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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Scalp-Hunters by Captain Mayne Reid illustrated by Nathaniel Orr and Zdenek Burian

We show  here the illustrations by Nathaniel Orr and by Zdenek Burian to Capatain Mayne Reid's The Scalp-Hunters or Adventures among the Trappers. Mayne Reid published his novel 1851. The edition with the pictures of N. Orr appeared 1856. The Czech edition illustrated by Zdenek Burian was published 1937. It may be interesting to compare the two sets of illustrations because the time point of their creation  lie apart 81 years.

Orr, Nathaniel, engraver, was born at London, Ont., March 26, 1822, son of Nathaniel and Mary Ann (Donaldson) Orr. His father, a native of Armagh county, Ireland, came to New York, Aug. 20, 1816. Mr. Orr received his education in the public schools of Buffalo, N. Y. He studied wood engraving at Albany under John H. Hall, a noted engraver in his day. Upon Hall’s retirement from business he was succeeded by Mr. Orr, who conducted a large establishment in Albany for some years, but removed to New York city to take charge of the illustration department of Duyckinck’s Shakespeare and Harper’s Bible. Thereafter he remained in New York and his wood engravings were in most of the magazines and illustrated books for more than a generation. His large office at 52 John street became headquarters for many of the finest artists and designers, viz.: Stephens, White, Sol Eytinge, Darley, Harry Fenn, McLennan and others, whose best work he engraved, so that for forty years his office was noted as the centre of book and magazine illustration.
(The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography)






I was lifted  and tossed high into the air. I was thrown rearwards, and fell upon a moving mass.
I did not feel hurt nor stunned. I felt myself carried onward upon the backs of several animals, that, in the dense drove, ran close together.
(Beim Bild Burians hat man den Eindruck, dass ein Indianer hochgeschleudert werde, doch dieser Eindruck ist falsch. Es ist der Ich-Erzähler, wie man ihn auf dem unten nachfolgenden Bild von Orr erkennt, wo er sich dann auf dem Büffelrücken festkrallt, um nicht von der Herde zu Tode getrampelt zu werden.)


A sudden thought struck me; and fixing on that which was most under me, I dropped my legs
astride of him, embracing his hump, and clutching the long woolly hair that grew upon his neck.
The animal " routed" with extreme terror ; and, plunging forward, soon headed the band!


I knew that having once seen me, he would not stop until he had pressed his nose against my cheek—for this was his usual custom. Holding out my hands, I again uttered the magic words.
Now looking downward, he perceived me; and, stretching himself,
sprang out into the channel. The next moment I held him by the bridle!



The laden currents clash in their wild torsion. I am twisted around, and torn from my saddle—my eyes, mouth, and ears are filled with dust. Sand, stones, and branches strike me spitefully
in the face ; and I am flung with violence to the earth!      

For a moment he remained silent, bending his eyes upon me with an expression I cannot depict. There was in it a mixture of reproach, sorrow, and indignation. I had risen
to confront him, but I quailed under that singular glance, and stood abashed and silent.


“Do you see that point?" asked Seguin, indicating a rock that  jutted out from the highest ledge of the chasm. I signified in the affirmative, for the question was addressed to myself.
"'That is the leap you were so desirous of taking- We found you dangling against yonder rock,"

After chewing, and mumbling, and growling a few minutes longer, old Rube—for that was the name by which the leathery sinner was known—slowly erected his lean carcase ; and came
walking up to the crowd.
 "What do ‘ee want, Billee ?” he inquired, going up to the trapper.
" I want ye to hold this,” answered Garey, offering him a round white shell, about the size of a watch; a species, of which there were many strewed over the ground.
"Is't a bet, boyee ?"
“No, it is not,"
" Aint wastin' yur powder, ar yur?"
" I've been beat shootin'," replied the trapper in an under tone, " by that ar Injun."  

They had not remained more than a quarter of an hour, when a herd of antelopes was seen approaching from the plain. These walked directly for the spring—one following the other, in Indian file. They were soon close in to the willows, where the hunters had concealed themselves. Here they suddenly halted, throwing up their heads, and snuffing the air. They had scented danger, but it was too late for the foremost to turn and lope off.


For two hours we watch their movements, and listen to their voices. Then the horse-guard is detailed, and marches off to the caballada ; and the Indians, one after another, spread their skins, roll themselves in their blankets, and sleep.

We closed at full gallop. Our horses almost  touched. I levelled, and pulled trigger. The cap snapped upon my pistol! The lance-blade glittered in my eyes. Its point was at my breast. Something struck me sharply in the face. It was the ring-loop of a lasso!



...and moved forward to the spot where the savage had fallen. He lay, back uppermost. He was naked to the breech-clout.' There was the debouchure of a bullet below the left shoulder ; and the black red stream was trickling down his ribs. The limbs still quivered, but it was in the last spasms of parting life! The hide in which he had disguised himself, lay piled up where it had been flung. Beside it were a bow and several arrows.


In a few minutes we have formed the arc of a circle—concave to the town. Our horses' heads are turned inward, and we ride forward, closing upon the walls.

We rush towards the spot where they are heard. We dash aside the walls of pendant skins. We see the chief. He has a female in his arms—a girl—a beautiful girl—robed in gold and
bright plumes!
" It is she—it is she I" he cries in a voice trembling with emotion ; " God ! it is she ! Adele ! Adele ! do you not know me? Me—your father ?"


"Dare!'' shouted he, in a voice of thunder. "Dare to dishonour your oaths ! By the eternal God ! the first man who raises knife or rifle shall die on the instant !"
 

We waited in silence for the approaching foe. As yet, no warwhoop had reached us ; but we knew that our pursuers could not be far off; and we knelt behind the rocks, straining our eyes.down the dark ravine.



As we came to the ground for the fourth time, my antagonist fell under me. A cry of agony passed from his lips, his head" coggled" over among the weeds, and he lay in my arms without struggling !I felt his grasp gradually relaxing. I looked in his face. His eyes were glassy and torted. Blood was gurgling through his teeth. I saw that he was dead !


I knew the broad black chest andred muzzle. I knew them at a glance. It was my brave steed —my Moro!
The rest followed, trooping after ; but before they were up to trample me I had met my horse, and flung myself, panting, upon his back !


The Indian was fixing another shaft. Its notch never reached the string. As the hoofs of the mustang came down upon the rock, I aimed my blow. I struck the animal over the eye. I felt
the skull yielding before my hatchet; and the next moment horse and rider, the latter screaming and struggling to clear himself ofthe saddle, disappeared over the cliff.


We rolled along the ground, over and over each other. God ! we were nearing the edge of the precipice ! I could not free myself from his grasp. His sinevy fingers were across my throat. They clasped me tightly around the trachea—stopping my breath, lie was strangling me !


I rose to my feet, and tottering toward the spot, looked in. It  was an awful sight to look upon. The gully was some ten feet in depth ; and at its bottom, among the weeds and cacti, a huge
dog was engaged in tearing something that screamed and struggled. It was a man—an Indian. All was explained at a glance. The dog was Alp—the man was my late antagonist!
As I came upon the edge, the dog was on top of his adversary, and kept himself uppermost by desperate bounds from side to side—still dashing the other back as he attempted to rise to his
feet. The savage was crying in despair. I thought I saw the teeth of the animal fast in his throat ;


Upon a high roof two men were engaged in combat, fierce and deadly. Their brilliant
dresses had attracted me, and I soon recognised the combatants. They were Dacoma and the Maricopa ! The Navajo fought with a spear, and I saw that the other held
his rifle clubbed and empty !


Published 1937










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