James Fenimore Cooper: The Deerslayer

23. Chapter XXIII. (continued)

"Tis a glorious we'pon, Hurry!" Deerslayer at length exclaimed, "and it may be thought a pity that it has fallen into the hands of women. The hunters have told me of its expl'ites, and by all I have heard, I should set it down as sartain death in exper'enced hands. Hearken to the tick of this lock-a wolf trap has'n't a livelier spring; pan and cock speak together, like two singing masters undertaking a psalm in meetin'. I never did see so true a bore, Hurry, that's sartain!"

"Ay, Old Tom used to give the piece a character, though he wasn't the man to particularize the ra'al natur' of any sort of fire arms, in practise," returned March, passing the deer's thongs through the moccasin with the coolness of a cobbler. "He was no marksman, that we must all allow; but he had his good p'ints, as well as his bad ones. I have had hopes that Judith might consait the idee of giving Killdeer to me."

"There's no saying what young women may do, that's a truth, Hurry, and I suppose you're as likely to own the rifle as another. Still, when things are so very near perfection, it's a pity not to reach it entirely."

"What do you mean by that? - Would not that piece look as well on my shoulder, as on any man's?"

"As for looks, I say nothing. You are both good-looking, and might make what is called a good-looking couple. But the true p'int is as to conduct. More deer would fall in one day, by that piece, in some man's hands, than would fall in a week in your'n, Hurry! I've seen you try; yes, remember the buck t'other day."

"That buck was out of season, and who wishes to kill venison out of season. I was merely trying to frighten the creatur', and I think you will own that he was pretty well skeared, at any rate."

"Well, well, have it as you say. But this is a lordly piece, and would make a steady hand and quick eye the King of the Woods!"

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