or the drivers; the first
would be announced by the yelping of the dogs, and the last by the
Glenn and one or two others remained with Boone to hunt Bruin in his
lair, while Joe and the remainder of the company were despatched to
the passes among the hills. There was a narrow-featured Vermonter in
this party, termed, by his comrades, the Hatchet-face, and, in truth,
the extreme thinness of his chest and the slenderness of his limbs
might as aptly have been called the hatchet-handle. But, so far from
being unfit for the hardy pursuits of a hunter, he was gifted with the
activity of a greyhound, and the swiftness and bottom of a race-horse.
His name was Sneak Punk, which was always abbreviated to merely Sneak,
for his general success in creeping up to the unsuspecting game of
whatsoever kind he might be hunting, while others could not meet with
such success. He had been striding along some time in silence a short
distance in advance of Joe, who, even by dint of sundry kicks and the
free use of his whip, could hardly keep pace with him. The rest were a
few yards in the rear, and all had maintained a strict silence,
implicitly relying on the guidance of Sneak, who, though he had never
traversed these woods before, was made perfectly familiar with the
course he was to pursue by the instructions of Boone.
Although the light of morning was now apparent above, yet the thick
growth of the trees, whose clustering branches mingled in one dense
mass overhead, made it still dark and sombre below; and Joe, to divert
Sneak from his unconscionable gait, which, in his endeavours to keep
up, often subjected him to the rude blows of elastic switches, and
many twinges of overhanging grape vines, essayed to engage his
companion in conversation.
"I say, Mr. Sneak," observed Joe, with an eager voice, as his pony
trotted along rather roughly through the wild gooseberry bushes, and
often stumbled over the decayed logs that lay about.
"What do you want, stranger?" replied Sneak, slackening his gait until
he fell back alongside of Joe.
"I only wanted to know if you ever killed a bear before," said Joe,
drawing an easy breath as Pete fell into a comfortable walk.
"Dod rot it, I hain't killed this one yit," said Sneak.
"I didn't mean any offence," said Joe.
"What makes you think you have given any?"
"Because you said _dod rot it_."
"I nearly always say so--I've said so so often that I can't help it.
But now, as we are on the right footing, I can tell you that I
wintered once in Arkansaw, and that's enough to let you know I'm no
greenhorn, no how you can fix it. And moreover, I tell you, if old
Boone wasn't here hisself, I'd kill this bar as sure as a gun, and my
gun is as sure as a streak of lightning run into a barrel of
gunpowder;" and as he spoke he threw up his heavy gun and saluted the
iron with his lips.
"Is your's a rifle?" inquired Joe, to prolong the conversation, his
companion showing symptoms of a disposition to fall into his habit of
going ahead again.
"Sartainly! Does anybody, I wonder, expect to do any thing with a
shot-gun in sich a place as this?"
"Mine's a shot-gun," said Joe.
"Dod--did you ever kill any thing better than a quail with it?"
inquired Sneak, contemptuously.
"I never killed any thing in my life with it--I never shot a gun in
all my life before to-night," said Joe.
"Dod, you haven't fired it to-night, to my sartain knowledge."
"I mean I never went a shooting."
"Did you load her yourself?" inquired Sneak, taking hold of the musket
and feeling the calibre.
"Yes--but I'm sure I did it right. I put in a handful of powder, and
paper on top of it, and then poured in a handful of balls," said Joe.
"Ha! ha! ha! I'll be busted if you don't raise a fuss if you ever get
a shot at the bar!" said Sneak, with emphasis.
"That's what I am after."
"Why don't you go ahead?" demanded Sneak, as Joe's pony stopped
suddenly, with his ears thrust forward. "Dod! whip him up," continued
he, seeing that his companion was intently gazing at some object
ahead, and exhibiting as many marks of alarm as Pete. "It's nothing
but a stump!" said Sneak, going forwards and kicking the object, which
was truly nothing more than he took it to be. Joe then related to him
all the particulars of his nocturnal affair with the supposed stump,
previous to his arrival at the camp, and Sneak, with a hearty laugh,
admitted that both he and the pony were excusable for inspecting all
the stumps they might chance to come across in the dark in future.
They now emerged into the open space which was the boundary of the
woods, and after clambering up a steep ascent for some minutes, they
reached the summit of a tall range of bluffs. From this position the
sun could be seen rising over the eastern ridges, but the flat woods
that had been traversed still lay in darkness below, and silent as the
tomb, save the hooting of owls as they flapped to their hollow
habitations in the trees.
The party then dispersed to their coverts under the direction of
Sneak, who with a practised eye instantly perceived all the
advantageous posts for the men, and the places where the bear would
most probably run. Joe had insisted on having his revenge, and begged
to be stationed where he would be most likely to get a shot. He was
therefore permitted to remain at the head of the ravine they had just
ascended, through which a deer path ran, as the most favourable
position. After tying Pete some paces in the rear, he came forwards to
the verge of the valley and seated himself on a dry rock, where he
could see some distance down the path under the tall sumach bushes. He
then commenced cogitating how he would act, should Bruin have the
hardihood to face him in the daytime.
Boone and his party drew near the spot where the bear had been seen
the previous night. The two large hounds, Ringwood and Jowler, kept at
their master's heels, being trained to understand and perform all the
duties required of them, while the curs and terriers were running
helter-skelter far ahead, or striking out into the woods without aim,
and always returning without effecting any thing. At length the two
hounds paused, and scented the earth, giving certain information that
they had arrived at the desired point. The curs and terriers had
already passed far beyond the spot, being unable to decide any thing
by the nose, and always relying on their swiftness in the chase when
they should be in sight of the object pursued.
Now, Glenn perceived to what perfection dogs could be trained, and
learned, what had been a matter of wonder to him, how Boone could keep
up with them in the chase. The hounds set off at a signal from their
master, not like an arrow from the bow, but at a moderate pace, ever
and anon looking back and pausing until the men came up; while the
erratic curs flew hither and thither, chasing every hare and squirrel
they could find. As they pursued the trail they occasionally saw the
foot-print of the animal, which was broad and deep, indicating one of
enormous size. Presently they came to a spot thickly overgrown with
spice-wood bushes and prickly vines, where he had made his lair, and
from the erect tails of Ringwood and Jowler, and the intense interest
they otherwise evinced, it was evident they were fast approaching the
presence of Bruin. Ere long, as they ran along with their heads up,
for the first time that morning, they commenced yelping in clear and
distinct tones, which rang musically far and wide through the woods.
The curs relinquished their unprofitable racing round the thickets,
attracted by the hounds, and soon learned to keep in the rear,
depending on the unerring trailing of the old hunters, as the object
of pursuit was not yet in sight. The chase became more animated, and
the men quickened their pace as the inspiring notes of the hounds rang
out at regular intervals. Glenn soon found he possessed no advantage
over those on foot, who were able to run under the branches of the
trees, and glide through the thickets with but little difficulty,
while the rush of his noble steed was often arrested by the tenacious
vines clinging to the bushes abreast, and he was sometimes under the
necessity of dismounting to recover his cap or whip.
It was not long before the notes of Ringwood and Jowler suddenly
increased in sharpness and quickness, and the curs and terriers,
hitherto silent, set up a confused medley of sounds, which
reverberated like one continuous scream. They had pounced upon the
bear, and from the stationary position of the dogs for a few minutes,
indicated by their peculiar baying, it was evident Bruin had turned to
survey the enemy, and perhaps to give them battle; but it seemed that
their number or noise soon intimidated him, and that he preferred
seeking safety in flight. How Boone could possibly know beforehand
which way the bear would run, was a mystery to Glenn; but that he
often abandoned the direction taken by the dogs, turning off at almost
right angles, and still had a sight of him was no less true. No one
had yet been near enough to fire with effect. The bear,
notwithstanding his many feints and novel demonstrations to get rid of
his persecutors, had continued to make towards the hills where the
standers were stationed. Boone falling in with Glenn, from whom he had
been frequently separated, they continued together some time,
following the course of the sounds towards the east.
"This sport is really exciting and noble!" exclaimed Glenn, as the
deep and melodious intonations of Ringwood and Jowler fell upon his
"Excellent! excellent!" replied Boone, listening intently, and pausing
suddenly, as the discharge of a gun in the direction of the hills
sounded through the woods.
"He has reached the standers," remarked Glenn, reining up his steed at
"No; it was one of our men who has not followed him in all his
deviations," replied Boone, still marking the notes of the hounds.
"I doubt not our company is sufficiently scattered in every direction
through the forest to force him into the hills very speedily, if,
indeed, that shot was not fatal," remarked Glenn.
"He is not hurt--perhaps it was not fired at him, but at a bird--nor
will he yet leave the woods," said Boone, still listening to the
hounds. "He comes!" he exclaimed a moment after, with marks of joy in
his face; "he will make a grand circle before quitting the lowland."
And now the dogs could be heard more distinctly, as if they were
gradually approaching the place from which they first started.
"If you will remain here," continued Boone, "it is quite likely you
will have a shot as he makes his final push for the hills."
"Then here will I remain," replied Glenn; and fixing himself firmly in
the saddle, resolved to await the coming of Bruin, having every
confidence in the intimation of his friend. Boone selected a position
a few hundred paces distant, with a view of permitting Glenn to have
the first fire.
The bear took a wide circuit towards the river, pausing at times until
the foremost of the dogs came up, which he could easily manage to keep
at bay; but when all of them (and the curs did good service now)
surrounded him, he found it necessary to set forward again. When he
had run as far as the river, and turned once more towards the hills,
his course seemed to be in a direct line with Glenn, and the young
man's heart fluttered with anticipation as he examined his gun, and
turned his horse (which had been accustomed to firearms) in a
favourable position to give the enemy a salute as he passed. Nearer
they came, the dogs pursuing with redoubled fierceness, their blood
heated by the exercise, and their most sanguine passions roused by
their frequent severe skirmishes with their huge antagonist. As they
approached, the strange and simultaneous yelpings of the curs and
terriers resembled an embodied roar, amid which the flute-like notes
of Ringwood and Jowler could hardly be heard. Glenn could now
distinctly hear the bear rushing like a torrent through the bushes,
almost directly towards the place where he was posted, and a moment
after it emerged from a dense thicket of hazel, and the noble steed,
instead of leaping away with affright, threw back his ears and stood
firm, until Glenn fired. Bruin uttered a howl, and halting with a
fierce growl, raised himself on his haunches, and displaying his array
of white teeth, prepared to assail our hero. Glenn proceeded to reload
his rifle with as much expedition as was in his power, though not
without some tremor, notwithstanding he was mounted on his tall steed,
whose nostrils dilated, and eyes flashing fire, indicated that he was
willing to take part in the conflict. The bear was preparing for a
dreadful encounter, and on the very eve of springing towards his
assailant, when the hounds coming up admonished him to flee his more
numerous foes, and turning off, he continued his route towards the
hills. Glenn perceived that he had not missed his aim by the blood
sprinkled on the bushes, and being ready for another fire, galloped
after him. Just when he came in sight, Boone's gun was heard, and
Bruin fell, remaining motionless for a moment; but ere Glenn arrived
within shooting distance, or Boone could reload, he had risen and
again continued his course, as if in defiance of everything that man
could do to oppose him.
"Is it possible he still survives!" exclaimed Glenn, joining his
"There is nothing more possible," replied Boone; "but I saw by his
limping that your shot had taken effect."
"And I saw him fall when you fired," said Glenn; "but he still runs."
"And he _will_ run for some time yet," remarked Boone, "for they are
extremely hard to kill, when heated by the pursuit of dogs. But we
have done our part, and it now remains for those at the passes to
finish the work so well begun."
Joe's imagination had several times worked him into a fury, which had
as often subsided in disappointment, during the chase below, every
particle of which could be distinctly heard from his position. More
than once, when a brisk breeze swept up the valley, he was convinced
that his enemy was approaching him, and, every nerve quivering with
the expectation of the bear coming in view the next instant, he stood
a spectacle of eagerness, with perhaps a small portion of apprehension
intermingled. At length, from the frequent deceptions the distance
practiced upon him, he grew composed by degrees, and resuming his seat
on the stone, with his musket lying across his knees, thus gave vent
to his thoughts: "What if an Indian were to pounce upon me while I'm
sitting here?" Here he paused, and looked carefully round in every
direction. "No!" he continued; "if there were any at this time in the
neighbourhood, wouldn't Boone know it? To be sure he would, and here's
my gun--I forgot that. Let them come as soon as they please! I wonder
if the bear _will_ come out here? Suppose he does, what's the danger?
Didn't I grapple with him last night? And couldn't I jump on Pete and
get away from him! But--pshaw! I keep forgetting my gun--I wish he
_would_ come, I'd serve him worse than he served me last night! My
face feels very sore this morning. There!" he exclaimed, when he heard
the fire of Glenn's gun, and the report that succeeded from Boone's,
"they've floored him as dead as a nail, I'll bet. Hang it! I should
like to have had a word or two with him myself, to have told him I
hadn't forgotten his ugly grin. The men must have known I would stand
no chance of killing him when they placed me up here. I should like to
know what part of the sport _I've_ had--ough!" exclaimed he, his hair
standing upright, as he beheld the huge bear, panting and bleeding,
coming towards him, and not twenty paces distant!
Bruin had eluded the dogs a few minutes by climbing a bending tree at
the mouth of the valley, from which he passed to another, and
descending again to the earth, proceeded almost exhausted up the
ravine. Joe's eyes grew larger and larger as the monster approached,
and when within a few feet of him he uttered a horrible unearthly
sound, which attracted the bear, and fearing the fatal aim of man more
than the teeth of the dogs, he whirled about, with a determination to
fight his way back, in preference to again risking the murderous lead.
No sooner was the bear out of sight, and plunging down the dell amid
the cries of the dogs, which assailed him on all sides, than Joe
bethought him of his gun, and becoming valorous, ran a few steps down
the path and fired in the direction of the confused melee. The moment
after he discharged his musket, the back part of his head struck the
earth, and the gun made two or three end-over-end revolutions up the
path behind him. Never, perhaps, was such a rebound from overloading
known before. Joe now thought not of the bear, nor looked to see what
execution he had done. He thought of his own person, which he found
prostrate on the ground. When somewhat recovered from the blow, he
rose with his hand pressed to his nose, while the blood ran out
between his fingers. "Oh! my goodness!" he exclaimed, seating himself
at the root of a pecan tree, and rocking backwards and forwards.
"What's your gun doing up here?" exclaimed Sneak, coming down the
path. Joe made no answer, but continued to rock backwards and forwards
"Why don't you speak? Where's the bar?"
"I don't know. Oh!" murmured Joe.
"What's the matter?" inquired Sneak, seeing the copious effusion of
"I shot off that outrageous musket, and it's kicked my nose to pieces!
I shall faint!" said Joe, dropping his head between his knees.
"Faint? I never saw a _man_ faint!" said Sneak, listening to the chase
"Oh! can't you help me to stop this blood?"
"Don't you hear _that_, down there?" replied Sneak, his attention
entirely directed to that which was going on in the valley.
"My ears are deafened by that savage gun! I can't hear a bit, hardly!
Oh, what shall I do, Mr. Sneak?" continued Joe.
"Dod rot it!" exclaimed Sneak, leaping like a wild buck down the path,
and paying no further attention to the piteous lamentations of his
Ere the bear reached the mouth of the glen, the hunters generally had
come up, and poor Bruin found himself hemmed in on all sides. He could
not ascend on either hand, the loss of blood having weakened him too
much to climb over the almost precipitous rocks, and he made a final
stand, determined to sell his life as dearly as possible. The dogs
sprang upon him in a body, and it was soon evident that his desperate
struggles were not harmless. He grasped one of the curs in his deadly
hug, and with his teeth planted in its neck, relinquished not his hold
until it fell from his arms a disfigured and lifeless object. He boxed
those that were tearing his hams with his ponderous claws, sending
them screaming to the right and left. He then stood up on his
haunches, with his back against a rock, and with a snarl of defiance
resolved never to retreat "from its firm base." Never were blows more
rabidly dealt. When attacked on one side, he had no sooner turned to
beat down his sanguine foe than he was assailed on the other. Thus he
fought alternately from right to left, his mouth gaping open, his
tongue hanging out, and his eyes gleaming furiously as if swimming in
liquid fire. At times he was charged simultaneously in front and
flank, when for an instant the whole group seemed to be one dark
writhing mass, uttering a medly of discordant and horrid sounds. But
determined to conquer or die on the spot he occupied, Bruin never
relaxed his blows, until the bruised and exhausted dogs were forced to
withdraw a moment the combat, and rush into the narrow rivulet. While
they lay panting in the water, the bear turned his head back against
the rocks, and lapped in the dripping moisture without moving from his
position. But he was fast sinking under his wounds: a stream of blood,
which constantly issued from his body and ran down and discoloured the
water, indicated that his career was nearly finished. Yet his spirit
was not daunted; for while the canine assailants he had withstood so
often were bathing preparatory for a renewal of the conflict, Boone
and Glenn, who had approached the immediate vicinity, fired, and
Bruin, echoing the howl of death as the bullets entered his body,
turned his eyes reproachfully towards the men for an instant, and
then, with a growl of convulsed, expiring rage, plunged into the
water, and, seizing the largest cur, crushed him to death. Ringwood
and Jowler, whose sagacity had hitherto led them to keep in some
measure aloof, knowing their efforts would be unavailing against so
powerful an enemy without the fatal aim of their master, now sprang
forward to the rescue, both seizing the prostrate foe by the throat.
But he could not be made to relinquish his victim, nor did he make
resistance. Boone, advancing at the head of the hunters, (all of whom,
with the exception of Joe and Sneak, being there assembled,) with some
difficulty prevented his companions from discharging their guns at the
dark mass before them. He struck up several of their guns as they were
endeavouring to aim at the now motionless bear, fearing that his
hounds might suffer by their fire, and stooping down, whence he could
distinctly see the pale gums and tongue, as his hounds grappled the
neck of the animal, announced the death of Bruin, and the termination
of the hunt. The hounds soon abandoned their inanimate victim, and its
sinewy limbs relaxing, the devoted cur rolled out a lifeless body.
"How like you this specimen of our wild sports?" inquired Boone,
turning to Glenn, as the rest proceeded to skin and dress the bear
preparatory for its conveyance to the camp.
"It is exciting, if not terrific and cruel," replied Glenn, musing.
"None could be more eager than yourself in the chase,' said Boone.
"True," replied Glenn; "and notwithstanding the uninitiated may for an
instant revolt at the spilling of blood, yet the chase has ever been
considered the noblest and the most innocent of sports. The animals
hunted are often an evil while running at large, being destructive or
dangerous; but even if they were harmless in their nature, they are
still necessary or desirable for the support or comfort of man. Blood
of a similar value is spilt everywhere without the least compunction.
The knife daily pierces the neck of the swine, and the kitchen wench
wrings off the head of the fowl while she hums a ditty. This is far
better than hunting down our own species on the battle-field, or
ruining and being ruined at the gaming-table. I think I shall be
content in this region."
"And you will no doubt be an expert hunter, if I have any judgment in
such matters," replied Boone.
"I wonder that Joe has not yet made his appearance," remarked Glenn,
approaching the bear; "I expected ere this to have seen him triumphing
over his fallen enemy."
"What kind of a gun had he?" inquired Boone.
"A large musket," said Glenn, recollecting the enormous explosion that
seemed to jar the whole woods like an earthquake; "it must have been
Joe who fired--he had certainly overcharged the gun, and I fear it has
burst in his hands, which may account for his absence."
"Be not uneasy," replied Boone; "for I can assure you from the
peculiar sound it made that it did nothing more than rebound
violently; besides, those guns very rarely burst. But here comes
Sneak, (I think they call him so,) no doubt having some tidings of
your man. It seems he has not been idle. He has a brace of racoons in
The tall slim form of Sneak was seen coming down the path. Ever and
anon he cast his eyes from one hand to the other, regarding with no
ordinary interest the dead animals he bore.
"I did not hear him fire," remarked Glenn.
"He may have killed them with stones," said Boone; and as Sneak drew
near, he continued, with a smile, "they are nothing more than a brace
of his terriers, that doubtless Bruin dispatched, and which may well
be spared, notwithstanding Sneak's seeming sorrow."
Sneak approached the place where Boone and Glenn were standing, with
the gravest face that man ever wore. His eyes seemed to be set in his
head, for not once did they wink, nor did his lips move for some
length of time after he threw down the dogs at the feet of Glenn,
although several men addressed him. He stood with his arms folded, and
gazed mournfully at his dead dogs.
"The little fellows fought bravely, and covered themselves with
glory," said Glenn, much amused at the solemn demeanour of Sneak.
"If there ain't more blood spilt on the strength of it, I wish I may
be smashed!" said Sneak, compressing his lips.
"What mean you? what's the matter?" inquired Boone, who best
understood what the man was meditating.
"I've got as good a gun as anybody here! And I'll have revenge, or
pay!" replied Sneak, turning his eyes on Glenn.
"If your remarks are intended for me," said Glenn, "rely upon it you
shall have justice."
"Tell us all about it," said Boone.
"When I heard that fool up the valley shoot off his forty-four
pounder, I ran to see what he had done, and when I came near to where
he was, his gun was lying up the hill behind him, and he setting down
whining like a baby, and a great gore of blood hanging to his nose. I
wish it had blowed his head off! I got tired of staying with the
tarnation fool, who couldn't tell me a thing, when I heard you
shooting, and the horn blowing for the men; and knowing the bar was
dead, I started off full tilt. I hadn't gone fifty steps before I
began to see where his bullets had spattered the trees and bushes in
every direction. Presently I stumbled over these dogs, my own
puppies--and there they lay as dead as door nails. I whistled, and
they didn't move; I then stooped down to see how the bear had killed
'em, and I found these bullet holes in 'em!" said Sneak, turning their
limber bodies over with his foot, until their wounds were uppermost.
"I'll be shot if I don't have pay, or revenge!" he continued, with
tears in his eyes.
"What were they worth?" demanded Glenn, laughing.
"I was offered two dollars a-piece for 'em as we came through
Indiana," replied Sneak.
"Here's the money," said Glenn, handing him the amount. After
receiving the cash, Sneak turned away perfectly satisfied, and seemed
not to bestow another thought upon his puppies.
This affair had hardly been settled before Joe made his appearance on
Pete. He rode slowly along down the path, as dolefully as ever man
approached the graveyard. As he drew near, all eyes were fixed upon
him. Never were any one's features so much disfigured. His nose was as
large as a hen's egg, and as purple as a plum. Still it was not much
disproportioned to the rest of his swollen face; and the whole
resembled the unearthly phiz of the most bloated gnome that watched
over the slumbers of Rip Van Winkle.
Glenn's castle--Mary--Books--A hunt--Joe and Pete--A tumble--An
opossum--A shot--Another tumble--A doe--The return--They set out
again--A mound--A buffalo--An encounter--Night--Terrific
Some weeks had passed since the bear hunt. The emigrants had crossed
the river, and selected their future homes in the groves that bordered
the prairie, some miles distant from the ferry. Glenn, when landed on
the south side of the Missouri, took up his abode for a short time
with Jasper Roughgrove, the ferryman, while some half dozen men, whose
services his gold secured, were building him a novel habitation. And
the location was as singular as the construction of his house. It was
on a peak that jutted over the river, some three hundred feet high,
whence he had a view eight or ten miles down the stream, and across
the opposite bottom-land to the hills mentioned in the preceding
chapter. The view was obstructed above by a sudden bend of the stream;
but on the south, the level prairie ran out as far as the eye could
reach, interrupted only by the young groves that were interspersed at
intervals. His house, constructed of heavy stones, was about fifteen
feet square, and not more than ten in height. The floor was formed of
hewn timbers, the walls covered with a rough coat of lime, and the
roof made of heavy boards. However uncouth this abode appeared to the
eye of Glenn, yet he had followed the instructions of Boone, (to whom
he had fully disclosed his plan, and repeated his odd resolution,) and
reared a tenement not only capable of resisting the wintry winds that
were to howl around it, but sufficiently firm to withstand the attacks
of any foe, whether the wild beast of the forest or the prowling
Indian. The door was very narrow and low, being made of a solid rock
full six inches in thickness, which required the strength of a man to
turn on its hinges, even when the ponderous bolt on the inside was
unfastened. There was a small square window on each side containing a
single pane of glass, and made to be secured at a moment's warning, by
means of thick stone shutters on the inside. The fire-place was ample
at the hearth, but the flue through which the smoke escaped was small,
and ran in a serpentine direction up through the northern wall; while
the ceiling was overlaid with smooth flat stones, fastened down with
huge iron spikes, and supported by strong wooden joists. The furniture
consisted of a few trunks, (which answered for seats,) two camp beds,
four barrels of hard biscuit, a few dishes and cooking utensils, and a
quantity of hunting implements. Many times did Joe shake his head in
wonderment as this house was preparing for his reception. It seemed to
him too much danger was apprehended from without, and it too much
resembled a solitary, and secure prison, should one be confined
within. Nevertheless, he was permitted to adopt his own plan in the
construction of a shelter for the horses. And the retention of these
animals was some relief to his otherwise gloomy forebodings, when he
beheld the erection of his master's suspicious tenement. He
superintended the building of a substantial and comfortable stable. He
had stalls, a small granary, and a regular rack made for the
accommodation of the horses, and procured, with difficulty and no
little expense, a supply of provender. The space, including the
buildings, which had been cleared of the roots and stones, for the
purpose of cultivating a garden, was about one hundred feet in
diameter, and enclosed by a circular row of posts driven firmly in the
ground, and rising some ten feet above the surface. These were planted
so closely together that even a squirrel would have found it difficult
to enter without climbing over them. Indeed, Joe had an especial eye
to this department, having heard some awful tales of the snakes that
somewhat abounded in those regions in the warm seasons.
One corner of the stable, wherein a quantity of straw was placed, was
appropriated for the comfort of the dogs, Ringwood and Jowler, which
had been presented to Glenn by his obliging friend, after they had
exhibited their skill in the bear hunt.
When every thing was completed, preparatory for his removal thither,
Glenn dismissed his faithful artisans, bestowing upon them a liberal
reward for their labour, and took possession of his castle. But,
notwithstanding the strange manner in which he proposed to spend his
days, and his habitual grave demeanour and taciturnity, yet his kind
tone, when he uttered a request, or ventured a remark, on the
transactions passing around him, and his contempt for money, which he
squandered with a prodigal hand, had secured for him the good-will of
the ferrymen, and the friendship of the surrounding emigrants. But
there was one whose esteem had no venal mixture in it. This was Mary,
the old ferryman's daughter, a fair-cheeked girl of nineteen, who
never neglected an opportunity of performing a kind office for her
father's temporary guest; and when he and his man departed for their
own tenement, not venturing directly to bestow them on our hero, she
presented Joe with divers articles for their amusement and comfort in
their secluded abode, among which were sundry live fowls, a pet fawn,
and a kitten.
The first few days, after being installed in his solitary home, our
hero passed with his books. But he did not realize all the
satisfaction he anticipated from his favourite authors in his secluded
cell. The scene around him contrasted but ill with the creations of
Shakspeare; and if some of the heroes of Scott were identified with
the wildest features of nature, he found it impossible to look around
him and enjoy the magic of the page at the same time.
Joe employed himself in attending to his horses, feeding the fowls and
dogs, and playing with the fawn and a kitten. He also practiced
loading and shooting his musket, and endeavoured to learn the mode of
doing execution on other objects without committing violence on
"Joe," said Glenn, one bright frosty morning, "saddle the horses; we
will make an excursion in the prairie, and see what success we can
have without the presence and assistance of an experienced hunter. I
designed awaiting the visit of Boone, which he promised should take
place about this time; but we will venture out without him; if we kill
nothing, at least we shall have the satisfaction of doing no harm."
Joe set off towards the stable, smiling at Glenn's joke, and heartily
delighted to exchange the monotony of his domestic employment, which
was becoming irksome, for the sports of the field, particularly as he
was now entirely recovered from the effects of his late disasters, and
began to grow weary of wasting his ammunition in firing at a target,
when there was an abundance of game in the vicinity.
"Whoop! Bingwood--Jowler!" cried he, leading the horses briskly forth.
The dogs came prancing and yelping round him, as well pleased as
himself at the prospect of a day's sport; and when Glenn came out they
exhibited palpable signs of recognition and eagerness to accompany
their new master on his first deer-hunt. Glenn stroked their heads,
which were constantly rubbed against his hands, and his caresses were
gratefully received by the faithful hounds. He had been instructed by
Boone how to manage them, so as either to keep them at his side when
he wished to approach the game stealthily, or to send them forth when
rapid pursuit was required, and he was now anxious to test their
When mounted, the young men set forward in a southern direction, the
valley in which the ferryman's cabin was situated on one hand, and one
about the same distance above on the other. But the space between them
gradually widened as they progressed, and in a few minutes both
disappeared entirely, terminating in scarcely perceptible rivulets
running slowly down from the high and level prairie. Here Glenn paused
to determine what course he should take. The sun shone brightly on the
interminable expanse before him, and not a breeze ruffled the long dry
grass around, nor disturbed the few sear leaves that yet clung to the
diminutive clusters of bushes scattered at long intervals over the
prairie. It was a delightful scene. From the high position of our
hero, he could distinguish objects miles distant on the plain; and if
the landscape was not enlivened by houses and domestic herds, he could
at all events here and there behold parties of deer browsing
peacefully in the distance. Ringwood and Jowler also saw or scented
them, as their attention was pointed in that direction; but so far
from marring the sport by prematurely running forward, they knew too
well their duty to leave their master, even were the game within a few
paces of them, without the word of command.
"I see a deer!" cried Joe, at length, having till then been employed
gathering some fine wild grapes from a neighbouring vine.
"I see several," replied Glenn; "but how we are to get within gun shot
of them, is the question."
"I see them, too," said Joe, his eyes glistening.
"I have thought of a plan, Joe; whether right or wrong, is not very
material, as respects the exercise we are seeking; but I am inclined
to believe it is the proper one. It will at all events give you a fair
opportunity of killing a deer, as you will have to fire as they run,
and the great number of bullets in your musket will make you more
certain to do execution than if you fired a rifle. You will proceed to
yon thicket, about a thousand yards distant, keeping the bushes all
the time between you and the deer. When you arrive at it dismount,
and after tying your pony in the bushes where he will be well hid,
select a position whence you can see the deer when they run; I think
they will go within reach of your fire. I will make a detour beyond
them, and approach from the opposite side."
"I'd rather not tie my pony," said Joe.
"Why? he would not leave you, even were he to get loose," replied
"I don't think he would--but I'd rather not leave him yet awhile, till
I get a little better used to hunting," said Joe, probably thinking
there might be some danger to himself on foot in a country where
bears, wolves, and panthers were sometimes seen.
"Can you fire while sitting on your pony?" inquired Glenn.
[Illustration: Glenn heard a tremendous thumping behind.--P. 37]
"I suppose so," said Joe; "though I never thought to try it yet."
"Suppose you try it now, while I watch the deer, and see if what I
have been told is true, that the mere report of a gun will not alarm
"Well, I will," said Joe. "I think Pete knows as well as the steed,
that shooting on him won't hurt him."
"Fire away, then," said Glenn, looking steadfastly at the deer. Joe
fired, and none of the deer ran off. Some continued their playful
sports, while others browsed along without lifting their heads; in all
likelihood the report did not reach them. But Glenn heard a tremendous
thumping behind, and on turning round, beheld his man quietly lying on
the ground, and the pony standing about ten paces distant, with his
head turned towards Joe, his ears thrust forwards, his nostrils
distended and snorting, and his little blue eyes ready to burst out of
"How is this, Joe?" inquired Glenn, scarce able to repress a smile at
the ridiculous posture of his man.
"I hardly know myself," replied Joe, casting a silly glance at his
treacherous pony; and after examining his limbs and finding no injury
had been sustained, continued, "I fired as you directed, and when the
smoke cleared away, I found myself lying just as you see me here. I
don't know how Pete contrived to get from under me, but there he
stands, and here I lie."
"Load your gun, and try it again," said Glenn.
"I'd rather not," said Joe.
"Then I will," replied Glenn, whose horsemanship enabled him to retain
the saddle in spite of the straggles of Pete, who, after several
discharges, submitted and bore it quietly.
Joe then mounted and set out for the designated thicket, while Glenn
galloped off in another direction, followed by the hounds.
When Joe arrived at the hazel thicket, he continued in the saddle, and
otherwise he would not have been able to see over the prairie for the
tall grass which had grown very luxuriantly in that vicinity. There
was a path, however, running round the edge of the bushes, which had
been made by the deer and other wild animals, and in this he
cautiously groped his way, looking out in every direction for the
deer. When he had progressed about halfway round, he espied them
feeding composedly, about three hundred paces distant, on a slight
eminence. There were at least fifteen of them, and some very large
ones. Fearful of giving the alarm before Glenn should fire, he
shielded himself from view behind a cluster of persimmon bushes, and
tasted the ripe and not unpalatable fruit. And here he was destined to
win his first trophy as a hunter. While bending down some branches
over head, without looking up, an opossum fell upon his hat, knocking
it over his eyes, and springing on the neck of Pete, thence leaped to
the ground. But before it disappeared Joe had dismounted, and giving
it a blow with the butt of his musket it rolled over on its side, with
its eyes closed and tongue hanging out, indicating that the stroke had
"So much for you!" said Joe, casting a proud look at his victim; and
then leaping on his pony, he gazed again at the deer. They seemed to
be still entirely unconscious of danger, and several were now lying in
the grass with their heads tip, and chewing the cud like domestic
animals. Joe drew back once more to await the action of Glenn, and
turning to look at the opossum, found to his surprise that it had
"Well, I'm the biggest fool that ever breathed!" said he, recollecting
the craftiness imputed to those animals, and searching in vain for his
game. "If ever I come across another, he'll not come the 'possum over
me, I'll answer for it!" he continued, somewhat vexed. At this
juncture Glenn's gun was heard, and Joe observed a majority of the
deer leaping affrighted in the direction of his position. The foremost
passed within twenty yards of him, and, his limbs trembling with
excitement, he drew his gun up to his shoulder and pulled the trigger.
It snapped, perhaps fortunately, for his eyes were convulsively closed
at the moment; and recovering measurably by the time the next came up,
this trial the gun went off, and he found himself once more prostrate
on the ground.
"What in the world is the reason you won't stand still!" he exclaimed,
rising and seizing the pony by the bit. The only answer Pete made was
a snort of unequivocal dissatisfaction. "Plague take your little
_hide_ of you! I should have killed that fellow to a certainty, if
you hadn't played the fool!" continued he, still addressing his pony
while he proceeded to load his gun. When ready for another fire, he
mounted again, in quite an ill humour, convinced that all chance of
killing a deer was effectually over for the present, when, to his
utter astonishment, he beheld the deer he had fired at lying dead
before him, and but a few paces distant. With feelings of unmixed
delight he galloped to where it lay, and springing to the earth, one
moment he whirled round his hat in exultation, and the next caressed
Pete, who evinced some repugnance to approach the weltering victim,
and snuffed the scent of blood with any other sensation than that of
pleasure. Joe discovered that no less than a dozen balls had
penetrated the doe's side, (for such it was,) which sufficiently
accounted for its immediate and quiet death, that had so effectually
deceived him into the belief that his discharge had been harmless. He
now blew his horn, which was answered by a blast from Glenn, who soon
came up to announce his own success in bringing down the largest buck
in the party, and to congratulate his man on his truly remarkable
An hour was consumed in preparing the deer to be conveyed to the
house, and by the time they were safely deposited in our hero's
diminutive castle, and the hunters ready to issue forth in quest of
more sport, the day was far advanced, and a slight haziness of the
atmosphere dimmed in a great measure the lustre of the descending sun.
Animated with their excellent success, they anticipated much more
sport, inasmuch as neither themselves nor the hounds (which hitherto
were not required to do farther service than to watch one of the deer
while the men were engaged with the other) were in the slightest
degree fatigued. The hours flew past unnoticed, while the young men
proceeded gayly outward from the river in quest of new adventures.
Glenn and his man rode far beyond the scene of their late success
without discovering any new object to gratify their undiminished zest
for the chase. It seemed that the deer which had escaped had actually
given intelligence to the rest of the arrival of a deadly foe in the
vicinity, for not one could now be seen in riding several miles. The
sun was sinking low and dim in the west, and Glenn was on the eve of
turning homeward, when, on emerging from the flat prairie to a slight
eminence that he had marked as boundary of his excursion, he beheld at
no great distance an enormous mound, of pyramidical shape, which, from
its isolated condition, he could not believe to be the formation of
nature. Curious to inspect what he supposed to be a stupendous
specimen of the remains of former generations of the aborigines, he
resolved to protract his ride and ascend to the summit. The mound was
some five hundred feet in diameter at the base, and terminated at a
peak about one hundred and fifty feet in height. As our riders
ascended, with some difficulty keeping in the saddle, they observed
the earth on the sides to be mixed with flint-stones, and many of them
apparently having once been cut in the shape of arrow-heads; and in
several places where chasms had been formed by heavy showers, they
remarked a great many pieces of bones, but so much broken and decayed
they could not be certain that they were particles of human skeletons.
When they reached the summit, which was not more than twenty feet in
width and entirely barren, a magnificent scene burst in view. For ten
or fifteen miles round on every side, the eye could discern oval,
oblong, and circular groves of various dimensions, scattered over the
rich virgin soil. The gentle undulations of the prairie resembled the
boundless ocean entranced, as if the long swells had been suddenly
abandoned by the wind, and yet remained stationary in their rolling
"What think you of the view, Joe?" inquired Glenn, after regarding the
scene many minutes in silence.
"I've been watching a little speck, way out toward the, sun, which
keeps bobbing up and down, and gets bigger and bigger," said Joe.
"I mean the prospect around," said Glenn. I can't form an opinion,
because I can't see the end of it," replied Joe, still intently
regarding the object referred to.
"That is an animal of some kind," observed Glenn, marking the object
that attracted Joe.
"And a wapper, too; when I first saw it I thought it was a rabbit, and
now it's bigger than a deer, and still a mile or two off," said Joe.
"We'll wait a few minutes, and see what it is," replied Glenn,
checking his steed, which had proceeded a few steps downward. The
object of their attention held its course directly towards them, and
as it drew nearer it was easily distinguished to be a very large
buffalo, an animal then somewhat rare so near the white man's
settlement, and one that our hero had often expressed a wish to see.
Its dark shaggy sides, protuberant back and bushy head, were quite
perceptible as it careered swiftly onward, seemingly flying from some
"Down, Ringwood! Jowler!" exclaimed Glenn, preparing to fire.
"Down, Joe, too," said Joe, slipping down from his pony, preferring
not to risk another fall, and likewise preparing to fire.
When the buffalo reached the base of the mound, it saw for the first
time the objects above, and halted. It regarded the men with more
symptoms of curiosity than alarm, but as it gazed, its distressed
pantings indicated that it had been long retreating from some object
Meantime both guns were discharged, and the contents undoubtedly
penetrated the animal's body, for he leapt upright in the air, and on
descending, staggered off slowly in a course at right angles from the
one which he was first pursuing. Glenn then let the hounds go forth,
and soon overtaking the animal, they were speedily forced to act on
the defensive; for the enormous foe wheeled round and pursued in turn.
Finding the hounds were too cautious and active to fall victims to his
sharp horns, he pawed the earth, and uttered the most horrific
bellowings. As Glenn and Joe rode by the place where he had stood when
they fired, they perceived large quantities of frothy blood, which
convinced them that he had received a mortal wound. They rode on and
paused within eighty paces of where he now stood, and calling back the
baying hounds, again discharged their guns. The buffalo roared most
hideously, and making a few plunges towards his assailants, fell on
his knees, and the next moment turned over on his side.
"Come back, Joe!" cried Glenn to his man, who had mounted and wheeled
when the animal rushed towards them, and was still flying away as fast
as his pony could carry him.
"No--never!" replied Joe; "I won't go nigh that awful thing! Don't you
see it's getting dark? How'll we over find the way home again?"
The latter remark startled Glenn, for he had lost all consciousness of
the lateness of the hour in the excitement, and to his dismay had also
lost all recollection of the direction of his dwelling, and darkness
had now overtaken them! While pausing to reflect from which quarter
they first approached the mound, the buffalo, to his surprise and no
little chagrin, rose up and staggered away, the darkness seen
obscuring him from view altogether. Glenn, by a blast of his horn,
recalled the dogs, and joining Joe, set off much dispirited, in a
course which he feared was not the correct one. Night came upon them
suddenly, and before they had gone a mile the darkness was intense.
And the breathless calm that had prevailed during the day was now
succeeded by fitful winds that howled mournfully over the interminable
prairie. Interminable the plain seemed to our benighted riders, for
there was still no object to vary the monotony of the cheerless scene,
although they had paced briskly, and, as they supposed, far enough to
have reached the cliffs of the river. Nor was there even a sound heard
as they rode along, save the muffled strokes of their horses' hoofs in
the dry grass that covered the earth, the low winds, and an occasional
cry of the dogs as they were trodden upon by the horses.
Ere long a change came over the scene. About two-thirds of the
distance round the verge of the horizon a faint light appeared,
resembling the scene when a dense curtain of clouds hangs over head,
and the rays of the morning sun steal under the edge of the thick
vapour. But the stars could be seen, and the only appearance of clouds
was immediately above the circle of light. In a very few minutes the
terrible truth flashed upon the mind of Glenn. The dim light along the
horizon was changed to an approaching flame! Columns of smoke could be
seen rolling upwards, while the fire beneath imparted a lurid glare to
them. The wind blew more fiercely, and the fire approached from almost
every quarter with the swiftness of a race horse. The darkened vault
above became gradually illuminated with a crimson reflection, and the
young man shuddered with the horrid apprehension of being burnt alive!
It was madness to proceed in a direction that must inevitably hasten
their fate, the fire extending in one unbroken line from left to
right, and in front of them; and they turned in a course which seemed
to place the greatest distance between them and the furious element.
Ever and anon a frightened deer or elk leaped past. The hounds no
longer noticed them, but remained close to the horses. The leaping
flames came in awful rapidity. The light increased in brilliance, and
objects were distinguishable far over the prairie. A red glare could
be seen on the sides of the deer as they bounded over the tall, dry
grass, which was soon to be no longer a refuge for them. The young men
heard a low, continued roar, that increased every moment in loudness,
and looking in the direction whence they supposed it proceeded, they
observed an immense, dark, moving mass, the nature of which they could
not divine, but it threatened to annihilate every thing that opposed
it. While gazing at this additional source of danger, the horses,
blinded by the surrounding light, plunged into a deep ditch that the
rain had washed in the rich soil. Neither men nor horses, fortunately,
were injured; and after several ineffectual efforts to extricate
themselves, they here resolved to await the coming of the fire.
Ringwood and Jowler whined fearfully on the verge of the ditch for an
instant, and then sprang in and crouched trembling at the feet of
their master. The next instant the dark, thundering mass passed over
head, being nothing less than an immense herd of buffalo driven
forwards by the flames! The horses bowed their heads as if a
thunderbolt was passing. The fire and the heavens were hid from view,
and the roar above resembled the rush of mighty waters. When the last
animal had sprung over the chasm, Glenn thanked the propitious
accident that thus providentially prevented him from being crushed to
atoms, and uttered a prayer to Heaven that he might by a like means be
rescued from the fiery ordeal that awaited him. It now occurred to him
that the accumulation of weeds and grass in the chasm, which saved
them from injury when falling in, would prove fatal when the flames
arrived! And after groping some distance along the trench, he found
the depth diminished, but the fire was not three hundred paces
distant! His heart sank within him! But when on the eve of returning
to his former position, with a resolution to remove as much of the
combustible matter as possible, a gleam of joy spread over his
features, as, casting a glance in a direction from that they had
recently pursued, he beheld the identical mound he had ascended before
dark, and from which his unsteady and erratic riding in the night had
fortunately prevented a distant separation. They now led their horses
forth, and mounting without delay, whipped forward for life or death.
Could the summit of the mound be attained they were in safety--for
there the soil was not encumbered with decayed vegetation--and they
spurred their animals to the top of their speed. It was a noble sight
to see the majestic white steed flying towards the mound with the
velocity of the wind, while the diminutive pony miraculously followed
in the wake like an inseparable shadow. The careering flames were not
far behind; and when the horses gained the summit and Glenn looked
back, the fire had reached the base!
"I thank all the saints at once!" exclaimed Joe, dismounting and
falling on his knees.
"Thank your pony's legs, also," remarked Glenn, smiling.
"Was there ever such a blessed deliverance!" said Joe, panting.
"Was there ever such a lucky tumble into a ditch!" replied Glenn, with
spirits more buoyant than usual.
"Was there ever an old hunter so much deceived!" said a voice a few
paces down that side of the cone least exposed to the glare of the
fire, and so much in the shadow of the peak that the speaker was not
perceived from the position of the young men. But as soon as the words
were uttered, Ringwood and Jowler sprang from the horses' heels where
they had lain panting, and rushed in the direction of the speaker,
whom they accosted with marks of joyful recognition.
"It is Boone!" exclaimed Glenn, leaping from his horse, and running
forward to his friend, who was now seen to rise up, and a moment after
his horse, that had been prostrate and still, was likewise on his
"Ha! ha! ha! You have played me a fine trick, truly," laughingly
remarked Boone, returning their hearty salutations.
"How?" inquired Glenn.
"In the first place, to venture forth before my arrival; in the next
to inspire me with the belief that I was on the eve of encountering a
brace of Indians. But I will begin at the beginning. When I crossed
the river and reached your hut, (which is indeed impregnable,) I was
astonished to find you had gone forth to hunt without a guide; and not
so much fearing you would be lost, should night overtake you, as
apprehending serious danger from the fire, the approach of which I
anticipated long before night, from the peculiar complexion of the
atmosphere, I set out on your trail, in hopes of overtaking you before
the shades of evening set in; but darkness coming on, I could trace
you no farther than to this mound. In vain did I endeavour to
ascertain which direction you then travelled; but resolving not to
abandon the search, I continued cruising about the prairie until the
near approach of the fire forced me to retreat hither. It was when
urging my horse to his utmost speed that I beheld you and your
bear-hunter charging from another direction, and from the partial
view, as we were all under whip, (and knowing the Osages were not far
off,) I was instantly convinced that you were savages. Arriving first,
I made my sagacious horse lie down, and then concealed myself behind
"I am not only rejoiced that we were not the savages you supposed,
(for then Joe and I must have perished in the flames somewhere,) on
our own account, but for the sake of the only man who can possibly
extricate us from this dilemma," replied Glenn.
"You are somewhat wide of the mark as respects my jeopardy, my lad,"
said Boone; "for had you been hostile Osages, most assuredly ere this
you had both been killed."
"Good gracious!" exclaimed Joe, whose predicament suddenly flashed
upon his mind; "for Heaven's sake let us get home as fast as possible!
He says the Indians are about! Do let us go, Mr. Glenn; we can travel
now out yonder where the grass has all been burnt."
"Pshaw! You seem more alarmed now, Joe, than when there really was
danger. Are the Osages truly hostile?" continued Glenn, addressing
"They are not at war with the whites, as a nation," replied Boone,
ever and anon looking towards the only point from which the fire now
approached; "but in thin settlements, where, they may easily be the
strongest party, as roving brigands, they may be considered extremely
dangerous. Your man's advice is not bad."
"There! Don't you hear that? Now, _do_ let's go home!" continued Joe,
with increased alarm.
Fortunately, that portion of the plain over which the scathing element
had spent its fury was the direction the party should pursue in
retracing their way homeward.
The light dry grass had been soon consumed, and the earth wore a
blackened appearance, and was as smooth as if vegetation had never
covered the surface. As the party rode briskly along, (and the pony
now kept in advance,) the horses' hoofs rattled as loudly on the baked
ground as if it were a plank floor. The reflection of the fire in the
distance still threw a lurid glare over the extended heath. As the
smoke gradually ascended, objects could be discerned at a great
distance, and occasionally a half-roasted deer or elk, was seen
plunging about, driven to madness by its tortures. And frequently they
found the dead bodies of smaller animals that could find no safety in
"What's that?" cried Joe, reining up his pony, and gazing at a huge
dark object ahead.
"A prize, to which we are justly entitled!" exclaimed Glenn, riding
forward, on discovering it to be the buffalo (now dead) that they had
fired upon early in the evening, and which circumstance he was
relating to Boone at the moment of the discovery by Joe.
"You have not only been lucky as hunters," said Boone, as they
dismounted to inspect the animal, (which was an enormous bull,) "but,
what is extraordinary indeed, when you find your fallen game, it is
"Huzza for us!" cried Joe, momentarily forgetting the Indians, in his
extravagant joy of having aided in killing the animal, and at the same
time leaping astride of it.
"The wolves have been here before us," observed Boone, seeing a large
quantity of the buffalo's viscera on the ground, which he supposed had
been torn out by those ravenous animals.
"Oh! oh! oh! oh!" exclaimed Joe, leaping up, and running a few steps,
and then tumbling down and continuing his cries.
"What has hurt the fellow so badly?" inquired Glenn, walking round
from the back of the animal to the front. The words were scarcely
uttered before he likewise sprang away, hastily, as he beheld a
pronged instrument thrust from the orifice in the body whence the
bowels had been extracted!
"Dod! I wonder if it's wolves or Injins!" exclaimed a voice within the
cavity of the huge body.
"I've heard that voice before--it must be Sneak's," said Boone,
Now the buffalo was observed to quiver slightly, and after some
exertion to extricate himself, the long snake-like form of the
redoubtable "Hatchet-face" came forth and stood erect before the
gaping mouth and staring eyes of Joe.
"If I didn't hear a white man speak, I wish I may be singed!"
exclaimed Sneak, wiping the moisture from his face, and rolling his
"What did you stick that sharp thing in the calf of my leg for?"
demanded Joe, shaking his head threateningly and coming forward.
"He! he! he! That's revenge for shooting my pups," replied Sneak.
"But how came you here?" inquired Boone.
"I was taking a hunt"--here Boone interrupted him by asking where his
gun was. "I had no gun," said Sneak; and then stooping down and
running his arm into the body of the buffalo, he produced a pronged
spear, about four feet in length; "this," he continued, "is what I
hunted with, and I was hunting after muskrats in the ponds out here,
when the fire came like blazes, and like to 'ave ketched me! I dropped
all the muskrats I had stuck, and streaked it for about an hour
towards the river. But it gained on me like lightning, and I'd 'ave
been in a purty fix if I hadn't come across this dead bull. I out with
my knife and was into him in less than no time--but split me, if I
didn't feel the heat of the fire as I pulled in my feet! I knew the
Injins was about, by the buffalo; and the tarnation wolves, too, are
always everywhere, and that accounts for my jobbing that feller's leg
when he sot down on top of me."
Glenn's laughter at the above narration was arrested by Boone, who
placed one hand on his shoulder, and with the other pointed out
towards the fire about a mile distant, before which and thrown in
relief by the flames could be distinctly discerned the flitting forms
of a band of savages! A number were mounted, and others could be seen
on foot, and all moving about in various directions round a large herd
of buffalo, which occasionally made a stand to resist the foe that
harassed them on all sides, but were soon driven forward again by the
flames. Now a mounted chief could be seen to ride boldly up within a
few paces of the dark mass of animals, and drawing his arrow to the
head, discharge it, shaft and all, into the defenceless side of his
victim. The enraged animal thus pursued either fell or rushed
furiously on its foe; but the skilful savage, by a dexterous turn or
sudden leap, seemed to avoid him with ease, and flying round, sent
forth another barbed messenger as he careered at full speed.
"As I'm afoot, I'll go ahead!" cried Sneak, starting off at a gait
that verified his words.
"Good gracious!" exclaimed Joe, leaping on his pony and whipping after
Sneak, while Boone and Glenn followed in a brisk gallop.
The retreat--Joe makes a mysterious discovery--Mary--A disclosure
--Supper--Sleep--A cat--Joe's flint--The watch--Mary--The bush--The
attack--Joe's musket again--The repulse--The starting rally--The
The guidance of Sneak was infallible. Ere long the party reached the
vicinity of the river, which was indicated by the tall trees and the
valleys, and all apprehensions of immediate danger subsiding, they
slackened their pace.
Sneak, though not so much distressed as the panting horses, fell back,
and entered into conversation with Boone relative to the probable
operations of the Indians, while Joe continued some little distance in
advance, apparently wrapped in contemplation of the recent scenes that
had so much astonished him. When he was within about a hundred paces
of his long-wished for home, he thought he saw an object moving about
in front of the palisade. He checked his pony for an instant; but
convinced that the savages could not possibly have arrived already, he
again whipped onward, inclined to believe it to be nothing more than a
phantom of the brain. But when he proceeded a few stops farther, his
pony stopped suddenly and snorted, while a being, which he could not
exactly define, was distinctly seen to rise up and glide swiftly out
of view round the inclosure.
"Who's that!" shouted he, and at the same time looking eagerly back at
his companions, whose near approach induced him to maintain his
"Go on, Joe! What's the matter?" remarked Glenn, the head of his steed
having passed over the back of the pony as he stood across the path
and blocked up the way.
"I beg to be excused! As sure as I'm alive, I saw an Indian run round
towards the gate!" replied Joe.
"Foller me," said Sneak, poising his spear in the air, and advancing.
"Thank Heaven, it's you!" exclaimed the mysterious object, coming
forward fearlessly, on hearing the men's voices.
"Dod rot your cowardly skin!" said Sneak, after looking at the
approaching form and turning to Joe, "how dare you to be frightened at
sich a thing as that--a female woman!"
"It was not me--it was my pony, you great--"
"What?" asked Sneak, sharply, turning abruptly round, as they paused
at the gate.
"You great long buffalo tapeworm!" said Joe, alighting on the side of
the pony opposite to his quarrelsome companion, and then going forward
and opening the gate in silence.
"What brings thee hither at this late hour, Mary?" inquired Glenn, on
recognizing the ferryman's daughter.
"Nothing--only--I"--stammered the abashed girl, who had expected only
to see our hero and his man.
"Speak out, lass, if you have any thing important to say," remarked
Boone, when they entered the inclosure, placing his hand encouragingly
on the girl's head.
Mary still hesitated, and Boone was no little puzzled to conjecture
rightly what it was she intended to impart; but he was convinced it
must be something of no ordinary nature that would induce a maiden of
reputed timidity to leave her father's hut at a late hour of the
"Now tell me, Mary, what it was you wished to say," remarked Glenn,
addressing her in a playful tone, when they were seated in the house,
and a lamp suspended against the wall was lighted.
"I did not expect to find Mr. Boone and Sneak with you--and now--"
"What?" inquired Glenn, much moved by her paleness, and the throbbing
of her breast, which now seemed to be gradually subsiding.
"Nothing--only you and Joe are both safe now," she replied, with her
eyes cast down.
"Were we in danger? How are we safe?" inquired Glenn, regarding her
words as highly mysterious.
"Everybody is safe where Mr. Boone is," replied Mary.
"But what was the danger, my pretty lass?" inquired Boone, playfully
taking her hand.
"Why Posin, one of father's boatmen--"
"Speak on, lass--I know Posin to be an unfeeling wretch, and a
half-blood Indian; but he is also known to be a great coward, and
surely no harm could have been feared from him," said Boone.
"But I heard him speaking to himself when I was filling my pitcher at
the spring, and he was standing behind some rocks, where he couldn't
see me, and didn't think any one was within hearing."
"What said he?" inquired Glenn, impatiently, and much interested in
the anticipated disclosure, for he had often remarked the satanic
expression of Posin's features.
"These were his words: 'The Osages will be here before to-morrow
morning. If Raven, the chief, will go halves with me, I'll tell him
how much money the young men have, and help to get it!' Such were his
very words!" continued Mary, her dark eyes assuming a brightness, and
her voice a boldness unwonted on ordinary occasions, as she proceeded:
"He then started off towards the prairie with his rifle, and nobody
has seen him since. I told father about it but he wouldn't believe
there was any danger; and when night came, he told me not to be
uneasy, but to sleep like a good girl. I did lie down, for I never
like to disobey my father; but I couldn't sleep, and so I got up and
came here to wait till you returned, to tell you all about it."
"Thanks, Mary--I shall never forget your kindness," said Glenn, as
much affected by her simplicity and gentleness as at the threatened
"You're a sweet lass; God bless you, Mary!" said Boone, kissing her
smooth forehead. "Now run home and go to sleep, child; we will be on
our guard. As for you, your father is respected by all the Indians,
and therefore your own safety will be best secured under his
"I will accompany you to the hut," said Glenn, as the girl bid them
good night, and was about departing.
"Oh no--I'm used to going alone," said Mary, promptly declining the
"She speaks truly, and it is unnecessary," said Boone, as the maiden
bowed and disappeared.
The party then fastened the gate and secured themselves within the
stone house. Joe petitioned Glenn to permit him to bring in the dogs,
and Sneak seconded the motion, proposing to lie with them before the
After a hearty repast, Boone and Glenn retired to their couches in