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drifted away.

as the two sat together on the porch, for two seemed just then in a talkative mood. the clouds lingering after a shower had not King drew more and more closely into the

screen of the vines-quite out of sight at “ I really must go inside and dress," said last, and the curve of Miss Asia's elegant Miss Asia, rousing herself at length. shoulders was just visible where she sat,

“ Make the most of your resources, then,” shadowy and dim. Strangely alike, in outlaughed King, as she stepped to the parlor line of head and shoulders, Miss Asia and mantel for a tiny Cyprian cup. “ Here is the King had always been said to be, and very last match we have left in the house !" King sat dreamily peering out at her, and

“ The last! Then the two boxes I ordered thinking about it, as the echo of the retreatyesterday cannot have come!” And Miss ing carriage died away. Asia took the match quickly in her hand, Suddenly a firm, quick footstep fell on and examined the head with a critical eye. the gravel-walk; then nearer, then on the “What would ever become of us, if it should shadow-mat King had sketched on the not prove to go off? ” she exclaimed, with a floor of the porch. It hesitated for one inswift turn upon King.

stant, as if searching through the dark, then King laughed again, but the next instant came closer, and, for the first time in her she caught her breath in dismay. There life, Miss Asia felt the touch of strong lips was a scratch, a fizz, and a quaver of yellow left reverently just above her eyes. light; then a flicker, and a burnt little stump “My darling! You are right!” said a in Miss Asia's hand. She had lighted the low, manly voice in her ear. match to prove whether it was good, and a New sensations, as has been remarked, puff from the open window had blown it out! Miss Asia did not often or willingly meet,

There was a moment's silence, and then but this one brought a dozen others flashKing found her voice.

ing in its train. Her tongue held to the roof “What will become of us now ?" she of her mouth, her speech failed, and a tiny asked, not daring to laugh or to cry. feeling of chill crept up and down her spine.

It was too dark in the house already for “ My King! My Queen ! Do not tremany dressing to be done; the boxes Miss ble!” the voice went on. “Surely you trust Asia had ordered were a mile away, and the me, even though another may not! And I road lay through woods romantic enough cannot blame any one who loves you so for a drive, but too shadowy for a feminine much, for that. If I could persuade you foot after dusk. And, besides, how was King to be mine without her consent, it would to be left alone a whole evening, in the dark? be the first base or dishonorable action of

Miss Asia turned the stump slowly around my life. I have never put a stain yet on in her hand, and looked at it on every my name or my heart, and I will not begin side. Then she dropped it into an em- now! She has loved you too long for my broidered cup that hung ready for such love to prove traitor to hers. You are use. A sound like a half-whispered “Ridic right! I will wait-I will go and leave ulous !" came from her lips, but she turned, you—but oh, my darling, speak to me while with the quietest movement, toward the door. you may !”

“We will sit on the porch again till the Miss Asia commanded her soul from its moon comes up,” she said. “ After that, depths, and unloosened her tongue from its we can move through the house very well.” hold. The clouds drifted lightly away, but the

“ King," she said, “you can go if you night settled in quite as fast, and Miss Asia like! It is all right." and King could hardly distinguish each The Captain drew back and sprang the other's forms by the time the expected full width of the porch, but Miss Asia only carriage rolled into the yard. Miss Asia waved him toward the nook where King sat. rose quietly and sent it away, and then

“If I were

a match-maker," she said, came back to her seat, but neither of the quietly, “we would have a little light."

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From my youth, bear-hunting has been flower rivers, thence into the Yazoo, and to me a fascinating sport, and, after an expe- back into the Mississippi. rience of more than thirty years in all kinds Besides old Hannibal, a negro servant, of Southern sports, during which I have there were only four of us in camp. One seldom failed to spend a portion of the was a professional hunter, two were cotwinter camp-hunting in the Mississippi bot- ton-planters and experienced hunters—not tom, I think I may venture to relate one simply sportsmen who occasionally spent a of my bear-hunts, and give the inexperi- day of recreation in quail-shooting over a enced sportsman some idea of the charac- brace of pointers, but hunters who had studteristics of the bear.

ied wood-craft until it seemed like instinct We had pitched our tent on the banks of to thread their way through the wilderness a beautiful sheet of water, one of the chain by day or night, without other compass than of lakes that drains the swamps of Tunica the moss on the north side of the trees. County, Mississippi, when the Father of When a novice in wood-craft joins a party Waters inundates the valleys. Through of old hunters, he is often subjected to these lakes and the bayous leading from many a practical joke; while, at the same them the annual overflows are carried off time, old hunters are very generous in iminto the Coldwater, Tallahatchie, and Sun- parting information or in rescuing him from

VOL. XXII.-67.

was

danger. On this occasion, the target of number is caught; then they boldly charge our jokes was James Rogers, a fair-haired to the rescue of their comrade, and as soon Northerner from “old Long Island's sea- as he is freed, loose their holds and run. girt shore," an enthusiastic sportsman, a Then gathering around the bear again, they crack shot at pigeons, but in our section worry him until he climbs a tree, where he almost as helpless as a babe,—the opposite, falls an easy prey to the hunter. The hunter in every respect, of our backwoods hunter, never cheers his pack unless he is in trouble whose pen-portrait I will endeavor to give. and wants their assistance; then good bearLiving by hunting and trapping from boy- dogs will charge regardless of danger. hood, an uneducated frontiersman, he was The bear usually makes his bed in the the beau ideal of a hunter-clad in buck- most impenetrable canebrake. He cuts and skin hunting-shirt and leggins, with an otter- piles up heaps of cane until he has a comskin cap on his head and a 'coon-skin pouch fortable spring mattress. He is very fastidiin which he carried his ammunition swung ous in his taste, and will not remain long across his shoulders, and a short rifle in his in a wet bed; so after every spell of bad hand; about five feet ten inches tall, round-weather he changes his quarters. In diet bodied, but with no surplus flesh, and with he has a wide, almost omnivorous taste. In muscles like corded steel. His hair was the summer he is very destructive to the steel gray and inclined to curl where it fell farmer's corn-fields, showing a decided relish below the temples. His features were regu- for green corn or roasting ears, or fat pig or lar, and by long exposure to sun, rain, and mutton as a side dish, not refusing a pumpmiasma were wrinkled and bronzed ; but, kin by way of dessert. As the fall season clear and brilliant through a complexion approaches, he climbs after the wild grape, like a tanned alligator-skin, sparkled a pair the succulent muscadine, the acorn, and of merry blue eyes that indicated a soul as the persimmon; and leaves his sign everygay and free as the wild woods he loved so where he travels, in heaps of hulls of pecan well. All through the swamps he and scaly-bark hickory nuts. This is called known as Old Asa, the bear-hunter.” The the lapping season, as he ensconces himself two planters were Major Duncan and my- | in a tree-lap and breaks the limbs to pieces, self.

in gathering nuts and fruits. He is also When old Asa sounded his horn, about excessively fond of honey, and is utterly retwenty-five dogs of all descriptions gathered gardless of bee-stings while tearing to pieces around him ; like their master they were a nest of wild bees from a hollow tree. trained hunters, and many bore the marks Hunters sometimes entrap him by placof Bruin's claws. If you should ask the ing in his path a vessel containing whisky pedigree of old Beargrease or Bravo, the made very sweet with honey. Bruin is two most noted leaders of the pack, I should easily intoxicated, and very human in his be compelled to admit that the vilest mon- drunken antics. I have seen him killed grel strains coursed through their veins. For by negroes while lying helpless upon his there is no certainty in breeding them : back catching at the clouds, but such often the most “or'nary”-looking cur makes slaughter is unsportsmanlike, and no true the best bear-dog. On my annual expe- hunter would resort to it. ditions to the swamps, I was accustomed But old Asa and the dogs are off down to buy, borrow, and “ persuade” to follow, the lake-side, and we follow in single file. every specimen of the canine race I could Here, indeed, is the hunter's paradise

. pick up; and if out of a dozen I secured Flocks of mallard, teal, and wild duck, corone who “ took to bear," I was lucky. ering acres of surface, are floating lazily

A bear-pack requires dogs of various sizes. upon the limpid water; on the other side, a A few rough-haired terriers, active and plucky, dozen swans are gracefully gliding along. A that can fight close to Bruin's nose and flock of ungainly pelicans, with their huge dodge under the cane when pursued; some mandibles scooping after minnows, waddle medium-sized dogs to fight on all sides, and about the opposite shore. The wild goose a few large, active curs to pinch his hind- is heard overhead, while the sentinel of the quarters when he charges in front or crosses flock on the water replies. The white and an opening in the woods. Bear-dogs must blue crane, motionless as the sentinels of fight close, but not attempt to hold a bear; Pompeii, line the shore. The tall cypresses you want them to hang on but not to hold in the lake, with their fringed foliage, lift fast. A well-trained pack will only seize their weird knees out of the water, and hold at the same time when one of their look lonely and desolate; while the oaks

and gums upon the shore, draped in cling- ahead. The old dog seemed to know ing vines, festooned with moss, and reflected he had solved the problem this time, for, in the lake, add to the somber picture of sitting upon his haunches, he raised his the wilderness. The sycamores and cotton- head, and uttered a prolonged cry-a note woods are of immense size, some being ten of exquisite joy,—as old Asa said, “a feet in diameter.

psalm of melody.” Bravo, Granger, and Old Asa turned from the lake and boldly twenty more joined in the chorus, and entered a canebrake, we following. Here slowly, but surely and steadily, they moved the foremost horse has the hardest time, for along on the trail. “ More sign,” shouted he must break the way for the rest through old Asa, presently; “ here's his steppingcane and bamboo-vines. Old Asa's horse, path,” and he pointed to a path made by like his master, was a trained hunter, and the bear, as he passed to and fro from the would wait the stroke of the hunting-knife canebrake. Here he explained to Rogers which cut the vines, and then push on that the path was made by a habit the bear through the tangled mass. Going through has of always putting his feet in precisely cane, every one is required to take the car- the same tracks; this habit is often taken tridge from his gun; or, if he has a muzzle advantage of, and a trap is set in his path, loader, to take the cap from the tube. or a gun is placed so as to kill or mortally

After crossing a canebrake ridge of half wound him. “ And this is a big fat old he,” a mile, we entered a large, open wood, where added old Asa. we found a quantity of overcup acorn mast, “ Now, look here, old fellow," replied upon which bear and deer feed during the Rogers, “ don't test my credulity too far. winter months. Under the limb of a paw- I would like to know how you can tell a paw, we saw a fresh buck-scrape. This is fat bear from a lean bear, or a he-bear from made by the male deer, while scratching a she-bear, when you have never seen it.” his antlers amid the branches above; he “ Little boy," replied Asa, while a benevscrapes the earth with his feet, as a sig olent expression mocked the gay humor for his tawny mate. A little farther on, in his clear blue eye, “your edication has within easy range, we startled the antlered been sadly neglected; book-l'arnin’ may be monarch from his lair ; but not a gun was very useful in town, but one grain of comraised to arrest his flight. As the deer mon sense is worth a bushel of college lifted his white flag and bounded off, the diplomas in the swamps. Now listen and younger dogs pricked up their ears and l'arn wisdom; I know this is a fat b’ar, belooked anxiously forward, ready to burst cause his hind toe marks do not reach the forth in full cry; but a word in a harsh tone fore ones; had he been poor, they would from old Asa caused them to fall to the rear. well-nigh have overlapped.” “This is a bear-hunt, and these are bear- “ But how do you know it is a he-bear, dogs," said Asa, and we understood that and a big he besides ? " no other game must be shot before them. “ The Lord pity your ignorance, child ! On rainy days, we go out from camp, sin- don't you see whar he writ it up on that gly, and “ still-hunt” for deer; then they hackberry, as plain as

mene tekel are easily found, as they avoid the wet cane upharsin, that Parson Bellows told us about and feed in the open woods.

last Sunday?" “ Here's b’ar sign!” exclaimed old Asa, “ Well," replied Rogers, "you will have as he pointed to the foot of a large overcup to find a Daniel to interpret it; I see nothacorn tree. Just then, a sound that vibrates ing but scratches on the tree; what do you through the hunter's heart with a thrill of make of it?” pleasurable emotions fell on our ears, like “ Look close," replied Asa, “and you the voice of the prophet crying in the wil will see the tallest marks are the freshest; derness. Only reliable hunters, like Bravo a young b’ar, feeling very large all by himand Beargrease, are allowed full liberty in self

, wrote his name thar first; the way he ranging the woods. There it was again! does it, he places his back ag'in' the tree Bravo had struck a trail! every dog rushed and, turning his head, bites the bark as forward at the well-known signal of their high as he can reach, which means, in b'ar leader; but the track was cold, and every lingo, • I'm boss of the woods — beware nose was busy smelling among the leaves, how you trespass on my domains.' The trying to unravel its mystic windings. next b’ar that comes along takes the same We rode slowly along; old Beargrease position and tries to outreach the first ; now made a circle, and struck the trail farther this old fellow has written in b'ar hiero

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glyphics a foot higher, Mind your eye, this bit of natural history, the dogs were young un, you 're a very small potato; busy at work on the trail; the track was I'm the hoss that claims preëmption rights growing warmer; suddenly they all dashed to these pastures.' Another reason for into the cane; when, whew ! — with a thinking it a he-b'ar is that the shes have snort and crash through the cane, as if all young about the third week in January, and the fiends had broken loose from Tartarus

, it's about that time. We hunt them in the bear was started from his lair. With February by examining the cypress-trees, a wild yell, we all followed, pell-mell, in purwhere they have left their marks climbing suit. For a mile or more, the bear seemed to their dens. The young ones, when first to gain upon his pursuers, but like a relentborn, are not larger than a rat.”

less fate the fierce pack stuck to his heels, “I have read that the bear was hi- while the hunters were slowly cutting their bernating animal; how about that ?” asked way through the cane. Old Asa led the Rogers.

way, with that intuition which belongs to “ The b’ar becomes very fat in winter," the practiced woodsman and aids him in said Asa," and his insides are so covered avoiding the heaviest canebrakes. with fat that he has no room for food; in Reaching a boggy bayou, we paused to a cold climate he would lie up, but here listen for the pack; the baying of dogs he is tempted by the mild winters to keep underneath the heavy cane cannot be traveling around.”

heard at a great distance; and as we halted While old Asa was giving our city friend our horses we could hear no sound

on

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