By Jim Blanchard
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Additional info for A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada
Seton had spent the winter of 1883 in New York, attempting to establish himself as a nature illustrator. His success there and the contacts he formed made him finally decide to give up homesteading and leave Manitoba for good. In his later years he became an international figure because of his illustrations and writings, and because of the Woodcraft movement he founded to teach boys about outdoor life. In this charming piece about prairie chickens, we are given a glimpse of the great naturalist at the beginning of his writing career, a young homesteader observing and noting his impressions in that sympathetic and clear style that would make him beloved of readers all over the world.
Such a hurricane of blasphemous swearing as issued from that profane driver's lips I never heard before, and could not imagine so vile a lame lump of humanity to exist anywhere out of the "inferno". Yet even in this there was hid a germ of virtue, a trait of humane feeling, for it was in consideration of his team (which he idolized) that he was excited into the indulgence of such revolting profanity, polluting the very atmosphere around him. However, when exhausted and some what solaced with tobacco from Fuller and rum from Ritchie, Lame Jack concluded to feed his horses, while we fed, and get ready to go back and retrace with us the 20 miles over which he had come so recently.
I have seen a number of specimens taken within — 27 — ERNEST THOMPSON SETON twenty miles of Winnipeg. It is desirable that a record be kept of any new facts regarding this encroachment. . " They commence at dawn. The birds may be seen standing in ordinary attitudes until suddenly one lowers his head, spreads out his wings horizontally, but slightly dipped, and his tail perpendicularly, distends his air sacs and erects his feathers, then taking the very shortest steps, but stamping his feet so fast and hard that the sound is like that of a kettle drum, he careers about, beating the air with his wings and vibrating the tail so that it rattles loudly, uttering a sort of cribbing crow, which seems to come from the air sacs.
A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada by Jim Blanchard