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rest, but sailing along looking out for some good point of land on which to pitch our camp.
Mitchell made no replies to our inquiries, but kept paddling along among the lily pads until he reached a point near the Raquette river and mooring our boats to the shore, began to prepare for the night.
SHOOTING A DEER—MODERN SENTIMENTALISTS—THE IN
FLUENCE OF NATURE.
FORKED LAKE, Aug.
AFTER we had pitched (not our tent, but) our shanty, we began to cast about for supper. I told Mitchell I could not think of eating a piece of salt pork, and we must get some trout. So rigging our lines upon poles we cut on the shores of the lake, and taking our rifles with us, we jumped into our tark canoe, and pushed for some rapids in the Raquette River, where it entered Forked Lake. As we vere paddling carefully along the edge of a marsh that put out from the main land, Mitchell, who was at the stern, suddenly exclaimed, “Hist!-I see the head of deer coming down to feed.” I sometimes thought he could smell a deer, for he would often say he saw one
before both his ears had fairly emerged from the bushes. “ Shoot him,” he said to me. “I can't," I replied; “I am too tired : shoot him yourself.” So stooping my head to let the bullet pass over me, I watched him as he took aim; and it was a sight worth seeing. The careless, indolent manner natural to him had disappeared as if by magic, and he stood
in the stern of the boat as straight as his own rifle, while his dark eye glanced like an eagle's. Every nerve in him seemed to have been suddenly touched by an electric spark—and as he now stooped to elude the watchfulness of the deer, and now again stood erect, with his rifle raised to his shoulder, he was one of the most picturesque objects I ever saw. The timorous doe was feeding on the marsh, and ever and anon lifted her head as if she scented danger in the air. Then Mitchell would drop like a flash, and gently rise again as the deer returned to her feed. She was about twenty rods off, and now stood fairly exposed amid the grass. It was a long shot for arm's length, and a tottlish boat to stand in, but he resolved to try it. Slow
Slowly bringing his rifle to his face, he stood for a moment as motionless as a pillar of marble, while his gun seemed suddenly to have frozen in its
place, so still and steady did it lie in his bronze hand. A flash—a quick sharp report, and the noble deer bounded several feet into the air, then wheeled and sprang into the forest. He had shot directly over my head, and the mad bound of the animal told too well that the unerring bullet had struck near the life. Rowing hastily to the spot, we could find no traces of blood, but Mitchell, with his eye bent on the ground, paced backward and forward without saying a word.
At length he stopped and peering down amid the long grass, said, "Here is blood." How he discovered it is a perfect mystery to me, for the grass
a foot long and very thick, while the drop which had fallen on the roots of a single blade, I never should have noticed, and if I had, have considered it a mere discoloration of the leaf, fac similies of which occurred at every step. The keen hawk eye of the Indian hunter, however, could not be deceived, and he simply remarked, “She is hit deep, or she would have bled more," and struck on the trail. But this baffled even, for the marsh was covered with deer tracks, while the bushes into which the wounded one had sprung were a perfect matting of laurels and low shrubs. There was no more blood
to be found, and we were completely at faut in our
At length, tired and disappointed, I returned to the boat; and stood. waiting the return of Mitchell, when the sharp crack of his rifle again rang through the forest, followed soon after by a shrill whistle. I knew then that a deer had fallen, and hastened to the spot. There lay the beautiful creature stretched on the moss, with the life-blood welling from her throat, and over the body, watching, stood Mitchell, leaning on his rifle. Unable to find the trail, he had made a shrewd guess as to the course the animal had taken, and making a circuit, finally came upon her, lain down to die. At his approach she sprang to her feet, ran a few rods, fell again exhausted, when his deadly aim planted a bullet directly back of her ear, and her
career was ended.
Satisfied with our game, we gave up the fishing, and dragging the body to the boat, put back to our camp. The rest of our company stood on the shore waiting our return, for they had heard the shots, and were expecting the spoils. Some, no doubt, will think this very cruel, and congratulate themselves on their kinder natures. I have seen such people, and heard