“Bang!” went the rifle, and resounded through the forest with unusual volume, as Abraham thought in his intense earnestness. Both mother and son ran out to discover the result of the shot, and by the time they reached the spot the smoke had cleared away, and there lay one of the flock dead.

“Killed one,” shouted Abraham, as he lifted an extra large turkey from the ground.

“So you have,” answered his mother, under almost as much excitement as her son.

“A monster!” continued the lad, surveying the lusty fellow with boyish pride. “Did you ever see such a big one?”

“It is a very large one,” replied his mother; “that was a good shot, Abe.”

By this time Mr. Lincoln had reached the spot. Hearing the report of the gun, he left his work, and hurried back to learn the cause.

“What’s the firin’ for?” he asked hurriedly.

“I’ve killed a turkey,” answered Abraham, exhibiting in triumph the dead bird.

“Did you do that, Abe?”

“Nobody else did it,” was the boy’s rather characteristic reply.

“A capital shot, Abe; you’ll make a good one with the rifle if you keep on,” his father added, intending to praise the boy. The fact was it was not a capital shot at all: he accidentally killed the turkey. He did not understand the use of a gun well enough to make a “capital shot.” The turkey happened to sit in the way of the bullet, and was killed in consequence—that was all there was of it.

We have already said that pioneer families were dependent upon game for food. On this account fathers and sons became good marksmen, and even females were often expert with the rifle. Mrs. Lincoln could load and fire off a gun if necessary. In common with her sex, she was accustomed to such things, and adapted herself to circumstances.

Marvellous stories are told about the skill of the pioneers in the use of the rifle, and good authority substantiates their truthfulness. One writer says: “Several individuals who conceive themselves adepts in the management of the rifle, are often seen to meet for the purpose of displaying their skill; and they put up a target, in the centre of which a common-sized nail is hammered for about two-thirds its length. The marksmen make choice of what they consider a proper distance, and which may be forty paces. Each man clears the interior of his tube, places a ball in the palm of his hand, and pours as much powder from his horn as will cover it. This quantity is supposed to be sufficient for any distance short of a hundred yards. A shot that comes very close to the nail is considered that of an indifferent marksman: the bending of the nail is of course somewhat better; but nothing less than hitting it right on the head is satisfactory. One out of three shots generally hits the nail; and should the shooters amount to half-a-dozen, two nails are frequently needed before each can have a shot.”

The same writer continues: “The snuffing of a candle with a ball I first had an opportunity of seeing near the banks of Green River, not far from a large pigeon-roost, to which I had previously made a visit. I had heard many reports of guns during the early part of a dark night, and knowing them to be those of rifles, I went forward toward the spot to ascertain the cause. On reaching the place, I was welcomed by a dozen tall, stout men, who told me they were exercising for the purpose of enabling them to shoot under night, at the reflected light from the eyes of a deer or wolf by torchlight. A fire was blazing near, the smoke of which rose curling among the thick foliage of the trees. At a distance which rendered it scarcely distinguishable, stood a burning candle, but which, in reality, was only fifty yards from the spot on which we all stood. One man was within a few yards of it to watch the effects of the shots, as well

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