My blockhouse was built at the foot of the mountain chain
of the Rio Grande, on the precipitous banks of the River
Leone. On three sides it was surrounded by a fourteen feet
stockade of split trees standing perpendicularly. At the
two front corners of the palisade were small turrets of-the
same material, whence the face of the wall could be held
under fire in the event of an attack from hostile Indians.
On the south side of the river stretched out illimitable
rolling prairies, while the northern side was covered with the
densest virgin forest for many miles. To the north and
west I had no civilized neighbours at all, while to the south
and east the nearest settlement was at least 250 miles distant.
My small garrison consisted of three men, who, whenever
I was absent, defended the fort, and at other times looked
after the small field and garden as well as the cattle.
As I had exclusively undertaken to provide my colony
with meat, I rarely stayed at home, except when there was
some pressing field work to be done. Each dawn saw me
leave the fort with my faithful dog Trusty, and turn my
horse either toward the boundless prairie or the mountains of
the Rio Grande.
Very often hunting kept me away from home for several
days, in which case I used to bivouac in the tall grass by the