Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

dog, being the most powerful in strength, backs out, dragging bis enemy along with him, and no sooner is the cat's head seen by the rest of the pack, than they pounce upon him, and in a few moments the « nine lives » of the « varmint » are literally chawed up. At one of these burrowings, a huge cat intruded into a bole so small, that an ordinarily large hound could not follow. A little stunted but excellent hound, rejoicing in the name of Ringwood, from his diminutiveness succeeded in forcing his way into the hole after the cat, in an instant a faint scream was heard, and the little fellow showed symptoms of having caught a tartar. One of the party present, slooped down, and running his arm under the dog's body, pressed it forward, until he could feel that the cat had the dog firmly clawed by each shoulder, with its nose in the cat's mouth; in this situation, by pressing the dog firmly under the chest, the two were drawn from the hole. The cat hung on until he discovered that his victim was surrounded by numerous friends, when he let go his cruel hold, the more vigorously to defend himself. Ringwood, though covered with jelling blood, jumped upon the cat and shook away as if unbarmed in the contest.

Sportsmen in hunting the cat, provide themselves generally with pistols, not for the purpose of killing the cat, but to annoy it, so that it will desert from the tree, when it has taken to one; somelimes Ibese infantile shooting-irons are left at home, and the cat gels safely lodged out of the reach of sticks, or whatever other missile may be convenient. This is a most provoking affair, dogs and sportsmen lose all patience, and as no expedient suggests itself, the cat escapes for the time. I once knew of a cat thus perched out of reach, that was brought to terms in a very singular manner. The tree on which the animal was lodged being a very high one, secure from interruption it looked down upon its pursuers with the most provoking complacency, every effort to dislodge it had failed, and the hunt was about to be abandoned in despair, when one of the sportsmen discovered a grape-vine that passed directly over the cat’s body, and by running his eye along its circumvolutions, traced it down to the ground, a judicious jerk at the vine touched the cat on the rump, this was most unexpected, and it instantly leaped to the ground, from a height of over forty feet, striking on its fore paws, throwing a sort of rough somerset, and then starting off as sound in linb and wind as if bad leaped off of a buckelberry » bush.

The hunter of the wild turkey, while « calling," jn intimation of the hen, to allure the gobbler within reach of the rifle, will sometimes be annoyed by the appearance of the wild cat, stealing up to the place from whence the sounds proceed. The greatest caution on such occasions is visible, the cat advancing by the slowest possible movements, stealing along like a serpent. The bunter knows that the intruder has spoiled his turkey sport for the morning, and his only revenge is to wait patiently and give the cat the contents of his gun, then, minus all game, he goes home, anathematizing the whole race of cats, for thus interfering with his sport, and his dinner.

Of all the peculiarilies of the cat, its untameable and quarrelsome disposition is its most marked characteristic. The western hunter, when he wishes to clap the climax of bragadocio with respect to his own prowess, says, « he can whip bis own weight in wild cats. » This is saying all that can be said, for it would seem, considering ils size, that the cat in a fight can bite fiercer, scratch harder, and live longer, than any other animal whatever. I am a roaring earthquake in a fight, » sang out one of the half-horse and half-alligator species of fellows, «a real snorter of the universe, I can strike as hard as fourth-proof lightning, and keep it up, rough and tumble, as long as a wild cat. . These high encomiums on the character of the pugnacity of the cat are beyond question. «A singed cat, » is an excellent proverb illustrating that a person may be smarter than he looks. A singed wild cat, as such an illustration, would be sublime. There is no half way mark, no exception, no occasional moment of good-nature ; starvation and a surfeil, blows and kind words, kicks, cuffs, and fresh meat, reach not the sympathies of the wild cat. He has the greediness of the pawn-broker, the ill nature of an old usurer, the ineanness of a petty fogging lawyer, the blind rage

AMERICAN WILD CAT

AMERICAN WILD

of the hog, and the apparent insensibility to pain of the turtle; like a woman, the wild cat is incomparable with any thing but itself. In expression of face, the wild cat singularly resembles the rattle-snake. The skulls of these two « varmints » have the same venomous expression, the same demonstration of fangs, and probably no two creatures living allack each other with more deadly ferocity and hate. They will stare at each other with eyes filled with defiance, and burning with fire ; one hissing and the other snarling, presenting a most terrible picture of the malevolence of passion. The serpent in its altitudes is all grace, the cat all activity ; the serpent moves with the quickness of lightning, while making the attack, the cat defends itself with motions equally quick, bounding from side to side, striking with ils paws, both are often victors, for they seldom separate until death blows have been inflicted on either side. The Indians, who, in their notions and traditions, are always picturesque and beautiful, imagine that the ratlle snake, to live, must breathe the poisonous air of the swamps, and the exhalations of decayed animal malter, while the cat has the attribute of gloating over the meaner displays of evil passions of a quarrelsome person; or speaking of a quarrelsome family, they say, “the lodge containing them fattens the wild cat."

St. Francis Villa, Louisiana, April, 1842.

RTING MAGAZINE

THE WAR-SMITH'S SONG.

BY WILLIAM A. SHAND. M. A.

, Give out, give out thy streaming folds

Unbosomed to the wind,
Thou raven flag ! the foeman's arm

Thy wing shall never bind.
Lord of the deep, swoop onwards still!

Wherever thou hast down-
The treasures of the land and sea

Were numbered as thine own,
. inau Raise -raise-aloft the Battle-Rune
“:is pris le moins Jarl Harold sung of yore,
... Wbile to the breeze ye give the sail,

i ! And to the wave the oar. !6;
of other days, when fiery plumes

Were quenched in blood, it tells,
in A's fiercely from each bearded lip

The raging measure swells

Of Hours when through the drifting spray

We held our stern career,
And Ocean's stoutest rovers quailed

Before our Sign of fear.
When to the eagle on the deep,

And to the wolf on shore,
With ravening blades for Ella forged

We spread the Feast of Gore.

No heritage the War-Smith owns,

Won by another's hand-
No wealth he bears from other times,

Save shield and battle-brand.
His realm is on the wandering wave

That bears him on its breast-
Like swart sea-hawk upon its ridge

He rears his couch of rest.

With sickle keen on Saxon plains

I reap the flickering grain,
With spear and targe in maddening strife

I shed the purple rain;
Far rolls my shout through cloud and fire

O'er cities wrapt in flame;
«Valsodur rules the sea of swords,

« And strikes for Norway's name! »

The surge-the bounding surge for me!

The fleet and flashing foam-
To spread my banner where I list,

Where'er I list to roam.
No sterner Scald Valhalla holds

Than is the shrill curlew,
When through the tempest's rolling mists
- She shrieks her wild halloo.

The waning moon above our path

Grows pale, but ere the day,
On yonder strand the War-Smiths fierce

Christ's Mass with swords shall play.
With streaming fire-clouds sheen above

And weltering foam below,
Away !-right on before the blast

On eagle-wing we go.

St. Petersburg

VOL. III,

« ZurückWeiter »