“I cannot say that, I cannot say that. The beast is good, take him in what part you will, and it was to be food for man that he was fashioned; but I cannot say that I will be a witness and a helper to the waste of killing one daily.”

“The devil a bit of waste shall there be, old man. If they all turn out as good as this, I will engage to eat them clean myself, even to the hoofs;—how now, who comes here! some one with a long nose, I will answer; and one that has led him on a true scent, if he is following the trail of a dinner.”

The individual who interrupted the conversation, and who had elicited the foregoing remark of Paul, was seen advancing along the margin of the run with a deliberate pace, in a direct line for the two revellers. As there was nothing formidable nor hostile in his appearance, the bee-hunter, instead of suspending his operations, rather increased his efforts, in a manner which would seem to imply that he doubted whether the hump would suffice for the proper entertainment of all who were now likely to partake of the delicious morsel. With the trapper, however, the case was different. His more tempered appetite was already satisfied, and he faced the new comer with a look of cordiality, that plainly evinced how very opportune he considered his arrival.

“Come on, friend,” he said, waving his hand, as he observed the stranger to pause a moment, apparently in doubt. “Come on, I say: if hunger be your guide, it has led you to a fitting place. Here is meat, and this youth can give you corn, parch’d till it be whiter than the upland snow; come on, without fear. We are not ravenous beasts, eating of each other, but Christian men, receiving thankfully that which the Lord hath seen fit to give.”

“Venerable hunter,” returned the Doctor, for it was no other than the naturalist on one of his daily exploring expeditions, “I rejoice greatly at this happy meeting; we are lovers of the same pursuits, and should be friends”

“Lord, Lord!” said the old man, laughing, without much deference to the rules of decorum, in the philosopher’s very face, “it is the man who wanted to make me believe that a name could change the natur’ of a beast! Come, friend; you are welcome, though your notions are a little blinded with reading too many books. Sit ye down, and, after eating of this morsel, tell me, if you can, the name of the creatur’ that has bestowed on you its flesh for a meal?”

The eyes of Doctor Battius (for we deem it decorous to give the good man the appellation he most preferred) —the eyes of Doctor Battius sufficiently denoted the satisfaction with which he listened to this proposal. The exercise he had taken, and the sharpness of the wind, proved excellent stimulants; and Paul himself had hardly been in better plight to do credit to the trapper’s cookery, than was the lover of nature, when the grateful invitation met his ears. Indulging in a small laugh, which his exertions to repress reduced nearly to a simper, he took the indicated seat by the old man’s side, and made the customary dispositions to commence his meal without further ceremony.

“I should be ashamed of my profession,” he said, swallowing a morsel of the hump with evident delight, slily endeavouring at the same time to distinguish the peculiarities of the singed and defaced skin, “I ought to be ashamed of my profession, were there beast, or bird, on the continent of America, that I could not tell by some one of the many evidences which science has enlisted in her cause. This—then—the food is nutritious and savoury—a mouthful of your corn, friend, if you please?”

Paul, who continued eating with increasing industry, looking askaunt not unlike a dog when engaged in the same agreeable pursuit, threw him his pouch, without deeming it at all necessary to suspend his own labours.

“You were saying, friend, that you have many ways of telling the creatur’?”—observed the attentive trapper.

“Many; many and infallible. Now, the animals that are carnivorous are known by their incisores.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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