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abyss; but when a sturdy Virginian reaches down and draws up the lad, and holds him up in his arms before the tearful, breathless multitude, such shouting—such leaping and weeping for joy-never greeted thē ear of a human being so recovered from the yawning gulf of eternity.
of the mountain, where they left the highway, and pursued their course under the shade of the stately trees that crowned the eminence.” The day was becoming warm; and the girls plunged more deeply into the forest, as they found its invigorating: coolness agreeably contrasted to the excessive heat they had experienced in their ascent'. The conversation, as if by mutual consent, was entirely changed to the little incidents and scenes of their walk; and every tall pine, and every shrub or flower, called forth some simple expression of admiration.
2. In this manner they proceeded along the margin of the precipice, cătching occasional glimpses of the plăcid Otsego,' or pausing to listen to the rattling of wheels and the sounds of hammers, that rose from the valley to mingle the signs of men with the scenes of nature, when Elizabeth suddenly startled, and exclaimed—“Listen! there are the cries of a child on this mountain! Is there a clearing near us? or can some little one have strayed from its par'ents ?”
3. “Such things frequently happen,” returned Louisa. “Let us follow the sounds ; it may be a wanderer, starving on the hill.” Urged by this consideration, the females pursued the low, mournful sounds, that proceeded from the forest, with quick and impatient steps. More than once the ardent Elizabeth was on the point of announcing that she saw the sufferer, when Louisa caught her by the arm, and, pointing behind them, cried—“Look at the dog !" ? Louisa, (18 8' zá).
* Prěc' i pice, a very steep descent · Em'i nence, a height.
of land or rock. * In vỉg' o rāt ing, strengthening; Ot sē' go, a beautiful lake in the giving life and energy tu.
central part of the State of New York.
4. The advanced age of Brave had lõng before deprived him of his activity ; and when his companions stopped to view the scenery or to add to their bouquets,' the mastiff would lay his huge frame on the ground, and ăwait their movements, with his eyes closed, and a listlessnèss in his air that ill accorded with the character of a protector.
5. But when, ăroused by this cry from Louisa, Miss Temple turned, she saw the dog with his eyes keenly set on some distant object, his head bent near the ground, and his hair actually rising on his body, ēither through fright or anger. It was most probably the latter ; for he was growling in a low key, and occasionally showing his teeth, in a manner that would have terrified his mistress, had she not so well known his good qualities.
6. “Brave !" she said, “be quiet, Brave! what do you see, fellow?" At the sounds of her voice, the rage of the mastiff, instead of being at all diminished, was very sensibly increased. He stalked in front of the ladies, and seated himself at the feet of his mistress, growling louder than before, and occasionaly giving vent to his ire by a short, surly barking.
7. “What does he see?” said Elizabeth ; "there must be ; some animal in sight.” Hearing no answer from her compan
ion, Miss Temple turned her head, and beheld Louisa, standing with her face whitened to the color of death, and her finger pointing upward, with a sort of flickering, convulsed * motion.
8. The quick eye of Elizabeth glanced in the direction indicated by her friend, where she saw the fierce front and glaring eyes of a female panther, fixed on them in horrid malignity, and threatening instant destruction. “Let us fly!” exclaimed Elizabeth, grasping the arm of Louisa, whose form yielded like
melting snow, and sunk lifeless to the earth.. - 9. There was not a single feeling in the temperaments of
Elizabeth Temple, that could prompt her to desert a companion in such an extremity; and she fell on her knees, by the side of
Bouquet, (b8 kå?), a nosegay; a “Mā lig' ni ty, extreme enmity or bunch of flowers.
hatred. * Mastiff, (mås' tif), a large kind of Těm' per a ment, the peculiar dog, remarkable for strength and physical and mental character of a courage.
person arising from the relations s Con vŭlsed', drawn or contract- and proportions between the several ed with shaking.
parts of the body.
the inanimate' Louisa, tearing from the person of her friend, with an instinctive readiness, such parts of her dress as might obstruct her respiration, and encouraging their only safeguard, the dog, at the same time, by the sounds of her voice. “Courage, Brave !" she cried-her own tones beginning to, tremble“courage, courage, good Brave !"
PART SECOND. QUARTER-GROWN cub, that had hitherto been unseen, I now appeared, dropping from the branches of a sapling, that grew under the shade of the beech which held its dam, This ignorant but vicious creature approached near to the dog, imitating the actions and sounds of its parent, but exhibiting & strange mixture of the playfulness of a kitten with the ferocity of its race. Standing on its hind legs, it would rend the bark of a tree with its fore paws, and play all the antics of a cat, for a moment; and then, by lashing itself with its tail, growling, and scratching the earth, it would attempt the manifestations of anger that rendered its parent so terrific.
2. All this time Brave stood firm and undaunted, his short tail erect, his body drawn backward on its haunches, and his eyes following the movements of both dam and cub. At ěvery gambol played by the latter, it approached nigher to the dog, the growling of the three becoming more horrid at each moment, until the younger beast, overleaping its intended bound, fell directly before the mastiff.
3. There was a moment of fearful cries and struggles ; but they ended almost as soon as commenced, by the cub appearing in the air, hurled from the jaws of Brave, with a violence that sent it against a tree so forcibly as to render it completely senselèss. Elizabeth witnessed the short struggle, and her blood was warming with the triumph of the dog, when she saw the form of the old panther in the air, springing twenty feet from the branch of the beech to the back of the mastiff.
In ăn’i māte, without life or which airis breathed;actofbreathing. spirit; inactive; spiritless.
3 Haunches, (hånch'ez), the hips; a Rěs'pi rā'tion, the function by the hinder part.
ESCAPE FROM A PANTHER.
4. No words of ours can describe the fury of the conflict that followed. It was a confused struggle on the dried leaves, accompanied by loud and terrible cries, barks, and growls. Miss Temple continued, on her knees, bending over the form of Louisa, her eyes fixed on the animals, with an interèst so hórrid, and yet so intense, that she almost forgot her own stake in the result.
5. So rapid and vigorous were the bounds of the inhabitant of the forest, that its active frame seemed constantly in the air, while the dog nobly faced his foe at each successive leap. When the panther lighted on the shoulders of the mastiff, which was its constant aim, old Brave, though torn with her talons, and stained with his own blood, that already flowed from a dozen wounds, would shake off his furious foe like a feather, and, rearing on his hind legs, rush to the fray again, with his jaws distended, and a dauntless eye.
6. But age, and his pampered life, greatly disqualified the noble mastiff for such a struggle. In every thing but coŭrage he was only the vestige' of what he had once been. A higher bound than ever raised the wary’ and furious beast far beyond the reach of the dog who was making a desperate, but fruitless dash at her—from which she alighted, in a favorable position, on the back of her agèd foe. For a single moment, only, could the panther remain there, the great strength of the dog returning with a convulsive effort.
7. But Elizabeth saw, as Brave fastened his teeth in the side of his enemy, that the collar of brass around his neck, which had been glittering throughout the fray, was of the color of blood, and, directly, that his frame was sinking to the earth, where it soon lay, prostrate and helpless. Several mighty efforts of the wild-cat to extricate herself from the jaws of the dog followed ; but they were fruitless, until the mastiff turned on his back, his lips collapsed, and his teeth loosened ; when the short convulsions and stillness that succeeded, announced the death of poor Brave.
8. Elizabeth now lay wholly at the mercy of the beast. There is said to be something in the front of the image of the Maker that daunts * the hearts of the inferior beings of his creä
1 Věs' tỉge, footprint; mark or 3 Col lăpsed', closed by falling remains.
together. ? Wa' rý, cautious; watchful. * Daunte, (dånts), intimidates.
tion; and it would seem that some such power, in the present instance, suspended the threatened blow. The eyes of the monster and the kneeling maiden met, for an instant, when the former stooped to examine her fallen foe; next to scent her luckless cub.
9. From the latter examination it turned, however, with its eyes apparently emitting flashes of fire, its tail lashing its sides furiously, and its claws projecting for inches from its broad feet. Miss Temple did not, or could not move. Her hands were clasped in the attitude of prayer; but her eyes were still drawn to her terrible enemy; her cheeks were blanched to the whiteness of marble, and her lips were slightly separated with horror.
10. The moment seemed now to have arrived for the fatal termination; and the beautiful figure of Elizabeth was bowing meekly to the stroke, when a rustling of leaves from behind seemed rather to mock the organs than to meet her ears. “Hist! hist!” said a low voice; “stoop lower, gal; your bunnet hides the creater's head.”
11. It was rather the yielding of nature than a compliance with this unexpected order that caused the head of our hěr'oïne to sink on her bosom ; when she heard the report of the rifle, the whizzing of the bullet, and the enraged cries of the beast, who was rolling over on the earth, biting its own flesh, and tearing the twigs and branches within its reach. At the next instant the form of the Leather-stocking rushed by her; and he called ăloud—“Come in, Hector ; come in, you old fool; 'tis a hard-lived animal, and may jump ag’in.”
12. Natty maintained his position in front of the maidens most fearlessly, notwithstanding the vīölent bounds and threatening aspect of the wounded panther, which gave several indications of returning strength and ferocity, until his rifle was again loaded, when he stepped up to the enraged animal, and, placing the muzzle close to its head, every spark of life was extinguished by the discharge.
JAMES FENIMORE COOPER. 1 E mịt' ting, sending forth; 'Blanched,(blåncht), whitened by throwing or giving out.
the removal of color; made pale.