fV Ii li
4- ', .fl.
A COLONY OF PRAMIfE OGS DISCOVERED.
THE DOG CRUSOE.
3 ale of tlt Western Vrairies.
R M. BALLANTYNK
Anli of C d lm d "lVW "I r n Tm.s -Wm %,m*. *w Mee o
sof- m.o.b- a.... a. -Tse Ojm pnub."- am
f. NELJON AND 80U8, PATlRNOBTBR ROW;
DWWB1om ; A*U sIW TOREL
CHAIT L rh,
7th tAaekss. Z. bense sad aufly hmry-Tim
A eoti nuh Mad as~ squa--m a--e Md landed to th
rade-Crwus d hI motbe chsa mia te-r.. ...... .....
Fprsit1s te U sts wVh wi the rMaie maIy or M7Y ad aNVC-Am
el wrma-Bepr aN tw iYw r l Vwi bIt s-The-
4og Cr a daAbs -- -- ... ...... .. ... ............. .....
OWr h" Osr a-=I ........... ...... ...... 4
A lmioa of pao-UXpmtsdp Jsely-Dkk ad Cimw so ff the
had Itofl sd IAlI ad -met wals dvemta by tb way
m tr c ow.-Klsm eIto we d w1.i... ....... ............. -
ow grom pMr oto lb Fwi Wl-A .'* attlr dIlrIwi .
M4 aib Slog "ekot000e mb a*rd I)
CHAPTER VII. rage
The wallering" peculiarities of buffalo bulls-The first buffalo hunt
and its consequences-Crusoe comes to the rescue-Pawnees dis-
covered-A monster buffalo hunt-Joe acts the part of ambassador 80
Dick and his friends visit the Indians and see many wonders-Crusoe,
too, experiences a few surprises, and teaches Indian dogs a lesson-
An Indian dandy-A foot-race............................ .................... 101
Crusoe acts a conspicuous and humane part-A friend gained-A great
feast........................... ................ ........................... 117
Perplexities-Our hunters plan their escape-Unexpected interrup-
tion-The tables turned-Crusoe mounts guard-The escape........... 129
Evening meditations and morning reflections-Buffaloes, badgers, an-
telopes, and accidents-An old bull and the wolves-" Mad tails"-
Henri floored, &c.......................................... ..... ................... 147
Wanderings on the prairie-A war party-Chased by Indians-A
bold leap for life......................................................................... 162
Escape from Indians-A discovery-Alone in the desert................... 170
Crusoe's return and his private adventures among the Indians-Dick
at a very low ebb-Crusoe saves him....................................... 1
CHAPTER XV. Page
Health and happiness return-Incidents of the journey-A buffalo
shot-A wild horse "creased "-Dick's battle with a mustang......... 188
Dick becomes a horse tamer-Resumes his journey-Charlie's doings--
Misfortunes which lead to, but do not terminate in, the Rocky Moun-
tains- A grizzly bear........................................... ............... 20
Dick's first fight with a grizzly-Adventure with a deer-A surprise... 219
A surprise and a piece of good news-The fur traders-Crusoe proved,
and the Peigans pursued........... .. .............................................. 229
Adventures with the Peigans-Crusoe does good service as a dis-
coverer-The savages outwitted-The rescue............................... 243
New plans-Our travellers join the fur traders, and see many strange
things-A curious fight-A narrow escape, and a prisoner taken...... 256
Wolves attack the horses, and Cameron circumvents the wolves-A
bear hunt, in which Henri shines conspicuous-Joe and the Nat-
tcr-list"-An alarm-A surprise and a capture............................. 281
Charlie's adventures with savages and bears-Trapping life.................. 295
Savage sports-Living cataracts-An alarm-Indians and their doings
The stampedo-Charlie again................................. .............. 302
Plans and prospects-Dick becomes home-sick, and Henri metaphysi-
cal-The Indians attack the camp-A blow up.............................. 319
CHAPTER XXV. Page
Dangers of the prairie-Our travellers attacked by Indians, and deli-
vered in a remarkable manner......................... ......................... 332
Anxious fears followed by a joyful surprise-Safe home at last, and
happy hearts.................................................. ....................... 34
Rejoicings-The feast at the block-house-Grumps and Crusoe come
out strong-The closing scene................. ................ 351
THE DOG CRUSOE.
The backwoods settlement-Crusoe's parentage and early history-The
agonising pains and sorrows of his puppyhood, and other interesting
THE dog Crusoe was once a pup. Now do not, courteous
reader, toss your head contemptuously, and exclaim,
" Of course he was; I could have told you that." You
know very well that you have often seen a man above
six feet high, broad and powerful as a lion, with a
bronzed shaggy visage and the stern glance of an eagle,
of whom you have said, or thought, or heard others say,
"It is scarcely possible to believe that such a man was
once a squalling baby." If you had seen our hero in
all the strength and majesty of full-grown dog-hood,
you would have experienced a vague sort of surprise had
we told you-as we now repeat-that the dog Crusoe
was once a pup-a soft, round, sprawling, squeaking
pup, as fat as a tallow candle, and as blind as a bat.
But we draw particular attention to the fact of
Crusoe's having once been a pup, because in connec-
10 THE BACKWOODS SETTLEMENT.
tion with the days of his puppyhood there hangs a
tale. This peculiar dog may thus be said to have had
two tails-one in connection with his body, the other
with his career. This tale, though short, is very har-
rowing, and, as it is intimately connected with Crusoe's
subsequent history, we will relate it here. But before
doing so we must beg our reader to accompany us
beyond the civilized portions of the United States of
America-beyond the frontier settlements of the "far
west," into those wild prairies which are watered by
the great Missouri river-the Father of Waters-and
his numerous tributaries.
Here dwell the Pawnees, the Sioux, the Delawarers,
the Crows, the Blackfeet, and many other tribes of Red
Indians, who are gradually retreating step by step to-
wards the Rocky Mountains as the advancing white
man cuts down their trees and ploughs up their prairies.
Here, too, dwell the wild horse and the wild ass, the
deer, the buffalo, and the badger; all, men and brutes
alike, wild as the power of untamed and ungovernable
passion can make them, and free as the wind that
sweeps over their mighty plains.
There is a romantic and exquisitely beautiful spot on
the banks of one of the tributaries above referred to-
a long stretch of mingled woodland and meadow, with
a magnificent lake lying like a gem in its green bosom
-which goes by the name of the Mustang Valley.
This remote vale, even at the present day, is but thinly
peopled by white men, and is still a frontier settlement
THE BACKWOODS SETTLEMENT.
round which the wolf and the bear prowl curiously,
and from which the startled deer bounds terrified away.
At the period of which we write the valley had just
been taken possession of by several families of squatters,
who, tired of the turmoil and the squabbles of the then
frontier settlements, had pushed boldly into the far
west to seek a new home for themselves, where they
could have "elbow room," regardless alike of the
dangers they might encounter in unknown lands and of
the Red-skins who dwelt there.
The squatters were well armed with axes, rifles, and
ammunition. Most of the women were used to dangers
and alarms, and placed implicit reliance in the power
of their fathers, husbands, and brothers to protect
them-and well they might, for a bolder set of stalwart
men than these backwoodsmen never trod the wilder-
ness. Each had been trained to the use of the rifle and
the axe from infancy, and many of them had spent so
much of their lives in the woods, that they were more
than a match for the Indian in his own peculiar pur-
suits of hunting and war. When the squatters first
issued from the woods bordering the valley, an immense
herd of wild horses or mustangs were browsing on the
plain. These no sooner beheld the cavalcade of white
men, than, uttering a wild neigh, they tossed their
flowing manes in the breeze and dashed away like a
whirlwind. This incident procured the valley its name.
The new-comers gave one satisfied glance at their
future home, and then set to work to erect log huts
12 THE BACKWOODS SETTLEMENT.
forthwith. Soon the axe was heard ringing through
the forests, and tree after tree fell to the ground, while
the occasional sharp ring of a rifle told that the hunters
were catering successfully for the camp. In course of
time the Mustang Valley began to assume the aspect of
a thriving settlement, with cottages and waving fields
clustered together in the midst of it.
Of course the savages soon found it out, and paid it
occasional visits. These dark-skinned tenants of the
woods brought furs of wild animals with them, which
they exchanged with the white men for knives, and
beads, and baubles and trinkets of brass and tin. But
they hated the pale-faces with bitter hatred, because
their encroachments had at this time materially cur-
tailed the extent of their hunting grounds, and nothing
but the numbers and known courage of the squatters
prevented these savages from butchering and scalping
The leader of this band of pioneers was a Major
Hope, a gentleman whose love for nature in its wildest
aspects determined him to exchange barrack life for a
life in the woods. The major was a first-rate shot, a
bold, fearless man, and an enthusiastic naturalist. He
was past the prime of life, and, being a bachelor, was
unencumbered with a family. His first act on reaching
the site of the new settlement was to commence the
erection of a block-house, to which the people might
retire in case of a general attack by the Indians.
In this block-house Major Ho.)e took up his abode
as the guardian of the settlement,-and here the dog
Crusoe was born; here he sprawled in the early morn
of life; here he leaped, and yelped, and wagged his
shaggy tail in the excessive glee of puppyhood, and
from the wooden portals of this block-house he bounded
forth to the chase in all the fire, and strength, and
majesty of full grown doghood.
Crusoe's father and mother were magnificent New-
foundlanders. There was no doubt as to their being of
the genuine breed, for Major Hope had received them
as a parting gift from a brother officer, who had brought
them both from Newfoundland itself. The father's
name was Crusoe; the mother's name was Fan. Why
the father had been so called no one could tell. The
man from whom Major Hope's friend had obtained the
pair was a poor, illiterate fisherman, who had never
heard of the celebrated "Robinson" in all his life. All
he knew was that Fan had been named after his own
wife. As for Crusoe, he had got him from a friend,
who had got him from another friend, whose cousin had
received him as a marriage gift from a friend of his;
and that each had said to the other that the dog's
name was "Crusoe," without reasons being asked or
given on either side. On arriving at New York the
major's friend, as we have said, made him a present of
the dogs. Not being much of a dog fancier, he soon
tired of old Crusoe, and gave him away to a gentleman,
who took him down to Florida, and that was the end
of him. He was never heard of more.
When Crusoe, junior, was born, he was born, of
course, without a name. That was given to him after-
wards in honour of his father. He was also born in
company with a brother and two sisters, all of whom
drowned themselves accidentally, in the first month of
their existence, by falling into the river which flowed
past the block-house,-a calamity which occurred,
doubtless, in consequence of their having gone out with-
out their mother's leave. Little Crusoe was with his
brother and sisters at the time, and fell in along with
them, but was saved from sharing their fate by his
mother, who, seeing what had happened, dashed with
an agonized howl into the water, and, seizing him in
her mouth, brought him ashore in a half drowned con-
dition. She afterwards brought the others ashore one
by one, but the poor little things were dead.
And now we come to the harrowing part of our tale,
for the proper understanding of which the foregoing
dissertation was needful.
One beautiful afternoon, in that charming season of
the American year called the Indian summer, there
came a family of Sioux Indians to the Mustang Valley,
and pitched their tent close to the block-house. A
young hunter stood leaning against the gate-post of the
palisades, watching the movements of the Indians, who,
having just finished a long palaver or talk with
Major Hope, were now in the act of preparing supper.
A fire had been kindled on the green sward in front of
the tent, and above it stood a tripod, from which de-
THE YOUNG HUNTER.
pended a large tin camp-kettle. Over this hung an
ill-favoured Indian woman, or squaw, who, besides
attending to the contents of the pot, bestowed sundry
cuffs and kicks upon her little child, which sat near to
her playing with several Indian curs that gambolled
round the fire. The master of the family and his two
sons reclined on buffalo robes, smoking their stone
pipes or calumets in silence. There was nothing
peculiar in their appearance. Their faces were neither
dignified nor coarse in expression, but wore an aspect
of stupid apathy, which formed a striking contrast to
the countenance of the young hunter, who seemed an
amused spectator of their proceedings.
The youth referred to was very unlike, in many
respects, to what we are accustomed to suppose a back-
woods hunter should be. He did not possess that quiet
gravity and staid demeanour which often characterize
these men. True, he was tall and strongly made, but
no one would have called him stalwart, and his frame
indicated grace and agility rather than strength. But
the point about him which rendered him different from
his companions was, his bounding, irrepressible flow of
spirits, strangely coupled with an intense love of soli-
tary wandering in the woods. None seemed so well
fitted for social enjoyment as he; none laughed so
heartily, or expressed such glee in his mischief-loving
eye; yet for days together he went off alone into the
forest, and wandered where his fancy led him, as grave
and silent as an Indian warrior.
TIE YOUNG HUNTER.
After all, there was nothing mysterious in this. The
boy followed implicitly the dictates of nature within
him. He was amiable, straightforward, sanguine, and
intensely earnest. When he laughed he let it out, as
sailors have it, "with a will." When there was good
cause to be grave, no power on earth could make him
smile. We have called him boy, but in truth he was
about that uncertain period of life when a youth is said
to be neither a man nor a boy. His face was good-
looking (every earnest, candid face is) and masculine;
his hair was reddish brown, and his eye bright blue.
He was costumed in the deer-skin cap, leggings, moccas-
sins, and leather shirt common to the western hunter.
"You seem tickled wi' the Injuns, Dick Yarley,"
said a man who at that moment issued from the Block
That's just what I am, Joe Blunt," replied the
youth, turning with a broad grin to his companion.
"Have a care, lad; do not laugh at 'em too much.
They soon take offence; an' them red-skins never for-
But I'm only laughing at the baby," returned the
youth, pointing to the child, which, with a mixture of
boldness and timidity, was playing with a pup, wrink-
ling up its fat visage into a smile when its playmate
rushed away in sport, and opening wide its jet-black
eyes in grave anxiety as the pup returned at full gallop.
It 'ud make an owl laugh," continued young
Yarley, "to see such a queer picture' o' itself."
A NARROW ESCAPE.
He paused suddenly, and a dark frown covered his
face as he saw the Indian woman stoop quickly down,
catch the pup by its hind-leg with one hand, seize a
heavy piece of wood with the other, and strike it several
violent blows on the throat. Without taking the
trouble to kill the poor animal outright, the savage then
held its still writhing body over the fire in order to
singe off the hair before putting it into the pot to be
The cruel act drew young Varley's attention more
closely to the pup, and it flashed across his mind that
this could be no other than young Crusoe, which
neither he nor his companion had before seen, although
they had often heard others speak of and describe it.
Had the little creature been one of the unfortunate
Indian curs, the two hunters would probably have
turned from the sickening sight with disgust, feeling
that, however much they might dislike such cruelty,
it would be of no use attempting to interfere with
Indian usages. But the instant the idea that it was
Crusoe occurred to Varley he uttered a yell of anger,
and sprang towards the woman with a bound that
caused the three Indians to leap to their feet and grasp
Blunt did not move from the gate, but threw forward
his rifle with a careless motion, but an expressive
glance, that caused the Indians to resume their seats
and pipes with an emphatic Wah of disgust at hav-
ing been startled out of their propriety by a trifle, while
Dick Varley snatched poor Crusoe from his dangerous
and painful position, scowled angrily in the woman's
face, and, turning on his heel, walked up to the house,
holding the pup tenderly in his arms.
Joe Blunt gazed after his friend with a grave,
solemn expression of countenance till he disappeared;
then he looked at the ground and shook his head.
Joe was one of the regular out-and-out backwoods
hunters, both in appearance and in fact-broad, tall,
massive, lion-like,-gifted with the hunting, stalking,
running, and trail-following powers of the savage, and
with a superabundance of the shooting and fighting
powers, the daring and dash of the Anglo-Saxon. He
was grave, too-seldom smiled, and rarely laughed.
His expression almost at all times was a compound of
seriousness and good-humour. With the rifle he was a
good, steady shot; but by no means a crack one.
His ball never failed to hit, but it often failed to
After meditating a few seconds, Joe Blunt again
shook his head, and muttered to himself, The boy's
bold enough, but he's too reckless for a hunter. There
was no need for that yell, now-none at all."
Having uttered this sagacious remark, he threw his
rifle into the hollow of his left arm, turned round, and
strode off with a long, slow step towards his own cot-
Blunt was an American by birth, but of Irish extrac-
tion, and to an attentive ear there was a faint echo of the
THE RESCUE. 19
brogue in his tone, which seemed to have been handed
down to him as a thread-bare and almost worn-out heir-
Poor Crusoe was singed almost naked. His wretched
tail seemed little better than a piece of wire filed off to
a point, and he vented his misery in piteous squeaks as
the sympathetic Varley confided him tenderly to the
care of his mother. How Fan managed to cure him no
one can tell, but cure him she did, for, in the course of
a few weeks, Crusoe was as well, and sleek, and fat as
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
A shooting match and its consequences-New friends introduced to the
reader-Crusoe and his mother change masters.
SHORTLY after the incident narrated in the last chapter,
the squatters of the Mustang Valley lost their leader.
Major Hope suddenly announced his intention of
quitting the settlement, and returning to the civilized
world. Private matters, he said, required his presence
there-matters which he did not choose to speak of,
but which would prevent his returning again to reside
among them. Go he must, and, being a man of deter-
mination, go he did; but before going he distributed
all his goods and chattels among the settlers. He even
gave away his rifle, and Fan, and Crusoe. These last,
however, he resolved should go together; and as they
were well worth having, he announced that he would
give them to the best shot in the valley. He stipu-
lated that the winner should escort him to the nearest
settlement eastward, after which he might return with
the rifle on his shoulder.
Accordingly, a long level piece of ground on the
river's bank, with a perpendicular cliff at the end of it,
was selected as the shooting ground, and, on the
appointed day, at the appointed hour, the competitors
began to assemble.
"Well, lad, first as usual," exclaimed Joe Blunt, as
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
he reached the ground and found Dick Varley there be-
I've bin here more than an hour looking' for a new
kind o' flower that Jack Morgan told me he'd seen.
And I've found it too. Look here; did you ever see
one like it before "
Blunt leaned his rifle against a tree, and carefully
examined the flower.
"Why, yes, I've seed a-many o' them up about the
Rocky Mountains, but never one here-away. It seems
to have gone lost itself. The last I seed, if I remember
rightly, wos near the head-waters o' the Yellowstone
River, it wos-jest where I shot a grizzly bar."
Was that the bar that gave you the wipe on the
cheek I" asked Varley, forgetting the flower in his
interest about the bear.
It wos. I put six balls in that bar's carcase, and
stuck my knife into its heart ten times afore it gave
out; an' it nearly ripped the shirt off my back afore I
wos done with it."
I would give my rifle to get a chance at a grizzly!"
exclaimed Varley, with a sudden burst of enthusiasm.
Whoever got it wouldn't have much to brag of,"
remarked a burly young backwoodsman, as he joined
His remark was true, for poor Dick's weapon was
but a sorry affair. It missed fire, and it hung fire, and
even when it did fire it remained a matter of doubt in
its owner's mind whether the slight deviations from the
22 THE SHOOTING MATCH.
direct line made by his bullets were the result of his or
its bad shooting.
Further comment upon it was checked by the arrival
of a dozen or more hunters on the scene of action.
They were a sturdy set of bronzed, bold, fearless men,
and one felt, on looking at them, that they would
prove more than a match for several hundreds of
Indians in open fight. A few minutes after, the major
himself came on the ground with the prize rifle on his
shoulder, and Fan and Crusoe at his heels-the latter
tumbling, scrambling, and yelping after its mother, fat
and clumsy, and happy as possible, having evidently
quite forgotten that it had been nearly roasted alive
only a few weeks before.
Immediately all eyes were on the rifle, and its merits
were discussed with animation.
And well did it deserve discussion, for such a piece
had never before been seen on the western frontier. It
was shorter in the barrel and larger in the bore than
the weapons chiefly in vogue at that time, and, besides
being of beautiful workmanship, was silver-mounted.
But the grand peculiarity about it, and that which
afterwards rendered it the mystery of mysteries to the
savages, was, that it had two sets of locks-one per-
cussion, the other flint-so that, when caps failed, by
taking off the one set of locks and affixing the others,
it was converted into a flint-rifle. The major, how-
ever, took care never to run short of caps, so that the
flint locks were merely held as a reserve in case of need.
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
Now, lads," cried Major Hope, stepping up to the
point whence they were to shoot, "remember the
terms. He who first drives the nail obtains the rifle,
Fan, and her pup, and accompanies me to the nearest
settlements. Each man shoots with his own gun, and
draws lots for the chance."
"Agreed," cried the men.
"Well, then, wipe your guns and draw lots. Henri
will fix the nail. Here it is."
The individual who stepped, or rather plunged for-
ward to receive the nail was a rare and remarkable
specimen of mankind. Like his comrades, he was half
a farmer and half a hunter. Like them, too, he was
clad in deer-skin, and was tall and strong-nay, more,
he was gigantic. But, unlike them, he was clumsy,
awkward, loose jointed, and a bad shot. Nevertheless
Henri was an immense favourite in the settlement, for
his good-humour knew no bounds. No one ever saw
him frown. Even when fighting with the savages, as
he was sometimes compelled to do in self-defence, he
went at them with a sort of jovial rage that was almost
laughable. Inconsiderate recklessness was one of his
chief characteristics, so that his comrades were rather
afraid of him on the war-trail or in the hunt, where
caution, and frequently soundless motion, were essential
to success or safety. But when Henri had a comrade
at his side to check him he was safe enough, being
humble-minded and obedient. Men used to say he
must have been born under a lucky star, for, notwith-
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
standing his natural inaptitude for all sorts of back-
woods life, he managed to scramble through everything
with safety, often with success, and sometimes with credit.
To see Henri stalk a deer was worth a long day's
journey. Joe Blunt used to say he was "all jints
together, from the top of his head to the sole of his
moccassin." He threw his immense form into the
most inconceivable contortions, and slowly wound his
way, sometimes on hands and knees, sometimes flat,
through bush and brake, as if there was not a bone in
his body, and without the slightest noise. This sort
of work was so much against his plunging nature, that
he took long to learn it, but when, through hard
practice and the loss of many a fine deer, he came at
length to break himself in to it, he gradually pro-
gressed to perfection, and ultimately became the best
stalker in the valley. This, and this alone, enabled
him to procure game, for, being short sighted, he could
hit nothing beyond fifty yards, except a buffalo or a
Yet that same lithe body, which seemed as though
totally unhinged, could no more be bent, when the
muscles were strung, than an iron post. No one
wrestled with Henri unless he wished to have his back
broken. Few could equal and none could beat him at
running or leaping except Dick Varley. When Henri
ran a race even Joe Blunt laughed out-right, for arms
and legs went like independent flails. When he
leaped, he hurled himself into space with a degree of
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
violence that seemed to insure a somersault-yet he
always came down with a crash on his feet. Plunging
was Henri's forte. He generally lounged about the
settlement, when unoccupied, with his hands behind
his back, apparently in a reverie, and when called on
to act, he seemed to fancy he must have lost time, and
could only make up for it by plunging. This habit
got him into many awkward scrapes, but his Herculean
power as often got him out of them. He was a French-
Canadian, and a particularly bad speaker of the English
We offer no apology for this elaborate introduction
of Henri, for he was as good-hearted a fellow as ever
lived, and deserves special notice.
But to return. The sort of rifle practice called
"driving the nail," by which this match was to be
decided, was, and we believe still is, common among
the hunters of the far west. It consisted in this,-an
ordinary large-headed nail was driven a short way into
a plank or a tree, and the hunters, standing at a dis-
tance of fifty yards or so, fired at it until they succeeded
in driving it home. On the present occasion the major
resolved to test their shooting by making the distance
Some of the older men shook their heads.
It's too far," said one; "ye might as well try to
snuff the nose o' a mosquitoe."
"Jim Scraggs is the only man as'll hit that," said
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
The man referred to was a long, lank, lantern-jawed
fellow with a cross-grained expression of countenance.
He used the long, heavy, Kentucky rifle, which, from
the ball being little larger than a pea, was called a pea-
rifle. Jim was no favourite, and had been named
Scraggs by his companions on account of his appearance.
In a few minutes the lots were drawn, and the
shooting began. Each hunter wiped out the barrel of
his piece with his ram-rod as he stepped forward; then,
placing a ball in the palm of his left hand, he drew the
stopper of his powder-horn with his teeth, and poured
out as much powder as sufficed to cover the bullet.
This was the regular measure among them. Little time
was lost in firing, for these men did not "hang" on
their aim. The point of the rifle was slowly raised to
the object, and, the instant the sight covered it, the
ball sped to its mark. In a few minutes the nail was
encircled by bullet holes, scarcely two of which were
more than an inch distant from the mark, and one-
fired by Joe Blunt-entered the tree close beside it.
"Ah, Joe! said the major, I thought you would
have carried off the prize."
So did not I, sir," returned Blunt, with a shake of
his head. Had it a-bin a half-dollar at a hundred
yards, I'd ha done better, but I never could hit the nail.
It's too small to see."
"That's cos ye've got no eyes," remarked Jim
Scraggs, with a sneer, as 4e stepped forward.
All tongues were now hushed, for the expected
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
champion was about to fire. The sharp crack of the
rifle was followed by a shout, for Jim had hit the nail-
head on the edge, and part of the bullet stuck to it.
"That wins if there's no better," said the major,
scarce able to conceal his disappointment. "Who comes
To this question Henri answered by stepping up to
the line, straddling his legs, and executing preliminary
movements with his rifle, that seemed to indicate an
intention on his part to throw the weapon bodily at
the mark. He was received with a shout of mingled
laughter and applause. After gazing steadily at the
mark for a few seconds, a broad grin overspread his
countenance, and, looking round at his companions, he
"Ha mes boys, I can-not behold de nail at all !"
"Can ye 'behold' the tree ?" shouted a voice, when
the laugh that followed this announcement had some-
"Oh! oui," replied Henri quite coolly; "I can see
him, an' a goot small bit of de forest beyond."
Fire at it, then. If ye hit the tree ye deserve the
rifle-leastwise ye ought to get the pup."
Henri grinned again, and fired instantly, without
The shot was followed by an exclamation of surprise,
for the bullet was found close beside the nail!
"It's more be good luck" than good shooting, re-
marked Jim Scraggs.
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
Possiblement," answered Henri, modestly, as he
retreated to the rear and wiped out his rifle; mais I
have kill most of my deer by dat same goot luck."
"Bravo Henri," said Major Hope as he passed;
you deserve to win, anyhow. Who's next I"
"Dick Varley," cried several voices; "where's Varley?
Come on, youngster, an' take yer shot."
The youth came forward with evident reluctance.
"It's of no manner o' use," he whispered to Joe Blunt
as he passed, I can't depend on my old gun."
"Never give in," whispered Blunt, encouragingly.
Poor Yarley's want of confidence in his rifle was
merited, for, on pulling the trigger, the faithless lock
"Lend him another gun," cried several voices.
"'Gainst rules laid down by Major Hope," said
"Well, so it is; try again."
Yarley did try again, and so successfully, too, that
the ball hit the nail on the head, leaving a portion of
the lead sticking to its edge.
Of course this was greeted with a cheer, and a loud
dispute began as to which was the better shot of the
"There are others to shoot yet," cried the major.
"Make way. Look out."
The men fell back, and the few hunters who had not
yet fired took their shots, but without coming nearer
THE SHOOTING MATCH.
It was now agreed that Jim Scraggs and Dick Varley,
being the two best shots, should try over again; and it
was also agreed that Dick should have the use of Blunt's
rifle. Lots were again drawn for the first shot, and it
fell to Dick, who immediately stepped out, aimed some-
what hastily, and fired.
Hit again!" shouted those who had run forward to
examine the mark. "Halfthe bullet cut off by the
nail head !"
Some of the more enthusiastic of Dick's friends
cheered lustily, but the most of the hunters were grave
and silent, for they knew Jim's powers, and felt that he
would certainly do his best. Jim now stepped up to
the line, and, looking earnestly at the mark, threw for-
ward his rifle.
At that moment our friend Crusoe-tired of tor-
menting his mother-waddled stupidly and innocently
into the midst of the crowd of men, and, in so doing,
received Henri's heel and the full weight of his elephan-
tine body on its fore paw. The horrible and electric
yell that instantly issued from his agonized throat could
only be compared, as Joe Blunt expressed it, "to the
last dyin' screech o' a bustin' steam biler !" We can-
not say that the effect was startling, for these back-
woodsmen had been born and bred in the midst of
alarms, and were so used to them that a bustin' steam
biler" itself, unless it had blown them fairly off their
legs, would not have startled them. But the effect,
such as it was, was sufficient to disconcert the aim of
Jim Scraggs, who fired at the same instant, and missed
the nail by a hair's-breadth.
Turning round in towering wrath, Scraggs aimed a
kick at the poor pup, which, had it taken effect, would
certainly have terminated the innocent existence of that
remarkable dog on the spot, but quick as lightning
Henri interposed the butt of his rifle, and Jim's shin
met it with a violence that caused him to howl with
rage and pain.
"Oh! pardon me, broder," cried Henri, shrinking
back, with the drollest expression of mingled pity and glee.
Jim's discretion, on this occasion, was superior to
his valour ; he turned away with a coarse expression of
anger and left the ground.
Meanwhile the major handed the silver rifle to young
Varley. "It couldn't have fallen into better hands,"
he said. "You'll do it credit, lad, I know that full
well, and let me assure you it will never play you false.
Only keep it clean, don't overcharge it, aim true, and
it will never miss the mark."
While the hunters crowded round Dick to congratu-
late him and examine the piece, he stood with a mingled
feeling of bashfulness and delight at his unexpected
good fortune. Recovering himself suddenly he seized
his old rifle, and, dropping quietly to the outskirts of
the crowd, while the men were still busy handling and
discussing the merits of the prize, went up, unobserved,
to a boy of about thirteen years of age, and touched
him on the shoulder.
"Here, Marston, you know I often said ye should
have the old rifle when I was rich enough to get a new
one. Take it now, lad. It's come to ye sooner than
either o' us expected."
"Dick," said the boy, grasping his friend's hand
warmly, "yer true as heart of oak. It's good of'ee,
that's a fact"
"Not a bit, boy; it costs me nothing' to give away an
old gun that I've no use for, an's worth little, but it
makes me right glad to have the chance to do it."
Marston had longed for a rifle ever since he could
walk, but his prospects of obtaining one were very poor
indeed at that time, and it is a question whether he did
not at that moment experience as much joy in handling
the old piece as his friend felt in shouldering the
A difficulty now occurred which had not before been
thought of. This was no less than the absolute refusal
of Dick Yarley's canine property to follow him. Fan
had no idea of changing masters without her consent
being asked, or her inclination being consulted.
"You'll have to tie her up for a while, I fear," said
"No fear," answered the youth. "Dog natur's like
Saying this he seized Crusoe by the neck, stuffed
him comfortably into the bosom of his hunting shirt,
and walked rapidly away with the prize rifle on his
32 A MOTHER'S LOVE.
Fan had not bargained for this. She stood irresolute,
gazing now to the right and now to the left, as the
major retired in one direction and Dick with Crusoe in
another. Suddenly Crusoe, who, although comfortable
in body, was ill at ease in spirit, gave utterance to a
melancholy howl. The mother's love instantly pre-
vailed. For one moment she pricked up her ears at
the sound, and then, lowering them, trotted quietly
after her new master, and followed him to his cottage
on the margin of the lake.
Speculative remarks with which the reader may or may not agree-An old
woman- Hopes and wishes commingled with hard facts- The dog Crusoe's
IT is pleasant to look upon a serene, quiet, humble face.
On such a face did Richard Varley look every night
when he entered his mother's cottage. Mrs. Varley
was a widow, and she had followed the fortunes of
her brother, Daniel Hood, ever since the death of her
husband. Love for her only brother induced her to
forsake the peaceful village of Maryland, and enter upon
the wild life of a backwoods settlement. Dick's mother
was thin, and old, and wrinkled, but her face was stamped
with a species of beauty which never fades-the beauty
of a loving look. Ah! the brow of snow and the
peach-bloom cheek may snare the heart of man for a
time, but the loving look alone can forge that adaman-
tine chain that time, age, eternity, shall never break.
Mistake us not, reader, and bear with us if we at-
tempt to analyze this look which characterized Mrs.
Varley. A rare diamond is worth stopping to glance
at, even when one is in a hurry! The brightest jewel
in the human heart is worth a thought or two By a
loving look, we do not mean a look of love bestowed on
a beloved object. That is common enough, and thank-
ful should we be that it is so common in a world that's
overfull of hatred. Still less do we mean that smile
and look of intense affection with which some people-
good people too-greet friend and foe alike, and by
which effort, to work out their beau ideal of the expres-
sion of Christian love, they do signally damage their
cause, by saddening the serious and repelling the gay.
Much less do we mean that perpetual smile of good will
which argues more of personal comfort and self love
than anything else. No, the loving look we speak of
is as often grave as gay. Its character depends very
much on the face through which it beams. And it
cannot be counterfeited. Its ring defies imitation.
Like the clouded sun of April, it can pierce through
tears of sorrow; like the noontide sun of summer it
can blaze in warm smiles; like the northern lights of
winter, it can gleam in depths of woe-but it is always
the same, modified, doubtless, and rendered more or
less patent to others, according to the natural amia-
bility of him or her who bestows it. No one can put
it on. Still less can any one put it off. Its range is
universal; it embraces all mankind, though, of course,
it is intensified on a few favoured objects; its seat is in
the depths of a renewed heart, and its foundation lies
in love to God.
Young Varley's mother lived in a cottage which was
of the smallest possible dimensions consistent with
comfort. It was made of logs, as, indeed, were all the
other cottages in the valley. The door was in the
centre, and a passage from it to the back of the dwell
THE WIDOW'S COTTAGE.
ing divided it into two rooms. One of these was sub-
divided by a thin partition, the inner room being Mrs.
Varley's bed-room, the outer Dick's. Daniel Hood's
dormitory was a corner of the kitchen, which apartment
served also as a parlour.
The rooms were lighted by two windows, one on
each side of the door, which gave to the house the ap-
pearance of having a nose and two eyes. Houses of
this kind have literally got a sort of expression on-if
we may use the word-their countenances. Square
windows give the appearance of easy-going placidity;
longish ones, that of surprise. Mrs. Varley's was a
surprised cottage, and this was in keeping with the
scene in which it stood, for the clear lake in front,
studded with islands, and the distant hills beyond, com-
posed a scene so surprisingly beautiful that it never
failed to call forth an expression of astonished admira-
tion from every new visitor to the Mustang Valley.
My boy," exclaimed Mrs. Varley, as her son entered
the cottage with a bound, "why so hurried to-day
Deary me! where got you the grand gun "
"Won it, mother!"
"Won it, my son "
"Ay, won it, mother. Druve the nail almost, and
would ha' druve it altogether had I bin more used to
Joe Blunt's rifle."
Mrs. Varley's heart beat high, and her face flushed
with pride as she gazed at her son, who laid the rifle on
the table for her inspection, while he rattled off an
THE WIDOW AND SON.
animated and somewhat disjointed account of the
Deary me! now that was good; that was cliver.
But what's that scraping at the door "
Oh! that's Fan; I forgot her. Here! here! Fan!
Come in, good dog," he cried, rising and opening the door.
Fan entered and stopped short, evidently uncomfort-
"My boy, what do ye with the major's dog ~"
"Won her too, mother !"
"Won her, my son "
"Ay, won her, and the pup too; see, here it is!"
and he plucked Crusoe from his bosom.
Crusoe having found his position to be one of great
comfort, had fallen into a profound slumber, and on
being thus unceremoniously awakened, he gave forth a
yelp of discontent that brought Fan in a state of fran-
tic sympathy to his side.
There you are, Fan, take it to a corner and make
yourself at home. Ay, that's right, mother, give her
something' to eat; she's hungry, I know by the look o'
"Deary me, Dick," said Mrs. Varley, who now pro-
ceeded to spread the youth's mid-day meal before him,
"did ye drive the nail three times "
"No, only once, and that not parfetly. Brought
'em all down at one shot-rifle, Fan, an' pup "
"Well, well, now that was cliver; but -" Here
the old woman paused and looked grave.
THE WIDOW AND SON.
"But what, mother "
"You'll be wantin' to go off to the mountains now,
I fear me, boy."
"Wantin' nowl" exclaimed the youth earnestly;
"I'm always wantin.' I've bin wantin' ever since I
could walk; but I won't go till you let me, mother,
that I won't !" And he struck the table with his fist so
forcibly that the platters rung again.
"You're a good boy, Dick; but you're too young
yit to venture' among the red-skins."
"An' yit, if I don't venture' young, I'd better not ven-
tur' at all. You know, mother dear, I don't want to
leave you; but I was born to be a hunter, and every-
body in them parts is a hunter, and I can't hunt in the
kitchen you know, mother !"
At this point the conversation was interrupted by a
sound that caused young Varley to spring up and
seize his rifle, and Fan to show her teeth and growl.
Hist! mother; that's like horses' hoofs," he whis-
pered, opening the door and gazing intently in the
direction whence the sound came.
Louder and louder it came, until an opening in the
forest showed the advancing cavalcade to be a party
of white men. In another moment they were in full
view-a band of about thirty horsemen, clad in the
leather costume, and armed with the long rifle of the
far west. Some wore portions of the gaudy Indian
dress which gave to them a brilliant, dashing look.
They came on straight for the block-house, and saluted
W38 THE TRAPPERS.
the Varleys with a jovial cheer as they swept past at
fall speed. Dick returned the cheer with compound
interest, and calling out, "They're trappers, mother, I'll
be back in an hour," bounded off like a deer through
the woods, taking a short cut in order to reach the
block-house before them. He succeeded, for, just as he
arrived at the house, the cavalcade wheeled round the
bend in the river, dashed up the slope, and came to a
sudden halt on the green. Vaulting from their foam-
ing steeds they tied them to the stockades of the little
fortress, which they entered in a body.
Hot haste was in every motion of these men. They
were trappers, they said, on their way to the rocky
mountains to hunt and trade furs. But one of their
number had been treacherously murdered and scalped
by a Pawnee chief, and they resolved to revenge his
death by an attack on one of the Pawnee villages.
They would teach these "red reptiles" to respect white
men, they would, come of it what might; and they had
turned aside here to procure an additional supply of
powder and lead.
In vain did the major endeavour to dissuade these
reckless men from their purpose. They scoffed at the
idea of returning good for evil, and insisted on being
supplied. The log hut was a store as well as a place of
defence, and as they offered to pay for it there was no
refusing their request-at least so the major thought.
The ammunition was therefore given to them, and in
half an hour they were away again at full gallop over
the plains on their mission of vengeance. "Vengeance
is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." But these men
knew not what God said, because they never read his
word, and did not own his sway.
Young Varley's enthusiasm was considerably damped
when he learned the errand on which the trappers
were bent. From that time forward he gave up all
desire to visit the mountains in company with such
men, but he still retained an intense longing to roam at
large among their rocky fastnesses, and gallop out upon
the wide prairies.
Meanwhile he dutifully tended his mother's cattle
and sheep, and contented himself with an occasional
deer-hunt in the neighboring forests. He devoted
himself also to the training of his dog Crusoe-an
operation which at first cost him many a deep sigh.
Every one has heard of the sagacity and almost rea-
soning capabilities of the Newfoundland dog. Indeed,
some have even gone the length of saying that what is
called instinct in these animals is neither more nor less
than reason. And, in truth, many of the noble, heroic,
and sagacious deeds that have actually been performed
by Newfoundland dogs incline us almost to believe
that, like man, they are gifted with reasoning powers.
But every one does not know the trouble and pati-
ence that is required in order to get a juvenile dog to
understand what its master means when he is endea-
vouring to instruct it.
Crusoe's first lesson was an interesting, but not a very
successful one. We may remark here that Dick Varley
had presented Fan to his mother to be her watch-dog,
resolving to devote all his powers to the training of the
pup. We may also remark, in reference to Crusoe's
appearance (and we did not remark it sooner, chiefly
because up to this period in his eventful history he was
little better than a ball of fat and hair), that his coat
was mingled jet black and pure white, and remarkably
glossy, curly, and thick.
A week after the shooting match Crusoe's education
began. Having fed him for that period with his own
hand, in order to gain his affection, Dick took him out
one sunny forenoon to the margin of the lake to give
him his first lesson.
And here again we must pause to remark that,
although a dog's heart is generally gained in the first
instance through his mouth, yet, after it is thoroughly
gained, his affection is noble and disinterested. He
can scarcely be driven from his master's side by blows,
and even when thus harshly repelled is always ready,
on the shortest notice and with the slightest encourage-
ment, to make it up again.
Well, Dick Varley began by calling out Crusoe !
Crusoe come here, pup."
Of course Crusoe knew his name by this time, for it
had been so often used as a prelude to his meals, that
he naturally expected a feed whenever he heard it.
This portal to his brain had already been open for
some days; but all the other doors were fast locked,
CRUSOE'S EDUCATION. 41
and it required a great deal of careful picking to open
"Now, Crusoe, come here."
Crusoe bounded clumsily to his master's side, cocked
his ears, and wagged his tail-so far his education was
perfect. We say he bounded clumsily, for it must be
remembered that he was still a very young pup, with
soft, flabby muscles.
"Now, I'm goin' to begin' yer education, pup ; think
Whether Crusoe thought of that or not we cannot
say, but he looked up in his master's face as he spoke,
cocked his ears very high, and turned his head slowly
to one side, until it could not turn any further in that
direction; then he turned it as much to the other side,
whereat his master burst into an uncontrollable fit of
laughter, and Crusoe immediately began barking voci-
"Come, come," said Dick, suddenly checking his
mirth, we mustn't play, pup, we must work."
Drawing a leather mitten ftom his belt, the youth
held it to Crusoe's nose, and then threw it a yard away,
at the same time exclaiming in a loud, distinct tone,
Crusoe entered at once into the spirit of this part of
his training; he dashed gleefully at the mitten, and
proceeded to worry it with intense gratification. As
for "Fetch it," he neither understood the words nor
cared a straw about them.
42 CRUSOE'S EDUCATION.
Dick Varley rose immediately, and rescuing th8
mitten, resumed his seat on a rock.
"Come here, Crusoe," he repeated.
"Oh! certainly, by all means," said Crusoe-
no i he didn't exactly say it, but really he looked these
words so evidently, that we think it right to let them
stand as they are written. If he could have finished
the sentence he would certainly have said, Go on with
that game over again, old boy; it's quite to my taste
-the jolliest thing in life, I assure you !" At least,
if we may not positively assert that he would have said
that, no one else can absolutely affirm that he wouldn't.
Well, Dick Yarley did do it over again, and Crusoe
worried the mitten over again-utterly regardless of
Then they did it again, and again, and again, but
without the slightest apparent advancement in the path
of canine knowledge,-and then they went home.
During all this trying operation Dick Varley never
once betrayed the slightest feeling of irritability or im-
patience. He did not expect success at first; he was
not, therefore, disappointed at failure.
Next day he had him out again-and the next-and
the next-and the next again, with the like unfavour-
able result. In short, it seemed at last as if Crusoe's
mind had been deeply imbued with the idea that he
had been born expressly for the purpose of worrying that
mitten, and he meant to fulfil his destiny to the letter.
Young Varley had taken several small pieces of meat
in his pocket each day, with the intention of reward-
ing Crusoe when he should at length be prevailed on
to fetch the mitten, but as Crusoe was not aware of
the treat that awaited him, of course the mitten never
At last Dick Varley saw that this system would
never do, so he changed his tactics, and the next morn-
ing gave Crusoe no breakfast, but took him out at the
usual hour to go through his lesson. This new course
of conduct seemed to perplex Crusoe not a little, for on
his way down to the beach he paused frequently and
looked back at the cottage, and then expressively up at
his master's face. But the master was inexorable; he
went on and Crusoe followed, for true love had now
taken possession of the pup's young heart, and he pre-
fered his master's company to food.
Varley now began by letting the learner smell a
piece of meat which he eagerly sought to devour, but
was prevented, to his immense disgust. Then the mit-
ten was thrown as heretofore, and Crusoe made a few
steps towards it, but being in no mood for play he
Fetch it," said the teacher.
"I won't," replied the learner mutely, by means of
that expressive sign-not doing it.
Hereupon Dick Yarley rose, took up the mitten, and
put it into the pup's mouth. Then, retiring a
couple of yards, he held out the piece of meat and
said, "Fetch it."
Crusoe instantly spat out the glove and bounded to-
wards the meat-once more to be disappointed.
This was done a second time, and Crusoe came for-
ward with the mitten in his mouth. It seemed as if it
had been done accidentally, for he dropped it before
coming quite up. If so it was a fortunate accident,
for it served as the tiny fulcrum on which to place the
point of that mighty lever which was destined ere long
to raise him to the pinnacle of canine erudition. Dick
Yarley immediately lavished upon him the tenderest
caresses and gave him a lump of meat. But he quickly
tried it again lest he should lose the lesson. The dog
evidently felt that if he did not fetch that mitten he
should have no meat or caresses. In order, however,
to make sure that there was no mistake, Dick laid the
mitten down beside the pup, instead of putting it into
his mouth, and, retiring a few paces, cried, Fetch it."
Crusoe looked uncertain for a moment, then he
picked up the mitten and laid it at his master's feet.
The lesson was learned at last! Dick Varley tumbled
all the meat out of his pocket on the ground, and, while
Crusoe made a hearty breakfast, he sat down on a rock
and whistled with glee at having fairly picked the
lock, and opened another door into one of the many
chambers of his dog's intellect!
OUR HERO'S CHARACTER.
Our hero enlarged upon-Grumps.
Two years passed away-the Mustang Valley settlement
advanced prosperously, despite one or two attacks made
upon it by the savages who were, however, firmly re-
pelled ; Dick Yarley had now become a man, and his
pup Crusoe had become a full-grown dog. The "silver
rifle," as Dick's weapon had come to be named, was
well known among the hunters and the red-skins of the
border-lands, and in Dick's hands its bullets were as
deadly as its owner's eye was quick and true.
Crusoe's education, too, had been completed. Faith-
fully and patiently had his young master trained his
mind, until he fitted him to be a meet companion in the
hunt. To "carry" and "fetch" were now but trifling
portions of the dog's accomplishments. He could dive
a fathom deep in the lake and bring up any article that
might have been dropt or thrown in. His swimming
powers were marvellous, and so powerful were his
muscles, that he seemed to spurn the water while pass-
ing through it, with his broad chest high out of the
curling wave, at a speed that neither man nor beast
could keep up with for a moment. His intellect now
was sharp and quick as a needle; he never required a
second bidding. When Dick went out hunting he
OUR HERO'S CHARACTER.
used frequently to drop a mitten or a powder horn un-
known to the dog, and, after walking miles away from
it, would stop short and look down into the mild, gentle
face of his companion.
Crusoe," he said, in the same quiet tones with
which he would have addressed a human friend, I've
dropped my mitten, go fetch it, pup." Dick continued
to call it "pup" from habit.
One glance of intelligence passed from Crusoe's eye,
and in a moment he was away at full gallop ; nor did
he rest until the lost article was lying at his master's
feet. Dick was loath to try how far back on his track
Crusoe would run if desired. He had often gone back
five and six miles at a stretch; but his powers did not
stop here. He could carry articles back to the spot
from which they had been taken and leave them there.
He could head the game that his master was pursuing
and turn it back; and he would guard any object he
was desired to "watch" with unflinching constancy.
But it would occupy too much space and time to
enumerate all Crusoe's qualities and powers. His
biography will unfold them.
In personal appearance he was majestic, having
grown to an immense size even for a Newfoundland.
Had his visage been at all wolfish in character, his
aspect would have been terrible. But he possessed in
an eminent degree that mild, humble expression of face
peculiar to his race. When roused or excited, and
especially when bounding through the forest with the
OUR HERO'S CHARACTER.
chase in view, he was absolutely magnificent. At other
times his gait was slow, and he seemed to prefer a quiet
walk with Dick Varley to anything else under the sun.
But when Dick was inclined to be boisterous Crusoe's
tail and ears rose at a moment's notice, and he was
ready for anything. Moreover, he obeyed commands
instantly and implicitly. In this respect he put to
shame most of the boys of the settlement, who were by
no means famed for their habits of prompt obedience.
Crusoe's eye was constantly watching the face of his
master. When Dick said Go" he went, when he said
" Come he came. If he had been in the midst of an
excited bound at the throat of a stag, and Dick had
called out, Down, Crusoe," he would have sunk to the
earth like a stone. No doubt it took many months of
training to bring the dog to this state of perfection;
but Dick accomplished it by patience, perseverance, and
Besides all this, Crusoe could speak! He spoke by
means of the dog's dumb alphabet in a way that defies
description. He conversed, so to speak, with his ex-
tremities-his head and his tail. But his eyes, his soft
brown eyes, were the chief medium of communication.
If ever the language of the eyes was carried to perfec-
tion, it was exhibited in the person of Crusoe. But,
indeed, it would be difficult to say which part of his ex-
pressive face expressed most. The cocked ears of expec-
tation ;'the drooped ears of sorrow; the bright, full eye
of joy; the half closed eye of contentment; and the
OUR HERO'S CHARACTER.
frowning eye of indignation accompanied with a slight,
a very slight, pucker of the nose and a gleam of dazzl-
ing ivory-ha! no enemy ever saw this last piece of
canine language without a full appreciation of what it
meant. Then as to the tail-the modulations of mean-
ing in the varied wag of that expressive member Oh!
it's useless to attempt description. Mortal man cannot
conceive of the delicate shades of sentiment expressible
by a dog's tail, unless he has studied the subject-the
wag, the waggle, the cock, the droop, the slope, the
wriggle! Away with description-it is impotent and
valueless here !
As we have said, Crusoe was meek and mild. He
had been bitten, on the sly, by half the ill-natured curs
in the settlement, and had only shown his teeth in re-
turn. He had no enmities-though several enemies-
and he had a thousand friends, particularly among the
ranks of the weak and the persecuted, whom he always
protected and avenged when opportunity offered. A
single instance of this kind will serve to show his cha-
One day Dick and Crusoe were sitting on a rock be-
side the lake-the same identical rock near which, when
a pup, the latter had received his first lesson. They
were conversing as usual, for Dick had elicited such %
fund of intelligence from the dog's mind, and had in-
jected such wealth of wisdom into it, that he felt con-
vinced it understood every word he said.
This is capital weather, Crusoe ; aint it, pup 1"
DICK AND CRUSOE CONVERSE.
Crusoe made a motion with his head which was
quite as significant as a nod.
"Ha my pup, I wish that you and I might go and
have a slap at the grizzly bars and a look at the Rocky
Mountains. Wouldn't it be nuts, pup 7"'
Crusoe looked dubious.
"What, you don't agree with me Now, tell me,
pup, wouldn't ye like to grip a bar I"
Still Crusoe looked dubious, but made a gentle motion
with his tail, as though he would have said, I've seen
neither Rocky Mountains nor grizzly bars, and know
nothing' about 'em, but I'm open to conviction."
"You're a brave pup," rejoined Dick, stroking the
dog's huge head affectionately. I wouldn't give you
for ten times your weight in golden dollars-if there
be sich things."
Crusoe made no reply whatever to this. He regarded
it as a truism unworthy of notice; he evidently felt that a
comparison between love and dollars was preposterous.
At this point in the conversation a little dog with a
lame leg hobbled to the edge of the rocks in front of
the spot where Dick was seated, and looked down into
the water, which was deep there. Whether it did so
for the purpose of admiring its very plain visage in the
liquid mirror, or finding out what was going on among
the fish, we cannot say, as it never told us; but at that
moment a big, clumsy, savage looking dog rushed out
from the neighboring thicket and began to worry it.
"Punish him, Crusoe," said Dick, quickly.
Crusoe made one bound that a lion might have been
proud of, and seizing the aggressor by the back, lifted
him off his legs and held him, howling, in the air-at
the same time casting a look towards his master for
Pitch him in," said Dick, making a sign with his
Crusoe turned and quietly dropped the dog into the
lake. Having regarded his struggles there for a few
moments with grave severity of countenance, he walked
slowly back and sat down beside his master.
The little dog made good its retreat as fast as three
legs would carry it, and the surly dog, having swam
ashore, retired sulkily, with his tail very much between
Little wonder, then, that Crusoe was beloved by
great and small among the well-disposed of the canine
tribes of the Mustang Valley.
But Crusoe was not a mere machine. When not
actively engaged in Dick Varley's service, he busied
himself with private little matters of his own. He
undertook modest little excursions into the woods or
along the margin of the lake, sometimes alone, but
more frequently with a little friend whose whole heart
and being seemed to be swallowed up in admiration of
his big companion. Whether Crusoe botanized or
geologized on these excursions we will not venture to
say. Assuredly he seemed as though he did both, for
he poked his nose into every bush and tuft of moss,
and turned over the stones, and dug holes in the ground
-and, in short, if he did not understand these sciences,
he behaved very much as if he did. Certainly he
knew as much about them as many of the human
In these walks he never took the slightest notice of
Grumps (that was the little dog's name), but Grumps
made up for this by taking excessive notice of him.
When Crusoe stopped, Grumps stopped and sat down
to look at him. When Crusoe trotted on, Grumps
trotted on too. When Crusoe examined a bush Grumps
sat down to watch him, and when he dug a hole
Grumps looked into it to see what was there. Grumps
never helped him; his sole delight was in looking on.
They didn't converse much, these two dogs. To be in
each other's company seemed to be happiness enough-
at least Grumps thought so.
There was one point at which Grumps stopped short,
however, and ceased to follow his friend; and that was
when he rushed headlong into the lake and disported
himself for an hour at a time in its cool waters. Crusoe
was, both by nature and training, a splendid water-dog.
Grumps, on the contrary, held water in abhorrence, so
he sat on the shores of the lake disconsolate when his
friend was bathing, and waited till he came out. The
only time when Grumps was thoroughly non-plussed,
was when Dick Yarley's whistle sounded faintly in the
far distance. Then Crusoe would prick up his ears,
and stretch out at full gallop, clearing ditch, and fence,
and brake with his strong elastic bound, and leaving
Grumps to patter after him as fast as his four-inch
legs would carry him. Poor Grumps usually arrived
at the village, to find both dog and master gone, and
would betake himself to his own dwelling, there to lie
down and sleep, and dream, perchance, of rambles and
gambols with his gigantic friend.
A mission of peace-Unexpected joys-Dick and Crusoe set off for the land
of the red-skins, and meet with adventures by the way as a matter of
course-Night in the wild woods.
ONE day the inhabitants of Mustang Valley were
thrown into considerable excitement by the arrival of
an officer of the United States army and a small escort
of cavalry. They went direct to the block-house,
which, since Major Hope's departure, had become the
residence of Joe Blunt-that worthy having, by general
consent, been deemed the fittest man in the settlement
to fill the major's place.
Soon it began to be noised abroad that the strangers
had been sent by government to endeavour to bring
about, if possible, a more friendly state of feeling
between the whites and the Indians, by means of pre-
sents, and promises, and fair speeches.
The party remained all night in the block-house, and
ere long it was reported thut Joe Blunt had been re-
quested, and had consented, to be the leader and chief
of a party of three men who should vist the neigh-
bouring tribes of Indians, to the west and north of the
valley, as government agents. Joe's knowledge of two
or three different Indian dialects, and his well-known
sagacity, rendered him a most fitting messenger on such
an errand. It was also whispered that Joe was to
AN UNEXPECTED PROPOSAL.
have the choosing of his comrades in this mission, and
many were the opinions expressed and guesses made
as to who would be chosen.
That same evening Dick Yarley was sitting in his
mother's kitchen cleaning his rifle; his mother was
preparing supper and talking quietly about the obsti-
nacy of a particular hen that had taken to laying her
eggs in places where they could not be found; Fan
was coiled up in a corner sound asleep, and Crusoe was
sitting at one side of the fire looking on at things in
"I wonder," remarked Mrs. Varley, as she spread
the table with a pure white napkin; I wonder what
the sodgers are doin' wi' Joe Blunt."
As often happens when an individual is mentioned,
the worthy referred to opened the door at that moment
and stepped into the room.
Good e'en t'ye, dame," said the stout hunter, doffing
his cap, and resting his rifle in a corner, while Dick
rose and placed a chair for him.
"The same to you, Master Blunt," answered the widow;
" you've jist comed in good time for a cut o' venison."
"Thanks, mistress, I s'pose we're beholden to the
silver rifle for that."
"To the hand that aimed it, rather," suggested the
"Nay, then, say rather to the dog that turned it,"
said Dick Yarley. "But for Crusoe that buck would
ha' bin couched in the woods this night."
AN UNEXPECTED PROPOSAL. 55
Oh! if it comes to that," retorted Joe, "I'd lay it
to the door o' Fan, for if she'd niver bin born another
would Crusoe. But it's good an' tender meat, whatever
ways ye got it. Howsiver, I've other things to talk
about jist now. Them sodgers that are eatin' buffalo
tongues up at the block house as if they'd niver ate
meat before, and didn't hope to eat agin for a twelve-
Ay, what o' then interrupted Mrs. Varley; I've
bin wondering' what was their errand."
Of coorse ye wos, dame Varley; and I've comedy
here a' purpis to tell ye. They want me to go to the
red-skins to make peace between them and us; and
they've brought a lot o' goods to make them presents
withal,-beads, an' knives, an' looking' glasses, an' ver-
million paint, an' sich like, jist as much as'll be a light
load for one horse-for, ye see, nothing' can be done wi'
the red-skins without gifts."
"'Tis a blessed mission," said the widow, "I wish it
may succeed. D'ye think ye'll go?"
"Go ay, that will I."
"I only wish they'd made the offer to me," said
Dick with a sigh.
"An' so they do make the offer, lad. They've gin
me leave to choose the two men I'm to take with me,
and I've comed straight to ask you. Ay or no, for we
must up an' away by break o' day to-morrow."
Mrs. Varley started. "So soon she said, with a
look of anxiety.
DICK AND HIS MOTHER.
Ay; the Pawnees are at the Yellow Creek jist at
this time, but I've heer'd they're 'bout to break up
camp an' away west; so we'll need to use haste."
"May I go, mother asked Dick with a look of
There was evidently a conflict in the widow's breast,
but it quickly ceased.
Yes, my boy," she said in her own low, quiet voice,
"an' God go with ye. I knew the time must come soon,
an' I thank Him that your first visit to the red-skins
will be on an errand o' peace. 'Blessed are the peace-
makers, for they shall be called the children of God.'"
Dick grasped his mother's hand and pressed it to
his cheek in silence. At the same moment Crusoe,
seeing that the deeper feelings of his master were touched,
and deeming it his duty to sympathize, rose up and
thrust his nose against him.
"Ah! pup," cried the young man hastily, "you
must go too. Of course Crusoe goes, Joe Blunt ?"
Hum! I don't know that. There's no depending'
on a dog to keep his tongue quiet in times o' danger."
"Believe me," exclaimed Dick, flashing with enthu-
siasm, Crusoe's more trustworthy than I am myself.
If ye can trust the master yer safe to trust the pup."
"Well, lad, ye may be right. We'll take him."
Thanks, Joe. And who else goes with us 1 "
"I've bin castin' that in my mind for some time,
an' I've fixed to take Henri. He's not the safest man
in the valley, but he's the truest, that's a fact. And
DICK AND HIS MOTHER.
now, younker, get yer horse an' rifle ready, and come
to the block-house at daybreak to-morrow. Good luck
to ye, mistress, till we meet agin."
Joe Blunt rose, and taking up his rifle,-without
which he scarcely ever moved a foot from his own door,
-left the cottage with rapid strides.
"My son," said Mrs. Varley, kissing Dick's cheek as
he resumed his seat, "put this in the little pocket I
made for it in your hunting shirt."
She handed him a small pocket Bible.
"Dear mother," he said, as he placed the book care-
fully within the breast of his coat, "the red-skin that
takes that from me must take my scalp first. But
don't fear for me. You've often said the Lord would
protect me. So he will, mother, for sure it's an errand
"Ay, that's it, that's it," murmured the widow in a
Dick Varley spent that night in converse with his
mother, and next morning at day-break he was at the
place of meeting mounted on his sturdy little horse,
with the "silver rifle" on his shoulder, and Crusoe by
"That's right, lad, that's right. Nothing' like keeping'
yer time," said Joe, as he led out a pack-horse from the
gate of the block-house, while his own charger was
held ready saddled by a man named Daniel Brand, who
had been appointed to the charge of the block-house
in his absence.
"Where's Henri -oh! here he comes," exclaimed
Dick, as the hunter referred to came thundering up the
slope at a charge, on a horse that resembled its rider
in size, and not a little in clumsiness of appearance.
"Ah! mes boy. Him is a goot one to go," cried
Henri, remarking Dick's smile as he pulled up. "No
boss on de plain can beat dis one, surement."
"Now then, Henri, lend a hand to fix this pack
we've no time to palaver."
By this time they were joined by several of the
soldiers and a few hunters who had come to see them
"Remember, Joe," cried one, "if you don't come
back in three months we'll all come out in a band to
If we don't come back in less than that time,
what's left o' us won't be worth scekin' for," said Joe,
tightening the girth of his saddle.
Put a bit in yer own mouth, Henri," cried another,
as the Canadian arranged his steed's bridle; "ye'll need
it more than yer horse when ye git 'mong the red
"Vraiment, if mon mout' needs one bit your's will
need one padlock."
"Now, lads, mount!" cried Joe Blunt as he vaulted
into the saddle.
Dick Varley sprang lightly on his horse, and Henri
made a rush at his steed and hurled his huge frame
across its back with a violence that ought to have
OFF TO THE PRAIRIE AT LAST.
brought it to the ground; but the tall, raw-boned, broad-
chested roan was accustomed to the eccentricities of
its master, and stood the shock bravely. Being ap-
pointed to lead the pack-horse, Henri seized its halter;
then the three cavaliers shook their reins, and, waving
their hands to their comrades, they sprang into the
woods at full gallop, and laid their course for the "far
For some time they galloped side by side in silence,
each occupied with his own thoughts, Crusoe keeping
close beside his master's horse. The two elder hunters
evidently ruminated on the object of their mission and
the prospects of success, for their countenances were
grave and their eyes cast on the ground. Dick Varley,
too, thought upon the red-men, but his musings were
deeply tinged with the bright hues of a first adventure.
The mountains, the plains, the Indians, the bears, the
buffaloes, and a thousand other objects, danced wildly
before his mind's eye, and his blood careered through
his veins and flushed his forehead as he thought of
what he should see and do, and felt the elastic vigour
of youth respond in sympathy to the light spring of
his active little steed. He was a lover of nature, too,
and his flashing eyes glanced observantly from side to
side as they swept along,-sometimes through glades
of forest trees; sometimes through belts of more open
ground and shrubbery; anon by the margin of a stream,
or along the shores of a little lake, and often over
short stretches of flowering prairie-land,-whLile the
60 THE FIRST DAY IN THE WILDS.
firm, elastic turf sent up a muffled sound from the tramp
of their mettlesome chargers. It was a scene of wild,
luxuriant beauty, that might almost (one could fancy),
have drawn involuntary homage to its bountiful Creator
from the lips even of an infidel.
After a time Joe Blunt reined up, and they proceeded
at an easy ambling pace. Joe and his friend Henri
were so used to these beautiful scenes that they had
long ceased to be enthusiastically affected by them,
though they never ceased to delight in them.
"I hope," said Joe, "that them sodgers 'll go their
ways soon. I've no notion o' them chaps when they're
left at a place wi' nothing' to do but whittle sticks."
"Why, Joe!" exclaimed Dick Varley in a tone of
surprise, "I thought you were admirin' the beautiful
face o' nature all this time, and yer only thinking' about
the sodgers. Now, that's strange!"
"Not so strange after all, lad," answered Joe. "When
a man's used to a thing he gits to admire an' enjoy it
without speaking' much about it. But it is true, boy,
that mankind gits in coorse o' time to think little o'
the blissins' he's used to."
Oui, c'est vrai!" murmured Henri emphatically.
"Well, Joe Blunt, it may be so; but I'm thankful
I'm not used to this sort o' thing yet," exclaimed
Varley. "Let's have another gallop-so ho! come along,
Crusoe!" shouted the youth, as he shook his reins, and
flew over a long stretch of prairie on which at that
moment they entered.
DICK IS OBSTREPEROUS.
Joe smiled as he followed his enthusiastic companion,
but after a short run he pulled up.
Hold on, youngster," he cried, "ye must larn to do
as yer bid, lad; it's trouble enough to be among wild
Injuns and wild buffaloes, as I hope soon to be, without
havin' wild comrades to look after."
Dick laughed and reined in his panting horse. "I'll
be as obedient as Crusoe," he said, and no one can beat
Besides," continued Joe, "the horses won't travel far
if we begin by running' all the wind out o' them."
"Wah !" exclaimed Henri, as the led horse became
restive ; I think we must give to him de pack-hoss for
to lead, eh "
"Not a bad notion, Henri. We'll make that the
penalty of running' off again; so look out, Master
"I'm down," replied Dick with a modest air, "obe-
dient as a baby, and won't run off again-till-the next
time. By the way, Joe, how many days' provisions did
ye bring "
"Two. That's enoughh to carry us to the Great
Prairie, which is three weeks distant from this; our
own good rifles must make up the difference, and keep
us when we git there."
"And s'pose we neither find deer nor buffalo," sug-
"I s'pose we'll have to starve."
"Dat is cumfer'able to tink upon," remarked Henri
More comfortable to think o' than to undergo," said
Dick, "but I s'pose there little chance o' that."
"Well, not much," replied Joe Blunt, patting his
horse's neck, "but d'ye see, lad, ye niver can count for
sartin on anything The deer and buffalo ought to be
thick in them plains at this time-and when the buf-
falo are thick they covers the plains till ye can hardly
see the end o' them; but, ye see, sometimes the rascally
red-skins takes it into their heads to burn the prairies,
and sometimes ye find the place that should ha' bin
black wi' buffalo, black as a coal wi' fire for miles an'
miles on end. At other times the red-skins go huntin'
in 'ticlur places, and sweeps them clean o' every hoof
that don't git away. Sometimes, too, the animals seems
to take a scunner at a place and keeps out o' the way.
But oneway or another men gin'rally manage to scramble
Look yonder, Joe," exclaimed Dick, pointing to the
summit of a distant ridge, where a small black object
was seen moving against the sky, "that's a deer, aint
Joe shaded his eyes with his hand and gazed earnestly
at the object in question. Yer right, boy; and by
good luck we've got the wind of him. Cut in an' take
your chance now. There's a long strip o' wood as '11
let ye git close to him."
Before the sentence was well finished, Dick and
Crusoe were off at full gallop. For a few hundred yards
they coursed along the bottom of a hollow; then turn-
DICK DODGES HIIM.
ing to the right they entered the strip of wood, and in
a few minutes gained the edge of it. Here Dick dis-
You can't help me here, Crusoe. Stay where you
are, pup, and hold my horse."
Crusoe seized the end of the line, which was fastened
to the horse's nose, in his mouth, and lay down on
a hillock of moss, submissively placing his chin on
his forepaws, and watching his master as he stepped
noiselessly through the wood. In a few minutes Dick
emerged from among the trees, and, creeping from bush
to bush, succeeded in getting to within six hundred
yards of the deer, which was a beautiful little antelope.
Beyond the bush behind which he now crouched all was
bare open ground, without a shrub or hillock large enough
to conceal the hunter. There was a slight undulation
in the ground, however, which enabled him to advance
about fifty yards further, by means of lying down quite
flat and working himself forward like a serpent. Further
than this he could not move without being seen by the
antelope, which browsed on the ridge before him in fan-
cied security. The distance was too great even for a
long shot, but Dick knew of a weak point in this little
creature's nature which enabled him to accomplish his
purpose-a weak point which it shares in common with
animals of a higher order,-namely, curiosity.
The little antelope of the North American prairies is
intensely curious about everything that it does not quite
understand, and will not rest satisfied until it has en-
64 CRUSOE MAKES HIMSELF USEFUL.
deavoured to clear up the mystery. Availing himself
of this propensity, Dick did what both Indians and
hunters are accustomed to do on these occasions,-he
put a piece of rag on the end of his ramrod, and, keep-
ing his person concealed and perfectly still, waved this
miniature flag in the air. The antelope noticed it at
once, and, pricking up its ears, began to advance, timidly
and slowly, step by step, to see what remarkable phe-
nomenon it could be. In a few seconds the flag was
lowered, a sharp crack followed, and the antelope fell
dead upon the plain.
Ha, boy that's a good supper, anyhow," cried Joe,
as he galloped up and dismounted.
Goot dat is better nor dried meat," added Henri
Give him to me; I will put him on my boss, vich is
stronger dan yourn. But 'ver is your hoss i"
"He'll be here in a minute," replied Dick, put-
ting his fingers to his mouth and giving forth a shrill
The instant Crusoe heard the sound he made a savage
and apparently uncalled for dash at the horse's heels.
This wild act, so contrary to the dog's gentle nature, was
a mere piece of acting. He knew that the horse would
not advance without getting a fright, so he gave him
one in this way which sent him off at a gallop. Crusoe
followed close at his heels, so as to bring the line along-
side of'the nag's body, and thereby prevent its getting
entangled; but despite his best efforts the horse got on
one side of a tree and he on the other, so he wisely let
" THROUGH THE WOODS."
go his hold of the line, and waited till more open ground
enabled him to catch it again. Then he hung heavily
back, gradually checked the horse's speed, and finally
trotted him up to his master's side.
"'Tis a cliver cur, good sooth," exclaimed Joe Blunt
"Ah, Joe! you haven't seen much of Crusoe yet.
He's as good as a man any day. I've done little else
but train him for two years gone by, and he can do
most anything but shoot-he can't handle the rifle no-
"Ha I then, I tink perhaps hims could if he wos try,"
said Henri, plunging on to his horse with a laugh, and
arranging the carcase of the antelope across the pommel
of his saddle.
Thus they hunted and galloped, and trotted and ambled
on through wood and plain all day, until the sun began
to descend below the tree tops of the bluffs on the west
-then Joe Blunt looked about him for a place on which
to camp, and finally fixed on a spot under the shadow
of a noble birch by the margin of a little stream. The
carpet of grass on its banks was soft like green velvet,
and the rippling waters of the brook were clear as crystal
-very different from the muddy Missouri into which
While Dick Yarley felled and cut up firewood, Henri
unpacked the horses and turned them loose to graze,
and Joe kindled the fire and prepared venison steaks
and hot tea for supper.
66 INDIAN THIEVING PROPENSITIES.
In excursions of this kind it is customary to "hobble"
the horses; that is, to tie their fore-legs together, so
that they cannot run either fast or far, but are free
enough to amble about with a clumsy sort of hop in
search of food. This is deemed a sufficient check on
their tendency to roam, although some of the knowing
horses sometimes learn to hop so fast with their hobbles
as to give their owners much trouble to recapture them.
But when out in the prairies where Indians are known
or supposed to be in the neighbourhood, the horses are
picketted by means of a pin or stake attached to the
ends of their long laryats, as well as hobbled-for In-
dians deem it no disgrace to steal or tell lies, though
they think it disgraceful to be found out in doing either.
And so expert are these dark-skinned natives of the
western prairies, that they will creep into the midst of
an enemy's camp, cut the laryats and hobbles of several
horses, spring suddenly on their backs, and gallop
They not only steal from white men, but tribes that
are at enmity steal from each other, and the boldness
with which they do this is most remarkable. When
Indians are travelling in a country where enemies are
prowling, they guard their camps at night with jealous
care. The horses in particular are both hobbled and
picketted, and sentries are posted all round the camp.
Yet, in spite of these precautions, hostile Indians manage
to elude the sentries, and creep into the camp. When a
thief thus succeeds in effecting an entrance, his chief
danger is past. He rises boldly to his feet, and, wrap-
ping his blanket or buffalo robe round him, he walks up
and down as if he were a member of the tribe. At the
same time he dexterously cuts the laryats of such horses
as he observes are not hobbled. He dare not stoop to cut
the hobbles, as the action would be observed, and suspi-
cion would be instantly aroused. He then leaps on the
best horse he can find, and uttering a terrific war whoop
darts away into plains, driving the loosened horses be-
No such dark thieves were supposed to be near the
camp under the birch-tree, however, so Joe, and Dick,
and Henri ate their supper in comfort, and let their
horses browse at will on the rich pasturage.
A bright ruddy fire was soon kindled, which created,
as it were, a little ball of light in the midst of surround-
ing darkness for the special use of our hardy hunters.
Within this magic circle all was warm, comfortable, and
cheery. Outside all was dark, and cold, and dreary by
When the substantial part of supper was disposed of,
tea and pipes were introduced, and conversation began
to flow. Then the three saddles were placed in a row ;
each hunter wrapped himself in his blanket, and, pillow-
ing his head on his saddle, stretched his feet towards
the fire and went to sleep, with his loaded rifle by his
side and his hunting knife handy in his belt. Crusoe
mounted guard by stretching himself out couchant at
Dick Varley's side. The faithful dog slept lightly and
68 THE CAMP.
never moved all night, but had any one observed him
closely he would have seen that every fitful flame that
burst from the sinking fire, every unusual puff of wind,
and every motion of the horses that fed or rested hard
by, had the effect of revealing a speck of glittering white
in Crusoe's watchful eye.
The great prairies of the far west-A remarkable colony discovered,
and a miserable night endured.
OF all the hours of the night or day the hour that suc-
ceeds the dawn is the purest, the most joyous and the
best. At least so think we ; and so think hundreds and
thousands of the human family; and so thought Dick
Varley, as he sprung suddenly into a sitting posture next
morning, and threw his arms with an exulting feeling of
delight round the neck of Crusoe, who instantly sat up
to greet him.
This was an unusual piece of enthusiasm on the part
of Dick, but the dog received it with marked satisfac-
tion, rubbed his big hairy cheek against that of his young
master, and arose from his sedentary position in order to
afford free scope for the use of his tail.
"Ho Joe Blunt! Henri Up, boys, up The sun
will have the start o' us. I'll catch the nags."
So saying Dick bounded away into the woods with
Crusoe gambolling joyously at his heels. Dick soon
caught his own horse and Crusoe caught Joe's. Then
the former mounted and quickly brought in the other
Returning to the camp he found everything packed
and ready to strap on the back of the pack-horse.
"That's the way to do it, lad," cried Joe. "Here,
70 THE GREAT PRAIRIE.
Henri, look alive and git yer beast ready. I do believe
yer goin' to take another snooze !"
Henri was indeed, at that moment, indulging in a
gigantic stretch, and a cavernous yawn, but he finished
both hastily, and rushed at his poor horse as if he in-
tended to slay it on the spot. He only threw the saddle
on its back, however, and then threw himself on the
"Now then, all ready 3"
"Ay,-Oui, yis !"
And away they went at full stretch again on their
Thus day after day they travelled, and night after
night they laid them down to sleep under the trees of
the forest, until at length they reached the edge of the
It was a great, a memorable day in the life of Dick
Varley, that on which he first beheld the prairie,-the
vast boundless prairie. He had heard of it, talked of
it, dreamed about it, but he had never,-no, he had never
realized it. 'Tis always thus. Our conceptions of
things that we have not seen are almost invariably wrong.
Dick's eyes glittered, and his heart swelled, and his
cheeks flushed, and his breath came thick and quick.
There it is," he gasped, as the great rolling plain
broke suddenly on his enraptured gaze; "that's it-
Dick uttered a yell that would have done credit to the
fiercest chief of the Pawnees, and, being unable to utter
DICK IS AGAIN OBSTREPEROUS.
another word, he swung his cap in the air and sprang
like an arrow from a bow over the mighty ocean of grass.
The sun had just risen to send a flood of golden glory
over the scene; the horses were fresh, so the elder
hunters, gladdened by the beauty of all around them,
and inspired by the irresistible enthusiasm of their young
companion, gave the reins to the horses and flew after
him. It was a glorious gallop, that first headlong dash
over the boundless prairie of the "far west!"
The prairies have often been compared, most justly,
to the ocean. There is the same wide circle of space
bounded on all sides by the horizon; there is the same
swell, or undulation, or succession of long low unbroken
waves that marks the ocean when it is calm ; they are
canopied by the same pure sky, and swept by the same
untrammelled breezes. There are islands, too-clumps
of trees and willow-bushes,-which rise out of this grassy
ocean to break and relieve its uniformity; and these vary
in size and numbers as do the isles of ocean-being
numerous in some places, while in others they are so
scarce that the traveller does not meet one in a long
day's journey. Thousands of beautiful flowers decked
the green sward, and numbers of little birds hopped about
Now, lads," said Joe Blunt, reining up, "our troubles
begin to day."
"Our troubles ourjoys, you mean !" exclaimed Dick
P'raps I don't mean nothing' o' the sort," retorted
Joe. "Man wos never intended to swaller his joys
without a strong mixture' o' troubles. I 'spose he
couldn't stand 'em pure. Ye see we've got to the prairie
One blind hoss might see dat !" interrupted Henri.
"An' we may or may not diskiver buffalo. An' water's
scarce, too, so we'll need to look out for it pretty sharp,
I guess, else we'll lose our horses, in which case we may
as well give out at once. Besides, there's rattlesnakes
about in sandy places-we'll ha' to look out for them;
an' there's badger holes-we'll need to look sharp for
them lest the horses put their feet in 'em; an' there's
Injuns, who'll look out pretty sharp for us if they once
get wind that we're in them parts."
Oui, yis, mes boys, and there's rain, and under, and
lighting, added Henri, pointing to a dark cloud which
was seen rising on the horizon ahead of them.
It'll be rain," remarked Joe, but there's no thunder
in the air jist now; we'll make for yonder clump o'
bushes and lay by till it's past."
Turning a little to the right of the course they had
been following, the hunters galloped along one of the
hollows between the prairie waves before mentioned,
in the direction of a clump of willows. Before reach-
ing it, however, they passed over a bleak and barren
plain where there was neither flower nor bird. Here
they were suddenly arrested by a most extraordinary
sight-at least it was so to Dick Varley, who had never
seen the like before. This was a colony of what Joe called
"prairie-dogs." On first beholding them Crusoe uttered
a sort of half growl, half bark of surprise, cocked his tail
and ears, and instantly prepared to charge, but he
glanced up at his master first for permission. Observing
that his finger and his look commanded "silence" he
dropped his tail at once and stepped to the rear. He
did not, however, cease to regard the prairie-dogs with
These remarkable little creatures have been egre-
giously misnamed by the hunters of the west, for they
bear not the slightest resemblance to dogs, either in
formation or habits. They are, in fact, the marmot,
and in size are little larger than squirrels, which animals
they resemble in some degree. They burrow under the
light soil and throw it up in mounds like moles.
Thousands of them were running about among their
dwellings when Dick first beheld them, but the moment
they caught sight of the horsemen rising over the ridge,
they set up a tremendous hubbub of consternation;
each little beast instantly mounted guard on the top of
his house and prepared, as it were, "to receive cavalry."
The most ludicrous thing about them was, that al-
though the most timid and cowardly creatures in the
world, they seemed the most impertinent things that
ever lived! Knowing that their holes afforded them a
perfectly safe retreat they sat close beside them, and as
the hunters slowly approached, they elevated their
heads, wagged their little tails, showed their teeth, and
chattered at them like monkeys. The nearer they
came the more angry and furious did the prairie-dogs
become, until Dick Varley almost fell off his horse with
suppressed laughter. They let the hunters come close
up, waxing louder and louder in their wrath; but the
instant a hand was raised to throw a stone or point a
gun, a thousand little heads dived into a thousand holes,
and a thousand little tails wriggled for an instant in
the air-then, a dead silence reigned over the deserted
"Bien, them's have dive into de bo'-els of de heart, "
said Henri with a broad grin. ,
Presently a thousand noses appeared, and nervously
disappeared like the wink of an eye. Then they ap-
peared again, and a thousand pair of eyes followed.
Instantly, like Jack in the box, they were all on the top
of their hillocks again, chattering and wagging their
little tails as vigorously as ever. You could not say
that you saw them jump out of their holes. Suddenly,
as if by magic, they were out; then Dick tossed up
his arms, and, suddenly, as if by magic, they were
Their number was incredible, and their cities were
full of riotous activity. What their occupations were
the hunters could not ascertain, but it was perfectly
evident that they visited a great deal and gossipped
tremendously, for they ran about from house to house,
and sat chatting in groups; but it was also observed
that they never went far from their own houses. Each
seemed to have a circle of acquaintance in the immediate
neighbourhood of his own residence, to which in case
of sudden danger he always fled.
But another thing about these prairie-dogs, (perhaps,
considering their size, we should call them prairie-
doggies), another thing about them, we say, was that
each doggie lived with an owl, or, more correctly, an
owl lived with each doggie This is such an extra-
ordinary fact, that we could scarce hope that men
would believe us, were our statement not supported by
dozens of trust-worthy travellers who have visited and
written about these regions. The whole plain was
covered with these owls. Each hole seemed to be the
residence of an owl and a doggie, and these incon-
gruous couples lived together apparently in perfect
We have not been able to ascertain from travellers
why the owls have gone to live with these doggies, so
we beg humbly to offer our own private opinion to the
reader. We assume, then, that owls find it absolutely
needful to have holes. Probably prairie-owls cannot
dig holes for themselves. Having discovered, however,
a race of little creatures that could, they very likely
determined to take forcible possession of the holes
made by them. Finding, no doubt, that, when they
did so, the doggies were too timid to object, and dis-
covering, moreover, that they were sweet, innocent little
creatures, the owls resolved to take them into partner-
ship, and so the thing was settled-that's how it came
about, no doubt of it!
76 CRUSOE CONTRIBUTES TOWARDS SUPPER.
There is a report that rattlesnakes live in these holes
also! but we cannot certify our reader of the truth of
this,-still it is well to be acquainted with a report
that is current among the men of the backwoods. If
it be true, we are of opinion that the doggie's family is
the most miscellaneous and remarkable on the face of
-or, as Henri said, in the bo'-els of-the earth.
Dick and his friends were so deeply absorbed in
watching these curious little creatures that they did
not observe the rapid spread of the black clouds over the
sky. A few heavy drops of rain now warned them to
seek shelter, so wheeling round they dashed off at
speed for the clump of willows, which they gained just
as the rain began to descend in torrents.
"Now, lads, do it slick. Off packs and saddles,"
cried Joe Blunt, jumping from his horse. "I'll make
a hut for ye, right off."
"A hut, Joe, what sort o' hut can ye make here ?"
"Ye'll see, boy, in a minute."
"Ach! lend me hand here, Dick; de bockle am
tight as de hosse's own skin. Ah! dere all right."
"Hallo! what's this?" exclaimed Dick, as Crusoe
advanced with something in his mouth. I declare,
it's a bird o' some sort."
"A prairie-hen," remarked Joe, as Crusoe laid the
bird at Dick's feet; "capital for supper."
"Ah! dat chien is superb! goot dog. Come here, I
vill clap you."
But Crusoe refused to be caressed. Meanwhile, Joe
and Dick formed a sort of bee-hive looking hut by
bending down the stems of a tall bush and thrusting
their points into the ground. Over this they threw the
largest buffalo robe, and placed another on the ground
below it, on which they laid their packs of goods.
These they further secured against wet by placing
several robes over them and a skin of parchment. Then
they sat down on this pile to rest and consider what
should be done next.
"'Tis a bad look-out," said Joe, shaking his head.
"I fear it is," replied Dick in a melancholy tone.
Henri said nothing, but he sighed deeply on looking
up at the sky, which was now of a uniform watery grey,
while black clouds drove athwart it. The rain was
pouring in torrents, and the wind began to sweep it in
broad sheets over the plains, and under their slight
covering, so that in a short time they were wet to the
skin. The horses stood meekly beside them, with
their tails and heads equally pendulous, and Crusoe
sat before his master, looking at him with an expression
that seemed to say, "Couldn't you put a stop to this if
you were to try?"
"This 'll never do. I'll try to git up a fire," said
Dick, jumping up in desperation.
"Ye may save herself the trouble," remarked Joe,
drily-at least as drily as was possible in the cir-
However, Dick did try, but he failed signally.
A DISMAL NIGHT.
Everything was soaked and saturated. There were no
large trees; most of the bushes were green, and the
dead ones were soaked. The coverings were slobbery;
the skins they sat on were slobbery; the earth itself
was slobbery; so Dick threw his blanket (which was
also slobbery) round his shoulders, and sat down beside
his companions to grin and bear it. As for Joe and
Henri, they were old hands, and accustomed to such
circumstances. From the first they had resigned them-
selves to their fate, and wrapping their wet blankets
round them sat down, side by side, wisely to endure
the evils that they could not cure.
There is an old rhyme, by whom composed we know
not-and it matters little-which runs thus-
"For every evil under the sun
There is a remedy-or there's none.
If there is-try and find it;
If there isn't-never mind it!"
There is deep wisdom here in small compass. The
principle involved deserves to be heartily recommended.
Dick never heard of the lines, but he knew the prin-
ciple well; so he'began to "never mind it," by sitting
down beside his companions and whistling vociferously.
As the wind rendered this a difficult feat he took to
singing instead. After that he said, "Let's eat a bite,
Joe, and then go to bed."
"Be all means," said Joe, who produced a mass of
dried deer's meat from a wallet.
"It's cold grub," said Dick, "and tough."
But the hunters' teeth were sharp and strong, so
A DISMAL NIGHT. 79
they ate a hearty supper and washed it down with a
drink of rain water collected from a pool on the top of
their hut. They now tried to sleep, for the night was
advancing, and it was so dark that they could scarce
see their hands when held up before their faces. They
sat back to back, and thus, in the form of a tripod,
began to snooze. Joe's and Henri's seasoned frames
would have remained stiff as posts till morning; but
Dick's body was young and pliant, so he hadn't been
asleep a few seconds when he fell forward into the mud
and effectually awakened the others. Joe gave a grpnt,
and Henri exclaimed, "Hah!" but Dick was too sleepy
and miserable to say anything. Crusoe, however, rose
up to show his sympathy, and laid his wet head on his
master's knee as he resumed his place. This catastrophe
happened three times in the space of an hour, and by
the third time they were all awakened up so thoroughly
that they gave up the attempt to sleep, and amused
each other by recounting their hunting experiences and
telling stories. So engrossed did they become that day
broke sooner than they had expected-and, just in
proportion as the grey light of dawn rose higher into
the eastern sky, did the spirits of these weary men
rise within their soaking bodies.
The "wallering" peculiarities of buffalo bulls-The first buffalo hunt and
its consequences-Crusoe comes to the rescue-Pawnees discovered-A
monster buffalo hunt-Joe acts the part of ambassador.
FORTUNATELY the day that succeeded the dreary night
described in the last chapter was warm and magnificent.
The sun rose in a blaze of splendour and filled the at-
mosphere with steam from the moist earth.
The unfortunates in the wet camp were not slow to
avail themselves of his cheering rays. They hung up
everything on the bushes to dry, and by dint of extreme
patience and cutting out the comparatively dry hearts
of several pieces of wood, they lighted a fire and boiled
some rain water, which was soon converted into soup.
This, and the exercise necessary for the performance of
these several duties, warmed and partially dried them,
so that when they once more mounted their steeds and
rode away they were in a state of comparative com-
fort and in excellent spirits. The only annoyance was
the clouds of mosquitoes and large flies that assailed
men and horses whenever they checked their speed.
"I tell ye wot it is," said Joe Blunt, one fine morn-
ing about a week after they had begun to cross the
prairie, "it's my 'pinion that we'll come on buffaloes
soon. Them tracks are fresh, an' yonder's one o' their
wallers that's bin' used not long agone."
"I'll go have a look at it," cried Dick, trotting away
as he spoke.
Everything in these vast prairies was new to Dick
Varley, and he was kept in a constant state of excite-
ment during the first week or two of his journey. It
is true he was quite familiar with the names and habits
of all the animals that dwelt there, for many a time
and oft had he listened to the years of the hunters
and trappers of the Mustang Valley, when they returned
laden with rich furs from their periodical hunting ex-
peditions. But this knowledge of his only served to
whet his curiosity and his desire to see the denizens of
the prairies with his own eyes, and now that his wish
was accomplished, it greatly increased the pleasures of
Dick had just reached the "wallow," referred to by
Joe Blunt, and had reined up his steed to observe it
leisurely, when a faint hissing sound reached his ear.
Looking quickly back he observed his two companions
crouching on the necks of their horses, and slowly de-
scending into a hollow of the prairie in front of them,
as if they wished to bring the rising ground between
them and some object in advance. Dick instantly
followed their example and was soon at their heels.
"Ye needn't look at the waller," whispered Joe,
"for a' other side o' the ridge there's a bull wallerin."
"Ye don't mean it!" exclaimed Dick, as they all
dismounted and picketted their horses to the plain.
"Oui," said Henri, tumbling off his horse, while a
broad grin overspread his good-natured countenance;
"it is one fact One buffalo bull be wollerin' like a
enormerous hog. Also, dere be thousands o' buffaloes
Can ye trust yer dog keeping' back 1 inquired Joe,
with a dubious glance at Crusoe.
"Trust him Ay, I wish I was as sure o' my-
"Look to your primin', then, an' we'll have tongues
and marrow bones for supper to-night, I'se warrant.
Hist! down on yer knees, and go softly. We might
ha' run them down on horseback, but it's bad to wind
yer beasts on a trip like this, if ye can help it; an' it's
about as easy to stalk them. Least ways, we'll try.
Lift yer head slowly, Dick, an' don't show more nor the
half o't above the ridge."
Dick elevated his head as directed, and the scene
that met his view was indeed well calculated to send
an electric shock to the heart of an ardent sportsman.
The vast plain beyond was absolutely blackened with
countless herds of buffaloes, which were browsing on
the rich grass. They were still so far distant that
their bellowing, and the trampling of their myriad
hoofs, only reached the hunters like a faint murmur on
the breeze. In the immediate foreground, however,
there was a group of about half-a-dozen buffalo-cows
feeding quietly, and in the midst of them an enormous
old bull was enjoying himself in his wallow. The
animals, towards which our hunters now crept with
murderous intent, are the fiercest and the most pon-
derous of the ruminating inhabitants of the western
wilderness. The name of buffalo, however, is not correct.
The animal is the bison, and bears no resemblance
whatever to the buffalo proper; but as the hunters of
the far-west-and, indeed, travellers generally, have
adopted the misnomer, we bow to the authority of
custom and adopt it too.
Buffaloes roam in countless thousands all over the
North American prairies, from the Hudson's Bay ter-
ritories, north of Canada, to the shores of the Gulf of
The advance of white men to the west has driven
them to the prairies between the Missouri and the
Rocky Mountains, and has somewhat diminished their
numbers; but even thus diminished, they are still in-
numerable in the more distant plains. Their colour is
dark brown, but it varies a good deal with the seasons.
The hair or fur, from its great length in winter and
spring and exposure to the weather, turns quite light;
but when the winter coat is shed off the new growth is
a beautiful dark brown, almost approaching to jet black.
In form the buffalo somewhat resembles the ox, but its
head and shoulders are much larger, and are covered
with a profusion of long shaggy hair, which adds
greatly to the fierce aspect of the animal. It has a
large hump on the shoulder, and its fore quarters are
much larger, in proportion, than the hind quarters.
The horns are short and thick; the hoofs are cloven,
and the tail is short, with a tuft of hair at the
It is scarcely possible to conceive a wilder or more
ferocious and terrible monster than a buffalo bull. He
often grows to the enormous weight of two thousand
pounds. His lion-like mane falls in shaggy confusion
quite over his head and shoulders, down to the ground.
When he is wounded he becomes imbued with the
spirit of a tiger ; he stamps, bellows, roars, and foams
forth his rage with glaring eyes and steaming nostrils;
and charges furiously at man and horse with utter reck-
lessness. Fortunately, however, he is not naturally pug-
nacious, and can be easily thrown into a sudden panic.
Moreover, the peculiar position of his eye renders this
creature not so terrible as he would otherwise be to the
hunter. Owing to the stiff structure of the neck, and
the sunken, downward-looking eyeball, the buffalo can-
not, without an effort, see beyond the direct line of
vision presented to the habitual carriage of his head.
When, therefore, he is wounded, and charges, he does
so in a straight line, so that his pursuer can leap easily
out of his way. The pace of the buffalo is clumsy, and
apparently slow, yet, when chased, he dashes away over
the plains in blind blundering terror, at a rate that
leaves all but good horses far behind. He cannot keep
the pace up, however, and is usually soon overtaken.
Were the buffalo capable of the same alert and agile mo-
tions of head and eye peculiar to the deer or wild-horse,
in addition to his "bovine rage," he would be the most
formidable brute on earth. There is no object, perhaps,
so terrible as the headlong advance of a herd of these
animals when thoroughly aroused by terror. They care
not for their necks. All danger in front is forgotten,
or not seen, in the terror of that from which they fly.
No thundering cataract is more tremendously irresisti-
ble than the black bellowing torrent which sometimes
pours through the narrow defiles of the Rocky Moun-
tains, or sweeps like a roaring flood over the trembling
The wallowing, to which we have referred, is a luxury
usually indulged in during the hot months of summer,
when the buffaloes are tormented by flies, and heat,
and drought. At this season they seek the low grounds
in the prairies where there is a little stagnant water
lying amongst the grass, and the ground underneath,
being saturated, is soft. The leader of the herd, a
shaggy old bull, usually takes upon himself to prepare
It was a rugged monster of the largest size that did
so on the present occasion, to the intense delight of
Dick Varley, who begged Joe to lie still and watch the
operation before trying to shoot one of the buffalo-
cows. Joe consented with a nod, and the four spec-
tators-for Crusoe was as much taken up with the
proceedings as any of them-crouched in the grass, and
Coming up to the swampy spot the old bull gave a
grunt of satisfaction, and, going down on one knee,
86 BUFFALO WALLOWS.
plunged his short thick horns into the mud, tore it up,
and cast it aside. Having repeated this several times
he plunged his head in, and brought it forth saturated
with dirty water, and bedaubed with lumps of mud,
through which his fierce eyes gazed, with a ludicrous
expression of astonishment, straight in the direction of
the hunters, as if he meant to say, I've done it that
time, and no mistake !" The other buffaloes seemed
to think so too, for they came up and looked on with
an expression that seemed to say, Well done, old fel-
low; try that again !"
The old fellow did try it again, and again, and again,
plunging, and ramming, and tearing up the earth, until
he formed an excavation large enough to contain his
huge body. In this bath he laid himself comfortably
down, and began to roll and wallow about until he
mixed up a trough full of thin soft mud, which
completely covered him. When lie came out of the hole
there was scarcely an atom of his former self visible !
The coat of mud thus put on by bulls is usually
permitted by them to dry, and is not finally got rid
of until long after, when oft-repeated rolling on the
grass and washings by rain at length clears it away.
When the old bull vacated this delectable bath,
another bull, scarcely if at all less ferocious looking,
stepped forward to take his turn, but he was inter-
rupted by a volley from the hunters, which scattered
the animals right and left, and sent the mighty herds
in the distance flying over the prairie in wild terror.
The very turmoil of their own mad flight added to their
panic, and the continuous thunder of their hoofs was
heard until the last of them disappeared on the horizon.
The family party which had been fired at, however, did
not escape so well. Joe's rifle wounded a fat young
cow, and Dick Varley brought it down. Henri had
down his best, but, as the animals were too far distant
for his limited vision, he missed the cow lie fired at and
hit the young bull whose bath had been interrupted.
The others scattered and fled.
Well done, Dick," exclaimed Joe Blunt, as they all
ran up to the cow that had fallen. "Your first shot at
the buffalo was a good un. Come now an' I'llshow ye
how to cut it up an' carry off the tit bits."
Ah! mon dear ole bull," exclaimed Henri, gazing
after the animal which he had wounded, and which was
now limping slowly away. You is not worth going'
He'll be tough enough, I warrant," said Joe, "an'
we've more meat here nor we can lift."
But wouldn't it be as well to put the poor brute
out o' pain," suggested Dick.
"Oh, he'll die soon enough," replied Joe, tucking
up his sleeves and drawing his long hunting knife.
Dick, however, was not satisfied with this way of
looking at it. Saying that he would be back in a few
minutes he re-loaded his rifle, and calling Crusoe to his
side, walked quickly after the wounded bull, which
was now hid from view in a hollow of the plain.
88 DICK'S ADVENTURE WITH THE BULL.
In a few minutes he came in sight of it, and ran
forward with his rifle in readiness.
"Down, Crusoe," he whispered; wait for me
Crusoe crouched in the grass instantly, and Dick
advanced. As he came on, the bull observed him, and
turned round bellowing with rage and pain to receive
him. The aspect of the brute on a near view was so
terrible, that Dick involuntarily stopped too, and gazed
with a mingled feeling of wonder and awe, while it
bristled with passion, and blood-streaked foam dropped
from its open jaws, and its eyes glared furiously.
Seeing that Dick did not advance, the bull charged
him with a terrific roar; but the youth had firm nerves,
and although the rush of such a savage creature at full
speed was calculated to try the courage of any man,
especially one who had never seen a buffalo bull before,
Dick did not lose presence of mind. He remembered
the many stories he had listened to of this very thing
that was now happening, so, crushing down his excite-
ment as well as he could, he cocked his rifle and
awaited the charge. He knew that it was of no use to
fire at the head of the advancing foe, as the thickness
of the skull, together with the matted hair on the fore-
head, rendered it impervious to a bullet.
When the bull was within a yard of him he leaped
lightly to one side and it passed. Just as it did so,
Dick aimed at its heart and fired, but his knowledge of
the creature's anatomy was not yet correct. The ball
DICK'S ADVENTURE WITH THE BULL.
entered the shoulder too high, and the bull, checking
himself as well as he could in his headlong rush, turned
round and made at Dick again.
The failure coupled with the excitement proved too
much for Dick; he could not resist discharging his
second barrel at the brute's head as it came on. He
might as well have fired at a brick wall ; it shook its
shaggy front, and with a hideous bellow thundered
forward. Again Dick sprang to one side, but in doing
so a tuft of grass or a stone caught his foot, and lie fell
heavily to the ground.
Up to this point Crusoe's admirable training had
nailed him to the spot where he had been left, although
the twitching of every fibre in his body and a low con-
tinuous whine showed how gladly lie would have hailed
permission to join in the combat; but the instant he
saw his master down and the buffalo turning to charge
again, he sprang forward with a roar that would have
done credit to his bovine enemy, and seized him by the
nose. So vigorous was the rush that lie well nigh
pulled the bull down on its side. One toss of its head,
however, sent Crusoe high into the air, but it accom-
plished this feat at the expense of its nose, which was
torn and lacerated by the dog's teeth.
Scarcely had Crusoe touched the ground, which he
did with a sounding thump, than lie sprang up and
flew at his adversary again. This time, however, lie
adopted the plan of barking furiously and biting by
rapid yet terrible snaps as he found opportunity, thus
CRUSOE TO TIE RESCUE.
keeping the bull entirely engrossed, and affording Dick
an opportunity of re-loading his rifle which he was not
slow to do. Dick then stepped close up, and, while
the two combatants were roaring in each other's faces,
he shot the buffalo through the heart. It fell to the
earth with a deep groan.
Crusoe's rage instantly vanished on beholding this,
and he seemed to be filled with tumultuous joy at his
master's escape, for he gambolled round him, and
whined and fawned upon him in a manner that could
not be misunderstood.
Good dog; thank'ee, my pup," said Dick, patting
Crusoe's head as he stooped to brush the dust from his
leggings; I don't know what would ha' become o' me
but for your help, Crusoe."
Crusoe turned his head a little to one side, wagged
his tail, and looked at Dick with an expression that
said quite plainly, I'd die for you, I would-not once,
or twice, but ten times, fifty times if need be-and
that not merely to save your life, but even to please you."
There is no doubt whatever that Crusoe felt some-
thing of this sort. The love of a Newfoundland dog to
its master is beyond calculation or expression. He who
once gains such love carries the dog's life in his hand.
But let him who reads note well, and remember, that
there is only one coin that can purchase such love, and
that is kindness; the coin, too, must be genuine.
Kindness merely expressed will not do, it must be felt.
Iallo! boy, ye've bin i' the wars!" exclaimed Joe,
HOW TO CUT UP BUFFALO MEAT.
raising himself from his task as Dick and Crusoe re-
You look more like it than I do," retorted Dick,
This was true, for cutting up a buffalo carcase with
no other instrument than a large knife is no easy
matter. Yet western hunters and Indians can do it
without cleaver or saw, in a way that would surprise a
civilized butcher not a little. Joe was covered with
blood up to the elbows. His hair, happening to have
a knack of getting into his eyes, had been so often
brushed off with bloody hands, that his whole visage
was speckled with gore, and his dress was by no means
While Dick related his adventure, or mis-adventure
with the bull, Joe and Henri completed the cutting
out of the most delicate portions of the buffalo, namely,
the hump on its shoulder-which is a choice piece,
much finer than the best beef-and the tongue, and
a few other parts. The tongues of buffaloes are supe-
rior to those of domestic cattle. When all was ready
the meat was slung across the back of the pack-horse,
and the party, remounting their horses, continued
their journey, having first cleansed themselves as well
as they could in the rather dirty waters of an old
"See," said Henri, turning to Dick and pointing to
a circular spot of green as they rode along, that is one
old dry waller."
92 INDIANS DISCOVERED.
"Ay," remarked Joe, "after the waller dries, it
becomes a ring o' greener grass than the rest o' the
plain, as ye see. 'Tis said the first hunters used to
wonder greatly at these mysterious circles, and they
invented all sorts o' stories to account for 'em. Some
said they wos fairy-rings, but at last they comed to
know they wos nothing' more nor less than places
where buffldoes wos used to waller in. It's often
seemed to me that if we knowed the raisons o' things
we wouldn't be so much puzzled wi' them as we
The truth of this last remark was so self-evi-
dent and incontrovertible that it elicited no reply, and
the three friends rode on for a considerable time in
It was now past noon, and they were thinking of
calling a halt for a short rest to the horses and a pipe
to themselves, when Joe was heard to give vent to one
of those peculiar hisses, that always accompanied either
a surprise or a caution. In the present case it indi-
"What now, Joe ."
"Injuns!" ejaculated Joe.
Eh! fat you say ? ou is de ?"
Crusoe at this moment uttered a low growl. Ever
since the day he had been partially roasted he had
maintained a rooted antipathy to red-men. Joe im-
mediately dismounted, and placing his ear to the
ground listened intently. It is a curious fact that by
INDIANS DISCOVERED. 93
placing the ear close to the ground sounds can be
heard distinctly which could not be heard at all if the
listener were to maintain an erect position.
"They're arter the buffalo," said Joe rising, "an' I
think it's likely they're a band o' Pawnees. Listen an'
ye'll hear their shouts quite plain."
Dick and Henri immediately lay down and placed
their ears to the ground.
"Now, me hear noting," said Henri jumping up,
"but me ear is like me eyes; ver' short sighted."
"I do hear something," said Dick as he got up,
"but the beating o' my own heart makes row enough
to spoil my hearing. "
Joe Blunt smiled. "Ah! lad, yer young an' yer
blood's too hot yet, but bide a bit; you'll cool down
soon. I wos like you once. Now, lads, what think
ye we should do I"
"You know best, Joe."
"Then wot I advise is that we gallop to the brol a
sand hillocks ye see yonder, get behind them an' take
a peep at the Red-skins. If they are Pawnees we'll go
up to them at once; if not, we'll hold a council o' war
on the spot."
Having arranged this they mounted and hastened
towards the hillocks in question, which they reached
after ten minutes' gallop, at full stretch. The sandy
mounds afforded them concealment, and enabled them
to watch the proceedings of the savages in the plain
THE GREAT HUNT.
below. The scene was the most curious and exciting
that can be conceived. The centre of the plain before
them was crowded with hundreds of buffaloes, which
were dashing about in the most frantic state of alarm.
To whatever point they galloped they were met by
yelling savages on horseback, who could not have
been fewer in numbers than a thousand-all being
armed with lance, bow, and quiver, and mounted on
active little horses. The Indians had completely sur-
rounded the herd of buffaloes, and were now advancing
steadily towards them, gradually narrowing the circle,
and, whenever the terrified animals endeavoured to
break through the line, they rushed to that particular
spot in a body, and scared them back again into the
Thus they advanced until they closed in on their
prey, and formed an unbroken circle round them, whilst
the poor brutes kept eddying and surging to and fro
in a confused mass, hooking and climbing upon each
other, and bellowing furiously. Suddenly the horse-
men made a rush, and the work of destruction began.
The tremendous turmoil raised a cloud of dust that
obscured the field in some places, and hid it from our
hunter's view. Some of the Indians galloped round
and round the circle, sending their arrows whizzing up to
the feathers in the sides of the fattest cows. Others
dashed fearlessly into the midst of the black heaving
mass, and, with their long lances, pierced dozens of
them to the heart. In many instances the buffaloes,
THE GREAT HUNT. 95
infuriated by wounds, turned fiercely on their assailants
and gored the horses to death, in which cases the men
had to trust to their nimble legs for safety. Some-
times a horse got jammed in the centre of the sway-
ing mass, and could neither advance nor retreat. Then
the savage rider leaped upon the buffaloes' backs, and
springing from one to another, like an acrobat, gained the
outer edge of the circle, not failing, however, in his
strange flight, to pierce with his lance several of the
fattest of his stepping stones as he sped along.
A few of the herd succeeded in escaping from the
blood and dust of this desperate battle, and made
off over the plains, but they were quickly overtaken,
and the lance or arrow brought them down on the
green turf. Many of the dismounted riders were
chased by bulls, but they stepped lightly to one side,
and, as the animals passed, drove their arrows deep
into their sides. Thus the tumultuous war went
on, amid thundering tread, and yell, and bellow, till
the green plain was transformed into a sea of blood
and mire, and every buffalo of the herd was laid
It is not to be supposed that such reckless warfare
is invariably waged without damage to the savages.
Many were the wounds and bruises received that
day, and not a few bones were broken, but happily no
lives were lost.
Now, lads, now's our time. A bold and fearless
look's the best at all times. Don't look as if ye
doubted their friendship; and mind, wot ever ye do,
don't use yer arms. Follow me."
Saying this, Joe Blunt leaped on his horse, and,
bounding over the ridge at full speed, galloped headlong
across the plain.
The savages observed the strangers instantly, and a
loud yell announced the fact as they assembled from
all parts of the field brandishing their bows and spears.
Joe's quick eye soon distinguished their chief, towards
whom he galloped, still at full speed, till within a yard
or two of his horse's head; then he reined up suddenly.
So rapidly did Joe and his comrades approach, and so
instantaneously did they pull up, that their steeds were
thrown almost on their haunches.
The Indian chief did not move a muscle. He was
a tall powerful savage, almost naked, and mounted on
a coal-black charger, which lie sat with the ease of a
man accustomed to ride from infancy. He was, indeed,
a splendid-looking savage, but his face wore a dark
frown, for, although he and his band had visited the
settlements and trafficked with the fur traders on the
Missouri, lie did not love the "Pale-faces," whom he
regarded as intruders on the hunting-grounds of his
fathers, and the peace that existed between them at
that time was of a very fragile character. Indeed, it
was deemed by the traders impossible to travel through
the Indian country at that period except in strong force,
and it was the very boldness of the present attempt that
secured to our hunters anything like a civil reception.
MATTERS LOOK GLOOMY.
Joe, who could speak the Pawnee tongue fluently,
began by explaining the object of his visit, and spoke
of the presents which he had brought for the great
chief; but it was evident that his words made little
impression. As he discoursed to them the savages
crowded round the little party, and began to handle
and examine their dresses and weapons with a degree
of rudeness that caused Joe considerable anxiety.
"Mahtawa believes that the heart of the Pale-face
is true," said the savage, when Joe paused, "but he
does not choose to make peace. The Pale-faces are
grasping. They never rest. They turn their eyes to
the great mountains, and say 'There we will stop.'
But even there they will not stop. They are never
satisfied, Mahtawa knows them well."
This speech sank like a death-knell into the hearts
of the hunters, for they knew that if the savages refused
to make peace, they would scalp them all and appro-
priate their goods. To make things worse, a dark
visaged Indian suddenly caught hold of Henri's rifle,
and, ere he was aware, plucked it from his hand. The
blood rushed to the gigantic hunter's forehead, and he
was on the point of springing at the man, when Joe
said in a deep, quiet voice,-
"Be still, Henri. You will but hasten death."
At this moment there was a movement in the out-
skirts of the circle of horsemen, and another chief rode
into the midst of them. He was evidently higher in
rank than Mahtawa, for he spoke authoritatively to the
THE INDIAN CHIEF.
crowd, and stepped in before him. The hunters drew
little comfort from the appearance of his face, however,
for it scowled upon them. He was not so powerful a
man as Mahtawa, but he was more gracefully formed,
and had a more noble and commanding countenance.
"Have the Pale-faces no wigwams on the great
river that they should come to spy out the lands of the
Pawnee 1" he demanded.
"We have not come to spy your country," answered
Joe, raising himself proudly as he spoke, and taking off
his cap. We have come with a message from the great
chief of the Pale-faces, who lives in the village far
beyond the great river where the sun rises. He says,
why should the Pale-face and the Red-man fight?
They are brothers. The same Manitou* watches over
both. The Pale-faces have more beads, and guns, and
blankets, and knives, and vermillion than they require;
they wish to give some of these things for the skins
and furs which the Red-man does not know what to
do with. The great chief of the Pale-faces has sent
me to say, 'Why should we fight 1 let us smoke the pipe
of peace I'"
At the mention of beads and blankets the face of the
wily chief brightened for a moment. Then he said,
"The heart of the Pale-face is not true. He has
come here to trade for himself. San-it-sa-rish has eyes
The Indian name for God.