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ABOUT THE HUNTER'S FIRE WHEN
DAY IS DONE
By CHARLES EVERETT BEANE
Illustrated by Roland C. Butler
HAT an ideal day What if a swaying branch occasion-
pursuit of any released itself from the shoulder of other sport. Long ere the first peep one's predecessor and whipped one of light proclaimed the dawn, moc smartly upon the cheek, filling one's casined feet pressed the west-wending mouth with the piney flavor of the trail and miles separated a pair of drip from a big evergreen under which eager sportsmen from the home camp it grew,—but reminders that one could when the woods awoke.
at last hunt without that frightful Mord's voice, “For she's ma daisy," handicap of noisy woods. and the rattle of tin dishes from whic1i. A “loud day” usually means an undeer's liver and hash with steaming successful search for the children of coffee and hot biscuits had been hun the wilds, while demanding unremitgrily divorced, belonged to a period ting toil and unceasing vigilance, two hours back.
which it may reward with feeting A sighing breath among the tree- glimpses of startled game as it goes tops barred off the gentle swish of flying into the depths, tantalizingly steadily falling rain, which frequently waving a white flag in a soul-harrowgave place to furries of sleet until the ing adieu. one's richest vocabulary forest murmured dreamy strains of an proving utterly inadequate to the enchanting andante, that gave promise proper expression of emotion, though in its increasing volume of an allegro one is still bound to make the atand presto when the powers of nature tempt. should burst from restraint.
That low-lying land between the All night the storm had been gath- ridges was all afloat and the farther ering, stars fled away one by one at side was punctuated by a sound of the approach of black-winged clouds churning water until it found escape and trees and underbrush shed tears between moccasin stitches, but it was upon the earth, lamenting the fickle hardly light when a sharp report affection of the god of day, until sod- changed a big doe from “eater” tr: den and silent leaves and grasses “eatee” at the end of a half dozen frangrateful to the foot, facilitated stealthy tic bounds. No second shot progress aniong swamps and over hog- needed, though five others could have backs through the hunting grounds. sped from the Remington before she
crossed the little clearing, so rapidly of the foxes. When you have dressed can the auto deliver the goods.
off your prize, do as those sportsmen Have you ever pulled up short after did-depart in quest of more sport, a good long tramp in the early morn leaving the doe to freeze at the tripod. ing and challenged your appetite to Several days later you may have the "come out in the open and show what exquisite pleasure of "sagging" your it can do?” Beats all how quickly one deer into camp. It's great exercisecan forget he has eaten as heartily as try it. Your shoulders may feel better he knows how but two short hours for a good rubbing, but never mind ago!
that. An old tree with a dry inside and At noon the rain and sleet ceased a few of those dead branches from and losing nothing of its velocity, a pine or spruce, furnished all the dry northwest wind had conversation with fuel required for a small fire against wood monarchs, who answered his a rock, and be
whistling tween the
with sundry forestick and
groanings and the back one
squeakings, a can of coffee
all uniting to soon began to
muffle the sing. Just a
hunter's aplittle toast-a
proach. slice or two of
Before three deer's heart
o'clock a and – there
magnificent you are! Fin
buck with a est meal in
sine set of the world!
antlers lay at Hungry? Of
ihe end of a course.
careful stalk If you are
across a ever similarly
ridge, his wild situated, climb
rush for liband bring to
erty ending at earth the head
from where birch, your
he stood beweight hold
side a big ing it while
"popple your compan
when first ion passes
sighted, a bulacross it a
let through short stick,
the fore shoulsharpened, and
der coming to inserts the
him from out ends under
the unknown, the big muscle
without warnjust back of
ing of the the doe's “THERE STOOD A YOUNG BUCK GENTLY RUBBING presence of a "knuckle,' HIS VELVET ANTLERS"
foe. He was Stand away and the birch will spring a beauty and weighed more than two from the ground, lifting your game hundred pounds. into position to place props on either "How many miles from the cabin, side, with crotch near the cross stick, Hank? I have a notion we'd better and swing the deer aloft out of reach beat it. For mine a hot-foot to a great
of that young
big dinner with the boys before it gets ceedingly awkward, though doubtless black dark.”
comfortable, positions. "Wise gazabo that you are, ‘But.' I'll Everything denoted a care-free party take the same for mine. Light enough bent only upon getting all out of life now, but before we cover that six there is in it. No frilis were to be seen miles to the stream, it'll be eyes on on any of the six men whose smiling our toes for sure. Straight across faces turned toward the newcomers, country and no turning out! Follow linless the "moss" of the unshaven
might be termed that. Flannel shirts, Forgetting all other than the cozy more or less open at the neck, soft scenes awaiting them at camp, they woolen trousers or corduroy, with legplunged through brooks that came gings and moccasins with the inevit. tearing down the valleys, splashed able leather belt and knife sheath in the knee-deep across swamps and threaded middle of the back, a la mode woodsy their way among tangled bushes and —that was the prevailing costume. dead vines, following a due east course Deer and moose heads, with antlers by compass. As Hank had said, they crossed by rifles of all makes and every turned out for nothing, little caring caliber from 30-30 to 45-90, were everyfor the good soaking they were getting where. The dining table along the as they had been wet all day. Good cabin side never visited civilization woolens next to the body taboo that and was born in the forest. Bunks, tier clammy sensation, and even though on tier, a washstand, and a few chairs, wet, are still warm when one is exer stools rough butchered together from cising
gnarled limbs, and a "deacon's seat" An hour and a half from the time and its mate completed the furnishing, they left the ridges, they debouched with the exception of the "throne," a into the clearing where the cabin stood place of special privilege, made by cutand from the other side next the ting a big barrel into reclining chair stream three figures were dimly vis form, to be used only when the storyible coming from the canoe landing. teller or honored guest held forth for
"Hello, Bill, any game?" called the entertainment of the “bunch.” “But."
Numerous deer skins
thrown “Got three in the party. That Hank about the floor. with you? Here's Chuc and Bob. A big lamp, suspended from the cenChuc's just come in—first time in the ter of the log rafters, reinforced the woods. Says it ain't like home. S'pose firelight and revealed rows of woolen he'll like our boudoir mirrors and mor stockings and sweaters draped about ris chairs?"
for drying, like festoons of sailors' "That depends upon the color of his truck in the rigging of a cruiser, while blood. If it's a good rich red he'll hear all about the smooth peeled logs of the music that will ring true and remind cabin showed moss-chinked cracks, him of his ancestors and the good old through which, in spite of all, the snapdays when toilets were not so elab ping eyes of the upper world could be orate as now and the distant stars
seen on clear nights. A door at one blinked in their eyes as they sank to side marked the entrance to the cook's rest on the bosom of Mother Earth," quarters and a wholesome rattle of tin and striding in advance of the party. dishes told the story of “something doHank set his foot against the camping” ere long. door, which few inward and a blaze “The dead alive !" in a big open fireplace sent a glare into "Come in and hear this yarn from the faces of his companions behind Steve. He's hit only the high places him, who paused for a moment before all day and is dead sore, eh Sam?" accepting a chorus of invitations to "Hold that tale of woe till full stomenter the charmed circle of good fel achs bear the strain better, old pal. lows, who were sprawled about in ex Here, Hank, ‘interjuice' your friends.”
“Line up! Joe, Sam, Ed, Mord, The dual grind of tine deacon seats Fred, and Steve-grip paws with Bill, and shuffling of feet under the long Bob, and Chuc. That's good enough. table denoted perfect unanimity of acYou'd forget their long handles if I ceptance of this courteous invitation, gave them to you. Cet acquainted and after a few minutes of vigorous after dinner. I congratulate myself attack upon a big venison roast and its that I have presented these innocents supporting batteries of vegetables, to the slickest gang of second-story Steve mumbled an opening sentence of workers and all-around liars in the his grouch and the newcomers pricked big woods. Paste that in your up their ears as he took up his interhat and sign the bond. “But' and rupted yarn. I will give the mixture a grain of “That sure was plumb bad after such salt."
a chance as I had. Up there by the old
"Too small to taste at that. Birds lean-to, with a fine fire burning under of a feather you know. Your feathers my coffee pot and hands full of grub, are a trifle shy, but you flock our way when I heard a crackling sound in the I notice.”
woods, looked over my shoulder, and "Only bird house in this region, there stood the biggest and best buck that's why. Don't think I love you I ever saw in the Maine woods.” or approve your doings. Nix for Hank. “That's what they all say !" interSome of you have a reason for living polated Sam, and ducked under the others, well, you're here, that's all.” table to escape a hot biscuit hurled
"DINNER! do you hear, DINNER! with unerring aim at his left optic. Quit your kidding and fall to. Great “Score one for the nigger's head! snakes! Must I drag you to the fes- Say something else that's smart enough tive board?"
to grow whiskers a yard long, will
you, and I'll fill both eyes next time.
Awtul sight up Put that infant in his crib! I swear Tiere." that deer was the cheese, and he stood "Don't rub it in, 'But. Come away looking at me with a saucy leer in his from nat table-food was made to save face until I swung up my rifle and let life, not to take it. What was that go at him. Never touched a hair and fable you promised to give our smoke away he went. My feet were soaked, circle to-night? Here, fill your dhuso I had taken off my stockings to let deen and get going with this piece of them dry while I was eating, and—” charcoal. Story and llustrations by
"And a deer had the crust to ap 'But'-sounds rich, don't it? All ready proach? Must have been a fool deer, for the chorus," and swaying backward all right. Sure it was your stockings and forward in imitation of the cheer that were soaked ?"
leader at college, Steve led the cry: "Back-back to your kennel, Mord. "We want 'But's' story and picI up and after him in my bare feet, and tures. We want ‘But's' story and had gone about five hundred yards pictures.” when I got a second shot, him stand The tall chap sat bach and chuckled ing and poking his head around a big until the noise subsided, puffed great birch. Had as fine a chance as a man clouds of smoke, threw his arms out could ask for-missed him clean. Off each side for a good stretch, and, drawhe went."
ing a table toward hirn, spread a big “Buck fever. You need a chap- sheet of paper and sketched rapidly erone."
as he talked. “Not on your natural, Hank. I took "A certain farmer up in New Hampall the time I needed and drew the bead shire had the life pestered out of him right down fine into the notch. You hy numbers of neighborly deer, who ought to have seen the leaves dance would persist in visiting his garden and curl up at the fine line of dope I. patch, eat all they wanted, trample the let off at the listening trees. Never rest, and generally act the nuisance. knew I had so many choice and sul He made up his mind to outwit them phurous expletives in my repertoire, and set about it this way. but they're there.
"No deer ever ventured there when "Over the ridge dashed Mr. Buck, any one was about, and if he could fool and after him went l. Two miles' them into believing the patch had a chase along his spoor ard I snapped at permanent guardian the trick would be him as he broke across a clearing. turned. He elaborately rigged up a Three misses and all good chances. scarecrow with arms extended wide Then I woke up. Setting up my hat and to complete his illusion, set an as a target, I stepped back thirty opened umbrella in the dummy's right paces, about the distance of my first hand. trial and tried the gun. Overshot a "Of course, that device became the foot. Tried again. Same result. Per- talk of the countryside and my haps I was in a cheerfii! frame of mind farmer threw out his chest until he to know my sights were off and me looked like a pouter pigeon, he felt so three miles from camp
bare trot good. People said he had a right to. ters with siush on the ground. Won He thought that way, and for several der I'm sore? Sorer than my feet.” days lorded it over his neighbors as a
"And I came along the ridge and man of superior intelligence. followed your trail, thinking I
“One day rain descended and the chasing bear signs. Sure they were floods came, and along about 3 A.M. -your bare feet. Boys, it was a sight there was a knock at the farmer's door. the way Steve had crushed tender Too sleepy to answer, he waited, hoping shoots and ripped up the landscape. his disturber might go away. BangMust have torn through the woods bang! No let up, and he went to the with a temper like a cyclone with its window.