EXPLORING THE ISLAND. 65
green razberries; and the green blackberries was just beginning to show. They would all come handy by-and-by, I judged.
Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I judged I warn't far from the foot of the island. I had my gun along, but I hadn't shot nothing ; it was for protection ; thought I would kill some game nigh home. About this time I mighty near stepped on a good sized snake, and it went sliding off through the grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot at it. I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded right on to the ashes of a camp fire that was still smoking.
My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never wraited for to look further, but uncocked my gun and went sneaking back on my tip-toes as fast as ever I could. Every now and then I stopped a second, amongst the thick leaves, and listened; but my breath come so hard I couldn't hear nothing else. I slunk along another piece further, then listened again ; and so on, and so on ; if I see a stump, I took it for a man ; if I trod on a stick and broke it, it made me feel like a person had cut one of my breaths in two and I only got half, and the short half, too.
When I got to camp I warn't feeling very brash, there warn't much sand in my craw ; but I says, this ain't no time to be fooling around. So I got all my traps into my canoe again so as to have them out of sight, and I put out the fire and scattered the ashes around to look like an old last year's camp, and then dumb a tree.
I reckon I was up in the tree two hours ; but I didn't see nothing, I didn't hear nothing—I only thought I heard and seen as much as a thousand things. Well, I couldn't stay up there forever ; so at last I got down, but I kept in the thick woods and on the lookout all the time. All I could get to eat was berries and what was left over from breakfast.
By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So when it was good and
dark, I slid out from shore before moonrise and paddled over to the Illinois
bank—about a quarter of a mile. I went out in the woods and cooked a supper,
and I had about made up my mind I would stay there all night, when I hear a
plunkety-plunk, plunkety-plunh, and says to myself, horses coming; and next I
hear people's voices. I got everything into the canoe as quick as I could, and 5