Metuchen Edison History Features
In Old Metuchen
David Trumbull Marshall
Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930
(Second Edition)- (c) 1930
Once I had a hound dog named Lazarus Anathema. Lazarus was part rabbit hound and part Airedale and part several other breeds of indeterminate character.
One of our neighbors had two pure blooded rabbit-hounds which he kept tied up from one year's end to the other, except on the infrequent occasions in the fall when he went rabbit hunting.
The law was "up" some time in the middle of November when one might for some weeks shoot rabbits lawfully.
Lazarus was allowed to run at large the year round.
For weeks and weeks I have known Lazarus to start a rabbit in a nearby rye field and trail that rabbit for an hour or more and then trot home contentedly.
A cotton-tail rabbit does not burrow in the ground but sits month after month in a "form," a little nest-like spot in some secluded place in the grass. When such a rabbit is driven from his form by men or dogs he usually makes a wide circle and almost always can be counted on to come back to his form as soon as the dog ceases to trail him.
Lazarus used to start Mr. Cotton-Tail from the same place every day and trail him through the tall rye, much to the detriment of the rye, but without scathe to the rabbit.
Lazarus had hound enough in him to bay when he trailed a rabbit just like a regular hound.
When the law was up in November my brother Bruyn went out and shot several of the rabbits that Lazarus had located during the summer.
We had the laugh on the neighbor who had made fun of Lazarus because he had so much Airedale in him that he actually had gray whiskers on each side of his mouth.
Some time afterward I gave Lazarus to some boy friends of ours.
Some weeks after that Lazarus came to our house and barked and howled outside the screen door all night.
My mother wanted me to go and drive Lazarus away but I said, "Oh, he is only homesick and wants to come in."
The next morning I got up early and, procuring a collar and chain, went outside intending to chain up Lazarus.
As I got outside our baker came along driving a fine team of iron-gray horses. I said to him, "Have you seen anything of a hound dog around here?"
The baker said, "Yes, he just bit the lip of one of my horses."
Sure enough the horse had a bloody slit about three inches long on his lip.
Just then Lazarus came around the corner, straight toward me, staggering and foaming at the mouth.
I saw that the dog was mad and said to the baker, "I wish I had a gun with which to shoot that dog." "Here, take this," said the baker, and reaching under the seat of his wagon, handed me a heavy revolver.
I had no sooner gotten the revolver in my hand when the dog got up to me. I stuck the revolver into his wide-open mouth and shot clear through his throat.
The baker's horse died of hydrophobia just two weeks afterward.
Once while passing through the cemetery near the Presbyterian Church I saw a rabbit sitting in his form at the foot of a large spruce tree in the middle of a lot surrounded by a fancy galvanized iron rail fence.
I went home and got my old Civil-War army musket which had been in the house, loaded, for some months.
I rested the musket on the rail fence and pulled the trigger on the old-fashioned copper musket-cap fitted to the muzzle-loading musket.
The gun didn't go off just then, but when I raised it up it did go off and shot off a round piece of bark as large as my hand about 15 feet up the trunk of the spruce tree.
The rabbit never moved.
I went home and loaded the musket again and came back and shot the head clean off the rabbit.
I suppose that would be considered an unsportsmanlike thing to do. It would have been much more sportsmanlike to have started the rabbit, given him a chance for his life, peppered him with birdshot and let him die by inches during several days.
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Lasted updated 6/8/99 by Jim Halpin.