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Harper's Young People, October 19, 1880   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, October 19, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.

[Illustration: IN THE CORN FIELD.]



"I say, Tad Murray, what's made you so late with your cows this morning?"

"Late? Well, I guess you'd be late if you'd had such a time as I did. It was all old Ben's fault."

"Ben's? Why, there he is now, chasing the brindled heifer. If she'd only turn on him, she could pitch him over the fence like a forkful of hay."

"He's a better cow dog than that ragged little terrier of yours, Carr Hotchkiss; but he's an awful fellow to let into a corn field, 'specially 'bout this time of year."

"Into a corn field!"

"When there's a lot of rabbits in the shocks."

"Are there rabbits in your corn?"

"It's just alive with 'em. And Ben he gets after 'em, and the corn's all cut and shocked, and he'll tear a shock of corn to pieces in no time; and father says it's too bad, for he hasn't any time to kill rabbits."

"Tell you what, Tad, Whip's the best dog in the world for rabbits."

"Is he?"

"He wouldn't hurt a shock of corn if he scratched clean through it. I'll fetch him along soon's you get your cows in; and we'll get Dan Burrel and Eph McCormick and Frank Perry, and we'll have the biggest rabbit hunt you ever heard of."

"Don't I wish I had a gun!"

"Father's got one, but he won't let me put a finger on it."

"So's my father got one. It's a splendid good gun, too, but one of the triggers is gone, and there's a hole you could stick your finger into in the right barrel, where it got bursted once."

"We don't want any guns. You hurry your cows in. There! the brindled heifer's given Ben an awful dig."

"He won't care."

Old Ben did care, however, for he left the brindled heifer suddenly, and came back toward the boys, with his wise looking head cocked on one side, as much as to say, "Didn't I hear you two saying something about rabbits?"

It was less than half an hour before they were telling him a good deal about that kind of game. They gathered the rest of their hunting party on their way back to Squire Murray's, only they did not waste any time going to the house. It was a shorter cut through the wheat stubble and the wood lot to the big corn field in the hollow.

Corn, corn, corn. Squire Murray said he had never before raised so good a crop in all his life. And then he had added that the rabbits and squirrels and woodchucks were likely to be his best market, for they were husking it for him, and not charging him a cent. Only they carried off all they husked without paying for it, and he was compelled to charge that part of his crop to "rabbit account."

The old squire loved a bit of fun as well as anybody, and it was a pity he could not have been in his own corn field that morning.

Tad Murray had to catch hold of old Ben the moment they were over the fence, for he half buried himself in the nearest shock of corn the first thing.

"Oh dear! if there was only one of 'em in sight, so he'd have something to run after!"

"Whip! Whip!" shouted Carr Hotchkiss. "Rabbits, Whip rabbits!"

Whip had been dancing around the shock as if the ground under him were red hot, and he couldn't keep his feet on any one spot for two seconds; but now he made a sudden dive into the gap from which Tad had pulled out old Ben.

"Find 'em, Whip find 'em!"

"There's a rabbit in there somewhere," said Dan Burrel, in a loud, earnest whisper.

"Look out you don't scare him," whispered back Eph McCormick; and Frank Perry picked up a long stiff corn stalk, and began to poke it in at every crack he could find.

"Don't, Frank; you'll scare the rabbit."

"Scare him, Eph? Why, that's just what we're up to. If we don't scare him, he won't come out."

There was a loud whine from Whip at that moment, and a sound of very vigorous pawing and scratching away in out of sight... Continue reading book >>

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