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before by a band of balls crossing the as it was, he could hardly have folmountain.
lowed it, and, knowing that his own The morning of the fourth day Le and companion's life hung upon the Bonte, as usual, rose at daybreak success of his shot, he scarcely had from his blanket, and was proceeding strength to raise his rifle. By dint to collect wood for the fire during his of extraordinary exertions and preabsence while hunting, when Killback cautions, which were totally unnecescalled to him, and in an almost inar- sars, for the poor old bull had not a tiealate voice desired him to seat him. move in him, the hunter approached self bs his side.
within shot. Lying upon the ground, - Boy," he said, “this old hos feels he took a long steady aim, and fired. like goin' under, and that afore long. The buffalo raised its matted head, You're stout yet, and if thar was meat tossed it wildly for an instant, and, handy, you'd come round slick. Now, stretching out its limbs convulsively, bos, ri be under, as I said, afore turned over on its side and was dead. wany hours, and if you don't raise Killback heard the shot, and crawlmeat you'll be in the same fis. I ing from under the little shanty which never eat dead meat* myself, and covered his bed, saw, to his astonishwouldn't ask no one to do it neither; ment, La Bonté in the act of butcherbat meat fair killed is meat any way; ing a buffalo within two hundred yards so, boy, put your knife in this old of camp. “Hurraw for you !" he aiggur's lights, and help yourself. It's faintly exclaimed ; and exhausted by · poor ball,' I know, but maybe it'l the exertion he had used, and perhaps do to keep life in; and along the by the excitement of an anticipated fieece thar's meat yet, and maybe my feast, fell back and fainted. old bump ribs has picking on 'em." However, the killing was the easiest
You're a good old hos," answered matter, for when the huge carcass lay La Bonte, “but this child ain't turned dead upon the ground, our hunter had niggur yet.”
hardly strength to drive the blade of Killback then begged his companion his knife through the tough hide of the to leave him to his fate, and strive old patriarch. Then having cut off himself to reach game; but this alter- as much of the meat as he could carry, native La Bonté likewise generously eating the while sundry portions refused, and faintly endeavouring to of the liver, which he dipped in the eheer the sick man, left him once gall-bladder by way of relish, La again to look for game. He was so Bonté cast a wistful look upon the weak that he felt difficulty in sup- half-starved wolves, who now loped porting himself, and knowing how round and round, licking their chops, futile would be his attempts to hunt, only waiting until his back was turned he sallied from the camp convinced to fall to with appetite equal to his that a few hours more would see the own, and capabilities of swallowing last of him.
and digesting far superior. La Bonté He had scarcely raised his eyes, looked at the buffalo, and then at the when, hardly crediting his senses, he wolves, levelled his rifle and shot one saw within a few hundred yards of dead, at which the survivor scampered him an old bull, worn with age, lying off without delay. on the prairie. Two wolves were Arrived at camp, packing in a seated on their haunches before him, tolerable load of the best part of the their tongues lolling from their mouths, animal—for hunger lent him strength whilst the buffalo was impotently roll- —be found poor Killbuck lying on his ing his ponderous head from side to back, deaf to time, and to all appearside, his blood-shot eyes glaring fiercely ance gone under. Having no salat his tormentors, and flakes of foam, volatile or vinaigrette at hand, La mixed with blood, dropping from his Bonté flapped a lump of raw fleece mouth over his long shaggy beard. into his patient's face, and this inLa Bonté was transfixed; he dared stantly revived him. Then taking the scarcely to breathe lest the animal sick man's shoulder, he raised him should be alarmed and escape. Weak tenderly into a sitting posture, and invited, in kindly accents, " the old hos gradual elevation as to permit the to feed," thrusting at the same time a passage of waggons with tolerable fatolerable slice of liver into his hand, cility. The Sweet Water Valley runs which the patient looked at wistfully nearly to the point where the dividing and vaguely for a few short moments, ridge of the Pacific and Atlantic and then greedily devoured. It was waters throws off its streams to their nightfall by the time that La Bonté, respective oceans. At one end of this assisted by many intervals of hard valley, and situated on the right bank eating, packed in the last of the meatof the Sweet Water, a huge isolated which formed a goodly pile around mass of granitic rock rises to the the fire.
height of three hundred feet, abruptly “Poor bull” it was in all conscience: from the plain. On the smooth and the labour of chewing a mouthful of scarped surface presented by one of the “ tender loin" was equal to a hard its sides, are rudely carved the names day's bunt; but to them, poor starved and initials of traders, trappers, travelfellows, it appeared the richest of lers and emigrants, who have here remeat. They still preserved a small corded the memorial of their sojourn in tin pot, and in this, by stress of eter- the remote wilderness of the Far West. pal boiling, La Bonté contrived to The face of the rock is covered with make some strong soup, which soon names familiar to the mountaineers as restored his sick companion to march- those of the most renowned of their ing order. For himself, as soon as a hardy brotherhood; while others again good meal had filled him, he was occur, better known to the science and strong as ever, and employed himself literature of the Old World than to the in drying the remainder of the meat unlearned trappers of the Rocky for future use. Even the wolf, bony Mountains. The huge mass is a wellas he was, was converted into meat, known landmark to the Indians and and rationed them several days. Win- mountaineers; and travellers and emiter, however, had set in with such grants hail it as the half-way beacon severity, and Killbuck was still so between the frontiers of the United weak, that La Bonté determined to States and the still distant goal of remain in his present position until their long and perilous journey. spring, as he now found that buffalo It was a hot sultry day in July. frequently visited the valley, as it Not a breath of air relieved the intense was more bare of snow than the low- and oppressive heat of the atmosphere, lands, and afforded them better pas- unusual here where pleasant summer ture; and one morning he had the breezes, and sometimes stronger gales, satisfaction of seeing a band of seven- blow over the elevated plains with the teen bulls within long rifle-shot of the regularity of trade-winds. The sun, camp, out of which four of the fattest at its meridian height, struck the dry were soon laid low by his rifle.
sandy plain and parched the drooping They still had hard times before buffalo-grass on its surface, and its them, for towards spring the buffalo rays, refracted and reverberating from again disappeared; the greater part of the heated ground, distorted every their meat had been spoiled, owing to object seen through its lurid medium. there not being sufficient sun to dry it Straggling antelope, leisurely crossing thoroughly; and when they resumed the adjoining prairie, appeared to their journey they had nothing to carry be gracefully moving in mid-air; with them, and had a desert before whilst a scattered band of buffalo bulls them without game of any kind. We loomed huge and indistinct in the pass over what they suffered. Hunger, vapoury distance. In the timbered thirst, and Indians assaulted them at valley of the river deer and elk were times, and many miraculous and hair- standing motionless in the water, breadth escapes they had from such under the shade of the overhanging enemies.
cottonwoods, seeking a respite from The trail to Oregon, followed by the persevering attacks of swarms of traders and emigrants, crosses the horseflies and mosquitos; and now and Rocky Mountains at a point known as then the heavy splash was heard, as the South Pass, where a break in the they tossed their antlered heads into chain occurs of such moderate and the stream, to free them from the Life :
[Sept. orain," he said—“not a y esclaimed the other,
re to eat afore long," and walked into the prairie. He Wordly stepped two paces, when, sing close to a sage bush, a rattleLe Whizzed a note of warning with tail. Killbuck grinned, and taking
wiping-stick from his rifle-barrel,
anded the snake on the head, and,
honte saying, “hyar's meat, any
mhed sight, success by slaying half-a-dozer
Resting to the we have many tra
Life in the " Far West."Part IV
Resting their backs against the scamn
The former opened his eyes, and As the
La Bonté looked in the direction the ture, turning
" and brought them in skewered through
the head on his wiping-stick. A fire was soon kindled, and the snakes as
soon roasting before it; when La Bonté, * who sat looking at the buffalo which
fed close to the rock, suddenly saw
them raise their heads, snuff the air, and
afterwards a huge shapeless body loom-
the spot where the buffalo had been
wed. "Wagh !” Presently a long white lakin mass showed more distinctly, followed akneesby another, and before each was a this country string of animals.
"Waggons, by hos and beaver! bed Hurrah for Conostoga !” exclaimed
the trappers in a breath, as they now hos observed two white-tilted waggons, V drawn by several pairs of mules, ap
proaching the very spot where they
about the waggons, and two on horse-
As they drew near, the two poor
joy. still retained their seats with
ure turning now and then the crack-
Intly built, was clad in a white shooting-jacket, of cut unknown in
mountain tailoring, and a pair of nance of old Killbuck, as he watched trousers of the well-known material the antics of the “bourgeois" hunter. called "shepherd's plaid ;" & broad. He thought at first that the dandy brimmed Panama shaded his face, rifleman had really discovered game which was ruddy with health and in the bottom, and was nothing loth exercise; a belt round the waist sup- that there was a chance of his seeing ported a handsome bowie-knife, and meat; but when he understood the à double-barrelled fowling-piece was object of such manceuvres, and saw slung across his shoulder.
the quarry the hunter was so careHis companion was likewise dressed fully approaching, his mouth grinned in a light shooting-jacket, of many from ear to ear, and, turning to La pockets and dandy cut, rode on an Bonté, he said, “Wagh! he's someEnglish saddle and in boots, and was he is !" armed with a superb double rifle, Nothing doubting, however, the glossy from the case, and bearing few stranger approached the tree on which marks of use or service. He was a the bird was sitting, and, getting well tall, fine-looking fellow of thirty, with under it, raised his rifle and fired. light hair and complexion ; a scrupu- Down tumbled the bird; and the suclous beard and mustache; a wide- cessful hunter, with a loud shout, awake hat, with a short pipe stuck in rushed frantically towards it, and bore the band, but not very black with it in triumph to the camp, earning the smoke; an elaborate powder - horn most sovereign contempt from the two over his shoulder, with a Cairngorm trappers by the achievement. in the butt as large as a plate; a blue T he other stranger was a quieter handkerchief tied round his throat in character. He, too, smiled as he a sailor's knot, and the collar of his witnessed the exultation of his shirt turned carefully over it. He younger companion, (whose horse, had, moreover, a tolerable idea of his by the way, was scampering about very correct appearance, and wore the plain,) and spoke kindly to Woodstock gloves.
the mountaineers, whose appearance The trappers looked at them from was clear evidence of the sufferings head to foot, and the more they looked they had endured. The snakes by the less could they make them out this time were cooked, and the trap
“H-!" exclaimed La Bonté em- pers gave their new acquaintances the phatically.
never-failing invitation to "sit and " This beats grainin' bull - hide eat." When the latter, however, unslick," broke from Killbuck as the derstood what the viands were, their strangers reined up at the fire, the looks expressed the horror and disgust younger dismounting, and staring with they felt. wonder at the weather-beaten trap- “Good God!" exclaimed the elder,
“you surely cannot eat such disgust"Well, my men, how are you?" ing food ?" he rattled out. "Any game here? “ This niggur doesn't savy what By Jove !” he suddenly exclaimed, disgustin is," grufily answered Killseizing his rifle, as at that moment a buck; “but them as carries empty large buzzard, the most unclean of paunch three days an' more, is glad birds, flew into the topmost branch of to get "snake-meat,' I'm thinkin." a cottonwood, and sat, a tempting “ What! you've no ammunition, shot. “By Jove, there's a chance ! then ?" cried the mighty hunter; and, bend- "Well, we haven't.” ing low, started off to approach the “Wait till the waggons come up, unwary bird in the most approved and throw away that abominable fashion of northern deer-stalkers. The stuff, and you shall have something buzzard sat quietly, and now and then better, I promise," said the elder of stretched its neck to gaze upon the the strangers. advancing sportsman, who on such “ Yes," continued the younger, occasions threw himself flat on the " some hot preserved soup, hotchground, and remained motionless, in potch, and a glass of porter, will do dread of alarming the bird. It was you good." worth while to look at the counte. The trappers looked at the speaker,
venomous insects that buzzed inces. “Not a grain," he said—“not a santly about them. But in the sandy grain, old hos." prairie, beetles of an enormous size “ Wagh !” exclaimed the other, were rolling in every direction huge "we'll have to eat afore long," and balls of earth, pushing them with their rising, walked into the prairie. He hind legs with comical perseverance; had hardly stepped two paces, when, cameleons darted about, assimila- passing close to a sage bush, a rattleting the hue of their grotesque bodies snake whizzed a note of warning with with the colour of the sand: groups its tail. Killbuck grinned, and taking of prairie-dog houses were seen, the wiping-stick from his rifle-barrel, each with its inmate barking lustily tapped the snake on the head, and, on the roof; whilst under cover of taking it by the tail, threw it to La nearly every bush of sage or cactus Bonté, saying, “hyar's meat, any à rattlesnake lay glittering in lazy how." The old fellow followed up his coil. Tantalising the parched sight, success by slaying half-a-dozen more, the neighbouring peaks of the lofty and brought them in skewered through Wind River Mountains glittered in a the head on his wiping-stick. A fire mantle of sparkling snow, whilst Sweet was soon kindled, and the snakes as Water Mountain, capped in cloud, soon roasting before it; when La Bonté, looked gray and cool, in striking con- who sat looking at the buffalo which trast to the burned up plains which fed close to the rock, suddenly saw lay basking at its foot.
them raise their heads, snuff the air, and Resting their backs against the scamper towards him. A few minutes rock, (on which, we have said, are afterwards a huge shapeless body loomnow carved the names of many tra- ed in the refracted air, approaching vellers,) and defended from the power- the spot where the buffalo had been ful rays of the sun by its precipitous grazing. The hunters looked at it and sides, two white men quietly slept. then at each other, and ejaculated They were gaunt and lantern-jawed, “Wagh!” Presently a long white and clothed in tattered buckskin. mass showed more distinctly, followed Each held a rifle across his knees, by another, and before each was a but-strange sight in this country string of animals.
-one had its pan thrown open, "Waggons, by hos and beaver! which was rust-eaten and contained Hurrah for Conostoga !” exclaimed no priming; the other's hammer the trappers in a breath, as they now was without a flint. Their faces observed two white-tilted waggons, were as if covered with mahogany- drawn by several pairs of mules, apcoloured parchment; their eyes were proaching the very spot where they sunken; and as their jaws fell listlessly sat. Several mounted men were riding on their breasts, their cheeks were hol- about the waggons, and two on horselow, with the bones nearly protruding back, in advance of all, were approachfrom the skin. One was in the prime ing the rock, when they observed the of manhood, with handsome features; smoke curling from the hunters' fire. the other, considerably past the mid- They halted at sight of this, and one dle age, was stark and stern. Months of the two, drawing a long instrument of dire privation had brought them to from a case, which Killbuck voted a this pass. The elder of the two rifle, directed it towards them for a was Killbuck, of mountain fame; the moment, and then, lowering it, again other hight La Bonté.
moved forward. The former opened his eyes, and As they drew near, the two poor saw the buffalo feeding on the plain. trappers, although half-dead with “ Ho, boy,” he said, touching his com- joy, still retained their seats with panion, “thar's meat a-runnin." Indian gravity and immobility of fea
La Bonté looked in the direction the ture, turning now and then the crackother pointed, stood up, and hitching ling snakes which lay on the embers round his pouch and powder-horn, drew of the fire. The two strangers apthe stopper from the latter with his proached. One, a man of some fifty teeth, and placing the mouth in the years of age, of middle height and palm of his left hand, turned the horn stoutly built, was clad in a white up and shook it.
shooting-jacket, of cut unknown ia