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The Revenant - Some Incidents in the Life of Hugh Glass, a Hunter of the Missouri River by Philip St. George Cooke. First published in Scenes and adventures in the army: or, Romance of military life by Cooke. Published in 1859.
Hugh Glass and the Grizzly Bear by Rufus B. Sage. From Rocky Mountain life; or, Startling scenes and perilous adventures in the far West, during an expedition of three years by Rufus B. Sage. Published in 1857.
Glass and the Bear by George Frederick Augustus Ruxton. From Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains by George Frederick Augustus Ruxton. Published in 1847.
The Revenant - Some Incidents in the Life of Hugh Glass, a Hunter of the Missouri River by Philip St. George Cooke. Published by Enhanced Media, 2016.
Some Incidents in the Life of Hugh Glass, a Hunter of the Missouri River
By Philip St. George Cooke
I: Hugh Glass
III – Aftermath
Hugh Glass and the Grizzly Bear
By Rufus B. Sage
Glass and the Bear
By George Frederick Augustus Ruxton
Those pioneers, who, sixty years ago, as an advanced guard, fought the battles of civilization, for the very love of fighting, may be now recognized in the class of the hero of my sketch, who 1000 miles beyond the last wave of the troublous tide of migration, seek their pleasures in the hunt of a Blackfoot of the Rocky Mountains, a grizzly bear, or a buffalo. It must be difficult to give even a faint idea of the toils and risks of a set of men, so constituted as to love a mode of life only for these attendants; who exist but in the excitement of narrow escapes, — of dangers avoided or overcome; who often, such is their passionate devotion to roving, choose it in preference to comfortable circumstances within the pale of civilization. Little has been reaped from this field, so fertile in novel incident that its real life throws romance into the shade.
The class of people above mentioned, excluded by choice from all intercourse with the world of white men, are at different periods very differently occupied: — at times, as trappers; at others, they live with Indians, conforming in every respect to their mode of life; and often they are found entirely alone, depending upon a rifle, knife, and a few traps, for defence, subsistence, and employment.
A trapping expedition arrived on the hunting grounds is divided into parties of four or five men, which separate for long periods of time; and as the beaver is mostly in the country of hostile Indians, in and beyond the Rocky Mountains, it is an employment of much hazard, and the parties are under great pains for concealment. Trappers, and others who remain in these regions, subsist for years wholly upon game. They never taste bread, nor can they even procure salt, indispensable as it may be considered in civilized life.
To take the beaver requires practice and skill. The trap is set, and then sunk in the stream to a certain depth (when the water is too deep for it to rest upon the bottom) by means of floats attached, and a chain confines it to something fixed or very heavy at the bottom. This depth must be such, that the animal in swimming over it, is caught by the leg. The "bait" consists of some strong scent, proceeding from a substance placed directly opposite upon the shore; an oil taken from the body of the animal is generally used. The greatest care is necessary to destroy all trace of the presence of the trapper when making his arrangements, which, if discovered by the most sensitive instinct of the animal, it carefully avoids the place; they therefore wade, or use a canoe in setting the trap.
The solitary hunter is found occasionally thus employed, for the sake of the trade with those who visit the country solely for that purpose; getting for his skins the few necessaries of his situation, — blankets, powder, lead, &c.
The white, or more properly, the gray or grizzly bear is, next to the Indian, the greatest enemy the hunter meets with in this region; it is the lion of our forests; the strongest and most formidable of all its animals. It is about 400 pounds in weight; its claws more than three inches long; the buffalo bull, perhaps stronger and more active than the domestic, is a certain victim to its strength. If a grizzly bear is reported to be in the vicinity of an Indian camp or village, fifty or a hundred warriors turn out (as in the East for a lion or tiger) to hunt to its death so dangerous and dreaded a neighbor.
The grizzly bear never avoids, very often attacks a man; while on the other hand, the hunter, but under the most favorable circumstances, carefully avoids him.
In the summer of 1823, immediately after the desertion and conflagration of the Arickara village, consequent upon its attack by the 6th Regiment United States Infantry, a party of eighty men, under the direction of Major Henry (that had volunteered in that engagement), left this point of the Missouri River, intending to gain the head waters of the Yellow Stone to make a fall hunt for beaver. The party had journeyed four days in the prairie; on the fifth we would introduce our hero (who has been rather backward) to the attention of the reader — if, indeed, it has not been already lost in the rugged field prepared for his reception.
On the fifth day, Glass (who was an engage in the expedition) left the main body accompanied by two others, to make one of the usual hunts, by which, while subsistence is acquired the party is not detained. Having near night succeeded in killing buffalo, they were directing their common course to a point, near which they knew must be the position of the camp for the night; it was on a small stream, and as they passed near one of its curves.
Glass became somewhat detached from the others, intending to drink of its waters; at this moment his progress was arrested by the sight of a grizzly bear issuing from beneath the bank opposite to him. His companions, overcome by their fears, which no obligation to share with him his unavoidable danger could resist, profited by their more favorable situation to attempt escape by flight, leaving him to his destiny.
A contest with a grizzly bear, more tenacious of life than a buffalo, is always dangerous; to insure a probability of success and safety, all the energies must arise in proportion to the magnitude of the danger; and they must be shown in perfect coolness; the slightest falter, which with the many would result from a loss of this presence of mind, would render the case hopeless and insure destruction.