Billeder på siden

used to harness him to a little sleigh, on which he drew my youngest brother to school. As Hector was as fleet as the wind, this sort of riding was rare sport. At night we had but to start him off, and he would go directly to the school-house for his little master, Ah, Hector was a wonderful dog!

A few miles from our house there was a pond, or small lake, very deep and dark, and surrounded by a swampy wood. Here my brothers used to go duck-shooting, though it was rather dangerous sport, as most of the shore of the pond was a soft bog, but thinly grown over with grass and weeds. It was said that cattle had been known to sink in it, and disappear in a short time.

One night during the hunting season, one of my elder brothers brought a friend home with him, a fine, handsome young fellow, named Charles Ashley. It was arranged that they should shoot ducks


about the pond the next day. So in the morning they all set out in high spirits. In the forenoon they had not much luck, as they kept too much together; but in the afternoon they separated, my brothers giving their friend warning to beware of getting into the bogs. But Ashley was a wild, imprudent young man, and once, having shot a fine large duck, which fell into the pond near the shore, and Hector, who was with him, refusing to go into the water for it, he ran down himself. Before he reached the edge of the water he was over the ankles in mire; then, turning to go back, he sunk to his knees, and in another moment he was waist-high in the bog, and quite unable to help himself. He laid his gun down, and, fortunately, could rest one end of it on a little knoll of firmer earth; but he still sunk slowly, till he was in up to his arm-pits. Of course he called and shouted for help as loud as possible, but my brothers were at

such a distance that they did not hear him so as to know his voice. But Hector, after looking at him in his sad fix a moment, started off on a swift run, which soon brought him to his master. My brother said that the dog then began to whine, and run back and forth in a most extraordinary manner, until he set out to follow him to the scene of the accident. Hector dashed on through the thick bushes, as though he were half distracted, every few moments turning back with wild cries to hurry on his master. brother came up to where his friend was fixed in the mire, he could see nothing of him at first. Then he heard a faint voice calling him, and, looking down near the water, he saw a pale face looking up at him from the midst of the black bog. He has often said that it was the strangest sight that he ever saw. Poor Ashley's arms, and the fowling-piece he held, were now beginning to disappear, and in a very

When my short time he would have sunk out of sight for ever! Only to think of such an awful death! My brother, who had always great presence of mind, lost no time in bending down a young tree from the bank where he stood, so that Ashley could grasp it, and in that way be drawn up; for, as you see, it would not have been safe for him to go down to where his friend sunk. When Ashley had taken a firm hold of the sapling, my brother let go of it, and it sprung back, pulling up the

young man without much exertion on his part. Ashley was, however, greatly exhausted with fright and struggling, and lay for some moments on the bank, feeling quite unable to walk. As soon as he was strong enough, he set out for home with my brother, stopping very often to rest and shake off the thick mud, which actually weighed heavily upon him. I never shall forget how he looked when he came into the yard about sunset. O,

what a rueful and ridiculous figure he cut! We could none of us keep from laughing, though we were frightened at first, and sorry for our guest's misfortune. But after he was dressed in a dry suit of my brother's, he looked funnier than ever, for he was a tall, rather large person, and the dress was too small for him every way. Yet he laughed as heartily as any of us, for he was very good-natured and merry. It seems to me I can see him now, as he walked about with pantaloons half-way up to his knees, coat-sleeves coming a little below the elbows, and vest that would not meet at all, and told us queer stories, and sung songs, and jested and laughed all the evening. But once, I remember, I saw him go out on to the door-step, where Hector was lying, kneel down beside the faithful dog, and actually hug him to his breast.

When not hunting with his master, Hector went with Albert and me in all our

« ForrigeFortsæt »