Today we look into John Bradbury's 1809-1811 Travels in the interior of America (first published in 1817). He is describing his first encounter with a skunk and feels compelled to tell his fellow Britons about the dreaded Viverra mephitis. John, desirous of taking a pelt, attempted to shoot his skunk but botched the first shot, likely wounding it. The animal turned toward him and ran at a horrified John. The chase was on and with an angry skunk hot on his heels John feverishly reloaded on the run. The next shot did the trick but the skunk had released some of its Stygian liquor an John couldn't bear being close enough to the animal to skin it. Making a noose out of a vine John dragged the corpse to his boat. There he was fortunate that some of the Canadians with whom he traveled considered skunk a delicacy, so they did the skinning for him. He never did fess up as to whether he tried the skunk meat. Here is his description of the creature.
""This animal in its defense discharges a few drops of a liquid so foetid, that the stench can barely be endured by any animal. Clothes on which the smallest particle has fallen must be buried in the earth for at least a month before they can be worn. This liquor is highly inflammable, and is secreted in a gland beneath the tail, from which it is thrown with a force that will carry it a distance of three or four yards. Only a very few of the American dogs can be induced to attack it, and those are so powerfully affected by the horrid stench, that they continue to howl for a considerable time afterwards, and instinctively relieve themselves by scratching holes in the earth, into which they put their nose."