MoboReader > Literature > Two Years in Oregon

   Chapter 6 No.6

Two Years in Oregon By Wallis Nash Characters: 31606

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

The farmer's sports and pastimes-?Deer-hunting tales-?A roadside yarn-? Still-hunting-?Hunting with hounds-?An early morning's sport-?Elk-?The pursuit-?The kill-?Camp on Beaver Creek-?Flounder-spearing by torchlight -?Flounder-fishing by day-?In the bay-?Rock oysters-?The evening view -?The general store-?Skins-?Sea-otters-?Their habits-?The sea-otter hunters-?Common otter-?The mink and his prey.

The Oregon farmer has one great advantage over his Eastern or European brother. Starting from the first of January, he has until July comes a good many days wherein he can amuse himself without the detestable feeling that he is wasting his time and robbing his family. The ground may be either too hard or too soft for plowing; or he may have sown a large proportion in the autumn and early winter, and so have little ground to prepare and sow in spring; and he has little, if any, stock-feeding to do as yet.

A good supply of hay is the only addition to the pasture-feed that he need provide; so long, that is, as he is content to work his farm in Oregon fashion.

Many a one is within reach of the hills where range the deer, and shares in the feeling strongly expressed to me the other day, "I would rather work all day for one shot at a deer, than shoot fifty wild-ducks in the swamps."

As I was riding out to the hills not long since, I met an old friend of mine returning from a week's hunt in the regions at the back of Mary's Peak.

A ROADSIDE YARN.His long-bodied farm-wagon held some cooking-utensils, the remains of his store of flour and bacon and coffee, his blankets, his rifle, and the carcasses of his deer. With him were two noble hounds, Nero and Queen-powerful, upstanding dogs; stag-hounds with a dash of bloodhound in them; black and tan, with a fleck of white here and there. "Had a good time, John?" we asked, as we stopped at the top of a long hill for a chat. "Well, pretty good-ran four deer and killed three; got my boots full of snow, and bring home a bad cold," he answered. "Where did you camp?" "Away up above Stillson's, there"-pointing to the mountain-side just where the heavy fir-timber grew scattering and thin, and the clean sweep of the sloping crest came down to meet the wood. "We was there inside of a week, hunting all the time." "See any bear?" "Just lots of sign, but I guess my dogs haven't lost any bear; the old dog got too close to one a bit ago, and came home with a bloody head and a cut on his shoulder a foot long." "Find many deer?" "Had two on foot at once one day: killed one, and hit the other, but he jumped a log just as I shot, and I guess I only barked him; I ran after him to try for another shot before he got clear off down the ca?on, but I tumbled over a log myself in the snow, and just got wet through, and my boots all filled with it." "Pretty rough up there, isn't it?" "Well, it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fallen timber; but you can't get through them woods fast when you have to run round the end of one big log one minute and then duck under another, and then scramble on to the next for dear life, and half the time get only just in time to see the last of the deer as he gets into the thick brush." "Better come out with us after the ducks, John." "Blamed if I do!" came out with an unction and energy that startled us. "Can't understand what you fellers can see in that duck-hunting." And, with a cheery good-by, the old boy spoke to his horses, and off they went down the hill, the brake hard held, and the wagon pushing the team before it on the rough corduroy road.

Still-hunting is the more sportsmanlike way; but the deadlier fashion is this hunting with two or three hounds: the slower they run, the more chance for the guns.

One day last summer, returning from the bay, we stopped for the night at a farm by the roadside, among the burned timber. The fern had not grown up yet, but the hillsides were green and thick with salmon-berry and thimble-berry growth.

Two or three hounds-not of the very purest breed, but still hounds-were lounging about the door, and greeted us with a noisy welcome as we dismounted.

The sons of the house were telling, round the fire before we went to bed, of the hundred and thirty deer they had already killed this season. They urged us to have a hunt in the morning, promising to get all done, so that we might be on the journey again by nine instead of seven.

Breakfast was over by a quarter to six, and we started. Four in the party-two farmers' sons and two travelers-and three hounds. The huntsman carried a Henry rifle of the old model; his younger brother a rifle of the old school-long, brown, heavy-barreled, throwing a small, round bullet. Round the huntsman's neck hung an uncouth cow's horn, to recall the hounds if they strayed too far away.

HUNTING WITH HOUNDS.The sun was just driving off the early mist as we tramped along the road by the side of the river, toward the spot where they intended throwing off. But before we reached the place a quick little hound threw up her head, and, with a short, sharp cry, dashed into the brush between us and the river; the other hounds followed, and we heard the plunge and splash as the deer, so suddenly roused from his lair, took to his heels.

The hounds took up in full cry along the opposite ca?on, which led high up the hill-side, and the huntsman followed, his jacket changing color at once as he pushed through the dew-laden brush.

Under the guidance of the younger brother, we crossed the river also, and, following the farther bank, soon came to an open, grassy spot, from the upper side of which a view was got of the course of the river as it wound round the lower side in a graceful sweep. The trees, willow and alder, were thick on the bank, but here and there we caught more than a glimpse of the brown water as it hurried along.

One of us being posted here, our guide took the other still higher up the stream.

Sitting down under the lee of a big old log, its blackness hidden under the trailing brambles and bright ferns, we waited and watched.

The cry of the hounds came faint on the air from the hill-side above us, hounds and quarry alike invisible, and, as the sides of the ca?on caught the sounds, echo returned them to us from all points in turn-fainter and still fainter, until we thought the chase had gone clear over the mountain into the distant valley beyond; and we sat watching the two little chipmunks, grown hardy by our stillness, which were chasing each other in and out among the brambles, then stopping to watch us with their bright-black, beady eyes.

No sounds at all, and then a far-off music, just audible and no more. But it comes nearer, and we see our guide creeping toward us, rifle in hand, his face white with excitement and suspense. He can not resist the temptation of passing us to get command of the lower reach of the stream, and we have sympathy with his nineteen years, and take no notice. Presently a distant splash in the river, and then a scrambling and splashing along the water's edge, and we catch a glimpse of a bright-yellow body flitting rapidly between the trees. The young hunter's rifle cracks, but the deer only gains in speed and dashes by. There is a clear space of ten or fifteen yards between the tree-trunks on our right, and, as the deer rushes past, we get a quick sight, almost like a rabbit crossing a ride in cover at home, and the Winchester rings out. Whether by luck or wit we will not say, but the splash ceases suddenly, and, running to the bank, there lies the deer, shot through the neck close to the head, drawing his last long breath. He was soon dragged out on to the grassy bank, and a feeling of pity was uppermost as we admired his graceful limbs, neat hoofs, and shapely head. In about ten minutes' time came the hounds, their eager cry ceasing as they caught sight of their quarry, lying motionless before them. The last hunters' rites were speedily paid, and we went a mile higher up the stream, to where a brook joined it, flowing quickly down from the southern hill.

The hounds were again thrown into the brush, and before long were once more in full cry. This time the shot fell to the young huntsman's share, and we saw nothing of the chase till, hearing his rifle, and noticing the ceasing of the voices of the hounds, we pushed our way to the spot, to find the obsequies of a second deer already in progress.

Leaving one deer on a log by the roadside, with a note attached to it, asking the stage-driver to pick it up and bring it for us into Corvallis, when he passed, in a couple of hours' time, we retraced our steps, mounted our horses, and were on our road, according to promise, by very soon after nine o'clock.

STILL-HUNTING.Still-hunting is a more arduous business. The hunter has the work to do of finding the deer; his rifle must slay it; if he wounds it, he must follow it on foot; the only help he can get is that of one steady old dog, which must never stray from his side.

Starting from his camp in the early dawn, he mounts the hill-side, carefully examining each likely spot of brush as he passes it, taking special note of each sheltered patch of fern. Very carefully he climbs the logs, avoiding every dead branch that may crackle under his weight, and parting the brush before he pushes through. When he reaches the crest, he follows it along, scrutinizing every ca?on closely, for his prey lies very wisely hidden. At last, he sees a gentle movement in the brush, and the deer rises from his lair, stretches his neck, arches his back, and snuffs round at each point of the compass to try if there be danger in the air. The hunter sees his chance, judges his distance as cleverly as he can, remembering that in this clear mountain air he is almost sure to underestimate the range; the shot rings out, and the deer springs high into the air, to fall crashing down the steep ca?on-side.

The common deer of Western Oregon is the black-tailed Cervus Columbianus. In the early spring many of them leave the mountains and traverse the valley-land to the closely timbered sloughs and brush bordering the Willamette River. But, as the valley has been more closely cultivated and the farms spread in a nearly unbroken line, the deer have but a poor chance. Some settler is almost sure to get a glimpse of the visitor as he tops the snake-fence into the oat-field for his morning feed, and the rifle, or worse, the long muzzle-loading shot-gun which carries five buckshot at a charge, hangs by or over the wide fireplace. If not killed outright, the poor beast carries with him a lingering and dangerous wound. But, away in the hills, I do not hear that the number is appreciably diminished; many of the hunters get a deer almost every time they go out. So wasteful are they that they carry off only the hind quarters, which they call the hams, and the hide, leaving the fore quarters and head to taint the air.

The white-tailed deer (Cervus leucurus) is now very rare. He frequents the more open spots; he chooses the bare slopes at the top of Mary's Peak and the Bald Mountain; he is not so shy as his black-tailed brother, and so falls an easier victim to the rifle. He abounds in the Cascade Range on the eastern side of the Willamette Valley, where he is found in the same haunts as the larger mule-deer. The noblest deer we have in Oregon is the wapiti (Cervus Canadensis), invariably known in this country as elk.

A day or two ago I saw a pair of fresh horns standing in front of one of the stores in the town, which were quite four feet six inches long, spread three feet six inches at the tips, and weighed forty pounds by scale.

ELK.As we handled them, a dry-looking, bearded, long-booted fellow joined the group. "Those horns are nothing much," said he; "I killed an elk some time back in the Alseya country, back of Table Mountain, that when we set the horns on the ground, tips downward, a feller could walk upright through them." "Oh, yes," said we; "did you walk through them, stranger?" "Wal, no, I guess not," said he, "but a feller might, you know."

The elk go in bands of from seven to twenty in number, and their tracks through the woods are trampled as though a drove of cows had passed along. To kill an elk you can not go out before breakfast and return to dine. You must secure a good guide, who knows the mountains well; you must take a pack-horse, with food and blankets, as far into the wilds as the last settlement reaches, and there leave him. Then slinging your blankets round your shoulders, and packing some flour, bacon, and coffee, a small frying-pan and coffee-pot, and tin cup, into the smallest possible compass, and taking your rifle in your hand, not forgetting the tobacco, you must strike into the woods.

When night comes on, build your fire, fry your bacon, make some damper in the ashes, smoke the pipe of peace, and lie down under the most sheltering bush. No snakes will harm you, nor will wolf or cougar molest you, and the softness of your bed will not tempt you to delay long between the blankets after the first streak of dawn.

Rise and breakfast, and then on again. All that day, perhaps, you will have to tramp on and on, seeking one mountain-slope after another; here skirting brush too thick to penetrate, there walking easily through the low fern among the massive red and furrowed trunks of the gigantic firs.

Your guide finds "sign," and reports that it is not fresh enough to follow; so pursues his course till, looking back on the devious miles of weary wandering, you can hardly credit it that you have been but eight-and-forty hours on the trail. But your camp is pitched once more, and dawn has again roused you from your ferny bed. Listen! the branches are crackling and rustling close by. You and your guide race for the spot, rifle in hand, too eager almost to duly remember woodland rules of caution. Crouching and crawling as you get closer to the sounds, peering through the fern, you see-what? Six, eight, ten, twelve, seventeen great beasts; one with enormous head, two others with smaller but still imposing antlers; the rest the mothers of the herd. Unconscious of danger, they browse round; both rifles speak together, and the monarch and one of the smaller stags lie prostrate. You stay hidden; the deer group together in a confused crowd, too foolish and excited to think of flight. Again your comrade fires, and another falls, and yet another, till, in disgust at the needless slaughter, you step from your shelter, and the survivors rush madly away, crashing through the wood as if a herd of cattle were in flight.

I have known men, not usually cruel or excitable, get so maddened in a scene like this, that seven great elk lay dead together before they thought of stopping firing; and yet they knew that from the wilderness they stood in it was impossible to carry off the meat of even one!

Many hunters prefer elk-meat to any deer; others think the fawn of the white-tailed deer the best eating in the world.

CAMP ON BEAVER CREEK.One night last summer we camped out on Beaver Creek, nine miles south of the Yaquina, along the beach. We had been trout-fishing all day from a canoe, and were glad to stretch out before the fire limbs that had been somewhat cramped from the need of balancing the rocking craft with every cast of the fly. Before the fire stood roasting a row of trout, held in place over the hot embers by a split willow wand. We heard voices approaching through the wood, and presently a half-breed hunter and two friends of ours came in sight. They had been out two days after elk, but failed to find. On the way back they came across a doe and well-grown fawn; the latter they had killed, and brought it in. It was speedily skin

ned and cut up, and a loin, shoulder, and leg were skewered on sticks and roasting in the blaze. No bad addition to our fish supper, deer-meat and trout; the coffee was the only contribution of civilization to the meal, and a merry evening, extended far into the night, followed, as the logs were piled on, and the ruddy glow and showers of sparks lighted up the wild but comfortable scene, dancing in the lights and shadows of the overhanging trees.

Did you ever hear of flounder-spearing by torch-light? I have tried it, and do not propose to try it again. Yaquina Bay abounds in flounders-a flat fish resembling the turbot more than the flounder; red-spotted like the plaice, and weighing from one pound up to five or six. After nightfall, when the evening tide has just turned to come in, and the sandy channels and banks are all but bare, away from the main deep-water, channels of the bay, you may see tiny specks of distant lights moving on the black water. These are the Indian canoes. Take a skiff from the beach by the hotel at Newport, and row out to sea. Here are two or three lights near together, under Heddon's Point, on the south shore. Row on till the lights in the hotel are blended into one, and the dark outlines against the sky of the overhanging cliffs are lost to sight. No sound reaches you in the darkness, but the recurring rattle of the sculls in the rowlocks, and the soft lapping of the tide. The lights you are seeking grow brighter, and you distinguish the glare of the fire and the moving, dim form of the fisherman. The canoe, some sixteen feet long, is boarded roughly across amidships, and on a thin layer of sand and wood-ashes burns a pine-knot fire. The Indian stands in the bows, his back to the fire; as you look, he poles himself along by driving the handle of his long spear into the sand underlying the shallow channel. His fire burns dim for a moment, and he turns and with the same spear-handle he trims it; then, stooping, throws on it a fresh lump of the resinous pine. The fire dulls for an instant, then flares with a bright light, and a thick puff of smoke rises into the air, on which the glare falls strongly. The short, athletic form of the Indian, and his swarthy, flattened features, glittering eyes, and bushy hair, stand out for a moment in strong relief. He turns, and again looks keenly into the black water. A moment, and he strikes, the spear making the water flash as it dips swiftly in. Yes, he has it, and the frail boat quivers as he balances it ere he lifts out his struggling prey, and, with a deft, quick motion, throws the fish off, flapping and bouncing on a heap of victims in the stern of the canoe. Without a smile or word, or an instant's respite, he turns again and resumes his keen watch, moving to the shallower waters as the tide makes.

FLOUNDER-SPEARING BY TORCHLIGHT.I had a friend who was an enthusiast in the sport, and he beguiled me to join him. About eight we started, and about two in the morning we returned. Warm as the weather was, I was chilled to the bone; and the worst of it was, I had not succeeded in striking one single fish. My friend armed me with a long spear and a lantern, and deposited me in the stern of the boat; similarly provided, he knelt in the bow and pushed the skiff along from bank to bank of sand and mud. My light did not burn brightly enough to show more than the dimmest outlines of the fish, just off the sandy bottom of the bay. Here scuttled an old crab, scared by the novel light, and hurrying for shelter, crab-fashion, to the nearest bunch of weeds. There was a school of tiny fish, their silver sides glancing as the ray reached them; and there, again, a quick, white flash betrayed the sea-perch, not waiting to be spoken to. Every now and then my friend darted his long spear at what he said were the flounders, but I could see nothing with my untrained eyes but a gray cloud and a gentle stirring of the sand. He did get one fish at last; and I, being too proud to say how bored and tired I was, waited sleepily for the rising tide to drive us home. How glad was I when he announced that the water was now too deep to see distinctly, and how thankfully I stumbled up the slimy steps by the little wharf and in to bed!

FLOUNDER-FISHING BY DAY.Flounder-fishing in the daytime is good sport. Find out the nearest camp of Indians there on the beach, crowded under a shelter of sea-worn planks, a few fir-boughs, and a tattered blanket; the smell of tainted fish pollutes the air, and a heap of flounders, each with the triangular spear-mark, attests the skill of last night's fishermen. "Any fish, muck-a-muck?" say you, blandly. Without turning her head, or raising herself from her crouching posture by the old black kettle, stewing on a tiny fire of sticks in the center of the hut, the old crone grunts out, "Halo" (none). "Want two bit?" you say, nowise discouraged. Money has magic power nowadays, and she rises slowly and shuffles past you to where a rag or two are drying in the sun on a stranded log. From under the clothes she brings out a dirty basket of home make, and in it is a heap of greenish, struggling prawns. She turns out two or three handfuls into the meat-tin you have providently brought, holds out her skinny hand for the little silver pieces, and buries herself in her shanty without another word.

Fit out your fishing-lines and come aboard; the tide has turned, and the wind blows freshly across the bay. The surf keeps up its continuous roar on the rocky reefs outside. On the sand-bank in front of you sits a row of white and gray gulls preening themselves in the morning sun; a couple of ospreys are sailing overhead in long, graceful, hardly-moving sweeps, and away out by the north head hangs an eagle in the air, watching the ospreys, that he may cheat them of the fish he looks to see them catch.

Set the sail and let her go free, and away rushes the little boat, tired of bobbing at her moorings by the pier-away across the bay, to where the south beach sinks in gentle, sandy slope. Take care of that waving weed, or we shall be on the edge of the bank! Here we are, and down goes the kedge in six feet of water, close to but just clear of that same edge.

Now for the bait; tie it on tightly with that white cotton, or the flounders will suck it off so fast that you will have nothing else to do but keep replacing it. Keep your sinkers just off the bottom, and a light hand on the line. A gentle wriggle, a twitch, and you have him; haul him in steadily. Up he comes, a four-pounder, tossing and flopping in the bottom of the boat. Here comes a great crab, holding on to the bait grimly, and suffering you to catch him by one of his lower legs and toss him in. Now for a sea-perch; what a splendid color!-bands of bright scarlet scales, interlaced with silver. But what is this? A stream of water flows from the fish's mouth, and in it come out five or six little ones, the image of their parent. I wonder if it is true (and I think it is) that the little ones take refuge inside their parent in any time of need? The fishermen on this coast call this the "squaw-fish," from this sheltering, maternal instinct.

But we have been here long enough; the water is too deep, the fish have gone off the feed, and we shall have to beat back, lucky if we do in two hours the distance we ran in half an hour on our way.

The tide has run nearly out this evening: a good chance for some rock-oysters. Get your axe and come along. Where? Along the coast toward Foulweather; we shall find those long reefs almost bare. We climb over the big reef on the north head of the harbor, under the lighthouse hill, and wind in and out on the hard sand among the rough rocks, all crusted over their sides with tiny barnacles. There is little kelp or seaweed here. The surf beats too powerfully in this recess, away from the shelter of the great outer reef.

See that group of Indian women and children away out there, barelegged, digging with their axes in the rock. They are after the rock-oysters too.

Now is our chance. Jump on to that rock before the next wave comes in, and climb on to the reef beyond it and get out to low-water mark. Here we are. Do you see that crevice? Chip in and wrench the piece off; the rock is soft enough sandstone to cut with that blunt old axe. Here is the spoil-soft mollusks, are they not, and not pretty to look at? But wait for the soup at dinner to-morrow before you pronounce on them. And we dig, and then venture farther out and farther, till the turn of the water warns us to get back.

The evening is closing in; the sun has set, leaving a hot, red glow, where his copper disk has just sunk beyond the Pacific horizon; and the eye wanders out from the infant waves, at foot just tinged with red, and reflecting the light as they move up in turn to catch it, to the blue and still darker blue water beyond, out to the sharp indigo line where sky and water meet.

No land between us and the Eastern world; the mind can hardly grasp the idea of the vast stretch of sea across which this new world reaches forth to join hands with old China and Japan.

SEA-OTTERS.Before we go to bed, step for a moment into the quaint general store all but adjoining the hotel. What a medley! Flour and axes; bacon and needles and thread; fishing-lines and bullock-hides; writing-paper and beaver-traps; milk-pails and castor-oil; tobacco in plenty, and skins; and a smell compounded of all these and more, but chiefly the product of that batch of skins hanging from that big nail in front of you, and lying piled on the bench by your side. Take them down, and turn them over; Bush won't mind. And we shake hands with the proprietor, coming from the darkness at the back. He has borne an honorable limp ever since the war, and has never yet quite recovered from illness and wounds. He swears by Newport as the best, and healthiest, and most promising place in the world. "Say," he whispers in our ear, "got a sea-otter skin to-day!" "Where did you get it, Bush, and who from, and how much did you have to pay for it?" "Got it from the Indians," he says; "they shot it away up by Salmon River, beyond Foulweather, and had to give more dollars for it than I care to say." "Where did they get it?" "Where they always do, away out in the kelp among the surf." "Don't they ever come to land?" "No," he answers, "they live, and sleep, and breed out in the kelp. But if you want to know all about them, why don't you ask Charlie here? He has been trading this summer, and last winter and spring, up by Gray's Inlet in Washington Territory, where they are plenty." So saying, he calls up the captain of the steam-schooner lying at her moorings by the quay.

From this man, and from hunters and Indians all along the coast, I have gathered many a tale of the habits of the sea-otter, and of the fate of those that have been killed; for the rarity of the beast, and the beauty and value of its skin, interest these men, both from their hunters' instinct and from the mere money business of it. I know also that scientific naturalists desire all the facts they can get, that such facts may be placed on record before this connecting link between the seals and the otters perishes from the earth. I believe that the sea-otter (Enhydra marina) is only met with on this north Pacific coast, along which it is gradually being driven northward by constant hunting. Thirty years ago they were common along the Oregon sea-line; now the killing of a single specimen is noted in the newspapers; and hardly more than one a year is generally met along the coast. They inhabit the belt of tangle and kelp, which is found a few hundred yards from the beach, beyond the shore-line of sand or rock. They are never seen ashore, or even on isolated rocks; when the sea is warm and still, they live much on the surface, playing in the weed; sometimes, supporting their fore-feet on the thickest part of the wavy mass, they raise their head and shoulders above the weed, and gaze around. Parents and children live together in the weed; I have not heard of more than two young ones being seen in the family group. The skeleton is about four feet long: the fore-paws are short, strong, and webbed; almost in the same proportions as a mole's; the hinder extremities are flappers, like the seal's. The hide is twice the size of the common otter's; the fur the most beautiful, soft, thick, and glossy in the world-dark-brown outside, and almost yellow beneath, like the seal's. They are sometimes shot from a steam-schooner, like my friend's, lying-to at a safe distance, but much more commonly from the shore. Along the coast of Gray's Inlet several hunters make a regular business of it. Quite high watch-towers of timber are built just above high-water mark, and on these the hunter climbs with his long-range rifle, and watches. He provides a man on horseback to follow any otter he may be fortunate enough to kill, up or down the coast, and take possession of it when thrown up on the beach by the tide. These men seem to prefer the Sharp rifle for accuracy of long-range fire. That they are no mean proficients may be judged when I mention that one hunter killed upward of sixty last year; the skins, or most of them, my friend the captain bought, at prices, varying with size and condition, of from fifty to one hundred dollars each. I am told that about August the young ones are seen in company with their parents; but that the otters may be met with at almost any time in the year when the sea is calm enough for them to be marked among the tangle.

COMMON OTTER. MINK.The common otter (Lutra Californica) abounds in the tidal portions of the rivers along this coast. Two Indians, whom I know, shot six in an hour or two among the rocks bordering a little cove some eight miles north of the Yaquina, into which a little river empties itself. The skins are not quite so large as those of the English otter, but the fur is valuable. The mink (Putorius vison) resembles the polecat, but is nearly twice as large, with nearly black fur; it frequents the borders of the streams, and takes to the water with the greatest readiness. We have rabbits in Oregon (Lepus Washingtonii) not much more than half the size of the common rabbit of Europe, but similar in habits and place of residence. It is on these that the mink chiefly preys. I was walking my horse along a quiet stretch of sandy road, between thick bushes, returning from the Yaquina one day in summer, when a rabbit darted out before my horse and down the road for a hundred yards as hard as he could go; then into the bushes, then back into the road, and up the other side, close to me, evidently in the greatest fear. I stopped to see. Presently, a mink came out where poor Bunny first appeared-nose to the ground, and hunting like a ferret. He followed the rabbit's track step by step down the road, into the bushes, back again close to me, then into the brush; and then out came poor rabbit again, the heart gone out of him. Stopping an instant, then going on a few steps, stopping again, and at last, trembling, he bunched himself into his smallest compass in the middle of the road, and there awaited his fate. Not losing one twist or turn, patient, fierce, inexorable, the enemy followed, not raising his nose from the trail till he was almost on his prey. Then a quick bound; the rabbit was seized by the head, almost without a struggle, and dragged nearly unresisting into the bushes down toward the river's edge, while I passed on, musing on the points of resemblance between cousins on opposite sides of the world. Fortunately, these rabbits are very scarce. They are hardly seen in the valley; they live solely in the woods, never in or about the cultivated ground.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top