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Earth's Enigmas A Volume of Stories   By: (1860-1943)

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University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.

Author's Note.

Most of the stories in this collection have already appeared in the pages of English, American, or Canadian periodicals. For kind courtesies in regard to the reprinting of these stories my thanks are due to the Editors of Harper's Magazine, Longman's Magazine, Scribner's Magazine, The Cosmopolitan, Lippincott's Magazine, The Independent, The Toronto Globe, Harper's Bazaar, and The Youth's Companion.

C. G. D. R.

Fredericton, N. B.

January, 1896.


Do Seek their Meat from God

The Perdu

"The Young Ravens that Call upon Him"

Within Sound of the Saws

The Butt of the Camp

In the Accident Ward

The Romance of an Ox Team

A Tragedy of the Tides

At the Rough and Tumble Landing

An Experience of Jabez Batterpole

The Stone Dog

The Barn on the Marsh

Captain Joe and Jamie


The Eye of Glusk√Ęp

Earth's Enigmas.

Do Seek their Meat from God.

One side of the ravine was in darkness. The darkness was soft and rich, suggesting thick foliage. Along the crest of the slope tree tops came into view great pines and hemlocks of the ancient unviolated forest revealed against the orange disk of a full moon just rising. The low rays slanting through the moveless tops lit strangely the upper portion of the opposite steep, the western wall of the ravine, barren, unlike its fellow, bossed with great rocky projections, and harsh with stunted junipers. Out of the sluggish dark that lay along the ravine as in a trough, rose the brawl of a swollen, obstructed stream.

Out of a shadowy hollow behind a long white rock, on the lower edge of that part of the steep which lay in the moonlight, came softly a great panther. In common daylight his coat would have shown a warm fulvous hue, but in the elvish decolorizing rays of that half hidden moon he seemed to wear a sort of spectral gray. He lifted his smooth round head to gaze on the increasing flame, which presently he greeted with a shrill cry. That terrible cry, at once plaintive and menacing, with an undertone like the fierce protestations of a saw beneath the file, was a summons to his mate, telling her that the hour had come when they should seek their prey. From the lair behind the rock, where the cubs were being suckled by their dam, came no immediate answer. Only a pair of crows, that had their nest in a giant fir tree across the gulf, woke up and croaked harshly their indignation. These three summers past they had built in the same spot, and had been nightly awakened to vent the same rasping complaints.

The panther walked restlessly up and down, half a score of paces each way, along the edge of the shadow, keeping his wide open green eyes upon the rising light. His short, muscular tail twitched impatiently, but he made no sound. Soon the breadth of confused brightness had spread itself further down the steep, disclosing the foot of the white rock, and the bones and antlers of a deer which had been dragged thither and devoured.

By this time the cubs had made their meal, and their dam was ready for such enterprise as must be accomplished ere her own hunger, now grown savage, could hope to be assuaged. She glided supplely forth into the glimmer, raised her head, and screamed at the moon in a voice as terrible as her mate's. Again the crows stirred, croaking harshly; and the two beasts, noiselessly mounting the steep, stole into the shadows of the forest that clothed the high plateau.

The panthers were fierce with hunger. These two days past their hunting had been well nigh fruitless. What scant prey they had slain had for the most part been devoured by the female; for had she not those small blind cubs at home to nourish, who soon must suffer at any lack of hers? The settlements of late had been making great inroads on the world of ancient forest, driving before them the deer and smaller game... Continue reading book >>

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