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tions of unadorned nature, than in all the extremity of art with which even this garden is pranked and embellished :
'I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
· Adieu : I will hie me thither without farther delay. If I should be as successful as I hope, I shall arrive at the mouth of our hive as early as thyself. Should I be detained, offer thy collection to our Queen in my name, and I will reward thee when we meet, by talking to thee of the dreaming lady. I shall if I behold her have more pleasure in contemplating her than in any thing else the bank can yield - au plaisir.'
Thus saying, she darted off with all the velocity a being so graceful could employ; and while I floated, poised in air, wondering at the gift by which some rare Intelligences can neglect positive duties, and yet attach us to themselves as if they had accomplished every relationship of life, a cruel boy, either to possess himself of my boneybag, or from mere wantoness of sport, threw his blue cap into the air with so exact an aim as to strike me on the foot with its gilt tassel, and maim me, as I thought, for the rest of my days. In an agony of consternation and pain, I awoke, and behold! every thing was a dream, except a twinge of rheumatic gout in the instep of my foot, where Huber's charming work on bees had fallen from my hands upon it
Tom DAVENPORT, some forty years since known as one of the most successful hunters who ever irod the wilds of the Winnepisiogee, after a long career of triumph in his favorite pursuit, suddenly took it into his head that he was haunted by the devil; and possessed with this singular idea, in order to get rid of his adversary, he one morning crept softly from his log cabin into a neighboring thicket, and hung himself upon the branch of a tree. The trunk of that giant old oak still stands near the shore of the lake, and the very
upon which poor Tom suspended himself, to elude the grasp of his pursuer, is pointed out to the curious traveller. The story of Tom Davenport is in some respects a sad one, but is briefly told.
From boyhood, Tom had been accustomed to hunting, and was more familiar with his trap and gun, than with books or schools. He had scarcely seen more than a single book in the log hut of his father, and that was wrapped up in a neat covering of patch-work, having an emblem of the cross worked in its centre, and carefully laid upon a shelf. Morning and evening, as his parents read from its pages, and afterward knelt to their devotions, Tom knelt with them, scarcely realizing the sanctity of the rite ; and in the restlessness of his imagination, thinking of almost every thing but the humble and penitent prayers, which ascended from hearts long since weaned from the vanities of the world.
Tom was not absolutely vicious, but he was wayward ; restless whenever called to his task in the field, and panting only for the wild forest, or the broad bosom of the lake. His soul burned with a passion for lake and woodland scenery, and he was happy no where else. When not restrained, he would be off, while yet the stars were bright in the dome above, as the first faint rays of the coming day would pencil the curtains of the east; and roaming from covert to covert, in the forest, or from inlet to inlet along the picturesque shores of the lake, he would remain until the same stars, bright and immoveable, again twinkled in the canopy of night.
It is easily to be seen, that a passion so absorbing unfitted Tom for any other pursuit than that of a hunter. Born near the lake, and having spent the first ten years of his life in the little clearing of his father, whose log cabin was for years the only human habitation within a circuit of ten miles, Tom had in infancy received impressions, which, as he grew up, ripened into a passion.' He had seen his father, when the family stock of venison or salmon bad diminished, go forth with his rifle or his rod, and had seen how unerringly he supplied their wants. He had gone
with his father on some of these expeditions, at first carrying his pouch and flask, or box of bait; then fishing himself for the spotted salmon, and at last trying his tiny hand at the rusty trigger. Tom on these occasions was invariably in luck, and scarcely ever threw out the line from the canoe, but it was straightway hooked in the gills of a trout, or poised the rifle over his father's knee, but the shot took effect in the heart of his intended victim. Of
course his father was gratified at these instances of Tom's success, in the beginning of his career, and whenever a chance wayfarer stopped at the dwelling, he was usually enlightened with the full history of Tom's juvenile exploits. Tom was of course delighted; and from day to day, as he grew older and bolder, and more experienced, he became more and more determined that he would lead the life of a hunter, and none other.
Things went on well enough, until Tom had attained to the age of fifteen, when his labor and exertions were beginning to be matters of some importance to his father upon his little farm. Tom, he had observed with regret, had exhibited no particular fondness for labor, and would much rather watch the movements of the gray squirrels that were skipping about in the edge of the forest, than hoe potatoes; and in this sort of indifference to agricultural life, the young man had in fact grown up in almost entire ignorance of the first great employment of man. Tom knew how to snare a partridge ; could bring down two wild geese at a shot, with his old double-barrelled gun, as they wheeled in grand circle upward from the adjoining lake; he could plant the ball in the heart of the panther or the bear that growled in the thicket; and in sunshine or rain, in summer or winter, whenever Tom wanted a salmon, his hook could always find one. But as to hoeing potatoes, weeding corn, or chopping wood at the door, Tom said, ‘he did n't know how, and did n't believe he could ever learn.'
The old man would shake his head, and grumble as loudly in his vexation as a christian man should, at Tom's incorrigible idleness, as he called it; and his mother scolded and fretted away at bim as a 'good-for-nothing lazy lout,' for fixing his fish-lines, and scouring his gun of a morning, while his father was taking care of the cows, or chopping wood at the door. Tom was sensible that he was in fault; and being so, generally refrained from improper replies to the reproofs he so well merited; resolving in his own mind, on such occasions, to make ample amends by bringing in daily as much in value of the products of the forest and fisheries,' as should equal his father's gains at the plough. Tom, you see, was a political economist, though he knew no more about that than he did about chopping wood; and both, in his eyes, were decidedly vulgar employments, compared to hunting and fishing.
One morning, after having received a rather severe reproof from his parents for neglecting to milk the cows before sunrise ; a custom which old dairy wives say should never be neglected, if you would have good wholesome milk; Tom gathered up his hunting and fishing gear, and hurried off into the forest. It was at quite an early hour. The tinkling of the cow-bell, as his father's cattle, let loose into the woods, were wending their way to the cool margin of the lake, came to his ears with rather a mournful cadence. He sat down beneath a giant oak, and resting his head upon his hand, reclined upon the carpet grass. He thought over his own conduct, and course of life; his inertness in all the usual plodding pursuits of husbaudry; and the abundant cause his good father and mother had for their vexation. Tom was in a fair way to repentance, and might possibly have become an altered man; but just at that moment, his eye caught a glimpse
of a beautiful fawn, which had apparently strayed away from its dam, and was quietly feeding upon the tender sprouts that had sprung up near the borders of the lake. The beautiful animal, unconscious of danger, looked out upon the quiet lake, and up into the forest, and fed on, while the deadly rifle was silently charged, the ball sent home, and the priming dropped carefully beneath the flint. Tom, scarcely breathing, crawled softly behind the huge trunk of the oak, and was watching to get sight of the fawn through a little opening in the bushes, where she would, in a few moments, come within range of his rifie. He waited patiently for a moment. The young deer stood a fair mark for his never-failing rifle ; and he was raising it to meet the line of vision marked by his eye, when, crash! down came a huge dry branch of the old oak, knocking the gun from his hand, and almost stunning bim with the blow.
Hold !' on the instant, exclaimed a hoarse voice, near him : 'strike not the spotted fawn, or the curse of Chocoma be upon you !'
Before Town Davenport could recover his bewildered senses, the fawn had bounded far back into the forest, and when at last be got upon his feet, and caught a glimpse of an old solitary Indian, who was known to live upon one of the islands in the Winnepissiogee, he was just passing round a point of land jutting out into the lake, still waving one hand menacingly, as with the other be guided bis birchen canoe through the limpid waters.
By heavens !' said the hunter to himself, as he gathered up his rifle, this is a strange adventure. What! the flint is clear gone, I see, and — by all the devils in hell ! the lock, too, is broken! Blast the 'cussed old imp! What shall I do? What offering shall I now carry home? "I'll try for a six-pounder in the wizard's cove.'
Tom was within a hundred yards of the lake, and gathering up his fishing gear, and depositing it with his broken rifle in the bottom of the log canoe, fastened to a birch tree which bent over the margin, he pushed his boat from the shore, and was soon paddling silently over the smooth waters in the direction of the wizard's cove. This cove was a deep indentation of the lake into the shore, with a sort of natural gulf beyond, full of dark alders, through which a small brook came from the distant hills, creeping lazily into the lake. The shores on either hand were steep, and on the eastern or left side, rocky and precipitous. The water was deep and clear, and in this still retreat, Tom remembered that he had caught finer trout than at any other spot upon the lake. No stray sun-beam had ever found its way down into this narrow glen, revealing to the finny tribes below the snares prepared for them by the dexterous angler. At high noon, as well as at night, the deep shadows of the cliff hung over the quiet waters.
Tom brought his canoe to rest, nearly in the centre of the cove, and proceeded with his sport. He was entirely successful, and was taking up his paddles in order to return, when a hoarse laugh echoed from rock to rock above him, dying away in the distance upon the waters. Startled by the sound, and looking upward, he saw the same old Indian, whom he bad before encountered under the oak, carelessly swinging upon the very edge of the precipice. As quick as thought, he raised his rifle to bring him down, forgetting that he had neither
lock nor flint, and that the savage was for the present beyond his reach : of all this the Indian showed that he was conscious, by laughing immoderately at Tom Davenport's discomfiture. At last he said:
* Let the Englishman keep his powder, till the Mohawk comes ! The son of Chocoma is his friend. But remember ! Strike not the spotted fawn !
Tom was not terrified; but he was naturally superstitious, and the mysterious appearance on the very pinnacle of that cliff, of the old sagamore, whom but a short time before he had seen pass round a point in the lake more than a mile distant, puzzled him exceedingly. The singular fall of the branch of the old oak, and the mysterious warning now again repeated, were also circumstances that added not a little to his embarrassment. In a somewhat confused state of mind, Tom returned home, in season to provide the means of a dainty dinner, and as the father craved a blessing over that happy meal, all thoughts of the little vexations of the morning vanished like dew before the sun.
The old man complimented Tom on his good luck, and his mother declared that “Thomas was good for something - for fishing and hunting, if nothing else — and she guessed, after all, that Thomas would contrive to get an honest living somehow, and that was all any of us wanted.' Tom prudently kept his morning adventures to himself. He did not know what to make of them, and would not alarm his father or rother by the recital. He got his rifle mended, and in a few days was again as successful as ever in his favorite employment. Years passed on.
His ardor never abated in the pursuit; on the contrary, his appetite for hunting seemed to grow with what it fed on. His fame as a hunter was circulated far and wide; and parties of pleasure came up from Portsmouth and Dover to join him in his hunting and fishing expeditions. By degrees, the forest melted away before the axe of the husbandman, and smiling villages now occupy the hunting grounds of the pioneers. Until the last deer was seen stalking in the wilds about Winnepisiogee, Tom Davenport had a regular hunt weekly. He had now become a tavern-keeper. Roads leading to Pequawkett had been opened near his dwelling, and Tom grew wealthy without labor, and was himself in due time one of the best customers he had at the bar. A few years of diligent practice confirined his babits. He was still, however, the best fisherman upon the lakes; and was wont, when a little exhilarated, to take his old rifle with him, in the hope of encountering some straggler from the wilds.
Twenty years had now elapsed since the old Indian had been seen ; and scarcely a deer had been noticed in the neighborhood for half that period, when one day as Tom was returning from the wizard's cove, well laden with trout and whiskey, he saw at a distance on the shore a plump deer drinking of the waters of the lake. He raised his rifle, and in the next moment the spotted fawn lay weltering in blood. The thought of Chocoma's curse, bringing sickness upon every living thing he possessed, and poisoving the fountains and the lake, rushed at once upon his thoughts ; and, excited as he was by the strong stimulus in which he had indulged so long, he became from