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rushes and the sand hillocks and drift-wood to shield myself from their view. As it was already late and the sun was just sinking, I hastily retreated a few paces, dropped on the bank, and began to creep along on my hands and knees through the sand and gravel. Such work is always tiresome, and is especially so when done against time. I kept in line with a great log washed up on the shore, which was some seventy-five yards from the geese. On reaching it and looking over, I was annoyed to find that in the fading light I could not distinguish the birds clearly enough to shoot, as the dark river bank was behind them. I crawled ahead quickly. Peeping over the edge I could now see the geese, gathered into a clump with their necks held straight out, sharply outlined against the horizon; the sand flats stretching out on either side, while the sky above was barred with gray and faint crimson. I fired into the thickest of the bunch, and as the rest flew off, with discordant clamor, ran forward and picked up my victim, a fat young wild goose (or Canada goose), the body badly torn by the bullet.”
On another occasion:
“I had been out after antelopes, starting before there was any light in the heavens, and pushing straight out towards the rolling prairie. After two or three hours, when the sun was well up, I neared where a creek ran in a broad, shallow valley. I had seen no game, and before coming up to the crest of the divide beyond which lay the creek bottom, I dismounted' and crawled up to it, so as to see if any animal had come down to drink. Field glasses are almost always carried while hunting on the plains, as the distances at which one can see game are so enormous. On looking over the crest with the glasses the valley of the creek for about a mile was stretched before me. At my feet the low hills came closer together than in other places, and shelved abruptly down to the bed of the valley, where there was a small grove of box-alders and cottonwoods. The beavers had, in times gone by, built a large dam at this place across the creek, which must have produced a great back-flow and made a regular little lake in the times of freshets. But the dam was now broken, and the beavers, or most of them, gone, and in the place of the lake was a long green meadow. Glancing towards this my eye was at once caught by a row of white objects stretched straight across it, and another look showed me that they were snow geese. They were feeding, and were moving abreast of one another slowly down the length of the meadow towards the end nearest me, where the patch of small trees and brushwood lay. A goose is not as big game as an antelope; still I had never shot a snow goose, and we needed fresh meat, so I slipped back over the crest and ran down to the bed of the creek, round a turn of the hill, where the geese were out of sight. The creek was not an entirely dry one, but there was no depth of water in it except in certain deep holes ; elsewhere it was a muddy ditch with steep sides, difficult to cross on horseback
because of the quicksands. I walked up to the trees without any special care, as they screened me from view, and looked cautiously out from behind them. The geese were acting just as our tame geese act in feeding on a common, moving along with their necks stretched out before them, nibbling and jerking at the grass as they tore it up by mouthfuls. They were very watchful, and one or the other of them had its head straight in the air looking sharply round all the time. Geese will not come near any cover in which foes may be lurking if they can help it, and so I feared that they would turn before coming near enough to the brush to give me a good shot. I therefore dropped into the bed of the creek, which wound tortuously along the side of the meadow, and crept on all fours along one of its banks until I came to where it made a loop out towards the middle of the bottom. Here there was a tuft of tall grass, which served as a good cover, and I stood upright, dropping my hat, and looking through between the blades. The geese, still in a row, with several yards’ interval between each one and his neighbor, were only sixty or seventy yards off, still feeding towards me. They came along quite slowly, and the ones nearest, with habitual suspicion, edged away from the scattered tufts of grass and weeds which marked the brink of the creek. I tried to get two in line, but could not. There was one gander much larger than any other bird in the lot, though not the closest to me; as he went by just opposite my hiding place, he stopped still, broadside to me, and I aimed just at the root of the neck-for he was near enough for any one firing a rifle from a rest to hit him about where he pleased. Away flew the others, and in a few minutes, I was riding along with the white gander dangling behind my saddle."
One of the great feats of the President with his rifle was in his last interview with Old Ephraim, the Great Grizzly of Montana. The story is almost pathetic as told by the victor in the engagement, for the grand old bear does not seem to have had any chance. The bear signs were found in the midst of pine trees, and the hunter had a thrill when,
“The beast's footprints were perfectly plain in the dust, and he had lumbered along up the path until near the middle of the hillside, where the ground broke away and there were hollows and boulders. Here there had been a windfall, and the dead trees lay among the living, piled across one another in all directions; while between and around them sprouted up a thick growth of young spruces and other evergreens. The trail turned off into the tangled thicket, within which it was almost certain we should find our quarry. We could still follow the tracks, by the slight scrapes of the claws on the bark, or by the bent and broken twigs; and we advanced with noiseless caution, slowly climbing over the dead tree trunks and upturned stumps, and not letting a branch rustle or catch on our clothes. When in the middle of the thicket we crossed what was almost a breastwork of fallen logs, and Merrifield, who was leading, passed
by the upright stem of a great pine. As soon as he was by it, he sank suddenly on one knee, turning half round, his face fairly aflame with excitement; and as I strode past him, with my rifle at the ready, there, not ten steps off, was the great bear, slowly rising from his bed among the great spruces. He had heard us, but apparently hardly knew exactly where or what we were, for he reared up on his haunches sideways to us. Then he saw us, and dropped down again on all fours, the shaggy hair on his neck and shoulders seemed to bristle as he turned toward us. As he sank down on his forefeet I had raised the rifle; his head was bent slightly down, and when I saw the top of the white head fairly between his small, glittering, evil eyes, I pulled trigger. Half rising up, the huge beast fell over on his side in the death throes, the ball having gone into his brain, striking fairly between the eyes as if the distance had been measured by a carpenter's rule. The whole thing was over in twenty seconds from the time I caught sight of the game; indeed, it was over so quickly that the grizzly did not have time to show fight at all or come a step toward us. It was the first I had ever seen, and I felt not a little proud, as I stood over the great brindled bulk, which lay stretched out at length in the cool shade of the evergreens. He was a monstrous fellow, much larger than any I have seen since, whether alive or brought in dead by the hunters. As near as we could estimate (for of course we had nothing with which to weigh more than very small portions) he must have weighed about twelve hundred pounds."
Strange as it may seem the President acknowledges that sometimes in his Little Missouri Ranch, he seated himself on his porch, but the result was he would rock gently to and fro, gazing sleepily out at the weird looking buttes opposite, until their sharp outlines grow indistinct and purple in the afterglow of the sunset: “The story-high house of hewn logs is clean and neat, with many rooms, so that one can be alonė if one wishes to. The nights in summer are cool and pleasant, and there are plenty of bear-skins and buffalo robes, trophies of our own skill, with which to bid defiance to the bitter cold of winter. In summer time we are not much within doors, for we rise before dawn and work hard enough to be willing to go to bed soon after nightfall. The long winter evenings are spent sitting round the hearthstone, while the pine logs roar and crackle, and the men play checkers or chess, in the fire light. The rifles stand in the corners of the room or rest across the elk antlers which jut out from over the fireplace. From the deer horns ranged along the walls, and thrust into the beams and rafters, hang heavy overcoats of wolf-skin or coon-skin, and otter fur or beaver fur caps and gauntlets. Rough board shelves hold a number of books, without which some of the evenings would be long indeed.
"In the still fall nights, if we lie awake we can listen to the clanging cries of the water-fowl, as their flocks speed southward; and in cold weather the coyotes occasionally come near enough for us to hear their uncanny wailing. The larger wolves, too, now and then join in, with a kind of deep, dismal howling; but this melancholy sound is more often heard when out camping than from the ranch-house. The charm of ranch life comes in its freedom, and the vigorous open-air existence it forces a man to lead.”
A NATIONAL FIGURE IN 1884.
Theodore Roosevelt Leads New York Delegation in a National Convention, When
Twenty-Six Years of Age-He Broke All Records as a Young Leader, and Kept Party Faith-McKinley and He in Debate.
THE XXVth President of the United States first appeared in national
political life, as a young athlete, bounding into the arena, a man of
twenty-six years and leader of the Republican delegation of New York, June 3rd, 1884, in the National Political Convention that nominated Blaine for president. His official services were limited to membership of the Assembly of his State, but he was a conspicuous figure and factor in the proceedings. In the seventeen years since, his countrymen have had constant occasion to be interested in him, and he has largely influenced the public opinion of the country.
The Hon. Powell Clayton, of Arkansas, was proposed, at the request of the National Republican Committee, as Temporary Chairman of the Convention. This was meant as a compliment to the Republicans of the South. Mr. Lodge, of Massachusetts, took the floor, and said it was the right of the Convention to revise the suggestion; and without any view of personal contest, but simply to make a nomination which would have the best political effect, he moved to substitute the name of the Hon. John R. Lynch, of Mississippi, and asked that the roll might be called on that question. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dutcher, of New York. There was opposition to the change. It was really a question between the white and the colored delegates from the South, whether the honor of the Temporary Chairmanship should be placed upon a white or black man. Mr. Clayton is the present Minister to Mexico, and Mr. Lynch, a distinguished and influential colored citizen. Mr. George William Curtis, of New York, said: “In the person of Mr. Lynch, we offer you a representative of those people who, in great part, and at unspeakable cost, constitute the Republican party and the citizens whom he represents."
Mr. Ben F. Prentiss, of Missouri, said he entertained the idea that a refusal to endorse the recommendation of the National Committee would