: John Traintor Foote
Biography & Autobiography
Sporting Days Contents PAGE THE BLIGHTING OF JEPTHA Y . . . . I DOG UPON THE WATERS 21 THE DIVER DOES HIS STUFF . . . . . 39 MY FIRST DEPRESSION . . 59 OLD JOE 77 THE FALL OF MR. BARNTSTOPLE .... 99 LILY BELLE GETS THE AIR 121 THE DIVER TAKES TO PINOCHLE . . . . 143 Illustrations PAGE HERE SHE CAME CRAWLING ALONG BEHIND ME . . 2 I CARRIED HER TO SHORE 22 I BECAME AWARE THAT MY GALLERY HAD NOT DE SERTED ME 40 THE BLUE PYLES LEGS BEGAN TO MOVE IN A SORT OF PAWING MOTION 60 POOK DEVOTED A MOMENT TO SCRATCHING HIS KINKY GRAY DOME 78 STAND BACK, CAP, AN GIMME ROOM . . . . 100 THE POINTERS BEGAN TO SOAR BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE FIELD 122 I WATCHED THE DIVER SPIN, TWIRL, AND STAGGER DOWNSTREAM 144 The Blighting of Jeptha HERE SHE CAMDB CRAWLING ALONG BEHIND ME. THE BLIGHTING OF JEPTHA A MANS first love may easily have been a redhead, with a copious sprinkling of magenta freckles. She may have been a sprightly lady with match-stick un derpinning and a generous endowment of buck-teeth. In the matter of the female form divine, it is certain that she ran chiefly to arms and legs or vaguely sug gested a Christmas plum pudding. Even so, who can recall her cherished lineaments, the shrill cadence of her voice, the angular or rotund contours of her per son, without a wistful sigh, a warmth at the heart, a sudden quickening of the pulse A similar nostalgic yearning comes to most of us at the thought of our first shotgun. It was, in all probability, a single-barreled weapon, chambered and bored, after a fashion, for 2O-gauge shells, with a kick that left a still-scrawny biceps richly black and blue The assemblage of this haphazard specimen of the gun makers art was of such a dubious nature that to break 11 it required what looked like a strain-3 4 SPORTING DAYS ing attempt at hari-kari or it flipped open with sus picious ease. Be that as it may, who can dream of that once venerated symbol of the chase and the god4ike power it placed in ones hands over the life-span of unsuspecting red squirrels, chipmunks and even the too-slothful rabbit, without a softening of the inner man quite as devastating as the recollection of a dar ing peck in the cloakroom The answer to both these questions is to be found in the person of one Jep Sparling, a fairly reliable plumber when, as he says, the notion takes him, but an indispensable companion if one wishes to know what coverts of Westchester County, New York, the evasive timberdoodle, mate and offspring, will favor, as rest-rooms, in their uncertain journey southward. I am prepared to swear that thoughts of his first girl and his first gun leave Jep completely cold I am forced to this conclusion because of a recital of certain facts, pertaining to the past, which he re cently divulged. With a pair of setters reproachfully intent on each morsel of lunch that passed our lips, he spoke as follows Will I ever forget my first shotgun Brother, I never will, Ill remember that cornshucker as long THE BLIGHTING OF JEPTHA ot strength to twitch a trigger finger. I came ss this outrage by reason of collecting nine two hundred and seventy-five thousand and odd soap coupons and delivering enough milk at half a cent a quart to amass and forward, together with said coupons, the dizzy sum of six bucks to a bunch of racketeers, then in the mail-order business, at Kansas City, Missouri. In due time back she came, and for a couple of months I slept with hen No kidding, I used to take that gun to bed with me so nobody could steal her in the night without killing me first She was a 16-gauge single-barrel, weighing right at 8 pounds, that handled like a post-hole digger. I was twelve, going on thirteen, at the time, with nothing to bother me except my old man, who could lay a razor strop, that heM made out of a heavy harness trace, spang on the seat of my pants with a dexterousness that would of surprised you. I dont recollect ever seeing his equal since...