Изображения страниц

where I found most of my fellow passengers already assembled.

We had hardly ensconced ourselves in a safe corner, when the voice of “Old Waley” roared out from the shore

“Stop the boat, or we'll fire into her ! "

“Fire and be hang'd !” was the captain's reply.

He had hardly uttered the words, when a bullet was heard crashing through the glass top of the wheel-house. I could not help thinking that Mr. Nettles, the pilot, was placed in rather a nettlish position, but it appeared afterwards that the lower part of the wheel-house was lined with strong sheetiron, and was bullet proof. Whether this precaution had been taken in anticipation of such skirmishes, I never learnt; at all events, it was useful in the present emergency, as Mr. Nettles in a crouching position could sufficiently manage the boat, while he was sheltered from the shot to all intents and purposes.

Bang !-spang !-whiz ! and several bullets came crashing through the slight framework of the cabin-windows; some struck the wheel-house, while others glanced upon the iron chimneys, causing them to ring and vibrate.

But our captain, upon his side, was not idle, and a volley of musketry from the crew sent, two or three of the sheriff's officers sprawling upon the bank.

In this way a running fire was kept up for several miles—the boat going at the top of her speed—while the sheriff and his posse kept pace with her, galloping along the bank, loading and firing in their stirrups.

Victory, however, declared for our captain, for the river gradually widened, and as the boat was kept closer to the larboard bank, the rifle bullets fell far short of their mark. Seeing this, the pursuing party were reluctantly compelled to halt, expressing in their looks and gestures the highest degree of anger and mortification.

“Come, boys,” shouted the captain, "give them a last volley and a cheer !”

A volley of musketry was followed by loud cheering from every part of the little boat, in which even the passengers joined, so exciting is the cheer of victory, even in a

bad cause.

“Now, Kernel,” cried the captain, “I've got you out of a tarnal scrape—ten thousand at least—so we expect you to stand treat for all hands ! Hurrah ! bring on the licker !”



FATHER WILLIAM, or, as he was familiarly known, “Old Bill,” was an early settler “out West." He left the old North State when young, and settled in a choice spot, near one of our little streams. He grew and prospered, and not many years after he was married, and from that time than he a more influential personage could not be found. He was Justice of the Peace, held two or three posts of honour, and could knock daylight out of a turkey's eye two hundred yards with his favourite gun. I remember several of his exploits in shooting; and one of them would not be out of place here. I heard it from Old Bill ” himself. He had a fine young horse once, he said, stolen from his stable, and he set out to overtake the thief, taking his favourite piece along for company. His horse was shod different from any other, and he tracked him to a thicket, through that, and for two days, when he lost sight of his track. “Here,” said Old Bill, “I began to give out; but I knew the boys would laugh at me, and I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't bring him back. Presently I heard some one whistling away ahead of me, and rode fast to catch up. Turning round a bunch of vines, who should I see but the man on my horse; and just at that time he looked back and saw me. Then we had it. He spurred and I kicked, and both our horses seemed to fly. We ran almost mile a minit' for three hours, and neither gained an inch. He was running for life, and I for my horse. But I couldn't pull up to him no way, for he was on the best horse. I had my gun, but was afraid to shoot. I found I couldn't do

for he was now a hundred yards ahead, and gaining. I raised my gun, let it fall to a gentle level, and took aim at the saddle girth. It cut it easy one hundred and thirty yards ! and the rider fell to the ground in the saddle. I got my horse, and left the rascal whipping the saddle alone. I never heard of him after that. Whether he got to his journey's end I never heard, but I made a good shot, and took my horse back to his paster !"

any other way,

“Old Bill,” in his early days, went through many troubles, and often thought his day of grace was nearly ended. He would give up to the “hyppo,and when in one of his ways, he'd keep his bed for weeks at a time, trying to

settle up” accounts, but he couldn't make it out. During this time he wouldn't say a word, but I'm not long for this world." Fifteen years after his horse-race—he was getting along in years then--he went off. A deep snow covered the ground, and he could not venture beyond his door. He curled himself up in bed, and for two days his eyes were closed, and he spoke not a word. His couch was watched in silence his pulse quick-his breathing compressed; but the fourth evening he came to. His boys, who had watched by his side, were now relieved, a good dinner was prepared, “Old Bill” ate heartily, and, after a social drink all round, the boys were for a hunt.

“You musn't go, boys—I begin to feel like going off,” said Old Bill, with a sigh.

“Come, daddy, you're well-never was better in your life !” said one of the boys.

“Better not go—you shan't-you'll find me dead when you get back," continued the old man, returning to bed.

“But we must, daddy. We'll make a big VOL. I.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »