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eat. Resembling a cat, but larger, is the racoon, a very sly animal, yet it is sometimes caught and tamed. “ Sly as an opossum,” and “cute as a coon,” have come to be proverbs in America.
Young Ringold goes into the wonds to hunt wild turkeys, and when he has bagged his prize, the gobbler, dressed and cooked, will weigh twenty pounds, and will serve as delicious eating for a whole company of hungry sports
From the forest comes fortb the turkey-buzzard : he is privileged to strut about the city and eat the offal of the markets; his life is as secure as that of the sacred bull at Benares, and should you be so unfortunate or ignorant as to kill one, you will have to appease the good citizens' wrath for the loss of their scavenger by a fine of five dollars.
Stalking about streams and lagoons which we are going to explore, is the pelican on fishing-spoil intent. What is there for his dinner and the dinner of menhunters who also intend to join him in the sweep? Carp jump up at the sand-flies, and nibble the roots of “sweet water-grass” on the banks; the red-snapper will yield delicious rose-colored steaks, solid as beef; the sturgeon will take the place of veal or pork, and the sheepshead, & black-striped chubby little figh, may also aspire to occupy a dish on your camp-table. In the mud burrows the black-fish, and salt-water trout abound on the coast.
We have heard of eyeless fish and musical fish, and here is found another curiosity, the drum-fish, which really gives out a sound like a drum faintly beaten. Though you may have eaten young shark, you will utterly decline to have any similar acquaintance with devil-fish; a planter friend of Mr. Ringold's had fallen into the clutches of one of the fraternity, the fleshy flabs of the fish closed in upon his leg and held like anchors. With
much difficulty he broke loose from the vice-like grasp of this ocean-crab. Now and then we may catch sight of a dolphin, and in spite of its change of color when dying, we shall be glad to taste it on the table. Swimming in the waters we recognise by its yellow body and brown back the terrapin, or fresh-water turtle, the choicest condiment-morsel for epicurean palates.
Over all these scenes of air, earth, and flood, beautiful as they are, hangs a cloud of alloy. A pitying spirit would speak to us as to Peri at the gate of Paradise, lamenting that suffering and decay should mingle with the flowerets of this southern Eden. Stretched above the swamps as a pall of death, is fever; basking on willow-bank, in creek or fen, is the hideous alligator, and crawling across the path are rattlesnake and deadly moccasin. American energy will in time eradicate alligator and snake, as wolves and bears were exterminated in Britain, but whether the peculiarities of climate will ever be so far overcome as to banish fever, is a serious problem which we cannot solve. You remember how when Basil the rancheman had described to Evangeline and her party the glories and delights of the southern land, he concluded, “Only beware of the fever, my friends, beware of the fever !" It is still a terror from Louisiana to South Carolina. A person seized with yellow-fever complains of pain in the head and spine, sickness begins, and if once the black vomit sets in all hope is over, death ensues in 18 to 30 hours. Sometimes mortification begins before death, and then the patient's suffering is excruciating. In a case of this kind a little girl complained that “rats were gnawing off her flesh," so terrible was her agony.
GLOAMING IN THE WOODS.
Then when the gloaming comes,
Low in the heather blooms.
where twilight is so short as to render “gloaming" almost a misnomer. I speak not of eventide, but of the evening of the year. The Germans called America “abend-land,” or evening-land. The name may be true in a poetical sense, but not in a practical, for the genius of the American people takes wing and soars with the rising sun, and tires not with the setting. Yet there is each year a brief season when this great continent might take the name of evening-land and wear it. I mean the “ fall,” the gloaming, or Indian summer. Woodland beauty is then in its prime, and the landscape is lovely, alike on the Assiniboine and in the southern zone. Yet it is loveliness of a different type, always enchanting, always varying ; as “one star differeth from another in glory,” so differeth Indian summer on the Ottawa and on the Rapidan. A Parisian counts it a great sight when the trees from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe gleam with colored lamps, and he challenges you to match the scene. I have looked upon it during the gay revels of an Emperor's fête, yet in America, where nature has done so much, there is a grander tableau than any “ festin” or carnival in the Champs Elyeses, when millions of golden and vermilion pennons hang in autumn forests.
I have read in ancient writers that at the burning of an Eastern city, the smoke which ascended from the conflagration, indicated the site of palace or temple ; yet further, from curling wreaths of misty grey, of bluish haze, of lurid flare, you might prognosticate a court of cedar, oak, or ivory, lighting and tinting the flames below. Be this as it may, whether or not a burning palace, which is one in the grim earnest of flame, may in the varying tints of a destroying element be dissected as to local difference,—the idea is true of the forest. Like brethren have stood these noble trees, side by side, clad in a common robe of green; yet each one shaped and crowned with an individuality of its own. So now in death, like chambers of a burning palace, their separate life comes to the surface. The first frost-bite of autumn strikes & key-note of change, more sudden and wide spread than any that alchemy could effect. More had I yearned to live in the midst of Indian summer for awhile, than for the sight of prairie-butte or canyon, of water-fall or “ Pictured Rocks.”
The cornelian-cherry has put on flecks of amber, the locust-tree a gleam of golden brown. Like a hardy soldier stands the mulberry, scarcely deigning change, scarcely feeling the anger of the frost. The tupel-tree is crowned with crimson, the fire-tree glows in scarlet. The silvery larch-bark catches a tint from leaves above of Californian nugget hue; the maple hangs out the colors of red-cross knights of old; the cedar robes itself in Devon russet, tulip-trees and poplars attire themselves in primrose-brown. The beech stands girded with a crimson sash of wild-vine; sturdy oaks join in the masquerade, appearing in autumn ball-dress hung with golden coins of eagle, angel, or napoleon. The hickory imitates in paler tints the softened ruby,of the elm, and the sycamore's mantle of carmine. From north to south, from east to west, nature's fretted handiwork is round you; the silvery haze of amethyst and grey is onto you more fairylike kaleidoscope, than ever craftsman planned or fashioned. The southern silvery mist is only to be equalled and surpassed by the "pink-mist" of a Canadian “fall.” Over all hangs a curtain of clearest blue. Indian tradition loves to represent this season as the work of Kabibonokka, the fierce north-wind. For this we care not, but looking once more on the radiant scene, we feel that a voyage over the Atlantic is not too high a price of probation to pay for the sight of a glory so ethereal and sublime.
In looking at the pine-trees, many of them have the appearance on one side of being burnt, while the other remains green and apparently full of life.
This occurs oftenest in the pine-forests of Georgia. The trees in question have been operated upon by the resin-extractors, wbo, by applying an instrument to the trunk, can take the gum
from one side to the middle, or from balf the tree at once. The burnt look arises from heat having been used to bring out the gum. The green half is then left till the next year to gather all the sap it can, when its gummy treasure
also drawn, and finally the tree is felled for timber. From this gum resin is made, and turpentine is distilled.
It is not far from the forest to the cotton-lands, about which I learned one or two interesting facts. The seed is planted in March, and grows up into a strong green shrub like a currant-bush; then the bloom appears, in color a pale straw tint, with a brown centre ; this beautiful flower soon falls, and in its place a green ball, the size of a man's hand, is developed. This opens, the