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Title: The Swamp Doctor's Adventures in The South-West
       Containing the Whole of The Louisiana Swamp Doctor; Streaks
              of Squatter Life; And Far-Western Scenes; In a Series of
              Forty-Two Humorous Southern and Western Sketches,
              Descriptive of Incidents and Character

Author: John Robb

Illustrator: Darley

Release Date: July 19, 2014 [EBook #46329]
Last Updated: March 16, 2018

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by David Widger from page images generously
provided by the Internet Archive


Containing The Whole Of The Louisiana Swamp Doctor; Streaks Of Squatter Life; And Far-Western Scenes; In A Series Of Forty-Two Humorous Southern And Western Sketches, Descriptive Of Incidents And Character.

By John Robb

(“Madison Tensas, M.D.,” and “Solitaire,”)
Author Of “Swallowing Oysters Alive,” Etc.

Illustrated by Darley.
































































The city physician, or the country doctor of an old-settled locality, with all the appliances of cultivated and refined life around them; possessing all the numberless conveniences and luxuries of the sick-room; capable of controlling the many adverse circumstances that exert such a pernicious influence upon successful practice; having at command the assistance, in critical and anomalous cases, of scientific and experienced coadjutors; the facilities of good roads; the advantages of comfortable dwellings, easy carriages, and the pleasures of commingling with a cultivated, mild, refined society, cannot fully realize and appreciate the condition of their less favoured, humble brethren, who, impelled by youthfulness, poverty, defective education, or the reckless spirit of adventure, have taken up their lot with society nearly in its primitive condition, and dispense the blessings of their profession to the inhabitants of a country, where the obscure bridle-path, the unbridged water-courses, the deadened forest trees, the ringing of the woodman's axe, the humble log cabin, the homespun dress, and all the many sober, hard realities of pioneer life, attest the youthfulness of the settlement.

The city physician may be of timorous nature and weak and effeminate constitution: the “swamp doctor,” whose midnight ride is often saluted by the scream of the panther, must be of courageous nature, and in physical endurance as hardy as one of his own grand alluvial oaks, whose canopy of leaves is many a night his only shelter.

The city physician may be of fastidious taste, and exquisiteness of feeling; the swamp doctor must have the unconcernedness of the dissecting-room, and be prepared to swallow his peck of dirt all at once.

The city physician must be of polished manners and courtly language: the swamp doctor finds the only use he has for bows, is to escape some impending one that threatens him with Absalomic fate; the only necessity for courtly expression, to induce some bellicose “squatter” to pay his bill in something besides hot curses and cold lead.

The city physician, fast anchored in the sublimity of scientific expression, requires a patient to “inflate his lungs to their utmost capacity;” the swamp doctor tells his to “draw a long breath, or swell your d—dest:” one calls an individual's physical peculiarities, “idiosyncrasy;” the other terms it “a fellow's nater.”

The city physician sends his prescriptions to the drug store, and gives himself no regard as to the purity of the medicine; each swamp doctor is his own pharmacien, and carries his drug store at the saddle.

The city physician rides in an easy carriage over well paved streets, and pays toll at the bridge; we mount a canoe, a pair of mud boots, sometimes a horse, and traverse, unmindful of exposure or danger, the sullen slough or angry river.

The city physician wears broadcloth, and looking in his hat reads, “Paris;” we adorn the outer man with homespun, and gazing at our graceful castors remember the identical hollow tree in which we caught the coon that forms its fair outline and symmetrical proportions.

The city physician goes to the opera or theatre, to relax, and while away a leisure evening. The swamp doctor resorts for the same purpose to a deer or bear hunt, a barbacue or bran dance, and generally ends by becoming perfectly hilarious, and evincing a determination to sit up in order that he can escort the young ladies home before breakfast.

The city physician, compelled to keep up appearances, deems a library of a hundred authors a moderate collection; the swamp doctor glories in the possession of “Gunn's Domestic Medicine,” and the “Mother's Guide.”

The city physician has a costly Parisian instrument for performing operations, and scorns to extract a tooth; the swamp doctor can rarely boast of a case of amputating instruments, and practises dentistry with a gum lancet and a pair of pullikens.

The city physician, with intellect refined, but feelings vitiated by the corruptings and heart-hardenings of modern polished society, views with utter indifference or affected sympathy the dissolution of body and soul in his patients: but think you, we can see depart unmoved those with whom we have endured privations, have been knit like brothers together by our mutual dangers; with whom we have hunted, fished, and shared the crust and lowly couch; with whom we have rejoiced and sorrowed; think you we can see them go down to the grave with tearless eyes, with unmoved soul? If we can, then blot out that expression so accordant with common sentiment, “God made the country, and man the town.”

The city physician sends the poor to the hospital, and eventually to the dissecting-room; we tend and furnish them gratuitously, and a proposal to dispose of them anatomically would, in all probability, put a knife into us.

One, with a sickly frame, anticipates old age; the other, with a vigorous constitution, knows that exposure and privation will cut him off ere his meridian be reached.

The city physician has soft hands, soft skin, and soft clothes: we have soft hearts but hard hands; we are rough in our phrases, but true in our natures; our words do not speak one language and our actions another; what we mean we say, what we say we mean; our characters, when not original, are impressed upon us by the people we practise among and associate with, for such is the character of the pioneers and pre-emptionists of the swamp.

To sum up the whole, the city physician lives at the top of the pot, the swamp doctor scarcely at the rim of the skillet: one is a delicate carpet, which none but the nicest kid can press; the other is a cypress floor, in which the hobnails of every clown can stamp their shape: one is the breast of a chicken, the other is a muscle-shell full of cat-fish: one is quinine, the other Peruvian bark: and so on in the scale of proportions.

I have contrasted the two through the busy, moving scenes of life; let me keep the curtain from descending awhile, till I draw the last and awful contrast.

Stand by the death-bed of the two, in that last and solemn hour, when disease has prescribed for the patient, and death, acting the pharmacien, is filling the R. In a close, suffocating room, horizontalized on a feather bed; if a bachelor, attended by a mercenary nurse; his departure eagerly desired by a host of expectant, envious competitors; with the noise of drays, the shouts of the busy multitude, and the many discordant cries of the city ringing through his frame, the soul of the city physician leaves its mortal tenement and wings its way to heaven through several floors and thicknesses of mortar and brick, whilst the sobs of his few true friends float on the air strangely mingled with “Pies all hot!”

“The last 'erald!” and “Five dollars reward, five dollars reward, for the lost child of a disconsolate family!”

The swamp doctor is gathered unto his fathers 'neath the greenwood tree, couched on the yielding grass, with the soft melody of birds, the melancholy cadence of the summer wind, the rippling of the stream, the sweet smell of flowers, and the blue sky above bending down as if to embrace him, to soothe his spirit, and give his parting soul a glance of that heaven which surely awaits him as a recompense for all the privations he has endured on earth; whilst the pressure on his palm of hard and manly hands, the tears of women attached to him like a brother by the past kind ministerings of his Godlike calling, the sobs of children, and the boisterous grief of the poor negroes, attest that not unregarded or unloved he hath dwelt on earth: a sunbeam steals through the leafy canopy and clothes his brow with a living halo, a sweet smile pervades his countenance, and amidst all that is beauteous in nature or commendable in man, the swamp doctor sinks in the blissful luxuries of death; no more to undergo privation and danger, disease or suffering. He hath given his last pill, had his last draught protested against; true to the instincts of his profession, he, no doubt, in the battling troop of the angels above, if feasible, will still continue to charge.


Upon what slender hinges the gate of a man's life turns, and what trifling things change the tenor of his being, and determine in a moment the direction of a lifetime! Who inhales his modicum of azote and oxygen, that cannot verify in his own person that we are the creatures of circumstances, and that there is a hidden divinity that shapes our ends, despite the endeavours of the pedagogue, man, to paddle them out of shape?

Some writer of celebrity has averred, and satisfactorily proven to all of his way of thinking, by a chain of logical deductions, that the war of 1812, the victory of New Orleans, the elevation of Jackson to the presidency, the annexation of Texas, General Taylor's not possessing the proportions of Hercules, and a sad accident that occurred to one of the best of families very recently, all was the inevitable effect of a quiet unobtrusive citizen in Maryland being charged some many years ago with hog stealing.

Were I writing a library instead of a volume, I would take up, for the satisfaction of my readers, link by link, the chain of consequences, from the mighty to the insignificant; also, if time and eternity permitted, trace the genealogy of the memorable porker (upon whose forcible seizure all these events depended), back to the time when Adam was not required to show a tailor's bill unpaid, as a portent of gentility, or Eve thought it a wife's duty to henpeck her husband.

As I cannot do this, I will, by an analogous example, show that equally—to me at least—important consequences have been deduced from as unimportant and remote causes; and that the writing of this volume, my being a swamp doctor in 1848, and having been steamboat cook, cabin-boy, gentleman of leisure, plough-boy, cotton-picker, and almost a printer, depended when I was ten years old on a young lady wearing “No. 2” shoes, when common sense and the size of her foot whispered “fives.” And now to show the connexion between these remote facts.

The death of my mother when I was very young breaking up our family circle, I became an inmate of the family of a married brother, whose wife, to an imperious temper, had, sadly for me, united the companionship of several younger brothers, whose associates I became when I entered her husband's door. Living in a free state, and his straitened circumstances permitting him but one hired servant, much of the family drudgery fell upon his wife, who up to my going there devolved a portion upon her brothers, but which all fell to my share as soon as I became domiciliated. I complained to my brother; but it was a younger brother arraigning a loved wife, and we all know how such a suit would be decided. Those only who have lived in similar circumstances can appreciate my situation; censured for errors and never praised for my industry, the scapegoat of the family and general errand-boy of the concern, waiting upon her brothers when I would fain have been at study or play, mine was anything but an enviable life. This condition of things continued until I had passed my tenth year, when, grown old by drudgery and wounded feelings, I determined to put into effect a long-cherished plan, to run away and seek my fortune wheresoever chance might lead or destiny determine.

By day and by night for several years this thought had been upon me; it had grown with my growth, and acquired strength from each day's developement of fresh indignities, filling me with so much resolution, that the boy of ten had the mental strength of twenty to effect such a purpose. I occupied my few leisure hours in building airy castles of future fortune and distinction, and in marking out the preparatory road to make Providence my guide, and have the world before me, where to choose.

One evening, just at sunset, I was seated on the lintel of the street-door, nursing one of my nephews, and affecting to still his cries, the consequence of a spiteful pinch I had given him, to repay some indignity offered me by his mother, when my attention was attracted to a young lady, who, apparently in much suffering, was tottering along, endeavouring to support herself by her parasol, which she used as a cane. To look at me now with my single bed, buttonless shirts, premature wigdom, and haggard old-bachelor looks, you would scarcely think I am or was ever an admirer of the sex. But against appearances I have always been one; and boy as I was then, the sight of that young woman tottering painfully along, awoke all my sensibilities, and made the fountain of sympathy gush out as freely as a child swallowing lozenges. Overcoming my boyish diffidence, as she got opposite the door, I addressed her, “Miss, will you not stop and rest? I will get you a chair, and you can stay in the porch, if you will not come in the house.”

“Thank you, my little man,” she gasped out, and attempted to seat herself in the chair I had brought, but striking her foot against the step the pain was so great, that she shrieked out, and fell dead, as I thought, on the floor.

Frightened terribly to think I had brought dead folks home, I joined my yell to her scream, as a prolongation, which outcry brought my sister-in-law to the scene. The woman prevailing, she carried her in the house, and shutting the door to keep out curious eyes, which began to gather round, she set to restoring her uninvited guest, which she soon accomplished. As soon as she could speak, she gasped out, “Take them off, they are killing me!”—pointing to her feet. This, with difficulty, was effected, and their blood-stained condition showed how great must have been her torment. She announced herself as the daughter of a well-known merchant of the city, and begged permission to send me to her father's store, to request him to send a carriage for her. Assent being given, she gave me the necessary directions to find it, and off I started. It was near the river.

On my way to the place, as I reached the river, I overtook a gentleman apparently laden down with baggage. On seeing me he said, “My lad, I will give you a quarter if you will carry one of these bundles down to that steamboat,” pointing to one that was ringing her last bell previous to starting to New Orleans. This was a world of money to me then, and I readily agreed. Increasing our pace, we reached just in time the steamer, between which and the place he had accosted me, I had determined, as the present opportunity was a good one, to put in execution my long-cherished plan, and run away from my home then. Its accomplishment was easy. Following my employer on board, I received my quarter; but instead of going on shore, I secreted myself on board, until the continued puff of the steamer and the merry chant of the firemen assured me we were fairly under way, that I was fast leaving my late home and becoming a fugitive upon the face of the waters, dependent upon my childish exertions for my daily bread, without money, save the solitary quarter, without a change of clothes; no friend to counsel me save the monitor within, a heart made aged and iron by contumely and youthful suffering.

Emerging from my concealment, I timidly sought the lower deck and sat me down upon the edge of the boat, and singling out some spark as it rose from the chimney, strove childishly to draw some augury of my future fate from its long continuance or speedy extinction.

The city was fast fading in the distance. I watched its receding houses, for, while they lasted, I felt as if I was not altogether without a home. A turn of the river hid it from sight, and my tears fell fast, for I was also leaving the churchyard which held my mother, and I then had not grown old enough to read life's bitterest page, to separate dream from reality, and know we could meet no more on earth; for oftentimes in the quiet calm of sleep, in the lonely hours of night, I had seen her bending over my tear-wet pillow, and praying for me the same sweet prayer that she prayed for me when I was her sinless youngest born, and I thought in leaving her grave I should never see her more, for how, when she should rise again at night, would she be able to find me, rambler as I was?

With this huge sorrow to dampen my joy at acquiring my liberty, chilled with the night air I was sinking into sleep in my dangerous seat, when the cook of the boat discovered me, and shaking me by the arm until I awoke, took me into the caboose, and giving me my supper, asked me, “What I was doing there, where I would be certain to fall overboard if I went to sleep?” I made up a fictitious tale, and finishing my story, asked him if he could assist me in getting some work on the boat to pay my passage, hinting I was not without experience in his department, in washing dishes, cleaning knives, &c. This was just to his hand; promising me employment and protection, he gave me a place to sleep in, which, fatigued as I was, I did not suffer long to remain unoccupied.

The morrow beheld me regularly installed as third cook or scullion, at eight dollars a month. This, to be sure, was climbing the world's ladder to fame and fortune at a snail's pace; but I was not proud, and willing to bide my time in hope of the better day a-coming. My leisure hours, which were not few, were employed in studying my books, of which I had a good supply, bought with money loaned me by my kind friend the cook.

I improved rapidly in my profession, till one day my ambition was gratified by being allowed to make the corn bread for the first cabin table. This I executed in capital style, with the exception of forgetting in my elation to sift the meal, thereby kicking up considerable of a stir when it came to be eaten, and causing my receiving a hearty curse for my carelessness, and a threat of a rope's end, the exercise of which I crushed by seizing a butcher knife in very determined style, and the affair passed over.

I remained on board until I had ascended as high as second cook, when I got disgusted with the kitchen and aspired to the cabin. I had heard of many cabin-boys becoming captain of their own vessels, but never of one cook,—except Captain Cook, and he became one from name, not by nature or profession. There being no vacancy on board, I received my wages and hired at V———— as cabin boy on a small steamboat running as packet to a small town, situated on one of the tributaries of the Mississippi.

On my first trip up I recollected that I had a brother living in the identical town to which the steamer was destined, who had been in the south for several years, and, when I last heard from him, was doing well in the world's ways.

I thought that as I would be landing every few days at his town, it would be only right that I should call and see him.

He was merchandising on a large scale, I was informed by a gentleman on board, a planter in one of the middle counties of Mississippi, who, seeing me reading in the cabin after I had finished my labour of the day, opened a conversation with me, and, extracting my history by his mild persuasiveness, offered to take me home with him, and send me to school until my education for a profession was completed. But my independence spurned the idea of being indebted to such an extent to a stranger; perhaps I was too enamoured of my wild roving life. I refused his offer, thanking him gratefully for the kind interest he seemed to take in me. He made me promise, that if I changed my mind soon, I would write to him, and gave me his direction, which I soon lost, and his name has passed from my recollection.

On reaching M———, I strolled up in town and inquired the way of a negro to Mr. Tensas' store. He pointed it out to me, and I entered. On inquiry for him, I found he was over at his dwelling-house, which I sought. It was a very pretty residence, I thought, for a bachelor; the walks were nicely gravelled, and shrubbery appropriately decorated the grounds.

I knocked at the door boldly; after a short delay it was opened by quite a handsome young finely dressed lady. Thinking I was mistaken in the house, I inquired if my brother resided there? She replied, that he did and invited me to wait, as he would soon be home. Walking in, after a short interval my brother came. Not remarking me at first, he gave the young lady a hearty kiss, which she returned with interest. I concluded she must be his housekeeper. Perceiving me, he recognised me in a moment, and gave me an affectionate welcome, bidding me go and kiss my sister-in law, which, not waiting for me to do, she performed herself.

My brother was very much shocked when he heard of my menial occupation, and used such arguments and persuasives to induce me to forsake my boat-cabin for his house, that I at length yielded.

He intended sending me the next year to college, when the monetary crash came over the South, and the millionaire of to-day awoke the penniless bankrupt of the morrow. My brother strove manfully to resist the impending ruin, but fell like the rest, and I saw all my dreams of a collegiate education vanishing into thin smoke.

Why recount the scenes of the next five years? it is but the thrice-told tale, of a younger brother dependent upon an elder, himself dependent upon others for employment and a subsistence for his family; his circumstances would improve—I would be sent to school—fortune would again lower, and I, together with my sister-in-law, would perform the menial offices of the family.

My sixteenth birthday was passed in the cotton-field, at the tail of a plough, in the midst of my fellow-labourers, between whom and myself but slight difference existed. I was discontented and unhappy. Something within kept asking me, as it had for years, if it was to become a toiler in the cotton-fields of the South, the companion of negroes, that I had stolen from my boyhood's home? was this the consummation of all my golden dreams?

My prospects were gloomy enough to daunt a much older heart. Poverty shut out all hopes of a collegiate education and a profession. Reflection had disgusted me with a steamboat. I determined to learn a trade. My taste for reading naturally inclined me to one in which I could indulge it freely: it was a printer's.

Satisfactory arrangements were soon made with a neighbouring printer and editor of a country newspaper. The day was fixed when he would certainly expect me; if I did not come by that time he was to conclude that I had altered my determination, and he would be free to procure another apprentice.

A wedding was to come off in the family for which I worked, in a short time, and they persuaded me to delay my departure a week, and attend it. I remained, thinking my brother would inform the printer of the cause of my detention. The wedding passed off, and the next morning, bright and early, I bid adieu, without a pang of regret, to my late home, and started for my new master's, but who was destined never to become such; for on reaching the office I learnt that my brother had failed to inform him why I delayed, and he had procured another apprentice only the day before. So that wedding gave one subject less to the fraternity of typos, and made an indifferent swamp doctor of matter for a good printer.

I returned home on foot, wallet on my back, and resumed my cotton-picking, feeling but little disappointed. I had shaken hands too often with poverty's gifts to let this additional grip give me much uneasiness.

The season was nearly over, and the negroes were striving to get the cotton out by Christmas, when one night at the supper table—the only meal I partook of with the family—my brother inquired, “How would you like to become a doctor, Madison?”

I thought he was jesting, and answered merely with a laugh. Become a doctor, a professional man, when I was too poor to go to a common school, was it not ludicrous?

“I am in earnest. Suppose a chance offered for you to become a student of medicine, would you accept it?” he said.

It was not the profession I would have selected had wealth given me a choice, but still it was a means of aquiring an education, a door through which I might possibly emerge to distinction, and I answered, “Show me the way, and I will accept without hesitation.”

He was not jesting. One of the first physicians in the state, taking a fancy to me, had offered to board me, clothe me, educate me in his profession, and become as a father to me, if I were willing to accept the kind offices at his hands.

I could scarcely realize the verity of what I had heard, yet 'twas true, and the ensuing new-year beheld me an inmate of the office of my benefactor.

He is now in his grave. Stricken down a soldier of humanity at his post, ere the meridian of life was reached. Living, he was called the widow's and orphan's friend, and the tears of all attested, at his death, that the proud distinction was undenied. I am not much, yet what I am he made me; and when my heart fails to thrill in gratitude at the silent breathing of his name, may it be cold to the loudest tones of life.

Behold me, then, a student of medicine, but yesterday a cotton-picker, illustrating within my own person, in the course of a few years, the versatility of American pursuits and character.

I was scarcely sixteen, yet I was a student of medicine, and had been, almost a printer, a cotton-picker, plough-boy, gin-driver, gentleman of leisure, cabin-boy, cook, scullion, and runaway, all distinctly referable to the young lady before-mentioned wearing “No. 2's,” when her foot required “fives.”


N ow, Mr. Tensas,” said my kind preceptor, a few days after I had got regularly installed in the office, “your first duty must be to get acquainted with the different medicines. This is a Dispensatory—as you read of a drug you will find the majority mentioned on the shelves, take it down and digest”—here, unfortunately for the peace of mind and general welfare of a loafing Indian, who hung continually around the office, seeking what he might devour, or rather steal, the doctor was called away in a great hurry, and did not have time to finish his sentence, so “take it down and digest,” were the last words that remained in my mind. “Take it down and digest.” By the father of physic, thought I, this study of medicine is not the pleasant task I anticipated—rather arduous in the long run for the stomach, I should judge, to swallow and digest all the medicines, from Abracadabra to Zinzibar. Why, some of them are vomits, and I'd like to know how they are to be kept down long enough to be digested. Now, as for tamarinds, or liquorice, or white sugar, I might go them, but aloes, and rhubarb, and castor-oil, and running your finger down your throat, are rather disagreeable any way you can take them. I'm in for it, though; I suppose it's the way all doctors are made, and I have no claims to be exempted; and now for big book with the long name.

I opened it upon a list of the metals. Leading them in the order that alphabetical arrangement entitled it to, was, “Arsenic: deadly poison. Best preparation, Fowler's Solution. Symptoms from an overdose, burning in the stomach, great thirst, excessive vomiting,” &c., &c. With eyes distended to their utmost capacity, I read the dread' enumeration of its properties. What! take this infernal medicament down, digest it, and run the chances of its not being an overdose? Can't think of it a moment. I'll go back to my plough first; but then the doctor knew all the dangers when he gave his directions, and he was so precise and particular, there cannot be any mistake. I'll take a look at it anyhow, and I hunted it up. As the Dispensatory preferred Fowler's Solution, I selected that. Expecting to find but a small quantity, I was somewhat surprised when I discovered it in a four-gallon bottle, nearly full. I took out the stopper, and applied it cautiously to my nose. Had it not been for the label, bearing, in addition to the name, the fearful word “Poison,” and the ominous skull and cross-bones, I would have sworn it was good old Bourbon whiskey. Old Tubba, the Indian, was sitting in the office door, watching my proceedings with a great deal of interest. Catching the spirituous odour of the arsenical solution, he rose up and approached me eagerly, saying, “Ugh; Injun want whiskey; give Tubba whiskey; bring wild duck, so many,” holding up two of his fingers. The temptation was strong, I must confess. The medicines had to be tested, and I felt very much disinclined to depart this life just then, when the pin feathers of science had just commenced displacing the soft down of duck-lingdom; but this Indian, he is of no earthly account or use to any one; no one would miss him, even were he to take an overdose; science often has demanded sacrifices, and he would be a willing one; but—it may kill him; I can't do it; to kill a man before I get my diploma will be murder; a jury might not so pronounce it, but conscience would; I can't swallow it, and Tubba must not. These were the thoughts that flashed through my mind before I replied to the Indian's request. “Indian can't have whiskey. Tubba drink whiskey—Tubba do so.” Here I endeavoured to go through the pantomime of dying, as I was not master of sufficient Choctaw to explain myself. I lifted a glass to my mouth and pretended to empty it, then gave a short yell, clapping my hands over my stomach, staggering, jerking my hands and feet about, as I fell on the floor, repeating the yells, then turned on my face and lay still as though I was dead. But to my chagrin, all this did not seem to affect the Indian with that horror that I intended, but on the contrary, he grunted out a series of ughs, expressive of his satisfaction, saying, “Ugh; Tubba want get drunk too.”

The dinner hour arriving, I dismissed old Tubba, and arranging my toilet, walked up to the dwelling-house, near half a mile distant, where I was detained several hours by the presence of company, to whom I was forced to do the honours, the doctor not having returned.

At length I got released, and returned to the office, resolving to suspend my studies until I could have a talk with my preceptor; for, even on my ignorant mind, the shadow of a doubt was falling as to whether there might not be some mistake in my understanding of his language.

Entering the office, my eyes involuntarily sought the Solution of Arsenic. Father of purges and pukes, it was gone! “Tubba, you're a gone case. I ought to have hidden it. I might have known he would steal it after smelling the whiskey; poor fellow! it's no use to try and find him, he's struck a straight line for the swamp; poor fellow! it's all my fault.” Thus upbraiding myself for my carelessness, I walked back into my bedroom. And my astonishment may be imagined, when I discovered the filthy Indian tucked in nicely between my clean sheets.

To all appearances he was in a desperate condition, the fatal bottle lying hugged closely in his embrace, nearly empty. He must be suffering awfully, thought I, when humanity had triumphed over the indignation I felt at the liberties he had taken, but Indian-like, he bears it without a groan. Well has his race been called “the stoics of the wood, the men without a tear.” But I must not let him die without an effort to save him. I don't know what to do myself, so I'll call in Dr. B., and away I posted; but Dr. B. was absent; so was Dr. L.; and in fact every physician of the town. Each office, however, contained one or more students; and as half a loaf is better than no bread, I speedily informed them of the condition of affairs, and quickly, like a flock of young vultures, we were thronging around the poisoned Indian, to what we would soon have rendered the harvest of death.

“Stomach pump eo instanti!” said one; “Sulphas Zinci cum Decoction Tabacum!” said another; “Venesection!” suggested a third. “Puke of Lobelia!” suggested a young disciple of Thompson, who self-invited had joined the conclave, “Lobelia. Number six, pepper tea, yaller powders, I say!”

“Turn him out! Turn him out! What right has young Roots in a mineral consultation? Turn him out!”—and heels over head, out of the room, through the middle door, and down the office steps, went “young Roots,” impelled by the whole body of the enraged “regulars”—save myself, who, determined amidst the array of medical lore not to appear ignorant, wisely held my tongue and rubbed the patient's feet with a greased rag. Again arose the jargon of voices.

“Sulphas Zinci—Stomach, Arteri, pump, otomy-must—legs—hot-toddy—to bleed him—lectricity—hot blister—flat-irons—open his—windpipe but still I said never a word, but rubbed his feet, wondering whether I would ever acquire as much knowledge as my fellow students showed the possession of. By the by, I was the only one that was doing anything for the patient, the others being too busy discussing the case to attend to the administration of any one of the remedies proposed.

“I say stimulate, the system is sinking,” screamed a tall, stout-looking student, as the Indian slid down towards the foot of the bed.

“Bleeding is manifestly and clearly indicated,” retorted a bitter rival in love as well as medicine, “his muscular action is too excessive,” as Tubba made an ineffectual effort to throw his body up to the top of the mosquito bar.

“Bleeding would be as good as murder,” said Number 1.

“Better cut his throat than stimulate him,” said Number 2.







Yim! Yim! and stomach-pump and brandy bottle flashed like meteors.

“Fight! fight! form a ring! fair play!”

“You're holding my friend.”

“You lie! You rascal!”

Vim! Vim! from a new brace of combatants.

“He's gouging my brother! I must help! foul play!”

“Let go my hair!” Vim! Vim! and a triplet went at it.

I stopped rubbing, and looked on with amazement. “Gentlemen, this is unprofessional! 'tis undignified! 'tis disgraceful! stop, I command you!” I yelled, but no one regarded me; some one struck me, and away I pitched into the whole lot promiscuously, having no partner, the patient dying on the bed whilst we were studying out his case.

“Fight! fight!” I heard yelled in the street, as I had finished giving a lick all round, and could hardly keep pitching into the mirror to whip my reflection, I wanted a fight so bad.

“Fight! fight! in D-5s back office!” and here came the whole town to see the fun.

“I command the peace!” yelled Dick Locks; “I'm the mayor.”

“And I'm the hoss for you!” screamed I, doubling him up with a lick in the stomach, which he replied to by laying me on my back, feeling very faint, in the opposite corner of the room.

“I command the peace!” continued Dick, flinging one of the combatants out of the window, another out of the door, and so on alternately, until the peace was preserved by nearly breaking its infringers to pieces.

“What in the devil, Mr. Tensas, does this mean?” said my preceptor, who at that moment came in; “what does all this fighting, and that drunken Indian lying in your bed, mean? have you all been drunk?”

“He has poisoned himself, sir, in my absence, with the solution of arsenic, which he took for whiskey; and as all the doctors were out of town, I called in the students, and they got to fighting over him whilst consulting;” I replied, very indignantly, enraged at the insinuation that we had been drinking.

“Poisoned with solution of arsenic, ha! ha! oh! lord! ha!” and my preceptor, throwing his burly form on the floor, rolled over and over, making the office ring with his laughter—“poisoned, ha! ha!”

“Get out of this, you drunken rascal!” said he to the dying patient, applying his horse-whip to him vigorously. It acted like a charm: giving a loud yell of defiance, the old Choctaw sprang into the middle of the floor.

“Whoop! whiskey lour! Injun big man, drunk heap. Whoop! Tubba big Injun heap!” making tracks for the door, and thence to the swamp.

The truth must out. The boys had got into the habit of making too free with my preceptor's whiskey; and to keep off all but the knowing one, he had labelled it, “Solution of Arsenic.”


During my medical studies, passed in a small village in Mississippi, I became acquainted with a family named Hibbs (a nom de plume of course), residing a few miles in the country. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Hibbs and son. They were plain, unlettered people, honest in intent and deed, but overflowing with that which amply made up for all their deficiencies of education, namely, warm-hearted hospitality, the distinguishing trait of southern character. They were originally from Virginia, from whence they had emigrated in quest of a clime more genial, and a soil more productive than that in which their fathers toiled. Their search had been rewarded, their expectations realized, and now, in their old age, though not wealthy in the “Astorian” sense, still they had sufficient to keep the “wolf from the door,” and drop something more substantial than condolence and tears in the hat that poverty hands round for the kind offerings of humanity.

The old man was like the generality of old planters, men whose ambition is embraced by the family or social circle, and whose thoughts turn more on the relative value of “Sea Island” and “Mastodon,” and the improvement of their plantations, than the “glorious victories of Whig-gery in Kentucky,” or the “triumphs of democracy in Arkansas.”

The old lady was a shrewd, active dame, kind-hearted and long-tongued, benevolent and impartial, making her coffee as strong for the poor pedestrian, with his all upon his back, as the broadcloth sojourner, with his “up-country pacer.” She was a member of the church, as well as the daughter of a man who had once owned a race-horse: and these circumstances gave her an indisputable right, she thought, to “let on all she knew,” when religion or horse-flesh was the theme. At one moment she would be heard discussing whether the new “circus rider,” (as she always called him,) was as affecting in Timothy as the old one was pathetic in Paul, and anon (not anonymous, for the old lady did everything above board, except rubbing her corns at supper), protecting dad's horse from the invidious comparisons of some visiter, who, having heard, perhaps, that such horses as Fashion and Boston existed, thought himself qualified to doubt the old lady's assertion that her father's horse “Shumach” had run a mile on one particular occasion. “Don't tell me,” was her never failing reply to their doubts, “Don't tell me 'bout Fashun or Bosting, or any other beating 'Shumach' a fair race, for the thing was unfesible; did'nt he run a mile a minute by Squire Dim's watch, which always stopt 'zactly at twelve, and did'nt he start a minute afore, and git out, jes as the long hand war givin' its last quiver on ketchin' the short leg of the watch? And didn't he beat everything in Virginny 'cept once? Dad and the folks said he'd beat then, if young Mr. Spotswood hadn't give 'old Swaga,' Shumach's rider, some of that 'Croton water,' (that them Yorkers is makin' sich a fuss over as bein' so good, when gracious knows, nothin' but what the doctors call interconception could git me to take a dose) and jis 'fore the race Swage or Shumach, I don't 'stinctly 'member which, but one of them had to 'let down,' and so dad's hoss got beat.”

The son I will describe in few words. Imbibing his parents' contempt for letters, he was very illiterate, and as he had not enjoyed the equivalent of travel, was extremely ignorant on all matters not relating to hunting or plantation duties. He was a stout, active fellow, with a merry twinkling of the eye, indicative of humour, and partiality for practical joking. We had become very intimate, he instructing me in “forest lore,” and I, in return, giving amusing stories, or, what was as much to his liking, occasional introductions to my hunting-flask.

Now that I have introduced the “Dramatis Personæ,” I will proceed with my story. By way of relaxation, and to relieve the tedium incident more or less to a student's life, I would take my gun, walk out to old Hibbs's, spend a day or two, and return refreshed to my books.

One fine afternoon I started upon such an excursion, and as I had upon a previous occasion missed killing a fine buck, owing to my having nothing but squirrel shot, I determined to go this time for the “antlered monarch,” by loading one barrel with fifteen “blue whistlers,” reserving the other for small game.

At the near end of the plantation was a fine spring, and adjacent, a small cave, the entrance artfully or naturally concealed, save to one acquainted with its locality. The cave was nothing but one of those subterraneous washes so common in the west and south, and called “sink holes.” It was known only to young H. and myself, and we, for peculiar reasons, kept secret, having put it in requisition as the depository of a jug of “old Bourbon,” which we favoured, and as the old folks abominated drinking, we had found convenient to keep there, whither we would repair to get our drinks, and return to the house to hear them descant on the evils of drinking, and “vow no 'drap,' 'cept in doctor's truck, should ever come on their plantation.”

Feeling very thirsty, I took my way by the spring that evening. As I descended the hill o'ertopping it, I beheld the hind parts of a bear slowly being drawn into the cave. My heart bounded at the idea of killing a bear, and my plans were formed in a second. I had no dogs—the house was distant—and the bear becoming “small by degrees, and beautifully less.” Every hunter knows, if you shoot a squirrel in the head when it's sticking out of a hole, ten to one he'll jump out; and I reasoned that if this were true regarding squirrels, might not the operation of the same principle extract a bear, applying it low down in the back.

Quick as thought I levelled my gun and fired, intending to give him the buckshot when his body appeared; but what was my surprise and horror, when, instead of a bear rolling out, the parts were jerked nervously in, and the well-known voice of young H. reached my ears.

“Murder! Hingins! h—ll and kuckle-burs! Oh! Lordy' 'nuff!—'nuff!—take him off! Jis let me off this wunst, dad, and I'll never run mam's colt again! Oh! Lordy! Lordy! all my brains blowed, clean out! Snakes! snakes!” yelled he, in a shriller tone, if possible, “H—ll on the outside and snakes in the sink-hole! I'll die a Christian, anyhow, and if I die before I wake,” and out scrambled poor H., pursued by a large black-snake.

If my life had depended on it, I could not have restrained my laughter. Down fell the gun, and down dropped I shrieking convulsively. The hill was steep, and over and over I went, until my head striking against a stump at the bottom, stopped me, half senseless. On recovering somewhat from the stunning blow, I found Hibbs upon me, taking satisfaction from me for having blowed out his brains. A contest ensued, and H. finally relinquished his hold, but I saw from the knitting of his brows, that the bear-storm, instead of being over, was just brewing. “Mr. Tensas,” he said with awful dignity, “I'm sorry I put into you 'fore you cum to, but you're at yourself now, and as you've tuck a shot at me, it's no more than far I should have a chance 'fore the hunt's up.”

It was with the greatest difficulty I could get H. to bear with me until I explained the mistake; but as soon as he learned it, he broke out in a huge laugh. “Oh, Dod busted! that's 'nuff; you has my pardon. I ought to know'd you didn't 'tend it; 'sides, you jis scraped the skin. I war wus skeered than hurt, and if you'll go to the house and beg me off from the old folks, I'll never let on you cuddent tell copperas breeches from bar-skin.”

Promising that I would use my influence, I proposed taking a drink, and that he should tell me how he had incurred his parent's anger. He assented, and after we had inspected the cave, and seen that it held no other serpent than the one we craved, we entered its cool recess, and H. commenced.

“You see, Doc, I'd heered so much from mam 'bout her dad's Shumach and his nigger Swage, and the mile a minute, and the Croton water what was gin him, and how she bleved that if it warn't for bettin', and the cussin' and fightin', running race-hosses warn't the sin folks said it war; and if they war anything to make her 'gret gettin' religion and jinin' the church, it war cos she couldn't 'tend races, and have a race-colt of her own to comfort her 'clinin' years, sich as her daddy had afore her, till she got me; so I couldn't rest for wantin' to see a hoss-race, and go shares, p'raps, in the colt she war wishin' for. And then I'd think what sort of a hoss I'd want him to be—a quarter nag, a mile critter, or a hoss wot could run (fur all mam says it can't be did) a whole four mile at a stretch. Sometimes I think I'd rather own a quarter nag, for the suspense wouldn't long be hung, and then we could run up the road to old Nick Bamer's cow-pen, and Sally is almost allers out thar in the cool of the evenin'; and in course we wouldn't be so cruel as to run the poor critter in the heat of the day. But then agin, I'd think I'd rather have a miler,—for the 'citement would be greater, and we could run down the road to old Wither's orchard, an' his gal Miry is frightfully fond of sunnin' herself thar, when she 'spects me 'long, and she'd hear of the race, certain; but then thar war the four miler for my thinkin', and I'd knew'd in such case the 'citement would be greatest of all, and you know, too, from dad's stable to the grocery is jist four miles, an' in case of any 'spute, all hands would be willin' to run over, even if it had to be tried a dozen times. So I never could 'cide on which sort of a colt to wish for. It was fust one, then t'others, till I was nearly 'stracted, and when mam, makin' me religious, told me one night to say grace, I jes shut my eyes, looked pious, and yelled out, 'D——n it, go!' and in 'bout five minutes arter, came near kickin' dad's stumak off, under the table, thinkin' I war spurrin' my critter in a tight place.. So I found the best way was to get the hoss fust, and then 'termine whether it should be Sally Bamers, and the cow-pen; Miry Withers, and the peach orchard; or Spillman's grocery, with the bald face.

“You've seed my black colt, that one that dad's father gin me in his will when he died, and I 'spect the reason he wrote that will war, that he might have wun then, for it's more then he had when he was alive, for granma war a monstrus overbearin' woman. The colt would cum up in my mind, every time I'd think whar I was to git a hoss. 'Git out!' said I at fust—he never could run, and 'sides if he could, mam rides him now, an he's too old for anything, 'cept totin her and bein' called mine; for you see, though he war named Colt, yet for the old lady to call him old, would bin like the bar 'fecting contempt for the rabbit, on account of the shortness of his tail.

“Well, thought I, it does look sorter unpromisin', but its colt or none; so I 'termined to put him in trainin' the fust chance. Last Saturday, who should cum ridin' up but the new cirkut preacher, a long-legged, weakly, sickly, never-contented-onless-the-best-on-the-plantation-war-cooked-fur-him sort of a man; but I didn't look at him twice, his hoss was the critter that took my eye; for the minute I looked at him, I knew him to be the same hoss as Sam Spooner used to win all his splurgin' dimes with, the folks said, and wot he used to ride past our house so fine on. The hoss war a heap the wuss for age and change of masters; for preachers, though they're mity 'ticular 'bout thar own comfort, seldom tends to thar hosses, for one is privit property and 'tother generally borried. I seed from the way the preacher rid, that he didn't know the animal he war straddlin'; but I did, and I 'termined I wouldn't lose sich a chance of trainin' Colt by the side of a hoss wot had run real races. So that night, arter prayers and the folks was abed, I and Nigger Bill tuck the hosses and carried them down to the pastur'. It war a forty-aker lot, and consequently jist a quarter across—for I thought it best to promote Colt, by degrees, to a four-miler. When we got thar, the preacher's hoss showed he war willin'; but Colt, dang him! commenced nibblin' a fodder-stack over the fence. I nearly cried for vexment, but an idea struck me; I hitched the critter, and told Bill to get on Colt and stick tight wen I giv' the word. Bill got reddy, and unbeknownst to him I pulled up a bunch of nettles, and, as I clapped them under Colt's tail, yelled, 'Go!' Down shut his graceful like a steel-trap, and away he shot so quick an' fast that he jumpt clean out from under Bill, and got nearly to the end of the quarter 'fore the nigger toch the ground: he lit on his head, and in course warn't hurt—so we cotched Colt, an' I mounted him.

“The next time I said 'go' he showed that age hadn't spiled his legs or memory. Bill 'an me 'greed we could run him now, so Bill mounted Preacher and we got ready. Thar war a narrer part of the track 'tween two oaks, but as it war near the end of the quarter, I 'spected to pass Preacher 'fore we got thar, so I warn't afraid of barkin' my shins.

“We tuck a fair start, and off we went like a peeled injun, an' I soon 'scovered that it warn't such an easy matter to pass Preacher, though Colt dun delightful; we got nigh the trees, and Preacher warn't past yet, an' I 'gan to get skeered, for it warn't more than wide enuf for a horse and a half; so I hollered to Bill to hold up, but the imperdent nigger turned his ugly pictur, and said, 'he'd be cussed if he warn't goin' to play his han' out.' I gin him to understand he'd better fix for a foot-race when we stopt, and tried to hold up Colt, but he wouldn't stop. We reached the oaks, Colt tried to pass Preacher, Preacher tried to pass Colt, and cowollop, crosh, cochunk! we all cum down like 'simmons arter frost. Colt got up and won the race; Preacher tried hard to rise, but one hind leg had got threw the stirrup, an' tother in the head stall, an' he had to lay still, doubled up like a long nigger in a short bed. I lit on my feet, but Nigger Bill war gone entire. I looked up in the fork of one of the oaks, and thar he war sittin', lookin' very composed on surroundin' nature. I couldn't git him down till I promised not to hurt him for disobeyin' orders, when he slid down. We'd 'nuff racin' for that night', so we put up the hosses and went to bed.

“Next morning the folks got ready for church, when it was diskivered that the hosses had got out. I an' Bill started off to look for them; we found them cleer off in the field, tryin' to git in the pastur' to run the last night's race over, old Blaze, the reverlushunary mule, bein' along to act as judge.

“By the time we got to the house it war nigh on to meet-in' hour; and dad had started to the preachin', to tell the folks to sing on, as preacher and mam would be 'long bimeby. As the passun war in a hurry, and had been complainin' that his creetur war dull, I 'suaded him to put on uncle Jim's spurs what he fotch from Mexico. I saddled the passun's hoss, takin' 'ticular pains to let the saddle-blanket come down low in the flank. By the time these fixins war threw, mam war 'head nigh on to a quarter. 'We must ride on, passun,' I said, 'or the folks 'll think we is lost.' So I whipt up the mule I rid, the passun chirrupt and chuct to make his crittur gallop, but the animal didn't mind him a pic. I 'gan to snicker, an' the passun 'gan to git vext; sudden he thought of his spurs, so he ris up, an' drove them vim in his hoss's flanx, till they went through his saddle-blanket, and like to bored his nag to the holler. By gosh! but it war a quickener—the hoss kickt till the passun had to hug him round the neck to keep from pitchin' him over his head. He next jumpt up 'bout as high as a rail fence, passun holdin' on and tryin' to git his spurs—but they war lockt—his breeches split plum across with the strain, and the piece of wearin' truck wot's next the skin made a monstrous putty flag as the old hoss, like drunkards to a bar-bacue, streakt it up the road.

“Mam war ridin' slowly along, thinkin' how sorry she was, cos Chary Dolin, who always led her off, had sich a bad cold, an' wouldn't be able to 'sist her singin' to-day. She war practisin' the hymns, and had got as far as whar it says, 'I have a race to run,' when the passun huv in sight, an' in 'bout the dodgin' of a diedapper, she found thar war truth in the words, for the colt, hearin' the hoss cumin' up behind, began to show symptoms of runnin'; but when he heard the passun holler 'wo! wo!' to his hoss, he thought it war me shoutin' 'go!' and sure 'nuff off they started jis as the passun got up even; so it war a fair race. Whoop! git out, but it war egsitin'—the dust flew, and the rail-fence appeered strate as a rifle. Thar war the passun, his legs fast to the critter's flanx, arms lockt round his neck, face as pale as a rabbit's belly, and the white flag streemin' far behind—and thar war Mam, fust on one side, then on t'other, her new caliker swelled up round her like a bear with the dropsy, the old lady so much surprized she cuddent ride steddy, an' tryin' to stop her colt, but he war too well trained to stop while he heard 'go!' Mam got 'sited at last, and her eyes to glimmer like she seen her daddy's ghost axin.' 'if he ever trained up a child or a race-hoss to be 'fraid of a small brush on a Sunday,' she commenced ridin' beautiful; she braced herself up in the saddle, and began to make calkerlations how she war to win the race, for it war nose and nose, and she saw the passun spurrut' his critter every jump. She tuk off her shoe, and the way a number ten go-to-meetin' brogan commenced givin' a hoss particular Moses, were a caution to hoss-flesh—but still it kept nose and nose.


“She found she war carryin' too much weight for Colt, so she 'gan to throw off plunder, till nothin' was left but her saddle and close, and the spurs kept tellin' still. The old woman commenced strippin' to lighten, till it wouldn't bin the clean thing for her to have taken off one dud more; an' then when she found it war no use while the spurs lasted, she got cantankerous. 'Passun,' said she, 'I'll be cust if it's fair or gentlemanly for you, a preacher of the gospel, to take advantage of an old woman this way, usin' spurs when you know she can't wear 'em—'taint Christian-like nuther,' and she burst into cryin'. 'Wo! Miss Hibbs! Wo! Stop! Madam! Wo! Your son!'—he attempted to say, when the old woman tuck him on the back of the head, and fillin' his mouth with right smart of a saddle-horn, and stop-pin' the talk, as far as his share went for the present.

“By this time they'd got nigh on to the meetin'-house, and the folks were harkin' away on 'Old Hundred,' and wonderin' what could have become of the passun and mam Hibbs. One sister in a long beard axt another brethren in church, if she'd heered anything 'bout that New York preecher runnin' way with a woman old enough to be his muther. The brethrens gin a long sigh an' groaned 'it ain't possible! marciful heavens! you don't 'spicion?' wen the sound of the hosses comin', roused them up like a touch of the agur, an' broke off their sarpent-talk. Dad run out to see what was to pay, but when he seed the hosses so close together, the passun spurrin', and mam ridin' like close war skase whar she cum, he knew her fix in a second, and 'tarmined to help her; so clinchin' a sap-lin', he hid 'hind a stump 'bout ten steps off, and held on for the hosses. On they went in beautiful style, the passun's spurs tellin' terrible, and mam's shoe operatin' 'no small pile of punkins,'—passun stretched out the length of two hosses, while mam sot as stiff and strate as a bull yearling in his fust fight, hittin' her nag, fust on one side, next on t'other, and the third for the passun, who had chawed the horn till little of the saddle, and less of his teeth war left, and his voice sounded as holler as a jackass-nicker in an old saw-mill.

“The hosses war nose and nose, jam up together so close that mam's last kiverin' and passun's flag had got lockt, an' 'tween bleached domestic and striped linsey made a beautiful banner for the pious racers.

“On they went like a small arthquake, an' it seemed like it war goin' to be a draun race; but dad, when they got to him, let down with all his might on colt, searin' him so bad that he jumpt clean ahead of passun, beatin' him by a neck, buttin' his own head agin the meetin'-house, an' pitchin' mam, like a lam for the 'sacryfise, plum through the winder 'mongst the mourners, leavin' her only garment flutterin' on a nail in the'sash. The men shot their eyes and scrambled outen the house, an' the women gin mam so much of their close that they like to put themselves in the same fix.

“The passun quit the circuit, and I haven't been home yet.”


P Poor fellow! if he had only listened to me! but he wouldn't take good advice,” is the trite exclamation of the worldling when he hears that some friend has cut his throat, impelled by despair, or has become bankrupt, or employed a famous physician, or is about to get married, or has applied for a divorce, or paid his honest debts, or committed any deprecated act, or become the victim of what the world calls misfortune; “poor fellow, but he wouldn't take good advice.” Take good advice! yes, if I had obeyed what is called good advice, I would be now in my grave; as it is, I am still on a tailor's books, the best evidence of a man's being alive.

When I was a boy my friends were continually chiding me for my half bent position in sitting or walking, and since I have become a man the cry is still the same, “Why don't you walk straight, Madison? hold up your head.” Had I obeyed them, a tree-top that fell upon me whilst visiting a patient lately, crushing my shoulder and bruising my back, would have fallen directly upon my head, and shown, in all probability, the emptiness of earthly things. This is one instance showing that good advice is not always best to be taken; but I have another, illustrating my position still more strongly.

Whilst a medical student, I was travelling on one of the proverbially fine and accommodating steamers that ply between Vicksburg and New Orleans. Before my departure, the anxious affection of a female friend made her exact a promise from me not to play cards; but the peculiarity of the required pledge gave me an opportunity of fulfilling it to the letter, but breaking it as to the spirit. “You've promised me, Madison, not to play cards whilst you're on earth: see that you keep it.” I assured her I would do so, as it applied only to shore, and when the boat was on a sand-bar. It was more her friendly solicitude than any real necessity in my habits, that made her require the promise, as I never played except on steamboats, and then only at night, when the beautiful scenery that skirts the river cannot be seen or admired.

It was a boisterous night above in the heavens, making the air too cool for southern dress or nerves, so the cabin and social hall were densely crowded, not a small proportion engaged in the mysteries of that science which requires four knaves to play or practise it. I had not yet sat down, but showed strong premonitory symptoms of being about to do so, when my arm was gently taken by an old friend, who requested me to walk with him into our state-room. “Madison,” said the old gentleman, “I want to give you some good advice. I see you are about to play cards for money; you are a young man, and consequently have but little knowledge of its pernicious effects. I speak from experience; and apart from the criminality of gambling, I assure you, you will have but little chance of winning in the crowd you intend playing with: in fact, you are certain to lose. Now promise me you won't play, and I shall go to bed with the satisfaction that I have saved you from harm.” The charm was laid too skilfully upon me; I would not promise, for what was I to do in the long nights of present and future travel? so my old friend gave me up in despair, and retired to rest, whilst I sought the card-table.

Young and inexperienced as I was, an unusual strain of good luck attended me; and when the game broke up at daylight, I was considerably ahead of the hounds.

I retired to my state-room to regain my lost sleep, and soon was oblivious of everything. How long I slept I do not know: my dreams ran upon the past game; and just as I held “four aces,” and had seen my opponent's two hundred and went him four hundred dollars better, I was aroused from my slumbers by the confused cries of “Fire! Back her! Stop her! She'll blow up when she strikes!” and a thousand-and-one undistinguishable sounds, but all indicative of intense excitement and alarm.

Stopping for nothing, I made one spring from my berth into the middle of the cabin, alighting on the deserted breakfast-table, amidst the crash of broken crockery, three jumps more were taken, which landed me up on the hurricane-deck, where I found nearly all the passengers, male and female, assembled in a fearful state of alarm, preventing by their outcry the necessary orders, for the preservation of the boat, from being heard. I took in the whole scene at a glance. I forgot to mention, when I retired to rest, the wind was blowing to such a degree that every gust threatened to overset the boat. The captain, who was a prudent, sensible man, had tied his boat to the shore, waiting for the storm to subside. After the lapse of a few hours, a calm having ensued, he cast loose, intending to proceed on his way; but scarcely had he done so, when the wind, suddenly increasing, caught the boat, and, in despite of six boilers and the helm hard down, was carrying her directly across the Mississippi, towards the opposite shore, where a formidable array of old “poke-stalks” and low, bluff banks were eagerly awaiting to impale us upon the one hand, or knock us into a cocked hat upon the other. At this time I arrived upon the scene—the boat was nearly at the shore, the waters boiling beneath her bows like an infernal cauldron.

Great as was the danger, there were still some so reckless as to make remarks upon my unique appearance, and turn the minds of many from that condition of religious revery and mental casting up and balancing of accounts, which the near proximity to death so imminently required; and certainly I did look queer—no boots, no coat, no drawers—but, lady reader, don't think my bosom was false, and I had no subuculus on. “I didn't have anything else” on—more truth than poetry, I ween. Sixteen young ladies, unmindful of danger, ran shrieking away; fourteen married ones walked leisurely to the stern of the boat, where the captain had been vainly before trying to drive them; whilst two old maids stood and looked at me in unconscious astonishment, wonderful amazement, and inexpressible surprise.

“Look out!” rang the shrill voice of the captain; and, with a dull, heavy thump, the boat struck the bank, jarring the marrow of every one on board, save myself—for, just before she struck, I calculated the distance, made my jump, landed safely, and was snugly ensconced behind a large log, hallooing for some one to bring me my clothes.

No damage of consequence, contrary to expectations, was done our craft; and after digging her out of the bank, we proceeded on our way, a heavy rain having succeeded the storm.

I was lying in my state-room, ruminating sadly over the pleasureableness of being the laughing-stock of the whole boat, when my old adviser of the night previous entered the room, with too much laughter on his face to make his coming moral deduction of much force.

“You see now, Madison, the result of not having followed my advice. Had you been governed by me, the disagreeable event of the morning would never have occurred; you would have been in bed at the proper hour, slept during the proper hours, been ready dressed as a consequence at the breakfast hour, and not been the cause of such a mortal shock to the delicacy of so many delicate females, besides making a d—d unanimous fool of yourself.”

I said but little in reply, but thought a great deal. I kept my room the balance of the trip, sickness being my plea.

I transacted my business in the city, and chance made my old adviser and myself fellow-passengers and roommates again, on our upward trip. Night saw me regularly at the card-table, and my old friend at nine o'clock as constantly in bed.

It was after his bed-hour when we reached Grand Gulf, where several lady-passengers intended leaving. They were congregated in the middle of the gentlemen's cabin, bringing out baggage and preparing to leave as soon as the boat landed.

At the landing a large broad-horn was lazily sleeping, squatted on the muddy waters like a Dutch beauty over a warming-pan. Her steering-oar—the broad-horn's, not the beauty's—instead of projecting, as custom and the law requires, straight out behind, had swung round, and stood capitally for raking a boat coming up along side. The engines had stopped, but the boat had not lost the impetus of the steam, but was slowly approaching the broad-horn, when a crash was head—a state-room door was burst open, and out popped my ancient comrade, followed up closely by a sharp stick, in the shape of the greasy handle of the steering-oar. It passed directly through my berth, and would undeniably have killed me, had I been in it.

It was my turn to exult now. I pulled “Old Advice” out from under the table, and, as I congratulated him on his escape, maliciously added, “You see, now, that playing cards is not totally unattended with good effects. Had. I, agreeably to your advice, been in bed, I would now be a mangled corpse, and you enjoying the satisfaction that it was your counsel that had killed me; whilst, on the other hand, had you been playing, you would have escaped your fright, and the young ladies from Nankin in all probability would never have known you slept in a red bandana.” I made a convert of him to my side; we sat down to a quiet game, and before twelve that night he broke me flat.


E very one is acquainted with the horror that the presence of the small-pox, or the rumour—which is as bad—of its being in the neighbourhood, excites. A planter living some thirty or forty miles from where I was studying, had returned from New Orleans, where he had contracted, as it afterwards turned out, the measles, but which, on their first appearance, had been pronounced by a young, inexperienced physician, who was first in attendance, an undoubted case of small-pox. The patient was a nervous, excitable man, and consequently very much alarmed; wishing further advice, he posted a boy after my preceptor, who, desirous of giving me an opportunity of seeing the disease, took me with him.

The planter lived near a small town in the interior, now no more, but which, in the minds of its projectors—judging from its lithographed map—was destined to rival the first cities of the land. The nature of the disease was apparent in a moment to my preceptor's experienced eye; but the excitability and fear of the patient had aggravated the otherwise simple disease, so that it presented some really alarming symptoms.

A liberal administration of the brandy bottle soon reassured the patient and moderated the disease, so that my preceptor, whose presence was urgently demanded at home, could intrust him to my care, giving me directions how to treat the case. He left for home, and I strutted about, proud in the consciousness of being attending physician. It being my first appearance in that capacity, you may imagine that the patient did not suffer for want of attention. I wore the enamel nearly off his teeth by the friction produced by requiring the protrusion of his tongue for examination, and examined his abdomen so often to detect hidden inflammation, that I almost produced, by my pommelling, what I was endeavouring to discover in the first place. In despite of the disease and doctor, the case continued to improve, and I intended leaving in the morning for home, when the alarm of the small-pox being in the settlement having spread, I was put in requisition to vaccinate the good people. Charging a dollar for each operation, children half price, I was reaping a harvest of small change, when the virus gave out, and plenty of calls still on hand. Knowing that there was no smallpox in the first instance, and apprehensive that the fears of the good folks, unless they imagined themselves protected, might produce bad effects. I committed a pious fraud, and found on the back of my horse, which fortunately had been galled lately, an ample supply of virus. My labours at length terminated, and I prepared to depart, taking the small town before-mentioned in my way; I dismounted at the tavern, to get a drink and have my horse watered. On entering, I found several acquaintances whom I did not expect to meet in that section of the country. Mutually rejoiced at the meeting, it did not take us long to get on the threshold of one of those wild carouses, which the convivial disposition of the Southerner—either by birth or adoption—so unfortunately disposes him to. The Bacchanalian temple was soon entered, and not a secret recess of its grand proportions but what was explored. Night closed upon the scene, and found us prepared for any wild freak or mad adventure.

It was the southern autumn, when the dark-eyed night has just sufficient compassion on old winter's wooing to allow him the privilege of the shadow of a kiss,—just cool enough, in other words, they were, to reconcile us to a single blanket upon the bed, and draw from the meditative minds of poverty-stricken students a melancholy sigh, when the empty pocket reflects upon the almost equally naked back, and curses it for needing winter clothes at all at all.

As yet, however, there had been no frost, and the forests still remained decked in their holiday suits, the gorgeous apparel of a southern clime.

With those who have a soul that the shoemaker cannot save, this is the great season of camp-meetings, love-feasts, protracted preaching, and other religious festivals. At this particular time the religious world, and many who were not of that stamp, were on the lookout for the end of the world, and the day of judgment, which some theological calculator had figured up for this year, and no postponement on account of the weather, sure!

The prediction had produced great excitement amongst all with whom the prophet had any credit; and where his credit stopped other commenced—for some of the knowing ones, who firmly believed the prophecy, purchased any amount of goods at exorbitant prices, at twelve months' credit, thinking they would be in “Kingdom Come” before the notes fell due.

Camp-meetings were being held in all parts of the country, and prayers of all kinds, from the unpremeditated effusion of the conscience-stricken negro to the elaborate supplications of the regularly initiated circuit-rider, arose, making the welkin ring with the name of Jehovah. A large meeting was in full operation not far from the place where we were passing the night in less commendable pursuits; and, judging from the fervency of the prayers, declamations, singing, screamings, and glorifications, salvation was being obtained in a very satisfactory manner. The location of the camp was in the verge of the Loosa Chitta swamp, at the termination of a long lane, which extended from where we were.

The night was waning away, but still the zeal of the camp-meeting continued unabated, and bid fair to hail the morning. We had also reached our wildest state of excitement, and were consequently ready for any foolish scheme or reckless undertaking. The proposal of one of the most imaginative of the number, that we should personify the fiery consummation which revelation tells us shall terminate this world, met with unanimous and wild approval.

Each man furnishing himself with a flowing robe of white, half the number—nearly thirty—carrying horns, and the remainder large turpentine torches, we prepared to make our descent upon the camp-meeting in the character of the “Day of Judgment.” There was a large stray mule in the stable yard of the tavern, and we cruelly impressed him as a chief actor. By this time the religionists, exhausted by their long-continued exertions, had sunk into repose.

Saturating the mule's hide—which was long and shaggy—well with turpentine and tar, all but his head and neck, which we wrapped in a wet sheet, we led him to the mouth of the lane and applied a torch.

Quicker than lightning the fire spread over the body of the devoted animal. With a scream of terror and anguish it darted off up the lane in the direction of the camp, whilst we mounted, with our long mantles floating behind us, yelling like incarnate fiends, sounding our horns, and, our many torches flashing like meteors through the night, pressed on after it in hot and close pursuit.

On! on! rushed the mule, the flames swelling tumultuously on every side, eddying above the trees, and lighting the darkness with a vivid, lurid gleam; fiercer and faster than the dread tempest, carrying death in its track, sped he on under the terrible infliction.

We had nearly reached the camp-ground, when, as we approached the plantation of the widow H., which lay adjacent, we were discovered by an old negro, who, seated on the flat roof of his cabin, had gone fast asleep, watching through the long hours of the night, for fear that the end of the world, and the day of judgment, might slip upon him unawares.

Waking at the critical time our hellish cortege approached, he gazed a moment, with eyes stretched to their utmost capacity, upon the rapidly nearing volume of fire; then springing from the roof, he ran shrieking his dolesome summons to the camp: “White folks riz! De Laud be marsyful! De end of de warld an' de day of judgmen' hab pass, and here cums hell rite up de lane! Whoop! I love my Jesus! Master, cum!”

The meeting, awakened from their slumbers by his turmoil, rushed out, and when they too saw the approaching fire-breathing mass, they believed with the negro, that the day of judgment had passed, and Pandemonium—hot at that—was coming with its awful torments.

Supplications for mercy, screams of anguish, prayers and blasphemies, horror-stricken moans of the converts, the maniacal shouts of the conscience-stricken sinners, and the calm collected songs of the really righteous, swelled on the wind; mingled with the roaring of the flames, our piercing yells, discordant horns, and the horrible cries of the consuming animal.

The thousand echoes of the swamp took up the sound, and the wild-wood, if filled with screaming devils, could not have given back a more hideous outcry.

On! on! sped the victim—we in his train—in his haste to reach the waters of the “Loosa Chitta” and allay his sufferings. The stream was nearly reached; with ecstasy the poor brute beheld the glistening waters; he sped on with accelerated steps—one more spring, and he would find surcease of anguish 'neath their cooling waves. But he was destined never to reach them; he fell exhausted on the brink, vainly endeavouring, with extended neck, to allay his fiery thirst; as the flame, now bereft of fuel, sent up its last flickering ray, the poor mule, with a low reproachful moan, expired.


Shortly before the usual time for wending my way North to the medical lectures, an opportunity was afforded me by an ingenious negro, who had caught the reptile asleep, of exchanging a well-worn blanket coat and two dimes,—principally in cash—for as fine a specimen of the Rattlesnake as ever delighted the eye or ear of a naturalist; nine inches across the small of the back, six feet seven-eighths of an inch in length, eyes like globular lightning, colours as gaudy as an Arkansas gal's apron, twenty-three rattles and a button, and a great propensity to make them heard, were the strong points of my purchase.

Designing him as a propitiatory offering to one of the professors, my next care was to furnish him with a fitting habitation. Nothing better presenting itself, I made him one out of a pine box, originally designed for shoes, by nailing thin slats transversely, so as neither to exclude air or vision, but sufficiently close, I thought, to prevent him from escaping. The day for my departure arrived, and I had his snakeship carried on board the boat destined to bear me to V————, where I would take an Ohio steamer.

Unfortunately for the quietude of my pet, on the Yazoo boat was a young cockney lady, who, hearing that there was a live rattlesnake on board, allowed her curiosity to overcome her maiden diffidence sufficiently to prefer a request that the young doctor “would make 'is hanimal oiler?” a process which the proverbial abstemiousness when in confinement of the “hanimal” was accomplishing rapidly without any intervention on my part. Politeness would not allow me to refuse, and as it was considerable of a novelty to the passengers, his snakeship was kept constantly stirred up, and his rattles had very little rest that trip.

The steamer at length swung alongside the wharf boat at V————, and transferring my baggage, I lounged about until the arrival of a boat would give me an opportunity of proceeding. The contents of the box were quickly discovered; and the snake had to undergo the same inflictions as the day previous—until, thoroughly vexed, I made them desist, and resolved thenceforth I would conceal his presence and allow him to travel as common baggage.

“The shades of night were falling fast,” as the steamer Congress came booming along, and, after a detention of a few minutes for passengers, proceeded on her way, obtaining none however except myself. The snake-box was placed with the other baggage on the cabin deck in front of the “social hall,” jam up, as luck would have it, against one of the chimneys, making the location unpleasantly warm. It was one of those clear, luminous nights in autumn, when not a cloud dims the azure, and the heavens so “beautifully blue,” (Alas! poor Neal,) are gleaming with their myriad stars, when the laughing breeze lifts the hair off the brow and presses the cheek with as soft a touch as the pulpy lips of a maiden in her first essay at kissing. The clear, croupy cough of the steamer was echoed back in prolonged asthmatic strains from the dark woods lining the river, like an army of cowled gigantic monks come from their cells to see a steamboat. Supper was over, and the beauty of the night had enticed the majority of the passengers from the cabin to the open deck.

A goodly number, myself amongst the rest, were seated in front of the social hall, smoking our cigars, and swapping yarns of all climes, sizes, nations, and colours.

Sitting a few yards from me, the most prominent personage of the group, smoking a chiboque, and regaling the crowd with the manner in which he choked a “Cobra de Capello” to death that crawled into his hammock in India, was an old English sailor, who, from his own account, had sailed over all the world, and through some parts of it.

Weighing the words down with a heavy ballast of oaths, he said he “wasn't afraid of anything in the snake line, from the sea serpent down to the original snake that tempted Eve.” I asked him if he had ever met the rattlesnake since he had been in America, thinking I would put his courage to the test on the morrow.

“Seen a rattlesnake? Yes, enough to sink a seventy-four? Went to Georgia on purpose to kill them. Pshaw! To think a man that had killed a boa constrictor, fair fight, should be fraid of a little noisy flirt of a snake that never grew bigger round than a marlin spike!”

At this moment the boat was running a bend near in shore, and the glare, of a huge fire at a wood-yard was thrown directly under the chair of the braggart, when, to my utter amazement I saw there, snugly coiled up, the huge proportions of my snake!

I was so astonished and horrified that I could neither speak nor move. I had left him securely fastened in his cage, and yet there he was at liberty, in his deadly coil, his eyes gleaming like living coals. The light was intercepted, and the foot of the sailor moving closer to the reptile it commenced its warning rattle, but slowly and irregularly, showing it was not fully aroused.

“What is that?” exclaimed a dozen voices.

The foot being withdrawn, the rattling ceased before its nature or source could be clearly traced.

“'Twas the steam escaping,” said one.

“A goose hissing,” said another.

“The wind.”

“A trick to scare the sailor,” thought a good many; but I knew it was a rattlesnake in his deadly coil!

The horror of that moment I shall not attempt to describe; every second I expected to hear the shriek of the sailor as the deadly fangs would penetrate his flesh, and I knew if a vein were stricken no power on earth could avail him, and I powerless to warn him of his danger.

“It sounded monstrous like a rattlesnake!” observed a passenger, “but there are no doctors or fool students on board, and nobody but cusses like them would be taking snakes 'bout.

“I was gwine up the Massassip wunst when a rattlesnake belonging to a medercal student on board, got out and bit one of the passengers; the poor crittur didn't live ten minutes, and the sawbone's 'prentice not much longer I reckon.”

My hair stood on end, for there was an earnestness about the man that told me he was not joking.

“You did'nt kill him, surely?” asked some one.

“Oh, no! we did'nt 'zactly kill him, sich as cuttin' his throat, or puttin' lead in his holler cimblin, for that would have been takin' the law inter our own hands; but we guv him five hundred lashes, treated him to a coat of tar and feathers, made a clean crop of one ear, and a swal-low-forked-slit-under-bit-and-half-crop of the other, an' put him out on a little island up to his mouth in water an' the river risin' a plum foot an hour!”

Not knowing but a similar fate might soon be mine, in agony, with the cold sweat streaming over me. I listened to this infernal recital of an instance of the summary punishment termed “Lynch Law,” to which the unavailability of the statute law so often drove the early settlers, and which, unfortunately for the fair character of the South and West, is not yet entirely abolished.

The sailor must again have moved his foot closer than agreeable to the snake, for his infernal rattling recommenced, and this time clear, loud, and continuous to the tutored ear, indicating great danger, the prelude to a fatal spring.

I shook off my lethargy, and shrieked out, “Don't move for your life! a light! for God's sake bring a light! Quick! quick!” None moved—thinking I was jesting.

“Mister,” spoke the sailor, “if it's a trick to scare me, you'll miss the figure with your child's rattle. Jes bring one of your real rattlesnakes along, and I'll show you whether he can frighten an English sailor or not.”

Hearing me calling so loudly for a light, the mate, a stalwart Irishman, came running up with a large torch, but hardly had he reached the deck, when he discovered the monster—his head drawn back ready for striking.


“Snake! snake!” yelled he, punching at him with his glaring torch.

“Whereabouts, you lubber?” said the sailor, still suspecting a trick.

“Under your feet.”

The sailor looked down, and beheld the hideous reptile directly under his chair. With a loud yell, he made but one spring over the guards into the river.


“Man overboard!”

“Stop her!”

“Out with the yawl!”



“She's sinking!”

“Shoot him!”


“Whose is it?”

“Lynch the rascal!”

“Kill the scoundrel!” swelled on the air, mingled with the crashing of broken doors and chairs, the oaths and rushing of terrified men, and the screaming of still more terrified women, who knew not what to fear, while clear and distinct above the infernal melée arose the piercing rattle of the snake, who, writhing his huge proportions about, and striking at everything near him, seemed to glory in the confusion he had created.

A shot was heard, and then the coil collapsed, and the rattling slowly ceased. The snake was dead.

“Who brought him on board?”

“Let's lynch the scoundrel!”

“Are there any more of them?”

“Here's the box he got out of!”

My name was on it in large capitals.

“Throw it overboard!”

“Throw it overboard!” I yelled out, “it may have more in it, throw it overboard.”

No sooner said than done, and as the only evidence of my participation floated over the wave, no one was louder in his denunciation, no one wanted to be shown—in order that he might be lynched—the rascal that brought it on board, more than I did, except, perhaps, it was the sailor, who, now thoroughly humbled, stood shivering in his wet clothes by the furnace, ready to acknowledge that the “little, noisy flirt of an American snake, no larger than a marlin' spike,” was “some snakes” certain.


It wanted but a few days of the commencement of the lectures. Having procured a boarding-house, and furnished myself with the necessary books and tickets, I was sauntering over the city, amusing myself with the many strange sights which pass unnoticed by the denizens, yet have such an attraction for the grave rat just emerged from the country, when I was hailed by a Southern acquaintance—a rattling, red-headed fellow, of Irish descent; the proof of which, the tip of his tongue always presented.

“How are you, Tensas—when did you arrive—slayed many the past summer? I brought them to their senses in my section, certain; for the grand jury found a true bill against me in thirteen cases for manslaughter. Let's take a drink. Ha! ha! I want to tell you of an occurrence that happened to old——. Bless his sugar-loaf head! if he'd only let me left when I first wanted, I'd always hereafter write his name without the first letter. You see, Ten, I had letters of introduction for the old chap; and I thought I'd deliver them early, and get on his good side before the winter's course of sprees commenced. I suppose you know, as he's a widower, and writing a book, and deeply in debt—to his Maker—that he lives up in the college, and cooks his own victuals, and has quite a retired life of it, as my uncle the postmaster remarked about his own situation, when the department gave him his walking-papers. Well, I went up to his room when everything was quiet about the college, thinking what a nice scientific disquisition we could have, if the old gentleman, knowing I was a hunter, was to ask me why the rings on a coon's tail didn't grow parallel to the axis of its long diameter, instead of the short; or, to which fowl did a young duck owe the most filial love—to the duck that laid the egg, or the hen that hatched it? And such like questions, worthy of being lucubrated upon by great minds only.

“I found the old gentleman very complacent and easy, standing up in his night-shirt and making whiskey-toddy in a teapot, whilst he gave the last touch to an introductory oration for the P. T. S.

“'Prof.————, I presume?' said I, knocking at the door after I had opened it—thinking, that as I had forgotten it at first, it would be an imputation on Southern manners to neglect it entirely.

“'The same,' said he, with the most perfect composure, knocking his oration into the stove, upsetting his punch, and leaving half of his subuculus on a nail as he jumped into the next room; whilst I, pulling off my boots, and finishing what little punch had not run out, told him not to distress himself putting on his best clothes, or preparing much dinner, as I had lunched very heartily.

“In a few moments he returned, and seemed to be in the best humour imaginable at the perfect homeability I was surrounding myself with.

“Thinking him a queer one, I resolved on making myself as agreeable as possible, as I saw from the way his face was screwed up he had the toothache badly and needed comfort; so I asked him how long his wife had been dead, and whether there was any truth in the report that he was courting a widow on Fifth Street; also, if he bought his Irish whiskey by the gallon or cask; he apparently did not hear these kind inquiries, but asked if I had not a letter of introduction.

“'True for you, I have, and there it is,' handing him a fifty dollar bill; it belongs to me, and I'm Frank Me————; take the price of your winter's jaw out of it, and we'll see what's in town with the balance.'

“He got well of his toothache in a moment. 'Happy to make your acquaintance; you're from the southern swamps, plenty of chill and fever there; permit me to read for your critical attention a few pages I have written in my book on the subject.'

“'With the greatest pleasure in the world,' I replied; 'allow me to subscribe to your work; deduct it out of the fifty.' He commenced reading a description of a Mississippi agur, and cuss me if it wasn't so natural I shivered all over; and the tears pop't out of my eyes like young pigeons out of a loft, when I thought of the last shake I had in far distant Massassip, sitting on a muddy log fighting the mosquitoes, and waiting for a steamboat to bear me from her friendly bosom. You ought to have heard him when he described the awful effects it had upon our gals, developing their spleens, and bringing the punkin to their blessed faces; there was a pathos in his language, a tremor in his voice, soft as the warbling of a he-dove before he pitches into a pea-patch.

“'Then it is,' he read, 'when the deleterious emanations of the decomposing vegetation have penetrated the inmost recesses and mysterious intricacies of the corporeal constituents of the intellectual inhabitants, that humanity instigates the benevolent individual to mournfully and sadly deliberate over the probable effects, after a perpetuity of continuance of such morbific impressions.'

“I was delighted at the grand simplicity of his expression, and was giving my approbation too much vent, when tap, tap, went something at the door.

“'And even beauteous woman,' continued the professor, 'goes a'—tap, tap—'whilst ever is heard'—tap, tap—' and nature assimilating'—tap, tap—'mournfully weeps over the silent'—bom, bom, went the outsider, growing impatient. 'Bless me! who's there? come in,'—and an hour-glass, the sand nearly out, was substituted for the punch-bowl—'Come in;' the door opened, and gave admittance to what would have been a handsome young woman, had the care in her heart not written 'at home' so legibly on her cheek. 'Take a seat, ma'am.'

“'I will call again, professor,' said I, rising.

“'No, no, sir, sit down, sir. Madam, how can I serve you?'

“'I am in a great hurry, professor,' I said again, seizing my hat.

“'No, sir, I insist you must not leave. Madam, what do you want?' and the poor professor jumped from his seat to the door, and from the door to his seat, asking, almost sternly, 'Madam, what do you want?'

“'I'm a poor widow, with a large family of children, and hearing that you were a very charitable gentleman, and—' “'Professor, I cannot stand this pitiable narrative. Madam, there is some money for you. You must indeed excuse me. I shall not be able to restrain my tears.'

“'No, sir, stay, I command you, I insist. Woman, what do you want? in the name of virtue, what do you want?' The widow commenced her piteous appeal again, when, quite overcome, I rushed from the room, followed by the voice of the ruined professor, who feared that his reputation was for ever gone. 'Woman, in the name of Jehovah, what do you want?'”

Poor Frank! Death's dark garniture hath clothed his piercing eye; friendship and sorrow no more thrill his heart, and the noisome worm revels in the home of high and noble daring. He died! not on the sick-bed, with mourning friends gathered around, but on the battle-field, fighting for his country, on the victor soldier's bed—the body of his foe. And of all the warm leal hearts that were stilled, of all the true spirits that floated up to God, from thy glorious but bloody field, Buena Vista! silence fell not on a nobler breast—not a truer soul went up than rose from thy bosom, Frank—true friend of my early manhood!


During my first course of lectures I became a boarder at the house of a widow lady, the happy mother of a brace and a half of daughters, the quartette possessing so much of the distinguishing characteristic of the softer sex, that I often caught myself wondering in what nook or corner of their diminutive skulls they kept the rest of the faculties.

Occupying the same room that I did, were two other students from the same section of country as myself, and possessing pretty much the same tastes and peculiarities. One thing certain we agreed in, and that was a detestation of all curiosity-stricken women; for never were poor devils worse bothered by researches than we were. Not a pocket of any garment left in our rooms could remain unexamined, not a letter remain on our table unread, nor scarcely a word of conversation pass without a soft, subdued breathing at the key-hole telling us we were eavesdropped. Matters came at length to such a pass, and so thorough became the annoyance, that nothing but the difficulty of obtaining suitable accommodation elsewhere, prevented us from bidding a tender adieu to the widow, and promising to pay her our board bill as soon as our remittances arrived.

As the evil had to be endured for a while, at least, we soon invented and arranged a plan for breaking her of her insatiable curiosity, and making her, what she was in other respects, a good landlady.

The boarding-house was a large two-story frame, with a flight of steps on one side, extending from the street to the second story, so as to give admittance to the boarders without the necessity of opening the front door or disturbing the family when we came in late at night. It was very cold weather, and our mess were busily engaged every night until a late hour at the dissecting-rooms, and it was during this necessary absence that the widow made her researches and investigations. The subject that we were engaged upon was one of the most hideous specimens of humanity that ever horrified the sight. The wretch had saved his life from the hangman by dying the eve before the day of execution, and we, by some process or other, became the possessors of his body. Just emaciated sufficiently to remove the fatty tissue, and leave the muscles and blood-vessels finely developed, still he was so hideous that nothing but my devotion to anatomy, and the fineness of the subject, could reconcile me to the dissection; and even after working a week upon him, I never caught a glimpse of his countenance but what I had the nightmare in consequence. He was one of that peculiar class called Albinoes, or white negroes. Every feature was deformed and unnatural; a horrible hare-lip, the cleft extending half way up his nose externally, and pair of tushes projecting from his upper jaw, completed his bill of horrors. It was with him, or rather his face, that we determined to cure our landlady of her prying propensities.

It was the work of a few minutes to slice the face from the skull, and 'arrange it so that from any point of view it would look horrible. Having procured a yard of oilcloth, we sewed it to the face, and then rolled it carefully up; tying this securely, we next enveloped it in a number of wrappers, fastening each separately, so that her curiosity would be excited to the utmost degree before the package could be completely opened. At the usual hour we returned home, carrying our extra face along; not, however, without many a shudder.

Upon entering our room, we saw that the spoiler had been there, although she had endeavoured to leave things as near the condition she found them in as possible.

With a hearty malediction upon all curious women, we eat our cold snack, which the kind-hearted widow—for, despite of her being a widow, she was really kind-hearted—always had awaiting our return, and retired to rest, determined that the morrow's night should bring all things even.

I endeavoured to sleep; but that hideous face, which we had locked securely in a trunk, kept staring at me through its many envelopes—and when the cold winter's sun shone in at the casement, it found me still awake Nervous and irritated, I descended to breakfast; and nothing but the contemplation of my coming revenge prevented me from treating the widow with positive impoliteness.

Bless her not-despairing-of-marrying-again spirit! who could keep angry with her? Such a sweet smile of ineffable goodness and spiritual innocence rested on her countenance, that I almost relented of my purpose, but my love-letters read, my duns made evident, my poetry criticized by eyes to which Love would not lend his blindness, to make perfect; and then—she is a widow! My heart, at this last reflection, became immediately barred to the softening influences of forgiveness, and I determined in all hostility to face her.

The lectures that day, as far as we were concerned, fell upon listless ears, for we were thinking too much of what the night was to bring forth, to pay much attention to them. The day at last had its close,—I suppose father Time, its tailor, furnished them on tick. It had been snowing all the evening, and at supper we complained bitterly, how disagreeable it would be walking to the college, and working that night, and wished that we were not dissecting, so that we might stay at home and answer the letters we had received from home that day. “Business could not be neglected for the weather,” was our conclusion expressed to the widow; so after supper we donned our dissecting-clothes, and putting the package for the widow in a coat pocket, hung it up in a prominent place, so it could be found readily. Telling the family we would not be back until late, and making as much noise as possible with our feet, so as to assure her we were going, we left the house as if for the college.

We went no further, however, than to the nearest coffeehouse, where, by the time we had smoked a cigar, we judged sufficient time had elapsed for the widow to commence researches.

Returning to the boarding-house, we pulled off our boots and noiselessly ascended the outside steps, the door at the head of which we had left open. There was a short passage leading from it to the door of our room, which we had left closed, but now perceived to be ajar. Silently, as a doctor speaking of the patients he has lost, we approached it, and, on peeping in, to our great gratification found everything working as we had desired. The widow had got the package out, and was occupied in viewing it attentively from all sides, and studying the character of the knots of the ligatures embracing it, so she could restore everything to its original condition, when her curiosity was satisfied as to its contents. Having impressed its shape, and the peculiarity of tie, well upon her mind, she proceeded to take off the first cover, which was soon done, when a similar envelope met her eye; this, after undergoing the same scrutiny, was removed, when yet another met her gaze; this detached, and still the kernel was unreached; some six or eight were taken off, and at length she came to the last, the oil-skin. Poor old lady! she has long been where the curiosity of life never penetrates, and the grandest and most awful mystery of our nature is revealed; yet, I see her now, as the last envelope of the mysterious package was reached, and when a gleam of satisfaction shot like an erysipelatous blush over her anxious face, as she saw the consummation of her long expectancy approaching. There she stood, with spectacles buried so deeply 'neath her brows as almost to appear a portion of her visage; neck—not of apoplectic proportions—elongated to its utmost capacity; lips—from which the ruby of youth had departed,—wide disclosed,—showing what our swamp lands are famous for—big gums and old snags; in fact, the embodiment of woman in her hour of curiosity. Holding the package in one hand and the end of the oil-cloth in the other, she commenced unrolling it slowly, for fear some peculiarity of its arrangement might escape her; her back was towards the door, which we had nearly opened awide, and anxiously awaiting the denouement; it came at last,—and never shall I forget the expression of that old woman's face as the last roll left the hellish countenance, and it lay in all its awful hideousness upon her extended palm,—the fiendish tushes protruding from the parted lips,—still wearing the agony of the death-second,—and the eyes enclosed in their circle of red, gazing up into hers with their dull vacant stare.

Ay, but she was a firm-nerved woman. If metempsychosis be a true doctrine, her spirit must have once animated, in the chivalrous times, a steel-clad knight of the doughtiest mould. She did not faint—did not vent a scream—but gazed upon its awfulness in silence, as if her eyes were riveted to it for ever.

We felt completely mortified to think that our well-laid scheme had failed—that we had failed to terrify her; when, to perfect our chagrin, she broke into a low laugh. We strode into the room, determined to express in words what our deeds had evidently failed to convey; when, ere she had become fully aware of our presence, we noticed her laughter was becoming hysterical. We spoke to her—shook her by the shoulder—but still she laughed on, increasing in vehemence and intensity. It began to excite attention in the lower apartments, and even in the street; and soon loud knocks and wondering exclamations began to alarm us for the consequences of our participation. We strove to take the fearful object from her, but she clung to it with the tenacity of madness, or a young doctor to his first scientific opinion. “She is gone demented!” we exclaimed; “we had better be leaving”—when a rush up the steps and through the passage, cut off our retreat, and told us the daughters and crowd were coming; but still the old lady laughed on, fiercer, faster, shriller than before. In rushed the crowd—a full charge for the room, impelled by the ramrod of curiosity—but ere they had time to discover the cause of the commotion, or make a demonstration, the widow ceased her laughter, and, putting on an expression of the most supreme contempt, coolly remarked:—“Excuse me, gentlemen, if I have caused you any inconvenience by my unusual conduct. I was just smiling aloud to think what fools these students made of themselves when they tried to scare me with a dead nigger's face, when I had slept with a drunken husband for twenty years!” The crowd mizzled; and we, too, I reckon, between that time and the next up-heaving of the sun.


I had just finished the last volume of Wistar's Anatomy, well nigh coming to a period myself with weariness at the same time, and with feet well braced up on the mantel-piece, was lazily surveying the closed volume which lay on my lap, when a hurried step in the front gallery aroused me from the revery into which I was fast sinking.

Turning my head as the office door opened, my eyes fell on the well-developed proportions of a huge flatboatsman who entered the room wearing a countenance, the expression of which would seem to indicate that he had just gone into the vinegar manufacture with a fine promise of success.

“Do you pull teeth, young one?” said he to me.

“Yes, and noses too,” replied I, fingering my slender moustache, highly indignant at the juvenile appellation, and bristling up by the side of the huge Kentuckian, till I looked as large as a thumb-lancet by the side of an amputating knife.

“You needn't get riled, young doc, I meant no insult, sarten, for my teeth are too sore to 'low your boots to jar' them as I swallered you down. I want a tooth pulled, can you manage the job? Ouch! criminy, but it hurts!”

“Yes, sir, I can pull your tooth. Is it an incisor, or a dens sapientiæ? one of the decidua, or a permanent grinder?”

“It's a sizer, I reckon. It's the largest tooth in my jaw, anyhow, you can see for yourself,” and the Kentuckian opening the lower half of his face, disclosed a set of teeth that clearly showed that his half of the alligator lay above.

“A molar requires extraction,” said I, as he laid his finger on the aching fang.

“A molar! well, I'll be cus't but you doctors have queer names for things! I reckon the next time I want a money-puss a molear will be extracted too; ouch! What do you ax for pulling teeth, doc? I want to git rid of the pesky thing.”

“A dollar, sir,” said I, pulling out the case of instruments and placing a chair for him.

“A dollar! dollar h—ll! do you think the Yazoo Pass is full of kegs of speshy? I'd see you mashed under a hogshead of pork 'fore I'd give you a dollar to pull the thing,” and picking up his hat, which he had dashed on the floor on his first entrance, off he started.

Seeing some fun in store, I winked at the rest of the students, whom the loudness of our conversation had called from the other rooms of the capacious office, and requested the subject to return.

“It's no use, stranger; I'd squirm all day fust 'fore I'd give you a dollar to pull every tooth in my head,” said he.

“Well, Mister, times are hard, and I'll pull your tooth for half a dollar,” said I, determined, if necessary, to give him pay before I would lose the pulling of his tooth.

“You'll have to come down a notch lower, doc I wants to interduce Kaintuck fashions on a Southern sile; and up thar, you can get a tooth pulled and the agur 'scribed for, fur a quarter.”

“Well, but recollect, it's harder to pull teeth here than it is in Kentucky.”

“Don't care a cuss; dimes is plentyer. I don't want to 'be stingy, though, doc, and I'll tell you what I'll do. I feels sorter bad from eatin' a mud-cat yesterday. I'll gin you a quarter to pull my tooth, if you'll throw in a dose of castor ile.”

“It's a bargain,” said I. “I couldn't possibly afford to do it so low if I didn't manufacture my own oil, and pull teeth on the 'Mississippi patent plan,' without the least pain.”

“Well, I'se struck a breeze of luck, sure, to get it 'stracted without hurtin', for I 'spected it would make all things pop, by hoecake.” And “all things did pop,” certain, as the poor devil found to his sorrow, before the “Mississippi patent plan” was over.

The room in which we were was the operating one of the office, where patients were examined, and surgical operations performed. It was furnished with all the usual appliances of such an establishment. In the middle of the room, securely fastened to the floor by screws, was a large arm-chair, with head-board and straps, to confine the body and limbs of the patient whilst the operator was at work, in such cases as required it. On either side of the house, driven into the wall, were a couple of iron bolts, to which were fastened blocks and pulleys, used when reducing old dislocations, when all milder means had failed. The chair, pulleys, and a small hand-vice were the apparatus intended to be used by me in the extraction of the Kentuckian's tooth, by the “Mississippi patent plan.”

The patient watched all our preparations—for I quickly let the other students into the plan of the intended joke—with great interest, and seemed hugely tickled at the idea of having his tooth pulled without pain “for a quarter,” and a dose of castor-oil extra.

Everything being ready, we invited the subject to take his seat in the operating chair, telling him it was necessary, agreeably to our mode of pulling teeth, that the body and arms should be perfectly quiet; that other doctors, who hadn't bought the right to use the 'patent plan,' used the pullikins, whilst I operated with the pulleys. I soon had him immoveably strapped to the chair, hand and foot. Introducing the hand-vice in his mouth, which, fortunately for me, was a large one, I screwed it fast to the offending tooth, then connecting it with the first cord of the pulleys and intrusting it to the hands of two experienced assistants, I was ready to commence the extraction. Giving the word, and singing, “Lord, receive this sinner's soul,” we pulled slowly, so as to let the full strain come on the neck bones gradually.

Though I live till every hair on my head is as hollow as a dry skull, I shall never forget the scene.

Clothed in homespun of the copperas hue, impotent to help himself, his body immoveably fixed to the chair, his neck gradually extending itself, like a terrapin's emerging from its shell, his eyes twice their natural size, and projected nearly out of their sockets, his mouth widely distended, with the vice hidden in its cavity, and the connexion of the rope being behind his cheeks, giving the appearance as if we had cast anchor in his stomach, and were heaving it slowly home, sat the Kentuckian, screaming and cursing that we were pulling his head off without moving the tooth, and that the torment was awful. But I coolly told him 'twas the usual way the 'Mississippi patent plan' worked, and directed my assistants to keep up their steady pull.

I have not yet fully determined, as it was the first and last experiment, which would have come first, his head or the tooth, for all at once the rope gave way, precipitating, without much order or arrangement, the assistants into the opposite corner of the room.

The operating chair not being as securely screwed down as usual, was uptorn by the shock of the retrograde motion acquired, when the rope broke, and landed the Kentuckian on his back in the most distant side of the room; as he fell, he struck the side of his face against the wall, and out came the vice, with a large tooth in its fangs. He raged like one of his indigenous thunderstorms, and demanded to be released. Fearing some hostile demonstration when the straps were unfastened, we took occasion to cut them with a long bowie knife. He rose up, spitting blood and shaking himself, as if he was anxious to get rid of his clothes. “H—l, Doc, but she's a buster! I never seed such a tooth. I recon no common fixments would have fotch it; but I tell you, sirree, it hurt awful; I think it's the last time the 'Mississippi Patent Plan' gets me in its holt. Here's a five-dollar Kaintuck bill, take your pay and gin us the change.”

Seeing he was in such good humour, I should have spared him, but his meanness disgusted me, and I thought I would carry the joke a little further. On examining his mouth, I suddenly discovered, as was the case, that I had pulled the wrong tooth, but I never told him, and he had too much blood in his mouth to discover it.

“Curse the luck,” I exclaimed, “by Jupiter I have lost my bet. I didn't break the infernal thing.”

“Lost what?” inquired the patient, alternately spitting out blood, and cramming in my tobacco.

“Why, a fine hat. I bet the old boss that the first tooth I pulled on my 'Mississippi Patent Plan,' I either broke the neck of the patient or his jaw-bone, and I have done neither.”

“Did you never pull a tooth that way before? why, you told me you'd pulled a hundred.”

“Yes, but they all belonged to dead men.”

“And if the rope hadn't guv way, I reckon there'd bin another dead man's pulled. Cuss you, you'd never pulled my tooth if I hadn't thought you had plenty of 'sperience; but gin me my change, I wants to be gwine to the boat.”

I gave the fellow his change for the five-dollar bill, deducting the quarter, and the next day, when endeavouring to pass it, I found we had both made a mistake. I had pulled the wrong tooth, and he had given me a counterfeit bill.


I had just returned from attendance on my first course of medical lectures. Although not a graduate, I had all the pruriency of a young neophyte, and felt very desirous of an occasion wherein my Esculapian acquirements could be exhibited, from call, visit, patient, disease, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, to cure; or else ominously and sorrowingly murmur to the bereaved friends who are taking the measure—“if he'd only sent for me sooner!” I wanted a case, the management all to myself, from comma to period, white, black, old, young, maid, wife, widow, masculine, feminine, old bachelor, or Indian, I cared not which; a patient was what I wanted, and the shape in which it would come, however questionable, I was indifferent to. The country adjacent to the village where I was studying, is, on two sides, swamp of the vilest, muddiest nature imaginable, with occasional tracts of fine land, generally situated on some bayou or lake; frequently an “island” of tillable land will be found rising out of the muddy swamp, accessible to footmen or horse only, when the river is within its banks, varying in size from fifty to two hundred acres; and, wherever existing, generally occupied by a small planter. Every farmer in the South is a planter, from the “thousand baler” to the rough, unshaved, unkempt squatter, who raises just sufficient corn and cotton to furnish a cloak for stealing the year's supply.

A few hours' ride from town was one of these islands, “pre-empted” by a man named Spiffle, whose principal business was to fatigue him devising ways and means to live without work. He would have scorned to hoe an hour in his corn patch, and yet would not have hesitated a moment to pursue a deer or bear for days, with all the indefatigability of a German metaphysical philosopher studying an incomprehensibility. But hunting deer and bear, though it brought more sweat and fatigue in an hour than the hardest day's work, was sport; so was drinking whiskey, and between the two, Jim Spiffle had little time to extend the limits of his demesnes, or multiply the com forts of his household circle, wherein a wife and a dozen children attested Jim's obedience to scripture.

It is a sultry day in June, and I am about describing the external appearance of Jim's pre-emption. A small patch of green and waving corn, surrounded by a brush fence, save where it is eked out, by the side of an antiquated log-cabin, with a dirt chimney, around whose top the smoke is lying in dense heaps, too lazy to curl; one or two bedraggled hens, by noisy cackling, are endeavouring to inform the mistress that their diurnal recumbencies are consummated—whilst the cock of the walk, desirous of egging them on to increased exertions, struts majestically before them, waving one feather, constituting his tail, and seriously meditates a crow; but when he reflects that the exertion of flapping his wings must premise, contents himself with a low chuckle of admiration. An old hound, mangy and blear-eyed, is intent upon a deer's leg; and, as he gnaws its tough sinews, tries to delude himself into the belief that it is a delectable morsel from the ham. A boy of some thirteen winters, in full dress swamp costume (a short, well-worn shirt), rifle in hand, at a short distance from the house, is endeavouring to allay the mental and bodily disquietude of a fox-squirrel, so that they both may be on the same side of a chunky gum, up which the aforesaid squirrel, on the approach of the incipient Nimrod, had incontinently retreated. Spiffle, jun., sneaks round to the south side, but “funny” hangs on the north, east, and west—back to the north and south, all in vain! All the points of the mariner's compass are traversed, but still the cunning squirrel evades his foe, who, venting his malediction, finally retires from the pursuit, muttering, “Cuss you! I was only going through the motions; the rifle ain't loaded!” The lord of the soil, extended to his full proportions, is lying on a log, beneath a shady bush; a branch of which is bent down and so ingeniously arranged, that when the breeze moves, it will scratch his head; his mouth is full of tobacco—and as he sleeps, true to his nature, his right hand is busily engaged stealing a couple of dimes and an old jack-knife out of his own pocket; his jaws are relaxed, and the huge, well-chewed quid gleams beautifully dark from the profundity of mouth; a gentle titillation on his lips half arouses him, and, champing his jaws with an emphasis, his waking senses are saluted by the yell of his eldest born, who, on the failure of his squirrel enterprise, finding dad asleep, had made an heroic attempt to hook his sire's quid out of the deep abyss. The poor boy pays dearly for the attempted larceny—three fingers hanging by mere shreds of skin, are the attestations of his dad's strength of jaw. The scream of the poor devil, and the boisterous grief of the miserable squatter, who, though the “Arab” of the swamp, has still a father's feelings, brings from the cabin a form which, begrimed with dirt, and haggard with premature age, would scarcely be taken for the best of God's works—a woman—but such she was; and her tears and outcries also gave evidence that she, too, amidst the heart-hardenings of poverty, contumely, and lowliness, had still gushing up in her heart the pure waters of love.

“Lordy grashus!” she cried; “you have ruined the child! Oh! how could you doit? You, a man grown, and him, your own son! Oh, Jim!”

“'Twasn't my fault, Betsy,” answered poor Jim, “'twasn't my fault! Oh! what must I do? He's gwine into 'vulshuns.”

“Jump on the critter and git the doctor!” said Betsy. “Quick, Jim! Oh, Lordy! only twelve children—and to lose one of them!” and the poor mother sobbed as if her heart were rending; whilst Jim, jumping on a belter horse than befitted his circumstances, made all haste for town, whither he arrived about dinner-time—and dashing up with frantic haste to the office-door, yelled out, “Doctor! oh, doctor! I've bit my son's hand off, and he's dying, sarten! Come, quick! dear doctor! that's a good old hoss!—oh, do!”

But the “good old hoss” not responding to his appeal, he dismounted, and rushed in, repeating his cry.

“What's the matter? what's the matter? who's sick?” said I, rushing in from a back room—one book open in my right hand, and a ponderous tome under my left arm.

“Oh! young doctor, where's the old man? I've bit my son's arm off, and he's gone into 'vulshuns, and I want the boss to come right out.”

“He's gone into the country, and won't be back before night,” replied I. “Did your boy's arm bleed much?”—not reflecting on the absurdity of a man biting a boy's arm off.

“Bleed! Yes, all three stumps bled like a stuck deer.”

“Three h—lls! Spiffle, you're drunk! How could you bite off three of his arms?”

“Oh, doctor! I meant his fingers; he put them in my mouth when I war asleep. Sens the old man's out, doctor, you must go. Jes' save his life, doc, and you'll never want vensun or a good trout-hole while I'm in the swamp! Be in a hurry, that's a good fellow.”

The chance was too good to be lost—a surgical and medical case combined—amputation and convulsions. What could be more opportune?

Telling Spiffle I would go as soon as I got some medicine suitable to the case, I put near half a peck of valerian in my coat pockets, and an ounce vial of prussic acid in my vest; some calomel, assafoetida, lint, and adhesive plaster, completed my preparations, and I was ready for business. The horse I intended to ride was a favourite one of the old doctor's, but one which, accomplished equestrian as he was, he dare not back, except when the visit lay over some old beaten road; and as for riding him through the devious path of the swamp—one moment on the horse's neck to 'scape an impending limb, the next with the body at a right angle, to avoid a gnarled and thorny tree—now on one side, now on the other, and again on both—wading the backwater, jumping logs, swimming the dark and sullen slough, or with feet raised to the pommel to clear the cypress-knees, which on every side, as the path would cross a brake, obtruded their keen points, ready to impale the luckless wight who there might chance to lose his seat; to ride “Chaos” midst such paths as these, the old doctor, I have said, would never have dreamed of doing, and, most assuredly, had he been at home, would not have allowed me to undertake; but such a ride, with its break-neck peril, chimed well with my youthful feelings, which pursued the same reckless course that the heart's current of the medical student has run in, from the time when “Chiron” was a “grave rat,” to the Tyro of yesterday, who is looking in the dictionary for the meaning of “artery.”

With all the seriousness naturally to be elicited by a responsible mission, I mounted Chaos, and started at a speed that beplastered the skeleton houses 011 each side of the way with mud, heaving a delectable morsel, as I passed the “doggery,” full in the mouth of a picayune demagogue, who, viewing the political sky with open mouth, was vociferating vehemently on the merits of his side. “Hurrah!” for he had just ejaculated, when the substance, which perhaps assisted in composing an antediluvian megathaslopsyolamagosogiam, or, possibly, “imperial Cæsar,” hit him “vim” in the patent orifice. Cleaning his throat, he spluttered out, “Cuss the country, when a man can't holler for the feller that he likes best, but the heels of every 'prentice saw-bone's horse must fling clay in his teeth!”

But Chaos heeded him not; imagining I was for a jaunt over his usual road, he gave way to only sufficient movement to indicate his mettle; but when the end of the street was reached, where the roads diverged, one pursuing its upward course over the towering hills—the first from its source that steal down to gaze upon the wavelets of the “dark Yazoo”—the other unobtrusively stealing its way a few hundred yards, and then yielding its being 'neath the placid waters of a bright-eyed lake. Seeing me turn to the latter, the noble horse gave a joyous neigh, and seemed to be imbued with a new life as he viewed the waters stretching far away into the forest, until wave and leaf were melted into one; and as he thought of the wild luxuriance of a hidden dell, gemmed with a glistening spring, the memory of which came floating up, fraught with the enjoyments of a month's pleasure the year gone by, when, disdaining the stable, he had sought the forest, and there, cropping the herbage, and roaming in all the wild luxuriance of freedom, forgot he was a slave, until the insidious wiles of Spiffle restored him to his owner.

Oblivious, apparently, of my weight, he sprung into the waters, and soon—dashing his beautiful head until the spray covered me with delicious coolness—breasted the sleepy lake; and when his feet struck the firm ground, like the fawn from the hunters, away he sprang up the narrow path, which pursued its tortuous way like a monstrous snake, amidst the nodding grass and fragrant spice-wood, and old trees, fantastically interweaving their limbs.

But little cared my courser for those old trees, clothed with moss, with the shadows of their arching boughs the pathway thrown across; he heeded not the verdancy beneath the eye displayed, nor the gorgeous summer mingling of the sunshine and the shade; the gentle voice of Eolus, as dallying with the grove, came breathing gentle symphonies, but not on him it wove the spell of soothing, subdued thought, such as the feelings haunt, when its tones renew the memory of a long-forgotten chant. With eye of dazzling brightness, with foam upon the breast, with mane back flaunting on the air, and proud erected crest; with champing bit, and eager bound, and earth-disdaining tread, and air, as if o'er battle-fields victoriously he sped. Soho! Soft, Chaos! Quiet! Soho!

“Which way now, Spiffle?” said I, as the path appeared to cease at a clear, deep, narrow “slough,” full of cypress “knees,” which did not come to the surface, but seemed some few inches under.

“Right across,” was the answer.

“What! through those shoots? Why there's not room enough between them for a dog to swim, let alone a horse,” said I.

“You'd be mighty out of breath 'fore you got through with the job, doc, if you tried to swim 'tween them, seein' as thar ten foot under. I war fooled here myself for mor'n a year; I'd take a 'bee' for home, an' come to this slew, an' then have to head it, on 'count of the neas; 'till one day I got on a 'bust' in town, an' my critter got loose and struck for home. I tract him up to whar we is, and here they stopt—the trax and me I mean; but on t'other side I seed them, and I knowed he must have swum. I war clean bothered to know how he got over without leaving some of his innards on the neas,—so I tuck a stick and puncht at one of them that war near outen the water, to see if it war a real cypress nubbin. I missed it clear, and kerchunk I went head foremost 'mongst their sharp points. Oh, my 'viscera!' I yelled; but I'll be cust if I toch a nea; they war ten foot under, and thar they stay, and thar they 'tend stayin', for they ain't grown a lick sens that time, and that war so long ago, that the next day I seed the fust steamboat that kum up the Yazoo skare an old buck to death, makin' him jump so fast that he sprung plum through his skull, and the last I seed of him, as he floated down the river, his head had hung on his lines, and one ear on each horn war fluttering his dying elegy.”

By the time this veracious anecdote was over, we had crossed the slough, and a ride of a few miles brought us to the cabin of my patron, who, now elevated with whiskey, had lost his paternal solicitude, and giving way to the garrulity of the drunkard, was making revelations concerning his past history, which, if true, and he had his dues, would have swung him higher than “Barn Poker,” of Coahoma, when the regulators were out.

I found my patient doing very well, Mrs. Spiffle having sent, before my arrival, for one of those knowing old dames who match “'sperience agin book larnin',” and detract so considerably from the physician's income. The old lady, fortunately for the boy, had had sufficient knowledge of surgery to replace the fingers and apply bandages.

Whether it was my naturally prepossessing phiz, or my ready acquiescence in the correctness of her treatment, that softened the old dame, I know not; but she appeared to take to me monstrously; and, after having had her mind satisfied as to my name, natality, and genealogy, she reciprocated intelligence, and, untying the scrap-bag of memory, proceeded to make a patch-quilt for me, of a case that resembled the one we were ministering to.

“Short arter I had kum from Georgy to Mass-ass-sip, a nere nabur—Miss Splicer—had a darter—Miss Spiffle, you had better gin Boney another sup of the sheep safurn—doctor, you said you had no injections to it—what made a slide one day, and 'lowed her dad's axe to fall on her foot, cutting her big toe clean off as sarcumstances would permit. It bled 'mazinly, and the gal hollered out till her mammy, who war splittin'—his throat, Miss Spiffle, a spoonful at a time—rails at the far end of the clearin' (for she was a monstrous 'dustryus woman, Miss Splicer was), heard the rumption and came to the house, lumbrin' over the high logs like a big bull in—a little more whiskey in mine, Miss Spiffle, if you please; what a pity it is that your husband drinks—a small pastur' in the worst of flytime, as she told me arter, thinking some of the town-boys had got hold of the gal.

“When she got there and seed the blood, and the toe excavated off, a-trying to keep time with the stump which war quiverin' in the air, like the gal had the 'skitters,' she memorized what a doctor had told her to do in such cases—to displace the parts and heal them up by the fust contention; so she slapt the toe on the foot agin, an' tide a rag on tight, an' put the gal to bed. Well, everything went on monstrous nice—scat! Miss Spiffle, the laws-a'-massy! that cat's tail come mity nigh toching his hand; and 'twould never got well—an' in 'bout two weaks, Miss Splicer axed me to come over and sister her getting the rag off, as she hadn't been informed that far, for her husband had got drunk and run the doctor off jist arter he had showed her how to put the thing up for healin'.

“Well, I went over, and arter soaking her—stumak, Miss Spiffle, put the goose grease on his stumak—foot in hot water, I peeled the rag off; and the Lord be marsiful to a sinful world, fur I seed the toe had grown fust-rate fast, but the poor ignerant creetur of a mother had put it on with the nail turned down, and the poor gal's dancing were 'ternally spiled.”

Telling the people that I would not return unless they sent for me, and the sun being low, I mounted my horse and dashed off for home. Coming to a fork in the path, I took the one I thought I had come in the morning, and gave myself no further concern about the road.

I mentioned that I had filled my pockets with Valerian on leaving home, and on this simple thing depended two lives, as the sequel will show.

It is a root, when fresh, of a powerful and penetrating odour peculiar to its species; permeable things, by remaining in contact with it, become imbued with its characteristic odour, which they retain for a considerable length of time. The root possesses great attraction for the cat tribe, who smell it at a great distance, and resort to it eagerly, devouring its fragrant fibres with great apparent relish. The panther of our continent is closely allied to the domestic cat, susceptible, like it, of taming, active, treacherous, and cunning,—only in proportion to its increased size, resembling it in its tastes, and like it, fearless when aroused by appetite or hunger.

I had proceeded some distance, when it began to appear to me that the path I was travelling was not the one by which I had come in the morning, but as it was some miles back to the fork, and as far as I could judge, I seemed to be going in the right direction, I determined to proceed. So, cheering myself with a song, I tried to banish disagreeable reflections, and persuade myself that some recognised object would soon assure me I was in the right track.

It was now near sunset, and, in despite of my endeavours to the contrary, I was becoming somewhat anxious, as a gloom was already settling over the swamp, when, to my joy, I found myself upon the bayou or slough, whose illusory appearance I have noted. Not remarking that the path, instead of crossing, turned up the bank, I gave my horse the rein and he sprang into the stream; but what was my dismay, when I found, by the struggling of my poor steed for releasement, that I was mistaken in the slough, and that in this instance, the proximity of the “knees” to the surface was no illusion. He had fortunately become wedged between two of the largest, which sustained his weight, and saved him from being impaled upon those beneath. I had nothing in the shape of a cutting instrument, except a small penknife, which, under the circumstances, could afford me no aid. Dismounting in the water, by main strength I released my horse, and, as the sun withdrew its last lingering ray from the topmost boughs of the trees—jaded, wet, and exhausted—we stood in the midst of the swamp, on the banks of an unknown' slough, without food, fire, or weapon—lost! lost! lost! I could form no idea where I was, and go as I would, it would be hap-hazard if I went right, and the probabilities were that I would have to spend the night in the drearisome place.

I soon discovered that it was losing time and gaining nothing to stand there. So I determined, as I was mightily down in the mouth, my course should accord with my feelings, so down the slough I started.

The land, as far as I could see, was uniform low swamp, subject to the annual inundations of the Mississippi. The height to which the waters usually attained was several feet above my head on horseback, which made it more favourable to me, as the frequent submergings had in a great measure destroyed the undergrowth, and thus facilitated passing between the trees. I would not have cared for the night jaunt, had I only known where I was, and whither I was going; but the uncertainty made my feelings very disagreeable, and I mentally vowed that if I got home that once, Spiffle, Sen., might chaw up Spiffle, Jun., inch by inch, before I would come out to stop it.

I sped on as fast as I dared, the darkness growing profound, and my anxiety—I will not say fear—increasing every moment. An unusual stillness rested over the swamp, unbroken save by the tramp of my horse; not even a frog or chichado was to be heard, and the wind had assumed that low, plaintive wail amidst the leaves, that never fails to cast a melancholy shadow over the heart, and awaken all the superstitions of our minds. I was musing over the sad fate of an intimate friend who had recently come to an untimely death, and reflecting how hard it was that so much youthful ambition should perish, such a glorious sun go down shrouded with darkness whilst it yet was day, when the ominous silence was broken by a sound which, God grant, I may never hear again. Like a woman's shriek, in the damning anguish of desertion and despair—lost and ruined—was the long, piercing scream of the Panther, whose awful yell palsied my heart, and curdled the blood within my smallest veins. Again and again it arose, filling the solemn aisles of the darksome swamp, till echo took up the fearful sound, and every tree, bush, and brake, gave back the hellish, agonizing shriek.

It was evidently approaching us; my poor horse trembled like an aspen beneath me, and seemed incapable of moving. Again, still nearer—the fierce and harrowing scream fell on my shrinking ear; and I knew the animal was upon my trail. Shaking off the lethargy into which I was fast sinking, I struck my horse, and, twining my hands in his mane, lay down on his neck, letting him go as he wished, as I did not know which way to guide him. With a snort of terror he sprung off with a speed that seemed miraculous, through the darkness and trees. I flattered myself that the rate at which we went would soon distance the panther; when, God of heaven! it arose more piercing and shrill, still nearer than before. I began to despair, as I had no weapon, save the pen-knife; and the animal, I knew, was one of the fiercest nature—else why did he follow for my blood? (I never thought of the valerian.)

The speed of my horse, with the fearfulness of my situation, made me half delirious, and my thoughts began to wander—colours of all hues, shapes, arabesque and fantastical, danced before my eyes. I imagined that I was in the midst of a well-contested battle, and in the wavering fight, and covering smoke, and turmoil of the scene, I caught the emblem emblazoned on the banner of my foe, and it was a panther couchant. Making an effort to draw my sword, my hand came in contact with the vial of prussic acid in my vest pocket with considerable force. This aroused me; and, taking it out, I determined to commit suicide, should the panther overtake me—preferring to die thus, to being devoured alive.

Again and again the awful scream of the infuriated animal arose, and fell like the weight of a mountain on my trembling frame. Nobly my gallant horse strove to save me; he required not the whip or spur; I gave him a word of encouragement, and the animal,—which we term a brute,—returned a low, whining neigh, as if he wished me to understand that he knew my danger, and would do all in his power. I looked up as the horse suddenly increased his speed, and found, to my delight, that we were in the right track; I imagined I could almost see the lights in the windows—but this I knew could not be. It was pleasant, however, to think that I was going home, and that if my horse could only keep ahead a few miles further, we would be safe; when—hist!—ha! ha! was it not enough to raise the laugh? I heard the scream of the panther not two hundred yards behind, and could almost hear his feet as they struck the ground after his leaps. He seemed to be rejoicing over his approaching feast—his screams arose fiercer—shriller—more horrid than before. The heavens gave back the sound—it was caught by every breeze—echoed from every dell; a hundred discordant voices joined in the infernal melody, while the loud neigh of my horse, as if for help, framed itself into a panther's shriek. I strove to breathe a prayer; but my parched tongue clove to the roof of my mouth, and what I uttered served but to add to the damning chorus of hellish sounds. I tore the neck of my poor horse with my teeth, to incite him to greater speed; but my time had come. Again I heard the panther's scream, so near that it pierced my brain with its acuteness.. I heard his spring, as he threw himself over the lowermost boughs of the trees, and shrank within myself, momentarily expecting him to alight, with his sharp teeth in my heart. The thought occurred to me, as, looking ahead, I really beheld the town lights glimmering—if I kill my horse, may not the panther be satisfied with his blood, and allow me to escape? There was reason in it; and, though a pang shot through me as I thought of sacrificing the noble animal who had borne me on thus far, yet the love of life overcame all scruples. With my penknife I felt carefully for the carotid artery, and, when it was found, plunged the blade in, inflicting a small but deadly gash. Giving a terrible spring, the hot blood gushing all over me, he ran as none but a noble horse, in the agonies of death, can run, and then, with a low, reproachful moan, fell dead; whilst I, disengaging myself, at a full run strove to make my escape.

I heard the yell of the panther as he reached the horse, and as he stopped I thought myself safe; but not so long: for again his fierce scream came ringing o'er the air, and I was too well aware of the habits of the animal not to know that when the quarry is being devoured, their voice is still. Suicide by poison, or a more awful death, were all that was now left me. I heard the rapid leap of the panther, yelling at every spring. I uncorked the vial, and was raising it to my lips, when, as if by inspiration, came the blessed thought, that when the panther seized me, to pour the instantaneous poison down his throat. I uttered a low, deep prayer to God, and for one, who, if she had known my peril, would have sought to die with me, and then bracing myself firmly against a tree, with the vial clenched in my right hand, awaited the deadly foe. I heard his shriek, saw a huge form flying through the darkness, felt a keen pang in my shoulder, and then, pouring the acid in the mouth of the panther, fainted.

When I recovered consciousness the moon was shining in my upturned face, and the huge form of the dead panther was lying by my side, with the pocket holding the valerian firmly clenched in his teeth.



It was my intention, after graduating, to return and locate myself in the small town where I had studied my profession; but “circumstances,” which exerted such a powerful influence over a late unsuccessful aspirant for political honours, exercised a like power upon me.

The death of my preceptor, whilst I was absent attending my last course of lectures, left a vacancy in the profession at home, which was speedily filled, as far as numbers went, by a horde of new-comers. So I found I would have to encounter, if I settled there, a greater competition, without the assistance I calculated deriving from him, than my slender means and already embarrassed finances qualified me to meet. Besides, locating among those who had known me from boyhood, the probation I would have to undergo before I secured their full confidence would be more severe, and of much longer duration, than if I had landed in their midst a perfect stranger. The transition from the boy to the man, and from the mischievous student to the grave, serious physician, is so gradual and imperceptible, that our old and intimate acquaintances do not realize it; and when they should know us as doctor they still give us our youthful appellatives, and regard us as boys. When I landed at home, proud of my new-fledged honours and “sheepskin” as a young mother of her first babe, I had, on meeting my former acquaintances, to fling my memory back to the eventful examining period to convince myself that I was really a “doctor of medicine;” for every one, even down to the children, called me “Madison” as before, and none of them seemed a moment to consider that a title, the acquisition of which had cost—both mental and pecuniary—as much as mine, should be occasionally used.

In despite of these disadvantageous circumstances, and my own disinclination, it was the opinion of some few friends, to whom I deferred greatly, that I had better locate there; so procuring an office, and having my name and title emblazoned on a sheet of tin, which I securely fastened to the door, I shook off gaiety and the dust of my feet at the lintel, and with a ponderous tome, and anatomically painted skull before me, took my seat at my small green baize coloured table, to await cases and patients.

I recollect distinctly, as no doubt every young professional man does in his own case, my sensations upon the first few days succeeding the setting of my trap, when I was constantly upon the look-out for some victim approaching the bait.

I tried to address myself to the volume before me, but my busy imagination had turned architect, and was erecting air-built tenements of the most magnificent and gorgeous nature.

“Calls” innumerable flitted through my brain. Fevers, from simple intermittents to congestive, were awaiting my curative dispensations; whilst a trumpeter stood ready to peal forth my triumphs to the world, and a quiet, unobtrusive grave, to cover the unsuccessful.

I had just performed a surgical operation, never before attempted, of the most difficult and dangerous character, upon the “President,” with the happiest results. The medical world was ringing with my name; and even the trading community, partaking of the general enthusiasm, mingled me in their thoughts, and spoke of my wonderful scientific achievements in the same breath that told of the rise or decline of stocks, and a slight improvement in the price of cotton. And the ladies, too—God bless them! that their approving smiles sow the seeds of ambition in many hearts; ay, even the soft, tender-lipped lady, made me a theme of conversation, when her daily allowance of characters had been torn to pieces, and scandal palled the tongue. Edinburgh and London were striving which should obtain my services, as professor in one of their world-renowned institutions; and the crown was moving from the brows of Esculapius to my own; when—hark! “'Tis the cathedral pealing my triumphs!”

“Listen how the solemn chant comes pouring up the mysterious aisle!”

“Pshaw! 'tis the supper-bell, a little negro ringing 'Jim along Josey.'”

I wrapped my cloak around me as if to shut out all the world, and strode off moodily to my supper, mad at myself for having yielded to my fancy, and almost allowing it to lead me astray.

One day passed without a call—six days died of marasmus, and never the first patient crossed the threshold of my office. I could see other physicians hurrying by, attending to their numerous calls; some of them as youthful as myself; but, happily for them, they had the impress of the exotic, whilst I was indigenous to the soil. I sat in my lonely office, and could hear, as the busy noises of the town died away, and night allowed care to come on the face, which, through the garish day, had striven to appear mirthful, the hurried step of the messenger from the sick; but they never stopped at my door—but on, on by, till distance had eaten up their clanging tread. Mine is a temperament which, exalted to almost delirium one moment, sinks into proportionate depression the next; and even the short space of a week without employment made me down-hearted, and assailed me with continual despondency. My debts, contracted through the long years I had devoted to my profession—for malicious tongues had estranged my preceptor almost from me before his death, and determined me to repay him for all his pecuniary expenditures—knocked continually against the door of my honour, and often, as I heard the saw and hammer of the artisan ringing through the town, I almost cursed the mistaken kindness of my friends, which had made a professional man of me, and wished, like the mechanic, I could go forth and earn my sweet and honest bread by the hot sweat of my brow.

By chance I learned that a good location for a young physician presented itself in the Louisiana swamps. To resolve to seek it, to communicate my resolution to my friends, to obtain the necessary letters of introduction, and take passage on a steamer bound for Vicksburg, where I would have to reship, was the work of a few hours.

The contemplated location was a short distance in the interior of the parish of Madison, and my next destination after arriving at V———— would be Milliken's Bend, where I could obtain a horse and explore the country.

Just at sunrise, a steamer of rather slender dimensions and shabby appearance, came creeping along to V————.

As it was the first upward-bound boat that had arrived, a crowd of passengers, who were there awaiting one, rushed on board to secure a passage, myself among the number. Ascertaining how long she intended remaining there, which was but a short time, I thought I would have time to go up town and purchase some articles which I required, and had nearly forgotten; I procured them, and heard, as I descended the levee, the boat ringing her last bell; hastening my steps, I jumped on board just as she was pushing out. On going up in the cabin, I found to my surprise that I was the only passenger. She had brought none to Vicksburg, and of all the crowd who rushed on there, none had remained save myself.

There was a mystery about the thing that I could not fathom, and did not endeavour very hard to penetrate; for my future was a sufficiently impenetrable enigma to employ all my penetration. Attributing the absence of passengers to the poor accommodations that were visible, I gave myself no further thought about the matter, but taking my cigar, ascended to the hurricane-deck, and there seating myself, gazed abstractedly out upon the waters, and gave myself up to my reflections. They were of a mixed nature; joy and sorrow, pride and shame, struggling for the mastery through all my recollections, and making too many compromises with each other for a spirit that strove to be at peace with, itself.

There, in the same bold, impetuous torrent, coursed the majestic “Father of Waters,” as it did ten long years ago, when the doctor, who was ascending it, seeking for a home amidst strangers—his heart care-worn and filled with anxiety, descended its current—a scullion.

My pride was gratified to think that I had risen as it were superior to my station and opportunities, and, from a scullion, had become a member of an honourable profession; and that, too, ere the beard had come on my face, or years twenty-one stamped me a man.

We were within two miles of the “Bend” when, as I descended from the upper deck, being partly hidden by the wheel-house, I heard one of the officers remark to the captain', in a laughing tone, “I wonder if that young fellow up on the deck there, would smoke his cigar so unconcernedly if he only knew he was seated over twenty thousand kegs of powder?”

I almost slipped overboard in my surprise. Twenty thousand kegs of powder! Jehovah! how much of Madison Tensas, M. D., would be left, I wonder, after that quantity of explosive material had ignited under him? One of the finest instances on record of molecular disintegration would be presented, I expect. This explains why the passengers left so summarily. “I must get out of this.”

“I believe I will go ashore, captain; there is where I want to land,” pointing to a house at least two miles below the “Stores.”

The boat landed; and, after getting ashore, I did not cease running until I got considerable space and a large tree between her and myself. The crew, suspecting from my movements that I had discovered the nature of their cargo, gave vent to a hearty peal of laughter, with which sounding in my ears, I gained the high-road. And this was my first introduction to the state of my future adoption.

Having a letter of introduction for the principal physician in the “Bend,” I slung my saddle-bags over my shoulder, and trudged along through the mud to his house, the direction of which I obtained from a passer-by.

Upon presenting my letter to Doctor J————, I was received with as much kindness and consideration as if I had been a magnate of the land, rolling up in my carriage and four, instead of a poor young doctor, saddle-bags on shoulder, seeking a home in the swamp.

Thine was a good, kind welcome, Doctor Tom, and the “Swamp Doctor,” I assure you, often recurs to it with pleasure. Thine was the first stranger's hand, in my adopted state, that I pressed, and found, ere it had unclasped its pressure, that I held, a friend's. Thine was the first roof in this land of hospitable homes that sheltered me; and oh! thy hands compounded the first julep which for long, long months had ecstasied my lips, thou hast to answer to old D———e for the apostacy of one of his chosen disciples; and though I have felt contrition for the fall, yet I forgive thee, Doctor Tom, cheerfully I forgive thee. Would that one sat before me now, as I write in my lonely bachelor den, the skies obscured with darkness, the rain pattering against the casement, the single bed looking so cold, so cold, and the December blast whistling through the chinks of the logs; would that I had one now! winter as it is, though it were heaped with ice, if it came from thy hands, thy warmth of heart would impart to it some of its cordial fire, and kindle up a genial glow within my frame. Though I were thrice a Son of Temperance, I could not refrain from a julep of thy mixing, and though my lips might murmur, my heart would not dictate, “Deliver me from temptation.” Oh! what a glorious barkeeper was spoiled when they made you a doctor, Doctor Tom!

After partaking of a cold snack, it not yet being the dinner-hour, mounted on a horse which the doctor loaned me, I obtained the necessary directions, and turning my back on the Mississippi river, struck into the interior, in search of the contemplated location.

The settlement to which I was destined, was situated on a small river which, singular to relate, as I had never heard of any member of my family having ever lived there, bore the same name as myself, being called the “Tensas.” Looking upon this coincidence of names as a good omen, an assurance at least that I would meet one acquaintance or kinsman there, I surrendered my mind to a renewal of my day-dreams of future professional success and distinction, and disregarding a proper notice of the road, suddenly awakened and found myself lost—the road having given out in a cypress brake.

To resolve to return was one thing, to do it another, for the timber roads so crossed and interlaced each other that I frequently found myself returning to the same point in the “brake” from whence I started. Well, thought I, I hope my future lot will be a verification of the old adage, that a “bad beginning makes a good ending,” for mine is bad enough. I wandered about several hours, occasionally dismounting to assist my horse out of some slough wherein he had bogged, and was about to give it up as a bad job, when I had the good fortune to find a road, which, being over knee-deep in mud, and dotted with the bones of deceased oxen, I judged to be the main highway, which conjecture I soon verified on meeting a traveller. After proceeding a few miles I reached Eagle Lake, which it was necessary to cross in a shallow ferry flat. Here an accident occurred, which came near preventing these pages from ever being written. The current was running very strongly from a small bayou into the lake, and as we approached the shore, suddenly striking the flat, it impelled it with considerable force against a tree, which the high water had submerged for ten or twelve feet. I was standing in the bow of the flat, holding my horse by the rein, and the shock nearly prostrated us both. Before I could recover, the horse plunged overboard. I would have been dragged with him to almost certain death, as I could not swim, had not the ferry-man caught me, and released my arm from the rein. The steed swam to shore; and after a short time suffered himself to be mounted. Matters, so far, I must confess, had not impressed me very favourably with the country—first to be lost in a cypress brake, and then my life placed in jeopardy, looked rather like discouraging treatment; but I had determined to bear up against everything, and if these were the heaviest misfortunes I had to encounter, to laugh at care.

Just as the sun was setting I reached the “Tensas,” striking it at the “point,” to the owner of which, Mr. C————, I had a letter of introduction. He received me very hospitably, and was profuse in his offers of assistance, both by employing me himself, and favourably recommending me to his friends.

The night passed off, and the next morning Mr. C——— and myself started to visit the other families to whom I had letters of introduction and recommendation; not two hundred yards from the house, it became necessary to cross what was called the “Island shoot.” The current was running swiftly, and it was nearly swimming. My companion, better acquainted with the passage, forded it safely; but in following, my steed got astride of a submerged log, and down we both went, head and ears, under the muddy waters. I determined, if possible, not to dissolve the union between horse and rider, and therefore held on to him, and at length he scrambled out. I was thoroughly drenched, but I knew at the outset it would never do to appear to mind such an accident before an “old swamper,” like Mr. C———, and therefore joined him in his hearty laugh at the dolesome plight of myself and horse. To make the matter worse, I had only the suit of clothes I wore along, and was constrained to borrow a change of apparel. I am above the average size, and both Mr. C——— and his overseer were considerably under; so a proper appreciation can be had of the nature of the fit. Laying off my cloth, I donned a suit of “swamp broad-cloth,”—yellow linsey—which clove to my proportions as if it were an integral portion of my frame. This time we had better luck crossing the “shoot,” and after spending the day, visiting the neighbours, and making arrangements for securing the practice, we returned to the “point.” My unique appearance created a good deal of mirth and remark during the day; but as I laughed with the loudest, ridicule was soon despoiled of his shaft, and my indifference at what would have affected the majority of young men, very sensibly raised me proportionately high in the opinion of the “swampers.”

The encouragement I had received, I thought sufficient to warrant me in locating there; so the next morning I started, on my return, to procure a horse, and have my books and medicines brought to my new home. The settlement I designed locating in, was a very new one, the majority of the residents holding their lands merely by pre-emption claims, little of the country having been offered for sale by “Uncle Sam.” There was but one frame house in the whole settlement, the dwellings with that exception being composed of logs, some with the bark yet on them, others of split trees, whilst a few, by their squared appearance, gave evidence of the broad-axe, and a greater degree of refinement in their occupants.

Fortunately for me, as I thought at the outset, but unhappily, as the sequel proved, the most influential, or rather the most numerous portion of the settlers of my destined locality, were all of one family, or otherwise closely connected. Being originally from Virginia, they had all the proverbial clannishness of that highly favoured race, and the mortal upon whom one of the “set” smiled was immediately sneezed upon with favour by the rest. They all eat with the same tastes, and used the same pair of spectacles to view men and measures. They were a hardy, vigorous, industrious set, and, divested of their foolish clannishness, irreproachable. The first year, I was a small saviour with them; the second, having aroused the ire of one of them, the whole clan were as strenuous to break me down, as the year before they had been solicitous to advance my interests; but the “Swamp Doctor” had grown beyond their reach. But I anticipate, and must return.

The lands were composed of rich alluvial, deposited by the turbid waters of the Mississippi, and protected by embankments termed “levees,” ungratefully thrown up to keep out the very cause to which the country owed its existence. Whenever the levees proved insufficient, or happened to break, chickens and garden-tools fell to a discount, and ducks and cat-hooks rose to a premium.

The tillable land, varying in breadth from one hundred yards to several miles, lay upon the water-courses, which ramified the surface of the country, and formed, when swollen by rains or overflow, a perfect network of watery communications. The land between the tillable or cane ridges, was low swamp, almost quagmire, never thoroughly dry, and almost impassable nine months out of the year.

In the height of summer the country appeared to a fair advantage, surpassing any in the world for producing the great southern staple; but at the time I first visited it, not expecting company, it had on almost its worst garb. The mud was nearly saddle-skirt deep in the roads, and the low lands utterly impassable.

I thought that never yet did country merit its name so well as it; the whole of the Louisiana bottoms being indiscriminately known as the “swamp,” and people, male and female, termed “swampers.”

The appearance of the country would have disgusted and deterred many from settling, but it had the promise of being a sickly one, and highly suitable for a doctor—and such was the locality I sought; besides, I was certain of making a support, and to accomplish that, I would have submitted to any and all privations.

I returned safely to the “Bend,” and being careful in my selection of a boat this time, to see that she had not a government contract for transporting powder, arrived at my former home, and commenced making preparations for a speedy return to my adopted “swamp.”

In a few days, I had concluded my arrangements, and without a sigh or a tear of regret turned my back on my student home, and sought my new location, which I reached without further adventure.


During my last year's attendance on the lectures, I became the inmate, for the purpose of walking the wards, of a certain marine hospital, situated on a certain western river—of which Randolph has recorded his opinion—where the patients receive—paradoxical as it may seem—the kindest, yet the grossest treatment imaginable.

There were four or five brother “Rats” besides myself residing in the hospital, all candidates for graduation, and consequently all desirous of obtaining sufficient medical lore to prevent us from being thrown higher at the “ides of March.”

Never before—at least by any of us—was such assiduity displayed; so much mental pabulum devoured; so many of the latent energies of studiousness called into play, as then. No case, however disgusting, was put in the objective; no symptom, however trivial, obscure, or mysterious, could pass unnoticed; and the proudest soar of the bird of Jove would have passed unheeded, had a sore of another description occurred coincidently. Fingers which the previous session had never been employed in higher surgery than forking a sleepy chum, or picking needlepoints out of a pretty seamstress's hand, now gracefully adapted the pliant bandage to the fractured limb, or drew the ruby with the lancet keen. No longer the sweet vision of midnight oyster-suppers illumined the mental horizon, obscured by the listening to of six long lectures daily. No longer at the “wee short hours avant the twal” was our Ganymede summoned to evoke the spirit of the whiskey jug. No longer musingly reclining did we watch the airy genii of the best cigar, borne up heavenward on the curling chariots of their consuming earthly tabernacles. No longer—pshaw! to comprise the whole, we were studying for our degrees, preparing for the opportunity of passing our opinion on the question, “Whether the sheepskin of a young graduate, applied to his back, would be a contiguous or a continuous membrane?”

Among the rest was Charley L———, a young fellow of considerable talents—well aware, by the bye, of their possession—who having heard of my reputation for cupping, was not long in bantering me to a trial of skill, having some pretensions that way himself.

“Tensas,” said he one night, when we had all assembled in the apothecary's shop of the establishment, to compare notes and discuss the day, “do you think you could cup an Irishman?”

“Cup an Irishman!” repeated I, “yes, or a Dutchman, or an eel, or a buck running, or a streak of slow lightning, or anything that wears four square inches of skin. But why do you ask, Charley?”

“Why, I tried to-day, and it took me so long, and was not well done at that, that I got in late to old D————'s lecture, and he looked as sour at me as if he had caught one of the vice presidents of the P. T. S., drinking something stronger than water.”

“Well, just show your Irishman to me, and if I don't scarify and cup him in ten minutes I'll treat—that is, take notes for the whole crowd to-morrow.”

“I'll give you half an hour, and you can't do it—scarify and put twelve tumblers on him. I'll bet you a box of cig—hem—give you choice of subjects at the next raising.”

“Done! when shall the trial come off?”

“Right off; everything is ready, Irishman and all.”

In the medical ward at that time was an Irishman, evidently not long caught, whose greatest disease, from all external indications, was poverty.

The weather being very inclement, and the hospital having the reputation of keeping up good fires, and feeding its inmates pretty well, Pat took an idea into his head that he would lay up within its friendly walls during the severity of the winter; so going to the mayor of the city, whose benevolent heart never allowed him to refuse an applicant for the city's charities, he obtained by his piteous representations and obvious want, a hospital permit, and was, in consequence of it, soon snugly ensconced.

Having the faculty of bending one knee, so that no efforts could straighten the joint, he came in as a case of chronic rheumatism, and manfully the rascal stood the kind exertions to relieve him, so as to deceive the most experienced, and cause the putting of him down in the books as one of the “incurables.”

Charley, however, having fine opportunities of investigating the case, had his suspicions aroused as to the reality of Pat's disease, and, determining to settle the matter, selected him as my cupping subject.

“Boys,” said he, “I believe Pat's shamming; suppose we tell him that old D———— has directed him to be scarified and cupped, and Tensas can apply the remedy!”

“Agreed!” said all with one voice. Filling a tray with tumblers and a bottle of alcohol, we proceeded in a body to the ward where the victim was placidly reposing.

Seeing us approach with all the apparatus for “making a night of it,” Pat imagined he was going to be put on a more stimulating course of treatment, and his eyes fairly glistened, and his leg was, if possible, drawn still more closely to his body as he took a mental view of his situation; no work, good lodgings, pleasant medicine, liberal diet, and at last, to cap the climax of his earthly felicity, the pure “Crame of the Valley.”

Well, Pat, my boy, how do you rise to-night?”.

“Faith, an' good troth, young docthurs, like Inglan's tare for the ould counthry's misry, I don't rise at all at all—not aven the laste bit; here is me stretched on me back like a nagur, unable to work for my praties, or a wee drap of the crathur, ochone! ochone!”

“Don't you improve any? Can't you walk a bit?”

“Shure, not a bit! How am I to travel when my fut is bent up to where a rich man's boot shakes hands with a puir man? ochone! Its 'frade I am I'll be always here, instid of warkin', an' drinkin', an' votin', an' bein' a fray-man, as me muther was to the fore.”

“I hope not, Pat,” said I, desirous of bringing the conversation to a close, “old D———— has directed me to cup you, and that is what has brought us up.”

“Cup me, is it? Well it's reddy I am—shure an' have been for the long time; make it strong with the whiskey; bless the ould man, I tould him the other day, when he was prachin' the could wather, that a good strong cup would cure me as well!”

Great was Pat's consternation when he found that the tumblers, from which arose the odoriferous scent of the alcohol, were to go on him, instead of their contents going in him. He would have demurred, but he saw the uselessness of the attempt, and therefore assented to the operation with rather a lank visage, I must confess.

I soon repented the wager, and wished myself well rid of my bargain; the rascal had perfect command of the muscles of his brawny chest, and no sooner would a cup be exhausted and applied, than with a sudden contraction of the muscles, he would send it, with a simmering noise, rolling to the distant side of the bed. I tried every way, in the usual manner, to make them retain their hold, but the task was fruitless; occasionally one would flatter me it was going to remain, but scarcely could I give my attention to the other side, when off it would come. The half hour wanted but ten minutes of being out, and the cups were still unapplied. I became almost desperate, and called up two long-nailed Kentucky nurses, and made them hitch their fingers in the folds of the integuments on either side, so as to hold the muscles tense until the cups could adhere. This plan bid fair to answer, and the jeerings, remarks, and shouts of laughter, at my apparent discomfiture, which had greeted me in that unusual place for mirth, somewhat subsided; one minute of the allotted time was left, and but one cup remained unapplied. Up to this time, the steward of the hospital had been waiting upon me, pouring the alcohol, with which to exhaust the cup, from a tumbler nearly full into an empty glass, and then turning it out, he would hand it to me, and by the time it was applied have another ready; but one remained, as I have said, and I was waiting for it, when Charley, who had a finale for his test which none of us anticipated, suddenly substituted for the empty glass, the one nearly full of pure alcohol; suspecting no such trick, and there being no time for critical examination, I stuck the candle to it, and essayed as the blaze burst out, to apply it high up on the Irishman's breast. With a rushing, roaring sound, out burst the flaming liquid all over the poor devil's body.

With a loud scream, amidst the roars of involuntary laughter which attended his advent, Patrick gave a spring nearly to the ceiling, and dashing like fragile reeds the sturdy men who were holding him to the floor, amidst the cries of fire! fire! curses in Irish, loud and long, and the crash of the shivering tumblers, as he shed himself of them, took refuge in a large bathing-tub full of water, which, fortunately for him, stood in the ward.

The shouts of fire alarmed the whole hospital, and here, pell-mell, came the patients to see where it was. Forms emaciated by consumption rustled against others distended by dropsy. Four forms lay mixed up in the hall, and all of them could only muster up two pairs of legs, a pair and a half of eyes, and four arms. It was as though a false alarm had been given by Gabriel, and only a partial resurrection had taken place.

In one of the upper apartments was a private patient, labouring under the disease indifferently known as the blue-devils, red-monkeys, seeing injuns, or man-with-the-poker, or rather that mysterious individual had succeeded in overtaking his victim, and awful licks, to be sure, he was giving. His delirium was, that he was an alligator, and that there was a blood-thirsty minnow determined on taking his life at all hazards. Great were his struggles to preserve himself, requiring the constant presence of two keepers to restrain him from self-immolation.

Hearing the shouts of fire from below, they, acting on the conservative principle, left their patient, and sought safety in flight, not long unfollowed by the drunkard, who proceeded down stairs, until he came to the ward from whence the shouts of laughter had not ceased to issue.

The door being open, in he marched, presenting a fearful aspect—nearly naked, his eyes blood-shotten, and glaring with the light of delirium, his teeth clenched, with the lips drawn apart, a slight foam resting on them, blood dripping from a wound in his forehead, and brandishing a huge medical appurtenance, acting on the principle of the force-pump, and familiar to children on a small scale.

Seeing Pat in the tub, the cynosure of all eyes, the man with the red-monkeys took an idea that he was the identical minnow aiming at the vitality of his alligatorship, and this would be a good opportunity of killing him off.

With a loud yell, he sprung towards poor Pat, who, perfectly bewildered, let him get nearly on him, before he thought of getting out of the way.

“Hould him!” he yelled, “the crathur's gone clane out of his head! Holy jabers! hould him! He'll be afther the killin' me!”

But no one having time, or showing a disposition to interfere, he found he would have to bestir himself in his own behalf, and the biggest tracks, and the fastest, and the more of them, were made by the man who, previous to the time, had not moved a step for months. Through the long hall, down the double steps, out of the yard, and over the commons he went, yelling at every jump, whilst the “man with the poker's” friend, perfectly satisfied at the result, fish-like squatted down in the tub, and then quietly suffered himself to be led back to his room.


Reader! have you ever taken a shower-bath of a cold winter's morning? or felt a snake crawling over you whilst in bed? or tried to sleep with a deadly fight awaiting you in the morning? or tried to unite the oil of your nature with the agua pura of a chattering damsel, and found no alkali to effect the union—in other words, popped the question and been—refused? or swallowed poison, and no stomach-pump about? or slept with a man with the small-pox? or tried to write, with a couple of gabbling widows in the next room? or run for a political office? or shook hands with the itch? or been without a friend or dollar, thousands of miles from home, and a catch-pole after you for your tavern bill? or had the toothache? or—think of the most uneasy, miserable melancholy, dolesome action, sensation, occurrence, or thought of your life. Read of nothing for two weeks but earthquakes, famines, bankruptcy, murders, suicides, and distress in its blackest form: work on your imagination until you feel yourself labouring under all these combined misfortunes, and perhaps then you may have a slight appreciation of how a young grave rat feels just before he is examined for his degree. Examined, too, by seven old dried-up specimens of humanity, who look as if they had descended for the occasion from some anatomical museum, and who have looked on death, suffering, and annual ranks of medical aspirants, until they have about as much softness of heart as the aforesaid preparations.

The first course of medical lectures the student attends, is generally distinguished by his devotion to everything but his studies. At the commencement of the lectures he purchases a blank-book, for the ostensible purpose of taking notes of the lectures; but unwittingly his fingers, instead of tracing the chirographical characters, are engaged in caricaturing the professor, who is endeavouring to beat into his and a few hundred kindred heads, the difference between a dirty Israelite and the 'nasty moses of an artery. He devotes the midnight hour to dissecting—pigs-feet, grouse, and devilled bones, or the delicate structure of the epicurean oyster. He strengthens his voice by making the short hours of the night-clad street alive with the agreeable annunciation, especially to nervous invalids and sick children, that he “will not go home till morning.” He astonishes the professor of chemistry when lecturing upon electricity, by placing a few pounds of powder in communication with the machine, and blowing the laboratory to atoms, when the experiments are going on. He forms a pleasant surprise for his landlady by slipping into the dining-hall when the meats are on the table, and slyly inserting a dead baby, stolen from the dissecting-room, under the cover, in place of the abstracted pig, producing a pleasant sensation when discovered, and giving a good appetite to the boarders. He puts quick-lime into the young ladies' puff-box, and gives them a wash of lunar caustic to allay the irritation. He and the janitor go halves in raising game-cocks, and the expenses of a whole winter's lectures are often bet on a main. There is always some medical book that he wishes to purchase, of course very expensive—and to obtain which he is always writing home for money to parents or guardian. John Smith suffers, and always appears in the police reports, when the first course student is put in the watch-house, and let off by the kind-hearted mayor next morning, on paying fees and promising to amend. To sum up the whole, the first course, with few exceptions, conducts himself in such a manner, that but little injustice is done him when he is classed with free negroes, rowdies, and low-flung draymen. But the second course—phew! what a change comes over the fellow! You would think, to see him, that when he was born, gravity and soberness had given up the ghost, and their disembodied spirits found a carnal habitation in his cranium.

He now endeavours, by unremitting attention, to retrieve lost time, and impress the professors favourably in his behalf, for he is now a candidate for graduation, and he dare not go home without his degree. His care-clad face is now seen on the foremost bench, listening with a painful absorption, and taking voluminous notes in a book—not the only thing bound in calf-skin in the room, by long odds—and always asks, with the utmost deference, long explanations on some favourite theory of the lecturer, so dazzlingly original, that he did not perfectly understand it, so bewildered was he by admiration. He smells of the dissecting-room, and takes occasion, when in the presence of the professor of anatomy, of jerking out his handkerchief, and with it the half cut up hand of a subject. He eschews tobacco, whiskey, and women, joins the physiological temperance society, and collects facts for a forthcoming work of the professor of practice. He is a strong vitalist with “Old Charley,” and lies-big with the Liebigian follower of acids and alkalies. He presents the pelvis of the female that obeyed the Lord's ordinance twenty-six times in ten years, to the professor of observations, and has a faculty of making himself generally useful to the whole faculty. I, to return to particularities, had followed after the manner of first coursers, and would have been a fac simile of the candidate, or second course student, had it not been for my habitual laziness, and perhaps an overweening confidence in my natural powers of impudence to push me through. I had had one or two fights the previous session, in the college, which brought me favourably, of course, before the notice of the faculty, as a quiet, studious gentleman, and removed all doubts from my mind of my having a safe and honourable passage. I held a high head, but was confoundedly frightened, and often wished that I were not an aspirant for the privilege of being a hired assassin, a slayer, without the victim having a chance to hit back. Many, I say, were my misgivings, as I saw the ides of March, the time for examination, approach, that my want of medical lore might knock me higher than the green baize of medicine could cluster—and yet, never was poor mortal better entitled to write M.D. after his name than I, miserable devil as I was. But fear would not keep back the evil day. The bell sounded for class T to go up and be examined, and away we went slowly, as to a summons for pistols and coffee for two, with feelings resembling those of a gambler who has staked his whole pile, and found at the call that he has been bluffing up against a greenhorn with “three white aces.”

We were to be examined in separate rooms; our class, consisting of seven members, by as many professors, fifteen minutes being allotted to each professor in which to find out the qualifications of the candidate.

I have already indicated the course I intended to pursue in my examination—impudence and assurance was a new method for a candidate, and might succeed where-the old plan would be nearly certain to fail.

Entering boldly, without knocking, the room of one of the professors, who, being a superannuated widower, affected youthfulness very much, and prided himself very much, like a Durham stock raiser, on the beauty of his calves, to his dismay I found him arranging a pair of elaborate false ones, which showed a great disposition to work around to the front of his spindle-shanks. I had him dead for his vote, sure. I held the calves, whilst he adapted them to their places, and smoking a cigar during his fifteen minutes—he congratulated me upon the progress, he had often remarked, I was making in my studies, and at the expiration of his time, as he conducted me to the door, assured me he would vote for me, adding, “by-the-bye, Tensas, you needn't mention anything about the calves.”

Well! here's one vote, sure; would I had the other six as safe, thought I. “Physiology, where are you? You are wanted!” said I, as the door enclosed me with the professor of that branch, who, fortunately for me, was what is called a vitalist—sticking up for nature, and bitterly denied the Liebigian theory, which refers so many of the living phenomena to chemistry. He and the professor of chemistry were nearly at daggers' points upon the subject, and exceedingly excitable whenever it was mentioned in their presence. I knew my cue.

“Take a seat, Mr. Zensas, you appear wondrous full of vivacity,” said the professor, as I entered, singing “A was an artery,” &c. “Yes, sir, and I can assure you it is vivacity of the same kind that a beneficent Creator exhaled into the nostrils of the first-created—life in the sense in which every reasonable man—every man with a proper appreciation of the subject—every man of learning and intellect, and physiological acquisition, regards the vital principle—and not that degraded vitality of the Liebigian system, which makes man's assimilating functions a chemical operation, and degrades his mighty nature to the level of the ass”—“hideous doctrine,” broke in the old professor. “Mr. Tensas, would that the whole class possessed your discriminative wisdom; then I could descend to the grave with the proud consciousness that man held of his existence the same exalted opinion that I have always tried to teach; then would I see this chemical theory of life exploded. Theory which degrades man lower than the brutes, makes the subtlest operations of his nature a mere chemical effect, and the noble action of the lungs a scape-pipe for extra heat; magnificent—” And the excited physiologist, carried away by his feelings, burst into one of his wildest harangues, battling for his favourite theory with more vigour than he had ever displayed in the rostrum—and there never had stood his superior for eloquence—until a knock at the door broke in upon his declamatory current and dammed its waters.

“Bless me!” he exclaimed, rubbing his glasses and looking at his watch, “is my time out? Why, I have done all the talking. But go, Mr. Tensas, the views that you advocate attest your qualifications. You may depend upon my vote and influence.”

“Two votes safe!” said I, as I regained the lobby, “and now for old 'Roots,' as the professor of Mat. Med. was familiarly called by the class—he's deaf, but thinks no one knows it but himself. I'll talk low, and he won't know whether I am answering correctly or not.”

“Take a seat, Mr. Tensas. How are you to-day? I suppose you are ready for being examined? What is calomel?” All this being said sotto voce.

“A drug, sir, that may be called the right bower of quackery, and the four aces of medical murder; referred to by Shakspeare when he said, 'Throw physic to the dogs,' and specifically mentioned by him, though a typo graphical error has somewhat obscured it, evidencing its antiquity and universal administration at his time in the lines, 'Be thou as pure as ice, as chaste as snow, thou shalt not escape Calumel.'”

I spoke in a whisper, but moved my lips as if vociferating.

“Right, Mr. Tensas; but you need not holler so as to alarm the college; I am not deaf. What is the usual dose in the South?”

“Half a pound for an infant, and the quadrature of the stomach's circle for a grown negro!”

“What are its specific effects upon the system?”

“The free use of coffins, spit-boxes, mush-and-milk, and the invention of new oaths with which to curse the doctor!”

“What diseases is it usually given in?”

“In all, and some others, from want of a clean shirt to the death-rattle!”

“Right, sir, right,” said the examiner, never doubting, from my aptitude of reply and perfect seriousness, but that they were to the point. “What are emetics?”

“Medicines, that a man who has dined badly, and wants to conceal it, should never take!”

“What are the most certain?”

“The first cigar, the first quid, or a spoiled oyster!”

“What is their action?”

“That of money won at gambling; going back the way it came, and taking a good deal more than it brought!”

“When should lobelia be given?”

“At elections, where the people are writing a man down an ass, and he wants to be brought-up ahead!”

“What dose would you give it in?”

“If the patient was likely to leave a rich widow, I'd certainly give a pound!”

“When would you think an emetic had acted sufficiently?”

“When I was in doubt whether it was the patient's tongue or his stomach that was hanging out of his mouth!”

“What are purgatives?”

“Medicines, whose action bears the same relation to that of emetics, which the possums did to the hollow where the dog was waiting to catch them—they go the other way!”

“Suppose your patient had a diarrhoea, what medicine would you give?”

“A quart of brandy, for it would be sure to make him tight!

“What are the most dangerous preparations of lead?”

“Congressional speeches in Washington, and buckshot in the Southern States!”

“From what does hive syrup derive its name?”

“From the fact of bees living in hives, and there being honey in it!”

“Right, sir! all right! You have answered admirably. I see I must vote for you. You can go, sir!”—and out I went.

“Three votes! Hurrah! Two more, and I'm safe. Now for Old Sawbones. I'm sure of him, though;” for upon surgery I was prepared, and my intimacy with that professor assured me he must be aware of it, and would attribute the errors I might commit to natural trepidation under the circumstances.

He was a man of too much good sense to wheedle or fool with, and notwithstanding my confidence in my good preparation, and his appreciation of it, I anticipated a terrible time with him.

My heart sank as I entered his room. “Be seated, Mr. Tensas. Beautiful weather for this season. Have an apple? Here is an instrument for deligating the subclavian artery, that the maker has done me the honour to call after me. How do you like it? Think I must order a dozen. Do to give to acquaintances,” rattled on the kind-hearted professor, trying to reassure me, which he failed to do, for I regarded his pleasantry as somewhat akin to the cat sporting with its victim. “You never shave, Tensas, I believe? Apropos, how old are you?” I jumped clear out of my seat at the question. The institution required a candidate to be twenty-one, which I was not, by several months.

“It's rather late in the day to inquire that, professor,” replied I, “you should have asked that before I paid for your ticket.”

“Well, you are old enough to be examined for your degree, I expect, as you'll be rejected, in all probability. How do you make chicken-soup?”

I began to get nettled, thinking he was sporting with me upon my embarrassed condition; but a glance at his face told me he was, or strongly pretending to be, in earnest.

“Professor————,” I said, “I came here, sir, to be examined upon surgery; not to be insulted, sir. What chicken-soup has to do with it, I cannot imagine. If you are disposed to twit me with my early life and humble occupation, I can assure you, sir—”

“Stop! stop! No insult was intended, and though you, with your wisdom of almost twenty-one years, cannot see the connexion between soup and surgery, I can tell you, young man, that the success of the surgeon depends very much upon kitchen medicine. Good soup is easily digested, and strengthens the patient, but bad discomposes, and prevents the reparative action of the system. But this is not answering my question. How do you, sir, make chicken soup?”

Seeing that if he was not in earnest, it was the best imitation I had seen lately, I vouchsafed to answer the subtle inquiry.

After I had concluded—“Mr. Tensas, you have left out a very important item in the preparation of your soup: you forgot to mention in the first instance whether you would kill the chicken or not.”

The glance I shot at him was too much for his gravity. Bursting into a hearty laugh, he' said, “Tensas, I knew you were well prepared, but I thought I would teach you that nothing that may be conducive to the recovery of our patient, is too trivial to be remembered by the physician—also to try your temper. You have too much of the latter. The sick-bed is a fine moderator, however. Go, my dear fellow, study hard, and in ten years I will hear from you.” Tears sprung into my eyes as I wrung his hand, and thanked him, on leaving his room.

Four votes safe. One more, and the others may go to Hellespont. Now for chemistry. “How do you do, Mr. Tensas? Be composed, sir. Take a chair. Happy to have the opportunity of gratifying my chemical curiosity at your expense. I expect you candidates think your professors a very inquisitive set of fellows about this time. Ha! ha! Take a chair, sir.”

“Professor————, I am quite well, I am happy to inform you, and desirous of appearing as composed as possible. I also felicitate myself that it is in my power to display to you the fruits, as elaborated in my mind, of those eloquent expositions of chemical science which it has been my good fortune to receive, at such an inadequate remuneration, from your lips. Here is a pamphlet, very denunciatory, I am sorry to announce, of you, that I thought you would like to see. It is by the professor of physiology, and appearing first in a distant city, I thought you might not be aware of its publication; my admiration and friendship for you, together with my anxiety for the promotion of the Liebigian system, led me to procure a copy at an expense which, though considerable in the present dilapidated condition of my finances, never caused the least hesitation in its purchase, when the great good which doubtless would result from your early acquaintance with its pernicious principles was considered.”

It took me at least five minutes, in a slow, monotonous, and pompous manner, to deliver this, and only ten were left to the examiner.

“Thank you, Mr. Tensas, thanks for your kind consideration for myself and the system I am proud to advocate, even though it be through detraction and vituperation. I will examine it at my leisure—we have now other business before us. Give me an exposition, Mr. Tensas, of the Atomic or Daltonian theory.”

Down below zero went my hitherto buoyant spirits—my scheme had failed—I am gone, thought I, when up my heart bounded again as he interrupted me with, “Ah! how did you say you obtained this atrocious publication? Mr. Tensas, that gentleman, the author, is doing a great and irremediable injury to the cause of truth and scientific controversy. In arguing with a man of philosophical pretensions, it is to be expected that he will combat only those principles which”—and in a tone of grieved and wounded innocence, not giving me an opportunity of giving him the required exposition of the Atomic or Daltonian theory, which I very much regretted, the professor concluded the time allotted him for examination, saying, as I bid him adieu, “Mr. Tensas, I shall be happy to see you at my house to-night; you may rest assured of my vote.” I stood in the lobby with perfect ease, confident that in having five votes out of the seven—three being required to reject—I was soon to be dubbed Doctor of Medicine. The examinations of the other two professors I got through with very summarily, fainting away before one, and occupying the fifteen minutes to restore me, and before the other, being seized with a violent bleeding at my nose; but in justification of my own honour, I must state that the representations by the rest of the faculty of the splendid examination I had passed before them, influenced their votes, and I obtained all; and, at the appointed time, received my degree, and a square yard of sheepskin, as an attestation of the progress I had made in medicine, giving me a free permit to kill whom I pleased without the fear of the law.


I never was partial to dogs (although I dined some years ago very heartily upon the haunch of one, that a rascally Indian sold to the family for venison—the scoundrel's back gave proof not long after, that it, to him at least, was really dear meat); they have always been my aversion, and the antipathy of my earlier years has not been in the least diminished by the part one took—not only out of my leg—but in breaking off as pretty a love-scrape as ever Cupid rejoiced at.

I was attending my last course of lectures, previous to graduation, in a northern state, and as a matter of course had but very little leisure to devote to amusement or love. But nevertheless, even amidst all my occupation, I found time to renew and continue a friendship bordering closely upon love, even then, which I had formed the previous winter, with a young lady residing in the city.

We were both young—alas! that there similarity ceased—she was beautiful—my ugliness was so apparent that I acknowledged it myself. She was wealthy—I had nothing but my profession, it not then secure. She was—but why continue the enumeration of our contrasts? suffice it to say that we were fast approaching the condition when love in a cottage, and thoughts of an annual searching for sentimental and beautiful names occupy so much of the mind, when an infernal dog (not only of a daddy—but a real caniner) jumped—like a swamp gal into a jar of pickles—into the ring of our felicity, and left me to wail him first, and myself afterwards.

I hated dogs, and the father of my beloved had an equal aversion to Southerners, and according to the degree that class stood in his estimation, the old man and myself disliked the same objects; so his daughter and myself had to meet by stealth.

Twice a week the class of medical students attended clinical lectures at the hospital, which was situated in a retired part of the town; thither the young lady, on the appointed evenings, would repair, and awaiting the departure of the class, we, on our walk homewards, could talk over our love affairs without fear or interruption.

This pleasant arrangement had continued until nearly the close of the session, and we had agreed that when graduated, if her father's obduracy did not soften, we would elope, when some good-natured friend kindly informed her father of our intimacy, and that even as he came then to apprise him, he had met her going to keep her appointment.

Highly incensed, the old man started off to pursue her, out unfortunately did not arrive to prevent, but only witness an occurrence which attracted considerable attention at the time. Anatomy has been ever with me a favourite branch of my profession; and when a student, I never let slip an opportunity, time and material permitting, to improve myself in it by dissection. It was a passion with me; and whenever I met with a person extremely emaciated or finely developed, my anatomical eye would scan their proportions, and instead of paying them the usual courtesies of life, I would be thinking what glorious subjects they would be for museum preparations or dissection; and even when my audacious lips were stealing a kiss from the pulpy mouth of my lady-love, instead of floating into ecstasies of delight, my anatomical mind would wonder whether, even in death, electricity, by some peculiar adaptation, might not be able to continue their bewitching suction. When holding her soft hand in mine, and gazing into the star-lit ocean of her soul, I would wonder if there was not some peculiarity in the formation of her optic nerve which gave her eyes such brilliancy. My poetical rhapsodies were mingled with scraps of anatomy, and in attempting to write her some verses, after writing the first line,

“The clouds which clothed yon beauteous shore with garments

dark and hazy”—

to save me, the nearest approximation I could make to a rhyme, was:

“Pray use with me not the 'levator labii superioris alaque nasi?

To tell the truth, I was becoming clean daft upon the subject, and consumptive people and orphan children began to look on me with suspicion, but Lucy attributed my conduct-to the eccentricities of genius and love.

Connected with the hospital the class attended was a dead-house, as is usual in such establishments, where such patients whose constitutions are not strong enough to stand the treatment, are deposited after death for forty-eight hours, in order that their friends may reclaim their bodies. The morgue, in this institution, was directly under the lecture room, but, as the door was kept locked, it was regarded as sufficiently private.

On the day when my intended father-in-law was made acquainted with the clandestine meetings of his daughter and myself, I had, as usual, accompanied the class to the hospital, and, during the delivering of the lecture, becoming suddenly very faint, I was forced to leave the crowded room and seek the fresh air.

As I passed the door of the dead-house on my return, I noticed that it was ajar, and curiosity prompting me to see what was within, I pushed it open and entered, closing it behind me. There were several bodies, male and female, cleanly arrayed upon the table; but the object that attracted my attention the most was an infant a few weeks old lying by the side of its dead mother; they were both so black in the face that I would have suspected foul play, had it not been accounted for by the fact that they were negroes. I strove to depart, but something formed a bond of association between that dead nigger baby and myself, which held me to my place, my gaze riveted upon it.

I wanted just such a subject—one I could carry up in my private room and dissect whilst I was waiting for my meals—something to wile away my tedious hours with—but how to get it was the thing; the rules of the college and hospital were imperative, and I did not wish to be expelled. I could not beg, borrow, or buy—there was but one way left, and that was stealing.

The plan was simple and easily arranged. It was very cold weather, and under the ample folds of my cloak the baby would be concealed effectually.

Separating it from its dead mother's embrace, I rolled it, tenderly as if alive, into as small a space as possible, and tying it up in my handkerchief, I placed it under my cloak, and left the dead-house.

Had I left immediately for home, on the baby's absence being discovered I would have been suspected immediately; so, great as was the danger, I had no other resource than to return to the lecture-room, and await our regular dismissal, running the chances of detection. No one, on looking at me then, would have accused me of feigning sickness; for, manfully as I strove to be composed, the danger of discovery unnerved me completely, and gave me such a tremor as would have passed for a creditable ague.

I have been often enough in imminent danger of my life, to know what cold sweat and minutes appearing hours are; but the longest life, in the shortest space of time I ever led, was when, in the midst of four hundred students, I sat on those hard old benches, with the dead nigger baby under my cloak, waiting for the lecture to conclude.

It had its end at last; and, waiting till the class had pretty well dispersed, I sauntered slowly away towards my boarding-house, hoping that the inclemency of the weather had kept Lucy from keeping our usual appointment.

A sleety rain had fallen the preceding night, and, like Mrs. Blennerhasset's tears, freezing as it fell, had covered the pavement with a thin coat of ice, making the walking for pedestrians very insecure.

Surely, I thought, as a keen gust came round the corner, piercing my marrow with its coldness, her tender frame will not be exposed on such a day as this! 'tis a good thing, too; for she would be horrified if she found what my burden was;—when her smiling face, with her beautiful nose red as an inflamed eye, appeared, and told me I did not possess a proper appreciation of the strength of a Kentucky gal's affection.

Somewhat vexed, and, for the first time in my life, sorry to see her, I wished her (as it was so cold) in the hottest place I knew of; but dissembling my feelings, I vowed, when she came up, that if I had received the appointment of surgeon-general to the angels, it could not give me more pleasure than to see her then. I appeared as unconcerned as I could, and sedulously talked to her of such things as are very interesting to lovers and old maids, but deuced tiresome to all other parties concerned.

We had nearly reached the street corner where we usually parted, when, horror of horrors! who should we see coming round the identical corner but the lady's father, accompanied by a man that bore a marvellous resemblance to the city marshal!

Instead of fainting, Lucy uttered a stifled shriek, and gritting her teeth dragged me into a house, the door of which stood invitingly open; one step more, and if Fate had not been against me, these pages would never have been written, that baby would have been anatomized, and in all probability, instead of being an old rusty swamp doctor, “caring a cuss for nobody, nobody caring for me,” I would have been the happy head of a family, and, rolling in my carriage, describe the great operation of extracting two jaw-teeth, I saw performed the last time I was in Paris. But the beautiful hath departed, and never was.

A growl, a loud yell, bow! wow! wow! and with mouth distended like an alligator catching his dessert of flies, a huge bull dog sprang at us, placing us in rather a dilemma; it was the dog of a daddy on one hand, and the daddy of a dog on the other.

Unlike Miss Ullin, who preferred meeting the raging of the skies to an angry father, embarked in a skiff and got drowned, I preferred an angry father to a mad bull dog; so seizing Lucy, I made a spring backwards, forgetting in my haste the slippery pavement; our feet flew up, and down we came in the open street, cross and pile, our inferior extremities considerably intermingled, and her ankles not as well protected from the heat as they might have been.

My cloak flew open as I fell, and the force of the fall bursting its envelope, out, in all its hideous realities, rolled the infernal imp of darkness upon the gaze of the laughing, but now horrified spectators.

The old man had witnessed the whole scene; springing to my feet, I assisted the lady to rise, and handed her over to her father. As he disappeared with her round the corner, I volunteered to whip the crowd, individually or collectively, but nobody seemed disposed to accept of my services. Picking up my baby, I explained the whole to a constable who was on the point of arresting me for child-murder.

I sent the subject back to the dead-room, and came as near being expelled from college as ever a lover of knowledge did, to miss it. I have never seen Lucy since, and my haggard features and buttonless coat testify that the swamp doctor is still a bachelor.


Behold me, then, who late was a city physician of a week's duration, a veritable “Swamp Doctor,” settled down quietly, far from the blandishments of fashionable life, and awaiting, as when in town, though with not half of my then anxiety, the “first call.”

A veritable “Swamp Doctor,” to whom French boots and broadcloth must be obsolete ideas; the honest squatters thinking—and with propriety too—that a doctor who could put broadcloth over their stiles, must have to charge very high to support such extravagance. A charge to which 'it is almost fatal for a doctor to lay himself liable to.

A pair of coarse mud boots enclose my feet; copperas-coloured linsey pants occupy their proper position; a gaudy plaid vest with enormous jet buttons, blanket-coat and cap, complete the equipment of my outer man. Allow me to introduce you to my horse; for Charley occupies in my mind too large a space to be passed over silently when the “Swamp Doctor” is being described. Too poor to own but one, he has to perform the labour of several, which the fine blood that courses through his veins easily enables him to do; like his master, his external appearance is rather unprepossessing; but would that thy master, Charley, possessed thy integral virtues! Higli-spirited art thou, old friend—for age is touching thee, Charles, though thou givest no indication of it, save in the lock of gray which overhangs thy flashing eyes. Tall in thy proportions, gaunt in thy outline, sorrel in thy hue, thou hast proved to me, Charles, that there is other friendship and companioning besides human kind; thou hast shared my lowly lot for many years, Charles—together we have passed the lonely night, lost in the swamp—breasted many an angry stream, and given light to many darksome hearts, when fever-stricken they awaited my coming, and heard thy joyous neigh and eager bound. I did not know thy good qualities, Charles, when first I bought thee, but the years that have wasted away have taught thy true worth, and made me respect thee as a man. But I must return, Charles, to when we first took up our home within the “swamp.”

My residence is as humble as my pretensions or my dress, being composed of split trees, and known in American parlance as a “log cabin.”

A lazy sluggish “bayou”—as all the small watercourses in this country are Frenchifically termed—glorying in the name of the “Tensas,” runs, or rather creeps, by the door, before which—on the margin of the stream—stands one of those grand alluvial oaks which could canopy an army.

The day is rather sultry; a soft wind is moving its branches, on the topmost one of which is perched a mocking-bird; how wildly he carols, how blithesome his every movement! Happy fellow! the barn-yard, the ploughed ground, the berry-laden tree, all furnish him with food. Nature clothes him annually, and the leafy branch be neath shields him from the cold, when clouds and dark ness gather around. Happy fellow! he can sing with a light heart; his wants are few, and easily supplied. Would that the “Swamp Doctor” had as little care pressing upon him, that he might join you in your song; would that his necessities were as few and as readily provided for! Then, too, he could mock at the world, then, too, sing like thine a joyous strain; but poverty, youthfulness, the stranger's want of loving sympathy, chill the rising ardour of his song, and fling him back upon the cold wave of the world.

But away, care, for the present! away, forebodings of the future! Be as in former days, Swamp Doctor, joyful at heart—thou hast sung in strains as wild as that winsome bird's! Let the harmony that pervades the air paint for thee the future; and of bygones, “let the dead Past bury its dead!”

Thou hast sung, Swamp Doctor! Then tune afresh thy harp, and give one strain before thy “first call” shall still with its responsibilities thy harp, and clothe with sober seriousness thy youthful heart.

Sayest thou so, fair bird? then will I obey. My seat is beneath thy oak—thine I call it, for early residence hath given thee a pre-emption to it, surely—thy song is pouring through my heart, the wave at my feet is glistening in the morning sun, the soft branches overhead rustle and mingle in joyful greenness, yet I cannot sing of these fair scenes; not of them can be the burden of my song. Manhood had not set its seal upon my form; yet not fifty holds an older heart than beats within my breast. In despite of myself my thoughts are with my calling, with the sick and suffering who are yet to cast their eyes upon my face, and from it draw their bright hope or withering despair. What, then, so proper, since sing I must, as breathing a soft prayer to the patron saint of the healing art, and invoking his assistance in my future course?


Wrapt in the gloom of Superstition's age,

The trade of Chance and men of low degree,

Long lay the Art which teaches to assuage

The many pangs that mankind heirs, to be,

The Art which stills the maniac's fiery rage,

And bids the horrors of his vision flee;

Which soothes the pain its power cannot destroy,

And whispers hope, when hearts are reft of joy.

A Star arose amidst the heaven of gloom,

Which bended o'er this glorious Art divine;

It nobly strove the darkness to illume,

And place the Science on its proper shrine.

It shrank not from the strife, but dared the doom

That meets full oft the soul of high design;

It 'scaped this lot, was victor loud proclaimed,

And Esculapius with the gods was named.

Years have grown old, and Time's relentless hand

Has fallen on many a head of regal pride;

Full many a warrior born to use command

Has kiss'd the grave—that dark repulsive bride;

And many an arch whose fair proportions spanned

The heaving wave, has sunk beneath the tide;

Earth's mightiest things have triumphed over night,

Gleamed forth in splendour, then been lost to sight.

But not so thou; for thou hast never known

What 'twas to feel the waning love of them,

Who, once enchanted, drink in every tone,

Yet let Time chant their worship's requiem;

Forget how praises from their lips have flown,

And eager seek for matter to condemn:

None such thy friends—they prove with deed and heart

That Friendship is of Death a thing apart.

Oh! Patron Saint, sure thine's a brilliant doom!

We judge the future by the seasons past,

And judging thus, eternity will loom

Upon Creation ere thy name is classed

Among the things that were. Thou hast no tomb,

Time cannot say thy glory shall not last,

For it has mocked him from his earliest years

And as he darkens, still more bright appears.

Look on me, Patron Saint, with glance benign!

An humble follower, I bend the knee,

And pray thy knowledge's light may on me shine

In all its splendour and intensity!

So when in death my icy limbs recline,

My name lik'st thine may long remembered be

As one who sought the useful to pursue,

And ease the pangs his fellow-mortals knew.

Yes, let them write upon my lowly grave:

“A true Philanthropist is sleeping here!”

And I no other recompense will crave

To cheer me onward in my future sphere.

Such epitaph as that in truth to have

Were worth all wealth that man amasses here.

High Heaven!—Mock-Bird, the rest must stay unwrit!

“Come, quick, Mass' Doctor, ole Missus got a fit!”


Come quick, Mass' Doctor! ole missus got a fit!” aroused me from my poetical revery, and brought the invocation to Esculapius to an abrupt termination.

I was just apostrophizing “High Heaven” when the voice outspoke; laughing at the ludicrous transition of sounds and ideas, I rolled up my manuscript and turned to take a survey of the speaker.

He presented nothing remarkable in his appearance, being only a negro messenger, belonging to a small planter living at the extremity of what I regarded as my legitimate circuit of practice; from the appearance of the mule he bestrode, he had evidently ridden in great haste.

Perceiving me to be laughing, and not knowing of anything in his annunciation to create mirth, he thought I had not heard him when he first spoke, and therefore repeated, “Come quick, Mass' Doctor! ole missus got a fit, an' I 'spec is monstrus low, for as I cum by de lot, I hear Mass' Bill holler to Mass' Bob, and tell him, arter he got dun knockin' de horns off de young bull, to cum in de house an' see his gran'-mammy die.” But still I laughed on—there was such an odd mingling of poetry, Esculapius, missus, fit, Mass' Bob, and knocking the horn off the young bull, as to strike full my bump of the ludicrous, and the negro, sitting on his little crop-eared mule, gazed at me in perfect astonishment, as a monument of unfeelingness.

Suddenly the recollection that this was my “first call,” came over and sobered me in a second; my profession, with all its sober realities and responsibilities, was again triumphant, and I stood a serious “Swamp Doctor.” Ordering a servant to catch my horse, I began to prepare for the ride, by questioning the negro as to the nature of the disease, age of the patient, and other circumstances of the case, that might enable me to carry medicines along suitable to the occasion, as my saddlebags were of limited capacity, and none of the people kept medicines at home, except a few of the simplest nature.

“You say your mistress has fits! Does she have them often?” The object of my inquiries will be apparent to the professional reader.

“Not as I nose on, Mass' Doctor, although I did hearn her say when she lived in Georgy, she was monstrus nar-vus-like at de full of de moon.”

“How old is your mistress? do you know, boy?”

“How ole! why, Mass' Doctor, she's a bobbullushunary suspensioner, an' her hare is grayer dan a 'possum's. Ole missus ole for a fak!”

“Has anything happened lately that could have given your mistress the fit?”

“Nuffin', Mass' doctor, as I nose on, 'cept pr'aps day 'fore yisterday night ole missus private jug guv out, an' she tole wun of de boys to go in de smoke-house and draw him full; de fule chile stuck de lite tu nere de baril, de whiskey cotch, an' sich a 'sploshun never war herd as de ole smoke-house guvin' up de goast!”

“Your old mistress drinks whiskey, then, and has been without any two days?”

“Yes, Mass' doctor, an' 'I 'spec it's that what's usen her ip, for she'd sorter got 'customed to de 'stranger.'”

I had learned enough of the case to give me a suspicion of the disease; the verification must be deferred until I saw the patient.

She being very old, nervous, and excitable, accustomed to alcoholic stimulation, suddenly deprived of her usual beverage, and brought under the depressory influences of losing her smoke-house and barrel of whiskey, was sufficient cause to produce a case of disease formed by an amalgamation of sub-hysteria and quasi delirium tremens; a not very flattering diagnosis, considered in a moral point of view, to the old lady, whose acquaintance I was yet to make. Knowing how much depended upon the success with which I treated my first cases, it was unnecessary to give me a serious and reflective air, that I should remember how much people judged from appearances, and that mine were anything but indicative of the doctor; whiskers or beard had I none, and even when wearing the most sober mask, a smile would lurk at the corner of my mouth, eager to expand into a laugh.

But I must start. Labelling a bottle of brandy “Arkansas Fitifuge,” I slipped it in my pocket, and mounting my horse, set off upon the fulfilment of my “first call.”

When we reached the house, my horse reeking with sweat, from the haste with which we had traversed the muddy roads, I introduced myself, as I had never seen one of the family before, nor they me—as Doctor Tensas, and required to be shown the patient. I saw from the countenances of the assembly, which was more numerous than I had expected to find, that they were disappointed in the appearance of the new doctor, and that my unstriking and youthful visage was working fatally against me. In fact, as I approached the bed, which was surrounded with women, I heard one old crone remark “sotto voce,” “Blessed J———s! is that thing a doctor? why, his face's as smooth as an eggshell, an' my son John 'peers a heap older than him, an' he's only been pupped ateen years; grashus nose sich a young lookin' critter as that shuddent gin me doctor's truck; he can't have 'sperience, but sens he's here we'll have to let him go on; half a 'pology is better 'an no commisseration in an aggervated insult.”

Paying no attention to her depreciatory remarks, but determined to show them that I knew a thing or two, I commenced examining the patient.

Had I not been prepared by the negro's description, I would have been surprised at the example of longevity in that insalubrious country which the invalid presented. Judging from external appearances, she must have had the opportunity of doing an immensity of talking in her time; her hair was whiter than the inside of a persimmon seed, and the skin upon her face resembled a piece of corrugated and smoky parchment, more than human cuticle; it clove tightly to the bones, bringing out all their prominencies, and showing the course of the arteries and veins beneath; her mouth was partly open, and on looking in I saw not the vestige of a tooth; the great dentist, Time, had succeeded in extracting the last. She would lie very quietly in a dull comatose condition for a few moments, and then giving a loud screech, attempt to rub her stomach against the rafters of the cabin, mumbling out something about “Whiskey spilt—smoke-house, ruined—and Gineral Jackson fit the Injuns—and she haddent the histericks!” requiring the united strength of several of the women to keep her on the bed.

The examination verified my suspicion as to the nature of the disease, but I had too much knowledge of human nature to give the least intimation to the females of my real opinion. I had been told by an old practitioner of medicine, “if you wish to ruin yourself in the estimation of your female patients, hint that the disease they are labouring under is connected with hysterics:” what little knowledge I had acquired of the sex during my student life went to confirm his observations. But if the mere intimation of hysteria produced such an effect, what would the positive pronouncing that it was not only hysterics but a touch of drunken mania? I had not courage to calculate upon such a subject, but hastily dismissed it. Pronouncing that she had fits, sure enough, I commenced the treatment. Brandy and opium were the remedies indicated; I administered them freely at half-hour intervals, with marked benefit, and towards midnight she fell into a gentle slumber. As I heard her quiet breathing, and saw the rise and fall of her bosom in regular succession, indicating that the disease was yielding to my remedies, a gleam of pleasure shot over my face, and I felt happier by the bedside of that old drunken woman, in that lowly cabin, in that obscure swamp, than if the many voices of the city were shouting “laus” unto my name. I was taking the first round in the race between medicine and disease, and so far was leading my competitor.

It was now past midnight: up to this time I had kept my place by the bed-side of the patient, and began to get wearied. I could with safety transfer her care now to one of the old dames, and I determined to do so, and try and obtain some sleep. The house consisted of a double log cabin, of small dimensions, a passage, the full depth of the house, running between the “pens.” As sleep was absolutely required for the preservation of the patient, and the old dames who were gathered around the fire, discoursing of the marvels of their individual experience, bid fair to step over the bounds of proper modulation in their garrulity, I proposed, in such a way that there was no withstanding the appeal, that we should all, except the one nursing, adjourn to the other room. The old ladies acquiesced without a single demurrer, as they were all dying to have a talk with the “young doctor,” who hitherto, absorbed in his patient, had shown but little communicativeness.

The male portion of the family had adjourned to the fodder-house to pass the night, so my once fair companions and self had the whole of the apartment to ourselves. Ascertaining by actual experiment that it was sufficiently removed by the passage to prevent ordinary conversation from being audible at the bed-side of the invalid, the old ladies, in despite of my hints of “being very tired,” “really I am very sleepy,” and “I wish I hadn't such a long ride to take to-morrow,” commenced their attack in earnest, by opening a tremendous battery of small talk and queries upon me. The terrible breaches that it made, had the effect of keeping mine on, and I surrendered at discretion to the ladies, almost wishing, I must confess, that they were a bevy of young damsels, instead of a set so antiquated that their only knowledge of love was in seeing their grand-children. Besides, they were only exacting from me the performance of one of the prescribed duties of the country physician, performed by him from time immemorial; and why should they not exact it of me? The doctor of a country settlement was then—they have become so common now as to place it in the power of nearly every planter to own a physician, and consequently they attract little regard—a very important character in the community. Travelling about from house to house, he became the repository of all the news, scandal, and secrets of the neighbourhood, which he was expected to retail out as required for the moral edification of the females of his “beat;” consequently, his coming was an event of great and exciting interest to the womenkind generally.

It is a trite observation, that when you have rendered yourself popular with the wife, you are insured of the patronage of the husband apply it to the whole sex of women, and it still holds good—married or single they hold the men up, and without their support, no physician can succeed. I had imagined, in my youthful simplicity, that when I entered the swamp, I had left female curiosity—regarding it as the offspring of polished society—behind; but I found out my mistake, and though I was very sleepy, I loved my profession too well not to desire to perfect myself in all the duties of the calling. I have often had a quiet laugh to myself, when I reflect upon the incidents of that night, and what a ludicrous appearance I must have presented to a non-participant, when, on a raw-hide-bottomed chair, I sat in that log cabin, directly in front of a cheerful fire—for though spring, the nights were sufficiently cool to render a fire pleasant—the apex of a pyramid of old women, who stretched in two rows, three on each side, down to the jambs of the chimney.

There was Miss Pechum, and Miss Stivers, and Miss Limsey, on one side, and Miss Dims, who, unfortunately, as she informed me, had had her nose bit off by a wild hog, and Miss Ripson, and Miss Tillot, on the other. Six old women, with case-hardened tongues, and only one poor humble “Swamp Doctor,” whom the verdict of one, at first sight, had pronounced a thing, to talk to them all! Fearful odds I saw, and seeing trembled; for the fate of the adventurous Frenchman came fresh to my mind, who proposed for a wager to talk twelve hours with an old widow, and who at the expiration of the time was found dead, with the old lady whispering vainly “frog soup” in his ear. There it was one against one, here it was six versus one, and a small talker at that; but the moments were flying, no time was to be lost, and we commenced. What marvellous stories I told them about things I had seen, and what wonderful recitals they gave me in return! How, first, I addressed my attention to one side of the pyramid, and then bestowed a commensurate intensity upon the other! How learnedly we discoursed upon “yarbs,” and “kumfrey tea,” and “sweet gum sav!” How readily we all acquiesced in the general correctness of the broken-nose lady's remark, “Bless Jesus! we must all die when our time kums,” and what a general smile—which I am certain, had it not been for the propinquity of the invalid, would have amounted to a laugh—went round the pyramid, when Miss Pechum, who talked through her nose, snuffled out a witticism of her youngest son, when he was a babe, in which the point of the joke lay in bite, or right, or fight, or some word of some such sound, but which the imperfection of her pronunciation somewhat obscured! How intently we all listened to Miss Stiver's ghost-story! what upholding of hands and lap-dropping of knitting, and exclamations of fear and horror and admiration, and “Blessed Master!” and “Lordy grashus!” and “Well, did you ever!” and “You don't say so!” and “Dear heart do tell!” and what a universal sigh was heaved when the beautiful maid that was haunted by the ghost was found drowned in a large churn of buttermilk that her mother had set away for market next day! How profuse in my expressions of astonishment and admiration I was, when, after a long comparison of the relative sufferings of the two sexes, Miss Stivers—the lady who talked through her nose, in reply to Miss Dims, the lady who had no nose at all—declared that “Blessed Master permitting arter all their talk 'bout women's sufferings, she must say that she thought men had the hardest time of it, for grashus know's she'd rather have a child every nine months than scour a skillet, and she ought to know!” How we debated 'whether the 'hives' were catchin' or not?' and were perfectly unanimous in the conclusion that “Sheep safern” were wonderful “truck!”

Suddenly one of those small screech, or horned owls, so common in the South and West, gave forth his discordant cry from a small tree, distant only a few feet from the house; instantaneously every voice was hushed, all the lower jaws of the old women dropped, every eye was dilated to its utmost capacity, till the whites looked like a circle of cream around a black bean, every forefinger was raised to command attention, and every head gave a commiserative shake, moderating gradually to a solemn settling. After a considerable pause, Miss Ripson broke the silence. “Poor creetur! she's gone, doctor, the Fitifuge can't cure her, she's knit her last pair of socks! Blessed Master! the screech owl is hollered, and she's bound to die, certin!”

“Certin!” every voice belonging to the females responded, and every head, besides, nodded a mournful acquiescence to the melancholy decision.

Not thoroughly versed in the superstitions of the backwoods, I could not see what possible connexion there could be between the screech of the owl and the fate of the patient. Desirous of information upon the subject, I broke my usual rule, never to acknowledge ignorance upon any matter to ladies—from the first eruption of Vesuvius to the composition of a plumptitudinizer—and therefore asked Miss Ripson to enlighten me.

I shall never forget the mingled look of astonishment and contempt that the old lady, to whom the query was propounded, cast upon me as she replied:—

“How dus screech owls hollerin' make sick people die? Blessed Master! you a doctor, and ax sich a question! How is ennything fotch 'bout 'cept by sines an' awgrese, an' simbles, an' figurashuns, an' hiramgliptix, and sich like vareus wase that the Creator works out his desine to man's intimashun and expoundin'. Don't spose there's con-jurashun an' majestix in the matter, for them's agin scrip-tur; but this much I do no—I never sot up with a sick body, and heard a screech owl holler, or a dog howl, or a scratchin' agin the waul, but what they dide; ef they did-dent then, they did 'fore long, which pruves that the sine war true; Blessed Master! what weke creetur's we is, sure en'uf! I reculleck when I lived down to Bunkum County, North Carliny—Miss Dims, you node Miss Ply-ser, what lived down to Zion Spring?”—(Miss Dims, being the noseless lady, snuffled out that she did as well as one of her own children, as the families were monstrous familiar, and seed a heap of one another). “Well, Miss Ply-ser war takin awfil sick arter etin a bate of cold fride collards—I alwase tole her cold fride collards warn't 'dapted to the delicases of her constytushun, but the poor crittur war indoost to them, and wuddent taik my device; an' it wood hav been a grate dele beter for her ef she had, as the sekil wil pruve; poor creetur! ef she oanly had, she mout bin a settin' here to-nite, fur her husband shortly arter, sed ef sarkumstancis haddent altired his 'tarmynashun he didn't no but wat he wood like to take a look at them Luzaanny botums, wair all you had to do to clar the land, war to cut down all the trese and wate fur the next overflow to wash them off; but pr'aps she wuddent nethur, for arter all he dident cum, an' you no she cuddent kum 'cept with him 'ceptin' she dun like Lizey Johnson's middle darter, Prin-sanna, who left her husband in the state of Georgy, and kum to Luzaanny an' got marred to a nother man, the pi sen varmint, to do sich as that and her own laful husband, for I no that he borrerd a dollar of my sister Jane's sister to pay for the license and eatables for the crowd—but Blessed Master, where is I talking to!—well, as I sed, Miss Plyser made herself monstrous sick etin cold fride collards; wen I got where she was they had sent for the doctor, an' shortly arter I kum he cum, an' the fust thins; he axed fur arter he got in the house war for a hanful of red-pepper pods—it war a monstrous fine time for pepper and other gardin truck that sesun—an' wen he got them he tuck a han-ful of lobely an' mixt the pepper-pods with it an' then he poured hot bilin' water over it, and made a strong decokshun. Jes as it was got reddy for 'ministering, but before it was guv, I heered a screech owl holler on the gable end of the cabin. I sed then as I say now, in the present case, that it war a sine and a forerunner that she was gwine to die, but the doctor, in spite of my 'swadements, gin her a tin cup of the pepper and lobely' but I nude it war no use—the screech owl had hollered, and she war called fur; an' jes to think of a nice young 'ooman like her, with the purtiest pair of twins in the world, and as much alike as two pese, only one had black hare and lite ise, an' the other had black ise and lite hare—bein' carrid to a grave by cold fride collards apeered a hard case, but the Lord is the Heavens an' he nose! Well, the first dose that he gin her didn't 'fect much, so he gin her another pint, an' then cummenst stemin' her, when the pirspirashun began to kum out, she sunk rite down, an' begun to siken awful; the cold fride collards began to kum up in gobs, but Blessed Master! it war too late, the screech owl had hollered, an' she flung up cold fride collards till she dide, pooer creetur! the Lord be marsyful to her poor soul! But I sed from the fust she wood die. Doctor, weed better see how Miss Jimsey is; it's no use to waste the 'Futifuge' on her, the screech owl has hollered, and she mus go though all the doctors of a king war here; poor creetur! she has lived a long time, an' I 'speck her Lord and Master wants her.”

And thus saying, the old lady preceded the way to the sick-room, myself and the five other old women bringing up the rear.

Somewhat, I thought, to the disappointment of the superstitious dames, we found the invalid still buried in a profound slumber, her regular, placid breathing indicating that the proper functions of the system were being restored. I softly felt her pulse, and it, too, showed improvement. Leaving the room, we returned to the other cabin. I informed the family that she was much better, and if she did not have a return of the spasms by morning, and rested undisturbed in the meantime, that she would get well. But I saw that superstition had too deep a hold on their minds for my flattering opinion to receive their sanction. An incredulous shake of the head was nearly my only reply, except from the owl enthusiast.

“Doctor, you're mistaken, certin. The screech-owl has hollered, and she is boun to die—it's a sure sign, and can't fail!”

I saw the uselessness of argument, and therefore did not attempt to show them how ridiculous, nay irreligious, it was to entertain such notions, willing that the termination of the case should be the reply.

It would require a ponderous tome to contain all that passed in conversation during our vigils that night. Morning broke, and I went softly in to see if my patient still slept. The noise I made in crossing the rough floor aroused, and as I reached the bed-side, she half raised herself up, and to my great delight accosted me in her perfect senses.

“I s'pose, young man, you're a doctor, aint you?”

I assured her that her surmise was correct, and pressed her to cease talking and compose herself. She would not do it, however, but demanded to see the medicine I was giving her. I produced the Arkansas Fitifuge, and as it was near the time that she should take a dose, I poured one out and gave it to her. Receiving it at first with evident disgust, with great reluctance she forced herself to drink a small quantity. I saw pleasure and surprise lighting up her countenance; she drank a little more—looked at me—took another sip—and then, as if to test it by the other senses, applied it to her nose, and shaking the glass applied it to her ear; all the results were satisfactory, and she drank it to the dregs without a murmur.

“Doctor,” said she, “ef you're a mineral fissishun, and this truck has got calomy in it, you needn't be afeard of salavatin me, and stop givin' it, for I wont git mad ef my gums is a leetle touched!”

I assured her that the “Fitifuge” was perfectly harmless.

“It's monstrus pleasant truck, ennyhow! What did you say was the name of it?”

“Arkansas Fitifuge, madam, one of the best medicaments for spasmodic diseases that I have ever used. You were in fits last night when I arrived; but you see the medicine is effecting a cure, and you are now out of danger, although extreme quietude is highly necessary.”

“Doctor, will you give me a leetle more of the truck? I declare, it's monstrous pleasant. Doctor, I'm mity nar-vous, ginerally; don't you think I'd better take it pretty often through the day? Ef they'd sent for you sooner I woodent bin half as bad off. But, thank the Lord, you has proved a kapable fissishun, sent to me in the hour of need, an' I wont complane, but trust in a mersyful Saveyur!”

“How do you feel now, sister Jimsey? do you think you're looking up this morning?” was now asked by the lady of screech-owl memory.

“Oh, sister Ripson, thank the Lord, I do feel a power better this mornin', an' I think in the course of a day or two I will be able to get about agen.”

“Well, mersyful Master, wonders will never stop! las nite I thot sure you cuddent stand it till mornin, speshully arter I heerd the screech-owl holler! 'tis a mirrykul, sure, or else this is the wonderfulest doctor in creashun!”

“Did the screech-owl holler mor'n wunst, sister Ripson?”

“No, he only screached wunst! Ef he'd hollered the second time, I'd defide all the doctors in the created wurld to 'ad cured you; the thing would have bin unpossible!” Now as the aforesaid screech-owl had actually screeched twice, I must have effected an impossibility in making the cure; but I was unwilling to disturb the old lady in her delusion, and therefore did not inform her of that, which she would have heard herself, had she not been highly alarmed.

I directed the “Fitifuge” to be given at regular intervals through the day; and then, amidst the blessings of the patient, the congratulations of the family for the wonderful cure I had effected, and their assurances of future patronage, took my departure for home, hearing, as I left the house, the same old lady who had underrated me at my entrance ejaculate, “Well, bless the Lord I didn't die last yere of the yaller janders, or I'd never lived to see with my own eyes a doctor who could cure a body arter the screech-owl hollered!”


What a queer thing is pride! Pride, that busy devil that breaks off the point of the lancet, and lets human nature die of the big-head before common sense can bleed freely. Pride, that sticks a pretty foot in a kid slipper in the dead of winter, and the owner shortly in the grave. Pride, that keeps man from acknowledging his error, and makes him a slayer of his kind, without being justified by a doctor's degree. Pride—but enough of philosophy.

I have seen this trait of humanity illustrated in various ways, according to the temperament, education, and habits of individuals, and thought I knew something of the various workings of the foible; but until I saw Major Subsequent, never did I know that man could find his chief glory in the possession of loathsome and incurable afflictions. But such is the fact, or rather was the fact, for the Major one day came in contact with rather a familiar friend of mine, whose known liberality is such that he never fails to give his visiters a fee simple to a small plantation. Yes, the Major is no more! he died in my arms, or rather a portion of him did; for my embrace, to have clasped the whole of his frame, muscle, and fat, would have had to be as comprehensive as the recipe for boiling water. Reader! in all probability you never knew him; if twoscore has not been chalked up against you, I know you never did, for I am now an old, bald-headed, wig-wearing Swamp Doctor, and he was buried when my natural hair was long as a Yankee pedlar's remembrance of a small debt due him. Major Billy Subsequent, F. F. Y. O. K. M. T. R. L. M.

H. M. A. M. J. O. G. First Family Virginia, Olways Kritical, Major third regiment Louisiana Militia. His mother a Miss Jones of Georgia. Hic Jackson. Yes, here is the grave!

“Major Billy Subsequent, here are some friends of mine that wish an introduction to you. Will you rise? You're sleepy! Ah, Billy, you're a grave subject. But my readers are anxious to know you. Read, then, your biography from your posthumous memoirs. You haven't got your nap out yet?”

Reader, Billy won't rise, so I'll have to do as he directs, and call upon your imagination to prepare him from the material I shall offer.

Major Billy Subsequent, to use rather an old witticism, was one of the most classical men I ever knew. Byron must have had him in his eye—rather a large one would have been required to hold him—when he wrote his beautiful lyric, The iles of grease! the iles of grease! for Billy was fat almost to fatuity; nature had set up in his inner man a laboratory to convert everything that entered his mouth into adipose or fatty corpuscles. He would have been a trump at euchre, for in an emergency he could have been played as the right bower at clubs, to which important personage he bore a striking resemblance. It would have been impossible to have hung him, for he had no neck; his head was rather too hard to have suspended him by, and I have yet to learn that a man can be strangulated by tying the rope under his arms; so capital execution was not applicable to him, except when fish, flesh, fowl, or vegetables were to be devoured, and then his execution was capital. He had heard when very young that he, like the balance of the human race, possessed feet; but such was his abdominal rotundity grown to, that to verify the fact by ocular demonstration, was a feat, to accomplish which he would have failed in toto. When we beheld his hands, we were struck with their resemblance to a pair of boiled hams, notched at the ends sufficiently to correspond to fingers and thumbs. He never trusted but one finger in the performance of friendship's manipulation, melancholy experience having demonstrated that human friendship was grown too weak to be intrusted with an entire hand. His face was coveted by every politician in the land, being broad enough to smile upon all parties, and look lovingly to all quarters of the Union at the same time. His wind, like a doctor's visits of charity, was short, but not sweet, his oesophagus being contracted, the proximity of his stomach being supposed to affect it in this respect. Set him to walking, and his puff! puff! sent every inland planter who had cotton to ship to the bayou directly.

Being the lineal descendant of a Scotch prince—who was hung as the finale of an unsuccessful raid—and belonging to F. F. V., it is natural to suppose that he shared in the modesty and personal humility that distinguish his like favoured brethren; in fact, he rather externally accomplished the thing, imitating them in every particular of common glorification, and taking exclusive grounds in things that they never dreamt of as forming subjects for self-gratulation. They referred to tradition, genealogy, or other equally as creditable sources, to prove their purity of blood and excellence of family; but Major Subsequent had another test, which with him was indubitably decisive of the present and past purity of his genealogical tree. Up to the time of my acquaintance with him, his wife, children, and self, all were, and had been from youth, in possession of various incurable and afflicting disorders, but according to the Major's statement not one of them had ever had a plebeian or unfashionable disease. This was the Major's chief source of glory and honour. The blood of his family was so pure, that only aristocratic diseases could make any morbific impression on their susceptible systems.

He prided himself upon his Ciceronian wart and bluff Harry the Eighth proportions; every twinge of the gout was a thrill of exquisite pleasure, for only high living and pure blood could have the gout. His eldest son had the King's Evil—the King's Evil, mind you! Major Subsequent was one of those that believed that kings existed in a perpetual atmosphere of delight, and that consequently the King's Evil was only a play-synonyme for the king's pleasure, so his eldest born had little of his sympathy. His youngest son was terribly humpbacked, but this gave the Major no uneasiness, for were not Alexander and Richard humpbacked kings? One of his daughters was an old maid, “but then,” argued the Major, consoling his child under this terrible disease, “Queen Elizabeth and Cleopatra died old maids, and why not you?” Another had a perpetual leer upon her countenance, “but then,” quoth the Major, turning to a volume of Shakspeare, “there was a king Lear, a kingly precedent, Miss Subsequent; so don't talk of being operated upon for strabismus.” His wife—but enough, you know the man. The Major was very proud of his family, or rather of his family's diseases, cherishing them in much the same spirit that Jenner, the father of vaccination, did his experimental cow, for the scab upon her.

I became a great favourite with the Major, not that I was diseased in any way, but on the contrary always enjoyed good health, but he said that as I was one of the chivalry, he was certain if I ever got sick, it would be a gentlemanly disease, and none of your d——n plebeian, chill-and-fever, poor folks' affections.

I used to visit the Major's house often, for the purpose of studying his character, and getting a good dinner; for the Major fed well, all but horses, and they had to trust the chances of a stray nubbin falling through the chinks of the stable loft. Taking good care of a horse meant, with him, tying him to a fence, with nothing to eat but the dead wood. Taking extraordinary care signified hitching him to a green sapling, where he could have the privilege of gnawing the bark.

My open admiration of his character soon elevated me to the post of family physician—nearly a sinecure—for the Major was afraid to take medicine, not wishing to part with his hereditary honours.

One day, I had just finished my dinner at home, and had taken, cigar in mouth, my usual seat beneath a favourite oak, to indulge in a fit of meditation, when I saw the dust up the bayou road shaken up by a half-naked negro, who, having no pockets in his shirt, and being hat-less, holding a letter in his teeth, was urging his mule along at the top of his speed. At a glance, I knew it was the Major's boy, or rather mule, for no one in the settlement save him owned an animal, the ribs of which could be counted at almost any distance.

They arrived; and first asking me for a chaw of tobacco, the negro delivered the note, which, true to my surmise, was from the Major, and written apparently under high excitement, requesting me to come up immediately, as he apprehended something terrible had either happened, or was going to occur.

My horse being ready saddled, in a short time I was at the Major's, whom I found waddling up and down his long gallery, his path distinctly marked by the huge drops of sweat that had fallen from his brow.

“Doctor, I am truly rejoiced at your arrival; my worst apprehensions have been excited upon a subject, upon which the honour of my family depends, and the firm fame of my ancestors.”

Thinking from his language there was a lady in the case, I told him that marriage would cure all indiscretions, and muttered something about accidents and the best of families. The Major understood only the conclusion.

“Best of families!” repeated he. “Yes, doctor, not only of the best, but the very best. I pride myself upon my blood. Mine is no upstart claim of a thousand years or so, but, doctor, drawn from the very creation, and transmitted in a stream of pure brilliancy down to me. But, doctor, something has occurred to-day, I fear, which, if it be as my darkest and gloomiest thoughts suggest, will prove my death, bring ruin and disgrace upon my house, and extinguish the ancient torch of the Subsequents like a farthing dip. I have looked over my list of ancestors, from the creation up, and find to my ineffable horror not one of them ever died with any but a noble and kingly disease. I know I have received the stream in all its pristine purity—and oh, doctor, on your honour as a man, on the awful sanctity of your calling, never reveal to mortal the terrible disclosure I am about to make. Doctor Tensas, I fear my eldest born has got—faugh! I sicken at the thought—the chill and fever! Oh, Lord, terrible! awful! horrible! Is it not enough to madden a man, to think, after having only noble diseases in his family, for twenty thousand years at least, that a cursed, plebeian, vulgar disease, which every negro and low poor man can have, should dare present itself in the habitation of aristocratic and kingly affections. Doctor, if it be as I fear, I shall go deranged! I shall die! I will disinherit the rascal! He shall change his name! To think of gout, king's evil, humpback, and their royal brethren, to attest my purity of blood, and then for chi—faugh! it is too horrible to be true! Go, doctor, examine him. Heaven grant my fears may be groundless, or I shall certainly die. I cannot survive the disgrace.”

Going into the room where the patient lay, I examined him, and sure enough chill and fever was there in all its perfection.

Fearing the effect the revelation might have upon the Major, I attempted a pious fraud, and blundered out something about its being a strange, singular, and anomalous affection, not laid down in the books—never had seen anything like it before. Certainly not chill and fever, though even if it were—ha! ha!—it was still a disease, though debased very much in modern times, I must confess, not to be looked on with coolness, as James the Second and Oliver Cromwell were said to have died of it.

“Doctor Tensas, don't deceive me,” said the Major. I assured him that I did not—that his son had not the chill and fever. I was not fully assured of the nature of his disease, but he might rest easy, as far as ague was concerned.

Reassured and comforted by my positive declaration and manner, the Major heaved a deep sigh of relief, and asked me to stay all night. I would have assented, but my old sorrel, remembering his well filled trough at home, and fearing some such arrangement, put in an impatient and positive nay, and I departed.

A day passed in quietude; but who knows what the morrow will bring forth? I was summoned, in greater haste than before, to the Major's. On reaching there, I found him writhing in pain, both bodily and mentally, with a handful of buttons, and a couple of jaw-teeth with them, somewhat decayed.

“Doctor Tensas,” he thundered out, “by the Eternal you deceived me. My son had the chill and fever. He has it now! Now, sir, now! Look at these buttons off and these teeth shaken out, and then tell me if the blood of a line of noble ancestors is not defiled, and my family disgraced forever?—my son have the chill and fever!” and a shudder ran over his frame. “Chill and fever! Ha! ha! ha!” a fit of hysterical, demoniacal laughter came over him. “Chill and fever! Ha! ha! ha!” gurgled, mixed with the death-rattle from his throat. I looked in his face—and thus died Major Billy Subsequent, F. F. V. &c., of a chill and fever his son had!


In my round of practice, I occasionally meet with men whose peculiarities stamp them as belonging to a class composed only of themselves. So different are they in appearance, habits, taste, from the majority of mankind, that it is impossible to classify them, and you have therefore to set them down as queer birds “of a feather,” that none resemble sufficiently to associate with.

I had a patient once who was one of these queer ones; gigantic in stature, uneducated, fearless of real danger, yet timorous as a child of superstitious perils, born literally in the woods, never having been in a city in his life, and his idea of one being that it was a place where people met together to make whiskey, and form plans for swindling country folks. To view him at one time, you would think him only a whiskey-drinking, bear-fat-loving mortal; at other moments, he would give vent to ideas, proving that beneath his rough exterior there ran a fiery current of high enthusiastic ambition.

It is a favourite theory of mine, and one that I am fond of consoling myself with, for my own insignificance, that there is no man born who is not capable of attaining distinction, and no occupation that does not contain a path leading to fame. To bide our time is all that is necessary. I had expressed this view in the hearing of Mik-hoo-tah, for so was the subject of this sketch called, and it seemed to chime in with his feelings exactly. Born in the woods, and losing his parents early, he had forgotten his real name, and the bent of his genius inclining him to the slaying of bears, he had been given, even when a youth, the name of Mik-hoo-tah, signifying “the grave of bears,” by his Indian associates and admirers.

To glance in and around his cabin, you would have thought that the place had been selected for ages past by the bear tribe to yield up their spirits in, so numerous were the relics. Little chance, I ween, had the cold air to whistle through that hut, so thickly was it tapestried with the soft, downy hides, the darkness of the surface relieved occasionally by the skin of a tender fawn, or the short-haired irascible panther. From the joists depended bear-hams and tongues innumerable, and the ground outside was literally white with bones. Ay, he was a bear-hunter, in its most comprehensive sense—the chief of that vigorous band, whose occupation is nearly gone—crushed beneath the advancing strides of romance-destroying civilization. When his horn sounded—so tradition ran—the bears began to draw lots to see who should die that day, for painful experience had told them the uselessness of all endeavouring to escape. The “Big Bear of Arkansas” would not have given him an hour's extra work, or raised a fresh wrinkle on his already care-corrugated brow. But, though almost daily imbruing his hands in the blood of Bruin, Mik-hoo-tah had not become an impious or cruel-hearted man. Such was his piety, that he never killed a bear without getting down on his knees—to skin it—and praying to be d——ned if it warn't a buster; and such his softness of heart, that he often wept, when he, by mistake, had killed a suckling bear—depriving her poor offspring of a mother's care—and found her too poor to be eaten. So indefatigable had he become in his pursuit, that the bears bid fair to disappear from the face of the swamp, and be known to posterity only through the one mentioned in Scripture, that assisted Elisha to punish the impertinent children, when an accident occurred to the hunter, which raised their hopes of not being entirely exterminated.

One day, Mik happened to come unfortunately in contact with a stray grizzly fellow, who, doubtless in the indulgence of an adventurous spirit, had wandered away from the Rocky Mountains, and formed a league for mutual protection with his black and more effeminate brethren of the swamp. Mik saluted him, as he approached, with an ounce ball in the forehead, to avenge half a dozen of his best dogs, who lay in fragments around; the bullet flattened upon his impenetrable skull, merely infuriating the monster; and before Mik could reload, it was upon him. Seizing him by the leg, it bore him to the ground, and ground the limb to atoms. But before it could attack a more vital part, the knife of the dauntless hunter had cloven its heart, and it dropped dead upon the bleeding form of its slayer, in which condition they were shortly found by Mik's comrades. Making a litter of branches, they placed Mik upon it, and proceeded with all haste to their camp, sending one of the company by a near cut for me, as I was the nearest physician.

When I reached their temporary shelter I found Mik doing better than I could have expected, with the exception of his wounded leg, and that, from its crushed and mutilated condition, I saw would have to be amputated immediately, of which I informed Mik. As I expected, he opposed it vehemently; but I convinced him of the impossibility of saving it, assuring him if it were not amputated, he would certainly die, and appealed to his good sense to grant permission, which he did at last. The next difficulty was to procure amputating instruments, the rarity of surgical operations, and the generally slender purse of the “Swamp Doctor,” not justifying him in purchasing expensive instruments. A couple of bowie-knives, one ingeniously hacked and filed into a saw—a tourniquet made of a belt and piece of stick—a gun-screw converted for the time into a tenaculum—and some buckskin slips for ligatures, completed my case of instruments for amputation. The city physician may smile at this recital, but I assure him many a more difficult operation than the amputation of a leg, has been performed by his humble brother in the “swamp,” with far more simple means than those I have mentioned. The preparations being completed, Mik refused to have his arms bound, and commenced singing a bear song; and throughout the whole operation, which was necessarily tedious, he never uttered a groan, or missed a single stave. The next day, I had him conveyed by easy stages to his pre-emption; and tending assiduously, in the course of a few weeks, he had recovered sufficiently for me to cease attentions. I made him a wooden leg, which answered a good purpose; and with a sigh of regret for the spoiling of such a good hunter, I struck him from my list of patients.

A few months passed over and I heard nothing more of him. Newer, but not brighter, stars were in the ascendant, filling with their deeds the clanging trump of bear-killing fame, and, but for the quantity of bear-blankets in the neighbouring cabins, and the painful absence of his usual present of bear-hams, Mik-hoo-tah bid fair to suffer that fate most terrible to aspiring ambitionists—forgetfulness during life. The sun, in despair at the stern necessity which compelled him to yield up his tender offspring, day, to the gloomy grave of darkness, had stretched forth his long arms, and, with the tenacity of a drowning man clinging to a straw, had clutched the tender whispering straw-like topmost branches of the trees—in other words it was near sunset—when I arrived at home from a long wearisome semi-ride-and-swim through the swamp. Receiving a negative to my inquiry whether there were any new calls, I was felicitating myself upon a quiet night beside my tidy bachelor hearth, undisturbed by crying children, babbling women, or amorous cats—the usual accompaniments of married life—when, like a poor henpecked Benedick crying for peace when there is no peace, I was doomed to disappointment. Hearing the splash of a paddle in the bayou running before the door, I turned my head towards the bank, and soon beheld, first the tail of a coon, next his body, a human face, and, the top of the bank being gained, a full-proportioned form clad in the garments which, better than any printed label, wrote him down raftsman, trapper, bear-hunter. He was a messenger from the indefatigable bear-hunter, Mik-hoo-tah. Asking him what was the matter, as soon as he could get the knots untied which two-thirds drunkenness had made in his tongue, he informed me, to my sincere regret, that Mik went out that morning on a bear-hunt, and in a fight with one had got his leg broke all to flinders, if possible worse than the other, and that he wanted me to come quickly. Getting into the canoe, which awaited me, I wrapped myself in my blanket, and yielding to my fatigue, was soon fast asleep. I did not awaken until the canoe striking against the bank, as it landed at Mik's pre-emption, nearly threw me in the bayou, and entirely succeeded with regard to my half-drunken paddler, who—like the sailor who circumnavigated the world and then was drowned in a puddle-hole in his own garden—had escaped all the perils of the tortuous bayou to be pitched overboard when there was nothing to do but step out and tie the dug-out. Assisting him out of the water, we proceeded to the house, when, to my indignation, I learnt that the drunken messenger had given me the long trip for nothing, Mik only wanting me to make him a new wooden leg, the old one having been completely demolished that morning.

Relieving myself by a satisfactory oath, I would have returned that night, but the distance was too great for one fatigued as I was, so I had to content myself with such accommodations as Mik's cabin afforded, which, to one blessed like myself with the happy faculty of ready adaptation to circumstances, was not a very difficult task.

I was surprised to perceive the change in Mik's appearance. From nearly a giant, he had wasted to a mere huge bony frame-work; the skin of his face clung tightly to the bones, and showed nothing of those laughter-moving features that were wont to adorn his visage; only his eye remained unchanged, and it had lost none of its brilliancy—the flint had lost none of its fire.

“What on earth is the matter with you, Mik? I have never seen any one fall off so fast; you have wasted to a skeleton—surely you must have the consumption.”

“Do you think so, Doc? I'll soon show you whether the old bellows has lost any of its force!” and hopping to the door, which he threw wide open, he gave a death-hug rally to his dogs, in such a loud and piercing tone, that I imagined a steam whistle was being discharged in my ear, and for several moments could hear nothing distinctly.

“That will do! stop!” I yelled, as I saw Mik drawing in his breath preparatory to another effort of his vocal strength; “I am satisfied you have not got consumption; but what has wasted you so, Mik? Surely, you ain't in love?”

“Love! h—ll! you don't suppose, Doc, even if I was 'tarmined to make a cussed fool of myself, that there is any gal in the swamp that could stand that hug, do you?” and catching up a huge bull-dog, who lay basking himself by the fire, he gave him such a squeeze that the animal yelled with pain, and for a few moments appeared dead. “No, Doc, it's grief, pure sorrur, sor-rur, Doc! when I looks at what I is now and what I used to be! Jes think, Doc, of the fust hunter in the swamp having his sport spilte, like bar-meat in summer without salt! Jes think of a man standin' up one day and blessing old Master for having put bar in creation, and the next cussing high heaven and low h—ll 'cause he couldn't 'sist in puttin' them out! Warn't it enough to bring tears to the eyes of an Injun tater, much less take the fat off a bar-hunter? Doc, I fell off like 'simmons arter frost, and folks as doubted me, needn't had asked whether I war 'ceitful or not, for they could have seed plum threw me! The bar and painter got so saucy that they'd cum to the tother side of the bayou and see which could talk the impudentest! 'Don't you want some bar-meat or painter blanket?' they'd ask; 'bars is monstrous fat, and painter's hide is mighty warm!' Oh! Doc, I was a miserable man! The sky warn't blue for me, the sun war always cloudy, and the shade-trees gin no shade for me. Even the dogs forgot me, and the little children quit coming and asking, 'Please, Mr. Bar-Grave, cotch me a young bar or a painter kitten.' Doc, the tears would cum in my eyes and the hot blood would cum biling up from my heart, when I'd hobble out of a sundown and hear the boys tell, as they went by, of the sport they'd had that day, and how the bar fit 'fore he was killed, and how fat he war arter he was slayed. Long arter they was gone, and the whip-poor-will had eat up their voices, I would sit out there on the old stump, and think of the things that used to hold the biggest place in my mind when I was a boy, and p'raps sense I've bin a man.

“I'd heard tell of distinction and fame, and people's names never dying, and how Washington and Franklin, and Clay and Jackson, and a heap of political dicshunary-folks, would live when their big hearts had crumbled down to a rifle-charge of dust; and I begun, too, to think, Doc, what a pleasant thing it would be to know folks a million years off would talk of me like them, and it made me 'tarmine to 'stinguish myself, and have my name put in a book with a yaller kiver. I warn't a genus, Doc, I nude that, nor I warn't dicshunary; so I detarmined to strike out in a new track for glory, and 'title myself to be called the 'bear-hunter of Ameriky.' Doc, my heart jumpt up, and I belted my hunting-shirt tighter for fear it would lepe out when I fust spoke them words out loud.

“'The bar-hunter of Ameriky!' Doc, you know whether I war ernin' the name when I war ruined. There is not a child, white, black, Injun, or nigger, from the Arkansas line to Trinity, but what has heard of me, and I were happy when”—here a tremor of his voice and a tear glistening in the glare of the fire told the old fellow's emotion—“when—I take a drink—Doc, I found I was dying—I war gettin' weaker and weaker—I nude your truck warn't what I needed, or I'd sent for you. A bar-hunt war the medsin that my systum required, a fust class bar-hunt, the music of the dogs, the fellers a screaming, the cane poppin', the rifles crackin', the bar growlin', the fight hand to hand, slap goes his paw, and a dog's hide hangs on one cane and his body on another, the knife glistenin' and then goin' plump up to the handle in his heart!—Oh! Doc, this was what I needed, and I swore, since death were huggin' me, anyhow, I mite as well feel his last grip in a bar-hunt.

“I seed the boys goin' long one day, and haled them to wait awhile, as I believed I would go along too. I war frade if I kept out of a hunt much longer I wood get outen practis. They laughed at me, thinkin' I war jokin'; for wat cood a sick, old, one-legged man do in a bar-hunt? how cood he get threw the swamp, and vines, and canes, and backwater? and s'pose he mist the bar, how war he to get outen the way?

“But I war 'tarmined on goin'; my dander was up, and I swore I wood go, tellin' them if I coodent travel 'bout much, I could take a stand. Seein' it war no use tryin' to 'swade me, they saddled my poney, and off we started.

“I felt better right off. I knew I cuddent do much in the chase, so I told the fellers I would go to the cross-path stand, and wate for the bar, as he would be sarten to cum by thar. You have never seed the cross-path stand, Doc. It's the singularest place in the swamp. It's rite in the middle of a canebrake, thicker than har oil a bar-hide, down in a deep sink, that looks like the devil had cummenst diggin' a skylite for his pre-emption. I knew it war a dangersome place for a well man to go in, much less a one-leg cripple; but I war 'tarmined that time to give a deal on the dead wood, and play my hand out. The boys gin me time to get to the stand, and then cummenst the drive. The bar seemed 'tarmined on disappinting me, for the fust thing I heard of the dogs and bar, they was outen hearing. Everything got quiet, and I got so wrathy at not being able to foller up the chase, that I cust till the trees cummenst shedding their leaves and small branches, when I herd them lumbrin back, and I nude they war makin' to me. I primed old 'bar death' fresh, and rubbed the frizin, for it war no time for rifle to get to snappin'. Thinks I, if I happen to miss, I'll try what virtue there is in a knife—when, Doc, my knife war gone. H—ll! bar, for God's sake have a soft head, and die easy, for I can't run!

“Doc, you've hearn a bar bustin' threw a cane-brake, and know how near to a harrycane it is. I almost cummenst dodgin' the trees, thinkin' it war the best in the shop one a comin', for it beat the loudest thunder ever I heard; that ole bar did, comin' to get his death from an ole, one-legged cripple, what had slayed more of his brethren than his nigger foot had ever made trax in the mud. Doc, he heerd a monstrus long ways ahead of the dogs. I warn't skeered, but I must own, as I had but one shot, an' no knife, I wud have prefurd they had been closer. But here he cum! he bar—big as a bull—boys off h—ll-wards—dogs nowhar—no knife—but one shot—and only one leg that cood run!

“The bar 'peered s'prised to see me standin' ready for him in the openin'; for it war currently reported 'mong his brethren that I war either dead, or no use for bar. I thought fust he war skeered; and, Doc, I b'leve he war, till he cotch a sight of my wooden leg, and that toch his pride, for he knew he would be hist outen every she bear's company, ef he run from a poor, sickly, one-legged cripple, so on he cum, a small river of slobber pourin from his mouth, and the blue smoke curlin outen his ears. I tuck good aim at his left, and let drive. The ball struck him on the eyebrow, and glanced off, only stunnin' him for a moment, jes givin' me time to club my rifle, an' on he kum, as fierce as old grizzly. As he got in reach, I gin him a lick 'cross the temples, brakin' the stock in fifty pieces, an' knockin' him senseless. I struv to foller up the lick, when, Doc, I war fast—my timber toe had run inter the ground, and I cuddent git out, though I jerked hard enuf almost to bring my thigh out of joint. I stuped to unscrew the infurnal thing, when the bar cum too, and cum at me agen. Vim! I tuck him over the head, and, cochunk, he keeled over. H-ll! but I cavorted and pitched. Thar war my wust enemy, watin' for me to giv him a finisher, an' I cuddent git at him. I'd cummense unscrewin' leg—here cum bar—vim—cochunk—he'd fall out of reach—and, Doc, I cuddent git to him. I kept work-in' my body round, so as to unscrew the leg, and keep the bar off till I cood 'complish it, when jes as I tuck the last turn, and got loose from the d———d thing, here cum bar, more venimous than ever, and I nude thar war death to one, out, and comin' shortly. I let him get close, an' then cum down with a perfect tornado on his head, as I thought; but the old villin had learnt the dodge—the bar-rel jes struck him on the side of the head, and glanst off, slinging itself out of my hands bout twenty feet 'mongst the thick cane, and thar I war in a fix sure. Bar but little hurt—no gun—no knife—no dogs—no frens—no chance to climb—an' only one leg that cood run. Doc, I jes cummenst makin' 'pologies to ole Master, when an idee struck me. Doc, did you ever see a piney woods nigger pullin at a sassafras root? or a suckin' pig in a tater patch arter the big yams? You has! Well, you can 'magin how I jarkt at that wudden leg, for it war the last of pea-time with me, sure, if I didn't rise 'fore bar did. At last, they both cum up, bout the same time, and I braced myself for a death struggle.

“We fit all round that holler! Fust I'd foller bar, and then bar would chase me! I'd make a lick, he'd fend off, and showin' a set of teeth that no doctor, 'cept natur, had ever wurkt at, cum tearin' at me! We both 'gan to git tired, I heard the boys and dogs cumin', so did bar, and we were both anxshus to bring the thing to a close 'fore they cum up, though I wuddent thought they were intrudin' ef they had cum up some time afore.


“I'd worn the old leg pretty well off to the second jint, when, jest 'fore I made a lick, the noise of the boys and the dogs cummin' sorter confused bar, and he made a stumble, and bein' off his guard I got a fair lick! The way that bar's flesh giv in to the soft impresshuns of that leg war an honor to the mederkal perfeshun for having invented sich a weepun! I hollered—but you have heered me holler an' I won't describe it—I had whipped a bar in a fair hand to hand fight—me, an old sickly one-legged bar-hunter! The boys cum up, and, when they seed the ground we had fit over, they swore they would hav thought, 'stead of a bar-fight, that I had been cuttin' cane and deadenin' timber for a corn-patch, the sile war so worked up, they then handed me a knife to finish the work.

“Doc, les licker, it's a dry talk—when will you make me another leg? for bar-meat is not over plenty in the cabin, and I feel like tryin' another!”


In the whole range of human attributes there are not two more antagonistical qualities than courage and cowardice; yet, how frequently we find them existing in the same person, ensconced under the same coat of skin! In the form that contains a spirit that would face with un-blenching eye the fiercest peril of man's existence, we will often discover a timorous sprite, who hems and hesitates, and falters and trembles, at an enemy no more formidable than a pair of soft blue eyes, pouring their streams of liquid subduing tenderness, or else a brace of piercing black orbits, which, like the fire of the ancient Greeks, burn the fiercer for the water which love pours over them, in the shape of tears.

And, odd as it may seem, this discordant association of heroism and timidity is not found in weak effeminate nervous men, but in those whose almost gigantic proportions, eagle eye, and dauntless bearing convey any idea but that there is stuff for trembling in their stalwart frames. But they are the ones who generally manifest the greatest cowardice—place them before a battery of girls' eyes, and it proves literally a galvanic battery, shocking them to such a degree that they usually do something they never intended, and say things that they never meant. Let one of these animals be in love, and what a mess he generally makes of the affair! Did you ever know one to “pop the question” in a respectable civilized manner?—That is, if he ever exalted his courage sufficiently to get that near to matrimony. My word for it—never. No suit for breach of promise could be ever brought against one of them—for such is the non-committalism of their incoherency, that no woman, on her oath, could avow, even were they conjugated at the time, that he ever asked her to marry him; the intuitive feeling of her sex alone enabled her to draw the idea that he was addressing her, from the mass of his discordant, incoherent, lingual ramblings, when the question was being popped.

This philosophizing is intended as a preface or premonitory symptom of a story, illustrative of the trait; which, like measles, when repelled by cold air, has struck in upon my memory, and which, carrying out the idea, requires, like the aforesaid measles, to be brought to the surface in order that I may feel relieved.

Among the many acquaintances that my profession enabled me to make in the swamp, no one afforded me more pleasure than Jerry Wilson, the son of a small planter resident some few miles from my shingle. There was something so manly and frank in his bearing that our feelings were irresistibly attracted towards him. In my case it proved to be mutual: he seemed to take the same interest in me, and we soon became bosom friends. A severe attack of congestive fever that I carried him through successfully, riveted him to me for ever; and Jerry, upon all and every occasion, stood ready to take up the gauntlet in my defence, as willingly as in his own. Being very popular in the neighbourhood, he became of great assistance to me, by advocating my cause, and extending, by his favourable representations, my circle of practice.

The plantation adjoining Jerry's father's was possessed by an old, broken-down Virginian, who, having dissipated one fortune in conforming to the requirements of fashionable life, had come into the swamp, to endure its many privations, in order that he might recruit his impoverished finances.

Adversity, or something better, had taught him the folly of the prominent foible of the Virginian—insane state pride, and consequent individual importance. His mind was prepared to test men by the proper criterion—merit, without regard to the adventitious circumstances of birth, wealth, or nativity.

Major Smith deserves the meed, I believe, for being the first one of the race to acknowledge that he was not an F. F.; which confession, showing his integrity of character, proved to me that he really was one of the very first of the land. But, in describing the father, I am neglecting by far the most interesting, if not the most important character of the story—his daughter—a sweet blooming girl of seventeen, at the time of which I write. Ah! she was the bright exemplar of her sex! Look in her eye—so luminous, yet so tender, and far down in its dreamy still waters, you could see the gems of purity and feeling glimmering; listen to her voice—and never yet forest bird, on the topmost leafy bough, gave forth such a gush of melody, as when it rose and melted away in a laugh; her modesty and timidity—you have seen the wild fawn, when, pausing on the brink of some placid lake, it sees its beautiful image reflected in the waters—thus shrank she, as if into herself, when voice of love, or praise, or admiration stole into her ears—and yet, with all her maidenly reserve and timidity, she loved and was beloved. Knowing that I am a bachelor, think not, in this recital, that my swelling heart is tearing open anew wounds which time and philosophy have just enabled me to heal. No! my fair friend—for friend she was, and is—never kindled in my heart the flames of love, or heard aught of the soft impeachment from me; for, long before I had seen her, the “Swamp Doctor” had wedded his books and calling—rather a frigid bride, but not an unprolific one, and her yearly increase, instead of bringing lines of anxiety to my brow, smooths the wrinkles that care and deep thought—certainly it cannot be age—Lord! Lord! I have broken my wig spring—have dropped upon my visage!

My friend Jerry was the favoured mortal, and, without doubt, in an equal intensity reciprocated her love; but cowardice had hitherto prevented an avowal upon his part, and the two lovers, therefore, dwelt in a delicious state of uncertainty and suspense. No one, to know Jerry, as the majority of men—going through the world with their noses either too elevated or too depressed for observation—know their kind, would have thought him a coward: but I knew, that, as respected women, a more arrant poltroon did not exist. He would have met any peril that resolution, strength, or a contempt for life could overcome, without fear of the consequences or the least tremor; and yet he dared not for his life tell a pretty girl “that he loved her, and would be highly pleased, and sorter tickled, too, if she would marry him.” There was something more terrible in the idea of such an avowal, than fighting bears, hugging Indians, or strangling panthers.

The poor girl, with the intuitive perception of her sex, had long perceived that Jerry loved her as ardently as if the avowal on his part had already been made. Almost daily she saw him, eagerly she awaited a declaration, but poor Jerry never could get his courage to the sticking point; like Bob Acres, it would ooze out at his fingers' points, in spite of himself and his determination to bring things to the condition of a fixed fact.

Matters were in this state when I became fully acquainted with them; she was willing, he was willing, and yet, if they kept on in the way they were pursuing, they both bid fair to remain in single blessedness for a long time to come. Deeply interested in the welfare of both parties, I thought I could not manifest my sympathy better than by kindly intervening and producing that crisis which I knew would accord with the feelings of both.

A slight attack of fever of the lady's, not requiring medical aid, but which a father's fears magnified, and would not be allayed until I had been sent for, introduced me fully to the confidence of the daughter; and a trite experiment, which I tried upon her, convinced me that all that my friend Jerry had to do was to ask, and it would be given.

Holding my fair patient's hand, which, resting in mine, looked like a pearl in a setting of jet, I placed my fingers upon her pulse, and, whilst pretending to number it, accidentally, as it were, mentioned Jerry's name—the sudden thrill that pervaded the artery assured me that she loved—lifting my eyes to her face, I gave her an expressive look, which suffused her beauteous countenance, as if she was passing into the second stage of scarlet fever.

My next duty was to seek Jerry. I found him seated on a log, under a shady willow by the edge of the bayou, pole in hand, assuming to be angling. The tense state of his line, and an occasional quiver of the pole, indicated that a fish was hooked. Passing unnoticed by him, a stranger would have come to one of three conclusions: that he was deranged, in love, or a born fool.

Walking up to him briskly, without his hearing me, although I made considerable noise getting down the bank, I slapped him on the shoulder to engage his attention, and, as I had several patients to visit, and time was precious, without waiting for the usual salutations of the day. commenced my address in a real quarter race manner:—

“Jerry, for a sensible man, and a fellow of courage, you are the d——dest fool and coward unhung. You love a girl—the girl loves you. You know that the old people are willing, and that the girl is only waiting for you to pop the question, to say 'Yes!' and yet, instead of having the thing over, like white folks, and becoming the head of a respectable family, here you sit, like a knot on a tree, with the moss commencing to grow on your back, pretending to be fishing, and yet not knowing that a big cat is almost breaking your line to shivers.

“Now I want to do you a service, and you must take my advice. Jerk that fish out, take the hook out of his mouth, and then put him back in the bayou—perhaps his sweetheart was waiting for him when he got hung; and as you are in a like predicament, you should be able to say to the gal, 'That mercy I to others show, that mercy show to me!' Go home, put on a clean shirt, shave that hair off your face and upper lip; for a sensible woman never yet accepted a man, with nothing but the tip of his nose visible from its wilderness of hair. Dress yourself decently, go up to old Smith's, wait till you get rested, then ask the girl to take a walk in the garden—gardens are a h—ll of a place to make love in—to look at the flowers, to eat radishes, to pluck grapes—anything for an excuse to get her there—and when you have got her under the arbour, don't fall on your knees, or any of your fool novel notions, but stand straight up before her, take both of her hands in yours, look her dead in the eyes, and ask her, in a bold, manly way—as if you were pricing pork—to marry you. Will you do it? Speak quick! I'm interested in the matter, for if you don't do it to-day, by the Lord, I will, for myself, to morrow. I have held off for you long enough; and if you don't bring matters to a close, as I say, in the next twenty-four hours, as cold weather is coming on, I'll try my hand myself in the courting line—you know doctors are the very devil amongst the women!”

This method of address alarmed Jerry, and he promised he would do as I directed.

Accompanying him home, I saw him fairly dressed, and then left him, as the demands of my patients were urgent.

Jerry mounted his steed, and set off at a brisk canter for Major Smith's. It was only a mile and a half, and would have been travelled in a quarter of an hour, had the steed kept his' gait. But, somehow, as the distance shortened, the canter ceased, and a pace superseded it; the last half, his rate had moderated to a walk; and when he made the last turn in the road, his horse was browsing the grass and cane. Up to the last few hundred yards, Jerry was as brave as a panther with cubs, and determined on following out my prescription to the letter; but the moment the house, with its white chimneys, commenced appearing round the bend of the bayou, the white pin feathers began to peep out in his heart, and verily, nothing, I believe, but my threat, if he proved recreant to-day, of courting her myself on the morrow, kept him from giving up the chase, and retracing his steps home.

But the house was reached, and the hearty voice of the Major, bidding him alight, cut off all retreat. He was fairly in it.

Jerry got down, left the yard gate carefully open behind him, led his horse up the Major's fine grass-walk to the steps, and was about bringing him with him into the house, when a servant relieved him of the task by carrying the steed to the stable. Not noticing the air of astonishment with which the old Major was regarding him, he shook hands with the negro for Major Smith, and bowing to a large yellow water-jar, addressed it as “Miss Mary,” and then finished the performances by sitting down in a large basket of eggs; the sudden yielding of his seat, and the laughter of both father and daughter, aroused him to a full consciousness of how ridiculously he was acting. His apologies and explanations only served to render bad worse, and he therefore wisely determined to take a chair and say nothing more. Dinner was shortly announced, and this he concluded in very respectable style, without making any more serious mistake than eating cabbage with a spoon, or helping the lady to the drum-stick of the chicken. A cigar was smoked after dinner, and then the old Major, giving a shrewd guess how the land lay, declared that he must take his afternoon nap, and retired, leaving the field to Jerry and the daughter. “Now or never,” was the motto with Jerry.

The old Major, in addition to planting cotton, and retrieving a dissipated fortune, was a great dabbler in horticulture, and had bestowed great attention upon the cultivation of the grape. By much care and grafting, he had so improved upon the common varieties of the country as to render them but slightly inferior to the choicest foreign specimens. An extensive arbour was in the middle of the garden—the finest and most extensive in the swamp—and this was literally covered with the ruddy clusters of grapes, now in the fullest tide of ripeness.

“Now or never,” I say, was the word with Jerry. Making a desperate effort, he faltered out, “Miss Mary, your father has a very fine garden! shall we go look at the grapes? I am very fond of them, Miss Mary! do you like grapes, Miss Mary? Ha! ha!”—the cold sweat bursting out from every pore.

“Very much, Mr. Wilson, and pa's are really very fine, considering that they have not the quality of being exotics to recommend them to our taste. I will accompany you to taste them with much pleasure,” replied Miss Mary; and tripping into the house, soon appeared, with the sweetest little sun-bonnet on, that witching damsel ever wore.

Jerry, frightened nearly to death at the awful propinquity of the “question popping,” could scarcely stand, for his agitation; and poor Miss Mary, apprehending from Jerry's manner that the garden was destined to become the recipient of some awfully horrible avowal—perhaps Jerry had murdered somebody, and his conscience was forcing him to disclose; or he had discovered that an insurrection of the negroes was contemplated; or—surely he was not going to make a declaration—oh, no! she knew it was not anything of that kind—began to participate in Jerry's embarrassment and trepidation. More like criminals proceeding to execution, than young people going to pluck grapes, they sought the garden; the gate was closed behind them, and in a few moments more they stood under the arbour.

The grapes were hanging down upon all sides in the greatest profusion; and, twining their purple masses together, seemingly cried out, “Come eat us!”

Jerry was the very picture of terror. Oh! how he wished that he was safe at home! But it was too late to retreat—he could only procrastinate. But still, men had gone as far as walking in a secluded garden with a lady, and then died old bachelors. But then that infernal doctor to-morrow—the die was cast, he would go on. The question was, how should he approach the subject, so as not to destroy life in the young lady, when the dreadful business of his visit was announced? He must prepare her for it gradually—the grapes offered an introductory—the impolite fellow, not to offer her any during the long time they had been in the arbour—they had just a second before reached it.

Plucking off a large bunch, he handed them to her, and selected a similar one for himself. They were devoured in silence, Jerry too badly frightened to speak, and Mary wondering what in the world was to come next. The grapes were consumed, another pair of bunches selected, and the sound of their champing jaws was all that broke the stillness. Jerry's eyes were fixed on his bunch, and Mary was watching the motions of an agile snail. The cluster was in process of disappearance, when Jerry, summoning his whole energies, commenced his declamation: “Miss Mary, I have something to impart”—here he came to a full stop, and looked up, as if to draw inspiration from heaven; but the umbrageous foliage intercepted his view, and only the grapes met his eye—and their juice requires to be gone through with several processes, before much exhilaration or eloquence can be drawn from it. Plucking a quantity, he swallowed them, to relieve his throat, which was becoming strangely dry and harsh.

Miss Mary, poor girl, was sitting there, very much confused, busily eating grapes; neither she nor Jerry knew, whilst continuing to eat, the quantity that they had consumed: their thoughts were elsewhere.

“Miss Mary,” again upspoke Jerry, “you must have seen long before this—but la! your bunch is eaten—have some more grapes, Miss Mary? I like them very much”—and amidst much snubbling and champing, another package of grapes was warehoused by the lovers.

Jerry's fix was becoming desperate; time was flying rapidly, and he knew one subject would soon be exhausted, for he could eat but few more grapes. Oh! how he wished that fighting a panther, fist-fight, had been made one of the conventialities of society, and assumed to be declaratory of the soft passion! how quickly would his bride be wooed!—but those infernal words! he could never arrange them so as to express what he meant. “Miss Mary, you must know that I saw Dr. Tensas, to-day, he told me—have some more, Miss Mary, they won't hurt you. I have come expressly to ask you—have another bunch, let me insist. I have come, Miss Mary, to propose—another small bunch”—“Mary, I have come,” he almost shrieked, “to ask you to have—only a few more—Oh! Lord!” and he wiped the cold sweat off. Poor fellow! his pluck would not hold out.

Mary, frightened at his vehemence, said nothing, but eat on mechanically, anxious to hear what it was that Jerry wished to disclose.

Again he marshalled his forces: the sun was declining in the west, and the morrow would, perhaps, see the “Swamp Doctor,” with his glib tongue, breathing his vows—“Miss Mary, I—I love—grapes—no, you—grapes—will you have me—some grapes—marry me—no grapes—yes, me! Oh! Lord! it is all over! You will—bless you—I must have a kiss. You haven't consented yet—but you must!” The barrier seemed to drop, the spell was lifted off his tongue, and Jerry, in a stream of native eloquence, running the fiercer for being so long pent up, plead his cause; could it be unsuccessful? Oh! no! Mary had made up her mind long ago.

Side by side, now, all their diffidence vanished; they sat under the blessed arbour, and discoursed of their past fears, and bright hopes for the future! Jerry held the head of his mistress on his leal and noble breast, and, as in a sweet and pure strain he pictured forth the quiet domestic life they were to lead when married, Mary could scarcely believe that the impudent fellow who now talked so glibly, and stole, in spite of her rebukes, kisses unnumbered, was the timid nervous swain of a few minutes before.

But lo! behold what a sudden transformation! Has Jerry struck some discordant note in his sweet melody of the future—for Mary's features are contracted, as if with pain, and her pretty face, in spite of herself, wears a vinegar aspect. Rather early, I opine, for ladies to commence the shrew—if I am wrong, lady reader, attribute the error to the ignorance of an old bachelor. Jerry, too, seems to partake of the sour contagion—he stamps upon the ground, writhes his body about, and presses his hand upon his stomach, ignorant, I presume, of anatomy. He meant to lay them over his heart, poor fellow! he got too Jow down. Mary, too, is evincing the ardency of her affection; and with the same deplorable ignorance of the locality of the organs. Verily, love is affecting them, singularly. It may be a pleasant passion, but that couple, who certainly have a fresh, I will not say genuine, article of lo\e, look like anything but happy accepted lovers. What can be the matter? They have just read an extract from one of Cowper's bu-colics—but can poetry produce such an effect? They groan, and writhe their bodies about, and would press their hearts, if they only lay where their digestive apparatus certainly does. Can the grapes have anything to do with their queer contortions? “Heavens!” Jerry cries, as a horrid suspicion flashes over his mind, “The cholera! The cholera! Dearest, we will die together, locked in each other's arms!” and Jerry sought to embrace his lady love; but she was scrouched up, I believe the ladies term it, and as lie had assumed the same globular position, approximation could not be effected, and death had acquired another pang, from their having to meet him separate.

Fortunately for them, the Major had got his sleep out some hours before, and, becoming anxious at their prolonged stay, set out to seek them. As the garden was a quiet, secluded place, he thought them most likely to be there, and there he found them, labouring under the influence, not so much of love as—the truth must out—an overdose of grapes: and you know how they affect the system.

A boy was despatched post haste after me. Fortunately I was at home, and quickly reached the spot. I reached the house, and was introduced immediately to the apartment where both the patients lay. A glance at their condition and position explained the cause fully of their disease. A hearty emetic effected a cure; and the first child of Jerry and Mary Wilson was distinctly marked on the left shoulder with a bunch of grapes.


Not none of the least difficult problems, in the practice of medicine, is the distinguishing between cases of real disease, and those that are feigned. It is a great stumbling block in the path of young practitioners, and even the old members of the fraternity find a few chips of it in their way occasionally. To such a degree may the art of dissimulation be carried, that nothing but the eye of suspicion and blind presentiment will lead us to detect the imposition. I have known a case of simulated disease, after deceiving some of the first physicians in the South, and withstanding almost every species of treatment, to be cured by an energetic, liberal administration of the negro-whip. But this is a remedy that fearful humanity will not allow us to use, and consequently I never resort to it, but use equally as effective, but uninjurious means.

Shortly after I commenced practice, I was sent for in a great hurry to see a case of fits in the person of a negro wench, belonging to a plantation a few miles from where I was located. The fit was over when I reached the place, and I found the patient resting very composedly and showing no evidence of present or past disease; but the testimony of her master went to show that she had had one of the worst fits he had ever seen, and he ought to know something about fits, as he had lived several years in Arkansas, where the doctors invariably throw every case into fits as preliminary to a cure.

I made a prescription suitable to his description, and returned home, only to be sent for in greater haste the next day, and so on every day for a week, the fits seeming to increase in intensity under my treatment. I remarked, as a peculiarity of her case, that on Sundays, and when rain prevented her being put out to work, she escaped the attack; but hardly could the hoe-handle salute her palm in the cotton-field, before she would be screeching, yelping, and struggling like a friend of mine, who, camping out, made his pillow of a fallen, but still tenanted hornets' nest.

I became desperate; the owner was becoming tired of sending for me, and my reputation was suffering, for the patient was getting worse. I examined her again thoroughly, but nothing could I find in her digestive, arterial, nervous, muscular, or osseous systems, to indicate disease. I shaved all the wool off her head to feel for depressed skull-bones, and commencing the Materia Medica at Acetic Acid, administered through to Zingiber, concluding the course by knocking her senseless with a galvanic battery; but she stood fits, treatment, and everything else without change, and not till a strong impression rested on my mind that she was feigning, did a different course of treatment suggest itself to me. The plantation lay on both sides of a deep bayou, the link of connexion a high wooden bridge. I happened in one day at the house, when I perceived four negroes approaching the bridge from the opposite field, bearing some object in a blanket.

Finding, on inquiry, that my patient had that morning started to work in that part of the plantation, I readily surmised that the blanket aforesaid contained my case of fits.

Asking the overseer to accompany me, we advanced to meet the negroes, who seemed to have great difficulty in keeping the object in the blanket; we met them just as they reached the centre of the bridge, the water under neath being some eight or ten feet deep.

“Who have you got there?” I asked.

“Hannah, sir, has got another of her fits,” replied one of the negroes.

“Put her down on the bridge and let me examine her.” It was done; it required the united strength of the four negroes to hold her still whilst I made the necessary examination, the result of which confirmed my impression that she was simulating. I thundered almost in her ears, but she gave no answer, and I determined to put in execution my new plan of treatment.

“Pick her up and throw her in the bayou,” I said, very clearly and precisely.

Knowing I rarely said what I did not mean, the negroes yet hesitated somewhat at the singular command, afraid either to obey or refuse.

“Throw her in!” I yelled, giving a thundering stamp on the bridge.

No longer in doubt, the negroes picked up the blanket, and giving it a few preliminary swings, to acquire momentum, were about to cast away, when, with a loud yell, the case of fits burst from their hold and made tracks for the cotton-field. I am pretty fleet myself, as were the negroes, but that poor diseased invalid beat us all, and had hoed considerably on a row before we reached her. A liberal flagellation completed the cure, and she has never been troubled with fits since!


It was the spring of 183-, the water from the Mississippi had commenced overflowing the low swamps, and rendering travelling on horseback very disagreeable. The water had got to that troublesome height, when it was rather too high for a horse, and not high enough for a canoe or skiff to pass easily over the submerged grounds.

I was sitting out under my favourite oak, congratulating myself that I had no travelling to do just then,—it was very healthy—when my joy was suddenly nipped in the bud by a loud hallo from the opposite side of the bayou. Looking over, and answering the hail, I discerned first a mule, and then something which so closely resembled an ape or an ourang outang, that I was in doubt whether the voice had proceeded from it, until a repetition of the hail, this time coming unmistakeably from it, assured me that it was a human.

“Massa doctor at home?” yelled the voice.

“Yes, I am the doctor; what do you want?”

“Massa sent me with a letter to you.”

Jumping in the skiff, a few vigorous strokes sent me to the opposite shore, where the singular being awaited my coming.

He was a negro dwarf of the most frightful appearance; his diminutive body was garnished with legs and arms of enormously disproportionate length; his face was hideous: a pair of tushes projected from either side of a double hare-lip; and taking him altogether, he was the nearest essemblance to the ourang outang mixed with the devil that human eyes ever dwelt upon. I could not look at him without feeling disgust.

“Massa Bill sent me with a letter,” was his reply to my asking him his business.

Opening it, I found a summons to see a patient, the mother of a man named Disney, living some twenty miles distant by the usual road. It was in no good humour that I told the dwarf to wait until I could swim my horse over, and I would accompany him.

By the time I had concluded my preparations, and put a large bottle of brandy in my pocket, my steed was awaiting me upon the opposite shore.

“Massa tole me to tell you ef you didn't mine swimming a little you had better kum de nere way.”

“Do you have to swim much?”

“Oh no, massa, onely swim Plurisy Lake, and wade de back water a few mile, you'll save haf de way at leste.” I looked at the sun. It was only about two hours high, and the roads were in such miserable condition that six miles an hour would be making fine speed, so I determined to go the near way, and swim “Pleurisy slough.”

“You are certain you know the road, boy?”

“Oh, yes, massa, me know um ebery inch ob de groun'; hunted possum an' coon ober him many a night. Massa, you ain't got any 'baccy, is you?”

“There's a chaw—and here's a drink of brandy. I'll give you another if you pilot me safe through, and a good pounding if you get lost.”

“Dank you, Massa, um's good. No fere I lose you, know ebery inch of de groun'.”

I had poured him out a dram, not considering his diminutive stature, sufficient to unsettle the nerves of a stout man, but he drank it off with great apparent relish; and by this time, everything being ready, we commenced ploughing our way through the muddy roads.

We made but slow progress. I would dash on, and then have to wait for the dwarf, who, belabouring his mule with a cudgel almost as large as himself, strove in vain to keep up.

The road was directly down the bayou, for some miles. There were few settlers on it then, and the extent of their clearing consisted of a corn-patch. They were the pre-emptioners or squatters; men who settled upon government land before its survey, and awaited the incoming of planters with several negroes to buy their claims, themselves to be bought out by more affluent emigrants. To one of the first-mentioned class—the pre-emptioners—my visit was directed, or rather to his mother, who occupied an intermediate grade between the squatter and the small planter, inasmuch as she possessed one negro, the delectable morsel for whom I was waiting every few hundred yards.

It wanted but an hour to sundown when we reached the place where it was optional with me, either to go the longer route by the bayou, or save several miles by cutting across the bend of the stream, having, however, to swim “Pleurisy slough” if I did so.

The path across was quite obscure, and it would be dark by the time we crossed; but the negro declared he knew every inch of the way, and as saving distance was a serious consideration, I determined to try it and “Pleurisy slough.”

Taking a drink to warm me, for the dew that had commenced to fall was quite chilling, I gave one to the negro, not noticing the wild sparkle of his eye or the exhilaration of his manner.

We pressed on eagerly, I ahead as long as the path lasted; but it giving out at the edge of the back water, it became necessary for the negro to precede and pilot the way.

I followed him mechanically for some distance, relying on his intimate knowledge of the swamp, our steeds making but slow progress through the mud and water.

When we entered the swamp I had remarked that the sun was in our faces; and great was my astonishment, when we had travelled some time, on glancing my eye upwards to see if it had left the tree-tops, to perceive its last beams directly at my back, the very reverse of what it should have been. Thinking perhaps that it was some optical illusion, I consulted the moss on the trees, and its indication was that we were taking the back track. I addressed the negro very sharply for having misled me, when, instead of excusing himself, he turned on me his hideous countenance and chuckled the low laugh of drunkenness. I saw that I had given him too much brandy for his weak brain, and that he was too far gone to be of any assistance to me in finding the way.

Mine was a pleasant situation truly. To return home would be as bad as to endeavour to go on; it would be night at any rate before I could get out of the swamp; and after it fell, as there was no moon, it would be dangerous to travel, as the whole country was full of lakes and sloughs, and we might be precipitated suddenly into one of them, losing our animals if not being drowned ourselves.

It was evident that I would have to pass the night in the swamp, my only companion the drunken dwarf. I had nothing to eat, and no weapons to protect myself if assailed by wild beasts; but the swamp was high enough to preclude the attack of anything but an alligator, and their bellow was resounding in too close proximity to be agreeable.

Fortunately, being a cigar-smoker, I had a box of matches in my pocket, so I would have a fire at least. My next care was to find a ridge sufficiently above the water to furnish a dry place for building a fire and camp. After considerable search, just at night-fall the welcome prospect of a cane ridge above the overflow met my gaze; hurrying up the negro, who by this time was maudlin drunk, I reached the cane, and forcing my way with considerable difficulty through it until I got out of the reach of the water, dismounted, and tying my horse, took the negro down and performed the same office for his mule.

My next care was to gather materials for a fire before impenetrable darkness closed over the swamp; fortunately for me, a fallen oak presented itself not ten steps from where I stood. To have a cheerful blazing fire was the work of a few minutes. Breaking off sufficient cane-tops to last the steeds till morning, I stripped my horse—the mule had nothing on but a bridle—and with the saddle and cane-leaves made me a couch that a monarch, had he been as tired as I was, would have found no fault with. As the negro was perfectly helpless, and nearly naked, I gave him my saddle blanket, and making him a bed at a respectful distance, bade him go to sleep.

Replenishing the fire with sufficient fuel to last till morning, I lit a cigar, and throwing myself down upon my fragrant couch, gave myself up to reflections upon the peculiarity of my situation. Had it been a voluntary bivouac with a set of chosen companions, it would not have awakened half the interest in my mind that it did, for the attending circumstances imparted to it much of the romantic.

There, far from human habitation, my only companion a hideous dwarf, surrounded with water, the night drape-ried darkly around, I lay, the cane-leaves for my bed, the saddle for my pillow; the huge fire lighting up the darkness for a space around, and giving natural objects a strange, distorted appearance, bringing the two steeds into high relief against the dark background of waving cane, which nodded over, discoursing a wild, peculiar melody of its own. Occasionally a loud explosion would be heard as the fire communicated with a green reed; the wild hoot of an owl was heard, and directly I almost felt the sweep of his wings as he went sailing by, and alighted upon an old tree just where the light sank mingling with the darkness. I followed him with my eye, and as he settled himself, he turned his gaze towards me; I moved one of the logs, and his huge eyes fairly glistened with light, as the flames shot up with increased vigour; the swamp moss was flowing around him in long, tangled masses, and as a more vivid gleam uprose, I gazed and started involuntarily. Had I not known it was an owl surrounded with moss that sat upon that stricken tree, I would have sworn it was the form of an old man, clad in a sombre flowing mantle, his arm raised in an attitude of warning, that I gazed upon. A cane exploding, startled the owl, and with a loud “tu whit, tu whoo,” he went sailing away in the darkness. The unmelodious bellow of the alligator, and the jarring cry of the heron, arose from a lake on the opposite side of the cane; whilst the voices of a myriad of frogs, and the many undistinguish-able sounds of the swamp, made the night vocal with discordancy.

My cigar being by this time exhausted, I took the bottle from my pocket, and taking a hearty drink to keep the night air from chilling me when asleep, was about to restore it to its place, and commend myself to slumber, when, glancing at the dwarf, I saw his eyes fixed upon me with a demoniac expression that I shall never forget.

“Give me a dram,” he said very abruptly, not prefacing the request by those deferential words never omitted by the slave when in his proper mind.

“No, sir, you have already taken too much; I will give you no more,” I replied.

“Give me a dram,” he again said, more fiercely than before.

Breaking off a cane, I told him that if he spoke to me in that manner again I would give him a severe flogging.

But to my surprise he retorted, “D——n you, white man, I will kill you ef you don't give me more brandy!” his eyes flashing and sparkling with electric light.

I rose to correct him, but a comparison of my well developed frame with his stunted deformed proportions, and the reflection that his drunkenness was attributable to my giving him the brandy, deterred me.

“I will kill you,” he again screamed, his fangs clashing, and the foam flying from his mouth, his long arms extended as if to clutch me, and the fingers quivering nervously.

I took a hasty glance of my condition. I was lost in the midst of the swamp, an unknown watery expanse surrounding me; remote from any possible assistance; the swamps were rapidly filling with water, and if we did not get out to-morrow or next day, we would in all probability be starved or drowned; the negro was my only dependence, to pilot me to the settlements, and he was threatening my life if I did not give him more brandy; should I do it or not? Judging from the effects of the two drinks I had given him, if he got possession of the bottle it might destroy him, or at least render him incapable of travelling, until starvation and exposure would destroy us. My mind was resolved upon that subject; I would give him no more. There was no alternative, I would have to stand his assault; considering I was three times his size, a fearful adventure, truly, thought I, not doubting a moment but that my greater size would give me proportionate strength; I must not hurt him, but will tie him until he recovers.

The dwarf, now aroused to maniacal fury by the persistance in my refusal, slowly approached me to carry his threat into execution. The idea of such a diminutive object destroying without weapons a man of my size, presented something ludicrous, and I laughingly awaited his attack, ready to tie his hands before he could bite or scratch me. Wofully I underrated his powers!


With a yell like a wild beast's, he precipitated himself upon me; evading my blow, he clutched with his long fingers at my throat, burying his talons in my flesh, and writhing his little body around mine, strove to bear me to earth.

I summoned my whole strength, and endeavoured to shake him off; but, possessing the proverbial power of the dwarf, increased by his drunken mania to an immense degree, I found all my efforts unavailing, and, oh God! horrors of horrors, what awful anguish was mine, when I found him bearing me slowly to earth, and his piercing talons buried in my throat, cutting off my breath! My eyes met his with a more horrid gleam than that he glared upon me: his was the fire of brutal nature, aroused by desire to intense malignancy; and mine the gaze of despair and death. Closer and firmer his gripe closed upon my throat, barring out the sweet life's breath. I strove to shriek for help, but could not. How shall I describe the racking agony that tortured me? A mountain, heavier than any earth's bosom holds, was pressing upon my breast, slowly crushing me to fragments. All kinds of colours first floated before my eyes, and then everything wore a settled, intensely fiery red. I felt my jaw slowly dropping, and my tongue protruding, till it rested on the hellish fangs that encircled my throat. I could hear distinctly every pulsation of even the minutest artery in my frame. Its wild singing was in my ears like the ocean wave playing over the shell-clad shore. I remember it all perfectly, for the mind, through all this awful struggle, still remained full of thought and clearness. Closer grew the gripe of those talons around my throat, and I knew that I could live but a few moments more. I did not pray. I did not commend my soul to God. I had not a fear of death. But oh! awful were my thoughts at dying in such a way—suffocated by a hellish negro in the midst of the noisome swamp, my flesh to be devoured by the carrion crow, my bones to whiten where they lay for long years, and then startle the settler, when civilization had strode into the wilderness, and the cane that would conceal my bones would be falling before the knife of the cane-cutter. I ceased to breathe. I was dead. I had suffered the last pangs of that awful hour, and either it was the soul not yet resigned to leave its human tenement, or else immortal mind triumphing over death, but I still retained the sentient principle within my corpse. I remember distinctly when the demon relaxed his clutch, and shaking me to see if I were really dead, broke into a hellish laugh. I remember distinctly when tearing the bottle from me, he pulled my limber body off my couch, and stretched himself upon it. And what were my thoughts? I was dead, yet am living now. Ay, dead as human ever becomes. My lungs had ceased to play; my heart was still; my muscles were inactive; even my skin had the dead clammy touch. Had men been there, they would have placed me in a coffin, and buried me deep in the ground, and the worm would have eaten me, and the death-rats made nests in my heart, and what was lately a strong man would have become a loathsome mass. But still in that coffin amidst those writhing worms, would have been the immortal mind, and still would it have thought and pondered on till the last day was come. For such, is the course of soul and death, as my interpretation has it. I was dead, all but my mind, and that still thought on as vividly, as ramblingly, as during life. My body lay dead in that murderer's swamp, my mind roamed far away in thought, reviewing my carnal life. I stood, as when a boy, by my mother's grave. The tall grass was waving over it, the green sod smiled at my feet. “Mother,” I whispered, “your child is weary—the world looks harsh upon him—coldness comes from those who should shelter the orphan. Mother, open your large black eyes and smile upon your child.” Again, I stood upon the steamer, a childish fugitive, giving a last look upon my fleeing home, and mingling my tears with the foaming wave beneath. I dragged my exhausted frame through the cotton-fields of the south. My back was wearied with stooping—we were picking the first opening—and as dreams of future distinction would break upon my soul, the strap of the cotton-sack, galling my shoulder, recalled me to myself. All the phases of my life were repeated, until they ended where I lay dead!—dead as mortal ever becomes. I thought, What will my friends say when they hear that on a visit to the sick, I disappeared in the swamp, and was never heard of more?—drowned or starved to death? Will they weep for me? for me?—Not many, I ween, will be the tears that will be shed for me. Then, after the lapse of long years, my bones will be found. I wonder who will get my skull? Perhaps an humble doctor like myself, who, meditating upon it, will not think that it holds the mind of a creature of his own ambition—his own lofty instincts. He will deem it but an empty skull, and little dream that it held a sentient principle. But I know that the mind will still tenant it. Ha, ha! how that foul ape is gurgling his blood-bought pleasure. I would move if I could, and wrench the bottle from him; but mine is thought, not action. Hark! there is a storm arising. I hear with my ear, that is pressed on the earth, the thunder of the hurricane. How the trees crash beneath it! Will it prostrate those above me? Hark! what awful thunder! Ah me! what fierce pang is that piercing my very vitals? There is a glimmering of light before my eyes. Can it be that I the dead am being restored to human life? Another thunder peal! 'tis the second stroke of my heart—my blood is red-hot—it comes with fire through my veins—the earth quakes—the mountain is rolling off my chest—I live!—I breathe!—I see!—I hear!—Where am I? Who brought me here? I hear other sounds, but cannot my own voice. Where am I? Ah! I remember the dwarf strangled me. Hark! where is he? Is that the sunbeam playing over the trees? What noisome odour like consuming flesh is that which poisons the gale? Great God! can that disfigured half-consumed mass be my evil genius?

I rose up, and staggering, fell again; my strength was nearly gone. I lay until I thought myself sufficiently recruited to stand, and then got up and surveyed the scene. The animals were tied as I left them, and were eating their cane unconcernedly; but fearfully my well-nigh murderer had paid for his crime, and awful was the retribution Maddened by the spirits, he had rushed into the flames, and, in the charred and loathsome mass, nothing of the human remained; he had died the murderer's death and been buried in his grave,—a tomb of fire.

To remain longer in the horrid place was impossible; my throat pained me excessively where the talons had penetrated the flesh, and I could not speak above a whisper. I turned the mule loose, thinking that it would return home, and conduct me out of the swamp. I was not incorrect in my supposition; the creature led me to his owner's cabin. The patient had died during the night.

My account of the dwarf's attack did not surprise the family; he had once, when in a similar condition, made an attack upon his mistress, and would have strangled her had assistance not been near.

His bones were left to bleach where they lay. I would not for the universe have looked again upon the place; and his mistress being dead, there were none to care for giving him the rites of sepulture.



A Series Of Humorous Sketches Descriptive Of Incidents And Character In The Wild West.

To Which is Added Other Miscellaneous Pieces.

By “Solitaire,”

(John S. Robb, of St. Louis, Mo,)


Dan Elkhorn.—I've seen more fun In these yeur diggins than would fill a book, Solitaire—Can I persuade you, Dan, to relate those scenes to me? Dan.—Well, hoss, I won't do anythin' else!

To Col. Charles Keemle.

Permit me, my friend, to dedicate to you these pages, the first production of my pen in the field of western literature, and allow me to say, that your own graphic relations of far-west scenes, witnessed when this now giant territory was in its infancy, has contributed much to illustrate for me the striking features of western character. You may be set down as one, who has not only been a dweller in the wilds since its primitive days, but an observer of its progress in every stage, from the semi-civilised state until the refinement of polished life has usurped the wilderness. Through this period of transition you have stood unchanged, and that generous and noble nature, which induced the Indian chieftain, in by-gone days, to style you as the “Gray Eagle” of the forest, calls forth this humble tribute of regard from your friend.

John S. Robb.


I n offering the following sketches to the public, I feel somewhat like the hoosier candidate described his sensations, when he first essayed to deliver a stump speech: “I felt,” said he, “that ef I could ony git the beginnin' out—ef I could ony say 'fellar citizens!' that arter that it 'ud go jest as easy as corn shuckin'!” So with your humble servant, if this my first effort at book making should meet with favor, I feel that a second attempt would be a pleasing task. To all adventurers in the field of literature the slightest encouragement is a shower of success—in my own case a smile upon my effort will swell in my estimation to a downright “snigger” The commendation which was bestowed upon the sketch of “Swallowing Oysters Alive,” was some evidence that it tickled the public taste, and, of course, its wide approval tickled the fancy of the author; so if this collection be an infliction upon the reading public's taste, they have themselves to blame—they offered the temptation.

It is unnecessary for me to apologise for their style, for to pretend a capability to furnish any better, I don't—and their finish will be excused when I state, they are the productions of the few short hours outside of eight in the morning and ten at night, the time between being occupied by arduous duties which almost forbid thought, save of themselves.

The west, abounds with incident and humor, and the observer must lack an eye for the comic who can look upon the panorama of western life without being tempted to laugh. It would indeed seem that the nearer sundown, the more original the character and odd the expression, as if the sun, with his departing beams, had shed a new feature upon the back-woods inhabitants. This oddity and originality has often attracted my attention and contributed to my amusement, and I have wondered why the finished and graphic writers of our country so seldom sought material from this inviting field. The idea of ever attempting to develope any portion of this mine of incident and character, with my feeble pen, has but recently been flattered into existence, and if my hasty efforts but aid to awaken attention and attract skilful pens to this original and striking field of literature, my highest ambition is attained. The amusing delineations of Thorpe, Hooper, Field, Sol Smith, and others, who have with abler pens developed these incidents of western life, and the avidity with which their sketches have been read, give assurance that the rivers and valleys of this western land will no longer be neglected. That it here abounds as plentiful as the minerals within its bosom, there is no question, for every step of the pioneer's progress has been marked with incidents, humorous and thrilling, which wait but the wizard spell of a bright mind and able pen to call them from misty tradition, and clothe them with speaking life.

It is true there are dark streaks in western life, as well as light ones, as where in human society exists the one without the other; but, in their relation, the future historian of the wilds should be careful to distinguish between the actual settler and the border harpy. The acts of this latter class have often thrilled the refined mind with horror, and brought condemnation upon the pioneer, while a wide distinction exists between the two characters. The harpy is generally some worthless and criminal character, who, having to flee from more populous districts, seeks refuge at the outskirts of civilization, and there preys alike upon the red man and unsuspecting settler. There have been instances where, after a long career of depredation, these offenders have aroused the vengeance of the back-woods settler, when his punishment became as sweeping as his hospitality had before been warm and unsuspecting. In general, however, the western squatter is a free and jovial character, inclined to mirth rather than evil, and when he encounters his fellow man at a barbecue, election, log-rolling, or frolic, he is more disposed to join in a feeling of hilarity on the occasion, than to participate in wrong or outrage. An encounter with the hostile red skins, or the wild animals of the forest is to him pleasurable excitement, and his fireside or camp-fire is rich with story of perilous adventure, and which seems only worthy of his remembrance, when fearfully hazardous in incident.

Appended to these Western Sketches will be found several of a satirical and humorous character, which have met with some favor; though of a local character, they may contribute to the amusement of the reader, and if so, the object for which they were written has been attained.

In conclusion, allow me to add, that the within pages are written as much for the reader's amusement as the illustration of odd incidents and character, and if they fail in this, they fail altogether;—it is certain I have tried to be funny, and not to succeed in such an effort is the most hopeless of all literary failures. I shall leave the decision of this, to me momentous, question, to the indulgence of the public, and hold myself ready to “back out” if they decree it, or attempt a better effort under their approving smile.

A word to the critics:—Gentlemen, I have a high respect for you, and some little fear, and I, therefore, beg of you to touch me lightly—if you touch me at all; or, in the language of the Irish pupil, when about to receive a thrashing from his tutor;—“If you can't be aisy, be as aisy as you can!

The Author.





J ohn Earl, the subject of our story, was a true and veritable specimen of the genus Jour Printer,—intelligent, reckless, witty, improvident, competent, and unsteady,—floating on the great sea of life, regardless of either its winds or tides,—but little troubled about the present, and perfectly indifferent as to the future. John was the son of a Philadelphia printer, who died soon after his marriage, and the grief and destitution of our hero's mother so preyed upon her slender frame, that in giving birth to him she sunk under her sufferings—the wail of her offspring in this world was the knell which signalled her departure to another. That “the poor aids the poor,” was a saying verified in John's case, for a poor shoemaker in the house adjoining his home took charge of the bereaved infant, and sheltered it beneath his humble roof. The worthy son of Crispin had none of his own to trouble him, and his wife and himself, as their little charge budded into prattling childhood, grew daily more fond of him, until our hero held at least his third of interest in the household. At his own request he was permitted to learn the same business his father had been bred to, and with many injunctions, and a good suit of clothes, he was consigned at a proper age to a master printer. Soon after his transfer to his new home, his adopted parents bade him farewell. The old shoemaker had become infected with the western fever for emigration, and after long and repeated consultations with his wife, had concluded to depart to the land of rapid fortunes and unbounded enterprise. The parting was affectionate, and after many fond wishes for each other's happiness, our hero was left to the mercies of the “Art preservative.” We need not say that he grew wise in its mysteries, we will assume it as a matter of course. John was, or rather grew to be of a happy disposition, and viewed life as something resembling Pat's pig, a compound of alternate streaks of fat and lean, and whenever fortune looked through her blue spectacles upon his progress, he always set it down as his streak of lean, and grew happy amid his distresses, under the firm belief that his alternate slice of fat was next in order. He was a philosopher in the true sense of the word, for he let no occurrence of life rumple the couch of his repose—if he didn't like his quarters he took up his store of earthly wealth upon the end of a stick, and travelled. At the period of which we write, John had tasted four or five years of the responsibility of manhood, and had, from the day of his freedom, been an occasional visiter to all the Atlantic cities; he had now grown tired of his old tramping ground, and turned his eye westward. Who knows, thought John, but I may find a Mount Arrarat in the new land whereon to rest my ark! “The west, aye,” thought John, “that mighty corn field—that region of pork and plenty—land of the migrating sucker—haven of hope, and country of adventure, I stretch out my arms towards thee, take me up like a mother, and be kind to your new child.”

Gathering up his shirt No. 2, and overcoat No. 1, into a handkerchief valise, and wending his way to a Baltimore steamer, he proceeded on board, deposited his bundle, and shook the dust of the city from his feet. From the deck of the steamer he looked out upon the mart of trade, covered with its busy hundreds, who were rushing to and fro, and running in and out of the great store-houses, like swarms of bees around their hives.

“Poor fellows,” soliloquized John, “how soon old time will knock them over, and distribute all the honey they are toiling for among a new generation.”

A ringing of the steamer's bell disturbed his musings, and all became, for a few minutes, bustle and confusion—the engine moved, and the paddles answered its clank with a splash, a moment more and they were moving in the stream, and wending their way past the rows of shipping. As the smoke of the city faded from their view, John turned about to look upon his fellow passengers; some looked pleased, as if the trip was one of pleasure; others sad, as if departing from joys; whilst a portion, discontented with what they had left, appeared determined to dislike what they were journeying to, and muttered their displeasure audibly. Standing alone, leaning over the rail, was a fine looking elderly gentleman, whose countenance wore an air of quiet content and goodness—it was, indeed, one of those inviting countenances that we sometimes see possessed by honorable old age, which tells of wise thought and kindly sympathy, instead of a callous heart and suspicious mind, and our hero selected its owner for a travelling acquaintance. Approaching him, and leaning over a rail by his side, he remarked, “We are moving through the water, sir, with lightning speed.”

This assertion being most palpable and manifest, the old gent remarked in turn that they were moving with rapidity. Having fully agreed upon this point, John ventured further to enquire, “If it had ever occurred to his mind that steamboats were a great invention, any how?” The old gentleman acknowledged “he had been forcibly struck with the fact.” Now, these passes of conversation may appear to the reader as very trivial and commonplace, but let us assure him they led to important results—they broke the ice which lay between two bodies, and let their souls float into contact. John having, as it were, got hold of the cover of non-intercourse, which most travellers wear, just unfolded it at each corner, and by his wit, intelligence, and reckless gaiety, folded himself up next the old man's heart, and tucked the corners of the robe under him. The old man soon became delighted with our hero, and they became inseparable compagnons du voyage.

A small bell was rung, and immediately the clerk commenced taking up tickets. Here was an eventful period for John—he had not troubled himself with the necessary receipt for passage, for one very good reason—he had none of the needful to purchase it with; like all philosophers he had great faith in luck, and now resigned himself to her care.

“I'll take your ticket, sir,” said the clerk.

“I wish you would,” said John, “if you see it any where about me.”

The clerk took a stare at our hero, and then remarked, “I have no time to jest, sir.”

“Nor I any inclination,” added John, “the fact is, my friend, I've got no ticket, and as uncle Sam is my only existing relation, and as you have a contract with him, suppose you book me as one of his males.”

“I say I have no time for jesting, sir,” reiterated the clerk, in an angry tone, “so please to hand me your ticket.”

“Well, then,” continued John, “I'll have to let you into my secret, I see,—I'm an attaché of the press, on my road to Washington;—now, I suppose, its all right. You are aware if I am delayed, Gales and Seaton will be very angry, and Blair and Rives get in a pucker.” The clerk was here getting into a wrathy state, when John's old friend reached the clerk the amount of his passage, and he passed on. John objected, but the old man insisted upon lending it to him, and the matter of fare being settled they sped onward smoothly as before. “Here's a streak of fat” thought John, “for I have accidentally fell in with a travelling angel,” and as some return for his generosity, he set about making himself particularly agreeable to his old companion. In the course of their conversation the old gent learned John's history, and that he was now on his way to Washington in search of business, to raise money enough to carry him west. His companion informed John that he was a western man, and invited him to bear him company to his home in Cleveland, Ohio; but our hero preferred the Mississippi country. He agreed, however, if he should fail in gaining business in Washington, to accompany him to Wheeling, provided he would increase the debt already incurred, and trust to the goddess, luck, for payment. After being assured that his company was considered worth double the sum, the matter was set at rest, and they entered Washington together.

The old man had business in the city, and proposed to our hero, that while he was transacting it, he should take a stroll through the offices and see what chance there was for employment, and afterwards meet him at the Capitol. They separated, and when they again met, according to appointment, our typo “reported no progress,” so it was instantly agreed they should depart for Wheeling. As they gazed from the “spectator's gallery,” John whispered to his companion:

“I know the mass of those patriots below, and rightly appreciate them, for I have been behind the curtain—have helped some of them to make good English of their speeches to Bunkum,—have seen their tricks to get office, and their tricks to keep them,—have seen the way the cat jumps, and seen it jump too; in short, I'm up to the whole 'wool pulling' system, and I advise them to go it while they can, for the people may one day find them out, and then their spreading here will end in a sprawl at home.”

He had gradually grown warm in his soliloquy, until his voice became audible, when the speaker struck his hammer, the sergeant-at-arms started for the gallery, and John and his old friend started for the stairs.

On the next morning the two departed west, leaving the seat of government and its official inhabitants, for the broad land of promise which lay beyond.

“What think you of the capital?” enquired the old gentleman, as they journeyed onward.

“The worst,” answered our hero, and assuming a Timon of Athens attitude, he added, “I have turned my back upon it in disgust. It is a theatre of the worst passions in our nature—chicanery lurks within the cabinet, distrust and envy without, while fawning sycophancy environs it around and about. To sum it up, it is a little of government—a great deal of 'bunkum,' sprinkled with a high seasoning of political juggling, the whole of which has but one end and aim—the spoils of Uncle Sam.”

“Bravo!” exclaimed his old friend, “you will have to get elected from some of the Western states, and set about cleaning the Augean stable.”

“Not I,” answered John. “It's too dirty a job, and besides, the sovereign people claim it as their peculiar privilege, let them smell it out for themselves.”

Discussing thus, things political, they jogged on to their place of parting, without incident worthy of noting by the way. John still held to his desire of visiting the Mississippi country, and his old friend insisted on paying his expenses to Cincinnati, our hero easily yielded to his proposition, with the understanding that it was to be paid when they again met.

“I may one day see you in Cleveland,” said John, “with fortune buckled on my back, and if it should be there, 'whether I will or no,' be assured I shall not cut my old friends.”

The old man laughed at the careless abandon of his young friend, insisted upon his calling upon him in Cleveland when he had become tired of strolling, and they parted with warm expressions of regard. Our hero having found a boat which drew so little water, that it would, as the captain said, “run up a tree with a drop of the element upon it,” he embarked on board, and stretching his form out in one of the state-room berths, gave liberty to his thoughts, and wandered back in memory to his childhood. Vainly did his memory search for some kindred face to dwell upon, the only semblance to such was the old shoemaker and his wife; and next to them he placed his late companion,—for he and his adopted parents were the only beings in his recollection who had ever bestowed upon him disinterested, kindly regard. He felt that he had floated like a moat in the sunbeam, whithersoever the breeze listed, having no home where he might nestle in health, or lie down in when seized by affliction—no port opened its arms to his bark, nor had it any destination—because it had no papers! but floated upon the broad wave of life the sport of fortune—and a hard fortune at that. As these thoughts stole over his heart, it became sad, and for the first time in years its fountains filled up to overflowing, and poured its burning waters over his cheeks. The future was a matter of such uncertainty, that he did not care to think upon it, nor at that moment did he care what it might bring forth—if good, well; if evil, it would be but a change from one feature of hard fortune to another. In due course of time the queen city of the west appeared in the distance, and his heart revived as he gazed upon her young greatness—hope awoke from her short slumber to urge him forward to greater efforts. On landing he sought out a printing establishment, and at his first application fortune favored him—a streak of fat was waiting for his arrival in the pork city, so throwing off his coat, he was soon clicking the type to the tune of “better days” and here we shall leave him until our next chapter.


Our hero passed about two months in the queen city, when the desire to move again attacked him, and with the impulse he shaped his way for the Hoosier state, alone, and on foot. He was in that peculiar state of mind, and pocket, which calls forth all the coolness and wisdom of the philosopher, and to strengthen him on his journey he called up to mind all those illustrious examples of his craft, who had entered strange towns barefooted, and after rose to eminence and distinctions; several of whom now figured conspicuously upon the stage of public action. Trudging along thus, now stopping by the roadside to rest and muse, again plodding onward; now weary and desponding, again cheered by the carolling of the wood songsters, he would flourish his staff with sovereign contempt for care, whistle—“While you are young, you should be gay,” and fixing his hat tighter upon his brow step out again with a republican stride. Earth had on her gayest livery, and the rich foliage of the western forests fluttered in a gentle breeze; which also fanned the brow of the solitary wanderer, as he toiled up a rising hill in his pathway. On reaching the brow of this small eminence he looked down upon a flourishing town which lay in the valley below him, and his spirits rose as he gazed upon the national flag, invitingly fluttering from the top of a snug-looking hotel.

“Huzza for the old striped bunting!” shouted John, “there is luck wherever it waves supreme, and if I don't come across a streak of fat soon, to recompense me for the long lean one I have been enjoying, then 'republics are ungrateful,' and I shall join the aristocracy and declaim against them.”

The village upon which John was gazing was at that particular period the scene of unusual commotion, anxious expectation, and great excitement—every inhabitant appeared on tiptoe about something. The porch of the hotel was occupied by a group of leading citizens of the town, among whom was the postmaster, the squire, the parson, a distinguished physician, a member of the bar, and sundry smaller dignitaries attached to the official stations of the county-seat. The blacksmith would every now and then quit his forge, step oat of his shop, and wiping the sweat from his brow take a long and searching look up the road, and then returning, pound away at the heated iron with powerful energy. The popular shoemaker was leaning out of his window looking earnestly in the same direction as his neighbor—the girls were peeping through their windows in a state of expectancy, and the young bucks of the town, dressed in their best, were flitting about in sight of the fair inhabitants, or clustering in groups directly opposite the abode of certain village beauties, while the more juvenile portion of the community were throwing up dust in the street, and huzzaing in a most animated and enthusiastic manner—in short, the town wras upon the eve of a great occasion. The member of congress, from that district, was expected to partake of a public dinner, on that day, at the principal hotel of the town of M., in the state of Indiana, and his constituents had prepared to give him a hearty reception on his return home, for the able manner in which he had defended their interests. He wras expected every moment, and of course, the place was big with anticipation.

John wended his way unnoticed down the street, but observing everything—his keen eye discovered not only matter of interest in the commotion, but high promise—there was evidently something “out,” for the throbbing town, the fluttering banner, and the anxious groups betrayed it. Entering the hotel where the principal citizens were assembled, John mingled with the throng in the bar room, and listened to learn the cause of the gathering; how did his heart swell within him (for it had plenty of room) when he heard that a public dinner was on the tapis, a real bona fide dinner, of fish, flesh, and fowl, with an abundance of good liquor. John determined to search out the location of that town upon the map, and mark it down in his remembrance as possessing a highly civilized community. The landlord's son, an urchin of about six years of age, was every now and then running into the hall, and then out into the street, huzzaing at every termination of his race, running against every body, and putting on all sorts of wild antics—he appeared to have “cut” his comrades in the street, and was going the enthusiastic on his own hook, as if fully impressed with the honors descending upon his father's house—him our hero fixed upon to learn particulars, and seizing him as he entered the hall, enquired who was coming to eat the dinner that day.

“Hey, why, don't you know?—I guess you're a fellar of the other party;—it's the Governor that's a comin',” and off dashed the young publican.

An alarm now drew the crowd in the bar room out to the porch, barkeeper and all, and a citizen having left his glass untasted upon the counter, while he went to see the matter of interest outside, John just took the liberty of tasting the contents, by way of a priming to nerve him for future contingencies, and, after, quietly strolled to the rear of the house, where discovering a darkey blacking boots, he stuck up his dust-covered extremities, and authoritatively ordered him to brush them up; the darkey obeyed, and a wash after, at the pump, brought out John's genius bright as a “new dollar”—to use his own expression, he was “a full case and printed copy!” While he was arranging his cravat in the sitting room, a shout rent the air which made the glass before him rattle. Again! again! huzza! and dashing down to the hotel came a barouche containing the guest, with the judge of the district, a member of legislature, and the county clerk. Huzza! shouted the village—huzza! shouted our hero,—bang! went a small swivel at the upper end of the town—white waved the ladies' handkerchiefs, and high swelled the heart of a nation's statesman. At that exciting moment the Indiana representative loomed upon the public eye almost majestic—Clay was no-where, Polk wasn't thought of, Webster was but a patching, and Van Buren was small potatoes—the only comparisons to the returned representative, were Washington and old Hickory.

The signal was now given, and in poured the subscribers to the dinner, with their guest, and in poured John “on his own hook.” The dining room shook with applause as the member took his seat. The judge presided upon the occasion, and after a blessing by the parson, they set to at the viands. We need not enter into particulars as to how the eatables looked or how they were eaten, suffice it they were choice and plentiful, and that the company showed an appreciation of their worth by clearing the table! The host—on this occasion the happy host—stood behind the member's chair with a napkin, as if waiting for the great man to get through, so he might wipe his mouth and hands for him. The enthusiasm, and the liquor, had set the host's face in a glow; he looked as if he felt the greatness of the occasion, and he said he didn't care, if they devoured every thing in his house—he was repaid by the honor, indeed, he didn't know that he had anything more to live for after that day, it was the crowning period of his career. John, happy John! was actually devastating everything within his reach—he hadn't had such a chance for days, aye, weeks, and like Dugald Dalgetty, he not only made the most of the present, but carefully laid up a small provision for the future. He laughed at all jests within hearing, and scattered his own with unusual brilliancy.

The period had now arrived for the toasts and speeches, the feast of reason and the flow of liquor. After the regulars were drank, the county clerk gained the floor and offering a few striking and pertinent remarks, wherein he dwelt upon how the nation, and Indiana in particular, had been rescued by their representative, he proposed the following:

“Our representative, Charles Stumper, Esq., a pure patriot of Indiana, may a nation's gratitude yet make him a nation's head.”

Amid the loud plaudits which followed, Charles Stumper, Esq., bowed his head as if that head was already a national crowning piece, and swallowing a spoonfull of cold water, he arose from his seat with a dignity befitting his august station. We have not room here to give his speech in detail—it was, of course, great—it couldn't be anything else! When he finished by saying that, “hereafter, body, bones, blood and all were devoted to their service,” a shout went up that shook the town of M. like a small earthquake. Before he took his seat he offered the following compliment: “The town of M., while its citizens have an existence, the country is safe!”

By a loud shout the citizens of M. proclaimed that they would save the country. During these enthusiastic proceedings our hero, by his urbanity, wit, sentiment, and good humor, had won a host of friends around him, and considerable curiosity was manifested to know who he was, but no one seemed able to give a satisfactory reply. Some said, he came with the congressman, and was his particular friend; others went so far as to intimate that he was another congressman in disguise—indeed, it was whispered that he was a senator incog!

“Hold on, fellars,” said one of the citizens, “jest hold your hosses, boys—he'll come out directly; ther's suthin' more in that fellar than's on the outside!”

All appeared to agree to this sage opinion, and held their “hosses” accordingly. At length a pause occur-ing, as agreed upon by the editor of the county paper, the principal lawyer of the town toasted “The Press, the guardian of republican liberty.” This toast was offered to afford the county editor a chance to deliver a speech, which he had prepared for the occasion, but before he could clear his throat and get upon his legs, John had gained the floor, and in a clear tone called the attention of the table. Here was a subject upon which John was at home—he knew the press “like a book,” and with easy manner and consummate assurance, opened upon the great subject of its power. As he proceeded, all eyes dilated!—he pictured its progress from its earliest advent—its days of weakness, until its present wide-spread influence and power; he grew eloquent, and at length wound up with the following flourish:

“To the press, gentlemen, we owe all the astonishing achievements of modern times—they are the fruits of its power. It was the press which in an iron age unshackled the mind of man and gave free scope to his intellect,—taught him to soar over the elemental fields which gird him round about, and search into the sources of his own being, the causes which produced the great harmony in universal nature, and how to draw from those causes effects which would promote his happiness—sent him forth upon the great field of discovery, and spreading his achievements before the world, drew forth the might of mind to his aid, and now having led him to subdue the very lightning to his will, is by its aid scattering intelligence broadcast through the earth. It is not merely the guardian of Liberty—it is its creator! As the sun is to the solar system, so is the press to human society; eclipse either, and man is left in a night of darkness more dreadful than annihilation!”

Applauses long and loud greeted his closing words; even the ladies, looking through the windows of the hotel from the porch which surrounded it, joined in the tokens of satisfaction, and now more eagerly than ever the question was propounded—“who is he?” No one knew, but all were high in his praise, and honors were showered so thick upon him that he hardly knew what he was about—every body wanted to drink with him, and he drank with every body. Order was called for his toast, and he gave—“The ladies of M.—If heaven should blot out the stars, we will not discover the loss while surrounded by their bright eyes.”

The huzzas became so deafening, the glory was so unexpected, and the liquor was so pungent, that John lost his compass, and began to beat about wild. Some one said he would make a first rate stump speaker, and to prove his capability he commenced a political speech,—sad mishap!—sad, because he forgot which side he should be on! and commenced a most scathing tirade against the very party he was feasting with. He had so won upon their good opinion that they listened patiently for awhile, but patience soon melted away, and “turn him out,” was shouted from all sides of the table—the editor of the county paper was most violent for thrusting him out, for John had cut him out of his speech on the press.

“Turn him out!” shouted the editor, “he's a base spy in the camp.”

John perceived in a moment his fatal error, and felt happy that it did not occur until dinner was over—he felt that he had made an impression, and was proud that it was through no compromise of principle he had tasted of their hospitality, and showed them he was an opponent still; all that remained now, was to make a dignified retreat, and raising, with some difficulty, erect, he said:

“Gentlemen, when I entered, (hic)-tered this assembly, I thought I was among brethren, but I, (hic) I find I was deceived, and that I have been somewhat contaminated through error, so, (hie) so with your permission I'll withdraw and repent. I will no long-(hic) longer be one of you, but go forth to breathe a freer air.”

At this moment he raised his hat to place it on his head, with a flourish, when out dropped the half of a chicken, and two doughnuts, which he had stowed away for a lunch. Their falling just at that particular moment bothered him, and to leave them there bothered him worse, but to pick them up was too humiliating—he scorned the action; since they would fall, why there let them lie, he would none of them.

“Old fellar,” said a hoosier citizen, “you'd better pick up your chicken fixens afore you go.”

“Never!” shouted John, indignantly, “I should des-(hic) despise myself if I carried off the spoils of the enemy—you and your fragments may go to the d———!”

A yell followed his retreat, which would have shaken the nerves of a Coriolanus, but they steadied our hero's, and calm and composed he strode through the door leading from the dining room. The county editor seized the chicken and doughnuts, and hurled them after him, when John coolly closed the door, picked up the indignities, put them in his hat, and departed. Taking the road which led from the town, he turned his back upon the scene of the late festivities. As he again plodded onward he might be heard ejaculating—“Well, wasn't that a streak of fat! What a dinner! Fit for the gods, as I'm a gentleman! Rather funny at the winding up, but the commencement and the continuation was conducted with statesmanlike skill, and after all, the winding up was but an agreeable little interlude.”

As John crept into a barn that night, some few miles from the town of M., and stretched himself upon the straw to sleep off the glories of the day, he quietly murmured to himself—“Well, here goes for another streak of lean!”


In our hero's peregrinations he wandered into the Sucker state, the country of vast projected rail roads, good corndodger, splendid banking houses, and poor currency, and during his progress therein he earned and hoarded about one hundred and fifty bona fide dollars. With this store of wealth jingling in his pockets, he entered the town of B————; he did not come now as the needy adventurer, but as one holding one hundred and fifty considerations entitling him to respect. The world had taken a wider spread to his eye, and assumed new features, or rather he began to see with a clearer vision, for the common order of society appeared now, as plain as daylight, to have most villainous faces, and the respectability of wealth was as apparent as moonshine—he could now easily assign a reason for the deference paid to high station—in short, he had arrived at a state of feeling highly becoming the possessor of increasing wealth. Addressing the innkeeper of the town, who was a member of one of the first families, with an air of consequence, he demanded a whole room for his accommodation, when heretofore the third chance in a bed would have been considered a luxury, oriental in its character, and a blessing befitting a “three tailed bashaw.” The little town was an important one, as all sucker towns are, yet the arrival of our hero was enough to create a sensation from its one extremity to the other. An acquaintance with the innkeeper soon gained him an introduction to the member of the legislature from that district, and this opening soon made him intimate with the town. Many efforts were made by the citizens to “draw him out,” and learn his business, but John kept dark. “He's a close fellar,” said a sucker citizen, “but I reckon, arter all, his business is pole-ticks.” These and sundry other “ambiguous givings out,” assured our hero that he was a subject of general interest. “What is his politics?” was a question of import, duly discussed in the leading political circles; and “was he married?”—and, “who'd get him, if he wasn't?” was equally an absorbing matter of interest among the ladies; indeed, an animated discussion as to his preference had already caused a coolness between several pairs of devoted female friends. It was said that the pert Miss A—, the storekeeper's daughter, had absolutely walked down the principal street of B———, right before our hero, swinging the skirt of her frock in a most enticing manner. Such a bold and forced movement to take him by surprise, before any other maid could get a chance, was declared, at a tea and gossip party, to be most “tolerable and not to be endured.” At length his object was made known—he inquired of the legislative member, if that was a good point to establish a paper, and as soon as his surprise would permit, the member declared it to be an immense place, indeed, an enormous location, and more than that, the material for an establishment was in the town, had been in operation, and all it wanted was an editor to conduct the paper. John signified his ability and willingness, and the intelligence spread through the town like a prairie fire, and some pretty noses turned up as their owners exclaimed—“Why, I swow, he's only a printer, after all!”

The member for the district, along, lanky, cadaverous lawyer, who was death on a speech, powerful in chewing tobacco, and some at a whisky drinking, was part owner of the printing concern, and having an opponent in the district, who had started a paper in the lower town, on the river, to oppose him, he was most anxious to get the press going; so, assuring John he could have it at his own terms, and one hundred and fifty subscribers to commence with, which must of course swell to a thousand, they settled the matter, and proceeded to examine the establishment. It was at length agreed that our hero should give one hundred and twenty-five dollars of his one hundred and fifty, in cash, and his note for four hundred and fifty dollars more, payable at the end of a year, besides fifty dollars rent for the office, which also belonged to the lawyer. A meeting of the first citizens of the town was held on the ensuing evening, to which John Earl, Esq., was formally introduced as the new editor of the B———— Eagle, and the re-commencement of the paper duly discussed.

“You've hearn tell of the bank and tariff questions?” inquired a leading constituent and subscriber.

John answered “yes,” he was somewhat acquainted with them.

“Well, hoss, we 'spect you to be right co-chunk up to the hub on them thar questions, and to pour it inter the inimy in slasher gaff style.”

John agreed to do his prettiest.

“In the town below us,” continued the constituent, “thar is a fellar of the inimy who's dead bitter agin us and our town, so you must gin him scissors! Rile him up, and sot his liver workin', 'cause the skunk is injurin' our location. Advartis' our doins' in gineral, sich as we got to sell, and throw yourself wide on the literary fixins and poetry, for the galls—and, Mister Earl, ef you ony do this genteely, and with spirit, the whole town will take the paper! Don't forgit to gin the town below particular saltpetre.”

John gave them to understand that if his subscribers wished it, he would not only cut up the editor, but throw the lower town into a series of fits which would cause its utter dissolution. All being duly settled, our hero retired to his room to dream of future greatness. Already did he behold sheets filled with editorial tact and talent—already was his name inscribed upon the roll with illustrious editorial contemporaries—Ritchie, Pleasants, Blair, Gales, Chandler, Prentice and Neal, those great names of the tripod tribe already numbered him on their list, and he fancied “his name grown great in mouths of wisest censure,” while his pockets were correspondingly corpulent with the reward for such ability. Poor fellow, could he have drawn aside the curtain, and beheld the days of toil, the struggles to procure ink and paper, the labor of writing editorials, and the labor of setting them up, working them off at press, pasting up the mail, and the lack of reward which repaid this drudgery, he would have kicked ambition out of his company, and clutched his little hoard like a vice.

The town of B———— and the town below, had been rivals ever since they were first laid out upon a map—the growth of one had always been the envy of the other, and an improvement in one was sure to be imitated by the other. The lower town had been most successful in the publication of a newspaper, for the reason that they paid something to support it, while the town of B———- suffered for the neglect they manifested towards the press. The editor below not only abused the religion, politics, merchandise, and intelligence of B————, but the beauty of the women, and the smartness of the babies; he had even gone so far as to say that B———- women and babies could be known by their heads. This was an outrage most unpardonable, and John rose in estimation as their defender against such vandal accusations.

Behold John seated scratching out his first editorial! Ah, ye weavers of cheap literature, who have watched with aching curiosity the appearance of your first production—ye writers of small poetry for daily journals, who have listened so eagerly for praise—ye penny editors who have successfully tickled the popular ear—ye ruling deities of mammoth weeklies, what are all your feelings, concentrated into one great throb, in comparison to the mighty throes of talent waking from her sleep in the mind of John Earl. It would have shocked the lower town like the heaving of a volcano, had they but known the shower of expletives our hero was tracing on the sheet before him. Goths and Vandals, corruption and spoilsmen, traitors and apostates, vile incendiaries and polluting vipers, poisonous demagogues, and a host more, bitter as sin, were showered like hail from his pen, when giving “perticular goss” to the lower town editor and his abettors.

With the appearance of the first number our hero's consequence began to rise, the respectable citizens took him cordially by the hand, and their daughters smiled upon him, while the poorer inhabitants wondered at his “larnin'.”

“A most excellent first number,” said the lanky member, “a good quantity of hot shot—just the thing—sew the lower town up—you've got prodigious talents—immense!”

John bowed to the pleasing flattery.

“Well, hoss,” said the storekeeper constituent and subscriber, “You've slashed the hide off'er that fellar in the lower town, touched his raw, and rumpled his feathers—that's the way to give him jessy. I raily believe you'll git yourself inter the legislatur' afore long, ef you keep on.”

Our hero listened to these first breathings of fame with a swelling bosom—there was a chance of his becoming somebody, at last, and labor became a pleasure when it produced such a yield. At a public meeting called in the town he was elected secretary, and ventured on the occasion to make a speech, which was loudly applauded, and in the next number of the Eagle appeared a glowing description of the proceedings, with a synopsis of his own speech. This awoke some jealousy in the mind of the lanky member, who thought John wished to supplant him. As time progressed the Eagle increased its subscription to two hundred, its editor grew popular, in debt, and received nothing from his subscribers—indeed, he soon discovered that pay made up no part of their patronage, and he began to grow tired of laboring for glory alone. All this time the war was waging hotter and thicker between the towns and their editors. At length he of the lower town inserted in his “Patriotic Herald and Telegraph” the following:

“We are informed, from good authority, that the Buzzard of the Eagle cannot pay his board bill, and fears are entertained that he will slope without liquidating the debt!”

This was personal—every body said it was personal—the lanky member said it must be wiped out with blood—the storekeeper swore that John must “eat the other fellar's gizzard,” and the ladies of B———— resolved, at a tea party, that the death of the lower town editor could alone atone for the many indignities he had heaped upon them, and John was the very man to offer himself up as a sacrifice. All the subscribers to the Eagle were interested in the matter, for they would gain in any event, as how: If the lower town editor was removed, an enemy had perished; if John fell, a creditor's accounts were closed, so they were unanimous for a duel. The lanky member informed John of the general opinion of the public as to what he should do, and urged the sending of a challenge forthwith, which he offered to bear. John intimated that he must have a day to practise before he sent the missive, and this was acceded to as prudent, but bowie knives were recommended by his friend as much the safest and sure means of killing.

Our hero seated himself in the Eagle office that night, where the ghost of his departed greatness visited his waking thoughts, to laugh at his present misery. Of his one hundred and fifty dollars, but twenty-five remained—his clothes were nearly worn out—his board bill unpaid—his subscriptions and advertisements ditto, and the supply of paper and ink was insufficient for another issue, besides a duel on hand with another poor devil of an editor, and the whole town thirsting for the bloody transaction. A thought flashed upon his brain—he would go see his antagonist. No sooner was the idea conceived than he put it in execution. Gathering up his remaining twenty-five dollars he set off in the night for the lower town, where he arrived about daylight. After a hasty breakfast at the inn, he entered the “Herald office,” and seating himself upon the only chair in the establishment, inquired for the editor. A little pale man, engaged at case, lay down his composing stick and advanced, expecting a new subscriber, but started to run as soon as he was informed that the editor of the “Eagle” was before him. John stopped his egress and made him sit down while he talked to him. A conversation brought on mutual apologies, and he found his antagonist as great a sufferer as himself—the mere hack of county politicians, who had been lured by the same phantom—greatness, until he had worn himself to a corresponding shadow, chasing the vision. The two typo editors shook hands in friendship, and our hero departed homeward.

On John's arrival he encountered the member, who urged the immediate despatch of the challenge, which John refused, and to his refusal added some words of contempt for the citizens of B————, and their representative in particular. This aroused the member, who declared that cowardice had driven him over to the enemy. To prove the falsehood of this assertion, John knocked the member down, and kicked his honor must indignantly. The editor of the Eagle was well aware, that after this outbreak he must “break for tall timber,” so cooking a smash dish of pi in his office, he bequeathed the feast to his successor, and leaving his subscription list, and interest in the concern, to pay his debts, he beat a hasty retreat. As he hurried through the woods skirting the river, the welcome puff of a steamer saluted his ear, and waving his handkerchief as a signal, she stopped, landed a boat, and took him on board.

Farewell to B————, its dreams of greatness had faded to mist, and instead of growing honor, emolument, and renown, it had yielded naught but the fruit of bitterness, accompanied with toil and care, the end of which was a roll back to the bottom of the hill he had fancied already climbed. The great of earth will smile at his troubles, —happy for him that his disposition would only permit them to cause a momentary sadness. As the steamer receded from the scene of his late vexation and care, he began to rejoice in his freedom, and in a light-hearted mood, paced her deck, an untrammelled candidate for new fortune. Bright dreams of the future came again, and what a blessing it is that the lonely adventurer in this world is permitted to dream, for with a vivid imagination he may revel in joys which waking reality can never equal.

Let us return a moment to B————. All there, as may be supposed, was a scene of confusion, indignation, and horror, at the outrage inflicted upon the member—he had absolutely been kicked! A warrant was issued for John, and then it was discovered he had sloped—more indignation! The editor of the lower town still lived, and the member had been kicked—horror! The office of the Eagle was in pi and its editor non est, which means nowhere—terrible excitement! Here was capital for the lower town editor, and didn't he use it—to use a classical expression he lit upon the upper town and its member “like a thousand of brick!” He charged them with starving their editor, charged their editor with cowardice, charged the member with tamely submitting to be kicked by the aforesaid cowardly editor, and wound up by asserting that the town of B———— produced nothing but pusillanimous men, ugly women, and pugnosed babies! The glory of B————, departed while the lower town swelled into vast importance, and its editor received a present of two new shirts from the ladies of his section, besides three spirited subscribers paid him one dollar each, of their four years subscription—a stretch of liberality so astounding, that to this day the event forms one of the most interesting legends of the Sucker state.


J ohn, now released from his thraldom, bent his way to Chicago, to pursue fortune in the lake country, and landing at Peoria, he resolved to foot it across the prairies, to the head of Lake Michigan. His store, as usual, embraced a scanty wardrobe, attached to the end of a stick, and twenty dollars in cash. As he journeyed on, he would occasionally break into a laugh as the recollections of B———— would intrude themselves upon his thoughts.

His former castle-building, however, served to enliven the way with merriment, as foot and eye travelled into the future, and setting the past down as so much paid for experience, he consoled himself with the thought of his youth and health, snapped his fingers at care, and held himself in an easy state of mind to receive whatever fate might send him. At the close of the second day of his journey he halted on the edge of a prairie at a small log house. A tidy woman was bustling about in the interior, and two children, whose little faces were yellow as saffron, sat listlessly upon the door sill, playing with bits of broken delf. Their narrow habitation presented little of comfort to cheer the inmates or welcome the traveller. He inquired if he could lodge there, and the woman answered that such as she had to offer, he was welcome to, but being a lonely widow, and far from where any thing comfortable could be obtained, she had but poor accommodations to offer. Our hero was easily pleased, and so signified to her. Depositing his bundle within, he took the axe from her hands, with which she was about to chop some wood, and throwing off his coat, he prepared the fuel to cook their evening repast, then seating himself upon a hickory bottomed chair, he took the widow's sickly little daughter upon his knee, and coaxed a smile into her wan countenance. The mother watched the gambols of her child with the merry stranger, and a tear of pleasure sparkled in her eye, while the feeling sent a pleasing expression over her sad countenance; she spoke to him, too, in a tone of kindness different from her first words, because there was something friendly about his manner, and his lighthearted gayety was cheering to her sorrow.

When the table was spread, the corn cakes and pork placed upon it, with some milk, John seated himself with the children beside him, and attended to their little wants, with such kindness of manner, that ere the meal had ended, the little family began to imbibe something of their guest's gay spirit. As they gathered around the fire that evening, the widow ventured to inquire where her visiter was from, and when he informed her he was a Philadelphian, her eyes filled with tears,—that, too, was her birthplace. Looking upon the stranger, now, as a brother whom she had encountered in the wilderness, she poured into his ear her sad story. Her husband and herself, both young, had started some years previous from Philadelphia, for the west—his object being to secure a home of his own, and liking the spot W'here their cabin stood, they squatted, all went cheerfully for a time, but sickness soon came, and the prevailing fever of the country had swept him away from her side, leaving her far from the home of her childhood, with two children, friendless and alone. Sad days had passed since then, and hope was almost dead within her. Beneath a small hillock, surrounded with a little paling of pointed sticks, drove into the ground by her own hands, reposed the remains of her husband, and there lay buried all her hopes for the future. John spoke cheeringly to her, and to divert her thoughts from present sorrow, talked of their far-off home. The widow's little girl nestled in his lap, her little hands clasped around one of his, her head reclining upon his breast, while on a stool at the mother's side sat her little boy, and thus and there the wandering printer called up a panorama of their birthplace. Old Christ Church bells sounded in their ears again a Christmas' peal—together they wandered by the Schuylkill side; or, climbing. Fair Mount hill, looked out upon the wide-spread city; or, trod again its streets teeming with a gay and busy populace—each well-known antique habitation or hall, remembered by both, was spoken of with affection, as a memento of happy days—the wide and dreary prairie, over which the autumn wind was sighing cold and sadly, was forgotten now—scenes far away rose like shadows around the inhabitants of the log mansion, and the hum of the old city drowned the voice of the west wind, as it moaned around their dwelling. There wras the place, and those the circumstances, in which home wore its most heavenly hue. The lone widow that night thanked Heaven in her prayers, that one had been directed across her pathway to cheer her heart with sweet remembrances; and in her dreams, as she wandered again among the scenes of childhood, the faces she met all bore resemblance to the stranger—their tones of welcome sounded like his, and a smile, sweet as ever, rested upon a virtuous mother's lip; she slumbered through the live long night in happiness. The good angel, who registers kindness of mortal to mortal, surely marked here a credit in favor of the typo.

When the morning sun cast his golden sheen over the rich carpet of the prairie, John prepared to depart, and shaking the widow by the hand, he assured her that she should see home again, for he would search out her friends and have her sent for. As he stepped off from the house, the little girl run after him for a farewell kiss, and taking out of his pocket the remainder of his little wealth, seventeen dollars in all, he reserved one dollar for his travelling expenses, and placing his purse, with the remaining sixteen dollars, in the belt of the child, sent her back to her mother, and with the step of an emperor strode on his way. At the brow of a rising slope, in view of the cabin, he turned back to look, and saw the widow and her little ones watching his receding footsteps—raising his hat and kissing his hand he turned down the slope and was soon hidden from their sight. Improvident John, to thus give all thy store, except a trifle, to the widow and the orphan. Ah, ye cold and sordid ones of earth, a single thrill such as played about his heart then, was worth a mountain of your money bags. Contrasting his situation with the poor widow whom he had just departed from, he felt rich as Croesus—the craft of his hand, his robust youth, and a single dollar were odds in his favor against the worst circumstances.


Two days more had passed when weary and foot-sore he approached a small village, and accosting an inhabitant leaning over a fence, he inquired if there was any chance of employment in the neighborhood.

“Well, I'm of the opinion, stranger,” said the sucker, “that your chance here, is pretty much as to what you can do—ef you'r anythin' of a brick maker, Old Jo Simms wants a man at his yard, down thar at the branch; but you don't look amazin' like a mud moulder, hoss!”

“I'm not much for looks,” said John, “but I'm creation at shaping things, and as for bricks, I'm a whole load of them—'front stretchers,' at that—made of choice clay—Father Adam's patent—so just point the way to Jo Simms, and some day come over and see a specimen of my brick.”

Receiving the proper direction, down he went to the brick-maker's dwelling, where, on entering, he encountered old Mrs. Jo Simms, and a look at her good humored countenance satisfied him, that an instalment on his new situation, in the shape of a supper and bed, was not only possible, but very probable. After making known his business, the old lady surveyed his person, and remarked—“Well, the old man did talk of hirin' some help, 'cause thar's a lot of brick orders on hand, and I suppose you mought do—you look dreadful draggled though, and tired as a prairie team, arter a hard day's ploughin'.”

John readily assented to her comment on his appearance, and asked if he could'nt have something to eat and a bed, for he was both tired and hungry, after his tramp to see about the situation. The good matron, sympathisingly, prepared him a good supper, and conducted him to a small, neat room over the kitchen, where a clean bed and comfortable covering lay temptingly in repose, as if waiting for some weary body, to rest it. This was no time to philosophise on luck, so John turned in and straight addressed himself to sleep—it came without coaxing, and as Morpheus wrapped him in her poppy robe, it seemed to him a covering of the softest fur and brightest hues. His dreams were peopled by a weary train of foot passengers, who toiled along beneath a burning sun, with sticks across their shoulders, and bundles dangling at their ends, while he seemed drawn on a chariot of air, whose delightful floating motion lulled the senses into a soft, dreamy languor—not a sleep of forgetfulness, but one where the brain was sensible of the body's enjoyment—and refreshing breezes, laden with the fragrance of prairie flowers, fanned his brow. It was mortality tasting the repose of the gods! When morning broke John turned himself on his couch just to realise the truth of his situation, and hugged the covering to his rested body with a lover's fervor. As he thus lay enjoying the waking reality, a conversation in the kitchen below him attracted his attention. The old lady was telling her son, a young man, that an applicant for the situation of help in the yard, was sleeping above.

“What, have you engaged him?” inquired the son.

“No, not azactly engaged him, but I gin the poor creatur' suthin' to eat, and sent him to bed, expectin' to be engaged in the mornin'—he's not jest strong enough, but appears mity willin'.”

“Well, I'm consarned sorry you did any sich a thing,” said he, “'cause we won't want a man for a month yit.”

“Well, the creatur' will be dreadfully disappinted,” answered the old lady.

“Not so much as you think, Mrs. Jo Simms,” thought our hero, and then he began to congratulate himself on his good fortune:

“I am a most lucky disciple of Faust,” said he, “I've had a supper fit for a lord, and a couch where the imperial form of sovereignty might repose unruffled—and did—for I'm an august representative of American sovereignty! What next? If the good angel of the lonely widow and her little ones don't now desert me, I stand 'a right smart chance' of getting a breakfast into the bargain!—Well,” concluded John, “this is too much luck for weak human nature to bear easily, so it is necessary to nerve myself, or I shall be overcome.” Dressing himself, he descended to the kitchen, and made the acquaintance of the younger Jo Simms, who appeared very backward in breaking to our hero the sad news of his rejection as help in the yard. At length, however, he kindly broke the intelligence, and before John could answer he offered him two dollars to pay his expenses back, and, moreover, invited him to partake of the smoking repast just preparing.

“Say no more about it, my dear sir,” says John, “such liberality removes the pain of disappointment.” It was refreshing to see how his phiz lighted up at his luck, and all parties being perfectly satisfied, they enjoyed the morning meal with a relish. As John was about to depart, the good old dame rolled him up a lunch of short cake, and he bid farewell to brick making.

In a short time he arrived at Chicago, where he obtained work at his business, but the exposure he had undergone brought on the fever and ague, which shook him out of all respect for Illinois, and he therefore determined to leave it, so embarking one bright morning, he shook it an adieu which made his teeth chatter, which excitement was of course followed by a most subduing fever.

On the fifth day after their departure from Chicago, while crossing the head of Lake Erie, from Detroit river towards Cleveland, John had stretched himself after a shake, upon a settee at the head of the cabin, and in sight of the gangway leading to the boiler deck, and while thus in a reposing attitude he was enjoying quietly his fever, he observed one of the hands ascend from below, his visage all begrimed and covered with a profuse perspiration, and cautiously approach the captain, to whom he whispered something which produced much excitement in the commander's countenance, but his manner exhibited no haste. Coolly walking through the cabin and around the boat, he approached the gangway and looked below, then carefully surveyed the passengers, as if to note whether he waas observed. John, who had been watching his movements, arose from his couch and advanced towards him, the captain spread himself before the hold to prevent his seeing below, whereupon our hero, who had shrewdly guessed the cause of his agitation, whispered in his ear to descend, that he knew the steamer was on fire below, and while endeavouring to quench it, he would divert the attention of any who might approach the hold. The captain thanked him, and John took his post. How dreadful was their situation, yet how unconcerned all on board walked about, or lounged upon seats around the cabin and decks. Beneath them struggled one destroying element, and around them on either side, dancing in the sunbeams, spread another; while like a thread upon the surface of the far-off waters appeared the only land in view. Oh, how the flickering flame struggled in that dark hold for mastery, and how bravely the sinewy arms of its late masters battled to get it again in bondage. At one moment the hissing water appeared to have quenched it, but the next the bright flame curled up far in by the boiler side, and a fold of dark smoke would roll out derisively in the face of its foes. It was a contest for life, and here upon the broad wave the fire had them at fearful odds. In a short time the commander appeared on deck, very much agitated, and taking our hero aside, he declared to him that there was no hope—the fire was increasing! Calling the passengers together, he informed them of their situation, and opening a closet distributed among them a number of life preservers, then ordering the boats cleared, he coolly prepared for the catastrophe. Some of the passengers grew almost frantic; and if not prevented, would have plunged overboard to certain death; others calmly prepared for the worst, and some were amusing in their lamentations.

“Captin, you'll hev tu pay right smartly for that truck of mine, if you git it spiled,” said a down easter, “and it's jest my luck tu meet with sech consarned ruin.—There ain't no sea sarpints in this lake as you know on, is there? du tell us, now, afore a fellow's shoved off.”

“Is it sarpents?” inquired an Irishman, “oh, me darlint, if that was all we had to contind wuth, I'd curl him up like the worm uv a still, wid the crass I've got, but it's the thunderin' sharks that'll make short work uv a body, and divil a crass'll pravint thim.”

“Now, these things,” said Jonathan, holding up a gum elastic, “they calls life presarvers; why, I swow tu gracious, if they aint more like patent forks, tu hold a fellar up, while the consarned lake varmints nibbles his legs off, comfortably.”

A large fat lady, who had provided herself with an enormous sized preserver, was in a dreadful way to know if her chance for floating was at all probable.

“Why, bless you, Marm,” said the mate, “there's wind enough about you to float a whaler.”—The fat lady became tranquil with this assurance.

It was now proposed by the captain, to cut a hole through the vessel's deck, and pour in water directly upon the fire; this being the only hope for saving the vessel, it was instantly adopted, and willing hands in a few moments made the opening, into which the boat's hose was turned, and in a brief period, the engineer reported the heat abating. The spirits of all on board revived on hearing this intelligence, and a further application of the counter element removed all grounds for fear. As the horrors of their late situation disappeared, the light house at the mouth of Cleveland harbor rose in view, calming the fears of all, and marking in its welcome proportions the scene of rest for our wandering hero. What here chanced to befall him we shall reserve for our concluding chapter.


O ur hero, on landing in Cleveland, placed his bundle in one hand, and stick in the other, and thus leisurely sauntered up the hill and through the main street of this young mart of trade. Although his body drooped with sickness, the air of life and thriving industry which surrounded him, aroused his active mind to exertion. His old companion of travel resided here, and now was a fitting time to try his professions of regard. While reading the signs along the street, he mentally ventured the opinion that “Smith & Co.” were doing an extensive business, for their name was attached to commercial concerns all over the country; and as thus ruminating, another, and quite as familiar a name, met his eye, besides it was a vastly more interesting name—none other than his old adopted Father's cognomen. He could scarcely bring himself to believe that the imposing store before him was really occupied by those who were so endeared to him by past kindness—that was a streak of too good luck to be possible; nevertheless, thinking he might gratify himself with a peep at the possessor of so honored a name, he approached the window, and looked into the interior—can it be?—yes it is!—“plain as a pipe stem”—sure enough, his old adopted father stood before him! There, amid the piles of soles and uppers, with spectacles on nose, and head a little bald, stood that veritable good old soul, who had sheltered his infant years. Time had not furrowed his brow with the chisel, but his brush had traced its easy progress; nor had the storm torn away his locks—the gentle zephyr had plucked the silvery threads away to sport with them in the sunbeam. Contentment lingered in his quiet smile, and “well to do in the world,” was legibly written upon his portly person. John entered the store, and putting on the air of a purchaser, seated himself upon a settee, and held his foot up to be measured—the old man adjusted his spectacles, kneeled down upon one knee, stole a glance over his glasses at his customer, and commenced taking the dimensions of our hero's foot; but there was an indescribable something about the face, which drove the foot from his memory, and while he was trying to rake up from the past some known body on which to fix the head and face, he forgot that he was holding the foot, until John asked him, if “there w'as anything uncommon about its shape?” The old man, stammering an excuse, started to his drawers to select a pair of the right size, but the stranger's face again so mixed itself up with the figures on his strap and rule, that he w'as forced to return and measure the foot over again. John observed his quandary, and smiled at the old man's efforts to recollect him. At this moment the old lady came to the door separating the shop from the dwelling, and looking in, spoke to her husband; our hero recognised her in a moment, he could not refrain himself, but springing to his feet with a shout, he laughingly held out his arms, exclaiming “Mother, don't you know me!” If not at the first glance, the tones of his voice, and the ring of his merry laughter, called up the vivid remembrance of his boyish days with the rapidity of thought, and throwing herself into his arms she sobbed with joy, as if he were in verity her own long lost offspring; the old man, too, dropping his measure, seized our hero; and here tears of true feeling mingled in one current—remembrances of the past clustered around, and joy, deep and holy as dwells within the human breast, held uninterrupted revel.

The store was closed early that night, and as they were seated round the evening meal, John would, with sketches of his past history since they parted, at one moment draw from them shouts of merriment, and then again, as he dwelt on some hard streak of fortune, “beguile them of their tears.” Oh, it was a happy night, that night of meeting on the shore of the broad lake. The gay revel within sumptuous halls affords no joy like this, for here the fountains of the heart danced to the music of affection; the air to which they kept time was “past days,” and their pure current swelled into a flood of nature's kindliest harmony—all was joy, all happiness. With a motherly care, as in days of his childhood, the old lady stripped his neck, and washed away the dust of travel, then conducting him to a neatly furnished chamber, she kissed him good night, and retired to thank Heaven that her aged eyes had been permitted to see him again. While our hero slept happily above, the old folks talked long and earnestly in the chamber beneath him, and before they closed their eyes in sleep, resolved that he should never again part from them. They had none in this world to care for, save him, and Heaven, the old lady said, had sent him back to their roof to be an honor and comfort to their old age. In the morning they awoke to a renewal of these happy feelings, and over the breakfast table future plans were freely discussed. John mentioned his travelling acquaintance, and taking the card from his vest pocket, showed it to his adopted father, who immediately recognised the owner as one of his customers, one of the most wealthy, and of course, respected citizens in Cleveland. To visit him a new suit was necessary, and after the morning meal the old man piloted him to a tailoring establishment, and fitted him from head to foot in a fine suit—in short, he disguised our hero, and it was pleasant to see with what admiration the aged couple looked through their spectacles at the change.

“I declare if you don't look like a gentleman, when you're dressed,” said the old lady.

“And why not, mother?” inquired John. “It is the material which passes current for gentility. If half mankind, who now move through good society unquestioned, were placed in my old dusty suit, the world would never discover their claims to the title—no, no! After all, your fine suit is the world's standard of a fine gentleman—it will gain the owner consideration among mixed assemblies—credit in the mart of trade—a high place in the synagogue, and moreover, it is a general ticket, entitling its possessor to the world's civility!”

“Well, bless me!” exclaimed the old woman, “if they don't make a change in your talk—you're gittin' right toploftical.”

After many thanks on our hero's part, and much admiration on the part of his friends, he received permission to wander forth and see his old friend of the road, to whose dwelling he was correctly directed by the shoe dealer. A kiss from his adopted mother, a five dollar bill from the old man, for pocket money, and out sallied John, his person erect, and step buoyant with good fortune—sickness had almost fled before his revived hopes.

The aged pair stood in the store door gazing on his manly form, as he receded from them, and a feeling of pride glowed in their hearts, the nearest akin to a parent's, that nature will permit. They knew that no one could rightfully dispute their claim to him, and proud in their pre-emption right, they retired into their dwelling with newly awakened pleasure. Arrived at his travelling acquaintance's mansion, he looked at the name of “Charles C. Briggs, Attorney at Law,” upon the door plate, and a glance at the exterior of the building, assured him that the dweller therein was one of the prosperous class of his profession. Knocking at the office door in the basement, he was bid enter, and on doing so found seated at a desk, surrounded with piles of legal lore, the same old gentleman who had so kindly bid him farewell at Wheeling. The recognition was mutual, and the old mail's manner truly cordial.

“So, you found me out,” said the attorney.

“Yes,” replied John, “but a precious long tramp I've had to reach you.”

His friend insisted upon his seating himself, and relating an outline of his adventures, at which he laughed most heartily, and when John had finished, he clapped him on the back, saying—“You are a lucky dog—in your first journey you have gathered more lessons of wisdom, than many meet with in a life time, and your mind may turn them into vast profit.”

“Well, I'd like to realise something out of them,” quietly remarked our hero, “for I have expended all my capital in learning them.”.

“And so, you have found other friends besides myself in Cleveland,” remarked the lawyer, “a worthy couple whom I happen to be acquainted with, also; between us, I think we will persuade you to become a fixture of society. I know not why, but I like you, and have often wished for the present meeting. Having no son of my own to assist me in my old days, and continue my business after me, I have felt a desire to find one who would fill the vacancy; your intelligence and happy disposition, on our trip, made me like you, and now I would fain ripen those feelings into a strong bond of friendship. Come, you must dine with me, and then we will talk of the future.”

John's heart was swelling with friendship already, and he could almost have hugged the kind old lawyer, but as this was his first day at his adopted parents, he was forced to excuse himself for the present, on promise of returning on the morrow, and with kindling aspirations and noble resolves, he returned to his parents. There he recounted the lawyer's words, and made known his intention of studying law with him, which met with general approval, and the little household put on quite an air of importance about its acquisition, while its mistress hurried about, chatting with her new found child with all the garrulousness of kindly old age.

On the next day, John, according to appointment, placed his legs under the mahogany of his friend, the lawyer, and while the meal progressed he amused the company by relating some episodes of his travel and observation, but every now and then, a strange quietness might be observed to pass over his demeanor, and his eyes would wander furtively to the other end of the table, where was seated the fair daughter of his host, whose dark eyes met his stolen glances, and sent the blood tingling to his brows. Look another way, John,—there's danger in those dark eyes! What, you, who have looked unmoved at scores of bright eyes, to tremble now at a single pair—out upon you—look straight into those dark orbs, and dare their power—now!—pshaw, man, you shake and stammer as if a battery of loaded cannon, with the lighted fusees behind them, were pointed at you. Ah, I see, your merriment is at an end now—busy thoughts, strange dreams, and bright hopes are coursing through your bewildered brain. And so they were—that visit had planted new feelings in his breast. He entered the old lawyer's mansion, as he thought, the possessor of all he wished on earth—a home, and an opportunity to rise—yet here was aroused a feeling which absorbed all the rest—he never felt himself poor before. Before, he was the possessor of a light heart, but now that heart had been spirited away by a felonious pair of eyes, and his mind was racked with dread, for fear he might not be able to compromise with the possessor, and be permitted to keep it company—here was a “take” in the book of human nature, which was most “fair copy,” and fain would our hero take unto himself the page. Fear not, John, all in good time—the fair daughter of your old friend is troubled, too—a merry printer has, by his gentle manners, and most winning address, made a deep impression there, and is sadly troubling the little heart of its fair possessor. She thinks, she would like to forget him, but in trying to do so she must think of what she would forget, and thus he ever comes uppermost in her mind, and his pleasing countenance and coaxing eye gains a firmer footing in her affections.

Arrangements were made before the lawyer and out hero parted, that he should forthwith commence the study of law, and accordingly he set himself down upon Coke and Littleton, with the determination of becoming a pillar of the state. A most dangerous neighborhood he chose to study in—dangerous for the hasty progress of his studies in legal lore, for long before he was fitted for a single degree, as a student at the bar, he had become a professor of love; and how soon he learned to look deep into those eyes, and read the mind within, twine himself around the tendrils of the fair girl's heart, and plead in choicest language for permission to nestle there; and how the eyes softly permitted the bold student to look, and then loved to have him look, and, then consented that he might gaze at will—aye, for life!

On a clear wintry night, while the wind of the lake whistled merrily across its congealed bosom, and the stars were looking down with clear faces into the bright icy mirror beneath—the sound of sweet music, and the tread of light feet resounded in the mansion of the old lawyer, by the broad lake side,—a “merrie companie” filled its halls, for John Earl, the no longer “wandering typo,” was about to become his son-in-law—or, son-in-love, as well as law—or both—and the bright eyes of one of Ohio's fairest daughters looked all confidingness and love, as she stood up before the assembled throng, and whispered herself into his possession. There was gay doings that night in this western mansion, and joy that age was a large partaker of; for the old pair, who sheltered the printer's orphan, years agone, and miles away, were guests within it, and their hearts swelled with pride, as they looked upon their adopted child, and his fair bride. The old shoemaker quietly remarked to his happy son, that no maid in the city stepped upon a more fairy foot, or wore so small a shoe; but he hoped to live long enough, to make a smaller size for the Earl family, and then he laughed as if the job would be a right merry one, and the purchaser of such a shoe, a favored customer.

Time has progressed since then, and we have listened to John Earl, Esq., in the capital of his adopted state, as in clear tones, and patriotic fervor, he stood advocating the great truths of republican principles, and we have listened with pride and admiration, when those words proved that the child of the people, was the people's advocate. He did not, in his hour of prosperity, forget the lonely widow of the prairie, but had her and her little ones brought to Cleveland, and having by letters found her friends, he sent her home rejoicing—the little one to whom he last bid adieu in the wilderness still remembered him, and with her little lips pouting for a kiss, was the last again to bid him farewell.

We have traced our hero to the end of his wanderings, and leave him upon the stage of public action—on the road to eminence; and though many may read as though these words and scenes were the coinage of the writer's brain, yet let him assure those who so judge, that there be such “streaks of life,” in the book of a Typo's biography.


In a small village, in the southern section of Missouri, resides a certain Major, who keeps a small, cosey, comfortable little inn, famous for its sweeten'd drinks, as well as jovial landlord; and few of the surrounding farmers visit the neighborhood, without giving the Major a friendly call, to taste his mixtur! The gay host, with jolly phiz, round person, bright eye, and military air, deals out the rations, spiced with jokes, which, if they are not funny, are at least laughed at, for the Major enjoys them so vastly himself, that his auditors are forced to laugh, out of pure sympathy.

A good old couple, who resided about six miles from the Major's, for a long period had been in the habit of visiting him once a month, and as regularly went home dreadfully sweeten'd with the favorite mixtur', but of late, we learn, the amicable relations existing between the Major and his old visitors have been broken off by green-eyed jealousy. On the last visit, good cause was given for an end being put to any more “sweet drinking.”

“Uncle Merril, how are you, any how,” was the Major's greeting, “and I declare if the Missus aint with you, too—just as if he expected she wouldn't come. What'll you take Missus? shall I sweeten you a little of about the best Cincinnati rectified that ever was toted into these 'ere parts?—it jest looks as bright as your eyes!” and here the Major winked and looked so sweet there was no resisting, and she did take a little sweeten'd.

The hours flew merrilly by, and evening found the old couple so overloaded with sweets, that it was with great difficulty they could be seated on the old grey mare, to return home; but, after many a kind shake from the host, and just another drop of his sweeten'd, off they jogged, see-sawing from side to side on the critter, the old lady muttering her happiness, and the old man too full to find words to express himself.


“Sich another man as that Major,” says she, “ain't nowhere—and sich a mixture as he does make, is temptin' to temperance lecturers. He is an amazin' nice man, and, if any thing, he sweetens the last drop better than the first. Good gracious! what a pleasin' creatur' he is!”

Ever and anon these enconiums on the Major and his mixture broke from the old lady, until of a sudden, on passing a small rivulet, a jolt of the mare's silenced them, and the old man rode on a short distance in perfect quietness. At length he broke out with—“Old woman, you and that 'ere Major's conduct, to-day, war rayther unbecomin'—his formalities war too sweet to be mistook, and you ain't goin' thar agin in a hurry.”

Silence, was the only answer.

“Oh, you're huffy, are you?” continued the old man. “Well, I guess you can stay so, till you give in,” and on he jogged, in a silently jealous mood. On arriving at the farm, he called to a negro to lift the old woman off, but Sam, the nigger, stood gazing at him in silent astonishment.

“Lift her oft', you Sam, do you hear?—and do it carefully., or some of her wrath'll bile out. In spite of the Major's sweetenin' she's mad as thunder.”

“Why, de lor', massa, de ole 'oman aint dar,” replied Sam, his eyes standing out of his countenance. “Jest turn round, massa, and satisfy you'self dat de ole 'oman clar gone an missin—de lor'!”

And sure enough, on a minute examination by the old man, she was “found missing.” The Major was charged at once with abduction, instant measures were taken for pursuit, and a party despatched to scour the roads. On proceeding about two miles on the road to the Major's, the party were suddenly halted at the small rivulet, by finding the Missus with her head lying partly in the little stream, its waters laving her lips, and softly murmuring—“Not a drop more, Major, unless it's sweeten'd!


Well, it are a fact, boys,” said Jim Sikes, “that I promised to tell you how I cum to git out in these Platte diggins, and I speculate you mout as well have it at onst, kase its bin troublin' my conscience amazin' to keep it kiver'd up. The afarr raised jessy in Nettle Bottom, and old Tom Jones' yell, when he swar he'd 'chaw me up,' gives my meat a slight sprinklin' of ager whenever I think on it.

“You see, thar wur a small town called Equality, in Illimse, that some speckelators started near Nettle Bottom, cos thar wur a spontaneos salt lick in the diggins, and no sooner did they git it agoin' and build some stores and groceries thar, than they wragon'd from Cincinnate and other up-stream villages, a pacel of fellers to attend the shops, that looked as nice, all'ays, as if they wur goin' to meetin' or on a courtin' frolic; and 'salt their picters,' they wur etarnally pokin' up their noses at us boys of the Bottom. Well, they got up a ball in the village, jest to interduce themselves to the gals round the neighborhood, and invited a few on us to make a contrary picter to themselves, and so shine us out of site by comparison. Arter that ball thur wran't any thin' talked on among the gals but what nice fellers the clerks in Equality wur, and how nice and slick they wore their har, and their shiny boots, and the way they stirrupp'd down their trowsers. You couldn't go to see one on 'em, that she wouldn't stick one of these fellers at you, and keep a talkin' how slick they looked. It got to be parfect pizen to hear of, or see the critters, and the boys got together at last to see what was to be done—the thing had grown parfectly alarmin'. At last a meetin' was agreed on, down to old Jake Bents'.

“On next Sunday night, instead of takin' the gals to meetin', whar they could see these fellers, we left 'em at home, and met at Jake's, and I am of the opinion thur was some congregated wrath thar—whew wan't they?

“'Oil and scissors!' says Mike Jelt, 'let's go down and lick the town, rite strait!'

“'No!' hollered Dick Butts, 'let's kitch these slick badgers comin' out of meetin', and tare the hide and feathers off on 'em!'

“'Why, darn 'em, what d'ye think, boys,' busted in old Jake, 'I swar if they ain't larnt our gals to wear starn cuskins; only this mornin' I caught my darter Sally puttin' one on and tyin' it round her. She tho't I was asleep, but I seed her, and I made the jade repudiate it, and no mistake—quicker.'

“The boys took a drink on the occasion, and Equality town was slumberin', for a short spell, over a contiguous yearthquake. At last one of the boys proposed, before we attacked the town, that we should git up a ball in the Bottom, and jest out-shine the town chaps, all to death, afore we swallowed 'em. It was hard to gin in to this proposition, but the boys cum to it at last, and every feller started to put the afarr agoin'.

“I had been a long spell hankerin' arter old Tom Jones' darter, on the branch below the Bottom, and she was a critter good for weak eyes—maybe she hadn't a pair of her own—well, if they warn't a brace of movin' light-houses, I wouldn't say it—there was no calculatin' the extent or handsomeness of the family that gal could bring up around her, with a feller like me to look arter 'em. Talk about gracefulness, did you ever see a maple saplin' movin' with a south wind?—It warn't a crooked stick to compar' to her, but her old dad was awful. He could jest lick anythin' that said boo, in them diggins, out swar Satan, and was cross as a she bar, with cubs. He had a little hankerin' in favor of the fellers in town, too, fur they gin him presents of powder to hunt with, and he was precious fond of usin' his shootin' iron. I detarmin'd, anyhow, to ask his darter Betsy to be my partner at the Nettle Bottom Ball.

“Well, my sister Marth made me a bran new pair of buckskin trowsers to go in, and rile my pictur, ef she didn't put stirrups to 'em to keep 'em down. She said straps wur the fashion, and I should ware 'em. I jest felt with 'em on; as ef I had somethin' pressin' on me down—all my joints wur sot tight together, but Marth insisted, and I knew I could soon dance 'em off, so I gin in, and started off to the branch for Betsy Jones.

“When I arriv, the old fellar wur sittin' smokin' arter his supper, and the younger Jones' wur sittin' round the table, takin' theirs. A whappin' big pan of mush stood rite in the centre, and a large pan of milk beside it, with lots of corn bread and butter, and Betsy was helpin' the youngsters, while old Mrs. Jones sot by. admirin' the family collection. Old Tom took a hard star' at me, and I kind a shook, but the straps stood it, and I recovered myself, and gin him as good as he sent, but I wur near the door, and ready to break if he show'd fight.

“'What the h—ll are you doin' in disgise,' says the old man—he swore dreadfully—'are you comin' down here to steal?'

“I riled up at that. Says I, 'ef I wur comin' fur sich purpose, you'd be the last I'd hunt up to steal off on.'

“'You're right,' says he, 'I'd make a hole to light your innards, ef you did.' And the old savage chuckled. I meant because he had nothin' worth stealin', but his darter, but he tho't 'twas cos I was afear'd on him.

“Well, purty soon I gether'd up and told him what I cum down fur, and invited him to come up and take a drink, and see that all went on rite. Betsy was in an awful way fur fear he wouldn't consent. The old 'oman here spoke in favour of the move, and old Tom thought of the licker, and gin in to the measure. Off bounced Betsy up a ladder into the second story, and one of the small gals with her, to help put on the fixups. I sot down in a cheer, and fell a talkin' at the old 'oman. While we wur chattin' away as nice as relations, I could hear Betsy makin' things stand round above. The floor was only loose boards kivered over wide joice, and every step made 'em shake and rattle like a small hurricane. Old Tom smoked away and the young ones at the table would hold a spoonful of mush to thur mouths and look at my straps, and then look at each other and snigger, till at last the old man seed 'em.

“'Well, by gun flints,' says he, 'ef you ain't makin' a josey-'

“Jest at that moment, somethin' gin way above, and may I die, ef Betsy, without any thin' on yearth on her but one of these starn cushins, didn't drop rite through the floor, and sot herself, flat into the pan of mush! I jest tho't fur a second, that heaven and yearth had kissed each other, and squeezed me between 'em. Betsy squealed like a 'scape pipe,—a spot of the mush had spattered on the old man's face, and burnt him, and he swore dreadful. I snatched up the pan of milk, and dashed it over Betsy to cool her off,—the old 'oman knocked me sprawlin' fur doing it, and away went my straps. The young ones let out a scream, as if the infarnal pit had broke loose, and I'd jest gin half of my hide to have bin out of the old man's reach. He did reach fur me, but I lent him one with my half-lows, on the smeller, that spread him, and maybe I didn't leave sudden! I didn't see the branch, but as I soused through it, I heerd Tom Jones swar he'd 'chaw me up, ef an inch big of me was found in them diggins in the mornin'.

“I did'nt know fur a spell whar I was runnin', but hearing nuthin' behind me, I slacked up, and jest considered whether it was best to go home and git my traps strait, and leave, or go see the ball. Bein' as I was a manager, I tho't I'd go have a peep through the winder, to see ef it cum up to my expectations. While I was lookin' at the boys goin' it, one on 'em spied me, and they hauled me in, stood me afore the fire, to dry, and all hands got round, insistin' on knowin' what was the matter. I ups and tells all about it. I never heerd such laffin', hollerin', and screamin', in all my days.

“Jest then, my trowsers gin to feel the fire, and shrink up about an inch a minit, and the boys and gals kept it up so strong, laffin at my scrape, and the pickle I wur in, that I gin to git riley, when all at onst I seed one of these slick critters, from town, rite in among' em, hollerin' wuss than the loudest.

“'Old Jones said he'd chaw you up, did he?' says the town feller, 'well, he allways keeps his word?'

“That minit I biled over. I grabbed his slick liar, and may be I didn't gin him scissors! Jest as I was makin' him a chawed specimen, some, feller holler'd out,—'don't let old Jones in with that ar rifle!' I didn't hear any more in that Bottom,—lightnin' could'nt a got near enough to singe my coat tail. I jumped through that winder as easy as a bar 'ud go through a cane brake; and cuss me if I could'nt hear the grit of old Jones' teeth, and smell his glazed powder, until I crossed old Massissippi.”


Ben Snaggletree seated himself in our society the other day, overburdened with a Mississippi yarn, which embraced one of his hair breadth 'scapes, and which he had resolved on relieving his memory of, by having it chronicled.

Ben was an old Mississip' roarer—none of your half and half, but just as native to the element, as if he had been born in a broad horn. He said he had been fotched up on the river's brink, and “knew a snappin' turtle from a snag, without larnin'.”

“One night,” says Ben, “about as dark as the face of Cain, and as unruly as if the elements had been untied, and let loose from their great Captain's command, I was on the old Mississippi; it was, in short, a night ugly enough to make any natural born Christian think of his prayers, and a few converted saints tremble—I walked out upon the steam boat 'guard' to cool off from the effects of considerable liquor doin's, participated in during the day, but had scacely reached the side of the boat, when she struck a snag, and made a lurch, throwing me about six feet into the drink. I was sufficiently cool, stranger, when I came to the surface, but I had nigh, in a short time, set the Mississippi a bilin', my carcase grew so hot with wrath at observing the old boat wending her way up stream, unhurt, while I, solitary, unobserved, and alone, was floating on the old father of waters. I swam to the head of a small island, some distance below where we struck, and no sooner touched ground than I made an effort to stand erect. You may judge of my horror on discovering my landing place to be a Mississippi mud-bar, and about as firm as quicksand, into which I sunk about three feet in a moment.

“All was dark as a stack of black cats—no object visible save the lights of the receding boat—no sound smote upon the ear but the lessening blow of the 'scape pipe, and the plashing of the surrounding waters;—the first sounded like the farewell voice of hope, while the latter, in its plashing and purling, was like to the jabbering of evil spirits, exulting over an entrapped victim.

“I attempted to struggle, but that sunk me faster. I cried out, but fancied that, too, forced me deeper into my yielding grave; ere daylight dawned I felt sure of being out of sight, and the horrid thought of thus sinking into eternity through a mud-gate, made every hair stand 'on its own hook,' and forced my heart to patter against my ribs like a trio-hammer. I had been in many a scrape, but I considered this the nastiest, and made up my mind that the ball of yarn allotted to me was about being spun out—my cake was all mud! I promised old Mississippi, if permitted to escape this time, I would lick anythin' human that said a word agin her; but it was no use—she was sure of me now, and, like old 'bare bones' to an expiring African, she held on, and deeper, and deeper I sunk. In a short time I was forced to elevate my chin to keep out of my mouth an over-supply of the temperance liquid, which was flowing so coaxingly about my lips. My eyebrows were starting, my teeth set, and hope had wasted to a misty shadow, when something touched me like a floating solid; I instantly grasped it—it slid through my hands—all but the tail—which I clung to with a grip of iron.

“I soon discovered I had made captive a mammoth catty, huge enough to be the patriarch of his tribe, and a set of resolutions were quickly adopted in my mind, that he couldn't travel further without company. A desperate start and vigorous wiggle to escape was made by my friend, the catty, but there was six feet in length of desperation attached to his extremity, that could neither be coaxed or shook off. Soon succeeded another start, and out I came like a cork from a bottle. Off started the fish, like a comet, and after him I went, a muddy spark at the end of his tail. By a dexterous twist of his rudder, I succeeded in keeping him on the surface, and steered him to a solid landing, where I let him loose, and we shook ourselves, mutually pleased at parting company.”

“That will do, Ben,” said we, “all but the tail.”

“Tail and all, or none!” said Ben, so here you have it. Ben swears he'll father it himself.


There goes Smith, the Attorney,” said a man to his friend; as a tall figure, slightly stooped, hurried by them.

“I beg your pardon,” answered the friend, “that is the Rev. Mr. Smith, a preacher, I have heard him in Tennessee.”

“Well that's curious,” replied the first, “for I'd swear I have heard him plead at the bar.”

“Good morning Sol., how are you?” salutes another, as he hurries by a group of citizens.

“What did you call him?” inquired one of the party.

“Why, Sol. Smith, was the answer—old Sol., the manager of the theatre, to-be-sure; who did you suppose it was?—I thought you knew him—every body knows old Sol!”

“Well that is funny,” answered the second, “for I'll swear he officiated as a physician on board our boat.”

“Well who the d————l is he?”

This question was asked so frequently on board of a boat, recently, that those who didn't know became quite feverish, and those who did, kept dark to watch for a joke. Sol. had purchased a new hat—venerably broad in brim, of saintly and unostentatious height in crown, and it was easy to see that this new beaver was brewing him trouble. We feel almost inclined here to go into a disquisition upon hats, and the evils they have entailed, for who has not suffered, and been thrust out of the pale of good living, or cut in the street—or taken for a loafer, and asked by some dandy to hold his horse, or by some matron to carry home her market basket, and all because of a “shocking bad hat.” An “old hat” is, in fact, dangerous—so is a new one of a peculiar shape—so was Sol.'s broad brimmer.

On board the steamer was a Mormon sister, on her way from down east to the holy city of Nauvoo, and many and anxious were her inquiries if any brother of the church was on board? None were able to inform her. At length the captain, at table, inquired:

“Shall I help you to a little of this roast beef, Mr. Smith?”

“Thank you, a small piece,” was the reply.

“Smith,” said the sister, “Smith, that's a member, jest as shure as shutin'; I'll get interduced tu him arter a spell, and I reckon he'll turn eout tu be a shure enough brother.”

“Arter a spell” she did, through the kindness of the captain, get an introduction to him, and was previously informed by the commander, that Sol. was not only a shure enough Mormon, but an elder—in fact a Smith! Sol., as usual, was courteous and affable as when introduced to little Vic., at the court of St. James, and the sister was “tickled all tu death” at the idea of falling in with so pleasant an elder. She was a little ancient, but buxom, and Sol. felt flattered by her singling him out for an acquaintance.

“I'd a know'd in a minit that you was a member of the church by your countenance and your hat, Brother Smith, you do look so saintly.”

“Yes, Ma'm,” answered he, “most people take me for a member.”

“I was a thinkin' if you hadn't chosen a—he-he-he—a sister, why—“—Puge 69.

“There's ony one thing, Brother Smith, which appears rayther queer about our church,” said she, looking modestly at Sol., and biting the corner of her handkerchief, “and that's the 'new system' they have interduced.”

“Why, yes,—y-e-s,” said Sol., at fault, “'new systems' do trouble the church a good deal.”

“Law, Brother Smith, do you think the 'speritual system' a trouble?”

“Well, no, not exactly, if it's a good spiritual teaching,” answered he, “it's only the false doctrines that are evil.”

“Well, that's jest what Elder Adams sed down in eour parts, and he ses that it was speritually revealed tu the Prophet Joseph, your brother, and I was jest a thinkin',” and here she spread her handkerchief over her face, and twisted her head to one side—“I was a thinkin' if you hadn't chosen a—he-he-he!—a sister, why,”——-


“We're at a landing, Ma'm, excuse me for a moment,” and off shot Sol. to his state room, where he seized a pair of well worn saddle-bags, and his old hat, which he had thus far carried with him, intending to have it brushed up, and started for the gang-way plank. The captain met him in his haste, and inquired where he was going?

“Why, captain,” says Sol., “I like your boat vastly, and you know I like you, but there might be a 'blow up' if I stayed on board much longer.”

“Explain,” says the captain.

“Why, the fact is,” said Sol., “that lady you introduced me to has taken me for the Mormon Smith; now, I'm a good many Smith's when my family and titles are all collected, but I aint that Smith! Just tell her so for me, and give her my 'old hat'—it's the best I can do for her.” We needn't add that Brother Smith was straightway among the missing!


Well, old fellow, you're a hoss!” is a western expression, which has grown into a truism as regards Judge Allen, and a finer specimen of a western judge, to use his constituents' language, “aint no whar,” for, besides being a sound jurist, he is a great wag, and the best practical joker within the circuit of six states. Among the wolf-scalp hunters of the western border of Missouri, Judge, or, as they more familiarly style him, Hoss Allen is all powerful popular, and the “bar” hunters of the southern section equally admire his free and easy manners—they consider him one of the people—none of your stuck-up imported chaps from the dandy states, but a real genuine westerner—in short, a hoss! Some of the Judge's admirers prevailed upon him, recently, to stand a canvass for the gubernatorial chair, in which he had Judge Edwards for an antagonist, and many are the rich jokes told of their political encounters. A marked difference characterizes the two men, and more striking opposites in disposition and demeanor would be hard to find, Edwards being slow, dignified, and methodical, while Hoss tosses dignity to the winds, and comes right down to a free and easy familiarity with the “boys.” Hoss Allen counted strong on the border counties, while his antagonist built his hopes on the centre.

Allen and Edwards had travelled together for a number of days, explaining their separate views upon state government, at each regular place of appointment, and were now nearing the southern part of the state, a section where Hoss had filled the judgeship with great unction. Here he resolved to spring a joke upon his antagonist, which would set the south laughing at him, and most effectually insure his defeat among the bar hunters. He had been maturing a plan, as they journeyed together, and now having stopped for the night about one day's journey from the town of Benton, one of their places of appointment, and the head quarters of the most influential men of the bar section, Hoss proceeded to put his trick in progress of execution. He held a secret conference, at the stable, with the boy who took his horse, and offered him a dollar to take a message that night to Tom Walters, at the forks leading to Benton. The boy agreed, and Hoss penciled a note describing his antagonist, who was unknown in the south of the state, coupled with an earnest request, that he “would keep a look out for Judge Eddards, and by all means be careful not to let him get into that cussed cedar swamp!” His express was faithful, and in due time Tom received the missive. In the meantime, the victim, Edwards, in a sweet state of confidence, was unbending his dignity at hearing Hoss relate to their host his amusing yarns about the early settlers. Having talked all the household into a merry mood, he proposed turning in for the night, but first offered his service to unlace the girls' corsets, and in an underbreath asked the old woman to elope with him in the morning—Edwards blushed at this, the girls' tittered, and the host and his wife said, he was a “raal hoss!”—Allen acknowledged he was a leetle inclined that way, and as he had had his feed, he now wanted his straw.

In the morning Hoss Allen became “dreadful poorly,” and it was with great difficulty he could be prevailed upon to get up. All were sympathising with his affliction, and the matron of the house boiled him some hot “sass-tea,” which, the old man said, relieved him mightily. Judge Edwards assured Hoss, that it would be necessary for him to lay up for a day or two, and the afflicted candidate signified the same, himself. Before they parted Hoss requested Edwards, as he had the whole field to himself, not to be too hard upon him. His antagonist promised to spare him, but chuckled all the while at having a clear field in Allen's most popular district. Shaking the old Hoss by the hand, as they were about to separate, he remarked—“we will meet at Benton, I hope, in different trim, Friend Allen.” They did meet in different trim, but Edwards little dreamed the particular kind of trim he would appear in. As soon as Judge Edwards was fairly started, it was surprising the rapid change which took place in his antagonist—Hoss' eye lit up, a broad grin spread over his features, and pulling off the handkerchief, which was tied around his head, he twirled it above him like a flag, then stuffed it in his pocket, remarking coolly, at the same time,—“well, that thar swamp, jest at this season, is awful!” His express reported himself after his night ride, assured Allen that all was O. K., and received his dollar for delivering the message, upon receiving which intelligence, Allen seated himself quietly and comfortably at his coffee, and imbibed it with a relish that drove the idea of sickness into a hopeless decline.

Judge Edwards rapidly progressed on his way, highly gratified at having his opponent off in this part of the field, and as he, in this happy mood, journeyed onwards he set his brain to work conning a most powerful speech, one that would knock the sand from under Hoss, and leave him in a state of sprawling defeat. He resolved to sweep the south, from that point, like a prairie fire. About noon, or perhaps an hour after, he arrived at Tom Walters' for dinner, and while it was preparing, inquired how far he was from Benton?

“I've an idea,” said Tom, “you're well onto nine miles frum thar—jest an easy arternoon ride.”

This was highly satisfactory to the Judge, and perceiving that the provender preparing was of alike pleasing character, he spread himself back upon a hickory bottomed chair with a kind of easy dignity, at once comfortable to himself, and edifying to his host.

“Stranger,” inquired Tom, “did you scare up anythin' like the two candidates, Jedge Eddards and old Hoss Allen, on your way down yeur?”

“I did see something of them, my friend,” answered the Judge, and then, as if making up his mind to surprise Tom, and give him a striking example of democratic condescension, he inquired, “would you know either of the gentlemen, if they stood before you?”

“Why, as to old Hoss,” said Tom, “I don't know anybody else, but this new Jedge I ain't never seed, and ef he is the slicked up finefied sort on a character they pictur' him, I don't want to see him—Its my opinion, these squirtish kind a fellars ain't perticular hard baked, and they allers goes in fur aristocracy notions.” The Judge had no idea that Tom was smoking him, and he congratulated himself that an opportunity here presented itself, where he could remove a wrong impression personally; so, loftily viewing this southern constituent, he remarked:—

“You have heard a calumny, my friend, for Judge Edwards now sits before you, and you can see whether his appearance denotes such a person as you describe.”

“No!” shouted Tom, with mock surprise, “you aint comin' a hoax over a fellar?—you raally are the sure enough Jedge?”

“I am really the Judge, my friend,” responded his honor, highly elevated with Tom's astonishment.

“Then gin us your paw,” shouted Tom, “you're jest the lookin' fellar kin sweep these yeur diggins like a catamount! What in the yearth did you do with old Hoss on the road? I heerd he was a comin' along with you. He aint gin out, has he?”

The Judge replied, with a smile which expressed disparagement of Hoss Allen's powers of endurance, that he was forced to lie up on the route, from fatigue. Dinner being announced as ready the Judge and Tom seated themselves, and the latter highly expanded his guest's prospects in the district, assuring him that he could lick Hoss “powerful easy, ef he wasn't broken winded.” The meal being ended, the Judge demanded his horse, and inquired of his host the direct road to Benton, which Tom thus mapped out:—

“Arter you pass the big walnut, about two miles from yeur, keep it a mile on your left, and take the right trail fur about six hundred yards, when you'll cum to the 'saplin acre,' thar you keep to the right agin, and when that trail fotches you up, why right over from thar lies Benton.”

This was a very clear direction to one who had never before travelled the road, but the Judge, trusting to luck, said, “he thought he would be able to get there without much difficulty,” and started off, leaving his late entertainer gazing after him.

“Well, I allow you will, Jedge,” chuckled Tom,—“You'll git inter that swamp, jest as sure as shootin', and you'll hev the biggest and hungryest audience of mosquitors, ever a candidate preached law or larnin' to!” To secure his finding the swamp road, he had stationed his boy Jim near the turn off, to make the matter sure.

In the course of a couple of hours along came Hoss Allen, who, as soon as Tom took hold of his bridle, winked his eye at him while he inquired:—

“Did Jedge Eddards come along, Tom?”

“Well, he did, Hoss, oncommon extensive in his political feelins'.”

“And you didn't let the Jedge stray away from the swamp road?” inquired Hoss.

“Well, I predicate I didn't, fur by this time he's travellin' into the diggins most amazin' innocently,” and then the pair enjoyed a regular guffaw!

“He's safe as a skin'd bar, then, Tom, and I'll spread his hide afore the Benton boys to-morrow—jest let them into the joke, and I allow, after that, his dandified aristocracy speeches won't have much effect in this section.

“Go it, Jedge,” shouted Tom, “ef I ain't thar to hear it, it'll be 'cause the breath'll leave me afore then—gin him goss without sweeten'—rumple his har, but don't spile the varmint!”

After Hoss had stayed his stomach with a cold bite, he bade Tom good-day, and started for Benton, highly tickled with the success of his trick. As he neared the “saplnracre,” he met Jim, who exhibited a full spread of his ivories, when Hoss. inquired which road he had directed the gentleman before him?

“He gone into de swamp road, massa, but what de debil he want dar, 'cept he arter coon skins, dis niggah doesn't hab no idear, whatsomedeber.”

Allen passed on, assured that all was right, and as his horse leisurely ambled forward, he broke into singing a verse of a western ditty, which says:—

“Thar aint throughout this western nation,

Another like old Hickory

He was bom jest fur his siteation—

A bold leader of the free.”

As night spread her curtain over this wild district, Hoss neared Benton, and as his nag jogged up the principal street, he broke out into a louder strain, repeating the above verse, on hearing which, the “boys,” who were expecting him and Edwards, turned out, and old Hoss was received with a cheer.

“Hello, Jedge!—How are you, Old Hoss?—Give us your paw, Governor!—Here at last, Squire!”—and sundry such expressions of familiar welcome was showered on Allen, by the crowd. “Come in, and git a drink, old fellar,” shouted one of the crowd, and forthwith all hands pushed for the hotel bar room, where sweetened corn juice was pushed about with vast liberality—at the candidate's expense, of course.

“Whar did you leave the new fellar, Jedge Eddards?” was the general inquiry.

“Why, boys, I stopped to rest on the road, and he slid off to git ahead of me—I heered on him at the forks, and expected he was here. It's my opinion, boys, he's seen a bar on the road, and bein' too delicate to make the varmint clar the path, he's taken a long circuit round him!”

This raised a laugh among the crowd, and it was followed up by general inquiries as to what Edwards looked like, but to these Hoss shook his head, remarking, as he raised his hands expressive of how they would be astonished—“jest wait tell you see him yourselves, boys, and then you'll be satisfied.”

Let us return to Judge Edwards, who had easily found his way past the “sapling acre,” and by the aid of Jim's direction progressed into the swamp road, as easy as if it were his destination. Having travelled, as he thought, about ten miles, he began to look out for Benton, and every now and then uttered an expression of surprise, that they had located the town in such a swampy country—every rod he progressed became more and more obscure, the brush more thick and wild in growth, and the ground more moist and yielding. Night, too, that season for the rendezvous of underbrush and tangle-wood horrors, was fast gathering its forces in the depths of the forest, and beneath the shadows of the thick bushes, shrouding, as with a dark mist, each object on the earth's surface, creeping up the trunks of the old trees, and noiselessly stealing away the light in which they had proudly spread their green foliage, while in lieu of their showy garb he clad them in a temporary mourning. The song of the birds became hushed, while the cry of the startled wolf was borne upon the breeze to the ear of the affrighted traveller, interrupted occasionally by the sharp m-e-o-w! of the wild-cat, making together a vocal concert most unharmonious to the ear of the bewildered candidate. To sum up these horrors a myriad of mosquitoes, as musical as hunger and vigorous constitutions could make them, hummed and fi-z-z-zed around him, darting in their stings and darting away from his annoyed blows, with a pertinacity and perseverance only known to the Missouri tribe of insects.

Poor Edwards!—he was fairly in for it—into a swamp at that!—Night was fast making all roads alike obscure, and with amazing rapidity covering our traveller in a mantle of uncertainty. The possibility of his escape that night first became improbable, and then impossible. He hallooed at the highest pitch of his voice, but the wolf was the only live varmint that answered his cry, and a strange fear began to creep over his heart. He remembered well reading accounts of where hungry droves of these animals had eaten the horse from under the saddle, the rider upon it, bones, hide, har and all, leaving scarce a vestige of the victims to mark the deed, and his hair grew uneasy on his cranium at the bare thought of such an unpolitical termination to his canvass. At this particular moment a yell, as of a thousand devils in his immediate neighbourhood, set his heart knocking against his ribs in a fearful manner. When he partially recovered from the shock he tied his horse to one tree and quickly mounted another—whispering the hope to his heart, at the same time, that a meal on his horse would satisfy the gathering crowd of varmints, who were shouting their death song below him. Having seated himself astride a limb, the mosquitoes had a fair chance at him, and they put the Judge through as active an exercise as ever was inflicted on a recruit—there was this difference, however, between him and a recruit, they are generally raw at the commencement of a drill, but poor Edwards was most raw at the end of his lesson. Every new yell of the swamp pre-emptioners, made him climb a limb higher, and each progression upwards appeared to introduce him to a fresh and hungrier company of mosquitoes—the trees in the swamp were like the dwellings in Paris, their highest tenants were the most needy. Day at length broke, and our harassed candidate, almost exhausted, clambered from his exalted position. His frightened but unscathed steed uttered a neigh of welcome as he bestrode him, and giving loose to the rein he committed his escape to the animal's sagacity, while he aided his efforts by a devout supplication. Accident favored the horse's footsteps, for striking the trail leading to the road he started off into a trot, and soon broke his rider's spell of terror, by turning into the main avenue leading to Benton. Edwards slowly passed his pimpled hand over his worse pimpled face, sadly remarking:—

“Last night's 'bills' all passed, for I bear their stinging signatures all over my countenance.”

When ten o'clock came, on the day following Judge Allen's arrival at Benton, the town swarmed with the southern constituency of Missouri, and as soon as the tavern bell, which had been put in requisition to announce the candidate's readiness, had ceased its clamor, Hoss mounted the balcony of the hotel, and rolling up his sleeves “spread himself” for an unusually brilliant effort.

“Boys!” shouted he, “I want your attention to matters of vital import—of oncommon moment, and replete with a nation's welfar.” Here looking down into the crowd at Sam Wilson, who was talking as loud as he could bellow, about an imported heifer he had just bought, Hoss called his attention: “Sam,” said he, “you'd better bring that heifer of your'n up here to address the meetin', and I'll wait till the animal gits through!” This raised a laugh on Sam, and Hoss proceeded. After dilating at some length on the imported candidate who was his antagonist, he “let himself out,” on some of the measures he advocated, and particularly dwelt on the fact that he went in for creating a license law on hunting varmints!

“Would you have the least mite of an idea, boys,” said Hoss, “that this creatur' of a faction wants to have every man's rifle stamped with the state arms, and then made pay a license to the state before he can git a bonus for wolf scalps.” [At this moment a shrill voice interrupted him again—a girl belonging to the hotel was shouting to a couple of youngsters, who had been despatched to the barn for eggs, to “quit suckin' them thar eggs or the candidates would stand a mighty small chance furthur dinner.”] “Jest tell that gall,” said Hoss, “to suck my share and stop her screamin.” He again continued: “I want to know what in yearth this Massissippi country's comin' too, when sich fellars finds favor with the people—what do you think of him boys?”

“Why, cuss his pictur!” was the general response from the bar hunters.

While Hoss was thus arousing public indignation against his antagonist, a stranger entered the crowd, and after listening a moment to the speaker's imaginary flights he interrupted him by shouting:—

“I deny your assertions, Judge Allen!”

This was a bomb shell, and the crowd cleared a space round the stranger, in expectation of a fight; but Allen after surveying the stranger, in whom he recognised his antagonist Edwards, coolly inquired why he disputed it?

“What, me!” shouted Edwards, “who can better declare your assertions false than the man you are misrepresenting—you know very well that I am that Judge Edwards!”

Hoss Allen turned calmly round to the crowd and said:—“Boys, you know I never git angry at a man insane or in liquor, and as I don't know this fellar, and never seed him afore in my life, its the best proof that he aint Jedge Eddards, so you'll oblige me by taking him off the ground and keeping him from disturbing the meeting.”

Expostulation was useless—without any ceremony he was carried into the hotel, boiling with indignation. There, however, he had to stay, at a convenient distance to hear that Allen was giving him “particular jesse.”

After the meeting adjourned three cheers were given for Hoss Allen, and all parties gathered into the bar to take a little fluid, and discuss the speech. Edwards having now been relieved from durance, started for Hoss;—burning inside with choler and smarting exteriorly from mosquito-bites,—he looked bitter.

“Do you say you don't know me, Judge Allen?” inquired he.

Hoss looked steadily at him, then coolly taking out his spectacles, he wiped the glasses, adjusted them upon his nose, and surveyed the questioner from head to foot, he then remarked:

“Thar is somethin' about your voice, and the clothes you ware, that I ought to know—Jedge Eddards wore a coat and kerseys exactly like your'n, but I'll swar he had a better lookin' face than you carry when we parted yesterday mornin'. If you are him you're been the wust used candidate I've seed in an age.”

“Yes,” responded Edwards, “thanks to that d—n nigger that sent me into the swamp. I tell you sir that I have passed a night to which the infernal regions are a scant pattern, and between mosquitoes, wolves, and wild-cats I should not be surprised if my hair had turned grey.”

“I begin to re-cognise you, now, Jedge,” said Hoss, in a sympathetic tone, “and no wonder I didn't know you at first sight—your head is swelled as big as a pumkin! I'll do the clean thing, Jedge,” said Hoss, starting for the balcony, “I'll apologise afore the boys, publicly, for not knowin' you.”

“No, no!” shouted Edwards, who knew his apology would only place his night's adventure in a more ridiculous light, “I don't demand any apology.” But he was too late, Hoss had already called the attention of the crowd.

“Boys,” said he, “as an honourable man who finds himself in the wrong, I am bound to apologise, publicly, to my friend Jedge Eddards,—the Jedge is a leetle changed in appearance since we wur last together, and I did not re-cognise him; I, tharfore, ask his pardon fur orderin' him off the ground.”

“I grant it!” shouted Edwards, glad here to wind up the apology, then turning round he added, “come boys, let us drink good friends.”

“Wait a minit, boys,” said Hoss, “the Jedge and I havin' smoothed that little marter over, I jest want to tell you why I didn't know him at fust sight. You all know that the mosquitoes in cedar swamp are an oreful hungry breed, and when they git a passenger they present him with numerous 'relief bills;' well I had gained considerable popularity in that swamp, by presentin' their condition before the legislatur' and askin' for reliet for the distressed inhabitants,—the Jedge, to head me down thar, passed all last night on a limb of one of the trees makin' stump speeches to the varmints, and you can see by his countenance that expectin' to be elected he has accepted all their mosquito bills!

One tremendous shout rent the air, followed by bursts of laughter, from which Edwards retreated into the hotel. We have but to add that Hoss carried the Bar counties “as easy as rolling off a log!” His antagonist in vain tried to stem the tide of fun,—when he essayed to speak a m-e-o-w of a wild-cat or the hum of a mosquito imitated by some of his audience would be sure to set the rest sniggering, and spoil his effort.


Several years since our friend Dan Marble, the celebrated representative of Yankee characters, was performing an engagement at Detroit, and was persuaded by some friends to take a trip to Chicago, and give them a taste of his quality in the lake city. Dan consented, and on board of the good steamer Constitution, commanded by a skilful captain, under the care of Doty, one of the best lake engineers, and piloted by Gus. McKinstry, they set out in the fall of the year for their northern destination. All went “merry as a marriage bell;” they had a successful trip up,—Dan had a successful engagement—and back they started for Detroit. But now the elements became rebellious; whether rude Boreas resolved to keep this favorite son of Momus up there in his northern home, we know not, but when the vessel that bore his fortunes—his own comical self—had nearly reached the head of the lake, against a head wind that would almost tear off a shirt collar, they run out of wood, and was forced to scud back to Milwaukee a “leetle dust faster than they wanted tu.” They loaded up with the fuel again, and shutting their teeth with determination, they fastened tight the safety valve, and tried it again right in the teeth of the hurricane. After puffing, and blowing, and wheezing, and coughing, the old boat had to give in, and hunt a harbor. Fate drove them into Grand River—we say, Fate did it, in order, as we think, to keep up the character of a grand stream by opening a dramatic temple on its banks, with an exhibition of the budding greatness of a genius. Fate, you know, has the ordering of such things.

The noble steamer came to anchor in the quiet river, between its towering sand banks, and old “blow hard” tossed the lake wave on the outside, top-mast high, with glee, at having penned Dan. Down came an inhabitant of the town of Grand River, who had seen Dan perform at Buffalo, and recognising him, up he posted to spread the news. In the meantime, those on board were wondering how they should pass the weary hours, if the fierce wind continued its fury. Presently, down comes another resident to the boat, a small cat-skin cap on his head, a Canada-mixed coat on, and dressed in deer-skin breeches.

“Whar is he?—which is him?—consarn his comic pictur, show him out—ha-ha-ha!”

“Who are you lookin' after, Mister?” inquired the pilot.

“Why Dan—corn twist him—Dan Marble, to be sure.”

“Well, here I am, old fellar,” answered the pilot, “take a look at me!” The pilot weighed about two hundred and twenty-two pounds, and had on an old sou-wester tarpaulin. Back stepped the inhabitant of Grand River, as if to get a good look, and take in all his dimensions at one stare. Gus, the pilot, made a wry face at his cat-skin observer, and out he burst:

“Ha-ha-ha!—ho-ho-ho!—he-he-he!—cuss me ef you ain't jest as I heerd on you—we've got you, have we? ha-ha-ha!—stop till I go and get the fellars, and by grist mills you'll have to gin us a playin'!” and forthwith off started the cat-skin cap and deer-skin breeches, their owner pausing every hundred yards to ejaculate—

“Ha-ha!—we've got him!”

In a short time he returned, sure enough, and half the town with him. A number of the business men of the place waited upon Dan, proper, and requested that he would amuse them, and pass away his own time, by relating some of his Yankee stories, singing songs, &c., tendering him, at the same time, the second story of a storehouse for his theatre. Dan consented, and all hands on board entering into the spirit of the thing, they soon constructed a temporary stage, with a sail for a back scene and the American flag for a curtain.

Night came, and with its shadows came the inhabitants of the town of Grand River—the owner of the cat-skin cap and his party, among the number.'

In order to make his performance varied, Dan made arrangements to produce the skunk scene, from the “Water Witch;” and drilled Doty, the engineer, Gus, the pilot, the clerk of the boat, and the mate, to perform the English sailors in the scene. It will be remembered by those who have witnessed it, that they catch the Yankee just as he has killed a skunk, and are about to press him as a sailor; he persuades them to see a specimen of his shooting—they stick up the dead animal as a mark, and while he gets their attention upon the object in one direction, he retreats in the other, showing off in his exit a specimen of “tall walking.” After considerable drilling his assistants were pronounced perfect; but the pilot swore that, to play an English sailor, he must get disguised, so accordingly he primed with a double quantity of grog. His associates, jealous of his natural acting, say he had to get drunk before he could look at the audience. Up went the curtain, and on went Dan; of course the audience were amused—they couldn't help it; but cat-skin looked in vain for his Dan. At length the skunk scene opened, and on came the pilot at the head of his party. The deer-skin breeches could hardly hold their owner; he ha-ha'd and ho-ho'd as if he would go into fits. Gus clapped his eye upon him, and screwed up his face into as many lines as a map, which finished the effect with cat-skin—he rolled off his seat, almost convulsed. Now commenced the scene with Yankee Dan, and when he told Gus to stoop down and watch his shot, it was with considerable difficulty that the pilot balanced himself in any such position. While they were stooping, off started Dan in their rear, and, to keep up the scene, off they started in pursuit; Dan, according to plot, hid behind the r. h. wing, front—his pursuers should here pass him and cross the stage, allowing him, by a Yankee trick, to escape; but that portion of the plot Gus, the pilot, had forgotten; he, therefore, came to a dead halt and looked round for Dan; there he was, and out shouted Gus: “Come out, old fellar—I see you!”

Dan shook his head and signed for them to go on. “No you don't,” says the pilot; “we caught you fair, and I'm be d—d if you shan't treat!”

The effect was irresistible; Dan had to give in, and the curtain dropped before a delighted audience—a-collapsed pair of deer-skin breeches, and upon the first night of the drama in Grand River. The owner of the cat-skin cap and deer-skin breeches maintains, to this day, that the pilot was Dan Marble.

“Them other fellars,” says he, “done pooty well, but any 'coon, with half an eye, could see that that fat fellar did the naturalest acting!”


“Oh hapless our fate was, each one and all,

For we were wreck-ed on the Erie Canal,”

Old Ballad.

On an evening in the month of July, 1836, I embarked at Lockport, in company with some fourteen passengers, on board an Erie Canal packet, destined for Rochester. It will be remembered that this was during the great migrating period in the United States, when all nations and pursuits had representatives on our principal travelling routes. Our party was no sooner aboard than the “bold captain” gave the word, the horses were got “under weigh,” the feathers set, and all hands called to pick out their shelf—a six foot-by-one convenience, suspended by cords—upon which they stowed away passengers for the night. Babel never heard a greater confusion of tongues than this call set wagging. But above them all was heard the silver tone of a travelling exquisite, piping out:—

“I-aw am first, cap'en, really,—I claim pwior choice, I do, dem if I don't.”

Happening to be first on the register, it was accorded, and the captain suggested a locker berth, as the most comfortable.

“No! no!—dem,—beg you-a pawden, cap'en,” shouted the exquisite, “some gwos, fat individual, might get on the upa shelf and bweak down,—I should be mangled howibly.”

“Be jabers, I'd like to hev the squazin of him, me-silf,” said a burly Irishman.

“They'd better spill a leettle smellin' stuff on the pesky animal, or he'll spile before mornin',” chimed in a Yankee.

After sundry remarks, at the exquisite's expense, and considerable confusion, all were duly ticketed for the night, and commenced piling themselves away like pledges in a pawnbroker's shop. Jonathan and the Irishman carelessly spread themselves upon a couple of long cane-bottomed settees, which occupied the centre of the cabin, and, in a very brief space of time, the company hushed into silence, save an occasional short blessing bestowed upon the short berths. When all appeared to have dropped into forgetfulness, the head of a way-passenger was thrust into the cabin entrance, with the inquiry—

“Is there any berths here?”

“Sure, this is the gintlemen's cabin,” answered the Irishman.

“Well, I want to know if there's any berths here?” reiterated the inquirer.

“Divil a chance for wan here,” was the response; “don't I tell ye this is the gintlemen's cabin?”

This conversation partially aroused the sleepers, who inquired of the Emeralder what was the row?

“Some botherin' docthur,” was the sleepily muttered reply.

All soon again relapsed into quiet;—snore began to answer snore, in “high and boastful blowing,” and I turned my back to the lamp for the purpose of making a somnolent effort, individually. After tossing and turning for some time, I found that the plentiful supper taken at Lockport had entered a veto against sleep for me, and every effort failed to accomplish more than a drowsy lethargy, which still left the senses partially awake. A strange bumping noise aided to keep me in this state, and I was labouring to assign a cause for the sound, when a voice distinctly cried out—

“It's no use a pumpin', captin', and I won't! She may sink and be dern'd!

The concluding part of this remark started my senses into activity, and, after an effort, I turned round on my foot-wide couch, and took a survey of my “sleeping partners,” to observe how the voice had affected them; but not a muscle moved—all were chorussing beautifully the lays of dream-land. The certainty' of our “sinking and be dern'd,” was soon apparent, for the light of the lamp, suspended from the ceiling of the cabin, soon began to be reflected from the floor—the waters were quietly stealing upon the unconscious sleepers. My first impulse was to sound the alarm, but, fortunately, possessing a “top shelf,” and conscious that we could sink but a few feet, I held my peace until the water should increase its depth, being sure of fun when I gave the signal.

A pair of boots now commenced a very fair forward-two to a boot-jack which was busily engaged in executing a chassez before a nodding hat,—stockings were wriggling about, as if pleased with the fun, and, in a few minutes more, all was a scene of life among the sleepers' “unconsidered trifles” of wardrobe carelessly cast upon the floor. The water having reached within a few inches of the slumbering pair upon the cane-bottomed settees, I sounded the alarm, by shouting—“Murder! boat's sinking! hurrah! help!” Off tumbled the Irishman and Yankee—splash—dash—flounder and exclamation!

“Holy Virgin! what's this?” inquired Pat.

“Cre-a-tion and the deluge!” shouted Jonathan “Good gwacious!” piped in the dandy.

Down hopped the tenants of the shelves, like bodies in a family vault at the general rising—up again they hopped, light as spirits and twice as natural, the instant their pedal extremities touched the water.

“Take it cool, gentlemen,” shouted a westerner, from a top berth, “these are the canal extras.”

A lady, at this moment, parted the curtains of their cabin—the Emeralder, with true gallantry, seized her in his arms, with a shout of “Riscue the ladies!” and bore her out on deck. Jonathan, not to be outdone by a foreigner, stood ready for the second, but her weight (only two hundred pounds) put a stumper on his gallantry. Yankee ingenuity, however, overcame the difficulty,—by making a bridge of the cane settees, the ladies were safely conducted from their watery quarters.

It was a funny scene on deck, that night, and little ceremony was observed in making a toilet. None, however, seemed to take the matter seriously but the dandy—he had lost all his beautifying essentials, in the confusion, and was almost frightened to death at his hair-breadth 'scape. Jonathan was offering him some crumbs of comfort, to induce him to make a purchase for his future safety.

“I'll tell you what, Mister,” says Jonathan, “jest buy one of my everlastin'-no-drownin'-dry-and-water-tight-life-presarvers, and when you git it fixed right, it'll keep you so dry you'll have to sprinkle yourself to stick together.


At Buffalo Head, Nianga county, state of Missouri, during the canvass of 1844, there was held an extensive political Barbecue, and the several candidates for congress, legislature, county offices, &c., were all congregated at this southern point for the purpose of making an immense demonstration. Hards, softs, whigs and Tylerites were represented, and to hear their several expositions of state and general policy, a vast gathering of the Missouri sovereigns had also assembled. While the impatient candidates were awaiting the signal to mount the “stump,” an odd-looking old man made his appearance at the brow of a small hill bounding the place of meeting.

“Hurrah for old Sugar!” shouted an hundred voices, while on, steadily, progressed the object of the cheer.


Sugar, as he was familiarly styled, was an old man, apparently about fifty years of age, and was clad in a coarse suit of brown linsey-woolsey. His pants were patched at each knee, and around the ankles they had worn off into picturesque points—his coat was not of the modern close-fitting cut, but hung in loose and easy folds upon his broad shoulders, while the total absence of buttons upon this garment, exhibited the owner's contempt for the storm and the tempest. A coarse shirt, tied at the neck with a piece of twine, completed his body covering. His head was ornamented with an old woollen cap, of divers colors, below which beamed a broad, humorous countenance, flanked by a pair of short, funny little grey whiskers. A few wrinkles marked his brow, but time could not count them as sure chronicles of his progress, for Sugar's hearty, sonorous laugh oft drove them from their hiding place. Across his shoulder was thrown a sack, in each end of which he was bearing to the scene of political action, a keg of bran new whiskey, of his own manufacture, and he strode forward on his moccason covered feet, encumbered as he was, with all the agility of youth. Sugar had long been the standing candidate of Nianga county, for the legislature, and founded his claim to the office upon the fact of his being the first “squatter” in that county—his having killed the first bar there, ever killed by a white man, and, to place his right beyond cavil, he had 'stilled the first keg of whiskey! These were strong claims, which urged in his comic rhyming manner would have swept the “diggins,” but Sugar, when the canvass opened, always yielded his claim to some liberal purchaser of his fluid, and duly announced himself a candidate for the next term.

“Here you air, old fellar!” shouted an acquaintance, “allays on hand 'bout 'lection.”

“Well, Nat.,” said Sugar, “you've jest told the truth as easy as ef you'd taken sum of my mixtur—

'Whar politicians congregate,

I'm allays thar, at any rate!'”

“Set him up!—set the old fellar up somewhar, and let us take a univarsal liquor!” was the general shout.

“Hold on, boys,—keep cool and shady,” said old Sugar, “whar's the candidates?—none of your splurgin round till I git an appropriation fur the sperits. Send em along and we'll negotiate fur the fluid, arter which I shall gin 'em my instructions, and they may then per-cede to

'Talk away like all cre-a-tion,

What they knows about the nation.'”

The candidates were accordingly summoned up to pay for Sugar's portable grocery, and to please the crowd and gain the good opinion of the owner, they made up a purse and gathered round him. Sugar had placed his two kegs upon a broad stump and seated himself astride of them, with a small tin cup in his hand and a paper containing brown sugar lying before him—each of his kegs was furnished with a spiggot, and as soon as the money for the whole contents was paid in, Sugar commenced addressing the crowd as follows:

“Boys, fellars, and candidates,” said he, “I, Sugar, am the furst white man ever seed in these yeur diggins—I killed the furst bar ever a white skinned in this county, and I kalkilate I hev hurt the feelings of his relations sum sence, as the bar-skin linin' of my cabin will testify;—'sides that, I'm the furst manufacturer of whiskey in the range of this district, and powerful mixtur' it is, too, as the hull bilin' of fellars in this crowd will declar';—more'n that, I'm a candidate for the legislator', and intend to gin up my claim, this term, to the fellar who kin talk the pootyest;—now, finally at the eend, boys, this mixtur' of mine will make a fellar talk as iley as goose-grease,—as sharp as lightnin', and as per-suadin' as a young gal at a quiltin', so don't spar it while it lasts, and the candidates kin drink furst, 'cause they've got to do the talkin'!”


Having finished his charge he filled the tin cup full of whiskey, put in a handful of brown sugar, and with his forefinger stirred up the sweetening, then surveying the canditates he pulled off his cap, remarking, as he did so:

“Old age, allays, afore beauty!—your daddy furst, in course,” then holding up the cup he offered a toast, as follows:

“Here is to the string that binds the states; may it never be bit apart by political rats!” Then holding up the cup to his head he took a hearty swig, and passed it to the next oldest looking candidate. While they were tasting it, Sugar kept up a fire of lingo at them:

“Pass it along lively, gentlemen, but don't spar the fluid. You can't help tellin' truth arter you've swaller'd enough of my mixtur', jest fur this reason, its ben 'stilled in honesty, rectified in truth, and poured out with wisdom! Take a leetle drop more,” said he to a fastidious candidate, whose stomach turned at thought of the way the “mixtur”' was mixed. “Why, Mister,” said Sugar, coaxingly.

'Ef you wur a babby, jest new born,

'Twould do you good, this juicy corn!' ”

“No more, I thank you,” said the candidate, drawing back from the proffer.

Sugar winked his eye at some of his cronies, and muttered—“He's got an a-ristocracy stomach, and can't go the native licker.” Then dismissing the candidates he shouted,—“crowd up, constitooents, into a circle, and let's begin fair—your daddy furst, allays; and mind, no changin' places in the circle to git the sugar in the bottom of the cup. I know you're arter it Tom Williams, but none on your yankeein' round to git the sweetnin'—it's all syrup, fellars, cause Sugar made and mixed it. The gals at the frolicks allays git me to pre-par' the cordials, 'cause they say I make it mity drinkable. Who next? What you, old Ben Dent!—Well, hold your hoss for a minit, and I'll strengthen the tin with a speck more, jest because you can kalkilate the valee of the licker, and do it jestiss!”

Thus chatted Sugar as he measured out and sweetened up the contents of his kegs, until all who would drink had taken their share, and then the crowd assembled around the speakers. We need not say that the virtues of each political party were duly set forth to the hearers—that follows as a matter of course, candidates dwell upon the strong points of their argument, always. One among them, however, more than his compeers, attracted the attention of our friend Sugar, not because he had highly commended the contents of his kegs, but because he painted with truth and feeling the claims of the western pioneers! Among these he ranked the veteran Col. Johnson and his compatriots, and as he rehearsed their struggles in defence of their firesides, how they had been trained to war by conflict with the ruthless savage, their homes oft desolated, and their children murdered,—yet still, ever foremost in the fight, and last to retreat, winning the heritage of these broad valleys for their children, against the opposing arm of the red man, though aided by the civilized power of mighty Britain, and her serried cohorts of trained soldiery! We say as he dwelt upon these themes Sugar's eye would fire up, and then, at some touching passage of distress dwelt upon by the speaker, tears would course down his rude cheek. When the speaker concluded he wiped his eyes with his hard hand, and said to those around him:—

“That arr true as the yearth!—thar's suthin' like talk in that fellar!—he's the right breed, and his old daddy has told him about them times. So did mine relate 'em to me, how the ony sister I ever had, when a babby had her brains dashed out by one of the red skinned devils! But didn't we pepper them fur it? Didn't I help the old man, afore he grew too weak to hold his shootin' iron, to send a few on 'em off to rub out the account? Well, I did!—Hey!” and shutting his teeth together he yelled through them the exultation of full vengeance.

The speaking being done, candidates and hearers gathered around old Sugar, to hear his comments upon the speeches, and to many inquiries of how he liked them, the old man answered:—

“They were all pooty good, but that tall fellar they call Tom, from St. Louis; you, I mean, stranger,” pointing at the same time to the candidate, “you jest scart up my feelin's to the right pint—you jest made me feel wolfish as when I and old dad war arter the red varmints; and now what'll you take? I'm goin' to publicly decline in your favor.”

Pouring out a tin full of the liquor, and stirring it as before, he stood upright upon the stump, with a foot on each side of his kegs, and drawing off his cap, toasted:—“The memory of the western pioneers!”

A shout responded to his toast, which echoed far away in the depths of the adjoining forest, and seemed to awaken a response from the spirits of those departed heroes.

“That's the way to sing it out, boys,” responded old Sugar, “sich a yell as that would scar an inimy into ager fits, and make the United States Eagle scream 'Hail Columby.'”

“While you're up, Sugar,” said one of the crowd, “give us a stump speech, yourself.”

“Bravo!” shouted an hundred voices, “a speech from Sugar.”

“Agreed, boys,” said the old man, “I'll jest gin you a few words to wind up with, so keep quiet while your daddy's talkin',

'Sum tell it out jest like a song,

I'll gin it to you sweet and strong.'”

“The ony objection ever made to me in this arr county, as a legislatur', was made by the wimin, 'cause I war a bachelor, and I never told you afore why I re-mained in the state of number one—no fellar stays single pre-meditated; and, in course, a hansum fellar like me, who all the gals declar' to be as enticin' as a jay bird, warn't goin' to stay alone, ef he could help it. I did see a creatur' once, named Sofy Mason, up the Cumberland, nigh onto Nashville, Tennesee, that I tuk an orful hankerin' arter, and I sot in to lookin' anxious fur martrimony, and gin to go reglar to meetin', and tuk to dressin' tremengeous finified, jest to see ef I could win her good opinion. She did git to lookin' at me, and one day, cumin' from meetin', she was takin' a look at me a kind of shy, jest as a hoss does at suthin' he's scart at, when arter champin' at a distance fur awhile, I sidled up to her and blarted out a few words about the sarmin'—she said yes, but cuss me ef I know whether that wur the right answer or not, and I'm a thinkin' she didn't know then, nuther! Well, we larfed and talked a leetle all the way along to her daddy's, and thar I gin her the best bend I had in me, and raised my bran new hat as peert and perlite as a minister, lookin' all the time so enticin' that I sot the gal tremblin'. Her old daddy had a powerful numerous lot of healthy niggers, and lived right adjinin' my place, while on tother side lived Jake Simons—a sneakin', cute varmint, who war wusser than a miser fur stinginess, and no sooner did this cussed sarpint see me sidlin' up to Sofy, than he went to slickin' up, too, and sot himself to work to cut me out. That arr wur a struggle ekill to the battle of Orleans. Furst sum new fixup of Jake's would take her eye, and then I'd sport suthin' that would outshine him, until Jake at last gin in tryin' to outdress me, and sot to thinkin' of suthin' else. Our farms wur jest the same number of acres, and we both owned three niggers apiece. Jake knew that Sofy and her dad kept a sharp eye out fur the main chance, so he thort he'd clar me out by buyin' another nigger; but I jest follor'd suit, and bought one the day arter he got his, so he had no advantage thar; he then got a cow, and so did I, and jest about then both on our pusses gin out. This put Jake to his wits' eend, and I war a wunderin' what in the yearth he would try next. We stood so, hip and thigh, fur about two weeks, both on us talkin' sweet to Sofy, whenever we could git her alone. I thort I seed that Jake, the sneakin' cuss, wur gittin' a mite ahead of me, 'cause his tongue wur so iley; howsever, I didn't let on, but kep a top eye on him. One Sunday mornin' I wur a leetle mite late to meetin', and when I got thar the furst thing I seed war Jake Simons, sittin' close bang up agin Sofy, in the same pew with her daddy! I biled a spell with wrath, and then tarned sour; I could taste myself! Thar they wur, singin' himes out of the same book. Je-e-eminy, fellars, I war so enormous mad that the new silk handkercher round my neck lost its color! Arter meetin' out they walked, linked arms, a smilin' and lookin' as pleased as a young couple at thar furst christenin', and Sofy tarned her 'cold shoulder' at me so orful pinted, that I-wilted down, and gin up right straight—Jake had her, thar wur no disputin' it! I headed toward home, with my hands as fur in my trowsers pockets as I could push 'em, swarin' all the way that she wur the last one would ever git a chance to rile up my feelin's. Passin' by Jake's plantation I looked over the fence, and thar stood an explanation of the marter, right facin' the road, whar every one passin' could see it—his consarned cow was tied to a stake in the gar din', with a most promising calf alongside of her! That calf jest soured my milk, and made Sofy think, that a fellar who war allays gittin' ahead like Jake, wur a right smart chance for a lively husband!”

A shout of laughter here drowned Sugar's voice, and as soon as silence was restored he added, in a solemn tone, with one eye shut, and his forefinger pointing at his auditory:—

“What is a cussed sight wusser than his gittin' Sofy war the fact, that he borrowed that calf the night before from Dick Harkley! Arter the varmint got Sofy hitched, he told the joke all over the settlement, and the boys never seed me arterwards that they didn't b-a-h at me fur lettin' a calf cut me out of a gal's affections. I'd a shot Jake, but I thort it war a free coantry, and the gal had a right to her choice without bein' made a widder, so I jest sold out and travelled! I've allays thort sence then, boys, that wimin wur a good deal like licker, ef you love 'em too hard thar sure to throw you some way:

'Then here's to wimin, then to licker,

Thar's nuthin' swimmin' can be slicker!”


The inexperienced dweller in a quiet home, who has never been tempted to wander from its peaceful precincts, has but a faint idea of the emigrant's troubles, and many may fail to deeply sympathise with Michael O'Reily, the subject of our sketch; but there are those who have mingled in the perilous tide, and can knowingly speak of its dangers. “Maybe,” as Michael would say, “it's mesilf that has had a full peck measure of thim, barrin' what I injayneously iscaped.”

Michael's brother, Patrick, had induced him to quit the little cottage and pratie patch on the green sod, for a home where “goold” flowed up the rivers. At the time we encountered him he had reached the spot where “a great man intirely,” had prophesied this shiny metal would flow to, and he but waited to reach Patrick's home on the Missouri river, to set a net in the stream and catch his share. As he and Mrs. O'R., who was well, but, naturally enough, “wakely,” were seated on the boat, considering how they could get further up stream, a steamboat runner came to their aid, and forthwith made every necessary arrangement for taking them safe. Michael's mind being at ease about that matter, he ventured to indulge in a whiff of the pipe, when he was accosted by another of the off-in-twenty-minutes agents.

“Passage up the Missouri, sir?” inquires the runner.

“Yis, I'm goin' wid ye's,” says Michael, “sure wan uv your boys ingaged me a minnit ago.”

The runner perceiving in a moment that a rival had encountered Michael, resolved to do the aforesaid rival out of his passenger, and accordingly hurried him off to his own boat, by telling him that steam, was up!

The “done” runner, on returning and finding his passenger off, suspected that the rival boat had secured him, and ventured upon the “terror experiment” to win him back. Michael instantly recognised his first friend, and saluted him with—“I'm here, ye see!”

“Yes, but you've got yourself into a kingdom-come snarl, if you only know'd it, without half tryin'.”

Twist the snarl which way Michael would, it sounded unpleasantly, and he ventured to inquire—“Its what did ye say kind of snarl, I was in?”

“I only just want to open your peepers to the fact, of having been trapped on board an old boat, fully insured, with a desperate shaky 'scape-pipe, and engaged to be blow'd up this trip; so good by old fellow, you're ticketed.”

“Och! if she's fully insured, all's right,” says Michael, whispering safety to his heart, “and the boy that I came wid, says she can run up a tree if there's a dhrap of wather on it.”

“If she don't run up a tree,” was the reply, “she'll be sure to run agin a snaggy one, and then, I predicate, some of her passengers 'll be blow'd tree high, so you're in for it, old hoss! Good by,—I say, if you should see my old uncle down thar,” pointing at the same time significantly to the rushing river, “the one I mean who didn't leave me any money, tell him for me, as he's gone to the d———l, to shake himself—will you?” and after delivering himself of this soothing request, he vanished, leaving Michael fancying himself astride of a 'scape pipe riding over tree tops, rocket fashion.

“Och sorra the day I iver put fut among sich hay-thins!” soliloquised Michael, “to talk of a man's bein' blown to smithereens, as if it were but a gintle rap wid a shillaleh—faith its out uv this I'll be immigratin' quicker than you could peel a pratie,” and forthwith he proceeded to move, with all possible haste, his stock of worldly effects; observing which the runner, who had awoke his fears, shouted out as a quickener, “don't forget uncle, for he would think it dreadful mean, if I didn't send word by somebody I knew goin' direct.”

“Leave that luggage alone,” savagely shouted the mate, “you can't leave this boat—you're engaged.”

“Thrue for ye's,” says Michael in a doleful tone, “be dad I was omadhaun enough to do that same, and ye's can blow me up when iver you're a mind to.”

“We don't blow her up,” says the mate, “until the downward trip, unless some gentleman's requested it in his bargain; if you've got a flying ticket we are bound to accommodate you,” and just at that moment, whiz went a steam-cock.

“Be aisy for the Lord's sake,” shouted Michael, “blow her up for the gintleman comin' down; as I'm not used to it, I might fall awkwardly in some man's apple orchard and desthroy a peach tree—d'ye mind.” Having been assured that all was safe, and that by express desire the blowing up was deferred, he took his seat at the stern. As the shades of evening gathered around the boat and over the waters, the steamer pushed from her moorings,—the last we saw of Michael he was holding in one hand a small string of beads, with a rosary attached, while the other grasped the painter of the jolly-boat towing astern, and his eye with a doubtful, but resigned expression, was firmly fixed on the shaky 'scape-pipe-.


At the head of a ravine on the border of the river Platte, one bright night in June, was gathered a party of Missouri hunters, who were encamped after a day's chase for buffalo. The evening's repast was over, and as they stretched themselves in easy attitudes around their stack of rifles, each looked at the other with a kind of questioning expression, of whether it should be sleep or a yarn? The bright moon, with full round face, streamed down into their midst, and sprinkled her silvery sheen over shrub and flower, investing night in those vast solitudes with a strange charm which forbid sleep, and with common consent they raised themselves into a sitting posture and proposed a “talk,” as the red skins say. Dan Elkhorn was the leader of the party, and all knew his store of adventure inexhaustible, so a unanimous call was made upon Dan for a story. “Come, Dan,” cried a crony, “give us something to laugh at, and let us break this silence, which seems to breed a spirit of melancholy—stir us up, old fellow, do!” Dan pulled his long knife out of his belt, and laying it before him, smoothed back his long grey hair. He was a genuine specimen of the hardy American mountaineer,—like the Indian, he dressed in deer skins and wore the moccason, while every seam in his iron countenance told of 'scapes and peril. Seeing that all were attention he commenced—“Well, draw up closer, boys, so I shan't have to holler, 'cause breth is gittin' kind a short with me now, and I want to pacel it out to last pretty strong till the wind-up hunt. You, Mike, keep your eye skinned for Ingins, 'cause ef we git deep in a yarn here, without a top eye open, the cussed varmints 'll pop on us unawars, and be stickin' some of thur quills in us—nothin' like havin' your eye open and insterments ready. I've a big idea to gin you an account of some fun I had with an old bar, on the Missouri, when I was a younker, and considerably more spry than I am jest now. I want to tell you fust, boys, that bars are knowin' animals, and they kin jest tell a younker of the human kind as easily as they kin a small pig from the old sow;—they don't fool with me now, for they've got to know me!

“Well, old Alic Dennison, a neighbour of mine on the Missouri, had bin about two years up in the mountains, and when he came home he gin a treat to all the fellars within thirty miles of him—that was jest seven families—and among 'em, in course, I got an invite. Alic and I had sot our cabins on opposite sides of the drink, near enough to see each other, and a red skin, ef he'd come on a scalp visit, would a bin diskivered by either. When Alic's frolic was to cum off, I was on hand, sartain. About evenin' I got my small dug-out, and fixin' my rifle carefully in the fore eend, and stickin' my knife in the edge whar it would be handy, I jest paddled over the drink.

“A little above our location thar wur a bend in the stream which a kind a turned the drift tother eend up, and planted them about the spot between our cabins—. snags and sawyers, jest thar, wur dreadful plenty, and it took mity nice padlin' to git across without tiltin'; howsever, I slid atween 'em, sarpentine fashion, and got over clar as a pet coon. Thar wur considerable folks at Alic's, fur some of the families in them diggins had about twenty in number, and the gals among 'em warn't any on your pigeon creaturs, that a fellar dassent tech fur fear of spilin' 'em, but raal scrougers—any on 'em over fourteen could lick a bar, easy. My decided opinion jest now is, that thur never was a grittyer crowd congregated before on that stream, and sich other dancin' and drinkin' and eatin' bar steaks, and corn dodger, and huggin' the gals, don't happen bu: once in a fellar's lifetime, and scarcely that often.. Old Alic had a darter Molly, that war the most enticin', gizzard-ticklin', heart-distressin' feline creatur that ever made a fellar git owdacious, and I seed Tom Sellers cavortin' round her like a young buffalo—he was puttin' in the biggest kind a licks in the way of courtin', and between her eyes and the sweetened whiskey he'd drank, you'd a thought the fellar would a bursted. Jest to make matters lively, I headed up alongside of Molly, and shyed a few soft things at her, sech as askin' how she liked bar steaks cooked, and if Jim Tarrant warn't equal in the elbow to a mad panter's tail, when he war fiddlin' that last reel, and sech amusin' light conversation. Well, boys, Tom started swellin' instanter. He tried to draw her attention from me; but I got talkin' about some new improvements I war contemplatin' about my cabin, and the cow I expected up from St. Louis, 'sides lonely feelins I'd bin havin' lately, and Tom couldn't git in a show of talk, edgeways. Didn't he git mad?—wur you ever near enough to a panter when his har riz with wrath? Well, ef you have, you can create some idea of Tom's state of mind, and how electricity, from liquor and love, run out to the ends of his head kiverin'. It wur easy to see he wur a gittin' dangerous, so I slid off and left him alone with the gal. Arter I got a talkin' to another one of the settlers' young women, Molly kept lookin' at me, and every now and then sayin' somethin' pleasin' across to me, while she warn't payin' any attention to Tom at all. He spread himself into a stiff bow and left her; then movin' across the floor like a wounded deer, he steadied himself on the back of my seat, and lookin' me in the face, says: “'Mister Elkhorn, I shud be strenuously obleeged to you ef you'll step down thar with me by the old per-simmen tree.'

“I nodded my head, and told him to trot outside and wait till I got the docyments, and as soon as he moved I sent his old daddy to accompany him. I jest informed the old fellar that Tom wanted a fight, and as he was too full of corn juice to cut carefully, I didn't want to take advantage of him. The old man said he was obleeged to me, and moved out. Tom, thinkin' it wur me, staggered ahead of the old man, and I concluded, as it war near mornin', to leave; 'cause I knew when Tom found out his daddy was along with him instead of me, he'd have a fight any how. I acknowledge the corn, boys, that when I started my track warn't anythin' like a bee-line;—the sweeten'd whiskey had made me powerful thick-legged; but arter a fashion I got to my dug-out, with nothin' of weapon along in the world but the paddle. Thar war jest enough light to tell tha snags wur plenty, and jest enough corn juice inside to make a fellar not care a cuss fur 'em. I felt strong as a hoss, too, and the dug-out hadn't more'n leaped six lengths from the bank afore—zip—chug—co-souse I went—the front eend jest lifted itself agin a sawyer and emptied me into the element! In about a second I came up bang agin a snag, and I guess I grabbed it sudden, while old Missouri curl'd and purl'd around me as ef she was in a hurry to git to the mouth, so she might muddy the Massissippi. I warn't much skeer'd, but still I didn't jest like to hang on thar till daylight, and I didn't want to make a fuss fur fear they'd say I war skary. I had sot myself on the end of the snag, and was jest tryin' to cypher out some way of gittin' to shore, when I thought I diskiver'd a fellar sittin' on the bank. At fust, he looked so black in the coat I thought it war Tom Sellers, who'd sot himself down to wait fur a fight:—Tom had on at the frolic a black blanket coat with a velvet collar, and he thought it particularly nice. Arter lookin' at him move about and sit down on his hunkers once or twice, I thought I'd holler to him; but he appeared so dreadful drunk that I didn't expect much help from him.

“'Tom,' shouted I, 'come out here with a dug-out, and help a fellar off, will you?'

“He sot still, without sayin' a word. 'Well,' says I to him, 'you're meaner than an Ingin! and would bait a trap with your daddy's leggins.' He didn't move fur a spell; at last into the drink he popped, and now, thought I, he is mad and no dispute. I could see him paddlin' right fur me, and I holler'd to him that I had no insterments, but he didn't say a whisper, ony shoved along the faster. At last up he come agin my snag, and the next minit he reached fur me, and then he tried to fix his teeth into my moccason; so guessin' it war time to do somethin', I jest grabbed fur his muzzle, and I'm blessed, boys, ef it warn't a great he bar! The cussed varmint had watched me from the house and seed I had no weapons, and when I upsot he just counted me his'n, and was quietly calculatin' on the bank how he'd best git me out of the water. I had nothin' in the yearth but a small fancy pen knife, but I stuck that in him so quick that he let me go, and while he swam for one snag I reached for another. I never heerd a bar laugh out loud afore, but I'm a sucker ef he didn't snigger twice at the way he rolled me off my log.

“We sot lookin' at one another fur a spell, when I seed the varmint gittin' ready to call on me agin, and in about a second more off he dropped, and strait he took a shute for my location. As he came up close to me I slit his ear with the small blade, and he got mad; but jest as he was circling round me to git a good hold, I dropped on to his hinder eend and grabbed his har, and I guess I made, him move fur shore a leetle faster than a steam boat—my little blade kept him dreadful itchy. Well, the fun of the thing wur, boys, as soon as the varmint teched shore, he turned right round on me, and I'm cussed if I hadn't to turn round, too, and scratch for the snag agin! with that consarned bar feelin' my legs with his paw every stroke I war makin' to git away from him! I got a little skary, now, and a good deal mad, fur thar the varmint war a waitin' for me, and whinin' as ef he had been ill-treated, and thar I wur perched up on a sawyer, bobbin' up and down in the water. At last I sot a hollerin' and kept on at it, and hollered louder, until I seed some one cum from the house, and singin' out agin they answered me. I asked who it war, and found that it war Molly, old Alic's darter; so I gin her a description of my siteaytion, and she war into a dug-out in a minit, and paddlin' towards me. I believe I said wonce, boys, that bars wur knowin' critters, but ef thar's anythin' true on this yearth, it's the fact, that this consarned animal had made up his mind to upsot that gal, and I'm blessed ef he didn't jest as cute as ef he'd bin human! Startin' from his snag he swam to the dug-out, put up both paws, and over it went—over went Molly into the stream, and off slid Mister bar, laffin' out loud! as I'm a white man.

“I seized Molly as she came floatin' towards me, and stuck her upon my sawyer, while I started for an adjinin' snag. I could hear Molly grittin' her teeth, she war so bilin' mad, and jest as soon as she could git breath, she hollered to me to be sure I never rested till I killed that varmint. I swore on that snag that I'd grow thin chasin' the critter, and she seemed to git pacified. Well, thar we wur, in the stream, and it a leetle too rough to swim in easy, so we had to sing out for help, and I yelled till I war nigh onto hoarse, afore anythin' livin' stirred about the house; at last, nigger Jake came down to the edge of the river, jest as day was breakin', and puttin' his hand over his eyes, he hollers—“'Why, Massa Dan, is dat you wot's been hollowin' eber so long for somebody!'

“'You've jest took the notion to cum see, have you, you lazy nigger—now git a dug-out and come out here and git your missus and me off these snags, and do it quick, too, or I'll make you holler!'

“'What, Missus dar, too!' shouted the nigger, 'well, dat's funny—de Lor!' and off the cussed blueskin started fur the house, and in a few minits all that could gethered out to see us and laugh at our water locations.

“I had bin gittin' riled by degrees, and now was at a dangerous pint—the steam began to rise off on me till thar wur a small fog above my head, and as the half drunken varmints roared a laffin, and cracked their jokes about our courtin' in the middle of the drink, I got awful excited. 'I'll make ribbons of every man among you,' says I, 'when I git whar thar's a chance to fight.' And then the cussed crew roared the louder. Tom Sellers yelled out that we'd bin tryin' to elope, and this made Molly mad,—her daddy got a little mad, too, and I bein' already mad, thar wur a wrathy trio on us, and the old fellow said, ef he thought I'd been playin' a two-faced game, and bitin' his friendship like a pizen varmint, he'd drop me off the log I wur on with a ball from his rifle. I jest told him to fire away and be d———d, for I wur wore out a patience. Some of the boys held him, while others got the dug-out and came to our assistance. I jest got them to drop me on my side of the river, and to send over my rifle, and as soon as it war on hand I onloosed my dog Yelp, and started to wipe out my disgrace.

“That infernal bar, as soon as he'd tossed Molly in the stream, started for the woods; but, as ef he had reasoned on the chances, the varmint came to the conclusion that he couldn't git away, and so got up into a crotch of a low tree, about a quarter of a mile from my cabin. Old Yelp smelled him, and as soon as I clapped peeper on him I let sliver, when the varmint dropped like a log,—I went to him and found he'd bin dead for an nour. My little blade couldn't a killed him, so it's my opinion, clearly entertained, that the owdacious varmint, knowin' I'd kill him for his trick, jest climbed up thar whar I could easy find him, and died to spite me!

“His hide, and hard swearin', got me and Molly out of our elopin' scrape, and the lickin' I gin Tom Sellers that spring has made us good friends ever sence. He don't wonce ventur' to say anythin' about that bar scrape, without my permission!”


The great struggles to obtain early news in the east, between the proprietors of daily journals, has infused a spirit of rivalry in their western brethren, and they have been of late, prating all along the Mississippi valley, about expresses to Washington, railroads to Oregon, regular lines to California, telegraphs connecting St. Louis with the east, &c., and sundry other new-fangled methods of getting ahead of time. We do not much wonder at it, for this is the age of expresses, and the man who lingers along in the old “sure-and-easy” method, is certain to be lost sight of in the rapid whirl of the new order of things. In the matter of news, now-a-days, it is not news unless expressed, and we hesitate not to say that the President's message, received in the old fashioned wait-till-you-get-it manner, would not be read with interest.

At St. Louis, on the night of the 17th of December, the President's message was expected in town, and many were the suspicious rumours in circulation, about private expresses, magnetic telegraphs, and “enormous” arrangements to spread the intelligence with rapidity. Every body knew that the old slow-and-easy line through Illinois would be along sometime that night, and allowing it ten days from Washington to the Mississippi, it was very probable that among its contents' would be found a copy of that important document. Col. K., a veteran conducter of the city press, called a few of his boys together, that evening, and quietly remarked to them:—

“Boys, that terrapin team will arrive to night on the other side of the river with the message, and as it generally remains there until next morning, unless we can persuade the driver to cross the river, we will get no message until to morrow, so I wish you to start as an express, and see if you can't coax him to cross.—Use the persuasive, liberally, but bring him and the mailbags, anyhow!

Orders were positive, and a “team” of three started to execute the Colonel's orders. The river was a sheet of solid ice, upon which the full moon poured down a flood of radiance. Across the ice they dashed, gained the Illinois side, and chartering a wagon and horses belonging to a couple of suckers, started to meet the stage. The drivers of this express were dubious about taking their passengers, because they would not disclose where they wished to go. “Keep dark!” said one. “Mum is the word!” said the other. “They intend to steal sum gal on the road,” whispered one sucker to his friend.

“Well, they've got a cussed poor taste, fur I'll swar thar aint anythin' on this yeur road to the bluff' wuth shucks, 'cept Nancy Birch, and her temper would tarn the stomic of the d——-l.” In the course of a few minutes one express passenger remarked to his companion, “We'll meet the stage this side of the brick house.”

“Certain,” was his friend's reply. “It's out now,” said the biggest sucker, “thar goin' to rob the mail,” and he cast a fearful glance over his shoulder to see if they had pistols in their hands. The stage was now heard lumbering along, and in a few minutes they met, when out dashed the expresses. “Stop!” cried one, to the driver—up mounted another to the side of the stage. “I'm d———d, gentlemen, ef we belong to that arr crowd!” screamed the sucker driver, “I'll jest swar on a stack of bibles, that them fellars ony hired our team.”

The express who mounted the side of the stage, thinking he might obtain a copy from some passenger, thrust his head through the door, and finding one “insider” he demanded:—

“Have you got a message?

“Dake all mit you, mine Got!” exclaimed a German passenger in answer, “but dont gill de fader of dirteen little babys,”—at the same time he handed his wallet to the express messenger.

“To the d———l with your old leather, give me a message paper!” shouted the express.

“May I go to der duyvel, if ish got any oder baper but Indiana!” exclaimed the Dutchman, still holding forth his wallet.

The driver now informed them that he had the message along, but “he'd jest see them and the city of St. Louis in h——l, afore they'd git him two steps further than the law pervided he should go,” and that was to the Illinois side of the river. He said this so bitter, that the chance looked hopeless for moving him, but one of the boys, with a tongue “iley as a sarpint,' quiet as a mole, and civil as a pill pedlar, climbed up on the seat beside him, and placing himself in a good position, he commenced whispering close to the ear of the driver, and Eve never yielded as easily to the serpent's temptation, as the mail driver now began to melt' under the soft whisper floating around him.

“You said it would be hot!” exclaimed the driver.

“I did,” replied the whisper, “and lots of it, besides a dollar under the pitcher of punch, and sundry comfortable fixens around it.”

“Don't say any more,” said the driver, “that's jest the kind of snap I want to git into to night.” So, putting up his horses he shouldered the mail bags, and across to St. Louis the party travelled.

The proprietors of the anxious city journals, alarmed at the delay of the express, resolved to despatch telegraphs in search of them; and, having charged three with the electric fluid, off they started—and Morse's invention aint a beginning to the way the St. Louis specimens travelled. Across the ice—slap—dash—up the side of the ferry boat, and up the hill. Here were collected about fifty Illinois market wagons, and a corresponding number of suckers. A group of these latter were gathered around a large fire, discussing the probability of being able to cross the ice to St. Louis, on the succeeding day. A telegraph inquired of one of these, if he had seen anything of the express. “No, I haint,” says he, “but I hev got first rate butter, at two bitts a pound!”

“Melt your butter!” shouted an indignant telegraph. “Come and show us the road out to Pap's house, captain,” said another. The marketeer started a few rods with him, and then, as if a sudden thought hit him, looked at the telegraph gent, and, pointing his finger at him, he slowly remarked—“No you don't hoss! I jest see right through you.”

“Why, you fool, don't you see by my appearance that I am a gentleman?” inquired telegraph. The sucker marketeer drew off a few paces, to be ready to run, and then shouted—“Yes, I've seen jest sich gentleman fellars as you in the penitentiary!” and off he dashed, congratulating himself on his escape from robbery.

Away went the telegraphs again, heading for Pap's house, a stopping place about one mile from the ferry, and while one led the way, the other two, wishing to slip him, hid on the road-side, but the rival telegraph seated himself in the road to wait for the appearance of his company. As there was no way, in the clear moonlight, to get round him unobserved, they came out and again started. Now for it!—best man at Pap's first! Away they started, “lickety-click,” and arrived at the winning-post within touching distance of each other. After rapping up the bar-keeper they seated themselves by the stove, leisurely warmed up, and then inquired how soon they expected the stage along. “It passed here with the message, full twenty minutes ago!” was the answer.

Clear the track!—hey!—here was news. Three important aids of two printing establishments, two miles from their offices, and the message there! Now commenced a stampede unknown to Fashion—down to the river—on to the ice;—pit—pat—pat—pit—slip—slide—bang!—and down he goes “up, boys, and at it again.” The island was reached in safety. Here was a dangerous gap, at which stood a foot passenger afraid to cross. “Look out,” he shouted, “you'll get in there.”

“Get thunder!—get out of the road!” shouted the foremost—through they dashed—the last sticking his leg through a feet, and the city side was gained like a flash of lightning. The leading telegraph reached the composing room of an enterprising city paper, just as the foreman was shouting—proof!


Dick Kelsy was one of the earliest settlers in the Upper Missouri country, and a more open-hearted or careless son of Kentucky, never squatted in the “Far West.” He had wandered from his parent state more for a change of location than any desire to improve his condition, and if a spot offered easy hunting facilities, it mattered not what contingencies were added, Dick “sot himself down thar.” Tall, raw-boned, good-natured and fearless, he betrayed no ambition to excel, except in his rifle, and the settlers generally conceded that his “shooting-iron” was particularly certain! A spot upon one of the tributaries of the Missouri won Dick's heart at first sight—it bordered upon a beautiful stream;—had a far spreading prairie, skirted by a fine grove of timber, for a landscape, and abounded with all sorts of game, from a prairie fowl to an Indian. Here Dick built his cabin, beneath the shadow of his own cotton tree, and he used to tell his neighbours that nature had, after practising on the rest of creation, spread her finishing touches on his claim. Its wild beauty deserved his lavish praise.

In this western habitation our hero held undisturbed sway, his only companion being a negro slave, who was at once his master's attendant and friend. Kelsy and the negro had been raised together, and from association, although so opposite their positions, had imbibed a lasting affection for each other,—each would have freely shed blood in the other's defence. The bonds of servitude were, consequently, moulded into links of friendship and affection, securing to them a feeling of confidence in their lonely habitation in the wilderness. Their nearest neighbours were situated at a small trading settlement, some ten miles distant, where Dick always repaired to exchange his furs for ammunition and other essentials. Here he also learned the news from the far-off seat of government; but the busy world beyond little interested these roving sons of the western forests,—a brush with the red skins, or a challenge shooting match, possessed much more interest for them. At length, however, these western pioneers were aroused from their quietude and inactivity by the news that Congress had passed the famous Pre-emption Law. As yet none in the region we write of knew its provisions, or, distinctly, what rights it conferred; each squatter, therefore, laid out the bounds of his claim in accordance with his own desire, and stood ready to defend the title against all encroachments. The fever of emigration became an epidemic, and soon that speculating mania, which, in imagination, built fortunes in a day, spread even to the confines of civilization. The axe of the pioneer soon began to startle the wild denizens of the forest, where for ages the hunter alone had disturbed their repose.

One bright morning a ripple of the advancing tide, in the persons of two strangers, was discovered by Dick about a quarter of a mile from his cabin, where, apparently, they had rested for the night. The first was a man about middle stature, of a dark swarthy complexion, with an uneasy eye, prominent teeth, and clad in a dilapidated suit of Kentucky jean;—an old chip hat surmounted his figure, and in his right hand he held the sceptre of the pioneer—a rifle! His companion was a pale, sickly-looking little woman, clad in a coarse linsey-woolsey gown, and in her hand she held a faded calico sun-bonnet; close by stood a small wagon, with a quilt cover, to which was harnessed a horse, bearing evident marks of long travel and hard fare.

“How are you, strangers?” was Dick's first query. “Judgin' from appearances, you're lookin' out a location.”

“Yes,” replied the man, in a surly tone, “I've been lookin' all along, but I aint found any yet fit fur a white man.”

“Well, you've jest got to the spot now,” says Dick. “Creation aint laid out any place prettier, and arter takin' a view of it, you'll say so. You and the missus better go up to my cabin and rest till you can take a good look at its best pints, and I predicate you'll come to a conclusion.”

“Well, guess I'll stay a spell,” was the stranger's response, and following Dick, he was introduced beneath the Kentuckian's hospitable roof, after which Dick started to the settlement for some notions with which to entertain them more comfortably. On his arrival the whole conversation at the settlement was the pre-emption act, and during the debate on its merits, he mentioned the “new arrival” in his neighbourhood, of the strangers. They had passed through the settlement, and as all new comers are a subject of interest, various opinions were expressed in regard to these.

“Judgin' from that stranger's frontispiece,” said one, “I shouldn't like him fur a near neighbour?”

“He's rayther a sour lookin' customer,” added another; “and how dreadful poorly his wife looks.”

“I've invited him to locate near me,” remarked Kelsy, “and I can't say he's got a very pleasin' look; but the rough shell may have a good kernel, boys.”

After providing necessaries, Dick gave the settlers an invitation to come up and help the stranger to raise a cabin. All agreed to be thar on the next Saturday, and homeward he started. On his arrival, Sam was cooking the evening meal of wild game and corn bread, all the time expatiating to the guests what a good man “Massa Dick” was, and particularly impressing upon their minds that he, (Sam,) was “Massa Dick's 'strordinary niggah!” Sam's efforts at amusement failed upon the strangers, for one was quietly weeping, while the other wore a scowl of anger. Dick noticed their looks on entering, and endeavoured to cheer them—

“Don't look down hearted, strangers,” said he, “you aint among Ingins ef you are near 'em—thar aint a spot in the universal yearth calkilated to make you feel better than whar you are now. Sam and me never felt bad sence we located here,—only when the Ingins penned us in the cabin fur three days, while all our bar meat was hangin' on the outside.”

“It's this cussed woman,” answered the stranger,

“that makes me feel bad—she's etarnally whimperin' about bein' so fur from home—I wish she was in h—ll!”

“Stop that, stranger,” said Dick, in a determined tone; “the love I have for an old Kentucky mother won't permit me to see or hear one of her sex abused beneath my cabin roof, ef it is in the wilderness,—I don't like red skins, none of 'em, but even a squaw couldn't be abused here!”

“Well, I'm done,” was the reply. “I'll git a cabin of my own, and then I guess I'll do as I please.”

“No you won't,” said Dick; “ef you stay in these diggins and abuse her, you're in a hotter place than whar you jest now wished her.”

It may be supposed that the host and his guest retired, the first night of their meeting, with no favourable impression of each other; and while Sam and his master were making all right for the night, the former ventured to remark—

“Dar aint much good in dat white man, Massa Dick.”

“Not a heap, Sam,” was his master's reply; “but he shan't pisin us long with his company;” and with this comfortable resolve they turned in for the night.

At daylight Dick started out with his rifle on his arm, to observe the foot-prints around his dwelling, and note whether they were biped or quadruped, the close proximity of the Indian tribes and their frequent thefts, making caution and care necessary to preserve, not only property, but life. As he was returning to his cabin a scream startled him from his careless gait—it was a new sound in that wilderness; and many a day had passed since Dick heard anything akin to it. He started forward with a bound, convulsively clutching his rifle, while his blood urged into rapid action by the movement, was again forced back to his heart, chilled by another fearful scream of a woman in distress. In a moment he emerged from the strip of woods, within view of his cabin, and there beheld the stranger with his arm raised to strike; fronting him stood Sam, poising a large hunting knife in defence, while upon the other arm of the muscular negro, hung the trembling form of the stranger's sickly wife. A few moments and Dick was beside the combatants, inquiring the cause of their hostile attitude. When Sam informed him that the stranger had twice, with his fist, felled the woman to the earth, his rifle raised instinctively to his shoulder, as if justice demanded instant and dreadful punishment for such a dastard act. Dick slowly remarked, as he directed his aim—“I'll sarve you out, you infernal savage!


The stricken wife observing the action, threw herself before the weapon, imploring the enraged host to spare her husband's life.

“Well, woman is woman,” soliloquised Dick; “for they'll stick to the devil, ef they ever take a notion to him. If you have the least hankerin' arter the mean varmint, in course I'll let him slide; but he must clar out of my diggins—I can't be near whar anythin' of his breed grows,—so arter breakfast we'll separate.”

When the morning meal was ended, the stranger drew up his wagon, thrust his companion into it, and sullenly departed, muttering a threatening farewell.

“God help that poor creatur,” said Dick, as his late guests disappeared from view, “she's got a hard row to hoe, and as for that sarpent with her, he'd better keep out of my tracks. I should be mightily tempted to sarch his carcass to see ef he had a heart in it. Sam,” continued he, “you're a nigger, but thar's more real white man under your black skin than could be found in an acre of such varmints as that sucker. Give me your fist, old fellar; while Dick Kelsy's got anythin' in this world, you shall share it!”

While this bond of closer friendship was being formed between master and slave, malice was holding her revel in the heart of their late guest. He had observed Dick's love for the spot where he had squatted, and judging rightly that he had neglected to file his claim to it in the Land Office, he stopped a short distance below him, intending to remain, and, if possible gain possession of it. Kelsy had his dislike for the stranger increased by finding him remain on his section, and he ordered him to leave forthwith. The stranger gave as an excuse, that his wife was so sick that she couldn't travel, and ended with a request that he would let him erect a hut to shelter her, while he went in search of a permanent location. In pity for her, Dick consented, and the stranger proceeded to prepare timber for a small cabin. The following Saturday the neighbors gathered, and by nightfall placed a roof over their heads, kindly supplied them with some necessaries, and left, each more confirmed in his dislike for the stranger. The next morning he started off, as many supposed, never to return; the natural kindness of the settlers was immediately manifested towards his wife, and nothing that would conduce to her comfort, was lacking in the cabin of this heart-broken woman.

After the lapse of several days, contrary to all expectation, the stranger returned, and a visible change was manifested in his manner—his surliness assumed a more impudent and offensive character, and on receiving a further intimation that it was time he was moving, he insolently told Dick to “clear out,” himself, for that he, (the stranger,) was the rightful owner of the claim. Dick laughed at him, and told him to be off quietly, that his carcass was safe while that woman clung to him.

Kelsy was laughing next day, down at the settlement, as he related the stranger's words, and described his insolent bearing; but his smile of scorn was turned to a frown of wrath, when the Land Agent, who happened to hear him, informed the unsuspecting squatter, that the stranger had, indeed, entered the claim his cabin was upon. Dick, on hearing this news, shivered the bottle in his hand to atoms, and drawing his breath through his teeth until it fairly whistled, he remarked—

“That stranger may have some of my claim, but his share shall be my signature to the title.”

The sun was fast sinking when Dick started home, rather limber from the effects of wrath and liquor. Having resigned himself to the care of his horse, he swung from side to side, in a state of dozing unconsciousness. When he neared his cabin, it had become pitch dark, to which, if possible, the woods bordering his claim, added a gloomier shade. The instant his horse entered beneath the foliage, a sharp pain shot through the side of the rider, so acute as to wake his powers suddenly into full consciousness. The spring he made in the saddle startled his horse forward into a rapid gait, and in an instant more, a sickly sensation robbed him of all consciousness. When he opened his eyes with returning animation, his look fell upon his faithful slave, who was bending, with an anxious countenance, over the rude couch of his master.

“Bress God! Massa Dick, you knows Sam, your ole nigga—I sees you does—dars life in you yet, massa,—dar is, but dis poor nigga had amost gib you up, for sartain!”

An unseen hand had, in the darkness, plunged a knife into Dick's body, as he entered the wood; he had clung to his horse's mane, until the animal stopped at his cabin door, where Sam, waiting for his master, had caught his bleeding and unconscious body in his arms as it fell reeling from the saddle. The faithful negro had staunched the blood, and applied every restorative his rude knowledge could devise; but it was long ere the eyes he so loved opened to the recollection of past events and present injury.

“That was a foul dig in the ribs, Sam,” murmured his exhausted master; “but ef I don't trail up the sarpint and pull his sting out, it'll be because I and that ar old rifle of mine has to part company!”

The natural strength of the patient, together with Sam's careful nursing, soon restored him to his legs, and a few days' gentle exercise imparted strength enough to his frame to support the weight of his rifle. A fixed resolve to trace the assassin added a severe cast to Dick's pale features—Sam, as he observed him, quietly shook his head, with the remark—“Ah, ah! Massa Dick's soon goin' Ingin huntin'—sure!

One morning, early, Kelsy ordered Sam to saddle his horse, and proceeded himself to clean his rifle; with more than usual care he adjusted each particular of his accoutrements, and started off to the settlement, taking the road leading by his neighbor's cabin. On his arrival, he gathered a few of his cronies together, who all knew of the dastardly attempt on his life, and imparted to them a scheme he had been maturing, for discovering if the stranger was the “stabber in the dark,”—which few seemed to doubt, but of which he wished to be certain.

As the sun inclined to the west, Kelsy made preparation for return, and changing his dress for a suit belonging to one of his friends, he stuffed his own with straw, surmounted the figure with his fur cap, and mounted it upon his horse before him, where it was secured to the saddle; four of his friends accompanied him, and thus prepared, they bent their course towards Dick's cabin. Night set in while they were on their march, and soon the moon rose, casting her soft light over a prairie landscape, as beautiful as ever the eye of man rested upon. It was a western scene of wild and picturesque loveliness, grand in its vastness of extent, and rich in its yet hidden resources. Its lonely quietude was calculated to subdue the wild passions which throbbed in the hearts of those who now broke its stillness; but a glance at the firm features of the party, proved that its beauty was unheeded by them as they swept onward to the dread business of their march. When Within a mile of Dick's habitation, they halted in a secluded hollow, where they resigned their horses to the care of one of the party, with instructions to turn Kelsey's horse loose about the time he supposed they, by a circuitous route, on foot, had reached the woods, and when he heard a shot, to follow with their other horses. Dick and his companions stole unperceived beneath the shadow of the wood, and cautiously approached the trail leading to his cabin; ere they had reached the spot, however, one of the party descried the horse leisurely wending his way across a strip of prairie, the figure seated upon his back swaying from side to side, so like his owner when “half sprung,” that they could with difficulty suppress a laugh. The sound of the horse's hoofs brought from concealment another figure, whose form was indistinctly visible, emerging from behind a thick covert; and the excitement of the moment, at thus having securely trapped the offender, had almost discovered them—their game, however, was too intent on his purpose, or he would have heard the slight exclamation which burst from the lips of one of the party. Moving stealthily to a good position he awaited horse and rider, and taking deliberate aim, fired. No movement of the figure indicated a hit, and the party could hear his exclamation of disappointment. The horse sauntered along undisturbed by the report, perceiving which, the assassin hastily reloaded, while Dick and his friends crept up unperceived almost to his side. Raising his rifle again, he steadily poised his aim, and pulled the trigger—erect the figure held its place, and resting his rifle upon the ground, he exclaimed—“I've hit him, or he's the devil himself!”

“I guess its the old gentleman come for you, stranger,” said Dick, as he snatched the rifle from his hand, and the whole party closed in a circle round him.

The detected squatter looked paralyzed—his tongue refused its office, while his form, quivering with apprehension, could scarcely keep erect, and his usually cold, uneasy eyes seemed fixed balls of light, so dreadful were they in their expression of coward fear. The party proposed to settle his business at once, and this movement loosened his tongue—he broke forth in piteous accents of supplication—“Oh, God! oh, God!” cried he, “you won't kill me—will you?”

“Well,” said one of the party, “we won't do anything else!

Kelsy interposed, and suggested that his death be deferred until daylight, in order that the stranger might see how it was done, and be put to sleep respectably. They immediately adjourned to Dick's cabin, where they found Sam holding the straw figure in his arms, and looking in a state of stupor at the horse; he thought his master was “done for;” but great was his joy when the well-known sounds of Kelsy's voice assured him of his safety.

The party seated themselves in a circle in the cabin, with the culprit in the centre, and his shrinking form, trembling with fear, and pallid, imploring countenance, looked most pitiful. As Kelsy gazed upon him the form of his sickly wife seemed to twine her arms around his neck, beseeching as when she before interposed herself between him and death, and the vision of his mind searched out a tender spot in Dick's heart. He resolved to give him a chance of escape, and, therefore, proposed to the party that they should decide by a game of cards, whether the stranger should die or be permitted to leave the country. Dick's friends protested against such mercy; but after an earnest appeal from him, in behalf of the woman, they yielded—cards were produced, and one of the party selected to play against the culprit. By Kelsy's entreaty, also, he was allowed the choice of his own game, and he selected euchre. All seated themselves closer around the players—breathing seemed almost suspended—a beam of hope lent a slight glow to the pallid countenance of the stranger, while the compressed lips and frowning brow of his antagonist, gave assurance that no mercy would temper his play for this fearful stake. The rest of the party shared his dislike for the culprit, who was looked upon as a common foe, and their flashing eyes were bent upon his swarthy countenance with an expression of deadly hate, which forced out the cold drops of perspiration upon his sickly brow, and sunk his heart with fear. The cards were cut, and the stranger won the deal—he breathed with hope—he dealt and turned up the right bower—his antagonist passed, and the stranger raising the bower, bid him play. The hand was soon finished and the stranger counted two! His visage lighted up, and he wiped his brow with a feeling of confidence in his luck The next hand the stranger ordered the card up and was euchered—they now stood even, and he again looked anxious. In the next two hands they successively won, each a single count, and it was the stranger's deal again—he turned up a king, and held in his hand the queen and ten of trumps, together with the eight of diamonds and the king and ten of clubs. His antagonist ordered the king up, and as the stranger discarded his diamond, a gleam of certain success overspread his visage—the rigid face of his antagonist betrayed no sign of exultation, but his brow, on the contrary, became closer knit into a scowl, which, by his party, was looked upon as a presage of defeat. Dick's friend led the jack of clubs—the stranger followed suit with his ten of clubs—then came the ace of trumps—the stranger paused a moment, and played his ten spot—out came the right bower, and he yielded his queen—the left fell before his eyes, and his last trump, the king, was swept away! At each play his countenance grew more and more ashy in its expression of despair and dread; his lips had lost their color, and his eyes had gained an intenseness of expression that seemed as if they could look into the very soul of the frowning figure before him, and read there his impending doom. For the first time a slight smile played upon the features of Dick's friend as slowly he spread before him the ace of clubs! The stranger crushed his King within his trembling hands and threw it from him, as he sunk into a state of stupor, the very counterpart of death.

“Your game's up, stranger,” coolly remarked the winner; “yes, it's up—played very neat—but it's up! And you've jest won a small patch of Kelsy's claim—about six foot by two, or thereabouts.”

The sun had begun to tip the tops of the forest trees, when this exciting contest was ended, and all the party adjourned to the outside, with the doomed stranger in their midst. They moved with silence, for a deed of blood was to be enacted. The law of the wilderness was about to offer up a victim for common safety—the midnight assassin to expiate his guilt upon the spot, and by the hand of him whom he had there endeavored to consign to death.—The music of the morning songsters met no harmonious accord in the hearts of those who now strode amid their melodies—the sweet morning air kissed brows fevered with passion, and the light breeze that played amid the forest grove and skipped innocently across the far spread prairie, was about to bear upon its pinions the shriek of agony. Having arrived at a suitable spot, they bound the culprit to a sapling, and he hung in his bonds already, apparently, bereft of life.

“Stick him up at a hundred yards, boys,” said Dick; “ef he is a snake, give him a 'small show' for life, and ef I miss him at the first fire we'll let him slip.”

The culprit aroused on hearing this, and plead for the smallest chance in the world.

“Don't shoot me like a mad dog!” he exclaimed, in most piteous accents.

“You're worse, you hound,” said his late antagonist; “and if Dick don't wind up your business for you, I will.”

“Come, boys,” continued Dick, “you all know that this old iron's certain, so give the varmint this chance—it'll please him, and he'll die off all the easier!”

After some persuasion, Dick's request was acceded to, and the parties took their positions. Life hung, for the culprit, by but a thread, and that thread the will of Kelsy. Slowly the latter raised his rifle, while the party, breathless, intently fixed their eyes upon the victim. Dick's hand began to tremble, and his aim became unsteady, for the sickly form of the stranger's wife again seemed to rise and plead for mercy—he rested his rifle on the ground, without the heart to fire; but, in an instant the vision fled, and his eye fell clear upon the countenance of the stranger; a morning ray lighting up his features, exhibited a gleam of mingled triumph, hatred, hope, and revenge—there was no mistaking its dark expression of contending passions. The pity that had almost unnerved Kelsy and saved his foe, vanished, and raising his rifle sudden as thought, the weapon rung out the stranger's knell. As the ball from its muzzle sped through his brain, a wild shriek arose upon the air, and all was again still—they loosened his bonds, and he fell forward, dead!

His remains were consigned to the earth without a tear, even from his companion, to whom the tragedy-had been imparted. His cruelties had long since obliterated from her heart the last spark of early fondness; all she requested, when the grave had closed over him, was to be sent to her friends in Ohio, which was kindly done by the settlers—Dick bestowing upon her his whole stock of fine furs to defray her expenses.

Kelsy set himself down in undisturbed possession of his claim, and Sam, his faithful slave, often points to the small green mound at the edge of the grove, with the remark—

“Dat's Massa Dick's signature to dis land claim—dat is!


It aint natral fur a fellar to tell of his gittin' licked, but I must tell you about that thar fight between me and Jess Stout—it war a screamer, by thunder! and ef I did gin in, it warn't in the course of human natur' to do any how else. That gal spontenaceously hankered arter Jess, and besides, he'd piled up the affection in her, by an amazin' long spell of courtin'. I did kinder edge into her likin', and gin to speckelate big on throwin' Jess, but that fight knocked my calculations all to fritters. I'm some in a bar fight, and considerable among panters, but I warn't no whar in that fight with Jess. In course, I'll tell you, boys, so sot yourselves round, and pass along that corn juice.

“You see, every time I come up from Lusiane, I found Jess hangin' round that gal, Sally Spillman, lookin' orful sweet, and a fellar couldn't go near her without risin' his dander—he was jealous as a hen with young chickens. I sot my eyes on her, to find out what Jess saw in her so amazin' inticin', and I swar ef a close examination didn't make me yearn arter her like a weaned yearling. She was all sorts of a gal—thar warn't a sprinklin' too much of her—she stuck out all over jest far enough without cushinin'—had an eye that would make a fellar's heart try to get out of his bosom, and then sich har;—her step was as light as a panter's, and her breath sweet as a prairie flower. In my opinion, the mother of all human natur' warn't an atom slicker model; she desarved the pick of a whole creation, and I jest felt that I was made a purpose for her!

“At all the frolicks round the country, down in the Missouri bottom, or up the Osage, Jess was hangin' arter that gal, lookin' honey at her, and pizin at the fellars who spoke pleasin' to her. I thort I'd try my hand at makin' him oneasy, so one night, at a frolick, I sidled up to her and axed how she wur, and ef that ailin' nigger of her daddy's wur improvin', what 'ud be the probable amount of the old man's tobaccer crop this season, and some other interestin' matters of talk. She said that she was thrivin', as usual, the nigger wur comin' on as well as could be expected, and the old man's crop promised to be purty considerable. Nothin' could be more satisfying so I kept on a talkin', and she got a laffin', and Jess begun a scowlin'. I seed he warn't pleased, but I didn't estimate him very tall, so I kept on, got a dancin' with Sally, and ended by kissin' her good by, that night, and makin' Jess jealous as a pet pinter!

“I wur agoin to start to Lusiane next day, with a flat load of tobaccer and other groceries, and afore I went, I thort I'd send a present of my pet 'bar cub' over to Sally, jest to have a sorter hitch on her till I'd git back; so I gits my nigger Jim and gins him the followin' note, with the bar cub, and special directions that he wur to give 'em both to Sally, herself:

     “'Panter Crik, near Bar Diggins,

     Juin twenty 4.

     “'To the captivatin' Miss Sally Spillman:

     “'Your tender adorer, Sam Crowder, sends you the followin'
     fust trofy of a hunt on the Osage; the condition of this bar
     are somethin' like him, the bar are all fat, he are all
     tenderness! Hopin' that you will gin up a small corner of
     your heart to the writer, while he is among the furriners of
     Lusiane, he will ever remember you, and be sure not to
     furgit to bring a pledge of affection from the sunny south,
     to bind our openin' loves.

     “'Yours, with stream, or agin it.

     “'Sam Crowder.

“I studdyed that out with considerable difficulty, and writ it with more, and 'stick me on a sand-bar' ef that Jess didn't way-lay Jim and read the note! Maybe it didn't stir up the alluvial bottom of his love fur Sally—the varmint's countenance looked as riled as the old Missouri in a June rise.

“Off I started next day, with my flat, for the imporium of the south, and as I war floating along, I couldn't help turnin' over in my mind what a scrougin smart family the Crowders would be, when Sally and I agreed upon annexation. I jest thort I could see 'young Sam,' the fust boy, standin' on the other eend of the flat, strong as a bar—eye like an Ingin—spry as a catamount—fair as Sally and keen as his daddy—I swar, I yelled rite out, thinkin' on it.

“While I was in this way rollin' in clover, by pic-turin' what was to be, they wur tarin' my character all to chitlins up at home. My perlite note was raisin' a parfect freshet of wrath agin me. That display of larnin', about bringin' home a pledge of affection, from the sunny south, most onaccountably oversot my whole family prospects. It wur a stumper to Sally, so she got Jess to explain it, and the way he did it was enormous.

“'Why, don't you see,' ses Jess, 'he means to bring you up one of his nigger children, from the south, to nuss! Nothing can be plainer—thar aint no other 'pledges of affection' than children, that I know on.'

“Well, I swar ef she didn't believe him.

“'The nasty dog,' ses Sally, 'does he think I'm agoin to nuss any of his yaller pledges—ef them thar is all he's got to offer, he aint wuth shucks, and ef you don't lick him fur his onmannerly note, you aint wuth shucks, nuther.'

“Not dreamin' of the row at home, I was a huntin' through Noo Orlins fur presents fur Sally. I bought a roll of ribbon, a pocket full of lace, and a bran new, shinin' silk parasol, and was comin' along, slow and easy, by the St. Louis Exchange, when I heerd Major Beard cryin' off a lot of field hands. I jest sauntered in as he was puttin' up a picanninny 'yaller gal,' about five years old. The little gal had no mammy livin', and looked sorter sickly, so nobody seemed anxious to git her. I hollered fifty dollars, and the little creatur' brightened up when she seed who was a biddin'; I didn't look like a sugar or cotton planter, and the creatur' seemed glad that I warn't. Some cotton fellar here bid sixty dollars, and she wilted rite down—I thort what a slick present she'd be fur Sally, and how well she'd do to tend the children, so I sung out seventy dollars; she knew my voice, and I could see her eyelids trimble. No sooner did the Major drop the hammer on seventy dollars, than she looked wuth a hundred, she was so pleased at my buyin' her. She was a nice little creatur', but her har was oncommon straight.

“I started up home next day, with my purchases, and sich a time as I had on the way. I got dreamin' so strong about bein' married to Sally, that I was etarnally wakin' up huggin' and kissin' the pillows, as ef they wur gals at a huskin'. At last I got home, tickled all to death at my future prospects. I met Jess at the landin'—he gin me a starr, looked at the little yaller gal, and then spread himself with a guffaw, as ef he wur goin' into fits. I riled up a little, but thought thar wur time enough to sarve him out, so I passed on. The fellars in the settlement seemed to be allfired pleased at my gittin' back, fur they kept a grinnin' and bowin' and lookin' at my little yaller gal.

“'Wont you take a little suthin', Sam,' said Jim Belt, the grocery keeper.

“'Not now, I thank you, Jim, ses I.' “'What, you aint agoin' in fur temperance pledges, too, are you?' asked Jim, and then the boys all holler'd as ef they'd bust thar heads.

“'Not ex-a-c-t-ly!' ses I, rather slow, tryin' all the time to find out what the fun war, but I couldn't get it through my kiverin' of har, so I gin it up and went home. Next day thar wur to be a campmeetin' down in the bottom, and all the boys and gals wur agoin' to it; so, to make a shine with Sally, I sent over word that I would call that mornin' and bring with me my fust pledge of affection, meanin' the parasol, and hoped it would be to her mind both in textur and color. Back came this note in anser:

     “'Kune Holler, Juli 8.

     “'Miss Spillman's compliments “'To Sam Crowder, Esq.; the
     fust pledge of his affections is a little too yaller, and
     the textur of its har is too tight a curl, and, more'n that,
     she aint ambitious to hev any of his pledges ef tha wur all

     “'Sally Spillman.'

“I nigh onto bust with madness!—I could feel every har on my head kindlin' at the eend, 'cause I knew sum cussed lie had been told her, and I blamed Jess fur doin' it. I jest swar a bible oath, I'd spile his pictur' so he couldn't enjoy campmeetin' much; so next mornin,' bright and airly, I accidentally fell in with Jess, goin' arter Sally, with all his Sunday kiverin' on, lookin' as nice as a 'stall fed two year old.' I rite up and asked him what he meant by tellin' lies to the galls about me; that I'd hearn on 'em all over the settlement.

“'I haint told no lie on you,' ses Jess, 'fur what's told, you told yourself—ef you hev nigger babies in the south, you needn't insult decent white gals by offerin' to let 'em nuss 'em—'

“I didn't wait till he finished afore I hit him, biff, alongside of his smeller, and went into him all-fours, catamount fashion. The thing had now cum to a windin' up pint—this fight war to eend the matter about Sally, and as I didn't want to gin her up easy, I laid myself out fur a purty long spell. I could soon see by the way Jess went to work that he'd kalculated upon a pretty big chunk of a fight, too, so we both began to save ourselves. I had a leetle the advantage of Jess, for he didn't want to spile his Sunday fix-ups, while I didn't care a cuss fur my old boat suit. When I'd grab his trowsers and gin 'em a hitch, he'd ease off, and then I'd lend him a staggerer, which was generally follered by his makin' me fly round like a weazel—cre-a-tion, how tough he war!

“While we wur havin' a rite smart time together, nary one of us seed Sally ridin' along down the wagin track, lookin' out fur Jess, but she seed us, hitched her horse, and climbed onto a stump to see the fight out. As I war carfully reachin' fur Jess' ear with my grinders, I heerd her sing out—

“'Tech it ef you dar!—you nigger cannibal!'

“Her hollerin' gin Jess an advantage and helped his strength powerfully, fur the next minit I war on my back and him right astraddle on me.

“'Sock your teeth into him, Jess!' screamed Sally, and about then, je-e-e-miny fellars, I leaped as ef lightnin' had hit me, fur his grinders had met through the flesh she called his attention to. I squirmed, and struggled, and chawed meat, but he held on—I grabbed his new trowsers, and tore them like paper—he was agoin to let go to kiver his coat tails over the torn place, but Sally hollered out agin—

“'Whip the varmint fust and then I'll mend 'em up!'” I squealed enough! rite out—it warn't no use a fightin' agin such odds. Arter Jess let me up, Sally looked at me, and puckered up her mouth as ef she had been eatin' unripe persimmons—

“'Enough!' ses she, 'well, may I git ager fits, ef you're fit fur anythin' but to be the father of yaller pledges!



This odd character has lately favored the west with a visit, and during two successive evenings he edified audiences, numbering about a thousand persons, in the rotunda of the St. Louis court-house. Some took him for the Wandering Jew, and as he inveighed against the evils of these modern days, they looked at him with a feeling of awe. One day opposite the Planter's house, during a military parade, George was engaged selling his edition of the “Advocate of Truth,” when a tall hoosier, who had been gazing at him with astonishment for some time, roared out in an immoderate fit of laughter.

“What do you see so funny in me, to laugh at?” inquired George.

“Why, hoss,” said the hoosier, “I wur jest a thinkin' ef I'd seed you out in the woods, with all that har on, they would a been the d—dest runnin' done by this coon ever seen in them diggins—you're ekill to the elephant! and a leetle the har-yest small man I've seen scart up lately.”

A sight at George, on his western tour, has brought to my recollection an anecdote, which entitles him to a place in our collection of odd characters;—it occurred several years since, in Philadelphia, and the writer was an eye witness of the occurrence.

George's favorite neighborhood for “holding forth,” was in and about the famous old “State House,” where, bare-headed—with unshorn beard, and adorned with a simple wooden cross, he, in a few moments, would collect a crowd. At length the police arrested him, for obstructing the passage, and George was sent to the Alms-House. In a few days, he escaped from the institution, and, boiling with indignation, hastened back to his old haunt, to lay his grievances before the people. Having provided himself with a couple of gimlets, he entered the building, raised the large window above the back entrance, and, placing himself on the old-fashioned entablature over the door-way, (the same spot where the Declaration of Independence was read from,) he shut down the window behind him, securing himself from interruption by boring his gimlets through the sash, into the frame. Then, with much solemnity, he proceeded to paraphrase the “Declaration,” applying it to his own particular case. The scene was truly ludicrous. Below, was one of the high constables and an assistant policeman, together with a numerous crowd of curious hearers.

“When, in the course of human events”—began George.

“Will you come down from there?” demanded the constable.

“A long train of abuses and takings up without authority,—”

“Aint you a comin'; now?—if you don't I'll bring you,” threatened authority.

“Our mayor, like the kings of old, set upon us swarms of corrupt and drunken officers to put the prophets of truth into pestilential abodes.”

“Now, do, George, stop your lingo—that's a good fellow,” said the officer, coaxingly, seeing that the usual means of reaching the offender were cut off; “and come down without bother.”

“Look up!” shouted the indignant advocate of truth, “lookup, you stiff-necked, corrupt son of Belial!—you dog in office!—you, that belch forth the corrupt effluvium of liquid death, commonly styled rum!—you are the chief of a band of authorised knaves, composed of evil expounders of the law, otherwise called pettifoggers, and certain other rogues in office, who are styled 'the police.'—You lead captive the senses of the mayor, who is as much bridled by your wickedness as the beast of the same name!—you cause him by your false tongues to do evil, but, there is a day coming—there is! when, at a bar where your credit has long since been chalked out, I'll make an ajffidavy will knock you so far into the regions of darkness, that the final trump will sound like a penny whistle to your ear!—do you hear that!”

The policeman did hear that, but his amiability could stand it no longer; so, procuring a watchman's ladder, he commenced climbing to the prophet, who coolly unscrewed his gimblets, hoisted the window, lifted up his robes, and, shouting “woe to the wicked,” beat a successful retreat.


Courtin' is all slick enough when every body's agreed, and the gal aint got no mischief in her, but when an extensive family, old maids, cross daddy, and a romantic old mommy, all want to put thur fingers into the young uns dish of sweet doin's, and the gal's fractious besides, why a fellar that's yearnin' arter matrimony is mity likely to git his fires dampened, or bust his biler.”

Thus reasoned Tom Bent to a select party of river cronies, who were seated around him upon the boiler deck of a Mississippi steamer, as she sped along one bright night in June, somewhere in the neighborhood of Bayou Teche. The subject was courting, and on that particular question Tom was considered an oracle, for, besides having a strong penchant for the fair sex, he had run many risks to ingratiate himself in their affections. Tom was now fast falling into the sear and yellow leaf of bachelorism, and although he had vowed unalterable affection to at least one fair one in each town between the mouth and the rapids, he still remained in unblessed singleness.

“How about that afarr of your'n with old Fecho's gal, in St. Louis, Tom?” inquired one of the circle.

“What, that little French gal?” inquired Tom, with a grin; “well, that thar was a salty scrape, boys, and though the laugh is agin me thar, I'm blessed if I don't gin you the sarcumstince.” So Tom squared himself for a yarn, wet his lips with a little corn juice, took a small strip of Missouri weed, and “let out.”

“That gal of old Fecho's wur about the pootyest creatur, fur a foreigner, I ever took a shute arter; her eyes jest floated about in her head like a star's shadow on a Massissippi wave, and her model was as trim as the steamer Eagle, 'sides, her paddles wur the cleanest shaped fixins that ever propelled anythin' human, and her laugh rung like a challenge bell on a 'fast trip'—it couldn't be beat. She run into my affecshuns, and I couldn't help it. I danced with her at some on the balls in Frenchtown, and thar I gin to edge up and talk tender at her, but she ony laughed at my sweet'nin'. Arter a spell, when I cum it strong about affecshun, and the needcessity of towin' side and side together, she told me that her old daddy wouldn't let her marry an American! Ef I warn't snagged at this, I wouldn't say so. The old fellar wur a sittin' on a bench smokin' and lookin' on at the dance, and I jest wished him a hot berth for a short spell. 'Well, Marie,' said I, c ef I melt the old man down will you gin in?'

“'Oh,' says she, 'you so vair strong at de vat you call coax, I shall not know how to say von leetel no.' So havin' fixed it all with her smooth as a full freight and a June rise, I drew up alongside of the old fellar, jest as he had cleared his chimley for a fresh draw of his pipe. Old Fecho had been a mountain trader, was strong timbered, not much the worse fur wear, and looked wicked as a tree'd bear. I fired up and generated an inch or two more steam, and then blew off at him. 'That's an onconscionable slick gal of your'n, Mounseer,' says I, to begin with, and it did tickle his fancy to have her cracked up, 'cause he thought her creation's finishin' touch,—so did I! 'Oui, sair,' says old Fecho, 'she vair fine leetel gal, von angel wizout de ving, she is, sair, mine only von fille.'

“'Well, she is a scrouger,' answered I, 'a parfect high pressure, and no dispute!'

“'Vat you mean by him, eh? vat you call s-c-r-r-r-ouge, eh? vat is he, sair, my leetel gal no vat you call von s-c-r-r-r-ouge, sair!' and here old Fecho went off into a mad fit, jest as ef I'd called her bad names. I tried to put down his 'safety valve,' but he would blow off his wrath, and workin' himself into a parfect freshet of rage, he swore he would take the little gal off home; and I'm blessed ef he didn't. As soon as I eyed the old fellar startin' I got in his wake and follered him, detarmined to find out whar he located, and arter an eternal long windin' through one street arter another, down he dived into French Hollow. Jest as he wur about to enter a house built agin the side of the hill, the old fellar heered my footsteps, and turnin' round in the darkness, he shouted—

“'Ah, ha! von sneak Yankee doodel, vat call my leetel gall von s-c-r-r-r-ouger, I shall cut you all up into von leetel piece vidout von whole.'

“You know, boys, I aint easy skeer'd, but I own up that old fellar did kind a make me skeery; they told sich stories about the way he used to skin Ingins, that I gin to think it was about best to let him have both sides of the channel ef he wanted it, so I didn't darr go to see Marie fur a long spell. One day I felt a strong hankerin', and jest strolled along the holler to git a glimpse on her, and sure enough thar she wur, a leanin' out the winder, smilin' like the mornin' sun on a sleepin' bayou. I sidled up to the house, and asked her ef I darr cum and sit up with her that evenin'. I told her I was jest fritterin' away all to nothin' thinkin' on her, and a small mite of courtin' would spur me up amazin', and then I gin her sich a look, that she fluttered into consent as easy as a mockin' bird whistles.

“'Oh, oui, you shall come sometime dis night, when mon pere is gone to de cabaret; but you must be vair quiet as von leetel rat, vat dey call de mouse, and go vay before he come back to de maison.'

“In course I promised to do jest as she said. I kissed my hand to her, and said aur ravoir, as the French say for good by, and then paddled off to wait for night. I felt wuss than oneasy until the time arriv, and when it did git round I gin to crawl all over—I swar I was a leetle skeered. Hows'ever, it warn't manly to back out now when the gal was expectin' me, so I started for the Hollow. I think a darker night was never mixed up and spread over this yearth—you remember, Bill, the night you steered the old Eagle square into the bank at Milliken's bend? well, it wur jest a mite darker than that! A muddy run winds along through the ravine whar the house stands, and I wur particularly near flop-pin' into it several times. A piece of candle in the winder lighted me to whar the little gall was a waitin', and when I tapped at the door below, she pattered down and piloted me up to the sittin' room, whar we sot down and took a good look at each other. She looked pooty enough to tempt a fellar to bite a piece out on her. I had all sorts of good things made up to say when a chance offered, and here the chance wur, but cuss me ef I could get out the fust mutter. Whether it wur skeer at the idee of the old Frenchman, or a bilin' up of affecshun fur his darter that stuck my throat so tight, I'm unable to swar, but thar I wur, like a boat fast on a sand-bar, blowin' some, but makin' mity little headway.

“'Vat is de mattair wiz you, Mounseer?' said Marie, 'you look vair much like de leaf in von grand storm, all ovair wiz de shake!'

“'Well,' says I, 'I do feel as ef I wur about to collapse a flue, or bust my biler, for the fact of the marter is, Marie, they say your old daddy's a tiger, and ef I git caught here thar'll be suthin' broke—a buryin' instead of a weddin';—not that I'm the least mite skeered fur myself, but the old man might git hurt, and I should be fretted to do any sech a thing.'

“'Oh, mon amie, nevair be fear fur him, he is von great, strong as vat you call de gentleman cow?—von bull,—but, mon Dieu! what shall I do wiz you, suppose he come, eh? He vill cut you into bits all ovair!' “'But, my angel,' ses I, 'he shant ketch me, fur I'll streak it like a fast boat, the moment I hear steam from his scape-pipe—the old man might as well try to catch a Massissippi catty with a thread line, as git his fingers on me.' I had no sooner said so, than bang! went the door below, and old Fecho, juicy as a melon, came feelin' his way up stairs, mutterin' like a small piece of fat thunder, and swarin' in French, orfully. I know'd thar warn't much time to spare, so I histed the winder and backed out. Jest as I was about to drop, Marie says to me—'Oh, mon Dieu! don't drop into de vell!' and instanter shut the winder. My har riz on eend in a moment—'don't drop into the well!' I'll tell you what, boys, a souse into the Massissippi in ice time warn't half as cold as her last warnin' made me. It was so etarnal dark that I couldn't begin to tell which side of the buildin' I wur on, and that wur an all important perticuler, fur it wur jest three stories high on one side, towards the Hollow, and it warn't only one on the side next the hill—in course, all the chances wur in favor of the well bein' on the low side. I'd gin all I had then to know which side was waitin' below fur me. I looked up, as I hung on, to see ef thar warn't a star shinin' somewhare, jest to give a hint of what was below, but they'd all put on thar night caps, and wouldn't be coaxed from under the kiver; then I'd look below, and listen, until I made sartin in my mind that I could hear the droppin' of water, somewhare about fifty feet below me! Old Fecho was a tearin' through the room, and a rippin' out French oaths, in an oncommon rapid manner, and declarin' that he knew some one had bin thar, fur he'd bin told so. Two or three times he appeared to be a rushin' for the winder, and the little gal would coax him back agin, and then he'd cuss de Yankee doodels, and grit his teeth most owdaciously. Well, ef I warn't in an oneasy situation all this time, then I'm more than human—my arms jest stretched out to about a yard and a half in length, and gin to cramp and git orful weak. I couldn't fur the life of me think on any prayer I'd ever heerd—at last, jest as one hand was givin' way its hold, I thort of a short one I used to say when I was a younker, and mutterin'—'Here I drop me down deep, I pray the Lord my bones to keep!' I sot my teeth together, drew a long breath, shut my eyes, and let go!—whiz!—r-r-r-ip!—bang! I went—as I supposed—about fifty feet; and didn't I holler, when I lit and rolled over, and the water soused all round me! 'Murder! oh, git me out, oh-o-o-o, murder! The people came a rushin' out of their houses, with lights, and sich another jargon of questions as they showered at me—askin', all together, who'd bin a stabbin' me? what wur the marter? and who'd hit me? I opened my eyes to tell 'em I'd fell from the third story, and broke every bone in my body, when, on lookin' up, thar wur the old Frenchman and his darter, grinnin' out of the top winder, about ten feet above me! The fact wur, boys, I'd dropped out on the hill side of the house, and jumped down jest four feet from whar my toes reached,—I had lit on the edge of a water pail, and it flowed about me when I fell over! Arter old Fecho told them the joke, they pretty nigh busted a larfin' at me. I crawled off, arter firin' a volly at old Mounseer, of the hardest kind of cusses, and from that day to this I han't gone a courtin' in French Hollow!


About the period fixed upon by Father Miller, for the general blowing up of the world, some of the engineers upon our western waters, who had been used to blowing up its inhabitants, became a little frightened at the prospect of having to encounter, in another world, the victims of steamboat disaster. Among these was Tom Bangall, the engineer of the Arkansas Thunder. Tom was a rearing, tearing, bar state scrouger—could chaw up any single specimen of the human race—any quantity of tobacco, and drink steam without flinching!—A collapsed flue had blown him once somewhere in the altitude of an Alpine height, but dropped him unharmed into the Arkansas, and he used to swear that after the steam tried to jerk him apart and found it couldn't do it, why, it just dropped the subject, as the stump speakers say, by dropping him into the “drink”—he therefore incontinently set water, hot or cold, at defiance. Tom was, withal, a generous, open-hearted, whole-souled fellow, and his cheering words to the emigrants on the boiler deck, and many a kind act to a suffering passenger, proved that beneath his rough exterior he had a heart open to gentle influences. As a further proof of this, Tom had a wife, a good wife, too, and what's more he tenderly loved her; but she in vain tried to cure him of drinking and swearing. Tom swore that he would swear, that a steamboat wouldn't work without some swearing, and if a fellar didn't drink he'd bust, and, therefore, it was necessary to take a bust now and then to keep out of danger. “There is no use,” he would say, “in blowing off steam from your 'scape-pipe agin it, for it has to be did!

One day on Tom's return home, he found Mrs. Mary Bangall weeping bitterly, and Tom became, instantly, correspondingly distressed.

“Why, Polly,” inquired he, “what's the matter, gal?—what's hurt you?—is anythin' broke loose that can't be mended?—what the thunder makes you take on so?—Come, out with the cause, or I shall git a blubberin' too.”

“Only look here, Tom,” said Mary, “here's a whole account of how the world is going to be destroyed this April.—Every thing has been counted up by Father Miller, and the sum total's a general burn! Now, Tom, don't swear, nor drink any more or you won't be able to stand the fire no more than gunpowder!”

Tom indulged in a regular guffaw at her distress, and told her she was a fool to be frightened at that—it was all moonshine, humbug—smoke,— that Father Miller was an old granny, and it warn't possible—anyhow he warn't afraid of fire, “so it might fire away!

“But, Tom,” continued Mary, “let me read to you the proof—it's irresistible, Tom,—the times and the half times, are so correctly added up that there can be no mistake, and if you don't make some preparation we will be separated for ever.”

The idea of a separation from Mary troubled Tom, but full of incredulity he sat down to listen, more to please her, and find something in the adding up of the catastrophe that would upset it. Mary commenced reading, and Tom quietly listening, but as she read the awful evidences of a general conflagration, the signs of the times, the adding up of the times, the proof of their meaning, and the dreadful consequences of being unprepared—with ascension robes, Tom grew serious, and at length looked a little frightened. He didn't want Mary to see its effect upon him, and so assumed an over quantity of indifference, but it was useless for him to attempt hiding his feelings from her prying eyes—she saw Miller's doctrine was grinding a hopper of fear in Tom's heart, and felt glad to see its effect. When she ceased he remarked, with a half-frightened laugh, that Father Miller ought to be burnt for thus trying to frighten people, and, “as for them eastern fellars, they are half their life crazy any how!”

Having tried thus to whisper unconcern to his troubled spirit, Tom set out for the boat, with the firm resolve, if he caught a Millerite to save him from the threatened burning by drowning him, for disseminating any such fiery doctrines. When he got on board he told the captain what had transpired at home,—how his wife had got hold of a Miller document from a travelling disciple, and, as well as he could, rehearsed the awful contents which she had read to him. The captain, observing the effect they had produced on Tom, seriously answered that the matter looked squally, and he was afraid them documents were all too true.

“True!” shouted Tom, “why, you aint green enough to swallow any such yarn—its parfectly rediculous to talk about burnin' every thing up. I'd like to see old Miller set fire to the Massissippi!”

“Its 110 funny matter, Tom,” replied the captain, “and if you keep going on this way you will find it so.”

“Here, give us somethin' to drink!” shouted Tom to the bar-keeper, (he began to get terrified at the serious manner with which the captain treated Millerism) “come, Bill,” said he, addressing the clerk, “let's take a drink.”

The clerk, who was a wag, saw through the captain's joke in a minute and when he winked at him, refused to taste, adding as an apology that “on the eve of so awful an event as the destruction of the world, he couldn't daringly indulge as he formerly did, so he must excuse him.”

“Well, go to h—ll, then,” says Tom, half mad.

The captain sighed, and the clerk put his hand upon his heart, and turned his eyes upward, as if engaged in inward prayer for his wicked friend. Tom swallowed his glass, and bestowing a fierce look upon the pair remarked, that “they couldn't come any of them thar shines over him, he wasn't any of that chicken breed!

“Poor fellow,” muttered the captain.

“Alas! Thomas,” chimed in the clerk.

Tom slammed the cabin door after him as he went out to descend below, swearing at the same time that all the rest of the world were turning damned fools as well as old Miller.

Steam was raised and the Thunder started. For a time Tom forgot the predicted advent, but every time he came up to the bar to get a drink, the serious look of the captain and the solemn phiz of the clerk, threw a cold chill over him, and made him savage with excitement. Every passenger appeared to be talking about Millerism, besides, a waggish friend of the captain's, a passenger on board, having been informed of the engineer's state of mind, passed himself off as a preacher of the doctrine, and talked learnedly on the prophecies whenever the engineer was nigh. It was comic to see the fierce expression of their victim's countenance, and how, in spite of himself, he would creep up to the circles where they were discussing the Second Advent, and listen with all ears to the rehearsal of its terrible certainty, then making for the bar, take another drink, and thrusting his hands deep into his pockets start down to the engine, with a scowl upon his swart countenance that would almost start a flue head from its fastenings.

“I'd quit this boat,” said Tom to his assistant, “if it warn't so near 'the 25th of April,'—cuss me if I'd stay aboard another minit, fur captain and all hands are a set of cowardly pukes!

“Why, what's the 25th of April got to do with your leavin', Tom?” inquired his partner.

“Nothin' particular, but if this confounded blow up or burn up should come off on that day, I wan't to be on the river—its safer; but if I should leave now I couldn't get on another boat by that time, and then I'd be in a hot fix.”

Here was a tacit confession by Tom, that he thought there was danger, and that there might be some truth in old Miller's prediction. The fact of his fears was forthwith communicated to the captain and clerk by Tom's partner, and his sufferings became increased—he could hear no sounds but—advent—Miller—bloe-up—dreadful destruction!—until his suspense became so horrible, that he wished for any termination so it would put an end to his dread. His partner ventured to increase his uneasiness by talking to him on the subject, but Tom threatened to brain him if he said anything about it in his presence—he remarked that “the noise of the engine was his only peace, and no frightened, lubberly sucker should disturb it by talking Millerism—if Miller was a goin' to burn the world, why, let him burn and be-(here, Tom for the first time checked an oath, and finished the sentence with) never mind, just let him burn, that's all.”

Starting up to the bar, without looking to right or left, he presented a bottle, had it filled with liquor and retreated, resolved to go as little as possible near either captain or clerk, for their solemn looking faces were contagious—they looked disaster.

At length the 25th of April dawned, and with its advancing hours Tom got tight, that is to say, so near intoxicated that he could only move around with extreme difficulty—he knew what he was about, but very little more. Sundry mutterings which he gave voice to, now and then, proclaimed the spirit at work within, and it would say:—

“Burn, ha!—burn up, will it?—goin' to take a regular bust and blow itself out! Great world, this!—g-r-e-a-t world, and a nice little fire it will be!” Then, thinking of Mary, he would continue—“Poor Mary—what a shock it will be to her, but she's on the safe side, for she belongs to meetin,”—and then he would get wrathy—“Let the old world burn, and go to splintered lightnin'—who cares?—The captain and clerk's got on the safe side, too,—they're afraid of the fire, eh?” Then he would cautiously emerge from his place by the engine, and peep out upon the sky, to see if the work of destruction was about to commence, and then returning, take another pull at the whiskey, until, by his frequent libations, he not only got blue, but every thing he looked at was multiplying—he was surrounded by a duplicate set of machinery—even his fist, that he shook at the intruding cylinder and piston rod, became doubled before his eyes, and all assumed the color of a brimstone blue! Tom became convinced, in his own mind, that the first stage of the general convulsion had commenced!

“Hello!—back her!” shouted the captain, “give her a lick back!—starboard wheel, there!”

“It's all up, now,” muttered Tom, “let's see you lick her back out of this scrape,” and staggering towards the steam valves, to try the amount of water in the boilers, he fell sprawling; at that moment the boat struck the bank with a bang that shook every timber in her; the concussion, also, injured a conducting steam-pipe just enough to scald Tom's face and hands severely, without endangering his life. As the stream of hot vapour hit him, he rolled over, exclaiming:—

“Good God!—it's all up, now!” and soon became utterly insensible

Tom was picked up and carried into the Social Hall, where restoratives were administered to recall him to consciousness, and remedies applied to heal his burns. All gathered in silence and anxiety around his pallet, watching for returning sensibility, the captain and clerk among the number, really grieved at the mishap, which they had no doubt was caused by their jest. While all breathlessly looked on, Tom gave manifestations of returning consciousness: of course, with sensibility returned feeling, and his burns appealed, most touchingly, to that sense. Twisting himself up, and drawing his breath through his teeth, he slowly remarked:—

“Jest as I thought—the d———l's got me, s-l-i-c-k enough, and I'm burnt already to a cinder!”

There was no resisting this—all hands burst into a roar of laughter. Tom couldn't open his eyes, but he could hear, and after they had done laughing, he quietly remarked:—

“These imps are mightily glad because they've got me! Here followed another roar, and when it subsided, the captain approached him, and called his name—

“Tom, old fellow,” said he, “you're safe!”

“What, you here, too, captain? I thought you had jined meetin' and saved your bacon.—So they've got you, too,—well, a fellar aint alone then.”

Here the clerk spoke to him.

“What, you, too, Bill?—well, 'there's a party of us,' any how, but it's so confounded dark I can't see you, and its hotter than-(here he checked himself with a shudder, and added,) Yes, I'm certain we're thar!” sighing heavily, he murmured—“Poor Mary—Oh, my Mary.”

By the efforts of the captain and clerk Tom was made to understand the true state of the case, and through their kindness and attention, was soon able to return to duty, and though he would after laugh at a jest about old Father Miller, yet he was never again known to drink whiskey. When irritated now, Tom always shuts his lips tight, and chokes down the rising oath. Mary is gratified with the change, although she wept at the severity of the means by which he was converted.


Liberti, Missury, May 6t. 18 forty 5.

Cousin Jim, tha aint nuthin' occurred wuth ritin' about in our settlement fur a long spell, but about the beginnin' of last week, thur war a rumor sot afloat in town, which kept the wimen for two or three days in a continooal snigger, and it war half a day afore the men could find out the rights of the marter—sech anuther fease as all the gals got inter, war delightful to contemplate. The boys kept a askin' one anuther, what in the yearth wur the marter, that the gals kept a whisperin' and laffin' round town so—at last it cum out! and what do you think, Jim, wur the marter?—You couldn't guess in a week. It aint no common occurrence, and yet it's mighty natral. Little Jo Allen, the shoemaker, had an addition to his family, amountin' to jest three babbys—one boy and two gals! His wife is a leetle creatur', but I reckon she's “some” in countin' the census, and sech anuther excitement as her little brood of pretty babbys has kicked up among the wimen, is perfectly inticin' to bachelors. When the interestin' marter war furst noised about, the wimen wouldn't believe it, but to know the rights of it tha put on thur bonnets and poured down to see little Mrs. Allen, in a parfect stream of curiosity; and, sure enough, thar tha wur, three raal peert lookin' children, all jest alike. Bein' an acquaintance of Jo's he tuck me in to see his family, and it wur raaly an interestin' sight to see the little creaturs. Thar tha wur, with thur tiny faces aside each other, hevin on the prettiest caps,—all made and fixed by the young wimen, as a present to the mother,—and then thur infantile lips jest openin', like so many rose buds poutin', while thur bits of hands, transparent as sparmacity, wur a curtin' about and pushin', all doubled up, agin thur little noses, and thur mother all the time lookin' at 'em so peert and pleased, jest as ef she war feelin' in her own mind tha war hard to beat—addid to which, thar stood thur daddy, contemplating with a glow of parentil feelin', the whole unanimous pic-tur! It aint in me, Jim, to fully describe the univarsel merits of sech a scene, and I guess it couldn't receive raal jestis from any man's pen, 'cept he'd ben the father of twins at least.

“Gracious me,” sed Mrs. Sutton, a very literary worain, who allays talks history on extra occasions, “ef that little Mrs. Allen aint ekill to the mother of the Grashi!”

She looked at little Jo, the daddy, fur a spell, and tuk to admirin' him so that she could scacely keep her hands off on him—she hadn't no babbys, poor womin!

“Ah, Mister Allen,” ses she, “you are suthin' like a husbind—you're detarmin'd to descend a name down to your ancesters!”

I raaly believe she'd a kissed him ef thur hadn't ben so many wimen thar. The father of the babbys wur mitely tickled at furst, 'cause all the wimen wur a praisin' him, but arter a spell he gin to look skary, for go whar he would, he found some wimen tryin' to git a look at him—tha jest besieged his shop winder, all the time, and kept peepin' in, and lookin' at him, and askin' his age, and whar he cum from? At last sum of the gals got so curious tha asked him whar he did cum from, any how, and as soon as he sed Indianee, Dick Mason becum one of the popularest young men in the settlement, among the wimen, jest 'cause he war from the same state.

Things went on this way fur a spell, till at last tha heerd of 'em in the country, and the wimen all about found some excuse to come to town to git store goods, jest a purpose to see the babbys and thur parents. The little daddy war wusser plagued now, and they starr'd at him so that he couldn't work—the fact wur his mind war gittin' troubled, and some of the wimen noticed the skary look he had out of his eyes, and kept a wonderin' what it meant. One mornin' it war noticed by some of the gals that his shop warn't open'd, so tha got in-quirin' about him, and arter a sarch he cum up missin'—well, I'm of the opinion thar wur an excitement in town then, fully ekill to the president's election. Every womin started her husbind out arter Jo, with orders not to cum back without him, and sech a scourin' as tha gin the country round would a caught anythin' human—it did ketch Jo—on his road to Texas! When tha got him back in the town agin, a committee of married men held a secret talk with him, to larn what the marter wur, that he wanted to clear out, and Jo told 'em that the wimen kept a starin' at him so he couldn't work, and ef he war kept from his bisness, and his family continooed to increase three at a time, he'd git so cussed poor he'd starve, and tharfore he knew it 'ud be better to clar out, for the wimen would be sure to take good care of his wife and the babbys.

Old Dr. Wilkins wur appinted by the men to wait on a meetin' of the wimen, and inform them of the fact, that tha wur annoyin' the father of the three babbys, and had amost driven him out'n the settlement The Doctor, accordin' to appintment, informed the wimen, and arter he had retired tha went into committee of the whole, upon the marter, and appinted three of thur number to report at a meetin', on the next evenin', a set of resolutions tellin' what tha'd do in the premises, and governin' female action in the partickler case of Jo Allen, his little wife, and three beautiful healthy babbys.

When the hour of meetin' had arriv, Mrs. Sutton's parlors wur crowded with the wimen of the settlement, and arter appinten Widder Dent to the cheer tha reported the committee on resolves reddy, and Mrs. Sutton bein' the head of the committee she sot to work and read the followin' drawn up paper:—

Whereas, It has ben sed by the wise Solomon of old that the world must be peopled, tharfore, we hold it to be the inviolate duty of every man to git married, and, moreover, rear up citizens and future mothers to our glorious republick; and,

Whereas, It is gratifyin' to human natur', the world in gineral, Missury at large, and Liberty in partickler, that this seltlement has set an example to the ancesters of future time; which will not only make the wimen of this enlightened state a pattern for thur children, but a envy to the royal wimen of Europe, not forgettin' the proud mother of the Lions of Ingland, but will elevate and place in and among the furst families, fur ever here-arter, the mother that has shed such lustre upon the sex in gineral; and

Whereas, It is the melancholy lot of some to be deprived of doin' thar duty in the great cause of human natur', because the young men is back'ard about speak-in' out, it is time that some measures be taken inimical to our general prosperity, and encouragin' to the risin' generation of young fellars round town; tharfore,

Resolved, That, as married wimen, our sympathies, like the heavin' of natur's bosom, yearns with admiration and respect fur that little womin, Mrs. Allen, and as we see her three dear little babbys, reclinin' upon thur mother's female maternal bosom, our beatin' hearts with one accord wish we could say ditto.

Resolved, That in the case of Mrs. Allen we see an illustrious example of the intarnal and extarnal progress of that spreadin' race, the Angel Saxons; and time will come when the mothers of the west will plant thar glorious shoots from one pinnacle of the Rocky Mountains to the tother, and until thar cry of liberti will be hollered from one pint to the next in a continooal skreech!

Resolved, That Mister Joseph Allen, the father of these three dear little babbys, shall receive a monument at his deth, and while he is livin', the wimen shall ony visit his shop once a week to look at him, 'cept the married wimen, who shall be permitted to see him twice a week and no offener, pervided and exceptin' tha want to git measured fur a par of shoes.

Resolved, Mister Joseph Allen shall hev the custom of the whole settlement, for he is a glorious livin' example of a dotin' husbind.

Arter these resolutions had ben unanimously passed, Mrs. Sutton addressed the meetin', in a stream of elegance, wharin she proved, clar as a whistle, that a family war the furst consideration fur a settler in a new country and town lots the arter question. “She acknowledged the corn,” she sed, “that it war soothin' to look often at thur neighbor Allen, but his peace of mind war the property of his family, and she hoped the ladies wouldn't disturb it, 'cause the loss of sech a husbind, would be a sufferin' calamity to the settlement.” The meetin' adjourned, and Jo went back to work, singin' and whistlin' as happy as usual, and ever sence he's had a parfect shower of work, for the gals all round the country keep goin' to him to git measured, tha say he desarves to be incouraged.

Your furst Cousin,

Bill Sapper.


Tom C. H————, Esq., a genius, whose ideas of life were on such a magnificent scale that they outran his interest, capital and all, was seated upon the porch of a fashionable hotel, in a large eastern village, one bright Monday morning, cogitating how, in the nature of things, it was possible for him to compass a dinner. The long score, unpaid, which stood recorded on the books within, precluded the idea of getting one there without the tin, and numerous searches through sundry pockets about his person were unrewarded by a single shiner. The case was desperate, but great minds are always equal to great emergencies, and Tom's was of that order. His coat had been renovated by a scourer, for whom he had written a love letter, his hat had been ironed by a good-natured hatter, who had enjoyed his custom in better days, a new coat of japan varnish had been lavished upon his cane, his dicky was passable, and no gentleman would think of examining the extremities of his covering, or pry into the shifts he had been put to for a shirt. Tom thought himself passable, and he resolved to pass off for a dinner, if possible. A stranger lolling easily on a settee near him looked vulnerable, and Tom, approaching him in a very bland and friendly manner, remarked:—

“Excuse me, sir, but you look so like an old friend of mine, J. B————, who has resided for years in the south, that I can't help addressing you.”

“I am from the south, sir,” answered the stranger, courteously, “but not the person you speak of—know him, however, and am pleased to encounter a friend of his.”

“That's it,” said Tom to himself, “got him as easy as rolling off a log!”

An animated conversation ensued, which ended by Tom being asked to dine, and when the gong proclaimed the table spread, in walked the stranger and Tom, arm-in-arm, large as life and twice as natural. He called the waiters with an air of ease, passed the stranger's wine with friendly freedom, laughed musically, jested with spirit, wiped his mouth with grace, and, in short, completely captivated the southerner. During the period of Tom's luxuriating, he was observed by the landlord, who, indignant, sent a servant to order him from the table. Tom had “come it” over him for so many odd dinners, without a shadow of prospect for pay, that he would stand it no longer. The servant approached, whispered in his ear, and stood off to give him room to move. Tom clutched the wine bottle, with the intention of hurling it at his head, but altered his purpose, and poured out another glass, drank it off, looked daggers at the servant, and in a moment more smiled confidence upon his friend.

“Would you believe it,” said Tom, to the southerner, “that since my absence from the city for a few days past, a rival house of our shipping firm has whispered the possibility of our failure, and this rascally landlord, having heard the calumny, has insulted me here at table by sending a servant to demand the trifling sum I owe him.”

The southerner was burning with indignation.

“It is too humiliating;” added Tom, “not dreaming of such an outrage, I am entirely unprovided at the moment.”

“Here, my dear fellow,” promptly proffered his friend, “here is my pocket-book, make use of it without hesitation.”

“You're very kind,” said Tom, “very, I will but borrow this thousand dollar bill for a moment—I know the rascal can't change it!”

With an air of offended dignity, Tom approached the office of the hotel, the landlord, frowning with anger, stood at the desk, the offended “diner out,” put his hand to his eyes, as if hiding deep emotion, and then addressing the landlord in a grief-stricken voice, he said:

“I never dreamed of such an insult from you, sir, at such a time, too, just as my uncle in the south has expired,—and his agent with me to deliver up the portion bequeathed to me—it is—it—sir, I cannot express in language my feelings. Take out of that the paltry sum I owe you,”—throwing down the thousand dollar bill,—“and henceforth I never will enter your door. Just at a time too,” he further added, “when I had intended to make your house my home, and endeavor to make some return for your forbearance. It is too much—my feelings are lacerated,” and here he became almost overpowered by emotion.

The strip of crape around his hat—put there to hide the greasy band—the thousand dollar bill, and the renovated coat, which looked like new on the possessor of such a sum, all assured the landlord that he had been hasty. He, therefore, denied the indignity, straight, said that it was an impertinence of his servant, who had twice before offended his best guests by his insolence, and assured Tom that he would discharge the fellow forthwith—pushed back to him the thousand dollar bill, and begged he would forget the circumstance—indeed, he felt shocked that such an outrage had been perpetrated upon his oldest friend and customer. These warm expressions mollified Tom's wrath, and folding up his bill he walked back, resumed his seat, returned the bill to the southerner, merely remarking he had “brought the landlord to his feelings,” and cheerfully sipped a little iced champagne. As he left the table arm-in-arm with his friend, the landlord approached, bowing, and begged to know where he should send for his trunk, as No. 24, a fine airy room, which would suit him to a charm, was at present empty. Tom said he would send the baggage up, and after lighting a choice Havana, strolled out with an air aristocratic.

In good time, the trunk arrived—a rude one, but very heavy. The landlord winked as the servant bent beneath its weight, and remarked, as he paid the porterage, that a large quantity of bullion was generally rather heavy. Tom was in clover—the thousand dollar bill got whispered about, and one of his creditors, a fashionable tailor, insisted on trusting him for another suit; he yielded after much persuasion, and it was astonishing how everything altered with Tom's appearance. His note was good for any small sum now, and it was a pleasure to make his acquaintance.

In the course of about six months the landlord thought he would just hint to Tom that a small check would be agreeable, as they were hard pushed. The hint was given, and he received a check—anything but a cash one, though. Tom very coolly informed him that the agent who had raised his hopes was a rascally impostor.

“But the thousand dollar bill, Mr. H.?” said the landlord, inquiringly.

“Was handed to me, by the rogue, to keep up appearances,” coolly responded Tom.

“I shall seize your baggage, sir!” cried the enraged host.

“I can't help it, my dear fellow,” said Tom; “you know if I had a 'pocket full of rocks,' you should share them, for I like you, vastly—I do—cuss me if I don't; so keep cool, and keep the baggage until I make a draw and raise the little sum.”

The trunk was seized, and so roughly that it burst open, when the landlord discovered that if Tom had no pocket full of rocks, it was because he had stowed them all in his trunk, and that accounted very naturally for its being so heavy!


An esteemed friend of ours, who now, heaven rest his spirit, sleeps in the tomb, had a curious method of relating a story; and if his hearer was of an impatient nature, it would be sorely tried before he heard the conclusion of any yarn the “Consul” might start to favor him with. On one occasion, some months since, he seated himself at my elbow, while I was busily perusing a piece of news in which Sir George Simpson's name appeared, and taking the knight's cognomen for a text, he insisted on relating to me an extraordinary circumstance, which drew forth a correspondingly extraordinary remark from the said Sir George. With a pencil, unperceived by the relater, I stenographed his story, nearly word for word, and as it is replete with interest, I do not feel justified in withholding it at the present time from the public; so, here it is:—

“I'll tell you an extraordinary circumstance about George Simpson,” said the “Consul.” “You see, when I was at my brother's, on Staten Island, some years since—at his country seat, living with his family—(my brother Bill, it was)—there was some six children, and I lived at home there—the oldest not more than fourteen, and I used to take him out hunting with me;—the young rascal was a good shot, too! You see I was there at that time on my oars, doing nothing, and had plenty of time to spare, which I used to fill up by fishing and hunting, sometimes for days together—pretty poor luck at that, often, but I didn't care, as time wasn't valuable. Well, you see, my brother Bill used to invite some of the people in the neighborhood to dinner, and often there were distinguished visiters on the island—it's a first rate place in summer—and Bill had every thing nice on his table; he took some trouble to keep it fine, and he had a reputation for being a good liver. You could see he liked good things by his appearance, for he was corpulent. Well, you see, Sir George Simpson happened to be invited to dine—Sir George, the Scotchman, old fellow—belonging to the Hudson Bay Fur Company; Scotch as the devil!—old tory at that; he has travelled all over the north-western territory, and Oregon, and clear up to Behring's Strait; knows the worth of a wild-cat skin in any market in the world, old Sir George does—a cursed old Jew, too! Well, as we were all seated at the table—I on my brother Bill's right, and Sir George on his left—(Sir George was dressed in check pants and a snuff-colored coat, looking as pompous as the red lion of England, although he was only a Scotch clerk of the Fur Company)—-just as Bill's oldest boy asked for something at table, and I was help-him to a bit of veal kidney—the young rascal was fond of kidney, and would have it when it was on the table—says Sir George, says he—and my brother Bill, who was just turning up his plate at the time, stopped and laid down his fork, and I turned round to hear what he had to say—(the old fellow always spoke slow, with considerable Scotch accent, and every body wanted to hear—it's the most extraordinary circumstance or remark, whichever you please, as I said, that ever I heard)—says Sir George, says he, 'I shouldn't wonder if we have to fight about Oregon yet!'”


St. Louis has obtained the reputation of being a dangerous climate for infants, and the bills of mortality, as they have from time to time exhibited an alarming number of deaths among children, have called forth learned disquisitions from the “medicine men,” and some new views from those who are without the pale of regular practice. All seemed to agree that the mortality every summer was alarming, but no two united in assigning the same cause for the fatal result. After listening patiently to both sides, I sought information from the suffering party, and their opinion may be gathered from the complaints of their correspondent Bub. He says:

Dear Sir:—Of late I perceive the public are making some stir about us babies; may heaven vouchsafe healthy children to our defenders. I have a string of sorrows to relate myself, and my poor bowels cry out for protection; you must therefore permit me to say a few words. My Ma is what you would call a fashionable woman, and although she loves her baby, yet she says it is not fashionable for mammas in the southern states to nurse their own babies; I am, consequently, turned over to the care of nigger Molly, and Lord preserve me, such nursing as I get would kill a young Indian. I am fed with every thing, from a green apple to a chunk of fat pickled pork, and the sufferings which I undergo therefrom, would crack a sucking bottle, or rend a diaper in tatters. After feeding me into sickness, they set a doctor at me, who physics me into a state of quiet insensibility, and they then say, “bess its ittle bessed heart it's ditten better, it is.” I get a little peace until I get strong enough to cry out, and then nigger Molly stuffs me to keep me quiet, and I go through another spell. I see our dog Flora watching her pups, and if any person goes near them she is almost ready to tear them to pieces; I wish my Ma was as careful of me. I see a poor woman opposite kissing her baby, and I envy that child; nobody kisses me but black Molly, and she does it to smother my cries of suffering. I don't know what kills other babies, but this treatment will soon finish me Bub.


How are you?—You have published my letter, and I am glad to see that nigger Molly cannot smother my cry to the public—if I don't give her scissors, it will be because she smothers me outright. You must know Molly keeps two bottles filled with liquid, one of which she administers to me, and the other to herself, and they both have about the same effect, only hers smells worst. Hers she calls whiskey, mine cordial. The other morning Molly set me down on the floor, beside a pan of water, and commenced taking comfort from her bottle, and I, feeling feverish, commenced comforting myself by dabbling in the pan until I was all wet; Molly perceiving this picked me up to slap me, but her cordial floored her. I should have been glad of this, only she nearly killed me in her fall, and because I screamed, as any baby would do, she clapped her black lips to mine, smelling horribly as they were of whiskey, and kept in my breath until I was as black in the face as herself. I yelled at this double outrage, and she silenced me by pouring a double dose of cordial down my throat, which threw me into a state of insensibility, from which I awoke almost dead. My mother asked to see me, and when she heard me moaning, she said “the ittle bessed dear is suffering wis its too-sys.” I aint suffering with my teeth—I'm suffering with nigger Moll's nursing.



Hello, boys:—Flourish trumpets! merrily beat your drums—I'm a saved sucker! A day of hope and promise has shed its light upon my infantile head, and bright visions of a pair of small breeches to be worn by me, float airily round my head—they appear plain and palpable in the vista of the future—buttons, pockets, suspenders and all—vive la pantalons! The other morning my Pa drew forth the copies of the Reveille from his book case, and commenced reading them for Ma's amusement. Suddenly he cast his eye on my letters, and straight he commenced them—he laughed, and then Ma laughed, and then I crowed. By and by, as he proceeded, Ma began to look angry; she cast a glance at me, and then her conscience smote her—I was wasted to a shadow—on went Pa with the letters; Ma wept, I crowed, and nigger Molly gave me a pinch—a yell followed and the clouds burst!

“Give me that child, you hateful jade, you; how dare you hurt it?” cried Ma.

“Please God, I didn't do nuffin ob de sort, missus; I'd do any thin else, missus, dan hurt de baby,” answered Moll.

“Get out of my sight, you hussy!” cried my enraged mamma; “you have nearly killed de bessed ittle pet—mamma's dear, bess its heart—get out of my sight; if ever you touch it again, I'll punish you severely.”

Molly fled, Pa chuckled to himself, and I crowed again—I tried to hurrah! How shall I describe the change which stole over me, body and spirit, as, nestling in my mother's sweet bosom and receiving her fond caress, I was permitted abundantly to drink at “Nature's pure fount, which, at my cry, sent forth a pearly stream to cherish my enamelled veins.” A sweet sleep visited my pillow again, and the fond endearments which waited on my waking moments were life and joy to me. My Ma, now, is rapidly improving in health—I, of course, will grow fat; and just wait until I'm able to wear them breeches and beat a small drum, if I don't visit the Reveille office and give you the serenade of “Oh, be joyful,” until your petrified stump will execute a double shuffle, then say my name aint Bub.


Hello, Drummers:—Whoop! hey! cock-a-doodle-doo-o-o! If I aint some by this time I wouldn't say so! You remember what a sickly state I was in when I commenced telling you my grievances?—how my complaints wrought improvement and rescued me from nigger Molly? Well, ever since then, it's a surprise to learn the way my body has spread—I'm a small Lambert, and have got six teeth. Aint I some? Talk of your Missouriums!—only look at me! Well, between you and me, I didn't cut them teeth for nothing; I find a fellow don't get knowledge without paying for it; I suffered in teething, but I learned some. Women who pay no attention to their babies, envy me my fat—I'm a kind of living rebuke to them, and, for a year old, I'm rather a heavy rebuke. They every now and then say: “Why, bless me, Mrs. T————, you'll kill yourself nursing that big fat child.” The answer they get, generally, is, “Well, it will get killed if I don't!” That's the way to tell it!—bravo, Ma! “Well, but, Mrs. T————, why don't you let Molly relieve you of such a load?” Ma answers, “It's because Molly nearly relieved me of him altogether—he would have died from her nursing.” That's a fact!—hit 'em again, Ma. “My children,” says Mrs. Nevernurse, “get along very well without me.”

“Yes,” answered Ma, again, “you have only two living out of six.” That was a wiper!—how she twisted her face at it! I think I'm safe enough, but my peace is sadly troubled with fear when I hear some of these old women giving Ma advice. It would do you good to see old Molly look at me, now and then, saying, with her big eyes, “Well, bress de Lord, I'm clar ob dat brat, but I should jis like to hab him for a a week, I'd take de sassy look out ob his face.” I'd like to try my six new teeth on her black hide.

You shall have that serenade, Drummers, and no mistake. Bub.


Gents:—How d'ye do? I've just had a good long pull at the titty, and have got on a clean warm diaper; and feeling pretty comfortable, I think I'll give you another small epistle. I'm going to get into trouble—I feel it in my bones. My Ma has quarreled with her old physician, and has employed a new one, young Dr. Pliant—between you and me, I think they should have named him Verdant. This new doctor wants to please, so anything the women propose is exactly right. “Don't you think, Doctor,” says one, “that Mrs. T———— will destroy her health, nursing that fat child?”

“Certainly, maam, most unquestionably, Mrs. Helpalong; the strength of the mother being inadequate to the sufficient indevelopment of the ponderous system of meat-gather-upon-its-bones-ativeness of the infant, it consequently follows that the thin-down-to-a-light-alti-tudity of the fill-up-and-get-strong-ative powers of the mother naturally must result.”

“I thought so, Doctor,” says Mrs. Helpalong, and this clear-as-mud evidence against my comfort is reiterated to my mother. “Do you really think, Dr. P., that I am endangering my health?”

“That depends upon how you feel,” says the doctor. “Why,” says Ma, “I feel as well as ever I did in my life.”

“Your system, then,” says the doctor, “is what we call in the south sui generis—that is, you can stand nursing, and, consequently, the babe having a tendency to the natural milk which surreptitiously flows, I might say, from the secretive portion of the female os frontis of the breast, it must follow, as a result from these multifarious and indigenous effects, that no danger can ensue from your nursing.” I'm safe as long as my mother keeps in good health; but Lord bless me, should she get ill, I'm a gone sucker—this new physician would dose her and me into kingdom come in about a week. I heard quite a discussion about his merits yesterday. Mrs. Enquiry says that he used to be a fiddler about two years ago, but Mrs. Helpalong says it is no such thing—that he always was a gentleman, and taught school before he took up the profession—that he studied regularly a whole season, and took his diploma in the spring;—she sticks to that, Mrs. Helpalong does, and I guess she is about right. Aint my case critical? Bub.


I'm here again:—Important events having transpired since I last wrote to you, it has been deemed proper to send a synopsis of them to you for publication, in order that the world in general may know western babies are some, and when well nursed a good deal more than some. A most gratifying reformation has been effected in certain circles by my letters, and, indeed, wherever they have been read, nigger nurses, paregoric, sucking-bottles, coarse diapers, and sundry other abuses have entirely disappeared. The effect has been a corresponding improvement in babies, generally, and your correspondent in particular, who is now admitted to be a whapping child for a small family.

On last Christmas, a number of our parents having met together to celebrate the day, all of us youngsters were put into the nursery together, and the clatter of discussion which followed would have thrown a peevish nurse into hysterics. Charley Wilgus proposed that a meeting should be held upon the spot, and a silver pap spoon voted to me for my able letters in defence of infantile rights. Asa Keemle seconded the motion, and it was unanimously carried. Charley Wilgus was thereupon chosen chairman, and Asa Keemle, secretary. The president mounted a pillow, and called the meeting to order by ringing the bells on his coral. On motion, a committee was then appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting, and the following boys, having cut their eye-teeth, were selected to draft said resolutions:

Augustus Vinton, Edward Shade, John Charless, Christopher Wigery, John Dalrymple and Wallace Finney.

The committee having retired, Colton A. Presbury, Jr., offered the following resolution, which he prefaced by some very pertinent remarks:

Resolved, That cutting teeth is a sharp operation, and should therefore, be deferred until maturity.

Presbury G. A. Colton, a little fellow who had just cut his first “double,” opposed this resolution, on the ground of its interfering with “future prospects,”—he went in for teeth now, and the cutting to come being left an open question. The resolution was rejected.

Rucker Smith now rose to address the meeting, when some objection was made to him because he sucked milk from a bottle; it was, however, concluded that he might address the chair if his diaper was pinned tight; on examination he was permitted to proceed. He commenced describing the horrors of a cold bath, and was interrupted by the president, who informed him that the subject of water came more particularly under the head of streams, and could not then be entertained by the meeting. He then proceeded to describe the delights of a sucking-bottle, and was cried down by the unanimous voice of the meeting. Some one now commenced a speech against paregoric, whereupon the assembly, speaker and all, went immediately to sleep!

They were aroused from their slumber by the return of the committee, which, through their chairman, Augustus Vinton, reported the following resolutions:

Resolved, That babies are, and of right ought to be, natural-born suckers.

Resolved, That the introduction of negro nurses among white babies was a dark era in infantile history.

Resolved, That all artificial efforts, in regard to babies, are no go, and that the old fashion defies the ingenuity of Yankeedom to improve on it.

Resolved, That “being born with a silver spoon in your mouth” is a good thing, but an unlimited chance at the titty is a better.

Resolved, That all anti-nursing mothers are undeserving of lively husbands.

Resolved, That we look with feelings of compassion upon those who have adopted children.

Resolved, That Bub deserves a silver pap spoon, and shall have one.

These resolutions having been unanimously adopted by the meeting, it was—

On motion of O. M. Ridgely, seconded by Edward 'Shade, adjourned. A general call was now made for refreshments, which anxious mothers promptly supplied.

Yours, Bub.


You knew Seth Tinder,—No?—“git eout!”—you did know Seth, every body knew him, and they couldn't help it, for Seth would know every body. He was, perhaps, the “cutest critter,” in some things, that ever calculated the success of a notion expedition, and he was among the first of his genus that ever strayed, on such an expedition, as far west as St. Louis. If you really didn't know Seth, it is time your ignorance was enlightened.

Seth was remarkably cute at driving a bargain—that was an innate propensity; Seth was inquisitive, and frequently looked into hall doors, and peeped into kitchen windows—that was Yankee human nature; Seth winked at the girls—that was an acquired habit; he resolved to possess one—that was a calculation. Now, this winking at the girls, when performed by a handsome individual, is looked upon as a matter of course; but Seth was so notoriously ugly, that his wink was an outrage, and his overtures of love, perfect atrocities. His short, bow-legged figure was thatched with the most obstinate bunch of carroty hair that ever bid defiance to bear's oil, and the windows of his mind as the eyes are poetically styled, appeared looking intently at the tip of his nose, as if apprehensive that, ere long, it would burst into a blaze. A kind of half-burnt-prairie garnished his chin, which would have made a very warm looking goatee, if Seth could have transplanted it all to one spot; but there lay the difficulty, for though cute at driving a bargain,' he could make none with nature—she made him ugly without his consent, and wouldn't agree to any alteration. Seth, nevertheless, would wink at the girls.

His first tender effort was made upon the heart of a German butcher's fair, fat, rosy daughter, whose round cheeks and well-fed form was, to his eye, the very perfection of female beauty. No artificial making up about her—no exterior padding, it was all done naturally, on the inside. As she luxuriated upon the door steps of an evening, Seth would linger near, wink, and grin all sorts of affection, but, like all bashful swains, hesitated about coming to close quarters. He had imbibed the erroneous opinion, that all true courting must be done clandestinely; but all his hints to draw his inamorata into a secret treaty, was a failure. At length, he ventured in a desperate manner up to the door step, and whispered hurriedly:—

“Look out—comin' to set up with you to-night—round the back way—over the fence—be a-waitin'!”

“You'd petter pe ketch'd,” was the fair one's rejoinder, accompanied by a malicious laugh, which Seth interpreted as an approving one.

The darkness of the night favored Seth's clandestine opinions and practice—it was just the thing for a nocturnal visit; therefore, agreeable to notice, he made his appearance at the fence, round the back way. Leaning over the barrier, he ventured to sound a cautious “hist,” which was immediately answered by a low “wou-ugh.” That must be Dutch for “come,” reasoned Seth, and straight he mounted the fence; but politician never took an uneasier seat on the same line of division than he enjoyed on the present occasion, for, no sooner had one pedal extremity reached the other side and placed him fairly astride, than a remarkably savage dog seized the intruding member, with a fierce “wou-ugh-ugh-ugh-u.”

“Git eout, you blasted critter!” shouted Seth.

“Wou-ugh-ugh!” roared the dog.

A struggle ensued, in which Seth, unfortunately, fell on the wrong side, right into the jaws of his antagonist. The attitude in which he reached terra firma, offered the dog a change of grip, and, like a skilful sentinel, he seized the advantage and Seth's seat of honor at the same time. Our hero sprang nearly erect, with a howl more like his antagonist than any human noise, and a desperate struggle, mingled with strange cries, aroused the dozing butcher from his pipe, and the fair cause of the disturbance from her knitting.


“Sum tam rascal's after der sausages in der smoke haus!” was the butcher's first exclamation; the rosy daughter smiled assent, and “arm and out,” was the work of an instant. They found their trusty sentry baulking all Seth's efforts to retreat over the fence, and keeping him “a-wailin''” when he would have given worlds to leave. The reinforcement made at him with whip and broomstick, and this terrible odds aroused him to superhuman exertions;—with a “mazzle” he floored the Dutchman and his pipe, charged on the flinty-hearted daughter, captured her broomstick, beat a parley with it on the dog's head, and retreated over the fence with “flying colors”—stickinng through a rent of his inexpressibles.


You all knew Smith—every body knew Smith, and Smith was known by every body—consequently, Smith was considered somebody. A body is supposed to contain a soul; Smith's body not only contained a soul, but certain parts of Smith's body made and mended other men's soles. Smith was enterprising, industrious, and won thereby the sole control of the boot and shoe business of the flourishing town of Kipp. Smith was a thriving man, a persevering man; Smith was, in fact, a strip of upper-leather. Just about the time of his greatest success, when the tide of fortune appeared to bear upon its surface a perfect skin of Smith's manufactured high-lows, and earth shook beneath the tread of his patent cork soles, along came Jones. Strange freak of fate! Jones was an adventurer,—a desperate adventurer,—a fellow who had made soles his study and upper leather his dream; he was a Napoleon in his business, and could slash calf-skin into a killing shape for pedal extremities;—in short, he was boot No. 1, both in the manufacture and sale of the article. In Jones' wanderings along the streets of Kipp, his eye fell upon the broad sign of “Smith, Fashionable Boot and Shoe Maker.” There was something prosperous and aristocratic about it, but, at the “Fashionable,” Jones turned up his nose.

“Ox-hide fashion,” says Jones, “Good common article, but won't sell alongside of a prime one. I'll drive that fellow, Smith, out of Kipp town—have it all to myself—do a smashing business—re-sole the town—become upper-leather in the community—president of town council—die mayor of the borough, and have all my own manufactured shoes walking at my funeral.—Lofty thought,” added Jones.

In a very short time, upon the principal street in Kipp, in sight of Smith's, out swung a large flag, with the name of “Jones, importer, manufacturer, and patent leather boot and shoe artiste.” Smith stared, the flag fluttered, and Jones chuckled. Customers began to patronise Jones, and the flag seemed saucily to triumph, as it floated upon the breeze blowing towards Smith's door. Smith was a man of energy, though, and out came his new “patent gaiter boot;” the tide turned and Smith was again in the ascendant. Now began a leather war—Jones up and Smith down, Smith up again and Jones down, as each rival, alternately, brought out something new. At length, one bright morning, the inhabitants of Kipp, who had taken sides in the contest, were astounded by the appearance of the front of Smith's store—it was one entire sign, from the pavement to the roof. Jones looked blue, the flag fluttered like a tattered rag. Smith rose in importance—his friends felt proud of him—it was a Kipp triumph over foreign capital—the Jones party wavered!—not so Jones; his great mind had conceived a stupendous overthrow for Smith, and ere admiration for his rival had settled into sure success, it was diverted to himself. An immense flag, of stone, with his name in large letters, was scientifically planted right in the centre of Jones' pavement.

The town now became feverish with excitement, and it was rumored that the town council intended to consider the matter—the “signs of the times” grew alarming.

Glorious Smith!—Smith for ever!—unyielding to the last! In this emergency, when the horizon seem'd heavy with defeat, when a vast stone seemed to press his fortunes into the earth, Smith arose, Phonix like, “from a boot,” and gave assurance to the world that he was no common leather. Rapid as the thought which conceived the idea, he had a vast boot constructed, placed upon a post in front of his door, and with a sample of his manufacture in each hand, he mounted into it, to exhibit to the passers by not only a spectacle of indomitable energy, but un-flagging perseverance.

“What do you think of Smith now?” said the adherents of the “big boot,”—“bravo, Smith!” shouted the Kippites. Here was a climax to which ingenuity could discover no parallel, it was indeed the ne plus ultra.

Jones put his hands behind his coat-tails, and looked up street at the big boot and its tenant, then at the stone flag beneath his feet, and his countenance settled into a calm and desperate determination. “I'll do it!” exclaimed he. The expression was caught up by his friends, wafted through the town, and whispered in each dwelling, until the excitement and expectation grew painful. Everybody was aching to see what Jones would do.

Jones cut out a capacious pair of boots, set his workmen at them, had them finished, sent every living soul away from his shop at early candle-light, closed it up, and all remained a mystery for the remainder of the night. Morning broke—astonishment and horror!—terrible Jones!—triumphing in death! He had drawn on the immense boots, fastened them by suspenders across his shoulders, and then suspended himself from the flag-staff right over the flag-stone. Beneath him fluttered a postscript attached to the boots; its substance was, “Has Smith the sole to imitate this?” Smith hadn't.


How often, in our democratic land, the query which forms our caption has caused the aspirants after aristocratic distinction to shudder, and how silent become their voices of high pretension, when, by some unfortunate remark, or the recalling of some reminiscence, they have been forced to take a retrospective glance into the past for a few generations. Happy are they if memory does not wake up a sturdy ancester pounding the leather upon his lapstone, or that necessary craftsman, the tailor, plying his busy needle upon the shop-board. The morbid desire of us republicans to be ignorant of the vulgar callings of life, is often very amusing; and the struggles to rake up a pedigree, to give character to growing prosperity, has often caused more trouble and vexation than the building up of a fortune, which it was necessary thus to adorn.

“Who are they?” was the general query at a soiree given by a high United States' officer, at the city of Washington, a short period previous to the death of the lamented General Harrison. The parties who called forth the query were a western member of congress and his highly gifted lady. The member was in the prime of life, of acknowledged talents in his profession, and betrayed, in his manners, the high breeding of a gentleman. A conscious power lent ease to his frankness, and the men of the west clustered around him with pride. His lady, simply attired, attracted all eyes; her distingue figure and intellectual face proclaimed her a peerless woman, and when she smiled a ray of heaven's own light beamed forth from human eyes. There was a kindness in her smile which won hearts before they knew her; there was no hollow mockery in it; it came forth from a happy heart, and where its influence fell, good feelings sprung up and sweet thoughts clustered; but—Who is she? Ah, that's the question; and how often the inquiry was passed from lip to lip during that evening! Amid the throng in which they moved, and wherever they lingered, an admiring coterie surrounded them. The husband was a strong man in the political world; had accepted a seat in congress more to gratify his friends than in accordance with his own wishes, and his party felt strengthened by his presence. His lady, ever distinguished at home, was now creating no small sensation at Washington; but—“who are they?” That all-absorbing question remained unanswered, even to the close of the evening, and they departed, leaving it still an “open question.”

Judge W. had been seen conversing very familiarly with them, and an anxious company soon surrounded him, uttering, the query, “Who are they?” He informed them, that it was Mr. H. and his wife, Mrs. H., of M————. “Oh! they all knew that, but what was their family?”

“Upon my life, ladies,” answered the good-natured Judge, “I don't know; but if you will only wait until to-morrow evening, I will endeavor to find out.”

The task of postponing curiosity, though difficult, was, nevertheless, unavoidable; and the party broke up with a living hope, that ere another day had ended, the important query would be solved.

“Who are you? H.,” said the Judge to his friend the next day, as they sat conversing together in H.'s parlor.

“Well, that is a hard question, Judge,” replied H.—“but perhaps Mary can answer that question better than I can;” and calling his wife away from a boquet of flowers which she was arranging in a vase; he took her hand in his, as she leaned affectionately over his shoulder, and repeated the inquiry—“Who am I, Mary?—the Judge wishes to know.”

“I think I can inform you, Judge,” replied the wife, “for he is not a whit changed since the day he taught me my first lesson in the 'free school' of L. He is Henry H.—formerly assistant teacher in a down-east free school, and now, the Hon. Henry H., of M.; moreover, the husband of Mary H., formerly a factory girl in that same town, but now, I need not tell you, Judge, the Hon. Mrs. H., also of M.; I have really become quite enamored of this title.”

“It is true, Judge,” continued Mr. H., “I first beheld Mary at a free school, taught her her first lesson, learned another from her eyes, and never became satisfied until I possessed the book, that throughout life I might continue to peruse the beauties of the page. But come, Judge,—now that you have traced our pedigree, give some account of yourself; from what ancient stock have you sprung?—Who are you?”

“I am the son of Adam!” (a laugh here interrupted him,) “not the Adam spoken of in the Bible; I mean old Adam W., a shoemaker of Albany, who once used his stirrup rather lavishly upon me, and for which good office, I left him one fine morning, without bidding good by. I will not relate to you the many changes of fortune which befel me, until I found myself upon the bench, in a United States' court, instead of the bench in my father's shop. Suffice it to say, that my good parent, until his dying day, expressed the opinion that it was a good thing I took to the law early, for I was fit for no useful purpose.”

At Secretary E.'s on the next evening, a crowd surrounded the Judge, but all wore upon their countenances an air of incredulity—the Judge's story of the “factory girl” “wouldn't go down.”

“It's a fact, ladies,” said the Judge; “just about the time I was learning to make shoes these people were in the situations I tell you.”

They all pronounced the Judge a wag, and would not believe the story. A matron, more resolved than her friends to sift the truth of the matter, applied to Mrs. H., herself, and told her what a fib the Judge had been telling them.

“I assure you it is true,” replied Mrs. H.

“Yes, but my dear, the best of families have been reduced,” says Mrs. Enquiry, “you are, no doubt, descended from the 'Pilgrim Fathers.'”

“I have every reason to believe so,” answered Mrs. H. “I told you so,” said Mrs. Enquiry, exultingly, to her circle of acquaintances; “she is a daughter of one of the 'Pilgrim Fathers.'”

The wheels of government, which had well nigh ceased to move during the pendency of this important question, received a new impetus from the intelligence, and the republic was pronounced “out of danger,” for its “heads of wisest censure” had discovered who they were!


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