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 40 - ... straight line, almost with the velocity of a bullet. The hunters watched attentively the course they took, and then set off in the 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 135 - ... 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 32 - They are great mimics and buffoons, also, and entertain themselves excessively at the expense of the whites with whom they have associated, and who have supposed them impressed with profound respect for their grandeur and dignity. They are curious observers, noting every thing in silence, but with a keen and watchful eye ; occasionally exchanging a glance or a grunt with each other, when any thing particularly strikes them : but reserving all comments until they are alone. Then it is that they give...
Page 41 - 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 39 - ... 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 41 - These busied themselves as eagerly and cheerfully as so many wreckers on an Indiaman that has been driven on shore ; plunging into the cells of the broken honey-combs, banqueting greedily on the spoil, and then winging their way full freighted to their homes. As to the poor proprietors of the ruin, they seemed to have no heart to do...
Page 57 - 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 135 - The flanking parties were quietly extending themselves, out of sight, on each side of the valley, and the residue were stretching themselves, like the links of a chain, across it, when the wild horses gave signs that they scented an enemy; snuffing the air, snorting, and looking about. At length they pranced off slowly toward the river, and disappeared behind a green bank. Here, had the regulations of the chase been observed, they would have been quietly checked and turned back by the advance of...
Page 134 - The ring being formed, two or three ride toward the horses, who 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...
Page 178 - At length, some who resided on the opposite side of the village, taking courage from the continued stillness, would steal forth, and hurry off to a distant hole, the residence possibly...

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