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917- 7













(" UBIQUE,")







The Riitlit of TransltitioH is





Speculation in Coal OH "Sold" by a Secessionist Ruffed
Grouse Prairie "Chickens and American Partridge Dan-
gerous Sport Pairing of Ruffed Q-rouse Drumming
Appearance of Snipe Migration of Quails Snipe-Shooting
Persimmon Bushes . . . . .1


Woman's Rights Specimen of American Rhetoric on the
Negative side of the Question John Stuart Mill Law of
Divorce in Indiana Painful Case An American Sarah
Gamp Treatment of Canine Disease Cause and Cure of
Mange Kennel Management Perseverentia vincit
omnia . . 22



An Ex-Pugilist A Pretty Daughter and her Suitors A Mili-
tary Hero-Single-Stick A Challenge accepted for me
without my Knowledge Conditions of the Contest-A Hit,
a very Palpable Hit-A Fight-Commencement of the
Fishing Season Fish caught in the Wabash and its Tribu-
tariesSensation Articles


Indian Corn Broom Corn A Warning Snares and Am-
buscades- A Visitor from Cincinnati A Day's Fishing -
Splendid Capture-Escape of a Pike-Water-Vipers-Pre-
parations for the Tobacco Crop-Profits arising from the
Culture of Tobacco-A Promising Speculation Denuding
Land of Timber Ploughing Planting and Topping To-
bacco . . - 69



Mount Carmel A Long Delayed Trip^-On the Bosom of the
Wabash Timber on the Banks of the Eiver Haunts for
Elfins-Wary Tttrtle The Wood-duck Turkey-Buzzards
Is a Turtle a Fish ? Skilful Angling Ball at a Farmer's
House-" Oo it, Britither." Eepublican Freedom Slough
of Despond The Snake Fence A Charge of Hogs . 92



A Good Day's Fishing Hog-Sticking Spears Search on
the Swamp Remarkable Scene The First Yictim Tony
the Dutchman's Boast Important Legal Case Stand-up
Fight between a Frenchman and a Dutchman Stroll along
the Wabash An Evening Walk The Skunk Serious
Quarrel with Harris ..... 116


A Wayfarer Partiality for Gardening Old Ball Serious
Loss The Milk-Sickness Theory as to the Cause of this
Disease The Tsetse Fly Hogs and Eattlesnakes The
Copperhead Snake A Family of Snakes The Victim of
a Bad Name Reminiscence of Youth . . . 143


Sailing along the Coast of Algeria An American in Valetta
A Storm in the Mediterranean French Troops in Bona
An English Zouave On Horseback A dog pour la Chasse
A Charming Vivandiere A Stern Chase A Confession of
Love Shooting Quarters .... 163


Good Sport Al-fresco Luncheon Csesar Encounter with a
Panther Boar at Bay African Spdrt Return to Bona
Bad Weather ..... 186



How Money is made in America Ne Sutor ultra Crepidam
Fall in the Yalue of Stock New and Accessible Shooting
Ground Variety and Abundance of Game The Breech-
loader v. Muzzle-loader Terriers and Wild Cat Fat Stock
Accidents from Want of Caution with Cattle . 213


Stock-Driving Chevaline Sympathy Pleasant Retreat The
Squirrel's Store-room Mementoes of a Past Race Fall of
Prices in the Cattle-Market Sale of my Stock . 226


United States Regular Army Volunteer Forces Germans in
the American Service Sport The Scratch Pack A Hunt-
ing Party The G-ame on Foot Finish of the Run Escape
of the Wolf 244


Negro Minstrels " Good Old New York Gentleman"
Songs and Music Burlesques Increase in the Value of
Land Scandal Divorces Case of Bigamy Return to
England . . . . . .261



Speculation in Coal Oil " Sold" by a Secessionist Buffed
Grouse Prairie Chickens and American Partridge Dan-
gerous Sport Pairing of Ruffed Grouse Drumming
Appearance of Snipe Migration of Quails Snipe-Shooting
Persimmon Bushes.

THE entire neighbourhood is in an intense
state of excitement, for the prospector for oil has
disappeared. Since his arrest and release he had
been living on the fat of the land, and had
become a welcome guest at the houses of all
the best families. A coal-oil company had also
been formed. The shares were one hundred
dollars each, with a capital of twenty thousand.
So popular had he become that, a month after its

VOL. n. B


organization, neither for love nor money could
its scrip be obtained.

On the Embaras river, where there is a cavern
that produces all kinds of unearthly sounds, and
which emits such sulphurous smells as suggest
that it is not far from the regions of his Satanic
majesty, a shaft had been sunk. When it had
reached the depth of three hundred feet, all the
stockholders became sanguine, but with each
additional hundred feet of descent, the value of
the scrip decreased. So when the depth of
nine hundred feet was reported, there was scarcely
an investor, if the truth were known, who would
not gladly have sold out at a loss of seventy-five
per cent on the outlay. However, little of the scrip
had changed hands, some sanguine people assert-
ing that money would not purchase their shares ;
for as the " prospector" possessed five thousand
dollars worth of stock, the reward for his dis-
covery and services, and he still stuck to it,
they were convinced that oil would be found
sooner or later.

Thus matters stood when the whole vicinity
was put in a violent state of commotion by the


intelligence that oil had at last been struck.
Those that had retained their stock congratulated
themselves on their discretion, the unfortunates
who had parted with theirs looked triste, refused
to be comforted, and condemned their luck.
This event had made poor men rich in imagina-
tion, and already one hundred dollars invested
was regarded as having become five times, aye
ten times that amount. What a crowd as-
sembled that day when the long looked-for news
was circulated on the banks of the Embaras.

The spot, at any previous time, never had
presented the same attractions for mankind.
Eating and drinking went on from morning to
night beside the shaft; and I doubt not that
some slept within sound of the laborious loud-
sounding steam-engine. The report of oil
coming from the shaft was no bogus story.
The water that was raised from the bowels of
the earth was coated with it, and the vicinity
was already impregnated with its noxious fumes,
so that Marie Farina's extract, or Jockey Club,
or Lavender water never had so many ardent
admirers. Many pronounced the odour of the

B 2


oil fragrant ; some I doubt not could have been
found who even thought it equal to bourbon
or old rye whiskey..

For days, affairs went on thus prosperously.
The discoverer was lauded to the skies, and even
the engineman and stoker came in for no small
modicum of praise. All were good fellows, jolly
good fellows, clever fellows ; in fact, without com-
peers. How flattering this must have been to the
promoter of the scheme ; but, alas, he was absent
at the time. Indisposition of a serious nature had
called him East for medical advice, and he was
reported to be so very ill that he could not com-
municate by telegraph or letter with any of his
Company. After some weeks the oil became less
abundant, the produce diminishing hourly, and
ultimately it ceased altogether. This was very
mysterious ; all kinds of rumours were circulated
as to the cause of a phenomenon so strange, but
however impatient the stockholders became, they
suppressed their feelings in the belief that all
would be right as soon. as the head of the enter-
prise returned to superintend operations ; but he
did not appear, and worse still, all trace of him


had been lost. Still, when things grow wrong,
people will not see them in their proper light,
but in that of their own hopes and desires, and
drowning men will cling to a straw.

At length the secret leaked out. A large quan-
tity of petroleum had been brought to the well in
a new boiler that was intended to take the place
of that which had originally officiated, but was
now worn out. Its contents were pumped into
the shaft, or spilt about the neighbourhood ; and
the little game so successfully played that
these smart Western men were sold, and, to add to
their feeling of humiliation, by a Secessionist, for
it ultimately came to light that, after he had dis-
posed of his stock at an immense premium in a
Western city, he had directed his course for Dixie.

The stoker and engine-man, who were strangers,
lost their enviable popularity so suddenly that
they too thought fit to make themselves scarce.
Well it was that they did so while yet able,
for the infuriated investors would doubtless have
vented such vengeance upon them as would have
abruptly terminated their power ever afterwards
to coal up or shut off steam.


At this period a large portion of the agricul-
tural population was disaffected. Report even
went so far as to say that of a moonlight night
large bodies of men had been seen drilling on a
neighbouring prairie ; and it was ultimately dis-
covered that the prospector for coal-oil was beyond
doubt no other than a Confederate officer who
had been dispatched to the North, to act as adju-
tant to those who had resolved to join the South
in her struggle for independence.

Spring is making rapid advances, and if the
weather continues open many days longer, snipe
will make their appearance. On my ride home
from the Embaras, for the first time since my
residence here, I heard the ruffed grouse calling ;
a proof that they are soon going to mate. On
the high ground at the back of the homestead
exists a solitary family of these beautiful birds.
Although opportunities have several times oc-
curred when I might have possibly got a double
shot at them, so far I have obstinately refused to
kill the strangers. If they had been more abun-
dant this would not have been the case, as before
this date I have frequently, in Maine and more


northern latitudes, made large bags of them.

Prairie chickens and American partridge are
constantly to be seen exposed for sale, during the
Winter months, in London and Liverpool mar-
kets ; and therefore all possessed of means, or
curious in Natural History, know them well by
sight. But as the ruffed grouse is a comparative
stranger to my countrymen, I deem it worthy
of more than an ordinarily lengthened descrip-

This most noble specimen of game-bird has
caused more disputes and mistakes in ornithology
than probably all of its confreres put together.
In the first place, it is universally misnamed, being
incorrectly called " pheasant" in the Western and
middle districts, while in Connecticut and Eastern
New York it is equally wrongfully dubbed " par-
tridge." Not only has it to suffer these mis-
nomers, but it has frequently been confounded
with a distinct species of the same genus, " the
pinnated grouse " (tetrao cupido), to which it has
but little resemblance. Like our partridge, wild
turkeys, &c., this species annually moves its
quarters, always to return to its old haunts after


a short sojourn in some other locality; and,
consequently, many writers have asserted that
they are migratory, but there is as little, even
less ground for this statement, -than there is for
fhe same erroneous impression in reference to the
two afore-mentioned game-birds.

According to my own observation, confirmed
by the opinion of those in whose veracity credence
can be placed, these temporary Sittings can only
be accounted for by the lack of food which
happens with the change of the seasons ; and so
cautious are they in their progress that this
erratic habit would scarcely be known, but that
they are frequently compelled to cross large
rivers to procure their necessary sustenance. In
the month of October these birds may annually
be seen in numerous detached parties pn the
banks of the Ohio and Susquehanna, and their
numerous tributaries, waiting for a favourable
opportunity to cross to the southern shores. As
they are remarkably strong on the wing and
capable of long flights, they easily accomplish
their" transit, when they scatter inland to return
in a few weeks. Frequently in that month they


will nearly entirely disappear from Northern
Pennsylvania and Ohio, for the space of a few
weeks, but ere grim Winter has placed his ice-
bound foot upon the locality, their numbers will
again have become as great as "they were before
their temporary disappearance. During the
time of their peregrinations they are in a splendid
condition, and afford excellent sport for the
gunner, sometimes Lying close before the dog, and
even if flushed, satisfying 'themselves with the
first Jimb of a tree that chance may throw in
their way for a resting place, when frequently
they ara so heedless of danger as to permit the
pot-hunter to knock over several from their perch
ere the remainder will think of taking flight.
Next to the wild turkey of Central and South
Illinois and Indiana, we have no fowl which is
reckoned a greater delicacy for the table, an
opinion I endorse. Some bon-vivants may differ
from me in this assertion, but I am convinced it
can only result from their taste having become
palled upon by too frequent enjoyment of what
most deservedly is entitled to the appellation of


Wherever the surface of the country is hilly,
irregular, and rocky, these birds are certain to
abound (if it be neither too far north nor south),
say from the latitude of Virginia to the most
northern portions of Maine ; the rough edges of
streams, where the vegetation is dense, par-
ticularly if interspersed with evergreens, being
their favourite retreats. However, I do not
mean to assert that they will not be found in
more level and accessible ground, for their nests
will sometimes be seen, where least expected,
throughout the region designated. In Northern
Illinois, where the country is flat, the extraor-
dinary " drumming" which the male makes I have
frequently heard in the still calm of the Spring
morning and evening, indicative to the sports-
man of future coveys out of which he may some
day expect to swell his bloodstained game-bag.
In flight, unless the cover is dense, no birds
afford a fairer mark, for their progress is gener-
ally straight, and is caused by numerous rapid
flappings of the wings till sufficient impetus is
obtained, when they sail much in the same
manner as the prairie fowl. Nevertheless their


flight is swift, and the noise which is made in
flushing will often disconcert the tyro, causing
him to shoot too quick, more birds of all species
being missed by this impatience than by waiting
too long. If a pupil will only display coolness,
however bad his execution may be, he may still
hope to become ultimately a good shot.

I fear that very many shoot for the sake of
the bag, not from the proper spirit that should
always predominate in the breast of the true
sportsman and lover of nature; but if such
should be the reader's case, let him cast aside
his love of mere spoil, and on the first oppor-
tunity, if such a chance should ever occur, watch
the habits and movements of this truly national
bird. Having perceived his game upon the
ground, feeding, which will frequently happen,
let him secrete himself behind the nearest avail-
able log, and watch without bloodthirsty intent
their graceful movements. No senorita of An-
dalusia could display more bewitching attractions.
Their step is firm, carriage erect, and every move-
ment grace. Many a time, from well-concealed
places, have I gazed in admiration on the


handsomely feathered group, and slunk away
afterwards, with the guilty step of the midnight
assassin, my conscience accusing me of having
visited their retreat with murderous intent.
Gentle reader, there is as much pleasure in such
conduct as in having done a deed of charity.
Don't think me squeamish, my gun has done as
good work as most others, still I can desist from
slaughter, and glory in not having visited with
wanton destruction the unsuspecting brood.

In like manner the true sportsman does not
consider his dog a tool, but a companion and
assistant in the enjoyable sports of the field.
But man generally, I fear, is as much a tyrant as
the unreasoning portion of creation, as may so fre-
quently be seen and proved by the brutal treat-
ment his faithful setter or pointer will receive
when inadvertently he flushes game going down
wind ; the ignoramus who hunts in a direction
which prevents the dog from using that organ
which is his only guide being really most to
blame. The gentlemanly manner of pursuing
the shooting of ruffed grouse is to use the setter,
but it is beyond a doubt that a smart cur dog,


who will bark at the birds and cause them to
tree, will be more instrumental in obtaining a
large bag. But consider the difference. With
the first you cut down your game on the wing,
the only honourable way of obtaining them, while
with the second a sitting object is shot at, re-
flecting as little credit on the gunner (not sports-
man) as slaughtering poultry in a farm-yard.

However, the pursuit of this sport is pre-
carious, for whenever the birds have a chance
they will betake themselves to the densest cover,
where nothing but snap-shooting will avail, and
once flushed, if by the gunner, it will be found
almost impossible to mark them down. Even the
young, before full grown, will rise with a whiz,
alarming enough, for the most distant flight, when
they will immediately drop and again hide them-
selves, frequently repeating the operation, and
affording the sportsman no other indication of
their manreuvre than the noise their tell-tale
wings have made. Sometimes, when these birds
are found on the side of a steep ravine or hill,
as soon as they take wing, they dive for the foot
of the declivity, then alter their course to the


right or left, and go in a direction so totally
different from the one expected, that it is more
than probable they cannot afterwards be dis-
covered. However, in some portions of the
country, where the population is sparse and the
game less disturbed by human beings, they are
not so wily. While residing in Northern Maine,
especially far from cultivation, I found them so
tame and fearless of danger, that frequent
shots could be obtained before the covey was lost.
In Spring and Autumn it is possible to call them
up by beating an inflated bladder with a stick,
which makes a noise much resembling their own
drumming. In fact, I have succeeded in calling
almost every variety of American game, save
the prairie chicken or pinnated grouse. A further
peculiarity I would mention, which, though won-
drous strange, is still true. When the snow is
soft and sufficiently deep, the birds will dive into
it, going several yards each time, and repeating
the manoeuvre till they have either attained the
desirable distance to take flight, or have avoided
the observation of the intruder ! In Winter, many
are taken in traps, how I will not describe, as I


would rather prevent such a custom than afford
information to those capable of illegitimately
destroying any of our valuable, handsome, indi-
genous species.

The ruffed grouse commence pairing early in
April, when their presence may be known by the
drumming which they make at dawn and sunset.
As the season advances, this noise or call becomes
so frequent that at all hours the curious sound
can be heard. The manner of performing this
drumming, many are ignorant of, so that it may
not be inappropriate to explain it. The cock
bird perches upon a log, erects his feathers,
droops his tail and wings, throws his head back
after the fashion of a gobbler, arid struts about for
a few moments, then stretches his neck forward
and beats the air with his wings so rapidly as
almost to produce a sound and reverberation like
that of distant thunder. When the females hear
this call, they fly to their lords, sail round them,
and after alighting squat, as if tendering
homage and submission to their august presence.
Early in May the female lays from seven to twelve
eggs in a primitive riest, composed of dried leaves

16 FOOD.

and grasses, under the shelter of a log or old
stump. The eggs are of a dull creamy colour, and
about the size of those of the common bantam.
As soon as hatched the young leave the nest and
follow their mother, and in eight or ten days are
able to use their wings a little. At this period,
and even before the offspring leave the shell, the
mother is most solicitous of her charge, and will
successfully combat with either crow or hawk,
striking the marauders with her wings, in the
same way as the domestic fowl. But if the in-
truder be too formidable, then, after the manner
of partridge, wild-duck, &c., she will droop her
wings, feign lameness, and use every possible arti-
fice to draw off attention from her helpless brood.
While the female is engaged in family cares, the
males congregate together, remaining so until late
in Autumn, like other gay Lotharios, permitting
all the onus of the charge of education to devolve
upon their devoted spouses.

Their principal food consists of seeds and beans,
including the wild and fox grape, of which they
are particularly fond ; also the tender succulent
buds of many descriptions of plants, more


particularly those of the different evergreens.
In conclusion, I will endeavour to describe cor-
rectly our subject, so that the ignorant may know
of what he is owner when chance or skill has pos-
sessed him of this true table delicacy.

Eighteen inches long by twenty-four inches
across the wing; plumage compact and glossy;
feathers of the head narrow and elongated into
a tuft; a long space on the neck destitute of
feathers, which is hid by a bunch of Ion-
straight hackles, which, when the fowl is excited,
stand out; wings short, broad, and rounded; the
tail long, ample and fan-like; bill horn-colour,
darker towards the tip; iris hazel; feet yel-
lowish grey ; upper part of the head and back of
the neck a rich orange brown ; back rich brown,
marked longitudinally with oblong white marks ;
upper part of the wings the same, and pin
feathers iron grey, with the outer edges cinna-
mon colour, diagonally crossed with darker
colouring in narrow lines ; tail cinnamon colour,
with a dark bar across the extremity, and fine
dark pencil marks regularly interspersed from
root to tip ; a dirty whitish line from bill to eye,



and continuing to back of head; breast and
lower portion of a light chocolate ; under wings
a tuft of light, fawn-coloured feathers ; stomach
dusky brown.

Of course, the colouring in different portions
of the country slightly varies, and the females
are less brilliant, but the description above given
will be found tolerably accurate.

From all the information I can obtain, snipe
make their appearance in this neighbourhood
about the 8th of March. This year they arrived
on the night of the 10th, or morning of the llth,
for the previous day I had been over all the most
suitable places for their retreat, and failed to
flush a single bird. Yet on the llth, upon exactly
the same beat, I found this description of game
most abundant. Persons possessed of a know-
ledge of natural history know that night is the time
selected by the members of this family to make
their migrations. Thus it occurs that it is very
seldom that even the closest observers of nature
have been afforded a chance to see snipe upon
their journeys. The flights in the Spring
of the year are doubtless very long, as the


birds which are killed immediately after their
arrival are invariably thin and weak. The
wind which they come by is southerly ; thus one
would be led to suppose that the instinct of mi-
gration is produced by excessive heat, which
causes game to travel in the opposite direction
from whence the inconveniently high temperature
appears to originate. However, in Autumn, the

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Online LibraryParker GillmorePrairie farms and prairie folk (Volume v.2) → online text (page 1 of 13)