The Trail of the Hawk A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life Sinclair Lewis Jonathan Cape Eleven Gower Street, London TO THE OPTIMISTIC REBELS THROUGH WHOSE TALK AT LUNCHEON THE AUTHOR WATCHES THE MANY-COLOURED SPECTACLE OF LIFE GEORGE SOULE, HARRISON SMITH, ALLAN UPDEGRAFF, F. K. NOYES, ALFRED HARCOURT, B. W. HUEBSCH. The Trail of the Hawk is Mr. Sinclair Lewis second book, and was originally published in America by Harper and Brothers in 1915, a year after Our Mr. Wrenn. The Job was first published in 1916 and Free Air three years later by Harcourt Brace Company of New York. All the foregoing are now to appear in Great Britain in the order of their writing. Main Street was first published in England by Hodder Stoughton m 1921. Babbitt was published simul taneously in England and America in 1922. The Trail of the Hawk has been corrected in some small details, but no revision or re-writing has been attempted by the author, who wishes it to be made clear that it is an early and not a new work. Mr. Lewis new novel will not be ready for publication until the Autumn of 1924. PART I The Adventure of Youth CHAPTER I CARL ERICSON was being naughty. Probably no boy in Joralemon was being naughtier that October Saturday afternoon. He had not half finished the wood piling which was his punishment for having chased the family rooster thirteen times squawking around the chicken-yard, while playing soldiers with Bennie Rusk. He stood in the middle of the musty woodshed, pessi mistically kicking at the scattered wood. His face was stern, as became a man of eight who was a soldier of fortune famed from the front gate to the chicken-yard. An unromantic film of dirt hid the fact that his Scan dinaviancheeks were like cream-coloured silk stained with rose petals. A baby Norseman, with only an average boys prettiness, yet with the whiteness and slenderness of a girls little finger. A back-yard boy, in baggy jacket and trousers, gingham blouse, and cap whose lining oozed back over his ash-blond hair, which was tangled now like trampled grass, with a tiny chip riding grotesquely on one flossy lock. The darkness of the shed displeased Carl. The whole basic conception of work bored him. The sticks of wood were personal enemies to which he gave insulting names. He had always admired the hard bark and metallic reso nance of the ironwood, but he hated the poplar pop ple it is called in Joralemon, Minnesota. Poplar becomes dry and dusty, and the bark turns to a monstrously mottled and evil greenish-white. Carl announced to one poplar stick, I could lick you Im a genral, I am. The stick made no reply whatever, and he con temptuously shied it out into the chickweed which matted the grubby back yard. This necessitated his sneaking 9 THE TRAIL OF THE HAWK out and capturing it by stalking it from the rear, lest it rouse the Popple Army. He loitered outside the shed, sniffing at the smoke from burning leaves the scent of autumn and migration and wanderlust. He glanced down between houses to the reedy shore of Joralemon Lake. The surface of the water was smooth, and tinted like a bluebell, save for one patch in the current where wavelets leaped with October madness in sparkles of diamond fire. Across the lake, woods sprinkled with gold dust and paprika broke the sweep of sparse yellow stubble, and a red barn was softly brilliant in the caressing sunlight and lively air of the Minnesota prairie. Overthere was the field of valour, where grown-up men with shiny shot-guns went hunting prairie-chickens the Great World, leading clear to the Red River Valley and Canada. Three mallard-ducks, with necks far out and wings beating hurriedly, shot over Carls head. From far off a gun-shot floated echoing through forest hollows in the waiting stillness sounded a roosters crow, distant, mag ical. I want to go hunting mourned Carl, as he trailed back into the woodshed. It seemed darker than ever and smelled of mouldy chips. He bounced like an enraged chipmunk...
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