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snared. But all this does not give the slaps did considerable execution among history of my day.
the foe, as they came piping and singing We rise in advance of the regular hours, to the onset, like Milton's devils. Thus for the “ fish-house" is five miles away, escorted, in the style of Bon Gaultier's and the day must needs be long. Well Thairshonprovisioned in stomach and basket, we set
“ With four and twenty men, out before light, afoot. Our way lies for
And five and twenty pipers," some distance along one side of a river valley, down a crooked straggling country we crossed the marsh to the stygian seemroad, dodging about through patches of ing river, crossed the river in a stygian woods, round hard-headed rocky ledges, seeming skiff, rickety and patched, which and passing here and there a solitary was dislodged from a cunning concealment house yet alone in the perfect stillness of in a sedgy ditch and "sculled” (not an inearly morning. The trampling steps and appropriate motive power for the skiff of rustic voices of our party broke rudely the dead; undoubtedly Charon's method forward into the yet unviolated silence of of propulsion) with one hand by our dexthe night; which seemed to flee along trous chief, and resumed our dreary and wood and field, and always to be couch- slippery walk on the other side. Now ing shyly before us, hoping to rest at last the fish-house loomed up on the neighundisturbed. We came to a cross-road, boring beach, looking, on its solitary rocky at which our former path ended; but perch, as large as a farm-house, but shrinkour veteran leader unfalteringly guided ing as we approached, until as we entered us across it, through a barn-yard op- it. it became definitely about twelve feet posite, around the cow-shed, down the square, and seven feet " between joints." lane, through a pair of bars under an ap- It was fitted up with half a dozen bunks ple-tree ; and we entered upon one of the filled with salt hay for bedding, a table footpaths that mark up all country neigh- and chairs rather halt, a fire-place, a closet, borhoods-sneaking about under mys- an attic, a kettle, a fryingpan, sundry other terious shades and remote hill sides, or cooking utensils, and an extensive assortedging along by pasture fences, and dis- ment of antique and grotesque garments. appearing under a log, or tapering off into Hats consisting of a large hole edged with a mouse track; but which lead the initi- a narrow rim, great rusty boots, trowsers ated to many a destination much to be such as if a young tornado had worn and desired for work or for sport. This one torn them, and horrid red shirts, sat, led us under an orchard of apple-trees all stood, lay and hung, on floor, chairs, beddrenched in dew, through a mowing-lot side or rafters, as though a troop of imps or two, over a ridge thinly set with trees, had been rioting up and down in them, and out upon the last swell of the sinking and at the opening of the door by mortal upland, where it sloped away into the men, had instantaneously jumped out and wide open level of the salt meadows, and fled. looked out upon the sea beyond, which The provisions were stored in the closet, gleamed out from under the morning and the members of the "fish-gang” dismists (for by this time the sun looked out guised themselves in piratical outfits from upon the landscape), and came brim- the aforesaid ready-made stock, leaving ming up in the fulness of the flood-tide their decent clothes for their return home, to the limit of the low beach, as if medi- and becoming, in their wild and ragged tating a good run and roll across the gear, entirely independent of moisture and meadow. Now we could see the river of mud. Next, they hauled up the boat again, all swollen and black with the re- -a great clumsy, flat-bottomed, heavygorged salt water, creeping half choked sterned scow, equipped with a capstan forand crookedly about in the meadow, be- ward and a platform aft to carry the seine tween two narrow edgings of sedge, as -and having beached her in front of the you may see a burly face within a slender reel, proceeded to unreel and ship the rim of whisker. As we descended upon seine, ready for setting. We boys armed the salt alluvium, the plague of mosqui- ourselves with old hoes and tin pots, and toes arose upon us. After every man, as
marched off to dig long clams, with an eye after Fergus MacIvor Vich Ian Vohr, went to a stew at home, and to the inveigling a tail of devoted followers : and like his, of certain blackfish, sea-bass, and other of ours proposed to make a living out of their the Neptunian herds, understood to be leader. Content now dwelt in cowhide lurking and wandering around the rocks boots; much grumbling and some blood in front of the fish-house, at proper times came from those whose ankles were yarn
of tide. When the seine was all aboard, defended only; and an irregular fire of the fishermen sat down on the sand and
rocks, and one climbed the signal-pole, to as the black points stick out once more: look out for a “ school” of fish.
_“Go it. Come, pull ahead." And the The fish-house was on a point at the heavy boat sweeps slowly round the fish, western end of a somewhat shallow bay, until the whole seine, eighty rods long, whose shore, a silver-sanded beach, ran just a quarter of a mile, hangs in the sea curving round to the point on the other around them. side. The fish, as before mentioned, al
“Unconscious of their fate, the little victims play," ways come from the eastward; working up into the shallows, skittering and skim- and the fishermen beach the boat at the ming in sport along the surface, or fleeing other side of the bay, carry the warp at in haste before the sharks or porpoises or
that end to the further capstan, and preother great fish who follow after them for pare to haul. Now there is need of "all their meals : and the wide dark ripple of hands and the cook;" for the sooner the the whole shoal, the racing spatter of a warp can be wound in upon the capstans, frightened few, or the bay all dotted with the sooner the net will range up into shalthe quietly emergent little black black- low water, where the danger of losing fish fins, or tails flourishing aloft preparatory
under the lead-line will be over. Both to a dive after lunch, are the signs that capstans are manned, and boys and men betray his booty to the fisherman's eye. shove round the bars on the "keen jump," “I see a flag!” sings out an ardent until soon the staff at either end of the youth. Flag is, metaphorically, tail, from net comes riding up the beach. Now its flaunting display by the ambitious comes hard pulling; for the rest of the
The experienced elders don't see net must be drawn in by hand, and it it, probably because the young man saw it holds many fish and much water, besides first; but immediately the great "school" the drag of the corks on the surface and with one consent deploys upon the smooth of the lead-line on the bottom. Slowly surface of the bay, and ten thousand back and steadily come the two ends of the net, fins and tails dot the quiet water, which hand over hand, piled up as it comes in ripples and rustles with the glancing mass
on the beach. A fish or two appears, of life within its bosom. Hoes and tin hung by the gills in the meshes. A troop pots are cast aside, as we rush to see the of innocent-looking fellows come darting sport; for the fishermen have sprung for along from the middle of the net, having the boat, in excitement intense, but re- just discovered that they are inside of pressed for fear of alarming the timid fish. something. Now the fact becomes uniThey launch their awkward craft, and versally known among the ensnared; and softly pull away to seaward, amid smoth- they dart backward and forward by hunered prophecies of from ten to a hundred dreds and by fifties, seeking escape. There and fifty thousand fish, and under the
They are crowded closer and captaincy of steady old Uncle Jim Lang- closer within their narrowing prison-house. don, who stands in the stern-sheets to The water thickens, rustles, boils with direct the rowers and to deliver over the them. And now, a great throbbing slipnet. He guides the boat by ordering the pery mass, they lie squeezed up together oarsmen; not with the salt phrases of in the bag of the net, while two exultant oceanic seamanships, but with the same captors run for baskets. And a boat-hook ; words that rule old Buck and Bright, at for Uncle Jim points out a long black his farmstead up by the East Woods. thong like a carter's whip, slung out once “ Haw now, Bill, a little; haw I tell you ; or twice above the seething whitefish, there, go ’long.” Now he lifts off the announcing the dreaded sting-ray; and wide net, as the “ warp,” left fastened to certain wallops elsewhere advise of the the capstan ashore, under the reel, drags presence of a shark. The baskets come. it silently down into the water, and the Two men take each, dip them full of flaplengthening line of floats, bobs and wavers ping fish, carry them up the beach, and upon the sea. “ Haw a little ; haw boat; throw them down to die, between hot sun pull now; pull! Con-found their darned and hotter sand. After twenty minutes picters,” says Uncle Jim, in a sudden re- of such work, the dippers dip carefully, vulsion of wrath, for all the fish have lest they get a stroke from the ray, who suddenly sunk, and there is danger that has sunk quietly to the bottom, or a nip they will disgracefully sneak out under from his cousin the “sea-attorney.” Somethe lower edge of the net while it hangs body has hit the “stinger," as they call in deep water, and walk away each with him, and he wallops up to the surface, his tongue in his cheek, leaving the fisher- and snaps his long tail about. Suddenly men only " fisherman's luck.” “There, a bold young fellow grips the extremity there they are ag'in,” says the old man, of it, and with both hands holds tight
singing out sharply, while the great flat and wound himself up in the net, hoping clumsy fish wabbles and “flops” this way to be hidden, is hauled up, and turned, and that way, nearly hauling his captor kicking and kicked, out from the twisted over upon his nose among the fish, " Jab meshes, to share the fate of those he had the boat-hook into him, quick, will ye?" desired to destroy. It is pitiful to see the Chunk! it goes, fairly into the creature's little whitefish gape and tumble and back; four men seize the hook-staff, and bounce about in innocent agony.
The walk the big sting-ray bodily out ashore, clumsy ray never troubles any body exhis first friend steering him behind by cept in self-defence, and gets some symthe tail. Poor old ray! he lies wounded pathy ; but nobody sympathizes with the and bleeding on the dry, hot sand, gug- pig-eyed, shovel-nosed villain who now gling and choking, helpless and doomed. spats the sand, and winks and nips with I run and jump up before him, whereupon his three rows of thorny teeth, as he feels he unexpectedly gives a strange loud his thievish life slipping away from him. watery snort, and wallops almost off the I sarcastically hint that he must be hunground, as if, like Mr. Briggs' pickerel (see gry, since he opens his mouth so wide; London Punch), he were going to "fly at and I cautiously insert therein a whiteme, and bark like a dog." It scares me, fish or two, and set them well down with until I reflect upon his locomotive disad- a stick. He has no appetite, after all, vantages, and so I repeat my irritating and spits them out; and, as I renew my gambadoes, until the monster is too dead attentions, he gathers himself up in a to notice them. He weighs at least five rage, and springs at me so strongly that hundred pounds; and is long enough and the grinning jaws snap together within broad enough to cover a table for six. an inch of my fist. A little more strength His three “stings” are cut off and given in the old scoundrel's tail, and I should me to scrape, wash and preserve, with have repented me of catering for the strict cautions from the friendly fisher- shark. I recommend nobody to feed men against allowing the sharp points or sharks from his fingers. barbs, or the poisonous black slime ad- The net is empty-all but sundry nonhering to them, to get through my skin. descripts of the sea which stick here and These “stings are tapering two-edged there upon the meshes. A “ sea-spider” daggers of hard white bone, set flatwise or two, like a large mouldy acorn with one over the other upon the upper side of six long legs; red starfish ; varieties of the ray's tail, and so jointed on that they seaweed; a stick and a fragment of old can be erected and made to stand out like rope, are all. Half the hands count the three fingers stretched apart. The ends, fish, putting them in piles of four or five and the barbs that point backwards along thousand each, and the rest replace the the sides, are as sharp as needles, and seine upon the boat, in readiness for anowill inflict a frightful ragged cut. No ther haul. wound is more dangerous or more dreaded. Dinner is cooked in a great iron pot. The slimy black venom which sticks all It is a chowder, of course—fisherman's over the stings lodges in the lesion, and food; what should it be ?—Not the “old, the unlucky recipient of the ray's blow is original” chowder, the codfish aristocrat in imminent danger of lock-jaw. A friend of chowders, whose idea is consecrated by of mine was hit by one of these ugly the masterly manipulations and majestic things in the ancle. The barbed blade name of the mighty man of Marshfieldcaught among the sinews, and drew one the "Republican King.”—but still a of them fairly out from the leg—a red chowder, a delicious dish to appetites and white string a foot long.
sharpened by sea air and sea water. It is laid up long with the consequent inflam- a many-sided dish; of pork and fish, pomation and fever; had lock-jaw; almost tatoes and bread, and onions and turnips died; and halts yet upon the leg which “all compact "-"chequits” and seathe "stinger” stung. Of the three stings bass, blackfish, long clams, "pumpkinwhich the fishermen gave me, I send one seeds,” and an accidental eel, all contrito the Editor of Putnam's Monthly with bute. Pepper and salt, but especially these sheets.
hunger, are the seasoning: and I firmly The whitefish are all deposited upon believe that no such flavorous food ever the beach, in silvery, sliddering heaps; slid tickling down mortal throat, as choking: gasping and jumping; or curling plopped out from the canted chowderinto shuddering, agonized rings for a mo- kettle in the solitary fish-house by the ment, and then quietly straightening out sea. to die. Last of all, the sneaking shark, Late at night we returned home; the who had nosed off to the furthest corner gain to the fishers being about a hundred
thousand fish, worth some forty or fifty baking of his school, out into the healthy dollars, and the gain to me being a store world of the workers in the soil. His of happy memories; not so salable, per- parents would be glad, however indignant haps, as the fish, but lasting longer and or sorrowful at the parting, when he fresher, neither by me willingly to be ex- should return, as brown as a berry, changed for any ordinary tangible com- straight, strong and hearty, almost able modity.
to eat his former self, if he were forthSuch was my life with the farmers by coming. the sea. The time and space fail me to I also gained an invaluable agricultural tell of the rockweeding expeditions; the bias; so that I am ready, when my exwanderings after lost cattle in the woods; pected competence shall have been accuthe wood-cutting in the same; the whor- mulated, to betake myself to the shadow tleberry parties; the numberless delight of my trees and vines, and to the sunshine ful and adventurous occupations in which of my tilled land, and there in peace to my farming summers passed.
end my days, living in the world of God, pleasure unspeakable. And not that only, among the trees, the plants, the dumb but I gained a store of strength, and beasts, the earth, the infinitude of beauty hardy habits to keep it good, which sub- and vigor and youth, designed by him; as sequent years of study and confinement much superior to architectural and artishave not hitherto exhausted. I never tic parrotries of stone and canvas, as the can see a thin, white-faced schoolboy of pure, mystic beauty of Mont Blanc, the twelve or fifteen, that I do not long to ex- glories of the sea, of storms, and of the ile him; to expatriate him for a year or evening clouds, are superior to the gortwo from the pie and cake, the coddling geous drapery and gilt gingerbread of a and cookery of home, the weary, brain- hotel bridal-chamber.
As I thy long delay !
Be into slumber pressed !
Day be my night!
Upon her bosom white.
She did transmute
And all her beauty's fruit.
Nor dull nor gray
Herald a brighter day!
Come, beauteous day!
Then have thy way!
XAMES-SOAP PLANT-JUNCTION WITH THE ADVANCE-MIDNIGHT CRT--MILITARY ENGINEERING-OWLS-CAMP
ON THE NUECES-PERILOUS PASSAGE-PRICKLY PEAR--VEGETABLE MONSTERS-OUR FLAG-TABANTULA-
TRAFFIC POPULATION-ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-FALSE ALARM.
says, the furtherest, from wood of October, we took our last look at and water. the lofty precipices, giant boulders, and A blast from the bugles of the 2d crystal fountains which are the minister- Dragoons, which drew forth a universal ing spirits of the Hondo.
After emerging tremor of disgust from the whole camp, from the long grass amid which our tents and which was answered from the lungs were pitched, we entered upon an open of a hundred echoes, rang out clear and prairie, partaking of the genuine "hog- shrill the next morning about three o'clock. wallow" characteristics, and in wet wea- In a few minutes the entire body was in ther doubtless offering to the traveller the motion: mules snorting, horses snickering, most cogently cohesive arguments against harness rattling, teamsters cursing, cooks progress.
An interval of about seven growling, men grunting, and officers miles separates the Hondo from the Seco. grumbling, shivering, and dressing. Venus Apropos of Rio Seco, it is said that these was the solitary sovereign of the firmawords constitute the original name of that . ment, as we filed into the road at half-past great battle-field, known as Resaca de la five o'clock. When the sun rose upon Palma, but that the Mexican who first the column, as it appeared for the first communicated the name was not under- time after the junction, the spectacle was stood, and that “Resaca" was as near the spirited and attractive. At the head of truth-Mexican truth-as the translator the army, the bright barrels and bayonets could come. This explanation-whether of the regular infantry, under the veteran accurate or not-does not appear improb- Bonneville, of Rocky Mountain memory, able, inasmuch as the position taken by gave proudly back the glancing rays of General Arista, when driven from Palo the morning sun: then followed the batAlto, was in the rear of the bed of a de- talion baggage wagons, and to these sucfunct rivulet, the banks of which formed ceeded the bronzed corsairish visages and a natural semi-circular parapet, with the heavy armor of the 1st Dragoons. Next concavity towards the Americans.
came thundering on Washington's artilThis day we first observed a few speci- lery, officers and men in full uniform, mens of the 16
soap, plant”-a bulbous their red horse-hair plumes waving like root extensively used among the Mexicans crescent flags in the eastern breeze, and as a substitute for soap. The plant, it is their polished pieces reflecting the passing said, seldom grows more than a foot high; images of the surrounding landscape. the stalk and leaves drop off in the spring, Immediately behind, the heavy clattering though the bulbs, it is said, remain in the of horses' hoofs, and the clangor of mountground an entire season without decaying. ed troops, indicated the approach of the The mode of using it is to peel off the skin 2d Dragoons, the rear being marked by a or exterior coating, then immerse the root long line of white—the covers of the prinin water until it is somewhat softened, cipal train of wagons, amounting to one and apply to clothes in the same manner hundred and fifty, and stretching over an as soap. Woollen fabrics alone, we are extent of nearly two miles. Last of all told, are washed with it, the colors of came the rear-guard—itself no mean epiwhich when but slightly faded, are restored tome of army variety-rivalling in costo nearly their original brightness. tumes and appointments the platoons of
We arrived at the Sabinal between Falstaff. twelve and one o'clock, on the banks of We arrived at Stony Creek, after a which the advance troops were comfort- march of seven miles, about eight o'clock. ably encamped. The highest and hottest The intervening country presents very, points in the vicinity,
succeeded little novelty. There is a sort of wild in finding, for pitching the tents of the luxuriance abroad over the prairie, which new arrivals and also the furthest, or as exhausts the energy of the soil by a spe