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Bruin The Grand Bear Hunt   By: (1818-1883)

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Bruin, by Captain Mayne Reid.

The story told is quite good one, but is rather spoilt by the author's insistence on showing how clever he is by calling the animals and plants that appear in the story, by their Latin names.

Two young brothers, the sons of a Russian nobleman, ask their father if they may spend a while travelling the world. He agrees, but lays down two conditions: one, that they should bring back the skins, in good condition, of every species of bear there is; two, that they should proceed from east to west, or from west to east, without doubling back on their tracks, except, of course, while actually engaged in the chase.

The boys, for they are still in their teens, accept the conditions, and set off westward, visiting all sorts of interesting places in Europe and elsewhere, and gathering numerous bearskin trophies on the way. Oddly enough they never go to Australia, but maybe the Koala bear is not a bear, within the definition of the word.

They take with them an old retired guardsman, Pouchskin, who looks after them generally, and takes a lot of the knocks of the journey. Eventually they return home, where the boys are lauded as heroes, and Pouchskin returns to obscurity. BRUIN, BY CAPTAIN MAYNE REID.

CHAPTER ONE.

THE PALACE GRODONOFF.

On the banks of the Neva, near the great city of Saint Petersburg, stands a splendid palace, known as the Palace Grodonoff. It is the property of a Russian nobleman of that name, as it is also his place of residence. Were you to drive up to the front gate of this grand palace, you would see a coat of arms sculptured in granite over the entrance. In this piece of sculpture, the principal and most striking figure is a bear, with the blade of a knife buried in his breast, the haft being clutched by a human hand! Open the gate, and enter the spacious courtyard. Inside, on the right and left, you will observe two live bears both of chestnut brown colour, and each of them as big as a buffalo. You cannot fail to notice them, for, ten chances to one, they will rush towards you with fierce growls; and were it not that a strong chain hinders them from reaching you, you might have reason to repent having entered the courtyard of the palace Grodonoff. Look around you in the courtyard and over the different doors that open upon it; you will again see the crest of the bear, sculptured in stone; you will see it over the stables, the coach house, the granary, the kitchens, everywhere. You may know by all this, that it is the coat of arms of the Baron Grodonoff, whose crest is a bear with a blade buried in its breast, and a human band clutching the haft.

You will naturally conclude that there is some history connected with this singular tableau that it is the commemoration of some deed done by a Grodonoff, entitling him to use the bear as his heraldic device. This is quite true; and if you enter the picture gallery of the palace, you will there behold the deed more explicitly represented, in a large oil painting hung conspicuously in the centre of the wall. The scene of this painting is a forest of old trees, whose grey, gnarled trunks stand thickly over the ground. There is only a little open space or glade in the middle; and this is occupied by three figures, two men and a bear. The bear is between the two men; or, rather, one of the men is prostrate upon the ground where he has been struck down by a blow from Bruin's paw while the huge animal stands over him reared up on his hind quarters. The other man is upon his feet, apparently engaged in a desperate wrestle with the fierce brute, and likely to prove the conqueror as he has already buried the blade of a large hunting knife in the animal's breast, and directly over the region of its heart. Indeed, the shaggy monster already shows signs of succumbing... Continue reading book >>




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