The orphans' friend. volume (Oxford, N.C.) 1875-1895, July 12, 1875, Image 1
an AUVUN’I’HIKE IN THE MACIt- WOOIJSi ]iY t!. A. STEPHENS. Wiien the writer was a boy, lie Ih ed in ivlaine, in a backwoods ncigliborliaod on the boi’dcv.s of a forcist, ivhich was called tlie ‘groat woods,’ and sonietiincs the ‘Can ada woods,’ because it stretched northward towardt. the lakes and into Canada. j\Iy nearest noigdibor a,nd con fidential comrade in those days, was a lad of about niy own age, named 'J’homas Edwards. With the exco])tion of nine or ten weeks of school in the winter, ire had to work on a farm throng'h the r'Car, and work pretty hard, too. But wo generally were permit ted, if we worketl ivell, a fort night in the fall, ivhen we could limit and trap up in the great ivoods., Froipiently we were al lowed two or three days to fish after the ‘spring’s work’ was done, that is to sai', about the first of June. This is the time when the brook trout of ?ilainc bite most eagerlw, and are in the be.st con dition for eating. One of these trout-fishing days, Tom nnd I had gone throngli tlie woods to ‘Black Brook,'’ three or four miles above the home neigh- horh'ood, We took our dog with us. This dog had come to us nearly starved one day when we were in the forest, ite probabh' had belonged to some hunter, and liad lost his ma.ster, for he was well trained. Wo used sometimes to think that jierhaps his master had been killed, or lost and starv ed to deafh in the great woods. ■We had heard of such things hap- jieniug ; and there were stories of jianthers, woli'os and “Indian devils” being met with in tliat e.x- feiisivo wilderne.ss, the limits oi which no one knew. Wo set off early in the inoni- Sng, taking with us our stiff but liglit cedar fishing-poles, and an old tin spiee-box full of “angle worms.” In less than an hour af ter leaving the cleared land, we came to the month of t!ie brook, baited our hooks, and dropped fliem in. It was our purpose to fish uj) this brook for about two miles, then cross a high ridge to tlie eastward, and fish down an- ffher brook rvaieli runs into a sinal! l.iko called Clear Water Bond; ivliero we had an old boat. Wc find followed the brook for Iialf a mile or more,- when, all at otieev W'o heard liover begin to bark excitedly, and in a dilferent tone from that we were aceus- tomedi to hear when he barked at stpiirrels. “He’s after something!” Tom sailed to me from the other side of the b-rook. We Ksfenei.s moment. Rot'er Wa's barking Hko’ a fury,—dia-rk- jng and running. Wc could hear a great snapping and smashing of the- ary undergrowth of alder ten er a dozen rods off. Then the barking stopped, and we heard Rover give one of his long howls. “ Treed him!” shouted Tom, coming acro.ss the brook on an old log a little above me. We dropped our poles and ran towards- the spot where Rover seemed to be. Just on the edge of the alder swamp, wliere the upland of thy ridge began, we caught sight of his white coat. He was standing under a second-growth jioplar (years before, there iiad been a forest fire here), about a foot through at tlie root; but the in- terveuiug tree tojjs were so thick that wc could not see into the poplar top till ive were close un der it. Rover ivas looking up at .something, lie turned Ids head fi;)r an instant when he lieard us coining, a.n(l wagged his tail, but kept his ex'es in the tree top. “Iledgeliog !” Tom s.aid, as wo hurried up. “No, it i.sn’t. Vv'hat is that ?” for we had cang'lit a glimpse throngli tlie little silver}' leaves of the poplar, now just un folding, of something black and shaggy among the pale green limbs.- Eagerly enough, '.ve stared, and crept forward, and peered, and peered, first this side, then that, without getting too near. Presently ivo beg'an to niitke out its shape, and caught sight of its head, “It’s a fisher-cat!” cried Tom. It looked rather savage, witli its ears lai;l fiat on its head, and its long claw.s clutching round the branch on wliich it was crouch ing, It is a creature of the wea sel kind Cmustila Canadensis, or Pennant’s marten), about_the size of art otter,, but more muscular, liaving short, thick legs, and a. rather long body. Wo had caught one the fall before in a traj), and its skill had brosglit us seven dollars. "0 how I wish we had Si gun here!” exclaimed Tom. “ Ilis skin wouldn’t fetch so much lunv as in the fall, but it would bring tliree or four dollars.” Three or four dollai-s was quite a sum of money with us in those days. But it would take two or tln'oc hours to go back and get a gun ; and tlie croaturo would ve ry likely escape before the weap on was obtained. “If we could only get him out of the tree down here on to the ground,” said Tom, “Rover would pounce on liim, and we miglit give him a blow with a club and knock liiin over.” So with our jack-knives ive cut two heavy green sticks. “Now get stones,” says Tom, “and lot them fly at him. Rerliajis you can drive h.im down. Rover and I ivill take care of him when ho comes!” A woodchuck had dug' his hole in the hill-side near by ; in the dirt thrown out, there was plenty of small stones. With these I be- gas- to pielt the lish.er in the tree. One ortwohit tho animal and made him growl; but he w'ouidn’t stir. Tho distance was too' far for tho creature to leap into the adjoining; tree tops,- and ho evi dently did- not like the looks- of I’om and the dog underneath. At last Tom exclaimed, “'V/lio’s afraid of a fisher ? Let’s elirnb up and knock him down !” But 1 did not like this idea, “He’ll dig your eyes out, Tom,” I said, “Nonsense ! I ain’t afraid of him. Let him dig I I’ll have his hide off him in spite of his teeth !” And oil' 'came Tom’s liome- niade frock, which buttoned tight round his waist. 'Pying- a knot in. one of the sleeves, he slipped Ills club through it, then with the other sleeve and the waistband, tied the frock about his middle ; for to climb the poplar, lie must needs have both arms free, and he wanted tho club to use after getting within reach of the ani mal. “Now he ready for him, yon and Rover !” Tom exhorted me ; anil, clasping botli arms about the trunk, began to ‘hog it” (as baclcwood.s boy's say) up tho tree, Tom was an ailept at climb ing trees in this way, and went np readily enough., Tho fisher was in the neigh borhood of thirty-five feet from the ground, and it must have been all of tiventy-five feet uj) to the first limbs. 1 I'emoinlier that, as Tom climbed, the club dan gled behind him and clattered against tho tree. Seeing Toni’s head coming up, tho animal snarled and chattered its teeth, and kept making mo tions as if to jump at him ; but it took more than a fisher’s gro'.id- ing to scare Tom Edwards in those days. Getting liis feet on the lower branches, he drew lihnself up, reached for his club, and took a look at the game. Had the boast leaped at him, they must assur edly iiave both tumbled down to- getiier. And now, with the fish er snuffling and growling, and making little starts towards him, Tom jiroceeded to draw himself up with his left hand from branch to branch, holding his club, rea dy to strike, ill Ids riglit. Just as he was about to swing the club, tho creature whirled round, and sprang n'p higher among the very' topmost limbs. “0 you'll soon come to the end of that road I” I could hear Tom muttering to him. 'i’hey had now got so far up among the twigs and leaves that I could not well follow their mo tions ; but I could see Tom’s boots step]iing on the branches, and yiresently heard a whack, and a yelp, and saw the fisher come tearing down through tlie twigs. It clung with its claws to every thing in its w'ay, and its nails rip ped Ihi'ougli the liark. “Take him ! Hit him !” Tom shouted down. “He’s got b}- me !” and ho threw his club after the creature. From the lower branche.? the fislier partly fell, partly leap, and struck tho ground among dry leaves a few foot out from tho root. Rover jumped on him with a great bark of reprobation, 'and I sprang -to strike with my stick. But they grappled and flew round so, and raised su.ch a storm of leaves, that I could not get in a blow' till they' iiad rolled over each other a score of times, at least. “Bite him ! Bite him !” Tom kept roaring to ns, as he slid down, out of the pojilar. At length they rolled into the hollow of an up-turtied root, with the fisher cm top ; and I manag ed to deal the creature a: stroke on the head wliich stunned it. By this time, Tom came rusiiing up with Ids own clu-b, and 'we soon put an end to the fight. But jioor Rover was sadly scratched and bitten. His nose was badly split, and. he. had. bites and scratches on Ills shoulders and breast, which were SO so're by the next day that lie (iOnld hardly move witlumt yelling. In deed, there are few dogs that arc a match for a ti.she'f iff d fair fight I nnd there are really not many old hunters who would have cared to climb up there as Tom did. Wo skinned tlie aiiimai ivith our jack-knives, and carried the hide home. I remombei that wi- stufied it with straw, and Inmg it in an out-houso to cure. But a kind of black ljug got into it dar ing the oumnior and spoiled it. So ive lost'our anticipated three or four dnllans. Su rsat! Holt'.iiia lirau'cr. I saw my wife pull out the bot tom drawer of the old family bu reau tills evening, and i went softly out and wandered up and down until I knew that she had shut it up and gone to her seiving. Wo have some things laid away in tho draw'er wliich the gold c f kings could not buy, and yet tlicy are relic.s wliicii grieves us until our lieart ate sore. 1 hav en’t dared to look at them for a year, but I remember each article, riiore are two worn shoes, a lit tle chip hat with part of the brim gone, some stockings, pants, a coat, two or three spools, bits of crockeiy, a whip and several toy.s. Wife—poor thing-—goes to that drawer every' day of her life and prays over it, a'ftd lets her tears fall Upon the preeious articles, but I dare not go. Sometimes we .spieak of little Jack, hut not oftert, It has been a long- fimoj but somehow ive can’t get over grieving. lie was such a burst of sunshine into onr lives that his going away' has been like covering onr every day existence I'.'ifh a i lill. Sometimo.s when we sit alone of an evening, I writing- and she sewing, a chikl on the street will call out as our boy used to, and we both start up -with beating hearts and a wild liope only to find tlie darkness more of a burden than over. It is so still and quiet now. I look up at the window where his blue eyes used to sparkle at iny coming, but lie is not there. I listened for his- jiattering feet, his merry shout,-- and Ins ringing laugh but tljere is no sound. There ’s no one to climb over my knee, no one to search my' pockets and tease me for presents, and I never find the cliairs turned ovei', the broom down, or ropes tied to the door k-nob. I ivant som-e one to tense me for my knife; to ride on my shoul- doi'S ; to lose my' irikc ;' to follow me to tho gate wlion I go, a-n.d to be there, to mett 'me wli-oii I come, to call “good night” from the lit tle bed, now empty. And wife she misses him still more; there are no little feet to wash; no prayers to say; no voice teasing for lumps of sugar or sobbing for tho pain of a hurt toe ; and she would give her life almost, to awake at midnigJit and look across to- the crib nnd .see our boy' there as he used to be. So- we pi'esei-v'e our rblics,- and when we are dead we liopo tliat strangers will handle them ten derly', if they shed no tears over them.— Waverhj 3Iagazine. SIOSfOIE A'OSlSt BlISSSESS. It is a gdo'd sign foheii a hmti is p'ftiud of hi.s ri'ork Or his call-' ing. Yet nothing is inOrtS Coni-' mou than to hbar iKeh finling' fault con; tantly with their ■( d;'-' tieular bnsii.e;i.‘-'',- and deeming themselves unfortunate becauso fast'-jiied to it ly' the necessity' of gaining- a livelilio'ifil. in this way men fret, and laborioush' dc'-' .stroy' all their eoinfoi-t in tho Mi.-rir, or they change their biisi-- iiQss. am! go on misemljiy, shift ing from 'jne .thing to another till i-lio g'ravc or tiic poor-house givc.s them a-fas:, giip. But while a( ~, casionally' a imin falls in liib bt- caiise he is not in the })laco fitted for Ids jieculiar talent, it happens- ton times oftener tliat failure re- .sults from neglect and even con tempt cf an honest business. A man siio'ild j.irrt hi.t heart into everything that ho does. There is no profession that has not its peculiar cares and vexations. Not man will escape an-noyauco by changing his'hu.sine.s9. No rne- chrnic'al buSino''3S isf altcgc'ihcr iigroetible. Gomfoe'rco, in its ' eudies.s varieties; is at'fected, like' all other pursuits, witii trials, un welcome Jdtite, and sjiirit-ti’.-ipg' necessities. It is the very wan tonness of folly for a man to search out the frets and burdens of his calling, and give his mind everyv day to a consideration of them. Tliey belong to hurnau life. They' are inoviteble. Brood-' ing over them only (tiveS theiii strength. On tlie othe* hand, a mail has power given ttf hin'i tiV shed beauty a'nd pleasure on tho homeliest foil, if he is wise. Let a nian adopt his business and identify' it witli pleasant associa-' tiims} .for Hea'fon has given us imagination, not alone to make irs- poets, but to enable all men to' beautify lioinely' things. Iletift - vai'ini h will coveruj) iiuuimerablo' evils and defects. Lo’ok at the' good things. Accept your lot aa- a man doe.s a piece of rugged ground',■ ;\.nd begins to get out the rocks and roots, or deepen and mellow the soil, to eni'ich and plant it.- There is- sometliiug iii- ilio most forbi'ldii'.g a'vocatii'U- aroiind wh.icli a man may t''.vlnii pleasant fancies, out of'vf'ljich ho' may develop an liottest pride.—"- Marmfaclurer md Builder.- Tho eolebralq-:! Father’Ig'naii-' us, ju,st before p:.‘eac!n:cg his sort inon, gave' o'.A the v,’e!i-k';iowu‘ hymn of Dr. Watts, “’When I sur vey the wondrous cross,” t-ha last ver.se o-f v/hicli is very cxpves'- sive: tVf-..s t:-..; M-b'>! - ;iiift'-'i 'niihire ivm’ir,- ■I'l'tf'nr too siiiall VYh ;Ty s'-ui, ipy in'P, iny a:.. lie li vmn v. as onJed- tlio 'preaciicv tiroso, ana sIvOYvIy re- peatofl tiio last iiiic. ‘DoinandiH my souly my life my all’ Thou iooking .roum^, lie added, Isii g'.’ chat. Do you knew that alt.^ * getlier you iiavo only put fifte''U shillings (three doiiars) into tho' bag t.bi'B- morning.!’ 'ilio clTect of such a coininont 6\\ such a fact may bo well iniagiiiod.—Selectea. Whatever ow pla-co allo+-^'l t'V us by Providence, us, ‘.i the post of honor and-duty. God- estimates us, hot by the positioih wo are in, but by th.e way ini* which we'flli it—T.