« AnteriorContinuar »
ADVENTURE WITH AN AMERICAN BEAR.
1. Among the earliest settlers in the wilds of Salmon river was a Vermontese of the name of Dobson--a resolute and athletic man.
Returning one evening from a fruitless hunt after his vagrant cows—which, according to custom in the new countries, had been turned into the woods to procure their own subsistence from the rank herbage of the early summer, just before emerging from the forest upon the clearing of his neighbor, the late worthy Mr. Joseph Sleeper, he saw a large bear descending from a lofty sycamore, where he had probably been in quest of honey. A bear ascends a tree much more expertly than he descends it, being obliged to come down stern foremost. My friend Dobson did not very well like to be joined in his evening walk by such a companion, and without reflecting what he should do with the 'varmint' afterwards, he ran up to the tree on the opposite side from the animal's body, and just on his reaching the ground, seized him firmly by both his fore-paws.
2. Bruin growled and gnashed his tusks, but he soon ascertained that his paws were in the grasp of paws equally ironstrong with his own. Nor could he use his hinder-claws to disembowel his antagonist, as the manner of the bear is, inasmuch as the trunk of the tree was between them. But Dobson's predicament, as he was endowed with rather the most reason, was worse yet. He could no more assail the bear than the bear could assail him. Nor could he venture to let go of him, since the presumption was that Bruin would not make him a very gracious return for thus unceremoniously taking him by the hand. The twilight was fast deepening into darkness, and his position was far less comfortable than it otherwise would have been at the same hour, surrounded by his wife and children at the supper table, to say nothing of the gloomy prospect for the night.
3. Still, as Joe Sleeper's house was not far distant, he hoped to be able to call him to his assistance. But his lungs, though none of the weakest, were unequal to the task; and although he hallooed and bawled the live-long night, making the woods and the welkin ring again, he succeeded no better than did Glendower of old, in calling spirits from the vasty deep. It was a wearisome night for Dobson; such a game of holdfast he had never been engaged in before. Bruin, too, was probably somewhat wearied; although he could not describe his sensations in English, he took the regular John Bull method of making known his dissatisfaction—that is to say, he growled incessantly. But there was no let go in the case, and Dobson was therefore under the necessity of holding fast, until he felt as if his clenched and aching fingers and the bear's paws had grown together.
4. As daylight returned, and the smoke from Mr. Sleeper's chimney began to curl up gracefully, though rather dimly in the distance, Dobson again repeated his cries for succor, and his heart soon gladdened by the appearance of his worthy but inactive neighbor, who had at last been attracted by the voice of the impatient sufferer, bearing an ax upon his shoulder. Dobson had never been so much rejoiced at seeing Mr. Sleeper before, albeit he was a very kind and estimable neighbor.
5. “Why don't you make haste, Mr. Sleeper, and not be lounging about at that rate, when you see a fellow-christian in such a kettle of fish as this?"
“I vum! Is that you, Mr. Dobson, up agin a tree there? And was it you I hear'n hallooing so last night? I guess you ought to have your lodging for nothing, if you've stood up agin the tree all night.”
6. “It's no joke, though I can tell you, Mr. Joe Sleeper; and if you'd had hold of the paws of the black varmint all night, it strikes me you'd think you'd paid dear enough for it. But if you hear'n me calling for help in the night, why didn't you come and see what was the trouble ???
“Oh, I was just going tired to bed, after laying up log.fence
all day, and I thought I'd wait till morning, and come out bright and airly. But if I'd known 'twas you”—
7. “Known it was me”--replied Dobson, bitterly, “you knew 'twas somebody who had flesh and blood, too good for these plaguy black varmints though; and you knew there's been a smart sprinkle of bears about the settlement all the spring."
“Well, don't be in a huff, Tommy. It's never too late to do good. So hold tight now, and don't let the 'tarnal crittur get loose while I split his head open.”
8. “No, no,” said Dobson. “ After holding the beast here all night, I think I ought to have the satisfaction of killing him. So you just take hold of his paws here, and I will take the ax, and let a streak of daylight into his skull about the quickest.”
9. The proposition being a fair one, Mr. Sleeper was too reasonable a man to object. He was no coward either; and he thereupon stepped up to the tree, and cautiously taking the bear with both his hands, relieved honest Dobson from his predicament. The hands of the latter, though sadly stiffened by the tenacity with which they had been clenched for so many hours, were soon brandishing an axe, and he apparently made all preparations for giving the deadly blow—and deadly it would have been had he struck; but, to the surprise of Sleeper, he did not strike; and to his further consternation, Dobson swung the axe upon his shoulder, and marched away; whistling as he went, with as much apparent indifference as the other had shown when coming to his relief.
10. It was now Sleeper's turn to make the forest vocal with his cries. In vain he raved, and called, and threatened. Dobson walked on and disappeared, leaving his friend as sad a prospect for his breakfast as himself had had for his supper. Hour after hour passed away, and Sleeper still found himself at bopeep with Sir Bruin. In the course of the afternoon, however when Dobson supposed that the lesson he was teaching had been thoroughly learned by his pupil, and when he thought the latter would willingly forget his resentment for the sake of succor, the sturdy Yankee returned, and by a single blow relieved both bear and man from their troubles in the same instant. Sleeper thought rather hard of Dobson for some time, but no real breach of friendship ensued, and, indeed, the two borderers became afterwards better friends and neighbors than before.
TIME,—WHAT IS IT LIKE!
Say, is there aught that can convey
ABUSE OF THE NOSE.-HORACE SMITH.
1. As a friend to noses of all denominations, I must here enter my solemn protest against a barbarous abuse to which they are too often subjected, by converting them into dust-holes and soot-bags, under the fashionable pretext of taking snuff; an abomination for which Sir Walter Raleigh is responsible, and which ought to have been included in the articles of his impeachment. When some “Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain," after gently tapping its top with a look of diplomatic complacency, embraces a modicum of its contents with his finger and thumb, curves round his hand, so as to display the brilliant on his little finger, and commits the highdried pulvilio to the air, so that nothing but its impalpable aroma ascends into his nose, we may smile at the custom as a harmless and not ungraceful foppery: but when a filthy compost is perpetually thrust up the nostrils with a voracious pig-like snort, it is a practice as digusting to the beholders as I believe it to be injurious to the offender. The nose is the emunctory of the brain, and when its functions are impeded the whole system of the head becomes deranged.
2. A professed snuff-taker is generally recognizable by his total loss of the sense of smelling—by his snuffing and snorting —by his pale sodden complexion--and by that defective modulation of the voice, called talking through the nose, though it is in fact an inability so to talk, from the partial or total stoppage of the passage. Not being provided with an ounce of civet, I will not suffer my imagаination to wallow in all the revolting concomitants of this dirty trick : but I cannot refrain from an extract, by which we may form some idea of the time consumed in its performance. “Every professed, inveterate, and incurable snuff-taker (says Lord Stanhope,) at a moderate computation takes one pinch in ten minutes. Every pinch, with the agreeable ceremony of blowing and wiping the nose, and other incidental circumstances, consumes a minute and