All lecturers must quit our
realm without delay;
The circus-men and clowns, on pain of death, must stay;
All folks who frown on fun, at once must banished be:
Now, fellow, that you know my will, to its fulfilment see!
A TRUE ANTELOPE STORY.
Some time ago, I told the readers of “The Nursery” about catching a buffalo-calf. I will now tell them about a young antelope which we caught, and another which we almost caught.
Tip and I were in that part of Western Kansas which is left blank on the maps. Two hunters, Thompson and Hughes, had joined us; and we were coming back from a buffalo-chase. We had been crawling lazily along, over prairie, through valley, up and down hill, since sunrise, and it was now nearly noon.
All of a sudden, from a clump of tall grass near us, up sprung an antelope and a pair of beautiful fawns. Like a flash, the old one and one of the fawns started over the brow of the ridge on which they were lying; while the other little fellow began running around in a circle, as you have seen ponies do at the circus, bleating as hard as he could.
The boys leaped from the wagons in an instant, while I remained to hold the horses. Ranging themselves around the circle, the three hunters every now and then, dashed headlong after the fawn as he flew past; but missed him by a rod or more every time.
Our dog Landy, also, was on hand for the fun; and it was a laughable sight to see the great awkward fellow straining every nerve to overtake the little streak of animated lightning that flashed before him. Landy was a Newfoundland shepherd, and I knew that nothing could induce him to hurt the fawn if he should catch him.
While I was watching the sport, and laughing at the drollery of it, all at once I heard a stamping on the other side of the wagon, and, stepping quickly around the horses’ heads, I saw the old doe, and a buck and doe with her.
As the fawn came bounding along the circle, the buck and does, bleating anxiously, darted in ahead of him, rushing right by the men and dog. Never stopping an instant, the big buck led the way, the does and fawn followed; and, before you could say “Jack Robinson,” they were “over the hills, and far away.”
This was the antelope that we almost caught. The boys came back to the wagons, thoroughly fagged out, and looking painfully silly.
Again we drove along, but had not proceeded more than a mile or two, when up sprung another old doe, and ran toward Landy, stamping her fore-foot fiercely. Of course the foolish dog took after her as hard as he could go,—just as she wanted him to do; and a fine chase she led him, always taking care not to leave him so far behind as to discourage him, and make him turn back.
We knew at once by her actions that she had a fawn near there; and so, while she was leading Landy away from it, we set about hunting it up. In a few minutes, I came across the little slender-legged beauty, snugly curled up under a tuft of grass. As I came upon him, he dashed out of cover with a shrill, plaintive little “baa-baa, baa-baa,” and, as fawns always do in such cases, began running in a small circle.