This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
Our situation was so supremely ridiculous, all we could do for a while was to laugh and screech. This was wild-goose hunting with a vengeance. Fortunately, those fellows on the shore can't see us, or they would have a feast. When Gun removed his giant frame, John was able to push the boat far enough ahead to escape his foot-holes when we started. The boat had to be left with the guns in her till morning, held by the anchor, while we trudged for the shore. Now we are all working towards that light on the bank, wondering we don't hear from those fellows on the shore. Away ahead Gun calls out again, " There, I've lost my boot!" while Bac's guttural tone to the north of us starts out in lively melody, " Persevere and never mind it," followed at the close by Pat's, with the still livelier tune of " Three Little Birds are we." Bac breaks in on the ominous silence which followed these hearty outbursts with, " Oh, crikey! my boots are both full, and a great splash of mud has just struck me in the eye! " responded to by Gun, who is quite a distance ahead. " Bac! " "What ? " " ' Persevere and never mind it.9 Where's Pat? " While the others are having this interesting experience, he is off to the left of them. Thought he would get on to hard pan ahead and have the laugh on them. He is working hard, but watch him. Bight in his track is a hole where they have been digging clams. Soon he is going to have the laugh on Bac and Gun, when he takes another step, and down he goes into the hole headlong. " Dang it! what next ? " Don't that sound to you as a near approach to classic English ? A kind of utterance that comes when a fellow gets an unexpected plunge. He couldn't lie there, even if there was nobody to laugh at and sympathize with him. Presently from the northern pole came the stentorian voice of Bac, " Pat where are you?" followed by the deep guttural tones of Gun. " Pat I Pat! Pat! where are you? Was that you we heard splashing in the water a while ago, and practising swear-talk?" Not a sound from Pat for a little, when the stillness is broken by a deep bass voice, " Three Little Birds are we," which, being encored by the enamoured listeners, was followed by "I'm going home to change my clothes."
Well, troubles and difficulties, like everything else, have an end, and so did this seeking terra firma, which, at the closing, was aided by others from the house, bringing the lantern to us. As we stood there admiring each other's profiles, and bursting with laughter, we kept our voices in tune on " Happy are we to-night, boys ! happy, happy are we ! " Bob calls out from the bank, " Halloa there! where are the geese ? What was all the banging about?" "Ask the c circle-shooter;' he knows," came the response. Now, John left after the rest of us, and not being so heavily clad, worked along finely, but so weakened by laughter at our expense that he had to stop literally still to gather strength for a fresh start. Don't think, because we are on the shore, the trouble has altogether ended. Do you see that muddy bank yet to be surmounted before we are up on the house-walk? Gun seemed to think, as he had the first privilege of getting out into the mud, he would take the first to get out of it; so up the bank he started, aided by the light of the lantern, and down he sprawled, his feet slipping from under him. What a fine specimen of ornamental sculpture, shaded with the red Wallace mud, he made ! Bac, Pat, Bob, and Jack still stood on the shore, so full of laughter at Gun's exhibitions, that they dare not attempt the ascent, for fear Gun might turn the laugh on them; so to prevent that, they pressed heavy stones into service, and thus overcame the closing difficulty, arriving in due course at the lodge, where the participants in the shooting spree formed themselves into a " mutual admiration society" for the entertainment of themselves and friends.
Those of you who looked with admiration on our sporting heroes as they went forth to the slaughter of the innocents a few hours ago, return with me and behold them now. Well may you wonder, when you ask if those are the same sportsmen. What wonderful transformant has been at work to change them so ? You keep in the background, and I'll question the windrow-shooter. Here is his reply, " Mud ! mud I mud!" As he said this he raised his bootless foot and sighed, " Mud ! mud! mud!" At this stage in the ceremonies we fill went off the handle the whole affair was so ludicrous. We laughed till we cried, the whole being intoxicated with the excitement. It was a long time before we quieted sufficiently to take lunch. Even in that performance some laughable part would get uppermost in the mind, just as some one had taken a cup of tea, when off we would all go again, placing the party drinking in an unenviable position. After supper was ended, a smoke followed, and at half-past one o'clock we had quieted sufficiently to retire, and soon were in the land of dreams, not to remain there long undisturbed, for as each of the interested ones returned from the Land of Nod, Gun's " lost boat" would come to the surface and have to be inquired about. I can hear him now replying, " Are you deeply interested in it, and would you really like to know ? " "Yaas!"
" Well, go hunt for it! "
" Oh, thunder!" came sounding from the distance. " If you don't go to sleep, and let Gun's boat rest in the mud till morning, I'll fire mine at you."
"Oh, go to sleep!"
About four o'clock quietness reigned supreme, apart from the snoring, and the lantern cruise had ended.
The next morning, or rather that morning, in two boats we searched the shores of the caves and harbours, hoping to find some of those twenty-five geese reported to he floating about waiting to be picked up; but " nary " a bird did we see, and had to end it, like many another wild-goose chase, without any game. That spree closed up the outing for all of us but Gun, who remained for a week, and had great sport among the brants. The rest started for their respective homes the following morning, much the better for the cruise.