Page images

12. Transition, Moderate and Vehemen..

First came renowned Warwick, Who cried aloud, / "What scourge for perjury Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?” †l And so he vanished. | Then came wand'ring by A shadow like an angel, with bright hair Dabbled in blood ; | and he shrieked out aloud, Clarence is come - | false, fleeting, perjured CLARENCE! | SEIZE on him, furies ! | take him to your torments !



RULE 1. Language, unattended with strong emotions, as most narrative, descriptive, and historical writings, should be read on the middle pitch, in a natural and conversational tone, with smooth utterance, moderate movement, and varied inflections.


Narrative. 1. In August, 1786, two young men, near the Slate-creek iron-works in Kentucky, by the names of Yates and Downing, set out together in pursuit of a horse which had strayed into the woods. Toward evening, they found themselves six or seven miles from home, and, at that time, exposed to

QURATION. What is the rule for reading narrative, descriptive, and historical writings?

• Warwick, (Richard Nevil,) called the king-maker. He was killed in battle, in 1471

Clar'ence, son-in-law of Warwick. He was put to death by his brother, Edward IV., king of England.

danger from the Indians. Downing even began to fancy he heard the crackling of sticks in the bushes behind them ; but Yates, who was somewhat experienced as a hunter, only laughed at his fears.

2. Downing, however, was not satisfied. He still thought that the Indians were following them, and, at last, determined to find out. Gradually slackening his pace, he allowed Yates to get several rods before him; and, immediately after descending a little hill, he suddenly sprung aside and hid himself in a thick cluster of whortleberry-bushes. Yates was humming over a song just at the time, and did not think of Downing or the Indians any more for several minutes.

3. No sooner was he out of sight, than Downing saw two savages come out of a cane-brake and look cautiously after Yates. Fearful that they had seen him secrete himself, he determined to fire on them; but his hand was so unsteady that he discharged his gun without taking aim, and then ran. When he had run ten or twelve rods, he met Yates, who, having heard the report of the gun, was coming back to inquire what was the matter. The Indians were now in full pursuit, and Yates was glad to run with Downing.

4. Just at this place, the road divided, and at some distance further on, the divisions came together again. Yates and Downing took one road, and the two Indians, probably to get ahead of them, took the other. The former, however, reached the junction of the two roads first. But, coming nearly at the same time to a deep gully, Downing fell into it, while the Indians, who crossed it a little lower down, not observing his fall, kept on after Yates.

5. Here Downing had time to reload his gun, but he did not think of it; for he was busy in climbing up on the banks of the ditch to learn the fate of his companion. To his surprise, he saw one of the Indians returning to search for him. What should he do now? His gun was no longer

of use, so he threw it aside, and again plied his heels with the Indian after him.

6. Coming at length to a large poplar-tree which had been blown up by the roots, he ran along the body of the tree upon one side, while the Indian followed on the other to meet him at the root. It happened, however, that a large bear was lying with her cubs in a bed which she had made at the root of the tree, and as the Indian reached the spot a moment first, she sprung upon him, and a prodigious uproar took place.

7. The Indian yelled, and stabbed with his knife; the bear growled, hugged him more closely, and endeavored to tear him ; while Downing, not anxious to stand long to see the battle, took to his heels with new courage, and finally reached home in safety, where Yates, after a hot chase, had arrived some time before.

[blocks in formation]

Descriptive Narration. 1. We were sound asleep one night in a cabin about a hundred miles from this, when, about two hours before day, the snorting of horses and lowing of the cattle which I had ranging in the woods, suddenly awakened us. I took my rifle, and went to the door to see what beast had caused the hubbub, when I was struck by the glare of light reflected on all the trees before me, as far as I could see through the woods. My horses were leaping about, snorting loudly, and the cattle ran among them in great consternation.

2. On going to the back of the house, I plainly heard the crackling made by the burning brushwood, and saw the

• Au'du-bon, (John Jamer,) a celebrated American ornithologist.


flames coming toward us in a far-extended line. I ran to the house, told my wife to dress herself and the child as quickly as possible, and take the little money we had, while I managed to catch and saddle two of the best horses. All this was done in a very short time, for I guessed that every moment was precious to us.

3. We then mounted our horses, and made off from the fire. My wife, who is an excellent rider, stuck close to rne; and my daughter, who was then a small child, I took in one

When making off, as I said, I looked back and saw that the frightful blaze was close upon us, and had already laid hold of the house. By good luck there was a horn attached to my hunting clothes, and I blew it to bring after us, if possible, the remainder of my livestock, as well as the dogs. The cattle followed for a while ; but before an hour had elapsed, they all ran, as if mad, through the woods, and that was the last of them. My dogs, too, although at all other times extremely tractable, ran after the deer that in great numbers sprang before us, as if fully aware of the death that was so rapidly approaching.

4. We heard blasts from the horns of our neighbors, as we proceeded, and knew that they were in the same predicament. Intent on striving to the utmost to preserve our lives, I thought of a large lake, some miles off, which might possibly check the flames; and, urging my wife to whip up her horse, we set off at full speed, making the best way we could over the fallen trees, and the brush-heaps, which lay like so many articles placed on purpose to keep up the terrific fires, that advanced with a broad front upon us.

5. By this time, we could feel the heat ; and we were afraid that our horses would drop down every instant. A singular kind of breeze was passing over our heads, and the glare of the atmosphere shone over the daylight. I was sensible of a slight faintness, and my wife looked pale. The heat had produced such a flush in the child's face, that when

she turned toward either of us, our grief and perplexity were greatly increased. Ten miles, you know, are soon gone over on swift horses; but, notwithstanding this, when we reached the borders of the lake, covered with sweat and quite exhausted, our hearts failed us.

6. The heat of the smoke was insufferable, and sheets of blazing fire flew over us in a manner beyond belief. We reached the shore, however, coasted the lake for a while, and got round to the lee-side. There we gave up our horses, which we never saw again. Down among the rushes, we plunged, by the edge of the water, and laid ourselves flat, to wait the chance of escaping from being burned or devoured. The water refreshed us, and we enjoyed the coolness.

7. On went the fire, rushing and crashing through the woods. Such a night may we never again see! The heavens themselves, I thought, were frightened; for all above us was a red glare, mixed with clouds and smoke, rolling and sweeping away. Our bodies were cool enough, but our heads were scorching; and the child, who now seemed to understand the matter, cried so as nearly to break our hearts..

8. The day passed on, and we became hungry. Many wild beasts came plunging into the water beside us, and others swam across to our side, and stood still. Although faint and weary, I managed to shoot a porcupine, and we all tasted its flesh. The night passed, I cannot tell you how. Smoldering fires covered the ground, and the trees stood like pillars of fire, or fell across each other. The stifling and sickening smoke still rushed over us, and the burnt cinders and ashes fell thick about us. How we got through that night, I really cannot tell; for about some of it, I remember nothing

9. When morning came, all was calm; but a dismal smoke still filled the air, and the smell seemed worse than ever. What was to become of us, I did not know. My wife

« PreviousContinue »