Imágenes de páginas

and technology, Sanscrit and sanitation, are dear to men by his deeds of love, and a part studied side by side with equal intellect and of whose work on earth was to feed the hunardor. At the University of Cambridge, Eng- gry and to heal the sick. land, where not only the laboratories but the It is important that people be taught about machine-shop have become parts of the para- their food, but the first requisite is the informaphernalia of instruction, Professor Stuart, who tion to give them. The subject is, however, works with his students at the forge, told me new. In its investigation we stand upon the that his associates in the management of the borders of a continent of which but a small university affairs showed most cordial sympa- part has yet been explored. In the great Euthy in his department. The French Academy ropean universities investigation is active. In is felt to honor itself in electing Pasteur to its our own country extremely little is being done, membership. Such a philosopher as Lotze and that little is dependent almost entirely makes the study of the practical details of upon private munificence for its support. The life a part of his Microcosmus.

opportunity for useful research is a rare one, Nor is this materialism at all. It is the cor- and the demand for it great and increasing. ollary, or rather the concomitant, of the meta- If the cost of a yacht were invested in apphysics and theology which make matter and pliances for research in this direction, and the energy one, and that a manifestation of Deity. annual expense of maintaining it were deIt is the nineteenth-century application of the voted to carrying on such researches, they ancient motto, “ Humani nihil alienum.” It is would bring fruit of untold value to the world, the following of the precept and the example and, to the donor, the richest reward that a of the great Teacher, who made his doctrine lover of his fellow-men could have.

[blocks in formation]



HOUGH untold numbers horses of our troop of thirty or forty danced of elk, as the American along as if going to a tournament, and not on red deer, or wapiti, is gen- a trip that would bring them back with hangerally called, still roam the ing heads. Where we crossed the line of wild hill-lands of the West the railroad for the last time — for we had or seek refuge in the tim- been winding along it for four or five miles ber districts ofits lessmoun- we partly loaded our wagons with discarded

tainous regions, the swift railroad ties, to serve us as fuel. On the advance of civilization has swept the elk from banks of many of the streams of this part of the plains and has made elk-hunting on those the country no firewood, not even a twig, can wide and timberless tracts a thing of the past. be found; and nothing can be more cheerless

But fifteen or sixteen years ago, when the and disconsolate to a little troop of cavalry author was stationed as an American cavalry- that has marched all day in the cold than to officer at North Platte barracks, at the junc- reach, in the bleak evening, a stream where tion of the North and the South Platte rivers, , it is evident that camp must be made and find it was a different tale. The elk country lay no sign of wood as far as the eye can reach. to the north of us, with a slight preponder- But add to a soldier's hard-tack and bacon ance of the larger herds towards the east. his regulation quart of hot coffee, and he will The herds were generally found along that be satisfied with his repast. net-work of streams known as the various forks Our course, after leaving the railroad, was of the Loup, and the nearer to the head of the over what might be called the semi-sandhills of Loup one hunted, the more numerous they be- Nebraska, or the sandhills covered with grass, came, though among the lakes and marshes the only turf or soil being that formed by the and high rolling sandhills of Nebraska, just grass roots. The longer a road is used through west of the Loup's head-waters, they again such a country, the worse it gets. Wagon disappeared. As a hunting-district this region wheels soon cut through the thin turf, and was almost entirely monopolized by military it becomes a road of sand. Another is then parties and by such people as were escorted started alongside, and so on indefinitely, until by them; for nearly all of it was on the great the first is once more grown up with grass and Sioux reservation, and, in consequence of the fit to be used again. Along these roads sunsmall war parties of Sioux that constantly in- flower stalks are particularly prone to grow fested it, was extremely unsafe.

(they really do wherever the ground is stirred In the fall of 1873 I was told that a num- up), and from a slight elevation it is often ber of distinguished and titled people would possible to trace by them an old, abandoned be at the post in a few days, with the usual road for many miles. papers from high officials that would entitle Our first camp was made on the South them to every consideration they could ask Loup, so near its head that one could jump for and we could grant. Above all things, they across the stream, and in a barren tract of wished to go on an elk-hunt to the northward, low, flat country, where the grass grew a little and I was asked to take command of the lit- higher in the valley than on the hills, and a tle escort. Hunting and scouting was the few willow brakes marked the course of the principal field duty of the frontier stations, and stream. Three wall tents in a line indicated the former only differed from the latter in that where the officers and the visitors slept, and it was volunteer work so long as enough vol- twice as many “ A,” or “wedge,” or common unteers could be found; but since a hunt for tents, twenty or thirty yards away, showed buffalo or elk counted as “a tour of field where the men were sheltered. Between the duty," we never wanted for volunteers. two camps, tied to the picket-line,- a long

Our visitors arrived in good time, and we rope stretched from wagon wheel to wagon soon made ready for the hunt. With two six- wheel,- the horses munched their oats and mule teams to haul our ten days' rations and corn in their nose-bags, with a sentinel walkforage, and with other necessary outfits, we ing at each end of the line. One of the greatgot away one fine forenoon in early October, est pleasures of a frontier camp is a roaring with the air so crisp and clear that half the fire, with its flames climbing into the sky; but with us wood was too scarce for that. flanking was done because that day's march Two half-smothered fires for “kitchens” were was supposed to bring us to a possible elk all we had. If the chances for Indians were district, and elk are apt to turn back if from good, military hunting parties always placed an elevation they catch sight of a road ahead a picket of a trusty corporal and from three of them. Such trails as these retreating herds to six men on the hill a half-mile from and might make only flankers would be likely to overlooking camp; but a party of our size find. Coming near a road in a valley or on a (about thirty-five in number) is avoided by flat plain they are much more likely to cross the few war parties prowling around on the it; but if a person will take the trouble to confines of civilization trying to get the scalp study the trail on both sides of the road, he of a herder or a stray pony or two. Tracks will notice how the elk will fight shy of seen early in the evening, just before camp- civilization. The incoming trail may show ing, had shown that wild horses were in the that they have scattered out over the grassy vicinity, and this made us keep our own horses districts for grazing, and here and there a close to the picket-line; otherwise they would place will be seen where they have been lybe “lariated out.” For wild horses snorting ing down resting; but as soon as the road is near camp in the dead of night are likely to crossed, if it is not an old, abandoned one, the cause a stampede, and few things are more scattered trails converge into one of Indian disastrous to a cavalry command. Any trifling file, which may be traced at times for three thing may cause a stampede when the herd or four miles before the herd shows signs of is scattered out to graze,- the howling of a grazing or being in an easy frame of mind. coyote, a keen flash of lightning, the noise That day's march, of from twenty to twentyof a big weed carried by by the wind, or, as five miles, brought us to a picturesque little happened in one case, the violent coughing stream erroneously called the Dismal, which of the sentinel stationed near the horses to had received this inappropriate title from keep them quiet.

having been first seen at its mouth, where it In a small party like ours, all the stated empties into the Middle Fork of the Loup in military calls are laid aside. Even "taps” a truly melancholy way. The Indian name of is omitted; and one by one we dropped Cedar is much more applicable, however, for asleep, till nothing was left to the ear but its steep banks are here and there covered the dull pacing of the sentinels or an occa- with patches of cedar, that make it a pleasantsional deep-drawn sigh from some horse at looking stream. It cuts so abruptly through the picket-line. Before dawn the next morn- its almost cañon-like bed, that one hardly sees ing the party was routed out of bed so as to it until it is right under his nose. I remember be able to start by sunrise, and the usual prep- belonging to the expedition that made the arations for breaking camp were begun,- "government road” that cuts across it. It was fortunately by the light of a full moon just a hot day in July, and about the hottest part sinking in the west. An unfledged recruit, of the day,— 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon,sleepy from having talked too late the night and we had been marching in the sandhills before, dug his fists into his rebellious eyes, since morning. Our teams were tired out, and and, glinting around, asked for the tenth time stopping the entire command in a hot little if the party were not to start at sunrise. Being hollow between the hills, we sent one of the gruffly answered in the affirmative by his un- best guides ahead to find, if it were possible, communicative tent-mate, he gazed listlessly the best and shortest road to the first stream through the tent-flaps to the west, and said, to the south. He had not disappeared over the shiveringly,"I'll be denged if they hain't made crest in that direction twenty seconds, when a mistake! that 's the moon, and not the sun.” he was seen coming back, most persons who

The early sun saw the little caravan moving had heard his orders supposing that he was northward in the chill morning air. The offi- returning for something he had lost or left becers and visitors were ahead, with ten or twelve hind. But he reported that the Dismal had troopers, while from half a mile to a mile be- been found about two hundred yards ahead, hind, with an equal number of soldiers, came and within half an hour we were all engaged the two wagons, the two little parties being in the pleasant occupation of making camp. within ample supporting distance should any- Our hunting party also camped on this thing of a serious nature happen. Small com- stream, and a large amount of wood was panies of flankers of from one to three men secured for the night's camp-fire. On mild were thrown out on both sides of the road nights it was always burned in a huge fire in from a quarter of a mile to a mile from it and front of the tents, but when it was uncomfortslightly in advance of the main party. These ably chilly, the wood was put into the little flankers are always composed of the best hunt- Sibley stoves inside the tents, which on the ers and trailers among the soldiers, and the very coldest day can be made warm and cozy if there be plenty of dry wood. A Sibley camp- A few tracks of elk had been seen not far stove is simply a great sheet-iron funnel, turned from camp, and although they were three or upside down, and furnished with enough small four days old, it was decided to spend one day stove-pipe at the neck to protrude from the in giving the vicinity a thorough inspection. tent. This funnel is about three feet high, and An excellent method of beating up a country two feet across the bottom, and in its conical to determine the presence of game is to send sides is cut a door large enough to admit small out four parties of two to five hunters each at stove-wood. The hearth is the earth or sand an angle of forty-five degrees to the direction

[graphic][merged small]

of the tent floor, and a piece of tin or sheet- of the stream, all of them, when reaching a iron through which the stove-pipe projects is certain distance to be agreed upon, say four, fastened to the tent roof. Thus fixed, it is com- five, or even ten, miles, turning to the left or fortable in a wall tent even with the thermom- right at the same angle. This brings two eter at twenty-five to thirty degrees below parties on the river who turn and hunt back zero. Filled with cedar wood, the stove has along it to camp. The other two parties hunt a most annoying way of dropping sparks on parallel to the river from their turning-points the canvas roof and burning holes through it, until directly opposite camp, when they turn although there is but very little danger of the in directly for it

. A diagram of such a plan tent catching afire unless a very strong wind will show that the country has received a pretty is blowing; even then it is hardly worth any good examination by the time all parties are in great precaution. When the smell of burning camp. Of course such a plan depends somecotton is noticed by the occupant of the tent, what on the kind of game to be hunted, and looking up he will always see a little circle of as I have given it is particularly applicable to fire, from a quarter to a third of an inch in elk. If only “white-tailed” deer are wanted, diameter, vividly outlined against the black there is no great use in leaving the valleys of sky outside, and showing where the spark the streams or the little partly wooded pockets has fallen. It is always put out by inserting running out from them. If“ black-tailed” or the little finger as far as it will go, and then mountain deer are wanted, only the hills need withdrawing it, all being done with a quick be scoured. thrust and recover that does not burn one's Our first day's regular hunt was planned on finger.

this method, and after the other three parties VOL. XXXV.- 62.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

had taken their choice, there was left for the the other should it be deemed necessary. We doctor and me and our attendant a south-east had hardly gone a mile on our new course course of six or seven miles to the right, which when I discerned a yellowish-brown mass of would make us hunt parallel to the Dismal, creatures on the hillside from six to eight hunwhich there runs from west to east. It was dred yards away. At first I supposed they understood by all four parties that if any were elk, but the glass showed them to be small band of elk were seen it would be given a band of eight or ten antelope. Beckoning chase by the discoverers, but if large, it to the man to approach me cautiously, I diswould be allowed to rest until the morrow, mounted, and, leaving my horse standing, ran unless circumstances forced an immediate at- forward a couple of hundred yards to a low tack. Any small game that fell in the way, as ridge. Seeing that I could get no closer withany kind of deer, antelope, etc., would fall a out considerable manoeuvring, and fearing prey at once, if the hunter were only a good that the doctor might frighten them, I took enough shot. Our course was over rolling aim at the most conspicuous fellow in a bunch hills covered with the autumn's somber colors of them and fired. After a quick scattering of brown and drab, a most fortunate hue for dash to the right and then one to the left they the elk, almost the same shade, and we had seemed to collect their senses and made off to watch with keen eyes and good field-glasses through a little gap in the hills, allowing me to prevent our stumbling on top of our game one more shot on the wing” as they disor getting so close that they would get our appeared. I thought I had been unsuccess“wind.” By the time we turned back to hunt ful, but the man, looking through the glass, parallel to the river we had seen nothing saw a bunch of brown on the ground that but a few old tracks, and as the breeze was “looked mightily like a dead antelope,” and now blowing in our faces, thereby increasing we trotted over to find his conjecture true. our chances of success, at the doctor's sug- We dismounted, cut the animal's throat, and gestion we separated about four hundred bled him by throwing his hindquarters up-hill yards apart, hoping that we might pick up a on the slope, and I was just sending the man black-tailed deer or antelope, their tracks be- after the doctor, when he appeared on the ing fresher and much more numerous than crest, having heard the two shots. There the few elk signs we had found. Our man was the usual formula of questions under was placed about half-way between us and a such circumstances,—“Where is it shot?" little to the rear, to communicate from one to “How far did you shoot him ?” “How many

« AnteriorContinuar »