Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/69

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As James Fenimore Cooper Saw It

grave-looking Onondago, as he moved, still deeper and deeper, into the midst of the fluttering tumult.

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"While standing wondering at the extraordinary scene around us, a noise was heard rising above that of the incessant fluttering which I can only liken to that of the trampling of thousands of horses on a beaten road. This noise at first sounded distant, but it increased rapidly in proximity and power, until it came rolling in upon us, among the tree-tops, like a crash of thunder. The air was suddenly darkened, and the place where we stood as somber as a dusky twilight. At the same instant, all the pigeons near us, that had been on their nests, appeared to fall out of them, and the space immediately above our heads was at once filled with birds.

"Chaos itself could hardly have represented greater confusion, or a greater uproar. As for the birds, they now seemed to disregard our presence entirely; possibly they could not see us on account of their own numbers, for they fluttered in between Dus and myself, hitting us with their wings, and at times appearing as if about to bury us in avalanches of pigeons. Each of us caught one at least in our hands, while Chainbearer and the Indian took them in some numbers, letting one prisoner go as another was taken. In a word, we seemed to be in a world of pigeons. This part of the scene may