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The Wild Huntress Love in the Wilderness   By: (1818-1883)

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The Wild Huntress, by Captain Mayne Reid.

This book is divided up into 105 chapters of roughly the same length and each moving forward the events with some significant incident. It must be remembered that the author was one of the very first writers to describe the Wild West, and this book, first published in 1855, his ninth book to appear in this genre, is very masterly.

After a little scene setting the story opens with Frank Wingrove, who had bought an area of land in Tennessee that was already in the hands of a squatter, Hickman Holt, coming to explain the situation to the squatter who, not unnaturally is rather annoyed. They are just about to have a duel to the death when a third party arrives on the scene. This is the start of the main events of the book, for Frank has fallen in reciprocated love with one of the two beautiful daughters of the squatter. I will not spoil the story for you, but it takes you in the direction of California, and into the hands of the Indians. It also takes you into the encampment of a Mormon train, that is making its way towards Salt Lake City. It is rather an exciting, and indeed interesting tale, well worth reading. Listening to it may be harder to accomplish, because so many of the people in the story talk in various forms of uneducated English, but it's worth a try. THE WILD HUNTRESS, BY CAPTAIN MAYNE REID.

CHAPTER ONE.

THE SQUATTER'S CLEARING.

The white headed eagle, soaring above the spray of a Tennessean forest, looks down upon the clearing of the squatter. To the eye of the bird it is alone visible; and though but a spot in the midst of that immense green sea, it is conspicuous by the colour of the trees that stand over it. They stand, but grow not: the girdling ring around their stems has deprived them of their sap; the ivory bill of the log cock has stripped them of their bark; their leaves and twigs have long since disappeared; and only the trunks and greater branches remain, like blanched skeletons, with arms upstretched to heaven, as if mutely appealing for vengeance against their destroyer.

The squatter's clearing, still thus encumbered, is a mere vistal opening in the woods, from which only the underwood has been removed. The more slender saplings have been cut down or rooted up; the tangle of parasitical plants have been torn from the trees; the cane brake has been fired; and the brush, collected in heaps, has melted away upon the blazing pile. Only a few stumps of inferior thickness give evidence, that some little labour has been performed by the axe.

Even thus the clearing is a mere patch scarcely two acres in extent and the rude rail fence, that zig zags around it, attests that the owner is satisfied with the dimensions of his agricultural domain. There are no recent marks of the axe not even the "girdling" of a tree nothing to show that another rood is required. The squatter is essentially a hunter; and hates the sight of an extensive clearing as he would the labour of making one. The virgin forest is his domain, and he is not the man to rob it of its primeval charms. The sound of the lumberer's axe, cheerful to the lonely traveller, has no music for his ear: it is to him a note of evil augury a knell of dread import. It is not often that he hears it: he dwells beyond the circle of its echoes. His nearest neighbour a squatter like himself lives at least a mile off; and the most proximate "settlement" is six times that distance from the spot he has chosen for his cabin. The smoke of his chimney mingles with that of no other: its tall column ascends to heaven solitary as the squatter himself.

The clearing is of an irregular semi circular shape a deep narrow stream forming the chord, and afterwards cleaving its way through the otherwise unbroken forest... Continue reading book >>




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