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Finding the hopelessness of his case, this gallant fox-hunter has commenced destroying and digging out the foxes! It is scarcely possible to restrain those feelings of indignation which arise against this outrage on the proprieties of sporting, and it is hardly possible to imagine that a Gentleman who has for many years been the Master of Fox-hounds, and in that capacity drawn largely on the sufferance of others, should, the moment he becomes possessed of property, so far forget his duty to his neighbour, and not do as he has been done by.
The whole of this case has been submitted to many distinguished Masters of Hounds, who have all denounced this proceeding, with the exception of one (Sir J. Cope). I have seen the statement of both parties, and have stated what I believe to be the correct facts.
HAL OF THE WEST.
THE FAR WEST,
PADDY'S MISTAKE ABOUT THE BIG BROWN DOG.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
It was in the spring of 1832 that I paid a visit to the Far West, as the country towards and on the Mississippi river is usually called by the people of the eastern and middle States. Several years previous, I had made a trip as far as Franklin on the Missouri river, where a very old and intimate friend of mine had seen fit to locate himself, his beautiful and accomplished wife, and a young and interesting family. On my former journey I had travelled the greater part of the way by water ; that is, after reaching Pittsburg I had descended the Ohio in an ark (not Noah's) to its mouth; then up the Mississippi in a row-boat, as far as St. Louis : then across the little isthmus between the two rivers to St. Charles on the Missouri ; and then, also by land, in a route north of that river, to the end of my journey, where my romantic and eccentric friend had chosen to bury himself and family alive, in one of the most remote settlements at that period existing in America. But upon this present occasion I was determined to travel in a manner that would enable me to see more of those young and flourishing countries lying between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, for which purpose I set out upon this long journey on horseback. I know not exactly how it is, but I have witnessed many instances to convince me that the American horses are capable of undergoing more fatigue, privations, and hardships than any class of English horses I am acquainted with. I refer, however, to horses produced and reared in the interior of the country, where all sorts of farm-stock, horses included, are but little pampered or rather, on the whole, severely dealt by; and notwithstanding, generally speaking, these horses are deficient in some of the main points and attributes that recommend our own stock, still experience proves that they are not only capable of performing long and severe journeys, but that they are able to perform respectable days' work where the roads are deep and miry, and in almost an
impassable condition. On the present occasion I proposed striking the great national road that leads from Washington city to the Mississippi river near St. Louis, a little west of the Ohio, and not far from the town of Wheeling ; after which, to continue along the said road, diverting occasionally therefrom, particularly when the country presented any strong inducement for my doing so. The first part of my journey to where I struck the great national road was nearly 400 miles ; the distance thence to the Mississippi, if I made no departures from the main road, 560 or 570 miles; and then, if I continued my journey to Franklin, about 200 miles more. In England, where we boast of the best roads and horses in the world, we seldom think of taking a journey of 1200 miles straight a-head, as the Americans would say, upon the same horse; whereas in the present instance I calculated (and correctly too) that my little mare, scarcely fifteen hands high, would not only carry me to the end of my journey, but that she would also bring me safely back again. I remember once falling in with a traveller at a country tavern in Upper Canada, who, pointing to one of his horse's legs, remarked that he was afraid that something was going to be amiss with it before he got home again; and on my inquiring how far he might have to travel to the end of his journey, “Oh," replied he, passing his hand down the animal's suspected leg, "only to Mobile, in Alabama:" the distance, as the crow flies, could not be less than a thousand miles ! In journeys of 700 or 800 miles I have rode horses, where the roads in general were execrable, nearly fifty miles a-day, riding, with all my traps included, upwards of sixteen stone !
What I am about to relate took place in the western part of the state of Indiana, not a great distance from Indianopolis, nor many miles from the Wabash river. But my deviating from the road a distance of fifteen or twenty miles--a mere going aside a little, was for the purpose of paying my respects to an old acquaintance, who, several years before, had sold his property in Vermont, and removed with his family to a tract of new land watered by the tributaries of the Wabash.
The district of country in which I found my old acquaintance located was still but thinly inhabited ; for notwithstanding that it was now several years since the first settlers began to come in-owing to some peculiar disadvantages under which the country labored, one of which was its being seriously infested with wolves and panthers--the general march of improvement had been much slower than it would otherwise have been. Squire Post, for that was the cognomen my acquaintance had been known by among the “ green mountains" of his native State, and which, as a matter of course, he had brought with him into the Western Country, was one of those characters (very common among the American woodsmen) that at any season willing to sacrifice ten dollars' worth of his time if he could but secure the carcase of a miserable deer, or the skin of a common bear, though neither of them was really worth a couple of dollars to him. In short, the Squire was not over fond of working on his farm, as American farmers are mostly obliged to do, and therefore took opportunities of spending a great portion of his time, occasionally accompanied by a
couple of dogs, but more generally taking only his rifle along with him, in search of wolves and panthers. Notwithstanding these things, I knew that he possessed some sterling qualities, so I had long since made up my mind to spend a day or two with him whenever I visited the Far West, although the season might happen to be not the most favorable for hunting excursions.
There is hardly a corner of America, keeping clear of the Slave States, where
do not fall in with Irishmen; and here, on the upland prairies of the Wabash, the first person I encountered when I had reached Squire Post's establishment was a big, raw-boned, carrotypated Patlander, from, as I afterwards learned, the county Clare. Dennis O'Rourke, as he pleased to call himself, had but a few months before never set foot out of “ Ould Ireland ;” and how Dennis had contrived to work his way so far into the interior in so short a period after his landing, I shall not stop to inquire ; but there he was, hired by the month to the Squire to chop down the timber, roll the logs together and burn them, hoe Indian corn, &c., of all which Dennis knew no more than a sucking rhinoceros. The morning subsequent to my arrival at the Squire's, the family and I were discussing a rather homely but an excellent breakfast, when Dennis sans ceremonie shoved in his dolt head at the half-open window which looked into the orchard in the rear of the house, and without any introductory remarks informed the Squire, “ that a great, big, ugly brown dog was a murtherin the darlint young heifers down in the meadows by the wood;" and Dennis had come to inquire what he was to do under such circumstances. “I guess, Mr. O'Rourke,” replied the Squire, in perfect seriousness, “ that it would have been just as well if you had stept down into the meadow to scare away the dog from the cattle; so, if
you have no regular objection, you can go and do it now." Upon this very gentlemanly hint on the part of his master, Dennis set off at a slow trot across the orchard; but I saw him stop to pull up a stake to which a young pear-tree was tied, and, after poising it in his right hand in the true Irish fashion, pursue his way down by the fence in the direction of the meadow where he had seen the “big brown dog."
Breakfast being ended, the Squire and I strolled forth into his fields, more to look at the farm and improvements than after Dennis and the cattle, when our attention was called to the young Patlander, whom we saw running towards the buildings, under cover of the fence, as fast as his legs could carry him. He passed us without speaking a word, but he beckoned with his hand for the Squire to follow in the direction he was taking. Not exactly comprehending Dennis's signs, we continued where we were until he had ascended a lofty rail-fence, when he again earnestly beckoned us to join him. We therefore made towards him, supposing that something extraordinary had occurred to him, either real or imaginary; and by the time that we reached him he had so far recovered his wind as to be able, with occasional interruptions while he gasped for breath, to relate to us what had occurred. “Oh, Jasus ! Jasus! but I'm clean intirely murthered !” and then he tried to clamber higher on the rail-fence, while he stretched out his neck towards the distant woods as if the cause of his alarm lay in that direction. “Oh, Squire, Squire, for the love of Jasus!”
he exclaimed, “I beseech you make haste, and come along over here on t'other side o' the fence, or you'll all be clean murthered and devoured every Christian soul on ye." By way of accommodating Dennis's alarm, more than from any apprehension of danger that we entertained, we mounted the fence alongside of Dennis, and begged that he would inform us what dire calamity had befallen him. Though I shall not attempt to give Dennis's words precisely, I will give as correct a version of the main features of the case as I possibly can :
“ Having just taken the liberty to borrow a little stake I found a-growing by the side of a nice young apple-tree--for I did not know but the big ugly dog might require a gentle hint not to be coming again and murthering the dear young heifers—I trotted down the wrong side of the meadow fence, as it turned out afterwards, until I met all but one of the murthered creatures running right at me, and snorting and flourishing their tails over their backs in quite a dreadful manner. By my soul, thought I, but I never in ould Ireland saw anything like this ; and I had more than half a mind to turn back; for I thought perhaps the big brown dog had been mad, and had bitten all the dear young heifers. But there was no dog anywhere at all at all to be seen; so I jist took another look at them, and I found that the little mottled heifer was not anywhere among them, for I knew her right well, for she had got but one horn on her forehead. So I runs on again, down by the fence, and presently, sure enough, I sce'd the poor thing struggling in the fine long grass with the ugly brown dog that was intirely murthering it outright; for it was at its breakfast on one of her hind haunches. I never took time to look at the big beast, for I stepped right up to him, and gave him such an how-do-ye-do touch over the back side of his head with the switch I had picked up from the side of the apple-tree, that he let go his hold where he had been a-teasing the darlint heifer, and fairly rolled over and over among the nice deep grass, while I stood still a-laughing, and asked him kindly if he hadn't got the head-ache ? for you mind I touched him rather too smartly as I was a-thinking; so up I goes to him where he lay a-sprawling, and says I to him, quite good-naturedly, I'm afeer'd, my purty fellow, that I have spoiled your breakfast ! I had my knife in my pocket, but I thought it would be a thunderin' pity to kill and murther the ine big fellow quite intirely, for I began to fancy I had never seen his equal: and stooping my head down to look at him more particular, I saw that he had got the strangest countenance for a dog I ever in all my born days witnessed. He had got the longest and stoutest beard I ever saw grow on a dog's face, and he smiled for all the world like an old tabby cat when she tells her kittens, now don't be a-playing with my tail any more ; and when he opened his eyes to see who it was that had been a-murtherin' him, I saw at once that a pair of such eyes never belonged to any real mortal dog, for they were for all the world like cat's eyes, only as large and round as my poor dear ould mother's tea-cups. I had hardly time to look at his legs, which I day say were as stout as the young heifer's, when up he jumped, and before I had time to make my manners to him, he drew back his lips, and shewed me the biggest set of teeth I ever looked at in all my whole life ; and while I was admiring them, he opened his VOL. XIX.-SECOND SERIES..No, 112.
mouth quite wide enough to swallow a calf with its yellow pumps on; and then he spoke to me in a growl that I shall never forget should I live for over a thousand years. I thought I should have dropped clean dead where I stood, and I would have given all Ireland to shake hands with him on friendly terms; but seeing him getting on his hind feet as a cat does when she darts upon a mouse, I thought I would just see if my legs would move at all at all, and away I flew up along the fence jist as if all the fairies in Ireland had been at
heels.” There was no mistaking the matter ; for from the first part of Dennis's account of his adventure we had no manner of doubt of his having mistaken a panther for a big brown ugly dog, for it was not the first time that Squire Post's young cattle had been attacked by panthers. I saw by the Squire's looks that he was not at all annoyed with what had occurred, since there was a likelihood of its affording us an opportunity of having a “ hunting frolic" quite opportunely. Under this impression he and I returned towards the house, closely followed by Dennis, who appeared afraid to be left alone; and providing ourselves with each a rifle out of the Squire's stock of half a dozen, we prepared to set out, accompanied by a couple of mongrel hounds, which the Squire rarely suffered to accompany him except when he went a panther-hunting. I prevailed on the Squire to invite Dennis to accompany us, but Dennis “ quite intirely," as he would have said, mistook his master's meaning, for he replied, “ Was it your Honor that was a-saying that I had better keep in the house until your Honor returns, to look after the lady and the dear childer ?”. The Squire, who entertained no fears himself, and therefore could not duly appreciate Dennis's, told him that he thought he had better take a hoe and go down into one of the back fields and finish the hoeing of a piece of Indian corn; and in the evening he had better bring home the hide of the
young heifer that had been killed by the panther. Dennis made no answer to the Squire's remarks, but I had the curiosity to inquire into the matter afterwards, and I understood that Dennis had done as desired, but not without taking a couple of other “boys” along with him.
Without farther delay we took our way towards the woods, and were soon among the fine long grass where “the murthered young heifer" was weltering in her blood. Sure enough the ravenous animal had been enjoying a breakfast when the Irishman broke its head in mistake ; although at that time the heifer most probably was living, for when we visited the place the blood was still flowing from the wounds in her lacerated throat, and life appeared very recently extinct. There was little doubt but the panther had taken to the woods, when Dennis took to his heels; so laying the dogs upon the scent they set off at a cautious pace, apparently well aware of the nature of their game, for they had often been engaged in dangerous panther-hunting.
Although the dogs continued pretty eager upon the scent, it was quite obvious that they were perfectly aware of the nature of their business, for they hardly ever ventured out of our sight, though at a moderate speed they might have left us far behind them. We, however, were not slow in following them, for we pushed through the woods as fast as the nature of the ground would permit us. My companion well