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We passed out of the town in a
They stared with an unrestrained and men who but now had moved across that foes. There was the element of somecurious insolence. It was their business leprous plain, who had traveled into re- thing uncanny-of something to make to clean up the ruin they had wrought. gions and experiences totally strange and one's flesh creep, to keep men's nerves They were piling fallen bricks in rows- incomprehensible and apart. Behind perpetually on edge. Because within thousands of bricks and shoveling mor- was left their playground and their that emptiness upon which one gazed, tar and digging at the mountain heaps of workshop, the tools laid down. It was where there was no motion and where destruction.
as if something paralyzing, some great no life appeared, there were, as a matter elemental force, had swept across that of fact, millions of men engaged ter
blistered field, had caught and crystal- rifically in the most intensive warfare, heavy lorry, and there gradually jized a great game in full swing, had working unceasingly as a great scientific unfolded before us that colossal grave- petrified its action.
machine with its directing force miles yard or battlefield of Verdun. It
away-over there in the shadow against stretched before us first as an empty I
was an empty world for leagues the sky-line perhaps-minds and maps plain, and then it became as a great sea about—not a bird's note, not the which through the medium of wires unof lava, cooled off suddenly and gray and whimper of a beast. It was incompre- derground and flashings overground diirregular. The look of it was leprous and hensible. One looked afar over the un- rected the slightest movement of this unhealthy, full of extraordinary indenta- dulations of that vast plain--there was invisible host. It was a huge and extions and sudden craters. At first were
not a breath. And yet everywhere was traordinary and uncomfortable thought, trees, but withered to the roots and the evidence of intense action, of energy something above and beyond the constanding at preposterous angles, the dry and frenzied haste; all the marks of hu- ception of every-day standards and gray splinters of them making sharp man and recent habitation. Never was thought. And the minds that directed silhouettes against the sky. Then there an empty desert so teeming with life and the men who advanced, who slept were no trees at all.
the passionate effort and the madness, like rats in the mud under the earth or Everything that was green had van- the surging forward and the shouting, crawled inch by inch upon their stomished, and there lay before us great and the intolerable pushing back with
achs in the dark of the night, to be torn stretches like the alkaline deserts of the the rage and the stumblings and desper- by barbed wire or bayoneted or bombed Far West. Rude crosses appeared in the ate sobbing, the coughing sighs, and by the enemy, were creatures one and all ditches by the roadside, in the hollows death.
lifted above all ordinary standards, who and sudden upheavals. Burst bombs One's ear-drums were splitting with
endured beyond the endurance meted and sleek heavy shells still unspent were
the burstings and the tumult and the out to men and who gave their lives in the fields where they had fallen. roar, and the sibilant whistling past of finally as men infinitely exalted and of Hand grenades, round and black, lay to- death. One walked unsteadily up and
a higher mind. gether in the hollows like eggs in a nest. down the gray craters, what with the By degrees the setting of this colossal rocking and the roar. And always was
"He story of it all lay there that day, stage began to take shape. The amaz- the mirage hanging hazy as a cloud spread out upon that leprous plain, ing camouflaging—the roads that were above the plain--the extraordinary illu- the wreckage of that awful game. The not roads, the infinite labor of screens sion of the presence of millions of men ugly craiers full of muddy water and the and curtains fashioned of boughs and in the smoky blue fading off into the drowned bodies of shells dipping nose-on branches that hid the endless trail of life sky-line or slipping low upon the earth into the mud. The torn shoes and flowing from the fortress to the distant in khaki color--like mud. There were an ragged socks, the belts and bloody bandtrenches. The cunning and the tireless uneasiness and a bewilderment-of not ages, the buttons and the buckles, the effort-rocks that were men, and men
seeing, but feeling very distinctly, the faded rags of uniforms bleached by the that were rocks. Cannon that were soft upheaval and movement of the snows and the rains—a great smearing spattered and splashed to lie like fallow earth, of the consciousness of men under all over of human beings. And always deer hidden in a network of green, as
one's feet terrifically digging with smoth- the regiments and groups of little crosses, shrinking creatures of the forest mightered and imperceptible noises, deceptive climbing the hills or buried in the hollie with beating hearts, till suddenly with and to be confounded with the mysteri- lows, and keeping march on either side breath of flame to bark out death. They ous and underground stretchings of na- the broad highways. sprawled there in their death throes- ture.
Because it was a holiday the widows wheels in air—their once smoking muz
It had been thus for all those years— had come in their long black veils, tirezles buried in the earth.
an empty plain for leagues about, with lessly scrutinizing the little crosses with The screens of rushes that so long had
far in the distance and hardly percepti- their names and the numbers of the regisheltered the passage of the troops were
ble the shadow of Verdun when the sun ments, listening always with a great intorn and bleached by months of rain and
shone down in the heat of the summer tensity for a whisper that should tell sun. They swung back and forth on the or when the snow fell white and silently them-and sometimes finding him whom long stretching wires as clothes on a line. all day long. There was always that they sought. There were bare white It was like a colossal and diabolical motionless blank plain, lying in between coffins waiting along the roadside. By workshop turning out toys for some atro- the town and the belching horrors of the their weeping and drawing back and Here at last the secrets Forts of Vaux and Douaumont.
kneeling in the earth one knew they had were laid bare—the make-believe, the There was nothing to be seen but found their men. trickery, the fiendish success. These the emptiness and the long wide plains These were things not to be looked at. things were an amazement and every stretching away to the horizon on ev
And yet as we turned to go down the moment in the front of one's mind.. This ery side—an extraordinary panorama. steep way they were the last things we extraordinary race of beings bending of There was nothing at all for human The Boche with his spade--and a sudden all their talent and ingenuity eyes to detect-keen eyes with the vis- those kneeling black figures—and ininto the distorting and masquerading of ion strengthened by glasses of amazing numerable poppies with petals of fine red nature into a game of death. A host of power. This fight was between invisible silk blowing delicately in the wind.
By ARCHIBALD RUTLEDGE
THIS particular patch of sweet- ancient tactician of the wilds had de- when they were being pursued. A fox
bays and myrtles was not more cided that, all things considered, it might acts as if one enemy were just behind
than a half-acre in extent; the be wiser for him to stay where he was. him and another right in front of him, bushes in it were rather low; and it lay However, when we moved back his way and several on each side.
If he comes to in the open flat pinewoods, at some dis- he stole out ahead of us. And his strat- a slight obstruction, such as a fallen log, tance from any heavy thicket. Such a egy saved him.
he will set his fore feet upon it, pause, bit of cover usually looks tempting to a This little incident illustrates a prin- and, enjoying the advantage of a slight buck. Especially toward the close of the ciple followed by the wildest of our ani- elevation, will scrutinize the surrounding hunting season, when he is wariest, he mals, and to some degree by all living woods. A wild thing generally pauses at does not care about lying in a densely creatures. They make constant use of an obstacle, at a road, at a pathway, at thick place. He may be well concealed the fine art of reconnoitering. And, if a turn. Both a deer and a fox will usuin such cover, but from it he cannot con- I may judge by the observations of ally pause at a fence, less to get a stance veniently reconnoiter; and the business many years, deer do a lot of their recon- for jumping than just to look about. of reconnoitering is the white-tail's life noitering while they are lying down. Angels are by no means (though I claim insurance.
Only a few weeks ago I noticed this a rather desultory acquaintance with I must have walked, I am sure, within thing happen.
them) the only ones to fear to tread ten feet of this buck, lying couched un- I was on a deer stand in compara
where fools rush in. der a fragrant canopy of sweet-bay. I tively open woods, the wind blowing While a fox is half afraid of crossing did not see him. He, of
from the drive to me; and I had tiptoed a road, he loves to travel one, the reason me from afar; and he did not jump to this stand with especial care, so as not being, of course, the promised security when I was nearest him because, all to let my presence be known by any of the open stretch before him, not to things considered, he concluded that it deer that might be lying on the fringes mention the matter of easier going. A was wiser for him to skulk. But when I of the drive. While waiting I heard a fox is exceedingly partial to a path also, had passed him some thirty yards he Negro cutting wood behind me in the and the fact that he shares its use with nearly scared me to death by tearing pine forest, perhaps three hundred yards human beings appears not to disturb open the bays in a wild rush for liberty. away. In due time the drivers came him in the least. The only difference between a buck do- toward me, and when two hundred yards ing that kind of thing and a torpedo in directly in front of me they started a EER have a small maneuver all their sull flight is that one has a white tail stag that looked as big as a respectable own upon coming to a road; this and the other has a white head. I
He had huge horns-a twelve- same performance I have seen, not once, brought this buck down. He fell just pointer, I judged-and he was headed but many times. It must be considered on the edge of the patch of bays, not straight for me. I was so well hidden by them a kind of a fool's mate for a more than about twenty-five yards from that he could not possibly have seen or hunter, a standard trick move. To make where I had jumped him.
winded me. Yet he took only about the business concrete, I may say that Two hunting comrades with me, see- three or four leaps in my direction. early one morning I was in an old road ing the whole performance, came crash- Then he halted; a moment later he bordered by dense thickets of young ing through the little thicket, shouting, dashed back through the drivers and yellow pines. A hunting comrade was a calling to each other and to me, and
made a clean getaway.
Later, as I half-mile off to my left. I was loitering otherwise making much racket. We thought over this escape of the crafty a little at this spot, for I knew it to be a gathered about the fallen stag, admiring buck, I made up my mind that he had favorite place for deer to cross. Sudhim, for he was a big one, and in his long been listening to the sound of the denly I heard the unmistakable sound of prime. As a chilly rain was falling, we woodsman's ax beyond me, and even deer running. My friend must have made up a little fire of pine knots. Then, before being startled had done enough started them. Concealing myself quickwith considerable talking and much mental reconnoitering to decide that ly, I waited. The pines were dewy. A struggle, we managed to hang up the when he left his bed he wouldn't head warm, damp breeze was stirring. I knew buck. We then decided to resume our
toward the place where the chopper was my scent would carry far. On came the hunt. We had not taken five steps back working. It is often on so slight an in- deer. Within twenty yards of the road toward the tiny thicket before I heard cident as this that the life of a wild they stopped. I could manage to see the bays part quietly, and I caught a creature depends; and he makes it his their legs and breasts, but not their glimpse of a second buck sneaking out of business to pause, to consider, to weigh heads, and I was in quest of horns. · the cover! He was larger than the first.
chances, to look the landscape over. To Mine was strictly a stag party. For two Instead of leaping over the bushes, as a wild thing “Look before you leap” full minutes they thus stood. Then they his fellow had done, he was stealing out, isn't a gentle piece of advice; it's a stern separated-parted company to cross the half crouched, under them. The old law. Indeed, it may with truth be said road-—"split for the road," as some old reconnoiterer had outmaneuvered us.
that most wild creatures reconnoiter hunters say. Almost at whirlwind speed Despite the break made by his com- their way through this world.
they crossed the road, and almost a hunrade buck with whom he had been lying,
dred yards apart. I got one of them; at despite the sound of the gun, the shouts 1 is sport to watch a fox expend the least I shot him as he leaped the road, of the hunters, the breaking of the men riches of his craftiness upon the mat- and followed his track, to find him three through the brush quite near him, our ter of pauses. Scores of times I have hundred yards farther on. But before I talking the whole business over by a fire watched foxes in the wilds, either when found him I discovered that the two within easy gunshot of where he lay, this they were just normally moving about or bucks had come together again. And
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that is what they generally do after before, and the second growth had atparting company to cross a road. One tained fine size. Many of the ancient may say to the other, "Do as you please, trees that the lumberman had rejected old man, but I'm going this way." Yet
Yet offered ideal sites for turkeys to roost. they have a date to meet a few hundred Wild grapes were plentiful that year; yards across the road. A doe and a there were some chestnuts; and the botbuck will sometimes have this kind of an toms of all the gullies had growths of arrangement, but two old stags generally greenbrier, teaberries, and the like, bearact better thus in concert. Repeatedlying food in which turkeys delight. I was I have seen the same maneuver executed, lying on the ground in the sunshine, always with the utmost felicity of pre- basking in the warmth of it and marvelcision. It is not the “magic hand of ing at the lingering beauty of the tatchance” that directs such stratagems. It tered woodland. The world was so still is high intelligence, trained to act swiftly that I could hear the fall of a damp leaf and deftly in moments of peril.
on the far side of the gully. Stalking
game is not always strenuous work; It appears to me that if any D. S. O. there's the kind of stalking here de
decorations are to be given for recon- scribed: to loaf at ease and "invite your noitering, the wild turkey will get his. soul,” and at the same time to feel that His whole existence is one long recon- very likely you are doing the very best noiter, just a continuous scouting party. thing to afford you a chance at a bearded Outrageous fortune has dowered him gobbler.
gobbler. The real way to stalk a wild richly; his size, his splendor, and the turkey is to let him stalk you. ravishing flavor of his flesh have made After a half-hour or so I heard a step man covet him with a mighty longing just over the brow of the ridge beyond He therefore, though he carries no big the gully. It might be a man I knew, stick, walks very softly. The chances it might be a gray squirrel (yet the that he will see you before you will see squirrel can soon be distinguished by the him are about 1,000 to 1. And his jumps he makes in the leaves), it might hearing is probably keener than his be a ruffed grouse, or it might be the sight.
visitor I was prepared to welcome. In I remember being in the wild woods a few moments more I saw the sun sudone day near the head of a big lake. As denly catch a shimmering object on the there was much pine-mast about, and crest of the ridge. It was a wild turkey. scarlet swamp-brier berries, and the He was coming over the top, headed sweet seeds of the lotus on the shores of straight for me. In the full sunlight, on the lagoon, and as the place held much a hillside comparatively bare, he would virgin timber, I was on the lookout for make his approach. It was an unusual turkeys; it goes without saying that the opportunity to discover just how a wild turkeys were on the lookout for me and turkey when alone behaves when he is for the likes of me. A flock came within without special apprehension. a hundred yards without my suspecting The great bird's extraordinary detheir presence. Then I saw a snakelike liberateness was incredible. head lift itself out of a patch of gall- peared as much at his ease as a wild berries. The head and neck were as stiff turkey is capable of becoming. I noticed as a rod; they glittered in the sunlight. that his feathers were all fluffed out and Those marvelous eyes had detected a his wings and tail were much relaxed. slight movement that I had made. The He came down the slope at an angle, so gleaming head was withdrawn beneath that he had visibly to foreshorten the leg the bushes; a few moments later it re- that was up-hill. The down-hill leg was appeared nearer the edge of the copse. lifted and placed down with considerable He was periscoping me. Of course, I gingerly care, as if he did not want to tried to pretend that I wasn't there at dislodge anything. Once or twice I saw all. But the eyes of a wild turkey are him try one footing, withdraw his leg, subject to few optical illusions. One and then set his Number 10 on a firmer long, glittering gaze the old bird gave place. All this was so much like the me, then he dodged under cover, and behavior of a somewhat timid human when next I saw him he was leading the walker on a slope that it was very apwhole flock at a handsome trot directly pealing and interesting. At the same away from me across the open woods. I time I had a large silver watch in my saw those birds no more.
pocket that emitted a most stentorious On another occasion, early one warm
tick. I timed the turkey's walking by November day, I was on the side of a the ticks of the watch. The slope was big wooded gully in the mountains of approximately seventy yards long, and, southern Pennsylvania. It was good since he negotiated it at an angle, he turkey country. The original timber covered probably eighty-five yards. As had been cut away some thirty-five years nearly as I could tell, it took him seven
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