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flesh would answer for bait. Not falling in with any birds, I determined to seek for a rabbit or a frog. To save time, I lighted a fire, put my water to boil, spread my hide and blanket, arranged my saddle for a pillow, and then went in search of bait, and sassafras to make tea with. “While looking for sassafras, I perceived a nest on a small oak near to the stream. I climbed to take the young ones, obtained two, which I put in my round jacket, and looked about me to see where I should jump on the ground. After much turning about, I suspended myself by the hands from a hanging branch, and allowed myself to drop down. My left foot fell flat, but under the soft sole of my right mocassin, I felt something alive, heaving or rolling. At a glance I perceived that my foot was on the body of a large rattlesnake, with his head just forcing itself from under my heel. “Thus taken by surprise, I stood motionless, and with my heart throbbing. The reptile worked itself free, and twisting round my leg, almost in a second, bit me two or three times. The sharp pain which I felt from the fangs recalled me to consciousness, and, though I felt convinced that I was lost, I resolved that my destroyer should die also. With my bowie knife I cut its body into a hundred pieces; walked away very sad and gloomy, and sat on my blanket near the fire. ‘How rapid and tumultuous were my thoughts! To die so young, and such a dog's death ! My mind reverted to the happy scenes of my early youth, when I had a mother, and played so merrily among the golden grapes of sunny France, and, when later I wandered with my father in the Holy land, in Italy and Egypt. I also thought of the Shoshones, of Roche and Gabriel, and I sighed. It was a moral agony, for the physical pain had subsided, and my leg was almost benumbed by paralysis. “The sun went down, and the last carmine tinges of his departed glory, reminded me how soon my sun would set; then the big burning tears smothered me, for I was young, very young, and I could not command the courage and resignation to die such a horrible death. Had I been wounded in the field, leading my brave Shoshones, and halloing the war-whoop, I would have cared very little about it; but thus, like a dog! it was horrible! and I dropped my head on my knees, thinking how few hours I had now to live. “I was awakened from that absorbing torpor, by my poor horse, who was busy licking my ears. The faithful animal suspected something was wrong, for, usually at such a time I would sing Spanish ditties, or some Indian war songs. Sunset was also the time when I brushed and patted him. The intelligent brute knew that I suffered, and in its own way, shewed me that it participated in my affliction. My water too was boiling on the fire, and the bubbling of the water seemed to be a voice raised on purpose to divert my gloomy thoughts. ‘Aye, boil, bubble, evaporate,’ exclaimed I, ‘what do I care for water or tea now !” “Scarcely had I finished these words, when turning suddenly my head
round, my attention was attracted by an object before me, and a gleam of hope irradiated my gloomy mind; close to my feet I beheld five or six stems of the rattle snake master-seed. I well knew the plant, but I had been incredulous as to its properties. Often had I heard the Indians speaking of its virtues, but I bad never believed them. • A drowning man will seize at a floating straw.' By a violent effort I got upon my legs, went to fetch my knife, which I had left near the dead snake, and I commenced digging for two or three of the roots with all the energy of despair.
*These roots I cut into small slices, and threw them into the boil. ing water. It soon produced a dark green decoction, which I swallowed, it was evidently a powerful alkali, strongly impregnated with the flavour of turpentine. I then cut my mocassin, for my foot was already swollen to twice its ordinary size, bathed the wounds with a few drops of the liquid, and chewing some of the slices I applied them as a poultice, and tied them on with my scarf and handkerchief. I then put some more water to boil, and, half an hour afterwards having drunk another pint of the bitter concoction, I drew my blanket over me. In a minute, or less, after the second draught, my brains whirled, and a strange dizziness overtook me, which was followed by a powerful perspiration, and soon afterwards all was blank.
The next morning I was awakened by my horse again licking me, he wondered why I slept so late. I felt my head-ache dreadfully, and I perceived that the burning rays of the sun for the last two hours had been darting on my uncovered face.'
He sleeps again
*And when I awoke this time, I felt myself a little invigorated, though my lips and tongue were quite parched. I remembered every thing; down my hand slided, I could not reach my ancle, so I put up my knee. I removed the scarf, and the poultice of master-weed. My handkerchief was full of a dry, green, glutinous matter, and the wounds looked clean. Joy gave me strength, I went to the stream, drank plentifully, and washed. I still felt very feverish; and, though I was safe from the immediate effect of the poison, I knew that I had yet to suffer. Grateful to heaven for my preservation, I saddled my faithful companion, and wrapping myself closely in my buffalo hide, I set off to the Comanche camp. My senses bad left me before I arrived there; they found me on the ground and my horse standing by me.
• Fifteen days afterwards I awoke to consciousness, a weak and emaciated being. During this whole time I had been raving under a cerebral fever, death hovering over me. . It appears that I had received a coup de soleil, in addition to my other mischances.'
But we must not omit, perhaps, the richest and most roman. tic adventure of all—that of the prairie-fire, and the escape from the herds of flying buffaloes, and other animals, extending miles in length, and miles in breadth. The party escape being trodden to death by exploding a pint or two of whiskey, on
which the herd opens, and leaves a narrow line. As the explosion lasted but a moment, and the herd was miles in depth, it is fortunate that the 'line' never closed again. After the estam. pede' has passed, the five horsemen gallop for their lives from the fire, and finally all take a leap down a precipice, one hundred feet in perpendicular height, on the backs of the flying buffaloes, in perfect safety! Let Baron Munchausen hide his diminished head!
“At that moment the breeze freshened, and I heard the distant and muffled noise, which in the west announces either an earthquake, or an 'estampede' of herds of wild cattle and other animals. Our horses too were aware of some danger, for now they were positively mad, struggling to break their lassos and escape.
"Up' I cried, 'up Gabriel, Roche, up, up strangers ! quick ! saddle your beasts ! run for your lives, the prairie is on fire, and the buffaloes are on us.
• They all started on their feet, but not a word was exchanged ; each felt the danger of his position ; speed was our only resource, if it was not already too late. In a minute our horses were saddled ; in another we were madly galloping across the prairie, the bridles upon the necks of our steeds, allowing them to follow their instinct. Such had been our hurry, that all our blankets were left behind, except that of Gabriel; the lawyers had never thought of their saddlebags, and the parson had forgotten his holsters and his rifle.
. For an hour we dashed on with undiminished speed, when we felt the earth trembling behind us; and soon afterwards, the distant bellowing, mixed up with the roaring and sharper cries of other animals, was borne down into our ears. The atmosphere grew oppressive and heavy, while the flames, swifter than the wind, appeared raging upon the horizon. The fleeter game of all kinds now shot past us like arrows; deer were bounding over the ground, in company with wolves and panthers; droves of elks and antelopes passed swifter than a dream ; then a solitary horse, or a huge buffalo-bull. From our intense anxiety, though our horses strained every nerve, we almost appeared to stand
• The atmosphere rapidly became more dense, the heat more oppressive, the roars sounded louder and louder in our ears ; now and then they were mingled with terrific howls, and shrill sounds so unearthly, that even our horses would stop their mad career and tremble, as if they considered them supernatural ; but it was only for a second, and they dashed on.
A noble stag passed close to us; his strength was exhausted ; three minutes afterwards we passed bim dead. But soon with the rushing voice of a whirlwind, the mass of heavier and less speedy animals closed upon us; buffalos and wild-horses all mixed together, an immense dark body, miles in front, miles in depth ; on they came, trampling and dashing through every obstacle. This phalanx was but two miles from us; our horses were nearly exhausted ; we gay
ourselves up for lost; a few minutes more, and we should be crushed to atoms. “At that moment the sonorous voice of Gabriel was heard firm and imperative: he had long been accustomed to danger, and now he faced it with his indomitable energy, as if such scenes were his proper element. ‘Down from your horses,’ cried he ; ‘let two of you keep them steady. Strip off your shirts, linen, anything that will catch fire: quick! not a minute is to be lost!” Saying this, he ignited some tinder in the pan of his pistol, and was soon busy in making a fire with all the clothes we now threw to him. Then we tore up withered grass and buffalo-dung, and dashed them on the heap. “Before three minutes had passed, our fire burned fiercely. On came the terrified mass of animals, and perceiving the flame of our fire before them, they roared with rage and terror; yet they turned not, as we had hoped: on they came, and already we could distinguish their horns, their feet, and the white foam; our fuel was burning out; the flames were lowering; the parson gave a scream, and fainted. On came the maddened myriads, nearer and nearer; I could, see their wild eyes glaring; they wheeled not, they opened not a passage, but came on like messengers of death, nearer, nearer, nearer still. My brain reeled, my eyes grew dim; it was horrible, most horrible ! I dashed down, with my face covered, to meet my fate. “At that moment I heard an explosion, then a roar, as if proceeding from ten millions of buffalo-bulls: so stunning, so stupifying, was the sound from the mass of animals not twenty yards from us. Each moment I expected the hoofs which were to trample us to atoms, and yet death came not; I only heard the rushing as of a mighty wind, and the trembling of the earth. I raised my head and looked. ‘Gabriel, at the critical moment, had poured some whisky on the flames; the leathern bottle had exploded with a blaze like lightning; and, at the expense of thousands crushed to death, the animals had swerved from contact with the fierce blue column of fire which had been created. Before and behind, all around us, we could see nothing but the shaggy wool of the huge monsters; not a crevice was to be seen in the flying masses, but the narrow line which had been opened to avoid our fire. “In this dangerous position we remained for one hour, our lives depending upon the animals not closing the line. But Providence watched over us; and after what had appeared an eternity of intense suspense, the columns became thinner, until we found ourselves only encircled with the weaker and more exhausted animals, which brought up the rear. Our first danger was over, but we had still to escape from one as imminent: the pursuing flame, now so much closer to us. The whole prairie behind us was on fire; and the roaring element was gaining on us with a frightful speed. Once more we sprung upon our saddles, and the horses, with recovered wind, and with strength ten-fold increased with their fear, soon brought us to the rear of the buffaloes. “It was an awful sight! A sea of fire roaring in its fury, with its heaving waves, and unearthly hisses, approaching nearer and nearer, rushing on swifter than the sharp morning breeze. Had we not just escaped so unexpectedly a danger almost as terrible, we should have despaired, and left an apparently useless struggle for our lives. “Away we dashed, over hills and down declivities, for now the ground had become more broken. The fire was gaining fast upon us, when we perceived that a mile a-head, the immense herds before us had entered a deep broad chasm, into which they dashed, thousands upon thousands tumbling headlong into the abyss; but now the fire, rushing quicker, blazing fiercer than before, as if determined not to lose its prey, curled its waves above our heads, smothering us with its heat and lurid smoke. ‘A few seconds more we spurred in agony: speed was life; the chasm was to be our preservation or our tomb, Down we darted, actually borne upon the backs of the descending mass, and landed without sense or motion, more than a hundred feet below. As soon as we recovered from the shock, we found that we had been most mercifully preserved: strange to say, neither horse nor rider had received any serious injury. e heard above our heads the hissing and cracking of the fire; we contemplated with awe the flames, which were roaring along the edge of the precipice,—now rising, now lowering, just as if they would leap over the space, and annihilate all life in these western solitudes. “We were preserved: our fall had been broken by the animals, who had taken the leap a second before us, and by the thousands of bodies which were heaped up as a hecatomb, and received us, as a cushion, below. With difficulty we extricated ourselves and horses, and descending the mass of carcases, we at last succeded in reaching a few acres of clear ground. It was elevated a few feet above the water of the torrent, which ran through the ravine, and offered to our broken-down horses a magnificent pasture of sweet blue grass: but the poor things were too terrified and exhausted, and they stretched themselves down upon the ground, a painful spectacle of utter helplessness. ‘We perceived that the crowds of flying animals had succeeded in finding, some way further down, an ascent to the opposite prairie ; and as the earth and rocks still trembled, we knew that the ‘estampede” had not ceased, and that the millions of fugitives had resumed their mad career. Indeed, there was still danger, for the wind was high, and carried before it large sheets of flame to the opposite side, where the dried grass and bushes soon became ignited, and the destructive element thus passed the chasm, and continued its pursuit. “We congratulated ourselves upon having thus found security, and returned thanks to heaven for our wonderful escape; and as we were were now safe from immediate danger, we lighted a fire, and feasted upon a calf, every bone of which we found had been broken into splinters.'