But no! A new friend comes to its rescue—deserted by the lords and ladies of creation, the lesser creature takes it under his protection.
Longears is the rescuer. Longears has watched the messenger we have mentioned with deep interest, as it lays upon the string and flutters; Longears imagines that it is a bee of the species called yellow-jacket challenging him to combat. Consequently, Longears no sooner sees the string dart from Fanny’s hand, than believing the enemy about to escape him, he springs toward it and catches it in his mouth.
Longears catches a tartar; but too brave to yield without a struggle, rolls upon the ground, grinding the yellow enemy, and the string beneath his teeth.
His evolutions on the grass wrap the string around his feet and neck; Longears is taken prisoner, and finds himself dragged violently over the ground.
Brave and resolute before a common enemy, Longears fears this unknown adversary. Overcome with superstitious awe, he howls; endeavoring to howl again, he finds his windpipe grasped by his enemy. The howl turns into a wheeze. His eyes start from his head; his jaws open; he rolls on the grass; leaps in the air; puts forth the strength of a giant, but in vain.
It is at this juncture that Verty runs up and severs the string with his hunting-knive; whereat Longears, finding himself released, rubs his nose vigorously with his paws, sneezes, and lies down with an unconscious air, as if nothing had happened. He is saved.
The kite, however, is sacrified. Justly punished for wounding Redbud’s hand, throwing Miss Fanny on her face, and periling the life of Longears, the unfortunate kite struggles a moment in the clouds, staggers from side to side, like a drunken man, and then caught by a sudden gust, sweeps like a streaming comet down into the autumn forest, and is gone.
Fanny is wiping her hands, which are somewhat soiled; the rest of the company are laughing merrily at the disappearance of the kite; Longears is gravely and seriously contemplating the yellow enemy with whom he has struggled so violently, and whose conqueror he believes himself to be.
This was the incident so frequently spoken of by Mr. Ralph Ashley afterwards, as the Bucolic of the kite.
THE HARVEST MOON.
The day was nearly gone now, dying over fir-clad hills; but yet, before it went, poured a last flood of rich, red light, such as only the mountains and the valley boast, upon the beautiful sloping meadow, stretching its green and dewy sea in front of Apple Orchard.
As the sun went away in royal splendor, bounding over the rim of evening, like a red-striped tiger—on the eastern horizon a light rose gradually, as though a great conflagration raged there. Then the trees were kindled; then the broad, yellow moon—call it the harvest moon!—soared slowly up, dragging its captive stars, and mixing its fresh radiance with the waning glories of the crimson west.