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cessitating some abrupt movements on our part, till in one of her rushes she passed under the limb where John lay, and the lasso, dropped deftly from above, brought her up, plunging and wild-eyed.
Getting a rope around one of her hind feet, we "stretched” her between two trees, so that she was comparatively helpless, and then John, with a campkettle, proceeded to do the milking.
“Soh, boss! soh!” he remarked to her, soothingly.
But “boss” wouldn't "soh.” A mighty plunge, & writhe of the body, a dexterous fore-handed kick from the free hind leg, and down she came with a thump upon her side, while the camp-kettle flew from John's hands and he danced wildly around on one leg, nursing the barked ankle of the other. But in a minute she was on her feet, and the same performance, minus the barked ankle, was gone through with again. Finally, both legs of the cow were tied fast. It was found, however, that even then she possessed the power to “hold up” her milk. We could get very little from her. About a pint was at last procured.
Then another lariat was passed around her horns, and with John at one lariat, myself at the other, and the Judge acting as a drag behind, we started to take her to the corral that the calf might have its breakfast. We intended to imprison her there for another trial.
For about ten yards all went well, then there came a sudden, violent bolt. The Judge was jerked from his feet and landed, face downward, among the sage brush, losing his grasp on the rope; the lariat in John's hands snapped, and I had "a vision of sudden death" in the shape of a black bovine virago with blood-shot eyes and needle-pointed horns, bearing straight down upon me.
All the cow's untamed Texas blood was up. How I got over that corral-fence, ten feet high, I don't know to this day. When I could survey the scene from between the bars of my portcullis, the furious heifer had changed her course, and was precipitating herself upon the Judge,
, who was energetically hoisting his two hundred pounds of flesh up a cottonwood tree. Disappointed there, she turned to John, who, cut off from the corral, and having no friendly tree in which to take shelter, found that he had urgent business in the direction of the creek, which flowed between steep banks some twenty yards away. The infuriated animal was between him and the one path which led down to the water's edge, and, with that thing of fire and fury close behind him, he had no time to pick and choose. With one flying leap he disappeared from view, and a dull splash told that he had found refuge in the turbid water below.
Checking herself on the brink, the wrathful cow turned, and, catching sight of me as I peered through the poles of the fence, charged with a vim that shook the whole corral. Then the Judge, who had taken advantage of this diversion and had slipped down from his perch, was discovered by the cow and forced to scurry upward to a place of safety, like a squirrel surprised by a dog.
John's head now appeared above the banks of the gulch, but the enraged heifer dashed at him with a vehemence that caused him to disappear with the suddenness of a prairie-dog diving into its hole.
To a disinterested spectator it would have been very laughable, no doubt. The Judge's portly form perched twenty feet from the ground, on a two-inch limb, his chubby arms and legs twined around the body of the
tree, and his mild blue eyes glaring from behind his
spectacles like the lamps on a doctor's gig; John's head, hatless and disheveled, his face and hair plastered with mud, popping up and down from behind the bank of the stream like an animated “Jack-in-the-box;" myself peering through the poles of the corral-fence, like a trapped wood-chuck through the bars of his cage; while in the centre of the triangle, of which we were the apices, with eyes of fire, distended nostrils, and burnished horns raking the ground, lunged and darted the vindictive beast who held us in limbo.
The lariats which were still attached to her flew out, like Berenice's hair, as she flashed hither and thither, and her angry snorts of rage gave full token that her bovine gorge was up. She was bent on doing mischief, and she attended to it strictly, without allowing her attention to be distracted by trivial matters. She had “treed,” corraled ” and “holed ” her tormentors, and she seemed resolved fully to satisfy her debt of vengeance. The slightest move on the part of any one of us brought her in that direction with the velocity of a hungry hawk.
Repeated failures, however, at last made her sullen, and she stopped for a moment so close to the corral that the end of the rope around her foot lay temptingly near to the fence. Dropping on my knees, I reached an arm through to secure it. Up to this time, the calves had been huddling together in a corner of the corral, but now-whether my position was taken as a challenge, or whether courage had suddenly returned to them, I know not—there was a patter of feet in my rear, a brave little bleat like the crow of a bantam rooster, and—"spang!" --something struck me behind, as I groveled on all fours,
and my head was driven against the fence with a smart thud.
Jumping to my feet, I faced this new antagonist. There he stood, as game as a tom-tit, his ridiculously thin legs stiffly outspread, his thread-paper tail perked up with a comical twist at the tip, his little bullet-head defiantly cocked to one side, and his twinkling eyes fixed upon me with a look compounded of wonder at his own audacity, fear of the possible consequence, and a funny determination to “do or die,” in the defense of his persecuted mother. Compared to her, he might have been aptly termed a duodecimo edition bound in full calf.
I had but time fully to take in the grotesqueness of his appearance when, with another bleat of defiance, the doughty little hop-o'-my-thumb charged me. Catching him by the ear and tail, I ran him ingloriously back to his corner, bumped his head against the fence just hard enough to give him a hint not to interfere in the sports of his betters, and turned again to watch the movements of our besieger.
It had finally dawned upon the brain of our cockney cook, Batters, that something was wrong; and he had come around in front of the tent, about forty yards away, to see what was the matter. Our wild-eyed foe caught sight of him and incontinently charged.
Appalled at the sight of the infuriated animal, Batters tumbled backward into the tent, trusting thus to elude the assault. It was a vain hope. The flap was up, and the cow dashed straight at the opening, struck the supporting pole, and down in one billowy heap came the white canvas, covering pursuer and pursued.
We ran to the rescue. From under the wildly heaving envelope came a dire discord of mingled sounds
Batters' voice calling lustily for “ 'Elp! 'elp!" the bellow of the frightened cow, the breaking of things breakable, and the “r-r-r-ip" of tearing cloth!
At last the exhausted animal became quiet; and Batters crawled from the fallen tent, pale and scared, but unhurt, save a few slight scratches.
It took us fully an hour to free our late antagonist, and when this was done, she limped off down the valley, her spirit cowed, for the time being at least, and her calf apparently wholly forgotten.
N. P. UFFORD.
A ROMANCE OF THE ROOD-LOFT.
are pealing From the great voice of the organ, as I touch it once
again; And around the carven angels soft the sunset shades are
stealing, I can supplicate my music for some solace for my pain. If the triple key-board answers to my well-accustomed
fingers, If I hold the diapason just as ever at command, And the old familiar magic in the melody still lingers,
I shall fancy that the music has a heart to understand.
I shall hear the grand fugue broaden that grave Bach
wrote for all ages, With the prelude in E minor, like a weary heart in