A Tour on the Prairies

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Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1835 - Indians of North America - 199 pages
In the Fall of 1832 Washington Irving took part in what he called "a month foray beyond the outposts of human habitation, into the wilderness of the Far West." As was his habit, Irving kept a memorandum book, which he later expanded into A Tour on the Prairies, a real-life Western adventure in the third decade of the nineteenth century. His account is fresh and clear. He saw and makes his readers see the frontiersmen, the trappers, the Indians, and the troopers as they actually were in the 1830s.

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User Review  - MrsLee - LibraryThing

Washington Irving used the notes from his 1832 tour on the Arkansas and Oklahoma prairie to write this account. As with any good story, he may have stretched the truth here, changed the timing of ... Read full review

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Page 38 - ... same direction, stumbling along over twisted roots and fallen trees, with their eyes turned up to the sky. In this way they traced the honey-laden bees to their hive, in the hollow trunk of a blasted oak, where, after buzzing about for a moment, they entered a hole about sixty feet from the ground.
Page 133 - ... wildfire Jack-o'-lantern little Frenchman to deal with. Instead of keeping quietly up the right side of the valley, to get above the horses, the moment he saw them move toward the river, he broke out of the covert of woods, and dashed furiously across the plain in pursuit of them, being mounted on one of the led horses belonging to the Count.
Page 132 - The ring being formed, two or three ride toward the horses, which start off in an opposite direction. Whenever they approach the bounds of the ring, however, a huntsman presents himself and turns them from their course. In this way they are checked and driven back at every point, and kept galloping round and round this magic circle, until, being completely tired down, it is easy for the hunters to ride up beside them and throw the lariat over their heads.
Page 132 - The meadow was finely diversified by groves and clumps of trees, so happily dispersed, that they seemed as if set out by the hand of art. As we cast our eyes over this fresh and delightful valley, we beheld a troop of wild horses, quietly grazing on a green lawn, about a mile distant to our right, while to our left, at nearly the same distance, were several buffaloes; some feeding, others reposing and ruminating among the high rich herbage, under the shade of a clump of cotton-wood trees. The whole...
Page 37 - At present the honey-bee swarms in myriads in the noble groves and forests that skirt and intersect the prairies, and extend along the alluvial bottoms of the rivers. It seems to me as if these beautiful regions answer literally to the description of the land of promise, " a land flowing with milk and honey...
Page 39 - It is difficult to describe the bewilderment and confusion of the bees of the bankrupt hive who had been absent at the time of the catastrophe, and who arrived from time to time, with full cargoes from abroad. At first they wheeled about in the air, in the place where the fallen tree had once reared its head, astonished at finding it all a vacuum.
Page 30 - In the course of my journey along the frontier, I have had repeated opportunities of noticing their excitability and boisterous merriment at their games; and have occasionally noticed a group of...
Page 36 - ... and I am told that the wild bee is seldom to be met with at any great distance from the frontier. They have been the heralds of civilization, steadfastly preceding it as it advanced from the Atlantic borders; and some of the ancient settlers of the West pretend to give the very year when the honey-bee first crossed the Mississippi.
Page 55 - It appeared to me pretty much like the embarkation of the wise men of Gotham, who went to sea in a bowl: I stepped in, however, without hesitation, though as cautiously as possible, and sat down on top of the luggage, the margin of the hide sinking to within a hand's breadth of the water's edge.
Page 38 - One of the hunters immediately ran up with a wisp of lighted hay, as a defence against the bees. The latter, however, made no attack, and sought no revenge ; they seemed stupefied by the catastrophe, and unsuspicious of its cause, and remained crawling and buzzing about the ruins, without offering us any molestation. Every one of the party now fell to, with spoon and hunting-knife, to scoop out the flakes of honeycomb with which the hollow trunk was stored.

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